Imaginary Friend (Y.JI)
Warnings : swearing, alcohol, domestic abuse, childhood abuse, coma,
Word Count : 2033
Synopsis : jeongin has been by her side for as long as she can remember. he was her imaginary friend, her safe space, her knight in shining armor. but the only thing she wants is for him to be real.
“You’re here.” She croaked out with a small smile on her bruised face. The man sitting on the chair next to her hospital bed smiled back, reaching to grab her hand only for it to phase right through. “I wish you were real. I could use some cuddles.” She giggled.
It was music to Jeongin’s ears. Her giggle was something he’s missed these last few years. His disappearance from her life was for the best; she was getting older and making real life friends, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t miss her every single day. “I’d give you all the cuddles if I was real.” Tears welled up in her eyes and Jeongin wished he could wipe them away. He wished he could do more than just sit beside her and watch her heal from her injuries. “What happened?”
She had come home from work later than usual due to her boss asking her to stay behind and finish some paperwork. Her fiancé was waiting for her in the living room, a beer in his hand as he stared ahead at the tv. “You’re late.” He said without even turning his head.
“I’m sorry. My boss asked me to finish some paperwork tonight.” She explained as she quietly placed her keys in the dish by the door and took off her jacket, hoping not to disturb his show. She knows how angry he gets when someone disturbs his show.
“Bullshit.” He raised his voice, slamming the bottle on the side table, smashing it to pieces. She flinched at the sudden noise and tried to hold back the tears that would surely fall in the shower. “I know you’re fucking your boss.” She opened her mouth to deny the allegations, but he was standing and throwing everything in his vicinity at her. “You’re nothing but a dirty slut!”
“I’m not cheating on you, I promise. I love you. I only love you!” She cried, holding her arms in front of her face as the violence got worse. He started with pillows and books, and that escalated to the lamp on the side table, before he was in front of her, throwing punches while she lay on the ground, protecting her head.
“All women are the same.” He spat, delivering one last blow before she blacked out.
“Now I really wish I was real so I could kick his ass and run away with you.” Jeongin partially joked, smiling only when he saw her smile.
“Can you stay with me? I always feel safe when you’re with me.”
“Of course.” He whispered softly, wishing he could crawl into the bed beside her and hold her while she sleeps. Instead, he stays sitting on the chair, quietly singing to her while she drifts off to sleep.
“A 90%? I raised you better than this!” Her dad yelled, throwing her latest test on the table before reaching to remove the belt holding his pants up. “Hands on the wall.” With tears in her eyes, she reluctantly put her hands on the wall, her back facing her father. She wanted to ask him to stop, wanted to tell him she was sorry and she would study harder, but she knew better than to talk back.
“Jeongin? What are you doing here? My parents will kill us both if they see you.” She whispered when she got up to her room.
“I guess we’ll have to make sure they don’t find me.” He playfully smirked, laying on her bed, patting the empty space beside him. “I missed my best friend, okay? Is that a crime?” She couldn’t help but laugh at her best friends antics, rolling her eyes as she crawled into bed beside him.
“Missing me isn’t a crime but breaking into my room is.” She teased, holding one of his hands with one of hers and drawing random shapes on the back of it with the other. It distracted her, calmed her, from the events that took place downstairs earlier. “Can you sing to me, Innie?”
“Of course. Anything for my best friend.” As he softly sang some of her favourite songs, she drifted off to sleep, her hand still holding his, their fingers now intertwined. Even at the tender age of 12, Jeongin knew he wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s like she could still feel his touch, as if he was real. She could feel the warmth of his hand in hers while she softly drew shapes and letters on the back of his hand, writing secret messages only she knew. She could feel the warmth of his body laying next to her while he softly sang to her, brushing the hair out of her eyes, and pressing a soft kiss to her forehead before disappearing out the window he came in.
But how was that possible when Jeongin was nothing more than her imaginary friend; someone she created out of loneliness. That’s what her parents told her, it’s what her therapist told her. Jeongin, the boy she’s known her whole life, was nothing more than a figment of her imagination. But she couldn’t let him go. He was her safe space.
As her injuries healed, Jeongin would accompany her for walks around the hospital. At first, they only walked up and down the hallway where her room was. But as she got better, they wandered further into the hospital, visiting different wards, and even venturing outside a couple times. “Are you going to stay with me when they discharge me next week?” She asked as they wandered the quietest ward in the hospital; the coma ward.
It was the only place besides her room she could talk openly to Jeongin without people looking at her like she was insane. “If you want me, I’ll follow you everywhere.” He smiled as he turned his head to look at her. As he did, he caught something out of the corner of his eye, something, or someone, that looked a little too familiar. “Let’s go in this room.” He said, already walking towards it.
She followed him into the quiet room, the only sounds that could be heard coming from the machines keeping the young boy alive. Jeongin hesitantly approached the bed, seeing his own face. As she took his side, her heart felt like it was going to beat out of her chest. “It’s you.” Jeongin turned away from the bed to see her looking pale.
“Hey, sit down.” He was no longer concerned about the man in the bed looking like him. His full concern was on the girl he called his best friend for as long as he can remember, the only person on this earth that could see him. “Talk to me, Y/N.” His hands hovered over her face, knowing he couldn’t touch her, no matter how badly he wishes he could.
“Y/N?” Before she could answer, someone was calling her name from the door. A middle-aged woman walked into the room, obviously just coming from wherever she worked. “It’s really you.” She smiled, opening her arms for a hug.
“Do you know me?” The younger girl asked, looking at the woman who looked familiar, but no name was coming to her mind. She could see how dejected the woman felt by the way her smile and arms dropped.
“I suppose it really has been a long time. I always wondered why you never came to visit.” She looked at the older woman, wondering what on earth she was talking about. “You and Jeongin were so close growing up. I thought when I told your parents about the accident, you’d come right here.”
Y/N turned her head to look at the imaginary Jeongin standing right beside her, his face conveyed the shock she felt. “You mean he’s real?” She didn’t even look at the woman, only staring at Jeongin’s face, tears welling up in her eyes. “Jeongin is a real person?”
“Of course, sweetie. He was your best friend before the accident.” She finally met her eyes again, allowing the tears to run freely.
“How long as it been?”
“Today would be 8 years.” Her parents lied to her for 8 years about the boy she called her best friend. She was convinced he had been a figment of her imagination, someone she created because the other kids didn’t want to be her friend. She thought he disappeared due to the fact she had made new friends, but he was real this whole time. Laying in the hospital bed, barely alive. “Let’s grab something to eat and talk some more.”
She followed the familiar woman down to the cafeteria in the hospital, Jeongin staying behind and staring at his own face, wondering how he ended up in such a position. “I really had no idea. My parents told me Jeongin was a figment of my imagination.” She explained, her voice soft. She could barely meet her eyes, instead staring at the drink she was holding in her hands.
“Maybe that was for the best. You were so young, I’m sure the news would have devastated you.” Jeongin’s mom reached across and grabbed her hand, making her finally meet her gaze. “Ah, you’re engaged now?” She asked, noticing the ring Y/N still hadn’t taken off.
She pulled her hand back, quickly removing the ring from her finger and denying her engagement. “Not anymore. He, uh, he’s the reason I’m here actually.” She admitted, feeling safe in the presence of this stranger, a stranger who isn’t a stranger at all. She’s her best friend’s mom, someone she grew up with.
“Good on you for leaving him, sweetheart. You should find someone that makes you feel safe and happy.” They shared a smile, and Jeongin’s mom shared some stories of the two of them in their childhood. “I remember he would always sneak out to see you at night. I always knew, he was never quiet, but I knew he was going to you.” She giggled, and Y/N just smiled at her.
“Jeongin was always my safe space. Almost like he was my knight in shining armor.”
“I always thought the two of you were going to end up together. You were always attached at the hip.” Y/N couldn’t lie, with all the memories flooding her mind, she could see the two of them getting together. But before she could say anything, the woman’s phone rang; a nurse calling saying her son had finally woken up. “Oh my god.” She whispered, and the two girls ran back to Jeongin’s room, seeing him sitting up in bed with a smile on his face.
“I’m real.” He spoke, staring directly at Y/N. She nodded with tears in her eyes.
“You’re real.” Their wish came true. He could reach out and hold her hand, he could wipe her tears away, and hold her until she felt okay again.
“My son, you’re awake!” His mom wrapped her arms around him, Y/N stood back and watched the heartwarming scene as the tears fell down her cheeks. “How do you feel? Are you hurt anywhere?” She placed her hands on his shoulders, looking over his body to see if he could be in pain anywhere. All the physical injuries he sustained had faded while he was in a coma. 8 years was along time to be asleep, and still he felt tired.
“I’m fine, mom. Honestly I’m just tired.” He chuckled. Y/N crossed her arms over her chest, shaking her head at her best friend.
“You just slept for 8 years, Innie.”
“No! I followed you around for 8 years, Y/N.” He pouted. She smiled at the memories of him being by her side whenever she needed him. His mom stayed silent, not even questioning the confusing conversation happening before her, just happy to have her son back.
“Yeah, yeah you did. I guess it’s my turn to take care of you though.” The two shared a laugh as she walked closer, taking the empty seat beside the bed, and grabbing his hand. “I hope you know that you’re never getting rid of me. I’m going to be stuck to you like glue.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, love.”