The meeting with Changmin went far better than Jaejoong had expected. With Lee’s testimony about what he witnessed the night Yunho ran away, they were sure the judge would grant Jaejoong custody. Lee figured it would be a smoother course of action from what he’s seen dealing with juvenile delinquency.
“Even though you aren’t a relative of Yunho, the courts are more apt to place a minor with some one than they are to grant emancipation. I think it’s better for the child in question as well. You will have to under go a psych eval, so be prepared for that.” Lee told them.
“Do you really think Jaejoong has a chance? Won’t they want to put Yunho in foster care instead?” Yoochun asked.
“Normally, yes. But, because Jaejoong has temporary custody right now, the judge will look at that as proof that Jaejoong really cares. It’s kind of he’s say ‘I’m taking care of this kid at his worst, so I’m not going to abandon him.’ Or something like that.” Changmin explained.
“So, I have to talk to a psychologist and convince a judge that I can be a fit parent? What about me being openly gay?”
“That can go either way. See a judge might look at Yunho, who said he is questioning, and think you are a good role model for a young gay teen.” Changmin replied.
“Or the judge could be a homophobic ass hat.” Yoochun supplied the other side of the coin.
“I just want this whole ordeal over with and Yunho safe.” Jaejoong sighed.
Jaejoong thought Thursday would never come. Finally, early in the morning Junsu sat down with him and went over the procedure. “It’s really simple, really. I’m going to slow the IV drip. I’m not adding any more of the meds that are keeping him under. Soon he will be on a pure saline drip. He should, if everything goes right, be awake by late Friday afternoon. Maybe sooner, depending on his metabolism. He’ll be disoriented and probably scared. We can’t extabate him until he is awake and breathing on his own.”
“Is he going to be traumatized?”
“I don’t think so. Yunho’s strong. I know I keep saying that, but it’s true. The best thing for you to do right now is just be here. A few doctors and nurses will be in and out monitoring him.”
“Will Dr. Park be one of them?”
“I’m not sure. Why?”
“I just don’t like him. I don’t know why, but I don’t trust him.” Jaejoong replied. He tried to think about why he didn’t trust the young doctor but he still couldn’t place it.
“I’ll make sure he’s stationed on another floor for the next few days.” Junsu tried to be reassuring. Junsu adjusted the IV in Yunho’s hand and removed a line that was connected to it. “Now we just wait.”
“You say that like it’s easy.” Jaejoong scoffed.
“I wish it was. I’ll be back later.”
“See ya later Junsu.” Jaejoong turned his attention back to Yunho. “Yunho, I don’t know if you can hear, but you need to wake up, okay. I can’t promise that everything is going to be perfect, but I will protect you. No one will hurt you as long as I’m alive. All you have to do is wake up.”
“Hey, Jaejoong,” Sooin entered the room a few hours with a few bags in her hands.
“Hi, Soo. What’s all that?”
“Well, I figured Yunho would need some clothes to go home in. I wasn’t sure about his size or what he liked, so I just kind of guessed.” She smiled tenderly.
Jaejoong hadn’t even thought of that. Of course Yunho’s clothes were ruined. Junsu had to cut the small boy out of his clothing to treat him.
He watched as Sooin pulled the new jeans out of the bag. They were stylishly baggy and torn around the knees. Jaejoong remember when his aunt would yell at him for tearing holes his jeans; now it seemed to be the fashionable thing to do.
“I really hope these fit. Do you think he’ll like them?”
“Of course. Thank you so much Sooin. I hadn’t even thought about clothes for him. I think I’m still in shock so to speak.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, a week ago I was still pining away after Kangin. Now I’m, for all intent and purpose, being a father to a 15 year old. I never made a decision so quickly. It’s not who I am.”
“I know. You talked to me for weeks about asking Kangin to move in with you. And if you remember I told you not to ask him. But, that’s not the point. You only commit to something if you are absolutely sure it’s what you want. And I think, deep down, you know you want to help this boy more than anything else.”
“I hope you’re right, Sooin. I truly hope you’re right.” Jaejoong fiddled with Yunho’s blanket and hospital gown absently.
“Has he stirred at all?” Sooin asked.
“No. I keep watching him, hoping that he’s just gonna wake up, like from a nap. But nothing.”
“It’s not going to be that easy. He has a tube down his throat. That’s going to be kinda terrifying for him. That’s why there is going to be a doctor or a nurse checking in every 15 minutes. And with you here, if he wakes up at any time, you can call the doctor. If he wakes up and a doctor isn’t here, just hit the emergency button and explain calmly to him what happened. Tell him he has a tube down his throat to help him breathe and that a doctor is on the way to remove it. The key is to keep him calm.” Sooin explained.
“Okay. I don’t know what I would do with out you.”
“You would go insane. And then be locked up and fed Jell-O through a little slot in the door.” Sooin smiled at her cousin. She smoothed his hair
She looked down at the small boy. Yunho seemed dwarfed by the hospital bed. Three years on the street did a number on the kid. She believed in Jaejoong. She believed that if anyone could reach this kid, it would be her cousin.
Thursday came and went with no changes in Yunho’s condition. Friday morning Jaejoong asked Sooin to go to his apartment to clean out the spare bedroom. He wanted it to be ready for when he brought Yunho home.
“Is there anything you need for the room?”
“No, I don’t think so. There are sheets in the hall closet and… I don’t know. What do teenage boys need?”
“Do you want me to get him some more clothes?”
“No, thank you. I’ll take him shopping. Can you stop by Auntie’s and see if she held on to any of my old stuff from high school?”
“Sure, Sweetie. I’ll see ya later.” Sooin kissed her cousin on the top of head before she left.
Jaejoong was reading a work file when he noticed a change in Yunho’s heart monitor. It seemed to be beeping faster and faster. Jaejoong hit the emergency button quickly. “Yunho, I hope you’re waking up. Listen to me, you need to stay calm.” The beeping became faster.
“Jae, I’m gonna need you to move. I need to get close.” He place his stethoscope on Yunho’s chest. “He seems to be breathing on his own but he’s not a wake yet.”
“What does that mean?”
“I can take the tube out, but it’s not going to be easy. I’m going to try to wake him up first.”
“His heart is beating a little fast isn’t it?” Jaejoong was surprising himself with how calm he was.
“Yeah, kind of. The drugs I gave him slowed his heart rate. I didn’t want his heart to over stress while he was detoxing, which can happen, especially when he was having the seizures.” Junsu pulled a syringe out of his pocket. “I was hoping I wouldn’t need this. I’m giving him a type of steroid. It should help him wake up.” Junsu inject the steroid through the IV.
“Now we just wait?” Jaejoong asked as Junsu sat down next to him.
“Yup. It shouldn’t be too long.” Junsu turned back to Yunho. The minutes ticked by slowly as Jaejoong and Junsu watched changes in Yunho’s condition. “Shit! He’s seizing again.” Junsu hit the emergency button again, he was going to need help. Yunho’s whole body convulsed uncontrollably.
“What can I do to help?” Jaejoong asked, still surprisingly calm.
“Yeah, go over to the other side and strap his wrist down. I don’t want him to pull the IV out. Not too tight.” Junsu order. Jaejoong buckled the strap around Yunho’s thin wrist. This was the longest Jaejoong ever saw a seizure last.
Two nurses entered the room quickly. One had a needle with her; she pushed the drug into the IV. Gradually, Yunho seemed to calm down.
Junsu turned to one of the nurses, “I’m going to stay here until Yunho wakes up. Can you have Dr. Park check in on my other patients? Have him come get me if there is an emergency.”
The nurses smiled gently, nodded, then left; leaving Jaejoong and Junsu alone with Yunho again.
“Yunho,” Jaejoong cooed softly. “You need to wake up now. You’ve been asleep for far too long.” Jaejoong ran his hand up and down Yunho’s arm.
The minutes ticked by like hours. They watched and waited.
“Junsu, I think he’s waking up.” Jaejoong said when he noticed Yunho’s hand moving in his. Yunho started coughing against he tube in his throat, as his body shook with another seizure.
“Fuck, I have to get that tube out. Jae, I need you to hold his head straight and really still.”
“What?” Jaejoong asked as he moved to the head of the bed.
“I need to extabate him. I need you to hold him still. Hold his head and neck still. Normally he would be awake and able to help, but we can’t wait.”
Jaejoong cupped Yunho’s face and steadied the young boy. Junsu moved quickly, pulling the long tube out of Yunho’s throat. “Help me roll him on his side,” Junsu ordered.
Jaejoong unbuckled the restraint and helped Junsu roll Yunho on to his right side. “Is he going to be okay?”
“I think so. He’s breathing on his own, so that’s always a good sign.” Junsu checked Yunho’s vitals. “Ever thing seems to be within normal levels. I’ll be right back.”
“Yunho? Are you okay?” Jaejoong said softly. He glanced toward the door. He had a feeling that some one was watching him, but no one was standing there.
Yunho slowly opened his eyes. He tried to speak; it felt like an angry cat was clawing his neck.
“Shh. Don’t try to talk. Do you remember what happened?”
Yunho shook his head. He didn’t know where he was or even how he got there.
“Okay. You’re in the hospital. I found you a few nights ago. You were all cut up and coughing up blood. You had over dosed.” Jaejoong stopped when he noticed tears falling from Yunho’s eyes.
Yunho reached for Jaejoong, his thin arms encircling Jaejoong’s neck. Yunho cried into Jaejoong’s chest. The young boy shook as the tears fell. He felt safe in Jaejoong’s arms. And warm, he hadn’t felt so secure in a long time. His whole body was weak and sore. He felt so tired and Jaejoong felt so warm.
“Yunho,” Jaejoong lifted Yunho’s face. “It’s going to okay. You’re safe now and every thing is going to be okay.” Jaejoong looked toward the door; that feeling of being watched overwhelming him again.
Yunho nodded slowly, “water?” he asked, his voice a painful, hoarse whisper.
“Sorry, you can’t. Not until Junsu okays it. You can have ice chips though.” Jaejoong shook some ice into a cup. He held the cup as Yunho struggled to put the chips in his mouth. “Here, let me help you.”
He popped a few pieces of ice into Yunho’s mouth. Yunho sighed as the cooling ice slid down his burning throat
“Hey! Our fighter is awake.” Junsu said brightly as he walked in. “How are you feeling?”
Yunho shrugged and watched Junsu like a hawk as Junsu moved around the room. He sat on the edge of the bed and reached out for Yunho. Yunho shrank away, into Jaejoong’s chest.
“It’s alright. He just wants to check you over. He won’t hurt you.” Jaejoong whispered in Yunho’s ear.
Junsu pulled a pen light from his pocket to check Yunho’s eyes and throat. Yunho scooted away when Junsu reached for a needle to draw blood. “It’s okay. I just want to run a few blood tests.” He took two vials of blood. “I need you to lay down, Yunho. I need to check out a few more things.”
Yunho looked to Jaejoong. “It’s okay. You can trust Junsu. And I’ll hold you hand the entire time.”
Junsu lifted the hospital gown Yunho was wearing to check the cuts and bruises. He removed the bandage covering the large gash on Yunho’s side. “That’s healing nicely. The bruising on your chest and abdomen should be cleared up in a few more days. You are incredibly lucky, young man. Jaejoong, can I speak to you in the hall please?”
Yunho tightened his grip on Jaejoong’s hand, “please.”
“It’s okay, Yunho. I’ll be right back.” Jaejoong followed Junsu into the hallway. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m worried about the seizures. The MRI didn’t show any damage, which is good, but I don’t know if he’s going to keep having them. I’m gonna recommend him to a specialist. Another thing is the drug use. I don’t think he was a willing participant.”
“What do you mean? A willing participant? How can a person be an unwilling participant in IV drug use?”
“He’s afraid of needles. He’s clinging to you now, because he just woke up in a strange place. But he physically moved away from me when I pulled out the needle. I think if he was stronger he would have tried to fight me. The abuse this kid has suffered goes far beyond the physical. One other thing.”
“What is it?” Jaejoong glanced back at Yunho and smiled gently.
“I performed a rape kit. Given the state he was in and what you told me about where you found him… I had to be sure. I sent the kit to the police and they got a hit in their database.”
“A serial rapist?” Jaejoong asked angrily.
“Not exactly. The DNA matched an unsolved case from a few years back. It involved a young boy around Yunho’s age. I asked Lee to look in to it for me. I saw the crime scene photos and what that man did that other boy is almost exactly what he did to Yunho down to the cut on his left side. With one exception, the other boy’s throat was slit. But some how Yunho got away.”
“Yeah. That’s what I said. Lee is going to look into some more and he wants to ask Yunho some questions when he’s better. I’m going to discharge Yunho on Monday; you should be able to take him home before noon. He has an appointment with a counselor on Wednesday. You’re really going to take him home with you?”
“Yeah. I really am.” Jaejoong returned to Yunho’s room and sat down next to him. “Hey.”
“Hi,” Yunho whispered lowly.
“I want to talk to you about something. And I’m sure you have a bunch of questions for me.”
Yunho nodded and stared at the floor for a few moments. “Why did you help me?” Yunho finally whispered.
“I can’t stand to see a young person hurting. And if I didn’t, you would have died.”
“What’s gonna happen to me?”
“Well, that’s what I want to talk to you about. How would you like to live with me? My cousin can get you into a really good rehab and after you complete the program, I would like you to come and live with me.” Jaejoong explained gently.
“Really?” Yunho stared at Jaejoong in disbelief.
“Yes, really. You’re a good kid and a smart kid. And I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t have the same chances as everyone else.”
Yunho was still for a minute, contemplating the offer. He looked at Jaejoong again, searching his face for lies or a reason not to trust him. All he saw was a kind, compassionate smile. Yunho wrapped his arms around Jaejoong’s neck, hugging him as tightly as he could. Jaejoong hugged the small boy back, relieved that Yunho was going to be alright. “So, in other good news, you get to come home on Monday.”
“I had to find your parents. My friend Yoochun got into contact with Officer Lee…”
“Oh… I understand. That’s what you mean by home.”
“Well, you aren’t going back to your parents if I have anything to do with it. I have a few friends working on this. I’ve applied for custody of you. Your stepfather will never hurt you again. You should rest. I have a few phone calls to make.”
“So he’s awake?” Yoochun asked as he sighed in relief.
“Yeah. It was… Frightening, to say the least. But Junsu is confident that he will make a full recovery. And I talked to Dr. Shim at Angel’s. He wants to meet with Yunho ASAP. I figured Tuesday morning would be good.”
“I have some bad news for you. Some how Yunho’s stepfather found out where he is. We have to meet with him and his lawyer on Monday.”
“We can’t. Yunho is being discharged on Monday and I’m not putting him through that so soon.” Jaejoong pinched the bridge of his nose, willing the stress headache away.
“We don’t have much of a choice. Jae, the only thing that’s keeping him from that hospital and signing Yunho out is your temporary guardianship. It’s going to be stressful but it’s just a short meeting.”
“Nothing you or Changmin can do can change it?”
“Sorry, man. I wish I could. I can only guess how much stress this going to put on Yunho, but it needs to be done. If nothing else the judge will see how Yunho reacts to his stepfather and that can only help you.” Yoochun sighed, sadly.
“You’re right. I don’t like it, but you’re right. What time is this meeting?”
“2. If we’re lucky we’ll be done by 2:30, quarter to 3 at the latest. Jae, no one wants to do this. Changmin tried to stop the hearing, but parental rights and all.”
“It was Yunho’s stepfather who…”
“Acting on behalf of his poor distraught wife,” Yoochun interrupted. “It’s bullshit and you know it. After talking to Lee, there is no doubt in my mind that Kyujin abused Yunho. I’m here to help, Jae. I’m just a phone call away.”
“Thanks. See ya on Monday.”
Jaejoong turned to enter Yunho’s room. He smiled; Yunho had found the remote and was currently flipping through the channels with a very bored look on his face. For a moment he looked like a normal teenager.
“Yunho, listen. I have some more bad news.”
A look of horror replaced the bored look and Yunho seemed to shrink in fear.
“We have to meet with your parents and their lawyer on Monday…”
“No!” Yunho shouted hoarsely. “No. No. No. Please, no. Anything else. Please.” Yunho panicked, his breathing became short and the machine next to his bed monitoring his heart started to beep warnings at Jaejoong. Jaejoong hit the call button near the bed and sat next to the young boy.
“Yunho, calm down. It’s okay, it’s just a short meeting. A formality. It will be just fine.” Jaejoong rubbed Yunho’s arms slowly.
“What happened?” Junsu asked as he entered the room.
“I told him about a meeting we have with his parents.”
“He’s having a panic attack. Yunho, you need to calm down or I’m going to have to give you a shot. Lean forward and just breathe slowly.” Junsu pulled Yunho forward so he was almost doubled in half. “Now just breathe.”
Yunho couldn’t control his breathing and it became more rapid and shallow. It felt like his lungs were about to explode.
“Yunho, I have to give you a shot to calm you down.”
“No! No more needles, please. No more!” Yunho fought against Junsu.
“I have to. You could have a heart attack if you don’t calm down. Jae, come here and hold him.”
Jaejoong slid on to the bed, wrapping his arms around Yunho’s waist. “It’s okay. You can trust Junsu.”
Junsu left quickly to fetch the medication to calm Yunho down. “Yunho, this is called colonapin, it’ll help you calm down.”
“No, no. Please, I don’t want a shot. I don’t want to see Kyujin. Please?” Yunho begged, hyperventilating as he spoke.
“Yunho, it’ll be okay.” Jaejoong spoke, slowly tightening his grip on Yunho so he couldn’t struggle. Junsu quickly administered the medication. Yunho yelled out in pain as he fought against Jaejoong.
“Calm down, Yunho. It’s over. It’s all over, just relax. Breathe deeply and relax.”
Slowly, Yunho felt the affects of the medication and his breathing slowed. He looked at Jaejoong, tears still falling down his cheeks. “Do I have to? Do I have to see Kyujin? Please don’t make me. I can’t. I can’t.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t want to either, but if you are going to live with me, we have to take care of this. You need to be strong. I’ll be there every step of the way. Kyujin won’t touch you.” Jaejoong soothed Yunho’s hair down and rocked him gently. He glanced up at Junsu who was writing on Yunho’s chart. “I think he fell asleep.”
“I’m not surprised. I had to give him a fairly large dose of colonapin. He should sleep until morning. Jae, that reaction. That intense emotion can’t be faked. That was a panic attack. Kyujin, and god only knows who else, have been abusing Yunho for years. He could have had a heart attack. He was very close to one.” Junsu sat next to Jaejoong and Yunho. Yunho was curled up in Jaejoong’s lap.
“I don’t think I’m going to be moving anything soon. Are you going to testify for us?”
“How is that even a question? Of course I am! I have to anyway. I’m Yunho’s primary doctor for this visit. Both Changmin and Kyujin’s lawyer are going to want to talk to me. I have a bad feeling about this whole thing.”
“You don’t think I should try to get custody.” Jaejoong said sadly.
“Quite the opposite, actually. In fact I don’t think it should be a question of where Yunho should live. I just think that Kyujin is going to make it as difficult as possible for you to take Yunho.”
“Were there any people around today? Like people who don’t work here?” Jaejoong asked cautiously.
“I don’t think so. Why?”
“I don’t know. Earlier, I just felt like some one was, like watching me. It was weird.” Jaejoong shivered.
“I’ll ask around. Maybe some one saw something. I have to go finish my shift.”
Jaejoong moved slowly, adjusting Yunho to a more comfortable position on his lap. Jaejoong settled down in the bed. It was barely past noon and he was exhausted. With Yunho asleep on his chest, there was little else Jaejoong want to do but sleep as well.