"Alright, let's take a break."
At Sangyeon's announcement, some of the surrounding boys quickly began to fall on the ground, exhausted. Chanhee positioned himself in front of the air-condition unit almost immediately, only to be shoved out of the way by Changmin, which ended in both of them sharing instead after a quick scuffle. The youngest, Eric, laid himself flat on the ground, chest heaving as he took in the moments of much needed rest. Practice was great and all, maybe even fun, but it was definitely tiring.
After a moment, Juyeon approached the leader as he wiped the sweat of his forehead with the sleeve of his shirt, panting like the rest.
"Can I go buy some water? I'll be quick."
Suddenly appearing beside him, Hwall beamed and added, "I'll go with him. Is that okay?"
Still catching his breath, Sangyeon waved a hand to dismiss the two of them to go instead of speaking. Hwall quickly latched himself onto Juyeon's arm soon after, completely ignoring their current sweaty state. The other boy made no attempt to shake him off. Sangyeon smiled at the sight; It wasn't the first time Hwall would ask to be wherever Juyeon was, anyway. His crush on Juyeon was as endearing as it was blatantly obvious, and it didn't seem like the older boy minded the affection.
"Do you think Juyeon's caught on yet?" Hyunjae suddenly voiced out, appearing next to Sangyeon as they watched the two leave.
The leader frowned in confusion, "what do you mean?"
"Juyeon doesn't know Hwall likes him," came the matter-of-fact reply from Sunwoo all the way over at the other end of the room. "Absolutely dense. Do you think he's being dense on purpose?"
"Wait, back up. You're telling me Juyeon has no clue about how Hwall feels? Really?"
Hyunjae nodded, grinning a little as Sangyeon's jaw slowly dropped as the eldest member tried to comprehend.
He then began to fill Sangyeon in about how some of the members had began betting about when Juyeon and Hwall will get together and how it'll come to be. Sunwoo had his bets on the fact that Hwall will eventually turn aggressive despite his younger age and boyish nature once he got tired of how dense Juyeon was. That's what he would do in the same situation, anyway. Meanwhile, Kevin wanted to give Juyeon the benefit of the doubt that he'll realize things by himself soon.
"Not a single clue at all."
It was Haknyeon who spoke next, having overheard their topic as well, with great emphasis on each word and an exaggerated sigh at the end. Others who were listening in nearby also gave their own nods of agreement. He approached the older two and hummed in thought, "personally, I'm on the side that Hwall will wait till Juyeon will notice. Too bad it'll probably take him years."
He paused for a few seconds to consider what he just said.
"Actual, literal years."
Sangyeon shook his head, still in a mild state of disbelief even if he's heard it confirmed. Sure, Juyeon was known to be one of the more innocently naive members of the group; his mind flitted back to when they did the prank thing for the show and how easy it was to capture the boy's concern, even when the others already began to catch on to their secret camera. His reactions were usually slower than the rest, sure, but Sangyeon always figured it was just because he can't be bothered if things didn't directly concern him.
The thing with Hwall, though?
"It's just so obvious—Hwall is the most obvious kid on the planet!"
At that, Hyunjae scoffed, "we know. As mentioned, too bad Juyeon's about as dense as a rock, so Hwall's been getting nowhere."
"You gotta admire his dedication, though,” Jacob said cheerfully as he joined in, apparently having known about the situation as well; It caused Sangyeon to momentarily wonder how he was left out of it for so long, since all the other members seem to have discussed it at one point or another. Maybe he just wasn't aware of it, too. “Hwall always gets what he wants.”
"He crawled into Juyeon's bed the other night," Younghoon supplied after a moment of silence as if he had just remembered the incident, having been in the same bedroom and all. When curious eyes looked towards him for more information, he continued. "Not for the first time. Juyeon didn't bat an eye since he liked the warmth."
He said the last bit of his sentence with heavy sarcasm, intent clear.
"Please," Sunwoo rolled his eyes, catching on. "I'm sure Juyeon likes him as well, he just doesn't know. He's that slow, guys. Even his feelings need to catch up."
It certainly seemed that way. Juyeon wasn't really the type to enjoy excessive skinship, but he didn't seem to mind when it came to Hwall. It had originally been dismissed as just the effect of how much all the older members had a soft spot for the youngest members of the group, but Juyeon was never really the touchy-feely type regardless. He definitely minded whenever Eric would do the same, much to the actual youngest’s displeasure. Even more so when it was Sunwoo who was forced to act cute against his will.
Hwall, though, embraced being in the 00-line with all his heart.
"Okay at this rate, Hwall could probably straight up confess and Juyeon wouldn't—" Changmin began to say loudly, and was about to continue further if it wasn't for Chanhee elbowing him to shut up just as the topic of their discussion entered the practice room. Hwall had entered first with Juyeon following behind, and judging by the look on the former's face, he was well aware of what was going on. Juyeon, however, looked puzzled as he caught on to only the last bit.
"I wouldn't what?"
A palpable silence filled the room, all eyes suddenly locked on Hwall as he opened his mouth to reply.
"I think they're saying if I confess my feelings for you, you won't notice," the younger boy supplied helpfully, a cheeky smile on his face.
"What?" Juyeon asked with a small frown, seemingly oblivious that Eric was giving wolf whistles in the background and that Haknyeon had began rolling on the floor in excitement at the sudden turn of events. Either that or he decided to just focus on the more important things. Sangyeon hoped it was the latter, but the former was definitely a possibility, knowing Juyeon. He turned towards Hwall, frown slowly turning into a pout. "I'm not that dense, Hwall."
Hwall's smile turned coy, "really?"
"Of course. Try me," came the defiant answer, eliciting another round of hushed whispers and hidden reactions from the other members, none of which were as subtle as they wanted to be. Chanhee tried to be the calm one, but eventually couldn't help but join Changmin in biting his fist to prevent further reactions as they watched on. Sangyeon didn't even try to keep the others from listening in, since it looked like Hwall didn't mind the audience they had, either. They were all dying to know what would happen next, after all.
Hwall paused just enough for the others to notice that underneath his seeminly confident demeanour was a hint of nerves.
Whether Juyeon noticed was another thing that everybody knew the answer to was a resounding no.
"I like you."
"And I like you, too. See? I totally noticed—"
The practice room resumed a normal atmosphere almost immediately after the big reveal, which was considerably anti-climactic, but as Juyeon treated the moment of confession like another passing thing, so everybody else did, too. Hwall smiling brightly seemed to distract Juyeon from the rest of the events that happened anyway, so it's not like he could react to his surroundings properly. He'll probably realize what just happened later on that day. A majority of the members had exclaimed congratulations and gave whoops of joy, except Sunwoo who had loudly complained about how cringeworthy everything was, along with a petition to switch rooms. He was dutifully ignored.
Soon, the high of the confession died down, as a more important topic came up among them.
"So, who won the bet?"