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Joo Won 주원 [Upcoming Movie "Carter" 2021]


Joo Won Poll  

13 members have voted

  1. 1. Which are your favorite Joo Won dramas / movies? (choose up to 3)

    • Alice
    • My Sassy Girl
    • Yong-Pal
    • Naeil's Cantabile
    • Good Doctor
    • 7th Grade Civil Servant
    • Bridal Mask
    • Ojakgyo Family
    • Bread, Love and Dreams
    • Fatal Intuition
      0
    • Xia You Qiao Mu
      0
    • Fashion King
      0
    • Steal My Heart
    • Don't Click
      0
    • SIU
      0
  2. 2. Which genre do you think Joo Won shines in (or would shine in)? (choose up to 3)

    • Rom-com
    • Action/crime/thriller
    • Psychological thriller
    • Melodrama
    • Romance
      0
    • Historical / sageuk
    • Sci-fi
    • Slice of life
      0
    • Legal drama
    • Medical drama
    • Horror
    • Comedy
      0
    • Something else. What?
      0
  3. 3. Do you prefer Joo Won with abs or without abs?

    • With abs! Alice was great!
    • Doesn't matter. Joo Won looks great both in a shirt and without one!
    • I only care for Joo Won's acting. I couldn't care less about him having abs.

  • Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.
  • Poll closes on 04/17/2021 at 10:00 AM

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Okay, so my last question/prompt didn't seem to have any takers :sweat_smile: That's okay - I was rather stuck for responses, too.

 

Work is still progressing on this year's Christmas Special, so be sure to stay tuned for that! :) In the meantime, since today is the Winter Solstice where I am (i.e. in the northern hemisphere), I decided to put together a quick Round Two of my Winter-themed Scattergories:

 

Spoiler

Scattergories: Snowy Winter Edition (Round Two)

 

There's really only one rule: for each prompt, just say which JW drama character comes first to mind.

 

As always, repeats are allowed; and, as always, pay attention for if I'm asking for a guy, a girl, or a couple

 

Good luck - and have fun! :Pandabulous:

 

1. The JW drama girl most likely to say winter is her favourite season (Bonus question: why is it her favourite?)

 

2. Conversely, the JW drama girl most likely to hate the cold weather (Bonus question: why?)

 

3. The JW drama couple most likely to spend an afternoon building a snowman (Bonus question: whose scarf will they use?)

 

4. The JW drama guy most likely to enjoy a Starbucks holiday specialty drink. (Bonus question: would he pick a coffee, tea, or chocolate-based drink?)

 

5. The JW drama girl most likely to have a massive collection of cute winter accessories (hats, scarves, mittens, etc.)

 

6. The JW drama couple most likely to travel to someplace tropical during the winter (Bonus question: where would they go?)

 

7. The JW drama couple most likely to constantly bicker over how high the thermostat should go because one hates being too cold and the other hates being too hot (Bonus question: which is which?)

 

8. The JW drama guy most likely to get overly/unnecessarily concerned about whether his girlfriend/partner is dressed warmly enough (i.e. she's actually perfectly comfortable, but he's still making a fuss :P)

 

9. The JW drama girl who'd already start preparing for Christmas when it's still November

 

10. The JW drama guy most likely to enjoy going out for a long solo walk when it's snowing outside

 

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1 hour ago, kittyna said:

Okay, so my last question/prompt didn't seem to have any takers :sweat_smile: That's okay - I was rather stuck for responses, too.

Yeah, about the answers for your question, I had to do a research about the importance of Christmas in Korea, since the dramas you have chosen are sort of tricky to answer. Like, you have already mentioned Christmas was not celebrated during until 18th century and Christmas was banned under Japanese occupation of Korea. So, I doubt either of the leads or side characters know about the Christmas from these two dramas let alone celebrate or exchange gifts on Christmas Eve

 

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

1. The JW drama girl most likely to say winter is her favourite season (Bonus question: why is it her favourite?)

Nae-il, I am choosing her because I am assuming that Nae-Il and Cha Yoo Jin will be spending most of their time in Europe and Christmas is major festival in this region. Even though Nae-Il  sort of celebrated Christmas back in Korea, but in Europe it is celebrated in a grand way which makes Winter as Nae-Il favorite season. And also, she would get to spend lot of time with Cha Yoo Jin and share a blank with him because of unprecedented dropping temperatures(As you guys can realize from reading my response, that I have initially though that it was "Why Christmas as her favorite" instead of "Winter":sweat_smile:)

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

2. Conversely, the JW drama girl most likely to hate the cold weather (Bonus question: why?)

Mok Dan: Same reason as I have given for Lee Kang To. Like, in winter her people would have shortage of blankets and her whole country is under colonization sort of makes things difficult in the seasons like winter, where it is hard to find work, which makes the underprivileged hard to gain access to food and warm clothing.

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

3. The JW drama couple most likely to spend an afternoon building a snowman (Bonus question: whose scarf will they use?)

Well, I am going with the an unconventional answer. I would choose Yoon Tae-Yi/Park Jin-Gyeom/Kim Do Yeon. I know couple means two, but these three have this incredible chemistry that it makes me feel like these three as two. Like, Park Jin Gyeom is almost invisible whenever these three meet for any task. So, these three would make two snowman and ask Park Jin-Gyeom to tie a scarf  to a snowman which he thinks is the best. So, in the end Park Jin-Gyeom would eventually choose Kim Do-Yeon's snowman for the reason that Yoon Tae-Yi lacks artistic skills and Kim Do Yeon is making snowman since she was a teenager (and why my answer feels like a  fan fiction :sweat_smile:) P.S Park Jin-Gyeom is going use his mother's scarf from the past which should cool Yoon Tae-Yi for not choosing hers

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

4. The JW drama guy most likely to enjoy a Starbucks holiday specialty drink. (Bonus question: would he pick a coffee, tea, or chocolate-based drink?)

Park Si-On, as we know he has  knack for trying new food and come to think of it we does eats lot of food for a guy who says "I can live on Kimbap" . And he would probably choose Chocolate-based drink

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

5. The JW drama girl most likely to have a massive collection of cute winter accessories (hats, scarves, mittens, etc.)

Baek Ja-Eun, she probably make this massive collection herself rather than buying it and I think the reason for these collection is because her family has three kids and need lot of winter wear to keep them warm

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

6. The JW drama couple most likely to travel to someplace tropical during the winter (Bonus question: where would they go?)

Han Gil-Ro and Kim Seo Won, I think these two would deliberately choose an assignment in tropical region, so that can have a good time. I think they would most probably go to Indonesia or Hawaii

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

7. The JW drama couple most likely to constantly bicker over how high the thermostat should go because one hates being too cold and the other hates being too hot (Bonus question: which is which?)

Han Gil-Ro and Kim Seo-Won, Kim Seo-Won wants the temperature to be at optimum that is not too hot and Han Gil Ro hates even a bit of cold

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

8. The JW drama guy most likely to get overly/unnecessarily concerned about whether his girlfriend/partner is dressed warmly enough (i.e. she's actually perfectly comfortable, but he's still making a fuss :P)

Nae-Il and Cha Yoo-Jin or Han Yeo-Jin and Kim Tae Hyun. So, it is self-explanatory for the former choice, but the latter one needs a bit explanation, since Han Yeon-Jin went through a difficult surgical procedure and her immune system can take a hit even if she gets flu, which makes Kim Tae-Hyun 24*7 job to look after her and see whether she is wearing warm clothes or not and will not nagging until she is dressed properly, and on top of that he will make his body guard to run from pillar to post to bring more warm clothing for Han Yeo-Jin

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

9. The JW drama girl who'd already start preparing for Christmas when it's still November

Nae-il, I can't think of any explanation

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

10. The JW drama guy most likely to enjoy going out for a long solo walk when it's snowing outside

Park Jin-Gyeom.

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35 minutes ago, kireeti2 said:

Yeah, about the answers for your question, I had to do a research about the importance of Christmas in Korea, since the dramas you have chosen are sort of tricky to answer. Like, you have already mentioned Christmas was not celebrated during until 18th century and Christmas was banned under Japanese occupation of Korea. So, I doubt either of the leads or side characters know about the Christmas from these two dramas let alone celebrate or exchange gifts on Christmas Eve

 

Ah - I meant except for those two, but that makes sense. Maybe I didn't phrase it clearly enough :P 

 

So far, I'm not sure for some of the couples, but there are a few I'd have reasonable guesses for:

 

Hwang Tae Hui + Baek Ja Eun - Ja Eun would most likely make something for Tae Hui that's both cute/sentimental and useful: a custom-designed phone holder/ring or something like that. Not sure about what Tae Hui would give her, though.

 

Han Gil Ro + Kim Seo Won - Gil Ro would probably give Seo Won some sort of electronic or high-tech device, since he generally prefers using those himself and she doesn't have many. As for Seo Won...I think Gil Ro would want her to give him something to add to his Gundam collection (:P), but she'd actually give a more practical gift instead.

 

Park Si On + Cha Yoon Seo - You'd know from my fics that I'm pretty big on the sentimental gifts for this pair. Mostly, it's because I think Si On would struggle to express his feelings for Yoon Seo verbally, so he'd resort to some sort of small, heartfelt present. I could also see both of them being open to gifts that involve some sort of inside joke relating to medicine ;) 

 

Cha Yoo Jin + Seol Nae Il - Obviously, both are open to music-related stuff :P But aside from that...I think they're both people who value the thought behind the present more than what the actual thing is itself. So, for instance, in Seolleim in Salzburg, there's a running reference to a necklace that I imagine Yoo Jin gave Nae Il for Christmas, and it's something she's worn in all her performances since.

 

Hope that clears things up - any thoughts on these or other couples?

 

Moving on to reactions to your Scattergories responses :) 

 

35 minutes ago, kireeti2 said:

And also, she would get to spend lot of time with Cha Yoo Jin and share a blank with him because of unprecedented dropping temperatures

 

lol - Okay, now you're just giving me ideas :P 

 

35 minutes ago, kireeti2 said:

Well, I am going with the an unconventional answer. I would choose Yoon Tae-Yi/Park Jin-Gyeom/Kim Do Yeon. I know couple means two, but these three have this incredible chemistry that it makes me feel like these three as two. Like, Park Jin Gyeom is almost invisible whenever these three meet for any task. So, these three would make two snowman and ask Park Jin-Gyeom to tie a scarf  to a snowman which he thinks is the best. So, in the end Park Jin-Gyeom would eventually choose Kim Do-Yeon's snowman for the reason that Yoon Tae-Yi lacks artistic skills and Kim Do Yeon is making snowman since she was a teenager (and why my answer feels like a  fan fiction :sweat_smile:) P.S Park Jin-Gyeom is going use his mother's scarf from the past which should cool Yoon Tae-Yi for not choosing hers

 

I gotta say it: this scenario is so freaking CUTE!!! :fullofhearts:

 

35 minutes ago, kireeti2 said:

Baek Ja-Eun, she probably make this massive collection herself rather than buying it and I think the reason for these collection is because her family has three kids and need lot of winter wear to keep them warm

 

It took me a moment to figure out what you meant by "three kids", but now I'm just melting at the cuteness :) Yes, Ja Eun would be an awesome aunt, wouldn't she?

 

35 minutes ago, kireeti2 said:

the latter one needs a bit explanation, since Han Yeon-Jin went through a difficult surgical procedure and her immune system can take a hit even if she gets flu, which makes Kim Tae-Hyun 24*7 job to look after her and see whether she is wearing warm clothes or not and will not nagging until she is dressed properly, and on top of that he will make his body guard to run from pillar to post to bring more warm clothing for Han Yeo-Jin

 

:loolz: Poor Sang Chul! Between Tae Hyun and Yeo Jin, he's just gonna end up running around in circles, isn't he :P 

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23 minutes ago, kittyna said:

Ah - I meant except for those two, but that makes sense. Maybe I didn't phrase it clearly enough

Yeah, my bad. I missed the word "exception". I need to stop assuming things without reading the whole sentence:sweat_smile:And also, I knew something was wrong, like, I was thinking why would you ask about Christmas gift for these two dramas specifically. I will answer this question after your replies for this scattegories

28 minutes ago, kittyna said:

gotta say it: this scenario is so freaking CUTE!!! 

For park Jim gyeom it's like walking on egg shells

On 12/20/2020 at 6:32 PM, kittyna said:

In the meantime, with just under a week to go until Christmas, I'm curious: with the exceptions of My Sassy Girl and Gaksital (since Christmas wasn't a thing in Korea historically), what would our main JW drama guys and girls give each other for Christmas?

Now that I have read the question clearly, here's my answer

Si-On and Cha Yoon seo -  Si-On probably gift her sweater and glows or somthing fancy like locket or couple rings(which he will pick it up from internet, which is filled with kdrama cliches) . And yoo seo probably will buy an augmented reality glasses for Si-On

Yoon Jin and Nae-il - Yoo Jin might gift Nae-il some stuffed animals which will keep her hands warm and Nae-il will will stitch him a scarf

Han Yeo-jin and Kim Tae Hyun- well Yeo-jin doesn't really need any material gift from Kim Tae Hyun, so Kim Tae-Hyun will plan a Christmas celebration with kids from church so she can have a good time. And Han Yeo Jin will buy lot of gifts for his sister which will sort make Kim Tae Hyun happy since he is not interested in any material gift other than happiness of his baby sister and Han Yeo Jin

Han Gil-Ro and Kim Seo won- Gil Ro will go overboard and buy seo won costliest item he could afford like jewellery and ends up getting scolded by her. And Kim Seo Won might buy him a book which might help him in improving his common sense and maturity

Hwange Tae Hee and Baek Ja-Eun- I think these two have similar relationship dynamics that of Han Yeo Jin and Kim Tae Hyun, so they'll probably endup spending time alone together instead of gifting each other

Gu Ma Jun and Shin Yu Kyung - Ma Jun will cook his new bread for yu Kyung as his gift for her and she would probably buy him a new watch (so that he can remember her every time he looks at it)

Park Jim Gyeom and Kim Do Yeon - I think Kim Do Yeon will probably ask Jim Gyeom's time as her gift and she will probably gift him some furniture or house appliances for his room

I guess I have covered all the possible cases

49 minutes ago, kittyna said:

lol - Okay, now you're just giving me ideas

Okay, it's platonic in nature:sweat_smile:

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4 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Okay, it's platonic in nature:sweat_smile:

 

:loolz:

 

Oh, wow! I had no idea I'd written a double-entendre there - I just meant it in terms of cute, fluffy romance :lol: If Nae Il tried anything more than that, it'd be the quickest way out from under that blanket because Yoo Jin would either shove her off or get up himself!

 

4 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Han Yeo-jin and Kim Tae Hyun- well Yeo-jin doesn't really need any material gift from Kim Tae Hyun, so Kim Tae-Hyun will plan a Christmas celebration with kids from church so she can have a good time. And Han Yeo Jin will buy lot of gifts for his sister which will sort make Kim Tae Hyun happy since he is not interested in any material gift other than happiness of his baby sister and Han Yeo Jin

 

You brought up a really good point here, which is that some (or maybe even most) of these couples would be more interested in experiences and time spent together rather than material gifts. For example, although I did answer with material gifts for Cha Yoo Jin and Seol Nae Il, in all honesty, they'd value the actual date they go out on more than any specific items.

 

For Tae Hyun and Yeo Jin...I definitely love the Christmas party idea. :) As for what I think Yeo Jin would give Tae Hyun (since, come on - it's hard for her not to think in materialistic terms sometimes), I think she'd do something like a nice high-end watch: something that's lavish enough to make sense in her mind (given her background), but still enough of a practical investment that Tae Hyun wouldn't feel awkward receiving it.

 

(By the way, I did notice that Tae Hyun had a smart watch after his marriage in the drama before those were really seriously a thing, so maybe the writers already beat me to this idea :P)

 

4 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Park Jim Gyeom and Kim Do Yeon - I think Kim Do Yeon will probably ask Jim Gyeom's time as her gift and she will probably gift him some furniture or house appliances for his room

 

And we also know about that whole mess with the gloves :P Looks like Do Yeon's got her work cut out for her!

 

And now for my Scattergories answers!

 

1. The JW drama girl most likely to say winter is her favourite season (Bonus question: why is it her favourite?)

 

Honestly, I'm not sure why I'm thinking this, but I just feel like, in addition to Nae Il, Han Yeo Jin would also really like the winter season. Who knows, it might be similar to what I'd said about the guys during Round One: that there's something really clean and pristine about how a snowy, winter landscape looks, and I could somehow see that fitting with Yeo Jin's aesthetic.

 

2. Conversely, the JW drama girl most likely to hate the cold weather (Bonus question: why?)

 

For similar reasons that you mentioned Oh Mok Dan, @kireeti2, I could also think of Shin Yu Kyung. She's also someone who's used to going without many creature comforts most of the other JW drama girls would take for granted, so I could imagine her thinking of winter as a cold and depressing time of year. It's also a sad reality that for people who live in abusive or underprivileged situations, the romanticism surrounding Christmas or the winter season in general can make their hardships even harder to bear.

 

3. The JW drama couple most likely to spend an afternoon building a snowman (Bonus question: whose scarf will they use?)

 

I think I'm gonna go with Baek Ja Eun and Hwang Tae Hui here. She might have to drag him into it first, but I think he'd come on board sooner or later - and next thing they know, they're joined by their nephew and nieces and there's an entire snowman family in the front yard :P As for the scarf, I think it'd be Ja Eun's - Tae Hui might try to offer his, but then she'd freak out about him getting cold on the job afterwards (for reasons you'll find out further down).

 

4. The JW drama guy most likely to enjoy a Starbucks holiday specialty drink. (Bonus question: would he pick a coffee, tea, or chocolate-based drink?)

 

Mostly because I do see him as the caffeine addict out of JW's drama characters, and because he would have grown up in Austria, where specialty coffee drinks are already a thing year-round (and, hence, wouldn't be thought of as something "girly"), I'm going with Cha Yoo Jin. And, as implied already, he'd pick something coffee-based ;) 

 

5. The JW drama girl most likely to have a massive collection of cute winter accessories (hats, scarves, mittens, etc.)

 

No particular reason why beyond just thinking it works well with her image - Seol Nae Il.

 

6. The JW drama couple most likely to travel to someplace tropical during the winter (Bonus question: where would they go?)

 

This one's a bit tough, since most of the couples where at least one person would be well off enough to consider this would also have at least one workaholic who wouldn't want to travel far for a holiday (e.g. Tae Hyun + Yeo Jin; Yoo Jin + Nae Il; etc.). So here, I'm going to say Gu Ma Jun and Shin Yu Kyung, since I think he would try to treat her - as a means to make up for being a jerk in the early stages of their relationship - and she'd actually be open to the idea. As for where they'd go...I'm thinking either Okinawa (since Ma Jun did study abroad in Japan) or Guam (as an Easter Egg nod to where Eugene grew up in real life).

 

7. The JW drama couple most likely to constantly bicker over how high the thermostat should go because one hates being too cold and the other hates being too hot (Bonus question: which is which?)

 

I'm not sure why, but I wound up thinking of Hwang Tae Hui and Baek Ja Eun here - with Tae Hui being the one who dislikes the cold, and Ja Eun being the one who dislikes the heat.

 

8. The JW drama guy most likely to get overly/unnecessarily concerned about whether his girlfriend/partner is dressed warmly enough (i.e. she's actually perfectly comfortable, but he's still making a fuss )

 

This is already a running gag in my Seolleim in Salzburg fics re: Yoo Jin and Nae Il :P So, just to have a different answer, I'm going to say Park Jin Gyeom and Kim Do Yeon. A bit unconventional, I know, but my reasoning is that Jin Gyeom does care for Do Yeon, but he also struggles with figuring out what's an appropriate way to express those feelings. So I think he'd sometimes swing back and forth between being too "meh" about everything, or getting overly concerned and protective.

 

9. The JW drama girl who'd already start preparing for Christmas when it's still November

 

Okay, Seol Nae Il is too perfect a choice for me not to answer her as well :P 

 

However, if I took the prompt as not getting for herself but for, say, those around her, I do want to point out that Cha Yoon Seo would start fairly early as well, in hopes that it would keep her patients' spirits up. Because spending the Christmas season in the hospital...sucks. (And, yes, realizing this was partially why I chose Good Doctor as the setting for this year's Christmas Special ;))

 

10. The JW drama guy most likely to enjoy going out for a long solo walk when it's snowing outside

 

Cha Yoo Jin - because a winter wonderland like this is sometimes best enjoyed in complete silence ;) 

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4 hours ago, kittyna said:

sometimes best enjoyed in complete silence

Silence? With Nae-Il in his life, I think he will probably forgets the meaning of this word :joy:

4 hours ago, kittyna said:

Baek Ja Eun and Hwang Tae Hui 

 

4 hours ago, kittyna said:

Seol Nae Il.

The above two were my first choice or the ones to pop in mind after reading the questions, but I sort of avoided it in order to prevent the overlap :grin:

 

4 hours ago, kittyna said:

 Park Jin Gyeom and Kim Do Yeon. A bit unconventional, I know, but my reasoning is that Jin Gyeom does care for Do Yeon, but he also struggles with figuring out what's an appropriate way to express those feelings. So I think he'd sometimes swing back and forth between being too "meh" about everything, or getting overly concerned and protective.

Do Yeon will probably enjoy this overly concerned behavior of Park Jin Gyeom:blush:

4 hours ago, kittyna said:

I'm going with Cha Yoo Jin. And, as implied already, he'd pick something coffee-based ;) 

I though of him too, but I dropped him because he strikes to me as a person who likes authentic coffee, not the superficial ones like in Star Bucks. P.S I think Star Bucks is overrated

4 hours ago, kittyna said:

Cha Yoon Seo would start fairly early as well, in hopes that it would keep her patients' spirits up.

And also, it helps the patients to recover quickly from the surgical procedures. Like, it is accepted by all the doctors that patients will heal quicker if they are in good mood and happy, so, as a Good Doctor Yoon Seon will probably start the Christmas  little early

4 hours ago, kittyna said:

And we also know about that whole mess with the gloves :P Looks like Do Yeon's got her work cut out for her!

Mess with the gloves? Did I miss a episode from Alice?

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1 hour ago, kireeti2 said:

Mess with the gloves? Did I miss a episode from Alice?

 

i.e. "What are the gloves I gave you for Christmas doing up in storage?" ;) 

 

1 hour ago, kireeti2 said:

Silence? With Nae-Il in his life, I think he will probably forgets the meaning of this word

 

Hence why he'd take the chance when he can get away with it :P 

 

1 hour ago, kireeti2 said:

I though of him too, but I dropped him because he strikes to me as a person who likes authentic coffee, not the superficial ones like in Star Bucks.

 

:lol: Generally speaking, yeah. But in my defence, you did end up taking my first choice, so.... 

 

By the way, if you actually click the link in the prompt to see the list of specialty drinks, one of the ones that's offered in Europe, I know Seol Nae Il will truly love ;) Which means: cue her dragging Yoo Jin to Starbucks anyway

 

Just throwing this out there for anyone who happens to understand French: a quick guide to JW and his dramas

 

Cute fanart that I forgot to share earlier

 

And the uncanny resemblance between JW and his Alice "mini me" continues - Seriously, the smile is nearly identical :love:

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A Photoshopped fanmade Christmas pic, but man, is it a good one!

 

With only a few days left before Christmas (and my fic special being saved for the day itself), I've decided to put together a quick round of Christmas-themed Scattergories!

 

Spoiler

Scattergories: Christmas Edition!

 

There's really only one rule: for each prompt, just say which JW drama character comes first to mind.

 

As always, repeats are allowed; and, as always, pay attention for if I'm asking for a guy, a girl, or a couple

 

Good luck - and have fun! :Viki-Soompi-Winter-Tree-Emoji:

 

1. The JW drama guy who believed in Santa Claus the longest when he was a kid (Bonus question: how old was he when he finally stopped?)

 

2. Conversely, the JW drama girl most likely to have caused pandemonium when she was little by telling her classmates that Santa didn't exist 

 

3. The JW drama couple most likely to go all out on decorating their house (or houses, if they live separately)

 

4. The JW drama guy most likely to have attended Christmas mass at least once (Bonus question: is he actually religious, or did he go for another reason?)

 

5. The JW drama girl most likely to spend at least part of the holiday season doing volunteer/charity work (Bonus question: for what cause?)

 

6. The JW drama couple most likely to spend at least some part of Christmas Day cooking a special dinner together

 

7. The JW drama girl most likely to have had a massively long (and unrealistic) wish list for Santa when she was little (Bonus: what's the craziest item she wished for?)

 

8. The JW drama guy (except Lee Kang To or Gyun Woo) most likely not to have celebrated Christmas much growing up

 

9. The JW drama couple most likely to take part in a Secret Santa gift exchange with friends or colleagues

 

10. The JW drama girl most likely to have wound up on the "naughty" list when she was growing up

 

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Omo - Oppa, what is up with that voice??? -  :loolz: 

 

And that, my friends, seems to be JW's take on classic/vintage Broadway ;) I'm usually not a fan of over-the-top vibrato like that, though - which might be why I never "got" opera, despite being a classical music nerd :P 

 

Since there haven't been any takers yet, allow me to go first in this round of Scattergories. If I wound up stealing anyone's first choice, just remember that repeats are allowed ;) 

 

1. The JW drama guy who believed in Santa Claus the longest when he was a kid (Bonus question: how old was he when he finally stopped?)

 

For me, the hands-down response would be Park Si On, simply because I think he's the one who would have held on to childish fantasy the longest. In fact, even though he technically knows Santa doesn't exist anymore, I think part of him still likes to hold on to that belief because of the moral lesson it entails: that those who are good will be rewarded in the end.

 

2. Conversely, the JW drama girl most likely to have caused pandemonium when she was little by telling her classmates that Santa didn't exist 

 

Mostly because we see her taking a more logical/scientific approach to things from a very early age, I'm going to say Yoon Tae Yi (2020) here. I don't think she's the sort of kid who had much patience for things that don't make rational sense - nor do I think she would have had enough of a filter as a child to know better than to just blurt out her opinions in front of her peers.

 

3. The JW drama couple most likely to go all out on decorating their house (or houses, if they live separately)

 

I already touched upon this in my 2019 Christmas Special, so I'm going to say Kim Tae Hyun and Han Yeo Jin. For one thing, they'd actually have the resources (space, money, etc.) to really go big on the decorations; but also, I imagine that despite Tae Hyun's influence, Yeo Jin still cares enough about what others think of her to actively want to impress. And when her intended audience is Korea's 1%...yeah. Enough said.

 

4. The JW drama guy most likely to have attended Christmas mass at least once (Bonus question: is he actually religious, or did he go for another reason?)

 

I could have gone with a character who might hold some sort of religious belief, but I'm going to answer Cha Yoo Jin, despite my own interpretation of his character as an agnostic (i.e. he's not an atheist, but matters of faith/religion are simply not a priority for him). For me, I think that even though he'd hold back now as an adult (since going to a religious service as a non-believer is kinda awkward), as a child living in Austria, he would have wanted to go at least once - just for the music. :P 

 

5. The JW drama girl most likely to spend at least part of the holiday season doing volunteer/charity work (Bonus question: for what cause?)

 

My first thought here was Han Yeo Jin, because I expect that she'd want to do something for the church kids during the holiday season (especially since Yong Pal implies that they might be from underprivileged families).

 

6. The JW drama couple most likely to spend at least some part of Christmas Day cooking a special dinner together

 

I'm going to say Han Gil Ro and Kim Seo Won. Why? I dunno - I just thought it would be cute to imagine them doing that :) 

 

7. The JW drama girl most likely to have had a massively long (and unrealistic) wish list for Santa when she was little (Bonus: what's the craziest item she wished for?)

 

Here, I think of Baek Ja Eun, because when I see this prompt, I immediately visualize someone who grew up in a warm, loving environment, and who - because of that love - would be convinced that her caregivers really could make dreams come true. We know that, as a child, Ja Eun's father was pretty much her entire world, and so I imagine that she would have that sort of implicit faith in him. As for an example of a wild and crazy request...I have to say that I wound up thinking of the cliché pony. :P Why? I don't know.

 

8. The JW drama guy (except Lee Kang To or Gyun Woo) most likely not to have celebrated Christmas much growing up

 

Park Jin Gyeom. Granted, I think his mother would have tried to do something for Christmas every year. But with the two of them being more-or-less alone by themselves without any other sort of social network, and with Jin Gyeom being pretty indifferent either way, I think Christmas would have become a pretty low-key affair after a while - if it doesn't drop off the radar entirely.

 

9. The JW drama couple most likely to take part in a Secret Santa gift exchange with friends or colleagues

 

Park Si On and Cha Yoon Seo, because I could honestly envision the pediatrics team doing something like this. :P 

 

10. The JW drama girl most likely to have wound up on the "naughty" list when she was growing up

 

Well, we know from the drama that Han Yeo Jin was something of a holy terror when she was a kid, so.... ;) 

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Now coming back to the scattegories

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

1. The JW drama guy who believed in Santa Claus the longest when he was a kid (Bonus question: how old was he when he finally stopped?)

Park Si-on, and I think he might have stopped believing in him when he celebrated his first Christmas with Cha Yoon Seo, we all know her imprudent behavior when it comes to Si-On beliefs, she might have blabbered about Santa :joy:

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

2. Conversely, the JW drama girl most likely to have caused pandemonium when she was little by telling her classmates that Santa didn't exist 

Two names to comes to my mind; Han Yeo Jin and Cha Yoon Seo, but I am more inclined towards Han Yeo Jin, since she was cold hearted person from a very young age, so, she would have been telling everyone in her class that there is no person like Santa Claus

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

3. The JW drama couple most likely to go all out on decorating their house (or houses, if they live separately)

Hwang Tae Hee and Baek Ja Eun, I am thinking of a scenario where Baek Ja Eun needs to travel to other city because of her work and these will decorate their tree while on video call with each other. Or, there can be a another scenario where Hwang Tae Hee might have got COVID and needed to be isolated and he chooses to stay in the station, where he will decorate Christmas tree while on video call with Baek Ja Eun

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

4. The JW drama guy most likely to have attended Christmas mass at least once (Bonus question: is he actually religious, or did he go for another reason?)

Park Si-On, and yes, I think he is religious since he believes in Heaven

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

5. The JW drama girl most likely to spend at least part of the holiday season doing volunteer/charity work (Bonus question: for what cause?)

Kim Seo Won, I think it is because her helping nature and top of that his father is an aspiring politician, so, his whole family would have volunteered in charity works, especially during holiday season

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

6. The JW drama couple most likely to spend at least some part of Christmas Day cooking a special dinner together

Han Yeo Jin and Kim Tae Hyun, they would probably invite the kids from the church and spend the holidays with them

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

7. The JW drama girl most likely to have had a massively long (and unrealistic) wish list for Santa when she was little (Bonus: what's the craziest item she wished for?)

Nae-il, probably  stuffed animals of all the species on earth (I thought of going with Baek Ja Eun, but given that she is from well off family and probably she would have got what she wanted for every holiday, but I do like to answer the hardest gift that she would have wished for is that to see her mother in person, this wish would have come to her mind when she was at least old enough i.e when she is 10 or 11 years old to know that the her step-mother is not her really mother, so, she would have wished Santa to bring her mother)

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

8. The JW drama guy (except Lee Kang To or Gyun Woo) most likely not to have celebrated Christmas much growing up

Park Jin Gyeom, although his mom would have a tried her best to participate in Christmas celebration but we all know that she wouldn't force Jin Gyeom do anything and Jin Gyeom only started celebrating after Kim Do Yeon became his friend, since it was shown that the birthday  celebration of his mom was her idea and it seem like he only got Christmas gifts from her, so, he wouldn't have celebrated Christmas until he hit is 18

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

9. The JW drama couple most likely to take part in a Secret Santa gift exchange with friends or colleagues

Cha Yoo Jin and Nae-Il or Han Gil Ro and Kim seo won, but I am more inclined towards the latter couple, since they work for the same organization, so the secret gift exchange thing with their friends and colleagues makes sense, but for the former couple it would be difficult, because they are more or less like freelancer and they are always on move, so, it would difficult to plan such gift sharing even for their friends

On 12/23/2020 at 8:45 AM, kittyna said:

0. The JW drama girl most likely to have wound up on the "naughty" list when she was growing up

I would say "girls" not "girl", after reading this question 4 names came to my mind.

1)Cha Yoon Seon: for being imprudent and not respecting the authority, I would say she would be on list for not behaving like a girl, since the girls are not subjected to such kind of social construct or social norms which distinguish girls from boys on them, at least  until they hit they teens

2) Han Yeo Jin: It is rather obvious, from very young age she started to assert her power over the people who are subordinate to her father which is seen as a bad character in kids

3)Baek Ja Eun- Well, we can all agree that she was spoiled by her father and it manifests the way she behaves when she runs into a problem as an adult

4)Kim Do Yeon- Well, she is bossy and being bossy sort of gets you on the list regardless of gender, that's what pop-culture dictates

 

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

 Yoon Tae Yi (2020) here

:approves: I almost forgot about her. But she did not come to my mind because she was shown as a innocent child for her introduction in the series, like she was innocent enough to believe Yoon Tae Yi from future that she is her mom, so, subconsciously I  thought she would have believed in Santa until she hit her teen years

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

5. The JW drama girl most likely to spend at least part of the holiday season doing volunteer/charity work (Bonus question: for what cause?)

 

My first thought here was Han Yeo Jin, because I expect that she'd want to do something for the church kids during the holiday season (especially since Yong Pal implies that they might be from underprivileged families).

 

6. The JW drama couple most likely to spend at least some part of Christmas Day cooking a special dinner together

 

I'm going to say Han Gil Ro and Kim Seo Won. Why? I dunno - I just thought it would be cute to imagine them doing that :) 

Lol, my answers is sort of flip-flop to yours, for question 5 I thought of choosing Han Yeo JIn, but I have interpreted the question in such have that the characters were in age group of 10 to 15 years.

1 hour ago, kittyna said:

Park Si On and Cha Yoon Seo, because I could honestly envision the pediatrics team doing something like this. :P 

 

This answer is perfect, I can totally imagine these two hiding presents all around the hospital for everyone and Si-On would have hard time lying about the where about of the gifts, especially to the patients :approves:

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1 hour ago, kittyna said:

Well, we know from the drama that Han Yeo Jin

Lol! I think it is a bit to exaggeration to call her "Holy Terror" but I get it, since her personal head maid still remembers how she terrified everyone in the house and even her as well at such a young age. :scream:

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7 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Park Si-on, and I think he might have stopped believing in him when he celebrated his first Christmas with Cha Yoon Seo, we all know her imprudent behavior when it comes to Si-On beliefs, she might have blabbered about Santa

 

lol - And you already know from the snippets I've revealed from this year's Christmas Special (which is done, by the way) that I think Park Si On would have figured it out on his own once he did the math :P 

 

7 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Two names to comes to my mind; Han Yeo Jin and Cha Yoon Seo, but I am more inclined towards Han Yeo Jin, since she was cold hearted person from a very young age, so, she would have been telling everyone in her class that there is no person like Santa Claus

 

Out of these two, I'm more inclined to think of Cha Yoon Seo, personally - as with my own response (Yoon Tae Yi), I think it's more because she'd lack a filter and just blurt out the things she knows without thinking of how the other kids would take it. But you're right in that if it were Yeo Jin, it'd be because she was something of a bully when she was younger and she'd just want to lord over everyone else by "knowing more".

 

By the way, just incidentally, it's worth noting that both girls you brought up were raised Catholic (I did backtrack through Good Doctor to check), but Yoon Seo actually ditched the faith while Yeo Jin hasn't.

 

7 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Or, there can be a another scenario where Hwang Tae Hee might have got COVID and needed to be isolated and he chooses to stay in the station, where he will decorate Christmas tree while on video call with Baek Ja Eun

 

Even without COVID, he's an essential worker who probably wouldn't get Christmas off :P 

 

Actually, I realized while putting together these prompts that most of the couples would run into that scenario, where at least one person would still have to go to work because of his/her job:

  • Hwang Tae Hui + Baek Ja Eun - He's an essential worker (cop)
  • Park Si On + Cha Yoon Seo - Both are essential workers, but at least they'd be together in the hospital
  • Cha Yoo Jin + Seol Nae Il - The holiday season is super busy for musicians (2020 aside, obviously), but we could hope that they're performing together rather than separately
  • Kim Tae Hyun + Han Yeo Jin - He's an essential worker; he might have been able to take the day off if he'd actually stayed as a 12th floor doctor (one of the perks of being married to Yeo Jin), that chance is gone now that he's left to run the First Floor Clinic instead
  • Park Jin Gyeom + Kim Do Yeon + Yoon Tae Yi - Both Jin Gyeom and Do Yeon are essential workers
7 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Kim Seo Won, I think it is because her helping nature and top of that his father is an aspiring politician, so, his whole family would have volunteered in charity works, especially during holiday season

 

I think he was already a leader in their small town, so that makes sense :thumbsup:

 

7 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Nae-il, probably  stuffed animals of all the species on earth

 

lol - I thought of Nae Il as well, but I wasn't sure what she'd ask for :P 

 

7 hours ago, kireeti2 said:
On 12/22/2020 at 10:15 PM, kittyna said:

9. The JW drama couple most likely to take part in a Secret Santa gift exchange with friends or colleagues

Cha Yoo Jin and Nae-Il

 

These two did cross my mind, but I realized they wouldn't really have anyone to do it with - Rising Star's not an option if the two of them are in Europe, and the drama ends with them in that limbo where they haven't established a strong circle of friends in Salzburg yet (they do eventually in my fics, but invoking those here probably isn't that fair).

 

7 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

I would say "girls" not "girl", after reading this question 4 names came to my mind.

1)Cha Yoon Seon: for being imprudent and not respecting the authority, I would say she would be on list for not behaving like a girl, since the girls are not subjected to such kind of social construct or social norms which distinguish girls from boys on them, at least  until they hit they teens

2) Han Yeo Jin: It is rather obvious, from very young age she started to assert her power over the people who are subordinate to her father which is seen as a bad character in kids

3)Baek Ja Eun- Well, we can all agree that she was spoiled by her father and it manifests the way she behaves when she runs into a problem as an adult

4)Kim Do Yeon- Well, she is bossy and being bossy sort of gets you on the list regardless of gender, that's what pop-culture dictates

 

Well, if nothing else, all four of these have a strong sassy/stubborn streak that would have made them quite the handful when they were little kids :lol:

 

6 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

Lol! I think it is a bit to exaggeration to call her "Holy Terror" but I get it, since her personal head maid still remembers how she terrified everyone in the house and even her as well at such a young age.

 

I'm just imagining something of a spoiled brat who would throw these huge temper tantrums if she doesn't get her way - Yeo Jin's not particularly mischievous, though, since she would also take behaving "like a lady" seriously.

 

5 hours ago, kireeti2 said:

 

It does look cute, but I personally think it's way too big/baggy on him :P Not so much in these pics, but in some of the others I've seen.

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I'll be posting the Christmas Special fic in a different post, but for now, some more miscellaneous goodies!

 

Someone found the sweater JW wore in his VLive broadcast

 

Ghost-themed cake - Look at all those cute chibi Sams! :fullofhearts:

 

Apparently, there was some brother-sister action going on at the agency - Park Hye Su (i.e. Kim So Hyun in Yong Pal) had a VLive broadcast today too

 

JW's Christmas card

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And here is Christmas Special 2020!

 

Spoiler

Title: The Yearly Santa Express

Drama: "Good Doctor"

Characters: Cha Yoon Seo, Park Si On, Han Jin Wook, Kim Sun Joo, Nurse Jo, Park Woong Ki

Premise: Every year, the pediatrics team gets their patients into the Christmas spirit by hosting Santa Express: a charity fundraiser that culminates in a large Santa meet-and-greet for the kids. It's one of the many ways they try to keep the children's spirits up during what would otherwise be a bleak holiday - but this year, Cha Yoon Seo is having a hard time of her own.

Warnings: A passing reference to menstruation (because Cha Yoon Seo, as a female doctor, would be completely frank about something that, to her, is just a part of life), some discussion of ableism/discrimination against Si On due to his autism (no worse than what you see in the drama itself, though)

 

Note on timeline: This fic is set during the Christmas immediately after the "one year later" time skip in the drama's final episode. So, if you guys are doing the math, that would mean Christmas 2014. Also, as usual, ages are given by Korean reckoning - so while I say Jae Hee is 7 in this fic, she's 6 by international standards.

 

Note on Language: Although the characters speak Korean, and I can reasonably expect some knowledge of common words and phrases from you guys (given we are in a Hallyu fandom forum), I do want to say a few things about how the language works in this story in particular.

 

In short: Park Si On's super-formal way of speaking means that I am using forms of common words and phrases that may be unfamiliar for some people. Most of us know the general distinction between jeondaemal (formal/polite language) and banmal (informal/casual language) in Korean. We tend to associate jeondaemal with the "-yo" suffix, and the banmal with the absence of a suffix; so, for instance, "gwenchanayo" (jeondaemal) vs. "gwenchana" (banmal); "aniyo" (jeondaemal) vs. "ani" (banmal), etc.

 

But the reality in Korean is a bit more complicated than that: there is at least one level that is even more formal than that, and that is the one that Park Si On uses for the most part. Instead of the "-yo" suffix, it's "-imnida" - which, yes, turns all of these words into quite the mouthful.

 

Transferring that same degree of formality into English, though, was a bit harder. For the purposes of my Good Doctor stories, I resort to a trick other authors have used to make characters sound more "polite" or "proper": not using any contractions at all (e.g. saying "I do not want that" instead of "I don't want that"). It probably ends up sounding even more stilted than Park Si On's formal speech would in Korean, but it's the best that I can do.

 

Once again, please do not upload parts of this fic to any other website without my permission. If you want to share, just post a link to this page. Thanks! 

 

Spoiler

The Yearly Santa Express

 

I thought I’d heard something earlier, but now that I’m actually out in the hallway, it’s definitely there. Faint, tinny, sounding like it’s from someone’s cell phone rather than the PA system…looks like the nurses couldn’t wait any longer and decided to put on Christmas music after all.

 

This song is a real bopper, with the sort of quick beat that could put anyone in a good mood. And it just also happens to be one of my favourites.

 

Should I do it? Should I? Should I?

 

Grinning, I turn my walk into a short gliding dance step, bobbing my head along with the beat. And, since no-one’s around to stop me, by the time I make it to the nursing station, I’m even lipsyncing along with the final line of the chorus: Make my wish come true…all I want for Christmas is you!

 

“I see you’re well into the Christmas spirit already, Cha Seonsaeng.”

 

The look on Nurse Nam’s face is one of such wry amusement that I can’t help but laugh at the sight of it. “Of course!” I answer, joining one of the junior nurses – probably the one who started up the music – in a quick fistbump before sliding one last time to the computer. “We can always use a chance to have some fun around here.” Typing quickly to log in to the system, I pull up the lab report I’m looking for: the results of Min Joon’s latest blood test. “Professor Kim might think otherwise, but that’s his problem. Good thing he’s off at a conference today, then – what he doesn’t know won’t kill him.”

 

Nurse Nam watches closely as I enter the stats from my latest set of rounds into the system. “Is there anything new I need to be aware of?”

 

I shake my head, smiling in relief. “Ani. Just the same old. I know it’s probably asking too much for things to stay that way,” I add, “but so long as we don’t have any major emergencies, we should actually have time to discuss the party today.”

 

As two of the nurses silently cheer my announcement, Nurse Nam also lets out a chuckle. “I guess it’ll be a big one this year.”

 

“It’ll have to be,” I answer brightly. “Especially since Santa Express did so well this year.” A pause. “Mind you, I do know that charity fundraisers tend to do better one year to the next, but it’s still good to see the numbers going up.”

 

She offers me a sympathetic smile. “That’s what Park Si On Seonsaeng said earlier – rather more enthusiastically than you just did, but the gist was much the same.”

 

The mental image of my boyfriend doing just that makes me laugh. “He would, wouldn’t he…” I muse softly to myself. Then, to the nurses, I ask, “How long ago was that?”

 

“Twenty minutes, maybe?” a junior nurse offers. “He didn’t stay long, though.”

 

“Knowing him,” her companion adds, “he’s probably gone to visit Jae Hee again.”

 

I know she meant it innocently, but I can’t help going still at the mention of my niece. Slowly, the smile melts from my face, a shift that Nurse Nam picks up on immediately.

 

“Go ahead, Cha Seonsaeng; we’ll hold the fort here.” Her smile, warm as it always has been, softens further into something almost maternal. “I know we all say we don’t have favourites among the patients, but….”

 

She trails off without finishing her sentence, but I understand. “Komawo,” I answer, finally smiling in relief as I scramble to log off the computer. “If anyone asks for me, you know where to send them.”

 

Nodding a quick goodbye to the nurses, I head in the opposite direction from the pre-surgery wing of our pediatrics ward for the corridor that leads to the second of our major departments: pediatric oncology. From the outside, there’s nothing really to suggest that this hallway is any different from my usual one; but as I pass one sickroom after another, I force myself to just look straight ahead lest I feel that telltale lump in my throat again.

 

It’s just never felt right, pediatric cancer. Of course, in a perfect world, no childhood disease serious enough to warrant hospitalization should exist. But at least on our side, in the surgical wing, it’s usually something from the outside – an accident, a pathogen, a chemical – that makes kids sick. Here, though, it’s the child’s own body attacking itself; and that’s…that’s just wrong.

 

And Cha Jae Hee, my Oppa’s seven-year-old daughter – the brightest, liveliest, and most beautiful little girl I know, who deserves so much better – is one of them: here undergoing her first round of intensive chemotherapy for leukemia.

 

I know the odds are in her favour; many kids in her situation eventually make a full recovery. But she’s still got a long, tough road ahead of her – and, well, if there’s anything I could do to help….

 

Soon, I get to the right room, close to the end of the hall. Painted with the same cheery yellow as the rest of the ward, it looks strangely bright compared to what’s going on inside.

 

Just the other day, together with my brother and sister-in-law, we made the painful choice to crop Jae Hee’s long hair short. She didn’t want us to, of course: sobbing that she’d end up looking like a boy. But considering that the alternative of seeing it come out in clumps once her chemo really kicks in would probably be ten times more traumatizing, we went ahead with it anyway.

 

I pause just a few paces away from the door, taking a deep breath and forcing a smile onto my face. Today is the first time I will be seeing Jae Hee post-haircut. Even though I know what to expect, I need to be careful not to let any hint of surprise show in my expression. She’s going to have a hard enough time adjusting to her new look without us grown-ups making things worse.

 

“Jinjja? Santa will really come here to see me?”

 

I freeze, hand hovering just over the doorframe. My niece sounds just as bright and cheerful as always, almost like the events from yesterday never happened.

 

“Ne,” I hear Park Si On answer. “Santa Harabeoji is very, very smart. Always, always he is watching to see who is good and who is bad. And when he sees, Jae Hee-yah, that all the children in this hospital are so, so good and so, so brave, he will come over – bbali, bbali – as soon as he can.”

 

My niece bursts into giggles. “‘Bbali, bbali’?” she laughs, amused as always at his signature catchphrase. “How fast is that?”

 

As I sanitize my hands at the dispenser in the hallway, I press my lips together to suppress a laugh as Si On hums to himself in thought. I can’t actually see him from this angle, but considering how loudly he’s doing it, he’s probably scratching his head, bouncing his knee, or both. Whichever it is, it makes Jae Hee break into yet another set of giggles.

 

“Um…um….” It takes him a moment longer before he starts to answer. “Well…the entire surface of the earth is approximately 510 million square kilometres, of which 29 percent is actually land.” As he becomes more confident with his response, his voice grows stronger and his words speed up. “That brings us to about 148 million square kilometres, but scientists say that only 63.7 million of those can be lived on by people.”

 

Only Park Si On would be so weird as to go into so much detail with a seven-year-old. But a slight sideways shift to bring them both into view shows that rather than looking bored, Jae Hee is sitting up straight, hanging onto his every word.

 

“So, Jae Hee-yah,” he continues, “if we assume that Santa Harabeoji has to visit all the good children in the world, then that means he has to travel at–”

 

Suddenly, just as quickly as he’d started, he cuts himself off.

 

That’s weird. What could possibly be stopping him?

 

My niece leans forward. “Eh?”

 

Si On’s leg starts to bounce. “Travel at…” he mumbles, half to himself and half to her. “Travel at….”

 

“Just give it up already, Park Si On,” I say, finally stepping into the room to intervene before his head explodes. “Your strong suit was always in biology rather than physics.”

 

“Gomo!”

 

Jae Hee beams, greeting me with an enthusiastic wave. Meanwhile, noticing my presence, Si On scrambles up from the chair, gesturing for me to sit. “I was wondering when you would get here, Seonsaengnim,” he says. “Jae Hee and I were having lots and lots of fun talking with each other.”

 

“So I see,” I answer, reaching out to pat my niece’s newly-shorn head before taking my seat. “And just what were you two going on about?”

 

She flashes me a wide grin. “Park Saeng and me–”

 

“‘And I’.”

 

“We were talking ‘bout Santa Harabeoji,” she blurts out, oblivious to Si On’s attempt to correct her grammar. “He said Santa was gonna come here ‘cause all the kids are so good and brave.”

 

“Is that so?” I ask, making a show of nodding like I hadn’t already heard all this out in the hall. “Well, then, Jae Hee-yah: just how brave have you been?”

 

Immediately, my niece scrambles to open her bedside drawer, from which she pulls out a strand of brightly coloured plastic beads. Stretching it out to its full extent, she holds up one end in front of my face. “Look, Gomo!” she chirps. “I got five new beads today!”

 

I smile, relieved at just what this means. “That’s great,” I say firmly, offering a thumbs-up for good measure. “Keep it up!”

 

In the year and a half since Park Si On came to our hospital, the bravery beads is the best new idea for our ward he’s come up with so far. All of us knew how nervous children could get about all the treatments and procedures – many of them quite painful – that they had to go through, but none of us knew what we could do to reassure them in addition to what we already had. That’s when Si On suggested that we try something that had already been used successfully in many children’s hospitals around the world: for each procedure – each blood test, IV drip, scan, surgery, et cetera – a patient would receive a plastic bead, which, when placed on a length of cord, would serve as a clear record of each obstacle they have overcome on the road to recovery.

 

Now, as Jae Hee happily points out to me the meaning behind each new bead – this one for sitting still while her mother cut her hair short with her father’s clippers, that one for a blood test she received last night – I find myself marveling once again at Si On’s foresight. Back when he first came here, no-one would have thought that he’d come up with something like this; but it turns out that he was right about just how important a change of perspective could be for our kids.

 

“And look what else Saeng gave me, Gomo!” Setting down the beads, she lunges forward to grab a red Santa hat from the foot of the bed. She tugs it on down to her ears and vigorously shakes her head, making the fluffy white pom-pom on the end flick this way and that. “See? Isn’t it pretty?”

 

“It is!”

 

After double-checking that my niece has thanked Park Si On properly for the present, I follow her prompts to fashion a necklace out of the strand of beads. She puts it on, then asks me to take a photo of her with my phone, “So you can show Eomma and Appa how pretty I look.” The first shot is just of Jae Hee by herself, but she insists on Si On joining her for the next few, the two of them working through such a slew of silly faces that I have to grip my phone extra-hard to stop it from shaking with my barely suppressed laughter.

 

Once my niece is satisfied with the photos, she ceremoniously takes off the necklace and Santa hat and asks me to stow them away in the drawer. “I’m gonna save them,” she says, “for when Santa Harabeoji gets here.”

 

“You will not have to wait very, very long, Jae Hee-yah,” Si On answers. “Just until Christmas, when we will have” – he spreads out his arms wide in demonstration – “a big, big party to celebrate.” When my niece grins at the earnest expression on his face, he adds, “But you have to promise, Jae Hee-yah, to be very, very good, and very, very brave. Santa Harabeoji only likes good little boys and girls, so” – he offers her a raised pinky – “no more tears, arasseo?”

 

The two of them solemnly pinky-swear, after which Jae Hee insists on repeating the ritual with me. Then, settling back against her pillow with a contented sight, she says wistfully, “I wonder how Santa Harabeoji will get here.”

 

I blink at her in surprise. “Eh?”

 

“I read it in a storybook,” she continues. “Santa comes down through the chimney with his big bag of toys. But” – her brow furrows as her mouth turns into a little frown – “how’s he gonna get here? Does the hospital have a chimney, too?”

 

I hope that Si On notices the warning look in my eyes, even as I try to keep it subtle enough that my niece won’t. The hospital probably does have a chimney, but there’s no way in hell someone like Santa would fit through there; even if he could, he’d just end up in the boiler room and nowhere near the kids.

 

Si On knows all of this, of course, but that’s exactly the problem right now. Better, then, for me to start.

 

“Well, Jae Hee-yah,” I begin tentatively, “the thing is–”

 

“He will come down from the roof,” Si On cuts in. “Park on the helipad with his reindeer, then come down, down, down the stairs.”

 

Immediately, Jae Hee’s mouth opens up wide in wonder, and a light comes on in her eyes. As for me, I flash him a quick thumbs-up, which he returns with a sheepish smile of his own.

 

Si On doesn’t stick around much longer, his conversation with Jae Hee interrupted by a sudden text from Park Woong Ki – the rookie resident who just joined our team a few months ago – asking for help with a puzzling CT scan. As for me, I stay by my niece’s side just long enough to get an update on her current treatment plan from her attending physician before also heading back to our common room with a promise to visit again tomorrow.

 

There aren’t many people there when I arrive: only Si On and Woong Ki, huddled together by the massive tomes on the bookshelf. Whatever it is they’re looking for, Si On eventually seems convinced that his hoobae could find it on his own; after a reassuring thumbs-up and “Fighting!”, he returns to his desk.

 

That’s the moment I pick to approach him, getting his attention with a careful tap on the shoulder.

 

“Waeyo, Seonsaengnim?” he asks, swiveling around to give me his undivided attention. “Is something wrong?”

 

I shake my head, opening the tab on the can of soda in my hand before passing it to him. “What you said earlier to Jae Hee, about Santa coming down the stairs…komawo.” He doesn’t reply, so I move to explain. “I was worried that you’d start blabbing on about the chimneys, and–”

 

“Gwenchansumnida, Seonsaengnim,” he says evenly. “I know that I should not say anything that could ruin Jae Hee’s belief in Santa.” His mouth sets into a small grim line and, for once, he actually looks me straight in the eye. “When children are young, and there are so many scary things in the world, they must hold on to any hope that they still have left.”

 

With that point settled, he returns to his work, which is my signal to do the same. I head over to my desk, opening up the Internet browser before I’ve even sat down. Several minutes later, as I’m firing off a quick e-mail to the editor for the journal I’m working on a submission for, I hear Si On sidling up next to me.

 

“Wae?”

 

Even though he’s the one who came over first, he doesn’t speak up until I actually finish what I’m doing and turn around to face him. In true Si On fashion, he picks up our conversation as though he didn’t abruptly end it himself a while ago: “That…that was not the only time I tried to be careful, Seonsaengnim.”

 

I look him once over, taking note of the way he’s wringing his hands, eyes wide like those of a puppy seeking approval from its owner. “What do you mean?”

 

“When Jae Hee asked me about Santa Harabeoji,” he explains, “I did not tell her the truth.”

 

“Which is…?”

 

“That according to the laws of physics, in order for Santa Harabeoji to cover the Earth’s entire landmass in a single night, even if he actually has more than twenty-four hours because of time zone differences, his sleigh would still have to travel at close to 3,367 kilometres per second, which is completely physically impossible. And even if it were possible, the massive frictional and gravitational forces exerted on Santa and his reindeer by such massive acceleration would be enough to particularly liquefy–”

 

“Ya!”

 

My outburst is followed immediately by a loud thud as Woong Ki, startled, drops his book on the floor. He gapes at the two of us, his large eyes growing as round as his thick-rimmed glasses. As for Si On, it takes an awkward heavy silence for him to realize his mistake, but once he does, he immediately starts backpedaling.

 

“Joe-joesonghamnida, Seonsaengnim,” he stammers, clicking his nails nervously and edging slowly away from me as I start to rise. “Wha-what I meant was–”

 

A second cry from me sends him scrambling out the door. He’s so far down the hall by the time I follow him outside that, despite actually wanting to smack him, the only choice I have is to yell:

 

“Ya, Park Si On! You know I’m never gonna be able to un-see that, right?!”

 

~~~~~

 

Since lunch is one of the few times during the day when most of the team could actually be reasonably expected to be in the common room, we decided it would also be the best time for our meeting.

 

Nurse Jo is the last person to show up, coming in just as Woong Ki passes out the sandwiches we’d ordered. Grinning and bobbing slightly in thanks, he accepts his sandwich – piled high with extra meat and hot sauce, as usual – and takes the only empty seat left beside Si On. “The other nurses can’t come out,” he says, “so just tell me whatever you need their help with for the party, and I’ll pass it on.”

 

Since Santa Express is an annual event, the tradition in our team is for us to take turns leading the planning. This year, the task falls on Han Jin Wook, and it looks like he’s already done his homework. Even though this is our first real meeting, he’s got the main logistical details already worked out:

 

“As you guys know,” he begins, unlocking his tablet to show us the schedule he’s drawn up, “there are a couple of main things that must happen each year. First, there’s the formal boring stuff: speeches from the admin, presenting the cheque to the charity we’re partnering with, et cetera.”

 

Kim Sun Joo raises her hand. “Were you able to get a hold of Kyu Hyun’s parents?”

 

He grins. “Of course!”

 

“Not that it’s all that hard,” Woo Il Kyu points out drily. “They still bring Eun Ok here often enough–”

 

“And,” Hong Gil Nam adds, speaking with his mouth full as usual, “it’s their work we’re supporting this year, so it would be weirder if they couldn’t show up than if they could.”

 

Word is that Santa Express started years ago as a fundraiser meant just for our pediatrics ward; but, for as long as I’ve been around, at least, we’ve also donated half of the proceeds to a non-profit organization that provides important services to children in Seoul beyond their medical needs. Last year, to mark the occasion of Park Si On joining our team, we chose a group that focused on providing assistance to children with autism and their families. And I didn’t think that we could top that this year, but we actually have.

 

Since his discharge from the hospital, Kyu Hyun’s parents have fully come around to his goal of singing for charity. Using the money they had originally saved up for his studies abroad, they founded a non-profit that helps music students – their son included – put on performances in nursing homes, hospitals, and orphanages. And since – as Il Kyu pointed out – we still keep in touch with the family via Eun Ok’s continued visits to a speech language pathologist here, it was only a matter of time before we got wind of their work and decided to help out.

 

With all this in mind, I finally jump into the discussion. “Any word, then,” I begin, looking straight at Jin Wook, “on if Kyu Hyun’s actually gonna sing?”

 

All of us look over at him now, Si On even clenching a fist in anticipation. And, after leaving us on the edge of our seats for a moment, Jin Wook finally breaks into yet another wide grin. “He is.”

 

“Yes!” Si On blurts out, nearly springing up out of his seat in excitement. He’s not the only one to start cheering at the announcement, but I settle for simply clapping my hands and flashing Jin Wook a thankful thumbs-up.

 

Once the applause has settled, he continues with his updates. “The next bit is the actual visit from Santa.” He leans forward in his seat, prompting several of us to do the same. Smiling mischievously, he looks at both Nurse Jo and Gil Nam. “You guys are the only two who’d fit the part, so…who’s it gonna be?”

 

The two of them exchange glances. Both of them, as the – to put it kindly – largest members of our team, have played the role of Santa before: the chance to bring smiles to each of our patients dampened somewhat by the sweltering heat under the heavy costume and the inability to move from the meet-and-greet corner once the free play time begins. And it’s probably with those factors in mind that Gil Nam, at last, decides to concede. “You can do it,” he says to Nurse Jo, offering a handshake across the circle. “I’m not as popular with the kids as you are.”

 

Nurse Jo, who’s far more open to these sorts of silly gimmicks, readily accepts. He even makes a show of simpering over the offer, causing several of us to sputter and double over with laughter.

 

Woong Ki, our rookie, has been quiet the entire time; but now, once we’ve settled back down, he raises his hand. “Jeo-jeogiyo,” he stammers shyly, “I’m just wondering: what do you Sunbaes tell the kids about Santa?”

 

A spark lights up in Si On’s eyes. “Have the patients been asking you this, too?”

 

He nods. “It’s only normal, I guess. Kids are curious, after all.” He glances down at his lap, shoulders rolling in a shrug. “But considering that we’re in a hospital, of all places….”

 

“I tell them he comes down from the roof, of course!” Si On blurts out proudly. Probably thinking back on our conversation with Jae Hee, he now looks up, a faraway cast in his eyes. “I tell them that if they’re very, very good, Santa Harabeoji will fly his sleigh to our rooftop and come down the stairs.”

 

Il Kyu smothers a laugh. “Trust you to say that, Park Si On.”

 

Si On rounds on him. “You do not believe me, Sunbaenim?”

 

“I outgrew Santa years ago,” Il Kyu responds evenly, “as do most people.”

 

“And therein lies the problem,” Jin Wook says. Having had enough experience playing peacekeeper between these two members of our team with the biggest clash in personality, he knows exactly when to step in before things go south. “Stories about Santa Harabeoji can only keep the children’s hopes up so much; and in a hospital,” he adds, now shooting Woong Ki a sympathetic look, “even the most faithful believer could get discouraged.”

 

“So why don’t we do something to make it real this year? It can’t be that hard!”

 

Before I even realize I’ve spoken aloud, the words have already come out. Immediately, everyone is staring at me: some hopefully, like Si On and Woong Ki; but others, like Il Kyu, in total confusion.

 

And no wonder. Normally, I’m not the sort of person to just blab things out like this. Even if I did, it’d be about something practical – an order for them to get their acts together or something – but after hearing what Jin Wook just said, about how even the most optimistic kids could feel despair….

 

“Come on, guys: we’ve all been there! We’ve all seen kids just getting completely down at Christmastime – that’s why we do Santa Express in the first place. So why not, this year, doing something a little bit extra to make it even more special?”

 

Everyone nods. For a moment, no one says anything, each of us wrapped up in our own thoughts, but then Sun Joo perks up.

 

“Why don’t we make a video?” She turns to Si On. “You just said that Santa came down from our rooftop, right?”  When he nods, she looks at the rest of us with a smile. “Since we have someone playing Santa anyway, we can film a short clip of him on the rooftop….”

 

Si On nods in understanding. “And then going down, down, down the stairs….”

 

“And while ‘Santa’ waits out in the hallway,” she continues, “we play the film for the kids….”

 

“And then,” Gil Nam adds, nearly bouncing out of his seat in excitement, “at just the right moment” – he snaps his fingers – “we open the doors, and Nurse Jo goes inside!”

 

Sun Joo grins. “Exactly, Sunbae!”

 

By now, everyone’s “oohing” and “aahing”, already imagining the looks of wonder on the children’s faces when that moment comes. Even Il Kyu, the near-constant skeptic, seems to be slowly coming around to the idea, his expression softening into…well, not quite a smile, but the closest thing we could expect from him under the circumstances.

 

In a flurry of discussion, we hash out the details for the filming, Sun Joo kindly offering to ask a friend who makes short films as a hobby for her help. For just a second, as our plan slowly starts to come together, Si On’s eyes flicker up to meet mine. Unnoticed by the others, he flashes me a thumbs up, which I answer with one of my own and a silently mouthed, “Komapda.”

 

We both know that Jae Hee will love this, and right now, that’s reward enough.

 

~~~~~

 

Si On accepts the heat packs from me with both hands. “Kamsahamnida, Seonsaengnim!” he says brightly, examining the two small packets. “Are these the kind that can stick?”

 

“Mm,” I reply shortly, passing a second set to Woong Ki. “It’s not like you’ll have the hands to hold them anyway.”

 

Smiling and nodding in thanks, Woong Ki immediately peels off the backing and tucks both packs up between his long-sleeved tee and the thermal underneath. Si On follows suit a second later, then, while Sun Joo checks Woong Ki’s mic, comes over beside me, the bells on his elf costume jingling with every step.

 

“Gwenchansumnida, Seonsaengnim?” he asks, lowering his voice so no-one else could hear.

 

I shoot him a sideways glance. “What do you mean?”

 

He starts wringing his hands. “We are making the video for Santa Express today,” he begins hesitantly. “I…I thought that Seonsaengnim would be happy, but Seonsaengnim does not look happy.”

 

Biting back an exasperated sigh, I turn around to face him. “Would you be happy if you were in my situation?”

 

Granted, there are some things about my crappy day that he would never be able to relate to: being on my period, for example. Although the heatable stuffed animal Si On gave my for my birthday this year did help a lot with the cramps, having to drag myself to an early-morning surgery when I’d much rather curl up in bed has put a significant dent in my mood.

 

And that’s not even the worst of it.

 

Jae Hee…isn’t doing too well.

 

She’s not as bad off as she could be, thank goodness – but a week into intensive chemo, the bad side effects are starting to crop up, one right after the other. Some days are better, and she’s still the cheerful chatterbox that she was when she asked Si On about Santa; but on other days, when I go to check up on her, she just…lies there in bed, too tired to do much of anything. And today, when I finally managed to spare a moment to visit her after lunch, it was to find her curled up in a fetal position – Fate’s rather cruel mockery of my own state this morning – feeling so nauseous that just the effort of sitting up to greet me made her immediately vomit onto the floor.

 

While my niece burst out sobbing at the mess she’d made, I held her in my arms as a nurse cleaned it up and gave her some anti-nausea medication. And no sooner had Jae Hee finally managed to fall asleep, exhausted from her ordeal, did the notification go off on my phone to join the rest of our skeleton crew in the rooftop stairwell for the filming.

 

“So if I’m in a fouler mood than usual,” I finish hissing my story at him, “that would be why.”

 

Si On is noticeably put off by the fire in my voice, shuffling back a few paces and casting his eyes down at the floor. However, as I keep staring defiantly at him, he finally lifts up his head, and I see a comforting softness in his expression.

 

“Algetsumnida, Seonsaengnim,” he concedes. As the sound of heavy footsteps floats up to us from downstairs, he adds, “It is almost time to start, Seonsaengnim. So if you do not wish to discuss it more now, we can do that later.”

 

He finishes speaking just in time for Nurse Jo, already dressed in the bulky Santa costume, to round the corner of the final flight of stairs. Slowly, he drags himself up the last several steps, his face glowing red underneath the satiny white beard. “Mi-mianhae, guys…” he pants. “It…it’s…it’s eas-easier said than done to walk up the stairs in this.”

 

The sight of Nurse Jo’s sheepish smile in spite of his exertion lightens my own spirits a little. “Gwenchana,” I answer, stepping aside to give him enough room to join us on the landing. “We know how it is.”

 

Woong Ki blinks in surprise. “But couldn’t you have used the elevator?”

 

All of us round on him, flabbergasted. “And risk having the kids catch me in the act?” Nurse Jo booms in a mock-dramatic voice, slapping a hand to his chest. “Impossible!”

 

That’s enough to make me burst into loud hysterical laughter: the kind that leaves me almost doubled over, one hand pressed to the wall for support. It’s not true laughter, and all of us know it, but it’s one of the things that we’ve all resorted to at least once just in order to keep ourselves sane.

 

So rather than their own voices joining in, the first reaction I get from any of the others is a large strong hand coming down firmly on my shoulder. I half-expect it to be Nurse Jo, given how sentimental and affectionate he is, but it turns out, when I finally straighten up, that it was actually Si On instead.

 

And then, as if that’s not already surprise enough, he suddenly closes the gap between us, wrapping his arms carefully around me in a hug.

 

Well. This is unexpected.

 

Generally, I love it when Si On hugs me. It doesn’t happen often, but whenever he holds me close like this after a bad day, I feel like the safest and luckiest person in the world. This time is no different – helped in no small part by the heatpacks’ warmth radiating to me through his clothes – and yet, despite wanting to stay here forever, my first instinct is to push him away.

 

“Ya, Park Si On…I thought you didn’t–”

 

“Gwenchansumnida, Seonsaengnim,” he answers, hugging me even tighter than before. “I do not mind that Nurse Jo, Kim Sun Joo, and Park Woong Ki can see.” In response to yet another half-hearted escape attempt from me, he adds, “Close physical contact, especially with someone you love, causes a release of oxytocin in the brain. This leads to feelings of safety and warmth, and it also reduces the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine.”

 

I bite back a sudden urge to laugh. “Are you saying you’re my stress relief now?”

 

I feel his nod on my shoulder. “Ne.”

 

“He’s got a point, you know,” Nurse Jo says from behind me. “It’s great that you care so much for the kids, but” – his voice suddenly thickens like he’s getting choked up – “bottling up your own feelings isn’t healthy either.”

 

Somewhere deep inside of me, a dam breaks. “I…I just don’t know, guys….” I confess at last. “I mean, I know she’s still fine, and that things just look bad, and that many other patients are even worse off. And yet, whenever I see Jae Hee like this….”

 

With a sigh of defeat, I finally let myself sink down into Si On’s embrace, putting my arms around him and burying my face in his chest. “Why?” I ask him, my words muffled by his shirt. “If – if it were any other form of cancer, with an excisable tumour, I might actually be able to do something, but…but….Why the hell does it have to be leukemia, of all things?”

 

Sun Joo recognizes that this is her cue to leave. Nudging for Woong Ki to follow her, she quietly excuses herself, slipping out the heavy metal door onto the rooftop terrace. Nurse Jo goes along a moment later, reaching in to pat me affectionately on the arm on his way out.

 

And then, it’s just Si On and I.

 

He keeps holding me for a moment longer before finally letting go at my signal for him to do so. As he shuffles back a couple of paces, his hands returning once again to his sides, I give him the first genuine smile I’ve offered all afternoon. “Komawo, Si On-ah.”

 

Si On might have been able to look me in the eye before, but now, he suddenly reverts back to his usual shy habit of glancing down at some random spot on the floor. “Professor Kim said not to give anyone false hope” – he shifts his weight subtly from side to side, unknowingly making the bells on his costume whisper alongside his words – “nor do I think that that is what Seonsaengnim wants. So I will not promise that Jae Hee will be all right in the end.

 

“But I can promise that Seonsaengnim will be all right, because Seonsaengnim is always, always good and kind and brave. Seonsaengnim cares for Jae Hee with all her heart, and that is what really, really matters.”

 

Blinking back the tears that have suddenly sprung up in my eyes, I opt to thank him with a thumbs-up rather than trying to say anything. He returns the gesture in kind, after which it’s time for both of us to head out into the cold ourselves.

 

Sun Joo is already waiting for me. As Si On hurries across the terrace to join Woong Ki in their opening position, she passes me her phone. “The camera’s on already, Sunbae,” she says brightly. “All you gotta do is press ‘Record’ when you’re ready.”

 

Once I’ve nodded to show that I understand, she, the third elf in our ensemble, hurries off to join the growing group in the corner. I hold up the phone, framing the shot so that they are huddled together in the middle of the screen, before whistling loudly to draw their attention. “Alright, guys, let’s do this already! It’s freezing out here!”

 

~~~~~

 

Believe in what your heart is saying

Hear the melody that’s playing

There’s no time to waste

There’s so much to celebrate

 

Believe in what you feel inside

And give your dreams the wings to fly

You have everything you need

If you just believe

 

The rich tenor voice coming from my phone blends perfectly with the large snowflakes floating down outside. There are only a handful of them, and the sun is bright enough today that I know they won’t last, but it is still a beautiful way to start Christmas morning.

 

“Gomo….”

 

“Ne, Jae Hee-yah?”

 

My niece looks up from the Christmas card that she is drawing. “Will I still get to see Santa Harabeoji, even if I don’t go downstairs?”

 

“Of course.” I sit down beside her, moving slowly so as not to disturb the IV drip in her arm as I squeeze her gently across the shoulders. “He always comes up to check on the kids who didn’t come to the party; so even if you really can’t make it, you won’t miss anything.”

 

She nods solemnly, gesturing at her arm. “I still wanna go, though.”

 

“And you can – but only if you’re feeling up to it after your treatment’s done.”

 

Jae Hee nods again. She’s feeling a lot better since her attending physician switched her to a different anti-nausea medication after last week’s scare. This one, at least, seems to actually have the desired effect; however, it also tends to make her drowsy, meaning that she now falls asleep after her chemo more often than not. 

 

“And if I do wanna come down, Gomo,” she asks after a moment’s silent colouring, “I just have to call you?”

 

“Exactly,” I answer, giving her another squeeze. “I’ll have my phone with me, so feel free to call me whenever you want, and I’ll come to pick you up.”

 

My niece grins. “‘Bbali, bbali’?”

 

I chuckle softly. “Geu rae – ‘bbali, bbali.’” After a moment’s pause, I add, “You really like Park Seonsaeng, don’t you?”

 

“Mm!” Jae Hee answers brightly. “He’s nice, he’s funny, and he’s a good friend. Sometimes, I don’t know what he’s saying because he talks too fast – but that’s okay, because when he does that, he sounds so happy that I just feel all warm and fuzzy inside.” She smiles to herself at the thought, but then her face falls. “Too bad Halmeoni doesn’t like him, though.”

 

It was to be expected, of course: Eomma may have forgiven me for blowing off her attempts to set me up with a prosecutor, but it’s been a whole other thing for me to end up dating Park Si On instead. Even though my brother and sister-in-law came around to the idea after meeting him in person, Eomma just can’t seem to get over his autism. No matter how hard the rest of us have tried to swing her over to our side, she stubbornly insists that she will not have any “tainted” blood coming into our family.

 

At only seven years old, there is a lot about this situation that Jae Hee wouldn’t understand. Yet she looks so forlorn at what little she does know that I immediately smile fondly at her. “Well, then, just promise me that once you’re all better” – I offer her my pinky – “you will help to put in a good word for him, arasseo?”

 

Jae Hee promises, then goes right back to her card. She insists that I wait for her as she carefully colours in the large Christmas tree she’s drawn on the front, but it’s only when she addresses it to Park Si On rather than Santa that I understand why.

 

~~~~~

 

As Kyu Hyun and Eun Ok, their parents standing proudly beside them, bow hand-in-hand to Director Choi in thanks for the large ceremonial cheque displayed on the stage, polite applause fills the conference room. I join in with the clapping for a moment, waving to both kids when Eun Ok excitedly points me out to her brother, before taking the first chance I get to slip outside. Sweet, lilting music – the intro to Kyu Hyun’s performance – spills out by me into the lobby, but it is soon muffled as I carefully close the door.

 

“Psst! Seonsaengnim – over here!”

 

I hurry over to where Si On and the rest of our Santa team are huddled together guarding the large bags filled with donated toys for the kids – only to find myself immediately caught up in a fierce bear hug.

 

“Saeng!”

 

“Ya, Na In Hae!” I cry out, laughing as I free myself from her embrace. “What brings you here?!”

 

“You think I’ve forgotten about Santa Express?” she asks, tilting her head mischievously to one side as she gestures to her own elf costume. “Up to this point, I was here as a patient; but this year, I want to help you guys out.”

 

Nurse Jo drapes one arm over her shoulders and pulls her into a side hug. “And ‘Santa’s’ glad to have you, kid.”

 

In Hae rolls her eyes, but grins and leans into Nurse Jo’s side all the same.

 

Kim Sun Joo looks at me. “Is it almost time?”

 

I nod. “Kyu Hyun’s singing now; you guys are on right after him.”

 

We all lug the bags together to the conference room, where Han Jin Wook is already waiting at the door. He greets In Hae with a high five, then confirms the final details with us.

 

“You guys filmed yourselves going down the stairs?”

 

“Ne, Sunbae!” Si On answers brightly. “And running, running, running down the hall as well.”

 

Neither Sun Joo nor Jin Wook are able to hold back a laugh at his enthusiasm. “Arasseo.” Jin Wook turns to me. “Then, Sunbae, why don’t you take charge of the door?”

 

I answer with a thumbs-up, and follow him back inside. Kyu Hyun is still up on stage, the soft carol he started with now turned into a raucous sing-along with the children in the audience. Eun Ok, who still doesn’t talk much, is right there beside him, jumping and bouncing along with a tambourine. Quickly, I whip out my phone and take several photos, sending them to Si On out in the lobby; immediately, he sends his reply – a hilariously long string of smiley face and thumbs-up emojis.

 

Several of the kids in the audience whine loudly when Kyu Hyun and Eun Ok come down from the stage; chances are, these are the ones who will cluster around the noraebang station set up in the corner once the free play time begins. But first, of course, there’s the main event, the thing that all our patients and their families come here to see.

 

Slowly, the lights dim in the conference room as a large screen comes down on the stage: it’s finally time for our video.

 

Sun Joo was the one behind the script, and true to form, she’s come up with a simple silly sketch. She, Si On and Woong Ki are the first to appear on screen. Playing the role of Santa’s elves, they scurry about on the rooftop, competing against each other to gather the most “toys” – really empty gift-wrapped cardboard boxes – into their respective sacks. It’s all set up like a segment from a variety show, with instructions for the kids in the audience to cheer for their favourite “elf”.

 

Not that any of them could win easily. Si On – as scripted – picks up an early lead, but that just prompts the other two to play interference, sneaking packages from his bag into their own when his back is turned. The kids love this new development, squealing with laughter as some even start yelling for Si On to look behind himself – which he eventually does, trying but failing to pelt the miscreants with snowballs in all the mock-indignation he’s able to muster.

 

And then, just as it seems like everything will descend into total chaos….

 

“Look! It’s Santa!”

 

The call comes from a little boy seated in the front row. He jumps up from his chair, pointing with one finger to where, on the screen, Nurse Jo has suddenly ducked out from behind a blind corner in his Santa suit. Other kids – even those too old to really believe anymore – join in on the excitement, their cheers drowning out our team’s playful on-screen banter as they finish packaging up the gifts before heading for the door leading back into the hospital.

 

I still remember how it was that day: crammed in behind the others as they made their way down the tightly turning flights of stairs, fighting to keep the image on the phone’s camera as steady as possible. Fortunately, the friend Sun Joo had tasked with editing the video had opted to editing out most of the regrettably shaky footage, cutting almost straight to the point when, after I’d squeezed out past them into the lobby, the entire group came streaming out from the stairwell, heading straight for our conference room at a frantic jog.

 

And that’s my cue to open the door.

 

The children’s cheers reach a fever pitch as, with a hearty “Ho! Ho! Ho!”, Nurse Jo jogs into the room as quickly as his bulky costume would allow, the others just several paces behind. Something about how they move through the darkness feels ever so slightly off, though. At first, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but once they have gathered up on stage, I see what’s wrong:

 

Park Si On is missing.

 

That’s strange. Where the heck could he be?

 

Catching Han Jin Wook’s eye some distance away, I gesture towards him in confusion, but even he just answers with a helpless shrug. “Check your phone, Sunbae,” he mouths silently at me, holding up his own to make doubly sure that I understand.

 

Shooting him an “Okay” sign, I slip back out into the lobby, reaching to unlock my phone as I go. There are, however, no missed calls or texts from Si On on my end; so once I’ve stepped far enough away not to be drowned out by the noise of fifty ecstatic squealing kids, I try to call him.

 

The number you have reached is unavailable at the moment. Please hang up and try again later.

 

Mwo?

 

Quickly, I try again a second time, hoping that he just didn’t pick up in time – but once again, I get the same automated message. Biting back a curse, I turn this way and that in search for him, but he’s nowhere in sight.

 

“Ya, Park Si On,” I mutter under my breath, “this isn’t funny. Where the hell are y–”

 

“Yoon Seo-yah!”

 

Forcing a smile on my face, I turn to wave at my brother and sister-in-law, who have just come in through the hospital’s main entrance. We meet up in the middle of the lobby, my sister-in-law greeting me with her usual warm hug.

 

“Apologies for showing up late,” Oppa says, “but Mass went on longer than we thought this time.”

 

“Especially since everyone was stopping us to ask after Jae Hee,” my sister-in-law adds. She steps back, craning her neck to peer over my shoulder at the conference room doors. “How’s our girl doing today, by the way? Is she in there?”

 

I shake my head. “She seemed pretty tired after this morning’s treatment,” I explain. “I told her to call if she wanted to come downstairs after her nap, but I haven’t heard anything yet.”

 

My brother gestures to the phone I’m still holding. “Was that her you were speaking to earlier?”

 

“Ani.” Suddenly reminded of my original quest, I scan the lobby one more time. “I’m looking for Park Si On; we need him in there, but I can’t seem to find him.” My free hand reaches up instinctively to grasp the back of my head. “It’s weird…he was here just a few minutes ago….”

 

I’m just about to step away to keep looking when Oppa stops me with a hand on my arm. “Speaking of Park Seonsaeng,” he says, “I don’t think either of you will be getting much trouble from Eomma when you come over for dinner tonight.”

 

I look questioningly up at him. “Why not?”

 

My sister-in-law chuckles. “This year’s homily was on the subject of Christian charity, and the importance of spreading the love of Christ out to the world.” A knowing twinkle lights up in her eyes. “Father Andrew was particularly adamant this year about looking to those less fortunate than ourselves–”

 

“Not that Park Si On’s a charity case,” Oppa adds when I instinctively bristle at his wife’s comment, “but it’s as good a place for Eomma to start as any.”

 

“I see…” I answer tentatively. To be honest, I don’t think that’s enough to persuade Eomma, but before I could actually say so, my phone rings.

 

And who should it be from but…?

 

“Ya, Park Si On! Where are you right now?”

 

“Jo-joesonghamnida, Seonsaengnim,” he stammers. “I…I…I just saw your missed calls right now.”

 

“Arasseo,” I bark out, my free hand resting firmly on my hip. “Just – just get your butt over here, and–”

 

“Eomma! Appa! Gomo! Over here!”

 

Startled, I whirl around just in time to see Jae Hee, Si On pushing her towards us in a wheelchair. Just as she said she would, my niece is wearing the Santa hat and her bravery bead necklace – as well as a massive grin as she waves excitedly with both hands.

 

It doesn’t take long once they’ve caught up with us for the whole story to come out.

 

“Jae Hee called me to bring her downstairs,” Si On explains. “She said not to tell anybody – not even you, Seonsaengnim – because she wanted to surprise you.”

 

“Well,” I quip wryly, reaching down to pinch my niece’s cheek, “you most certainly did.” As she giggles in delight, I straighten back up. “Is that why you didn’t pick up earlier?”

 

Si On shakes his head. “Animida. That was because–”

 

“Because Saeng was showing me Santa!”

 

Her parents and I glance down at her. “What do you mean?” I ask.

 

“I copied the movie we made onto my phone,” Si On answers in her stead. “Just…just in case some of the children could not come down to watch it. Jae Hee was watching it up until a few minutes ago, so….”

 

Oppa smiles and claps one hand on Si On’s shoulder. “And I’m glad you thought of that, Seonsaeng.” Then, while Si On hiccups, glancing bashfully down at the floor as he moves back several paces, my brother crouches down in front of his daughter. “So, Jae Hee-yah” – he points towards the conference room – “I hear that Santa Harabeoji is waiting for you in there. Do you want to go see him now?”

 

My niece beams. “Ne!”

 

Her father takes hold of the wheelchair, then, and starts to wheel her away. Her mother follows suit, already gushing to Jae Hee about all the fun activities lined up for the kids inside: “We can go to see Santa and get your present first, then we can try the crafts table – or you can go get a snack first, or….”

 

“Can we do noraebang first?”

 

My brother chuckles. “Sure, if that’s what you want. Just as long as you don’t ask for ‘Let It Go.’” A pause. “Honestly, I don’t get what it is with little girls and that song these days….”

 

“Gwenchana, Appa – I like Princess Anna more anyway, ‘cause Saeng says that I gotta be brave, just like her!”

 

As their voices fade away into the distance, I spot Si On stepping up beside me out of the corner of my eye. Just barely, I could hear him clicking his fingernails: the classic tell that he’s worried about whether I approve of his actions.

 

For a moment, I let the awkward silence grow between us, just to keep him on his toes. But then, when I sense that he probably can’t take the suspense much longer, I turn to face him, hands resting on my hips.

 

“Technically, I should be scolding you for running off without permission like that…but you know what?” Squinting my eyes as though in thought, I shake my head. “I’m just not feeling it.”

 

Si On’s brow furrows. “So I am not in trouble, Seonsaengnim?”

 

I find myself smiling up at him. “You’re not.” As he lets out a loud sigh in relief, I offer him my hand. “Let’s head back in, then; the others are probably wondering where we are right now.”

 

He smiles and takes my hand, interlocking his fingers with mine in that way of his. “Ne, Seonsaengnim.”

 

Author's Notes (in "Hidden Contents" in case of spoilers)

 

Spoiler

Needless to say, 2020 has been...eventful, and that makes celebrating anything (including Christmas) a bit of a challenge. I've been fortunate so far in that I have not yet been directly impacted by COVID-19 - obviously, I've been through lockdown or "stay at home" orders like everyone else, but neither I nor anyone I know personally has caught the virus yet. But even so, through watching people I know going through a ton of non-COVID-related medical emergencies (some who survived and some who didn't), I've become a lot more conscious this year about just how important our frontline health care workers are to our society as a whole.

 

So for this year's Christmas Special, I wanted to write a story that touched on some of the complex feelings that many of us have probably had this year about health and sickness and the importance of close ties with friends and family during times of crisis. A fic about COVID itself was out of the question, though: there is such a thing as "too soon" in writing, and while some shows (including, as it turns out, the American version of Good Doctor) are willing to do COVID-themed stories already...I'm not brave enough to take that risk yet. Nor, to be frank, would writing about a still-ongoing pandemic match with the heartwarming tone I was aiming for in this fic.

 

However, there are a number of ways that I was influenced by reality in writing this fic. To be specific, I drew a lot of inspiration from the Hospital for Sick Children (affectionately called "Sick Kids" for short) in my own home city of Toronto, Canada. It's one of the most prominent and influential children's hospitals in the world; and although the hospital Good Doctor is set in is a general hospital rather than one devoted especially for kids, I was inspired by Sick Kids's "Bravery Beads" program, as well as an ad they show on television every year during the Christmas season.

 

 

When compared to the video our team puts together in the fic, the inspiration here was very loose - all I took, really, was the concept of Santa landing on the rooftop and the hospital staff filming the whole preparation process for the children's benefit.

 

 

Secondly, I did throw in some popular Christmas songs into this fic: namely "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey, and "Believe" by Josh Groban. The former is simply because it's the sort of song I imagine Cha Yoon Seo would like; and the latter is because it fits the overall tone of this fic :) 

 

 

 

Finally, re: Park Si On's explanation of Santa Claus, I got my information from this video in particular:

 

 

Remember to watch it all the way through to the end for a cute quantum physics-based bonus - which, come to think of it, would probably be how Yoon Tae Yi (either version) would explain Santa if she were asked ;)

 

 

And...that's it for this year's Christmas Special! I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :) 

 

As always, if anyone wants a master list of all my K-drama fanfics, you can find it under the "About Me" tab on my profile page. Thanks once again, and I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season with those you love - whether you live with them or meet up with them electronically.

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I know that Christmas is technically over now, but after waking up to an actual white Christmas for once (and in the absence of further updates from JW), I've thrown together a quick Round Two of my Christmas-themed Scattergories:

 

Spoiler

Scattergories: Christmas Edition (Round Two)!

 

There's really only one rule: for each prompt, just say which JW drama character comes first to mind.

 

As always, repeats are allowed; and, as always, pay attention for if I'm asking for a guy, a girl, or a couple

 

Good luck - and have fun! :partyblob:

 

1. The JW drama couple most likely to make a gingerbread house together (Bonus question: what does it look like in the end?)

 

2. The JW drama girl most likely to have volunteered to give away/donate her Christmas presents when she was little

 

3. The JW drama guy most likely to go all out when decorating a Christmas tree

 

4. The JW drama couple most likely to end up with a "gift of the Magi" scenario when buying presents for each other

 

5. The JW drama girl most likely to try to get her boyfriend/partner to wear an "ugly Christmas sweater" with her - i.e. couple fashion, but super-cheesy :P (Bonus question: how does he feel about it?)

 

6. The JW drama girl most likely to procrastinate on buying Christmas presents for her partner/family/friends/etc., which leads to panic buying on Christmas Eve :P 

 

7. The JW drama guy most likely to write and send personalized Christmas cards to his partner/family/friends/etc.

 

(Quick side note: Yes, I flipped the gender stereotypes for #6 and #7 on purpose ;))

 

8. The JW drama guy most likely to enjoy some sort of alcoholic Christmas drink (e.g. mulled wine, eggnog, etc.)

 

9. The JW drama girl most likely to have been raised to think of Christmas as a religious holiday (Bonus question: what are her thoughts on that as an adult?)

 

10. The JW drama guy most likely to have been raised by one or both parents to fear a Christmastime punishment for bad behaviour - e.g. a lump of coal from Santa, the whole Krampus legend, etc. (Bonus question: did this approach actually work to instill good behaviour?)

 

Yeah, so the last prompt did end up a bit dark - but then again, there is actually that tinge of darkness underneath all the Christmas cheer, so....

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  • partyon changed the title to Joo Won 주원 [Upcoming Movie "Carter" 2021]

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