Chapter 1: Where do we start?
Readjusting his hat, the male narrowed his eyes. Right outside of his tea shop's window stood an immortal. "Dokkaebi?"
"Jeoseung saja?" The Goblin inquired, stilling in his steps. "What a vulgar hat you're wearing." He spoke, furrowing his brows at the sight of the Grim Reaper. He shook his head and went on his way, ignoring the offended expression on the man's features.
The Grim Reaper visibly pouted, pushing back his hat and watching the other male go before returning to his current task : cleaning a tea cup.
Ah Ro awakened to the sound of an alarm going off. Pushing away the covers of her bed, the young woman reluctantly dragged herself to the bathroom. She needed to always be the first up, in order to be the first in the kitchen. Living with her father's new wife and his daughter now that she had passed was particularly difficult. The woman resented Ah Ro for representing a proof that her late husband loved someone else before. The three of them lived on the money left behind by Ah Ro's father. But her stepmother was a woman of expensive taste, and the money was visibly dwindling. So she was hoping to get her hands on the money Ah Ro's real mother had saved up for her daughter's future. So far, the bank statements kept disappearing as soon as they were established.
"Is it time already?" The Goblin asked, looking down at the official papers slid his way. So it had been another lifetime for a servant. Little more than a blink to him. But the man he once called his nephew now was his grandfather.
"Yes, master." The gentle, lilting voice replied, a tired smile bringing a shift to the man's features. "If you leave for twenty years, I fear I won't be there when you return." Wi Hwa gently informed. "So this is our last meeting of this lifetime. But Hansung will be there. He is twenty two as of now." Sun Woo nodded at the words. "I have arranged things, you should have about a month before he disposes of your—"
"Haraboji, Hyung! Hey!" The young male happily interrupted, entering the flat. He approached the dining table, raising an eyebrow when he noticed the passport there. "Are you traveling, Hyung?" He inquired. "Will it be long? Will you be bringing me back something? Oh! I know! You're going to look for your bride again, aren't you? Where this time? Why can't I come with again?"
"Aish." Sun Woo chuckled at the excitement fusing of the younger male as Wi Hwa laughed. "You always ask so many questions, why do you need to know so much?"
"Because," Hansung replied, before squeezing the male's face between his hands. "I care about you, hyung. You're cool."
Sun Woo gently removed the hands, chucking again at the male's behavior. "How can you shamelessly make such an admission?" He asked, visibly flustered.
"It's the truth." The yougest male replied with a shrug. "But seriously, are you going to leave? Will you be my nephew when you return?" He inquired, gaining a certain solemnity.
Sun Woo sighed softly, traits hardening too at the words. "I..." He loved the kid, truly. And he hated to make him sad, but what was there for him? Freedom resided in the bride he couldn't find. And wasn't even sure he wanted to. His heart still longed for someone he couldn't have....
"Why couldn't you die away from my eyes."
"Because I refuse to hide from you, when we know each other's hearts best." Sun Woo replied, closing his eyes as he braced himself.
The King brought a hand to the General's cheek. "Let me see those eyes. One final time."
Sun Woo obeyed, reopening his eyes and realizing just how close he was from the ruler. He offered a tentative smile. "It's okay. I would have hated to die at the hands of anyone else."
"How can it be okay? I made you a traitor..." The King argued, tears rolling down his cheeks.
"Because I might be the one who dies, but you will be the one who remains heartbroken. I will not punish you further than what you are already doing to yourself." He replied.
"You were always so merciful. So good. With everyone." The King's traits hardened at the words. "Shin Sun Woo, I shall turn you back into a mortal today. May the heavens be deserving of you." He spoke, before taking a long step back.
The King let the tip of his blade graze the male's neck, considering decapitation before he realized that he wouldn't be able to bear the sight. Instead, the sword trailed down to the male's chest and Jin Heung burried it to the hilt in a prompt move. Holding the man close to him one last time. Tears started to freely roll down the King's cheek as he held the other male, feeling the tremors that moved his friend's body. "It's okay." Sun Woo choked out, coughing up blood against the royal garment as the King held him close. "We will meet again. I, I know it. Sa, sa, sarang, saranghaeyo, Wa,Wang. Jin. Hu,Heu,Heung."
Shaking his head as if so dismiss the memory from the forefront of his mind, the Goblin glanced back at the passport that laid in front of him. He had to find that bride and set himself free. For good.
Marching under the pouring rain, the hood of her sweater for sole protection, the female determinedly made her way to the seashore. Ah Ro needed distance from her stepmother and her sister. Not only had they forgotten her birthday, but her stepmother had found it insulting that she would celebrate the day her father died. As if it was her fault he'd had an accident. As if didn't break her heart more than it broke that woman's. The only parent she'd ever truly known, had left and every birthday of hers would be a reminder of the loss.
The female was determined to celebrate still. For the mute father that would run his fingers through her hair and listen to the sound of birds with her. For the mother who called her her most treasured blessing and wanted her to take over her as a doctor. For the person she was, and would never cease to be. Because she was a survivor. And she would, find a way to keep living. She still had hope, for a better tomorrow.
Reaching the seashore, the female mustered a smile. She took off her hood, the rain gone but the biting wind remaining, and sat on a large rock. "Omma...." She whispered softly. "Appa..." Tears welled in the female's eyes. "I made it through another year. I'm alive. And well. No need to worry. Just enjoy being at peace. Enjoy being together again." She chuckled, the sound wet but earnest. "I don't want to join the two of you too soon, but I am, getting tired." Ah Ro quietly admitted, lowering her head in shame. "It's fine. I'm being dramatic. I'll find a way to survive." She went on, wiping away tears that rolled down with a soaked sleeve. The girl forced a smile on her lips as she retrieved a small plastic box from her backpack. A single cupcake. She placed a candle on top of it, squeezing her eyes shut as she made wishes, hoping a deity would listen. She then blew on the small, single, candle. "Happy birthday to me." Ah Ro declared, gaze growing glossy.
Someone cleared their throat behind her, catching the female's attention. There, she found a young man. Merely a couple of years older than her, but his eyes carried the tiredness of lifetimes. "Is it you?" The newcomer asked, eyes wide with disbelief.
"Are you talking to me?" Ah Ro asked, standing up and putting some distance between them. Seen her luck, he probably represented trouble of some sort.
"Do you see anybody else?" The male asked, furrowing his brows. "Yes, you. Is it you? How did you summon me?"
Ah Ro sighed. He was just another confused ghost. "I didn't summon you. Honestly, I just see you. I see ghosts."
The man chuckled, all traces of humor fading away from his face as fast as they'd appeared. "I'm not a ghost."
"They all say that at first." The female gently spoke, closing the distance between her and the young man. "I know it must be confusing, but it'll be okay. You'll find your path."
The Goblin blinked a few times, in utter disbelief. "What are you?" He asked, narrowing his eyes. "What are you that I can't see your future?"
Ah Ro shrugged. "Maybe I don't have one." She chuckled. "But you know, you should try to rest in peace. It's unhealthy to roam for too long..."
Sun Woo shook his head in disbelief. "How did I get here?" He asked, looking down at the Chrysanthemums he was holding.
"Good question. And why do you have flowers?"
"They're not flowers, they're medicine!" The immortal weakly argued.
"They prevent headache and lower anger, I know." Ah Ro gently smiled. "Give them to me, I'm thinking of becoming a doctor anyway. And it's my birthday." She said, holding out a hand.
Confused still, the Goblin obeyed, handing out the bouquet to the curious young woman. Could she possibly... Be his bride? Sighing he decided to ask her a question. "Why were you crying anyway? The part-time job, seeing your lost brother just once or having a united family? Which one of the three?"
"How do you know?" The female asked, eyes widening.
Sun Woo sighed. "I'm a deity, sometimes I grant mortal wishes. So I tend to hear them all."
Ah Ro chuckled. "That must cause some serious migraines." She declared, mirroring the timid smile on the male's face with a bright one. "So you're a sort of guardian god, huh? I could sense that you had a different vibe from regular ghosts."
"I'm not a ghost." Sun Woo clarified, his features hardening again. The male huffed. "Just..." He shook his head. "make a good first impression at the book shop. And you'll get the job." He declared before fading away.
Rubbing his forehead in utter confusion, the Goblin reappeared in the living room of his house. The male stilled in his steps when he recognized a familiar face, seemingly visiting the place. Placing his hands in his pockets, he marched to the intruder, who acknowledged him.
"We've met before." The Grim Reaper spoke.
"Yes, we have." Sun Woo agreed, narrowing his eyes. "What brings you to my house?"
"You live here?" The Grim Reaper asked, eyes widening in disbelief.
"All the furniture is included so you just have to move yourself in and—" Hansung paused upon seeing Sunwoo. "Hyung, you're here!" He waved, holding two cups of tea with his other hand.
"Explain." Sun Woo said, narrowing his eyes at the younger male.
"Well, the place is going to be vacant for the next twenty years, and he saved up money all of his life but he didn't have enough to rent a good place, Hyung. So I thought, I could just... Rent him the house? He'd pay what he has and it's all fine. And you'll be gone anyway, I just need some company! Oh! You could even take a roommate!" He offered to the Grim Reaper.
"Do you know who you're bringing in?" Sun Woo asked.
"What do you mean? He owns a very respectable tea shop!" Hansung replied, before approaching Sun Woo to whisper in his ear: "And he's so pretty. He can't not be a good person." The Goblin sighed, a fond gaze falling on the kid. Hansung's innocence would come to bite him in the ass some day. But before Sun Woo could argue further, the younger male was already retreating in the kitchen.
"And the contract has already been signed." The Grim Reaper added, holding up a paper. The Goblin smiled, pleased with himself as he set the piece of paper on fire. Grim Reaper chuckled. "It's fine. It's just a copy. The original is at the estate's office. And so, this, is my house. My stuffs will arrive tomorrow. Go pack your belongings, twenty years of baggage surely will take a while."
Sun Woo chuckled at the confidence of the other man. "Are you provoking me?"
"No." The Grim Reaper replied. "I don't need to." He narrowed his eyes. "I'm sure you know what a contract with a Grim Reaper means. Instead of the house, I can take your buddy right now."
Sun Woo's features shifted, a snarl appearing on his lips. "Touch a single hair of his head, and I will tear you apart then scatter your remains all over the world. It'll give some work to all of your buddies for a little while." He huffed, seeing the remaining smirk on the Grim Reaper's face. "Fine. Take whatever room you like. We have many for guests."
"Guest? This is my house." The Grim Reaper replied.
Sun Woo chuckled. "This is my, house. If you manage to kick out a Goblin out of a Goblin's land, I'll congratulate you."
"Give it a few days." The Grim Reaper replied. "I sense I'll soon have my house, all for me.
"Omo, and then what? What happens then?" Sooyon asked, relentlessly tugging on her friend's arm to make her talk. "What happens theeeeennn?" She whined, frustrated.
Amused by her friend's eagerness, Ah Ro's lips curled up. "Then..." She furrowed her brows for a second, considering it before she snapped her fingers. "Then, when everyone left to see the two princes fight outside, he came out of hiding. And joined her in the private tea room. There, he told her that this was exactly the kind of place to sleep." Sooyon gasped. "She was so scared, as he grew closer and closer to her. She wanted to say something, but no word would come out. He leant in, pressing his whole body against hers as their eyes met and..." Ah Ro paused, seeing a sign at the entrance of a book store. "They're recruiting..." She smiled, remembering the words of her guardian deity.
"So what?" Sooyon asked, confused.
"I have a good feeling about this place." The female replied, before entering it.
"I can't believe you're really staying." Sun Woo spoke, narrowing his eyes as he sat across from the Grim Reaper.
"Same here." Jeosung Saja shot back. "It's my house after all. And shouldn't you be going on a trip?"
"Oh, so you want me gone?" The Goblin asked.
"Yes. Very much." The Grim Reaper replied.
Sun Woo's jaw clenched, the male narrowed his eyes, using his powers to pour salt all over his interlocutor's plate. "Hyung!" Hansung called, slamming the door behind him and rushing to the two. "You can't just show your pa-po-p—" He blinked a few times when he saw the pepper right next to The Grim Reaper's plate fly to the Goblin's plate. "I..." His eyes shot to the tenant. "Hyung tenant..." He whispered in disbelief. "Are, are you a Goblin too?"
"You knew?!" Sun Woo asked, disbelief coloring his words.
"Well yeah, hyung, you just slip sometimes. You turn on candles or float when you're frustrated. And every time you get pissed it rains." Hansung hummed thoughtfully before snapping his fingers. "And I remember that talk. About you, being my brother, then my nephew, then my grandson. You haven't aged a day since I've known you, Hyung." He shrugged.
"Oh my, you're really bad at keeping a secret." The Grim Reaper commented, amused.
"Please, now he knows you're a Grim Reaper too!" Sun Woo replied. "He saw you do the thing with the pepper!"
"I did." Hansung agreed, grinning. "Hold on," He gasped. "you're a Grim Reaper?!" He asked. "I thought, I, huh... I thought you were a Goblin too, Hyung tenant." He swallowed. "Does that, does that mean you..." He shook his head. "Anyo." He spoke, fighting away a shiver. "Nevermind. You're pretty and nice." He offered a kind smile, giving a determined nod.
Sun Woo huffed. "So you just don't mind?" He asked, unable to contain his disbelief.
"Well," Hansung took a sit at the table. He rested his elbows on the table before cupping his face between his hands. His eyes went from the Goblin to the Grim Reaper. "I don't know. I feel like you're both nice people. Like, I really know you guys, deep down." He laughed. "I like you guys."
The Goblin pressed his lips together, narrowing his eyes as he observed the Grim Reaper. There was indeed, something familiar about the man. Something he couldn't quite place. And judging by the way the Grim Reaper was looking back, the feeling was familiar to him as well. Sun Woo sighed, reaching for a piece of meat with his fork.
Before it could touch his lips though, he'd been called elsewhere. Huffing in disbelief, the male's eyes fell on the girl from before. "Can't you summon people at respectable times?!" He asked.
Ah Ro blinked in disbelief. "I..." She took a couple of steps back, swallowing.
"You what? What do you want? How do you do it?" Sun Woo asked, approaching the female.
"I don't know what you're talking about." The female replied. "Someone threw a cigaret into the trashcan setting fire to it so I just threw some water over it and blew on the smoke." She explained. "I swear I wasn't even thinking about you!" The Goblin scoffed, a little offended by the words. "I mean..." She scratched her hair. "Actually I," She sighed. "I was thinking about you, I guess. I just," She bit her bottom lip. "I wanted to say thank you. I got the job at the library!" She declared happily.
"Congratulations." Sun Woo replied, a faint smile appearing on the male's lips. The news wasn't entirely new to him, but she seemed happy. So it seemed fair to congratulate her. Raising an eyebrow, he noticed that she was wearing a school uniform. "Aish." His fingers ruffled the back of his head. She was in high school. How could an actual child, be his bride?
"What?" Ah Ro asked, making a face.
"Nothing." The Goblin replied. "It's probably not you."
"Not me?" Ah Ro asked.
"Not you." Sun Woo repeated.
"What? Your bride?" She asked, chuckling. "Ghosts talk. With me. A lot." She sighed. "I heard what they said. And I got this." She rolled up one of her sleeves, revealing a crescent moon shaped birth mark on her forearm. But the color was actually particularly dark, as if it'd been inked there without quite looking like a tattoo.
Sun Woo blinked, entirely uncertain of what it meant. "Huh uh...." He narrowed his eyes, then sighed. Frustratedly shoving the meat at the end his fork in his mouth, the Goblin faded away.
"Arghhh..." Sun Woo huffed, reappearing in the living room of his house. "That..." He shook his head, marching past the dining table and heading straight to his room as he held the fork still.
"What is wrong him?" The Grim Reaper asked Hansung.
The younger male sighed. "Ah, hyung tenant...." He lightly tilted his head to the side, chewing on his bottom lip for a couple of seconds. To be completely honest, he expected it to...
"Rain." The Grim Reaper announced and sighed. "I'm supposed to work outdoors tonight. Tchh. Can't you fix him?"
Hansung chuckled. "Fix him? Hyung isn't broken." He replied. "Just sad. Or angry." He shrugged. "I'll go check on him." He added with a firm nod, before standing up. Hansung picked up his supposed brother's plate and offered a bright smile before leaving the room.
"I hate to admit it, but I do like that kid." The Grim Reaper mumbled and huffed. He laughed for a second before shaking his head. "I'm not supposed to laugh." A small smile still returned to his lips.
Ah Ro heaved a sigh, watching the flame of a candle dance before her eyes. "Guardian god..." She whispered softly. Narrowing her eyes, the female decided to test a theory of hers and simply blew on the candle.
"Where are we?" Someone spoke behind her, seeming rather put out.
Smiling a little the female spun on the chair of her desk. "My bedroom." Ah Ro informed, chuckling at the way the man seemed to suddenly fluster.
Sun Woo blinked a few times. "Do you want me to go to jail?!" He asked, bringing a hand to his chest as shock wrote itself on his features. Lips parted and eyes wide with disbelief, the male huffed. "Look, kid, I—"
"My wishes." Ah Ro interrupted. "If you're my guardian god, why did you only grant me a single wish. What about the other two, huh? Where's my united family? Where's my brother?" She asked, standing up to properly face him. "I'd trade the part time job for a single encounter with him." She went on, her tone quieting as it gained deference.
The Goblin scoffed. "Pack your things. Your brother will find you very soon."
"What about my family?" She asked, huffing as he disappeared before her eyes.
"Aish, she's driving me crazy."
The Grim Reaper narrowed his eyes as he watched the Goblin reappear in the middle of their living room, thunder loudly striking in the sky. Sighing, Jeosung Saja rolled his eyes. "Who?" He dared asking, calling after the Goblin. Of course, he was met with no response past a door being shut in his face. Sighing, the man readjusted his hat atop of his head and marched to the door. He had a mission tonight, frustrated roommate be damned.
"Stupid Goblin..." The Grim Reaper grumbled, his hasty pace easily taking him through the busy streets. Due to the rain, people were rushing left and right, the sound of voices calling for taxis and frustrated klaxons for melody in the night. Sighing as he reached a bus stop, death's worker took a sit beside a seemingly lost young woman. She was the only who did not take the bus that drove away in front of them. Tilting his head to the side, the man observed her as she counted, eyes squeezed shut through what seemed to be a panic attack.
"One, two, five, eight, eleven, twelve, thirteen, three, nine, four..." She mumbled to herself, trying her hardest to stop the thumping of her heart.
Death's worker blinked after a curious couple of seconds, almost entranced by the woman. The sound of a car crash happening in front of them bringing him back to reality. Lowering his gaze, death's worker heard the scream of horror coming from the unexpected witness, a hand instinctively reaching for her as she was about to rush to the car. Protectively, he stood between the young woman and the cars, not wanting her to see them explode. He awaited until the pants receded before letting go. "Look into my eyes," The woman did as she'd been instructed. "You decided to take a taxi home tonight instead of the bus, so you did not see any accident at the bus stop and tomorrow you will wake up carefree, alright?" She numbly nodded and he fished some money out of his pocket to hand her. "Now go call a taxi a couple of streets up." She nodded again before walking away.
Jeosung Saja sighed and spun on his feet, watching the two car drivers' ghosts yell at each other. "Park Hye Ji. 25. Kang Jo Jun. 43." Death's messenger read. The two stilled to look at him, silently nodding. "Please, follow me."
"Why would I?" Jo Jun asked. "If this wench knew how to drive I wouldn't even be here, it's all her fault!"
"My fault?" Hye Ji asked, eyes wide with disbelief. "You're the one who ignored a red light at a crossroad! It's all your fault!"
"Does it truly matters now that the both of you are dead?" The Grim Reaper interrupted, impatient and unamused as he stood beneath the rain.
"D-dead?" Hye Ji inquired, swallowing with difficulty. Tears welled in the female's eyes.
"Yes. Dead." Jeoseung Saja confirmed, monochord, rehearsed, spoken too many times yet still heavy on the tongue, on the heart. "Now, will you please follow me?" The two ghosts nodded, silenced by the weight of the news. Grim Reaper spun on his feet, leading the way to his tea shop.
“Il pleure dans mon coeur comme il pleut sur la ville.” ( It rains in my heart as it rains on the town) ~ Paul Verlaine.
Sun Woo, who had always considered himself a fairly early rising found the Grim Reaper mixing cale and bananas with a thick grey powder while Hansung was happily eating waffles.
Hansung never woke up early. He usually arrived around noon with take overs or planning to eat whatever the Goblin was making. Unless he slept around that is. In that case, Sun Woo would always end up waking him up when he'd need to leave the bed. Because for some reason, the younger male categorically refused to sleep in a guest room and dubbed each and every of his stay a sleepover. Which equated with watching movies and talking about their feelings. The poor kid had a lot of regrets, missing a brother after they'd separately been put to adoption. Sun Woo understood in a way, having lost two brothers far too soon. Both dying because they considered his life worth every sacrifice. A part of Sun Woo knew why he'd accepted the kid so easily in his life and requested for Wi Hwa to adopt him as soon as he'd seen him. This kid, while he had no memory of who he'd once been, was a reincarnation of a brother that gave up his life for him. And it broke his heart to know that in this life still, Han Seong had been separated from his big brother.
"Hyung, you slept in late." Hansung declared happily. "Was it a good night?" The male had noticed that Sun Woo mostly slept very little. But there were nights, where exhaustion and tiredness seeped in his bones. During those, he would completely put his guard down and sleep like a rock. It had been worrying at first, because he would always mumble incoherent words, seemingly reliving lifetimes at once. But it never quite looked like he was having a nightmare. Just a low, constant chanting that would periodically dissolve into snores.
"You snore ridiculously loud." The Grim Reaper said, pouring his odd concoction in a glass.
"I do not, snore." The Goblin weakly argued, taking a seat beside Hansung. "You made breakfast?" He asked the younger male who chuckled.
"Do you truly think I'd trust the baby in my kitchen?" Jeosung Saja inquired, speaking loud enough for his voice to carry.
"Are you trying to over feed him to eat him later, you witch?"
The Grim Reaper sighed. "I'm not a witch."
"Oh? Then why do you dress like one?" Sun Woo shot back, before bringing a cup of freshly brewed tea to his lips, poorly hiding a smile.
The Grim Reaper huffed, exiting the kitchen to join them at the dining table. "Did it cross your mind that I might just have been trying to be nice? I don't want it to rain today." He smiled when the Goblin scoffed. "Besides, I like taking care of a house. I've always wanted to have my own little farm, away from the capital and live humbly." He shrugged.
"Right." Dokkaebi chuckled softly, thinking about an arrogant king that once told him some doors weren't to be opened by some. "City dwellers always say that until they leave for the real village, the kind forgotten by the rest of society. Then they realize it isn't easy not to be privileged." Sun Woo replied, more bitterly than originally intended.
"Hyung..." Hansung said softly.
The Goblin heaved a sigh. "It's fine. I'm fine." He stood up. "Thank you for the breakfast. Please, enjoy your morning." Accompanying those words came a curt nod. Then the male took his leave, as the first drops of rain fell on the windows of the house.
The Grim Reaper heaved a sigh and stood up as well. "I need to buy an umbrella."
Hansung chuckled. "I'll drive you, hyung tenant. I know you don't have a car." Death's envoy gave a polite, grateful nod. "Just go and change, I'll be done with breakfast by then."
"Alright. Don't go overboard with the whipped cream while I'm away." The Grim Reaper warned before leaving the room.
"Dae, hyung tenant!"
Hands shoved in the pockets of her thick coat as she rushed through the streets of Seoul, Ah Ro was desperately trying to make her way to school. The pouring rain was relentlessly hitting her hood, a white noise that felt oddly soothing as she walked. "Wait! Excuse me!" The female heard behind her, swallowing as a large hand fell on her shoulder. Ah Ro stilled in her steps, watching as the man moved to stand in front of her, holding his umbrella above her head and keeping a respectful distance. "I'm sorry if I startled you." He apologized, a genuine, bright smile on his features. Instinctively, Ah Ro relaxed, an overwhelming sense of familiarity hitting her. "I just wanted to give you this." He spoke, holding out the umbrella to her. "I figured it'd be better than a sweater. Don't worry, you don't have to give it back or anything and I won't even ask for a name."
Gingerly, the female took ahold of the offered item. The carved wooden handle of the large umbrella indicating that it was probably expensive. "Why?" She asked gently.
"Because," The male shrugged, putting his hands in the pockets of his suit pants. "I think I would have wanted someone to hand me an umbrella when I stood under the pouring rain." He declared and gave a final nod, smiling at the female as he walked past her.
"Orabeoni!" Ah Ro called, spinning on herself. The male seemed to still. The spun on his feet, the same bright smile on his features. "Thank you." The female added, a smile settling on her delicate features. The male gave a cheeky wink, grinning brightly as he turned away to keep walking. "Orabeoni..." Ah Ro repeated softly, brows furrowing. Shaking her head before she could drown in thoughts, the female went her way. She couldn't be late to class.
"Hey, hyung tenant, I realize I never asked this but," Hansung shot his passenger a glance before focusing back on the road. "What's your name?"
The Grim Reaper stilled at the question. The hand he'd been tapping against his calf along the music limply fell on his lap. "I..." He lowered his gaze, ashamed at the admission to come. "I don't have a name."
"What?" Hansung asked, confused. "How is it possible? Everyone has a name."
Jeosung Saja chuckled. "Grim Reapers don't have names. It's part of our punishments. The sins of our past were too heavy for us to carry, so we all, drank a tea that made us forget of our past lives. So we could do our job well and be at peace with ourselves."
"And are you?" Hansung asked. "At peace, I mean. Not knowing where my brother is somehow feels much worse than any certitude would. Sun Woo-ah is good with me, but I know I'm lucky. And if," The young man's eyes twitched. "if it's not the case for my brother, if whomever he is with isn't as nice, or if he is alone and scared or worried about me too, or even dead... I just... I would like to know. Whatever the truth is."
The Grim Reaper heaved a sigh, casting a curious gaze to the young man beside him. So far, he'd seen little of Hansung but a bright, happy kid with an avid curiosity and hopeful eyes. But the expression he was currently sporting was entirely disillusioned, resolute and heartbroken. The kid, was constantly in pain. "The guilt." Jeosung Saja started. "We, Grim Reapers, don't have to carry any guilt. Not being actual people, it's supposed to free us from that sort of considerations." He smiled weakly. "I'm not, at peace. I'm anguished. Constantly wondering what I have done that is so bad that I erased myself from my own memory..." He swallowed. "But, I dont feel any guilt for every action of mine that a past self considered a mistake or a sin to atone for. That doesn't make me innocent. I know. But it allows me to rest a little for the many tomorrows that will come."
Hansung heaved a sigh of his own, his grip around the car's steering-wheel loosening. "I'm sorry, hyung tenant."
"So am I." Jeosung Saja replied, an exhausted smile on his features. As silent enveloped the two, the older male glanced out of the window, watching the scenery passing by.