After the Holidays

Meet Me Halfway
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Soojin lays the flowers next to the tombstone, running her hands over the carved letters of her mother’s name. She looks up to see the hardened look on her little brother’s face, and she sighs. 

 

She reaches for him, “sit, Jae.” 

 

He does, crossing his legs on the floor, and picking at the grass underneath him. Soojin watches him, lips thinning and another sigh falling through her lips. 

 

“Don’t hide your emotions from me, Jae. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t tell me things. I’m your big sister. I’m supposed to be that person for you, the one that protects you and brings you solace.” Soojin takes the hand that pulls on the blades of green. 

 

Jae finally looks her in the eye, “you are,” he tells her, “you are that person for me.” 

 

Soojin smiles in relief. 

 

“I’ve said some things last night that I shouldn’t have, and I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. I was just feeling a lot of things that made me a bit overwhelmed.” 

 

The older woman pulls him closer, arm slung over his shoulder, heads resting against each other, as they both gaze longingly at the tombstone. 

 

“Merry Christmas, mom.” Jae whispers, and Soojin smiles, “yeah, Merry Christmas, mom.” 

 

“Yoon turned eight yesterday, mom. Soojin spoiled her with a puppy for her birthday, and an art set for Christmas.” Jae snorts, which earns him a soft pinch on the side, “spoil? She’s been asking for years now, and she’s proven herself responsible to have one.” Soojin reasons, afraid that her mother would be nagging at her from above the clouds. 

 

“Yeah, yeah.” Jae rolls his eyes, “she gave me new soccer shoes though. I’ll make more goals now.” He lets out a childish laugh, wiggling his shoulders. 

 

Soojin turns to smile fondly at him. 

 

Jae side eyes her, “Soojin also has a girlfriend. Can you believe that, mom? I can’t, it’s weird. I don’t really know her, but Wendy seems to really like her…. so I guess she’s alright.” 

 

Soojin’s eyes widened, “Jae!” 

 

“What? It is weird. You’re all… mushy..” 

 

The older woman scoffs, “she’s not my girlfriend,” she mutters, “not yet.” 

 

Jae shakes his head, “Soojin is also very scared of commitment, that’s why—,” and a punch lands on his shoulder so quickly, he was already on the floor before he could even scream in pain. 

 

“Stop exposing me in front of mom, you brat!” Soojin groans. 

 

“Um, Ow!” Jae rubs his shoulder, sitting back up into his crisscrossed position. 

 

“She also abuses me, mother.” Jae grumbles. “You asked for it.” Soojin sticks her tongue out. 

 

“I hope mom haunts you in your sleep!” He pushes her away, and Soojin laughs, swatting Jae’s hands away. 

 

They fall into a comfortable silence, eyes moving from the tombstone to the clear blue sky above them. 

 

“When are you planning to tell Yoon?” 

 

Soojin wasn’t expecting the question. She heaves a sigh, and shrugs. “I don’t know.” 

 

“She needs to know at some point, Jin. Yoon’s going to reach that age where she won’t be easily fooled by our excuses as to why we have no parents.” Jae says, but of all people, Soojin didn’t have to be told. 

 

She’s been dreading it. 

 

How is Soojin supposed to tell her little sister that their mother died giving birth to her, and that their father, who turned into a raging alcoholic following their mother’s death, resented her because of it. 

 

“I know, Jae.” She closes her eyes in frustration, “don’t I ing know it.” 

 

“I was about her age when it happened… I don’t think I really understood the situation, but I knew it was sad.” Jae says quietly, “you and dad couldn’t stop crying for days,” the chuckle that left his lips is a reflection of their bitter past, “then everything just… changed. I could understand that much.” 

 

“I’m sorry.” Soojin tells him, expression showing extreme remorse. 

 

Jae turns to her, “if you’re apologizing because it happened, then I’m sorry as well.” Soojin’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion, “Jae, you were—,” and he cut her off from her sentence, “—it happened to you too. To all three of us.” 

 

Soojin’s mouth closes slowly, and she leans on her outstretched arms behind her. “I’m still sorry that you both had to grow up at such a young age without any parents.” 

 

Jae bumps her shoulder, “we have you, and if we’re still apologizing to each other for the world ing us over, then I’m sorry that you had to become a parent at such a young age.” 

 

Soojin chuckles, rolling her eyes fondly. 

 

“I don’t like it when you put so much pressure onto yourself for things that are not your fault, and for things that are out of your control.” Jae tells her, expression turning serious. 

 

The older woman listens intently, eyes growing misty with emotion. 

 

“I wish that you give yourself the credit that you deserve, Jin. I also wish that you don’t belittle your traumas compared to ours just because you’re the oldest.” He grabs Soojin’s hand again, giving her a comforting smile, “and I know this is the first time we’ve actually spoken about this because… well, who wants to talk about their traumas and daddy issues, am I right?” His tone was playful, and it elicited a laugh from his big sister. 

 

“Thank you, for everything that you’ve done for our family, Jin.” Jae nods, “I can handle some of the weight too, you know. Look how grown I am now.” He motions to his body, “I’ve got muscles and… I can even grow a moustache if I wanted to,” he rubs his face, and Soojin scrunches her nose. 

 

“Don’t remind me that you’re growing up, it makes me sad.” Soojin pouts. 

 

“It just reminds me that you’re getting elderly by the day.” Jae teases, and he dodges Soojin’s punch. 

 

“Let’s go before the snow comes.” Soojin rolls her eyes, ruffling Jae’s hair to his dismay. 

 

_

 

A slam of her door startles Shuhua off of her couch, and onto her feet. She hurries to grab the tv remote, so that she could lower the volume and hear for any noise, but when Soojin appears in a haste from the small hallway that leads to the doorway, all sense of fear leaves Shuhua’s body. 

 

“Hey, you scared me.” Shuhua heaves a sigh of relief, hand to her chest. 

 

Soojin doesn’t stop, steps only growing faster in desperate need to get to Shuhua. 

 

“You didn’t tell me that you were comi—,” Shuhua doesn’t get to finish, cherry lips smashing against hers abruptly. 

 

Soojin kisses her with so much fervor, like she was desperate to keep her close, and Shuhua is slightly confused by the hasty behavior. She kisses her back, nonetheless, mind foggy, and body falling into Soojin’s touch like it was second nature at this point. 

 

Shuhua moans, but tries to pull away, “mm, wait, baby—,” the term of endearment comes out naturally, even though it wasn’t used often due to Soojin’s complaints that it made her look too soft. 

 

She manages to pull away from the kiss, but Soojin only trails her lips lower, nipping and biting at her neck. 

 

“Soojin,” Shuhua lets out a giggle, hands pushing at Soojin’s shoulders until she’s finally able to look into Soojin’s eyes.

 

“Hey,” she greets the older woman, swiping her thumb against Soojin’s bottom lip. “Do you wanna tell me what this is about? It’s nearly midnight, and I thought I wouldn’t be seeing you till the day after tomorrow.” 

 

Soojin rests their foreheads together, “I opened my Christmas gift from you.” 

 

Shuhua smiles, “I hope so, it is Christmas Day.” 

 

The older woman shakes her head, “how? How’d you do that?” 

 

Shuhua pulls away, wanting to look into Soojin’s eyes, and when their gazes meet again, all she sees is vulnerability and extreme adoration swimming in the older woman’s orbs. 

 

“Yuqi kind of helped me. She asked Wendy to give me picture references of your mom and the three of you, and I worked on it nonstop till it was finished.” Shuhua explained, cradling Soojin’s face in her hands. 

 

She smiles seeing the expression on Soojin’s face, “I take it, that you liked the painting?” 

 

“Liked?” Soojin looks at her in disbelief, “I ing love that painting.” 

 

Shuhua bursts in laughter, throwing her head back. Soojin grins, tightening her arms around the younger woman’s waist, as she watches the happiness on Shuhua’s face. 

 

“Seriously, Shuhua. You’re so talented. You have no idea how much it means to us. Especially since there aren't any pictures of my mother with all of her children together because… well, you know..” Soojin expresses her gratitude, “you almost made Jae cry.” 

 

Shuhua chuckles, “really?” 

 

The older woman nods, “I swear on it. He told me not to tell, but he just doesn’t want to seem soft and admit he might actually like you.” Soojin snorts. 

 

Shuhua hums teasingly, “I wonder who he gets that from.” 

 

Soojin indulges in her teasing, “hm, I wonder.” 

 

“And my Christmas gift caused you to want to come here in the late hours of the night in desperate need to want to jump me?” Shuhua says teasingly, laughter dying down to a smug smirk. 

 

Soojin rolls her eyes, “don’t get cocky, stray girl. I came here to thank you.” 

 

“Well, you’re welcome.” Shuhua whispers, “I’m really glad you love it. I loved your gift too.” 

 

“Yeah?” Soojin raises a brow, and Shuhua hums, nodding her head. 

 

“I hung it up on the wall.” She turns Soojin’s head to the wall behind her where Soojin’s Christmas gift was beautifully hung and centered. “You’re talented too, Soojin.” 

 

Soojin lets her eyes stare at the photograph. She remembers taking those pictures of Shuhua like it was just yesterday. Soojin was completely enamored by Shuhua’s beauty, everything about her, and it was completely terrifying how Soojin’s feelings continue to only grow stronger for the latter. 

 

She was completely petrified. 

 

The only difference now is that Soojin knows that it was in a good way. That the anxiousness and fear she felt about delving into this relationship was a good thing. Something that made Soojin happy, something that would help her grow as a person. 

 

To learn how to love, and be loved. 

 

“And the camera that you gave me,” Shuhua averts her eye to the vintage camera on her coffee table, “are you aware that I have absolutely no clue on how to use it? I don’t trust myself not to break it.” 

 

Soojin blinks away from the photograph, and lets out a chuckle. “I will teach you so that your clumsiness doesn’t destroy it.” 

 

She picks up the camera, “you have a knack for vintage, so I thought I’d get you a film camera and teach you how to use it.” 

 

Shuhua smiles, “that’s very thoughtful of you.” 

 

“Told you I was a good gift giver.” Soojin says smugly. 

 

 

“Hey, bestie.” 

 

Once Shuhua opens her door, she’s welcomed by the cheeky grin on Jeno’s face as he is leaned against the wall, arms crossed, and eyebrows bouncing. 

 

She wastes no time, hopping onto him like a koala. “You’re back!” 

 

Jeno groans, balancing the both of them, as he waddles into Shuhua’s apartment.

 

“I can really feel the holiday weight on you.” Jeno jokes, huffing and puffing in exaggeration. 

 

Shuhua smacks his back twice, but tightens her arms and legs around him anyway. 

 

Once his knees meet the couch, Jeno outstretched his arms and legs wide open, wiggling his body until Shuhua falls onto the cushions of the sofa in a heap of giggles. 

 

Jeno grins down at her, “clingy baby.” 

 

He plops down next to his best friend, lifting his feet up onto the coffee table, and clasping his hands behind his head. Not a second later, Shuhua slaps his leg, clicking her tongue in disapproval of his feet on her coffee table. 

 

Jeno scoffs, but lowers his legs anyway. 

 

“Where’s that little pup of yours? That’s the only reason why I’m here.” Jeno says playfully, looking around the area for the sight of brown fur. 

 

Shuhua rolls her eyes, “Soojin has Mata. She took her to the dog park with Haku and Yoon.” 

 

Jeno grins, “oh, did she?” 

 

“Yeah…” Shuhua trails, “stop that.” 

 

The man shrugs, his smile never leaving his face. “I’m just happy for you, that’s all.” 

 

Shuhua softens into a pout, before punching his shoulder shyly, “be happy for me in a nicer way.” 

 

Jeno snorts, “that’s no fun. I’m your best friend. I’m supposed to bully you.” 

 

“So? What’s the deets?” He rubs his hands together, face expressing his anticipation for the much needed gossip talk after being a month away from each other. 

 

Shuhua shrugs, “I don’t really have any.” 

 

Jeno blinks, clearly disappointed, “what do you mean you don’t have any? How did she ask you out? Has the changed? What’s different?” 

 

Shuhua rolls her eyes, “Jeno, really?” 

 

“Yes, really! I am your bestie. I need to know the deets.” He stresses in an obvious tone, “it’s a known rule, Shu. It’s basically a given.” 

 

Shuhua sighs, “well, she hasn’t…” she scratches her head, “she hasn’t technically asked me out yet.” 

 

“...what?” Jeno scrunches his face. “All that lovey dovey I witnessed over the phone, and she hasn’t asked you to be her girlfriend?” 

 

Shuhua only shrugs. 

 

“Okay, then you ask her.” Jeno suggests, “simple.” 

 

“I would, but… I want to go at her pace. This is all new to her… you should know that with her reputation in the past and all… but Soojin’s been much more vulnerable with me, which is something extremely difficult for her, so I want her to be comfortable at her own pace.” Shuhua reasons, “and I don’t mind it, Jeno. It’s going really well.” 

 

Jeno gives her a look of awe, “you guys are so cute. I’m so proud.” 

 

Shuhua blushes. 

 

“Now you can never say that I am ever wrong, Shu. I manifested this relationship into existence. You. Are. Welcome.” Jeno claps his hands three times at every word. “I’m really considering the whole fortune teller career, Shu, I’m serious.” 

 

Shuhua snorts, “You’re such a loser.” 

 

Jeno scoffs, “shut up, nerd. Don’t on my dreams like that, you hater. People would pay good money for the Amazing Jeno.” He opens his arms to a non-existent crowd in front of him, waving his hands as if people were screaming his name. 

 

“Please,” Shuhua scoffs. 

 

Jeno chuckles, and leans back into the comfort of the couch. “So, how was meeting the family? You know, I’m surprised that it happened that quickly.” 

 

“I’ve already met half of them from the hospital, so they were familiar with me, but they’re really nice people, Jeno. That was the first time I’ve ever felt like…” Shuhua is hesitant to say what she wants to say next, but Jeno encourages her with a smile, “...like I was part of a family.” 

 

Jeno lets out a quiet sound of awe, his hand lifting to poke at Shuhua’s reddening cheeks. “You two are going to get married. I’m calling it out into existence, and you know damn well it’s going to happen, especially with my record of being right so far.” 

 

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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
1089 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