Leigh really liked this city. Not because it was home to the supernatural, something he was but never really flaunted but just because of the general feeling like you could lose yourself in a crowd here. Leigh had never liked to be the center of the attention, it was why he owned a low profile store in the middle of the city where even his shop seemed to get in the crowd of others around. It was why all his published papers were written under a name that wasn’t his own and he never bragged about them or brought them up at all really. The kitsune did well for himself, but only his business partner and bank manager really knew that.

The therian was sitting on his slightly wobbly chair behind the counter of the shop, it was late afternoon and the sun was starting to set on Evermore city. It had been a busy morning for the store because a new book had been released by a popular author and all of his regulars had come in to pick up their pre-ordered copies but it had quietened down greatly in the afternoon and he was on the verge of dozing off as he leaned against the desk and tried to keep his eyes open. Just a few more hours and he could get back to his paper on weights of investor sales in share prices, he reminded himself.

His attention was suddenly snapped to alert when he heard the alarm to the store go off he quickly raised to his feet in surprise, he wasn’t all that worried at first because customers often accidentally set off the alarm when they knocked one of the displays but as he spotted the hooded figure who had his face covered with a balaclava the therianthrope realized quickly that he was in trouble. His heartbeat began to quicken as he reached for the phone in his pocket and his eyes quickly darted outside, there was no one there to shout for help.

When the male came up to the counter he demanded all of the money from the till Leigh stared a little dumbfounded and then his eyes widened and he nodded slightly when the male pulled a gun on him. Leigh’s breath hitched in panic, sweat forming on his brow from the very sight of the gun and the fear of the male pulling it “Okay, okay” he assured doing his best to keep control over his emotions as he reached to get the override key and then slotted it into the bottom drawer of the register, his hands were shaking as he pulled it open and then stepped aside to let the assailant take what he wanted. He kept debating reaching for his phone but it seemed unwise with the male watching him like a hawk, Leigh swallowed doing his best to stay calm.

Part of him was mad, why his shop of all the places here, it wasn't like an independently owned bookstore made anywhere near as much as money as all of the big corporations who kept trying to push him out of his property. He kept his words to himself as always though, Leigh wasn't a confrontational person and the money in the register wasn't worth the risk of being shot. When the male backed him against the counter and demanded his wallet was when he really started to panic, the screaming of the alarm not helping him to think straight either.

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Eun wasn’t sure what to think, where there really that many are bad people existing? He knew there’s plenty of convicts lying around, but sometimes he took a second step into seeing them and most were just testing their waters and weren’t really bad at heart. However, Eun being Eun, that could easily pass off as one of his opinions, since he views people that way. The dhampir had a way of seeing other people in another light that’s filled with a lot of positivity and optimistic views. He believes everyone deserves a second chance, and if that doesn’t work, perhaps a third one. But he also doesn’t just think everyone’s redeemable. In his head, the third one’s a charm and if that doesn't work, then there’s simply no hope for the said person. So it doesn’t make him out to be a naivete.

Eun just wishes to see the best of everyone, especially when the world is always filled with people trying to overthrow it. It’s one of the why’s he enjoyed his occupation as a lawyer, at least he could do something good, like giving back to the community more than just doing any philanthropy works. The dhampir believes if he’s good, then others would try to return the gesture back to society the same way, if not tenfold, and most of the time, it worked. So he never found the thought of helping people as something burdensome. Admittedly, by helping, he doesn’t mean jumping into someone’s defense in a quite literal sense, like covering him from getting a bullet wound. The laugh that escaped the other male sounded melodic; it sounds happy, which brought a smile to his face because just a while ago, he was cowering down from a panic attack and now he’s laughing. He felt truly accomplished now.

“I know I tried to make a joke out of it earlier and for that, I apologize. I’m used to diffusing the tension by cracking a snarky comment or the likes, it never left me” he bit his bottom lip and snickered at the thought of humoring an assailant who probably didn’t even think twice in robbing people of more than just their properties and money, namely, their lives, just as well. There were times when he could be perfectly serious, sporting that lawyer look, but pushing that aside, he’s really just a goofy guy who loves cracking up jokes, even if they were horrible, just so others around him could feel encouraged. If Eun was able to lift their spirits, even the slightest, he’d be happy because he would’ve succeeded.

Following the warning given out by Leigh, he only nodded in consideration. That’s true. People can be so cruel, sometimes, and much to his dismay, he’s witnessed plenty of them in court, even though that’s nowhere near the numbers tallied in the real world, which others still roamed freely. “Are you trying to tell me Evermore is really as shady as it sounded? It’s a beautiful place, but I imagined with such a place also comes with a rich history too. My youngest is residing around here, so I wonder, how he’s faring, but if things like that occur casually on your normal Tuesdays, then I am worried.” Tilting his head to the side, he muffled a laugh with one hand. “Did you realize you just gave a tourist a bad first impression on rating this place? But yes, I’m from Seoul, Korea.” Cute, he’s cute.

The dhampir trailed behind Leigh into the said room, finding himself in awe at the interior designs. It looks so aesthetically pleasing, just like how the bookstore is, from outside and inside. The half-valkyr marveled at the sight of the room, it wasn’t that spacious but it looks just right, a fitting place not to overwhelm readers. Seems very private too. The smell of old parchment filled him and he swore his eyes lit up like a kid who just received a big lollipop upon stepping inside a candy store. Nodding as he clarified the other male’s inquiry, he had a triumphant look, clearly proud of his occupation. Law school wasn’t easy, even with those many years compressed in his life, having to study like hell and compete to become the best of the best, as soon as he got out from his mandatory enlistment. For someone who preferred fighting, to repress that side of him for long grew frustrating, but thankfully, he had control over it.

“Yes, I am. Graduated my Master of Laws in Criminal Law and Dispute Resolution just about four months ago.” Other than what’s written on his resume, no one else knew what he’s specialized in, not even his parents honestly, he doubted his siblings other than Jae even knew too. They only know him to graduate with a Master’s Degree because he decided to pursue more after gaining J.D. “My youngest brother is an English Literature major, I practiced a lot with him,” he murmured sheepishly. He was jealous of Leigh’s sweet saccharine-like voice, every word sounded eloquent and it radiates that intellect air about him. “And you are not just a bookstore owner,” he pointed out. Waving his hand, he told him it’s okay to do it without a table. “That’s a lot of pressure, Leigh. We’re not superheroes, unfortunately. Even if you wanted to save the world, there’s only so much that you could do. I just did what I did, mainly because I’m really reckless too.”

Leigh could tell the other male was a good person just from the very short amount of time he had known him, he had come to the aid of a stranger and literally asked for nothing in return, quite literally risked his life for someone he didn’t even know, Leigh had only met a few people in his life that were like that. It made the therianthrope wonder if he’d just been lucky enough not to see the worst of the world and let it push him down or if he simply rose up in spite of it. Either way, he was glad he was here today. Normally Leigh would feel awkward or shy around someone like him, the other male was quite chatty and had a bright but refined aura about him, those kinds of people usually intimidated him a little because he struggled to keep up with their conversation but with Eun, it didn’t feel so difficult.

“Oh you don’t have to apologize” he spoke in a soft tone and shrugged “I actually thought it was pretty funny, or it would have been if there wasn’t” he lifted two fingers to his head and then pulled a sheepish smile “Are you always so humorous in the face of danger?” the therianthrope was a little curious if he was honest, the other male seemed so calm and collected even when he was in a very distressing situation, Leigh, however, had been a panicking mess. Then again, Eun was a lawyer so he supposed that made sense, lawyers worked in high-pressure environments and always needed to know what to say, how to say it and when to say it, it made a lot of sense when you put it like that.

Leigh shook his head as the other male suggested that Evermore was shady “I was more referencing the world as a whole” he admitted with a slight shrug, perhaps he was pessimistic that way but he’d definitely not been dealt the best hand in life, some of it was his own fault, some of it wasn’t “Evermore is…” he pursed his lips “A special city, I think you’ll find it has a certain charm to it, especially for people like us” he raised his finger and pointed to himself, then Eun and repeated the motion a couple of times, he’d already seen the grace the other male moved with and was fairly certain he was supernatural. “Don’t worry, this isn’t your average Tuesday afternoon” he admitted with a nod, he was just unluckier than most he supposed. He blushed a little and scratched at the back of his neck when the male mentioned giving a bad impression “I don’t think I can take all the credit for that” he made a half attempt at a joke and smiled softly “I’ve always wanted to go to Seoul” he admitted as he looked down at the floor, he knew his heritage was Korean but he’d never been there himself, never really looked into who his parents were or his birth story at all really but he did want to see it, experience it.

As they moved into the back room he caught Eun’s reaction in the corner of his eye, noting the excited look in his eyes made Leigh squee a little on the inside, he loved it when people lit up like that, for any reason, he loved seeing people excited about something, it was even better that the trigger seemed to be one of his favorite places in the world. “This place is kinda like my secret hideout” the kitsune admitted as he glanced over at the brown-haired male “I mean it’s not that secret because anyone could wander back here but...sometimes when I just need a break from the world I’ll grab a book and lose myself in it for a while” he didn’t know what it was about the other male but he felt words coming to him much easier than they normally did, maybe it was his enthusiasm that set Leigh at ease. Which was strange because around someone that attractive he was normally a stuttering mess.

Leigh smiled brightly when the male confirmed he’d guessed the occupation right, he could tell how proud Eun was of his degree just from the way he talked about it which made the kitsune smile brighter, study and his research work was pretty much his life so seeing someone else proud of their scholar achievements was really nice “Well then a late congratulations on your graduation” he nodded, Leigh finished his masters a few years ago and he knew how much work it was. Despite the heavy Korean accent, Leigh had no trouble understanding Eun and what he was trying to say which told him the other male must have studied his language harder than just practicing with his brother “Your English is far better than my Korean” he admitted with a chuckle, he’d never been that great at languages really, not even his native one, he’d always fallen more on the mathematical side of academics.

When Eun mentioned how he wasn’t just a bookstore owner he raised his brows wondering what he meant but shrugged a little “What makes you think that?” he asked curiously as he pushed up his glasses which had slid down his nose a little while they were talking. Leigh lifted his tea to his lips and took a long drink, it had been a long time since he’d had a conversation with someone that didn’t revolve around work, except for the odd chat he had with Willow during working hours “You don’t have to do something drastic to save the world” he admitted with a thoughtful look on his face “Just a few meaningful things that let you leave your mark on the world” he shrugged, maybe that was too much pressure “But you’re right, you are reckless” the pink-haired kitsune smiled as though it was a compliment.

All he ever wanted to do was help people, to the best of his interest, and even if he needed to exceed a few things, then so be it. He believes that the world still has the chance to be better, and in order to make sure it’s going to be that place again in the future, they needed to work on it, and he’s going to be one of those labor that will work on focusing for a better future; one that can secure their lives. Perhaps, he’s naive in thinking this way, but he knows what he wants, well, most of the time. Or at least, he thinks he knows what he wants. Leigh came across a cute guy who just wanted to operate his bookstore casually and have a few good chats with his customers that could hold one. The thought of that was endearing and it does pull him towards the guy. He too is kind, and there was something about him that really sparks his curiosity.

Oh yes, coming back to that, when Eun first set his foot inside the bookstore, he could already sense that the other male is supernatural from his aura that dhampirs are, thankfully, good at detecting. But nothing specific, so the question still remains, in a way. What supernatural being is this cinnamon roll? He probably couldn’t even hurt a fly if he wanted to, so he doubted he’s a valkyr because coming from a family that’s consisted of a human mother and valkyr father alongside half-valkyr siblings, he knew how to identify them, by the very least. His curiosity peaked again and Eun found himself wondering what the kind shop owner is.

When Leigh asked he was always humorous around the face of danger, he could feel his face heating up in embarrassment as he cleared his throat and grinned sheepishly. “I- uh, not usually. I don’t always encounter these types of interventions back home. No one really dares to do it so out in the open. At least, from where I reside, at least. Which is a good thing.” Honestly, that’s true. His neighborhood is a relatively safe place, seeing as at least 60% were supernaturals in majority too. “But I’m a talker, so I guess my lawyer side just jumped out and decided to make an appearance, I guess.” Not at how his dhampir instincts are what really pushed him to intervene, but hey, he doesn’t have to know that. The last thing the dhampir needed was someone pointing him out to be reckless, a trait he appreciates since it made him feel normal, but still frowned over because it was not fitting his perfectionist persona. Everyone has the things they like and dislike.

Oh, he knew. Of course, he knew. The brunette knew it was too good to be true for someone perceptive not to notice how nimble his moves were, oh well, at least he didn’t have to worry if they were humans in exposing their community. “It does have a pull, I admit. And I’ve only been here an hour or so, it seems… enigmatic. Though I still have yet to find out if it’s worth the ruckus. I’ve heard plenty of good things from my brother, but seeing is believing.” Hearing that the other male wanted to go to his home country, he had a soft smile masking his features, finding a certain charm to it. It was clear from his ethnicity that the pink-haired male is indeed Asian, and he looks more Korean than ever. Eun can identify that any day, and he wondered if he knew the language. “Do you know Korean?” he inquired, keeping his tone adjusted and leveled since he didn’t want to pry. There was this certain air to Leigh, it’s pure, much like the owner.

“I think it’s a perfect place to lay around, I mean, look at all the books lying around, I can make a fort here and enjoy burying myself in them, actually. Space is just right, even though you lack a table,” he teased, chuckling at the irony. Eun likes to read, and just because his company is usually plaintiff magazines, book reviews, Supreme Court ruling, and a handful of FBA activities, alongside a few law books, doesn’t mean he hasn’t found himself losing track of time because he was neck deep buried with thriller books. Following the congratulations given out by the latter, Eun made a small but exaggerated bow and grinned. “Thank you,” It was also applied at the compliment he received on his linguistic proficiency ability on English. “I am one of those guys you can find sleeping in the library 5 to 6 months before an exam, so...I really did memorize and utilize them a lot. I never had the chance to use much of spoken discourse on English since my clients are mostly able to communicate in Korean, so I’m worried it got rusty.” He’s a perfectionist, he won’t tolerate the slightest mistake, and though he will give a chance to others, it doesn’t apply to himself.

It’s expected of him to get good results in everything, so unfortunate for Eun having to grow up with such a mindset. “No offense, but you seem so much smarter than any person I’ve met and I hardly doubt you’ll compress all those talents behind a register counter.” Let’s hope he is right because if not, he’s gonna wallow in embarrassment. Forever. Eun chuckled softly hearing that word going around again, he might have this dislike over it, but it does remind him he’s also prone to mistakes, it makes him real. “Nobody’s perfect, right?”

Leigh nodded a little when the other male spoke about crime rates back home, honestly, he was glad to hear that this wasn’t the norm but then it wasn’t really the norm here either, Leigh had owned this little shop for about 3 years now and in that time he’d had a bit of petty theft and one case of vandalism but aside from that it was normally pretty quiet here. Maybe he’d been lucky but overall he felt pretty safe in Evermore, or at least he did until today anyway “Well I’m glad you knew what to say…” he smiled a little and shrugged “Words aren’t really my thing, I like reading and writing but when it comes to speaking I just” he made a zipping gesture along his lips and shrugged a little “Though I do find you easier to talk to than most” he admitted, he put it down to the aura Eun seemed to put out into the world, he was quite a positive seeming person.

Leigh didn’t say a lot of things but he noticed a lot, he was a listener and perceiver at heart, he often studied little details he saw in people to gather conclusions about them, much like he did with his papers, noticing little changes to companies and markets which resulted in different fluctuations in stock. Though he found people much harder to understand than the stock market, it was a useful skill to have in both cases “I’ve lived here many years and I’ve yet to find a place quite like it, careful, you might not wanna leave” Leigh beamed a little at the brown-haired male. When Eun asked him if he spoke Korean the kitsune shook his head “No not really” he admitted with a shy smile “I learned a little, enough that I could probably get by on a visit, but…” he shrugged “I wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation beyond asking someone how they were and what they liked to do with their time” he always meant to learn more but language just wasn’t something that had ever clicked for him.

Leigh snickered a little thinking about building a fort in this little room, it was small and cozy, lots of people asked if they could spend their time back here, he had many regulars who visited just so they could curl up with a book, which he supposed kinda made his little bookstore a little like a library but he didn’t mind, kinda liked the company if he was honest. When Eun brought up the lack of a table Leigh blushed “I am definitely going to order a table after this” he admitted and scratched at the back of his neck, this guy made him a little nervous but not in a way he couldn’t handle. The bow the other male gave him was unexpected but made him grin a little “Well if you ever need a space to read or study then you know exactly where you’re welcome to come” he gestured to the area around them “It’s the least I can do after you helped me” he nodded a little, the other male didn’t have to take up the offer if he didn’t want to but Leigh quite liked having him around, he was a refreshing personality to the therianthrope.

Leigh was actually pretty surprised how easily Eun had picked up on his studious side, so much so that he was a little caught off guard by his comment, he opened his mouth a little as he looked back at him before he smiled and nodded “You’re very perceptive” Leigh commented and nodded, he didn’t really talk about his studies to anyone by his parents and classmates so it felt a little strange to talk about it “I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with numbers” Leigh explained with a soft smile towards Eun “I started my PhD in Socio-Economic and Statistical Studies about two years ago, still working on it” he admitted as though it wasn’t a big deal and shrugged.

“It would be boring if they were” Leigh responded to his comment about people as a whole, he definitely wasn’t perfect himself, he made a lot of mistakes and he didn’t handle the things that had happened in his life perfectly. People were different, that’s what made them special right?

A part of him was really worried that it had somehow become a norm for crime rates to apply in a beautiful and enigmatic city such as Evermore. The moment he set his foot in, he already knew he’s going to get hooked on the idea of the place real fast, and though it had only been about one hour in, it was setting in. Well, to be fair, he encountered a robber and what would be a potential police scene in the morning had he not stepped in, but on the side note, he did manage to befriend a kind guy who seems a lot intellectual than he poses himself to be. “I’ll take that as a compliment,” he chuckled and felt that alone inflating his ego; Sangeun Moon had this big of ego around him, but he’s overall a kind altruistic guy.

Feeling proud about yourself is not necessarily something that would offend others, and is a trait he actually only displayed to the people he likes enough. Some call him a narcissist, but he only took it as a form of praise instead, because he is just that kind of guy. He won’t hold grudges unless you eat his food, and he would always find a way to cheer everyone up even if he wasn’t happy, to begin with. “Sometimes, people think I talk too much, and truthfully it made me feel like I probably should have a stop button somewhere.” Not everyone sees him in the same light, after all. He knew that, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to know that there are other bitter souls who couldn’t even act nor feign in front the public eye for a quick moment or two. Most of the time, his parents nor his siblings would pay attention to a word he’s saying, with the exception of the baby brother who always seemed to pay attention to everything the eldest Moon had to say. No wonder Eun felt a lot more comfortable and carefree around Jae.

“Reading and writing are good, to keep your mind off the grid, it’s usually our getaway from the reality. Sometimes, living in that illusion bubble is fine if it brings you solace and happiness, despite it being no more real than what’s projected in your head” Nothing wrong with that, not everyone is expected to think so realistically that’s only directed to this world. Knowing that he’s made progress in this said conversation with the guy he barely knew and didn’t even know the name of until a few minutes ago, it made Eun proud since he’s sociable and outgoing but rarely keeps his friends around. Acquaintances? Yes. Friends? Not so much. Perhaps, Leigh could be his first attempt on befriending someone local in this eternal city.

When Leigh warned light-heartedly how he might not find it in him to leave the city, he licked his lips and sn*****ed. “Maybe I don't want to. We’ll never know, I guess we’ll see in a few more days or weeks. I was supposed to be here one month tops.” Of course, he had to think about his family back in Korea, and the family he would soon have in a few more months, once he ties the knot. If he’s lucky, maybe he’ll get to spend another month here just to catch up with his brother. God knows how he actually wanted to be away from home for a while so he could collect his thoughts, seeing as he too, is in a dilemma, at the moment. It’s a shame Leigh couldn’t speak his mother tongue, since the dhampir had always held the profound respect on their national language since a child, seeing as he would travel by idioms and hidden meaningful words combined together in a bunch. To him, Korean is a beautiful language, much like every other spoken and written language in the world. It’s just a shame he’s not as linguistic gifted too.

“I can relate, when I first learned English, it was very hard because of the differences in our stressed syllables and words. It took me years to get a hold of the pronunciation, let alone being able to hold a conversation. We were told to take a few language classes in our household, so occupying Mandarin and Japanese is also mandatory, at least the basics. Though it’s safe to say that seeing I’m not linguistic gifted, English is quite possibly the last language in my belt” he chuckled softly, taking in the irony because Eun could memorize every single word and rules printed, but memorization is what he could do, nothing more beyond that. He understood nobody’s perfect and he couldn’t have everything, but for someone who’s been showered by expectations since he could understand what mother and father mean, to this almost 30-year-old guy he is today, it’s hard not to want them. He lives to impress his parents.

“If I’m gonna stick around, maybe I can give you a few lessons on Korean and in return, you can improve my English. No offense to my baby brother, but speaking to a native, sounds so much different, it’s somewhat experimental.” Of course, Eun would be the one reaching out his hand, he’s always a ball of fluff when it comes to befriending, which earned him the title of 엄친아 (um-chin-ah), someone who’s often referred to as the ideal son-in-law or just a son who their parents would boast around to others. Seeing the reaction to his snark earlier regarding the table, Eun shook his head and laughed. “You probably should, wouldn’t want to any flaw to a beautiful place such as this, you know” he pointed out since truly, it is a marvelous space that would offer comfort to so many people. “I’ll be sure to stop by often, then” he beamed as his eyes lit up with mischievousness that could be filtered as something opposite.

“Numbers huh? I’m awful at them. You can have me memorize an entire law book or put a dictionary in front of me so I can read the definitions, but give me one paper filled with maths, and I’m lost, but a PhD at that too” he gawked at the male, finding him in another light that sheds a little bit more of revelation to the person he might be. So basically, not only is he shy and kind, but he’s also smart? “You can easily be an umchinah if you’re in Korea, you know” he complimented, totally forgetting that Leigh didn’t know what that means since it’s a local Korean abbreviation. “I never got to ask you what you are, clearly you’re a supernatural from the way you worded things earlier. And you know I am one too. So if you don’t mind me asking, may I know what Mr. Kingsman is?”

Leigh spent a lot of his time alone, he had friends in his classes and sometimes he would collaborate with others on his group projects but he didn’t really have anyone he would describe as an especially close friend, you know, the kind where they were the person you would hang out with all the time and bring to places just because. He supposed that was his fault, people often asked him if he wanted to hang out but normally he would turn them down and keep to himself. He certainly didn’t normally find himself wanting to befriend someone just after meeting him, it felt odd but it really was easy to talk to Eun “You should” he responded with a nod, he really was easy to talk to, so easygoing and positive.

Leigh smiled when Eun said he thought he should have a stop button for his talking, Leigh was quite the opposite of him, his professors would always tell him that he didn’t say enough or contribute vocally in discussions “I like people who talk a lot, I prefer to listen to someone talking about interesting things than feel pressured to have to say something” he admitted with a half shrug, Leigh did like hearing what other people had to say about the world, their thoughts and opinions, how they lived their lives. It all fed into the research he did into the stock markets too, especially because a lot of his work centered around how the average person in the world could influence the stock market without even meaning to, it was fascinating stuff and one of the only topics he could probably talk about for hours on end without running out of things to say “So don’t hold yourself back” he spoke encouragingly, he liked to think people could be themselves around him.

The way that Eun spoke gave him an intelligent and refined vibe which he really liked, he didn’t seem to be one of those lawyers who memorized a book and then thought that was enough...well it was enough he supposed, but there was more to it than that, it was about mitigating factors and compassion and angles. All fascinating to the therianthrope even if he never got into the field himself. Honestly any research topic got him excited, probably one of the reasons he got teased so much when he was younger “Sometimes I just think being in that bubble makes life easier” he admitted with a soft smile “But even I’ll admit it gets a little lonely” he nodded slightly, thinking about that made him miss his last boyfriend, he’d never really known what feeling truly alone was like until the two of them cut things off for good.

Leigh watched Eun’s face as he laughed and then smiled, he had a really unique and addictive laugh, the kind that when you heard it, it made you want to laugh too “A month huh?” Leigh asked with raised brows “A lot can happen in a month, especially in Evermore where something crazy seems to happy every day” he made an attempt at joking with the other male though it lacked the full follow through he might use with someone he was very comfortable around. It wasn’t like him to make jokes at all so he kinda looked down at his hands wondering what the hell had gotten into him. It must be the shock of what happened or something screwing with his head. He could see a slight look of disappointment cross Eun’s features when Leigh said he couldn’t speak Korean but it was followed by a look of understanding.

The kitsune listened to the way he spoke about learning English, of course, English was Leigh’s native tongue having been raised in America all his life, his parents were both white Americans and he had been raised with their way of life. He had never really been made to feel any different in his adoptive family and he loved them all very much. Other people could judge and they did often, it was the main reason he’d gotten so much poor treatment back in high school but he wouldn’t trade the people who raised him for anything “So you’re basically an actual superhero who can do anything” Leigh spoke, another tease, he bit his tongue inside his mouth but smiled softly, this was going better than it did with most people and he didn’t want to ruin it by getting all shy now. He got a feeling that Eun had a lot of drive in him, he seemed like a motivated and passionate person, or at least that’s the impression Leigh got.

Leigh looked back at Eun a little surprised at his offer considering his English was far better than a lot of people he knew but the therianthrope couldn’t bring himself to say no to an offer like that so he nodded his head a little “Sure, though you have to promise not to laugh at my pronunciation” he spoke softly, he was still really self-conscious when it came to speaking other languages which is probably why he’d never managed to fully learn one. It kinda made him feel a little giddy to think someone really liked this little spot back here behind the shop as much as he did, he really loved reading and spending his time in here pouring over ideas and with a table he could even do research in here “I will” he spoke as he pressed his lips together and nodded a little.

Leigh blushed again when the other male complimented his academic achievements, he didn’t say it in a way that made Leigh feel uncomfortable though, a lot of people would hear he was doing a PhD and suddenly act like he was a different person. The word the other male spoke was unfamiliar to him and he quirked a brow towards him to show he didn’t recognize it “umchinah?” he asked with a questioning tone, he wasn’t sure whether that was a compliment or not. The kitsune was even more flustered when Eun started talking about the supernatural, Leigh had never told him he was supernatural specifically but he supposed he had caught onto what he said earlier about the city being special for people like them. He cleared his throat, gathering together his surprise before he nodded “Yeah I’m a kitsune” he responded honestly “For about…” he deadpanned a little in surprise and then parted his lips “I suppose about 10 years now” he commented not believing it had really been that long “And you, Mr. graceful?” he definitely wasn’t a human.

Sometimes, people see him as a social butterfly, and while he couldn’t exactly deny that because it is a fact known that Sangeun Moon is a very outgoing and carefree guy who would not waste a single second being alone, not if he could communicate with others and strike a conversation that might even lead them somewhere interesting. It might not be much, but this is a guy who strives to make the world a better place by also making it a much more tolerable place with the people inhabiting it. You would rarely find him frowning instead of smiling, some people even asked if he never gets sore after smiling the entire day, but as a lawyer who comes and goes from the courthouse almost every week, it’s only casual for him to keep a mask that others would not dare to perceive it another way.

Being happy is his curse, but did he have to make it as miserable and as painful as it was initially supposed to be? If he’s going to live this way for more years to come, he may as well try to make the best of it by adapting it to his way of cooperating. If you asked him for help, Eun would go out of his way to seek any solution that could permit him to help you. He’s not a saint, though, just kind. Don’t expect him to give his homework to copy just because you’re friends with him, if anything, he’s the one you have to look out for since the elder dhampir is rather uptight on matters like that. Bowing slightly in front of Leigh, he had a stupid grin curving his lips, but this one was very genuine, unlike his masks. “Then I would thank you, kind sir,” he even went as far as to mimic a movement to tip his invisible hat or fedora just for the sake of comical humor.

Does he like people who talk a lot? Now, that’s a first for Eun. Throughout his years, though he does contribute a lot to multiple discussions and debates, the eldest Moon usually had a hard time trying to notch it down, even after making his point across and heard. However, he also pegged it as an extra trait that helps secure his occupational benefits. You can’t really expect to stay silent when you’re supposed to be throwing shots to the plaintiff or defendant. “You’re very peculiar, Leigh. Has anyone ever told you that? In a good way, of course. I would never dare to say any negative- yeah I’m babbling, aren’t I? I’ll stop...there” the number of times Eun had hit himself internally would’ve surpassed a dozen counts by now. Leigh exudes that peaceful air around him that Eun really liked, a lot. This does prove further, that the ‘shop owner’ of the bookstore is more than what meets the eye.

With that kind of intellect and that height and heart? Who wouldn’t find themselves liking his company? His timidness only made it more charming, if he was to say so. Nodding in affirmation to what the therianthrope said, he could relate to that. Even when he’s surrounded by his siblings and parents, even people flocked over to him, he never really felt like he belonged anywhere. That loneliness would always leave an impactful scar inside him, the one he got during his childhood and grew bigger as he got into adulthood. Indeed, things are not really what it seems. Arching an eyebrow towards the taller male, he chuckled softly, tilting his head slightly to the left as he clicked his tongue in contempt. “Way to make things scarier, but I’m sure I can… you know, survive, for a month. My baby brother did,” a spark of realization flashed across him, as he gaped briefly. “But then again, he is very headstrong. Resilient as hell...oh god, I’m going to die here, aren’t I?” Sangeun is very, dramatic. Yes, that’s one word to put it. If he wasn’t destined to be a lawyer, he’d probably pass off as an actor, not gonna lie.

The mention of superhero did cause him to stumble behind his steps and hit the bookshelf behind him. Laughing awkwardly as he scratched the back of his head with an impish grin, he could already feel the heat reaching his cheeks. Oh dear, this was not good. Eun is used to compliments, but this just took things to a whole new level, so much he was actually taken aback by the complexity in it. “I’m farrr from being a superhero, though my ancestry does have something to do alongside the lines of it. It’s a drive in us to protect those who couldn’t do the same for themselves, but for my other side, I hardly doubt it’s superhero-like” It wasn’t usual to see him being so humble. Well, admittedly, in front of officials and parents alike, he’s well-mannered and kept his humility, which added more flair into his dubbed title as the district, and soon state’s, umchinah. “I’m sure your pronunciation would be a lot better than mine, don’t be surprised, a lot of second language learners sometimes master the fluency better than native speakers, according to certain psychology studies, anyway.”

He nearly facepalmed himself when he realized the male wasn’t a native to know their local abbreviations and slangs. “Umchinah is basically known as someone idealistic. It translates into son-in-law or mother’s best son, the mothers  usually grant them to those kinds of people you see in dramas trying to compete with one another, my son is better than yours etc,” that was until he couldn’t hold in his laughter once he saw the look of understanding on Leigh’s face. “Just kidding, it’s a lot more than that, I promise. Just take it as someone who’s idealistic in most folks’ eyes. It’s a bit narcissistic and prideful, but I guess it works. It makes your family proud to have an Umchinah in the registry, in a way. You know, Koreans and their...conservativeness, yeah.” He wasn’t sure how to describe it but if his parents are proud, then there’s nothing else to speak on. Mr. Graceful, that’s the first. He’s not usually referred to being graceful, perhaps because he’s never shown his dhampir side to anyone else.

“Kitsune huh? Foxes are supposed to be sly, but you don’t look like you could lie to save a life,” he teased playfully, finding the fun in doing that seeing as the latter also had his fair share of teasing the dhampir. So Leigh was a turned Kitsune, interesting. “I’m a dhampir, half human and half valkyr. And I’m not nearly as graceful on other parts. I was born into this, so I guess you could say it’s been a part of me ever since I was a child.”

Leigh quite literally felt like he could feel the happiness radiating off Eun who had this really bright and effortless smile which made his features even more defined, he was quite possibly the most handsome person that Leigh had ever set his eyes on and considering he was in a customer facing role most days, the kitsune had seen a lot of people in his life. Usually, someone who looked like that would tend to be an asshole, the world balancing out beauty with an ego but Eun was just a generally nice and smiley person, it kinda made the therianthrope believe the world was a little unfair. But he was enjoying being around him so he could hardly complain. When the other male bowed and tipped his pretend hat Leigh scrunched his nose as he laughed at the gesture but nodded his own head slightly to return the greeting “That is an excellent hat you have there, compliments your complexion” Leigh joked with a bright smile towards the other male.

Leigh nodded a little when Eun called him peculiar, he’d heard that one before, he wasn’t really the kind of person that instantly connected with people and so he could say and do some pretty awkward things, it tended to put a lot of people off and made them think he was strange or trying too hard, really he was just nervous most of the time, he never really got the good friendship circle that most people had around them back in school so he was always just filling that loner persona and while he had moved past that and into the world of work now, he just didn’t really have that many friends “I have heard that before” Leigh admitted with a half smile “Though I do think that’s the first time someone’s tried to use it as a compliment” he liked hearing the other male’s voice as he talked, he had a very nice accent when he spoke English, something that was impossible for a native speaker to imitate “Most people call it awkward though, I never really know what to say to people” he admitted as he glanced over at Eun for a moment, he imagined being a lawyer he always knew what to say which he supposed made them opposites.

Leigh was normally shy around most people and Eun wasn’t an exception to that rule, in fact, his good looks and charm were constantly tripping the Kitsune over and over in his head but thankfully he was just about managing to hold the conversation with him and frankly, he was proud of himself for being able to do that. He’d been trying really hard lately to step out of his comfort zone and even though it had to be a robbery of all things that triggered it, he was impressed with how far he’d come in the time he’d been talking with the other male. Eun was easy to talk to though, he was funny and constantly making witty quips that made the therianthrope laugh, so much so that his whole face lit up a little every time “I think you’ll be just fine” Leigh admitted with an assuring nod, from what he’d seen of Eun already, he was more headstrong and resilient than he probably recognized in himself, it did kinda made Leigh feel a little bit of a disappointment that the other male would be gone in a month though because he kinda felt like maybe he could finally make a friend with him “Not everyone survives an armed robbery the first day in a new city after all” he justified his words with a nod of his head.

Leigh hadn’t meant to surprise the other male so much with his joke about superheroes and he naturally put his hands up as if to help if the bookshelf decided to do what it liked to do and topple over but thankfully it just wobbled a bit and then returned to its original position, he’d been meaning to get more permanent shelves that weren’t able to be wheeled around for a while now but to do that meant committing to a permanent layout for the shop and he was yet to commit to that. Leigh raised his tea to his lips and sipped some down as he laughed softly “Well you get the title of my hero for today” he spoke softly before realizing how that could be taken and he coughed a little as his eyes remained down on the mug he was holding in both his hands, his face was pretty much constantly flushed around the other male now that it probably wasn’t even noticeable anymore but he still did his best to keep his face hidden until the embarrassment of how he said that had passed over. Thankfully Eun kept talking about pronunciation which gave him something else to focus on “I don’t know, most people say us Americans have pretty obnoxious accents” he admitted with a soft laugh but he was still unable to lift his gaze so he was just talking into his tea.

He finally managed to bring himself to look up again as he heard Eun talking about what an Umchinah was, he showed a thoughtful expression as he took in the definition and thought about what it meant to be called one, he supposed it simply meant someone who was an exemplary person in society, someone to aspire to be like. Leigh wasn’t sure he exactly fit the bill for that, he was smart but he lacked in other areas such as the fact he didn’t aspire to be the perfect family man and he rarely wanted to be around other people. By the end of it, he had an even more confused look on his face “I think I should say thank you for the compliment then?” he asked it more of a question than an actual thanks but he nodded his head as though he appreciated the sentiment the other male was offering him. When Eun said he knew how Koreans are though, he shook his head a little “You’re actually only the second Korean I’ve met and I’m not sure the second even counts because he literally acts and sounds more American than I do and describing him as conservative would be an oxymoron” Leigh ran a hand through his hair realizing he was talking too much “I think my family are proud of me though” he spoke softly as he glanced around the room, he really hoped so.

Leigh raised his brows when the other male said he thought the kitsune couldn’t lie very well, well he supposed that was the whole facade when a kitsune lied to you, you’d never even know it was happening. Leigh didn’t lie about much but if it meant getting out of being around people or letting them get too close, he was inclined to use his supernatural ability to protect himself, if only he could lie to himself so easily “Or maybe that’s what I want you to think” Leigh played along with his teasing and smiled softly. He wasn’t surprised when the other male said he was a dhampir, valkyr, and their children had a certain unnatural grace to them that was hard to miss and he’d guessed as much already, plus he had that undead beauty they all seemed to have “Well I thought you moved quite gracefully” he commented with a smile “Though you kinda looked like you were missing a weapon” he admitted grinning sheepishly, he knew how dependant dhampirs were on their weapon, plus he was kinda curious to know what weapon Eun had.

Throughout his entire life, nobody ever told him to hide his smile, he knew enough when to keep it down and when to flaunt it like a part of an accessory on his body, if anything, he’s been told that his smile is contagious, as well as his laughter. The mere thought of being able to make someone laugh or smile at least once every day made his heart swell in happiness. He only ever wanted to make the world a better place to live for all. He is only one person, but that’s more than enough for one person’s attempt could be the decision maker on both scales. When he set his foot in Evermore, he didn’t expect the city to be so dark, not in a physical manner, there were plenty of city lights adorning the busy city even at night, but rather on a more complex manner. It’s beautiful, the architecture was both a mix of modern and something from a few centuries ago, some buildings had Victorian era look to them.

What did he expect from a city that is known infamously due to their supernatural population? Nothing much, just peaceful vibe, he’s guessing. So far, he hasn’t been disappointed as of yet, sure the burglar from earlier ruined that ‘first impression’ thing for Eun but the person he met and befriended afterward? Leigh definitely made up for everything bad there. There was nothing about the therian that Eun would frown over, if anything, he finds himself liking his company better than most, and that was saying something considering the eldest Moon has met various people in the courthouse. Even in the charity fundraisers, he went to as a representative, there were plenty of snobbish people. But then again, even in his firm, everyone else had their ranks and hierarchy keeping everything stable in its flow. Leigh exuded a very humble persona, one he very much preferred.

Following the joke that the therian amused him with by playing along, the dhampir sn*****ed. “I always look good in anything” he winked playfully. If he wasn’t so wrapped around the other bubble, he would’ve passed off as a very ‘exemplary’ narcissist easily. That doesn’t excuse his narcissistic and cocky traits showed to the people close to him aka probably the only person who could play it back just as well, Jae. A frown creased his features upon hearing that from Leigh, why would anyone use that to put someone down? Sometimes, despite understanding how cruel society works, being the step-children of the bitter world, he still couldn’t understand why people felt the need to put the other down just because they had the upper hand. Was it necessary? No. “I don’t see why people would ever use that word as something else other than a compliment,” he spoke, offering the other male a comforting smile.

He wasn’t sympathizing him, he was just offering solace for he also knew what it felt like to be judged and modeled the way society wants you to be. He’s been going through the same cycle and eventually became the product of theirs, at the end of the day. “I won’t call myself a social butterfly because unless I need to talk, I don’t pursue people. Though, they do come to me so I can hardly decline and say no if I don’t want to come across as rude or standoffish, right? I babble, so I’d say that’s also something that makes me awkward” his gaze fell on the taller male before him and Eun pursed his lips lightly as if he was a fashion designer criticizing him. “I think awkward is a good look on you, it’s cute.” Flaunting around compliments came easy for the dhampir, it’s an automatic mechanism in his system to be sputtering out praises and the likes. It doesn’t mean it didn’t have a single hint of genuineness in it, though. Just because he finds it easier to offer them to people, it doesn’t mean every word is empty without any emotion. He never offers those, it makes him feel guilty because no one should ever go through that.

In a way, after living his life as the eldest of his sibling, looking out for people in another department that doesn’t involve physical strength of a dhampir, is one of his traits, which makes him a good caretaker. Eun tries his best to keep a conversation going with Leigh because honestly, he really likes his company and would like to bask a little while longer in this, whatever this is. “I hope I will be fine, I really don’t want to go back to my family without being intact, you know. Not when I have a wedding scheduled in what- 8 months? My sister would kill me if I have so much a scratch on me, I may actually die from her instead” he chuckled, right, the wedding. It feels weird to talk about it, the word doesn’t roll off his tongue as easy as he thought he would. Hell, he wasn’t sure if he was so worried about it. Eun is just doing what his parents wanted, especially with his mother being sickly, fulfilling her desires and wishes are a must for him.

“And let’s be real, that was hardly considered a robbery. Technically, it can pass off as one. He had a gun and a knife, but he’s also under the influence of alcohol. Nothing much but you can smell it off him once you get closer. Probably to calm the nerves, not that it got him anywhere.” The casual roll of his shoulders made it seem like it wasn’t a big deal. The dhampir widened his eyes in surprise as he was taken aback by Leigh’s remark about him being his hero today, but a smug smirk adorned his lips soon after. “I’m glad I can be someone’s hero, then. That’s always my dream, to protect.” Ironically, that’s why he took up this occupation. If he couldn’t protect them directly, then working behind the scenes to ensure that continues, is good enough. He’s not one to succumb to his impulses, after all. Eun maintained a level-headed persona, always calm and collected in every situation. It happens when you know there would be eyes on you everywhere you go. “I like your accent, it sounds smooth and mellow. Articulated, if you’d say? If you haven’t seen me babble and scold my brother, then you probably have yet to see how loud we can be.” Which was the truth, there were times when Eun would often chastise Jae, though it never extended outside personal vendetta against one another. They are brothers, after all. It’s an everlasting bond that can never be separated.

“Being called an umchinah has been a compliment for Koreans for generations long if I could recall. So yes, it is a compliment for you, Leigh” he affirmed, a thoughtful smile tugging on the corners of his lips. Seeing the therian being shy and flushed really amused him, it’s rare for Eun to come across such people. At least, aside from the girls back in school or university. He also remembered the time he spent 2 semesters in an all-boys school, that happened too. Eun being Eun never found it weird, of course. “I’m sorry to tell you that I’m a proud Korean, haha.” That, he is. “I’m confident your family is proud of you, Leigh. It seems unlikely for someone like you to grow under the pressure of parental supervision. I can’t say the same for me, but I turned out just fine, so no reason for you not to be the same.” It was commendable to see Eun hiding behind all those layers of hurt as he wears yet another smile. Upon seeing how Leigh got slightly more confident in teasing, the dhampir chuckled and shook his head. “Sly, aren’t you. Tsk tsk, though I hope nothing we talked about was a lie, it would’ve been an insult to me, you know” two can play at the game. It was unlike Eun to be backing down so easily, after all.

Should he deactivate the invisibility rune he applied on his sword? Well, Leigh seemed harmless and he was probably the first person he’d talked to while being a dhampir. He did come here initially to help him, no? Bringing one hand over his waist area where he was sure he tied a holster-like belt that was also shielded from prying eyes due to the measure he went to make it go unseen and swung the shortsword in his right hand as the rune was deactivated. “You were saying?” Admittedly, it’s lighter than a normal sword but still as heavy as a shortsword is supposed to be, though Eun made it out to be light as a feather.

Leigh had been given a pretty good first impression of this city, but then anything would have felt better than the life he left behind if he was honest. He didn’t remember his younger years fondly, high school was not the best years of his life and he wouldn’t return to it for any reason. Since coming to Evermore he’d found a life he actually did really like. College was a good change for him, being around people who took their study seriously, meeting like-minded people reminded him that no everyone in the world was out to be against him. He’d built a life here, he had an apartment and a business, he was studying something he found really interesting and challenging. He felt like he’d finally moved past the sad shell of a person he used to be and grown into someone he actually liked. Sure, he still had his issues and struggles, but everyone did.

Leigh laughed gently at Eun’s teasing but he didn’t think he was wrong in saying that he would probably look good in anything, the wink made the kitsune smile brightly, he’d never really had someone talk with him quite this playfully before, normally Leigh would excuse himself before anyone got to say much. It was a big leap for him but so far it seemed to be paying off and his jaw hurt a little from smiling. The innocent way that Eun said he didn’t see why people would be cruel made the kitsune feel like there was still some good people in the world. After knowing how cruel people could be, perhaps Leigh had created this impression for himself about what others were like so it was refreshing to be proven wrong from once “I’ll take it” he spoke softly returning his smile and the intent behind it.

Leigh appreciated the fact he didn’t ask any further though, there was an understanding look between them that hinted that maybe Eun understood a little about the world judging you for the person you were. Trying to shape you into something you were not. He could tel that the other male seemed to want to present himself well to the world and he wasn’t just talking about physically, he had this effortless grace about him that he recognized a polished outer. He had one of those too, though Leigh’s relied on distancing others rather than talking his way out “I think I’d rather come off as rude than be forced to talk to someone I didn’t like for longer than I had to” which was a subtle hint he quite liked the dhampir’s company since he was still talking to him. When Eun called him cute though, Leigh laughed softly, shyly moving away from the half-valkyr’s gaze and hiding his face behind his hand “I guess it works for me” he took it with a smile, pushing up his glasses “And talkative charmer looks good on you” he returned though he still avoided Eun’s gaze.

The smile he was wearing did falter when he heard the other male talk about a wedding. Not that Leigh even thought for a second he would ever have a shot with someone like him, he was handsome and sweet and a genuinely good person and honestly so far out of the kitsune’s league that he was surprised he was even talking to him. Not to mention the other male was more than likely straight, given he came from a society where it was pretty much expected. He recovered with a soft smile “Congratulations” he spoke sincerely “You must be pretty excited for it, 8 months will pass quicker than you know it” Leigh was definitely the kind of guy who dreamed about what his wedding might be like one day, if ever settled down with someone. He wasn’t sure how likely that was considering he hadn’t so much as dated anyone since his last ex but maybe one day, he had plenty of time yet right?

Leigh smiled at the way Eun downplayed the whole situation, he was mostly doing it to put the kitsune at ease, he could tell, it seemed like a part of the dhampir, either consciously or subconsciously knew exactly what to say or do to make people feel comfortable around him. Even someone who would normally run for the hills like Leigh. It was a rare talent, one he had barely ever seen before. He blew out a soft sigh “I really wish he hadn’t chosen my store of all places, cleaning up all those stray books is going to take me far too long with Willow’s organization system we recently installed” he was still messing it up weeks later, she called him a hot mess. Leigh hadn’t meant to say the hero comment but just like he did with everything else, Eun seemed to take it in his stride which made the therian blow out a soft sigh of relief, it was easy with him, he didn’t feel the usual crushing pressure he did around people “Is that why you became a lawyer?” the pink-haired male asked curiously, lawyers served the community in that way didn’t they?

When Eun mentioned his brother again, Leigh grinned a little “If I didn’t know better I’d say your brother is the most important person to you” that was the third time he’d brought him up now, it seemed like he cared about him a lot “Don't worry, I don’t know him so I can’t expose you” he teased finally able to look at the other male again without feeling utterly embarrassed. He reached up to scratch at the back of his neck as he heard Eun talking about his Korean roots, it was really nice to see someone so proud of who they were and their background. Leigh had less of a simple background than him, he might be of Asian ethnicity but his parents were both white and he felt parts of him in both those roots. Sometimes he wanted to know more about his biological heritage, other times he didn’t want to so much think about the mother who gave him up without a word. “Don’t be sorry, I think it’s great that you’re so proud of who you are” he nodded slightly, and yet Eun also seemed adjusted enough not to be completely off-put by Western ways either. That made him pretty adaptive in the kitsune’s eyes.

Leigh chuckled when Eun teased him about lying “You’d never even know if I did but” he shrugged softly “Somehow the truth doesn’t feel so scary around you” he laughed softly realizing that sounded so cheesy “Maybe that’s the adrenaline talking” he admitted as he watched the other male’s hand go to his belt. Leigh looked at him confused until he saw the shortsword appear in his hand out of thin air. Leigh’s eyes lit up as he looked up at it, seeing the glowing color that came off of it as he held it up for him to see “That’s a neat trick” Leigh spoke softly and then to return the favor of a reveal he blinked and then opened his eyes allowing his fox side to take over for just a second and his eyes to glow bright, beta blue. “Have you trained for a long time?” he asked as he leaned closer studying the sharp metal blade, seeing the way the runes had been carved into it by hand, he heard that dhampirs usually trained in combat for a long time and were one of the most skilled when it came to fighting.

All his life, Eun only knew one thing and one thing only; study. His goals? Make his parents proud. Be a good person. Strive to be the best in everything. Nothing out of the ordinary in the list, every single thing details out the same key point–impress. He's known nothing but ways to impress people around him from a young age. It is what he's been taught, after all. His mother would coo to him every night after bribing him with a few sweets, telling him that he's going to be a great person in the future. That one day, everyone would look to him and see greatness. Now, those words aren't particularly motivating if you're taking it into another context after seeing how much the dhampir had suffered whilst growing up.

But to a young Sangeun Moon, who stared at his parents with those shining almond hues, there wasn't a thing he wouldn't do for them. Being praised was his drug and wanting to be perfect was his curse. To young him, it was a mother's loving words. Nothing really changed that much, only a few things that he could regate. He's more mature now and has a stronger will to carry out the deed. He likes defending the weak, but would prefer using his physical strength to do that instead of sitting behind the doors, working on the same old papers. Secretly, he wanted to be out in the open, to join the fight, to be in the fight physically. He is a dhampir, isn't he? This was what he literally trained for his entire childhood. And ever since he received his weapon, he started training more diligently than ever despite his busy and unpredictable working hours. It's okay, he can do both, he said.

Eun does like making people smile, though. He believes everyone has the right to pursue their lives in safety and happiness and to live with love and care. If only the rest of the world shares the same mindset as he did. Leigh reminds him a lot like those people who hid behind the curtains and shield themselves away from the world simply because it has done nothing to warrant their trust. Like they've known what it feels like to be at the sour end that alone was enough to pique his interest. Unsurprisingly even to him, the dhampir wanted to know more about the therian before him, he wanted to get to know him better and learn what makes him tick and what he likes. He wished to befriend him and unlike those who he only ever extended a hand out solely due to formality and respect, this time it's different. This time he actually wants to make the most of it. Throughout their time conversing with one another, he noticed the smallest details on Leigh. Admittedly, he would because he's naturally perceptive of his surroundings and pays attention when someone is talking in front of him, especially if they're directed towards him.

Leigh was taller than him by a few centimeters, but due to his posture, the other male does appear to be taller than he originally is. It's the legs, definitely. The pink-haired male also possessed a set of dimples that really could melt anyone's cold exterior out. It made him look a lot sweeter whenever he smiles. “I would try to stay away from people I don't like but if they come my way, I don't think I can refute them as easy as my head tells me to. Especially if there are other parties involved in the said intervention” sucks to be you, Eun. “But I'm flattered that you like my company. That is what you're trying to say, right? Or did I misinterpret? God I really hope not, that's seriously going to leave a dent to my pride and man if my brother ever sees this, he'll never let me live this moment down” and then comes the signature ramble. “Sorry, I Uh… tend to ramble a lot when I'm… nervous.” As soon as the words left him, he averted his gaze downwards and suddenly found the floors to be more entertaining. But upon hearing the compliment and after noting the way Leigh hid himself behind his hands, he snickered and smirked wryly.

“Thank you, I swear if you keep those compliments going, my pride will be as tall as a skyscraper by the time we part ways today, Leigh” and where's the lie in that? Due to how oblivious Eun could be, sometimes, the way the smile faltered escaped his notice entirely because he was actually preoccupied with a few other thoughts. Right, the wedding. Why did that slip out of him when he's trying his best not to think about it when he's here? The whole purpose of accepting the case here was that so Eun could spend more of his time with his baby brother and find more closure in this decision he made a few weeks ago. Why does he sound so defeated? This is what he wanted, right? To make his parents proud? To finally earn his place? He's not even sure what it even means anymore. He likes her, she's a good person. But did he love her? Who is he kidding, he's never known love other the one his parents gave him, or mother, or at least what he thinks is love. Eun was too busy entrapped with his studies that he never had time to have those childish elementary crushes neither did he had time to get through high school love phase. Hell, he hasn't even gotten his first kiss yet, so how can he really know what it means and what it's supposed to entail? He didn't even read romance novels so he's completely clueless.

“Thank you again… I admit, I'm nervous. 8 months doesn't sound like a long time and I'm still… well me.” A clumsy guy who hasn't got a clue on what marital life would be like. No wonder he's scared and worried. He's signing his future away without actually knowing if this is what he wanted. Speaking of books, his eyes darted over the mess the robber made earlier and pursed his lips. “I can help you clean it up” he quipped, pushing both his hands into his pockets and flashing a genuine smile. “You know, I don't have anything else to do. I can help you out.” Honestly that's just another reason for him to stay a little while longer and talk with the therian but hey, Leigh didn't need to know that. Nodding profusely at his question, it was spot on. “I can't exactly fight bad guys off physically all the time. If that's the way, then I would've stayed in the army. When I can't, I take the reins and work silently to ensure it stays that way, then. The world is a cruel place and it's always cruelest to the weak, which is unfair. I want to make the world a better place. Even if it's just a sliver.” Perhaps he's naive or maybe he's just too wrapped inside his head to picture a better world where they won't have to live in fear, but either way, he believes it could be true, one day.

“He is, he's been with me when I needed him and I'm trying my best to be his best brother, even though I'm positive I'm lacking on that department due to my untimely schedules that could never match anything to even turn up for a family dinner.” Jae meant the world to him. He's disappointed in himself that he wasn't able to be there to defend his baby brother and to shift the attention away from the rebellious dhampir. “I'm trying my best to make up for my absence. I'm the big brother, I should've been there to protect him from everything, you know? That's probably one of the times where I really started tasting failure and I did not like it at all.” Overall, Eun is a family man. He's the guy you can see proposing to the person he loves so he could build a family with them. Unfortunately for the dhampir, he has neither lover or the bravery to muster up to actually propose since it's more likely to have his nerve eat him up. It's ironic that Eun wants to keep his identity but he's not even sure which is the real him.

“I'm glad you feel that way… I'm happy that you don't feel the need to hide yourself away from me. I've only known you for a short while and I can already see so many potential oozing out of you, it's a shame if no one else can see it.” Sharing is caring, after all. Right? He was in awe upon seeing the way his eyes glowed brightly. He's never actually witnessed a kitsune before, he's come across plenty or diviners and Initia but never kitsunes. “Yeah I can't exactly bring it everywhere so I have to be mindful where I keep it hidden. Don't think I can ever leave this thing home. It's like my lifeline” he grinned gleefully, running his fingers against the sharp blade that gleamed in the night. “I came from a dhampir family, so we were all trained from a young age, ever since we could properly stand, walk, talk. So yeah, pretty much my whole life. And this beauty right here has been my best friend since 18” looking up to meet his eyes, they softened slightly and he twirled so the handle would be towards Leigh and the blade against Eun instead. “Would you like to hold it?”

Leigh had never really met someone quite like Eun, he was strange, in a good way, not afraid to stand up for something be believed in, even if others barely batted an eye. He could tell he was telling the truth when he spoke about wanting to put good into the world. He got the feeling the other male was weighed down by a lot though, just from the way his expression would falter at times and the way he spoke about things. Leigh wasn’t the biggest people person but he was quite observant when it came to people, found them fascinating, to be honest, if he hadn’t been so good with numbers he might have been a psychologist because he always found the ways the mind worked really interesting. It was rare Leigh met someone he actually felt an inclination to want to be around though but somehow he seemed to find that in the dhampir, he wanted to know more about him.

Eun was quite possibly, the most attractive man that Leigh had ever laid eyes on, which was why he was so hopeless at keeping a straight face and not blushing like crazy around him. It wasn’t the kitsune thinking he actually had a shot, he supposed it was kinda like people would probably be around a really good looking celebrity. Still, Eun didn’t treat him any differently than a normal person so that was a nice change. And Leigh was sort of managing to keep a conversation with the dhampir without falling into his shy shell and not being able to speak a word which meant he was making progress. He was about to assure the other male he was right but then he started rambling a little and Leigh scrunched his nose and laughed softly, he was cute “I do like your company, pride is intact” he assured as he looked up at the other male and gave a genuine smile “Me too” he spoke softly as he averted his eyes “Maybe we can practice not making complete fools of ourselves together” he suggested with a laugh, well at least Leigh hadn’t run off out of embarrassment yet anyway.

Leigh laughed a little “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling a little good about yourself” he admitted with an easygoing smile “Besides it’s your first day in Evermore city, might as well make it a memorable one” it kinda made him sad to know the other male was going to leave the city in a month because he was one of the first people Leigh had met here that he just felt like he connected with instantly and they could have been pretty good friends. As the pink-haired male watched the dhampir, he noted the fact he had completely gone into his own world at the mention of the wedding, or the thought of it. He wondered what as going on in his head and what the situation was, the kitsune could tell it wasn’t just as simple as someone who was blissfully in love. Not that it was Leigh’s place to even think about that, he just met this guy after all.

“Well as long as it’s the two of you facing up to it all together, should be easy right?” Leigh suggested as he looked up at the dark haired male and tried to figure out what exactly he had to be nervous “I’ve been to a few weddings, the ceremony isn’t much to fret over, just try not to pass out when you see how gorgeous she looks” he smiled softly, he remembered being at a friend’s wedding and she had looked absolutely stunning and her fiance was barely standing by the time she was done walking the aisle. “Then you get to party” he added with a chuckle, Leigh wasn’t much for partying but he had drunk a few too many that night and ended up going home with a guy. Which was a rare occurrence for him in the past few years. When Eun offered to help clean up Leigh stared a little wide-eyed, he completely forgot the shop had been utterly trashed while they were talking “Oh you don’t have to do that, you already helped me more than enough and you probably want to get home to your brother because you have mentioned how much you miss him at least three times now” while he was rambling nervously he was picking up books and stacking them back where they were supposed to be and then he was listening to Eun talk about saving the world. Leigh smiled as he looked up at him from the rim of his glasses which had slid down his nose while he was picking up books “Admirable” he commented with a smile “Maybe not easily attainable but nothing worth it ever is” at least that was his experience anyway.

It was sweet, listening to the way Eun talked about his brother and how he wanted to look out for him and take care of him, he could see that Eun struggled to balance all the things going on his life and frankly, Leigh suspected there was a lot of pressure put on him. He’d seen that happen to a lot of people, especially of Asian ethnicity, their parents put all their social and academic expectations onto their children. Typically the eldest. “I’m sure he understands, I mean from what you’ve told me, you sound like a good brother so” he gave a small smile, he didn’t have any siblings himself, his parents couldn’t have children of their own and they wanted to give all their attention to raising Leigh. He did have younger cousins he got along with though “Does he know you’re visiting?” the kitsune asked with a smirk, he loved going home and surprising his parents with a visit sometimes, they were always so thrilled to see him. Despite the distance, he still felt very close to both of them.

Leigh laughed and shook his head a little, wrinkling his nose from embarrassment at the compliment “You are quite the flatterer” he commented with a chuckle, though they’d both been tossing them back and forth so he supposed they could call it even. His eyes moved over the blade that Eun held, noting the way it glowed under his touch and the way it seemed like it was ancient and powerful. “It must have been nice, always knowing what you were going to be” he commented thoughtfully “Do you enjoy training?” he asked as he lifted his gaze to meet Eun’s, he already got the feeling was yes considering how confident the other male had been in the face of danger, you didn’t do that unless you knew you could handle yourself in a fight “I was uh…” he wet his bottom lip “Bitten, so I never really planned for all this” not that he was complaining at all because it had quite literally saved his life. But would he have chosen to be a Kitsune otherwise? Probably not “I lead a pretty human life but I do have a pack” he explained, if they needed him, he would be there, though he wasn’t sure why they would need him. Seeing the blade in front of him, the inner anime lover in him couldn’t help but want to reach out and take it. He smiled brightly as he held it up in front of him “Damn I feel more badass just holding it” he admitted as he gave a goofy grin, made a few sweeps at the air to try it out and then offered it back it’s rightful owner “Definitely looks better when you light it up” he admitted.

“So tell me about your bride-to-be, maybe I can help settle your nerves about it all” he chuckled softly and smiled, he was actually really great at giving advice to people, experienced a few very real relationships himself so he knew how things came and went, he picked up a few more books and returned them to their places on the rack, really he was just trying to get it all off the floor so Willow wouldn’t have an actual heart attack when she came in tomorrow.


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