Disclaimer: Boys Over Flowers/ Hana Yori Dango is not mine. All fics are not for profit.

A/N: Here's my first SoEul ficlet! It is loosely connected to Four-leaf Clover and Cinderella in Rubber Shoes (see my ficlets collection "Automatic Love Letters" on my storylist if interested), which are both Woo Bin-centric. To those who follow Woo Bin's story, I'll promise to come back to it some time! I'm quite busy with another fandom at the moment but I promised someone back at livejournal to post it this week. :) Tell me what you think!


Schoolyard Mercenary

by Schizoid Sprite


"I killed him!"

Yi Jung was brandishing a sunny smile when he set his first foot on the 'battlefield', but hearing the impishly triumphant declaration sent him cussing under his breath. He plastered an unperturbed façade and marched on.

Ammunitions? Check. After engaging in several 'battles' here, he learned that it was true when they say the best form of offense was defense. His bandoleer was filled with the best bullets in the world: patience, patience, and some more patience.

Camouflage? Check. Well, at least his recent fountain wrestling with Woo Bin made it for him. He chose to wear a coffee-colored Galliano suit; with water seeping into its fabric, it got a tad darker. Any stain-inducing assault to his immaculate outfit would be more or less feckless now. It wasn't a big deal for him if he would end up having the garment auctioned like the others, but he figured that if he was planning to live through these 'wars', he would have to defend his…own uniform. At least once.

"Yi Jung sunbae."

He looked over the heads of the platoon of boisterous 'soldiers', and he spotted Ga Eul standing on the other end of the lot. His smile dimpled back into place for a fleeting second; it almost felt like he was going to rescue his princess from a horde of…gremlins. He raised a hand to symbol 'stop' when Ga Eul moved to approach him.

"Mission accepted," he whispered to himself, straightening his tie.

And the battle began.

"I killed him!" the shrieked reiteration of victory came, arresting Yi Jung's attention fully again. He craned his neck around to locate the source of the voice. While he knew that his smile was already an obsolete weapon (in these creatures' home turf, at least), he never attempted to discard it, believing he could find a way to worm under these little devils' skins with it. He flashed his movie star-white teeth now, which was answered with a mischievous set of uneven milk teeth.

"Who did you just…kill?" He actually fumbled for kid-friendly synonyms of the last word, as he thought he sounded too profane speaking it in front of a sweet little thing. He was suddenly very glad he didn't find any: the obnoxious glint in the girl's eyes made him think that even the word 'kill' was very light. He found himself searching for a more extreme synonym now.

"Him," the girl said, wagging her index finger to her open lunchbox. Yi Jung mentally slid his first 'patience' bullet into his mental gun, cocking it ready. He stooped over the lunch box and found a half-eaten hamburger minus the top bun.

"You killed the hamburger?"

The girl nodded enthusiastically, plaits swaying with the gesture. "Want me to show you how I did it?"

"Sure," he said unsurely.

The girl snatched a bottle of ketchup from a nearby table. Giggling, she squeezed the bottle and carefully drew a smiling face on the patty with the sauce, then scooped it up to show it to Yi Jung.

"He's smiling," Yi Jung described.

"Not anymore," the girl laughed, and without another word smashed her palm against the food. The other kids started to gather around him and the girl, young eyes engrossed with the burger-murder spectacle.

"Stop that," Yi Jung chided, somewhat panic-stricken. "I'm going to be your teacher for the clay modeling class today, remember? I won't allow students with dirty hands to attend my subject."

The child's face convoluted in horror. "Nooo! I have to make clay grapes again! Teacher said she will help me!"

"Dirty hands, no clay class," Yi Jung repeated.

The girl fidgeted, chewing on her bottom lip. The other kids exchanged glances and murmurs. "Ummm… If I clean my hands, I make clay grapes?"

Yi Jung nodded.

"Okay then! I'll clean it!"

Somehow, he didn't even flinch when the girl pressed her hands flat against his suit. It was a reflex already—the little devils had done these kinds of things before. Even worse.

The girl giggled when she started rubbing her palms up and down his front.

"Hee Young!" cried Ga Eul, marching straight towards where they stood. "Hee Young, how many times have we talked about this already?"

"Ga Eul," Yi Jung called, once again raising a hand to stop her.

"But sunbae…"

"Kids," he ventured with a wink. "It's not like I'm not used to them."

That did it.

The cluster of little creatures began rejoicing as if what he had just said was an announcement of freedom, and not for the first time since he went to help Ga Eul teach, he felt as if he was in a miniature hell…

…that was probably worse than the real hell below his feet.

Mud, ketchup, burger buns, Play Doh stains, and something really smelly and unpleasant (that he preferred not to know what) were dabbed at his suit, at his face. He felt little molars too, sinking through his suit and onto his skin beneath.

"Stop!" he heard Ga Eul yell. "Stop it! Kids! Hee Young, Sou Jung, Lee Soon! Stop!"

"Ga Eul," he called, shielding himself from the attacks. Oh, yes. He terribly needs an SOS now.

"Stop it!"

A silly I-feel-like-I'm-in-a-zombie-movie thought sailed across his mind, and when he thought he was being dragged down to the ground, the little hands began peeling away from him.

"I. Said. Stop!"

A couple of seconds—eternities—passed. When he finally opened his eyes, the chaos was gone, and he was jailed in the arms of his all-time heroine.

"Hi," he greeted Ga Eul with a chuckle. "You saved me again."

Ga Eul couldn't help but roll her eyes. "Sunbae, you're not actually coaxing the kids with toys and sweets to…well, do this, are you?"

Yi Jung looked shocked. "You think I'm coaxing them to pound on me like I'm their favorite chew toy or something?" He unlocked her arms and scrubbed at his face. "Please. What made you think I'll do such a thing?"

Ga Eul ducked her head, but he could still see her blushing. "You like calling me a superheroine." It was a statement, not a question.

Yi Jung laughed, and it was his turn to imprison her in his strong embrace. "I don't need to have an army of little monsters to torture me so I can call you my superheroine. You've already given me what I needed for me to feel safe…and saved."

That short sentence caused a thousand memories to rush through his head. His heartbreak, his pain, the jigsaw-shaped potsherds….

He shook his head and blinked the memories away. They didn't matter anymore because everything that matters now was enclosed in his arms. He smiled at his thought and instinctively leaned forward, letting his eyes flutter close, breathing her breath, slowly closing the distance between them and—

plak!

He chewed his lower lip in annoyance, feeling the burger patty that was hurled at him sliding down his face. The thrower giggled from somewhere behind the bushes.

"Kids," Ga Eul reminded him with a hint of laughter. "It's not like you're not used to them."

He rolled his eyes. No, he didn't think he was going to be used to them.

Ever.


"Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life."- Richard Bach