Title: as soon as forever is through
Email: seraphcelene at yahoo dot com
A/N: Boys Over Flowers (Korean adaptation). AU from episode 22.
A/N 2: I owe many thanks to Oyceter and Yhlee for their beta help with content, language usage (English and Korean) and cultural cues. You ladies were a tremendous help and I appreciate that you looked this over despite your unfamiliarity with the source material. All mistakes are strictly my own.
Disclaimer: Boys Over Flowers and Hana Yori Dango do not belong to me. This is all for fun and not profit.
Summary: What if Jun Pyo and Jae Kyung were married after all?
"Why must we crave the things we were not meant to, you wonder."
-- Nikki Gemmell, The Bride Stripped Bare
"Let's go," Ji Hoo says.
Geum Jan Di looks up and Ji Hoo's careful gaze is blank and even, but his mouth is clenched tight and betrays him.
"No, it's fine." Jan Di shifts restlessly, the full hem of her skirt brushing his legs. She smiles, then laughs awkwardly. "Gu Jun Pyo needs you to be here."
Ji Hoo watches her for a moment, and Jan Di can feel her cheeks heating under his gaze. Ji Hoo always sees her, even when she doesn't want to be seen. Shaking his head briefly, Ji Hoo sighs and turns away.
Being miserable for a few more hours, watching over Jun Pyo on his wedding day, these are things Jan Di can endure. At least for a little while longer. Gu Jun Pyo would say she was an idiot for coming in the first place, for calling Jae Kyung "eonni", for agreeing to be maid of honor, for not asking him not to get married. Jan Di loves them both. She isn't sure what else she should have done.
Jun Pyo, downs glass after glass of champagne at the other end of the room, bookended by a nervous Jae Kyung and the ever-efficient Chief Jang. Chen stands at a respectful distance and Kang See Hoo is smiling beatifically at Jae Kyung's oblivious parents. Despite the afternoon's outcome, President Kang's bright smile is sharply edged. She is waiting for Jun Pyo to snap. They all are. Jan Di wants to say that it's already too late for that. When Jun Pyo said "I promise" there was already something broken behind his eyes. If Jan Di is to be very honest, it was always too late. She understands that now.
Jan Di is ringed by her own circle of the concerned and watchful. The remaining F4, with Ga Eul pressed in between Yi Jung and Woo Bin, stand as a barrier between her and the rest of the room.
"Are you sure?" Ga Eul asks. "Maybe we should leave first."
"Ga Eul-ssi," Jan Di reaches for her best friend's hand, "It's okay." And then the music starts, a waltz, and Ga Eul looks so distressed and so pretty that Yi Jung asks her to dance. Jan Di smiles and nods at Ga Eul, who slides a tentative hand into Yi Jung's.
The music is sweet, the light song of violins a thing for weddings. Across the room, Jae Kyung places her hand in Jun Pyo's and tugs him onto the dance floor. His left arm slides across her back, her right hand locked in his, and when they dance he is only slightly out of step. When Ji Hoo gently touches her elbow, Jan Di excuses herself to the ladies' room. She knows that she's being pathetic, but she refuses to cry where they can see her. Besides, Jae Kyung-eonni was married today. There should be no tears.
Everything is dressed for the wedding. The hallway is full of candles and flowers. On the table nearest the reception room someone has left an ebony bowl full of water, a lotus blossom floats on the surface. It breaks something inside of her to see the lotus on the water.
Jan Di walks as fast as the long gown will allow. The other guests glance askance as she moves swiftly through the lobby. Jan Di ignores the stares and the whispers.
"Hey! What were you expecting?" Jun Pyo's voice is so loud and clear, so normal, that Jan Di stops running away. She doesn't remember the last time he came after her and this time it's too late.
"Did you think this would last? That it would be forever?" Jun Pyo stops behind her, and she can feel the heat of him at her back. He shouts, recklessly ignoring the guests in the lobby. "Hey!" He takes her arm, forcing her to turn and face him. "Are you listening? What did you expect? This is not a fairy tale."
Jan Di won't look at him, her gaze settling past him to where Jae Kyung has followed. Where she nervously waits, her eyes wide and tear-filled. Poor Jae Kyung who fell in love despite herself and insisted on marrying a man who did not love her back.
"Let go," Jan Di says very softly so that only Jun Pyo can hear. "I know better than you what this is. I'm just a dry cleaner's daughter, remember?" Sliding her hand over his, Jan Di tries to pry his fingers away. "You're always the one letting me go. Well, this time there's no going back. Let go for good, Jun Pyo. Jae Kyung is waiting."
"That's all you can say to me? Let go for good? I know who you are." Jun Pyo's grip tightens. "You're the moon, remember? And I'm the star. I'm the star that will never let go of this moon. I've tried and I can't."
Jan Di blinks back the tears welling suddenly in her eyes. "This isn't a fairy tale and you're married now."
Another hand appears atop Jan Di's where it rests over Jun Pyo's, their fingers entwined.
"Jun Pyo, Jae Kyung is waiting." Jun Hee isn't dressed for the wedding. She is in a bathing suit and cover up, a wide brimmed hat shading her eyes. "Jun Pyo," she says. "It's time to let go now."
Jan Di still won't look at him, keeps her gaze locked on Jae Kyung in her wedding dress near the reception room doors instead. "Yes," she says. "It's time to let go."
"Jun!" Jae Kyung finally calls to him, her voice wavering.
Jun Pyo sighs at the ridiculous nickname, a sudden exhalation almost like laughter but heavy with disbelief and frustration. He tightens his grip on Jan Di's arm and shakes her slightly. "Hey," Jun Pyo says, his voice soft and thick, "I really didn't want to let you go."
"I know, but this isn't a fairy tale," Jan Di whispers, and Jun Pyo lets her go. He lets her go and turns away.
Into the hush, Jun Hee says her name softly, "Jan Di." Stepping closer, she places a hand on Jan Di's arm, over the same spot Jun Pyo clung to. "Jwesonghamnida."
Jan Di sighs, a sound between laughter and tears. "Is it enough to say sorry? Then why are there laws and police in this world?"
Jan Di steps back, one hand outstretched. She is hollowed out. She does not want to be held or consoled. If Jun Hee touches her, she's afraid that she might fly apart. Turning away, tears spill down Jan Di's pale cheeks.
When she can breathe again, Jan Di is on the cliffs, looking out over sky and water, at the far-distant point on the horizon where the two collide. She and Jun Pyo never quite managed to find that space, the place where they could be in the middle.
Jun Pyo is a prince of the air. Jan Di is a princess beneath the waves, that's the way to find the truth in this story. She can't hope to exist in the clouds. Somehow, at some point, she'd forgotten that.
The wedding reception is a long ways away and Jan Di can't hear the clink of silverware on translucent china plates. There is no chatter, no music, and no gentle laughter floating to where she stands overlooking the ocean. Here there is only the crash of the waves and the forlorn wail of the desolate wind. Ji Hoo-sunbae will be looking for her, maybe Ga Eul, but Jan Di can't seem to care. All she wants to do is swim until she can't see the shore, but she's not even allowed to do that.
"It's too tragic," Ji Hoo once said. Geum Jan Di is inclined to agree, but loving Gu Jun Pyo is like suffocating, and she is undone. This kind of ending was inevitable.
Jwesonghamnida - I'm sorry (polite, formal expression)