Disclaimer: Boys Over Flowers/Boys Before Flowers/Hana Yori Dango is not mine. This fic is by no means for profit.
A/N: I'm sure that I'm not the only one who thinks that Song Woo Bin needs more love! I never expected that my very first BOF fic will be starring Woo Bin in the forefront, as he is not my favorite character in the show (Yi Jung is!). I think he'll be one of the nicest characters to play with in a fic, given the large space in the sandbox the creators provided. :) Anyway, this ficcie is a "re-imagination" of the F4 After Story Episode 2: Song Woo Bin. Some scenes here will be a part of a multi-chaptered BOF series I'm co-writing with a friend. R & R and enjoy!
by Schizoid Sprite
He clenched his fist around the stems of the half-destroyed bouquet, not even flinching at the thorns that painfully sank into his palm. Pain? He snorted disdainfully. He erased that word in his life's dictionary a long, long time ago.
Smirking bitterly to himself, he lifted his eyes warily and stared at her back, at the way the fabric of her orange sundress hugged her curves. His arms used to envelope her soft profile, too… and the manner the wind whispered through her hair, it reminded him of the very way he played with every precious strand while murmuring sweet nothings to her ears…
He let out a sarcastic laugh. Who would've thought that a harmless-looking lady like her can defeat a proud, violent Mafia bloke like him? It was so Samson-and-Delilah-ish: she managed to crush his heart into smithereens by just uttering a few words.
...but had she betrayed him?
Refusing to think about it, he veered his mind towards somewhere else. Memories then came flooding his headspace when he let his eyes flutter close, bringing him back to the time when he first cross paths with this woman.
Insecurities were the last thing an onlooker would think about if he would scrutinize Song Woo Bin that night. The young man was sporting his characteristic lopsided smile, and the way he carried himself in his dapper windbreaker hinted of the start of his Don Juan-ish escapades for the night. Unknown to everybody, he was struggling to keep the cool facade unyielding...and he was slowly crippling himself inwardly in the process.
He found a bar in a quite squalid alleyway in search of a different kind of refuge. He wasted the whole day there, imbibing countless bottles of beer—yes, beer over expensive wine or cocktail—and by dinner time he finally felt the kick of the drinks.
His surroundings were getting fuzzy; he was gripping the edge of the bar top for support and for the first time in his life he scowled at the aftertaste of alcohol in his tongue. His temples were throbbing hard and the sole idea playing in his mind was to find the loo—or anywhere else where he could possibly throw up. He wobbled from the stool; he looked up, and the dim lights of the bar loomed around him like some local gangpeh1 he encountered before, cornering him, threatening him…
"Yo, mah bros," he said rather comically, "wanna play a game?"
And with that, he started throwing uncontrolled blows and kicks around, hitting anything solid that came in their path. There were feminine shrieks overlapping the soporific music—he thought he saw fleeting faces of admiring, blushing girls, and he scowled at them in disgust. Seriously, why does the majority of the female population prefer to have kick-ass boozers as their ideal mates? He knew he couldn't understand it so he never tried to. As long as he could use it to his advantage, he wouldn't really care.
By the time he released his last punch, the beer-stained floor was already carpeted with unconscious men that he beat black-and-blue all by himself.
He brushed the warmth that trickled down his chin—blood, he realized with a note of surprise—and marched out of the awkwardly hushed scene. He slumped against the nearest wall once he escaped the suffocating atmosphere of the place, his breathing a tad labored as though he had just run a marathon. He laughed quietly to himself and reached inside the pocket of to get his last Black Bat stick.
"Is the commotion over, Sunbae-nim2?"
His fingers twitched around the cigar. He snapped his head at the direction of the voice while his other hand instinctively curled up into a fist. Blinking twice, he discovered that the speaker was just a girl; he willed his breathing to steady and permitted himself a sigh of relief. Funny oaf, he chided himself. Is this a sign that I should never go alone on a binge again? Perhaps I should invite Yi Jung next time…
"Sunbae-nim? Are you alright?"
"Sunbae-nim?" he echoed with a one-sided smile. "Do I look old enough to be addressed like that?"
The girl seemed to tense. He trapped the cigarette between his lips once he successfully lit it.
"Not that old to be called Ahjussi3," the girl responded too coyly that it was almost impossible to tell if she said it in jest or not. "I mean…well, I initially said it out of respect, but squinting now, I can say that you do look older than me."
He thought of arguing but something in her voice forced him to swallow a string of narcissistic remarks back down his throat, along with the sour rush of his breakfast, lunch, and dinner for today: beer. Who knows, the lassie might not be lying at all. He himself felt ugly and old in his own skin tonight.
"Good girls are taught to tell the truth, aren't they?" He said with a half-released laugh and blew a cloud of sweet-smelling smoke, which she timidly waved away with her hands. He tilted his head to study her face. "No fag?"
"What?" the girl asked with furrowed brow.
"Fag, mama," he said in nonchalant abandon, raising a brow. "Cigar. You don't smoke?"
She frowned. "No."
He shifted his weight to his other leg while he went on studying her. Even behind the alcohol-induced blur in his eyes he could tell that the girl was of exquisite beauty, the kind that would work its way to your head and cling there for a long time until someone or something more beautiful comes to replace it. He had seen beauties before, but none deserved to stay in his head for even a single minute. This time, however, the charm of innocence proved to be a factor to make this face a potential afterimage in his mind. He absentmindedly nodded to himself.
The only lights falling on them were moonlight and the band of colored fluorescents escaping from the bar. He could clearly see how the glowing colors bounced off her buttermilk skin and her slightly wavy hair that swirled down to her elbows. The lights played on her eyes, too, he observed.
It was only when she looked away that he noticed she was blushing under his scrutiny. He chuckled and limply let the cigar fall to the ground.
"I should be going back inside," she said, carefully avoiding eye contact. "I suppose that the commotion is over already…"
"It is," he confirmed readily, "because the one who started and ended it is standing right in front of you."
She stepped back once but unexpectedly, she didn't look scared. With exaggerated slowness she lifted a hand and brushed a thumb on his chin. He tensed at her warm touch; much to his surprise, he didn't pull away.
"Sunbae-nim," she said with reproach, eyes focused on the dried trail of blood there, "I know you're old enough to know that you don't have a set of milk teeth anymore—they won't grow back once they go off. I guess it's really true that bad guys lose their teeth so soon even before their hair turn white."
"You're breaking my heart," he said as he pouted in mock hurt. "I'm a bad guy?"
She smiled and stepped back. "Good guys don't start trouble."
"Good guys and heroes often stop trouble," he added in retaliation. "I stopped what I started, so I'm not fully a bad guy."
"I can't argue with that," she laughed and took a bow. "I'll be going now."
She came to a halt when he blocked the entrance.
"Password?" he asked with a devilish grin.
She rolled her eyes but answered anyway. "Please?"
"Please is wrong?"
He winked. "Song."
"Song Woo Bin." He gently took her hand and planted a soft kiss on it. "That's me. Not Sunbae-nim or Mr. Bad Guy."
Flushing scarlet, she tugged her hand away from his lips. "S-so that's the password? Y-your name?"
"No, but yours is."
He nodded eagerly. "I'll only let you in if you give me your name."
There was nothing else she could do but sigh in defeat.
"Yang Sun Byul4," she said quietly.
"Sun Byul," he repeated. What a fitting name, he thought. Byul—a star.
Sun Byul pushed him when he didn't move. "Excuse me, Woo Bin Sunbae."
"Quit attaching the title," he complained as he shimmied drunkenly to the side. "It makes me feel a lot older—never mind the respect part. And by the way, Sun Byul—"
She stopped in her tracks.
"There's a small flaw in your bad-guy-lose-teeth theory," he said over-cheerily. "I didn't lose any tooth tonight."
"That doesn't explain the blood," she said with a final wave, obviously dismissing his statement as a lie.
"My cut lip does," he answered back. "And thanks for the balm."
The devilish smile was back on his face when she came to halt once again.
"The kiss," he said. "Your skin's more than enough to heal my—"
He ended his sentence in a loud gulp of laugh when she threw him a glare that accused him of being a pervert, before she hurried inside.
The flashback betrayed him, he realized as he refloated to the present. He hadn't completely deleted 'pain' in his vocabulary. In fact, he had been soaking in it all this time, enjoying its presence.
Ha, so how's that? Prince Song the masochist? He rolled his eyes at his own thoughts.
After their first meeting, he and Sun Byul kept in touch. It helped that Sun Byul actually studied in Shinhwa University as well; they were both wide-eyed when they ran smack into each other while she was hurrying to her next class. Woo Bin remembered resisting the urge to punch Jun Pyo that day after the said F4 leader suggested on giving her the 'red card treatment' because she didn't bother to apologize for the little incident. Some things never really change, he thought then, rolling his eyes.
Sun Byul escaped the professor's reprimand afterwards, thanks to Woo Bin's undying charm that she refused to acknowledge at first. And then they started their frequent meetings. Whenever Woo Bin thought the F3 wasn't paying him any attention, he would sneak out of the private lounge and convince Sun Byul to ditch her remaining class so they could go out. They would walk hand-in-hand, laughing and teasing each other, sometimes stealing kisses and sometimes even 'accidental' touches. Without a doubt, Sun Byul liked him—he could even swear that she actually loved him. Well, he did love her...
…and he still does.
He tightened the grip on the thorny stems until a certain wetness was felt. He didn't bother to know if it was just sweat or blood. Physical pain was, needless to say, no match for the ache throbbing in his chest right now.
Gathering all the courage he got, he marched towards Sun Byul. She let out a gasp when he grasped her arm and forcefully swung her around.
That was when the realization hit hard: he wasn't in pain.
He was angry.
"What's the reason?" he demanded. He drowned himself in the blackness—and blankness—of Sun Byul's eyes as he waited for her answer. His eyes then traveled down to her lips.
"I'm sick of it," she whispered. "I'm sick of your kindness."
Everything went in slow motion after she said that word. She whirled around, the sound of her stilettos decrescendoing. He watched her retreating back with gnashed teeth and angrily suppressed a growl, effectively destroying the bouquet by smashing it against the pavement.
"Woo Bin, come over and play with us."
He grudgingly peeled his eyes away from the flower he was cradling in his hand and focused them on Jun Pyo and Yi Jung, who were busying themselves over another childish game of building blocks. He pressed his lips in a thin line as he stood up and efficiently astonished the other boys by swiping the little wooden tower off the desk. He wordlessly turned around and left, but not before he heard Jun Pyo asking: "What's his problem?"
Okay, so he was brooding. The proud, cool Don Juan of F4, who was popular for always carrying the I-can-always-fix-everything-with-a-wink-and-a-flash-of-smile attitude, was brooding.
Well, he sighed, Why the hell not? I'm still human.
He perched himself on the stairs and thought about…those days when the F4 shone. Their high school days, the times when their world changed because of Geum Jan Di's entrance in their lives. He remembered the way the whole school would gather to wait for their arrival; he remembered his tap dance, the movements of Yi Jung's hands that the God of Pot blessed, Jun Pyo's boiling temper about false scandals involving Jan Di, Ji Hoo's silent times and his careful strumming of the guitar…
"The memories will always be the same," he murmured as he stared down at the four-leaf clover he was twirling with his fingers, "but I could've been the one to change."
Let's go back, he told himself.
And go back he did.
It felt like home, being back there in their private classroom. Woo Bin settled himself on his cozy old chair with a satisfied sigh. A book toppled down to the floor when he accidentally brushed against it; when he picked it up, and old snapshot slipped out of the dusty pages.
Gu Jun Pyo, Yun Ji Hoo, So Yi Jung, and himself.
The little boys in the picture grinned at him and he couldn't help but to smile back. How could he be so naïve to think that they'd stopped shining? Friends like them would never cease to shine. Yes, sometimes they're weird, sometimes teeth-achingly sweet, and never by any means nondescript. They were his special gifts.
As long as he has friends like them, the world would be beautiful and life would blossom beautifully like no other flower.
A movement to his side arrested his attention; he snapped his head at it, and found his nose inches from a birthday cake.
"How can you go here alone?" Yi Jung complained churlishly, sliding the cake closer towards Woo Bin. "Gu Jun Pyo started to feel bad, somewhat. Didn't we promise to be together forever?"
A toothy grin spread over Woo Bin's face.
"Happy?" Jun Pyo asked, trailing Yi Jung.
"Happy birthday!" Yi Jung greeted contentedly.
Woo Bin playfully lifted the cake to his eye level and blew the candles out in several puffs. The moment his fingers came in contact with the icing by mistake, a mischievous thought flitted across his mind. Jun Pyo and Yi Jung were sharp as ever, of course; they dodged out of reach as soon as Woo Bin commenced flinging amorphous lumps of icing at them.
After almost half a dozen years, F4's private room once again echoed with laughter.
Woo Bin realized that brooding wouldn't—would never—suit someone like him at all.
1. Gangpeh- also spelled 'kkangpae' or 'ggangpae', it is a Korean gangster. An organized crime gang is called a 'pa'.
2. Sunbae- what you call your "senior" or anyone who's older than you; is often used with the suffix "nim" which makes it polite. It can go without the suffix but it is more casual that way.
3. Ahjussi- a middle-aged man.
4. Yang Sun Byul- yes, she's practically an OC, but there is a real girl who broke up with Woo Bin in the After Story episode. It's like I just gave her a name and a story with Woo Bin. 'Byul' means star.
As I have said above, some scenes from this will be a part of a multi-chaptered series I'm co-writing with a friend. Consider this a 'teaser'.
"If love is the answer...can you repeat the question?"- anonymous