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, Sixteen
“He is a fucking liar! Does he want to die? Because we can kill him! I will be very happy to kill him.”
Goo Yong Ha watched Yoon Hee pace back and forth through Jae Shin’s room, waving her arms about as she shouted furiously. Lounging on the pile of cushions he’d smuggled in when Jae Shin was ill, he kept out of the way of her path, moving his stocking foot when it looked like she was going to tread on it.
Sun Joon ducked into the room, bowing his head in an abject apology to Yong Ha after he glanced at Yoon Hee. The scholar visibly was uncomfortable with the stream of invectives pouring from his fiancé’s mouth but her heavy-footed pace and wild, frantic gesticulations gave him pause. Yong Ha took pity on him and patted at the cushions, twisting his mouth into a sardonic grin when the younger man scurried over and sat down out of the way.
“How long has she been going on like this?” Sun Joon whispered.
“A few minutes,” Yong Ha replied in a low voice. “She started right after I asked her if she’d seen Geol Oh. Have you seen him? Do you know what she is ranting about?”
“No…” Sun Joon glanced at the man next to him. “I mean, I wasn’t…”
“You are as predictable as the stars, Lee Sun Joon,” Yong Ha murmured, wishing he’d grab a soju bottle from across the room before Yoon Hee set up her warpath. “Does this have to do with Dae Min?”
Another imperceptible wince confirmed Yong Ha’s suspicions. The usurper definitely had something to do with Yoon Hee’s mood and Jae Shin’s absence. He was tired and worn out from traveling to his home and back to the university, with an extra dose of cold from being exposed to the wintery winds when the litter flaps failed to keep the icy chill out. The last thing Yong Ha wanted to deal with was Dae Min and his clumsy machinations.
“Where is the insect now?”
Sun Joon pursed his lips in displeasure. “I suspect at the dining hall. He eats with the second group, usually.”
“And I hope he chokes,” Yoon Hee interjected, spitting with rage.
“Have you come down from your mountain long enough to tell me what happened?” Yong Ha asked, tugging on the edge of the woman’s robe. “Or must I deduce it from your mad ravings?”
“Dae Min!” Yoon Hee gestured into the air as if the man’s name was enough for Yong Ha to glean out past events. Taking a deep breath, she calmed herself long enough to mutter. “We found him…half naked and… pawing at Jae Shin in the infirmary.”
“Mostly naked, really,” Sun Joon murmured. “He’d pulled his pants down around his hips.”
“And where was my Geol Oh?” Yong Ha’s amicable smile whispered away, leaving none of his humour behind. Yoon Hee paced off, muttering to herself again so the older scholar turned to Sun Joon, piercing him with an uncompromising gaze. “Where was he?”
“A few feet away,” The man replied, meeting his friend’s glare. “He wasn’t near enough to Dae Min to touch him.”
“Tell him about the… markings!” Yoon Hee grumbled. “Tell him what we saw.”
“Markings?” Yong Ha’s eyebrows rose. “What markings? Where?”
“On his hips, there were… handprints. Bruises. And more on his ribs; as if someone punched him there.” Sun Joon said. “I…came in just as Dae Min claimed Jae Shin put them there.”
“Tell him the rest of it. Tell him about what Dae Min said happened between them.”
Staring up at his fiancé, Sun Joon wished she’d be more discreet, especially considering the murderous look on Yong Ha’s face. Clearing his throat, he said, “Dae Min inferred that they were intimate. That they’d coupled. That the marks on his body were from Jae Shin’s hands.”
“Really?” The swoop of Yong Ha’s eyebrows grew more pronounced and for the first time he could remember, Sun Joon felt a tingle of apprehension with regards to the man sitting next to him. The lazy hedonist was gone; replaced by a fierce and cunning predator. “My Geol Oh?”
“That is what he inferred.” Sun Joon murmured, bowing his head slightly.
“He did more than infer,” Yoon Hee growled. “He flat out said they did.”
“And my Geol Oh?” Yong Ha’s voice was deathly quiet and still, bringing Yoon Hee’s pacing to an immediate halt and Sun Joon wondered if he’d need to protect his love from the storm that was brewing deep inside of the slender man. “What of him?”
“He left,” The scholar replied, grabbing at Yoon Hee’s shin before she could take a step forward. “Moon Jae Shin left the infirmary without saying another word and we’ve not seen him since.”
Jae Shin’s breath misted hot in the air and he cupped his hands over his mouth, hoping to warm his fingers. The thick robes he’d put on to keep out the daytime cold were no match for the wintery evening but the boiling buzz in his head had yet to subside. His soul burned; as hot inside of him as it was cold out and he knew he wouldn’t be able to return to the university as long as his mind and heart raged.
Every time he blinked, he saw the marks on Dae Min’s pale flesh. The bruises he’d supposedly made were wicked-looking and painful but his hands ached at the thought of hurting a man that deeply; especially a man he said he’d loved. Curling up around his knees, Jae Shin stared out into the city, tucked under the eaves of a high rooftop and once more, tried to untangle his thoughts.
You told me you loved me. Dae Min had said. You said my name. Not Yong Ha’s. Mine.
“Is this true?” Jae Shin chewed on his upper lip, cracking at the chap from the bitter cold. The sour bitter of his own torn flesh gave him comfort, a justification for the pain he’d inflicted on Dae Min’s body…and possibly his heart. “Would I have told him I loved him? Do I love him? How can I when… Yong Ha…”
The shift of clay tiles jerked Jae Shin from his thoughts and he straightened, ready to defend himself against an intruder. A shambling mound of fur slithered across the flat surface of the pestle and he jerked away from it, unsure if he should draw his knife or merely kick it off of the rooftop. A familiar but hatless head rose up behind the fur and Jae Shin smiled tightly despite the intrusion, especially when the man’s mocking grin bringing an embarrassed tinge to Jae Shin’s cheeks.
“You thought that was a kumiho,” Yong Ha teased, hooking his leg up over the tile and fitting his foot firmly on the roof to leverage himself up. Reaching out with one hand, he wiggled his fingers to his friend. “Help me up.”
“Not if you’re going to come up here to scare me.” Jae Shin gathered up the furs before he grabbed Yong Ha’s hand, letting the man dangle for a moment before pulling him into the dubious shelter he’d taken from the cold. “What are you doing here?”
“I noticed your first question was not; how did I know you were here,” Yong Ha muttered, shivering as he unfolded the furs, holding up one end for Jae Shin to burrow under with him. The young man hesitated, chewing at his lip again and Yong Ha sighed irritably. “Punish yourself later. For now, get under here and help keep me warm. Unlike you, I don’t have a hot enough temper to keep the ice from my blood.”
Yong Ha frowned when he felt Jae Shin’s chilled limbs next to his. Ice crystals clung to the mans’ clothes, immediately melting when they came into contact with Yong Ha’s warmer body and the melt-off dampened the underside of the furs. Shivering through clenched teeth, Jae Shin shifted his weight, lodging himself up against the roof’s curved niche to leave Yong Ha the majority of the space to nestle into.
“How did you know I was here?” Jae Shin ducked his head under the fur’s edge, blowing into his hands again to relieve the numbness in his fingers.
Yong Ha sighed and pulled the heavy covers up over them, hooking its ends over the eave tip to create a small fur-lined tent to capture the combined warmth of their bodies. A small collapsible lantern near their feet took a moment to unfold and Yong Ha busied himself with lighting the tiny votive inside. The light was barely enough to see in but Yong Ha decided it was enough for what he needed to do.
“Open your mouth first.” Yong Ha ordered. Undoing the flat-leather bag slung over his chest, he unstoppered the end of its teardrop shape and squeezed it, lightly spraying the liquid inside past Jae Shin’s parted lips. The man coughed, choking slightly on the rough alcohol but finally swallowed and pointed at the bag.
Coughing harder, Jae Shin sputtered, “What is that?”
“The bag is called a bo-tah. One of my uncles got it from one of the Portuguese traders,” Yong Ha held it up for the man to drink from again. “What is inside of it is the disgusting cheap soju you keep stashed in your room. I’m surprised your stomach doesn’t have a hole in it from drinking this stuff.”
“It’s good enough,” Jae Shin muttered, snagging the lantern up off the roof flat to shove it up behind them into a niche between the eave and roof slope. The lantern side crumpled a bit as Jae Shin fitted it into place but the light remained steady, a watery golden glow through the panels of rice paper.
“And my delightful grumpy horse…” Yong Ha gulped quickly from a stream of soju, pulling a face at its taste. “I knew you were here because this is where you always come when you’re feeling…insecure about yourself.”
Yong Ha knew where to look. There was no second choice, really. After he’d gathered up the thick furs and filled the bota with soju, he’d instructed the couple to go back to their studies, stealthily sliding the book he’d gotten from a South Asian merchant into Yoon Hee’s hands. A quick kiss on the girl’s shocked mouth and he was off, determined to find his Jae Shin and knock some sense into him.
They’d found the birds’ nest on this particular rooftop, Jae Shin’s little bit of comfort wrapped around feathers and sticks. Yong Ha couldn’t count the number of times they’d scaled the sloped tiles, certainly more than two hundred at least in the past ten years but each time they did, he was always amazed at how the sheer wonder of the view transformed his friend’s face.
It was the same look Jae Shin had on his face when he smiled at Yong Ha.
“Did you talk to…”
“Yoon Hee…” Yong Ha laughed when Jae Shin glowered at their speaking on top of one another. He handed the bota to his friend who mastered the slow squeeze of the leather much quicker than Yong Ha had. “You first, Geol Oh.”
“I am guessing you spoke to Yoon Hee and Sun Joon?” Jae Shin asked around a mouthful of soju. He couldn’t look at Yong Ha, not directly although the flirt could see the dark sparkle of Jae Shin’s eyes through his lashes.
“I did,” Yong Ha admitted. “I did not, however, seek out Dae Min to punch in his head until his brains bled out but I will have to do so before bed, I think. I will sleep better that way and it will save me time in the morning, time I could use for eating breakfast.”
Jae Shin fell silent, trapped under the weight of his emotions. The soju in his mouth turned sour and ashen, not strong enough to wash away the anguish inside of him but potent enough to numb his throat.
“I… don’t know what happened that night. He said… I touched him. Had sex with him…”
“What do your instincts tell you?”
“That I betrayed you…somehow,” Jae Shin mumbled, picking at a spot on his boot where a dribble of wax stained the leather. “I… feel something for him. I do.”
Yong Ha closed his eyes to ward off the pain of Jae Shin’s words but they struck with deadly accuracy, pricking through his resolve to embed barbed prongs into his heart. “Do you… want him?”
“Like I want you?” Jae Shin sighed, wishing he could part the furs to get fresh air and a glimpse of the city sparkling under its icy blanket but Yong Ha’s dislike of cold was well known and he’d never hear the end of the man’s complaining. “No, not like I want you. It’s different with you. Warmer. Like I’m breathing in the sun. Dae Min is just… someone I could speak to about… lessons or teachings. No, not like I want you.”
“There has been… a lot of change in your life these past months, Geol Oh,” Yong Ha ventured. “Our lives are not our own to live. We are a part of a larger thing… and there are these people… more people than you have had before… in your life; people you care for where there were none. All of them are big changes.”
“Are you saying I can’t adapt to change?” He grumbled.
“No, I am saying that you give your heart freely once it is open.” Yong Ha moved closer to his lover, leeching off the man’s body heat.
“So I am gullible.”
Yong Ha thought on the word then nodded. “Yes. You are, especially where people are concerned.”
Jae Shin was reaching for the fur to toss it off of them when Yong Ha stopped him. Glowering at his friend, he stared the young, slender man down, his pride roughened by Yong Ha’s honesty.
“Listen to me, Geol Oh, before you go sliding down the roof to your death.” He tugged Jae Shin, planting the man back down.
Sullen, Jae Shin hunched over and made a grab for the half-full bota, sloshing a mouthful down before he looked up at Yong Ha. “Talk fast.”
“One of the things I love about you is your sincerity,” Yong Ha smiled when Jae Shin eyeballed him from under his bangs. “You love deeply, Jae Shin. Wholly, fully and without reservation. Because your spirit is pure and your heart is good, you think everyone is like you.”
“People are dishonest, despicable creatures.”
“People you don’t trust…yes. Most of them are,” Yong Ha agreed, sliding his hand under Jae Shin’s robe sleeve and touching the warm skin beneath. “The person Dae Min presented to you… yes, that is someone you would love. Is that his real face? No but you would not know it so I can excuse you that but think less of him for playing games with your heart. Would you think he was manipulating you? No, that would never cross your mind.”
“Why would he manipulate me? What is there to gain?” Jae Shin shifted, unable to bring himself to break off contact with Yong Ha but his legs needed to be stretched out.
Maneuvering around, Yong Ha moved around until he found himself sitting in the crux of Jae Shin’s thighs, his back resting against the man’s flat, hard stomach. Inhaling the man’s fresh rain and citrus scent, he sighed and smiled when Jae Shin’s arms came up to wrap around his chest.
“You are to gain, my innocent Geol Oh,” Yong Ha whispered, craning his head to kiss at Jae Shin’s forearm. He ran his lips over the fine hair growing there, taking a quick nibble at the man’s wrist bone before getting bit himself on the back of the neck by Jae Shin’s sharp teeth. “You are the prize in this game. Well, in his game.”
“And you? Do you have a game?”
“Once more, I ask you… what do your instincts tell you?”
His heart quickened at Yong Ha’s touch and when the man’s lips once more ghosted over his skin, he felt himself growing hard and hot, despite the cold air outside. With Yong Ha’s rear nestled against him, his body fit into the man’s crevice snugly as if he belonged there. It felt right to have Yong Ha lying against him… fitting into him and Jae Shin knew that if their positions were reversed, he’d feel the same comfort in his belly and heart as he did now.
“My instincts…” Jae Shin cocked his head and his cheek brushed against the softness of Yong Ha’s pulled back hair. He rested his forehead against the back of the man’s head, inhaling the soft scent of Yong Ha’s body. He knew that smell, the taste of sweet spiciness in the air he’d always associated with his best friend. His hands itched to have the man naked underneath him, to explore the depths of Yong Ha’s body and in return, lay himself bare to Yong Ha’s tongue and fingers explore him in return.
“They tell me… I am yours,” He whispered, feeling the pressure drop away from his chest and for the first time since he fled Sungkyunkwan, he took an easy breath.
“Then you are,” Yong Ha replied, once more kissing the back of Jae Shin’s hand. “No matter what Dae Min says… or what he tries to make you believe happened, your heart is pure enough…rich enough in the truth to know what really happened. I am not saying that you were tempted — or that you didn’t come close to being with him — because he is pretty, you were sad and I hurt you so deeply I will spend eternity trying to apologize. You are human, just like the rest of us but do I believe in my soul that you lay with him? No, my Geol Oh, I do not believe you had sex with him.”
“How can you be so sure?” Jae Shin buried his face into Yong Ha’s soft hair. “How can you be so sure when I’m not certain myself.”
“Because I’ve seen you bloom underneath my mouth and I’ve watched when pleasure takes you,” He laughed. “It’s like seeing the sunrise over the mountains and river for the first time or when you look up to the moon and it is surrounded by a lacy ice from the clouds. I would know if the sun rose twice in a day just as I would know if you’d taken pleasure from someone else. You are sun. You are my winter moon. You exist in no one’s sky but my own because that is who you are. You wouldn’t betray your heart any more than I could betray mine once I discovered it really belonged to you.”
“I do not… believe I lay my hands on him,” Jae Shin mumbled, concerned still of the bruising on Dae Min’s body. “What if I do something like that to you?”
“If you did, I can’t promise I won’t like it.” Yong Ha’s eyes twinkled. “Sometimes things get heated and well, there are always little bits and pieces of ourselves that end up bruised.” He trailed his fingers up, finding the spot he’d claimed over Dae Min’s bite. “Didn’t you like this? When my mouth was there?”
“Yes.” Jae Shin flushed. “Damn it, yes. Don’t remind me.”
“Ah, my shy Geol Oh,” He teased, brushing his hand up until he touched Jae Shin’s hair, stroking at the man’s temple with light fingers. “That is also how I know you are still untouched. Your body would sing to me if you’d…been more intimate than we already have.”
“I hate that you know me.”
“You hate that I know you so well,” Yong Ha pointed out. “You do not hate that I know you. Imagine what your life would be without me.”
“Dull,” Jae Shin grumbled. “Bleak. Like a washed out sky against the bright brittle sun.”
“Exactly.” He smiled, touched at the lyrical turn of Jae Shin’s mind. “So we are settled on this? You are mine, yes?”
“Yes.” There was a slight nod, all the movement Yong Ha felt but it was enough. “We should head back. It is too cold up here.”
“Agreed,” Yong Ha shivered, more for show than actual chill. Jae Shin’s long warm body kept him snug and warm, something he intended to take advantage of once they reached the comfort of Jae Shin’s quarters. “But first, my Geol Oh, I am going to stop and have a talk with your friend, the praying mantis. It is time he discovered there are things out in the world that eat little insects who stray into their territory.”