The elder boy stirred slightly, mumbling something into his pillow.
Taemin sighed, sitting down on the edge of the bed, by Jinki’s feet. He gazed at his face for a long time, reassuring himself with the familiar slant of his eyelids, the slight pout of his lips, the way his chest rose and fell, the quiet breathing. “Hyung…” Taemin murmured again. Jinki frowned momentarily, then slowly sat up. “Taemin-ah?” he asked, eyes still closed.
Taemin pressed his lips together, hesitating. He felt kind of silly being here, now that Jinki was awake. “I just… I’m not feeling well, hyung.”
“Eh? Waeyo?” Jinki’s eyes opened at once, and the sunlight dripped into his irises, turning them honeyish gold. “I had a nightmare,” Taemin stared at his feet, really embarrassed now. Eighteen, and still he got scared over nightmares?
“Aigo, Minnie… come here,” Jinki pushed away the blanket and opened his arms. The maknae thankfully crawled into them, huddled on the elder’s lap, resting his head against the leader’s shoulder.
“You want to talk about it?” Jinki whispered. Taemin squirmed and held onto him tighter, keeping silent. Jinki patted his back reassuringly, rocking him slightly. “Shh,” he whispered again, although Taemin wasn’t making a sound.
“We were in the airplane, hyung,” Taemin finally let out, twisting a fistful of Jinki’s shirt nervously. “The plane was hijacked and…” Taemin’s breath caught. Jinki let his chin down on Taemin’s forehead and blinked at the ceiling, waiting. Taemin stayed silent for a while, though, so he jostled him slightly, to remind him. Taemin sighed. “It’s stupid, hyung.”
“Minnie-ah.” Taemin smiled slightly. He loved hearing his hyung call him by his nickname. It made him feel small and protected. “Nothing related to you is stupid. Especially if it’s gotten you worried. I’m waiting, Taemin.”
“They… the hijackers.” That’s as far as Taemin got before his vision blurred and he had to bury his face in the crook of Jinki’s shoulder. He cried a little and Jinki held him, and waited. “They shot everyone, except me, hyung. They tied me up and made me watch everyone dying. They killed you last, hyung. They got - ” Taemin sat up straight, muscles tensed. Jinki bumped his nose into his shoulder and mumbled into his arm. “I’m here, Minnie, it’s all okay.”
“They got knives and flung them into you, hyung,” Taemin’s voice broke, but he kept at it. “And then they told you to choose between killing me or jumping off the plane.”
Jinki, still leaning on Taemin, holding him in his lap, winced. Taemin felt his eyebrows twitch into his shoulder. “You said you’d jump off, hyung. And I feel so guilty. I was so helpless. I couldn’t do anything.”
“Taemin,” Jinki sighed, “That was a dream, though. I’m alive, I really am. See? I’m hugging you.” Taemin breathed deeply as Jinki pulled him closer, breathing in his scent, spicy with sandalwood, breathing in his neck, breathing in his whole being, trying to commit it to memory, quietly promising to himself that he would always place his hyung over himself.
“Taemin-ah,” Jinki smiled softly as he felt Taemin nuzzling his neck, “There’s an important thing you should remember.”
“Mm,” Taemin affirmed he was listening, as he rubbed his head against Jinki’s chest and pulled the blanket around them, settling down with his eyes closed.
“I will always be here, will always love you.”
Taemin’s grip on Jinki tightened.
“I will, too,” he replied, looking up at Jinki, at his gentle, smiling eyes, his slightly curling lashes.