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.
A BILLION thanks to Amy! I adore everybody who feeds me with comments!
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.
The next time Yunho awoke his mind was clear but his body was a temple of aches and pains. He could tell he was pressed up against a very familiar warm body…Jae’s body. Yunho kept his eyes closed as he eavesdropped on Changmin and his sister trying to figure out what exactly was going on.
“So what is your mom going to tell them?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know if she is going to get a chance to say anything dad is taking over.”
“They won’t be happy that Jae is here.”
“No, not at all, from the little I could gather from their conversation they are going to just ignore his presence as best they can.”
“The fact that I…people have to be suspicious after that.”
“I still can’t believe you did that on live televison.”
“No matter what has passed between us…no matter what…he shouldn’t have kept this from me.”
“They all say it was Yunho’s idea…”
“I know that, but still Jae should have known better. We were once…it doesn’t matter he should have just known better.”
“Look at them…look at how peacefully they sleep even if their bodies are torn and battered? Has their love prevailed after all? Have they reunited?”
“Heechul said they are just friends, but I honestly don’t know.”
“My brother made it pretty obvious how he felt.”
“He was trapped in the past.”
“Changmin, I don’t think he was trapped there…I think he escaped to there.”
“I think he had a concussion and to assume all is forgiven is to diminish all the pain he suffered through. Nobody can ever understand the pain he went through.”
“I come the closest to understanding but even I don’t know the full extent of what he suffered and how it changed him, and all of that was before he took a bullet meant for me.”
“Changmin, I know one thing when Yunho does wake up and when he is himself he won’t blame you. I know that much of my brother.”
“I know that too, but it doesn’t make it any less true.”
“I have to go check on mom. She hasn’t slept at all. She just stayed awake on the whole plane ride here staring out the window. Changmin, be kind to yourself and be strong. No matter what he has decided he deserves our understanding…”
“Go check on your mom.”
Yunho listened as the door shut behind his sister and he opened his eyes. He found his head leaning up against Jae’s chest. He noticed that he was under the covers while Jae was lying on the top of them. Yunho moaned as he pulled away from Jae’s chest to lie on his back causing the other man to awaken immediately.
“Yunho, are you alright?” Jae said half asleep as he bolted up in the bed and stared down at Yunho full of concern. Yunho heart broke as he looked up into Jae’s battered face.
“Hyung?” Changmin was up and out of his chair and standing beside the bed instantly.
“Jae, Changmin…just give me a minute and don’t call for anybody.” Yunho managed to get out. His voice sounded so hoarse and his throat hurt but he was grateful for his clear speech.
“Do you need something to drink?” Jae asked leaning over him eerily perceptive.
“He can’t have any water. He just had surgery.” Changmin corrected Jae quickly.
“They said he could have ice chips.” Jae reminded Changmin trying to hide his annoyance at the younger man.
“Ice would be good.” Yunho told them as he tried to determine exactly what he should ask first or if he should have one of them leave before the fight started.
“Hmmm…guess I know best.” Jae told Changmin trying his best not to sneer and cause himself more pain as he jumped up to get ice from the pitcher to give Yunho.
“Oh, you definitely…” Changmin started.
“Stop it! No fighting. I swear if you two start fighting one of you is going to leave.” Yunho snapped at both of them causing him to break out in a coughing fit.
“Yunho, I am sorry. I will be nice to the viole…to Changmin.” Jae said as he sat back down beside Yunho and held a spoon of ice up to Yunho’s mouth.
Yunho finished coughing and took the soothing ice from Jae. “First off, I need to know what happened from the very beginning.”
“Well first off that bitch Soo Jin betrayed me and Hana that little, lying cow also lied to me. Because of those two bitches you almost died…Yunho, you almost died. You were in the cold…”
“Hush. It’s okay now.” Yunho told Jae who was getting more worked up by the second. “Changmin, can you explain please.”
Changmin eyed the both of them and watched as Yunho grabbed Jae’s hand to calm the man who was seething with barely suppressed rage. “At the Awards after listening to...at the Awards I suddenly realized that I had to see you. I told Leeteuk that I was going to see you, and Heechul overheard so he sent Kyuhyun and Ryeowook after me. They told me that you had been yourself for months now, and they insisted on coming with me to see you. We left…”
“Nice editing job there, dongsaeng!” Jae told Changmin causing the other man to look slightly guilty as he looked at Yunho, but when he looked back at Jae the guilt was gone.
“I also punched Jae.” Changmin added. “Happy now?”
“No, I am not happy! You know when I will be happy? I will be happy when my face doesn’t look like road kill!” Jae seethed to Changmin while he stuffed another spoonful of ice in Yunho’s mouth.
“Stop it!’ Yunho somehow managed to get out with a mouthful of ice. He stared at Changmin in disbelief. So this is what happened to Jae’s face and also what Changmin and his sister had been discussing earlier…what Changmin had done. What in the world was he ever going to do with the two of them?
Changmin sighed and continued, “We got to Clear Creek you weren’t in your room. I knew something was wrong. We were finally able to discover that you had gone to a waiting room to watch television...because your television was mysteriously broken.”
“I broke it and for good reason. I should have broken all of them.” Jae admitted openly.
“Don’t start. I know all that and I wished to God I hadn’t watched the television. Tell me what happened next.”
“We figured out that you had gone outside. I followed your tracks to the creek…and that’s where I found you. I thought you were dead…you were just staring up at the sky and not moving.” Changmin stopped as his mind raced back to that most terrible time when he had first found Yunho, and he thought he had arrived too late.
“I remember you coming for me. I was positive I was going to die and then I heard your voice calling for me.” Yunho told him reaching out to grab Changmin’s hand as Jae’s arms tightened around Yunho’s other arm simultaneously. “You saved me.”
“I wasn’t too late…thank God. I pushed the log off of you and then I lifted you up out of the water…the freezing water. Kyuhyun and Ryeowook helped me get you out of the creek bed. Then everything happened so fast. The nurses took you from me. Jae and Heechul were suddenly there too. Before I knew it you were on your way to the hospital and we were all following after you.”
“You were flown back to Seoul in a helicopter.” Jae added clinging tightly to Yunho’s arm. “The log had pierced your stomach. You had to have emergency surgery.”
“Plus you had a concussion. Do you remember waking up before?” Changmin asked.
“I remember waking up and hearing you two fighting and then going back to sleep.” Yunho answered as he started to cough again.
Changmin and Jae shared a concerned look and then looked away from each other quickly remembering they no longer shared concerned looks. “You also woke up again, but by that time your mother had arrived and had me thrown out of the room.”
“Because you had failed to inform her that the son she thought was lost forever was alive and well.” Changmin said defending Yunho’s mother.
“I wasn’t well though.” Yunho explained as he stopped coughing. “I wasn’t even close to well. I was prideful and selfish, and I should have told you.”
“I am not blaming you. I know why you did it. I just want to point out that your family isn’t the evil that he will make them out to be.” Changmin said giving Jae a look of warning.
“Maybe they are not your evil but they are my evil. I think it is well established that we have different ideas about what is good and evil.” Jae told him frowning and immediately wincing reaching up to touch his tender face.
“Of course…you are the great martyr sacrificing everything for the good of mankind and we are just the spineless…” Changmin started to say and Yunho flinched as he heard so much of his own bitterness reflected in Changmin’s words.
“Stop!” Yunho ordered looking paler by the minute. “It is not okay to fight each other around me. I love you both and I am not going to pick between you, but one of you needs to step out if you two can’t get along.”
“I am not leaving!” They both said at the same time causing Yunho to look up at the ceiling and wish he was unconscious again.
“Yunho, I promise I won’t fight with him, but maybe he should leave so you can sleep.” Jae suggested as he reached down and ran a hand through Yunho’s hair causing Yunho to look up at him.
“Have you even had anybody look at your face?” Yunho asked between coughs as he stared up at the man leaning over him.
“No.” Changmin answered for him.
“It’s nothing I am not the first person who has been hit by a….” Jae stopped and swallowed the insult that was about to spring from his lips.
“Jae, go have your face looked at.” Yunho told him but at the same time his eyes closed as Jae ran his hand through his hair.
“Absolutely not! I am not leaving you like this. Never.” Jae insisted. “I don’t like your cough one bit. I am five seconds away from calling for a doctor.”
“I agree about the cough, Hyung.” Changmin told Yunho as he looked down at his hand that Yunho was still holding.
“See we can agree.” Jae told Yunho trying to lighten the mood as he reached over and punched the call light.
Yunho frowned as the light signaling for a nurse came on. “Jae, will you please go have your face looked at. I hate to know that it’s my fault. Please go have…”
“It isn’t your fault. It is that Neanderth…Changmin’s fault. You would never hit me. I am not leaving…”
“Jae, please…it would make me feel better. You can come back. I am not rejecting you. I want you with me…I just want you to take care of yourself.” Yunho pleaded up to Jae.
“Once the nurse comes in here and sees that Yunho is awake I am sure we will both get tossed from the room. His parents are eager to see this version of him…the sane version.” Changmin explained, not letting go of Yunho’s hand.
“I won’t let them toss either one of you. I will not allow them to keep Jae away…Jae is very important to me and I won’t be swayed by them. I will not live like I did before I got shot.” Yunho told Changmin firmly willing him to understand.
Changmin opened his mouth to respond to Yunho when the nurse walked into the room followed by the neurosurgeon ending any further conversations.
The nurses had taken Yunho off for tests and had forbid Jae to come along so he found himself waiting in the room alone. Changmin had immediately taken off in the direction of the waiting room which was full of Yunho’s family and friends. Jae knew he would not be welcome, so he got back in Yunho’s bed to rest.
Jae knew he should pull out his phone and turn it on to look at what had to be millions of messages waiting for him, but he couldn’t. Not yet. There would be too many questions, too many demands on him, and he just couldn’t face them now. Yunho had to be his focus especially with Changmin back in the picture now.
The only love that had ever rivaled Yunho’s love for Jae was his love for his group members. Jae had managed to destroy Yunho’s love for Junsu and Yoochun but Yunho’s love for Changmin was intact and stronger than ever. They both felt that they had been abandoned together, they had both been labeled cowards together, they both had been accused of being traitors together, and they had succeeded and failed together. Changmin had never turned his back on Yunho, and Yunho would never forget that simple fact.
Jae could not forget how Yunho had not said a word when Changmin had confessed to punching him. Nothing but a disapproving stare but when Yunho had thought his father had done it he had been outraged.
Jae felt fear consume him because if anybody was dearer to Yunho than he was it was Changmin. Changmin was perfect in Yunho’s eyes their bond was unbreakable. The anger and the hurt that consumed Yunho so easily and set him off into angry outbursts…Changmin shared that with him. Whatever hurt Jae had inflicted on Yunho, Changmin had felt it just as deeply for Yunho.
Jae closed his eyes and wished to God he could go back in time. He would have never seduced Junsu, and he would never have enticed Yoochun to help him with his crazy plan. If he could just go back to that one stupid day then the rest could have been easily be forgiven. Yunho, Yoochun, Junsu, and Changmin would still share their bond and that horrible line he had drawn between them would be erased.
Junsu and Yoochun would be here now, and Changmin would not feel the need to protect Yunho from him. They would be five united and nothing, nothing could stop them, but instead he had this. This stupid life his insane past had created for him when he had let the worse parts of his soul control him. There was a line between them and even if he could step over it to reach out to Yunho…Changmin was now here to block his way.
Changmin….he knew he needed to make nice with Changmin, but he just couldn’t. How dare he hit him like that on a live show? Jae had never been hit like that before in his life. Jae knew part of his anger at Changmin came from fear…the fear of what Changmin could do to his relationship with Yunho, but to hit him? So hard? Jae knew he should see a doctor and a dentist but he couldn’t leave Yunho. Yunho was not well enough for him to leave. Yunho’s cough worried hi…
“Hello Jae.” A soft musical voice pulled Jae away from his inner turmoil’s as he sat up in bed and stared at the owner of the voice in disbelief. She stood at the foot of the bed watching him closely.
“Boa?” He barely managed to get out of his swollen lips. He hadn’t spoken to her in years…not after Jae had confessed about him and Junsu, and how he and Yoochun had tricked Yunho into walking in on them. She had washed her hands of all the members of JYJ and refused to answer any of their calls.
“I guess I was wrong after all.” She told him with a small, wry smile.
“Wrong?” Jae asked her confused. She had most certainly not been wrong as far as he could remember; she had been uncannily correct.
“I told you that all your plans for revenge would only end up hurting you the most. I was wrong and you were right. You said Yunho would be the one to suffer and it appears you were correct.”
“No…no…no.” Jae said getting up from the bed quickly. “You were right…” The look of disbelief she gave him caused Jae to add quickly. “No, we both suffer. I suffer differently because I ruined everything. I wished this upon him but now I have to watch him suffer…over and over. I wish so badly I had listened to you. You don’t know how much I wish I could just go back in time and change everything.”
Her look softened, “But Jae you can’t…”
“I know! I know I can’t go back and change anything. I know that, but still I wish it constantly. You were such a good friend, and I should have listened to you. I just...”
“You couldn’t listen to anybody but your own pain. You could only see your own suffering and not anybody else’s. Isn’t it ironic that you were obsessed with making Yunho suffer back then, but he already suffered so much but you just couldn’t see it, and now his suffering is for the entire world to see?” Boa told him bitterly not pulling any punches with her words.
Jae felt his legs wobbling underneath him and sat back down on the bed quickly, “I know. It’s like fate is punishing me by making me watch him suffer and I promise you it is most effective.” Jae told her in a shaky voice.
Boa walked up closer to him and sat down on the bed beside him, “Heechul says that Yunho has forgiven you.”
Jae nodded his head fighting with the tears that were about to break loose as he suddenly felt the weight of all his past mistakes. “He wants us to be friends.”
Boa looked at him studying him closely. “Can you be friends with Yunho?”
Jae closed his eyes and controlled his trembling jaw, “It is hard…I have always been in love with him since…since…”
“Since the first time you saw him. He was one of Dana’s dancers and also her rapper he was in a ridiculous, blue jumpsuit and he had the wildest hair but you were instantly smitten.” Boa finished for him remembering their past and the conversations they used to share.
Jae sighed in relief and took her hand. “I miss this so much. I have missed our friendship…I have missed so many of my old friendships. I have so many new friends, but they don’t share a past with me. Junsu can’t even talk about Yunho. Junsu and Yunho are so…at first Junsu was so angry with him for not joining us even after we had sex Junsu was still angry at Yunho. It was like Junsu felt like Yunho had failed him and he used that anger to push himself forward…but when Yunho was shot. It was almost like Junsu was shot too, and all the anger disappeared and there is just a huge open wound inside of him dedicated to Yunho and all his regrets surrounding him.”
“Eunhyuk says Yunho haunts Junsu.” Boa frowned and told Jae.
“Yoochun is the worse though. He is so angry all the time, and he wasn’t made to be angry. I think he feels so much pain but he hides from it. He hides from it and wears a face that isn’t his own.”
Boa squeezed Jae’s hand, “The loss of the friendship the five of you used to share is perhaps the worse casualty of all.”
“Not for me…the lost of Yunho is always the worse for me, but that is why I have to accept his friendship.”
“Take what you can.” Boa said smiling at him. “He missed you so much. He missed all of you so much. The sadness he used to carry with him just broke my heart.”
“Don’t!” Jae said releasing her hand and standing up. “Don’t make me cry. I swear if I start I won’t stop.”
Boa watched him carefully, “I think you just need to breathe. Let’s go for a walk.”
“I can’t leave. He just went for tests. I have to be here when he gets back…he’s so sick.” Jae explained to her.
“He won’t be back for awhile so let’s go get something to drink.” Boa said getting up and grabbing Jae’s hand again.
“No, I really can’t.” Jae insisted even as she pulled him toward the door.
“We won’t leave the floor and it will only be for a second.” Boa said tugging him through the doorway and out of the room.
“He can’t possibly go.” Yunho heard his mother tell his father as the nurses wheeled him back into the room on a stretcher.
“Of course he can’t go but they can’t put it off any longer. The fans are already lining up outside. We have to make a statement. They are preparing Changmin now.” Yunho’s father informed his mother as the nurses grabbed the sheet underneath Yunho and pulled him back over to his bed.
Yunho watched with dazed eyes as his mother told his father, “We will both be there in the morning.”
“Yes, you should be there for your vindication.” Yunho’s father told his mother as the nurses reconnected Yunho to his IVs and placed oxygen tubing on him.
“You sound pleased. I never imagined I would live long enough to actually see you be happy at being wrong. I guess there is a first for everything.” Yunho’s mother told his father smugly as one of the nurses pushed the stretcher from the room.
“Of course I am happy. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong in my life.” Yunho’s father told her deeply offended.
“Can you two take this outside?” One of the older nurses asked giving them both a disapproving look as she checked Yunho’s temperature with a tympanic thermometer.
“Please.” Yunho moaned as he settled back into bed. He was tired of them. He was tired of everybody who had visited him today. He felt horrible and they kept dragging him through test after test. He would finish one test return to the room be greeted by friends and family and then they would drag him to another.
Both of his parents looked at him startled, he just closed his eyes, “Where is Jae?”
“I’m here.” Jae told him from the doorway where he had been quietly waiting. He wished he could have smiled or gloated at Mr. Jung who acted as if he had been slapped as he walked out of the room. Yunho’s mother waited a moment longer giving Yunho a longing look before she walked out too.
Jae waited quietly at the doorway as the nurse raised the head of Yunho’s bed up and told him, “I need you to swallow these two Tylenol your fever is too high.” Yunho obeyed the nurse and took the medication with a sip of water not wanting to risk more on his queasy stomach.
The nurse lowered his head slightly and handed him the call light she then looked at Jae, “He needs to sleep.”
“I know.” Jae told her nodding his head in agreement. The nurse left the room shutting the door behind her. Jae sat down on the bed gently, “I like this version of Yunho so rude and disrespectful to his parents.”
“Don’t remind me. It isn’t something that I am proouud of…I am juust so tired. I feel like shit.” Yunho said promptly having another coughing fit.
Yunho sat up trying to clear his throat and Jae rubbed his back as the coughing fit drained what little energy Yunho had left away. “My Love, now you have pneumonia on top of everything else.”
“I’m juust luucky.” Yunho said falling back into his pillows. “All my progress is going to be lost.”
“No, it isn’t. Don’t talk crazy. Haven’t you realized by now that as long as you are breathing nothing is ever lost forever?” Jae told him as he pushed the button on the side rail to raise the head of the bed even higher so Yunho could breathe easier.
“I juust…I don’t even know what day it is. I don’t know anything.” Yunho told him frustrated as he fisted his sheets.
“It’s Tuesday.” Jae soothed him running a hand across Yunho’s forehead feeling the hot fever that consumed him.
“I wish yoouu woouuld leave and go get checked over.” Yunho told him closing his eyes as the exhaustion started taking over.
“Nope.” Jae told him pulling the covers up over Yunho tighter.
“Aren’t yoouu suure of me yet? Don’t yoouu know I won’t let them keep yoouu from me?” Yunho asked softly as sleep started tugging him under.
“I am sure of you, but you are so sick and there is no way I am leaving you.” Jae told him as he stared at the man who had fallen off to sleep for the moment.