Author: wild_terrain (ie. fi_chan)
Banner (Made beautifully by love_cassiopeia):
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…
Trailer: CLICK TO WATCH~~
Beta = moon1084 <3
A/N: Goodness, it has been a while again, hasn't it? Life can sure be distracting. I'm desperate to finish this as fast as I can though and get it all out of my system. This won't be going much over 40 chapters coz we're getting close to the various 'mysteries' revealing themselves. But since I always write too much, this chapter has been cut into part A and B. Enjoy the first part. ^_~
I sat cross-legged on the bed and waited for Yunho to finish brushing his teeth. There was a bit of sun out today and I liked that omen.
I had decided to leave Yunho alone yesterday. It had been our first full day together back in town and I figured that his reluctance to do anything outside of the café may just have been something simple like him getting used to our routine again; Kind of like jetlag of the spirit. That sounded good. It sounded plausible. And hope was a very important thing. Today I hoped for a lot—that Yunho would prove to be himself again. The cabin fever would reach its peak and he’d be dragging me outside to hike with him—or at least wander around.
I heard the clang of a toothbrush dropping into the holder and sat up straighter on the bed. Yunho’s soft footsteps brought him into view and I gave him a big smile. “Are you minty and sparkly?”
He looked over and gave me a small smile. “I might be. You can test me if you want.”
“I think I’ll have to. This ‘might’ isn’t good enough.” I got off the bed and cupped a hand around his neck to pull him close. We kissed for a short while and then I pulled back to look at him. “You definitely pass.” A new smile tugged at my lips at the thought of being able to kiss him again whenever I wanted. I moved in again and smiled at the soft contact of his lips. I rested one arm across his shoulder and let my other hand curl through his hair.
It was the perfect start to the day.
I kept on smiling and then turned my head to look out the window. “It’s nice to see the sun out again, isn’t it?” I looked back at him and watched him look through the glass.
“It’s nice,” he agreed and then looked back at me.
“So what did you want to do today?” I waited patiently for a response but his face truly looked blank. I tried again, “We could go up to our rock. It’s been a while since we did that.” He gave a small shrug but didn’t move. “You don’t want to?” I tried to ignore the tight feeling in my chest.
“If you want to go…”
“I don’t want to drag you out,” I scoffed. That tone wouldn’t help anything though and I willed myself to gather my calm again.
He took a look at my face and then said, “Maybe tomorrow?”
“Okay, we’ll definitely do it tomorrow then.” I tried not to let out a sigh. What was even the point of having this conversation when I knew how the rest of it would go? Out of the long list surely there was something I could get him to agree to do though. Or he’d just give in, feeling stupid for all the unnecessary rejections.
I looked past his head and let out a subtle sigh that hopefully looked like normal breathing. I didn’t want to force Yunho outside. I wanted the need to come from him personally. Like it should have. Like the old days.
“How about something simple then? Just a small walk before lunch. Maybe we could sit in the park or something. We could grab something to eat and some coffee from Changmin’s cart—” I stopped and quickly swallowed the rest of those words. Going all the way down to Changmin’s cart would require passing by the beach. That would not inspire a pleasant mood. “Or you know what?” I said, “I could make us a sandwich here first and we could just take that down to the park.”
“If you want.”
Not that again. “Yeah, I want. Now what do you want on your sandwich?”
To my relief, Yunho seemed to perk up a bit as we walked hand in hand towards the mostly empty park. Older kids were in school, parents at work, and retirees watching their daytime soaps. Only a few toddlers and their mothers hovered around the play equipment.
We found a spot on the grass perfectly half in the sun and half in the shade and sat down. Aside from the very occasional passing of older gentlemen out for a lunchtime walk, we were left undisturbed. We sat opposite each other with our knees touching and ate our sandwiches with the occasional chat.
I waited for Yunho to get up and run over to the slippery dip or swing set when the toddlers grew tired and were taken home for their afternoon nap. He did glance at the vacated space for a moment but he didn’t look interested enough to claim them. Instead he wriggled around in his spot to try and lie down on the grass without accidentally kicking me. He rested his head on his forearm and tried to stare up at the sky without squinting. I looked up too and was persuaded by the charming patches of blue to lie down beside Yunho as well. All I had to do was try and avoid getting a crick in my neck.
“The open space and fresh air is really nice, right?” I said.
He hummed in agreement, and when I thought that was all I was going to get, he added a, “Yeah, it always is.”
Then why is this the first time you bothered to even come outside? I almost asked but held back on the loaded question.
“It’s free. No one can ever take it away. It’s everyone’s. People stare too much at their gadgets and forget to look up…” I paused and looked at Yunho. “No offense. People here do it too, not just in the city.”
“I know,” he said. He then turned to look at me too. “Actually, there has been a few crazy times when companies buy air space for future projects. Like proposed buildings and stuff. This one patch of air was worth like two million once. Ridiculous, right?”
I stared at him in aghast. “People sell the air? How is that possible? Who can own air? And claim it as theirs?”
“Who had the right to claim the land we all live on?”
“People are…unbelievable. Greedy. Presumptuous. Full of themselves.”
“Don’t start making protest placards now, baby.”
“Claiming air space…” I shook my head. To my surprise, Yunho rolled over onto his side and gave my cheek a kiss. I stared at him with wide eyes and then smiled. My hand slid across the grass towards Yunho. Yunho unhooked one arm from behind his head and threaded his fingers through mine. We stared at each other for a moment, me still with my smile and Yunho with a small one of his own.
A bird squawked above us and there was a rustle of leaves as it flew from the tree. We both turned our heads to watch it glide away through the blue. It was nice lying together, listening to the wind and rustling leaves and birds chirping. Things were so simple. Simple and perfect.
Eventually the sound of kids talking and laughing spread through the park and we both sat up and watched them play. School was out and with it came the soccer balls. I wasn’t terribly brilliant at soccer but I’d still tried kicking it around a bit with Damien. Damien had made everything fun. If he was here now, I wondered if he would have been able to help me drag Yunho up and gotten him to kick a ball around with us. Yunho might have responded better to Damien’s encouragement and energy since they were so alike.
Our bums were sore by the end of the first soccer game we watched so we dusted ourselves off to go home. The café had quieted down, close to closing for the afternoon and suddenly it felt like we were alone again in our world.
Yunho sat back down on the bed after kicking his shoes off and I came over to join him. I felt a small tug of disappointment in my chest as I realized it was approaching evening and we were back to square one again—nothing to do. It was getting tiring trying to come up with ideas. Yunho was no help of course. He was perfectly fine just sitting on the bed. If I was there sitting beside him doing whatever it was all he seemed to need. The silence wasn’t natural to me though. I had lived in a silent world for years and it was Yunho who had brought words and laughter and noise to me. I still wasn’t good at making it myself. It might have just been my nature but never had I wished more that I could improve that and be more like the old Yunho.
I turned to look at the man surrounded by silence. It was unfair to crave for a different Yunho when the one I had was still him. Just a different him. If he didn’t want to talk then that should be fine. I was lucky enough to have him here at all.
I looked into his eyes that were darker. They were like the surface of a river, reflecting the shadows around it until they dulled the color it normally was. He had a bit of facial hair too that added more shadows to his tanned skin. It was still his face though and even though it made me sad to look at sometimes, I still loved seeing it because it meant he was here.
I bit my lip as an urge came to me, and my heart gave a frantic thump of anticipation and shyness. When my mind was made up I released the flesh. Maybe this was good for me—learning to take control sometimes and initiate more things instead of relying on Yunho to do a lot of the work.
I shuffled over to him and sat down over his legs. My hands reached out to touch his shoulders to steady myself and then I sat back more comfortably and looked at his face. He looked more pleasantly surprised than confused by my movement, which was nice. He had to know what I was proposing and I gave him a little more time to wriggle out of it before I took it as acquiescence and moved in slowly to kiss him.
My hand made its way into his hair as quickly as always, just as Yunho’s hands wrapped around my back and pulled me nice and snug against him. His breath was hot near my lips when we parted. My eyes stayed closed as I tipped my head down to touch my forehead against his and rest it there. When my eyes were closed, everything felt normal. There was darkness but there were no shadows.
I breathed calmly with him and let myself enjoy his hand slowly stroking my back. I lifted my forehead off his and kissed him again. With gravity as my aid, I tipped my body away from his legs and let gravity pull him down onto the bed with me. He landed on top of me and I hooked my legs around his to keep him nice and close.
We were just about to deepen our kiss when his body suddenly went rigid and his breath quickened. I opened my eyes to see why he felt so tense but had no time to register anything before his body sprung up and blocked my view of his face in a flurry of moment, like a startled bird trapped in a cage.
He managed to roll away and drag his leg that was still half buried beneath mine free. I stared at him with eyes that were probably as wide as they felt, and his mouth gave a small twist of apology. “Some muscles started cramping. Sorry.”
I opened my mouth to ask if he was alright but he kept on talking, “Where were we?” I opened my mouth again but he was already reaching out to me to gently pull me half on top of him. Anything I might have wanted to say to him was no longer possible when I felt his mouth on mine again.
Everything proceeded normally from there. His gentle hands and soft kisses were distracting—and at least they were a distraction of the good kind. At the back of my head though, in the part that wasn’t completely dripping wet in arousal, I hadn’t failed to notice this was a repeat of Yunho’s strange behavior in bed. I couldn’t think why he would avoid making love on top of me like the old days. What about it was so wrong now? I liked when his body covered mine up and kept me all for himself. Was this just another new part of the new Yunho?
I let him stretch me from below and then enter me with more passion than I’d seen him with all day. It felt so good to feel him inside me. It always did.
We found our rhythm and I shivered as his hands caressed my back. That sensuality was one positive experience of being the one to lie on top of Yunho during sex. It did always bring shivers of the best kind.
I bent down to kiss him deeper and let the pleasure of his movement within me consume me. That was another good thing about sex—it was easier to pretend nothing was wrong when I closed my eyes and let our bodies take me to a nicer world.
It was nice waking up on Monday with a naked Yunho spooning me. Our intimacy had remained remarkably untouched, albeit for Yunho’s refusal to ever properly lie on top of me and watch me from above as we made love. We couldn’t just stay and have sex all the time though. That wasn’t our relationship. Sex had only been a new introduction. I missed what we had before the accident and before Yunho always had to be at work, even though those times hadn’t been perfect either.
I wriggled away from Yunho to sit up without waking him. As his hand slid away from my chest and our contact ended, a horrible feeling came over me. It churned everything up and made breathing more difficult. The last time I had felt this had been in the old days. But that wasn’t possible! Things had changed so much already. I didn’t know why this was happening again.
I fought the panic back. It would do no good to jump to conclusions. I did not want to give the theory my mind had been entertaining the past week any real weight. Besides, Yunho had been making a bit of progress. He had actually spent a long time outside with me yesterday. That was something, wasn’t it?
I closed my eyes and tried to will all the negative thoughts and theories away. When I was done and my eyes had reopened, all I wanted to do was turn around and give Yunho a loving kiss. Even on the forehead would do. I just needed to feel him and see that the Yunho I remembered was still there somewhere.
And when his eyes opened, he would smile at me and jump out of bed and complain about being stuck indoors and pull his boots on, barely patient enough to even tie the laces up. And he would grab my hand and pull me down the stairs. And when he reached the world outside, he would take in a long and deep inhale of the air that was slowly warming up again. By the time we’d return for the evening, our shoes would be muddy and there’d be twigs and leaves stuck in our hair and our lungs would be filled with constant laughter.
It would happen today. This would was the day. He had been a little stressed this week but he’d be better today.
I made us breakfast after my shower and waited for him to wake up. When he did, he gave a nice stretch in bed and I felt a smile spread across my face. He looked at me and gave me a small smile in return. Then he slowly sat up. His walk over to the kitchen counter where our breakfast was waiting was of a similar pace. These lethargic movements… I hated them so much. I had to turn away from him to swallow my disappointment and uncurl my fists.
So he hadn’t bounced out of bed… That didn’t mean I had no hope left. There was still hope even though I knew deep down that that would be crushed again anyway in due time.
“What do you want to do today?”
“You want to go out again? To the park?”
“We could just sit there if you’re tired. There’s always a ball around though if you do want to do more than sit and watch people.”
“We don’t have to go out at all if you don’t want that. Although it would be nice, wouldn’t it? To stretch our legs.”
“Mm. It would.”
“You say these things just to be polite. You don’t really have much desire to actually do more than consider them. Right?”
He looked at me and I immediately felt bad for pressuring him so much in a way that wasn’t helpful and would only make him feel bad. “Never mind,” I said quietly. “There are other things we could do that don’t require that much effort. I know you are more of an outdoors man, but it’s okay if you wanted to do some of the indoors stuff too. There’s that pack of cards I had in… That I used recently with Yoochun. And there’s that old jigsaw puzzle that my ‘grandparents’ used to challenge themselves with somewhere… Or…”
No, don’t say it.
“We could, you know…”
Stop it! Don’t.
“I could run downstairs and grab some ingredients and...”
What the hell are you doing? That is the one thing you shouldn’t ask. You’re only going to get hurt if he rejects that too.
“Well, we could make cookies together if you’d like. And you get stuff out of it afterwards too—food. Who doesn’t like eating cookies, right?” I gave a small laugh.
“Yeah, we could do that. Later maybe…?”
I nodded quickly and turned away from him to pretend to wipe my hands on a paper towel. He hadn’t outright rejected it. Like he hadn’t outright rejected everything else. He did sound a bit more enthusiastic though. If enthusiastic meant mildly interested.
I stared down at the counter and tried to keep my breathing soft. I had lost my hiker. And now my cookie monster. This wasn’t Yunho…
“Hey, is it okay if I have a shower and finish reading my magazine?”
I glanced up at him and nodded. I watched him walk back across the room towards his bag. Then I watched him disappear into the bathroom. I listened to the door close and the shower turn on. I listened to the drips of shampoo as it streamed down from his head and splattered onto the ground.
I should have been more scared that I was alone in my flat when there was a stranger in the bathroom but I just stood there anyway. He couldn’t harm me if I made no strange comments of movements. If there was any danger, I could always excuse myself and go for a walk. If I didn’t let on that I knew he was an imposter, it would all be okay.
The bathroom door opened again and he slipped out with a towel around his shoulders. It was déjà vu but not of the good kind. He caught me looking at him and smiled. I didn’t smile back. How could I when his shower had washed away all denial from me? With my cleared mind I saw it. Yunho wasn’t standing in my room. It was.
The danger was so close but I was frozen on the spot. He gave me an odd look and my heart started pounding. The danger curled the hairs of my nape and I forced my shaky body to move again. Shrug at him. Shake my head. Smile. Anything.
“Have fun with your magazine. You know, I might just do something like that too. You kind of…inspired me.” I forced a smile onto my face and carefully made my way over to my side of the bed and pulled open the little draw that housed my sketchbook.
It was almost laughable. When in danger you try to act normal and nonchalant and grab the thing that was most important to you or most useful. A knife with a stranger. A photo album in a fire. All I needed was my sketchbook.
Relief hit me when I felt my fingers wrap around the familiar worn cover. I picked it up and held it tightly. “Man, do I suddenly need to pee…” I murmured. Very nonchalant, JaeJoong. Not.
I slipped into the bathroom and closed the door behind me. I needed to be alone.
I hugged the sketchbook to my chest and slid down onto the floor. I wanted to cry, I wanted to release all the pressure in my chest. But I couldn’t. The tears just wouldn’t come. Instead my hands trembled as I hugged the sketchbook close to my heart. The memories drawn on the pages needed protection. I couldn’t ever let those images fade away. They were the happiest moments of my life.
After a while, I untucked the sketchbook from my arms and opened it up over my lap. The figures of the family from my childhood flashed into my vision but I flicked past them. I had been very careful never to show anyone else my sketches apart from that one drawing of my family. And for good reason. My heart was in here and it hadn’t felt right to show anyone else my most private thoughts.
I turned the pages slowly and smiled through my sadness. All my thoughts, according to this book, were of Yunho. The other Yunho. His grinning face was everywhere. Each face I had captured had more or less some variation of his smile. Even the cocky smirk he sometimes wore when he had been out hiking with his friends and me was there.
I turned past more pages and my cheeks heated up in the cool bathroom. Maybe there were one or two drawings where it hadn’t been appropriate to capture his smile. Heck, in this drawing a lot of things weren’t appropriate. Like clothing. It was the only nude drawing I had let myself do, and even then I had had to make compromises with myself—there was a sheet covering the place he might not have felt comfortable about me drawing. I had had more fun drawing that one than I’d like to admit, even despite the burning cheeks. I had taken that joy for granted though.
I let out a long sigh and pulled out my phone from my pocket. Covering the phone speakers, I watched the message that the smiling, silly Yunho had recorded for me. It was even nicer to see that grin with real movement. I played it again with softer volume. And then one more time. I lowered the phone and gently placed it on the floor by my legs.
I had felt for a long time that something was wrong with Yunho. He had slowly stopped smiling as much, and stopped being adventurous, and now he didn’t even care about all the things we used to do together. He wasn’t the Yunho I knew anymore. He didn’t shine anymore. He barely even moved now.
I had told Yoochun of my fears that Yunho had been infected by the same curse that got me. Even though I had been so certain of what had been happening to my man, there had still been a part of me that had hoped I had gotten it all wrong, that I had just been imagining things in my busy head. At the hospital I had even hoped it hadn’t been too late for Yunho. If he stayed away in the city, far away from the bad things that had hovered around me here, I thought he’d still be spared. Hell, I had been preparing myself to break up with him if it meant he still had chance to escape everything.
I had been too late. I was losing him. Rapidly. He wasn’t infected by the curse; he wasn’t even just a puppet that It could occasionally use. He was It. Only flashes of my Yunho remained. How long had Yunho’s body been the host for It? How long did I have before I lost even those tiny flashes of my Yunho? God, this was exactly why I didn’t want to fall in love with Yunho! It always knew when I loved someone; It knew to target them because watching harm come to those I loved was always the best punishment for me. Me being alive now through a loophole didn’t matter at all because It had already started targeting Yunho before that anyway. Destroying this new person that I loved and therefore indirectly destroying me even more had probably always been Its plan because that is what It always did. My stupid urge to go swimming had probably just been a damn bonus for It. The loophole was useless! It had my Yunho… My beautiful, happy, sweet Yunho. It wasn’t fair—he was so special, this wasn’t meant to happen to him!
I slammed the cover of my sketchbook shut and pulled it back into my arms. I curled up over it and tried not to stop breathing.
It was truly alarming how thorough the curse was. If It could make someone like Jung Yunho lose his shine then It truly was something of great power. I thought I couldn’t possibly fear or hate It anymore than I already did but things had gotten even more personal now that It had started to play with Yunho. It was sick.
It was funny, wasn’t it? I didn’t care what It wanted from me. I wasn’t scared that all this time It had been here so close to me and so close to harming me in a different medium. All that mattered now was Yunho. Where he was. If I’d ever find him. If I’d ever get him back. If it was too late for him. If I had already lost him like everyone else in my life. And I was sad too. So sad… I might not have even been able to say goodbye—like everyone else in my life.
How long had it been since Yunho had stopped walking beside me? How long had I been alone?
Yunho spent the afternoon reading. I spent it in the bathroom, too scared to leave and see anymore of my Yunho disappearing. I couldn’t stay in there forever though, and eventually I got up to wash my face in the sink. Then I slowly turned towards the door. I knew I had to be brave and just open it.
I walked as quietly as I could back over to the bed and then lifted my head. Yunho had his magazine sprawled over his lap and it looked dangerously close to sliding off his thighs altogether. He had something else in his hands. A bit of paper. He was staring at it so intensely. It made my heart pump just that little bit faster in wary anticipation. Then I realized what it was. It was one of the photos Yoochun had printed off for me that I always kept in my draw—the draw that was now open. Thank god I had taken that sketchbook with me…
I swallowed deeply. What did It want with that silly group photo Yunho had orchestrated the first time he’d been here? What now? Was it studying the faces to see if It could attack Yoochun too? Or Yunho’s sister? Was it going to attack everyone I had ever spoken to once It was through with Yunho? Was Changmin next too? It was so, so sick.
I shook my head a little in anger and then noticed something I had missed in Yunho’s face the first time. Yunho’s eyes shimmered very briefly and I realized he was close to crying. It was Yunho looking at that photo, not It. I breathed quickly in relief. This was the part of my Yunho that was still here with me. The part that was struggling as It took over his body and mind.
Yunho barely moved looking at that photo, barely even blinked. Then he slowly leaned over to put the picture back in the draw. His eyes barely left the image even then until the draw quietly closed and ended his connection. I was standing right there in front of him and he didn’t even look up to meet my eyes. He just sat back and stared out at nothing. His eyes no longer shimmered but that seemed like a useless visual clue now—he cried with his whole body, even if it was invisible to the human eye. And he had been crying for a while.
I bent to put the sketchbook down on the floor without looking at it. By the time it made contact with the ground, I was already on my bed, a few crawling paces away from Yunho.
He looked at me then as I bumped the mattress and a sharp pain nearly knocked me over. His magazine slipped off his lap and fell somewhere neither of us cared about, and I had him in my arms. When it felt like I couldn’t hold him tight enough, my hand brushed his cheek.
It seemed like a ridiculously simple thing to point out but it was the truth. No sugar-coating. No decoration. Just raw truth. And with those two simple words, Yunho burst.
I hugged his head to my chest as he cried and wrapped my legs around him for further cocooning.
I hated it when Yunho was upset. And the fact that It had taken his smile away, that his being around me and making me smile had cost him his own made me so angry. Angry at It… And at him for being so nice. And at me for being the core of this whole mess. When Yunho cried this hard over things that I had had a hand in, it was like losing air and drowning all over again.
“It’s okay…” I whispered. “You’ll be alright. Soon you’ll feel better. I know you must be really scared right now but I’ll get It out of you. I love you.”
And I did. I really did. He was my everything. And even if It was strangling him from within for Its sadistic, awful, cruel schemes, I could never abandon him, even if It was scary and I had no idea how to help him.
“What can I do, Yunho? How can I help you?”
“I can’t stop thinking about, Joongie. I can’t stop seeing you like that.”
Was this about the accident? He was still thinking about it? It was pretty simple to me—just another way It had tried to end my life and reap Its revenge. I was used to those incidents. That didn’t make them any less scary for me but it helped me prepare for them and not be so shocked when they happened. Yunho clearly wasn’t used to it though. And why should he be? Before he met me he was just a normal guy in a normal city.
“I’m not gone though, am I?” I said softly.
“No. But it doesn’t make the images go away.”
“Think of something else.”
“I have tried that. You have no idea how much I have tried that. But they are always there. And the scariest part is that no one else understands. No one else saw you like that. That old man did, but he didn’t know you and he wasn’t in love with you.”
“I know…” I didn’t know what else to say.
Yunho tugged on my shirt and I let him pull me down to lie beside him. He wrapped his arms around me and buried his head against my chest. “Just…breathe on me. Please just breathe on me, JaeJoong…”
I kissed his forehead and then lightly blew over his skin. As I did so, I felt his warm palm lay over my chest, above my heart. I hoped he could feel it beating because it was beating for him.
I couldn’t change what had happened but I could live for him now. I could never put him in that position again. My body was not just mine but his as well. I would be more careful with it for both of us. Then maybe It couldn’t steal all of us away.
“Did you want to walk me through it?”
“Were you there at all?”
“Did you see anything happen?”
“No… I don’t remember any of it.”
“You weren’t someplace else watching? Someplace nice?”
“No. I wasn’t anywhere.”
“So you were still there?”
“…Probably,” I said softly, stroking his short hair. I’m not sure if my answer made him happy or not but at least it didn’t sadden him.
“It was so bad, JaeJoong…” he said again after some time. His voice was soft and so close to breaking.
“It was so, so bad!”
I nodded and kissed his forehead again.
“I’ve never been able to tell anyone this before.”
I ran my hand through his hair. “Telling me now would be a good start, hmm?”
“I was there right before you went under. I was on the sand and I ran straight in. It took me so long to find you. I didn’t think I would find you!”
“But you did…” I gently reminded him.
“What if I hadn’t found you?”
“You did find me. That’s reality and that’s what matters.”
He didn’t say anything, just shifted slightly over my chest to hold me tighter. “I don’t know how I got you back out of the water but I did and…” he took a shuddering breath. “I don’t want to tell you what you looked like…”
“Maybe you should,” I softly replied. “We’re supposed to be sharing this, remember? Your sight is my sight. Your pain is my pain. Your memories are going to become mine too.”
“It scares me.”
“What I looked like? I’m sorry…”
“Your skin had this awful blue tinge to it and you looked and felt like a wax model. That’s why I thought maybe you wouldn’t have been there anymore. You really did look like just a shell. I tried so many times to resuscitate you, but you just wouldn’t respond to me. It was like a slap over and over again.”
“It wouldn’t have been deliberate, sweetie…”
“I know, I know, but…psychology—it’s tricky. It felt like you were refusing me or something. Rejecting me. Not wanting to be with me…”
“I assure you, not deliberate.”
“I know…” he sighed.
“It was beyond my control. If I had any control over what happened, I would have come back to you as soon as you touched me.” I found his hand on my chest and covered it with my own. “Do you know why I was there?”
“I don’t. I wondered for so long why my land-loving JaeJoong was half way out to sea. I…” he lowered his voice, “I was so angry.”
I winced. “Your JaeJoong screwed up big time, but his intentions were entirely pure. The truth is I wanted to make you happy…as cruelly ironic as it turned out. I wanted to lose my fear of the ocean for you.”
“You tried to do more of our exposure exercises?”
“Yes. I didn’t want you to be dating someone who was a burden, who was weak, who needed your help all the time… But I thought I could do it alone. I was so inexperienced. I’d had bad experiences with the ocean before but I stupidly believed it might not affect me anymore—”
“You couldn’t have tried all that when the beach wasn’t so isolated? In case something did go wrong?”
“I was inexperienced and shy and stupid…”
“It’s common sense, JaeJoong!”
“I guess I had no sense then…”
Well, at least anger was a different emotion he was showing than just general glumness…
“I said I was sorry that I was stupid.”
“It’s my fault too. I was always encouraging you to try new things and be more adventurous. But I didn’t quite teach you about all the dangers that come with it. Especially with the ocean. But you hated it so much, I had no idea you’d try and go back in to finish the exercises we started together. You didn’t know enough about rips and sandbars. I should have warned you anyway… Just in case…”
“It happened though… And it wasn’t your fault. And I am sorry I scared you so much. You never need to remember it again, because it’s never going to happen again.
“Were you scared?”
“Yes. I was.”
I closed my eyes and hugged him. “I don’t want to remember it. I just want to focus on now. I just want to remember waking up and seeing you.”
“Yeh. I mean, I think I did. It’s all a blur. But you’re always in my thoughts anyway so I think it’s a safe bet that you were one of my first thoughts.”
“You’re all I think about too.”
I nodded and stroked his back in slow patterns. “As long as we both care about each other, we’ll get through it. We’ll get through anything. We won’t let anything beat us. We’ll be okay. Okay?”
I really hoped that it was true, that we’d be okay as long as we never gave up on each other. But I also knew what we were up against. And it was hard to have confidence when It had managed to kill my brother, my parents, and even technically me. I didn’t know what I would do if It managed to kill my Yunho too. I wish I could shake the feeling that it wasn’t already succeeding.
///TBC in Part B///
A/N: Uh-ohhh spaghetti-ohhh. (Hope that didn't just ruin the mood there LOL!) Jae's mind is a very deep labyrinth but he might be onto something there... Hmmmmm. lol. If Jae's thoughts really confuse the shizz out of you, don't worry because I don't think they are supposed to make perfect sense unless you know the true context of them -- which only I can really know at this stage, eh. Every word and thought is there for a reason though. ^_~
Gosh, this chapter (including part B which I am still working on) took much longer to write than I expected. To be completely honest, even though the JaeJoong and Yunho in this fic are technically separated from the real YJ, it's still hard to write them sometimes because YJ are still who they are based off and it does get me down that they aren't able to be together in the ways they were before the lawsuit, as free to love as the characters in this fic are... And of course I started writing this fic a lonnng time ago, so it's hard writing Yunho being so sad whilst Jae tries to cheer him up, because in reality Jae is the one that looks like he's in emotional distress but the real Yun can't hang around the real Jae 24/7 to help him like the characters in this fic can. Makes me wish my pen had powers so that I could write a 'nicer' story for the real YunJae right now and have it come true for them... But I believe that everything happens for a reason so they need to learn whatever it is and I just have to accept that. WOW so emoshinki, I'm sorry! But I guess I just needed to let it out -- why this chapter in particular was so hard to write. I keep having faith though that our boys will eventually get through their obstacles and be better people because of it. ^_^
A big thank you to everyone for leaving comments in the previous chapter. I'll try my best to respond because it's nice to repay everyone's efforts. It truly means a lot that people are still here reading this despite my scattered updates. Love you guys! <333