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Alrighty, after the update debacle, it seems like everything is alright now. Hopefully. So here's the next chapter. It's probably nice not to have to wait as long, right? Sorry. Anyhow, here it is. I think the Hoseok path is really cute, isn't it?

Thank you to all of you who are reading, liking, clipping, following, and commenting.
Disclaimer: Many of the characters aside from BTS are made up and BTS themselves are not BTS in this story. And, of course, I don't know the BTS boys personally so their personalities are probably mostly fictional.
Italics are finally now available, so no more { }.
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Beginning: Chapter 1
Warning: May contain mild language
Narrator POV

Hoseok was quick to discuss with Jin his plans to find a home health aide for SooJin. He didn’t talk about the reason why it was so important, though. He figured that SooJin didn’t want everyone to know, even if it was her brother. If she wanted him to know, he would let her do so. Jin quickly agreed to the idea, happy at the thought of having his sister back at home. Hoseok asked around and was recommended a well-known home health company. He set up a meeting with the doctor, a representative, Jin, and their parents. Jin insisted that both SooJin and Hoseok be present during the discussion since it was about SooJin and Hoseok had been with her more than any of the others.

Because of SooJin’s recovery curve, the doctor predicted that she would only need the aid for another two weeks from the current day. The earliest the company would be able to send someone over would be in a few days, Friday. That meant that she could leave Thursday evening. SooJin was excited to finally get out of the hospital after over a month of what she thought of as her confinement. Just the thought of leaving was enough to keep her out of her depression.

When Thursday came around, SooJin was giddy with excitement. She’d been able to do most things related to her personal hygiene by herself: she could balance in the bathroom to be able to brush her teeth and fix her hair, she could go back and forth to the toilet whenever she needed it, and with the help of a shower chair, she could do almost everything for herself in the shower. She still, unfortunately, needed help going in and out of the shower and after she was done rinsing off. But if she had the health aide help her during the day, the only thing she would need help with at night would be going up and down the stairs and getting clothes set out to change into. Everything else she would try to do on all on her own. If she was going to come home, she wouldn’t allow herself to be a burden.

SooJin waited excitedly for the doctor to come in and give his final approval for her discharge. When the door slammed open, she jerked in surprise. Taehyung came in almost breathless.

“You’re okay?” he panted.

“Y-yeah, of course. What’s wrong?” SooJin situated herself in the bed.

Taehyung quickly stuck his head back out into the hallway. After checking both directions, he closed the door. “Tae,” SooJin called. She didn’t know what was wrong, but she was scared. “What’s going on?”

Taehyung looked at her briefly and then back at the door. He walked to her bed. “I don’t know how... but the media found out about you.”

“Media? Why would they care...” SooJin trailed off. She was now part of the Kim family, owners of one of the biggest companies in Korea. And she was supposedly dead. After all the TV she watched, she was well-aware of how the media liked to blow things up.

Taehyung watched her face and saw her come to the correct conclusion. “As soon as we heard about it, we alerted the security at the hospital. They’ve been keeping the cockroaches out, but I was worried that someone might have slipped through.”

“I’m okay. What... what are they saying?”

“The usual. Spouting conspiracies trying to make it seem like your death was faked for some ridiculous reason. And then, somehow... they got a hold of pictures... of you and Hoseok-hyung. Only of you two together. They picked very... specific pictures... making it look like there’s something going on between you two. Actually, one of their conspiracy theories is that your death was faked and that you two had secretly married from the earliest allowable age and that you two are using it to your advantage for business deals or something equally ridiculous.”

Thoughts raced through SooJin’s head. She could take people saying bad things about her, she’d dealt with that for a long time, but now they were dragging her newly discovered family and Hoseok through the mud. That, she couldn’t take.

“Why?” she asked Taehyung.

“There’s never a reason why. They live for their ratings. I don’t know how they managed… but it doesn’t matter. And stop thinking what you’re thinking.” SooJin looked up at him. “I know you’re blaming yourself. Don’t. Any celebrity, politician, or family with a large company has gone through this at least once in their lives. Many times, a lot more than once. It’s not your fault.” Taehyung hugged her. His embrace was comforting.

“What do we do?”

Taehyung let go. “Nothing different, really. You’re supposed to be discharged today so we’re just pushing for it a couple hours early. Hoseok can’t be here for obvious reasons. When you’re ready for discharge, Kookie and Ji-ah will take you home. The only big difference is that we can’t bring you back for your PT sessions. Hoseok is already working out something with the outpatient center so that we can bring someone to the house.” SooJin nodded. “The doctor will be in in a couple minutes. I’m going to stay with you until we get you out safely.”

“What about your work—“

“Don’t worry. We’ve got everything covered. You just worry about how you’re going to deal with JiEun clinging to you constantly and your brother hovering over you.” SooJin smiled. “Perfect. That’s what you should be doing.”

A few minutes later, the doctor came in to go over the discharge instructions. A nurse gave her a bag containing bottles of her last doses of pain medications and anti-inflammatory meds for after her PT sessions. Her belongings were packed and she changed into regular clothes. With a happy sigh, she carefully stood up and used her crutches to walk towards the door. Standing and sitting were still things that SooJin had trouble with. Taehyung had her belongings and a nursing assistant brought a wheelchair. It was hospital policy that patients had to be take out for discharge in wheelchairs so SooJin didn’t protest.

She was wheeled to a back entrance where Jungkook already had his car idling. They loaded her bags into the trunk and the assistant left. JiEun helped SooJin into the car and Taehyung gave her a hug, telling her he’d see her after work. JiEun sat next to SooJin and Jungkook started to drive away. Taehyung waved until the car turned the corner. Then he went back to inside to inform Hoseok that she had left.

As they drove away, different emotions passed through SooJin. She was, of course, happy to leave, but at the same time, she already missed the lunches and conversations she got to have with Taehyung and, especially, Hoseok. Now that she was out of the hospital, would she and Hoseok still be close? Or maybe it was better if they weren’t. The whole ride, just as Taehyung warned, JiEun clung to SooJin’s arm. But she didn’t mind it at all. She loved it. JiEun excitedly talked about all the things they could do again now that SooJin was discharged. SooJin looked forward to it all.

When they pulled up to the house, Jin was already pacing anxiously on the porch. As soon as he heard the engine, his head darted up. Jungkook had barely parked the car and Jin was already waiting at the car door to help SooJin out. SooJin giggled at how frantically he was fidgeting. She left the door locked for a little bit just to see what Jin would do. Jin didn’t realize she was messing with him so he kept pointing to the handle and telling her that the door was still locked. He couldn’t see that she was holding the lock in place. She simply stared innocently at him. JiEun cracking up behind her finally alerted Jin to what she was doing.

“Not nice,” he said, sticking out his tongue. SooJin just giggled and finally unlocked the door. Jin opened the door. “Since you can joke, I’m guessing you’re okay?” Jin huffed, pretending to be mad.

“I’d be better if my brother would give me a hug.” She held her arms out. Without hesitation, Jin leaned down to hug her. “There. All better,” she said as Jin pulled away. She turned to the side and tried lifting her legs out of the car. Within a second, Jin leaned down to help. She held his hand. “No, no, I want to try.” Without letting go of his hand, she continued to move herself. Her grip tightened and she bit down on her bottom lip, trying to use all of her strength. She succeeded with the first leg and moved to the second. This one moved more quickly. She let go of Jin’s hands to use her leg strength to stand up instead of arm strength to pull up.

When she (finally, according to her head) managed to stand up, Jin smiled proudly. He gave her her crutches and she walked to the porch. Steps were not something she had encountered in her PT yet. She was supposed to start it the next week. Jin offered to help her up, but SooJin wanted to try the two steps herself. Inside, she would definitely accept help on the staircase, but here, she wanted to take the two steps herself. Jin stayed behind her, just in case she fell back. She almost lost her balance once, but barely managed to recover. She triumphantly smiled when she succeeded.

“That’s my sister,” Jin stepped ahead and opened the door for her.

“Yeah, that’s my badass unnie,” JiEun laughed. SooJin joined her in laughing and walked into the house. The four of them waited in the living room, talking about random things until the others started coming home. SooJin started reading the articles that were being put out. She didn’t like that bad things they said about her parents. They also said a lot of bad things about Hoseok. All of it made her angry. Hoseok and Taehyung were the first to come home. Hoseok immediately ran to check on SooJin.

“Are you okay?” SooJin asked him.

“I-I should be asking you that. Tae had to rush you out of there.”

“Yeah, I’m okay. But how are you doing? I mean... I’ve seen the things they’ve been saying about you... And you have to be in the public view. I’m not out there so it’s not that bad for me. It is for my family, of course, so I’m worried about them as well. But Jin-oppa just keeps telling me not to worry.”

“Hyung is right. You don’t need to worry. We’ll figure out what we’re going to do. Everything will be fine.” Right then, Jin’s phone rang. He checked the name and then excused himself to the music room. While Hoseok and SooJin talked, Taehyung was trying to get JiEun to scoot over on the couch so Hoseok could sit next to SooJin. JiEun smirked and shook her head. The two tried to converse without speaking. Jungkook, who only saw part of their interaction moved closer to JiEun and shooed Taehyung away.

“What are you guys doing?” Hoseok asked them. SooJin turned to look at them.

Taehyung sighed. “Nothing. Let’s sit.” Hoseok sat down close to SooJin leaving enough room for her brother. Taehyung sat next to Jungkook and the two started engaging in a fierce whisper match.

Jin came back into the room. “That was my parents calling. They’re going to come over for dinner tonight. They wanted to see you since you’re out of the hospital,” he directed to SooJin, “and they wanted to discuss something with the three of us.” The last part, he indicated to both Hoseok and SooJin.

SooJin smiled slightly. “I’ll be happy to see them. I just wish that it was under different circumstances.”

“Me too. But it’ll all work out,” Jin said as he took his seat next to SooJin. He took her hand in his. “Everything will be okay.” SooJin nodded, but she was scared that it wasn’t true. Things just kept happening one after another. It seemed like bad followed bad and bad followed good as well. It was her fault. Jimin was acting weird, she was in an accident, she lost the use of her legs and had to have a lot of rehab, she was inconveniencing everyone, and now... her family and the one she was in love with were being talked badly about just because of her.

“Stop it,” Hoseok spoke up. SooJin looked at him in surprise. “I know exactly what you’re thinking. It’s not your fault.” He so badly wanted to reach across Jin and grab her hand, to let her know that he was right there with her. “Whoever started it wanted exactly this. If you saw the pictures, you should have seen that some of the pictures went all the way back to when I took you down for our ice cream. And even though everyone else visited you and took you out in your wheelchair, the only pictures they published were of the two of us.

“Whatever bloodsucker that did this did it intentionally to bring about this outcome. Likely, it probably didn’t even have anything to do with you. You were just the opportunity he or she was looking for. Whoever it was was probably either after me or your parents. You were just collateral. Someone saw us at the hospital. So, in all likelihood... it’s probably actually my fault. I should be the one apologizing to your family... and to you.”

Jin put his hand on Hoseok’s shoulder. “It’s not the fault of anyone except the person who did this. So both of you stop blaming yourselves.”

SooJin rested her head on her brother’s shoulder. “Thank you, oppa,” she said quietly. Hoseok smiled in agreement to SooJin’s words.

Yoongi and Namjoon came home next. They joined the others in the living room. Jimin was the last one to come home. He was in autopilot the way he had been for the last month plus and didn’t even notice the others in the living room.

“Jimin.” Jimin stopped in his tracks, startled to hear SooJin’s voice. He had been so involved in trying to keep himself lost in his work that he had completely forgotten SooJin was coming home that day. His head turned towards her.

“J-Ji—S-SooJin.” Then he turned back away. “Welcome home,” he said quietly and continued to his room. SooJin’s smile fell at Jimin brushing her off like that. She watched him go up the stairs.

“If it makes you feel any better,” Jungkook cut into her thoughts, “that’s actually the most I’ve heard him say at once in over a month. Aside from work, of course.” That didn’t make her feel better. She hadn’t seen how bad Jimin was. She still didn’t know what was wrong with him but she was fairly certain it was her fault. Everything was her fault...

Instead of trying to correct her again, Jin decided to just distract her. “C’mon guys. Let’s get ready for dinner. My parents will be here soon. Jungkook, could you let your brother know?” Jungkook nodded and everyone started to their rooms to change. Since SooJin was already changed and she didn’t want to trek the stairs yet she waited downstairs. JiEun and Jin stayed as well. Ten minutes later, the others had already started coming back down and the doorbell rang. SooJin hugged her parents and everyone greeted them as they went to the dining room. The table was already prepared.

“Your favorite,” HyeMi, the evening maid, told SooJin. SooJin, HyeMi, SunYung, and MinJu had become even closer after her accident when they would visit her in the hospital.

SooJin smiled. “Thank you,” she replied. “And thanks for all the food you made for me and for visiting me. It made me less lonely, especially since it was during the times the others couldn’t be there.” HyeMi squeezed her shoulder affectionately. SooJin reminded HyeMi of her younger sister who lived several hours away and she had told SooJin that before.

“Always playing favorites,” Namjoon teased. In truth, Namjoon had harbored a secret (not so secret as far as his friends were concerned) crush on the woman for a while now. She was a few years older than him. That didn’t bother him, but he knew that she was too nice to like someone like him anyway. And even if she did, there was no way his parents would be okay with it. They were always trying to set him up with the daughters or granddaughters of business associates. He always turned them down and they allowed it since his behavior indicated that he was unlikely to settle for any one woman. He, himself, didn’t know if he’d be able to either.

Part of him had been rooting for Jimin and SooJin to work out. It would give him hope that not only could a woman love someone like himself, but that he could change the way Jimin had been changing. All because of one woman. But even if it didn’t work out, it had given him just a bit more confidence. After he started falling for HyeMi, he had cut down on his womanizing a lot. But he knew it wouldn’t work out so he kept trying to distract himself.

“I only return what’s given to me,” HyeMi teased back. With a wink, she went back to the kitchen. Namjoon immediately picked up his drink to calm himself. JiEun chuckled and Namjoon shot her a glare. SooJin giggled at the two. While she was in the hospital, HyeMi had confided to SooJin that she liked Namjoon. HyeMi knew nothing would come of it both because of their positions and because, according to her, Namjoon didn’t seem to be interested in her. This was made more evident by the fact that Namjoon still did the same thing he always did. Because of this, HyeMi decided that there would be nothing wrong with harmless flirting. If Namjoon wasn’t interested then it wouldn’t matter anyway and it would give her an excuse to be close with him.

Jimin joined them at the far end of the table, next to Jungkook. They all started eating. Most of the questions were centered around how SooJin was doing, how did she liked being home, and the like. Towards the end of the dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Kim brought up the conversation everyone was nervous about.

“Jin, SooJin, Hoseok,” Mr. Kim started, “we think we should hold a press conference.”

“Press conference?” SooJin asked.

“Yes,” Mrs. Kim confirmed. “We were planning on having one later on after SooJin was able to finish recovering and we were able to finalize paperwork. Filing paperwork to legally change someone’s status from dead to still living takes a while. And we were hoping it would give you more time to be comfortable. We would’ve had to hold a press conference to assure that something like this wouldn’t happen. But since it’s already out there…”

“Especially with the things they’re saying,” Mr. Kim continued. “It would be best to confront it as soon as possible. But we still want to give you time to prepare.”

“When are you thinking of holding it?” Jin asked.

“Next week, Saturday preferably. If you think that will be okay.”

“Sounds fine with me. SooJin?” All eyes turned to SooJin. It made her nervous.

“Do I... have to do anything?” SooJin asked nervously.

“No, sweetheart,” her mother answered. “We’ll take care of all the talking. You only have to be there with us. If you want to talk, you can. But you don’t have to.”

SooJin thought about it for a moment. She was scared, but it was something she would have to do. She was a part of this family now which meant she would have to be in the spotlight. Plus, she did want to stop the bad rumors. She nodded her head in agreement. “O-Okay.”

Mr. Kim turned the Hoseok. “And you, Hoseok?”

“Me?” he asked, taken off-guard.

“Yes. A lot of the rumors involve you and my daughter. We’d like to be able to set the record straight. You two are obviously not married, but... if you two are dating then—“

“We’re not,” Hoseok blurted quickly. He didn’t mean for it to come out so harsh, but he was worried about what SooJin’s parents might think of them.

SooJin felt her heart clench up at his words. Even though it was true that they weren’t dating, wasn’t there a better way to say it? She looked down to focus on her plate. Taehyung sighed. He was sure that Hoseok didn’t realize the effect his words had.

“That’s fine then,” Mr. Kim said. “At the press conference, we can bring up that everyone here visited her but that those pictures were taken with the sole purpose of trying to put our families in a bad light. You can explain that the two of you are just friends.”

{That’s right}, SooJin thought. {The two of us are just friends... that’s all we’re meant to be...}

“Y-yes, sir,” Hoseok responded. He looked over to SooJin who was still staring at her plate. He couldn’t tell what her expression was. Was she embarrassed that her parents had suggested that the two of them might be dating? Or was she perhaps... disappointed in his response? He wanted to hope it was the latter because it would mean that she did have feelings for him.

They talked about the details of the conference for a little bit longer. After that, they finished dinner and stayed for dessert. When dessert was finished, everyone saw Mr. and Mrs. Kim off. As soon as they left, Namjoon brought up having a ‘Welcome Home’ party of sorts. Everyone agreed to have it the next day after they all came home from work.

Namjoon promised lots of alcohol and SooJin informed them that she would not be babysitter again after the events of their last party and since she physically couldn’t help anyone anyway. Everyone laughed. Jin volunteered (or rather, was volunteered) to be the mostly sober one this time. Jimin left as soon as everything was decided. SooJin wanted to follow to talk to him, but Jimin did not allow any chance for her to catch up. She turned when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

“Do you want to stay down here longer or would you like to go upstairs,” her brother asked.

“Mmm... I guess upstairs. I should probably get my stuff unpacked before I get ready for bed.”

Jin smiled. “Okay. I have a couple more things to take care of down here. Hoseok,” Hoseok looked over, “can you help my sister?”

“O-of course, hyung.” Hoseok immediately moved next to SooJin. The others stifled laughs and Hoseok shot them ‘Knock it off’ looks. They started for the stairs. As soon as they reached the bottom, Taehyung bounded up the stairs with SooJin’s crutches. SooJin didn’t want to be carried, but if she were to walk, it would be easier to use the railing and Hoseok than the crutches for support. She put one hand on the railing. Hoseok stood next to her and held out his hand. Both of their hearts were pounding. She put her hand in his. She wished that she could keep it there forever.

So, more cute with a little sad mixed in. I keep wanting to yell at Hoseok to just go for it, lol.
The next chapter should bring more... fun? lol.

Anyhow, next chapter will be on Wednesday. I hope you enjoyed this chapter!

Thank you @Mavis2478 for the story.

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