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.
Please note: THIS FIC IS ENDING. ONLY THREE MORE LESSONS AFTER THIS ONE.
Lesson One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Se7en, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen [lemon], Fifteen, Sixteen, Se7enteen
Amid the crackle of ice in the trees, the main courtyard surrounding the dormitories seemed hushed, as if the ground was holding its breath for another storm. Dae Min stepped out of the make-shift bathhouse and hurried across the main courtyard, his soft footsteps creating cobweb fractures on the frozen yard’s thin frost. The ends of his hair were still wet and the chill chased him up the stairs of the walkway, only stopping long enough to remove his footwear before ducking into the anticipated warmth of his room.
A room that was bare to the plaster walls.
Startled, he poked his head outside to check the placard hanging above the door frame. Verifying the number, he returned to stare at the empty room, a fury slowly growing up from his belly to reach the back of his brain.
Swearing under his breath, he spun on his heel and grabbed his boots from the warming shelf near the door. “Damn Bon Hwa, if he thinks this is a good prank to play…”
“Oh this is no prank, Sa Ma Gwi.” Goo Yong Ha stepped out of the shadows, emerging from behind a column like an avenging ghost. “That is what they call you at that tea house, right? Praying mantis?”
“Where are my things? And where is Bon Hwa?” Dae Min’s breath was hot, froths of curling mist streaming from his snarling mouth. “Do you think because you are senior representative that you can do this sort of thing? To me?”
He pushed up against the slender man, expecting to knock Yong Ha back but the scholar held his ground easily. Dae Min bumped into Yong Ha’s shoulder, trying to intimidate him with a barreling push but the older man merely laughed, disarming Dae Min with a single gutting shove to the chest. Toppled aside, he slipped on the ice, flailing to get his balance as Yong Ha stepped in closer, his hands clasped behind his back.
“You have no right…” Dae Min spat, his face ugly with hatred.
“I earned the right the moment you used Jae Shin against himself,” Yong Ha replied smoothly.
Even in the scant light coming from the nearby closed up rooms, Yong Ha could see Dae Min’s colour rise. “Moon Jae Shin comes from an aristocratic family. As do I. You are beneath him. You are beneath me. I have the blood of Kings running through my veins where you come from a family of whores.”
“Jae Shin is beneath me by choice as I will be beneath him… by choice.” Stepping forward, Yong Ha pressed in tight, dropping his voice to a low whisper. “And as far as coming from a family of whores, that is something I gleefully embrace.”
Dae Min flailed, his arm snapping out to strike Yong Ha but his clenched fist met air and he spun about, carried around by the momentum of his swing. Yong Ha’s first blow took him by surprise and he barely had time to squeak out a grunt of pain before the next one struck, catching him on the side of the face and slamming him into the walkway.
Crouching next to Dae Min’s head, Yong Ha inspected the slow dribble of blood streaming from the man’s nose. Pursing his lips at his handiwork, he almost half-wished the man would spring back up so he’d have the chance to strike him again, despite the throbbing in his right hand. Sadly, for Yong Ha, Dae Min remained prone, writhing on the ice cold wood as he clutched his face and mewled.
“Let me tell you something about my family of low-blood whores,” Yong Ha whispered. “We control the flow of goods coming into the country and men, noble or otherwise, beg for us to do business with them. That whore you spit upon? She was the lover of a King and if she’d not fallen in love with my poor besotted grandfather, you could quite possibly have been bowing and scraping at her feet right now. She is still very close to the Dowager and current Queen. They have tea together and talk, plotting weddings between families and where monies should go to keep the cities thriving.”
Lightly kicking at the man’s arm, Yong Ha continued, “The men in my family know that a partnership with a woman is the wisest and most profitable relationship one can have. We marry well and to people with connections as much as noble blood. Because while power may shift and wane, hunger never does. The demand for shelter remains the same and the need for roads and bridges, and even in times of war, there is always a want for the finer things in life. We control those too.”
“So while we are a family of whores,” Yong Ha said, tapping Dae Min’s forehead with his bared knuckles. “You are the ones who come begging at our back door, hoping for scraps.”
“I will ruin you,” Dae Min struggled to get upright, wiping at the blood freezing on his face as the winter wind picked up, whistling through the walkway columns. “I will…”
“You probably will be joining your belongings...and that pathetic sycophant of a cousin who are now on their way to Suwon by now.” Yong Ha smiled pleasantly. “You see, Kim Dae Min, one of the benefits of being from a prominent merchant family is that everyone does business with us… even people like your father who owes my family a lot of money for goods he’s received on commission.”
“My father…? Suwon? I’m not going to Suwon! I can't go to...”
“Yes, your father,” He murmured, flicking a bit of ice from his fingers. The cold was beginning to numb his bare hands and Yong Ha stood, burying his hands into the heavy sleeves of his winter coat. “Who so graciously accepted an offer for his son to apprentice to one of the architects building the King’s Hwaseong Fortress. A great chance to study classical structures and master the hidden intricacies of harmonic construction.”
“You…can’t!” Dae Min staggered to his feet, resting his hand against the dormitory outer wall. Despite the cold in the air, his face showed signs of swelling, plumping hot and red around his right eye and cheek. The jut of his lower lip tautened against the blood rushing from his nose, a trail of snot mingling in and turning the run off a bright pink. “You have no…”
“I know, I have no right,” Yong Ha said, shrugging as if helpless. “But I do and I will. What I am doing is an abuse of power. It is using my family’s connections, their monies and their influence to strike out at someone on a personal level, something that I swore I’d never do.”
Wagging his finger under the man’s nose, Yong Ha was pleased to see Dae Min flinch and shy away. “But you see, Sa Ma Gwi… little insect… you put me in a bad position. I have to choose between my morals and Jae Shin. Luckily for me, I come from a family of whores so my morals are already loose. There was never any question that I would choose Jae Shin over a promise I made to myself. Even if we weren’t already lovers — even if we never became lovers and I never had a chance at his heart — I would still take these actions; because he is worth that much. And you are worth that little.”
Stretching out to his full height, Yong Ha worked the kinks from his spine and yawned, covering his mouth with the back of his hand. “Your father’s men will be here in a few minutes. I told them I wanted some time to talk to you first; share some fond parting words. If you choose to write to Jae Shin, that is between the two of you. He thinks of you as a friend. Despite everything you’ve done and how you’ve shamed him, his heart is still open to you because he is that way. My Geol Oh… believes that you were misled perhaps by something he’s done or said to you… led you to believe that he loves you but we both — you and I — understand that isn’t the case.”
“So, little insect, I leave you with a promise that I never intend to break,” He hissed, bringing himself close enough for Dae Min’s face to be heated by his breath. “If you ever hurt Moon Jae Shin or try to manipulate him again, I will find the farthest point of our country and bury you there. I will then burn the ground over you and roast chestnuts in the flames so you finally have some use. Are we clear in this, little insect?”
Dae Min’s nod was imperceptible but satisfied Yong Ha. The walkway rumbled with someone heavy walking towards them and Yong Ha spared the man a brief glance, nodding in a silent greeting.
“Your father’s man is here.” Yong Ha gathered up his robes, holding them tight against his body. “He’ll escort you to anyone you wish to say goodbye to but don’t take too long. Suwon awaits you, Kim Dae Min while Jae Shin — awaits me.”
He’d lied to Dae Min when he said Jae Shin was waiting for him. Yong Ha had no expectations of the feral scholar coming anywhere near him much less anything else. They’d fought a bit about Dae Min, the headstrong Jae Shin championing his not-friend while Yong Ha was determined to go through with his plan to eviscerate any sign of Dae Min in their lives.
The last time he saw Jae Shin, the man had been stalking through the snow to get to his own room, dragging the fur coverlet behind him.
What he did know was that he hurt. Especially in places that should only have hurt following a very busy night and several twisting positions but sadly the pain wasn’t from either of those causes. The small of his back ached from riding in the litter for several hours and his head still buzzed from the amount of soju he’d consumed over the day. The ends of his fingers were chafed and raw from climbing over the roof tiles, despite using the trap door of the inn’s attic to get to the upper slope and now his knuckles screamed in pain when the cold wind hit their raw edges.
“Pain. Pain is the reason not to exert oneself too strenuously,” Yong Ha muttered as he worked off his boots, hissing when the sting spread over the back of his hands and up his arm. Blowing on his knuckles only made matters worse and the chirping behind his eyes increased, forming a tic above one eyebrow. Sighing, he padded over the short distance to his door, boots in hand, and slid the panel open.
Only to have his breath taken away by the spreads of votives illuminating his room.
And the sight of the man crouching over a brazier roasting a sweet potatoe pierced through with a long metal skewer.
The scant flames from the brazier tossed fingers of light onto Jae Shin’s handsome face. Jae Shin's beauty struck him senseless; the purity of his heart shining through his dark eyes and the roughness of his palms at odds with the gentleness of his touch. The tightness around his eyes was still there, a sure sign of fatigue and possibly too much fretting over things he couldn’t change but the man’s very kissable lips were relaxed and slightly parted, enough space for Yong Ha to slip his tongue… or other parts of his body… into.
Yong Ha's sex hardened immediately, drawn taut by the thought of Jae Shin’s mouth surrounding him and Yong Ha shifted, pulling at the inner seams of his pants to relieve the pressure against his crotch. Jae Shin glanced up from his roasting and smiled, a sweet, open and unhindered shy smile Yong Ha knew he was the only one in the world who’d ever seen it.
And he hoarded that smile and its memory in his heart as if it were more precious than any gold trinket he might be given.
His bedding was laid out, spread to warm up in the room’s growing heat and Yong Ha glanced at the soft pillows arranged at one end, wondering if he was expected to sleep alone or if Jae Shin would share his bed. Strolling as casually as he could to Jae Shin, he laid his hands on the man’s shoulders and leaned over, sniffing at the roasting vegetable.
“It smells good,” He murmured, surprised to hear his stomach growling. Thinking back on what he’d eaten that day, Yong Ha imagined the handful of dried persimmon strips and soju were by now, quite gone. He frowned when Jae Shin’s eyebrows knitted together, gasping when the other man snatched at one of his hands.
“What happened?” Jae Shin growled. “Who did this to you?”
In the light, his knuckles looked worse than they felt which was something extraordinary, Yong Ha thought, considering they hurt a great deal.
“I hit Kim Dae Min,” Yong Ha confessed. When Jae Shin looked up at him, alarmed and shocked, he murmured, “A couple of times. Maybe a few. At least a few. I don’t remember.”
Jae Shin said nothing but wrapped his strong fingers around Yong Ha’s wrist and pulled the slender man down onto the bedding nearby. The potatoe forgotten and left to cool on the side, he stretched over to grab at the kettle he’d left heating over the flames and measured out a small amount into a bowl. Wetting a cloth, he dabbed at Yong Ha’s knuckles, holding the man’s arm firmly when Yong Ha tried to squirm away.
“That hurts.” He complained, hissing when the hot water reopened his cuts.
“Learn to punch,” Jae Shin murmured. “I’ve shown you countless times. You should know how to do it by now. Even Yoon Hee knows how to hit someone and she’s a girl.”
Subdued, Yong Ha sat as the man dabbed and scraped the mess he’d made of his knuckles. Only allowing a stray whimper to escape when Jae Shin touched the more rougher areas, Yong Ha murmured in pleasure when his lover’s fingers stroked at the underside of his wrist to soothe him.
“So you did it then?” Jae Shin asked. His head was dropped too far down for Yong Ha to see anything other than his hair and the tip of his nose and chin but he heard the tightness in Jae Shin’s voice. “Sent him off then? Because of me?”
“Because of you, he’s still alive,” Yong Ha growled, meeting Jae Shin’s stare with a piercing glare of his own. “I know you are fond of him. I know that somewhere inside of that creature is someone who talked with you about things you care about. I know that but what he did to you…there’s no excuse for it.”
“I don’t need you to… protect me.” Jae Shin returned to the scraping and daubing, carefully working around the injured flesh.
“You do,” Yong Ha whispered as he kissed the top of Jae Shin’s head. “Why can’t you… just let me protect you? Shield you from harm sometimes? Or from making stupid mistakes that could cost you your life? Why can’t you just let someone take care of you for a change? Why can’t you accept that someone is me?”
Jae Shin had no answer or at least none he wanted to share with Yong Ha and the slender scholar sighed heavily when the other man put the bowl and cloth aside. When Jae Shin left his side to tend to the roasted potatoe, Yong Ha leaned over and began to untie his stocking undershoes, picking at a knot he’d somehow managed to work into the strings.
“Leave that,” Jae Shin grunted. “I’ll get it.”
“Get what?” Yong Ha asked, slightly miffed at the man’s refusal to talk. It was a position he was well versed in. Jae Shin’s reticence was legendary and of all the people in Jae Shin’s life, Yong Ha was the most familiar with the man’s quiet nature.
“Your ties.” Breaking apart the sweet potatoe, he blew on the steaming purple flesh before handing both halves to Yong Ha. “Eat this while I get you undressed.”
His body was willing, Yong Ha realized. Despite the aches and length of his day, his body still thrummed and spasmed at the thought of Jae Shin’s mouth and fingers and whatever else the man wanted to use roaming over him. Fully alert with the idea, his sex joined in with its throbbing opinion, practically begging for the man’s touch.
The clouded inability to think however, stopped Yong Ha dead in his arousal.
“I don’t know…” He murmured. “The heavens know I want to…”
“I know,” Jae Shin nodded, sitting cross legged at Yong Ha’s feet. “But you’re tired and you need rest. We’ll be here together tomorrow.”
“Will you be here?” Yong Ha mumbled, laying the potatoe down on a piece of paper so he could stroke the hair away from Jae Shin’s face. “Tonight?”
“If you want me to.”
“Oh yes, how I want you to.” He grinned at the blush running over Jae Shin’s cheeks and down his throat.
The man undid one stocking then the next while Yong Ha blew on the sweet root to cool it and he was about to take a bite when Jae Shin’s fingers began to massage the arch of his foot. Moaning low in his throat, he practically prostrated himself with the pleasure of his tired muscles being worked loose and groaned loudly when Jae Shin’s hands moved up to massage his calves.
“Remind me to marry you,” Yong Ha moaned, lying back into the blankets, the potatoe forgotten.
“Men cannot marry,” Jae Shin reminded him but his fingers continued to dig out the knots in Yong Ha’s muscles, stroking outward with each turn of his thumb.
“Then we’ll be reborn over and over until we can, damn it,” He grunted, the pain in his legs edging away to a soft numbness. “Because there’s no way I’m going into the eternity of the universe without you by my side.”
“I don’t need a priest to tell me who…” Jae Shin’s blush forced him to look down again. “Tell me who I love.”
Yong Ha’s expression softened and he reached out to touch the man’s shoulder, running his fingers down Jae Shin’s strong arms. “Did I tell you I spoke with my uncle, Park Hee Young, today?”
“No.” Jae Shin cocked his head. “Is he the tall one? With glasses? Very serious?”
“The one and the same,” Yong Ha agreed. “He’s also my uncle Goo Min Jae’s lover.”
He didn’t blame Jae Shin for squeezing his leg hard enough to make him yelp but Yong Ha took exception to being dragged forward across the bedding. Yanking his leg back, he failed to dislodge Jae Shin’s hold on him but made the man remember he was holding a piece of Yong Ha’s body and not a chunk of wood to be broken apart for kindling.
“Goo Min Jae? The stupid one?”
“He’s not stupid,” Yong Ha protested, secretly agreeing with Jae Shin on his uncle’s lack of wits. “He’s… just sweet.”
“He’s an aberration in your family,” Jae Shin replied caustically. “A sparrow dumb enough to fly into a lake because it reflects the sky compared to the cunning, predatory peacocks that live behind those walls.”
“He is very sweet,” Yong Ha asserted. “Very.”
“Isn’t Park Hee Young married to your… third aunt?” Jae Shin sniffed suspiciously.
“Who told you this?” The suspicion grew and Yong Ha wondered if Jae Shin’s eyebrows were going stick together considering how deep he was frowning.
“Park Hee Young,” He replied. “He told me this. My grandmother sent me to talk to him about… us.”
“You told your…” Jae Shin stood suddenly, hissing with his displeasure. Raking his hands through his hair, he caught his fingers on a knot near his ear, tugging on the snarl until it came loose. “You…”
“She knew I’d fallen in love with you before I did,” Yong Ha dismissed Jae Shin’s concern with a wave of his hand. “Who do you think told me?”
“I…” Shaking his head, he plopped to sit down on the bedding next to Yong Ha. “Your family…it is insane.”
“My family is… well, odd,” Yong Ha agreed. “But they…work together nicely. Even when they’re fighting with one another, they come together. Like they…did for me today.”
“Today,” Jae Shin murmured softly. “I don’t agree with what you did today.”
“I know,” He said, leaning his head onto Jae Shin’s firm shoulder. “But I’m glad you let me do it. I know he is … you think he is your friend. I know that. But I can’t have him here. Not after what he’s done. Not after what… you’ve been through. Inside, I regret having to… use my family’s favours and name but I’m willing to do so… to protect you.”
“Don’t do it again,” Jae Shin growled at him. “It makes you less of a man. Inside. It makes you a bully and you’re not someone who abuses people, Yeon Kkoc.”
“If you keep calling me that, I won’t be able to get my family to stop.” Shoving Jae Shin down onto his back, Yong Ha straddled the man’s thighs, placing his hands on either side of Jae Shin’s head to stare down at him. Jae Shin gave him no resistance, grinning slightly at Yong Ha’s peeved expression. “Let me tell you what my uncle said… about us.”
“Us?” Jae Shin’s brow furrowed again. “We… just…”
“We’ve been dancing around one another for ten years now. Most men have courted, married, had children and moved on to mistresses by the time you and I had our first kiss. I think I can say there is an us.”
“Us then,” He murmured, biting his lower lip as Yong Ha settled down to sit on his legs. “Don’t move too far up or I’ll… have …problems.”
“I like your problems,” Yong Ha laughed and resisted the temptation to squirm over Jae Shin’s crotch. “I’ll behave. I’ve already promised you I’m too tired. I don’t know how you go about doing all this exercise and manage not to sleep most of the day. I used to envy your ability to fall asleep anywhere but now I know it’s only because you’re too exhausted to find someplace soft.”
“You were saying about your uncle?” Jae Shin prodded.
“And grumpy. I’m certain it makes you grumpy.” Yong Ha yelped, rubbing his thigh where Jae Shin pinched it. “I was telling you that my uncle... uncles are lovers.”
“The bookworm and the stupid one? I don’t believe it.” The scholar’s hand drifted over the spot he’d twisted on Yong Ha’s thigh, caressing it to make the sting go away. “Park Hee Young is married! To the sparrow’s sister.”
“It was an arranged marriage.” He nodded when Jae Shin grunted. “My aunt did not want to leave her family and well my uncle…”
“The sparrow or the bookworm?”
“The… stop that… Park Hee Young… he was in love with my uncle. Well, they were in love ... still are in love with each other.” He corrected himself. “So my grandmother arranged for their marriage.”
“By moving into the Goo menagerie?” It was Jae Shin’s turn to wince when Yong Ha’s clever fingers found his nipple through his shirt and tweaked it. “Ouch.”
“Grandmother said a few of my uncles and aunts have these kinds of arrangements. Most live… at the estate but others live in the city.”
“How many is a few?”
“Eight.” Yong Ha held up his hand, spreading his fingers out. “Five at the estate. Park Hee Young moved to the compound. It's why some of the men move there but the others share estates with their lovers… and their wives.”
The enormity of what Yong Ha was telling him finally sunk in and Jae Shin gasped at the implications. He’d not thought further than the university walls, not daring to trust his emotions if he contemplated life outside in society… a society that would forbid his love to Yong Ha.
“You think we should… do that? Arrange things like that?” He gaped.
“Agi,” Yong Ha started gently, sliding over Jae Shin’s chest to capture the man’s mouth in a simple, sweet kiss. “I’m not saying that we do this tomorrow. Or even the day after. What I am saying is that my family is willing to… help me…to help me find a way to love you without endangering us. That we’ve done this before and no one knows. No one cares. That we protect our own and that you, my Geol Oh, are considered one of our own; even by the dragon of all gisaeng, my grandmother.”
“We would have to bring in women…” His hiccup frustrated him and Jae Shin growled, biting lightly at Yong Ha’s lips as the man kissed him again. “I don’t know…”
“You will have to,” Yong Ha said, saddened by the trembling apprehension starting to grow in Jae Shin’s body. “You’re the only son your father has. You’ll need a son to carry your line on. You know that.”
“I know,” Jae Shin murmured. The weight of his filial duty still weighed heavily on him, a frustration eating away at his nerves. Long estranged from his father, they never seemed to find common ground, especially in the days following his brother’s death.
“I can help you,” Yong Ha declared, rubbing his nose on Jae Shin’s. “I can find us a pair of petal women — women who love one another and we shall hide our true loves from the world! It’s the perfect solution.”
“And you know these kinds of women?” Jae Shin chuckled, a deep throaty sound that made Yong Ha seriously reconsider how tired he was.
“Of course,” Yong Ha whispered into his lover’s mouth, working his fingers into Jae Shin’s long hair to hold him still as he deepened his affection into a sensual kiss. When he broke free, it was only to give Jae Shin time to breathe, the man’s heart beat a quick staccato under Yong Ha’s body. “I know exactly where these women are… and we Goo men, we have a long standing tradition of marrying beautiful gisaeng women but this one… here… this Goo Yong Ha… is only interested in one thing… one person right now. And that is his Geol Oh.”