Hitting the Nail on the Head

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Hyeon-Ju Tan

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Hitting the Nail on the Head
« on: April 16, 2017, 04:09:43 PM »
Hyeon-Ju had been travelling for twenty or so years.  He honestly wasn't sure anymore.  He'd not returned for so long he wasn't sure this was the right village.  He gripped the reigns of his horse and urged it forward, his grim face looking for the right building.  Everything look the same but was different.  He couldn't quite place why that was.  Maybe it was simply because there was a new building or two, maybe it was just an expected feeling for being away from Jae Eun for so long.

He remembered Jae Eun's scent and the feel of her.  He remembered the blankets and the bed.  Then he remembered being requested and leaving without saying good-bye.  He'd sent her letters, he sent her marks.  They rarely said anything of note other than for her to remember to eat and take care of herself.  She'd be happy to see him.  He was quite sure of it.  She always was and never complained when he left, at least he didn't know that she did.

He turned down the street and urged his horse to quicken its pace.  He knew where he wanted to go and who he wanted to see.  He found the house that held his witch.  He recognized it because of the door that he'd help repair.  It didn't look in too bad of order, though he was sure there were things that needed fixed.  He walked up to the door and almost walked in.  He thought for a second.  He picked up a Warlord's scent.  It was young, and as strong as him.  A Purple Dusk Warlord was in his White witch's house.  His frown deepened.  He turned the knob and stepped in.  It was a fresh scent.  It lived here with his Jae Eun.  He pulled his warhammer out and walked to the kitchen.  He set it on the table and raised his voice.

"Jae Eun?"

@dergon

Jae Eun Yoo

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2017, 04:33:35 PM »
There was always mending. Jae Eun had done mending for Witch too. Though not much, there was always some new and better to replace that which was old or damaged. She had done more mending for herself. But these days all her mending time was bent toward Jin Woo's clothing.

She'd never known just how hard on clothing young boys could be. Thread between her teeth, Jae Eun tied off the knot and bit through the thread to finish off her stitch. She paused before rethreading the needle, the pair of soft cotton pants falling from her hands. She hadn't even noticed. She should have. Jae Eun frowned.

But only for a moment.

"Hyeon-Ju!" The spool fell, unraveling in the floor as she rushed from the sun room to the front of the house. "Ju!" He was here. Beaming, Jae Eun reached up and up. Standing on tip toes to wrap her arms around his neck. "Ju!" She laughed, pressing her face to the wide expanse of his chest. She didn't even nag about his warhammer on her table. It could wait.

She was stretching up again. This time to kiss him. It had been so very long and he was big and warm and here, but she felt something. A small body pressed to her leg. Jin Woo, clinging to her, his cheek pressed to her hip. Hiding, nearly, in her skirts, gold eyes on the big, strange warlord in their kitchen.

"Oh." She breathed, looking down and ruffling his dark hair.

Hyeon-Ju Tan

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2017, 03:12:06 AM »
He heard the raised voice and his heart pitter-pattered just a touch faster.  He didn't move as she showed up in the archway to the kitchen.  He let his frown dissipate as she reached up.  He bent down and lifted her, hugging her then letting her slide back down, her arms still around his neck as he went down to one knee.  She was still his, it didn't matter about that young Warlord at all.  She was his.

He tilted his head to let their lips meet, a feeling he hadn't had in two decades spreading through him, his heart loudly thumping as his arm squeezed her against him.  He realized she'd pulled away and looked down at the little thing hiding behind his Jae Eun. He reminded him of someone, someone he once knew.  The dark hair, the shyness...

"Who's the kid?"  Ju asked plainly, even trying to smile as he looked at the boy that was small and tiny in Ju's eyes.  He stayed kneeling so that he could better see the hiding figure.

Jae Eun Yoo

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 08:54:27 AM »
She was taller than him now. Jae Eun smiled and leaned on his shoulder. The house seemed small with him in it. Her spacious kitchen crowded though there were only three of them. Stroking the back of his neck, Jae Eun leaned away, pulling her skirts aside so Jin Woo wasn't so hidden. He glanced up at her quickly, but mostly he had eyes for the strange warlord who had been kissing his mother.

"This is Jin Woo." Jae Eun paused, head tilted as she tried to think of just how she was going to explain. "Wisht." She made an annoyed noise and shrugged her shoulder. "Jin Woo, this is Hyeon-Ju." She said the name with emphasis, eyebrows raised at her son. He looked back up, serious face screwed up in a frown. Jae Eun merely smiled.

*I forgot last time, to see the Healer.* Jae Eun told Ju privately along the White. Some things a son did not need to know. *To get the contraceptive brew.* Her thumb stroked just behind his ear. Concern quivered along the link, but no fear. Fierce as he was, Jae Eun could not fear Ju. But she couldn't be sure of his reaction. He was a very busy man.

"You name is in the Priestess's book." She promised him out loud. Jae Eun might have given up hope, but she'd never broken faith.

Hyeon-Ju Tan

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2017, 10:15:54 AM »
Hyeon-Ju was a bit stunned as Jae Eun spoke.  He felt her.  He could sense her around him and he could sense the little boy in front of him was there too.  He heard her annoyed sound and huffed in amusement.  "Nice to meet you Jin...Woo."  He felt nervous.

It almost felt like he was about to go into battle.  He looked at Jae Eun, then glanced at his hammer.  His head quickly turned back to Jin Woo and then to Jae Eun after she mentioned the Contraceptive Brew.  She'd forgotten to see the Healer.  He swallowed hard.  The boy, that could only mean that the boy was his.  His eyes looked down and his face mirrored the boys for a few moments.

"You mean...he's mine?"  Ju was never one to think before he acted and it showed in this moment.  He picked the boy up before he could finish the sentence.  He brought him close to his face as he stood.  Both of their faces matched a little too well in his opinion.  "You're my son," Hyeon-Ju felt a tug on the side of his face as his lips made a crooked smile.  "You've been good for your mother?"

While he spoke he sent a message to Jae Eun, *Why didn't ya tell me sooner?  I woulda come home.*

Jae Eun Yoo

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2017, 10:30:27 AM »
Jae Eun smiled. She was at peace. Jin Woo and Ju stared at each other, so alike, yet so different. She followed Ju's glance toward the table and frowned. "Wisht." *You vanish it or I will, Hyeon-Ju Tan. And I won't give it back.* It was an empty threat. Jae Eun could never keep anything from Ju. One secret was enough between them. No more.

"Yes he is yours." She was not offended at the question. How could she be anything but content with the two most precious to her in the same room. Poor Jin. He tensed as Ju gathered him up, holding him, staring. *Gently.* She cautioned. Her son.. their son, was not used to men. Especially men the size of his father. Numbly the boy nodded, but their was a fierce pride in his golden eyes.

"Jin Woo is a very good son." Jae Eun assured them both. *I don't know.* Jae Eun did not write. It had been Witch's edict. If they were to live so closely together, she did not want Jae Eun to be passing information off in secret letters. And though she had learned how since then, Jae Eun still did not write. She was sure if she broke that final bond Witch would return to haunt her. *I am sorry I did not. But you are here now.* And she had not expected him to be gone quite so long.

Hyeon-Ju Tan

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2017, 10:44:50 AM »
He looked sheepishly at the table where his precious heirloom sat.  Jae Eun was always dictating where he kept his precious sidearm.  Ju almost looked like a small boy being scolded. "But..." he started and then vanished it before she had a chance to.  He didn't think she'd actually do it, but two decades was a long time and dealing with his boy...

His boy.

His smile widened as she affirmed that Jin Woo was indeed his.  He saw the fierceness in the boy's eyes and he gently set him back on his feet as he bent down.  He had brought some small trinkets with him, one of them was something he hoped the boy would like.  It was an ancient looking medallion that Hyeon-Ju had been told had writing in the old tongue which kept people safe.  "I have something for ya Jin Woo."  He pulled the medallion out of his personal cabinet and presented it to him.  "It will keep ya safe."  He nodded as he handed it to him.

His hand find the side of Jae Eun's cheek and she could easily see as he looked into her eyes the same fierce pride and a few tears welling up.  *And here is where I'll stay.* He promised her.  He refused to leave again.  He could easily find work as a town guard or something.  *Thank ya, Jae Eun, for Paternity.*  He figured of anyone she knew how hard it had been for him, who didn't know his lineage and didn't know his real father.  He'd felt isolated and alone until he found her. "Have you eaten?  We need to eat."  He nodded, looking around the kitchen.  She never ate enough, as was evident when he eyed her.

Jae Eun Yoo

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2017, 11:16:25 AM »
"I will cook." Jae Eun shooed Jin Woo out of the kitchen, guiding him around the archway when he would have walked into it, too busy examining the medallion given to him by his father. He had held out hope longer than his mother, possessing a child's view of the world. He lingered in the doorway, looking back and the tall figure in his mother's kitchen, before she shoved him gently down the hallway.

Jae Eun smiled after him, calling in her apron and pulling it over her head, she tied it behind her back and wiped her hands on the front. Turning, she too eyed Hyeon-Ju, smile softening. Her heart felt too heavy. Her home almost too full. Twenty years with Jin Woo and she'd almost forgotten what it was like to be alone. But she'd never forgotten what it felt like to have her home dominated by Ju's presence. She pressed close again, burying her face in his chest and wrapping her arms as far around him as she could reach.

"You do not have to stay." She told his head, which beat beneath her forehead. "I know you are very busy." He'd been a warrior always. Jae Eun knew him as nothing else. He was a warrior, even if he was also her lover, and often her caretaker. "I would not deny my son his father, or his father my son, even if you do not stay." She had promised Jin Woo to Hyeon-Ju even though he had not been present. She could not inflict on her son the pain she had so often seen in the father.

"But even if you stay just for tonight, you must clean the table where you left your hammer." She teased him, calling in a rag and pressing it on him.

Hyeon-Ju Tan

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2017, 12:14:27 PM »
Ju watched the woman he loved beyond words scoot his son out of the kitchen.  It was sweet, and something he hadn't felt while growing up.  He loved her all the more because of it.  He smiled at the apron.  He missed seeing her in it, feeling it against her skin.  His arms wrapped around her as he pressed his lips to the top of her head, letting her scent calm him and sink down to his bones.  He had quite a few new scars he didn't want her to see yet.  It was better they eat first before he showed her them.

He knew she'd fuss at him, fuss and make that little sound that he adored.  "I won't be absent from my family," he stated with a tone of finality.  "My da was never there for me, Jin needs me."  For him that was the end of it.  "I'll talk to someone tomorrow about Guard duty." Or whatever was actually needed here.  He didn't know, since he'd been gone so long.  He was a fighter, but he could easily work as a blacksmith or with the horses.  He may be a warrior but he was flexible and sometimes he just needed the marks.

"But Jae Eun..."  He tried to object as he kept her hand and rag pressed to him, stealing a kiss from her before he pulled away and started cleaning the table.  "Where do you expect me to put the thing anyways?"  He was teasing her back now.  "Jin Woo will need to learn how to fight won't he?"

Jae Eun Yoo

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2017, 12:57:38 PM »
Jae Eun wouldn't fight him. She wouldn't even complain. She couldn't. The idea of him here, really here, for more than a night, or a week, was... she could barely comprehend it. Jae Eun had seen more of him when he'd been in Witch's employ. Both of them dutifully serving the living embodiment of Darkness. Both busy. But at least then they had lived in the same place, beneath Witch's roof.

Would it be strange, having him live beneath her roof? There would be nothing to separate them. Jae Eun did not care. He would be here and she would be happy.

"Stay then, if you like." She was smiling at him as she said it. Just a step away from laughter. She was so very glad. Jae Eun touched his face, half afraid he was a dream. So long! But she knew this face. "I think he would like to have you here." So would she. "But sometimes I think he needs no one but himself." She gave her kisses away to him, letting go so he could clean the table. She wanted more, and before Jin Woo there would have been a different feast after the famine. But for now she would have to be content.

"Wisht." Cabinets opening, the pot bellied stove coaxed to life with a little craft. "He will not. And you will keep it where it goes, in your cabinet." She glanced at him, cracking eggs into a mixture of vegetables and grains. "Jin Woo will not. His father has fought all the battles and now there are none left." It was a bold faced lie. But one Jae Eun believed, in a sense. Hyeon-Ju had done enough fighting. Why did there need to be more?

Hyeon-Ju Tan

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 09:40:00 AM »
He already knew it'd be an adjustment for them both.  Hyeon-Ju always made decisions quickly and tended to think about the consequences later.  Like that one time.  Jae Eun brought him out of that memory before it could really take hold.  He gave her a calm smile that was reserved for her, something that came across as proud and loving but quaint from the mountain of a man.

They would all have to adjust to him living in the tiny house.  He'd need to expand it, certainly.  "He's taking after me already is he?" Hyeon-Ju asked as he lifted his weapon, the ally he had in every fight, and vanished it.  He started wiping down the spotless table.  There wasn't even a smudge from the hammer, none that he could see, but that wasn't the point and he knew it.

As soon as he heard her sound his mouth responded, "But..." Then she continued as always.  He waited calmly to reply, the washcloth he had making a lazy circle as he watched her intently. "Jin will need to know how to defend himself.  I'm not saying for him to join the military..." Hyeon-Ju quieted for a moment, "But I would like him to learn certain skills that he can use to survive." He almost looked like he was pleading with her.  This was his son.  He wanted to teach him right, things Hyeon-Ju had never been taught by his 'father.' "I'll keep him away from my hammer..."

Compromising was good.

Jae Eun Yoo

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2017, 10:12:23 AM »
"Hyeon-Ju, the great, lone warrior." She was only half teasing. Jae Eun did not pretend to know what he was about when he was away. Warrior things, things she did not understand. Jae Eun knew bloodshed was necessary, and very much a part of Blood life, but she knew little of its song.

"Do not 'but' me," she scolded playfully, bright eyes glancing at him over her shoulder. She stirred in time with his wiping, shaking her head as he made his defense. Spices were added with a lazy toss of her hand, a scattering of herbs and powders. "Yes, you will keep him away from your hammer." Jae Eun had waking nightmares of her son being crushed beneath its weight.

"I don't know, Ju." She stopped stirring, turning to look at him, careful not to lean back against the stove. "He is just a boy." If Hyeon-Ju turned her budding scholar into a warrior, would he leave her too? Wandering Dhemlan for years at a time? And when he took a wife? Where would that leave Jae Eun? He would have less reason to call on his mother if he should start a family elsewhere.

Why did no one ever stay?

"Dhemlan is at peace. Why should he need to know these things?" She worried, hands rubbing together in a slow, soothing rhythm.

Hyeon-Ju Tan

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2017, 07:28:33 AM »
Hyeon-Ju rolled his eyes dramatically.  He knew her teases and he loved the little games that came with them.  "Jae Eun, the quiet one that waits." He playfully stuck his tongue out at her.

He grinned sheepishly at her scolding.  She always knew how to make him feel like a small boy.  "Fine, fine. I won't show him the hammer..." She hadn't said anything about swords, knives, axes...he could go on but he felt it prudent to stop his mind from wondering to his martial side.  She hadn't said no to those.  So he'd teach him quietly how to wield them.

He shook his head subconsciously, not realizing he was suppose to answer a question.  He'd heard it.  He crossed the room and wrapped his arms around his little witch.  He kissed the top of her head and whispered, "Some enemies hide among friends."

It was a simple statement.  He hoped he'd never have to tell Jae Eun about his secret mission, the mission to garner revenge for Witch.  Witch's subjects had betrayed her, and now he ensured they too joined the Darkness.  "He needs to protect himself, but he doesn't have to master it if he doesn't want to.  I just want him able to defend his love with everything that's in him."

He kissed the top of her head three more times then squeezed her tightly, though not enough to hurt. "Like I do for you."

Jae Eun Yoo

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2017, 07:49:39 AM »
Jae Eun shivered in his arm, his words striking the deep, dark place in her soul. One secret. One immense secret that threatened everything she loved. Jae Eun did not doubt that retribution would be swift, painful, and deadly, if anyone should know.

Hyeon-ju especially.

She tried to set such thoughts aside. Usually his arms were a safe place. Full of comfort and love and that slow warming in her stomach. They still were, but it his words and her guilt were like an ice wall between them. She must focus.

"He is a boy." She pointed out again, her fingers clutching him without her realizing. "His only loves are chocolate and the bugs he collects." Jae Eun laughed softly and shook her head. Looking up she kissed the underside of his chin before wiggling free to stir once more.

"Wisht." The wooden spoon scraped across the bottom of the pan, and Jae Eun banked the stove. "You have to promise to be careful. And kind." She looked at him from the corners of her eye. She had seen the men drill before. It had always seemed cruel and inhuman to her.

Hyeon-Ju Tan

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Re: Hitting the Nail on the Head
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2017, 08:09:03 AM »
Hyeon-Ju didn't understand.  Jin was a boy.  Boys needed to learn how to defend.  That was why they existed.  "Yes he's a boy.  He needs to learn to be a good one."  He felt her clutching him and zinged through him.  He like how she held on, not realizing anything was wrong.  He smiled lazily as she kissed his chin and wiggled free.

"But..." It was habit, their little ritual.  He always had more to do or say when she wisht him.  His large hand laid on her hip and squeezed, just a little.  "And his mother."  The boy certainly loved his mother.

He looked at her intently, understanding her concern now.  "I will be.  I think he should be more like his wonderful mother, though maybe a bit less forgetful of his own needs over others."  He kissed her cheek gently then turned and grabbed the cloth, "Where have you hidden the cups and forks?"  Or any dishware for that matter.  He could at least make himself useful and set the table if they could feed that gnawing hunger inside him.  He started opening random cabinets and drawers.
 

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