Title: Runner, chapter 12: Prayers
Genre: AU ( another place and time), friendship, angst
Summary: 5 young men dream of growing up together and being friends forever, but wishes don’t always come true
A/N: Didn’t get much sleep this weekend; Scott had some asthma problems and I had to get him some medicine at 4 in the morning. I am back to working full time, and will probably update Runner on the weekends when I won’t be too pooped. Just an fyi, I just watched the most recent Batman movie for the first time, so I’m feeling a bit dramatic.
Changmin stood in the rubble of the enemy bunker. The rebels had managed to rescue their own in the nick of time, leaving behind scattered bits and pieces of arms and ammunition. It was a small victory, nonetheless, one that the young political officer hoped would make his career.
As his men scoured the wreckage, something in the corner of his eye caught his attention. It was blue, cylindrical, and made of plastic. His first instinct was to back away; the rebels were known for their booby traps. But the object was familiar; recognizable. This was no bomb. Despite his better judgment, the young political officer bent down and picked up the object in his gloved hand.
His breath hitched in his throat.
He held the plastic, disk shaped object in his tremblings hands; the initials YC written in indelible ink. He swallowed hard and mumbled under his breath.
A crowd had gathered outside the infirmary. The general stood, body shaking as he looked around him. Jaejoong leaned against a wall, cigarette dangling from his lips. The general could see that he was crying. Jaybom was there as well; even “the gnome” had tears in his eyes. The Chinese operatives had come too; they paced nervously across the floor.
The general got a hold of himself, straightened up his uniform and entered the room.
“Sir,” Junsu beckoned him; “only a few minutes.”
The general nodded; he tried not to let his emotions get the better of him as he approached the cot; his best runner wounded; his body trembling; hooked up to IV’s; an oxygen tube in his nose. The general sat down next to the bed and tried to calm his nerves. The runner turned to look at him; face pale and sweating. Slender fingers reached out to the general; the older man gently grasping his hand.
Yoochun swallowed hard and despite his pain, he spoke in a low whisper.
“I’m sorry, father.”
The general sighed deeply.
“I forgive you, my son.”
They stared at each other; both men shedding tears. Yoochun winced in pain and Junsu interrupted their moment.
“I’m sorry sir, you’ll have to go now.”
The general reluctantly let go of his son’s hand and walked out of the infirmary. He stopped and looked at his men who were obviously distraught.
“Gentleman,” he spoke sternly; they snapped to attention as they recognized the seriousness of his tone.
“We have work to do.”
They followed him to his headquarters; the lonely medic glancing back at the doctor. Junsu nodded his head as if to say “it’s ok.” Jae put out his cigarette and trotted after Jaybom and the Chinese boys. The general was not one to let this defeat go unpunished. Even the medic would do his part to reclaim the lost bunker.
A moan caught Junsu’s attention.
“It’s ok Chunnie; I’ll increase the morphine.”
The runner’s eyes fluttered closed; breathing labored; his hands gripped the sheet as another sharp pain ripped through him.
Junsu busied himself getting more morphine; he didn’t notice someone else standing in the door. He gathered what he needed and headed back to help his friend. He was stopped cold in his tracks as the newcomer slowly walked to the injured runner.
It was her.
Junsu watched; paralyzed as the girl sat by Yoochun’s bedside. Junsu held back his own tears as she leaned in and kissed the runner’s brow.
“Dara,” the wounded runner whispered, his voice barely audible.
“Shh,” she hushed him as she brushed his dampened bangs away from his eyes.
“I’ll take care of you now.”
Dara smiled at Junsu who bit his lower lip. He snapped back to reality and and hooked up the morphine to the IV. Dara took him aside when he was finished.
“How bad is it?” she asked.
Junsu made sure they were out of earshot of Yoochun.
“Are you religious, Dara?” he asked her.
She shook her head.
“You might want to rethink that. Now is the time to pray.”
He walked away from her and continued his work; Dara looking on; her arms wrapped around her body.
“Please God,” she prayed; please.”
Changmin walked into Yunho’s room. The wounded flier seemed to be moving a bit better. The new medicine coupled with physical therapy was helping, but there was no hope of him ever flying again; the damage was done.
“Min, what news from the front? I heard we took the eastern bunker. Did you bring find anything useful?”
The political officer pulled an object from his pocket.
“I found this,” he told the older man.
Yunho outstretched his hand and Changmin placed the object in his palm.
Suddenly his spirits faltered as his eyes focused on the initials.
“He’s the runner,” Changmin spoke, his voice surprisingly calm. “Jae was with him.”
Yunho’s hand gripped the back of his chair to keep from falling.
“Are you certain?”
The younger man nodded.
“They are soul mates; they are inseparable.”
Yunho eased himself into his chair and propped his leg up.
“Are they dead?”
Changmin poured himself and his friend a drink.
“I don’t know hyung, I don’t know.”
It was eerily quiet that night; Changmin and Yunho drank their fill; their victory celebration short lived. They imbibed Yunho’s wine until they both slipped away into unconsciousness.
The general and his staff worked endlessly through the wee hours on a plan to recapture what they lost. The Chinese agents set out on their recon missions while Jaybom and the remaining runners armed themselves; this time with more than their wits. The handsome and soft spoken medic rallied the troops; he took the role of morale officer; he was a hero after all; he and the infamous runner who rescued the men trapped in the eastern bunker. “For Yoochun” became their battle cry, as they readied themselves for the next battle.
Dara donned the garb of a nurse; never leaving her lover’s side she assisted Junsu in the infirmary. While the doctor and his nurse weren’t looking, curious onlookers slipped into Yoochun’s room.
A young soldier with his arm in a sling walked up to Yoochun’s bed, along with another man on crutches. They whispered to each other.
“I heard he took out ten guys by himself.”
Noises could be heard from the outside; chanting and cheers of some kind.
“Hey,” Yoochun spoke in a low whisper; his breath raspy and shallow. “What’s going on?”
The soldier on crutches limped over to him.
“They’re calling your name. You’re a hero.”
Junsu and Dara came back; they gave the two men a stern look. They hobbled off, not wanting to get on Junsu’s bad side.
“Get some rest, Yoochun, that’s an order,” Junsu chastised him. Dara suppressed a giggle.
“They think I’m some sort of hero,” he gasped; a coughing spasm startling Dara.
She smiled at him and pressed a damp cloth to his fevered brow.
He smiled at her; eyelids fluttering; slow and slurred words stuttering before he passed out.