Han Sung-Kyu wasn’t great at taking charge. All his life he had done what was expected of him and went to seminary school like the brothers and father before him. He gave up singing when his older brother Jeol-Ki had proclaimed it too womanly.
Now he was doing the same thing again at the church. He couldn’t lead mass like the Head Nun asked him to and he couldn’t give Father Lee the peace that he deserved. Instead, here he was at the food table, hanging his head low in shame and recrimination.
Banging his fist to his temple, Sung-Kyu paused as he heard the door to the living room/kitchen open and Father Kim step into the space. The sight of him had Sung-Kyu hiding his fist under the table, pulling the thick black cloth of the priest’s robes over his hand. He felt both bashful and hopeful everytime Father Kim was around. He didn’t know if it was that perfect face or that magnetic smile that calmed and excited the storm raging inside of him.
Kim shot him a knowing look and took the seat to his right at the head of the table. He rapped his fingers against wooden surface, head tilted to the side as if he was puzzling something through. Han knew it had to be the situation with Wattnot Foods and the little girl still in the hospital that was troubling his priest.
“What are you thinking of doing?” Sung-Kyu asked.
Kim turned to him. “I’m thinking that the best way to understand our enemy is to understand how they operate. I’ll swing by one of their factories and give them a little surprise visit”.
Sung-Kyu witnessed Father Kim considering the plan in his head and the pleased little smirk that graced his lips. Out of nowhere this wave of affection rose within him. Father Kim probably believed everyone had this negative picture of him in their minds, as quick-tempered and abrasive, but only Sung-Kyu saw what was hiding beneath that. Someone who had been through hell, not literal hell, but close enough and was just trying his hardest to honor those he cared about. Sung-Kyu saw him.
When Kim was preparing to leave the table, Han reached out to grab his hand. Half-startled himself, he made to withdraw it, but Kim returned a gentle squeeze with an appreciative, grateful look and a small smile. Then, Father Kim stood fully to leave the room and resume his duties as priest.
Han was already scolding himself for touching the priest without his permission, head dropping to its previous bowed state, when he heard the sound of a slight clearing of the throat.
With hesitation Kim added lastly “Ahh. I haven’t really checked in on how our own members are dealing with all of the different crises that have arisen. If you ever want to drop by my quarters for a quick chat, I’d be happy to host you. They’re--”
“Just down the hall, I know”
Kim’s eyebrows rose. “Okay. I’ll see you later” he replied and exited the room.
Han let out a deep exhale. Something about the request sent this giddy feeling through his chest, but also a nervousness. He has never seen Father Kim’s quarters. The idea of them felt too important, too substantial, to consider right then. So Sung-Kyu busied himself with cleaning the plates in the sink to take his mind off how Father Kim’s offer made him feel.
It had been two days since Kim and Han had checked in with each other. Father Kim was riding the high after taking down Choco at the Wattnot Foods factory and Sung-Kyu looking into other legal and religious strategies to prevent the takeover of the management of the welfare facilities by that abominable cult leader, Ki Yong-Moon. Dinner had been relatively non-eventful. Father Kim hadn’t felt the need to jump to anger at anyone at the table and the Head Nun hadn’t had one of her “accidental bouts of passionate fury”. All in all, it had been a good day of godly work for their small parish and Sung-Kyu was looking forward to his nightly face-cleansing during prayers ritual. He snuck a look at Kim to make sure he didn’t need anything else and went to his room.
Han gathered his night bag and threw in the new moisturizing face cream that had been given to him by one of the sisters. He slipped on his slim black headphones, transmitting his favorite podcast, changed into his nightshirt and pants, and headed down the hall to the bathroom. Lost in the introduction to the podcast, Sung-Kyu was jostled out of his listening when his shoulder connected with something solid. He looked up and froze. He was met with a conflicting sight. Father Kim seemed like a completely different person out of his black priest’s robes. His hair was messy and not styled into its usual part. He was in a dark henley, clearly his nightshirt, and long striped grey pyjamas. The outfit was so domestic and normal, in strict contradiction with Kim’s raucous persona, that Sung-Kyu let out a little chuckle to himself.
Catching it, Kim asked “what?”
Determined to keep his secret, Sung-Kyu tried to steer his attention away from the well-defined muscles peeking out from the shoulders, arms, and waist of Kim’s henley and towards the bathroom.
“I’m just gonna” he starts, nodding his head to the bathroom entrance while simultaneously trying to enter it while Kim still took up about half the walk space. As a result, Han lost his balance wiggling through and looked up to see Father Kim’s arms around him after he saved him from landing face first onto the porcelain tile. He took a sharp inhale when it registered that their faces were just a few inches apart. Up close, Kim’s lips looked even more plump and moisturized. Not too slick, but not too dry either. Sung-Kyu found himself leaning in, but quickly remembered who he was and where he was and tried to flee Kim’s arms.
However, Kim didn’t let him. Actually, he took Sung-Kyu’s hand and led him to the entrance of his private quarters a few feet away. But, he waited just inside the room, giving Han the chance to decide if this was what he really wanted. Before that night, well, that morning even, if someone had asked Han if he was interested in Father Kim, he would have denied it fervently. And believed it too. But now, the sight of Kim in normal clothes and the fact that the priests’ robes were nowhere to be found compelled Sung-Kyu to wander off the yellow-brick road into the forest of his true desires. And desire Kim Hae-Il he did.
So Han took a deep breath and followed Father Kim into the room, closing and locking the door behind him. He knew it was against everything he and the Church believed in to engage in the acts they were about to commit, but at the moment he didn’t care. All he could see was the tantalizing peek of Kim’s waist and he knew nothing else mattered.