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Pride of a Trash Lout

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“Your inability to act never ceases to amaze,” Cale says mildly, and Choi Han, as usual, looked like a terribly dejected puppy, woebegone expression filtering through at the realization he had disappointed his Cale-nim.

“My apologies, Cale-nim,” he says regretfully, and Cale sighs.

“It’s fine. Not like you had much reason to act where you were,” he says dryly. “I’ll figure something out. If you want to help me achieve my slacker life, acting will need to be second nature. At least, you need to be able to keep a straight face,” Cale explains to his captive audience, who nods along, enraptured as always.

“So I don’t need to act?” Choi Han says hopefully, and Cale sighs.

“You need to be able to keep a straight face. That’s not the same thing as acting,” he tries, and Choi Han’s face lightens with clear hope.

“I’ll figure something out for you,” he says with a deep sigh, and Choi Han’s face beams radiance. Taking a sip of his drink, Cale watches Choi Han go, before the door quietly snicks shut behind Choi Han.

“I shouldn’t have said anything,” Cale grumbles into his glass of wine.

Anyone else, and Choi Han would have nodded, looked a little regretful, and then promptly ignored. But because it was his Cale-nim, Choi Han immediately went into a desperate, almost puppy-like want to make him happy. If it wasn’t so annoying, Cale might have even smiled.

Instead, he allows his head to smack into the table.

“Fuck me,” he grumbles, before propping his head up into a hand. “Why is this so difficult? It’s not like he doesn’t try to act, he’s just so bad at it.” Normally, Cale wouldn’t vent in such a manner, not when Choi Han could return at any moment, but there was a very specific limit on what he could put up with, and he’d reached it.

“Is something wrong, Young Master?” Ron’s voice asks, and Cale bites down his instinctive reaction from a jump, to just the barest twitch of his shoulders.

“One of these days, I will make good on my promise to put a bell on you, Ron,” Cale manages, visibly tense. If Choi Han was an obedient bastard, Ron was a gleeful bastard, to which Cale fleetingly wished he’d gained enough bravery to strangle the butler in his sleep.

Ugh. Choi Han was rubbing off on him if he was actively contemplating work during his slacking time.

“Of course, Young Master,” Ron says, smiling politely. A glance, and Cale can sense the faint impression of the man smirking at him.

Don’t strangle the butler. You won’t survive the experience, no matter how tempting. Cease and desist, Cale. His empty bottle is removed, and almost gleefully, a hot cup of lemon tea is deposited before him.

Cale grits his teeth. Perhaps something creative would happen to Ron after all. Cale had always wondered if he could move water he couldn’t see, and it would be an interesting experiment to find out with.

The murderous thoughts fade quickly enough, and Cale instead decides to put Ron to work instead.

“Ron,” he asks, keeps his expression as flat and bored as he can. “I have a question for you.” The butler’s head tilts, but he smiles genially enough.

Well, genial for a man who could probably kill Cale fifty different ways with a bag of tea.

“Of course, Young Master. What might this humble servant do to assist?” The words were probably sincere, if Cale ignored the smirking mockery behind the deferential demeanor.

“How can you teach someone to act?” Cale asks, and he’s surprised to see a flicker of intrigue flit over Ron’s face.

“Aren’t you quite adept, Young Master? After all, you play the part of a lout quite well.”

“It’s not a part,” Cale defends, and the butler pretends to ignore his words. “Ugh. Whatever. How do you do it?”

“I don’t think my method is what the young Master really wants to know,” Ron says, and Cale glares at him irritably.

“Just answer the question,” he decides on saying, ignoring the slightly smug look on Ron’s face. It was not his problem, as long as it stayed out of his eyesight, it wasn’t his problem.

Ever.

“Is this for that stray punk you’ve picked up?” Ron asks, and Cale glares at him over his cup of tea.

“Why ask stupid questions you know the answer to?” Cale complains, exasperated.

It’s not like it’s hard to notice that Choi Han’s acting was rather sloppy. The poor thing couldn’t act if Cale hit him over the head with a brick and told him to play dead.

Actually, the brick would probably bre- what a bad metaphor for someone like Choi Han. Ugh. Fine.

If someone was going to teach this idiot to act, it would have to be him. Cale Henituse. With another sigh, Cale kisses the last of his free time goodbye, swallowing the last of the sour drink with a grimace.

“Never mind. I’ll deal with it myself. Let everyone know Choi Han and I are going to be leaving town for a month, and not to follow.”

Those creepy eyes follow him until the door snicks shut behind him too, just as it had Choi Han.

 


 

Ron pensively strokes his chin, considering his young pup with a smile. So the pup had meant it seriously, then, not merely a frustrated complaint on that punk’s behavior. Truthfully, he wasn’t sure he’d have changed his answer, if only to see the minute changes in his expression.

There was a certain delight in knowing that despite the young pup’s frustration, he would ever so subtly refrain from giving the man a piece of his mind the way he would anyone else. Chuckling, Ron picks up the finished, discarded lemon tea.

“I wonder what that young pup will come up with. I’m sure it will be… educational.”

 


 

In general, Cale didn’t tend to bother Choi Han when the man was training. Sometimes, of course, he would watch, curious as to why the man would train so hard, but he’d long since learned that very little made sense when it came to this ridiculous swordsman.

Like the fact that he was training after their - much too early - meeting.

If beating some acting into you was possible, I would have done it a long time ago just to spare myself the annoyance.

“Pack whatever supplies you need for a month that isn’t clothing, about two round-trip total,” Cale tells Choi Han, expression flat. “Just the two of us. We'll leave in a week.”

“... Cale-nim?” Choi Han says, looking bewildered. Cale sighs, turning to face Choi Han.

“Just do it,” Cale says flatly, not in the mood. Whatever it is that Choi Han sees in his expression makes the man brighten as though Cale had handed him the secrets of the universe.

Cale’s brow twitches. This goddamn man was too energetic.

“Of course, Cale-nim!” The other man practically cheers, and Cale resists the desire to shield his eyes from painfully puppy-like radiance.

Ugh. Why. Turning away, Cale can feel how Choi Han wavers, clearly fighting his urge to ask Cale something inane - and losing. He can tell when Choi Han eagerly catches up to him, towel wrapped around his neck and lean fingers holding the ends.

"Where are we going?" He asks, a bright smile on his lips. Cale wants him to dial it down. It's much too early in the day for this shit.

… It was barely past noon, but Choi Han was too much on even a good day.

"Somewhere with lots of casinos," Cale says dryly. It's but a spur of the moment choice, but upon a quick reflection, it would also be ideal. Casinos were large, spacious places, plenty of people to emulate and learn from.

And easier to hide in.

It was also much easier to coax Choi Han to a casino than a débutante ball, even if his sense of noble fashion leaned towards dreadful.

"We'll be visiting a tailor, too, before we go," Cale determines, glancing at Choi Han with an appraising eye. The swordsman shifts, cheeks flushing. "I'll pick out your things, no arguing about it, understood?"

"A-ah, yes, Cale-nim," he mumbles, looking flustered. Stopping, Cale gives him a sharp look, turning to face a startled Choi Han. "Cale-nim?" The soldier squeaks, Cale reaching out and taking a small selection of hair between his fingers. A tug bends him down, and Choi Han stays dutifully bent, gunmetal eyes pleading helplessly for his usually non-tactile liege to give him an answer.

As normal, Cale ignores him.

"Hmm… now that I'm taking a better look, your hair has a bit of a reddish tint." Cale twirls the strands between his fingers. "Not wine colored… too red for plum… ah. Mulberry. That's what this color is," Cale muses, letting go at last, an embarrassed-looking Choi Han straightening from his position.

"We'll stop by the tailor today, after you wash," Cale orders, Choi Han nodding frantically.

"Y-Yes Cale-nim!" Choi Han looked awfully flushed, Cale thought to himself, watching the swordsman practically sprint back to the training grounds to gather his things. Cale's brow twitches again.

"The hell's up with him?"

 


 

Choi Han is suddenly very glad he had a room (and bath) all to himself when he manages to return and get ready to change for his… appointment.

That single look from his liege, the careful study of Choi Han, long fingers that had twisted in his hair and made him feel as though he was made of Cale-nim's coveted gold… Choi Han shivers in the heat of the bath, a low groan escaping his lips. His hand, the traitor, quickly slides down between his legs to touch the raging hardon that had come from the mere thought of being prized in Cale-nim’s eyes.

He wonders if his liege thinks of him the way he thinks of Cale-nim. After a moment, he huffs a laugh. No, of course not. His liege had no time for such a lowly swordsman as himself. Though, that did not stop Choi Han from dreaming, from desiring.

From imagining.

Closing his eyes as he sinks into the bath, Choi Han can imagine his liege, bored and tired, reading through stacks of paperwork with a scowl. He'd still scowl at Choi Han when he arrived, too late for a casual hello, but it would lighten, just marginally at the sight of him.

"You should be asleep," Cale-nim would say, eyes warning him that Cale-nim was not in the mood for much horseplay tonight. Perhaps, Choi Han would smile, slow and feral in a way he doesn't normally, an expression reserved for his liege alone.

"I couldn't sleep," Choi Han would say, dressed sparsely in only his sleeping pants and nothing else. They both know what he wants, and Cale-nim's scowl lessens a little more for him.

"Of course you couldn't," Cale-nim would sigh, extending long fingers out to gesture for him to come closer. Obedient as ever, Choi Han would kneel between Cale-nim's soft thighs, breath hitching at the realization his liege was only dressed in an oversized dress shirt and little else.

Of course, his liege would know right away that tonight was a night he wished to indulge. Choi Han can’t resist the slightly dirty laugh that spills from his lips, shakes his head with a smile. His wonderful, clever, powerful liege was clearly beyond Choi Han, yet here he sat, ready to worship him.

Choi Han would skim his fingers over the milky white flesh, fingers creeping towards the lowest three buttons of the shirt to expose his prize. Cale-nim is easily annoyed by him when he does that, lingers on his softness rather than taking Cale-nim in his mouth right away.

Choi Han knows how this plays out, but still, he touches against that soft flesh happily. Long, pale fingers tangle in dark hair, tug his neck back. If he wanted to, he could keep from moving even an inch, and resist Cale-nim's silent order.

But it's not that kind of night, not when Cale-nim was so busy… so Choi Han docilely allows himself to be manhandled, to meet those cherrywood eyes with a lazy, indulgent grin.

He obeys the unspoken order, not really upset that his liege had cut his fun off. Three buttons are undone, fabric shifted aside to expose Cale-nim's soft cock. Slowly, he ran his tongue over that soft thigh, kissing the space where Cale-nim's legs joined, lavishing his worship there until Cale-nim’s hand pushes against his head gently, scolding him.

“Later,” Cale-nim says in annoyance. “I have work to do.” Choi Han whines softly, but nuzzles a thigh in apology. Those cold eyes warm a little, Cale-nim’s lips curl just in the slightest, no longer scowling. Not that anyone else could tell.

Choi Han was excited, delighted, even, to know that he and he alone could tell Cale-nim’s secret expressions. So he obeys - of course he does - taking Cale-nim’s soft cock into his mouth, gently coaxing him to hardness. It didn’t take long to get him hard, wet fluid leaking into Choi Han’s mouth, and he purrs, settles in to wait until Cale-nim was done, happy to warm his liege’s cock in the meantime.

He loves nights like this. Nights where Cale-nim is just a little too tired for sex, but still wants him here, playing his part of the obedient puppy dog, on his knees and worshipping -

“Choi Han?” The sound of Cale-nim’s voice shocks him out of his fantasy, and Choi Han whines lowly under his breath, cock spurting its’ cum in his hand at the mere implication of being caught. Shoving a finger into his mouth, Choi Han whines around it, cheeks flushing.

“I-I’ll be right out, Cale-nim!” He calls, and he hears an affable-sounding hum.

“Alright. Wear something that’s easy to remove, since we’ll be at the tailors,” Cale-nim tells him, and Choi Han’s traitor of a cock twitches at the idea of Cale-nim taking him anywhere, let alone somewhere as public as a tailor’s shop.

Choi Han shakes his head, blushing furiously. He needed to get a grip was what he needed, not to think about how delectable Cale-nim would be, claiming Choi Han as his own, very devoted knigh-

Choi Han whines.

 


 

“Do you like baths that much?” Cale asks Choi Han when he sees the swordsman, the man blinking at him. Choi Han turns a little flustered at the brusque question, but shyly nods his head.

“Baths were… safe, back where I was,” Choi Han confesses, and Cale hums lowly in his throat.

“Okay then. I’ll find a hotel with a good, luxurious bath for you for the trip,” he says, looking back over the road to the approaching carriage. “Remember. I’ll pick everything you wear, understand?”

Choi Han flushes a little, before smiling happily at Cale.

“Of course, Cale-nim,” he says, and Cale glares at him.

“And I’ll pre-select the outfits,” he says challengingly, only to receive another shy smile.

“Of course, Cale-nim.”

W-wha? Was he happy Cale was basically going to turn him into a dress up doll? Aigoo, what a troublesome person.

As usual, Choi Han is the first one to reach the carriage, opening the door and inspecting it for any surprises, before offering Cale his hand to help him in.

“I’m not that fragile,” Cale points out in annoyance, but takes the hand anyways. Choi Han’s expression lights up like Cale had given him the sun, and Cale amuses himself by imagining a pair of floppy dog ears and a tail, wagging whipcord fast behind Choi Han. “Hah,” he chuckles just the slightest bit, and Choi Han’s eyes brighten further.

And the imaginary tail wags faster.

It’s… surprisingly cute, Cale would admit. Settling comfortably across from Choi Han, he waits until they’re off to drop the bomb on him.

“You and I are going to spend a month training your acting skills.” Choi Han blinks, wide eyed, before looking… surprisingly eager.

“Of course, Cale-nim,” he agrees without hesitation. “If that’s what you want.” Cale sighs, but leans back against his seat. Surprise surprise, he’d thought Cho Han would have loathed to be in this position. Showed how little he knew. Choi Han’s smile was sweet as it ever was, but there was more excitement than he expected about getting dressed up.

“And,” he adds, before he can fall down that rabbit hole any further, “in order to do that, we’re going to take you to a tailor. The part I want you to play is going to take some time, so on the way there, I’ll give you some tips, see what it is that’s the problem.” Choi Han’s head tilts confusedly to the side.

“The problem?” He echos, and Cale gives a vaguely aggrieved sigh.

“I’ve seen you copy body language, I’ve even seen you fake hiding your discomfort, and your tone can change just fine to reflect a mood you don’t feel,” Cale says bluntly. “Somewhere in that, however, is stopping you from effectively using those skills together.” Choi Han looks at him in surprised bewilderment, before looking at his hands.

“So I can… act?” He says hesitantly, and Cale sighs.

“Only when you’re not trying,” he says, drier than dust. Choi Han flushes a bit sheepishly, before giving him a shy smile yet again.

“I understand, Cale-nim,” he says, and Cale rolls his eyes.

“Say that after we get you all dressed up in good clothes.”

 


 

Choi Han was used to fighting. He was, really. He’d fought monsters for hundreds of years, dealt with insane amounts of boredom, and even kept Cale-nim from danger!

Yet somehow… Somehow, he was losing to a measuring tape.

At first, it was tolerable. Of course it was, Choi Han would bear any duty if Cale-nim asked it of him, and Cale-nim had informed him this one was non-negotiable. He hadn’t really understood what a tailor meant, and right now, he could only stay where he was, frozen stiff despite the desire to snarl at others, not his Cale-nim or family daring to touch him. Cale-nim had been ushered out at first, only to come back in at Choi Han’s surprised yelp.

In his defense, being stabbed by a needle is not normal, alright?

Cale-nim’s expression, upon seeing Choi Han stripped to his underthings and looking horribly anxious, was cold. Rust-colored eyes narrow on the overzealous tailor.

“Get away from him.” Cale-nim’s tone was a sibilant hiss, the man snatching the measuring tape out of the woman’s hands. “And get me the owner of this establishment. I would like to have words with whoever decided it was alright to hire a woman who would make one of mine upset.”

… Choi Han was not going to get on his knees. The moment the door slams shut behind her, Cale-nim looks at his trembling form, frowning gently.

“Are you okay?” Cale-nim sounds worried. To anyone else, they wouldn’t have noticed at all. The barest hitch, the slightest lift of his syllables, a worried blink of his eyes - Little things. Things that could pass in less than a hummingbird’s heartbeat.

Only Choi Han could see this. This very expressiveness that only he had the perceptiveness to catch. It thrilled him to know that Cale-nim reserved this for him and their little family. None were given this secret little parcel of Cale-nim’s love. Just him.

He doubted even Cale-nim knew.

“I’m fine...” he manages, glad that she’s gone. “She made me… very uncomfortable.” Cale-nim looks him up and down, gives him an indulgent smile.

To any other, it would look like the barest hint of upturned lips, barely above his neutral expression of boredom.

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.” Cale-nim is the one who takes the measuring tape in hand this time, kneels down to tend to the details.

Choi Han, in the meantime, is desperately trying not to have a minor aneurysm at the sight of his Cale-nim doing such menial tasks. Looping the slim material around him, holding it tight, and writing down measurements on a notebook the female tailor had discarded. He wants them to be alone. He wants to be able to reach down, grab his Cale-nim by the hair and pull him into a -

Cale-nim’s gentle fingers measuring over his groin snaps Choi Han right out of his filthy dreams, a hot blush working over his cheeks. Cale-nim ignores it, jotting down the last measurement before looping it around his waist.

“Breath in,” Cale-nim orders, and he obeys, holds the breath while Cale-nim tuts and notes something down. “Breath out,” he says, and Choi Han obeys as he should. Who would ever disobey Cale-nim when those fingers and delicate nails are skimming his stomach like an uncommitted sin? Cale-nim’s fingers move up, wrapping the slim fabric around his upper chest, right below his sternum. A small thumb digs in, marking the end of the measuring tape before returning to the notebook.

This scene will be in my fantasies tonight, Choi Han knows. If not for the arrival of the head tailor, Choi Han was relatively sure he would have died from the simple pleasures of being touched by Cale-nim.

He passes the rest of the measuring in a daze, nodding along to whatever Cale-nim says without judgement, trusting his Cale-nim to keep him safe.

The door snicks shut, and Choi Han dazedly regards an exasperated looking Cale-nim.

“I’m sorry?” He tries, and now Cale-nim looks amused.

“Do you even know what you’re apologizing for?” Cale-nim asks, and with a cough, he can only grin sheepishly back.

“Sorry Cale-nim… I don’t.” At his honesty, Cale-nim rolls his eyes, exasperated.

“Figures. Don’t worry about it,” He says dismissively, smiling in that subtle way of his that Choi Han has come to love. “I’ll be outfitting you, so you don’t dare protest what I have you hold up, do you understand?”

“Of course Cale-nim,” He says happily, and Cale-nim gives him a vaguely frustrated look.

“I don’t understand you sometimes,” Cale-nim says, and Choi Han grins back at him.

 


 

“Mmm...” Cale lifts a scrap of fabric up to Choi Han’s chest, comparing the contrast against his skin, before lifting it to his hair. Choi Han regards him in confusion.

“It… looks nice?” he tries, clear confusion on his face. Cale gives him a dry look.

“Of course it looks nice,” he says, a little annoyed that he had to repeat himself. Perhaps a different avenue would work better. “The problem isn’t that you need to look nice - you need to look ravishing.”

Choi Han chokes. Satisfied with the reaction, Cale returns to his task, putting that particular fabric in the maybe pile.

Going back to regarding the remaining fabric samples, Cale eyes Choi Han, who has remained surprisingly attentive despite being visibly uncomfortable with the whole process. The head tailor has wisely kept silent, having recognized that Cale was clearly an expert in looking good.

Or he was a sycophant. Both worked equally well so long as he remained out of Cale’s way. A hand sneaks past him, picking up a surprisingly bold color choice. For someone who only ever wore black, he could see this rich blue color actually working out quite well for Choi Han.

“Hmm… Not as hopeless as I thought,” Cale remarks, and Choi Han flushes, but looks terribly pleased with his compliment. “Continue to behave, and I’ll take you to an armor shop to get you some better protective gear,” he tells Choi Han, who beams at him.

“You’re very generous, Cale-nim,” Choi Han says admiringly, and Cale holds back a snort. Yeah right. Generous? He was just getting tired of having to look at Choi Han’s lousy clothing options. There had to be a limit to the amount of black one person was allowed to wear.

Besides, he had ways of billing this to the palace. It’s not like he was paying for it anyways.

“I don’t like looking at your clothes. You need better, clean things.” He says, and Choi Han’s smile is absolutely radiant at that, as though Cale had declared his undying love or something.

Ugh.

What a weird guy, Choi Han. Shaking his head, he turns to look at the tailor.

“I want six vests from the brocade,” he orders, the tailor hurriedly jotting everything down. “A few accent belts as well,” he muses. “Line at least one coat with - what color did you like most out of these six?” Cale gestures towards the brocade, and waits for Choi Han to make his selection - hmm.

A nice cream colored one. He was half-expecting Choi Han to point towards the black one, or perhaps the subtle dark red one. Perhaps his sense of fashion was salvageable after all.

“Gloves. Two leather, and four silk. I want one of the leather gloves to be the highest durability you can make it, don’t slack, and the other for everyday use.” A faint frown curls over his lips. “Two fingerless gloves as well, and five two-button gloves. Use… hmm.” A glance, and he regards Choi Han.

“I’d like silver...” Choi Han offers nervously, and Cale nods along.

“Silver it is. I want at least one of the two-button gloves to have jeweled buttons, ones that match his eyes,” Cale says bossily, and the tailor nods.

“Of course sir, absolutely!” The man beams radiance, and Cale gives a light frown as he regards what else to select.

“I’ll leave the style of shirts up to you, but I want at least twenty shirts, in these colors.” Cale touches his choices. In concession to Choi Han’s - mostly - nonexistent fashion sense, he stuck to black, red, and gray shirts, with a few white ones thrown in. “At least three cloaks. Two black, one in… hmmm. Blue or red, Choi Han?” He asks, and Choi Han looks up, startled from where he is admiring some of the flashier fabrics.

“I liked the plum color from earlier,” he mumbles, rubbing the back of his head and looking a little out of his depth. Cale’s brow raises. Huh. How promising. Perhaps just like the acting, his fashion sense merely needed development, like feeding an undernourished pair of pesky cats.

“Ribbons,” Cale adds. “For his upper arm,” he explains, when the both of them look mystified. Choi Han still looks confused, but the tailor’s eyes brighten in understanding. “A dozen.”

Cale glances over at Choi Han, and smiles a little meanly. He’d noticed how flustered Choi Han had been when Cale had been measuring his groin, and honestly? It was kind of fun to mess with the swordsman in a way that wasn’t likely to get himself killed. It had to be that maiden-like naivety at work.

“Add two dozen pairs of underwear to that as well. I want a… close fit.”

Choi Han turns so many shades of red, Cale is pretty sure he invented at least two new ones.