Mate by Mywebfoot


I always felt like there was a scene missing between this idyllic scene in Ep 10:
and Healer arriving home looking pissed like this:
So I wrote this little piece, to fill in the blanks:
“How long have you liked me?”  She was treading cautiously. Who wouldn’t ? My clumsy, tumbled-out-of-my-mouth confession was not part of the plan. I took her lack of wild laughter to mean that she was handling it well. If I were her I would have dropkicked the bumbling rich kid to the other end of the city. 
“Stop there already.” It wasn’t difficult to act embarrassed. Embarrassment is physiologically similar to arousal - raised heartbeat, accelerated breathing, endorphins kicking through my veins.  Having her all to myself is not good for my self-control. Not that I ever needed any. Not before her.
“I just want to know… was  it immediately upon meeting me?” 
It was when I saw you bopping to some wailing tune. No, it was when you stepped between me and the DoubleS goons. No, it was when I couldn’t walk away from you. No, just now. When you looked in my eyes and turned me down, because I already occupy your heart
Her eyes widened and her head drew back. I thought I had spoken the words. Then I realized some of my thoughts must have made it to my expression. I want her. Right here, right now. With a tremendous effort, I slipped on Park Bong Soo’s wimpy mask.
“Sunbae,” I whined, “Can’t you just leave me a little bit of pride?”
She contemplated me. Then she raised an eyebrow and grinned.  “No.”
I groaned, but smiled back at her. 
We sat there companionably, staring at the fire. While my body calmed down, I took the time to replay the confession in my head. Every word was true. I wanted a change, and if she would have me, I would leave this job and this life behind, and put up with living among people. I could do it. 
“My first kiss was with a boy a year younger than I was. I was seventeen.”
That was random. I glanced at her.
She just looked at me. “Your confession made me think of another boy.” 
“Rub it in, Sunbae.”
She smiled and shook her head, negating the sting.
“He was a temporary hire at the cafe. There was this one time, when Appa was defending a rich divorcee lady for cutting off her husband’s…” she glanced at me, “yunno… thing.”
I grinned. She blushed.
"Anyway, and she invited all her friends to the cafe. We needed extra help to serve them. So Appa asked me to get someone in. I asked a hoobae from the school newspaper.”  
“Why him?” I asked, just to know more about the kind of guy she would kiss.
“Well, I purposely picked the handsomest guy I know….”
Her eyes rested on my forehead. “He had a lovely wide forehead, it made him look so smart…”
Her voice trailed off, her attention clearly on some inner train of thought as her eyes examined my face. I met her eyes inquiringly. Then she shook her head like she was clearing her thoughts. 
“Why him?” she continued. “It wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the way that old divorcee woman was eyeing my father. I wanted to give her something else too look at. This hoobae,  he was popular among the girls. He was already famous in school for dating a twenty-year old woman.”
“He must have been very good-looking.” 
“Mmhmm. Tall, clear skinned, muscular even at sixteen. Very good at staring in your eyes and just listening.” Her smile became rueful.
“And so you fell into your own trap? Eyyy…. Sunbae, you’re like the trapdoor spider who slammed the door on herself.”
“It felt like that. He pursued me, finding reasons to be in the back room whenever I was in there. Never letting me take out the trash or carry the wash bucket if he was around.”
I had a mental image of small, well, smaller Young Shin battling the pretty boy for the bucket. In my head, I imagined her in a uniform, and no one can fault me for making the skirt short. Thanks to the weather, I haven’t had opportunity to ogle her legs yet. Well, that one time in her bedroom doesn’t count, I only had a view of her ankles. Though those were sweet. Who am I kidding? I’ve played connect the dots more than once with those bare ankles shifting side to side as she shunted her pajama bottoms down. Her knees would have gently bent in turn, letting the material slide down. Which means her butt would have been doing the best wiggle…
“He did trap me.”
Whut. I watched her bite her lower lip.
“He closed the door to the storeroom, and then he confessed that he took the job because of me.” Something in her voice makes me think of hungry, orphaned nestlings.
“And that he had wanted me, for so long…”
She turned to me and forced a laugh. “He got his kiss, but I got him back. I started hyperventilating so hard that he panicked. He thought I was dying! He BURST out of that storeroom so fast screaming for help! Appa and Ahjussi both heard him, and then he confessed everything and got the beating of his life from both of them.”
Left to me he wouldn’t have gotten past the first word.
“Sunbae…,” I struggled to find the right timid words when in my head the words were blue lightning.
“Oh, no, Bong Sookie, no, no. I’m not saying your confession was distasteful. I’m saying it was so much better than that one.” She wrinkled her nose at me and patted my hand. 
I had to bite back everything else I wanted to say, and let her pat me comfortingly on the hand. I subsided against the couch, but couldn’t stop myself from edging closer to her. At the very least, I could feel her warmth pressed against my side. 
Marry me.
I even managed to shock myself.
Be my mate. Be mine. Nothing like that will ever happen to you again. With bloody claws and bared teeth, I will defend you. I will pace the night. I will keep watch over you at work, and at home and with everything I am, I … Who am I?
I couldn’t answer that question. Not now and not on the day she first asked me. Well, I can, except that it begins at being an orphan, continues with living in an abandoned factory and ends with being a thief for hire and a murderer’s son. 
Dead end. Who the hell am I?
I crumpled the empty beer can. She jumped at the sudden violence. I threw it in the trash. It landed with a loud jangle. 
I stood up. “We better go, Sunbae. It’s getting too cold.”
She looked confused at the abrupt end to the evening. “What? What’s the hurry?” she mumbled but stood up anyway. 
I was already at the roof door, holding it open for her. 
“I’ll put you in a taxi, Sunbae.” I said as I clattered down the staircase in front of her.
“What about you?”
“I’ll walk. I need to think.”
I waved her off and started the long walk home. 
—Read more Healer Fics here
Copyright 2015 by Webfoot