Byulyi doesn’t really know how it happened.
She vaguely remembers leaving Music Bank after recording their performance and walking to their mini-van. She was talking to Yongsun about something she can’t recall and Wheein and Hyejin were trailing close behind them.
Byulyi remembers long hair and a sharp, searing pain in her stomach.
She remembers falling to the ground, watching the world spin around her, lights flashing, blurring, a rush of bodies, yelling, pulling at her, dozens of hands holding her up.
She remembers Yongsun’s panic-stricken face.
Byulyi remembers the colour red.
There is only blackness for a while. Byulyi can’t feel anything. She can’t move. She doesn’t know how long she’s been wherever she is.
What she does know is that she wants to leave, now.
Who am I?
Is her first thought as her brain reboots and she starts to feel again- the rough, desert dryness of her throat, the headache-inducing brightness of everything around her, the fog of colours that swim as she blinks and tries to ground herself back to reality.
Oh, right. Moon Byulyi. That’s my name.
She can see properly again, recognises the slightly blurry but familiar faces of her family, the CEO, relieved Hyejin, blubbering Wheein and Yongsun hovering over her, beautiful, ethereal Yongsun with her uncharacteristically messy hair, cracked lips and dark bags under her anxious eyes.
Byulyi wonders for a split second whether she’s alive or dead and in heaven because she’s pretty sure angels don’t exist on Earth.
“…Wh-what?” her voice comes out thin and so soft she can barely hear herself.
Violent coughs wreck her body and the first to react is Wheein, who quickly brings a cup of water to her lips and gingerly tips it for her to drink. Hyejin gently wipes her mouth and chin afterwards and Byulyi tries to smile but her mouth isn’t really responding the way she wants to.
So she reaches for their hands and settles on hooking her pinkies around theirs and squeezing as tight as she can (which, considering her current condition, she realises, they might not even notice) but then they both smile at her, and Byulyi feels something warm and tender blooming in her heart when they gently squeeze back.
“Miss Moon,” a man in a long white lab coat approaches them and the two girls step aside to give him space. “How are you feeling?”
It’s only then that Byulyi looks around and sees a row of beds opposite her, notices the pale green hospital gown she’s wearing and the IV drip at her bedside, the needle connected to her arm.
Her throat makes a funny, confused noise and she sees Yongsun hide a smile from the corner of her eyes.
The doctor softly laughs. “You’re in the hospital. You’ve been asleep for three days.”
Byulyi wants to ask why, what happened, why am I here, but the doctor turns before she can speak.
“Well, she’ll be fine. She might be a little disorientated at first but other than that she’s all right. We’re going to keep her here for about a week for some tests and she’ll be free to go.” A collective sigh of relief ripples through the room and Byulyi almost wheezes out a laugh, but her lungs feel like caving in when she tries to so she doesn’t.
The doctor leaves and instantly, Byulyi is bombarded with tears and hugs and questions and it is so overwhelming she feels kind of dizzy.
“Please, take it easy, she just woke up,” Yongsun’s calm voice quells the chaos, arms going around Byulyi protectively.
“What happened?” Byulyi croaks, hands weakly tugging at Yongsun’s sleeve.
Yongsun turns to look at her and opens her mouth to answer but something flashes in her eyes- something painful and jarring- and the words seem to get stuck in her throat. Yongsun’s gaze begin to wash all over Byulyi, as if she’s making sure Byulyi is really there, breathing and alive.
“A fan stabbed you.” Hyejin answers when she sees that Yongsun isn’t going to answer. “A sasaeng fan. She was delusional- kept calling you her ‘boyfriend’- wouldn’t let go of you no matter how hard we pulled. It took about 6 people to pry her off long enough for us stop the bleeding. A few moomoos called the ambulance when they saw it happen.”
“The CEO actually accepted the idea? We’re going to be dancing on a radish stage?” Byulyi asks and Yongsun nods excitedly.
“Yeah, with a radish cart and radish onesies and everything!” Yongsun replies, eyes shining, she’s buzzing with anticipation and it’s contagious so she doesn’t fight back the smile growing on her face.
And then Byulyi hears Hyejin yell and Wheein’s loud gasp and sees a girl standing in front her, a mask over her face and before she knows it, she’s been stabbed and the pain doesn’t go away.
It spread quickly- she feels her nerves light up like they’re on fire, can feel the cold, foreign metal shifting and slicing muscles and blood vessels, and she wants it to stop but she can’t muster enough strength to even speak properly.
Byulyi hears Yongsun’s cry and sees her face over the curtain of black hair of her attacker, terrified wide eyes boring holes into her.
They fall together, bodies close, arms wrapped around her neck- so tight she cant breathe- and she tries to fight back, but she can feel life draining out of her as blood, thick and heavy with its implications, pools around her.
Ah, she thinks, the moomoo designer is going to be so sad when they see this…
And she blacks out to Yongsun’s frantic voice and Hyejin’s tears falling onto her cheeks and Wheein’s hands wrapped around her face.
The youngest of the group wraps her arms around herself and Byulyi can see tears starting to form in Wheein’s eyes. Yongsun doesn’t say anything, but she doesn’t have to because Byulyi holds her hand back as tightly as she can, till she matches Yongsun’s white knuckles from the force of her grip on Byulyi’s own.
“I’m okay now,” she whispers, in an attempt to comfort them, but she only succeeds in making Wheein cry and Hyejin choking out an unnie and Yongsun surging forward to take Byulyi in her arms and sob desperately, because really, Byulyi has never known what to say in these kinds of situations.
Her family visits her as often as they can, and the CEO even brings small gifts to cheer her up. Hyejin and Wheein coddle over her every chance they get, and it quickly becomes Byulyi’s source of entertainment to watch them outdo each other in fussing over her even though Byulyi tells them, there really is no need guys, I’m fine.
(That doesn’t stop Wheein from trying to give her a full-on body massage though, which freaked out the nurses and now there is always a nurse on standby whenever Wheein comes to visit or Hyejin from sneaking in after hours to throw pebbles at her window and serenading her- which led to dozens of complaints and half the staff stalking though the hospital grounds the entire night to find said perpetrator).
Yongsun doesn’t leave her side even once.
She’s there when Byulyi goes to sleep and she’s there when Byulyi wakes up. She watches Byulyi with trepidation, almost as if she’s scared that Byulyi will disappear in front of her eyes, as though if she leaves for just one minute, she’ll come back to see white cloth draped over Byulyi’s body and a coffin beside her bed.
Sometimes, when Byulyi wakes up in the middle of the night, she watches Yongsun sleep. She brushes the hair out of her face and strokes the hand that is holding hers gently with her thumb.
Byulyi almost feels like it’s a blessing to have been stabbed if Yongsun’s by her side like this.
“It’s your choice, Byulyi,” their CEO says when he comes to visit one day. “You get to decide what happens to her. She can either end up in jail, or you can let her go and she’ll stay on parole.”
She feels Yongsun’s eyes on her, begging, but she knows it’ll leave a bad taste in her mouth for the rest of her life, knowing that she ruined someone else’s life so she says,
“I don’t want to make it any worse,”
And she hears Yongsun’s sharp intake of breath.
She meets her attacker again, this time surrounded by men dressed in suits and her three members standing close around her. She apologises, genuinely remorseful over her actions and Byulyi forgives her, despite Yongsun’s disapproving eyes.
Byulyi thinks that it’s enough punishment that the fine they imposed on her will take an entire lifetime to pay.
The four of them are sitting around and talking two days before she’s allowed to leave the hospital.
Maybe it’s the medicine or maybe she’s going insane after being here for so long, but Byulyi opens her mouth and doesn’t think about her next words:
“At least now we know how popular we are,” Byulyi laughs, which sends a dull throb through her abdomen.
Shocked silence engulfs the room and immediately she knows that was not the right thing to say.
Hyejin’s mouth is hanging open in shock and she can see that Wheein is this close to bursting out in tears again and guilt wells up in her because she knows how hard Wheein has been keeping herself from breaking down and how Hyejin has been putting up a strong front in front of her.
“Was that supposed to be a joke?”
Yongsun is looking at her with an unreadable expression on her face, her eyes heavy with a simmering rage.
“Why are you laughing?” Yongsun’s says, calm steel settling in her words. “What is it about being stabbed and almost dying that you find so funny?”
“I don’t-“ Byulyi tries to speak but Yongsun cuts her off.
“Byulyi, you were stabbed, you could have died,” Yongsun’s rough voice cracks midway and she swallows, doesn’t say anything.
“You could’ve died.” Yongsun whispers again, like she’s imagining it actually happening and Byulyi can feel a sting in her eyes too.
Byulyi wordlessly pulls Yongsun into her arms, and all the anger seems to leave the older girl immediately as she folds into Byulyi’s embrace.
“I felt so helpless.” Yongsun mumbles wearily into her shoulder. “All I could do was watch you bleed. All I could do was watch you almost die in front of me.”
Byulyi doesn’t say anything, holds Yongsun closer and allows her to speak her mind, to spill her thoughts and feelings.
“I almost lost you.”
“… But you didn’t, Yongsun. You saved me.” Yongsun pulls away from Byulyi far enough to shoot her a confused look, and Byulyi points to her arm, where blue veins hidden underneath pale skin can be seen. “The doctor told me you donated your blood to save me.”
“She’s lost a lot of blood.” A doctor murmurs. “She’s going to need a blood transfusion…”
“Where are we going to get a match on such short notice?” Another says. Yongsun looks at Wheein, who looks so shaken up and Hyejin with a dull, listless look in her eyes, blood smears all over their clothes and Yongsun stands up before she can think about anything else.
“Mine.” Her voice is shaky but she stays firm. “My blood type is B, same as Byulyi’s. Use my blood. Please.”
She takes a step closer.
“Please don’t let her leave me.”
Yongsun stutters out a response, embarrassed at being found out, but Byulyi presses a finger to her lips.
She tries not to think about how soft they are.
“You saved my life Yongsun, don’t try to convince me otherwise.” Yongsun has the decency to blush sheepishly. “Your blood is running through my body now. I owe you my life.”
Nothing more is said as Byulyi gulps and pecks Yongsun on the cheek. The older girl doesn’t blink, doesn’t breathe for a long second.
“Thank you.” Byulyi says, cheeks flushing.
Hyejin and Wheein have long since left the room to give them privacy and Byulyi makes a mental note in the back of her mind to treat them to dinner as a thank you and as an apology as Yongsun slowly leans in and presses a timid kiss to Byulyi’s mouth.
She smiles and quickly reciprocates, the two propped up on the bed as they kiss again and again. Yongsun straddles her and she has to stretch out her arms on the bed to steady them. In the process, she accidentally presses a certain dark red button.
Byulyi swears she’s never been able to look at the nurses there directly in the eye ever again.