Minhyun felt like he was walking around in a trance with the screams from their fans a muffled sound in the background as he tried to bow to all of his beloved fans without falling flat on his face. His bleary eyes drooped heavily and he stumbled and bumped into Seongwoo who looked as bad as he felt.
Seongwoo watched Minhyun with a heavy heart as Minhyun struggled to uphold the fake smile plastered on his lips in front of the crowd of fans as they get into the car. In the confines of the car, Minhyun’s façade fell. He stared out the tinted glass with listless eyes getting lost in his thoughts. Before, he had tried sleeping but the whirlwind of endless thoughts of his band members he had been wrenched away from, caused a stabbing pain in his heart, and sleep always seemed to evade him. When was the last time he had actually slept? Minhyun wasn’t sure.
Seongwoo buried his head into the crook of Daniel’s neck and closed his eyes. Daniel kissed his forehead and brushed his fingers lightly against Seongwoo’s cheek. The dark bags under his boyfriend’s eyes stood out prominently against his pale skin and he looked like the definition of exhaustion. Daniel’s heart clenched painfully as his eyes roamed over his Wanna One members, who looked like they could fall asleep standing up. His glanced at Jisung hyung who was cradling a sleeping Daehwi to his chest, while he looked at the tired boy with worried eyes. There was no break between the end of Produce 101 and the beginning of their group activities as Wanna One. They all knew how lucky they were and they all knew that they had to work hard for their family, for their fans, for themselves and for the trainees that got eliminated, but it was all so tiring. If he could, he wanted to protect all of his precious band members who were more like friends or brothers.
“You have that look on your face again.” Mumbled Seongwoo sleepily as he gazed up endearingly at his pink haired boyfriend. “We will pull through because we have one another to rely on. We will be okay.”
Daniel sighed as he glanced at Minhyun. “How about Minhyun hyung?” he whispered silently.
“I’m sure we can help him. Just give him a few days.”
A few days turned into a few weeks. Minhyun’s shadowy grey eye bags turned an ugly blue black and the makeup noona gave up trying to cover up them up with layers and layers of concealer. Minhyun looked at himself in the mirror and someone else, some lifeless shell stared back. He moved over to the couch and slumped down next to Jaehwan, and ignored the worried looks his dongsaeng kept on throwing him.
Jaehwan patted his thigh. “Here, you should lie down.”
Minhyun hesitated but his vision was already swimming and he didn’t want to cause his friends any more trouble than he already was. He knew that they were all worried about him and he had tried, he went as far as trying to force himself, to feel normal, and happy but no matter how hard he tried, there was always this empty hollow feeling, a constant abysmal emptiness.
As soon as Minhyun’s head hits Jaehwan’s thigh and his fingers carded through Minhyun’s hair lightly, a tear escapes the corner of his eyes as he lost himself in the memories of the many times Jonghyun had done the same with him all the way back to when they were trainees. His body finally gave out, and unconsciousness finally soothed his restless mind.
Everyone let out a relieved sigh as Minhyun’s breathing evened out and Jaehwan sat stock still, afraid of waking his hyung. Jinyoung gently draped his jacket over his sleeping hyung while Jihoon sat beside Minhyun, and kissed his cheek gently in an attempt to smooth out the frown lines on Minhyun’s face as he slept.
“Jonghyunie…” Minhyun whimpered in his sleep. “I’m sorry everyone.”
The sound of everyone’s heart breaking reverberated through the room as they watched Minhyun who was slowly destroying himself.
Everyone tried to but in more effort to cheer up their favourite Minhyunie. The maknae line began planning a secret attack called “operation: cheer up Minhyunnie hyung with our cuteness.” Even shy Woojin was determined to help to see his hyung smile prettily again. They practiced on Sungwoon hyung by tackling him and Sungwoon died a bit on the inside as Jihoon, Jinyoung, Daehwi and Gualin all cuddled up to him and peered at him with wide innocent eyes and pouty lips. So theoretically, their plan should work. They caught Minhyun unsuspectingly and unleashed all the aegyo they had in their body. They managed to pull a rare smile out of Minhyun hyung, as he ruffled each of their heads.
“Aigoo, I’m so lucky to have such cute dongsaengs.”
But that smile didn’t last long, even when the hyung line tried to make decent tasting food and gave up and ordered pizza instead. Their Minhyunie wasn’t the same Minhyunie as before.
That night, Minhyun stared up at the ceiling for who knows how long, his thoughts whirling at lighting speed. It always came back to the final unveiling of the top eleven where Jonhyun, Minki and Dongho’s names were never called and he was all alone on the other side of the stage. He had felt like he was suffocating then. Minhyun felt so trapped in his own thoughts of regret, guilt and longing for his friends. He wanted to see his onibugi so, so much, that his longing felt like physical pain. He regretted not properly telling Jonghyun how he felt, and now, the weight of his feelings and the pain of being away from Jonghyun for such a long period of time for the first time in years, was too much of a burden. He had promised himself that he would tell him how he felt more than platonic feelings for his leader since the day that they met, but through all the tears and all the pain, the fear of giving his whole heart away stole his ability to speak.
Quietly, he got out of bed and exited the room he shared with Jinyoung, Daehwi, Woojin and Jaehwan. The clock blinked four o’clock in the morning and despite the bone deep weariness, his mind refused to settle and slip into sleep. He sighed as he gently closed the door to their room and frowned as he saw the living room light was on.
He was surprised to see Guanlin awake and sipping on chocolate milk sleepily on the couch . He looked up at Minhyun in surprise as well and smiled sheepishly.
“I woke up and I couldn’t fall back asleep again…and I got hungry.” Guanlin held out the steaming mug to Minhyun. “Do you want some hyung?”
Minhyun smiled slightly and shook his head as he took a seat next to Guanlin. They sat in comfortable silence, deep in their thoughts.
“Did you sleep well, hyung?”
Minhyun nodded. They both knew that it was a lie.
Guanlin placed his now empty cup on the coffee table and snuggled up to Minhyun, drawing a fluffy blanket around the two. Minhyun wrapped an arm around Guanlin, their giant baby, and he felt the loneliness and longing easeing away. He was unbelievably grateful to his Wanna One members for putting up with him over the past few weeks, and their efforts to cheer him up warmed his heart. Minhyun wanted to curse himself for being able to love too easily.
“It’s okay, Hyung. We will always love you, so take your time healing.”
Tufts of black hair tickled Minhyun’s cheek as he glanced down fondly at the baby chick curled up against his chest.
“I kind of understand how you feel hyung. I really miss Seonho and when he called me the other day, he said he felt lonely.”
Minhyun hugged Guanlin tighter ay the miserable thought of the two baby chicks separated by this cruel industry that demanded almost everything they had and more, and sometimes gave nothing in return.
Guanlin wiggled out of Minhyun’s hold to fully turn to face him. Minhyun stared into Guanlin’s handsome face who eyes glistened with unshed tears in the dim lamp light. The slight baby fat that clung to his cheeks seemed out of place for those large pretty eyes that have cried tears of pain and hardship that a normal sixteen year old would not know of.
“Even though it hurts, I have you and you have me, and we have the other members of our team, our new family. So don’t be sad, hyung.”
Minhyun enveloped Guanlin in a hug and battled the tears that threatened to escape as the emotions he had kept at bay for so long emerged. Eventually Minhyun and Guanlin fell asleep curled around each other comfortably, as the sun began to peep out from the horizon and golden streams of light found their way in through the slivers in the curtains.
Minhyun breathed in deeply and a familiar scent made Minhyun open his eyes sleepily. He froze as he saw Jonghyun curled up against his chest. With trembling fingers, he traces the soft, snow white skin of his onibugi. What a cruel, life-like dream, he thought bitterly as he kissed Jonghyun’s forhead, his skin warm against his lips. He chuckled.
“Life is truly cruel.” He said out loud.
Dream Jonghyun groaned and yawned before blinking blearily as Minhyun. Minhyun’s breathe stuttered as Dream Jonghyun smiled that beautiful smile of his that never failed to make his heartbeat stop.
Minhyun cupped Dream Jonghyun’s face in his left hand, his thumb brushing over Dream Jonghyun’s cheek. He leaned in and softly pressed his lips against Dream Jonghyun’s. When he pulled back, Dream Jonghyun was so achingly beautiful with a cotton candy blush dusting his cheeks and wide eyes.
“ARGHHHH! MINHYUNIE AND JONGHYUNIE HYUNG ARE MAKING OUT ON THE COUCH!” screamed Daehwi and covered his and Guanlin’s eyes with his hands. “DON’T WATCH GUANLIN. DON’T WORRY, I’LL PROTECT YOUR INNOCENCE.”
Minhyun froze and stared with wide eyes at Jonghyun.
“W-wait. This isn’t a dream?”
Jonghyun just stared at him as his face proceeded to turn a deep red.
Daniel walked into the living room holding sleepy Seongwoo’s hand and all the kids following after them, with a cheeky smile on his face. “Hyung, I thought we established that couples couldn’t be intimate in front of the kids and in public spaces.”
Dongho, Minki and Aron walked in with snacks while they made lewd gestures behind Jonghyun’s back. Jaehwan and Sungwoon proceeded to roll on the floor laughing when they walked in on the awkward situation.
This wasn’t a dream.
Minhyun quickly held Jonghyun’s hand in his and pulled him quickly in the direction of his shared room. A loud “oooohhhhhh” followed after them and Minhyun’s face was about to combust into flames. He quickly shut the door and leaned his head against the cool wood of the door. He braced himself for the worst situation possible. He had just ruined his friendship with Jonghyun and his best friend, his leader, his group member and the love of his life, probably thought that he was disgusting.
Minhyun turned around with his head bowed and refused to meet Jonghyun’s eyes.
“I’m really sorry. I was really tired and I didn’t mean to kiss you.”
Minhyun shifted from foot to foot.
“Did you…did you really not mean it?” came the small, vulnerable voice.
Minhyun looked up and saw Jonghyun’s dejected face.
“You know for a second, I thought you liked me romantically. Haha…”
Minhyun froze and couldn’t breathe, as if he was afraid that a single breath could shatter this dream-like moment.
“What if I did? What would you do?”
Jonghyun looked up at Minhyun hopefully and Minhyun dared to take a few steps closer until he was pressed against the front of Jonghyun who looked up at him with adoration and love and everything Minhyun had given up hoping to see from him.
Minhyun’s arms wrapped around Jonhyun’s waist as his head leaned in closer.
“Kim Jonghyun, I love you.” He whispered against Jonghyun’s lips and their eyes fluttered closed as their lips met.
When their lips parted, Minhyun couldn’t help the goofy smile tugging on his lips as Jonghyun buried his face in Minhyun’s chest, the tips of his ears red. When his Onibugi decided to reappear, he frowned as he lightly touched the dark circles under Minhyun’s eyes.
Minhyun’s eyes fluttered shut as he leaned into Jonghyun’s touch.
“Let’s sleep a bit more okay?”
Minhyun still felt like it was a dream as he lay down on his bed and wrapped his arm around Jonghyun’s waists and pulled him closer until their foreheads touched. He stole another kiss before he the weeks of sleep deprivation caused his eyes to droop.
“Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you wake up.” Jonghyun whispered and the last thing Minhyun remembered was another sweet kiss on his lips before he fell asleep, perfectly content in the arms of his lover.