When Hyungwon heard the click of one of the bedroom doors opening down the hall, he glanced the time in the corner of his laptop screen, half expecting it to already be morning. He hadn’t intended to work so late into the night (4AM, the display read), but he wanted to get as much work done as he could, seeing as he was in a productive mood.
He heard the bathroom door close a moment later, and shrugged it off as one of the members getting up to pee. Nothing unusual.
He’d just gotten his train of thought back when he heard the bathroom door open again. He figured whoever it was would go right back to bed, but instead a moment later he looked up to find Changkyun lingering in the doorway.
“Hey kid, what are you doing up?” Hyungwon asked. Changkyun had been hiding from everyone all day, skipping dinner and going to bed before everyone else, so Hyungwon hadn’t exactly interacted with him in a while. He figured the youngest had just needed some time to himself as he often did after hectic schedules like they'd had over the past few weeks, or perhaps he was just being sulky about something one of the members had done to him the day before. He couldn't be sure. There hadn't been enough time in the day for him to investigate the matter thoroughly.
“Hyung,” Changkyun started, but his voice was hoarse and gravelly, so he cleared his throat before continuing. “Do you know where the painkillers are?”
Hyungwon’s eyes narrowed.
“Why? What's wrong?” He questioned, silently assessing the boy in the doorway. He noted the way Changkyun appeared to be clinging to the door frame, and even in the dim lighting Hyungwon could see Changkyun’s pale face and pinched expression.
Changkyun fidgeted a little, clearly formulating some sort of reply that blatantly wouldn't be the truth. The youngest's prolonged silence prompted Hyungwon to begin closing his laptop. In response, Changkyun backed out of the doorway to disengage from the situation.
“It’s nothing,” the younger started, but a moment later his breathing hitched, and he appeared to lose his balance. He stumbled over, head tilted at an odd angle as he hissed quietly in pain.
Hyungwon shoved his laptop off his lap, rushing to the youngest’s side. Changkyun clutched the right side of his head, and Hyungwon immediately began overthinking everything that could possibly be wrong with the boy.
“Are you okay, Changkyun? Tell me what hurts,” he prompted, hands on the boy’s shoulders to keep him steady. Changkyun’s legs were awkwardly folded beneath him, and he took a moment to gather a reply.
“My... my ear hurts, hyung,” the youngest grunted, and it broke Hyungwon’s heart to hear the quiver in his voice. Even through the boy's t-shirt, he could feel an unusual amount of heat radiating off him. He pushed Changkyun’s bangs back to feel his forehead. He wouldn't consider himself very skilled at detecting illness or injury in his members, but he certainly knew a fever when he felt one.
Aish, what were they supposed to do with this kid?
Changkyun sniffled, and his desperate, pained gaze was enough to force Hyungwon into action.
“Shoot, alright, we need to wake up Kihyun-“
He was cut off by Changkyun grabbing his arm with his free hand.
“Please don’t,” he begged. “It’s okay, hyung. It can wait ‘til morning.”
“Clearly it can’t, Changkyun. You’re really sick and you probably need to go to the hospital."
“I just need some medicine to help me sleep, that’s all,” Changkyun tried again, but he was having a hard time even talking from what Hyungwon could deduce, and the older was getting more concerned with each second that passed.
“Yah, quit being difficult already,” Hyungwon scolded, and a moment later immediately regretted his tone because Changkyun’s eyes had already been welled with tears, and a blink later he was crying.
“Hey, hey, I’m sorry. It’s okay, I'm not mad at you,” he comforted, stroking Changkyun’s hair. "Aigoo, alright, you're gonna have to bear with hyung for a little bit. You gonna listen to me?"
Changkyun nodded, sniffling again. Hyungwon smiled at him reassuringly.
He helped the boy to his feet, guiding him to the couch with an arm around the youngest's waist. He imagined getting the maknae down to the van would be a challenge, seeing as he needed assistance just to walk in a straight line, but they'd just have to figure that out when the time came.
“Don’t worry, okay? I’ll take you to the doctor. We don’t have to wake Kihyun up," Hyungwon comforted, squeezing Changkyun's shoulders. A part of him knew that Changkyun was probably just crying from the pain, it’s not entirely his fault, but he still felt terrible. Usually he was the one beating the other members up for being mean to the youngest, not that it happened often.
Mind made up, he glanced around, trying to think of what to do first. He wasn't exactly equipped to take care of a situation like this on his own, but how hard could it be? He just had to get them to the hospital and back in one piece.
First things first, he had to get Changkyun ready.
“Alright, stay here. I’m gonna go grab some stuff for you.”
Changkyun nodded distractedly, cradling his hurt ear.
Hyungwon crept down the hallway to the bedrooms. He had to pause outside the room adjacent his own to take a deep breath and calm down. If he made any noise, he was going to wake Kihyun. He was already a light sleeper, and he didn't exactly know if he'd already been disturbed by Changkyun leaving the room a few minutes earlier.
He gently opened the door and slipped inside, creeping to the dresser near the door to find a pair of socks for the youngest.
He jumped at the quiet voice in the dark behind him, because he had exactly two dongsaengs in the dorm, and one of them was dying in the living room.
He turned to find Jooheon sitting up in his bunk, regarding him with sleepy confusion. Hyungwon was quick to bring a finger up to his lips, signaling the younger to be quiet. Jooheon tilted his head at him.
“What are you doing?” Jooheon asked, voice hardly as hushed as Hyungwon would've liked. "Are you going somewhere?"
“Go back to sleep,” Hyungwon dismissed in a stage-whisper, stuffing a pair of socks into his sweater pocket. He heard Kihyun shifting in his sleep in the bunk above Jooheon’s, and emphasized the need for the younger to be quiet again before he slipped back into the hallway, mentally kicking himself for forgetting to grab one of Changkyun’s sweaters.
When he returned to the living room, he found Changkyun curled up on his side on the couch, his tender ear guarded beneath him. He looked miserable, blinking slowly at the carpet.
“Here. I’ll help you put a hoodie on and then we can go,” he murmured, slipping the socks into Changkyun's hand. He turned to retrieve a hoodie from the laundry room when he was met with Jooheon standing in the doorway. He jumped, luckily able to stifle a surprised yell.
“Hyung, is everything okay?”
“Geez, kid, don't sneak up on me. And I told you to go back to sleep,” Hyungwon chided, grabbing Jooheon’s arm and pulling him toward the laundry room. He didn’t want his voice to carry down the hall to the bedrooms.
“Changkyun’s sick. I’m taking him to the hospital,” Hyungwon explained once the laundry door was shut behind the both of them, digging around in the laundry basket next to the dryer for a clean sweater. Jooheon swore behind him.
“Aish, really? Hyung, are you sure you should be the one taking him? Shouldn’t we wake up Kihyun-hyung or something?”
Hyungwon fished a clean hoodie out of the dryer before turning to confront Jooheon.
“I can take care of him myself. Besides, he's already upset, and he doesn’t want to wake anyone else up."
Jooheon winced, probably judging Hyungwon's poor decision not to get Kihyun involved, before following him back into the living room. Changkyun had just barely managed to pull his socks on in the time they were gone. A brief look of guilt passed over his face as he realized Jooheon was now awake and involved in their little escapade as well, but Jooheon was quick to soothe him, sitting down next to him and pulling him into a comforting hug.
Hyungwon could at least appreciate that Jooheon had been the only one to wake up. Shownu was better suited for dealing with injuries, rather than illnesses, and Kihyun, well, it wasn't that they wanted to keep him in the dark about the situation. He really was the best at taking care of them while they were sick. However, if Changkyun didn't want the group mom involved, even if it was just because he didn't want to be a bother so late at night, Hyungwon was still willing to honor the maknae's wishes. They'd just tell Kihyun in the morning, after everything had already been sorted and taken care of.
He was also grateful that Wonho wasn't around to see Changkyun like this, or else he would've been crying right along with him. Minhyuk too, probably. They were both sensitive souls already, and adding a weepy, sick maknae into the mix wouldn't have done them any favors.
“I’m coming too,” Jooheon declared, shooting a look up at Hyungwon, effectively snapping him out of his stupor.
“What? No, I need you here in case the hyungs wake up,” he reasoned, nudging Jooheon away from Changkyun so he could help the boy into his hoodie. Looking at it now, he could see that it was one of Minhyuk's, though he was sure the older wouldn't mind. The youngest couldn't help the whimper of pain he gave as Hyungwon accidentally brushed his hand against the boy’s tender ear.
“Shoot, sorry, baby. Do you think you can still walk?”
“I can carry him,” Jooheon volunteered, and it was Hyungwon’s turn to shoot him a look.
"Yah, what did I just say?"
“We can leave a note if you’re so worried about them waking up,” Jooheon countered. Hyungwon let out a long winded sigh before frantically looking around for something to leave the note on, because he already knew he wasn't going to win this argument, and they were wasting valuable time.
He spotted his laptop on the cushions next to Changkyun, and threw it open to type something up on a word document. In the meantime, Jooheon had gotten up to get ready.
“What do I even say?” he asked, mostly to himself, seeing as Changkyun appeared to be on track to losing consciousness.
Jooheon returned a moment later, cramming his phone into his pocket and already wearing shoes. Hyungwon finished typing as Jooheon gathered Changkyun up in his arms and lifted him off the couch. While Jooheon made for the front door, Hyungwon grabbed his phone off the couch and perched his open laptop on the coffee table, facing the door to make it easier to find for anyone coming in. He followed the two maknaes to the front door, prying it open as quietly as he could while clutching the van keys in his palm to keep them from jangling. Just before they made contact with the chilly air outside, Hyungwon reached around Jooheon to pull Changkyun’s hood up for him. Changkyun made a small pained noise at the fabric brushing his ear, Jooheon shushing him gently.
They slipped out into the parking garage to the van. Luckily, a majority of the group knew how to drive, so their manager often trusted them with a vehicle to use to run errands or drive themselves to certain events. They didn't get to drive themselves places very often these days, though, and Hyungwon would've liked taking the van out for a little night drive with his dongsaengs under better circumstances.
Jooheon lifted Changkyun into the back seat, helping him get strapped in. He briefly contemplated sitting up front in the passenger seat with Hyungwon, but his best friend was still sniffling and blinking away tears, and he reached for Jooheon when the older pulled away, so he decided to sit in the back with the youngest.
"I'll try to drive smoothly for you. You like when hyung drives, right? Remember when you told me I was your favorite driver?” Hyungwon comforted, looking back at the youngest from the driver's seat. Changkyun was silent, clinging to Jooheon.
“Tell me if you’re gonna throw up or something, okay?” Jooheon told the youngest, putting an arm around his shoulders. Changkyun nodded, leaning against Jooheon's side.
“Jooheon, can you call Hongsik-hyung and-,” Hyungwon cut himself off as they pulled out of the parking spot. “Wait, no, better not call him yet. He might call the hyungs and wake them up.”
“Well we're gonna have to tell him eventually,” Jooheon argued from the backseat.
“We will, okay? How about we wait until after we figure out what’s going on with Kyunnie.”
“Yeah, what’s bothering you, baby? Is it your ear?” Jooheon asked the youngest, and Hyungwon realized he hadn’t exactly been explicit in what kind of sick Changkyun was. He had to commend Jooheon for being so readily available to help the youngest even if he didn't know exactly what the problem was.
Hyungwon didn’t hear a reply from Changkyun, but assumed he'd simply nodded, as Jooheon didn’t ask any further questions.
Traffic was nonexistent at such an hour, and they arrived at the hospital at what Hyungwon prided himself to be within a reasonable amount of time.
“Let’s get you feeling better, kid."
“Hyung," Changkyun whined from the examination table, looking down at his socked feet. "Where are my shoes?”
“Kid, we were in a hurry. You can’t walk on your own anyway. We’ll carry you around until we get home.”
The maknae pouted tiredly. They'd put the three of them in a small examination room, where they got a nice doctor to examine the youngest's ear. The doctor had just stepped out to talk with one of the nurses.
Hyungwon turned his attention from Changkyun to Jooheon, who was sitting next to him.
“Yah, and you didn’t even grab a jacket?” he chided. The younger was clad in a t-shirt and joggers despite the chill from outside.
“We were in a hurry, remember?” Jooheon snarked, repeating Hyungwon's words from just moments earlier.
“Aish, brat... you didn’t have to come, you know,” Hyungwon replied. He pulled his own hoodie off, tossing it into Jooheon’s lap.
“Of course I did. If I didn’t, I would’ve just been sitting at home worrying.”
Hyungwon watched Jooheon reluctantly pull on his hoodie, acknowledging the younger’s newly toned arms. Come to think of it, Jooheon hadn't struggled to carry Changkyun as much as Hyungwon thought he would.
“And when did you get so buff?” He asked, playfully squeezing Jooheon’s arm. Jooheon giggled, shrugging his hand off.
“You should be glad I was here to carry him.”
Hyungwon made a show of waving him off, his hand annoyingly close to Jooheon’s face.
“Whatever, I could’ve done it. Kid is skin and bones these days anyway.”
Hyungwon leaned his head back against the wall.
“Aigoo, what are the hyungs gonna do to me, I wonder...” he sighed, closing his eyes. He already knew he was in for a smack to the back of the head from Kihyun.
“They’re gonna be proud of you, hyung. You handled this really well,” Jooheon praised suddenly. Hyungwon glanced over at him. "I mean, I don't think any of the hyungs would've done it any differently."
As much as Hyungwon would've liked to think he could handle this situation on his own, he was glad Jooheon had come along, in the end. If anything, he was teaching the kid how to handle a late-night medical emergency, so, really, he was doing Kihyun (and the rest of the members) more than one favor.
“They’ll be proud of you too. Such a grown-up, helping bring our baby to the doctor.”
Hyungwon reached over to pinch Jooheon's cheek. Jooheon smiled. Hyungwon smiled back.
“Besides, I’m glad I won’t be the only one getting yelled at."
Jooheon’s smile turned into a wince at the thought.
“Yeah, we're gonna be in trouble...”
“It’s whatever, though, right? As long as Kyunnie's okay.”
After a pause, Jooheon nodded, biting his lower lip.
A moment later the door opened, and Changkyun's doctor entered.
“I'm sorry for the wait. It looks like he's got a pretty bad ear infection. We caught it early, though, so he should make a full recovery once we start him on antibiotics.”
Hyungwon winced. Anything that needed antibiotics worried him, and even if they'd caught it early, he had to wonder how long Changkyun had been feeling sick, or where he'd even gotten it.
“I usually only see ear infections like this in little kids, but I suppose idols would be more likely to get them as well,” the doctor smiled reassuringly at them after a moment. “I’ll also prescribe some ear drops to help the antibiotics along, and it should also help alleviate some of his symptoms so that he's more comfortable. He’ll still be a little off-balance for the next day or two, and the antibiotics might make him nauseous, so keep an eye on him. I trust his hyungs will make sure he gets plenty of fluids and rest in the meantime?”
Jooheon and Hyungwon nodded in unison.
“Alright, great. I'm still a little worried about his fever, though. So, If our Changkyun doesn't mind, I think we should give him a shot to help kick-start the process. It might also relieve some of the dizziness."
Hyungwon nodded, while Jooheon paled in sympathy for their youngest. Changkyun seemed resigned to his fate, rubbing his reddened eyes.
A nurse brought in the shot on a tray. Hyungwon had helped Changkyun take an arm out of his sleeve while Jooheon put an arm around Changkyun's head to keep the boy from looking. It was more of a comfort for Jooheon, though, as Changkyun took the shot in his arm quite numbly while Jooheon himself nearly fainted at the admittedly intimidating size of the needle. The nurse couldn't help giggling at them.
"Aigoo, so brave," Hyungwon praised, rubbing over the bandage the nurse had placed over the prick on Changkyun’s arm. He helped the boy put his arm back into his sleeve. Jooheon refused to turn around until the nurse took the tray away. Just as the nurse left, the doctor returned with Changkyun's medicine, handing it to Hyungwon.
"That should do it. Please bring him back right away if he doesn't start feeling better or gets worse."
Hyungwon and Jooheon nodded. Changkyun rubbed his arm, blinking slowly at the floor.
“Well, no frantic calls from the hyungs yet,” Hyungwon remarked from the front seat. Jooheon was busy buckling in a very drowsy Changkyun.
“Maybe they’re still asleep,” Jooheon speculated, quite optimistically, Hyungwon might add. "It's only, what, 5:30? Kihyun-hyung isn't gonna wake up for at least another hour."
Hyungwon was silent, watching the two in the rear-view mirror.
“If you let me walk in with Changkyun first then maybe we won’t get tackled,” Jooheon said, half-jokingly. He buckled himself in as Hyungwon pulled out of the parking lot.
Hyungwon glanced the time. They’d only been gone for about an hour, and Jooheon was right. Kihyun was usually the first one up, and none of them really needed to be awake until 8 or 9 that day anyway.
Maybe they were in the clear.
They drove home in silence, Hyungwon being extra careful in making turns so as not the wake the maknae in the backseat. He kept glancing at his two dongsaengs in the rear-view, smiling to himself at Jooheon endearingly watching over Changkyun while the youngest dozed against Jooheon’s shoulder.
Hyungwon, who'd already been glaring a warning at the older, motioned for Kihyun to be quiet, resting his free hand against Changkyun's back. He was propped up at the corner of the sectional couch, with Jooheon and Changkyun lying cuddled together across the longer side of the sectional, using his thigh as their pillow. They were both tucked in under a blanket from Hyungwon's bed.
When Kihyun had woken up and come into the living room on his way to the kitchen, he'd found the three on the couch. Hyungwon had been lying half-awake, watching whatever was on TV on the lowest volume, while the two maknaes slept soundly next to him. Upon seeing Kihyun, Hyungwon had motioned to his laptop, still open with the word document open. He'd added a few things since they'd gotten back, like Changkyun's diagnosis, and what kind of medicine he'd been prescribed. He'd watched Kihyun's expression darken with each line he read.
"And you didn't wake me?" Kihyun whispered harshly, shutting Hyungwon's laptop. Jooheon stirred, lifting his head from Hyungwon's lap and blinking up at him. Hyungwon petted the boy's bangs.
Jooheon stretched, turning his head to peak at Kihyun behind him. He looked cute enough in his sleep-deprived state that Kihyun didn't have the heart to immediately berate him for his complicity in last night's hospital visit.
Besides, these two weren't the ones Kihyun was actually worried about. The older approached, peering over Jooheon to get a look at Changkyun.
"He's been out for a while. They gave him something for the fever already but he's still a little warm," Hyungwon relayed softly, brushing the boy's bangs from his eyes.
"They gave him a shot, hyung," Jooheon added in a grave tone, blinking up at Kihyun. The older chuckled softly.
"They did? Aigoo, were you brave for him?" Kihyun teased, cupping Jooheon's cheek. Jooheon glanced up at Hyungwon, because they both knew the answer to that and Jooheon certainly wasn't going to confess the truth.
"He didn't faint on us, if that's what you're asking," Hyungwon replied finally, smirking at Jooheon's pouty expression. The second youngest attempted to pull himself away from Changkyun so he could sit up, but the maknae wasn't having it, his grip around Jooheon tightening as he stirred at the motion. Hyungwon rubbed the boy's shoulder to calm him.
"Hey, it's okay, we're right here," he soothed. Changkyun groggily reached up to rub his face with his sleeve, sufficiently and easily roused from sleep despite his fever.
"Hey, Kyunnie," Kihyun greeted softly, pulling Jooheon up into a sitting position so he could sit down next to Changkyun's head. He pressed his palm to the boy's forehead. "I heard you aren't feeling so well."
Changkyun groaned, something akin to a noise of acknowledgment, and Hyungwon shooed Kihyun's hand away.
"Let him be, hyung."
Kihyun shot Hyungwon a look before returning his attention to the youngest.
"Well, you're gonna need to eat something before you take your antibiotics, so I'll go make you something, okay?"
Changkyun nodded from beneath his sleeves. Kihyun smiled at how cute the boy looked. He turned to Jooheon who was busy yawning behind him.
"You. You're off the hook if you help me with breakfast."
Jooheon blinked at him before eagerly nodding. Hyungwon hoped his expression portrayed at least a little of the betrayal he felt, even as tired as he was, while he watched the two leave. Kihyun took the bag containing Changkyun's medicine from the coffee table, probably to read up on his doses while he cooked.
When they were gone, Hyungwon had assumed Changkyun had dropped off to sleep again, until he felt the boy pulling on his sleeve. He turned his head to find the boy blinking up at him.
"Is hyung mad at me?"
Hyungwon shushed him, reaching over to haul the boy into his lap.
"Aish, of course not. Why would he be? You didn't do anything wrong," he comforted, a hand tangled in Changkyun's hair as he held the boy. "I think he's just mad he didn't get to take care of you himself."
Changkyun huffed, seemingly satisfied with Hyungwon's answer. He settled himself against the older's chest without another word.
Hyungwon woke up to Kihyun gently maneuvering a groggy, semi-conscious Changkyun out of his arms.
"Hush, I'm just gonna feed him. Don't bite my head off," Kihyun explained when he saw Hyungwon's confused, semi-annoyed expression. Changkyun hardly even opened his eyes, leaving himself practically limp for Kihyun to hold in his lap while he reached over to retrieve the bowl of food from the coffee table. A second bowl sat next to where the first was, and Hyungwon assumed Kihyun had brought his own breakfast in to eat as well.
"Nothing too heavy, right?" Hyungwon questioned in his hoarse, just-woken-up tone. "He's been nauseous all night."
"I know, Jooheon told me," Kihyun assured patiently. Hyungwon caught sight of the plain white rice in the bowl Kihyun had brought and decided such a light meal probably wouldn't hurt the maknae's stomach too much. Still, he kept a watchful eye as Kihyun fed the youngest. Changkyun, leant up against Kihyun for support, passively watched Kihyun collect bites of food for him, and would accept the rice grains obediently. After feeding the youngest a few bites, Kihyun reached over to the second bowl on the table and offered it to Hyungwon.
"Here, you need to eat too. You had a long night."
He was so taken aback that for a moment he had neglected to immediately take the bowl being offered to him. He wasn't sure why he hadn't expected this kind of behavior from Kihyun, because as mad as the older probably was at him, his motherly instincts would always win out in the end.
Hyungwon ate silently, watching Kihyun continue to feed Changkyun. He'd managed to get the boy to eat almost half the bowl before Changkyun turned his head to the side, refusing to accept any more. He gave the boy's shoulder a gentle squeeze to encourage at least one more bite, but Changkyun shook his head.
"Aigoo, okay, we're done," Kihyun conceded, placing the bowl on the coffee table. He gave the boy his pills, urging him to drink a few more sips of water from the bottle he'd brought with him while Hyungwon finished eating.
"Alright, now you need to rest. Do you want to sleep in our room? I can go kick Minhyuk-hyung out."
Changkyun's replied by reaching for Hyungwon. Kihyun rolled his eyes at the smug glance Hyungwon shot his way. Still, it was what Changkyun wanted, so he helped the maknae get cuddled back up with Hyungwon, covering the two of them once they were comfortable.
"I'll try to keep everyone quiet, then," he sighed, gathering the bowls left on the coffee table. "Jooheon will probably be coming in to sleep too, once we clean up."
Hyungwon had been trying to ignore the fact that he'd been up literally all night until that point, but right now he was feeling the exhaustion, and he was having a hard time even keeping his eyes open.
"By the way," Kihyun suddenly flicked the bangs from Hyungwon's eyes to get his attention. "Thanks."
Hyungwon blinked at him a few times before offering what he was pretty sure was a genuine smile. He knew he wasn't off the hook yet, but he was still grateful for Kihyun's civility.
"No problem," he murmured in reply, stroking the dozing maknae's hair.