Title: Greener Grass [Part One]
Rating/Genre: PG-13 + Language; AU Healing Romance
Warning(s): Some death talk, but nothing crazy. Don’t let that deter you~
Disclaimer: I don't own Soshi. I don't own anyone, in fact. All Fiction.
Author's Notes: HELLO, BI+CHES. I’M BACK. Y’all still read fanfiction, right? Thought I’d return to my roots and put out a YoonSic fic. It’s a short ongoing, so please stick around. ;D As expected, there will be a novel-length A/N at the end. Be sure to tell me what you think!!
Im Yoona believed in no miracles.
Until the bullet hit her.
Blood seeped, stained, spread crimson through her hoodie like cherries. Her mother’s cherry syrup, to be more specific. Yoona drowned her waffles in that gunk when she lived with her parents. It rapidly lost its appeal.
Her brow beaded. Gnawing pain battered her lungs.
As calloused, once-reliable hands pressed to the wound with a men's t-shirt, hope dwindled. Yoona’s eyes slipped closed. She heard crying.
Sirens, burnt rubber.
Yoona came to in a weak jolt. Unsure when to let life’s thread snap, when to publish the final draft of her twenty-eight-year existence. Her focus drifted skyward. Where eyes she inexplicably trusted greeted hers. Eyes of an angel--a mythical being realized.
Her logic lost its fight.
As did her body.
The angel stroked her jaw, softer than a first kiss. And Yoona died.
Then, Yoona lived.
Frightened as a babe evicted from the womb, Im Yoona groped at her clothed form in primal urgency. Blindly, fervently.
Knees, nose, breasts, teeth. She felt whole again. Warm.
She felt present.
Out her parched mouth, the single word tumbled dully, loaded. Into air teeming with activity. Yoona's eyelids protested, suspended in a state of panic and physical restriction.
From a limbo cloaked in blackness--not her typical interpretation of the deep, endless neutral. Minuscule particles of red, blue, green merged in a rhythm, creating a kinetic, fuzzy environment. Akin to an analog television screen.
And the type.
Above loomed yellow, blocky text reminiscent of old video games Chanhwi locked in storage. Type, reading: 'GAME OVER'. Underneath it, 'New', 'Quit', and 'Retry' hovered; a white arrow blinked to their left.
Yoona self-described as a pantser. She’d spent her life reacting, fleeing rather than fight. Usually to the dismay of her family. But, in this separate realm, she floated for what could've been minutes or weeks or centuries. Dwelling, meditating. Was this limbo, dream, coma, netherworld real?
Say she remained in the weightless Void for eternity, screaming choice after choice with no results. Stripped of agency, taunted until the east met the west. Until she woke up to a hospital’s sterile walls. Or heaven, paradise, purgatory, hell, nothing--
That voice slowed her fluttering pulse. Mutely, she willed the candy-toned speaker to say more.
“Why are you crying?”
In a crossfade, Yoona's sight was fully recovered. Her jeans, the burnished surface of a bench--in startlingly high definition. Fingers tinier than her own dabbed her cheek.
Concerned eyes stared at Yoona. They were on the wide side, umbrellaed by softly curved skin and long lashes.
“Wheh--” Yoona's throat had been reduced to sawdust. “Where's...”
She trailed off, recognizing neon-headered storefronts, escalators, sale signs in glass, deliberately placed plants, aimless consumers toting their plastic-wrapped spoils. Telltale qualities of a mall.
No stretchers, spilled tissue, veering vehicles. No Chanhwi...
Was this the 'New' her vision had in mind?
“Yoomie, my tummy's rumbling,” the girl no older than five whined, tapping her Baby-G watch like a pint-sized adult. “Mummy won't be pleased.”
Mummy? Yoona planted both heels onto speckled tile. Glossy, leather-lined loafers dressed her feet. Such pricey footwear exceeded Yoona’s previous budget. They suited her, oddly enough. In a chaebol’s mistress sort of way.
She wasn't a completely different human--same long brunette hair, voice still a tad lower than her father preferred. And this kid (sister? cousin? friend?) expected someone to pacify her hunger.
Bewildered and curious alike, Yoona chose to play along.
As her mind drifted to her own upbringing, the girl tucked a plastic bag handle into Yoona's dangling hand and grinned teeny white teeth. “Carry it for me, please?”
Was Yoona reborn as a nanny? “Your arms work, kid.”
In true diva realness, said kid raised offended fingers to the air. Probably mimicking ‘Mummy’. “We were good all day. Just like you asked!”
“Who the hell--”
An appalled gasp cut her off. Little Diva palmed her mouth as if Yoona committed mass murder, eyes threatening to disengage from their sockets. “You swore!”
“I did not!” Yoona argued, reddening. “'Hell' isn't--”
She gasped a second time. Loud enough to turn a security guard’s head. “You swore again! Mummy says 'no cursing'.”
Where was this absent ‘Mummy’? Abandoning a princess in her affluently-crested sweater vest, fuzzy blue leggings, and Mary Janes--shoes Yoona herself rocked in elementary school.
A nudge at Yoona's knee resolved her delayed (“We?”) question. Another girl, smaller in Pucca-studded pigtails, propped a sporting goods bag onto her head. “Than' you, Yoomie.”
“Nope.” Yoona strode forward before two kiddies became twenty. “'Yoomie' or whoever isn't your bellhop.”
She staggered, regarding both unmoving children. “What?”
Little Diva pointed in the opposite direction. “Food court's that way.”
Embarrassing. Though, as Yoona regained her land legs, welcoming the creak of solid bones adjusting to gravity and the reassuring pitter-patter of small feet keeping up, she wished for a life less disappointing than the last.
Crowds, crowds at every turn.
Yoona wasn't ready of a glut of them. Nonetheless, these well-dressed fledglings needed food and an innate, peculiar part of her couldn't refuse.
“Either of you have money?”
The kids giggled, incredulous. “Yoomie's so silly!”
That cloying nickname again. “Okay...where's Daddy?”
Giggles exploded into monkey-hopping laughter. Silly! Silly Yoomie!
Evidently, her confusion delighted them.
“Well, have fun starving,” Yoona grumbled, patting her jean pocket out of habit. To find--a phone case! The folio kind with a textured foldout of wallet sleeves. She thumbed the topmost credit card.
Correct name. A custom Mondrian backdrop. Certainly matched her personality. “Pick whatever you want.”
Her audience eyed the brightly lit choices, clutching their bags. They looked nervous; scared even.
“Mummy says we're not allowed to eat junk,” Little Diva muttered.
The youngest nodded in pouty accordance. “Choles’erol.”
Yoona fell to a knee. Something--gravity, unnamed affection--inclined her to twist at a short pigtail of black hair.
So, she reached. Only for the girl to flinch, crunching corners of her bag within a fierce hug.
Yoona’s heart sank. “Mummy's not here right now, is she?”
“Cholesterol won't hurt you. If it tries, I'll jab it right in the gut. Like this.” She pretended to sock the girl's sweater-clad belly, earning a yelp. A cute yelp; it warmed Yoona’s cheeks.
“Punch my cholesterol, too!” the older sibling squealed, unveiling a pale tummy beneath her vest.
“Begone!” Yoona touched balled knuckles to her bellybutton. The girl laughed so hard, neighboring shoppers chuckled over their cartons. She recalled a pleasant childhood memory, hoping it'd be effective on her companions. “Tell me what you wanna get in the next three seconds. Countdown in three...two...one...”
“CHICKEN NUGGETS!” twinned voices rushed at hell-raising volume.
Blushing when the smiling eaters winced, Yoona grabbed a hand in each of hers and led them to a line.
Yoona didn't eat. Instead, she inspected every item in her wallet. More cards for the bank, insurance, and credit than she'd ever owned. 70,000 won in cash. Two withered sticks of gum. Her iPhone, which wouldn't open without the right passcode.
At least it supplied the date--a week after that fateful day. She slammed the case shut, half-listening to a five-year-old’s IMAX-scale imagination go wild.
Through casual interaction, Yoona learned their names. Haeun, the older of the two, had a finely-tuned motormouth. She drenched a fry in enough ketchup for a hundred potatoes, recalling a mermaid’s tail in pristinely crystal diction.
Joonie (as stitched on her sweater) spoke less. She took turns feeding herself and the disturbingly dingy Batman plushie pulled from her Rilakkuma backpack. This one intrigued Yoona. With her play-scraped pants, bushbaby eyes, and bashful nature. Under the table, Joonie’s swinging sneakers flashed electric blue lights.
“Is Batman famished from a night of vigilantism?” Yoona asked, stealing a fry.
Shrugging, Joonie let her full mouth hinge loose.
“Famished means hungry, Joonie!” Haeun bounced in her seat for praise. “Right, Yoomie?”
A natural smile curled Yoona’s lips. “Twenty points for Team Haeun. You're very smart.”
“Thank you!” Her wispy brows creased as she examined the woman head to toe. “Yoomie, your legs are long like a giraffe’s. I want long legs when I'm as old as you.”
Yoona snickered. “Is that so?”
“My friend Mijee said every lady on TV shows leg because it's sexy. I'd be sexy like Yoomie!”
“Oh, god.” Yoona muzzled an encouraging laugh. “What do you think sexy means?”
Face growing pink, Haeun waffled in her explanation. “It's like...when you're famous and, and people give you compliments and money. Everyone just, uh, throws their eyeballs at you.”
“Ha. Fair enough.”
“Mummy's sexy! Yoomie's sexy! I want to be sexy!” Haeun slapped her flat chest. “With boobies!”
“Simmer down,” Yoona touched a pointer to her lips and gave Joonie another try. “Do you want to be sexy, too?”
Joonie waved her toy. “I wanna be Ba’man!”
“So, you're anti-evil?”
“Yeah. I'ma fight crime. An' have a undergroun' cave for my stuff.”
“An' an' an',” she continued, rocking the mall's cheap plastic chair, “I'd fly!”
Haeun scoffed with a sassy finger. “Batman doesn't fly!”
“Mine does!” Joonie cranked to eject the nasty stuffed superhero across the table.
Yoona shut that down quickly. “Where would you fly, Joonie?”
A stiff pause later, the glow behind her eyes dimmed. “I’d go away.”
“Anywhere specific?” Yoona pressed, rubbing the goosebumps tickling her forearms. Sensing something awry.
“I dunno,” Joonie concluded. “Where I wouldn’ cause trouble. Or make Yoomie mad.”
“Since when...” Respecting the girls' sullen mood shift, Yoona left that in her pocket for later. Then, wondered how she knew they'd have a 'later' together. “Haeun, do you like Batman?”
Haeun’s whipped side-to-side, swishing shiny bangs. “I hate Batman.”
“Because,” She dipped two fingers into the ketchup and spread them across her lips. Dimple to deep, adorable dimple. “I am the Joker!”
Awesome kids. No wonder their pictures were on her phone's lock screen.
How long had Yoona been their nanny? Sister or cousin options worked as well--she and Joonie shared a striking resemblance. Inwardly turned knees, expressive eyes. Plagued by the same dark, pointed eyebrows until tweezers changed her life. Something inherent drew her to Joonie.
Not to say she and Haeun lacked a connection. The girl reminded Yoona of herself as a child. Bold, imaginative, eager to impress, noisy. A lover of words.
In the Void, she contemplated the meaning of 'New'. She avoided, ignored, ran away from her problems in a topsy-turvy past. Ditching innocent children would be--
Like an antelope in the savannah, Yoona sprung upwards. Straight-spined, at stark concentration. Eyes piercing a man outside the glass-framed exit. Her stomach plummeted.
“Yoomie?” Haeun's voice sounded far away.
“Watch Joonie,” Yoona hastily instructed, slapping soles across the court's mosaic flooring.
Fuck you, she'd scream.
Fuck you for killing me.
You loved me.
And it wasn’t mutual.
Elbowing the heavy door in her wake, Yoona's rage wrapped steel wool around her tongue, into crevices between her teeth. Choking, all she could muster was a feeble, “You're here.”
The gentleman turned, whistling a cloud of smoke. From cigarettes of a brand Chanhwi bought. Stylishly cropped hair, weathered crinkles at his eyes, the trim body from a routine of tennis and sugarless teas--similar to her old mate. But, not close enough.
“I beg your pardon?” Not-Chanhwi asked in a voice clueless, too scarred by a smoker's life.
“I'm...I thought...” Yoona's hand lowered. Memories wove back in a wave of hot blood, spattered cotton... “Don't mind me.”
He crushed his discarded butt with a heel. “Lost?”
In several ways.
“You're young,” he observed aloud, equally entranced by the reflections bouncing off Yoona's shoes. “It'd be a crime to figure everything out too soon.”
If only this person understood. While suspended by a stretcher, blinking past melted mascara, carted into the ambulance...she accepted it. Death.
“I know nothing about myself.”
He nodded. “Then, learn.”
Returning a polite smile, Yoona watched streams of cars pass, questioning every facet of her sanity. Challenging her perceptions of time, strength, god, humanity, reincarnation until her silent counterpart stubbed out another cigarette.
“You'll be fine?”
Yoona flinched at the hand cupping her shoulder, waking her from a mental storm. Wind chilled her neck; she'd been sweating. Out of manners alone, she didn’t shrug him off. “I don't know.”
Believing a random defined naïve. Foolish as a babe.
Yet, as someone reborn, it made sense. So, Yoona swallowed a tongue free of obstacles and agreed. “Okay.”
Soon after, Yoona's brain caught up with her feelings and the slipped sense of responsibility for supervisor-less children.
She reprimanded herself. This new life could be a trial. Yoona could fail.
Thankfully, the ground didn't disintegrate. Kinetic darkness didn't return. Her half-sprints decreased once she spotted Haeun and Joonie safely sword-fighting with their straws.
Three boys--dressed in identical navy blue uniforms and high socks--raced laps around their table. They shoved, blew moist raspberries, and dipped around Yoona's legs before she claimed a seat. One muttered a "sorry" when he clumsily scuffed her shoe. Yoona nodded him to carry on in the commotion. Because another newcomer was infinitely more interesting.
A woman who she assumed to be 'Mummy' leaned forward in her chair, wiping Haeun's face with a dry tissue. She looked jaded; yet beautiful nonetheless. Thick raven hair clipped into a bun, defined cheekbones, and red lipstick. A couple years Yoona’s senior--couldn’t be more than thirty. Fitted in leggings, boots, and a crisp blazer that didn’t suit her posture.
Yoona's feelers went up. Didn't match her 'Mummy' vision.
"Have an emergency, Yoona?"
"Hm. My therapist called this morning."
Yoona folded her fingers onto her lap. She'd only seen nannies operate on sitcoms; how formal could she speak? "Is that right?"
She bared her teeth, unsmiling. "Had to cancel our next appointment. Wanna know why?"
"He's getting married." Her dark eyes flicked wayward for a humorless snort. "My post-divorce shrink is getting married. How's that irony for you?"
Ah, a divorcée. "That sucks."
"I mean, why am I surprised? He's a handsome, well-rounded man with a strong jaw and no bald spot. Tall, muscular, sensitive, a great listener--did I mention he's handsome?"
"I crushed on someone paid to talk to me." She'd scrubbed Haeun's lips raw at this point. The girl winced out of reach, begging for mercy. "Am I pathetic for being sweet on my therapist?"
As if Yoona would tell the truth. "Nope."
"Should I hire a new one?"
"I'm hopeless," she sighed, dangling a chewed piece of gum between her distressed lips.
Very cute. Yoona was just as gay in this lifetime. "You're not hopeless."
"I've been thinking about what you said last week."
Yoona tried on her most sincere eye stretch. "Mind refreshing my memory?"
"About online dating," the mother answered.
"Oh, right, right." Yoona crossed an ankle over her knee and feigned nonchalance. "It's convenient, affordable..."
Giggling, Yoona waved a hand. "Au contraire. It'd be easier to weed out the pedophiles."
"Yuck. I swear, bar lights act as some sort of cloaking device for uglies."
"Post your picture and genetics' darlings will fall into your lap."
"You flatter me, Im."
She and her employer seemed plenty casual. Almost like friends, Yoona reckoned. She'd probably been caring for the quiet table children since diapers.
Those rowdy triplets annoying the entire food court? No. They lacked the magnetism, the instinctual pull that made Yoona smooth fingers through Haeun's inky hair or zip Dingy Batman into Joonie's backpack.
Taking the extra step in her new job, Yoona disposed of their trash and wrestled the youngest into her coat. Joonie jellified into a floppy mass, intent to be difficult. Ergo, not as difficult as another triplet ramming into her side. Fearing a tattletale's sharp ear, Yoona kept her cursing internal.
Gender and age differences aside, those boys and these girls weren't raised by the same people.
Yoona slyly inspected each boy. Scrawny, puckish; boasting heads of dense, shaggy hair. Curved noses. Dead ringers for the lax parent reapplying her lipstick. And their eyebrows--Yoona couldn't help but stare--thick to the point of touching in the middle.
Unibrows. Terrors with literal unibrows.
"Missssss Fany," Haeun hissed, wagging her thin striped scarf. "Have you met my pet snake?"
Ms. Fany? Not 'Mummy'. Yoona's instincts were spot on.
Sure enough, the woman in question clacked her compact shut to shrink away in dramatic appeal. "My god! Aren't you afraid?!"
"No, I'm not scared! Our principal, Ms. Kim, brought a snake into class and everybody screamed except me!"
"Cool," Yoona breathed, proud beyond reason. "I love snakes, too."
The girl's tiny teeth reappeared. "I know that, silly Yoomie! You taught me how to hold a snake!"
Yoona's smile quavered.
She wished could remember.
"Time to round these brats up." Fany laughed, rapping Yoona in the hip. And, in expert precision, she plucked two boys by the ear, painfully cutting their mayhem short. "Where do you get all this energy!? Hm? Not from me and I swear to almighty not from your father!"
"Maaaaaa," they bleated in unison.
"You, you!" She kicked a heel at her third son. "Lead us to the parking lot!"
"Ow! Yeah--ow! Yes, ma'am!" he griped, swiping the air.
All patrons within a hundred feet sighed relief, more than likely. Fany wrangled her hellions into a cohesive line, more in control than one would assume. So, without looking, Yoona held her hands out. And when Haeun and Joonie latched on in quiet, automatic accord, Yoona's smile returned.
Fany, or Tiffany Hwang as read on her beaded keychain, talked a lot. Mostly about her ex-husband who she not-so-affectionately referred to as That Man.
'That Man thinks he's so hot.' 'That Man takes more pictures of his car than his sons.' That Man totally found a floozy to bang.' 'That Man sexually peaked when he was twenty-one.'
Yoona squirmed in the front seat of Fany's remarkably tidy SUV, fretting young ears. Fortunately, the kids were too wrapped up in horseplay, books, and oversized headphones to absorb any adult dialogue.
"That Man, I swear," Tiffany wiggled her fingers over the heated vent. "Did I tell you Thing One lost a tooth at football practice?"
Thing One, Thing Two, Thing Three. Dr. Seuss-inspired nicknames for the Terror Triplets.
Yoona shook her head. As much as she'd love to delve head-first into this cesspool of gossip, she needed to know her place. Tiffany's Things were friends with the mysterious 'Mummy’’s children. So, she had to mind her tongue as the nanny.
Meanwhile, Yoona warded off question upon question. Where did she live? Was her family intact? And where were they? Did Chanhwi exist and would he know her? Why did she get this second chance? How much do nannies even get paid?
"That Man answered, 'It's a baby tooth. No biggie.' Yes, it's a biggie--Thing One looks like a bumpkin! He lost so much blood, too."
Yoona's guts churned. Too much blood. The bullet.
He shot her.
Stinking of beer and disdain, Chanhwi yelled at and her and--
Yoona knew that wasn't a gun. Nor anything dangerous.
She swiftly clapped her hands over her ears, anyways, shivering.
"Now, his kneepads are--hey. You good?"
Fany squeezed her arm. Yoona fought not to recoil as her mind's gears cranked into proper rotation. Reason, ever the savior, identified the sound, the sudden jolt: only a pothole. Tiffany sped over a pothole and it shook the vehicle. No harm, no pain.
Yoona forced on a tight smile. Anything to keep the other woman from noticing the sheen on her neck or the twitch in her limbs. "Yeah. Didn't sleep well last night."
"Ah, life of a busy woman," Tiffany drawled. "I haven't indulged in a full night's rest since the Things visited That Man. Take a power nap when you get home; I live off them."
Where was home?
For Tiffany Hwang's gang, 'home' was in the outskirts of the city. Masterfully-designed townhouses beamed row after colorful row, separated by clean-cut lawns. All adorned with impeccable shrubs or flowerbeds. Varied in each yard; eerily cohesive overall.
The school uniforms and detailing of the SUV should've tipped Yoona off. These people were rich. In a gated community unlike her artsy, bare bones lifestyle with Chanhwi. In a past that...was no longer hers.
"You left your keys in my fruit bowl, by the way," Tiffany called out as she unbuckled Joonie from a yellow car seat. "Not like we actually keep fruit in there."
Haeun and Joonie's family lived next door to Tiffany's. The three-story home's varnished wood panels gleamed in subtle harmony with its concrete sections, interrupted by two huge windows on the upper floors. Bushes of a reddish plants she'd never seen lined the sidewalk and carefully planned stepping stones led her from the driveway. Yoona stalked the neighboring property like a wary predator. Judging, envying.
"Open up, Yoomie," Haeun whimpered, dancing in her Mary Janes. "I have to tinkle!"
She renewed life's contract to be ordered around by children? Children privileged to perfectly combed grass and top-of-the-line scooters propped onto the porch. Friends of unibrowed brats kicking grooves into the dirt with their Italian-brand shoes.
Yoona turned her front pockets inside out for effect. "You heard Miss Fany. No keys."
"Have you downed a flask?" Tiffany laughed low in her throat, flipping through a few envelopes. Probably all checks. "Your spare's in the nine."
"Really, are you drunk?" Tiffany teased, "You should share."
Yoona played along, whirling a finger at her temple. "Vodka for lunch. My memory goes kaput."
"Naughty bit--" Tiffany clamped her mouth. Haeun put every adult on self-censor, apparently. "Naughty female dog. When will we go drinking again? I've been meaning to check out that new bar closeby."
"The keys, Fany?"
"Wobbly nine. On your door."
Yoona glanced at the porch. Assuredly, a bronze number '19' adorned a post as well as the door. "Ah, thanks."
"Given our situations, it's a blessing we're not plastered 24/7."
Snagging her bottom lip with her teeth, Yoona chose against prying. Even if it involved herself.
One could pick the interior straight from the home goods magazines Yoona's mother used to order. Narrow, yet deep. Geometric wall fixtures echoed the paneling outside. Past the living room lay a dining room and a stainless steel kitchen. A dark wooden staircase. Plush furniture she could already feel.
Her joints ached. A wink on the couch wouldn't hurt.
"Read this to me, please," Haeun requested, wagging a book still bearing its price sticker.
Her little fingers were wet and Yoona gawked as she reclined. It took until her teens to wash her hands after every bathroom break. And here this kindergartener stood, squeaky clean as can be. Astounding. 'Mummy' must be a tyrant.
Drowsy, Yoona tried to unfuzz the first page's text. "Where's Joonie?"
"In the rec room."
A recreational room, too? Damn these richies. "Tell your sister to bring a toy down here. Where I can keep an eye on her."
When silence met Yoona, she peeked over the book. Haeun's face glowed bright red, clean fingers pinning in her giggles.
"Yoomie, you're silly!"
Jesus, that name. "What'd I say this time?"
"This book," Haeun pointed to the cover illustration, on a childlike tangent, "is about dinosaurs. My favorite are stegosauruses because they're purple."
"They weren't purple."
"In this book, they are."
"But, they weren't actually purple, kid."
"What color were dinosaurs when you were little?"
Touché, tiny smartass.
She knocked her head back in a sleepy chortle. That invited Haeun to the couch, shimmying under the book to rest her head onto Yoona's chest.
The strange feeling from the mall returned. The one that stuck Yoona to the children's sides (other than that one mishap) and sensed Tiffany Hwang wasn't 'Mummy' before Haeun confirmed it.
Yoona adored kids. Some of Chanhwi's friends would bring their toddlers around and Yoona entertained herself by just watching them. Seeing these defenseless beings stumble through her world, fascinated by everything.
'They look so soft', she'd think to herself, 'I bet they smell like baby powder'. Yet, those would stay thoughts because sniffing another person's children defined creepy.
Haeun was more solid than a toddler. Didn't smell like powder. Moreso like artificial berries and the city. Which--Yoona sneaked a meek inhale--suited her just fine. And when Joonie came thumping down the stairs, dragging a metal xylophone, she colored herself relieved. Searching for her would mean breaking from this tender moment.
"Yoomie, read," Haeun mumbled into her shirt, sounding as tired as Yoona.
Page One blurred into mush. Yoona's eyelids weighed anvils, Haeun's rhythmic heartbeat soothed her muscles, and nothing on this earth could stop her from nodding off.
"Yoomie, Mummy's here!"
Yoona massaged her temples, expecting the darkness. The voices seemed so far off.
Somewhere outside, a car door shut.
"Put that away, Joonie!"
"No! It's my xylo!"
Oh, shit. The 'Mummy'. Disoriented but a hell of a lot more alert, Yoona bounded from the couch.
Napping on the job. Sucky babysitter struck again. She pat her shirt of wrinkles, instantly nervous. Anxious to see this 'Mummy'. The woman who miraculously trained her kids to sit still and wash their hands.
And when the door opened, Yoona's eyes rounded.
What had she predicted? An imposing matriarch. With beige stockings and starchy culottes hiked up to her bosom. Someone domineering, ruler straight in posture, afflicted with perma-frown and a bad perm.
Not this. Not the woman Yoona's age woman hopping sideways out her high heels as Haeun and Joonie attacked her. Not the woman who grinned like the sun and returned their hugs before setting her handbag on a table.
Her professional skirt suit and aura matched their income's motif, though. Impeccable makeup, long hair resembling baked caramel. She looked expensive. Like fine china in her late grandparents' cabinet--the kind at the top that no-one could ever use for food. Or glass figurines. Untouchable.
And she was petite. In stature, lips, nose, fingers. Chanhwi often called Yoona's legs celery stalks--so, 'Mummy' would have...chopped celery? Her mind started to blank because as tiny as 'Mummy' appeared, her presence swallowed the room whole.
"Mummy, is this mine?" Haeun wrenched a half-empty aloe water from the woman's hand.
"Haeun, find your manners."
Yoona blushed. 'Mummy''s voice was petite, too. Polished and silvery.
"May I please have this?" Her daughter amended, shaking the bottle's contents. "Please, please?"
She ran a manicured thumb over the drink's label, nodding. "Share with Joonie. Don't spill."
Yoona scouted the living room for busy work. Itching to thaw from her awkward popsicle position. But, resistance deemed itself futile. As Haeun would phrase it, Yoona threw her eyeballs at her sexy boss.
Alarms, whistles, sirens, wolf howls, any form of racket quarreled in Yoona's head. Her throat dried. Lips parted, speaking with her consent. Answering a quiet, "Sooyeon."
Yoona's fingers flew to her lips.
Who the fuck was Sooyeon? Where'd that name come from?
Sooyeon hummed in stride, once again crouching to meet the kids' eyes. "Did Yoomie take you to the mall?"
"Yes!" Haeun spun a hand into her Mummy's hair. "We shopped with Miss Fany and the Things. And later, Yoomie fell asleep on the bench! Silly!"
The contempt in Sooyeon's glare ran a river down Yoona's spine. Shit.
Fortunately, her daughter's mouth stole her attention. "My new shoes are glittery and purple, Mummy!"
"I thought you liked pink."
"Pink's for babies! I like purple now."
Like a stegosaurus. Yoona swayed, smiling.
"Joon bug," Sooyeon kissed the smaller kid's pointed brow. "New cleats?"
Unspeaking, Joonie nodded yes, nosily sucking on the drink. It dribbled from the corners of her lips, drenching the loop of her collar. Sooyeon gripped the end of her shirt so nothing stained the rug.
"Right!" Yoona broke from her spell to sprint into the kitchen. She committed a second to hating their level of wealth now that she saw it up close. Then, her nanny duties sent her to a roll of paper towels.
As Yoona hurried to dry Joonie's cheeks, Sooyeon was already rummaging through their shoe boxes. She scrutinized each purchase and gestured for Haeun to take a seat on the couch. Once the shoes slipped on comfortably, Sooyeon checked the tightness several times. Anally determining that they didn't pinch Haeun's toes.
Yoona gulped. She woke up after those shoes were bought. Hopefully, fate would err on her side. An angry Sooyeon could raise hell, she wagered.
"Yoong, take off Joonie's shirt."
That nickname. Yoona approved.
Obediently, she stripped the kid half-bare and pushed her into Sooyeon's direction. Joonie put up a brief struggle, whining about being cold. Nonetheless, Inspection #2 initiated for Joonie's yellow cleats.
And they passed.
Whew. Winded, Yoona landed in a chair as lush as the couch. She could fall asleep again.
"You did well."
Yoona stirred at the smooth, petite voice. "Oh. Er, thanks Soo-, um. Miss. Thank you, miss."
Sooyeon tilted her head. The faintest smirk touched her pink lips. "Miss, huh?"
"Uh, yeah." She now sweated for different reasons. The pure manifestation of MILF slinked forward, slight hips swinging to the drum in Yoona's chest. "Miss."
What disloyal fate would place her as a closeted nanny?
A terrible life on a different spectrum.
"Don't call me that. Makes me feel old."
"Sorry. Sooyeon, then."
"Mm? Sooyeon, too?" She brushed the tip of her nose to Yoona's. "Why are you so innocent-eyed today?"
Yoona breathed in her fragrance, partially hypnotized as she pinched the arms of the chair. She'd pinch herself if Sooyeon wasn't so close. Did she really mack on the nanny in front of her own children? How evil.
Softly, those wicked lips met hers. Combined with the brush of fingers, stroking the curve of her jaw. And Yoona's heart skipped.
She'd remember that touch in any state.
Sooyeon was her angel.
Yoona closed her eyes. Expecting to die again. For this dream to end.
Until her angel spoke. Breath light, tinged with sweetness. "I'll make dinner. If you're not swamped, you could give our messy child a bath, Yoomie."
Then, Yoona's heart did a lot more than jump.
She knew it.
Deep down, she knew their connection ran thicker than a job.
"Yoomie," Haeun collected her dinosaur book and pressed it under her lip. "Read to me after Joonie's bath?"
"After dinner," Sooyeon corrected, rustling Haeun's hair before padding to the kitchen.
Joonie rolled to the floor, kicking. "I wan' Mummy to gimme a bath. Mummyyy!"
Mummy and Yoomie.
They weren't just family. They were Yoona's family.
When the afterlife offers 'New'...
It means it.
I really thought I wouldn’t drop another ongoing this year after Skandl! and here I am, breaking promises to myself. Ah, well. I love writing and we were due another YoonSic, yes? ^^
As you’ve read, I’m trying some new themes out. I can count on my hand the number of fics with kids I’ve read. Meaning, I’m just like wooohooooo let’s see how it goes while spinning in my chair and sipping wine. The kids aren’t the basis of the fic, though they do serve as part of the story. Its rating will range from PG-13 to NC-17 for its fluff, language, angst, and sexytimes.
What’s ‘Healing Romance’ mean? Sometimes, you gotta get through the bad to access the good. Anddd that’s how ‘What Does the Fox Say’ was described and I loved it so much that I APPROPRIATED IT LIKE A BOSS.
Shoutout to a certain Dino. Because I seem to ALWAYS mention dinosaurs in my stories.
Don’t be a stranger!