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All skin and no shame

...innocence is just an illusion...

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Round and Round [9]
Title: Round and Round
Pairing: YunJae
Rating: PG
Length: Chaptered
Genre: AU
Disclaimer: Goblin premise, the rest is mine.

Summary: In a thousand years, there have been more flowers than rain, but the Wanderer still wanders, searching for someone he knows will bring about his demise and yet, something within him compels him to keep on searching, for his heart has never been at peace in all that time.

AN: I know I’ve said it’s going to be end several times but 10 is definitely the end. Admittedly it’s bit of my OCD side wanting to round it off at 10/10 instead of 9/9 and Jaejoong muse basically trying to kill me. Tbh I think he did kill me... Also, some of you might get confused here so I suggest reading it very slowly ;;

Warning: Major character death but…trust me? I actually feel like I don’t need to warn for this but seeing how I was basically chopping bags and bags and bags of onions instead of writing, if I don’t warn, I might get stabbed so yeah…

As the earth reclaims its due
And the cycle starts anew
We’ll stay, always
In the love that we have shared…before time…

That feeling of being compelled physically hurts. The yearning is deep in his soul, and Changmin is unable to fight the call even if he wanted to. He falls to his knees, prostrating himself on the ground, forehead kissing the floor.

“Shim Changmin, First Captain and confidante of General Jung, loyal subject of Goryeo and its Prince, now acting CEO of Jung Holdings.”

“Even if I am no longer the prince?” comes the softly spoken question, the Angel staring intently at the bowed head of the tall man. He hasn’t spoken in a long time. Not like this. Whether intentionally or not, he has not yet returned to Seoul and when something seems to call him there, he answers without a thought, not wondering at all at what can compel the Angel of Death himself for the number lies at One. He recognises the familiar scent of a Goblin and the urge to vent had been strong the second it hits his nose, but Changmin’s pained disbelieving Hyung had interceded, sparing the wrong Guardian his wrath and causing him to find his proper voice for the first time in years.

“You will always be my prince,” Changmin replies honestly, no longer compelled, raising his head to sit back on his heels. “Where have you been all these years?” he cannot help but ask, a hint of hurt in his voice. He is still not over the loss of his leader and brother and no matter that all the evidence seems to point to the contrary, flatly refuses to accept that the man is not coming back.

The angel looks off into the distance, staring out at the Seoul skyline he can see from the high floor of the office.


Kim Shin stifles a sniffle, but it comes out nonetheless.

Twin blazing blood red eyes turns in his direction, taking the sight of the handsome, soft-hearted Goblin crying into his hands like a young child, the palm of his hands pressed against his eyes as if trying to stem the flow, words coming out in between his sobs, the rain outside getting heavier by the second.

“I’ve been…been searching t—too,” Kim Shin is genuinely grieving. He knows the two men in the room have more of a right to Yunho than he does, but when you have been friends with someone for over nine centuries, losing Yunho is like cutting off his own arm. Seeing the White Reaper has tripled, quadrupled, maybe even quintupled the agony for it brings back his last memories of the couple and in his heart he knows if he is hurting, it is nothing compared to the Angel who has wept so hard that his eyes are now stricken red.

The Angel stares at the man, and a rare feeling of mercy descends on him. He remembers the mercy granted to him eight hundred years ago, and he offers this demigod the same, but without giving him a choice.

Not everything needs to be a choice.

“Kim Shin, Guardian of the People, Goblin when angered and former General of Goryeo, look at me.”

Changmin watches apprehensively as the supposed only other Guardian still roaming the earth stands and walks towards the Angel, now glowing with an inner light. On any other being, his eyes would likely look demonic, but not on this angel. .

Even as he watches, a movement catches his eye and he has to stifle his surprise as the butterfly in the angel’s shoulder moves, undulating beneath the white skin of the glowing angel, it shakes out its wings.




Before falling still and it is back to looking like just a tattoo and Changmin has to blink several times and pinch himself to make sure he isn’t dreaming.

The Angel cups the tearful man’s cheek, Kim Shin taller than him a moment ago but not anymore as his glowing visage seems to grow in size. His wings spread, fluttering in the non-existent breeze in the room, monstrous to anyone who has wronged him, but beautiful to those who love him.

And Kim Shin does love him, simply because how could you not?

“Forget us,” the Angel breathes the words out, the cool air of his breath teasing the Guardian’s face. “I order you to forget us,” before leaning in to kiss the man before he even has time to say another word.

The second his lips touch the Goblin’s, the man disappears.

“H-h-hyung…” Changmin is goggle eyed with shock. Standing up shakily from his kneeling position, his eyes wide and completely disbelieving, turning left and right, searching the room as if the one person who has kept him sane in the last decade will emerge somehow.

Turning to the bewildered young man, the Angel cocks his head, returning to his normal size, folding his wings. “He was in pain, couldn’t you feel it? I could see it, smell it, practically taste it. Do you want to know what it tastes like?” he asks, and in the blink of an eye, has Changmin up against the wall. “Do you?” he asks, his breath like a cool caress against the now taller man’s jaw, his blood red eyes staring into Changmin’s terrified brown ones.

Shaking his head mutely, the acting CEO suppresses a shiver, for those red eyes, this close to him, are filled with a pain that cannot be described.

“How about my pain then…taste my pain…” and the Angel tiptoes, kissing the human.

Changmin wants to claw at his face.

His eyes.

His skin.

The crackle of electricity coursing through his body is not that of arousal or even fear.

It is of pure unadulterated pain.

An emotional pain manifested physically, and he can barely stand.

For a soldier who has endured countless injuries and the loss of his General.

This pain is far worse.

There is a taste of regret.

Of guilt.

Of self-loathing and blame.

There is also an underlying taste of an anger that is only held in check by a very thin veil.

Anger at the Creator, when there should only be love.

He wants to turn himself inside out, for that pain would be less than what he feels now.

There is a certain tang in the agony he feels that weighs heavily, a foreign tang on his tongue that represents the pain of a lover who has loved, lost, loved again, only to lose it all for the second time. The agony of a lover who has sacrificed more than he should have to, of a lover who knows what has been sacrificed for him, and ultimately knowing that there are no more sacrifices to be made to regain what he has lost for he has used up all his chances.

No one is listening.

Not even the butterfly that is with the Angel wherever he goes.

And as quickly as it starts, he is pulled from the seemingly endless wretchedness, finding himself curled up on the floor of a boudoir and gasping for breath, his tears near blinding him.

The White Reaper’s features betray nothing as he stares at the sobbing mess of a man at his feet. They are in his tearoom and whatever the human felt was merely the time it took for them to get there. A mere blink of actual time, but in those moments between time, it could feel endless if the Angel of Death wills that you feel what he feels.

“Do you want to forget?”

Changmin raises his head, lifting his body slowly as if the weight of a thousand worlds are on his shoulders. His mind is numb from the pain and his extremities feel disconnected from his body as he tries to regain some sense. The horror of the agony is tearing at his soul, recoiling from it, for no human can bear such acute distress and yet all he had was but a second’s taste.

“Don’t you?” he finally asks, throat parched, gasping quietly for breath as his head swims with his movements, lifting his knees and resting his forehead against them, hugging himself. With each deep breath, the memory of the pain lessens. It is difficult to describe. He can still feel it emotionally but no longer physically , regaining a semblance of control over himself, and with each cleansing lungful of air, the emotional pain slips away quietly for they are not his to keep and bear.

“Not in a thousand years or a million heartbeats.”

“But it hurts so much…” his eyes are wide, dark pupils stark against the white of his eyeballs, trying to understand. Trying to fathom how any being, human or not, could live with that kind of torment. He loves his general, yes, but to be subjected to that kind of physical and mental torture day in and day out, he would go crazy within half a day. He is strong, but he does not think he could be strong enough.

“Would you give up if you knew there was a chance? A slim to none chance, but a chance nonetheless - would you give up?” the Angel stares at the huge canopy bed in the centre of the room, continuing on for the human is silent. “He did not die, I know this much because I have scoured both Heaven and Hell, and no one can lie to me when questioned, so he is still here somewhere. I just need to find him…” despite the hopeful words, there is a ring of despair in the Angel’s voice. As if he is at the end of his tether and holding onto this one slim hope to anchor him.

“He…he doesn’t answer when you call?”

“Three thousand nights I have called. And I would call him for another thirty thousand…three hundred thousand…for all eternity.”

“And if he never answers?”

“If I believe that, then I may as well will myself out of existence.”

“You can do that?”

The Angel finds his first smile, and the blood of his eyes is lifted, even if it is just a sliver, but it lightens nonetheless, the golden glow pushing through just a little. “Angels don’t die, Changminnie.”

“But—“ he shivers from the surprising pleasure he derives from the simple endearment.

“And He will not snuff us out either for we are His light.”

“So the only way…”



When the forest turns to jade
And the stories that we’ve made
Dissolve away
One shining light will still remain

He wanders through the trees, a ghost in a land untouched by time, flitting between the armoured bodies of men from a thousand years ago, practicing for unknown battles to come. He walks in between them, their swords and arrows piercing and falling through his non-corporeal form, no hurt nor pain afflicts him.

He feels nothing.

He hears nothing.

He tastes nothing.

And he remembers nothing.

Transported to this place, unsure how or why, he just knows that he is alone for no one seems able to see him, though he can see them.

No one save for one.

It is curious.

The silence of his living tomb should be oppressive, the days and nights come and go as they should. He sleeps when the moon rises, and wakes with the sun, but the elements do not bother him.





The four seasons revolve around him, but the sting of winter touches him not. Nor does the blazing heat of the summer, though he can see it affecting the people around him, sweating under the heavy armour, their steads lathered and breathing heavily as they gallop around and through him.

He sleeps because it is something to do, not that he needs it.

He does not eat, for he does not feel hunger.

He simply exists, there, yet separate.

Following the progress of the one person who seems to be the only one who can see him.

He first sees the person as a nubile teenager, averting his gaze shyly when he realises the beautiful teen is about to strip and jump into a pool of water, only to sneak a peak because he cannot help it, drawn to the glowing lithe form swimming blithely in the clear water. The shock he feels when he realises that heartbreaking face belongs to a male.

And the further shock he feels when he realises that it truly did not matter to him.

Lifting his gaze back to that luminous face, he stifles a gasp as their eyes meet.

The teen had caught him staring.

And instead of being outraged at the voyeur imposing on his solitude, he had stared right back, expression vaguely challenging.

It is then he realises the teen is not just male, he is also a lot older than he looks.

He flees for the trees, running for a long time for he does not tire, till he reaches the very edge of the soldiers’ practice field more than ten miles away, offering his body as target practice for the young soldiers honing their archery skills, trying to figure out why the girl-boy can see him when literally hundreds of people so far have not been able to.

His peace is short-lived, for not two hours later there is a commotion.

He cannot hear anything, but he can see it.

A parade of horses guarding something or someone in the very centre of the formation.

Liveried soldiers wearing the colours of the royal palace guard.

And right in the centre, as the entourage parts to make way for the one they are protecting, that boy-man rides through with a countenance so regal, no one can doubt that it is he who owns the land they are all standing on.

Back ramrod straight on the most beautiful chestnut gelding he has ever seen, and yet the beauty of that remarkably fine piece of horseflesh pales in comparison to its rider mounted on its back. In fact, everything pales, as if a shadow has been cast on everything save for the shining light on that magnificent stead.

For the second time that day, their eyes meet.

If the rider is startled, he shows none of it, merely tilting his head as if in greeting, before he turns to address the soldiers gathered around him.

Unable to stand the fact that he cannot hear the words being spoken, he slips away, running once again till he finds himself atop a knoll not far from the perimeter of the palace. With the ability to roam around unseen and unhindered, tireless forever it seems, he has visited many a surrounding land, and he knows the palace well, though not its occupants for he has never ventured inside.

He has explored mountains and valleys.

Swam in rivers and seas.

Observed daybreak in one land, and sunset in another.

He is free yet not, and for an immeasurable amount of time, it had been enough.

Trapped where he is, he is untouched by time, never aging, never changing, but the world around him moves with time. He has no idea how long he has been there, for time means nothing to him, though he does know that he has seen many suns and moons.

Not yet enough for him to feel his loneliness for he has companions whenever he wants them.

And till that day, those companions have been more than sufficient.

Sitting on the grass, he stares at the vast palace complex, prepared to wait.

He could be rock.

He could be stone.

He could be the jade that is slowly transforming the trees behind him, one green root at a time.

He simply sits and waits.

Two suns and moons come and go before there is a telltale commotion once again and the stone man finally stirs.

His steps are unhurried, walking down the grassy knoll and heading to the palace, he knows where all the egress points are and he finds the closest.

Several soldiers brush past and through him hurriedly, and he decides to follow them.

They move closer and closer to the very centre of the palace and he can feel it.

He is close.

The commotion gets larger the closer he gets, till he can see frantic men and women running around as if there is something to be concerned about. He cannot hear the words, but no words are needed for the worry on their faces is evident.

The King is dying.

He stops following, rooted to the floor at the realisation, it is as if the world has ceased to exist, and for one heart-stopping moment, he feels it.



And in a blink, it vanishes for he sees him.

Running up the palace steps as if the hounds of hell themselves are after him.

Disheveled and covered in the dust and grime of the hard ride back to the palace after he receives word, wisps of jet black hair escaping its bun, and his eyes, burning with an anger that causes the man to take a step back, the depth of that fury igniting an unholy glow that makes his already large doe eyes seemingly even larger.

The boy-man runs towards the royal chambers, eyes filled with a sheen that he refuses to give in to.

Everybody gets out of the way.

Everyone save for one man.

The Minister of War.

Blocking the passage of who he now understands must be the prince, the man bars his path to the royal bedchambers, his expression pitying yet there is a gleam in his eyes that makes him as an invisible observer, truly uncomfortable.

Stopping short just shy of bowling the shorter man over, the prince raises his hand.

And slaps the older man clear across his face, so hard that it damn near breaks his neck, splitting his lip and drops him to his knees, the force behind that slap sharpened by years of sword and archery practice, his flowing palace robes covering the visible indicators of his true strength.

Turning to his personal guard whose hands are on their weapons, some of them already half drawn, he barks orders that are obeyed immediately without question.

He can hear nothing.

Yet he does not need to, for the chain reaction from the slap is like a lightning bolt.

The Minister of War is arrested on the spot.

Chaos ensues, and fighting occurs within the hallowed palace grounds.

But the prince commands the loyalty of the army, for he trained with them since young, never distinguishing between himself or them, rising in rank as they did, till he holds the title of General, a title that is not merely in name for he had earned it with his blood, sweat and tears.

The Prince and General of Goryeo are one man and the same.

The fight is quick and dirty, the mercenaries hired by the Minister of War dealt with quickly till the only ones remaining of this plot are the Minister himself and the government officials who had not quite believed the rumours of the rise of the prince.

Dismissing him because of his face, and the way he is in court, always subservient and quiet, not realising that the prince absorbs everything he hears and sees, keeping silent and being invisible the best way to weed out the worst in palace politics, they had underestimated him by far. Assuming he had an officer as a lover, they had wanted to eventually use that information to blackmail the prince into being a puppet king, with them wielding the power of the vast land of Goryeo.

But these old men are lazy and did not do their homework, working off their apparently infallible assumptions, they had plotted against the king.

They had not planned to kill the king so soon, but the opportunity had presented itself and the Minister of War is the epitome of opportunistic, choosing the coward’s method of assassination in the form of poisoned food.

He follows the prince into the royal bedchambers, just a moment too late, seeing the bowed head of the prince kissing his father’s hand, he sees the soul leaving the body.

The king’s expression is regretful as he reaches out to stroke the mussed hair of the new king. His features twist in pain when his hand goes through his son’s head.

The man is surprised when the soul addresses him, hearing someone for the first time.

“I know you.”

“Y-you do?” he finds his voice, unused for so long, it sounds foreign to him.

The late king turns to gaze at the back of his son’s head, and then back to the tall man standing before him. “This is the wrong time. This is not right.”

“What is wrong? What isn’t right?” he asks, confused. He can see the soul growing more and more agitated by the second and he takes a step back.

“What have you done? This isn’t right. What are you doing here? You don’t belong here. You belong with—”

He takes another alarmed step back when a huge hand materialises out of nowhere and captures the distressed soul, cutting him off before he can finish his sentence.

As if feeling his presence, the Prince-King lifts his head and turns, pinning him against the wall with his gaze.

For the third time, their eyes meet.

This time he cannot run nor slip away for it would be too obvious.

And yet even if he wanted to move, he doesn’t think he can.

Does he need to breathe?

He cannot remember and fervently hopes not for all the breath has left his body.

This close to the younger man for he is not a boy. Definitely not a boy.

While still trying to decide if he is meant to or able to breathe, the Prince-King moves, running towards him, eyes flashing dangerously.

And then straight through him, crashing into the wall not far behind him, taken by his momentum that is heard outside, and three of his men come running into the room, weapons drawn, looking for the invisible assailant plaguing their now-King.

Whirling around, there is a moment where he can see the stupefaction in those glowing eyes, but it disappears with two blinks. Still staring at each other, the Prince-King’s eyes now hold wariness.

His men are confused, looking around the room, they see no one but their liege and the late king on the bed.

Two of them, following the gaze of their lord, see nothing.

Criss-crossing in his line of sight, they miss the incredulous expression on the young man’s face as they both walk right through him.

Finally deciding he has overstayed his welcome, he turns to leave, though his steps are leaden, weighed down by a heavy heart for he does not want to go.

But he does not belong here.

It is not his time.

So he leaves, turning away, not seeing the sole shining tear that slips out the corner of the new King’s eye as he watches him walk through the wall of his late father’s sleeping quarters.

I would still find my way
By the light I see in your eyes
The world I know fades away
But you stay…

He roams far and away, not returning to the palace for countless suns and moons, for there is something compelling calling to him.

A whispered name in the breeze, a second voice that he can hear after the dead King’s.

Jung Yunho.

He knows that is his name.

It’s must be his name for it feels right and it sounds right.

The call is always three, and always from a different part of the world, but by the time he reaches, the sound comes from somewhere else, till he feels like he is chasing a ghost, even though it is he who is the ghost.

And at the back of his mind always, is the boy-king he left behind, the memory of his eyes haunting him.

Tired of chasing voices in the wind, he finally returns, unsure of what he will find.

He has no concept of time.

It could have been a hundred years for all he knows, but he prays it isn’t.

Even if he gets to see that shining vision just one last time, he would be happy existing in the empty solitude of the world he is in. Having no one to speak to, he chats with his Creator as he wanders aimlessly.


“I must have done something very wrong for You to punish me this way, but perhaps not wrong enough to be put in Hell. Is this Purgatory?”

“My clothes are not of this era. Was the King right in saying that I don’t belong? Where am I from?”

“I know that voice calling me…but I can’t find him. Why are you hiding him from me?”

“Let me hear him. Please…if he is still alive. I promise never to ask You for anything.”


The last is a quiet plea as he stands at the gates of the city. It is just after midnight, and he hears that voice calling him again and this time, it is from within the city, which causes him to momentarily forget why he is back in the first place. Following it unerringly, he hears his name a second time, and his steps get more hurried for if he is not there by the third, he would have lost it again, always too late.

”Jung Yunho…”

It is right next to him!

Darting between the houses, he sees a shimmering portal hanging just a foot off the ground in the dark alley.

It is closing, slowly, but surely and he rushes to it, only to stop short just shy of stepping into it.

A being in white, glowing in the moonlight, sitting at a cliff’s edge with his face tilted towards the darkened skies, with blood pouring from his eyes.

Shocked and horrified, the man takes a step back instead of forward, unable to take his eyes of the red liquid seeping like a never-ending river, dripping off the luminous creature’s chin into nothing.

It doesn’t stain his clothes, the colour remaining a pristine white.

He takes another step back, biting his lip, unsure of what to do.

The portal grows smaller still, his window leaving him, but he can’t seem to take a step forward.

Blinded by his tears of blood, the Angel drops his chin and turns towards the man existing on another plane that is beyond him for he doesn’t know of its existence, unseeing and deafened by his internal agony, he does not hear the shocked gasp and the hand reaching out to him as the portal seals shut.

Clutching his chest, eyes filled with tears, he takes a deep breath.

The being who called him looks like the Prince-King, but yet he doesn’t.

There is something wrong, and it is that feeling of something not quite right that brings the tears to his eyes, his soul crying out to step through the portal, but he is terrified of those eyes, for those are the eyes of the devil.

Something is very, very, very wrong.

Why is he heeding the call of the devil?

A devil that looks like the Prince-King? Did he die and turn into that? What mischief did he do in his mortal life to have been punished so?

And yet no matter how he tries to work it out, he has been alone for far too long with only his thoughts as company and being faced with something like that makes absolutely no sense to the poor man. The only clue he has are the words of the King.

“This isn’t right. What are you doing here? You don’t belong here. You belong with—”

Who does he belong with?

The pain in his soul grows.

Infinitesimally it grows.

Like hunger pangs when you are starving and faced with a plate of food.

The pain starts to grow increasingly worse for he had a chance to grab at that plate of food but he declined.

And so he will suffer for it.

Gritting his teeth against the feelings of misery and despair that are threatening to overwhelm him, originating for a part of him he does not understand at all, he leaves the alley, heading towards the palace, praying to whoever is listening that at least the King is still there.

Still alive.

He is not uncouth enough to enter the perimeter wall, choosing instead to walk through the front gates, closed or not is of no matter.

The darkness is absolute, as if the moon has decided to go into hiding, something that has never happened before, and he takes it as an omen.

A bad one.

He remembers where the King lay on his deathbed and he heads there first, only to find the chambers empty, vacant even, as if no one has stepped foot within them for years. There is a fine layer of dust, and nothing within it has changed from the last time he was there.

Perhaps a little neater, the bed made, but it has definitely been left untouched.

How much time has passed?

This time, he doesn’t care about being uncouth, walking through wall after wall in search.

The quarters of the palace wives and concubines are also conspicuously empty, confusing him even more. The emptiness here is unlike that of the royal bedchambers, but rather as if they had never been lived in for a long time. As if the palace wing had been emptied of people, and then left to stay empty.

There is no dust here, for it is still cleaned regularly, but there is no one in sight.

He then enters the royal bathroom, a quiet splash in the sunken bath alerting him to the presence of someone, not noticing that he can actually hear something for once, distracted by the pain gnawing at him.

Moving surreptitiously from column to column, hidden in the shadows, unsure why he is even hiding for no one can see him, he tries to catch a glimpse of the body in the bath.

Whether a moment of serendipity or not, he had been moving in the wrong direction, allowing the occupant of the bath to see him first.

“Who goes there?”

Yunho freezes, chewing on his pouty bottom lip, he steps away from the shadows and into the light.

Their eyes meet for the fourth time.

“Oh,” the King utters quietly, returning his dagger to its sheath and placing it on the tiles behind him. “It’s you.” He sinks back down into the warm water, not at all allowing the ghost to see the goosebumps that have bloomed across his fair skin, keeping his expression carefully stoic, something he has perfected over time.

The man steps further into the light, noting the features of the now-King, his eyes roaming each delicate curve, each mole, each identifying mark, as if trying to memorise his face.

Slightly bemused by the audacious scrutiny, he tolerates it for there is not much he can do about it for no one can see the handsome man but him.

He should be afraid, but he isn’t.

Not really.

He is afraid of his body’s reaction when he first saw the man peeping at him through the trees.

And afraid of the lurch in his chest and his heart jumping up into his throat when he saw him at the field.

There was genuine fear when he realised the man was a ghost when he saw him in his late father’s quarters.

Now, seeing the man standing there staring at him as if he’s a type of wondrous animal of some kind, the only thing he’s really afraid of is of the man disappearing again.

“Are you staying?” he asks, hating himself for the question, but he wants to know. There is something compelling about the man. Ghost or not, he feels like he should know him, and memories of him followed him, not really ebbing over the passage of time. His disinterest in anyone had the world calling him the Virgin King, but he doesn’t really care, for his one true love will always be Goryeo. There is no sense of loneliness or need for companionship for he is always surrounded by people.

And yet sometimes, on nights like that night, he finds his thoughts straying towards his ghost.

Yunho looks up, masking his surprise. “Staying?” he asks, voice a little rusty from disuse.

“With me. Are you staying this time?”

“Do you want me to stay?” he asks, curious. Time has touched the King, but not in any unbecoming way, for he is still a splendid shining light to him, the warm glow of his eyes touching him, making him feel something.

The King thinks about if for a few moments, the silence stretching between them. “I’ve always thought of you as my ghost.”

Yunho smiles. “You’re not afraid?”

Ducking his chin, suddenly feeling shy at that smile, the King shakes his head.

Time has no meaning.

He watches over the dominion of his King, right by his side, only seen by him.

He watches over him as he sleeps, time carving it’s mark slowly but surely upon his skin.

He argues with him, telling him he needs to marry, or at least to beget an heir, somehow, someway.

But the King merely smiles, shaking his head, and refuses to engage in that tired argument.

He knows something is not right.

He knows he does not belong there.

No matter how right it feels to be next to the King, it is wrong for something is missing.

He recognises it when they go to places he suddenly finds familiar, certain he had been there before with someone else, but the memory flits away even as he ponders it, never once telling the King about them.

The pain in his soul never assuaged, the memory of that other man feels imprinted on him, and not even when the King calls him by his full name, that he felt as compelled as he does when he hears his name whispered in the wind.

Yet another thing he kept from the King, despite the time they spent together, unable to give the man whatever it is he needed, yet the King seemed to be content enough just having him by his side.

And even as the tears he cannot shed threaten to overwhelm him, those shining eyes filled with a love that defies time, shimmering with unshed tears of words unsaid and feelings unrequited, the sun setting on his last breath as the life dims from them, his light finally gone forever, Yunho still cannot help but feel there is something terribly wrong.

Standing alone by the tomb of the ninth King of Goryeo, Jung Yunho keeps watch, not knowing what else to do except wait.

Wait for that whisper in the wind again as he is no longer tied to the King, able to roam in search of that voice, this time telling himself that he will enter that portal no matter what.

No matter what waits for him on the other side.

Even if it may be Hell itself should he truly be called by the Devil.

He will go.

For the pain of not going in that brief moment, had stopped him from returning the love of the only man who had truly loved him for himself in this world he doesn’t belong in, and loved him enough that he died alone, without heirs or companions, for the King had loved him too much to even consider it.

He couldn’t, not even if he wanted to, the pain serving as a reminder that he appears to be bound to someone else, unable to give no matter how much he desperately wanted to reciprocate, that itself a torment.

He could wait for an eternity.

And still he will wait.

Watching the sun set and the moon rise, he is pulled from his empty thoughts by a sharp pain.

An actual physical pain.

Not a pain from within but a pain from without.

Eyes wide, clutching at his mouth, Jung Yunho disappears from the world.

AN: Forgive me? ;; Also if the writing appears choppy, it’s because I was choppy. I was very upset with Jaejoong muse and idk why he’s doing this to me. I think I cried for an hour.

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I. Can't. Even.

I'm basically sobbing in the bathroom at work. I can't even. The wrong arch of time? And then he could have gone when Jaejoong called but he didn't because he forgot and then Jaejoong's despair and OH MY GOD NIKKI WHY.

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maybe because i did not watch goblin or maybe because i skipped when you write about kim shin (i only read again when it's about jj and yh)...argh...i want to understand this fic because ur fics are always good to read...but i am so lost..i need to get around not wanting to understand goblin or to read even in full even if it is not about jj & yh..it could all be in the sub-plot...

and you felt so much while writing this chappie..i only understand why by reading the comment section..

i was so excited to read when i saw the update...i will come around..

thanks for the update..

Nonononono yunho go back to your jae. He was waiting for you.

I am a bit confused. How come in chapter 8 Jaejoong doesn't remember Changmin? Yet in this chapter, he has been searching for Yunho and it turns out it is Yunho who forgot Jaejoong.

Whose memories did the Creator take away in order end "his Lover's" penance?

It's interesting that Yunho returns to their past but an alternate past where he doesn't exist. Jaejoong follows his destined path where he becomes the General and finally the ruler of the kingdom.

It's so sad that Yunho didn't go through the portal to be with Jaejoong. But he still remains at the side of the alternate Jaejoong till the end of his life. I guess no matter which reality, one thing remains true that Yunho and Jaejoong are destined to be together and be by each other's side.

Since Yunho lost his memories, he should be able to return to Jaejoong. Will Jaejoong have to work to make Yunho fall in love with him again since he lost his memories?

This is so heartbreaking. Yunho actually heard Jaejoong's calling but he didn't remember. I just hope they met again. What gonna happen next? Thanks for updte.

Did Jaejoong actually just cockblock himself 👀

I don’t even know what to say. It was painful to read this chapter. I thought I would get easier to read since they already went thru so much. But I again I was proven wrong by you. Thanks for the update.

I trust you,Nikki,it was a sad chapter...but I trust you

Avidly following, though it's hard to comment coherently with such a layered plot. But not hard to enjoy in great depth.

So looking forward to your denouement — whatever it may turn out to be.

And, of course, stunned as always by your writing. The closer you look, the slower you read, the more incredible the mental images become/evolve.

Television of the mind, I say. I haven't seen Goblin (whatever that is) but I keep dredging up Death Note.

i watched goblin and in that episode where he disappeared i felt the pain. my heart ached for both of them.

but this. this is more than pain. this is more than suffering. i don't know how to describe this. what i'm feeling now after reading this.

right now jaejoong is in pain and yunho is lost. even as jaejoong continues to call for yunho, yunho cannot go to him because his memories are lost.

i found it curious that yunho's been walking through time in a completely different world. and what's more curious is that only jaejoong from that universe can see him... plus the dead king. how did he get there and how will he get back to where he truly belongs?

what will get both have to do to be able to be with each other again?

So sad to see them suffered....

What happened?
Did yunho finally remember?
I really do not understand.
He feels pain from without... he definitely remember right?
Omg.... what have they done to suffering like this......

He makes Kim Shin forget T_T It’s the right thing to do. Kim Shin really is a gentle soul and he’s so sad. But letting him forget almost feels like something of a subconscious concession on Jaejoong’s part, like there’s some little part of him that’s come to think that he’s not going to find Yunho again. Or I’m looking too far into things and Jaejoong is just being kind to a friend of Yunho’s and will kiss Kim Shin’s memories back as soon as Yunho returns ^^;

…Poor Changmin. Beautiful as Jaejoong is, that would not be a kiss to inspire any hopes for a repeat. But I liked seeing a glimpse of Jaejoong’s pain through Changmin’s point of view. It really painted a stark picture.

But wow, when Jaejoong says he’d never choose to forget, even with all the agony, that he might as well will himself out of existence ;_; Now I’m wondering if the last chapter will be right down to the wire ;_; I’m fairly certain that you aren’t planning on writing a tragedy (unless you wanted to write in a different genre from the ones you’ve written before ;_; Not that that there’s anything wrong with writing a tragedy if that’s how this story goes. I get used to sad endings eventually ;_;)…

It looks like Yunho ended up in some alternate reality, one that he never existed in D: What a lonely reality for Jaejoong. Without Yunho, he only ever loved his country. No queen, no concubine, no children like his officials all wanted. No companions either. No one. He loved a ghost instead. Wow… I shouldn’t be listening to sad music while I read this… But at least Yunho was able to remain always by his side.

But when Yunho came upon that portal and saw the Jaejoong he loved, heartbroken and calling for him, but then he backed away because of those red eyes (he’s been crying for you, you great dummy) … I could’ve shook him D: I mean, I get it. Those demonic eyes are off putting and when you already have memory loss and you’re a ghost, walking up to a devil wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do, but still ;_;

Idiot man :’(

But I loved his resolve at the end to go through the portal next time he found it, that it was the glimpse he got of Jaejoong that kept him from loving the Jaejoong of the world ended up in.

But that ending! What happened?! D':

Your Jaejoong muse is a bit wicked.

Wonderful chapter, as always. Thank you ^^

Gosh the pain... ;; poor Jaejoong *sigh* the part that made me cry was towards the end when Jaejoong was dying. Even in this alternate arch of time Jaejoong couldn't be with Yunho or even have his love... poor Yunho too. Such a strange existence. The "Almighty" is letting them suffer so much, especially Jaejoong... I have questions but I'm sure you'll answer them in the end lol. Thanks for the update ❤️

I knew it!!!
Jung Yunho finally remember whose he belong to.
And the he travel back to "his time"... thank you for the clue nikki.... i hope my hypothesis will come true

Is yunho traveled to alternated world where he was "never born"?
That's why in that world we can see Jaejoong dying alone. Jaejoong love Yunho still despite yunho being a ghost. And for the love he had, he can give his heart to anyone except Yunho....
And in the end, even if Yunho have connection with "jaejoong in alternate world", it is different person. Not his jaejoong... the one and the only love.
Omgggggggggg... nikki please get back your muse and write the updateeeeee

their love story is so sad. when they can't even remember each other, deep down inside, their souls always knows who their mate is.

hopefully next chapter they both will find happiness. and i just can't wait!

I am crying so much right now ;A;
I love you so much for wroting this even if it is pure torture to my heart ;A;

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