There had been no discussion about it for almost 24 hours and Seo Woo Jin had thought that they were past it. He wouldn't bring it up again and there was no way Eun Jae would want to discuss it from her end.
They had been vulnerable for a minute and he had asked her what she would do if they crossed the line. She hadn't answered. He understood. The matter ended there.
In 24 hours though, it seemed that Cha Eun Jae had decided to chase him down everywhere to have a discussion with an expression that made it seem like torture.
He tried brushing her off, ignoring her, keeping himself busy with the mess of Doldam's politics, and every tactic he could think about. It had almost worked, almost, but Nurse Eom had taken it upon herself to help Eun Jae for some reason and now they were here.
In the doctor's lounge where Eun Jae was standing with a desperate look, firm, and between the door and him.
"Eun Jae, move," he tried, really not interested in hearing a rejection for a confession he had taken care to not make again, "Kim Sabu might call for us and -"
"I don't know what the line is," she said, the words leaving her chest one weight at a time and she didn't stop at Woo Jin's dawning surprise, "You knew that we were friends before me. You knew that we had something different before me. And you keep saying that there is a line but I don't know what it is."
"Cha Eun Jae -"
"Is it just the kiss?" she continued, thoughts rumbling out now that the dam had broken, "Is that it? Kissing, holding hands, being physical?"
Woo Jin had always been good with words but for once his tongue held silence and Eun Jae could sense that he could read everything she had felt on her face now.
"Because that can't be it for me," she explained, not knowing why she was choking up, why her throat felt borrowed, "You can't just be someone that casual for me."
Woo Jin wanted to ask what he was then. He wanted to ask if this meant she liked him. He wanted and wanted and years of that practice weighed down on him.
And then it hit him. He had only always wanted things. He had only ever asked her what she wanted too. Cha Eun Jae wasn't about want though.
She had not become a doctor because her mother wanted her to but because she needed her mother to be happy. She had gotten over her surgery anxiety not because Kim Sabu wanted her to but because she needed to help save lives.
Eun Jae was about needing. And he had never asked her what she needed.
"What can I be for you, Eun Jae?" the words came to him effortlessly and Woo Jin let himself read her eyes as he asked, "What do you need me as?"
Eun Jae had the most beautiful eyes he had seen. It wasn't the first thing he had noticed about her but it was what kept him up during nights. She could fit the world's emotions in those two eyes. She had changed his world multiple times when she had looked at him with those eyes. Just as she was looking now. Wide, honest, searching.
When she finally blinked, he saw the tears wrap away into the slow and heartbreakingly soft smile that came across her face.
"Could you be everything?"
"My friend, my partner," she counted out as Woo Jin felt the air in the room get sucked out, "My confidant. The person I can argue with. The person I can make mistakes with. The person I can say anything to and maybe not need to say anything to. Could you be all of that, Seo Woo Jin? Because that's what I want to be for you."
Woo Jin considered the number of times he had thought about it. About her, about them, about the past and the future. In every thought, there had been a line he had never wanted to cross. A line he believed he couldn't cross. A kiss would cross that line. A date would cross that line. A label would cross it.
He hadn't considered though, that there didn't have to be a line. That there didn't have to be one or the other. He didn't have to change to be who she wanted just the way that she wouldn't change. They didn't need a leap to fall in love. They had risen up to it slowly, step by step, every day together. They had never needed a line, they had only needed each other.
"Do you want to go get some chicken?" he asked when she stayed for his answer, a lightness entering between them as he smiled, "You still owe me dinner, right?"
Eun Jae chuckled on a disbelieving huff but nodded with a knowing look.
"I'll even get some soju for us," she promised with a proud grin and he shook his head as he turned to lead them out.
Before he could take two steps though, he felt her grip his arm and turn him around. He had a moment of surprise as he faced her again before she took a step closer and he swore his heart would stop.
"Speaking of things I owe you," she tugged at his jacket absently as she eyed his face, "if I kiss you now, will it be a reset again?"
"Technically it was a reset because I did it," Woo Jin pointed out absurdly, wondering if his brain had melted a little but Eun Jae's grin was intact so he was fine.
"Well, then," Eun Jae nodded to herself and dragged him to close the distance between them completely. There, in the room they had spent countless evenings being just friends, Woo Jin finally got the answer to being more.
And it was worth the wait.