It’s been two years since Sungmin died. Hangeng couldn’t take working at the hospital after Sungmin and Dr. Ryeowook died there so he went back to China. He worked in a pediatric hospital taking care of the children and even teaching some of them Korean.
On his off time he would help his parents manage a small dumpling shop, but he felt like something was missing. He just felt so lonely. He did go out on dates—with his mother’s pestering of course. But the people he met didn’t catch his eye.
He missed Korea too. He always wanted to visit but he was afraid to go back.
So he was surprised when his mother gave him a boat ticket to Korea for his birthday, “Mama, what’s this for?”
His mother rolled her eyes, “What do you think it’s for? I got in contact with an old Korean friend. I told him you wanted to visit Korea again and he said he would pick you up and take you to Seoul once you reach Incheon. The disease that you ran from hasn’t gone passed Daejeon and the cases are very few so you should be ok! Now go pack.”
Hangeng walked home to pack just a few bags. He wasn’t planning on being in Korea for ever after all. He did wonder who his mom’s friend was though.
Of course it didn’t click in Hangeng’s mind that his mother’s “old Korean friend” was actually his Korean friend until he reached Incheon. When he got off of the ship he looked for a familiar face but didn’t see one. He laughed softly and then thought maybe his mom did know more than one Korean so he decided to walk around the pier until someone called out to him.
That didn’t take long, and the voice was familiar. He turned to the voice and saw a man he hadn’t seen in two years. Heechul.
He was surprised to see Heechul really. He was also surprised to see a girl standing by Heechul.
“Finally! I never thought we would find you! I almost thought you didn’t get on the boat!” Heechul said hugging his friend who was surprised stiff.
“Yeah… If I had done that mom would have killed me,” Hangeng said.
Heechul laughed and the woman giggled, “Oh right. Hangeng this is Victoria; my wife.”
“It’s nice to meet you Hangeng. I don’t see many other Chinese people often,” Victoria said bowing to the other man.
Hangeng bowed back and chuckled softly, “You can translate for me. My Korean is kind of rusty. I didn’t get to practice it much.”
Victoria smiled, “your Korean is fine. Let’s go the others are waiting at the house to welcome you back to Korea.”
Donghae did some last minute cleaning in the living room, anxiously waiting for Heechul and Victoria to arrive with their guest. He didn’t understand why their guest was staying with him though… something about newlyweds wanting their ‘alone time…’ whatever that was.
He heard a knock on the door and ran to open it. Heechul never liked to wait for anything. But when he opened it he saw Hyukjae and another man instead of Heechul, Victoria, and the mystery guest.
“Oh Hyuk it’s just you,” Donghae sighed, “Who’s this?”
“This,” Hyukjae smiled and held onto the other’s hand, “is Amber.”
“Amber? I thought you were dating a guy?” Donghae said noticing that the other person wasn’t a man but a girl wearing pants.
Amber laughed, “So did he.”
Donghae looked even more confused as he watched Amber let herself in, “Wha—?”
“Long story,” Hyukjae said walking into Donghae’s house, blushing.
“Now I’m curious,” Donghae said following him in and closing the door. He sat down in a chair looking at the couple on his couch expecting one of them to talk, “So…?”
“Hyukjae thought I was a boy,” Amber began, “and I thought he knew I was a girl because I don’t meet many gay men. We dated for a while and…”
“One thing led to another and I found out he was in fact a she. Can we drop it now?” Hyukjae said; blushing a deep red color.
There was another knock on the door and Hyukjae was the one to open the door this time.
Donghae heard Hyukjae’s voice from the door, “Hey Heechul, Victoria… hey I know you!” The voice after Hyukjae’s he couldn’t hear but he saw the four people walk into his living room. Suddenly his decently sized house felt way too small for six people.
“Donghae you remember Hangeng, right?” Heechul asked.
“Umm… no, I don’t think we’ve met before.” Donghae said bowing to his new house guest that looked vaguely familiar.
“We never met officially but I was at Dr. Ryeowook’s wake.” Hangeng said bowing back, awkwardly.
“Oh. Right,” Donghae stuttered, “I hope you don’t mind staying with me.”
Hangeng smiled, “as long as you don’t mind showing me around Seoul and letting me sleep somewhere. I won’t mind.”
“I might not always be able to show you around but I bet I could get Hyukjae and Amber to keep you company when I’m not around.”
“Can we eat?” Heechul asked, “I’m starving!”
Donghae chuckled, “Yeah, sure, but we’re going to have to eat in here because I don’t have enough table space or chairs for us in the kitchen.”
Heechul shrugged his shoulders and looked around noticing how many people were actually in the room. “Who’s that?” He asked pointing to Amber.
She stood up before anyone could say anything, notably Hyukjae, and stuck her hand out to Heechul, “I’m Amber. It’s nice to finally meet you Heechul.”
“Who invited you?” Heechul said, sizing her up.
“Hyukjae!” She said brightly, “We’re dating.”
“I thought Hyukjae only dated men?”
“He thought so too,” She smirked. Heechul smirked and took her hand.
“I have got to hear that story—”
“No you don’t!” Hyukjae interjected, “let’s just go get some food and eat.”
Heechul chuckled and Amber shot him an ‘I’ll tell you later’ look. The five of them then proceeded to follow Donghae into the kitchen, Hangeng awkwardly following from behind everyone else.
After they all got their food, they all sat in the living room. Heechul, Victoria and Hangeng sat on the couch. Hyukjae and Amber sat on the smaller; two-person couch; while Donghae sat in the chair. Donghae thought they sat in an uncomfortable silence, but the others in the room seemed relatively comfortable eating. Well, except for Hangeng. But who wouldn’t feel uncomfortable sitting in someone else’s house, eating someone else’s food?
Donghae was about to say something, anything, but Hangeng spoke first, “This is really good.”
“I would hope so,” Heechul said swallowing. “Donghae owns a restaurant and cooks most of the meals when he’s there.”
Hangeng’s eyes widened and turned to Donghae, “Teach me!” Heechul chuckled and the others in the room smiled. Donghae was just surprised. Noticing their reactions, Hangeng blushed and bowed his head, “I-I’m sorry.”
“It’s ok,” Donghae said, “You just surprised me. I can teach you how to cook anything.”
“Thank you!” Hangeng smiled. “I can’t cook very well. My parents own a dumpling shop but I’m not allowed in the kitchen.”
“And why is that?” Heechul asked in a teasing voice.
“Because the last time I tried to help mom I cut myself and almost burned her best pot.” Hangeng said, blushing again. Cute.
“How have you managed to live then?” Amber asked.
“Well when I was in China I would spend my off hours at the dumpling shop and my mom always made sure I had food. The first time I was in Korea Min—Sungmin could cook so he made most of the meals.
Heechul’s smirk practically fell off of his face, “how are you by the way? Haven’t seen you since…”
Hangeng smiled sadly, “I’m ok. I’ve kept myself busy and mom keeps setting me up with blind dates.”
Heechul laughed, “Yeah that sounds like Mama Han.”
“What happened?” Victoria timidly asked.
“Sungmin was my-my boyfriend. He died when the plague hit Mokpo.” Hangeng said. “And the Dr. Ryeowook died and I didn’t want to stay in Korea any longer so I went back to China.”
“Oh I’m so sorry,” Victoria said sadly.
“It’s ok. I’m ok. It took two years but I’m ok now.” Hangeng said smiling sadly, “I do still miss him though.”
“It seems like all three of you were hurt pretty badly by that dreadful plague.” Amber said, hugging Hyukjae.
“But we all bounced back,” Hyukjae said smiling at her.
Donghae smiled sadly; if they only knew. Maybe having Hangeng as a house guest wouldn’t be too bad though.
It’s been a few days since they met and Hangeng thinks things are going well; a little awkward but well. Donghae works most days so he spends a lot of time with Hyukjae and Amber. He has no clue where Heechul and Victoria are half the time. Honestly he doesn’t really want to know.
Donghae has been a good host—a really good host. He would usually bring food home from his restaurant. Sometimes he would cook at the house and Hangeng would watch. They would sit at the table and eat together. Sometimes Donghae would ask about him and they would talk about him. Other times they would talk about Donghae. They never told each other secrets or anything of the like. That’s why Hangeng liked Donghae.
At first it was like a friendship. But then he started noticing the little things that Donghae would do; like put his shoes on backwards if he was running late; the little sliver of his tongue that stuck out of the side of his mouth when he cooked a different, new recipe; cling to Hyukjae if Amber wasn’t around. He wished Donghae would cling to him.
About a month after he arrived, he was surprised when Donghae came home at least three hours early with bags of uncooked food, “what’s that for?”
Donghae smiled that adorable smile, “It’s to cook! Remember you wanted to learn how to cook!” He walked into the kitchen and sat the bags on the table, “I had Heechul send a letter to your mother to see if she would let me have her recipe so I could teach you how to make her dumplings.” He shook his head, “I had to swear myself to secrecy and sign a contract stating that I wouldn’t use the recipe in my restaurant.”
Hangeng laughed, “Mama’s a very paranoid person with her recipes. I don’t even know it; you’re lucky.”
Donghae laughed, “She said that; now shoo so I can get the secret part done!”
Hangeng chuckled but followed Donghae’s orders. He went to his room to finish writing a letter to his mother. He didn’t want to give his little crush away so he told his mom that he made new friend and that he wanted to stay a little while longer. He also thanked her for letting Donghae have the recipe for her dumplings. He also wrote that he would make sure he knew how to cook before he went back to China.
“Hangeng, you can come back into the kitchen now!” He heard Donghae exclaim, “Hangeng?”
Hangeng smiled, “Coming!”
He quickly got up and walked back into the kitchen and saw that most of the Ingredients where already set out and cut.
“I’m going to start you out with the easy stuff,” Donghae explained, “Like stirring!”
“OK…” Hangeng said hesitantly stepped forward and stood in front of a bowl; where Donghae told him to stand.
“First you need to stir these into the flower. Then pour in the water as you stir it.” Donghae explained standing by Hangeng.
Hangeng put the ingredients into the bowl with the flower (that was already measured out; he saw) the shakily stirred it. He could feel Donghae’s gaze on him and it made him nervous.
He picked up the water next and began stirring it slowly into the bowl but it was sloppy. It seemed like he got more water on the counter than in the bowl. “Stir gently.” He heard Donghae say. He tried. He really did, but he couldn’t keep the bowl from moving. “Like this,” He heard before he felt a hand on his arm. He froze, “Here I’ll show you.
Donghae then slid his hand down Hangeng’s arm and wrapped his hand around Hangeng’s hand. He began to stir the dough holding Hangeng’s hand. “Why are you so stiff?”
“I-I” Hangeng stuttered but his words were failing him. He tried to loosen up.
“Ok now you need to knead the dough into a ball and cover it. So we can make the filling.” Donghae said. Hangeng expected Donghae to pull back and watch him try to knead the dough but he felt the other’s body lean up against his as the other hand took ahold of his other hand. Donghae helped him knead the bread, and he had a dark red blush on his face. He didn’t know how long he was going to last.
“Ok now we add these other ingredients together for the filling, you need to stir them in the same direction.” He felt more than heard Donghae say into his neck before he moved away from Hangeng’s body to stand beside him.
He followed Donghae’s instructions stiffly and without incident. Well without needing Donghae’s help. When he was finished he turned to Donghae waiting for more instruction.
“Ok now we need to make the dumpling part. Get the dough and divide it into small circles.” Donghae said getting the dough and helping him make the small circles. “Ok now let’s put the filling onto the middle of each circle. Wet the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough over the ingredients.”
Hangeng followed instructions again and Donghae helped him. “Now all we have to do is cook them!” Donghae said enthusiastically. Donghae put a pot of water on the fire to boil. When the water started to boil he told Hangeng to put half of the dumplings in to the water and gently stirred them. They added more water and put the rest of them in—stirring again—and covered them.
Hangeng didn’t know when the dumplings were done but Donghae told him to take it off of the fire and he did. They drained the water and Donghae picked one up with chopsticks, “try it.”
“No way,” Hangeng said.
“Please,” Donghae pleaded and made that adorable face of his.
“Ok,” he replied, dejectedly. He reached over to pick one up but Donghae made a disapproving noise and held out the one he had. Hangeng nervously opened his mouth and Donghae placed it in his mouth.
He chewed for a little bit, with wide eyes. “This—” he started with his mouth full, “Tastes like mama’s!”
“Good! It’s supposed to!” Donghae said laughing. Without thinking Hangeng pulled Donghae into a hug. He felt Donghae stiffen and quickly pulled back.
“I’m sorry.” Hangeng said taking a step back with his head down.
“I—It’s ok.” Donghae said. He walked over a picked up another dumpling but ate it himself. “This is pretty good!”
Hangeng chuckled and, again without thinking, swiped some sauce that was on the side of Donghae’s lip with his thumb. Donghae didn’t react that time. He just smiled and ate another dumpling.
They heard the door open and close. They turned to the doorway and saw Heechul walking into the kitchen, “Something smells good!” He walked over to the dumplings, picked one up and ate it. “This is good! Nice job Donghae!”
“I didn’t make those. Hangeng did,” Donghae said brightly.
Heechul choked, “wha—”
“Gee thanks Heechul.” Hangeng said deadpan, “way to have faith in me.”
“No it’s just—”
“Shut up and eat,” the Chinese man said shoving another dumpling in Heechul’s mouth as Donghae laughed.
Donghae thought did good to hide his feelings. At first he tried to ignore those feelings because he felt like he was cheating on Ryeowook. But as the days went by he couldn’t get Hangeng off of his mind. And it didn’t help that he felt the other man’s gaze on him as he cooked.
He rationalized things though. He knew that Ryeowook would want him to move on. Really and he’d want Ryeowook to move on if he was the one that had died. So he slowly stopped ignoring his feelings and allowed his feelings to slowly come out.
The first time he dared to make a move was the first time he helped Hangeng cook. He really enjoyed having Hangeng in his arms and holding his hands; even if it was just to help him stir and knead the dough.
He just didn’t know what else he could do. He knew Hangeng had had a boyfriend who died, so not knowing if he was gay or not wasn’t the problem. The problem was that he didn’t know if he was over said boyfriend. Another thing was Donghae didn’t know if Hangeng was into another guy.
After that night of cooking dumplings he tried to spend more time with Hangeng. He would talk the Chinese man to his restaurant and he would sometimes teach Hangeng how to cook there. Sometimes they stayed in the house.
He was somewhat jealous of Hyukjae though. Hangeng was spending a lot of time with him at Hyukjae’s dancing studio. But he would sometimes pass Hangeng’s room to see that Hangeng didn’t close the door. He could see the Chinese man dancing. Then he didn’t mind so much.
Then he caught the other man in the bath. He didn’t mean to walk in really… well he didn’t even know Hangeng was taking a bath; he thought Hangeng was still at the dance studio with Hyukjae.
After he got a lovely eye full of Hangeng’s chest and abs, Donghae shut the door quickly. He might have stared too long though because not five minutes later Hangeng walked out of the bathroom. Sadly he was wearing a shirt and shorts.
“I am so sorry,” was all he could say to Hangeng. “I didn’t mean to! I didn’t even know you were here!”
Hangeng chuckled, “its ok.”
They stood together in an awkward silence with Hangeng staring at him and Donghae trying to avoid the gaze.
“So… did you like the view?” Hangeng suddenly asked him.
Donghae’s eyes widened comically, “I—” he was cut off by Hangeng’s lips on his.
The kiss was nothing like what he expected it to be. He was expecting gentleness and caring but this kiss was fierce, needy. And it didn’t last long. Hangeng pulled back first and bowed, “I’m sorry that was out of line.”
“No it wasn’t.” Donghae quickly said. “I’ve kind of wanted to do that for a while now.”
They were both blushing when Hangeng looked up. Hangeng straightened himself. They leaned in and kissed again. This time the kiss was softer.
They leaned into each other to make the kiss deeper. Donghae’s mind was a million miles away from his body. He couldn’t believe this was happening. He’d been dreaming of this for weeks!
Then the dream came to an end when he heard clapping. The pair broke apart and looked at who had interrupted them. All of their friends were there. Heechul and Hyukjae were clapping and Victoria and Amber were giggling.
“Pay up Heechul! I won!” Hyukjae said enthusiastically.
“Fine, fine,” Heechul said as he rolled his eyes and gave Hyukjae some money.
Donghae and Hangeng looked at their friends, confused. “They made a bet on whether or not you two would get together.” Amber explained.
“And Hyukjae won,” Victoria finished.
“I can’t believe you did that!” Donghae exclaimed.
“I can,” Hangeng deadpanned. “Wait,” he turned to Donghae, “does that mean we’re together now…?”
Donghae smiled and pecked Hangeng’s cheek, “Well of course! I’m not going to let you go that easily.”
A/N: Seriously I can't write anything short anymore... at one point was was tempted to write (Like right after they met), "one day Donghae walked in on Hangeng taking a bath and decided to jump him and they made sweet sweet love in the bath. They lived happily ever after. The end." But I didn't :D
P.S. I have a tumblr now It's BeautifulxAbyss! Just like my twitter ^^