Stay Joyful

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Minjeong doesn’t see Jimin as often after the older woman had confessed her deepest darkest secret to her. She didn’t think she gave Jimin the impression that she had been scared. It didn’t scare her away, but it did scare Minjeong for many reasons. 

 

The banana milk still came, and so did the love notes, except they were less witty and cringey like Jimin would make it. The words were polite and encouraging instead. 

 

“You think she’s ignoring you?” Ning Ning asks, peering over Minjeong’s shoulder to peek at the sage green post-it note left on the latter’s desk. 

 

“I don’t know.” Minjeong purses her lips to the side, “but it… it shouldn’t bother me.” 

 

“But it does.” Ning Ning snickered. 

 

Minjeong clicked her tongue, “Ning Yizhuo. Shut up.” 

 

“Maybe I can get something out of Aeri.” Ning Ning said, rubbing her chin in thought. “She’ll tell me anything.” 

 

Minjeong turned towards her friend, eyebrows raised. “Since when did you and Aeri start to get close?” 

 

Ning Ning shrugged, “we’re not close.” 

 

The latter eyed her suspiciously. Ning Ning sits back down in her seat, avoiding her eyes. “Why do you think she’s ignoring you? Did you do something?” 

 

Minjeong looks down, thinking back to last night. She slides the post it note into the collection that was starting to pile in amount in her binder.

 

 “No. I didn’t.” Maybe that was the problem. 

 

When lunch break rolls around, Minjeong still hasn’t seen Jimin. It was now clear that Jimin was definitely avoiding her when Minjeong and Ning Ning sees an angry Aeri storming towards them alone with no Jimin next to her like usual. 

 

“Kim Minjeong. We need to talk.” 

 

Ning Ning side-eye’s her friend, before looking back at Aeri with wide eyes. She wanted so badly to be nosy and poke until someone told her what the heck was going on, but she knew now wasn’t the time.

 

“I’ll go get more pudding.” Ning Ning said, standing up from the table to walk away and give the both of them privacy to talk. 

 

“What?” Minjeong says as if she didn’t already know what this was about. 

 

“I know she told you.” 

 

Minjeong blinks, “she did.” 

 

“Why are you acting like nothing?” 

 

“Was it supposed to change something?” 

 

She probably looked like an . Minjeong felt like she was. But Jimin was still Jimin to her. She was the same person to Minjeong, with or without her condition. 

 

Aeri glares, “god, I don’t know what she sees in you. You just keep giving her nothing.” 

 

“I’ve been clear from the very start.” 

 

Aeri bends to match the level of Minjeong’s eyes, “no, you haven’t. You say one thing, but your gestures say something else. You’re in denial, Minjeong. Sure, it’ll make her feel bad that you don’t harbor the same feelings that she does, but it’s worse that you do feel the same way but choose not to do anything about it.” 

 

Minjeong keeps an unreadable face. “So she is avoiding me?”

 

“You think?” Aeri says sarcastically. 

 

“Because she’s hurt that I won’t return her feelings?” 

 

“No,” Aeri sighs, running a hand down her face. She lowers her voice into a whisper, “that girl is smitten with you no matter what I say. She’s avoiding you because she doesn’t know how to feel or act around you now that you know about her secret. She’s never told anyone before. Not after me at least, and I’ve known her since we were children.” 

 

Minjeong’s heart clenches, “why would she tell me?” 

 

“Are you ing dense?” Aeri scoffs, “I mean, I ask the same thing, but…” she heaves a heavy sigh, “just go talk to her. She’s at the gymnasium pool.” 

 

Surely enough, Minjeong finds Jimin exactly where Aeri said she would be. She’s sitting, legs hanging, on the 25 meter platform, looking down at the diving pool below. 

 

Jimin doesn’t notice her until she reaches the final step up the platform. 

 

“Hey,” Minjeong greets her shyly. 

 

Jimin smiles softly, “hi, Kim Minjeong.” 

 

The older woman is sitting exactly in the middle of the platform. Minjeong sits against the rails, legs bent in front of her, and feet pattering on the platform as she thinks of what to say. 

 

“Aeri went all scary best friend on you?” Jimin asked, chuckling, as she shakes her head in disbelief. 

 

Minjeong opens to say something, but closes it, only nodding. 

 

“Sorry about that. She can be quite protective.” 

 

“She should be.” Minjeong mutters. 

 

Jimin turns to look at her for a second, before looking back down at the water. 

 

Minjeong just stares at her side profile. The older woman did seem pretty under the weather. She scoots closer towards Jimin until her legs are directly behind her, but body at her side. 

 

“Yu Jimin,” Minjeong whispers in her ear. 

 

Jimin turns only slightly, fearing that if she turned all the way, the closeness of their faces would give her a heart attack.

 

Suddenly, a blue post-it note is stuck onto her forehead. 

 

Jimin smiles, before peeling the post-it note. She sees Minjeong is now laying flat on her back, hands clasped behind her head, and eyes closed. 

 

She looks down at the post-it note and her heart swells with adoration. 

 

Your secret is safe with me, Yu Jimin. 

Kim Minjeong 

 

When Jimin looked back at Minjeong, she was already staring back at her. 

 

“Was it ever lonely?” Minjeong asks. 

 

“What?” 

 

“Did it ever feel lonely keeping your secret?” 

 

Jimin scoots to mimic Minjeong’s position, laying down against the platform as they stare at the high ceiling of the gymnasium pool. 

 

“No,” Jimin says truthfully, “I’ve always had Aeri. Even though it was hard to talk about it and experience it with my mom, I had my aunt Wendy and aunt Irene. With them, I felt like it wasn’t something I should be afraid of talking about. In fact, they encouraged all the emotions, negative or good.” 

 

“There are good ones?” 

 

Jimin chuckles. Valid question. 

 

“Sometimes.” Jimin sighs, “but mostly, bad ones.” 

 

Minjeong nods to herself, “at least they’re not all bad.” 

 

Turning, Jimin’s eyes burn the side of Minjeong’s face, but the latter resists the urge to stare back. “Why is it so easy for you to say that to someone else, but never believing it for yourself?” 

 

Chuckling bitterly, Minjeong’s reply was supposed to be lighthearted. “Well, the difference is, I don’t hate you.” 

 

Jimin frowns anyway. “You don’t mean that.” 

 

“No, really. I don’t hate you.” 

 

“Not that.” Jimin whispers, “I mean, you don’t hate yourself. You don’t mean it.” 

 

“I do.” Minjeong says, snorting into a laugh, but Jimin can see just how much those words affected her despite trying to play it off as a joke. “Most of the time, I do.” 

 

“It’s not your fault.” Jimin suddenly says. 

 

Minjeong turns to her, “what?” 

 

“It’s not your fault they abandoned you. You don’t have to hate yourself for something that isn’t your fault.” Jimin wanted to reach out and wipe her thumb across Minjeong’s cheek, right under the subtle surprised look in her eyes.

 

Minjeong recovers her surprise, blinking away and sitting up again. 

 

“Anyway,” Minjeong clears , “I just wanted to tell you that you don’t need to avoid me. This doesn’t scare me away. It doesn’t change anything. You’re still Jimin to me. My friend. Right?” 

 

Jimin sits up too, eyes scanning through Minjeong’s walls that she hides behind. 

 

“Sure.” 

 

Minjeong nods, “I would like to learn more about your condition. Maybe you can… tell me things. I can be another person you can talk to about it with. If that’s what you want.” 

 

Jimin stares at her with soft eyes. 

 

“Yeah,” she smiles, “that would be nice.” 

 

_

 

Minjeong finds herself thinking of questions to ask Jimin everyday. Jimin doesn’t mind it because it just means she gets to spend a little more time with Minjeong each day with every question she asks. 

 

Jimin ends up telling Ning Ning too, and the younger woman almost cried because of it. She was just relieved that nothing had changed even though both of them knew about her condition. Well, except sometimes, when all four of them would be hanging out during lunch, Jimin catches Ning Ning staring at her with sad eyes. 

 

“I can have . I’m not even a .” Jimin chuckles at Ning Ning’s question. “Just nothing too… intense.” 

 

Ning Ning giggles to herself mischievously. 

 

“You ask weird questions.” Aeri nudges the younger girl next to her, causing Ning Ning to pout. 

 

“It was valid!” 

 

Jimin shakes her head, snatching Aeri’s pudding off her tray, only to place it on Minjeong’s tray instead of her own. The latter mindlessly takes it, opening it up to eat it. It felt like a routine, like their bodies move to cater to each other without even having to think about it. 

 

“So you’re on the transplant list?” Minjeong asks, the pudding of

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Juxptier
52 streak #1
Chapter 11: I love this story so much, even if it’s slow I love the progress they’re making with each other
whykidleader_ #2
Chapter 7: Just started binge reading, why does the ending words of this chapter made my eyes wet?🥺
kariselleheart 15 streak #3
Chapter 11: my heart i love them both so much 😭🩵
TypewriterLuvie
#4
Chapter 11: I'm going to cry, I put off this fic for so long because of the description but I"M HURTING SO BAD NOW. They're so cute and I love how equally complex their characters are - you're just amazing at writing !!
mellifluouswan
1629 streak #5
Chapter 11: ahhh this chapter is actually so good. we can see the siblings actually slowly building their relationship back up and oh my Jimin and Minjeong are so adorable. still kinda feel bad for Jimin, but I have high hopes that she’ll survive and have the rest of her life loving and being loved by Minjeong (fingers cross)
Mashroom27
#6
Chapter 11: THIS CHAPTER WARMS MY HEART
idkhtwags
#7
Chapter 11: YEHEY MAY UPDATE HDHSHS
cbennh_tjsthysys #8
Chapter 10: CONTINUE THE FIC 😭😭😭
Mashroom27
#9
Chapter 10: oh it's sad to see that the last update was in may :(
sanakesvictim #10
Chapter 10: omg pls update (but take ur time dw) i need a chapter