- a Jinnie fanfic
“Revenge is mine, Koala.”
Lee Jae Jin stared back, unflinching, into the eye of the black revolver. He tilted his head slightly to the side and slowly lifted his eyes to look directly at the gunman.
Jan Si Eun stared back at the man before her, whose background had dubbed him the code name Koala. There was friendly about this thug, although the name would suggest otherwise. She stared at him hard, her eyes clearly burning with unbashed hatred for him. In her bitter rage, she spat on the ground.
“Tonight I’m going to make you pay for all that you’ve put me through.”
Jae Jin knew that this day would come sooner or later. He suddenly felt vary and exhausted. There was nothing left for him to do. He turned his head away and shut his eyes.
A year ago…
“Uh, excuse me. How the hell did I end up with the code name Koala?”
Jae Jin’s question interrupted the underground metting of the Sechskies and they all turned to look at him. Ji Won, the confident and composed leader, placed his hands behind his head and leaned back in his chairas he streched out his legs onthe table.
“This is a dangerous mission, Jae Jin. We want to keep things as confidental as possible. We wouldn’t want the authorites to find out our real identities now, would we?”
“yeah, but Koala?”
“It’s cute Jae Jinnee!” insisted Jae Duc, satisfied with his nickname. “Mine is Duck. Girl love pet names.”
“You should talk, grumbled,” grumbled Ji Young. “Why don’t you take Ostrich?”
“Yeah,” chimed in Sung Hoon. “How about Porcupine?”
The trio started bickering and Jae Jin turned away from the nonsensical argument. His eyes caught Ji Won and he seemed amused through the entire ordeal.
“How come you don’t get an animal code name? Gam Shi sounds better than what we have!”
“I’m the leader and Gam Shi suits me just fine.”
“That’s not fair though!” Jae Jin whined.
“Yeah!” the others agreed in unison.
The threatening look in Ji Won’s eyes clearly stated that he was not to be questioned. They all slumped back into their seats and their grumbling was kept at a barely audible tone. Ji Won smiled and sat upright, folding his arms militantly as he leaned closer.
“Now that we have the code names assigned, we have to bring this meeting to order and discuss the important matters that lay before us. What should we do about Jang Su Won?”
The name brought silence among the SechsKies members and it drew their attention. All their faces twisted into hateful scowls when they envisioned the person who bore that name. Jae Jin hated Su Won with a passion. He had been the one who had taken Su Won under his own wing when he had first joined.
But Su Won had turned against them and just last week, he left SechsKies without an apology or reason. Upon joining SechsKies, Su Won had known that it was blood in or blood out. No one was allowed to leave unless they were dead. Su Won had violated the sacred code and now his punishment was death.
“I say we go to his house and rob the place, rape the women, and kill his entire family,” suggested Jae Jin, in a matter of fact tone.
The others punched their fists into the air like Nazis in agreement. Ji Won raised his hand for silence and calmed their enthusiasm. An evil smile lurked on his face as he motioned for the others to come closer.
Ji Won laid out the blue prints for Su Won’s home and whispered in code his plan of attack. Not too long after, their meeting was adjourned and they started to carry out their mission.
“We could have taken the main road, you know.”
Ji Won turned around and flashed the beam of light in Jae Jin’s face, nearly blinding him.
“Would you stop whining Koala? We’re almost there!”
Jae Jin shielded his eyes from the bright light and snapped back through the bandana covering half his face. “Stop calling me that!” he hissed. “Which brings me to another thing. Couldn’t we have taken a car instead of going on foot?”
Everyone continued walking and ignored him. Jae Duc put a hand on his friend’s shoulder for comfort and pulled down his disguise.
“Just two more miles Koala, you’ll make it. Just watch your step.”
“Okay…Duck,” said Jae Jin, smiling as he emphasized the last word. He took longer strides and quickened his pace to get to his destination faster but –
“Eww! Nasty! Sick!”
Jae Jin lifted up the sole of his sneaker and squinted to make out the dark substance covering the bottom end of his shoe. “Shit! Why does the worst stuff always happen to me?” he complained.
The others burst into laughter and formed a ring around him. “Ew, get away from us Koala!” they chanted. The guys broke out into a run after the taunt and Jae Jin chased after them.
He realized the leaves and debris getting caught in his shoe was slowing him down. He stopped for a moment and when he looked up, no one was in sight. The others had run off and left him behind.
“Great,” he grumbled. “Just great.”
Jae Jin started to scrape the gunk off his shoe on a nearby tree. It was night time and the woods were completely dark so Jae Jin wasn’t able to make out the svelte figure leaning against the tree. He smeared his business against it.
“Gross! What are you doing?!” shrieked a high-pitched, girly voice.
Jae Jin was already backing away from the voice that had startled him but the girl came closer and gave him a hard shove. He fell back and snapped his ankle.
“Ow!” he yelped in pain.
Jae Jin took off both of his shoes and threw them in the other direction. He grabbed his ankle and winced from the pain. The girl covered her mouth with her hand in ardent shock and sudden remorse.
“I’m so sorry!” she apologized. “I didn’t mean to push you that hard but you wiped your shoe on my back.”
Jae Jin continued massaging his swollen ankle as he looked up at the girl. She had jet-black hair down to her shoulders and her dark, bottomless eyes were staring back at him. She had taken off her cardigan and was wearing only her dress, her fair skin glowing in the moonlight.
“You made me twist my ankle!”
“Here let me see it.”
She started to pull off his disguise but Jae Jin stopped her.
“What are you doing? My ankle hurts, not my face!”
“Ow! You’re hurting me!”
Her fingers were being crushed under the applied pressure of Jae Jin’s fingers. He let her go and she moved away from him instantly.
“I’m sorry. I just want to see what you look like.”
Through the slit, Jae Jin glared at her and folded his arms. “It’s alright. Now do something about my ankle.”
The girl gave him a confused look. “Uh…what can I do about it?”
“At least take me to a doctor or something! You can’t leave me here in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night!”
The girl gave him an apologetic look. “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault. Here, let me carry you to a doctor.”
She knelt down and offered her back to Jae Jin. He stared at her back. He didn’t really think that she would do anything to help him since it was his fault in the first place but he wasn’t going to refuse her offer either.
“Thanks!” he exclaimed as he hopped on her back.
Jae Jin’s sudden weight had been too much and they both toppled over. The girl fell on top of him and got off right away, her face furiously blushing.
“I’m sorry! I wasn’t ready!”
Jae Jin had turned a decent shade of red himself. He had never been this close to a girl before so when her supple body lay against his, he was frozen still and wasn’t able to move at all. He turned his glance away from her.
“It’s okay. I should have said something.”
“Here, let’s try it again,” she said, offering her back to him again.
This time Jae Jin got on with more success and the girl took him in the direction of town.
“No, no! The other way!”
Jae Jin nudged her face the other way and pointed towards the path ahead. The girl turned her head and looked at him with a curious expression.
“But leading through that trail is nothing but a couple of houses. Are you sure?”
Jae Jin nodded. “My uh, friend lives there. It’s less than 2 miles away from here and he can drive me to the doctor.”
The girl nodded and carried him back the other way.
As they were continuing their path through the woods, no sound was heard except for the crunching of leaves beneath the girl’s feet.
“What’s your name?” they both asked suddenly at once.
“I’m Jang Si Eun,” the girl answered. “You?”
“Lee Jae Jin.”
“Nice name,” she commented.
Jae Jin didn’t answer and tightened his hold around her shoulders.
“Are we there yet?”
“I don’t know…where exactly is your friend’s house?”
Jae Jin looked up at the winding road ahead and wasn’t sure which way the guys took.
“Ehh…I don’t know. Keep going and I’ll tell you.”
Si Eun exhaled and continued carrying Jae Jin. After a while, her legs gave out on her and she dropped him.
Si Eun landed on the ground next to Jae Jin.
“What are you doing?”
She started to gasp. “You’re too heavy! I can’t take you any farther.”
Jae Jin got up. “I guess this is far enough. We’re even now.”
He started to walk away in even paces and Si Eun’s mouth fell open in shock.
“You walk fine, you liar! You made me carry you all this way for nothing!”
Jae Jin’s cocky face formed a smirky smile. “I’m a fast healer.” He started to leave but then he felt something heavy jump on his back. He turned his face back slightly and was surprised to see Si Eun clinging onto him.
“Now it’s your turn to carry me!”
Jae Jin tried to heave her off and her body kept swinging in different directions but she wouldn’t fall off. Jae Jin bent over and breathed heavily in exhaustion and finally decided to give up.
“Okay, okay. I’ll carry you to where I need to be and then you’re on your own.”
Si Eun let out a squeal of joy and Jae Jin started to carry her up the road. Jae Jin walked for a while and he felt Si Eun’s arms folding closer around his shoulders. Her warmth invaded every part of his senses and he was suddenly feeling shy around her. He didn’t want to think about it and soon enough, he spotted the guys just a few yards away. He stopped in his tracks and hid himself and Si Eun on the side.
“What is it?” she asked as she slowly got off.
“I’m here already. You must go now.”
Si Eun started to leave but then she turned back. “Can I see what you look like?”
Jae Jin’s eyes grew big and he did want her to see what he looked like but Ji Won’s thunderous voice roared in his mind. “Don’t you dare reveal your true identity!” Jae Jin shook his head in disgust. “I can’t believe I’m thinking about Ji Won in a time like this.”
The call of his name brought him back to the present.
“I’m sorry but I can’t do that.”
Si Eun looked down disheartened and started to leave.
She turned back.
“When will I see you again?”
She smiled. “Same time tomorrow at the same tree?”
Underneath the bandana, Jae Jin smiled. “Okay. I”ll be there waiting. Bye.”
Si Eun waved goodbye and disappeared up in the road ahead. Jae Jin ran up to meet with the rest of the SechsKies members.
“What took you so long?” demanded Ji Won.
Jae Jin didn’t look at him and crouched down from the view.
“I got lost! I wouldn’t have if you guys didn’t run off without me!”
The others tried to blend in with their surroundings and didn’t bother to argue. Ji Won nudged Jae Jin and pointed out the house up on the hill.
“That’s Su Won’s house. In just one more hour, the alarms and locks on his gates and doors will be disarmed thanks to Ji Yong here.”
Ji Yong folded his hands together in a smug manner. “Yup. He’ll remain defenseless and he won’t be able to notify the police in time. The cellular signals are out of range so we should encounter no problems.”
“Good,” said Jae Jin. “I just hope there won’t be anything holding us back.”
Meanwhile at the Jang residence…
Si Eun entered the doors of her mansion only to be greeted by her growling father.
“Where have you been all day miss?”
“In the forest, playing by myself.”
This enraged her father. He had forbid her to go out late at night and especially in that forest, where no one would be able to hear her cries for help.
“Are you crazy? Don’t you know that we’re in hiding right now? We must be as discreet as possible! You’re going to blow our cover!”
Si Eun stood up defiantly to her father. “I just want to go out a little bit. No one knows where we are. Besides, Su Won goes out all the time.”
At the mention of his name, Su Won came out from the kitchen.
“Did I just hear my name mentioned?”
“Yes,” said Mr. Jang in an exhausted tone. “Talk to your sister for me about going out this late.”
Su Won tried to calm his sister down and sat her against the plush sofa.
“Si Eun, it’s dangerous for a girl to be out this late at night. You should come home earlier.”
She began to pout. “You’re taking appa’s side too?”
“Of course not. I’m always on your side. I’m just looking out for your safety.”
Si Eun nodded and agreed. “Fine. I’ll come home earlier.”
Su Won smiled and hugged her.
She broke away from his hug and started to head upstairs for a bath. Su Won picked up the newspaper and flipped all the way to the classified ads. Back in the days SechsKies always put their mission as ads in the newspaper to tease the authorities. It was easy to decipher but a select few were harder than usual. They only had to read it backwards and read every odd word.
Su Won’s heart stopped when he completed the message.
“Tonight you die Jang Su Won.”
Su Won placed down the newspaper and sat himself up in a composed manner. The locks on his doors started to make clicking sounds. Su Won knew that he had company. Before he was able to warn his family, gunfire started piercing the house from all directions.
“Omma! Appa! Si Eun!” he screamed as he ducked and covered his ears.
Si Eun ran out from the bath in her robe and her parents came out from their rooms. The moment Mr. and Mrs. Jang opened their door, the bullets hit them. Si Eun fell back in shock as her parents fell down dead. She started to scream. Su Won edged his way upstairs and reached Si Eun. She was becoming hysterical and tears poured out of her eyes.
“Oppa!” she screamed and then pointed to their dead parents. “Our parents! Who’s behind all this?”
Su Won looked at his sister and suddenly regretted ever joining SechsKies.
“Blood in, blood out,” he thought grimly.
“They’re here,” he whispered.
Si Eun’s eyes grew big at the mention of the notorious gang. “I thought you dropped out already Su Won!”
“Apparently I’m a member for life Si Eun.”
Si Eun’s tears stopped and her anger overtook her. She wanted revenge. “I’m going to kill those bastards!” she screamed and started to run for the doors. Su Won grabbed her.
“There’s nothing you can do Si Eun! You’ll just get killed!”
Si Eun tried to break free of Su Won’s grasp.
“Let me go! I have to kill them!”
Su Won hit Si Eun’s pressure points and she fainted. He carried her behind a secret mirrored wall and hid her there for safety. He came out to face his destiny. SechsKies had made it inside the Jang residence with ease and kicked aside the cluttered mess they caused.
The five remaining SechsKies members pulled down their bandanas and formed a circle around Su Won.
“Well well well…” said Ji Won in a mocking tone. “We finally meet again Jang Su Won.”
“Get the fuck out of my house,” Su Won ordered, glaring back at the five people before him.
“Tut tut,” said Sung Hoon, wagging his finger before him. “You shouldn’t be ordering but begging us for mercy Su Won.”
“But of course, we don’t have mercy for traitors like you,” added Jae Duc.
Ji Yong folded his arm across his chest and gave no response. Su Won turned helplessly to Jae Jin, who he knew had the most compassion for him. Jae Jin wasn’t able to look at him. He had thought that killing Su Won would have been a simple task, but now seeing his blood-tied brother again, it made the mission seemed impossible. He forced himself to glare at Su Won.
“Tonight death awaits you, Su Won.”
Hearing those words from Jae Jin’s mouth made Su Won realize there was no chance of survival. He wasn’t the type to beg for mercy and his only regret was he wasn’t able to save his own family. Su Won closed his eyes in despair and waited for death to come get him.
Si Eun finally came to and saw the people surrounding her brother. She wasn’t sure what to make of the situation but she knew it wasn’t good when she saw her parents lying on the floor and Su Won closing his eyes.
And then it happened.
The most ruthless looking man in the group fired a shot and Su Won died instantly. Si Eun started to hyperventilate as Su Won slowly fell down to the ground before her eyes. She wasn’t able to hold it in any longer. She screamed. Outside the mirrored wall, the SechsKies members heard the scream.
Jae Jin lifted up his revolver and pointed to the exact spot where the scream had come from. Si Eun stared back at the guy pointing the gun straight at her. He had a mole on his chin and she knew she would never forget his face as long as she lived.
Jae Jin fired.
Si Eun moved in time but she wasn’t fast enough. The mirrored wall shattered and pieces flew into her eyes. Her eyes started to bleed and she started to run in the painful darkness.
Si Eun started to feel for the hidden passageway as she heard the footsteps close behind her and luckily, she pressed it in time and escaped into another pathway. Jae Jin chased the figure down the hall but it disappeared.
Jae Jin looked around desperately but no clue was given to where that person went. Ji Won was not going to like this. Jae Jin fired a shot randomly and then came back to join the group.
“Did you get that person?” asked Ji Won.
Jae Jin nodded.
“It was a maid. I got her already,” he lied, hoping that Ji Won would not see right through him.
Si Eun started to feel for the walls closing around her. She desperately fumbled for the light switch in the secret tunnel and when she hit the switch, she screamed in despair. Si Eun had become blind. The light was on but she was engulfed in total darkness. Her eyes were bleeding and tears of blood were dripping to the ground.
In her state of mind, the only thing she could visualize was that man. The one with the mole who shot at her. She swore she would destroy SechsKies and kill that man.
“Wait for me omma, appa, Su Won. I promise I’ll make SechsKies pay.”
The only question was how? A muffled voice echoed in her mind and she knew the answer. Jae Jin would help her.
Jae Jin waited the next night until everyone had gone off to sleep before he snuck out. He had been waiting all day for night to come. He was anxious to see Si Eun again. He had dressed up nicely and doused himself with cologne just for this special occasion. His only worry was that she might be disappointed in his looks.
He raked his hands through his hair as he waited for her arrival. After a few minutes of waiting, the sounds of twigs snapping and leaves crunching let Jae Jin knew that someone was coming. He turned around to look at Si Eun and his grin turned into an ‘O’ of horror.
Si Eun felt her way towards the woods. It had been her second home and she went through it without encountering any problems. Some tree branches scraped against her arms and legs but she made it there safely.
Jae Jin stared at her. Si Eun was blind. He backed away in disbelief as he tried to connect the pieces of the puzzle. Her name was Jang Si Eun. Jang Su Won’s sister. The traitor he had just killed. He suddenly felt sick to his stomach, he had been the one who had shot her.
He looked up at the blind girl and reached for her hands. “Si Eun…I’m right here.”
Si Eun’s started choking on her sobs as she pulled his hands closer to her. When he came closer, she threw her arms around him and hugged him with all her might.
“Please don’t leave me. I just lost everything and right now I need you by my side.”
Although he had known the answer, Jae Jin forced himself to ask her why.
“What happened Si Eun?”
She buried her face in Jae Jin’s shoulder as she continued crying. She eased up her sobs to tell him. “Last night SechsKies came to my house and killed everyone. I was the only one who got away. In just one night I lost everything I had.”
Jae Jin held her tighter as sudden remorse overtook him. He could feel himself drowning in his own guilt. He held onto Si Eun, who was still crying. He stroked her hair and tried to calm her down.
“Shh…don’t worry, I’m here. I’ll help you.”
Si Eun nodded. “I know you will. You’re a nice guy Jae Jin.” She paused for a moment. “Can you take me back to my house?”
Jae Jin’s voice was caught in his throat. She did not know what had become of her house yet. The SechsKies members had taken it as their own lair when she had escaped. There was no way possible that he could bring her back there. She would only get killed.
It was a tough decision but Jae Jin figured out how to bring her back safely. SechsKies always had women around them and since they have never seen Si Eun, that should be no problem. Jae Jin had to find an excuse though.
“Si Eun. You can’t go back. SechsKies renovated your home already.”
Si Eun opened her mouth in shock and the tears continued coming. She slid out of his hands and fell to the ground.
“I really don’t have anything anymore.”
Jae Jin continued talking. “I can take you back to my house. You can live with me there.”
Si Eun was at a loss for words. She felt touched by his generosity although they had barely known each other.
“Thank you, Jae Jin. You’re my savior.”
Jae Jin swallowed the hard lump in his throat as he lifted her up onto his back. The only hope he had left was his secret to remain forever buried.
Jae Jin carried Si Eun back up the hill and to her house. He hit in the new numbers opening up the gates and quietly made his way in. He carried her back to his room and locked the door behind them.
“Si Eun. I live with a couple of other guys. They’re real assholes so don’t ever leave my room. They might come onto you since you’re defenseless right now.”
Si Eun opened her mouth to protest but then closed it immediately and nodded her head vigorously. She suddenly felt like a burden to Jae Jin but she had no other relatives in Seoul and even if she did, she knew SechsKies would have already taken care of that fact.
Jae Jin gave her his old clothes to change into and lead her towards the bathroom. She felt around the place and found it oddly familiar. She didn’t think anything of it since most homes in Seoul were constructed the same. She took a quick shower and changed into the clothes. After a while she came out but Jae Jin was gone.
Jae Jin chewed on his nails nervously when he thought about Si Eun, who he just left alone in his room. He wasn’t even paying attention when Ji Won was calling him.
“Koala! Are you deaf?”
Jae Jin jumped in his seat with a startled jolt at the loud yell.
“What?” he snapped back. “We’re not on a mission now so call me by my real name!”
He wondered if Si Eun had heard what Ji Won had just called him. He hoped not. Ji Won gave him a glare while the others watched on curiously. Jae Jin had seemed tense ever since the beginning of the meeting.
“Okay then, Lee Jae Jin. Since you’re back with us now I’d like to issue the next order of business.”
Murmurs spread through the Sechskies, wondering what the next mission would be. Ji Won quieted them down and informed the group of the final task.
“Apparently Jang Su Won has a sister named Jang Si Eun who we haven’t found yet, so our problem is not resolved.”
Jae Jin’s eyes grew wide at the mention of her name. He looked away with a worried expression on his face. Jae Duc looked at his friend and saw the change.
“Jinnee, are you okay?”
Jae Jin nodded and didn’t answer. He waited for Ji Won to continue.
“I’ve looked everywhere for a photo of her but she doesn’t have one. Su Won here was smart enough to burn all identifications linking to his other family members and now we just have to search all of Korea for her. Whoever finds her first will receive a reward.”
“What’s the reward?” asked Ji Yong, who appeared to be slightly interested.
Ji Won’s lips curved into a wicked smile. “You can have her.”
Whoops of perversion and laughter spread among them. Jae Jin glared at them all, not quite believing that he was a part of this. But he was. He was no better than any of them because he was one of them. He excused himself and headed for his room.
Jae Jin came back to his room and climbed into his bed. Si Eun was already asleep in it. He got up and moved away from her but his stirring caused her to wake up.
“Yes, it’s me,” he whispered, assuring her.
She nodded and held out her hand for him to take.
“Jae Jin, will you help me?”
“Of course I’ll help you. You can stay here as long as you like.”
“I don’t mean that. I want you to help me destroy SechsKies.”
Jae Jin’s fingers slipped from Si Eun’s fingers at the request of this impossible task. He didn’t know what to say to her.
Si Eun nodded and then went back to sleep. Jae Jin watched her drift off to sleep, the events of the last two days had drained her completely.
Jae Jin watched Si Eun as she turned her head to the side and her breathing became deeper. He wasn’t sure what he should do about her. Keeping her from the guys would be difficult since they all had a habit of barging into each other’s room. His stomach began to grumble and he remembered that he had not eaten anything all day.
Jae Jin didn’t care. He had much bigger problems to worry about. He flipped off his light switch and lay next to Si Eun as he went to sleep. He would deal with this matter tomorrow.
“Where exactly are we going?”
Jae Jin kept his eyes on the wheel as he made a left turn into town. He had locked the door to his room from the outside, making sure that Si Eun would not be able to escape or no one would be able to get in. It didn’t stop him from worrying though, becase Sung Hoon had stayed behind.
Ji Won sat on the passenger side next to Jae Jin and continued looking ahead. “I heard this Si Eun girl goes to Seoul University. I already asked the dean to contact her for me regarding the news of her family’s tragic death.” Ji Won paused to smile as he continued. “Apparently since I don’t know what she looks like, the dean is more than willing to give me a photo identification of Miss Jang.”
Jae Jin nodded and continued driving. Beads of sweat were trickling down the side of his face as he tried not to think about Si Eun. Jae Duc leaned up closer towards the driver’s seat and saw Jae Jin’s knuckles turning white from the grip he had on the wheel.
“Koala, something wrong? You seem awfully nervous.”
Jae Jin shook his head immediately. “Wrong? No, nothing’s wrong,” he answered quickly. “It’s just that I wonder if she knows anything about us.”
“Don’t worry about that,” reassured Jae Duc as he leaned back into his seat. “We’ll just make sure all connections leading to us from her get broken. It shouldn’t be too difficult.”
Jae Jin nodded and continued looking straight ahead. From the corner of his eye, Ji Won gave Jae Jin a suspicious look. Ever since the death of Su Won, he has been acting strangely. Ji Won decided to pay no further attention to it until they could find Si Eun.
Sung Hoon let out a yawn as he started to stretch in bed. He rubbed his eyes and spotted the note that lay next to his pillow. It read:
Porcupine, you lazy ass animal. The guys and I are out looking for Jang Si Eun right now. Around 12 o’clock there should be a fax from Seoul University regarding the photo of Si Eun. Check it out first and we’ll be home later. Ostrich.
When Sung Hoon finished reading the letter, he crumpled it up and tossed it on the floor. He turned his head to the vanity table and checked his clock for the time. It was nearly noon. He headed towards the bathroom to do his morning routine.
After he was done, he headed towards Jae Jin’s room. The fax machine was in there. Sung Hoon twisted the knob but found it locked. He stared at it and found another lock barricading the door from outside.
“Stupid Koala,” he thought. “He locked the door. Oh well. When he comes home, we’ll just get the picture then.”
Sung Hoon started to head back to his room but then he heard a crashing noise that came from inside Jae Jin’s room. He turned around immediately and pulled out his gun from behind his back. He fired at the locks several times and then kicked the door open. Inside Sung Hoon was surprised to see a girl crawling around on the floor.
“Who are you?” he demanded to know.
Si Eun backed away from the strange voice in her room. “Oh no,” she thought. “Jae Jin’s roommate.” She tried to reach for anything that could possibly protect her and her breathing was growing rapid. Sung Hoon was getting angry at the fact she wasn’t answering nor looking at him.
“Who are you?” he repeated.
No answer was needed though. The blinking lights and beeping noise on the fax machine went off. Slowly an image emerged from the printer. The photo of Jang Si Eun. Sung Hoon looked at it and then at her. He smiled as if he knew.
“That Koala. He found the girl already and decided to keep her for himself eh? It’s my turn now.”
Sung Hoon threw the gun aside, knowing very well that Si Eun was defenseless. Sung Hoon jumped on the girl and tackled her to the floor. She screamed. Sung Hoon clapped a hand over her mouth.
“There’s no use screaming. No one can hear you.”
Sung Hoon took his hand away so Si Eun could talk.
“Jae Jin wouldn’t like it if he knew you touched me.”
Sung Hoon froze. “Did she know all of our real names? She must have somehow overheard Jae Jin,” he thought. Now Sung Hoon must cover for him.
“Who’s Jae Jin? Never heard of him.”
His answer made Si Eun more terrified. She was already shaking as she tried to break free from his grasp.
“Then who are you?”
“Allow me to introduce myself. I’m known as Porcupine, a member of the infamous group called SechsKies.”
Si Eun’s blood ran cold. They had found her. “Oh no. What did they do to Jae Jin?” She didn’t have time to ask. Her hate for SechsKies gave her immaculate strength. She hurled Porcupine off of her and ran as fast as she could.
“Hey! You better get back here!”
She ran in the darkness and due to her impaired vision, she wasn’t able to see the staircase in front of her. Her foot got caught and then she startled stumbling down the stairs as Sung Hoon watched her from up above.
Jae Jin stomped his foot on the gas pedal and sped all the way home. Ji Yong and Jae Duc were making “whoa’s” in the back seat while Ji Won grabbed onto the handlebar of his door. He stared at Jae Jin.
“We’re just going home to pick up Porcupine for lunch. What’s the rush?”
“I’m starved, okay?” he snapped and then slammed the brakes to a stop. He made it home in record time and when he opened the door, he found Si Eun rolling down the stairs. On reflex Jae Jin caught her the moment she landed and placed her down on the sofa gently.
The rest of SechsKies came in and stared at the unconscious girl in surprise. Ji Won came closer and got a better look.
“Jang Si Eun,” answered Sung Hoon before Jae Jin was able to say anything. He glared at Jae Jin and then smiled. “Koala here found Miss Jang and was busy pleasuring himself before he decided to tell us about it.”
Ji Won turned to him immediately and glared.
“You made us wake up at six in the morning and drive into town when you already found her?”
Jae Jin was still inspecting the bruises that Si Eun got from the fall. He wanted to nurse her wounds but he had to face them. The situation was starting to grow worse.
“I wasn’t sure if she is Jang Si Eun. I wanted to go get the picture and then hand her over later.”
Jae Duc came to Jae Jin’s defense. “Oh, you wanted to make sure Koala? Well, good job. You’re the first one to find her.” Jae Duc looked at Ji Won, who wasn’t quite calming down yet. He decided to ease Ji Won’s temper, knowing how rash Ji Won could be at times. “Okay, who gets the girl after Koala?”
“I should,” insisted Sung Hoon. “I found her second.”
Jae Jin stared at Jae Duc, not quite believing what his best friend just initiated. He couldn’t blame him though. Innocent Duck didn’t know. Jae Jin started to sneak away from the crowd during the distraction that Si Eun caused.
Ji Won raised a hand to cease the commotion.
“No one is getting her until I make sure that Su Won left nothing behind leading to SechsKies.”
He reached for the vase of roses nearby. He took out the flowers and threw the water on Si Eun’s face.
Si Eun started to sputter out the water in her mouth and nose. Although her eyes were open, she still wasn’t able to see but she heard the many voices around her.
Ji Won smiled as he came closer and looked directly into her face.
“Yup and you know what that means right?”
Si Eun raised her hand to strike the voice but instead she missed, slapping the air beside him instead. Ji Won looked at her in amused shock. He waved a hand in front of her face and she didn’t blink. He gave a vicious laugh when he realized what was wrong.
Everyone came for a closer look and they laughed as well. Si Eun cringed at those evil voices echoing in her ears. She placed her hands over her ears to shut them out. Ji Won grabbed her arm.
“Tell me. How much do you know?”
“Enough to make you rot in jail asshole.”
Jae Duc started to snicker but when Ji Won turned around to glare, he supressed it immediately. Ji Won pushed her back into the sofa and snapped his fingers for the others to move closer.
“I guess a little torture will make you talk. Guys, want to take turns?”
“Yeah!” they all shouted excitedly.
Si Eun edged back into her seat and shook her head wildly as fear overtook her. She knew what they meant. Gang rape. “Where is Jae Jin?” she wondered. She needed time to stall them to find a way out of this dilemma.
“Who here has a mole on his chin and shot me?”
Ji Won stood still. So she had seen what they look like.
“That would be Koala. Koala? Come here. Miss Jang wants you first.”
No response was given and all the guys turned to look for Jae Jin.
“Where did he go?” asked Jae Duc, scratching his head.
Ji Yong shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. He was here a minute ago.”
“Koala,” thought Si Eun. She was gripping onto the cushions of the sofa as the name slowly became engraved in her mind. Her mystery man now had a name.
Ji Won looked at Si Eun. Information that he had gathered lately about Jae Jin was slowly clicking in his brain. How Jae Jin acted nervous, his excuses, and more so, Jae Jin had shot Si Eun claiming it was the maid. Before he could make his final convictions, the vrooming sound of a motorcycle came closer and broke down the door.
Jae Jin came storming in and made his grand entrance. He was wearing a blue bandana that covered half of his face so the others wouldn’t recognize him. He drove right through the group causing them to disband and grabbed Si Eun. He was starting to drive out but the gang had already gotten up to stop him.
Si Eun was terrified the entire time and was starting to hit Jae Jin to let her go. “Si Eun, it’s me Jae Jin,” he whispered in her ear to calm her down.
“Jae Jin?” she whispered back and grabbed a hold of him. She was already crying for joy and relief. She suddenly felt safe in his arms.
“Who are you?”
Ji Won came closer although Jae Jin had pulled out a gun at him. Jae Duc dropped his gun and stared at those familiar eyes in shocked recognition. He was already moving closer towards Jae Jin.
Jae Jin left Si Eun on the bike and came closer to Jae Duc as well. He kneed Jae Duc in the stomach to prevent him from further saying his real name. Jae Duc gasped as he doubled over but he turned to look at Jae Jin.
“Why?” he whispered in a faint voice.
Tears were already soaking Jae Jin’s disguise when he had hurt his only friend. “I love her, Duckie,” he whispered lightly in Jae Duc’s ear. “I’m sorry.”
With that, he slammed his elbow in the back of Jae Duc’s head and rendered him unconscious. As everyone was still looking down at Jae Duc’s body in shock, Jae Jin used that time to hit Si Eun’s pressure points and made her faint as well. Now he didn’t have to hold back for anything and she would not have a chance to hear who he really was.
“Lee Jae Jin.”
Ji Won’s deadly voice echoed throughout the huge mansion. He came closer to Jae Jin and glared at him straight in the eye. Jae Jin pulled out the gun and pointed it directly in between Ji Won’s eyes. The fearless leader didn’t even flinch.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? Don’t even think that I can’t recognize you under that stupid bandana.”
Jae Jin pulled it down.
“I know you can tell it’s me. It’s over Ji Won. I’m quitting SechsKies.”
Ji Won’s eyes grew big.
“Why? For that girl?”
“You don’t understand. I love this girl.”
Ji Won laughed at his response. He shook his head at Jae Jin’s stupidity.
“Jae Jin, the only way to leave SechsKies is if you’re dead. You don’t want to end up like Su Won, do you? Now just hand over the girl and I’ll pretend that this never happened. There are plenty more out there you can choose from.”
Ji Won came closer to Si Eun and Jae Jin moved the gun back to his head.
“One more step Ji Won and I’ll blow your brains out.”
Ji Won gave him a cocky smile.
“You wouldn’t dare.”
He proceeded to come closer and this time Jae Jin lowered his gun to shoot Ji Won the leg. Ji Won fell back in sudden pain and the other two pulled out their guns.
“Don’t be stupid Jae Jin,” warned Ji Yong. “The girl’s not worth it.”
“You traitor,” spat Ji Won on the floor. “You’re dead.”
“I don’t think so,” answered Jae Jin. He pulled out the smoke bomb and threw it to form a smoke screen. Random bullets were flying everywhere but he had hopped back onto his bike and drove Si Eun to safety. Si Eun was slowly regaining her consciousness from the ringing of gunshots.
“Yes, Si Eun?”
She reached up to feel his face but luckily it was covered by the bandana. The texture of the cloth made her feel safe since it was Jae Jin’s trademark disguise.
“Yup. I just bombed their homes. Now SechsKies is no more,” he lied.
He wanted to rid her of the impossible promise she had. As they were riding into the distance, the wind blew harder and it swept a wave of guilt over Jae Jin. He had known the guys for a much longer time than Si Eun but it was his decision and he would have to live with it.
At that moment Jae Jin did feel like a traitor when he thought about Jae Duc. He had chosen a girl over his friend. Hopefully one day Jae Duc will understand and forgive him.
Si Eun smiled as she leaned closer towards Jae Jin’s body and held him tightly. Jae Jin looked down at her and saw the smile on her face. He realized that just her smile made it all worth the trouble.
Jae Jin drove Si Eun back to his old hideout. No one knew about this except Jae Duc. He knew Jae Duc wouldn’t reveal his secret location though.
He dusted the couch off and slowly sat Si Eun down. Jae Jin knew that he had to live in hiding from SechsKies for the rest of his life. They were not the forgiving types. Su Won had been an example.
“What do we do from now on?”
Si Eun’s sudden question made Jae Jin startled. He was thinking the exact same thing. He sighed as he sat down next to her.
“I don’t know Si Eun. SechsKies might be dead but they might have other members. We have to live in hiding for a while until we can make sure it’s safe to go out.”
Si Eun started to cry. Jae Jin sat up and looked at her.
“I’m so sorry. Because of me, you have to go through all this trouble.”
Jae Jin held her hand in his.
“Don’t worry about it. I knew the consequences already when I agreed to help you.”
Suddenly the touch of Jae Jin’s hands in her own made Si Eun think. It might be out of gratitude or it might be out of love. She wasn’t quite sure yet but he made her feel complete.
Si Eun reached up and held Jae Jin’s face in her palms. Jae Jin was surprised at her sudden actions and suddenly felt her kissing him. He stood still for a moment before he kissed her back. Their mutual attraction for one another couldn’t be denied any longer.
The next morning…
Si Eun began to stir in her bed and started to wake up. She reached for the blanket and pulled it up to cover her bare skin. When she started to feel around, her hand came in contact with a warm face. She smiled as she traced the strong cheekbones on the beautifully structured face.
Her finger stopped moving as she felt a bump on the smooth skin. She stroked her thumb over and over it again to make sure she wasn’t mistaken. The first image that came to her mind was Koala. The man with the mole that had shot her.
Jae Jin started to wake up when from his sleep when he felt that light scratching on his face. He smiled as he held Si Eun’s hand. He sat up and pulled her over closer to him.
“You’re up early.”
He began to notice that Si Eun was hyperventilating. Her hand was trembling from his touch. He was starting to get worried.
“Si Eun, what’s wrong?”
“Koala had a mole on his chin,” she said in an indicative voice.
Jae Jin’s mind started to race with frantic thoughts. Si Eun had seen what he had looked like. He swallowed once and started to explain himself, trying to ease the nervousness in his voice.
“What does that have to do with me?”
Si Eun paused. “But you have a mole too,” she stated in an accusing tone.
Jae Jin blurted out the next thing that came to mind. “It’s a huge zit.”
“Yes. I’m sorry you had to feel that.”
Si Eun started to feel bad that she had been implying that Jae Jin could possibly be Koala. Impossible. He would have killed her already. She felt stupid for not even thinking about the other possible alternatives to what that bump could have been. Even a possible mosquito bite.
“I’m sorry,” she apologized.
“It’s okay. You were just being safe.”
Jae Jin let out a quiet sigh of relief. He felt Si Eun’s tense body starting to relax. She had bought the story but he knew he had to be careful around her from now on. No more touching his face ever again.
Several months later…
Jae Jin laid on the couch with Si Eun by his side. He flipped through the T.V. channels and tried to find a decent show to watch. Looking down at Si Eun, he finally knew what being happy meant. He was truly happy that he had escaped the gang life and he had Si Eun by his side.
Si Eun however, seemed very nervous at the moment. Yesterday the lawyer she had secretly called had stopped by when Jae Jin had gone out and informed her with very important news regarding her brother’s will. The unexpected gift Su Won had left behind had just put an end to all her problems. Now facing her was the obstacle of telling Jae Jin.
Si Eun paused before she continued. Jae Jin saw the reluctance in her voice and pulled her to sit on his lap. “What is it, Si Eun? You know you can tell me anything,” he said, reassuring her.
She took a deep breath. “I want to see again.”
Jae Jin stopped rubbing her hand when she said those words. It made her worried.
“Jae Jin? Is something wrong?”
“No, no,” he answered abruptly. “Nothing’s wrong. It’s just that I don’t have money to get you an eye operation right now. Si Eun, you should know that I want to restore your eyesight more than anything.”
Truth was, Jae Jin was content living like this. He did not want Si Eun to ever see again or their blissful life together will be no more. He didn’t want to see them end like this.
“It’s okay, Jae Jinnee,” she continued. “I have my own money. My brother Su Won was very rich. He transferred a lot of money into my account so I have more than enough to pay for the operation. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner but my brother used to be in a gang.”
Jae Jin choked. Of course Su Won had the money. He did too. His hand began to apply more pressure to Si Eun’s. He wasn’t able to find an excuse out of this one.
Si Eun felt Jae Jin’s hand closing around hers. His palm felt sweaty and she sensed that he was nervous about something.
“Are you okay Jae Jin? You’re not mad because my brother used to be in a gang right?”
Jae Jin loosened his hold on her hand. He exhaled.
“Of course not. I’m just glad that you’ll be able to see again.”
She smiled and rested her head on Jae Jin’s shoulder.
“I’m glad too. In just a few more days, I’ll be able to see what you look like.”
Jae Jin caressed Si Eun’s hair softly as he pressed his lips against her forehead. In just a few more days it will be over. He didn’t want to think about that. He brought her hand to his lips and held her for the rest of the night.
At the hospital…
“Si Eun, don’t be worried. These doctors are professionals and in just a few more hours, you’ll be able to see.”
Si Eun slowly nodded her head and reached for Jae Jin’s hand.
“Jae Jin, will you still be here when I come out?”
Jae Jin looked at the ship ticket he had in his hand. He had planned to wait to hear the news of Si Eun’s successful operation and then leave. He looked at her and squeezed her hand just once.
“Don’t worry Si Eun. I promise I’ll be here.”
Si Eun smiled as she let go of his hand. Slowly the paramedics wheeled her into the operating room and Jae Jin watched them go.
From around the corner Ji Yong frozed in his tracks and hid from where he stood. His eyes stared widely at the traitor he recognized before him. Lee Jae Jin. After nearly a year of searching, he couldn’t believe his luck stumbling into him just while he was picking up Ji Won’s medicine.
An evil smile crossed his lips. Tonight it’s Jae Jin’s turn to die. Ji Won never fully recovered from his gunshot wound. He now walks with a limp and it angered Ji Yong that Jae Jin had chosen a girl over them. He picked up his cell phone and dialed a number.
“Hello, Sung Hoon? Tell the guys that I found Jae Jin.”
Si Eun’s operation had been successful. She gradually began to wake up and she felt the cloth covering her eyes. She waved her arms frantically in search of Jae Jin. He was there.
He smiled as he held her hand for the last time. “Yes, I’m here Si Eun.”
She breathed a sigh of relief. “I was worried.”
“You shouldn’t worry. I always keep my promise but now I must go.”
Her breath was caught in her throat. She wasn’t sure what Jae Jin was implying but by his manner of speaking, it didn’t sound too good.
“What do you mean go? You mean you’re going home to get something right?”
“No. I mean I must leave you now.”
Si Eun shook her head in denial. It couldn’t be. Jae Jin couldn’t possibly leave her. She reached out and grabbed onto both of his arms. She had an iron hold on him and refused to let go.
“Why?! I’m going to be better soon! I won’t be a handicap anymore! Why do you want to leave me?”
Suddenly Jae Jin sounded tired. He removed her hands from him and slowly moved away.
“I’m sorry, Si Eun. I already bought myself a boat ticket to sail out of Korea and I’m not telling you where I’m going. I’m a very ugly guy and it’s better off if you remember me like this, then finding out who I truly am.”
“I don’t care!” she protested. “I don’t care how ugly you are, Jae Jin! I love you and I want us to be married!”
Jae Jin was hurting inside seeing his love shattering like this. But there was no other choice, it would kill her if she knew who he was. Better to let things end like this.
“I’m sorry, Si Eun. I’ve made up my mind already. Goodbye.”
“No, Jae Jin!”
Si Eun fell out of her bed and started to crawl over towards him. Jae Jin continued staring at her with disbelieving eyes.
“Please don’t leave me. I’m begging you!”
He didn’t speak. Instead he opened the door slowly and then closed it behind him. From behind the closed door, he could still hear Si Eun screaming.
“I’ll be at the dock in half an hour! I don’t care if you do leave Jae Jin! I’ll wait there forever if I have to!”
Jae Jin continued walking down the empty hospital hallways. Tears were already streaming from the corners of his eyes and he didn’t bother to wipe them away.
Jae Jin had not gone far before a van screeched to a stop a mere foot in front of him. A couple of men jumped out of the van and suddenly he was surrounded by a familiar group of people. His former family. SechsKies.
Ji Won slowly limped closer to Jae Jin and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. He spat on him.
“You fucking traitor. Where’s the girl?”
Jae Jin wiped the saliva off of his face and glared back at him. Before, he would have flinched and cower before those eyes, but it had been a year already and things had changed since then. He wasn’t afraid of his former leader anymore.
“She’s gone, Ji Won. Let the past be buried already.”
Ji Won became outraged at Jae Jin’s response and punched him, knocking him to the ground. Jae Jin fell back against the hard pavement and scraped his elbows. Ji Won came closer and slammed his foot down on Jae Jin’s leg.
“Then tonight you die, Lee Jae Jin. Out of all the SechsKies members, I thought you were the most loyal and weren’t ignorant like Su Won. Obviously I was wrong.”
Jae Jin spit out the blood curdling at the side of his mouth.
“Damn it, Ji Won! Get this through your fuckin’ head. I’m no longer a part of SechsKies. I don’t have to listen to you anymore!”
Ji Won didn’t answer and continued beating him. Ji Yong and Sung Hoon joined in but Jae Duc moved a little way back. They started to trample Jae Jin on the ground and took turns hitting him.
“Finish him off already Ji Won,” said Ji Yong as he kicked Jae Jin aside. “My hand’s starting to hurt from beating his face in.”
Ji Won smiled and shook his head.
“Not yet. I want to have some fun torturing him.”
Ji Won came closer to the shaking body before him. Jae Jin started to edge away from Ji Won but he knew it was no use. Ji Won was cold and ruthless and he knew he had to go through much more pain before Ji Won would let him die. Jae Jin closed his eyes when he saw Ji Won coming but suddenly his eyes flew open when he heard a gun shot.
“Move away from him.”
Everyone turned to look at Jae Duc. He had a gun in his hand and he aimed it directly at Ji Won. Ji Won glared at him, not fearing it at all.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing Duck? Put that gun down.”
Ji Won ignored him and came closer to Jae Jin. When Ji Won had taken that first step, Jae Duc fired the gun and shot him in the arm.
“You traitor! How dare you!”
Ji Won grabbed onto his arm while Ji Yong and Sung Hoon ran to his sides. They all stared at Jae Duc in shock. During that moment, Jae Duc looked down at Jae Jin.
Jae Jin stared at his best friend with disbelieving eyes.
“You heard me. Run! I don’t know how much longer I can hold them off.”
Jae Jin got up and started to run. He looked behind him and saw Jae Duc giving him a final bittersweet smile. As he continued running into the distance, he heard several gunshots ringing into the night.
More of the SechsKies members’ blood had been spilled tonight. Jae Jin wept at the thought of losing his best friend but he continued running. The path that laid before him lead to his doom or redemption.
Jae Jin ran to the dock as fast as he could, knowing that Si Eun would still be there waiting for him. Indeed she was. A smile of relief came to his face as he came closer. In just a few more minutes he would have Si Eun in his arms and they would leave this damned place behind. Just him and Si Eun, together forever.
However, the next few minutes were not what Jae Jin had anticipated when everything went into slow motion. He suddenly stopped in his tracks when he saw the cold look on Si Eun’s face and she pulled a gun out from her purse.
Si Eun fired the gun.
Jae Jin gasped and immediately applied pressure to his wound. He was trying to recover from the shock that Si Eun had just shot him. When he looked up, the shiny black gun was pointed directly at his face.
“Revenge is mine, Koala.”
Suddenly to Jae Jin’s devastating horror, he understood. Si Eun had just regained her sight and she did not know who he was. His eyes grew wide as he continued staring at her. She continued to speak.
“Tonight I’m going to make you pay for all that you’ve put me through.”
Jae Jin’s arms dropped limply to his sides. His whole life had just been torn to pieces, falling around him. He looked at Si Eun. He knew her life would be ruined as well if he revealed his true identity. He’d rather let her remember him as Lee Jae Jin and never let her know that he was the cold-blooded killer that helped murder her entire family. That would destroy her if she knew. Jae Jin couldn’t bear to do that.
The gun nearly dropped from Si Eun’s hand when she heard him say that. “Kill him stupid,” said the little voice inside her head. “Kill him now.” All the while, Si Eun wasn’t able to take her eyes off of him.
“Look,” she said and was surprised to find her voice a little shaky. “You killed my family and I’m just making you pay back what you owe me. A life for a life.”
Jae Jin turned his face towards the light. He wasn’t afraid although he knew it was the end. In that short amount of time that he had left, he just stared at Si Eun, wanting to capture every distinct detail of her features. “Oh god, I love you so much,” he thought to himself.
“Yes, I understand. You’re right, this is the way it has to end.”
“I’m sorry,” she whispered and then closed her eyes for a brief second. She paused to breathe. “If I don’t kill you tonight, then you’ll continue to destroy many more innocent lives.”
She immediately felt angry at herself for apologizing. Why should she be sorry? However, she was very aware that she was shaking her head slightly as she was trying to explain it to him. There was an ache in her chest and tears in her eyes. There was just something about him.
Si Eun could see the moonlight in his eyes as he held a steady gaze on her. “He’s not going to struggle,” she realized. She decided to make it quick and merciful.
“Any last requests?”
Jae Jin opened his eyes. “Yes,” he whispered. “Please let my fianc? know that I forgive her.”
“Who’s your fianc??”
He didn’t answer and closed his eyes. A bemused smile danced on his lips as he waited for the eternal darkness. Anger and revenge immediately took over Si Eun when she realized how calm he was. She aimed the gun directly at his heart and fired. In that blinding instant, the man known as Koala fell down dead.
She came closer to the body and nudged it once for any implication of life still remaining. The body laid cold and unmoving. The gun dropped from Si Eun’s hand and she suddenly felt weak. Involuntary tremors coursed through her body and she felt her resolve draining away. Si Eun grabbed Koala and dragged his body towards the wharf. She threw his body overboard and he floated away.
Si Eun wiped her hands on her pants as she got up after she gave Koala his burial at sea. She walked back to the bench and reclaimed her spot. Si Eun placed a hand on her duffel bag and checked the time on her watch. Jae Jin is late but she’ll wait forever if she had to. When he does come, Si Eun will start her life all over with him with the wonderful news she had in store.
Jae Jin was going to be a father.
Koala II by: Val
Oceans of it, swirling pools of deep crimson that flooded his mind and clouded his vision until it was all he was able to see.
Death and darkness.
Tides of it surrounded him, wanting to drown him in its tantalizing liquid but he continued to fight, refusing to let it suck him in and become its next victim.
Soon, at the breaking point of dawn, a figure laid out on the sand. He trembled at his narrow victory against death. His body had washed up by the beach.
The open wound in his chest had stopped bleeding but now wrinkled flesh curled around its edges after his long soak in the salty seawater. He dug his fingers into the grainy sand as he slowly raised his head and coughed.
He fell back into the sand again and stared aimlessly ahead. The beach stretched on for miles. There was a strange glint in his eyes as he whispered to himself.
Lee Jae Jin was still alive.
Jang Si Eun wrapped her wool jacket tighter around herself, shivering from the early morning’s breeze. The wind rushed by her, swaying her hair to the side and she was hardly able to keep her eyes open. A rush of sadness swept through her.
Jae Jin never showed up.
All the tears Si Eun held in had been drained many hours ago when she came to this conclusion. She glanced down at the ferry ticket in her hand and ripped it into little pieces. She tossed it in the air and the wind scattered the pieces.
There was no use left for it.
As Si Eun sobbed, she got up in a daze and headed down the boardwalk, not knowing nor caring where the path lead her to. She just had to leave this forsaken place. She was unsure of how she made it there but soon enough, Si Eun had made it back to her and Jae Jin’s old home.
During her state of lost vision, she had grown accustomed to finding her way back and the way to their home had become ingrained in her conciousness.
Si Eun came closer towards the house and opened the door, unaware of her surroundings. If she had paid attention, she would have seen the trail of blood leading to the house and covering the doorknob.
Her hand had been smeared with the blood and yet she wasn’t aware of it. Her mind had become a gray haze as she entered the bedroom Jae Jin and her once shared. She plopped down at the edge of the bed and there, more tears began to fall.
‘Jae Jin… how could you leave me?’
Si Eun edged herself up closer towards the center of the bed and her hand felt the fabric of jeans. She squeezed the material and was surprised to feel the warm, strong leg of someone. She gasped as she finally saw the blood staining her hand.
Si Eun came closer to the stranger on the bed and pulled away the blanket that had been covering his face. A man laid before her, letting her wanting to believe that he had been there all along.
Si Eun screamed his name as she fell on top of his body, wanting to hug away all of her pain. ‘He never left me,’ she thought ecstatically as she cried her tears of joy. The person on the bed remained unconscious and finally came to when Si Eun’s loud cries drove him awake.
Jae Duc held his head to ease the throbbing pain. He coughed once and the ribs against his lungs ached inside his wounded chest.
It had been a close escape when he had to ward off 3 of the infamous SechsKies members. When he was fully conscious, he was aware that someone was holding him.
‘It’s Su Won’s sister!’ he thought incredulously. He started to search around immediately for any signs of Jae Jin.
There were no traces of Jae Jin to be found and Jae Duc was starting to get confused with the entire situation. He decided to just ask the girl instead.
Si Eun looked up from her embrace and smiled with tears shining in her eyes. She leaned against him again and held him more tenderly as she whispered his name.
“Jae Jin… I’m so glad that you didn’t leave me… don’t you know how much I love you?”
Her words threw Jae Duc off balance. His eyes grew wider at her mistake of believing that he was Jae Jin. ‘Where is Jae Jin?’ he wondered frantically. Jae Duc pulled Si Eun away from him.
“I’m not -“
His words were cut off from the sound of the door being kicked in.
“I know you’re in here, you fucking traitor! Don’t you dare hide from me!”
Si Eun and Jae Duc recognized that murderous voice anywhere. Eun Ji Won. They stared at each other and instinctively, Jae Duc drew Si Eun behind his back.
“Shh… don’t make a sound,” he instructed her.
Si Eun nodded quietly and hid behind him. She glanced down and saw the open wound in Jae Duc’s upper arm. She winced at the sight and leaned against him for comfort.
Jae Duc was feeling tensed and frightened at the moment. After that battle with Ji Won, he didn’t have any strength left to fight. Sung Hoon had been killed during combat and he knew that Ji Yong had to be with Ji Won.
“Si Eun…” he whispered. “There’s a small window inside the bathroom. Climb out of there and escape.”
She shook her head.
“No. I won’t leave you.”
Jae Duc stared at her in disbelief.
“Now’s not the time for you to argue with me!” he whispered back heatedly, raising his voice up a notch. Si Eun squirmed at his yell and Jae Duc instantly made his voice more gentle.
“Just go first and I’ll be right behind you.”
She looked at him wistfully and finally agreed after much deliberation. Si Eun raised herself out of the window and peeked her eyes up to see if he was coming out but Ji Won and Ji Yong had already entered the room.
Jae Duc limped away from the two men as they inched closer to him. At this tense moment, Jae Duc somehow found the time to appraise Ji Won. Although he was still limping from the previous bullet wound in his leg from Jae Jin, he still moved stealthily as a snake.
The bullet wound in the arm Jae Duc had given him didn’t seem to faze Ji Won either. But then, their leader had always been tough.
“You are so fuckin’ dead. How dare you kill a SechsKies member.”
Ji Won’s words came out like cold ice as he penetrated Jae Duc with his frosty eyes. Si Eun gasped at the news Ji Won just given her.
‘Jae Jin must have not killed them all during the bombing,’ she thought.
As if the pieces of the puzzle were beginning to fit for her, it started to explain how Koala was still alive along with the evil leader. She thought Jae Jin only managed to kill one of them.
The room suddenly turned eerily quiet as both Ji Won and Ji Yong pulled out their guns. Jae Duc clenched his eyes shut, waiting for death to come get him. He was defenseless and he knew that they would spare no mercy for him.
Ji Won and Ji Yong both fell back in pain from the sudden bleeding chest wounds they acquired. They stared at each other in shock as Jae Duc opened his eyes.
It grew bigger at his immense surprise and he turned around towards the window to see if it was indeed her who did the shooting.
Si Eun’s hands started to tremble violently as she dropped her gun to the floor. Her throat grew taut, constricted with vile that she had to use that horrid weapon again.
Jae Duc immediately saw his chance to escape and jumped out the window.
He grabbed Si Eun’s hand and ran for the motorcycles Ji Won and Ji Yong had parked out front. He revved the engine and pulled Si Eun to sit right behind him.
“Hold on tight!”
Si Eun held on tight around his waist, despite the pain she knew she’d cause. She allowed her heartbeat to recede and forced herself to believe that she had done the right thing.
She continued to hold on as he drove her to the road up ahead, unsure of where it was going to lead them to but just as long as they left that house of sin.
His strength and willpower finally started to come back to him as Jae Jin slowly lifted himself up off the sand with his shaky elbows.
He eased up slowly, not wanting to make that ache in his chest any worse. He flipped his body over and ended up sitting on the beach, his back resting against a rock.
Jae Jin tried to keep his tired eyes from closing as he checked his surroundings. He had been floating in the ocean for many hours already and now it was the late afternoon. The pier wasn’t far from where he was and his home wasn’t much further away from the pier.
Using the rock as support, Jae Jin got up and nursed his wound as he headed back towards the dock. He knew that Si Eun would just shoot him again if he came and was still alive, but he had to see if she was still waiting and if she was okay.
Jae Jin stumbled up the road as he ran back to the place he had left Si Eun. He held onto the railing and looked around.
‘Si Eun’s not here…’
He was grateful that she had left but also devastated that her words of ‘waiting forever’ had been a false promise. Jae Jin’s head snapped back up as a thought occurred to him and he whispered it to himself.
“Could she be waiting for me back at our old house?”
Some of the fishermen and pedestrians stared wide-eyed at the running man who was in tattered, blood-stained clothes, acting as if though he had all the energy in the world.
Jae Jin didn’t seem to notice any of their stares cause the image of Si Eun was burning brightly in his mind.
Jae Jin made it back to their old home, breathing heavily and a sheen perspiration dampened his forehead from that intense jog. He rested his hand on the doorknob and when he lifted his hand away, he saw the blood staining his hand.
His instincts immediately alarmed him that Si Eun was possibly in danger. He dove right in and ran from room to room. Jae Jin kept calling her name and came to an abrupt stop when he entered the bedroom.
“Fuck! Eun Ji Won!”
Ji Won and Ji Yong opened their weary eyes to look up at the person who just yelled. They were still lying on their backs and elbowed away from him. Ji Won, as the cool and confident leader, kept his voice calm and composed as he addressed Jae Jin.
“Lee Jae Jin, what are you doing here?”
Jae Jin stared at him wildly.
“What am I doing here?! Where’s Si Eun?”
Ji Won gave a villainous smile as an escape plan formed in his mind. He looked over and saw the muscles tensing in Ji Yong’s shoulders so he knew that they were both unfit for another fight. Jae Jin clearly did have the upper hand.
“I tied her up and left her inside one of the kitchen cabinets. You better hurry and get her out before she suffocates to death.”
Jae Jin wasn’t able to think clearly when he was frantically worried over Si Eun’s safety. He believed Ji Won’s words and raced towards the kitchen. He searched through the pantry and all of the cabinets but she was nowhere to be seen.
“That damn liar,” he hissed.
Jae Jin strode back to the bedroom but the two people were gone. He looked up and saw the fluttering of the curtains and knew that those two had escaped through the window. Jae Jin sunk to his knees, suddenly feeling helpless that he didn’t know of Si Eun’s whereabouts.
It was useless to follow Ji Won and Ji Yong. They were already long gone and if he had followed them, he would just be lured into their trap.
Jae Jin sat there in the corner to drown in his own despair for a while and then got up to leave in a desperate search for Si Eun.
The wind flew swiftly against Jae Duc’s body, sending his hair in disarray and drying the blood on his face. He looked down at his waist and saw the slender hands wrapped around him. He bit on his lower lip as he continued racing through the highway, unsure of where to go.
After many hours of driving in silence, Jae Duc felt confident that Ji Won wasn’t able to chase him down. He led Si Eun to a nearly abandoned motel and hid their motorcycle among the bushes.
“Come on. They won’t be able to find us anymore.”
Jae Duc had walked on without her but Si Eun grabbed for his hand, craving for his warmth. Jae Duc stared at her in mild surprise but thought that the girl had been scared and was in need of some comforting. He held her hand as he led her into the room.
“Don’t worry. I’m sure we’re safe now.”
Si Eun smiled slightly but her nose crinkled when she faintly noticed the strange satoori accent that he had now acquired. She remembered that Jae Jin had once told her that he came from Pusan.
‘Did he get that accent back?’
She decided not to ask, since he might take offense.
“I can’t believe that they’re still after us.”
Jae Duc understood what she meant by ‘they.’ SechsKies. He nodded mutely and sat down on the bed. He let go of her hand, unaware that she had leaned against his shoulder.
“I know. I’m sorry that I pulled you into this.”
“Don’t apologize, Jae Jinee. I killed one of their men too.”
Jae Duc was about to inform her that he was not Jae Jin but her last sentence had registered in his mind first.
‘I killed one of their men too.’
His sudden yell startled Si Eun as she stared at him. She calmed down and then started to understand that Jae Jin couldn’t believe that she actually killed someone.
“Last night at the dock, I had an encounter with Koala of SechsKies and I… I killed him.”
Jae Duc fell back and landed on the floor with a thud. ‘No,’ he thought to himself. ‘Jae Jin can’t possibly be dead.’ His stare went completely blank as he shook his head in disbelief.
“Koala is dead?”
Jae Duc grabbed Si Eun’s wrist in a viselike grip and demanded that she repeat herself. He refused to believe that his friend could have died like that. She must be joking or something.
“I did kill him, Jinee. His body is now buried at sea.”
Her final words made Jae Duc’s worst fears come true. He let go of her wrist and Si Eun stared at him, afraid that he disproved of her doings but he did know that she did it only for revenge. She knelt down on the carpet and reached out to touch him.
“Don’t touch me!”
Jae Duc slapped her hand away as he screamed at her. The anger inside him started to build up and his breathing became more irregular. The only way to ease it was revenge. Jae Duc shook his head in disbelief.
‘Jae Jin had risked his life for this girl and she had killed him. She deserves to die.’
The reminders that Si Eun didn’t actually know who Jae Jin really was because she had been blind and the fact that she had just saved his life wasn’t enough for Jae Duc to stop. His best friend was now gone and he decided to let Si Eun join him.
‘Forgive me, Jae Jin. At least the one you love will come join you soon.’
Si Eun looked over at him with forlorn eyes. She decided to reach for him once again and then reveal the status of her condition.
“Jae Jin… Did you know that I -“
Jae Duc slapped her hand away once more. He slowly pulled out the blade that had hidden beside his ankle and inside his shoe. He watched Si Eun closely as he edged closer to her, ready to stab her and halted immediately when he heard her cry out,
“I’m having your child!”
The knife fell onto the metal vent, its clanging noise vibrating the silence of the room.
Jae Duc was stunned still while Si Eun was trembling at his reaction. His eyes started to intensify as he absorbed her words.
“You’re having a child?”
Si Eun nodded mutely, fearing for her own life if she spoke.
‘This is even worse than I thought!’
Jae Duc’s head started to pound as he raked his fingers through his tangled hair. He had to reconsider his original plan now.
His knuckles popped loudly as he fisted them together. He forced himself to devise a plan that would ensure their safe escape from Ji Won first and then deal with the other problem later.
“We have to get out of here so we have to change our names. From now on, call me Kim Jae Duc. Your name is going to be umm… Lee Si Eun.”
Si Eun gave him a startled look. She couldn’t understand why he would want her to carry the honor of having his last name when he acted so cold and distant towards her a moment ago.
“I can keep your last name?”
“Yes, yes. Whatever. You can keep the last name, Lee.”
Si Eun felt a glimmer of hope left in their relationship. Perhaps Jae Jin wasn’t so emotionless towards her at all.
“Thank you, Jae -“
Jae Duc gave her a look that promised retribution if she got his name wrong. He didn’t want to be reminded of Jae Jin’s death. Her use of his real name will enable Jae Duc to restrain himself from killing her.
“Jae Duc. I’ll do whatever it takes just to be with you.”
Jae Duc gave her a pinched smile as Si Eun followed him outside to the motorcycle. They were on the road once again and Jae Duc made a solemn promise to his departed friend.
‘Jae Jin… I promise to raise your child as my own but once Si Eun conceives, I’m going to kill her.’
“Si Eun… Jae Duc… where are you guys?”
Jae Jin started to grow weary in his search for them. Days had past and he ended up fruitless each time. Jae Jin knew his efforts were being wasted. He had to do something productive in his search.
He decided to give up looking for Si Eun for a while and started to enter the work force. Being a former SechsKies member, he had an enormous fortune at his disposal. He invested well and several months later, he was able to construct a business empire.
His main company was based in Seoul but he had several assets in other parts of the country as well. He started to invest in buying abandoned land to sell it to the government as airport bases.
Jae Jin figured that this way he would be able to cover more ground and with his wealth and influence, he’ll be able to find Si Eun and Jae Duc in no time.
However, his theory proved him wrong. Jae Duc had been the master of hiding in Sechskies. If he didn’t want to be found, no one would ever find him.
It was all just a matter of time. Jae Jin kept praying each day for their safety and for the day he would be able to find them.
So far, his prayers have not been heard.
Five years later…
Si Eun opened the door of her house, seeing her landlord Mrs. Wang holding her son Jae Jung by the ear. A four-year-old Jae Jung tried struggling free but it was no use.
Si Eun knew immediately that her son was up to mischief again. She saw the bow and arrow in his hands that Jae Duc had made for him and knew it was the source of the problem.
“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Wang! What did Jae Jung do this time?”
“Mrs. Lee, your demon child shot me on my bum!”
Si Eun clasped her hand over her mouth in horror. She gave Jae Jung a glare and pulled him to her side. She shook her finger at him in a disciplinary manner.
“Jae Jung! You apologize to Mrs. Wang this instant!”
Jae Jung rubbed his swollen ear and gave Mrs. Wang a defiant look instead.
“No! I’m not going to apologize!”
Si Eun was appalled at her son’s rude behavior but she had never raised a hand at him before. Luckily, Jae Duc appeared out from the bedroom at the same time to see what all the commotion was about.
“Hey, who’s squealing at this early hour?”
“Jae Jung shot me in the bum!”
Mrs. Wang gave Jae Duc a knowing look that he must have been the perpetrator. Jae Duc looked down at Jae Jung, who was immediately defending himself.
“I was trying to shoot a pig, Duckie! Mrs. Wang was in my way!”
Jae Duc tapped a finger against his chin as if he was thinking and started to realize exactly what had happened.
“You can’t blame Jae Jung for shooting you then, Mrs. Wang.”
“And why can’t I blame him for that?”
“Easy. He couldn’t tell the difference between you and the pig.”
Jae Duc flashed her a megawatt smile while Mrs. Wang seethed in anger at the audacity of it. Si Eun’s jaw dropped open in shock while Jae Jung started to giggle.
“I should have known this child would turn into a hooligan when he’s not even living with his real father!”
“Oh yeah? I can say the same thing about your 4 kids and their 3 dads!”
“Well, I never!”
“Never what? Never went on a diet?”
Mrs. Wang sucked in her breath, her chest heaving in anger. She turned to give Jae Duc a fierce glare but he didn’t flinch. After a few moments, she turned heel and left.
When Mrs. Wang was far out of sight, Si Eun began to scold him.
“Jae Duc! She’s going to raise our rent if you insult her like that!”
“What? About Mrs. Wang looking like the pig? I’m not insulting her, I’m insulting the pig.”
Si Eun started to sigh, knowing it was useless to argue against Jae Duc. He spoiled Jae Jung rotten. Jae Duc bent down to give Jae Jung a pat on the head to sent him off to terrorize the town again. When Jae Jung had left, Jae Duc picked up his work supplies to leave as well.
“Well, I’m going to work in the fields now. I’ll see you at dinner time.”
“Bye, Jae Duc.”
Si Eun watched Jae Duc disappear into the distance. There was this bridge between them that neither of them could cross. Jae Duc is a wonderful parent to Jae Jung although he wouldn’t let Jae Jung call him dad.
It broke her heart that he was denying Jae Jung’s birth right. But at least he had the decency to give Jae Jung his last name, Lee.
Si Eun realized over the past few years that she was falling out of love with Jae Jin. A part of her still loved his old self dearly but she felt nothing for the new him.
She hummed an old melody to herself as she headed out to the other side of the field to work.
Jae Duc remained silent as he carried his rake off to work in the fields. The burning question of why didn’t he kill Si Eun yet ran through his mind.
‘Why didn’t I kill her when she gave birth to Jae Jung?’
Yet he knew the reason why. He is in love with Si Eun.
He had betrayed his own best friend and his punishment was seeing her everyday yet not being able to touch her.
Out of all his faults, Jae Duc is proud of the fact that he raised Jae Jung to be an intelligent little boy. He knew Jae Jin would have been proud.
Jae Duc forced the unpleasant thoughts out of his mind and started to work.
A few days later at Lee Corporation…
“Mr. Lee! Mr. Lee!”
Jae Jin spun around in his chair, his back against the view of the entire city of Seoul. He twirled a pen around his fingers as his vice-president burst into his office frantically.
“What is it, Mr. Chae?”
“I’m sorry sir, but I wasn’t able to do a routine inspection of the land you just purchased last month. There’s this little monster interfering with our work.”
“Eh? Some little kid is causing this much trouble for you?”
Jae Jin grinned at the thought of high-class men being outwitted by a little kid. However, Mr. Chae was wiping the sweat off of his baldhead as he recalled the ill memory.
“Yes, Mr. Lee. I’m very sorry to bother you with this minor detail but…”
“It’s okay, Mr. Chae. I’ll do the routine inspection myself tomorrow. It’s been a long time since I’ve been back in Pusan. It’s about time I gave myself a little vacation from the work.”
“Thanks for understanding, Mr. Lee.”
Mr. Chae breathed a sigh of relief to get the matters off of his hands. He bowed once and left the room, closing the door behind him. Jae Jin picked up his documents and looked at the picture of land he had just recently purchased.
The land is located near his homeland in Pusan. It had been such a long time since he’s been back that he decided that it was time for a trip down memory lane.
The next day…
Jae Jin had a taxi drop him off at the main land. He decided to tour the grounds on foot to get a better feel of the area.
He compared the land with the old pictures his photographer had provided for him and saw no resemblance. The land was well cared for, not abandoned and filled with weeds as the photo pictured. He was having second thoughts about selling the place now.
Suddenly, Jae Jin realized he had been involved in a gang too long. He knew from the moment he had stepped onto the land, someone had been following him.
The tall grass was swaying at an unnatural angle and his sharp ears detected muffled laughter. It must be the little monster of Pusan.
A wooden arrow swooshed by Jae Jin, nearly grazing his ear. Jae Jin moved in time to avoid it from hitting him. He turned towards the direction where it came from but was greeted with another arrow.
This time Jae Jin deflected the arrow, knocking it aside. A scream of exasperation came from the field and another arrow was shot. Jae Jin caught it with one hand this time.
The legendary monster of Pusan revealed himself. It was a child of no more than five. He came out staring at Jae Jin wide-eyed. He pointed a shaking finger at Jae Jin and started to speak, his voice filling with awe and respect.
“Wow… you caught that with your bare hands!”
Jae Jin looked at the little kid, a feeling of deja vu sweeping over him. He felt as though he had met this kid before but couldn’t place his finger on it.
The child bore an uncanny resemblance to someone he knew but he wasn’t able to tell. He paused to think for a few moments and it suddenly hit him.
The kid looked just like him!
The hair, the bone structure, and that tiny little mole on his chin. Every small feature of that kid bore resemblance to him.
“Hellooo… ahjusee? Can I have my arrow back?”
Jae Jin snapped out of his trance and looked at the child once more. He glanced at the nicely hand carven arrow in his hand and gave the kid an amused grin.
“Are you the child that scared my men away when they tried to inspect this property?”
“Hmph! So what if I am? It’s my home. They have no right to trespass.”
“Sorry, kid. I own this land. They weren’t trespassing.”
“You can’t own this land! My family lives on it!”
Jae Jin sighed, wondering how to explain it to the boy. He hadn’t planned to evict the tenants yet since he hasn’t decided whether or not to sell the land.
“I bought this land already. Your family is just renting it from me.”
The child started bawling loudly and Jae started to bend down to meet the little boy at eye level. He brought the boy closer to him for a comforting hug.
When Jae Jin had let his guard down, Jae Jung began to attack.
“Take that, dumbass!”
‘Ornery little brat.’
Jae Jin muttered that silent thought to himself. Obviously the boy was a good actor but Jae Jin was much too quick for him. He twisted the little boy’s arm around his back before he was able to stab Jae Jin with his bow.
“Don’t you have a dad to teach you some manners?”
Jae Jung stared at Jae Jin, his eyes welling with hot tears. His throat started to constrict, making it hard for him to speak.
Jae Jin stared at the boy, suddenly feeling remorseful for his harsh words. He could tell that this time his tears were real.
“Um, I don’t have a daddy. Duckie lives with my mom. She said he’s my daddy but he said he’s my uncle. So I don’t know…”
Jae Jin kept silent, not knowing what to say to Jae Jung. Stepfamilies were formed all around the world and Jae Jung was obviously too young to understand what it meant.
“Don’t worry, kiddo. In time, you’ll learn about stepfamilies.”
“What’s a stepfamily?”
Jae Jin let him go and Jae Jung flashed him a wide grin with two of his front teeth missing. Jae Jin started to smile back at him and was about to answer until a female voice interrupted them.
“Jae Jung, supper time! Where are you?”
The woman’s voice sounded achingly familiar to Jae Jin. He looked towards the direction her voice came from but her figure was hidden beyond the tall grass.
“Well ahjusee, I have to go now. That’s my mommy calling me. Will I see you tomorrow?”
Jae Jin felt a kinship with the little boy. His name also called out to him. He wanted to know more about Jae Jung but in the past few years, he taught himself not to attach to anything.
“Your name is Jae Jung?”
“Uh huh. My mommy named me that.”
“Well, I don’t know if I’ll be here tomorrow, Jae Jung but I’ll be hanging around here for a while.”
“Okay! Maybe I’ll look for you tonight! Bye!”
Jae Jung waved Jae Jin goodbye and ran off into the distance. Jae Jin watched him go and saw a woman’s silhouette on the other side of the field.
Her profile looked familiar but he was starting to think that his mind must have worked too hard all day long and it was making him see things.
Jae Jin stared off into the distance at the sun. It was starting to set and it seemed to be smiling at him. A strange thought passed through his mind.
‘If only Si Eun and I were still together, we’d probably have a child around Jae Jung’s age…’
“Are we a stepfamily?”
Jae Duc spit out his rice, choking while Si Eun gave him a good whack on the back. Jae Jung stares at his parents nonchalantly, innocent about the point of his question.
“Where did you get that from?”
“Well, I told this man that you’re not my dad so he says we’re a stepfamily.”
Jae Duc slammed down his bowl of rice, breaking it against the table. He was instantly outraged by the information Jae Jung had just given him.
“Who the hell said that to you? I’ll murder his ass!”
“But he’s right though, Duckie… if you’re not my dad, then who is my dad?”
Jae Jung kept prodding, insistent about the answer to his question. Si Eun looked at Jae Duc as if she wanted to know the answer herself.
“No, we’re not a stepfamily…”
Jae Duc hesitated for a moment before he continued. Si Eun had breathed out a sigh of relief while Jae Jung is still perturbed about the answer.
“I’m not your father, Jae Jung. Your father is another man. A good man.”
Si Eun knew they both bore no real affection for one another but she hadn’t figured that Jae Jin would go this far, denying that Jae Jung is his real child. She gasped.
“I am NOT Jae Jin!”
Jae Duc turned over the table in anger at the mention of Jae Jin’s name. Si Eun’s fear held her silent while Jae Jung threw a raging tantrum.
“I hate you both! I hate you for not being my daddy! And I hate you for not telling me who my daddy really is!”
Jae Jung ran out of the house with Si Eun running after him. Jae Duc started to follow but then stopped himself. He decided it was best that Si Eun explain it to Jae Jung instead of him.
He cleaned up the mess he caused and decided to wait for them to come back.
Si Eun lost Jae Jung in the dark when he took a shortcut in the road. She ran further down the road and collided into someone when she turned the corner.
“Oh, I’m sorry miss, are you okay?”
Si Eun wiped the dust off her skirt and turned her gaze towards the person she just bumped into. They stared at each other in shocked recognition.
Ji Yong’s mouth curled into a evil smirk as he grabbed a hold of Si Eun’s wrist. He and Ji Won had heard from a reliable source that there was a couple that matched Jae Duc and Si Eun’s description in the area.
They had been searching for days and Ji Yong finally found one of them. His hold on Si Eun tightened, nearly cutting off her circulation.
“Ji Won and I have spent the last five years looking for you and that traitor, Jae Duc. Tell me… where is he? I promise to let you die a painless death if you let me know where he is.”
“No! Let go of me!”
Si Eun tried to twist free but it made Ji Yong hurt her even more. Jae Jung ran out of nowhere and started to pound on his mother’s captor with his little fists.
“Let go of my mommy!”
Ji Yong realized instantly who the child must be. He must be Jae Jin and Si Eun’s child. He grabbed a hold of the kid around the collar and decided it was best to keep him alive for security reasons.
He knocked Si Eun to the side while the child squirmed to get away. The kid started to bawl and Ji Yong was confident that he had overpowered them both.
“You’re mine now, kid.”
Obviously Ji Yong wasn’t as clever as Jae Jin. When Ji Yong had let his guard down, Jae Jung stabbed him in the thigh with his bow.
Ji Yong lost his hold on Jae Jung and collapsed to the ground. For a fleeting instant Si Eun turned to look at Ji Yong, wondering why he hadn’t attacked them yet again.
A rake had been left on the ground and Ji Yong had landed on it. Sharp razors were poking out of his chest and he writhed above it in pain.
Si Eun covered Jae Jung’s eyes to prevent him from seeing the gruesome sight.
“Hey, Ji Yong! Where are you?”
Si Eun instantly recognized that voice. She grabbed Jae Jung’s hand and ran for it. She was running too quick, she didn’t see the little pothole in the road.
She stumbled over it and twisted her ankle.
Jae Jung felt his mom’s hand letting go of his and he turned to see what was the matter.
“Mommy! Are you okay?”
“Jae Jung! Leave me and run for it!”
“Why? I can’t leave you!”
“Listen to me! I told you to go! The bad men are coming after us!”
Jae Jung turned back to look at his mother in desperation. He didn’t know what to do. Suddenly a face loomed over his mind and he remembered Jae Jin’s promise to meet him later on that day.
Jae Jin inhaled the fresh scent of nature as the crickets chirped merrily around him. He couldn’t remember a time when he felt so relaxed. But then a familiar but frantic voice broke his state of serenity.
“Jae Jung, what’s wrong?”
“My mommy’s hurt! She’s too heavy for me to carry and I can’t…”
Jae Jin held onto the trembling child. He patted his back and started to whisper reassuring words into Jae Jung’s ear.
“Don’t worry, Jae Jung. I’ll help your mommy. Take me to her.”
Jae Jung started leading Jae Jin to a narrow street not far away from the fields. The road was closer to many of the homes but many of the houses were run-down.
Jae Jin had decided earlier that he would pay a handsome price to the tenants so they could move out of the decrepit area.
“Mommy! Where are you?”
Jae Jung let go of Jae Jin’s hand when he saw that his mother wasn’t there at the original spot he had left her. Jae Jin looked around for an elderly woman as well but wasn’t able to spot any.
“Mommy! Where are you? I have a nice ahjusee that is going to help you.”
Jae Jin turned towards the corner where the voice came from. His grin of relief slackened as he stared as the woman’s face shone in the moonlight. His heart squeezed as he stared at Si Eun.
He lost his voice to speak but Si Eun didn’t.
“You. It’s you…”
Si Eun’s eyes widened in terror as she recognized the man before her. His face had haunted her dreams nearly every day of her life. She backed away when Jae Jin took a step closer.
“G-get away from me! Somebody, help me please!”
Jae Jung grew distress as his mother started hurling blades of grass or whatever she could at Jae Jin. Si Eun pulled Jae Jung closer for protection while Jae Jin looked on helplessly.
“Mommy! This is the nice ahjusee I’ve been telling you about! He’s going to help us!”
“No, Jae Jung! He’s an evil man! He killed your uncle and your grandparents!”
Jae Jin was unsure of what to say in his defense. He took a step closer unconsciously when he saw Si Eun’s swollen ankle. He wanted to help her.
Si Eun gasped several times in fear and finally passed out from the fright. Jae Jung continually yelled for his mother and shook her but she wouldn’t wake up.
“Ahjusee… my mommy has fainted.”
“It’s okay, Jae Jung. I’ll take her home.”
Jae Jin lifted Si Eun’s frail body into his arms with ease. He noted faintly that she had lost a lot of weight despite the fact she had given birth to Jae Jung.
Time had not been kind to her. She looked weary even though she was unconscious. Jae Jin knew it was because of him that she still wasn’t able to live a comfortable life.
Jae Jung followed behind them quietly as Jae Jin carried her to their house. He waited for Jae Jung to open the door to let them in and carried her inside.
Jae Jin laid Si Eun’s limp body on the couch and watched her breathing become regular. A photo frame on the TV stand caught his eye and he saw Jae Duc in the picture, his arm around Jae Jung and Si Eun was on the other side.
They looked like the picture-perfect family. Jae Jin wondered if Jae Duc was upstairs but didn’t bother to check. His conscience was telling him that Jae Duc and Si Eun must be a family now so he shouldn’t interfere with their lives.
Jae Jin began to realize that Jae Jung was still in the room with them. He gave the boy a reassuring smile and looked down at Si Eun once more.
He leaned down to press a tender kiss on her forehead and whispered his farewell. He turned back to Jae Jung, knowing that he was his son and gave his first and final instructions as Jae Jung’s father.
“Goodbye, Jae Jung. Be a good child to your mother and Duckie.”
“Ahjusee, where are you going?”
Jae Jin smiled and didn’t respond. He walked out the door and using all of his willpower, he forced himself not to look back.
In the midst of her swoon, Si Eun realized that Koala had kissed her. Her mind kept screaming get away yet a part of her wanted him to stay.
She wasn’t able to wake up but she was able to think in her subconscious state. She thought of her family and her betrayal of feeling this way towards the man that killed them.
Si Eun hated Koala but yet, it was him that she thought about every single day. She was torn between her mixed emotions of love and hatred for him. As her thoughts made her more perplexed, she became glad that sleep finally took over.
Early next morning…
Jae Duc woken up from his deep slumber and went out to the living room. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and was startled to find Si Eun and Jae Jung sprawled out on the carpeted floor.
“Si Eun! Jae Jung! What happened to you guys?”
Jae Jung woke up from Jae Duc’s yell and laid there half-awake, his eyes partially opening to look at Jae Duc.
Si Eun woke up immediately and pushed her hair out of her eyes. She edged towards the corner of the room and started to tell him what happened.
“Last night when Jae Jung ran away, I ran into that guy Ji Yong. He grabbed Jae Jung but later he tripped and killed himself when he landed on a rake. Then I heard his voice… Ji Won. He… he’s nearby…”
Jae Duc listened to the story in horror with the cold realization that Ji Won had finally found them. Mental pictures of bloodshed ran through his mind and his knees gave out on him so he had to sit down.
“How… how did you guys escape?”
Si Eun felt like retching. Her previous thoughts from the night before were coming back to haunt her. Her feelings were mixed and the confusion was killing her inside.
“Koala… he’s… he’s still alive.”
Jae Duc took a moment to absorb the impact of her words. His fingers gripped onto the arms of the sofa tightly until his knuckles turned white.
‘If Jae Jin’s alive, why didn’t he come see me?’
Jae Duc wondered for a fleeting instant that Jae Jin knew he was there but yet didn’t want to see them. He looked up for a moment and the family picture caught his eye. Something told him that it was the source of the problem. He had to correct it immediately.
“Jae Jung… that man you met in the fields, Jae Jin… he’s…he’s your daddy.”
“What are you saying, Jae Duc?” Si Eun screeched. “He is NOT Jae Jung’s father! You are!”
Jae Duc got up from his chair and went over to Si Eun’s side. He knelt down before her and grabbed her by the shoulders to shake some sense into her. Jae Jung continued to stare in wonder.
“Listen to me! Koala is Lee Jae Jin! Lee Jae Jin is Koala!”
“No… he can’t be…”
Si Eun shook her head in denial as she pushed Jae Duc away.
“NO! You’re Jae Jin! That man Koala is NOT Jae Jin!”
“I swear on my life that I am not Lee Jae Jin.”
Jae Duc raised his hand to make that solemn oath. Si Eun stared at him miserably, praying that this was a nightmare. Jae Jung started to whimper when he saw his mother’s distressed state.
“Then who are you?”
Jae Duc sighed.
“I haven’t lied about my identity. My name is really Kim Jae Duc, formerly known as Duck of Sechskies.”
“So you killed my family as well…”
Si Eun scooted further away from Jae Duc when she realized this morbid fact. She kept a protective arm around Jae Jung as Jae Duc tried to convince her of his doings.
“I know you must hate me right now but you must listen to what I have to say!”
“NO! You killed my family! Koala is NOT Jae Jin. He killed my family!”
Si Eun covered her ears with her palms. Jae Duc grabbed her roughly by the arm and forced her to face him. Jae Jung watched on with frustration, unsure of whose side to take.
“Si Eun, you have to listen to me! Jae Jin spent the next years of his life making it up to you. The only flaw Jae Jin has is his loyalty. He loved Su Won dearly but when he betrayed Sechskies, Jae Jin felt that it was his duty to punish him. He never knew you then and now, he’s brought upon the downfall of his former family for you. Can’t you see how much he loves you and treasure you above all else?”
She refused to acknowledge that the man she had intentionally tried to kill is Jae Jin. He is Koala of Sechskies. He killed her family. He couldn’t be Jae Jin.
“Si Eun, please… Jae Jin loves you…”
Si Eun looked up from her cowered position at Jae Duc. She raised up her hand to brush the tears in his eyes away. She had never seen him cry before. Somehow, she knew that today is the day for all the hidden truths to come out.
“I just want to know….Did you ever love me?”
Jae Duc smiled. It was the same question he had been fretting over the last few years and wasn’t able to answer it back then. But somehow today, he finally knew the answer.
“I did. But I love Jae Jin more,” Jae Duc paused to take a deep breath. “Now we run before Ji Won finds us.”
“Too late. The girl dies tonight.”
Ji Won’s large frame blocked the doorway and the three stared at him in fear. Jae Jung jumped at him but Ji Won swatted him away like a little nuisance.
“Damn traitor…” he hissed when saw Jae Duc.
Jae Duc tried to attack him but one punch from Ji Won knocked him unconscious. His main target had been Si Eun. He yanked Si Eun upright by her hair and dragged her out of the rundown house.
“Everything is your fault! I lost my status and my gang because of you!”
Ji Won dragged Si Eun to a barren field near a cliff with a raging river underneath them. From there he started to strangle Si Eun. She tried to break free but it was no use. Ji Won was just too strong for her.
“Sechskies killed my family! You all deserved to die!”
Ji Won smirked.
“It wasn’t Sechskies that killed your family but me. I killed every single person in the Jang household and you’re going to be my last victim.”
“You? But Jae Jin…”
“Jae Jin was useless to me from the beginning. He did nothing but just look on. I knew he didn’t want to kill your family in the first place.”
She had forgiven him. Si Eun hadn’t realized it until this crucial point. Earlier her mouth spewed out the hateful words at him but in her heart, she had forgiven Jae Jin.
She wished for a brief moment she could tell him that but it was too late. Her arms grew limp from the struggle and her vision started to darken when she wasn’t able to breathe much longer. Only a small circle of light was visible in her dim field of vision.
Suddenly, a gust of air whooshed into her lungs and she was free of her captor. Si Eun opened her eyes slowly and saw Jae Jin wrestling Ji Won to the ground.
“I don’t care if I fuckin’ die! I’m taking you with me!”
With an immaculate strength, Ji Won heaved Jae Jin off his body and they both lost their balance and started to fall off the cliff into the ravine. Si Eun had been in their path and was pushed over by their stumbling bodies.
Jae Jin grabbed onto a tree branch over the cliff just in time to avoid going over and grabbed onto Si Eun’s hand.
Ji Won wasn’t so lucky. Jae Jin turned around in time to see Ji Won landing on a sharp rock at the bottom. A pool of blood came out of Ji Won’s mouth and yet he didn’t make a peep of pain.
Ji Won gave Jae Jin a morbid smile as he finished speaking his last words. His body convulsed a few more times and he finally became still. The fearless leader of Sechskies was now dead.
Jae Jin felt a pang of regret. It was true that he had betrayed his own gang but Sechskies had changed over the years. They were no longer the low-profile gang that they had started out with but emerged to be one of the most cunning and ruthless.
“So you know who I really am now…”
Si Eun nodded in response and started edging herself closer to the cliff. Jae Jin tried to reach for her but when he moved, the branch started to sway dangerously.
The branch was not strong enough to support two people and Jae Jin knew it. The rapid water beneath would carry anything away and there was no guarantee of survival.
He looked at Si Eun once and he knew what he must do.
“Si Eun, Jae Jung’s a beautiful child. Thank you for having him.”
Si Eun started to tremble furiously as she kept a tight grip on the shaking branch. She stared at Jae Jin with a frightened look in her eyes.
“Jae Jin, don’t talk like that! You make it sound like you’re going to leave me or something!”
Jae Jin smiled instead. He lifted up her hand and pressed a gentle kiss on her fingertips.
“It’s just a brief separation, Si Eun. I promise I’ll find you again.”
“What? Jae Jin?”
Without further ado, Jae Jin jumped off the branch. Si Eun watched in horror as he fell into the river and the water carrying him away downstream. He was gone in a matter of seconds.
Si Eun continued screaming his name but she knew he wasn’t able to hear her cries. Her heart wrenched in pain as she continued crying until the sun began to set.
Jae Jin had left her… again.
One week later…
It was March 8. Today was a very special day yet no one knew the reason why. Yet a meddling twosome knew. Jae Duc and Jae Jung.
Si Eun came home wearily from work that day and was approached by the two at the dinner table. Both of them were wearing matching I-know-something-you-don’t-know grins.
“Is something wrong, Jae Duc?”
“Umm…nothing wrong in particular, Si Eun. Do you remember what day it is today?”
“It’s the anniversary of my parents’ death!”
Jae Duc gave her a look. He was absolutely shocked at her bad memory. He did not mean anything cruel by his next words.
“What kind of child, are you? It’s tomorrow! They were killed after midnight so technically it is March 9, remember?”
Si Eun gave Jae Duc a harmless scowl.
“Then there’s nothing special about today then.”
Jae Duc and Jae Jung both slapped their foreheads in unison. Jae Duc got up and walked up behind her while Jae Jung held Si Eun’s hands firmly together.
“I’m going to blindfold you now so we can go.”
“Go where? Where are you taking me?”
Si Eun was momentarily confused. Jae Duc wrapped a scarf around her eyes and she wasn’t able to see anything any longer.
“Somewhere special. Don’t peek.”
She gave into their demands and remained quiet as they loaded her into the car and drove off. It was a long while before the car finally stopped and they led her out of the car.
Si Eun took off her blindfold and checked out her surroundings. Something about it was remotely familiar.
“Where are we?”
Jae Duc gave her a mysterious smile and shrugged his shoulders. Jae Jung nudged Si Eun’s hand and she looked down at him. His eyes were misted with tears as he kept a grin on his face.
“I just want you to know mommy, that today is the happiest day of my life.”
“Mine too, Si Eun. I’m glad to be a part of your life.”
Jae Duc gave her a smile and then leaned over to give her a feathery kiss on the cheek. Jae Jung kissed her hand and both of them walked away, leaving Si Eun alone in the forest.
Si Eun felt a sudden chill, as she stood alone in the forest. She knew where she was now. It was the same forest located near her family’s old home and uneasy feeling washed over her.
She still wasn’t able to comprehend on why today was such an important day except –
Of course. Si Eun paused. Today was the day that she had met Jae Jin exactly 7 years ago. Suddenly, she felt his presence. Si Eun’s eyes rose, and then stopped. There he was.
At the exact same tree, wearing a bandana.
For his part, Jae Jin felt as if he had been waiting his entire life for this moment. He started to skirt around the trees with Si Eun following behind him and he felt her grab him by the collar.
She spun him around and he looked directly at her with his bandana still covering his face. Si Eun’s hands started to tremble as she finally unmasked Jae Jin for the first time.
She started to sob loudly and threw herself into Jae Jin’s arms. He held onto her tightly and pressed a kissed to her forehead. Si Eun steadied herself to look up and meet Jae Jin’s eyes.
“I should have known from the beginning,” she whispered, her voice hoarse with emotion. “I was such a blind fool.”
Jae Jin agreed with her assessment of herself. Si Eun gave him a curious look but he gave her a warm smile.
“Was. But you’re no longer a fool, Si Eun. You now know the truth.”
“I don’t deserve you. You went through so much to find me, Jae Jin and I…”
Jae Jin stopped Si Eun from further berating herself by pressing his finger to her lips.
“I’m the one who destroyed your family, Si Eun so it’s I who must ask for forgiveness.”
“It’s the past, Jae Jin. Let it be buried.”
In those past years of bloodshed and hidden truths, Jae Jin finally felt light-hearted that it was finally over. Now he and his love could begin anew.
“Si Eun, I would’ve spent my entire life searching for you if I had to. There’s nothing in this world that will make me forget you. I love you too much to let you go.”
Si Eun stared at him for the longest time. Jae Jin swallowed once nervously as he waited for her reply to his declaration. She kissed him gently and whispered her response in his ear.
“And I love you… Koala.”