Worthy of love

Fists of kindness

“Did you like it?” Jisu asked as she stepped outside the theater. 

“Yes. It had been a while since I last came to the movies.”  

“I’m glad you had fun, then.” 

Ryujin peeked at Jisu, finding her nodding with a smile. 

“What now? Do you wanna go home?” Jisu asked. 

“It’s still early.” Ryujin checked the time on her phone. “Do you wanna go take a look at the stores?” 

“Of course, it’s been a while since I did some shopping.” 

Ryujin didn’t mind following Jisu around, or maybe with a bit of luck watch her try clothes or accessories and give an opinion, but all she wanted was to spend more time with her. 

Jisu grabbed a dress, then one more, and a leather jacket, and walked to the dressing rooms, looking back to make sure Ryujin followed. She did, gladly. Ryujin waited for her to try one of the pieces, and when the curtain flew to reveal Jisu with the first dress, a long, light and flowy summer dress with a flower pattern, Ryujin smiled. “Looks really pretty.”  

“Right? Summer is approaching, so I guess I should take it.” 

Jisu closed the curtain and Ryujin waited again. Jisu was so pretty she was sure she would look good in anything she put on. 

But when the curtain opened again and Jisu showed the tight, knee length red dress, Ryujin could barely stop her eyes from widening. 

“How does it look?” Jisu asked, looking down at herself. 

“Great. Amazing, actually. You look... beautiful.” 

“Do you think I should take it?” 

“Yes. I-I mean, if you want to, of course. You’re the one that has to like it.” 

“I do like it. What about this?” Jisu asked, putting on the leather jacket, and leaned against the frame, stuffing her hands in the pockets.  

Ryujin gulped, and in need for words, she nodded vigorously and gave her two thumbs up. Jisu giggled and closed the curtain again. Ryujin took a deep breath, taking a hand to her chest. Jisu was doing it on purpose, wasn’t she? 

No, she was trying clothes. Nothing flirty about it. And the smirk Jisu had on her lips as she closed the curtain was Ryujin’s imagination.  

“Saw anything you liked?” Jisu asked when she was ready to pay. 

“No, not really.” 

It wasn’t entirely true, but she didn’t even want to try that amazing constellation pattern shirt she saw because she shouldn’t be spending money on clothes when she didn’t need them, and risk Jisu saying she would pay for it. 

“Let’s go here.” Ryujin pulled Jisu inside the tech and gaming store. “Not that I need anything, but I like to check this store.” 

Her legs took her exactly where she, consciously or not, wanted to go. Her eyes shone, looking at the camera she dreamed of having in her hands. She could take pretty pictures with it, of pretty places, of her sister, her cats. Of Jisu. 

But she shook her head with a sad smile when she looked at the price, the still too high price for her to pay, at least anytime soon. Maybe in a few months, if she kept earning the same amounts, and when she’s done paying the debts to the loan sharks. But if she was to take the shady business down, how would she have enough money for all of that?  

Ryujin put the camera down, and turned, leaving her dream behind. She was doing the right thing, fighting for justice.  

After visiting a few more stores they wanted, and getting the mocha bread Ryujin promised she would, they decided to leave the mall. 

“Ryujin,” Jisu called. “Can you take a picture of me? It’s such a beautiful day.” 

“Hm? Sure.” 

Jisu handed Ryujin her phone and walked a few steps ahead, turning and blinding Ryujin with a smile. Ryujin positioned the phone, adjusted the lighting and the framing, and snapped a few pics as Jisu changed her poses.  

“Do they look good?” Jisu asked as she walked back to her. 

“I think so. If they don’t, I can take more.” Ryujin handed her phone back. 

Jisu wowed. “They’re great! Thank you so much, Ryujin. I didn’t know you were so good.” 

“Oh, it’s nothing.” 

“No, it is! I think I’m firing Yeji as my photographer and hiring you instead.” Jisu giggled, elbowing Ryujin.  

 “Poor Yeji, don’t make her unemployed!” 

Jisu laughed, her eyes turning into crescent moons. The best way Ryujin found to deal with the remark, with the perfect outcome. 

“I’ll take you home,” Ryujin said as they walked to the bus station. 

“And I’ll accept it this time.” 

“Okay, good.” 

“Oh?” Jisu irked an eyebrow at her. “What if I said no?” 

Ryujin pouted. “Don’t you want me to?” 

“I do.” 

Ryujin should have remembered how blunt Jisu was, and that she would have no problem admitting that. But she forgot, and now she could only let her lips stretch into a smile. 

They hopped up the bus and it was more crowded than they anticipated. 

“Rush hour.” Ryujin sighed, going ahead and trying to walk past the people standing. She felt a hand on hers, and couldn’t help but peek back, at Jisu gripping on her hand and trying to stay close. Ryujin closed her hand around hers and squeezed back, walking to the far back, where it wasn’t so bad.  

“Sorry, I should have just called an Uber,” Jisu said, trying to balance herself. 

“It’s okay.” 

The bus halted, and before Jisu could lose her balance, Ryujin swung her arm around her shoulders and pulled her towards her own body. Her right hang grasped hard on the railing to support the both of them, and Jisu gripped on her jacket.  

None said a thing, and Ryujin just hoped her heart drumming her chest wasn’t loud enough for Jisu to hear it, but she was too close. Ryujin had just watched a cliché romantic comedy, and yet, she was the one living such a scene. 

A seat just emptied as a lady got off. 

“Sit,” Jisu said. 

“No, you sit.” 

“But you’re probably more tired than I am.” 

Ryujin held on her arms and gently pushed her down on the seat. Jisu looked up at her, a cute pout on her lips.  

“I’m fine,” Ryujin said. 

She wouldn’t deny she was enjoying having Jisu so close, but Jisu’s comfort was more important. And she was still close. So close that Jisu leaned her head against her stomach. Ryujin looked down, at how Jisu kept her eyes closed. And it shouldn’t be a problem if Ryujin rested her hand on her shoulder... right? 

She did, and Jisu didn’t move an inch. Instead, a smile appeared on her lips, one Ryujin could perfectly see.  

The ride continued in silence. Ryujin probably didn’t notice her hand caressing Jisu’s hair by now, because it felt so... natural to do so. And again, Jisu didn’t say a word, didn’t move. 

“I think we’re almost there,” Ryujin said, recognizing the neighborhood. 

Jisu opened her eyes and looked around. “We are.” 

“Did you fall asleep?” 

“Not quite, but I was so relaxed I didn’t even notice we were already here. There are more empty seats now, you could have sat.” 

And interrupt that moment? “No, I was fine, really.” 

They hopped down the bus and Ryujin walked her home, pushing the memories of what she had done there to the back of her mind and focusing on the moment. 

“Do you have to go pick Yuna up?” Jisu asked as they arrived. 

Ryujin checked her phone, and she had a message from her sister, saying she was already home, and her friends were still with her. 

“No, she’s home already.” 

“Then come in.” 

Ryujin irked a brow. 

“Let’s cook dinner.” 

“You mean you want me to cook dinner for you?”  

“You could put it that way.” 

Ryujin chuckled. Spending more time with Jisu? In her house? “Sure.” 

She followed her inside, and again, ignored the images popping in her mind from the first time she’d been there. Of Jisu’s face, of the terror in her eyes- 

“You okay?” Jisu asked as they stepped inside. 

“Yes.” 

“Pretend it’s the first time you’re here. Don’t think about it.” 

“Don’t you remember that every time you get home?” 

“I don’t. And you said that we wouldn’t talk about this today. It’s still the day for us to have fun.”  

Ryujin closed her eyes for a second while taking a deep breath. “You’re right. Let me see what’s in your fridge for me to cook.” 

Jisu beamed and lead the way. She opened the fridge and Ryujin peeked inside. 

“I don’t usually eat home, so...” Jisu said after a judging look from Ryujin. “I have cup noodles, though.” 

“I guess I can pimp up those cup noodles with what you have here.” 

“Sounds perfect.” 

“You can go watch tv or whatever you want while I cook. It won’t take long.” 

“I wanna stay here and watch you. Is it okay?” 

“Hm, yeah.”  

Jisu gave her a thumbs up and sat down. Ryujin turned to the fridge again to take the necessary ingredients (a couple eggs and some green onions). She could feel Jisu’s eyes on her back, while she worked on their meal. She really was cooking in Jisu’s house, just the both of them. The thought made her smile, but she shrugged it off and focused on her task again.  

A mere ten minutes later, and Ryujin had two beautiful bowls of ramen on the table. 

“These are cup noodles?!” Jisu gasped, taking in the scent of the food.  

“Yep. Just boil an egg, chop some green onions, add soy sauce, and voila. You have much better noodles.”   

“And it tastes so much better. You’re amazing, Ryujin.”  

“It’s really nothing special, but thank you. Hey, can I steal a beer?” 

Jisu finished munching and stared at her. “Am I a bad influence if I let a minor drink?” 

Ryujin rolled her eyes and stood up to grab a can from the fridge. 

“Bring one for me!” 

The so satisfying sound of the cans opening echoed, then their large gulps, and the slurping of noodles again.  

They enjoyed their meal in silence, and Ryujin remembered she had to send Yuna a message saying she would be going home later than expected. Have fun with Jisu :), was what she answered, clearly teasing her. She didn’t want to finish her meal, because, what if Jisu only wanted to have dinner and then she wanted to rest? That meant Ryujin had to go home, but she wanted to spend even more time with her, even though it was selfish, and she had already spent a whole day- 

“Wanna go watch TV?” Jisu asked. 

“Sure.”  

Jisu wouldn’t ask that if she didn’t want Ryujin to stay, right? Ryujin washed the bowls in a second and followed Jisu, sitting next to her while she turned the TV on and skipped through the channels. But the silence was bothering Ryujin. 

“Thank you for today.” 

Jisu faced her, ignoring the tv. “What for?” 

“I had real fun. I don’t remember the last time I smiled and laughed so much.”  

“I’m glad you followed my advice then.” 

And with that simple sentence, Ryujin smiled again. “I am too. I’ll try to do it more often.”  

Ryujin looked at her, finding Jisu staring at her with her lips apart. 

“It’s so cute,” Jisu mumbled. 

“What?” 

“When you smile, the dimples in your cheeks. Cat dimples.” 

“C-Cat dimples?” Ryujin avoided Jisu’s eyes still on her face, feeling her ears warming up. 

She tried to focus on the random show playing on the TV, but she could feel her body slightly trembling.  

“Ryujin,” Jisu called, too soft. 

She looked back at her, her voice a command. Jisu’s eyes wandered down, staring somewhere at Ryujin’s face, and her hand reached forward. Jisu's fingertips touch her jawline, and her thumb graze over the corner of her lips. 

“It scarred, didn’t it?” Jisu asked, not taking her eyes off it. 

“The cut? I think so.” 

“I’m sorry.” 

“It’s okay, I don’t mind.” 

“Don’t you remember that every time you look in the mirror?” Jisu met her eyes. 

“No. Sometimes, but I would choose having my body full of scars than seeing you going through that.” 

The words flew out of Ryujin’s mouth before she could think about them, but now it’s done. It wasn’t a lie.  

“B-But we did say we wouldn’t talk about this today, right?” Ryujin said, in case Jisu asked something else, and she didn’t want to explain what she had just said. 

Jisu nodded and drove her attention back to the TV, just like Ryujin did.  

But maybe Ryujin was the one that didn’t want the conversation to die down. 

“I’m happy that we have a good relationship with each other.” 

The lack of an answer made Ryujin look at Jisu, and again, she was already staring at Ryujin. 

“Relationship?” 

“I-I mean, despite everything that happened, we still... get along and... we’re friends, like you said. We had a really crazy start, but look at us now, right?” 

Silence settled in again. Jisu moved in her seat, turning her body to Ryujin. She kept her expression unreadable for Ryujin, lips a thin line, eyes fixed on her face.  

“I know I said that, but what if... what if I wanted to say something else?” Jisu asked, her eyes going down once again. 

“Something... else?” 

Jisu opened , but no sound came. Instead, her hand reached out again to rest on her jawline. Ryujin flinched, her eyes widening for a second. 

“I can see it in your eyes. In the way you look at me,” Jisu said, approaching, slowly, as if asking for permission. “I’m just the same, Ryujin.” 

Should she? Should Ryujin let Jisu do what had been in her mind, what she most desired? 

Ryujin looked away, gripping on Jisu’s wrist and pulling it away from her face.  

“Oh, did I go too far? I’m sorry, I thought-” Jisu recoiled, her tone dead serious. 

“Not at all. You’re right... about what you said. It’s just...” 

“You think we shouldn’t. You think you don’t deserve it.” 

“Yes.” 

“Ryujin.” Jisu sighed, and it hurt on Ryujin’s chest. “I don’t resent you. I don’t hate you, much for the opposite. What happened is in the past. Why can’t you forgive yourself?” 

“How am I supposed to do that?” 

“How am I supposed to forgive myself when I know I was the reason you got that scar? I was the reason why you got yourself in this?” 

“We talked about this, it was not your fault.” 

“Exactly. It was not your fault either.” 

Ryujin met her eyes, which looked strangely melancholic. 

“You are worthy of love and happiness. Please, don’t let the past stop you from being happy.” 

Being happy... What would make Ryujin happy now? 

She knew it, better than ever. All it took was to let Jisu come closer again, letting her hand rest on her neck, letting her eyes close. 

Letting their lips meet. 

Ryujin didn’t quite know what she was doing, so, she let Jisu lead, and she followed, awkwardly moving her lips against Jisu’s. It felt so tender, just like the touch on her skin. Ryujin didn’t know since when her hand was on Jisu’s waist. All the sensations were overwhelming, yet, Ryujin felt like her mind was empty and she didn’t have control over her body. Her hand creeped under Jisu’s top, to the small of her back, to pull her closer.  

But instead, Jisu hopped on Ryujin’s lap, a leg in each side of her body. And not giving Ryujin time to process it, Jisu aimed for her neck, making Ryujin close her eyes and hold her breath. Her fingers dug on Jisu’s sides, an attempt to suppress the groan in the back of . Jisu went back to kiss her lips, and Ryujin could barely keep up with her now. It was rough, but passionate.  

Nails scratched Ryujin’s exposed waist, leaving a trail of electricity along the way to her abs. But when Jisu’s hands traveled up, snaking under her crop top, Ryujin pulled away. 

“Jisu...” she breathed out, looking down, feeling her face hot. 

“Sorry.” 

Ryujin looked up, but took her time to take in the fact that Jisu was sitting on her lap, with that top that showed her shoulders and collarbones, and good god, she was absolutely beautiful. 

“Did I make you uncomfortable?” Jisu asked. 

“No, it’s just that... I-I never...” 

“It’s okay.” Jisu got off her lap, sitting next to her again. 

“I’m sorry,” Ryujin mumbled. 

“No, you don’t have to apologize.” 

Ryujin nodded. “S-So...” 

“Yeah? Just say whatever’s on your mind.” 

“I think a lot about you. Not because of what brought us together, I just... think about you.” 

“I do too.” 

Ryujin met her eyes and couldn’t help but smile. “I tried not to, because I thought I shouldn’t, and I couldn’t, but... then I thought, why? What was I doing so wrong? Maybe I thought I was taking advantage of you, and your kindness, but then you also seemed to want to be with me and spend time with me, and you said you went to the bar that night to see me, and I didn’t know what to do anymore.” 

Jisu chuckled, and Ryujin frowned. “Sorry, you’re just so cute. You’re not taking advantage of anything, and it’s not wrong to feel things. Yes, I went that night to the bar because I wanted to see you. And yes, I also want to be with you, spend time with you, and... well, do what we just did.” 

There was this something else behind Jisu’s smirk, behind her eyes, that Ryujin was both scared and eager to explore. 

“Then, can we... kiss again?” Ryujin asked, her hand already on its way to cup Jisu’s cheek. 

Jisu didn’t need to answer, because she was already closing her eyes, waiting for Ryujin to be the one closing the space between their lips this time.  

And she was more than glad to do so. 

--- 

It felt as if life had gained a new color.  

Even being at the bar seemed more fun. All Ryujin had to do was think about Jisu. Because now, she didn’t have to fight an internal battle every time she did. She didn’t have to feel guilty, or ashamed of having such thoughts. 

“Ryujin.” Boss Park’s voice sounded behind her, making her turn. “Care to come with me for a second?” 

But even focusing with all her might on Jisu, she could not feel at ease when these times came. That’s right, he was expecting news about Jisu’s brother. 

She nodded and followed him to this office, sitting in her chair, waiting for him to do the same and ask the question she knew was coming. 

“What news do you have for me?” 

“Unfortunately, not much.” She started, keeping her face as serious as she could. He frowned. “But I managed to find out her brother is overseas. He ran away.” 

Boss Park sighed. “It was expected. After doing something like that, it would only be stupid of him to stay in the country.”  

“Sir, can I ask what happened? Maybe with that information, I can know better what to ask, or how to ask. Maybe she knows and she’s lying, so everything could help me to get what we need.” 

Her hands shook so hard under the table she had to grasp them together. He stared at her, and she stared back, trying to convey in her eyes that he could trust her. 

“Maybe you’re right,” he said, and Ryujin almost sighed in relieve. “All I know is that he was involved in illegal street races, and he caused the death of one of the racers. There are claims that he sabotaged his opponent’s car and it caused the accident leading to his death. The case was closed as an accident, but the young man’s family wants revenge on him. That’s why they came to me.” 

Ryujin’s eyes fogged and blurred. She blinked and nodded. “I see. Yes, it would be stupid indeed for him to stay in the country if he’s running away.” 

“Exactly. Do not reveal this info to her, but use it in your favor. You can go back to work now. I’m counting on you, Ryujin.” 

Ryujin stood up, using all her remaining strength not to collapse right there. She gave him a quick bow and exited the room, turning to the toiled instead. 

She didn’t know how many more times she had to run to puke after having a conversation with boss Park. But there was nothing that could prepare her for what she had just heard. Jisu’s brother was the reason someone died in a car accident.  

Just like her own mother.  

Now, now that she could feel happy when she thought about Jisu. Now, she had to know this.  

---

A/N: I wrote this chapter the day that Paris et Itzy episode was released, where Ryujin tells Lia "I’m happy that we have a good relationship with each other", and I thought that same second I NEED TO ADD THIS IN MY FIC sdgnbsdigubsdgiusdgpa 

And, well, sorry about the cliffhanger :DDD

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