Nightmare

•December 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

“Hold on… why do I feel wind coming through?”

He’d had this nightmare far too many times. He didn’t know what caused it; nothing even similar to it had happened. But here he was again, helpless to watch as V and him had a confrontation in the penthouse. V wanted Rion to leave. Jumin wanted Rion to stay. And yet…

“Huh? …Rion, what are you doing?”

“It’s dangerous if you open the window like that!”

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All Vitals Stabilizing

•November 30, 2016 • Leave a Comment

It was a strange experience, lying in bed with nothing to do.

Rather, he knew that there were things for him to be doing, but he was in no condition to attempt them at the moment. His hand was aching and felt like it was on fire from the medications slowly trying to heal what the infection had destroyed. If he moved too much, he got dizzy again; if he tried to speak, his brain locked up. He’d barely been able to mouth words to Rion when they’d shown up earlier…and wasn’t sure he’d be able to manage it again if they came back.

God…what had he done?

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Goodbyes

•November 18, 2016 • Leave a Comment

“Mr. Han? Rion’s here to see you.”

“Send them in.” I walked through the doorway, the first time I’d been back in the penthouse since I’d been given the necklace I still had around my neck. I’d never been one to wear too much jewelry, but every time I went to take it off…I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So it and my engagement ring–the beautiful moonstone claddagh Luciel had found for me–stayed on, all the time.

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Something Borrowed, Something Blue

•November 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I slipped out into a separate room and opened up my phone’s call function. I had no idea how Jumin was going to take this, but I’d rather tell him sooner than later.

Ring…ring…ring…

“Yes? Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks…for stopping by. I think. Why were you there?” I leaned against a wall.

“It occurred to me that Luciel might not take my gift the way I intended it, and my driver had already left for the evening. So I took it upon myself to ensure that nothing untoward happened. I see that I did not prevent it, but I hope that all has worked out.”

I breathed out a laugh. “Knew I had you pegged.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Nothing. I figured that’s why you were there. As for everything turning out, uh…” I coughed, still unable to bite back the smile as I looked down at my left hand, seeing the claddagh there for the first time in my life that it wasn’t just a stage joke. “We’re going to get married.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised.”

I blinked, then shook my head. “No, I mean… I mean we’ve actually gotten engaged, Jumin. I…well, neither of us really proposed to the other, I guess, but…we made that decision.”

There was a long silence on the other end of the line, and I looked to check and make sure my connection hadn’t dropped. “Jumin?”

“Yes. I’m here.”

“I…” I looked at the floor. “You didn’t say anything.”

“I’m not sure I have anything to say. Did Luciel show you what I left him?”

“No, actually. He just said you were being you, and that you were being nice. What did you say?”

He coughed. “I can’t recall the precise words, but I said that I trusted he knew how lucky he was to have won your love, and saying that while I hoped it went without saying, but that I also trusted that he would cherish you for as long as you two lived. And that he deserved the happiness you’ve given him, and I wished you both the best.”

If I had known Jumin even a fraction less than I did, I wouldn’t have caught the strain in his voice. But I’d gotten way too good at hearing it, and it caught me like a spike to the chest. “Jumin…”

“I would not change anything that I said.” Another long pause. “You are a remarkable person, Rion. I have seen how truly happy Luciel makes you, and you him. Anyone would be foolish to come between the two of you. As I said, I would not be surprised to find you had married him.” He cleared his throat. “I wish the two of you the utmost happiness, and I extend a hand of generosity to anything you might require, though I doubt you will want for much with him.”

“Jumin.” I slid to sit on the floor, my left hand toying with the necklace Jumin had only given me hours prior, the odd feeling of Jumin’s charms clicking against the ring signifying my dedication to Luciel not lost on me. “I’m not dumb. I can hear what you’re feeling.”

“I never claimed that you were dumb. And I am feeling a great many things right now.” A distant sound of a passing car told me he was out on his balcony. “I will not play dumb and pretend that I am unaware of what you are expecting me to say, and you are not entirely wrong. Yes, I am jealous. I envy the ease of your relationship with him, and the totality of the love that surrounds the both of you when you are together. I envy that there could possibly be more to what I feel for you, and that Luciel is the holder of those emotions. But I am equally aware that there is more than what I feel, and that you are in a committed relationship with Luciel. And I would not be the fool to tear you apart. I feared I already had today.”

I closed my eyes. “We talked about why…why we weren’t going to try. We agreed.”

“And I still agree with what we said. I do not think a romantic relationship between the two of us would be wise, on either side.” A pause. “But that does not mean that I do not envy it.”

I could hear the edge of what Jumin really wanted to say, and didn’t know what to do to get the words out of him. “Just tell me what you’re thinking, hon. Please.” Direct usually worked, but not often with emotions. I was taking a gamble.

There was a long pause, before I heard him move back inside and close the door to the balcony. Guessing from the sounds, he’d gone back into his room and laid on the bed. When he spoke, I could barely hear him. “I lost one of my closest friends, and may be losing another. I thought I might lose the one true relationship I had, be it imaginary or not. …I don’t know that I can stand to lose you as well.”

My heart clenched, and I pressed my eyes shut even more. “You’re not going to lose me, Jumin. Luciel’s not going to lock me up somewhere and not let me have any friends. Nothing is going to change between us.”

“V changed, when he met Rika.”

“I’m not Rika. Or V. And neither is Luciel. You are not going to lose me.” I had to press the point. If Jumin had one real fear, it was losing the few people he’d ever grown close to. Interpersonal relationships weren’t his forte, not after the mess his father had made of his early childhood. When the whole Sarah incident had happened, and he’d been afraid for Elizabeth’s safety… This was the core of it. He’d finally made one more connection, one more person to see through all the mess he’d become, and now another man had come along to sweep me off my feet.

“I wish I could keep myself from doubting you.”

“Of all the people I know, you are absolutely the one who could do that. Don’t doubt me. I’m still wearing your necklace.” The key kept finding its way between my fingers. The topaz was beautiful, but I knew it was the key that had truly been the message. “I’m not going to take off the necklace. It’ll be my something blue for the wedding.”

A breath of a laugh, and the vice on my chest eased at least a little. “Are you planning that already? I can’t imagine it will be traditional.”

“Between Luciel and I? Seems unlikely.”

“Do you plan to wear a dress?”

“I don’t know. Normally I would have said no, but…I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about it.” There was a silence, but this time, I let him break it.

“You’ll be beautiful. No matter the choice.”

“I’m a handsome devil,” was my immediate response–and what I usually said to something like that.

He breathed out another laugh. “Indeed you are.” There was a sound in the background, and I heard him get up and move again. “Mm.”

“What is it?”

“Not sure.” Some clicking–he’d sat down at his computer. “Ah. I should have expected, after the message earlier. I’ve received Assistant Kang’s two week notice.”

“Oh, Jumin.” Everything was happening to him at once. I should have waited to tell him. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. “I’m sorry.”

“There is nothing for you to apologize for.” He’d found his usual clipped tone again, but I could still hear the struggle to keep it even. “I will find a new chief assistant, and I wish you and Luciel…and Zen and Jaehee the best. And Chrissy and Yoosung, for that matter.” I could hear the soft meow that meant Elizabeth had hopped up somewhere nearby, ever aware of her owner’s mood.

“I should have told you in person.”

“I prefer that you did it this way.” That didn’t reassure me in the least. “It is almost time for Elizabeth to be fed. I should let you go.”

“Jumin, you know I…” My voice faltered, and I couldn’t find a new set of words.

Luckily, as he so often did, he knew what I wasn’t saying. “Yes. And I you. Don’t worry about me, Rion. Please, if you believe nothing else I’ve said to you, believe me when I say this. I want nothing more than for you to be happy.”

“I know you do.” My voice was a rasp, cracking because I couldn’t force it to be normal.

“Then go be with your fiancé, as opposed to being on the phone with another man.”

I covered my eyes with a hand, pushing my glasses up onto my forehead. “I’m still going to send you my resumé.”

“I’ll take it into consideration.” Then, softer: “Good night, my dear.”

I couldn’t reply. He didn’t wait for an answer.

A Simple Present, to Say Thank You

•November 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I tapped on the door frame, waiting for Jumin to turn around before saying anything. “Hey. Figured you could use a friendly face.”

His expression softened as he saw me, in his usual faint glimmer of a smile. “Of course. You know you’re welcome any time. Did the guards give you any trouble?”

I shook my head. “Nah, I think they all recognize me by now.” I heard a soft mew by my feet, and knelt down to stroke Elizabeth’s fur. “Hey there, princess. Have you been having a good day too? You had a bit of an adventure, didn’t you?”

Jumin sighed. “I can’t believe I failed to check that singular closet. I was sure I had checked every avenue.”

“After what happened last time, I don’t blame you for panicking.” I smiled down at the cat as she licked at my fingers. “Yeah, you probably taste the sandwich I had for lunch, don’t you?” I got a purr and a bonk of her head into my hand in response.

“It’s unlike me to panic.” Jumin’s voice was low, irritated. I looked up at him, frowning just a little at the serious look on his face as he watched Elizabeth wander into a different room. “I should have been able to remain composed.”

“Jumin.” I stood back up and walked over to him, crouching in front of him and resting my arms on his knees. “As much as we would all like to believe it, you are not perfect and you are not infallible. It’s okay to lose control once in a while. I know you don’t like it,” I quickly added on as I saw his mouth open in protest, “but it’s still acceptable.”

“I made a fool of myself in front of all of you.” He couldn’t look me in the eye.

“Hey…” I reached up, gesturing to tilt his chin up since I couldn’t actually reach him from where I was. It worked; he looked up at me begrudgingly. “You didn’t make a fool of yourself. You were worried about your pet. Trust me, I went ballistic once because I couldn’t find one of my cats when my parents had left. I was convinced she’d been taken to the vet without my knowledge or died or something. And I called my parents constantly, and got no answer. I understand.” He looked away again, and this time I stretched up to physically move his chin back.

It did what I wanted, which was startle him.

“Even after all has been said and done, Elizabeth is still dear to you. There’s nothing wrong with that. And everyone is just happy you’re allowing yourself to feel some of these emotions now.”

“I highly doubt your beloved thinks anything of the sort.”

I rolled my eyes. “Luciel is going to be who he is, and yes. That probably means that he’s going to make joke after joke about everything that happens. He means it in good faith. I think he’s a bit jealous of you, honestly.”

He frowned. “What? Why would he be jealous of me?”

“Because he knows we’re close, and he’s not always your biggest fan.”

That didn’t seem to sell Jumin, because the frown just deepened. “But we are not involved with each other in any way. Unless he is considerably mistaken about what occurs when we spend time in each other’s company, I don’t see what the problem would be.”

I just laughed and stood up again. “He knows that nothing happens. He’s just jealous that I spend time with anyone outside of him.”

“Well that’s simply foolishness on his part.” I held out my hands to Jumin, and after a moment he took them and let me pull him to his feet. “I do appreciate your stopping in. I know that your job keeps you fairly busy.”

“My job keeps me fairly a lot of things, but I have the day off, and Luciel needs to get some work done, which he won’t do if I’m in the house. And I wanted to come over anyway.” I couldn’t help it. Though what I always told Luciel was entirely true–that I loved him and would give myself to no one else–the time I’d spent at the beginning of my journey with RFA had brought me incredibly close to Jumin. Both of us knew that a romantic relationship between the two of us would have been disastrous, and he’d never blinked when I ran to Luciel. But there was a connection here, and I knew I was walking a line, but I was always honest with both of the men. Luciel knew I would never do anything with Jumin that I would not do with my other close friends, and Jumin knew that my heart, romantically, was inextricably linked to Luciel.

“Have you considered another position?” He trailed along behind me as I walked over toward his couch.

“Of course I’ve considered other positions. I don’t want to be a server my whole life. But the problem is just getting one. Finding someone who will hire me.”

“Mmmm.” I tugged him down to sit on the couch with me, and he obliged as I looped his arm over my shoulders. “Perhaps I could find you a job with C&R.”

I laughed and leaned back against him, feeling him shift into a more comfortable position for the both of us. “I think they call that nepotism, Jumin.”

“It wouldn’t be. I was prepared to give Yoosung an internship as he had been showing strong signs of wanting to become a more successful businessman. Whether he decides to take that or not is up to him. Whereas I know that you have worked in office settings before, and have excelled. …I can ask for your resumé, if that will ease your conscience.”

I just breathed out another chuckle. “Sure. I’ll email you my resumé. We’ll see how that goes.” There was a beat of silence, and all I could hear was the steady thump-wump of Jumin’s heartbeat. “Do you think Jaehee will actually leave?”

He hummed, uncertain. “It would not surprise me. In many ways, I am surprised she has not left yet. I…believe I overexerted her, those first two weeks you were here. I had been pushing her to extremes anyway…and I believe I hit a breaking point. Even someone as competent as Assis… Jaehee…cannot work miracles.”

I gave his hand a soft squeeze. “I think she’ll be happier.”

“Mmm.”

I let another pause sit before I brought up the inevitable. “You were right, though.”

“Oh? About what?”

“She and Zen are seeing each other, I’m pretty sure. If they’re not yet, they probably will be soon. He bought her a bracelet.”

“Hmm.” When he didn’t offer anything further, I tilted my head back to look at him. His eyes flickered down to me. “What?”

“No comment on that?”

“I don’t see why I would have any reason or call to comment on their alleged relationship. Assistant Kang has always been vocally supportive of Zen, and Zen is content with anyone willing to bow to his narcissism, which I believe Assistant Kang would be.”

I hit his leg. “Jumin! Rude.”

“How is that rude? I am merely stating facts about their personalities. I believe they will be well suited to one another, should they choose to pursue such a relationship. Much as I believed the same about yourself and Luciel.”

I actually turned a bit at that, looking at Jumin more directly. “Oh, this I have to hear. How exactly is my relationship with him similar to what you just described?”

He leveled a glare at me. “If you are attempting to insinuate that I considered either of you to be in a similar position to Zen, you are incredibly mistaken and do not know me nearly as well as I believe you do. What I meant was merely that your personalities are well matched for each other. You ground Luciel from his more fantastic flights of fancy, and he brings out the more…mm, playful side of you.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Playful?”

“It is one of the things we share, Rion. Neither of us are supremely demonstrative with our emotions, though you have always been more expressive than me. And where you manage to bring some of my emotions closer to the surface, Luciel brings yours up. The dynamic is not much different between Chrissy and Yoosung. They are…what did you say the literary term for it was?”

“Huh? Oh, foils. A character who appears in order to highlight aspects of the protagonist. Huh. I didn’t really think of it that way.”

“Precisely. You and Luciel, Yoosung and Chrissy, Zen and Jaehee. All foils to each other.”

“What about you, then? Don’t you get a foil in our narrative here?”

“I’m afraid I don’t reflect much, though I attempt to return your light back to you.” He set his lips against my hair, and I shifted again to lie against him. “And with that, I am content.”

“I hope so.” My voice was soft.

“Mm? Why wouldn’t I be?”

“I know how lonely you can be, Jumin.” I took his hand again, lacing my fingers with his. “I just don’t want you to be sitting here and watching everyone else play matchmaker while you sit alone in your house.”

“I’m not alone. I have Elizabeth the 3rd.” I grumbled, and heard the breath of a laugh from him in return. “I assure you, I am content with what I have. I am dedicated to my work, and for many of the same reasons why we never pursued anything, I am not interested in finding another woman to insert into my life. I do not believe I would make an adequate…boyfriend.” I giggled, and I got an irritated huff in response. “But in addition to Elizabeth, I now have a human companion, a friend who I can talk to if I feel the need. Someone who I know can see all those tangled threads within me.” His voice had dropped, and I felt it against his chest more than heard it. “I don’t need someone to love me. Just someone to see me.”

“I do love you, Jumin. Just…not the same way I do Luciel.” I pulled our hands over to me so that I could kiss the back of his hand, and he tightened his grip on my fingers in return. “But I do see you. And I’m glad that you’ve found happiness through this…at least some, anyway.”

“I have found more happiness in all of this than I have much else in my life.” He shifted so that both arms could wrap around me in a firm hug. “And I owe that to you entirely.”

“I’m not sure I deserve all of the praise on that one, but thank you.” I set my hands over his arms, closing my eyes and letting us sit like that for a long moment.

I wasn’t sure how much later it was, but I heard Jumin make a soft noise. “Mm, here. Get up for a moment.”

“Mmmm.” I sat up, letting go of his arms and shifted enough so that he could stand up and walk back over to his office. He came back a moment later with a small black velvet bag. I raised my eyebrows. “What are you doing.”

Jumin sat back down next to me, and offered me the bag. “For you.”

“This looks suspicious, Jumin.”

“I assure you it is nothing untoward.” He waved a hand. “Open it.”

I watched him for a moment, but when he just gestured again, I finally relented and opened the pouch, tilting it to spill the contents into my hand. I drew in a breath as the light caught it. It was a necklace, a fine silver chain with two small charms on the end: one a silver key, and the other a blue jewel. “Oh Jumin, it’s gorgeous. You really shouldn’t have.”

“I wasn’t going to. I was looking for something unrelated, and was shanghaied into a conversation with a woman at the store about gemstones. According to her, blue topaz is a stone commonly linked to writers, and is said to promote higher thinking, as well as…oh, what did she say. Promote fidelity, ease mental anguish, and strengthen friendship, gentleness, and integrity.”

I could feel my cheeks burning, and I covered my mouth with my free hand. “That’s beautiful, Jumin. Thank you.” After a moment, I pulled my hand back to shift the key away from the gemstone. “What about this?”

He didn’t have an answer for me at first, but I felt him rest his hand on the small of my back a moment later. “For what you have unlocked, and for what you are keeper of. As a sign of my gratitude.” He set his lips against my hair again.

I blinked back tears and wrapped my arms around him in a tight hug, which after a moment’s hesitation, he gently returned. “Thank you,” I managed to get out.

“You’re very welcome. May I?” After a moment, I nodded and handed him the necklace so that he could clasp it around my neck. His lips turned up in his classic almost-smile. “It suits you. Just as I knew it would.”

I wiped at my eyes. “Such a jerk, for making me cry.”

“You would not be the first person to tell me that.” That I had to laugh at, and his smile grew just a fraction. “I do hope you like it.”

“I love it, Jumin. It’s beautiful.” I looked down at the two charms, picking them up and turning them in my fingers. “I’ll have to start wearing jewelry more often, I guess.”

“Mm. I know you are not much of one for these sorts of things, but…well.” His cheeks tinged a shade of pink. “The reference to writers was too much for me to pass up. Even if you do not wear it commonly, I believe it will serve you well.”

“I’m sure it will.” I leaned up to kiss his cheek, which just made him blush brighter and I grinned. “Thank you.” He nodded. “Now.” I looked at my watch. “I seem to have very conveniently landed myself here right around lunch time. What say you to that?”

He rolled his eyes. “And now I am merely a conduit to spend money through. I see how much my gesture has meant to you.”

I laughed. “Fine then. Tomorrow’s payday. Lunch is on me today.”

Shirin’s Change, for Lyn

•October 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

She hadn’t meant to fall asleep in his room. They hadn’t been doing anything–she’d be quick to point that out–but they’d been talking in his room late into Friday night and one thing led to another…and there they were, both curled up on his bed–conveniently big enough for both of them, which was a bit suspicious–sleeping the day away.

She winced, her head pounding from the sounds of all the noise and conversation from the hallway. How is everyone up so early? She looked at the clock Fionn had managed to wrangle from somewhere. 7:04 in the morning. There’s no way, not on a Saturday. She rubbed her temples and tried to lie back down and ignore it.

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Welcome to Addergoole

•September 28, 2013 • 6 Comments

I decided to write Night Vale fanfiction. Lyn told me to cross-over Night Vale and Addergoole. The following happened.  1458 words.

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