„Are you sure about this, Woohyun?“
He looked at his friend and manager Lee Howon, who preferred being called by his nickname Hoya. Woohyun smiled. „You know I take my acting career very seriously. Finally I’ve got another chance to appear on the big screen. And even as the lead actor! I can’t waste this chance by doing it halfheartedly. I don’t want to go back to being a forgettable sidekick. I’m going to be playing a boxer but I don’t know shit about boxing, Howon! I need to be prepared.“
Hoya huffed. „You damn perfectionist. I’ll see what I can do. We have to find the right boxing gym and coach for you. We don’t want the press all over this - yet. And don’t get caught with a black eye or something, okay?“
The alpha nodded quickly. „Thanks, Howon! I’ll be careful, I swear, and when the filming starts, I’ll blow away everyone with my accurate acting.“
Woohyun was excited indeed. This movie was going to be his next big breakthrough. His last appearance in a crime drama as a detective, though only a a sidekick to the main actor, had finally pulled him out of his slump. Now people knew who Nam Woohyun was. Netizens had started calling him ‘Detective Sexy’ and ‘Sharp-nosed Detective’. The old dramas and movies he’d appeared in were now surging to the surface. They were suddenly in high demand again - all because people wanted to see more of this Nam Woohyun they hadn’t heard of before. He went from being an unknown, boring C-Celebrity to becoming the talk of town - in a positive way. Suddenly, people were bombarding his manager with offers and Woohyun even got recognized on the streets now. All thanks to his role a Detective Lee.
The biggest surprise had been the call from Director Kang Minsuk though. He was famous for making all of his movies into nationwide hits. None of them had failed. Now he wanted Woohyun to play the lead in his new movie about a Korean boxer making it big. There were going to be a lot of fighting scenes involved and, although Howon said he could wing it (especially with a stunt man), Woohyun wanted to do everything on his own and show off his skills. Right now his fighting skills were only pub-level and he would need to learn boxing to make it look realistic. Besides, his fans would surely loved it if he showed off his manly alpha side again. Women found it incredibly sexy and they were his main fanbase. Of course there were men too - he was openly gay after all - but the director wanted to pull more women into his boxing movie. Normally that kind of genre only attracted men, so Woohyun could understand he was there to add females to the audience.
Two days later, Woohyun received a call from his manager while he was working out. He let the weights down and grabbed his phone. „Hey, Hoya.“
“I found the perfect place for you! Dongwoo actually recommended it to me. He said they’ve trained a lot of stuntmen and starts before. They’re very discreet and the gym isn’t too far from your place either.“ Howon told him.
“Oh really? What is it called?“
“Something like Die Sha...Shaver? De Jayzer? I don’t know. Dude, you know I’m not good at English.“
Woohyun raised an eyebrow and then smirked. „Right, Mr. Elefantery School.“
The beta at the other end of the line groaned. „Can you stop bringing that up? It’s been years , Woohyun!“
He chuckled. „Anyways, the name doesn’t ring a bell. Where is it?“
“You can’t see it from the main street. There’s a small alley you’ll have to pass through. Dongwoo will send you the details later. I’ve checked your schedule for the next months and made some space for your training lessons. You’ll have an appointment every Thursday from 3 to 6 pm. Is that okay with you?“
Woohyun glanced at his calendar. „So the first lesson is tomorrow? That’s pretty last-minute.“
“Yeah, I know, but it’s the only way it won’t collide with your work schedule. I’m sorry if you had private plans for tomorrow.“
“No, no, I don’t have any plans! It’s fine. Thank you, Hoya, and thank Dongwoo as well!“ Woohyun smiled. It was a bit sudden but he was finally going to learn Boxing from a professional. Filming would start in a few months and he’d have to be prepared for it.
“I’ll do that. Remember not get your nose punched in. You have a photo shoot and an interview next week.“ Howon really worried too much but Woohyun was grateful to have his friend as his manager. They both said goodbye and he hung up.
The alpha but his phone away again and grabbed his towel. Woohyun cleaned his face and then went to get a shower. He was excited for tomorrow.
Next day, he followed the instructions Dongwoo had sent him and went to the boxing gym. It turned out that the place was called The Chaser , so technically Hoya had been very close and yet far off. Woohyun stopped in front of the place and looked at it. From the outside, it looked rather plain but he figured a gym didn’t have to look fancy. It definitely didn’t look run-down though. The name was printed over the entranced in bold letters and there was something on the windows that made it impossible to see anything but silhouettes and shadows. There were some advertisements stuck to the windows but nothing of importance. It didn’t look like they wanted much attention from the public and that was alright with Woohyun. He couldn’t risk getting spotted and having fangirls all over him while he trained. And Howon would kill him if news of him training slipped to the press.
Woohyun shouldered his back and took a deep breath to prepare himself. He opened the door to the gym and walked inside. He could hear the sound of fists hitting punching bags and people shouting things, but it was all hidden in front of a wall. Woohyun could see there was a corridor starting around the corner but the guy at the reception desk didn’t look like he would let anyone walk back there without his permission. He had his sharp eyes on Woohyun the second he entered the gym.
“Can I help you?“ The guy, clearly an alpha as well, asked and gave him an appraising look. He was obviously wondering if Woohyun was trouble or a client.
He didn’t mind it, though his instincts flared at such a treatment from another alpha. Biology wanted him to make this guy submit who was a threat to his position as a strong alpha. Woohyun suppressed that silly need and headed towards the desk with a smile instead. „Hi, I’m Nam Woohyun. I have an appointment for 3 pm. Private training lesson.“
The other alpha relaxed a bit in his chair. „Do you have an ID? I need it for your registration. We’ll also take a picture of you for your membership card. You might think of it as a little over the top but we cherish the privacy of all of our customers. But since you’re here, you probably know this isn’t a regular gym.“
Woohyun felt a little irritated that guy really didn’t seem to recognize him. Okay, men didn’t care that much about male actors but come on! He was all over magazines and TV these days! He fished out his ID. „Here, but seriously, you don’t recognize me?“
The alpha rolled his eyes and then turned away to grab some papers. He wrote Woohyun’s details into the application form. „I’m not blind, duh , but we don’t care about celebrity or not in here. You’re just a guy who wants to learn how to box and we have a lot of those. I’m Ok Taecyeon by the way. I’m not going to be your coach but you better remember my name and face, because this gym belongs to me and if I catch you doing something stupid like harassing a member of my staff or another client, I’ll be coming for you nuts. Clear?“
He swallowed shortly. Though his alpha soared, Woohyun was definitely intimidated. Taecyeon was clearly all hard muscle and probably knew how to use it. „Clear as the sky.“
After Taecyeon was done filling out the form, he gave it to Woohyun for the final touches. The actor quickly filled the empty spaces and then signed the whole thing without really reading the whole text. Who ever does that anyways? They took a small picture next and Taecyeon told him he’d have the membership card ready by the next time Woohyun came.
“For today you can come to the back without one. Let me show you around real quick and then I’ll introduce you to your coach.“ Taecyeon walked around his desk and guided Woohyun around the corner.
They followed a short corridor and Taecyeon pushed open a door on the right side. „Changing room for men. Women are on the left side but you’d better not be thinking of accidentally walking in there one day. Never mind me, we have some girls here who could easily knock you out at this point.“
“I won’t confuse them.“ Woohyun promised quickly.
Taecyeon nodded and let the door fall shut again. He gave Woohyun a key. „Everyone has their own locker. Don’t lose the key or it’s going to be expensive for you.“
He pocketed it and then continued following the other alpha. Taecyeon pointed out the showers and showed him the infirmary as well. If he got hurt, there were plenty of first aid boxes in the room and there was always someone at the gym who was trained at first aid. The corridor ended in a very large room. Woohyun finally saw where all the noises came from. There were two boxing rings in the center with some space in between them. Spread across the room were also benches, punching bags and other equipment, probably to train your arm and leg muscles. Woohyun even spotted two water dispensers.
Most of the people in the gym didn’t pay them any attention when they entered. They seemed too busy with their training to care about the newcomer. The others greeted Taecyeon with obvious respect and only gave Woohyun short, curious glances. „You can get to know the other clients later if you want, but the people you have to know are only four. Over there is Yoon Bomi, one of the female trainers. She seems real nice and cute but she won an amateur championship in Korea once. She’s a boxer-puncher.“
The other alpha smiled. „Means she wears down her opponents with good combinations and then goes in for the knock-out.“
Woohyun watched her attentively and then looked back at the gym owner. „So there are different types of boxers?“
Taecyeon gave him an amused look. „You beginners all ask the same questions. Of course there are different boxing styles. Do you think it’s just punching blindly? Some boxers are very aggressive in their style - we call them brawlers - and others rather stick to strategy, which is the classic boxing style. Your trainer will help you find out which style fits you best, though most alphas tend to be brawlers. Anyways, over to your left, the small guy is Choi Minho. He almost made it to the Olympics as a professional boxer but he got into an accident shortly before the prequalification rounds. You’ll see him limp but don’t point it out. He can’t box anymore but he’s the guy to go to if you want to learn all about techniques and boxing rules in general. Talking to him at the moment, instead of working, is Ahn Hee-yeon. But she prefers to be called Hani. She’s a professional coach and also fights in the amateur league regularly. Hani is a classical out-fighter. She’s a master at forcing the opponent to go by her pace and wins by points very often.“
His head was starting to swim from all the information. Woohyun tried to burn all these names and facts into his brain but it was hard. He was totally out of his element. I should’ve prepared more before coming here, I think. „ Ah , there he is. Come closer to the boxing ring, Mr. Nam.“
“Woohyun is fine.“ He said as he followed Taecyeon towards the left ring.
Two people were in it, one with protective gear in blue and the other in red. Others stood at the sides and cheered for them. Woohyun watched in fascination as they moved. The blue one seemed a little clumsy even to him, clearly inferior to Red, although his stature was way bigger and broader. Red moved like a furious panther. He was quick and gave Blue barely any time to defend himself. Woohyun flinched when the red glove connected with the other man’s headgear and sent him flying against the ropes at the edge. Instead of continuing his onslaught, Red danced away and gave him space. A whistle was blown.
“Match is over. I don’t think I need to announce the winner.“ A female voice announced and she stepped into the ring with a wide grin. She patted Blue’s head. „How many losses does this make? Why don’t you give up?“
Blue pushed her hand away and took off his headgear. He huffed. „I’ll keep on trying, shut up! Someday I will win.“
Woohyun caught a movement of Red and saw that the other guy had taken off his helmet as well. He seemed to be around Woohyun’s age, chestnut-brown hair sticking to his forehead. His eyes were small but sharp, clearly daring anyone to approach him carelessly. Red pushed his fingers through his hair to comb it out of his face. „Joohyuk, I told you not to forget your defense. When going against a quicker fighter, you need to wear him out and wait for your moment. Stop wasting my time with these matches when you haven’t worked on your weaknesses at all.“
Blue muttered something and then left the ring with an angry expression.
Taecyeon climbed into the ring through the ropes and walked towards Red. They exchanged a few words Woohyun couldn’t catch but Red gave him a look that seemed to be filled with...disdain. He gulped. Taecyeon led the boxer over to Woohyun. „Let me introduce you to our last coach. This is Kim Sunggyu and he’ll be training you. He’s taught a lot of beginners. Sunggyu here has a rather mean tongue and little patience but if you really want to learn boxing and invest yourself, he will help you grow stronger quickly.“
Woohyun sweated. That guy was going to be his coach? He was savage! He would tear him from limb to limb. A little intimidated, he reached out a hand. „I’m Nam Woohyun. I, uh , have never boxed before. Please take care of me?“
Red didn’t take his hand but instead slipped through the ropes and stepped in his private space. They were almost nose to nose but Woohyun noticed, to his dismay, that he was a little smaller than the other. As Sunggyu stared him down, he noticed something about the man’s smell. His eyes widened in realization and Red smiled just like a predator who found his prey. „If you can’t deal with an omega teaching you, you’d better step back right now and leave the gym. There is no going behind my back to ask for another coach. You won’t get someone else, is that clear? And if you think, you can push me around or flirt with me, I’ll punch your white teeth out one by one. I don’t care if you’re a famous actor or whatever. I take my job seriously and I don’t tolerate playing around. Are we good?“
Woohyun felt dizzy, both from Sunggyu’s intense aura of dominance as well as the sweet omega scent. His instincts were completely confused by the different signals he was confronted with - body language and words clearly asking for a fight but the scent making him think of mating and love. Sunggyu raised an eyebrow at his silence and was about to step back when the alpha snapped out of it. „We’re good. Sorry, you’re kind of, ehm , wow. Really wow. I don’t mean as an omega! I mean you’re the most intimidating omega I’ve ever met, so wow . But I’m not reducing you to your second gender! You just- you smell good. Oh god, uh -“
He quickly shut his mouth before he could say another stupid thing. Damn it, Woohyun, get a grip! You’re an alpha! Sunggyu’s wolfish grin appeared again. „Oh I think we’ll have a lot of fun.“
The omega stepped away and walked off to a bench, probably to take off his other equipment. Taecyeon appeared next to Woohyun and patted his shoulder. „He’s quite a force, isn’t here?“ Fingers tightened around his shoulder. „Remember what you’re here for, though. Eyes on his face and hands to yourself. Have fun learning how to box.“
Taecyeon left with those words and Woohyun let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was a holding. His inner alpha felt stressed out from all the threats and dominant personalities. He glanced at Sunggyu. Woohyun hadn’t expected to be taught by an omega and he had to admit his first thought was that it was a joke. By biology, omegas were weaker than alphas and it just wasn’t in their nature to fight. When it came to doing sports, they were more the ice skating type of people. Woohyun knew these were terrible prejudices but they were true most of the time. While alphas were really aggressive, omegas were often the reasonable and peaceful voices.
Woohyun shook his head shortly and then headed over to where his new coach was. Sunggyu had already taken off the gloves and sat on the bench now, loosening the wrist wraps. He only glanced at the alpha for a moment before continuing the task. „Go to the changing room and put on your training clothes. I’m sure you’ve got some in that bag of yours and you probably don’t want to train in your normal clothes. I’ll get your equipment in the meantime, though we won’t be doing any real boxing yet. You need to know the basics first and I need to find out the level of your skill.“
A little dumbfounded - he wasn’t used to being brushed off by people, especially omegas - Woohyun nodded and left. After finding his locker and changing his clothes, the alpha returned to the gym. Sunggyu was standing near the bench and Woohyun spotted a few items on it. Curiously, he stepped closer. Sunggyu’s eyes scanned him from top to bottom and he felt lacking somehow. His alpha growled at the way Sunggyu’s gaze seemed to say ‘you’re not worthy’.
“Okay, we can start with some basic stuff you’ll have to remember. First off, boxing is a dangerous sport. Getting hurt isn’t unusual in a fight, though we always train with protective gear. This isn’t about kicking a ball around or who can swim faster. Boxing is about strength, reflexes and strategy, though some boxers only rely on the first one to win. Strength and body mass are important but, as you saw in my previous fight, even a smaller opponent can win in Boxing if he has the right technique.“ Sunggyu started to explain and Woohyun nodded like an eager student. „Boxing is not about beating people up, though. You’ll find people out there who only want to learn this sport to break some noses and win brawls, but that isn’t the kind of boxing we’re teaching and it’s certainly not what boxing is about today. If you’re just here to learn how to beat people up and hurt them, you might as well leave.“
The actor quickly shook his head and lifted his hands in defense. „I’d never hurt anybody on purpose. That’s not why I’m here.“
Sunggyu hummed. „Then why are you learning Boxing? If you want to keep fit, a normal gym would do. Do you have aggression problems your therapist told you to get rid off?“
Woohyun smiled sheepishly. „Mr. Ok- Uh , Taecyeon didn’t tell you why I’m here?“
“No, I’d like to get to know my students on my own. So?“
“Well, this is still kind of a secret, but I’ve been chosen for a role in a new movie about a Korean boxer. I have no clue about Boxing and I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about it.“ He replied honestly.
The omega looked at him in open surprise. Sunggyu blinked a few times. „Huh? You probably have a stuntman for the fighting scenes, don’t you? Just go read a few articles about Boxing. I can even recommend a book to you if you want.“
He shook his head stubbornly. “I want to do the scenes myself! And I want it to look believable!“
Something in Sunggyu’s gaze changed and Woohyun hoped it was a sign he was finally taken seriously. „Okay, you seem determined. You need to be passionate to learn something new. Are you supposed to portray a certain boxer?“
“Please don’t tell anyone about this, okay? Lee Duksoo - but the movie is only loosely based on his life story. I searched up his name and he was one of the first Koreans to make it to the World Championships. And I read that he...died after his last match, but I think the article said something about his death changing the rules of Boxing. It’s sad but also really inspiring to see where he came from and what he achieved.“
Sunggyu nodded quietly. „Lee Duksoo was the first Korean lightweight champion. I guess that’s why the director chose someone like you.“
Woohyun tilted his head to the side. „Someone like me?“
The omega rolled his eyes. „Your weight. Lightweight boxers are between 130 and 135 pounds. For an alpha you aren’t overly huge and you probably don’t weight over 140 pounds.“
“Oh, I see. So I wasn’t chosen for my excellent acting skills?“
Sunggyu shrugged. „I can’t judge that. I teach Boxing only and not acting.“
Woohyun’s shoulder sank a little. „So you haven’t seen me in any movies? My face doesn’t ring a bell? Detective Lee?“
“No, sorry, but don’t take it personally. I don’t watch a lot of TV or I rarely go to the cinema.“
He puffed his cheeks a little. „I definitely need to worker harder.“
“You can work on your popularity outside the gym. Let’s get back to the basics for now. I’ll keep in mind that they want you to portray Lee Duksoo when I’m picking your training, though we’ll have to see if you can work with his style.“ Sunggyu turned towards the items on the bench. „Okay, these things here are important and they’re yours to take care of from now on. First, a protective headgear and two gloves that I think will work best for you. There are different sizes and weights - if they’re too small or so, tell me. Yes, the equipment is used but I assure you it’s all clean. Next up are the mouthguard and the wrist wraps. They’re both new. You will never touch a damn punching bag without wrapping up your hands first, you hear me? I’ll teach you how to do it correctly, so don’t forget it.“
Woohyun glanced at the wrist wraps. „What are they good for? Sorry if it’s a stupid question.“
“There are no stupid questions, only idiots afraid of asking.“ Sunggyu showed him his hands. „They secure your bones. Punching with force can make bones break or damage them. Wrist wraps help with keeping everything in place and the gloves are the next layer of protection. In the past, people fought with bare fists and, well, a lot of hands were broken back then. And if not breaking our hands isn’t the best, these two layers of protection also allow for us to punch with more force than normally.“
Sunggyu signed him to sit down. The omega grabbed his wrist wrap and unrolled it slightly. „You see the loop? Put it around your thumb, but make sure you look at the back of your hand. If you do it the other way-“ The omega showed him how the loop slipped over the thumb way too easily. „So we always start like this and then you go around your wrist three times. What are you doing? Try it as well.“
Woohyun grabbed one of the wrist wraps Sunggyu brought for him and quickly copied what the omega showed him. He watched and listened as the omega continued to explain the correct order. It was way more complicated than he had imagined. To be honest, he had bought wrist wraps online that you just needed to slip into, but he didn’t dare to mention it. Sunggyu explained everything like it was of utmost importance to have this know-how. And the further they got, the more Woohyun felt like this was a lot tighter and saver than the ones he bought. More than once, he had to ask Sunggyu to show him again and several times the omega scolded him for not wrapping it tightly enough.
He wasn’t sure how much time had passed when Sunggyu was finally content and both of his hands were wrapped up. It was a weird sensation and Woohyun flexed his fingers curiously. The omega stood up. „This is the first thing you will be doing for your lessons until you can do it in your sleep. You might want to write it down or practice at home.“
“No, it’s fine. I remember it now. First the thumb, three times wrist, three times hand, three X’s, thumb, flip the hand, thumb again and three times around the knuckles. When I’ve wrapped everything up, secure it at the wrist.“ Woohyun recited the order. He was good at memorizing things.
Sunggyu seemed a little surprised and it made the alpha feel a sense of pride. „That’s good but I hope you will still remember it next week. Do you notice a difference now that your hands are wrapped up?“
Woohyun flexed his fingers again and then made a fist. „It’s kind of hard to move.“
“You’ll get used to that. Fact is, the tight wrapping lets you hit harder. It protects your bones and when you make a fist it will feel like a stone.“ Sunggyu made a fist as well and made Woohyun touch it.
“It really feels hard...“
“Normally, human hands are very fragile, so these wraps are essential. Never forget.“ Sunggyu took a few steps away from the bench and Woohyun followed him. „Next basic we’ll cover is the stance. Stand like you think a boxer would at the start of a fight.“
The alpha felt self-conscious under Sunggyu’s sharp eyes as he positioned himself. As soon as he stopped moving, Sunggyu was there to correct him. The omega showed no sign of caring how close Woohyun’s groin was to his face as he bend down to grab his legs and push them apart. „Legs apart shoulder-width. There, better. You need stable footing. Are you right-handed?“
Woohyun nodded. „You always have to face the opponent with your weaker side in front. Keep your stronger arm to the rear. Why? Easy physics. Force = mass x acceleration. Besides, if your opponent corners you, you might be unable to move your arm and punch if you lead with your strong arm. So left foot and arm in front. Angle your lead shoulder towards the center of your opponent.“
Sunggyu’s fingers grabbed his arms and pushed them up. „Fists on eye level but not in front of your eyes. You need to be able to see. Notice how your head is lowered and protected? Keep your shoulders high to protect your chin as well. Elbows in as well to protect your ribs.“
Woohyun felt like got stuff into a box and told not to move. Sunggyu didn’t seem done yet though. He crouched down and maneuvered his right foot into another position. The alpha swayed slightly. „Always keep your feet diagonally apart, never in a straight line or you’ll get knocked off real easily.“
Sunggyu took a step back and observed him. „Different from before, hm ? It’s exhausting at the start. You’ll have to work on your muscles and train a lot for it to get easier. We won’t have time for everything in our lessons, so remember to train at home or at the gym.“
The omega checked the time. „We have about 30 minutes left. We’ll practice the stance some more. Try moving around. When you step forward, use your lead foot first. If you want to go backwards, use your rear foot. You might want to keep your rear foot up a bit at all times to move more quickly but that might be too much for you at the start.“
Woohyun tried his best but somehow he always mentioned to either fall out of his stance, use the wrong foot or cross his legs. One time he crossed them, Sunggyu gave him a light push that sent him falling over. Woohyun didn’t hurt more than his pride but he still glared at the omega. „I just wanted to show you how easy it is to throw you out of balance when you cross your legs. Always remember to keep the feet diagonally apart and about shoulder length.“
Sunggyu held out a hand to him and the alpha swallowed his pride. He let the other man pull him up. „Did you hurt yourself?“
He shook his head and smiled lightly. „I think only my pride took a dent.“
“Let’s end it for today. It’s almost 6 pm. We have showers that you might wanna use.“ Sunggyu winked at him and then threw a towel in his face. Woohyun blinked a few times under the towel. Did I imagine that or did that devil of a coach just wink at me?
When he pulled the towel away, Sunggyu had already wandered off to the other end of the room. He was talking to one of the coaches Taecyeon introduced to him. Woohyun tried to remember if she was Bomi or the one who wanted to be called Hani. She said something and he laughed, the first time Woohyun saw him show that kind of emotion. He thought Sunggyu could only glare, stare and scowl. His heart flattered slightly when he watched the omega laugh. He shook his head quickly and turned away. What are you doing? Don’t stare at him creepily. And stop doing that heart! Just because he’s a male omega...
Woohyun grabbed his things and drank some water before heading to the changing rooms. It was obvious Sunggyu was done with him for the day and didn’t even want to bid him farewell. Woohyun was just a client he had to care for 3 hours every Thursday. „ Ugh , stop sulking, Nam Woohyun!“, he muttered to himself. The alpha took a change of clothes out of the locker and then walked to the showers. Thankfully the stalls were separated by walls because he didn’t want other people to see him naked. Well, maybe Sunggyu- He let the cold water hit him in the face.
Still, his alpha brain couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like if Sunggyu sneaked into the showers with him. „Way to prove all alphas are horny asshole lusting after omegas, you idiot.“
Quickly, he finished his cold shower and dried himself off. Woohyun dressed in his clothes from before and then stuffed his sweaty sportswear into the bag. He had to admit everything reeked of sweat and it made him scrunch up his nose. They hadn’t even done much physical training except for the whole holding his stance and moving while being in it, yet he had been sweating like crazy. Woohyun really had to prepare himself better next time.