Kijoong was one of Junyoung's favorite patients.
Maybe it was because of his innocent and nice personality. Or his way of being funny and somewhat childish that made Jun feel like he was his little brother. But the truth was that whenever he finished doing a check up on him, he couldn't help but smile from ear to ear. He really adored that boy. And after one year of treating him, it was clear that the affection was mutual too.
"How are you feeling today?" he asked after sliding the curtain to his bed and approaching the young man.
"Doctor!!" Kijoong exclaimed, upon seeing him, with a radiant smile. Junyoung stood beside him, still on his feet. "I'm fine! Great, actually. I don't even know why I have to stay in the hospital again. I could just come here to have my treatment done and go home.
"And judging by your state, I think you could do it," the older said with a half-smile and winking at him. "But since your medication can have some negative side effects sometimes, it's preferable that you stay here for a couple of days, just in case," he stopped for a second. "Protocol and stuff."
Kijoong nodded and the doctor smiled again. Even if he enjoyed the company of that boy, he still felt sad over him being obligated to spend several days in the hospital due to the monitoring of his disease. Watching as the young boy got better as time passed by was a relief. If it kept going like this he'd be able to forget about hospitals soon enough.
The older man took a quick look at the nurse's notes regarding the dose Kijoong had taken that morning and then looked away, as he observed how the boy started to frown slightly.
Junyoung withdrew the notebook. There were no anomalies and everything seemed to be going well. He didn't understand why the boy suddenly looked a little annoyed.
"I don't really care about staying here, to be honest. Three days every two months or so isn’t that much. It’s just... I don't like being monitored all the time..."
"Oh, but you know you're free to go around the hospital if you want to."
"Yeah, but if I do... you-know-who will yell at me again," after saying that, he gave a deep sigh. "In fact, he already scolded me today, can you believe it?"
"What was it this time?"
"A huge nonsense. He reprimanded me just because I had a drink before the treatment! A carbonated drink!
"...Well, it's true that it shouldn't affect your treatment at all, I wonder why he made such a big deal out of it."
"But you already know him," Jun grimaced and gave him a friendly nudge. "He tries to seem friendly and funny to everyone but he shows his real face to us. We are the closest victims of his bitterness.
Jun made a dramatic movement and Kijoong started laughing a little. It didn't take too long for him to stop, though, since the younger boy made a gasp after looking at the door. Upon seeing this reaction, Jun turned around and found himself face to face to him.
Kang Yuchan. His nurse.
(or should he say his curse.)
"Very funny you two."
"Oh, hey. Fancy meeting you here."Junyoung greeted him, half-joking and not caring in the slightest that Yuchan heard them mocking him.
"Fancy meeting you too. It's been so long since last time, when was it... Yesterday?" Yuchan followed the joke, perhaps trying to be funny... Or perhaps trying to be sarcastic.
"Wow, has it been that long?"
Yuchan rolled his eyes and pointed out to the younger boy, ignoring Junyoung's last remark.
"And you, don't try to play innocent, it wasn't just a drink," he explained, approaching them both. "It was an energy drink full of caffeine AND hydrochloride, which your medication might reject. Don't you see that it can be dangerous for you?" He confronted him. "I'm being serious, don't you want to get better?"
Kijoong seemed like a little puppy being scolded and looked at Junyoung, asking for help. The older man couldn't resist that face. The poor thing.
"It's okay, he understands, don't be so hard on him, I'm sure he won't do it again, right? "He asked. Kijoong nodded almost instantly. Yuchan didn't look very convinced.
"Jeez, it's always the same with you two..."
The nurse took his notes from Junyoung once he saw that he finished reading them and turned around, shaking his head. The older man looked at Kijoong and Kijoong stared back at him. When Yuchan left the room, they both began to laugh.
It was around eight o'clock at night. After finishing his daily working routine at the hospital, Junyoung was re-reading some documents in his office. He'd planned to have dinner with one of his friends from the same hospital, a surgeon named Hyunggeun, at the latter's place once he was finished. They used to eat together every Tuesday.
Today had been such a quiet day. For that very reason he didn't feel overwhelmed with work, so he wanted to take his time to carefully check everything before leaving. He was so focused that he didn't even hear when someone knocked on his door.
After knocking again, Junyoung finally heard the noise and hurried to let the person, whoever it was, in.
"Are you done for today?".
Junyoung looked up to see Yuchan, who just opened the door to his office and was staring directly at him. He nodded, claiming that Kijoong had been his last patient for the day and that after spending three days in the hospital without any problem, the boy finally went home.
"He will be able to spend Christmas at home this year,” he said, half-smiling. "I'm so glad."
"Me too," Yuchan replied. "It's a shame he still has to come here on the second of January, but it will be a fast checkup before next treatment so... I don't think he will mind it that much."
Junyoung nodded, still focused on finishing the papers for the day. He thought Yuchan would leave his office since it seemed like he wasn't there to talk about anything else related to work. But after a minute of silence, he realized Yuchan was still looking at him.
"What's wrong?" He asked. Still writing on his notebook.
"I'm just... I wanted to talk about what happened the day before yesterday"
"... And what is it?"
"The thing about Kijoong drinking the energy drink before the medication."
Junyoung finally removed his gaze from the documents and stared back at the nurse.
"You should be more strict to him. You keep playing the matter down but you know that him drinking that stuff can be dangerous.
"It was just a drink."
"An energetic one."
"It's not like he drinks it all the time. He's way better now," he said, unbothered. "A year ago I'd have agreed with you, but he's capable of doing whatever he wants now, "Junyoung explained, shaking his head. "If the treatment keeps doing this well, his next medication in February will be the last."
Yuchan opened his eyes wide upon hearing that and frowned. Then he approached Junyoung's desk, with his hands on his hips.
"If his treatment is doing well is precisely because he's avoiding that kind of unhealthy food and drinks," he sounded mad at him. "How can you say 'whatever he wants'? And you call yourself his doctor?"
There it was.
"Please don't start."
"I'm just... I don't understand why are you taking the risk, what if he suddenly gets worse?"
"But he's fine. I know it precisely because I am his doctor. And I'm not taking the opportunity to be a normal teenager away from him now that he has the chance. You might not see how important is it to him, but I do."
"Well. And I am his nurse," he said, clearly annoyed by Junyoung's way of telling him off. "And I also know what's best for him."
"Between a doctor's word and a nurse's one. I'd take the doctor's if you asked me."
Surprised by that, Yuchan looked at him as if he were thinking 'how dare you say, you motherfucker'. But he couldn't curse at him since they were professionals in a professional environment being... professional.
After thinking for a minute, though, he came up with the perfect counter-attack. And that was...
Playing dirty instead.
"A newbie doctor's word doesn’t sound that convincing, though."
"Newbie? It's been more than a year since...!" He paused. No, he wasn't going to take the bait this time. Besides, he also knew that Yuchan had been a nurse for just a year longer than he had been a doctor. So, if Junyoung was a newbie, so was him!
"Well, it's a fact that I have more experience than you. Not only that, but how many hours do you actually spend with the patients? One, at most?" He asked, but he didn't wait for Junyoung to answer. "We nurses are there for them all the time. So stop with that bullsh-" he stopped. "...I mean, with that whole stuff of 'a doctor's word is more important' because it's not true."
"Listen..." Junyoung said, exhausted. He really wasn't in the mood to keep arguing with him. "Let's stop here. Kijoong said he won't do it again, isn't that enough?"
"But he will. He never listens to me," Yuchan took a deep breath. "But he listens to you and you never scold him the way you should. You talk about it as if it was a joke or something."
"Do you think my patients are a joke to me?"
"I don't!" He replied, opening his eyes and suddenly shaking his hands. "Don't misunderstand. It's just... that I think a little bit of discipline won't hurt him. You said so yourself, if everything goes well he'll get discharged very soon. I'd hate to see him getting worse because we weren't careful enough."
The doctor looked at the other young man in the room. He was really annoyed by Yuchan's attitude… that was clear but…
He had a point.
"...Fine, I'll talk to him next time..."
Yuchan nodded and, after looking at him once again, he bit his lip as if he wanted to say something else. In the end, though, he didn't open his mouth and he turned around, leaving the room. Junyoung sighed.
He felt as if Yuchan just won this discussion and he hated it.
It was always like this.
Ever since the first time they met each other and knew they'd have to work together.
One year (and a month) ago, Junyoung started working as a doctor in that hospital after doing an internship in another city. Ever since then, the majors (his so lovedsunbaes), looked down on him because he was very young and inexperienced.
And handsome too, never forget that part.
Young, handsome and talented. It was obvious that if his sunbaes treated him like he was a second-class doctor it was merely because they were extremely jealous of Junyoung.
Anyways, for that very reason, he got stuck with a nurse of his same age. They probably gave him that nurse because they wanted to look down not only on Junyoung but at them both, at the whole team. At first, he wanted to work with Yuchan in harmony. He wanted to give their sunbaes a lesson and show them that it didn’t matter if they were young if they were good at their jobs.
And well, perhaps they did prove them wrong since they were great.
For some reason…
They just couldn’t get along.
Junyoung was a very proud person. So, when the older doctors hurt his pride, he didn't want a nurse with just a little more experience than him to put himself above Junyoung. The problem was that Yuchan was equally competitive. He didn't want Junyoung to undervalue his work, so he began acting as Mr. Perfect. This way, they started bickering over the stupidest stuff.
People often said that the more time you spent with someone, the closer you'd get to that person. But they had been working side by side for a year... and when they didn't start arguing over whatever, they wouldn't stop laughing at or annoying each other. Neither side wanted the other to underestimate them. Both had a somewhat unhealthy... rivalry.
If there was a way for that rivalry to stop, Junyoung would be delighted to know.
Hours later, Junyoung and Hyunggeun were eating noddles at the latter's place while watching TV. Well, watching wasn't exactly the word, since they were way more focused on Junyoung's complaining speech. He still didn't get over today's argument.
"I'm telling you, hyung, next time I swear I'll make him eat his words!"
"I wonder if that will fix anything," Hyunggeun sounded amused. He always found the whole situation entertaining and funny. Well, no wonder. He didn't have to suffer as much as Junyoung.
"It won't," he said. "If he just stopped questioning every single thing I do, though, that's a whole different story. It would be okay between us, probably."
"Nah, I think the problem is that you guys are too stubborn."
"He's the one being stubborn one, not me."
Hyunggeun stared at him with his cat-looking eyes and then laughed a little as if he knew something that Junyoung didn't. The younger man continued to eat his dinner, raising an eyebrow and waiting for his hyung to say anything else about the matter.
What he said, though, almost made him drop his fork.
"C'mon dude, just kiss him or something and stop this sexual tension, it's getting too insufferable."
"Wh-" Junyoung opened his mouth. "Excuse me???"
"I mean! Annoying, it's getting a little annoying," he said, trying to save face. Junyoung shook his head so Hyunggeun continued. "I'm not the only one who thinks so, okay! Don't look at me like that."
"No. No. About the sexual tension part, what the heck?"
"Ah... Well..." he seemed uneasy at first, but in the end he looked straight at Junyoung. "...I'm just saying, Junnie but... if you dislike Yuchan so much why do you keep talking about him all the time. It's almost as if you were paid by everytime you say his name."
"But that's just because he annoys me and he's my coworker, I'm with him all the time!!"
"...And when you're not together you talk about him 24/7. If I was so sick of a dude I'm working with cuz' I find him annoying I'd try to forget about his existence while I'm free of him y'know."
"Well, that's just stupid, okay. There is no 'sexual tension' going on. This is not some rom-com, hyung, this is real life."
"Fine, fine, then you should just accept each other or something," he shrugged. "Channie isn't half that bad. He's strict to me sometimes too, but he's also nice and funny. Do it for Christmas, Jun! It's not that hard!"
"Yeah sure, we'd need a HUGE Christmas miracle for that to happen, hyung."
Hyunggeun laughed again and Junyoung looked at him, pouting. In the end, feeling rather self-conscious about what his hyung had just said about him and his so-called obsession with his nurse, he tried to change the subject.
Fighting his coworker because of sexual tension.
Right. Maybe in a TV drama.
Perhaps it was because of Hyunggeun's stupid words, but the next day, he almost couldn't look at Yuchan's face directly.
By the looks of it, Yuchan took it as Junyoung being in a bad mood and not wanting to start a fight to ruin his day even further, so he just did his job and didn't talk much with the doctor either. Junyoung was thankful that the younger man knew how to take a hint (even though this didn't have anything to do with his mood), but at the same time he felt kind of angry. Not at Yuchan, but at Hyunggeun. Why did he have to say that to make him feel awkward? Not only that, he also said something along the lines of 'i'm not the only one who thinks so'.
Who the heck were the others??
Those busybody bastards.
It was almost Christmas. And since he didn't take any days off last year, he was so going to enjoy them this time. He should go on a trip with his little sister. That'd be a good idea. Perhaps a food tour around Korea? Or maybe they should go to Japan for a few days, he loved that country.
And once he went back to work he'd be able to get over it and stop feeling embarrassed by someone else's ignorant words.
<<Just kiss him and stop your sexual tension.>>
What the heck. He just couldn't get those words out of his head. It was just so damn silly that he couldn't get over it. If his hyung was joking, well that'd be okay. But when he said that to Junyoung he was being damn serious about it.
Sexual tension? More like tension. Period. As if kissing your enemy was going to make them stop messing with you and your work. Should Harry Potter kiss Lord Voldemort to stop him? Should Batman and the Joker hook up to make up? Of course not! And this was the same. Did Hyuggeun think before speaking? Because...
"E-euijin-ssi," Junyoung said, startled. "Sorry, I got distracted, what were you saying again?"
All the doctors from the second floor were having a little meeting to talk about some important stuff before going on holidays. One of the few colleagues Junyoung actually liked, Lee Euijin, who was also the Director of Medical Staff, was talking to him directly while Junyoung was ignoring him! What the hell was he thinking? God, he really needed those days off.
"That's not very typical of you..." Euijin said, smiling and not giving too much importance to it. Junyoung heard the other doctors laughing at him and he wanted to kill them all. "Nevermind. I was talking about the night shift on Christmas."
Junyoung slowly nodded.
"We're short of staff and I'm afraid... that you'll have to work this year."
"I'm really sorry," Euijin continued, trying to make up excuses. "I know that last year you were one of those who stayed here for the whole holidays, but these past few months several doctors from our staff have transferred to other hospitals around the country and in the end... we had to distribute the work among the ones who are working here. It doesn't mean you won't have any days off. Your vacation begins the 20th of this month. You only have to work on Christmas Eve."
The young doctor couldn't say anything against Euijin's words. After all, this was his duty. And no matter how much his sunbaes underestimated him, Junyoung was very committed to his work.
Besides, it wasn't that bad either. Yes, it was true that this meant that his so wanted trip was ruined. But it could be much worse, right?
"You won't be alone, though. If I'm not wrong, your assigned nurse will work that night too... So I guess it will be more bearable? But still, I'm really sorry."
Junyoung stared at the director with an incredulous look, to which the older man only responded with an innocent smile. Euijin had no idea of the relationship he had with Yuchan, it wasn't a big surprise that he thought they got along well enough for Junyoung to be relieved to not spend Christmas working alone…
But spending the Christmas Eve with him didn’t make Junyoung feel relieved in the slightest...