This takes place some time shortly after the first chapter. I don't own these guys (sadly), just love the show.
"What to do… what to do," Yong Ha said as he paced his room, tapping his fan to his chin slowly. After another march across the wooden floor, he sighed as he crossed his arms and collapsed onto the floor in a sitting position. "Yong Ha, you knew this day would come. If only—Aishhh"
"Yeorim, come out already," A familiar voice called. "I know it takes you a long time to prepare, but you've had all morning."
"The ladies will still admire you no matter which outfit you choose," Another, much deeper voice called immediately after the first. He smiled, knowing them to be his friends Sun Joon, who he fondly called Ga-rung, and Yoon-Hee, formerly known as Daemul Kim Yoon Shik.
He stood up, taking in another breath to cast away his earlier worries and opened the door with his usual smile. As he closed his doors behind him, he bowed for a moment. "Good day, professors. My, what a lovely beard you have going on, Ga-rang." He looked to Yoon-Hee as he said, "I hope your wife approves, although I bet the students find it suspicious that she can't grow her own – do they still call you Professor Kim Yoon Shik? Have they seen you in women's clothes? I always wondered—"
"Ya, we're already late." Sun Joon exclaimed, his annoyance already showing, but with a hint of a smile. "We all know you're very crafty for figuring it out before everyone else."
"Today I am Yoon-Hee, Yong Ha," She smiled as her husband walked off to lead them the street of Yong Ha's home he had shared with his friend, Jae Shin – passing many ginsaeng as they laughed and teased in his direction.
Yong Ha took to walking at her pace, examining her in her female garb. "I would have to agree." He winked. Sun Joon stopped for a moment and turned to cast him a warning glance. Yong Ha raised his eyebrows and fan, "Oh, don't be so touchy, even if you are Ga-rang."
His false huff made Yoon-Hee laugh. They continued on their walk, talking of little things while following Sun Joon continued to lead them silently. He was glad for the distraction, to be honest. He really wasn't looking forward to the upcoming event, even if he had been dressed perfectly for it.
The small group was greeted warmly at the doors by severing men and maids, each bowing to the trio and gesturing them inside. Sun Joon took his wife's arm, leaving Yong Ha alone for a moment. He grimaced, really wishing he would have invited the ginsaeng along even though he was specifically forbidden, then followed his friends.
The three made their way through the crowd of attendants, greeting those they knew from the university, (many gawking at Yoon-Hee and then muttering that they thought she was someone else,) or others from outside in their job field. Sun Joon led Yoon-Hee to a table after a few more questionable glances from their old friends, leaving Yong Ha alone again. He sighed, glancing around through the crowd hopefully as he fidgeted with his fan, and then decided to join his friends, playing his smile up again.
Just as Sun Joon was about to take a drink, Yong Ha lifted it from his hands as he took the seat across from him. With a dramatic sigh, he drank the cup and placed it lightly on the table, "Ahhh, I'm so unfortunate – there are no ladies here as beautiful as your Yoon-Hee."
Sun Joon only poured himself another cup, sighing as his wife hid her laugh behind her sleeve once more. She never seemed to be bothered by Yong Ha, so Sun Joon could only say nothing since past experience told him that speaking against the Yoerim's flirtatious side did not bode well and would only lead to more provocative teasing.
"Professor Lee Sun Joon," A voice spoke from another table, a very lively one from the sound of it. Yong Ha looked around to see a drunken older man waving. "Join us for a moment, Professor."
Sun Joon gave his companions a nod and then went to join the older man, his back to his friends now. Yong Ha looked from Sun Joon's back to Yoon-Hee's smiling face. "What? Just as surprised that he left us alone?"
"Yeorim you may be, but he trusts you," She took another sip of her drink, a smile in her eyes.
"Tsk, tsk, that won't do – the Daemul I know wouldn't take little sips like that," He refilled her half-full glass. "I need a drinking partner today – do you feel up to it, eh Daemul?"
"Yong Ha," She studied him for a moment, and then looked around at the others – noticing that they were not paying attention to them. Smiling brightly, she nodded.
They had a few more shots before Yoon-Hee slammed her glass down, already feeling quite tipsy, looking at Yong Ha firmly. "Something is bothering you, Yong Ha. You may be tricky, but not today."
"Ah, you caught me then," He tapped his fan to his cheek, holding his cup loosely with his other hand. His eyes scanning the tables once more, not exactly feeling the alcohol he had consumed. If he hadn't been distracted, he would have noticed this, but instead he sighed and stood. "I'm going to go out to clear my head, but don't you worry – your Yeorim will return shortly - hopefully with a little more entertainment to liven up this party."
With his smile and a wink, he danced off towards the exit in his usual manner – trying to pretend for Yoon-Hee's sake at least. After going through the gate, he decided to head into town – the further away, the better, he thought as he bounced. Rounding the corner to a bordering home, he ran smack into someone.
"My apologies, sir—" Smiling, he was waving his fan in an act of contrition and bowing – never had he been so distracted as to run into someone – until he realized who it was. "Ya, Geol Oh! Wait…"
Yong Ha pulled on his friends clothes, the usually tattered black clothes he wore when not working as the Minister of War's guardman, with a quirked eyebrow. "Aren't you forgetting something? Ah, I know – coming to see Goo Yong Ha for advice on what to wear." He winked, and then furrowed his brow. "I could have sworn I sent you something – but not to worry! You lead me to my shop from here and I'll set you up. I can't help you with a horse though, friend."
"Ya!" Jae Shin said after a moment of listening to his friend prattle on in his usual manner, looking away from him in exasperation. "You talk too much."
Yong Ha pouted his lips, "Aish, I'm only trying to be helpful. This is an important day, I was told."
Jae Shin rolled his eyes and crossed his arms.
"Ah, I see," Yong Ha slapped his fan against his friend's arm with two pats. "I have just the trick, my friend."
He placed his arm around Jae Shin's shoulders and escorted him away from the building he had been approaching with little resistance.
"Do you have any idea where you're going?" Jae Shin asked after turning another corner, brushing his friend's hand off his shoulder.
"Of course," Yong Ha smiled and indicated a bar sign with the flowing of his robes as he extended his right arm. With a wink, he announced his usual, "I'm Goo Yong Ha after all."
"There's no time for drinking," Jae Shin dismissed Yong Ha's eager gestures with a backward wave of his hand.
"Shame, shame. There is always time for drinking. Besides, you're going to need some excuse for your constant hiccups," Yong Ha said offhandedly as he ordered some wine and took a seat close to the exit. Jae Shin gave up and took the seat across from him, causing him to smile as he handed his friend a cup. "I knew you couldn't refuse."
They quietly drank a couple of shots together for a while after Yong Ha took the bottle from Jae Shin and started pouring for both of them to prevent his friend from downing the entire contents at once. Finally Yong Ha proposed over his laced fingers in a playful tone, "If you honestly don't want to go through with today, we could always run away together."
Jae Shin stared at Yong Ha, shocked at the audacity of his friend, and then he scoffed as he reached for the bottle. "What nonsense."
"You break my heart sometimes," Yong Ha pouted, his cheek pressed to his fist as grabbed the bottle Jae Shin had reached for and poured himself another cup. He sat up and looked at Jae Shin. "You should have expected that today would come, my friend. You did accept the engagement proposal."
Jae Shin only took another shot and looked to the sky. "I cannot make a habit of denying my father's wishes five times like some Yeorim I know."
"I could not give away my heart when it belongs to someone, like a Goel Oh I know," Yong Ha's voice remained as offhanded as ever, but he couldn't control his passive expression when his eyes met Jae Shin's. The statement could have had two sides, but his long time friend saw right through it.
Yong Ha was about to laugh off the comment when his friend stood up abruptly. Without another word to Yong Ha, Jae Shin turned and left. Finally feeling the pain he'd been holding inside as he watched his friend disappear from view, he took a drink from the bottle and sighed.
"Goo Yong Ha, is that you," A pretty voice called out after a moment. He turned slowly to see the ginsaeng making her way towards him. "I went by your district, but the merchants said you were out for the day."
Her words felt hallow to him, as if they were far away. He managed a smile as she sat down next to him. He didn't know what he had said, but she continued talking as if engaged while pouring his next drink for him and holding it out for him. He absently took it, trying to think of anything besides what had happened just moments ago.
"—fabrics without your approval since you are the best in the market," He realized that she was complimenting him. He managed another fake smile, a little stronger than the last. "Since Cho Seon stepped down and removed herself from the registry, we are all competing for her title – even though she appointed Min Hi as head. I came to warn you that many ginsaeng will be vicious in requesting your aid. Do you think your body can handle that?"
Typically this would have been an ideal situation to be in for Yong Ha, and he realized it at that moment. Perhaps it was time to take his own advice and never look to his ten-year best friend again. The thought made his heart ache, but gave him more strength to smile at this flirtatious girl. She was still new, he could tell, but she was doing pretty well with her wording. He took her soft face in his hand, meeting her eyes with his liquid ones, and spoke velvet, "If you choose to take Cho Seon's place, then you are off to a good start – but she would never initiate such matters without further provocation. You need to learn to hold your information to yourself until prodded well. Ginsaeng must use charm to provoke the men into desiring their information."
The girl blanched for a moment, but recovered quickly from his sudden scoff and removal of his touch. "I know your reputation as Yeorim, so I expected there would not be much battle of wills."
"Ah, another tip for you, then – never be directly honest. Master your words to hide the meaning so that way you are not held responsible," Yong Ha rubbed his index finger along the rim of his empty cup with a smirk playing on his lips. "One such as you must never directly insult the man who could offer her assistance – in more ways than one."
His glance up to meet her eyes caused her to turn away with a small smile as her cheeks reddened. "Sir, I must try harder."
Yong Ha looked up at the sky, wondering if he should head back now. This silly girl had already bore him, even so much that she wasn't a good distraction. He needed someone more unpredictable and secluded. His mind immediately went to who he had secretly loved – the one who he had to lie for constantly by continuing to meet with women otherwise it would have been too suspicious.
"It seems it is going to rain, Master Yong Ha – your fine garments will surely be damaged if you are caught in it," The girl had turned her gaze up as well as he was lost in thought. She looked over her shoulder towards him. "Shall I escort you home?"
"If I'm not mistaken, and I never am when it comes to clothes, then you would also be in the same predicament considering you are wearing some of my merchandise." He said with a sly smile as he tipped his hat to her. "Much better at sending a message indirectly, fine lady. However, I must decline for this evening. I have prior arrangements. Please tell the girls to stay indoors when you return – it wouldn't suit me for any of you beautiful women to get ill."
The girl blushed once more as Yong Ha had reached out to caress her cheek with the backside of his hand, feeling hallow on the inside as he ever had with his touch. She resisted making a comment that was eager on her face; instead she recomposed herself and allowed a small smile and nod. She stood and bowed, then headed back towards her home without another word. Yong Ha watched admiringly, "Fast learner, but still only a novice. I wish you well in achieving Cho Seon's high rank."
The sun was lowering in the sky, Yong Ha noticed as he made his way back. He sighed once more as he clasped his hands behind his back, making his way much more slowly than before, "It's almost time."
He reentered the gates to see that more people had appeared to join in the festivities. Many of the guests were already drunk and merry for the upcoming events, already preparing the celebrational events. He spotted his friends after a moment, trying to recall his vigor with each step he took.
As he approached the table, he heard cheers from the gates. He turned to see people flooding to line the pathway towards the main house. Moments later, Yoon-Hee was at his side with a hand on his shoulder and smile. She seemed to be slightly more sober than she was when he left her. Soon Jun also approached him with a nod. He smiled back as easily as ever, and averted his eyes towards the gates as his friends did, hearing the horse galloping closer as the rain started to fall heavily, feeling his heart match that sporadic rhythm.
Suddenly, the cheers turned into sounds of confusion and an angry uproar. The trio standing under shelter looked around the gathered people, but could not see what caused the problem until the horseman came into view. Yong Ha and Yoon-Hee stood on their tip-toes to get a better look.
"Where is Moon Jae Shin?" Soon Jun, who was tallest, asked aloud what the other two had thought. Yoon-Hee looked to him in bewilderment and then back to this stranger. Yong Ha examined this man and noticed that the horseman was wearing the clothes he'd given his friend earlier that week. Relief washed over him, causing him to even laugh shortly as he looked away from the scene in thought.
"Yong Ha?" Yoon-Hee asked with the confused expression still on her face.
"That jerk, I knew those measurements were too short," Yong Ha said to himself with the first genuine smile he'd felt all day, pressing his thumb to his bottom lip to keep himself from smiling too much. He silently laughed once again and then looked to his confused friend. "I had heard that the bride-to-be was in love with another man who could not afford her father's demands. Goel Oh must be playing matchmaker to get out of this marriage."
"He is staying on the good side of his father and not insulting the bride by doing it this way," Soon Jun agreed as he continued observing. The bride was now beside herself in joyous tears as she greeted the man she wanted to marry. "It seems that he still deserves his rebellious school nickname after all."
"I wonder if that's the only reason…" Yoon-Hee said quietly as she hid her smile behind a sleeve, glancing up at Yong Ha – who appeared to be watching the couple.
"I suppose we should all return to work since we know neither the bride nor groom as things turned out this way," Yong Ha said merrily, placing his arms around his friends and walking towards the alternate exit with them, not minding the rain that coated the group in the slightest.
Once they were outside of the gates, Soon Jun took Yoon-Hee from under Yong Ha's arms, causing him to laugh and bid them farewell – commenting about meeting up with a woman he had seen while he was out. Soon Jun shook his head and headed off, but Yoon-Hee remained behind for a moment.
"What is it, Daemul?" He bowed down to her level, facing her closely with his usual mischievous grin. "Regretting getting married after seeing another one of your friends evade the evil sentence?"
"He is lucky that he met my criteria, otherwise …" She made a waving motion, causing Yong Ha to look towards her husband – who, in turn, cast her a glance back. She flustered and then smiled. "Good luck, Yong Ha. I hope you find someone who makes you as happy as I am tonight."
She then followed the street her husband had started up as Yong Ha considered her words. He watched as she locked arms with him, which he released himself from, and then laughed at her expression and retook her arm. Yong Ha smiled to himself as he watched them tease one another, and then set off towards his home in much better spirits than he left.
Sitting with his favorite group of ginsaeng as the rain poured down outside, now in fresh dry linens provided by the women while his clothes were dried, Yong Ha felt as if his world was back in place. He paid for their meals, company, drinks, and service to distract any other wrong thoughts he'd been having since the wedding ended. The ginsaeng retold what they had heard concerning the aftermath of that same wedding – the groom left the presents, as he should, and took the woman to his home without any further consent from the father besides a defeated nod.
"He proclaimed 'if these gifts were all you valued your daughter for, then I shall take her as my own, father,'" One ginsaeng told the others in an excited manner. They all laughed at her reflection of the father's expression as one poured Yong Ha another cup of wine.
"Very audacious of him," One tsked in disapproval. "He has outcast his wife from the family."
"Are you so concerned with family," Another countered with a quick smile. The disapproving girl smiled and shook her head.
"Master Yong Ha, you understand us at least," They all turned to face him, pleasurable smiles on their pretty faces. "You seek pleasure where you want it – enough so to leave your own father's home and live with your friend."
"No, no, you're being too forward," A familiar voice made them all turn, including Yong Ha, to see the girl he had given lessons to earlier. She took the head ginsaeng Min Hi's available seat directly across from Yong Ha, meeting his eyes as she bowed down. "Why do you spend time with us frivolous ladies, Master Yong Ha? You are far too noble for the lowly sect of gossiping ginsaeng before you."
Yong Ha tsked with a smirk, "Another lesson – know your customer: I detest being called noble, even if it is not in reference to the class."
This woman almost looked angry at his insult, but composed herself well under the watchful eyes of the many women surrounding the man she was growing to despise. The moment she let her anger become compressed, he had already charmed his way back into her heart by complimenting her in a very smooth, but zealous manner. He knew from her expression that she would easily accept him into her arms for the night.
After midnight, Yong Ha found himself back in his own clothes, outside of his home once again. He yawned and stretched, preparing himself before opening the gate door. Considering he spent the entire night not thinking about Jae Shin, he wondered now how best to approach the topic.
"Ya, idiot," He heard from his right, turning to see Jae Shin fresh out of the bathhouse.
"Goel Oh, were you so worried about me that you couldn't sleep," He danced over to his friend and draped an arm around his bear shoulder. "It isn't like to you to wash yourself this late at night. If you would have waited, then I could have helped."
"I couldn't stand the smell of alcohol on you," Jae Shin shrugged him off. Yong Ha chuckled at that comment, thinking of how ironic it was to hear that from him.
"You're right, you're right," Yong Ha waved him off and headed towards the bathhouse himself. He paused and turned, seeing Jae Shin walking off towards his bedroom. "How rude – not even going to offer to help one who just offered assistance to you."
He smiled as he continued to the bathhouse, finding himself happy to see Jae Shin alone. He thought perhaps he would not be coming back here at all tonight, and was surprised that he hadn't considered the fact that Jae Shin never mentioned that he would have to move out. Knocking himself on the head once, he thought I must be getting off beat, being in love with someone… Ah, Yong Ha…
As if nothing had happened, he invited himself in Jae Shin's room to find him lying on the floor, seemingly asleep. His time living here had told him that he could very well still be awake. Tiptoeing over to his friend as quietly as possible, he felt endearment as he kept his eyes on Jae Shin, even with his smile playing on his lips.
He kneeled next to his potentially sleeping friend, admiring his moonlit face as he had so many times before since he came to live with him. As he reached out to quench his desire to touch him, to make sure he was really there alone and not married, Jae Shin grabbed his wrist. He opened his eyes and looked up to see Yong Ha's questioning expression. "You would let me get married?"
"That was not a very nice way to test me," Yong Ha pouted. Jae Shin rolled his eyes, but did not release his lover's wrist. Yong Ha caught his attention again by placing his other hand on Jae Shin's, speaking sincerely, "I would protect you, even if that meant having to go back to hiding my feelings for you."
Jae Shin considered this, understanding since he felt the same way. Deciding instantly, as his usual methods, he pulled Yong Ha by the wrist he held so that he fell onto his chest just as he released him. He placed that hand on Yong Ha's back; looking up at the ceiling, he spoke causally, "My father will be hesitant to make any more arrangements since I freely gave away his belongings to a stranger."
Yong Ha's eyes lit up, lifting his head to look at Jae Shin in amazement, he teased, "You planned all of today's events without me knowing."
Jae Shin smirked and lightly pushed Yong Ha's head back down so his cheek rested on his chest once more. Feeling appreciation mixed with his natural happiness for being this close to Jae Shin, he reached up to twirl his finger in Jae Shin's loose hair absently. "Jae Shin, do you honestly love me that much? I am so flattered to have—"
He was silenced from his prattle by Jae Shin's sudden upward movement, lifting him easily to kiss him. Their lips met softly, but turned into ardent longing that was shared between the two during every kiss. Yong Ha found himself in Jae Shin's warm embrace when they parted. He was about to speak when Jae Shin broke across him again by caressing his face and taking in ever aspect, "I do. Love you, Goo Yong Ha."
Feeling a warmth take over his entire heart, Yong Ha wrapped his arms around Jae Shin's neck, smiling devilishly. "How could you resist?"
Jae Shin smirked as he sighed, pressing his hand between the two of them to break off from Yong Ha's grasp. Yong Ha reached back for him without hesitation and pulled him closer. He whispered softly against Jae Shin's ear, "I've always loved my rebellious Goel Oh."
With the last syllable of the sentence, he brushed Jae Shin's neck with his finger tips and kissed the tip of the ear he had whispered into, feeling his love's body shiver. Acknowledging that Jae Shin did not push him away after this as he typically would, Yong Ha let his finger slide into the collar of Jae Shin's robes, feeling them flow off of his love's shoulders and allowing more room for Yong Ha's tender kisses as the pair fell to the floor together in elevating passion.