Jinyoung hasn't been feeling well since he woke up that morning, voice hoarse and head heavy. There's an ocean in his mind, he thinks. The waves are crashing against his skull and he wakes up that morning feeling like he's been swimming against the current for hours. His muscles ache and his brain feels like it's drowned--muffled in a soundless environment. The clock beside his bed reads 5:20 AM and he groans inwardly before sitting up on his bed. He rubs at the corners of his eyes, fumbling around to find the script he has to recite later. He wonders if he'll slip up later, considering how he couldn't put any of the words together in his head as of now. Sighing, he puts the cue cards back down on the mattress and fumbles out of his covers to start the day.
The sun isn't even up yet and Jinyoung walks shakily towards the common area; there are stars hovering above his head. He steadies himself as the other members prod around getting ready, seeing as they were departing first. Bam Bam and him would leave right after the live broadcast, flying in planes with stiff necks and subtle headaches. It discourages him and he plops down on the sofa, burying himself into the leather. The oceans are still there in his brain, tidal waves hitting his cranium with full force. He grimaces, brows knitting together in discomfort.
A hand presses lightly on his forehead and Jinyoung lazily opens his eyes to find Jaebum crouching down in front of him. "Are you sick?" He asks, voice laced with concern. "I don't know." Jinyoung mumbles back, reaching up to press Jaebum's hand against his forehead. The coolness of the other's flesh slightly subdues his discomfort and he momentarily forgets about the aching of his muscles. "I think so," he concludes after a moment. Jaebum frowns, pulling the throw blanket around Jinyoung's frame with his other hand. "What do we do with your immune system?" He asks with a soft sigh. The younger male chuckles, "As if you're any healthier than me." He retorts--because in all honesty, he was sure that Jaebum's cold was omnipresent, never fully going away.
"Jaebum, we have to leave now!" Mark shouts from the doorway and Jinyoung whines when Jaebum pulls his hand away. He slowly pushes himself up from the couch, sitting up with the blanket falling over his shoulders. "Take care of yourself and eat medicine, okay?" Jaebum says, leaving after he presses a chaste kiss on Jinyoung's forehead. The younger male nods, giving the other a small wave as he tries to ignore the way the room was blearing in and out of focus.
The door closes with a thud, causing Jinyoung to wince at the sound before moving up from the sofa to the restroom--blanket dragging on the floor behind him. He stumbles to wake himself up, splashing water on his face and wiping the gunk from the corners of his eyes. He doesn't feel that refreshed when he's done washing up though and he slowly moves back into the living room. The floor still feels like he's falling into quicksand and he throws himself back on the sofa, slumber finding him at forked roads.
The second time he wakes up, the face looming above his isn't Jaebum's but Bam Bam's. "Hyung, we have to get ready now." He said softly while Jinyoung groggily nods, eyelids still tempted to shut over. His brain is swimming in water and Jinyoung feels his stomach acid threatening to backtrack into his esophagus. "Alright," he mumbles, walking towards his room with sluggish steps. Each step feels like he's trucking through mud and the noises in his head are still muffled.
It's almost a blur, and Jinyoung boards the car, unsure of how exactly he had powered through the live recording. He doesn't actually remember most of it except for the fact that he (thankfully) had not made too many slip-ups. It turns out that, sick or not, he's pretty good at memorizing his lines. And with a little less weight on his shoulders, Jinyoung drifts in and out of sleep. It's a bit hard to breathe though, breath uncomfortably warm when he exhales. He closes his eyes to the highway and opens it to find the airport. It all seems too soon, and he feels like he hasn't slept for a century (even though that he's sure he's slept the entire hour and a half on the way here.)
He drags himself onto asphalt grounds and braces against the oncoming waves of light flashing before his eyes. He winces at the over exposure, corneas unadjusted to the spontaneous changes in lighting. Dark spots imprint within his vision and he blinks back the tiredness of his eyes. Shutters are clicking all around him but Jinyoung's too tired to care, sound muffled by the ocean in his brain. The sound waves don't travel through water and Jinyoung boards the plane thinking how distant the world sounds. He also ponders upon the thought of how much distance he has to cover before he's back by Jaebum's side. He reckons it's somewhere around 2,077 kilometres, counting down as the plane departs into the clouds.
Two thousand and seventy six.
Two thousand and seventy five.
Jinyoung's counting by heartbeats.
He arrives at the same time he departed, stealing time from railroad tracks and prime meridians. He fumbles with the keycard, pushing open the door and dragging his suitcase in. Jaebum reaches him in a second, the subtle scent of his cologne invading Jinyoung's nasal cavity. He feels even dizzier than he's started off with, stumbling slightly in his steps. Jaebum reaches to stabilize him, one arm around his waist, his other hand reaching for Jinyoung's suitcase. He doesn't think he needs legs of his own and Jinyoung relaxes himself on the older male. "I'm here," he singsongs in a hushed whisper. Jaebum smiles, pulling them towards the bed.
"Did you take medicine?" He asks, and Jinyoung shakes his head, falling off from Jaebum's shoulders onto the soft bedding. It's somewhat like falling onto clouds, and even though he's sure that he's stagnant, his mind tells him that he's in freefall. His mind is the black hole, and there's nothing for him to hold on to.
He hits hard ground when Jaebum places the back of his hand on his forehead, jolting Jinyoung out of his thoughts. "Your fever went up," Jaebum says with a frown, reaching for his phone to call their manager. Jinyoung stops him, holding a weak grip on his hand. "Don't." He mutters, hoarse voice cracking. "You need to eat medicine, Jinyoung." The older male reprimands.
"Stay with me for a bit first?" He says, giving Jaebum's hand a soft squeeze. He tries giving a meek smile, chapped lips straining against tension. Jaebum sighs, giving in, before he settles down on the bed, arms around the younger male. "What do we do about your priorities?" He asks.
"You're my priority." Jinyoung replies without hesitation, nuzzling his head comfortably in the crook of Jaebum's neck. Jaebum chuckles, tightening his hold on the brunette male. "If I get sick too, you have to take responsibility." He warns jokingly, softly stroking the nape of Jinyoung's neck. "Hmm," Jinyoung hums before letting the tides in his mind wash him away--to dreams, to surreal worlds, to past memories.
He's not drowning, merely floating with the course of the ocean.
He wakes up a while later to the sound of the door closing, and he peers through half lidded eyes to see Jaebum walking inside. "You left me," he tries to say, voice barely audible, before he starts coughing--phlegm clogging his trachea. He can't breathe correctly, sinuses all clogged. He grimaces at the thought of having to perform in such a state. Jaebum walks back from the dresser table with a glass of warm water and medicine. Jinyoung takes it with a frown, gulping down the pills and finishing the water. He still feels poorly hydrated though, returning the glass to Jaebum. "You left me." He says again, voice louder now that he's cleared out his throat.
"I went to get you medicine."
"You left me." He repeats for a third time. "Alone." He adds for emphasis
"I bought you ice cream."
"I'll forgive you this time." Jinyoung says, wrapping the blanket around him and waddling over to the bag that Jaebum settled on the table just an instant earlier. When he finally gets to peer within the plastic shopping bag, he can't help but burst into laughter--lungs hurting when it turns into another coughing fit. Jaebum taps out melodies and beats on his back until he finally calms down. "Did you buy all the ice cream back?" Jinyoung finally manages to say, still gasping for air. (He can't breathe through his nose and life is just so much more strenuous.)
Jaebum grins sheepsihly, awkwardly scratching at his head. "Well--you see, they didn't have the flavour you liked. And I didn't know what you would like instead so...I just bought one of every flavour they had?" He mumbles, syllables dancing over one another. "You bought me enough ice cream to last a month." Jinyoung states, pulling Jaebum's arms over his waist. "Do you love me that much?" He teases.
Jaebum laughs heartily, "Pretty sure my love surpasses a few quarts of ice cream." he replies, resting his forehead against the younger male's. "Of course it is," Jinyoung sings back.
There's an ocean in his soul, tidal waves carrying him offshore, and Jaebum's hold becomes his safety jacket.