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"Look, I don't want any trouble, okay? Just leave me be and I'll be out of your sight before long. I promise." That's what he had been telling those weirdly dressed and rugged men who had chased him all the way from the last stop to the docks at Reykjavik. He even promised them he would be out of their sight if they would give him the chance to do so but all he received were laughter that felt antagonizing. He remembered running. All he did was run and run until his legs finally couldn't take it anymore and give out halfway before reaching his destination. He remembered how hard the pavement was and how his knee was scrapped because of his fall. He remembered the shoutings and hoots from the group of men who would not stop chasing him even when he's done nothing to warrant the chase.
He didn't steal neither did he lie. Han was just trying to walk around and mind his day per usual. He didn't ask for any of that. And most importantly, he remembered how he kept asking the sky every single night, "What did I do wrong?" He didn't know why people kept chasing him and nobody gave him an answer. The memories felt so fresh in his head, like it wasn't that long ago since it happened when it has been over 87 years since it occurred. When he woke from his nightmare, he was already sweating and Hanseol wasn't even surprised. The Celestial haven't had a hard time sleeping due to Jae but ever since Sunmin appeared in his life, he couldn't get rid of this nagging feeling that was slowly eating his heart away. What if Sunmin was facing the same trouble he once faced? What if he was in trouble somewhere and he wasn't there to help?
From the looks of things the last time, he was confident that the other male was able to take care of himself but he still couldn't stop wondering how he was living his day. Did he sleep comfortably? Is it cold where he's at? Is he dressed warmly? Is he eating well? So many questions kept bombarding his head and it hasn't allowed Han to have any peaceful nights at all. In result of that, the brunette had been searching for Sunmin every chance he could. He even went back to that church he found him, but there were no signs of him. It was like he never went there, at all. Han went to every single place he thought Sunmin would be at but to no avail, his search was futile.
Today was one of those days again, where he would search for the other Celestial endlessly without realizing how much it was slowly taking a toll on his health and well-being. He was supposed to check out from his work 2 hours ago, he was supposed to go home to the embrace of his loving boyfriend, he was supposed to stop wasting his time on this search. There were plenty of things Hanseol was supposed to be doing yet here he was, still waiting in front of the church he first met Sunmin, coughing from the cold weather while only dressed in his work clothes that was nowhere near warm enough for the Celestial to be battling the cold. He even left his coat at his office. The clock struck 11 30 pm and he was still sitting on the bench that was slightly covered by snow, hoping that he would be able to catch a glimpse of Sunmin again. "Where are you, Sunmin…"
Jae nodded slightly, he felt the same way, it almost seemed unbelievable that he had been in Evermore for a full year, that he had done his studies at university for a full year and that he had known Hanseol Park for a full year “And yet we’ve been through so much in that time that it feels longer than that in some ways too” how strange were the ways that time worked? Either way, he was happy with the life he currently had and while he knew there were going to be tough times ahead, especially when he eventually found the courage to tell his father about his relationship, he thought he had come a long way in a year and grown as a person. Hell in the past year he had learned to love, something he never thought he would experience but felt so lucky to have the opportunity to.
Jae nodded, rubbing gently against Han’s shoulder as he heard the other male admit he wanted his brother to like him, of course, Jae already knew that he did, that was written in everything that Han did and said but it was important to hear him say it too “‘I’ve been very lucky to be raised alongside three great siblings and while not all of us are close, I gave good memories with them and I know if I needed them, then they’d be there for me” he nodded a few times, that wasn’t him bragging, that was him expressing that he understood how important a sibling bond might feel to Han “So I get why you want this to work out so much and that means I want that for you too” he pressed his lips together for a moment “So I will be here to help you with whatever you need to get that and I will also be here to listen and not judge if you want to talk about him” it wasn’t easy for Jae to put his personal feelings aside but for Han he would. He pressed a hand to Han’s cheek, rubbing softly against it as he questioned where he came from “Your name came from you, it’s your identity inside you and that seems even more significant don’t you think?” he nodded slightly as he looked him in the eyes “And who knows, maybe one day you’ll get to pass that surname on too”
Jae rolled his eyes giving Han a pointed look when he teased him about that time he had decided on a whim to try a diet which lasted for a total of about a week before he ended up quitting because he missed snacks too much “Says the guy who would literally eat sweets for breakfast, lunch and dinner if he could” he chuckled softly giving him a playful glare. “Well honestly my first thought was that you didn’t wanna have to walk him in the rain” he teased back with a laugh, it was a really sweet gesture of Han’s to give him the dog, though honestly, it was more like Byul and Yeontan were both their dogs now, they spent so much time together that they felt like a joined family now. “Or wanted someone to blame when he goes on another toilet roll ripping spree” he chuckled softly “I swear that pup thinks he’s about 5 times the size he actually is, not to mention how much he eats given half the chance” the Dhampir laughed, their animals definitely kept life interesting that’s for sure.
“Well I didn’t expect you to go all hungry hippo in the space of a minute” he returned the statement, chuckling a little at Han’s pouting while he ate a few more mouthfuls of the noodles, it wasn’t exactly the dinner he planned for tonight but he was glad to be here with the star and just have the chance to laugh and joke a little. Things often seemed so serious and difficult lately so it was nice to be reminded that they could still have fun and make each other laugh throughout. Jae also grabbed one of the lemonades, opening it and taking a long swig of it as he listened to Han complaining about Tuesdays, Han wasn’t wrong though, everything that went wrong always seemed to happen on a Tuesday “Alright Tuesdays are cursed, does this mean I should buy a roll of bubble wrap and package you up on every Tuesday?” he chuckled softly and took another bite of his food. He had to laugh when Han asked him why he had the energy of a broke college student, pressing his lips together to try and stop himself from laughing only to laugh more “They mean because you have cheap taste in food baby” his eyes dropped down to the ramen pot and grinned “Your typical broke college student would eat one of those for dinner most nights” he nodded slightly as he finished off his and threw it into the trash, grabbing his drink bottle and fishing the keys out of his pocket he smiled “Are you ready?” the question could mean in any aspect of it.
"I used to think a year can be so fast and so quick at the same time… fast, mostly because time ticks away and before I know it, I'm already aging another year… And another" This applied to Hang while he was living in captivity, some days felt like it was passing too late and he wished that he wouldn't have to stay there any longer, but then before he knew it, he was already 90 years old this year. "I still can't believe I've known you for a year already... But another part of me feels like we've known each other longer than that" A one year relationship ship does not experience what they have. How could they? They're not a half-valkyr and a star, anyway. He knew there were plenty of obstacles they still have yet to face in the near future but life will always be filled with obstacles, so what's the difference? The difference is that here, he would have Jae to accompany him. To walk beside him. To hold his hand. They can get through it together. The same way he knew he was going to have to be the one lending the dhampir his shoulder when the time comes. He's his home.
"You have great siblings… I wonder if I can be what Eun is to you, to Sunmin… but I think I want to be Hanseol to him. Instead of someone else… I just want to be there for support and let him know whenever he needs me, I'll come running" Was he too hooked on the idea of siblinghood that he could be manipulated and he would still do it? Perhaps. But Han had a strong feeling that Sunmin wasn't like that despite having only met once. He knew Jae putting his personal feelings aside just to help him means a lot, the consideration it took for the dhampir to burn any other remains for him only reminded him further of how far Jae is willing to go for him. His man. When he pressed his hand against his cheek, the Celestial placed his own one top of his instinctively and purred gently, God he wish he could bask in this longer. Perhaps, once they get back home. His eyes grew wider when Jae said one day he'd be able to pass on the surname, "Do you mean… spouse, or kids?" Because in Han's case, it wasn't surprising to hear that he's pictured a future like that in his imaginative mind. "Or… both?"
It didn't take him long to morph into a puppy personified male and scoffed when Jae exposed him for his sweet tooth, "One, I have a sweet tooth. You know that. Two, I won't eat sweets for breakfast pssh… where did you get that logic from?" The fact that he was full on defence does say a lot about the claim, however. Han placed his hand over his heart and gasped dramatically, "I would never do that… Yeontan may run off a lot, I reiterate once again, a lot… but I'll never give him up for that, the audacity, Jae, you've been my boyfriend and his owner for a while and now you think you know it all" he feigned his annoyance by rolling his eyes at the dhampir. "Thank god he can't grow bigger like Byul… dog would have eaten me, Jae… will you be responsible for that if Yeontan eats me?" Though that never stopped the Pomeranian from jumping on him the first chance it gets. At least Yeontan wasn't as heavy as Byul who is slowly growing… scratch that, rapidly growing. "I feel like it's a pick on me day… after all of what you said, accusing me of eating sweets for breakfast and giving Yeontan up so I don't have to walk him… you are calling me a hippo- Jae, are you having an affair with my own dog? I don't remember today being a Tuesday... " he grumbled and tossed his cup away as soon as he finished it and finished the lemonade with a few chugs, aiming it lazily against the bin and managed to score it in.
"I don't need bubble wrap, but if I can get myself a Jae wrap, that would be very convenient for my… health and well-being" he purred and shook his head when the dhampir explained to him what his colleague meant. Was he ready? "I want to think that I am so I'll go with yes…" he nodded and got up and followed him out, one hand carrying the bag of lemonades beverages and snacks while the other tugged on Jae's arm after saying he's ready. "Ramen is literally an essential thing for us Asians. Not just Koreans in general too, instant noodles are pretty much a staple food for us. So I don't get his logic" he scrunched up his nose and refused to acknowledge it and got into the car, settling in comfortably as soon as it was unlocked. "Thank you for doing this for me, Jae. I'll never be able to thank you enough but… nobody will ever treat me the way you do and I love that it's a fact. Whatever happens today… I'll be fine."
“My parents always said how I was growing up so fast but time felt like it moved so slow when I was a kid” he gave a slightly lopsided smile thinking how he always told them he couldn’t wait to grow up and have a life of his own, he had been so independent even at a young age “Now I’m an adult and it really does feel like the time flies away” maybe it was the literal meaning of time flying when you were having fun or maybe life just got so much busier when you had a whole life to organize rather than going to and from school and little else. “We’ve definitely experienced a lot in a year, I think that’s why” the ups and downs created this whole map of their story so far and it was a journey with no real destination which meant they would be traveling it for as long as they wanted to, and Jae wanted to.
He nodded slightly when Han corrected his statement saying that he wanted to be Hanseol to Sunmin because that was a big step for the star, to have confidence in the person he was “That’s right and if he’s smart then he will realize how very lucky he is to have you on his side” if there was one defining trait for Han it was how endlessly loyal he was to those he let in and despite Sunmin letting him down, it was evident to Jae that he had managed to get under Han’s skin. It was why he couldn’t give up on trying to find him and why the younger star held so much power to hurt him. He smiled gently as he felt Han’s hand cover his as he touched gently against his chin “Either” he responded when Han asked if he meant a spouse or kids “Both if that’s what you want” when Jae pictured his eventual future and what he wanted, he knew a family would be part of it, he wanted to get married one day and he wanted to have kids running around, teach them the ways of the world and open his heart to as much love as he could possibly get.
He snickered a little when Han said he wouldn’t eat sweets for breakfast “So you’re telling me if I put out pancakes or cereal for breakfast you’d choose the cereal then? Not one covered in sugar either” he snickered because there were plenty of sweet breakfast foods that he knew Han would prefer over cornflakes. Jae was enjoyed jested and teasing Han a little because he always seemed to fall for it, you could make any false rumor about Han and he would then proceed to refute it to the moon and back which was always entertaining when most of the things he said were either a joke or sarcasm “Yeontan isn’t going to eat you, you’re all muscle and no fat baby” he teased as he nudged against him with a shake of his head as Han called him out for picking on him “Or maybe you just don’t want to admit the truth” he grinned slightly “I can’t help it, Han, he’s just so loveable and always gives these cute sloppy kisses” he giggled slightly enjoying the playful nature of their conversation. He also gave a few claps of congratulations when Han perfectly aimed and tossed his bottle and cup into the trash.
Jae grinned a little when Han purred a little and his hands slipped to rest against Han’s waist “Well if that’s what you need to keep you safe from Tuesday then we just may have to make it happen” he purred back and smiled “Maybe on other days too, just to be safe you know” he raised his brows slightly suggestively. As they headed to the car he listened to the way Han talked about ramen and their culture’s liking for it “There’s no doubting that, but it’s true that instant noodles are probably one of the cheapest meals you can get” he chuckled softly heading around to the driver’s side and getting inside, closing the door and putting the key into the ignition. He listened to Han’s words and turned to face him, a soft smile on his lips “Of course you’ll be fine, you’re Hanseol freaking Park” he assured and nodded encouragingly “Now let’s go find him” with that he pulled off and headed towards the bar which was already programmed into the GPS, when they got near he pulled into a nearby car park only a short walk away.
"Growing up… was it fun?" Han had always wondered if it was as fun as he saw others would have it. Some would gush how their childhood was well spent and the Celestial could feel his envy taking over, most of the time hence why he asked Jae if his childhood was fun. "If you could turn back the time, would you go back to your childhood and change anything?" Han knew Jae's family hasn't been giving him an easy time to adjust with the changes around him, he knew it was one of the reasons why the other male still has yet to tell his parents about their relationship. At first, he didn't know what the dhampir was waiting for but the more he studied him, the better he understood his internal worries. What child would like the idea of possibly being disowned by their own family? It didn't take much empathy to even relate to his position which was why he didn't ask Jae when he's going to do that. The question wasn't when. "We went through a lot and I won't lie, I was so afraid I would lose you then… I thought I've lost you and I couldn't live with that" he chuckled faintly, the one month period of their breakup had been the worst state Hanseol has ever found himself in voluntarily. Nobody chased him, his bones weren't broken but his heart was and it sure feels like his entire world collapsed then.
A smile graced his lips when Jae said Sunmin would be lucky to know he had him, "I hope he thinks like that too... " Because god did Han want his brother. He won't even question the other male why he left that day. He didn't want to be a disgrace and the thought of Sunmin being felt to fend alone for all these years without knowing if he had any family made his heart ache, especially when he was locked away during that period. "I know by caring so much for him, I'm giving him this power to hurt me with a single word, but I can't help myself, I don't know how to explain how it feels but… that's how I feel." His cheeks flushed almost instantly as he feels his face growing red when Jae confirmed both if that's what he wanted, "It could be far-fetched and too early for me to think about it but I would very much want both. Do you think it's possible? Is it in our cards?" Notice how he said our cards rather than my cards, he was making it sure that whatever he is doing, Jae's a part of it too and he wouldn't have it any other way.
Han found himself scrunching his nose and pulled an unimpressed look when Jae asked him to choose between pancakes or cereal, "Why do I have to choose? Can't I just have both? Cereal won't be enough for me…" he murmured audibly and crossed his arms, his lips were basically jutted out in a pout because there was no way Han would be able to choose. He cleared his throat and frowned when Jae said he was all muscles and no fat, "I mean… I want to keep… a very healthy lifestyle." In an attempt to play along with the dhampir, the doe-eyed star leaned over and tapped his lips in front of him, "I give kisses too. And it's not sloppy. But unless you're calling me a bad kisser…I can't believe my contender had been Yeontan all along. This is preposterous" he whined but quickly clamped his mouth shut when Jae lowered his hand to his waist, wrapping it around his figure and succeeded in making Han surprised.
By the time he ended his sentence, the Celestial was already blushing, "Are you sure you can take care of me with such a wrap daily? Won't you… be tired?" he coughed and bit his lip apprehensively while rubbing his thumb against the dhampir's knuckle, "Not that I'm complaining. That sounds fantastic." He will eternally be grateful to have Jae by his side because he felt a bit more courageous now that he's here. The car ride wasn't boring, Han had turned on the radio and after a few Christmas songs later, he noticed Jae was slowing down and eventually parked the car. As expected, he was the first to get out of the car while fiddling with his hands, he even hit the roof of the car after trying to get out nervously, which resulted in the Celestial rubbing his head. "I don't think I can do this... "
“Parts of it was, parts of it wasn’t” he responded honestly with a nod of his head “When you’re a kid raised by parents, you kinda see yourself in their shadow and you constantly want to step out of it to get their attention just for a little while” he nodded slightly “So I spent a lot of that time trying to be the best at something only to realize I wasn’t” he grimaced slightly “But there were good times, most of them thanks to my siblings, they always looked out for me” being the youngest, Jae had always been doted on a little by his elder siblings, he remembered Hyunsik taking the fall for a mistake he made that led to their mother’s favorite vase breaking “The last year has made me realize how much time I wasted trying to please someone who I’m not sure actually can be though” he spoke it softly thinking specifically of his father and how nothing ever seemed to be enough, he barely even remembered what his father’s smile looked like.
“I guess if I could change something I’d just ...try to realize earlier than it’s okay to be different from others” he was sure that his childhood would have been easier if he wasn’t constantly wondering things like why he didn’t feel the same thing about girls as he did his friends or trying to be good at math and science when it was clear English was his calling. “I was very lucky though, I had a stable life, parents who were happy together, siblings who supported me” some people didn’t even have that so he wasn’t ungrateful, probably part of the reason he couldn’t bring himself to tell his parents about his relationship. He felt his heart clench in his chest when Han spoke about thinking he would lose him “You never really lost me” he spoke softly, assuring him as he stroked his thumb against his hand gently.
If anything, Jae was just relieved that Han seemed to be self-aware about the situation he was currently in, he was honest about his feelings about Sunmin in a way that Jae could only understand. And it did worry him, knowing how emotionally vulnerable Han was setting himself up to be but Jae would never blame him for the way he felt “I get it, you’ve looked for your whole life for something that makes sense and this makes sense in here” he pressed his hand softly against Han’s chest and nodded “It’s okay to want him to care about you, it’s okay to want him in your life, you just have to also be ready to give him the same courtesy, even if he feels the opposite” because the harder Han tried to cling, the further it would push the other male away he was sure. Jae was blushing softly too when Han confirmed it was both that he wanted one day and his lips parted a little surprised when he said our cards “You know I don’t know much about cards but” he gave a half-smile “I know that’s what I see for us one day too” Jae did dream of having a family and children of his own one day, just not in the way his father seemed to want it to happen.
Jae had to chuckle at the way Han complained about having to choose between cereal and pancakes because they wouldn’t fill him up “Not the point I was trying to prove” he commented with a laugh, it still stood that given the chance, Han would pick the sweet option on the table 9/10 times, with 1 being when chicken got involved in the equation. Jae laughed as he looked up at Han seeing the way he was getting playfully jealous over Yeontan was kind of adorable, he leaned up to peck his lips gently “You give very good kisses indeed” he agreed with a soft grin “But it’s still a tough competition” he teased with a grin before heading to the car. Jae gave a wry smile at the way Han teased him about wanting to care for him daily “Oh I’m never too tired to protect you, that’s a Dhampir purpose remember” he giggled softly, humming along to the Christmas music playing until they eventually pulled up and he got out of the car, hearing the loud thud of Han hitting his head which made him widen his eyes “God are you okay?” he commented as he locked the car and went over to his side. Hearing Han’s words he shook his head and dropped his hand into his and squeezed it “Of course you can, you’re Hanseol Park” he spoke softly and nodded slightly “And you’re not alone” he insisted as he tugged him towards the entrance of the bar.
Han found himself growing weary about the definition of family, maybe the picture he had in his mind wasn't what he'll get but looking at Jae and his pets, they fitted so well he was trying to picture another addition to it; Sunmin. And if the other male didn't want to? What else was there aside from accepting the reality and leaving him alone? But hearing this from Jae made him realize that nothing is what it seems to be, "I'm glad you found something you love, Jae." It may not be as much but he could only imagine the pain the dhampir felt while he was surrounded by his parents' shadows. The constant need to compete with even his siblings because society demands it, it must've been horrible. Thankfully, they weren't as bad as society would paint them to be. He saw it in the way Jae conversed with Eun and judging from the way the other male talks about his other brother and sister, Hyunsik and Ahri, it was clear that he loves them too.
"You should be proud of who you've become, Jae. I know I am. Let's not forget who I fell for, last year. It's this guy" he purred soothingly and tapped his forefinger against Jae's chest. He had a comforting smile when Jae admitted that he may have felt better if he realized sooner, he was glad Jae was able to figure it out on his own. And he knew Jae still had a good upbringing despite it all. "Yeah, I never really lost you but I didn't know that before, Jae… I really thought everything was done and that you were gone. You were never going to accept me ever again… and god I swore my head was a big pessimistic mess." It was explained pretty much from how drunk Han got himself on his birthday. Han could feel the tears welling up in the corner of his eyes when Jae told him it's okay to feel what he feels, "I want it all, Jae… I want it all but I won't force him to do anything he doesn't want to. I owe him that."
The Celestial was ready to face this but he will never stop looking out for the younger male after he located him. The talk about family made his heart swell in happiness, the thought of them building their own family one day was a big fantasy of the star's, "The day I get to call you my husband will be the happiest day of my entire life." The fallback star knew he fell into the trap when he didn't pick and complain why he couldn't choose both instead, which led to him huffing and crossing his arms because he knows he's defeated. "You can't just kiss me and tell me I can't defeat my own dog- Jae!" He grinned bashfully when Jae mentioned protecting being a dhampir's purpose, "Right. My dhampir."
He didn't see the thud because he was busy thinking about Sunmin soon when he saw his boyfriend rushing to his aid, he chuckled nervously and assured him he was fine, "Nothing I can't handle, don't worry... " But when Jae said he could do it, he paled and coughed, "Okay… one thing I cannot handle" he grumbled almost inaudibly but followed where he was guided either way. He cleared his throat nervously and entered inside the premise, "I don't know what to do, Jae... What do I do?" His grip around the dhampir tightened as his eyes tried to search for solutions.
Jae had always known a part of him was calling to being a writer, he had always been good at it and done it for fun, it was mostly songs he scrawled in a journal he kept beside his bed about what he was thinking or feeling that day, some were really bad, others were pretty good and it was clear his writing style had evolved over time. It all came from his love for the English language and being able to understand it so well, he enjoyed the challenges it brought him to write stories in a language that wasn’t natively his. “Me too” he spoke softly when Han expressed the sentiment that he was glad he found his calling “Sometimes I actually wondered if I ever would honestly” he gave a half-smile as he looked back at the other male “I am proud” he spoke softly and nodded his head, he was, he definitely was “But I don’t think this is the limit of my growth, part of me feels like this is more like the beginning” he hoped that made sense, Jae definitely had a point to prove to the world.
Jae moved his gaze back to Han, it definitely occurred to him how much the star had grown since their breakup, it was evident in near everything he did and said now, he was so attentive and thoughtful, Han told him the truth whenever Jae asked him even when it wasn’t what he would want to hear and in turn, Jae had done his best to be calm and understanding with each new revelation. Had it been easy? Of course not, there was always going to be a part of Han that by default wanted to prevent himself from being a burden and the Dhampir would always struggle with his short temper but they did their best to overcome those flaws for one another and that was what was important “Ironic that your drunk self was what convinced me to come back” he chuckled softly. Seeing that Han was almost crying he reached out to put an arm around Han’s shoulder and hold him for a moment “I know you do baby” he hoped Sunmin understood that, he really did.
Jae felt his heart thumping in his chest as Han mentioned Jae someday being his husband, it was one thing to talk about it all relatively the way they were before but hearing that word definitely made it feel so much more real. What would a wedding for the two of them even look like? Who would propose? Would they both live at Han’s or would they buy a place they both move into? There was so much to figure out before then, that much he knew but the idea of being Han’s husband one day was comforting, what wasn’t was thinking about what his father would say to such a union “Mine too” he responded in a soft voice “Damn we have a big future to look forward to huh?” he grinned slightly because he was so glad to have met someone who was on the same page as him when it came to their picture of the future. He giggled slightly when Han complained about him comparing Yeontan to himself “Oh but you know I can, that’s the fun of it” he smiled softly.
Now they had arrived though, Jae could practically sense the nerves coming off Han in waves which was making the Dhampir a little twitchy himself. Jae led Han towards the entrance to the club and then inside the door, his eyes looking over the smoke-filled room as they headed through the crowds of people, Jae kept a firm hold onto Han’s hand so he would be assured he was here to support him. Hearing Han start to panic he soothingly squeezed his hand and spoke in a calm voice “First, you are going to take a long deep breath, then you are going to take your boyfriend over to the bar and buy him a non-alcoholic drink because he’s driving tonight” he chuckled softly “And then you’re going to give the bartender a decently big tip and ask him nicely to take a look at the painting and tell you if he’s seen Sunmin before or not” he nodded encouragingly as he stopped Han so he could look into his eyes “I’m here baby, you’re going to be okay whatever happens” he hoped he could bring some comfort to the star, they didn’t even know if the younger Celestial even frequented this place yet.
When he looked back at them, all he could see from the front were two young males still trying to find their place in the world and was doing everything in their ability to see where they'll fit. And perhaps that's what others who didn't know them would see them as. The reality was so much different and he believed that it wasn't impossible for them to wish for a better outcome in the nearest future. The reality is that no matter what happens, their love for each other will never fade. That is the one thing Hanseol was really confident about. Maybe he was trying to make himself feel better as a way to not doubt his significant other but he also knew that Jae wouldn't never stop loving him the same way he'll never stop loving the dhampir. It's a giving cycle, an endless one he desperately wished to last for longer days. And they're at a happy place, the two of them. Albeit not as happily as the stories would go to tell, they have their conflicts and sometimes Han would also argue and blew Jae off with a sulking session, even now it's not at the best stage but he knows Jae won't leave him at the time when he needed him the most. That's why he's here with him.
"You're right, you have more years to come for you to grow… and I'll be here watching you do that. Who knows, maybe I'll do the same too." With some of their clashing personalities, it was hard to settle an argument when it was sparked between them, Han was impulsive and could be downright petty whereas Jae had a temper of his own. It hasn't been easy but he never thought it would. The journey all this while was what made it appealing to him. A blush crept up upon hearing Jae's remark regarding his drunk self convincing Jae to return to his arms shortly after they broke up, "Was I really that pathetic that night? You never disclosed to me how embarrassing I was, you told me it wasn't anything bad I did on that night but I feel like there's more to this story" He didn't really pry about it but he was sure curious to know how he behaved that night aside from his mindless drunken slurs that no doubt ruined Jae's evening.
"I wish things wouldn't be as hard" he murmured and sighed heavily afterwards, Sunmin was a big topic in his head and it is one that he won't be able to shrug off as easily as he could with other things. Their future wasn't something Han ever found difficult to picture, he's had his fair share of fantasizing how it may be, how their household would be like; how many kids would they have? Where would the wedding be held at? Who would propose first? And seeing Jae accepting all of it with open arms without interjecting how it may be a bit too early to think about it was all that he needed to know what the dhampir felt for him. "A very big one. It'll be pretty… you'll grow up into a fine man too… I mean it's only been a year but you're growing like fine wine, Jae" Han didn't grow up as much, his vessel would continue to retain its youthfulness but it didn't mean he couldn't look mature at times, or work out physically. "Comparing my traitorous dog with me is not fun" he whined cheekily, Yeontan's connection with Jae could be envious had he not understood that's exactly what Byul and him was. The husky was far more affectionate towards him, after all.
Their arrival to the bar had him fidgeting every 2 minutes and the fact that the Celestial kept tripping on air with every step he took wasn't helping either. Thankfully, Jae made sure to hold his hands and he was forever grateful for that gesture because if the dhampir didn't do that, the star was sure he would've ended up running. He made it his mission to listen to every instruction given by Jae properly, nodding gently after a while and inhaled deeply, "Here goes nothing... " Han led Jae towards the bar and ordered a raspberry mocktail for Jae and margarita for himself. When the bartender asked for his ID, he murmured inaudibly under his breath about how he's not underage before sliding it on the counter. When his ID was returned, he took a seat next to Jae by the counter and brought our Sunmin's painting, "I'll ask him after our drinks arrive... " Thing is, Han wasn't even a big fan of margaritas.
At the end of the day, he and Han were very similar with the stage they were in with their lives, they were both young in the sense that they had started making decisions about what to do with their time in the past few years. They were both new to love and therefore a little caught up in it, he was aware of that, of feeling strongly attached to someone and having pangs in his chest when they were apart. But unlike a lot of people their age following the same story, they had also been through a lot in their lives already, Han had experienced a dark and hopeless past which he was sure the star wondered if he would even make it out of. Jae had been through a harsh upbringing where he rarely got to make his own decisions and went to the military at the youngest age he could, that had definitely impacted the person he was deeply. They were both volatile people which meant sometimes they argued and bickered but usually, they came back together before long, they learned to give one another space and to understand one another’s feelings.
“You will, I know that much” he nodded a few times, he didn’t know exactly in what way or when but he had seen the changes in Han over a single year, he was sure he would keep changing over time too, gaining more confidence, learning new things, exploring his art which always amazed Jae. It even looked like Han would perhaps gain a family, if Sunmin decided to stick around at least. Seeing the way Han blushed when they talked about the night they met when he was drunk, Jae gave a soft smile “It might have been embarrassing if it was in front of everyone else but” he pressed his lips together “It was what I needed to hear Han, you showed me the stars, point out the Gemini constellation, or where it would be if it was the right season anyway” he pressed his lips together “You told me that you rarely felt safe in the world but you did when you were being hugged in my arms” he nodded slightly “And you told me that there was a part of yourself that scared you, a part I guess you were trying to separate out and hide from me because you thought if you showed it then you’d lose me” he hoped that filled the void Han was feeling about not remembering that night, they promised to be honest with one another after all.
“I’m sure everyone feels that way” he responded honestly, shrugging his shoulders slightly, no one expected the hardships in life and when they came it made you question if you did something wrong and were being punished for it. Jae had accepted that life just sucked sometimes and yet you could be happy or find ways to be happy in spite of it. Jae laughed when Han said he was growing like fine wine “You think so?” he asked as she glanced at himself in the car mirror and shook his head slightly “A part of me worries that one day I’m going to look so much older than you” he admitted it softly, they hadn’t talked about immortality switches in a long time but the more they talked about a future the more it came to Jae’s mind, not to mention that his father thought he had his switched on. He tapped on the steering wheel a little not really sure how to feel about that, he knew that Han had fears about Jae leaving him too, it was why he always got so panicked every time Jae got sick.
He stared at Han for just a few moments as he saw the panic begin to subside a little and a plan of action begin to form, they headed up to the bar and he smiled softly when Han ordered him a raspberry mocktail remembering his favorite while frowning a little when Han ordered a margarita “I thought you hated the taste of tequila” he whispered softly but loud enough to be heard over the loud pulsing music and shifted in his seat slightly, leaning his arms against the bar. “Make sure to ask very clearly because I’m going to use a lie detection rune, it needs to be as direct of a question as you can get” with that he pulled out one of his daggers, leaving it on his lap out of sight of everyone else and carving in a lie detection rune which glowed blue softly and then disappeared, he nodded to Han implying he was ready to find the answers.
Honestly, Han still has yet to accept that this is the reality of his life now. He couldn't believe he's achieved this. This is his. Everything that he has worked for, all those hopes and wishes he did every night before he allowed his head to hit the pillow on his bed, it's finally bearing its fruition. He had the things he wanted, and while it may not be a lot to others, it meant everything to Hanseol. All he ever wanted was to have a life where he no longer needed to run, a world where he wasn't somewhere, alone. With Jae by his side, it was safe to say that he felt content with everything. There wasn't anything he wouldn't complain. Or at least, that's what he thought. Sunmin's existence mad either slightly complicated. A brother he never knew he had? Of course, he would seek him out. And he was happy that Jae saw to his worries. Or else, he would've still be sitting on the bench in front of the church, waiting for Sunmin to come even when he knew it wasn't a good move for the other male to return.
"You have so much faith in me, it never ceased to amaze me how much you trust me" he chuckled and shook his head slightly, sparing the dhampir a genuine smile. He's lucky, isn't he? His ears turned red when Jae described that night to him, since he was drunk, he basically blacked out which meant the Celestial didn't have anything close to a memory of that night. Hearing Jae tell him what's going on, made him smile softly, "I did that? I wasn't lying, Jae. I felt the safest when you have your arms wrapped around me. My safe haven. It honestly felt so comforting and reassuring, it's probably the reason on how I was able to fall asleep without waking up at half past 3 because of a nightmare." Han didn't have those nights anymore, not ever since he swore himself off sleeping pills in front of the dhampir, not when Jae always came by to hug him. He does like being the small spoon most of the time. He knew his drunken self would've been truthful 24/7 the entire time then, and he wasn't wrong.
Jae telling him that he had told him how he was afraid of showing a certain side to Jae because he feared it would prompt the other male to leave him, "I've been afraid of my own self over the years. I'm not even sure how I was able to stay sane when I was locked up. We weren't mistreated neither were we tortured but… I didn't know why my life would always bring me into a direction I can't escape. I grew so bitter I was afraid of that side to come back. I was resentful for awhile, Jae." And it had scared the Celestial of how much hatred and resentment he could actually hold on. He never thought he was capable of it. When he was asked if he really thought Jae to grow like a fine wine, he nodded enthusiastically, "Have you seen yourself? You're gorgeous, baby." Han tried to remind Jae of that every single day and he had no problem saying it over and over again. It is his boyfriend he's complimenting, after all.
"Well, I think everyone would look older than me at some point, I can't age physically anymore. I fell in this form and I'll continue to stay in this form until the end of my days. Though I don't mind having a guy who's older… I have a thing for… strong and capable men" he purred teasingly. Having Jae by his side tonight was a very good move, he was able to think rationally with enough words and encouragement from the dhampir, which is exactly what he needed; a push. Clearly, Jae also noticed that Han wasn't 100% calmed down because he ordered a drink he doesn't ever favor, so when Jae called him out, he wrinkled his nose and sighed, "You're right… I don't like tequila... I don't know, I'm just… jittery."
When the bartender came back with their drinks, Han took a sip of his margarita and pulled a face as if he was a kid who tried his first alcohol, even though that was far from the reality. Placing the glass down on the counter, he beckoned for the bartender to come by and slides the slightly folded and crumpled painting of Sunmin, "Have you seen this guy?" Much to his delight, after awhile of inspecting the picture, the other male nodded, "Do you see him often?" A shook. A few more questions came out of his mouth afterwards, sometimes he received a nod and sometimes not.
Jae looked at Han almost as though he was a little crazy when the other male spoke with surprise about how much he trusted him “Well we both know you’re a terrible liar Han” he jested as he nudged against him and then shrugged slightly “I trust you because you have shown me genuine things consistently in our time together Han, there’s nothing fake about this, that’s what makes it right” right seemed like the correct word for it, the feeling of the connection they had felt right to him, like something natural and special to him. “I think the alcohol just helped you to say the things you were scared to say sober” he admitted as he fiddled with his fingers for a moment, he was glad to hear Han confirm these things now though, he had no doubt they were true at the time but the fact that Han felt comfortable saying it without the liquid confidence now meant a lot “I know, that’s why I’ve tried my best not to let you sleep alone too much since then, I listened” he reached out for Han’s cheek and stroked it a little “Though it’s for my benefit too, you’re a great hot water bottle” he grinned slightly, softening his gaze a little as he looked at Han.
Jae nodded his head as he heard Han talk about the fears he had about his darker and more bitter self, he had explained it almost the same way the first time around “Well, I told you this then and I’ll tell you it now, I want you for you Han, not just the best parts of you, so if things get tough and we see sides of each other that are….less beautiful, we talk about it and we figure it out” he nodded slightly, he wasn’t afraid of seeing darker sides to Han, he’d seen glimpses and while they worried him, Jae knew there was far more to him than just this bitter persona Han painted but then Jae had his darker sides too, he was jealous at times, he could be insecure about his body and his temper was sometimes very hard to control, all things he was trying to work on with time but he wasn’t perfect either and he often did get pretty angry when he and Han argued about things. “You keep telling me that” he spoke shyly when Han said he was gorgeous and glanced up at him with a sheepish grin.
Jae laughed because of the way Han could always seem to take his worries and make them disappear because he would brighten the mood, it was a natural thing he did which the Dhampir always appreciated very much “Oh so that’s why you like being the little spoon so much then huh?” he grinned slightly because he loved wrapping his arms around Han and holding him tightly while he slept, it felt like he was protecting him in some way, and maybe he was if it helped to ward off his nightmares. He watched Han as he responded to the comment about not liking tequila but needing something to calm himself down. He nodded in understanding and moved the hand he didn’t have on his dagger to rest on top of Han’s for support, he had all the faith in the world in him but he wanted Han to do this for himself.
Jae kept quiet, crossing one leg over the other as he watched the bartender answer Han’s questions and pondered over it between checking the rune to see if he was telling the truth or not, it didn’t seem like Han was getting much out of him and his answers implied Sunmin had been here but not in a while. He sighed softly before another customer came over and pointed out the picture in Han’s hand, grabbing at it and managing to splash some of his beer over it. Jae winced because almost immediately the colors started running on the painting but the words the male said next had Jae interested “That’s that kid who tried to steal my watch the other week” he exclaimed in an angry voice. Jae gritted his teeth half tempted to scold the guy for ruining Han’s painting but he swallowed the anger down with a mouthful of his drink “Where did you see him?” Jae asked bluntly, purposely placing himself between Han and the guy.
The nudge he received from Jae had him holding the stupid grin back because it was clear on how much Han loves it when Jae does that, "I can't lie… when I do, I do them terribly." He even tried to do an experiment the last time, but as soon as Jae meets his eyes, he spilled everything on the spot. It was almost like a reaction, but the results came out and Han concluded it was never going to be possible to lie to Jae if the dhampir can look into his eyes and figure it out. "You make it right for me" he spoke, facing him with a soft look, "Everything with you feels just right... " And he knew Jae could see what how much love and honey were dripping from his eyes. The Celestial knew he wasn't capable of saying plenty of things when dealt upfront like this, he tends to get jittery and nervous even though it was just him not knowing how to phrase them properly, perhaps the drunken truth made it right for them. It certainly convinced Jae to give him another chance, after all. It has to mean something.
"I'd rather not get drunk in order for me to tell you the truth… you only ever need to ask me about it" he nodded gently, he didn't want to lie to Jae, it felt awful. Keeping things from him also made it unbearable hence why he was so quick to tell him regarding Sunmin. "A great hot water bottle? Is that why you kept pushing your hands into my shirt?" he teased, Hanseol usually sleeps shirtless but sometimes when he dozed off, he would sometimes find Jae's hands inside them, not that he was complaining, his touch made him feel at ease all the same. It was only logical and rational for Han to be afraid of his own bitter side, he hated that part of him, of course he didn't want to show it to Jae but his words made him feel relieved because the burden of expectations were lifted off him.
He could remember when they argue, oh, sometimes they still do, and while they would console each other and apologize sooner rather than later, the dhampir's temper and the star's defensiveness wasn't a good combination. But they're working it out. Bit by bit "I keep telling you that because you are, in fact, fucking gorgeous, Jae" The curse word didn't sound as appealing whenever he said them but there were times when he occasionally slipped up. "Having your body pressed against mine, arms wrapped around me while you bury your face in my neck, why wouldn't I like that?" Especially when Han would end up bringing Jae's hand to his lips and pressed them against his chest. Tequila may not be his cup of tea, or rather… alcohol, but it will work for him to calm his nerves. The q&a session was slowly irking the Celestial and he wasn't sure if it was due to the influence of alcohol in his system or if it's because the bartender would dally around.
He was about to ask another question when he was interrupted by someone else, and god he reeks. The picture was also snatched away from his grip, leaving him to gape in surprise. That was the least of his worries, as soon as his eyes fell on how the picture was no longer perfect as it used to be, with the beer splashed against it, Han balled up his fist and glared at the other male. Clearly, he wasn't impressed. Ruining his painting is one thing, but boldly accusing his brother of stealing? Perhaps that was true, after all, he found Sunmin the same way. But that's his brother, either way. The Celestial was about to give him a piece of his mind when Jae suddenly placed himself in between them, subsequently halting the male for awhile, he wasn't as temperamental but boy can he be impulsive with his emotions.
"I don't know where that punk is doing right now, probably starving in the cold somewhere, serves him right. Last time I saw him, he was all huddled up by the park, had to chase him off but brat's sly as hell. Thieving little shit" Han's jaw went slack after realizing this guy couldn't help him anyway, "Perhaps… but you have no right to call him like that."