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Joo Won 주원- Welcome Back !

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11 hours ago, booha said:

Wow JW’s birthday LnqJ7R4.gif     Hope he had a wonderful birthday.  Hope he will make a decision about his new drama soon. 

 

9 hours ago, Tasia said:

Yeah, hopefully we will hear news about JW's drama soon.... Really can't wait!!

 

Same here. I was initially hoping that he'd jump back in right away, because I thought that would give him a head start compared to all the Hallyu stars that were still doing their enlistment back when he was discharged in February.

 

(Mostly because I still think JW is underrated and I wanted him to have that moment in the spotlight that his acting deserved.)

 

But well here we are, half a year later, and still nothing confirmed. It sounds like "Hotel Alice" (or whatever other version of the title you recognize) is our closest bet, but that's coming out early next year and I keep hoping that JW would do something unannounced this fall as a surprise.

 

9 hours ago, Tasia said:

And who knows both of our biases JW and CJH will appear together in one drama in the future.... :wub::wub:

 

I know for sure I'll be kicking myself when I get a response, but I'm gonna ask anyway: who are you referring to by CJH? I'm, like, 80% sure it's Choi Jin Hyuk, but I know I could be wrong..... :unsure:

 

As for who I'd want co-starring with JW...that's a good question :sweat_smile: It'd be really awesome if he ended up working alongside another big A-list celebrity his age, but I also know that'd be totally unrealistic (like: just how big of a budget would that production have to have to hire both of them?). So right now, more realistically, I'd say that I'd like JW to be paired with a younger up-and-coming actor - playing the hyung rather than the dongsaeng for a change.

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Hahahaha yes, @kittyna You're right.

I was referring to CJH as Choi Jin Hyuk...

 

Yeah well, but recently, there are a lot of A list actors/actresses are taking the same drama and it's awesome....

Anyway... I was just hoping for uri Joo Won to land on  a great drama again..

:heart:

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23 hours ago, Tasia said:

Hey there @booha 

Really thank you so much for keeping this thread alive! :heart:

Yeah, hopefully we will hear news about JW's drama soon.... Really can't wait!!

And who knows both of our biases JW and CJH will appear together in one drama in the future.... :wub::wub:

 

 Wow it didn’t occur to me about JW and CJH in the same drama but your suggestion ignited my stale  imagination.     Something like Youngpal, with JW dapper & smooth & contemporary and CJH stubbornly rigid & old fashioned  hahaha    Never can tell how things could twirl around under the thumb of the fate goddess right?!  Let's pray :blush:

 

@Tasia  @kittyna

Sorry to say between JW and CJH, JW is higher up in acting chops.    No doubt CJH would feel honor to be in JW’s drama though CJH is a year older.  :)

 

 

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On 10/3/2019 at 9:02 PM, Tasia said:

Hahahaha yes, @kittyna You're right.

I was referring to CJH as Choi Jin Hyuk...

 

On 10/3/2019 at 10:42 PM, booha said:

Sorry to say between JW and CJH, JW is higher up in acting chops.    No doubt CJH would feel honor to be in JW’s drama though CJH is a year older.  :)

 

I knew CJH by name, but after looking him up...I honestly can't vouch for his acting or compare him with JW, since, just by coincidence, I actually haven't watched the dramas he's in where he's played a significant role. I did watch "Pasta", but can't seem to recall who his character was - like, I know he was one of the cooks, but can't really visualize which one in my head. 

 

Which means, if nothing else, that I'm probably one of the rare handful of Hallyu fans who hasn't watched "The Heirs" :P I dunno - I think I outgrew the teen/high school drama by the time I started watching K-dramas, so it just never caught my eye. I do have my sights set on "Tunnel", though, so chances are I'll get a better firsthand look at CJH's acting eventually.

 

On 10/3/2019 at 10:42 PM, booha said:

 Wow it didn’t occur to me about JW and CJH in the same drama but your suggestion ignited my stale  imagination.     Something like Youngpal, with JW dapper & smooth & contemporary and CJH stubbornly rigid & old fashioned  hahaha    Never can tell how things could twirl around under the thumb of the fate goddess right?!  Let's pray :blush:

 

Okay, if JW ends up taking on a role similar to Kim Tae Hyun in "Yong Pal", then I'm all for it. I both really liked what the role allowed for him to do in terms of acting, and what he ultimately did with the character to flesh him out.

 

So right now, I am optimistic about "Hotel Alice" if he takes it. At first, the premise sounded really weird and out-there, but recent updates that came along with the rumours about who'd be cast for the female lead have added enough that I can honestly see JW playing the part now.

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Just thought I'd share this: Grazia released the behind-the-scenes footage from JW's recent photoshoot.

 

 

And we also have the B-cut photos from his stuff for Brentwood:

 

 

 

Also, I want to give a quick writing-related update for those who are interested. I'd said before that I had ideas for an "Ojakgyo Brothers" story, and I am glad to say that it's coming along. It's not finished yet, but I think I can get away with releasing a short Preview - just so you guys can see in advance what it's gonna be about ;)

 

Spoiler

“Boys! Come out here – your father has something to tell you!”

 

“Ne, Eomma!” I yell back through the closed door. Quickly, I use my ruler to mark my place in my book. “We’re coming!”

 

I turn off the light on the desk and get ready to go outside. But even when I’m done tidying up my stuff, Hyung still has not moved. He’s still lying on his back on the top bunk, reading his comic book.

 

I groan and roll my eyes. “Hyung, come on – we’ve got to go.”

 

“Just a minute, Tae Beom,” he says. “I’m almost finished this page.”

 

Fuming – yes, that’s a good word: “fuming” – I snatch up my eraser from my desk and throw it right at him. It misses and flies right past him, but it still manages to make a loud smack as it hits the wall.

 

“Ya!” Hyung sits up and glares down at me. “What was that for?!”

 

I know it makes me look babyish, but I stamp my foot anyway. “Come on, Hyung!” I whine. “We gotta go!”

 

“Alright, alright,” he mutters, finally starting to climb down. “I’m coming.”

 

“And what would Halmeoni say,” I snap back at him, “if she found out you were reading your comics in bed – again? You’ve already got glasses, and you want to mess up your eyesight even more?” I make circles with my fingers and hold them up to my face. “Four-eyes!”

 

“Ya, Hwang Tae Beom!”

 

Hyung tries to smack me, but I’m faster than him. We run out into the main room of the apartment, almost crashing right into Tae Pil. Normally, he’d get mad at me – and then I’d get mad at him, and then either Hyung or one of the grown-ups will have to break us up. But today, he just pouts at me his shoulder before pointing over at the other side of the room.

 

“Appa” – he’s still too little to start saying “Abeoji” yet – “who’s that?”

 

Hyung shushes him with a pinch, but he doesn’t scold him like he usually does.

 

Because all three of us are too busy staring at the kid Abeoji’s holding. He looks to be about Tae Pil’s size, but it’s hard to tell since he’s got his arms wrapped around Abeoji’s neck like a koala bear. He’s also got his head down, so I can’t see his face, either.

 

“Boys,” Abeoji says, “you all remember your cousin, Tae Hui, right?”

 

Hyung and I both nod, but Tae Pil shakes his head. Of course he wouldn’t remember – the last time we saw our aunt and cousin was at our uncle’s funeral, and Tae Pil had been just a baby.

 

“Well, here’s the thing.” Slowly, Abeoji crouches down on the floor. “Something’s come up, so he’s going to be staying with us.”

 

As Hyung makes a confused face and starts asking Abeoji more questions, Tae Pil runs closer. I follow behind him until we are both right up close.

 

“Annyeong!” Tae Pil chirps, waving his hand back and forth.

 

Finally, Tae Hui looks up. He blinks slowly at us, rubbing his eyes with his hand, before staring blankly at us.

 

Had he been sleeping?

 

“Annyeong!” Tae Pil says again. “I’m your cousin, Hwang Tae Pil.” He holds out one hand. “You wanna play?”

 

But Tae Hui doesn’t say anything. He just stares down at Tae Pil’s hand for a second before burying his face in Abeoji’s shoulder again.

 

Tae Pil is confused. He steps closer, waving his hand. If Tae Hui were looking up at us, Tae Pil’s hand would be right in his face. But nothing happens.

 

“Appa…” Tae Pil looks lost. “What’s wrong with him? Can’t he talk?”

 

“Ya!” I hiss at him. “You can’t just ask someone that – that’s rude!”

 

“Gwenchana, Tae Pil-ah,” Hyung says, coming over to join us. “He’s probably just shy. Isn’t that right, Abeoji?”

 

Abeoji looks at all of us out of the corner of his eye. “Geu rae.” He gives Tae Hui a little bounce. “Be patient, Maknae,” he says to Tae Pil. “He’ll warm up to you three soon enough.” He whispers something in Tae Hui’s ear. I can’t hear what it is, but it makes Tae Hui look back up and give us a shy wave.

 

“Aigoo! Is that our Tae Hui?!”

 

Halmeoni’s voice from the kitchen is so loud, it makes Tae Hui jump, his eyes growing super-wide. He turns around to look just as she comes out, clapping her hands at him.

 

“Look at you – you’ve gotten so big already!” Halmeoni bustles over to us. “Hwang Sa-jang,” she says to Abeoji, “I would have come out sooner, but there’s so much to be done now that our Tae Hui is here.” By now, she’s bending down in front of us, holding her arms out. “Tae Hui-yah – you still remember your dear old Halmeoni, don’t you?” She claps her hands gently. “Come and let me take a good look at you.”

 

Hyung and I exchange looks. If Tae Hui’s already so shy with kids like us, how’s he gonna react to her? But then, after staring at her for so long that I’m starting to think he really is scared, he unwraps his arms from around Abeoji’s neck and holds them out to her.

 

“Halmeoni.”

 

It’s been so long, but Tae Hui’s voice is just as cute as I remember it: quiet, almost as high as a girl’s. And his smile is the same as before, too: small – just big enough to show his two front teeth – but sweet, maybe because he’s got dimples.

 

Like a bunny rabbit’s, the grown-ups used to say.

 

Halmeoni scoops him up right away, staggering just a little as she stands back up. “Omo, omo, omo…” she murmurs to him, “you’re so heavy now.” She gives him a little bounce, so he’s sitting more comfortably in her arms. “Soon you’ll be too big for your Halmeoni to carry you anymore – and then, when you’re even bigger still, I bet you’ll be just as tall and strong as your Abeoji was.”

 

Tae Pil nudges me with his elbow. “Why’s he not scared?” he whispers

 

“Because,” Hyung answers when I glance at him, “before our Uncle’s accident, Halmeoni used to babysit him. So Tae Hui knows Halmeoni better than he does all the rest of us.”

 

“Oh….” Tae Pil nods, pointing one finger at his chin like he’s so smart.

 

“Maknae-yah,” Halmeoni says as she puts Tae Hui back down on the floor, “why don’t you show Tae Hui your room? He likes cars – just like you.”

 

Tae Pil grins. “Ne, Halmeoni!” he chirps back, giving her a salute. Then, going over to Tae Hui, he grabs onto his hand. “Come on! You wanna race cars with me?”

 

Tae Hui looks back at Halmeoni, but when she gestures for him to go ahead, he smiles and nods at Tae Pil. And then they’re both off, running into Tae Pil’s room, even as Abeoji calls out to remind them both that Tae Hui’s a year older, so “Be nice, Maknae!”

 

That leaves Hyung and me, and all the grown-ups.

 

Yeah...it can probably use some tweaking :P In my defence, I've never tried writing in a child's voice before, so that's been the most challenging aspect of this so far. Still, here's hoping the whole thing will be finished soon :) 

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(uncle google trans :))

Speaking of Japanese is interesting ♪ (´ε `) is cute (か わ い い) ♥ ️
✔️ Fan Club Website Renewal Message NEW!
✔️
Japanese translation)
Official Japanese fan club from October 1, 2019
The homepage has been renewed!
Please come to play a lot ~ ♡
Glad

 

 

 

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"Kim Tak Gu" bakery - I think this is the actual one they filmed in, and it's been all fitted out to be themed to the drama since :P 

 

 

 

And you know you've been in this fandom too long when you can actually tell which shots each of these came from :P 

 

 

 

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On 10/5/2019 at 9:42 PM, kittyna said:

Which means, if nothing else, that I'm probably one of the rare handful of Hallyu fans who hasn't watched "The Heirs" :P I dunno - I think I outgrew the teen/high school drama by the time I started watching K-dramas, so it just never caught my eye. I do have my sights set on "Tunnel", though, so chances are I'll get a better firsthand look at CJH's acting eventually.

 

I haven't watched Heirs..I don't plan watching it either. I heard too many things goes on in drama and sometimes they're absurd. There's also another reason to avoid it. But it's not a good one so i'll skip mentioning it. :P

 

Choi Jin Hyuk is a very good actor. His acting took time to flourish but he's really good. As you're eyeing Tunnle, I do suggest you to watch this one when you've time. I can't praise Tunnle enough for nicely executing time travel and crime theme with well performed cast. The blend of everything in that drama was perfect. This drama gave critical acclaim to CJH's potential as an actor. He caught my eyes in 2014 when I watched his drama Pride and Prejudice, a legal drama, that's a very good one too. I recommend that one too. I never saw many well thought reviews of Pride & Prejudice, But I personally liked it so very much.

 

@booha and @Tasia, I do think it's tough to cast two top actors in one drama. But well there can always be cameo roles or special roles. So I think acting together can happen. 

Oh also..I tend to forget about movies. I'm more of a drama person. Two or more top actors can be casted easily in movies.

 

It seems like JW is almost decided on "Hotel Alice" or "Alice" because they're still associating him in news of that drama. 

They're talking about Kim Hee Sun as female lead.. I know she's good..But I wish JW could do dramas with other good actresses around his age. This sentiment of mine is nothing against Kim Hee Sun, just my wish to see JW now with actresses with similar age group. And if the production is thinking of casting Kim Hee Sun, the drama might be of noona romance. If it's not a noona romance story, the age gap will be glaring in my opinion. But I would like to be optimistic. It's his comeback project. Hopefully everything will turn out good, whatever it is.

 

Speaking of Joo Won and Kim Hee Sun, they received influence award from a Chinese award show together in 2015..

So is it in their destiny to work together..?  :lol:

CTWWdg8U8AAbHVW.jpg

 

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8 hours ago, flutterby06 said:

I haven't watched Heirs..I don't plan watching it either. I heard too many things goes on in drama and sometimes they're absurd. There's also another reason to avoid it. But it's not a good one so i'll skip mentioning it. :P

 

I think "The Heirs" gets a bit of a bad rap for being a teenybopper sort of drama - i.e., that it's really shallow and just for teenagers, and that it became so popular because it was marketed to that particular demographic (who drive most of the "sexy Oppa" side of the Hallyu market). Not having watched it before, I don't know if it deserves that reputation - personally, I want to give it the benefit of the doubt and hope that it's got enough depth to warrant its popularity - but I do remember "The Heirs" specifically coming up in the comments on an Instagram post by a JW fan who was frustrated that "Bridal Mask" and "Good Doctor" were relatively underrated dramas.

 

Okay, it took me way longer than it should have to track down that post again, but here it is (the mention of "The Heirs" shows up in the comments that other fans left rather than on the actual post, so you'd have to click through to see it):

 

 

Point is: I figured out pretty early on that there's a bit of...not really hostility, but just a generally bad feeling from JW's fans on his behalf whenever they compare his popularity in proportion to that of actors in the typical "flower boy"-style dramas. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of that, to be honest, but I do like JW chooses roles that fall outside the box :glasses:

 

11 hours ago, flutterby06 said:

@booha and @Tasia, I do think it's tough to cast two top actors in one drama. But well there can always be cameo roles or special roles. So I think acting together can happen. 

Oh also..I tend to forget about movies. I'm more of a drama person. Two or more top actors can be casted easily in movies.

 

I should probably specify that I meant, say, casting two A-list actors as the male leads - an A-list actor combined with an A-list actress is very common. But when it's two guys, chances are there's at least a slight difference in terms of how popular they are, such as combining a more established actor with one who's starting to get famous. There are examples of dramas where that works out well for both of them, but I know that that's not a guarantee ("Cheese in the Trap" being one particularly infamous example where things went wrong).

 

11 hours ago, flutterby06 said:

It seems like JW is almost decided on "Hotel Alice" or "Alice" because they're still associating him in news of that drama. 

They're talking about Kim Hee Sun as female lead.. I know she's good..But I wish JW could do dramas with other good actresses around his age. This sentiment of mine is nothing against Kim Hee Sun, just my wish to see JW now with actresses with similar age group. And if the production is thinking of casting Kim Hee Sun, the drama might be of noona romance. If it's not a noona romance story, the age gap will be glaring in my opinion. But I would like to be optimistic. It's his comeback project. Hopefully everything will turn out good, whatever it is.

 

Personally, I don't mind seeing JW paired with an older actress, whether it's a noona-dongsaeng sort of story or not. What matters, in my opinion, is whether both he and the actress end up playing characters with a reasonable amount of maturity for their ages - which is where, I think, "Level 7 Civil Servant" fell flat, since not only was it hard enough trying to visualize JW and Choi Kang Hee's characters as peers who are close in age, but JW's character in particular was so childish that it made the age difference an even bigger deal than it was to begin with. (Yet, after seeing JW and CKH's interactions with each other on 1N2D, I thought they were really sweet as a noona-dongsaeng friendship - I guess their real-life personalities meshed better than their drama characters' ones did.)

 

If JW does end up working with Kim Hee Sun, that's the same age difference (10 years). However, I'm way more optimistic about that working this time around, since I can see how JW's matured as an actor and as a person since 2013. Now, I can definitely see him portraying an older character if that's what's asked of him. :) 

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Just popping by to share what looks to be an amazing piece of fanart

 

 

And it looks like JW himself has been getting in touch with his artistic side lately ;) 

 

 

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The Evolution of JW's Profile Pics....

 

 

So yes, he did change his Instagram profile pic recently - and no surprise which specific shot he chose from that photo shoot either :P 

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Some updates on the whole "Hotel Alice" situation:

 

 

This does seem to answer some of the questions that have been raised here about the age difference between JW and Kim Hee Sun, if nothing else. Also, they'd better be offering him a really sweet deal, since they've stretched out this negotiation process for months. Like, I'm pretty sure it normally doesn't take this long???

 

Also, if JW does agree to this, he'll be playing a cop again. Which would make this the fourth time, I think? I'm counting "Ojakgyo Brothers", "Gaksital" and "Catch Me/Steal My Heart"...am I missing any?

 

Finally, a couple of miscellaneous updates from the past day or two:

 

Spoiler

:skull:Sorry, but what the hell is that?! (Yes, it made me jump seeing that on Instagram this morning)

 

 

Just wondering: would anyone know whether that's makeup or a filter? Either way, it seems like JW's getting into the Halloween spirit already :naughty: Either that, or he's just watched "Joker"....

 

Close up of that shot if anyone needs it

 

 

And then we have JW's more artistic/aesthetic side (he didn't take the photo, but it's still got that vibe)

 

 

And last but not least, JW's totally dorky side, which I will admit was a welcome relief after that creepy shot from before :P (And don't worry, Oppa - hot coffee's nice too)

 

 

 

 

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On 10/25/2019 at 2:25 PM, kittyna said:

 

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Just wondering: would anyone know whether that's makeup or a filter? Either way, it seems like JW's getting into the Halloween spirit already :naughty: Either that, or he's just watched "Joker"....

 


I briefly looked through both Instagram and Snapchat and couldn't find the filter. I think maybe you have to search through the filters on Instagram though. (Part of the new Instagram update) Also.... I didn't get to check the SNOW app yet. I have a feeling it is just a filter. Haha.
 

Lot's of pictures of Joo Won on his phone. BTW.... is he still using his iPhone these days?
I thought he used an iPhone. Maybe he changed his phone??
Maybe he has many phones? Who knows. Lol. :ph34r:

Credit: Min Jung Kim via. Instagram

 


I'm glad Joo Won is enjoying his leisure time. The more happier he is, the more happier we are. :P

Credit: Si Young Lee via. Instagram

 

Also I wanted to share that I got the October issue of Grazia.


4sEEYS1.jpg

 

2dMc2h6.jpg

 

FR1J0LS.jpg

 

Sorry I didn't post all of the photos, but hopefully you guys saw most of them anyways online.
Whenever he does beautiful photo shoots I always have to buy the magazine they are in. Lol.
The last one I was in love with were the ones from the Céci December 2015 edition. :P

What a beautiful man! :love:

 

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Joo Won's Korean Fan Club painted a mural and he posted a pictures on his Instagram showing he visited it, saw it in person and also thanked them. :P

I wish the Soompi Fans could do something for him again. I miss the days when we did cool things like the pillow with the signatures, sending him our postcards or our collection of personal messages we sent to him. :tears:

Credit: Joo Won via. Instagram

 

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@tokkimoon - Thanks for all the recent pics you've been sharing :) It's great to see JW having fun with his friends. He seems to hang out with this bunch quite a lot, since I've seen @leesiyoung38 show up numerous times on Instagram updates.

 

I also think it's cute that he checked out his own birthday mural. By the way, if you look at the Instagram story JW posted of it, he includes a really sweet but unintentionally funny message:

 

 

 

Okay, so I imagine "thanksful" is just a typo - or he mixed up "full of thanks" and "thankful". Either way, it's cute. :blush: But I honestly cracked up at "Y'all" - like, what???

 

For those who don't know: y'all = you all, is something that is very strongly associated with the accent of Americans living in the southern part of the US. So for those of you not from North America...think places like Texas :P So just hearing that drawl in my head while reading JW's caption...I don't think he meant for it to sound silly, but it just did. To me, anyway. I mean silly in a cute way, of course ;) 

 

Finally, I do want to share this with you all, since the fan who posted this wound up touching on one of JW's features that I find most physically attractive:

 

 

 

Yeah, I just really, really like JW's tiny waist for some reason. lol - other fans might be going googly-eyed over some of his other scenes, but the ones that do it for me are the moments in "Yong Pal" when he ties on that surgical apron and you just see how slim his torso was pre-enlistment.

 

Does that make me weird? I hope not.

 

Because honestly...I don't know why, but I'm not attracted to the big, bulked up, muscular guys. Maybe I find that intimidating (in a, "That guy could seriously hurt someone if he wanted to" sort of way) or vain or possibly even animalistic. I don't know, actually - I just know that that means things like chocolate abs really aren't my thing :P  

 

Instead, I much prefer guys with a leaner build - not skinny, but somewhere in that happy medium between skinny and beefed up. I usually use the term "gentleman scholar" to describe what I'm referring to: lean, wiry, with enough muscle on him to be able to pull off a button-up shirt or a closely tailored suit or tuxedo (or a tailcoat, like in "Nae Il's Cantabile" - those really require a nipped-in waist to look good), but not to the point of looking "big" - tall, yes, but not big.

 

So while it was JW's personality that first drew me to him, it doesn't hurt that physically, he just so happens to be more or less my type as well. I mean, I know he's gotten a lot more bulked up during and since his enlistment, but at the same time, I do feel that his general proportions haven't changed that much (save for his arms - those are massive now).

 

One last thing: I'm almost finished the "Ojakgyo Brothers" fanfic I've been working on. I don't want to release another preview, since it's not really all that long to begin with, but I just thought I'd give everyone a heads up that it is coming - I'm just slow because real life has been busy.

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@kittyna Remember when you asked if that Halloween picture Joo Won posted was a filter or real makeup? I can 100% confirm it was a filter. Lol. I saw it on the Snow app! Haha.

 


Also it looks like Joo Won and his friends went bowling.
His friend posted a story on his Instagram.

 

Credit: JooWon_Thailand_FanClub via. Instagram via. GwagSangHo via. Instagram

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So here we go: my very first "Ojakgyo Brothers" fanfic!

 

Spoiler

Title: Orphan

Drama: "Ojakgyo Brothers"

Characters: Hwang Tae Beom, Hwang Tae Hui, Hwang Tae Sik, Hwang Tae Pil

Premise: What started off as a completely normal weekend for the Hwang brothers takes an unexpected turn when they're told their cousin Tae Hui will be staying with them - for good. As he and his brothers scramble to adjust to the newest member of the family, Tae Beom tries to solve the mystery of what actually happened to his little cousin.

 

Note on timeline: In order to write these characters as little kids, I had to figure out their exact age differences first - being three years or four years apart isn't that big a deal when you're in your 30s, but when you're still little...that can be quite a substantial difference in maturity. Unfortunately, most of the brothers' ages are revealed in the drama in quick throwaway "blink and you'll miss them" comments - but here's what I managed to figure out for their ages at the start of the drama (ages given first in Korean reckoning, with "real"/biological/international age in brackets). If I got any of these wrong, please forgive me. :unsure:

 

Tae Sik - 37 (36)

Tae Beom - 34 (33)

Tae Hui - 30 (29)

Tae Pil - 29 (28)

 

And since we know that Tae Hui is 6 (5) when he's adopted, that means the character's ages in this fic will be as follows:

 

Tae Sik - 13 (12)

Tae Beom - 10 (9)

Tae Hui - 6 (5)

Tae Pil - 5 (4)

 

That being said, if I end up messing up on how children talk, especially in Tae Beom's narration, then my apologies. In my defence, though, I do see him as being rather precocious for his age ;) 

 

Once again, please do not repost or republish this fic on any other website - if you want to share it, please just use the URL for this comment. Thanks!

 

Spoiler

Orphan

 

“Boys! Come out here – your father has something to tell you!”

 

“Ne, Eomma!” I yell back through the closed door. Quickly, I use my ruler to mark my place in my math workbook. “We’re coming!”

 

I turn off the light on the desk and get ready to go outside. But even when I’m done tidying up my stuff, Hyung still has not moved. He’s still lying on his back in the corner where he sleeps, his comic book right in front of his face.

 

I groan and roll my eyes. “Hyung, come on – we’ve got to go.”

 

“Just a minute, Tae Beom,” he says. “I’m almost finished this page.”

 

Fuming – yes, that’s a good word: “fuming” – I snatch up my eraser from my desk and throw it right at him. It misses and flies right past him, but still manages to make a loud smack as it hits the wall.

 

“Ya!” Hyung sits up and glares down at me. “What was that for?!”

 

I know it makes me look babyish, but I stamp my foot anyway. “Come on, Hyung!” I whine. “We gotta go!”

 

“Alright, alright,” he mutters, finally starting to get up. “I’m coming.”

 

“And what would Halmeoni say,” I snap back at him, “if she found out you were reading your comics in the dark – again? You’ve already got glasses, and you want to mess up your eyesight even more?” I make circles with my fingers and hold them up to my face. “Four-eyes!”

 

“Ya, Hwang Tae Beom!”

 

Hyung tries to smack me, but I’m faster than him. We run out into the main room of the apartment, almost crashing right into Tae Pil. Normally, he’d get mad at me – and then I’d get mad at him, and then either Hyung or one of the grown-ups will have to break us up. But today, he just pouts at me his shoulder before pointing over at the other side of the room.

 

“Appa” – he’s still too little to start saying “Abeoji” yet – “who’s that?”

 

Hyung shushes him with a pinch, but he doesn’t scold him like he usually does – because all three of us are too busy staring at the kid Abeoji’s holding. He looks to be about Tae Pil’s size, but it’s hard to tell since he’s got his arms wrapped around Abeoji’s neck like a koala bear. He’s also got his head down, so I can’t see his face, either.

 

“Boys,” Abeoji says, “you all remember your cousin, Tae Hui, right?”

 

Hyung and I both nod, but Tae Pil shakes his head. Of course he wouldn’t remember – the last time we saw our Aunt and cousin was at our Uncle’s funeral, and Tae Pil had been just a baby.

 

“Well, here’s the thing.” Slowly, Abeoji crouches down on the floor. “Something’s come up, so he’s going to be staying with us.”

 

Hyung starts asking Abeoji more questions, while I follow just behind Tae Pil as he runs closer. Soon, we’re both standing behind Abeoji, just inches away from Tae Hui. He still has his head down, though, so all I can see is his hair.

 

That doesn’t stop Tae Pil from trying to talk to him anyway. “Annyeong!” he chirps, waving his hand back and forth.

Finally, Tae Hui looks up. He blinks slowly at us, rubbing his eyes with his hand, before staring blankly at us.

 

Is that why he hasn’t spoken yet? Because he was sleeping?

 

“Annyeong!” Tae Pil says again. “I’m your cousin, Hwang Tae Pil.” He holds out one hand. “You wanna play?”

 

But Tae Hui doesn’t say anything. He just stares down at Tae Pil’s hand for a second before burying his face in Abeoji’s shoulder again.

 

Tae Pil is confused. He steps closer, waving his hand. If Tae Hui were looking up at us, Tae Pil’s hand would be right in his face. But nothing happens.

 

“Appa…” Tae Pil looks lost. “What’s wrong with him? Can’t he talk?”

 

“Ya!” I give him a sharp nudge with my elbow. “You can’t just ask someone that – that’s rude!”

 

“Gwenchana, Tae Pil-ah,” Hyung says, coming over to join us. “He’s probably just shy. Isn’t that right, Abeoji?”

 

Abeoji looks at all of us out of the corner of his eye. “Geu rae.” He gives Tae Hui a little bounce. “Be patient, Maknae,” he says to Tae Pil. “He’ll warm up to you three soon enough.” He whispers something in Tae Hui’s ear. I can’t hear what it is, but it makes Tae Hui look back up and give us a shy wave.

 

“Aigoo! Is that our Tae Hui?!”

 

Halmeoni’s voice from the kitchen is so loud, it makes Tae Hui jump, his eyes growing super-wide. He turns around to look just as she comes out, clapping her hands at him.

 

“Look at you – you’ve gotten so big already!” Halmeoni bustles over to us. “Hwang Sa-jang,” she says to Abeoji, “I would have come out sooner, but there’s so much to be done now that our Tae Hui is here.” By now, she’s bending down in front of us, holding her arms out. “Tae Hui-yah – you still remember your dear old Halmeoni, don’t you?” She claps her hands gently. “Come and let me take a good look at you.”

 

Hyung and I exchange looks. If Tae Hui’s already so shy with kids like us, how’s he gonna react to her? But then, after staring at her for so long that I’m starting to worry that he really is scared, he unwraps his arms from around Abeoji’s neck and holds them out to her.

 

“Halmeoni.”

 

It’s been so long, but Tae Hui’s voice is just as cute as I remember it: quiet, almost as high as a girl’s. And his smile is the same as before, too: small – just big enough to show his two front teeth – but sweet, with two big dimples on his chubby cheeks.

 

His smile’s like a bunny rabbit’s, the grown-ups used to say.

 

Halmeoni scoops him up right away, staggering just a little under his weight as she stands back up. “Omo, omo, omo…” she murmurs to him, “you’re so heavy now.” She gives him a little bounce, so he’s sitting more comfortably in her arms. “Soon you’ll be too big for your Halmeoni to carry you anymore – and then, when you’re even bigger still, I bet you’ll be just as tall and strong as your Abeoji was.”

 

Tae Pil nudges me with his elbow. “Why’s he not scared?” he whispers

 

“Because,” Hyung answers when I glance at him, “before our Uncle’s accident, Halmeoni used to babysit him. So Tae Hui knows Halmeoni better than he does all the rest of us.”

 

“Oh….” Tae Pil nods, pointing one finger at his chin like he’s so smart.

 

“Maknae-yah,” Halmeoni says as she puts Tae Hui back down on the floor, “why don’t you show Tae Hui your room? He likes cars – just like you.”

 

Tae Pil grins. “Ne, Halmeoni!” he chirps back, giving her a salute. Then, going over to Tae Hui, he grabs onto his hand. “Come on! You wanna race cars with me?”

 

Tae Hui looks back at Halmeoni, but when she gestures for him to go ahead, he smiles and nods at Tae Pil. And then they’re both off, running into Tae Pil’s room even as Abeoji calls out to remind them both that Tae Hui’s a year older, so “Be nice, Maknae!”

 

That leaves Hyung and me, and all the grown-ups.

 

“Tae Beom-ah,” Halmeoni says, “go and keep an eye on them before they get the idea to tear this whole place down.”

 

“Ne,” I answer, grinning at her. I don’t know about Tae Hui, but Tae Pil can certainly make a big mess when he wants to. “But what about Hyung? Shouldn’t he come, too?”

 

Hyung nods. He opens his mouth to say so, but then Abeoji holds up his hand.

 

“In a moment, Tae Sik-ah. You can join the others later. But first, there’s something we need to tell you.”

 

I know that means I’m supposed to go, but I don’t move until Abeoji actually gives me a look. So even though I’m dying to know what Hyung can know that I can’t, I go.

 

I can always pry it out of him later. I’m good at that.

 

~~~~~

 

“Mwo?!” My mouth drops wide open at Hyung. “‘For good’? What do you mean, he’s staying here for good?”

 

“Ya!” Hyung shushes me, putting one finger to his lips. “Keep it down – they’ll hear you.”

 

I look back over my shoulder at the wall separating our room from Tae Pil’s. Even from here, I can hear Tae Pil and Tae Hui racing their toy cars around the room – Tae Pil’s making ninety percent of the noise, though.

 

But that’s not important. Not with the bomb that Hyung’s just dropped.

 

“So what do you mean?”

 

“I mean,” Hyung retorts, “what I’ve just said. Eomma and Abeoji…we’re adopting him.”

 

I shake my head. That’s even more confusing.

 

“Wae?” I ask. “Why do we have to take care of Tae Hui? Doesn’t he have his own Eomma?”

 

I mean, I know – we all know – what happened to our Uncle, but that still leaves our Aunt, right?

 

But Hyung shakes his head. “Not anymore.”

 

My mouth falls wide open. “Mwo? Wae?” I drop down to a whisper. “Did…did something bad happen to our Aunt?”

 

“I don’t know,” Hyung snaps. “Abeoji wouldn’t say. All he said was that….” He twirls one hand around in the air, like when he’s trying to find the right word to say.

 

I try to help. “‘Apparently’?”

 

He snaps his fingers and smiles in relief. “Geu rae – ‘apparently’. Komawo, Tae Beom-ah – you’re so smart. But anyway – well, ‘apparently,’ for some reason I don’t know, our Aunt just can’t take care of Tae Hui anymore.”

 

I still don’t get what Hyung’s saying, but I nod anyway. “So she told Abeoji to bring him here?”

 

Hyung shakes his head, reaching up to grab his hair with one hand. “I…I think that’s what they – the grown ups, I mean – all had in mind at first. Apparently – there’s that word again – they’d all known about this for a while.”

 

I know it’s rude, but I jump in anyway. “So why didn’t they tell us?”

 

“Because that’s not what actually happened,” Hyung bursts out. “I mean, I’m sure that was the plan – that arrangements would be made, and then Abeoji would tell us with Tae Hui coming over a few weeks or months from now – but instead” – he snaps his fingers again – “our Aunt just disappeared, just like that.”

 

I feel something cold and heavy, like a big rock, in my stomach. This is just getting weirder and weirder. “Mwo?”

 

“No-one – not even Abeoji – knows what happened. All we know is that when Tae Hui woke up yesterday morning, he was all by himself.”

 

“Omo!” I gasp, clapping my hands over my mouth when it comes out too loud. “So how did he get here?”

 

“Someone found him sitting out on the street by himself last night and called the police. They thought he’d just gotten lost, so they took him back to the station with them.”

 

“Why didn’t he tell them what’d happened?” And then, it hits me. “Was it because he was scared?”

 

Hyung shrugs helplessly. “Maybe. But Halmeoni said that Tae Hui’s always been quiet to begin with, so who knows? But this morning, when still no-one had come for him, the cops finally asked if there was anyone else besides our Aunt they could call.” A small relieved smile grows on his face. “Thank goodness Tae Hui remembered Halmeoni. It still took the police a long time to figure out who exactly our Halmeoni was and then track down our phone number, but once they had that…you know how Abeoji just ran out ‘on a quick errand’ after lunch?”

 

I nod.

 

“Well, that was to pick Tae Hui up from the police station.” Hyung now spreads his arms out wide open. “And here we are.”

 

“So…what’re we gonna do?” I look back at the wall between Tae Pil’s room and ours. “Does Tae Hui know what’s going on?”

 

“I don’t know,” Hyung barks back at me. “Abeoji said he tried to explain on the way here, but Tae Hui’s still so little….”

 

I understand what he means. I’m ten this year – all grown up, as Halmeoni would say – and even I’m confused. And Tae Hui’s only six!

 

“So I guess,” Hyung continues, “we’re just gonna have to make things up as we go along.” He shrugs. “It’s not like Tae Hui’s got any other place to go–”

 

“Stop it! Give it back!”

 

I stare at Hyung. Hyung stares right back at me, his eyes huge in surprise.

 

That was Tae Hui.

 

“We’d better go, Tae Beom-ah,” Hyung says. “Bbali, before the grown-ups find out.”

 

Together, we rush into Tae Pil’s room. The two little kids are sitting on the floor, each grabbing onto one end of Tae Pil’s big toy police car. They yank it back and forth, neither of them willing to let go.

 

Hyung’s jaw drops. “Ya – of all the – ya, stop it!”

 

They don’t seem to hear him. Instead, with one sharp tug, Tae Hui wins, pulling the car so hard out of Tae Pil’s hands that they both fall over backwards.

 

“Ow!” Tae Pil squawks, scrambling up to his feet. “You big meanie – that hurt!”

 

He looks like he wants to throw himself at Tae Hui, so Hyung grabs him while I grab Tae Hui, and we pull them apart to opposite sides of the room.

 

“Ya, Hwang Tae Pil!” Hyung snaps. “What’s wrong with you?”

 

Tae Pil points angrily at the police car. “I was playing with that!”

 

Hyung and I both stare at Tae Hui, but he shakes his head, hugging the car close.

 

Tae Pil gets even madder and stomps his foot. “Was too!”

 

“Aniya!” Tae Hui protests. “I had it first.”

 

“But it’s mine!” Tae Pil whines. “Pick something else – like the firetruck.”

 

“But you said that one’s yours, too.” He’d started off quiet, but now he gets louder and louder. “The firetruck is yours, the race car is yours…everything is yours, so what am I gonna play with?!”

 

My mouth falls open in surprise. Tae Pil looks like he wants to say something, but Hyung stops him by turning him around to look him in the eye. “Ya, Tae Pil-ah,” he says, “what did we say to you about sharing?”

 

Tae Pil pouts. He doesn’t want to admit that he was wrong – he never does – but then he looks down at the floor. “If I have something, and somebody else doesn’t,” he mutters, nudging the floor with his feet like he’s sulking, “then I have to share with them.”

 

Hyung nods. “Geu rae. So…?”

 

“But it’s not fair.” Tae Pil points at Tae Hui again. “What about him? Why am I the only one who has to share?”

 

“Because–”

 

I try to explain, but Hyung beats me to it. “Just because.”

 

I know I shouldn’t do it, but I roll my eyes and smack myself on the forehead anyway. Hyung might be the oldest out of the three of us, but he just happens to be the dumbest as well.

 

No wonder, then, that Tae Pil just makes a weird face. “Huh?”

 

“You…you know. Things like your toys or your room.”

 

“I know that!” Tae Pil squawks in protest. “But what about him?”

 

“A-Abeoji will bring Tae Hui’s things here tomorrow,” Hyung continues. “But Tae Pil-ah, it’s not just you. We’ll all have to share with Tae Hui from now on.”

 

Tae Pil blinks at him in surprise. “Why?”

 

Hyung grabs the nape of his neck with one hand – clear sign that he’s getting nervous. And no wonder: once Tae Pil starts on his questions like this, he never shuts up.

 

“Um…because….”

 

“Why?”

 

“Well, be-because our cousin Tae Hui’s gotta stay with us and–”

 

“Why?”

 

“Well, that’s because Abeoji and Eomma will be taking care of him and–”

 

“Why?”

 

Hyung blinks several times. “What do you mean, ‘Why’?”

 

Something doesn’t feel right. I tighten my grip on Tae Hui’s shoulders, just in case. “Hyung….”

 

“Why do Eomma and Appa have to take care of cousin Tae Hui now?” Tae Pil makes a strange face – no wonder, since he’s only five.

 

“Well….”

 

“Doesn’t he have his own Eomma?”

 

“Well, that’s because–”

 

“Because he’s our cousin, right? So doesn’t that make our Aunt his Eomma and–”

 

“Because he hasn’t got one!” Hyung bursts out, finally sick and tired of Tae Pil’s endless questions. “Because she left him all by himself, and we can’t find her, so she’s probably not coming back!”

 

All four of us go completely still. My jaw drops. Slowly, through my hands, I feel Tae Hui tensing up.

 

“Hyung!”

 

He turns to look at us, his expression just as surprised as mine. “Tae Beom-ah….”

 

“What’s your problem?” I blurt out, squeezing Tae Hui’s shoulders to try to stop him from trembling. “You big, fat dummy – how could you say something like that–”

 

But I don’t get to say any more, because just then, Tae Hui starts to cry. I knew he was going to sooner or later, but he starts so suddenly now, it’s like everything that’s happened yesterday and today has just hit him all at once. He drops the police car down onto the floor with a clatter, his hands balling up into fists. His mouth opens and his eyes scrunch shut as tears roll down his round cheeks – the only part of him that’s actually properly chubby like a little kid’s. And because he is still a little kid, he cries like all little kids do:

 

“Eomma!!!”

 

Running footsteps rumble outside before all three adults burst into the room. Immediately, Halmeoni crouches down beside Tae Hui, scooping him up into her arms the second I let go.

 

“Aigoo…” she coos, her voice just barely audible over Tae Hui’s cries. “My poor baby…my poor baby….Gwenchana, Tae Hui-yah, your Halmeoni’s got you….”

 

She carries him out of the room, Eomma following just behind. As for Hyung and Tae Pil, Abeoji’s already got them both standing at attention in front of him. But while Tae Pil starts to fidget, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, Hyung just stands there with his head down and his lips pressed together.

 

“What’s going on?” Abeoji booms, looking disapprovingly over both of them. “What’d you do to him?”

 

Why he hadn’t called for me to join my brothers before he started interrogating – because “interrogating” really is the best way to put it – them is beyond me. But I do notice when Hyung flinches even as Tae Pil opens his mouth to protest.

 

“It wasn’t me, Appa – it was Hyung!”

 

“Ya, Hwang Tae Pil!” I blurt out, stepping over towards them. “Quit lying – none of this would’ve happened if you’d just been willing to share your toys.”

 

As Tae Pil whines at me for “tattling,” Abeoji peers over his shoulder at me. After staring at me for a long moment, he turns back to the others.

 

“Is that so? Alright, then: which one of you is going to talk?”

 

~~~~~

 

I don’t see Tae Hui again until later in the afternoon, after I’ve finished my homework for the weekend and gone to the kitchen for a snack. As I come back out into the main room with my well-deserved bottle of banana milk, I spot him seated at the large dining table with a colouring book.

 

The book looks new, as does the box of crayons beside it. In hopes that it would cheer him up, Halmeoni had taken Tae Hui with her to the market to buy more ingredients for tonight’s dinner. From what I’ve heard, she’d also treated him with a gift from the toy store – this must be it.

 

I’m about to take a step closer when, just then, Tae Pil comes out from his room, his toy police car and firetruck in his arms. Usually, that wouldn’t stop me from heading over anyway; but this time, I stay back as he approaches the table.

 

“Here,” Tae Pil says, setting down both cars with a clatter. “You can have these.”

 

Tae Hui stops colouring and looks at the toys for a long moment. He says something to Tae Pil, but his voice is so quiet that I can’t make out what.

 

“Gwenchana,” Tae Pil answers with a shrug. “I have a ton. So you can play with these until you get your own.”

 

Tae Hui nods, then goes right back to colouring.

 

“Mianhae.”

 

I blink in surprise at the same time that Tae Hui does. I know that Abeoji had given Tae Pil a stern talking-to about sharing, but it’s not like him to just apologize without sulking about it for a while first.

 

“I shouldn’t have been mean. I’ll share with you from now on.” Tae Pil holds out his hand, pinky extended. “Promise.”

 

Both of them pinky swear, and then Tae Pil scampers over to the television in the corner, turning it on to his favourite kids’ channel. I’ve outgrown the brightly coloured cartoons that he likes a long time ago, so I just ignore him and start to head back to my room….

 

Wait.

 

I stop, right in front of my bedroom door, and look down at my banana milk. Turning my head, I look back over my shoulder at Tae Hui and then at the toy cars beside him on the table.

 

Hyung’s right. Tae Pil might have to share the most – his toys, his room, everything – with Tae Hui since they’re so close in age, but really, all of us should share. It’s only right.

 

Before I can stop myself, I head over to the table and sit down beside Tae Hui, poking the straw through the foil top of my banana milk before holding it out to him. “Here you go.”

 

Just like with Tae Pil’s cars earlier, Tae Hui spends a long moment just staring at the banana milk, but then he takes it, holding it with both hands as he drinks.

 

“Do you like it?” I ask as he sets the half-finished bottle back down on the table. “Is it good?”

 

Tae Hui nods, his eyes still focused on the drawing. “Mm.”

 

As he starts colouring once again, I scoot closer so I could look over his shoulder. He’s chosen to work on a picture of a large airplane, but what catches my eye is how he carefully fills in each small window of the fuselage with his light blue crayon.

 

“Wa…” I gasp, impressed. “Tae Pil scribbles all over the place, but you’re staying inside the lines already?” I reach over and ruffle his hair with one hand. “Good job, Tae Hui-yah!”

 

He nods silently. Just like with the banana milk, I guess that’s his way of saying thanks. But I can’t stay quiet like that; I’d go crazy.

 

“Do you like planes?” I ask when the silence goes on too long. When Tae Hui nods again, I tap my finger on the picture. “Is there anywhere you want to go, then?”

 

“Mm,” he hums with a nod. “America.”

 

“‘America’?” I gasp. “Ya…that’s awesome! But isn’t that a bit far? Wouldn’t you be afraid to go that far away all by yourself?”

 

He shakes his head, lips pursed into a determined pout. “Not by myself. Eomma said she’d take me there.”

 

My jaw drops. “Jinjja?!”

 

“Mm.”

 

I look around to see if anyone’s heard us. But none of the adults are in the room: just Tae Pil, and he’s sitting so close to the television by now that I know he’s not paying attention to us anyway.

 

Mouth still hanging open, I stare at Tae Hui. “Ya, Hwang Tae Hui, you – you little – I mean, you knew where our Aunt – ani, I mean, your Eomma – you knew where she was this whole time?”

 

He nods. “She said she’d take me, too.”

 

So what’s he doing here all by himself? I want to ask Tae Hui that, but I can’t. I don’t want him to start crying again – and besides, it’s not like he’d know anyway.

 

Instead, I ask another question: “Just the two of you? All by yourselves?”

 

Tae Hui shakes his head. “Samchon was going, too.”

 

“‘Samchon’?”

 

“He comes to our house sometimes,” Tae Hui says simply. He makes a face. “Eomma says he’s gonna be my ‘new Appa’. After we go to America.”

 

Ah. Now I’m starting to get what’s going on. Good job, Tae Beom-ah. Just a little more, and I’ll know everything.

 

“Do you like him, this ‘Samchon’?”

 

Tae Hui shrugs, but doesn’t stop his colouring.

 

“Does he like you?”

 

That makes him slow down, his hand coming to a stop. For a long moment, Tae Hui doesn’t say anything, but I do see him blinking slowly several times. He lets out a sniff, then shakes his head. “Eomma says he does, but…but I don’t think so.”

 

“Wae?”

 

“Samchon is nice to Eomma, but he doesn’t smile at me. And he doesn’t play with me. And….”

 

Tae Hui goes quiet, but I don’t need him to finish. He’s only six, so he probably doesn’t understand, but I think I know what happened now: his mother’s new boyfriend must have made her choose between him and Tae Hui; she must have slipped away in the middle of the night because she couldn’t bring herself to say goodbye.

 

As this all goes through my head, I see Tae Hui scrunching up on himself. He puts down his crayon and tucks his knees up under his chin, wrapping his arms around them like he’s trying to hug himself. He’s sniffling even more now, and his face crumples….

 

Omo, omo, omo – now I’ve done it.

 

Quickly, before the adults can notice, I tap Tae Hui on the shoulder and help him to climb into my lap. He hugs me the same way he did Abeoji earlier today, with his arms linked around my neck and his head resting on my shoulder.

 

“Ya, don’t cry,” I whisper softly into his ear. “Gwenchana, Tae Hui-yah – of course you miss your Eomma. Who wouldn’t, if they were in your shoes? But it’s not your fault. Sometimes grown-ups just don’t make sense – but there’s nothing wrong with you, arasseo?”

 

Tae Pil must have heard something, because he peers over his shoulder at us. When he sees Tae Hui in my arms, he scrambles up from the his spot in front of the TV and comes up beside us. “Gwenchana…uljima….” he chirps in his sing-song voice, patting Tae Hui on the shoulder in time with his words. He keeps repeating them over and over again until I feel Tae Hui going still in my arms.

 

“Don’t worry,” I say to him, patting him on the back like I’ve seen Eomma do to Tae Pil whenever he cries. “Everything will be alright – you’ve still got us.”

 

“Hyung’s right,” Tae Pil says, trying his best to wrap his tiny little arms around both of us in a big hug. “Appa and Eomma, Halmeoni, the hyungs and me…we can be your new family. And you will never, never be all alone by yourself. Never, never.”

 

~~~~~

 

“Keun-Hyung.”

 

What I’d been about to say in response to Hyung’s request dies on my lips as I join him and Tae Pil in turning to glance at Tae Hui beside me.

 

That’s strange. Normally, he’s the last out of any of us to speak up.

 

“You can’t do this. You’ve got to raise Guk Su yourself.”

 

Hyung blinks in surprise, then rallies himself to try again. “Tae Hui-yah–”

 

“Guk Su’s your son,” Tae Hui bursts out, his words drowning out Hyung’s for once. “He’s your son, so of course you should be the one to raise him. It’s only right.”

 

It’s only right.

 

In the awkward silence that follows, none of us could look Tae Hui in the eye. All three of us know what that means, even if, under the circumstances, we can’t bring ourselves to say it out loud.

 

“Honestly, Hyung,” Tae Hui continues, “I’m really pissed at you right now. I’m – I’m only putting up with this because you’re my Hyung – if you were anybody else, even if you were one of my friends, I’d have punched you ages ago.”

 

It’s surreal, hearing just how worked up he is. I try to shoot him a sympathetic look, but it goes by unnoticed, Tae Hui not even sparing me a glance as his eyes bore right into Hyung’s across the table.

 

“Because you know – because I’m….”

 

He cuts himself off, a frustrated scoff rumbling deep in his throat.

 

“You know my birth mother remarried and left me behind. Back then, Abeoji and Eomma had no choice but to–” He cuts himself off, now redirecting his gaze to shoot daggers at Tae Pil. “I know you don’t like that, so let me correct myself – Uncle and Aunt had no choice but to take me in.”

 

Now it’s my turn to glare at Tae Pil – have the two of them really been fighting over this again? Despite his earnest promise to the contrary, Tae Pil did end up taking Tae Hui’s adoption harder than Hyung or I. And, in that way that little kids do, he’d always fallen back on the one thing that he could hold over Tae Hui’s head whenever they quarreled over some little thing: that Tae Hui was adopted, that our Eomma was not his real one.

 

Tae Pil might be the maknae, but for goodness’s sake, he’s pushing thirty by this point – shouldn’t he know better than to resort to such childish tactics by now?

 

At least Tae Pil has the grace to look ashamed of himself, avoiding Tae Hui’s gaze until he returns to Hyung.

 

“So for myself, I get that. But Guk Su’s different. His father’s still around, so why should his grandmother be the one to raise him?!”

 

Now Hyung, too, looks ashamed. Not that that would make him change his mind – as far as he’s concerned, marrying Ye Jin is still an easier way out – but it does mean that he also can’t look Tae Hui in the eye anymore, choosing instead to stare unseeing at the simmering pot between us.

 

“Hyung, do you know what it feels like to be abandoned by your own parents? Do you have any idea how lonely it is? Always remembering their absence, feeling alone, spending your teenaged years feeling like some sort of stranger – some sort of freak – do you have any idea how that feels?”

 

Ani. I don’t know how that feels. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like. And the sad thing is, I know exactly why.

 

“Do you even know,” Tae Hui continues, “just how envious I was of you three when I was growing up?” He looks hard at Tae Pil. “Especially you, Maknae – you who always had Eomma’s love.” His voice breaks. “Do you know how jealous I was?”

 

He, too, looks down at the table now.

 

“Life’s not fair, and I don’t expect it to be fair. Because of what happened to me, I’m fated to be a loner. The love that you three take so much for granted is a debt that I will spend the rest of my life trying to repay.

 

“No one ever taught me that,” he cries out, his voice growing more heated by the second. “I learned it by myself – even as a little kid, I knew I had to grow up. So I pretended. Every day, I pretended that nothing was wrong, pretended that I was cool, pretended that I wasn’t lonely....Pretending and pretending until now, I don’t even know who I am anymore.

 

“I can’t feel anything anymore. I don’t know how. And now, when someone I like finally comes into my life, I didn’t even realize it until it was too late!”

 

On opposite sides of the table, Tae Pil and I stiffen in alarm. He’s…he’s talking about Ja Eun, isn’t he?

 

“So Hyung, you have to raise Guk Su. As if being abandoned by his mother wasn’t bad enough, don’t scar him again by leaving him as well. I…I don’t want him to end up like me – because, really, back then, I wasn’t fine after all.

 

“Now, if you’ll excuse me….”

 

Before any of us could say anything, Tae Hui roughly pushes his chair back and gets up, slinking out of the restaurant like an angry black cat. Or a ghost.

 

I glance over at his place at the table – at his bowl of rice, the lid still covering it. Biting back a sigh, I join my brothers in staring down at our plates; I hadn’t been hungry to begin with, but with Tae Hui feeling like this, even the thought of food sounds sacrilegious.

 

Letting out a sigh, I glance over at the others. Both of them continue to stare off into space, most likely still reeling from Tae Hui’s outburst. I cast a quick glance over my shoulder – there he is, by the cash register, even his agitation unable to stop from footing the bill.

 

That’s Hwang Tae Hui for you – always the responsible one.

 

And I…I’ve always been the mouthy one. The talkative one. The one who prefers to speak up now and apologize afterwards. The one who, when push comes to shove, does a better job at getting through to him than anyone else.

 

So why should today be any different? After murmuring to Hyung’s unhearing ears that I’ll call him back later, I dash out of the restaurant, just managing to catch up to Tae Hui on the street outside.

 

“Aigoo…” I blurt out, my voice forcibly bright as I drape one arm over his shoulders. “Is that how it was? Who would’ve thought? You’ve always been so mature, it’s amazing.”

 

Tae Hui doesn’t say anything, but he clearly doesn’t mind my being around since he matches his stride with mine, allowing the two of us to walk side-by-side.

 

Strange how old habits die hard, as I now find myself patting him on the back the same way I did when he was little.

 

“Aigoo…my dongsaeng. You’re doing great, my super-awesome dongsaeng….”

 

Finally, he stops, and I stop beside him. He’s still avoiding eye contact, but I jump straight to the point anyway: “Something happened today, didn’t it.”

 

He answers with the slightest of nods. “Mm. I was pretending again today.” He starts blinking rapidly – fighting back tears, perhaps? “I wasn’t fine, but I pretended I was.” After a moment’s hesitation, his face sets in determination. “Even though I don’t have the confidence, I think I can do it again. That’s what I told her, anyway.”

 

Even in such dire circumstances as this, I can’t hold back an amused smirk. After all, a dongsaeng’s love life is every hyung’s favourite ammunition. Still, I have the common decency, at least, to school my expression into something more suitable before Tae Hui could notice. “Is this about Ja Eun?”

 

“Mm. It’s over. In fact, it never even began. She doesn’t want to see me anymore.”

 

As Tae Hui tears his eyes away from me, turning his face up to the sky in attempts to blink back his tears, I take a moment to process what I’ve just heard.

 

I was the one he’d confided in, back when he finally started coming to terms with his feelings for Baek Ja Eun. At the time, I was sure that I knew what was going through his mind: the intense stirrings of first love.

 

But now, with Guk Su in the picture as well, I’m starting to wonder: maybe, just maybe, it goes back further than what I saw that night. Maybe, before there was love, there was something deeper, something stronger:

 

Empathy.

 

Out of all of us, Tae Hui was the first to say that we should just give in – even if we could not return the farm to Ja Eun, we should at least take her in. And now I realize, with sudden shocking clarity, that he sees himself in her. In Guk Su.

 

Orphans, all of them. With parents, yes, but still left fending for themselves in a world where they’ll never belong.

 

So it’s with this newfound understanding that I clap my hand back on Tae Hui’s shoulder and offer him a reassuring smile – a gesture he accepts as he takes in a deep shuddering breath.

 

There’s not a lot I can do to stop Tae Hui from feeling lonely, but I can at least make sure that he’ll never be alone.

 

Author's Notes (in "Hidden Contents" because of spoilers)

 

Spoiler

So that's my first foray into writing fanfiction for "Ojakgyo Brothers". I know that there are a good number of fics floating around online about Tae Hui and Ja Eun's relationship - and they're still one of the cutest and sweetest K-drama couples I've seen to date - but for me, the thing I wanted to explore the most was the relationship between the four brothers. And that, at least in part, is what inspired me to write this fic.

 

There's not much to offer here as far as behind-the-scenes tidbits are concerned, but I will say that it was a lot of fun trying to imagine what the brothers might have been like as kids. Of course, realistically, I can't expect them to have their adulthood personalities, but I did throw in a ton of miscellaneous nods along the way:

  1. Tae Beom doing homework while Tae Sik reads a comic book - a hint at Tae Beom's overall intelligence and his future outcome as the smart/highly educated brother
  2. Tae Beom's aside comments about words, and his prompting Tae Sik with "apparently" - a hint at Tae Beom's future career as a journalist (because journalists and reporters have to be really good with words, especially how even synonyms can have very different nuances)
  3. Tae Sik's general awkwardness, especially his difficulties keeping up with Tae Pil's incessant chatter
  4. Tae Hui's smile as a child - we don't see the child actor smiling, but I'm sure you all recognize our JW's distinctive smile here, right? B)
  5. Tae Hui's wanting to play with the police car in particular - a hint at Tae Hui's becoming a police detective in the future (I know he wanted a job in the legal profession at first, but what 5 year old would think of being a prosecutor when he grows up? So cop it is :P)
  6. Tae Hui crying for his mom - I know that they say he "never cried" about that as a child, but that's hardly realistic. I instead imagine that he stopped crying/adjusted way more quickly than anyone expected and that's the image that stuck. But come on, he's 5 - let him get at least one good cry in there.
  7. Tae Hui colouring in the lines and Tae Pil's tendency to scribble - Tae Hui and Tae Pil's main difference as adults is that Tae Hui tries to follow the rules while Tae Pil is the rebel in the family
  8. Tae Hui's talk about "Samchon" and the States - a nod to how Tae Hui's mother ends up going to the States with her second husband. We don't know when it happens, so I moved it up this early. Also, Tae Hui's comment that he thinks "Samchon" doesn't like him is a hint at the hostile relationship we later see between Kim Hong (Tae Hui's would-have-been stepfather) and Kim Jae Ha: honestly, the man is narcissistic at best and borderline abusive at worst, so I think Tae Hui actually got the better end of the deal, all things considered.
  9. Tae Beom comforting Tae Hui as a child - a hint at how Tae Beom is often the brother whom Tae Hui ends up confiding in, despite Tae Beom's annoying habit of stealing Tae Hui's intel for his own news reports

 

Once again, if anyone wants to access my other K-drama fanfics and other Hallyu-related writings, a master list is available under the "About Me" tab on my profile page. Thanks for reading - have a nice day!

 

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On 10/28/2019 at 7:30 PM, kittyna said:

 It's great to see JW having fun with his friends. He seems to hang out with this bunch quite a lot, since I've seen @leesiyoung38 show up numerous times on Instagram updates.

 

Lee Si Young is an actress. She joined Huayi Brothers around/ after the time JW went to Military Service. She does boxing, is passionate about fitness.. And JW also seems so these days. None of HB people right now are as gym crazy as these two right now may be. :P  I think that's why we see them gym together often times. 

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Okay, so this isn't strictly JW-related, but check out this really pretty fanart for "Nae Il's Cantabile":

 

 

And here are some recent fan-made collages as well:

 

 

 

To be honest, neither shirtless pics nor smoking pics are my thing - as a rule, these are the two categories of Hallyu star photos that I absolutely will not recirculate on my Pinterest account, for instance. But while we're still waiting on actual news and/or updates, this'll have to do for now.

 

(By the way, is it just me, or is "Joo Won" just a really common name? Half the time when I search up the name on Instagram, I'm seeing stuff for other celebrities or for that BL comic "Love or Hate" - the latter of which, considering the nature of the fanart, would be rather awkward if it's ever mistaken for uri JW.... :unsure:)

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