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More than Friends?

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It was a hot Summer day, Seong-kyu sighed and brushed the sweat away from his forehead.

They all were out with the kids on a trip to the countryside, where they were helping some farmers that had been hit hard by a flood a few weeks ago.
It was a nice experience for the kids and also a good dead for the people.

Seong-kyu had gotten a call from the diocese that the people were few and could need the help and of course they had agreed and it was the sister’s idea to also involve the kids.

For once they were not wearing their priest clothes but a light shirt and sweatpants instead while they were procuring the field. He stretched his back, which started to hurt from bending down and looked over at father Michael who showed the children something he had found on the ground.

They were excitedly gathering around him and some of them jumped and jerked back when Haeil l showed them his hand closer.

Seong-kyu smiled at him, months have passed since everything that happened with father Lee, and while they missed him and are often enough reminded of his absence, at least they were able to clear his name and by that get more people to visit his grave and the church again.

And Haeil was not as angry anymore.

He was still helping the prosecutor and the police but it was far from being as self-destructive as before. Furthermore, he was officially a priest of their diocese now, it was a surprise and Seong-kyu could not help but jump happily into his arms when he had told them. Haeil had held him close and both might have lingered a little longer than necessary but Seong-kyu was just so happy and he was afraid that it was all just a dream if he would let go.

They also started using their given names, when they were at home.
Only his nightmares were still there and one night, when Haeil had been standing outside of Seong-kyu’s room, face wet with tears he had wordlessly let him in and held him in his arms the rest of the night.
After the third time that had happened within a week, Haeil had told him that his dreams were now full of Seong-kyu, who did not wake up again after the attack.

„I thought you had left me too, just like father Lee. I thought that because of what I did everyone important to me is leaving me.“

Seong-kyu had held him even closer and had promised that he would not leave him as long as his heart was still beating.

The next night Seong-kyu had not even waited for Haeil to show up at his door, he had gotten a pillow and knocked at his door.

Even now, four months later it was an arrangement they followed silently, without talking about it. No one but them knew about it and Seong-kyu was not sure how he should ever sleep again without the other’s arm wrapped around his waist.

„Father Han, father Han!“ one of the children was running over to him and screamed while Haeil was following it. „Father Michael has a frog.“

The little girl, Min-ah, hid behind Seong-kyu and grabbed his pants, while Haeil came closer.

„Come on Min-ha, he is more afraid of you than you’re of him.“

He laughed and showed the frog to Seong-kyu, that had surprisingly not tried to jump away until now.
Seong-kyu’s shoulder seemed too tempting though. The frog jumped and Seong-kyu flinched back out of surprise. Unfortunately, Min-ah was still grabbing his legs so he lost his balance.

Thanks to Haeil’s fast reflexes he did not fall backward onto Min-ah but on Haeil instead, who had grabbed his waist but lost his own balance when he slipped on the still wet ground and fell too.
Min-ah had let go somewhere in the process and was now screaming loudly and sister Kim came over to calm her down.

Apparently, the frog had jumped from Seong-kyu’s shoulder onto her head and then back down into the field. The poor girl was very upset though and sister Kim offered to give her some sweets and dragged her away.

Haeil gave her a thumbs up while they walked away, the other children following them because of the mentioned sweets and Seong-kyu still lay on the ground, baffled.

„Sorry Haeil I was surprised for a moment.“

„Don’t worry it was my fault, for bringing the frog over.“

Seong-kyu tried to get up but put the spot where he put his hand had been a bad one and he slipped again. This time almost knocking heads with Haeil.

„Oh.“

Oh indeed.

Seong-kyu froze for a moment when he realized how close their faces were. He could feel the tip of Haeil’s nose against his and almost could not see his eyes anymore, because they were too close and his breath was brushing softly against his lips.

Not even while they were sleeping in the same bed for months, had their faces ever been this close.

Seong-kyu’s heart started beating rapidly and for whatever reason, he was unable to move away.
It was like their lips were opposite pools of a magnet and he had to use all his strength to not close the gap.

Haeil was not moving either. Seong-kyu could see his eyes darting down to his lips.

„We should get cleaned up.“

The older priest suddenly spoke and Seong-kyu shivered because he could almost feel his lips against his when he spoke. He needed a moment to register what Haeil had said and finally nodded and rolled of him, feeling his face heat up.

Both of them were drenched in mud and lend some clothes before they could go back on the bus.

This night was the first one Seong-kyu was unsure if he should go to Haeil.

Of course, he had realized at some point, that he had feelings for the other, that it might would be a good idea to stop what they were doing before they would overstep a line.
But he could not bring himself to.

Every time the other was sleeping peacefully in his arms, Seong-kyu told himself that after one more night he would stop.

And up until now, he always had had his feelings under control.

So what was different now?

I almost kissed him. I could already feel the brush of his lips against mine. I can’t stop thinking about his lips.
A knock on his door caused him to flinch and he noticed it was already past midnight, he had been sitting here with his spinning thoughts for two hours already.

The knock was one he was already familiar with. Haeil.

Seong-kyu swallowed thickly and stared at the door, unmoving.

„Seong-kyu?“

Haeil asked through the door, his voice barely audible.

Then Seong-kyu could see the light shift under his door and knew the other was about to leave again. His heart was beating fast and he threw all caution out of the window.

Grabbing his cushion he jumped up and quickly crossed the room. Haeil was almost back at his room and Seong-kyu ran to him and hugged him from behind.

„I’m sorry.“

He mumbled against Haeil’s shoulder blade and pressed closer. Haeil put his hand on his, and softly made him unclench his fingers, so that he could face him.

„What are you sorry for?“

„I-“
Seong-kyu sobbed and looked up at him. He could not help the tears that were falling free now, because he was ruining everything. He should have been there for Haeil, help him sleep, and not fall in love with him.

„Shh, it’s fine, let's go in my room first.“
Haeil brushed over his face softly and then lead him inside with a hand around his waist.

Softly he closed the door and wrapped his arms around Seong-kyu.

„What happened?“

„I’m in love with you.“

Seong-kyu blurted out, not able to hold it in for longer.

„I know I should not and we have our vows but I today I really wanted to kiss you.“

Instead of pushing him away Haeil held him closer and brushed over his back soothingly.

„I should have told you sooner, it had started a while ago already but I just…I’m sorry I’m an egoist.“

Suddenly Haeil laughed and leaned back. It was not a mean laugh and Seong-kyu would have almost joined in if he had not been so utterly down about what he thought was a betrayal of Haeil’s trust.

„My sweet, pure Seong-kyu.“

Haeil smiled at him now, the most beautiful smile Seong-kyu had ever seen, and cupped his face.

„You are anything but an egoist. If there is one it is me.“

Before Seong-kyu could process what was happening, Haeil’s lips were pressed against his. He inhaled a deep breath through his nose and closed his eyes. His fingers clinging onto the other's shirt.
Haeil’s lips were moving softly against his and it was like thousands of butterflies were suddenly in Seong-kyu’s stomach and chest or his whole body. Everything part of his body was tingling, starting from his lips and he wanted to feel more of it.

Needing more of this he opened his mouth and excitement shot through his body straight to his groan when their tongues touched.

Suddenly aware again of what he was doing he broke their kiss.

„Our vows.“

He was breathing faster and stared at Haeil with wide eyes.

Haeil was about to answer when Seong-kyu was struck by something else.

„Wait, does this mean you like me too?“

„I thought you already knew. I don’t let many people touch me and there are even less I can let my guard down enough to sleep in their arms.“

The older priest smiled and thinking about it, Seong-kyu realized that he was right but he always thought of it as them being good friends.

„I thought we’re just friends.“

„And I thought you are not ready to go further because of our vows, I did not want to pressure you.“

Seong-kyu stared at Haeil with an open mouth and the other just smiled again and kissed his forehead.

„It’s late let’s go to bed, we can talk about this more in the morning.“

Haeil led him to the bed and they got into their familiar position. Despite his thoughts being head over heels, the exhaustion of the day took over and Seong-kyu fell asleep quickly with to the steady beating of Haeil’s heart.

They did not much talking in the morning with their mouths being occupied but when they finally made it out of bed, just in time to get to mess, there was no more talk necessary.