Monsters

Monday May 18 2015

I’m watching you sleeping, Seunghyun. And it’s the most beautiful sight in the world. Your chest lifting up and down gently, your soft messed up hair, your half opened lips looking so kissable, the little black eyelash resting on your cheekbone below your closed eye… I want this picture to remain in my retinas, like when you stare at the sun for too long. I wish we could stop time right here right now. I wish tomorrow would never come. I wish you could stay by my side forever. But if saving you implies to not see you again, or at least before a long, long time, even though I hate it, then I will let you go. But before that, I’ll manage to make your sweet voice call my name again when you wake up. And I’ll call yours as well.

Now we’ve passed half of our missions. There’s only the three of us. I must say, today was particularly stressful.

This morning, I noticed Seungri was the first to be at the table, eating breakfast with Kwon and Mum as she seemed to be in deep conversation with him. He didn’t look so well. When I arrived with Seunghyun and G-Dragon, they both stopped talking. Then, after we sat down and started eating, I caught Mum giving encouraging signs to Seungri to do something. After a while, he looked at her, then looked at us and took a deep breath.

“I don’t want to be next.” he declared and took his head in his hands. “I’m sorry. I know it should be me since we said GD must stay to keep an eye on us and Seunghyun and noona probably want to stay together… But I don’t feel ready yet! I can’t do this! Please don’t let me be next!” he begged.

Then, there was a small silence.

“It’s okay.” Seunghyun suddenly said and got up. “I’ll be next then.”

When he said that, I instinctively took his hand and tried to make him sit down again and shut up. When GD caught a glimpse of that, he smirked at the three of us.

“Yah, I hope you’re kidding me.” he said to his hyung. “You don’t intend to let noona all by herself yet, do you? Besides, you’ve been useless for too long so it’s time you take some responsibility. I’ll be next.” he finally declared.

“We can’t let you do that after what you said yesterday!” Seunghyun exclaimed.

“Why not?” his dongsaeng asked. “Why should your argument be better than mine?”

“Because… because… I’m taller than you.” His hyung sheepishly replied which made GD smile.

“Touché.”

“Can you guys please sit back down?” Mum asked the boys in an annoyed, half-asleep tone. “I got up earlier to make tea and soup for everyone so just drink it before it gets cold!”

As for the maknae, he remained silent, looking guiltier than ever.

“Don’t pull such a face, dongsaeng!” GD said and ruffled his hair. “You get to spend one more day with noona and noona’s Mum. Isn’t that awesome?”

Upset, Seungri pushed back his hyung’s hands, looking angrily at him.

“Only noona and noona’s mum get to touch my hair!” he said and fixed it with his own hands even though it didn’t need to since it was too short to be arranged otherwise.

“You see? No need to feel guilty about leaving him.” Seunghyun replied, looking at GD. “He’ll be fine without any of us!” he added and pinched Seungri’s cheek.

Although he was pretending to ignore them, I could tell, looking in Seungri’s eyes that he was refraining from biting both of his hyungs. That’s a sign his mood was better ;P

Eventually, it was time for G-Dragon to become Kwon Jiyong again. So we drove to Jiyong’s city, Suwon. As he had seen both of his dongsaengs do before him, when we went out of the car, he tried not to be taken by surprise by the waves of memories that overwhelmed him at the sight of the building. It looked poorer than the two previous ones. Some of its windows were broken, fixed with tape and plastic film and the walls were covered with obscene graffiti. As we approached it, Jiyong kept a slow pace, neither behind nor ahead of us, just staying by our side as if we were just taking a walk in the park. He kept his poker face on as well.

“You’re okay?” I asked.

“Something is not right.” he admitted, barely looking at me. “I have mixed feelings about this.”

I rang the bell. It was a woman, just like the first time. As she let us in, Jiyong’s expression became more and more complicated the closer we arrived to the main entrance. Once we were inside, his eyes scanned the place and were then fixed on placards on the wall, small ads, humanitarian posters and an anti-bullying advertisement.

For the third time, as Seunghyun helped me, I talked to the middle-aged receptionist about the boys’ story and how sorry I was about not having any official document. However, this time, her eyes lit up as soon as she heard Jiyong’s name and she opened a drawer to look at some papers.

“I remember this boy. Kwon Jiyong…” she repeated thoughtfully. “Poor boy’s life was not easy here. He was bullied a lot.”

“Bullied?” I repeated, surprised.

The lady nodded.

“Children who come here are not always the sweetest, to say the least. Sometimes, they come from families in which they were either beaten or neglected. Sometimes they would learn from their parents’ behavior and try to seek power and negative attention by bullying children who happen to be younger, weaker, or just a little different than them-”

“-and Jiyong was one of them.” I cut her off to make clear she didn’t need to lecture me any further; I knew from experience about bullying too.

She confirmed.

“He wasn’t a difficult child. He just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And since the poor boy loved to act as the Good Samaritan most of the time, he was bullied more often than the others.”

“What’s wrong with being a Good Samaritan?” I replied disdainfully, shocked at her comment which I thought sounded cynical.

“Nothing.” the lady humbly replied. “According to me, you just need to know when and where to do it. That’s all.”

“Then there is no point in-” I tried to add, but then Seunghyun cut me off.

“Please tell us if we can talk to the director.”

He was right to do so. For a second, I was too drawn to my own past. We were still on a mission after all! The receptionist looked at us both with a cold expression.

“I’m sorry. You can’t. The director is very busy for the next three days.”

“Three days? We don’t have three days!” I exclaimed so loudly that some heads turned at me.

However, the fifty-year old remained stoic.

“Miss, there are a lot of couples trying to adopt in here. You can’t just come in here unannounced and expect your son to be welcomed with open arms. Some of the future parents take an appointment a year in advance and come from the other side of the globe to see us!”

For some reason, she sounded a little defensive there. Yet I couldn’t care less about what she was saying. Even when we showed her Jyong, she stood by her point and said that anybody could change their hair color and pretend to be him since children change a lot from 10 to 20. I hate the fact that she had a point. She sighed and told me to give me my number. Maybe she could manage to see if the director could see us for ten minutes in the next hour but she made no promises so we might as well stay around for a bit longer. I scrambled my number on a piece of note and we left. Once we got outside, I couldn’t help but kick the concrete bench we were sitting on in frustration.

“That stuck-up old hag!” I exclaimed. “I’m sure she recognized you, no matter what she said. But she’d rather let you live in the street than forget about the procedure for one freaking hour!”

The boys didn’t look any happier. Jiyong seemed particularly gloomy.

“I remembered her face. But I couldn’t tell her name.” he grunted, angry at himself.

Since there was no use in screaming and damaging my shoes any more, I tried to change the subject:

“She said that, apparently, you were bullied a lot in here. Do you remember any of that?”

He suddenly became thoughtful.

“Little by little.” he replied. “I remember… I remember a boy younger than me crying in the toilets and boys older than me surrounding him and calling him names. I think I was eight or something like that. I remember I told our teacher and the next day, these guys were following me everywhere. I remember they called me names too. “Tattletale”, “Scum”, “Freak”… They’d lock me up in the classroom. They’d sneak to our dorm in the middle of the night to wet my bed and pretend it was me. They’d make fun of my red hair too. I remember one of them pulled hard on it all the time to check if it was real. I remember it made me cry and they made fun of it, saying that I cried like a girl. They were three, I recall now. The guy who pulled my hair was their leader, a big stubby guy, maybe one or two years older than the rest of us. I was shorter than the other boys my age so I knew I stood no chance against him in a fight. So instead, we would play pranks on them and I would organize the plans with the others of my class. They wouldn’t always work but at least, they were fun to set in place. Plus I loved how people would listen to me instantly.”

“Why am I not surprised?” I asked, smiling.

Jiyong had a small joyful smile, which faded a little as he was still lost in his thoughts.

“Sometimes… I wouldn’t tell anybody but… I also dreamed about the day I would be strong enough to go after them and beat the sh*t out of them. I’d target the areas to hit on their faces, their stomachs… I’d imagine them crawling on the floor, afraid of me, begging for mercy… Especially the stubby guy… Park Hon-jun. I remember his name now.”

“It must be have been a hard time.” I said sympathetically.

Jiyong nodded.

“When the agents from “the special program” came to put us to the test, when I passed it and they took me, I thought everything would be fine from now on. I guess there’s a reason why my power is not to read the future.” he said with a painful smirk.

“You always judge things too fast, Jiyong. That’s no secret to anybody.” Seunghyun said and we chuckled.

“Tell me about it,” Seungri added. “at least you guys know what your power is. As for me, I might live on without ever getting one! It’s annoying!”

“Right, because feeling like whatever you eat and drink burns holes in your stomach is not enough.” Jiyong replied sarcastically. “You really want to have your legs feeling like tearing apart every day? Make your bones crack at night?”

“Yeah,” Seunghyun went on, “you’re sure you want that one more shot that might make your brain explode for good and make people afraid of you once they realize what you’re capable of?”

The maknae shrugged.

“It’s not like I really WANT my brain to explode but, out of sheer curiosity, yeah.”

His hyungs looked at each other and sighed, desperate. As for me, I observed the three of them.

“I didn’t know it was that painful to you guys.” I told them, feeling sorry. “At least you look better than during your first days of freedom… Does it still hurt that much?”

The three of them looked at each other.

“Less and less, don’t worry.” they said, although I couldn’t tell whether they were lying or not.

I then looked at my phone and sighed. We had been waiting for two hours and there was still no sign of the director or the old hag.

“Well, I guess it won’t be for today, Jiyong-ah. I’m sorry.” I said and got up.

“Don’t worry, noona. We can still come back in two days. Maybe things will be better then.”

“Yeah, I hope so.”

We then left. However, as we headed towards the car, we ran into a group of tall young men. The first one, the smallest though he was still at least as tall as Seungri, stumbled as I bumped into him.

“Watch where you’re going, damn it!” he shouted at me in a drunken voice, keeping his head bowed, his cap covering half of his face.

The two others sneered. They all smelled like beer and cold tobacco and their clothes didn’t seem to have been washed for ages. Suddenly, one of them, a skinny guy with tattoos all over his neck froze and took the other one by the shoulder.

“Yah, Hon-jun-hyung! Look who it is!” he exclaimed and looked directly at Jiyong.

The name seemed to ring a bell in the boy’s mind. I myself felt like it was familiar. Wasn’t it the name of the bully Jiyong had talked about earlier?

Said Hon-jun raised his sweaty face at us and his eyes grew wide. His dry lips pronounced Jiyong’s name inaudibly. He even raised a hand towards his red hair like, it seemed, an old reflex, to which Jiyong instinctively responded by ducking away from him. The man laughed loudly in surprise.

“Holly sh*t! Guys, that’s really him!”

“So I was right, then! He came back!” the tattooed one replied.

“We were just hanging around when hyung thought he saw someone who looked like him come out of that car!” the other guys explained, pointing at out vehicle behind him as we probably looked confused, grinning with half of his teeth missing.

Although we were just a few feet away from it, the three guys kept blocking our way, still laughing and staring at us like zombies.

“It’s been so long! We’ve got to go somewhere to celebrate! Come on!” Hon-jun said and tried to take Jiyong by the arm.

However, the latter stepped back, staring at his former bully in the eyes. There was suddenly a small silence and their smiles faded. I tried to help and replied with a polite smile:

“We’re sorry guys, we can’t stay. It’s been a pretty tiring day. We were just leaving.”

We then tried to move past them but none of them budged.

“Yeah, well…” Hon-jun went on. “It’s been a pretty tiring day for us too. Doing nothing all day except drinking and admiring the pretty sunshine.” he slowly articulated in a sarcastic tone.

“That’s the only pretty thing in this sh*thole anyway.” the one with missing teeth retorted and let out a thick brown spit on the sidewalk.

“You see,” Hon-jun said, talking directly to Jiyong again. “the three of us remember you. We weren’t as lucky as you. We weren’t as cute or as smart as you. Nobody adopted us. That’s right, nobody!” he said, looking at us for a moment then went back to Jiyong. “And eventually, we got out because we were too old to stay, they say. But we ain’t stupid. We know that’s because we’ve always been bad publicity to them. So they shooed us away as soon as they could. Well, look at us now, Ji. Look at us. We look like monsters, don’t we? How does it feel to have taken our only chance to get out? Huh?” he started screaming. “How does it feel to have succeeded in your special program and come back to laugh in our faces? Is that why you came back? To make fun of us? Like there hasn’t been enough people in our life to tell us how f*cking useless we are!”

Hon-jun was now puffing heavily like an angry bull, sweat dripping from under his cap as he took it off to wipe it out from his greasy hair with one of his dirty sleeves.

“Sorry. Forget what I said. It doesn’t matter now.” he said with a bitter smile as the others kept looking down, resigned. “We are born from monsters so we live like monsters. We got it. C’est la vie.”

“Don’t say things like that-” I said and tried to reach him, feeling sympathetic.

However, I then felt my hand being smacked away as he then spit in my face:

“Don’t touch me. Nobody talked to you, ape.”

“What did you call her?” Seunghyun replied as he placed himself between him and me, glaring at him from very close.

The others moved forward and pushed us both back as one of them then took out a pocket knife and played with it under Seunghyun’s nose.

“What is it, big boy? You want a piece of us? Huh? Is that what you want?” the tattooed guy said provocatively, his hand dancing with the blade playfully. “Come on! Play with us!”

“Careful what you wish for.” Seunghyun answered coldly.

For a second, I saw his eyes become dark again. He was obviously back in his usual defensive mode as he kept protecting me, encouraging me silently to step back. At that moment, I felt my blood run cold in my veins again.

“Is that a threat?” Hon-jun said as he pushed the tattooed guy lightly and smirked. “Ok, here’s my answer!”

He then lunged himself at us with his fist tightened. However, the impact of the punch I had been expecting to hear didn’t happen and, as I opened my eyes, I saw Jiyong holding his bully’s fist in his palm with a stern face, his jaws tightened.

“I’ve had enough of this crap.” he murmured. “You guys aren’t looking for revenge. You’re just looking for trouble. You always did. Because that’s all you think you’re good at. That’s how bored and stupid you are.”

As Hon-jun tried to punch him again, Jiyong blocked his second fist and barely moved an inch as the latter kept trying to escape from his grip. The two others kept looking at each other, unable to decide whether to attack or not. However, as Seungri and Seunghyun faced them, they stood where they were as Jiyong went on, still looking at Hon-jun’s eyes:

“You know what? It turns out I had some tough moments in my life too. Maybe they were tougher than yours. You have no idea! But I don’t go around bragging about how I survived my past misery. I want to move on!” he said and pushed Hon-jun so hard he fell on his back as he then looked at Jiyong, flabbergasted by his strength.

Jiyong’s expression remained cold and serious. Though he had total power over his prey, just like in his dream he told me about, there was no trace of hate or anger in his voice when he talked again:

“I remember you too. And not just because you bullied me. Back when we were kids, you’d always complain about how teachers hated you and how you were the last of our class because of your parents’ education, because of our caretakers, because of us, because of me… There was always someone or something to blame. Maybe it’s time guys you realize the reason you’re here is because you guys are full of crap and never tried harder than that to get out of it. Just because you’re “destined” to become something doesn’t mean you have to. Some people showed me that only you decide what you become.” he said, looking at Seunghyun and I before he went back to Hon-jun. “Obviously, you guys went for the easy way, the crappy way.”

He then took a step forward and Hon-jun crawled back in fear as he leaned closer:

“Get a life. And stay out of mine.” he said and then stared back at the two others as well.

When Hon-jun stood up, completely sobered up, the three of them stepped back, ran in the other direction and disappeared at the corner of a street. It seemed little Jiyong had grown up a little too much for their taste.

“You’re okay?” he asked and turned at us, looking soft and concerned again.

We smiled and nodded at him.

“We’re good, boss.” Seunghyun said and put a hand on his leader’s shoulder who grinned cutely at his hyung. He looked so different from three minutes ago!

As we were about to get in the car, we got interrupted again by someone calling us. When I turned to see who it was, I saw the old lady from the reception of the orphanage scamper towards us.

“Headmaster Yang wants to see you.” she said, catching her breath. “He saw everything from his window. He delayed his afternoon schedule. He wants to talk to you personally.”

When we heard, we looked at each other, at first confused, then prouder than ever. No need to wait any longer ^^

Headmaster Yang Hyun-suk looked younger than any man his age. Though his looks were cold and rather scary, his words sounded sincere through his stern tone when he talked to us in his office:

“I’d like to thank you for what you did this afternoon. These kids often come back here, especially at this time of the year, when foreigner couples arrive, to vandalize the building and scare them away. Unfortunately, most of the time, they succeed. This orphanage suffers from a bigger lack of funds every year and these guys don’t make the situation any easier, which is also the reason why Miss Haeun didn’t let you in at first. She was too scared you’d be like them and try to attack me personally. However, like I said, I’m glad you guys made them leave. Especially you, Kwon. I’m glad you came back.”

When he heard that, Jiyong smiled warmly.

“I must say, I’m also curious about the reason why you came back.” the director added.

Jiyong explained it all. As we kept observing them, the director frowned and kept nodding from time to time, looking more and more serious, as if in deep thoughts. When Jiyong was done, he remained silent at first.

“Unfortunately,” he eventually answered, “we can’t hire you as a staff member. We don’t have enough money to recruit anyone else. We also can’t help you find an apartment since it’s not in our function. I hope you understand that.”

Jiyong nodded. It seemed he was the only one in the room to not be intimidated by his direct statements.

“Yet, since you are an exceptional kid and we might need your presence around for a while, I will definitely help you personally by talking to some of my contacts.”

Eventually, he took his phone in front of us and contacted the local police captain with whom the latter “daily” (I quote mister Yang here) complains about the lack of personnel. Plus since the criminal rate is so high in the neighborhood, they lack of motivated recruits. They would especially need team leaders, they said. Due to the number of assaults in the streets, a lot of citizens left, leaving a lot of cheap vacant accommodation behind. Oh the irony :3 Though mister Yang kept a stern face, I could see his eyes shine as Jiyong grinned and we all hugged him from behind in excitement. In the end, Jiyong’s presence was said to be welcome there by tomorrow morning on probation and, I quote the captain (after a translation from Seunghyun), he was eager to meet Jiyong since he was so warmly recommended by his dear friend mister Yang. In the meantime, the boys’ leader would spend the night at his former orphanage. Mission 3: SUCCESS 8D !!!!!!!!!

When we left, mister Yang and GD were still exchanging memories of ten years ago and we even heard the director laugh with him. It was like the return of the prodigal son to his father’s home J. As Jiyong accompanied us to say goodbye, Mister Yang kept a bright smile which illuminated his whole face.

I guess leaving GD behind was too much. In the car, though Seungri kept trying to hide from our eyes in the rearview mirror, I caught him looking worried as he let silent tears roll down his cheeks and sniffle from time to time. At some point, Seunghyun turned and looked him in the eyes as the maknae quickly wiped the corner of his eyes with his sleeve.

“Don’t worry, dongsaeng.” he said. “I’ll be next.”

At this moment, though I remained silent, I was now the one holding my tears back, biting my lips and tightening my grip on the wheel with both hands.

I know it’s immature, I know. But at this moment, I couldn’t hate you more, Seunghyun. I know we are supposed to separate in the end one way or another but I couldn’t take it anymore. Half of our team was gone. And when you both leave, I will be all alone again. Except this time, there wouldn’t be Joseph or anybody else by my side then. I couldn’t hate this situation more. I hated you for leaving me, I hated Seungri for confessing his (legit) fear, I hated Jiyong for leaving with a smile on his face, I hated Youngbae and Dae Sung too, I hated Joseph, I hated Mum, I hated Mr. Yang… My brain kept looking for people to hate, people to blame, no matter how little sense it made to blame and hate them since they were not responsible…

For the first time in ages, I was cold with you, Seunghyun. I wanted to make you feel guilty. Since it would be inappropriate to try to make you change your mind, I tried to make you feel mad, make you feel sad…For an hour, I felt like I wanted you to suffer quietly but intensely as much as me. I guess this is what hate, pain and revenge taste like. Don’t they? You tell me. I went to the bedroom without saying good night as soon as we finished dinner. However, as I was waiting for you in the bedroom, as soon as I heard you sit next to me on the bed in the dark, as soon as I felt your arm around me, I couldn’t help but cry and rest against your chest. You took me in your arms and told me not to worry, that everything would be okay. You said you were ready to face whatever was ahead. I told you that I already knew it. I added that Mum, Kwon and I would support you if you couldn’t find help. I told you that I believed in your strength (and I do). So you asked me why I was still crying then.

The concern in your soft voice made me choke on my tears. I got up and went to the corner of the room with my back at the window to hide them. When you walked towards me, I remember I tried to hit you because I knew that once you’d touch me, I’d break down for sure. Of course, it took you no time to grab my wrists. But that made me struggle even harder until I stopped and sobbed for good. I asked you to forgive me. I said that I knew I was being selfish and childish and weak. I said that I just didn’t want you to leave me. I was going to miss you so much! Of all the boys, you were the one I was the least ready to let go.

Though I thought my words would upset you, or at least worry you, to my surprise, I saw you smile softly in the moonlight. You then took my face in your hands and kissed it all over my forehead, my cheeks, my lips... just like I had done to you. Does that mean you were trying to heal me the same way? Then, as your lips were close to mine you whispered “Thank you”. When I asked you why, you said it’s because you felt honored. For the first time, someone was crying over you. And not only were you loved, but you were preferred over everyone else. And that was the best thing that could ever happen to you. Yes you are my favorite, Seunghyun. You definitely are. As you rested my head against your chest, I heard your heart beat like a war drum. I enjoyed that sound.

Then your lips caught mine. It was slow and gentle at first, both of us savoring it like the rarest wine. However, things heated up pretty quickly as you tangled your tongue around mine for the third time and I slipped my fingers through your hair. You then caught me off guard when you made us switch places and you pinned me against the mattress. When I felt the weight of your body on mine and the burning heat of your skin all over my body, I realized I wanted you. Badly. Here. Tonight.

You had such eyes, Seunghyun… I felt so loved, so cherished, so precious in your arms… I saw drops fall on the pillow next to my face. We were both so entranced it could have been sweat falling from your hair. But I’m almost sure it was not just that: your eyes looked pretty shiny too… I want you to know that no man ever made love to me like that. I’m so glad you’re mine. And that I’m yours.

And now, although I spend the last hours there, I’m eager to get back in your arms in the morning. I’m watching you sound asleep. I must say, though you’re no night owl like me, you’re still pretty hard to tire! Not that I complain about it. On the contrary :P But I must say, I’ll definitely wake up with dark circles and lovely cramps tomorrow ^^

It’s okay. As long as I can still take mental pictures of you sleeping like an angel next to me, smell your scent on my skin, enjoy the remaining taste of your lips on mine, watch you smile in your sleep as I slide my hand in your hair, right now, I could take an oath to never sleep again. I’ll do anything to prevent that innocent figure to have any nightmare ever again. Sadly, the best way to do so is to let you find your home. Your real home.

Speaking of “home” by the way… about the America thingy… you know, going back home and stuff? …Screw it, why do I even call it “go back home”? No-one is waiting for me there! My family is here and all my childhood friends have left a long time ago to Europe or someplace else! Staying here or there wouldn’t make any difference, really!

So like I said, about America, I think I...

I don’t have the courage to type it yet.

I guess I’d better tell you about it tomorrow. I never took such a big decision in my life. But if my instinct is right, and if you make me courageous enough to take it, then it might be the best decision of my life. If not… well, at least I know it won’t end up like with Joseph ><

But you’re not Joseph. I know it. You’re Seughyun. Choi Seunghyun. My Seunghyun. 승현…승현…승현… Bingu승현 ^^

And I’m not Miss Joan Clarke. I’m Joan-noona. Joan-jagiya.

안녕히 주무세요 자기야,

E> E> 조안-누나 <3 <3

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