Seungyoun leans his head back against the pillow, sighing softly as moonbeams dance their gentle rhythm against the ceiling. It’s been literal hours since they’ve gone back to the dorms and he showered after their long and hectic schedule; their little ones had been falling asleep on their feet, clingy and petulant and slipping beyond their hyungs’ control. Long, draining practices and countless hours of training and so many rehearsals were bound to leave a person battered and exhausted, and, frankly, all Seungyoun (and everyone else) wanted to do was lie down and fall asleep.
Couldn’t happen. So at the end of the long day (or at the early hours of the creeping morning) the members found each other having to help out with guiding everyone inside. Yohan had ended up giving Hyeongjun a piggyback ride inside the dorm.
Hangyul had helped Seungyoun guide Dohyun to the bathroom. Preparing for their debut is absolutely totally exhausting, and while those who have debuted before were used to the grueling hours of work, everyone else, well, wasn’t. The older boys were handling it better than the younger ones, even if the younger ones did fight through it all because of their Produce X 101 training, but it was just a lot. To get through, to take in, to manage.
Dohyun almost collapsed in the shower, under the supervision of Hangyul — (“You’re too tired to be in here yourself, Hyunnie.”) even if Dohyun had argued about it — (“Hyung, that’s embarrassing. I’m not a child.”) because the younger, their youngest, was just about ready to crash hard for the night.
“Tired, hyung?” Eunsang asks from where he is sitting on the sofa, having peeled his eyes away from the TV to look at Seungyoun, whose eyes are probably red and bloodshot, face pale. “You should sleep.”
Seungyoun lets a small, tired smile grace his face. “I’m doing okay, Eunsang-ah. It’s getting to be pretty late, you should sleep soon. It’s been too long a day.”
“I was gonna go to bed in a little bit, hyung.”
“You should keep Dohyun company,” Seungyoun says. “Poor thing is probably lonely in the room by himself.”
Eunsang grins a little, tilts his head cutely. “Hyung, he was tripping over his feet getting back into the dorm. He’s more than likely knocked out by now, you know that.”
Except that Seungyoun doesn’t. After Dohyun had showered and was helped into clean pajamas, he had been led by the hand by Hangyul to his bed, where Seungyoun had finished getting it ready because only he is one of the few people who are aware of the fact that Dohyun likes his pillows fluffed and the blankets wrapped around the bed, tucked under the mattress, because it makes the younger feel safe. They had tucked Dohyun in, and Seungyoun had smoothed back his hair and pressed a soft kiss to his forehead (not without Dohyun whining and scrunching his nose up in disgust) before leaving the room, closing the door behind him.
Eunsang had been with him at the time, but now Eunsang is here watching TV, meaning Dohyun is left alone. Seungyoun is acutely aware of the blatant fact that Dohyun doesn’t like being left alone, so there’s a possibility that he never really went to sleep at all, but the day had been long. Eunsang is right; he’s more than likely to be asleep.
Time stretches on. Everyone else besides Eunsang and Seungyoun is asleep, limbs jelly and body just about ready to give up, and, really, why is Seungyoun still awake? The show in the TV is a boring one — perhaps he can go to bed after it is over.
“Eunsang-ah, sleep soon,” Seungyoun mutters, Eunsang giving a soft hum in response.
Looking at the clock on the wall, it’s 3:27 a.m. and Seungyoun is ready to crash. The TV has turned into soupy droning buzzing in his ears and moonbeams keep dancing their gentle dance across the room and stretching across the walls, disfigured now and he really should get some sleep.
Except, the creaking of a door grasps his attention and he blinks dazedly, sitting up a little. The creak is followed by footsteps, slow and slightly heavy — who could it be? Sometimes members came out for a late snack, or to use the bathroom. But everyone had been sleeping so heavily recently because of the tiring days, and it was becoming rare for someone to wake up at some ungodly hour in the morning.
Dongpyo? No, Dongpyo went to bed with Seungwoo, and he never wakes up when cuddling the older boy, even if he was one to wake up at weird times. Maybe a member noticed that the TV was on and had come to turn it off. Couldn’t be any of the other members, they all slept like logs – even if Junho or Minhee did come out for a snack or two from time to time. Unlikely, though, because everyone had to be totally drained; Seungyoun predicts that they can sleep through anything.
So who is awake?
The footsteps come closer, and then a figure steps out of the shadows that crawl across the hallway floors. Seungyoun lets out a soft breath at the revealed member, relaxing now, heart swelling in his chest.
Dohyun makes his way toward Seungyoun, eyes lidded as he stumbles across the floor, yawning into his hand and looking soft and sleepy and absolutely, positively adorable in too many ways. Dohyun’s hands come up to scrub at his eyes, and Seungyoun heart aches as he sees his maknae come closer, a small pout on his lips. Seungyoun opens his arms without question, no words needed to be said, because he can feel the air, the atmosphere that Dohyun brings along with his presence. Dohyun needs him.
Dohyun falls into Seungyoun’s arms with a soft sigh, the elder engulfing him in a hug as Dohyun’s head slips into the crook of his neck, natural and familiar. Seungyoun’s hand comes up and begins to rake through the younger’s messy locks, scratching his scalp softly in a soothing manner. “Why are you still awake, little one?” Seungyoun questions gently, making sure to sound as soft as he can because Dohyun is too disoriented for anything else, pressing a small kiss to Dohyun’s temple right after. “Hangyul-hyung and I tucked you into bed a few hours ago, baby.”
Dohyun emits a soft mewl at that, probably too exhausted to properly answer, and Seungyoun coos fondly.
“Unable to sleep?” Seungyoun asks, fingers still threading through Dohyun’s hair, before massaging the back of his neck. Concern blossoms in his voice — Dohyun suffered from insomnia some nights on the show, sometimes unable to fall asleep even after taking medicine as he cried to his hyungs about wanting to go home. It had been painful to witness, and Seungyoun never wants to have to go through watching that ever again. “Do you need to take medicine to go to sleep, baby? Your Seungwoo-hyung has pills for you, just in case. Do I have to get them?”
Dohyun shrugs a little bit, and Seungyoun nods in silent understanding. He presses a quick kiss to the top of Dohyun’s head, heart hurting for the boy who has had to drop everything and commit to being an idol at such a young age, attacked with obstacles from every side and barely getting any sleep most days.
“You’re stronger than me, Dohyunnie,” Seungyoun sighs. “I don’t know how you manage everything so well. It’s been a long day — “
“Hyung,” Dohyun interrupts softly, his voice scratchy and young and nothing like the whole manly rapper image that he’s set out to fit himself into. Dohyun sounds like an exhausted boy who is dealing with too much, and Seungyoun wants to tuck him into bed and let him sleep for the next couple of years, shielding him from everything bad in the world. “Hyung.”
“I’m sleepy,” Dohyun whimpers, breath catching in his throat as he snuggles closer to Seungyoun. “I’m so tired, hyung.”
“I know you are, baby,” Seungyoun mumbles, chest constricting, holding Dohyun close. “Hyung is sorry you have to manage so much, no wonder you’re exhausted. I know, little one. Do you want to try sleeping?”
“It’s — no, hyung, it’s dark and lonely in the room,” Dohyun whispers, panic begging to crawl into his voice. “I don’t — I can’t, hyung, I — “
“You’re going to work yourself up, sweetheart,” Seungyoun says, softness dripping from every word. He taps his fingers against the skin on Dohyun’s neck gently. Dohyun yawns, and Seungyoun plants another kiss to his temple, everything fond and sad and adoring. When Dohyun starts to whine and begins fisting the fabric of Seungyoun’s shirt, Seungyoun is quick to reassure him. “Hey. You’re good, baby. I know you’re tired, but you’re good, hmm? We’re going to be fine.”
Seungyoun weighs his options out — usually Dohyun would prefer to sleep in his bed but he seems to be too exhausted to care at this point, so crashing on the couch is a viable option. Yet Seungyoun would prefer his maknae to be comfortable and warm, and somewhere in his mind he knows that even in his sleepy state Dohyun would want that too.
“M’kay, Hyunnie. Are you ready to go to bed now?” Seungyoun asks, stretching his legs out to get ready to stand up.
Dohyun shakes his head against Seungyoun’s shoulder, a shuddering gasp making its way to his lips, and then Dohyun’s name is murmured out in a distressed whisper against the younger’s head. “It’s scary in the room, hyung, no one is there with me and I swear I see weird shadows sometimes, and my head really hurts right now and I don’t want to go back into bed – “
“You’re okay, Nam Dohyun,” Seungyoun says, because Dohyun needs some kind of semblance of safety that he can latch onto, something firm and real before he can work himself up too much and edge into something like a panic attack (which has happened before, and Seungyoun never wants it to happen ever again). “You’re okay.”
Dohyun sucks in a strangled breath, a pained noise reaching Seungyoun’s ears, and Seungyoun swallows thickly and closes his eyes.
“You’re okay, Nam Dohyun. You know you are. It’s dark and you’re exhausted and you’re also okay.”
Dohyun leans back, sucking in another sort-of breath but sort-of not, meeting Seungyoun’s eyes. Moonlight radiates off of the younger in waves, his hair mussed and eyelids drooping, butterflies of starlight tiptoeing across his cheeks and fizzing back into his skin. Here, right now, all the time – Cho Seungyoun wishes he could just take all of Dohyun’s pain and stress away in a single heartbeat. He would. He knows he would. He hopes Dohyun knows, too.
“I wanna… I’m sleepy,” Dohyun repeats, his voice barely above a whisper. Seungyoun cups the back of his neck and rubs the damp skin there, tinged with a slight sheen of sweat.
“You are,” Seungyoun agrees. “I’ll sleep with you, Dohyunnie. You won’t be alone.”
“Thank you, hyung,” Dohyun sighs, leaning forward again and dropping his head back on Seungyoun’s shoulder. Seungyoun shifts, rubbing small circles into the back of Dohyun’s neck sweetly, relieved at the way Dohyun relaxes slightly.
“Let’s go,” Seungyoun finally says after a few moments of serene silence and the droning of the TV. “Can you walk properly, little one? Do I need to carry you? Also, do you want me to get Hangyul-hyung? He can give you some water. He can also sleep with us if that’s what you would want.”
“Hangyul-hyung is tired, too, I don’t want to disturb him,” Dohyun murmurs. “I’m already asking a lot of you, hyung – I’m sorry you have to be here.”
“I’m blessed to be able to take care of you, don’t say things like that,” Seungyoun admonishes gently. Dohyun shrugs before slowly stretching his limbs, sitting up and landing his feet on the floor as he sits on the edge of the couch. Seungyoun kisses the back of his neck gently, before rubbing the skin there. “Are you sure you can stand, Hyunnie?”
“I’m not dying, hyung,” Dohyun shoots back, witty as ever, and Seungyoun is sure that he is rolling his eyes. Brat.
Snickering, the older boy pinches Dohyun’s ear. “Yah, brat. I’m the one helping you out, remember? Should I just leave you to sleep here on the couch?” His tone is teasing, and he hopes that it will do something to relieve Dohyun of some stress, even if it’s just a little bit.
Dohyun scrunches his nose up and pokes his tongue out at Seungyoun. “Go away.”
“Brat,” Seungyoun mumbles in what may very well be the most affectionate manner ever, before standing up and stretching his limbs out with a yawn. Dohyun watches him through droopy eyelids, his hair falling over his forehead as he blinks hazily. Seungyoun pinches his cheek gently. “Come on now, brat. Let’s go to your room. Do you need water first?”
Dohyun shakes his head before turning his head away from Seungyoun. Moonlight tints his cheeks blue as he releases a puff of air in his cheeks. “I don’t – I don’t want…” His words are strained and tinged with distress, and the light atmosphere that Seungyoun tried to initiate is now completely gone. Dohyun swallows thickly and bites his lip, and then Seungyoun is using his thumb to release his bottom lip from his teeth, worried he’ll hurt himself. Dohyun sniffs and whimpers a little, a heartbreaking noise that makes Seungyoun kneel down and cup his cheek, concern spiking high.
“Hey – tell hyung what’s wrong,” Seungyoun says, stroking a gentle thumb over Dohyun’s cheek. His concern reaches its absolute peak when he notices the tears beginning to gloss over Dohyun’s eyes, and Seungyoun might have to call for Hangyul because he very well may start to cry, too. “Hyunnie, why the tears? Don’t do that, baby…”
“Hyung – I’m tired, I’m tired,” comes Dohyun’s broken reply as a tear falls out of his eye, and Seungyoun is quick to thumb it away with a trembling hand.
“Oh, baby… I know, I know you are,” Seungyoun whispers. Seeing no other solution, he says, “Hyung will carry you. Are you okay with that? I don’t think you should be standing at this point, sweetheart – you’re exhausted.”
Dohyun sniffles and nods, thankfully no more tears falling out of his eyes. He wraps his arms around Seungyoun and the older boy lifts him up, hiking him up on his waist as Dohyun buries his face in Seungyoun’s neck, Seungyoun holding him like he is holding a child (which Dohyun still pretty much is). Peaking around 6’0, Dohyun is definitely a giant baby, tall for his age but a baby nonetheless – Seungyoun found it only a little difficult to carry him, but for Dohyun, he’s sure he will do almost anything.
“Okay, off we go, Dohyunnie,” Seungyoun mumbles, beginning to make his way toward the room. Before he can completely exit, he notices Eunsang’s eyes on him and he catches the younger’s gaze. He had completely forgotten that the younger was still there in the living room with them.
Eunsang’s eyes flash with worry as he mouths, is he okay?
Seungyoun nods, smiling a little bit as he mouths back, don’t worry, and go to bed soon, okay?
Eunsang nods, grinning a little bit. There’s a good chance when Eunsang goes to bed he’ll join Seungyoun and Dohyun (everyone loves cuddles in X1), which means another person to make Dohyun to feel warm and loved. Seungyoun appreciates it more than anything.
Seungyoun stumbles his way into Dohyun’s bedroom, the younger sniffling every couple of seconds. However, there are no tears, and Seungyoun thanks the heavens for that, his heart was aching enough already. He presses his lips to Dohyun’s temple, and Dohyun hums a little bit. “We’re here, baby. Can I set you down? Hyung will come in with you, don’t worry.” When Dohyun nods mutely, Seungyoun goes over to the bed, which is all messed up with blankets strewn everywhere and pillows in places where pillows should not be, and gently puts Dohyun down. Seungyoun shakes his arms, which are going numb, watches as Dohyun slides under the covers and pulls the blankets over him.
“Hyung,” Dohyun says after a moment, eyes wide and looking at Seungyoun. Moonbeams paint his face, all pretty and ethereal in only a way Nam Dohyun is. “It’s… I’m cold, hyung – “
“Cold?” Seungyoun says. He immediately starts to take his own hoodie off without thought, noticing the way Dohyun trembles a little bit, from either cold or exhaustion or maybe both. Hopefully not both, but – most likely both. “Have hyung’s hoodie, m’kay?”
“But… won’t you… be cold, hyung?” Dohyun questions softly, nose scrunching up in that cute way it always does. Seungyoun scoffs fondly before tapping on Dohyun’s cute screwed-up nose lightly, and the younger takes it as a signal to sit up with a yawn, pushing Seungyoun’s hand away while he’s at it. Seungyoun grins a little.
“I feel okay, Hyunnie,” Seungyoun reassures, even though it really is cold and taking off his hoodie will only make the situation worse, but Dohyun is shivering and cold and Seungyoun can’t have that. Dohyun has always preferred loose-fitting clothing, and Seungyoun’s hoodie is perfect – as soon as Dohyun puts it on, he tucks his hands in to make sweater paws and pulls the hood over his head, making himself as small as possible. Seungyoun coos fondly before pressing a quick kiss to Dohyun’s forehead.
“Okay, baby, scoot over a little,” Seungyoun says. Dohyun throws back the covers, scooting over a lot before patting the large space next to him. Seungyoun laughs as he climbs into bed. “Didn’t need to move that much, but okay.”
Dohyun paws at the front of Seungyoun’s shirt, wanting to be held – needing to be held, and Seungyoun kisses the shell of his ear.
“Better?” Seungyoun questions softly. When Dohyun nods, Seungyoun smiles in contentedness, stroking his hair softly. “Good.”
Thinking Dohyun will fall asleep, Seungyoun relaxes. However, Dohyun sniffles again, and Seungyoun blanches this time, eyebrows furrowing in worry. Dohyun sniffles once more, pushing his face into Seungyoun’s chest, Seungyoun’s arms immediately wrapping around the younger like a cage of safety and warmth. He hugs Dohyun, his concern once again reaching its high peak when Dohyun lets out a muffled cry, and the older boy notices the tears beginning to soak the front of his shirt.
The tears hadn’t been over, is what Seungyoun realizes. They’re back with a vengeance.
“Oh – Hyunnie,” Seungyoun whispers in distress, heart shattering in his chest and the remaining pieces scraping his insides as he squeezes Dohyun tighter. Dohyun starts to cry harder, muffled sobs echoing around the room and hurting Seungyoun more and more, and the older takes a deep breath and looks at the ceiling. It’s okay. It’ll be okay. “Baby, the tears – no more, remember? You’re okay, sweetheart. Come on, don’t cry, hyung doesn’t like when you cry.”
Dohyun chokes on a strangled breath, shaking his head in Seungyoun’s chest, clinging tighter as the tears fail to stop, and it hurts.
“Hyung’s got you,” Seungyoun promises, voice a soothing lilt as he gently presses his face into Dohyun’s hair. “Hyung has you. You’re okay.”
It’s moments like these where Seungyoun wishes that life could be a little easier on Dohyun – on all of them. It’s too much. Dohyun is handling too much. Seungyoun wants to let him sleep until he’s never tired or stressed anymore. But this is their life, and there are going to have to be these moments – a member emotional and stressed and needing to be held, another there to hold him, both intertwined like they are one.
“No more tears,” Seungyoun whispers against Dohyun’s head, heart aching aching aching, all he wants is to protect Dohyun the best he could. He can’t do so. He’s not some superhero, no matter how much he wishes he was, because then he would want the ability to keep Dohyun happy and relaxed without worries. It won’t happen anytime soon – maybe not ever – but he won’t stop trying. Here, with Dohyun pressed against his chest, shaking with soft sobs, he decides that he’ll keep trying until his death day.
“I’m – tired, hyung,” Dohyun cries brokenly in between hiccupping sobs. “How much – m-more? Or how much l-longer, I don’t – I don’t think I – “
“You can,” Seungyoun assures him, tapping his fingers against his back gently. “You can, Dohyun. You’re young, you’re flourishing – I’m so proud of you. You can. You’re okay. You will be.”
“Tired – hyung – I’m exhausted,” Dohyun cries, shaking his head as his breaths begin to grow faster, and Seungyoun clenches him tighter (in fear? In sadness? Both?) and gives him another kiss to the head. “Don’t wanna – Don’t wanna do – “
“It’s okay to not want to do what you’re doing right now,” Seungyoun says, trying to not let his voice waver. “It’s hard. It’s hard, but, Hyunnie – you’re you. You’re so unbelievably you that it scares me sometimes. You’re doing amazing, and you’re going to be amazing.”
“But – h-hyu-u-ng,” Dohyun wails, breath hitching in his lungs as he collapses even more, sobs growing louder. Seungyoun scratches the back of his head gently, hurting, hurting so badly, wanting to just make Dohyun’s pain disappear. Dohyun chokes on his words, unable to catch his breath, and Seungyoun – he doesn’t know if he can handle him on his own anymore.
“Baby. Hyunnie. Breathe for me, baby,” Seungyoun says, hoping Dohyun won’t panic too much. He breathes deeply, maybe too exaggerated, but now Dohyun’s breath is coming in short little puffs and that’s definitely not not not okay. “Breathe with me. Hey. Dohyun – “
“I wanna – “ Dohyun chokes out, and then he pushes Seungyoun away a little, tossing his head back and sucking in a short breath that comes out in a wheeze. The tears on his cheeks glisten in the moonlight and he’s sweaty, so Seungyoun cups his cheek for a moment before recoiling, because what if he doesn’t want to be touched? But Dohyun is panicking, and that’s not good, it never is –
“Hyun,” Seungyoun chokes out, before steadying himself. Dohyun needs stability. Stability. Seungyoun can’t end up panicking, too. He clears his throat. “Hyunnie, baby – breathe. Deep breaths. Do you need me to count?”
Dohyun coughs a little bit, hands coming up to pull at his hair, but Seungyoun gently grips his wrists before he can do so. Dohyun lets out another pained cry, squeezing his eyes shut and his chest is still heaving up and down, and Seungyoun needs this under control now. He lets go of Dohyun’s wrists – the younger dislikes being touched in fits of panic – and there’s nothing he can do now but talk him through it.
Dohyun hasn’t panicked like this in a while – the universe must have decided it had been too long since making him suffer.
(Seungyoun hates it. Seungyoun wants to wipe away Dohyun’s tears and wants to slow his breathing and wants to free him from the restraints of stress and he wantswantswants but he will never have.)
“Dohyun,” Seungyoun says, trying to not get worked up, too. “Little one – look at me. First step, baby steps. Open your eyes, yeah? You can do that for me. I know you can.”
Dohyun chokes on a small hitching breath, hands scrubbing at his cheeks, and Seungyoun can see him struggling to follow directions.
“Open your eyes, Hyun. You can do that for me.”
It takes another moment of hiccupping sobs and short panicked breaths before Dohyun is opening his eyes, tears falling out of them in the process, and through squinted eyes he meets Seungyoun’s gaze. Dohyun blinks and then he coughs, turning to face the ceiling, spreading his limbs out and trying to desperately suck in a deep breath.
Okay. Okay. Um... what’s next, what should I –
“You’re doing great, baby,” Seungyoun says, unnaturally steady. His fingers twitch with the undeniable urge to just reach out and wrap Dohyun up in a hug, but the younger wants – needs – his space. So Seungyoun clenches his fists and talks as gently as possible. “Thank you – that wasn’t so bad, was it? Okay. Okay. We can do this, all right? You can do this. Listen to me, okay? I’m going to start counting – four, seven, eight. You know this. You’re so good at this.”
Four, seven, eight. It’s a method for Dohyun’s panic attacks that are rarely needed. Seungyoun wishes that he didn’t have to use it at all.
“One, two, three, four…” Seungyoun counts, and Dohyun panics a little bit, fingers gripping at his chest as he struggles to keep his eyes from squeezing shut. “Dohyun, you’re okay. Four. You breathe in for four, hold for seven, exhale for eight. It’s okay if you mess up or whatever. It’s okay.”
They go through the process – Dohyun fails and fails and fails, but Seungyoun keeps trying and trying and trying. Dohyun can’t hold his breath for seven, he only holds for five, sometimes four, but Seungyoun is okay with that. He’s more than okay with that.
Slowly, too slowly – the tears begin to slow and Dohyun’s panicked breathing slows down marginally. But he isn’t severely panicking anymore, and that’s what matters. So Seungyoun offers him a small smile as Dohyun turns his head to look at him, cheeks wet with tears, skin glistening with sweat and mouth ajar while trying to breathe normally. Seungyoun wants to cry as well, but he can do that later. Not right now.
“Almost there,” Seungyoun says, and Dohyun’s eyelids flutter shut for a moment before opening up again. If Dohyun was exhausted before, he’s definitely killed by now. “You’ve done so good, baby.”
Dohyun coughs a little, closing his eyes, and Seungyoun can only assume that he’s trying to focus on his breathing. His breaths slowly ease into normal ones, and the tears have seemed to stop completely, and Seungyoun has never been more grateful than now.
“Dohyun, do you know where you are right now?” Seungyoun asks – reality checks have always helped Dohyun come back from being disoriented. And with the way the younger’s eyes are darting around the way his hand is on his chest, he’s sure that he must be pretty disoriented. After such a scare, Seungyoun would be, too.
“I – b-bedroom,” Dohyun whispers, voice scratchy as a hiccup interrupts his words in between.
“And you’re breathing okay?”
“B-Better,” Dohyun confirms quietly. “Talking – hurts.”
“Don’t talk then, sweetheart,” Seungyoun says. “You’re overwhelmed. Take it easy – after working yourself up into such a panic attack, talking is going to hurt. Just try to relax, hm?”
Dohyun had worked himself up enough to trigger a panic attack. Seungyoun could have prevented this. He could have done something, instead of just being there he should’ve acted, he –
“You’re too good to me,” Dohyun says, reassuring, as if he can hear Seungyoun’s thoughts. Dohyun closes his eyes. “I – Yeah. I still sort of can’t breathe but you’re really helping me, hyung.”
“Thank you, little one,” Seungyoun sighs in relief, smiling again and eyes sad. “Can I – Can I hold you now?”
It takes another few minutes for Dohyun to finally respond. Seungyoun reaches over, gently pulling Dohyun to his chest and then rolling over so that Dohyun is on top of him with his head on his chest. He plays with the boy’s hair, wipes his tears that are still shining on his cheeks, and presses a kiss to his forehead while he is at it. “Are you dizzy, little one?” Seungyoun asks carefully, watching as Dohyun’s eyelids flutter.
Dohyun sniffles before nodding slightly, cheek squished up against Seungyoun’s soft sleep shirt. “Buzzing, hyung.”
“Your head is buzzing?” Seungyoun questions softly, fingers moving to tenderly massage Dohyun’s scalp. “I’m sure that it does, little one. You’ve had the longest day, haven’t you? A panic attack on top of that is sure to just put you right through the ringer, hm?”
Dohyun nods again, soundlessly.
“It’s hard, isn’t it, Hyunnie?” Seungyoun asks, receiving another slow nod. Seungyoun chuckles softly, sadly, fingers still massaging Dohyun’s head. “I wish it didn’t have to be, but, here we are. You’re doing so well, precious. I’m so happy for you. Setbacks are bullshit to us. You’re the best, Dohyunnie.”
Dohyun hums, nodding soundlessly. Even if he hadn’t given an actual spoken response to Seungyoun’s loving words, Seungyoun knows that he’s more thankful than anything.
“You’re a good kid,” Seungyoun says. “I hate seeing you panicking. I love you the most. Well, besides all the other hyungs, but, y’know, I’m quite up there. Aren’t I?”
This elicits a small giggle from Dohyun, which is better than wordless nodding or shaking his head, and Seungyoun smiles fondly at the small sound that brings relief to his body and his mind. Dohyun smiles, something a little cheeky but tired nonetheless, and his voice is ragged. “No. Hangyul-hyung is my favorite, you know.”
“Oh, you brat – “ Seungyoun snickers, before using his hand to make Dohyun move his head so that he is facing him. Seungyoun grins a little at his boy, before squishing his cheeks and moving his head to give him a quick peck on the nose. “There you are. You’re finally back, yeah?”
“Mmm,” Dohyun protests, scrunching his nose up before moving his head away from Seungyoun’s grip. “The room is sort of spinning. I’m tired.” Seungyoun nods. “I want to sleep forever and ever, hyung. Like, right now – close my eyes and don’t wake up for the next thirty or so years. Doesn’t that sound good?”
“Sounds… interesting,” Seungyoun says before smiling fondly. “Even if Hangyul-hyung is your favorite, you’ll always be my favorite. I hate seeing you like this – so exhausted. I would let you sleep for the next thirty or so years. Maybe even longer. I love you so much, Dohyunnie. I hope you know that.”
Dohyun is silent. And then, shyly, “Of course I know, Seungyoun-hyung. You can… You can be tied with Hangyul-hyung as my favorite. I love you a lot, too. Thanks for all you do. I’ll – well, I’ll try to relax a little more. Or something. Maybe I’ll need the pills in the future, but not now. It’s okay. Like you said.”
His voice is scratchy and some involuntary hiccups still interrupt his words, and he still trembles every few seconds and his eyes are red and cheeks rosy, but he’s Nam Dohyun and he’s perfect. And he’s okay.
“Brat,” Seungyoun says, and then presses a soft kiss to Dohyun’s head. “But. Good. That’s so good. I’m so proud of you and literally anything you do. You’re so welcome – Hyunnie, I’m never going to stop taking care you. I’ll be here even when you’re, like, 100 years old.”
Dohyun snickers softly, and then they are both met with silence, except Dohyun’s still slightly ragged breathing. Seungyoun wraps his arms around the younger, squeezing softly, feeling so many things all at once. Fondness. Love. Sadness. Fear. Anger. It’s a blur, a maelstrom, but it’s also okay. Dohyun is okay.
“Just – if the world ever feels like too much, talk to hyung about it, okay? Or not even just me – anyone. Hangyul-hyung. Seungwoo-hyung. Yohan-hyung. Anyone. We all love you so much, our little maknae. If you talk about it, we can avoid situations like these – I’m sure you hate panicking, don’t you, baby?”
“’Course I hate it, hyung,” Dohyun says, scrunching his nose up. “It’s just – yeah. It’s a lot. Too much. I’m so tired.”
“You’re okay, Nam Dohyun,” Seungyoun repeats, an omen of safety and comfort and warmth. Dohyun relaxes in his grip, the air grows silent once again, and everything is still and beautiful. Dohyun’s breaths are still slow and heavy, and Seungyoun’s are soft, but both mingle as one.
“Goodnight, hyungie,” Dohyun says, voice small in the silence.
Seungyoun smiles. With Dohyun pressed to his chest, breathing slow and soft now, eyes dry and cheeks painted with moonlight, he knows now. It doesn’t matter the hardships they face; with Dohyun on his side – cheeky, hardworking, kind, beautiful Nam Dohyun – he’s more than sure that they can face anything together. They can withstand anything. It’ll be okay – you will be okay and so will Dohyun.
Dohyun’s breathing fades into steady breaths, and Seungyoun stares up at the ceiling, up at the imaginary glow stars that are on the ceiling and the butterflies of moonlight still dancing their eternal dance, and he grins a little bit.
(And even if it isn’t, it will be. If there’s anything that Nam Dohyun has taught him, it’s definitely that.)