하늘; Her Name Means “Sky” [HYBRID: Drabble/Oneshot - GDYB]
하늘; Her Name Means “Sky”
He had met her not too long before Jiyong. They were next door neighbors at the time. They weren't really friends, but they weren't quite acquaintances either. Their relationship was something a bit more in between; perhaps something like siblings. She always did end up supporting and protecting him, even as they grew older.
They were extremely close for about two months. That was before Jiyong had entered Young Bae's life, and before Young Bae had gone off with this boy to become a singer, and way before Ha Neul had gotten sick...
They used to sneak off together to a lake area close by their houses. They would have to climb over the short guard rail in order to access the small slope surrounding the lake on the other side. It was never his idea, always hers. He just happened to follow her every time. It wasn't love, nor was it friendship that kept them together, but there was always something about her that attracted him. Perhaps it was the words she had said the first time she had led him to that place. Perhaps it was the first time they had met, where she had wordlessly held her hand out to him on the playground, and he had taken it without much thought. Then again, she hadn't really meant anything by holding out her hand to him in the first place, except for the fact that he had looked a bit lonely playing by himself and she had wanted someone to play with too. Maybe the attraction didn't really come until she had smiled at him afterwards, making him feel as if he had stumbled across something truly special.
It wouldn't be until years later, when he would finally realize that there was definitely something about that smile—an almost kind of smirk that would give anyone the impression that this child knew something that most other people didn't; knew a lot more and was always one step ahead of the game.
G-Dragon watched silently and with amusement as his lover carefully packaged their latest mini-album, Hot Issue with some holiday wrapping paper. This wasn't out of the ordinary for the other singer to do; G-Dragon was used to it by now. Taeyang had been sending gifts to this person even before they became part of Big Bang.
He couldn't help but smile at how concentrated Taeyang was on his project.
“Hey, Young Bae.”
“Mm?” the other responded, not really paying attention to G-Dragon, trying to hold everything together so he could tape the ends.
“Who's it for?” he asked, already knowing the answer.
“For Ha Neul,” Taeyang said in such a way that gave G-Dragon the impression that Taeyang meant to say something more like, “This is for her, of course. Who else, really?”
He smiled when Taeyang let out a small whimper of frustration. Responding to G-Dragon had caused him to lose everything he was trying to hold together. It was a bit terrible, but G-Dragon felt as if he had accomplished something.
“Such a lucky fan, really, always getting almost first on just about anything we make.”
G-Dragon sighed. It was really cute that Taeyang put so much effort for a fan, but it was always this same particular fan. Just because G-Dragon was used to the situation didn't mean he liked it.
He moved over towards his lover and wrapped his arms around Young Bae, who was now busy writing a card. G-Dragon tried to take a small peek, but Taeyang folded the card shut.
“Hey, how come I can't see?” G-Dragon asked.
“Well, it's kind of personal,” Taeyang said, blushing.
Instantly G-Dragon felt jealous.
“What!” he wrapped his arms tighter around Taeyang and sulked, “I see...Ha Neul. That's a girl's name, isn't it?”
“Hmph. I thought you were afraid of girls, Young Bae.”
“I-I am...she's just—”
“She's just what?”
“Different...I guess,” Taeyang admitted, blushing even more, “I've just known her a long time, that's all.”
G-Dragon blinked, that was news to him.
“Longer than you've known me?” he asked, frowning.
“What do you mean, kind of? I don't even understand how that's even possible, anyway. If you've known her for that long, then shouldn't that mean I would have run into her by now?”
“I guess so...maybe we've all hung out at one point? I don't remember. I've known her a long time, but it's also been a long time since I've last seen her.”
G-Dragon was getting more and more confused.
“Anyway, don't bad mouth her, okay, Jiyong? She's a good girl, really.”
“Ch, all right. I still don't get what makes her so special though.”
Taeyang would have answered, but he figured any further attempts at explanation would only make his lover feel worse. Instead, he said something that threw G-Dragon completely off-guard.
“You know...I was thinking of inviting her to come up and visit. Would you like to meet her?”
G-Dragon didn't know if he was being offered an opportunity or a challenge.
“I like you,” she had said.
That was five years ago, in some coffee shop. Young Bae had come down to his hometown for a brief visit and had given her a call.
Taeyang mailed the package on a Tuesday. The phonecall from Ha Neul's mom came on a Saturday.
The ice in Young Bae's drink clinked. He felt his jaw drop slightly.
“It's okay,” she had said with such a knowing smile which she always had, “I know your heart already belongs to someone else.”
G-Dragon frowned as he followed Taeyang, who was heading towards a retiring room. There, his lover flopped onto a couch with a sigh, looking very tired. G-Dragon sat down next to him where there was a bit of space.
“Hey, what's wrong?”
“There must be something. You weren't concentrating at all during practice.”
“I know, I'm sorry.”
“Why sorry? I know you, Young Bae, you're not like this unless it's really something serious. What's going on?”
Taeyang let out another sigh, making G-Dragon even more worried than he already was.
“It's nothing,” he said, and turned away from G-Dragon.
G-Dragon didn't know what to do to comfort Taeyang without knowing the cause, and obviously Taeyang was too exhausted to discuss it. So G-Dragon did what he thought was best; changed positions on the couch so that now Taeyang's head was resting on his lap, and he gently ran his fingers up and down the side of Taeyang's face, soothing him to sleep. He figured his lover would tell him in time.
“You have a picture, right, oppa? Can I see who it is?”
Young Bae had flushed furiously. How could he explain to this girl that the one he was in love with was another guy? Just as he was getting ready to fabricate an explanation, his phone rang.
“J-Just one second, okay?”
She had just shrugged and focused her attention on her bubble tea; her ears were wide open though.
“Hello?” Young Bae said into the phone, he had been too flustered to check the ID caller.
“Young Bae-ah! It's me!” Jiyong's familiar voice had caused Young Bae to relax rather quickly.
The conversation was mostly about developments with their label, YG Entertainment and the upcoming schedule.
G-Dragon had wanted to meet her, but he didn't expect it to be like this. The casket was closed, but G-Dragon observed the picture standing atop it carefully. The girl in the photo was so beautiful that G-Dragon felt a pang of jealousy at how she had been able to keep Taeyang's attention so fully while she was alive. A twinge of guilt followed that jealousy; guilt at being jealous over the dead. He could see why maybe Taeyang was in love with her—that is, if he had ever been at any point. Since he didn't know the full story behind their relationship, G-Dragon found himself even briefly entertaining the idea of what may have happened if he had never met Taeyang when he did. Taeyang would have probably married her and G-Dragon wouldn't have blamed him, though the girl more than likely would have been the one bold enough to propose. G-Dragon even began to wonder why Taeyang had ended up choosing him in the first place, though he was all the more grateful for it now, after seeing what he was once up against. This girl seemed so much different from the others that usually sought his lover's affection.
He watched Taeyang, who was standing in front of the casket and looking at it. Unexpectedly and suddenly, he turned his head in G-Dragon's direction. G-Dragon blushed and froze; he felt as if he had been caught being intrusive. Instead of a negative response, Taeyang gave him a tired, but warm smile. G-Dragon thought he felt his heart skip a beat.
“That was G-Dragon, from your label, wasn't it?”
She had surprised him with the question. She smiled as she watched Young Bae blush.
“It's all right.”
“Really? You don't think it's...weird?”
“Why should I? You're happy, aren't you?”
She laughed because he was too embarassed to answer.
“It's all right. I think I kind of knew, anyway.”
“Because,” she said, her fingertips brushing lightly over his as she reached for her bubble tea, causing him to quickly retract his hand, “When I saw how you were with him on the phone, I thought 'Oh I see. So Young Bae was done in by this person.'”
Young Bae gave a small smile, “I'm that obvious, huh...?”
She laughed, “That, and the fact that you always mention him when you have nothing else to say.”
The viewing was over. People were leaving. G-Dragon couldn't find Taeyang at first, it almost seemed as if he had disappeared. He later found his lover talking to some woman; he assumed it was the girl's mother. She looked like an exact replica of the girl in the picture, only much older.
Three years ago, Ha Neul had gotten sick. At the end of that year, she had seemed to get better. The following year, the disease returned. The year after that, she had gotten worse. In between, her mother had continuously brought to her the gifts that came in the mail.
“Why did you not tell me she wasn't well?”
“She didn't want you to know.”
“She was fighting for about two years.”
“She didn't want you to come back. Not while she knew what you would be leaving behind.”
He looked up, confused.
“She told you?”
At that moment, Taeyang could have sworn that there was something, a flicker of understanding, that seemed to go off in the woman's eyes. He didn't have much time to feel confusion over it, however, the woman quickly replaced the expression. The replacement was a small smile—it was the same as her daughter's.
“She told me she loved your music.”
“Why don't you write back to him?”
“Don't you like what he sends you?”
“Then why not write and tell him?”
“Aren't you two friends? Don't you want him to know how you are? Don't you want him to visit?”
She looked up at her mother at the mention of friendship. She flashed her mother an expression that confused the older woman; such an array of emotions, all conflicting with one another.
It seemed like she had wanted to say something else, but couldn't find a way to express it. Her mother frowned.
The girl sighed and leaned back onto her pillow, looking away from her mother and gazing out the window.
“No, because I don't want him to see me like this,” she said in such a way that made the mother wonder if there wasn't more to the story.
Neither said anything right away after that, but soon the girl faced her mother once again.
“Please don't tell him.”
“I...all right, I won't.”
As if reading her mind, Ha Neul said something that satiated her mother's curiosity.
“If he knew...if he saw me...he'd come back,” she turned her head towards the window again, “He'd stay. He wouldn't want to, but he'd feel he'd have to. He's that kind of person.”
It took a moment for that to settle in; sometimes even her mother forgot how quickly her daughter could speak. Then again, she had always been like that, so really the mother should have been used to it by now.
“He'd leave his true love behind,” she continued, “and I think that would be terrible, don't you? I don't want Young Bae to be breaking any hearts.”
Her mother frowned at this; clearly her daughter viewed Young Bae as some kind of angel, unable to hurt anyone. However, it was also obvious that he had succeeded in making her daughter this way, at least, that was what Ha Neul's mother wanted to believe.
The woman turned to leave. A strong arm stopped her.
The woman did not look back.
“What...what else did she tell you? Was there anything else?”
Once, Ha Neul had made a comment to her mother after eating breakfast. She had been listening to Big Bang's first single in her CD-player. She told her mom that after listening to it carefully, she felt that she really liked the music. Her favorite track was the third one, she decided, where she heard both the voices of Young Bae and his boyfriend. At first, her mother had thought she hadn't heard her daughter correctly. When she expressed shock at the truth, Ha Neul just laughed.
“How could you not know?”
“How could I know?”
She turned and comforted him with the same smile as before and patted his hand gently with her free one.
“She loved every single CD you sent.”
There was nothing else to say. He let go.
A few weeks before Ha Neul died, when she could still speak, she had said something that stayed with her mother ever since. Her daughter was staring out the window as always, but in her last days her eyes had become more and more listless. To the end, she made her mother keep Young Bae in the dark.
Ha Neul's voice was so soft, so fragile and lacking the strength she used to have in it. Her mother pulled up a chair on the side where her daughter was facing, so as not to force her to turn her head or project her voice any louder. She wiped a hair from her daughter's pale face and began to run her fingers through her daughter's hair. Slowly, ever so slowly, her daughter's lips curled into a strange smile. It was a warm smile and a playful smirk at the same time, and it sent a chill through her mother.
“I'm not afraid momma.”
“That's right!” she whispered excitedly, still seemingly staring off into space, “You understand too! I'll always be with everyone, no matter the circumstance.”
It was almost as if uttering her name had brought a brief flicker of life into Ha Neul's dull orbs.
“I am destined to be the sky.”
G-Dragon wanted to ask him where they were going, but he decided it would be better not to ask. He wanted so badly to comfort his lover, but he didn't know how. All he could do was follow his lover, who was guiding him, lightly tugging at his hand. They ended up at a park.
Taeyang walked to a bench where there was a small clearing from the trees. G-Dragon followed close behind. Taeyang sat first, pulling G-Dragon down beside him with a light tug of the hand.
“Young Bae?” G-Dragon looked down at his lover questioningly.
“I love you,” Taeyang said suddenly, looking up at G-Dragon, “Only you.”
G-Dragon was confused at first, but then he smiled upon noticing how flustered Taeyang was; the other boy had mustered up all the courage he had to say those words. He also found a feeling of relief wash over him; Taeyang's heart was his alone.
Taeyang let out a sigh. He had used up all of his energy for the day. Wordlessy, G-Dragon pulled his lover in for a tight embrace, brushing his lips against the back of his lover's head. Taeyang brought his hands up to hold G-Dragon's arms, which were clasped around him. He looked up at the sky.
Eleven years ago, two children lay in a field, looking up at a clear blue sky.
“Hey, Young Bae?”
The little boy's eyes met brown eyes much like his own, nothing too special, though later he would describe them as full of vibrancy and life.
“Hey, Young Bae, you listening to me?”
The little boy just nodded. The girl's lips curled into an almost mischevious looking smile. Her eyes darted to the sky, and then back at the boy.
“Hey, want to know a little secret?” she said, not waiting for the boy to respond, “My daddy told it to me, see, the secret of my name. Only because our dog died. I think that's why he told me. Want to know what he told me?”
The girl had rolled over closer to the boy, excitement clear on her face. The boy shrank away a little bit; he was both attracted to and intimidated by her energy. The girl paid no attention to this, and continued.
“I was scared at first, because of what they teach you in church, you know...souls leaving after someone dies; it's the same as someone just disappearing. You understand, right, Young Bae?”
The boy just wondered how she could talk so fast.
“Anyways, my daddy told me not to worry. I'm special. I'm different. It's my name, Young Bae. My name is...”
“Ha Neul,” the little boy supplied for her helpfully; it was the only part of the conversation he could seem to make any sense of.
“Right!” exclaimed the girl, “You understand then!”
The little boy frowned. Once again, the girl chattered on. She lay flat on her back, looking at the sky. She held out her hand, as if she were trying to reach it.
“I'll never disappear,” she whispered, “because one day, I'll be the sky.”
The little boy shivered involuntarily. It was either how seriously the girl had said her words, or the fact that there was a deep significance in them that not all of him could understand completely at that very moment, yet a small part of him did.
“That's what my name means. That's the secret. Daddy said it was my 'destiny'. Do you know what destiny means, Young Bae?”
The girl was looking at him again. The little boy just shook his head. The girl returned her attention to the sky.
“Oh well, it doesn't matter. I don't think it was that important anyway.”
The boy watched her on his side for a while, a hand clutching the grass. Eventually he realized that she wasn't going to speak anymore, and he too looked at the sky, trying desperately to understand what the girl had been trying to say in her flurry of excitement.
“I'll never disappear, because one day, I'll be the sky.”
It was a fabrication created by her father; a man that would eventually disappear to America and never come back again. A lie told, in attempt to comfort, by the man that would ultimately break Ha Neul forever, making her obsessed with her idea of becoming the sky and of having it be her destiny so that she could love and be loved; reach and be reached.
A great secret. That's what Ha Neul had called it then. That's how he had understood it then too. He had different words to define it with now.
A cruel joke.
A/N: Sorry for this not being as smooth a fic as my last two. I don't quite know what I meant by writing this...I just felt that I had to write it out. I didn't get a bit of sleep while writing this, but now...I think I can get a little.
This is my third fic, and yet a third style of writing. My first was tension driven, the second was image driven, this one I decided to make dialogue & action driven, since I want to keep it short. Honestly though, I prefer my image-driven pieces, but I still like to play with other styles every once in a while. I hope you all enjoyed it.
This was a tribute to one of the many people I truly love and cherish. May nothing like this happen again any time soon. Also for those who read my work; may you all always be in good health.
I hope no one has a biased opinion (for those who read the intro) about this fic...if you believe it's poorly written, please don't hesitate to tell me. The circumstance should never be an excuse to falsely compliment a work. I still appreciate constructive criticism, as always.
See you all again next fic.