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Saving Samuel

Chapter Text

Jihoon didn’t know why it happened or how it had occurred. He’d just been sleeping...or maybe he'd been falling— the tumbling feeling in his gut reminiscent of the times he rode the rollercoaster or the vikings. And yet, there was no ground to land onto. Or maybe crash on. One second he was somewhere else and then he was just simply… there. 

When asked (if he ever decided to tell anyone, that is), Jihoon wouldn’t be able to explain anything substantial to them. He only knew when it had happened which honestly wasn’t too hard to remember since it was a day he could never forget. It had been life changing after all. Not only for him, but for the rest of the 100 trainees struggling through the experience with him.

He just didn’t expect to have to go through it all again.

When Jihoon blinked his eyes open after a night full of games with the Wanna One members, he realized he was no longer in the dorms. Instead, the cushion he was lying against was rumbling, as if the ground under it was vibrating and shaking along, and after hearing the familiar sound of an engine being switched off, Jihoon finally understood he was in a car.

But that wasn’t right. He clearly remembered collapsing on his bed last night after tiring himself out with his hyungs and dongsaengs. Had somebody moved him without waking him up? Jihoon found that very unlikely, even more so of a program taking idols out from their beds without permission. He knew they had a music show to record today then a fan signing event afterwards. So what could this be? 

Yawning, he raised his arms over his head and stretched nonetheless, trying to wake his limbs up so he could better assess the situation. When he finally glanced outside the window, he was shocked to be looking at a building that had housed many trainees in the past, him included. He didn't think he'd be back here so soon after Seongwoo had driven him with a few others here for a program called, Return of Superman.

Scrunching his brows together, Jihoon turned to his companion beside him to ask why they were here, and instead, released a loud yelp.

Kwon Hyeop blinked at him in confusion, staring at him oddly, “Are you okay, Jihoon-ah?”

Breathing hard, Jihoon placed a hand over his chest, heart beating a mile a minute as he stared wide-eyed at his ex-label mate and fellow trainee. The last he heard from his friend was that he was deciding to quit as an idol and move back in with his family. So why then was Kwon Hyeop sitting here beside him in a vehicle, looking as if nothing had changed since they'd last seen each other. 

“W-What are you doing here?”

Hyeop sent him a weird look, pointing out towards the window that was still showing the building used for one of the most popular survival shows in Korea.

“Because we’re going to be recording for Produce 101 today. Did you forget already?”

Jihoon blinked, hardly believing what his friend was saying as he looked down and noticed for the first time his clothing. It was the costume he wore during the first day of Produce 101— a copy of Turbo sunbaenims’ outfit during their idol days. His mouth dropped open in shock, hands stretching the material and thinking that someone had changed his clothing while he'd been unconscious. But Kwon Hyeop was here and he doubted his friend would do anything like that to him. Actually now that he thought about it, his friend looked exactly as he did during the first episode of the show, like he hadn't aged a day. 

“Are you sure you’re fine, Jihoon-ah? You’re not coming down with a cold, are you?” Hyeop asked worriedly, raising a hand to check Jihoon's forehead. But before Jihoon could respond, the door to his side of the car opened, revealing the driver from their company telling them they've arrived. 

Nodding his head in thanks to the man, Jihoon stepped down and gaped at seeing the establishment once again. It seemed like this show would never release him from their shackles. But then again, he experienced some of the best moments of his life here, and they did bring Jihoon to stardom with many of his friends in the end so he shouldn’t complain.

As they walked in with their luggages, Jihoon still thoroughly confused, they entered the studio where they were holding the 101 trainees. The halls just looked as he remembered them, all white and black. The lady at the reception took down their names and made them leave their luggage in the room before entering the door behind her.

His two companions were talking excitedly among themselves, shocked that they were actually doing this and nervous about performing front of the other trainees. Jihoon stayed silent, his mind conflicted as he tried to figure out what was going on.

This couldn’t be a hidden camera for him, was it? It wouldn’t be the first time it happened but the Produce 101 team no longer had any control over them.

Jihoon tilted his head in thought, entering the hall that finally brought them in front of the cameras. Seeing the narrow white room again with the mirrors and the draw board for them to write on before going in, Jihoon could recall the memories he'd made here and he had to gulp down the choking feeling suddenly tightening his throat.

“Oi, Jihoonie, here’s your name tag.” Jongyeon, a fellow trainee who had to leave the show early due to controversies from his past, held the sticker for Jihoon. Slowly, he took it, trying not to stare at his hyung too obviously though he doubted he succeeded. It was difficult to ignore when Jihoon knew the other wasn't allowed in front of the media until the controversy was swept under the rug. So him being here ruled the camera prank out. Unless this was all just orchestrated by some of his very resourceful and very rich friends. 

“Hey, hey, let’s make our greetings in front of the camera.” Hyeop told them, already standing under the lenses to be seen. Jihoon took his place beside him, feeling a huge sense of deja vu that he entirely missed the timing of their introductions.

Hyeop and Jongyeon stood from their bow to glance at him incredulously. Snapping from his thoughts, Jihoon released an, “ah!” and bowed hurriedly in front of the cameras, saying where he was from.

Hyeop laughed hesitantly at his mistake, patting Jihoon’s back and telling him to focus. “Don’t get nervous now, Jihoon-ah. It’s our time to shine.”

Jihoon replied with a half-hearted grin, not knowing how to react anymore and just going with the flow instead. Maybe he’d understand more once they entered the set?

After writing down their company's name on the draw board (like last time, he thought), Jihoon took note of the other trainees already here by reading some of the scribbles.

Seongwoo’s handwriting, Jihoon noticed. Finally, someone he knew who could possibly give him some answers about the strange situation he found himself in.

But once they walked through the entryway that revealed the familiar blue triangle pattern of Produce 101’s setting, Jihoon was getting less and less certain it was a prank and more like a nightmare. No one would be able to set up a prank to this degree, would they?

Finding seats for themselves, Jihoon bowed as per custom to the other trainees already there. He recognized them, of course. Jung Sewoon and Lee Gwanghyun from Starship, and Ong Seongwoo from Fantagio.

Jihoon stared at his fellow Wanna One member to see if Seongwoo would acknowledge him but he was only given a polite greeting and a distant expression like Jihoon was just some stranger on the streets. If this were a hidden camera, then Seongwoo was really good at acting like he didn’t know Jihoon at all.  

Feeling off-put, Jihoon turned to Sewoon instead, and caught his curious gaze. But there was also none of that familiarity Jihoon felt with them. He was deeply troubled by this, not liking how the people he’d come to regard as friends look at him like it was the first day of Produce 101 again.

And then it hit Jihoon like a punch to the gut, freezing him in place as he stared blankly at the screen now showing the ranking he wrote down on his file. Rank 3. How funny that the lady who saw him wrote that asked him if it weren’t too high. He wondered how she felt when she saw him take first place many times before landing 2nd in the end.

“Jihoonie...are you shocked that they revealed your desired rank?” Hyeop asked him, looking teasing while at the same time, getting nervous at Jihoon’s continuous strange acts. 

But Jihoon was finally getting something here and man, it was blowing his mind away.

He time traveled. That was the only explanation for it. Aside from a hidden camera which only had a 2% possibility. Though he knew time traveling was even more at odds with the logistics of the world, Jihoon felt the certainty in every bone in his body that he was no longer in his current time period.

So then, why was he here? Why wasn’t he back in his dorms with the members, safe and sound? Had he done this by accident or was it the gods themselves bringing Jihoon back here? Had he done something to invoke this strange phenomenon or maybe—

“Excuse me! Trainee, please sit down! You don’t have to keep standing there.” A staff loudly told him from below and Jihoon blinked rapidly, his mind finally crashing back to the present.

“Ah!” He bowed and apologized, looking embarrassed for having stood in the middle of the seats for a long time before joining his fellow labelmates. He ignored their questioning stares, not knowing how else to tell them that he was a time traveler in the wrong time period. 

One by one or in groups, the trainees began trickling in, filling the studio slowly and raising the tension and nervousness in the room to new heights. All of which Jihoon was immune to and so he just stared and stayed quiet,

“Jihoon-ah,you don’t have to force yourself if you can’t do today’s performance.” Hyeop suddenly whispered beside him. 

Jihoon turned to his friend, wide-eyed, “What do you mean? I’m fine.”

Hyeop didn’t look like he believed him. He exchanged a glance with Jongyeon over the top of his head (which meant they’d been silently discussing this while his head had been elsewhere) before glancing back at him, “You’ve been acting weird since we got here. We’re just concerned.”

Jongyeon nodded in agreement and Jihoon bit his lip, hating that he was making his friends worry. He forced a small grin, trying to use every ounce of acting skill he knew to appear calm on the outside, yet a disaster on the inside. “It must be the weather, hyung. I’m fine really. I want to do this.” He tried chuckling to throw them off more. 

That must have finally convinced them because Hyeop leaned back with a nod, thumping Jihoon on his back while Jongyeon sent him a reassuring grin. Seeing them supporting him like this reminded Jihoon how early they were both going to leave the show and it saddened him. They had such amazing talents to contribute to the program and his friend had been the one to convince him to join Produce 101 in the first place but one’s controversy could not be overlooked and Hyeop had been too low a rank to reach the next evaluation.

Jihoon licked his lips and glanced around, realizing that nearly everyone was here. The MMO trainees were being loud as usual, the Yuehua trainees looked dazzling in their outfits and visuals, and the YG K+ trainees looked as tall as he remembered them to be. So many memories swept through him as he looked at all their faces, the struggles they endured and the fun they created all together, now only just a memory in Jihoon's head. 

The thought was daunting and even more, the coil in his gut tightened with dread when nation’s representative, Boa entered the set, her beauty and aura outshining them all. She gave them the usual greetings and words Jihoon was familiar with, not as intimidated as he was the first time when he saw her or when their trainers arrived.

A thought entered his mind that he probably wasn’t making much of a reaction for the PD-nims to want to edit him into the episode. Being 101 trainees, getting screen time was one of the most important things for them, if only because it gave them more exposure to fans who, if lucky enough, would vote for them.

Jihoon had gotten lucky the first time around but he didn’t know if he would be now. Would everything still follow through like before if Jihoon just did all the same things? Then again, he guessed he probably already did kind of change something upon entering the studio with such a lost look on his face. Maybe the PD would edit it out because he thought Jihoon looked too stupid to be put on TV. 

Somehow, while he’d been lost in thought again, the auditions had begun and Jihoon had just ran on autopilot to know when to sit, stand, and clap along with the rest. Hyeop looked like he was going to be sick beside him and Jongyeon was clenching his fists and trying to appear nonchalant, when really he was beginning to sweat from his hairline.

Jihoon knew the feeling well; he’d felt it the first time too, but for some reason, he was feeling a bit… empty. Hollow. Like he no longer knew what he was still doing here or why he was still acting like everything was fine, when his entire reality of what he knew before had been reduced to crumbles. 

And then, the staff were calling for Maroo Ent. to prepare in the waiting room and Jihoon could do nothing else but follow along, strangely calm for the first time since he’d arrived. As they waited for their turn, Jihoon watched the other trainees still performing on stage and he was amazed once again of their perseverance to keep trying even though he knew most of them would be kicked off the show by the first ranking evaluation. The thought didn't boost Jihoon's mood at all. 

It made his gut twist, knowing what he knew of the fate of some of the trainees here and Jihoon wished he was no longer doing this, wished he could go back to where he was instead of having to endure this reality again. It was just too cruel. 

Through the chaos of his thoughts, Jihoon had neglected to realize that they were being called already until he found himself climbing the steps up the stage with his companions. He faltered and stopped right on the second step, eyes wide and breathing hard as he took in the scene before him. With all the trainers and the trainees eyes on him, the sense of deja vu was even more distinct now and Jihoon felt choked by it.

It was only because of Hyeop’s less than subtle urging that finally drove Jihoon to take the final steps to where they stood. He guessed he hadn’t been able to hide his anxiety away because all the trainers were gazing at him doubtfully.

They bowed and did their greeting, Jihoon sounding a bit more subdued than the rest. He only realized his hands were shaking when one of the trainers told him to take deep breaths. 

That surprised Jihoon, making him look at the trainer whom he knew so well from the fours months he taught them diligently in class. Seeing all of their expectant but worried faces, Jihoon realized he didn’t want to let any of them down. If there was one thing that could help ease his mind, it was dancing. Renewing his courage and pushing away all his worries for now, Jihoon took up his starting position and let the music take control of him.

Thankfully, he still remembered all the steps and lyrics of the song. He didn’t think about why he was here or how he got to be here. Jihoon just danced and sang like he knew these people wanted him to, delivering the best he got. Once they were done, Jihoon released an exhausted breath and let the applause from the trainees fill his ears. He stood calmly with his labelmates, waiting for the C result he knew he would get.

“You know, I was surprised when you started dancing.” Kahi began and she pointed at Jihoon as she said this, “Because you were so nervous before you started, I was unconsciously lowering my expectations already. So when the first note of that song began it was like you were a completely different person.”

Jihoon blinked, stunned at the comment he hadn't received last time. The other trainers nodded at her comment, looking impressed. Boa added, “That’s right. I was so surprised when you started popping. It was really good.”

“Neh, his voice was stable as he danced with such high difficulty too.” Seung Jae interjected, smiling at Jihoon kindly who just bowed his head shyly and thanked them for their compliments. Had his performance really been that different compared to when he’d confidently strode on stage the first time? Sure, he was probably less immune to nerves after debuting in Wanna One but experience didn't always equate to better stage performance. NU'EST had showed them that. They gave a few more comments to Hyeop and Jongyeon before they were finally giving them their evaluations.

“B… Park Jihoon.” 

The brunet gaped, not believing what he just heard. He lifted a hand to his mouth, unable to hide his surprise in front of them because...this wasn’t like his first time at all?!

“Great job, Jihoon-ah.” Hyeop told him once they were backstage, patting him on the shoulder. However, Jihoon could see the frustration in his eyes that he tried disguising with relief and Jihoon felt all the more sorry for his friend. His two companions had gotten the same evaluation as he remembered which meant only Hyeop was in D class while he and Jongyeon were together in B class. 

If Jihoon continued to act differently than before, not only would he be affected by his actions but those around him as well. This was a competition with constantly changing ranks and if someone went up, then somebody had to go down as well. Jihoon didn't want to be that person responsible for changing someone's proper place as he knew them to be. 

What was he going to do? 

Chapter Text

When they returned to their seats, Jihoon took the opportunity to calm himself down. This wasn’t the time nor the place to start a panic attack and Jihoon especially didn’t want to cause anymore disturbances by changing things in this timeline.

He bowed his head and closed his eyes, taking deep breaths to even his heart rate. It had shot up when he’d stuck the tag for B class to his name, a class that Jihoon wasn’t meant to be in until after the re-evaluations. And Jihoon was suddenly bombarded with endless possibilities of fucking things up even more until the final 11 were no longer the hyungs and dongsaengs he sang with in his own time.

He grimaced, clenching his fists atop his thighs. Jihoon didn’t want be responsible for that, the burden of his members’ debut weighing heavily on his shoulders.

Suddenly, he heard the announcement of the Brave Entertainment trainee auditioning next. Jihoon’s eyes snapped open and he shot forward in his seat, surprising Kwon Hyeop beside him as he searched for that person on stage.

And there, walking confidently, was Kim Samuel, one of (or would be) Jihoon’s close friends in Produce 101. He looked the same as Jihoon remembered him the first time he presented in front of the trainers, all cool and boyish charm exuding from his aura.

His eyes were lit with excitement and nervousness, hands slightly fidgeting at his sides while speaking to the trainers, but he let none of it show on his performance. Samuel proved himself capable by letting his dancing and singing speak for itself and wow, did his audition blow everyone away. Jihoon remembered thinking that this trainee would make it to the top 11 for sure. He was handsome, talented, endearing and most of all, hardworking. Samuel had given it his all in Produce 101 but sadly, he just didn't have the votes to make it to Wanna One.

It had broken Jihoon’s heart to see the younger man standing at the raised triangular platform along with the other eliminated trainees, clapping for the newly recruited Wanna One members with a bittersweet smile. Jihoon was saddened even more when he heard that the younger had cried in the bathroom afterwards. As one of his closest hyungs, he'd searched for the younger male once the cameras were gone and found Samuel sitting around the others, congratulating them.

He’d taken one look at Samuel’s face, watching the false smile slip to one of sadness and Jihoon had walked over and held the younger teen in his arms. Samuel had eventually given in to his feelings and cried quietly against his shoulder, uncaring of the other trainees watching them silently with tears shining in their eyes.

Jihoon could only be thankful that Samuel hadn’t given up then and there, and continued on to create a name for himself through his solo album. Although it was unfortunate that he had to go up against the nation’s chosen team during music shows, Jihoon knew Samuel was still enjoying being the center of attention on his stages.

He was happy, Jihoon knew. But Samuel could have been happier.

Watching him dance now during auditions just brought back memories of their struggles and joys, of nights talking about what they'd do if they debuted together, and it filled him with so much longing and regret that Jihoon hardly realized it when a tear track slowly slid down his cheek. 

“Ah!” Jihoon blinked rapidly and raised a hand to swipe the tear away, rubbing his eyes to get the wetness out of it. He couldn't believe he was crying in the middle of recording! He was more professional than this. But the slightly mellow beat of Samuel’s chosen song probably hadn't helped matters and the emotions had swelled inside him before he knew what was happening. Was this what he got for crying too much during his childhood?  

Unfortunately, cameras were everywhere in Produce 101 and though Jihoon tried to act as casual as possible, there was no hiding the redness in his eyes and cheeks.

“Jihoon, are you crying?” Hyeop whispered frantically beside him and Jihoon opened his mouth to placate his friend but was stopped when another voice cut in.

“Oh, is something wrong?”

He froze upon hearing that, turning big, watery eyes at Boa and finding all the other trainers and the trainees below him beginning to look up at him. Had the staff brought his crying to the trainers' attention so they could add their reactions to the episode? Oh god, this was becoming a mess.

“Aww, why are you crying up there?”

“Ah, no, uhm…” Jihoon was so flustered, he didn’t know what to say. He glanced at Hyeop who was staring at him with concern before darting his eyes back to Boa, unsure of how to explain himself. What would they think if he said seeing Samuel’s audition again had brought tears to Jihoon's eyes?

Somehow wishing to find a plausible lie somewhere, Jihoon looked up and saw Samuel instead, still awkwardly standing on stage but his attention was on Jihoon too. He was looking at him weirdly as if wondering why this hyung was crying all of a sudden. And then it came to Jihoon. The best lies were always the ones that had a smidgen of truth to it.

Jihoon finally cleared his throat, “I just felt...very touched by Samuel-ssi’s performance. After watching the others audition, I began thinking how not only me and the other hyungs, but people as young as Samuel are going to have to endure this show as well. It really uh...humbled me, especially since he’s so talented, I can see that he worked hard for this moment. I hope we all can keep on working hard to show off the best of ourselves and give each other as good as we got during the show.”

Jihoon was surprised that he actually felt sincere when saying that, though he shouldn't be since it had been his true feelings during his stay in Produce 101. Hopefully, the trainers would think so as well and accept his explanation.

Kahi smiled kindly at him, “Woah, such a pure heart.”

“You don’t hear the young ones speaking like this these days. How old are you again?” Suk Hoon asked.

“Ah!” Realizing he was still being spoken to, Jihoon raised his voice to be heard, “18!”

“Aigoo, so young and thinking like that already.” Cheetah cooed.

Boa, with her dimples showing, said, “Well, don’t worry. We’re going to make sure all of your hidden potentials will be unleashed by the end of this program. As long as everyone cooperates, right?” She added with an obvious expectation for a reply and she wasn’t disappointed. All 101 trainees shouted “yes!” back to her and Boa nodded, satisfied, turning back around in her seat to regard Samuel again.

Jihoon slumped back against his chair with a sigh, relieved that the attention was no longer on him. He could tell Hyeop wanted to ask him more about it, judging by his side glances, but being in front of the cameras with microphones attached to their shirts made it too difficult to hold a secret conversation. 

Eventually, Samuel was given the A class level as expected and Jihoon clapped for him, lips curled into a proud smile. When the younger male came back to sit down though, Jihoon tensed as he just remembered that Samuel sat right in front of him. He hoped the other hadn't felt awkward with Jihoon’s words earlier. Would he even want to address him?  

Trying not to stare at him too much, Jihoon averted his eyes to some random trainees' head instead, pretending to look busy. Moments like this made him wish he could have his phone in his hands again. He sighed in relief when Samuel just sat down, not even turning to look behind him and Jihoon finally relaxed, telling himself they didn't have to talk now. 

But then... “Hey, thanks for the compliment earlier. Y-You were really good in your auditions too.” Samuel looked over his shoulder to smile at Jihoon, a bit of his fluster showing when he stuttered over his words. He patted Jihoon’s knee, the only place he could reach in his position, and it spurred the older male to respond. 

Ignoring for the moment his internal panic, Jihoon grinned back and leant forward to pat Samuel’s shoulder, “No problem. You earned it.” And it was true. No one in A class had dropped down a different level during his time in Produce 101 so it only meant that Boa and the trainers had done well in choosing them.  

It satisifed Samuel at least as he seemed to swell more with confidence before turning back to pay attention to the rest of the auditions. 

Jihoon tried to follow his lead. He laughed and reacted with the others as if it were his first time seeing each of them perform, gasped when shocking things were revealed, and yet, Jihoon just felt more and more heartache witnessing people who could have been in Wanna One if their votes had just increased a bit more. Though the experience wasn't all bad. He may have reacted more to others he knew were going to make it big even though their auditions weren't that impressive. Like the Cube Ent. trainees for example. Guanlin had looked so stoic and unapproachable back then, Jihoon had a hard time believing he was younger than him. And seeing him as a chick trainee again with Seonho at his side brought a fond smile to Jihoon's lip.

When Brand New Music took the stage, Jihoon once more got hyped. This was one performance he'd always enjoyed watching during the auditions and now he had the opportunity to watch it all over again. Everyone in Brand New Music were just too talented for their own good; Jihoon wouldn't be surprised if they'd all debut together instead. Well, that's what Jihoon had thought until he heard of Im Youngmin and Kim Donghyun's debut. He was glad they found success after Produce 101 and Jihoon was sure their popularity would only continue to grow with talents and charm like theirs.  

And just like that, the auditions ended and everyone was evaluated into their respective levels. However, they all knew it could easily change once re-evaluation began. Jihoon very much was still conflicted with his own class level but didn't let it show, knowing how rude it'd be in front of others who got lower than a B rank. He just didn't know what he'd do now being in a class that wasn't meant to be his yet. Should he act like he was incompetent during re-evaluation to make him stay in B class? Or would it backfire and downgrade him to a lower class instead? 

Unfortunately, there was no time to think because all of them were being brought to their dorms to unpack and get ready for the next agenda of the day. He almost instinctively went down the hall for the C rank bedrooms and instead walked left for the B rank area this time. The area wasn't foreign to him in the least, having had to rotate bedrooms when teams changed. 

What did surprise him however, were his roommates. 

Kang Daniel stood in the opposite end of the room with his big luggage, his dyed pink hair standing out like a sore thumb, Jihoon would be blind to miss him. The others were some he vaguely remembered but Jihoon's memory was too fuzzy to properly recall their names. Moreover, it was probably better he didn't so that he didn't look too suspicious being already familiar with everyone in the show. Though, it was going to be difficult holding back from knowing the Top 35 trainees whom he spent long months with. 

Not to mention the actual winners of the show, Wanna One. 

"Hey, you're..." Daniel looked down at Jihoon's name tag, reading it once before saying it out loud, "Park Jihoon?"

"Neh," Jihoon bowed, doing the same to the other potential hyungs in the room. "I'm 18 years old." 

"Ah, you're dongsaeng then." Daniel said, grinning so familiarly with Jihoon, he had to mentally slap himself that this wasn't his current timeline. Instead, Jihoon just nodded and rolled his bright green and pink luggage in the room, looking for a free bed to sit on. 

"You can take the upper bunk." His hyung continued, gesturing to the bed atop his and Jihoon's eyes widened, asking, "Are you sure?"

Daniel just shrugged, smiling reassuringly at Jihoon and the younger male decided not to think twice about it. A kind offer was a kind one after all. Although he knew he was probably going to have to suffer through Daniel's snoring and sleep talking below him, Jihoon didn't mind. He was actually kind of glad to be rooming with someone he was close to, even if the other person didn't know it.

Jihoon let the hyungs talk amongst themselves for a moment while he unzipped his luggage and laid it to rest on the ground, revealing the contents inside. He groaned loudly at what he saw, inwardly cursing his past self for bringing so much of it. 

"Woah, what is this?" One of the hyungs exclaimed, looking at all the brightly colored articles of clothing stacked in Jihoon's case. When Jihoon glanced up, he saw that his other roommate's name was Sangbin.

"My clothes." He laughed hesitantly. He had forgotten that he had shamelessly brought all of his favorite, unique outfits to the show. He was a bit more self-conscience now after being called a Fashion Terrorist during one of the episodes. So much so that he'd ask Daniel or Guanlin if his outfit looked okay before leaving the dorms for a recording. "They're a little bright, I know."

"Very colorful indeed. Hey, at least you might like the color B class has to wear— Orange." 

"It would work for him though," Another one joined in, this time his name was Daehyeon, "Jihoon-ah's got that cute image going for him. Unlike us." He added in humorously and Jihoon laughed along, feeling a little shy at the mention of his appearance. He began taking out his sweatpants, rubber shoes and undershirt, getting ready for another recording later. 

"I feel like the orange is going to clash with my hair." Daniel mentioned, looking at the shirt in his hands and inspecting it thoroughly.

Sangbin snorted, "Oh, definitely."

But when Daniel tried it on, Jihoon thought it didn't look so bad on him even with his pink hair. Seeing his hyung like this again actually made him feel younger to Jihoon. Daniel in his own time had slimmed down around the face and acted more mature while this Daniel was still learning and developing his image, still not at the level he was by the end of episode 11. It was a sight to see and Jihoon blinked, wondering if he'd ever undergone such a change in Produce 101.

After he finished changing in the bathroom, he stepped out and put on some shoes. The moment he did, however, Daniel suddenly came up to stand beside him and unexpectedly pinched his cheeks.

"Ah! Hyung, what was that for?" Jihoon subconsciously pouted, rubbing the pink flesh. 

"You just looked so adorable, Jihoonie. You're even wearing different colored shoelaces, that is so cute." Daniel laughed, his front teeth sticking out to make him look like a bunny or maybe a puppy. Either way it was cute and JIhoon couldn't help but chuckle as well. He thought of reciprocating but held himself back instead, wanting them to be more comfortable around each other before he began showing how mischievous he could actually be. 

Finished with what they had to do, an announcement was made for them to go back into the studio they'd just left and once they arrived, Jihoon realized he had forgotten something very crucial. 

"Alright, these people beside me will be teaching you guys the choreography for the song, Pick me (It's Me)." One of trainers said, gesturing at the three professional dancers on the stage. He then told the trainees to find a space for themselves where they could dance freely before beginning the lesson. While the others started learning and copying the moves, Jihoon just stood there and half-heartedly mimicked the dancer's actions, feeling even more conflicted now. 

How was he going to lie his way through learning a dance he already knew?  

Chapter Text

“Hey, do you see that trainee over there?” Jaechan told his fellow labelmate, Minho, subtly pointing at a short brunet standing a few ways from the mirror and watching the other B class members dancing. There were no cameramen around as most of them had gone to record the other grades so Jaechan felt brave enough to confide this little observation to his friend.

Minho leaned against him and squinted his eyes, releasing an “Oh!” when he spotted the young man. “He’s the one who cried at Samuel’s audition right?”

Jaechan nodded, face serious, “Remember what he said to Boa sunbaenim about working hard in order to give as good as we got during the show? Well, look at how he’s practicing now. He’s not getting into A memorizing the dance like that.”

Minho frowned, watching the trainee as well. The brunet was barely moving in place, just moving his hands to the beat like he was copying the members in front rather than actually learning it. “Didn’t he do well in his auditions to get a B?”

“Yeah, I think he was the one who impressed the trainers with his popping but he was barely able to get on stage from nerves.”

“Ah,” Minho nodded in understanding, “Maybe he’s just being shy now too. I guess having so many people here being better than you at dancing kinda lowers your confidence.”

“Speaking from experience?” Jaechan smirked to which Minho punched him on the shoulder.

He spoke again while his friend groaned in pain, “Anyway if he continues being scared, then he’d drop grades for sure. Can’t do anything about it.” Minho shrugged. He didn’t think he was being too mean, just realistic. This was a survival show after all and one had to pool in all of their efforts in order to win.  

“If he does, then viewers would see him as a hypocrite.” Jaechan mentioned, looking a bit worried at the idea.

Minho raised a brow, “So? That just means one less person aiming for the top.”

Jaechan grinned, “Wow, you really want this.”

“Wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”

“Hey.” A voice suddenly cut in. They both turned to find a tall, pink-haired trainee smiling down at them strangely. The fact that he’d just randomly appeared behind them shocked the trainees into silence. “You guys can have your turn in front of the mirror now.”

“O-Oh...thanks.” Jaechan muttered, bowing before dragging Minho with him to the front. He wondered if the other trainee had heard them gossiping about that ‘crying boy’ earlier, though he wasn’t too concerned if he did. Everybody was competing against each other here for the same goal and it was only natural that the weak would be cut loose early while the strong stayed till the end. Jaechan just hoped he was one of them.




Daniel usually considered himself a focused individual. If he was told to learn a dance in three days, he would memorize it by the first and then perfect and polish the steps by the rest until he got all the moves right. It was a strategy that never failed him before and he was on his way to getting everything down except…

...he couldn’t help but notice the struggle of a certain trainee standing all the way at the back of the room, dancing sloppily as if he were just willing his body to memorize the steps already.

Park Jihoon. A handsome guy with great popping skills.

Daniel thought, as a fellow dancer, that Jihoon would pick up the choreography fast and easily. But he didn’t. He stayed at the back of the room while they were being taught by the choreographers and even when they’d gone away, Jihoon was still there, doing whatever he was doing stiffly as if he’d never danced before.

It was disappointing, if Daniel were honest with himself. Maybe he shouldn’t have expected so much on someone so young but after seeing Jihoon’s auditions, it had given Daniel a taste of the young man’s potential and he could possibly become a fierce contender in the show if Jihoon could only learn how to hone his skills properly.

But what was more frustrating was how Daniel couldn’t concentrate on his own practice when it looked like Jihoon was having trouble with his own. He knew he had a softness to cute things, especially cute kids like Park Jihoon and Lee Woojin. Though the difference between them was that Woojin was trying his best to memorize the steps beside Daniel, whereas Jihoon looked as if he wanted to be anywhere else but here.

Come on, Jihoon-ah. You joined this show for a reason.

Realizing he couldn’t stand idly by anymore, Daniel walked to the back of the room as casually as possible, telling trainees they could have the front spot by the mirrors before pretending he was getting his water bottle from the back. After drinking from it, he moved to stand beside Jihoon who seemed to not notice him yet. The trainee seemed to be engrossed in whatever headspace he'd lost himself into, still moving his hands in imitation to the choreography. Daniel blinked, realizing Jihoon was more focused than he originally thought.

Clearing his throat, Daniel readied his smile when Jihoon flinched and whirled around to meet him, his mouth dropping open in surprise.

“I’m sorry, did I scare you?”

“Ah...sort of. What are you doing back here, hyung?”

Daniel shrugged, trying to act nonchalant, “I just thought I might help.”

“Help?” Jihoon didn’t seem to understand what he meant so Daniel specified.

“With you.”

“With me?” Now Jihoon looked even more confused.

Daniel scratched the back of his head, thinking he shouldn't have bothered the male after all. “Sorry, I thought you might have needed help with the choreography. I could leave if you don't need it?”

“Ah! No, no!” Jihoon shook his head, waving his hands in front of him in a gesture of denial, “I’m grateful. I was just confused why hyung wanted to help me, that’s all.” He scratched the back of his head, laughing nervously.

Daniel chuckled at the younger male's reaction, reaching over to ruffle his hair. “It’s because I want to. Hyungs need to help their dongsaengs when they’re in trouble, right?”

“Oh...right.” Jihoon nodded, still looking unsure but he gave Daniel a shy smile anyway that made the older male feel satisfied that he was doing the right thing. “So you’re going to help me with the steps?”

“Of course!”

Jihoon released another burst of laughter at that, sounding less sure and more amused this time.

“Alright. So first, let’s try it from the start. And you don’t have to be shy, okay? Just go all out.” Daniel said, wanting to reassure Jihoon that there would be no judgement here.

Jihoon nodded his head vigorously, licking his lips as he readied his stance.

They went at it for a few minutes with no music and Daniel began to notice that Jihoon knew the basic steps well but made a lot of mistakes with the faster choreography. Yet in a way, they didn’t look like...normal mistakes. Daniel didn’t know how to put it but the best he could think of was that Jihoon was making the mistakes on purpose?

Of course, that made absolutely no sense since Jihoon had no reason to squander his chances of getting to debut like the rest of them. Daniel was good at reading people so when he had first met the younger male, he immediately could tell that Jihoon was the honest type but also one who would surprise you when you least expect it.

Though now, Daniel was at a lost. Maybe he was just thinking too much on it and putting too much pressure on Jihoon’s character. Feeling guilty for almost thinking badly of his dongsaeng, Daniel pushed the issue to the back of his mind and focused instead on helping the younger male get the other parts down before their trainer arrived.

After an hour, they were told that Jaeseung songsaenim was coming and instantly, all the trainees began to go through the steps one last time. Daniel too began reviewing his steps, hoping he wouldn’t make a fool of himself in front of the renowned choreographer and show the man that he got the skills to stay. He glanced beside him to see Woojin doing well and they exchanged nervous but reassuring smiles before they went back to their own practice.

However, Daniel also looked over his shoulder, at the boy still standing by the back and found Jihoon leaning against the wall, a conflicted look on his face.

For a moment, Daniel felt concern flicker through his chest. Jihoon had been able to follow his steps easily enough, being a good listener whenever Daniel told him to correct the height of his arms or the placement of his feet. The older male could only be glad that Jihoon didn’t seem discouraged by the corrections but actually grateful to receive them.

And yet, Jihoon was just standing there now and observing them for reasons unknown to Daniel. But before he could think more about it, the doors to the practice room opened and in came Jaeseung songsaenim with two cameramen following behind him.

There was no need for introductions this time. They all greeted each other politely before they began lessons. Immediately, Jaeseung songsaenim wanted to see what they already learned and the trainees exchanged nervous glances amongst themselves before taking up positions around the room.

When the music began, Daniel didn’t think too much on his steps and just allowed himself to move to the beat. However, he couldn’t help but notice the mistakes many of his grade-mates were making through the mirror and it seemed their trainer couldn’t handle it anymore either because he asked the music to be stopped.

“Okay, we’ll divide you into groups first. I think not all of you are at the same level yet.”

Daniel bit his lip and stepped back, feeling more concerned for the rest now when those who weren’t able to memorize the choreography fast were left just uselessly standing in front of Jaeseung songsaenim. Maybe it was the nerves getting to them or they didn’t really know the steps well but their excuses were useless in the face of Jaeseung songsaenim's scowl. Daniel feared he might mess up with his own dancing due to the building tension in the room and it didn’t get any better when he noticed that Jihoon’s group was up next.

“Alright, start.”

However, when the music began playing, Jihoon seemed to change before his eyes. Daniel blinked, watching him in amazement because the trainee was actually doing all the steps right. While smiling even.

He could see that Jaeseung’s eyes went to Jihoon immediately, nodding his head with a blank expression as he watched the brunet dance.

And what was more impressive was that Jihoon didn’t look scared at all. Instead, it seemed he was trying to appeal to the trainer, smiling and mouthing the lyrics confidently as if he were actually singing it. His every move felt like he’d been doing them far more than the few hours they’d just learnt the dance, his limbs flowing like water and matching every beat and time. Had Jihoon actually been able to memorize all the steps in his own simplistic way after all? The other trainees began muttering to themselves, impressed at how someone so young managed to get the choreography so well already. 

When the music finally stopped at a part they hadn’t learned yet, Jihoon seemed to make an abrupt move before he caught himself in time, looking flustered for no reason. The trainer didn’t seem to mind the slight blunder, in fact, his face was actually lit with a small impressed smile.

“Now that’s how you dance to the song.” He said, pointing at Jihoon whilst addressing everyone in the room. The brunet just looked down at this mismatched colored laces and bit his lip, looking shy at the praise. “Well done, Jihoon-ah. The rest of you, learn from him.” He told the others in the group and then called for the next group to begin.

Daniel didn’t see where Jihoon went afterwards as it was his turn to dance but through the mirror, he noticed the smaller male approach another trainee, something he hadn’t seen him do since they came here. If memory served Daniel right, it was Jaehwan, one of the independent trainees who played with his guitar. He wasn’t really good at dancing though but thankfully Jaeseung songsaenim didn’t directly lecture him for it since he was too busy looking at Jihoon.

As the music began, Daniel snatched his eyes away from them and focused instead on his own progress.




“Jaehwan hyung, you need help right?” Jihoon whispered to the vocalist standing beside him, panting a little from the dance they just did. When he stood at the back earlier, Jihoon had been watching Jaehwan learning the steps and felt a lot of sympathy for him when he couldn’t get them right. Jihoon knew his hyung would get better eventually through the many stages later and then in Wanna One but for now, he still needed a lot of practice in order to get there and Jihoon felt the great need to help him.

Jaehwan’s expression brightened at Jihoon’s words, sending the younger male a small smile.

“Yes, that would be great. Thanks.”

Jihoon smiled back, hoping to regain his hyung's confidence again, “No problem, hyung.”

Taking Jaehwan away from the group and to a free space in the room, Jihoon first retaught the steps to him slowly, making sure he understood each of them before moving on. Patience was needed a lot in teaching a slow learner but Jihoon felt confident he could do it. Though he wasn't as close to Jaehwan hyung as he was to the rest, Jihoon still held a huge amount of respect for him and if this would help his hyung rise to the top quicker, then Jihoon would help him get there as much as he could. 

"You're really talented, Jihoon-ah. Wah, I wish I could learn as fast as you do," Jaehwan said after they managed to finish the first verse. 

"Ah, you'll get there soon, hyung. It's just lots of practice really." Jihoon said sheepishly, not taking well to compliments since he never knew how to respond to them, "I'm envious of your vocals actually. I wish I could sing like you."

That seemed to cheer up his hyung a lot because he grinned and patted Jihoon's shoulder, "Don't worry, dongsaeng, it's all about practice too. I'll help you out."

Jihoon's eyes widened, not expecting that, "Really?!" 

"Of course. Who wouldn't want to help such a generous dongsaeng like you?" 

Jihoon wasn't fast enough to escape his hyung grabbing his cheeks and pinching them but Jihoon didn't mind this time around. He could only laugh, happy that Jaehwan's mood had lifted from its earlier dejectedness. 

When the other groups finished and they were told to gather around, Jihoon gulped nervously and ruffled the back of his hair a bit, dreading hearing any more lectures from the trainer. If there was one thing Jihoon disliked above all else, it was getting scolded because he took them to heart too seriously and it ruined his mood. Though he could admit that they drove him to work harder and become a better version of himself everyday, he still didn't enjoy being at the receiving end of it. 

"Park Jihoon."

The sudden call of his name had Jihoon snapping to attention, floundering a bit with his words before answering, "N-neh?"

"You lead the practice."

Jihoon blinked, realizing a second late what was being asked of him and he immediately moved to say,  "Ah, actually." He raised his hand a little, unable to quell the student side of him,  "I was only able to learn the dance well because of Daniel hyung. I'd like him to lead instead."

"Oh?" Jaeseung's face was unreadable and for a moment, Jihoon thought he might reject his request but then their trainer nodded, looking back at Jihoon and then to Daniel, "That's fine. He did very well too."

Jihoon smiled and clapped along with the trainees for Daniel who was giving Jihoon a confused but grateful grin. 

When they were told to find their own comfortable spot in the room, Jihoon was approached by Daniel. He whispered to him discreetly,  "I really did?" And Jihoon knew exactly what he meant.

"Of course, hyung. I wouldn't have been able to get all the steps right if it weren't for you." Jihoon said, not exactly lying since he had been thinking of butchering the dance earlier to make him look like an amateur as the rest. But knowing that Daniel was watching, he couldn't bring himself to disappoint him and their teacher as well. Also, if it managed to capture Jaeseung's attention away from Jaehwan and the rest to avoid criticism, then Jihoon thought he chose well. 

They practiced a few more hours after that, Jihoon getting a little fed up with the same routine over and over again but nonetheless, he couldn't act complacent. Besides, he was given a short reprieve when teaching Jaehwan and it was nice how comfortable his hyung was slowly getting around him. Making jokes and laughing out loud, Jaehwan was surely gaining more confidence in the dance and Jihoon was proud that he'd managed to learn a lot in such a short amount of time. 

Eventually, they moved on to the next portion of their lessons which was the Vocal class. 

Relieved from not having to dance anymore, Jihoon sighed as he looked down at the paper sheet in his hands. While reading through the familiar words, he couldn't help but think how the other grades were doing. Because they only had three days to prepare, it was rare to see another grade level going to different practice rooms just to talk with their friends or such. It was more common in the dormitories, of course because not much was broadcasted there so Jihoon couldn't know what his would-be-friends were doing until later. 

Moments like this made him wish to go back to his original timeline and speak with a friend who he'd grown close to during the show and the band. His partner-in-crime, Park Woojin. He'd be practicing in A class right now and Jihoon frowned, wondering how he could approach the male that wouldn't seem too awkward or forced. Maybe he'd just let their friendship run its course once they got an opportunity to spend time together. Jihoon knew that's what happened last time as their personalities had matched almost perfectly with one another. 

He was happy for now though to have Daniel and also Jaehwan with him. Daniel's offer to help him earlier had been sudden and unanticipated but Jihoon was thankful for it all the same. It just reaffirmed how Jihoon always saw his hyung as the selfless type and even though Daniel didn't know him well yet, he still extended the help for him even though Jihoon was the last person in the room who needed it.

However, the dance lesson also made Jihoon realize that he needed to be even more careful from now on. Earlier, he had almost continued the choreography that the others hadn't learned yet and Jihoon feared the repercussions of his mistakes. He couldn't allow himself to become too comfortable in the show and act carelessly since he knew every decision he made might change the outcome of the last remaining 11 members. 

For whatever reason, Jihoon had been sent back to this time again so there must be a purpose for it, and he needed to find out what that is. Until then, Jihoon could not let himself act too differently and prayed that the PDnim would edit the episode as closely as they did the first time around. 

"Park Jihoon, come forward please."

Chapter Text

“Neh!” Jihoon stood upright and breathed in deeply, trying to ignore the many eyes on him as he approached Sukhoon sunbaenim. Last time, he had been trained by Shin Yoonmi songsaenim in C class. Though she was strict, she was also very kind and Jihoon had felt very comfortable singing next to her and heeding her many helpful tips and advice.

Now, Jihoon had to face singing this extremely high and out of his range song to Sukhoon sunbaenim, a man Jihoon had always respected and wanted to impress during his days in Produce 101. Though he didn’t think he’d achieved it, subaenim had pulled him aside one time after practice to tell him his voice had lots of potential to become great. It was just that Jihoon still didn't have the experience for it. Maybe with more vocal training classes, he said, and lots of dedicated practices on his own, he could achieve the voice of his dreams. 

Jihoon had sincerely taken it to heart and had become more fervent during his voice lessons, despite the busy schedule Wanna One had during debut. He knew he was good at imitating voices, especially low ones and he could reach high range pitches when he used his head tone voice. It was only just a matter of practice and time before Jihoon could possibly sing like the likes of Minhyun or even Jaehwan.

It was a goal Jihoon found himself striving for after finally acquiring the dream of all dreams of every trainee — a successful debut. He had thought that if someone like him had been able to debut, then becoming a better vocalist wasn't too far off a dream either. Jihoon had thought his future had already been set, that if he continued working hard and not give up, his goals would reach their fruition one day. And he would be happy.

But no. Jihoon found himself here instead. Back to square one. No debut, no fame and no guarantee of a future as an idol. Just him with many friends who saw him as nothing more but a stranger and a competition.

And yet, Jihoon kept persevering. He’d been through this once before, he’d do it again. It may not be the same as last time and Jihoon may have the unfair advantage of knowing every evaluation stage in the show but it was still a fight to the top with some of the best, and he knew his friends wouldn’t want anything less than a 100% from him.

So with a shaky breath, Jihoon stood in front of Sukhoon sunbaenim, held the music sheet near his face (even though he didn’t need it) and began to sing. It was a song so deeply imbedded in his memory already that he felt as if he could sing the Pick Me song in his sleep.

He switched his original voice to the head tone upon reaching the chorus, the sound going more falsetto as he sang. He didn’t dare look at Sukhoon sunbaenim as he did this, knowing he’d lose his composure and accidentally crack his voice if he did.

“Mmm, that’s ok.” Sukhoon interrupted and Jihoon immediately put the lyric sheet down, holding his hands behind himself as he waited for any comments.

“It says here that you’re usual position is a rapper and a sub-vocal. Can you try singing the chorus in your original voice?” Sukhoon asked, looking up at Jihoon critically.

Even though it was posed as a question, Jihoon knew by now not to ignore what the trainers ask of you so he agreed, stepping back and readying to humiliate himself. Maybe Jaehwan hyung might retract his earlier offer after hearing Jihoon sing horribly.

Licking his lips once, Jihoon began, “Neoneun naege neomu yeppeoseo, kkumilkka nan neomu duryeoweo, gieokhae jebal i sungan, tonight!” He scrunched his eyes as he aimed to reach the high note, bending forward a little to belt it out. “Oneul bam juingongeun naya na! Naya na! Neomaneul gidaryeo on naya na! Naya na! Ne mameul humchil saram naya na! Naya na! Majimak dan han saram naya na! Naya na!”

“Oh, I did it!” Jihoon blurted without thinking, hand raised over his mouth in surprise. His expression seemed to make the others in the room laugh, and Jihoon suddenly realized what he just said. Right in front of the vocal couch. He smiled shyly whilst scratching the back of his head. “Right?”

He thought he was going to get lectured for it but Sukhoon's nod made Jihoon want to sigh in relief.  “Yeah, yeah, it was good. A bit strained of course, since it’s not your range. However, the tone of your voice is really nice. Your technique just needs a lot of work but I think it will go well with a lot of practice.”

Jihoon nodded in understanding, hands clasped against his chest subconsciously as he listened intently to his words. When he was told to sit back down, Jihoon bowed to the waist in gratitude, knowing he wouldn’t have been able to sing like he was now if it weren’t for subaenim’s advice in his original timeline.

Speaking of vocal lessons, he saw Jaehwan giving him a thumbs up from the other end of the room and Jihoon returned it with a smile. Looks like hyung might not retract his offer, after all.

“Hey, you did great.” Daniel whispered to him when he leaned against the wall, patting Jihoon on the arm.

The younger male shrugged, smiling at his hyung, “You also. You really proved sunbaenim right that rappers shouldn’t only rely on their rapping skills.”

That seemed to trigger Daniel's shyness because he only giggled and butted shoulders with Jihoon.




Naya na! Naya na!”

Jaehwan shook his head, tapping the key of the note on the piano, “No, no, the pitch is higher. One more try.”

Jihoon nodded, cracking his neck a little before starting again from the chorus.

When he auditioned for Produce 101, Jaehwan never thought he’d act as a vocal coach to one of the trainees here. Though after the younger male had helped him numerous times with the choreography, even going out of his way to stay late with Jaehwan in the practice room, he thought providing him singing lessons was the least he could do for the other male.

Park Jihoon was a blessing in disguise, and Jaehwan didn’t think he’d have been able to do so well for himself if it weren’t for the other boy.

He was still rusty with the dancing but Jihoon seemed to have the patience of a saint to stay with Jaehwan this long and teach him everything step by step.

In return, Jaehwan would give the boy lessons for three hours with breaks in between to help Jihoon sing the Pick Me song right. In comparison, Jaehwan thought he was barely doing much for the younger male.

He found out Jihoon was a quick learner, not only in dance but in music as well.  He was already familiar with the melody and rhythm of the song, even memorizing the entire lyrics by the end of Day 1 while many of the trainees were still trying to remember the tune without the music.

If Jaehwan didn’t know any better, he’d have thought Jihoon had some sort of photographic memory with how quick he was in absorbing things and not looking as if he had to practice any to remember them. Rarely were the times when Jaehwan would see Jihoon practicing the Pick Me dance on his own. He’d only ever seen him do it when B class would run through the song together, or when Jaehwan needed a demonstration of a move.

It’s incredibly impressive to say the least and Jaehwan was envious of the easy way Jihoon could get things so fast. He knew a lot of the trainees viewed Jihoon as a possible candidate to level up, along with Kang Daniel and Lee Woojin. No one would scorn them for it because they’d seen the effort they’d put behind practices...but not Jihoon's.

Jaehwan had heard some of the B class members not wanting Jihoon to level up because of how blase he was at practices. They found it insulting that a trainee would just arrogantly trust his talents and not put any effort to improve himself.

Jaehwan might have agreed with them if he hadn’t been taking lessons from Jihoon personally throughout the entire practice time for Pick Me. In the three days they had practiced together, Jaehwan learned that Jihoon was not all that his quiet, pretty boy looks made him out to be.

He was the epitome of mischief and sudden bouts of insanity with a mix of hardcore determination and extreme shyness rolled into one.

Honestly, Jaehwan thought he and Jihoon wouldn’t step past the student-teacher relationship they had going for them, believing their personalities wouldn't mix well together. But after being in close proximity with him for more than a day, Jaehwan found himself admiring Jihoon's maturity while at the same time, laughing at his antics. It was strange how fast Jihoon could get comfortable around him, like Jaehwan was easily approachable unlike how many others have said that he looked intimidating at first glance. Jaehwan was definitely happy about this and he immediately reciprocated, going so far as to tell Jihoon his dreams after the show to which the younger listened to them well. 

Park Jihoon was a good student-teacher and an amazing trainee but most of all, he was a good friend and Jaehwan was lucky to have met him. 

“Hyung, I suck.” Jihoon whined, thumping his head on the wall a few times like maybe he could jog a configuration in his brain to enable a singing ability.

“No, you don't. You just weren’t born with a wide vocal range, Jihoon-ah.”

“Make me have a wide vocal range by the end of the day, hyung.”

"If you could make me a dancing machine first, dongsaeng." 

Jihoon didn't miss a beat, countering with a smirk, “But I thought hyung was already a dancing machine. You always said you wanted to be a main dancer along with being a main vocalist.”

Jaehwan laughed and gave the younger male a thumbs up, liking that response. He smashed a few keys on the piano before playing the Pick Me song, reminding Jihoon the need for this practice.

Jihoon pouted, looking for all the world like a petulant child but he raised the lyrics to his face anyway (which he probably didn’t need anymore but Jaehwan guessed he did it out of formality) and sang, “ Oneul bam juingongeun naya na! Naya na!”

“Oh? That was better.”


“No, let’s start again.”

He was unable to dodge the music sheets thrown at him but Jaehwan was too busy laughing to care. He knew the younger wasn’t actually mad at him, judging by how Jihoon was badly trying to hide his smile.  

“Okay, okay! Serious now. Show me what you got, Park Jihoon.”

They spent the remainder of their time going over the song again and again until Jaehwan deemed Jihoon ready for the stage. Honestly, Jihoon could have gone up a grade without Jaehwan’s assistance but the younger had been persistent that he needed it. Jaehwan mentally added a perfectionist to the list of things about Jihoon in his head.

Normally, he’d be frustrated with perfect guys like Jihoon who existed in this world for the sole purpose of being the standards that lesser people like him had to measure up to, but because the younger was always seeking his help and gushing over Jaehwan’s vocal skills, he couldn’t find it in him to dislike the boy. It was as if the kid knew exactly how to stroke Jaehwan’s ego and use his cuteness to his advantage. Aish, he was getting soft. 

If Jihoon didn’t move up a grade by the end of this re-evaluation, Jaehwan was going to eat his guitar.




Jihoon jogged down the stairs to the first floor of the building where he knew a cafe was stationed at. He was craving for some coffee to hype himself up before the B class decided to have another run through of the song again.

Upon arriving however, Jihoon noticed somebody else was already there before him.

It was a trainee from A class judging by the pink hoodie he wore. He was just lounging against the booth of the cafe, eyes closed and head down where he was obviously taking a breather before going back to practice.

And stupid him, Jihoon didn't even think twice and called out the trainee’s name, “Samuel!”

The younger boy snapped his head up and look around in confusion, his eyes slowly landing on Jihoon standing at the foot of the stairs.

It was then that Jihoon realized his blunder and he let out a surprised ah , inwardly cursing himself for forgetting, for just an instance, that he was no longer in his time and that this Samuel didn’t know him as well as his Samuel already did.

To his amazement, the younger boy didn't look at him strangely and instead greeted Jihoon with a grin.

“Ah! You’re…” He squinted his eyes and looked at Jihoon’s midsection for a second before continuing, “Jihoon-ssi? It’s nice to see you again!”

“It’s nice to see you too, Samuel. And you can drop the -ssi. I’m just a hyung.” Jihoon said in a way of a formal greeting since Samuel didn’t likely know his age yet.

Samuel nodded and absorbed this piece of information, leaning back to observe him, “Are you escaping practice as well to rest for a bit?”

The older male shook his head with an amused smile on his face, “I was just going to get some coffee to wake me up a little.”

“Ooh.” Samuel made an understanding expression, even though Jihoon knew the younger didn’t really like coffee. Yet, before he could say anything, Samuel began to speak again, “Do you feel confident you’ll get into A class, hyung?” He said without any mockery or jibe, just genuine curiousity.

But that was a question Jihoon still had a hard time finding answers to. Would going to A class meant he had to sacrifice his famous wink and lower himself in ranks? Or would the added screen time along with the chance of performing Pick Me in Mcountdown prove to be more beneficial in the end?

It was a situation based on luck and chances and Jihoon didn’t think he’d be lucky a second time if he were to be the center of B class again and get that wink somehow edited into the episode. Nor was risking the lower percentage chance of getting into A class and not having his wink aired at all.

So, Jihoon settled for, “I’m going to try my best but I won't be disappointed if I see a B on my card.”

Of course, Samuel didn’t understand this, “You’d rather stay in B class when you’re already so close to an A?!” His reactions were just as comical as Jihoon remembered them and the older teen couldn’t help but tease.

“Why not? With most of you center-hungry people in one group, I can snatch the center in B and have my own spotlight.” He grinned in a joking manner and then added as an afterthought, “Besides, Jeon Somi sunbaenim was center for B too in her Pick Me stage.”  

Samuel seemed to freeze in place after hearing that, his eyes going wide and mouth dropping open in shock. Jihoon was almost concerned to ask if he were okay before the younger male suddenly said, “Why didn’t I think of that? I should probably try dropping down to B class too.”

Okay, maybe he shouldn’t have mentioned Somi at all. “W-Wait a minute!” Jihoon stared at him incredulously, half amused and half horrified that Samuel might actually go for it. “Don’t actually risk it, idiot. You more than anyone else I know deserves to be in A class so don't go try ruining your chances before they'd even begun. Anyone who’s seen your auditions would agree with me.”

Samuel blinked, seeming to have come back to reality as he registered Jihoon’s words. Then he chuckled shyly and looked down at his hands as if he didn’t know what to do with them. Or what to say to Jihoon's words. “Wow, uh, thanks, hyung. That really means a lot.”

The older teen just smiled, and raised a comforting hand on the younger’s shoulder. Inwardly, Jihoon was berating himself to never, ever suggest anything to Samuel that could possibly lower his chances of people voting for him again. Who knew what would have happened if Samuel hadn't been in A and had became a center for B instead? Granted, it had worked out very well for Jihoon, too well even. But it was a chance Jihoon wasn't going to take when he already knew that Samuel was going to do well for himself in the Pick Me stage in A class.

“I’m actually really scared about participating in this show.” Samuel began to say, his voice low, “My boss is expecting so much from me and my family too and it’s just...what if I disappoint them, you know?”

Jihoon’s heart squeezed painfully, knowing so much and yet unable to tell him any. Watching enough time travelling movies have trained Jihoon to never tell anyone you were a time traveler in the first place. The repercussions to everyone's future would be catastrophic if he did. Even so, Jihoon still wanted to shout at Mnet and the national producers to give Samuel a chance and let him debut in the group.

“I know we all just started but I can’t help but think negative thoughts when I’m not getting the choreography right, or the singing right. You just want to do your absolute best, you know? And give as good as you got so that you’d have no regrets afterwards. Isn’t that what you said, Jihoon-hyung?”

The older male could only blink dumbly when he realized that Samuel had actually quoted him from his auditions. Jihoon didn’t think the other would remember it so well, much less say it back to him but it made his cheeks burn with embarrassment anyway. At the same time, Jihoon felt a lot of remorse for his friend. He wanted to reply with encouraging words, with reassuring pats and confidents smiles but lying to Samuel's face would be just as bad as spitting on their friendship. Jihoon couldn't do that to him. 

So instead he said, "Yes, I did which is why you can't have those kind of thoughts anymore." Jihoon nodded and punched Samuel on the shoulder lightly, "Cheer up, Samuel, someday you'll find your opportunity to shine and if it's not this stage, then it's the next and the next until you prove to the entire nation who Kim Samuel is." 

After delivering his passionate speech, Jihoon expected confusion, gratitude and maybe a bit of amazement, but what he got instead was the rambunctious sound of laughter.

"Oh god! Oh man, Jihoon-hyung, you crack me up." Samuel clutched his stomach and swiped an imaginary tear from his eye. Then he reached over and gave Jihoon a surprise hug. "But thanks though. I know we're supposed to be competitors in this show but hyung..." Samuel pulled back and looked at Jihoon seriously in the eye for a long moment, "Let's try our best debuting together!"

Samuel then said he had to go back to practice, waving goodbye with a happy grin on his face as he left Jihoon to his thoughts.

Right then, the 18 year old realized that his purpose for traveling back in time had been right in front of him the entire time. If Jihoon could no longer be sure of the outcome of the final top 11 rankings due to recent actions, then all Jihoon needed to focus on was helping Samuel get into that list instead. Even if it meant sacrificing his own position in Wanna One to do it. 

Chapter Text

The day for filming the re-evaluations has arrived.

Many of the trainees were in varying states of anxiety. No one wanted to drop a grade but not many were confident they would rise in ranks either. During the recording for their individual performances, a lot of the trainees in B class had flunked and only some were notably mentioned. Jihoon even overheard his roommates last night wishing they’d at least stay in their current grades so their screen time wouldn’t lessen and they'd have fans picking them as their first.

He’d almost forgotten how tense-filled the atmosphere was during re-evaluations. Although no one was getting eliminated yet, their new grades would most likely decide the outcome of their first public performance and consequently make or break their chances of debut. It’s not like Jihoon wasn’t nervous himself — he wasn’t exactly certain he'd get the grade he wanted either — but after going through it once before, Jihoon knew what to expect. Leaning against the wall, Jihoon allowed himself to relax and shut his eyes to pass the time away.

“Hey, are you feeling alright?”

Jihoon jolted when a hand landed on his head, glancing up to see his labelmate, Jongyeon joining him on the floor. He hadn’t been able to interact much with his hyung since he’d been busy helping out with Jaehwan and Jihoon felt a stir of regret in his gut when he realized how little time he had left with him.

“Oh, hyung! Yeah, I’m fine. Why do you ask?”

Jongyeon shrugged, “You've just been more reserved lately. You were so excited the day before we came here and now you've mostly kept to yourself.”

“Ah...really?” Meekly, Jihoon scratched the back of his head, “sorry, hyung.”

“No, I understand. I guess it's normal for people to start feeling the pressure of a survival show.” He chuckled dryly. Jihoon noticed his eye bags were getting more pronounced and he wondered if the show was the only thing occupying his mind.

“Ah, hyung, if you're feeling stressed, you might end up getting grey hairs early.” Jihoon joked to lighten the mood, grinning at the man’s grimace. Jongyeon pushed at his shoulder but there was a slight curl in his lips that suggested a smile.

“Actually, I'm surprised with you.”

“Oh? What have I done now?” Jihoon asked suspiciously.

Jongyeon smirked and tilted his chin at someone in the room, “You’ve been helping out that independent trainee dance and in return, he’s teaching you how to sing right? Wah, I never pegged you as a user, Park Jihoon.”

He laughed when the younger’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open, “Yah! I would could you think of me like that?!” Jihoon punched the other’s shoulder, but only lightly, Jongyeon unable to hold back his guffaws at the teen’s angered and flustered expression.

“I’m kidding! I’m kidding!” Jongyeon finally relented, breathless from the all the laughing he did and Jihoon sat back with a huff, crossing his arms over his chest irritatedly.

“Aish, you’re too easy to rile up.” The older couldn’t resist pinching one of Jihoon’s cheeks but the other swatted his hand away, still keeping up the mad facade.

His hyung rolled his eyes, “Alright, fine. I’m sorry. You’ve been such an angel, Jihoon-ah. Do you forgive me?” Jongyeon pouted exaggeratedly, a look Jihoon couldn’t help but snicker at. His hyung could never do aegyo even if his life depended on it. 

“Did you really think I was using him?” Jihoon asked, worried that others might think so as well. 

“Nah, you’re not like that. I was actually proud to see you being more sociable.”

The younger scrunched his brows and pursed his lips, “You make it sound as if I don't make friends easily.”

Jongyeon made a doubtful expression, “Well you're very 4D. There's a reason why you and Hyeop are so close.”

He could tell his hyung was just teasing around but Jihoon played along. “You’re my friend too, hyung so what does that make you?”

“The exception, of course.” He puffed out his chest like it was something to be proud of and Jihoon slapped him on the stomach for it.

“Ahh! When will they come here already?” Lee Woojin whined, jumping up and down in the middle of the room like he was in need to use the bathroom and the hyungs laughed at his cute act.

“Soon, soon.” Daniel said, patting the younger’s back.

Feeling his limbs starting to grow numb from sitting down too long, Jihoon stood up and stretched a little. After shaking his legs from the pins and needles, he bent down till his palms reached the floor before slowly spreading his legs as far down as they could go. He just felt like trying to do a split even though he wasn't so flexible for it yet. 

“Are you trying to split?” Jongyeon asked from behind, “Can you even do it?”

“Why don’t we test it out, hyung?”

Woojin suddenly cut in, placing his hands on Jihoon’s shoulders and pushing him down. The eighteen year old yelled and scrambled to righten himself with his arms, trying to go against Woojin’s force, “Wait, wait! Woojin-ah, I can’t! It’s too much.” His pelvis was almost reaching the ground but Jihoon didn't want to try risking ripping any muscles so early into the show. 

“Ah, you really can’t?”


“But you’re almost there, hyung!”

“Woojin-ah!” Jihoon was almost outright begging at this point, sounding pained and finally the younger released him with everyone else laughing around them. 

He immediately crumpled to the ground and curled into a fetal position, trying to relieve the ache in his poor muscles. He felt Jongyeon patting his bum comfortingly while laughing with the rest, telling Jihoon he shouldn't have tried in the first place. Jihoon would have bit out a response but once he saw Woojin’s grinning face, he jumped to his feet and immediately chased after the smaller male. It was easy since he had caught Woojin off guard and he managed to capture the teen in his arms, playfully trying to tackle him to the ground.

“Is that how you treat your hyung? You want to try it too?”

“No! No, hyung! I'm sorry!”

Everyone in the room who weren't already laughing began to grin at their antics, reminding them of their youth and how they could still have fun despite being in a competitive, survival show. And it was that way that the staff found them in later, announcing that they were about to record soon. 

The previously good mood suddenly dropped but the tense atmosphere was much more bearable this time around. One by one, the cameramen streamed in and set up around the room while the trainees were told to sit down. Jihoon ruffled his bangs and licked his lips in anticipation as Lee Sukhoon entered the room, holding in his hands the cards containing their grades.

Feeling the nerves starting to get to him, Jihoon subconsciously leaned back and was mistaken when he felt someone's chest rather than the wall he'd been expecting. 

“Jihoon-ah, what’s wrong?” Daniel whispered into his ear as he laid his hands on Jihoon’s arms. Jihoon almost flinched at the contact but stayed where he was, knowing it’d be more awkward if Jihoon acted that way to his hyung.

He shrugged instead for an answer, “Just nervous. I want them to tell us our grades already.”

Jihoon felt the other shaking as Daniel softly chuckled. Those large hands squeezed Jihoon's arms in a comforting manner, “I know right. But I think the show lives for dramatic pauses. We'd probably end up as fossils by the time it all ends.”

He couldn't help it. The laughter came out of him so suddenly and unexpectedly that Jihoon covered his mouth when numerous pairs of eyes landed on him. Sitting upright, he bowed his head and apologized sincerely for disrupting filming.

“Why? What’s so funny?” Sukhoon asked, glancing between the two of them with a little twitch to his lips. He didn't look mad at all. 

“Ah no, uhm…” Jihoon turned to Daniel for help but the older male looked just as confused. Thanks for the support, hyung.

Fortunately, the staff looked more amused than annoyed and dropped the issue to continue on filming.

Once everyone’s eyes were back to the front, Jihoon used the opportunity to smack Daniel’s knee. He smirked at the sound of an “ack!” behind him, satisfied at getting back at his hyung even though he probably hadn’t meant to make Jihoon laugh that loud. It was just so funny since Jihoon remembered clearly how stressful everyone felt during the final ranking of the show. Seriously, many of them had contemplated the idea of screaming just to fill the damn long silence it took for Boa to announce the next person in rank.

“Park Jihoon.” The trainer called out, cutting his trip to memory lane as the cameras swerved to face him.

Licking his lips, Jihoon stood and walked nervously to the front. He smiled at Sukhoon when he received the card and closed his eyes for a moment in a silent prayer before opening it.

The A stamp that stared right back at him filled Jihoon with so much relief he could have collapsed right then and there. And though there was a sense of dread lingering underneath, Jihoon didn’t let it hinder his happiness of achieving his first step in getting closer to Samuel.

Because that’s what this was all about, right? Jihoon had been sent back in time to help out a friend who’d been left behind by a team he was meant to be in. Jihoon had been sure Samuel would make it, everyone thought he would but after each name was called and each chair was filled, Jihoon thought for the first time how unjust this program was. A sixteen year old with so much talent and charm, and yet wasn’t cut out for the nation’s chosen team in the end. Samuel could have made Wanna One great as well but at that wasn’t meant to be.

However, this time around, things were going to be different. Jihoon would make sure of it even if it were the last thing he’d do.




“Now those who were evaluated to A, please go to your rooms now.”

The trainees exchanged curious glances, wondering who amongst themselves had risen to the top class. It came to no surprise that Lee Woojin, Kim Sangbin and Im Youngmin had been upgraded, along with some others that had done well in their videos. There was also Kang Daniel who left B class for A as he had led the class in teaching the steps and sang the song to the best of his efforts.

It was just Park Jihoon who caused a slight stir when he moved to leave with them as well.

The young teen seemed to hesitate before leaving the room, looking as if he were reluctant to go. He turned his head to look back over his shoulder at the trainees of B class, the old and the new, watching him and saw Jaehwan sending him two raised thumbs-up. Jihoon offered a small smile in return, looking a bit regretful that he couldn’t bring the vocalist with him since Jaehwan had gotten a bit nervous in his video to execute the dance perfectly.

In the end, Jihoon shut the door behind him and walked towards the room painted in pink.

He greeted the people inside with a low bow, taking in his new surroundings critically before his eyes fell on Samuel sitting with his back to the glass wall. The younger looked to be in all sorts of anxiousness but managed to offer Jihoon a slight smile of congrats for making it in. Jihoon knew the other was mostly likely thinking about whether or not he was keeping his place in A too and Jihoon had to hide a grin as he recalled how no one in A class had dropped a grade. Boa and the other trainers had really chosen their A class well.

Sitting down beside Daniel, he felt the older male squeeze his thigh and Jihoon turned his head to find the older male wiggling his eyebrows at him. Jihoon’s brows slightly furrowed as he tried to make sense of his hyung’s expression but nonetheless he couldn't help but smile back at him. It was only after everyone else got their grades and Boa left did Daniel tell him he’d been expecting Jihoon to upgrade as well. Jihoon returned the sentiment with a high-five.

When his hyung got distracted by the younger Woojin cheering at them for their success, Jihoon decided it was time to introduce himself to the rest of the A class members. And he found exactly the person he was looking for standing at the corner by himself, just watching everyone else greeting each other with a blank and somewhat lost expression. Jihoon shook his head in amusement. He sidled up to Park Woojin’s side and cheerfully announced his presence, “Hi!”

The reaction was exactly what he’d been hoping for. The other teen jumped in surprise and turned to Jihoon, eyes wide and mouth open with the most comical look ever, Jihoon couldn’t help but burst into laughter. 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” He totally did but Jihoon decided making a good first impression was ideal. He bowed his head in greeting and said casually, “I’m Park Jihoon, born ‘99, and you’re Park Woojin, right?”

The other still had yet to say anything. He kept on blinking at Jihoon in confusion as if he couldn’t believe someone was really interacting with him before Woojin seemed to snap out of it to stutter, “ remember me?”

Jihoon rolled his eyes and grinned, “Who wouldn’t remember you? You’re the one who choreographed the song Brand New Music danced to, right? Wah, that was amazing by the way.”

Despite his darker skin color, Woojin’s cheeks noticeably stained red and Jihoon had to hold himself back from teasing the other ruthlessly.

The younger reached behind himself to rub at his nape shyly, “Ahh, thank you but I’m not really that great.”

“Aww, you’re so humble too.” Jihoon giggled, the edges of his lips curling into a smirk behind his hand. Ahh, if only they were close enough already so Jihoon could play around with Woojin without overstepping boundaries. 


Someone suddenly launched himself at Jihoon’s back, forcing the other to take a step forward as he accommodated the boy’s weight.

“You made it! See? I knew you could!” Samuel’s excited voice chatted into his ear. Jihoon held onto the arms around his shoulders, turning his head to peer at Samuel's grinning face behind him “Oh, I see you met Woojin-hyung. He's like a really, really great dancer, hyung! Like oh my god.”

They laughed at the flustered expression Woojin was making. Jihoon fanned the other's face to help cool his warming cheeks. 

“Well, Woojin was just awkwardly standing here so I came over to introduce myself.”

“I wasn’t being awkward.” Woojin muttered, finally starting to speak up. 

Jihoon raised a brow, “Alright, then what would you call it?”

“Uhm..." Floundering for something to say, Woojin blurted out, "waiting?”

“There's no one else to wait for, Woojin-ah! You just won't admit it." Jihoon said, his satoori accidentally slipping.

Seemingly surprised by this, Woojin replied in his own satoori (even though he'd been accidentally slipping the accent throughout their talk), “You’re not from Seoul?”

“I came from Masan.”

“Wow, Jihoon-hyung’s voice gets really low with satoori.” Samuel observed, trying to copy Jihoon's accent. 

“Yeah I get that a lot.”

Jihoon grinned, the movement a bit shaky. For some reason he felt a little emotional seeing all three of them speaking so normally like this. It made him miss his own Woojin and Samuel back in his original timeline and Jihoon almost wanted to cry. He didn't know if his own timeline was still moving forward without him but he still hoped his group and everyone else were doing fine. 




Woojin never expected he'd befriend someone so fast in the show like he did with Jihoon. It's like the other was so comfortable around him already. Had they met in a previous life? Jihoon bantered, joked and teased with him like they'd been friends since birth and instead of being put off by it, Woojin felt more at ease.

Youngmin, who went up from B to A, had noticed his sudden closeness with the boy and encouraged their friendship. He knew how shy Woojin was around strangers so the fact that he and Jihoon had instantly clicked upon first meeting said how compatible they were for each other.

And because of Jihoon, Woojin got to know a little more about Samuel than he did during the three days he'd been with him in A class. Samuel seemed to enjoy Jihoon's presence as well, maybe because Jihoon was the first to actually acknowledge Samuel and made an impact on him from the get go. Moreover, Jihoon encouraged all of their interactions, bringing Samuel around with him and inviting him to conversations. 

Actually, Jihoon seemed to be close to nearly every one of them already. It wasn't just him and Samuel. He communicated with the trainees so easily and he seemed to know which topic of conversation to use on a specific person. He was like a social butterfly. Woojin didn't have that kind of skill but he admired Jihoon’s effortless way of endearing himself to the rest.

It sometimes made Woojin wonder why Jihoon even bothered speaking with him but every time Jihoon came down to sit and talk with him like he found Woojin interesting, all his previous insecurities just disappeared. Maybe it was a good thing then that when everyone had to reshuffle rooms, Jihoon, Daniel and Sangbin moved to the room just across Woojin's so the two Parks could easily interact with one another. 

After everyone had found their rooms and wore their final grade colored sweaters, the trainees were gathered again to a different studio where a raised circular platform stood at the center. They sat in bleachers in lines of their corresponding grades, Woojin sitting at the edge of the front row with Jihoon beside him and Daniel sitting on Jihoon’s other side.

Woojin glanced around, curious as to what activity they were going to be doing here. He turned to ask Jihoon beside him but the other was hunched in his seat, hands covering half his face like he was worrying a great deal about something.

“I can’t believe I forgot. Damn...” Jihoon muttered under his breath. Woojin gave him a confused look, but the other didn’t notice, biting his nail now in nervousness. His eyes slanted over to Woojin, seeing him watching him and he smiled sheepishly.

“I mean, in my room. There was something I forgot.”

“Was it important?”

His eyes, which Woojin noticed were too pretty for a guy, glanced towards the raised platform in the center and gulped nervously, “Very.”

What it was that Jihoon forgot, Woojin would never find out as the lights suddenly dimmed and in came Boa sunbaenim walking towards the platform, looking as radiant as ever. She announced that they were deciding Produce 101’s first center today and Woojin gaped, his hands getting clammy as he realized this was his chance to get more screen time. But of course it had to be done through a vote and Woojin was nervous as fuck. 

They were given one hour to prepare. Woojin spent it deciding on playing with his strengths which were his rap and dancing. When he was done practicing with 10 mins to spare, he looked around at the other A trainees stressing over what they had to do. Woojin’s eyes landed on Jihoon sitting on the bleachers, a paper on his lap but he didn’t seem to be writing anything on it. Instead, he had his fist over his mouth, looking as if he were speaking quietly to it and Woojin couldn't help but wonder what the other was preparing. Maybe it'd be a bit similar to his with a dance+rap combo since those were the only things Woojin had ever seen Jihoon do. Or maybe he was some sort of secret vocal that would blow the audience away. 

Whatever it was Woojin had a feeling Jihoon would still be able to effortlessly charm the people and so he was slightly interested to see how Jihoon was going to perform. 




Jihoon was probably screwed ten times over because how could he have forgotten the center battle before the actual Pick Me stage. His brain had probably already assumed that Daehwi was going to automatically take center and conveniently erased the fact that Daehwi had won it through trainee's vote. Which was done after every A class trainee performed a one minute routine in front of all of them. Jihoon wanted to bash his head against a wall. If Jihoon had remembered this, he probably wouldn't have made such a hasty decision to get into A. 

He stared at the blank paper in front of him for who knew how long, blinking in confusion as to what he was going to do. The cameramen beside him seemed concerned by his inactivity because he asked, "Have you decided on how you're going to perform?"

Jihoon raised his head to look at the lenses of the camera, smiling sheepishly as he shook his head, "I'm just having trouble thinking on how I can try to stand out among the rest. But I'll figure it out." He went back to glaring at the paper on his lap before setting it aside, thinking he should just wing it. Daehwi was the one who had to become center anyway so whatever Jihoon did here would be pointless and maybe the PDnim would even cut his performance out because it was too boring. 

Decided, Jihoon just relaxed and pretended he was doing something by writing random words on the paper or beatboxing into his hand. When the time was up, Jihoon went back to his seat and smiled encouragingly at his visibly nervous seat mates. He gave them pats on the back when their turn was up and squeezed their shoulders when they came back after it was done. Cheering and reacting loudly, Jihoon almost forgot that he had to participate as well until Boa suddenly called out his name. 

His heart began racing and Jihoon felt his gut tighten when he walked up the stage. Of course, he had some sort of plan in mind to not embarrass himself in front of everyone at least but it was still nerve-wracking and Jihoon had to take a couple of deep breaths first before saying he was ready. 

The instant the music started playing, Jihoon raised the mic to his mouth and rapped, "Yeah, it's Park Jihoon, 18 years old from Maroo Ent. Uh, this beat is a little mellow so why don't we turn it up and raise the roof!"

Because of the many times he had to beatbox in variety shows and in fanmeeting events, Jihoon had come to develop and polish his beatboxing until he could make sounds of varying pitches and beats. It wasn't easy to match it with the sound of the Pick Me instrumental but he somehow managed it. Additionally, he danced a bit of popping with his beatboxing, before ending his performance with the actual Pick Me dance. He automatically winked at the end, unable to resist the habit of performing with his winks and because he was highly motivated by the response of the trainees. Many of them were clapping enthusiastically for Jihoon and he grinned, happy that he managed to show a good performance nonetheless. 

When it came to the voting however, Jihoon didn't expect things to change that much. He voted for Daehwi just to be sure and though he'd already forgotten who the other candidate for center was, he was damn sure it wasn't him.

"Me?!" Jihoon pointed to himself, looking at Woojin before turning to Daniel. Disbelief was written clearly over his face. But they all were just pushing him to the stage, telling him he did a good job. Jihoon still couldn't believe it when he was standing in front of Daehwi who laughed at his expression as Jihoon was still sporting a flustered look.

"Yes, you. You can't believe it, Jihoon-ssi?" Boa asked him with a gummy smile.

"Ahh..." He was at a lost for words so he just shook his head.

"Well the trainees voted for you so there must be a reason for it, right?"

He nodded and clasped his hands in front of him, feeling how clammy they were from the anxiousness racing through him. 

Jihoon shut his eyes and bit his lip, praying to all the gods out there that it won't be his face on the screen. If he screwed this one up, Daehwi would probably never get the exposure he needed and less people would pick him as their first. Also, Jihoon would feel guilty forever and he didn't want that hanging over his head. 

So when Boa announced Daehwi would be their first center, Jihoon was entirely swept with relief that he clapped his hands with joy before tugging the younger teen into a hug. Daehwi must have been shocked by the eager response but returned the embrace just as tight as well. They released each other with wide grins, everyone else cheering for Daehwi's success as center. Jihoon thought he'd never been more happy for losing something in his life. It was probably second to how he felt when losing against Daniel in the final round. 

Wiping the sweat off his forehead, which ruffled up his bangs, Jihoon silently scolded himself to never beatbox again until after Produce 101 ended. Apparently it was a sure fire way to capture people's hearts and if he wasn't trying to get center, then he needed to lay low like he usually did during his first time here. 

Up next now was the Pick Me stage and though Jihoon was more than ready for it, he could never be sure how the PDnims were going to edit this time's stage with him as an A class instead of the center for B. 

Chapter Text

Jihoon laid on the floor of the practice room, limbs widespread and staring into nothing as he thought about what he was going to do next.

Soon, they would dance the Pick Me song on stage and by March, they’ll release the video along with the first episode of the program. It was nerve wracking, imagining how close they were to being revealed to the public and Jihoon more so since he was unsure if the new things he did this time around would change the outcome of the rankings. Likely it would but Jihoon just hoped it was for the better and not for the worst.

Speaking of making things better, Jihoon still didn’t know what to do with Samuel. How could he make Samuel stand out more when he's practically given the most screen time out of every trainee here? Maybe Samuel needed to make a good lasting impression or create a huge impact that could carry him to the finals without sinking so low in rankings like the first time. But what?

Through his periphery, a trainee decided to join him on the floor and when he turned his head to the side, it was to find Ong Seongwoo occupying the previously empty space beside him.

Jihoon didn’t know why his hyung joined him all of a sudden but he tried not to get distracted by the oddity and continued thinking of ways to help Samuel stand out.

“The ceilings here are so white, aren’t they?” Seongwoo suddenly commented.

The random question didn’t surprise Jihoon as much as it would have had this been his first meeting with him. He felt as if Seongwoo was trying to get to him at a fundamental level (or was trying to make something funny) so Jihoon responded nonchalantly, “Yeah, they are. Even whiter than my room.”

“I wonder if I’ll be here long enough to stare at the same ceiling again.”

He could tell the other was just half-kidding judging by the small quirk of his lips but Jihoon could sense the slight sincerity behind it. The younger male couldn’t help but smile at that, “I know how you feel, hyung. But if there’s one thing I know for certain is that hard work always pays off. You’re very talented and handsome, Seongwoo hyung, so I’m sure you’ll achieve great things.” Was that too much? Jihoon didn’t think he sounded too certain of Seongwoo’s fate but when he looked over at the other, his hyung was looking at him with wide, shocked eyes.

Oh shit. Maybe he had said too much.

“I-I mean, it’s because you dance so well—”

“No one has ever said such nice things to me before, Jihoonie.” Seongwoo sniffed dramatically and wiped a fake tear under his eye.

The younger male glanced around awkwardly while reaching over to pat the other’s head, hoping the trainees wouldn’t think that he had actually made Seongwoo cry. But then his hyung stopped after a minute and sat up, grinning from ear to ear.

“Now I feel more motivated to practice. Thanks, Jihoonie.” Seongwoo ruffled his hair before standing up, “And don’t lay down on the floor too long. I’m sure you’ll get what you want if you just work hard enough for it since I heard that hard work always pays off.”

Jihoon snorted at the throwback of his own statement, finding it amusing. He didn’t know if Seongwoo was plain weird or just secretly intuitive. He watched as the older male walked towards the cluster of trainees grouped together around Daniel, with Lee Woojin not far from his side. The two were inseparable in A class and Jihoon smiled as he recalled how cute their friendship was throughout the program.

They’d been close since the start of the show and would be close till the end of it and Jihoon knew that friendship sort of played to their advantage whenever the fans saw them together. You couldn’t think of Daniel without Lee Woojin and vice versa.

Suddenly, an idea jolted through him like lightning and Jihoon abruptly sat up, gasping. That was it! That was how Samuel was going to make a stronger impression to the viewers. He was a fucking genius.

Scrambling to his feet, Jihoon searched around for him and didn’t have to look for long before he was rushing to the other end of the room where the young teen was practicing.


“Oh, Jihoon hyung!” The younger turned to him with a wide smile and face red from dancing.

“Would you happen to own light pink jogging pants?” Jihoon couldn’t remember if Samuel had his own pair before the program gave them their own set of pink pajamas but he didn’t have time to wait for that. Samuel seemed to mull it over for a second and Jihoon stood with bated breath until the other eventually nodded his head.

“I think so. Why?”

“Great. You should wear it tomorrow. I have my own pair too. We could match.” Jihoon grinned, hoping it didn’t sound too weird that he was asking this out of the blue but Samuel looked delighted.

“Sure! Oh my god, that’d be so cute.”

Jihoon chuckled at hearing his familiar catchphrase and nodded his head. He hoped the viewers would find it cute as well.



Daehwi didn’t know what was going on but the next day, Samuel and Jihoon came into the practice room wearing matching pink outfits. It looked ridiculous alone with the baby pink pants and the sweater for A class on top but together, they made for an adorable pair. He didn’t know how those two got so close after just a day of Jihoon joining A class but their interactions had Daehwi curious to know more about the small hyung.

“What’s with the couple look?” Daehwi asked after taking a break from practice. The trainees were all grouped together for once in the big practice room so it was a little crowded and hard to find a spot for themselves.

“Oh, Jihoon hyung just wanted to match today. Don’t we look cute?” Samuel replied with a jerk of his head towards Jihoon who was stretching beside him. The man turned to Daehwi with a friendly grin and the Brand New Music trainee found himself thinking Jihoon had a really nice face.

“I was thinking we could stand out like this in front of the cameras.” Jihoon gestured to their attire and shrugged.

Samuel’s mouth dropped open to an o as if realizing the significance of it for the first time. He looked at the mirror before glancing between himself and Jihoon, expression amazed. Daehwi’s brows rose. Had Samuel just noticed it now? He’s surprisingly slow on the uptake.

Ignoring this to save Samuel the embarrassment, Daehwi responded, “That’s smart. Are you planning on calling yourselves something?”

The pink duo glanced at each other simultaneously. “I never really thought that far ahead.” Jihoon admitted, his cheekbones raised high as he smiled sheepishly.

“Well, you'll think of something.” Daehwi sat down beside Samuel and turned to the eldest in the group, “I didn’t get to greet myself last time when we were deciding the center position but I’m Lee Daehwi, 17 years old.”

Jihoon grinned and Daehwi noticed he had a pretty eye smile, “It’s okay. I’m Park Jihoon, 18 years old. I remember you from your performance in the auditions. Brand New Music really brought in amazing trainees.”

His sincerity sounded genuine and Daehwi couldn’t help but blush and grin widely at the compliment. “Thanks. Hyung’s performance for the center position was really good too. You don't look like the type to beatbox but it was really cool.”

“Ah,” Jihoon rubbed the back of his neck with an embarrassed smile on his face, “Thank you. I honestly didn't expect the response to get me nominated for center.”

“But you looked really cool doing it that’s why. Did you learn it from your company?” Samuel asked.

“I kind of started doing it on my own at first then my company helped refine it a little when they realised I had potential for it.”

“Waah,” Samuel released an impressed sound, “You’re so talented, hyung. People will definitely vote for you. Ahh, I hope there’ll be people who’ll vote for me.” Samuel lamented, leaning back on his hands while sighing.

“You don’t think people will vote for you based on your audition performance alone? You were the first one to get into A class.” Jihoon stated confidently.

“Ah...that’s true.”

“Yeah, your performance might even be more impactful because Jihoon hyung cried.” Daehwi laughed, remembering the moment clearly when the cameras suddenly showed Jihoon tearing up on screen after Samuel finished dancing.

Samuel guffawed, pointing at Daehwi and nodding rapidly, “Oh my god, you’re right!”

Jihoon cut in, waving his arms, “No, no, I have a feeling they’re going to edit it out.”

“What? Why would they? It’s a great moment.”

Jihoon raised his hands to cover his blushing face, voice muffled, “It’s so embarrassing though.”

Samuel patted his back whilst chuckling beside him in amusement. “And that's exactly why they'll air it.” Daehwi smiled as he watched them, finding their friendship cute. It reminded him of his own friendship with the other Brand New Music trainees who were with him in the show. Speaking of which, Woojin still hadn't returned the shirt he borrowed from him yesterday. Daehwi was going to hunt him down for it later.

Suddenly, the doors to the practice room opened and Jaeseung songsaenim entered the room with his shades on and hands in his pockets. All the trainees immediately stood to attention, wondering why their dancing trainer was checking up on them.

“You’re all probably wondering why I’m here, right?” Jaeseung asked. The trainees replied in affirmative and the man just laughed before going over to the speakers and playing a very familiar song to the Produce family. Everyone had flabbergasted looks on their faces until the trainer explained to them that they were going to learn the first Pick Me dance as a special stage along with the Nayana performance.

Many of the trainees groaned as they realized they had to memorize another dance along with the current one they were practicing already but Daehwi was ecstatic. He, of course, memorized the dance beforehand so it wasn’t much work added to his practice time.

“However, you can opt to not learn the dance but then you won’t be part of the video for it.” Jaeseung continued with a sharp smile, already knowing no one would back out since everyone was greedy for screen time.

“Alright,” He brought his hands together with a loud clap, catching everyone’s undivided attention, “those who know the dance already can step forward and lead today’s practice.”

To no one’s surprise, Ahn Hyungseob stepped out of the gathered trainees, confidence oozing out of him since he had already showed his knowledge of the dance during the auditions. Daehwi responded to the challenge by stepping forward as well, arrogantly crossing his arms over his chest and saying, “I know Somi. We’re best friends so it’s only natural I know the dance too.”

“You’re best friends with Jeon Somi sunbanim?!” Samuel asked, eyes wide along with a few others who didn’t know this little tidbit.

Daehwi nodded his head, sending a mental apology to Somi for bragging a bit of their friendship to the others, “Yeah, we go to the same school and I used to be in JYP before going to Brand New.”

There were impressed hummings behind him and Daehwi tried not to look smug, instead going for a nonchalant look as the trainer fixed both him and Hyungseob a penetrating stare, “Okay, both of you lead practice then. We’ll discuss the formations later, for now just memorize the dance by today.”

After the trainer left, a few of the trainees surrounded him and Daehwi had to chuckle at their request for them to meet Somi sunbaenim one day. Although, Daehwi had no plans of doing so unless Somi visited the place herself, he placated them by revealing that Somi would most likely show up eventually.

“If we live through the eliminations that is.” Daehwi mumbled to himself.

Hyungseob began clapping his hands, capturing everyone’s attention. “Alright, let’s go through the first part of the song. Daehwi, do you want to lead?”

“No, I’ll follow you.” He didn’t like having to shout too much for this many people and he could always cut in if Hyungseob didn’t know a step. Eventually, the trainees found spaces in the room to dance, Samuel and Jihoon standing in the front line with the other A class members and Hyungseob began the practice.

Everyone struggled with the first few moves as expected since it wasn't an easy dance. Not to mention it was a girl's dance so many of the boys were still awkward and stiff doing the little hip sways and soft movements. However, what Daehwi didn't expect was to see Jihoon getting the choreography really fast. He caught him a few times through the mirror and every time Hyungseob made them do a sequence, Jihoon would get the steps down pat. Not even Woojin hyung could get a thirty-second routine down after the first try. Did he already memorise the dance beforehand? Why didn't he tell Jaeseung if he knew?

Daehwi figured Jihoon must know only a few parts of the song so he wasn't confident enough to teach it but after an hour of learning the first verse and chorus, Daehwi deduced that Jihoon was actually knowledgeable of the entire thing. He turned to his hyung and gave him a pointed look.

He mouthed, You know it?

Jihoon scratched the back of his head and looked confused. Daehwi knew he was avoiding the question and narrowed his eyes at the older male.

The sheepish smile on Jihoon’s face said it all and Daehwi gestured for him to stand beside him. The older male rapidly shook his head and flapped his hand for Daehwi to ignore him. For someone who could dance so well, Jihoon was surprisingly shy and Daehwi didn't know if that was good behaviour for a program like this or not. Well, Jihoon still had time to grow.

Samuel suddenly pulled Jihoon aside and whispered to him, “Oh my god, hyung, I just thought of a dance for us.”

Jihoon tilted his head to the side, “Really? What?”

Samuel began to sing and dance the Nayana song but instead of Pick Me, Pick Me, he changed it to “Pink Me, Pink Me. Pink me, pink me, pink me,” while using the dance to emphasis his pink attire. 

Jihoon laughed at Samuel’s demonstration and tried dancing it himself, singing to the changed lyrics Samuel made. “So we’ll be known as the Pink Me couple?”

“Oh!” There was a sparkle in Samuel’s eye, showing that he liked it without even having to say so, “Yeah, let’s go with that.”

“Alright, we’re the pink sau— ah, Pink Me couple. With the capitalization and everything.”

“Nice!” Samuel raised his hand and Jihoon high-fived it, their smiles spreading from ear-to-ear like kids who’d discovered something amazing.

Daehwi shook his head from the sidelines, having noticed their interaction. This was surely the start of something new in the show.


Pick me, pick me, pick me up! Pick me, pick me, pick me up! Pick me, pick me, pick me, pick me, pick me, pick me, pick me up!

“How does he learn the dance so fast?” A trainee from MMO whispered to his friend, watching a certain small figure dancing in front of the mirror with Lee Daehwi and Ahn Hyungseob, the trainees who taught them the dance. It’d just been two hours since they were told to learn the choreography of the first Pick Me song and they only managed to finish learning until the second verse. However, this kid was dancing till the very end and with the confidence that made it look as if he’d dance to it before so the MMO trainees were a bit suspicious if maybe he’d already known the choreography beforehand.

“I know right. I wonder who he is?” Jinwoo asked, squinting as if he could know the teenager’s name by looking hard enough.

“He looks familiar. He has that face, you know.” Taewoong said.

“The idol face? Yeah, I know what you mean.” The trainee nodded, a bit of envy in his tone.

“That’s Park Jihoon.” Another voice cut in. Daniel had joined his other label mates sitting by the back of the room and the MMO trainees turned to him with curiosity etched on their faces. They were all taking a break from the surprisingly tiresome dance of the first season, sitting in a circle together and watching this Park Jihoon guy help a similarly dressed trainee the choreography. “He learned the dance really fast too for Nayana when I was in B class with him. Impressive, right?”

All of them “aww”-ed in understanding and amazement.

“Aren’t geniuses not allowed in this show?” Jaehan jokingly said, lightly hitting the pink haired man’s shoulder.

“Oh wait!” Taewoong cried out, slapping his seat mate’s thigh for attention, “he’s the one who cried in that Samuel kid’s audition, right?”

“Ahh, that’s right, that’s right!” His friend clapped, impressed that he remembered.

Jaehan frowned speculatively, “Maybe they were friends outside this. They look close now.”

"Yeah, their clothes make my eyes sore. Who wears all pink these days." Taewoong rubbed his eyes and groaned. 

“I bet Samuel’s going to get first.”

“What’s with that all of a sudden?” Jisung chuckled at the absurdity as he turned to Jinwoo sitting beside him.

“I’m just saying.” He shrugged in answer, “He’s really got that charm for center. He was the first to get into A, right? And he’s been in broadcast before with Seventeen.”

Daniel decided to give his two cents, “I think it’s Jihoon.” 

Everyone turned to face him and Jisung asked with brows raised, “Oh? Why?”

“He kind of stands out. He may be quiet but you can’t look away from him when he starts performing.”

They slowly began nodding their heads, reluctantly agreeing with Daniel’s statement.

“That could be but he didn’t get the center position though. My bets on Daehwi.” Jaehan interjected, pointing at the slim figure standing beside Jihoon and Samuel.

“All these young kids will most likely dominate the show.” One of the older ones commented with a wry smile, shaking his head, “We’ll just be pushed to the back, right?”

“Ayy, the first episode hasn’t even been released yet. Don't think that way.” Jisung slapped him on the back of his head while Daniel laughed at his label mate’s misery.

“Think positively, guys! You never know when the heavens will look down at us kindly.”


“See?! You obviously learned the dance before.” Daehwi insisted, nudging at Jihoon’s arm. He and Samuel had cornered Jihoon during the break to show them how much of the choreography he knew already and the older male had no choice but to agree lest they made a bigger commotion out of it. Hyungseob had watched curiously from the back, wanting to know why the two of them were pestering Jihoon so much.

“Yeah, there’s no way you could have known all that in one day, hyung.” Samuel agreed, wiping the sweat off his brow with the back of his hand. It made his bangs stick out weirdly and Jihoon laughed as he fixed it for him.

“I wasn’t polished though!” Jihoon insisted. “I just...watched the first season so I’m familiar with the steps but not actually executing it until you guys taught it.”

Daehwi hummed disbelievingly but didn’t comment any further.

“I’ve been wanting to ask but why are you guys in matching pink clothes?” Hyungseob looked to Samuel and Jihoon, gesturing to their outfits.

Samuel grinned and slung an arm around Jihoon’s shoulders, “We’ve decided to be a duo. The Pink Me couple.”

“Pink Me??” Hyungseob laughed, clapping his hands, “That’s witty.”


Jihoon leaned forward, “We’re going to be the cutest couple here.” After he said that, he exchanged glances with Samuel and the both of them burst into giggles, feeling both embarrassed and giddy over it.

“What’s happening here?” Woojin jumped into the conversation, turning to Daehwi expectantly.

“Samuel hyung and Jihoon hyung just revealed their secret relationship to us.” Daehwi said with a smirk.

Jihoon should have remembered the brat had a sharp tongue. Both he and Samuel immediately shouted in denial, breaking away from each other and trying to convince Woojin not to believe them, while the rest cackled and kept telling Woojin not to listen to the pink duo in return.

“Look at their couple attire! It’s obvious.” Hyungseob pointed out excitedly, and because his voice was so loud, many of the surrounding trainees turned to look at what the commotion was about. Jihoon almost forgot himself as he latched onto Woojin’s elbow and shook him in a playful manner, no longer shouting but laughing now.

“Yah, yah. The more you protest, the more I’m going to believe it.” Woojin countered, trying to shake Samuel and Jihoon off of him.

Finally detaching himself from the dancer, Jihoon decided for a topic change. “Don’t you think it’s exciting that we’re getting a special stage for this song?” Thankfully, Samuel immediately latched onto it.

“Yeah! The viewers are going to love it. I know I would if I were watching.” He grinned, big eyes sparkling.

“And Daehwi’s going to get all the spotlight like Yoojung sunbaenim.” Hyungseob half-jokingly said with a playful punch to Daehwhi’s shoulder.

“Well of course. We need to take advantage of being in A class as much as possible.” Daehwi said, huffing haughtily and standing akimbo which got the rest of his hyungs chuckling at him. Woojin nodded silently beside him.

The only time traveler in the group definitely thought of making the most out of this experience. He was going to make things right this time around. Jihoon ruffled the hairs on the back of his neck, grinning, “I’d be satisfied with just one shot of me honestly.”

They all turned to him with similar looks of disbelief that Jihoon backed away laughing. Daehwi pointed at him seriously, “Yah, hyung, you should be more greedy for the cameras. How else will you get the fans to pick you?”

Feeling mischievous, Jihoon winked at them— a sudden shift from his demure attitude earlier as a sly smile curled on his lips, “I have my ways.”


Nearly by the end of the week, people were calling him and Samuel the Pink Me couple to the younger teen’s delight and Jihoon’s relief. If they continued this up, Jihoon was sure the producers would get curious about them and ask for an interview eventually. And if they were lucky enough, they'd edit scenes of him and Samuel playing and practicing around with the matching outfits during the show. That would surely leave an impression to the viewers and maybe even influence some of their votes to Samuel after realizing his silly and endearing side.

Even during the stage rehearsal for all the trainees, he and Samuel agreed to wear their pink bottoms instead of the standard black pants given to them by the staff. Fortunately, no one asked them to change and throughout the day, he and Samuel would be asked why they were wearing such outfits and the pink duo would just dance the Pick Me song with their altered lyrics in answer. Many found them funny and cute, and Jihoon was glad their couple styles pleased them. It was the kind of response he needed from the fans when their duo relationship was revealed.

Soon, he would be standing on that triangular stage again but this time, it would be different. He was no longer waiting till the chorus to come out and dance on the side but at the center group with the rest of A class. It would be surreal no doubt but Jihoon was confident he could pull it off. He’d been performing the Pick Me dance probably 1232 times now including each and every Wanna One Pick Me stage. The dance and lyrics were practically ingrained in his system by now. Though he was slightly nervous over his winks, Jihoon just had to try his best and hope that one of them could reach the final edit like last time.

Fidgeting in excitement, Jihoon tapped his heel on the ground to a random beat, focusing elsewhere as he bit on his nail. After multiple practices and dress runs, they were finally shooting the performance of Produce 101 season 2's theme song. He'd been dolled up to the best of the makeup artist's abilities, giving Jihoon the confidence he needed to look good on stage. His eyes roved over to Samuel still sitting in front of the mirror waiting for his makeup and hair to be done. When their eyes met, Samuel gave him a smile and Jihoon winked back in return. Since they started the Pink Me couple, they were spending more time together and their friendship had strengthened to the point where one couldn't be seen without the other. It was reminiscent to how they'd been during the final month of the show and Jihoon was glad that he and Samuel could interact so closely with one another.

But for some reason, every time he thought of the Pink Me couple name, he couldn’t help but imagine another unit that he really enjoyed being in before this: the Pink Sausage Unit.

Why was it that feelings of guilt stirred within him every time he compared the two? It wasn’t like he was cheating off the name or committing some sort of “copyright”. He and Samuel had originally been the ones to promote the pink pajama set when their self-cams were released during his timeline. But Jihoon guessed that his sense of friendship with the Woojin in Wanna One was warring with his decisions now.

Maybe they could add Woojin to their group somehow? Jihoon still had to think about that but he believed he could make it work somehow— if he could just force the dancer into some pink bottoms other than the black and white ones he always wore.

Jihoon’s planning was abruptly cut short when someone sudddenly sat on the seat beside him and threw an arm around his shoulders.

“Yo, Park Jihoon.” Jaehwan greeted with a wide grin. Jihoon returned it with his own, happy to see his hyung.

"Hyung! How are you doing?"

Jaehwan shrugged nonchalantly, the arm he had around Jihoon's shoulder switching to comb through the back of Jihoon's hair, "I'm surviving. Wouldn't have done it without you though, dance savior.

Jihoon rolled his eyes but grinned nonetheless, "You could have done it, hyung, even if I weren't there." You managed it the first time after all, Jihoon silently thought.

"Yah, I heard you've been impressing people with getting the choreography of the first Pick Me song so fast. I bet if you hadn't left B class, you'd probably have been center." The irony of that statement made Jihoon chuckle behind his hand.

"Speaking of which, who's the center of B now?" Jihoon asked. He tried recalling those who were in B class with him before, guessing who could have been the next possible center of the group.

"Ah you might not know him since he came from D. His name is Donghan." Jaehwan jerked his chin to a part of the room where the man in question was sitting with his group of friends. Jihoon jolted at the name, his eyes widening as he recognized it.

Jaehwan must have noticed his reaction because he asked, "Oh, you know him?"

"Ah..." Jihoon blinked, mind racing for excuses, "No, it's just...I think I remember him from the auditions."

"You have a pretty good memory to even remember that. I can't even recall some of my roommates' names."

Jihoon laughed, slapping Jaehwan's arm, "That's horrible, hyung."

Jaehwan spread his arms in a helpless gesture, "I can't memorize 101 people's names in a week. They should be remembering my name, instead you know? I'm the main here." His shameless bluffing from the past still retained itself in the future. Kim Jaehwan never changed.

"Sure, hyung, whatever you say."  

Jihoon kept glancing at Donghan's direction, contemplating whether or not he should introduce himself to the older male. They'd been close friends in his original timeline, mostly because they struggled in B class together and realized how many similarities they had with each other. Jihoon was disappointed when his friend hadn't managed to reach the top 20 with him, his elimination causing Jihoon to shed a few tears off screen, but the success Donghan reached after the show seemed to make all his hardships worth it. Jihoon smiled— although Donghan hadn't been given enough screen time in the show, he still managed to attain such a strong following to get him into JBJ. Which only proved that screen time wasn't everything in this show.

However, before Jihoon could even act on his idea, the speakers overhead in the room suddenly called to their attention.

"All trainees, please proceed to your respective places backstage, we will be starting the recording in 5 minutes."

Jaehwan patted Jihoon's back once before standing up, fixing his blazer a bit. "Time to go kill the performance, Jihoonie." 

Jihoon smiled and raised his two fists in the air, his heart racing with excitement? nerves? "Fighting!" 

Chapter Text

The whir of the air conditioning droned in unison to the constant clicking sounds in the editing room. Employees sat in front of their computers and kept their heads down, choosing to focus quietly in their tasks as they inspected hundreds of footages of young boys acting in various ways in front of the camera. There was a team assigned to filter those videos, taking out the unnecessary and leaving behind potential ones for the heads to view them.

The beginning was always the hardest part for the editing team. It wasn’t easy trying to fit in 101 boys into an episode while making it as entertaining as possible which was why not everyone could make it to the cut. The final decision always landed on the head PD to say whether or not the episode they made was satisfactory. He was a man of crucial importance to the show, having the power to either make or break a trainee’s chances to stardom.

And Gyeong who worked directly under the PD needed to make sure the draft of the first episode could at least meet Ahn Joonyoung’s expectations.

“Yeah, yeah that’s good.” Gyeong murmured, inspecting the video currently being edited in front of him. “Make sure to add Samuel’s interview after that and take out that bit about the Jellyfish trainee, he’s not that interesting.”

The worker nodded just as someone called out Gyeong’s name.

“What?” He asked gruffly, distracted. Walking through the space between the computers, he checked the rest of the workers’ screens. They had a schedule to follow and expectations to be met after all. After the success of I.O.I., there were more people counting on this season to be just as good or even better than before and Lee Gyeong had an important role to play in that.

“Ahn PD-nim wants to see you.” The lady said before closing the door after her.

Gyeong clicked his tongue and told his staff he’d be back in a bit. They’d only gotten thirty minutes of the episode ready; what did Joonyoung want to talk to him about?

Smoothing his hair back and fixing the lapels of his jacket first, Gyeong knocked on the door before opening it. “You asked to see me?” The PD was on his seat, watching whatever it was on his laptop before he shut it off to flash Gyeong a bright smile.

“Gyeong! Have a seat.” Joonyoung gestured to the chair in front of him and Gyeong followed obediently after bowing. “How’s the progress of the episode?”

“It’s going smoothly, sir.”

“Good, good.” Joonyoung smiled amicably and Gyeong could barely read what the PD was thinking. His thin face never showed a hint of anger or sadness unless the PD actually expressed it in words which kept Gyeong on his feet constantly, “Have you seen the first online rankings already?”

Gyeong shook his head, “Not yet, sir. I’ve been busy with the episode.”

“Of course. Well, it’s a good thing I have it open on my screen then. Take a look would you.” The PD opened his laptop again and turned it on the table so that the screen was visible to to his guest. Gyeong’s eyes instantly darted to the top 11, unsurprised to see a few trainees he didn’t think deserved to be on it up there but Gyeong knew in time they would be kicked off the top. Some of them just weren’t meant to be idols truthfully.

However, Gyeong’s eyebrows rose high on his forehead when he saw the trainee ranked number one out of all 101 trainee in the program so far.

Joonyoung must have sensed his thoughts because he asked, “So what do you think of it?”

“It’s…” Gyeong chewed on his tongue to find the right word, “unexpected.”

The PD hummed in agreement, “Park Jihoon wasn’t in our original line up, right? It’s surprising considering the company he’s from.”

“Which company?” Gyeong asked. It was hard to keep track of all 101 trainees and their different companies. Sometimes most of their faces were just a blur in his memory.

“Maroo Entertainment.”

Gyeong's posture stiffened and he forced to keep a stoic expression when he said, “Ah…”

The PD continued, “There are already articles about him because of a wink he did during the performance. To be honest I didn’t notice it much myself but apparently he winked a lot when he was dancing beside Samuel so it drew attention.” He sighed and tapped his pen on his desk. “Make sure to add a bit more of him in the first episode, okay?”

Gyeong could only nod with a murmur of, “Yes, sir.”

“That’s all. You may go back to your duty.” The PD bowed his head at him which Gyeong returned before he rose from his seat.

He exited the office with a tight smile, thoughts swimming about a winking boy and his unfortunate company.



[PRODUCE 101 season2 [최초공개] 프로듀스101 시즌2 _ 나야나 (PICK ME) performance 161212 EP.0]




아나713 5 hours ago

2:43 WHO WAS THAT?! His wink ensnared me…

REPLY 1.2k likes      


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      his name is park jihun i think from maroo

      REPLY 102 likes  


     disneylyfe  2 hours ago

     maroo? never heard of it but im going to vote for him. He’s like the only cute one there

     REPLY 54  likes  


     아나713  1 hour ago

     same, he’s cute. I want to vote for him!

     REPLY 38 likes  


exobtsunite 3 hours ago

So apparently that winking boy is a child actor? 18 year old Park jihoon from maroo ent.

REPLY 389 likes      


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     suju_kss   3  hours ago

     omg really?!? I’ve fallen in love (heart emoji)

     REPLY 67 likes  


     rapmonstah20   3  hours ago

     Im his fan now

     REPLY 19 likes  


     ioiforever    2 hours ago

     Im going to go search up for all of his dramas ahh jihoonie is too adorable~

     REPLY 21 likes  


     lovexice45   30 mins  ago

      im tempted to make a twitter acct for jihoon....gosh im not usually like this!!!

     REPLY 183 likes


nationsgirls 5 hours ago

why is all everyone talking about that guy winking so much in the song?

REPLY 12 likes

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kisskissfallinlove101   4 hour  ago

Tbh i was here to watch samuel but the guy on his right kept winking so it drew my attention and i couldn’t stop watching him till the end. He’s so adorable!

REPLY 267 likes

View all 5 replies v  




“Psst! Jihoon!”

Daniel pulled himself up on the top bunk bed and tried to get the younger male to wake up once more, “Jihoon-ah! Wake up.”

Finally he heard a low groan from somewhere inside the blankets, “Mmm, Daniel hyung?”

“Hey, evening sunshine. You slept through the entire afternoon.” Daniel grinned, shaking Jihoon’s shoulder once more before the younger could try falling asleep again.

“I did? I took a long nap then.” Jihoon yawned, stretching his arms and legs like a cat. His hair was sticking up at odd angles on his head and Daniel chuckled at seeing them, brushing them down gently with his fingers so Jihoon looked a bit more presentable , “Yeah but I don’t blame you. You worked hard.”

“Thanks. You too.”

“Speaking of working hard,” Jihoon looked up at him when Daniel showed him his ipad, almost shoving the screen to the younger’s face as he was too excited for the younger to see what’d seen already, “I think your efforts had been paid off.”

Scrunching his brow, Jihoon took the device, “What do you mean?”

He only needed to look at the article’s title to know what this was about, “N-No way?”

Daniel nodded his head eagerly, “Congrats! You’re in the news, Wink Boy!”

“They still caught my— I mean, they noticed me winking?” Jihoon asked, scrolling through the article slowly.

Daniel noticed the little slip up but didn’t mention it, not really understanding what he meant by still to begin with. “Well we can’t watch the actual performance yet since we’ll be watching it all together when the first episode releases but people have made gifs about it. Look.” Daniel scootched closer to press on an image a fan had commented below the article and Jihoon’s face popped up, winking cutely in front of the camera.


Daniel shared the same sentiment when he saw the gif too. Jihoon looked really cute doing it and he was sure Jihoon's fans were going to increase because of this. “Amazing right?! You’re famous now Jihoonie!”

“Right…” Jihoon said and murmured something under his breath that Daniel didn't catch. But the tone of his voice caught his attention.

“What’s wrong? You’re not happy?”

Jihoon straightened up and turned to face him, wide eyed, “I-I am! It’s just a bit nerve wracking you know? I was just invisible before but now so many people are seeing me perform, writing articles about me and even making gifs out of my wink! It’s… a lot to take in.”

“Oh yeah, I get that.” Daniel couldn’t help but pat the younger teen’s shoulder, feeling somehow responsible for the burden on Jihoon’s shoulders now. Maybe he should have waited before showing Jihoon this but he’d been too excited and proud that he’d completely overlooked Jihoon's feelings. “But hey, we’re all here in the same boat so you don’t have to worry. I think you’ve got a lot of talent to survive on this show, Jihoonie.”

Were his eyes deceiving him or had he caught a blush on Jihoon’s cheeks? “Thanks, Niel hyung.”

“Niel?” Now Daniel felt his own face burning up at the nickname. He didn't know why; it was just Jihoon.

“Oh uhm, sorry...should I not call you that?” The younger backtracked and looked almost apologetic for it but Daniel didn’t want him to feel that way.

“Ah, no, you can! I was just surprised. Only Jisung hyung and the rest of my friends have called me that so I wasn’t expecting it. But you’re my friend now too, right Jihoonie?”

“Yeah, hyung.”

Grinning widely, Daniel ruffled Jihoon’s fluffy hair and stared at the way the younger male ducked his head down, smiling shyly to himself. It was just an observation, one he’d thought of many times before but Jihoon had a really nice face. Daniel didn’t think he knew many people who could look pretty after waking up with no makeup on. His company must have felt damn lucky to have snatched someone as pretty and talented as Jihoon in their midst.

Daniel decided he should probably get going before his thoughts could get any more confusing and hopped down from Jihoon’s bed. “Great work, Wink Boy. Hope you don’t disappoint your growing fanbase now.” He tried winking at him and Jihoon just laughed, his voice ringing merrily in the room and Daniel felt his chest warm at the sound.

Right. Time to distract himself in the gym.  




It was disappointing to say the least when Jongyeon left the show due to his controversies making it into the news. Jihoon felt it was a shame that someone as talented as Jongyeon had to go but he knew his friend needed to fix whatever scandals he had first before becoming an idol. No one would be rooting for him otherwise but Jihoon was sure the other would rise to stardom soon if he just showed how much he’d changed through hard work and perseverance.

Jihoon was lucky that most of his past consisted of his previous acting gigs so he didn’t have anything incriminating that could ruin his career.

Still he worried over what his fans would find out about him by just doing a little digging through his life. There was no secrecy in being an idol and Jihoon expected it when he pursued his dreams, but it was still surprising when he'd see old pictures of himself resurface in the internet. Jihoon always just closed the app if he saw one of his dark past catching interest in Naver.

Although his case wasn’t as bad as Woojin’s who had so many childhood videos and photos of himself laid out everywhere, his fans had a party going through each and every one of them. Woojin in his timeline had definitely found it horrific when fans discovered his Only One cover and showed it to him. Poor guy.

“Looks like it’s just the two of us now.” Hyeop said, sitting down beside Jihoon on the steps near the entrance where they’d just said their farewells.

“Yup.” Jihoon murmured, placing his chin on his arms where they were laid on his knees, almost folding himself into a fetal position. He couldn’t look at Hyeop and tell him they’d manage this together. He feared the other would only see the lie in his eyes and Jihoon didn’t want to lie at all. But this stupid time travel thing forced Jihoon to do so constantly.  

Hyeop must have sensed his unease however because he felt an arm wrap around his shoulders and pull him close to his label mate’s side. Jihoon wasn’t normally one for skinship but he couldn’t help but seek the comfort Hyeop was offering and melted against his friend, “Even though only one of us is left behind, we can’t give up, okay? The company’s placing their hopes on us.”

“Or they dumped us here because they didn’t know what to do with us.” Jihoon added.

“That too.”

They shared a chuckle and Jihoon sighed, thoughts now swimming about his company and Jihoon’s future with them. Honestly, when he’d been a member of Wanna One, Jihoon hadn’t wanted to think about it then. He’d been happy and content in his group and he hadn't want to think about the inevitable disbandment a lot of them sometimes contemplated amongst themselves.

Whereas the others knew what to do after Wanna One, Jihoon didn’t know what Maroo had in store for him and even now he was less sure as Jihoon still hadn’t proven himself worthy to the company’s CEO. The last time they’d talk was before he entered Produce 101 and he’d told Jihoon to shine as much as he can because there was no telling when he’d get eliminated and that it wouldn’t matter if he didn’t make it into the final 11 anyway since no one would expect it from a company like theirs.

It wasn’t the best pep talk Jihoon had ever heard, probably the worst actually, but hearing how defeated their CEO sounded had given Jihoon the strength to prove him wrong and show him that he could make it big somehow. And he did.

But that was Jihoon from before and now Jihoon had a different agenda going for himself in this timeline. He was going to do whatever it took to get Samuel in the final debut line up and no one was going to stop him. Not even if it meant facing the disappointment of his CEO for trying to help others more than himself.

Jihoon could only hope that he’d be back in his own timeline once whatever he needed to achieve here was finished.

And if not, well...then he was screwed.




After a month of hard work and preparations, the trainees were gathered again in the CJ E&M center for a viewing of Produce 101 season 2’s first episode. Many were apprehensive and excited, wondering if what they did on the show would air and if they would get many screen time.

Guanlin was a bit more tense than excited. The young trainee clenched his hands on his knees, hoping his audition performance would look good to the viewers despite he and Seonho receiving low class levels. Seonho was too busy chatting with the person beside him to notice Guanlin’s apprehension but Guanlin thought it better that way. He needed a few moments to himself to take deep breaths and calm the pounding in his chest.

Finally the logo of Produce 101 appeared on screen and the trainees cheered as the program’s first episode was now airing on every tv in Korea.

It was dramatic but funny. Guanlin enjoyed the scenes of the MMO boys whenever they reacted to something on set especially that one trainee, Yoon Jisung. He made the best facial expressions and was damn hilarious! Guanlin laughed until his stomach cramped.

Probably one of the best moments of the episode was when the YG logo appeared on screen and every trainee had either gasped or gaped in shock. Guanlin understood a bit why they reacted that way but he just enjoyed it for everyone’s reactions. The scene was even edited so dramatically, everyone in the room laughed at how prolonged and suspenseful it was when it really all just happened in a few seconds. Guanlin was impressed with the editing and slowly his worries began to abate as he watched the trainees now performing on screen.

There was one performance Guanlin highly anticipated watching again though and that was Samuel’s audition. Not only because Samuel had danced amazingly in it but because of what happened after. Guanlin hoped they’d add it into the episode...

"Ah! It's this one!" One of the trainees shouted as a few began to chuckle and turn in their seats to look at someone from the back. One moment the scene was on Samuel finishing his audition and in the next second, it switched to a trainee who was watching the performance with so much raw emotion in his eyes, they gleamed under the light.

Pretty. That was Guanlin’s first thought when he watched the tears roll down Park Jihoon’s face, glistening his cheeks and making his eyes sparkle brighter than before. How could someone look pretty while crying? Guanlin thought it impossible with all the snot and mess but Park Jihoon somehow made it work, made it look beautiful— everything he did was just beautiful.

Guanlin turned in his seat to look behind him where Park Jihoon sat at the back row with his fellow label mate. The older male was embarrassed no doubt as he had his head buried in his hands, the tips of his ears flushed red but Guanlin thought crying wasn’t something to be ashamed of. They may be men but they were human too. And Jihoon just so happened to be one of the prettiest humans Guanlin had ever seen.

Eventually, the episode began to end but the trainees were cheering once again when their Nayana performance came up next. Guanlin didn’t expect to see much of himself on screen as he’d just been a backup dancer but he enjoyed watching it all the same. If only because Park Jihoon kept winking every time the camera switched to him.

“Yah! You’re so flirty to the camera.” He heard someone say from behind and Guanlin looked over his shoulder to see Jihoon’s label mate nudging him with a grin. Jihoon himself looked surprised that he had many cuts taken of him during the performance. Well of course he should get many cuts, Guanlin thought as he turned back to the screen. He was in A class and danced in the center group, it was their reward for doing so well at the start of the show. And anyone with a face like Park Jihoon’s should always be captured on stage.

Afterwards, the episode finished with their current rankings and Guanlin unconsciously straightened in his seat. He took Seonho’s hand in his when he noticed the other about to bite his fingers in nervousness, offering his dongsaeng a bit of support as well.

He breathed a sigh of relief when Seonho’s name popped up in rank 22. It was high, higher than what they'd expected and Seonho looked happy with that. What Guanlin was surprised about was his rank. Top 10? Already?! The elation that swelled in his chest was fleeting as he realized there was a huge pressure on him now to maintain that rank throughout the program. 

Guanlin didn’t think his current self was deserving of his rank yet but if he worked hard enough

There was a sudden loud cheer and Guanlin raised his head to find that the trainee who ranked number one out of all of them was none other than Park Jihoon. Guanlin shouldn't have been surprised but he was. His jaw dropped and he turned to look how the trainee was reacting. Jihoon just sat there, looking dumbfounded and his friend had to shake him on the shoulders to snap him out of it. Apparently snatching first seemed too much for him and Jihoon just seemed unable to speak as everyone around congratulated him for his rank. Samuel had stood up from his seat too to clap enthusiastically for his friend, whooping loudly into the air. 

“Congratulations to the top 11 and also Park Jihoon-ssi for securing the first week's number one spot.” The staff began clapping and so did the rest of the trainees who turned on their seats to face Jihoon. The Maroo trainee stood up and bowed in thanks, looking flustered at all the attention on him. It was cute and Guanlin cheered loudly just so he could see the flush on Jihoon's cheeks grow a shade darker. The older male was eventually pulled aside for an interview along with the top 7 so Guanlin settled on his seat and chatted with the rest of the trainees instead. 

His thoughts couldn't help but wander though on how he could try improving himself on the show with the short few months he had on it. He didn't want to make his family from Taiwan disappointed in him especially after they'd given him the permission to travel to Korea alone so he could pursue his dreams. His eyes eventually landed on Jihoon who was by the middle row of the seats, sitting beside Kim Samuel as usual. Maybe he could try talking to Jihoon and ask him for some advice? It wouldn't hurt to try and he'd finally get the chance to interact with him. 

But before he could make the first move, the staff were asking them to sit back down again so they could record a greeting to their viewers. Once done, Guanlin tried to look for Jihoon again but he wasn't in the seat he'd been on previously. Slowly, the rest of the trainees formed into smaller groups and left the room, Guanlin eventually following the flow of people out the door. Seonho was trying to get them to leave early already but Guanlin told him to wait for him in the car just a bit longer. He was waiting for someone. 

And there he was. Park Jihoon striding out the door with that shy smile still plastered on his face and eyes twinkling with happiness.

Guanlin raised his hand and called out without thinking, “Jihoon-hyu—!”

“Hey, Jihoon-hyung! Let’s go eat, I’m starving!”  His voice had been overlapped by Samuel’s and Guanlin stopped walking as he watched the Brave trainee bound right behind Jihoon, a grin stretched across his face. When Jihoon turned to look at him, his lips were curled into a smile as well and Samuel slung an arm around the shorter male’s shoulders, practically dragging him down a hallway with Jihoon rejoicing at the mention of food.

Guanlin let his hand drop and sighed. Of course. How could he think he could catch the great Park Jihoon’s attention when he was only just another trainee in his eyes? He probably didn’t even know Guanlin’s name and yet the young foreigner really wanted to befriend Jihoon.

Not because of his rank or anything but because Jihoon had caught his eye from the beginning of the program and Guanlin felt like he could really learn a lot from someone as amazing as Jihoon. Maybe he could even teach Guanlin that pop dancing he did during his auditions.

Motivated, Guanlin decided he should work even harder to improve himself as an idol worthy of the top 11 and hope his efforts were enough to get Jihoon to notice him. Even just once.




The First Ranking of the Popular Idol Survival Show, Produce 101, has been revealed!

“...Park Jihoon, 18 year old trainee from Maroo Entertainment has proven himself to be very popular on the show as he snags the number 1 spot out of 101 trainees on Produce 101’s first ranking. He’s made a huge fanbase for himself when the cameras caught him winking multiple times in the show’s theme song, Pick Me (It’s Me), the performance of which can be viewed down below. His handsome features along with his excellent dancing skills show he’s someone worthy of his rank and fans are eager to see more things for him in the upcoming missions of the program.”

Read Full Article Here

Comments · Order by Newest


LovelyJuhi  · 2m ago

   Park Jihoon is amazing! ㅋㅋㅋ The best!


AirisLife  · 5m ago

   I can’t believe he got number 1 already. I’m so proud!


Jihunfan · 6m ago

Guys let’s vote for him more!! Let’s keep our jihoonie on top!


Pinkpink68  · 8m ago

 Wow he winked so many times to capture our hearts, he’s really working hard ㅠㅠㅠ


iloveallgroups · 10m ago

  He’s so handsome… how could you not fall for a face like that ㅋㅋㅋ


SomiJjang! · 11m ago

  I need more votes for jihoon ㅠㅠㅠㅠ …..time to contact my ex boyfriend ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ


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