The Week Before Christmas

Meet Me Halfway
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“Soojin, did you grade the papers from last week?” A middle aged woman approached Soojin, who was already sitting in her seat next to the professor's desk. 

 

She looked up from the stack of essays in front of her and nodded, “yes, professor Young, it’s right here.” She motioned towards the neatly stacked papers, a polite smile making its way onto her lips. 

 

Professor Young grins, “thank you.” 

 

“Now, I think this is well deserved?” Professor Young reaches into her briefcase, pulling out an old book and handing it to Soojin. 

 

An instant and genuine smile brightens Soojin’s expression, “finally.” 

 

Professor Young chuckles, “you told me you didn’t like to read. What’s this for? And why were you so determined to earn it from me that you’ve been doing TA work with no pay?” 

 

Soojin blinks, smile disappearing, as she clears . “U-Uh.. I-It’s nothing, ma’am.” 

 

A scoff comes from the professor, “don’t lie to me, Soojin. I’ve never seen you smile, well…. I’ve never seen you smile at all, since you’ve been my student.” 

 

Soojin makes a face, “I smile.” 

 

“Not this bright.” 

 

“It’s just a gift for a secret Santa thing.” Soojin admits, putting the book safely in her backpack. 

 

“For someone special?” The look that was given to her was playful and mischievous. 

 

Soojin blinks, “j-just a friend.” 

 

Professor Young chuckles, “what? Am I too old to know about what you kids do nowadays? I hear stuff about you, Soojin. You kids talk loud in the halls.” 

 

Soojin rolls her eyes, “why is my name coming out of other people’s mouths like they know me.” She muttered to herself, but Professor Young clearly heard it. 

 

As she taps away on her computer, trying to set up for her upcoming class, Professor Young lets out a hum, “you’re popular, don’t think I haven’t noticed. Quite the reputation you’ve got around here.” 

 

Soojin lowers her head, fingers fidgeting onto her lap in thought. Professor Young holds her motherly smile, and takes her fingers off of her keyboard. When Professor Young appears in front of Soojin, hands resting on the edges of the table as she leans to analyze Soojin’s mood. 

 

“Have you lost your confidence?” 

 

Soojin gives her a questioning raise of her brow, “excuse me?” 

 

Professor Young chuckles, “child, I met you in your first year of college. Your confidence has left quite the impression on me, and I’m sure it has with your other professors.” 

 

“I haven’t lost my confidence, Professor Young.” 

 

The older woman hummed, “the Soojin I met three years ago would dance in this glory. You were proud of your reputation.” 

 

Soojin shrugged, “w-well, that’s not who I am now. Or I don’t think it is. That reputation? That means nothing to me. I don’t want to be known as just that.” 

 

Professor Young in her lips, hiding her proud smile. She taps the wooden table once, before slowly walking back to her laptop. 

 

“I think it’s only you, who assumes that your reputation only consists of how well you can…. how do you kids say it, Soojin?” Soojin raises a brow, “Pull girls?” Professor Young chuckles, and when she catches a glimpse of Soojin’s surprised face turning into a grimace, her laugh grows. 

 

“What? I told you. You kids talk loud in the hallways.” 

 

“Please, don’t ever say that ever again.” 

 

“These slangs I hear from you kids don’t make any sense.” Professor Young shakes her head. 

 

“Anyway,” Professor Young waves her hand, wanting to get back to her point. “What I’m saying is, your peers see you as much more than that.” 

 

“You should see the wonderment in their eyes when I pull up your pictures as examples in my lectures. They praise you, Soojin. Even if they don’t know you.” Professor Young gives her a look, a smile still on her lips. 

 

“And your reputation as a dance captain for such a prestigious association?” The look Professor Young gives Soojin makes the younger woman’s lips tilt up into a shy smile, “you don’t give yourself enough credit, Soojin. You’re an admirable person. I’m sure people have told you that.” 

 

“Yeah..” Soojin cracks a smile, and Professor Young knows her point has been given. 

 

“So this friend?” 

 

Soojin looks at her with furrowed eyebrows, already expecting the question. 

 

“Is this the same friend in your pictures? Your muse?” Professor Young’s question was relayed with a teasing tone. 

 

“Muse? That’s… t-that’s a stretch.” 

 

Professor Young snorts, “whatever you say, Soojin. Whatever you say.” 

 

“Here,” Soojin watches with a confused expression, as Professor Young reaches into her briefcase again. 

 

“What is this?” 

 

“Another rare first edition. Wuthering Heights. I think your little friend will like it.” Soojin takes the book unsurely, looking at the fancy, yet old looking book in her hands. 

 

“Aren’t these expensive? Why are you just giving it away?” Soojin asks, turning the book in her hands. She didn’t understand the value of first edition books. They print probably millions of copies of classics like this for bookworms, much like Shuhua. Soojin wasn’t much of a reader, so she just didn’t get it. 

 

But here she was, doing so much just to get her hands on a first edition book for someone she claims was so annoying. 

 

“I mean, I could sell it for a fortune.” Professor Young states, and Soojin thought that was the smarter thing to do, “or I could give it to you, and you can make someone you care about really happy.” 

 

The older woman grins, “and when she’s happy, that would make you happy, and I would feel amazing knowing I helped you do that. The satisfaction of spreading happiness is better than having all the money in the world, Soojin.” 

 

Soojin lets out a low chuckle, a small smile on her lips, as she lowers her head to the book on her lap. “Huh…” 

 

“What is it, child?” 

 

Soojin shook her head, “no, it’s just…” she looked up, and her smile was nostalgic and a bit sad, “my mom… she used to say that a lot. Practically lived by those words.” 

 

Professor Young mirrors Soojin’s smile, “I’m sure she was as bright as the sun, Soojin.” 

 

Soojin’s smile widens, “she was.” 

 

_

 

“Love, can you come here for a sec?”  

 

Lucas stops midway from squeezing the red icing out of the piping bag after he hears Yuqi calling for him from the kitchen. He the icing from his fingertips before handing Jeno the bag, and maneuvering over the bodies hunched over the coffee table. 

 

“Hey, you ruined my gingerbread house!” Chan clicks his tongue in annoyance when Lucas accidentally nudged him when he walked by. 

 

“Sorry, dude.” Lucas gives him a sheepish smile, “either way your gingerbread house got nothing on our house.” He points at Jeno, as they exchange smug looks. Jeno turns to Chan and Soyeon who rolled their eyes at him, “nothing on us!” 

 

Lucas walks into the kitchen with a stressed Yuqi and a lost Shuhua, “what is it, babe?” 

 

“I can’t open this.” She holds a jar of strawberry jam, an annoyed look on her face. 

 

Lucas chuckles, “let the muscles handle it.” 

 

He takes the jar from his girlfriend’s hand, opening it with ease, and handing it back smugly. Yuqi scoffs, “I loosened it for you. That’s why it was so easy.” 

 

Lucas grins, pulling her by the waist, and planting an adoring kiss onto Yuqi’s head. And just for Yuqi’s satisfaction and ego, Lucas chants, “Teamwork makes the dream work, babe.” 

 

“I loosened it too.” Shuhua pipes. 

 

Lucas turns to Shuhua, the same grin on his face, as he extends his fist towards the younger woman. “Teamwork.” Shuhua giggles, fist bumping Lucas. 

 

“You guys haven’t even started your gingerbread house yet.” Lucas points out, and Yuqi groans, “Shuhua can just partner up with Soojin this year. I’m running a little late getting dinner ready because Soojin usually helps me.” 

 

“She’s not here yet?” Shuhua looks to Lucas with hopeful eyes, but the man just shakes his head. 

 

“Not yet. She’s not answering her cell either, but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.” Lucas assures Shuhua, “probably just the snow holding her up.” 

 

“It’s snowing?” Shuhua exclaims, gasping in excitement. 

 

Yuqi chuckles, “Sure is, baby. It’s the first snowfall tonight.” She couldn’t resist the smile that spread through her face after seeing Shuhua’s excited smile. She knows just how much Shuhua lacks a normal childhood being neglected and trapped from so many wonderful things to experience in this world. Yuqi’s heart warms every time she gets to witness Shuhua getting so excited to  experience something for the first time. 

 

“Can I go outside?” Shuhua questions. 

 

“Maybe not right now. It’s snowing a bit hard, but it’ll settle down, and we can go have a snowball fight in the streets.” Lucas offers, reaching to ruffle Shuhua’s hair. 

 

“I’m here.” 

 

Soojin walks into the kitchen, and Shuhua doesn’t miss the way Soojin’s eyebrows slightly furrow. It was obvious that Soojin was trying to control her expression from looking so pained every time she took a step. 

 

“Finally, Jin. I was dying over here.” Yuqi heaves a relieved sigh. 

 

“She didn’t let anyone else help.” Lucas raised his hands in the air in everyone’s defense. 

 

“Did I want my house burning to the ground?” Yuqi sarcastically says, rolling her eyes. 

 

Lucas gapes, “man, you burn the chicken one time.” He grumbles, stomping grumpily as he exits the kitchen. 

 

Soojin chuckles as she steps to the side to let Lucas by, lips forming a thin line to stop herself from visibly groaning. Shuhua frowns, and when Soojin catches her worried eyes, the older woman settles to avoid her eyes instead. 

 

“U-Uh… let me just use the bathroom real quick and then I’ll help you with dinner, Yuqi.” Soojin says, turning quickly out of the kitchen. 

 

Shuhua also gets up to follow after her, waiting in the hall for Soojin, so that she could ensure that she was okay. There was a lot of silence, and Shuhua anxiously bit her lip. 

 

She groans to herself, and with the itching urge, she opens the door to the bathroom, startling a wincing Soojin who looked at her with wide eyes through the mirror. 

 

Shuhua sees Soojin drop her shirt as fast as she can, and it only heightens her concerns. “What was that?” 

 

“Stray girl, you can’t just barge into the bathroom when someone’s using it.” Soojin hisses at her, very much annoyed. 

 

“It’s just you. I’ve seen you .” Shuhua waves it off. 

 

Soojin rolls her eyes, “that’s no excuse.” 

 

“Says the girl who barged into my fitting room.” Shuhua rolls her eyes, walking right up to Soojin, and lifting up her shirt the way Soojin had when she walked in. A gasp leaves her lips as she sees her side bandages with a slight tint of red forming on the surface. 

 

“Soojin, what the !” Shuhua exclaimed, voice turning angry. Soojin shushes her, swatting her hands away, and dropping her shirt back down. 

 

“It’s fine. I’m fine.” 

 

“Is that why you were late?” Shuhua questions. 

 

“It doesn’t matter—,” Soojin tries to say, but Shuhua cuts her off, “I’m asking, so obviously it matters to me.” 

 

Soojin sees the fear washing through Shuhua’s face, and she softly sighs. She did agree to be more open with Shuhua, and depend on her like a friend would. 

 

“I’m fine, Shuhua.” Soojin could only assure her. 

 

Shuhua only stares at Soojin, and when the older woman sees her eyes grow crystal, and her bottom lip shake, she suddenly doesn’t know what to do. 

 

“S-Shuhua, a-are you cryi—,” Soojin doesn’t finish her sentence, only receiving a hard punch on her shoulder. 

 

“Ow, stray girl, wait—,” Soojin dodges another punch, but her big movement strains her wound, and she winces, holding her side. 

 

Shuhua stops her movements, flinching back in shock after hearing Soojin’s cry of pain. She sniffles, and pulls on Soojin’s arm to bring her closer towards her. 

<
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Kuukuu
See you in the next update lovelies <3

Comments

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jin_jincherry #1
Chapter 39: I remember this fic today and I really missed it :( is still one of my favs
Mustafina
1151 streak #2
Chapter 1: Reading this and Keenan Te at the same time is a perfect combination 👌
sooshuagenda
#3
Chapter 39: I'm speechless. My heart mourns for Shuhua and Soojin. Suicide is a very sensitive topic. It takes courage and a mindful heart to even talk about it. This is not a typical fanfiction. Meet Me Halfway paints the real world, real life, real battle a lof of us face. I'm here to stick til the end.

You touch hearts and souls, author. Please continue writing this way, ur genuine way of telling stories. I can't remember the last time a fanfiction was able to bring out so much emotions from my chest that I thought I didn't have in me.

You're awesome. Happy holidays to you too.
smythelibra143
#4
Chapter 39: That was one very selfish decision he did, and too cruel too. And I understand why Soo's acting that way. I hope Soojin doesn't isolate herself completely again, I hope she gets through this with Shu and the gang's help. Thanks for the update Author! 💜🍒
allgayinthepink
#5
Chapter 39: soojin is so damn stubborn they're a perfect fit alright 😭 but i get her if that's how she chooses to cope.. like to witness something as gruesome as suicide would've traumatized everyone else too. but to shut people out, especially shuhua is really getting out of hand. she has to deal with it sooner or later :(
Toodoongie
#6
Chapter 39: Soo is one damn stubborn but i understand where she came from
Toodoongie
#7
Chapter 38: Soojin hoping nothing more from you sir. You being alive is enough for her. The bar so low but you get a shovel. You put so much burden and pain on her shoulders and as if it not enough, you really have to make her witnes you death. Horible is an understatement for a dad like you
Toodoongie
#8
Chapter 38: Her dad really thought its a good idea to s word infront of his kid like soojin have enough trauma already sir 💀
smythelibra143
#9
Chapter 38: It's as if what he did after losing his wife was never enough, as if the pain he inflicted Soojin wasn't enough. Now he just needed to up once again and let Soojin witness and experience that? How selfish can he be?! And why do I feel like Shu's family has something to do with this? I really hope I'm wrong. By the way, thank you for the update Author! 💜🍒
allgayinthepink
#10
Chapter 38: the whiplash from this chapter jesus christ