Perhaps that was when their rivalry ended. Their hands bloody from each powered strike and dangerous kick. And as Woojin let his weight settle in between Chan's thighs, legs curling around to lock, their eyes met.
It was insane to think it could all amount to this very moment, Woojin thinking of Chan's busted lip pressed lightly against his.
Perhaps it was when their rivalry ended.
But all that ran through his head was their beginning, the moment their rivalry began.
Fatigued eyes read the directions displayed on his phone once more, though he had just checked it not a minute ago.
Line 9, last stop.
His new apartment was a couple blocks from it—which seemed rather convenient. They were also just around the corner from his new gym which was even more convenient.
Looking up, Chan surveyed the signage pointing him to the exit of the underground subway station. This was Line 9, the last stop: Seoul Sports Complex Station.
Shouldering his large duffel bag, that in turn knocked his bulging backpack askew, Chan started walking up the subway stairs. He could tell it was still earlier in the day, though the absolute gray of the sky threatened an early night. Shivering slightly as he stepped on to the sidewalk, realizing that while he had peeked at the weather in South Korea, he hadn’t quite prepared for the brisk chill of Autumn. And watching as everyone breezed by him, bundled up in large scarves and thick jackets, Chan cursed his flimsy sweatshirt.
To be fair, he hadn't thought it was going to be quite so cold.
That just meant that the sooner that he got to his apartment, the better. And he'd go shopping once he was settled. In the meantime, he could withstand a little cold.
Especially since, without realizing it, he was already grinning at the world passing him by. This completely new, completely refreshing world. His arrival in South Korea not only meant a giant leep forward for his career, it was also an opportunity to discover his culture again. Though he knew the language fluently, he had very much grown up Australian.
Lips curling at the memory of his home country, Chan took a deep breath.
Taking one step, then two, he started towards his apartment. He'd drop his stuff, call his parents to let them know he arrived before texting his new trainer to do the same. And ask where he needed to report, what time and anything else he may need to bring.
Honestly, he had no idea what to do after that.
So instead of waiting to text, he called.
"Hello?" a deep voice answered, more gruffer than Chan had expected.
"Hello Mr. Kim. This is—This is Bang Chan. I just got off the train and wanted to let you know I made it in alright."
There was a bit of static, enough of a pause that Chan started to steel his jaw. Running through his short message, he found nothing wrong in his delivery.
But then his new trainer's voice came through, much clearer and Chan realized he must have moved locations.
"Ah that’s great to hear. Are you at the apartments then?" Mr. Kim asked.
"Not quite, I am still walking."
After a quiet chuckle, Mr. Kim spoke again. "Well, why don't you get settled in and then come by the gym. I'll have Jae send you directions so you can meet everyone."
Chan just grinned, dimples deepening.
"That sounds perfect. I'll drop off my stuff and then head right over." Then, before he could change his mind, Chan breathed. "Thank you so much Mr. Kim, I am… honored to be able to train with your program."
"I hope you enjoy your time here. And please, call me Wonshik."
The sound of knuckles slamming into the fabric of the punching bag was accompanied only by the melodic hum of Woojin's voice. He was currently listening to the soundtrack belonging to (one of) his all time favorite dramas.
Though, as he repeatedly assaulted the bag, no one would ever know he was listening of heart breaking unrequited love.
Stopping when he felt his muscles start to whine at each extension, Woojin quickly pictured what his trainer would bark, in his low but emphatic tone:
"One more. You can do one more."
Woojin did five more, perspiration painted arms dropping by his sides. Too tired to even wipe the sweat slipping down his temple, he simply shook his head. Unfortunately, his short brunette hair landed in his eyes as a result.
His feet took him over to the closest wall and he uncermeniously sank down it, throwing his arms over his knees. His heavy eyes watched the others in the gym, finally coming down from the workout high to recognize faces and sounds other than his own. He tended to go blank when he was fighting, limiting every sense but his physical reaction to his mind's calculations.
Now, he watched as there was the same slap and thud as his own hands made with each jab. All 6 of them were spread out, working on a different area. Personally, he hated the bag but it was only because it was the area he needed most work in. He was never a striker, grappling being more his forte.
But when Kim Wonshik, MMA super star and ex-UFC Middleweight champion, tells you to do something, you do it.
And that’s why he was here, wasn't it? To be as great as Wonshik.
They were lofty dreams, the elder being one of the best MMA fighters in the history of South Korea. But Woojin was nothing if not determined.
Pushing up from the wall, he finally dragged a hand through his sweat drenched hair, bending down to swipe his water bottle. Spraying it in his mouth messily, Woojin joined the other trainees as each neared the end of their session.
Each day, they ended with a sparring session and two out of the 6 would face off. By then, their bodies had been pushed to their limits and exhausted. It definitely forced them to get creative, Woojin had realized with a slight smile.
Now, as he waited for everyone to finish their workout, he leaned against the ring with his hip, draping his arms through the plastic ropes.
Suddenly, there was a screech of the metal garage door, the large industrial one that had once belonged to the steel containers factory and now belonged to the Jamsil Boxing and MMA Training Center. Woojin felt his eyes stray to it, wondering who would be coming this late in the day. With his arms still dangling lazily, he watched with a little bit of interest, more reservation.
There, standing, was a man just about his height, if not a tiny bit shorter.
He had faded aqua hair now a blonde-ish color that curled slightly, longer than most as the back barely dusted his neck.
His nose was strong and the most prominent part of his face—well, that and his smile.
His fucking face changing smile.
Feeling goosebumps break out along his spine, Woojin blinked.
"Let me introduce you," he heard his trainer say, reaching out to welcome the newcomer. But his eyes would not look away, not from the way the stranger's perfectly proportioned body waltzed in as if no one had ever ruined his day.
"Everyone, I'd like you to meet our newest trainee, Bang Chan."
The stranger with a name met everyone's curiousity with a polite round of bows, raising after Woojin's to catch the brunette's stare. If possible, his mouth spread wider, perfectly white teeth glistening.
Woojin's lips pressed together tightly.