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Forget Me Not

Chapter Text

Saeran’s interest in flowers started from a young age, a way to cope with what was around him. He found the comfort he needed in them, the distraction he so desperately wanted when learning everything about each flower. Because even when everything in his life felt like it was falling apart, when it felt ugly and undesirable, he could always find solitude in his garden. He had always felt a strong connection with himself and his floral friends. It only made sense that he’d start a flower shop after his brother pushed him to, knowing full well that this was his passion and that he would help any way he can.

Over the course of the years, he had arranged flowers for all sorts of reasons. From celebrating a graduate in pursuit of a brighter future, to celebrating someone’s life on their birthday, to mourning the loss of someone at a funeral. But the one he felt most eager to arrange were the ones between lovers. Whether it was for Valentine’s, first dates, or anniversaries, he had those down to a science, partly because he had been making them for so long, but another part was that he would hope to give it to someone himself. Although he had his brother and flowers, he still longed for someone to share himself with.

“Saeyoung, can you deliver these to the address I gave you earlier,” he more said than asked, placing a handful of bouquets down on the counter.

“What’s the magic word?” the red-head teased back.

“Let me rephrase that,” Saeran replied, “can you please do your job?”

“Fine,” he said, picking up the flowers before examining them, “a lot of daffodils, huh?”

“Yeah, I think they’re for congratulating someone on a new job,” he said, looking over a stack of papers for what he was missing. Saeyoung looked at him quizzically.

“New beginnings,” Saeran said, answering his unspoken question, “now get to it.”

“Sure thing boss,” he replied, running out the door with the bouquets.

“Don’t call me that!” he shouted, but it didn’t reach him before he left, leaving him alone in the shop.

As he sifted through orders, he heard the bell on the door ring, indicating of someone’s presence. He looked up to greet only to fall silent.

“Hi,” you spoke, breaking the silence as you approached the counter. He couldn’t explain why, but his palms started to grow sweaty, throat dry as he tried to reply, but couldn’t even think of saying a simple ‘hi’ back. You almost looked too bright to him, unsure of what he meant by that or why.

“Uh, I’m sorry, were you closed?” you asked, interrupting his thoughts only to realize he hadn’t actually said anything.

“No, no we’re very open, what can I help you with?”

Chapter Text

“Uh, I’m sorry, were you closed?” you asked, interrupting his thoughts only to realize he hadn’t actually said anything.

“No, no we’re very open, what can I help you with?”

As you got closer, he noticed all your little features, but the one that really caught his attention were your eyes. You hummed before answering, as if you were lost in thought at his question and he felt his chest tighten at the sound. What was this sudden feeling overcoming him?

“I was wondering if you sold plant seeds?” you asked, almost hesitantly. 

“Yeah, they’re over here,” he said, coming around the counter to guide you. He knew he could have just pointed you in the direction, but he wanted to be in your presence longer, wanting to linger in your warmth for a bit longer.

“Is there a specific one you’re looking for?” he asked.

“No, actually, this was more of a spur of the moment decision,” you said, “but do you have any favorites? Any recommendations?”

“Too many, do you have all day?” he joked only for you to laugh. He felt his heart skip a beat at the sound, wanting to hear it again.

“Oh, what about these?” you asked, pointing to a bag of marigold seeds, “They look interesting.”

“They are, although mostly used for grieving, it’d look great in a garden,” he explained, a little more nervously than he normally would.

“Hm, maybe not those then, don’t want to bring any bad omens,” you said with a small giggle, although he wasn’t very focused on your words, hanging on more to the sound of your voice and feeling his face heat up at it.

He couldn’t help but just look over at you as you continued looking onto the selection. Your hair, the look on your face, the way your eyes seemed to captivate his. He couldn’t quite place it, but in that moment you looked ethereal, which weirded him out. How could someone he just met, who’s name he doesn’t even know yet, make him feel a way he couldn’t quite place? He hadn’t realized how he was looking at you until you looked up to meet his gaze.

“Everything okay?” you asked, looking more concerned than bothered.

“Yeah, just got lost in thought for a second there,” he said, blush growing out of embarrassment as he looked away, hoping you didn’t notice how red his face was turning.

“What were you thinking about?” you asked, which threw him off. 

‘Crap, crap, crap, think of anything, first thing that comes to mind.’

“Flower stuff,” he said simply.

‘Flower stuff? Really??’

“Uh, I, um, should probably get back to that flower stuff,” he stammered, hoping he didn’t embarrass himself as he went to turn.

“Wait wait!” you said, a little louder than you expected as you grabbed a hold of his hand, “I need some help with this, I’m a little clueless when it comes to flowers.”

’Sh-she wants my help?’

He looked down to see his hand in between your two. Your hands were so soft against his and he was certain his face had turned ten shades darker, mouth hanging a bit as he looked up to meet your eyes. He wasn’t sure whether you felt it or not, but he almost felt something similar to electricity. And he wanted to stay in this feeling. You pulled your hands back to your side, apologizing for it before looking away. 

“No need to apologize,” he said, sheepishly.

‘Please do it again.’

“How about roses?” he asked.

“What?” you asked, a little confused.

“I’m assuming that you want to add some color to your garden,” he explained, “so how about roses?”

“Oh right,” you paused, “I was thinking something smaller, maybe something to put in a pot.”

“Potted plant, got it,” he said, scanning over the selection for what could work. Usually, he could offer up something immediately, but he wanted to pick something special for you, something with meaning.

“What about these?” you asked, reaching for the pack and showing him.

“Ah, forget me nots,” he said, examining the package, “they’ll need plenty of sunlight and good soil, but they’re truly just beautiful.”

‘Just like you.’

“Why are they called forget me not?” you asked, cocking your head to the side out of curiosity, which he found cute.

“There’s a myth that two lovers had been walking down along the Danube river when they first saw it,” he explained, “and when the man retrieved the flowers for his significant other, he got swept away by the river. And while he floated away, he told her not to forget him. It’s meaning is true and undying love.”

“Wow, that sounds fake,” you said to which he laughed, “but does it have any significance to you?”

“No, at least not yet,” he replied.

“Well,” you started, “I hope you find your true and undying love soon then.”

“Thanks,” he said, although he had a strong feeling that it was in closer reach than he thought, “and I hope that you do too. Unless you already have it, than I’m sorry for making that assumption, I just never thi-“

“I haven’t,” you interrupt, holding back a laugh at his rambling, “but I’ll take it.”

“Great, I’ll, uh, help you over there then.”

He walked you back over to the counter, dreading having to see you go as he rang you up. He tried to stall by asking if you needed soil or a pot to put it in, but you assured him that you had those. He just felt so weirdly warm in your presence, as if he were sitting under the sun. This felt like so much more than a momentary crush or infatuation and he knew it.

“I hope this isn’t too forward, but what’s your name?” you asked, “I just want to be able to convince your boss to give you a raise after being so patient with me.”

“Thanks, I’ll be sure to give myself that raise promptly,” he joked, “I’m actually the owner and it’s Saeran.”

“Congratulations on your raise then, Saeran,” you joked back, laughing. He never really liked his name until he heard it pass your lips.

“And with that raise, I think I can gift you these seeds.”

“Oh no, I can pay for them,” you replied, “I gotta support local businesses with cute owners.”

“It’s 800 won, it’s not going to put me out of business,” he insisted.

“Fine, I’ll take it under one condition,” you said as he looked at you quizzically,

“I can come to you for any plant emergency I have.”

“You have got yourself a deal,” he replied, placing his hand out for you to take in a handshake. He felt that spark again when your hand touched his in a tight grip. As you pulled away, you grabbed the seeds from the counter and turned to leave, but not before turning to say goodbye.

“Till the next plant emergency then.”

With that, you were gone with forget me not seeds and he was sure you had his heart as well. What he wasn’t sure of was when he’d see you again, but he hoped it would be soon since he didn’t even get your name. He kept staring at the door longingly, hoping that you’d come back because you forgot something, only for Saeyoung to walk in, returning from his errand. Saeyoung greeted his twin, talking about how the delivery went but all he seemed to get from him were ‘mhm’s before noticing something was off. 

“You okay? You seem a little distracted,” he asked, but Saeran was still in his thoughts, replaying what had just happened before Saeyoung tapped his shoulder.

“They said I was cute,” he realized, saying it more to himself than to anyone.

“Who?” Saeyoung asked, smile spreading across his face, ready to tease him.

“No one, get back to work.”

Chapter Text

Going into town had always felt relatively mundane. You expected more excitement, moving to a new city and all, but it really seemed like you were only ever going into town for groceries and errands. You were a small fish in a big pond, feeling that maybe you were in over your head moving somewhere where you didn’t know anybody. Truly, you had never felt more alone than you did here.

You were tired of going to your usual spots, taking a chance in going a different route back to your apartment, a place that hadn’t felt like home just yet. On the way, you noticed a cute flower shop across the street and you felt yourself being pulled to it, your feet moving towards it before you realized what you were doing. You couldn’t explain why, but you felt a knot in your stomach as you got close, as if you were nervous for some reason. As you looked in through the window, you quickly understood why, seeing a set of mint eyes on a light-haired man who looked too handsome to be real. He was engrossed in his work behind the counter as you contemplated going in or not at the door, thinking of any reason you could have for coming to a flower shop.

Your feet moved on their own once again as you stepped in, looking around to admire the shop before they landed on him again. You felt your face heat up slightly as you realized he was looking at you, but hadn’t said anything.

“Hi,” you spoke nervously. He hadn’t said anything yet, feeling your face flush at his gaze.

“Uh, I’m sorry, were you closed?” you asked, wondering whether coming in was a mistake.

“No, no we’re very open, what can I help you with?”

This was a loaded question. You really only walked in because it felt like something was calling you here, how do you ask for help with that? You looked around, humming to yourself as you thought of a possible excuse to be here and you quickly noticed the plant seeds.

Perfect,’ you thought to yourself.

“I was wondering if you sold plant seeds?” you asked, sounding hesitant, although you already knew the answer.

“Yeah, they’re over here,” he said, coming around the counter to guide you. He seemed eager to show you where, making you glad since you got to be in his presence for a bit longer.

“Is there a specific one you’re looking for?” he asked.

“No, actually, this was more of a spur of the moment decision, but do you have any favorites? Any recommendations?” you asked, just wanting to hear him talk again.

“Too many, do you have all day?” he joked only for you to laugh.

Too cute.’

“Oh, what about these?” you asked, pointing to a bag of marigold seeds, “They look interesting.”

“They are, although mostly used for grieving, it’d look great in a garden,” he explained.

“Hm, maybe not those then, don’t want to bring any bad omens,” you said with a small giggle, looking over to see a small smile spreading across his face. He looked as if he was deep in thought, probably contemplating flower seeds with you.

You looked back over to the selection, gazing at the beautiful pictures on the packages. Even with how pretty they were, they didn’t compare to the sight next to you. He had such a warm and inviting air around him that only seemed to grow as you talked to him. You couldn’t quite place your finger on the feeling, but what you knew was that you hadn’t truly felt like this before. You wondered whether he felt it too, looking over to meet his eyes.

“Everything okay?” you asked, concerned with how red his face was.

“Yeah, just got lost in thought for a second there,” he said, looking away. You thought you had seen his face deepen in color, but maybe you had seen wrong

“What were you thinking about?” you asked, a bit surprised at your own bold question. He paused before finally looking back to you.

“Flower stuff,” he said simply. You gave him a puzzled look.

Flower stuff?

“Uh, I, um, should probably get back to that flower stuff,” he stammered, turning on his heel. You had to think fast, doing the only thing you could think of as your hands reached straight for his.

“Wait wait! I need some help with this, I’m a little clueless when it comes to flowers.”

Time seemed to have moved a lot slower, eyes fixed on him as you took in the look on his face. He looked surprised at your sudden action, but didn’t pull away. His hands were so soft and you were sure your face had been red from the contact. You quickly realized what you had done and pulled your hands back to your side, looking down as you apologized profusely.

“No need to apologize,” he said. You weren’t sure if it was just you, but you could have sworn you felt a spark when holding his hand. His hand that seemed so much bigger than both of yours, but had such a comforting touch to them.

“How about roses?” he asked, pulling you out of your thoughts only to confuse you.

“What?”

“I’m assuming that you want to add some color to your garden, so how about roses?”

Oooh, flower stuff

“Oh right,” you paused, “I was thinking something smaller, maybe something to put in a pot.”

“Potted plant, got it,” he said, looking back over the seeds, contemplating what he could possibly offer you. You couldn’t help but observe him, finding him so cute when he looked so lost in thought. Although as soon as you looked away, you caught a small blue packaging that piqued your interest.

“What about these?” you asked, reaching for the pack and showing him.

“Ah, forget me nots,” he said, examining the package, “they’ll need plenty of sunlight and good soil, but they’re truly just beautiful.”

Just like you.’

“Why are they called forget me not?” you asked, cocking your head to the side out of curiosity and you saw his smile grow.

“There’s a myth that two lovers had been walking down along the Danube river when they first saw it,” he explained, “and when the man retrieved the flowers for his significant other, he got swept away by the river. And while he floated away, he told her not to forget him. It’s meaning is true and undying love.”

“Wow, that sounds fake,” you said to which he laughed, making you fluster, thinking about how you wanted to hear it a million more times.

“But does it have any significance to you?”

“No, at least not yet,” he replied.

“Well,” you started, “I hope you find your true and undying love soon then.”

“Thanks,” he said, “and I hope that you do too. Unless you already have it, than I’m sorry for making that assumption, I just never thi-“

“I haven’t,” you interrupt, holding back a laugh at his rambling. He really was too adorable for his own good. “But I’ll take it.”

“Great, I’ll, uh, help you over there then.”

You two walked back over to the counter, feeling a little blue that you were about to leave. It was the first time since moving that you felt some sort of warmth. That you felt like maybe there was reason to stay beyond what you thought. You almost felt as if fate had pushed you here, and that he was much more than just a passing infatuation. You had to at least find out his name.

“I hope this isn’t too forward, but what’s your name?” you asked, “I just want to be able to convince your boss to give you a raise after being so patient with me.”

“Thanks, I’ll be sure to give myself that raise promptly,” he joked, “I’m actually the owner and it’s Saeran.”

Saeran.’

“Congratulations on your raise then, Saeran,” you joked back, laughing. His name was so fitting, so interesting.

“And with that raise, I think I can gift you these seeds.”

“Oh no, I can pay for them,” you replied, “I gotta support local businesses with cute owners.”

“It’s 800 won, it’s not going to put me out of business,” he insisted. His generosity felt like much more than you deserved, but it didn’t surprise you with how sweet he had been.

“Fine, I’ll take it under one condition,” you said, an idea to see him more often popping into your head as he looked at you quizzically, “I can come to you for any plant emergency I have.”

“You have got yourself a deal,” he replied, placing his hand out for you to take in a handshake, taking it promptly. You felt that same electricity again, which solidified what you had guessed. You pulled away, biting your cheeks to stop the wide grin that was about to spread and grabbing the seeds from the counter before you turned out the door.

“Till the next plant emergency then.”

Just like that, you were gone. Outside the shop felt much colder than it actually was, wanting to turn back and find any other excuse to be in his presence longer. But you fought it, knowing that you’d come back and see him soon. Your heart felt like it was leaping out of your chest as you thought back to your interaction. You stopped in your tracks when you came to a realization.

Did I call him cute out loud?

Chapter Text

One whole week. Just as you had walked into his shop, you left and still had yet to come back. Even though it had only been 7 days, it seemed like forever. Work days just seemed to drag on more than they usually did, minutes feeling like hours and hours feeling like days. He tried to distract himself with his work, even going so far as to rearrange the shop, to which he told Saeyoung was just for fun.

He found himself looking over at the door often, perking up any time he heard that bell, but settling back to reality once he saw a regular customer. Saeyoung noticed this change in him, often catching him day dreaming while arranging flowers. He could usually read his brother pretty well, but this was something he hadn’t seen before.

“Saeyoung, can you run these deliveries for me?” he asked, handing him some bouquets.

“This is the fourth one I’ve done today.”

“Your point?”

“Well it’s just that you usually like doing deliveries, but lately it seems like you want to stay in the store,” he explained, “as if you’re waiting for something here.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, I just have a lot to do here,” he lied, hoping he wouldn’t continue to press.

“Right, because we are just so flooded here,” he said sarcastically.

“Alright, I’ll do it myself if you’re really tired of it,” he sighed, taking back the flowers as he made his way out the door.

“And don’t worry, I’ll handle all this busy work you’ve got here,” he said, putting air quotes around ‘busy.’ With a quick glare and the not-so-friendly gesture of a finger, he was out.

Saeyoung couldn’t understand why he seemed so flustered when he mentioned waiting for something. Usually, he could be trusted to run the shop, even when they were expecting deliveries, but he truly couldn’t understand this shift in character. All he knew was that it must be something important for him to act like that. Just as he went back to work, he heard the bell on the door.

“Did you decide you just couldn’t do the delivery?” he asked as he continued focusing on his work, assuming it was Saeran.

“I’m sorry, what?”

That was definitely not Saeran’s voice, feeling embarrassed as he looked up to meet eyes with you, standing at the door in confusion.

“Sorry, I thought you were someone else,” he said, trying to laugh it off, “what can I help you with?”

“I was, um, wondering if Saeran was around?” you asked, face flushing as you looked away, “unless you are Saeran and you just dyed your hair, then I’m sorry for not-“

“He actually just left on a delivery,” he said, “is it something I can help you with though?” 

“Oh, it’s nothing, I just wanted to let him know how my flowers were doing,” you said, “do you know when he’ll be back?”

“He did have plenty of flowers to deliver so it might be a while,” he said, although he noticed your blush deepening, the almost defeated look on your face and how you were glancing at the door, as if expecting him to walk through.

“Just curious, but when did you get these flowers?” he questioned, hoping it would answer what he was thinking.

“About a week or so ago,” you recounted.

‘Oooooh,’ he thought, ‘he wasn’t waiting on something, he was waiting on someone.’

“Well I can definitely let him know you stopped by then,” he said, “what’s your name?”

“It’s MC,” you said, “but I don’t think he knows my name so just let him know that it’s a plant emergency and that I’ll stop by tomorrow, if that’s okay.”

“As defender of justice and of this shop, I’ll make it my priority that he be here tomorrow,” he exclaimed, earning a small laugh from you. You thanked him, making your way towards the door and bidding him farewell. You felt a little disappointed that you missed him, but did feel giddy that you were definitely going to see him tomorrow.

Saeyoung, on the other hand, was giddy for other reasons. His brother had a crush? And he didn’t tell him??? He was not going to let this slide, but he did find it all too sweet. And he wanted to help him however he could with this. But first, he had to tease him about it. After an hour, Saeran came back from his deliveries to find his twin with the widest grin as he walked through the door.
“What’s with the face?” Saeran asked, hoping it wasn’t some prank he had up his sleeve.

“Guess who stopped by?” he replied, grin only seeming to grow with his words. Saeran seemed to stop in his tracks for a second, hoping that his answer didn’t mean that he missed your visit, but he tried to downplay it.

“Was it Mrs. Khang? Because I spoke to her on the phone and let her know her flowers would be ready tomorrow, but I think she-”

“No, I think you know who stopped by,” he said, more amused than anything. 

“I can assure you I don’t,” he insisted, although Saeyoung knew he was lying.

“They told me to tell you about some flower emergency they were having,” he explained. Saeran’s eyes widened, feeling his heart drop as he realized that he really had missed you, and the look on his face told Saeyoung what he needed to know.

“When were you going to tell me about your girlfriend?” he joked, hoping it would lighten the mood.

“She’s not my girlfriend,” he retorted, coming off harsher than he intended. 

“But you like her~” he teased, expecting him to fight him on that, but surprised by his lack of response. 

“So it’s true?”

“Maybe,” he replied, “but it doesn’t matter because I missed my chance. I had been waiting for her all week and I just happened to miss it.”

“Really? She seemed like she was planning on coming back,” he said, looking at Saeran to see a change in expression. His eyes lit up and Saeyoung could have sworn he saw a smile tugging.

“I hope it’s soon,” he sighed, finally admitting to him, “I just can’t seem to shake the thought of her. She felt so bright and warm, it was like spring came early for a moment there, you know?”

“Awww, I’ve never seen you be so mushy, it’s kinda gross,” he joked, “but I’m sure it’ll be soon since she said she was going to stop by tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?!” he more exclaimed than asked.

“Yeah,” he said simply, “and she seemed really eager to see you.”

You eager to see him? He couldn’t possibly imagine why, although he did have to bite his cheeks to stop his grin from spreading. You could just be eager to talk about your plant, but he couldn’t help but imagine you being excited to see him. The mere thought seemed too good to be true, but he was hopeful since all he wanted to do was see you again. He did still have a question in the back of his mind that he hoped Saeyoung could answer.

“Did she happen to give you her name?”

“MC.”

“MC,” he repeated more to himself. He thought it was beautiful, fitting with your looks and nature. Your name was going to sit in his mind for a while, repeating it to himself like a mantra, a song he’d have stuck in his head for a while but would never want to change it.

~

Coming home had felt so different than it did a week ago. It was starting to feel comforting and fitting, yet bittersweet. You wanted to think it was the forget me nots, but you knew it ran deeper. It added a benevolence to the place, but it definitely had to do with the person who gifted them to you. It was as if his comforting aura got carried in the plant, making you feel better about coming home at the end of the day, although you preferred the real thing. And you were excited yet nervous that you were going to see him again tomorrow. Maybe you were making too much of this,  idealizing something that wasn’t there, but you had also never felt anything like this. All you could really do was wait for tomorrow to know for sure. 

Chapter Text

“Are you wearing cologne?” Saeyoung chimed, coming behind his twin to pinch his cheek.

“No, I always smell like this,” he retorted.

“Riiiight, just like how you always comb your hair so neatly?” he questioned, smile spreading on his face to see his brother so flustered.

“Don’t you have to be annoying somewhere else?” he replied, hiding his reddening face.

“Not till 3,” he joked, earning a glare from his twin, “but I can go do inventory in the back room so you can be alone with your girlfriend.”

Saeran only responded with another glare, hoping that will shut him up, but he persevered.

“No, you’re right, you may need me here to talk you up to MC, I’ve got you,” Saeyoung insisted, giving him a quick pat on the back.

“Please just go find something, anything to do,” he sighed, although he felt his face redden even more at the sound of your name.

“Alright, alright, I’ll just run deliveries then,” he said, in exasperated defeat as he collected all the necessary bouquets, “but if she gets here before I do and she’s not absolutely all over you, you’ll know why.”

With that, he was left alone in the shop, more embarrassed by his words than annoyed. He felt a knot in his stomach as he realized that he truly was alone there. You could walk through the door any minute now and it would just be the two of you. And although he felt excited, he was also terrified. He didn’t want to mess up his second time seeing you, nobody to guide him on what to say or filter his thoughts. He just knew this unfamiliar feeling was going to get the best of him.

But as the minutes passed, he found himself trying to do anything to keep himself busy while still being attentive to the door. Trying to do anything from watering his plants to sweeping the shop, but he always found his thoughts wandering back to you. How sweet your smile was, your voice ringing in his ears and how your laugh pierced his heart. Even your name seemed too precious for him to say, but he found himself repeating it. He felt himself straighten up and flash the brightest smile when he heard the door, but he still had yet to see you walk through it.

After an hour, Saeyoung came back, ready to tease his brother about his visitor only to find him resting his head on the counter, eyes almost parallel to a pouting puppy.

“I’m guessing the second encounter wasn’t so great,” Saeyoung said, leaning down to meet his gaze.

“She hasn’t stopped by yet,” the twin sighed, face-planting the counter and muffling his response.

“It’s still early,” he replied, sounding optimistic only to be met with silence, “if you’re worried about your cologne fading, you don’t have to cause I could smell it from outside.”

“You know, that idea about locking you in the back room is starting to sound better and better the more you open your mouth,” Saeran said, lifting his head and straightening up to walk passed him, “but I guess I’ll go instead, I’ll need the distraction.”

“Do you want me to come with?” Saeyoung asked, although he was already following behind.

“I’d rather be alone right now,” he sighed, but his words didn’t seem to reach him as he almost bolted right passed him and into the other room, “but I guess I could use the extra hands.”

“I won’t let you down, boss!”

“What did I tell you about calling me that?”

~

The skip in your step seemed to increase as you got closer to the shop, the smile on your face never leaving as you rounded the corner and saw the sign for the shop, ‘Choice Blooms.’ The knot in your stomach grew tighter and tighter as you got closer, knowing that you were finally going to see him again. Your thoughts jumped to every possible scenario as you reached the door, a grasp on the handle as you looked in to see nobody behind the counter, making you nervous that he wouldn’t be there after all.

You took a deep breath, looking down at the plant in your other hand, giving you a small comfort you couldn’t explain, and you pulled the door open, a ‘ding’ following your entrance. The silence that followed only made the thumping in your chest much more noticeable than before, only seeming to increase as you took in the surrounding. The shop seemed so carefully decorated, all sorts of plants and flowers filling the shelves, the sunlight from the storefront windows making the color of each flower more vibrant. As you looked off in awe, you didn’t notice the faint arguing from behind the door until it opened, the same man you saw yesterday coming out.

“Oh hey MC,” he greeted a little loud, holding the door he came out of open. Before you could greet him back, you heard a familiar voice behind it.

“Ha ha ha, real funny Saeyoung,” Saeran said sarcastically as he made his way passed. He was about to open his mouth again, but fell silent as he realized he wasn’t joking. He felt his face deepen in color, gazing at you as he couldn’t find the words to greet you. And maybe it was the way you were surrounded by flowers and how the light seemed to be at the right spot, but you looked more beautiful than he remembered.

You weren’t looking at him any different. The drumming in your chest felt like it was in your ears, mouth hanging open a bit as you wanted to say something, anything to him, but nothing seemed to come out. One thought did seem to stand out from the rest, which was that he knew your name. It wasn’t until you remembered the plant in your hand, raising it with a beaming smile, that you you spoke up.

“Right! I wanted to show how much my plant has grown,” you said and he noticed the excitement in your voice, finding it too cute, “I didn’t think it would even sprout, but look how much it's grown already!”

“Yeah, it’s looking really great,” he replied, finally finding some composure, “you must be showing it a lot of love.”

“Lots of love and lots of research,” you laughed, earning a chuckle from him.

“Alright, well I’ll leave you two lovebirds be. If you need me, I’ll be back here boss,” the red-head teased, giving Saeran a quick pat on the back and making his exit before he could rebuttal. Saeran let a sigh pass his lips before turning his attention back to you, seeing the blush on your cheeks from what he assumed was his brother’s comment.

“I’m sorry about him,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.

“It’s okay, I’m sure he means well,” you smiled, trying to hide your embarrassed expression with it, “and I’m guessing he told you my name as well.”

“Yeah, he did,” was all he said, although he wouldn’t tell you how much he had actually thought of your name. The way it played in his head like a song over and over that he never seemed to tire of. How hearing it for the first time made his heart race about as much as when he first saw you.

“It’s really nice,” he continued, although he knew that was an understatement, but seeing the small smile form on your face as he said that only made his own grow.

“Thanks,” you replied, a lot quieter than you anticipated, “I really like your name too, Saeran.”

Hearing his own name from you sounded new. He never really liked it, given the heavy burden it felt like it held, but you made it sound much lighter. He almost wanted to ask you to say it again, but he fought the urge, not wanting to drive you away when you were finally in his presence again.

“It’s always felt plain to me, but thank you,” he tried to say passively, but he averted his gaze, as if trying to hide his bashful expression.

“Really? I think it sounds unique, like forget-me-nots” you said, flustering him further. But he was able to gain his composure once again.

“Right, so how are you liking the flowers?”

“I’m actually really liking them. Normally, I can’t take care of something to save my life, but I’ve just felt a special something out of this plant,” you explained.

“How so?” he asked, tilting his head in curiosity.

“Well I’m newer in town and I don’t have very many friends here, but this plant has been really comforting,” you continued, meeting his mint-colored, captivating eyes, “it’s as if this flower was meant for me and brought into my life for a reason.”

The way you looked at him as you said that made his heart race just that much faster. He couldn’t tell if that was actually directed towards him, but the thought that it was almost made him burst, trying to contain the grin that threatened to show. He only coughed to try and hide is blushing face.

“Yeah, I know the feeling,” he paused, thinking over your words again before an idea occurred to him, “can I show you something?”

“Sure, what?”

“The greenhouse we have here,” he said, “I know it doesn’t sound too exciting but I just thought that because you might like flowers you may want to see it, but you don’t have t-“

“Saeran,” you interrupted, grabbing a hold of his arm gently before giving him a soft smile, “lead the way.”

“R-Right,” he stuttered, opening the door he just came from to peak his head in, “Saeyoung, watch the shop.”

The only response was a distant ‘okay,’ followed by a faint thud. You only saw Saeran roll his eyes before placing his hand on top of the one you had resting in his other arm, leading you to the other side of the shop. You couldn’t help but look up at him, admiring his handsome features up close. His white hair seemed much brighter up close, the light tint on his cheeks only made him that much more cute, and the smile on his face was one you wanted to see on him all the time. And you slightly hoped to be the reason for that smile.

Once you got to the door of the greenhouse, he opened it for you and followed right behind. You had expected a lot of plants, but what you saw in front of you could only be described as a small scale jungle, the humidity and temperature adding to it. The amount of flowers and greenery surrounding you two was almost enchanting.

“Wow,” you gasped to yourself, mouth agape in awe. Something about this felt much more special, intimate even.

“This is where all of our flowers come from,” he explained, finding himself looking more at your face than what was around him, “and it’s the place I find most comfort in. Not just because I can hide from Saeyoung, but because I can tend to what’s brought me joy for years.”

“Can I ask you something? And be sincere,” you said, finally meeting his gaze.

“Sure,” he said, but he felt his heart stop at the serious look and tone you gave him.

“Why flowers?”

Your question was one he always had an answer to when anyone asked, and usually it was a simple ‘because I like them,’ but he almost felt like you would see right through that. That you almost knew why, but you wanted to hear it directly from him. The look you gave him was almost as if you saw through his exterior and that you had known him for a long time. And somehow, he felt a real serenity in that.

“When I was younger, I had always wanted to learn about every single flower. It was a distraction to what was going on around me, which is a long story,” he explained, “but I grew up as the weaker twin and I just always felt comforted by how delicate, yet beautiful flowers were, as if maybe I was just waiting to bloom myself.”

“Hm,” you paused, “I hope I get to hear this long story of yours one day.”

“I hope so too,” he said, meeting your gaze to be met with such an endearing look from you, “it’s still a fresh wound, though I wouldn’t mind hearing yours.”

“In due time,” you said before looking back out onto the flowers, “so do you normally have so many plants here?”

“There is a more than usual due to a pretty big order coming up, but it’s generally this green.”

“What’s the order for?” you questioned.

“An RFA party,” he answered only to be met with a quizzical look.

“A charity group Saeyoung and I are apart of and they chose us as the official florist for the event,” he said, finding your curiosity for him adorable, “but that’s not for another few weeks.”

“You must be one hell of florist then,” you said, earning a bright smile from him.

“I try,” he replied sheepishly, “and I’d love to make you a bouquet, if you’d let me.”

You felt your face flush even deeper at what he said. A bouquet just for you? You could tell how much flowers had meant to him so that only made you feel that much closer to him. This man who you had only known for a week, but he almost felt like you had known for much longer. He was almost like a warmth in your life you hadn’t known, but never wanted to separate from.

“And what flowers would you put in this bouquet?”

Well,” he started, walking over to the flowers behind you, “I’d start with these pansies, they would add a nice color.”

And because I want you to think of me.’

“Then white camellias.”

Because you’ve perfected loveliness.’

“Maybe a hibiscus or two.”

Because you have a delicate beauty about you.’

“And some white jasmines.”

Because you’re amiable.’

“Sounds like you’ve put some thought into this,” you said.

“This is just off the top of my head,” he replied, although he knew that was a lie. He had spent his week trying to come up with the perfect bouquet for you.

“Well they all sound lovely, do you mind maybe showing them to me?” you asked, although the way you asked almost shyly made the beating in his chest that much more noticeable.

With that, he offered his arm to you once again, and he felt his breath stop as soon as you took it. He couldn’t help but take in all your features this close, your scent overwhelming his senses in a way he enjoyed. As he guided you through the greenhouse, he noticed the clear excitement on your face any time you saw a flower you thought was gorgeous, asking him to tell you everything he knew about each one. He thought it was funny that you found them all so beautiful and that nothing could compare to their beauty, because he thought that way too for a while, but as soon as you walked into his life, he now thought they could only come second to you.

Time seemed to slow down while you two were together, but as soon as you noticed the hour, knowing they were closing soon and you had to go, it felt short-lived. While you were bidding him farewell, he was crestfallen to see you go, but getting to know you only solidified that he was definitely falling for you, and falling hard.  

“MC, wait!” he exclaimed, stopping you from walking out the door. You turned to see him digging through the red roses he had out on display before picking one out and placing it in your hands.

“Please stop by more often, even just to visit,” he said just above a whisper, a sincerity in his eyes that was practically mesmerizing. You bit the inside of your mouth to stop the wide grin that was about to spread, leaning up to leave a quick kiss on his cheek before turning on your heel to leave.

“See you tomorrow,” you said before making your exit.

He was almost frozen in place, hand over where your lips had been. He was sure he looked like a tomato, but he didn’t care. All he could think about was how soft your lips felt against him. Your words finally processing and the grin on his face only getting wider at the thought of seeing you again tomorrow. He had been so distracted by that, he didn’t notice his brother coming up behind him and wrapping an arm over his shoulder.

“I’m guessing that rose had some sort of significance you don’t want to tell me about,” Saeyoung said.

“Yup,” he said simply, moving from his grasp to start closing up.

“But what it is?” he asked.

“I don’t want to say,” he replied, trying to avoid his eyes.

“Come ooooooon,” he continued to pester, “it’s not like I’ll tell her.”

“Fine, I wanted to give her a thornless rose,” he answered only to see him tilt his head in confusion.

“How do you work at a flower shop and not know?”

“I’m really just winging it as I go,” he replied, “now what does that mean?”

“Love at first sight,” Saeran mumbled in embarrassment.

“I don’t think I heard you, could you speak up?” he teased, earning a glare from his twin.

“I heard Yoosung was looking for a job, maybe I could have him replace you,” he cautioned

“Fine, I’ll finish closing up.”

Chapter Text

You couldn’t help but fiddle with the rose in your hand as you walked home, smiling to yourself at the interaction you just had. More so, the burst of courage that seem to come out of nowhere as your lips met his cheek. The blush on your face only seemed to deepen when you thought about going back and doing it again. Your eyes then wandered to the forget me nots in your other hand, remembering what he told you about the flowers.

It’s meaning is true and undying love,” you recalled him telling you when you first got the seeds. And maybe it was your memory fooling you, but the way he looked at you when he said that seem to form butterflies in your stomach, smiling to yourself as you thought of the fondness that they held. You couldn’t explain why, but he had a hold on your heart like no other.

Looking over at the rose once again, you noticed the lack of thorns on it’s stem. You were touched that he picked out a rose for you with that small detail, but it did make you wonder why. Maybe he was just being mindful of it, or knowing how much he actually knew about flower languages, it may be something else. But whatever it may mean, you’d hope to find out soon, hoping to pry it out of him in the next week.

Day 1

The small smile that tugged on his lips never seemed to leave as he thought about seeing you again. Your words ringing along with every chime of the door, waiting for to walk through at any time. The same nervous feeling from yesterday coming forth with every customer that entered.

It wasn’t until you walked through the door that he truly felt his worries disappear. Your bright smile once you two locked eyes was enough to send his heart into a frenzy, suddenly aware of how sweaty his hands were, how dry his throat was, but how bright you made the shop just by walking in. The colors around you were more vibrant, the luminous aura around you catching up to him and making him feel much more warm and comforted in your light. 

And just like that, the best week of his life began.

Day 2

“So your last name is Choi?”

“Yes.”

“And the shop is named ‘Choice Blooms’?”

“Yes.”

“Isn’t that a little too on the nose?” you asked, a small laugh escaping from you as you sprayed the bottle in your hands towards the flowers. You offered to help him in the greenhouse for the day, to which he was thankful for, but he could barely focus on the work at hand. Not when it was just you two and he hung on to every word you said, getting to know you just that much more.

“In my defense, I didn’t come up with the name,” he replied, laughing as well, “Saeyoung did.”

“But you went along with it,” you teased.

“I really couldn’t think of a better name,” he almost sighed, continuing to water on his own plants.

“I like it actually,” you said, turning to see him behind you, “It’s got a certain je ne sais quoi.”

“You are so cute,” he mumbled to himself without thinking.

“What was that?”

“Oh, um, nothing, just,” he paused, face heating up in embarrassment once he realized what he said out loud, “flower stuff.”

“Again with the flower stuff, huh?” you asked jokingly. He couldn’t help but chuckle as he looked back over at you, admiring your own laugh.

“Alright, I need some more water in this,” you said, pointing to the bottle in hand.

As soon as you walked off, you couldn’t fight the smile spreading on your face after realizing he called you cute. And how bashful he was after only made the rosy tint on your cheeks grow. You were so caught up in your thoughts, you didn’t notice the hose spread on the floor until you felt your feet tangle in it, taking you down in the process.

You closed your eyes, expecting to feel the hard thud of the floor to your face, but that didn’t seem to happen. Instead you felt a pair of arms around you, opening your eyes to meet minty blue eyes looking down at you in concern. He had you dipped, a strong grasp on your middle. His concern quickly changed to a look of almost admiration. A wide-eyed gaze that he couldn’t seem to break, as if you had him under a spell. And you were sure that you were mirroring his expression, captivated in his own eyes. In that moment though, nothing around you two mattered. Not the bottle you just dropped, or the one he disregarded to catch you in time. Not the flowers or the shop he was tending to. The outside world almost felt gone and time had come to a halt. Only the open, almost loving gaze you two shared mattered.

After a few seconds, although it felt much longer, he realized the position he had you in, face flushing an even deeper crimson as he pulled you back up. His hands still holding you close without fully realizing so.

“Are you okay?” he asked, mentally scolding himself for taking so long to ask. You only replied with a small nod.

“S-Sorry,” you stuttered, moving your arms to your side once you realized your hold was on his arms as well, making him retreat his own. You picked up the spray bottle you had dropped and excused yourself, leaving him a blushing mess.

As soon as you were out of his sight, you almost collapsed. You weren’t sure if it was the way he looked at you, how close you two were, or a combination of the two, but it seemed like what had just happened was out of a daydream. Something you would only ever read about, but never experience firsthand. The thought of the scene that just played out made your chest tighten, a warm feeling washing over you that you couldn’t quite place, yet you had a hunch where it came from.

Day 3

Your hold on the container tightened as you walked through the shop, nervous on whether he would like what you had for him or not. But all your worries disappeared once you saw him, smiling at you from behind the counter. That smile that you could never tire of, that felt so warm and inviting.

“Hey MC,” he said, gaze falling to your hands, “what do you have there?”

“Well,” you started, looking down at it before placing it on the counter between you two, “you mentioned yesterday that you have yet to find a bakery with decent muffins, so I made you some!”

“Really?” he said, a glimmer of excitement in his eyes as he met yours, “you didn’t have to-“

“But I wanted to,” you deadpanned, but the tug on your lips indicated you weren’t serious, “they’re chocolate chip, I didn’t know what you liked.”

“I-I’m sure it’s perfect because you made it,” he said, almost timidly, a small blush blooming on his cheeks as he picked one up and took a bite.

“How is it?” you asked nervously. His expression was one you couldn’t read, making you worry that there was something wrong with them, maybe he was allergic to chocolate and he ate it to be nice, maybe he didn’t really have a sweet tooth and-

“These are amazing,” he said, still keeping that almost neutral gaze as he continued eating into the treat. He could have sworn he fell even harder for you in that moment as he ate away at the delicious muffins, knowing full well he’d have a hard time finding one that even compared to these ones. 

“I’m so glad you like them,” you replied with a beaming smile, one that would make his heart melt on the spot, “I should get going, I don’t want to take too much of your time and-“

“W-Wait MC!” he exclaimed, muffled by the treat filling his mouth, “can’t you stay just a bit longer?”

Too cute,’ you thought as you looked into his pleading eyes and stuffed mouth.

“I guess I could stay and talk for a bit,” you smiled, plopping yourself on the stool next to the counter.

Day 4

“Hey MC, I was just thinking about you,” he said, cheeks tinting as you approached.

“Oh really?” you smiled, “what about?”

“Just about how these flowers would be perfect for you,” he said, pulling out a small bouquet from under the counter he was leaning on. Your grin went from ear to ear looking at the arrangement, making the beating in his chest quicken.

“Oh, these are beautiful. You really made these for me?” you practically gushed, taking the bouquet as you admired it. 

“Yeah, I know they’re small but these flowers just really made me think of you,” he said, averting his gaze.

You noticed the small blush forming on his face, the sheepish way he crossed his arms, and the small smile, an idea occurring on how to fluster him further.

“They’re beautiful. You know a lot about flowers, right?” you asked, holding back the devious smile that was to spread.

“I would hope so,” he said with a chuckle.

“Then what are these white, bulb-like flowers?”

“Those are ranunculus, or also known as buttercup,” he answered almost confidently.

“Hm, and when are they in season?” you asked.

“They thrive in spring, summers become too hot for them.”

“And tell me,” you said, a sly smile spreading as you met his eyes, “what are you trying to tell me with these?”

He only gave you a quizzical look, tilting his head to the side in an unspoken question. Though the tint of his cheeks and the bashful expression you could tell he was hiding with a grin hinted that he knew you were onto him.

“You know, what’s their meaning?” you continued.

“I’m actually not too sure,” he said, averting his eyes to the floor to avoid yours, “I just thought they-“

“That’s okay, I can just google it right now and-“

“No!” he exclaimed louder than he expected, surprising you and himself, “Sorry. It, um, it means ‘I’m dazzled by your charms.’”

“You think I’m charming?” you asked, clutching the flowers closer to you. The warm smile you offered him pulled him out of his embarrassed demeanor, instead smiling back, a warm, tingling feeling taking it’s place. 

“Well, yeah,” he sighed, feeling a tension off his shoulders he didn’t realize was there.

“If it’s any consolation, I think you’re pretty charming as well,” you replied, flustering him once again. You had a talent for making his heart pound, something he couldn’t imagine anyone else doing. And he was definitely going to take your words, those eleven words, to heart, replaying them in his head for the rest of the day, even after you leave.

Day 5

You couldn’t place how long you had been there, but you could have easily guessed about half an hour. Looking at the time though, you had been there a while, hours even just talking to your favorite florist. Being with Saeran had a special way of making time seem to fly too soon, frowning to yourself as you looked at your watch. As a customer came in, a small, older lady that Saeran recognized as a regular, you hopped down from your seat on the counter.

Alright, I have to get going,” you said, “but I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“I’ll look forward to it,” he said.

“Oh wait, you have something on your cheek,” you said, signaling him to lean in closer. He did as you said, leaning over the counter, waiting for the wipe of your finger over his skin only to feel the press of your lips against it in a quick peck.

“Got it!” you beamed, looking so content with yourself before you turned, bidding a quick farewell once again.

He stayed leaning on the counter, arm supporting his chin as he stared longingly at the door, as if waiting for you to come back. He hadn’t noticed the customer come up until she set her things on the counter in front of him, a few seed packets and one of the bouquets on display that he had made earlier that day. Straightening up as he rung her out, a little embarrassed to realize she had probably seen how spaced he appeared to be.

“Aren’t you two adorable, is she your girlfriend?”

“Oh, no Mrs. Kym. She’s a friend,” he replied, putting on a his usual smile, “that’ll be ₩21,000.”

“I don’t look at my friends like that,” she said as she handed him cash.

“Yeah, I don’t either actually,” he admitted.

“Well all I’ll say is in all my years coming here, I’ve never seen you so flustered. You’re even blushing,” she said, giving him a knowing look.

“Well she is something special, I’ll give you that,” he said, handing her back the seeds and flowers.

“I really hope it works out for you two,” she said, offering a sincere smile before exiting, leaving him alone in the shop.

“I hope so too,” he said to himself.

Day 6

His legs couldn’t seem to go fast enough as he practically sprinted down the street, dodging anyone in his way and apologizing as he ran passed. His breathing caught in his throat, but he didn’t care, he just wanted to get to the shop as soon as he could. As soon as he halted to a stop a block short from his destination, he pulled out his phone to read the messages displayed on the screen.

MC is here and asking about you~’ sent 32 minutes ago by Saeyoung. The real reason for his hurry was the text that followed.

Zen’s here too, wants to check in on the order with you,’ sent 18 minutes ago.

He knew it was silly to let this anxious feeling get the best of him, but as soon as he got to the door and saw you talking to Zen by the counter, laughing at something he said, he felt his heart drop. His hands clenched into fists, breath finally catching up, but his chest felt tight due to the sight in front of him. In one fluid motion, he pulled the door open to stride in, bell ringing just above him

“Speak of the devil,” Zen said, making Saeran much more anxious until he looked over at you. Your eyes seeming to brighten at the sight of him, straightening up with a grin spreading on your face. You almost looked happy to see him, making him smile in return.

“Hey MC,” Saeran said, eyes almost glued on you as he made his way over.

“Aw, no greeting for us,” Zen chimed in, gesturing to himself and Saeyoung.

“Hey Saeran,” you replied, “what took you so long?”

“Zen, at this point we’re just side characters, so let’s keep it that way,” Saeyoung said, earning a quick glare from his twin before averting his attention back to you.

“I’m sorry to keep you waiting, I was running behind on deliveries.”

“It’s fine, but I do have to go. I only had a small window to drop by today,” you said, to his disappointment. His gaze fell to the floor until he felt your hand on his arm, “but I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Before he could respond, you leaned up to leave a kiss on his cheek. It didn’t matter how many times you’d done it already, it still managed to make his heart stop. His hand went up to where your lips were, his blush only deepening when he saw your contented expression.

“I’ll look forward to seeing you tomorrow,” was all he could bring himself to say. He couldn’t admit how much he loved when you did that, how endearing he found you, or how badly he wished for you to aim for his lips. You only smiled in response, but he was almost overwhelmed by how stunning it looked up close.

“Bye guys,” you said before walking out, Saeran’s eyes watching you leave and lingering on the door once you’re gone.

“Wow, MC must be something, I’ve never seen Saeran like this,” Zen said more to Saeyoung, but regaining the attention of Saeran.

“What can I help you with, Zen?” Saeran answered, putting on his ‘customer service’ smile and hoping he’d drop the subject.

“Well first, I want to know why you haven’t even mentioned her in the RFA chats?” Zen responded only to get a roll of the eyes from him.

“There’s nothing worth mentioning,” he responded quickly, “now what do you need?”

“So that longing look you two gave each other isn’t worth mentioning?”

“Nope.”

“What about the fact that she’s visited you every day this week?”

“How do you know that?”

“Or that she likes you too?” Saeyoung added.

“No she doesn’t,” Saeran said sternly, but that only made the two laugh.

“Oh if only you heard the way she talked about you while you were gone,” Zen replied, a few laughs stifling his response, but piquing Saeran’s interest. ‘What could she be saying about me?’ he thought to himself, although they don’t seem to be anything bad, making Saeran smile at the fact that you seem to think positively of him.

“Have you told your parents about her?” Zen asked, pulling him out of his thoughts.

“V and Rika? No, they’d make a bigger deal out of it than it actually is,” Saeran sighed, “especially since there is nothing to tell about.”

“Alright, well when you decide to ask her out, I’ll be more than happy to give you advice since I am the most experienced in the RFA,” Zen said, ever so confidently only for Saeyoung to laugh.

“And when was the last time you’ve actually had a girlfriend?” Saeyoung scoffed, “I’m already the best wingman he’s got.”

“Says the freak who’s still a virgin.”

“You guys are gross, I’ll just talk to Rika directly about the order from now on,” Saeran sighed once again, before getting back to work.

~

With the ‘open’ sign flipped over to ‘closed,’ Saeyoung long gone and the lights turned off, Saeran couldn’t help the disheartening feeling that took over as he locked up the shop. On one hand, he really looked forward to seeing you tomorrow, but his day felt so different, almost pointless, without seeing you properly. He thought back to what Zen said about asking you out, but he had no idea how to do that, or whether you would even agree to. But he wanted more than anything to see you again and in a more intimate setting.

As he walked home, he wondered whether he should swallow his pride and ask Zen for advice, opening the RFA app to see him in the chatroom. Along with Yoosung, and to his discomfort, Saeyoung.

Saeran has entered the chatroom

Saeyoung: -glasses breaking emoji-
Saeyoung: Say his name three times and he will appear!
ZEN: You really do have a talent for that, huh?
Yoosung★: Hi Saeran ^^
Yoosung★: What’s this I hear about something troubling you?
Saeyoung: Not something, someone~
Yoosung★: Is someone being mean to him?

Saeran had to pinch the bridge of his nose before replying. He was usually able to keep to himself, never the center of attention in a chat so he didn’t exactly know how to respond here. All he really thought to do was cut to the chase.

Saeran: Zen, I wanted to ask you something
Saeyoung: You don’t want to ask me?
Saeyoung: Your own brother???
Saeyoung: I’m so hurt T_T
ZEN: Is it about MC?
Saeran: …
ZEN: Got it, what do you need?

He felt his face flush at the mention of your name, more so that it was now in the RFA chat for anyone to see. What made him more embarrassed was the thought of asking Zen for advice so openly in the chat, but he had no choice.

Saeran: I’m not sure how to word this
Saeran: And quite frankly, I didn’t want to ask this with an audience
Saeran: But...
Saeran: From talking to her, how do you think I should approach her?
Saeran: about going on a date?
Saeran: What do you think she’d like?
ZEN: Well first, don’t think too hard on how you should ask her 
ZEN: Besides, you should know best since you two seemed to have gotten close
ZEN: And didn’t bother to tell us, but blowing passed that...
ZEN: I can assure you that however you ask her, she’ll say yes
ZEN: Just tell her how you feel and I’m sure that’ll be enough
ZEN: Then the asking part will just come naturally~
Saeran: But every time I talk to her, I always seem to forget how words work
Saeran: Can’t you just write me a script or hand me something from an old play?
ZEN: It has to come from you!
ZEN: Otherwise it doesn’t seem genuine
Saeyoung: And if you really have trouble using words, you could use what you know best
Saeyoung: The language of flowers.
ZEN: Exactly!
Yoosung★: So MC…
Yoosung★: is someone you like?
Yoosung★: Romantically?!?
Yoosung★: Is she pretty?

‘Pretty would be an understatement. She’s comforting and warm, I could listen to her talk all day because her voice resembles a beautiful melody. I’m amazed that someone this enchanting exists that I wonder how I got lucky enough to see it, and yet I want to be selfish enough to have her to myself. There isn’t a flower in the shop that could compete with her,’ he typed out, immediately back-spacing. He knew a confession like that wasn’t meant for them, instead settling on a simpler answer.

Saeran: She’s really pretty...
Saeyoung: You two look at each other as if nothing else exists
Saeyoung: I think it’s safe to assume that you find her more than ‘really pretty’;;
Yoosung★: -blushing emoji-
Yoosung★: My heart is racing
Yoosung★: Are you going to tell her how you feel soon?
Saeyoung: If he doesn’t, I will for him~
Yoosung★: So Saeyoung has met MC...
Yoosung★: And so has Zen
Yoosung★: When do the rest of us get to?!
Saeyoung: You should ask her to the RFA party!
Saeyoung: It is coming up~
ZEN: That isn’t a bad idea, actually.
Saeran: I’ll think about it…
Saeran: I just got home so I’ll take my leave here.
Saeran: And Zen?
ZEN: Yes?
Saeran: Thank you

Saeran has left the chatroom

Putting his phone in his pocket, he pulled out his keys to unlock his apartment. It was a small and cozy place, one bedroom with a small living space. But what really drew him to this place was the rooftop garden. When he moved in, it was an untamed mess that hadn’t been watched over in years. Soon enough, he was able to start his own little garden up there, almost resembling the greenhouse in his shop. It was his go to place when he had a lot on his mind. He could spend hours, even going late into the night, just sitting up there, surrounded by the greenery as he looked up into the night sky.

And he happened to find himself there tonight, piecing together the words he’d hope to say to you tomorrow. One prominent thought that sat on his mind the entire time was how he wished you were next to him in that moment. How he wanted nothing more than to hold your hand and just look up at the sky together in comfortable silence. How desperately he wanted his lips pressed against yours, using that to profess his admiration for you that he couldn’t seem to vocalize.

But for once, he truly felt alone up there, even surrounded by all the flowers he devoted so much time to. It was a gnawing feeling for years that only seemed to catch up once you were introduced to him, once he realized you weren’t his or there in that moment to ease his troubled thoughts. But that didn’t bring him down just yet, hoping to change that soon, or rather, tomorrow.

Day 7

“Hey MC, I was wondering if you’d like to go to the RFA party with me? Like as a date? No, no that’s too forward,” he sighed, practicing in the reflection of the shop window. He’d been at this for a while now, too stubborn to settle on what to say. He couldn’t shake the nervous feeling in his gut, imagination running to the worst case-scenario with every attempt.

“You know MC, the RFA party is coming up and I don’t have anyone to go with so…no, that’s too casual,” he continued, hand running through his hair in deep thought, “MC, go to this party with me.”

“That may be too demanding,” a voice spoke up as they walked through the door.

“Well it’s all I’ve got without sounding like an idiot,” Saeran retorted, turning to see his twin, “what if I ramble off and scare her away?”

“Saeran, do you really think that will happen?“

“What if she laughs in my face?”

“She won’t do that.”

“What if she says no? What if I put myself out there for no reason at all because I had the small feeling that she liked me back and she doesn’t?!”

“Listen, I don’t know very much about these things, but if someone visits daily and practically gushes about you while you’re not here, that probably means they feel the same way,” Saeyoung replied, although Saeran clung to the one thing that stuck out to him.

“She gushes about me?” he asked, feeling his chest tighten at the thought, a warm feeling he didn’t expect.

“Yeah, it was hilarious to see Zen’s ego deflate because of that. He kept trying to impress her, but she just kept bringing you up,” Saeyoung explained, “so I doubt you’d do anything that would drive her away.”

The warm feeling only grew after hearing that, touched that you liked him, of all people, over Zen. He didn’t know how to respond to Saeyoung, face only flushing as he tried to find some sort of reply. And he wasn’t sure if it was luck or some cruel joke, but he saw you approaching the door. He wasn’t sure why, but as soon as you walked through the door, all his nerves disappeared. The smile you flashed him once you looked him in the eyes made him feel serene, as if words didn’t seem to matter anymore.

“Hi Saeran,” you greeted.

“MC, you’re here earlier than usual,” Saeran said, although he didn’t mind it, in fact he was glad to see you sooner.

“I got off work a little early and I wanted to see my favorite florist,” you said.

“Aren’t I the only florist you know?”

“Well I know Saeyoung.”

“Ouch,” Saeyoung piped up, gaining both of your attentions.

“But you’re definitely a close second,” you tried to reassure, but he wasn’t having it.

“I’ll be in the back when you’re ready to apologize,” he huffed before making his exit, leaving the two of you alone.

“How dramatic,” Saeran sighed, earning a giggle from you that made his heart skip a beat at the sound. He knew if there was a moment to ask, now was as good as any.

“Hey MC,” Saeran said, “I, um, I was thinking that, uh-“

“Actually can I say something first?” you intervened, although you seemed more timid than before.

“Yeah, go ahead,” he offered, a little relieved that you stopped his stuttering mess of words in its track.

“It’s just that I haven’t been here for very long and I just wanted to thank you, you’ve made me feel right at home these last few weeks,” you explained, “and coming to the shop is something I always look forward to in my day, mostly because I get to see you.”

And just like that, he was at ease. He wasn’t worried about the words he’d use or how’d he sound, not when your own words made him feel so warm and the sincerity in your eyes spoke volumes about the meaning behind them. He’d only hope that his next few words could convey the same message.

“MC,” he paused, his heartbeat practically thrumming in his ears, “I can’t explain this feeling when you’re around, but it’s not one I’ve felt with anyone before. I find myself looking forward to seeing you and I’d really like to see you outside the shop.”

“Are you asking me on a date?”

“Yeah, actually I wanted to see if you’d go to the RFA party with me?” he asked shyly, averting his gaze. You’re not sure what compelled you to reach for his hand, weaving your fingers through his as you looked up at him, offering a sincere smile. You felt yourself lean in as he met your eyes, inching closer with every steady breath as he leaned in as well. You stopped short of meeting his lips with your own, noticing that you both had tilted your heads in the process.

“I’d love to,” you almost whispered, taking a step back. The feeling of your warm breath so close to him had stirred something, and the sudden absence that followed as you pulled away left him wanting much more. He fought the urge to pull you back towards him, to finally let his lips speak the feelings he was holding back, to finally make you his in a way he’d only dreamed of. But looking at you had drawn him out of those thoughts, going back to what you had just said as he felt a grin spread.

“Great, it’s in a week. I’ll be setting up centerpieces that day, but I’ll pick you up right after, or we can meet here, whatever works for you,” he said, looking down at the hand that was still locked in his.

“We can discuss the details over text,” you said, pulling your hand away from his to reach for the pen on the counter, taking his hand once again to write your number on it.

Once you finished, looking back up at him, an idea occurred as you turned to the rose display behind you, the same one he looked through for your rose. Digging through, you found a thornless rose in a few seconds, turning back to see his almost baffled expression as you handed him the single flower.

“You can put it back once I leave, I just wanted to-“ he intervened by pressing his lips on your cheek, making your face deepen to a crimson shade.

“Payback,” he said, a coy smile as he managed to see your usual confident composure falter.

“I-I should, uh, get going,” you stuttered, although he found your timid expression adorable. And as he watched you walk out the door, he didn’t feel that longing he usually did when watching you leave. Instead, he felt relieved. Relieved knowing that you were in much closer reach than he thought.

Chapter Text

“She left without apologizing to me?” Saeyoung said, emerging from his hiding spot behind the counter, startling his twin.

“Were you there this whole time?!”

“Yup, heard everything,” he said with a straight face.

“Do you just have no sense of boundaries?”

“Not sure yet,” he said, “although you may want to check the RFA chat soon.”

He only gave Saeyoung a quizzical look before pulling his phone out, seeing all sorts of notifications from each RFA member, asking all sorts of questions of what had just happened. A moment that felt so intimate, one that was just between you and him, had essentially been sent in a play-by-play to the RFA in a series of messages by Saeyoung. His mouth hung open, trying to find the words to say, sorting through the proper reaction as he felt both his blood boil and his face turn into a crimson shade, the need to hide only growing with every passing second. They all seem to have a lot of questions about you that was bombarding his phone.

With gritted teeth, he decided to hop on the messenger in hopes to end this discussion. He was almost relieved to see Rika in there, but seeing Zen and Jumin quickly diminished that comfort.

Saeran has entered the chatroom

Rika: Saeran!
Rika: We were actually just talking about you.
Saeran: I noticed…
ZEN: So you two almost kissed?
ZEN: What happened there?
ZEN: Why only almost?!
Jumin Han: Maybe he didn’t want to.
Jumin Han: You know, not everyone is as eager to get a girlfriend as you are.
ZEN: And not everyone is as void of emotion as you!
ZEN: -angry emoji-
Rika: Would you two knock it off!

Saeran looked up from his phone, ready to scold his brother only to see that he disappeared, likely to avoid exactly that. There were many reasons he didn’t want the RFA to find out more about you, and looking at the chatroom, this was one of them. They don’t know how he felt or how important you truly were to him. And with how long you two have known each other, they wouldn’t truly understand. He could only let out a sigh as he resumed the conversation.

Saeran: How much has Saeyoung disclosed?
Jumin Han: Enough to know that you invited her to the party…
Rika: …As your date
ZEN: And that you two almost kissed!!
ZEN: Am I the only one that wants to hear about that part?!
Rika: I am curious about that as well
Jumin Han: He may not want to talk about it
Jumin Han: It really doesn’t seem like our concern.
Rika: Aren’t you even a little curious?
Rika: Saeran is such a focused and composed person
Rika: Much like you, Jumin
Rika: And yet someone comes along and breaks that.
Rika: It’s almost commendable.
ZEN: I guess?
ZEN: I’m more impressed by the fact that he got a girlfriend before I did;;
Jumin Han: Are you jealous of him?
ZEN: I don’t have to answer you, trust fund jerk!
Saeran: She’s not my girlfriend.
Rika: Well whatever you two may be,
Rika: It seems like you two really like each other.

Saeran has left the chatroom

He couldn’t find it in him to give a straight answer, not with the two bickering and almost invasive turn this conversation took. He could only do what he thought was best, looking down at the number written on his arm, punching your number into his phone and composing a text.

Hey, it’s Saeran. I know it’s really soon but I thought to text you,’ he typed out, a nervous feeling taking over as he hit send. Maybe you didn’t want to hear from him, it might be too soon. It hadn’t even been an hour since you left, did he really just become that guy? You’re never going to reply if he’s already being this clingy. An immediate ‘ding’ pulled him out of his thoughts, looking to see a text from you.

Good, cause I was just thinking about you!

The beating in his chest quickened, a smile forming before he even realized as he stared at the text in disbelief. You were thinking about him? Granted, you had barely left the shop, but that didn’t stop the burning he felt on the tip of his ears, his cheeks matching in color.

Really??’ was the only thing he could type out, intrigued and eager to find out why. It couldn’t be the same way you occupied his thoughts. How dearly he misses you when you leave, how he could easily listen to you talk for hours, or how he had every little detail of your face memorized and yet, it did no justice to the real thing.

Completely oblivious and occupied at the thought, gazing down at his phone, he didn’t notice Saeyoung walk back in. Not until he felt Saeyoung pinch his cheek, examining the flushed color of it only to have his hand slapped away. Saeran’s thoughts returning to what he had just done.

“Why did you tell them about what happened?!” Saeran exclaimed, already set on not taking any excuse he had.

“Was I not supposed to?”

There were few moments Saeran ever truly got angry. He always had a level-head, able to let bygones be bygones. But there was something so intrusive about the way this was handled. He had never come so close to blowing up on his twin than in this moment. Never has he felt so close to giving him hell, his blood seeming to boil with every passing second. And quickly, that anger subsided once he saw a notification. A text from you he was more than eager to open, pushing his previous thoughts aside.

Yeah, how could I not when you’re almost all I think about?

He felt almost stunned in place, unsure of how to reply. But the blush rising in his cheeks and the thumping in his chest didn’t mean it was a bad thing. He couldn’t help the grin that spread, that same warmth he had around you flooding him once again. That one sentence gave him a hope that you felt the same way and a calm he couldn’t describe. At this point, he knew you were the one for him, no question in his mind about his feeling for you, and he wasn’t worried about who knew anymore.

He looked back up to meet eyes with Saeyoung, only receiving a knowing smile as he basically watched Saeran go from ready to implode to a smiling mess. An unspoken question answered between the two of them, Saeyoung returning to his work and Saeran logging back into the messenger to finally profess what he so adamantly hid, yet wanted to shout from the rooftops at this point.

Saeran has entered the chatroom

Saeran: Alright, I think I’m ready to admit,
Saeran: I’ve never met someone who’s made me feel like this before.
Saeran: MC is all I think about, all I look forward to seeing at the shop.
Saeran: And I don’t care if you all want to make fun of me for it,
Saeran: But I think I’m falling for her.
Saeran: She’s just really special to me.
Saeran: And I definitely wanted to kiss her.
ZEN: I’m glad you’ve acknowledged it, but that was so sudden;;
ZEN: I’ll get going before things get weirder
ZEN: Bye

ZEN has left the chatroom

Jumin Han: It truly is fascinating to see this change in character.
Jumin Han: If you choose to directly introduce them to us,
Jumin Han: then I look forward to meeting them.
Jumin Han: Now if you’ll excuse me.

Jumin Han has left the chatroom

Rika: Saeran…
Saeran: Yes?
Rika: It’s not that I don’t trust you…
Rika: But be careful.
Rika: Some times people are not as they seem
Rika: They can lie to you or hurt you
Rika: Even betray the trust you’ve built with them for so long
Rika: And I just want you to reach your paradise soon.

Rika has left the chatroom

Saeran felt unnerved by that last message, a gut feeling that her concern seemed a little off. He’d never heard her be so cautious, or even use the word ‘paradise’ before. Though he knew they were just a genuine worry, considering she does see him as almost like her own child, it did make him wonder if this was coming from a place of personal experience. 

He went to text you back, though uneasy about the recent interaction. He wondered how to even begin to respond to your text. He only found himself staring down at it with a goofy grin, no real words coming to him except a complete confession. Though one thought did seem to sit in the back of his mind since it happened, immediately turning to Saeyoung for an answer.

“I have a question for you,” Saeran began, gaining his attention.

“MC gave me a single thornless rose.”

“Uh huh,” he answered simply.

“And I told you about the meaning behind that after I gave her one.”

“You sure did,” he replied, continuing to fill out the forms at hand without looking up.

“So then did you end up telling her?”

Saeyoung stopped focusing on the stack in front of him. Looking up and taking a pause, possibly to collect his thoughts and sort through the possible excuses he had at hand.

“Was I not supposed to?”

Saeran only let out a small laugh, returning to the work he once found significance in, but now almost does it methodically. Though with every flower he picked up, with every bouquet he arranged, another thought sat in the back of his mind. A thought that replaced the previous curiosity of your action to the true meaning behind it, the one that he knew to be true:

Love at first sight.

Chapter Text

7:23 PM

His watch blinked with the current time, letting him know he still had about 7 minutes of waiting to the agreed time that you two would meet. He got to the shop half an hour early, eager to see you as soon as he could, but no sign of you yet. He observed his reflection in the window about twenty times, adjusting his tie, fixing his hair to sit neatly, and smoothing out any wrinkles on his suit. With every passing moment, he felt the knot in his stomach get tighter. He still couldn’t fully believe that you agreed to attend with him as a date.

Every possible scenario ran through his mind as he waited, double checking his texts to make sure there was no mistake. Sure enough, he gave you the right time, the right day and you two would, in fact, meet at the shop. What if something had happened to you? What if you didn’t want to go with him in the first place? What if you were just going to stand him up? What if-

“Huh, I thought I was going with Saeran,” your voice pulling him out of his thoughts, “But I guess this incredibly handsome man will do.”

Your presence instantly lit up the shop, his heart racing as he looked at you, taking in everything about you in that moment. Every detail of your face much more radiant than he remembered, your smile stopping all his thoughts in his track, and the dress you were wearing perfectly fit you, highlighting your curves in a way that made him blush. He could only stare in awe, seeing you so dressed up for him was more than he thought he deserved.

“Oh, is it too much?”

“No no, it’s perfect,” he answered, eyes still glued on you as he paused to continue taking in the view in front of him, “you look perfect.”

Perfect really seemed like an understatement. The only word coming to mind was ‘heavenly,’ as if you were an angel that wandered into his shop and he could easily believe that. Your walk had a grace to it, enchanting him with every step as you got closer to him. He could feel his breath catching in his throat once he looked into your eyes, reflecting that same loving gaze he was sure he had.

“Thanks,” you replied, though bashful as you looked down to the small flowers in your hand, “I brought you these, by the way.”

You handed him the small bundle of forget me nots. It wasn’t wrapped, instead it looked like it had been picked from the ground. Though he knew exactly where they came from., smiling as he reminisced on that first interaction.

“They’re growing really well then,” he said, observing the flower in his hand.

“Thanks to you.”

“Please, I didn’t do anything. You’re the one watering it and showing it love.”

“But you’re the one who gave them to me,” you said, “and to be honest, I always thought about you while taking care of them.”

The smile on his face grew a bit, he was sure you could hear the increased thumping in his chest. He never tired of hearing how you thought about him, and with every time you said it, he couldn’t help but wonder. Wonder about how it is that he runs through your mind. Was it in a way that certain things or actions brought him to mind, like a wave that would hit and recede only to come back soon. Or was it in the way that he just sat back there, constantly a small part that tinged to have him near. Or maybe it was an all consuming thought, where nothing else seemed to matter in that moment except for him.

However you thought of him, he felt like it was more than he could ask for. You were everything he had been looking for and so much more, yet you thought of him? Of all the people in the world, you chose to spend your time with him, to get to know him, to think of him. And that only made the smile on his face widen from almost ear to ear. But he had to sate his curiosity.

“What exactly do you think? Of me, I mean,” he asked, though he felt his nerves increase, his stomach turning when he realized just what he asked out loud, and almost afraid to hear the answer. And the pause you took, the pensive look on your face didn’t help ease his mind.

“Well, when it comes to my flowers, what would Saeran do? And I’ll usually go from there,” you replied, taking a deep breath as you continued, “and I’ve been thinking a lot about what you said to me when we met.”

He titled his head in an unspoken question, wondering what, of the many things, did he say to you. Between the rambling about flowers and the rambling that didn’t seem to stop when he said anything around you, he was drawing a blank on what you could mean.

“You said something about finding my true and undying love, about how you hoped I would find it soon,” you said, finally meeting his eyes with a smile that could have melted his heart on the spot, “and I’ve just been thinking about how I may have found it.”

This was it, an opportunity to profess all the feelings about you he had bottled up in him. To press his lips to yours in way that would say everything he needed to, finally proving the love his stares always held when looking at you. He inched closer, slowly taking in everything in this moment as his gaze locked into yours. Your face only getting redder with every second that passed as you found yourself getting closer as well.

It wasn’t until your hand brushed his that you realized how close you two were. His hand instinctively went to the nape of your neck, his thumb brushing the side of your face as he looked into your eyes. You brought your hand up to his arm, almost urging him to continue. And yet he couldn’t. Everything about this moment was perfect, and screaming for him to lean in already, but he felt like the timing wasn’t right. Instead, bringing the flower in his hand up to your hair, brushing it behind your ear.

“I think I may have found it too,” he replied, taking a step back to admire the way it looked on you. His hand found yours, tangling his fingers with your own, “We should probably get going.”

“Yeah, we should,” you replied, though you hoped the disappointment of what could have been hadn’t been evident in your tone.

“And I’m sorry I didn’t prepare a bouquet for you, I figured you wouldn’t want to be holding it the whole event,” he said, “but I’ll have a really good one for you on our second date.”

“You’re already preparing for our second date, huh?” you asked, perking up with a mischievous and teasing smile painting your face.

“I’m a planner, MC,” he replied, letting out a small laugh. And with that, he locked up the shop and you two were off, hand in hand into the night. A night you two wouldn’t forget.

Chapter Text

Saeran had been to all three of the previous RFA parties so he knew exactly what to expect. It starts with some mingling and drinks, idle chitchat between wealthy funders, party attendees and the RFA. Then there’s an introduction, usually given by Jumin, to talk about why they have these parties and to thank everyone for attending. More mingling before the silent auction starts, an assortment of high-end items and services donated to them, including V’s photos. And once that was over, the fun part of the party began. The part that would go late into the night, everyone having fun as they danced and let loose, the RFA members being no exception.

Saeran always found himself seated to the side at this time of night. He would have a fun time with his fellow members, but feeling a sense of loneliness in a room full of people and leaving a little earlier than the rest. He always claimed that he was getting tired, but never admitted to feeling so isolated.

Though the hand holding his squeezed tight as they got close, reminding him that this party was going to be different. It was going to be different because he was with you. And he was set on making this a night you’ll remember because he had a plan. He was going to ask you to dance, hold you close in his arms, look you in the eyes as you two swayed to the music and finally, he was going to kiss you. He was going to make sure you knew how he felt. It was much easier said than done he realized as he looked over to you, meeting your gaze and feeling his nerves spike at the thought of doing that. With how easily you fluster him, he knew this was going to be a long night.

As soon as you two got to the door, you noticed all the reporters and flashing lights right outside the door. The building from the outside looked regal in it’s height and details. You looked over to Saeran, who seemed unfazed by it all, holding your hand that much tighter as he made his way through the bustling crowd.

“Just how big is this party?” you had to ask.

“Oh, it’s just a small, very intimate setting,” he responded, a teasing smile on his face as you let out a small laugh.

Once you two reached the entrance, you noticed a woman with clipboard in hand with what you assumed was a guest list. Her long blonde hair bounced as she turned, green eyes that almost glittered with joy, and a smile that felt inviting and warm. She almost felt like an old friend with the way she greeted you two, offering a hug to you before moving onto Saeran. Though something about their demeanor seemed off, almost forced.

“MC, I’m so glad that you were able to come! Saeran has talked a lot about you,” she said, making Saeran’s face turn red, “I’m so happy I finally get to put a face to the name!”

You were a bit surprised to hear your name, but you quickly realize who this is, Saeran had mentioned her before. He talked so highly of her, and you could easily see why with the way she welcomed you. This was Rika, head of the Rika Fundraising Association and the reason this party exists in the first place.

“It’s really nice to meet you too,” you replied, smiling back at her in hopes that it seemed sincere, “Saeran and Saeyoung have told me a bit about you as well.”

“All good things, I hope,” she laughed, turning to Saeran, “I know you said she was pretty, but I don’t think your words compare.”

“Yeah, words just don’t really do justice when it comes to her beauty,” he said, meeting your eyes with a small, genuine smile and flushed cheeks.

“Well go ahead in, everyone’s been dying to meet you MC,” she said, stepping aside to usher you two in. As you made your way passed, Saeran felt a tug on his arm from the other direction, Rika looking at him with concern.

“Remember what I told you. Be careful,” she said quickly, releasing him before you noticed. He felt that same unnerved sense from her that he did after the chatroom, still unsure of what she meant. He never got the feeling that he had to be wary of you since he knew that you genuinely cared for him, and he genuinely cared for you. It showed in every little action towards him, every little word he held onto that felt sincere. He quickly shook the thought, lacing his fingers back into yours with a reassuring smile.

The look of absolute awe on your face had to be evident, mouth agape as you took in the intricate decorations and surroundings. Crystal chandeliers hanging from the tall ceilings, cascading the entire room with its reflective gems. Red curtains that draped along the walls, correlating with the tables. The most impressive were the floral centerpieces, tall and extravagant with an assortment of colors that coordinated with the rest of the room. It made you wonder just how much time Saeran had put into each piece. The place looked like royalty belonged there, and you wondered how you even got through.

“What do you think so far?” he asked, pulling you out of your awestruck state. You truly were at a loss for words, looking at him with wide, doe-like eyes as you still tried to take in what was around you. He found the look on your face captivating, thinking about how he wanted to always be the one who leaves you speechless like this.

“It’s…really something,” you said, “and you did this?”

“Well, I helped,” he said, hand moving to rub the back of his neck, “All my efforts really went into the centerpieces.”

“They turned out amazing. Now I’m really looking forward to that bouquet for the second date,” you laughed, your hand gripping his a little tighter as you met his eyes. He felt himself getting lost in your gaze, smiling as he slowly leaned in, ready to capture your lips in his.

“Saeraaaaaan!” a voice getting louder as it got closer, making Saeran pull back before you noticed. You two looked in the direction of the source, seeing a blonde-haired, younger looking man approach. His wide smile and eager bounce made him just that much cuter, a boyish charm to the way he greeted you two.

“Is this MC?” he asked, looking at you the way you must have looked at the room, jaw slacked and in awe. His cheeks tinted, switching to a bashful expression as he realized how he was coming off, instead extending a hand out for a shake, “I’m Yoosung. I’m not sure if Saeran has mentioned me, but I’m apart of the RFA as well.”

“Yeah, he’s told me a bit. It’s really nice to meet you,” you said, taking his hand in a shake.

“Really? What has he said?” his curiosity getting the best of him as he leaned in without truly realizing it. You could only let out a small laugh at his eagerness, seeing his expression shift to a pouty one at that.

“MC!” you heard a familiar voice call before responding to Yoosung, turning to see Zen approaching with someone you didn’t recognize, though she had a small smile that felt friendly. As he approached, he greeted you with a kiss to the cheek.

“It’s really nice to see another familiar, lovely face among the crowd,” he said. You felt the hand intertwined in yours move to your side, pulling you a little closer.

“Great to see you too,” Saeran responded. You didn’t take him for the jealous type, but the way he held you, almost protectively, made you wonder.

“It’s good to see you again, Zen,” you said, hand coming forward to shake his. Though as soon as he took it, he brought it up to his lips, pressing a light kiss to your knuckles. Saeran’s hold on you tightened just a bit more.

“Not as good as seeing you,” he said with a wink.

“Jaehee, this is MC,” Saeran practically blurted out, gesturing to the woman beside Zen. His interruption caught you by surprise, though you noticed the smirk on Zen’s face at this.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Jaehee smiled, extending her own hand for you to take.

“The pleasure is all mine,” you smiled back. Her eyes had a soft gaze which only surprised you to feel such a tight grip.

Out of the corner of his eye, Saeran noticed the usual teal hair he could recognize from a mile away, excited to finally introduce you to someone very important to him.

“V!” Saeran called out, gaining the attention of a tall, mint-haired man within earshot, “I want you to meet MC.”

As he approached, you reached your hand out for him to take, wondering whether he was making eye contact or not behind his sunglasses. Sunglasses that were dark in tint, making it impossible to tell. And maybe it was your imagination, but you could see the smallest hint of purple just off the visible part of his cheekbone.

“It’s nice to finally meet you,” he said, “I’ve been looking forward to seeing who Saeran has been gushing about in the messenger.”

You noticed the hold on your side get tighter, Saeran trying to hide the growing blush on his face. It only made your face flush as well, wondering what he could be saying in this messenger, finding it cute how easily flustered he can get. Though, once you looked back up to V, you felt uneasy once again. Worried for him in a way you didn’t fully understand, but you could only smile in return.

“It’s nice to meet you too, V,” you said, “Saeran gushes about you too, but in a different way.”

He let out a laugh, seeming almost carefree and relaxed in his demeanor. A friendly smile that felt warm and welcoming. Nothing about him held some sense of animosity, which only made you worry more for what he hid behind those glasses.

“Unless he’s said that I was most beautiful person he had ever seen, then I’ll take your word for it,” he teased, making you laugh in return.

“Saeran really said that about me?” you asked, turning to see your date’s face flushed in crimson, “Well it’s a good thing I think the same of him.”

Before he or V could respond, you felt a hand brush against your shoulder. The other hand came up to V, making their way in the circle that formed with a patient smile. Rika’s hands weren’t necessarily cold, but you noticed V tense up at the touch. The genuine smile faltered a bit to one that looked almost forced, scared even.

“We should start taking our seats,” she said, “MC, Saeran, will you be joining our table?”

You couldn’t quite place why, but you didn’t really want to sit with her. There was something strange about the air around her, you just had to ask Saeran about it aside. The hesitant look on your face evident as you turned to Saeran for him to answer.

“Uh, you’ll have to give us a minute,” Saeran replied, picking up on your reluctance.

“Alright, well we’ll save you two seats next to us, just in case,” Rika said before walking off, hand in hand with V. The rest of the group followed, leaving you alone with your date.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

You couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling, the sense that something was going on. Something you weren’t even sure Saeran was aware of. His questioning look only adding to that thought, and you couldn’t bring yourself to say anything about it.

“Nothing, let’s go join them.”

He only felt more confused by your answer, watching as you walked ahead and to the group. The smile you gave him felt faked, knowing that something was probably occupying your thoughts. Though his mind wandered back to what Rika said to him, about having to be careful. And it made him wonder whether that caution wasn’t necessarily of you, but of what could possibly be making you so nervous.

As soon as you two took your seats, the introduction began. Jumin looked cool and collected, not a stutter in his speech as he talked about the RFA. Why they created the organization, the party’s purpose, and just who the RFA are. You had already heard all this from Saeran, but it still impressed you to see just how dedicated they all were to making such an extravagant event for a good cause, especially when you could see how hard they worked on every detail. And with a huge turn out, their efforts weren’t in vain.

You flashed a quick smile to Saeran next to you, a silent way of letting him know that you were proud of his efforts. He obviously had a lot to do with helping, but you knew he wouldn’t admit it. He could only smile in return, a small blush forming at the unspoken support.

His focus wasn’t at all on what Jumin could be saying, considering he heard this same thing every party, but it was fixed on you. How eagerly you watched him talk, the smiles and glances you’d exchange with the rest of the group, and the very specific way you looked at him. It was different from the way you looked at everyone else, it felt like they were full of love and admiration. He found himself nervous and hesitant to make any attempt at contact, letting his hand settle on the back of your seat.

He didn’t expect you to notice, nonetheless lean into him. The warmth you radiated felt comforting, so secure. And it brought him a certain peace of mind to see how comfortable you were in his touch, letting his hand rest on your shoulder and bringing you closer. He studied every little detail, taking in the sweet scent of your hair, leaning down to leave a kiss at the crown of your head.

Gaining your attention once again, you looked up, beaming smile at his action. The look in his eyes indicated he was caught off guard, stunned to see such a wide grin from that. It was almost enchanting to witness so up close, the small bounce as you let out a small laugh and a breathless ‘what?’ stopped all his thoughts. He wanted nothing more than to press his lips to yours, leaning a bit to do so until he felt a tap from the other side of his shoulder.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but Rika asked that you assist me with the auction,” Jaehee said. He then noticed a few more of the RFA members missing from the table.

“Yeah, I’ll be back to help. Give me one minute,” he said to Jaehee before she walked off. He looked back down at you with an apologetic look in his eyes.

“Go, I’ll still be here when you get back,” you interject just before he could say anything. He felt warm at the thought of you waiting for him, giving you a quick kiss on the cheek before getting up.

“I won’t be long,” he said, leaving you with Saeyoung, Zen, and Yoosung. The blush that crept on your cheeks and the smile you were trying to bite back was much more noticeable than you expected.

“Awww, MC’s blushing!” Saeyoung exclaimed, flustering you further.

“But did you see how much Saeran was blushing too?” Yoosung practically gushed, “I didn’t even think he was capable of that.”

“That’s nothing, did you see how protective he got when I greeted her,” Zen laughed, the other two snickering along.

“Knock it off! Saeran’s probably nervous about the party, that’s all,” you retorted, only for them to laugh even harder.

“MC, no party before this has he been so wound up,” Saeyoung replied once he regained his composure, a teasing tone replacing his previous one, “Besides, that doesn’t explain why you’re equally as anxious.”

Your face only deepened in color. You didn’t think Saeyoung could be so observant, but you hated how accurately he seemed to read. You only gave him a roll of the eyes before returning your attention to the event, the silent auction starting shortly after. Saeran and Jaehee were up on the stage, introducing item after expensive item. As the auction went on, you felt your eyes drawn to Saeran almost the entire time. Studying the little habits he seemed to have, a smile gracing his face every time he looked over at you from his spot.

Soon enough, they introduced V’s work. He joined the other two on stage, talking about his collection titled ‘The Sun.’ From what you can see, it was beautiful. Appearance-wise, it was radiant and warm, but you couldn’t understand the chill that ran down your spine as you looked at it. Unnerved by how seemingly perfect it was, yet it had an unfamiliar sensation.

You wondered whether you were the only one to feel that as you saw hands spring up with every piece that was presented. Every price that was thrown out was met with a sea of hands, desperate to pay any price for one of the many photographs. V seemed unfazed by the overwhelming amount of bidders, casual in the way he looked off into the crowd that was eager to obtain something he made. Not in a way that felt smug or proud, but rather truly unaware. Unaware of the seeming impact and feelings they brought forth or the beauty they had.

Photograph after photograph, you could easily see why they were so desirable and why V had such a high reputation in the photography world. Though as the last piece was presented, you felt that same unnerved feeling grow. The sun pictured was bright, but the silhouette against it wasn’t. You could barely make out features, but the figure looked familiar, easily figuring out it was Rika. The only thing that stuck out from the shadows were her green eyes, glowing in a way that looked unnatural and piercing.

You couldn’t bear to look at it any longer, averting your gaze to meet Saeran’s. He offered a sincere smile that calmed your nerves, making you smile in return. Even with how far he was, you were captivated with those mint eyes of his.

“With that, we will conclude our auction. Thank you for your time and participation, the party will resume shortly,“ Jaehee said, gaining your attention once again. You weren’t sure how long you two had been looking at each other, but with the way Saeyoung eyed you with a smug look on his face, you’d guess it was a noticeable amount.

“What?” you asked, biting back your smile.

“Nothing, I’ve just never seen two people look at each other so much,” he goaded.

“It’s not like that, I just-“

“Just think he’s so dreamy? Could get lost in his eyes? Want to kiss those lips that look so irresistible?”

“Saeran was right, you really don’t seem to have boundaries,” you laughed, “I’m gonna go look for him.”

With that, you got up, leaving the three men to watch as you disappeared in the direction you suspected Saeran to be. You just couldn't sit through their scrutiny, wanting to see him as soon as you could. Though you left them all with one thought sitting on their mind.

“Awww, they must really like each other,” Yoosung mused, “Do you think they’re going to kiss by the end of the night?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they kissed right now,” Saeyoung replied.

“I would, have you seen how tense he’s been? It’s gonna take him a few hours and drinks before he gets the guts to,” Zen chimed in.

“You wanna bet?” Saeyoung said, eyeing the other two with a sly smile

You made your way through the guests, maneuvering between the sea of people. It was hard to see over them, eyes darting around you to find the white hair you could usually pick out from a crowd. A few minutes of looking, you didn’t realize how distracted you were until you felt yourself slam right into someone. You tried to apologize hastily, looking up to notice the mint hair that you knew could only belong to one.

“MC, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, sorry V,” you replied, though you couldn’t read his expression, making you anxious in his presence.

“It’s alright, are you looking for Saeran?” he asked. Even behind those glasses, he could see how eager you were to find him.

“Yeah, do you know where he went?”

“He actually went that way looking for you,” pointing to the direction you just came from.

“Thanks V,” flashing him quick smile before turning and taking a few steps.

“And MC,” he said, making you turn back to see him, “I really like you with Saeran. I can tell he’s really happy around you.”

“I really appreciate that,” the smile on your face widening at his genuine words. Just as you turned, you felt one question burn in your mind that you had to turn back around and ask.

“What’s ’The Sun’ about?”

“What?”

“‘The Sun,’ your pictures. I just assumed that they maybe had a subject to them besides the sun. If there is, I’d like to know.”

“Yeah, they’re centered around the light of my life and the almost all-consuming warmth it’s brought me,” he paused, “Much like the sun, they’ve given me life. I know that I should look away sometimes, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.”

“Well you should at least blink once in a while,” you said. Though it made you wonder whether he wore those glasses because of his ‘sun.’

“Beside that, I really liked them.”

“Thank you,” he said, though he seemed taken aback at the compliment. You offered him a small smile and nod before turning to continue your search for Saeran.

“And MC?” he said, gaining your attention once again, “Take care of yourself.”

With that, he continued on his way, leaving you with those four words. Never has there been a set of words more unsettling or nerve-wracking than those. You could tell they weren’t ill-willed, more of a genuine concern than anything. But you wondered just exactly what he meant, what sort of warning he was giving you. And yet, you had a feeling you knew exactly what he was referring to.

The thick of the crowd only seemed to increase as you made your way out, going in the direction of where Saeran had supposedly went. Your eyes were darting left and right, trying to find some sign of him. You were growing impatient and frustrated the longer you went, making your way back to where you had started your search.

You noticed Saeyoung, Zen, and Yoosung had gone off, probably to enjoy the party that just begun. Though you found Jaehee by herself. She had a drink in hand, a tense demeanor you could feel from far away. Once she noticed you approaching, she perked up. That same soft smile returning and melting away her tension, or at least hiding it.

“Hey Jaehee, have you seen Saeran?”

“He was actually just here,” she said, her smile faltering a bit, “He was looking for you, but Rika needed some assistance with some of the guests. I offered to help, but she insisted on him. Though I’m sure he’ll be back shortly.”

“I see,” you said, pulling up the seat beside her, “Then I’ll keep you company, if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all,” she beamed, taking a sip from her glass. You noticed the dark amber of the liquid, watching her drink without so much as wincing. Saeran had told you about her schedule and the stress she undergoes working with Jumin. In this moment though, she seemed laid back and at ease.

“I’ve actually been curious about the person Saeran has been talking about in the messenger,” she said, setting her glass down before looking at you.

“Oh, there’s not much to tell.”

“From the way he talks about you, I would say otherwise,” she laughed, “He hasn’t even told us how you two met.”

You bit back the smile that threatened to spread. The thought of what he could be saying about you made you anxious, but in a good way. It made you curious to see just how he described you to others. But with the way everyone teased him about it, you guessed it wasn’t bad.

Pushing those thoughts aside, you told her all about your first encounter. The way it felt like you knew something deeper was going to happen from it. All the days that followed and how close you two got.

You were having a good time talking to Jaehee, easily comforted by the way she listened to your tales patiently and chimed in with her own. Though you couldn’t help but wonder just when Saeran would be coming back. Ten minutes easily turned into almost an hour as you two talked away, occasionally taking a glance around to try and find white hair among the crowd.

Once Saeran finished up his task, he made his way back over to where he hoped you would be. He felt bad for being pulled left and right practically all night, having almost no time with you. But he wasn’t going to let anything stand in his way now, ready to practically sweep you off your feet and implement his plan. His plan to finally make you his, in the best way he knew how.

His eyes landed on an arrangement nearby, hand grazed over the viscarias, thinking for a second before pulling it from its vase. Toying with it in his hands, he finally found you at the other side of the room, talking to Jaehee as you watched the center of the room fill with couples pairing up as the music slowed down. He noticed you looking around slightly, and he felt his heart swell at the thought that maybe you were looking for him. Smiling to himself, he made his way over, eyes never leaving your sight. The knot in his stomach growing tighter as he got closer.

Just as he reached you, you noticed him and flashed the widest smile at the sight and in that moment, he was sure his heart had stopped. His throat felt dry, hands clamming up and the words he wanted to say didn’t form. His thoughts came to a halt, only focused on the nerves that surfaced.

“Saeran! Do I finally get to have you for the night?” you asked teasingly, gaze falling to the bundle in his hands, “What’s with the flowers?”

“Will you dance with me?” he asked, though it was almost blurted out from his nerves, extending the flowers out for you take, ”That’s, um, what these flowers mean.”

The smile on your face only seemed to grow, a rosy tint to your cheeks that made you glow in his eyes. You carefully took the flowers, observing them before your eyes met his.

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Taking his hand in yours, he led you into the crowd. The instrumental of the music filled the room, drowning out any outside noise and in one swift movement, he pulled you close to him. One hand resting on the small of your back, the other in your hand as he took the lead. Your hand moved to rest on his shoulder, twirling the flower between your fingers as you two moved.

Though you weren’t focused on the plant, only on the mint eyes that were fixed on yours. You could almost read every thought that ran right behind them and how unsure he truly was. You could see every doubt he had throughout the night, every hesitant attempt that never panned out. He was a nervous mess, but he didn’t want you to see that.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” he replied.

“Are you nervous?”

“To be honest, a little bit,” he admitted, letting out a nervous laugh.

“Why?” you asked with a small tilt to your head and questioning look. He could only stare for a second before averting his gaze. He wasn’t sure whether you were looking at him with curiosity or scrutiny, but it felt scorching. He wasn’t sure how to answer you, only falling silent.

“Well you don’t have to be, at least not with me,” you said, a reassuring smile putting his mind at ease. Your eyes softened as he looked back at you, a sincerity in them that made him comfortable in your presence once again.

“I’m actually nervous because of you,” he admitted, a bit surprised at his own confession. You gave him another questioning look, though the small smile you were holding back made him bold.

“I’ve never met someone as captivating as you. Someone that can make my heart race just by looking at them or put me at such a loss for words,” he paused, “I’ve never met someone like you, and that makes me nervous.”

The silence that fell between you two had him tense. He couldn't read your expression and his mind was racing through every possible outcome. Though seeing you crack a smile after that pause had him taken aback.

“Would it make you less nervous if I told I felt the same way?”

Those few words were enough to stop every thought going through his head. Looking at you with wide-eyes and trying to understand just exactly what you said. And once he realized, he was dumbfounded.

The hold he had on you tightened, pulling you just a bit closer. The proximity, setting, and feeling was just right, pondering if he could close the gap between you two with his lips. Your eyes were inviting, dilating under his stare. And he knew for a fact now, above any other thought that could intrude, you felt the same way.

The flutter in his stomach multiplying as he inched closer, noticing you do the same. He was nervous, but so sure that he wanted this. Your eyes were shut, waiting for the warmth of his lips to meet yours, only to feel a sudden absence. His eyes sprung open as he felt an almost aggressive pull on him. He could only see you getting further from him, hands instinctively reaching for you as he was dragged away.

“Saeran, I’m so glad I found you! I’m having a bit of an emergency,” the voice that was pulling at him said. His eyes finally turned to see the bouncing blonde hair that had a tight grip on him. She seemed almost oblivious to what she had just done.

“Rika, what’s going on?”

“I’m having a problem and I thought you could help,” she said almost casually.

“Did you not see me with MC?” he asked, a hint of irritation evident in his tone.

“I did, but I knew she’d be understanding,” she replied, “and don’t you want the party to be a success? I thought you’d be willing to help with anything.”

“I do, I really do, but-“

“But what?” she interrupted, tone almost venomous as she awaited his response.

“But I just don’t understand why I have been the only one you’ve been pulling aside and asking for all night when there are six other members ready to help as well,” he retorted, freeing himself from her grasp and taking a step back. She paused, tilting her head with a small smile.

“Because I trust you the most. Out of all of them, I see the most potential in you and I don’t want to see you waste that,” she simply said, though he knew in that moment what she was trying to insinuate.

“Do you have something against MC?”

“No, I just don’t want her to suffocate what I see in you,” she admitted, pausing as she thought over her next words, “I don’t want to see you burned by your own sun.”

He could only stare in confusion. The look in her eyes seemed vacant. Never had he seen such a distant look on her face, her words eerie and holding no significance. It was all too unsettling for him to bear.  

“Rika, I’m going back to MC. I’ll send Jaehee over to help you with whatever this task is,” he said, turning to walk away.

“Saeran, you go and I will not forget this.”

He had to look away, walk off before he could give into the guilt, but he could feel her stare burning holes in the back of his head. He knew she had been different lately, but this didn’t seem like the Rika he knew. One thing that didn’t sit right with him were her last few words, ‘I don’t want to see you burned by your own sun.’

Those thoughts quickly subsided once he saw you, sitting at a table close to where he left you. You were scanning the room once again, but he could tell it was different. You looked so disheartened, a small frown on your features that ached his heart. He wanted nothing more than to run to you, to make you feel better and to apologize for what had happened. Though, as he got close, he kept his composure.

“MC, I’m so sorry about that, I really don’t know what that was about and-“

“It’s okay, you’re fine,” you reassured, though the look in your eyes said otherwise.

“Well do you want to finish that dance?”

“It is getting late, I think I should get going.”

“W-Wait!” he exclaimed, a lot louder than he expected.

He felt his nerves spike once again, his hands clammy as he tried to figure out how to word this. He wondered whether you’d take it the wrong way, but he just couldn’t bare the thought of parting ways just yet. He couldn’t wrap his head around having to go back home alone after tonight, especially when he felt like he was robbed of time with you.

“Do you wanna go back to my place?” he finally said, though as soon as the words left his mouth, he almost regretted them until he heard your response.

“I’d love to.”

Chapter Text

Saeyoung has entered the chatroom
ZEN has entered the chatroom

Saeyoung: Has anyone seen Saeran?
Saeyoung: I can’t find him anywhere
ZEN: Yeah, I’ve been trying to look for him too
ZEN: But I guess he’s not around?
ZEN: I thought this time around he would stay longer since he had someone with him.
Saeyoung: Wait…
Saeyoung: You don’t think…

Saeran has entered the chatroom

Saeyoung: Saeran!
Saeyoung: Where are you??
Saeran: I’m heading home.
Saeran: I came on here to ask you to clean up the centerpieces once the party’s over.
Saeran: Have Yoosung or Zen help.
Saeyoung: What?
Saeyoung: Why did you leave so early? ?
ZEN: Is MC with you?
Saeran: ...
ZEN: WHAT?!?
ZEN: Be a gentleman and send her home!
ZEN: She shouldn’t be with a man at this hour!!
Saeyoung: Relax~
Saeyoung: They’re adults capable of making their own decisions
Saeyoung: You do have protection, right?
ZEN: She’s not going to hurt him??
Saeyoung: That’s not the kind of protection I meant...
Saeran: You’re disgusting.
Saeran: I’m leaving, we just got to my place.
Saeran: Just do what I told you to.

Saeran has left the chatroom

Pocketing his phone, he let out a deep sigh at the their nonsense. He would have been more upset had he not felt your arm wrapped around his, fingers interlocked with his own. He felt a certain relief in your presence, looking down to see the contented smile on your face.

“Everything okay?” you asked.

“Yeah, just Saeyoung and Zen,” he said, a small smile spreading, “they really can be a handful sometimes.”

“We don’t need to go back?”

“No, they’ll be fine,” he said, coming to a stop in front of a door, “besides, we’re here.”

The door looked like any other you had passed in the building, save for the doormat that had a floral print on it. ‘Typical florist,’ you thought to yourself jokingly. As he unlocked his door, you began to get more curious as to what lies ahead. What could the apartment of a ‘typical florist’ look like? You imagined it to be draped in house plants, both hanging from several places and assorted through the living space. A colorful and vibrant atmosphere that matched the owner himself.

Though as soon as the door opened and he turned on the lights, there was a lot less greenery than you expected. It had a nice layout, well decorated and neat, but it didn’t feel like Saeran’s place. It didn’t capture just how warm and inviting he truly is. You noticed his gaze fixed on you as you looked around, letting out a small laugh at the tint on his cheeks.

He truly didn’t know what to do. He didn’t expect you to come home with him, and he wouldn’t admit it, but he was nervous. And yet, the place he called home for so long started to feel more like it seeing you there.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” he finally said, “please make yourself at home.”

“It’s really nice,” you paused, “ though, I have to be honest…I thought you’d have more plants.”

“How many did you expect?”

“To be honest, a garden,” you teased. He paused for a second smiling before reaching his hand out for you to take.

“Come with me,” he said.

“Where are we going?”

“I’m going to show you a garden,” he said, leading you towards the window of his apartment to the fire escape. As you two climbed your way up to the roof, you felt your breath catch in your throat as you gazed at the view in front of you.

Under the dim glow of the string lights that hung throughout the space were garden beds lined in aisles almost like the greenhouse in his shop. The abundance of vibrant colors showing even under the dark sky, the moonlight bouncing right off them. Patio furniture decorated carefully around and right in the middle, surrounded by all the greenery, was a bench. You smiled at the thought of him sitting there, probably for hours at a time, and admiring the growing beauty around him.

You found yourself gravitating towards it, taking a seat and looking around once again. This is exactly the space you expected Saeran to have. It was green and lush, but it held so much of his character and you could almost feel it through the flowers. And in a sense, you felt like you had been here before, that it felt so natural to be here and you weren’t out of place at all.

Saeran only watched as you stepped into the space. He had people here before, but this was different. Among the flowers, the lights, and the stars, you looked like you fit right in and yet, you looked so much brighter than all of those combined. He was always up here to be away from the world and find solitude, but he never realized how much he longed to share this place until he met you. You looked lost in thought until you met his eyes, one word seeming to come out that he didn’t expect.

“How?”

“How what?” he asked, taken aback and unsure of where this was heading.

“How do you take care of so many plants? The shop, the greenhouse, here, how do you find time for yourself?” you asked, seeing him take a deep breath before joining you on the bench.

“Because it was all I knew for a while,” he explained, looking off into his garden, “Time to myself was time spent in a garden, so really all I ever have done up until now is take time for myself.”

“I have to ask again, and you have to follow up with this long story of yours, but why flowers?”

“When I was young, V gave me a book on flowers. I was so fascinated by what I was seeing that I wanted to learn more,” he said, sighing as he reminisced, “He’d let me tend to the garden at his and Rika’s church after they took us in and I had always just felt a strong connection to myself and these plants. They were fragile and needed a lot of care, but they were worth the effort because they’d bloom so beautifully.”

“What exactly did V and Rika take you in from?” you asked, though you saw the shift in his expression. He seemed tense, hesitant as he thought over his words, stopping himself before starting a sentence. Your hand found his, trying to give a reassuring touch and look to let him know he didn’t have to answer if he couldn’t. His nerves quickly eased to see how sincere you were, knowing he was safe in your presence.

“Saeyoung and I didn’t grow up in a great household,” he said, taking in a deep breath before he continued, “There were days when I was locked in or tied down so I wouldn’t leave. I wouldn’t see sunlight or food for days at a time. Saeyoung was the healthier of us two so he could leave the house when it got bad, and he’d go to the local church where he met V and Rika. He’d take me along when he could, but it was hard when I was always so sick.”

“I’m really sorry you had to go through that,” was all you could bring yourself to say, meeting his eyes once again to let him know that you meant it. That same comfort he felt with you was coming back almost tenfold, his hand finding yours to hold.

“I mean, I am in a better place now. And I do have V and Rika to thank for that. They really looked after Saeyoung and me after all that happened. They even helped me start up the shop.”

“They must really love you two.”

“Yeah, they really do,” he said. His gaze fell to the ground as he thought about his last interaction with Rika, feeling a bit of guilt at how he left things. Though the hand that gripped his brought him back to this moment, realizing just what he had opened up about.

And just like that, he felt a weight lifted off his shoulders. He had never talked to someone about his past like this, in so much detail, but it felt right. He didn’t have that tinge of regret he usually would when telling anyone even a bit of this. But with you, it felt like you needed to know. And your understanding and patient manner about it eased whatever tension he was holding onto for years.

“Alright,” he perked up, “Your turn.”

“What do you mean?” you laughed, tilting your head at his sudden declaration.

“Well I do recall you saying that I’d get to hear your story in due time,” he explained, “and with how much I’ve told you, I think that time is due now.”

The way he turned in his seat to face you, as if giving you his complete attention, made the smile on your face grow. The pad of his thumb running back and forth over your knuckles soothed your nerves. You took a deep breath in, fully aware of the intense gaze that was on you.

“What do you want to know?” you questioned, looking up to meet his eyes.

“Let’s start with something simple, you said you moved here recently. Why?”

“Why did I move here?” repeating the question only for him to nod in response.

“Alright, well it’s not as deep as you think it would be,” you said with a small scoff, “I needed a fresh start, a clean slate. I felt suffocated where I was and I got a tip to move here. I took the first temp job I could find and have been here for a few months now.”

“How are you liking it?”

“I mean,” you paused, “at first, I felt really lonely. I went to work, did my errands, and went back to my empty apartment in a city I knew no one in. I was starting my life from scratch and I wanted so badly to go back.”

“What about now?”

“Now I think I understand why I’m here. It’s not an easy transition, but I think I’m getting accustomed to it thanks to you.”

“I-I’m glad,” he stuttered, the blush on his cheeks growing, “so do you plan on staying then?”

“I don’t see a reason to leave yet,” you replied, your grin growing with his own.

“I’ve been meaning to ask, but why did it take you a week to come back to the shop?” he asked, head tilting to the side before he even realized.

“You kept count?”

“Well, yeah, “ he replied, though bashfully, “I was really looking forward to seeing you again.”

“Well…” you trailed, taking in a deep breath before continuing, “I had replayed what happened a hundred times that day, that by the next, I wondered whether I had built it up. As if maybe I idealized that encounter, so I waited a week. But by the second time, I had that same initial feeling that this was something real. That it wasn’t just grasping at straws, but I had found my reason for being here.”

His eyes widened at hearing that last bit. With the way you looked at him, he couldn’t deny it any longer. The thumping in his chest increased, his breath caught in his throat as he looked at you. You had the warmest, most sincere smile on your face, one that stopped every thought coursing through his mind and looked like it made flowers grow. There was no doubt in his mind now that you two were meant to meet and meant for one another.

“You know,” you said, halting his thought, “as close as I’ve gotten to you tonight, we never finished our dance,” 

“You’re right, we didn’t,” he chuckled almost nervously. You got up from your place, startling him a bit until he eyed you. Watching as you tapped away at your phone for a second before setting it down.

The smile on his face widening as he realized the song you were playing, a hand stretched out and inviting him in. There was no hesitation as he took it, pulling you close to him. His hands falling to your hips carefully as yours landed on his shoulders.

Wise men say only fools rush in,
But I can’t help falling in love with you

The slow, rhythmic swaying from side to side only made the beating in your chest much more noticeable. And yet, the position you were in felt natural, as if you were always meant to be there. Being in his arms, his welcoming embrace that was warm and soft to the touch.

Shall I stay?
Would it be a sin,
If I can't help falling in love with you?

He almost felt like he was in a dream. The soft lighting of the moon and string lights perfectly highlighting the rosy tint on your cheeks. He was almost lost in your eyes, fixed on the deep emotion that they held. It was more than comforting, it soothed every thought and worry he ever had. And he didn’t want to look away or blink because if this was a dream, he’d never want to wake up from it.

Like a river flows surely to the sea,
Darling so it goes,
Some things are meant to be

Nothing outside of this moment mattered. Time truly felt at a halt, on pause just for you two. The bustling of the city below was white noise, not a care for what could possibly be going on.

Take my hand, take my whole life too,
For I can't help falling in love with you.

This felt so different from just a few hours ago, when you two were in the same position, same proximity as now. Without the prying eyes of the people he knew or the pressure of a crowd, it felt much more intimate. Especially after spilling so much of himself to you in the time between and how you did the same. He felt a weight off his chest, and with the way you understood him, he felt light.

Like a river flows surely to the sea,
Darling so it goes,
Some things are meant to be

You felt like you were on a cloud, light as a feather with every small step. The look on his face making the butterflies in your stomach flutter with the small smile that felt genuine. His eyes so full of love, devotion to what was in front of him. And you wanted nothing more than to prove that loving gaze you were sure you reflected.

Take my hand, take my whole life too,
For I can't help falling in love with you

The hands that rested on his shoulders moved a little lower, landing on his chest. You hesitantly drew patterns over it as you leaned forward. You both felt your breathing slow down, Saeran leaning forward just bit more until his lips barely brushed yours. He couldn’t bring himself to close the gap, as if he was scared that you’d break under his touch.

Though, as soon as you noticed his uncertainty, you took the initiative to finally press your lips to his. He froze at the contact, surprised not only at how boldly you claimed his lips, but at the fact that it was happening. A moment he only dreamed about was playing out in front of him. As the initial shock resided, he relaxed into your touch, melting into the kiss.

His hand found the nape of your neck, deepening it without a second thought. His lips soft and sweeter than you expected, moving against yours in a slow, passionate dance that you never wanted to end. You could feel a small smile threatening to spread as he continued.

For I can't help falling in love with you.

This was it, that perfect moment he was waiting for, in the place he most considered home. The instances that led up to it, every time he was about to lean in but had to stop himself, the times he told himself to just wait all built up to this one moment. One he played out in his head a million times since he met you, and it didn’t compare.

And everything about it felt right. You two were in sync with each other, lips perfectly meant for the other. That same spark you felt when you two met reigniting with every little movement until it was a flame that spread a warmth all throughout. You were lightheaded, leaning on him for support because he truly took your breath away.

The soft press of your lips to his was much better than the way he imagined it, and he couldn’t get enough. Never has he wanted to be more selfish than right now, while your body was almost flush against his and trying to pull closer. He was inebriated with you, and he didn’t want it to end.

Though, the overwhelming need to breathe made you two pull away, panting as you two gazed at each other. His hand still rested on your neck, his thumb rubbing your jawline as a wide grin made it’s way to his face.

“You don’t know how long I’ve wanted to do that,” he half-whispered, letting out a small chuckle.

“And you don’t know how long I’ve waited for you to do that,” you retorted, returning the smile, “but to be fair, I did start that.”

“Well I’m just glad it happened,” he responded, the hand that rested on your hip moved to the small of your back to pull you closer, “MC, I, um, I think-“

“I think I’m falling in love with you,” you said, taking the words right out of his mouth. He could only stare wide-eyed, wondering if he heard right. The words he only thought he’d hear in his wildest dreams were said aloud and by you. You said you were in love first and that, above all things, made him feel so whole.

“I-I’m sorry, that might have been too forwar-“

“I’m in love with you too, MC.”

The wide smile that spread on your face made his heart leap, leaning back down to press another kiss to your lips. This time, he took his time to really feel the shape of them, memorizing it as he savored this moment. He never wanted this to end, but he realized you two have been up there a while, pulling away to see the almost drowsy look on your face.

“Do you want to go back in? You must be tired,” he said.

“I’m fine, plus it’s really nice out here. Do you think we can stay out here for a bit?”

“Of course.”

He wasn’t sure how long you two sat out there, gazing at the stars as he wrapped his arms around you and talking for hours, but one thought sat prominently on his mind the entire time. His place, for the first time in his life, finally felt like home.

Chapter Text

Saeran: I’m leaving, we just got to my place.

Saeran: Just do what I told you to.

Saeran has left the chatroom

Saeyoung: Wow…

Saeyoung: Alright, well you heard him.

Saeyoung: You and Yoosung have to clean up the centerpieces and drop them off at the shop.

Saeyoung has left the chatroom

ZEN: -angry emoji-

ZEN: I don’t even have keys to the shop!

ZEN has left the chatroom

“Any word on Saeran?” Yoosung asked, eyeing the red-head from his seat.

“He left with MC,”  Saeyoung sighed, leaning back in his chair, “They’re going back to his place.”

“Why’d he leave?”

“Probably to have some alone time with her, he hasn’t necessarily sat down almost the entire party,” he said, swirling the drink in his hand before knocking it back and glancing at his phone, “And it is now 10:44 pm, which means you’re officially out of the running.”

“We don’t know that they haven’t yet!” Yoosung exclaimed.

“Haven’t what?” V asked, startling the two as they looked up to see the tall figure practically tower over them.

“Oh, it’s nothing to worry abou-“

“Saeyoung!” they heard Zen call from the other direction, approaching the three, “Do you know if they have yet?”

“I don’t think so, I was just telling Yoosung he’s out now,” Saeyoung responded, “But I still have over an hour left so we’ll have to see.”

“Alright, I’ll ask differently,” V piped up once again, “What are you three talking about?”

“It’s nothing, just a silly bet,” Saeyoung said, waving his hand as if to dismiss him but the long silence that fell between was unbearable and awkward as he couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“We bet on when Saeran and MC would kiss!” Yoosung practically blurted out, receiving a wide-eyed and knowing look from Saeyoung and Zen.

“Saeyoung-“

“Look, V, it’s not as bad as you think it is. In fact, I’m rooting for him! Zen’s the one saying it’s not gonna happen at all,” Saeyoung explained, pointing an accusatory finger at the other.

“Woah woah, I never said I was against him,” Zen said, “I just bet that they weren’t going to tonight.”

“That’s still being against him!”

“Well,” Yoosung intervened, “if they are going back to his place, they could be doing more than just kiss...”

“No, Saeran’s really not like that,” V said.

“You’re right and here’s what I think is gonna happen,” Saeyoung said, leaning back in his chair as he eyed the three, “He’s going to take her up to his garden. It’s nice, secluded, and incredibly romantic. They’re going to talk, possibly on that bench he has right in the middle and it’ll make for the perfect setting. It’s going to get real deep and profound. She’s going to say or do something that’s going to set off a million alarms in his brain to just lean in, and then boom! They kiss and I just made 55000 won from each of you because it’ll happen before midnight!”

“You have such a wild imagination, and while I’m glad to see that you believe in him so much,” V said, “I’m not entirely set on it being for personal gain. I’m officially cancelling this bet.”

“Can’t do that unless you’re running it,” Saeyoung chimed.

“You’re right, but I could also inform Saeran about this,” V said, a deceivingly innocent smile on his face as he spoke.

“Alright, alright, it’s off. But V,” Saeyoung said, straightening back up, “I am curious, what do you think?”

“About Saeran and MC?”

“Well, yeah. You’ve essentially raised us, you know us better than anyone. What do you think?”

“To be honest,” V sighed, pausing to see the three’s absolute attention on him, “I’ve never seen Saeran so happy.”

“Really?” Zen asked, almost fascinated at the response.

“Yeah. I hope this works out for him. The way that they talk about each other is really sweet and I’ve never seen two people look at each other like that.”

“Like what?” Yoosung asked.

“Like it was just the two of them. As if no one else in the room mattered, and I’m just glad that he’s found that.”

“What does Rika think?” Yoosung followed up.

“Rika,” V started, hesitant as he thought over his next words, “Might have a differing opinion. I’m sure she just needs some time, but I know she’s not entirely against them.”

“Why would she be against it at all?” Saeyoung asked curiously, though he noticed V almost tense up at the question.

“She’s just very protective of him, just as she is with you or Yoosung, or even the rest of the RFA,” he paused, getting up from his seat abruptly, “Speaking of, I need to find Jumin. I’ll talk you all soon.”

As V walked away, he didn’t notice the curious stares from them as he made his way out of sight. But as V made his way through the crowd, the feeling in the pit of his stomach had him unsettled, nervous as to just what would happen next.

Meanwhile Saeyoung’s eyes never left the crowd, taken aback by the way his father-figure seemed anxious by the mere mention of his fiancé. Though he set that aside, turning to Yoosung and Zen as another thought came to mind.

“Yeah, the bet’s still on.”

Chapter Text

The alarm by his bed rang through the room, quickly fumbling to turn it off as to not disturb the presence next to him. His hands coming up to rub the sleep out of his eyes, adjusting to the sunlight that poured in from the windows. Once he looked over, he noticed the spot next to him, the one you had occupied last night, was empty.

The covers neatly pulled up and no sign of you anywhere else in the room. How he hadn’t noticed you leave was beyond him, hand running through his tousled hair at the vacant feeling. Last night was everything he could have ever hoped for, and now that it was over and you weren’t anywhere in sight, he felt his heart sink a bit.

He fell back into the pillows, reminiscing on every detail of the night. You two stayed up until 3 am, looking at the stars as he held you close to his chest. The excited, yet sleepy look on your face the entire time made his heart do leaps. At one point, he noticed your breathing become deep, the light snoring a dead giveaway that you fell asleep against him.

He carried you back down to his apartment, ready to tuck you into his bed. He planned on sleeping on the couch, but with your sleepy voice asking him to stay and clinging onto him, how could he leave? Your hands held his tightly in your sleep and he couldn’t help but observe. He couldn’t explain the calm that washed over him as he watched your serene face, a small smile on his the entire time. Everything about it felt so natural and candid.

Once he got up and out of bed, the reality hitting him once again, he noticed the folded note that sat on the nightstand. The forget-me-nots he put in your hair sitting next to it, picking them both up and reading over the words you left him.

I had to leave a little early to get to work and I didn’t want to disturb you. Won’t be able to stop by the shop today, but I’ll drop by first thing tomorrow.

And thank you for last night ♥

The smile on his face turning into the widest, goofiest grin. ‘Thank you for last night.’ He really thought he should be the one saying that. You came into his life and made it so much brighter, and last night was one he’ll always look back on with fondness because of you. You truly were something else.

He got ready to go to the shop, taking a quick shower, throwing on his usual button up and pants, with the simple breakfast of a banana hanging off his mouth as he made his way out. His walk to the shop was usually mundane, but today, everything seemed so much brighter. The sun was out, the skip in his step noticeable and the smile as he greeted any passerby was radiant.

Once he was a block short of his destination, he pulled out his phone to see the many notifications that took over his screen. But he quickly put those aside to compose a text.

Here I was hoping to make you breakfast only to read your note. How’d you sleep?’ he typed out and quickly sent, hearing an almost immediate ding.

Like a rock. Did I snore right in your face last night?’ you responded, making him chuckle a bit.

Yeah. It was really cute

Figured. And don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of other chances to make me breakfast soon

A small blush formed on his cheeks at your words, the implication that it wouldn’t be the last filled him with warmth.

‘I’ll have to learn to make something special for you then. I just got to the shop, but I’ll talk to you soon’ he sent, a second of hesitation as he thought of typing something else out.

And thanks for last night. I couldn’t stop thinking about that kiss’ as soon as the words were spelled out, he back-spaced some.

And thanks for last night.’

Putting his phone in his pocket, he opened the door to find his twin there earlier than usual. A wide grin spread on his face, as if he was just waiting for him to walk through that door at any second and looking all too eager to find out what happened. Saeran only walked passed him, putting on his apron and ignoring the attentive gaze that was on him.

“Good morning, weird to see you here so early,” Saeran said, breaking the silence and avoiding eye contact.

“Oh well I thought that I’d let you sleep in, you did have a guest over after all,” he responded, eyeing him and trying to bait some sort of response or hint at something.

“I guess I did,” was all he could bring himself to say, biting back a smile at the thought. Though once Saeyoung noticed, he practically pounced.

“So something did happen between you two last night!” he exclaimed, pointing an accusing finger at him.

“It’s not like that,” Saeran said, lowering the other’s finger, “We just stayed up late talking.”

“Nothing else? What did you two even talk about?”

“I got to know her. What she’s like, where she’s from, what makes her feel warm, what makes her tick, and everything in-between. I’ve never met someone whose every word I hung onto, that captivated me so fully, and I just wanted to hear more,” he mused, looking off almost dreamily before they met Saeyoung’s questioning eyes again, “And we may have kissed.”

“You two kissed?!”

“To be fair, she initiated it,” he said casually, “But we did, and it was everything I hoped for and more.”

“Okay, that’s sweet and all, but I have so many questions. First, what time exactly did that happen? Second-“

“Why does the time matter?”

“Nevermind that, but what does this mean for you two?” Saeyoung asked, the giddy smile on his face only getting wider.

“I, um, I’m not sure. I mean I told her that I was falling in love with her and-“

“Woah wait, you told her you loved her?! What did she say??”

“Well she said it firs-“

“She said it first?! Zen was so confident that you two wouldn’t kiss, this has to get me an extra few won,” Saeyoung more said to himself before meeting the glare coming from his twin, “Sorry, so what does this mean? Are you two dating now?”

“I would hope so. I’ll probably talk to her about it tomorrow since she’s stopping by, but I was thinking of sending her some flowers in the meantime. A bouquet of heartsease would be perfect.”

Saeyoung looked at him, he smiled knowingly as he waited for a response.

“You occupy my thoughts.”

“And you said you two ‘just talked,’” he teased, emphasizing his last words with air quotes, “Wait till the other’s hear about this.”

“Can you let me tell them? I would rather it come from me than whatever ideas are going through your mind right now.”

“Alright, but you should probably do it soon. Everyone’s been asking questions all morning,” Saeyoung said, picking up the list of orders and disappearing to the backroom, leaving Saeran alone at the front of the shop.

He let out a sigh, grinning to himself once again as he pulled out his phone. Sure enough, the notifications he had before seem to have doubled since last he checked. And just as he expected, they were all from RFA members. Primarily, Rika. And just as he opened the chatroom, he noticed only one person on, Zen.

Saeran has entered the chatroom

ZEN: Saeran!

ZEN: I was afraid you had gotten kidnapped or were going awol

ZEN: Everything okay?

Saeran: Yeah, everything is fine.

Saeran: Actually more than fine, if I’m being honest.

ZEN: Is this about last night?

ZEN: We’re all wondering what happened,

ZEN: but I’m sure you got bombarded by your brother with questions this morning

Saeran: I actually came on here to talk about it.

Saeran: I’m sure you guys have some questions,

Saeran: and I’m sorry to anyone I’ve worried.

Saeran: I just needed to spend some time with MC alone

ZEN: You two went back to your place, right?

ZEN: Did she spend the night?

Saeran: Yes, she did.

ZEN: Did you two…

Saeran: No, we didn’t.

ZEN: Kiss?

Saeran: Oh

Saeran: Yes, we did.

ZEN: -shocked emoji-

ZEN: WHAT?!

ZEN: -angry emoji-

ZEN: I am not going to hear the end of this from Saeyoung…

Saeran: What?

ZEN: Don’t worry about it.

ZEN: I just want to hear more

Rika has entered the chatroom

Rika: I knew I’d reach you here at some point.

Rika: Listen,

Saeran: Rika, it’s whatever.

Rika: It’s not whatever!

Rika: I really want to apologize for last night.

Rika: I shouldn’t have judged MC so quickly, she obviously means a lot to you.

Rika: And truly, I am happy to see you find someone!

Rika: I just let my judgement get the better of me and thought I knew what was best for you.

Rika: And I’m really sorry about that.

His shoulders fell slightly, a tension he didn’t know he was holding onto release. While he wanted to think that he would have been fine without her approval, he couldn’t deny that it hurt. But seeing her come around was all he could really ask for. 

Saeran: Thank you…

Saeran: And I’m sorry as well.

Saeran: I’m sure once you get to know her, you’ll like her too!

Rika: I hope that I get the opportunity to.

Rika: I do have to run, but thank you for hearing me out.

Rika: And I’m glad to see that you two had fun last night.

Rika has left the chatroom

ZEN: I’m not sure what happened…

ZEN: and I know she seemed really upset about it

ZEN: But I’m glad you two made up

ZEN: Anyways, I still want to know how your date went last night

ZEN: We need details!

Saeran: Maybe soon.

Saeran: I have to get going

Saeran: Have to get back to tending the shop

Saeran: But I’ll talk to you later

Saeran: Especially considering I know that you placed a bet against me

Saeran: We’ll have to have a chat soon (:

Saeran has left the chatroom

He could only smile as he put his phone away, getting to work on the bouquet he was about to have Saeyoung deliver to you. All day, that smile never left. With every customer he greeted, with every bouquet and arrangement he made, and even with the tedious tasks he did around the shop, that smile never seemed to fade.

~

The day was starting to wind down, shop emptied out of customers to leave the twins alone to close up. The bounce in Saeran’s step never faltered, smiling to himself at the constant thought that you were his. You belonged to him. And that thought, more than anything, made him feel a sense of joy he hadn’t before, a comfort and security to have someone like you at his side. Just the thought of you brought him a calm like no other.

He approached the door, ready to lock it only to see an envelope taped to it from the outside. A blank, white envelope with no writing on the outside, no return address or name to know who it was for. But he guessed that since it was taped at his door, it was probably his. He eyed it suspiciously as he slowly opened it, revealing a note scribbled on by a handwriting that looked familiar, but he couldn’t place it.

As he read it, he felt his heart drop, hands shaking almost violently as he read the note over and over to be sure of what it said. He felt frozen in place, but he wanted to run, to get away from here. His eyes finally tore from the paper, wide and darting back and forth around him before he moved to the door, looking around for someone, anyone that could have hinted at who left it there. Even without seeing a single soul outside, he had the unnerved feeling of being watched. Fear running through him in a rush, his breathing became unsteady and panicked. ‘This can’t be true,’ he thought repeatedly, but the letter said otherwise.

“Saeyoung!” he called out frantically, “Saeyoung!”

“What? What is it?” he asked coming out from the backroom, confused at this sudden distress. Saeran silently held out the note for him, taking it in his own hands to read what could possibly have him worked up like this. Looking over the words, he quickly understood.

“Who left this?” Saeyoung asked, his voice unsteady as he said it.

“I-I’m not sure, it was taped to the door. What do we do?”

“I don’t know,” he replied, looking back down at the note, “We need to talk to V.”

“Do you think that will solve anything? Do you really think he’ll have an answer to this?!” Saeran asked, his voice raising out of pure frustration.

“He has to know something,” Saeyoung said, much more collected than his twin was, “we just need to stay calm.”

“I can’t, Saeyoung! What if he sent this?! I’m finally happy and I don’t want to lose that because of him,” an anger bubbling in his chest before he thought about what that truly meant, “What if he gets to MC first?”

“That’s not going to happen.”

“How do you know that?! She’s supposed to be safe, she can’t go through what we did, I can’t let that happen!”

“I know, and we’ll figure this out, okay?” Saeyoung tried to reassure, his hands landing on either side of his brother’s shoulder to look him in the eyes.

Saeran’s breathing felt labored as he tried to steady it, the initial shock of it all washing away to leave him more scared than he had ever been in his life. Though he knew Saeyoung was just as scared. He may have sounded calm and at ease, but the shaky and fearful look in his eyes contradicted his words. He knew it was best to not press on.

“I’m sorry,” was all he could say, averting his gaze back down to the letter in Saeyoung’s hand and taking it back, “We’ll talk to V first.”

“Everything will be fine, just please trust me,” Saeyoung said before returning to his work, leaving Saeran alone at the front of the shop with words he wanted so desperately to believe. That didn’t stop the fear he was feeling, the weight in his chest or the thoughts that flooded of what was to come. What this would mean for his shop, the RFA, or most importantly, to you. He looked back down at the letter, reading the words carefully one more time to be sure of what it said.

I know you’re the prime minister’s illegitimate sons. You can’t hide behind your flowers and organization forever…

Chapter Text

As soon as the door closed behind him, Saeyoung leaned against it to steady himself. His knees threatening to buckle under him as hot tears spilled. His hand clasped over his mouth, trying to suppress the sobs so his brother wouldn’t hear. ’This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening,’ he thought to himself repeatedly. The tight feeling in his chest making it hard to breath properly and his brain finally processing the gravity of the situation.

There were few moments in their life that brought on a fear like this. A handful of instances where they thought this exact thing would happen. Those few times someone would recognize them or he thought they had found them out only for it to be a coincidence or fluke. But he should have known what this man was capable of, how powerful his influence could be.

The panic was evident as he fumbled for his phone, quickly dialing the only person he could think to turn to. His mind racing with all sorts of outcomes as he heard the ringing on the line before a short ‘hello’ cut his thoughts.

“V! We need to talk, are you home?”

“Yes, but what’s going on?” V asked, taken aback to hear the distress in his voice.

“I-I think he found us, and I think he’s gonna do something. V, we’ve been so careful, I don’t know how this happened,” he stammered, choking back sobs as he continued.

“Saeyoung, take a deep breath and tell me what’s going on.”

“Someone left a note at our door telling us they knew who our father was. I can’t tell who wrote it, but I have a feeling it might have been him.” 

“Come over as soon as you can and bring the note. And please be careful.”

“O-Okay, I’ll see you soon,” not waiting for a response, his hand fell to his side in a defeated manner. It was like he could see the pieces of his life that were held together tightly for years crumbling in front of him. The life he built to desperately protect his brother, the one important thing in his life, was falling from his grasp.

He collected his thoughts, trying to compose himself before he had to face his twin once again. He knew he had to be put on the brave face for the two, to be the rationale one in this situation. But his mind couldn’t help but wander to all the worst case scenarios, just how exactly this all could play out if they weren’t careful.

As his hand wrapped around the door handle to face his twin, he put those thoughts aside, knowing that in this moment, they just had to talk to V. He could solve this. He could figure out what to do. He’s going to know exactly how to handle this.

Opening the door to see Saeran, he could see the panic in his every little movement. His hands were shaking with every action, an unspoken tension thick in the air. Saeyoung was sure that the two were thinking the same thing, ‘how could this be happening?

“I, uh, I just talked to V,” Saeyoung said, breaking the long-standing silence. He could see the wheels turning in Saeran’s mind as he looked up for a second before returning to the work at hand.

“We’re going over once you’re done here.”

“Alright,” was all he could bring himself to say after a long pause, but even with just that, Saeyoung could hear the absolute fear underneath it.

Once they locked up shop, they made the trek over to V’s. The utter silence in the air between the two was nerve-wracking as they walked side by side. The most unsettling was the sullen demeanor they both had, each lost in their own thoughts without so much as a word spoken. They both knew what the other was thinking, but couldn’t bring themselves to talk about it out loud, instead glancing over at each other.

To the outside perspective, they looked nervous, as if they were constantly on guard. It was evident in the way Saeran jumped with every little sound he heard, looking around to make sure it was nothing and how Saeyoung’s hand toyed with the cross around his neck, mouthing the silent prayer looping in his mind.

As they neared V’s house, Saeran could feel an unsettling aura coming from the place. He wasn’t sure if it was the circumstance, or being there so late at night, but it had his every nerve on edge. Just as the two reached the steps and knocked on the door, Saeran heard a ‘ding’ coming from his pocket, startling him for a second before he realized it was his phone. Looking at the screen, he saw your name along with a text— a sincere smile forming as he read it.

The flowers you sent are beautiful, you are so sweet to have done that <3 Would have loved to have seen you deliver them, but Saeyoung told me you were busy. Anyways, I’ve got two-lips I’d like to deliver to you tomorrow morning so I’ll see you then!

The smile on his face when he read it quickly faded as he physically felt his heart wrench. Every word of it was like a needle that pricked at his skin through no fault of your own. He wanted nothing but to protect you in all this, to make sure they couldn’t get to you. You, of all people, shouldn’t be put in danger like he is.

Before he could think of a response, the front opened to the tall, mint-haired man.

“Come in,” he gestured as he took a step aside, ushering the two in. They wasted no time in entering and shutting the door behind them, handing over the letter for V to read.

As he looked over the note, the twins took one look around the room and noticed that it seemed emptier. A place they considered their home away from home looked and felt a little off in this moment. Though one missing piece did seem to stand out from the rest.

“Where’s Rika?” Saeyoung asked, saying aloud what they were both thinking.

“She’s out of town at the moment,” he responded nonchalantly, still examining the paper at hand.

“Day after the party?” Saeran pressed, brows knitting in his direction.

“It was, uh, an emergency,” he paused, “but it’s nothing to worry about.”

“Alright,” Saeran said, watching V as he continued to look over the note. He looked as if he was trying to decipher the letters themselves rather than the message put together. An intense, scrutinizing gaze on his features that could burn holes through the paper.

After a few minutes, though it felt like an eternity, V looked up from the note to meet the twins’ face. His expression was unreadable, looking at it once more before shaking his head.

“I know this is going to sound weird and a little alarming, but you don’t have to worry about this,” he said simply, earning a ‘what’ in unison.

“Trust me when I tell you that I know exactly who left this and you don’t have to worry, I’ll take care of it.”

“What do you mean you know? Who left this?!” Saeran asked, his voice getting louder with every word.

“I’m afraid I can’t tell you, it’ll only cause more problems. I know this sounds odd, and I understand that this is scary-“

“Scared doesn’t even begin to cover what I’ve felt in the last few hours!” Saeran intervened, a frustration bubbling in his chest, “Do you not understand what this man can do?! If he sent this, we’re in danger! He has the whole country at his fingertips, if he comes for us, it’s not just Saeyoung and me!”

“He didn’t send this.”

“Then who did?!”

“I can’t tell you that, please just trust me.”

“V, I can’t trust you if you don’t tell me! Who the hell sent this?! Who knows that he’s our father?!?”

“Saeran, I think we should go-“

“I’m not leaving until I get an answer! Who left it, V?!”

He was locked in V’s colorless gaze, searching for a hint of resolve or answer only to be met with eyes that were begging. Begging for trust or forgiveness he still couldn’t tell, but they at least held some of the V he came to know. It held the smallest amount of fear, but fronted with a cool and collected demeanor. And with that, Saeran almost knew what he had to do.

“Okay,” Saeran sighed after a minute, much more calm than before, “I’ll trust you. But you have to promise me you can take care of this.”

“I promise I’ll resolve this.”

“And promise me that no one around us is going to get hurt because of this,” Saeran said, much more serious. A silent plea in his eyes to let him know just who he meant.

“I promise no one will get hurt, especially not MC,” V said without a hint of a waver in his declaration, leaving Saeran silent for a minute as he eyed the taller man.

“Saeyoung, let’s go,” he said simply, turning on his heel towards the door, the red-head following shortly behind and leaving V alone with the letter.

Once they left and were out of sight, Saeran couldn’t quite shake a feeling that he knew Saeyoung had to be thinking about. A gnawing feeling in the pit of his gut that he wanted to avoid, but it only seemed to multiply from that interaction.

“Do you think V’s been a little different these last few months?” Saeran asked, breaking the silence.

“It could have to do with what happened to his eyes,” Saeyoung responded, “But that doesn’t explain why Rika’s been so different too.”

“Yeah,” he said, pausing as he thought over his next words, “I just can’t shake the feeling that something is going to happen, or maybe something has already happened.”

“I hate to agree, but I get that feeling as well,” he said, avoiding eye contact as they kept walking, “What are we gonna do now?”

“I think we should lay low for a bit. I don’t want to distrust V, but there just isn’t something right and I don’t want to risk anything. We won’t be opening the shop for a while.”

Saeyoung fell silent, thinking over those last words. The shop means everything to him, more than he leads on. For him to close it, even for a few days, must mean he’s beyond terrified.

Chapter Text

The small smile on your face, the skip in your step, and the faster-than-usual drumming in your chest never wavered from the moment you stepped out your apartment to right around the corner the shop. You were beaming, ecstatic to see your favorite florist. To see the smile that captivated your heart. To hear his voice say your name in a way that was so pure. To let your lips do the talking as you pull him close for another kiss.

All these thoughts filled you to the brim with excitement, wanting nothing more than to just see him already. Though once you reached the shop, you noticed the lights were off, door locked, and the ‘open’ sign unturned. The hours on the door indicated that they should be open, but there wasn’t even a note with an explanation.

You looked to the door for a second, a downhearted demeanor taking over the previous confusion before you pulled out your phone. Quickly finding the number you were looking for, you started composing a text.

Hey, just saw the shop is closed, everything okay?

From under the covers of his bed, Saeran jumped at the sound of his phone and quickly settled once he realized it was just a text. Reaching for his phone, he felt his chest leap to see your name. A small smile on his face as he read over your words, happy to see you care for him so much but quickly realizing that it’ll only make this harder.

His fingers tapped out several responses, all varying and contradicting the last.

I’m fine, please don’t worry about me.

Leave me alone, never talk to me again.

I love you and I want to protect you in all of this.

With a sigh, he backspaced every message with heavy heart. He couldn’t find it in him to give you a direct answer, instead burying himself further in his layers. He knew he had to respond sooner or later, but he just couldn’t in this moment.

~

Closed for a second day in a row with still no sign or indication as to why. You had yet to hear from Saeran, wondering if he received your messages at all. The worry you felt yesterday only seeming to increase tenfold, composing another text to try and alleviate it.

You must be feeling really sick to have not come for two days, hope everything is fine. And text me back soon, okay?

He sank further into his covers upon reading your words, an involuntary groan from his growing frustration. Truly, he wanted nothing more than to run to you, to see you with his own two eyes and hold you close cause he was sure you could make everything okay just by being in your presence. But he knew that was unfair.

Unfair to put you in this situation, unfair to see you worry for him like this, unfair to leave you in the dark like he was. He kept telling himself this was best, that you’d grow tired and leave on your own accord, the way it should be. He just had to wait it out, he thought as he set his phone down once again.

~

Saeran stirred in his bed, having not moved from it in almost 3 days, save for moving about. Even then, he wouldn’t leave the threshold of his apartment. He wasn’t sure what awaited him out there, but he didn’t want to risk it.

He had yet to hear anything from V, all sorts of questions piling up as the days went by. Whether he truly took care of it or not Saeran still wasn’t sure, but the long-standing silence only made his worry grow.

All he wanted in this moment was to see you, to have you close and comfort him. To hear your voice sooth his worries and press his lips to yours again, even for a few seconds. Nothing would make him happier than seeing you right now.

The phone on his side gave a short ‘ding’ through the room, reaching for it before seeing another text from you.

I’m coming over, I have to know you’re okay.

At those words, he bolted up from his spot, eyes wide and reading over your words. You couldn’t come here, it’d be too dangerous. If anything were to happen to you, he would never be able to forgive himself. Pacing about the room, he tried piecing together words he hoped would calm you down.

I’m fine, please don’t worry about me

Your reply was almost instantaneous.

But I am. I need to see with my own eyes that you’re alright.

He quickly slumped back down to his bed, defeated by your persistence. It was something he always adored about you, but he wondered why it had to be for him. He knew he had to come out of hiding, at least for just one day and for your sake.

I’ll be at the shop tomorrow, you can see me then. I’m really sorry to worry you, I just want you to be safe because I love you.

His thumb quickly went to backspace some.

I’ll be at the shop tomorrow, you can see me then. I’m really sorry to worry you.

Sending it with a sigh, he quickly got a response.

I’ll see you then. And you better be sorry >:(

He chuckled to see you still make light of this. A situation you knew nothing about and you still managed to calm his nerves. You were far too good to him, much more than he thought he deserved. Before he could think of a response, another text brought him out of his thoughts.

I just love you and I want to know that you’re safe.

At those words, he felt his heart break. He loves you, more than he could vocalize. But he knew that if he truly loved you, he had to protect you from everything that surrounded him. And if you knew the situation he was in, you’d try to help. But you didn’t deserve to get wrapped up in this mess. He wanted to make you happy, to give you his everything, but he had to make sure you were safe, first and foremost.

He constantly wondered these last few days how the world could be so cruel to him. His thoughts were going back and forth on whether he should tell you everything going on or not. All he could bring himself to do was text Saeyoung and let him know that they’re opening shop tomorrow.

~

At the sound of every chime by the door, Saeran practically jumped out of his skin. He was constantly on guard, much more aware and attentive to every little movement going on around him. Constantly watching the door with a cautious gaze.

Saeyoung, on the other hand, seemed much more collected. He was still nervous, but not as much as his twin. The tinge in his chest grew with every time he saw his brother jump, knowing that this was eating him alive, evident in the dark circles and distant look in his eyes.

Neither of them wanting to address the elephant in the room, instead getting back to the work they abandoned for a few days. The shop itself had collected a few dead flowers in their absence, though nothing they couldn’t recover from.

With every passing hour, the shop seemed to get quieter. The deafening silence all throughout left them both unsettled, as if they were experiencing the calm before a storm.

“Do you know when she’ll be stopping by?” Saeyoung asked, breaking the silence in the room as he eyed the other.

“Not sure,” he replied simply.

“Are you gonna tell her what’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” he paused before continuing, “I don’t want her to get involved in this. Her life shouldn’t be at risk because of me. But-“

“But you don’t want to see her go,” he intervened, finishing Saeran’s sentence, “I understand.”

“Am I being selfish to think that?”

“No. You’re being honest.”

“What if staying with me gets her hurt?”

“Look, V said-“

“I don’t care what V says!” Saeran retorted, surprising his twin, “I’ll do what I have to do to ensure her safety, even if it means setting aside my good-for-nothing feelings.”

Before Saeyoung could respond, the bell at the door rang. Upon locking eyes with you, they could both see the amount of worry that ran heavy on your mind. You looked at Saeran as if you were in disbelief, though relieved to see him.

At that, Saeyoung made his way to the backroom quietly to give you two space. Once you two were alone, you noticed the fatigued look on his face, increasing your concern.

“Saeran,” you said just above a whisper. Inching towards him, you saw him avert his gaze from yours, flinching at your every step. You weren’t sure what was going on, but something didn’t feel right.

Chapter Text

“Saeran,” you said just above a whisper. Inching towards him, you saw him avert his gaze from yours, flinching at your every step. You weren’t sure what was going on, but something didn’t feel right.

As you got closer, your steps grew faster, finally wrapping your arms around him, “I was so worried! Why didn’t you answer my texts?”

His hands stayed by his side, wanting so badly to hold you back but he couldn’t. If he wanted to make this easier, he knew he shouldn’t.

“Saeran,” you said, pulling back a bit to meet his eyes. He looked distant, cold even. Your fingers instinctively went to graze over his dark circles, cupping his face in your hands to feel the heat radiating off it.

“Are you okay?”

This was a loaded question. He wasn’t, not even a little bit. He couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t eat, and he couldn’t stop worrying about you. But he desperately wanted to be okay. If he was going to tell you, now would be the perfect opportunity to. But he couldn’t bring himself to be that selfish.

“I’m…fine,” he said, “You need to go.”

“What?” you asked, searching his face a hint that he was joking, “What do you mean I have to go?”

“You have to leave,” he said harshly, grabbing your hand and pulling it away from his face.

“Saeran, I dont understa-“

“What is there not to understand? Leave.”

“I’m not going to leave until you tell me what’s going on,” you said sternly.

“It’s nothing, just leave.”

“Am I not important enough for you to tell me?”

Those words stung. Of course you were important to him. You meant the world to him and more. But that’s the problem, you’re too important to him. You couldn’t get hurt because of him. He had to avert his eyes to continue.

“You’re right, you’re not important to me,” he practically hissed, continuing to avoid your gaze. He couldn’t look.

“What?”

“You’re not important to me. Whatever happened a few nights ago, whatever feelings that may have brought on, mean nothing to me.”

“Saeran, you don’t mean that,” you whispered, hoping it’d stop the crack in your voice but it was still there. As soon as Saeran heard it, he physically felt his heart wrench. Everything in him wanted to stop, to pull you close and assure you he didn’t mean any of it.

“But I do. I’m sorry.”

He really was sorry. He was sorry to be hurting you with these lies right now. He was sorry that you two couldn’t have more time together. And he was sorry that you had to fall for him without knowing what the repercussions to that could be.

“So when you would give me all those flowers that always had some sort of deep meaning,” you said, pausing to see the look on his face as he took in your words. He stayed silent.

“All those times we looked at each other like nothing else in the room mattered,” you continued, inching closer only for him to continue staring away from you.

“When you told me everything about yourself and I did the same,” your hand reached for his arm, but he took a step back.

“When you told me you loved me,” you said, your eyes pleading for him to look in your direction but he still chose not to, “That all really meant nothing to you?”

The air in the room felt thick, still as you noticed his pained expression before it shifted to a blank slate. He looked as if he was searching his mind for some sort of answer only to come up short. Every passing second, you could feel your chest getting tighter, making it hard to breathe.

“It didn’t mean anything to me,” he finally said, his gaze still fixed down.

“At least look me in the eyes and tell me it didn’t.”

As soon as he looked up, he saw the tears pooling in the corner of your eyes. The quiver on your bottom lip and the way your hands clasped together over your chest almost broke him completely. His eyes softened for a second when he saw that you were in so much pain, and it tore at him to realize that he was the cause of it. And it took every bit of his composure to not give up the act.

This was for the best,’ he reminded himself.

“It didn’t mean anything to me,” he repeated.

At that, he could practically see the composure you tried so hard to hold together collapse. Tears staining your cheeks, the look in your eyes letting him know he broke your heart. Before he even had a chance to react, you turned on your heel and paced towards the door for what he knew would be the last time.

“I, um,” you paused, turning back around to face him, “I hope that whatever is going on, whatever it is you’re not telling me, that you’ll come out of it fine. Goodbye Saeran.”

The chime above the door the only sound in the room as he was left alone. Once you were out of sight, he could feel his frustration bubbling up, hot tears that collected in his eyes finally falling. His fists clenched and slammed on the counter next to him, leaning onto it for support. He didn’t realize just how blurred his vision was from the tears until he was choking back sobs.

His heart felt like it was in a million pieces, all scattered on the floor. He couldn’t quite pin everything he was feeling in this moment, but at the thought of never seeing you again, he felt a gaping void. To never hear your voice again, to never hold you close, or to never see the smile that made everything feel alright made him feel empty.

And all he could tell himself was this was for the best.

Chapter Text

“I, um…I hope that whatever is going on, whatever it is you’re not telling me, that you’ll come out of it fine. Goodbye Saeran.”

Saeyoung’s heart felt heavy for his brother as he heard those words. Watching from the door, he could see Saeran felt the same way as he practically collapsed against the counter, tears quickly falling and staining the surface.

Carefully, Saeyoung came out of hiding and took easy steps towards his twin. With every inch he approached, he could feel the tension in the room become heavier. He was unsure of just what to do to comfort him in this moment, or whether he’d want that right now. He could only interrupt the other with the first thing on his mind.

“You didn’t tell MC.”

“I couldn’t. As soon as I saw her, I was reminded of every reason I fell in love with her,” Saeran paused, taking in a deep breath as he straightened up a bit, “And I was also reminded of how angry I would be with myself if anything were to happen to her. I just couldn’t subject her to that.”

With that, Saeyoung could see the bloodshot eyes he tried hiding behind an uncaring gaze, the obvious pain he was trying to push down in his presence.

“But did you really need to go that far?” Saeyoung questioned, “V said he was taking care of it, you could have told her-“

“I haven’t heard a thing from V in the last few days. So unless I hear from V that everything is taken care of, that our father’s not behind this and this is just some cruel joke someone is playing on us, then I’m not going to be selfish enough to let MC get hurt.”

“But you ended up hurting her!” Saeyoung’s voice raised, “She ran out of here crying because of you! Do you not see the contradiction here?”

“Nothing I did could compare to what might happen so just drop it,” Saeran practically hissed.

“I can’t just drop it, you know you didn’t mean anything you said to MC just now!”

“Of course I didn’t! Everything we had meant more to me than I could say!” Saeran huffed, his tense demeanor easing as he looked at Saeyoung, “All those loving looks we ever gave each other eased every worry and doubt in my mind. Every flower I gave her always had a piece of my heart with it and I could always tell she knew with the way she handled them with care. And I had never been more sure about anything in my life than when I told her I loved her.”

The tremble in his voice as he spoke increased with every word, his lip quivering as he sucked in a breath to keep his composure. A still silence filled the room and made it hard for him to calm his nerves, as if a dam was waiting to break and collapse within him. Once he gripped the tides of his emotions, he looked back to his twin to see the pained expression on his features before he spoke.

“Saeran, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s just something I have to do if I truly love MC. I have to think about what’s best for her and not be thoughtless enough to weigh her down with this.”

“I get that you’re trying to protect her, but doesn’t this hurt you too?”

“It does, it hurts so much,” he said with a forced laugh, “But it’s going to hurt much more if it got to a point where I couldn’t prevent it.”

“And what are you going to do if this all gets resolved and you realize you pushed MC away completely?”

“Even if this situation gets resolved, even if this is just someone trying to scare us, that doesn’t eliminate the chance of it happening again. He’s in a powerful position and he will find us sooner or later. If it isn’t now, its a year or two or ten. It’s inevitable.”

“You know I wouldn’t let that happen.”

“But this is beyond us, Saeyoung. As much as I want to believe that we’d keep each other safe, what surrounds us is far beyond our control.” He pushed himself off the counter, walking right passed his twin towards the backroom, “We should get back to work. The shop won’t be opening again for another while so we should get some stuff in order for our absence.”

He walked off with heavy steps, dragging his feet along the floor till he was out of sight. Never had he seen his brother so defeated, beaten down to the point of this hollowed person he quickly became in a matter of days. It was a jarring sight to see the usually upbeat demeanor become despondent and powerless to the situation at hand.

Saeyoung couldn’t help but think this was getting out of hand. This was all happening over a letter that they were assured came from someone who wasn’t entirely a threat, or so they were told.

Pulling out his phone, he dialed V’s number to get some reassurance or an answer that was a bit more clear than a ‘just trust me.’ With every ring, his patience wore thinner until it reached his answering machine, sighing as he hung up.

~

Every passing hour made his frustration grow, one call after the other until it became thirteen unanswered calls. Once it came time to close up, Saeyoung sweeping the shop as Saeran tended to the greenhouse, he checked his phone to see if maybe he called back at some point only to see nothing

‘What the hell could V be doing?’ he thought to himself. Pocketing his phone, he looked up to notice an envelope taped to the door. That same, unaddressed envelope that turned their world upside down the first time and it found it’s way back to the shop door.

Saeyoung’s heart felt like it was in his throat, pumping rapidly as his hands fumbled to open the letter. Sure enough, it was that same handwriting with a just as unnerving message scribbled on.

‘Hiding is no use, we’ll find you two either way.’

The fear he was feeling this time didn’t seem to come from the same place, an intense gaze examining the words carefully. This didn’t come from their father or any henchmen he may have, no matter how convincing it may seem. The writing seemed all too familiar.

“All the flowers have been tended to, Yoosung has the extra keys to come water them, and we’re good to leave,” Saeran listed off as he paced back into the room. Saeyoung shoved the note into his pocket before he could notice, looking back up at him with obvious bewilderment.

“Is something wrong?”

“Aside from what’s already going on? No, nothing,” he replied a bit sardonically, continuing to shove the letter further into his pocket.

“Alright…” Saeran said, a hint of skepticism in his tone, though quickly moving to start closing up. As they locked up, Saeyoung noticed the pensive look on his face, brows knitted together as he mouthed aloud his inner thoughts before turning to his twin.

“We’re lucky nothing happened today but we need to be careful from here on out so text me as soon as your home.”

“As long as you don’t cut me off for my own safety.”

“I’m serious. I need to know that you got home safe,” he retorted, eyes pleading with him to understand.

“Alright I will, just…let me know when you get home too, okay? And get some rest, you look too tired to be nagging me right now.”

“Okay,” Saeran sighed, turning on his heel towards the opposite direction. Just as he took one step, he turned back around with one final thought. “I’ll let you know if I hear anything from V.”

Saeyoung simply nodded before turning in his own direction, bidding him a quick farewell and walking off. Once he was out of sight, he pulled out the crumpled piece of paper and his phone, dialing V’s number one last time.

“Hi, you’ve reached V’s answering machine. Sorry I couldn’t answer your call at the moment, but if you leave your name and number, I’ll call you back at my earliest convenience,” the line on the other side said immediately before even ringing, followed by a beep.

“V, it’s Saeyoung. I don’t know why you haven’t answered one of my twenty calls, but I need to talk to you as soon as possible. I’m coming over, I just need some answers right now.”

Hanging up and putting his phone away, he continued making his way to V’s place, set on getting something out of him tonight. Though the entire walk, he couldn’t quite shake the feeling of being watched, as if someone was following and observing his every move as he went. Memorizing every step and turn of his movement, even relishing in the way his nerves seemed on edge.

He shook those thoughts once he was a block short, a frustration at the lack of response taking its place. He mentally collected all the question he had mulled over for days now, set on not hearing anything short of the truth. He needed to know if his hunch was correct.

Just as he had reached his destination, he noticed all the lights were off and no hint at anyone being home. His head lulled back in annoyance, hoping this didn’t mean he had to turn around. Reaching the door, his hand extended to knock on it loud enough for anyone inside to hear.

The buzzing he felt against his pocket had him hopeful, though he settled back once he saw it was Saeran.

I just got home. Please let me know when you’re home too.

Looking back up, he took note of the stillness, not a stir or sound coming from within. No one was home. His shoulders slumped, feeling completely defeated. Though as he turned, an idea occurred— looking back down at the rock by the door. He wasn’t proud of the idea, but he thought that if he needed to, he could justify it by telling them it was an emergency.

A second of hesitation and he picked it up, ready to find the nearest window until he felt how light it was. It felt oddly like plastic, turning it over to find it hollowed out with a spare key sitting inside.

Once he took it out, he wasted no time in unlocking the door, silently thankful that he didn’t have to resort to breaking and entering. A few steps in and he felt a chill run down his spine at the sight of an empty, dark home. He wasn’t sure if it was because he was here so late or no one was here, but it felt all the more unsettling.

He pulled out his phone one more time, composing a text and sending it promptly.

‘Relax, I’m home.

He felt a bit weird about lying to Saeran, but he knew that he needed to. In order to find their peace of mind, to settle just what was going on, Saeyoung had to figure this out on his own.

The only thing he could think to do was take back the first letter and compare it to the current one, find any hint at who could have left these. He took slow, cautious steps towards where he suspected the letter to be, unsure of why he felt the need to be so delicate in his actions.

Once he reached the living room, he flipped the light on to see the letter sitting plainly out on the coffee table among other notes. The same unnerving message scribbled out on it made him remember just how scared he felt that night.

As he picked it up, his eyes involuntarily scanned over the others that lay before him. They all had the same handwriting as the one in his hand and the one in his pocket, but there were so many more. And his eyes widened to see the varying threats that were similar to the ones they received.

Opening up a shop and hiding behind an organization will never cover up your past.

MC seems to be someone you hold in high regard. From what we’ve observed, we can see why…

We’re closer than you think.

“Saeyoung?”

The voice came from behind, startling him as he scrambled to shove the note in his pocket. Turning around, he was met with curious green eyes, watching him like a prey she just cornered. It was an almost unbearable gaze, averting his eyes to the floor.

“Rika, I didn’t know you were home,” he almost stumbled over his words, shifting uncomfortably as she inched just a bit closer, eyeing him suspiciously.

“What are you doing here?”

“I, uh, needed to talk to V, but I guess he’s not home,” he replied, collecting his composure as he looked up to meet her eyes again, “But maybe you can answer this, why do you two have so many of these letters? Where are they coming from?”

“Listen, I know it looks concerning, but we’re getting to the bottom of this, okay?”

“V said he knew exactly who left the first one, so what do you mean you’re getting to the bottom of it? If you already know-“

“I said we’re taking care of it, you don’t have to concern yourself with this,” her words bordering more on cautioning than comforting.

“That doesn’t explain why there are so many, why do you have all these?”

“They piled up at the door of the shop while you two were gone,” she recounted, “We thought it’d be best to take it and inspect them.”

“There’s a lot more here than just a few days worth,” he retorted, “And how did you know we were gone? We never mentioned it in the chat.”

“I,” she paused, thinking over her words carefully, “just…had a hunch you two would be gone so I stopped by yesterday and saw all of those.”

Every answer she gave seemed to be a rehearsed response she had memorized and ready to to give. She seemed in-genuine and mechanical, her tone holding no emotion and frustrating him further when he realized he wasn’t going to get a direct answer out of her. Though he knew he had to ask one last thing.

“Where’s V? Why hasn’t he been answering my calls?”

“He’s out of town on a business trip. I’m not sure when he’ll be back though.”

“He left? With everything going on right now, why didn’t he let us know?”

“I guess he just didn’t think anything of it, but I’m still here to help. I promise I’ll figure this all out soon,” she insisted, inching closer with a uncanny smile, “You can always trust me, Saeyoung.”

“Alright,” he paused, looking between her and the door before he started moving towards it, “Well I should get going before-“

“Leave the note,” she deadpanned. Saeyoung stopped in his tracks, looking back at Rika in confusion only to be met with a blank expression on her face.

As he neared the coffee table once again, he took out the crumpled piece of paper and placed it among the pile. Her eyes observed him, as if making sure that he did as she said. He made his way to the door again, walking right passed her without so much as a word spoken.

“Both of them.”

He looked back at her in surprise, wondering just how she knew he had another note until it finally clicked. Every lingering question he had in his mind was answered right there. All he could think to do was leave the other letter, approaching the table and placing it down before he made his way out in silence.

“You know I would never do anything to hurt you or Saeran,” her voice cut through the eerie silence, stopping him in his tracks at the door. His back turned towards her as she spoke.

“If you need to, you two can depend entirely on me,” her steps precise as she got closer but he refused to turn around, “Unlike others, I would never betray you. I would never throw away the trust I’ve built with you for so long. And I certainly would never abandon you when you need me most. I want to help you two find paradise.”

He could feel the hairs on his neck standing, skin rising in goosebumps, and the lump in his throat making it hard to find a response. The voice was certainly Rika, he couldn’t deny that, but the words were so out of place. He couldn’t find it in him to look over, afraid with just what he was going to be met with, settling on just walking out.

“Lay low for a bit longer until we figure this out,” she called before closing the door behind him.

Leaving with less physical clues and more questions than he came with, he couldn’t help but replay that interaction and pick apart just what happened as he walked home. Though the one word that stuck out from it all, looping in his mind, was ‘paradise.’

He didn’t think much of it when he initially saw it in the RFA chat, but hearing it aloud— said in a way that set off so many alarms— made him worried that he’d be right. For what reason, he couldn’t say, but he knew he had to at least get proof.

~

Five hours.

He had been staring at his computer screen, piecing together any sort of clues he had for well over five hours now. His eyes felt like they were burning in his socket, finding just a bit of relief with every little blink. His hands hadn’t ceased their movements for even a second, typing so fast it could set fire to the keyboard underneath it. But he couldn’t stop, not when every bit of information gave him a sliver of hope that he’d solve this soon.

Within the first three hours, he was able to come to the conclusion that they were safe from their father for now. Every source, article, and classified file he dug up from every corner of the web and beyond pointed towards the fact that he hadn’t found them yet. Though what he did find in the process made his stomach churn, wondering just how he could get away with the things he did.

And the more he found, the more sense it made as to why Saeran was so desperate to keep you away from this. Because if he really was behind this, there’s no telling what he will do.

But it wasn’t. There was no trail linking him to any of this. No real indicator that he, or anyone he hired, were involved.

Which made that gut feeling of who it truly could be stronger, though he hoped desperately that he was wrong. That he could be reading too into her eerie words and demeanor. But there was no proof that she’s in the clear.

And as he approached hour six, he wasn’t getting any proof at all. Coming across all sorts of dead-ends and sources that just sent him in circles. It was hopeless, how could he not find any sort of hint was beyond him. It was an incredibly vague situation to be in, but they had to have some sort of trail.

He wondered why he couldn’t just be a fly on the wall, observing everything from afar and hopefully even seeing the face of who could have left these. If only he could he could have watched it happen.

“CCTVs!” he practically exclaimed to himself with a flash of realization in the dark room, no one around to hear. But that didn’t matter as he searched away to find any connection to one near the shop.

To his luck, he found a few with minimal protection, easily overriding and hacking into them with ease. He was skilled and calculated when it came to this work, learning it as he grew up, but he couldn’t help but laugh at how amateur doing that was.

“Alright,” he mused to himself, looking over the several perspectives timed around the first delivery, “Now show us your face.”

He had never been more attentive, watching every little movement and stir to truly be sure. Every passerby, every blow of the wind, and even every spec of dust never escaped his watchful gaze.

After a few minutes, he noticed a dark figure approaching their door. A long black cape with a hood covering over their features, completely hiding any distinguishing qualities to them. It looked like the typical villain you’d see in a movie, dark and shifty in their movements. He watched as they stuck the envelope to their door and went on their way.

The quality of the cameras made it hard to get a good look at the face, but he did notice a logo on the back as they turend away. It looked like an eye, but he couldn’t quite figure it out. What he could see were the piercing green eyes peaking through the hood. And just as he zoomed in, he noticed the lock of blonde hair falling through.

He couldn’t believe it, staring in disbelief. He really hoped it hadn’t been her, but he found the proof he needed to know he was right. A chill running down the length of his spine as he realized one of the notes were right, they were much closer than he thought.

Chapter Text

“Okay,” Saeran sighed after a minute, much more calm than before, “I’ll trust you. But you have to promise me you can take care of this.”

“I promise I’ll resolve this.”

“And promise me that no one around us is going to get hurt because of this,” Saeran said, much more serious. A silent plea in his eyes to let him know just who he meant.

“I promise no one will get hurt, especially not MC,” V said without a hint of a waver in his declaration, leaving Saeran silent for a minute as he eyed the taller man.

“Saeyoung, let’s go,” he said simply, turning on his heel towards the door, the red-head following shortly behind and leaving V alone with the letter.

As he closed the door behind them, he couldn’t help but lean his entire weight against it. He felt heavy, his heart pounding in his chest with every steady breath. He didn’t want to believe it was her, but the note in his hand had a handwriting he knew all too well, one he committed to memory.

The throbbing in his head increased with every thought that swarmed, physically feeling as if he couldn’t hold these heavy burdens any longer. Truly, he never wanted it to get to this point. He swore to protect those two, to make sure they never have to worry, and he felt like he let them down.

But the one thing he knew he had to do was confirm his fears, taking slow steps to where he suspected he could find evidence. A part of him wanted desperately not to find anything in Rika’s desk, but another wanted to get to the true bottom of this. As he opened the office door, he felt an unsettling chill run down the length of his spine, as if warning him of what was to come. An off-putting air filled the room that made him want to turn around, but he knew he had to press on.

The desk against the wall was neat, not a single thing sticking out among the organized display. There was a place for everything, and everything had it’s place. And once he opened the bottom drawer, he fell stunned to find what he hoped he wouldn’t.

Letters upon letters with varying messages and threats similar to the one in his hand. It even matched in handwriting. How she had written these all out without him so much as noticing had him unnerved, yet guilty that he couldn’t see it sooner.

Picking up a handful out of the seemingly hundreds made the ache in his chest that much heavier. As he brought them out to their shared living room, dropping them onto the coffee table, his thoughts couldn’t settle on just how to approach her about this. He didn’t want to admit it, but he was scared. He wasn’t sure just how she would react to him finding these or just what she was planning, but the fear in the pit of his stomach had him on edge.

Hearing the front door unlock and open brought him out his thoughts, moving to his feet to see his fiancée at the door and approaching. Just as she stepped into the living room, he noticed her take a few steps back, shifting cautiously as if she had to tip toe for one reason or another.

Her eyes refused to meet his, the silence in the room making the air seem thicker than it actually was. And she refused to be the first one to say a word, careful as to not look at the direction of her evidence that piled at the table.

“Where have you been?” V finally asked, saying the first thing that came to mind and breaking the still silence in the room. When she didn’t answer, he almost immediately caught on.

“Rika-“

“It’s not what you think, I was just out,” her words felt venomous, pointed and ready to snap.

“Then what is all this?” he asked, signaling towards the scattered mess on the table. Her eyes flicked between the table and where his gaze would pierce, mentally piecing together her words.

“I’m not sure,” she finally said, averting her eyes to look over the notes that lay before her, “Where did these all come from?”

“I found them in your desk,” he said simply, eyes pleading for her to look in his direction, “Just tell me why you have all of these?”

“I don’t know how they got there.”

“Rika, please tell me the truth.”

“I said I don’t know!”

“Then why were they all in your desk?” His voice remained steady and calm, contrasting the way her’s raised with every word, “Why are you sending them these letters?”

“I haven’t been, I told you I don’t know how they got there!”

“Please don’t lie to me, why did you just send them one of these?”

“Because I’m trying to protect them!” she finally snapped, “Those boys have been through so much and I’m the only one that can save them!”

“Rika, we’ve talked about this.”

“No, we didn’t! All you said was to put an end to Mint Eye, and I can’t do that! Not when I see so much pain in the people I’m saving and how solely they depend on me. I can’t abandon them the same way others have,” her words dwindled down to just above a whisper, speaking solemnly as she thought over her next words, “And I see that same pain in those boys’ eyes, I want to save them. And I’m not letting anyone ruin that!”

“What do you mean?” He asked, though the way she fell silent answered his question, knowing exactly who she meant by ‘anyone.’

“This isn’t saving, Rika. I know that your intentions come from a pure place, but this isn’t the way to go about it. Please let me help you find another way to-“

“You always do this!” She intervened, voice raising with every word, “You always try to control and suffocate what I have! Why can’t you embrace and welcome it? Why can’t you let me have my way?!”

The way she yelled had him stunned in place, unable to move or say anything in response. Though once he met her gaze, he found the words and will to press on.

“Because your way is hurting innocent lives. And it’s about to hurt two people we promised to protect. If you continue down your way, it’s not going to end the way you think.”

He noticed her tense up at his words, an anger bubbling and ready to surface in her eyes. As soon as she turned to move, V’s arms flinched defensively, ready to cover his face only to feel nothing. She moved to grab something behind her and paced towards the door.

“Where are you going?” He asked as he watched her sling her bag over her shoulder.

“Out,” she said simply, “Don’t try to follow me.”

As soon as she finished speaking, the front door slammed behind her, leaving him alone to collect the shattered pieces of his emotions once again. He wasn’t entirely sure what to do in this moment, tears pricking and threatening to spill at the thought that he truly felt weak. Too weak to prevent any of this, too weak to handle this on his own, and too weak to have stopped her from leaving. One look at the letters that scattered the table and he pushed those thoughts aside, grabbing his coat and walking out as well.

Chapter Text

“I, um,” you paused, turning back around to face him, “I hope that whatever is going on, whatever it is you’re not telling me, that you’ll come out of it fine. Goodbye Saeran.”

As soon as you heard the bell ring above the door at your departure, the weight of what just happened hit you all at once. It suddenly all felt too real as you kept walking, letting your feet practically move on their own.

Part of you felt like going back, to assert yourself and fight for some sort of answer. To let him know that you cared. But another part kept echoing the words he had said to you. And while you weren’t sure if he meant it, it didn’t make them any easier to hear.

It didn’t mean anything to me.

The tears that collected and pooled had blurred your vision, making it hard to see as you practically ran into someone in your haste. Though before you could assess or even begin to mutter through an apology, they had already walked away in a hurry themselves. Through your tears, you could only make out a dark, cloaked figure as they rounded the corner.

Quickly shaking the thought, you kept walking in your direction without turning back. The world around you disappeared as you tunneled yourself in, relying on your feet to remember how to take you home. The silent tears turned into open sobs as you continued, not caring for the looks you were given. Only caring for him and how he broke your heart.

As soon as you made it to your apartment, closing the door behind you and collapsing against it, you spotted the potted plant that sat near the windowsill. The one he gave you when you first met, thriving under your care. The pain in your chest deepened to see the other flowers that decorated the room, the evidence of his existence in your close quarters.

One long look around the empty place and you knew that now, you were truly alone here. You had no reason to stay.

~

The door of his apartment clicked closed with the deadbolt behind him, collapsing facedown on the couch as he dragged himself in. He suppressed his groan into the pillows below him, clutching onto them with a tight grip. The slight ache in his head he had throughout the day started pounding in this moment, trying to bury himself further into the cushions to stop it, but it was unavailing.

Even with being in the safety of his home, he felt as on edge as he did at the shop. The palpable difference being your absence weighing in his chest. He could only repeat the mantra to himself for hours after you left, following him as he sat alone in his apartment with only his thoughts to accompany him.

This was for the best,’ he continued to tell himself. With every time he thought it, it warped the tiniest bit until it felt like a foreign phrase he could no longer understand. And it added to the unrelenting headache. Through his painful daze, he found it in him to reach for his phone and send a quick text to his twin.

I just got home. Please let me know when you’re home too.

Just as he sent it away, his fingers instinctively went through his phone. Before he realized, your name and number took over his screen in big letters, landing on your contact as his finger hovered over the call button. He recalled calling or texting you every day after work, even after having seen each other, just to make the small commute enjoyable. To catch up on the day with one another. To hear the voice he couldn’t get enough of.

And he couldn’t describe how desperate he was to hear it in this moment, to soothe the worries that only seemed to multiply by the hour. He contemplated for a minute, gazing at your name with a heavy heart, before his finger moved lower and hovered over the ‘delete contact’ button. Just as he was about to press, a ding from a notification pulled him out of his somber thoughts as he read over the words

Relax, I’m home.

A tension in his shoulders released to hear from his twin that they were okay, but the weight in his chest increased when he realized that they still weren’t truly safe. And the radio silence from V clouded any semblance of peace he had.

He moved to dial V’s number, though he already knew what he was going to be met with.

Hi, you’ve reached V’s answering machine. Sorry I couldn’t answer your call at the moment, but if you leave your name and number, I’ll call you back at my earliest convenience,” the other line spoke immediately, not even ringing.

“V, it’s Saeran. I, um… Call me back soon,” he said, voice keeping the solemn tone as he spoke before he hung up.

The lack of response left his nerves on edge with every call, but to not even go through this time set off all sorts of alarms. He never thought to worry for V in all this, that he could take care of himself. But the realization of how truly dangerous this situation was, how powerful his father’s influence could be, made him all too uneasy.

He reached for his phone one more time, dialing Rika’s number only to hear it ring and go to her answering machine. He couldn’t find it in him to leave another voicemail, dropping his phone as he hung up and letting anxiety take the place of every coursing thought.

The pain in his head came in waves with every scenario he thought up, clutching onto his hair for any sort of relief. ’This is all my fault, this is all my fault, this is all my fault,’ the phrase in his mind wouldn’t go away, believing it more and more as is was repeated.

As he slumped back into the cushions, he noticed a piece of paper on the table next to his phone. Picking it up, the smile on his face spread to read over the words on the page.

I had to leave a little early to get to work and I didn’t want to disturb you. Won’t be able to stop by the shop today, but I’ll drop by first thing tomorrow.

And thank you for last night ♥

The one evidence of your existence he could hold onto, that he could read and remind himself of the time you two shared. Reminiscing on every detail of that night until it was a well-versed movie that continually played in his mind. Until every bit of it was committed to memory, down to the feeling of your fingertips over his skin. The words relieved every nerve in him, dulling the pain he was feeling.

You still had a hold on his heart he knew he’d never be able to get rid of, no matter how hard he tried. And yet, he didn’t want to. If all he had were these memories to look back on for the rest of his life, then he’d take it anywhere he went, as long as it meant you were safe and happy.

Though there would always be small part of him that’d hope one day, you’d be his indefinitely. The smile he sported slowly faded at the thought that that could never be the case. Even in a number of years, when this all blows over, he could never be selfish enough to do that to you.

His eyes downcast on the note one more time, moving closer to catch the scent of your perfume still on it. Reading over the last few words again, something at the bottom of the page caught his eye, looking closer to find another message scribbled in smaller writing.

I think I just fell further in love with you.

Never has he felt so gutted than in this moment, shattering the smallest bit of his heart he didn’t realize he still had left. If he thought what he endured the last few days were hard, then he underestimated the power of a few words he would have once loved to hear, but aches him to his core now.

It would be selfish to let you back in, but maybe he could be just this once. He never asked for anything in his life, just this once he thought that maybe he deserved it. He could be happy, he could make you happy, even if it meant being cautious, and it felt doable. And he would do anything in his power to see you by his side, safe and protected.

He picked up the phone on the table one last time, opening your contact again. One long look at your name and he couldn’t find it in him to stop himself. Just as his finger hovered over the call button, ready to hear your voice, an incoming call stopped him in his tracks as he answered right away.

“Rika? Rika, are you okay?” He asked immediately, noticing the shake of his hands with the pause that followed.

“Saeran, I’ve been so worried about you,” she said, the audible sigh catching him off guard, “I’m fine. I just want to know how you’re doing.”

“Everything’s okay for now,” he responded, “Is V with you? Is he okay?”

“He’s not here, but I know he’s okay. He’s just been dealing with some stuff, but you don’t have to worry.”

“Why hasn’t he been answering my calls?”

“He’s been really busy. Apparently too busy to call you back, but I’m always here,” her tone monotonous as she spoke.

“Yeah, I’m sorry I didn’t call you sooner. I just thought it’d be best to contact V in regards to this.”

“Well he’s not the only person who cares about you,” she rebutted, “And with the way he’s been ignoring you, I would wonder.”

“What do you mean?”

“It doesn’t matter what I mean. All I’m asking is that you talk to me as well,” she said, though her words seemed more cautioning than sincere, “And I can hear that you don’t sound okay, what’s going on?”

“It’s nothing,” he said simply, his tone much more serious than he anticipated.

“It doesn’t sound like nothing, tell me,” she soothed on the other line.

“Well,” he paused, taking a deep breath before he continued, “It’s just that I miss MC. I decided to cut her out of my life because I thought it would be best, but I’m starting to think that wasn’t the best idea.”

“Oh no, Saeran,” she cooed, “I’m sorry, I know you really liked her.”

“I still really do. Which is why I’m going to call her again in a bit, I think I owe her an apology and explanation.”

“You can’t do that.”

“I know it’s risky but-“

“But nothing, you can’t do that.”

The shift in her tone, the way her words bordered on threatening, had him entirely taken aback. He thought that she had been different for a while, but this change in character, this moment of pure malice, had cemented all those thoughts. As he went on, he could feel the dull pain in his skull increasing, wondering just what he could say. But he couldn’t live his life in fear and he knew that.

“Rika, I’ve thought it over and I want her back. I’m going to call her after-“

“Do you want to see her hurt?”

“Well no, but-“

“You’re going to hurt her with that mindset. Think about it, your father is after you right now. Do you know exactly what he could do?”

“I do, and I think I can handle it. Her safety will become my priority and I won’t let anything happen to her.”

“Once he reaches her, he’s going to hurt her. He’s going to use her as leverage, possibly kill her and come after Saeyoung and you next. Is that really what you want?”

His tears pooled in his eyes the entire conversation, finally feeling one break and stream down his cheek at those words. He knew she had a point, one he didn’t want to hear aloud and hurt to realize. At this point, the throbbing in his head became unbearable, a splitting headache that distracted from the more emotional aspect of his pain.

“Saeran, is that what you want?”

“Of course not. You’re right, I have to let her go,” he resided, the ache in his heart becoming heavy at his own words.

“I’m glad you understand,” she said more matter-of-factly, “And I’m truly sorry that you’ve been put in this position. It really is unfair and I wish there was a way around it, but there isn’t.”

“Right,” was all he could bring himself to say, hoping to not sound as crushed as he felt.

“Are you okay?”

“To be honest, no. Not at all,” he responded, thinking for a second before continuing, “Do you remember the medicine you gave me when you took us in? The blue liquid you would give me in the morning?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“I’m having those headaches again, and I think they’ve gotten worse. Do you think you could find me some soon?”

“Of course I can, it might take me a few days,” she said plainly, though he couldn’t see or hear the smile that spread at hearing his words.

“That’s fine, I just need it as soon as possible,” he said, burying into the cushion below him, “I’m gonna let you go here, I’ve had a long day and I could really use some rest.”

“Alright, then I guess this is goodnight. And Saeran?”

“Yeah?”

“You can rely on me entirely if you need to. I may be the only person you can trust in all this, keep that in mind.”

Before he could respond, the line suddenly cut. He was seeking answers, any response as to why this was going on, but he only felt his worry and questions multiply afterwards, a common occurrence with the two members that he noticed as of late.

He looked back down, noticing your contact open where he last left it. He took a closer look at the photo he had in place and smiling a bit to see the giddy grin you displayed per his request. Your name on his screen captivating him, always finding a bit of comfort just by the sound or look of it. But the name didn’t taste as sweet this time around, lodged in his throat in fear that hearing it aloud would cause damage.

His eyes trailed to the note nearby, seeing the bundle of forget-me-nots it came with, dried but vibrant in it’s deep blue color. The memory of your first encounter coming to mind as he was reminded of the sudden warm feeling that overcame him that day. A warmth he hadn’t known before you.

But he couldn’t bring himself to be selfish, pushing the ‘delete contact’ button and dropping his phone on the table one last time.