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!
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.
When Jae finally awoke it was with the happy smile of the contented and well rested. He stretched out across the bed feeling like he could take on the world.
Jae’s eyes snapped open when his stretched out hand did not come in contact with his reason for living. “Yunho!” Jae practically shouted as he sat up in bed quickly. “Oh, shit!” Jae moaned as he looked at the clock on the wall and saw that it was already four in the afternoon.
He bounced out of bed quickly and grabbed a pair of sweat pants out of the dresser and headed to the bathroom. He quickly got ready then hurried off to find Yunho.
When Jae found Yunho in the physical therapy room his mouth dropped open and he stared in awe as Yunho was actually up using his walker taking baby steps. Bill was right beside him looking like he was going to burst with pride any moment. “Yunho, you need to slow down.”
“No,” Yunho told Bill as he took another step.
“It’s too much. It’s amazing but let’s not over-do it.” Jae frowned as he realized they both were speaking in English.
“I feel okay.” Yunho told him smiling but stopped when Young Mi stepped in front of him motioning him to stop.
“You can feel okay on the bike.” Bill told him pointing to the exercise bike. “It’s amazing. In all my years I have never seen anybody progress as quickly as you.” Bill babbled on in Korean as he took the walker from Yunho and then assisted Yunho to the exercise bike.
“It’s because he has an amazing body. The muscles form so quickly and he has such easy command of them.” Young Mi said staring at Yunho’s calf muscles in admiration.
Yunho actually smiled at the compliment, Young Mi was not one to compliment. “Thanks. Maybe being a dancer helped.”
“What a wonderful dancer you were.” Bill told him in English.
“Thank you!” Yunho told Bill right back in English smiling as he started moving on the bike.
“What’s with all the English?” Jae asked torn, he wanted to stare down Young Mi for admiring Yunho’s calves but he couldn’t take his eyes off happy Yunho.
“Did Sleeping Beauty wake up?” Yunho continued in English causing Bill to laugh.
“I thought you were Sleeping Beauty? Let’s speak in Korean guys okay? English loses its charm after you are stuck in
“Yunho’s a natural though in a week’s time he’s gone from only understanding one out of ten words to at least four out of ten.” Bill told Jae as he watched Yunho speed up on the bicycle. “Slow it down a little.”
Yunho frowned, “Five out of ten at least.”
“Why bother? You don’t have to go there?” Jae asked honestly perplexed as he sat down on the treadmill beside Yunho’s exercise bike.
“No, I don’t have to go there.” Yunho sighed and said. “I might want to go there though.”
“So you can gamble in Vegas? Just simple basic is all that’s needed you are more than adequate.” Jae said eyeing Yunho thoughtfully, “Unless there is something you are not telling me?”
“Nope.” Yunho said continuing to ride his bike. Bill frowned as he overheard Yunho’s answer but then he walked away with Soo Jin to focus on the other patients in the room. “So are you more rested after sleeping for almost twenty four hours?”
“Yes, but I will sleep tonight too. I only hope tonight’s sleep is half as pleasant.” Jae said looking up at Yunho and smiling remembering the other man’s arms around him.
Yunho looked down at Jae nervously, “Jae, you know that…”
“I know it was a one time thing, so don’t get your panties in a wad.” Jae told him stretching out his arms and yawning. “It was nice though.”
“You are feeling better.” Yunho laughed as he turned his focus back to his cycling.
“Yeah, I am. Is your phone with you?” Jae asked suddenly.
“Why? Do you want to flush it down the toilet?”
“No, I don’t want to flush it down the toilet so where is it?” Jae asked watching Yunho closely.
“I don’t take it to physical therapy with me…they frown on that.” Yunho told him. “I left it in the room. It’s by the computer.”
“Oh, I guess I didn’t notice it. I was in a hurry to find you.” Jae admitted as he bended his knees up and hugged them.
“I suppose you were. You didn’t change clothes.” Yunho said turning to look at Jae’s shirt.
“I love this shirt.” Jae told him leaving out the part about how he loved that he could still smell Yunho on it.
Yunho turned and gave him unbelieving look, “Your fashion sense isn’t what it used to be.”
“Like you could ever comment on my fashion sense…the things you used to be caught wearing. If we are going to be friends from now I have to have final approval on what you are allowed to wear outside. Your stylist must secretly hate you.” Jae said shuddering as he thought back at some of the awful outfits he had seen Yunho wearing before his accident.
Yunho nodded his head in agreement, “They insisted it was high fashion.”
“They are fucking idiots although at times they put you in nice suits I have to admit, but you are never to wear anything that resembles a rug or a dog’s ass again.”
“I shall take pictures of my outfits before I leave the house to get your final approval.” Yunho joked looking down at him. Jae frowned and sucked on his bottom lip in response to Yunho’s joke. “You don’t want final approval after all?”
“Yes, but I was just thinking it will never be like it was before all five of us living together.” Jae sighed.
“No. I am perfectly okay with that.” Yunho added to quickly making Jae frown at him. “Jae, you are my dearest friend, but there is no way I could ever live with Yoochun and Junsu again.”
“You could live with Changmin though?” Jae asked looking up at Yunho annoyed.
“I will live with Changmin when I get out of here. I will go back to the dorm it’s my home.” Yunho told him suddenly feeling uncomfortable.
“I miss the dorm. I don’t miss being controlled, but I miss it…it was my home too. I have lived in lots of places since I left it but really Clear Creek is the closest I have come to finding home since I left.”
Yunho laughed, “Clear Creek’s home?”
“Don’t be a prick. Wherever you are is home to me. Although I realize the feeling isn’t mutual.” Jae told him glaring up at Yunho for his insensitively.
“Behave. They offered to move us out of the dorm a million times, but I always refused. The feeling is returned the dorm was where we all lived together happily…I couldn’t part with it.” Yunho suddenly looked like he had been hit in the head with a startling thought. “I bet Changmin left. I bet he didn’t stay.”
“No, he’s still there…as far as I know. He was when you were still in the hospital at least.” Jae answered Yunho, “But back to me.”
“Jae, can you imagine how hard it would be for him to stay there? All of us gone. I wouldn’t want to stay there like that. My poor, Changmin.” Yunho said slowing down on the bike looking suddenly sad.
Jae sighed, “He could always stay with his parent’s Yunho isn’t like he was made to stay. But back to me…you said the feeling was returned so do you think we could…”
“We can’t live together when I get out.” Yunho answered still pondering Changmin’s living arrangements.
“I have lived with people that were in different companies before and you said we are going to be friends no matter what.” Jae pointed out latching on to the idea of living with Yunho again.
“Jae, I can’t do it. There is no way you and Changmin could live under the same roof. Somebody would end up dead…most likely me. I have already been shot due to your ongoing feud what else do you want from me?” Yunho told him bluntly not even entertaining the idea.
“I want to be with you.” Jae told him a little too loud causing Bill to turn and flash him a look full of warning. “Because you are my friend and I can best take care of you.” Jae added even louder.
“Jae, do you want to be with me for those reasons or do you want to be with me because you are hoping…” Yunho paused and spoke in a whisper, “Hoping that someday Little Yunho will want to play with you again?”
“Little Yunho? What?” Jae asked unable to keep from laughing. “Since when did you start calling…”
“Stop it. It’s just what Heechul called it.” Yunho interrupted annoyed turning away from Jae not realizing what he said or how it must have sounded.
Yunho turned back quickly when he felt a cold breeze animating from Jae as the other man jumped up consumed with jealousy and yelled, “Since when does Heechul have a name for your…” Jae’s words were cut off as Yunho flung himself off the exercise bike at Jae stopping the man in mid sentence before he could broadcast his thoughts to the whole room. Jae who was on the verge of hysterics returned to his senses long enough to catch Yunho before the man could hurt himself. “Have you lost your fucking mind?” Jae growled as he lowered Yunho to the floor.
“Yes, I have.” Yunho hissed in a soft whisper as Jae sat him down on the floor. “I have never had sex with Heechul and he just named it that because he’s a mean shit not because he saw anything.”
“Could you have told me that without trying to break my back?” Jae hissed right back at him collapsing on the floor behind him.
“No, because you are insane.” Yunho told him as they both sat on the floor together.
“Well that’s true and I should have known he hadn’t seen the Big Kahuna or he wouldn’t have called it little.” Jae said laughing now as he slapped Yunho’s back affectionately.
“Shut up! I hate you.” Yunho said blushing unable to keep from laughing himself.
The sound of Bill clearing his throat caused the both of them to look up, “I think you are done for today Yunho, and Jae don’t come back tomorrow.”
“I can’t believe you got me thrown out of physical therapy.” Yunho told Jae as the other man pushed him through the door and let go of his wheelchair.
“Excuse me? I think it was you who took the flying lunge at me.” Jae told him shutting the door behind them
“Because I knew that whatever was about to escape your mouth at high screech; I didn’t want the whole freaking room full of people hearing.” Yunho said as he rolled himself up to his table.
“It’s your own fault for wording it that way.” Jae said as he walked up to the table and snatched Yunho’s phone.
“Give it back.” Yunho told him only half heartedly.
“Nope, not till I fix a few things.” Jae said opening his phone and immediately punching in numbers.
“Erasing my friend’s numbers would be cruel.” Yunho told him as he logged onto his computer.
“I am only adding my numbers. You don’t exactly have a high priority number for me. If I hadn’t had my bag with me I wouldn’t have known about your text for hours.” Jae informed him.
“So I got the third rate number you give out to people…when you want them to feel important but they really aren’t.” Yunho surmised ignoring the computer to watch Jae.
“Exactly.” Jae told him.
“What happened to you being too busy to deal with me having a phone?” Yunho asked as he tapped the fingers of his left hand along the desk.
“Yunho, why do you even try to understand my mind? You should know better than anybody else it makes no sense. If you are going to have a phone then you are going to have all my numbers and you will be first on my speed dial.” Jae shrugged and added, “I am first on yours too by the way.”
“Imagine that. Your high priority number I assume.” Jae nodded his head in agreement. Yunho pulled away from the computer. “I think there are some things we should get settled.”
Jae frowned, “Like what?”
“I think we should define our relationship.” Yunho told him wanting to make everything clear.
“We don’t have a relationship. I have tried repeatedly but you won’t rise to the occasion.” Jae told him with smirk.
“Jae, don’t start with me.”
“Fine. You go first so I can agree with whatever you say, and we can continue to live happily a couple more days till our next argument.” Jae told him snippily as he pulled the chair up to the table and sat down facing Yunho.
“I don’t want to argue anymore so this is why we need to have this honest discussion. So first off…”
“First off we will always argue because we are passionate people, and it’s because we love each other. Not fighting isn’t an option for us. I will always love you too much and you will always pretend like it bothers you.” Jae told him in a matter fact tone of voice.
“Believe me it isn’t pretend but let us focus on what we can change. I know it bothers me when...”
“It drives me fucking insane when you say you love me more than anything then kindly add on but not in that way and never in that way again. What the hell?” Jae interrupted him giving Yunho a very cross look.
Yunho straightened up in his chair more and took a deep breath and answered, “I know, but it’s the truth. I do love you more than anybody, but I am just not attracted to you anymore.”
“That makes no fucking sense.” Jae told him folding his arms annoyed.
“I know it doesn’t but I can’t help it. I miss you when you are gone. I want you with me. Heechul says my eyes are always on you, and they probably are but it’s not like before. I am not sitting here lusting for you. I think you must know that.”
“I do know that! I just don’t understand it. I sometimes feel like you are punishing me…”
“Let me go on, but I know if you really felt attraction for me you couldn’t hide it from me.” Jae admitted. “I think you are impotent and the combination of medications you are on could do it. The doctor said…”
“You asked the doctor?” Yunho spit out flabbergasted.
“Of course I did! If you were impotent you would never admit it. Hell you would probably become a priest or something to hide it. I am just waiting for you to join the priesthood at any moment now.” Jae explained to him not bothered at all by Yunho’s outrage at having his privacy violated.
“Don’t talk for ten seconds. I have to go to my happy place for a second so I don’t lunge at you again.” Yunho told him holding up his hand signaling for silence.
Jae sighed and puffed out his cheeks and leaned against the back of his chair waiting for Yunho to speak.
“As touched as I am about your ongoing concern regarding my genitals and whether they are functioning properly or not I have to tell you once again your concern is unfounded.” Yunho told him after taking a deep breath calming his anger.
“Have you?” Jae asked pointing his finger up. He did not like the look of confidence on Yunho’s face.
“Let it go.” Yunho looked right into Jae’s eyes and answered unflinching.
“Did that bitch…” Jae eyes took on a green tint and the words were out of his mouth before he could stop himself.
“Don’t! Jae, you can have every other part of me, but that part doesn’t belong to you anymore. I have no intention in becoming a priest so calm down.” Yunho watched waiting for Jae to fly out of his chair make some scene but to his surprise Jae stayed seated.
“I know it doesn’t belong to me anymore! I have been reminded enough. I can’t help but be pissed though…it’s a natural response for me, but I am working on it. When I left last time I thought I had made some breakthrough, but then I get back here and I just revert to form.”
“I thought you had too. I thought that we both had…maybe we did. We just have to make ourselves stick to it. I’m going to try my best not to get bitter and jealous every time something reminds me of the loss of Dong Bang Shin Ki and the success of JYJ…although it still hurts. I won’t take it out on you.” Yunho said reaching over and taking Jae’s hand with his right hand.
Jae frowned but automatically started doing the hand exercises for the right hand that he had learned months ago, “I will try harder too…Yunho, please answer me this. What killed your attraction for me? Was it only what I did…or was it what I said too? I was so harsh with you…that day when you finally made me understand. I wished horrible things on you; things that came true….”
“Jae, what happened to me happened because I saved Changmin, and I will never regret that. It isn’t your fault.” Yunho tried to ease the man’s worries as he watched him work his fingers.
“I understand that you would see it that way. I think I could let my hope of us being lovers again go if I knew what killed the spark. I just can’t even comprehend how it just died away.” Jae told him as he stopped the exercises and grabbed Yunho’s hand with both of his now.
Yunho suddenly looked extremely uncomfortable, “I think when I associate you with sex…it goes back to Yoochun leading me into that room. I was so happy before he opened that door I had no warning of what was to come. I thought all the crazy lawsuit stuff was going to be over, and you guys were going to accept SM’s new terms and the five of us would be together again. Before Yoochun called me over I was broken into a thousand pieces.” Yunho paused for a moment collecting his emotions.
“Yunho…” Jae told him looking heartbroken.
“Changmin was wasting away in front of me. The drama that I was working on was huge failure mostly due to my horrible acting. I felt like the fans had abandoned me. My father was only making everything worse…I was sick almost all the time. It was an awful time in my life, but then Yoochun gave me hope. Wondrous, perfect hope and suddenly I felt like my old self again but then…when I walked into that room.” Yunho’s expression suddenly changed into something that Jae had only seen once before, “I wasn’t so much that you were having sex with Junsu…it was that you guys planned it all to hurt me. It was a joke played on me…I was the joke. I was somebody you hurt purposely, and I knew then that everything was over…that we would never be the same again. I had only been broken before, but suddenly I found myself shattered.”
Jae let go of Yunho’s hand and jumped up from the chair like Yunho’s touch suddenly burnt him. Yunho watched as Jae paced the room covering his face with his hands. “Jae…”
“You weren’t a joke…I’m the joke. I couldn’t handle being rejected and I behaved...I’m horrible and I made Yoochun be horrible too. Junsu…” Jae could barely get the words out.
“Junsu is the knife. I had known and loved him the longest. His family took me in when I had nowhere to go. Junsu was my brother more than any of you. Whereas Changmin has always been more my child, you have always been my love, and Yoochun was my friend…but Junsu was my brother.” Yunho told him sadly as he watched Jae pace the floor trying to control his emotions.
“I am not defending him…I wouldn’t and especially not to you but he didn’t know. He didn’t know of our plan. He misses you so…”
“Don’t. He was a grown man he knew. I can’t forgive him. I don’t wish him unwell, but you are the only one I can forgive.” Yunho explained.
Jae jerked around and stared at Yunho unbelievingly, “How can you forgive me? I was the mastermind? I am the worse by far.”
“Jae, I hurt you so much. I haven’t forgotten how you clung to me and begged me never to leave you. I know you and I know how deeply you love. I broke you that day and what you become afterwards was my doing. I chose my family over you…because I thought it was the only way I could keep you both. I deserved…”
“No, you didn’t deserve that…nobody deserved what we did to you. Also when you or I say that you chose your family over our relationship that makes it too simple…it was never that simple. You were afraid of being found out. The fear of us being discovered had started to consume you. You were afraid of what it would do to you, your family, and Dong Bang Shin Ki.” Jae said sitting back down in the chair.
“You are right, but I never acted on that fear till he gave me the ultimatum. I can’t help but wonder how things would be now if he hadn’t…?”
“Don’t. Thinking this way only leads to madness; believe me I know. It could be worse.” Jae told Yunho taking his hand again.
Yunho looked doubtful, “Kinda not seeing how it could be worse.”
Jae gave Yunho a stern look, “What if the whole world thought of you as a faggot? In our society Yunho is it any wonder people hang themselves? You had every right to be afraid…we both should be. I should be especially afraid considering my homosexual experiences aren’t just limited to you.”
“I think you could survive though.”
“You couldn’t though; your pride would never recover.” Jae told him and the disappointment could easily be heard in his voice. “Your father knew this of course.”
“Well my weaknesses have always been easily seen by those who I love best.” Yunho told him with a slight tinge of hurt in his voice. “It isn’t just my pride though it is the effect it would have on all the people I love. My mother, my sister, and everybody else I love.”
“Well yes you must protect them.” Jae told him bitterly as he pulled his hand back.
“Jae, don’t give me that look. You know what I meant. Don’t act like you want to suddenly proclaim to the world your sexual orientation. It would destroy your career too.” Yunho told him fighting down the urge to become angry.
“I wouldn’t care if I had you. How many times do I have to tell you that? I would happily be persecuted as long as I had you.” Jae told him exasperated with the man for never believing in the depth of his love.
“We can only be ever be friends…it’s all my body will allow. I am your friend, and I intend to keep being your friend.” Yunho calmly explained to Jae once again.
“You said we couldn’t live together though. Friends can live together. I don’t want to sleep with you…well I do, but I know we can’t anymore. I will just have my own room.” Jae told him with big eyes full of hope.
“Can I just get out of here first before we start arguing over living arrangements?” Yunho told him bending down to scratch his left leg.
“Okay, but if we don’t live together I want your promise that I can visit…even if Changmin is there.” Jae told him frowning fearing the future.
“Yes, of course. Bake him cookies or something and maybe he won’t kill you.” Yunho said pulling himself back up.
“I think Changmin and I are beyond the point where food can settle our disagreements.” Jae reluctantly admitted. “Maybe once he see’s I am serious with this friendship thing…he will be less likely to kill me.”
“And he won’t be the least bit mad that you kept my recovery from him.” Yunho smiled and baited Jae.
“Oh, no. That’s on you. I asked to call him! I did. I was honoring your wishes…although I was super relived when I heard them.” Jae admitted. “Yunho, I can be your friend but you must understand I don’t ever want to lose you again. I have learned my lesson. It is better to have some of you then none of you.”
Yunho looked at him contemplating something Jae had once told him, “I thought you were all or nothing.”
“I was a fool when I said that. A vain fool who didn’t understand just what nothing would cost me. I know if I want our friendship to continue outside these walls I have to more flexible, but I will always love…”
“I know and that’s okay as long as you can honor my wishes too.” Yunho interrupted him gently placing his hand on his leg.
“Let me get this straight…poor choice of words I suppose. I can’t turn off how I feel but I am going to try to be friends. You know I can’t turn off how I feel so if I have little relapses you won’t hate me?” Jae asked placing his hand over Yunho’s.
“I could never hate you. Never. We are just going to have to have boundaries.” Yunho told him pulling his hand back and unlocking his wheelchair.
“Boundaries?” Jae asked hesitantly.
“Let’s go outside and discuss them.” Yunho said suddenly sick of being in the room. “We can finish this talk outside.”
“I have a coat.” Yunho told him wheeling himself to the closet and yanking his coat off the hanger.
“Are we off to your favorite place?” Jae told him all smiles as he reached for his leather jacket.
“Yes, I haven’t been out there in weeks.”