wild_terrain: (JJ Believe)
[personal profile] wild_terrain
Title: The Beacon; My Siren
Author: wild_terrain (ie. fi_chan)
Banner (Made beautifully by love_cassiopeia

Chapter: [33/ ?]
Rating: MA15+
Genre: AU
 [FLANGST, mystery, spirituality, romance]
Summary: Philophobia… The fear of falling in love or being in love. I didn’t know such a thing existed until I met him… Kim JaeJoong was my age—a youthful 25 years—and the owner of a popular café, yet he was already known around town as the mysterious hermit who had chosen to completely withdraw from the world. How on earth could someone so young be afraid of loving others to the point of secluding themselves from all human beings? What was he afraid of? What was he hiding? I just didn’t understand it. And by that stage, the need to understand it was all I could think about... In fact, he was all I could think about…

Jung Yunho… For all of my life I had grown up away from the limelight. I couldn’t stand being noticed by anybody, and for a long time I thankfully never was. But then you came and suddenly you were everywhere – waving to me as I swept the café after closing, saying hello to me as you cycled past the bench I was sitting on, helping me carry my groceries inside whilst talking non-stop to me as if we were actually friends… Why are you always around making my heart thump erratically? Why do you even care? The more you try to explore this town, the more I need to step up and protect you from your own curiosity, because I know It is out there and I know It wants to harm you…


Beta =
moon1084 <3

N: Enjoy the update, my lovelies. Didn't want to keep this chapter from you any longer.



My boots had flat soles but still managed to create a series of echoes down the hospital corridor as I quickly made my way down it. The outside exterior of the rooms I power-walked past looked well maintained and clean. I could only hope the insides were just as pleasing. What if JaeJoong wasn’t comfortable in his room? Would there be any alternative we could move him into? He needed to be comfortable.

Numbers finally matched the ones I had been repeating in my head and I stopped in my tracks with a squeak from my boots. I doubted even lottery winners could have been as excited about matching numbers as I was now. What lay behind that door was worth far more than the largest amount of money anyone could offer me though.

I tried to catch my breath and hesitantly stepped closer to the door to peak through the small section of window. My breath caught in my throat as I found my answer.

A mop of long black hair fell over the face I was dying to see. JaeJoong was sitting up in bed with a nurse and doctor by his side. He was carefully pushing a blanket further away from his lap and then reached behind him to pull at the light blue hospital gown that hung a little big over his thin body. The nurse stepped behind him and helped him pull the Velcro pieces apart so the doctor could place the end of his stethoscope on JaeJoong’s pale back. His body twitched ever so slightly. The metal must have been cold against his bare skin.

The ends of JaeJoong’s long hair moved across his shoulder blades as he nodded at whatever the doctor was saying to him. Then the doctor’s hand moved to press the stethoscope over his chest and I gasped when his gown fell down a little and revealed the dark bruises over his heart. It looked so nasty, like someone had punched him there over and over again. Had the paramedics done that damage? Or had my hands been the ones that did it?

My body shuddered and I quickly stuck a hand out to touch the door to stop myself from falling.

Everything looked so calm in the room. JaeJoong waited patiently for the doctor to finish listening to his lungs as he took his breaths and no one seemed too concerned about the color of JaeJoong’s chest. But outside the door I was a mess. I was having my own problems breathing and getting my heart rate down to something more normal.

I wanted to be by JaeJoong’s side. My hands were dying to reach out and gently pull that curtain of long black hair back until I could see his face. I wanted to hold him and know that warm blood flowed beneath his soft skin. I couldn’t bring myself to walk into the room though. I didn’t want to see anyone’s judging gaze land on me. Not the doctor’s and definitely not JaeJoong’s. For now everything was okay and I didn’t want to ruin it. JaeJoong was in my sight and nothing threatened to take me away from him. Invisibility was my best ally right now.

The doctor pulled the stethoscope away and said something else to JaeJoong. That beautiful boy nodded again in that shy, not-wishing-to-be-a-burden way of his and kept his eyes on his lap. He reached back slowly to pull his gown back into position and the nurse once again helped him Velcro the parts he couldn’t reach. I still couldn’t properly see his face, but that was my JaeJoong through and through—quiet, a little timid, respectful and hating being the center of attention.

I didn’t realize my cheeks were wet until I heard myself sniff. I hurriedly wiped the wetness away onto my sleeve. There was no way I could face JaeJoong again looking like a mess.

Oh shit. I ran my fingers through my hair as a new thought came to me. I hadn’t brought anything with me. That’s what you were supposed to do when someone was unwell in hospital, right? Bring them something to show them that you care. Flowers? No, that would be a little weird. A card? Well, that would be even weirder. What could it possibly say? ‘Get well soon?’ No, no, no. Ridiculous.

My body jerked backwards as sudden movement registered in the part of my mind that wasn’t freaking out over etiquette. The doctor and nurse were heading towards the door. I scrambled out of the way and all but plastered myself against the wall to let them through without drawing attention to myself. I felt ridiculous but at least they didn’t see me. Why was I so nervous? I was acting like a damn fugitive! No, I was worse. I was a terrible boyfriend who had let someone very close to me down in so many ways…

I looked through the window again and I felt another pang from my heart. JaeJoong suddenly looked so tiny and alone in that empty room. He just sat there in the same position he’d been in when the doctor’s left. Then he slowly tugged his blanket back over his waist and gazed down into his lap. He didn’t move after that.

I felt so many things at that moment; things I couldn’t even begin to describe. My body moved for me, thrumming with the need to protect him and hold him and make sure he was never alone in here.

All anxiety was gone as I pushed the door open and flew into the room. The clanking of my heavy boots echoed again around the room and JaeJoong’s head snapped up in recognition. My steps faltered as our eyes locked and my body stopped to take on the full impact of his gaze. Only this man could ever look at me with a gaze so sharp and powerful. His face was as stoic as when I had first met him but his eyes…his eyes spoke to me.

My body recovered and I finished running over to him. I barely had time to even fling my bag off my shoulders before my knees hit his mattress. I was half sprawled over his bed in seconds and pulled his body towards me. I gripped him tightly. I was shaking.

I wasn’t the only one. Through even all of my emotions, I could feel him trembling against me too. And his arms were gripping me back just as tightly. Was it because he shared my feelings or was it because I was hurting him?

I pulled back with slight difficulty (his arms around my back were like iron) and I gazed at him through blurred vision. I couldn’t bear to look away from his face for even a second but I had to know if he was alright so my eyes flickered down at his covered chest for a few seconds—the quickest I could manage—and then back into his deep brown eyes. My hands finished the question for me and gently rested near the area of his bruises. JaeJoong shook his head very slightly and I realized he was telling me he was okay.

I let out a relieved breath and let my hands touch his face. My fingers slid over his cheeks and the warmth almost made me choke up again. His cheeks were nice and pink and soft and very JaeJoong-like. How could my eyes and hands lie to me? This had to be real.

My thumb swiped over the soft flesh and it took every ounce of my restraint not to lean forward and press my lips against it.

JaeJoong watched me the whole time without moving. It felt so good to have his strong gaze on me. Those eyes… So brown. So big. His eyes were still able to see things and right now they saw me.

I continued to look at him with so many questions. Was it really him? Was he really alright right now?

JaeJoong gave a small nod. Was my face really that expressive? I moved closer to him and his eyes slipped shut. Yes, it was that expressive. I closed my eyes too and kissed him very softly as he had wished. Our kiss was short but very needed. Once I was sure he wasn’t uncomfortable I slid my hand through his hair and pulled him closer for a longer one.

His eyes were still closed when we broke apart and I finally found my opportunity to softly kiss those rosy cheeks. It was suddenly all too much and I pulled him forward into a tight hug again. This time I felt JaeJoong’s hand in my hair and I let out a brief chuckle that resembled more of a soft sob. I didn’t care that I sounded so ridiculous because the man I loved was still holding me and it was all I cared about in the world.

“JaeJoong…” I breathed. At the sound of my voice I felt his arms wrap around me even tighter. I closed my eyes and rubbed the side of my forehead against his. “I missed you…”

“I missed you more…” he whispered.

I could have laughed because that wasn’t possible but my face remained solemn. There was time for smiles later but right now I just needed to hold him with every ounce of my being. “You’ve lost weight,” I whispered.

“You’ve lost weight,” he countered again and he sounded even less happy than I had been. This time I did smile. Some things never changed.

“That doesn’t matter. I’m so glad you’re okay,” I choked out.

His breath against my neck felt so wonderful. I wish my body would stop trembling in case he felt uncomfortable and moved away. “I thought I had lost you. I was so scared. I’m still scared…”

His breath paused for a moment and then I felt it caressing my neck again. “I was scared too,” he replied softly.

I hugged him tighter. “Of course you were. I’m sorry I haven’t been here, Baby.”

“You’re here now.”

“And I’m not leaving until you get the all-clear; until you’re released. Until even beyond that.” My boss would understand, surely… “I’m not taking one step away from you.” I lifted my head up to kiss him fiercely.

He thankfully reciprocated all of my kisses. It warmed my heart that he even started a few.

We broke apart and I cupped his face again. My thumb moved by itself to stroke his soft cheek and I stared into his eyes. I felt the words I was about to say dying on my tongue as his deep, brown orbs mesmerized me. For the most part, I recognized what was behind them and I knew we were still connected; I hadn’t lost him. My chest swelled with love and I gave him another kiss.

This time when I pulled back I made sure to get my words out, “JaeJoongie, are you okay in here?” That was my immediate concern. I knew I still needed to give him some explanations and get explanation out of him in return, but I’d be damned if I let JaeJoong suffer in the here and now.

He remained silent for a little bit but then noticed my expression and quickly gave me quiet reassurance that he had no major complaints.

“What are the minor ones then?” I asked, reaching out to hold his hand.

He shrugged.

“Lemme guess,” I gave him a small smile, “food, boredom, feeling in the way even though you’re not?” I gave him a knowing look and he flushed just a tiny bit. I held back a chuckle and squeezed his hand. “You’ll be out soon and back home.”

He nodded but remained silent.

I looked around the room, “Did someone at least bring you your sketchbook?”

His face remained a little flushed and he shook his head slowly.

“Oh,” I gave a small frown. “But you love drawing. Did you want it?”

He shook his head again.

“You don’t?”

“Too personal.”

I nodded in understanding. Apart from that sketch of his family, he hadn’t even wanted to show me the rest of his drawings. I suppose it was a creative output that was like a diary for him.

“What have you been doing to occupy yourself then?” I had hoped that would have been a happier question for him to answer but he remained silent. The smile fell from my face a little as I recalled Yoochun’s words, “If JaeJoong-hyung does seem a little distant…just give him a moment. Sometimes I wonder if being in hospital gives him more time to think than he really needs…”

The silence in the room drew on past an acceptable thinking period and I realized JaeJoong wasn’t going to answer my question out loud. I looked down at our entwined hands. Our hold was still comfortable at least—he still held onto my hand willingly. I felt better at that.

“What about you?” a small voice asked. “What did you do?”

I looked back at him and studied his face but it left no clues for me to decipher if his question had been a loaded one or just one of simple curiosity.

I decided honesty was the best policy, “I sat in a confused hell.” I looked away from him as I spoke and back onto our hands. “The truth is… I was there that day. I saw it happen…” Why was it still so hard to say what ‘it’ was? I took a shaky breath, “I saw the whole thing. I saw you go under and…”

There was a soft, “I know,” and my eyes raced to his face. How did he know? Had he been conscious at all? I don’t know why I suddenly craved so much for the answer to that to be ‘yes.’

“A man who helped saw you there,” he went on to explain softly and my face fell a little. “He came to return this…”

I watched as JaeJoong dug around behind his pillow and then pulled out a black phone. He stared down at it for a long moment and then slowly held it out towards me. I took the phone from him with my spare hand and glanced down at it. The bits of sand stuck around the frame made my stomach curl up in a second of nausea—it may as well have been patches of dried blood staining the grooves.

“You did have this…” I murmured. I had to stop my thumb from sliding over the screen in sick fascination before I felt queasy again.

Silence continued to reign free in the room and my thumb involuntarily moved to turn the phone on out of habit. The screen remained black and that’s when I heard JaeJoong quietly say, “I-I didn’t break it. It just ran out of battery.”

My heart gave a sudden thump and I looked up at his flushed cheeks. “You didn’t turn it off?” I whispered more to myself. “Oh god, so it just ran out of battery?” A tiny smile emerged on my face as the elation started to hit me. “You weren’t avoiding my calls!”

JaeJoong’s head cocked slightly. “You called?”

‘Yes!’ I mouthed in a breathy chuckle. Relief flooded my veins and I found a newfound confidence begin to take over. It meant the world to me—knowing that JaeJoong hadn’t deliberately been trying to block all communication from me. It changed everything. “I called, JaeJoong, I called. I went out of my mind trying to call.”

This time JaeJoong’s eyes were the ones that lowered. “And I went out of my mind waiting.”

Our hands unclasped as I brought mine up to cup his cheeks and force his gaze onto me. “I am so sorry, JaeJoong,” I told him, thankful that my voice hadn’t cracked with all of the emotion I was feeling. Looking into his big, beautiful eyes hurt but I couldn’t look away. I needed to see that he believed me.

“I love you, baby,” I said softer. “I didn’t mean to abandon you. I had it all wrong and it’s killing me.” I could feel my breath getting shallower. “I thought you left me.” This time my voice did break—a fine reflection of my heart. “I thought you were gone.” I could feel the familiar prickling of tears behind my eyelids. “You weren’t moving,” I whispered and I could barely even muster that as I tried to push away the memories that were still so vivid. “You weren’t breathing.” And with that warm wetness hit my cheeks again. “Joongie…” I choked out and buried my head against his neck and hugged him close to me as much as I could without hurting his bruises.

I felt arms wrap around me and hold me gently. Everything felt so warm and wonderful and I had to bite my lower lip to try and stop myself from continuing to cry. That was the last thing JaeJoong needed.

Warm lips pressed love and comfort onto my neck and I treasured every touch. There was nothing as soothing in the world as JaeJoong’s hold. My eyes slipped shut in peace.

“They told me what you did,” he said softly. “Thank you for being there. Thank you for,” he paused and I felt him pulling me closer into him, “for saving me.”

I didn’t have the energy right then to tell him that I hadn’t. Who wanted to speak when they had JaeJoong holding them?

We only moved apart when JaeJoong’s chest started to hurt and my back started to ache. My eyelashes still felt a little wet but as I patted my cheek I was relieved to find them stiff from salt but still dry.

I realized JaeJoong was watching me and gave him a little smile. Now that that was out of my system, I could feel words forming more easily. “I’m not entirely sure what happened that day,” I confessed. “It’s all a horrible blur. But I do remember some things…and they aren’t nice. Fear got the better of me as those things registered and…” Okay, maybe words couldn’t come that easily after all.

I took a deep breath and searched for words that could help me. “I thought that everything I had tried to do had been for nothing; that it was too late. I couldn’t handle what was happening and what I had seen and just…fell into hell. I know no other name for it… It was such an awful place I was stuck in. Nothing made sense and truth blurred into fiction. You weren’t there and all I could feel was my life being torn apart. I wanted to hide from everyone and just keep you close in my head. I thought you had passed and that was the only way I could be with you.

“My mother chewed me out and so did Junsu. HyunAe did as well a bit. Everyone started screaming loud enough for me to hear and I then realized…” I stared at his beautiful face and attentive gaze, “that you weren’t dead.”

I swallowed the lump in my throat and moved forward to close the tiny distance we had and grasped his face again. “You’re alive! You’re alive, you’re alive, you’re alive!” I grinned, planting kiss after kiss over his face.

I heard him laugh at my enthusiasm but he let me kiss him as much as I needed without pulling away. “I feel like a dog has licked all over my face,” he complained with a smile.

“Get used to it,” I warned.

He looked to the side and let out a long sigh. It was deliberately loud and I pouted in return. He looked back at my face and a small smile grew as he took in my sulking.

I had missed his smiles…

I felt myself grow solemn again and I took up both of his hands in mine. “JaeJoong… It’s been several days since you had that accident. And I’m only sitting here with you now. I have no idea what was going through your head, but I know what would have gone through mine. I am so sorry if I’ve accidentally hurt you.

“If I hadn’t lost my mind and I had seen that you had survived, I would have been here from the moment you arrived. You are the biggest priority in my life and your wellbeing means everything to me. I only fled the scene because I couldn’t bear to see the emptiness in your eyes anymore… It scared me so much. Please believe me,” I begged. “I wish I hadn’t been so weak and pathetic. Even if you had passed I shouldn’t have left like that. It was just too much…”

JaeJoong squeezed my hands and even brought one of them up to his lips to shyly kiss. “I’ve never not believed you, Yunho,” was all he said.

I stared at the man rummaging through the backpack he’d placed on the bed next to my knees. He was so tall and fit. The jacket he wore hid a lot of his muscles from view but I knew they were there. When he only wore a t-shirt he didn’t even need to move and I’d still be able to see the curve of muscle beneath his sun-kissed skin.

The clothes he wore were always simple—t-shirts or tank tops and jeans, and if it was really cold, plain jackets and hoodies. I knew most of his wardrobe now and I liked seeing him dressed in familiarity.

Whenever he took his shirt off, the skin on his chest was always slightly lighter than his neck and arms. The difference in skin tone wasn’t much but still enough to ensure he always had a skin-colored shirt painted into his skin. The outline was kind of cute and I loved looking at it. I also loved putting my arm—the darkest part of my body—over his chest and laughing at how my best tan still looked white when compared to Yunho’s skin. The sun loved Yunho far more than it loved me and I couldn’t blame it.

My eyes landed briefly on the rise and dip of his collarbones beneath that honey-colored skin and then my eyes ran up his neck and over his face. His cheeks were thinner than when I had first met him and there was now the hint of crow’s feet at the corner of his eyes that I hadn’t noticed before. I like it though—the lines added character.

Right now he was frowning in concentration as he dug through his bag and for some reason I found that cute too. Perhaps it was because of the way his lips pouted slightly with each second he was unsuccessful.

His hair was shorter than the last time I had seen him. At first I missed gazing at his soft strands that were more often than not windblown and messy, but Yunho was Yunho regardless of the length of his hair. He looked good with anything, unlike me.

I wasn’t sure why I was so adamant in memorizing his body and mannerisms—it wasn’t like I was suddenly not going to be able to ever look at him again. But despite logic, I still couldn’t push aside the strong need to look at him for as much as possible in case I ever lost the chance. Maybe it was my brain warring with my heart again.

Yunho started chewing on his bottom lip and switched his weight onto his other foot with a soft sigh. He wasn’t having much luck with that bag. I wasn’t entirely sure what he was even looking for. All he had said was, “Wait a moment, Joongie, I’ve got something for you.” He had pulled out a small but slightly thick booklet of some sort but insisted there was something else that went with it. It was that something else that had gone missing.

With a shake of his head and some frustrated mumbling, he started tossing items from his bag onto my bed. Things were flying out so quickly and Yunho was like a dog flicking up bits of dirt and grass with his hind legs as he dug a hole through the items in his bag.

I felt a big smile spread across my face as socks and bottles of deodorant and keys and gum started littering my bed. I had really missed my silly, messy and disorganized Yunho more than I had even realized.

Something soft and silky with bright colors flew out next and landed near my elbow. I recognized the figure grinning and cart wheeling all over those boxer shorts and gasped in delight. “Elmo!” I trilled and reached out to grab the red and blue underwear and hold it hostage before Yunho noticed his mistake.

“Wha?” He looked up slowly at my sudden exclamation and then his eyes enlarged comically as he finally noticed what I was hugging to my chest. “Oh shit!” he groaned and leaned over to try and tug at the ends of it but I held on tight.

“It’s been so long! My old friend!” I sung.

“Geezus, what the hell is that doing in here?” he chuckled in response. His hands rested on his hips as he gazed in resignation at me clutching my great find of the night. “I was in such a rush I just grabbed any old pair and shoved them in.”

“Oops,” I grinned.

“Oops,” he agreed with a fond smile as he watched me hug it.

“I’m so glad you really didn’t end up throwing this out.”

“Well, I know how much you love that…” he smirked.

“You do too. Don’t act like you’re some tough man. You love this more than I do.”

“I do,” he laughed. “Well, this is great. I think my present has been upstaged by three year-old underwear before it even had a chance.”

“I like anything of yours,” I said. “It’s okay. You didn’t even need to bring me anything…”

“Actually,” he sighed, sitting down on the edge of the mattress by my thighs, “it’s an old present. When I came up last Friday I was going to give it to you then but…you had already left your flat and…”

My smile fell a little and I reached out a hand to hold his arm and give it a little squeeze. “I get to see it now though…” I said softly.

“Yeh.” He gave a small smile and put his hand on top of mine. We sat like that for a moment but then he got back up and went over to his bag again.

“This isn’t the type of thing that is hard to find. I hope I even packed it,” he mumbled. “Oh, wait!” His head snapped up like an angel across the room had just whispered an epiphany to him. “I’m looking in the wrong section!”

I let out a loud laugh at his hopelessness. He ignored my mocking and unzipped a smaller section on the side of his bag. “Yeah baby,” he crooned as he pulled out a black rectangular thing with a cord wrapped around it. “Your present is complete.”

He gave one last glance at the Elmo boxer shorts in my hand and then shook his head in disdain and my chest rumbled with laughter again. He was always so funny—especially his facial expressions. He was so expressive and I wondered if he was even aware of it.

I really couldn’t deny that having my big child here with me again warmed my chest. I could almost feel the negativity that had been clogging up my veins and oozing out of my pores only to evaporate into the air.

“Before you present your present, can I be so greedy as to request just one more thing?” I asked softly.

“Hmm?” He gazed at me so innocently and eager to please.

“Could I get one more hug?” I felt so stupid saying it but I needed one so badly. His presence was making me so emotional in both good and bad ways. The only cure for the bittersweet pill I had swallowed was to feel his warmth surrounding me again. I had been happy to hold him earlier when he needed it and now I needed the favor returned.

A fond smile slowly spread across his face as he listened to my request and he dumped the black thing on the bed and sat by my side again. He opened his arms up for me and they curled around me like angel wings. I closed my eyes and buried my head in his chest. He was so warm and his jumper was so soft; he smelt so lovely and familiar too. I wanted to always live in these arms.

“I love you,” I whispered but he still heard it and tightened his hold.

“I love you too,” he whispered into my hair and I felt his cheek rest on top of my head.

My heart won out for the time being and I didn’t want to move. My head was screaming at me though; I was an idiot for encouraging so much proximity when I was still so unsure of our future together with the curse all around us. But he was here. He was making me smile all the time and he hadn’t even been back that long.

I had wanted him to be here for days and now that he was here I couldn’t tear myself apart from him. My body just gravitated toward him whenever he was around. He had become the most important person in my life and it would be very foolish to try and deny it; a waste of energy.

To be able to hear his voice again was such a relief. I could look at photos of him all day if I wanted to but I couldn’t recreate his voice so easily. Every time he spoke I had to cherish it before my mind forgot the fine timbre.

I had been able to hear him talk a lot this afternoon. I understood the fear he had been trying to explain to me earlier. The way he had described it had sounded so familiar. If that meant he really had been infected by the curse, I would never forgive myself.

I closed my eyes and tightened my arms around him. I was disgusted at myself for being so horribly selfish still. He needed to be safe in the city and here I was, wanting to keep him to myself in a place where even stepping into the water could kill you. I’d only allow myself this weak moment until I was back home. Then I’d get stronger and reassess everything.

“I love you so much,” I heard him whisper again, possibly in response to my tightened hold. His words had been so soft and genuine… I tried to ignore the pangs in my heart. I needed to snap out of it.

I wiggled out of his arms and tried to smile at him. “So where is my present?”

“Ah.” He smiled back and reached behind him to grab the various bits and pieces he had been collecting. “You were supposed to get this earlier but still better late than never, right?”

I stared down at the booklet of typed instructions and the black cord in his hands. Nope, I was blank.

He dug into his jeans pocket and pulled out a small phone and added it to the pile in my lap. “We were always having to rely on using your café’s phone after hours to talk to each other. I guess I was feeling kinda needy coz…I wanted us to be able to talk anytime and anywhere we wanted. So I got you this…”

“A phone?”

“Mmhmm. Is that…” he looked worried for a moment, “weird? Or stupid? Or too forward?”

“Buying me a phone?”

“Yeah… I picked it really carefully though,” he said in a small voice.

I stared at it feeling my cheeks redden a bit. I knew everyone carried cell phones these days—even some kids—but I had no idea how to work them. I looked up at Yunho and saw him still looking worried. I immediately felt bad—he was mistaking my embarrassment as something else. “T-That’s really lovely of you, Yunho,” I said. “You’ll have to forgive me if I’m a bit slow with it…”

“Oh, don’t worry. I’ll help you figure out how to use it. You don’t even need to use it if you don’t want to; all you’ll need to do is just accept my calls and silly text messages.”

“That would be nice…” I smiled shyly. I looked at his eager face and then bit my lips. “Is it anything like your phone?”

“Umm… It’s not as complex. It has less features and a slightly more basic menu—”

“Oh thank god,” I cut in with a laugh and his eyes crinkled up as he joined in.

“Actually, speaking of mine… It’s pretty dead now, right? I wonder if your phone charger would fit in mine…”

He picked up the black rectangular box with the long cord and I blurted out, “Oh, is that was that is!” I blushed again at my runaway mouth and Yunho let out another laugh. “I know what they are, I just hadn’t seen one before,” I clarified before he thought I was a complete idiot.

“It’s okay. They’re always changing shape and form anyway.”

I watched him fiddle with everything and then make excited noises as the screen on his phone lit up. A memory came back to me and I suddenly lost my shyness. “Yah, Jung Yunho!”

He turned around with his phone still in his hands and I yanked it away. I glanced down at the main image on the screen and then flipped the phone around for him to see. “What is this?”

“What is what?”

“This picture!”

“Oh. Don’t you like it?”

“Like it? My mouth is wide open and I’m being attacked by my own hair. What were you thinking?”

“Our opinions have always differed on what makes a good phone background…”

“You’re right. Change it!”

“Geez, fine!” He pouted and sat back down next to me on the bed. He took his phone back and held it up. I heard a click and looked at the phone with wide eyes. “Beautiful!” Yunho said and I looked at the screen. There I was in my hospital gown scowling whilst Yunho smiled like an innocent cherub next to me.

“Yunho!” I yelled. “No! Change that one too!” I leapt up to snatch the phone out of his hands but he pulled it away from me.

“You’re being paranoid, JaeJoongie. It’s a good background.”

“I look like a serial killer!” I shouted. “In a gown!” I quickly became infuriated when all Yunho did was laugh harder. I grabbed his dancing Elmo underpants and shoved it over his head. “Try taking a photo now,” I drawled. “It’ll actually be good for once.”

“Oh really?” the talking underpants asked me. “You want a photo of a serial killer who kidnapped and gagged his victim with Elmo boxers? You sure you want that portrayal of yourself immortalized?”

“I want it very much.” I crossed my arms and smirked at his phone. For someone seeing under the influence of Elmo, I had to admit Yunho had very good aim with the camera phone. The shot came out lovely and it looked even better as his phone background.

“Elmo’s prettier than you,” I told him with a grin as I gazed down at it.

I was about to taunt him further when a shadow stepped into the room.

“What the…”

I looked over at the expression on Yoochun’s face and burst out laughing. “Chunnie,” I giggled as he hesitantly stepped further into the room. “This is my new boyfriend. He has an underwear fetish.”

Yunho yanked the offending garment over his head and gazed at Yoochun in pure embarrassment.

“Aww, sweetheart,” I cooed, patting his cheeks. “The red of Elmo’s fur really brings out the blush of your cheeks.”

“I really am not going to ask,” Yoochun laughed.

“I told you—underwear fetish.”

Yunho smacked me in the face with Elmo and my face scrunched up instinctually just before impact. When I opened my eyes, I smiled at him but kept my mouth shut.

Yunho and Yoochun did their proper greetings, and as Yunho scurried around throwing his belongings back into his backpack, Yoochun told him he was glad to see him. I nodded in agreement.

“So how long are ya planning on staying for?” Yoochun asked carefully. I sighed but didn’t feel nervous about the answer because Yunho had already told me.

He zipped up his bad and looked up. “Definitely over the weekend. And then I’m hoping I can talk to my boss and get some more time.”


“Oh shit, I better book my motel,” Yunho said and quickly made his way to my bedside where his phone lay charging.

“Did you want to crash at my place?”

Yunho turned to look at Yoochun. “That’s really nice of you to offer but I’ll be okay.”

“You sure, man?”


“I’m sure my parents would love to meet the brother of my girlfriend. That way they might believe I have one…”

Yunho laughed. “Even so. Anyway, I cycled up here so it’ll be a pain in the bum rearranging car seats to fit the bike in your car. And you’re probably busy tonight but, you see, I—”

“You want to stay until the very last minute of visiting hours is up,” Yoochun translated with a smile and Yunho smiled back sheepishly.

“You cycled up here?” I cut in.

Yunho looked at me and nodded. “I’m glad you’re so used to my sweaty state and didn’t notice,” he chuckled.

“You can’t cycle all that way home in the dark!” I spluttered. “You might get hit! You might get lost and not know one tree from the other! You’re going with Yoochun.”


“You’re going with Yoochun,” I repeated more slowly and he closed his mouth. “That is alright, isn’t it, Yoochun?” I quickly checked as an afterthought.

“You’re the boss, Boss.”

I looked at him with exasperation. “This is irrelevant to work and after hours…”

“You’re still the boss, Boss.” He turned to Yunho and said as if I wasn’t in hearing range, “He’s quite forceful, isn’t he?”

Yunho nodded and I sighed.

“Thank you, Yoochun,” he said. “Oh! Shitty shit bricks, I need to call the bike hire man and grovel. It’ll be too hard to return my wheels before he closes the shop. I’m sorry guys, give me a sec.” He took a step towards the door and then turned back to look at me sheepishly. “Joongie, can I borrow your phone?”

I smiled and handed it over to him. I felt a little bad that I hadn’t even had a proper chance to look at it yet. When everyone left for the night I knew what I’d be doing.

Yoochun watched Yunho duck out of the room and then looked at me from his usual chair by my bed. “Your phone?” he asked with raised eyebrows.

I nodded with a small smile. “Yunho bought me one.”

“Ooh. Aren’t we lucky.”

I nodded again and tried to hide the rest of what felt like my dopey smile.

“Well, now that we’re alone,” Yoochun began, looking over his shoulder one more time to check Yunho was still out of earshot. “So…he’s here. How do you feel?”


“You’ve lit up like a Christmas tree this afternoon. Does this mean you decided not to push him away?”

My smile faded away and my cheeks felt heavy again. “I don’t know,” I said softly. “I was so ready to be strong and keep him away if he tried coming here but…he came in and I forgot about everything. It was just him. And me. Nothing else.”

Yoochun nodded. “That’s pretty natural. When you’re down about something, seeing someone you really like can somehow—irrationally even—just cheer you up instantly. They hold so much power without even realizing. And, well, when they start having that kind of power you know you’re pretty whipped,” he sighed but smiled nonetheless.

“Hmm…” I murmured, stroking the cover on my bed. “I was so set in my decision but then he just walked through the door after lunch and completely knocked me off guard. As soon as I saw him walking over to me, it felt like everything would be okay; like everything could just be fixed now that he is here…” My hands curled into fists. “Why is it so easy to feel that? Why is it so hard to fight when I know better?”

Yoochun looked at me wordlessly. Then he gave a small, sympathetic smile. “It’s called being in love.”

I held his gaze with sad eyes. ‘I wish I wasn’t,’ I wanted to tell him but I couldn’t be sure if that was the heartbreaking truth or a very convincing lie.

“What are you going to do, Hyung?” Yoochun asked softly.

“I don’t know, Chunnie…” I lowered my head and tried to breathe through my heavy chest.

“You’re happy, Hyung,” he said gently. “Before when I walked in on whatever the hell you two were doing,” he chuckled at the memory, “I hadn’t seen you smiling so much since last week. You were laughing so freely in here I could hear you down the hallway. He’s as good for you now as he was last year. Maybe you should just…enjoy the moment. You’ve been through enough right now. You deserve some time to just lie back and feel the good parts of life. Don’t you think?”

“Is that really fair?”

He snorted. “I think it’s bloody fair.”

I sucked on my bottom lip but didn’t have time to make any further comments on the subject when the sound of boots on linoleum grew louder.

“My groveling skills must still be intact because the guy agreed to let me return the bike in the morning without too much of an earful…” Yunho announced as he sauntered back over to my bed and placed my phone beside his.

“Nice work, mate,” Yoochun replied.

Yunho sat down on the edge of the mattress next to me and leaned back until he was as close to me as he could be without invading my personal space.

“Whilst JaeJoongie’s still in hospital, the bike is going to be my main source of transportation though.” He shifted as he spoke and then I felt fingers running through my hair. It felt so nice that I was in danger of shivering. Yoochun caught my eye and gave me a knowing smile and I blushed and looked away.

“That’s okay though, isn’t it, Joongie?” Yunho continued. “The weather’s still cold so I hopefully won’t sweat too much on the journey. But hey, you willingly befriended and dated a filthy, sweaty beast so you’re probably already used to it,” he laughed.

I didn’t laugh back because his fingers were still in my hair, running through the strands in such a pleasant rhythm and I was fighting not to moan or even fall asleep. Every now and then, Yoochun would throw me an amused look as my eyelids grew heavier but I refused to take the bait.

Until my dinner arrived—and then even after I had eaten—all Yunho did was sit and stroke my hair as we all talked. His hand never tired of it and neither did I.

“Our puppy is falling asleep,” I heard Yoochun say softly to Yunho with amusement in his tone.

“Am not,” I murmured but they both knew better and chuckled together softly.

“Keep spoiling him. Our puppy’s liking that.”


“He needs to relax more.”

“I know.”

Their voices seemed both close and far away at the same time. I couldn’t look to check because my eyes were already closed. I never stood a chance against the both of them.


As I told my beta, it was such a nice change being able to write some fluff lol. Way more D&Ms (ie. deep and meaningful conversations) need to happen but I only wanted to focus on the reunion this chapter. ^^

Meatier bits will have to come next time. (Sometimes I wish this was a novel that you could keep on reading without having to wait for gradual hints into the psyche of characters, but what can ya do? YunJae here are both very complex and take time to understand. ^^;;)

Anyways, the angst isn’t completely over yet, but I think we all deserve a bit of flangst, no? ^_~

Thank you for your comments, guys. You are all superstars (I hate that word, but may as well shout-out to HoMin XD) for your patience with plot and characters. Love to you all~ <3

(Edit: I was actually going to post this chapter last night but LiveJournal was having server problems and I gave up. Wish I had managed to upload last night though, because waking up to those new alarming pictures of JaeJoong just put a dampener on my day from all the worry. Wish I hadn't gotten out of bed lol...)
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