Chapter 18

Strung Apart by Fate

Soobin clashed with Seoho, sparring with proper training swords now as they battled head on. Soobin was right with one thing, his own sword fighting skills came naturally, but it had taken some time to relearn a lot of it.

The rest had come easy for him at least and the first proper spar Soobin had done something that not even Beomgyu could do when sparring with Seoho. That was to knock Seoho to the ground before quickly ending the spar.

Seoho was quick to initiate another spar though, and that ended in him winning, only because he was quick on his feet and Soobin couldn't keep up.

The current spar they were doing was one that happened every week or so, with Seoho usually being the one who initiated the spar when Soobin wasn't busy studying.

The spar ended when Seoho was pushed back by Soobin, with Soobin jumping to put his sword at Seoho's neck.

"God, you're just like the first life," huffed Seoho as he dropped his training sword, smirking at the triumphant look Soobin sported.

"I'm just happy I can still knock you off your feet," huffed Soobin as he shook his head, letting the arm that he was using to hold his sword drop to his side. "I do wonder though," he inquired with his head tilting to the side. "Did we ever know each other before this?" He asked. "Since you're apparently with Beomgyu's old group and such," he added.

Seoho thought it over as he hummed, moving away to pick up his sword and examine it. "We were brothers in all but blood," he decided to go with, shrugging as he let his arms drop to his sides. "Beomgyu was the one who brought us all together, even before the war that led Dann to go out of power," he explained.

"Am I ever going to meet the others?" Asked Soobin. "I mean, I know I probably will eventually but," he added with a sigh. "I feel like I should at least get to know the others, and learn about how Beomgyu was with them," he explained.

"You'll meet them eventually, I mean you already know Yeonjun and I," responded Seoho as he shrugged again, turning and walking away, going to put up his training sword. "Besides, getting the others to agree to a meetup is a bit difficult at the moment," he added as Soobin followed after him. "Not everyone is able to, as they either need permission from their kings or are keeping an eye on things else where," he explained.

"Like the two keeping an eye on Jay?" Asked Soobin, earning a nod from Seoho. "I think Dann is organizing a trip for Jake, Taehyun, Heeseung and I to go to the states to see Jay soon," he explained. "After that I'll be heading to Australia with Jake for a month," he added. "Do we have anyone in Austrailia?" He asked.

"Not that I'm aware of," hummed Seoho as he looked thoughtful, turning to Soobin after they put their swords away. "But who knows at this point," he added.



Soobin stood shirtless in the bathroom, staring at himself the mirror and examining the scar on his chest. He traced the scar with his left hand before dropping it, letting out a sigh before turning and getting fully undressed, stepping into the bathtub to take a shower.

After getting dressed Soobin headed out of his room and downstairs into the livingroom where Kai and Taehyun were sitting and playing video games. By the looks of things Kai seemed to be winning, but Soobin couldn't really tell because it was all confusing to him. He had never been that good at them anyway.

"Is Kai winning?" Asked Soobin as he went into the kitchen to grab a bottle of soda before coming back to sit in the loveseat to the left of the tv.

"Yes!" Boasted Kai as he looked triumphant, quickly defeating Taehyun and jumping up and cheering.

"I was close this time," sighed Taehyun as he put the controller down. He turned to Soobin who shrugged, taking a sip of his soda before putting it on the coffee table in front of him. "What brings you out of your room anyway?" He asked. "You usually stay in there to study," he added.

"I'm done studying for the time being," replied Soobin as he shook his head. "Besides, I'm done with exams, we gotta plan the trip to the states to visit Jay, remember?" He asked.

"I can't believe you guys are going without me," whined Kai as he sat down with a huff. "I know, I don't know Jay as well as you guys, but LA has so many restaurants I can try," he explained. "I can still try all the restaurants here but," he sighed. "Have fun though, and tell Jay I said hello," he added.

"We will," reassured Soobin as he nodded.



After a week of planning everything out and making sure everyone's passports were still in date everyone took a plane to the states, landing in sunny California late in the afternoon. Soobin felt his heart beating rather weirdly throughout the flight, but it had stopped as soon as they landed.

"You're close to someone who has yet to find their soulmate," explained Taehyun as Soobin confided in him about it as they waited on their bags from baggage claim. "I felt it when I met Beomgyu for the first time, and I'm sure Heeseung felt it too but I think it was more due to the fact that they knew each other before Heeseung's second life," he added.

"The only person I know that has yet to find their soulmate here is Jake," inquired Soobin as he tilted his head to the side in question.

"There was someone on the plane," piped up Heeseung as he shrugged. "I felt it too," he added. "Someone we both knew at some point I'm sure," he added.

"Are you talking about us?" Came a new voice as two new people walked over to get their bags.

Soobin blinked in surprise, his heartbeat starting to beat weirdly again. "I guess it is you two," he responded, raising an eyebrow in question.

"Arthur," Arthur said in introduction. "The one with me is Mujin," he added, introducing the person standing next to him.

"Ah!" Soobin exclaimed suddenly. "Your um, bodyguards? Are watching over Jay?" He asked.

"Yes, that would be them," chuckled Arthur, causing everyone to look at Soobin weirdly.

"Sorry, Jay mentioned that his companions said their kings were on the way over for a visit," explained Soobin as he rubbed the back of his neck with his hand.

"Jesus, you guys are as loud as ever," came a new voice as Jay walked over with two new people.

"Jay," greeted Taehyun, nodding in greeting.

"It's good to see you man!" Greeted Jake as he went over, making sure it was okay to pat Jay on the shoulder before doing so, grinning as Jay smiled in return. "You're definitely looking better," he added.

"Yunho, Dongmyeong," greeted Arthur as said people turned to him and bowed in greeting. "If you don't mind us taking our bodyguards for the next few days?" He asked, turning to Jay.

"No problem," reassured Jay. "I think I can handle being by myself for a bit," he added. Arthur nodded and turned, grabbing his bag when it came down before leaving when Mujin grabbed his. Yunho and Dongmyeong followed after them.



Being able to spend the week with the others left Soobin with a strange sense of longing, causing him to just hang back, and let the others spend more time with Jay. He figured it was just something that Beomgyu felt when he had hung out with them before his death.

"What's got you down all the sudden?" Asked Jake as he sat beside Soobin. "I know we'll be leaving soon, but don't be too sad about it," he added.

"It's not that," sighed Soobin. "I just- I feel like once I graduate and go travel with Dann for who knows how long I'll miss everything that would happen with you guys," he explained. "I don't know though, Dann may come around for every important milestone, but," he added, shrugging his shoulders as his tablet pinged for the first time in weeks. He reached over and took it out of his bag before tapping the screen and reading the message.

"Who was that from?" Asked Jake.

"...From Seoho?" Asked Soobin as he typed up a reply. "Ah, this is the group chat," he added after seeing a reply from some of the others before pressing send. "He's gonna be out of Korea for a while," he explained before putting the tablet down and getting up. "Let's go see what the others are up to yeah?" He asked. Jake nodded and got up, following Soobin who walked off to find the others.

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