sejin was fully aware that, with his choice of being an idol, he'd been restricted from a few things. one of them was, obviously, relationships. he was ready to conceal his feelings whenever it came by, yet, when it did, he couldn't help but fall in love hopelessly. in the end, he had literally no say in it.
“haribo~ wake up, we have to practice.”
the young boy groaned, not really wanting to go. he was really comfortable in bed, even if it wasn't the best bed ever. “ten more minutes hyung, please.”
“if i give you more ten minutes we'll be scolded by jaehyuk-hyung.”
he groaned once again but forced himself to get up, looking at their team's only rapper. hyunwoong looked as tired as himself but still smiled warmly towards the younger, dimples fully displayed. his heart skipped a beat but, hopefully, his hyung didn't notice.
“come on sejin-ah, you're the only one left!”, they heard gwanghyuk's loud voice from the door. “the x-team will soon be here and you know how the hyungs can be grumpy first thing in the morning.”
“i'm already up, rio-ya”, he lied, getting up. hyunwoong looked at him and excused himself, remembering him to not forget to grab himself something to eat.
hyunwoong-hyung probably was just nice to him for being older, but he couldn't help but feel especially happy whenever he'd look at sejin with his eyes full of warmth.
“you've been a bit distracted these past weeks”, youngwoong asked him during their break one day. “are you nervous for finally debuting?”
sejin eyed his two same age friends and nodded, not really wanting to tell them what's been on his mind lately.
“it's normal to feel nervous”, the older of the trio spoke again. “but try to not let it interfere negatively, okay?”
gwanghyuk made a face at the taller. “since when you do advises, youngwoong-ah?”
the only x-team member of the trio pouted at him while the happy virus made fun of him like he usually did. sejin started to smile without even realizing it.
“what are you kids gossiping about?”, they heard a voice from behind, noticing once the trio's attention was on the new person that it was kyunghoon.
“hyung, no offence, but you're the one in the gossip club, not us.”
luha scoffed. “gwanghyuk-ah, why do you think i'd join hyeon with his gossiping when that's youngsoo's job”, he scoffed. “which would explain why they're so glued to each other.”
rio grinned. “is our hyung je~alous?”
he blinked. “jealous of what?”
hero joined the slightly younger troublemaker. “jealous that youngsoo-hyung has most of hyeonie-hyung's attention, obviously. don't pretend to be naive, hyung, it doesn't fit you.”
he looked confused. “but i'm not pretending anything. why would i be jealous of them?”
they both gasped. “hyung, did you two broke up already?”
the older finally understood the teasing. “broke u-- what! jo youngwoong, son gwanghyuk, what are you two implyin--”
“x-team!”, another voice said, loudly. all of the members went to look at their team's leader and oldest as fast as they could. “x-team, time to practice”, jaehyuk ignored the complaints that came after his words and looked at the ninety-nine trio (plus luha)’s direction. “gwanghyuk-ah, could you come here too and help us sharpen the dance?”
when the leader said could you he meant do it right now, no space for excuses. which made rio sigh at that. “sure, hyung. let's go, youngwoong-ah.”
hero sighed but got up, leaving the youngest of the googoos with luha. sejin looked at the explosive team practice in an awkward silence, hoping the older would keep it like that. he was wrong.
“you've been looking at hyunwoong's direction a lot”, he broke the silence, but at least he was using a low tone so no one else would listen. half of their team were practising loudly but the room was still way too small for all fourteen of them.
sejin hoped he didn't blush at the remark. “you-- you think so?”
“think? i know so”, he smiled sadly. “you've been doing it right now too.”
the younger bit the insides of his cheek. he didn't even want to stare, but his eyes went automatically to the older man's direction, who was currently babying the maknae alongside eunjae, with sangyoon resting next to them but without paying much attention. “how do you know?”
“considering i've been in your position once, it's kind of obvious. it's all over your face. but i think not everyone can catch it.”
the second youngest of their team hummed. “you think... hyung knows?”
luha didn't think much before shaking his head. “that dummy is oblivious, i really doubt he knows, don't worry. i'm not telling your secret either, in case you're worried about that. i'd hate it was my secret instead.”
the older smiled at him, which made him a little bit curious about what he meant about that, but the l-team leader got up and told the x-team it was their turn and, so, kyunghoon was soon on his feet getting ready for practice.
“does our sejinie likes someone?”
the boy in question quickly went dense to the voice, youngsoo and hyeon smiling at him innocently (and by innocently he meant not innocently at all: he has sly hyungs, especially those in the x-team). although the timing was creepily fitting, and although kyunghoon was the gossip group’s unofficial member, he did promise not to tell anyone, so he probably hadn't told those two. so, how? was it that obvious then?
he stopped over thinking too much, cleaning his throat before speaking. “why are you asking?”
“no~thing”, the older spoke with his high, aegyo tone.
“we were just wondering”, youngsoo finished, hyeon nodding by his side. “we were talking about the members and got into the topic.”
“then you entered the kitchen.”
sejin stared at the two members and smiled shyly. “as expected from the gossip hyungs.”
youngsoo showed him his tongue like a child while the older laughed at them, then looked at the kid's direction. “so, do you wanna hear what we've been discussing?”
not really, he thought, but considering he wanted to eat his snack without his fellow ninety-nine liners stealing his food he'd better stay in the kitchen, which would make hyeon talk to him about whatever he'd like to no matter what. so, instead, he nodded.
“well”, the rapper started, “or starters, we think doyul might have some kind of crush on dohyuk. at first, we thought it was just fan service since he often shows affection to his dongsaengs but he's still quite clingy to dohyuk off stage.”
sejin double blinked at that. “i never noticed,” he deadpanned a lie. he did, literally everyone knew about this, probably even dohyuk. that hyung maybe was just pretending to be hard to get towards the older hyung, dohyuk was really smart. while doyul was a dummy.
“it's because you don't really pay attention to this kind of things”, hyeon gave him a dad smile. the young boy felt like he was being babied and almost rolled his eyes at that, eating his chips quietly instead.
“there's also eunjae. we're not sure of who he's interested in, but maybe it's one of his fellow gooyook liners.”
that was a surprise for him. eunjae, liking either edward or sangyoon? sounded unreal. he was pretty much the same with every member, those two hyungs must have been bored and imagined stuff. shouldn't they focus on their debut, anyway? sejin really didn't get why they had to gossip among themselves so much.
“another suspect we have is luha-hyung”, the taller but younger of the two spoke once more.
sejin looked at the two of them. “who you think he likes?,” he asked, pretending to be interested.
“we're in doubt but we think... hyunwoong.”
with that, the young boy froze. “what?”
youngsoo didn't seem to notice the change in his behaviour. “yeah, it's just a guess, but he's been acting weird with him lately. haven't you notice it? you are hyunwoong's closest friend after all.”
sejin stopped and looked back. even since he told kyunghoon about his crush (or rather, confirmed his suspects) he hadn't done a thing differently. he shakes his head to the older duo.
hyeon rose a brow at that. “do you know something about it?”
“m-- me? no, i don't, why would i...”
“well, don't y--”
“i finished my snack! i should go back to bed, hyungs should rest too, we have a lot to practice tomorrow”, sejin quickly said, absconding to his bed before the older duo could open their mouths.
sejin didn't notice kyunghoon change behaviour with hyunwoong at first, so he decided to ignore what the gossip hyungs told him and focus on his practice. but then, at a better glare, he had changed: he seemed to spend breaks around the younger rather than with the leader or hyeon, would cling more to him (he wasn't the biggest clingy person of their team but he did more than usual when with the rapper), and in response hyunwoong would lightly tease the oldest l-team member until both were laughing. sejin hated that the x-team members could've been right about luha's feelings and decided to finally do what he was supposed to in the first place: conceal his feelings.
it didn't really work, honestly speaking, since the young boy was all about emotions, but since he didn't want to see those moments, in the end, he's been staring less towards the older, so maybe he was on the right path. he wasn't sure, actually.
their debut soon came and soon went by, it was quite fast in the kid's opinion, but maybe it's because compared to the months and months he'd practised, indeed, it wasn't long. he felt happy about finally making it and, honestly, it was great to pretend he wasn't quietly in pain over this situation with hyunwoong-hyung. maybe, eventually, it'd fade and he'd be fine. he was sure of it.
“sejin-ah, hey. wasn't expecting you to be awake now.”
the younger almost choked on the glass of water he was drinking, hyunwoong staring at him confused.
“you... okay there?”
his voice cracked as he spoke, “sure, hyung! i'm fine hahaha!”
the older didn't look like he believed him, but decided to leave it be. “so, we did it.”
“we debuted”, the older casually said. “at last.”
“ah. yeah, we did--”
“i'm happy. couldn't be happier, i think”, hyunwoong suddenly spoke. “it's something i've done for a while, and i'm lucky of doing with so many nice people. people i consider my family.”
sejin nodded. “and kyunghoon-hyung.”
hyunwoong furrowed a brow. “yeah, and him. and all the other hyungs and all the dongsaengs, and even dohyukie, although he can be a pain in the ass sometimes. and more importantly”, he paused for a second, “you, haribo. there is also you.”
he rolled his eyes. “i'm not more important than all of those hyungs. especially kyunghoonie-hyung.”
“why you say that?”, he said, still with a brow furrowed.
he sighed. “what makes me more important to him?”
the older smiled. “well, you're cuter. you have a lisp that i adore, even if i make fun of it, and he doesn't. and you dance better, and can both sing and rap”, he tilted his head. and i like you?”
he blinked. “are you asking me?”
“no? i'm telling you. i like you, lee sejin.”
he blinked again. “oh.”
“oh? i expected more words”, he laughed at himself.
he sighed. “i... i like you too hyung. i would've told you before but i thought you didn't like me like that.”
hyunwoong nodded. “that's why you've been avoiding me, right?”
“wha- i didn't!”, he said, but hyunwoong gave him a knowing look. “okay, yes, that was is.”
the older smiled to himself. “well, no more hiding or avoiding, okay? let's just enjoy this.”
sejin turned to him, confused. “what do you mean by this, hyung?”
he smirked. “us two together, of course. we could've had a hundred dates by now but didn't. we should fix it, don't you think?”
(kyunghoon threw himself on hyeon's bed, the taller man complaining about the pressure but he didn't mind it, hugging his shoulders and resting his head next to the younger's. youngsoo eyed the two and quickly looked away, pretending he wasn't there.
“thank you for helping me out with those two pining dummies”, he spoke, kissing the slightly younger's cheek, who giggled in the touch.
“you're welcome, hyung. i usually don't butt in on the matter but they were needing the push.”
luha furrowed a brow. “you don't butt in? and that time when you told eunjae to--”
“that was one time, hyung, and it didn’t even work. i mean, he’s still pinning.”
“yeah? and when doyul asked abou--”
“okay, maybe twice--”
“there is also when i d--”
“fine it was more than-- wait, you what?”, hyeon looked at his hyung, although it was dark he could see the lines of his face and his eyes were still visible, staring back at him.
the older smiled slyly. “no~thing”, he said, giving him a quick peck on the lips.
“can i get a kiss too? i helped you know”, youngsoo spoke suddenly.
they eyed him. “ask youngwoong instead”, they said in unison.)