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„Jihoon, I have to tell you something.“

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When Jihoon came out of the operating room, he felt like fainting. The operation took a lot longer than anticipated, because there were some grave complications. The doctors took so long to stop the sudden bleeding that the patient almost died. But there was nothing he could do and also nothing to complain about. As a resident in his first year, the only thing he can do is watch the doctors and learn from them.

Sometimes, well many times, Jihoon hated himself for choosing this path. He could have studied anything, because he was one of the top students at school. So why did he have to choose one of the most tiring jobs of them all? He just was so tired all the time, but he never even could sleep more than 4 hours, because there was just too much to do. Sleeping was in the past always one of his favorite things to do.

So yes, he really regretted his job choice at times. No sleep, no good food, no private life and never ending studies... Years of studying at university and now years of studying at the hospital without even doing something that really helps people.

When will he be actually able to help patients? How many more years will it take until he’ll hold a scalpel in his hand? Jihoon felt like running through a long black tunnel without a light at the end.

It was a cold day in the beginning of December and the first snow was falling. Jihoon felt annoyed looking outside. Snow meant more accidents, which resulted in even more superficial work for him. He just wanted to sleep. At least for two hours. His shift would actually have been over already three hours ago, but the operation just took so freaking long.

He made his way to the rest room, hoping it to be empty. He couldn’t deal with the chatting of his colleagues right now. When he opened the door, he was surprised that his prayers were being answered. All four beds were empty.

But of course, like always, the others used his bed as a storage place once again. He took the black coat, the blue gloves and the two bags lying on his bed and threw them into the corner. It was really not his problem if something would get dirty or broken.

Just when he lied down and closed his eyes, his pager began to beep. „I fucking hate my life! “ He took the pager out of his coat and saw the name Daniel on the display. „This better be important or I’ll murder you. “ He got up from the bed and stormed out of the room.

Jihoon knew Daniel already for many years. He transferred to his middle school when they were both 15. Jihoon always had been a loner at school, cold to other people, always just focusing on his studies. He never made any friends at school.

Daniel was the total opposite. Always in a good mood, easy befriending people, easy to talk to. Even though they were really different, they still became the best friends.

On his first day at the new school, Daniel saw Jihoon sitting by himself in the break. Without any worries in the world he sat beside the shorter guy and started asking him questions about the school. Jihoon, even though not being very socially skilled was still a polite person and answered all of the others question.

Every day he just kept on talking to Jihoon and the other didn’t have the heart in him to push Daniel away. Some weeks into their weird friendship, Daniel had asked Jihoon if he was really okay with being all the time alone up to know. If he didn’t want to be like anyone else.

Jihoon never answered Daniels question, but thought about it a lot in the days afterwards. He came to the conclusion that he felt really comfortable with his newly won friendship and that maybe, just maybe, he really wanted to be at least for some time at school like everyone else.

Daniels and his friendship stayed strong through middle school and high school, they were always together. When Jihoon told Daniel in the last year of high school of his decision to become a doctor, Daniel just laughed and said that he actually decided the same thing.

They got accepted into the same university in Busan, started sharing an apartment there and after they finished their university studies, they even ended up as residents in the same hospital.

On a good day, Jihoon thought that it might have been destiny and he was, frankly speaking really glad about their meeting. Even if Daniel sometimes annoyed him with his never ending good mood, he was quite thankful that his best friend never left his side. Jihoon always thought that being alone was no problem for him, but the truth was that when life was tough, having someone by your side was a big blessing.

When Jihoon came into the waiting area of the hospital, he immediately spotted Daniel standing with his back to him. His tall body and blonde hair was difficult to overlook.

He stomped over and kicked Daniel slightly. „This better be important. My shift already ended three hours ago and I’m so tired that I almost can’t hold my eyes open. I don’t even remember when I slept the last time more than…“

Jihoon looked at Daniels face for the first time since arriving in the waiting hall and immediately stopped talking. Daniel was a person who is always laughing, even in bad situations he tries to lighten the mood with his smile. But right now the smile was gone from his face, from his eyes. Jihoon wasn’t sure he had ever seen him this serious before.

„Jihoon, I have to tell you something.“ You could easily see the pain in his eyes. Jihoon could tell immediately that something was very wrong.

„Your…“ He took a deep breath and while Jihoon waited for him to continue talking, his eyes shifted to the big TV on the wall where a news program was being shown.

„…the car explosion thankfully didn’t harm any other people, but the three persons inside were dead immediately. It was already confirmed that the persons inside the vehicle were Lee Junghwa, CEO of Lee holdings, his oldest son and their driver…“ Everything went silent for Jihoon in that moment, blood pounding loudly in his ears.

His father and his brother, the only family he had, were gone. He hadn’t seen them in years and now he also would never be able to see them again. His past came crashing down him. Everything he tried to leave behind, everything he wanted to forget, everything that was once his past, suddenly became his present and future again.

„Hoonie, are you ok? I think it would be better if you go home for today. I’ll talk to Professor Park. He’ll understand your situation and…“ Jihoon grabbed Daniels arm and the later stopped talking immediately. The look in the eyes of the smaller was alarming.

„I need to go home. Immediately.“ Daniel tried to put up a smile for Jihoon. There really wasn’t a lot more that he could do for him in this situation. „Yes of course. I’ll tell Professor Park that you’ll need some days off to sort out…“

Jihoon was thinking frantically. This was not a situation he had ever imagined happening, but he had to try and come up with how to handle things immediately. He had to leave right now. He didn’t want to turn his back on his life at the hospital, but he had no choice.

„No you don’t understand me. I need to go home. And I won’t come back.“ Jihoon tried to free himself from Daniels grip but the other was holding on tight. „What do you mean? You have your life here in Busan Jihoon. You worked so hard to come this far. You wanted to become a doctor, this was your dream!“ Daniel looked confused and scared at Jihoon.

„No, this wasn’t my dream. You know nothing Daniel.“ Jihoons words felt like a slap in the face. 10 years of friendship crumbled down in a matter of seconds. „I’ll get some things from the apartment and then immediately leave for Seoul. Someone else will pick up the rest later. Of course I’ll keep on paying the rent until you’ll find a new roommate. I’m sorry Daniel, but this is where things are ending.” Jihoon stopped his speech shortly to stare coldly into Daniels eyes.

“I know you won’t understand what I’m doing right now, but believe me, this is also not my choice. It’s my responsibility. There is no way out. Don’t try to contact me. It’s better for you and for me and for everyone. Goodbye Daniel.“

Jihoon pulled his arm away and immediately stormed out of the room, not once looking back. He knew that his behavior probably hurt Daniel a lot, but he had to cut ties with him at once. If he hurts him like this, he’ll hopefully never try to look for him.

Jihoon took a short break on his way back to the rest room, looking out of the window. The snow he hated so much was still heavily falling onto the ground.

His head was spinning, so he held onto the window frame. Jihoon somehow felt in that moment like waking up from a very long dream. A dream where he could decide for himself what he wanted to do. Hang out with the people he liked. Plan his whole life without having to care what other people would say. But everything was just an illusion, he should have known that.

From now on, there wouldn’t be a place in his life for friends outside of his inner circle. It was too dangerous. For Daniel, but also for himself. He couldn’t be weak from now. Not when he’ll be the head of one of the biggest underground clans in Seoul.