So. I finally triumphed and finished this. Sorta. I left the ending slightly open because the whole talk of Choi Young's wife's name being Eun Soo stirred up another fic in me, but until I completely figure out the logistics of that one, I'm not writing it. Maybe I'll figure it out sometime soon.
That said, I'm completely rubbish at make-out-ish scenes, they are most definitely not my forte (which implies that I actually have a forte which pfftt), and so I would like to request everyone to err... fill in the blanks. Think of it as a make-your-own-sundae bar, only with in fic form~
This last bit is dedicated to the An0nzle whom I call Chouchou, because she is a complete dearheart and her comments and thoughts are amazing and I sort of love her. So yeah. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and any and all feedback welcome ^u^
The next morning was awkward to say the least, and Choi Young and Eun Soo made their way to the dining hall for breakfast. While other couples made googly eyes at each other, Eun Soo and Choi Young firmly looked at their food, her eyes too red to look up, and his eye to pained to look at her reddened gaze.
They packed as soon as they could after breakfast. Truthfully, after she had cried all her pent up feelings out last night as Choi Young had held her, her heart had let go of all her grievances. She could never stay mad at him for long. She loved him, after all, and getting married to him, by accident or otherwise, was as close to hitting the jackpot as she had imagined. But she had decided to pretend a little bit of upset anyway, to give him future reference for what not to do. After all, if she let this slide that easy, the gods only knew what he would get the guts to pull next time. Plus, she wanted to see more of the cute Choi Young she had seen last night.
The packing was over quickly, and bidding goodbye to the monks (who gave them beaming smiles and protective talismans for their healths and marriage), they left. Choi Young had decided to walk through the village instead of going directly towards the forest, which would look odd and gained more attention than it was worth... plus, he wanted to let Eun Soo have a lighthearted day after all the shocks she had faced.
When they reached the bustling market of the village, Eun Soo's eyes grew wide in surprise and happiness. Apparently some festival had either passed or was to pass soon, and they streets were decorated with ornate banners and streamers, and vendors hawked their wares in singsong-y voices. Eun Soo ran off to the nearest stall immediately. Choi Young checked his urge to stop her, but kept an eye on her nevertheless, as he made his way to another stall that interested him.
Eun Soo peeked back to see that Choi Young had not stopped her. So the big lug knew the value of shopping therapy, eh? She gave him 10 more points. She started browsing the wares that she was standing at, and after she had examined every item, she started paying more attention to the neighbouring stalls. Finally she spotted the most sacred area of all. She looked around wildly for him, since he had moved from the trinkets stall where he had been a little while ago, finally spotted him at a stall selling weaponry, and rolling her eyes, she hurried towards him, grabbing his arm and fairly dragging him to the Sacred Area.
Choi Young felt a small, well-known hand grab his arm, and tugging hard enough for him to actually jerk, he was pulled away to the half a dozen or so food stalls. He looked at her face. It had the radiance that only appeared when food was mentioned... and when he had escaped from the prison after the false charge of bribery, and she had come running to him and hugged him... glued herself to him would be a more accurate accurate description though. Although if she had the same look for him that she did for food... Choi Young felt very lucky in that moment. Eun Soo wouldn't be leaving food anytime soon, so maybe she wouldn't leave Choi Young either~
"Take whatever you want." Eun Soo immediately started piling on food in a way that seemed almost... professional. He quietly chuckled at the scene.
Eun Soo looked at him in surprise. For most of the journey, Choi Young had barely spoken a word, much less actually smiled or laughed... and now he was chuckling? Deciding it was better than him being gruff, she continued to grab snacks.
When Eun Soo had grabbed as much as she could hold, they started walking down the road, Eun Soo's hands full of food, Choi Young's full with the horses' reins. Seeing his hands tied up, she held up a meat bun up to his mouth. "It's ok, you eat," he said, turning his face slightly away to signal he wasn't interested. But Eun Soo waved the bun in front of his face, making insisting sounds, her mouth full of food. To placate her, he took a bite of the bun, and was immediately graced with a smile from Eun Soo. He turned his head, smiling to himself at the utter adorableness of her.
As they walked down the cacophonous kaleidoscope that was the market, Eun Soo kept on shoving more food in Choi Young's face, and Choi Young kept on asking her if she wanted anything. Slowly, she had started talking to him again, instead of just grunts and handmotions. But it wasn't enough. He wanted her to act spoilt, request something off of him, but she kept on refusing. The food had been enough. It aggravated him. He didn't know exactly why he wanted to do that for her. Part of it was because he would feel better for everything he had put her through, because no matter what she said, it was all his fault... it would feel somewhat akin to lessening the deep debt he had accumulated with her. Another part though wanted to pamper her, care for her, shower her in luxury, just because. He loved her, and she was amazing, and she deserved it, and it would have been one of his ways to show his love, and that was reason enough, he felt.
By the end of the day, they had gone through the market end to end, and had entered the woods, the sky showering them lightly. They still weren't in very deep, and an hour or two's hard riding would have placed them right back into the market. Choi Young didn't particularly care. Today had been worth it. Coming to a clearing with a stream running close by, he felt they had come far enough, and decided to make camp.
Eun Soo came up to him "Do you want to make the fire or fish?"
"You still want to eat?" That earned him a glare. Oops. Knowing Eun Soo's aversion to fishing though, he picked the latter "I'll fish. You make the fire." See? He was a good husband~
He went and sat by the stream. Making the fishing rod took him about 3 minutes. Casting the line and the planting the rod into the ground another one. Lying down beside the rod and laying one hand on it... he'd give it 30 seconds. Ok, so maybe he had picked the less labour intensive chore. Whatever. He needed the rest. He had had to keep up with Eun Soo's flitting all day. He had earned it.
Eun Soo had just finished collecting enough dry sticks and started up a fire... it had been hard work, since the rain, however light, had managed to dampen most of the wood that could be used. She turned around to call Choi Young and see if he had had any luck.
Instead, she found him comfortably asleep, an arm thrown across his face.
Working quickly and quietly, she started gathering about a dozen green leaves. Next, she squatted next to a puddle of mud formed by the rain, and started making small mud dumplings, and then placing the dumpings inside the leaves, making mud pastries.
She edged closer to him, and lobbed a mud pastry at him. It him on his shoulder. No response. What sort of Woodalchi behaviour was this? Ok. He had asked for it. She threw another one. It hit his arm. Another one. The side of his head. Another. Assa, the little bit of exposed cheek! She was getting better at this... what if she tried to hit him on the forehead this time? She edged closer and closer... and she was only so far away from his face, and she had decided she would much rather smear the mud onto him this time and--
"Having fun, are we?"
The sudden comment threw her off balance, and she teetered on the bank of the stream for what seemed to be a few very long moments, threatening to fall in, before he grabbed her back onto solid ground.
The way they landed?
Not the most graceful.
Their foreheads knocking together, she landed half in his lap, her legs awkwardly crushed under her. She made to move, only to be stopped by a firm arm.
"Your balance is that bad, huh?" she looked up to his face, which had a smirk plastered on it.
"You're the one who sleeps when he's supposed to be getting food." She tried to push him away, but aggravatingly he was as firm as a boulder, refusing to budge in the least. "Let me get up!" She protested.
"Wait, I have something to show you." And before she could stop him, he reached behind him and pulled out--
"Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhchhhhhhkljhhhhhsjlxcjbvkhddsjcndekjbfehsdba" She fell back, her hands waving frantically in front of her face, where Choi Young had been waving a dead fish a moment ago. He threw his head back and laughed in glee. His laughter was contagious, and pretty soon they were both rolling on the ground, completely undone.
They rolled all the way to the edge of the stream when suddenly Eun Soo, back on the verge of falling in, quickly straightened up and scrambled for land. "Wait." Choi Young grabbed her arm again. "I have something for you."
"One fish in my face was enough, thank you very much." Eun Soo hmphed.
"No, wait, just sit." He pulled her down opposite him, and she sat, waiting, trying to hide her curiosity. He pulled something out from the front of his robe, and grabbed her hand. Opening her fingers, he carefully placed it on her third finger. Eun Soo withdrew her hand and examined it, gasping with surprise.
Because there, sitting on her ring finger, was an exquisite ring. A jade ring on which sat a swallowtail butterfly made out of different types of moonstone, each facet catching the light to reflect the most gorgeous rainbow of colours, the tails of the butterfly two little bells.
He had remembered her talking about not having a ring. She swallowed back her tears which were threatening to overflow.
"Do you like it?" He asked softly, moving his head to see her face, which was hidden by her curtain of hair. He moved his hand forward, intending to brush the hair away from his face when she grabbed it, and taking out something from her own robe, placed it on his third finger as well.
Now it was his turn to examine the ring, a sturdy amalgamate of silver and precious steel, shaped so that one end of the ring was shaped like a dragon, the other a pheonix, both intertwined majestically.
"Do you like it?" She ducked her head so that she could look at his face.
Her face. Happy, hopeful, slightly anxious, and so very cute. He couldn't stand it any longer.
He pounced. There was really no other way to describe it. Wrapping his arms around her so that he would bear the brunt of the fall, he pinned her to the ground and kissed her.
The kiss was happiness. More than passion, more than gentleness, it was utter joy. It was as if it was something they had been doing all their lives, their bodies fit like a jigsaw completed, and it was a long time before either of them came up for air.
But both of them were human. Which meant that eventually, come up for air they did. But they only moved the few millimetres apart as need be, because suddenly it was as if they literally physically could not unmeld themselves from each other.
"You know," Eun Soo smiled, speaking against his lips, "in heaven, the girl is asked if she wants to marry the guy first, and if she says yes, then he gives her a ring, and then they get married. You're doing everything backwards."
He smiled and nuzzled her lips. "In that case, might as well... 'Yoo Eun Soo, will you marry me?'"
Eun Soo did something that was between a snort and a giggle, and gave him a quick peck on the lips.
"I get only that as a yes?" She grinned, and kissed him properly.
This time was even longer than before, a bit more rougher, more frantic, his hands shaping her face, hers finding the piece of cloth that tied his hair and pulling it open. Her mouth tasted like all the sweets she had eaten, intensely sweet, and he couldn't get enough of it. He wouldn't get enough of it even if he kissed her for the rest of eternity. She was his sanctuary, the one who allowed him to be himself, leaving behind all the ugliness, the politics, the betrayals, the deaths that had plagued his life for far too long. She was the one who gave him a second leash on life. She was the pheonix from the ring on his hand, the one that gave the dragon renewed life and completed him.
Eun Soo thanked the gods that they were lying down, because the way he kissed her made her turn to complete mush. She couldn't read his exact thoughts, but she could feel all the love pouring out of him, one powerful torrent, swearing to cherish her and protect her till his last breath left his body. She felt the same, although she did wish he wasn't so morbid while thinking his romantic thoughts.
"What would you have done if I hadn't accepted?" She asked as she played with his hair. She never wanted to see it tied again.
"Well.. the ring would have still been yours, since that is my love for you, unchanging... But I wouldn't have kissed you." he finished, laughing adorably, like the perfect mix of a five-year-old boy and the cutest puppy imaginable.
This was Eun Soo's Woodalchi Daejang. Eun Soo's most precious person. Eun Soo's heart, and mind and soul. Eun Soo's husband. Tonight, and the rest of their lives, were going to be wonderful.
Epilogue Of Sorts:
Eun Soo sat up in the middle of the night, determined. Pushing off Choi Young from on top of her as gently as she could so as not to disturb him, she rummaged around in their tent for paper and ink.
"What are you doing?" a somewhat groggy and ridiculously husky voice came from behind.
"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."
"That ring isn't made for show only. The bells let me track you." Oh shit. In her determination, she had completely overlooked the tinkling of her ring. That was him wasn't it. Not only looks, but practicality. Not only any practicality, but keeping Eun Soo safe. And as usual, he thought he was the only one who could do that. He might be right about that point.
"What are you doing?" He prodded again.
"I have a plan so none of us will be sad."
Choi Young groaned.