Ahjumma by Webfoot



Healer fanfic.

Intro: In ep 14, we get to hear Jo Min Ja’s back story. I’ve been waiting so long. Finally, I get to write this story. Thank you, writer Song Ji Na, for creating Ahjumma.

“Ahjumma,” he called. 
“Like I’m your mother,” I muttered. I watched his connections shut down, one by one, blinking out on the screen. 
Damn fool, shit-headed child. Now he’s going to go shut down and pout somewhere. He’s got damn near no control of his emotions. Just letting them flow everywhere. Infecting that tiny girl. And Gi Yeong Jae, that criminal, of all people.
Day 1: 
Connections are still down. Surprise, surprise. Yeong Jae, I was right to ask you if you were in your right mind, picking this child for your trainee. You and I, we work well because we don’t care. You don’t care, because you cared once and got ten years of jailtime for it. I don’t care, because I cared too often and… and look how I got paid.
But this fool you picked up can’t keep his messy feelings to himself. Look how he glued himself to an ex-con like you. Twenty years old, six feet tall and probably the best catburglar this city has seen, and he cried like a baby when you left. You saw nothing, heard nothing on your island. I heard the pathetic late night sniffling in his bed. I saw what the wall did to his fist.
And look, now you’re gone. He’s free, and he’s not celebrating. He should be partying it up, being released from wanting you back. Instead, he’s gone all dramatic-shut-down on me.
People who miss other people deserve everything coming to them. They do it to themselves, all that suffering.
Day 2: 
Yeong Jae. You’re another one. Dying such a messy death. Couldn’t you just have died in some woman’s bed? Now I have to go hunt down those who killed you.
That will give me something to do instead of waiting around for blank-screen boy to reappear. He should have left his vital signs monitor on. I don’t need another messy death to clean up.
Ok, Yoon, you flea-bitten arrogant dog. You think you can beat me? Here I come. En Garde.
“Have a family. Have a dog, two cats, three fishes.” 
A bloody will. He left a bloody will in full color video. Like Jung Hoo were his son or something. And telling him to quit and make a god awful family. Who knew he had such crazy dreams?
As if a child would solve all problems. They make more problems. Husbands suck up time. Children cost a bomb to raise. What was it, 180 million won a year? Who has that kind of money? 
Jung Hoo’s got the cash, at least. Judging by his account he has money, for, I’d say, two sick kids. 
And if Jung Hoo takes his advice? That’ll be the end of this profitable enterprise. Let’s see how he’s going to have a family without this kind of money coming in…
His resume will have: ‘thieving’, ‘safe opening’ and ‘climbing the side of a building’ in it. Maybe he can work in a security company. Or as a policeman.
Ha! Ha, ha!
No money there unless you accept bribes. I should have moved to breaking the law earlier, the pay is better. Then I would have had enough money for the hospital bills, too.
Maybe I should take a page out of your book, Yeong Jae, and blow my money on an island somewhere. Not into women, though, so I got to figure out what else to spend it on. I don’t think island men will want this old woman.
That’s a tough question. I made all this money, but the reason is long gone. 
Day 3: 
Grocery credit card log. Nothing.
Phone log. Nothing.
Jung Hoo probably has leftovers. After three days he’s going to give himself  food poisoning - Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, and botulism, take your pick. 
At least, if I he ate like me, he would never have left overs. One roll, one meal. Done. Vegetable, animal and salt. All the necessary nutrients. 
I learnt to eat well during the stakeouts. Vegetables to keep you regular. That way you won’t have inconvenient urges in the middle of the waiting. Proteins to keep you awake. Carbs - you might as well take a tranquilizer.
Jung Hoo never waits. He just goes right in and does the job, so he doesn’t give a shit what he eats. Ha! I manage his bills, so I know. Main food group - fried.
It’s amazing he’s grown as strong as he has. Or maybe he’s just a heart infarct waiting to happen. Good genes probably. Never met his father, but I hear he was healthy. 
Well, maybe I can train him to start eating like me…. 
No. That is not an excuse to go over there. I will not reward pouting and I am certainly not going to do something so idiotic as to cook for him. I am never going to meet him.
I am not a mother. 
Day 4: 
I should check for maggot trace. He should be a cold corpse by now. I wonder what kind of sensor is needed for maggots. Methane for decomposition gases, maybe. 
When he started buying all that stuff for his place I asked him what he was planning to do. He didn’t answer, but grinned and said, “Help me, Ahjumma.” So I got the wiring done for him. That place has more security than the National Bank. I know, because I’ve been through the National Bank’s security. Thinner than aluminum foil, that. I heard they paid 20 million for that piece of flimsy firewall. Don’t get me started on the encryption. Might as well have used Lego bricks.
So I gave him the best wiring a woman can think of. Tricky feed forwards and fake patches. Off grid, while in the grid. I was so proud of it I nearly wanted to give him the full tour of the features.
Then he asked to put in the lock himself. 
I asked him why. I could give him the best.
“This is my place, Ahjumma. Mine. I need to keep people out on my terms.”
“You need to keep your porn safe, you mean.”
“That was Teacher,” he laughed. 
Just as well. The best kind of security - only one person has the secret, and if he dies, it goes with him.
Except that he’s dying, and I’m cursing the damned locked door.
Day 5:
Look at you. You’re actually considering putting his life in that tiny girl’s hands. What the hell does she know about getting past the door? Will she be able to revive him? Will she have the sense to get him out of there beforecalling emergency services and blowing his entire cover? What does she know about protecting him?
Forget it, you can do it. You’ll get past that locked door. He’s had long enough to nurse his little heart. 
Then you’ll have to meet him. You’ll have to hold him up and spoon feed him. You’ll have to nurse him and change him and you cannot. You. Cannot.
I can send Dae Yong. 
Freaking hell on a plate, that’s even worse. She’ll try to kick her way through everything.
God damn your porn-loving soul, Young Jae, why did you have to up and die! I need your wall-climbing ass right here!
There was once a great discussion in the encryption forum. Kajuki asked ‘What is the best encryption you know?’ Fifty pages followed, filled with cryptographers showing off and hackers picking up tips like sweets. Then Bolus delivered a showstopper : “A secret.” 
Everyone said Bolus was losing his touch. Depending on wetware was the worse kind of encryption. Linguistic puzzles had no logical basis, they said. The more they argued, the righter Bolus became. Languages continue to defeat neuroscientists, because of that last leap between sound and meaning. Secrets between two people cannot be cracked. No algorithm invented can understand the unspoken. 
That last gap is made up of everyday contexts and daily meaning. So many words, that only those who live with you, and see your face everyday will know. Those who touch your hand and hold you close will know where the secrets are.
Ahjumma, he called. And I answer to that.
It’s time to look for Chae Young Shin. She will have the key. Not me. 
Note: I love Ahjumma. From day one, I have loved her mother-not mother character, combined with a phenomenal woman-in-science brain and I have been craving her backstory. If the show doesn’t cover it, I will do the day she meets Jung Hoo too. But for now, this is enough.


  1. I love Ahjumma too... and love your story about her. Can't stop waxing lyrical - really wonderful FF!