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a hand to hold

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The air feels heavy when Seungmin enters the dorm. He sighs, remembering how earlier during practice, two of their members fought again.

It’s frustrating, he thinks, how Jisung and Hyunjin always get into a fight at least once every week. Seungmin also finds it tiring to come home to a tension-filled atmosphere after a whole day of practicing. It would’ve been a lot easier if there wasn’t this constantly nagging feeling of  worry and anxiousness of whether one of them would get kicked out of the team; maybe if it weren’t for that, too, members won’t get into fights too often.

Seungmin feels spent; he still has to meet his vocal coach later this evening, and then after that he has to study some for his classes tomorrow. He glances at Hyunjin’s bedroom door, wonders how the other is doing right now because he recalls Hyunjin telling him earlier that he needs to study for something, too. See, among the four of them who are the same age - him, Hyunjin, Felix, and Jisung - only he and Hyunjin go to school; Changbin and Jeongin do, too, but Seungmin and Hyunjin are in the same year so Seungmin thinks he relates to Hyunjin more.

Another thing that worries Seungmin is the fact that Hyunjin and Jisung share a room, too; this shouldn’t even be a bother to him, but he finds himself being concerned over Hyunjin (and Jisung, too, he tells himself) -- but whatever , Seungmin has things he needs to do and right now he doesn’t have much time to worry about his teammates being petty.

He goes to his room, where he finds his roommate Felix sprawled on his bed and watching something on his phone -- another one of those ASMR videos he kept on showing Seungmin, probably -- with his earphones plugged in. Seungmin greets him, and Felix greets him back with an uncharacteristic lack of enthusiasm, which Seungmin resigns as a result of today’s happenings. He sighs; not even Felix can be his cheerful self whenever someone in their team get into a fight.

So Seungmin chooses to be the cheerful one, instead.

“Do you have Korean lessons tonight?” he asks Felix, who looks up at him and takes off one of his earphones.

“I’m sorry?” Felix asks. Seungmin smiles at him and repeats his question. And then Felix scrambles out of bed. “Oh, shit! I do ! Seungminnie, thank you!” Felix hugs him quickly and runs out of the room, leaving Seungmin alone with his textbooks, and a smile plastered on his face.

 

It’s at least after a few hours when Seungmin comes out of his room. None of the members are in the living room, which isn’t odd since most of them really spend too much time at the company, practicing or taking lessons or, in 3racha’s case, making music. Nonetheless, he still tries their bedrooms to see if anyone’s home; he wants to order food, and he might as well ask if anyone’s around if they want to, as well.

He first knocks on the hyungs’ room -- no answer. He doesn’t try knocking again, because those three are among the ones who go home the last. Then he knocks in the noisy room, the one Hyunjin shares with the the other three members.

Seungmin didn’t expect to hear sniffing and a shaky voice to reply, “No, thanks. I’m good.”

“Hyunjinnie?” Seungmin calls, as if he doesn’t yet have Hyunjin’s voice memorized.  “Hyunjinnie, are you okay?”

“Y-yeah.”

Seungmin almost rolls his eyes. Sure, you’re okay , he wants to say, but thinks better because this is Hyunjin he’s talking to, after all. “Can I come in?” he asks instead.

It takes a few moments before the same shaky voice replies, “Sure.”

When Seungmin walks in, he finds Hyunjin sitting on his bed and looking up at him with a smile that somehow still reached his eyes -- which looked a little ridiculous because Hyunjin’s eyes are red and swollen, and his cheeks glisten with tears.

“Seungminnie,” Hyunjin greets him in a small voice. “You’re home early.”

“Yeah,” Seungmin replies. He’s still standing by the doorway, unsure of what to do. “I needed to study for something and I have vocal lessons in an hour or so,” he adds.

“Oh.” Hyunjin’s wipes at his face. “I’m sorry, am I making too much noise? I shouldn’t have gone straight here, I’m sorry--.”

“Hyunjinnie, are you okay?”

And then Hyunjin’s forced smile turns back into a sad frown, and he breaks into a sob.

For a moment, Seungmin stands still, a slight panic almost creeping up, until he finds his breath and exhales. He closes the door behind him and walks slowly towards Hyunjin, sits on beside him on the bed, and takes his hand.

Hyunjin looks up as soon as Seungmin takes his hand, but doesn’t pull it away. Instead, he smiles up at Seungmin with tears streaking his face, and it makes Seungmin’s heart hurt. Hyunjin has always been a little sensitive, he knew that, but seeing him like this still makes Seungmin just want to pick him up and hug him and tuck him in and make sure no one else could ever touch or hurt him again.

But Seungmin can’t do that, because sometimes it’s their CEO who hurts Hyunjin, sometimes it’s one of their own teammates, and sometimes… it’s Hyunjin who hurts himself, with all the thoughts he allows to spin inside his head. And sometimes, there’s nothing Seungmin can do about that, so he just offers what he can instead: a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on -- literally.

Hyunjin doesn’t tell him why he’s crying, though, but Seungmin doesn’t mind. He just stays there, holding Hyunjin’s hand and letting him lean against his shoulder, his tears staining Seungmin’s shirt.

 

“I ruined your shirt,” is the first thing Hyunjin says once he’s stopped sobbing. “I’m sorry.”

Seungmin wrinkles his nose. “It’s an ugly shirt, anyway.”

Hyunjin giggles, and Seungmin’s chest suddenly swells with pride because finally something that isn’t a choked out sob came out of Hyunjin’s mouth. Seungmin’s hearts may have also done a backflip in said chest, because he loves hearing Hyunjin’s giggles, but that’s something he’s going to keep to himself.

“Didn’t Changbinnie-hyung give you that shirt?” Hyunjin asks.

“Yeah,” Seungmin confirms. “That’s why it’s ugly.”

And Hyunjin laughs.

Fuck , Seungmin thinks. Finally.

“Mean,” Hyunjin comments, even pinching Seungmin’s side.

Relief floods Seungmin, thankful that Hyunjin finally stopped crying, and slowly going back into his cheerful self. Another thing that suddenly floods Seungmin is hunger ; he’d forgotten he was supposed to eat before going to his vocal class later tonight. It’s okay, though, because Hyunjin is a lot more important.

“Seungminnie,” Hyunjin whispers. “Thank you.”

Seungmin snorts. “You owe me,” he says, but he doesn’t mean it, and Hyunjin knows. “So are you still not hungry?” he asks, trying to lighten the mood some more. “I wanted to order food but I think that’s gonna take too long now. I need to go back to the company in a few.”

“We can go to the convenience store?” Hyunjin suggests, his tone a lot brighter now. “I’ll buy you food, since I owe you .”

Seungmin rolls his eyes at that, but he’s actually really happy that Hyunjin’s brightened up enough to tease him. He also almost forgets he’s still holding the other’s hand, and he’s about to draw it back to look at his watch and see how much time has already gone by, but Hyunjin doesn’t let go. Instead, Hyunjin gets up and pulls Seungmin along with him.

Seungmin doesn’t let go, either.