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Do I have the right to love? (Han Joo Won’s POV)

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Just the fact that I have to talk about how I came to Manyang and how I was at the beginning... This is embarrassing, but isn't this part of growing?

If there is something that I never admit was the fact that even though I hate my father, I was subconsciously used to the privileges of being his son. When I came to Manyang, there was that kind of superiority I thought I have, I mean, I came from Seoul and I was one of the best there. But I what I didn't know is that any of that prepared me for what I was going to face with Manyang people, and what I was going to feel for Lee Dong Shik.

When you get there, if you don't get to know them, you will think that they are kind of a cult, for the way they behave and protect each other. But who could be the leader of that cult or center of attention? No other than Lee Dong Shik, the first suspect of his sister assassination. Just the thought of all of this would have made someone runaway.

When I got there I had one goal, to catch her killer, him, so just that way I could clean my record and go back to Seoul to where I "belong" (can I go back and punch myself?) but did I ever had a place to go, where I could feel welcome?

But what was my problem? My lack of humanity and empathy. What was the point of a good record when my only vision was the killer, what about the victims and the families that are left behind suffering for their loss? But the worst and best thing about this is the fact that I had to learn this the hard way, to the point of an attack. Yes, this is Lee Dong Shik's business. At that time, you could have feel my sadness, anger, embarrassment every single time he mention a victim and if I’m being honest, knowing myself, especially at that time, there is no way I would learn the lesson if I don’t see the consequences of it, he made me see it, he forced me to see it and now I’m grateful for that.

How can I describe my relationship with Lee Dong Shik? You could describe it as a roller-coaster but if I'm being honest this came more from my side. He was like a new specimen for me, there was that annoying curiosity, that need to be at his level, that need to know everything about him, I think is not something new for everyone that I was kind of obsessed with him, right? But what did change? What I was seeing from Lee Dong Shik in person was not what I read on papers and also the transformation of my feelings and the intensity of them. Most of the time, people might thought that my anger was towards him, but this was more to myself, because I couldn't fight those conflict feelings I was having. Well I have to admit that sometimes he really played with me but that just made me feel more curious.

When things were escalating I was certain that maybe what I need to do was play the same game, just like Lee Dong Shik, but why wasn't there any satisfaction by doing that? Because I was not winning or losing to him, I was only losing myself in that process of trying to play like him. If there is something that I will never forgive myself for, is just how by doing this, I pushed people he treasured, I took people away from him and I just made him suffer more than he already did.

What does the death of Nam Sang Bae means to me? It was the loss of someone that treated me the way I wish a father would treat me and support me. When did I knew that? Exactly at the moment we lost him and when I saw Lee Dong Shik crying desperately. If you ask me, this is the first time I was scared to death to see someone crying and the fact that the only thing I can do is hold him with my arms, the only thing I could do for him, but what just destroyed was the fact that even after putting someone as important as Nam Sang Bae for him to get to this point, he grab my hand, just as if I was his only hope, I didn’t deserve that, I didn’t deserve him.

After all of this, I was preparing myself for what could be the hate of a whole town, but to my surprised, I’ve never felt more welcome in a place, at the moment I thought I didn’t deserve anything, Lee Dong Shik gave me a hand and home, Manyang people welcomed me, accepted me, they gave me a place to belong when I thought I didn’t deserve it.
THAT’S WHEN I KNEW IT, I WOULDN’T FORGIVE MYSELF IF SOMETHING HAPPEN TO LEE DONG SHIK.

At this point, the Joo Won that came to Manyang and the one I’m now, this is just two different people, now I want to know about these people’s pain, understand them and even apologies to them. Why were this people treating me like this? Until this day I will never understand that, but I just knew that I need this, I want this.

I started to know about Lee Dong Shik from people that care about him, and the anger and the sadness, I thought they would consume me. The way he was arrested, the way he was treated and the way some people keep treating him. What makes it worse was knowing that regardless of all the things that happened to him in this town, he still came back, he still care for these people and will risk it all if he has to, he took himself as a lost case, that he doesn’t deserve more than this, he still doesn’t understand that just like everyone, HE DESERVES THE WORLD.

The moment I thought I would lose it? The moment I knew that the person who ruined the life of the person I care and love the most right now was not other than my father. How would I face him knowing all of this? How can I make this better for him? How can I sacrifice myself for him? At this point, I didn’t even want him to forgive me, just saving him from more pain that he already have was my goal. If I have to destroy myself along with my father, I would gladly do it, THAT’S THE LEAST I COULD DO FOR HIM.

Me putting the handcuffs on him? I still have conflicts about that. I still keep thinking of why did I have to put him in that tough situation, even after all the things he suffer and that’s when everything, since the moment I put my foot on Manyang, everything made sense, what I knew, what I learned from him, how he guided me to this moment, he knew that I was the only person capable to stop him, but still this hurts so badly, I couldn’t stop crying. But seeing his face, those tears, that proud smile was what made me realized that this was the right thing for me and especially for him, this was freedom to us. THAT HE WAS THE RIGHT PERSON BY MY SIDE.

I SAW THE LIGHT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I FELT COMFORT AND LOVE. FOR THE FIRST TIME I FELT LIKE I WAS AT HOME, AND THAT HOME WAS NOT A PLACE, THIS WAS LEE DONG SHIK, THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN MY LIFE.

 

To my home, Lee Dong Shik.