August 10, 2013 in moonrise31, oneshots by moonrise31

Entry for the third YoonYul Fanfic Contest. Check out the rest of the participants here.

“ ‘A friend is a funny thing. Sometimes you become one only years after the first meeting, and sometimes it happens the moment you first lock eyes and smile. But no matter the beginning, sometimes, you take a step over the line, hand-in-hand, and feel the gentle waves of a deeper ocean begin to lap at your feet.’”

Yuri sighs and flips the book over to look at the front cover.  “Romance, huh?” she murmurs to herself, feeling indifference dull whatever curiosity had initially driven her to give the story a chance. She returns the paperback to the shelf and glances over her shoulder, wondering what else the bookstore might have to offer that could be mildly interesting.

She withholds a yell of surprise when she almost bumps noses with the young woman behind her. Or rather, nose to forehead. The shorter woman is grinning. “Yoona, found you—” She freezes, hand outstretched and centimeters away from poking Yuri in the shoulder, and stares.

“I’m not Yoona,” Yuri says unnecessarily a few moments later, but she feels like she has to fill in the silence that accompanies the other’s now crestfallen expression.

“No, you’re not,” the woman agrees, the ghost of her initial smile returning to her lips. “But hey, if you see a girl around who, well, looks kinda like you,” she pauses to chortle, and Yuri can’t help but chuckle along, “at least from the back—hm, tell her that Taeyeon’s looking for her, please?”

“Taeyeon,” Yuri repeats cheerfully. “Alright, will do.”

She waves goodbye and watches Taeyeon exit, waiting several more seconds before she deems it appropriate to also make her way out the door and into the street. “Looks like me from the back,” Yuri muses to no one in particular. “How would I know what my back looks like?”

“I can answer that.”

She whirls around and, feeling a sense of déjà vu, retreats one step this time to avoid another personal bubble invasion.

“Wow.” The girl brings all of Yuri’s efforts to naught as she leans in for a closer examination of Yuri’s facial features. “No wonder Taeng thought you were me. Even the front looks the same.”

“Yoona,” Yuri guesses, managing to keep the rest of her thoughts to herself. Especially the ones about how wide and clear and bright Yoona’s eyes are.

Yoona opens her mouth and laughs—a laugh that could charm the world, Yuri thinks absentmindedly, if it hasn’t already—and Yoona says, “Sorry for the trouble.” Then she sees something behind Yuri and frowns. “Tell you what. I’ll explain more on the way.”

Yuri realizes that her hand is now grasped firmly in Yoona’s. She can’t really think of a reason not to go, so it’s probably just reflex that makes her ask, “What?”

Yoona is already tugging at her, straightening her arm out until her elbow locks, but Yuri’s feet aren’t budging. “Just come with me,” Yoona cajoles with her dancing gaze and impossibly large grin. “This’ll be fun! You’ll end your day with a smile; I promise.”

“It’s going to take an entire day?” Yuri means it as a joke, but she doesn’t know if Yoona gets it because the other girl is already weaving them expertly through the crowds.

Then Yoona turns and winks. “You won’t even notice it’s gone.” She adds, “It’s already three in the afternoon, anyway.”

“Can’t argue with that,” Yuri decides, and chances a look over her shoulder. She immediately spots a familiar face in the crowd. “Hey, isn’t that Taeyeon?”

She yelps when Yoona jerks her arm, pulling her into a grocery store. Before she knows it, Yuri is crouched behind a pile of apple crates while Yoona peers carefully around the corner. Once she deems it safe, the latter turns around and puts a finger to her lips. “Don’t say her name, okay? Then she’ll hear us for sure.”

“Okay,” Yuri agrees readily before asking, “why can’t she hear us?”

“Because,” Yoona grins, “otherwise it wouldn’t be fun.”

Yuri learns that Taeyeon and Yoona spend their Saturdays playing hide-and-go-seek at the outdoor mall, and this week, Taeyeon is “it”. There’s a prize for the winner at the end, but Yoona won’t say what it is. Yuri doesn’t mind, though, because she can already feel the excitement fluttering in her stomach. “I’ll help.”

Yoona does a quiet fist pump, careful to not let her celebration extend above the crates currently shielding them. “I knew you would! We’ll win for sure now—you’ll see.” Then the two stand up casually and brush themselves off before walking out of the building, because two twenty-somethings hiding behind a mountain of apples can only take so many questioning looks before someone actually comes over to ask what in the world they could possibly be doing.

Yoona quickly outlines the battle plan after they’re seated on a bench outside of the grocery store, back-to-back to make sure Taeyeon can’t sneak up from behind. “She’ll be embarrassed having already run into you once, so she’ll be more cautious now. We can do a sort of bait-and-switch, but only a couple times at most ’cause afterward, she’ll start to get suspicious.”

Yuri nods. It’s an easy enough tactic, sure to delay for a couple hours each time if pulled off correctly: Yoona would show up and draw the target in, but then Yuri would be the only one there when Taeyeon finally got close enough. The other girl would want to avoid Yuri as much as possible, so she would continue searching in the direction opposite of where Yuri, secretly now joined by Yoona, would then go.

“Okay, first step,” Yoona jumps to her feet. “Find Taeng!”

It’s easier said than done, the two quickly find out as they scour the store-lined streets. They’re conducting an incredibly thorough search: Yoona’s peering through shop windows, pretending to be admiring the mannequins and their summer fashions even as she looks beyond the plastic elbows to the customers innocently milling about inside, while Yuri blatantly gives herself an extra height boost by climbing on top of lamppost bases to search the faces in the crowd, one hand shielding her narrowed eyes from the sun.

“The hunter becoming the hunted is a lot harder than the movies make it look like,” Yuri sighs to herself as she steps down from what she figures to be her fiftieth lamppost in the past half-hour.

“That’s only because the bad guys are never as short as she is,” Yoona complains as she joins Yuri, wiping her forehead and puffing out her cheeks in frustration. “Maybe we should just sit here ’til she finds us.”

“Perfect.” Yuri lifts her arms over her head as far as she can, reaching for the clouds and ignoring the puzzled glances of passerby. “Wait.” She pauses mid-stretch. “Can’t we just ask people if they’ve seen Taeyeon running around?”

“That’s cheating.” Yoona shakes a slender finger in her face. “I’ve caught her before, you know. We just need to do it again.” She lets out a small shriek when Yuri suddenly pulls her close. “Wha—”

Yuri hushes the younger girl while peeking over her own shoulder. “Target. Six o’clock.”

Yoona calms down and turns around slightly to confirm Yuri’s observation. Then she whispers, “So why are we hiding behind a lamppost?”

“Right.” Yuri unwraps her arms from Yoona’s warm waist and puts her hands in her pockets, thinking about how pleasant the summer heat actually is as a breeze blows past. “Then maybe we should find a better hiding spot.”

Yoona quickly grabs her hand again and drags her to the other side of the street, where they can pretend to window shop while spying on Taeyeon through the reflections in the glass.

“Maybe we should get you a hat,” Yuri suggests, only half-joking as she spots a cute one being sported jauntily by the mannequin in front of her. “That one would look good on you.”

Yoona spares the hat a considerate onceover and Yuri a wide grin. “I’m flattered.” Then she squints at Taeyeon’s image in the window. “What in the world is that girl doing?”

Yuri follows her gaze. “Watching TV?” She risks turning around for a better look. “Make that ‘TVs‘.”

Taeyeon is evidently entranced by the “Legally Blonde” musical displayed on various screen sizes in the electronics store across from them. “The lead actress is pretty,” Yuri comments.

“Taeng thinks so too,” Yoona snickers. “Look at that dorky grin.”

When Taeyeon finally moves on, Yuri and Yoona casually shuffle their way along the sidewalk across the street, parallel to their now acquired target. They tail Taeyeon past the Sunny Night bar (“Why is she stopping? Why is she even looking at it?” Yoona demands. “I wouldn’t be in there at this time. And it’s not like she can drink. She can’t drink! She gets all red after one glass.” But Yuri thinks that it might be entertaining to see Taeyeon get a little tipsy. And maybe Yoona too, while they’re at it). They dawdle opposite of the Prince Fluffy pet store as Taeyeon coos at the small black puppy wagging its tail on the other side of the shop window. Once they walk by Princess Fiona’s Cleaning Supplies (“You’ll think your bathroom tiles belong in the kitchen!”), Yoona starts to get a little irritated—”For heaven’s sake, Kim Taeyeon, just turn around for one second”—but it’s not until after Taeyeon finishes examining the small green wooden frogs sitting on the blankets of a fresh-faced street vendor that she manages to catch a glance of Yoona out of the corner of her eye.

By now, the other two are more than prepared. Yoona quickly walks behind a crowd of high school guys loudly discussing their dream girls, and Yuri is the one who emerges ahead of them, her head ducked and hair falling to partially cover her face.

Yuri doesn’t see it, but she’s sure that Yoona’s grin is bursting with victory as Taeyeon takes the bait, now shadowing Yuri down the street. Yuri turns the corner and catches a glimpse of Taeyeon in a parked car’s rearview mirror. She notes that the shorter girl has caught up fairly quickly, already narrowing the gap between them to a mere ten paces. But Yuri keeps far enough ahead to lead Taeyeon around for a few more blocks.

Finally deciding that she’s gone far enough, Yuri halts and bends down to refasten a strap on her sandal. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Taeyeon abruptly stop and pout. The other girl turns on her heel and heads off.

“Just as planned,” Yoona celebrates, sounding smug as she appears next to Yuri. They share a high-five that leaves Yuri’s palm tingling pleasantly.

Yuri looks down at her hand and asks, “Now what?”

“Now,” Yoona’s fingers lace themselves comfortably between Yuri’s, “we win.”

“Winning” turns out to mean showing up at Taeyeon’s apartment at six o’clock sharp and grinning triumphantly as the shorter girl opens the door and treats them to dinner. She doesn’t seem too surprised that Yoona had enlisted Yuri as an accomplice, offhandedly remarking that the two of them might as well be shadows of each other anyway. “But if this tag-teaming is gonna become a habit,” she adds, “I want one too, please.”

Yuri is feeling rather satisfied, settled comfortably into the couch and patting her stomach when Taeyeon brings out a plate of watermelon to finish the meal. Then the phone rings and Taeyeon has to step out—“it’s just a work thing,” she waves them off—and she tells them that the fruit had better be gone by the time she gets back.

Yoona turns around once the door is closed. “Well, you heard the girl. Dig in!”

The watermelon is sweet and red and juicy, and Yuri eats two slices before she remembers that she was already feeling full beforehand. She looks up from the rind in her hands and meets Yoona’s amused gaze. “What?”

Yoona’s smug grin only widens once they make eye contact. “I told you so, didn’t I?” She reaches over and wraps her fingers around Yuri’s wrists, lifting Yuri’s hands until the watermelon rind is positioned in front of Yuri’s mouth. “Look! A smile on your face at the end of the day.”

Yuri throws her head back and laughs, and then leans across the table to give her “smile” to Yoona. “Wow! Look at that—yours is the exact same. It’s like I’m seeing my reflection.”

Yoona brings her arms up to pantomime Yuri, and raises her eyebrows when Yuri does. “Mirror images,” she sings, and laughs when Yuri begins making faces and waving her arms around wildly. Not missing a beat, Yoona starts to flail around as well.

Their giggles turn into hearty chuckles and a few seconds later, Yuri finds herself sprawled over the couch with an aching abdomen and tears in her eyes. Yoona’s collapsed on the floor, mouth wide open and legs kicking comically in the air as she struggles to get off her back. Finally she manages to right herself and says, “You’re really pretty, you know that? Especially when you laugh.”

At first, Yuri thinks that this is sort of sudden and doesn’t know how she should answer (although come to think of it, she and Yoona had spent a good minute or so just staring intensely at each other, as mirror images tend to do), but then she narrows her eyes. “Hold it—if you say that I’m pretty, and I look like you…”

Yoona flips her hair over her shoulder with the dramatic flair only achieved in shampoo commercials. “Aw, don’t be like that. You’re making me blush. But thank you—father always did say I had the good looks genes of the family.”

“You sound just like my friend Sooyoung, you know that?” Yuri shakes her head, feeling her cheeks ache, but the smile on her face refuses to leave. Yoona plops down next to her on the couch. With an arm thrown around Yuri’s shoulder, she suggests that Sooyoung join them next week, except on Taeyeon’s team, of course. And just then, Yuri vaguely remembers the summary of that romance novel she had rejected right before she got pulled into what she’s sure was the greatest game of hide-and-go-seek in history—something about friends stepping into oceans that are deeper than they seem. And Yuri thinks that she wouldn’t mind swimming anywhere as long as it was with Yoona.

At the very least, as far as Yuri’s concerned, the rest of her Saturdays are booked for a long, long time.