I think you can clearly notice how Ma Ri starts going to Shi Hoo, and I think it's a very natural way how it has happened. He helped her a lot during the K-drama, and it was her turn to give back, don't you agree?

If you still miss Orange Marmalade as much as I do, marathon it now here!

Previously on Orange Marmalade: Look At Me

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15

Orange Marmalade: Look At Me
Chapter 16: An Option

For a few days, it’s just waiting and giving them a bit of my blood for tests. I’m put in a room where no sun can come in and I’m bored out of my mind. I don’t have anything to do and I can’t sleep the whole day. When I’m on my own, I only look at the ceiling, or throwing a ball at the wall until I don’t care about catching it anymore. The only thing I can do on my own that doesn’t make me feel like poking my eyes out is playing guitar. It’s all what keeps me sane. That and Ma Ri, who comes every day for as long as she is allowed. My parents also visit but I always insist they leave soon. No vampire is comfortable coming to the VCS headquarters, and after spending so many year here I won’t expect them to feel at ease when dropping by.

But Ma Ri… despite she was here, being punished after saving Jung Jae Min, still comes every day and makes me company. She even makes me study with her even if that’s the last thing I want to do. She’s quite strict, and surprisingly a good teacher.

If the circumstances weren’t this bizarre and ill-fated, then I would be so happy for spending so much with her. I’m sure that she only sees her boyfriend at school because she’s even fallen asleep here in my room with me instead of going home.

Because Ma Ri is the one that spends the most time with me, she is actually the one with me when the two doctors that came with the director that day walk inside. They look as emotionally detached and professional as that day, so I don’t know what to expect. They could easily come just for more blood samples, or to ask Ma Ri to leave because I’ll have to take a different test. Sometimes they do make me try other things and expose me a bit to the sunlight, just to get severely burnt. I’m very cautious with the blood they give me, too, considering that it is what got me in this mess. I alway ask if it is pig blood, and even then, when I taste it I focus eve more, just in case there’s something different. I rather leave my wounds to heal slowly and painfully than to drink more human blood.

But the doctors don’t come to ask for more blood.

“Mr Han,” one of the doctors say. I haven’t cared enough to even try to find out their names. They are Doctor 1 and Doctor 2. “It’s time to share some information with you, and I am afraid I don’t bring good news.”

“You don’t say,” I mutter to myself, because whenever the VCS is involved it means bad news for vampires.

They ignore my sarcasm and keep the neutral expressions. “In simple words, your blood has assimilated properties of the human blood, which makes it react negatively with the main components in the SPA.”

“That means,” Doctor 2 intervenes, in their hopeless attempt to make this more interactive, perhaps. “Your blood has been corrupted and there’s no way we can develop a new drug that will allow you to endure the sunlight. And it seems to get worse.”

“So I’m doomed, then. No more sun for me,” I comment, leaning back in an arrogant and defiant attitude, just to mask the hurt I’m feeling.

It’s not that I didn’t expect this, because I did, but that doesn’t mean it does not hurt. Knowing that I will never see the sun again, that I’ll be forever tied to the night life. I guess only now I realise I had taken that for granted, never thinking what it would be if I weren’t able to step under the sunlight ever again.

I feel Ma Ri’s hand reaching out for mine before any of the doctors can say a thing. She’s reassuring, comforting and warm, and without realising, I squeeze back, even if I’m trying to act cold and uninterested in front of the doctors.

“That is one option,” Doctor 1 says. “Although we do have an option for you, but we need to warn you, it is highly probably it will not change a thing or that it would end up in a fatality.”

“What does that mean? What’s the option?” Ma Ri asks for me, I’m just hearing the last words in his explanation.

Fatality. That means death, probably mine. They have an option, a risky and dangerous option.

“A blood transfusion.” Doctor 2 just waits for our reactions, but my face is frozen, I can’t even blink. “If we manage to replace at least eighty percent of his blood, with the blood of a vampire that does not reject the drug, then it is probably it will work for him again. However, this procedure is highly risky and the chances of success are very dim.”

“What are the odds?” I ask, my voice sounding tense and way too controlled.

“There is a eighty-five percent of failure,” Doctor 1 replies without hesitation. “Yet, we comply with informing you of the only option that could actually fix this situation. The decisions is yours. We will probably need more than one donor just not to risk their lives, as well. When you do make a decision, please inform us.”

They bow their heads, and without waiting for a reply, turn around and leave Ma Ri and I alone in my room again. I’m still holding her hand, but I don’t even feel it anymore. I’m still processing what they have told me and the implications of the option.

How important is to be able to see the sun again? Is it worth risking my life when this has a meaning to me now? Do I even need to risk myself like this or even others? Changing my lifestyle won’t kill me, but this option might as well do the job.

“What are you thinking?” Ma Ri asks next, breaking through my thoughts.

“That I don’t think it’s worth it,” I reply honestly. “Why bothering so much? It looks like such a hassle and I don’t need that. I can live like this.”

“Won’t you even think about it? You’ll give up completely on having a normal life and everything else? Your studies? The band?”

“Not all bands last forever… no band lasts forever, Ma Ri-ah. It sucks Orange Marmalade ended before it even debuted, but we can’t get everything we want.”

“What about your family?” she asks next. “Will you make them have the same lifestyle as you so you can be a family? You know they wont’ leave you alone, no matter what.” I look away because I know that. They got the maximum penalty because of me once, I’m sure they could do anything now. “What about me?” she asks next in a smaller voice and I only tense, but I can’t look her in the eyes. “Will you leave me behind, too? Don’t you care about that at all?”

I clench the fist that she is not holding because it’s unfair she’s asking that. It feels like she’s using my own feelings against me.

“What do you want me to do? To just go there and most likely die?” I snap, turning to glare at her. “Is that what you want?”

“Of course not!” she refutes. “I just want you to think about it, at least. There’s a choice, but you discard it immediately. You survived facing the sun, you can survive this. And I’ll give you my blood if it’s necessary! All of it!”

“And why would you even do that? Don’t say bullshit,” I snort, rolling my eyes and even breaking the contact with her.

“Because it’s you! Because I have your back and that’s what we do, we help each other even when the other doesn’t want to be helped!” she cries out, making my heart ache with her words, and it hurts so much to the point I have to close my eyes to control my expression.

“You’re such a fool,” I mutter, slowly turning to meet her eyes again. I raise my hand and pat her head, sliding my fingers over her silky black hair. This crazy girl, when did she become this brave and dauntless? “But I don’t want you to risk yourself for me.”

“Didn’t you do that for me many times?” she throws at me. “And I never paid you back for that, instead I threw your efforts to waist in my own desperation.”

I know she’s exactly talking about using our special abilities to save Jung Jae Min, although we did it for very different reasons.

“Will you think about it?” she asks again, her eyes pleading. “I want to play with you under the sun again. Walk home together and such, even if you only annoy me on the way.”

I chuckle at her lame attempt to joke, ruffling her hair this time.

“Aish, this girl. Fine, I’ll think about it. I still think it’s too much of a hassle, but I’ll give it a thought.”

“That’s all I asked for.” Ma Ri smiles so radiantly that I don’t even regret giving in, as long as I could be rewarded with that. However now I really have to think about this and make a decision.

The really hard part is yet to come.

This is a work of fiction with no profit intent. All characters and context belong to the rightful writers of the webcomic and drama. This is made by a crazy obsessed fan for other fans who suffer from Second Lead Syndrome.

Bel, xx

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