Summary: Colors frightened him, so he got rid of them. But can anyone reintroduce the beauty of color to someone who does not wish to see it? (I know, bad summary)
A/N: I know it's late. But my 'h' key was broken and I had to copy and paste 'h' all week until my dad finally let me use his keyboard and I got it done. There will be one more chapter after this. I hope you enjoy. I think this chapter has too much stuffed into it -_-
After his first excursion outside his room, Jungsu felt the urge to leave more often. He told this to Youngwoon with his new yellow marker. The invisible ink pen had been thrown into the trash. There was no use for it now after all.
He liked visiting Siwon and Heechul a lot. Mostly because there wasn’t much to say between them. Heechul hardly ever moved and Siwon prayed most of the time. Jungsu never bothered asking what exactly was wrong with Heechul, and Siwon never specified, but what never had to be explained was that there was a very special bond between the two. Maybe not the bond between lovers, but friends that loved each other in different ways and stuck with each other through thick and thin.
It was always a very peaceful room to be in even when it was very solemn.
Jungsu’s second favorite room was Donghae’s room. Hyukjae was there often and Donghae always talked about fish so it was never a normal atmosphere, but it was not entirely uncomfortable despite all the blue that hung around the room.
Sungmin’s room was probably the room he disliked the most. All the numbers the boy had written on paper were in black pen or marker. Black was still the color that Jungsu couldn’t bear to even look at yet. He had managed to look at most colors now without being reduced to a shaking mess of a man. Jungsu thought it was a good thing for the time being. Kyuhyun was always in Sungmin’s room, desperately trying to get the boy to just look at him, and Jungsu didn’t want to interrupt them. Their relationship didn’t seem to be like Siwon and Heechul’s. It was more than that.
“Jungsu.” said a soft voice from behind him. Jungsu turned his head and a smile lit his face. It was Youngwoon. Youngwoon was smiling back at him as he came closer. He planted a small peck on Jungsu’s cheek before asking, “How are you today? Enjoying yourself?”
Jungsu shook his head. Even if he came out of his room without prompting, he still didn’t like most of the colors that surrounded him. Youngwoon sighed good naturedly. He knew Jungsu was trying; that was all that mattered. “I just wanted to ask if you wanted to see Jongwoon’s turtle. The dork brought it to work today.”
Jongwoon was another doctor Jungsu had met on his second day outside his room. Jongwoon was a weird person, but Ryeowook seemed to see something in him. They seemed to hang out together a lot. Youngwoon suspected something, but of course Ryeowook would deny it. Jongwoon remained oblivious to the rumor.
Jungsu thought about Youngwoon’s suggestion and nodded his head reluctantly. Youngwoon smiled and grasped Jungsu’s thin fingers to lead him down the hall. Jungsu clung closely to the larger for support. They just walked for a while before Jungsu heard Jongwoon’s cooing voice. He could hear Ryeowook’s voice as well, but it was laughing and teasing.
“Hyung, you’re so weird.” laughed the higher voice.
“I’m not weird!” objected the deeper voice. “I just love my turtle!” Ryeowook continued to laugh anyways. It was the most cheerful sound Jungsu had heard during his stay at the hospital.
Youngwoon held onto Jungsu’s hand tightly. Jungsu was shaking with nerves. He knew what color turtles were, and dark colors were still hard for Jungsu to handle. Not to mention, Jongwoon’s hair was as black was Hangeng’s.
Ryeowook and Jongwoon walked into sight from around the corner. They were smiling and still chatting animatedly. Jongwoon’s black air caught Jungsu’s eye almost immediately. Next came the dark lump in his hands. He had brought the turtle out of its container for a while. Ryeowook cast discrete glances at the turtle worriedly like the poor creature was going to be dropped or snatched away at any given moment. Then he looked up.
“Youngwoon hyung!” Ryeowook called happily. His happy side seemed to show up a lot more now that Jungsu left his room. Ryeowook ran up to the pair of them to make a better greeting while Jongwoon took his sweet time with his pet turtle in his hands.
“Jungsu,” Ryeowook called as soon as he was through with his greetings. “have you met Ttangkkoma yet?” Jungsu became confused. He pulled up his pad of paper and yellow marker.
“I suppose that means you haven’t.” laughed Ryeowook. “Ttangkkoma is Jongwoon hyung’s turtle.” Understanding hit Jungsu and Youngwoon muttered a small ‘oops’ at the realization that he had forgotten to share that bit of information with the other. Jungsu didn’t seem to mind too much, he just remained very wary of the dark, slow moving lump that Jongwoon held so carefully.
The turtle was made of dark greens and browns; two colors that still made Jungsu very uncomfortable. Jongwoon carefully held Ttangkkoma out for Jungsu to get a better look, and for a long minute, Jungsu froze. His eyes widened in fright and his shaking became more intense. Ryeowook stepped in quickly.
“Jongwoon hyung! Let’s take Ttangkkoma back quickly please.” Ryeowook practically shoved Jongwoon back in the direction they came in hopes that Jungsu would calm down faster. He glanced over his shoulder and Jungsu had already melted into a sitting position with Youngwoon beside him.
Youngwoon put his arms around Jungsu and left a soft kiss in his hair. “It’s alright, Jungsu. I don’t expect you to be cured overnight.” Youngwoon said softly. “If that were possible, I wouldn’t have to see anyone suffer like this.”
They stayed still for a long time. Ryeowook and Jongwoon never came back to get them. Youngwoon assumed they were giving Jungsu time to calm down. That was when they heard music playing. Jungsu’s ears prickled with joy that his face could not show at the current moment. It wasn’t hard to notice as Jungsu relaxed a bit.
Youngwoon smiled. “That’s Henry and his violin.” he informed. ”The poor kid came here with a perfectionist attitude so bad that he couldn’t function in any way shape or form. He screamed, cried, and fought with everyone here. We had to restrain him multiple times.” The beautiful music continued to play as Youngwoon spoke. “Listen to the way he plays.” Jungsu listened harder, but he could not understand what Youngwoon was getting at. “His playing isn’t perfect. He no longer feels it needs to be.”
Jungsu heard it. The slight waver of a note. A small pause and then continuation where a wrong note had been played. A squeak here and there. But the music never stopped. It always continued in its imperfect, yet stunningly beautiful, flow. Jungsu got up and followed the sound of the lovely instrument. He came to a room that’s door was slightly cracked open. The music flowed out of it and Jungsu reached out to push open the door. Youngwoon stopped him by grabbing his hand.
“You already know what colors a violin are.” he reminded Jungsu. Jungsu stilled for a moment and looked at Youngwoon with determination in his eyes. He opened his mouth for the second time since he had been admitted to the hospital, but, again, he closed it without saying anything. Instead, he took his pad of paper out from under his arm and wrote a few words with the yellow marker.
I have to face it someday right?
Youngwoon stared at the written words for a moment before sighing and nodding with an unsure smile. He took Jungsu’s hand and pushed open the door quietly so as not to disturb Henry. When Jungsu entered the room, he saw a small figure with a mop of brown hair facing away from him. The violin was visible as it jutted out from behind the figure and the boy moved to accommodate the movements of his bow.
Jungsu almost turned around before he could get the full view of the violin. But whatever was left of his pride wouldn’t let him. He stepped forward slowly further into the room. Every step he took seemed to make the music grow quieter and quieter even though he was getting closer and closer to its source. Jungsu took a shy step up to the side of the boy and waited to be noticed. It didn’t take long.
Jungsu blinked once and the boy had stopped playing to stare up at him. “Who are you?” he asked as his round eyes looked up in interest. He turned himself to give Jungsu his full attention. That’s when the violin came into full view. Jungsu automatically flinched and stepped back. Henry became confused almost right away, so Youngwoon had to explain.
“I’m sorry Henry.” he said. “This is Jungsu. He is here because of his fear of color. He thought maybe your violin could help him get over browns. I hope you don’t mind.” Henry shook his head while a small smile spread onto his face.
“I don’t mind at all. I was just a bit confused is all.” Henry said understandingly. “How long has he been here?”
Kangin thought about it for a second. “About eight months now I guess.”
“Do you know what happened to him?” asked Henry curiously.
Youngwoon shook his head. “We don’t know. He’s never said anything to me. I don’t know if something happened of if it was spontaneous.” He turned his glance on a cowering Jungsu who hadn’t really heard anything of the short conversation they had just had.
“Jungsu, it’s alright. There’s no need to be afraid.” Youngwoon said soothingly. When it didn’t work, Henry took it upon himself to push the incident further. He unhurriedly brought the violin closer to Jungsu’s body and watched for negative reactions.
“It’s not dangerous.” Henry told him. “It just creates music. It’s supposed to make people happy.” He held the brown instrument even closer to Jungsu and just waited. Now that he was recovered enough to think clearly, he knew what it was like to feel lost and scared. He knew what feeling helpless was like and he wanted to help others out of that.
“Just touch it.” Henry said as Jungsu’s eyes widened at the sight of the violin so close to him. “Happiness won’t hurt anyone.” Jungsu stopped worrying after those words were spoken. He didn’t know why, but the way those words were spoken made him brave. Henry was right, instruments were supposed to provide happiness when played the correct way. Henry’s violin had definitely been played the right way a minute ago.
Jungsu pulled up his pad of paper and marker to write something to Henry. Can I hear you play again? After reading the message, Henry nodded. He pulled the violin back to his own body and placed it under his chin. When he began moving the bow along the taut strings, the notes just began to flow. Jungsu lost himself in the music after the first few measures, and when he blinked, it felt like his courage had been restored.
Without a thought, Jungsu reached towards the small instrument and placed a thin finger on its body. Henry stopped playing and waited for Jungsu to realize what had just happened. He didn’t realize it for at least a good two minutes. When his mind came back to earth, Jungsu started to cry. He retracted his hand and wrote something on his pad of paper.
I had forgotten how beautiful music could be. The violin and the piano are not so different from each other.
Youngwoon stared at the words. “Jungsu, do you play the piano?” Jungsu nodded once but turned his head away as a sign that he didn’t really want to talk about it. Youngwoon chose to ignore it and grabbed Jungsu’s hand. “Thanks for the help Henry.” Youngwoon called over his shoulder as they left. “I’ll take it from here.” Henry waved to them both as they left.
Jungsu was confused. Where was Youngwoon taking him? But he couldn’t really stop to ask. Youngwoon was a lot stronger than he was. There was no way he would be able to resist his strength for very long. But he tried anyway. Jungsu dug his heels into the tiles of the floor. Youngwoon turned around with an absolutely fierce look in his eyes.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” When all that appeared on Jungsu’s face was confusion, Youngwoon clarified his question. “Why didn’t you ever tell me you played the piano?” Jungsu pulled his hand loose when he needed to write on his pad of paper.
I don’t play anymore.
Half the keys are black.
“Well you have to face that color sooner or later, right?” said Youngwoon half angrily. He was getting impatient. He was pushing Jungsu too fast. Jungsu had only just become comfortable with brown a few seconds ago, he didn’t even want to think about another one for the moment. It was too frightening. But at the moment, Youngwoon’s behavior was a bit odd and frightening as well. The larger man suddenly grabbed onto Jungsu’s arm again and continued hauling him down the hall. When they reached a small room off to the side, Youngwoon stopped.
The door led to a small room that held a brown upright piano. For a moment only, Jungsu wanted to run his fingers along the keys and play the music that his head may have forgotten, but his fingers remembered. But when Youngwoon took his shoulders roughly and turned Jungsu towards him, those thoughts left his mind. “I don’t want you to be like this anymore!” Youngwoon cried. “I’ve tried to be patient with your recovery pace. I really have. But every time I learn something more about you, I want to know what else you aren’t telling me. I–”
Jungsu didn’t want to hear it anymore. He forced himself out of Youngwoon’s grip and glared at him. His first real glare in a long time. Jungsu wrote something quick on his pad and then tossed it and the yellow marker down to the floor before running off in the direction of his room.
Youngwoon looked after Jungsu’s back as he retreated. He felt like an idiot. He knew better than to push things so quickly. But he had done it, and now he probably postponed Jungsu’s recovery by scaring him. Youngwoon wanted to cry so badly, at that moment. But he forced himself to keep it in. Clearing his throat and getting rid of any sign of tears left, he bent down to pick up Jungsu’s pad of paper and marker. The words he read brought the tears back.
I used to sing too. Never again.
Jungsu stayed curled up on his bed for weeks. Youngwoon came to visit, but Jungsu never acknowledged his presence. He was still angry and a bit scared. Youngwoon was worried he had made a bigger mistake than just making Jungsu mad, but Jungsu never showed any signs of anything more than a passing emotion. He just no longer left his room unless he was forced to.
One day, a knock came to his door. That was unusual; usually Youngwoon just came in without warning. It must be someone else. “Jungsu, may I come in?” called a quiet voice from outside his room. It was definitely not Youngwoon’s loud enthusiastic voice.
Jungsu got up without rush. His back ached with the tension of lying in bed for such a long time. When he stretched, he realized his arms and legs were beyond stiff as well. He got out of bed all the same and walked across the floor to the door. He twisted the knob and looked up to a faintly smiling Siwon. Jungsu smiled back weakly.
Siwon’s small smile remained on his face as he took Jungsu’s hand and lightly tugged on it. “Let’s go visit everyone. It’ll be fun.” he said lightly. Jungsu wanted to – of course he did – but he didn’t really want to see Youngwoon at the moment. Siwon already knew that and tugged Jungsu as he began walking. “Youngwoon hyung won’t be walking with us if you don’t want him to be.” he promised. Jungsu didn’t resist anymore and let Siwon lead him.
They went to Donghae’s room first. Jungsu entered silently with a smile in Donghae’s direction. Donghae looked quite pleased to see Jungsu as well. They had grown to know each other quite a bit in such a short time. Donghae was kind and cheerful when he wasn’t always asking for water. If he hadn’t almost drowned himself that one time, Jungsu would have thought he was a kid like any other.
“Jungsu hyung, I missed you!” Donghae yelled with great enthusiasm as he lunged forward to give his hyung a big bear hug. Jungsu froze for a minute when Donghae’s blue outfit touched him. Donghae remembered and quickly unlatched his arms from around Jungsu. “I’m sorry! I forgot.” Jungsu shook his head to rid himself of the terrible memories that flooded his mind. He sent a smile to Donghae to tell him he was fine.
Donghae didn’t believe him. The tears that were sneaking out of Jungsu’s eyes were only half the reason he didn’t. The other half was that he could read faces as well as Jungsu could read emotions in a voice. “Siwon, can you get a towel please?” asked Donghae. Siwon nodded and went to a nearby closet. He had been there so many times to visit Heechul that he knew where everything was and no one on the staff ever minded letting him get something.
When he brought the towel back, the tears on Jungsu’s face had quickened in their decent. He was sobbing quietly and Donghae reached for the towel in Siwon’s hands so he could wipe away the small beads of liquid.
“You know,” Donghae began as he wiped Jungsu’s face. “there’s a reason I like the color blue. My reason has a lot more to do with us as living beings than it does with it being the color of the sea.” Jungsu looked up from the ground to meet Donghae’s eyes. He didn’t understand. The younger set the towel down when the most of Jungsu’s tears had halted. Then he continued. “You once told me that blue was a sad color.” he said. “But I have to disagree with you. Blue is not a sad color at all. It’s the color of the sky, it’s the color of water. It surrounds us and there’s nothing you can do about it. A blue sky is a happy sky. And water is essential to life. You are made of mostly water. If you don’t maintain that, you die.”
Jungsu understood what Donghae was saying. But he was amazed by the younger’s sudden eloquence. Maybe that was a healed man talking. Maybe Donghae had learned something more than wellbeing during his stay at the hospital.
“Water represents life. So in turn, blue can represent life as well. Blue doesn’t have to be sad. That’s why it’s my favorite color.” Jungsu looked at Donghae for a long time as he processed the words through his head. The tears came again, and this time he buried his head in Donghae’s shirt to cry. He didn’t mind that it was blue.
Maybe blue was a little bit of sadness. But Donghae was right, it was also the key to life. The key to happiness. What’s life without a little bit of crying. It was worth the smiles.
After his tears had run dry, Jungsu and Siwon left Donghae’s room with a sense of accomplishment. He was next led to Heechul’s room. There wasn’t much to do though. Siwon just talked to Jungsu and Heechul. Neither of them spoke back to him, but he didn’t mind. He was just glad it no longer felt like an empty room. When Jungsu listened to what he had to say, he felt like he could let go.
Jungsu listened and smiled and patted the younger’s shoulder when he began to get upset. Siwon talked about how Heechul used to be so full of life and could be such an ass on the outside when he had a heart of gold that he kept hidden for his special friends. Siwon recalled fondly the few times he had seen it before the person he knew disappeared and left his body behind. He recalled all the odd things Heechul used to do and the weird way he would dress. He missed his friend dearly.
About an hour later, Siwon had finally run out of things to say and fell silent. Jungsu took that as a silent cue that he could leave if he wished. So he did. But as he opened the door, his eyes met Youngwoon’s. There was a guilt that kept Jungsu staring into those deep brown orbs. Jungsu smiled and knew what Youngwoon had been trying to say for weeks.
Youngwoon smiled sadly back at Jungsu and then lifted his hands. Youngwoon held something before him. When Jungsu realized what it was, he smiled with so much happiness that he felt he could burst. A fuzzy white cap. Youngwoon’s smile lost its sadness and hugged Jungsu. They stayed like that in each other’s embrace until a shout shattered the moment.
“He’s awake!” came Siwon’s voice loudly. “He’s awake! He’s awake!” Youngwoon let go of Jungsu to see what Siwon was shouting about. He went into Heechul’s room and his mouth dropped. Before him, a dazed Heechul was looking at his surroundings as Siwon hugged him tightly to his chest. It didn’t take long before Heechul woke up enough to realize what Siwon was doing.
“Yah, get off me, Horse!”
“I missed you too, hyung!” cried Siwon happily.
Not long after, Hangeng came running in at the sounds of shouting. He was also quite surprised at the new development, but he put on his serious face and pushed Youngwoon and Siwon out quickly under the pretense that he needed to give Heechul the health once over and ask him a few questions. Even though he was stern, they could all spot the hint of gladness in his eyes before he shut the door on them.
“Heechul woke up.” Youngwoon explained to Jungsu. The elder smiled and glanced at Siwon who was practically jumping in excitement. Before his eyes could train themselves on Youngwoon again, he felt something soft on his head.
It was his new hat that Youngwoon had bought for him. He turned his twinkling eyes back to the large man. He opened his mouth and closed it like he had done more than once before. There was so much he wanted to tell him. But he still could not bring himself to speak. Youngwoon smiled and produced Jungsu’s pad of paper and yellow marker. Jungsu took them and immediately wrote something down.
“You’re welcome.” Youngwoon said shortly. “I’m sorry I tried to push you.” Then he closed the distance between them and kissed Jungsu’s mouth softly. Reds bloomed behind Jungsu’s eyelids and he learned that there was more to it than blood and anger. And through such a realization, Jungsu knew without a doubt that he was in love with Youngwoon. And he also knew that Youngwoon loved him. There was no reason to it. It was just love. Pure and persistent.
When their kiss ended, Jungsu pulled away to write something on his pad of paper.
Can I use a blue marker from now on?