Chapter 69

Before Her Very Eyes

Hoshi turned around in his office chair and raised an eyebrow at her when she approached him the following morning. He put his fingers together. “Well, well, well…”

Arin scratched the back of her neck awkwardly. The previous day, Hoshi had caught her in an awkward place with Jeonghan. He was right to be confused, given that the day before she was supposedly in love with someone who happened to be her soulmate. He had the courtesy not to ask about it though.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that thing yesterday,” Hoshi said. “I know you really liked that guy. I can’t imagine how the whole thing felt for you. I hope you’re okay, though.”

Arin straightened her back and tried to look like she was over it in spite of the bags under her eyes that screamed otherwise. She was done crying over it and feeling sorry for herself. She needed to move on.

“I apologize if I’m opening a fresh wound here,” Hoshi said, “but does this mean you don’t love Woozi anymore? If we use the potion, will it work?”

Arin shrugged. She really did not know the answer to that question; she didn’t let herself come to any conclusion the previous night as she was too busy trying to distract herself from thinking about him. Her feelings for him were fuzzy and vacillated between anger and affection. She missed him but at the same time she hated him. She wanted to forgive him, but at the same time she wished she could just forget him.

“If you’re ready, we could try it with Jun? It’s okay if you don’t want to. whatever you’re comfortable with, just let me know.”

Arin agreed to try it out. She liked the idea of relying on a potion to tell her how she felt, because honestly, she hated trying to come to that conclusion herself. If the potion worked on Jun, then that meant she no longer had the same intense feelings. If not, then she needed to decide to get over him or to forgive him.


Jun stood before her in the Extraction Room, and Yoonsa at the corner like always. Arin put the toothpick in and faced Jun like she had often done before.

A part of her hoped the potion would work and she would love him. Loving Jun was so simple, so easy, so fun. Not complicated and painful like it was with Woozi. No lies or betrayal. No expectations. Just pure, unadulterated love.

The potion surged through her body like it usually did, and when it was done taking effect, Arin carefully met Jun’s eyes.

It was plain old Jun. A friend and confidant. He was not the Jun she was in love with, the one who somehow appeared more beautiful than anyone else in the world.

“Well?” Jun asked.

Arin shook her head and looked down, feeling guilty and upset. Now that she knew Woozi was somehow still in her heart, she needed to decide what to do.

“You still love Woozi then?” Jun raised an eyebrow.

Arin shrugged. She didn’t like to say she loved him. She didn’t feel like she loved him. That word felt too severe for the hodgepodge of emotions in her heart for him.

Jun looked upset too. Arin guessed he probably wanted it to work, for Larali’s sake.

“I would end it if I were you,” Jun said quickly, scratching the back of his neck. “Someone who could lie about who he was for so long does not seem good for you, even if he was your soulmate. It was a toxic relationship to begin with, and I feel partly responsible. I should have never told you he was your soulmate.”

Arin shook her head. It was not Jun’s fault that Arin fell for him. Woozi was her mistake from the very start. She let herself get too comfortable with him and let her guard down. The knowledge that he was her soulmate did not work at a subconscious level to push her toward him, she thought.

But Jun was right about one thing. She needed to end things with Woozi once and for all.


EyeScreamCoups was arrested. It was on the news that night and all over fandom discourse. Apparently an anonymous tip to the police turned her in, and she was arrested for kidnapping, assault and attempted murder in a vigilante endeavor to avenge the murder of her beloved pop star. There was video evidence from the security cameras to support that.

This was all Woozi’s doing.

However, by turning her in, he had also endangered himself, because his codename “Woozi” was now out in police records. They were now actively pursuing him for cybercrimes.

Arin tried reaching out to him on his phone, but the number seemed to have died and gone off the record. He must have destroyed it and gone into hiding, probably with a new fake name.

Perhaps that was that, thought Arin. Even if she wanted to contact him, she couldn’t. She thought she could now put it behind her and just move on, but of course, he didn’t make it that easy.

“It’s me,” he texted her from a new phone number. “Just wanted to tell you that you’re safe now. Eyes won’t bother you again.”

“Are you safe?” Arin wrote back.

Yes. Don’t worry about me.”

Arin let the conversation die there, until a few days later, when she was scheduled to have the operation to permanently damage her larynx and remove her voice.

She decided to send him a final voice note that day.

She had to go outside of MRS to send it, so she sat between the trees deep in the forest in the light of the 4AM moon, when no one ever walked. There she sang all Chilli songs for the last time, said the names of everyone she loved out loud to the sky. She cried to herself, talked to herself. Recorded her voice on the phone so she could always remember how it sounded.

In her voice note to Woozi, she was calm and collected. She didn’t need to re-record it more than once to fix her awkward phrases and her ums and ahs. She just sent it:

“Hi Woozi. Or whatever your name is. Umm… I hope you’re doing okay. I’m doing okay. I was really upset with you at first, but I think I’m slowly starting to get over it. Maybe I’ll reach out soon and I can see you again, but… I won’t be able to talk to you though. That’s actually why I’m sending you this message right now, because I know I’ll never be able to say anything to you ever again. I’m getting the operation I told you about. It’s tomorrow morning. It’s really hard to let go of my voice, but I have to do it if I’ll ever get a chance at an actual life, you know? Anyways, I just want to thank you for everything. Even if you weren’t who you said you were, and even if you only met me and helped me to spy on me, I still can’t deny that you’ve given me courage, support and even a home when I was stranded. Thank you for everything. I hope you’ll tell me your name next time we meet.”

The second voice note was one she spent too many hours on. Drafting, recording, erasing, re-recording. Every imperfection in that message felt heavy on her ear. She kept working on it until it was perfect:

“Jeonghan… you will not believe the amount of time it took me to finally record this message. I keep trying to think of the right things to say, and sometimes it was so hard, I considered not saying anything at all. But, since I won’t be able to speak again starting tomorrow, I feel like that’s not an option… so, um… here goes.

“I think I owe you an apology for hating you. I feel like I’ve wronged you by blaming you for something out of your control. I know how it feels when someone does that. It's like when someone tells me I’m a murderer because of my curse; you start believing it and it crushes your sense of self and you start hating yourself. It , and I did that to you, constantly, even after I knew you were cursed.

“Hyojung was the one who always reassured me back then. She told me it was not my fault people died because of my curse, and she made sure I knew that. She convinced me that I was not a murderer, which boosted my self-esteem and gave me my will to live. I assume she did the same for you too, right? That’s probably why you loved her. It’s why I loved her too.

“I want to be that person for you now. I want to tell you that you’re kind and lovable. An unkind person would not fight severe heart pain to save another from hurt or to make them happy. You’ve done that for me so many times, even before I knew about your curse. I think that makes you one of the kindest people ever. I just want you to know that I see the real you, the one that your curse tries to hide from us.

“No matter what you say to me from now on, no matter how cruel and nasty you ever are to me, I would never blame you for it. I will continue to care about you as a friend, in spite of the big communication barrier between us.

“After my operation, I’ll be happy to live on the rooftop again. I’ll pay you rent and even clean the stairs if you want. And I can be your punching bag. Be as mean to me as you need to escape pain. Make fun of my muteness, my hair, my ugly hands, my obsession with Chilli. You can even make fun of this cheesy voice message! I’ll never hate you for it.

“The last thing I want to say is that… um… well… I feel my curse activate when I’m with you. And that means I love you. I was afraid of saying those words because they can mean so many different things, and I didn’t want to miscommunicate. But it’s true that I love you – the kind of love you feel for a precious friend. So, yeah. I love you. I know your curse is going to get angry at those words. It will lash out and try to make me hate you, but it won’t work. I will still love you, no matter what you do.

“I also think your soulmate will be very lucky. I hope she’ll be as good a person as you are. I’ll make sure she sees the real you, and knows the right way to speak to you. I can’t wait to meet her.

“I guess the last thing I want to say to you is this: I hope you’ll never fall into despair again, and if you do, I’m always here for you. I’ll always love you.”


It was 6am when Arin had to get into a car booked by Hoshi. The car took her from MRS to some clandestine medical facility to get the illegal operation. It was just an MRS driver in the car, and he did not say a word to her, probably aware that her voice was dangerous.

Arin wished that he would open a conversation with her without telling her his name. She wanted to have one final conversation with her voice before it was lost forever. Arin considered starting the conversation herself, but she saw the way the driver tensed when she looked at him, so she recoiled and instead spent the last hours locking her voice in and staring out the window.

The driver finally pulled up to a random residential building in a newly-built, empty area.

“First floor. Apartment 2B,” the driver said after clearing his throat. “Knock five times.”

“Thank you,” Arin replied. She relished her ability to say those words; it was one of the last things she would ever get to say.

At apartment 2B, after knocking five times, a foreign woman in a lab coat opened the door and asked her to come in. She had a heavy German accent.

It took Hoshi so long to arrange this operation because the doctor had to come from abroad to perform this illicit operation. He had to arrange for her flight ticket and her accommodation and smuggle in all the necessary equipment for it. It was a taxing job that brought plenty of financial and bureaucratic hurdles that members of MRS worked to overcome, for her sake.

Arin was taken to a dimly lit bedroom-turned makeshift operation room, which was filled with medical gadgets and technology.

What most caught Arin’s eye was the dresser table, which had an assortment of blades and tools laid out in plain sight. She shuddered when she saw them, aware that those tools would be in very soon.

For a split second, she considered backing out. The blades seemed too menacing, too scary. She shook the doubts away. She couldn’t afford to hesitate. This was her chance to defeat her curse, and probably the only chance she would ever get. There was no way she would chicken out, not after coming this far and waiting this long.

“Take a seat,” the doctor pointed at a chair.

Arin sat and watched as the doctor disinfected all of the blades. Arin gulped and dug into her cuticles. She felt so hyper-aware of those blades: the way they reflected the light, the sharp sounds that they made as they swished in the air. She noticed how they cut through the disinfectant wipes with remarkable ease. Soon they would do that to too.

Arin’s phone suddenly vibrated in her pocket, startling her, making her jump and gasp.

She took it out of her pocket. It was Woozi.

“No phone calls,” the doctor said curtly with a frown on her face. “Turn it off.”

She wanted to answer. She wanted to hear his words of encouragement, because at that moment, she really needed to hear them. She felt so alone in some isolated apartment building with a cold, callous doctor, about to lose something very precious. The words of a friend would mean the world.

“Just a minute, please,” Arin requested. It would be the last time she would ever use her voice to talk to him.

The doctor frowned. “One minute. Quick.”

“Hello,” she answered shakily.

Arin, thank god,” he sighed in relief. She heard the sound of computer keys being pressed at remarkable speed.

“Hi Woozi,” she said, her voice cracking slightly under the pressure of the Doctor’s impatient gaze.

I got your voice note. Please tell me where you are.

“I’m a little busy right now.”

Are you really going through with that operation?” he asked.


The Doctor was now frowning and crossing her arms. She signalled with her hand for Arin to hurry it up.

Please, just hold on, okay? Let me see you one last time before you do something you’ll regret.

That was not what she wanted to hear. She wanted him to encourage her, not discourage her even more.

“Sorry, Woozi. I have to go now.”


Arin ended the call and turned off her phone. She felt guilty hanging up on his face like that, but she was hanging on by a thread and didn’t want any more reasons to hesitate. She just wanted to get it over and done with and move on with her life as a mute, normal person. A life where her curse didn’t have power over her anymore. Hesitating only made things harder.


She was shaking by the time the doctor finished all the preparation. Arin took her place on the bed, which was hard and uncomfortable. The sheets were plastic and made too much noise as she shuffled onto it ungracefully. But she was shaking and fumbling, and felt hyper-aware of everything around her, including the uncomfortable folds in the plastic sheets beneath her.

The doctor checked her pulse and blood pressure and poked and prodded into for other readings.

“Everything looks good to go,” the doctor said gruffly. “Ready?”

Arin did not answer. She was not ready, but she did not think she would ever be.

“I’ll have you under anesthesia, so you’ll be completely out for about eight hours. When you wake up, it’ll be gone.”

Arin wished the doctor would at least smile, make the send-off a little less intimidating. She would be a lot more ready if she was not as scared as she was now.

The doctor did not even wait for an answer from Arin.

“Any last words?” the doctor asked as she prepared a syringe.

That was what people said when someone was about to die, Arin thought. She racked her brain for the words she wanted to say, but she had nothing to say that would mean anything, at least not to the unfriendly mutinous doctor that broke her vow to “do no harm” and performed illegal operations in an apartment building of a foreign country.

“Nothing?” the doctor asked. She had the anesthetic ready in her hand and was holding it up above Arin’s face like a menace.

Arin closed her eyes and shook her head. She waited as the doctor pulled up her sleeve.

“You’ll go down in five, four, three, two…”

Arin tightened her eyes shut as she felt the tip of the needle in her arm.


There was a loud pounding on the door that startled both Arin and the doctor, who accidentally discharged some of the liquid from the syringe onto Arin’s unpierced skin. The doctor cursed and pulled back the syringe.

She looked nervous by the sound, afraid of being caught.

“Arin, I know you’re in there!” yelled the person pounding on the door.

It was Woozi.



A/N: Sooo, I'll be out of the country next week. I think I'll still be able to post but if not please forgive me! There are four chapters left. You'll get them all within the next four weeks, but maybe not in constant intervals as I navigate my travels. anyways thanks for understanding. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story~


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Chapter 73: Hi authornim! I can't believe that I finished it within one seating but that was how hooked I was in your story. The characters were written so well. Their arc have always been engaging and they were justified according to their decisions and various unintended circumstances. I've been an avid fan of your writing since Heart of Ice and I want to say that you're a marvelous writer! I did not expect myself to root for Jeonghan as Arin's lover because he was awful with her in the first place but you managed to make your readers understand the complexity of his character and his situation in the story. The ending was bittersweet for me and it that in love, there would always be a person who is bound to get hurt. I was delighted when you revealed the truth about Arin's soulmate. The chemistry between Jeonghan and Arin was all over the place and I can feel it in my bones even if their scenes were written only in sentences and paragraphs. I never felt the tension and longing when she's with Woozi. It felt forced and abrupt that it didn't click. But with Jeonghan, it was like they're a perfect puzzle piece to each other, even with the curses that they had. I even found myself tearing up when he brought her a limited edition album of Chilli. That shows how much he loved her. This is my most favorite story of yours! Thank you very much for sharing it to us and I can't wait to read your upcoming Joshua fanfic.
waee09 #2
Chapter 72: How. Is. This. Not. A. Hollywood. Blockbuster. Yet.?!?!?! Someone , anyone.... THIS NEEDS TO BE A MOVIE!!! it's a work of art! So so so souch appreciation and love for this. Thank you so much authornim! Thank you thank you for this masterpiece! Really injected a bit of life into my grey real life. Thank you!
waee09 #3
Chapter 71: W.T.F I read this in 1 seating... it's been a good 4 to 5 hours.... your writing and storyline, so magical, i was hooked for the first word. BUT THIS CHAPTER OHMAAAAAIGAWDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!
Soraya6 #4
Chapter 73: I was not expecting Woozi's POV but I'm glad we got to know more about his character, as he has been intriguing for most part of the story! This is a great closure that give us both insight on Arin and Jeonghan's relationship after the end of the story, and lets us know that Woozi is a good person that deserves to be happy as well. Thank you for this special chapter! I
waee09 #5
Chapter 33: What a sweet heart our Jun
Chapter 73: I sure wasn't expecting Woozi's POV! But after a thought, his true intentions were never really confirmed, or revealed rather, until the last few chapters... so this special chapter definitely gives his character some justice! I think it's a perfect chapter. It really proved the kind of person Woozi is, if not the person he's grown to be after everything. He did what he felt was right to do even if he had to set his personal feelings aside and that's also like making up for his past wrongs, toward Arin specifically. And with it he learned how to truly love someone, regardless of whether or not he's with her. It's sad but very sweet.

As for Jeonghan and Arin, of course, getting together didn't mean the challenges in their way were over, their insecurities they got from the years of being in such situations really showed throughout this and it's honestly realistic. I love it. She lost her confidence and so did he, but I know they can gain it back together! It made me kind of sad though because Arin should've known that the uncursed Jeonghan was the real Jeonghan, the one who fought through his curse for years and loved her, not because she was the only girl around him... (If I know at this point she is his entire world and he said himself he didn't want it any other way and that's absolutely sweet) but I get that she just wanted him to experience too what the world outside was like now that he could. They just needed more time to adjust and to learn the new way of communicating with each other and thank god for Woozi!
Magical_Girl #7
Chapter 73: Omg author-nim you've no idea how much I miss seeing your updates and how much I miss getting your comment replies ㅠㅠ it's the only thing which made me open my aff website after months

Btw istg I came for an Jihoon endgame since the beginning, but throughout the story I wanted Arin to end up with Jeonghan, and now I feel so hurt knowing why it's not Jihoon ;;

And ohh guess what I'm currently on my journey with heart of ice! ;)
Chapter 73: Everyone needs a woozi in their life. He may made mistakes before, but man his self redemption is on another level
Gracegesang #9
Chapter 73: Woozi is such a good friend to Arin. Jeonghan and Arin are lucky to have him. Happy ending with Arin and Jeonghan now...Meemo too!