103 Your Guardian Angel Pt.1

    "You're bad at this."

    Taehyung hmphed as he tossed another flat stone across the lake and frowned when it sank.

    Gyuri giggled from beside him. "You're really bad at this" she repeated, and Taehyung pouted. She picked up a smooth pebble from the ground and Taehyung watched as it skipped along the surface of the water with ease after she flung it. It skipped three times.

    "How did you do that?"

    "It's easy" Gyuri replied, "the key is how you throw it."

    Taehyung observed as Gyuri demonstrated again but this time, the stone skipped four times.

    Gyuri smirked. "Still got it."

    Following her example, Taehyung took a step closer to the edge as he tossed another stone. But as he was doing so, he suddenly lost his balance, causing him to lose his footing too. Taehyung struggled to stay at the safety of the edge as he flapped his arms about. But before gravity could set his body into falling motion, a slender arm hurriedly wrapped around his waist, breaking gravity's momentum.

    "Easy" he heard Gyuri say as he felt her body press against his. "What did I tell you about being around water?"

    Taehyung gulped as Gyuri's warm breath tickled his ear. "To-to be careful."

    "And just earlier you called me stupid for almost falling in" she teased as she unhooked her arm.

    Taehyung nervously licked his lips at the closeness of their bodies. From where he stood, he could hear Gyuri breathing. When he turned to completely face her, his heart jumped. They were close-too close-but that meant he had a perfect view of her eyes; her nose; her lips. They were beckoning for him: tempting him.


    Taehyung snapped out of his trance and his eyes darted from her lips to her eyes. "Huh? What?" He took a step back as he tried to calm the erratic beating of his heart.

    Calm down, Taehyung! What is wrong with you?

    "You okay?" Gyuri questioned as she took a step towards him. "Your face is red."

    Taehyung cupped both his cheeks: they were warm. "I-I am fine."

    "Kinda think of it," she lifted her hand above her head as if measuring her height against his, "have you grown again?"

    Taehyung was taken aback as Gyuri leaned in.

    "You have, haven't you? Only a while ago we were about the same height." She hmphed. "Now, you're like a centimetre taller than me!"

    Taehyung chuckled as Gyuri pouted. "I guess that is the only thing I can beat you at." He tip-toed to emphasise his height even more. "It will not be long till I will be looking down at you like this."

    "No fair!" Gyuri whined. "Stop growing! I'm older than you!"

    Taehyung playfully stuck his tongue out. "Age does not matter when it comes to height."

    "Well then," Gyuri said while grinning at him wickedly, "I guess I better do this while I still can!" Without warning, she reached up and ruffled his hair with her knuckles.

    "Ouch! Gyuri, quit it!" Taehyung complained as he tried to swat her hand away. Once he had succeeded in deflecting her attacks, he grumbled, "You are so annoy-" but soon stopped midway his utterance when he spotted Gyuri's expression.

    "You're growing up," she said simply but her eyes were melancholy. "Time really does fly by. Next thing you know, it'll be winter."

    "...this place looks a lot like winter."

    Taehyung flinched.

    Noticing his discomfort, Gyuri queried, "Taehyung? Is something wrong?"

    "What... what did you say?" His voice was barely a whisper. He looked up and Gyuri witnessed the confusion in his eyes. "Can you repeat what you just said?"

    "Erm, sure. I said 'you're growing up'-"

    "No. Not that" he interrupted. "That bit about winter."

    Gyuri raised her brow. "I said, 'next thing you know, it'll be winter.'"

    With such intensity, Taehyung locked eyes with Gyuri as if he was searching for something important. Eventually, he looked away. "I-I am sorry..." He rubbed his neck as he explained, "I-I had this strange dream last night and what you said about winter reminded me of something she said."

    "She?" Gyuri repeated. "You were dreaming about someone?"

    Taehyung nodded. "But it is nothing" Taehyung rushed to say. "We should just carry on-"

    "We can talk about it."

    Taehyung blinked.

    "If it's bothering you, you can tell me about it. After all," Gyuri smiled at him kindly, "that's what sisters are for." She gestured for them to sit on the grassy bank that overlooked the lake. Taehyung crossed his legs beside her as he fiddled with the blades of grass. Gyuri spoke, "So, who were you dreaming about?" She had a wily grin as she suggested, "Someone special?"

    Oblivious to what Gyuri was hinting at, he murmured, "I-I do not know..." He played with the grass in between his fingers. "I do not know her."

    "Then, why do you seem so affected by her?"

    Taehyung glanced up before focusing his attention on the grass again. One by one, he started pulling up each blade.

    Noticing how his cheeks were flushed, Gyuri ventured to guess, "Did you have... an erotic dream?"

    Taehyung's head shot up immediately. "What?" With amusement, Gyuri watched as he processed her utterance. "No! No! I-I was-"

    "You know, it's perfectly normal for a boy your age to be having those kinds of fantasies-"

    "Gyuri!" Taehyung shouted, his cheeks ablaze. "I was not having that kind of dream!"

    "You sure?" Gyuri teased. She lifted her hands up in surrender. "Because I won't judge you if you were-"


    With mirth exuding from her eyes, Gyuri laughed heartily at Taehyung's embarrassment.

    "Stupid Gyuri" he grumbled as he hurled the fistful of grass at her.

    Gyuri tried to stifle her giggles as she brushed the grass off her clothes. "But anyway, tell me more about your dream. Why is it bothering you?"

    "I do not wish to tell you any more" Taehyung huffed as he glared at her. "Lest you tease me again."

    "I'm sorry" Gyuri cooed while playfully pushing him on the shoulder. "Don't be mad."

    From the corner of his eye, Taehyung peeped at Gyuri's direction. She continued to pout at him, her almond-shaped eyes wide and her lips puckered. Even though he wouldn't normally yield, he couldn't help doing so. He could never be mad at Gyuri for too long.

    "Fine, I shall tell you."

    "Yay!" She celebrated by waving her fists.

    "I dreamed of a woman..."

    Gyuri shifted in her seat as she nodded attentively.

    "...A woman dressed in white."

    Gyuri carefully listened as Taehyung tried to give a detailed account of his dream; of how it left him emotionally confused and yearning for someone he recognised but didn't know; of how his heart ached and drowned in nostalgia even though they have never met before. It was a dream yet, why did it leave a lingering feeling of longingness?

    "I do not understand it at all," he said as he buried his face in his hands. "The dream felt so real. She felt so real. But the odd thing is, I do not know who she is."

    "Maybe she is your guardian angel?" Gyuri suggested.

    "My... guardian angel?"

    "Yeah," Gyuri affirmed. "My brother once told me that our dreams are like manifestations of our deepest desires." She sat up as she continued, "If you were dreaming of this woman, then maybe, she might be someone really important to you or, it could be your mind trying to tell you something through this woman. It's either that or, you're being haunted."

    "That is not funny, Gyuri" Taehyung spoke gravely. "You know I do not like to speak of spirits."

    Gyuri sheepishly smiled as she shrugged. "Hey, it was just a suggestion."

    "But if she was someone important to me, who could she be?" Taehyung pondered aloud. He stole a glance at Gyuri, who was equally pensive.

    The most important person to me right now is...

    "What if she's your mother?"

    Taehyung's eyes rounded. "My... mother?"

    Gyuri affirmed, "Yeah. I mean, you mentioned that she felt somewhat familiar, but you didn't recognise her. It makes sense. Maybe she's your guardian angel."

    Taehyung's eyes softened as he contemplated the possibility. "My mother..."

    "Do you have any pictures of her?" Gyuri eagerly asked. "I know it was just a dream but-"

    "I do not" Taehyung answered abruptly. His features hardened as he started plucking blades of grass again. "Father thinks it is bad luck to keep portraits of the deceased. He burned all paintings of my mother and my brother's mothers because he believes pictures prevent the deceased from moving on." Bitterly, he added, "That is why I do not know what she looks like." He sighed. "No one at home ever speaks of the past because it is too painful."

    Gyuri observed Taehyung's lonesome expression. No wonder Master Namjoon mentioned he was unhappy... "I guess you miss her, huh?"

    "How can I miss someone I have never met?" he questioned but Gyuri thought it sounded like he was asking himself more than her. "But I guess you are right. Perhaps the woman in white really is my mother."

    "It's okay to miss her, you know. Maybe it's just your mind's way of coping. I mean, sometimes, I'd dream of home too."

    At this, Taehyung was intrigued. "You do?" He gaped at Gyuri and witnessed the sadness reflected in her eyes. Tentatively, he asked, "Gyuri, do you remember your past now?"


    "Just now, you sounded as if you remembered."

    Oh, crap. He's onto me again!

    "W-what are you on about?" She nervously laughed. "Can't a girl dream of a home she'd like to go back to?"

    Taehyung eyed her dubiously. "But earlier you mentioned something about a brother..."

    Subin, you are an idiot.

    "And before, you mentioned your mother too." Taehyung searched her eyes as he asked, "Gyuri... I have been meaning to ask, but before you came to the household, who were you?"

    "Erm..." She looked around wildly for inspiration. "I-I don't know- I-I can't remember."

    Taehyung remained doubtful.

    "I mean, I know I must have come from somewhere, right? That's why I mentioned them, my mother and brother, I mean." Dang it, I have no idea what the hell I'm saying. "I must have a family of my own: a mother, a father and maybe siblings too, even if I can't remember them."

    Taehyung arched a brow. "But just now you-"

    "I'd like to find them one day" Gyuri rushed to say and Taehyung's eyes rounded in fear. "Maybe uncover my past too."

    "You plan to leave?" Taehyung's voice sounded alarmed. "But that means I will not see you anymore."

    Jungkook's face flitted across Gyuri's vision as Taehyung's words echoed in her mind. She blinked. They were the same words Jungkook had told her before she came to Saim. Gyuri shook her head rapidly. Why did I suddenly think of Jun?

    "It-it was just a thought" she replied, still dazed. "I-I won't really leave." I have yet to find out how.

    Taehyung relaxed at her words. "You cannot leave anyway."

    "What?" Gyuri questioned. "Why not?"

    "Because you are a servant of the Kim household."

    Gyuri was stunned by Taehyung's bluntness. She had grown so comfortable around him that she almost forgot her place in that era: she was a servant-a servant whose life was at the mercy of the Kims.

    "And," he spoke, his tone softening, "you already have a family." Gyuri watched as Taehyung slowly lifted her left arm to reveal the ragged bracelet made by the orphans. "We are a family, remember?" He gestured at the bracelet, "You, Chun Chun, Gulnar and I. And as a family, we should strive to stick together."

    Gyuri glanced down at the ragged bracelet, the twisted pieces of cloth still intact since the day she received it. She had been wearing it for so long that she no longer considered it a separate entity. But while the orphans meant well when they gave it to her, Gyuri couldn't help but associate the bracelet as a symbol of the time she spent away from home. From the discoloured and tattered threads, Gyuri could identify how long she had been wearing it, subconsciously reminding her that the longer she spent in Saim, the more she was away from her true family.

    And Gyuri couldn't stomach that thought. Not anymore.

    Gyuri forced a smile as she agreed, "You're right."

    But internally, she was conflicted.

    When the time comes, will I really choose to stay?
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