Title: If You Should Die Before I Wake
Length: 1,221 words
Summary: Chansung loses his heart to Junho whose heart is dying
Warnings: implied character death
Remixee author: dream_of_orange
Title of work you remixed: Even If I Die
Link to work you remixed: http://uncookednoodles.livejournal.com/3159.html#cutid1
Chansung gripped the Styrofoam coffee cup in one hand and a cumbersome armload of books in the other, pressing the stack to his chest in an effort to keep them from all tumbling to the floor. He wondered if his glasses would be sacrificed because they were slipping their way down his nose and he couldn't get his cup-filled hand too close without the lenses fogging up and blinding him.
He cursed under his breath, heard the gasp and wheeze of a machine, and glanced in the door he was passing by. The boy, young man really, lay against a starched white pillow and seemed to struggle for breath, dark eyes tired. Maybe the gasp and wheeze wasn't all from machines, Chansung thought in the seconds it took him to pass by the room door.
Leaning back in a cafeteria chair, Chansung studied the bright institutionally white walls and colorful chairs. Someone tried to make the hospital dining experience more enjoyable but he still felt the illness lurking outside the walls and creeping down the long, brightly lit corridors. He wondered and worried about his friend. He found himself haunted by a pair of tired black eyes but couldn't place them. They floated to the surface of his mind at the oddest times.
He wondered who they belonged to.
“Sorry, wrong room.” Awkward at walking into a stranger's room, Chansung frowned at the tired - familar - black eyes staring at him. Then he frowned and blinked as he read the sign on the door.
He felt particularly awkward because the young man didn't respond as he backed out of the room and shut the door. Just stared at him lazily, as if having a stranger wander into his room was an everyday occurrence.
“Lee Junho,” he muttered as he opened the next door in the hallway. Possessor of the haunting eyes and unflappable expression.
He peeked in on Lee Junho every chance he got but tried to be subtle about it. He wasn't a stalker or anything. And he was really at the hospital for his friend. Of course, he was. He also just happened to be curious about the very attractive, albeit sick, young man next door.
He even thought Junho noticed him back.
Chansung started visiting him and thought Junho seemed pleasantly surprised. He wondered if it was because he was someone new. Junho's visitors seemed to consist of a middle-aged woman likely to be his mother and a young man probably of a similar age. Chansung wondered if the other man was friend or lover. He didn't let himself wonder too hard.
It became a point to make his visits to Junho as enjoyable for the other man as possible. Chansung sneaked in treats. Junho loved to eat when he felt well enough to do so. It was a pleasure to sit and watch him enjoy little treats like brownies with a child-like pleasure.
It was also a pleasure to see more than apathy on those mobile features. Junho even smiled for him sometimes. He felt like a star each time.
He walked in to see Junho's eyes closed, chest laboring as usual for breath but he seemed asleep. Crossing the room, Chansung riffled through the cd collection stacked on a table. He picked one out and inserted it into the cd player.
“Planning to steal from me?” Junho mumbled
Surprised, Chansung turned his head, a frown on his face as he pressed play. One of the more played songs on Junho’s CDs started but all Chansung could think was Junho seemed more winded than before. He considered having a deep talk but figured the other man was already exhausted enough.
“It’s not like you have anything worth stealing,” Chansung said as he sat down in the chair by the bed. He pulled out a deck of cards from one of the pockets of his jacket. “Want to play?”
“I thought your friend got sent home yesterday,” Junho said as he nodded, eyeing the cards. “Why are you here?”
“I thought you could use the company, you don’t seem to get many visitors,” Chansung mumbled and shrugged. His friend was home and fine. Junho was not. “Besides, it’s not as if I have anything else to do.” Or anything else he wanted to be doing because he suspected their time was limited.
“I know you’re awake,” Chansung’s voice broke through the silence in the room. He knew Junho had been ignoring his presence in the room. He wished he could make it all go away. He wished he could make it better for Junho. Especially moments like this. “You’re crying.”
Junho didn’t respond with any words. He just turned his face away. Chansung's own heart clenched because Junho was hiding his wet cheeks in an effort to hold the last vestiges of pride.
After an eternity, while the room grew more shadowed, Chansung drew in a breath. “Junho? What’s wrong?” He hesitantly gripped Junho's wrist and listened to Junho draw a shaky breath, but received no answer. “Junho?”
Chansung gripped Junho's wrist a little tighter, hoping to draw the man out of whatever murky thoughts caused tears to course so steadily down his cheeks.
He turned his head to look at Chansung’s mouth ears, forehead, anywhere but his eyes.
“I just-,” Junho interrupted himself, opting instead to gently remove Chansung’s hand from his wrist, and, whispering, he continued. “I just want to be alone.”
Chansung nodded and reluctantly walked towards the door. He kept waiting for a noise, a word, any sign that Junho wanted him to stay but none came. He broke a little inside.
Two days had passed since he'd overheard the nurses discussing Lee Junho's case.
The first time they kissed Chansung knew it was the last. It wasn’t sweet like Chansung had imagined it to be, and all it tasted like was the mouthwash Junho used regularly because of vomiting sessions. It awkward and disgusting and it was still everything Chansung had wanted it to be.
Chansung didn't hate himself for kissing Junho. His lips burned Chansung, and as they pulled apart, Junho raised a hand to his mouth, smiling into it. It showed in the way his eyes vanished into little adorable slits. Chansung's heart clenched but smiled back at him. He felt Junho tighten his grip on Chansung's hand, for just a second.
Suddenly the silence in the room felt much more comfortable than it had been just a few moments before.
“You’re going to be alright, aren’t you?” Chansung pretended to look at ease, happy, and Junho smiled and nodded.
“Yeah,” he said, and Chansung allowed his smile to get just a little bit wider, just a little bit more cheerful. “Yeah, I am.”
Chansung pretended a relief he didn't feel. If it helped Junho to lie, to believe Chansung's heart wasn't breaking, let him lie until the end. And Chansung would smile for him, laugh for him, pretend to believe everything was going to be okay.
Junho would live on and on inside his mind because Junho’s smile was burned onto his eyelids, Junho’s voice in his ears, Junho’s hand in his hand, Junho’s lips on his own, Junho, Junho, Junho…