Flower Bud (Yerin/Sowon/SinB)

Chasing After Time

A/N: The Hanahaki disease is an illness born from one-sided love, where the victim coughs up flower petals. It may be removed by surgery, but the feelings go away with the petals. It can only be cured without side effects when the love is requited.

It’s Sinbi who finds out first.

Yerin thought that she had been so careful, but maybe the day was too long or the dance practice was too tiring or the feelings were too strong. She coughs, once, and then again.

“You okay?” Sinbi asks, without looking up from her phone.

Yerin hurriedly brings a hand to , but luckily only a single petal comes out, and she hurriedly tucks it into her pocket. “Yep. Just fine.”

Sinbi laughs and holds her phone out towards Yerin. “Look, Buddies made a meme about Sojung unnie, it’s hila—”

Yerin can’t help it. She doubles over, coughing so hard she feels like her lungs are going to collapse, and petal after petal escapes , falling like a flood of crimson into her hands and lap. For a second, she almost thought she coughed up blood. Maybe she would have preferred it.

“Yerin unnie!” Sinbi rushes to her side in an instant. Her phone hits the ground with a clunk, but she doesn’t even notice, her eyes fixed on Yerin, wide and alarmed. “Are you okay? Oh my god, what—”

It seems to take a second for her to register what exactly Yerin coughed up. Petals. Rose petals. Blood red and vibrant and silky, like the remnants of a Valentine bouquet.

“I’m okay,” Yerin says weakly, sweeping some petals off her lap. “I, uh, must have eaten som—”

“You have the Hanahaki Disease.”

Yerin closes her eyes. She can’t bring herself to confirm it, like somehow, if she stays silent, it’ll be less true.

“Who…” Sinbi says. “Who do you have feelings for?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Yerin says, eyes still closed, like she can shut out reality that way.

“Unnie, you have to tell a manager, you have to get the operation—”

“No!” Yerin’s voice almost cracks. She clears , opens her eyes. Sinbi is staring at her, face pale and eyes dark. “No, I have it under control.”

Sinbi’s eyes sweep from the crimson petals everywhere to Yerin’s face, a look of disbelief on her own.

“You have to tell Sojung unnie at least. She’s going to find out. How do you think—”

Yerin frantically cups her hands over when she feels another wave of coughs starting, but it does her no good. The petals escape the gaps between her fingers, overflowing the bowl of her cupped hands, adding to the considerable pile on and around her.

Sinbi’s hands flutter anxiously as she tries to help Yerin, like she wants to pat her back and rub her shoulder at the same time. In the end, she gently brushes Yerin’s hair away from her face and flicks off a stray petal clinging to her neck.

“Ah,” Sinbi says quietly. “It’s Sojung unnie, isn’t it?”

Yerin grips Sinbi’s hand with surprising strength, fingers tightening over hers, a rose petal caught between them. “Please,” she croaks. “Don’t tell her.”

Sinbi opens , and then closes it. “I really think she at least deserves to know you’re sick, even if you don’t want to tell her it’s because of her.”

“I’m not sick.” Another cough comes, along with another disbelieving look from Sinbi. “Okay, I’m—I have a condition. But you can’t tell Sojung unnie. You can’t. Please. Promise me you won’t.”

Sinbi looks torn. “Unnie—”

Yerin squeezes her hand. “Promise me.”

“Okay,” Sinbi whispers. “I promise I won’t tell her.”

Yerin goes weak with relief. “Thank you.”

“But…you know this isn’t just going to go away. Maybe we can find a clinic that does the operation, we don’t have to tell anyone, I’ll go wi—”

“No!” Yerin’s voice comes out razor sharp. Sinbi flinches, looking startled, caught on the edge of its blade. “No, I won’t have the operation.”


But that’s the only way this is going to go away, she can almost hear Sinbi say. Unless she reciprocates your feelings.

I know, Yerin wants to say. I know, but I can’t give this up. It’s the only thing I have of her.

“I won’t have the operation,” Yerin says, her voice as unyielding as steel. “I have it under control. I’ve hid it this long, haven’t I?”

Sinbi looks troubled. “Unnie…”

“I’ll be okay, Eunbi.” Yerin gives her a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry about me.”

Sinbi bites her lip, her expression unconvinced, but she doesn’t say anything further and Yerin takes it as the smallest of victories.

A/N: I may or may not continue this. I do want to, but 1) I have more than enough WIPs and 2) it's probably gonna get angsty af.

Continued here because I hate myself.

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"Flower Bud" has been continued. Check out "Not in Our Will"!
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