Jaejoong is afraid, more afraid than he was a moment before.
He tried to clear his blurry vision by narrowing his eyes. He can see the endless droplets of rain in his car’s broken front mirror. The sound of the rain angrily pouring on his car’s roof made him sleepy. His breathing is now uneven. His head and whole body hurts. He can feel his blood dripping from his head to his face. He can’t move. He can’t even reach his phone beside him.
“Yunho-yah…” He called weakly after seeing his phone’s light blinking simultaneously.
“Yunho-yah…” Jaejoong called as calm as he can. “Please calm down.” He continued as he sighed, watching their leader shouting furiously at their dongseangs.
Yunho glared at him. “Calm down?! How am I supposed to do that?!” He exclaimed, and then he looked back at Junsu, Changmin and Yoochun, sitting on the couch, leaning closely at each other. “How many times did I tell you to take care of yourselves?!” He glared at the trio.
“Hyung, we’re sorry.” Yoochun cried. He’s feeling weaker. He had made their leader so upset. It was all his weak body’s fault, he blamed.
Junsu sprained his right ankle. Yoochun got sick. Changmin hid his hyungs’ condition from their leader. Jaejoong lied. Yunho snapped.
“It was my idea hyung. Please don’t get angry at them.” Junsu said with guilt and fear covering his voice. It was his idea to play soccer in the garden while watering the plants that his oldest hyung ordered. This resulted with his right ankle sprained, Yoochun’s sick condition and Yunho’s fury.
“It was me who decided to hide it from you Yunho-hyung.” Changmin confessed. He was sure that Yunho would just snap if they told him about it, so he told everyone not to say anything. Their plan was flawless, but then their leader found out.
“You all tried to cover each other when all of you are behind this?! And you didn’t even consider telling me about this serious situation?! What do you think I will feel?!” Yunho exclaimed angrier now, his eyes blood red because he hasn’t had enough sleep. Their works are all piling up and all the responsibilities on his shoulder are starting to stress him out.
“We consider what you feel, Yunho. That’s why we didn’t want to tell you.” Jaejoong said seriously. He felt that he, being the oldest, had to do something. “Look at you, snapping like an idiot.” He continued.
“Yes, snapping like an idiot. And whose fault is that?!” Yunho glared at Jaejoong again.
“Stop blaming others Yunho. You didn’t even care to ask if they’re ok. You’re being selfish!” Jaejoong was at his boiling point.
“You’re the one who’s being selfish! Why are you hiding everything from me when I’m your leader?! I should know everything!”
“You’re not acting like a leader anymore! And you shouldn’t know everything because you’re our leader damn it!”
“So you’re not considering me as your leader? That’s why you all hid it from me? So, that’s it? Then be the leader Jaejoong!” Yunho shouted as he stomped towards his room.
Jaejoong felt afraid. He couldn’t move. He felt like hugging his leader but the scared feeling was getting in the way. He’s always afraid of Yunho. When he’d snap like that and act like a drunken man who has lost his wife. He feels like Yunho is distancing himself from them. He’s afraid. Damn afraid.
Yoochun hugged Junsu. They both cried. Afraid of what will happen next.
Changmin, with all his strength, fought the urge to cry. He stood up and hugged their oldest hyung, who’s now crying.
“Darn it!” Yunho cursed as he went out of their room, holding a sweater and the keys to his car.
“Hyung!” Changmin called and tried to stop their leader by grabbing his hand, but he was just tossed back. He fell on the floor, helpless.
“Changmin-ah!” Junsu and Yoochun called. They both ran to Changmin, who’s crying while hugging his knees.
Yunho frowned seeing his dongseangs like that. “Darn it!” He cursed again, punching the wall beside him. He continued to dash towards the door.
Jaejoong rushed to grab Yunho’s hand. “Yunho-yah!” He called.
Yunho turned to Jaejoong. “Let me go Jaejoong.” He said coldly.
“No. I won’t let go, Yunho.” Jaejoong cried. “We’re sorry Yunho-yah. We really didn’t mean to hide it from you.” He continued, bowing his head as he stared at the floor.
“How can I know that you’re not lying again? You lied to me once Jae, you can do it again.” Yunho released his hand from Jaejoong’s grip.
“See? You said you won’t let go, but you did. Liar.” Yunho let his tears fall.
Liar? The heck! It’s not easy to be honest when it comes to dealing with you Yunho! Jaejoong slapped Yunho on his face hard. “I hate you Yunho!” He exclaimed as he dashed ahead of Yunho outside.
“Yunho-yah…” He said again as he stared at the simultaneous blinking of his phone. “I’m sorry. I lied again.” He’s afraid again. Afraid to lose everything at once like that. Afraid that he won’t be able to tell Yunho the truth. Afraid of losing Yunho.
“I love you Yunho-yah…” Then blank.
Yunho fell on his knees after Jaejoong went out. His dongseangs ran to him. He cried his heart out. He apologized. He’s afraid. He’s afraid that Jaejoong won’t say anything. And now he’s more afraid. Jaejoong did say something, but it was the least three words he wanted to hear from his best friend. ‘I hate you’. It was amazing how those three words could crush his heart into pieces.
And it might be the last.
He called Jaejoong’s phone again and again but he got no answer. He felt afraid again. His dongseangs called for their manager, asking whether he knows Jaejoong’s whereabouts but unluckily, he doesn’t.
They received a phone call from a hospital after an hour of anxious waiting, telling them that Jaejoong is currently in the operating room. Jaejoong lost control of the car he was driving and bumped on a stop light post.
Yunho’s whole world crushed in front of him. He felt the worst kind of fear. It was killing him.
There were a lot of people looking and staring at them. But they didn’t care. They just sat silently on the lobby of the floor where the operating room is.
Yunho waited patiently on the outside but frantically inside. It was his Jaejoong inside the operating room, his heart told him. He buried his face on his palms. He wished that he could revert the time back. He wished that he just shouted ‘I love you’ to Jaejoong then hugged him tight, preventing Jaejoong out of his grasp, preventing this situation from happening.
Changmin heard Yunho sobbing. He rubbed his leader’s back, trying to comfort him. That simple argument turned into something as horrible as this. He wanted to blame it on someone but he can’t find anyone but himself.
Junsu and Yoochun were left waiting in their apartment. They were commanded, no, more like Yunho pleaded them to stay and wait. And their leader’s eyes conveyed to them to pray—pray that Jaejoong’s condition will not be that bad. They’ll do just that even though Yunho won’t say it.
“Jaejoong-ah…” Yunho almost whispered.
“Don’t worry too much hyung. I’m sure Jaejoong-hyung is alright.” Changmin assured, even though he’s wavering himself.
“It’s my entire fault.” He paused. “I-If I didn’t…”
“Yunho-hyung, Jaejoong-hyung won’t like it if he heard you say that. No one wanted it to be like this. Don’t blame yourself, hyung.” Changmin said as he tapped his leader’s back.
“I… I love Jaejoong…” Yunho uttered. “I’m afraid to lose him.”
“I know hyung. We know. And we’re not going to lose him. I guarantee that.” Changmin assured him again. He sighed as a sign of relief. Finally, his hyung released what he truly felt for the older man. He knows it’s the reason why Yunho’s stress is leveling up.
Yunho sighed. Why didn’t he just confess to Jaejoong what he really felt and explain that was the reason why he was acting like an idiot. It’s hard to convey the truth. Or it’s more like he’s afraid to face the truth. Afraid to be rejected. Ah, it’s all because I’m a coward, he thought. He was cut with his flood of thoughts by a tap on his back by Changmin.
“Hyung,” Changmin said as he stood up and bowed to a person they were waiting for anxiously.
Yunho turned to where Changmin was looking and found the doctor smiling calmly at them. He immediately stood up. “How’s Jaejoong?” He asked, his face covered with concern.
The doctor smiled again. “He’s ok. I guess our nurse just overreacted a while ago when they called you. I’m sorry. She’s a fan of Jaejoong-shi that’s why.” He laughed.
Yunho and Changmin looked at each other confused.
“What do you mean?” Changmin asked.
“The operation for Jaejoong-shi is just for a mild wound on his head. He also got some scratches, but it’s not that critical. You don’t have to worry.” He smiled at Changmin and tapped Yunho’s back. “You can visit him now. Your manager’s there also.” He said then left after he bowed.
“Thank goodness…” Changmin uttered as he sighed. He turned to Yunho but found the man nowhere. “Yunho-hyung?” He asked as he turned everywhere to find his hyung.
Ah, I’m afraid again. Jaejoong thought. He was really happy to wake up with just a minor wound on his head and minor scratches and bruises on his body but he felt afraid again. He was afraid to face Yunho, afraid to see that kind of Yunho again. And he knows it’ll be because of him.
He stared blankly at the white ceiling in front of him. He got scolded a while ago by their manager. And he doesn’t want to get scolded by Yunho. It’s too much for him.
And when he was about to forget about his thoughts for a while and decided to rest, the door flung open. He found the least but the best he wanted to see, Yunho.
“Jaejoong-ah…” Yunho said as he gasped for air. He entered the room slowly as he examined the paled-face man on the bed. He wanted to hug Jaejoong so much that he couldn't move an inch closer to him. He just stood frozen, staring at his lead singer.
Jaejoong averted his eyes from Yunho’s. He inhaled deeply, as if absorbing strength from the oxygen.
“I want to sleep, Yunho.” Jaejoong said truthfully but coldly. He expected that Yunho would just argue with him about that. Yunho needed an explanation and he knew that. But he knows he’s not in the right condition to talk to his leader. Things might get worse between them if Yunho would force a conversation.
“You should.” Yunho replied. He wanted to shake Jaejoong’s soul out of his body because the way he talked to him just now hurts him, but he didn’t.
Jaejoong closed his eyes, his body and mind was too tired to wonder why Yunho didn’t scold him. He just shrugged it all off as he opened his eyes to see Yunho again. Then with Yunho’s image on his mind, he closed his eyes again. Half-hoping that Yunho would leave and half of him wishing that Yunho would stay. Due to the operation and his exhausted body, he fell asleep in an instant.
Yunho sat on a chair beside Jaejoong’s bed, staring at Jaejoong’s body. Inhaling, exhaling, inhaling, and exhaling over and over again. He felt a streak of tears roll down his cheeks.
“Hyung?” Changmin poked his head inside Jaejoong’s room and found Yunho wiping his tears. He silently dashed towards his leader. “What’s wrong hyung?” He whispered when he found Jaejoong sleeping.
“Nothing.” Yunho sniffed. “I’m just happy.”
Changmin sighed deeply. “That’s good.” He neared Jaejoong and placed his palm on the man’s forehead. He smiled, relieved. He then sat on a couch across Jaejoong. “I was looking for you a while ago, Yunho-hyung. You just disappeared suddenly after the doctor talked to us. And then I found manager-hyung in the corridor and asked if he saw you, he said that you were running towards Jaejoong-hyung’s room. That was crazy for you to do hyung.” Changmin explained what had happened to him a while ago, but he found Yunho just staring at Jaejoong. He shook his head and fished his phone out of his pocket. He stood up and tapped Yunho’s back as he said, “I’m going to call Junsu-hyung and Yoochun-hyung. They must be worried.” Then he went out of the room.
Yunho held Jaejoong’s hand gently. Feeling the warmth on Jaejoong’s hand, he cried. “I’m so sorry Jaejoong-ah…” He whispered. He buried his face in Jaejoong's hand then whispered, “I love you Jaejoong-ah…” with all his heart.
Jaejoong frowned as his left hand felt numb. He opened his eyes at the sound of the whisper version of Junsu’s ‘eeee kyang kyang’ along with Changmin and Yoochun’s laughter. He smiled as he groaned, trying to lift his left hand up but he couldn't. He felt something heavy on it. He found Yunho literally lying on it, sleeping soundly beside him. His heart skipped a beat.
“Jaejoo—” Yoochun covered Junsu’s mouth before Junsu could scream Jaejoong’s name and wake up the exhausted Yunho from his sleep.
“Morning Jaejoong-hyung.” Changmin greeted as he went to Yunho. He lifted Yunho’s head gently so Jaejoong could remove his hand from Yunho’s weight.
Jaejoong removed his hand but Yunho unconsciously grabbed it back and held it tightly in his hand as he groaned. Changmin furrowed his eyes with Yunho’s sudden action as Jaejoong just laughed silently. He looked at Changmin, signaling him that it’s ok. Changmin sighed as he laid their leader’s head back on the bed. Yoochun and Junsu covered each other’s mouths to stop themselves from laughing.
“How are you hyung?” Junsu asked as he sat beside Jaejoong on his bed.
“Fine.” Jaejoong said with a smile painted on his face. He rested his head on Junsu’s shoulder. “How about you two?” He asked as he eyed Yoochun across him.
“I’m feeling great hyung!” Yoochun exclaimed happily. “I started feeling great when we received Changmin-ah’s call yesterday. Junsu-yah as well is feeling ok now.”
Junsu nodded with Yoochun’s remark. Changmin sat beside Yoochun on the couch across Jaejoong and Junsu. Jaejoong mouthed ‘good’ silently.
“I bet everyone rested well…” Changmin paused. “Except for someone.” He said as he crossed his arms.
The three looked at him confused.
“What do you mean?” Yoochun asked.
“Because I have a smart brain, I am concluding that Yunho-hyung is the only one that didn’t have enough rest among the five of us.” Changmin smirked as he smiled sarcastically, looking at Jaejoong.
“That’s right. When we got here a while ago, Yunho-hyung was massaging Jaejoong-hyung’s hand. We have to request the nurse to give us some sleeping pills to put Yunho-hyung to sleep.” Junsu hid his evil grin from Jaejoong as he winked at Yoochun and Changmin. “He’s so hard-headed for a leader.” Junsu sighed.
Jaejoong’s eyes widened. “You did what?!” He exclaimed, making Yunho groan again with the noise.
The trio shushed him then sighed.
Jaejoong covered his mouth. “You did what?!” He repeated, now whispering.
Changmin chuckled. “We just assured him that you’ll be ok and that we’ll be here to watch you. That’s what we did to put him to sleep.” He continued laughing.
“Eeeeeeeee kyang kyang!” Junsu laughed, holding his stomach.
Yoochun gasped for air. He laughed so hard that his lungs screamed for air. “Scared?” He asked, eying his soul mate.
Jaejoong pouted. He was caught guilty by his tricky dongseangs. “I hate you all.” He said under his breath.
Changmin sighed at that. “I think you should start expressing what you truly feel hyung. It will sort things out and we’ll be able to avoid things like this from happening again.” He said, as if lecturing his oldest hyung.
“What do you mean?” Jaejoong asked, pretending to be oblivious to their maknae’s statement, but Changmin made his point, loud and clear.
“Just be honest with what you feel hyung. You’re making it a habit, or maybe as an escapism. I think you shouldn’t do that.” Changmin replied.
“Me too.” Yoochun agreed with Changmin.
“Me three!” Junsu joined.
“So, you’re telling me that I’m a liar? Like what Yunho-yah just said?” Jaejoong furrowed his eyebrows. He felt protective of himself even though his dongseangs have their point right. “I am not lying.” He declared as he rolled his eyes.
“Ah, lies.” Yoochun snorted.