Damaged, Chapter Two

Title: Damaged
Author: aquariuslover
Pairing: Yunjae
Rating: R
Genre: Future AU, Drama, Angst
Beta: Motty123
Summary: On a cold winter’s day he cast their love away for the sake of his family. The following autumn an act of vengeance left their love beyond the reaches of forgiveness. Two summers later a fan’s anger and the ultimate act of self-sacrifice would redefine everything they knew about love, pride, selfishness, and forgiveness.

Previous Chapters

“I don’t know why they feel the need to pile your room up with all this junk. No offense, but it isn’t like it means anything to you anymore.” Yunho slowly awoke, hearing a gruff, unfamiliar voice. “I just have to dust all of it.”

Yunho’s eyes flew open as he saw an old black lady dusting many awards that lined the window ledge, and sat on top of a huge dresser. He was finding it really difficult to concentrate. Was he at a hotel? He was certain he had been in Seoul, so why would he be at a hotel? This wasn’t a hotel though, was it? It also wasn’t the dorm he shared with Changmin. It wasn’t Go Ara’s apartment either. Where exactly was he? The room was unfamiliar with its warm mint green walls, but it was his pictures on the walls smiling back at him.

“Ur..gph.” Yunho had opened his mouth to speak but instead only garbled noises had come out.

The housekeeper turned and looked at him closely. “Don’t worry, Handsome. I was just fussing. You just go back to sleep. The crazy nurses will be in here soon enough to torture you.”

“Nuuuuu…,” Yunho stopped. His mouth apparently wasn’t going to work. He tried to sit up and found his right side did not move at all. His left arm had moved but it felt like it was made of lead.

Panic set in and he knew something was terribly wrong. He had to get out of here, he thought, and with all his power, he tried to move. His left arm lifted more and his left leg was stiff, but it moved easier than his left arm, he was able to fling it off the side of the bed. Suddenly a loud alarm flooded the room.

Yunho barely had time to react when two nurses flew into the room surrounding him on each side. “Are we feeling feisty this morning?” the younger and shorter of the two nurses asked him with a warm smile as she went to the bottom of the bed and pushed on something. The alarm stopped.

“Just calm down. Are you dirty? Is that what’s got you riled up this morning?” the older and taller of the two nurses asked as she picked up his left leg and put it back on the bed.

“That’s my signal to leave,” the housekeeper said, walking out of the room and shutting the door behind her.

The younger of the nurses handed the older nurse a pair of gloves. Yunho just stared up at them fearfully, his mouth refusing to cooperate with him. “It’s okay. We will clean you up and then we will get you up for breakfast,” the younger nurse told him, smiling warmly at him.

To Yunho’s absolute horror the older nurse pulled and rolled him over to his side as the shorter nurse checked his diaper….he had a diaper? What was going on? His mind was racing in a million directions. He pushed against the nurse as hard as he could to escape, but it was useless. “Hana, he is feisty this morning. He is really pushing against me. Is he dirty?”

“No, he’s actually clean,” Hana the shorter and younger of the nurses said as they rolled him back on to his back.

“Well, let’s just get him up in the chair then. He’s happier in the chair and breakfast will be here soon,” the taller nurse said as she moved a chair closer to the bed.

“Did you hear that, Yunho? We will get you up. You hate staying in the bed all day, don’t you?” Hana told him. “Bong Cha, does he seem scared to you?”

“He does seem restless, like something’s bothering him. Let’s get him up. We might have to give him a sedative,” the nurse named Bong Cha said as they both pulled Yunho up to the side of the bed.

“Nooothh...” Yunho tried and failed to tell them no. Drugs were not something he needed when he could barely think as it was. He needed to think clearly and remember what happened to him. What had brought him to this place?

“Let’s just get him up then we’ll go tell Dr. Lee and see what he says,” Bong Cha informed Hana as they each grabbed under Yunho’s shoulder to transfer him to the chair.

Yunho didn’t fight them at all, he figured being out of bed was a step in the right direction as he tried to help them get him in the chair, but his leg was so weak. “Did he try to help us?” Hana asked, surprised.

Bong Cha stepped in front of Yunho, studying him closely. “It kinda seemed like it.”

“That’s impossible. They said he never would be able to think at that level,” Hana exclaimed, her excitement easily heard. “They also said he would never eat without a feeding tube either.”

“They were also going to slice him up like cake and dish out his organs like a fine meal, after he was shot…but he opened his eyes…after they said he never would,” Bong Cha said, still studying him closely. “I am going to go get Dr. Lee.”

Shot? He had been shot? They were going to slice him up? Yunho fought to remember and slowly a memory of a gun aimed at his Changmin came back to him. Relief. He saved Changmin, but then there was blackness. Horrible blackness.

“Yunho, are you crying?” Hana reached for napkins on the bedside table and wiped his face. Bong Cha had already gone in search of the doctor.

He remembered horrible blackness and just emptiness until that voice had pierced through it. That voice threatening, no, promising that horrendous act and Yunho knew he would do it. That voice had brought him back from the emptiness for this. Why? Emptiness was better than this, that voice. His voice. “Jaaee.”

“Oh, Oh!” Hana actually squealed as she jumped up and clapped her hands! Yunho felt the same way, too. The name had slipped off his tongue much easier than anything else he had tried. He tried to smile at her but he found he couldn’t, that one side of his mouth refused to cooperate.

“Did you ask for your BooJae? He asked for Jae! This is the best day ever!” She was shaking all over; the excitement was too much for her.

Yunho couldn’t smile but he found the frown he made at the mention of BooJae came easily. He prayed she wasn’t one of those fans.

“Yunho, you are trapped in there after all! They said you would never get better, that you were just a shell. That the man you had been was lost forever. They told your family to mourn you, because what was left was just a shell…but they were wrong. He knew they were wrong!”

Yunho felt his chest tighten as an unbearable thought came to him…what if he was trapped like this? What if he was forever trapped in this body…that refused to cooperate with him? Would he want anybody he loved to know that he was awake inside this shell?

When Bong Cha ran in with Dr. Lee behind her, Yunho made the decision he would not respond to anything they did. He would not put this added burden on his family or his loved ones.


Dr. Lee was more than happy to tell the nurses they had been wrong. He explained away what they had thought was Yunho helping them. Even Bong Cha had rolled her eyes at Hana, when Hana had insisted that Yunho had said Jae’s name. The doctor explained that mumbled sounds were to be expected, but sometimes nurses and family heard what they wanted to hear. Hana insisted she knew what she heard, but even her faith was tested in the end and Yunho could tell that she even doubted her own ears.

As the day continued, Yunho’s hope of it all being one horrible nightmare faded away into the knowledge it was just a horrible life…his horrible life. He watched silently as his day was broken up into getting up, breakfast, physical therapy, lunch, sitting, physical therapy, sitting, dinner, sitting, and back to bed.

He tried not to stare at any of the many people assigned to his care. He made no further attempts to communicate and tried not to give himself away in physical therapy.

Once back in bed, a nurse he didn’t recognize from earlier came by and stuffed crushed pills into his mouth without explaining what they were. He soon found himself very sleepy and he was relieved when he fell asleep without any difficulty at all.


The next morning, Yunho awoke to the feeling of warmth on his face. The curtains to the window were pulled open and sunshine was beaming in on him. He has always loved the sunshine and the feel of it against his skin. For the briefest of moments, he had forgotten the new reality of his life.

His mind felt sharper today, so he laid there with the sunshine on his face and pondered his options. This hiding away and feeling sorry for himself wasn’t him, not at all. The decision to spare his family, his friends, and poor Changmin from knowing he was trapped in this body wasn’t something he regretted. He would continue to do so until…until he could get out of this bed on his own.

He was determined he was going to get out of this bed on his own. He would make that right side work again, but first he had to strengthen the left side. He decided right then and there he would work on building up his own strength every time he was left alone.

He also has to work on his ability to communicate, and that was going to be hard…

“What are you thinking about, Handsome?” the housekeeper asked as she stood over Yunho’s bed, watching him intently.

Yunho turned and focused on her out of habit.

“You sure do look brighter this morning. I heard little Hana made a big stink yesterday saying you were talking, but the doctors said she was wrong. The doctors know everything I hear so I suppose she was wrong,” the housekeeper said, eyeing him sceptically.

Yunho closed his eyes and hoped she would go away.

“I am just a lowly housekeeper, what would I know? I do know this though… I better hurry, it is bath day today and they will soon be in here to get you,” she told him nonchalantly.

Yunho’s eyes flew open again and he knew that he couldn’t hide his fear at the thought of being bathed.

The housekeeper snickered. “Oh, yes those doctors…you can’t fool them. Or can you? Like I said, what do I know? I am just a lowly housekeeper.”

Yunho eyed her back and mentally cursed himself. He was about to start pleading, or attempt to plead, when she started humming Hug.

The look he gave her made her laugh. “Do you like my song?”

“Noo,” Yunho answered without thinking. He half smiled at his success. Maybe communication wouldn’t be as impossible as he thought yesterday.

“No, you don’t like your own song,” she told him, shaking her head but smiling at him.

“Bad memooorrries,” Yunho said less successfully now.

“Bad memories, how funny that everybody would assume those would be the best memories considering the shape you are in now.”

Yunho just closed his eyes. He didn’t expect her or anyone else to understand.

“So you fooled the doctors yesterday?” she asked him, not leaving his side.

“Yes,” he blurted out without difficulty. Was it because they were short words? Could he say short words? he asked himself.

“I knew I liked you, Handsome. So the boy with irreparable brain damage is fooling all the doctors. Your secret is safe with me. Keep fooling them as long as you can,” she told him with a grin and walked off.


Yunho had taken showers before with others that were completely innocent. He had taken showers that were anything but innocent, but nothing had prepared him for this bath…it was simply the most horrendous experience of his life.

They had taken him to the bathroom that connected to his room and sat him across from a large mirror as they stripped him. His reflection had shocked him….his face looked so rested. He looked years younger than the last time he had looked at his face without the benefit of make-up. He could only see his upper body but it was so thin and frail that he closed his eyes, unable to look at it.

He was set in the tub as they scrubbed him all over and discussed their favorite drama. He had been utterly appalled to find a tube sticking out of his penis. His failure to notice it yesterday was a true sign he really did have brain damage. His left arm immediately reached for it to pull it out but stopped when it resulted in what could only be called excruciating pain.

Bong Cha had also immediately grabbed his hand and told him, “No!”

“He’s never pulled at it before,” Hana pointed out, as she lathered Yunho’s hair.

“If a man can breathe he is going to reach for it. They can’t help it,” Bong Cha informed Hana as she grabbed a towel and started washing Yunho’s privates to his great shame.

“Well, I still think he asked for Jae yesterday.”

“You wanted him to say it,” Bong Cha told the younger woman as she continued to clean Yunho.

“Maybe, but still it sounded like he said it,” Hana admitted as she rinsed Yunho’s hair.

“He’s better this way. How hard it would be for somebody like him to be trapped like this,” Bong Cha
said as she started emptying the tub.

“I know, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a miracle?” Hana said as she got up and grabbed some towels to dry him off with.


When Yunho awoke the next morning, he felt a familiar presence pressing comfortably against his left side. As he opened his eyes he found an arm swung across his chest.

Even before looking he knew who it was, but how could that possibly be? The time for that had passed long ago. He shifted his eyes down and found Jae sleeping at his side fully clothed on top of the covers. Relief flooded him, he had felt so abandoned the last few days and to have somebody here…to have Jae here.

His relief was washed away when he realized this wasn’t years ago and the time of secrets shared with Jae had long passed. Jae was no longer his confidant…his other half. Jae had turned against him… no matter how much Yunho had deserved it in the end, Jae had turned against him.

Jae had joined them and he had helped destroy Dong Bang Shin Ki, leaving Yunho with only his pride and a loyal boy...who had only hurt himself by staying with him. Tears welled up in his eyes as the memories of all the people he had loved and failed flashed before his mind, but none more than Changmin. He would have taken a thousand bullets for Changmin.

No, Jae wasn’t his confidant or his secret keeper, Jae was his enemy. Jae had made sure to hurt Yunho as much as he had once loved him. Yunho hadn’t chosen Jae, and Jae’s wrath had gone to work to destroy every feeling of love they had ever shared between them.

“You look deep in thought, Handsome,” the housekeeper told Yunho as he was plagued by Jae’s sudden presence and what it meant.

Yunho’s eyes darted in warning in Jae’s direction, letting the housekeeper know that he had no plans in confiding his new-found mentality to the man beside him.

“Oh, he won’t wake up. He leaves for days or weeks and when he comes back he crashes,” the housekeeper told Yunho as she swept the floor.

Curiosity must have shown clearly on his face as he took in the fact that this wasn’t Jae’s first visit. “He does it over and over again. He leaves you, comes back to you, and then sleeps for a day. Once he wakes up he goes about making sure he has all the staff in his pocket. I am glad I am old enough to be impervious to his charms.”

Yunho frowned. He couldn’t imagine under any circumstance in which his father would allow Jae such easy access to him. Unless Jae was doing it without his parents’ permission...Jae could easily talk anybody into covering for him, but didn’t his parents visit? If they visited, wouldn’t they have caught on?

“He’s back,” Yunho closed his eyes quickly as he heard Bong Cha entering the room.

“That he is, and oblivious to everything around him,” the housekeeper told her as she continued to sweep the floor.

“I don’t get him,” Bong Cha told the housekeeper, “I mean why? Guilt? It’s just weird if you ask me.”

“Oh, it’s weird. I’ll give you that,” the housekeeper agreed, shaking her head.

“Jae’s back!” Hana said as she walked into the room smiling brightly at the sleeping man.

“He is, and please spare him and me your crazy theories. Try to remember you are a professional and not some fan girl,” Bong Cha told the younger woman as she moved closer to Yunho’s bed.

“They aren’t crazy,” Hana mumbled under her breath as she stepped up to the bed beside Bong Cha.

“Mr. Kim, move. We have to get him up.” Yunho opened his eyes as he heard Bong Cha tell Jae to move, but she got no response from the sleeping man beside him. “Mr. Kim, move it. We have to get Yunho up for breakfast,” Bong Cha said again louder this time, tapping Jae’s arm.

In response, Jae moaned and rolled over away from Yunho. Jae never aroused as they got Yunho up and moved him to the chair. Jae’s only response was to grab the blankets to cover up completely and continue sleeping.

The nurses quickly got Yunho dressed and Bong Cha sent Hana away as she fed him eggs that tasted more like dry powder than eggs. He ate them eagerly though. He needed all the strength he could gather so he knew he must eat.

Whenever he could, he cast glances at Jae without alerting Bong Cha’s suspicions. He silently watched as the other man never moved. After breakfast, Bong Cha wheeled Yunho off to physical therapy and Jae continued to sleep.

Yunho’s day was much like the other two but thankfully he was spared a bath. He spent his time between physical therapy and his room, and every time he returned he found Jae sleeping exactly as he had left him.

At dinnertime a male nurse whom he didn’t recognize and looked to be in his forties came in to feed him. Yunho looked down at his food and tried not to frown. Why was all of his food so soft? He still had his teeth. Why were they feeding him mush? His eyes darted to Jae and suddenly he couldn’t stop thinking of what wonderful dishes Jae used to cook for him.

“If you don’t eat you will be the hungry one, not me,” the male nurse warned him. Yunho looked and saw that he had a spoon up to his mouth. Yunho opened his mouth and took a bite no matter how unappetizing it appeared.

“I got to get off in time, so we need to hurry this. My old lady has a list of shit she wants me to do,” the male nurse grumbled as he stuffed food in Yunho’s mouth quicker than Yunho could swallow. The nurse made no attempt to slow down, and Yunho feared that he might vomit or choke at any minute.

“I will take over now,” Yunho’s eyes immediately flew to Jae who was now sitting up at the side of the bed, piercing holes in the male nurse with his eyes.

“Well…I was told to feed him,” the nurse explained, but he knew he had been caught.

“You can leave,” Jae told him, not moving from the side of the bed, still staring holes into the man. The nurse didn’t say anything and just puffed up his chest, set the silverware down, and walked out of the room.

Yunho willed himself to look anywhere but at Jae as the other man walked to his side.

“Fucking Neanderthal,” Jae spit out as he picked up the milk and put the straw in Yunho’s mouth. Yunho slurped down the milk and tried not to wince as Jae ran a hand through his hair. “It’s getting so long…but the last time that butcher they call a hairdresser touched it I swore it would be to your waist before I would let him mutilate it again.”

Jae put what appeared to be mashed peas up to his mouth, and Yunho took them like a baby would have, but if he had been a real baby he would have spit them out. They were disgusting and his face must have given away his dislike as Jae chuckled. “Nasty, huh? Well, if I were a good ex I would make you something edible, but since you dumped my ass you can just eat this slop.”

Jae said it with an affectionate tone but something about the honestly of his words caused Yunho to choke on them. “Yunho!” Jae panicked as Yunho just coughed to clear his throat. Yunho watched as Jae ran to the bed and hit the nurse call light. Jae immediately returned to Yunho’s side, pounding on his back.

Hana flew in the room. “What’s wrong?”

“He’s choking,” Jae said as he stopped pounding on Yunho’s back much to Yunho’s relief. “Well, he was.”

“Jae, he swallows fine. He had to pass all kinds of swallowing studies before they would remove the feeding tube. He probably just coughed. He looks good. He’s been doing really well lately,” Hana told Jae as she took the spoon away from him. “I thought Kwan was feeding him?”

“He was, but I made him leave,” Jae told her as he got back in bed and laid down this time, propping himself up on his elbows, watching her feed Yunho.


“I don’t like him. He feeds him too fast…and he always makes it seem like he is doing him some favor,” Jae told her, his irritation obvious. Yunho could feel Jae watching him closely now.

“Well, he really is a good guy. He just has lots of stress at home,” Hana tried to explain as she continued to feed Yunho. “His appetite is so good lately. The last couple of days he has eaten everything we have given him.”

“I noticed. Normally those smashed peas would be getting spit everywhere,” Jae observed with a fond smile.

“His eating has really improved…and other stuff,” Hana said hesitantly, as she cast a knowing glance at Jae. Yunho suddenly felt dread come over him, surely she wouldn’t…

“Like what?” Jae asked, his eyes still glued to Yunho.

“Well, the doctor said that we were mistaken, but I….”

“What?” Jae asked, now turning and focusing on her. Yunho knew everything would soon come spilling out of the young woman.

“Bong Cha and I were moving him and it felt like he tried to help us. Like he put some of his weight on his leg, even Bong Cha thought so. Dr. Lee said it was like muscle memory or something…and dismissed it though. It’s just that, well…”

“Well what?” Jae asked, slowly sitting up at the side of the bed.

“Well we were all excited and Bong Cha went to get the doctor. I was left alone with Yunho and he was crying…and I know he said your name. I don’t care what they say. They can call me a crazy Yunjae fan….ummm. I don’t know why I said that…they just called me a crazy fan. I don’t even know what that other word means. I’m not a crazy Yunjae fan…that would be totally inappropriate.” Hana had turned totally red at her slip up.

Crazy Yunjae fan indeed! The minute she had said BooJae he should have known, Yunho couldn’t help thinking as he shut his eyes, refusing to look at Jae.

“Go!” Jae ordered as he slid off the bed. Hana didn’t argue, she just took off as quickly as possible, embarrassed at her slip up.

Yunho refused to open his eyes. He could feel Jae watching him, he could feel that blinding intensity radiating from those eyes. He refused to open them, this was his shame and he would not share it with anybody willingly.

After a few moments of Jae not saying or doing anything, Yunho felt his gaze let up and he heard the door to his room shut. He could hear Jae slowly walk back to him and he swallowed down the urge to cry when he felt very familiar and once much loved hands gently encompass both sides of his face. “Yunho?”

Yunho cursed his body and his mind as he felt tears slip out of his eyes. Why must he be like this? Why must his body betray him at every turn? He still refused to open his eyes as he felt Jae brush his tears away. “Once upon a time, when I was young and stupid, I gave three times when it was acceptable for a man to cry…I would love to go back in time and smack that version of myself. I had no idea what pain the world could dish out then.”

“Noo,” Yunho wanted to say… it wasn’t the world, but it was the people of the world who dished out the pain. The world was just the setting but he knew it was beyond his ability to say such things, so he just said no. With great reluctance, he opened his eyes and found Jae’s blinding focus aimed at him once again.

“Awe, there you….are,” Jae gasped with tears running down both sides of his face too. “About time,” Jae told him, as he pushed the dinner tray away and embraced him fiercely.

Yunho just sat there helpless. What could he do? His plan to keep his new-found mentality a secret was lost now. How would Jae react? Would he break free any minute and shout it to the world? Would his old selfishness take over and would he keep it to himself? Yunho tried to think of all these things instead of the wonderful warmth that surrounded him.

“How long?” Jae asked, his arms still wrapped around Yunho.

“Days,” Yunho blurted out, trying to keep his response short.

“How many days? Was it after I left? Do you remember me leaving?” Jae asked, breaking away from the embrace and kneeling down in front of Yunho with his hands in Yunho’s lap.

Yunho just shook his head no as he looked down at Jae. Jae looked older to him, so much older. “Hoow lon ggghavvveee be eeen?”

Jae reached a hand up and gently cupped Yunho’s face. “Your speech. I am sorry, I don’t understand.”

“Loooonggg,” Yunho blurted out, frustrated.

Jae’s eyes widened as he understood. “It’s been a little over a year.”

“Yeeaar?” Yunho barely managed to get out the word as a horrible feeling of loss washed over him. A year of his life was forever lost. He remembered the words of the staff in the last few days. He was supposed to be a lost cause and it had been a year. Had everybody else given up on him? Had they all forgotten him, except for Jae?

“Only a year,” Jae told him, and in response Yunho glared at him. How could he say only a year? “This was supposed to be forever. You kept proving them wrong though by opening your eyes, breathing on your own, and eating on your own. You kept proving them wrong, but they still refused to believe in you.”

His glare faded away and hope took over. If he had proven them wrong without even knowing it, what could he do now, now that he knew? He would walk again. He would. “Walllk.”

“Yes, most definitely.” Jae took his left hand and squeezed it tightly.

“Wheerre amm I?” Yunho asked suddenly. What was this place called?

“It’s a rehab and long care facility. It’s called Clear Creek. They take very good care of you, it’s the best there is. Only the best for you,” Jae told him, still smiling up at him and squeezing his hand.

Yunho smiled and squeezed it back, but it was a poor attempt, his weakness showing.

“It will get stronger though, there isn’t anything wrong with the left side, except for the fact that you haven’t used it in over a year. They will help you to have it back to full strength in no time. It won’t be easy but…”

“Noo. Can’t knooow,” Yunho said, panicking at the thought of other people knowing, his family knowing.

“Silly,” Jae said as he let go of Yunho’s hand to pat his checks. “Of course they have to know, so they can help you.”

Yunho reached up and grabbed Jae’s wrist with strength he hadn’t had earlier. “Fam..no,” Yunho swallowed and tried again. “Family can’t knoow frrii...iends noo…Chang…noo.”

Jae’s face softened. “We won’t tell them, but we have to tell the doctors and nurses so they can help you properly.”

Yunho shook his head in panic. “Haave to tell parennnts!”

Jae just smiled at Yunho fondly and sat up to give him a quick kiss on the forehead that caused Yunho to jerk his head back. Jae just shook his head at Yunho’s response to the kiss. “The staff will tell your family what I want them to tell them…of course we will present it as your wishes.”

“Pprrroomm…” Yunho just gave up and sighed. His speech was getting worse and worse.

Jae looked confused. “Not a clue. We will wait and tell them tomorrow though. I am too tired and you look so drained.”

Yunho cursed his inability to speak because he would like to ask Jae how exactly he could be tired? He had slept all day.

“They will be in any minute to get you dressed for bed,” Jae said, standing up and taking a seat on the bed. “I knew you were going to come out of it, but still it’s rather shocking.”

Dressed? He cursed his body again. He hated getting dressed, he hated baths, he hated tubes hanging out of him, and he hated going to the bathroom.

“You are scowling,” Jae told him, looking amused at Yunho. “I wish I knew what was going on in that brain of yours. I am sure you have a million questions.”

Yunho nodded his head in agreement. He had so many questions that he needed to be answered.

The door opened and two of the older nurses who he recognized from the previous nights walked in. They ignored Yunho as they greeted Jae. Jae turned on his charisma, working them like only he could. Yunho listened as he asked one of them about her grandchildren, and complimented the other on her new haircut.

“Well, we better get him dressed and back in bed,” one of the nurses said as she walked over to the dresser and started going through the drawers.

“Just get a gown, it’s so much easier,” the other nurse who Jae had complimented on her hair said. Yunho didn’t see what was so great about her hair. He didn’t want to wear a gown. It was too much like a dress.

“You don’t mind do you?” the nurse with the grandkids asked Jae.

“Oh, I don’t mind. Whatever is easy, his mother is the only one that minds the gowns and I’m not going to tell her. I have watched you dress him enough to know how hard it is,” Jae told them with a warm-hearted smile.

“We will be right back then,” they told Jae and hurried off to find a gown.

Jae got off the bed, walked over, and sat in the chair beside the bed. Jae turned to look at Yunho to find him glaring at him. Jae frowned. “It isn’t a big deal. The gown is easier for you, too. It will be quicker.”

Yunho continued to glare. “You saaa derrrr.” He stopped, his mouth not cooperating at all.

Jae looked puzzled as he tried to understand Yunho. “You want me to dress you?” Yunho was shocked at that response. “I can’t. It would be too strange. There isn’t anything to be shy about, they have seen it before. They have dressed you a hundred times, believe me they aren’t getting any thrill out of it. It’s just work to them.”

Yunho had thought years ago that blushing in front of Jae was a thing of the past, but he could feel his face turning red in anger and embarrassment. “Yoouu leave!” Yunho was very happy when the anger pushed the words out clearly.

Jae rolled his eyes and tried to fight down laughter. “Seriously? I’ve seen it before too.”

Yunho glared. He couldn’t believe Jae. “Looong timmme!”

Jae stood up, fighting his annoyance. “It’s been a long time for you. I have been here…” He stopped suddenly as the nurses walked back into the room with a gown. “I am going to go take a stroll,” Jae told them, leaving the room.

“He’s such a good friend,” the one with the grandkids said as she slipped Yunho’s shirt off.

“He makes me wish I was twenty years younger,” the one with the haircut said, causing them both to laugh. Yunho made a mental note - he hated lazy, gown-loving, new haircut nurse.


Yunho was conflicted as he laid there in the bed where the nurses had put him. He wanted Jae to come back, but that stubborn part of him that had existed long before the accident hated that he wanted him to return.

Was he supposed to forget everything? How could he let something like that go? But then again he had always known the fault had started with him, before the accident he had known that. He had sent Jae on the path that would eventually destroy everything. He had taken his part of the blame before, like a man should. Jae had obviously put aside whatever hateful feelings he had harbored for him…to what? What exactly was Jae doing? Had he really spent a year visiting him? The nurses all seemed…

“You are thinking too much,” Jae told Yunho as he climbed up beside him in the hospital bed, much to Yunho’s shock. “Don’t even start to weird out on me. The nurses all know I hate the chair. The cot they brought me didn’t cut it either. So a long time ago we decided that I would just sleep with you, it worked out best for everybody. I kept you from flopping out of bed and they got to ignore you for eight hours, knowing I was watching you.”

“Jae…bbbuu.” Yunho stopped, frustration written all over his face, even the side that drooped.

“Yunho, just don’t. Nothing you say is going to make me get out of this bed. We are going to bed and in the morning we are going to share the good news with the staff, and we are going to get you walking. End of story,” Jae said as he sat up and stretched.

“Sttinnnk,” Yunho blurted out.

“So mature, but I will forgive you since I have missed you for so long,” Jae told him with a long, suffering look.

“Smmmmellll.” Yunho told him making sniffing noises, “Cigggerrr..urgh.”

“You mean literally?” Jae asked in surprise, lifting his shirt up and smelling it. “I smell like smoke, you smoked before.”

“Sttoppped,” Yunho said, frowning. The smell had never bothered him before, but he suddenly found it very offensive.

Jae crawled out of bed. “Let me guess, was it a year ago? A year ago that you quit?”

Yunho tried to smile and failed when one side of his mouth refused to help him out.

“Well I will just shower, then. I have clothes here. I will be back. Don’t think you won,” Jae told him as he turned and rummaged through the bottom drawer of the dresser. “I stink. I mean really? Like there aren’t a hundred thousand people who would be happy to smell me,” Jae mumbled under his breath as he went in the bathroom and slammed the door shut.

Yunho just yawned happily. This ranting Jae was more like the old Jae that he had once known. The cool, mysterious version he displayed for everybody else, that was an act, and the older Jae got the more he perfected his act. In the months before his accident he had often seen Jae on television or the Internet and he wondered if ranting, rambling Jae who was so often a victim of his own honesty even existed anymore…if he had died completely that awful, most awful day, that they had had their last great battle.

Yunho pushed the memories of that day away. It would bring nothing to his recovery…only dampen everything around it. He refused to think of that day he told himself as the minutes passed by.

“You look sad,” Jae said, as he walked out of the bathroom in an oversized black t-shirt and boxers as he toweled his wet hair dry.

Yunho yawned again and nodded his head yes as Jae sat down on the side of the bed and smiled at him.

“Yesterday was bath day…that must have been fun,” Jae told him, smirking at the thought.

Yunho could feel his face turning red again. He told himself that he needed to find himself better friends. How could anybody joke about such a thing, especially a so-called friend? Then he remembered that Jae had never claimed to be his friend. “Haate meee.”

“What?” Jae asked, startled and stopped laughing instantly.

If Jae really did hate him, what better enjoyment could he get than watching him in this condition? “Yooouuu haate meee?” Yunho asked, staring at the man, wondering if he had finally found the reason for why Jae was here.

“No, no. It’s just funny, but it isn’t really. You are going to get better and this will be funny someday. Making it funny helps take away the horribleness of it all,” Jae said, climbing in the bed beside Yunho and wrapping his arm around him. “I don’t hate you. I never did, no matter how much I wanted to.”

Yunho wanted to call him a liar and point out all the examples that proved he was lying. Instead, he just laid there as familiar arms tightened around him, not having the strength to protest.

“I can’t imagine how hard it has been and I don’t even want to. I wasn’t sure what you wanted from me. If you would reject any tenderness…I didn’t know if you would accept it from me. Your eyes at times are full of so much anger and I can feel it aimed at me. I promise that I only want the best for you,” Jae told him, kissing the side of Yunho’s head. “Nobody wanted you to come back more than me. I have waited for this day. I never doubted it would come.”

“II dddonnnn.” Yunho closed his eyes as his words collapsed under his weakness and exhaustion.

“Shh…just sleep, Yunho. If it makes it better…more comfortable… imagine it is five years ago and we are still young and perfectly in love,” Jae said in a soothing tone as he gently ran his hands through Yunho’s hair. Yunho closed his eyes and did as he was instructed to do, and soon found himself sleeping.

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