Title: New beginings
Rating/Warning: Umm... pg-13 for death... lots of death
Parings: HanHae, HaeWook, ZhouHyuk,HyukBer, HanMin, HeeToria
Word Count: Word says 7,292
Disclaimer: I own the characters not the plot! Wait... that's backwards!
Summary: In a time where loved ones are fine one day and dying from an unknown plague the next day can people find new love years later.
A/N: This Is for summer0smiles! :D It's a late birthday present
birthday was 44 days ago... or a late Christmas present... or new years... or whatever you want it to be :D
There was a heavy knock at the door. The two occupants that were sitting on the couch relaxing after a long day of work were startled out of their reprieve. The taller of the two stood up and walked over to the door to open it.
“Oh Donghae, you’re home,” said the person on the outside. “Is Ryeowook home?”
Donghae looked concerned but nodded his head, “Yes he’s home what’s wrong Hyukjae?”
Hyukjae looked around nervously, “can I come in? I really need to talk to Ryeowook.” He replied ignoring Donghae’s question.
“Yeah sure, I’ll make some tea.” Donghae said allowing Hyukjae into the house and walking into the kitchen while Hyukjae sat in the chair by the couch. Donghae quickly but the water on to boil and walked to the door frame between the kitchen and the living room.
“And, and I don’t know what just happened!” was the first thing he heard Hyukjae tell Ryeowook. “We were just sitting and eating dinner and suddenly all of the color drained out of his face and, and he started complaining about his head hurting. I told him he needed to lay down for a while because he spent a longer time out in the fields today but he said he was ok and finished eating. But when he got up to put his plate in the sink he collapsed! I-I don’t know what to do! I called the neighbors and they helped me take him to the hospital and I came straight here because I knew you were the best doctor in town and could handle it.”
Donghae looked back and saw the water was boiling so he went back and continued to finish making the tea and carried it back into the living room and handed a cup to Hyukjae, “Hyuk, it sounds like Mi caught the flu. Just give him a few days and he’ll be right as rain!”
Ryeowook smiled at Donghae, “that’s what I said.” He turned back to Hyukjae, “just let him rest and make him drink fresh water for a few days and he will get back to normal just wait and see.”
Hyukjae looked at his two friends, “ok but will you please check him out when you go to the hospital tomorrow morning? I don’t trust some of those people.”
Ryeowook smiled and nodded, “Sure. Now, why don’t you finish your tea and stay here for the night? I’m sure staying here won’t bother anything.”
Hyukjae took a sip of his tea, smiled softly and nodded, “if I won’t impose on y’all.”
“What? You have never imposed on us before, and plus it’ll be easier for you to go to the hospital when Wookie goes into work tomorrow morning,” Donghae replied before Hyukjae could escape.
“Ok thanks guys.” Hyukjae said after taking another sip.
“Min, are you okay? You look so tired.”
“Yeah I’m okay; just spent too much time in the sun today.” Min replied laying down with his head propped up beside the other man who gave him a skeptical look, “really Geng I’m just tired.”
Geng felt Min’s forehead, “Sungmin! You are burning up!”
“I’m fine! It’s just from working too long in the sun! I’ll be ok in the morning.” Sungmin replied laying completely down in the bed.
“If you say so,” Geng replied before rolling to face away from the other man and falling asleep.
The next morning something felt off to Hangeng. For starters, Sungmin was still in bed. Sungmin was always up before he was up; Sungmin usually woke him up.
Hangeng sat up and shook Sungmin’s shoulder to wake him up and Sungmin responded with a groan, “Leave me alone, Geng I think I’m getting a cold or the flue.”
“Ok, ok,” Hangeng said, “But roll over let me check to make sure.” Sungmin rolled over and sat up. Hangeng gasped when the blankets fell and he saw a small raised area just above Sungmin’s underarm, “S-Sungmin, does it hurt when I touch you here?” He asked and gently applied pressure to the lump.
“Ouch! Yes!” Sungmin said wincing, “why?”
“You have a strange lump here. Come with me to the hospital and let’s get it checked out.”
The first thing Ryeowook did when he entered the hospital in the morning was go directly to where Mi was resting with Hyukjae. When he entered the small room he saw three other people occupying the room along with the taller male. He walked past the other patients and stood by Mi’s bed, “How are you feeling this morning Zhou Mi?”
“I’m in pain,” Zhou Mi said rolling to face Ryeowook. “Make it stop, Ryeowook.”
“Where does it hurt me?” Ryeowook asked.
“Everywhere! But mostly—” Zhou Mi cut himself off.
“Where does it hurt?” Ryeowook asked. Zhou Mi looked around and then looked down. Ryeowook leaned over and whispered in Hyukjae’s ear, “Could you please step away from the bed so I can close the curtain. It’ll only take a minute.”
Hyukjae frowned but did as he was told. Ryeowook closed the curtain so the only people that were in the small space was himself and Zhou Mi, “Ok, Mi I need to see where it hurts the most.”
Zhou Mi blushed but nodded in response. He looked around at the closed curtain and moved his hospital gown over so only his hip and thigh were showing. Ryeowook’s eyes widened when he saw the lump on Zhou Mi’s thigh.
“Min you’ll be ok. Just wait for one of the doctors to come and give you a checkup.” Hangeng said helping the weak Sungmin laydown on one of beds in the public room.
Sungmin nodded and watched Hangeng walk out of the room to start work. He watched as a short doctor walk into the room and walk right past his bed to another couple. He watched as they talked and the person that wasn’t the patient or doctor stepped away and the curtain closed. He watched the person walk back and forth nervously.
“Hey what’s wrong,” he asked weakly.
The other man looked surprised but decided to answer, “My… My friend. He’s sick and I don’t know what’s wrong. And I only trust one of the doctor’s here.”
They heard a gasp from behind the curtain. The doctor came out from behind the curtain and walked over to Sungmin and the other man, “Hyukjae can I talk to you for a moment?”
“Yeah sure,” Hyukjae said and walked closer to the curtain.
Sungmin could hardly hear their conversation but he heard something about a lump. That’s when he started to panic and the color drained from his face, “Umm doctor?”
The two men turned to Sungmin and he opened his button up shirt just enough to display his shoulder. The doctor looked at the lump closely, “Does it hurt? When did it start?”
“It started last night. Hangeng—one of the nurses that works here—said I needed to get it checked out.” Sungmin said. “It really hurts.”
“Ok I’ll look after you. I am Dr. Ryeowook. Please stay in bed and away from others I need to quarantine this room.” He turned to Hyukjae, “I’m sorry Hyuk but you’re going to have to leave. I honestly don’t know what we’re dealing with yet but I don’t want you to catch it. I’m going to have you and the other patients go to another quarantine area for at least twenty four hours to make sure it hasn’t spread.”
Sungmin was getting even more nervous as Ryeowook turned to him again, “Who was the nurse that told you to come here?”
“Han-Hangeng,” Sungmin stuttered.
The doctor suddenly looked pensive but turned back to Hyukjae, “go to the nurse’s station and tell them I need to talk to him.”
Hyukjae nodded and turned and ran out of the room. Ryeowook went back into the curtained off area and Sungmin couldn’t hear what was being spoken. When the doctor opened the curtain he saw the other man standing up. The other man was way taller than the doctor. The man got on the bed that was closer to Sungmin. Sungmin noticed tears in the other man’s eyes. He didn’t know men cried.
Not long after Hangeng walked back into the room and straight to Sungmin’s side, “What’s wrong doctor?”
Ryeowook looked at the pair sympathetically, “I’m not sure but I need you to see if any of these patients have any strange lumps on their bodies and move them to another room with Hyukjae. You need to stay with them. You two have been exposed to whatever they have and need to be quarantined for at least twenty four hours.”
Hangeng nodded and turned to Sungmin and Ryeowook walked out of the room, “Ryeowook will work this out and fix you up. He’s the best doctor I know.”
Sungmin smiled weakly and Hangeng squeezed his hand before going to the other patients to check them out before he moved them to quarantine.
Ryeowook put on a face mask and sighed as he walked over to the nurse’s station, “Hey Heechul?”
“Yeah,” the eccentric nurse answered.
“On your way home could you stop at the house and tell Donghae I’m not going to be home soon? We have a minor situation and I can’t leave.”
“Sure will,” Heechul answered seriously, “is it anything we need to worry about?”
“I don’t think so.” Ryeowook answered, “I’m not sure what it is honestly. I am fixing to run a few tests and we’ll see what happens.”
Donghae was patiently waiting for Ryeowook to come home when he heard a knock at the door. He knew it wasn’t Ryeowook… unless he forgot his key again. But when he opened the door he was surprised to see a different familiar face, “Heechul, what’s going on?”
Heechul looked around, “Can I come in?”
“Yeah sure,” Donghae replied and moved aside to let the older man inside. “Where’s Ryeowook? He was supposed to be home by now.”
“I hate to tell you this Hae, but Ryeowook isn’t coming home tonight. There’s been an emergency at the hospital and both he and Hyukjae have been quarantined for at least twenty four hours.”
“What? Does this have to do with Mi?” Donghae said as he sat on the couch and Heechul sat on the chair.
“Not just Zhou Mi. One of the other nurses has a… friend that has whatever Zhou Mi has and we had at least six more cases. All of the people have had the same symptoms; fever aches and strange lumps where lymph nodes are located. They ran some tests but nothing has come up. It’s something we haven’t ever seen before”
Donghae looked worried, “Okay, thanks Heechul. Please keep me informed about what goes on at the hospital until Ryeowook is able to come home.”
Heechul smiled and stood up, “Don’t worry Hae I’ll tell you anything you need to know.”
The next few days for Ryeowook were tough. There were at least forty cases at his hospital of this strange sickness and who knew how many were at the other hospitals. All of the test results didn’t help and the medications that he gave the patients were not helping.
At first he thought it was a plan by the city council to get rid of the gay people but Donghae and Hyukjae hadn’t gotten it. That thought completely left his mind when Cho Kyuhyun, resident anti-gay, was admitted the day after Sungmin and Zhou Mi came in.
Zhou Mi and Sungmin, the first people to fall ill, that he knew of, were now in critical condition. The lumps had gone away but Zhou Mi’s fingers and toes turned black and Sungmin was coughing up blood. It didn’t help that when he took a shower at the hospital he saw a lump on his thigh. Of course he didn’t tell anyone because he didn’t want anyone else to get the strange disease by taking his place.
He was making his nightly rounds when he felt a weak hand grab his lab coat. It was Sungmin. “Do you need something, Sungmin?”
“I need to see Hangeng.” Sungmin replied weakly.
“I can’t let him come in here. I’m sorry but I can’t risk him getting sick.” Ryeowook sadly replied.
“You’re sick too,” Sungmin said.
“How did you—”
“It was just a gut feeling.” Sungmin’s smile was a weak as his grasp, “I don’t know why this is happening.”
“I don’t either but I’ll figure it out and cure all of us.” Ryeowook replied.
“I’m going to die soon.” Sungmin said.
“Don’t say that,” Ryeowook said sternly.
Sungmin gave a weak, hollow laugh, “I am. Please send a message to Hangeng. Tell him I’m sorry, and to please forgive me. I love him.”
“Why don’t you save your words and tell him how much you love him when you get out of that bed?”
“Because I won’t last much longer,” Sungmin coughed. “I’ll be dead before the sun rises.”
Ryeowook’s eyes widened and Sungmin closed his, “I hope I see you in the next life Doc and I hope our loved ones get out of this hell.”
Ryeowook put on his face mask as he walked out of the room.
Heechul was sitting at the nurse’s station organizing files of all of the new patients that just walked through the door. There were fifteen of them.
“Heechul,” he heard Ryeowook call him.
“Yes Doctor?” Heechul said through the mask.
Ryeowook hesitated, “never mind.” Heechul shrugged his shoulders and turned back to the files. “Wait. When does Hangeng come in?”
“Wasn’t he cleared and told not to come back to this wing of the hospital?” Heechul asked.
“Yes but his boyfriend wasn’t.” Ryeowook said, “And now Sungmin’s asking for him.”
“Oh,” was all Heechul could say.
“I don’t know what’s going on yet—” Ryeowook was cut off by someone yelling.
The yelling was coming from the room that Sungmin was in.
“Don’t move Heechul, I’ll be right back.” Ryeowook said before he ran back into the room. Heechul nodded and noticed Ryeowook pull the mask down before entering the room.
A few long minutes later Ryeowook walked out of the room—with his head down.
“Heechul, please go find Hangeng. Tell him Sungmin is gone. Tell him that his last words were for him. Tell Sungmin said he was sorry, and to please forgive him. And he loved him.”
Heechul gasped and nodded. He got out of the chair in a daze and walked to the exit of the ward.
He found Hangeng in the pediatric ward with children that had incurable non-contagious diseases. He smiled sadly, “Hangeng?”
Hangeng looked up and saw Heechul’s sullen face, “What’s wrong?”
“I need to talk to you.” Heechul said walking away from the children. Hangeng followed him. When they were outside of the room, Heechul led Hangeng to the bathroom.
“I’m sorry.” Heechul said once he knew they were alone. “Sungmin’s gone. His dying words were for you. He said he was sorry and that he loved you and wants your forgiveness.”
Hangeng’s face was hard, “Heechul no. He’s not dead.”
“Yes he is”
“How could you say that?” Hangeng said, “He-he can’t be dead.” Hangeng said losing the strength in his voice, “He just can’t”
Hangeng lowered himself to the floor chanting “he can’t be gone.” Heechul didn’t know what to do. His friend was falling apart right in front of him. Hangeng bowed so deep his forehead was on the floor and he began to cry. His voice became a loud incoherency of sobbing and shouting. He began to hit the floor with balled fists while Heechul watched, silently crying as well.
Zhou Mi watched as Sungmin’s body was wheeled out of the room. He was in tears. He couldn’t believe what has happening. How could someone like Sungmin go through that? How could anyone go through that? He saw that Ryeowook was taking it hard too. He didn’t know what to do he just felt so weak.
Zhou Mi knew he wasn’t going to last much longer. This cursed disease had spread so far into his body he felt it deep within his bones. And he knew it wasn’t going to stop with him and Sungmin. It started with them. He just didn’t know how to tell Ryeowook.
He was in between consciousness and his dream world when Ryeowook sat beside him. He turned to Ryeowook, “aren’t you supposed to be wearing a face mask?”
Ryeowook smiled weakly, “what would the point of that be?” Zhou Mi’s eyes widened, “its ok I wear it when I’m around people who aren’t sick. I’m actually surprised Heechul hasn’t gotten sick yet.”
“When will this end?” Zhou Mi asked, “I just want this to end and it hasn’t even started yet.”
Ryeowook nodded, “So many more people are going to die. I’m so sorry Zhou Mi.”
“It’s not your fault Ryeowook,” Zhou Mi said understanding the meaning, “you should be resting though.”
“I’m not going to rest until I die or find a cure to this.” Ryeowook replied, sighing.
“Donghae would be proud.” Zhou Mi whispered, closing his eyes. They sat in a comfortable silence for a few minutes before Zhou Mi spoke up weakly, “hey Ryeowook. I’m going to take a leaf out of Sungmin’s book. Make sure Hyukjae knows how much I love him.”
Ryeowook smiled weakly, crying, “I’ll make sure he knows.”
“Heechul what’s going on?” Hyukjae said when he opened his door in the middle of the night.
Heechul frowned; this was way too familiar, “I need to talk to you.”
“Oh god,” Hyukjae said and fell to the floor with his hand clamped to his mouth before Heechul could say anything more. “He’s-he’s—”
“I’m so sorry,” was all Heechul said; all he could say. “He loved you.”
Heechul helped Hyukjae up off of the floor and walked him into the house and sat him on the couch. Hyukjae just cried while Heechul made him some tea. Heechul sat beside him and held his hand, “Ryeowook is sick.
Hyukjae sniffed and looked at Heechul, “No! That would kill Donghae! Don’t say that!”
“But it’s true! Please, Hyukjae, don’t tell Hae.” Heechul said looking away.
Hyukjae broke into a new round of sobs, “I can’t handle this Heechul I just can’t.”
“Then I’ll take you to Donghae. I have to get back to the hospital and help there.” Heechul said helping Hyukjae to his feet.
The walk to Donghae and Ryeowook’s home wasn’t long but it was full of an uncomfortable silence that Heechul couldn’t break. When they reached the door Donghae answered after the first few knocks and Hyukjae fell into Donghae’s arms; another wave of sobs and not understandable words left his mouth.
Donghae looked at Heechul. They shared a silent conversation before Donghae took Hyukjae inside the house and Heechul walked back to the hospital.
Five people plus Sungmin and Zhou Mi died that night.
Zhou Mi was right. It was just the beginning. Ryeowook saw at least fourteen people die the next morning; thirty more the next day; countless the next. There was nothing he could do. It seemed like all of their internal organs failed and they just… died.
It was frustrating because he knew the same was going to happen to him. He was going to die in a week. Two weeks if he was lucky. He was going to leave Donghae alone in the world. He couldn’t let that happen. He just couldn’t, but his body was getting weaker. He couldn’t do much and the blackness that took over Zhou Mi’s hands and feet had started taking over his feet. He couldn’t walk so he pushed himself in a wheel chair and refused anyone’s help.
He lasted ten days. Dying in his office; working.
Hyukjae knew something was wrong when he opened the door and Heechul was standing at the door. Without saying a word he let the older man in and they sat in the living room until Donghae got home.
They both stood as Donghae walked through the door with bags in his hands. Donghae saw the sullen look on Hyukjae’s face first then saw Heechul. The bags of food fell to the floor, the color in his face left and he shook his head.
“Donghae,” Hyukjae choked out before Donghae fell to the floor with his back against the wall.
Heechul walked over to Donghae and knelt beside the younger man—who looked like a little boy. “I’m so sorry. He begged me not to tell you.”
Donghae sobbed and all Hyukjae could understand from Donghae was, “You could have told me any way I-I—”
Hyukjae walked over to the pair and embraced his friends. So many people had died. He didn’t understand what was going on or why it all was happening. He had overheard from some of the towns people that the plague was the wrath of God finally coming down upon them. But why would ‘god’ kill his two most devoted sons, Siwon and Kyuhyun? Why did good people like Zhou Mi and Ryeowook have to die and leave Donghae and himself to suffer? Why were children left without parent and wives left without husbands?
Heechul didn’t go back to the hospital that night. He stayed with Donghae and Hyukjae throughout the night. He would occasionally convince them to get some sleep, but that didn’t last long. He would play the piano, Ryeowook bought many years ago, to comfort them. He did everything he could to keep them both from doing something they would later regret.
“I can’t take this anymore!” Donghae shouted the third day after Ryeowook died.
“What’s wrong Donghae?” Heechul asked walking into the kitchen. He never did go back to the hospital.
“I can’t stay here. I have to get out… leave. I only stayed in Mokpo because Ryeowook’s practice was here. I stayed for him and now that,” He choked on his voice, “now that he’s gone and I have no reason to stay here. I want to leave.”
Hyukjae and Heechul looked at each other and walked over to Donghae.
“So,” Heechul began.
“Where are we going?” Hyukjae finished.
“What?” Donghae asked, confused.
“Remember Donghae, you’re the only thing I have left in this town. You’ve been my best friend since birth! You’re not going anywhere without me.” Hyukjae said rolling his eyes.
“And all of my friends are either dead or have already moved off so I might as well come along to stay with people I know and trust.” Heechul said giving Donghae a wink and smirk. “So where are we going?”
“I was thinking somewhere where God’s plague hasn’t reached.”
“Please don’t call it that, Donghae.” Hyukjae said frowning.
“Then what should I call it? People are saying its God’s wrath.”
“I highly doubt the plague has anything to do with God. I think it biological. We could call it the black plague? People’s hands and feet turned black before they died.” Heechul said.
“Okay, well whatever we call it I want to get away from it. We could go to Seoul.” Donghae said, “I have always wanted to start a restaurant there and Heechul could find a nice big hospital to work in.”
“And I could go to Seoul Dance Academy! Or go back to work making coffee or something.” Hyukjae said feeling shy.
“Okay it’s settled! Pack what you need! Let’s leave as soon as possible!” Heechul exclaimed walking back into the living room.