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Forest Secrets (1/2)
KRY 1
littlemenomaru

Title: Forest Secrets
Pairing: Kyusung
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I'm from Ohio...not too many hot korean idols to own or make money of off. So do you think I'm doing that with these boys?...didn't think so
Summary: After his grandfather's death, Kyuhyun is forced to work at the temple where he discovers he has ability to see the forest's guardian.


~


"I still don't understand why I have to do this." Kyuhyun argued once his mother reminded him of his move to a small town just outside the city. Kyuhyun's grandfather ran a temple on the edge of the town in front of a supposedly sacred forest but unfortunately passed away a few weeks earlier. In his will, Kyuhyun's grandfather stated that he was passing the temple down to Kyuhyun in order to keep it in the family. His grandfather clearly stated that Kyuhyun must work at the temple on the weekends and throughout school holidays for two years before he would be allowed to pass the temple onto his grandfather's assistant who was still running the temple.

"It was your grandfather's last wish of you, why can't you just accept that no matter what, the temple belongs to you now and you have to take care of it at least part time. Personally, knowing my father, I'm surprised he's given you permission to give it up after two years as long as you work."

"But why me?"

"Because your uncle is the only other male in the family and he cannot drop his career to take the temple. Even if he could, he did his time at the temple and decided it was not the place for him and your grandfather respected that. He wants you to at least have a chance to either fall in love with the temple before you out right reject it. You have been to the temple twice since you've been old enough to remember it and that's all. Give it a chance. It meant so much to your grandfather and he wants it to mean something to you too."

"It's going to ruin my social life."

"Your social life is on your computer, playing your games. I know for a fact that you will still be playing them at night through the week when you're not at school or the temple. Trust me, there is nothing you can do or say that will get you out of this. You can't get rid of the temple until you work so you're starting this winter holiday once you're out of school."

"Fine, but when school starts again after the holiday, how will I get to campus?" Kyuhyun tried, switching to yet another tactic to get his mother to give up.

"The apartment you were given is a fifteen minute walk to the shrine and a ten minute walk to the train station. The train takes twenty minutes to get to the university stop and then it's only about another five minute walk from there. I'll prove it to you next week when we go straight from your last exam to your new apartment and then to the temple." Kyuhyun was beginning to wonder if there was a part of this that was not planned out.

"How about money for food and what not?"

"You will have a monthly allowance from us as well as a small pay from the temple. And your bills for the apartment are already taken care of. Face it Kyuhyun, you're working at a temple now." That was the last thing she said before leaving her son alone in his room to continue complaining to himself and any of his friends online.

~

"Really? So no holidays or weekends? That's when the whole group can actually get on at one time."

Heechul complained once Kyuhyun informed him of his new job.

"I know. I told her it was going to kill my social life. By the way, what is Kibum doing, he's been in the same spot for almost ten minutes now."

"Class."

"He's in class and still playing? Even I don't do that."

"No, he's at work and playing. He's sitting across from me. He's taking online classes, I can hear his laptop talking to him."

"Really. Is he actually doing work too?"

"Yeah, we're doing a project together so we're working on the cloud, occasionally he moves something."

"You guys know that just because I turned off my mic for the game doesn't mean I can't hear you. This portion of my class work was timed so I couldn't play while working on it. I'll be active in a couple of minutes."

Kibum proceeded to turn his mic back off, returning to his class for the time being.

"How the hell does he manage working, school, and playing all at once?"

"Online classes and doing everything at once. We just have the luck of working on a computer in private offices in which as long as we get the work done, no one cares if we're on the internet or playing games."

"Can I come work for you guys instead?"

"From what it sounds like, the temple won't go away unless you work first. Kyuhyun, I know it's a pain but you have to do it. Honor your grandfather and what he did with his life. Besides some of that temple and sacred land stuff is cool."

"Hyung, you're not religious, what do you know about it?"

"I may not be religious, but that does not mean I don't study this type of stuff. I had a class in university about it and I sometimes study it more in my free time. Take the time you're there to learn something, your grandfather obviously wanted you to know about this stuff."

"I agree. Besides studying the books might keep you occupied without internet access."

"Yeah you can actually use reading for your hobby and not be lying for once."

Heechul added as a last thought.

"Oh whatever, are we actually going to play or not?" Kyuhyun said trying to change the subject especially since it seemed like Kibum was done with his class.

~

"Quit your complaining, it's not the end of the world." Kyuhyun's mother yelled at her son as he was still mumbling angrily under his breath as they walked from the train station to his new apartment. Now that he was finished with all his exams and his winter holiday was beginning, it was time for him to start his job at the temple. His mother was first going to take him to the apartment and then show him around the town she grew up in. Then it was finally onto the temple where he would start tomorrow.

She had taken the liberty of moving all his things to his apartment so all he had to put everything where he wanted it. She had even gone as far as to unpack most of the boxes in the kitchen and living room, even to the point of unpacking his clothes. Luckily, she left his computers and other electronics alone so he could take care of it himself.

Kyuhyun was given no time to mess with his apartment before his mom dragged him back all around the small time showing him where all the essential places were and the main streets. Afterwards it was straight back to the apartment so that she could show Kyuhyun the route to the temple and introduce him to Hyunshik. Hyunshik had been his grandfather's assistant for the last fifteen years, having started working at the temple when he was a teenager. To say the man was obsessed with his work seemed like an understatement from just their introduction. Kyuhyun knew from the start that Hyunshik was not going to like him. The man just looked down on him like he was a stupid teenager who didn't care about any of this and that he was going to be babysitting more than teaching. Kyuhyun and his mother were given a quick tour as well as instructions for Kyuhyun for the morning.

~

Seven in the morning, that's when he had to be at the temple. He ascended the stairs leading to the temple, just barely making it there on time, and to make his morning worse, Hyunshik was already waiting for him, looking stern and rather angry.

"When I say seven, I do not mean get here at seven, I mean you are to start your work at seven. You should have your chores and assignments beforehand as well as changed into the temple robe by the time seven arrives."

"Sorry, I'll try to be better tomorrow." Kyuhyun apologized, not wanting to get into anymore trouble before he even fully wakes up.

"Good. Here's your list of chores. Most of it involves cleaning, which part of our duty is to keep the temple in top shape, and it will also help you learn the ins and outs of the temple much quicker." Hyunshik explained before he pointed out two buildings Kyuhyun vaguely remembers being mentioned the day before. "You may find your temple robes in the first building there, and cleaning supplies are mostly in that shed. If you have any further questions you may find me in the main building. However, most of your instructions are well written out so there should be little confusion." Without given Kyuhyun a chance to say anything else, Hyunshik turned away and quickly walked into the main building.

Kyuhyun took the time as he walked to the building with his uniform, so to speak, in it to look over his chores. Not only were they detailed instructions as to how and where he was suppose to complete each task, they were timed. Kyuhyun had a bad feeling that if his chores weren't finished on time he would receive some sort of punishment and that's not how he wanted his first day to go. So quickly changing into his robe, since he was already behind schedule, Kyuhyun rushed to the supply shed to grab the appropriate tools, they were labeled as well, and began his first task. He had to start by cleaning and organizing the temple's library, which looked like it hadn't been done in ages. The only good thing was that Kyuhyun was allotted most of the morning to complete it. However, by the time lunch rolled around, Kyuhyun was still not finished.

"Kyuhyun, if you do not report for lunch at the allotted time, you will not eat. And if I remember correctly, your schedule said you should have been done in here an hour and a half ago."

"This was a much bigger job than it seemed at first, and it seemed huge when I first walked in. It's a little difficult to move all the delicate books out of the way as well as organize them alphabetically by author and then within each author, to organize it by date written. Some of these books I couldn't even find the date on and I didn't find the master log book until an hour after I started." Kyuhyun explained, making sure to point out each of the difficulties he faced not knowing about anything when he started.

"Well I will admit that your cleaning is very thorough and you are not playing around, but since it is your first day, I shall be lenient with you. But the entirety of you list must be finished by the end of the day."

"It will be."

"Good. Come to lunch then." Kyuhyun was slightly surprised by how Hyunshik was acting but pushed it off hoping that it was just that he did something right to impress him. Once the very quiet lunch was finished, Kyuhyun returned to the library to finish, which was mostly down to putting away books. There was one book that happened to catch his attention. It was just a simple blue book, looking to be one of the older styles, but all it said on it was 'Guardians', no author, date or anything else, just the one word. Unfortunately due to the fact that he had the rest of his chores to finish still, he couldn't stop and look through it. But he still told himself he would find some free time in the future to look at it. The remainder of the day went by fairly quickly, Kyuhyun managing to catch up on his chores by the time dinner came about, which pleased Hyunshik.

The only chore Kyuhyun had left was to sweep the courtyard of the temple. Since the temple was right on the edge of the forest, some of the courtyard paths' lead right up to it, only blocked off by a short face and sometimes a bench or plague. Although Kyuhyun doesn't understand what makes this forest sacred or different from any other forest for that matter, he had a weird feeling anytime he swept near it. The was no way to really explain it, he almost felt as if the forest was calling him, yet at the same time telling him to stay away. Kyuhyun brushed it off as just being all in his head from how every talked it up to him. It probably wasn't helping that it was a cold, dark, winter evening and he was tired, so it was very easy for his mind to play tricks on him. He focused back on sweeping and not the forest, trying to finish as quickly as possible so that he could go home.

The next few days went by much the same way, Kyuhyun arrived ten minutes before seven, so Hyunshik didn't glare at him as he reached the top of the stairs. He took his assignments and tried his best to stay on time even if sometimes it seemed an impossible feat to accomplish. Each day usually ended with sweeping the courtyard and although Kyuhyun tried to ignore it, he still had strange feelings coming from the forest.

"May I ask you something?" Kyuhyun asked Hyunshik one evening during their dinner.

"As long as it is something appropriate, you may."

"Have you ever had any sort of strange feelings from the forest? Like it has an energy of it own?" Kyuhyun cautiously asked, not entirely sure how to word it without sounding like he was completely crazy.

"There are many who believe that there is a power in the forest beyond our understanding which is the reason we must protect it. I myself have not felt anything, but your grandfather often said he could feel the forest and know when it was threatened. I never fully understood this, but he was never wrong. There are many times where teenagers would try to sneak into the forest and he would suddenly say he felt something and rush right to where the intruders were."

"No one is allowed in the forest, right? Not even us?"

"The forest is sacred for a reason Kyuhyun, even if it's a reason beyond us and for that we must leave it as is, untouched by humans. I don't care what you feel Kyuhyun, even if you have the same ability your grandfather had, it does not permit you to enter. Do you understand."

"Yes." Kyuhyun was a little taken back by this information. He may contain an ability his grandfather had that allowed his to somewhat understand the forest? That was just a little more than he was expecting. Actually he was expecting to be told that he himself was crazy and should forget about these weird feelings. Not that that would help anyways since he's been trying to do that from the beginning.

It wasn't for almost another week that the feelings developed into something even more. Kyuhyun swears one night he saw some guy standing just beyond the tree line, but by the time Kyuhyun made it up to the fence, he couldn't see anyone anymore. There wasn't even any evidence of somewhere being there, no footprints or anything, just a really strong feeling coming from the forest.

The second time Kyuhyun saw the guy, he wasted no time and rushed to the fence, just to find him gone again. What was even stranger this time was that the person was wearing the same clothes as he was the other day and he was hit with the same strong feelings. Kyuhyun decided the next time it happened, he would follow the person into the forest. Surely Kyuhyun couldn't get in trouble if he was only trying to get someone else out. So that's exactly what he did the following day.

Just after Kyuhyun entered the forest he lost sight of the guy, but the trees were too thick for whoever it was to disappear off the main path, or even see in the thick darkness so he continued forward until he came to a much better lit clearing quite a ways into the forest. Just as he hoped, the guy he had seen three times now was standing in the clearing, his pale face reflecting the moonlight just enough that Kyuhyun could clearly see him otherwise his dark hair and clothes made him blend into the darkness of the forest very easily. That must be why Kyuhyun never saw him when he turned and left the other two times.

"What are you doing in the forest?" He asked Kyuhyun in a very deep and husky voice.

"I could ask you the same thing. Don't you know this is sacred ground you're on? You shouldn't be here."

"I am aware these are sacred grounds, I'm chosen to guard them from anyone who may bring them harm. I was not aware that you would be able to see me. I only wished to see who the new person working at the temple was. Even though I know he is to be the grandson of the man who has served the temple for many decades, I was not aware he shared the same powers."

"Neither was I until I got here. And I have a name, it's Kyuhyun. Though what do you mean, you didn't think I would be able to see you. You're standing perfectly clearly in front of me. And what's this about protecting the forest? Seriously, I'm not sure anything you said actually made sense."

"Your grandfather did not prepare you for serving the temple? Or inform you of guardians?" There was that word again that Kyuhyun saw in the library, he still hadn't had the chance to go read it.

"No. And what the hell is a guardian?"

"A guardian is what I am. I'm sure you can figure out what that means from the title alone. I am charged with protecting this forest and making sure it stays pure. The energy in this forest is different than most on this world and it is important that it remains unaffected. I am a wind guardian to be specific."

"Wind guardian?"

"Yes, I was born under the god of wind to be a guardian and for a couple centuries now, I have protected this forest. Wind and water guardians are the most common because their abilities make them able to serve more types of sacred places over earth and fire guardians." The more this guy spoke, the more confused Kyuhyun became.

"Centuries? How old are you?"

"A couple centuries old. That is not unusual for a guardian."

"Alright, explain this guardian thing a little more."

"Well you know when you go somewhere and you have an ominous feeling and there is a chilling wind that heightens your nerves and you have a sudden desire to leave an area?" Kyuhyun nodded. "Well that is when a wind guardian is at work. Usually we just appear to humans in the form of our elements to scare people out of places they shouldn't be in. Rarely can a human actually see us in this form. Only humans with strong energies and powers have that ability, which obviously you are one." Okay, that made a tiny bit more sense, but was still insane. There was no way this guy talking to him was more that a couple years older than him, though it would explain how he disappeared so quickly the other nights, not that his clothes didn't explain it either.

"Okay, I guess that helps, but I need to get back to the temple before I'm noticed being gone." Not that it was a lie, but Kyuhyun really wanted a reason to get out and away from this person.

"Well Kyuhyun, I would hope you would visit again, your energy is not harmful to this place and it is so rare that I get to speak to anyone. I am called Yesung by the way."

"Uh, sure, I'll see if I can get away again." Luckily, Yesung said nothing further and just let Kyuhyun get back to the temple where he fortunately was not caught by Hyunshik.

The next few days, Kyuhyun did what he could to ignore the forest and more specifically Yesung. This whole guardian thing just creeped him out. He saw Yesung a few times at the edge of the forest but Kyuhyun just swept the area as fast as he could, moving on to a part where he wouldn't see him. The day after he first met Yesung, Kyuhyun took the guardian book from the library and back home where he could study it more. He wasn't sure how he should react to the fact that everything he read in the book confirmed what Yesung told him.

"So you really weren't kidding about all this guardian stuff you told me last time?" Kyuhyun asked almost a week and a half after their first meeting. He had finished reading the guardian book and safely returned it to the library before venturing back into the forest when he thought he wouldn't be noticed.

"You thought I was lying? Didn't your grandfather tell you about any of this?"

"I didn't know what to think. I lived in the city with my parents and sister. I only saw the temple a couple of times and only my grandfather a couple more times than that. I was forced here when he died as he put me in charge of the temple. Apparently it was because I was the only male in the family who could be given the temple. I knew nothing when I started a couple weeks ago and I won't say I'm too thrilled about spending Christmas doing chores in a temple instead of celebrating with my family and then my friends online."

"Your family is Christian?"

"Only slightly, we don't really practice it, but we celebrate the holidays. I mean, I know what all the holidays stand for and why we celebrate them, but otherwise I don't go to church or anything."

"You know most of those holidays were made up and taken from other cultural celebrations, right?"

"Well I wasn't really believing most of it, so I can't say I'm too shocked. So what is Christmas actually?" For whatever reason Kyuhyun was actually feeling comfortable talking to Yesung. Maybe it's because the initial shock of being told magical creatures of sorts exist and one was standing in front of him and talking to him wore off and he is slowly accepting it.

"Well your historians have proven that Jesus from the bible was actually born sometime in like August and not December like everyone believes. So that little fact throws off the entire Christmas celebration. In ancient times, winter was a much more frightening thing than it is now. Winter was deadly and people were not sure it was actually going to end. But looking at the evergreens around them, they could see that life still existed and that spring would eventually come again. So the pine tree, or your Christmas tree was a sign of life and hope to the people. The Christian religion lacked a winter celebration so they took many of these celebrations around the evergreens and put a Christian twist on it and created Christmas. It's rather amazing how much people actually believed it and started celebrating it. I still wonder how that happened."

"Wow, I guess that makes a lot more sense for many of the traditions than what they taught you in church when you're young."

"Hey, you can spend Christmas here with me this year. I told you I don't get to talk to people that much, so I think it might be nice to spend Christmas with someone, especially to really appreciate the forest like the original celebration was suppose to do."

"I just might do that if Hyunshik doesn't give me too many chores or decides to watch me like crazy that day."

The days until Christmas went by much the same. Kyuhyun would finish almost all of his chores, leaving sweeping for last, and sneak into the forest when it got dark and he was almost finished. He and Yesung talked about anything they could possibly think of, including Kyuhyun's friends, family, and schooling and Yesung taught him more about what being a guardian meant. He often included stories about Kyuhyun's grandfather and some of the more interesting times that they chased people away from the forest. Apparently Kyuhyun's grandfather was strong enough to feel that Yesung was there and understand when he needed human assistance, but was unable to actually see Yesung.

However, on Christmas day, Kyuhyun was watched carefully by Hyunshik for the entire day. He decided that it was the perfect time to shadow Kyuhyun the entire day and reevaluate how Kyuhyun was doing with his chores and to see if he could take on some non-cleaning assignments. Kyuhyun couldn't help but feel like he let Yesung down by not being able to go out and see him and the feeling coming from the forest was rather depressing. Kyuhyun could barely sleep that night, promising himself that he would find a way to make it up to Yesung as soon as he could.

Even with full intentions of visiting the following day, Hyunshik shocked Kyuhyun by sending him home to his family for the remainder of the year as long as he was back first thing in the morning on New Years day. Which of course left no time to sneak into the forest. Sure Kyuhyun was glad to have some time at home and he had plenty of time to get online and play with all his friends and not just Heechul and Kibum, but he would be lying if he said he didn't miss visiting Yesung for almost a week now.

Most of Kyuhyun's friends are online where he can hide behind his characters and take his time getting to see who others are before he opens up even the slightest. With Yesung, he couldn't do that. Yesung had watched him and knew things about him that even Kyuhyun was unaware of. It scared him a little, yet at the same time, it was nice to have someone who he couldn't hide from. Part of Yesung's abilities as a wind guardian allowed him to keep track of everything that happened in or around the forest. So when Kyuhyun was at the temple, Yesung knew. Which also meant that Yesung knew when Kyuhyun wasn't there.

The first of the year was the temple's busiest day since most of the towns people visited the temple in order to wish for a successful year and pay their respects to the forest. Kyuhyun really didn't understand why people did this, he finally knew that yes the forest was different and rather magical in a way, but he doubted that whether people prayed there at the beginning of the year or not would make a difference to the luck they would have for the rest of the year.

Finally on the second, over a week since he last visited Yesung, Kyuhyun had the chance to sneak back into the forest. He was rather surprised to see that Yesung was not at the clearing like he had been every other time. Kyuhyun hadn't even felt Yesung watching him through the day.

"Yesung? Yesung, where did you go?" Kyuhyun tentatively called out into the dark. There was no response for a couple minutes and Kyuhyun thought about going back, assuming that Yesung was refusing to talk to Kyuhyun after he disappeared for so long. But just as he headed back towards the trail and large gust of wind knocked him back and caused him to fall backwards.

"Where did I go? Where were you? You were there on Christmas and the day after but then you disappeared and didn't bother to say anything." Yesung's voice was dark behind him, almost to the point where Kyuhyun didn't recognize it.

"I'm sorry. I couldn't get away from Hyunshik on Christmas and I don't want him to know that I am disobeying a direct order to never enter the forest. He could find some loophole in my grandfather's will that would stop me from seeing you again. Hell I'm think of actually keeping the temple and not giving it away just because then we could stay friends. But maybe I'm rushing the decision. I mean I've only been here for about a month and I still have twenty three to go."

"What do you mean? Twenty three months before you decide whether to keep the temple or give it away. What the hell is that all about? I thought you said you came here to learn about the temple because your grandfather passed it on to you." Yesung voice was still deeper than usual still annoyed at Kyuhyun, even more now at the new information he heard.

"Yes. My grandfather passed the temple down to me, but he knew I wouldn't be happy about it and I would try to pass it on to someone else. So he wrote in that I wouldn't be able to pass on the temple to Hyunshik until I worked at it for two years on weekend and holiday breaks from school. This is not my life. I was just a university student who spent way too much time playing video games online and that's where all my friends are from. I didn't have powers like this and wasn't mixed up with any special beings and sacred forest business. So yes I was planning on just working and giving away the temple to Hyunshik because that's who my grandfather said could take it. Even after he was gone, he wanted to make sure you and the forest stayed safe and well cared for."

"You were going to give the temple away? You didn't want it?" Yesung voiced suddenly changed, losing all of the anger only to replace it with sadness. Kyuhyun wasn't sure which was worse at this point.

"Yes." He answered bluntly. "I had no desire to be at a temple or have that kind of responsibility. But then you had to show up and have both you and Hyunshik tell me that I have abilities that I thought were just in legends which seriously freaked me out. It all just sounded crazy but the more I read about it, the more I realized that it was true. So I talked to you. Risked all sorts of possible punishment and actually made a friend who wasn't just a voice and a character in a game and I thought maybe this wouldn't be so bad. Sure we only talked a few times before I went home but I really enjoyed it and then missed you when I went home and felt so bad that I wasn't here. But hey, I guess I rushed this whole friendship thing. Should've been more careful with a magical being. I'll see you around." Kyuhyun couldn't stay any longer even if he wanted to. Hyunshik would be doing his rounds soon and he didn't want to get caught. That and he wasn't sure if he could be around Yesung any longer. He had so many emotions rushing around in his head that he couldn't make sense of it all. He was mad that Yesung got mad at him as well as the fact that he revealed the two year deal as well as his feelings. He was also upset that Yesung would be sad if Kyuhyun gave away the temple, not that Kyuhyun thought it would change much, Hyunshik would take better care of it anyways so what did Yesung care?

Instead of continuing the last portion of his sweeping, Kyuhyun leaned against the closest building and slide to the ground once he entered the temple grounds. He wasn't sure why this was effecting him so much, maybe it was the added force of still feeling Yesung's presence so heavily even though he knew Yesung didn't follow him. Kyuhyun remained in that spot not even noticing that it began to snow until Hyunshik found him.

"Is everything alright Kyuhyun? It's not like you to be slouched on the ground."

"I'm fine. I guess being home for a few days made me forget how strong the energy from the forest could get." Kyuhyun lied not even sure if he could explain if he wanted to. "I'll get it done in a couple minutes, there's not much left.""Don't worry about it. It's starting to snow so it won't do much good. Besides you've proven that you'll get your work done in a timely and efficient manner so I think we can let it slide this one time. Why don't you get changed and head back to your apartment? You can rest and be prepared to face the forest's energy tomorrow." Hyunshik offered a hand in getting Kyuhyun up and back to the first building, making sure he wasn't getting sick from being in the cold for so long especially since Kyuhyun never grabbed a coat to go over the winter uniforms. As warm as they were, they still didn't do much when it started snowing.



(Part 2)


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