Theme: #089. "I like your face.", (100 suju fic challenge)
Pairing Kangin/Ryeowook, Heechul/Ryeowook friendship, Hanchul
Rating PG-13- for language and a controversial topic?
Summary. What would you say if somebody told you you had a strange face? well Ryeowook had to find that out all on his own.
AU (isn't it always though, since none of what we right will ever be real life?) ONESHOT
Disclaimer If I owned Suju, I wouldn´t be writing fanfiction
The Face in the Silver Reflection
Ryeowook had worked in a host bar ever since his third year of high school. It had started out as a way to earn money for his grandmother's cancer treatments. However, after she passed away he had continuedd on because it provided him company, a place where he wasn't alone.
A certain, lovely but cold beauty Kim Heechul, was the owner of the Host bar, he was sarcastic, sharp and usually aloof with his hosts, but with Ryeowook he had always shown his kind, gentle side. Perhaps because he saw in Ryeowook, the type of person he had wanted to be, someone cheerful, gentle, respectful, and innocent, even in this line of work, where usually people lost their innocence and often became hard and cynical like himself.
As a former host Heechul knew the pain that could come from attachment to a customer. Customers came here to enjoy company without strings. It was also something that they would never acknowledge in their personal lives, the self they created for that hour or so that they spent chatting or in the arms of their favourite host was never to appear under the bright light of day where each one of them had a life they did not wish to disrupt. Heechul had known when he had set his eyes on Ryeowook, that he would be one that would care too much, give too much. Heechul had refused to accept him as an employee but after seeing him cry silently in desperation, he had given in.
Since that moment of weakness in the face of Ryeowook's tears and need, Heechul had watched over him as much as possible, feeling deeply the responsability he had for allowing such an innocent to enter the dark world of night.
As he thought of Ryeowook, Kim Heechul stood looking out through his office's window into the lamp lit sidewalk, noticing two furtive lovers giving each other desperate kisses.
"What are you looking at Heechul-ah?" A husky voice asked as the soft velvety lips kissed his ear and lightly nipped it.
"At nothing in particular, Geng." and he turned around and kissed his lover absent-mindedly on the lips. "Just a bit worried for Wookie, he's too soft, and just yesterday I saw a rough looking customer request him, I hope this isn't going to end up like last time... I don't want to see him broken like that again."
Han Geng nodded in understanding but he grinned like a Cheshire cat with a secret he's just bursting to tell. "Ah, but he's not rough, just unshaven, and a little obsessive, but overall a very kind and unpretentious person."
Heechul narrowed his eyes, "You seem to know him well Geng, was he one of your lovers?"
Han Geng nodded, "He was," Heechul glared at him, knowing that it was useless to be jealous of the past, his own being the most reproachable one as it were. Yet he couldn't help it and he continued to glare, however Han Geng continued serenely, "but we both agreed that is should never have happened and that we weren't at all compatible as people to coexist peacefully. Since then Kang In has been one of my favourite dongsaengs... to tell you the truth, he's been infatuated with Ryeowook for almost a year now, and has been angling me for an introduction, but I didn't think Ryeowook was quite ready to meet someone who was actually serious about him outside being a paid companion right after being hurt badly by that jerd Donghwa, but lately he's been emotionally stable and so I finally told him where he could find him... I guess he heeded my words..."
"Geng, if you have set Ryeongu up for a fall I will not be able to forgive you." Heechul did trust Han Geng's assessment of people, but he couldn't help but think that what could be good medicine might also turn poisonous.
Han Geng hugged Heechul from the back and placed his head on Heechul's shoulder, "I know, but I think that it's high time that Ryeowook leave this environment, he will begin to change into something vastly different from his nature if he stays. I for one don't ever want to see a cold, cynical and obnoxious Ryeowook. Kang In will be good for him, even if its only to open his eyes to other opportunities, other ways of life."
Heechul sagged a bit but nodded and just basked in the warmth that began to seep into him from Han Geng's embrace. He hoped that Kang In could be to Ryeowook what Han Geng was to him.
Today was a busy night for many of the hosts. Ryeowook smiled at how competitive some of them got over how many bottles their guests bought, or how infatuated the guests were with them, as for himself Ryeowook was always just content to let the guest decide the pace.
Sometimes they just wanted to sit in silence with company, sometimes they wanted someone to take care of them while they drank, sometimes they just wanted someone to just plain care. Ryeowook was good at that, and his customers were often those that were lonely for some company, they were sons of businessmen whose marriages were decided by their families without consideration over their wants or feelings; they were middleaged men who felt that their wives no longer cared about them and so just wanted company; they were nomads who were searching for a warm beacon to bring them back from their journey.
They were always diverse yet they all were searching for the same thing that he was: company, understanding, and even love. Ryeowook had shown them that, he loved them and cried in their stead as they talked and shared a meal and wine. Just once had Ryeowook given in to the hope that he might also receive the same from another human being. It had been his most foolish and depressing hour, he'd been hurt so badly emotionally, he felt that he would never be able to trust anyone with his heart ever again.
The door opened and Ryeowook mentally tore himself away from that thought and instead he smiled as warmly as always and bid the newcomer welcome to the Silver Reflection.
When he realized who it was Ryeowook's smile died and instead his face sharpened into a frown. The guy frowned at the reaction. "You know, why am I the only that gets this look from you?."
Normally Ryeowook was very pleasant to customers even if they had been very rude to him nights before, but somehow this man who had introduced himself as Kang In had managed to get under his skin with his parting comment on his "strange face" the last time he had come. It had caught him off-guard since he had thought that they had shared a very pleasant evening, Ryeowook had almost felt he'd known this man for years, he was so easy to talk to and share opinions with.
"Right this way sir, I'll take you to our Number 1 Minho, he should have a beautiful enough face for you." Ryeowook couldn't believe that had come out of his mouth, it made him sound like an offended drama queen.
"But Ryeowook-ssi I like your strange face" was the earnest reply.
Ryeowook scowled again, " That is not something that's very flattering Kang In-ssi." but nevertheless he led Kang In down to his section of the room and offered him a seat before he sat down accross him.
Ryeowook looked at Kang In who was biting his underlip as if thinking on what he was going to say.
Ryeowook caught himself smiling at him without knowing why, except that the thoughtful expression seemed endearing.
"uh, I wanted to tell you, that I really had a good time here with you last time, and I'm sorry that my parting comment offended you, because that wasn't my intention. I'm not very good at complimenting people's looks I guess, and somehow your face is different than any other person's that I've met. So it was strange in a good way... yeah..."
Ryeowook smiled a bit at that rather awkward confession, " so it doesn't mean that I'm ugly and offensive to look at?"
Kang In looked up from his abashed position so rapidly that Ryewook wondered if he would have a case of whiplash thanks to that, "NO! no, actually I think your face is very ethereal, but the strangeness I guess comes in that you don't hide your emotions much, so that if something pleases you, you don't simulate a practiced indifference like many others, and same with something saddens you, it's there written in your face... aish now I sound very stalker like... mianhe"
Ryeowook, couldn't help it; he giggled, it was funny seeing such a strong good looking man look like a scolded child. "I'm sorry, I guess I was too sensitive about your comment. Don't worry about it, should I order us some wine?"
Kang In nodded looking more comfortable now that Ryeowook was not angry and had even laughed albeit at his expense but at least everything had been cleared.
As Ryewook ordered their wine bottle, Kang In gathered the courage to ask him something that had been driving him for the past couple of years,when he had gotten a glimpse of him at the college campus. He had been drawn to that face, even before he had gotten interested in him as a possible boyfriend, someone he could take care of and who could support him. Ryewook was someone that could be that for him, he'd seen his kind heart in action before.
He'd seen him volunteer in a local hospital pushing, elderly folks wheelchairs around and singing to them. He had wanted to approach then, but one slight distraction and he had lost sight of him and then a year ago he'd seen him hang out with Hangeng and his boyfriend, and he'd asked to be introduced but Hangeng had refused. He'd been told that Ryewook needed time to heal from an emotional wound, that it wasn't the time to approach, that he should wait, and he had.
All through out that, he'd had one thought keep appearing in his mind and now he was able to ask him.
"Ryeowook-ssi, would you mind being my muse/model for my upcoming exhibition?"
Ryeowook looked bewildered, "oh, that's right, you'd said you were a photographer. I don't know, isn't the model usually someone who's extremely good looking and tall, I'm neither of those. Perhaps, you could ask my boss, Kim Heechul, he's very beautiful, or Han Geng-ssi, he's also extremely handsome."
Kang In frowned, " I don't want to use Kim Heechul-ssi, or Hangeng hyung, I want you to appear in my photos, your face would bring that something I'm looking for in my photographs."
Ryeowook was flattered at the insistence but couldn't help but notice at the -hyung tacked on to Hangeng's name, "Do you know Hangeng-ssi?" Immediately, as he said that he realized and his voice became colder than ever, " this must be Hangeng-ssi's plan to get me a boyfriend, isn't it? Who are you exactly? I should have known there was something fishy about such a good looking, pleasant, emotional baggage-less person coming to a host bar."
Kang In looked abashed, really this couldn't have gone worse, " No, that wasn't Hangeng hyung's plan... I wanted to meet you. that's all, really"
The frown on Ryeowook's face deepened and he looked at him incredulously, " really? How would you even know me? I know I've never seen you before your visit last week. Whatever it is that Hangeng promised you if you went out with me, please forget it, it's not happening. I do----"
At this KangIn seemed ready to explode, he couldn't take being dismissed like such a cad, making his hyung look like a jerk, too. So he interrupted the other's tirade. " Ryeowook-ssi, I know you've never seen me before and therefore can't know me, but number one, I'm not such a worthless person as to accept a bribe to date someone, and number two, Hangeng hyung is not the type of person to hurt you. It took almost a year to get him to tell me where you worked. He doesn't want to hurt you so he wouldn't plan such a thing as you have implied." after a deep breath Kang In continued, " I guess this is not a good time, I'll come back to talk to you some other day." He got up and looking around the Host Club and seeing that everybody had stopped their activities to look at them apologetically he bowed deeply and said"Mianhe" to all of them and made to leave towards the door.
Ryeowook looked abashed after realizing that Hangeng would never do that, he'd always been nice to him, so this really wasn't right to blame him and also, Kang In had been polite through everything and that said a lot for his character. So taking a deep breath, he spoke as Kang In turned to leave, "I'm sorry for my attitude before, but if you would still like me to be a model for your photography exhibition, I'll do it."
Kang In turned back and looked at the serious face, and answered, " of course I want to." and he went back to sit down at the table.
As he felt Kang In staring at him from accross the table Ryeowook blushed and couldn't help but say, "I still don't understand why you would choose me, and still want me to be your model after I blew this out of proportion."
Kang In smiled, " Well I did tell you I liked your face, and I guess I can think of this experience as one where I got to see other expressions on your face."
After the blush wore away Ryewook could look into Kang In's smiling face and offer his own smile. From that point on they talked until closing time and KangIn announced that this was his last time coming to the Silver Reflection as a customer. Ryeowook looked startled at that, 'have I done something wrong?' he thought.
But Kang In sensing that another misunderstanding was brewing stated more plainly, " I'd like to be with you outside of this place, and customers and hosts are not allowed to do so, so once I'm no longer a customer, perhaps you'd consider spending time with me?"
The smile and happy laugh that burst forth from Ryeowook's lips as he nodded, was echoed on Kang In's.
A few weeks later....
"So I hear you're leaving the Silver Reflection, Ryeongu... After all I've done for you and you pay me back like this!!!" wailed an usually composed Ice-Prince Heechul
Ryeowook looked on in bewilderment, he hadn't meant to be ungrateful really, so he went over and hugged his hyung tightly. Heechul grabbed him in a tight hug also, " I wanted to be first one you told about leaving!! you told that bastard Han Geng first!! How could you repay me like this!?"
With a laugh Ryeowook realized that everything had just been a fake out by Heechul who was only mad at the fact that he was being told last.
"Hyung I don't think you should call your boyfriend a bastard.. plus I didn't tell him, he must have heard it from Kang In-ssi."
Heechul wrinkled his nose, " well he deserves being called a bastard, he was gloating over the fact that he knew before I did, when I'm the person you're closest to. Or so I thought" and sniffed when he said the last part.
Ryeowook smiled and latched on even harder to Heechul's waist, "you are. You're my only family, now."
Heechul smiled gratified at that comment, "As your only family I demand to be told everything that you will be doing now, are you Kang In's boyfriend now?"
"Kang-In-ssi has encouraged me to audition for different talent companies, but for now I think I want to work on stage in musicals, after all that was what my major had been before I dropped it in my last year, two years ago. And we're not officially boyfriends, Kang In wants to be, but I want to take it slow."
As Ryeowook was talking Heechul observed at how serene his face looked, the changes that were happening in his life were apparently doing him a lot of good. Heechul smiled, he would have to treat Han Geng to dinner as a thank you for being the conduit for these changes.
100 Suju Fic Challenge Archive
oh boy this took me a looong time to finish, i don't know why but it was hard,... and also before I knew it Hanchul had ninja'd themselves in. >_<
This has nothing to do with the story and actually detracts from the Hanchul-ness and refers back to Kyuchul but I have to share it, I squeeed the moment I saw this pic: