p>It’s been eight years since we started dating.
No, 13 years if we include the time I lost consciousness.
We’ve been together since we were born.
We’re 31 years old now, so that’s how long we’ve known each other. Kang Taejung was to be his only friend and lover for the rest of his life, that is until he raised his head to look at him.
Ha Joyoon swore that he could not have predicted this is what would happen.

“…Ha… Joyoon?”

 

By God, he hadn’t expected that the astonishment that ran through that face wasn’t one filled with joy and affection but as if he were seeing a ghost.

And the fact that there would be another person next to Kang Taejung, holding his hand. 

He had never even imagined it.

“You came back yesterday?”

After the silence, a short question popped up.
Instead of answering, Ha Joyoon reached out his hands out of nowhere and grabbed his cup.
Perhaps because it had been left for a long time, the exterior of the glass was damp with moisture from cooling.

Unable to speak easily, he looked down at the table quietly.
The legs of the two men could be seen under the table opposite. 

The violin melody flowing into the cafe nervously drew notes.
Such hysterical Bahrani was not his cup of tea.
In a distant mood, he rubbed his cheeks and chin with dry hands.
It seemed as if all the water in his body was going to dry out like this.
After hesitating for a while, Ha Joyoon nodded his head with difficulty.

“Yeah.”

The man’s cheek moved slightly in response to the reply.
It was Kang Taejung’s habit of indicating his dislike or anger.

“What… happened?” 

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“…….”

“How come you didn’t contact me for five years?”

There was a lot of anger in the voice that quietly flowed like a mutter.
The only time you talked to me with that voice was when you were really angry.
It was expected, but somehow he felt aggrieved and Ha Joyoon laughed bitterly.
Kang Taejung’s anger towards him was justified.
Perhaps, this isn’t exactly what he had anticipated.

“Didn’t it ever occur to you even once that there were people waiting for you?” 

“…….”

“Give me a proper explanation.”

“…….”

“Ha Joyoon!” 

As he turned his head slightly, he saw an unfamiliar face in his field of vision.
He was the one who followed Ha Joyoon’s request that he wanted to talk to Kang Taejung, saying that he would join him as well.
Of course, his accompaniment was possible under Kang Taejung’s tacit consent.
The Kang Taejung, who hesitated for a moment and finally nodded to allow it, he will probably never forget for the rest of his life.

The opponent’s expression between the eyes was not as good as Ha Joyoon.
Anxiety concerning the lover’s heart was clearly visible over the slightly frowned eyebrow.
Ah… A deep, silent sigh pounded around the heart.
As the image of the man and Kang Taejung holding hands affectionately came to mind, indescribable pain flowed in waves.

 

Five years, 1825 days.

It’s a long time.
A long time. 

Was it a long time? Was it long enough to trade for the eternity promised? The number of five years kept hovering in Ha Joyoon’s head.

“I had an accident.”

Ha Joyoon briefly explained, pulling his gaze away from the unfamiliar man.
Taejung’s thick eyebrows rose higher as if he wasn’t content with this excuse.

“An accident? That’s your full explanation? You…!!” 

Justifiable anger.
The clenched fists slowly twitched.
Kang Taejung’s anger was justified.
However, Ha Joyoon’s sadness was justified to that extent as well.
He fell asleep and woke up.
That was all, but everything had changed.
There may be only one thing that has changed, but that one thing was everything to him.

He raised his head, which had been bowed like a criminal until he met those black eyes.
Night.
Black eyes resembling night were looking straight at Ha Joyoon.
Ha Joyoon also looked at Kang Taejung without blinking.
Just like that day when we cared for only each other and loved only each other.
The white light shattered to a shade of ashen.
Swallowing his breath with an inexplicable gap, Ha Joyoon spoke with difficulty.

“There was a shootout.
I got caught up in a civil war protest while filming.
I got shot and, was unconscious for five years.
I woke up not too long ago.”

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He briefly explained what had happened over the past few years in a low voice and raised his glass again.
The ice in the coffee had all melted away and the aroma had long since dissipated.
It was a silly thing to do.
He moistened his lips sloppily, and Ha Joyoon blinked languidly.
The sharp violin melody that scratched his nerves was still there. 

“What are you saying? Shootout… not too long ago?”

Shock washed over Kang Taejung’s face as if it was an unexpected answer.
The expression of the person sitting next to him was even more distorted in the irritable atmosphere.
The heart wore out as cracks formed in between.
Regardless of whether it was blood or tears that flowed into his heart, the voice that flowed out was undeniably calm.

“It’s what I just said.
My mind was probably out of it back then.
I don’t know the details.”

All three people’s breath stopped for a moment amidst the clear tone of the violin.
Ha Joyoon’s originally white complexion was illuminated by the ceiling light, accentuating his pallor look.
His small but long eyes were also cool.
As if he didn’t like it, Kang Taejung’s fist, which was firmly clenched on his lap, grew tighter.
The silence ended as a sentence straight from his heart came out. 

“… Are you alright?”

“I guess so.”

Truthfully, I don’t know.
But I decided not to say it.
Despite his concise answer, Kang Taejung blinked several times and covered his forehead with his palm as if he were unable to calm down easily.
A long time passed again with a deep sigh.
The eyelashes visible between his fingers trembled convulsively.

“I thought you were dead.” 

“…….”

“I thought you died.
I had searched for you for years but all I could find was your camera….”

 

An indescribable tremor that was buried came forth.
It was short, yet it contained implied all the situations and emotions.
It was understandable, so Ha Joyoon nodded his head void of any emotion.
Even though it was only that, the eyes of the man sitting across from him seemed to be anxious and fierce at once.
Contrary to his calm impression, he has quite a temper and I let out a chuckle.
It was my natural defense mechanism.
In this comedy-like situation, the only person who seemed sane was the unfamiliar man who held Kang Taejung’s hand with an expression of unease on his face.
Kang Taejung continued his words while still gently wrapping the back of that man’s hand.

“Even if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stepped out, there was no way I could get in touch with you.
I was at a loss.” 

Ha Joyoon closed her eyes heavily as he watched those long, hard fingers pat the back of his opponent’s hand.
The illusion of his heart being scratched with a sharp spear tip occurred.
He couldn’t believe everything that was happening right in front of him.

“The situation wasn’t good.”

“… I continued looking for you but all I received were hopeless answers.”

“…….” 

“Everyone… looked for you.
Auntie, Uncle, and… me too.”

“I see.”

But in the end, you gave up on me.
Buried me in your heart.

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