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31 July 2010 @ 06:12 am
Virtue Ethics [F4 Ensemble]  
Title: Virtue Ethics
Character: Jun Pyo (Tsukasa), Ji Hoo (Rui), Yi Jung (Soujirou), Woo Bin (Akira), and Jun Hee (Tsubaki)
Fandom: Hana Yori Dango (Boys Before Flowers) KOREAN version
Genre: Backstory, Character-study, Satire
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2,262

 

Virtue Ethics



Happiness is secured through virtue; it is a good attained by man's own will.

 

St. Thomas Aquinas

 

Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.

 

Kant

 

i.

 

In the high-ranking, official hierarchy of moral theory, the global system takes precedence over local ones. Thus, the relative corruptibility factors of prostitution, lying, murder, etc. were easily solvable (they simply didn’t exist). The significance (what was interesting) centred on moral questions pertinent to mass consequences.

 

Religion really liked to make a muck of this, liked to overcomplicate and manipulate for its own desired results. In essence, artificial religion was the god of consequentialism, and Niccolò Machiavelli served as the true first pope. As the centuries rolled by, turning into millennia, natural religion surfaced again, and the ends no longer justified the means for the most part. Deontology was an ugly thing, spitting hellfire and despair. But it glorified punishment, and for a while, that was the world’s necessity. And things were good again.

 

But—he paused to drink some water—thinking only in terms of deontology versus consequentialism doesn’t take the philosopher far. Kicked down in the sand, sucking on worm-guts and stepped on crooked bones, the therefores and should-dos came to naught. It’s not a matter of principle but turmoil of character. The nature of the self is the ultimate judgment of what is worthy.

 

“Thank you, Professor, for that wonderful talk. I speak for all of Shinhwa University when I say we are incredibly proud and honoured to have one of the leading minds in the field of modern philosophy with us today.”

 

Applause consumed the lecture hall.

 

“Jun Hee-sunbae, your mother is so amazing.”

 

“Really? I personally thought the lecture was more amazing than the two-minute introduction my mother gave.”

 

“Sunbae, you know what I mean. You’re so lucky she’s your mother.”

 

Yes, lucky indeed.

 

“Eh, sunbae? Where are you going?”

 

“Out. Class is over.”

 

“But your mother’s not done with her speech.”

 

Jun Hee turned around and asked, “So?”

 

That night, President Kang Hee Soo and CEO Gu Bon Hyung of Shinhwa Corporations made an announcement.

 

Madame cleared her throat and said, “Jun Hee is engaged.” She smiled proudly, coldly, only as a mother lioness stalking a priceless prey could.

 

. . .

 

“Jun Pyo, I want you to get the F4 together tomorrow night for a dinner with me.”

 

Jun Pyo gaped at his sister, not believing what he was hearing. She hated the F4 guys, said so on countless occasions herself. And she especially hated them together. “What for?”

 

“Just do it.”

 

. . .

 

Between course seven and course eight, amidst the soft clanking of pure silver and apoplectic, apolaustic symphony of John Calleija crystals, the endless parade of expensive waste temporarily halted.

 

Jun Hee set down her fork and daintily wiped her mouth with the silk napkin. The four boys, oblivious as always, continued to eat. She waited for the chattering to die down (increasingly getting annoyed) until finally, she had enough.

 

“As you all know by now, since Jun Pyo can never keep his mouth shut, I’m getting married in September.”

 

“Noona, everyone knew that,” said Yi Jung.  

 

She glared at him (his flirtatious smile died instantly). “But before I leave, I want to impart one last advice.”

 

“You’re so dramatic. It’s not like you’re really going anywhere.”

 

“Jun Pyo, did you say something?”

 

“Nothing, sorry, noona,” he hastily amended. Damn woman had ears like a fox.

 

“I really do think of all of you as my brothers.” The boys stared at her in shock. It certainly was a new and profound revelation to them. She continued, nodding at each of them respectively, “Furthermore, I know that you are all good people deep inside. And that’s why for the next month, I plan to spend more time getting better acquainted with you individually.”

 

Jun Hee raised her champagne flute for a toast.

 

The boys followed suit. They were astounded, completely incredulous, absolutely horrified. Noona was scarier than anyone else, and she was going to uncover every sordid, every distasteful secret they hid. And by the time she was done, they will be dead.

 

ii.

 

Woo Bin was her first victim selected.

 

He held a special place in her heart (the only F4 member who still had a humane heart). As the heir to a mafia organization (outward labelled as “construction conglomeration” for publicity convenience), Woo Bin was born literally into sinful luxury.

 

His great-grandfather struck gold (and blood and guts) as the founder of the family business. He started as a hitman working for the king of underground vice. Soon becoming discontent with being second-best, grandfather methodically killed the boss, heir, and so on. And through the natural procession of elimination, he crowned himself (no need for popish antics).

 

Woo Bin—Prince Song, he jokingly corrected her—began studying the fine art of assassination and evidence eradication at the tender age of five. By the time he was ten, he could shoot a M134 in his sleep, hitting target with perfect aim every time.

 

At age sixteen, he had already hack-and-slashed his way to the international no-fly list. Although (Jun Hee thought about it objectively) the problem was easily evaded since he owned a private jet.  

 

One day, she pulled him out of class, caused a minor disturbance and swooning from the male population, and invited him to lunch. Woo Bin agreed immediately. Jun Hee—noona, she reminded him—was lethally intimidating when provoked.

 

“Tell me about yourself,” she said.

 

“There’s not much to tell,” he opted for a casual remark.

 

“Why are you friends with my idiotic brother?”

 

“Because,” he paused to think, “Because...”

 

She raised a brow. He was cornered.

 

“Because I...we met a long time ago and...I guess I really don’t know.”

 

“Let’s try something else. What are your aspirations in life?”

 

That brilliant tactic stampeded into a dead end too.

 

“Okay, then. I’ll ask you this: Why did you issue the red card?”

 

“Noona, I never gave out any red cards. Only Jun Pyo does that. The rest of us just watch.”

 

Jun Hee smirked in satisfaction. “Exactly my point.”

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

“Were you also watching on the sidelines when the boy died?”

 

“What?”

 

Jun Hee leaned in and repeated, e-nun-ci-a-ting carefully, “The boy whom Jun Pyo gave the red card to—whom neither of you stopped to help—died later from his injuries. Did you see that from your vantage point as well?”

 

Woo Bin didn’t speak. He couldn’t breathe.

 

. . .

 

Ji Hoo was her second favourite from the quartet.

 

Musical prodigy and overall genius, he was her brother’s second-man. He was the avant-garde Renaissance man, excluding cars. With a traumatic past and self-lambasting grandfather (punishing himself for delusional crimes and guilt), Ji Hoo suffered the most. Asperger’s syndrome, lonely orphan, every tragic symptom imaginable, the boy was a walking psychiatric dream.   

 

She scored two tickets to an elite, prestigious concert in Budapest and invited him along. Ji Hoo was surprised, but it was a chance that a Mozartean fanatic would never forfeit.

 

Enclosed in the back of her family’s plane, Jun Hee examined her patient with a professional scrutiny. Ji Hoo shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Her glances were like daggers. Under a direct inspection, he didn’t think he’ll survive intact.

 

“Relax, Ji Hoo. We’ll arrive soon. Oh, I saw Min Seo Hyun the other day. She got stuck with my old tutor. He’s a terribly mean and rude person.”

 

Ji Hoo nodded politely.

 

“She’s graduating this year. She said she’s thinking of studying abroad in Paris. If she goes, will you visit her?”

 

“I’m not sure.”

 

“Don’t you like her, Ji Hoo?”

 

He shrugged.

 

“How long have you known my brother?”

 

“Since kindergarten.”

 

“That’s a long time. Do you know each other well? He thinks of you as his best friend.”

 

He shrugged again.

 

“Suppose he asked you to give up Seo Hyun, how would you respond?” He opened his mouth to speak—she cut him off. “Never mind, I already know the answer to that.”

 

Jun Hee requested for tea to be brought. She ordered for two white jasmines, knowing he wouldn’t care either way. Yoon Ji Hoo would take forever plus a day to decide.

 

. . .

 

The next on her list was probably her least favourite, save for Jun Pyo, who honestly was the most irritating brat in the world.

 

So Yi Jung was a player, philanderer, and philosopher. He had the bifurcated misfortune to be both extraordinarily talented and exceptionally fatalistic. And he had the gall to admit to everything openly.

 

His family background wasn’t some clandestine, shameful travesty. His father displayed his various girlfriends as spectacles, and Yi Jung was more than welcome to double-dip a taste. Yi Jung’s misogyny developed young. Originated with his mother (the stereotypical wronged wife) and then encompassed for all females. He hated them (hated himself).

 

But, and this was where things got interesting, he just couldn’t say no to a pretty face. Jun Hee didn’t think she remembered a time when he didn’t have a girlfriend. Even when they were children on the playground, guarded by butlers and nanny-fortresses, Ji Jung was a legendary lady-killer.

 

“The Casanova of F4. Do they still call you that?”

 

“It can’t be helped. Women are drawn to me like moths to flame. Are you feeling the magnetisms of my charm?”

 

Jun Hee laughed. “I’ve never been pursued by a little boy, but they say there’s a first time for everything.”

 

“Little boy? I’m far from little.”

 

She thought she’d double over from the laughter. “So Yi Jung, thank you for dinner tonight. I didn’t think you were serious when you said you were flying in a chef from Paris.”

 

“Only the best for noona.” He signalled for more wine to be poured.

 

“I am engaged, you know.”

 

Somehow, his hand was creeping toward hers. Bad hand, he didn’t know how that happened, like it had its own volition of lust.  That was his signature prêt-à-porter line for standoffish haute-couture ladies. At that point, they either left him cold or walked further into his honeyed trap. Either way, he didn’t care. Plenty of fish in the sea, and everyone was transposable with everyone else.

 

“But engagement isn’t the same as marriage. Besides, even in marriage, there’s always room for a little fun.”

 

“Is it true that your brother abdicated his position in the company for you?”

 

“Maybe. But I’d rather talk about us.”

 

“Yi Jung, there is no ‘us.’ How’s your father?”

 

“Drunk.”

 

“Your mother?”

 

“Sick.”

 

“Why’re you so afraid, So Yi Jung?”

 

“Noona, I’m not afraid. What’s all this about? I thought we were just having a nice, pleasant dinner.”

 

“If you’re  not afraid, then why don’t you ever speak to your father or see your mother in the hospital?”

 

Yi Jung stuck his fork in the crème brûlée, savoured the rich, velvety decadence, and adamantly avoided her gaze. Jun Hee sighed and sipped her water while her strawberry tart remained untouched. She didn’t like to indulge unnecessarily.

 

. . .

 

Remorse didn’t work with Jun Pyo, and neither did the cut direct nor rhetoric. He was simply immune to her tricks and wiles. Faced with an impossibility, logical impasse, Jun Hee settled on violence. To hell with subterfuge and cordial remonstrations. She was going to beat him into a wincing, sore-lipped pulp.

 

“Stop being so full of it!” she screamed at him.

 

“Noona, stop hitting me what that damned sword!”

 

“You are a disgraceful, cowardly, tiny worm of a man. You are not fit to be a person, let alone be Shinhwa’s heir! No, even a Kafkaesque insect would be a better chairman than you.”

 

Jun Pyo leapt back and caught the sword. “Enough, noona. I don’t know what a stupid Kafka-whatever insect is. And will you stop hitting me?”

 

Jun Hee stood upright. She calmly brushed her hair away and firmly said, “If you don’t grow up soon, I swear to god, you’ll regret it. One day, Gu Jun Pyo, you’re going to meet someone who can’t be bought, bullied, or beaten. You’re going to learn the lesson of your life but at a high cost. I’m not sure you’ll even be able to afford it.”

 

“Noona, what the hell are you talking about?”

 

“A person’s character is more valuable than anything else. It has the power to redeem him of any wrong, grant complete amnesty. It negates all the faults he’s done in the past. Best of all, one’s character is flexible. It can always change for the better. Gu Jun Pyo, your character is what determines your future fortunes. The same goes for you three.”

 

Without waiting to solicit their reactions, Jun Hee left.

 

Jun Pyo sank into the closest, nearby chair and collapsed in exhaustion. “That woman is the devil.”

 

“What was she rambling about in the end?”

 

“Who cares, Woo Bin? I’m just glad she finally left. My head was pounding from all that yelling,” said Yi Jung, “What do you think, Ji Hoo? Noona can be terrifying.”

 

The other three turned. Ji Hoo was asleep.

 

iii.

 

In their senior year of high school, something unexpected happened. What Jun Hee predicted and warned them against came true.

 

A commoner named Geum Jan Di infiltrated their school and set things in an uproar. For the first time in their lives, the invincible F4 realized that actions indeed have consequences. And some of them were irrevocable in damage.

 


 
 
 
springfiryspringfiry on July 31st, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC)
Your stories are always so short but thought provoking.

I enjoy them alot :)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on July 31st, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad you liked. :)
.: 003corposant on July 31st, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
Ah, I love your BBF fics! This one features some of my favorite things: moral philosophy, Budapest, and Woo Bin being a naive sweetheart.
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on August 1st, 2010 08:46 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)