Jaejoong felt more and more haggard as the days and night blended together into one indistinguishable lump.
He was sitting on the sofa reading while Jiyong was sitting on the edge of Yunho’s bed.
“Changmin’s gonna be here soon,” Jaejoong said softly.
“I know. I just don’t want to leave yet.”
“It’s going to be okay.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Jiyong laid down on the bed, his head pressed against Yunho’s shoulder.
“Ji…” Jaejoong stood.
“Please don’t. I just really don’t want to talk about it.”
“Alright. We don’t have to.” Jaejoong put his hand on Jiyong’s back. “Changmin is going to be here soon to take you to your appointment.”
“I’m really scared. What if I’m sick? I mean really sick? What am I going to do?”
“You’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna take care you. Me, Changmin, Yoochun; we are all going to take very care of you.”
“I don’t want to die.” Jiyong cried. Jaejoong rubbed Jiyong’s shoulders, hoping the child would calm down. He sat next to Jiyong.
“You’re not going to die.”
Jaejoong felt the bed dip behind him.
“Ji, it’s going to be okay. We need to go now, but we’ll come back later.” Changmin spoke softly.
“Okay. Yunho, I’ll be back later. You need to wake up for us. We miss you.” Jiyong kissed Yunho’s cheek and followed Changmin out the door.
“Jae, I think it’s time to consider the possibility that Yunho isn’t going to wake up.” Sooin sat next to Jaejoong on the sofa. It had been nearly two months since Jaejoong had found Yunho and his condition didn’t seem to be improving. “Maybe it’s time to let him go.”
“He still responds to touch and when I talk to him. I can’t just give up.”
“You need to think about it. Yunho’s probably not going to wake up and if he does… He sustained massive head trauma, his legs have severe muscular damage and he’ll probably never regain proper use of his right arm and hand.”
“I just can’t give up hope. Not yet.”
“Junsu’s very worried about you. Please don’t make yourself sick over this. I know Yunho is important to you, but please. Think about what’s cruel and what’s humane. I have to go finish my shift.”
Jaejoong watched Sooin leave. Guilt washed over him. He couldn’t just let Yunho go. It wasn’t fair that this had happened to Yunho.
Kyujin was in prison, though Jaejoong didn’t think was enough punishment. It was a speedy trial. Yoochun made sure of that. Jaejoong testified about how he had found Yunho and Junsu was there to explain Yunho’s current condition.
Jaejoong sat by Yunho’s bed long into the night. The hospital room was hot and stuffy despite the window being open. He was dozing, his head on the bed next to Yunho’s arm when he felt a slight movement. He woke quickly, praying Yunho was waking up.
He sat up and watched. Yunho’s body was twitching and jerking in the bed. Jaejoong hit the call button and backed away from the bed. He knew Yunho was having a seizure and he wanted to make room for the doctor.
Junsu was the first in the room. “We have to let the seizure run it’s course. Jae, help me roll him to his side. Shit! He’s choking on the tube. He’s trying to breathe around it. We have to get it out. Roll him on his back and hold his head steady.”
Jaejoong followed Junsu’s orders. He hated watching this. He hated seeing Yunho in pain. Yunho thrashed on the bed, the seizure hadn’t stopped; or he was having another one. Jaejoong couldn’t really tell. Junsu pulled the tube out of Yunho’s throat.
Junsu injected a medication into Yunho’s arm and stepped back. “We just have to wait. I think he’s trying to wake up. If he’s going to wake up it’s going to soon; within the next few hours. Maybe.”
“Do you have some free time? I want to go to church. I haven’t been in a long time…”
“Yeah. I’ll sit with Yunho for a while. Go to church, you horrible lapsed Catholic.”
“Thank you.” Jaejoong kissed Junsu’s cheek. “I’ll be back in an hour. If anything happens before that call me.”
Jaejoong sat in the second to last pew in the church. He didn’t feel like he had the right to sit any closer. It had been over a decade since he last stepped foot in a church.
He questioned God’s plan far too many times. He couldn’t believe in a God that would take his parents away from him.
“You look troubled, my son,” a priest said as he walked up to Jaejoong.
“A person I care very much for is very sick. He might die and it’s my fault.”
The priest sat next to Jaejoong. “I highly doubt it’s your fault. There is more on your mind isn’t there? You seem very uncomfortable here.”
“It’s just been a long time, Father. Both my parents died before I was 3 years old. I was raised by my aunt and uncle. I’m a lawyer and I’m gay.”
“Well, we can’t all be perfect. I mean the world needs lawyers, unfortunately. What branch of law do you practice?”
“Civil. I mostly deal with people who have been injured on the job. Occasionally I step in when a divorce is particularly nasty.”
“Your aunt and uncle raise you, you said?”
“Yeah. They have a daughter. My cousin and I were very close growing up.”
“Bad things happen to good people. Not because God doesn’t care. Not because God has some divine cosmic plan. But because bad things happen every day. God doesn’t cause or prevent bad things. He gives you the strength to live through them. Don’t give up on your friend. God will give him the strength to fight. And He will give you the strength to live.”
“He’s just a child. The things that happened to him. Shouldn’t happen to an adult; let alone to a child that can’t fight back.”
“Can I pray over you?”
Jaejoong nodded. “Please. I need all the help I can get.”
The priest laid his hands on Jaejoong’s shoulders. “Heavenly Father, protect this man and the child he is caring for. They need Your love and strength now more than ever. Please send Your angels to watch over them and heal them, body and soul. In the name of Your divine Son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.”
“Amen,” Jaejoong replied as he crossed himself. Tears were flowing down his cheeks. The priest sat down next to Jaejoong and kept his arm around Jaejoong’s shoulders.
“My son. I have just one question for you; if that child you care so much for is in the hospital, why are you here?”
“I don’t know. I guess I thought I needed divine guidance.”
“I think God has already shown you your road. It’s going to be hard, but with His grace and love, you’ll persevere. Go back to that young boy and take care of him. I’ll be praying for both of you.”
“Thank you, Father.”
Jaejoong walked back to the hospital as he contemplated the priests words. He climbed the stairs to the ICU. He felt oddly calm. Maybe he just needed to hear someone with no emotional ties to him tell him it was going to be okay.
“Any change?” Jaejoong asked as he handed Junsu a cup of coffee.
“No. He’s breathing well on his own. He didn’t have another seizure. At this point it’s the most we can hope for.” Junsu took a sip of coffee. “How did your visit to church go? Find the answer you were looking for?”
“Yeah. I think so. Now that’s he’s breathing on his own, what can we do?”
“Well, make him comfortable and hope he wakes up and doesn’t crash.”
It was three in the morning and Jaejoong hadn’t slept. He paced the room. He read out loud and sang to Yunho. He didn’t know what else to do.
“Jae?” Sooin called softly.
“I talked to a few of the doctors here, there’s a chance we can wake him up with a high dose of adrenaline.”
“But there’s a chance he could have a heart attack. If he doesn’t wake up naturally with in the next few day, do you want to let the doctor try?”
“Yes. Even if he does have a heart attack, it’s better than living like this right? It’s better to be dead than comatose?”
“I think so. I wouldn’t want to be like this for the rest of my life.” Sooin sat with Jaejoong for a few moments. “Do you need anything? I can run to the store for you.”
“Just a few bottles of water please.”
“Okay. Try to sleep Jae. I know you’ve taken a leave from work, but still. You need to sleep.”
Jaejoong tried to stand. His legs gave out from underneath him. Sooin grabbed him around the waist and helped him to the sofa.
“Just sleep. I’ll wake you up when I get back.”
“Okay,” Jaejoong replied. He was asleep as soon as he closed his eyes.
Jaejoong thought he was dreaming. A person was screaming and some kind of warning alarm was sounding very close to his head. He jumped off the sofa and ran to Yunho’s bed. He hit the call button and hoped a doctor would be in the room soon.
Yunho screamed and thrashed on the bed.
“Yunho! Yunho, listen to me. It’s Jaejoong. I’m right here. Calm down, Honey. It’s okay. Yunho, it’s going to be okay.” Jaejoong spoke slowly and stroked Yunho’s cheeks.
“Jae, give me room.” Junsu was in the room in moments. “I need to give him a shot to relax him. Just keeping talking to him.”
“Is he waking up?”
“He’s trying too. Let’s sit him up more. It’ll help him breath and be more comfortable.”
“Can I sit behind him? It might be good for him to wake up with me holding him.”
“That’s a good idea.” Junsu helped Jaejoong adjust Yunho. Jaejoong slid behind the boy and wrapped his arms around Yunho’s waist. Yunho didn’t stir.
“Just keep talking to him. I don’t want to resort to adrenaline and we may not have to. I think after the drug I gave him wears off, he’ll wake up naturally. You have the call button.”
“Yup.” Jaejoong stroked Yunho’s hair. “It’s gonna be okay Yunho. Just wake up.”
Hours ticked by and Yunho didn’t wake. Jaejoong was beginning to lose hope. He didn’t mean to. He tried to stay optimistic but the odds were stacked against Yunho.
Jaejoong looked at his watch. It was almost 5 am. He decided trying to get a little sleep was the best he could do.
Yunho stirred in his sleep. He could feel warm arms around his chest and he could hear quiet snores. He took a deep breath. Everything hurt; his chest, his arm, his legs all felt weak. He tried to speak but his voice wouldn’t come.
He tried again. A small sound squeaked out of his mouth. “Jae?” he finally managed. “Jaejoong?”
“Yunho?” Jaejoong asked sleepily. He thought he was dreaming again. “Are you really awake.”
Yunho nodded. He couldn’t really speak because his throat felt so sore. Jaejoong tightened his hug around Yunho.
“You’re awake. Thank God, you’re awake.” He kissed the top of Yunho’s head and cried as relief poured through him. He hit the call button.
Junsu was in the room in a heartbeat. He stopped in the doorway; he couldn’t believe Yunho was awake. He walked to the edge of the bed. “Like me get a good look at you.” Junsu pulled out his pen light and tested Yunho’s pupils. “I’m going to order a full range of tests to make sure everything’s working properly. A nurse will be here shortly to take you to x-rays. Jae, can I speak to you in the hall?”
“Yeah. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah.” Junsu said as they stepped into the hall. “I think he’s going to be okay. I just want to make sure there’s no permanent brain damage.”
“Is there a large possibility for that?”
“Yes. The seizures alone could have caused severe damage.”
Jaejoong watched Junsu walk down the hall before reentering Yunho’s room.
“Water?” Yunho choked on his words, his throat was so raw.
“Ice chips. I’ll go get you some.”
Jaejoong sat the large pitcher on the bed side table as he fed Yunho ice chips. Yunho sighed, the ice felt so good, so cool.
“I’m here to bring Yunho for a CT scan.” A tall nurse knocked on the doorframe. She had a small gurney with her. “Junsu said you can help me transfer Yunho.”
Jaejoong was more worried about hurting Yunho than he was about the results of the scan. He lifted Yunho by the chest while the nurse took his legs.
“Can I come with him?”
“Of course. You’ll have to stay in the waiting room, but it will be good for Yunho to have you near by.”
It wasn’t such an agonizing wait, Jaejoong thought as he sat in a sage green painted room.
Before long, Jaejoong was wheeling Yunho back to his room.
“Are you feeling better?”
“A little. My legs hurt. My arm, my head. My whole body really.”
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t there to protect you.”
Yunho was silent. He didn’t know what to say. He was scared and hurt, physically and emotionally. “Jae? Will you just hold me for a while?”
“Of course Sweetheart.” Jaejoong held Yunho close. Yunho tucked his head under Jaejoong’s chin. “I’m so sorry, Yunho. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you’re safe.”
“Can I live with you again? Forever? I don’t want to leave you.”
“Of course. You’ll never have to leave again.”
“I love you, Jaejoong. Like, really love you,” Yunho whispered.
“Just rest. I’m going to go ask Junsu when you can be released.” Jaejoong kissed Yunho’s forehead.
“Hey Su.” Jaejoong found Junsu sitting in he office.
“Hey. I’m looking over Yunho’s CT now. It looks good.”
“When will he be released?” Jaejoong sat on the edge of Junsu’s desk.
“Soon. I want to monitor him for a few more days. And I want to set him up with physical therapy. His arm was really messed up. I’m honestly surprised he didn’t lose it.”
“So, what can I tell Yunho? He just wants to go home.”
“Tell him about two weeks. That’s the soonest I feel comfortable releasing him.”
“Thank you. Once we’re home and settled and he’s feeling better, lets all get together and have dinner.”
“That will be good. Do you know how Jiyong is doing?”
“He’s good. Healthy, happy. He and Changmin have been staying home a lot.”
“It was a big scare. HIV isn’t easy to deal with. Do you how the other kids are doing?”
“Pretty good. They’re mostly healthy. Or getting there.”
“Good. I know a few great pediatric therapists, if you want the names. One is even a family counselor.”
“Thank you, Junsu.”
Jaejoong made a stop at the hospital gift shop before returning to Yunho’s room.
“I got you a little something.” Jaejoong handed a small bag to Yunho.
“It’s a… Giraffe?”
“Yeah. The gift shop kinda didn’t have a good selection. It’s stupid.”
“No, it’s not. I love giraffes.” Jaejoong looked at Yunho skeptically. “I really do. All animals really, but giraffes are some of my favorite.”
Jaejoong ran his hand through Yunho’s hair. “How are you feeling?”
“Better. Jaejoong, can I tell you something and you won’t judge me and you’ll believe me?”
“Of course. You can tell me anything.” Jaejoong sat on the edge of the bed.
“When I was in the coma, I talked to Dad. He told me I could stay with him, if I wanted. He said he was in heaven and that I wouldn’t feel pain or sadness anymore. He told me he loved me. That he was still proud of me. I asked him why. Why was he proud of me? How could he still be proud of me? Dad said I was strong and smart. And brave. He said it was my choice, I could either go with him to heaven or I could fight and live on.”
“What made you fight?”
“You.” Yunho reached for Jaejoong’s hand. He liked touching Jaejoong; it made him feel calmer and happier. “I could hear you talking to me. I couldn’t always understand what you were saying, but I could always hear you. And Jiyong. I could hear him too. And feel him when he would lay down with me. I told Dad I couldn’t leave you two. He just told me he loved and he would wait for me.”
“I know,” Yunho whispered. “It sounds crazy. And you don’t have to believe. I just want to go home.”
Jaejoong smiled gently. “I do believe you. Junsu said two weeks. You have a lot of recovering to do. And you need to start physical therapy soon.”
“I’m going to regular therapy too, aren’t I. I feel fine. I mean, I’m tired and a little scared, but I’m fine.”
“I know you feel okay, but what you went through is going leave physical and mental scars. They might not appear now, but we just want to keep you safe.”
“I just hate talking to therapists. I hate being alone with people I don’t know.”
“I’m sure I can go with you to your appointments until you feel comfortable. I’ll do anything you need me to do.”
“Thanks. So, I’m here for the next two weeks.”
“Yup. But I’ll be here everyday. And I’m sure Ji and Changmin will come and visit a bunch. And anyone else you want. We got all the kids out of Saiji’s house and arrested him. He’ll never hurt any one again.”
“How are the twins? And Yoomi?”
“Yoochun took in Yoomi. The twins are doing well. A very nice older couple is adopting them. They’re even talking a bit more.”
“Yoochun took Yoomi? Really?”
“Yeah. She just fell for him. She cried when anyone other than Yoochun held her and he just couldn’t have her be upset.”
Yunho smiled. “I’m glad. Yoochun needs a daughter. He needs a life other than work. Do you think Yoochun will bring Yoomi in so I can see her and hold her? And can Ji come too? I want to hug him really tight.”
“Of course. I’ll call Yoochun and have him bring her tomorrow. I’ll see Changmin in the morning, and I’ll have him stop by.”
“Anything you need, Honey. Try to rest for a while.” Jaejoong tucked the blanket under Yunho’s shoulders.
“Will you nap with me again? I always sleep better with you here.”
“Scoot over and give me a little room.” It took a bit of effort, but Yunho managed to find a comfortable position that didn’t be pressure on his broken arm or tangle his IV. He was on his left side with Jaejoong behind him, spooning him.
Yunho slept soundly for the rest of the afternoon. A few doctors came and went, checking Yunho’s IV lines and vitals.
Yunho woke up sometime around midnight. Jaejoong was no longer in the bed. Yunho panicked, causing his heart monitor to beep alarms at him.
“Yunho? What’s wrong?” Jaejoong emerged from the bathroom connected to Yunho’s room.
“You… You weren’t here.” Even as he said it Yunho realized how stupid it sounded. Of course Jaejoong wouldn’t be connected to Yunho’s hip. He had to calm down. “I forgot where I was and I was scared.”
“I’m here. It’s okay. I’m here.” Jaejoong pulled Yunho into a gentle embrace. He kissed the top of Yunho’s head. “It’s okay.”
“I know. I’m so stupid. What the fuck is wrong with me?”
“Probably PTSD. It’s completely treatable. And it’s not surprising. You’ve been through so much, Sweetheart.”
“I’m sorry,” Yunho hiccupped.
“It’s okay. You have nothing to be sorry for.” Jaejoong helped Yunho lay back down. “Try to sleep more. I won’t be too far away.”
“Okay.” Yunho clutched the giraffe tightly.
Jaejoong kissed Yunho again. “I do have good news. You get to eat tomorrow. Soft foods at first. I’ll bring you some oatmeal for breakfast in a couple hours.”
“Okay. Can I have cinnamon and sugar on it?”
“Sure.” There were times when Yunho seemed so much older than his age. And then there were times were Jaejoong wanted nothing more than to protect this small, hurt child. He carded his hand through Yunho’s hair and smiled. “Go to sleep.”
Yunho settled into the bed and closed his eyes. He felt better, knowing that Jaejoong was still in the room.
Early the next morning Jaejoong walked to the cafeteria. He got Yunho’s oatmeal and added extra cinnamon. He was excited about having Yunho home.
“Hey! Jaejoong!” Yoochun called. Jaejoong laughed. He couldn’t help it. He never thought he would see Yoochun pushing a baby stroller. “Junsu told me Yunho woke up. I figured he’d want to see Yoomi.”
“It’s a miracle. I’m bringing him breakfast now. I’m so happy right now. He’s coming home soon. Let him eat before you bring Yoomi in.”
“Okay. I’m gonna go find Junsu. He wanted to see Yoomi too.”
Jaejoong set Yunho’s breakfast on the tray. “I have good news.”
“Junsu has decided that I can go home today and that I’m fine.”
“Not quite. Yoochun and Yoomi are here. After you eat they’re gonna come in and visit.”
Yunho wolfed down his food. He almost choked. “Yunho, slow down. Yoochun isn’t going anywhere.”
“Sorry. I’m done. I want to see Yoomi now.”
Jaejoong called Yoochun in. Yoochun immediately placed Yoomi into Yunho’s arms. He cuddled her close. He had forgotten how much he loved her.
The phone in Yunho’s room rang. Jaejoong answered and sank to the sofa. He looked at Yunho. He wasn’t ready to tell Yunho something like that.
So, I'm actually going to finish this someday. And try to post more on here. I'm just really bad at html, so it will be a while before I have a good master list going on here. But everything will be tagged.