Inspired by an ask I saw in tumlbr. Considering on putting the responders' inputs.

Later. After test.


"Is something the matter, Shin-Ah? You seem troubled."

Kija asked out of the blue one day, when for some odd reason that no one could understand, Yoon decided it's okay to leave the dragons to guard the tent while he, Yona and Hak went someplace to do something only Ik-Soo could predict.

Probably.

The masked warrior shook his head, as he chomped on his meal, Ao making noise as she too, happily eating on Shin-Ah's shoulder.

"Seem, you say..."

Jae-ha mused, and for a reason that could only be called instinct, Shin-Ah inched further from the fire. Noticeable only due to the squeak Ao made in surprise due to his sudden movement.

"How can you tell?"

He asked Kija after trying and admittedly failing in noticing anything, which wasn't that weird, as the only part of Shin-Ah that was visible was half of his face. He too, however, agreed with Kija. There was something nagging inside him, and he knew that it's related to Shin-Ah, someway or another, but still, he couldn't 'see' any sign from the younger warrior that he was indeed troubled, so he'd stayed quiet.

"... he keeps on staring at Zeno," he answered as if it was obvious. The only explanation that came to Jae-ha's mind for his hesitation was because he's not sure why everyone else couldn't see it.

"How can you tell? He wears-"

But then, in Jae-ha's mind, the memory of that dreadful day when he accidentally splashed the masked warrior with a glass of love potion ('aphrodisiac', Yoon had insisted, but Jae-ha knew that aphrodisiac wouldn't keep anyone fixated on only one person, and his experience with the brothel and drugs had taught him the true effect of aphrodisiac, which wasn't that at all) came to mind, and so did the memory of spotting Shin-Ah always looking into the woods when he thought no one was looking earlier when Jae-ha was cooking.

If he's not mistaken, Zeno was in the woods, collecting firewood.

"I guess you're right."

Still, it's amazing that Kija could realize that.

Shin-Ah looked up from his food, and after realizing that all eyes were on him, he ducked and hid his already covered face with the now empty bowl he's holding.

"Eh? Seiryuu's been staring at Zeno?"

Well, at least he's not the last to realize it, Jae-ha thought with a smile as he glanced at the oldest within the group. Zeno was too preoccupied with whatever was usually inside his mind to notice, apparently. Granted, Shin-Ah didn't seem to dare to look at him when he's in close proximity, so perhaps his obliviousness was not strange.

Somehow Jae-ha felt that Zeno knew though, and played dumb just because he could.

"Is it just me? Is it really just me?"

Kija started mumbling into his bowl. Jae-ha assured him that it's not.

"Nevermind that, now I'm curious. Shin-Ah, won't you relieve your big brother from his misery and just tell him?"

Kija choked on his food, and Jae-ha couldn't help but to laugh.

"If Zeno can help, Zeno will help too! Seiryuu is thinking of Zeno after all, right?"

"Speaking of Zeno, isn't it about your power?"

"Eeh? But Zeno have told you guys everything that's needed to know, right? And you guys have seen everything too!"

"Well, that's true..."

"So, maybe Shin-Ah's not thinking of that? Is it something else?"

It'd be much easier if only Shin-Ah would just say it. But, Jae-ha suspected that seeing his fellow dragon warriors talking to each other about him only made him even more reluctant to say anything.

"Whatever it is, the last on the list of possibility would be Zeno's marriage-life, though, right?"

He'd said it jokingly.

It's just that among the group, Shin-Ah was one of the innocent ones. Maybe even the most clueless of them all. It's hard to imagine him getting proper education on those things. On the matter of love and stuffs, Jae-ha meant. There's no way that that's on his mind. There's no way that that's what's been bothering him. To Shin-Ah, the topic wouldn't sound interesting.

But then, Ao squeaked.

Shin-Ah had shifted, ever so slightly,

The sound of fire crackling suddenly felt louder, as the dragon warriors froze.

"... it's that?"

"Oh! It's about that?"

Zeno just laughed.

Jae-ha supposed then that reverse could be true too. That it's because he'd never taught of it, he became curious of it. Yes, he supposed it's not that weird at all. To tell the truth he was curious too.

But somehow, he had a bad feeling about it.

He glanced at the other dragon warriors, to see if he's not the only one who got the premonition. Kija was almost pink, while Shin-Ah had looked up from his bowl and dare Jae-ha said it, he actually looked kinda hopeful. He didn't know how he could tell too, he just did.

"It's alright, Seiryuu. Ask away."

For few long seconds, Shin-Ah only gaped like fish out of water, until finally he looked down, breathed in (and possibly shut his eyes behind his mask) before blurting the question almost inaudibly.

"... what's... marriage?"

That was to say, that's even shocking that the earlier realization.

Kija dropped his bowl, and Jae-ha noticed that Zeno had flinched and stopped moving entirely. If those two hadn't reacted that way, he would have thought that he'd misheard.

"Shin-Ah, you can't be serious..."

But for once, he stayed his ground and stayed unmoved, apparently determined to squeeze some answer from the older men. Shin-Ah only pursed his lips, and Jae-ha could feel the intensity of his gaze even from behind the mask.

And that's when Jae-ha knew that there's no escaping this.

"Old man, answer his question. You did say he could ask away."

Jae-ha said as he stood up and went to fetch his secret stash of sake. He felt like he's going to need it if he wanted to get through the night.