|WHILE I HAVE BEEN WAITING CHOI YOUNG'S STORY
Author: klove1 PM
Story of a great, yet simple and completely in love, man's quest in transcending his most inner feelings and fears, while waiting, believing, expecting, questioning, wavering, rediscovering, worshiping, trusting his beloved return.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Choi Young - Chapters: 21 - Words: 31,206 - Reviews: 55 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 01-08-13 - Published: 11-18-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8713344
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
PART I TEARS OF THE WARRIOR
With a renewed sense of hope, the general started toward the gate, only to realize that if Eun Soo planted an aspirin bottle for him, she might have already gone through the Heaven's door back in time. However, he needed to make sure for himself, he wanted to see it with his own eyes. So he headed to the portal, still dizzy and weak, each step heavy with fear that what he understood in his mind, might actually come true – she would not be there.
As he approached, he stopped before the sharp rocky turn, leaning on the wet stone ledge. This is where it all started. The ominous weather with cool wind, grey skies and the smell of rain in the air, transported him back in time when he volunteered to bring a doctor for the injured Queen. He was a very different man then. Strange world with flying carriages and lights in the sky, filled with loud noises and harsh brightness, was foreign and unwelcoming. But that world bore a precious gift, which could not be found in the whole of Goryeo, the High Doctor. She was a woman from the future, whom he kidnapped on his trip through time, a woman who was bound to leave, and who by some miraculous leap of faith gave a chance to a "psycho", saving him countless times. By her hand, he transformed from a ghost of a man into person, who understood the meaning behind "living". By her heart, he gained the will to love and to fight for his love. By her being next to him, he found himself able to want something for self and not just dutifully following order; to make a conscious choice, ultimately becoming a stronger and better warrior, proudly serving his king. The kind of warrior, who could wield a heavy sword and walk the path different from his teacher's. By her existence, he has come this far, he's become one with her, and he finally liked who he was.
Now it all came full circle. The dreaded moment of truth, one more step, and the heaven's gate will be in plain view. He braced himself for the inevitable. In front of the mysterious portal, which now looked like a simple alcove carved in stone, there was a frozen corpse of Ki Chul, no Eun Soo in sight. "She is alive, she escaped him" – was his first thought. His second one: "She is gone. Somewhere at a time and place out of my reach." With a groan, he smashed his fist against his chest, trying to blunt the emotional pain in his heart with a primitive physical one. The strength he collected before, escaped him; his knees gave out, and he collapsed, kneeling on the ground, still facing the portal in disbelief. In this drenching rainstorm, his only witness was the grieving heaven: there he was, vulnerable and alone, water streaming down his cheeks. Normally, the general was not given to shedding tears, and in this pouring rain, one could not tell the difference, yet, his reserved tears could flow freely, drowned in the nature's outpour.
… Finally, he reminded himself that SHE would be worried if he got sick. He could feel her warm hand on his cheek, smiling at him "You are better, you are OK."
"Imja, I will take care of my self, I will eat well and sleep well, and I will be healthy for your return."
So without hesitation, he got up and walked away. He stopped briefly by the inn, where he found Dae Man, sent by the assistant general. The kid did not ask a thing, he just looked at the general and stuttered "I have a change of clothes". Choi Young was grateful that there were no questions about the High Doctor. After quickly changing into dry robes, he rode home.
He was notified that the king was waiting for him, troubled by his long absence.
"Please let His Majesty know that I will inform him in the morning."
PART II WHEN THE WALLS CAN TALK
He could not bring himself to return to the room freshly holding her presence. He was afraid of seeing the remnants of her – the floor which recalled her steps, medicine jars she touched, her Woodalchi armor, her hair brush, clothes, jewelry, and worst of all the bed, where she slept, which still held her warmth and the smell of her body, the pillow filled with the fragrance of her hair. He went directly to their special place. Sitting down by the railing, weary from the journey and the emotional exhaustion, he has fallen into a deep dark sleep, only to be awakened by somebody's touch. "Imja," – bright and hopeful he opened his eyes, turned to disappointment, finding his aunt next to him. She had the most concerned expression he has ever seen on her face: "How are you? They told me I might find you here."
He could not answer. He was disturbed by the blunt reality. He remembered it all instantly.
"The Queen has sent me… She gave me a day off. Anything you need, anything at all, just let me know." She sat down nearby, respectful of his space.
He knew that it was her way of comforting him, more than a hug, or a pet on the back, her quiet support spoke volumes.
"She was cured, she was healthy, and, you know, I asked her to stay with me. She was going to stay with me." He closed his eyes, with a slight smile remembering: "We spent time together, just the two of us. I never felt at peace like that before. Like you are home, you belong and there is no doubt about anything…" He looked at his aunt, his eyes holding sadness and hope "She went through the heaven's door and I could not do anything to stop it. All I can do now is wait and be ready for her to return." Lady Choi, looked at him intently and confused.
"I know she will come back. I do not know when, though… " With an understanding, he added, "Don't worry, I won't turn into a walking dead again, not ever. I live for HER now, aunt."
When I lay there dying, I remembered your face, your voice, saying everything will be fine, our promise to be together. Rain washed away all the doubts, I knew that you will never stop till you find me again. So I have to live in order to be here when you return.
The general did not return to his room for a month. He never lost the ability to sleep anywhere any time, so the compound and the palace garden became his refuge. He was never disturbed, as Woodalchi made sure of that. Even the King arranged for a time off, citing the need for the General to recover after the injury and current stable situation at the palace. Although everyone was worried about his condition, nobody dared to ask, especially when he was more withdrawn than usual. Then one day, after it started to rain again, unexpectedly he came back to the barracks announcing "You can find me in my room."
PART III PLEDGE OF FAITH
He stepped through the threshold of the door. It was not as bad as he expected. In fact, happy and painful memories were both his friends. He welcomed them as they would be his only companions for a while. That first night, he did not sleep in his bed, he sat on the floor, only resting his head on the pillow. "Imja, good night,"- he whispered. With time, it became easier and easier. He developed habits and routines that balanced his solitary activities with affairs of the state. Somehow, he naturally started having daily conversations with her, going to their meeting place, he would tell her about his thoughts, feelings, and worries, consult about his decisions, and, in general, just to keep her upraised of his life.
Since then, he truly began learning how to live without her, to live in a way that she would approve of. The King offered to provide any assistance and later on when the opportunity presented itself, the general led the forces, which successfully conquered the land where the heavens' door was located.
It was during one of his daily conversations at the meeting place that he decided to frequent the Heaven's door. "Imja, I know that you are trying to find your way to me, it must be hard to come through the door without anyone standing at the other end. I will go to that field, that place where the yellow flowers grow and the old tree marks the spot. I will go there and wait."
Choi Young was a changed man. He continued to be reserved and isolative, but he spent more time with the guys at the compound and even shared a story or two. At times he could feel the joy that camaraderie provided, surrounded by people who loved and respected him. A few, who still remembered the High Doctor, would slip and sometimes bring her up in a conversation, but quickly retreat after a smack from the assistant general. Choi Young at first was glad to avoid the topic, but after a while, wanted to hear about her from others, to see her through other people's eyes, to know that she made a difference. The next time the conversation landed itself on the Heavenly healer, he gave an implicit permission with an approving nod and a smile.
Waking up in my room without you, it's lonely. I know what you meant calling out "Are you there?". I want to call you, too "Imja, are you there?" I feel the emptiness to the core, it reminds me of how you make me whole. I will not fall apart. I will be stronger than I ever was before. Every day we are apart, I learn to be more like you – to never give up, to work diligently at everything, when we meet again, you will be proud.
Because he knew, she would be asking "Are you there?", each morning once he opened his eyes and each night before falling asleep, without fail, he'd say "Imja, I'm here" - and believing his answer would find her across the tangled web of the starry times.