Akayona Secret Garden (AU): part 2

The next day, Hak was up bright and early as usual. Gramps was already awake and making both him and his little brother Tae-yun breakfast, consisting of some bread and fresh eggs from the chickens.

Wolfing down his food, Hak thanked him before grabbing his coat and boots, along with his bag of gardening tools and began to make his way up the road that led towards the estate.

For some reason, he felt eager to get there today. Not because that girl said she'd come visit him again, though. That would be silly. Besides, she'd probably forgotten all about her promise by now, and was off running into some other poor staff member on another one of her escapades.

Maybe he was just looking forward to seeing Gulfan today. He'd returned yesterday after having been gone for a little over a week, probably off exploring and whatnot, and Hak had been glad to see his friend return to him once again.

As he rounded the corner to the entrance of the gardens however, he was dragged away from his thoughts upon seeing the girl again, standing just outside the entrance waiting for him.

She seemed rather sleepy and cold in the early morning chill. Probably missing the warmth of her bed at the moment. More peculiar, though, was her state of dress.

While yesterday she had been smartly dressed, looking all prim and proper if a bit disheveled from running about all day, today she seemed almost bedraggled.

She was wearing a long, dark grey woolen dress that reached just past her knees, with a pair of dark fleece leggings underneath. Her jacket was all twisted, with many of the buttons paired up with the wrong holes. One of her stockings didn't quite match the other either, and her shoes weren't even tied.

Most amusing of all, however, was the state of her vibrant hair.

It seemed as though she had attempted to put it into two braids, but had created more of a massive knot instead, leaving her hair in tangled curls and frizzy as it was whipped about in the wind.

"What on earth happened to you?" he asked as he approached her.

Looking up, she seemed excited to see him. That is, until his question registered with her and her expression was replaced with a more sour look.

"You said you got here around eight 'o'clock. My maids don't usually come in to wake me and help me dress until much later, so I had to get up and dress myself. I thought I had done a rather decent job given I've never done such a thing before." She said with a huff.

"Your maids?" he asked, confused until everything suddenly began to make more sense. That boy that had been chasing after her had been addressing her as 'miss'.

"So, you're The Master's daughter then? Mistress Yona." He stated, more to himself than to her.

Now it was his turn to be embarrassed, having let The Master's daughter help him with his work the other day, and shoveling dirt no less! Hopefully, she hadn't mentioned it to anyone, and he'd still have a job by the end of the day.

"Please, just call me Yona." She replied, not looking at all phased by his revelation.

Taking that as a good sign that he wasn't about to get in trouble with his employer, he relaxed again.

"Alright then, Yona. That still doesn't explain why you look like that. Have you really never learned how to dress yourself properly before?" he asked with a chuckle. He watched in entertainment as her face began to turn a scarlet bright enough to rival that of her hair.

"Oh, be quiet, you! It's not as if anyone ever bothered to teach me. If it looks that bad then just help me fix it, would you?" she said looking dismayed while pulling dejectedly at her hair.

Still chuckling to himself he sighed and walked over to her, grabbing Yona's hand and leading her back over to the old brick wall they'd sat on yesterday.

He instructed her to sit, which she did happily before looking up at him patiently. Waiting to see how he planned to fix the mess she'd created.

First, he went about teaching her how to properly tie her shoes. He found it funny how eagerly she watched him, and how seriously she took to learning such a menial task. Once he'd showed her how on her left foot, he let her try it herself for her right. It took a few tries, but she eventually got it after Hak reminded her of a forgotten step here and there.

Next, he moved on to helping her to button up her coat properly. This was less of a lesson in how to dress herself and more a lesson on simply paying attention to how many buttons there were. After pointing this out to her, she insisted -still rather embarrassed -that she could do it herself and that it had simply been because she'd been in such a rush to get down to the gardens that morning.

There was nothing they could do about her mismatched socks, so instead he moved on to helping her with the largest task at hand.

Her hair.

She didn't object when he spun her around so that her back was facing him and he hopped up to sit behind her. He gently took off her hat and began to untangle her hair.

Being as gentle as he could, he used his fingers to slowly comb through her hair and work out the knots, one by one. It took awhile, but soon enough he was able to start braiding her hair for her, this time into two neat braids that went down the sides of her shoulders.

Amazed at his handiwork, she ran her hands over the smooth new braids. She smiled over at him as she put her hat back on.

"Thank you! That's much better than the mess I had managed to make it into before. Where did you learn to do that?" she asked suspiciously, explaining how she had tried her best for a little over an hour and had only gotten frustrated before giving up upon realizing that she'd have to hurry if she didn't want to be late.

"A lot of the time growing up in my village I would end up babysitting the neighbouring kids. Long story short, a bunch of the younger girls insisted that I learn so that I could help them do each other's hair in the morning when their mothers were too busy." He said with a shrug.

"Well, it looks wonderful. Maybe you could teach me how sometime."

"Sure, if you'd like."

Now that Yona was dressed a little more functionally, they both set about getting to work for the day. Grabbing his spade while Yona grabbed the bag of bulbs, he led her over to one of the smaller flower beds that surrounded an old tree stump that sat in the middle.

"If I dig the holes, you can plant the bulbs." He said, already kneeling down in the dirt to get started.

Yona nodded eagerly and opened the bag he had told her to grab to find it full of bulbs that he had said were for tulips. She didn't really know the names of many flowers, but she was sure they'd be pretty, nonetheless. Hak had said they came in many different colours and that they'd make the garden feel full of life when spring came around.

He'd just finished digging the first hole and had begun to dig the next, so Yona looked around the bag until she found a nice round bulb. She had only just stuck it in the hole and began to cover it up with dirt however, when Hak stopped her.

"Not like that," he said, taking her hand in his and placing the bulb back in her palm, this time with the funny little hairs on it facing down.

"You've got to put it in this way, so that the roots can grow the right way." He said, giving her a smirk, "You really don't know anything about gardening, do you?"

"No, but that's why I figure you can teach me." She replied, choosing to ignore his teasing.

"And what makes you think I have the time to be teaching you anything?"

"Well, if I keep helping you, that'll help get everything done quicker, won't it? So you'll have a bit of spare time to teach me while I'm helping."

Hak was almost speechless. For a clueless girl who had never done a lick of work and who had literally barreled into his life so suddenly, he was surprised at how keen she was about having him teach her new things, and to learn and help out.

Seeming to guess what he was thinking, she answered before he could say anything else.

"I know I might not be that helpful right now, but I'm sick of being shut up inside the manor with nothing to do and no one who cares." She said, turning to look him square in the eyes.

"I'm tired of having to constantly rely on others to do every little thing for me. I want to do things on my own and learn about the world outside. I want to feel like I'm actually doing something with my life as opposed to being nothing but a bride that can be sold off to whatever marriage seems most convenient at the time." She finished with a sigh.

Ahh. So, things went a little deeper than just sudden interest, it seemed. This was her way of taking control of her life in whatever way she could.

"Well, so long as I don't get in trouble for letting you help out around here, I guess there's no harm in teaching you a few things here and there." He said, standing up and walking over to his bag by the brick wall.

"Really?!" she asked, jumping up and running to catch up with him, "You'll really let me keep helping you around here and teach me stuff?"

"Sure. Besides, I get a second pair of hands helping me get the job done faster."

"Thank you so much, Hak!" she said and with that she ran back over to the bag of bulbs and spade and began to hurriedly plant the rest of them with new enthusiasm.

Hak simply grabbed his flask of Hot cocoa and took a swig as he leaned against the brick wall, hoping the steam would explain why his cheeks were now pink.

{*****}

Hey guys! Long time no see. Sorry it's been awhile I've just been super tired all the time lately and can't seem to get anything done. I'll probably only have another one or two chapters for this story before it's done. I never planned on this being a long one, but I hope you enjoy anyway.

Note; if you haven't heard the 1993 soundtrack of the secret garden please give a shot. I write while listening to it all the time.

Reviews are always appreciated and I hope to get more works and chapters up soon!