Chasing The Winter Moon ♥
Pairing: Moon Jae Shin / Goo Yong Ha (GeolRim fic) Post Sungkyunkwan Scandal
Overall Rating: Probably NC-17
Requested by: hoshiko_malfoy
Summary: Following an epic scandal at their university, two master scholars search for their own meaning of love.
Lesson One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen [lemon], Fifteen
Goo Yong Ha rarely went home. The travel to the family compound was easy enough, a short ride through the city to the other end of the hills but the lure to the Goo household was dim at best. Governed mostly by the women in his family, the compound offered Yong Ha little freedom; something he treasured as a necessity for his slightly wild lifestyle.
He felt his air constricting as soon as he saw the high walls of his family’s compound rise over the far hills of the capital’s river.
“This is what Geol Oh feels every day,” He muttered, trying to loosen the robes tied too tightly around his chest. “Like he cannot breathe.”
But it was for Geol Oh he made the journey.
The crisp snow laid a brilliant white sparkle on the surrounding evergreens, the bright pine scent filling the air as he was carried down the road towards the enormous estate. The compound’s sloping blue tiled roofs were similarly iced and the golden carved posts jutting out from the eaves hung heavy with slender icicles. It was a beautiful, breath-taking scene. Elegant and worthy of a king, the Goo estate was well known for its splendor, hospitality and comely residents.
A gilded cage for deadly venomous peacocks, Yeorim thought, as the tall wooden gates were thrown open to welcome him in. A compound filled with beautiful, delightful creatures; all dancing in attendance to their draconian queen.
The women descended on him as a swarm, prettily attired scorpions clattering their jeweled claws even before he stepped out of the litter. There were new faces, wives of lesser cousins he’d not met and the maturing faces of female relatives entering their womanhood, each bearing the family’s trademark beauty. Unable to hear himself over the chatter, he slowly moved through the throng, intent on reaching the smaller battalion of women standing at the upper steps of the compound, bowing slightly in welcome to every woman around him.
“Let the boy pass,” His eldest aunt separated from the cluster, her still black hair artfully arranged around her unlined, painted face. “You nip at his heels like a pack of dogs.”
Like many of the Goo women, his elder aunt preferred to dress in the style of his grandmother’s youth; elaborate wigs festooned with baubles to draw the eye to their attractive features. Their family’s wealth gave them access to fantastically dyed fabrics and delicate ornaments to frame their slender bodies, a luxury Yeorim took full advantage of himself.
He took the steps quickly, drawing himself up to his aunt’s side. Leaning in to kiss her cheek, he caught a whiff of cloves and powder and his lips creased her makeup slightly. “Hello, auntie.”
“Goo Yong Ha,” She murmured, clasping his shoulder gently. “It is lovely to see you. Even better if we saw you more often.”
“There is only so much poison one can sip and expect the body to withstand, Auntie,” He replied smoothly. “I fear my constitution would not be able to take much more than I already drink. Even for poison as sweet tasting as you.”
“Your smart mouth will be the end of you, little lotus,” She teased, gathering her skirts as she shooed away the other women. “Your grandmother waits for you.”
“Will my heart be able to take it?” Yong Ha murmured. Taking one last long look at the courtyard where his female relatives were systematically taking apart the piles of city-purchased delights he’d brought for them, he sighed and followed his aunt into the main house’s warm darkness.
The elderly woman waiting for him wore her years well. The delicate tremors in her hands could be explained away with the excitement at seeing her favourite grandson but Yong Ha knew better. Her nerves had been going for years and despite her tremendous will and stubbornness, her body was slowly betraying her age. The ebony wig on her head was shot with a delicate touch of silver, a nod to her years and the her hanbok jacket collar was high enough to mask the slight wobble of her neck, something Yong Ha assured her only added to her allure.
What man wouldn’t want to be seduced by such a delicate and experienced beauty? He’d once whispered into her ear when she drew him near for a kiss. She’d slapped at his hand for his nonsense but later that evening, one of her favourite rings was delivered to him by one of the servants, along with a note for him to have her in his heart; forever.
He wore that ring to this day.
“Goo Hee Young,” He greeted his grandmother, bowing at his waist.
She remained reclined on her chaise but held her hands out to him, urging him forward. “Grandson.”
“You are as beautiful as ever,” Yong Ha glanced about the room. “I see that you’ve banished your cackle.”
“I wanted time alone with you,” She murmured, coyly settling back into the cushions. Tucking her legs under her voluminous skirts, Hee Young gestured towards the kettle steaming on a brazier. “Pour some out for me, lotus.”
“I hate that name,” Yong Ha muttered but poured a serving from the kettle. The richness of a fine soju hit his nose and he grinned. “Does Auntie know you are drinking this?”
“What she does not know will not kill you,” Hee Young replied, motioning with her hand for him to serve her. “Get yourself a cup and sit down. Looking up at your great height is hurting my neck.”
“Yes, Grandmother,” He acquiesced, serving them both. Settling on the end of the chaise, he took a sip from the smooth liquor, astonished once more at the skill the woman had in acquiring the best of what the city had to offer. “This is good.”
“I am old.” She fixed him with a steely glare. “Do not waste my time with the nonsense prattle that society tells you to speak to an old woman. Tell me why you are here.”
“Can’t I just come to visit my beloved grandmother?”
“You could,” Hee Young sniped back. “But I would think less of you if you did. Not when the capital holds greater pleasures for you than this brooding estate does. We are a place of women here. Women you cannot touch. Why would you remain here when there are others that you can coo and tickle?”
“That’s… something I want to talk to you about.” Yong Ha refilled his cup, draining it quickly.
“Women?” Hee Young waved her empty cup at him, hissing at his slowness.
“No, Grandmother,” He replied, unable to meet her eyes. “Men.”
“Ah,” She drank the soju down with a practiced ease. Passing it back to her grandson, she reached over and touched the finger her ring sat on and said, “You should go talk to your uncle, Park Bae Jung. He is the one who can tell you about men.”
Searching for Bae Jung proved to be a chore. The place was a bastion full of women so most of the Goo men fled to the city and what little refuge a man would have in the compound was usually overrun by the younger children looking for someplace to hide from the plethora of maternal orders given from any number of females.
He found the man he was looking for in one of the store rooms, counting up supplies for the household. A quiet and stern-faced individual, Bae Jung still was considered by Yong Ha to be one of his favourite relatives; mostly because he seemed to be able to withstand practically anything Grandmother seemed to throw his way — an admirable trait among the Goo men.
“Hyung,” Yong Ha greeted the older, thin man, stepping carefully around containers of pickled vegetables. The redolent smell of food supplies tickled the scholar’s sense, a particular scent making his nose twitch. Unstopping a fermenting jar, he gagged slightly at the powerful smell of horseradish root and chili. “Who are they making this for? No one ever eats it.”
“Guests,” Bae Jung muttered, barely glancing up from his records. He crab-walked down the aisle, stopping at the next section of high shelves and began to verify its stores. “I did not know you were coming home, Yong Ha. A visit or did they send you back in disgrace?”
“Hardly disgrace.” Yong Ha carefully dusted off the flat top of the large horseradish kimchi urn and sat down on it, dangling his feet over its curved sides. “I’m a good student.”
“You are a great student only doing enough work to be a good student,” Bae Jung looked at the young man, peering over a pair of thin wire spectacles. Unlike other Goo men, he remained clean shaven; too smooth faced to wear the forty years he’d gained.
“The work doesn’t really matter,” He replied. “Only the civil servant test does. What you do before then is…nothing really. Just ways to show that you’re intelligent and witty. Not something I want someone to know about me. I’d rather they underestimate how smart I am and dismiss me as a threat. Life is better that way.”
“You are your Grandmother’s child,” Bae Jung intoned, returning to his book.
“Speaking of Grandmother,” Yong Ha said, smiling as he swung his legs. “She sent me to you.”
“It couldn’t have been to count rice bags,” He murmured. “The last time you helped me with our inventory, you got sick from the candied persimmons you ate while no one was looking.”
“I was six,” Yong Ha reminded him with a laugh. “What sane man expects a six year old boy not to eat all the persimmons?”
“The man who then had to clean up both ends of the six year old boy.” Bae Jung shook his head at the memory. “I can’t stand the smell of them any more.”
“I still love them.” The scholar laughed. “I’d probably eat them again and get sick but I’ll enjoy doing it.”
“Your Grandmother did not send you to me to talk about persimmons.”
“No,” Yong Ha sobered. “She sent me to talk to you about… men.”
“Men?” The older man quirked an eyebrow at the scholar and removed his spectacles to better see the young man’s somber expression. “You are having problems with men?”
“Just one.” He shrugged, unable to dissemble under the watchful eye of an uncle he’d always been honest with. “My Geol Oh.”
“Ah, so it is like that,” Bae Jung sighed heavily, putting the book down and rubbing at his face. “Grab a bottle from the shelf. This is a conversation men should have while drunk.”
“I just had four cups of soju with Grandmother.”
“If you can still walk, then you are not drunk enough for this talk,” Bae Jung replied, tucking his glasses into his sleeve pocket. “Get the bottle, Lotus and go sit by the fire pit.”
“I really hate that nickname,” Yong Ha muttered under his breath but he did as he was told, grabbing one of the lesser brews from the shelf and holding it up for his uncle to see so he could strike it from the books. “Should I bring cups with me?”
“Cups don’t hold enough,” He replied, stoking the fire to a healthy burn. Waving towards two thick wooden blocks, he sat down on one and waited for Yong Ha to perch on the other. “And you waste time refilling them.”
The first sip burned and Yong Ha coughed around the cheapness of the liquor compared to what his grandmother served. The milky fluid stung more going down and when it hit his belly, erupted into a ball of numb that spread out into his bones. After three mouthfuls, he passed it back to Bae Jung who drank heavily from it before leaning his hands on his knees.
“This… affection you have for the politician’s son, how strong is it?” Bae Jung asked, his voice as gruff as the crackling fire.
“Very,” Yong Ha replied then thought more. “Deadly so. It hurts not to be with him. And until recently, it hurt to be with him too.”
“So things have… changed?” His uncle regarded him with a steady gaze. “Be truthful with me, Lotus. How much are you… entangled with this boy?”
There were few times in Yong Ha’s life when honesty was his first choice. Now as Bae Jung quizzed him, his instincts whispered lies in his ear, suggesting all manner of supposition and deflection to keep his uncle from knowing the truth of his affections.
Swallowing, Yong Ha replied, “I am in love him. He is my life.”
“Moon Jae Shin!” Dae Min hurried to catch up with the scholar, nearly pushing a small group of students to the ground as he passed. Unable to match the man’s long-legged pace, he raised his voice nearly to a shout, disliking the brashness of the act but not willing to lose Jae Shin again that day.
Most of Dae Min’s morning had been taken up by avoiding Lee Sun Joon or his shadow, Kim Yoon Hee. Every step Dae Min took was soon mimicked by one or the other as if neither had anything better to do than to follow him through his classes. He’d finally found a gap through a crowd of students and dodged through it, spotting Jae Shin walking across the far side of the yard. If he sprinted, Dae Min thought, he’d be able to be at Jae Shin’s side before the other two knew he was missing.
He hadn’t counted on the man being so lost in thought that he couldn’t hear Dae Min shouting for him.
Jae Shin turned, his serious eyes keen and alert in his handsome face. Scanning the in-between class crowd, he spotted Dae Min and paused, waiting for the other man to catch up. Panting heavily, Dae Min drew up next to him, a wide grin plastered on his face.
“I wanted to come see how you were doing,” He huffed, pressing in on his side. The ache didn’t hurt as much as he pretended but the twinge he acted out brought a concerned glower to Jae Shin’s gaze.
“Are you hurt?” He reached for Dae Min’s robes then stopped before he could pull them up. Gripping the cloth tightly he examined the man’s face for any continued sign of pain. “You can run across the yard without breathing hard. Did something happen?”
“Some bruising,” Dae Min murmured, ducking his head. “From the other night when I was trying to get you home.”
Jae Shin drew back, alarmed at the thought. “Did I hurt you?”
“Not a lot,” Dae Min replied with a shake of his head. “It’s nothing. Just some bruising where you… stumbled…when I was trying to get you indoors.”
“Did Jung look at it?”
“I didn’t want to bother Professor Jung,” He said, shrugging off the injury as if it meant nothing. “He was busy with caring for you. This is minor. I was more concerned about how you were feeling.”
“Come, let’s take a look at least,” Jae Shin’s frown grew and he lightly pushed Dae Min towards the infirmary. “Jung is in class but I can take care of it.”
The infirmary was warm and out of the cold wind but despite the welcome heat, Dae Min shivered when he crossed the threshold. Hidden from Yoon Hee and Sun Joon, he’d be able to coax Jae Shin into at least a kiss, something he’d hungered for since that night at the tea house. His ribs ached from where he’d gotten Bon Hwa to pummel them, and the purple mottling was just starting to bloom over his side as if a deep bruising was beginning to surface.
He knew they’d done a good enough job when he heard Jae Shin hiss in sympathy.
“See?” Dae Min ducked, hiding his grin from Jae Shin’s watchful eyes. “It is nothing.”
“You are more purple than a plum,” He scolded. “Sit down on the examining table. I will go get some ice from outside. We should at least try to get the swelling down.”
Dae Min stripped off his upper robes, carefully arranging himself to his best advantage. While not as muscular as Jae Shin, he knew he was trim and lithe with long muscles carved firm from exercise. By letting the folds of his jacket fall from his shoulders, the deep blue of his scholar robes picked up on the bruises’ purpling tint, making them appear more vicious and painful on his pale skin. The cold air and excitement at Jae Shin’s hands on him pricked his nipples and Dae Min fought back a moan, having to bite his lip to keep from salivating when Jae Shin came back into the side hall.
The man’s swagger did him in, Dae Min decided. A knowing swivel of hips and the pressing forward of long legs thick with muscle made Dae Min’s mouth water. Jae Shin’s long hands and squared off fingers promised a deep sensuality as did the man’s full and passionate mouth. He moved to the side to grab a cloth to wrap ice in and Dae Min spotted the love mark he’d left on Jae Shin’s neck, its diminishing circle still vibrant and strong against the man’s golden toned skin.
“I shouldn’t have hurt you like this, Dae Min,” Jae Shin murmured, contrite as he ducked his head to examine the area. Carefully placing the wrapped ice on the man’s ribs, he soothed Dae Min when he hissed at the cold burn eating into his skin. “I am sorry. This… is my fault.”
“I don’t mind,” Dae Min replied, leaning forward to nuzzle slightly into the crook of Jae Shin’s throat, hoping the man would take the action as a friend needing support as his painful ribs were being prodded at. “I marked you as well.”
“Eh?” Jae Shin glanced up, his breath hot on Dae Min’s chest. Lightly touching the spot on his neck, he quirked his mouth into a grimace. “That was an accident.”
“Truthfully, hyung?” Dae Min held his breath, trembling as if he were frightened to speak. Jae Shin straightened up slightly, still close enough for Dae Min to feel his exhalations on his skin but far enough away for the man to see his eyes. Keeping the timbre in his voice to a shaky innocence, Dae Min confessed in a breathless whisper. “I wanted to… do that. I needed to.”
“Bite me?” Jae Shin’s head canting would have been frustrating if Dae Min hadn’t known of the man’s inexperience. “Why?”
“Because you asked me to,” Dae Min chanced a glance up through his lashes, inwardly pleased at Jae Shin’s stunned look. “And then… you wanted more… you asked me for more and I thought… I would die if I didn’t have the taste of you.”
“I…” Jae Shin stumbled back on his heels. “I couldn’t have…”
“We made…” Dae Min wondered how far he could push the other man. Jae Shin seemed on the edge of something, as if the confusion clouding his mind paralyzed him instead of merely giving him pause. “You wanted to make love to me. For us to… do things together.”
“But that’s impossible… I mean,” Jae Shin stammered, his mouth slightly open in shock.
“We were intimate, hyung,” Dae Min lied smoothly. “As intimate as a man and a woman are… as intimate as two men can be.”
“I couldn’t have…” His heart raced, pounding with an unfamiliar fear. “Yong Ha… I mean, Yong Ha…”
“You said Yong Ha didn’t matter.” Biting the inside of his lip, Dae Min forced his eyes to water as if he were on the verge of tears. “It was my name you were calling out, Jae Shin. When I kissed you….when I took you into my mouth… when you filled me with… your seed, it was my name on your lips. Not Yong Ha. Are you telling me now, that you love… him?”
“I just…” Jae Shin caught his breath into his chest, unable to comprehend what he’d done with Dae Min.
“You wanted me,” He said, reaching out to touch Jae Shin’s shoulder but he let his hand fall away, as if he were unfit to touch the man before him. “You told me so at the soju hall. You said you wanted to be with me…first. And that you wanted to learn how to pleasure me. And you did… pleasure me, hyung.”
He lifted his rear, slowly lowering the waistband of his pants to reveal long bruises, obviously made from a man’s hands, marking his hips and wrapping around to the front from the back. Bon Hwa’s hands were nearly as long as the restless scholars and Dae Min nearly beat his cousin about the head in order to get the marks right.
“I did this? To you?” Unable to breathe, Jae Shin was no longer sure of what he’d been told happened and the truth Dae Min appeared to be laying out before him. “And you let me?”
“I wanted it,” Dae Min whispered. “I wanted… I still want… you.”
“Dae Min…how can you want someone who does this to you? Who hurts you like this? How can you want me this way?”
“I would suffer anything to be with you,” Dae Min murmured, guessing Yong Ha had kept his involvement in Dae Min’s tea house ban to himself. “My father… knows about… how I feel… about men and when word reached him about you and I at the tea house, he made certain I could never go there again. I am forbidden to go to the one place where I feel safe…where I can live as a man without fear. Being here in Sungkyunkwan is the only thing that’s saving me from… his anger.”
“Dae Min,” Jae Shin murmured through his shock. His mind reeled at the thought of taking another man other than Yong Ha to his body… but the news of his involvement with Dae Min didn’t register to him as false. In anything, some part of his heart skipped a beat as if it caught on the truth and stumbled. “I don’t remember…”
“Being here with you is all I have left to me, Moon Jae Shin. Without you, I have nothing. I will be nothing.” Whispering softly, Dae Min masterfully played the card he knew would wrap Jae Shin around his heart. “If you turn me away, then everything I have done…everything I have given up… will be lost. Without you, there will be no one to protect me from my father and what he might do to a son that has disgraced him. Would you leave me to that? To that anger? To that hatred? A hatred born only from who I love? If so, then yes, I will gladly die from his beatings because if it is true, then you are not the man I fell in love with… and there is nothing…no one left to live for.”