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i'll be okay (we're okay)

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hansol has his moments, moments when he looks over to the other members and he thinks about who they are compared to him. hansol gets lost in his brain a lot, a lot more than people seem to realise. it’s not always intentional. sometimes it happens when he’s sitting on the floor of the practice room, and he’s watching soonyoung or chan dance and he realizes just how good they are. hansol has no problem admitting that his friends are better at somethings than he is, that’s only natural at everyone can be good at anything after all.

 

but when he’s accompanying chan to the practice room, so that he can show hansol the new choreography that he made himself. when hansol sits on the chair in the corner of the room as he intently watches chan completely take over the dance floor he can’t help but swallow thickly, thinking of how much better chan is at dancing than he is. how much more fluid on the dance floor chan is. hansol knows that insecurities surround people and that every individual has their own, he more importantly knows not to let his insecurities get to him. yet sometimes, not even headstrong hansol can help it.

 

the same thing happens with jisoo or jihoon. hansol helps out with writing songs from time to time, his name is usually on at least 2 songs every album they produce, (he would be lying if he said that jihoon’s name being on all of them didn’t eat away at him just a little) so he joins jihoon in the studio sometimes, he sits with him while they discuss his ideas or lyrics. hansol feels the perspiration all over his body when he sees jihoon reading over his lyrics. ultimately, jihoon has a lot of trust in hansol and often gives him leeway on projects he’s sure hansol will do well in. hansol is grateful for that all the time. but he knows he could never make a song like jihoon does. joshua and jihoon are similar in a certain sense, they’re both highly talented musicians. more than just singers, or writers. they both understand music a lot more than hansol does. hansol doesn’t know crap about melodies and harmonies and how to properly pull them off, hansol doesn’t know shit about transposition and definitely doesn’t understand half of the random italian terms that jihoon and joshua throw around when talking music. he just knows what sounds good to him and what feels good to him. not that there should be anything wrong with making music that just feels right, hansol simply wishes that he knew a little more about what he was doing, maybe that would make his music just a bit better. make his music make a bit more sense.

 

and as much as he’d hate to say it to their faces (and he never will) hansol’s just a tad bit envious of his fellow band members’ physique. even wonwoo. wonwoo is tall, and lean, he’s skinny but he’s strong. wonwoo has also made it evident to all the members (and the public) that he’s 100% comfortable with his body and even encourages self love amongst the members. hansol’s more jealous of wonwoo’s ability to be so completely and utterly comfortable with himself than he is of his body. wonwoo was always one of the more mentally stable members. he was a lot surer of himself and his abilities than some of the other members, meaning that on multiple of the members had approached wonwoo, seeking comfort and advice. hansol had been on the receiving end of that on multiple occasions.

 

mingyu and seungcheol were a different kind of envy though. when they first started working out, they had invited hansol along. hansol never took a liking to strenuous physical activity. sure, didn’t mind the odd game of foot volleyball or dancing, he enjoyed both of those greatly but the thought of having to sit in a gym surrounded by a bunch of random buff strangers while another buff stranger yelled at him to do another 10 burpees was repulsing and almost made hansol scowl when seungcheol had offered. but he didn’t scowl or make any kind of rude face for that matter, he simply declined politely and let seungcheol and mingyu go without him.  

 

and they went, not another word from either of them. not like it had bothered hansol, he much preferred to stay at home playing fortnite with mingaho on their free days rather than having to get up at the crack of dawn just to run about a bit and need another shower. but the further that seungcheol and mingyu had progressed into their gym life the more vernon regretted not joining them sooner. seungcheol was always relatively big, and strong. he was the embodiment of masculinity even earlier on during their debut. but mingyu used to be a lot skinnier, a lot leaner, almost like wonwoo or jun. mingyu always had his face and his height work in his favour. but he was never buff or particularly strong like shownu hyung for example. but hansol would be damned if he didn’t take notice of mingyu’s ever bettering physique. it felt like everyday mingyu was getting closer to having it all. the handsome face, the long legs, the perfect proportions and last but not least, the strength and masculine aura that many younger people envied.

 

and hansol couldn’t help but envy it a little too. not that he was insecure about his body per say, but seeing the way he physically compares to mingyu, it made his stomach churn a little. hansol suddenly felt short when they performed close to each other, or he felt small whenever mingyu stood next to him with. not that hansol ever believed that he was some big strong man or that he thought in his mind that he was taller than 175cm but it still felt weird to see mingyu, who once only felt like he stood just a bit above him, now tower over him.

 

hansol kinda feels like he’s back in new york. surrounded by all these massive beautiful structures only to be left feeling small, drowning in it all.

 

but mingyu is mingyu and hansol is hansol. there was no need to dwell on trivial issues such as this. mingyu would continue being himself and if the day came where hansol was more bothered by his lack of comparison in physical appearance then he’d do something about it. but for now, the situation will simply stay put.

                                                                                          

---

 

hansol certainly noticed seungkwan noticing mingyu’s every growing perfect exterior.

not that it bothered him nor, really, was it any of his business. but hansol knew his best friend like he knew the back of his hand. and part of him found it detestable that his focus was more on his best friend’s opinion on things than his own. he’s his own person, hansol knows that, but if seungkwan is noticing then he needs to notice too. hansol could tell when seungkwan was particularly impressed or happy, even when seungkwan was trying his best to not show it. to be perfectly honest, hansol even knew when seungkwan was flirting. having been on the receiving end for so long gave him a good amount of experience concerning the matter. but seungkwan was no longer flirting with him.

(that’s an exaggeration, seungkwan was still flirting with him, but he was also flirting with mingyu, hansol didn’t know what to make of that)

seungkwan always had enjoyed a lot of skinship, it made him feel comfortable and loved and hansol understood that. his stomach churns uncomfortably as he thinks of how he’s always been pushing seungkwan away when he hugged him or initiated any sort of physical intimacy. but hansol could never pull seungkwan over to him, no not after pushing him away countless times. so instead, hansol just opted for watching. watching mingyu and seungkwan hold onto one another (more on seungkwan’s part but i digress) from a distance as his insides churn once again, this time with a different feeling. (was it one of longing, of jealousy or was he just hungry?)

(hint: all of the above.)

but hansol wasn’t blind, nor was he stupid. sure, he was slow from time to time but that’s because he’s so used to his life moving so fast. nevertheless, he wasn’t stupid. seungkwan fit a lot better by mingyu’s side than he ever did by hansols. hansol loves his best friend, he really does. hansol thinks seungkwan is the most beautiful person to walk the planet. and therefor he should be surrounded by people that match his beauty. which is probably why he’s always gravitating towards mingyu, or why the management always puts them together nowadays. they want their star entertainer next to another star, not some awkward scrawny halfie that doesn’t do much talking anyways. seungkwan and mingyu are perfect for each other. more than physically.

seungkwan is beautiful in every shape and form. he’s the perfect height, not to tall not to short, he’s the perfect weight, fuller in all the right places. his eyes twinkle when he talks and he sings like it’s what he was made to do and hansol is sure that he would fall in love with seungkwan in every life time presented to him.

but something about the way that seungkwan fits right under mingyu’s arm. the way seungkwan’s looks compliment and contrast mingyus, the way their personalities click. something about how they fit together makes hansol’s palms sweat and his heart pick up. he doesn’t like it one bit.

hansol shouldn’t feel this way, seungkwan is his best friend. seungkwan has always been his best friend. it’s always been seungkwan and hansol. it suddenly being a little bit more seungkwan and mingyu doesn’t suddenly change their friendship status. hansol just needs to grow up, sure they look great together but seungkwan will always be hansol’s best friend.

---

maybe seungkwan won’t always be hansol’s best friend.

seungkwan and mingyu go on another variety show together. per usual, the tom and jerry duo back at it again. hansol almost laughs. hansol doesn’t know why he watches it in the first place with jihoon and jeonghan. he doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to see mingyu and seungkwan sitting all close and bantering, and he doesn’t need to learn anything about seungkwan, he already knows basically everything. but he watches anyways, he knows seungkwan will ask later and he’s probably going to lie, saying he didn’t, saying he was too busy with some choreographies.

but they both know. hansol always watches, and seungkwan always knows. 

so, he watches it, and seungkwan and mingyu are sitting there, pressed up close together laughing along with whatever crap jokes the mcs make. (seungkwan is a way better mc anyways.) and then they talk about the group. seungkwan mentions how close they all are and mingyu snorts.

“oh, he’s just trying to be funny. we all get along very well” seungkwan says as he squeezes his hand on mingyu’s upper thigh,

“well, all of us just put up with seungkwan.” mingyu jokes and they all laugh, its lighthearted and hansol almost laughs too.

“yah! you’ll never find someone else like me!” seungkwan exclaims, suddenly standing, looking down at mingyu who just laughs up at him brightly and seungkwan’s fake angry expression melts away at the sight of mingyu’s canines.

“we’re best friends, really” seungkwan laughs, sitting back down, nodding into the camera.

hansol stops eating his popcorn for a second, seungkwan’s not wrong, they’re all best friends. but, still, he’s seungkwan’s best friend, seungkwan never called mingyu his best friend before. hell, sometimes they don’t even call each other friends.

“we’re best friends, really”

---

the fact that hansol’s a celebrity doesn’t help his case at all. it’s not like he’s not used to the words of strangers being thrown at him, but the fact that there’s so much, so much more than what he had experienced when he first debuted. social media has been around him his whole life, as a millennial, it would be rather impossible for him to avoid it. and being in the public eye as much as his popularity forces him to be it was even more impossible to dodge all the hurtful words sent to him over the internet.

now, hansol would be lying if he said that back when he was a teenager, and a stupid and irresponsible one at that, that he had never said things online that he didn’t really mean. he’s never absolutely destroyed someone online, or even started arguments he couldn’t finished. but he has made harsh jokes, and he has said things that he wouldn’t if the person was presented to him in person.

he supposes, in some sort of messed up way, this is the universe coming back to bite him for all the bad things he’s said. or rather, the more difficult to accept option, that he simply deserves the words that people throw at him.

sure, all things considered, that’s probably a little bit of an exaggeration, as he and his band are doing pretty well and have a lot more supporters than anything else. but nevertheless, he always needs to swallow especially hard, and force himself to look away when another malicious comment comes up on his feed.

he doesn’t want to call it bullying, bullying is a little girl throwing mud in a little boy’s hair, but it still hurts. hansol wonders about his position in the band enough, and having strangers tell him that he’s useless and doesn’t compare to the others doesn’t help his ever-growing little bubble of insecurity.

“hansol could probably quit and no one would notice lol”

“they say he’s supposed to help producing or something, but i rarely see his name in the credits.”

“not to be that person but,,, when you look at members like seungcheol and mingyu it’s difficult to even remotely compare hansol,,,”

and hansol knows, these are nothing but little trivial insecurities, his members praise him often enough and they’re always being supportive of him. and hansol knows that the words of those who care about him matter more than the words of random strangers on the internet with no intention other than to upset and discourage him simply because they have nothing more to do with their lives. hansol knows that he’s supposed to just take it like a grown up, he signed up for being in the public eye, he should be able to take it.

he knows all those things, but that doesn’t mean that it hurts any less.

---

“hansol we’re ordering in for lunch, you want something?” seungcheol asks as he scrolls through the food delivery app on his phone, looking through restaurants.

hansol thinks for a moment, staring at the open document of lyrics on his laptop, “sure, can i have your phone?”

seungcheol nods, tossing hansol his phone before stretching his arms out and sighing loudly, “we deserve this, jihoon’s been making us work on these songs all day. and the bastard is out at with mingyu while we suffer alone”

“hyung, don’t be like that” hansol mutters, selecting another 2 dishes, “and besideds jihoon hyung has been working hard on this album, let’s let him take a break, and i really want to get more royalties on this album. i feel like i contributed enough on the last album”

seungcheol huffs “still, i can’t believe that they just left us here!”

hansol rolls his eyes at the older boy and cracks his knuckles before going back to his lyrics.

“yah, hansol” seungcheol says, scrolling over the order “this is a lot of food, will you be able to finish it all”

hansol doesn’t answer.

---

“thank you, tokyo!” seungcheol announces through the microphone as they all take their last bow before starting to move off stage. all the members rush off, waving at the fans as they go, still listening to the chants and singing coming from the audience. once their backstage, almost all of them immediately drop down onto the closest surface, hansol sees jihoon drape himself across a dressing table.

“well done everyone! we all worked hard to night, let’s keep up the good work!” soonyoung announces loudly before laying down on jihoon, who tiredly tries to push him away, but fails.

“hansol what are you doing?” seungkwan asks quietly as he sits down next to hansol, placing his head on hansol’s shoulder.

“i’m looking through twitter, to see what fans thought of tonight” hansol replies, his fingers dragging up the screen to load new tweets.

“wow,,, hansol looks so small next to mingyu ㅋㅋㅋ

“did you hear hansol’s voice cracks during change up? mans should stick to rapping 0-0”

seungkwan sighs quietly, gently taking the phone from hansol’s hands, “let’s not look at these, yeah? how about we go grab a snack instead, i think they have mochi and i saw a big bowl of tangerines.”

“they have a point seungkwan” hansol mutters quietly, refusing to let seungkwan pull him up from the couch, “they’re not wrong”

seungkwan pulls his lips into a thin line and scrunches his nose in displeasure, “hansol…”

“it’s okay, it doesn’t matter, lets’ go get some mochi” hansol shakes his head, letting go of seugkwan’s hand which is still trying to pull him up and gets up by himself.

---

hansols metabolism is faster than anyone else’s in the group, even faster than myungho’s. it’s a blessing, meaning the company has never tried to put him on a diet, but it’s a curse because he’s trying to gain some weight and his body just won’t let him.

so, he goes to the gym too, he joins seungcheol and mingyu because he knows that jihoon’s workout routine is far too intense and he’s only a little bit scared of him. the company offers to send a trainer with them, because hansol doesn’t usually work out but seungcheol says that he’s willing to help hansol adjust. hansol’s more than grateful that he offered.

“what made you change your mind?” seungcheol asked as he helped hansol with a couple of weights, “you said that you didn’t have an interest in working out?”

“well, i thought, it’d be good to bulk up a little” hansol mutters, no sense of interest in his voice.

seungcheol sends him a doubtful look before shaking it off and instructing hansol how to properly hold the bar.

they work out for about 2 hours, just enough to make hansol’s muscles burn and his body ache to lay down. seungcheol clearly has way more stamina than hansol and seems perfectly fine with doing another 30 minutes on the treadmill, his presence encourages hansol to keep working, even if his legs fell like jelly and he’s lost most sensation in his feet. if seungcheol can do it so can he.

if seungcheol can do it then hansol has to as well.

---

hansol would had to have been beyond delusional to believe that seungkwan wouldn’t pick up on his ever-changing habits. they were best friends, no matter what hansols subconscious wanted to tell him.  and hansol could sense the tension growing between them as seungkwan observes him more, to which hansol just changes the subject or makes a weak attempt to brush seungkwan off. it wasn’t entirely right of him. hansol had always been adamant about ensuring that the members, (read: seungkwan) never had to deal with their issues alone, thus the hypocrisy he felt, in ignoring the members’ (read: seungkwan’s) attempts to talk to him was almost bad enough to make him cave. almost.

so, he keeps going to the gym, he eats more than usual, and he tries his best to avoid too much cardio or skipping any meals. he works harder on the album and tries to get as involved in production as possible. he even goes as far as to ask chan if he can join in on the danceologies or just practice with him and soonyoung when they stay behind.

he tries to ignore the way that it eats at him when he sees seungkwan frowning worriedly at him, he tries to ignore it when seungkwan tugs quietly on his sleeve, asking to speak privately and he tries to ignore the exhaustion that washes over him at the end of every day. he tries. but he knows he’ll only be able to hold this up for so long.

hansol’s ears cringe as the music playing over the speakers is replaced by his standard apple ringtone. he runs over to where his phone is connected and quickly answers the call.

“hello?”

“hansol-ah! have you eaten, i’m on my way to the dorm now, do you want me to pick something up for you?” seungkwans voice flows brightly through the phone and hansol feels his shoulders drop.

“ah, i’m okay, i’m actually not at the dorm right now.” hansol answers, already anticipating seungkwan’s angry response.

“oh,” seungkwan breathes, hansol cringes again, “practicing?”

hansol nods, as if seungkwan could see him, “yeah.”

hansol expects seungkwan to scold him, he expects him to start yelling at hansol for over working himself but all he gets is a sad, a hopeless, sigh.

“okay, see you.”

hansol doesn’t even have time to respond before the line goes still and seungkwans contact disappears from his screen. hansol feels guilty, he does every time that he brushes seungkwans attempts to care about him away, he always feels guilty but he expects his guilt to wash away, he always expects himself to just remember that he can stop whenever he wants to and there really is nothing to actually be worried about. really.

so hansol plugs his phone back in and starts the music up again and dances, again. he dances until his knees go so wobbly that it feels like he’s not even standing on stable ground, he dances until he’s so drenched in sweat that it feels like he’s been swimming. he pushes himself, he thinks of chan, of soonyoung, he thinks of how they’re praised for their dancing. he thinks of mingyu and how strong and charismatic he is, he thinks of how the fans’ eyes twinkle when they look at mingyu how seungkwan’s eyes twinkle when he looks at mingyu.

he dances until he can’t anymore, and then he dances more, he goes on and on and-

the tears stream from hansol’s eyes as he drops to the floor, knees cracking under the pressure and his shoulders droop and he just cries. at that moment, it feels as his whole world is pushing down on his shoulders and everything just hurts. good to me plays in the background, still booming through the room, he used to feel it vibrate through his feet but now, he’s too numb to feel anything.

he almost doesn’t notice the music dissipate, he’s too busy trying to keep his eyes dry with the backs of his hands, he’s too busy trying to get his breathing to sound less broken, less exhausted. but that’s what he is, exhausted and broken.

he feels nothing in that moment, he feels like nothing in that moment.

“hansol-ah.”

and any last part of hansol that was trying to keep calm, that was trying to stay in control, breaks and he sobs hysterically into seungkwan’s shoulder as the older boy pulls hansol into his chest.

“let go, i’ve got you, just let go.”

his eyes burn as he desperately tries to keep them closed, as if his tears will stop if he keeps them closed, but they don’t, they seep through until hansol opens again and they all wash out right into seungkwan’s shirt. his nose runs and he feels disgusting but, in that moment, he can’t be bothered to care about that, seungkwan’s not bothered about it so why should he be.

seungkwan’s fingers thread through his sweaty hair and he smooths it out gently while his other hand rests across hansol’s back, holding him close, holding him in place. hansol feels like a little boy who runs into his mom’s arms after a little girl threw mud in his hair.

but hansol feels bad, he feels bad for making seungkwan comfort him, for crying on seungkwan’s shirt, for not being able to hold himself together.

“i- sorry,” he pushes himself from seungkwan’s chest weakly but seungkwan’s not having it,

“just let me love you,” seungkwan pleads, pulling hansol back into his chest and holding him impossibly closer.

and hansol can’t work up the energy to say no, because, no matter what he likes to tell himself, he needs this right now.

seungkwan takes hansol home. the dorms are pretty empty, jihoon and mingyu are home they’re the only two seungkwan saw on the bottom floor. seungkwan checks jeonghan and minghao’s rooms, minghao is painting, jun lounging on his bed. he asks about the rest of the members and minghao mentions something about wonwoo, seungcheol, soonyoung and dino going out for karaoke. seungkwan suspects that jeonghan is with joshua and deokyeom but does no further investigating.

hansol stands quietly to the side, out of the door frame as seungkwan talks with minghao, trying to keep himself calm. seungkwan helped him stop crying earlier but he still feels pressure in his throat.

“have you seen vernon?” minghao asks and hansol swallows thickly.

seungkwan looks at him and he quickly shakes his head, “ah, he’s home i think, i called him earlier, i’ll go check on him, we’re gonna watch the new running man episode!”, seungkwan exclaims, turning back to minghao.

“hm okay seungkwan,” minghao laughs, “just put a sock on the door yeah?”

hansol frowns and seungkwan’s cheeks flare “yah, minghao hyung, don’t say things like that.”

seungkwan quickly scurries off, hansol following as soon as minghao’s door is shut. they go to hansol’s room as seungkwan has more roommates that might be joining later, although, he doubts that jun will be coming back tonight and he hopes that soonyoung will be drunk and clingy enough to stay with chan tonight. not that it’s any of seungkwan’s business but they seem to be a lot closer than most friends are, especially recently, and he wouldn’t be surprised if there was more going on there than what meets the eye.

“sit, i’ll run you a bath.” seungkwan instructs gently, pushing hansol down onto the bed by his shoulders. hansol, to seungkwans pleasure, listens and scoots himself backwards on his bed, sniffing as seungkwan leaves the room.

seungkwan scurries off to the bathroom, almost running but not quite. the taps are open in an instant and seungkwan quickly fumbles through the cupboards till he can find some lavender oil and one of joshua’s bath fizzers. he runs the bath fizzer under the running tap for a moment, just enough for some of it to crumble and fall into the bath, mixing in nicely with the heated water, and drizzles some lavender oil through the bath as well, knowing it’ll help for hansol’s over worked muscles. as soon as the bath is going steadily, he leaves the bathroom, quickly making his way back to hansol’s room.

it’s not that hansol meant to fold himself into a little ball on the bed, it’s just the most comforting position right now. he yearns to be held, even if it’s by himself only.

seungkwan lets out a shaky sigh as he shuffles quietly over to hansol’s stiff body on the bed, sitting down next to him before, after a very very brief moment of contemplation, lays down with him.

hansol’s eyes are glossed over with a thin layer of unshed tears and he looks as if his soul isn’t in them, as if he’s somewhere else, somewhere far inside the deeper parts of his brain. seungkwans fingers work at hansol’s hands and pulls them from where they’re clutching onto his knees. he frowns at the halfmoons indented in hansols skin. as if by instinct, hansol’s body follows seungkwans plans perfectly, and unfolds so that he’s spread out, no longer hugging himself. but he’s held again soon after, but this time by a different set of arms. the top of hansols head brushes close to seungkwan’s face and his hair tickles the bottom of seungkwan’s chin. seungkwan’s arms are positioned around hansol’s shoulders, urging their bodies closer together, hansol once again (tiredly, distantly) complies, and lets himself be held as he pushes his body flush against seungkwans.

“it, it hurts.” hansol mutters absentmindedly, nose wiggling into the crook of seungkwan’s neck. seungkwan’s eyes prick with tears at the sound of brokenness in hansols faint voice.

“what hurts?” seungkwan asks tentatively, carding his fingers through the hair at hansol’s nape.

hansol breathes out shakily into seungkwan’s neck, “everything.”

seungkwan just nods, hansol can feel it in his movements, “i know, i know. it’s okay, i’ll make it all better, yeah? we’ll make it all better.”

---

seungkwan helps hansol to the bathroom and lets him bathe, body soaking up the heat and aromas of the pretty glittering water. by the time that hansol’s out of the bathroom seungkwan’s already changed into boxers and an old shirt (hansol’s old shirt, he’s not too tired to notice.) seungkwan’s already seated on hansol’s bed, resting against the wall, phone in his hands. the moment he hears the door creak open it falls from his hands and his eyes meet hansol’s tired ones in an instant.

hansol scurries over to the bed, shoving soonyoungs laundry to the side on his way and lays down. his body instinctively faces seungkwan (who quickly moves to lay down as well, pulling hansol into a close embrace like before.)

the closeness of the hug speaks for its self in that moment. seungkwan’s grip is loose but determined. there’s enough space for it to be comfortable, but they’re close enough to get the right message across. hansol lets himself breathe easy for a bit, knowing that he’s safe and that right now, no matter what, he’s not alone, that he’ll be okay.

“i wanted them to like me.” hansol mutters quietly and seungkwan already knows what he’s talking about.

“they like you, they love you. most of them would kill just to have the opportunity to tell you how much they love you.” seungkwan says back, gently tracing his fingernails up and down hansol’s back.

“but they like mingyu and seungcheol hyung better. and they think that the other members are better dancers, and they think i don’t do enough on the albums, and-”

“people have opinions hansol, some people like mingyu hyung better, but others like you better. some people praise chan’s dancing and others praise your dancing. but hansol-ah, you know that you’re a great dancer, you know how hard you work on the songs and your raps.” seungkwan pauses, “did you do it for them or for you?”

hansol tugs at his lips with his teeth, but no words leave him.

“it’s okay to want to be better, but only if you’re doing it for yourself, if you’re doing it because you want it. not because of the carats, or the company or whoever else. because we will love you unconditionally, and you’re the company’s golden boy. and carats, real carats, love you just as much as the other members. because you already are enough sol. more than enough. and if you want to be more than that then it needs to be because you want it, not because other people made you feel like you need it.”

hansol exhales quietly into seungkwan’s neck, a shudder going down his spine as seungkwan slips his hand under hansol’s shirt, tracing shapes into his hip and lower back.

“i wanted you to like me.”

“i love you.” seungkwan deadpans, “you’re my best friend and i love you more than i love the universe, i love you more than there are stars in the sky and i love you more than you could ever imagine. never, never put yourself through this much pain for me. i will love you no matter what you look like, how many songs you write or how good you dance.”

“you love all the members; we love all the members.”

hansol looks up to seungkwan, who’s staring at him with soft eyes, eyes that hold too much emotion; hansol almost cries.

“yeah, but i love you. i love you in ways which you may not understand or know. and maybe that’s scary, but it’s worth it when i have you.” seungkwan explains, and his fingers fall from hansols hip and slips back out his shirt to rest across his shoulder.

“and more importantly, i want you to love yourself. and i want you to look after yourself. no more forcing yourself to work out or dance till dawn. no more hurting yourself like this.”

hansols eyes start to feel heavy and soon he lets himself close them as he fists seungkwans shirt in hands.

“i’ll love you no matter what, i promise.”

hansol almost misses the gentle press of seungkwans lips to his forehead as he drifts off. almost.

---

when hansol wakes up the next morning he’s got a strong smell of vanilla by his nose and a comfortable pressure under his head. although his vision is bleary and he can’t quite make out where he is, he slowly starts to realize that the body under him and the smell belong to seungkwan.

hansol’s eyes flicker up to look properly at the blue haired boy next to him who’s busy scrolling through his phone absentmindedly and doesn’t even seem to realize that hansol’s woken up. hansol’s head is comfortably resting on seungkwans upper arm and their legs are draped over one another. hansol wants to get up and scurry from seungkwan, apologizing for laying on him but seungkwan doesn’t seem the slightest bit bothered by hansols body draped all over his. nor does he seem like he’s making any effort to wake hansol up or get up himself. although he doesn’t know exactly how long seungkwan’s been laying there, awake, letting hansol rest on him, but some part of him thinks that it’s been a while and that seungkwan really doesn’t mind.

“he is my best friend, after all.” hansol thinks to himself, trying not to grin as he remembers seungkwan’s explosion of “i love you”s the night before. but as if he can only allow himself to be happy for a moment of time, he considers that seungkwan only said it because of his state, because of the circumstances.

“seungkwan wouldn’t” he thinks soon after, which, in all honesty is the most viable thing he’s thought in a while. seungkwan would never say those words if he didn’t mean them. he would have comforted hansol some other way if he needed to, he’d never throw away words like that so carelessly.

“hello.”

hansol shakes from his trance and realizes that seungkwan’s looking at him, a disgustingly soft look at that, and that his phone which was previously in his hand now rested carefully on his chest. hansol urges himself not to stare at the rise and fall of seungkwan’s chest for too much longer. he’s been idle for a whole couple of minutes by now. hansol just nods, as if that counts as a good morning greeting. he supposes, it does, when it’s just them. seungkwan will get it. he always does.

“you sleep okay?” seungkwan asks softly, shuffling down so that he and hansol were at eyelevel.

hansol all but hums in return, but seungkwan accepts it. he can see hansol’s at ease, and that despite the pains in his muscles or the feeling of incompletion in his heart that the healing process had already begun.

hansol’s an independent soul. he’s someone who thrives and lives from individual reflection and understanding. he’s never been someone that feels the need to over explain his emotions. hansol has always believed that in order to live diligently you need to live rationally and that you need to live with constant reflection. at first, he didn’t even realize he was doing it. to be honest, he thought that lying awake for hours on end, trying to figure out just what exactly he was feeling and why he was feeling it, was normal. he thought that writing pages upon pages of his thoughts out into some battered old notebook as he attempted to figure out how he works, was normal. a lot of hansols nervous habits turned out to be nothing more but self-reflection. which was both relieving and concerning at the same time. it put him at ease, knowing that he was just trying to understand himself and that there wasn’t anything wrong with him, that he wasn’t broken and incapable of understanding things unless he spent hours on it. but it was concerning because he soon came to realize how dependent he was on these moments (read: hours) of reflection. how much he needed to be alone, to think, to understand and to process. hansol’s always knew that he lived in the nighttime, that he was a child of the moon and that days were too fast and busy for him. routine was fucking stupid in his opinion. people needed change, he craved change. the world was too monotone and repetitive during the day. he thrived best when he had the time and space to open his heart and mind alike.

although they haven’t had much time in between to think about anything in particular, seungkwan knows that the gears in hansols mind are already working, are already back in action and that he’s going to be okay again.

but that doesn’t stop him from worrying.

“i’ll go see who’s awake,” seungkwan mumbles softly, slipping his arm from under hansol’s neck and sitting up.

seungkwans mind is clouded with far too many worries, suspicions and terrible terrible “what ifs” and he can’t help letting out a deep sigh as he removes himself from their little bubble. seungkwan can’t keep him safe all the time, he can’t protect hansol from himself or his mind and that’s scary. that’s frightening. seungkwan never wants a hair on hansols head or a thought in his mind to be harmed. but he can’t control that, no matter how much he wants to.

“hey.”

seungkwans eyes fly to the hand carefully wrapped around his wrist.

“i’m okay.” hansol says earnestly, “i mean, i’m not, none of us are always okay. but i’ll be okay. and i know that you’re going to worry about me no matter what i say so, please just keep doing what you’re doing. and i’ll work on getting better.”

seungkwan trembles, nails digging into the mattress, “i just- i can’t-”

hansol cuts him off, “i know. i just need some time.”

seungkwan nods, bringing his free hand up to wipe under his eyes, “but, please, if you can just do one thing, please don’t keep pushing me, or any of us, away. we want to be here, to love you and to let you be you. i couldn’t stand seeing you suffer and not be able to do anything about it. please, for me.”

a beat of silence hangs heavy in the air as seungkwan attempts to gather himself.

“yeah. i’ll be better. i promise.”

---

seungkwan reports back to seungcheol as subtly as he can without breaking hansol and his’ silent agreement of “what happens between us, stays between us.” but seungcheol is worried, jeonghan is worried, god everyone has noticed hansols little changes and seungkwan feels responsible when they all look to him for an answer.

hansol does get better. in his own quiet way. he still goes to the gym but not nearly as often as before. he keeps his practice to standard but goes home with the rest of them, instead of staying behind for hours on end. as they prepare for the comeback ahead, he does what he must for the album and tries to tell himself that what he’s doing is enough. that he’s working hard enough.

it helps that he deletes twitter and opts more for talking with his members about where he can improve. hansol doesn’t entirely realise he’s getting better, or that things are starting to feel okay again. but when he looks at mingyu, with nothing more than gentle adoration towards his friend, or dances with soonyoung and feels nothing more than adrenaline and accomplishment, that’s when he realizes that maybe, just maybe, he isn’t all that bad after all. and maybe he’s going to be just fine.

---

seungkwan loves his friends. all of them in their own special way, and for their own little reasons. he loves seventeen not just because they’re all in this thing together but because they really do get along. he loves the way mingyu will cook him anything if he asks nicely enough. he loves how seokmin will take him shopping on his birthday, he loves jeonghan hyungs comforting words and channie’s deep talks at 3 a.m.

but theres something more about how he loves hansol. not that he’s picking favourites (which he kind of is) it’s just that, there;s something deeper about his and hansol’s relationship. he supposes, they were just meant to be. meant to be in a way that’s different from the bond which they share as a group. seungkwan likes to believe that he and hansol were destined to meet in every lifetime. even if they weren’t in the group together, even if hansol never moved to korea. they’d still meet, somewhere in life. because seungkwan can’t imagine himself without hansol.

seungkwan likes to argue (to himself) that he and hansol are something, something more than nothing. and sometimes that feels worse than being nothing. the barrier between platonic and romantic in their relationship has been pushed around so much that seungkwan can barely keep track. but, he supposes, in some messed up way, they’re not meant to discover who they are. they’re not meant to be anything more than what they are. maybe they’re okay as it is, and maybe that’s enough.

but no matter how seungkwan wishes to push his feelings to the surface, he could never disadvantage hansol like that.

“today was tough.” hansol breathes, bringing seungkwan from his trance back into the real world.

especially not now.

“do you want a hug?”

hansol tucks himself into seungkwans arms and lets himself be held as he breathes in the smell of seungkwans vanilla shampoo, hands fidgeting with the hem of seungkwans t-shirt.

“there’s so much i don’t understand, so much i still have to learn.” hansol mutters, head perched on seungkwan’s shoulder, “so much i still have to become, and i’m so worried i’m doing it wrong.”

“hansol-ah, all of us still have to learn, i mean sure, we’ve been in this for a while now, but you’ll becoming the musician you always wanted to be, you’ll become more i’m sure and-”

“that’s not what i mean.”

seungkwan frowns, brows drawing together, pout settling on his lips, “what do you-”

“yes, i want to become the best version of my self as an artist, but, but more than anything else,” he pauses, seungkwan can taste his heartbeat.

“i want to become yours.”

seungkwan’s voice catches in his throat as his fingers tighten around hansols shoulders, fuck.

“we’re okay, i love how we are and i don’t want this to change our dynamic but there’s so much ambiguity and i just think that, i hope that, we’re worth more than that, and i know that we’re capable of more than that.”

“fuck hansol.” seungkwan curses to himself, mind going a thousand miles an hour as he searches in himself to find something, anything to say in this moment.

“it’s okay, don’t worry about it, don’t be sorry, please don’t cry. i don’t want to scare you off. you just mean a whole lot more to me than i think i can keep to myself.”

“hansol, you, you can’t do this to me,” seungkwan chuckles nervously, “you can’t. i- shit.”

“seungkwan?...”

'i love you. i love you in ways which you may not understand or know.’ i said that to you, i- hansol you’re my world, my sol. ‘and i love you more than i love the universe, i love you more than there are stars in the sky and i love you more than you could ever imagine.’

hansol stares at him, eyes blown and face priceless, seungkwan can feel the tears prick in the corners of his own eyes as he takes hansols stupid pretty face into his hands.

“you, you brilliant, beautiful, mother fucker, stop making me feel all these things.” seungkwan laughs softly, pressing their foreheads together.

“make me.” hansol teases quietly, and seungkwan sees the happy glint in his lush brown eyes and does what he’s waited 6 years to do and kisses him.

seungkwan kisses him with all the passion in his heart and holds him like he’ll never let go, and in that moment, he feels complete. whole. like all the little pieces of uneasiness, of insecurity and uncertainty go flying out of his heart and all he knows, all he feels and all he thinks is hansol, hansol, hansol.

hansol sighs in content when they pull away, face nuzzling into seungkwans, “there’s so much i need to work on, and there’s so much i still need to learn, but i know i can do it, as long as i have you by my side, i’ll be okay, we’re okay.”

seungkwan smiles, pressing a light kiss to hansol’s nose, “we’re more than okay.”