#ateez seonghwa Tumblr posts

  • woojoongz
    26.05.2022 - 45 minutes ago

    seonghwa 🥊 rocky (boxers ver.) behind clip

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  • woojoongz
    26.05.2022 - 1 hour ago

    san, yunho, yeosang, seonghwa ✩ the beginning of space sailing ep.01

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  • purplexmoon
    26.05.2022 - 1 hour ago

    Send me Choi San ff recommendations ❤️

    Y/N only

    Preferably multiple chapters but can be oneshot too

    Themes I’d like:

    Angst with HAPPY ending - MUST

    Mafia au

    San saves Y/N (can be mafia au or school au - saves from bully, or anything like this)

    Those are my fav themes so I’m mostly looking for ff like them but I’m open for everything as long as it’s well written and have angst in it😁 I hope i’m not asking for a lot haha

    Thank you Atinys❤️

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  • parkseonghwadata
    26.05.2022 - 4 hours ago
    220526 ATEEZ Official YouTube Update
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  • tiny-hwateez
    26.05.2022 - 5 hours ago

    📸 [☕💬 | ATINY ZONE] 220526

    ATEEZ (에이티즈) [THE FELLOWSHIP: BEGINNING OF THE END] Fansign de Amsterdam detrás de la Selfie

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  • kkeke99
    26.05.2022 - 5 hours ago

    Seonghwa: So where would you guys go if you could time travel?

    Yunho: Far in the future, when we’ve spaceship and stuff!

    Hongjoong: I don’t know, I’d like to see what life was like a few hundred years ago.

    Seonghwa: Jongho, what about you?

    Jongho: I want to punch a t-rex.

    #ateez #ateez incorrect quotes #kim hongjoong#hongjoong#park seonghwa#seonghwa#jung yunho#yunho#choi jongho#jongho#kpop #kpop incorrect quotes #kpoo funny #it was either punching the t-rex or keep it as a pet lmfao #both are very jongho things #kkeke99
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  • hwanswerland
    26.05.2022 - 6 hours ago
    seonghwa // rocky behind clip
    #seonghwa#ateez#ateezedit#atzsource#ateez gifs #fio.gifs #tuserjazzy#meganbyte#cheytermelon#majatual#blueberryshay#usersrin#jaybrainrot#lunanuggets#beyond zero #the last one is so funny to me idk aksdahdkjas #first two we won't speak about #we will not #NOT EVER #i'm back in the 'posts 5 sets a day' phase #as opposed to my 'posts nothing for  weeks and only lurks' phase
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  • annagcart
    26.05.2022 - 9 hours ago

    ateez - 바다 보러 갈래?

    available as a sticker pack on my shop! annagcart.bigcartel.com

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  • kpoplilpotato
    26.05.2022 - 9 hours ago

    Lost Soul (li) ☯︎︎ (ATEEZ)

    Lost Soul (li) ☯︎︎ (ATEEZ)

    PAIRING: Yunho x Ji Ah
    WORD COUNT: 2.6k
    GENRE: fantasy+pirate au; romance; mystery; adventure; action; angst; gore; mythology

    <- 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 // 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡 \\ 𝑛𝑒𝑥𝑡 ->

    In the dead of night, the three of you managed to get everything and everyone onto the ship without waking any of them...somehow. Yunho decided to sail the ship away with the help of Yeosang as he helped navigate him across the sea until morning. 

    You decided to look around the new ship and the rooms, deciding where everything should go now. You plan on discussing that with Wooyoung and Mingi once they wake up. You organised the supplies you had and wrote them down as you put the list in Seonghwa’s new quarter. 

    “Aadya,” You heard Yunho say as his steps filled the small hallway. You turned around to look at him. “Yes? What’s the matter?” You asked as you watched him get closer, soon towering over you. 

    He scratched the back of his head before he spoke. “What do you plan on telling everyone once they wake up? They’re bound to be confused as to why we’re on a new ship,” He asked as he let out a nervous chuckle. Your eyes slightly widened at the question as you didn’t think that far. “Oh...then we might have to come up with something for the meantime…” You suggested as you furrowed your brows as you began to come up with a lie to tell the rest of the crew.

    “Don’t you think we shouldn’t really tell a lie? Maybe just say that was the wrong island because they’re was a weird phenomenon with the magnetic field that lead Yeosang’s compass the wrong way?” He suggested as he watched you walk away to head back to the main deck as he tailed behind like a lost puppy.

    “That could work, but that doesn’t explain the ship,” You sighed as you ran your fingers through your hair. “It was a habitable island with people there and they gave us a ship…?” He said as he wasn’t quite sure as his pitch got higher at the end.

    You giggled before you opened the cargo door to the main deck as you stepped outside. The cool air rushed over you as the sun glared down at you as the light blue sky painted with white clouds dancing around. 

    You held your hand over your eyes to shade them away from the scorching sun as you walked up to the quarter deck where Yeosang was currently at. “I guess we’ll try that,” You sighed before you stood next to Yeosang. “Do you have an idea where we should go?” You asked the male who was sitting on the floor looking at the map. 

    “If we keep heading east, we'll be bound to make it back to your old village where we first met you in about a week or more,” He said as he didn’t look at you as he was too busy drawing and writing a few notes on the map. You knitted your brows together as you squatted next to him, looking over his shoulder. 

    “Why’d you scratch out that island?” You asked as you pointed at an island that was in the top left corner of the map with black markings scribbled all over it. “Ah...it’s no use to go there, the place got destroyed years ago. Me and Hongjoong hyung crossed out the villages that got destroyed and attacked by the Ayrith guards from Taglya,” The male sighed as he ran his fingers through his hair.

    You furrowed your brows as you stared at a particular area that was only but sea. You let out a huff before you stood back up. “Is that you…hyung?” You heard someone mutter as they came up the quarter deck stairs as he ruffled his dark brown hair with his hands. “Where are...we?” He asked in a groggily tone.

    He glanced around the area as he saw nothing but water surrounding you all. “And who’s ship is this?” He continued to bombard questions. He glanced over at Yeosang then at you as his eyes widened. “Ji Ah noona!? You’re...you’re safe…” He smiled as he felt content. Your brows twitched in a frown before you smiled and nodded your head. “Y...Yeah,” You said to him as you brought him into a hug. 

    “I’m glad to see you’re doing fine, Jongho…” You said as you rubbed his back. He brought his arms around you quickly as he was happy you’re okay and nothing bad happened to you. “But you didn’t answer my questions…” He muttered before he pushed you away a little. You glanced at Yunho and Yeosang before looking back at the younger male.

    “When everyone else wakes up, I promise we’ll tell you what happened,” You reassured him as you brought your hand up to move a few strands out of his face. “Wait...everyone is...safe and alive!?” He asked as his eyes widened again. You nodded your head.

    You watched a big, bright smile form on his face as he ran down the quarter deck, quickly going down to the gun deck. “You know he’s going to wake everyone up...right?” Yunho mumbled in your ear. You looked at him before glancing back at the cargo hatch that’s wide open. “I know,” You chuckled before you turned back around to speak with Yeosang.

    A couple of hours passed as more and more of the crew woke up as you greeted them all, glad you could save them before anything worse could have happened. You looked around as you saw Jongho come up with a confused Seonghwa. You gasped as you quickly went to them as you stood in front of the men. “J-Ji Ah…?” Seonghwa muttered as he still had that tired look. You smiled.

    He brought you into a gentle hug as he rubbed the back of your head as he brushed your hair in a downward motion. You listened as his heart began to pick up in pace. “Thank the gods...it wasn’t some type of dream,” You heard him say as you heard a small sob from him as his chest shook as he did. 

    You wrapped your arms around him. “It wasn’t...we’re all okay,” You told him. “Even the captain?” He asked you as he said through a few tears. You looked down at the main deck as you kept silent for a minute as you knitted your brows together. You nodded your head before answering. “Yeah...he’s fine, we’re going to go wake the rest of them up,” You told him as you broke away from him and looked him in the eyes.

    His eyes were glossy with tears as you felt your heart drop at his expression. You pouted before you grabbed his hand. “C’mon, let’s go wake them up,” You smiled as you watched his demeanour quickly change. He nodded his head as he wiped his face from the salty tears that covered his cheeks before you both headed toward Mingi and his quarters. 

    You felt your heart quickening now as your breathing grew heavier every step you took closer to the door. “Ji Ah...are you okay?” You heard Seonghwa ask as he tugged your arm. You looked behind you as you didn’t even realise the male stopped walking. You stared at him with your mouth slightly agape as you couldn’t tell him the truth. “I...I…” You began as you let go of him.

    “She’s just tired, me and Yunho told her to rest last night, but she didn’t,” Yeosang said as he came up from behind the oldest. Seonghwa whipped his head towards his direction as his lips formed another smile. “Glad to see you,” He said as he threw his arm around the younger man. “And Ji Ah...go get some sleep,” Seonghwa said as he quickly glared at you, sending chills down your spine as you weren’t expecting that quick change of his expression.

    You nodded your head as you stepped around them. “Let me go wake up San and Wooyoung first and tell everyone what happened, then I will,” You said as Seonghwa nodded his head as he began to walk to the quartermaster's cabin door. You quickly mouthed a ‘thank you’ to Yeosang as he briefly nodded his head as he turned back to face where he was going.

    You ran down the stairs to the gun deck as you turned left to go to Wooyoung’s cabin. You stopped in front of it as you slowly lifted your hand up to knock on the door. You waited a little bit to try and hear anything from his door, the only thing you heard was silence. You opened the door slightly as it quietly creaked open. “Wooyoung…?” You softly called out as you peeked your head in.

    You looked over at his bed as you saw his fading purple hair as you watched his body move up and down every time he breathed. You opened the door more so you could get in as you walked over to him. “Yah...oppa,” You whispered as you began to shake his body a little. 

    His face twitched into a frown as you continually shook him, confusing his state of mind. “You need to wake up,” You added as you grabbed a handful of his hair and pulled it lightly. “Ouch!” He groaned as his body shot up as he rubbed the place where you pulled his hair. 

    He whipped his head in your direction as he had a glare plastered on his face, but as soon as he made eye contact with you, his eyes widened as he soon was overwhelmed with joy. He quickly got off of his bed, stumbling a little, but he quickly made it over to you as he brought you into a tight hug. “Ji Ah! You’re alive!!” He yelled as he managed to lift you off the ground and twirl you around in the air.

    “Y-Yeah...you can put me down now..haha,” You nervously said as the sudden action caught you off guard and also you didn’t want to wake up San who was in the next room over...which was too late. The door connecting both of their rooms opened as a groggy face San walked out with his dog, Shiber. 

    “What the hell is going on?” He groaned as he rubbed his eye as he glared at the both of you. “San-ah!” Wooyoung yelled as he let go of you which caused you to fall on the floor as he ran over to San and embraced him into a hug now. You rolled your eyes before you got up as you massaged your hip.

    “Yeah...we’re all alive, luckily,” You said as you walked over to them both. “But this boat...this isn’t ours,” San said, which made Wooyoung let go of him as he looked around. “Yeah...he’s right,” He then looked at you. “What’s going on?” He asked as he furrowed his brows together, waiting for an answer. 

    “That’s why I woke you up, San was not intentional since someone was being too loud,” You said as you glanced at Wooyoung who had a smug look on his face as he shrugged his shoulders, acting as if he did nothing. 

    You scoffed before you averted your attention back to San. “But let’s head back up to the main deck where everyone else is so we can tell you what happened,” You said and turned on your heels to leave. “We?” San asked as he emphasised the word. “Yeah...” You laughed. Just as you were about to go, San had stopped you. He pulled you into a tight embrace as he rested his head on your shoulder. 

    “Ji Ah…don’t ever scare me like that, especially after that argument we had. I love you like my own sister, and I can’t afford to lose you too.” He spoke, sniffling as tears rolled down his face. You rubbed his back. “I know…and I’m so sorry, from the bottom of my heart, San. I care about you endearingly.” You replied before breaking away from him as you wiped his tears away. He smiled at you. “Let’s head up so I can explain everything.” 

    They nodded their heads as they followed close behind you up the stairs. You made it back out as you looked around for a specific someone. After not seeing him anywhere, you walked onto the main deck with the two males. “You both stay here while I go talk to Yeosang and Yunho,” You told them as you walked away from them before they could answer.

    The stairs creaked under your feet as you saw Yeosang speaking with the taller male. “Yunho, Yeosang!” You called out to gain their attention. They turned to face you as they were busy in a conversation before you interrupted. “What’s the matter? Is everyone up?” Yunho asked as he turned his body to fully face you as he placed his hands in his pockets.

    “Everything’s fine and everyone is awake...did you get the captain and Mingi?” You asked Yeosang as he quickly nodded his head. “Alright,” You began as you took a deep breath. “Then let’s tell them and get everything back in order quickly,” You told them.

    They nodded their heads as you all made your way to the railing on the quarters deck so you could speak to them. Yeosang brought out his bell as he began to ring it so he could get everyone's attention so you could speak. Eventually, everyone turned to you all to listen. 

    You looked at them all as you felt like a stranger, as if they couldn’t recognise you anymore. You looked around as you saw Seonghwa speaking with San as the sight calmed you a little. You felt someone grab your hand as they used their thumb to massage the top of it. “Take your time,” You heard Yunho whisper in your ear. 

    You slowly nodded your head as you closed your eyes to control your heavy and fast breathing. You listened to the sea surrounding you as the waves crashing against each other and the ship calmed you down eventually. 

    You looked back at them as you told them the lie you three came up with, the phenomenon that messed up the magnetic pull of Yeosang’s compass which made you all end up on a wrong island and then getting lended a ship from the locals that were kind enough to do so.

    “But me and some of the others saw that it was the island of Hydra!” San called out as he stared you into your eyes. “It wasn’t, it seemed to be some type of trick that the locals played on us...they used some magic spell of the sorts that gave us the impactful illusion of it,” Yeosang spoke up as he glanced over at you. 

    You nodded your head before continuing. “And if it weren’t for them, then everyone here on this ship would be dead,” You said. They were taken aback by it as they whispered and spoke to one another quietly about it. “But we’re all safe and that should be the main thing that we should be worrying about. Let’s not have that incident mess up our duties and lifestyle and move forward from it,” You said to them as they all nodded their heads and yelled in joy and agreement.

    You smiled at them before backing away from the railing as they went back to managing their stations and also getting used to the new and much larger watercraft. 

    You were busy talking with the two men as you didn’t notice the other two that came up behind you. “Ji Ah…” You heard someone speak, you turned around to answer them but quickly stopped yourself as you felt a change in your emotions. 

    “Kim Hongjoong…”

    <- 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 // 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡 \\ 𝑛𝑒𝑥𝑡 ->

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  • ughsimpp
    26.05.2022 - 10 hours ago

    okay think about it...

    hongjoong, hwa, and yunho

    mingi and woo

    yeosang and san

    and jongho 🥴

    cant change my mind.JONGHO IS A STRONG BOY AND I KNOE HES RIPPED ASF💀💀💀
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  • song-mingi
    26.05.2022 - 14 hours ago

    ateez ✧ the beginning of space sailing trailer

    #ateez#seonghwa#hongjoong#yunho#yeosang#san#mingi#wooyoung#jongho#atzsource#ultkpop#mgroupsedit#malegroupsedit#maleidolsedit#dailybg #iri.gifs #lunanuggets#cheytermelon#majatual#meganbyte #theyre so cute...these look awkward but they r just so cute #woo skateboard..........i am just one woman #also flashing back to the football quarterback mingi dream i had. embarrassing KLFDSKLFDS #this looks so cute tho :( mwah
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  • nateezfics
    26.05.2022 - 14 hours ago

    SPOILED | SUGAR DADDY ATEEZ

    ♔ 3K FOLLOWERS CELEBRATION EVENT ♔

    To commemorate my blog reaching its three thousand follower milestone, I give you Spoiled, a sugar daddy Ateez themed fic event! This event will have eight total parts (one fic for each member). Each fic will contain 18+ content!

    ♔ HONGJOONG ♔

    Coming soon!

    ♔ SEONGHWA ♔

    Coming soon!

    ♔ YUNHO ♔

    Coming soon!

    ♔ YEOSANG ♔

    Coming soon!

    ♔ SAN ♔

    Coming soon!

    ♔ MINGI ♔

    Coming soon!

    ♔ WOOYOUNG ♔

    Coming soon!

    ♔ JONGHO ♔

    Coming soon!

    ♔ EVENT PLAYLIST ♔

    Chills — Mickey Valen

    First Class — Jack Harlow

    Lotto — EXO

    The Motto — Tiësto & Ava Max

    Peaches — KAI

    Bambi — BAEKHYUN

    I Know — Big Sean & Jhené Aiko

    7 rings — Ariana Grande

    Sugar — Maroon 5 (remix ft Nicki Minaj)

    Hrs & Hrs — Muni Long

    Ball For me — Post Malone & Nicki Minaj

    Good For You — Selena Gomez & A$AP Rocky

    ALL FICS ARE THE WRITTEN WORK OF NATEEZFICS. DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. REPOSTING WITHOUT CONSENT FROM THE AUTHOR NATEEZFICS IS PROHIBITED!

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  • uhmingi
    26.05.2022 - 16 hours ago

    murphy’s law; (m) 3/4

    wc/pairing; 20K, multi/reader

    genre; a/f/s, soulmate!au, alien!au, e2f2l

    summary; according to murphy’s law, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Black holes circle each other until they collide and merge, a cataclysm so fierce, sends ripples soaring through the fabric, crossing thousands of kilometers within a fraction of a second, leaving behind a wave on the space-time continuum. That’s the simplest way you can describe meeting him. And yet, even that is an understatement.

    note: please read the warnings! There are a lot of sensitive topics mentioned, even if it is just in passing. warnings under cut

    ⬅️ previous  | next ➡️

    content; character death mentions, alcohol/alcoholism, childhood trauma, war mentions, blood, injuries, smut: humping, fingering, soft sex, unprotected sex, no aftercare (they fall asleep), manipulation, weapons, eating mentions, sacrifice mentions.

    Chapter Three:

    You could physically feel your heart crumbling. Your heart beat hurt against your ribcage, the dryness of your throat as you struggled to hold back your feelings. You learned how to control your emotions when you were young; why is it so hard to do now?

    His expression drops when your eyes meet his, tears threatening to roll down his cheeks. He closes his eyes, swallowing softly and taking a small breath. As if he's struggling too. His body shakes, fingers gripping the dresser with as much strength as he could muster. You hear the wood crack as his chest rises and falls, breathing picking up speed.

    "Control your emotions," His words are quick, jaw clenched. "I can feel what you feel."

    "Then feel it, Yeosang. Feel how you hurt me, so much," your lips tremble.

    "y/n–"

    "You have no right to call me by my name. Not after what you've been doing," you interrupt, moving closer to your window. You glance out, hoping there’s no one standing there. Listening to your conversation. "I don't want to talk to you about this anymore. Leave."

    "Pushing me away? Again? I should have known, since this is your specialty. But before I do leave, we aren't telling anyone about this," he says. "We're keeping this to ourselves. Until we figure out what to do. Don't say a word about this to anyone. There's a lot happening around this manor daily, it would only stress them out more. We will just have to pretend that we've had an argument so that we don't have to explain the shift between us."

    "No need to pretend, Yeosang. We've had the argument, and I don't particularly like you right now. If there was a way to stop it, I would've severed our connection without hesitation," You're not sure if you mean your words, but he seems to take them seriously.

    He audibly swallows, a faint smile on his lips. "You sure know how to make your fated feel loved." You can feel the sarcasm in his hushed words, but it only drives you to the edge.

    "You lied to me! Right now I could care less about how I make you feel. You did this to us, you've built this wall yourself and I just finished it. So don't pretend to act hurt when you've seemingly known me well enough you know how I would react."

    "You don't understand. I don't want the connection severed, but it has to be done."

    "Then what do you want? Because it seemed like you wanted to push me away so easily without a hint of remorse."

    “I…” his voice wavers, eyes flicking to yours. “I want you to trust my judgment when I say your presence here is anything but good. But now that you’ve engraved yourself into our lives, it’s impossible to remove you. Not without hurting everyone.”

    “So what are you saying Yeosang?”

    “I’m saying that the only way to save everyone is if you push us away. By any means.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “I want you to break our hearts, lady.”

    “I’m not doing that.”

    “Lady,” his tone is forlorn, expression sunken. It hurts to look at even for a brief moment. “You know that we’re leaving. You know this, and yet you’re putting yourself through this torture. It will only be more troublesome if you let yourself attach to us further.”

    “What about you? You’re not attached to me? You haven’t the slightest yearn to be by my side? Not at all?” You question, lip quivering. “Because I can barely keep myself together right now. I’m straining against my inner thoughts to embrace you.” You don’t want to admit it, you actually hate to. But there’s nothing else for you to do. You feel as if he’s pushing your thoughts to the side when you know it’s not only you who feels this way. No matter how much he tries to convince you otherwise.

    "Being alone with you is the utmost dreadful experience. It's a balancing act between wanting to run away from you, and wanting to show you how much I desire you. As a human you have a set range of emotions, but as a Mav we feel that tenfold. If you ask any of your other Fates, they would say the same. Even if one in particular is reluctant to say so,” his smile is strained, eyes narrowing slightly at his words. “So hurting our hearts will push us away from you. You’ll be safe then.”

    “Safe? You don’t think they’ll come after me when you leave? Try to pressure me for questions about your swift departure? You really think that?” You ask, fist tightening. “This isn’t the best course of action.”

    “It’s the only course of action. And they won’t come after you because you have Commander Chan in your corner. He’d rather lay down his life than have you tortured.”

    “That’s not something you should be certain of,” a voice says, interrupting the both of you. Yeosang takes a step away from you, the anguish in his expression disappearing with a blink. It scares you a bit on how quick he can hide his emotions. Though it makes sense, you hadn’t the slightest inkling that he knew you were Fated.

    You turn to Yunho, his body resting against the open door as he looks between both of you. It doesn't seem that he's changed from the clothing he wore when he hunted down who tried to kill you, blood still stained against his collar. He has a playful grin on his lips, eyes flicking to yours. “Am I interrupting something?”

    You often wondered how Yunho gained position as leader, he's carefree in comparison to Seonghwa. But you're sure there's something underneath the surface that you can't quite see yet.

    “No, no. We were just speaking,” Yeosang says. "Did you hear much?" It’s a weighted question.

    Both of your gazes focus on Yunho's. He has a questioning look in his eyes, but shakes his head. "Only the last thing you spoke of. Your private conversation is still that, private."

    Yeosang nods. "We're finished then, she was just about to leave."

    "Ah, was she? It seemed like you two were in deep conversation. I can come back another time," Yunho raises a brow, eyes still on yours.

    “No it’s fine Yunho. He's right, I was just leaving. You can speak to Yeosang alone if you’d like,” you say, avoiding his inquisitive stare.

    He chuckles dryly, "Well that's a pity. I wanted to speak to the both of you, since you are her guard now and Seonghwa has relieved himself of his duties." If you weren't looking in his direction, you wouldn't have seen Yeosang’s expression drop slightly.

    "What is it?" You ask. The grin on his lips slips away as he moves into the room. He sits on the edge of your bed, pushing his blond strands from his forehead and clearing his throat.

    "We found out who shot the arrows."

    "You're telling me it was the military? Why would it be the militia when they are sworn to protect her? This doesn't make any sense to me," San says, pacing back and forth. You sit at the end of the parlor in a sole chair, head in your hands. There's nothing you can think of for solving this. They want to kill you for some odd reason, nothing you can comprehend. "It's not like we told them about our bond, so why are they targeting her? Why would they do such a thing? We killed rogue Mavs, not humans."

    "It isn't the first time they used our own people against us," Mingi says softly. "They've plotted this before. Breaking us from the inside out. I'm sure they found out about the fight in the square and thought we'd just assume it was because of that that they targeted her. Luckily one of their old friends spoke up about it, or we'd never know."

    Yunho nods. "It's smart. Make us look the other way, focus on Mavian rebel groups instead of humans. But I still don't understand why they would want to kill you, Lady," he narrows his eyes. "There's something we're missing."

    "It doesn't matter," you mumble. All of their gazes slide to you, but you're too focused on your own words to pay any mind. "If my presence here is somehow ruining your lives, then I need to go. And whatever they want with me, they can do it while I'm not in the manor–"

    "No," San interrupts. "Why would we release you from our protection while you're actively being targeted? No."

    "You don't get to decide this for me, San," you glare. His gaze meets yours. Cold. Emotionless. The same look he gave you when you first saw each other. It bothers you, the solemness in his gaze. You know he's concerned about your well-being but this is your choice to make. No one else's. "I'm leaving."

    "This could be best," Wooyoung murmurs. San scoffs, but he continues. "Chan wants her. Badly. He looked furious when he saw that she easily fit into the manor. He might have expected the opposite. So for her safety, it may be our most alluring option. And it will keep us out of their eyes momentarily. "

    "They will never look away, not when they are suspecting something. I'm not letting her go," San says again. "I can't."

    There's silence after his words. Yeosang hasn't said anything, and it seems like he doesn't plan to, his eyes cast outside. Seonghwa stands next to Yunho. He hasn't uttered a word, avoiding your gaze. You can feel San's anguish in your chest, the others' emotions hidden from you. Perhaps it's because they haven't accepted your bond. But at this moment, you don't care. You just want this heavy weight on your chest to disappear.

    I’m saying that the only way to save everyone is if you push us away. By any means I want you to break our hearts, lady.

    Your eyes move to him. Your heart is beating against your chest endlessly. You know they all can hear it. You know that they're expecting something from you. Anything. And despite wanting, craving… you've made your choice. If Yeosang wants you to break hearts, you'll do it.

    "Okay. We can figure something out. Me leaving will be the last option," you say finally. San's face drops, relief coating his features. You give him a quick smile, ignoring everyone else. "That's my choice."

    "Then so be it," Seonghwa says simply. "It's good that you're staying with us for a little longer, I will need you on a small trip into the city."

    Yeosang scoffs this time, speaking up. "She almost died and you want her to frolic in the city? Isn't that against our objectives?"

    “I don’t take her life lightly, Yeosang. This is why I’m telling everyone that I’m going, instead of having a secret outing and not mentioning it to others.” Seonghwa quirks his brow, Yeosang’s clenched jaw only pleasing him. “It won’t be long. Maybe a few hours at most. You know why I must bring her, it’s the only way to convince him to agree.”

    “He’s right Yeosang,” Yunho says softly. “But again, you are her guard now. You can take the journey with them or–”

    “It’s fine, I’ll stay behind,” Yeosang says quickly. “Seonghwa watched over her before, and I trust that he can continue to watch over her safety. I have no objections.”

    “That settles it. Lady, I will see to it that you’re well enough to take the journey. San, I believe that you wanted to bring her back to her quarters? You can do that now, we have other things to discuss,” Yunho nods at you. “Have a good rest.”

    -

    “You seem annoyed,” San starts. You close the door behind you quietly, their soft whispers too low to make it to your ears. You don't say anything, his soft steps following close behind as you make your way back to your room. The one place where you can have a moment to yourself to think. To gather your ideas and come up with a plan to break their hearts. You already have three fated, and you don't want to find out if there's any more. Two out of three hate looking at you. A part of you wonders if San's soft gaze will turn back into a glare again. You've experienced it moments ago. It felt horrible.

    "Hey Bug," San touches your elbow lightly. A shiver travels through your body as you pull your arm away from him. "I didn't mean–"

    "San, I just need time to myself."

    "I'd give you that if I didn't think you'd run away at the first chance you got," he says simply. You snort, rolling your eyes. "What? You've stated how you felt. You don't want to be here. I can feel what you're feeling. I know that you only said that to appease me."

    "I said it because I was being stared at by all of you, and you all wanted me to decide on my fate. What if I said no, San? What would you have done to me? Could you stand there and tell me that you wouldn't have forced me to stay here?" You press, moving closer to him. He stands his ground despite the conflicting emotions in his expression. You reach up, your hand hesitating to touch his cheek. Touching is dangerous, lethal. Your thoughts are no longer your own. So, you drop your hand and step back. "Let's go back to how we were before. You hate me, and I avoid you as much as I can."

    "No–"

    "San, would you just listen to me for once?"

    "Would you listen to me? Because all I've been doing is listening to you. Following your words, letting my thoughts get pushed back for what you want," His voice sounds tired. He rests his hand lightly on your back, guiding you into a nearby room. It looks like a storage area, boxes packed and stacked around. He locks the door, turning around to look at you.

    "You could have died. Do you understand that? Do you, really?" He looks at his hands, clenching them. "I wasn't there. I was in another fucking wing of this manor. I felt it, Bug. I felt how the poison felt in your body. I felt how it spread, I felt it when you fell unconscious. I was walking through the halls and outside when I saw the archer pointing directly at the porch. I didn't register it quick enough until he shot off two arrows before scattering. Then I ran, I kept on running. The others were close behind when we finally caught up to him. Do you know what I was going to do?"

    "San, you don't have to say it. It's okay, I get it," you say softly, tears welling in your eyes as you stare at him.

    "I was gonna tear him apart, limb by limb. I was going to make him suffer for what he did to you. I've never felt such rage coursing through my body, Bug. I…" he takes a breath. "I was going to torture him. And even now when I think of it, I don't have a hint of remorse. The others took care of him because they didn't believe I could control myself," he laughs dryly. "It's a bit funny. They said that, and yet they seemed overjoyed to take over the job themselves. I don't want you to push me away. I don't care what anyone else has told you. We can protect you. I can protect you–"

    "San," you sigh softly. "Thank you for tracking down that person. But I don't want this for you. For any of you. I don't want you to have to kill people just because I was hurt. I told you before, I don't agree with the bloodshed. And I know Mavians don't either. It is because of me that you had to kill one of your own. It makes me feel guilty," you think back, noticing how many of their clothes were still stained with the aftermath. "You'll be fine without me."

    “Bug…” He moves closer to you but you put your hand up, stopping him.

    “I will always value your friendship and what you’ve done to make me, make us work. But I don't think it will. You’re leaving, San. All of you are leaving, and we have to come to terms with it together.”

    “We can figure it out, we just have to think.”

    “I’m not letting you stay here, and I’m not coming with you. I have too many things to think about. My brother, my parents, I have a life here, San. And you have a life out there without me.”

    “We can figure it out,” he insists.

    “If we weren’t Fated, would you say this?” You ask, eyes staring into his. His pupils shake, moving between each of yours. “San, if you were not Fated to me, would you even care for me the slightest?”

    “Bug, please--”

    “Would you? Do you even know me, really?” You persist, moving closer to him. He shrinks slightly at your approach. It’s odd, seeing someone like San shrink away from you. He’s usually tougher, more built-up and serious in his approach. Seeing him like this, almost afraid of what you’ll say next, makes you hesitant. He seems to notice how you stop, rising slightly. “Do you really care for me? The real me?”

    “You haven’t given me the chance to try,” he says softly. He doesn’t move to you, doesn’t invade your space whatsoever. He stands near the door, hands relaxed. “All you have done is push me away, Bug. You haven’t let me try and see who you are. Right now, I admire the person you are. How resilient you’ve been in saving your brother, how often you’ve pushed your wants aside for others. It’s something that I’ve struggled to do myself. And with your words now, I realized that I’ve been too selfish with you. I’ve pushed my feelings on you and cast yours aside. I don’t want you to think that I don’t care about your well-being because I do, whether we are Fated or not. I want us to figure this out, Bug. Together.”

    You can feel the walls you’ve built up with him crumble slightly. He still doesn’t move for you, eyes stuck on yours. You can see how watery the surface of his is, the shakiness in his gaze as he waits for you to reject his offer. To push him away, one last time. You move closer to him, ignoring the worried thoughts that threaten to spill over. Instead, you let your trembling arms wrap around his torso, a low, relieved breath falling from his lips as he takes you into him and embraces you with everything you have.

    “I’m not my best self, San,” you say, fingers digging into his jacket. “I don’t know how to be vulnerable with anyone.”

    “Then we can figure it out together,” he murmurs into your hair, lips pressed against it. “Just don’t push me away again, okay? That’s the only way we can help each other. I’m not going to push you into anything when you’re not ready. But I will be there for you when I can. You just can’t let all of this weigh on you alone. Let me take some of it away from you, even if it’s momentarily.”

    You laugh into his chest dryly, “You’re too good for me, you know that right?”

    His laugh matches yours. “I do. But I do want to say something,” he pulls away from you. You look up at him, watching as he bites his lip. “I’m sorry about how I’ve been acting. I shouldn’t be angry that you have other Fates, I was just angry at how he was treating you. Seonghwa is a hard shell to crack, and putting his anger into you isn’t okay to me. But I was acting immaturely, so I’m sorry. He’s been through a lot on his own, and I shouldn’t have involved myself. I won’t do it again,” he lets his hands travel up your waist, follow the curve along your neck, and hold your face in between his hands. “I’m deeply sorry.”

    “How could I refuse an apology like that?” Your brow quirks, a smile curving into your lips. He grins down at you, the dimples you love to see forming on his cheeks. “Keep on looking at me like that and I’ll forgo this waiting time.”

    “I’m ready whenever you are, my little Bug,” he whispers.

    A light knock on the storage door pulls you out of your bubble. San moves his hands away from your face, turning around and opening it. Wooyoung stands there, his fingers waving in a quick flutter as he meets your eyes. The mischievous grin that always rests on his lips is still there, though there is an inquisitive stare as he glances at San.

    “Have you two been…?” He cocks his brow. “Doing nefarious things in our storage closet? That’s quite scandalous of you, San. You know how Yeosang likes his things free of strange substances. Though, he may be a bit curious if it was one of yours,” he giggles.

    “You’re disgusting,” San rolls his eyes, words free of anger. His hand reaches out, ruffling his hair before sliding down Wooyoung’s cheek, pinching it lightly. You’ve suspected something happening between them before, but you’ve always pushed it away. It’s none of your business and never will be, but you can’t help but notice the lingering look Wooyoung gives him as he pulls away, his eyes on his fingers. San doesn’t hide his gaze either, something heavily residing in his look. But it disappears once his eyes meet yours, care replacing what you can only call lust. “What do you want, you scoundrel?”

    “Scoundrel? How rude!” Wooyoung fake gasps, hand resting on his chest. His eyes move to you. “I’m supposed to guide you to Yunho’s office. Quickly, he mentioned. So unfortunately I don’t have the time to stand here and play with you. San, you are not allowed to come unfortunately. It is just a meeting between her, Yunho and Seonghwa. So,” Wooyoung moves to the side, gesturing forward. “I’ll be following you close behind.”

    You glance at San. He gives you a sweet smile and affirmative nod. You nod back, taking a step forward, before picking up the pace. You hear Wooyoung whisper something to San, before following you close behind. Surprisingly, Wooyoung doesn’t say much as he’s alone with you. Vastly different from the Mav you met not too long ago, his words playful and eyes filled with malignity. He’s calmer, quieter. You don’t bother making up idle conversation either, hands resting against your chest as you make your way through the halls. Again, you wonder a bit why everyone seems to guide you around when you’re perfectly fine making the way yourself.

    “It is because of the lurking danger around corners, lovebug,” Wooyoung says, answering your question. “I could tell by your face that you were wondering, don’t think too deep into it,” he adds.

    “But we’re in the manor, there isn’t a possibility of an intruder,” you say. He nods slowly, not offering another explanation. So that’s it. The only words you exchange when you make it to the door of the office. You turn back to thank Wooyoung for guiding you, but he’s all but gone, leaving you in the empty hallway. You knock one before entering, glancing between the two men as you open the door. They seem to be in deep conversation, eyes stuck on one another’s. Yunho is the first to break the hold, smiling at you lightly and gesturing for you to enter.

    Seonghwa picks up the conversation, not daring to meet your gaze. “We have other options, Yunho. We can’t just up and leave when they’re watching our every move. Right now isn’t a great time, and I’m not sure if in the near future it will be great either. We all must make sacrifices, Yunho. I’m sure our people will understand completely. But picking up pace right now is only a selfish venture.”

    You don’t dare ask what’s going on, the conversation and air between them thick.

    Yunho scoffs. "I have lived for everyone but myself, Seonghwa. My every breath was taken just so that I can live a second more to lead you all. I didn't choose this. I didn't want to lead, I never did. I took it because you weren't strong enough to do it yourself, and you would have led us down a path of misery. So don't stand there and tell me that I'm being selfish when you're the one who put your feelings above everyone else's," Yunho stops ranting, taking a slow breath as he looks away from him. "Just get our leader from the plaza and bring him back. Tell him to be in good shape to meet Chan. We don't need anything or anyone else delaying our plans."

    The two of you stand there in silence as Yunho finishes his speech, sitting quietly down at his desk. He doesn't give Seonghwa a glance, flipping through papers.

    "Is that what you truly think of me?" Seonghwa asks softly, fingers curling around the papers. "You considered me selfish?"

    "I already dismissed you. No need to stand there and argue a mute point with me."

    "No. You can't sit there and expect me to take your words as law. Because I am not selfish, Yunho. I've never been selfish, and you telling me that just makes me feel like you've valued our time as nothing," Seonghwa swallows loudly. "I was never meant to be a leader and you know that. I never had the physical or mental capabilities to do it, especially not after losing the one Mavian I loved."

    Yunho stops shifting his papers, eyes still down.

    "You were right in telling San that he doesn't know what death could do to you. But you don't know either. You don't know how it felt to be crouched over her body, her blood soaking my fingers. To stand there and not have the tools to save her. You don't get it. Seeing her life slowly fade as she stares at you, until there's nothing left. You haven't the slightest clue what that could do to someone. I would have never been able to lead you all to victory because I'm not even capable of saving someone I love. Thinking about it now makes me want to fall into that endless hole again. I am not selfish, Yunho. I am realistic. I never would have been a good enough leader for you all."

    He bows slightly. You can see the way his eyes water, but he holds it in. "I'll see to it that Hongjoong is here by afternoon tomorrow. Have a good night, Yunho. Come with me immediately, Peacemaker," He turns on his heel, his eyes meeting yours for the briefest moment, before exiting the room. You look at Yunho, but he doesn’t give you the slightest glance. You’re not sure what to say to fix anything, so you follow Seonghwa out the door.

    -

    "Tonight?" You say, picking up your pace as you follow Seonghwa. He moves swiftly through the hallway, a seemingly permanent frown on his lips. Whatever happened before he told you the two of you were leaving the manor tonight must have irked him. He barely gave you a glance since you've been navigating through the hallways. He holds the front door open for you, closing it a bit harshly once you exit through. He takes out his keys, making his way around to the driver's side. He presses his finger on the glass, the car starting on its own.

    "Tonight is the only time Hongjoong lingers around the town square. For the rest of the week it's a bit hard to spot him. He's often in places we can't find him. But on nights like this he enjoys liquor in a bar on the opposite side of town," he slides inside the vehicle, gesturing for you to follow.

    You slowly sink into the seat, keeping your arms to yourself as you look around the car. You've never been in one yourself, besides the old bus that dropped you off. It's sleek and modern in design, a steering wheel not seen. It's a bit interesting how Mavians can enjoy luxuries like this, but can't walk above ground. A paradox, really. It’s odd that, although most of his people are living in shambles, the juxtaposition between that and the technology they’re allowed to use. You wonder a bit if it’s to stop them from rebelling, to appease the top Mavians for a moment.

    "I thought none of you speak to him?"

    "He's our defunct leader, whether we like it or not. The humans often ask for his presence in meetings. During those times he's always high on some new substance, or drunk. But this upcoming meeting is important. He has to look at least functional so the humans don't try to take advantage. And the meeting is tomorrow, if you were wondering."

    "If this is so important, why are you bringing me? I know nothing about him–"

    "As with Wooyoung, he likes new things to play with. Seeing a human female in Mavian territory is something strange to encounter, but even more so one that is Fated to more than one of us,” he says, the car lurching forward. It drives slowly into the night, taking back roads instead of the main one Yeosang and Mingi used on your adventure several days ago. “He would like to meet someone of a remarkable occurrence. Hopefully enough to motivate him to clean himself up for one morning. But when we get there, don’t speak to him much. A word here or there is fine, but I want to have you mysterious enough for him to follow what we say.”

    You nod, looking out into the night. Through this path, only the headlights of the car light your way. It’s pitch black. You’ve never been frightened of the night, but the eerie silence from both the car and the lack of conversation makes a wave of fear roll through you. There’s nothing distracting your thoughts from roaming elsewhere.

    Seonghwa has avoided you all this time. Especially being alone with one another. He hasn’t mentioned the Fated mark on purpose. And it’s not like you want to acknowledge it as well, you’re already struggling on your own with San and Yeosang. But feeling the pure disinterest from him makes your heart ache slightly. It’s funny; you’ve been so set on pushing San away, that you didn’t realize how it felt to be on the receiving end. It’s humbling.

    “You don’t have to pretend to not have questions for me,” Seonghwa starts, finally filling the silence. “It only makes our brief presence in each other’s lives more heavy. Say what you have to say.”

    “We don’t have to be anything, Seonghwa,” you say. Your words seem to take him off guard, eyes finally moving to you. “This Fated thing, whatever it is. We don’t have to force ourselves to like each other. An otherworldly presence isn’t going to make me suddenly fall in love with you. And I’m sure you feel the same.”

    “... it is not that I don’t want to feel anything for you, Peacemaker. It is that I cannot, even if I desired it,” he says softly, barely heard over the low hum of the car. “I’ve had my heart torn apart, as you’ve heard from my conversation with Yunho. I don’t want that feeling again. I don’t want to care for someone to that point.”

    You look at him, watch how the thought seems to push him deeper and further away from you. You’ve never wanted to take over his heart. You didn’t even want this in the first place. But you’ve seen the warmth in his gaze once, passing by as he spoke to a caretaker. He’s capable of feeling something other than dread.

    “Can you tell me about her?” You ask. Seonghwa’s head whips to you, questions in your eyes. “Sometimes it’s better to talk about it then hold it in. I’m sure you haven’t had the chance to speak about her in a long time. But you don’t have to, Seonghwa. It’s just a suggestion, that’s all.”

    He’s quiet.

    “Ari was someone that I’ve always seen around Wysteria. She was the complete opposite of me; social and loud. She loved everyone she came across, she shined. It seemed something that would never happen, for me to even have the value of being in her presence. But she was also temperamental and irritated easily. We argued a lot, even with the Fates tying us together. But at the end of long days, we’ve always come back together with ease. She loved my presence, and I loved hers. Where I calmed her she opened me up. We were young lovers, anticipating the future of our lives, anxious to see how we’d journey through each moment with each other.

    “I don’t think I’ll ever meet anyone like Ari again. She’s unique. Loved with ease. Cared without blinking. She would cry, when a creature on our planet died from natural causes. I’ve never seen such grieve strike a person like the way it did her. She crumbled and didn’t sleep right for days. It was hard to pull her out of it, but I tried. Her care was just too much for her to hold inside herself. There was a point where I couldn’t handle it on my own, but by then she’d go back to herself. I knew that it still sat on her shoulders, but she pushed it away. That was one of the things that I admired about her, but hated; she cared, but is it possible to care too much? Because if it was, she was the definition of it. Perhaps that was the moment where I realized that I might lose her soon.

    “The day we lost our planet was the day we were to be joined as one. Ari insisted that she stay behind to help our people board the ships. I told her to come with me, I begged her. But there was nothing I could do. And I don’t often admit it to myself, but I hated that she cared. I hated it so much, that she wasn’t for a moment selfish in her ways. Ari was beautiful and caring, but the care took her life. I held her dying body in my hands, my fingers gripping her with all of my strength. Thinking that there was a possibility that I would be able to push it into her, give her another breath of life. But that wasn’t the case. I watched her eyes gloss over, watched as life kissed her one last time and disappeared.

    He blinks finally, pulling himself out of the anguish. His lips quirk slightly.

    “I miss her to the point where it’s unbearable. I often have nights of wanting to rip out my heart, wishing that I had taken her place. I cared too much. I suffer a kind of loneliness that just doesn’t go away with the thought of having another. That is why I can’t be with you, Peacemaker. And I will never be able to. Not in your lifetime and maybe many after. I apologize if that wasn’t the happy story you were looking for.”

    “You isolate yourself as much as possible to reduce the amount of loss expected,” you say simply. “I know it’s easier to. And I don’t want to influence your feelings because I’m not sure if I’ll ever feel anything for you. But doing that to yourself will only be worse in the end. It’s hard for me to believe in anything, especially knowing how humans are, and how I’ve been treated my whole life. But I do believe in something. It’s going to hurt badly either way. Life is going to tear you apart, break you into pieces that you’ll struggle to put back together. But preventing yourself from creating memories to fall back on in those moments will only destroy you. At least try to give yourself something when times get tough. Make and cherish those moments, and don’t push them away.”

    You look at him, “And I saw the happy in your story Seonghwa, even if you couldn’t see it. The way you speak of her. You love her, and always will. And I’m sure she knew that too when she sacrificed her life to save others. The love was there, Seonghwa. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t change anything, there were just too many things that prevented it from blossoming the way you wanted it to. But it still matters. The love was there, and the love still is.”

    -

    No other words were said after that. The car parked on the side and Seonghwa got out, following him close behind. He slowed down his pace compared to before though, allowing you to walk by his side. You’re a bit glad for the change, there’s the question if you’ve offended him by offering some words. But from the slight change, you’ve assumed otherwise. He still doesn’t say much to you, only words like stay close to me or don’t look too deep into that Mavian’s eyes. You’re covered in a cloak, hiding you from wandering gazes. Some give you a few questioning gazes, but not enough to realize that you’re a female and a human. You wonder if at this time of night, there are Mavian that aren’t as friendly to humans. Or if because of them killing the Mavian that struck you, they’re more wary of your presence. It’s not a stretch, only making you move slightly close to Seonghwa as he makes his way through the streets.

    “He often rests between the side street of the brothel and bar,” Seonghwa says, slowing down his pace. “It’s where no one judges him, the Mavs too drunk to pay any mind to their withering leader. Never former, since everyone considers him to still be an influential part of our society. Yunho has helped his reputation a bit, telling our people that he’s still active in our leadership.”

    “And they believe that?” You ask.

    Seonghwa’s lips crack into a light smile, “It’s better to believe something that isn’t true than to face it head on. No one wants to think of our leader as someone incompetent. He will always be renowned as the man who saved the Mav race from dying on Wysteria. Ah, there he is.” Seonghwa gestures to a few steps on the side of the building. You see a Mavian leaning against the stones, barely conscious.

    Seonghwa doesn’t bother to say anything else to you, making his way over to the Mavian. He kicks his leg once, not too hard. Just enough to wake him. The Mavian groans, eyes lifting.

    “You’ve come to me,” his head rests against the cement staircase, blue eyes narrowing as they meet Seonghwa. “I told you to stay away.” His clothing is unlike any you’ve seen in the large Mav colony. Even the Mavian that roam the streets don’t seem as unkempt as him. His clothing is filled with holes, most of his torso flashing back at you in the darkness. His face is covered in scruff from lack of shaving. Hair tousled messily on his head, circle glasses resting on top of his head, filled with cracks. He would fit into your neighborhood with ease, except the large Mavian tattoos crowding his neck.

    “If I had another choice I wouldn’t even speak to you again Hongjoong,” he says back, scoffing. Hongjoong, you’ve finally learned the leader’s name. “All you ever do is drink your sorrows away and pity yourself. You’re not fit to be the leader anymore, even if you were excellent before.”

    “Ah,” he snorts, his stringy, blue hair blocking most of his face. It doesn’t look like it’s been trimmed in a while. “Was that a compliment between the insults?”

    “Just get sober for an hour and then we can talk,” Seonghwa tosses him a towel. The old leader doesn’t even try to catch it, the fabric hitting his face. You’d laugh at the silliness of the moment, if the situation wasn’t serious. “At least make yourself look presentable. We’re meeting with the human leaders. They need to see that you’re still alive.”

    “Haven’t they figured out that I have no authority anymore, Hwa?” He murmurs, sliding the towel down his face. It stains the makeup that lines his cheeks, blue streaks against his face. His gaze finally moves to you, eyebrows furrowing. “A human woman? What’s she doing with you? They aren’t allowed in our colonies.”

    “You’ll get the answers to your questions when you clean yourself up,” Seonghwa grumbles. “So will you join us tomorrow morning or not? Hey!” Seonghwa reaches down, gripping his collar and shaking Hongjoong. You gasp slightly at the sight, moving back. You can see the frustration in Seonghwa’s gaze. But after spending a few silent moments with him, you can see between the anger. He cares, even if he doesn’t want to show it. “Pay attention to me, idiot! Are you coming or not?”

    Hongjoong pushes his hand off lazily, “Alright, I’m going, I’m going. You shouldn’t be grabbing your leader like that, you know,” he jokes. That only seems to anger Seonghwa more. But he lets go of him roughly, kicking the can of liquor that Hongjoong reaches for. Hongjoong whines, but he ignores it. Watches as Hongjoong quickly picks up the spilling can.

    “You’re a disappointment to me, Joong. You will always be a disappointment to me. But unfortunately, I don’t trust you enough to come on your own. Mingi is here to help you come back.”

    You turn around, watching as Mingi appears from the dark. He smiles at you, eyes moving around yours to flick to the fallen leader. “How you doing, old capt’?” He says. There’s a hint of worry in his gaze as he watches Hongjoong swing back another can of beer, sighing lightly. “No more alcohol tonight, we have a big day tomorrow. Need you sober for it.”

    “Agh, you wound me Mingi,” Hongjoong says, clenching his chest in mock agony. “I can function without it. Just one more drink for the night?”

    Mingi frowns. “One.”

    Seonghwa tugs on your arm, pulling you away from the scene. You look up at his face as he guides you through the streets, tugging your hood a bit roughly over your face. You don’t say anything to him, letting him hold you tight as he pulls you back to the car. There’s nothing you can say; you didn’t expect the former Mavian leader meeting to be so somber, but Seonghwa warned you. He wasn’t as he once was. There was an aura of defeat around him, failure reeking from his body as he sat on the steps. It reminded you of nights when you were younger, caring for your fallen mother or father as they came back from long days of working. Until they’ve drunk themselves down to the point where they couldn’t stand.

    “Papa, come on,” you uttered, tugging on his heavy body. You couldn’t have been more than eight years old at the time, watching as your father drank himself asleep. You hid it away from Jongho’s gaze, knowing it would hurt him to see his parents so down. You pulled and pulled, desperate for him to get off the streets and into your shack.

    “You’re… take… of us. Forever,” your father said through quick murmurs. It was too low and indistinguishable for you to understand. But it happened every night. He’d profess that he’d do better, that you will be okay. That he’d take on more jobs and time to get you out of the slums. But it was to no avail. You’ve grown to realize that your parents let luxuries stop your family from moving forward, caring too much about material things rather than survival. But there you were, a young girl desperately pulling your father into your home.

    Wondering if there was something wrong with you, to be born into a family like that. To have parents care so little for your well-being. To force you, the oldest sibling, to have the weight of daily survival on your shoulders.

    From that, you can see how Seonghwa felt. Watching the Mavian leader succumb to alcohol. You just hope that this time it isn’t too late. Because unlike your parents, you could see hope from that brief interaction between the both of them. Hongjoong cared for his people, for Seonghwa and Mingi. He just needed a push.

    You two make it back to the car, still saying nothing to one another. Seonghwa slams his door rather harshly again, the sound echoing in the night. You wonder if the Fates knew how similar the both of you are. You’ve experienced the loss of your parents, only shells that rested in the shack back home. Seonghwa experienced the loss of his love, his leader. It was so odd, how similar you were. You haven’t entirely repaired yourself enough to consider being happy, and you’re sure Seonghwa doesn’t even want to start. Is it a joke, matching the two of you together this way? Have the Fates seen how broken the two of you were, and thought it’d be humorous to pair you up?

    How cruel the world could be.

    -

    “He is here, do with him as you will,” Seonghwa walks up the steps, eyes forward as he passes Yunho. “I wish you luck. He was barely awake when I found him on the back steps of the bar.” He disappears into the front door, leaving you alone with Yunho. Said man sighs, watching as Mingi pulls Hongjoong up the path from his car.

    “You’ve done well, Peacemaker,” Yunho says, nodding at you slightly. “You can rest now, no need for one of us to guide you to your quarters. And I apologize for being overly cautious, we can’t be too sure when the military is out there trying to kill you.” He says sympathetically. “Thank you again.”

    “I’ve done nothing but show my face,” you say. “No need to thank me for that.”

    “It was enough to convince Hongjoong to get off his stoop. Seonghwa has been there plenty of times with no luck, so your presence must have intrigued him enough to move. It was the only unique thing after several attempts.”

    “Will seeing Hongjoong changes things?” You ask Yunho.

    He purses his lips. “Maybe. Chan is a very fickle individual. He could be surprised, or he could be expecting it. I hope he is shocked at least a bit. It’ll give us an advantage in the strategic meeting. And unfortunately, he wants to see you,” Yunho looks at you with sympathy. “I’ve told him to make sure he brings with him Jongho’s communication letters, because we have yet to receive one. He agreed, in exchange for seeing you again. I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to tell you.”

    “No, this is good. It gives me something of my brother. I’m worried about him,” you say softly, watching as Hongjoong stumbles over the loose pebbles. Mingi sighs as he looks down at him, picking the former leader up with ease. “Thank you for adding that in, Yunho. Really.” You touch his arm lightly out of instinct, pulling back immediately.

    Yunho blinks quickly, eyebrows furrowing as they meet your gaze. The polite look that he always has is immediately filled with awe, and a bit of fear. His mouth parts as he takes a slight step to you, but you move back quickly. No. It couldn’t be–

    “Peacemaker?” he utters. You move around him, making your way through the front door. “Wait, Lady!”

    “I wish you a good night!” You shout back, moving through the hallways. Caretakers try to stop you, but you ignore all of them, pushing your way through. You hit a solid body as you turn a corner, the both of you falling to the floor. Your head almost hits the mahogany, but his hand stops you, hitting it instead. You try to push off of him, but he grasps your forearms, holding you steadily against him.

    Yeosang looks up at you, confusion in his eyes as he stares at your teary ones. “What’s the matter?”

    “Yunho… I, he…” You can barely speak, lips trembling. He lets go of your forearms, letting you get off of him. You pace back and forth, trying your best to gather your thoughts. He doesn’t give you a chance to, pulling you along and into his room, shutting the door quickly. He gestures for you to sit at his side table, resting on the chair next to it as you make your way there.

    You sit down slowly, letting your head rest in your hands. “He’s one of the Fated, Yeosang,” you finally utter. “I touched his arm out of habit, and I felt it. I felt the same thing I felt with the three of you. He is one of them, Yeosang. And I don’t know what to do about it.”

    A defeated sigh falls from his lips. “It is as I thought.”

    Your head whips up, eyes meeting his. He looks resolute, his gaze tired. “What did you think, Yeosang?”

    “All of it made no sense in the beginning. After Seonghwa, I suspected it but you’ve finally confirmed it with this. y/n…”

    “Don’t say it,” you say, stopping him in his tracks.

    “We need to talk about it.”

    “We don’t. Not now, at least. Not now. We have bigger things to worry about, especially with Hongjoong and Chan tomorrow. I’ve just overreacted, it could have been a sting, maybe. Nothing would come of it, I assure you,” you say to him, although it felt as if you were trying to convince yourself. “I’ll leave like you said, and we wouldn’t have to worry about any of this.”

    “But if he is a Fated–"

    “He isn’t!” You say a bit loudly, eyes narrowing at him. “He can’t be, okay? He can’t be, Yeosang.”

    He raises his hands up in surrender. “Alright. And as you’ve said, it doesn’t matter right now. Nothing does, since you’ll be leaving soon.” His eyes move to the floor. “I wanted to talk to you about something before you told me this news. I know you’d be leaving soon, so I thought it’d be in our best interests if we explored the options.”

    “Options?” you ask.

    You’ve rarely noticed Yeosang’s change of emotions. He’s often silent in the presence of others, but open in private. And right now, there’s a hint of curiosity in his gaze as his eyes stare into yours. He swallows, and you watch as his apple slowly slides at the motion, staring back at you.

    “I wish time had better timing for you and me,” he admits softly. “Then I would have cherished you with every fiber of my being, loved you with every breath.”

    “You told me that it wasn’t ever possible,” you say.

    “And I didn’t lie.”

    “Then what did you want to ask?”

    “Can we pretend for a brief moment, that our love wasn’t an impossibility?” He spreads his legs a bit, as if waiting for you to come in between them, to rest on his thighs. And you, being the fool you are, take it in stride. You slowly stand, pushing away your thoughts of anxiety at the thought of tomorrow. Letting yourself relish in this brief moment. His lines on his forehead relax once you rest yourself on top of his legs, body towards him, your legs resting on either side of his.

    You press your lips lightly against his temple, just above his birthmark. His skin is as soft as his gaze, his eyelids brushing delicately against his cheeks. You pull back, gliding your fingers through his black locks. His gaze moves to you in wonder, eyes scanning your face. Before you can pull back completely, his hand pushes against your back, preventing you from moving back further. His other hand slides up the curve of your body, before resting just underneath the back of your hairline.

    "Don't do that and expect me to just sit here quietly," he murmurs. Without warning, he pulls you into him, a low gasp falling from his lips as your mouth meets his. Instead of the frantic passion you expected, he was slow and deliberate. His tongue sliding against yours with tender care, fingers digging into your neck. Both of you know this will be the last time you’d ever do something like this again. Your hands slip underneath his loose shirt, dragging along the defined muscles that hid beneath the fabric. He lifted his hands from your head, pulling away from you as you lifted the shirt over his head. He barely gave you a chance to admire his chest, pulling your body against him as he stands. You wrapped your legs around his body, your back hitting his sheets softly. He climbed on top of you, fingers shaking as they touched your hips. You let your fingers curl into his, his trembling subsiding.

    “It’s okay to let go, Yeosang,” you whisper against his shoulder. His fingers tighten against yours, his forehead resting on yours. His eyes look into yours. For a moment, you can feel the surreal bond that you two have and pushed aside. Your heart beats against your chest, breaths mingled together as you sit there for a moment.

    “You make it seem so easy,” he murmurs, pulling his fingers out of yours. His hands linger on your hips, slowly pulling them down your legs. They catch the lining of your underwear. He hooks his index fingers on the fabric, gliding it down as well. He rocks his hips against yours, your pants falling to the side of the bed. “Can I touch you?”

    “Yes,” you breathe, his fingers slowly making their way between your legs. He cups you, middle finger disappearing between your folds. He finds your clit with ease, rubbing it lightly. You gasp, hands gripping his shoulders as he rubs slowly. He pulls away before you can reach your peak, moving off the bed and pulling down his pants, dropping them next to yours. Your eyes flick to the tattoo resting on his waist, a flower you can’t name low on his left hip, the stem curving around his thigh, disappearing behind it. You don’t get the chance to observe further, his hand stroking his cock slowly.

    He keeps his dark eyes on yours, fingers rubbing the tip lightly. A soft y/n falls from his lips as his lids flutter, his strokes increasing quickly. He stops himself, moving back on the bed. His fingers enter you quickly, two at once. You moan lightly, the tips curling into you with ease, the wet sounds of your arousal filling the silence. His thumb rubs your clit quickly, his eyes still on yours, biting his lip as he watches you come undone on his hand.

    “Yeosang--” you muster through gasps, gripping his wrist. “I’m gonna…”

    “Look at me, y/n,” he says your name with the utmost warmth, thumb moving quicker as you tighten against his fingers, moaning as you shudder, coming against his hand. He slows down his pace, stopping when you whine softly. He lifts his fingers to his tongue, sucking on them as he meets your gaze. “Can’t wait to be inside you,” he grins.

    He moves above you, lining his cock with you. You see the scars lining his chest, matching the rope scars on his wrists. You look at them, suddenly aware of how you look right now in his eyes. But his gaze is only filled with wonder as he looks down at you. He presses his lips against yours, lifting your shirt up with ease. His eyes flick across your torso, lightly pecking each scar he sees. You feel tears welling in your eyes as he touches them with the utmost care, his fingers tracing them lightly.

    “You’re beautiful, y/n,” he murmurs, rubbing his cock against your folds. You tremble each time it rubs against your clit, the anticipation making your heartbeat feel as if it’ll escape your ribcage. “Let me see how pretty you can be.”

    He pushes into you, your moans matching as he moves in slowly. His lips suck lightly on your neck as his cock stretches your walls. Your hands wrapped around his neck, lips pecking his shoulder as he moved into you with ease.

    You wonder if you ever knew desire before this, his fingers tight against your hips as he rocked into you slowly. Cherishing every moment your hips met one another’s, your skins touching like a soft kiss. Flimsy promises to one another that wouldn’t be met. His soft gasps each time you squeezed his cock, rewarded with a quick stroke. The greatest moment of intimacy wasn’t the way he felt in you. It was the way he touched you delicately, with as much care as he could muster, with what you could see in his eyes as love and affection. As his fingers wiped the tears falling from your eyes, swallowing the moans with the deep stroke of his tongue, the soft whimpers of his love as he pushed deeper and deeper into you.

    His shuddering hips quickened, strokes harder and quicker than before. You moaned, your legs trembling as you came on his cock, and a few quick strokes later, he came inside you, filling you with his warmth. He kept his cock in you as he rolled to the side, pulling you against his chest. He wraps his arms around you, pressing you as close as possible. In ordinary circumstances, you’d push away and insist that you’d shower. But you don’t want to move, don’t want to think about what happens after this.

    “Thank you,” Yeosang says against your skin. “Thank you for making me feel like it’s okay to love you for one night.”

    -

    The morning comes quickly, a quiet walk to your room and quick shower in the morning erasing what happened last night. Yeosang watched you leave, not uttering a word as your eyes met when you left him alone on the bed. You didn’t move all night surprisingly, his cum dried and gross inside of you. You wash it away quickly that morning, tugging on your military regalia that you arrived in to meet the others in Yunho’s office. Mingi is there to escort you this morning, resting outside your door, his fingers resting against his gun as he watches you exit the room. His eyebrows furrow once they meet yours, and you worry that Yunho must have said something to him last night.

    “Did you sleep in Yeosang’s room last night?” he asked. “I noticed you running from it earlier this morning.”

    “Ah, I didn’t think anyone saw,” you admit. He chuckles dryly.

    “I’m his neighbor, it’s a bit hard not to,” Mingi says, holding out his arm for you to hold. You pretend to not see, clearing your throat quickly. He drops his arm, confusion still in his gaze. He doesn’t get the chance to question you as you make your way forward, following next to you through the hallways. “Chan isn’t here yet, there’s no need to rush.”

    “He’s not?”

    “Nope,” he makes a popping sound with the ‘p’, “We’re going to the dining hall first so,” he blocks the right path to Yunho’s office, gesturing for you to turn right. “I’d be scolded if you didn’t eat anything this morning.”

    You roll your eyes, but follow his path. Mingi is always talkative, speaking about how he wrangled Hongjoong into bed, having to clean him up in the morning when he took a shower. You can imagine it, Mingi slipping in the wet floors of the bathroom as Hongjoong took his time washing.

    “He’s in the dining room right now,” Mingi says. You stop walking, his eyebrows furrowing. “What’s wrong?”

    “I’d rather not be in the same room as him, no offense Mingi,” you say. “He reminds me too much of my parents.” You thought that his presence wouldn’t bother you, but the thought of having to pretend that you were fine as he sat across from you is something you don’t like. And you don’t blame Mingi; he doesn’t know your past with your parents. None of them do. But that glimpse of Hongjoong sitting on the ground, desperate for another drink, only made you want to crawl into yourself. Throwing you back into memories you thought you were over. “I’m sorry if this inconveniences you.”

    “Ah, no it’s fine,” Mingi says quickly, waving you off. You thank him for understanding without prying further. “Wait here, I’ll kick him out so you can eat.”

    He completely understood, just the wrong way. “No, he can stay I can just skip–”

    “No need to skip breakfast when I’m already finished,” you turn, seeing Hongjoong stand there. He wears a suit, except the tie and vest are gone. He pushes his wet hair away from his face, eyes flicking between yours. “You can take your time, peacemaker,” a teasing smile coats his lips. If you didn’t see him hunched over last night, you wouldn’t have suspected anything off. He scratches the back of his neck, gesturing you forward. “We’ll talk about your strange appearance in Mavian territory soon enough. Seonghwa would be furious that I’d question you without him around. A bit of his controlling side, I think.”

    “Don’t speak of him that way,” Mingi says, frowning. “Yunho is waiting for you in his office. We’ll be there when Chan comes.” He shrugs, turning on his heels and walking off. You let out a breath, rubbing your face. Mingi smiles at you understandingly, “I’m sorry about him. If I knew, I wouldn’t have gone to the dining room. I’m sorry.”

    “You don’t have to apologize to me Mingi, it’s okay,” you say, entering the room. Plates of fruits and other things are sitting on the table as you rest in one of the chairs, taking a plate. Mingi sits next to you, grabbing a few fruits and munching on them silently. “So, you’re letting Hongjoong walk around the manor without someone following him around.”

    He nods, “Hongjoong many be an incompetent leader, but he knows his boundaries. Yunho has taken charge of this manor and he will always be a guest. But they both come to an agreement. Hongjoong with appear when he needs to appease the humans, but Yunho will be in charge of everything else. It brings harmony; Hongjoong doesn’t have to make official decisions and Yunho doesn’t have to declare himself as the true leader to Mav. It benefits both of them in the end.”

    “But why doesn’t Yunho take his place officially?” You ask.

    Mingi eats a strawberry, hesitating. “It’s complicated. Our people aren't yet ready to see a change in leadership. Sure, they've accepted Yunho's position. But a lot haven't given up on Hongjoong, even if he's given up on himself. But I’m not supposed to say anything to you about Hongjoong and his past. Not up to me to divulge any juicy information.”

    “Thanks anyway, that was enough,” you take a bite of dry toast, glancing out the window. You’ve gotten a bit used to the night, although you did crave the sun sometimes. The warmth of it, the bright lights. You did notice that your time spent out of it made you paler, your eyebags deeper against your skin. But you were healthier than you were before, three meals a day and snacks if necessary. They made sure that you ate too, encouraging you despite your lack of an appetite. A part of you thinks it’s because of Jongho, his health state unknown, that makes you feel guilty for indulging in what they give you. You just hope that this morning, Chan has the letters from your brother. So that you’d have the slightest inkling if he was doing well on his own.

    Mingi glances at the clock, wiping his fingers with a napkin and clearing his throat. You like being in his presence, he did fill the silence when need be, and remained silent when he deemed it necessary. Mingi has been a comforting presence since you’ve arrived, the anger from the first meeting disappearing quickly. He reminded you a bit of your brother; headstrong and humorous, helping whenever you were down. If you stayed longer than you planned, you would consider him a friend.

    “Chan should be arriving soon. We should get going. If you want you can grab some extra things to dine on as we walk,” he gestures to the table, but you shake your head, cleaning off your fingers with the hand wipes and standing up. You both leave, quickly bowing to the caretakers that come in and clean up after you.

    Mingi doesn’t fill the silence this time, sticking close to you as you walk up the steps to Yunho’s office. He’s covered from head to toe in a thick leather, gloves as well. Before you make it to Yunho’s door, he stops, tugging on your sleeve lightly.

    “I have to warn you,” Mingi says softly, eyes flicking to the closed doors. “Yunho has been a bit off since last night. He hasn’t said a word to me, which is odd since he often vents his frustrations with me. But you might notice how he isn’t as cheerful as he usually is. Whatever happened at night must have bothered him enough into this early in the morning,” Mingi sighs. “I’m sure he hasn’t slept either, with the ruckus that Hongjoong brings. Just, don’t take his harsh words to heart, alright? He doesn’t mean any of it.”

    You’re reminded of last night, how you ran away and into the arm’s of Yeosang. How Yunho looked at you. It was unlike the others, there was no fear in his gaze. Shock maybe, but he wasn’t afraid. After last night’s events you completely let it slip your mind. And now here you are, steps away from his fury at what happened. Mingi tugs you forward, his gloved hand encasing yours. You look at his in shock, and he gives you a quick smile.

    “You’ll be okay,” he says simply, guiding you forward. He gives your hand a quick squeeze before opening the door, letting your hands part. The door creaks slightly as it opens. You see Yunho writing something, Seonghwa on the opposite side of the room reading a novel. Yeosang stands next to his desk, Wooyoung resting on the window seat, his leg swinging. San’s eyes meet yours, a smile on his lips. But your gaze is focused on Yunho’s. He glances up, eyes flicking between you and Mingi. It settles on yours for a moment, before clearing his throat.

    “Chan is arriving soon. The peacemaker can sit next to Wooyoung, while the rest of us keep an eye on Chan. Ah, Hongjoong,” his eyes move to the side of you. You turn, seeing Hongjoong sit leisurely in the cushions. He rubs his forehead, blinking slowly. “At least make yourself look awake and ready. I can’t have you sleeping on the job.”

    “Aye aye capt’,” Hongjoong chuckles, leaning up slowly. You make your way around the others, Wooyoung dropping his legs so you can sit next to him. He’s dressed casually like he always is, except his neckline isn’t all the way down to his button. You can tell he just threw his outfit together, tie loose on his neck. He leans in close to you, cupping his mouth as he moves to your ear.

    “Didn’t know Yeo could make those kind of sounds,” He murmurs, your head turning to him quick. He wiggles his brows, nudging you slightly. “Next time ask me to join in on the fun, yea?”

    “Alright, he’s here,” Yunho stands up quick. Hongjoong slowly stands, stretching out his arms as the office door opens, with Mingi’s assistance. You straighten up, preparing yourself to greet the man you hate to see. Chan slides into the room with ease, unaccompanied by guards. He shakes Yunho’s hand firmly, his loud voice echoing around the room to greet everyone. Yunho nods at him, frowning slightly when he looks behind Chan.

    “I thought you said it’d only be you,” Yunho says. “We didn’t prepare for additional guests.”

    “I thought that my peacemaker would enjoy this guest,” Chan’s lips rest in a teasing grin, moving out the way for you to see. “Consider him as a token of my appreciation for keeping her relatively out of harm’s way.”

    Your eyes move to the man that walks from behind him. His clothing is clean, the same uniform you wore when you first entered the underground. His wide eyes look around the room, taking in the unfamiliar faces. His expression is tense, until it lands on you. His furrowed brows relax, a smile forming on his lips. You waste no time, pushing past everyone in the room and into his arms. He relaxes in your hold, your body shaking with relief as you take him in. Your fingers dig into his brown hair, pulling him as deep into your hold as you can.

    “I’m so happy you’re okay,” you tell him softly, pulling away slightly to look at him. He’s grown taller since you’ve last seen him, you look slightly up at him. You hold your face in his hands, eyes flicking between his. He doesn’t look hurt at all, face free of any cuts or bruises. The sunken, hollow cheeks that you were used to holding were vibrate, skin clear of dirt and grime. “You look good, Jongho.”

    “I’m happy you’re okay, y– Ladybug,” he almost slips up with your name, glancing at Chan. “He told me about your leg,” he glances down at said leg, frowning. “Why the hell are people trying to kill you? Did you really piss someone else off? You told me you’d try to stay safe.”

    “And I am, Jongho. But we’ll talk about that later. Why didn’t you answer any of my letters?”

    This time confusion covers his expression. “Letters?”

    “Ah, we’ll wrap up this for now, yea?” Chan says, stepping closer to the two of you. You back up, moving your body in front of Jongho’s slightly. It’s an instinct of yours, one that doesn’t go away anymore. Chan cocks his head to the side at your protective stance, nodding slowly. “We should be speaking about strategy. Reunions can be saved for after you come with me. Our engagement has been delayed long enough, hasn’t it?”

    You say nothing, not moving from Jongho’s side. Hongjoong clears his throat, clapping his hands to interrupt the awkward atmosphere. Yunho’s gaze moves to his, expression speaking to him without uttering a word. But he ignores it, tucking his hands in his long coat pockets, looking at Chan. “So you’re the commander. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” he holds out his hand, “I’m Captain Hongjoong of the last Wysteria ship. The one that your people decided to destroy and take for parts, that is.” He holds a smile on his lips, but you can see the irritation between his words.

    Chan takes his hand, shaking once before letting go. “I never thought I’d ever see you around, Captain. Frankly, I’ve heard a lot of negative things about you. Addicted to alcohol, never leaving that shabby Mav bar. Ignoring the pleas of your people to help them with their issues. A disappointment. Just a few of the complaints.”

    Hongjoong doesn’t seem phased by his words, shrugging. “I’ve been called many things. A drunk is seemingly minor in comparison to everything else.” He stretches out his neck. “Nevertheless, I could care less frankly, about your human problems. We have bigger issues to handle, yes?” he glances at Yunho. “Yunho has told me that you’ve threatened to terminate our colony because there is no clear leader in sight, and the one that humans acknowledge has yet to appear. So, here I am,” he gestures to himself, spinning slowly on his heels. Yunho doesn’t bother hiding his dismay of Hongjoong’s gestures. It would poke anyone in charge, the lack of respect and dignity. You’ve known Chan for a while, and he hates to be made a fool.

    You look at Chan, his jaw clenched as he watches Hongjoong spin. You tug Jongho closer to you as he’s distracted with the leader’s antics, pulling him into the corner with Wooyoung. Said Mavian watches the both of you, nodding at you lightly as you look at him. You don’t have to say the words and you thank him for that, Wooyoung motioning to Mingi to stand on the opposite side of Jongho.

    Now that you have your brother, nothing is tying you to the surface. To Chan. Not even your parents, who you’re a bit curious about. But that’s a later worry. Now, you stand there as Hongjoong, Yunho, and Chan speak.

    “We just needed confirmation that you’re alive and well. I can see that you’re alive. But well,” Chan laughs. “You’re but a fool. I’ll have to discuss this with my superiors to see how we should handle this situation. As I can see from your words and actions, you don’t take your role seriously.”

    Hongjoong’s carefree smile slips away insanity, his expression hardened. “You’re only a henchman in the scheme of things. I have no need of trying to convince you how good of a leader I am. And neither does Yunho. Are you afraid that because I don’t kiss your ass, you can hold anything against us? We aren’t afraid of humans, Commander. The opposite, in fact.” He chuckles dryly, rocking on his heels. “You’ve forced a population of caring Mav underground, beneath millions of humans that reside just above. Did you expect us to just follow every rule that you’ve laid out? To wallow in our sorrows for centuries until the last of us breathe our dying breath on this wasteland you call Mavian territory? Are you that naïve? That dim?”

    “Hongjoong, please mind your words,” Yunho says quickly, eyes flicking to Chan. “I apologize for his insults. He wasn't ill-minded, just worried for the survival of our people. That is all.”

    “He isn’t sorry for his words, Yunho. No need to apologize for him,” Chan moves forward, their eyes leveling with one another’s. “Is that a threat, Captain?”

    “Not a threat, Commander. A promise. We don’t take kindly to you attacking one of ours, you see. We promised peace, unless there is a breach of trust,” Hongjoong’s eyes flick to yours. “Yes, I’ve been in the dark on several important events recently. But I am anything but a fool. I just have a question for you. Why would you raise an arrow to a woman that you’re engaged to?” He raises a brow.

    Chan raises his brows, eyes in shock. “Why would I do such a thing?”

    “Don’t feign innocence, Chan,” San says. “We caught the Mavian who attempted to kill our Peacemaker. One thing we Mavian do is tell secrets. We know that you hired a small group to come and attack the manor. Unfortunately, you underestimated our abilities. So you’ve either made a mistake, or you want us to find the arrow that has your last name carved into its stem.” San holds up the arrow that injured Seonghwa and yourself, balancing it between your fingers.

    Jongho hasn’t said much since he was silenced, but you can hear a low breath fall from his lips. You clench your fists, holding in your anger. San looks back at you, nodding slightly. You know that your Fates can feel how you feel. It’s an invasion of privacy at times but right now, it calms you a bit. Knowing that at least four Mavian in the room could tell how all of this is putting you on edge.

    “I don’t have time to be put on trial by any of you. If any of your fingers touch my skin in the slightest, the military will swarm this manor and kill every Mavian inside. And I’m sure you care more about your people than a silly human that I’ve planted to spy on you all for me,” his gaze moves to you. “It’s time to go, peacemaker. You’ve spent plenty of time down here, entertaining these creatures. You’ll be much safer where your kind are.”

    You don’t move, even as Chan takes a step to you.

    “I told you Chan. I would only go with you if I wanted. But I don’t want to, okay? You gave me that choice.”

    Seonghwa has somehow made it across the room, his hand resting on his cloaked knife strapped to his thigh. Chan scoffs, eyes moving between you and him. “Have you threatened her? Touched her and put one of your silly spells on her so that she trusts you?”

    "We wouldn't lay a hand on her if she didn't desire it," Seonghwa says, eyes narrowing. "What other lies have you been telling? She does not want you, Commander. She has chosen to stay here with us."

    "With Mavian? You disgusting parasites seem to only burden us. Why would she want to stay here?" Chan notices the way you move closer to Seonghwa, your hand wrapped around his sleeve. As if you're stopping him from moving further. "Oh? Have you already sullied her? Were you so in need of a female mate that you fucked the first one you saw?"

    A low rumble from the opposite side of the room makes you turn. San’s eyes are narrowed into slits as he stares at Chan. “Speak of her with respect, Commander.”

    “Respect? Respect?” He laughs dryly. “She’s barely out of the slums. Only takes showers when she can, feeds on scraps left from the brothels she worked at. Why would a commander like myself even give her the least bit of respect?”

    “As San has said, watch your words commander,” this time, Yunho speaks up. He’s not one to project his feelings but you can see how his eyes burn amber, his anger barely coming to the surface. “You’ve placed her in our care. She is a part of this manor, and we all treat each other with care and kindness. If she desires to stay behind, then we should accept those wishes.”

    Chan shrugs, hands slowly reaching for his cellphone. He presses the first number on the speed dial, placing it on speaker.

    Yes, commander.

    “Weapons on stand-by. Fire on my command.”

    “Chan, what are you doing?” You say, stepping forward. Seonghwa holds you back, his glare frightening. “Stop this, just stop.”

    “Stop what? I told you before Lady. I get things that I want. If I have to take extreme measures to do so, then I must.”

    “You can’t do all of this over me–!”

    “But I can,” he says simply. “I told you I will have you. And why wouldn’t I kill them? They touched you without your permission, their rebel groups almost killed you. You were barely standing when I got here. I brought Jongho here, thinking that they’d take pity on you, seeing you reunite with your brother. But instead, you surrounded me with your whole main clan. Even bringing the former leader to threaten me into submission. What else could I do but kill them all to prevent their ideals from reaching other Mav? Their deaths would be justified. I wouldn’t be suspected of anything but desperation and a need to help another human. I would be rewarded for stopping another Mavian invasion. Everyone will worship the ground I walk on,” his smile grew wide as he talked, eerie against his face as he stared at you, his eyes wild. “And I will have you at my side.”

    “You’re deranged,” Mingi lets out, eyebrows furrowed. His lips form into a straight line. “You are completely out of your mind.”

    “Am I?” Chan purses his lips. “Why don’t we see how deranged I can get?” He glances down at his phone, “Arm weaponry. Aim on the count of three. Fire when commanded.”

    Affirmative.

    “Stop this Chan!” You cry out. “We can figure this out.”

    “Three,” he starts, a smile still on his lips.

    “Chan!”

    “Two…” he drags it out a bit, reveling in it. “One…”

    “I’ll go with you!” You finally say.

    “Disengage,” Chan says finally, “I’ll call you back if needed.” he ends the call, tucking his phone back into his pocket. He laughs loudly, pushing his hair away from his face. “Now that was easy, wasn’t it?”

    “You can’t go with him,” Seonghwa hisses, staring down at you. Completely disregarding Chan standing on the opposite side of the room. “Are you the one we should be worried about? You must be mad if you think that we’d just give you to him.”

    “You said it was my choice, Hwa,” you let the nickname slip. It doesn’t phase him, his eyes still sharp as they meet yours. “And this is my choice. I’ll go with him. I’m not going to let any of you die just because I want to be here. That’ll be selfish of me, won't it?”

    “Please reconsider,” Mingi says softly from behind you. “We… you’ve become a pivotal part of our lives, Lady. Seeing you in a place you will suffer will only torment us all.”

    “It seems like you need to have a family meeting yes?” Chan interrupts, wiggling his brows at you. Your saddened expression has no effect on him as he sighs, running his fingers through his hair. “I suppose I should be kind enough for you to stay for another night. I’ll be here at dawn to pick you up. Don’t be late,” his carefree gaze disappears. “We wouldn’t want anything happening to your favorite Mavians because of a simple mistake. See you soon.” He leaves, no one following him out. All of their gazes are on you as the door shuts behind Chan. Wooyoung is the only one to watch from the window as Chan gets into his car, leaving the property.

    Surprisingly, Seonghwa doesn’t move from his stare down. You ignore him, rubbing your face. You have one more night here. One more night where things aren’t too bad. At least your brother is fine. Chan kept his promise, Jongho is safe.

    “Why does he want me so badly?” you mumble to yourself.

    “y/n what’s going on!” Jongho says, grabbing your arm. “Chan told me that you two were to be married. I've already moved our things – which wasn't much anyway, into his home. And that all we need is you," he glances at Mingi staring him down.

    "I've never agreed to marrying him, Jongho. I told him I'd think about it. I never told him yes."

    He shakes his head. "But he said they hurt you–"

    You frown, furious. "They've never touched me in a way I didn't want them to. He's been manipulating you to get to me. I–" you close your eyes, trying your best to calm your anger. It's not enough though, the flames seeming to burn through your body, ignite even further. “I want to kill him.”

    “Then we kill him,” Yeosang speaks up, his deep timber still soft. “When he comes for you tomorrow morning, we strike him dead. It is as simple as that.”

    “That’s too big of a risk,” Yunho sighs loudly, glancing at Hongjoong. “Our leader here might have set him off just a bit, but I have a strong feeling that Chan was going to threaten all of us anyway. He must have suspected that you didn’t want to come to him. He has the advantage at this point. He has the weaponry to wipe out our manor with the snap of his fingers. There’s little we can do.”

    “I told you, I’m going with him,” you insist.

    “You’re not going with him,” San says again. “I told you that already. Stop saying that.”

    “What do you expect me to do then San? Sit here on my ass and let you all die because I’m being selfish?”

    “Then be selfish! Be selfish for one moment in your life!” Seonghwa shouts at you. Mingi stands, moving closer to you. He meets his gaze, and Seonghwa only frowns. “I’m not going to hurt her, Mingi.”

    “Lower your tone,” Mingi says simply. Seonghwa swallows harshly, glaring at your for another moment before turning on his heel, stomping out the room. The door swings harshly, Hongjoong moving out the way and narrowly missing the wood. It rattles against the painting sitting on the wall, the glass encasement shattering. You jump, Jongho gripping your hand and pulling you closer to him.

    “He’s just upset, we have to give him time,” Yunho says. “Right now… I don’t think we have a choice. Lady, I’m sorry that you’re being put into this position of having to choose. If it was in our favor, I would have killed him without so much as a thought. But there’s a bigger picture here. You do understand that, right?” There’s something in between his words as he looks at you. You’re not sure if he’ll ever bring up the connection you two have, almost dismissing it when you entered. But you can see it now in his eyes. His gaze deep with melancholy. “Before we leave, I’ll try my best to save you from your fate.”

    “When I leave…” you start, looking down at your brother. No matter how much time has past, you can only see the little kid you took care of since you could talk. The wide, innocent eyes, previously free from the horrors of the real world. They’re hardened now, stained with losing his childhood too soon. Above all, everything you’ve done was to make sure he was safe. “When I leave, protect him. Make sure he’s not targeted or hurt in anyway.”

    He laughs dryly. “I’m not leaving your side, I’m not letting you go through this alone. Fuck no.”

    “Hey,” you nudge him. “You’re old enough to separate from me. It was your birthday a few days ago, wasn’t it? You’re 18. You don’t need me next to you every second, you know.”

    “You’re contradicting yourself. I’m old enough to leave your side but not old enough to make a decision on my own? I’m not a fucking kid, y/n!” His hands tighten into fists, but he takes a breath. “I’ve been away from you for over two months. Two months without a word from you. Nothing. I thought that you might have died, or worse.” He looks down at you, eyebrows twitching. Preventing himself from crumbling in front of you. “But I listened to every word you told me. I read your letter you left under my pillow, and after a month I left our home. I told our parents that I won’t be coming back, but they were too drunk to even care. You know they didn’t even ask what happened to you? Not one word.”

    “You know how they are,” you say softly, and he nods.

    “I do. But if I knew you were going to go out there and sacrifice yourself to a man who doesn’t have enough balls to get someone who actually wants him, instead of forcing himself on a woman he hasn’t seen in years…” He shakes his head. “I’m not leaving your side again, y/n. I didn’t even want you to come down here,” he gestures to the men around you. His expression softens slightly. “But from what I can see, they were taking care of you. I haven’t seen you look this healthy in a long time,” he admits. “You really think it’s a good idea to go to Chan now?”

    “No,” Wooyoung interrupts, “Sorry to break this up, but it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. And ingenious,” his grin widens. “Convince the human that you want him, and then kill him. The perfect crime. Mavians won’t be at fault for it, and you can come back down here once you’ve assassinated him. We are going to leave this planet in the next few days, anyway,” he shrugs.

    “Way to tell her the plan,” Hongjoong frowns. “Isn’t this too much fuss over one human? Why do you all care so much?” He looks in each of your faces, stopping on San. His eyes narrow slightly, glancing between you and him. “Unless…”

    “It’s none of your concern, Hongjoong,” Mingi says sharply. “I agree with Wooyoung. Maybe not so much in the killing part, but there must be a way for you to get away from him. We need to come up with a plan.”

    “When you do, let me know,” you tug on your brother’s hand, pulling him with you. “Right now, I want to bring my brother to the room he’ll be sleeping in while I’m gone.”

    You brush past San, ignoring the shivers that roll through you when your skin touches. Jongho looks at the rest in confusion, the door slamming behind you. You pull him through the hallways, and into your room, shutting the door lightly. Your gaze meets his, relaxing.

    “Are they always that tense?” He asks, and you shake your head.

    “No, they’re not. Just when it comes to important decisions. You’ll like them, Jongho. They’re all kind. Even Wooyoung, just don’t fall for his tricks.” You sit on the edge of your bed. Jongho slowly sits at the small table just across, glancing around the area. It reminds you of when you first got here, your eyes full of awe. His eyes are wider, wonder in his gaze. They finally flick to yours, expression resolute.

    “Will you come back for me?” he asks. There’s so many questions in that one, so many things to say and not to say.

    You look down at the floor, “I don’t know if I’ll be coming back this time, Jongho.” It’s hard to admit. You don’t know what Chan’s plans are when you arrive, if he’s really this obsessed with being with you, or if there’s an underlying plan. You don’t know what happens when you leave this manor behind, or if you’ll ever see any of them again. There’s a lot you’ll be abandoning. Perhaps listening to Yeosang’s advice in the beginning could have made all of this less hard than it is. “I don’t know.” you repeat softly.

    “Will you try?” he asks. “I don’t want to be in a safe place when you’re not, y/n. You’re my sister, you’re…” he struggles. “You’re my only family. You are what our parents weren’t. I know it’s not what you asked for, and I’m sorry for being a burden on you. And you’re never selfish in your wants so I don’t want to ask you this. But I want you with me. I want you to be safe with me. We’re supposed to be together until the end,” he says simply. You walk over without hesitation, wrapping your arms around his head and pressing it into your torso. He holds you tight, fingers digging into your shirt. “Promise me that you’ll at least try for me.”

    “I’m going to try my best to come back to you,” you promise, voice cracking. “Fucking hell, Jongho. Why were we giving the short end of the stick?”

    He laughs, this time genuine. “You must have tripped someone by accident and they put a curse on you. Everything that has the potential to go wrong does,” he pulls away slightly, pursuing his lips. “But what’s with you and the Mavians here?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I mean,” he lets go completely, glancing at the door. “You already have the commander obsessed with you. Why are most of them a little into you?” He raises his brow. “Did you flirt with them so they won’t hurt you?”

    “Jongho!”

    “The dirty tango?”

    You hit him lightly and he laughs, pushing you back. “What! I’m your brother, of course I’d notice these things.”

    “What happened to them?” you asked after the laughter subsided. He sighs softly.

    “They got themselves in deep shit. Debt that I couldn’t possibly pull them out of. I left them behind y/n. I know that it wasn’t the best decision to make, but I wouldn’t have been able to help all by myself. We tried all our lives and have barely been making a dent in their loans. I couldn’t handle it after dad came after me and begged for something. I just…” he frowns. “That was when I listened to your advice and left. I’m sorry I couldn’t protect them like you did. I tried, I really did.”

    “I know,” you ruffle his hair, “There’s nothing you could’ve done. I would’ve probably done the same thing like you. We’ve been protecting them all our lives, Jongho. I know we appreciated what they tried to do, but it didn’t work. They needed to learn how to take care of themselves. We have lives to live. They already had their chance. It’s okay to feel bad, but don’t let yourself get lost in it. You have me. And I’m going to fight to get back to you.”

    He smiles softly. “That’s all I wanted.”

    You let Mingi show Jongho around the manor shortly after that, said Mavian telling you that Yunho wants to see you alone. You’ve been agonizing over the thought of being alone with him. You know nothing about Yunho; he only shows you what he wants to. The others must have scattered soon after you left though, not one trace of any of them in the hallways. You’re a bit glad about that, at least. You already have other things to deal with than somehow stumbling into another one of them.

    You knock on his office door, entering. He sits at his desk, a quick glance at you letting you know it was okay to go inside. You close the door behind you, sitting at one of two chairs in front of his desk. He tsks at documents in front of him, not saying anything to you. Almost fifteen minutes go past like this, not one word uttered from either of you. Finally, you decide to break the tension, speaking.

    “Haven’t you been a bit harsh on him?” You ask, Yunho hesitating in his writing. “Hongjoong, I mean. I know that you have a history I have yet to find out–”

    “I’m glad that you know. That should stop you from saying what you’re going to add next, then,” Yunho interrupts you, continuing to sign his signature on paperwork. You go silent, only the sound of him flipping through paper after paper, stack after stack. He glances at you for a quick second. “Is that all?”

    “Why? Should I say anything else? Because it seems like every time someone tries to speak to you, you dismiss their concerns and input your opinion before hearing everything else.”

    His lip quirks slightly. “Is that what you believe?”

    “It’s what I’ve witnessed, Jeong Yunho.”

    He finally stops writing, and meets your gaze. He’s always been cheerful in his appearance, his real emotions hidden from you. Even now, as he stares at you. “Then tell me y/n, this miraculous conclusion that you’ve come up with, seeing me interact with the other’s for less than two months.”

    “That you’re an amazing leader, with talents that supersede any other people I’ve come across. But you’re insensitive, arrogant, and an asshole,” you say. He scoffs, about to speak but you continue. “And you consistently interrupt every single person that speaks to you. You place your unwanted and frankly, offensive, opinions on us and expect us to just fall in line because you’re the leader of this clan. Sure, you listen once every blue moon. But most of the time you don’t. Even right now, you brought me into this office of yours because you wanted to see me and you haven’t said anything to me! I don’t understand you.”

    “I was going to speak to you after finishing my paperwork,” he says. If you could reach over and shake sense into him, you would.

    “Then maybe call me to your office when you’re not busy ignoring me?” you suggest, scoffing. “The Fates definitely like to play games.”

    “The Fates are never wrong,” Yunho says strongly. “It’s not something we can choose, y/n. And they don’t make decisions just to stir up drama. You’re Fated to several of us for a reason. You’re an important person in our lives, whether you like it or not.”

    “There you go again!” You say, throwing your hands up in the air. “How about some compassion, Yunho? Of course I don’t want this, especially with someone like you, or Yeosang, or--”

    “Yeosang?”

    You stop moving. Shit.

    He stands, coming around the desk. “Yeosang is one of your Fates? When did you think to mention this? Were you ever going to?”

    You roll your eyes, “No. I wasn’t. Yeosang can do whatever he wants. Like he’s said before, I’m leaving soon anyway. There was no need to tell any of you because it is none of your business. Why did you bring me into this office, Yunho?” You try to push away the revelation that you suddenly sprouted onto him. He rubs his chin, leaning against his desk.

    “I thought that if you were in my presence, I would feel something that tied us together. And I am correct, I do,” he looks at you. “I can feel your frustration toward me. You might not be able to feel much since you’re a human, but I can feel your emotions. I thought that I was angry at Chan, furious even when he was here, but it was a combination of your emotion and mine. All of this is odd,” he says softly. “But that has to be put on the back burner. Do you really believe that I have a lack of empathy?” his eyes meet yours. The flower tattoo; a small reminder of his position in the clan. Before knowing him you were afraid of his presence, but staying here for so long, getting comfortable, allows you to speak your mind freely.

    “I think you have empathy, but you don’t know how to show it,” you say. “You have compassion, Yunho. I can see it in you. But you don’t listen to our feelings when we speak to you directly. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve seen you acknowledge what’s being said to you. When you spoke with Seonghwa, you ignored what he was telling you. He was basically laying it out for you, but you pushed him away. Like you do with me. Like San, like everyone you come across.”

    “I understand,” he says softly. You see a slight break in his expression. “I don’t trust Hongjoong for several reasons, y/n. But I have distrusted him so long I don’t pay attention to the small improvements. Although his wording was harsh to Chan, I could see how it helped. Chan knows what we’re capable of, and that makes him afraid. Taking away you, someone we care about, may be a big part of him trying to break us apart. The meeting didn’t go exactly as I planned, but I am grateful for what I witnessed.”

    He moves off the desk, a small smile on his lips. “It’s hard for someone in my position to tell my true feelings. At the forefront of my thoughts is the survival of our people. I haven’t taken time to cultivate personal relationships with everyone because I am too busy leading them. I may not be the Mav that you dreamed of being Fated to, not that you dreamed of it at all, but I do understand your concerns and try to improve. Being stoic towards our people will only push them further away from me. I am…” he hesitates. “I just didn’t want to turn into Hongjoong. I didn’t want the grief of losing 90% of our population to weigh on me like it has him. But going about it this way will not change anything.”

    “Thank you for saying that. It’s not often people admit when they aren’t in the right.”

    He smiles at you, “You’re definitely correct about that, peacemaker.”

    “No need to call me that anymore,” you wave him off. “You’ve heard my name. My brother let it slip without thinking twice about it.”

    “That he did,” he agrees, “But you still are our first and only peacemaker. Nothing will change that, not even the meddling of a pompous commander who thinks he’s above it all. I didn’t want to say it in front of the others but,” he rubs the back of his neck. “I’ll let you make the decision on whether you want to stay or go. But you know from Seonghwa. If something were to happen to you, we’d all feel it. It will be unbearable and painful, but we will survive it.”

    “I don’t want you to just survive it,” you say. “Surviving isn’t living, not really.”

    “Then that is too high of an order,” he says simply. “I have yet to feel the impact of you, but I will certainly if anything happens to you. Not as terrible as San, but I will feel it. You just have to make sure you make it back okay.” He smiles lightly. “At least in one stable piece. We will be there to help with the rest.”

    -

    You close the door behind you, closing your eyes for a brief moment. This was your decision. You know it’s for the greater good. To protect all of the Mavians and your brother. If kissing the ass of someone like Chan can keep them safe a little longer, at least long enough for them to leave the planet, then you’d do it. But you’ll try your best to get out of it quickly, for your brother’s sake.

    For everyone’s sake.

    Yunho mentioned giving Hongjoong a few letters since you’re passing by his room. You’d rather not, if you’re being honest, but it would be quick. Just in and out, giving him the stack you couldn’t read because it was written in Mavian (although, even in your language you’re barely able to understand it). You notice the absence of caretakers in the hallways; they evacuated everyone once Chan left, leaving only the main figures in the household. The house was quiet before, but you knew there were Mavians behind the scenes that made the house function daily. The quiet now only saddened you.

    You knock on Hongjoong’s door lightly.

    “Come in dear peacemaker,” his pitch was high. You braced yourself for the trauma that might’ve awaited you behind the door, swinging it open quickly. He sat on the bed, shirt lifted up slightly. You expected to see more markings on his skin, but these cover every surface you see, several different shapes meshed together. From far away, it’d look like he had a blackout tattoo. But as you moved closer, you could see the small markings. You’re sure if you stared hard enough, you’d spot familiar flowers.

    “Like what you see?” He wiggles his brows. He chuckles lightly when you glance away. “Just kidding with you. Stare all you want.” He winces slightly, a bandage between his teeth as he cleans off a cut on his stomach. He’s good at hiding it; it looks deep, blood staining the sheets underneath him.

    “Why do you have so many tattoos?” Letting the intrusive thoughts win. “Yunho has the leadership tattoos underneath his eye, but you’re completely covered with them.”

    “It’s my people. Each and every one marks someone in our clan who’s alive and well. That’s why there’s hundreds of markings. Being a clan leader makes me carry the blessing of having every Mavian marking etched into my skin. Although, there is a small curse to it,” he murmurs, slowly pressing the bandage to his skin. “Each time a Mavian dies, I feel the pain of their death. It’s unbearable.”

    “Is that…” You start, gesturing to the wound. He nods solemnly.

    “It is. Hanse was a good one indeed. Gathered information without thinking twice about it, didn’t care about the risks. Unfortunately, he paid the price with his life,” he runs his finger along the cut. “They stabbed him.”

    “How can you function, feeling everything they feel?” you ask.

    He raises his brow at you, “Do you believe I’m functioning?”

    You glance behind him, seeing bottles of liquor lining the window sill. You don’t have anything to say to that. “Yunho isn’t the leader yet, that’s why he’s not covered like you are. But what if you relinquished your role and gave it to him?” You told yourself you would just drop off the papers and leave, but you needed to know more. Maybe something would persuade Chan for a second before you killed him.

    He furrows his brows, “No one has ever stepped down from leading out people. It is an honor. But in the case of me giving my role to him, maybe I’ll die, who knows.” He shrugs. “Better off than me leading our people into ruin again.”

    “I don’t think you’ll lead them to ruin,” you say softly. “No one alive has felt the pain you feel. I can tell you love your people.”

    He grunts, shaking his head. “You don’t even know me, little one. You weren’t there when I arrived on this planet, leading our people to doom. How can you judge someone you’ve barely known for two days, hm?” His lips curve into a light smile. “That’s a bit foolish of you.”

    “If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t have defended them so fiercely when Chan was here. You wouldn’t have come in the first place,” you point out.

    “Ah, if only every human thought like you,” Hongjoong pushes his hair off his forehead, throwing himself back on his bed. “Maybe we would have been able to live in peace and harmony, as they say. A question for you, since you’ve been bombarding me with them.” His head flops to the side, eyes barely seen through his overgrown bangs. “Why are you so kind to me? I am sure Seonghwa must have insulted me each chance he got. Everyone else has, really. But not you,” his playful smile slips slightly. “Why are you kind?”

    "I am kind to you because I know how cruel feels, Captain."

    His lip curves slightly, “I can tell. Those eyes of yours have seen cruelty that no being should bear. It feels as if I’m looking into the reflection of myself. Only a pitiful, human version. I have a bit of advice for you, little one,” he swallows lightly. “Cherish your friendships with my people. Take care of them. Don’t let their harsh words get to you. The looks on their faces when you said you were going to San… It was like I was watching them a hundred years ago. Being told that we have to leave our planet. Their care for you is endless. Do make sure you come back in one piece.”

    He pouts, “Or else I’ll go topside and drag you back myself.” His eyes flick to the paperwork you left on the side table. “Now would you be a darling and pass me that?”

    -

    You wake up in a sweat, your back burning. You try to hold back your screams, your fingers digging into your sheets as you feel a deep knife carving into the skin above your spine. Out of desperation, your hand trembles as it reaches for the side lamp, tipping it over. The crash echoes into the night and you gasp, feeling the blood soaking the blanket you're underneath. The door immediately slams open, a guard coming in unprompted. His eyes move to you immediately, widening once he sees the condition you're in.

    "Peacemaker –"

    "Move!" Several more steps come inside, your vision blurring as you begin to scream. Your body writhes in bed as San tries to hold it still, your tears hot against your skin. You can't say a word, the pain too overwhelming to bear. Your ears throb as he speaks to you. Jongho comes in after him. You don’t have the words to tell them anything, to insist that they not worry.

    “Hey! Hey listen to me Bug, what’s going on?” His voice is terrified, hands shaking as he holds you in his arms. His touch feels scorching, each finger imprinting itself into your skin. You can’t tell him to let go, the pain unbearable to speak through. You turn to another, eyes begging for them to stop him. Your eyesight is flooded with tears, too blurry for you to make out who it is.

    "Release her body!" You hear the familiar voice of Seonghwa, his frame slamming into San's, forcing him to let you go. Seonghwa almost reaches out but hesitates, pulling his hand back. "She was wincing in pain when you were touching her."

    "What's going on?!" San's voice is panicked as he looks at you. "She can't move!"

    "Stop yelling and think this through, San. I already called Wooyoung. He should be here promptly."

    The pain is overwhelming, spreading through your body. You don’t get the chance to reassure them, passing out on the mattress.

    -

    "We should have known this was going to happen. She should have been sent away in the beginning so we didn't have to see her like this," Yeosang's voice whispers, almost low enough so you wouldn't hear. Almost.

    "Not now. After she's okay we'll talk about it. Not now, Yeo," you can hear how his voice pleads, and you want to reach out and comfort him. You hate hearing San's worried voice. Whatever it is, whatever you're going through, you're sure it's an easy fix. As you regain consciousness their voices fade, the heavy weight against your back making you breath heavily.

    "Be careful, you don't want to irritate your skin," San says. You feel his hands on your arms, holding you lightly. You open your eyes slowly. His eyes are swollen from crying, blood red as they stare at you. His smile is strained, dimple barely seen. He's trying his best not to make you worry, but it's no use. You place both of your hands on the mattress, shakily lifting your body up. The burning on your back is still there, just not as severe as before. You try shaking away the feeling, but it remains. A dull ache.

    "Did someone try to kill me again?" You half joke, looking at him. He shakes his head.

    "No. You've been in this bed for a while, want to freshen up? "

    "Are you saying I stink?" You chuckle dryly, wincing. His irises shake, biting his lip. "Don't look at me like that, San. There's no need to pity me.” You think to your brother, the worried look on his face painful. “Where’s Jongho?”

    "Mingi has him, Bug. He’s fine, we just let him walk for a bit to get some air. And it's not pity, it's fear. I worry for you. Too many times are happening all at once, and there's little I can do to stop it. I'm powerless," he confesses. "Utterly powerless."

    "Shut up."

    Shock crosses his face.

    "I'm serious. Shut up," you move your leg, reminded of the arrow wound. You cuss, grinding your teeth together. "Fuck me," your voice shakes.

    "I can try to bathe you here–"

    "No, no. I'm fine." You wave him home. He still helps you stand anyway, taking most of the weight on him as he basically carries you to the bathroom. He kicks the door open with ease, placing you lightly on the toilet. He stands there for a moment, staring at you. "San, I can pee on my own."

    "I know," you notice his gaze flick to the only window in the room. He's worried that someone is going to attack again. Your chest tightens.

    "I'll be fine," you say. "No one is going to kill me in here. I'm sure all of you have secured the manor already."

    "We did, you're right. I'm being silly."

    "No, you're being safe. Thank you San. I'll yell for you if I need anything, really. No hesitation. A real promise."

    He hesitates, then nods. "Okay, l’ll wait outside."

    He shuts the door behind him and you shakily stand, locking it softly. Your eyes flick to you in the mirror. The eyebags are deep, drooping into your cheeks. Your cheekbones look almost hollow, eyes red as you stare at yourself. You turn around, reaching with trembling hands to lift up your shirt. Just above your waist on your back, you can see the start of what looks like plants carved into your back. Your fingers brush against a lower one, hissing slightly. It's a fresh wound. The dull ache is replaced by your sting of pain.

    This is what made you pass out. This carving into your spine. You lift your shirt up further, the flowers resting with only an inch in between them. You swallow slowly, tears falling down your cheeks as the pain slowly comes back. You know where these are from. You've seen a few of them already. At the bottom rests the one that Yeosang has tattooed on the left side of his hip bone. And just above that is San's lotus.

    You're soulmates.

    You drop your shirt back down, lightly touching each flower that's on your spine, counting softly. Seven. Seven flowers.

    Seven soulmates.

    No…

    No.

    You have to leave. Now.

    Your body protests silently as you make your way to the window, unlocking and lifting it up slowly. It barely makes a sound, only a light creak echoing into the late night. You grind your teeth as you climb through, pushing it down slowly. There's only a matter of minutes before San realizes that you're gone. Not only from the silence in the bathroom but your presence being gone. He told you once before that he could feel when you're near. Unfortunately, it isn't the same for you.

    You balance yourself on the roof, slowly making your way to the ladder just at the end. Ignoring the pain on your back, you struggle down. You hear a loud slam from the bathroom you came from, San's frantic yells muffled. He noticed too quickly.

    You pick up your pace, dropping to the ground. An agonizing pain shoots up your back as you hold on your cries, unable to move from all fours on the ground. This is a stupid idea and you know it, but there's nothing you can do. You can't deal with it anymore. Three was pushing it, but seven? One you don't even know the identity of? Too much is happening at once and you can't control it like you used to. So you don't think of this as running away, but as a short break from them. A chance to figure things out on your own. Maybe leave early to deal with Chan. Anything but this.

    Your feet cry out as you speed walk through pebbles, making it only halfway to the front gate when you hear a cough. You stop, slowly turning around to see who it is. Wooyoung stands there, head tilted slightly as he stares at you. The playful look you're used to is nowhere to be found, his eyes dark and expression solemn.

    "Where are you going?" He asks simply, tapping his fingers against his sides. "The manor is locked down. If you touched a fence we'd be alerted. If you took one step outside the grounds we'd know. So where are you running off to, love bug?"

    "Anywhere but here," you say, grinding your teeth as you attempt to hold yourself steady. "Don't try to make me stay."

    He holds his hands up, shaking his head. "I won't. But I'm your caretaker love bug, and you're hurting yourself by exerting more energy than your body can handle right now. You're going to fall unconscious if you continue down this route. Don't you think you've done that enough?" He takes a step toward you and you shake your head, holding your hand out to stop him.

    "No, no! Don't come any closer Woo. Don't."

    "I'm not going to hurt you," His eyebrows furrow, worried. "You trust me not to hurt you right?"

    "I don't want any of this," you say, biting your lower lip to hold in your sobs. "I don't want to do this, Woo. I just want to be normal. I want my brother to be happy and safe. I don't want all of this happening to me. I don't." You're begging him. Hoping he'd understand. Maybe take pity on you and let you run away. But he only moves closer, hands still up in the air. "Stop Wooyoung!"

    "You're scared," he says softly.

    "No–"

    "You're scared of the unknown. Of what will happen if you accept all of this insanity that's going on. You're scared you wouldn't be able to handle it. You're scared that we're going to run away from you. That we don't care enough for you to deal with this shit that just seems to be endless. A never ending cycle of confusion and surprises."

    "Wooyoung," you plead, slowly dropping to your knees. He continues moving closer, now only a foot away. "Help me."

    He smiles sincerely, crouching down. He keeps his distance from you, pushing his hair away from his face. "Why don't we just sit here for a while, hm? We don't have to talk." His hand reaches out, brushing against your cheek. He confirms what you already know, the familiar hum of the bond as he strokes your skin with his thumb. You don’t push him away like he expects, leaning into his touch.

    “I won’t leave you. Just don’t leave us. Not yet.” He rests his body against the grass. He doesn’t ask, not like the others would. He just pulls you into his chest, cradling your body as he covers you with his own. Cheek resting against your hair, hands wrapped tight around you. “Shh… it’ll be okay. You’ll be okay.”

    “I’m sorry,” you say through cries, your sobs making your words break. “I’m sorry for everything.”

    “I know, y/n,” he murmurs. “But I’m here. You don’t have to run anymore. I know it hurts. Just don’t run anymore, okay?” His voice shakes as he speaks, hands shaking as they hold you. “If we can’t figure this out tonight, we have tomorrow, alright?”

    He looks down at you, fingers brushing away your tears. “We always have tomorrow.”

    ⬅️ previous | next ➡️

    tags: @teezers99 @downbadreading (?) @takoyakibinnie @vanishingboots @katelynnsqueendom @baguette-atiny @atinytease @kpopnightingale @bettyschwallocksyee @captainjoongiekissme @renapersa @oficialhwa @k-pop-trash-99 @hongshines​

    #fic: murphy's law #san x reader #hongjoong x reader #yeosang x reader #mingi x reader #wooyoung x reader #seonghwa x reader #yunho x reader #jongho x reader #ateez x reader #ateez angst#ateez smut#ateez fluff #NO MORE TAGS
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  • i-might-be-in-love-with-hao
    26.05.2022 - 16 hours ago

    Breathtaking Pt. I

    pairing: Mafia Leader!Hongjoong x Lawyer! Y/N

    key details needed: Hongjoong was a well-known mafia leader, but there was never enough evidence to convict him. After running into Y/n one night at his bar, he felt the need to get to know her more. But that proved to be not so easy.

    ~

    Hongjoong made his way through your law firm. Many people stared at him along the way, but this he was used to. He didn't acknowledge anyone, not even your secretary who tried to stop him since you were in the middle of a zoom meeting.

    Hongjoong knocked on the door to your office, waited until you glanced up at him, then shut the door behind making his way inside without you giving him permission to do so.

    "You have some nerve coming in here," you said after you ended your meeting.

    Hongjoong only smiled at you.

    "What do you want?" you asked, not bothering to smile back, he was a part of the mafia, everyone knew that, and him being here could put your reputation on the line.

    "You." He answered with a soft smirk. You tensed at his words, but quickly composed yourself.

    "If you aren't here to hand me a case. Please leave."

    He walked forward until he was in front of your desk.

    "Can't I come to see you?" he asked.

    You sighed and stood up and leaned forward on your desk, "Leave."

    Hongjoong leaned forward as well until his lips were beside your ear.

    "Agree to go on a date with me and I will leave."

    You shiver ran down your spine and you backed up.

    "Don't make me call security."

    Hongjoong smirked again, " You are not going to do that we both know that."

    He was right. One, he was the closest to your phone. Two, if you took another step you would crumble to the ground.

    Hongjoong made his way around your desk, his steps were slow and calculated he knew you were not going to step away.

    He stepped in front of you and stared into your eyes.

    "Now how about that date?"

    You stared back. You needed to say no. But some part of you wanted to say yes.

    "One date. You leave me alone afterward."

    "Baby girl, no one has ever asked for just one date."

    "Don't call me that."

    "Okay, dear."

    "Get out."

    "Be ready at 7 o'clock pumpkin," Hongjoong smirked again and walked leaving you to shakily sink down into your chair wondering why the world Kim Hongjoong asks you of all people on a date.

    ~

    Part 2 is out tomorrow.

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