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! Comments are like food...and I really like food!
Notice: I will not be updating to the DBSK communities for the time being….maybe not for a long time, and maybe not ever.
Check this journal for future updates.
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 morning when the lab girl arrived to take Yunho’s blood she awakened Jae when she walked into the room. Jae who was still sleeping at Yunho’s side watched her maneuver Yunho’s arm around to tie the tourniquet. He watched as Yunho awoke long enough to give her a kind smile then drifted off back to sleep.
Jae watched as she stuck Yunho and the man didn’t even flinch. How used to being poked and prodded Yunho must be by now. If Jae could have given his own blood for Yunho he would have. Jae reached up a hand and rested it against Yunho’s forehead and didn’t feel a fever. He sighed in relief the fever had finally broken. Yunho had spent the first part of the evening coughing. His fever went up and down constantly as the nurses ran more and more antibiotics into him though the IVs. A couple hours past midnight Yunho had finally fallen into a deep sleep.
Jae pulled out of his deep thoughts to see that the lab girl had left already with Yunho’s blood. Jae got out of the bed as quietly and softly as he could. He stood up, and stretched feeling relieved and hoped this was a turning point. He could almost feel Yunho’s energy and it seemed stronger now. He turned away from the bed to go to the sink to wash his face when he paused in his tracks.
Changmin was blocking his way. He was asleep in one of the chairs his hands folded and his long legs propped up on the edge of Yunho’s bed. Jae’s heart did a flip flop as he noticed the peaceful look on Changmin’s face…how long had it been since he had seen this look on Changmin’s face? Not since Junsu, Yoochun and he had told them of their plans to leave SM. Not in any of the shared days and nights they had waited together in Yunho’s room after the horrible shooting.
“You better be careful that old affection is showing on your face.” Yunho told him causing Jae to turn quickly and catch Yunho watching him.
“Is your fever back? You must be mistaken if you think this bruised and swollen face is capable of showing any affection.” Jae told him walking back to Yunho’s bedside and grabbing his hand.
Yunho looked at his face carefully and told him, “It looks a little…less awful.”
“Oh, that makes me feel so much better.” Jae told him sarcastically, while squeezing Yunho’s hand tighter.
Yunho gave him a grin and then stared back at sleeping Changmin, “I have to talk to him today…without you here or anybody else.”
“I know.” Jae told him as he reached up with his other hand to pick at Yunho’s hair which was a mess. Yunho started to cough and Jae immediately turned to pour him some water. “You want some water?”
Yunho stopped coughing and nodded his head. “Yes, I actually don’t feel like I am going to vomit for once. I am sure all that will change once they start moving me around though.” Yunho told him as he accepted the glass of water from Jae.
“Then you will just have to not move today and spend the day being waited on.” Jae told him as he tried to brush through Yunho’s hair with his fingers. “Although you need your hair washed.”
“I actually have a bigger problem I am going to need your help with.” Yunho told Jae looking suddenly uncomfortable as he drank more of the water.
“I have a catheter right?” Yunho asked not hiding his disgust.
Jae couldn’t help but laugh and instantly regretted it as he reached up to hold his face. “You most certainly do.”
“Blasted thing! You lose consciousness and they stick one of them in you.” Yunho grumbled as he handed the empty glass back to Jae.
“I think they are a requirement for surgery…you should just be grateful you still have your spleen. They were going to take it out.” Jae told him turning around to put the glass of water down.
“Just so I am clear. I had a seizure, I fell and hit my head and I got stabbed in the gut by a tree limb? Then I had to have surgery on my stomach. I went dingy on the pain medicine reopened my wound and had to have surgery again?”
“That would be correct and don’t forget the incredible big case of stupid you suffered from before all of that when you walked half a mile in the deep snow in your freaking walker at night without telling anybody!” Jae told him his unhappiness very evident in his voice.
Yunho had the decency to look ashamed, “I know. I just needed to be there. It actually helped …well before the seizure.”
Jae furrowed his brows, “Helped what? I thought you weren’t going to be jealous of JYJ anymore? I thought you were going to accept the lost of Dong Bang Shin Ki and not let your-self pity eat you up inside?”
“You didn’t really think that or you wouldn’t have gone to such an attempt to hide it from me.” Yunho shot right back at him.
“No, I didn’t because I know you. When I was told what we were singing I didn’t want you to see that. If Soo Jin had just kept her word and if Hana hadn’t lied this wouldn’t have happened.” Jae explained blaming everything on them.
“This is nobody’s fault but my own.” Yunho told him taking full responsibility.
“You just wait till I see those two sorry excuses for nurses and they will know who I blame.” Jae said looking extremely scary with his battered face.
“Don’t! You could have died! Do you know how close you came to dying? They were nurses assigned to take care of you and this can’t go unpunished. In the end they were stupid idiot fans just like the bitch that shot you.” The hand holding Yunho’s hand tightened considerably and Yunho could see anger and the fear consuming the other man.
“Go get me a syringe.” Yunho told him trying to change the topic. He didn’t want Jae to be like this. It was only Yunho’s fault but Jae would never be able to see it like that.
“A what?” Jae looked at him completely surprised by the request.
“A syringe. A big one. I watched how Bong Cha took the old catheter out and if I had a syringe I could take this one out.”
“Are you crazy? There isn’t any way I am getting you a syringe.” Jae told him stunned at the request.
“I can’t have this thing inside of me! They will probably leave it in for weeks!” Yunho whined trying to hide his smile at how he had successfully changing the topic.
“What does it matter to you? Do you really want to be moving around to have to pee? It isn’t like you can use your cock for anything else!” Jae shot back at him quickly letting go of Yunho’s hand and taking a step back.
“I swear to God if you start with the impotent talk again I am going to bust my wound open again just so I can get away from you!” Yunho said reaching out a hand to swat at Jae but the other man had already escaped his reach.
“The truth…” Jae paused as he noticed that Changmin was sitting up in the chair looking at them with a perplexed expression. “Umm…I am going to get something to eat.” Jae said quickly stepping around the bed toward the door.
“You’re leaving?” Yunho asked surprised. He could never remember Jae volunteering to leave him when he was unwell.
“Yes, but only long enough to grab something to eat…or slurp.” Jae amended as he held his sore face. “You will be fine. You do not even know the relief it was to hear you obsessing about your catheter. You should be well in no time.” Jae said knowingly and left the room trying his best not to smile and hurt his face.
Yunho frowned as he watched Jae leave the room, “Someday he is going to have a catheter and I am going to rejoice when that day comes.” Yunho grumbled.
“So what the fuck is going on with you two?” Changmin asked causing Yunho to flip his head toward the younger man he had not noticed being awake.
“We are friends…but. ” Yunho stopped unsure of what to say.
“Friends with benefits?” Changmin asked frowning as he got up from the chair and walked closer to the bed.
“No, not those kinds of benefits,” Yunho told Changmin honestly.
“Are you sure? Jae has the role of concerned lover down and you don’t seem bothered by it. I know what Heechul said, but it wouldn’t be the first time you two lied.” Changmin told Yunho with real concern in his eyes.
“I am not lying. I want to get away from lies.” Yunho told him earnestly.
“Then what is it?”
“He wants more but he knows I can’t or won’t give him more. We have come to an understanding.” Yunho tried to explain realizing how weak the words sounded to even him.
“What kind of understanding?”
“We have boundaries. I respect his feeling and he respects mine. If we do this then we can be friends.” Yunho explained as he watched the skeptical look on Changmin’s face.
“So now he is willing to be friends? Now that he has already destroyed everything? So you forgave him? After all he did? You forgave him?” Changmin said shaking his head in disbelief.
“Yes…” Yunho admitted closing his eyes unable to look the other man in the eye.
“How could you forgive him? Make me understand how you could forgive him after all the pain he inflicted on you. Pain he purposefully and gleefully inflicted on you I might add! Tell me how you forgive him after the sabotage, and the malice. I will never forget finding you on the floor that day after the three of them were done with you…you were broken like…I never imagined that you could be that broken. How do you forgive that?” Changmin asked sincerely as he took Yunho’s hand and clasped it tightly hoping that Yunho could somehow make him understand.
Yunho closed his eyes and tried to control his emotions and clung to Changmin’s hand tightly. “When I first woke up after being shot…I could barely move. My right side was dead to me and my left side was made up of weak flimsy limbs. I couldn’t even talk…the words that came out of my mouth were incomprehensible even to me. I was surrounded by strangers and I had no idea what was going on…you cannot imagine how scary that is.”
“I was more like a thing than a human being. I slowly started to understand what was going on around me…and the thought that I could be trapped like that forever. I thought if people thought I was still mindless then it would be easier on them.”
“I had decided to never let anybody know I had returned to my mind, but I still felt so alone. So alone…you cannot imagine how alone I was…one day felt like it stretched on for years. My body was my prison and every minute was a living nightmare. I was bathed, cleaned, and fed like I was some kind of infant, but worse because there was no hope of growing up and escaping the hell. I felt totally alone, and then one morning I woke up and he was sleeping right next to me. The relief that flooded over me was immeasurable.”
“I thought I had been abandoned, and to find out that I had not been forgotten…it was an amazing feeling. I forgot about all the anger, disappointment, and hurt feelings between us at first. I was just so happy he was there, but then all those angry feelings came swarming back to me. I tried to hide the truth from him…I didn’t want him to know either. I didn’t trust him, but I couldn’t fool him. A young nurse was already suspicious of me and once she told him her suspicions he was on to me. I couldn’t hide it from him. His blinding focus was set on me…and I accepted its warmth once again.”
Changmin looked away from Yunho trying to collect himself but at the same time still clinging to the hand. “I failed you. I know this, but you…”
“You could never fail me.” Yunho insisted tightening his grip on Changmin’s hand.
“You just said you were alone…abandoned.” Changmin said turning back to Yunho his shame written all over his face. “If you didn’t mean me who did you mean?”
“My family…but not you. Never you.”
“That doesn’t make any sense Yunho. I am closer to you then your own family. You have told me that a million times. You can’t blame them and not me…it isn’t fair.” Changmin said sitting down on the bed beside Yunho. “I was a coward. I have always been an emotional coward and I hid from the life I thought had condemned you to.”
“I know that. I know you didn’t ignore me because I cramped your style. I know you didn’t ignore me because you were busy moving on. I know you never forgot me. I know why you couldn’t see me like that. I know you better than anybody and I know the guilt that must have eaten away at you. I should have told you the instant I was back.” Yunho told him adamant in his reply. He would not allow Changmin to feel any guilt if he could help it. Yunho would expunge him of all of it if he could.
Changmin gave Yunho a small, warm smile, “And I of course know why you didn’t tell me.”
Yunho smiled brightly at him, “So great minds still thinking alike?”
“Not completely I cannot condone your relationship with Jae. It isn’t healthy. It’s never been healthy.” Changmin told him firmly still holding Yunho’s hand.
Yunho darted his eyes away, “We are just friends. I assure you of that.”
“And that is the lie. That blinding focus you spoke of is your weakness. You have no defense against it. You flourish under it, but what happens when you say or do the wrong thing and it turns against you?” Changmin asked honestly as he watched Yunho avoid his gaze.
Yunho sighed and turned back to Changmin, “I know what you are saying and I’m not an idiot. I know how dangerous it can be…but I know it will be different this time.”
Changmin rolled his eyes, “Yunho, seriously? You two are not capable of just being friends.”
Yunho frowned and pulled his hand away. “Yes, we are! We have been fighting this out for months now. I have refused him more times than you can possibly imagine. He knows friendship is all I have to offer. We had some of the bitterest fights that you can imagine…” Yunho stopped when Changmin snorted in disbelief. “Worse than anything we ever had before. Changmin, I can forgive him, but I can never forget what they did.”
“Yunho, I pray that you are right, or if you are lying to yourself I pray that you continue to do so for the rest of your life.” Changmin told him then swallowed deeply he was truly afraid of what a vindictive Jae could do to this version of Yunho if he was unleashed.
“He isn’t as selfish as…” Yunho stopped as three doctors and a nurse walked into the room.
The oldest doctor looked at Changmin and ordered, “You will have to step out we need to examine the patient.”
“Okay, I will step out and have a cigarette.” Changmin told Yunho as he walked toward the door.
“I don’t think so!” Yunho said quickly making Changmin stop in his tracks and look back at Yunho startled.
“I didn’t take a bullet to the head for you just so you could just die of lung cancer later in life. No more smoking for you.” Yunho told him firmly and the three doctors and the nurse in the room couldn’t help but grin.
“You are not serious!” Changmin asked shocked, stalled in his footsteps.
“As serious as a bullet to the head.” Yunho told him not the slightest bit daunted.
The oldest of the three doctors laughed and pushed Changmin through the door. “You should listen to your friend. Smoking is a disgusting and unhealthy habit.” The doctor told him as he shut the door behind Changmin.
“So I see you have met the anti-smoking version of Yunho.” Changmin looked down to find Jae sitting on the floor leaning up against the wall outside Yunho’s room. Jae was looking at his phone not bothering to look up at Changmin.
“He is serious?” Changmin asked Jae still shocked.
“Dead serious. It’s like he woke up and the smell just sets him off. He is an adamant anti-smoker now.” Jae explained as he continued to browse through his messages on his phone.
“He basically forbids me to smoke since he took a bullet meant for me.” Changmin said in disbelief.
Jae looked up from his phone to eye the amused but shocked taller man, “Sounds fair enough to me.”
“So you stopped? You used to smoke like a freight train.” Changmin asked Jae who was still looking at him.
“Mostly, he doesn’t like the smell. His sense of smell is unbelievable now. I basically don’t smoke in Korea anymore.” Jae said looking back down at his phone.
Changmin frowned after watching Jae for a couple seconds, “Why are you sitting on the floor?”
“The waiting room is full of people that hate me. It’s safer here. There is only one person here who hates me.” Jae said never looking up from his phone continuing to text somebody.
Changmin looked away but did not deny it. “Good thing you only care about what Yunho thinks.”
“Junsu and Yoochun must love the dedication you show to your group.” Changmin said sarcastically. “Poor sickly Jae who had to miss so many activities in the past year.”
Jae looked up at Changmin again. His face was unable to take on any look worthy of the scorn he felt but his eyes did glare. “How sweet that you still worry about them.”
“I will never waste one second of my life worrying about either one of them I assure you. Did you convince Yunho to forgive them too? Should I take some nausea pills and prepare for their arrival?”
“No, he still wants nothing to do with them. I am trying to explain that to Junsu now.” Jae said the annoyance obvious in his tone.
Changmin shook his head in disbelief but there was a tinge of pain that colored his face for a second but Jae had looked back down to his phone and missed it, “I don’t know how he could ever think Yunho could ever forgive him, but then again I never expected Yunho to forgive you.”
“Did he forgive me?” Jae asked looking up. “I don’t think he did. I think he just loves me enough to let it go.”
Changmin stiffened, “And tell me, do you plan on taking advantage of that love?”
Jae met Changmin’s eyes, “I have tried. I have done everything I can to take advantage of it. I love him and I want him as much now as I always have, but it’s like hitting a brick wall. He doesn’t want me back.”
“And you are okay with that?” Changmin asked incredulity.
“No…yes. I once thought it was all or nothing, but now I know something is so much better than nothing. I can’t be without him anymore. I hate how I am when I am without him.” Jae said still maintaining eye contact with Changmin willing him to believe him.
“I hate how you are too. I still can’t believe what you did…how you destroyed any hope of…” Changmin stopped suddenly before continuing. “I will never allow you to hurt him like that again.”
Jae stood up never breaking eye contact with Changmin. “Good. I will hold you to that.”
Changmin’s mouth dropped open and before he could find his tongue the door to Yunho’s room opened and the doctors started walking out. Jae immediately pushed his way into the room.
“Yunho!” Jae practically shouted as he entered the room. The surgeons and nurse had placed Yunho up in a chair and he looked miserable.
“Jae…” Yunho practically groaned as Jae was instantly upon him.
“You look green. Do you need something to vomit in?” Jae asked as he sat down on the arm of the chair and reached a hand behind Yunho to rub his back.
“Not yet…my right side is so weak. They practically had to carry me.” Yunho told Jae softly as he fought with his nausea.
“You are weak because you just had two surgeries. You also have a concussion, and you have pneumonia. It’s only normal that you are weak. Once you get the rest of this taken care of you will be up using that cane in no time.”
Yunho looked up at Jae and pouted, “I never made it to a cane. I am so fucking stupid. I hate…”
“Stop it. None of that talk.” Jae told him as he continued to rub Yunho’s back. “Why did they get you up and leave you? I mean what if you fell over or something?”
“They said I had to get moving and start coughing this stuff up. I think the nurse you pushed out of the way to get in here is the one that was going to stay with me.” Yunho said unable to keep from smiling up at Jae.
“Like I would ever trust you with a backstabbing, idiotic nurse.” Jae grumbled.
Yunho rolled his eyes and noticed Changmin standing by the door observing them closely, “Take a picture it will last longer and then put it on the Internet and I can get sympathy.”
“You have enough sympathy you have been made into a martyr since the accident.” Changmin told him as he moved into the room and sat on the end of the bed.
“Accident? Oh, you must mean when he took a bullet to the head meant for you.” Jae snapped.
“I didn’t say I didn’t agree with it. I wasn’t making light.” Changmin said defending himself instantly.
Jae rolled his eyes and asked, “Don’t you have a press conference you are supposed to be at?”
Yunho eyes went instantly to Changmin, “Is it this morning?”
“Yes, but they have decided against me going.” Changmin gulped and told him.
“Why?” Yunho asked confused.
“Because the fact I hit Jae hasn’t escaped anybody’s notice. They want it to be about your remarkable recovery not about our fight.” Changmin explained.
“Fight? It wasn’t a fight? It was you attacking me. I can see why you wouldn’t want to be questioned about it.” Jae threw back at him as he continued to rub Yunho’s back.
Yunho immediately stiffened suddenly feeling more nauseated as he slowly realized Changmin might be in more trouble then he realized. “How much trouble are you in?”
“It’s fine the lawyers are handling it.” Changmin assured him giving him a smile that Yunho knew to be faked.
“I didn’t press charges.” Jae said as he noticed how tense Yunho was suddenly.
“Your management did, but like I said the lawyers are handling it. I don’t regret it. I would do it again.” Changmin assured the both of them.
“Changmin!” Yunho chastised.
“Don’t! He didn’t tell me.” Changmin said looking at Jae. “No matter what has passed between us, no matter what you should have told me. We were once closer than family and you knew better.”
Jae stopped rubbing Yunho’s back and stood up. “He didn’t want me to tell you. I offered many times.”
“You offered because you knew his pride would never allow him to tell anybody.” Changmin accused Jae also standing up and looking down at the shorter man.
“Well then you should have visited. One visit and you would have known!” Jae said defending himself.
“I need something to vomit in.” Yunho barely managed to get out suddenly looking greener.
Jae instantly had an emesis basin in front of him. Yunho filled it with green bile as he emptied his stomach. When he was done he slumped back in the chair looking exhausted.
“Yunho, I’m sorry.” Changmin told him feeling so guilty. He knew he shouldn’t fight with Jae but Jae being here and Yunho being himself was just too surreal for him.
“Me too. We won’t fight anymore.” Jae said putting away the emesis basin. “Well not until you are better.”
“Right…or not in front of you.” Changmin amended as he watched Jae wet a washcloth and give it to Yunho.
Yunho wiped his face and stared up at the two of them. “Changmin, you should go to the press conference. You shouldn’t hide.”
“No, he shouldn’t go. You don’t know how crazy my fans are right now…he shouldn’t go. They don’t know anything about why he was angry with me. They only know that he hit me and they think I have been really sick. It doesn’t look good. I don’t think it is safe for him to go.” Jae told Yunho as he took the washcloth from him and pressed it up against Yunho’s forehead.
Changmin just stared at Jae speechless not knowing that to say. Yunho didn’t suffer from the same problem. “You are worried?”
“Not for him, but for you. You couldn’t handle anything happening to him.” Jae corrected quickly not turning to look at Changmin.
“Then you should go with him. Guarantee his safety.” Yunho told him not blinking an eye.
Jae dropped the washcloth and hissed. “You can’t ask that of me.”
“You really can’t.” Changmin agreed.
Yunho looked at Jae pleading with his eyes, “Didn’t you once get angry at me because I wouldn’t give you information about him? Didn’t you insist that he was once a huge part of your life?”
“That…that was before he knocked the hell out of me.” Jae declared as he took a step away from Yunho’s chair not liking what he was hearing.
“If you won’t do it for Changmin than do it for yourself. I told you I wouldn’t let anybody interfere with our friendship but there is only so much I can do like this. You go down there with Changmin you rewrite all the rules. They will all see with their own eyes that you have been here with me.”
“Yunho, you can’t be serious?!” Changmin questioned. “The Company doesn’t want…”
“I don’t care. I am not going to lie. When I get out of here and somebody asks me about my recovery I will not fail to mention Jae, but he should go down there now and establish it from the start.” Yunho insisted turning his gaze between the two other men.
“That isn’t why you want me to go down there. You want me to protect him from my fans. You also want me to end whatever legal activities my management company have against him. This isn’t about me or our friendship this is about protecting Changmin!” Jae growled his anger taking root as he clenched his fists.
Yunho sighed trying to find the strength to argue his case but the nausea was flaring up again and he felt ashamed. “I am sor…I shoouuldn’t ask that of yoouu. It’s too much to ask of yoouu.”
“Yunho, your speech.” Jae said sadly moving closer to Yunho now but not reaching out for him still too angry.
“What is wrong?” Changmin asked concerned as he watched Yunho fight with his nausea and fumble with his words.
“His speech impairment sometimes acts up when he is tired, nervous, or embarrassed.” Jae explained.
“Or when I am upset. When does the press conference start?” Yunho asked Changmin not looking at Jae.
Changmin looked at his watch. “In about an hour.”
“Is Heechul going to be there?” Yunho asked with a new ray of hope in his eyes.
“Yes, Heechul, Ryeowook, and Kyuhyun will all be there.” Changmin told him looking at Yunho instantly knowing what Yunho was up to. He got up from the bed and moved closer to Yunho.
“I have to talk to Heechul before the press conference. Call him for me.” Yunho said sighing in relief as he thought of a way to help Changmin.
“Okay,” Changmin said pulling out his phone and stepping out of the room to call Heechul.
“Why?” Jae asked as he grabbed Yunho’s arm.
“Because Heechul will help me.” Yunho told Jae not wanting to look at him. Yunho hated himself so much at the moment because he knew exactly what Jae’s response would be to his request.
“I won’t but Heechul will? Is that it?” Jae said kneeling down beside Yunho. “Yunho, look at me.”
Yunho turned to look at Jae. Jae was surprised to see guilt on Yunho’s face. “Yoouu shoouuldn’t help me…I asked too much.” Even as Yunho said the words he knew exactly where they would lead to.
Jae suddenly frowned and shook his head, “No, you didn’t. If you want me to I will, but you have to ask me. You can’t pawn off second hand reasons you have to ask me. If I do this it’s for you, so don’t make any mistake about that.”
Yunho looked away feeling both physically and emotionally awful. How could he ask Jae to do this? Changmin had hit him…his face had not even began to heal. Yunho swallowed and closed his eyes. He knew he had to ask for Changmin’s sake but he hated doing it. He knew better than anybody else just how dangerous the fans could be. “Jae, will yoouu please go to the press conference and stand beside Changmin. Let yoouur fans know Changmin is not the enemy. Will yoouu protect him…for me?”
Jae stood back up and let go of Yunho’s arm, “Yes, I will do that for you.”