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 got back on track i guess :P But in terms of how long it's been since I last posted, this took less time. i hope you guys enjoy the final chapter. I had a lot of fun writing this.
It was two weeks after Jungsu received his white hat from Youngwoon that Heechul had been released from the hospital with recommendations to a counselor that would help him back into society. Henry was leaving the next week, but Donghae still needed time and Sungmin didn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
No one ever really found out what was wrong with Heechul. Heechul himself didn’t really seem to know either. All he wanted to know after he ‘woke up’ was what time he could return home. Siwon was more than glad enough to take him home when the doctors gave him the OK.
Donghae seemed to retreat into his illusion again. He whined to Hyukjae about being thirst more again, and Jungsu wished the Donghae he had seen that day had stayed. Hyukjae wished that Donghae had stayed as well. All they could hope for was that one day Donghae would escape the illusions he loved to live in.
More and more colors were becoming easier for Jungsu to accept and he even liked a few of them. Youngwoon spent a lot of his time with Jungsu as always and encouraged Jungsu to leave his room a lot. He tried not to push too hard like he had done before. Jungsu appreciated it.
He visited Donghae a lot, but he also visited Henry for a little bit. The boy was very talkative sometimes and he enjoyed showing off his violin skills. Jungsu was always impressed. A few times, Jongwoon and Ryeowook came in to check on Henry. They day came that Jungsu walked in and was pounced on by the chubby cheeked boy.
“I’m going home!” he yelled happily. Jungsu hugged the boy back as a smile spread to his face. He had grown fond of the boy. He was like a little brother. From the moment they had met, Jungsu had heard interpreted the boy’s voice to be green. It was not like Ryeowook’s voice though. It did search for a bit of stability, but this green was a bit warmer. It was a green that felt like home. It was calm. It was…Jungsu didn’t know how to describe it. It was just sweet.
Henry let go of Jungsu’s torso and looked around him. “Jongwoon hyung!” he called excitedly. He gently pushed around Jungsu so he could see the elder. Ryeowook was next to him, but Henry’s next question was only for the older of the two. “Did you bring Ttangkkoma with you today?” he asked. Jongwoon smiled widely and nodded. “Can I see him?” Jongwoon nodded again and instructed the boy to stay there while he got the turtle from his tank.
Jungsu made to make a quick escape before the little creature showed up. Sure, he had conquered browns with Henry’s help, but he wasn’t ready for greens he could see instead of hear. Henry was too quick for him. He gently grasped Jungsu’s hand in his and held him there. He smiled at the elder and said, “Green isn’t so bad. Trust me.” There was that calmness again. It lured Jungsu’s nerves away and he sat down next to Henry on his bed.
When Ttangkkoma showed up, Jungsu even held the little guy in his hand. The little turtle didn’t do much. Youngwoon was practically dancing in delight outside the door. Jongwoon just sighed as he stared at his turtle. “Why are you so boring?” He smiled afterwards anyway.
That night, Jungsu got up in the middle of the night and left his room. Walking down the dark halls reminded him too much of the alley where everything had gone wrong. But he tried to forget the incident. He needed to check something.
He came to the room with the upright piano and opened the door. Turning on the light as he entered, Jungsu walked towards the piano and hesitantly sat down on the wooden bench. He stared at the cover of the keys for quite some time before he inhaled deeply and then exhales slowly. He lifted the cover and the black and white keys met his eyes.
He placed his fingers on the keys delicately. He tried to run scales first. He ran through the key names in his head first, but as soon as he got to the sharps and flats on the piano itself, he couldn’t bring himself to touch the black keys and the scale remained incomplete.
He went back to bed disappointed with himself.
A few days later, Henry was leaving. He left with his parents who smiled proudly at him. There were tears on his mother’s face as she saw her darling boy’s complete transformation from his previous state. Jungsu wondered if the reunion with his family would be the same. That is, if he ever left that place. Youngwoon always told him he would. Jungsu wasn’t so sure sometimes.
Jungsu felt like he was being left behind. He felt like he was losing hope. He felt like he wasn’t making progress at all. Youngwoon wanted to show him that he was making progress, that there was hope. But he didn’t know how to do it. Then an idea came to mind.
“Jungsu, will you trust me this time?” asked Youngwoon as he showed the new crystal prism and flashlight to Jungsu. Jungsu looked at the two objects with slight fright in his eyes. He was scared. Was there something that was going to push him back into panic? Youngwoon held out a hand to Jungsu. Jungsu’s hand shot forward and clenched the larger hand in his own. “Calm down, Jungsu. Nothing is going to hurt you.”
Jungsu took a few deep breaths and forced his muscles to relax just a bit. Youngwoon handed the crystal to Jungsu and then took the flashlight in his own hand again. “Hold it up steadily.” Youngwoon instructed. Jungsu did as he was told, but he was a bit shaky from the nerves. Youngwoon moved himself to sit behind Jungsu and let one of his hands remain tightly intertwined with Jungsu’s and the other holding the flashlight.
“Are you ready?” asked Youngwoon. Jungsu hesitated and the shaking in his hand seemed to intensify with every second. Youngwoon waited. When Jungsu gave the smallest of nods, Youngwoon smiled softly and turned on the flashlight. It shined on the crystal prism brightly as Jungsu stared at it. But when he saw the light through the prism on the wall opposite him, his eyes widened.
He handed the crystal to Youngwoon and got up from his seat to examine the wall further. Upon inspection, Jungsu found a small rainbow on his white wall. He found himself tearing up. But it was not frightened tears, neither were they exactly tears of happiness. They were more like the tears some people experience only experience once or twice in a lifetime. They were tears formed from the feeling of being moved so deeply that it overflowed.
He leaned against the wall next to the little rainbow as the tears flowed freely from his eyes. He had been right in the beginning: color fought for a way back into his life. Back then, he didn’t want it to come back, but now he did. He wanted colors back more than anything.
It took him a while to realize that the colors had vanished from the wall. By the time he did notice, Youngwoon was by his side. “Are you alright?” he asked worriedly. It seemed like he thought Jungsu was crying for other reasons. But Jungsu nodded in answer to his question and smiled shakily and tearfully up at Youngwoon. He wiped away the tears from his own eyes and continued to smile.
Youngwoon seemed to understand after that. He helped Jungsu wipe away the tears as he chuckled lightly at the smaller. When Jungsu had stopped crying, Youngwoon kissed Jungsu’s lips softly and then produced a card covered in reds and pinks.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Jungsu.” he whispered into Jungsu’s ear. It indeed was February 14th.
Jungsu made his own Valentine’s Day cards after that. He used a lot of pink marker and white paper (he saved red for Youngwoon’s card). Then he went out to distribute them to the doctors and the patients. The last room he visited was Sungmin’s room. He had yet to deliver Kyuhyun’s card as well because the younger had not been around. Jungsu guessed he was with Sungmin.
Jungsu went into the room and immediately turned his eyes down so he couldn’t see the walls filled with black numbers. But there was papers with more black numbers on the floor as well. Jungsu forced himself to ignore them and walked to where Sungmin and Kyuhyun were sitting.
Sungmin was scribbling away on his paper random numbers as he always was. He didn’t look up once. Kyuhyun looked like he had been crying again, but the younger wiped away the tear tracts as soon as he walked in. “He still won’t snap out of it.” Kyuhyun mumbled quietly.
Jungsu smiled sadly at Kyuhyun before pasting on a somewhat fake smile. When he pulled his white card with pink lettering from his pocket and handed it Kyuhyun, the younger looked up and couldn’t help but smile back. Then Jungsu pulled out a pink piece of paper in the shape of a heart and carefully placed it on top of Sungmin’s black calculations.
What neither Jungsu nor Kyuhyun had expected was for Sungmin’s pen to stop moving. He just stared at his paper filled with numbers and the pink heart that covered it. Kyuhyun is more in shock than anything else. Jungsu is definitely stunned. In the many visits he had made to Sungmin’s room, the boy had never even acknowledged anything other than the numbers that he was always writing.
Jungsu reacted faster than Kyuhyun could. He reached for the paper to remove it from Sungmin’s hands, but he paused when he remembered the black ink on the paper. But he had to do it, if he let this opportunity pass, Sungmin might be trapped in his own mind forever.
Jungsu gritted his teeth and gently grabbed the paper and pulled it out of Sungmin’s hands. The younger seemed to let go without any resistance. He dropped the pen in his hand and grasped the pink heart with both hands like it was the most precious thing in the entire world. He continued to stare at it for about a minute before he turned his eyes upward for the first time since he had been admitted to the hospital. His eyes fell on Jungsu who still clutched the paper with black number all over it tightly in his hands. Sungmin saw him dressed in all white and he seemed to be glowing.
“Are you an angel?” he asked dazedly. He sounded like he didn’t really register what was coming out of his mouth. Jungsu just shook his head in answer.
Sungmin turned his head to the side where the voice came from. He recognized the person sitting next to him immediately. “Kyu…” There were tears in Kyuhyun’s eyes. Sungmin had finally acknowledged him after such a long time. He leaned forward and placed his lips upon Sungmin’s. That was when Jungsu decided it was time to leave. Youngwoon was outside the door waiting for him like he always was. When he spotted the piece of paper in Jungsu’s hand, his eyes widened.
“Jungsu, is that Sungmin’s?” he asked. Jungsu nodded. “The ink is black.” Youngwoon seemed to be speaking to himself more than Jungsu at the moment. Jungsu looked at his hands. The crumpled paper was still clutched tightly in them, and when he released it and let it fall to the ground, black ink remained on his hands.
But he was not afraid anymore. And it felt incredibly good. He reached up to the white cap on Youngwoon’s head and lifted it off so he could see the black hair that had been hidden for so long.
“Don’t wear the cap anymore.” said Jungsu.
Things had become a lot brighter from that day on. Everyone noticed how much more energy Kyuhyun had and how Youngwoon had been completely ecstatic when Jungsu had finally spoken to him. Donghae just seemed to pick up on the excitement and became more cheerful than anyone had ever seen him.
Youngwoon walked into Jungsu’s room with a bottle of hair dye in his hand. “Jungsu, your roots are growing out again. Time to dye your hair.” he said.
“I don’t want to bleach my hair anymore. I want my natural hair color back.” Jungsu said with a smile.
“Who said anything about bleaching?” asked Kangin as he got closer to Jungsu. He pecked him on the lips before adding, “I already knew you wanted your natural hair back, so I bought black dye.”
“Really?” asked Jungsu with smiling eyes. When Youngwoon nodded, Jungsu hugged him with all the might he had in his tiny body. They spent a couple hours in the bathroom waiting for the dye to set in his hair. After washing it and looking in the mirror, Jungsu realized just how much he missed his black hair. While he was still frightened of color, he didn’t care. But as colors made their way into his life, he missed them more all the time. There was something else he was missing even more.
“Youngwoon, can we go out for a bit? I want to…” He didn’t finish his thought out loud, but Youngwoon understood. He took Jungsu’s hand and led him outside the still white room.
Jungsu took his seat on the wooden bench before the upright piano. Youngwoon sat next to him with a gentle, patient smile on his face. Jungsu lifted the cover and let the black and white keys twinkle before his eyes. This time, he didn’t even need to begin with scales. He just placed his fingers on the keys and let his fingers dance like they used to.
He let them play every single piece of music he had ever learned for competition and for fun. He played self-composed pieces and pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin. If it was simple or difficult, he didn’t care, he just played everything. It felt like he was making up for lost time. For the time he had spent afraid of the instrument and the time he refused to play.
When he finally ran out of things to play, they had been there for hours. But Youngwoon didn’t appear to mind. Jungsu’s fingers ached from pounding on keys and stretching without warm ups and playing after being out of practice for so long.
He looked at his fingers and felt them throbbing at the tips.
“Then you can head home in a few days.”
The last thing Jungsu saw of the hospital as Youngwoon drove him home was Donghae waving and Sungmin and Kyuhyun holding hands as they did the same. He had waved to them briefly before they were out of sight and called as loudly as he could that they had to come visit him when they were released. He thinks he might have heard Donghae reply, but he couldn’t be sure.
The drive home was mostly in silence. Youngwoon concentrated on the directions he was reading off of a piece of paper as he was driving. Jungsu wondered why his parents hadn’t come to get him themselves like Henry’s parents had, but when he asked Youngwoon, all he said was, “Let’s surprise them.” Jungsu liked that idea.
However, when they were in front of Jungsu’s house, he couldn’t get himself out of the car. He was nervous. He felt terrible for putting them through such a difficult situation and he didn’t know what to say to them first.
“Do you want to walk around a bit first?” asked Youngwoon. Jungsu nodded. So they got out of the car and began walking away from the house. Jungsu figured he only needed a few minutes to collect himself and then he would be ready.
Youngwoon talked to him the whole time. They didn’t talk about anything of consequence, but chatted about little things to calm down. They talked about the nice weather. They talked about the surrounding architecture. They talked about the birds that sang a bit of a distance from them. But as they came to an alley, Jungsu stopped dead in his tracks.
“Jungsu?” said Youngwoon when he noticed the elder wasn’t by his side anymore. He looked back and saw him staring into the alley with wide terrorized eyes. He walked back to where Jungsu was standing and looked down the alley. There was nothing there. Then something clicked in his mind.
“Something happened to you here didn’t?” Youngwoon asked. Jungsu didn’t answer. “That something – whatever it was – made you hate colors right?”
“Please don’t make me think about it.” begged Jungsu. “Let’s just leave. Please.”
Youngwoon wanted to ask more questions and get some real answers, but he couldn’t when he saw that desperate look in Jungsu’s eyes. It forced him to move along and try to forget about it. They walked for another fifteen minutes before they finally turned back onto the road to Jungsu’s house.
After approaching the door, Jungsu took a deep breath and then raised his hand to ring the doorbell. It took a minute, but he heard shuffling feet behind the door and the turn of the lock. His mother opened the door and looked like she was about to ask what the person needed before he mouth fell open in shock.
“Mom,” Jungsu began. He almost forgot to continue. “I’m home.”
Mrs. Park bursts into tears right in the doorway as her hands reach out to pull her son to her. “I…I th-thought y-you would n-never come home.” she cried. “Your father and I missed you like crazy.”
“I missed you too, Mom.” muttered Jungsu. His mother released him to call for her husband. “Dear, Jungsu’s home!” she yelled excitedly through her tears. “He’s home!” Mr. Park came running as fast as he could. When he appeared in the hallway, he looked like he had just gotten up from one a nap or – as Jungsu used to put it – a “death sleep” (because almost nothing could wake him up). Mr. Park’s hair was sticking up every which way and he was half dressed.
As soon as he saw his son standing in the door, his arms opened wide and the smile Jungsu had missed for the past nine months was before him. He walked forward and hugged his father as strongly as he had held his mother.
“Now who is this?” asked his mother from behind him. When Jungsu let go of his father to turn back to his mother, she was looking at Youngwoon oddly. Jungsu retreated back to Youngwoon’s side and hesitated before speaking again.
“Promise you won’t be angry?” asked Jungsu.
“You’re in love, aren’t you?” His mother looked at him with a small, knowing smile. The tears that were spilled when he arrived were still flowing from her eyes. “How can we ever be angry with you for the one you love?” Mrs. Park asked. Mr. Park stood behind her with a nodding head. Jungsu wanted to cry himself. But Youngwoon took his hand and the itchy feeling behind his eyes disappeared.
“Mom, Dad, I’ll be back, but I want to see someone before it gets to be too late.”
Youngwoon drove Jungsu to the house he specified. He didn’t know where they were, but Jungsu smiled as they knocked on the door. As soon as a the door opened and a man stepped out, Jungsu bowed deeply.
“Mr. Lee, will you please teach me piano again?” asked Jungsu. Youngwoon looked up at the man before them. This was the man who had taught Jungsu everything he knew about the piano. Jungsu had shared with Youngwoon what had happened the night before he was admitted to the hospital. He really did like his piano teacher and he still wanted to play piano more than anything.
“Why should I?” asked the teacher as he cast a knowing glance at Youngwoon. He was just messing with Jungsu a little. Youngwoon smiled.
“Because I was wrong. I don’t want to give up the piano. I wasn’t…well when I said the things I did. I–”
“I don’t believe you.” said Mr. Lee as he let a little sarcasm into his voice. Jungsu didn’t miss it and he practically pounced on his with joy. Mr. Lee had played so many of those tricks on him when he was younger that he was used to them.
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Jungsu yelled. That was easier than he thought it would be.
Jungsu and Youngwoon had a ceremony for their partnership about a year later. Korea didn’t really allow same sex marriage so they had to settle for a simple ceremony until they could travel to Europe to have an official wedding. But even so, they went all out with the decorations and the guest list.
Donghae came. He had been released from the hospital about two months after Jungsu had and came to visit like he had promised as Jungsu’s car drove away. Sungmin and Kyuhyun came as well. Sungmin was going to be released very soon and Kyuhyun thought it would be alright for him to attend the ceremony if he had a chaperone. Sungmin had taken to calling Jungsu, Angel because of his first glimpse of the man when he looked up from his world of numbers.
The rest of the doctors came as well. Jongwoon, Ryeowook, and Hangeng all came. Siwon and Heechul made a brief showing, but Heechul seemed to shy away from crowds and only stayed long enough to wish good luck to the both of them.
When the day ended and everyone had gone home, Jungsu and Youngwoon removed their dress suits and Jungsu grabbed his fuzzy white cap Youngwoon had given him. The white suit and the lavender suit stayed in their closet until they were able to leave for Europe. Those things cost a ton of money. And the symbolism the colors held for them was worth every penny.