In the early morning hours, Jaejoong was awoken by a loud mechanical beeping. He was disoriented and was trying to figure out why he had fallen asleep in a chair next to his bed, when his cousin rushed into the room and pushed him out of the way.
“We have a Code Blue in room 111,” she said urgently but calmly. She turned to Yunho and began CPR. He wasn’t breathing and his lips had started to turn a bluish color.
All Jaejoong could do was stay out of the way. He prayed as tears fell from his eyes.
A doctor and two other nurses arrived quickly wheeling in another machine. “Charge the paddles to 250. Clear!” the doctor ordered. Sooin stepped away from the bed as the doctor shocked Yunho. “Continue compressions and charge to 300. Clear!”
“I got a pulse.” Sooin nearly sighed in relief.
“This is the patient you are detoxing, correct?” Dr. Park turned to Sooin
“That’s right, Dr. Park. He was brought in earlier this evening. He’s approximately 15 years old and had been badly beaten.”
“Is this is guardian?” Dr. Park asked, looking at Jaejoong.
“Yes, temporarily. Mr. Kim found him on the street and decided to be a Good Samaritan.”
“Alright. The patient is stable now. I see Dr. Kim Junsu was the first to see him. Medically induced coma? Did Kim say how long he wanted to keep Yunho under?”
“I wrote in the chart one week; however we may bring him out after 5 days. It depends on how he reacts to the detox.” Sooin tried to keep her voice even. There was something about this doctor that Jaejoong didn’t fully trust; however, he couldn’t pinpoint the reasoning behind it.
“You’re gonna be here for a while, right?” Jaejoong asked Sooin, as he pulled out his phone.
“Yeah, gonna call Yoochun?” Sooin took hold of Yunho’s hand. His chest rose and fell as the oxygen pushed its way into his lungs. She silently wondered if this poor kid would live through the day.
“Yeah, Yoochun. I know, but will you just do this for me?” Jaejoong sighed.
“You’re giving me a given name and an approximate age. I don’t know if I can do this.” Jaejoong could hear quick typing in the background.
“You’re the best. If anyone could find Yunho’s family, it’s you. Please. I really need you to do this for me.”
“I can try. That’s all I can promise. Unless I get a last name or a birth date, it’s going to be almost impossible.”
“Thanks for trying. I owe you one.”
Jaejoong and Yoochun hung up as Jaejoong walked slowly back into Yunho’s room. Sooin was adjusting the IV drip next to the bed.
“He’s pretty stable now. Jaejoong, why don’t you go home and get some rest?” Sooin said softly.
“No. I want to stay. I’ll have Yoochun bring me some files to work on. I need to know that Yunho will be okay.”
“I’ll bring you a cot. You should try to get some rest.”
Jaejoong waved as he covered Yunho with a blanket.
Junsu arrived for his shift late in the afternoon. “Have you left at all?”
Jaejoong stretched and yawn, “no. I have to make sure he’ll be ok.”
“Jae, don’t forget to take care of yourself. And don’t get too attached to this kid. You can’t save everyone.” Junsu said sadly.
Later that evening, Yoochun visited the hospital with several case files for Jaejoong to go over. “You’re still here.”
“Yeah. There hasn’t been any change. For better or for worse. Are those the files I asked for?”
“Yup. I got some leads. There were 15 Yunho’s born between 13 and 15 years ago. I figured that would be the best time frame to start with.”
“Any reported missing?” Jaejoong adjusted the thin blanket covering Yunho.
“No. But seven of them don’t have medical or school reports after the age of 11, so I’m gonna look into those more.”
“Seven? That seems like an awful lot of kids that just fell off the radar.”
“Yeah, it could be anything, though. They could of moved out of the country, started home schooling, anything really.”
“I wish I could help you more. He wouldn’t give me a last name. It’s important that you find it for me.”
“Why? Why is it so important?” Yoochun sat down, confused as to why his friend cared so much about a street rat.
“Because he might not make it through the detox. Because no one, especially not a kid, should die with out a name.”
It dawned on Yoochun at that moment. When Jaejoong was just a baby his mother died in an accident. She had stepped out of the apartment to use the payphone when a drunk driver lost control of his vehicle, killing her instantly. Jaejoong was left alone for two days, before neighbors complained to the superintendent about his crying. It was another four days after that before it was discovered that it was his mother who was killed in the hit and run.
Jaejoong was raised by his aunt and uncle and vowed at a very young age to become a lawyer to make sure people are held accountable for their actions.
“Jae… I’m… I didn’t realize. I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright, Yoochun. I just want to find Yunho’s family. That’s all that important right now.”
“Alright. I brought some of your work files too.”
“Thanks, Yoochun.” Jaejoong smiled as he reached for Yoochun’s hand. Yoochun gripped Jaejoong’s hand firmly.
“It’s gonna be okay, Jae,” Yoochun whispered softly, rubbing Jaejoong’s shoulders lightly. “Do you need anything else?”
“No. I’m fine. Thanks Yoochun.”
“When was the last time you ate?”
“Yesterday, I think. I’m not really hungry.”
“You need to eat. Come on, let’s get some food.”
“I should stay here.”
“You need to eat. You’ll be no help to Yunho if you aren’t healthy yourself. Sooin is still here. She’ll check in while you’re gone.”
Jaejoong didn’t answer and just stared at Yunho.
“Come on. Let’s go.” Yoochun pulled on Jaejoong’s arm gently. Jaejoong let himself be pulled to his feet with a sigh.
They walked to the cafeteria in search of food. Luckily, the cafeteria was open 24 hours.
They sat down at a table in the far corner. Jaejoong picked at his food slowly.
“How did you meet Yunho?” Yoochun asked after a long silence.
“I was working a case. I felt so sorry for this little boy. He said he has a sister. I think she’s still at home though. He didn’t say much about his home. He’s so smart. From what he told me, he reads a lot. He has blown me away with some of the things we have talked about.”
“Be careful Jae. You really don’t know anything about this kid and I don’t want you to become invested in him if he’s just gonna relapse.”
“I know, Yoochun. But I can’t just abandon him. He needs someone to believe in him. Someone to take care of him. I’m sure with proper care and discipline and love he’ll do just fine.”
“You sound like you’re trying to convince yourself.”
“Maybe I am. Maybe I need to believe this child can come back from hell.” Jaejoong sighed and sipped his coffee.
“Do you really think he can? Sooin and Junsu don’t seem very optimistic.”
“He’s strong. I believe in him. I should get back. Thank you again, Yoochun.”
“No problem. You owe me. Maybe I’ll make you cook me dinner one night.” Yoochun laughed.
“I do that all the time anyway. I’ll see ya tomorrow.”
Jaejoong made his way back to Yunho’s room. Sooin was still sitting next to his bed, humming softly; a lullaby Jaejoong recognized from his childhood. “Auntie used to sing that to me, after Mom…” He stopped. He couldn’t believe that his mother’s death still affected him so much
“I know. Mom used to sing it to me too. I remember when you first came to live with us. You were so tiny. All I wanted to do was protect you.”
“Sooin, you’re only three years older than me.”
“When you’re five, those are important years,” she laughed softly. “I understand how you feel about Yunho. He needs proper care, and a good home.”
“And love. He needs a real family.” Jaejoong stood next to the bed. “I can’t help but think if Auntie didn’t take me in. If I didn’t have you and Uncle Jinki, how would have my life turned out?”
“We did what we had to, Jae. We loved you from the day you were born. And when your dad died, we wanted Aunt EunYi move in with us, but she wanted to stay in that apartment. After the accident, Mom refused to let you go to anyone else. The state wanted you in a foster home; they thought it would be better. But Mom, she fought with them. She said to the social worker, ‘I lost my Brother a year ago. I lost my sister-in-law a week ago. You are not taking my nephew away from me.’ Mom fought for you.”
“Remind me to give Auntie a huge hug next time I see her.” Jaejoong wiped a few tears away.
“I gotta go. I’m working the rehab tonight. I’m gonna talk to Dr. Shim in the morning about a place for Yunho.”
“Thank you, Sooin.” Jaejoong hugged his cousin tightly and watched as she left. He sat by Yunho’s bed and took hold of the young boy’s hand. Jaejoong prayed. He felt like he had been praying more in the past day and half than he had in his whole life
“Dear God,” he started. “Please. I know I’m not your favorite lamb. I know I’ve strayed more than my fair share of times, but please. This is not for me, this is for this beautiful boy laying here, fighting for his life. I don’t know his past. I don’t know what he lived through. But God, he’s already been through Hell. Give him another chance, please? Amen.”
“I don’t remember the last time I prayed like that.” Junsu said softly from the door way. Jaejoong jumped at sound. “Sorry. I didn’t want to interrupt you.”
“That’s okay. How’s he doing?”
“Alright. I have a few concerns; the seizures may have caused brain damage. In the morning I’m going to order an MRI. I don’t like doing them on a comatose patient, but we need to be sure. My other is concern is, although he is detoxing well, he might become dependent on life support.”
“Are you saying he might not wake up?”
“Yeah. We are going to start weaning him off the with meds on Thursday. Hopefully, he will be awake by Friday afternoon.”
“And if he’s not?”
“That will have to be your decision.” Junsu looked at Jaejoong solemnly. “There is one other I want to talk to you about. A best case scenario type of thing.”
“You want to know what I plan on doing if Yunho recovers. I think I want him to come and live with me. After he gets out of rehab I want to help him get his life on track. I want to get him into school and maybe even college.”
“I figured you’d say that. So, I had Changmin look in to family law for me. The easiest course of action would be to have Yunho’s parents sign the emancipation of a minor paper work and just have him move in with you. Or you can file abuse chargers and find the family unfit and then you file for custody. Honestly, the first seems the simplest.”
“I don’t know if Yoochun can find the family. He’s trying but I don’t have a last name.”
“I’ll tell Changmin. That might change the course of action you can take. Jaejoong, why don’t you go home for a little while. Get a good night’s rest and come back in the afternoon. You look exhausted. Get some sleep, I’ll call you of anything changes.”
Jaejoong hesitated as he stood. “You’re right. I should go to work tomorrow. You have my cell and work number. Call me if any thing changed.”
“I will. Don’t worry.” Junsu gave Jaejoong a quick hug before escorting him to the door. Jaejoong glanced at Yunho one last time before leaving. “He’ll be alright, Jae. Trust me.”
Jaejoong got back to his apartment and nearly collapsed on his bed. His whole body was sore and tight from sleeping in a chair. The apartment was unearthly silent. He knew his cat, JiJi was around here some where. She was probably angry at him for leaving her alone for 2 days. ‘She’ll get over it’ he thought to himself. He walked around his apartment. It was a modest place; two bedrooms, two bathrooms. His favorite part was the kitchen, open and welcoming with marble counter tops and stainless steel appliances. He thought about having Yunho live with him, how different the apartment would be. It would never be completely quiet but Jaejoong was surprisingly excited about that.
He poured himself a glass of water and sat on one of the stools near the island. A few moments later, JiJi jumped on to the counter. “Oh. So you’re talking to me now.” She purred and rubbed her head against his cheek. “How would you like a new friend living with us? He’s a sweet young boy with some problems, but I think we can help him.”
JiJi twitched her tail and gave Jaejoong a little meow in response before jumping off the counter and disappearing from room. Jaejoong placed his cup in the sink and returned to his room. He stripped down to his boxers and sprawled out on his bed.
He opened the drawer on his nightstand and pulled out a small photo book. He flipped to the first picture and smiled sadly. It was a photo of his parents on the day they brought him home from the hospital. He saw his own face mirrored in his mother’s. He couldn’t remember his parents but his aunt told him stories about them. His father was very strong willed and his mother, while soft-spoken was equally strong willed. Auntie always said only his mother could stand up to his father. He longed for that family that was stolen from him at such an early age.
He wanted a family. He knew how hard that road would be, being openly gay, he knew it would be hard to find a spouse that wanted the same thing has he did. And by taking Yunho in to his home he knew it would be that much harder to find a stable relationship.
Jaejoong rolled on to his side as he thought about his last real relationship. Kangin was tall, well built and had broad shoulders. Simply put, Kangin was gorgeous. And disastrous. Kangin was a manic depressive artist type, mad at the world and scared of any kind of commitment. Jaejoong mentioned once that he wanted Kangin to move in with him. They broke up two weeks later. Jaejoong was devastated and still missed him daily.
He hoped he wasn’t helping Yunho in some sad attempt to fill a void in his life. He thought about Yunho, in the hospital, alone. He thought about Yunho’s family. Were they missing him? Did they care?
Jaejoong feared that the answer to those questions were ‘no’. After what seemed like ages, he finally fell asleep.
The sleep was fitful, however and Jaejoong woke several times. Each time he checked his phone for messages. Reluctantly, around four am, Jaejoong decided that it would be easy just to wake up for the day. He showered, dressed and headed downstairs to make breakfast.
Just as he sat down with his coffee his phone buzzed in his pocket. “Hi, Yoochun. Tell me you have good news.”
“I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?”
“I think I need the good news.”
“I think I may have found Yunho’s family. There is a report of a run away. He was found later that night, so there was no follow up. There is no picture with the report, but it mentions a younger sister. I have his birth records so I’m going to go to the hospital later today to finger print him.”
“So, what’s the bad news?” Jaejoong was terrified of the answer.
“There is another police report. Three year ago Yunho accused his stepfather of rape and molestation.”
“Oh god. Tell me the stepfather is in jail now.”
“No, he’s not. The stepfather is a police officer, so it was covered up really quickly. Yunho was put into counseling. It was thought he was acting out over grief of his father’s death three years earlier. Now I’m not 100% sure this is the same Yunho, but everything seems to be lining up. Yunho would have been 12 when that happened and that is the last thing I found this kid.”
“Okay. I’ll meet you at the hospital. I want copies of the reports and anything else you can find. This can only help me.”
“So, you’re really gonna try to get to custody of Yunho?”
“Yeah, I am. It’s even more important now. There’s no way I can let a kid go back to his rapist.”
“Alright. I’ll have copies made. I’m gonna send a set to Changmin as well. You’ll want a family lawyer and he’s the best we know.”
“Thanks again, Yoochun.”
“No problem, Jae.”
Jaejoong made a stop at his office before going to the hospital. He wanted to let the heads of his firm know what was going on and that he was still working on the cases, but wouldn’t be able to take on new cases until everything was settled with Yunho. ‘Being the only lawyer that can handle disgruntled and belligerent clients was an asset when getting what you want at work,’ Jaejoong thought to himself as he left his office with his briefcase full of files.
He was at the hospital before Yoochun. He sat in Yunho’s room and read some of his files. Yoochun walked in a few moments later with a uniformed officer with him.
“Jae, this is Officer Lee. He worked with Yunho’s stepfather.”
“Hello, Officer.” Jaejoong held out his hand. Officer Lee was polite, yet Jaejoong was unsure on whether or not to trust him.
“I had to see if it really was Yunho, our Yunho I mean.” Officer Lee stepped around Jaejoong. He was shocked to see Yunho hooked up to all the machines. “That’s him. That’s Jung Yunho. Jaejoong, can we talk? Honestly.”
“Of course.” Jaejoong sat on the small sofa in the room.
“Have you read Yunho’s file? Do you know what happened to him?”
“Yoochun gave me the summery. I’m assuming you can fill in the blank parts.”
“Yeah. I don’t know where exactly to start. His biological father died when Yunho was 9 years old; it was a car accident. His stepfather, Noh Kyujin and I were assigned to the case. Kyujin’s wife had just left him. She took their son and moved to America. It was a simple case, really. The driver of the other vehicle was highly intoxicated and ran a red light, t-boning Mr. Jung’s car on the driver’s side. Mr. Jung was killed instantly, sadly.”
Jaejoong shifted uncomfortably. It was too similar to his mother’s death. He stood and walked over to the bed. He adjusted the blanket covering Yunho and caressed his cheek. He felt a little warm again. “So, how did Kyujin come to marry Yunho’s mother?”
“Kyujin and Chaerin, Yunho’s mother, got close after we wrapped the case. I thought they were just friends. I mean it was a huge surprise to me when they announced their engagement. I got kind of close to Yunho during the case. I even suggested to Chaerin that she bring him to see my sister. She specializes in child psychology and grief counseling for children. Chaerin and Kyujin got married when Yunho was 11. He became really withdrawn after that. I talked to my sister about it. I was really concerned about the family. She said it was normal for kids Yunho’s age to become withdrawn when the surviving parent remarries. Then Kyujin… Changed, or maybe he was always like that and I never noticed before.”
“Did Kyujin rape Yunho?” Jaejoong asked bluntly.
“I don’t know. I believe Yunho. He had some problems. He had lost his father and his mother just remarried, but I don’t think Yunho would lie about something as serious as that.”
“Did he even have a rape kit preformed?” Jaejoong could feel the angry race through his veins.
“No, Kyujin stopped everything pretty quickly. He said that Yunho was having problems and that the school had called them several times in the past month. He even pulled Yunho out sessions with my sister.”
“And all this didn’t raise red flags?” Jaejoong yelled at Officer Lee.
“Of course it did! Kyujin said he was bringing Yunho to a different psychologist. I had no reason at the time not to believe him at the time.” Lee stood next to bed and reached out to touch Yunho’s arm. Jaejoong glared at him for a moment. He let Lee rub Yunho’s arm softly.
“Then what happened?”
“Yunho ran away once. He came to my house, surprisingly enough. His mom called the police. I heard the call on my scanner, called the station and brought him home. I never should have. When I brought him home, Kyujin was waiting at the door. He grabbed Yunho by the arm, dragged him in to the house and slammed the door. I’m sure that’s not the first time he beat Yunho. I’ve been looking for Yunho for the past two years. Since I transferred to a different department in at the station.”
“He can’t go back to that house. I won’t allow it. My friend is a family law expert. He said the best course of action would be to file the paperwork for the emancipation of a minor.”
“I’ll testify for him if I need to. How did you meet him?”
“I was working a case in a bad part of town. I don’t know if you want to know the details.”
“He’s been working as a prostitute, hasn’t he?”
Jaejoong looked up at Lee, “yeah he has. He’s been doing a lot of IV drugs as well. That’s why he’s like this now. I have temporary emergency custody. He’s in a medically induced coma. Junsu, his doctor, wants to start weaning him off the drugs soon.”
“Will he be okay?” Jaejoong could tell Lee was worried, which Jaejoong figured was a good thing. The more people on his side the better chances he would have.
“We don’t know yet. We have to wait for him to wake up.”
“I need to ask you a very personal question. You don’t have to answer, but I would like it if you do.” Lee seemed to struggle for the proper words.
“What is it?”
“When Yunho came to my house we talked for a little while and he confessed something to me. He said he thought was gay. He said Kyujin found out and they fought about it.”
“I’m not sure what you are asking me.”
“Are you homophobic? Does Yunho questioning his sexuality change your decision in any way?”
Jaejoong laughed, full and throaty. He had never felt so good about talking to a person. “I can assure you, Yunho’s confusion over his sexuality is no problem in my house.”
Lee turned to Yoochun, who was also laughing, “I’m missing some kind of joke here.”
“Jaejoong is openly gay.”
“Oh! Oh, I’m sorry if I offended you, Jaejoong.”
“No offence taken. I’m glad you care so much about Yunho.”
“I do. I would take him in myself, but I have a wife and two children. My youngest, Mingi, is severely autistic. I think bringing Yunho into the house would be…”
“I understand. One of my cousins is on the spectrum. I understand how delicate they can be.”
“Thank you. Jaejoong, I don’t think you understand how much this means to me.”
The three men turned to a soft knock on the door. “Hi Jae. Who is this?”
“Officer Lee. He’s a friend of Yunho’s family.” Jaejoong replied.
“Oh. You found his family?” Junsu said.
“Yeah, it’s not a happy situation that we have to deal with.”
“I see. I have the results of the MRI. There doesn’t seem to be any damage, which is great. However, I’m worried about those seizures. He hasn’t had another one, that doesn’t mean he won’t have any when we take him off the drugs.”
“I see. Is Sooin here yet?” Jaejoong asked.
“Not yet. She won’t be here until the afternoon shift. She did call this morning, though. Dr. Shim said he will take Yunho into the rehab. I have hope for him. He is remarkably strong for everything he went though. His wounds are healing nicely and if everything goes right, he will be awake by Friday.”
“Then it’s into the rehab?”
“Not quite. Angel’s won’t take him with the wounds he has. So he needs to heal completely before he can go.”
“Alright. Yoochun, can you get in touch with Changmin. I want to meet with him to start this long process. I want Yunho to be able to move in with me as soon as he is released from the hospital.”
“No problem. We can should be able to get together some time this afternoon. Do you need anything else?”
“No thank you. We should be fine. Officer Lee, thank you again. We are going to need all the help we can get to keep Yunho away form Kyujin.”