-insert disclaimer-

Author's Ramble: May 1st. I celebrated my birthday and I received greetings from YOU guys (you know who you are xD). Thank you again!

Here's a birthday one-shot from everyone's crazy romantic. Quite short but neh xD


Arrival

How can you calmly tell someone to wait for you when you're on the borderline of not coming back at all?

Hwoarang never really looked good in green. It was a distasteful color that made Lili wince each time she saw it or even caught a mere glimpse of it.

And yet here they were just before their little bungalow in the suburbs. The fiery-haired Korean was clad in the color his beloved was disgusted of.

"I'll come back," he told her, grasping her palms in his own.

Lili only stared back at him. I'll come back could mean... well, yes. He'll come back, either covered in plaster and gauze or inside a white box with the flag draped over it.

"As soon as I can," he smiled at her. "I promise."

And As soon as I can could mean sometime next year. I promise?

Words can't truly guarantee safety. Words remain hollow and pointless unless the one who said it actually meant it.

"Hey, what's wrong?" Hwoarang asked his troubled little lady. He hasn't seen her so riled out and placid. Her expression now was even worse than when they fled about a year ago.

In response, she shook her head and replaced the blankness on her face with a smile. She looked at her hands clasped between his, praying and hoping that this won't be the last time he'll do that.

"Come back to me, okay? If you don't... If you don't come back, I'll have you hunted down."

He ruffled her hair, cupped her face in his hands and kissed her forehead. Seconds later, he kissed the corner of her eye, unknowingly tasting a droplet of salty loneliness that shouldn't have been there.

- -

"Cute, ain't she? She's celebrating her birthday when I get back home," One of Hwoarang's comrades held up a picture of his four year-old daughter. The little girl had sunny blond hair and earnest blue eyes, very akin to her father.

The man was an amount of years older than the Korean. The others with him smiled as they listened to their comrade as he talked and chattered about his daughter. Hwoarang ran an uneasy hand through his hair.

Maybe his reenlistment in the army and participating in this ongoing war was some sort of divine punishment for taking away Lili from her home.

Home...

Back with his friends and teacher and her.

"Something bothering you, soldier?" The man earlier asked Hwoarang. The latter shook his head and forced a grin.

"You have a lovely daughter. Makes me wonder if I'll ever have one," came the reply.

"'Course you will, err..." The blond spoke eagerly, pausing for a moment.

"Hwoarang."

"'Course you will, Hwoarang! Seems to me you got a lady waiting for you back at your place."

The Korean nodded. "She's celebrating her birthday when I get back, um..."

"It's Garret. Same time as my daughter, eh? You know, I like you, kid. We've got a lot in common! Why not come over to my place to celebrate my little girl's birthday? Invite me over to your place too, kid!"

Soon enough, Hwoarang was surrounded with men, various ages, exchanging stories and valiant exploits and wishes of homecoming. Garret's golden head reminded him of the ticklish strands of sunlight that covered his face every morning when he woke. Those strands always led to her head, which he would kiss if given the chance.

Now, he had to get used to waking up without the scent of vanilla and white lilies wafting about. How long will it take?

"Howrang, innit? Whaddya say about my plan?"

Hwoarang grinned. "I'll be looking forward to it, Garret."

With comrades like Garret, it made the army life more bearable.

- -

Three months.

It trudged away blearily and densely.

Everytime Lili would reach over the other side of the bed, her arm would caress what used to be where her redhead slept.

The emptiness plagued her.

She rolled off the bed and stretched her arms. Why did she even bother waking up? It's not like she had a job or something.

Oh, but Lili did have a job.

Waiting.

Sighing ruefully, she made her way to the kitchen. Today was a special day for her and yet she couldn't bring herself to celebrate. What's there to cheer for when you're all alone?

She made her usual mug of coffee, stirring away lazily. The minutes hiked away slowly yet again. But the sound of keys tinkling brought her back to consciousness. The whole sound changed the languid flow of the morning.

The knob twisted open. The familiar clicking of the combat boots against the marble tiles made her turn around.

"I brought a pie. I just got back from a friend's place. It was his daughter's birthday."

Behold. There he was in the flesh, a bit of his flaming hair chopped off. He was still wearing that awful moss tint but she was so glad to see that color again.

"I'm sorry I didn't get you a present... Garret told me to take this pie instead and I—"

Hwoarang was cut off when he was engulfed in Lili's embrace. He nearly dropped the pie, too.

"No, Hwoarang... You gave me the best birthday present ever," she whispered in his ear. "It's all I've ever asked for."

"Really?" he whispered back. "What..."

"You."

The Korean could only smile. He was home, all right. He was definitely back home.


I noticed in My Chemical Romance's Ghost of You music video and Katy Perry's Thinking of You music video that when soldiers leave for war, they have this kind of ball or dance. Meh. I'm rambling again.

Thank you again. You guys give me strength. :)