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Lee Chan | Dino Requests

Chapter Text

Rules

 

  • No smut
  • No sexual assault, major character death, or eating disorders
  • No littlespace, puppyspace, etc.
  • No reader or OC inserts

 

Let me know what kind of relationships you would like, any preferences, etc. If your prompt is accepted your comment will be approved. Please be aware that these updates will probably be very slow, as I have school and other commitments. Also, I may not necessarily go in order with requests, so if someone else's oneshot is posted before yours, fear not! As long as I approved the comment, it will be done eventually. Thank you for your understanding!!

 

 

REMEMBER: All of these stories are completely made up and are no where near the truth. These should not be shown to any idols, nor should any other fanfics or shipping. They are also real people who deserve respect.

 

REQUESTS ARE CLOSED—but if you have already submitted one then I will get it done. Thank you so much for your support!

Chapter Text

It started so quickly that sometimes he had trouble remembering just how it began.

If he had known that when the new manager, one Mr. Park Jaeho, asked him to stay behind in the dressing room for a music show one day after all the others had left, it would set into motion one of the absolute worst time periods of his life, he would never have stayed. But he didn’t know, and he did stay. 

“Manager-hyung, what did you need me for?” he asked.

And just like that, the manager that they had grown to know and trust in the month that he’d been with them was gone, replaced by someone that Chan had never met before and never wanted to meet again. 

“Don’t take that tone with me, boy,” Jaeho snapped.

Chan laughed nervously. “I’m not quite sure what you mean, sir.”

“You know very well what I mean. You’re already in trouble because of your performance today, and then you have the nerve to be smart with me? Young people these days…”

“I—I’m sorry for talking like that?” he said, even though he didn’t think that he spoke in a particular way. Though he was tired, he supposed, so maybe he really was being a dick without realizing. “But why am I in trouble for my performance?”

“Why are you in trouble for your performance?” He waved his arms in the air. “Why do you think? You stumbled not once, but twice in only three songs!”

Chan flinched back. “I didn’t mean to—I’m just really tired and—”

A hand darted out and slapped him across the face. For a moment it didn’t even register what actually happened. He just stood there in numb shock, clutching a hand to his cheek.

Everyone is tired,” Jaeho hissed. “Not everyone fumbled the dance moves. Hopefully that’s enough encouragement for you to not be so self-centered next time.”

It didn’t bruise, only left a red mark underneath the makeup, which Chan was fine with. The hyungs wouldn’t get a chance to see his bare face now that they each had their own rooms in the dorms. He’d make sure of it.

This was a one-time thing, a fluke. It would never happen again.

 


 

It happened again. And again. And again. And it got just a little bit worse each time. After the first few occurrences, it evolved from slaps into punches, first lightly on his arms, and then forcefully onto his torso. Sometimes, when Chan especially badly, or when he “talked back” just a little too much, Jaeho would land kicks to his shins. 

Chan learned pretty quickly that trying to reason would get him nowhere, but he hadn’t been holding his own against his hyungs for all these years for nothing. Normally he took pride in his smartass-ery, his ability to think of creative comebacks on the fly a necessary skill when dealing with twelve other people who were just as willing to tease him as he was them. The thing was that with his hyungs, he hardly ever got in actual trouble for his brattiness. It was just one more aspect of their maknae that they adored; his complete willingness to stick up for himself even though they were all older. But this was not a normal situation, and he did get in trouble for talking back. A lot of it.

So he eventually began holding his tongue. Whenever Jaeho asked him to stay behind he stopped saying, “Oh, I can’t wait to see what’s in store this time!” and started keeping his head down, hands folded over one another by his front, his mouth firmly shut. Soon enough, though, it would be forced back open to let out the grunts and whimpers of pain caused by Jaeho’s fists and feet. His newfound silence didn’t end with Jaeho.

It was safe to say that the other members were concerned when Chan didn’t respond to Seungkwan’s nagging for the younger to go get him food with anything other than a respectful nod and a, “Just a minute, hyung.” Their worry only multiplied when he brought it back and it was completely normal ramen, no extras snuck in there in order to prank Seungkwan. And when Seungkwan thanked him cautiously, scanning up and down his face for any signs that he wasn’t feeling okay, and Chan bowed to him, to them all, they knew that something was up. But for some reason they didn’t bring it up, a decision that would come to be one of their biggest regrets. Maybe they thought he was simply having a bad day and needed alone time. As long as they never asked, Chan never told. No point in ruining their perceptions of the man that they all clearly liked, after all.

 


 

It wouldn’t last forever, though. Chan was a strong person, but even he had a breaking point. In some roundabout, twisted way, it was his hyungs that put the final straw on the camel’s back.

When Chan came back to the dorm with tears running down his face, all of them immediately leapt up and made their way to him. Joshua and Jun grabbed either of his arms and guided him to sit down on the couch, letting him curl into the side of Jeonghan, who was already sitting there waiting for him.

“What’s wrong, Channie?” 

“Nothin’,” he sniffled.

“Well obviously there’s something,” Seokmin laughed lightly, trying to lift the mood. “Tell us what’s wrong.”

“Manager-nim said that—that I wasn’t good enough to be in the same group as you guys. That you’re all secretly disappointed in me.” He closed his eyes and waited for the cries of protest, the soft reassurances, the gentle hands running up and down his back and through his hair.

But they never came.

“Are you sure that’s not a bit of an exaggeration?” Jihoon asked, skepticism ringing loud and clear and hitting Chan harder than any of Jaeho’s punches to the gut had.

They didn’t believe him.

“Jaeho-hyung wouldn’t say that kind of thing,” Mingyu said. “You’re just tired Channie. Your brain is tricking you into believing in things that didn’t happen.” 

“No, no I swear—”

“Shh, it’s okay,” Jeonghan whispered, even though it very much wasn’t. “You should go to sleep, okay? You’ll feel better in the morning and then we can all laugh about this together with Jaeho-hyung.”

And Chan could do nothing but nod and let them lead him to his bedroom, where Seungcheol leaned over and kissed him on the forehead before smoothing down his hair and whispering a good night. Once the door closed behind the leader, Chan buried his face in his pillow and let the fabric soak up his tears and his cries.

They didn’t believe him, and that hurt worse than all of the bruises layered on his body put together.

 


 

The next day they had dance practice and, for reasons unbeknownst to everyone except for Chan, Jaeho had decided to drop by near the end. Chan felt the man’s eyes on him the whole time, watching his every move for mistakes.

“Jaeho-hyung!” Soonyoung greeted after their final song. “What are you doing here?”

Chan watched bitterly as Jaeho smiled at the others. Now, knowing what kind of person the man truly was, Chan wondered how none of the others could tell that the smile was fake, filled with lies and greed.

“Oh, we almost forgot!” Mingyu exclaimed right as they were about to leave. “Yesterday Chan was going on about you saying some things to him, things like us being disappointed or something. What did you actually say? Because we know that you wouldn’t talk like that.”

Jaeho laughed, and then the others laughed with him, but Chan saw the look Jaeho sent him when they calmed down, and it didn’t spell out good things for his future.

“Actually, could I have Chan stay back for a minute? I just want to clear things up, y’know, make sure he didn’t get the wrong idea from what I said last night.”

“I think that’s fine,” Seungcheol said. All of them looked at Chan, their expectant gazes pressuring him to just say yes, then you’ll realize that you were just imagining things. Jaeho-hyung is so nice to all of us. He even wants to comfort you now, see!

Chan swallowed thickly. “Yeah, that’s okay.”

Minghao clapped his hands together. “Great! Let’s go then. I just want to go sleep for about 48 hours.”

So they filed out, laughing and talking amongst themselves. “We’ll meet you at the vans, Channie!” Joshua called.

“Sounds good!” he replied weakly.

The door closed behind Hansol and immediately Chan was pushed against the wall, Jaeho’s snarling face leaning up close to his own, his uncomfortably hot breath fanning across Chan’s face.

“What the fuck did you say to them? That I was being mean to you?” he spat. He backed away, and for a moment Chan thought that maybe he was getting off easily today, but then he looked into Jaeho’s eyes and saw an emotion he had never seen there before. 

Complete, all-encompassing rage.

“Are you trying to lose me my job?” He lunged and grabbed the front of Chan’s shirt, tugging his forward and then throwing him to the ground. He closed his eyes, panting, and as he opened them back up, his lips slowly turned up into a smile. Chan felt a shiver go down his spine.

“Well guess what?” he asked. “It didn’t work and it’s never gonna work because they don’t believe a word you say. And even if they did, it wouldn’t matter. D’you know why?”

Chan shook his head.

“Because they wouldn’t care. You don’t matter to them.” He laughed. “It’s a wonder you haven’t realized it by now. They only keep you around in the group because the fans expect it. But soon enough they’ll realize that not much would change in the group if you weren’t in it. The fans will adjust to Vernon being the maknae and then it’ll be like you were never there in the first place.”

Chan whimpered and felt the tears forming in his eyes. He willed them not to fall.

He could deal with a lot of harsh words. He could deal with complete strangers insulting him, telling him that he’s bad at dancing, singing, rapping, that he’s ugly.

He couldn’t deal with someone who actually knew all of the members in -person telling him that they hated him, that they wouldn't miss him if he was gone.

“No…” he whispered. “No, that’s not true…”

Jaeho laughed again, the sound like nails on a chalkboard to Chan’s ears. “Oh, it’s not? Maybe this’ll knock some sense into you.”

And gave chance the hardest punch he had ever thrown to Chan’s cheek.

The door slammed open.

Chan and Jaeho both snapped their heads to look.

Jun was right in front, with Wonwoo standing directly behind him, and as they ran into the room, fury painted clear as day on their faces, ten more people ran in after them.

Jun, Seungkwan, and Jeonghan all raced to Chan’s side while Wonwoo, Seungcheol, and Mingyu went to restrain Jaeho, and the others created a protective barrier around Chan and the other three.

Chan vaguely remembered shoving his face into Jun’s neck, feeling his hyung’s arms wrapping tightly around him, and the calming sensation of falling asleep.

 


 

He woke up in a bed at the dorm that belonged to Jun, but had noticeably no Jun in it. When he stood up, in the mirror he saw the red surrounding his eyes and trailing down to his chin. The events of last night came flooding back to him and he wanted nothing more than to get back into Jun’s bed, pull the covers over his bed and bury himself in the comforting smell of his hyung’s cologne. He debated it for a couple minutes; it didn’t take long for him to (reluctantly) abandon the idea. Better to get it over with. So he steeled himself and headed into the living room, not bothering to smooth down his bedhead.

When he got out the room wasn’t silent. There were several conversations going on, there was the TV playing quietly, the air conditioning murmuring in the background. Yet when he emerged from the hallway, and Seokmin cautiously said, “Good morning, Channie,” the talking ceased, the TV was switched off, and the room seemed all too stuffy.

Jun was sitting in the loveseat with Minghao, so Chan walked over and promptly wedged himself in between the two, ignoring Minhao’s soft grunt of surprise and focusing on the hand that Jun instantly placed on his back. Everyone was looking at him, and it made him feel out of place, so he turned and faced into Jun’s shoulder.

There were a few soft coos from around the room. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone approach and crouch down in front of him. The person grabbed his hand and held it tightly.

“Can you look at us, baby?” It was Jeonghan—of course it was.

He looked, and saw all of them looking right back at him with soft, fond gazes. And for the nth time that week, his vision got blurry, and his nose started running, and he put his hand up to his mouth and bit down in order to stifle his sobs.

Minghao frowned from his other side and grabbed his hand, slowly easing it out of his mouth. “Hey, don’t hurt yourself. You can cry, it’s fine. None of us will judge.”

So Chan cried into his hyung’s shirt. He managed to gasp out, “Do you guys hate me?”

Vehement denials from everyone.

“Then why didn’t you believe me?”

Seungkwan closed his eyes and bit his lip, trying to hold back his own distress at the pain in the maknae’s voice.

“We are so, so, so sorry,” Joshua whispered. “We never should’ve done that, baby.”

“We were too caught up in our own heads and we forgot to look at how you were feeling,” said Seokmin, “and that’s something that we swore we’d never do as long as we’re your hyungs. Your hyungs are supposed to protect you, and we failed to do that.”

They sat in relative silence for the next few minutes until Chan’s breathing had calmed down. Somewhere along the way he had slid down to the floor and been positioned practically in Jeonghan’s lap. Neither of them could say that they minded.

“Do you mind if we ask you some questions now, honey?” Jeonghan asked.

Chan shook his head. The rest looked at each other, silently asking who was going to go first.

“How long has it been going on?” Seungcheol asked. They all knew what it meant.

“A couple months,” Chan murmured. 

“Why didn’t you tell us right away?” Mingyu felt kind of dumb for asking, especially since they had basically proven why Chan wouldn’t want to talk to them, but he had to know for sure, to hear it for himself.

“I didn’t want to ruin him for you guys.” Chan whimpered, thinking back on words Jaeho had told him a few times. “I tried so hard not to be selfish but then he started saying even more mean things and I couldn’t stop myself.”

“He told you you’re selfish?” Jihoon repeated incredulously. He let out a bitter, disbelieving laugh. “I’m sorry, Channie, but that just doesn’t make sense. You’re one of the most selfless people I know, and I can guarantee you that anything else he said about you is completely untrue too.”

For the first time, Hansol spoke up. His words came slowly, like he was truly thinking about each one before he said it, piecing the sentence together to make sure it was the most effective it could be.

“You know that telling us that he was—” he hesitated, “hitting you isn’t selfish. We’re all very glad that our image of him is ‘ruined’ now because you matter more than him to us. You’ll always matter more.”

“I’ve said this before:,” Seungcheol added, “my members will always come first.”

They sat in silence after that, reveling in the fact that they were all together and, for the most part, okay. Chan set his ear against Jeonghan’s chest, listening to the quiet yet strong thump, thump, thump, of his heart. That reflected how his hyung actually was, Chan realized. Quiet yet strong.

“How did you guys find me?” he finally asked them.

“We all owe it to Jun,” Wonwoo explained. “He was the one who had suspicions about Mr. Park in the first place. He convinced us all to stay behind.” Wonwoo looked at Chan from under his glasses. “I’m glad we listened, but I’m sorry it took us that long to do so.”

Chan opened his mouth, but as if he could predict what the younger was about to say, Seungkwan cut him off. “Don’t you dare say that it’s fine. It’s not. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to understand just how sorry I am, baby. You didn’t deserve what that poor excuse of a man did to you at all.”

“What’s going to happen to him?” Chan asked, both in an attempt to change the subject and out of genuine curiosity.

“The company is trying to handle matters as privately as possible,” Soonyoung answered, “but he is being charged. None of us will ever have to see him again. I—I put some medication on your bruises last night before we put you in Jun’s bed.”

Chan gave a quiet thank you.

Later that night, when Hansol had one the rock-paper-scissors for who got to share a bed with Chan (a competition that Chan had acted like he hated, but secretly couldn’t stand the thought of sleeping alone), they laid together in the dark, pressed together under the covers.

“For what it’s worth, Channie, the fans would definitely miss you. I would too.” 

Quiet. Then:

“You make a better maknae than me anyways. It fits you.”

Chan couldn’t stop himself from laughing.

Chapter Text

Okay, so maybe he shouldn’t have chosen a college without looking into the location.

To be fair, the school did have a really good dance program, which wasn’t common by any means, so who could blame him? It wasn’t his fault that the campus happened to be located in a kinda (read: very) sketchy town that was hundreds of miles from where he grew up. And he had always wanted the TV-show college experience, so it was a no-brainer when he was asked to choose between off-campus housing and living in a dorm.

Unfortunately, this was decidedly not the TV-show experience.

The main character in a TV-show didn’t get bullied in college . That’s right: bullied. In college. Chan had thought that kind of thing just didn’t once you got out of high school. Surely everyone was far too mature for that now that they were all working on their degrees.

Nope. Not at all. If anything, it was worse than high school. Because Chan didn’t get bullied at all in his small town high school with a graduating class that totalled around 30 people. He didn’t talk much to anyone other than his close friends, but his classmates knew and liked him. Getting punched in the face was practically unheard of throughout the entire school.

It was a rather common occurrence here, though. There was one specific group of guys who wandered the campus, looking for anyone who appeared to be especially vulnerable to an attack. And it seemed that Chan was their latest target.

The breath was knocked out of him as he was slammed against the rough brick wall. Even though it was dark, too dark to see just a few inches in front of his face, he knew who it was that had grabbed him and pulled him into this alleyway.

“Did you really follow me all the way into town, Dongsuk? You couldn’t just let me go to the post office? Are you that desperate?” he groaned, determined not to let his nervousness show.

“I know you told Professor Park,” Dongsuk said slowly.

“Of course I did. I’m not gonna let you get the credit for the project that I did by myself.”

A fist caught him in the gut. He groaned again; if not for the fact that he was being held up against the wall, he would’ve keeled over.

“You know how seriously that old man takes ‘honesty’,” he jeered the last word, as if the very thought of it disgusted him. “I already have enough strikes. You could've lost me my scholarship.”

Despite himself, Chan couldn’t help snorting. “It’s a wonder you got one in the first place.”

Dongsuk growled and landed one more blow on Chan’s left cheek before backing away and motioning to one of the boys that had been standing behind him watching the scene unfold.

“Ooh, you gonna sick one of your lackeys on me?” Chan mocked. The fake confidence that he hoped was present in his voice faded soon after. There was a glint, the singular small stream of sunlight that came into the alley bouncing off of whatever the lackey had removed from his pocket. Chan paled—the town he was raised in was fairly safe, but he had lived in this place long enough to know what that was: a switchblade.

“Woah, woah, woah, maybe we can talk about this—”

“Not so cocky now, huh?”

He tried to muster up the words, but nothing came out except a small squeak that, in any other situation, would’ve had his face burning. But now that humiliation was the least of his worries. After all, he was pretty sure that he was now facing imminent death.

Well, this was less than ideal. He had never imagined his last memories to be in a musty alleyway in a not-familiar-but-not-unfamiliar town so far away from basically everyone he cared about.

Mom, Dad, please forgive me. I’m sorry I never graduated like you always wanted. I’m sorry that you have to bury your son. I’m sorry I couldn’t live up to your expectations. I’m sorry—

“What’s going on here?”

Chan’s internal panic paused and went to the background for a moment to make room for his confusion. The other guys also froze, turning to look at the owner of the voice. Standing in the entrance to the alley were three men, all of them looking to be taller than everyone here.

“I said: what is going on here?” the one in the middle repeated slowly. He was obviously the leader of the trio as the other two stood a step behind and let him do the talking, but some part of him knew that they could still hold their own pretty well.

At the man’s words, Dongsuk recovered from his surprise and regained his previous confidence.

“What, you know this little bitch?” he scoffed.

“No,” the same man said. “But I don’t like it when someone is being picked on by someone bigger than them. And it looks to me like you are trying to beat up this kid for telling the teacher on you.”

The taller man next to him snorted. “Sounds like something that would happen in elementary school, not college.”

Dongsuk glared. “Watch who you’re talking to buddy.” He dropped his grip on Chan’s front, letting him slump to the dirty ground, and stalked over to the tallest man. He looked a bit taken aback when he realized just how much taller the man was than him, but it didn’t stun him for too long before he pulled back his fist. The man easily caught it.

“I suggest you remove yourselves from our turf before we make you,” he growled.

He lifted his sleeve to reveal… something. Chan couldn’t make it out, but it must’ve been bad judging by the way Dongsuk’s face drained of all color.

“Shit, man!” he cursed, backing away from them frantically. “Let’s go!” The lackeys hesitated for only a moment before they followed him out the alley, tripping and spitting curses all the way.

That left Chan and his three mysterious saviors. As he looked up at their approaching figures, his mind raced with all of the things he wanted to say, starting with thanking them for saving—

“Who are you?”

The leader chuckled. “Cutting right to the chase, huh? I see how it is.”

Chan flushed. “Thank you for stopping them from…” he trailed off, shuddering.

The third one, the one who hadn’t spoken yet, crouched down next to him. His hair was black, a stark contrast to Chan’s own sandy blond, and his eyes were bright like the only thing he ever did was smile. “Hey, he was just joking. You’re okay. My name is Jisoo. That’s Seungcheol,” he pointed to the leader, “and that’s Mingyu,” he pointed to the tallest man. “What’s your name?”

“Lee Chan,” he introduced. His jaw already felt sore from being decked, and talking only made it worse. He rubbed it while he talked. “I’m a freshman up at Pledis University.”

Jisoo stood up, brushing some dust off of his pants before reaching a hand out to help Chan up. “A freshman? You’re the youngest one here.” His eyes caught on the bruise forming on Chan’s cheek. He frowned. “I’m sorry we couldn’t stop them from doing that. Looked like you took a few good hits. Do you need bandages or anything?”

Chan grimaced and wiped some blood off his lip. “Nah, I think I’ll be good.”

Seungcheol’s phone rang and he answered. Chan could hear muffled talking from several different voices. There was screaming in the background. His eyes darted between the phone and all three of his saviors. Seungcheol hung up the phone.

“Is everyone okay?” Chan asked cautiously. No one else looked concerned, which was puzzling.

“Oh, yeah,” Seungcheol brushed him off. He said the next part more to Mingyu and Jisoo. “Seungkwan pranked Soonyoung and now HQ is in chaos. Everyone’s waiting for Seokmin to take a side before they make their own alliances.”

“We better get going then,” Mingyu said, “I wanna see how this plays out.”

Jisoo looked back at Chan. “You gonna be able to get back to your dorm on your own?”

Chan nodded, watching them in faint bemusement.

“Good. We might see you around. Till next time,” Jisoo said, motioning like he was tipping a hat, a smile cracking on his face. Mingyu snorted and shoved him lightly.

“Stop being cheesy.”

They walked into the darkness, the opposite direction to which they entered from, and it took Chan a moment to remember that there was a dead end. Yet when he turned around to tell them, they were nowhere to be seen.

 


 

“No, you have to understand: they came out of nowhere! I’ve never seen them before!” Chan repeated for what felt like the hundredth time, running his hands through his hair. He was sitting on the couch (which, though not the most comfortable, was in better condition than his own) in his friend's dorm, trying to explain to her what exactly had happened to him a few days ago. 

It seemed like she was having a bit of trouble getting it.

Or maybe he was just bad at explaining things.

“Channie, surely you realize how strange this sounds,” Yeri said. “Three men—whom you’ve never met before—approached you in an alley and roughed up your bullies?”

“Don’t call them that,” Chan muttered, even though he knew it was true.

She snorted. “That’s besides the point. It doesn’t make any sense.”

The door opened. They looked over to see Yeri’s roommate, Sooyoung, taking her jacket off by the door, grocery bags on the ground next to her. “What doesn’t make any sense?” she asked.

So Chan retold his story, expecting much of the same disbelieving reaction. Except that’s not what he got.

“Well, from what I could guess,” she began from where she had moved to sit on the edge of the counter, “you’ve gotten yourself mixed up with Seventeen.”

They gave her equally clueless looks. She sighed, rolling her eyes.

“Jesus, do you guys never get out? They’re… well, I guess they’re kind of like a, for lack of a better word, gang. But as far as I’m aware, they don’t deal in drugs. Vigilantes, I guess fits better. They protect their turf, but they’re not afraid to get violent while doing it.” She paused for a moment. “Don’t take my word for it, though. I only know this much because Juhyun-unnie is friends with Junmyeon-oppa whose younger brother is Sehun-oppa who’s friends with Seo Youngho who’s friends with Yoon Jeonghan who’s a part of Seventeen.” They gave her half-impressed-half-scared looks, and she shrugged. “Anyways, I have play rehearsal in, like, fifteen minutes, so I better get going.”

After she left, they sat for a good few minutes in silence, trying to process everything that just came out of her mouth. 

“So…” Chan said slowly, “what do I do now?”

“Are you kidding me?” Yeri exclaimed. “A gang of vigilantes just saved you from getting your ass beat.”

“Okay, well, first of all: part of a gang. Second: I would not have gotten my ass beat. Third: how is that supposed to clarify things for me?!”

“Right, I forgot how bad you are at social cues—don’t try to deny it. Obviously, you thank them.”

“Oh yeah, Yeri? And how do you suppose I do that?” Chan did feel bad for snapping at her like that, but in his defense, he was feeling just a little frazzled. Besides, she didn’t seem too offended by it. In fact, she looked more amused than anything else. “I can’t just send them a thank you card, can I? Hey, I heard you guys are a bunch of gang members. What’s that like? By the way, thanks for saving my ass back there. Send my love to the kids! XOXO, Chan.” He snorted derisively. “Yeah, that would go over real well.”

“Not like that, you big drama queen,” Yeri responded, punching him on the shoulder. He couldn’t help smiling at the nickname, which would normally be something to defend himself against. Now it felt like a form of stability, a reminder that he had friends to help him figure this out. “You can bring them some sweets or something, as a gift.”

“Yeri, I don’t know if you remember the last time I tried to bake, but it didn’t end well.”

(The campus refused to move him to a different dorm, and he can still feel the glares of his neighbors on his back. Some people got really stuck up on being woken up by the fire alarms in the middle of finals week).

She smiled. “That’s what I’m here for.”

 


 

Chan stood in the middle of the entrance of an alleyway with a plate of cupcakes in his hand, feeling very, very stupid.

(Chan looked at the cupcakes skeptically as Yeri wrapped them up in saran wrap.

“You’re sure they’ll like these?”

She hummed a tune and shrugged. “I don’t see why not. Everyone likes red velvet.”)

Only once he got into town did he realize he had absolutely no idea where to find Seventeen. Seungcheol had said something about an HQ, so maybe there? But, of course, he had no way to get there. So, after wandering the streets for a while, he eventually found his way back to the alleyway that started it all, and figured that this place was as good as any.

So he went inside, slid down to sit on the dirty cement, and waited. He didn’t know how long he was there for; it all kind of faded together after the first rat tried to get to the cupcakes. Eventually, though, it started storming. Not a light shower— storming. Rain poured out the sky, thunder booming and lightning flashing every second. Within minutes Chan was soaked to the bone, and there was no sign of it letting up anytime soon.

The streets were clear of most people, and while he may have walked here, it was going to be a lot more difficult when it was raining sideways. Chan didn’t really know what he could do except wait out the storm.

Luckily, he didn’t have to wait for long.

“Funny meeting you here,” Jisoo said. Chan stared. “You look to be in rough shape.”

“You could say that again,” Chan said. “I’ve been waiting here for a while.”

“So I’ve been told. I’m sorry no one came to get you. We didn’t know you were waiting for us.”

“I have cupcakes,” Chan changed the subject. “I hope you guys like red velvet.”

“Of course we do,” Jisoo answered. “Who doesn’t? Now, then, follow me.”

“Follow you?” Chan spluttered. “To where?”

“HQ. You didn’t think we were gonna just leave you here in the rain, did you?” Jisoo scanned him. “Take my jacket. Use it as an umbrella. It’s not a far walk.”

“But what about you?”

“I’ve dealt with worse than a little rain.”

It didn’t take long to get there. The building itself was rather inconspicuous, looking just like a normal office building in a small college town like this one: a few stories tall, brick walls with a flat roof. Inside it was even less threatening. They walked right into what appeared to be a reception area.

The lady at the front desk gave Jisoo a nod as the two of them entered the elevator. To Chan’s surprise, instead of pressing one of the numbers, Jisoo pressed the button that would call the fire department.

“This is Joshua,” he said into the microphone. “I’m coming down with a guest. Make yourselves presentable.”

And then the elevator started moving down. It shouldn’t have been possible; there were no buttons to indicate a maintenance floor or anything of the sort.

When the doors slid open, they were greeted with a normal looking living room. In fact, it looked so normal that it made Chan suspicious. Not a second after they stepped out, a man ran by screaming. A few seconds later, another, shorter man emerged. This one, though, stopped when he saw them.

“So you’re the kid those three have been talking about, huh?” He looked Chan up and down, as if searching for something. Then he looked at Jisoo, and a mischievous grin appeared on his face. “Well, he certainly is as cute as you’ve been—” Jisoo lunged forward, slapping a hand over the man’s mouth.

“Ignore him, Chan,” he said. “Jihoon doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

“Oh, so we’re telling him our real names now?” He turned back to Chan, paying no mind to the look Jisoo was giving him. “I’m known as Woozi, though my actual name’s Jihoon, as Jisoo-hyung already mentioned.”

“I’m Chan.”

“So I’ve heard. You’ll do good, kid. If he trusts you enough to bring you here then you’re good in my book.” With that, he continued his chase.

Another man emerged from the hallway. “Why is Soonyoung running from Jihoon?” he asked, before noticing Chan. “Hi there, Chan. I’m Jeonghan. I’ve heard a lot about you these past few days. Why don’t you go get dried off in the bathroom while I talk to Jisoo? It’s the second door on the left.”

“Uh, yeah, sure,” Chan said slowly. “Where do you want me to, uh, put these?” He motioned with the cupcakes.

“Just put them on the coffee table for now,” Jeonghan waved him off. “There’s a change of clothes in there, by the way. We put them there once we knew you were coming.”

“...Thank you.”

When Chan came back out of the bathroom in thankfully dry clothes, still rubbing his hair with the towel they provided for him, he froze out of shock. Instead of there just being the two people there when he left, there were… a lot of people. Twelve, to be precise. 

“You!” One of them shouted, pointing at Chan, who took a step back. “I love you! These cupcakes are amazing.”

“Calm down, Soonyoung,” another one laughed, “you’re scaring him.”

“He’s not scaring me,” Chan said quickly. “I’m not scared at all. Nope, not me, no-siree, not scared at all.”

In the back, someone chuckled. “You’re really fooling us all with that, Chan.”

“Oh, sure, you try being in this situation!” he snapped back. “I wouldn’t see you being so high and mighty.”

“There’s the spitfire they told us you had,” the same one observed. 

“Why have you guys been talking about me so much?” Chan finally asked. “I’m not that interesting in general, there’s no way you got that much from me in the five minutes we spent talking to each other.”

Someone coughed. “Couple days,” he muttered. The person next to him elbowed him hard in the ribs and hissed, “Seungkwan, zip it.”

Still, Chan zeroed in on the words. “What do you mean, a couple of days?”

They pointedly avoided eye contact.

“We sent some people to watch you,” Mingyu finally broke and said, much to the annoyance of everyone else in the room. “You caught our attention when we saved you from those bullies, so we sent some people to watch you after.”

“Nothing creepy!” Seungcheol rushed to assure him, though it wasn’t much comfort. “No one watched you change or shower or anything. We didn’t even track down your dorm. We just sent some of our people onto campus to observe.”

Chan felt like he should be freaked out, and he was, but not nearly as much as he thought he should’ve been. Replacing that was simply… weariness. He slumped down on a bench by the wall and scrubbed a hand down his face.

“How did I not notice?” he wondered.
“Minghao and Jun are our best intelligence gatherers. Even the most highly trained agents would have difficulty spotting them, let alone a college freshman.”

The two that Chan assumed were Minghao and Jun nodded their heads in acknowledgement, graceful and proud smiles donning their faces. 

“Speaking of freshman,” the one named Seungkwan said, “how old are you, Chan?”

“Nineteen… why?”

“Ha! Guess what guys?” They all gave him blank looks, except for the one standing next to him, who had an exasperated yet fond smile. “We’re not the youngest anymore! You don’t get an excuse to baby us!” He hooked an arm around the person next to him.

“What does that—” His question got drowned out by the numerous protests to Seungkwan’s statement. He watched as both him and the person he was next to—who was called Hansol, if he was hearing the others right, and was presumably the same age as Seungkwan—were grabbed by the older members and put into headlocks, given noogies, and were tickled.

Chan watched the chaos happen and thought that if he was truly going to be welcomed into this, as was implied, he wouldn’t mind it too much.

 


 

“We meet again,” Chan sneered. The situation was eerily familiar. It gave Chan a certain sense of deja vu.

He was once again in an alleyway—the very same alleyway as the first time. At this point he oughta question why he found himself back here so often. And he was once again being threatened by the same group of people. It seemed that they had forgotten what happened the last time, or maybe they just thought that the people who had stopped them had realized that Chan didn’t deserve to be saved. It was a fear he himself was not yet done battling.

“Yeah, we do,” Dongsuk spat. “Maybe if you stopped being a fucking snitch we wouldn’t find ourselves in this position so often.”

Chan could feel the attitude coming. He knew it wouldn’t end well. It never did. But he was nothing if not a smartass, 

“You wish you could find yourself in a position with me,” he muttered.

A few of the lackeys let out soft chuckles, but stopped immediately once Dongsuk rounded on them, his glare sharp and warning.

“And you still haven’t learned any manners,” Dongsuk said. He pulled his fist back. “I guess it’s time to teach you some.”

But before he could punch Chan square in the jaw, a different hand caught his fist and twisted his arm back.

“Remember me?” Jisoo whispered. “I’m back with some new friends.”

Dongsuk and his gang must’ve remembered at least what kind of capabilities Jisoo and his group had, because it didn’t take long for them to book it out of there, spitting and cursing the whole way.

“Did he hurt you?” Jun asked, pushing his way to the front. “I’m sorry we couldn’t get here as soon as we would’ve liked.”

“Nah, you’re good. They just roughed me up a bit, didn’t actually land anything good.

“Still,” Minghao frowned from a few feet away, “we don’t like it when you’re hurt at all.”

Chan raised his eyebrows, finally realizing the group of people before him. “You’re not who I would expect.”

“We had to do several rounds of rock-paper-scissors to decide who could come,” Wonwoo said quietly. “I’m glad I won.”

“I’m glad you guys are here,” Chan said. “Usually I only serve to anger them more.”

Jun laughed and rested his cheek against Chan’s head. “One of the reasons we all love you, Channie.”

“Yeah?” Chan smiled. “I love you guys too. Thanks for being my knights in shining armor.”

“It’s our pleasure,” Jisoo, taking his hand and kissing it playfully. Chan laughed and pretended to swoon.

He also somehow managed to worm Wonwoo into giving him a piggyback ride back to HQ, which he was exceedingly proud of. He couldn’t say that he didn’t expect the ensuing babying and care that he received upon arriving there with the rest of them, but that didn’t mean that he had to enjoy it.

(P.S.: He did enjoy it—just a little bit. He would never admit that to them, though, and he would kill anyone else who did.

What? He had an image to keep up around here).