Marking the Cut
by Rana Eros

There is a method to my madness. Or something. Betaed by Eliza.

All told, Daewoong thinks the past three days have gone very well. Granted, they lost Myungja at the airport shortly after landing, but that wasn't exactly unexpected. They found him only forty five minutes later, laughing himself sick in front of a Hello Kitty vending machine--nor could they tear him away from it until Chinsung bought him a phone charm with Hello Kitty wearing a pink yukata, obviously on its way to the onsen.

Daewoong is pleased he remembers onsen. He'd hoped that being immersed in the language once again would help him remember more of it, but no such luck. Oh, well. He's not the one who does the talking anyway, and judging by the reactions of two of 5*STAR's members, he can communicate just fine with a smile and slow blink.

It's a useful thing to know, because it means he can spend less time studying and more time consoling Jeongsook, who was doing so well right up until Aoki smiled at him, at which point he'd fumbled "senpai" and ended up saying, "Aoki-sshi."

"He thought it was charming," Daewoong says, rubbing Jeongsook's back in the van. Jeongsook groans and presses his fingers against his eyes.

"He thought I was a moron. Of all the stupid words to forget!"

"He <em>loved</em> it," Myungja insists. "Did you see the way his eyes lit up? He's probably going to make Kurosagi-sshi call him that in bed now."

Chinsung makes a choking sound as Jeongsook groans louder, and Daewoong has to pull his hands away from his face before he can poke his own eyes out.

"Very charming," Daewoong repeats firmly, with a warning glare at Jaja. Who, of course, takes no notice, staring off dreamily into a world where no doubt Akai Ito are making out for his viewing pleasure.

"Daewoong is right," manager-sshi says from the front passenger seat. "The audience ate it up, too. I think you should continue to use Korean address, Jeongsook. All of you should."

"But I have the Japanese memorized!" Minhyun protests, and Chinsung slings an arm around him.

"Aww, don't worry, Minnie-ah. I'm sure Rin-san will let you practice with him if you ask very, very nicely."

"Don't call me that," Minhyun snaps, trying to wriggle out from underneath Chinsung's arm, "and furthermore--"

"What were you two plotting, anyway?" Daewoong interrupts, before Minhyun says something that will make Chinsung pout and manager-sshi lecture them all on teaching the baby bad habits. The baby came pre-installed with bad habits, but that's neither here nor there.

"Not plotting," Chinsung says, in that soothing tone that makes Daewoong instantly suspicious. "Just discussing how curious it is that only two of 5*STAR are people we recognize as ME juniors, and there wasn't even a whiff of such a group two weeks ago."

"No need for you to worry about that," manager-sshi says too brightly. "You just need to get along with them. And practice for the interview tomorrow."

"What interview tomorrow?" Jeongsook's hands clench on Daewoong's.

"Since we managed to get you here for the weekend, we've scheduled an interview. There will be interpreters, but it'll look better if you can answer at least some of the questions in Japanese."

Jeongsook lets go of Daewoong to dive for his backpack and his iPod. Daewoong keeps his sigh strictly internal. He's fairly certain manager-sshi doesn't mean to keep panicking Jeongsook, because a panicked leader-sshi isn't good PR. Still, there go his plans for talking Jeongsook into a little role-play tonight.

And he'd been so looking forward to talking Jeongsook into calling him "Dae-kun," like Tsukioka--Ryu-chan--had done after they finished filming.


Interlude: Now You're Speaking My Language
Dong Bang Shin Ki
Feed the Author