Much like many young males in Korea. Hyunjin was born to a family with high expectations for their newborn son. The first and only child of the Nai family, he was raised as the apple of his parent’s eyes. From a young age he was raised strictly, always reminded to be polite and respectful, to not make too much mess and above all, make his parents proud. Perhaps to someone else, this kind of upbringing would make Hyunjin cold or difficult to approach, but that couldn’t be more untrue.
Hyunjin was pretty popular among the local neighbors and he would often go to the other children’s houses for dinner and have them over himself, he was a kind and sweet boy who liked to learn new things. It however did become evident that Hyunjin always tended to put his heart before his head. Whenever someone was hurt or upset he would always rush to their aid and while he was excellent at negotiating arguments and convincing others to get along, it was evident when it came to academics he struggled.
Moving into his schooling years and it became evident that Hyunjin was a much slower learner than most and that was reflected in his grades. Everyone else seemed to be rushing towards being a doctor or a lawyer and then there was Hyunjin who was just looking to make friends. His parents were strict with him and insisted he got tutoring. They hired him a private tutor who he worked with two nights a week and then he always signed up for classmate tutoring.
That was how he met Sangeun Moon. The other male had always been ahead of the game in academics but what originally started as the two young boys doing projects and homework together soon blossomed into a friendship. The two of them found common ground in their strict parents and their interest in reading. Hyunjin learned a lot of his basics in English alongside Eun and they got along really well. Before long they were spending more time together and after they both shared their supernatural standing, even sparred together.
Hyunjin was born to a human father and an initia mother. It was questionable whether he would take after one or the other but at the age of 7 it was confirmed by the small tattoo mark which appeared on his lower back. It was a big deal for a few days and then before long he completely forgot about it, returning to his life. His mother told him he didn’t need to worry about it until he was 12 and then she would take him to a tribe so that a master could perform his ceremony on him.
Honestly he never really thought about it and while his childhood was strict and he was often reprimanded for not meeting the unrealistic expectations his parents held on him. He was a happy child, he had a lot of friends, people he felt like he could rely on, good memories of spending hours watching his mother as she controlled the water. Days in the park, climbing trees and scraping his knees because he had to get someone’s soccer ball back. Hyunjin remembered his childhood fondly.
When he finally reached this age of 12, his mother took him to the tribe as promised and his Initia ceremony was performed. He was excited to finally find out which element had chosen to him and his smile only grew when he found out it was air. Some people thought the air element was boring but not Hyunjin, he loved running around the yard and using his newfound powers to dash faster like he was some kind of superhero. He enjoyed being fast and feeling weightless and he took to his physical training like a duck to water.
Moving into highschool, he worked hard to try and keep up with his classmates but he always seemed to fall a little short. He did however find himself in track and field activities where he generally outshone everyone else. He was physically very fit and had endless energy which fuelled him, he played many sports and found them a good way to focus his mind. His grades started improving, though they were never to the level of the others. He continued his training and got stronger with his elemental control.
It was during highschool that he met the woman who would light up his world. Lauren moved to Korea from America and joined his high school, her mother was Korean-American and her father was American, she could speak both languages but she stood out greatly in her classes due to being raised in America and having a heavy accent. Hyunjin was paired with her for one of their projects and they hit it off pretty quickly. They became fast friends and spent time together and then before long the two of them started dating. Hyunjin would defend her whenever other people made fun of her accent and did everything he could to make her feel happy.
Their relationship lasted for two years through high school, they were close and in love. Though his parents never approved of him dating a foreigner and acted as though it was a phase he would get through. Hyunjin never let that stop him from falling in love with her and it felt almost bitter when they got to their senior year and Lauren revealed that she needed to return home to America. She broke his heart and yet how could he be mad at her, she’d gotten into an Ivy League university and would be chasing her dreams. His grades were nowhere near good enough to achieve that and he wanted her to be happy. And so he saw her off with a smile, despite feeling his heart crack inside.
By the time Hyunjin finally reached his adulthood, he had made the decision that he wanted to diversify his elements, mostly because he didn’t have the patience and connection to a tribe he would need to become a master and then a couple months after he turned 18, he announced to his family he was going to voluntarily conscript into the Korean army. It was normal for young males to want to enlist early so they could get it out the way and then move on to their future. Hyunjin made the decision because he wasn’t really sure what his future was and he wanted to buy himself some time to figure things out.
The military wasn’t a fun experience for him but it was something he needed to get through, Thankfully he was fit and able. He didn’t have an issue doing as he was told and getting through it. Throughout the whole time he had many letters from old friends and even Lauren a few times. He never felt lonely because they were constantly reminding him that he had a lot going for him when he got him. The days were long and gruelling, often his body felt sore and achey. He felt tired to the point of exhaustion a lot but he kept fighting because he told himself he had a future ahead of him.
And when he finally got home. He was sure of what he wanted in his future. So he took the money he had saved during his service and bought a plane ticket to America. It was crazy, his family told him he was crazy and that they wouldn’t support his crazy choices but he didn’t care. He made his way to Lauren and he proposed to her on the spot. She was shocked at first and told him no but after the two of them sat down and talked all evening she changed her mind, accepting his proposal.
Still without a college degree, Hyunjin knew he needed to find work in America and so he decided to enroll in a police academy and put his previous military experience to use. It was tough to find a programme that would take him but before long he had managed to start a position in the NYPD. Hyunjin and Lauren moved into an apartment together and started their life together. It wasn’t easy, his parents cut him off financially the moment they found out that he was engaged. He did his best to keep in contact with old friends but with time he fell out of touch with most. He did make new friends in the city though, especially his partner in the force, Michael.
Life wasn’t what he expected but he was happy. Before long he and Lauren were married at a registry office with only a couple of witnesses, finally saying their vows and putting a ring on their fingers. Lauren was in her final year of her doctorate degree and Hyunjin was doing well in his position in the NYPD. And three months after their marriage, Hyunjin came home from one night to see his wife holding up a positive pregnancy test, announcing that the two of them were going to have a baby together.
He was beyond thrilled and before long the two of them moved into a bigger place which would accommodate the newest member of their family. Hyunjin was a good and supportive husband all throughout the pregnancy and then after 9 months, Lauren gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl who they named Rosie. Rosie immediately became the another light in Hyunjin’s eyes and he worked even harder knowing he had two beautiful girls to come home to. He was happy beyond belief and felt blessed to have these people in his life, even if his family didn’t want to be part of his life anymore.
Rosie was about 10 months old when things started to change though. Towards the end of her maternity period, Lauren was preparing to go back to work. Things felt like they were good but once night Hyunjin came home to find his wife on the floor. He immediately called the emergency services who sent out an ambulance and with baby in tow, he got into the back and held her hand all the way to the hospital. No one seemed to have any answers for what was happened and why the collapse suddenly came on. They ran test after test and then before long the doctor called him and Lauren aside to explain to them what happened.
His wife, at the young age of 23 had cancer. He felt completely stunned as a flurry of questions came from his lips, asking how this could happen and how there were no signs. Searching for treatments and what they could do. It took several days to process the news, Lauren began treatments immediately and Hyunjin took on the role of caring for his daughter and his wife. They hired a carer to take care of them during the day and Hyunjin took on extra shifts at work to be able to pay for it. It meant he couldn’t spend as much time as he wanted with Rosie which made him sad.
He felt angry at the world. He felt like just when he had found his purpose and happiness, it had reached to snatch it away and it made him wonder what he could have done to deserve this. Still he knew he had to be strong for his wife and daughter. The treatments didn’t go well though and a few weeks later the doctors confirmed that Lauren’s illness was terminal and they should begin preparing for that. He felt crushed, he couldn’t process the idea of doing all of this without her but he also felt heartbroken for all the things she would miss in their daughter’s life. He and his wife sat together and talked for hours, and cried, and talked some more, and laughed.
He hated to accept this new reality but he did and the two of them planned out her care as well as the things she wanted her to know. Rosie was so young that he knew she wouldn’t really remember her when she grew up but he promised to make sure she would know about her and how much she loved her. Thankfully Lauren’s parents were super supportive throughout the whole thing and helped him with care of Rosie while he worked to afford the treatments and care they needed.
They had a blissful few months together where they did all the things they promised they would do, Lauren finished her studies through online courses, they visited different places she wanted to see. They experienced Rosie’s first crawl and then walk. Her first word was mom which made Lauren cry. And then slowly his beautiful wife’s health deteriorated and the two of them eventually said their goodbyes. He felt heartbroken all over when he lost her but he knew he had to be strong for Rosie. He was all she had now and he refused to let her down.
About a month after the funeral Lauren’s mom made the offer to bring Hyunjin to their home city where he could live with them. It meant leaving his position in the NYPD behind but he knew it was best for his daughter and so he agreed. It felt hard to say goodbye to all of his friends and colleagues in New York but he also felt optimistic to start a new life. There were too many reminders here and he didn’t want to feel sad all the time, Lauren wouldn’t have wanted that.
So he packed up his things and moved into Lauren’s parents place in Evermore City. He immediately applied for a position at Evermore PD and was accepted before long, he joined the programme to train to become a detective while also juggling being a single parent. He did his best to be there for his daughter as much as he could, always reading to her before bed, teaching her to talk, playing with her and letting her know she was loved. Telling her stories about her mommy and how much he loved her. It was hard but it easier knowing there was someone who looked at him like the whole world was in his eyes.
He raised Rosie as best he could and as she got elder he eventually gained enough confidence to move into his own place with her. He learned how to cook and style her hair, he took her to preschool in the mornings and then came to collect her in the afternoon. He showed her music and movies, he played dress up with her and listened to her when he was sad. A lot of the time he felt like there was something missing in the form of her mother but he would always smile through the pain for his little girl.
Before long Rosie was starting her kindergarten year at school. Hyunjin didn’t really know where the time went but he agreed that time did indeed heal the worst wounds. Four years after his wife’s death he finally felt the confidence to go on a few dates here and there and while nothing led to anything serious, he did feel like he could finally begin to fulfill his promise he made to his late wife and find a life which made him happy again. He wasn’t sure exactly how that looked but he did know he would find it. One day.