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this very moment

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waiting can leave you on edge, brian realizes.

it takes five years of training for him to realize it. it takes two debut dates that fall through for him to realize it. it takes a sub-label reshuffling and a new member thrown into the mix for him to realize it. it takes ten minutes before debut showcase, with his fingers tangled in his shoelaces after trying to tie them together again and again and his teeth gritted in frustration, for him to realize it.

“shit,” he says under his breath. “shit.”

a hand finds its way onto his shoulder and a voice tells him to shut up in english. “don’t swear in front of the children,” the voice says, and he sneaks a glance behind him to dowoon, earphones plugged in and face pressed in concentration, trying to calm his nerves by practicing rhythms and beats he’s already engraved in his mind.

he lets out a nervous laugh like his fingers wouldn’t be trying to do the same thing. “i don’t think he heard me.”

he looks up to floppy blonde hair and thick framed glasses, lanky limbs and an anxious smile that mirrors his own, and he thanks god he has park jaehyung for a friend because awkward silences don’t exist with him around. “let me do it,” he says, as he reaches to untagle the mess brian created. he slowly navigates the complicated loops, finding the point where the disaster starts and ends and then unraveling everything from there. eventually, brian’s fingers are sprung free. “you’re a walking disaster without me, you know that?”

he stifles a laugh, covering his mouth with his newly freed hand. “i know.”

once jae finishes, brian finds he only has four minutes left before stage call, so he figures he might as well say something before the biggest moment of their lives. “hey.”

“yeah?” jae doesn’t look up from where he’s straightening out his shirt, and something flickers in brian’s mind.

(“i swear i’m still growing, either that or they lie and give me shirts one size too small,” brian remembers him saying one time before a performance, a different period in their life, a different them. he sees that play out before his eyes and he thinks about how far away that moment is now, too out of reach.)

he lets out a breath before continuing. “are you… is this good?” it’s so vague, too vague, but he doesn’t know what else to say right now, doesn’t know how to word anything when he’s dancing around the subject rather than confronting it.

(there was a time when they were promised different dreams, bigger dreams, and he thinks about it sometimes, when he looks at the people that’s come and go in his life chase them in his place. thinks about what he’s sacrificed. what he’s let go.)

“your outfit? not bad.” jae replies, and brian wants to scream. “no, i mean—“ but he’s cut off when he’s engulfed in a hug.

oh.

“you know it’s good.”

he suddenly feels like crying.

“yeah.”

he definitely feels like crying.

park jaehyung. greatest friend known to man.

they’re on now, and junhyeok gathers everyone into a circle (because of course he does), and sungjin tries to say a speech but fails on his ass (because of course he does) and wonpil is literally shaking everyone in the circle with his vibrating (because of course he does). dowoon is just trying to keep it together, god bless him, and he looks at jae and jae looks at him (with the biggest smile on his face) and he feels like he wouldn’t trade this for the world.

“this is it.” sungjin says before they disperse and brian feels those words ring in his ear the whole way to the stage. he hears the screams of the people that have waited for them, not just for the showcase but for ages now, forever, and he thinks about how there’s no difference between playing to a sold-out arena of thousands and a dedicated audience of fifty if he gets to do it like this.

he looks around the six of them at his bandmates, the people he’s formed this bond with, his friends, and he thinks: yeah. it’s good.

it’s good.