Title: Invisible Pain (7/7) Final
Pairing: Jaejin/Wonbin, Hongki/Minhwan, Jonghun/Seunghyun
Genre: Angst, Romance
Summary: Jaejin always hid his feelings. When he confessed, he had a chance of changing his words as if he had never spoken them. Now, all he can do is wonder if he had chosen right.
A/N: Sorry for the rushed ending. ^^; I hope to post more fics in the future~. Please enjoy the final installment of Invisible Pain.
Wonbin had finally relaxed once the doctors announced that Jaejin merely needed to sleep. He waited in the hard plastic chair as the younger slept. He wanted to be the first thing Jaejin saw when he awoke. He was just dozing off when someone tapped on his shoulder. Blinking the sleep out of his eyes, he looked over to see Hongki there.
“What?” he asked, voice thick.
“I was wondering if you wanted to change places for a little bit,” Hongki replied. He knew it was a long shot, but he sighed when Wonbin shook his head. “Bin, you should get some sleep.
Hearing that familiar nickname fall from Hongki's mouth, he looked away. “What happened between us that made us drift apart? We promised that my leaving wouldn't drive a wedge between any of us. But it's damaged all of our friendships.” He kept his eyes focused on anything but Hongki as he continued. “What did I do that was so unforgivable that you all cut ties with me?”
Hongki frowned, running a hand through his hair. “You left Jaejin.” It wasn't an accusation, but a fact. He felt Wonbin deserved to know what happened at least, so he sat in a vacant chair. “He really was a mess once you left, Wonbin. He barely ate, he pushed himself too hard during practice. And he couldn't even get a restful sleep because every time he closed his eyes, all he saw was you. It gave him nightmares for months.”
Clearing his throat, Wonbin finally glanced at Hongki. “I did that to him?”
“At first, we all thought it would pass, that he would eventually get better. But after the first few months, he didn’t improve. Jonghun and I went to the president and asked for time off. We took a little vacation, but Jaejin wouldn't even leave the hotel room.” Hongki felt a pang of guilt shoot through his body. Seeing the tortured look on Wonbin's face, he wanted to say that he had made everything up, that Jaejin was perfectly fine. But lying to him would only hurt him more in the future. “Jaejin stopped doing everything he loved because all of the memories he had of doing them were always with you. For years, I hadn’t known his fear of storms, but I finally figured it out after you left. I tried to be there for him like you had, but he would always push me away.”
Wonbin shook his head, staring at the floor. “I don't want to hear any more. I don't want to hear how I messed up and caused him pain.”
“It's too late for that,” Hongki growled, hands clenching into fists. “You hurt him, Wonbin! Our sweet, little Jaejin. You broke his heart! And for what? Because you wanted to pursue your own career? What about calling him? Meeting with him just for the hell of it? He would have been okay if you had just contacted him!” He knew he was being mean, but he wasn't going to hold back everything he's always wanted to say. “You were supposed to be his friend, his family! And you deserted him!”
“It wasn't like that,” Wonbin said, trying to reason with Hongki. He looked at the other, tears in his eyes as he fought to keep everything contained within himself. “Every time I tried calling, I got the answering machine. I tried on several occasions to stop by, but you guys were always out for schedules. I got tired of waiting for one of you to be home. I stopped dropping by, stopped calling.”
Hongki frowned, meeting Wonbin's gaze. “We never had any missed calls on the machine and we were never told that you were looking for us once by anyone at the company. You should have tried harder, Wonbin. Maybe we wouldn't hate you so much if you had.”
Closing his eyes, Wonbin shook his head once. “No, Hongki. You'd hate me even more. If I had managed to contact Jaejin once, it would have left him more broken than he already is. I’d promise you that I wouldn't leave his side again, but you wouldn't believe me. Besides, you're not the one I promised that to.” He smiled down at Jaejin's sleeping form, reaching out to take his hand. “I promised Jaejin that I would remain by his side until he tells me to leave.”
“That's not a promise you can keep,” Jonghun interrupted, frowning. He stood in the doorway, arms crossed against his chest. “I think you should leave, Wonbin. I know how much you want to stay, but I really don't think it would be a good idea for you to.”
“Why not? I’m just as much a part of his life as you are.” Wonbin squeezed Jaejin's hand lightly, not wanting to let it go.
“As much as we all wish that you were, you're not. We've been with him every step of the way. We've always been beside him, but I think it's time Hongki and I stood in front of him. We don't want him getting hurt again because of you. Tonight was too close of a call and I don't want to lose him. He's not your family anymore, Wonbin. He's ours.”
“That's stupid, Jonghun. You think that you can speak for him since you're older than him? I’m the same age as you and I happen to be the one that would do anything for him, so–”
“Stop it, Bin,” Hongki said, cutting him off. “We're willing to do anything for him, too, so don't feed us that line about how you love him. We love him, too.” He looked away, expression unreadable. “You should go. I'll contact you if Jaejin wants to see you again.”
Feeling outnumbered and betrayed, Wonbin nodded. He turned to Jaejin, pressing a kiss to his forehead before he left the room. As he was walking down the hall, he felt the first few tears carve their way down his cheeks. He wanted nothing more than to turn around, to run back and stay with Jaejin. But he knew it was impossible with Hongki and Jonghun there. Once he made it outside, he hailed a taxi and asked to go home. He felt completely numb as he paid the driver and went inside the apartment complex. He took the elevator, doubting he would be able to walk up the few flights of stairs. Inside his apartment, he collapsed onto his couch. The tears finally blurring his vision to where it was nearly impossible to see.
“Jaejin, I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry,” he whispered, closing his eyes. He hugged himself as he rolled onto his side. He had never felt his heart hurt so much before. Knowing what he caused Jaejin to go through, finding out that he had basically shut everyone out, hearing that he stopped doing everything he loved because he reminded him of Wonbin. He covered his mouth as the first sob escaped, trying to keep everything bottled up still. But what was the point? No one could see him, could hear him. The only person he wanted to be with, he couldn't. So, instead of holding everything in, he decided to let it all out. He fell asleep before the tears had a chance to dry against his skin.
Jaejin opened his eyes, frowning at seeing the white walls of a hospital room. Hongki was asleep beside him while Jonghun slept in the chair by the door. He reached his hand up, shaking Hongki's head until the elder woke up. He offered him a small smile before it fell and he looked toward the door. “Is Wonbin here?” he asked, voice quiet.
Hongki shook his head, biting his lip. He glanced at Jonghun, knowing that he wouldn't want Jaejin to know they were the reason Wonbin had left. But keeping something like that from him was even worse, right? Just as he opened his mouth to speak, Jonghun beat him to the punch.
“How are you feeling, Jaejin?” Jonghun asked, getting up from the chair to sit on the edge of the bed. “I had Seunghyun take Minhwan home to change into dry clothes and get some sleep.”
“Where's Wonbin?” he asked, blinking up at the elder two.
Jonghun looked at Hongki before taking Jaejin's hand in his own. “Jin, we haven't seen Wonbin since he left the dorm.” He ignored Hongki's slightly surprised expression as he smiled sadly at the younger. “I'm sorry. I tried calling him, but he never answered. I don't know if he ever went home or not.” He ran his fingers through Jaejin's hair reassuringly. “Don't worry, though. I’m sure he's okay. We'll let you relax for a little bit while we see when you'll be discharged and call Seunghyun to tell him you've woken up.”
Hongki watched as Jaejin nodded before Jonghun pulled him from the room, closing the door behind them. Once they were down the hall, he stopped, frowning at the other. “You lied to him,” he stated.
“It's for his own good. He was already unconscious by the time we all got to the river. He won't remember Wonbin being there or being here. And he never has to know. It's to protect him, Hongki, from getting hurt by Wonbin again sometime down the road.” He pulled his phone out, dialing their dorm landline and placing the device to his ear. “Seunghyun! Jaejin woke up, but he doesn't know Wonbin was anywhere near him. None of us have seen him since he left the dorm, okay? Tell Minhwan the same thing.”
Watching as Jonghun finished placing his lies, Hongki's frown deepened. “You want all of us to lie to Jaejin? Are you insane? He's going to feel betrayed, Jonghun! We can't do that to him.”
“Calm down, Hongki. Like I said, it's for his own good. He'll forgive us for it. He'll be happy that we protected him from having his heart broken by the same guy all over again. He'll be okay.” He pat the other on the shoulder before going to the nurses' station, asking about Jaejin's discharge papers.
Hongki shook his head, biting his lip as he inwardly fought with himself over what to do. “If that's what we're going with, I'll call Wonbin later and tell him that Jaejin doesn't want to see him anymore.”
Jonghun shook his head. “I'll take care of it. He probably wouldn’t believe it if it came from you. No offense.” He finished signing the papers, handing them back to the nurse. Turning back to Hongki, he frowned when the other wasn't there. Shrugging, he decided he would go wait for him in Jaejin's room.
Outside the hospital, Hongki was trying desperately to get Wonbin to pick up his phone. He tried the cell phone and the landline, hoping he would answer one of them. He tried leaving a message, but the machine was nearly full and only got the first few words of his sentence. When he tried leaving a message on his cell phone, he frowned when it told him the box was full.
“Damn it,” he mumbled under his breath, shoving his phone back into his pocket. “Why won't he pick up? It's important!” Deciding he would just go over to Wonbin's apartment, he checked his pocket for money, sighing in relief when he would have enough for the cab fare. Running to the corner, he tried to get a taxi to stop, cursing at every one that drove by. Checking his watch, he gnawed on his lip. What if he couldn't make it to Wonbin's before Jonghun managed to get through to him? He paled, a thought occurring to him. What if Jonghun already had gotten to him? He shook his head refusing to believe it until he heard from Wonbin that he had.
Feeling as if his window of opportunity was closing fast, he decided he would run to the apartment complex. It wasn't overly far away, but he would have to hurry. Sprinting away from the building, he found himself dodging other pedestrians on the sidewalks in his haste. He had to stop a few times as he waited for lights to turn so he could cross the streets, but twenty minutes later, he found himself panting outside of Wonbin's building. Going inside, he found the same secretary from before.
“Excuse me,” he said in between pants. It was always somewhat of a challenge for him to catch his breath after running. He didn’t know why, but his chest felt tight. He made a mental note to be sure to hit the gym more than a few times a year.
“Oh, hello,” she greeted him, smiling nervously. “What can I help you with?”
“I need to speak with Wonbin. It's really important.” He waited as she typed up something on her computer, frowning when she turned back to him.
“Sorry, but it says he hasn't come in yet.” She offered him a smile before turning away.
“Is there any way I can wait for him here? I really need to talk to him.”
“You can wait for him in the lobby. Or you can sit outside his apartment if tat makes you feel better.” She frowned when he took off for the elevator, wondering if she would work on her jokes.
Arriving on floor C, Hongki looked at the doors, immediately finding Wonbin's. He knocked on it a few times, wondering if Wonbin had really arrived home and that particular secretary just didn’t like him. Feeling that familiar tightening in his chest, he knocked more urgently on the door. Leaning against it for support, he felt his eyelids getting heavy as it became more difficult to breathe. His legs gave out and he slumped against the door, eyes fluttering closed.
Hearing a loud thump, Wonbin's eyes opened. He wasn't sure, but he thought it had been at his door. He remained lying down on his couch until the intercom beeped. The secretary stated that Hongki was on his way up, if not already there. Frowning, Wonbin got off of his couch, going to the door to pull it open. When something heavy hit his feet, he looked down, eyes going wide.
“Hongki?” he asked, crouching beside the other. He frowned when he gained no response, hearing labored breathing. Standing up, he hit the intercom button. “Hey, get a tank of portable oxygen and bring it to my room.” He locked his arms under Hongki's, hoisting him into his apartment. While he struggled with getting him into his bedroom, he heard the secretary come into his apartment. “In here.” When she entered the room, she stopped short, frowning.
“Isn't that Lee Hongki?” she asked, handing Wonbin the portable tank and face mask.
Ignoring her briefly, Wonbin strapped the mask to Hongki's face, turning the nozzle on the tank. After holding his own breath, he heard the other's breathing start to even out. Sighing, he sat on the end of his bed. “Thanks. And, yeah, it's Hongki. Why is he here?”
She shrugged, heading for the door. “He said he needed to tell you something important.”
After she left and closed the apartment door behind her, Wonbin turned his attention back to Hongki. He wasn't sure how long he sat there, but once Hongki stirred, he straightened his posture, wondering if he should have left him alone. Deciding it was best that he stayed, and it was his apartment, he waited for Hongki to open his eyes.
“You okay?” he asked, voice carrying in the quiet room. He smiled as Hongki tried to take the mask off his face. Covering his hand, Wonbin shook his head. “Keep it on. What happened that made you pass out in front of my apartment?”
Hongki blinked, recalling why he was there. Sitting up quickly, Hongki stared at Wonbin. “Have you heard from Jonghun yet?” At Wonbin's confused look, he sighed. “I made it in time.” Looking at Wonbin, he frowned. “He lied to Jaejin. He wants all of us to lie to Jaejin.”
“About what?” Wonbin was beyond confused before something clicked. “Jaejin woke up? That's great!” He smiled, but it vanished once he found Hongki wasn't smiling with him. “What's wrong?”
“Jaejin asked about you. And Jonghun lied, saying none of us had seen you since you left our dorm. Jaejin doesn't remember you being at the river. He doesn't remember you sitting in the chair by his hospital bed or that you rode in the ambulance with him. He doesn't know any of it. Jonghun has him convinced that you were never there.”
“Jonghun told him that I was never there?” Wonbin had to force the words out. They sounded strangled even to himself, so he could only imagine how he sounded to Hongki. “Why...why would he do that?”
“He said he was protecting Jaejin.” Hongki chewed on his lip before sighing. “From you. But I know that isn't the case anymore!” Seeing the hurt in Wonbin's eyes, Hongki felt all of the guilt weigh down on his shoulders. “Bin, you should come back to the dorm with me.”
Just as Wonbin opened his mouth to reply, his phone rang. Frowning, he looked at the screen. “It's Jonghun.”
“Put it on speaker.” Hongki waited as quietly as he could, hands clenched tightly into fists. As Jonghun's voice flowed from the phone, he had to keep himself from blurting anything out.
“What, Jonghun?” Wonbin asked, eyes trained on Hongki. He didn’t want to listen to this if what Hongki said was true.
“Jaejin said he doesn't want to see you anymore,” Jonghun said. “He said he doesn't want to get hurt again because of you and that he's sorry.”
Hearing Jaejin's voice in the background, how strained it sounded, Wonbin nearly broke down. “Can I talk to him at least?”
"No, we're busy.” Jonghun sounded as if he were smiling.
Just before the line disconnected, Wonbin and Hongki both heard something. It sounded like Jaejin, but they weren’t too sure. “Hongki, was that Jin? And what was he saying?”
Hongki frowned, trying to think. “It was definitely his voice. But was that something about lying? Who's lying?” As his brain slowly processed Jaejin's words, he looked at Wonbin once everything fell into place. “Jaejin asked, why are you lying to him, hyung. He was asking Jonghun why he lied to you.”
“What would he be lying about?” Wonbin felt defeated until he recalled Hongki's words just minutes before. Jonghun was already lying, asking the others to lie, too. He lied about Jaejin not wanting to see him. That had to be it. “So, Jaejin doesn't hate me? He wants to see me again?”
“We need to get to the dorm.” Hongki pulled the mask from his face, glad he could breathe on his own again. He got out of Wonbin's bed and pulled the other to his feet. They headed for the door without hesitation. Once they were in the hall, Hongki felt Wonbin tug on his hand, turning to see him frowning. “What's wrong?”
“What caused you to pass out earlier?” He frowned when Hongki showed no signs of replying. “Is it the same thing as before?”
Merely nodding once, Hongki turned away. “Yeah, it's a pain to deal with, but I do. There are times on stage that my chest tightens up and I can barely breathe. The one time, we all thought we would have to cancel the performance. But I was able to keep it under control until everything was over.”
Wonbin was quiet as they walked to the elevator, stepping inside to go to the lobby. Shoving his hands in his pockets, he glanced over at Hongki, noticing the frown set on his face. “Cheer up, Hongki. It comes in spurts, right? Maybe you'll be good for a little while.”
“It's triggered by different things. Pushing myself too hard, running long distances, sometimes even laughing too hard makes it really hard for me to breathe.” He kept his eyes down until the elevator doors opened. He looked over at Wonbin while they were leaving the lobby. “Anything could trigger me to have an asthma attack. I remember it happening once when I was little, but it was caused from being around animals I was allergic to.”
“Did you ever go to the doctor for it?” Wonbin hated to admit it, but making small talk with Hongki after all this time was still a little awkward. They climbed into a cab and headed for FT Island's dorm.
Jaejin sat alone in the darkened room. He was curled into a ball, arms crossed upon his knees, as he stared at the wall. Jonghun stated he would prepare supper and call Hongki, but that wouldn't be for another hour. The phone conversation was completely one-sided. He had promised to allow Jaejin to speak with Wonbin, but after hanging up, he stated Wonbin didn’t want to hear from him. Knowing that wasn't entirely true, he decided to wait by himself in the bedroom. It seemed like forever since he had been here. Minhwan had checked on him recently, asking if he wanted a glass of water or something. He hadn’t replied to the younger, but he was brought a drink anyway.
Why would Jonghun hyung not let me speak to Wonbin? I wanted to ask if he would come see me, Jaejin thought to himself. He swiped at his eyes, feeling a few tears breaking free. I want to be with him right now.
“Jaejin,” Seunghyun called, standing in the doorway. “Jonghun has supper ready.”
“I'm not hungry,” Jaejin replied, scooting on his bed until he was lying down. He covered himself up, rolling onto his side to face away from the younger.
Seunghyun sighed. “Jaejin hyung, you need to eat something.” He sighed again when the elder didn’t reply. He returned to the dining room, frowning. “He said he wasn't hungry.” He took his seat beside Jonghun.
Frowning, too, Jonghun looked toward the bedroom door. He set his utensils down rather loudly, making Minhwan jump and Seunghyun blink at him in shock. Standing up, he went to the bedroom, flicking on the light. “Come eat, Jaejin,” he ordered.
“I told Seunghyun that I’m not hungry.” He kept his back to the elder, eyes focused on the wall.
“I wasn't asking.” Jonghun went to his bed, pulling the covers back as he reached down. He pulled the younger into a sitting position and forced him to meet his gaze. “You aren’t doing this again. You aren’t going to completely shut down because of him.”
Jaejin glared, causing Jonghun to pull back a little. “Why did you lie to me?” he questioned, voice sharp. He shoved Jonghun away from himself, not caring that he fell to the floor. “Why did you tell me that I could talk to Wonbin when you weren’t going to let me?”
“You know he's going to leave you again. Why does it matter if things are broken off now or in a few weeks?” Jonghun stood up, brushing himself off. He was surprised the younger had that much energy after his little ordeal.
In an attempt to keep his hands from shaking, Jaejin clenched his blanket in his hands. “Because I love him! I don't care if I have to keep waiting for him and I don't care if I feel like I’m dying when he isn't around. I love him, hyung. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.” He felt fresh tears begin to track down his face, not even bothering to brush them away. “He means everything to me and I can't live without him. Even if he never speaks to me again, I’m stronger than when he left. I know he loves me back this time.”
Jonghun frowned, sighing. “I hate seeing you so broken up over him. He left you so long ago. He never once tried to contact you. And that doesn't bother you? Not even a little bit?”
Jaejin shook his head, hair falling into his eyes. “I don't care if we talk or not. Just knowing how he feels, that the feelings are mutual, it's enough. If I had known back then what I do now, things would never have turned out that way.”
“He didn’t even show up at the hospital, Jaejin! He wasn't there, but we were! Us, FT Island, your friends.” Jonghun was trying desperately to make Jaejin give up on Wonbin. All that path would ever lead him to was heartache and he didn’t think any of them had it in them to see Jaejin a total mess again. It would destroy all of them.
“Stop lying!” Minhwan shouted, standing in the doorway. His eyes were shiny, hands twisted into the hem of his shirt. He stared at Jonghun before turning his attention to Jaejin. “Hyung, don't let Jonghun hyung lie to you anymore. Why I found you at the river, Wonbin hyung showed up first. He came running as soon as he couldn't find you. He was here, at the dorms, when we all went looking for you. And he rode in the back of the ambulance with you while you were unconscious.”
“Minhwan, stop,” Jonghun said, looking at him.
“No, hyung. Jaejin needs to hear this. After everything that happened because of me, I can't lie to him, too.” He cleared his throat, looking back at Jaejin. “He sat with you in the hospital room for a long time. Hongki hyung asked him to get some rest, that he would stay with you, but Jonghun hyung told him he just needed to leave!” He felt a sob bubbling up inside him, panic overtaking him. He wanted to make things right so badly that he was willing to betray his hyung, his leader. He covered his mouth as the sob erupted, eyes screwed shut against the onslaught of tears.
Jaejin stared at Jonghun. “You lied about everything? You told me Wonbin hadn’t been there! That you hadn’t seen him since he left the dorms! How could you lie to me about that knowing how I feel about him?” He got out of bed, walking over to Minhwan. He hugged the younger, running his fingers through his hair. “It's okay, Minhwan. Thank you for telling me the truth.”
Minhwan clutched at Jaejin, burying his face in his shoulder. He was able to stop crying a lot easier than any other time, but he already knew the reason why. He had been completely forgiven by Jaejin and they were closer than they ever had been. He supposed it was crazy, but it was the truth. Fighting with him, hurting each other, it made them grow close and understand each other a little better. He pulled away wiping at his eyes. When he noticed Jaejin was staring at something behind him. Turning around, he saw Hongki standing there, Wonbin next to him.
“Jaejin,” Wonbin said, voice quiet. He held his hand out toward the younger, uncertainty clouding his eyes. That was all it took to thaw the younger. He moved around Minhwan and hurried to Wonbin, hugging him tightly. Smiling to himself, Wonbin hugged the younger back. “I'm glad you're okay.”
“Minhwan told me everything,” Jaejin replied, voice muffled by Wonbin's neck. He closed his eyes, trying to keep himself from crying. He had done enough of that the past few days. “He told me you were there, in the river with us, and in the back of the ambulance. He said you only left the hospital because Jonghun told you to or you would have been there when I woke up, too.”
Nodding, Wonbin pulled away from the younger so he could look at him. He leaned in, kissing him quickly on the lips before pulling back a little again. “I love you, Jin. Where else would I have been?”
Smiling back, Jaejin shrugged. “I don't know, but I know that even back then, you cared about me. I love you, too, Bin, and I wouldn't want it any other way.” He leaned close enough to Wonbin to capture his lips in another kiss.
Feeling awkward, Minhwan looked away, finding that Jonghun was sitting on the floor. He sighed, knowing the elder meant well, but was probably feeling the weight of all the guilt settling on his shoulders. He looked up when Hongki tapped him on the shoulder. He smiled, reaching out to take his hand.
“You think they'll be okay?” he asked, motioning to Wonbin and Jaejin.
Hongki nodded, squeezing Minhwan's hand. “I think they'll be more than okay.” He smiled as he looked back over at them. I don't think anyone is more capable of taking care of Jaejin than Wonbin is. I’m glad I was finally able to see that. Wonbin, Jaejin, I wish the two of you the happiest life possible. May the problems of the past never resurface and may you always love each other as much as you do right now.