Genre: AU, Friendship, Romance, Drama
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. I own nothing and know even less. This story is a stand alone, but it does take place in the TFAN universe where Yunho played a crucial role.
Big HUGE thanks to Amy(one of my most favorite people ever)!!! Also a big thanks to everybody who takes the time to comment! I can't thank the people who comment enough it warms my heart!
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.
Yunho sat on the padded floor between the parallel bars and thought over his predicament. It had been four days since Jae had left and Go Ara had re-entered his life. She had visited every day since, but Yunho still found it impossible not to worry about Jae. He had asked Soo Jin the night before if she had heard from Jae, and she had looked depressed when she informed him that Jae had not contacted her.
“Are you ready to try again?” Bill asked, hovering over him. Yunho had finally managed to take that third step today, promptly falling on his ass afterwards.
“Yeah, of course,” Yunho said, pulling himself back up. At first the constant falling had been more annoying than anything else, but the padded floor kept him from hurting himself. He had slowly grown to appreciate the art of pulling himself back up again.
“Bill, I know I am getting stronger and I know I will walk again, but what about writing or anything that requires precision?”
“That’s harder to get back actually, but I would never count you out,” Bill told him, setting Yunho’s legs. “Now shift your weight between your legs.”
Yunho did as instructed shifting quickly back to his left leg when he felt the right one giving out. “I used to be rather intelligent and it would be a shame if I couldn’t even write my name.”
“Yunho, it is best that you learn to use the left hand more and make it work for you. It is just a process of relearning.” Bill said, while watching Yunho’s legs closely.
“I know, they are trying to get me to use it more. I’m getting better, but I am just thinking of the future. I want things to be like they were before or as close as possible. I would love to be able write music or play a musical instrument,” Yunho explained to him, many ideas has taken birth in Yunho’s mind the last couple of days.
“There is place not far from where I was born that’s probably the most specialized rehab center in the world. It deals with lots of athletes and musicians, its focus is to return a person to their prior abilities. It wouldn’t accept you now, but once you are up walking again if you have the money it’s a possibility, but it isn’t cheap.”
“Is it in your blue state?” Yunho inquired as his right leg gave out and he plopped back down on the padded mat.
“No, but it’s a blue state, too. It’s actually in
“Do gay people get married there too?” Yunho asked honestly curious.
“Well, I don’t think they actually legally marry there, but they honor the marriage if that makes any sense,” Bill answered as he looked up and saw Hana enter the room. “It looks like Ms. Hana is here to steal you away from me.”
Yunho looked up at the young nurse as she grabbed his wheelchair and wheeled it over to him. “Ready?”
“No, but since they won’t let me practice any longer I suppose I will go,” Yunho said, pulling himself up again as Bill helped Hana position the wheelchair and they both assisted Yunho off the bars and back into his chair.
“Tomorrow same time, same place,” Bill said, patting Yunho on the shoulder.
“Deal,” Yunho agreed, as Hana started wheeling him away.
“Your girlfriend is back,” Hana told him as they moved through the hallway back to his room.
Yunho frowned. “It isn’t like that.”
“So she isn’t your girlfriend?”
“Well…she was at a time, but…I mean we were it’s hard to explain,” Yunho said, trying to make sense, but it really didn’t make sense to him either.
“She’s totally your girlfriend. She even brought you a surprise.”
“Not food,” Yunho said, cringing. He may have joked with Jae telling him she was an excellent cook, but it was a lie. A horrible lie.
“It’s a surprise. I’m not telling you what it is. I like her. She’s good for you. I will never be allowed back into the Yunjae fan club again,” Hana joked, laughing as she pushed Yunho along.
“Does Jae ever call you or text you about me?” Yunho blurted out suddenly, her joke reminding him of his main worry.
Hana instantly stopped the wheelchair. “No, I think he can sense my disgust.”
“I am sorry...but Junsu? How could they do that to you?” Hana asked as she slowly started pushing the wheelchair again.
“Hana, don’t hate him. He doesn’t handle rejection well. I wasn’t crying at home being monogamous to the memory of our love either,” Yunho told her as they approached his room.
“Whatever you’re perfect. I refuse to believe anything else,” Hana told him, entering his room.
“You are perfect!” Go Ara agreed, turning and smiling brightly at Yunho as she hung a picture of a beautiful sunset on the wall.
Yunho looked around the room and noticed that most of his pictures and awards had been removed from the room. “You redecorated?”
Go Ara finished hanging the picture and turned to face Yunho with her hands on her hips. “Yes! I did. This is not a memorial. This is your room and it should be more comfy.”
Hana chuckled as she patted Yunho on the shoulder. “I really like the potted plants,” Hana told him, walking out of the room and shutting the door behind her.
Yunho immediately took in the plants on the dresser, window ledge and the small plant on a new table in the room. “You got me a table?”
“For your new computer,” Go Ara informed him, walking to the table and flipping the new laptop open. “I just thought you might like sitting at a table…you know getting out of bed."
“You got it,” Yunho said, his eyes lighting up. “What about the phone?”
“I got that too,” She told him, handing him the phone. “I had to get it under my name.”
“Oh yeah, well that is totally understandable since I am supposed to be vegetable man and all. I will pay you back as soon as I can,” Yunho said, taking the phone and turning it on.
“Yunho, I am not worried about it. I also made sure the number was unlisted,” Go Ara told him as she straightened the picture on the wall.
“I have money. I just can’t get to it, but when I can I will pay you back. You are the best. If you have Heechul’s number you are a total godsend.”
“I already added his number and a few others,” She told him, apprehensively.
Yunho noted her tone and looked at her. “Who else?”
“Well, mine of course,” She told him, smiling as she sat down in the recliner.
“Kyuhyun and Ryeowook because you said they knew.”
“Good, thanks…anyone else?”
“Your mom and Changmin’s just in case you decide to give them the best news in the whole world.”
“Not yet, I will in time but not yet,” Yunho told her with a sad smile. He then wheeled himself to the new table that he found was tall enough for his wheelchair to slip under.
“I also put Jae’s in there,” she added in a hurry.
Yunho twirled around quickly in the chair to face her and bumped his leg against the table. “Ouch…how do you have Jae’s number?”
“It isn’t exactly hard to get. He gives it out a lot. I just thought…maybe you might need it,” She told him, biting her bottom lip looking nervously at him.
Yunho blinked and shook his head at her. “I know my girlfriend isn’t trying to hook me up with my ex-boyfriend.”
“I'm just good hearted like that. Am I still your girlfriend? I thought we were successfully avoiding that topic?” She asked him, causing him to fidget in his chair.
“I just...it isn’t…I don’t know. I don’t think so. It was just an expression, except it’s not. You hinted that there was somebody else?”
“There is, sorta…okay there is. Unless you don’t…?”
“No, no, no. I never expected you to wait for me. I am glad for you. He better be good to you is all I can say because I won’t be in this chair forever,” Yunho told her, trying to relieve her worries.
Go Ara gave him evil grin and teased, “I am glad you never expected me to wait for me, will you back to life, or stay by your bedside for a year. I mean they say you only get one great love in this life and…”
“Stop it,” Yunho told her, mortified. Yunho had never lied to her…ever. When they had worked on their drama together he had been a broken mess trying so hard to overcompensate and she had seen through his bravado and had easily gotten to the truth of the matter. She had been in love with him and he had loved her back as best he could.
“Why? It’s the truth. You told me that you had this break through right before I showed up that you had lost your anger that you had come to terms with it. Call him now…tell him.”
“No…I didn’t say that. I mean...I came to terms with the whole end of Dong Bang Shin Ki. I am not going to feel sorry for myself anymore or blame them. I just can’t forget what they did to me either though. I just can’t.”
She sighed. “Do you still have the dreams?”
“No, but sometimes I have flashbacks. Sometimes when he touches me I am thrown back in time and I am right back in that room,” Yunho admitted reluctantly, closing his eyes willing away any such memories.
“That can’t be good,” Go Ara said, scrunching up her face.
“No, it’s not…but it prevents me from loosing myself to a moment and forgetting the lessons the past taught me.” Yunho said, opening his eyes trying to see the hindrance in the best possible light.
“You two are just so complicated. I really do try to understand but it’s all so twisted. You love him, but you can’t forgive him…even after all he has done for you,” she said, folding her hands in her lap.
“It…I don’t have a choice. It’s not like I want to remember and also the world has not changed. It’s the same as it was before so it’s for the best,” Yunho explained, turning around to face the new computer.
“Well, I will always cover for you. I always have your back,” She told him, getting up from the recliner, walking toward him and laying a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“I can’t live like that. I didn’t wake from this nightmare so I could live a life of lies…so let’s just drop it. What about you? Are you happy with what’s his face?” Yunho eagerly asked, trying to change the topic of the conversation.
Go Ara squeezed Yunho’s neck gently. “I think he loves me…instead of just wishing he did.”
“Ouch!” Yunho winced as he brought up his hand to cover his heart.
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist,” She told him, laughing at his wounded expression.
Yunho was sitting up in his bed studying the phone in his hand intently when Maggie entered the room the next morning. “Well this sure is nice.”
Yunho attention quickly shifted to the elderly, black, housekeeper who was looking around the room. “Thanks, Maggie.”
“I heard you had a lady friend. She did a nice job. It’s very homey,” She told him as she started sweeping the floor.
“It’s different not so self indulgent, I suppose,” Yunho said, fighting off a yawn.
Maggie continued sweeping but she eyed him skeptically. “Not sleeping well?”
“I slept fine. Just lazy today,” Yunho answered too quickly, causing the housekeeper to raise her eyebrows in doubt. “I just have some things on my mind.”
“I didn’t mean to insinuate anything. I just have noticed over the past few months that you are usually bright eyed and perky in the mornings eager to start your day,” Maggie explained, sweeping under the bed.
“I took three steps yesterday. I actually bore weight on my right leg,” Yunho offered quickly in an attempt to change the subject.
“That’s good, Handsome,” Maggie said, bending down and collecting her dust.
Yunho closed his eyes knowing he wasn’t hiding anything from her. He had never been able to hide anything from her. “It’s just that I can’t help but worry about him.”
Maggie straightened back up and gave him a sad smile. “It’s only fair he spent many a day worrying about you, but he will soon be back and you two can continue your endless bickering.”
“He isn’t coming back,” Yunho told her, hating the certainty he heard in his own voice.
“That seems highly unlikely.”
“It’s the truth, and it’s for the best.”
Maggie turned away from him and walked toward the door. “I’m just a lowly housekeeper, so I wouldn’t know. Have a good day, Handsome.”
“Wait!” Yunho yelled, before she could completely escape him.
Maggie halted stopping at the door and turning back to him. “Yes?”
“Do you know English? Like really know it?” Yunho asked suddenly.
“Yes,” Maggie said, her brows furrowed at his unexpected question.
“I want to learn it…like really learn it. I aced it in school, but I want to be able to speak it fluently. From learning Japanese I realized the best way to learn is to have it spoken around me.”
“Why? Why do you suddenly want to learn English?” She asked him, confused. Surely the boy had enough to overcome without mastering a new language.
“There is a rehab center in America that is the best of its kind and I think I want to go there. I don’t want to be hindered by my right side for the rest of my life. I want to be able to play the piano, drums or guitar if I want too. I just don’t want to walk again I want it all back,” Yunho explained quickly to her.
Maggie smiled at him and spoke in perfect English, “Well, that’s mighty brave of you, Handsome. I wish you luck and I will see you tomorrow.”
“Bye,” Yunho told her in English as she walked out the door. He took a deep breath and smiled. He hadn’t understood half of her words, but he would. His smile faded as the phone in his hand caught his attention again.
He had an overwelling urge to text or call Jae. He was fighting it as best he could though, Jae didn’t need to hear from him. He needed to focus on his work, and Yunho was just being pathetic. It would be cruel of him to call Jae back…cruel because he could not give Jae what he wanted. It was best to let it end friendly with no more pain.
He needed to get out of this bed, get busy and keep himself distracted from thoughts of Jae. Yunho hit the call light and forced an eager happy look on his face, deciding it was time to start his day.
It has been eight days, Jae had still not returned and Yunho cursed himself for obsessing but he couldn’t stop himself.
Heechul found Yunho in his room at his table with his computer frowning when he entered the door Yunho had left open. Yunho didn’t even notice Heechul’s entry into the room. He was busy watching a JYJ interview where Jae was talking about how he had been really sick the last year but he was feeling so much better now.
“I think it’s time we tell Changmin,” Heechul told Yunho from behind him, causing the man to nearly jump out of his seat.
“What! When did you get here?” Yunho asked, shutting his computer surprised at Heechul’s unannounced visit.
“I have been here long enough to see you moping over him,” Heechul said, opening the computer back up to emphasis Yunho’s new found obsession. “No good comes from all this yearning.”
“I am not yearning,” Yunho protested, looking up at him horrified. He wasn’t…he was just worried.
“Oh, please,” Heechul groaned, pulling up a chair and sitting down beside Yunho. “We have to find something to distract you from Jae.”
“I am learning to walk again, I am studying English full force, I have started playing cards with some of the other patients here, and I have started writing music again…poorly written music but hey it’s a start. I have plenty of distractions,” Yunho informed him, closing the computer again.
“If you were a stupid or even average person you would not only be distracted but you would be overwhelmed…but unfortunately you’re not. You are capable of doing all those things and still obsessing over Jae. Not that I don’t appreciate the ten million phone calls I have gotten this week,” Heechul said as he crossed his legs looking at Yunho as if he were truly pathetic.
Yunho had the decency to look ashamed. “Sorry, but how is Changmin the answer?”
“Because only your love for Changmin comes close to matching your love for Jae, so he’s the obvious answer,” Heechul pointed out. “Just imagine how happy he will be to see you all cognizant.”
“Stop it. I am going to tell Changmin when I can walk. I will not have him see me tied to this pathetic chair,” Yunho told Heechul suddenly cantankerous. “I am sorry if I have been bothering you. I assure you I will stop.”
“Don’t be an ass. I had a three way telephone conversation earlier regarding you with Go Ara and the bunnies that are in China. We all agree it’s time for Changmin to know,” Heechul told him, not intimidated or moved by Yunho’s outburst.
Yunho folded his arms and glared at Heechul. “Well, if you guys have already decided then go right ahead. Why should I have any say? It’s only my life, but it isn’t like I can stop you.”
Heechul rolled his eyes. “Then for God’s sake call the princess! Tell him you miss him, that you need him.”
“Absoluutely not!” Yunho told him, wide eyed and shocked that Heechul would suggest such a thing. “I woouuld never. It is best this way, soon it will be Christmas and my mom will be back and everyone will know. It would be cruuel to puull him back now.”
“You are stuttering.”
“I am not stuuttering. It’s my speech impairment from yoouu know…getting shot in the head.”
“I just haven’t noticed it for while not in any of those ten million phone calls,” Heechul told him, wickedly.
“It’s worse when I am uupset or tired,” Yunho told him, sulking as he folding his arms.
Heechul shook his head disgusted at the man’s behavior. “Why do you persist on punishing yourself? Haven’t you been punished enough? Call him back. I realize that Little Yunho doesn’t respond to him anymore, but Big Yunho with his great big heart most definitely does.”
“Let’s leave Little Yuunho out of this,” Yunho told him, mortified at the man’s harsh honestly.
“You are the one that needs to leave Little Yunho out of it. Jae might want to be fucked royally by you but…”
“Door open!” Yunho screeched, horrified as he slung his arm toward the open door.
“Like anybody here doesn’t know that,” Heechul grumbled as he got up and shut the door. “Back to my point he might want to be…”
“You are so prudish now. My point being he would be just happy that you needed him. He would dump those other two so fast and just bask in your need for him,” Heechul explained, sitting back down.
Yunho considering Heechul’s words. “Buut he has so many things that he needs to do. He has lost so muuch time already. I can’t be a buurden to him even if he doesn’t see it that way.”
“You’re so noble…I think I might puke.” Heechul sneered at the man.
It was close to midnight when Yunho called for the nurse. Heechul had left a couple hours earlier and Yunho’s thoughts were dancing in his head not allowing him to sleep.
“What do you need?” Soo Jin asked, flipping on the lights and walking into the room.
“I need a sleeping pill,” Yunho admitted reluctantly but he couldn’t let anything get in the way of his recovery and the lack of sleep was screwing him up.
“You needed it days ago but better late than never,” Soo Jin said, pulling the pill from her pocket. “I have had it in my pocket for a week hoping you would call for it.”
“Oh,” Yunho muttered as she handed him the pill with a cup of water.
“The day nurses and even the physical therapists have been talking trash about me for not giving you a sleeping pill. Like it is my choice? It is clearly written in your chart that you are only to be given a sedative when you ask for it,” Soo Jin said, taking the cup away from Yunho after he swallowed the pill.
Yunho wasn’t sure what to say to that. “Thanks, I can be stuubborn buut I uusuually come aroouund.”
Soo Jin eyed him carefully. “It’s so strange that he ended all contact with you. I would never have believed it of him.”
A pang when straight through Yunho’s heart. “He wasted too muuch time here with me already. I am juust grateful for all he did do for me.”
“You miss him?” Soo Jin asked as she watched the man she had ignored for the better part of a year in favor of his beautiful friend.
Yunho nodded his head. “Yes.”
“Me too,” Soo Jin told him, squeezing Yunho’s arm before walking toward the door. “Everything is so…empty now.”
Yunho glared at Bill refusing to acknowledge him till the man spoke in English. “Get up!” Bill finally told him in English.
Yunho smiled delighted and pulled himself back up. Bill went on to tell Yunho other things in English and he understood enough to know Bill wasn’t happy with him. Bill gave him a frustrated look and returned to Korean, “This is physical therapy it isn’t an English lesson!”
Yunho frowned and told him in English, “Both. Okay?”
Bill bit his tongue and kept from asking why the man persisted in making things more difficult than they had to be but instead he just told him in English, “Okay. Walk.”
Yunho smiled brightly at his small victory and proceeded to take six steps for the very first time. He didn’t even fall he just leaned into the bar on the seventh step and caught himself. He had to admit the sleeping pills really did help. He cursed himself for not taking them earlier.
Yunho heard clapping and saw Mr. Ryu who was sitting on a bench clapping for him. “Okay!” Mr. Ryu repeated back in English, causing Yunho heart to swell. He had grown so fond of that little, old man he was going to miss him so much.
“More than okay! It’s great! Fabulous! Do you know how long I have been waiting for you to catch yourself?” Bill told him, bouncing around the room excited.
“Is Jae ever coming back?" Mrs. Ryu, who was sitting beside Mr. Ryu, asked in Korean instantly breaking the mood.
“No,” Yunho said, biting his lips his small victory suddenly tasting bitter.
“Let’s not talk about Jae,” Bill said with a big fake grin, wishing like mad that she had not brought up the missing man. “Let’s concentrate on walking.”
“I was just asking since we will be gone soon. I kinda missed his constant sniffing around and his attempts to bribe me…it actually was kinda endearing in the end,” Mrs. Ryu said as she dug through her purse looking for something.
“He has moved on…” Yunho was stopped from explaining further when he let out a huge sneeze.
“You know what? You are moving on too…to a walker!” Bill said, causing any somber thoughts of Yunho’s to instantly dissipate.
“A walker!” Yunho shouted out suddenly happy beyond words!
Yunho eyed his phone hesitantly trying to build up the courage to send one lousy text message. When had he ever been so cowardly? He had already called Heechul, Go Ara and the bunnies…umm Ryeowook and Kyuhyun last night and told them all about the great news. A walker! He couldn’t help but smile like a fool every time he thought about it. He was going to be able to walk places! Not just roll in his chair but actually walk!
He knew if one person deserved to know about his progress it was Jae. It had been twelve long days now. Hana and Soo Jin both had not heard from him, so if Jae was making an attempt to dissolve their bond then shouldn’t he respect it?
He looked at his phone and knew even if he did text Jae that Jae would not know it was him unless he identified himself. Yunho found his resolve and forced his hands to cooperate with him. He decided he would send a message saying that he missed him but his legs were stronger now and everything was turning out for the best. Yunho slowly, carefully and steadily typed out the words ‘Miss you’ when Bong Cha surprised him by walking into the room. Yunho jumped guiltily as if he had been caught doing something wrong and his disloyal right hand hit send and the message was gone before he could add the rest of the message. “Shit!”
“Yunho, such words,” Bong Cha said, walking to the bed. “Are you ready to get up? I hear you are progressing to a walker today.”
Yunho put his phone down. “You have no idea what you just made me do.”
“I made you do?” Bong Cha questioned, giving him a skeptical look.
“I was texting Jae to tell him everything is great. I am going to progress to a walker...and…and I might have been going to admit that I miss him, but I was going to point out how everything was for the best. Instead I just sent ‘Miss you.’ I hate my life so much sometimes,” Yunho explained in agony.
Bong Cha snapped her fingers at Yunho and caught is full attention. “Don’t you ever say that. You are blessed. You are a blessing. You are going to walk out of here and give millions of people hope.”
“Yes, Maam.” Yunho answered her as he slid to the side of the bed without any assistance. “It’s just embarrassing.”
“Does he know you have a phone? Nevertheless, I cannot imagine you two being embarrassed around each other,” she said as she pulled the wheelchair up to the bed so Yunho could get in it.
“No, he doesn’t and he doesn’t know this number, but he will know it’s from me. He will. I have no delusions about that., Yunho answered, as he transferred to the wheelchair by himself.
“How is that possible?” Bong Cha asked, trying to hide her pride in the young man who had come so far.
“How does he know anything? How did he know I wasn’t brain dead? How did he know I would wake up?” Yunho asked as he unlocked the wheelchair and headed for the dresser.
“Then wouldn’t he know how much you miss him?” Bong Cha asked, as she moved to side of the dresser and watched as Yunho pulled out a drawer and grabbed the clothes he wanted to wear for the day.
“No, he’s really stupid when it comes to the obvious things,” Yunho told her as he put a green sweat suit in his lap.
“Kinda like you,” Bong Cha told him. chuckling.
Yunho swung his head around giving her a shocked look. “Err…I…”
Yunho was saved when Hana walked into the room. “Bong Cha the office says you have a phone call.”
Bong Cha practically hissed annoyed as she headed out the door but she stopped long enough to tell Hana, “Keep an eye on him. He is very independent this morning but don’t let him get over confident and hurt himself.”
Hana waved at Bong Cha as she left. “She’s been so moody lately. It must be her kids.”
“What is wrong with her kids?” Yunho asked, concerned eyeing his phone, both relieved and saddened that he hadn’t got a phone call or text message back.
“I don’t know if it’s her kids for sure but she has been getting lots of phone calls and you can tell how they are grating on her nerves,” Hana said as she followed Yunho into the bathroom to help him with getting dressed.