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If you pull the trigger, make sure the bullet will hit ,” was the advice his father had given him - the man had been a darkness of absolutes, omnipotence, endings and sometimes, just the smallest fraction of hopefulness. His father’s nature were shades of ambitions; he held tightly to an unknown goal, one that drove a wedge of solitude the closer he got to it. His father’s will was engraved as a snake wrapped around a dagger - a force that grows when an adversary pushes.

If you aim to protect, you will gain strength you never dreamed of, ” was the advice his mother had given him - the woman had been a light of purity, truth, innocence and sometimes, just the slightest bit of cunningness. His mother’s nature was a study of contradictions; she masked the waves of naivety with instinct, one that allowed her to draw and dissipate both friend and foe. His mother’s will was engraved as delicate, golden roses - a force that grows stronger with more love.

Those were Choi Yeonjun’s parents: a man whose reputation had been written in the blood of his fallen targets and a woman who adapted to those who outlived those corpses - a mercenary, who moonlighted as a husband and a wife, who transformed into a shield for her family. 

His mother saved his father. 

Her light brightened path in his darkness - there is no light without darkness; it was their differences that became the key to their relationship. They complemented each other’s weaknesses, filled in the spaces where the other fell short and brought a calm when the other stormed. Her gentle ways softened his rough edges; a melding of their pieces to attempt to keep their family together, even if it was just for a few fleeting, hopeful moments.

His mother saved his father and together, they tried to save their family.

Now, all Yeonjun had to remember them with was a pair of guns and their heavy history.

 


 

In order to commemorate his mother’s memory, Yeonjun had decided to follow her path rather than his father’s - it was better to protect than to attack was what he had convinced himself. It would have been easier to rely on his father’s reputation; the jobs would have been endless, the pay would have never run dry, but he had been a victim to the repercussions of that life. Instead, he worked short-term jobs as a bodyguard for hire. 

Most of the jobs were simple; he felt more like a glorified babysitter rather than a bodyguard. However, once in a while, he would be tasked with an assignment that reminded him that his parents’ history could not be forgotten. He was his parents’ son.

Yeonjun hoped that this new bodyguard assignment would be on the easier side.

The new assignment was requested from a different Choi family. When Yeonjun initially read through the files, it seemed as though the focus was solely on the famed Stradivarius violin - there were only 1,100 of them made at the time, with less than 244 with known locations. The market value for a single Stradivarius violin made no sense to Yeonjun; the last Stradivarius that was sold for $15.9 million USD in 2011 (there was another one to be sold at an auction in 2014 with a minimum bid of $45 million USD). Under the section of the price tag had been clippings of recent news articles of stolen Stradivarius and the untimely demise of the musicians who tried to fight back.

It didn’t take a genius to know that this family’s focus was on the protection of the violin and less about the man who played it.

The man’s name was Choi Beomgyu, the famed violinist - a quick glance through his Instagram page would greet you with photos of a handsome man who enjoyed the beauty of worldly travels, the delicacy of sweets and happiness wrapped in a life that people wanted. The bevy of praise and adoration in each photos’ comments could not mask the fact that in every single photo, he was alone - even without a shared conversation with him, Yeonjun could spot a kindred spirit. 

“Look, I understand my parents hired you to be my bodyguard and protect me and my Stradivarius, but I honestly don't need one. I’ll be fine without one. No one’s going to try and take my Stradivarius from me,” Beomgyu had insisted during their first meeting. He had a sweet smile despite his immediate dismissal of Yeonjun’s services, “I don’t mind if you cash the check and bounce. I’m sure you have better things to do than to follow me around.”

“Thanks for the option, but your parents sign my check,” Yeonjun set his iced Americano down on the coffee table before he replied with a polite smile, “So, I’ll be fulfilling my role as your bodyguard.”

“Look, I get it. It’s your duty and all,” Beomgyu rolled his eyes before he smirked at Yeonjun. There was an annoying glint of challenge in his eyes as he said, “You’re not the first bodyguard they hired to protect me and the Stradivarius. I have a recor—”

“A record of losing bodyguards within the first week to prove their incompetence to finish their job?” Yeonjun finished the sentence for Beomgyu - this wasn’t the first time that he had been assigned with a difficult personality. He reached for his iced Americano as he warned, “You can test me all you want, but I’m not the traditional old bodyguards that your parents have hired before me. So, if you’re going to try to get rid of me, you’re going to have to step up, Beomgyu.”

“You don’t know me very well, Yeonjun- hyung . I don’t like losing.”

Yeonjun smiled at the younger man, “And I’ve never lost. So, good luck.”

 


 

It just turned ten in the morning and by now, Yeonjun had taken the liberty to send an email to the studio informing them that Beomgyu requested to delay his rehearsal today. This was the third time that Beomgyu overslept this week - that man needed to stop staying up so late.

“Hm,” Yeonjun enjoyed the jolt of energy that his bitter iced Americano sparked through him as he paced along the perimeter of the Choi Estate. It was easy to forget that these grand, ornate walls were built as protection rather than art installments - these artful designs were plastered over thick, steel walls. Their paranoia definitely came from the price tag on that violin. He counted his steps - five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten - before he stopped at a specific spot at the decorated wall. It was Wednesday and according to Beomgyu’s routine from the past three weeks, Yeonjun estimated which part of the wall that the younger man’s struggles would be heard from.

“Twenty more minutes,” Yeonjun sighed as he pressed his back against the carved design. With a quick glance at his watch, he caught a distorted reflection, “Perfect, a distraction.”

This wasn’t the first robbery attempt - there had been three earlier this week, but luckily, they had been early enough in the morning that Beomgyu was able to sleep through them all. Today was the first time that these people were bold enough to attempt a robbery during regular business hours.

Twenty minutes , Yeonjun set a mental timer as he finished his iced Americano. Ten minutes too long .

There were rules and protocols that came with this job. One of the rules suggested discretion. So, Yeonjun quickly discarded the idea of a warning shot - a single round of fire would have been a siren call for attention. This would have to be a hands-on experience.

Yeonjun released the now empty coffee cup - as it fell down, he quickly kicked it at the trespassers. When the cup hit its mark, Yeonjun waved them down with a quick apology. They clearly didn’t seem pleased at his sudden intrusion - who wouldn’t have been annoyed if they were interrupted by a stray coffee cup? These intruders must have been new at their job since they immediately reacted with panic and charged at Yeonjun. 

Without warning, Yeonjun rushed from his spot and directed his movement straight to the center of the trespassers’ formation. One punch to the right, an uppercut to the left and then another jab to follow - it wouldn’t take too much effort to discreetly eliminate these people before Beomgyu was ready. At the shuffled sound of a weapon being reached for, Yeonjun twisted himself to catch the man before he drew it out - his hand wrapped around the man’s wrist, pulled it downward. With his free hand, Yeonjun grabbed the gun. A slight groan of disappointment came from Yeonjun when he felt the light-weight plastic gun - a Cobra Freedom FS, the 380ACP model …Yeonjun rolled his eyes, they might as well have fought without a weapon . In a quick succession of moves, he dashed up to the man and pressed the barrel of the gun against the man’s chest.

“Shhh,” Yeonjun pressed a finger against his finger against his lips to send a warning. He wanted to avoid the usage of a gun, but as he buried the barrel into the man’s shoulder, he decided to give them a cautionary tale. With the sharp pull of the trigger, the attacker clutched his shoulder as he fell forward - the bullet hadn’t been strong enough to make it all the way through but it was enough to make his point. When the man fell, the others flocked ready to pick up where their teammate had fallen.

Yeonjun dropped down as he swept his leg in a semicircle - the quick move caught the attackers by surprise as they toppled forward. He quickly moved to the one who was in charge of these attackers; he pressed his knee to their throat, just enough pressure to remind this man that the one with the gun was in charge.

“Bold of you to show this early,” Yeonjun pressed the gun into the man’s temple. His father had taught him that if you were daring enough to wield a gun, you need to be prepared for the consequences that came from it - all of the consequences . “Tell whoever your boss is, if you’re going to keep trying for this Stradivarius, you’re going to have to send more people because this little party of five isn’t enough to take down Choi Yeonjun.”

 


 

Just like clockwork, Yeonjun watched Beomgyu’s arm reach over the wall as he attempted to pull himself up. The sounds of struggle rang out as Beomgyu fought his way to the top. He let out a huff as he finally balanced himself on the ledge - his hair looked messier than normal, but Yeonjun couldn’t decide if it was from Beomgyu’s late wake-up call or from the arduous attempt to climb the wall.

“You beat last week’s record by two minutes,” Yeonjun said as he clapped his hands together, “You’re getting faster every week. Eventually, you’ll make the climb before I get here.”

“Shut …,” Beomgyu gasped for air as he held a finger out to warn Yeonjun to keep quiet. He closed his eyes as he tried to calm his breathing. He glared at Yeonjun as he finally said, “Up.”

With Beomgyu’s instruction, Yeonjun kept quiet as he watched the younger man figure out what to do next. It amused him how much of a challenge this turned out to be for Beomgyu - the climb would have taken Yeonjun less than a minute, but they excelled in different fields. As he waited for Beomgyu to move, Yeonjun slid his hands into his front pockets.

“Why are you always awake so early?” Beomgyu frowned as he glared at Yeonjun. The musician placed the violin case onto his lap as he shook his head, “You’re always up so early, like you don’t sleep.”

“Early?” Yeonjun snorted as he shook his head, “It’s ten-thirty now.”

Early.”

This was late, regardless of what Beomgyu decided - Yeonjun wondered if there was a way that he could make the younger man sleep earlier, but he was a bodyguard, not a babysitter. He sighed before he finally asked the struggling young man,” Do you need help getting down again?”

Beomgyu’s answer wasn’t given right away. Yeonjun watched quietly as Beomgyu looked away from him; it was cute that Beomgyu’s cheeks exposed his embarrassment, despite this being the seventh time this happened. He looked back at Yeonjun and nodded, “... yeah.”

“Of course,” Yeonjun nodded as he decided to accept his role as Beomgyu’s glorified babysitter.

 


 

“So, I still don’t understand,” Yeonjun began as he held the steel case in front of him. He tilted his head to the side - to him, it was just a violin. “What makes it so special?”

Beomgyu laughed as he walked alongside Yeonjun. He shrugged his shoulders before he teased, “The price tag, obviously.” Yeonjun rolled his eyes at the response - Beomgyu caught that reaction and shook a smile on to his face. “You read the file and how there are only 1,100 of these made with the majority of their locations unknown. So, it’s already a rare violin,” Beomgyu explained, “It’s the way it sounds. It was made by Antonio Stradivari - the other members of his family have made them, but mine was specifically crafted by him like a million years ago. The way he crafted the violin and the wood that he used are the reasons why the sound is so different, so full.”

It was cute to see the way Beomgyu’s lit up as he spoke of the violin. Unlike the dull expressions Beomgyu’s parents had when they emphasized the monetary value of the instrument, Beomgyu’s eyes were bright, excited and filled with passion as he spoke of the musical value; their priorities were on such different ends.

“I’ve played other violins before but there’s a difference in the sound. Most people without a trained ear wouldn’t be able to tell it apart, but when a Stradivarius is played well, there’s a brilliance in the way it sounds. Like you could almost hear someone’s voice,” Beomgyu’s affection came out in his voice. The violinist couldn’t hold his smile back even as he spoke, “There’s just a sweetness to a Stradivarius that has managed to last through the years that it's been around. Like, there’s a lot of modern violins being made but even when they’re fresh, they sound like dead instruments - too tin-like, steely and just annoying to hear. The Stradivarius’ tone just manages to always be so beautiful.”

“Oh, I see,” Yeonjun said as he nodded. He looked at the case, as if he could somehow understand the instrument inside - he didn’t. 

Beomgyu chuckled at Yeonjun’s expression, “Hyung, you’ve never heard it, huh?”

“I watched your videos on YouTube and some of your Instagram videos,” Yeonjun responded. Not one to be underprepared, Yeonjun had done extensive research on who Beomgyu was. Despite the research, he very quickly came to realize that the Beomgyu on paper and the man in front of him were much different; Yeonjun liked the animated man in front of him better than the man whose pseudo-happiness tricked his followers online.

“Watching the videos and hearing it in person are two different things, Hyung,” Beomgyu frowned. “You’ve been my bodyguard for almost a month now and you’ve never heard me play live?”

“I’ve never had the luxury to hear you play. You’re usually trying to run away from me.”

“... fair point,” Beomgyu covered his mouth as he tried to hold back his laughter. It didn’t help. Nothing could muffle that obnoxious laughter - at least, it was better than the fake one he put one during dinners with his parents. He calmed himself and then gave Yeonjun a smile, “Okay, just for today, I won’t run away from you because I think everyone needs to hear music played to its truest form.”

“You’re not going to run away?” Yeonjun asked as he raised an eyebrow at the younger man. He let out a scoff before he reached forward and pressed the back of his hand on Beomgyu’s forehead, “Are you sure you’re not sick?”

“Shut up,” Beomgyu pouted. A blush grew on his cheeks before he pushed Yeonjun’s hand away, “Let me play music for you.”





 

Before they even entered the rehearsal halls, Yeonjun memorized all seventeen possible exits - an unbreakable occupational habit. Usually, when Beomgyu had his rehearsals or guest performance spots, Yeonjun would secure the perimeter to ensure that there would be no robbery attempts. This was the first time that he’d been invited into the performance space.

“Yeonjun-hyung’s my guest today,” Beomgyu quickly introduced him to the director. Yeonjun swore that there was a hint of curiosity that flashed in the director’s eyes, but there was no time to address it as Beomgyu pushed Yeonjun to the audience seating. “Hyung, sit here,” Beomgyu patted the seat, front row center, “Best seat in the house.” He grinned, “You’re going to bear witness to my talent. Prepare to be blown away, Yeonjun-hyung. Most people have to pay for these tickets and you’re getting the best seat in the house.”

The average price of a cheap seat to a violin concerto for an unknown violinist was about $56 USD; the average price of a ticket to a violin concerto featuring the Choi Beomgyu ranged from $200 USD and up.

Yeonjun was going to have a private performance, for free .

This was not the first time that Yeonjun had seen Beomgyu - he’d seen Beomgyu half-awake, blearied and ready to fall back asleep - but there was an elegance that came as Beomgyu picked up the violin. The younger man looked so radiant as he stood in the center of the stage; Beomgyu was in his element and all Yeonjun could do was marvel at him in silence. Beomgyu smiled at Yeonjun before resting the Stradivarius on his shoulder and prepared to play. 

The introduction started slowly, strong enough to be similar to a symphony but that was the strength of Beomgyu’s talent. The violin’s first notes played, accompanied by the elegant stylings of a piano. There was a grace in the harmony of the music - the way that the piano’s charming notes blended with Beomgyu’s powerful, perfectly timed melodies overwhelmed Yeonjun with the emotion behind the song. The instruments emphasized a separated desire behind the notes, they made a harmonic bookend to match as they designed into a finale. The song was vigorously driven to its second movement as Beomgyu fingers danced across the neck of the violin; the way Beomgyu swayed his bow across the strings - every note held a part of Beomgyu, a quiet voice that whispered a haunting story.

The song jumped in its movement - a rhythmic and harmonic shove off-kilter, pushed into a different note. Yeonjun watched as Beomgyu’s eyes remained shut, but his expression fell into a somber tone; his lips slightly turned down, a frown to seal words he never spoke. 

There was a saying that when words fail, music would speak - Yeonjun decided that was Beomgyu. The music he played was beautiful, but there was something haunting in its sounds, a hidden story. There were no hollowed notes in this song, each one held something about Beomgyu - the higher notes were that vibrant, loud laughter that Beomgyu could never hide, they mellowed into mid-ranged melodies that mirrored those quiet moments of kindness that only a few lucky people could receive from Beomgyu and finally nestled into those deep notes of loneliness that Beomgyu’s eyes always held when the night would come.

As the song paced forward, it switched into an odd key, shifted into a digression of minor notes and danced into higher ones. The shift was dominant, a change in the song’s pace yet it felt necessary; it transformed the song into a brighter deviation of its original form as it drew near the end of the exposition. When the song’s final note played, it held an echo of its initial start but was brighter, filled with purpose and understanding of its own changes.

The song ended, but Yeonjun understood.

“Hyung,” Beomgyu called out from the stage as he lowered his instrument. He shuffled across the stage and stood in front of Yeonjun. “That was Kreu—Yeonjun-hyung, are you crying?”

Had he been? 

Yeonjun reached for his face and sure enough, his cheeks had tear tracks across them. He blinked a few times, “I felt it. Your music. You’re amazing, Beomgyu.”

Beomgyu sputtered, stammered as he tried to find a response. It was a cute juxtaposition to the heavy emotion that he put into his music. Beomgyu was so full of everything that Yeonjun always tried to suppress. 

“Thank you,” Yeonjun smiled up at him.

“Hyung,” Beomgyu announced as he pointed the violin bow at him, “I’ve only played one song. Get ready for the rest of them.” He grinned, “It’s okay if you cry. I won’t tell anyone.”

 


 

It had been a Friday afternoon when Beomgyu had insisted that he had ordered too much food and that Yeonjun needed to eat lunch with him. 

As their meal drew to an end, Beomgyu asked, “Hyung, you’re not working tomorrow, huh?” As soon as he asked the question, his attention went to the leftover tomatoes on his plate. With his fork, he rolled them over from the right side of his plate to the left side, then back again.

Yeonjun’s schedule hadn’t changed since he started this job - he worked from Sunday to Friday, with Saturday being his only free day. Although he had offered to work on Saturday, it was Beomgyu’s parents who insisted that he could take the day off. Surprisingly

“Yeah, I’m off tomorrow. I think Young-yoo-hyung is taking the shift tomorrow,” Yeonjun replied as he used his fork to move the tomatoes that Beomgyu refused to eat onto his plate. The younger man had a very particular palate - tomatoes and mint chocolate were at the bottom of his taste palate rankings (luckily, they were higher up on Yeonjun’s rankings). 

Oh ,” Beomgyu frowned as he reached for his drink. He pulled the cup in front of him and twirled the straw in between his fingers before he hid his frown by sipping on the straw. “Are you doing anything important that day?”

That was strange. Beomgyu rarely asked this many questions about what Yeonjun did outside of his bodyguard hours. 

“I’m visiting my parents that day,” Yeonjun answered. “It’s been awhile since I’ve gone to see them.”

“Oh!” Beomgyu’s intonation changed with surprise. Whatever had loomed in Beomgyu’s eyes earlier disappeared with that familiar polite smile, the one he plastered on whenever he spoke to his parents. “That’s good, family is important, Hyung. It’s good to visit them.”

“Was there something you needed tomorrow?”

Beomgyu shook his head. His eyes would not meet Yeonjun’s as he answered, “No. It’s okay. I’ll just ask Young-yoo-hyung.”

“Okay …?” Yeonjun wondered if he should have pushed another question but Beomgyu immediately jumped up from his seat. “Hyung,” Beomgyu’s eyes widened as he pointed to the fridge, “I forgot about the desserts! We need to eat them or no one else will.”

It seemed that the violinist not only knew how to play music, he knew how to play with his own truths. Yeonjun decided he needed to listen more closely when it came to the feelings that Beomgyu wouldn’t say out loud.

 


 

“There we go,” Yeonjun placed the fresh bouquet of roses in front of his parents’ tombstone. He had spent the morning cleaning off the dust and debris that had accumulated. He threw away the dry bouquet he left last week; his mother always made sure that there were fresh flowers in their house every week. “Roses,” he said, “Red ones, those never go out of style, right?”

How many years has it been now? 

Yeonjun sat down in front of their tombstone. He was thankful that the cemetery didn’t have many visitors at this hour - the silence made it feel like he could feel his parents’ presence. 

“I’m working as a bodyguard now,” Yeonjun spoke to them. "Except, it feels like I’m supposed to be guarding a violin instead of the person.” He shook his head, “I feel bad for him. I didn’t have much time with either of you but you were both always trying...he has both his parents but they seemed to focus on protecting a violin over him.” He frowned, “He is amazing though. I heard him play for the first time and it was just the most beautiful thing …”

It felt like he didn’t deserve to hear something so beautiful.

“How does someone bare their soul so openly like that?” Yeonjun closed his eyes - he could remember the elegance of Beomgyu’s music but the melancholy expression the man had. As he opened his eyes, he wondered aloud, “What was Friday about? Family ? Family is important? I mean, it is ...but Beomgyu’s family wasn’t—Wait.”

Yeonjun fished his phone out of his pocket and clicked through his apps until he landed on Beomgyu’s calendar - he didn’t work on Saturdays but he did keep track of Beomgyu’s schedule. As he scrolled to Beomgyu’s daily log, Yeonjun smacked his forehead.

“I’m such an idiot,” Yeonjun muttered as he pocketed his phone. He dusted off his pants as he stood up. “You know, I get this from you, dad,” Yeonjun muttered as he laughed, “Mom always said you couldn’t take a hint but you always knew the solution.” He smirked, “I guess, I’m the same way. Aren’t I?”

 


 

It was late when Beomgyu finally came out of the concert hall. While it was expected that he would look tired, there was a sadness in his eyes. Young-yoo held the door open for Beomgyu, but his attention was on the encased instrument in his hands - the priorities were unfortunately obvious.

“Ah, Choi Beomgyu? Is that Choi Beomgyu, the violinist?” Yeonjun called out with the excitement of a fan. He leaned against Beomgyu’s family car with a fresh bouquet of roses in hand and a smirk on. Though, his brows furrowed as he looked at the musician, “Why are you looking so down for? You just played an amazing show.”

“Hyung!” That veil of weariness in Beomgyu’s expression was thrown away as he realized Yeonjun was there. “Are those for m—What are you doing here? I thought—Yeonjun-hyung!”

“Yes, these are for you,” Yeonjun walked toward Beomgyu and handed him the bouquet. He didn’t frequent concerts during his spare time but he did see a drama where someone gave flowers to a musician after their concert. “What can I say?” Yeonjun shrugged, “I’m a fan, Beomgyu.”

So corny . Roses, Hyung?” Beomgyu might have teased him but held the bouquet with such care and accompanied it with a smile - there was a difference in his smile, something that Yeonjun hadn’t seen before. “Thank you, Yeonjun-hyung,” Beomgyu said as he looked up, “I haven’t had someone give me flowers after a concert in a long time.”

What ? Yeonjun knew that he shouldn’t have been surprised - he knew the way Beomgyu’s family was. However, he also knew how much these small actions could make a difference to someone. If there was anyone that deserved that effort, it was Beomgyu.

“So, what’s our violinist going to do tonight? Party with the others? Celebrate with your friends?” 

“I was going to go home and sleep,” Beomgyu frowned.

“Okay,” Yeonjun shook his head. He looked over to Young-yoo, “Hyung, I’m going to take Beomgyu for the night. I’ll be sure to bring him back home safely.” Though, Yeonjun was sure that Beomgyu’s parents wouldn’t mind as long as the Stradivarius made it back home safely. He nodded and said, “I’ll leave the protection of the violin to you.”

Young-yoo just nodded and did exactly what was asked of him. That was protocol and their duty, but right now, Yeonjun was off the clock.

“Come on,” Yeonjun grinned as he finally turned to Beomgyu, “Let’s go celebrate your successful concert. I’m thinking we should get ice cream.” He smirked as he nodded in a direction for Beomgyu to follow him, “Mint choco sounds lik—”

“Hyung!” Beomgyu playfully shoved him, “I thought we were celebrating me, not torturing me.”

“I was just suggesting,” Yeonjun let out a soft chuckle as they stopped. He gestured to his very sleek motorcycle - he always preferred the engines on a Kawasaki over anything else on the market. “Are you okay riding on my bike, Beomgyu? If not, I can call a car…”

“I’ve never ridden one before,” Beomgyu admitted. 

“You can trust me.”

“I know.”





“We should really use your motorcycle more,” Beomgyu decided as he took a seat on the bench. He looked back at Yeonjun, “It’s way more fun than when we have to take the family car.”

Yeonjun did a quick check through to make sure his bike was steady before he walked over to where Beomgyu had sat. The jingle of his keys broke the silence of the night as he pocketed them. “Here,” Yeonjun said as he gave the box of cake slices to Beomgyu. The younger man couldn’t decide which ones he wanted, so Yeonjun suggested that he pick everything he wanted - as long as Beomgyu would eat the fresh cream, Yeonjun would be able to eat everything else.

“Thank you, Hyung,” Beomgyu set the box on his lap. He looked so cute as he opened the desserts; that happy hum as he smiled at his cake slices. “Yeonjun-hyung, this place is so nice. I didn’t know we were next to some place like this.”

“When I was younger, my mom used to take me on picnics here,” Yeonjun took the seat next to Beomgyu. “I usually swing by here at night, when I can’t sleep or get things off my mind.”

Used to ?”

“My parents are no longer with us,” Yeonjun revealed to the younger man. He immediately caught the switch in Beomgyu’s expression. Yeonjun quickly shook his head, “I won’t talk about it right now, even if you ask. We can talk about my emotional backstory another time. Tonight, we’re celebrating you and your successful concert. Best concert I’ve ever seen.”

“You mean it?”

“Yeah,” Yeonjun turned his head and nodded, “You’re amazing, Beomgyu.”

“Thanks, Hyung,” Beomgyu rested his head on Yeonjun’s shoulder. It seemed as though Beomgyu forgot about the cakes as his eyes focused on the view in front of them. That was one of the reasons why Yeonjun liked this spot - the night-time view of the city made all of his problems feel so small, so insignificant. Beomgyu spoke quietly, “My parents rarely come to my shows anymore. So, it’s been awhile since someone I knew said they liked my music.” He smiled, a genuine one. “It made me really happy, Yeonjun-hyung.”

Yeonjun returned that smile back to Beomgyu, “I’ll go to all your shows.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, of course. I told you, I’m a fan,” Yeonjun chuckled. “I’ll go to all of your shows, even the ones you play on Saturdays. The ones on Saturdays work best though, since I’m off-duty and we can celebrate like this. The other ones, I have to switch bodyguard mode on.”

Beomgyu rolled his eyes, “Right. Bodyguard mode. Duty and protocol.”

“Off-duty is more fun,” Yeonjun nodded, “I think you’ll agree.”

“Yea—,” Beomgyu began but Yeonjun’s head tilted to the right - there was a rustle nearby, something that shouldn’t have been there.. He whispered a ‘ shhh ’ to Beomgyu as he strained his hearing - it was too late in the evening for someone to be in this area. He had joked about switching bodyguard duty mode on, but it was time to flip that switch. 

“Stay close, okay,” Yeonjun whispered, unsure of what or who had made their way to this spot. He felt Beomgyu’s hand reach for his hand, gripped it tightly with worry. With his free hand, Yeonjun unbuckled one of his gun holsters - if it came down to it, he would need a quick way to protect Beomgyu. The tension dissipated as they saw some stray dogs run off. Yeonjun let out a breath of relief, “Sorry. Didn’t mean to be paranoid …”

“That’s okay,” Beomgyu hadn’t let go of Yeonjun’s hand, “You just want to protect me.”

"Come on," Yeonjun suggested as he got up. He reluctantly let go of Beomgyu's hand as he stretched his arms upward, a yawn left him softly. "It's getting late. I should take you home."

A disappointed buzz came from Beomgyu, "Oh, right. I forgot, Hyung. You're old. It's like way past the time senior citizens should be asleep."

"Excuse me," Yeonjun said as he turned to face Beomgyu. He placed his hands on his hips as he said matter-of-factly, "I'm not that much older than you, pretty boy. Just two years, thank you very much."

"Two years in Instagram time is like a decade, Hyung," Beomgyu's laughter rang out through the night. It felt good knowing that something that full of happiness could come from Beomgyu, even at his own expense. "But," Beomgyu carefully closed the cake boxes up - their silent conversation earlier made it easy to forget the sweets, "I guess, we should go back ...if we stay out too long, the clock will hit midnight and your motorcycle will turn into a walker."

"You're lucky I liked your concert tonight. Otherwise, I'd make you walk home, Beomgyu."

"No, you wouldn't," Beomgyu sounded confident in his response. He smiled at Yeonjun, "You wouldn't. Not now."

Yeonjun sighed because Beomgyu was right. "Hurry up, let's go."

 


 

Beomgyu had been chosen to play at South Korea’s Cultural Festival and that changed his routine. His day-to-day schedule immediately shifted as the weeks started to unfold - there were earlier wake-up times, more scheduled rehearsals and less time to goof off. 

“Go to sleep,” Yeonjun suggested he looked out the window of the car. They were on their way to Beomgyu’s unfortunately early rehearsal. To be fair, he was surprised that Beomgyu managed to get up and ready before the car had come, but something in Beomgyu changed recently. He nudged Beomgyu gently with his elbow, “Just sleep. I’ll wake you up when we get there.”

“I’m not tired,” Beomgyu’s eyes were half-opened as he fought off the sleepiness in his voice. It didn’t work. He rested his head against Yeonjun’s shoulder, turning until he was comfortable against him before he muttered, “I haven’t gotten to bother you all week. These rehearsals suck.”

“You can bother me later,” Yeonjun shifted as so that Beomgyu could feel more comfortable. “You need to be on your best during these rehearsals. You’re representing all of us.”

“Hm,” Beomgyu’s eyes closed as he asked, “Yeonjun-hyung, were you close to your parents?”

“Yeah, I was. At least, as close to them as I could be,” Yeonjun admitted, “I was pretty young when they passed away. My mom and I were really close. My dad was always busy with work but whenever we had time with him, he always put in the effort.”

“Your mom always took you on those picnics, right? She seemed nice.”

It was surprising that Beomgyu had remembered that - it had been a few days since Yeonjun had mentioned it. He nodded gently, trying not to disturb Beomgyu. “Yeah, she did. She loved doing those things,” Yeonjun sighed, “I think you two would have gotten along really well.”

“Hmm, you should take me one of those picnics later, Yeonjun-hyung,” Beomgyu suggested as he fought his sleepiness. The younger man looked so adorable as he fell deeper into sleep - it was hard for Yeonjun to not want to sleep beside him.

Yeonjun looked over to the sleeping musician. The gentlest smile tugged on his lips as he watched the younger man sleep - Beomgyu looked so angelic sleeping. It was such a difference from the usual snarky, witty charm he had but that was part of Beomgyu’s charm. There were very few people like Beomgyu. 

“I’m going to keep you safe, Beomgyu,” Yeonjun promised as he pressed a kiss on the top of Beomgyu’s head. It was so gentle that even he wondered if he’d done it. 

 


 

It didn’t take Yeonjun very long to understand why Beomgyu had complained about the party (“It’s not a party, Yeonjun-hyung. It’s full of global elites of the fine arts - they like to call it a soiree .”) after every single rehearsal. Even before he entered, he could feel the stuffiness of the situation - there were so many overdressed people that attempted to overcompensate for whatever inferiority complex they had.

“Go mingle, Beomgyu,” Yeonjun whispered as he pushed the younger man forward. “I’ll be here,” he said, “You should go mix with your people.” Beomgyu tried to argue, but Yeonjun insisted that the younger man bridge with whomever he came in contact with. Those people are so lucky to get to interact with Beomgyu, honestly.

Yeonjun drew back - he counted all of the possible exits, tried to scan for any suspicious people but he didn’t expect there to be. The damned Stradivarius wasn’t here. It didn’t make sense that people were more interested in an instrument than Beomgyu; the priorities these people had would never make sense to Yeonjun.

But maybe that’s why he wasn’t part of Beomgyu’s world, not like that.

Beomgyu was easy to spot - even with their designer outfits and their overpriced jewelry, everyone else just felt so dull compared to Beomgyu. He was a light that no one else could touch, just a different brilliance that no one could even come near. How could anyone not see him and feel that same way? Yeonjun smiled - he was lucky to have been graced with Beomgyu’s kindness, even if he didn’t deserve it.

There were people who came through and attempted conversation with him, but Yeonjun’s focus was on Beomgyu. He’d nod politely and just exit without much thought. He hovered around, just close enough to catch bits and parts of conversations that were being given to Beomgyu. The conversations had been lighthearted, a majority focused on Beomgyu’s instrument and his performances but somewhere along the line, Beomgyu followed a gentleman to a more private area.

Warning - Yeonjun’s brain immediately went straight into all of the unfortunate possibilities that could happen. He tried to convince himself that everything would be okay, people have private conversations all the time...that maybe, he was just feeling a little jealous but...he took a breath. Protocol, duty, responsibility - he recited that, trying to keep himself focused but he followed.

That was the issue with trusting his instinct: he was usually right.

“Beomgyu,” Yeonjun called out as he entered the balcony. That surprised and relieved expression on Beomgyu’s face was enough to tell Yeonjun everything that he needed to know: Beomgyu was uncomfortable, Beomgyu didn’t want to be here and Beomgyu needed Yeonjun to save him.

Yeonjun didn’t attempt to hear anything that the unknown tried to explain what he intended to do. 

Without warning, Yeonjun advanced quickly - he moved forward, shoulders hunched and his weight centered off his leading foot. He started the fight with a straight left, followed by a swift drop of his upper body to deliver a sequence of hooks directed at the man. There was a difference between Yeonjun and the man - training and experience had been the obvious factor. He twisted to the side, avoided whatever pathetic attempt of a punch. Yeonjun knew this was overkill, he knew this - there was a fire inside of him, an anger that this man tried to do something to Beomgyu. 

Quickly, Yoenjun threw a combination of one, two, three and four jabs straight into the man’s jaw - the first and second jab landed perfectly, the third and fourth hit with more force. Yeonjun stepped backward to regain momentum - he threw another punch, his weight behind the blow. There was a desire to keep going but the man had fallen over.

Yeonjun knew that there were peering eyes on him as he walked to his fallen opponent. He felt like the busy ballroom dropped their volumes into a near whisper – the sound of Yeonjun’s shoes against the floor echoed as he paced over to the bastard on the ground. He wore a gentle smirk as he slid a hand into his front pocket.

“You made a mistake,” Yeonjun knelt down next to the man. As if he wasn’t already pathetic from the beat down Yeonjun served him, the man’s fear panicked into his eyes as he stammered. “Next time you try to do anything to Beomgyu,” Yeonjun’s voice dropped into whisper so that only this man could hear the threat, “I’ll make sure that you’re so unrecognizable that the only way they’ll figure out it’s you is from the missing teeth on your dental records.”

“What? I’m not missing any teeth.”

“Yeah, you are,” Yeonjun chuckled as he cracked his knuckles. With a threatening smirk, he nodded, “I can promise you that you are.”





“Aren’t you going to say it?” Beomgyu’s voice became meek, the softest that Yeonjun had ever heard from the younger man – the truest parts of a person came out during moments like this , he mused to himself as he steadied Beomgyu on the hood of the car. Beomgyu lamented over his embarrassing reaction to this situation rather than the new cut that threatened to mar his pretty face; priorities, right? As Beomgyu continued to ramble, Yeonjun’s focus was to stop the bleeding and make sure that infection wouldn’t be an option. Luckily, the younger man went quiet as Yeonjun’s fingers gently massaged an ointment against the cut.

“Try not to touch it too much,” Yeonjun instructed, “It shouldn’t be too bad though, just a small cut. Might end up with a bruise tomorrow. Just ice it later tonight.”

“So, you’re really not going to say it?”

“Say what?”

Beomgyu sighed as he pulled his knees to his chest. He looked up at Yeonjun, “That I was stupid for trusting that guy and following him?”

“I don’t have to say anything. Looks like you already know,” Yeonjun shrugged at him, “You were trying to be nice and he tried to take advantage. There’s no excuse for what he did. No matter how attracted someone is to you, they have no right to do that.” He watched as Beomgyu’s eyes began to avoid him, “I guess, it’s a good thing I’m your bodyguard, isn’t it? It’s hard to avoid these creeps when you’re as handsome as you but I promise, I will always take care of you.” 

As boisterous as Beomgyu was, his quiet inability to accept real compliments was something that Yeonjun enjoyed – the soft shade of pink on Beomgyu’s cheeks was a cute encouragement for Yeonjun to continue with the words of endearment. He gave him a gentle smile, “Don’t worry, Beomgyu. They’re not going to bother you anymore.”

“I mean,” Beomgyu raised his eyebrows at Yeonjun, “Considering how you handled it, I’m pretty sure that everyone in that party got the message.”

“I’m your glorified babysitter , it’s my job to protect you. Especially from assholes like that,” Yeonjun unzipped his leather jacket before he placed it on Beomgyu’s shoulders – the younger man never seemed comfortable when the temperature dipped too low. It was nearly midnight and the last thing that Yeonjun wanted was for Beomgyu to get sick.

“Thanks …,” Beomgyu tugged the jacket tightly around him. 

A silence fell between them. Yeonjun might have excelled at many things but he was awful when it came to stringing together words of comfort for someone who needed it.

“Come on,” Yeonjun nodded away from the building, “Let’s go, Beomgyu.” The younger man blinked in surprise confusion. “Look, I’m officially off the clock and I could use a drink tonight. You could use a drink tonight,” he paused, “My apartment is close by...unless, you’re uncomfortab--”

There was no hesitation when Beomgyu piped up, “I want to go, Yeonjun-hyung.”

 


 

“Yeonjun-hyung,” Beomgyu’s tone was happier, slightly slurred but definitely brighter than when he had been at that party. The younger man was a few shots in when he jumped up from where he sat - the barstool fell backward, toppled over even with Beomgyu’s failed attempt to catch it. He stared at it a few times before he shrugged and turned his attention back to Yeonjun before he pointed at the twin pair of guns on the counter, “Are these real guns?”

“Yes,” Yeonjun nodded, “They’re real.”

“What?” Beomgyu’s eyes widened, “They let senior citizens use guns?”

Yeonjun rolled his eyes but just gave him a smile in return. The blush cheeks on Beomgyu’s cheeks looked so cute, it was hard to get mad at anything that he said. 

“These used to belong to my parents. It’s all I really have left of them,,” Yeonjun explained as he reached for the holster on the table. Beomgyu drew near, stood as close as he could to Yeonjun before he rested his chin on Yeonjun’s shoulder. Yeonjun calmly pulled the two pistols out of their holsters as he showed them to Beomgyu. 

“This darker one, it was my mom’s,” Yeonjun explained as he held it up to show Beomgyu. He tilted it left and right, showing off the beautiful gold engraved roses on the body of the gun. “It’s a Colt, 1911 Class,” he paused as he caught the confused expression on Beomgyu’s face before he explained slowly “If you get shot with this, it hurts a lot. My mom covered it in roses because she always tried to look for the beauty in things.” Yeonjun carefully secured it back into its holster.

“Then this one, the silver one,” Yeonjun showed his father’s weapon. He tilted it toward Beomgyu, who reached out and traced the heavily etched snake wrapped around the dagger. “My dad’s preferred weapon, Wiley Clapp CCO - it’s another Colt, it’s a brand that my family trusted. Unlike my mom, my dad was more of an aggressive marksman. If he could shoot you first, you’d be on the floor. He made a lot of enemies. Too many enemies, honestly.”

Yeonjun had been in the midst of sharing some of the perilous situations he had gotten into due to his parents' history and reputation - sometimes, it amazed him that he survived this far - when realization hit him. With a slight turn of his head, he was met with bright, gentle eyes filled with such eager interest in his words. He became hyper aware of every detail in Beomgyu's face; from the way Beomgyu's eyelashes framed his kind eyes to the way his lips had an upward curve to them, like he wanted to say something more but just let them remain in a secret smile that Yeonjun swore if he leaned in, just a little, he could taste it.

"Yeah...," Yeonjun felt his throat turn dry. 

"Hyung," Beomgyu smiled at him. His eyes mirrored a secret happiness as he giggled, "You're blushing, Yeonjun-hyung. It's so cute."

Beomgyu was the cute one. Yeonjun shook his head and looked away, "It's just warm in here, Beomgyu. That's all."

"Really, Hyung?" Beomgyu leaned back, his face scrunched in confusion for a second. He tilted forward, drew closer to Yeonjun again and whispered, "I have a secret, Hyung."

It must be the alcohol, Yeonjun decided. That's why Beomgyu had no idea that Yeonjun could feel the warmth of his breath against his ears. "You do?"

"Mhmm," Beomgyu hummed as he gazed at Yeonjun. Why did Beomgyu have to look so lovely? He beamed again, the color of his cheeks built up but it didn't seem to matter. "I think you have a secret too, Yeonjun-hyung," Beomgyu continued as he now stood in front of Yeonjun. He paused, bit his lip for a moment as his eyes danced around as if he was trying to read Yeonjun's mind. His expression softened, like right before he would play his violin. "I think we have the same secret, Hyung," Beomgyu's eyes finally met Yeonjun, "Yeonjun-hyung..."

If Yeonjun just leaned in, just borrowed some confidence from the alcohol...but, instead, he sighed, "I should take you home. It's getting late."

 


 

It was about two stop lights ago when an unfortunate observation had nestled itself in the back of Yeonjun's mind. At first, he tried to convince himself that it had been late night paranoia...but there was a dark black SUV, three cars behind them. When he would change lanes, the SUV would follow; when he made a right, the SUV made a right; when he purposely added an extra left turn, the SUV continued right after. Had this been earlier in the day, Yeonjun could have chalked it up as coincidence but with the streets slowly being emptier by the minute, this wasn't a coincidence.

"Hyung," Beomgyu whispered over his shoulder. His arms around Yeonjun's waist tightened - even he could feel the sudden surge of tension. "You missed the turn a few times...is everything okay?"

Yeonjun put his hand over Beomgyu's and gave it a gentle squeeze before he revealed, "We're being followed. Hang on on to me as tightly as you can, Beomgyu." As soon as he let go of Beomgyu's hand, he put his hands back on the handlebars - it was go time.

The engine of his Kawaski purred as he revved the engine and as soon as the light turned green, that purr turned into a roar. 

Their speed began to pick up as Yeonjun forced the acceleration to burst; the cars and buildings began to fade into the dark, barely visible streaks of light that they swerved past. Every so often, Yeonjun would reach for Beomgyu's hand to reassure him that they would be okay. As he tried to put distance between them and their pursuants, a single thought irritated Yeonjun: that damned Stradivarius wasn't even with them.

At the sound of the engine, Beomgyu’s arms tightened around Yeonjun. He wove them in and out of the little traffic in the streets - it wouldn’t lose those that hunted them down, but it would be enough to create enough of a distance for them. He twisted the handle, pushed it into acceleration. They needed to go faster, faster and even faster than this ...but Yeonjun felt Beomgyu’s arms tighten again. If he had been by himself, it would have been easy to turn this into an escape Grand Prix, but he couldn’t risk any injuries to Beomgyu. He searched for something, somewhere that— 

“Hang on, okay,” Yeonjun veered the bike to the right, accelerated through a parking structure.

Just as expected, the sound of an SUV followed right behind them. Yeonjun sped them forward, winded them through the structure as they ascended to the top of the parking structure. He drove them to the furthest edge from the entrance of the top floor. He parked the motorcycle and helped Beomgyu off of the bike; he wrapped his hand around Beomgyu’s wrist and dragged him behind the bike. “Stay here, Beomgyu,” Yeonjun instructed, “It’s going to get loud, okay? Just keep your head down and stay back here. I’ll take care of everything.”

Yeonjun wasn’t stupid - years of training allowed him to calculate the obvious probability of a very awful ending but he was human and that’s enough of a chance to take. Without second thought, he pulled out the silver pistol - the aggression of his father’s gun was the strength that Yeonjun needed to borrow.

The headlights were the warning sign.

Immediately, Yeonjun took a stance - he lifted the gun and took aim. He could hear his father’s lecture - “ If you’re going to take aim, be sure not to miss. It’s one miscalculation and you could lose everything, Jjun. Don’t make a mistake. ” - as he counted the seconds before the SUV came up the ramp. 

One. Two. Three.

Yeonjun pulled the trigger - the first shot hit the front right tire. He pulled the trigger again - the second shot, the left tire. The third shot, aimed directly through the driver’s skull - not a flinch from Yeonjun, not an inch moved as the SUV swerved, crashed straight into the railing. Yeonjun kept his gun up, aimed at the SUV as he cautiously drew near, unsure of who would come out of the vehicle. Not the driver, obviously but an SUV had enough seating to hold a squad.

The side door opened and Yeonjun lifted the gun, held it at the ready. Someone stumbled out and he knew he should have waited, but right now, they didn’t deserve the luxury of patience. Before the person grounded himself, Yeonjun aimed for his leg - there was no missing, not when Beomgyu was here. As the unknown person stumbled to ground, his hands wrapped around the new bullet wound - Yeonjun gave him another one to match as he stepped toward the man.

“The Stradivarius isn’t here,” Yeonjun aimed the weapon at the man’s temple.

“Choi Yeonjun,” the man spoke with too much familiarity for Yeonjun’s taste. It wasn’t the first time that Yeonjun had looked into the eyes of a dying man, but there was a glimmer of unknown acquaintanceship in this man’s eyes. “I never thought I’d see that gun again,” the man smirked, “From the father’s hands to the son’s - I guess murder runs in the family.”

“The Stradivarius isn’t here. Why are you after Beomgyu?” Yeonjun ignored the garbage this man spewed out. This wasn’t the time to dip into the past, not right now. 

“We know,” the man laughed, “We know that the Stradivarius isn’t here. We found something better, Choi Yeonjun.” Men faced with death always smiled as if they held a secret. “I have to know,” his smile curled, “How are your paren—”

Yeonjun didn’t bother to listen to the question.





“Beomgyu,” Yeonjun approached the younger man. He took his helmet off and set it on the seat of the bike. There was no response from Beomgyu. He couldn’t blame him - for most people, this was a lot to take in. Yeonjun sat down in front of Beomgyu and gently removed the helmet from him. “Oh, Beomgyu,” Yeonjun whispered as he pressed his thumb against Beomgyu’s cheek, brushing those tears that had trickled out. “I’m so sorry.”

“Yeonjun-hyung,” Beomgyu blinked the tears away as he lunged forward. His arms immediately wrapped around Yeonjun, clung to him for dear life - Yeonjun’s immediate response was to return the hug, not even a thought passed from him as he hugged Beomgyu. Gently, Yeonjun rubbed Beomgyu’s back, trying to calm the younger man down. 

“Beom—,” Yeonjun’s attempt to call out Beomgyu’s name was silenced as his lips were met with Beomgyu’s. 

Gentle, soft and full of want - it seemed like Beomgyu was right, they did have that same secret. 

Yeonjun could taste it.

 


 

It had been a few days since the SUV chase. Yeonjun reported the situation to Beomgyu’s parents after the two of them had settled into a calmness. Surprisingly, Beomgyu’s parents had considered an increase in the security detail around Beomgyu - finally . The only problem was that they had insisted that Yeonjun stay within proximity of the Stradivarius rather than Beomgyu; he would never understand their priorities, never understand them.

Beomgyu had been away for rehearsals this morning. The South Korea Cultural Festival was nearly there - the younger man’s schedule became jam-packed with extra rehearsals and minor interviews (Yeonjun laughed to himself as he imagined the annoyed face Beomgyu would make - that man was really just too cute for his own good). This was a dangerous line to cross and he knew that…

Yeonjun paced across the perimeter of the Choi Estate. He’d memorized the blueprint of this place - this was thanks to Beomgyu’s earlier attempts at running away earlier. As he walked along the walls, his mind came back to the night with the SUV. He’d been so focused on the good parts of that night that he’d nearly forgotten the interaction with that man …

“Found something better…,” Yeonjun muttered to himself as his walk slowed down. They knew him, they knew his father’s gun. His lips jutted out into a pout as he stood there, all of the thoughts ran through his mind but he couldn’t catch a single one of them. As his thoughts were preoccupied, he almost forgot that he was on duty. When he blinked back into focus, he frowned - another robbery attempt. Before he could even begin, his phone broke into a familiar jingle.

“Hello, Beomgyu?” Yeonjun maintained a calm, leveled tone as he spoke into the phone. His eyes focused on one of the intruders - the man’s face was twisted into a hostile frown and curiously ugly: greasy hair, watery eyes and such pale, lifeless skin.

Hyung, are you busy right now? I’m coming back from rehearsals with Young-yoo-hyung.

“For you? No. Not busy,” Yeonjun spoke as he brought one leg up, twisted his body around and lashed out at the man. The back kick - ushirogeri - is said to be one of the most lethal in Karate. His steel-toed boot powered through the intruder’s abdomen with such force that the man didn’t even have time to cry out - the intruder’s eyes bulged out with surprise as his mouth remained half-open in shock. Yeonjun walked over to the guard carefully as he spoke on the phone, “Yeah, don’t worry. I’m always free. I can take over for Young-yoo-hyung when you two get back. I need to take my lunch break anyway and we can go to that bakery you wanted to vis—yes, yes, you know which one.”

While Beomgyu began to list the sweets and flavors that he wanted to try, Yeonjun caught a quick glimpse of more of these so-called intruders - like bugs, they flew in one by one. He scowled as he turned and made for the hedges and walls around Beomgyu’s family manor. Quickly, he squatted down for cover. “Yes, of course, you can get whichever ones you want,” he answered when Beomgyu asked - Yeonjun wasn’t a fan of sweets, but for Beomgyu, he knew he was more than willing to do anything. “As long as it doesn’t have frosting, I’ll eat everything you don’t want to finish,” he calmly said as he rested his phone against his shoulders. His hands made busy as he loaded the 1911 Colt .45 he made sure never to leave home without. “Let me put you on hold really quick, Beomgyu,” Yeonjun said as he hit mute and put his phone against the wall..

Yeonjun counted a few seconds of silence before he attempted to do anything. Once the seconds had passed, he tilted his head over and caught a quick peek of the invaders. Once more, he counted a few more seconds - “One, two, three…” - before he headed to do his job.

And Yeonjun was good at his job.

Six consecutive shots fired; six bodies hit the ground.

With these six shots fired, there was another round of six for him to take down - these intruders never failed to travel with unnecessary numbers. Quickly, he moved from his position - he never stayed too long after fired shots, it was an invitation for death.

Two more shots fired, two more bodies.

One more shot, one more body.

Another shot and the final body hit the ground.

The intruders were taken care of. Yeonjun looked around, inspected his handiwork and nodded as he carefully made his way to where he’d left his phone. He picked up his phone and tapped to turn off the hold. “Beomgyu, you still there?” Yeonjun asked as he secured his gun back into its holster. With a final look, he headed toward his usual entrance for Beomgyu’s home. “No, I just finished what I was doing,” his voice lightened as he dusted himself off, “I’ll wait for you to get back and then Young-yoo-hyung and I can switch, okay? See you soon.”

This was a dangerous turn. 

Yeonjun knew it.

 


 

Usually, when it came to assignments, Yeonjun had many rules to follow. One of them specifically being not to get attached to the clients he was hired for.

He’d broken that rule, completely.

As much as he tried to stop his affection for the younger man, he couldn’t and he knew he was in too deep. While he knew he didn’t deserve to be in Beomgyu’s light, there was something so addicting about seeing that smile on Beomgyu - happiness looked good on Beomgyu and wasn’t that something worth protecting, worth guarding

Beomgyu’s birthday fell a few days before the Cultural Festival and no one mentioned it. There was no buzz from anyone in the Choi Estate - Beomgyu’s parents had even left town to attend some business meeting that Yeonjun could care less about. At first, Yeonjun wondered if he had the dates wrong but he’d gone over his files a few times just to make sure. The date was right but no one else seemed to focus on it - their priorities were always something else, something that wasn’t Beomgyu and that didn’t sit right with Yeonjun. 




 

“Beomgyu,” Yeonjun leaned his left shoulder against the wall as he brought his knuckles to the door. While Young-yoo-hyung had been doing his duty to secure the perimeter, he did an awful job of checking up on Beomgyu. Luckily, it was a Saturday and Yeonju had time to check on the musician. He knocked on the door again. Even without his ear against the locked door, he could hear Beomgyu’s muffled movements - Yeonjun wondered if the younger had taken a nap, it was the afternoon already. Unless, Beomgyu stayed up late again. When the door didn’t open, Yeonjun knocked again, “Hey, Beomgyu. Open the door, it’s Yeonjun.”

There was an immediate change in Beomgyu’s gentle apathy - Yeonjun swore that he heard the younger man bound off his bed and rush to the door. If his senses were correct, then Beomgyu stood directly on the opposite side of the door - just the door between the two of them.

The bodyguard’ usual seriousness had softened as he knocked against the door, “Beomgyu, open the door. Please.”

At the last syllable, the smallest opening was made - Beomgyu’s eyes quietly scanned Yeonjun, unable to make eye contact with him. It wasn’t uncommon for Beomgyu’s wariness to be visible, especially if he did wake up from a nap; between Beomgyu’s heavy rehearsal schedule and the increasing robbery attempts, Yeonjun was surprised that Beomgyu’s dark circles weren’t deeper. What was uncommon for Beomgyu, however, was the redness that nestled in his eyes - that tired bleariness wasn’t simply just from an interrupted nap.

“Hi,” Beomgyu’s voice came out, forced out in a harsh tone. The raspiness scratched at Yeonjun’s ears as he listened to the excuse Beomgyu shuffled out, “Sorry, I was taking a nap…”

Beomgyu always looked down when he lied to Yeonjun.

This was no exception.

“Ah, my bad,” Yeonjun pressed his lips together as he debated on calling Beomgyu out for the obvious tears that stained his cheeks. He let out a sigh, then cleared his throat with a cough. He gestured for Beomgyu to come, “Come on, I ordered too much food.”

“Not hungry,” was Beomgyu’s immediate response. The younger man attempted to close the door but Yeonjun stuck his foot in to prevent its closer. He gave Beomgyu a gentle look as he pleaded, “Please. Eat just a little bit and I’ll leave you alone. My job is to take care of you and that includes making sure you eat too, Beomgyu.”

Beomgyu frowned but finally emerged from the door - messy hair that stuck up in every direction, lips formed a pout as he pressed his sweater paws against his cheeks to wipe away any remaining tears. “Fine, but only a little bit, I want to go back to sleep.”

“Have you been sleeping all day?”

“I’m tired.”

Yeonjun rolled his eyes as he led Beomgyu to the small table in Beomgyu’s private living room (the Choi Estate had different wings to it, Yeonjun preferred Beomgyu’s area the most). Before he led the way for Beomgyu, he thought this had been a good idea: a fried chicken takeout set, a couple of sodas, a few of those macarons that Beomgyu hadn’t stopped asking him about and in the center of it all, a small chocolate cake in the shape of a teddy bear. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, it felt smaller than what he had intended it to be.

“It’s not much but I wanted to do something for your birthday,” Yeonjun said as he felt the temperature in cheeks grow. The usual calm collectedness he was known for had faded into the rosy rise of blush in his cheeks. The longer Beomgyu remained silent, the more he could feel the heat in his cheeks burn.

“You remembered it was my birthday, Hyung?”

“Yeah,” Yeonjun nodded as he gave Beomguy a sheepish smile. Now, he felt stupid. Beomgyu was a well-renowned musician, practically musical royalty in this world - he probably had more extravagant birthdays filled with beautifully cooked meals and decadent desserts, everything that money could afford. A stupid little teddy bear cake wouldn’t be able to make up for that.

Beomgyu smiled as he looked over at Yeonjun. There was a momentary hesitation in his eyes before he hugged Yeonjun, tightly wrapped his arms around his bodyguard as he muttered, “I know this isn’t protocol or whatever to celebrate my birthday …”

Yeonjun tensed for a second before he returned the hug. His hand brushed through Beomgyu’s hair before he let it rest against the back of Beomgyu’s head. “I’m off duty today, remember?” Yeonjun smiled as he felt Beomgyu’s cheek nuzzle against his shoulder. He pressed a gentle kiss at the top of Beomgyu’s head, “Happy birthday, Beomgyu.”

Tomorrow, Yeonjun could go back to his professional manner and fulfill his duties - he would remind himself that he didn’t deserve this lovely, beautiful soul. Today, however, Yeonjun would remind Beomgyu that the world doesn’t have to be as lonely as Beomgyu knew it to be.

 


 

The Cultural Festival was exactly as Yeonjun expected it to be: an amalgamation of everything and everyone that South Korea could be proud of. It was inspiring to see the talents spread across their country gather together on display; everyone put their efforts to create and nurture a wonderful show. Though, if Yeonjun had been honest, he was interested in only one performer. Beomgyu was slated to perform in the middle of the Festival, which meant that when he finished his performance, he was free to enjoy the rest of the day freely - Yeonjun wondered if any of the stalls sold Beomgyu’s favorite street foods.

“Hyung, you’re going to be watching, right?” Beomgyu looked at him. The question wasn’t an inquiry, more like a need for reassurance. Yeonjun nodded, “I’ll be working the perimeter to make sure you’re safe, Beomgyu, but I’ll be there.”

“Hyung, that’s not what I asked,” Beomgyu frowned, “Do we need to get you better hearing aids? You’re going to be watching me, right?”

“Of course, Beomgyu. I’m only looking at you,” Yeonjun admitted. With the sudden flush of light pink on Beomgyu’s cheeks, Yeonjun knew that he had given the response that the younger man wanted.





Yeonjun hadn’t expected anything to happen during Beomgyu’s performance. A robbery attempt during this time would have been a foolishly bold move - even he didn’t think anyone would be that stupid. Still, he patrolled the perimeter around the stage. BEomgyu was worth the extra precaution.

It was impossible to look away when Beomgyu took center stage - the audience felt the same way. There was an immaculate elegance about the violinist as he stood, illuminated by the spotlight. Beomgyu’s eyes searched around the crowd, moved past all of the people who cheered until they landed on Yeonjun. Yeonjun waved at him, gave him a gentle smile of encouragement - how did Yeonjun get so lucky to have the attention of someone so beautiful, so radiant?

Did he deserve that?

He didn’t.

As Beomgyu placed his violin on at the ready, bow gently against the strings, the audience fell into a silent anticipation. It felt as though everyone held their breath until Beomgyu slid into the first note and the song began its charming spell, it enchanted the audience’s focus. Only Beomgyu play such heavenly music that the audience was rendered into a wordless appreciation; it was a talent that only Beomgyu had.

There had been so much focus on the Stradivarius, but without Beomgyu, it would have just been a violin. It was Beomgyu that made the instrument so beautiful, so valuable - Yeonjun always knew that. He smiled to himself as he watched the younger man be immersed in the song he played. 

This was where Beomgyu deserved to be: center staged, the spotlight on him with a crowd full of admirers watching him in awe.

Beomgyu was a light that deserved to be seen, a vivid reminder of the beauty in this world. Yeonjun worked in the darkness, behind closed doors to protect that light.

He didn’t deserve the attention of someone so ethereal. It had been selfish to think that he could have that.

“He’s talented,” Yeonjun heard a voice say. A man stood next to him, eyes locked on Beomgyu. “So talented and so beautiful.”

“He is,” Yeonjun agreed. It was a fact, honestly.

“You and your father have similar tastes,” the man spoke with the same familiarity as the person in the SUV. Yeonjun’s eyes peered to the man beside him - there was an entertained expression on him, a sinister smile that knew something that Yeonjun didn’t. He turned to Yeonjun, “You both have an eye for beautiful things that neither of you should have.” He hummed quietly as he turned back to watch Beomgyu’s performance, “Your mother was a dancer, wasn’t she?”

“A ballerina,” Yeonjun tried to keep calm. Every so often, Beomgyu would look up toward his direction - out of habit, Yeonjun gave the younger man a smile and a nod. “What do you want? It’s impossible for you to take the Stradivarius here. There’s too many people and I won’t let you.”

“You know, your father knew mine,” the man continued to watch Beomgyu. Yeonjun didn’t like the way he looked at the violinist - there was something hungry in his eyes. “At least, briefly. Your father didn’t care that the life he snuffed out had a family.”

“Is this a revenge plot? Because I’m not interested in whatever game you’re playing at,” Yeonjun’s eyes searched for anyone out of the ordinary, someone that could immediately grab at Beomgyu. There were too many people. 

“You’d care if your violin player was involved.”

Yeonjun’s eyes snapped over to the man, “Beomgyu has nothing to do with this.”

“And neither did my father, but your father didn’t give him that choice,” the man continued as he smiled. He brought his hands together in applause as Beomgyu finished the song. 

“If you try anything with Beomgyu, I swear to you that I’m goi—”

“What are you going to do? Kill me?” The man laughed.

Before Beomgyu began the next song, he looked over at Yeonjun’s direction again - Yeonjun immediately smiled at him and gave him a reassuring nod. The only saving grace was that Beomgyu wasn’t their target. 

“If you try anythi—,” Yeonjun froze as he felt the sharp prick of a knife. He raised an eyebrow - a knife? They’re threatening him and they decide to use a knife? Yeonjun scoffed. What an insult . He felt the pressure of the knife’s tip being pushed against him, not enough to puncture, just enough to direct Yeonjun away from where he was. He decided against retaliating until they were further away - if Beomgyu looked up by chance, the last thing he wanted was for the younger man to get frazzled at the situation. 

Yeonjun walked forward, letting these people direct where he should go. He kept quiet, calmly moved along as they came to distance furthest away from the crowd. In all honesty, Yeonjun thought this was dramatic and unnecessary - these people felt like they watched too many action movies. He took a deep breath as they found a spot away from the crowd, a surprisingly deserted area hidden from any eyes.

“So, this is the plan?” Yeonjun asked as they came to a stop. He turned around slowly to face, “Kidnap me at knife point and stab me to death?”

“No,” the man chuckled, “If you’re here and distracted, your little violinist doesn’t have you to protect him, does he?”

Shit .

Yeonjun smiled at the man with the knife - the armed man ran forward, thrusted the knife at him. His attacker moved like a sewing machine - a repeated stabbing toward him over and over again. Yeonjun dodged each move, he knew he needed to end this stupid fight quickly; he evaded the attack, calculated which way he should move. The man stabbed at the air, aimed at Yeonjun but didn’t hit him at all. With the knife’s final thrust toward him, Yeonjun countered with a punch - the bottom of his palm hit the man’s wrist with enough pressure that the man dropped the knife.

In that split second, Yeonjun switched control - he picked up the knife immediately.

There was a vivid aggression in his eyes as he took a forward stance.  He twisted his wrist to the right as he pulled his hand back, prepared to strike the moment someone lunged at him - and they did. He swung his arm toward the attacker, slashed downward diagonally across the man’s chest. When the slash drew blood, Yeonjun kicked the man down and switched to his next target. He extended his right hand and struck at the next attacker - a downward slash, a thrusting stab. He twisted himself to face the next opponent - he lowered his right leg and struck in a downward diagonal movement. The blade struck right above his opponent’s knee - an attack so accurate, the attacker cried in pain as he was permanently immobilized.

There were five minutes left in Beomgyu’s set. When Beomgyu would finish, he would look where Yeonjun had previously been - he needed to be there.

There was no more time to waste. Yeonjun had to end this fight and he had to end it quickly. There were only a handful of them left and he could make do with them quickly - he just needed to remain calm, he needed to not think about Beomgyu right now.

But ...as he fought through the remaining attackers, he realized it. As he stabbed at the attackers, easily rendering them useless, it became clear - if he stayed as Beomgyu’s bodyguard, the younger man would be drawn into a dark side where Beomgyu’s brilliance could be stained and that wasn’t something Yeonjun could do. When he finished off the final attacker, he searched for the mystery man that had come to him earlier - the man couldn’t be found.

Yeonjun dropped the knife and began to head toward Beomgyu...except he slowed his pace. If he stayed, wouldn’t Beomgyu be the target? If he stayed, wouldn’t Beomgyu be put in more danger? How was supposed to keep Beomgyu safe if he was the reason that Beomgyu would be in danger?

Beomgyu’s song ended and the crowd came into a loud applause. Their cheers carried over, spread through the entire festival; Beomgyu deserved nothing short of a standing ovation, after all.

Except, this time, Yeonjun hadn’t been there to give Beomgyu the applause he wanted.

It was better this way.

Beomgyu deserved better.

 


 

Yeonjun gave his resignation before the Cultural Festival ended. He didn’t give an explanation, just his resignation. There was a twinge of guilt that echoed in him, but Yeonjun was used to the guilt. However, if he wasn’t connected to Beomgyu anymore, Beomgyu would be safer.

The phone calls from the younger man came immediately and Yeonjun ignored them. If he talked to Beomgyu, Yeonjun would have easily taken back his resignation - that’s why he couldn’t answer Beomgyu’s calls. 

It took a few days for Beomgyu’s phone calls and text messages to stop.

It was better this way. Yeonjun had to keep reminding himself that Beomgyu would be safe without him. Someone that bright, that brilliant deserved to walk a life without this unfortunate darkness that Yeonjun accidentally brought. Why did his parents’ history have to catch up with him like this? Why did it have to happen this time?





Yeonjun frowned as he waited for his ramen to boil. At nearly ten at night, the convenience store had been quiet - it was the reason why Yeonjun visited during this time. He sighed to himself as he watched the water boil. Ramen was his favorite food, but there was heaviness in his heart that couldn’t be lightened. He frowned as the water boiled.

“... missing violinist …”

As the ramen started to warm up, Yeonjun looked up at the news story being broadcasted on the television. He froze. It was Beomgyu’s picture on the screen - the one taken at the beginning of the Cultural Festival. The new anchor reported in a somber tone about his disappearance a few days after the event - the day when Yeonjun stopped getting the phone calls and text messages - and how his family offered a reward for the safe return of their son. Yeonjun’s heart started to race.

This was his fault.

Fuck .





Yeonjun raced through everything that had happened in the past few days. He tried to recall everything, any clues that he could call up and figure out...he needed to find Beomgyu and then, his phone rang. The caller ID burned brightly with the name of the man he needed to find: Choi Beomgyu.

“Beomgyu?” Yeonjun picked up the phone, “Where are you? Beomgyu, are you okay?”

“Desperation sounds so good on you,” the man laughed, “You answered quickly. I think you’ve seen the news story, huh?”

“I swear, if you hurt him—”

“He’s fine. Probably bruised, but he’ll be fine,” the man spoke calmly. “Here, I’ll put him on the phone.”

“Yeonjun-hyung!” Beomgyu’s voice was shaky, fear had been embedded in his tone. “Hyung, I’m okay.”

“Beomgyu, I’m so sorry,” Yeonjun started, “I’ll come get you, Beomgyu. I’m so sorry.”

“Hyung, it’s that building by the parking stru—”

The phone was taken away from Beomgyu and the call ended. Yeonjun bit the side of his cheek; he needed to keep himself calm right now. If he let the emotions bubbling up take over, he wouldn’t be able to find Beomgyu. God, this was everything he wanted to avoid and yet, Beomgyu was now trapped in this situation. Yeonjun closed his eyes as he tried to center himself.

Beomgyu said the parking structure...Yeonjun knew where Beomgyu was being held.





It was a trap, obviously but Yeonjun didn’t care. 

Right now, Yeonjun was a man on a mission. The parking structure where they had a run-in with the SUV - that was where they had taken Beomgyu. Yeonjun revved his motorcycle as he approached the entrance of the parking structure. This was a grudge match started by his father, but he would be the one to end it. They involved Beomgyu and that was an inexcusable crime.

Yeonjun kicked off the ground and drove into the parking structure.

As he drove up the winding parking structure, he was met with readied attacks - bullets were aimed at him, but they weren’t able to hit. These gunsmen might as well have been blind. Yeonjun drew his father’s gun - the insignia of the daggered snake flashed in the light before he took aim. He pulled the trigger - one bullet, one body; his father had taught him that every time he took aim, he needed to make sure the bullets counted.

The people that targeted him shot multiple times, but their barrage of bullets were aimless. The bullets knicked the motorcycle, collided with the walls, slipped through through the walls but they never hit Yeonjun. He swerved past them and as he pushed through, he aimed his gun at them and pulled the trigger.

This mindless dodging and shooting became repetitive to Yeonjun - he needed to get to the top of this stupid parking structure so that he could get to Beomgyu. He forced his motorcycle to accelerate as he spiraled toward the top floor, a trail of bodies followed after. 

The top floor of the parking structure looked exactly as it was that day, except that it was his bike’s engine that roared as he pulled into the top.

As soon as he made his entrance, he quickly veered to the right - if they reacted the way he had, they would have hit his front tire and thrown him off balance. So, he swerved to the right, pushed himself away from their line of fire except this time, one of the bullets hit the back tire. With the speed that he had been going, his motorbike spun out of control. As his bike sputtered into a harsh spin, Yeonjun jumped off of it and did a forward tuck to avoid being thrown. 

Before Yeonjun came up from his forward roll, he reached for both guns in their holster and took aim. He pulled both triggers - two shots aimed, two bodies to the ground. Yeonjun walked forward, unflinching as he walked to the unknown man. With each step he took, he made sure to eliminate his enemies - not once did he break his glare at the man in front of him.

“Impressive,” the man cheered with sarcasm as he pulled Beomgyu in front of him.

Yeonjun paused, drew his weapons back - there were fresh cuts on the apples of Beomgyu’s cheeks, bruises where they shouldn’t be and tears that Beomgyu shouldn’t have had to cry. This was Yeonjun’s fault. He did this, he made this happen and fuck

“Yeonjun-hyung,” Beomgyu’s voice was so soft, so tender. “I’m okay,” Beomgyu was the one in danger but he was the one trying to reassure Yeonjun. “It’s okay, Hyung.”

There were things that Yeonjun wanted to say but instead, he carefully watched the man reach for his gun. Before the man could pull out the weapon, Yeonjun aimed his father’s gun, the gun that set this entire situation off. There was a hesitation - Beomgyu was right there, if he missed...Yeonjun shook his head. This was a shot he needed to take, for Beomgyu and for him.

Yeonjun pulled the trigger.

 


 

It had been an hour since they arrived at Yeonjun’s apartment and in that hour, Yeonjun couldn’t figure out the words to say to Beomgyu. He knew he owed Beomgyu an explanation, an apology and so much more than he could convey. He just couldn’t figure out where to start. Instead, he told Beomgyu to sit on top of the counter as he tried to clean Beomgyu’s wounds - he soaked a paper towel with water before he gently dabbed it against Beomgyu’s cuts. He gently brushed the blood off before he put pressure on it.

“Yeonjun-hyung,” Beomgyu was the one who initiated the conversation, “Yeonjun-hyung.”

Yeonjun didn’t respond. He couldn’t. How could he? How could he look at Beomgyu when he’s the reason any of this even happened? Yeonjun took a breath as he searched for the ointment nearby. He fumbled through the first aid kit box - why was it so hard to find it now? It should have been there. Fuck , why couldn’t he find anything? He started to take everything out of the first aid kid - bandages, gauze, everything except the stupid oinment. 

“Yeonjun-hyung, why aren’t you talking to me?” 

He couldn’t. He didn’t know how to - how do you start this conversation? What could he even say? Besides, he needed to find that stupid oinment so he could put it on Beomgyu’s wounds. If he didn’t, an infection could happen and the last thing he needed was for more things to happen to Beomgyu.

“Yeonjun-hyung,” Beomgyu called out again. “Hyung, what are you doing? Why aren’t you talking to me?”

“I—I need to clean your wounds,” Yeonjun frowned. 

“That can wait, Yeonjun-hyung,” Beomgyu’s eyes were pleading for Yeonjun to talk, to say something. “Please, Yeonjun-hyung. Look at me,” Beomgyu put his hands on Yeonjun’s face, pulled him to look up. “Hyung, it’s okay.”

“It’s not okay, Beomgyu,” Yeonjun tried to explain but his words got choked up, trapped in his throat as he shook his head. “This, all of this? It’s my fault. I’m the reason any of this even happened. They were after me .” His voice cracked as he felt the pressure of guilt on his shoulders. “I didn’t know they would take you, Beomgyu. I’m so sorry. I tried everything to make sure that they wouldn’t hurt you...I thought that if I left, they’d leave you alone.”

“Hyung, you didn’t know. You couldn’t have known.”

“But they did, they hurt you because of me,” Yeonjun frowned. “I am my father’s son and everything that he did in the past catches up to me. That’s why the—Beomgyu, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, Hyung.”

Why was Beomgyu still reassuring him? Why was Beomgyu still being so kind?

“Hyung, stop blaming yourself for that,” Beomgyu’s lips turned slightly upward, a gentle smile as he brushed his thumb against Yeonjun’s cheek, “My Yeonjun-hyung, you rescued me. You saved me from whatever they were planning to do.”

“If I didn’t leave in the first place, this woul—”

“But you still came back for me and that’s what matters,” Beomgyu insisted. He pouted, “Stop saying that if you didn’t leave in the first place or whatever, Hyung, because the fact of the matter is that I need you.”

Yeonjun closed his eyes before he looked up at Beomgyu. It was the way that Beomgyu’s eyes were filled with such passion that struck the guilt in Yeonjun’s heart. He nervously swallowed as he tried to find the words to say but Beomgyu beat him to it.

Just like the first time, Beomgyu leaned in and kissed him. Gentle, loving and so sweet; everything that Yeonjun could have wanted but…

“I don’t deserve you,” Yeonjun breathed out.

“Hyung, you don’t get to decide that for me,” Beomgyu said firmly as he shook his head, “Because whether you believe it or not, I need you. I want you, Yeonjun-hyung.” He bit his lip. The silence dawned between them for a moment before Beomgyu asked, “Hyung...don’t you want me too?”

Yeonjun nodded, “More than anything.”

This time, Yeonjun was the one who leaned in first - he pressed his lips against Beomgyu’s as his eyes hid themselves from Beomgyu’s surprised ones. Without another word, Beomgyu accepted this kiss - he closed his eyes as he pressed back against the warmth of his lips; Beomgyu’s arms wrapped around Yeonjun’s shoulders, calmly held him in place as if he thought Yeonjun would disappear if he let go.

But this time, Yeonjun wasn’t going to leave him.

 


 

“Hmm,” Beomgyu frowned as he looked at the roses on the nightstand. A beautiful, exquisite bouquet, extravagantly designed and overrun by too many roses. He shook his head as he turned to face the door, “You missed my concert and you think that more roses are going to make up for it, Yeonjun-hyung?”

“I’m sorry,” Yeonjun apologized as he moved from the door frame. He walked over to the upset musician and snaked his arms around Beomgyu’s waist, pulling him as close to him as he could. As he peppered Beomgyu’s neck with kisses, the two of them swayed a little. “I got caught up in an assignment and my flight was delayed. I tried to make it back as fast as I could but when I got to the venue, you were on the last song.”

“So, you left me a bouquet at my dressing room and didn’t bother to call me,” Beomgyu shook his head, a frown emerged as he did so. He had a frown on, but Yeonjun knew that he wasn’t that upset. Not with the way Beomgyu craned his neck to the side so that Yeonjun could have an easier time distributing more kisses. 

“How can I make it up to you?” Yeonjun asked as Beomgyu moved out of his arms. He was disappointed at the lack of contact and warmth but he curiously watched Beomgyu go over to his violin case. The younger man pulled out that damned Stradivarius before he took a seat on his bed. Yeonjun quirked an eyebrow up, “What are you doing?”

Beomgyu patted his lap as he looked at Yeonjun, “Put your head here, old man. I know you’re tired from whatever your ‘ assignment ’ was.” He patted his lap again, “You can rest your head here and I’ll play the songs that you missed, Yeonjun-hyung.”

Yeonjun attempted to protest but the pout that Beomgyu had on was too powerful for him to resist. So, he obediently walked over to where Beomgyu sat and rested his head on Beomgyu’s lap. He looked up at Beomgyu and wondered how he got so lucky. 

“I missed you,” Beomgyu said. To Yeonjun’s delight, Beomgyu gently ran his fingers through his hair a few times before he placed a kiss on Yeonjun’s forehead, “Please tell me you’re going to stay here a little longer this time.”

“Do you want me to?”

“Yes,” Beomgyu said bluntly, “I’m tired of having to play private concerts, Hyung. You’re supposed to go to all of my concerts, Yeonjun-hyung. You promised.”

“I know, I know,” Yeonjun nodded, “I’ll be at the next one. No assignments or anything.”

“Perfect.”

At the sound of Beomgyu’s violin, Yeonjun knew that he really didn’t deserve this much happiness but he decided that he would do everything he could to earn it and protect it.