Yeo walks toward Shin with an air of nonchalance, the one he uses to pretend he’s being casual. Getting closer, he takes out an item from his pocket. He doesn’t look into Goblin’s eyes, for he might fail at being smooth with his actions if he does so; hands latching a gold-coated brooch with the shape of a cherry blossom branch onto the lapel of Dokkaebi’s coat. Tapping his chest twice, Yeo nods and pulls away. “For the flowers. A fox can’t accept gifts without giving something in return.”
@jeoseungsaja | PlEaSE call everY emerGEncy number yOU KNOW, because I am NOT OKAY-
There is a moment, small as it may be, that feels oceans too large and oceans too deep and oceans too... terrifying. When he sees the fox approach, his reaction is the usual. He wipes the smile off his face because he can’t be this obvious, because perhaps his heart feels as though they aren’t quite somewhere yet where he’s been given that extra consent that would make adoring gazes okay to express, that would perhaps allow him to look at the gumiho as he always feels about him.
Then, though, he sees the avoidance in the other’s features. There’s a terrifying moment there, a deep moment of understanding as it also morphs into, and a moment that stretches in time because of the breath he’s holding, at watching Yeo avoid his gaze. It’s odd, but perhaps also a good thing, to feel this much worry at having eye contact between them avoided.
He can’t think of a reason more fitting behind this than some of his bolder actions: this might be the moment the fox reveals that perhaps it is safer for them to return to their own sides of this particular line they’re walking. For the flash of a second, concern regarding his well-being flashes too, but he walks normally, his features - radiant, sharp, one should perhaps get to inventing a word that could describe his beauty, not beauty like his, his - are devoid of scratches and he can’t see blood splattered anywhere, at least not in that brief moment.
So the other worry reigns superior, all still in this small moment, and Shin shields himself, his chest remains still with the rest of his body, his features try to portray nothing and at the same time understanding, seeming to achieve only the usual sadness painted on still features he’s known for.
This, until the fox moves, the fox’s hand moves.
The former general watches with growing curiosity and eyes how he moves, and that’s all that he’s moving on his end, his facial muscles, and his chin, as he tries to lower his head and follow Yeo’s actions to their end, all the way to the presence of his hand near his chest - he hitches, a little, there, he knows he’s not going for it, but these are the two things that make up his core nowadays, the sword in his chest, and the man who holds his heart, to see them so narrowly fail brushing against each other does things to a soul.
He remains silent, with those child-like eyes he sometimes turns into such, when they’re so wide, even when Yeo pulls away, and his gaze doesn’t, enchanged by the brooch attached to his coat. He reaches up to it, brushes careful fingers slowly against it, unbothered by the slight tremble in them, the tremble typical of someone trying their hardest to not move too brashly, to not accidentally destroy what they’d like to touch.
It’s a little warm, probably because it had been kept close to the body of the gifter.
And it’s intricate, much like the gifter’s soul. And it’s golden, much like the gifter’s heart. And it is far too beautiful, for the dokkaebi... much like the gifter’s... all.
He does look up, as his hand leaves the brooch and subconsciously brushes the spot he’d been tapped on, an odd sensation considering what all his chest holds, but also pleasant, enough to make him smile like that, giddy, in a way, far too young, just because Yeo had touched him, because it’d been casual, because he hadn’t held back.
“Ah, of course,” he nods, but the smile on his lips is knowing, and a bit lopsided, as if he’s trying to keep it in, or at least control the full intensity of it. His eyes narrow a little, because they can’t hold their joy back either.
Oh. When did his hand reach the brooch again? Doesn’t matter, he’ll gladly keep his fingers on it. He’ll gladly keep it forever.
“How foolish of me. It’s beautiful,” his hand drops again, this time fully, retreats into the pocket of his coat it had come out of, because otherwise it might reach out and drag its twin along with it, in the direction of the treasure of amber before him.
“Thank you,” and if he speaks slightly more hushed, as if minding a sacred place, or declaring his love, well... Then... It’s only right so.
What Corrigan wanted was a fully believable God, one you could find in the grime of the everyday. The comfort he got from the hard, cold truth — the filth, the war, the poverty — was that life could be capable of small beauties. He wasn’t interested in the glorious tales of the afterlife or the notions of a honey-soaked heaven. To him that was a dressing room for hell. Rather he consoled himself eith the fact that, in the real world, when he looked closely into the darkness he might find the presence of a light, damaged and bruised, but a little light all the same. He wanted, quite simply, for the world to be a better place, and he was in the habit of hoping for it. Out of that came some sort of triumph that went beyond theological proof, a cause for optimism against all the evidence.
“Someday the meek might actually want it,” he said.
—All Respects to Heaven, I Like It Here, Colum McCann