Geun Duk rubbed his forehead with his hands. “And how exactly does it benefit us to have Yeo Kyeung attempt to get close to you and win you over to the resistance? You are already a member of the resistance. You are in fact the leader of the resistance, if you have forgotten."
Lee Su Hyun merely smiled. "This will give me the opportunity to watch out for her and protect her from my colleagues, in a way that would not be possible if she didn't approach me first. Also, she needs to become more experienced at undercover work, and to be honest, she isn't ready to practice on anybody who isn't safe."
All of which made perfect sense, and Geun Duk did have to admit the entertainment value of watching Na Yeo Kyeung attempting to stalk Lee Su Hyun like an awkward baby duckling. If this was part of Lee Su Hyun's motivation -- which he had no doubt that it was -- he supposed it would be hypocritical to find fault with it.
He was about to open his mouth to say so, when Lee Su Hyun went on, still wearing the same polite smile, "And please, report to me in exact detail Cha Song Joo's reaction when she receives the new orders that Yeo Kyeung and I are to engage in fake dating."
". . . why . . ." said Geun Duk.
"It's important to me, as the leader, to see whether she could follow the reasoning for my orders," said Lee Su Hyun blandly.
"Oh, is it," muttered Geun Duk.
It was not that he objected to Lee Su Hyun and Cha Song Joo having eyes for each other, exactly. In peacetime, this would be fine. But he objected to the revolution being used as a tool for some kind of overly complicated and deceitful flirtation, and he also very vehemently objected to having to be the go-between. Did nobody remember that they had a country to liberate?
"Also," asked Lee Su Hyun, "while we are on the topic of Cha Song Joo, how is her health?"
Geun Duk was starting to understand in full Woo Wan's constant urge to shout "AAAGH!" and storm off while flailing his hands; it was a course of action that looked more tempting every time he had a private revolutionary meeting with Lee Su Hyun.
"I'm to put the blindfold on and tie her hands when we reach the secret hideout," said Geun Duk, flatly.
"Yes." Su Hyun's eyebrows rose slightly. "Is there a problem?"
"Well, given that she will have already driven there with her eyes open, and she will presumably hear your voice and figure out who you are not ten seconds after this, it seems a little unnecessary, is all."
There was silence for a few moments, and then Lee Su Hyun gave a rueful smile and looked down. "You've caught me out. There is no real purpose to the blindfold – or rather, the purpose is for me, and not her. If we're to remain at the appropriate distance, so nothing distracting happens, I will need the time to overcome my weakness and present to her the appropriate face."
"Hmph," said Geun Duk, but even he felt himself -- a very little -- touched by Su Hyun's willingness to admit his weakness and his determination to suppress his feelings for the sake of the revolution.
This lasted until he led in Cha Song Joo, exquisite in her off-the-shoulder gown and her air of cool ferocity even when blindfolded, and saw the look on Lee Su Hyun's face as he drank in the sight of her.
He marched out and glared at the side of the building. "Overcome your weakness, huh?" he muttered to himself. "Indulge your weakness when your hands linger on untying her bonds, more like it." Geun Duk had spent years working at a courtesan house; he was more than familiar with this kind of thing. And of all the things in the world he had never wanted to do in his life, 'facilitate some kind of kink play between the two leaders of the revolution' was extremely high up on the list.
Geun Duk had joined up with Ae Mool Dan for the assassinations. If anybody had thought to warn him about all the matchmaking, he sometimes thought he would have stayed in Russia.
After five minutes, when Cha Song Joo did not come back to the party, Geun Duk began to have a horrible suspicion.
After ten minutes – as Cha Song Joo's customer grew increasingly querulous – his suspicion grew into a hideously depressing certainty.
“I'm sorry,” he growled to all three men in the main room. “Cha Song Joo seems to have been taken suddenly ill.” This was perfectly true if one counted 'irresponsible romantic insanity' as a communicable disease. “We will, of course, refund your deposits.”
Then he counted to ten under his breath, and strode down the hallway to Cha Song Joo's room. By the time he flung open her door he had gathered a full flock of courtesans behind him.
Lee Su Hyun and Cha Song Joo were – of course – pressed up against a wall, kissing as if they never planned to stop. He was already shirtless, and reaching for the tie of her hanbok; she slid one hand up and down his arm and shoulder, with the other slipped inside the waistband of his pants.
Geun Duk shouted and threw up an arm to cover his eyes, feeling more depressingly like Woo Wan than ever. From behind him came a chorus of gasps, giggles, and one or two small enthusiastic squees.
Lee Su Hyun dropped from the front of Cha Song Joo's hanbok as if it had burned him. Cha Song Joo turned more slowly; her arm slipped around Lee Su Hyun's back. She did not look as if she intended to let go.
“You left,” said Geun Duk, when he felt it safe to proceed, “in the middle of an appointment. I sent the man home, but you're lucky he went. You both know how dangerous this is! That customer could easily have seen – and you!” He pointed at Su Hyun. "I explicitly told you the house would be busy tonight and the meeting would have to be tomorrow!"
Lee Su Hyun opened his mouth; Cha Song Joo pressed her other hand up against his lips, and he stopped obediently, with a faint rueful smile on his face.
Cha Song Joo looked steadily at Geun Duk. “Either one of us,” she said, “could die tomorrow. We are going to have this tonight.”
It was a tone of voice that said she wasn't going to be argued with.
“I suggest,” she added, taking in the gaggle of enthralled courtesans, “that you treat the girls to an evening out.”
That wasn't a suggestion, either, and a quick look at Lee Su Hyun revealed that the responsible leader of the revolution was, in this matter, going to be of no help whatsoever.
“Fine,” snarled Geun Duk, out of options and entirely exasperated. “But please at least try to remember that at the walls are made out of paper, and don't lean on them in your torrid passion. The last thing we need is to be making repairs now!” He herded the rest of the courtesans off into the hallway -- giving Young Ran an extra nudge when she showed a tendency to linger -- and slammed the door shut behind him.
As they left, he heard through the paper walls Lee Su Hyun say, in tones of ragged amusement: “You could perhaps have told them to go before we –”
“Of course.” There was a faint breathless hitch in Cha Song Joo's usual serene voice. “But if I am correct, Young Ran has ten bags of rice riding on this, and it seems a shame she should lose the opportunity to make good.”
“And how many bags of rice do you have riding on it?”
“You played so hard to get,” said Cha Song Joo, “that I didn't dare bet any.”
And then there was no more conversation, at least not that Geun Duk could hear – not that he was trying; he had already seen and heard far more today, he felt fervently, than anybody should have to. Some people, he was sure, ran revolutionary organizations in which nobody ever had to see anybody else naked. This, alas, was apparently not to be Geun Duk's fate.
Still – if it took liberating Lee Su Hyun from his pants to get him to focus his attention properly on liberating the country, then that, it seemed, was what it took. And perhaps tomorrow they could at last get back to the real work of revolution.