Time Will Tell
by Rana Eros

This is not the Stephanie/Jiyeon piece I mentioned in the DVD commentary for "Touched By An Angel." It is Stephanie/Jiyeon, however. Cheerled and betaed by the fabulous Eliza.

She kisses Ida once, mellow with wine after an SME function. Ida neither kisses back nor pulls away, just blinks when Jiyeon sits back, and says, "Mmm." Jiyeon's not sure what that means, but then, she's not sure what she meant by the kiss either, so she decides to go to bed and deal with the fallout tomorrow.

There is no fallout. Ida never brings it up, doesn't change her behavior, and Jiyeon's still wondering if maybe she only dreamed about doing it--she remembers the texture of Ida's lips, soft under creamy lipstick--when Ida has to go back to the U. S. and she's tapped to do a cover with three other artists. She knows Sunday and Dana; Stephanie turns out to have been living in the U. S., like Ida. Southern California. Strongly beautiful. There the similarities end.

Stephanie's got a deep voice, good but still rough around the edges. In between takes, she dances, pirouettes and grinds, laughing as Sunday joins her and they spin each other around. She's young, exhuberant, as brash as the stereotypes Ida used to skewer in a deadpan voice. She winks when she catches Jiyeon watching, throws a little extra twist into her hips. Jiyeon smiles and hopes SME doesn't push Stephanie to "tone it down." She's really...charming.

Then they run into each other in the restroom, and Stephanie says, "You only going to watch?"

"Mmm," Jiyeon says, and Stephanie laughs, walking toward the door.

"Next dance is yours. You don't want it, you're going to have to tell me no."

That's how it starts. Jiyeon's not a bad dancer, after SME's training, but she pushes herself to keep up with Stephanie. She wonders, a little giddy from spinning and laughing and singing at the top of her lungs, if she'd always have to push to keep up with Stephanie, if that's what SME's got planned for Ida's absence.

Months later, when she's Lina and they're Cheon Sang Ji Hee, she kisses Stephanie sober as they cook together in her apartment. Stephanie drops the knife she was using to cut vegetables to get her hands in Jiyeon's hair, holding on and kissing back with the fierce concentration she uses to dance, to sing, to laugh. The jeon burns and Sunday has to come pull it off the stove before Stephanie lets go.

"Couldn't you have waited until after dinner?" Sunday says with mock annoyance, her lips flushed pink with the smudge of Dana's lipstick. She's talking to Stephanie, because of course Stephanie would make the first move, their brash young American.

"I really couldn't," Jiyeon says smoothly, taking the pan from Sunday to scrape the ruined batter into the garbage and wipe it down for the next batch. "Sorry about that. I'll make sure you and Dana are fed before the next one."

"What about me?" Stephanie protests, grinning. "I'm a growing girl, and I need fuel to keep up with you."

"Better have seconds, then," Sunday says, leaving the kitchen. "Maybe thirds."

"Fourths!" Jiyeon shouts after her, then eyes Stephanie, contemplating leaning in for a peck, before shaking her head and turning back to dinner. "I can't promise to control myself, so I better do this first."

"Or you could make them cook their own." Stephanie's right next to her, a warm body pressed against her side. "They're big girls, they can probably handle cooking jeon."

"Yeah, but you saw Sunday's mouth. That's a recipe for more burning."

"So we trade off." Stephanie turns back to the vegetables. "Let's get ours out of the way, then we'll see how good your lipstick looks on me."

It looks fantastic, of course, that time and every time after, until it becomes their signature to wear the same shade, their stylists approving of the show of solidarity. Stephanie doesn't even bother to hide her snorting laughter at that phrasing. Jiyeon only grins when the stylists look confused, sweet and dimpled.

"She gets like this sometimes." Which doesn't help Stephanie's recovery time. Jiyeon excuses them both to the restroom so she can taste that laugh.

"You are so evil and no one has any idea," Stephanie says when she can speak again, breath still a little shaky against Jiyeon's mouth. Jiyeon grins again and pulls Stephanie closer.

"Must be your bad influence."

"Uh-huh. Dana and Sunday have told me stories."

"And you believe them?"

"So have Jaejoong and Junsu."

"Next you're going to tell me Super Junior are reliable witnesses."

"I'm just saying, multiple sources."

"Yeah, but consider the sources."

"I have a better idea." Stephanie kisses her until someone comes to knock on the door and check on them.

That's how it goes on. Jiyeon tries more than kissing, and Stephanie meets her, matches her, sure hands and mouth, controlled and purposeful hips. Stephanie starts things, and Jiyeon's free to push for more, awake and sober, sure of what she means. Sure that if she ever doubts what Stephanie means, she can ask, and Stephanie will tell her.


Cheon Sang Ji Hee
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