Chapter 1: Smile Flower
For some reason, I keep thinking these days...
About how happy I am,
About how beautiful you are.
If, some day, we become unhappy,
If we drift apart...
What do I do?
-Smile Flower, Going Seventeen Track 8
Listen to You Made My Dawn playlist by leirabeans.
It was an ill-fated epiphany.
Mingyu only realized how much Wonwoo really meant to him once the younger was no longer in his life.
Perhaps it is true… that we can only truly realized the worth of something, of someone after they’re gone. Silence suffocates him now that Wonwoo’s supportive words can no longer be spoken. Loneliness engulfs him now that Wonwoo’s comforting touches can no longer be felt. At the end of a long day, the cold of their bed cuts Mingyu’s skin like knife. In the middle of the night, Mingyu finds himself screaming in his sleep. As the dawn breaks, devastating sobs escape his lithe body.
Yet when the day arrives, Mingyu picks up the broken pieces of himself and wipes his tears away with a bruised hand to get dressed for work. He puts on a mask and devotes himself to the job that took his life away. It’s ironic, really. How his ambition to become a surgeon devoured him and made him forget what really mattered in his life. How he and Wonwoo rarely spent time together in the past few years because Mingyu was busy working in the hospital to save the lives of people he never knew. It’s ironic to find himself in the same exact hospital, with a completely different purpose.
The only place where he can see Wonwoo.
Wonwoo gulped nervously, “You’ll be there.” He whispered. Then his almond-shaped eyes met Mingyu’s as he added solemnly, “You’ll wait for me, right?”
Mingyu didn’t have to ask him what he meant. Mingyu knew. Wonwoo knew. That’s the thing about their love for each other. It was like an invisible, inevitable force. They didn’t know when it started. They didn’t know when interest turned to friendship. They didn’t know when that friendship blossomed to love. They didn’t know when their love became an inconvenience. They didn’t know when their love withered. Like seasons changing throughout the year, their love could not win against time.
But at that moment, all Mingyu knew was that the man sitting in front of him was his entire life. So Mingyu flashed a dazzling smile and answered with certainty, “Always.”
Mingyu has finished his clinical duties for the week and his weekend is finally free. He enters the locker room and grabs his bag, packed with a change of clothes for the weekend. With sore legs and arms, he presses 17 on the elevator. A familiar heaviness settles in his heart as he anxiously waits for the elevator to go up. When the metal doors open, Mingyu steps out slowly and proceeds to one of the patient room.
On the hospital bed, lies a tall lean man. His eyes are peacefully closed and his thin lips parted open by a tube to help him breathe. His arms and legs are wrapped by casts and his skin is painted by bruises of different shades. A constant beeping of several machines floods the silence in the room. Mingyu’s chest tighten every single time he enters this room. Fighting the tears that has sprung up his eyes, Mingyu puts on a weak smile as he says cheerily, “Good evening, Won-ah. How are you, baby?”
Mingyu places his duffel bag on the couch and pulls a stow away table beside Wonwoo’s bed, “You have no idea what happened today. I amputated a toe all by myself!”
Mingyu takes out a lunch box and sets the table as he continues, “Dr. Son was impressed. He said that I can scrub in in his fasciotomy tomorrow.”
Mingyu caresses Wonwoo’s face gently and with a meek smile he whispered, “But I told him fuck no. My boyfriend and I have a date tomorrow.”
“You’ll wait for me, right?”
Mingyu returns to the apartment, which he shared with Jisoo, on Monday morning. He finds the other sitting on the table in front of a left-over pizza, eyes unfocused. Mingyu drops his duffel bag to the floor and proceeds to the kitchen.
“Jisoo-ah.” He calls softly but there was no response.
“Hong Jisoo-ssi.” He tries again, a little louder this time.
Jisoo visibly jumps, “Oh, you’re back!” He smiles weakly.
Mingyu nods, leaning on the counter with cold coffee in his hand. “I need to do laundry and take some more clothes.”
Jisoo shrugs, picking his pizza as he adds, “How’s Wonwoo?”
Mingyu winces internally; Jisoo and he has fallen to the habit of understating what has happened. Often, they pretend that Wonwoo is in a vacation somewhere far.
“He’s doing well. We had a Marvel marathon.” Mingyu replies, taking out a pan to make them breakfast.
Jisoo chortles, “He’s always enjoyed Thor a little bit too much.”
A heavy pause settles between them. The only audible sounds are their breathing and the rustling of the pan and ingredients Mingyu is handling. Yet neither of them try to break it the deafening silence. Mingyu simply continues to fry some eggs and make toast. He places it in front of Jisoo and mutters, “Have a proper breakfast. Let’s get some groceries to cook dinner for tomorrow.”
Jisoo sighs, “Jihoon is ignoring my calls again.”
“I’ll tell Seungcheol to drag him over.” Mingyu answers, taking the seat across Jisoo.
“Let’s buy strawberry cheesecake too.” Jisoo adds with a hint of life in his eyes.
Mingyu nods, “Seungcheol and Jeonghan would like that.”
“Yeah.” Jisoo breathes. “Jeonghan would have liked that.” His voice breaks as the lights in his eyes go out.
Jisoo fell in love with Jeonghan at first sight.
He could remember it vividly. He could envision Jeonghan’s first day in college. His golden-brown hair fell softly below his ears. His wide honey eyes glistened with admiration as he absorbed the campus around him. His lips parted and an angelic voice came out, “Excuse me, where can I find the music department?”
It was like time stood still. There was a sea of students drifting around them but all Jisoo could see was the beautiful man in front of him. His heart started racing and his palms began to sweat.
Suddenly, a smaller man with crescent eyes and plump lips came up behind the other and dragged him away, “Let’s go, Jeonghan-ah.”
Jeonghan allowed the smaller man to pull him. As Jisoo followed them frantically with his gaze, Jeonghan turned around again.
It took Jisoo’s breath away.
Jisoo was immediately captivated as he tested the name on his mouth, “Jeonghan-ah”. A giggle escaped his lips.
It was only a matter of time before Jisoo met his mystery man, Yoon Jeonghan. Jisoo already had a close group of friends by sophomore year, after meeting them the year before. Jisoo was paired with an energetic yet enigmatic man named Soonyoung as his roommate in his freshman year. Surprisingly, the two had compatible lifestyles and living arrangements. He met Wonwoo through Soonyoung, and the two instantly hit off. He was then greeted with delicious home-cooked meals after Wonwoo’s partner, Mingyu, joined in when his scheduled permitted. The four of them got along very well and often had meals together. In his sophomore year, Jisoo met Lee Jihoon in the music department. Unfortunately, he did not recognize the smaller man from their encounter before with Jeonghan. Soonyoung then introduced Jisoo to Choi Seungcheol, whom Soonyoung bonded with through several rounds of alcohol.
By the time that Jisoo saw Jeonghan again, it was already too late.
Jeonghan was visiting Jihoon during their practice to gush about a certain tattooed man named Seungcheol, who asked him out on a date. By the time Jisoo could introduce himself to Jeonghan, the other was already in love with Seungcheol.
Perhaps it was fate. Perhaps Jisoo was preordained to always love Jeonghan from afar: not being able to do anything as he watched Seungcheol hurt himself and Jeonghan. Perhaps it was his twisted destiny to stand idle as the people he loved get hurt over and over again.
Jisoo never stopped loving Jeonghan. He met, fucked, and dated other people. Yet at the back of his mind, Jeonghan was always there: with his pale milky skin, glittering hazel eyes, and seraphic smile. Throughout the years, he and Jeonghan had developed a deeper platonic friendship. With Jihoon occupied by Soonyoung and Seungcheol usually partying with his guy friends, Jeonghan often found solace with Jisoo. Jisoo, still love-drunk, was foolish enough to agree to every coffee, every dinner even if that meant ignoring his actual dates. That’s the thing about loving someone you shouldn’t love… you couldn’t stop, no matter how much it tore you apart, how much it drove you insane.
It was a particularly cold evening after Jihoon had completely moved in Soonyoung’s apartment and Jisoo was supposed to help Jeonghan to move from the apartment he shared with Jihoon into his own studio. Jisoo was having dessert with his date when he received a message from Jeonghan.
Jeonghan: I don’t feel like moving stuff tonight. Let’s do it tomorrow.
Jisoo was about to type back a simple okay, when his date spoke up, “Do you have anywhere you have to be?” She asked politely, leaning into the table. Jisoo shifted his attention back to beautiful lady sitting across him. Honestly, Jisoo had utterly enjoyed spending time with Somi and had almost forgotten about Jeonghan: a considerable feat.
“No, nowhere at all.” Jisoo smiled, pushing his phone to his pocket. After all, Jeonghan did say to just pack up tomorrow.
Jeonghan: I feel like going on a drive. What do you think?
Jeonghan: Ugh fine, I’ll just ask Jihoon.
Jeonghan: Jihoon-ah, I’m drunk. Come, pick me up pwease?
Jihoon: Jihoon’s asleep. It’s Soonyoung. I’ll come pick you up.
Wonwoo: Incoming call from Soonyoung
“Don’t you dare answer it.” Mingyu screeched, throwing his bag to the floor. Wonwoo glared at Mingyu and said apathetically, “I have to go. Let’s talk tomorrow.”
He walked out the door. Hands trembling with frustration, he slid right to accept the call.
Soonyoung: Hey Won, can you drive me to the Tavern? My car’s out of gas and Jeonghan needs a pick up.
Wonwoo: Sure, whatever. Anything to get me out of this fucking house.
Soonyoung: [a pause] Everything okay?
Wonwoo: It’s just Mingyu being Mingyu. Nothing new.
Soonyoung: [sigh] Let’s pick up Hannie and grab a drink on the way.
Wonwoo: Sounds like a plan.
It was around 4 AM when Jisoo was leaving Somi’s apartment when he got the call. He closed the door behind him quietly and picked up, “Hello?”
“Hello, do you know Yoon Jeonghan?” a stranger’s voice on the other end of the line said.
Confused, Jisoo stretched his arm out to see that the caller was using Jeonghan’s phone. “Um yes, may I ask who this is?”
“Yes. I’m calling from SNU Hospital ER. You were the last person Yoon Jeonghan tried to call on his phone and we are hoping you can come in to help us.” The other man replied eloquently.
Jisoo’s ear were ringing and his heart began to race. SNU Hospital ER. The call was from SNU Hospital ER.
“Help with what?” Jisoo breathed, fear engulfing his entire existence.
There was a sigh before he replied gravely, “I’m sorry but we need your help identifying the bodies.”
Jisoo stopped breathing.
Chapter 2: Happy Ending
Finding each other and loving each other…
After the best scene in the end,
In between the credits that roll up,
My name is beside your name,
Together and never apart.
The end of our movie will always be beautiful .
-Happy Ending, An Ode Track 11
Listen to You Made My Dawn playlist by leirabeans.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It had been five months and eighteen days since Jeonghan had left Seungcheol. Yet everyday still hurt. Every day was still a nightmare without Jeonghan smiling at him, holding his hand, loving him. He met Jisoo that Friday night over pizza. They talked about Jeonghan, like they always did. Jisoo had encouraged him to return to his photography classes, even after his muse was gone. Jisoo had asked him to start caring again.
Seungcheol didn’t think he was capable of caring about anything or anyone ever again. How could he, when his heart was a bottomless pit of pain and self-hatred?
But for Jisoo, for Jeonghan… he tried. He asked Jihoon’s fuck-for-the-night to leave and tried to cater to Jihoon politely. It didn’t work. If anything, it only made him relive his worst memories.
“Why now, Cheol? I’ve been bringing girls and guys before. Why’d you suddenly decided to say something now, huh?” His voice was raw. It had been a long time since Seungcheol had heard that vulnerability in Jihoon’s voice.
Seungcheol paused. Unable to face Jihoon, he whispered, “Soonyoung wouldn’t want to see you like this.”
There was a deafening silence.
Jihoon broke into a hollow laughter, “Don’t you fucking dare talk about Soonyoung. Don’t you fucking dare make it seem like I’m cheating on him. Last time I checked, you did that to Jeonghan. Of all the people! I’m not a cheater, you are.”
Seungcheol wanted to disappear.
Seungcheol didn’t see the point of living. How could he, when the ray of light in his life had left? How dare he continue living when he didn’t deserve to? Not after all he’s done to Jeonghan, and by extension, to Jihoon, Jisoo, Mingyu, and Wonwoo?
With shaking hands, Seungcheol rose and headed to the bathroom. He grabbed a new set of razors and raised his boxers to expose his thighs: solid and built with muscle, scarred and bruised with linear strokes.
It was his canvas; a portrait of his physical pain, which was nothing compared to the anguish that devoured him from the inside. With teary eyes, Seungcheol chose to surrender. He chose to feel physical suffering in order to momentarily escape the stabbing misery that was his ceaseless companion.
I’m sorry, Jeonghan. He whispered to himself.
It was five months and nineteen days when Seungcheol decided to surrender to the undying agony that haunted every second of his existence.
“I love you, Jeonghan.” He confessed out loud, before running the blade deep through his wrist.
It was early dawn when Jihoon heard a loud thud from their shared bathroom. Still dazed and hung-over, he scrambled to his feet and opened the bathroom door. What he saw shook him to the core: it was Seungcheol, on the floor, covered with blood with a blade in his hand.
It was Seungcheol, finally giving in to the misery that had consumed them both.
A desperate and warm voice broke Jihoon from his silent turmoil, “Call the ambulance. Call Mingyu. Save him.” Soonyoung begged Jihoon.
It was Seungcheol, the one who killed Jeonghan and Soonyoung.
It was Seungcheol, the one who had put Wonwoo into an infinite sleep; only to have his body slowly wither away.
It was Seungcheol, the one who cheated on Jeonghan and prompted that cursed drive and accident where he lost the two most important people in his life.
It was Seungcheol, the one who had reprimanded him two nights ago for the way he coped with his loss.
It was Seungcheol, the one who also lost love of his life.
It was Seungcheol, the one who cried out of despair every night and every morning.
It was Seungcheol, the one Jeonghan, his best friend, had loved.
It was Seungcheol.
With shaking hands, Jihoon dials Mingyu’s number. He answers on the second ring.
“Jihoon?” He replied warmly, voice awake.
Jihoon, on the other hand, is petrified with fear and worry. He neither know what to say nor able to move his paralyzed muscles. It is as if all he can do is watch the life of out Seungcheol bleed out of him.
Beside Jihoon, Soonyoung remained collected. With calm words and encouraging onyx eyes, he instructs, “Tell him that Seungcheol’s cut himself and bleeding in the bathroom.”
Despite feeling like someone is choking him, Jihoon manages to repeat what Soonyoung said to the phone, to Mingyu.
Mingyu immediately takes control of the situation, “Okay. I’m going to call the ambulance and make sure that they take you here to SNU Hospital. Jihoon, I need you to apply pressure on wherever Seungcheol is bleeding. Make sure to hold it tight and steady. You hear me?”
Jihoon sobs in response.
“You can do this, Hoon. You’re so brave. I’m proud of you. You can do this. You can save Seungcheol.” Mingyu continues, voice filled with belief.
In front of Jihoon, Soonyoung nods in agreement. He flashes a bright smile and his upturned eyes morphs into crescents as he says, “Go on. Do your thing. Save Seungcheol. I know you can do it, Muffin.”
Jihoon’s eyes are full of tears as he leaps to hold Seungcheol’s bleeding wrist tightly. His tiny body quivers with fear. As he looks up to gaze at his source of security, Soonyoung is no longer there.
When the paramedics arrive, Mingyu rushes out to pull the emergency cot himself. He rattles off a list of instructions to the nearby nurses and hurries Seungcheol to the operating room. He has called Dr. Bumzu earlier to supervise the vascular surgery. Thankfully, Seungcheol hasn’t cut his artery deep enough and hasn’t lost a lot of blood. Mingyu, hyper-focused and buzzing, quickly sutures his radial artery and examines if he has any sign of unperfused periphery. They transfuse blood rapidly and in no more than four hours, Seungcheol has been stabilized and admitted.
Once the adrenaline has worn off, Mingyu finds himself slowly slouching and crumbling down from the high. He can’t believe that he has almost lost Seungcheol tonight. Once again, he almost lost another person he loves because he hasn’t paid him enough attention. Mingyu should have seen the signs of grief and depression. Mingyu should have known. Mingyu should have been there. Mingyu shouldn’t have let it happen.
Suddenly, a strong hand grips his shoulder. Mingyu weakly turns to see Dr. Bumzu smiling at him.
“You did well, Mingyu. You did well and you saved your friend.”
Mingyu nods and averts his gaze to hide the tears that sprung up his eyes.
“At first, I was worried that you were leading an emergency, especially someone you personally knew. But you did very well and you should be proud of yourself.” Dr. Bumzu continues, voice warm with respect.
Should he? Should Mingyu be proud of himself?
Jisoo manically runs through the emergency department. This has to be a twisted dream, right? He can’t possibly be in the same ER, the same hospital to find another one of his friends gone. Jisoo cannot let such a thing be a reality.
So, he runs.
He runs with desperation. He runs with prayers. He runs with hope.
He finds Jihoon crying in Mingyu’s arms. Jihoon is still in his pajamas and Mingyu is dressed in his green scrubs. Both of their clothing is painted with blood. Seungcheol’s blood.
Jisoo’s heart leaps to this throat and his mind blanks as he realizes the scene in front of him.
He lost another friend.
Jisoo is too late.
Jisoo falls to his knees; uncontrolled sobs reverberating through his body. The last time he has seen Seungcheol was two nights ago, over boxes of unfulfilling pizza. Jisoo can’t believe the fact that that is truly the last time he will ever see Seungcheol again.
“Jisoo hyung?” He hears Jihoon’s worried voice through the sea of despair that has drowned him.
Jisoo cannot answer Jihoon. All he knows is that he is drowning. He is trapped under the sea. Trapped in the agony, grief... loss.
He feels arms surround him and a repeating incantation that sounded like a miracle, “He’s fine. Seungcheol’s fine. He’s fine. Seungcheol’s fine.”
Jisoo hangs on to this string of hope and resurfaces.
Seungcheol is still unconscious but his vitals have stabilized and his blood components are normalized. Mingyu drops Jihoon and Jisoo off in Seungcheol’s room then returns to Wonwoo’s side. As soon as he enters Wonwoo’s room and sees the other lying on bed, Mingyu breaks down.
He clings onto Wonwoo’s hand as if it were the last strand of his strength, of his sanity, of his life. And it is. It is all that is keeping him together at this point.
Mingyu has lost his cousin, Soonyoung.
Mingyu has lost a friend, Jeonghan, and almost lost another one today, Seungcheol.
Mingyu cannot lose Wonwoo too.
He can only imagine how he would be like without Wonwoo. He would be worse than Seungcheol. He would be a shell of himself: broken and gone.
Mingyu doesn’t know if he can live like that. If he can live a life without Wonwoo. Mingyu thinks that like Seungcheol, he might-
Mingyu instantly looks up to find Wonwoo’s brown eyes staring back at him.
Mingyu’s jaw falls and his heart stops beating.
“Won-ah?” he whispers, too scared to wake up from this dream.
Wonwoo blinks, plump lips pull apart and then puts them together again.
“Won-ah?” Mingyu tries again, voice filled with raw desperation.
“Would now be a bad time to pretend that I have amnesia?” Wonwoo asks, sharp eyes wide and full of endearing innocence.
Mingyu throws himself at Wonwoo and weeps like a child.
“Were you waiting for me?” Wonwoo probes, voice somewhat hopeful.
Mingyu places his hands on either side of Wonwoo’ hollows cheeks and gazes into his soul as he professes, “Always.”
Wonwoo breaks into a smile, displaying his deep dimples that Mingyu has missed so gravely.
“Well, that’s all good but… can you get me a glass of water? I’m fucking thirsty.” Wonwoo demands.
Mingyu laughs hysterically as he cries and then complies.
Five years later…
Mingyu reaches to the pocket of his white coat to check his phone. Mingyu smiles; it’s a message from Seungcheol.
Seungcheol: I saw my shrink. She said I can continue without the pills. I TOLD YOU. YOU OWE ME SAMGYUP.
Mingyu can’t help but laugh at the younger’s antics.
“Dr. Kim?” A boyish voice breaks Mingyu from his reverie.
Mingyu turns to find a kind-faced young man, clad in a shorter white coat. It was Seungkwan, a medical student. “Yes?” Mingyu replies, fluidly pocketing his phone.
“Can I see Ms. Hara in clinic? I was hoping I can take her history first and then we can see her together.” He answers, a bashful smile on his lips.
“Sure, but she’s the last patient for tonight. I have a date to go to.” Mingyu shrugs, fingers unconsciously brushing on the golden ring that sits comfortably on his left fourth finger.
Seungkwan nods eagerly, “I’ll make sure to ask her about her antidepressants and her sleep. Is there anything else you’d like to me ask?”
Mingyu contemplates briefly before continuing, “Carefully inquire how she’s dealing with her friend’s death.”
Seungkwan agrees solemnly.
Mingyu turns back to his computer to continue typing up the patient note. Some people were surprised and have reprimanded him when he announced that he was changing specialties. The surgeons he has worked with were particularly disappointed. Yet Mingyu knew that pursuing a career in surgery will yield him with no time to actually be with the people he loves. The very same people whose opinions mattered the most. Wonwoo was the biggest supporter of his decision. Mingyu shifted to family medicine, wherein he can see a variety of patients and pathologies while catering to a mostly outpatient setting. Because of the clinic timings, Mingyu has the time to cook breakfast in the morning and have dinner with his husband.
With a sigh from the endless distraction, Mingyu pulls out his phone again.
Wonwoo: Please come home in an hour or I will have to cook myself. Pun intended.
Mingyu pinches the bridge of his nose.
Some things never change.
Jihoon examines his wardrobe pristinely. One end is occupied by tight black pants and party clothes, while the other is filled with tuxedos and suits. He looks down to his pointed black leather shoes and settles for a compromise: semi-tight black pants and a patterned coat. He checks himself in the mirror before heading to the club, Universe.
With the alcohol thumping in his veins, Jihoon rolls his body to the music. There are pairs of hands on his skin, but Jihoon immediately swats them away. More craving touches land on his pants and before Jihoon can even push them away, two bodyguards envelop Jihoon.
“What the fuck?” He hears someone say.
Jihoon laughs triumphantly, “I own the fucking club. What are you gonna do?”
Jihoon ignores the pathetic insults around him and checks his phone.
Mingyu: It’s 8 PM. You have 30 minutes to be here for dinner, LEE JIHOON or I will personally eat your cheeks.
Jihoon’s eyes widen at the realization and scurries off the dance floor.
Tuesday nights are Seungcheol’s worst enemy and closest friend. Tuesdays means walking the familiar road to Wonwoo and Mingyu’s apartment, with Jisoo’s warm hand in his and Jisoo’s lovely chatter filling the air. Tuesdays meant sitting down in Wonwoo’s library, chewing Mingyu’s home-grilled meat as he nags them, and listening to Jihoon’s newest business venture.
Tuesday meant being home.
And that's a wrap! Thank you for sticking with this fic and for not hating me despite its plot. It's been a painful ride and the ending is no sunshines and butterflies but I do hope that you find it as fitting as I did.
Please comment or dm me if you have any questions. I'll be more than glad and honored to answer! In case it wasn't clear, Wonwoo was in a comatose and he wakes up and gets married to Mingyu! Seungcheol and Jisoo find forgiveness and love with each other. Jihoon realized that self-love and self-worth are more important for him.
Thank you so much and with love, Leirabeans signing off.
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