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.
Merry Christmas to all who who celebrate it and best wishes to all. I am thankful for so many of you, especially Amy who I depend upon so much! Also thanks to everybody who comments.....comments are like presents all year long!
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.
LJ is so evil today. I set this all up last night without any difficulty at all and was going to switch it to public viewing today while I was at work......except LJ is screwed. It kept saying it was too large. So I had to wait to get home so I could cut it half. Nobody has read this chapter yet.
Later that evening Yunho was in the main dining hall where the nurses were throwing Mr. Ryu a ‘Going Home’ party. Yunho sat next to the kind old man and was so happy for him but sad at the same time. He couldn’t remember a time when Mr. Ryu wasn’t in the physical therapy room cheering him on.
“Good Cake,” Mr. Ryu told Yunho in English, bumping his arm and Yunho smiled at him.
“Very Good,” Yunho agreed in English as he reached out and got another piece…his third.
“None of that. We are proud Koreans tonight speaking in Korean,” Mrs. Ryu told them from the other side of Mr. Ryu where she sat.
“Yes, dear,” Mr. Ryu told his wife, but turned to Yunho and winked at him.
Yunho laughed as he looked around the room. He recognized some people and others he had never seen before. He had started moving out of his room more lately and he wished he had done so earlier. He had started playing cards with a couple of the more mobile residents and it was nice to get out his room. He knew he wouldn’t pester his friends so much if he had made a better attempt to get to know more people earlier instead of hiding away in his room with Jae.
“I don’t know what is keeping my daughter so long. Although she has never been on time in her life not since the day she was born and she was a week late for that, but seriously you would think she could make it to her father’s own party,” Mrs. Ryu huffed as she sipped on her punch.
“The girls are probably slowing her down,” Mr. Ryu told his wife, patting her hand and then smiled at Yunho proudly. “My granddaughters are so beautiful.”
“Beautiful, little demons,” Mrs. Ryu muttered as she picked at her cake.
“Now, Mrs. Ryu that’s not true they are delightful little girls. They are so adorable. They make me want to have triplets!” Hana said, walking up from behind them.
“Triplets?” Yunho asked, shocked. “How old are they?”
“They are nine and don’t believe a word my wife says they are perfect angels,” Mr. Ryu told Yunho, proudly.
“What have you been doing?” Yunho asked Hana, who was standing behind Mr. Ryu, patting his shoulders.
“Keeping Soo Jin from playing any music that’s Jae related,” Hana informed him, honestly.
“Thank you dear. Classical is so nice and settling; we don’t need to have our ears assaulted. Young people today and their taste in music…no offense, dear,” Mrs. Ryu told Hana, clearly unimpressed with the younger generation’s choice in music.
“I perfectly understand we all have our likes and dislikes, and this party is for Mr. Ryu,” Hana said, biting her tongue. “So do you like the cake?”
“Yes, it’s delicious,” Mr. Ryu told Hana, smiling up at her. Yunho just ate his cake quietly suddenly acutely aware of the phone in his pocket. Jae had never responded to his text.
“I sometimes think Soo Jin isn’t completely stable, and her fan girl ways are unbecoming of a woman her age. I sometimes worried that my husband was being cared for by such a ridiculous woman.”
“She has put on weight too since he left.” Hana couldn’t help but gossip with Mrs. Ryu.
“She’s feeding her depression at the lost of her great obsession. Really, the woman’s idiocy knows no limits. I might be an old woman but it’s more than obvious to me that Jae was very…” Mrs. Ryu paused suddenly.
“Very what?” Mr. Ryu asked his wife, looking up from his cake.
“Nothing dear. Just eat your cake.”
Yunho pushed his cake away suddenly remembering his own depression and the proceeding weight gain. He was considering discretely wheeling himself out of the room when the loud beats of an unfamiliar song filled the room, but the voices singing were very familiar.
“I know she didn’t!” Hana told them, flabbergasted as she took off in Soo Jin’s direction.
“This should be interesting to watch,” Mrs. Ryu said as she watched Hana storm toward Soo Jin.
Yunho looked up to watch the oncoming argument, but instead his eyes stopped at the doorway leading to the dining room. Jae was standing there watching him. Yunho gasped in shock a he took in Jae in all his magnificence. Jae was decked out in tight leather except for the red low necked shirt that clung to him. Yunho found himself smiling as a huge relief spread over him.
As soon as Jae saw the smile on Yunho’s face he was moving toward him…fast. Yunho watched with eager eyes as Jae moved closer to him. Yunho laughed as Soo Jin practically lunged over a table to grab a hold of Jae’s arm but he just brushed her aside unaware of anybody but the man directly in his sights.
Before Yunho could even catch his breath, Jae was pulling his wheelchair away from the table and engulfing him in a tight hug. Yunho just breathed Jae in and hugged him back.
“Not coming back…Hmmmf,” Yunho could hear Mrs. Ryu snort.
“He’s so nice to come to my party,” Mr. Ryu could be heard saying and Jae and Yunho both chuckled at him while still clinging tightly to each other.
“Yes, dear, isn’t he a darling?” Mrs. Ryu told her husband in that placating voice and Yunho could just imagine her rolling her eyes at him.
Yunho gently pushed Jae away deciding they had probably caused enough of a scene. He was still laughing at the Ryu’s when he met Jae’s gaze and he could see that Jae was just as amused with them.
Jae broke away from Yunho reluctantly and the turned to Mr. Ryu and embraced the older man. “How could I miss your party?”
Yunho didn’t even try to stop smiling suddenly everything was right again. Yunho watched as Jae broke away from Mr. Ryu and clasped his hands. “You are finally going home. I am so happy for you.”
Before Mr. Ryu could thank Jae a loud scream of “JAEJOONG!!!!” echoed throughout the dining hall. Yunho watched as Jae tensed all over as the all too familiar scream of young fans could be heard. They turned at the same time and Yunho had to bite down laughter as he watched three identical prepubescent girls descend upon Jae.
“I see the horrific results of the fertility experiment have arrived,” Mrs. Ryu groaned, eyeing her granddaughters as she got up out of her chair.
Jae was dragged away from the table as three pairs of hands took turns grabbing him and asking him question after question.
“Should we save him?” Hana asked, walking up to Yunho.
“No,” Bong Cha answered for Yunho as she walked up beside Hana. She seemed to really enjoy watching Jae getting manhandled by the triplets.
“Stop it, you can’t have his jacket,” Mr. Ryu said, swatting one of her granddaughters on the arm as the young girl tried to pull Jae’s jacket off.
One of the triplets turned toward Yunho and gave him a very curious look then grabbed her sisters and walked toward Yunho abandoning Jae. Suddenly Yunho didn’t find it so funny, but he was convinced the nurses would save him at least.
The triplet who first noticed him stepped up closely to him and asked, “Aren’t you dead?”
Yunho just stared back at her unsure of what to say when Mrs. Ryu stepped up and leaned over her granddaughter and told her, “Yes, he is. He’s a ghost. A very mean ghost and if you tell anybody he was here or his friend Jae he will come and get you while you’re sleeping! Boo!”
“Mom!” All three girls yelled at the same time as they took off looking for their mother.
“You…you can’t tell them that!” Yunho told Mrs. Ryu, shocked beyond words.
“Oh, yes she can,” Jae said, grabbing Yunho’s wheelchair. “Let’s get out of here while I still have the clothes on my back!”
Yunho reached out for Mr. Ryu as Jae swung the wheelchair around quickly heading for the exit. “Goodbye Mr. Ryu, I will miss you!”
“You too! Happy walking!” Yunho could hear Mr. Ryu yell after him as Jae wheeled him away.
Jae slowed the wheelchair down as they entered the hallway that led to Yunho’s room. “I haven’t ever seen you that scared of girls before.” Yunho couldn’t help but joke.
“You can’t reason with them at that age…just little terrors,” Jae told him. “I didn’t see you working any of your child magic on them either.”
“As if I had a chance, after she told them I was a ghost!” Yunho still couldn’t believe that she had scared her own grandchildren in such away.
“She’s smart. It will keep them quiet till you are done recovering,” Jae said as he wheeled Yunho into his room and stopped suddenly. “What the hell?” Jae declared, shocked at how he found the room totally changed.
“We are going for a more comfy feeling,” Yunho supplied eagerly as he watched Jae walk around the room dazed.
“Go Ara did this?” Jae asked as he stopped at the table where the laptop was placed.
“Yeah,” Yunho simply answered as he watched Jae take in a deep breath and calm whatever was beginning to stir inside him.
“She went all out for you didn’t she? I never even thought about doing this. She wanted you to feel at ease I suppose.”
“Hey, did you hear the good news? I was advanced to a walker today,” Yunho told Jae, trying to distract him. “I haven’t mastered it yet, but I will.”
“A computer, too? I guess she wanted to reconnect you to the world. I wanted the exact opposite. If I had my way there wouldn’t even be a television in here,” Jae continued, not the slightest bit distracted.
Yunho hated the feeling of awkwardness that was beginning to fill the room. “You had your reasons.”
Jae looked up at Yunho and gave him a small, bitter smile full of self hatred. “Not good reasons though. I didn’t want you to see me on television…with them. I didn’t want to stir that anger in you. I was thinking about myself and what would be easiest on me.”
Yunho eyed Jae carefully now and he could see how tired the other man was how thick the make-up was plastered on his face to hide the dark circles and how his face had thinned since the last time he had seen him. “You were right to do that. I don’t even know how you dealt with me and my anger that rose up at the slightest provocation.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” Jae told him, pulling out the chair from the table and taking a seat, keeping his distance from Yunho.
“It was and I am sorry that I made it so hard on…” Yunho stopped suddenly realizing what he had said and mentally kicking himself. He had just went and made an already awkward situation that much worse.
Jae gave Yunho fond look as he got up from his chair. Yunho unlocked his wheelchair and moved backwards away from Jae. “Jae, we have moved past this. You don’t have to punish me for what you perceive as unnecessary apologies because that apology was really warranted. It was long overdue.”
“Stop,” Jae ordered and Yunho found himself obeying him. “It was never about punishment,” Jae said, reaching down and gently holding Yunho’s chin and tilting it up toward him. Yunho readied himself mentally as Jae reached down and gently brushed Yunho’s lips with his for a brief kiss.
“Okay,” Yunho said, relived as Jae pulled away not forcing the issue.
“I am never going to maul you again…let me amend that I am going to try not to maul you again. If you ask me though then all bets are off, but it doesn’t mean I am going to accept apologies from you either.” Jae said walking back to his chair and looking at the closed computer again. “So unless you want me walking up and kissing you in public someday you best learn to stop telling me you are sorry.”
“Believe me, I am trying to learn not to say it,” Yunho told him, but he hated the tension he could still feel in the room. Jae was back but still he knew nothing about what had brought the man back but then he realized he hadn’t been very honest either. “I missed you.”
Jae looked away from the closed computer where he had been diverting his eyes and gave Yunho a small smile. “You look well…like you’ve been in good hands. I shouldn’t have come back.”
“No, you should have,” Yunho insisted as he watched Jae slowly start to pick at his own fingernails, not looking at Yunho.
“No, I shouldn’t have. I can convince myself that I can be on my best behavior, and I even surprised myself when I left before without a fight, but I can’t guarantee that good behavior will continue. If she shows up I might lose it and I don’t want to be like that anymore,” Jae said suddenly getting up in a rush. “I just better go now. I am glad you are doing so well.”
Yunho grabbed Jae’s arm as he hurried past him. “Then I will tell her not to come.”
Jae halted immediately, “Yunho…”