I’m lying down on my bed listening to music when Minho shuffles in, eyeing me hesitantly. “What’s the matter Minho-yah,” I ask, taking one headphone out in order to hear his response. “Nothing,” he mumbles, a response so unconvincing it doesn’t look like even he believes it. “Hey, come here,” I open my arms, gesturing for him to join me on the bed. He quickly snuggles in next to me, moving around until he has his head resting on my chest, gripping my sweatshirt in one hand. Ah, it’s one of those days is it? It’s out of character for him to seem so fragile, but every so often he has a wobbly day, where he needs a bit of comfort, we all do I suppose. He sighs in contentment, burrowing further into my chest, and I let a hand come to run through his hair soothingly. We must have lay there for a couple of hours at least, with Minho falling asleep a matter of minutes into our cuddle session. I am happy to just hold him, he clearly needs sleep.
Kibum announced his return home with a shout, but luckily Minho doesn’t so much as stir. He pops his head in to say hi, but stops short when he spots Minho in my protective embrace. “What happened?” he asks, rushing forward in concern. “He’s ok, don’t worry,” I reassure him, “he’s just having a soft day.” Kibum’s eyes widen in realisation. “Something familiar for dinner then,” he says, mainly to himself, before excusing himself to shower. I must have dozed off for a bit, because before I know it I’m being shaken awake by Taemin, who eagerly informs me that dinner is ready. A glance at the clock informs me that I napped for over three hours, so I guess it was more than just a short doze. We both work to wake Minho up gently, in the end it’s Taemin pressing light kisses all over his face that stirs him, his face scrunching up in confusion before he fully regains consciousness. He giggles at the ticklish feeling, eyes scrunching cutely. Taemin simply presses one final kiss to his forehead before pulling him up out of my arms. I clamber out after them, but as Taemin begins to head towards the door Minho hesitates. “What’s wrong Hyung,?” Taeminnie asks, keeping his tone gentle. Kibum must have informed the other two, as there has been none of the usual teasing, nor no mention of the unusual position we were found in. “I don’t like these clothes,” Minho mumbles, eyes downcast, lips jutted out in a pout. “How about we get changed, hmm, what feels right to you?” I ask him. “Something soft, these clothes are too rough, I don’t like them,” he all but whines, gesturing to the sleeveless vest and jeans he currently has on. “Ok sweetie, how about some pyjamas?” I soothe. He nods in response, shifting to press into my side. I automatically bring an arm around his waist, pulling him even closer. We stay like that until Taemin returns with what look like the softest pair of pyjamas he could find. They’re an old pair, ones I can distinctly remember Minho loving five or six years ago. Why we still have them I do not know, but the way his eyes light up at the sight of them makes me extremely thankful for Jinki’s hoarding tendencies. He automatically begins shedding his clothes, and hold out his hand for his PJs. They’re a slight too short for him, and they’re covered in small cartoon penguins, but he looks the happiest he has all evening so I’m not about to say anything.
We make our way into the kitchen, where the other two are waiting. Someone has ordered chicken, a classic that we all enjoy, and I push Minho down into the seat next to Kibum before taking his other side. We all begin to eat, but I catch a glimpse of Kibum putting food onto Minho’s plate for him, and just generally looking out for the younger. He steadily makes his way through about a quarter of his plate, but then loses momentum, instead just picking at the majority of his food. “Are you not hungry Minho?” Kibum asks, met with a nod. “Okay baby, try and eat a bit more hmm, but if you really can’t don’t worry about it.” He picks at his meal a bit more before giving up, instead choosing to sit and stare at his plate. Once we’ve all finished Jinki takes Minho by the hand and leads him into the living room. I follow along behind him, leaving Taemin in the kitchen as it’s his turn to clear up. We sandwitch Minho in between the two of us, his head on Jinki’s shoulder. He seems content to cuddle for now, so we just hold him close, one of my hands running up and down his side in order to soothe him. “Yah Taemin why are your clothes all over the floor?” Kibum yells from another room, probably a bedroom. The sudden noise causes Minho to jolt in our arms, before burrowing in closer to Jinki, a look of discomfort on his face. “Hyung they’re probably not even mine,” is the screeched reply. “Don’t try and pin this on anyone else, they’re yours and Minho’s, you’re both as bad as each other.” Minho, already uncomfortable, froze on hearing his name, before bursting into tears. It catches us both by surprise, but Jinki’s reflexes are quick to cut in. “Sweetheart, why are you crying,” he coos, all whilst hoisting the younger up and into his lap. Minho just shakes his head, sobbing into Jinki’s shoulder, having to hunch slightly in order to be able to do so. Jinki runs a hand up and down his back, murmuring reassurances. I just look on in concern, but as his crying increases in volume I exchange a look of panic with Jinki over his head. By this point it’s starting to sound slightly hysterical, but before I can do anything Kibum crashes in, looking frazzled, closely followed by our youngest. Kibum quickly zeroes in on Minho’s shaking form, and makes a beeline for him. He all but shoves me out the way in his haste to comfort. “Minho my baby what’s wrong?” he urges, placing a hand in the younger's hair. The only reply is more crying, causing Kibummie to turn to me in confusion. “I think he got a bit startled by the shouting,” I tell him, knowing full well that that’s not the real reason behind all this. He nods at me in understanding, before turning his attention back onto Minho. “Oh sweetie, I’m not angry at you. I wasn’t even angry at Taeminnie. What’s hurting you Minho?” Minho turns his head to face us both, still leaning against Jinki’s chest. “I don’t know, I’m just sad,” he tells us, his face crumpling in anguish once more. “Oh sweetheart, it’s alright,” I tell him, leaning forward to place a hand on his cheek. I brush a tear off before telling him, “we all love you so, so much, you know that don’t you?” He nods before leaning forward to be cradled in my arms, still seated in Jinki’s lap. I hold him close, pressing kisses into his hair.
Many minutes pass before Minho’s crying dies down, but when it does I pull him up off of Jinki so that we can get ready for bed. He seems half asleep the entire way to the bathroom, and I have to remind him to wet his toothbrush before he brushes. By the time we both finish up, the others have manoeuvred a couple of mattresses into the living room, along with what looks like every blanket, pillow and stuffed animal we own. We all squash together in the middle, Minho sandwiched in between Kibum and Jinki. His head is resting in the gap between Kibummie’s head and shoulder, and he seems content at this point. I'll take it over the crying, honest to God he was breaking my heart. We all snuggle close, content to just enjoy the silence. It was broken however by Minho, who said “I'm sorry for worrying you all.” He was immediately hushed by everybody present, but it was Jinki who spoke up saying “Baby you have nothing to be sorry for. But is there any way we can make you feel a bit better?” “I don't know where it came from really, I just felt really off all day and then when I got home it all just came out.” “It's okay to feel those emotions, and sometimes they do just come out of nowhere, however can you think of something that may of stressed you out recently?” Kibum questioned, tone gentle. Silence. Then Minho started to squirm, squashing his face further into Kibum’s neck. “Minho?” I question. He makes a noncommittal noise, still plastered to Kibum. Jinki shifts closer before saying “come on sweetheart, just talk to me.” It takes a few minutes, but eventually Minho does unstick himself from Kibum and turn to face Jinki, letting himself be pulled into the oldest's arms. “I’ve been finding it hard,” he tell us. “Been finding what hard Hyung?” Taemin probes. “Work, my schedules are so packed, I feel like I can't breathe,” he mumbles, curling further into Jinki. “I will sort it, don't you worry. I'll talk to management.” Jinki says immediately, sounding determined. We all huddle together under the blankets, hands intertwined and fall asleep one by one.