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Your Lips Keep Moving

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The five students paused in a line at the grand main entrance to the university, standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder as they took in their surroundings for another year at college. They descended upon the student body looking flawless and perfect in every way. Whispers and squeals could be heard everywhere as the lower students started to crowd around them, phones in hand as videos and pictures were being taken, sure enough the word spreading that they finally arrived.

The first in line adjusted his glasses, finally taking note of the commotion they caused, and he stared at the crowd with disinterest.

Kim Woojin. Fourth year university student and student council president. He is ranked second in the entire university and one of the few students who placed in the top 1% of the country. Athletic, cold personality, has golden skin that makes him stand out (in a very good way). He doesn’t have time to waste on useless things. prefers to keep quiet, silently observing those around him. He will go down as a legend at the private university as the president who made the most changes to the school, for the better. The university’s reputation increased ten fold due to his leadership.

Next to him, another student sighed, irritation on his face. he noticed many girls and boys gawking and ogling him from all around. he gave a wink and blew a kiss, making them squeal and someone even fell to the ground in devastation at the seemingly innocent action. Perhaps the students missed it, or maybe they were just blind, but he rolled his eyes in clear exasperation at their stupidity. His evil smirk told he knew the power he held over everyone. The students both feared and worshiped the ground he walked on.

Lee Minho. Fourth year university student and student council vice president. He is ranked first in the entire university and one of the few students who placed in the top 1% of the country. He is woojin’s shadow, enforcing the things woojin doesn’t have the time or patience for. They work as a perfect team in harmony to dominate the school. He has the smile of a god but the personality of a devil. He hates people, but loves to dance. His physique is powerful yet graceful, making everyone’s mouths water at his deadly beauty.

Further down the line, someone danced back and forth on their feet, impatient to get going. He was oblivious to the looks of admiration around him, too caught up in his own world. He was shorter than the other four, but not at all unattractive. He was well built, athletic, and had an edgy look about him despite the private institution enforcing the students to wear a strict uniform dress code.

Seo Changbin. Third year and student council treasurer. He is ranked in the top five of the entire university, his scores always fluctuating depending on how motivated he is to study for that semester, and one of the few students who placed in the top 5% of the country. He is a mathematical genius, but even more pronounced in talking. There isn’t an equation he cant solve. He is the spokesperson for the student council instead of woojin because he doesn’t shut up and woojin cant be bothered to address the mindless students he leads. He has an endless energy that gets people in a good mood. He has a charm and charisma about him that draws people to him. they all wish they could be like him.

Next to him, someone grumbled in annoyance. He fixed his brown hair and straightened the blazer to his uniform, picking off some lint only he could see. A few of the more serious and studious boys and girls in the crowd sighed dreamily at the sight of him.

Kim Seungmin. Second year and student council secretary. He is ranked third in the entire university and one of the few students who placed in the top 5% of the country. He hates anything that bores him and likes things to be organized and in their perfect place. He dislikes sloppy and disorderly people, and does not like to waste his time if it does not benefit him in some way. He is cold to most students, and chooses to ignore their obvious obsession over him. he is only barely nice to those that he considers his friends. he only has four friends, so he’s almost never nice. A perfect tutor, if there is something you don’t understand, seungmin is the one to go to. (after he tells you how worthless you are, of course)

At the end of the line, a giggle could be heard. His brown eyes sparkled at the attention he received and soaked it up like a sponge.

Hwang Hyunjin. Second year and student council reporter. He is ranked in the top five of the entire university, and one of the few students who placed in the top 5% of the country. His rank fluctuates back and forth between 4th and 5th in the school depending on how well changbin does, but he could care less about his grades. He is the most beautiful boy in the school, and knows it. he uses his popularity to get the gossip and there isn’t a thing he doesn’t know is happening in their university. If something occurs, hyunjin is the first to know. His loyalty lies only to his friends and reports back to woojin and minho faithfully what he finds out. he is in a position to blackmail any person in the school, and even some outside of the school; do not piss him off. He is admired everywhere he goes. He loves to dance, and often practices with minho. He loves attention and affection, but loves it even more when he gets it from his friends. hes emotional and not afraid to show it. the moment he cries, the rest of the school cries with him. he is the master at emotional manipulation and can get out of any sticky situation. Woojin and minho’s secret weapon when things aren’t going the way they want it to. Having people near tends to overwhelm hyunjin when he is having a bad day. He uses seungmin as a buffer from the outside world if he has to. His precious dog kkhami is the university’s unofficial mascot.

The five of them are rich, godly, and untouchable at JYP University. They are a tight knit group and refuse to let anybody else in. Most people either hate them or want to be them.

***

“Tsk, look at them acting all high and mighty. Well I for one believe in equality!” jisung placed his foot onto the hood of the very expensive rich-boy car in front of him. “This is discrimination! I will not stand for it!”

He continued to spout nonsense as jeongin and felix sighed.

“and please tell me why you dragged us here in the back parking garage of the snobby university students?” felix asked his friend.

Jisung flicked his electric blue hair out of his eyes and grinned at him. he started shaking a can of spray paint that matched his hair, humming in satisfaction at the rattle sound. “ill tell you why! Every day we have to watch from across the street their snobbish ways. They think they are all that with their crisp little starched uniforms, and their cozy little campus, all clean and shit. They get the best facilities for their clubs and sports while we get barely functioning electricity!”

Jeongin nodded in agreement. This was true. Their city had two colleges that the residents could attend. There was JYP University, a prestigious college for only the best in the country. They were beyond wealthy, and had everything handed to them. If you made it into JYP University, you were set for life. they were prim and proper, focusing on the finer things in life. then you had JYP Community College across the street and a little further down. they were for the “financially unstable” residents. Those that couldn’t afford college were forced to go there. There is no dress code, the clubs and organizations are disorganized, and its pretty much a free for all on the campus. You have people of all kinds attending there. It was, to put it simply, a complete zoo. All the wild ones were found there.

JYP University students wouldn’t be caught dead associating with anyone from the community college. They were too good for that. and the community college students hated the university students simply because they think they are ridiculous with their “better way of living.”

To sum it up, they absolutely despise each other and are constantly at each other’s throats any chance they get and they have been for years.

The community students like to play pranks on the rich kids, and in retaliation the rich kids play unfair by buying out all of the facilities or preventing the community kids from getting an upgrade to their buildings, you name it. they toss their money around rather than getting their hands dirty.

Which was fine by jisung. Even the littlest prank sends him shivers of satisfaction.

“ok hyung, so what are you planning on doing to this car? Whatever it is, im in!” jeongin squealed and clapped in glee. Felix just sighed. Jeongin was enjoying this a little too much.

“well my dear maknae, im glad you asked,” jisung said. He pointed a finger at the car he was currently stepping on with his black combat boot, his many bracelets on his wrist and arm jingling with the motion. “today I woke up and looked outside my window to this campus in the distance and noticed the place looked so dreary and grim with all their greys and blacks. This place needs a little color!” he laughed, bringing his hand up dramatically to his face “oh ho ho ho ho!” his stupid cackling echoed in the parking garage. They were on the lowest level, and felix looked around warily to make sure they were the only ones there.

Felix rolled his eyes, putting his headphones over his ears and tuning jisung out. this was going to take awhile, but he was bored so he tagged along to whatever antics jisung was going to pull. He fixed some of his bleached blonde hair, carding his painted black nails through it before adjusting his headphones comfortably.

“ok, but why this car hyung?”

Jisung shrugged at their maknae. “because jeongin, it’s the most obnoxious one in the garage. Its mint green for god’s sake! It was practically begging to be vandalized by me.” He patted the car lovingly, giggling at what he was going to do to it. “whoever’s pretty little souped up four wheel drive this is gets the golden opportunity to have the Han Jisung redecorate it. its been awhile since I’ve had any inspiration to pull out my old dusty art skills, but today is this person’s lucky day!” he rattled the can of spray paint again.

Jeongin shrugged. “whatever you say hyung. Lets get this done with before someone sees us.”

Jisung grinned, his many earrings tinkling in the quiet garage. “watch and learn my precious child.”

Light as a feather, he hopped up on the hood of the car and got to work spray painting the hell out of it with electric blue paint.

Felix yawned, minding his own business just staring out at all the rich boy cars safely packed away in the parking spots. The place really was nice compared to their own campus, and getting on this one wasn’t easy. They had to evade some of the security that usually drives around making sure everything was safe for the little twats that attended here because their daddies say so.

As he looked around, waiting for jisung to finish, he caught a red light in the upper corner of the garage. His eyes widened and he quickly took off his headphones.

“jisung!” he hissed. Jisung immediately stopped painting pretty pictures on the car and looked to felix. He would recognize that tone in his voice anywhere, they’ve been friends long enough to know when something was wrong.

felix nodded to the security camera he spotted.

Jisung looked in that direction and swore. “shit! They have freaking cameras even in the parking garage! It’s a college campus for crying out loud. shit shit.” He hopped down from the hood, his boots hitting the ground. Jeongin looked worried.

“they definitely have our faces on there don’t they?”

Jisung nodded in confirmation, worrying the lip ring on his lip. He ran a hand through his blue hair and tried to think. Pretty soon security could be on them. They would be in so much trouble, and jisung didn’t even want to think about how much it would cost him for the damages to this custom made car. Even though the spray paint wasn’t permanent, it would still take quite a few washings to come off.

Felix sighed again, remaining calm. “I can take care of it, but you owe me one Ji.”

Jisung grinned, relief on his face. he launched himself at felix, smothering the boy with kisses. “oh thank you thank you lixie. You are the bestest most prettiest best friend in the whole wide universe!”

Felix giggled slightly, but then shoved jisung off. “yeah yeah, now move while I try to connect my phone to the campus’s main security server.”

“will it take long?” jeongin asked, twisting the many rings on his hands in nervousness. “what if they already saw us and are on their way?”

Felix looked at him incredulously. “do you know who you are talking to? Give me like 10 seconds and ill be able to hack into their wimpy firewalls and have this thing deleted before they can even make it to the garage.” He pulled out his simple smart phone he bought used on the internet and started tapping away. “I need you guys to cover me for like 60 seconds while I hack into their main frame and delete any traces of the security cameras in this level of the garage. Wait no, I might as well do it for the entire parking garage because the upper levels might have caught us entering. But I also might do a sweep of the campus in case we were caught on any of the cameras they may have hidden around the buildings. By my calculations, a place this big and rich would have at least 50 from the moment we entered the campus grounds all the way to the parking garage and…”

“I love it when he does his techy talk,” jisung sighed dreamily. “it makes it so easy for me to vandalize things when felix is around.”

Jeongin giggled at that, agreeing.

Felix clicked his phone off 5 minutes later. “done. I've also programmed their footage to loop at an empty space for approximately 10 minutes so that should give us enough time to get out of here without them catching us on camera again. Honestly, I should have thought of this to begin with.” He shrugged.

Jisung grinned at him, then kissed his hand and touched the hood of the car he just ‘redecorated.’ He honestly thought it looked pretty good, if he does say so himself. “I think this is one of my best works. The owner is gonna be so happy when he sees this. electric blue and mint green mix so well together.” Then he mock saluted it and grabbed jeongin’s hand, getting ready to stop drop and roll the hell out of this joint.

Felix blew his bangs out of his face and put his headphones back on, slowly following jisung and jeongin acting like idiots, dodging from building to building until they were safely out of the campus and back on their own grounds down the street.

***

“what the fuck happened to my car?!” minho fumed as he stood in front of his car. Woojin chuckled next to him.

“seems like someone paid you a visit while we were at our student council meeting.”

“no shit. Who the hell would even dare place a finger on my baby?!”

“to be honest minho, the mint green was a bit much.”

Minho glared at his best friend. He gritted his teeth as he took in the damage. Electric blue paint decorated his precious car. There were obnoxious doodles all over, and painted little squirrels and other forest creatures, along with hearts and peace signs. Whoever the hell vandalized his car was nice enough to not paint the windows so he could still drive clearly.

Woojin snickered again. “I hate to admit it, but whoever did this is kinda talented.”

Minho growled at woojin, debating whether to hit him or not. “im not driving in this. I would be a laughing stock! You're giving me a ride,” he ordered woojin.

Woojin just pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and shrugged. “fine, ill help you call someone to take care of it in the morning. I'm too tired right now.”

“I bet it was someone from the barn down the street,” minho grumbled, going to woojin’s black sleek car.

“now minho, they are our counter-part school owned by the same families. We shouldn’t insult them,” woojin lectured, pulling out of the garage. Minho ignored him, squinting at the security cameras in the corners, grinning at the thought of being able to find out who did this once he gets his hands on the footage in the morning.

***

“so let me get this straight,” chan swung around in his chair from where he was producing music at his laptop. Like felix, he had bleached blonde hair, but he tends to change the color often from time to time. His wardrobe consisted of black anything, and today he was donning a black silk shirt with tight black ripped jeans and black converse. He had long gold dangling earrings in each ear, with a matching gold eyebrow piercing. “you three snuck into rich boy-ville and spray painted someone’s car. Then felix did something illegal, hacking into their computer system and erasing any evidence of you guy’s being there. Oh and you took my precious son on this rebel mission of yours. Did I miss anything?” chan quirked up an eyebrow as he stared down jisung, felix, and jeongin.

“hyunngggieee im not a baby anymore! I’m literally 19 years old!” jeongin whined.

“don’t talk back to me or you are going to your room,” chan playfully scolded. Jeongin pouted.

“uhm? Yeah that about sums it up! you should have seen the car hyung. I quite liked it,” jisung grinned. Unlike chan, he was a bit more colorful and edgy with his fashion. He had a black and neon green short sleeved hoodie, with black cargo pants on and a few chains hanging around his hips. He had on black combat boots, but replaced the laces with matching neon green ones. It contrasted with his electric blue hair and silver earrings and lip ring, and the many bracelets on his wrists.

Chan sniffled. “I couldn’t be prouder my children. You know how much I hate that place,” chan high fived jisung.

“you aren’t mad hyungie?” jeongin asked, surprised.

Chan waved him off. “nah, you kids need to live a little. I certainly did. although what you guys did was too risky. Be more careful next time.”

They all nodded, and felix put his headphones back on. Chan took his hand, and felix looked at him with a puzzled expression.

“we owe you one lixie. Thanks for always looking out for us. You know you don’t have to,” chan told the younger, knowing he was still listening even with his headphones on. Felix smiled and nodded.

“I was bored anyways. Besides, I despise them just as much as you guys,” he told chan with his deep voice. Felix wasn’t quite as bold or loud as jisung, and not as suave as chan in his fashion. But he was still unique in his own way. He was wearing a white tshirt with neon pink suspenders leading to black jeans and black shoes with neon pink laces. Around his waist, he tied a black and white hoodie. His wrists held different colored bracelets, and he liked to wear neon pink fingerless gloves. His one ear was double pierced, sporting a long dangling earring and a gold cuff at the top. He had delicate silver and gold necklaces around his neck. To complete the look, he always had a different colored pair of headphones he wears depending on the day.

“so now what?” jeongin asked the three of them. He had bright red hair that stood out from a mile away, but it still looked really good on him. he wore black liner to outline his fox-like eyes, and always had some kind of cool rings on his delicate and slender fingers. He wore sporty clothes, choosing to stick to close fitting pants and comfy tshirts and hats. The style suited him.

“hmm now I guess I actually finish that music project that’s due in a few days. Then ill have more time to think of something else we can do,” jisung hummed in content, already thinking of the next prank. If he could make even one student from the university of pampered princesses miserable, he considers his life mission complete.

“well, im leaving then. Bye,” felix told them, heading off to dance practice and turning up the volume to his music.

“stay safe!” chan called. Felix grunted in recognition as he headed out the door. Chan smiled at that. even though felix seemed closed off, he really did show he cares in the slightest of ways. Usually he ignores the world with his headphones and music, but always makes sure to listen when his friends are talking, even if he still had the headphones on. The other three learned over the years that even if felix didn’t look like he was listening, he still was. He was always a constant with them. If you needed help, felix would be there despite his grumbling. He always chimed in when he had advice or an opinion to give, and he always had your back. They love him even with all of his quirky behaviors.

“you too,” chan chastised jisung. “no more pranks until you finish your project. Its important to get good grades.”

“yes dad,” jisung said with a giggle, hopping over and giving chan a kiss on the cheek. He dodged out of the way quickly before chan could playfully swat at him and then headed out the door of chan’s studio he used on campus.

“can I hang out with you a little hyung while I try to study?” jeongin asked with his sweet adorable face. chan sniffled, his heart not being able to take the preciousness in front of him.

“of course you can, my son. You can stay as long as you like.”

Jeongin grinned, making himself comfortable in the chair next to chan as he took out his books and tried to study.

***

“so, you mean to tell me that your worthless cameras didn’t catch a single thing in that parking garage?” minho asked the security guard with a deadly cold voice. The guard gulped, not sure what to do. minho’s family was one of the most rich and powerful in the country. Making him unhappy would be a death sentence.

“yes sir, there’s nothing on there. Your car was never vandalized.”

Minho hissed, “then why the hell are there pictures of squirrels spray painted all over it!”

“i-i don’t know,” the guard uselessly answered.

“move, let me see the footage,” minho shoved the guard out of the way, watching the footage from yesterday afternoon play on loop. He grumbled in anger as he confirmed the guard was right.

He stood up straight and sighed. “obviously it was tampered with. This is literally the 21st century, anybody can do anything nowadays.”

He started to grind his teeth as he thought of his next steps. Well, if the technology was deemed useless, then he will just have to find out who did this the old fashioned way.

He pulled out his phone and rang the one person on campus who could find out anything.

“hiya hyung! I would ask why you are calling me this fine morning, but I already know a certain little car got spray painted yesterday and im assuming you want to know who did it,” hyunjin answered cheerfully on the other line.

“im so glad I don’t have to waste my breath explaining,” minho laughed in relief. “you know who did it?”

“not yetttt, buttttt give me a couple hours and I should have your answer. There’s bound to be somebody on this campus that saw something.”

“great, keep me updated. I owe you one,” minho huffed on the line.

“sure thing hyung! You already know what I want~” hyunjin giggled through the phone.

“yes I will treat you and the others to a movie night with popcorn, snacks, and cuddles. Now find out who that bastard is!”

“rodger that!” and hyunjin clicked off.

Minho grinned evilly for a second time since his car was ruined. Whoever this is apparently hasn’t ever faced his wrath.

***

“so what do you got for me?” minho asked hyunjin later that day at their dance practice.

Well, minho wouldn’t really call it a dance practice. It was more of them messing around and learning on his own since he wasn’t allowed to officially join dance on the school’s team. Hyunjin was on the dance team and often practiced with minho instead of with the other official members. hyunjin hates when people always say how good he was because they didn’t want to hurt his feelings with constructive criticism. This annoyed the hell out of hyunjin. How was he supposed to get better if everybody always told him he was perfect? Clearly he has a lot to learn, and minho has always been there for him. minho never sugar coats his words and always shows hyunjin the dance moves with patience, even if he has to spend hours out of his busy schedule to teach him.

Hyunjin admires the way minho dances. It’s the most beautiful thing he has ever witnessed, and he wishes he could be that flawless. Minho is his motivation to do better and to find his own style of dancing. It saddens him to know that minho’s parents are against him dancing and refuse to let him join. Their college isn’t like the other colleges. Because they are so prestigious, the students still need to get some kind of permission to join extracurricular activities only if they aren’t paying for it out of their own pockets. Everyone’s parents and families pay for the highly expensive tuition in order for them to go to this university, and minho is no exception. Since he doesn’t pay for his own way at the school, he needs his parent’s permission to join the high class dance team. The school doesn’t want some slacker on their team, they only take the best of the best.

Minho doesn’t know it, but that’s another thing woojin is seeking to change at the university before his graduation. It shouldn’t matter how your tuition is being paid for, as long as its within a yearly tuition budget the student should be able to join whatever the hell they want without having to get permission from mommy and daddy like a bunch of middle schoolers. They are all adults!

“well, not a whole lot to go on, im afraid,” hyunjin started off, warming up in the room and doing some stretches. “but a friend of a friend of a friend, who is friends with the janitor, who talks to a mother of a freshman at the community college down the street said that some second year was going around boasting about buying spray paint and ‘using it well.’ Now we all know they are barn animals over there, so it doesn’t prove anything just because some random kid had spray paint the same time your car was painted,”

Minho was about to interrupt, when hyunjin shushed him. he wasn’t finished. “but, I went a little further and had the walking google maps (seungmin) ramble off common stores around here that sold electric blue spray paint. how he knows which stores sell spray paint is beyond me, but anyways, it turns out that the little art store near the community college’s campus sold some about a week ago. They didn’t say who they sold it to, spouting off something about ‘keeping the customer satisfaction policy’ bullshit at me, but I have no doubt it was someone over in hooligan city.”

“damn,” minho breathed. “that was fast. You impress me again hyunjinnie.”

Hyunjin grinned. “if I wasn’t so good looking, I would be willing to infiltrate their campus and find out who it was. But im too noticeable and would get nowhere.”

Minho smiled. “thanks anyways jinnie. Ill find them one way or another,” he vowed.

Just then, woojin walked into the dance studio. He gave them a small smile, sitting on the ground and resting his head against the glass mirror. “have I ever told you guys how tiring being the student council president for one of the most prestigious universities in the country is? Because it is.”

Minho and hyunjin nodded, their jobs not easy as well, but not nearly as hard as woojin’s.

“at least this is your last year, right?” hyunjin tried to comfort him.

“yeah, and I still don’t know what I want to do,” woojin complained.

They were all silent for a moment, minho meeting woojin’s eyes through the glass mirror. “we’ll figure it out, yeah?” woojin nodded at the unspoken message hidden between the lines of minho’s statement. They both know the chances of doing what they wanted were very low, their families too powerful, the pressure too much.

“sing for us?” minho asked his long time best friend. Woojin always comes to their studio to sing whenever he gets too stressed out. today he didn’t have his guitar, but hyunjin pulled up some of woojin’s favorite tracks on sound cloud. They all share a secret passion for music in some kind of way. Minho and hyunjin love to dance, changbin loves to write and make music in secret, seungmin and woojin love to sing. Music was kind of the string that brought them all together. It was what made them different from the rest of the uppity students they were forced to spend their time with. They found each other one way or another throughout their years at prestigious schools, and refused to let anybody else into their close group. Minho and woojin were forced by their parents to join student council, so of course changbin, hyunjin, and seungmin decided to completely take over the student council and follow under them.

Woojin smiled at the song that came on the speaker of hyunjin’s phone. He liked this one the most. The lyrics were beautiful and he felt he could relate his life to this particular song. It was created by his favorite artist on the internet. They went by ‘CB97’ but that same person also collabs with a few others and calls themselves ‘Stray Kids.’ Woojin would never dare download or listen to the songs at home or on his personal devices. His parents were always watching him. but hyunjin can do what he wants, and he lets woojin listen whenever he can.

Woojin sang along to it, and the other two started dancing some more in their own world. woojin likes this, hanging out with his friends after a long and stressful day. Despite what they go through, what their parents force and expect of them, he can always count on the other four to lean on if things become unbearable.

Hyunjin’s playlist was interrupted by his phone ringing. He skipped over to it and grinned as he answered. “seungminnie, what do I owe this pleasure of your call?” he put the phone on speaker so that the other two could hear the younger.

“you were supposed to meet me 10 minutes ago for our study session with changbin,” seungmin scolded him lightly. “I let you have your 10 extra minutes of fun, but you know I don’t like to be kept waiting.”

“aww Minnie, you know I hate studying. Why cant I just wing it on the next exams? We just started school not too long ago! Changbin can take the fourth spot this time around,” hyunjin whined.

“hey! Don’t act like you can just give me the position any time you want!” he heard changbin yell in the background.

“but I do? three times now?” hyunjin giggled.

“listen here you little twerp. I’m perfectly capable of topping all of your scores! Every last one of you, and that means you minho! I just go easy on you guys so I don’t hurt your feelings-“

“you would have to first top us in height before you think about taking our school rankings!” minho called out with an obnoxious laugh.

“anyways,” seungmin interrupted their rambling. “be here within 5 minutes or im leaving.”

“hey, what about me?! You mean to tell me you only come because hyunjin is here? You hurt me deeply seungmin, the love of my life, the apple to my eye, the peanut butter to my jelly-“

“please hurry before I end him and then myself,” seungmin whined cutely making hyunjin giggle again, his eyes lighting up in adoration. Woojin and minho gave each other a knowing look.

“fineeee, wait for mee~” and then hyunjin hung up, packing up his things. “see you guys tomorrow! Ill let you know if anything else comes up, minho hyung!” and then he skipped out the door.

“he seems too happy to be going to study,” woojin remarked from his spot on the floor.

Minho sat down next to him, gratefully accepting the water bottle woojin offered him. “you know why he’s really happy,” he responded.

Woojin smiled softly. “at least one of us is truly happy.”

Minho frowned, leaning his sweaty head against woojin’s shoulder. He was dead tired. “yeah, makes me think there’s still hope for the rest of us.”

Woojin patted his head despite his hair being gross. “as soon as I finish up some things, ill help you find whoever ruined your car.”

Minho smiled. “we know its someone from the community college, so this should be a little easier.”

“you gonna retaliate?” woojin asked. Minho always got his revenge.

Minho snorted. “of course. I cant believe you had to ask.”

“what are you gonna do?” woojin asked. He usually didn’t involve himself in childish pranks against their rival school, but he still liked to hear about it.

“I was thinking…they seem to like playing with technology. I wonder how they would like it if they couldn’t use it anymore?” minho giggled.

“oh no…” woojin knows that giggle. “just don’t get caught, yeah?”

“do you even know who I am? You insult our many years of friendship.”

Woojin rolled his eyes, letting minho snuggle into him to get a few minutes of quiet before they both had to return to their homes. It was a three day weekend coming up, and their parents requested they have a dinner party they must attend. Woojin was going to give minho a lift to his apartment to shower and change before they head home.

“remind me to ask hyunjin to download the latest songs from that one artist. I heard he’s working on some new projects.”

Minho smiled at his friend’s secret passion for singing. “of course woojinnie.”

***

Chan was busy clicking away furiously at his computer, determined to finish his next project and get it out there on the internet. He hit the backspace button a couple hundred of times, and then grumbled under his breath.

He ran his fingers through his hair, tugging on the ends in frustration. Nothing was working! Nothing seemed to sound right! The lyrics were there, the backtracks and melody was there! The composing and producing were all there! But something was just missing.

He sighed, staring with blurry eyes at the screen, feeling like he wanted to cry or scream or pace around his studio.

His door suddenly swung open and chan turned to see jeongin close to tears.

“hyungie,” jeongin sniffled.

Immediately chan forgot about his problems and got up to hug jeongin. “what’s wrong innie?”

Jeongin clutched the back of chan’s shirt and sniffled into his chest. “I got my scores back from the recent exams, and I didn’t do so well even though I studied so much, and my parents are so mad at me. And-“ he didn’t finish, letting some of his tears soak into chan’s shirt.

Chan breathed in a steady breath, already knowing what jeongin’s parents probably said to him. “oh innie im so sorry. I know how hard you worked for these exams. Don’t listen to your parents. Its only a few weeks into the semester, we’ll figure something out okay? You still have a few more exams to bring up your grades.”

“but no matter what I try, I just cant seem to understand the material! What if I really am stupid?”

Chan leaned away, looking sternly down at jeongin. “you are not stupid and I don’t want to hear you ever say that again. People learn differently, and you are just one of those that don’t follow the standard boring old way of studying. We just have to find something that works.”

“but ill never be as smart as you hyung. I don’t even know why you bother staying at this college when you could be somewhere else,” jeongin complained. It was a useless argument, he knows it, but he couldn’t help feeling like a failure.

Chan rubbed his hands up and down jeongin’s arms, trying to comfort him. “jeongin, ive said this before and im going to say it again, as many times as it takes. Yes I got really good scores on my placement tests out of high school. Yes I was accepted into any college of my choosing. Yes I could have done something much more ‘important’ than studying music. But I didn’t, because that’s not who I am. Grades don’t define who a person is. Grades and GPA only reflect how much effort someone puts into something, not how smart they are. Grades mean nothing to me. Music is something I love to do, and im happy where im at. This school has some of the most talented and inspiring people and its extremely flexible in the arts department. So what if we aren’t rich? So what if we don’t have the top notch equipment and facilities? As long as I can continue studying music and getting my degree, it doesn’t matter where im at. And besides,” he smiled up at jeongin, wiping his cheeks softly with his thumbs. “I got to meet you guys. My friends and music is all I need to be happy in life. money and stupid numbers on a sheet of paper mean nothing to me.”

Jeongin started sniffling for a whole new reason.

“don’t give up jeongin. we will be able to help you out. we aren’t going to leave you by yourself to figure this out on your own. And even though im graduating this year, felix and jisung will still be there for you, and ill come around as often as you want.”

Jeongin nodded, hugging chan again. Jeongin truly was lucky to have met them when he did. he always found it hard to fit in because of his bad grades, but chan and the others didn’t care about that.

Just then, the power went out, enveloping chan and jeongin in darkness.

“what the heck?” jeongin said, looking around and trying to adjust his eyes to the dark.

Chan gasped. “oh no. oh no, oh no, oh no!” he ran over to his computer, clicking on the keyboard. It was useless, the computer was completely shut off. “I didn’t save all that work I did!” chan yelled.

“ill go get felix!” jeongin promised, dashing out of the room. He knows it was futile, but if it made chan feel a little bit better, he could at least try.

Chan sat in the dark room, bumping his head on his desk. Hours of work, gone down the drain. He was upset, but not as upset as he thought he would be. Honestly, the track he had almost finished just didn’t satisfy him. he wasn’t happy with it, and he hates posting new music he didn’t completely feel proud of.

He sighed, waiting for felix to come to see if he could fix whatever happened.

***

“there, its done. You happy now?” changbin hung up his phone, facing minho and hyunjin. Seungmin was sitting in a chair off to the side, reading a book. Woojin was at his desk, finishing projects for the upcoming weeks. They were all hanging out at their exclusive student council office room. It was quite luxurious, with desks for each them, comfy chairs and love seat couches scattered around the place and small tables with lamps. The walls were lined with bookcases, and they even had a mini kitchen and bathroom where they can prepare their own snacks and coffee if they wanted. There were wide windows letting in the natural light, and the view overlooked the front of the campus. It was their own private space they can use however they pleased, and nobody was allowed to come in. a small waiting room was connected to it that lead to the halls of the building. Students can wait in there if they had a specific problem or concern they wanted to address to the student council.

Changbin’s family wasn’t nearly as rich or powerful as woojin and minho’s, but they still held a lot of influence in the country. His father owned electric companies, and it was nothing at all for changbin to find out that JYP Community College was late in their monthly electric bill. With one word, he had the place shut down, even if it was a few days early.

“oh yes, I am very happy. Now we wait,” minho grinned. Woojin just shook his head at the childish pranks the two colleges are always pulling on each other.

“fine by me, im always up for a fight,” changbin laughed, bouncing on one of the couches.

“shouldn’t you be studying for our quarterly exams?” seungmin questioned from his comfy corner.

Changbin shooed the thought away. “ehhh ill get around to it. we still have what? Another week or two?”

“they start in three days,” seungmin said in a bored tone as he flipped another page of his book.

Changbin shot up. “what?! When did they even say this?! how come I never heard about this?!”

“they’ve been mentioning it for like 2 weeks. We even had to send out a memo to the student body announcing the schedule and times.”

“shit, well there goes that. its too late now, so ill just study next time,” changbin instantly gave up on the matter.

Hyunjin laughed. “looks like im taking 4th again this time around~” he sang.

“no. im giving it to you,” changbin glared over at him.

“sure, whatever makes you feel better.”

Seungmin sighed, “im not tutoring you guys the day before, so don’t even ask.” But they all know they would ask, and he would tutor them.

***

Felix sighed, taking his headphones off his ears.

“it would seem they shut the power down early because the bill wasn’t paid on time. Technically, we had another week left but for some reason they did it now.”

“I bet it was those little golden snots over there that did this!” jisung yelled in the background. He was sitting on a chair in chan’s studio with jeongin on his lap as chan paced around the room. Felix had to use his phone data again since the power wasn’t back on in the building.

“can you find out who did it?” chan asked the blonde boy.

Felix snorted. “of course I can. But why are you so interested this time around? this isn’t the first time the university students did something like this to us.”

Chan stopped pacing and looked up at felix. “because I lost all of my work and now its personal. Enough is enough. They just started a war with us, and we are no amateurs compared to the rest of the students here,” chan gritted out. nobody messes with his music. Nobody.

Jeongin cackled. “im in!”

Jisung clapped his hands. “you don’t have to ask me twice.”

Felix didn’t say anything, too busy tapping away on his phone. Jisung’s smile faded. “felix?”

Felix tuned back in. “oh right, right. Yeah im in. already hacked into the electric company’s phone records. It turns out they got an outside call from a mobile device around the time they turned the power off.”

“awesome! Dude you rock, that literally took you like 5 seconds. So who’s is it?” jisung whooped, tousling jeongin on his lap.

“one sec, ok here we go.” Felix adjusted his phone so he could read better. “seo changbin, third year at JYP University. Son and heir to the Seos. They own a lot of things, and the electric company is definitely one of them. Seems the boy used his golden spoon to get our electric shut off early.”

“I knew it!” jisung yelled.

Chan furrowed his brows. “ok but why would he do that randomly?”

Felix shrugged. “not sure. But he cut out my playing time while I was in the middle of a good level, and im kinda irritated now. He just made this personal for me too.”

Jeongin rubbed his hands together evilly. “I always love it when felix hyung gets interested to play with us. You got any ideas hyung?”

Felix tapped a black fingernail against his chin. “as a matter of fact, I do. lets go see if they need a little cooling off on this warm breezy day.”

Chan grinned, clapping felix on his back. “its not like I have any work to do since the computers are still down.”

***

Seungmin and woojin hurried across campus, trying to make it to a meeting. They were carrying a ton of papers and flyers in their hands, getting ready to start passing them out and posting them everywhere for events that are coming up.

Suddenly, all of the sprinklers on the grounds went off at once, at the highest settings. Screams and squeals of surprise could be heard all around as all of the students were instantly soaked.

“what the hell?” seungmin swore out loud. he tried to cover the papers in his hands so they wouldn’t get ruined, but it was no use. He and woojin were instantly wet from head to toe within a minute.

Woojin just calmly blinked away the water, taking off his glasses since they were useless in this situation. “it would seem our sprinkler system malfunctioned somehow,” he replied coolly.

Seungmin snorted. “im kinda pissed, but I also kinda didn’t want to go to that meeting. Shall I reschedule?”

Woojin nodded. “yes, please do that. ill go to the groundskeeper and find out what on earth is going on. Tell changbin to make an announcement for the students to stay indoors until we shut off the main water lines to the sprinklers.”

Seungmin nodded and hurried off. Woojin sighed, running a hand through his wet hair. he’s got a sneaky suspicion this was no accident. It was too good of a mistake. He turned on his heel and headed the other way to take care of this.

Looks like those hoodlums just made things personal. Woojin hates when he gets added on work.

***

“alright!” jeongin snickered when they were back at the community college.

Felix was able to hack into their wifi outside the campus main gate and messed with the sprinklers system. Then they booked it out of there before they could be seen loitering.

“this was way more fun than ruining some poor guy’s car!” jisung hugged onto felix, causing the younger boy to grunt from the added on weight.

“ive been doing a lot lately, so I think I should lie low for a bit before someone realizes all the illegal shit that’s going on.”

Jisung hummed in recognition. He’s right, and he didn’t want felix in any major trouble.

“so now what?” jeongin asked.

“nothing. we just lay low and go back to our quiet lives. I'm too old for this shit now. Once was enough for me,” chan yawned. The power came back on by the time they got back, so the school authorities must have handled the electric company. Now that he has a main computer back online, he can spend the next 12 hours trying to recreate all that he’s lost.

“aww. Until next time I guess guys. I have a class soon,” and then jisung nuzzled into felix’s neck, giving him an obnoxious kiss on his skin before skipping away, the sounds of his bracelets jingling down the hall. Felix rolled his eyes and wiped away the gross kiss mark on his neck before putting his headphones back on and making himself comfortable in one of chan’s chairs.

Jeongin twirled his rings a little hesitantly, glancing up at felix and then back down. chan was mumbling under his breath about music notes, so he didn’t want to bother him.

Without looking up from his phone, felix called over softly, “tell me what it is innie. Its not like you to be shy.”

Jeongin startled at being caught. He doesn’t even know how felix does that, but he always seems to know when one of them was having a hard time even if it looked like he wasn’t paying attention to the world around him.

“uh, could you maybe help me with some homework? If you're not busy of course!”

Felix smiled, looking up at jeongin and taking his headphones off again, letting them rest around his neck. “sure, show me what you got. Its not like I want to go home anyways.”

Jeongin smiled, dragging his backpack over to take out the day’s assignments.

***

“want me to beat them up? I can always beat someone up, just say the word,” changbin told woojin unhelpfully.

Woojin sighed, adjusting his glasses. “no. we cant just beat up random students who are childish. Yet.”

Seungmin chuckled, “like we weren't also childish.”

“they started it by ruining my car!” minho shouted from his desk with a pout.

“yeah, but that was before we found out they used removable paint, so its not like it was the end of the world. They obviously were just playing a small prank,” seungmin argued back.

Minho blew a raspberry at him and went back to his papers.

“but they ruined our sprinklers!” hyunjin pointed out.

“and we shut off their power which was kind of worse,” seungmin also made a point.

“why aren’t you on our side?” changbin whined, dancing back and forth on is feet. he was ready to move.

Seungmin shrugged. “I don’t take sides, I simply state the facts.”

“boringgggg~” hyunjin called him out.

“I have no particular reason to hate them. They are just tiny specks of dust for all I care- they are there but insignificant to me.”

“ouch, that was harsh,” woojin laughed.

“ah! Woojinnie, you want to study together for our upcoming mock exams?” minho asked his best friend. As college seniors, they have to take mock exams in preparation for the graduation exams at the end of spring next year.

“sure thing. Be at my house by like 7pm?” woojin asked. Minho nodded. They could have gone to minho’s apartment, but he almost never has food, so it was better at woojin’s mansion. His chef is an awesome cook.

Woojin glanced at the clock. It was almost time to pack up and go to his afternoon class. Before he left, he stopped and called out to hyunjin.

“hmm?” hyunjin turned towards him.

Woojin ran a hand through his honey brown hair. “were there any updates?”

Hyunjin didn’t ask what he meant by that, instantly knowing he was talking about his favorite artist on sound cloud. “ah, I checked this morning for you hyung. Nothing yet, which is unlike him. he usually is always on time when he says he’s going to release a new track. I follow his twitter and youtube channel as well and he’s been quiet for the past few days. I wonder if something happened?”

Woojin frowned, ignoring the feeling of disappointment in his stomach. He was looking forward to the promised release of his newest track. His music was one of the things that made his days a little better in this hell.

He smiled a fake smile anyways. “ah, it cant be helped. Maybe he was just busy or something. let me know if you hear anything!”

“sure thing hyung!”

Woojin walked the halls to the next building over where his business classes were being held. He doesn’t particularly hate business, but it just doesn’t excite him. he likes playing his guitar and singing.

His father would never let him pursue those things, and his parents keep a tight control on his social life. woojin doesn’t even have any social media because of it. its not like he doesn’t know how to use twitter and Instagram and all of that, he helps run the official school accounts, its just that he doesn’t want his dad to interfere in his life any more than he already does.

Hyunjin and the others understand that, and keep him updated whenever they can.

He sighed, opening the door to his classroom, when the fire alarms all started going off.

***

“guys get this!” jisung burst into chan’s studio where the other three were still hanging out. he just finished his class when he heard the news all over the internet.

“somebody set off all of the fire alarms over at the university! The entire place is in an uproar!” jisung cackled, wishing he could have seen that happen.

Chan frowned. “was it an actual fire?”

Jisung waved at his worrying. “no, from what I heard it was another prank done by some random students here on our campus. They got word of someone setting the sprinklers off outside and decided to one up us. Don’t worry! They don’t know it was us, just that it was our campus who did it.”

Chan sighed in relief. “as long as it isn’t something life threatening. That wouldn’t be funny at all. Do the students over at jersey shore know it was a prank?”

“from what I heard, they didn’t at first, but they do now. Its total chaos over there!”

Felix chuckled at jisung’s glee. “it wasn’t me this time, I swear.”

Chan shrugged, “well, that will keep them busy for awhile.” And then he swerved back in his chair and continued reproducing the track he lost. He was upset that he was late at posting it, but his fans would understand.

***

“dammit! These people are so dumb. You’d think it’s the end of the world just because a couple of fire alarms are going off,” changbin grumbled.

“how the hell did this happen?” seungmin ran a hand through his dark brown waves. He so did not need this shit right now.

“I don’t know, but ill find out. wish me luck!” hyunjin saluted them as he opened up an umbrella and ran into the chaos that was currently their campus. Every single fire alarm in every single building went off at the same time, the sprinklers system above all of their heads dowsed them in water inside the buildings. The student council room was luckily spared since the overhead emergency sprinkler was outside of their room in the adjoining room and in the kitchen areas.

Minho looked up to the ceiling, praying to the lord for strength, and then pushed away from his desk ready to battle out the mess and put order back in place.

Changbin grabbed the announcement mic and started telling everybody it was only a drill and to remain calm and go to their designated places. Seungmin went out to help minho, directing the students on where to go.

Three hours later, everything was calm again and the student council members were dead tired.

Minho slumped in his chair, wet, tired and miserable. Woojin and the others joined him.

Hyunjin barged through the door. “so it was a false alarm.”

“no shit,” seungmin grumbled. Hyunjin instantly went to him, grabbing a towel and helping him dry his hair. seungmin let him take care of him while hyunjin explained what happened.

“I asked a couple of the staff. Apparently some more of those idiots from Whoville managed to set off all of the fire alarms at once. Now im kind of pissed.”

“me too. I'm too tired for this shit, and I have to study, I wanted to be 10 chapters ahead, but with all of the extra stuff going on im only 3 chapters ahead of the class,” seungmin complained. Hyunjin looked at the back of his head in disgust.

“what even is wrong with you?” hyunjin hissed.

“unlike some people, we all cant just ‘wing it’ because we are too lazy to study,” seungmin sniffed.

Changbin nodded his head in agreement.

“don’t agree with him!” hyunjin glared over at the shorter boy. “at least im consistent. You are constantly going back and forth debating whether to study or not.”

“I have more important things to think about!” changbin complained back.

“yeah like whether your shoe goes on the right or left foot,” seungmin snorted.

“rude,” changbin stuck his tongue out. then he stood up, smacking his damp clothes. “well I guess ill be going home now. See you guys tomorrow. Let me know if we are gonna retaliate back. I'm always down for terrorizing those delinquents.”

He waved goodbye with a huge smile and then left.

Woojin chuckled, putting an arm over his eyes. Maybe he could get a few minutes of sleep before he and minho went to go study.

Thirty minutes later Changbin arrived back home, walking into his huge house and flicking on the lights.

“im home…” he said to the empty and dark house. There was no answer back, not like he was expecting one. He sighed, kicking off his shoes and heading to his room to shower.

***

Minho giggled as he left woojin’s house late that night. They spent a few hours getting some good studying done, and he felt better after working out some problems with woojin. Despite them aiming for the same spot in the university and the country, there was never any competition between them. Minho always won first place, and woojin honestly didn’t care. Being first or second didn’t matter to him, and the same went for minho. However, minho had more at stake if he didn’t get first place, and woojin honestly felt bad for him. his own parents were pressuring and strict, but it was no where in comparison to minho’s.

“bye woojinnie! See you tomorrow!” he waved as he headed to his own apartment. Woojin smiled a genuine smile from his porch, watching to make sure minho got in his car and safely drove off.

“thank goodness he’s gone,” his father said behind him. woojin’s smile instantly dropped at the statement. He turned to face him, bracing himself for whatever was going to happen next.

“I don’t know why you bother helping him out in his studies. You are just fraternizing with the enemy. Do you like just handing that brat all of the things you deserve?”

“father, we’ve been through this. I don’t care whether I get first or second place as long as im still ranked in the top 1%. And I don’t 'deserve' anything. Minho works just as hard for that place as I do. there is no ‘helping’ him out.”

His father snorted, blocking woojin’s way to the staircase that lead to the second floor where his room was located. “sure, keep telling yourself that as he continues to manipulate you. I’m not going to stand for this much more. I want you to crush him and reclaim your spot at the top.”

Woojin gritted his teeth and fisted his hands. “I told you dad, he’s my closest friend. He always has been, and always will be. There is no ‘manipulating’ going on. We both work equally as hard. I cant help it that minho is smarter than me and gets slightly better scores. It’s just how it is.”

Then woojin pushed past his father before he heard any more of his toxic words about his best friend minho.

Shutting his door, he leaned against it and took a deep breath. He slowly walked over to his locked filing cabinet where he kept all of his exams and school achievements from past years. He pulled out a huge stack, going through the marked papers. Nobody but him ever saw the scores.

He shuffled through the stack of exams from his many years in school, even going back to when he and minho were in elementary school together. Consistently, one after the other, a score of ‘99’ could be seen on every single exam paper.

He always missed one question. He never got a perfect score of 100, and he confidently knows he never will.

He smiled fondly at the stack of red ‘99’s.

He wouldn’t have it any other way.

***

Chan stood up from his computer, stretching. He still wasn’t happy with his newest track and decided to go rinse off his face from the bathroom.

As he walked down the hall towards the public restroom, he looked down at his feet in confusion. He was wading through a huge puddle of water. He followed it to the bathroom and noticed a huge rush of water coming out from under the door.

“what the hell?” he muttered as he pushed open the door to the restroom. The place was totally flooded, all of the toilets and sinks spurting out water. He slammed the door shut again before he could get drenched with the disgusting toilet water. Even if it was supposedly clean, he wasn’t taking chances.

Further down the hall of the fine arts building he heard shouts all over. He walked to another floor and found students frantically trying to mop up water.

He stopped a student who was running past with a bucket, and asked what was going on.

“all of the water pipes burst randomly around campus. All of our buildings are flooding and getting damaged. The place is old enough as it is! I don’t know if we will be able to fix the damages.”

Chan frowned as the kid ran away trying to help out.

Well that wasn’t good.

***

“I just know it was someone from that stupid school!” jisung yelled. For once chan agreed, jeongin and felix following behind. A few other students were also heading in the direction of the looming university.

Their entire campus was shut down for a few days. The damage the water did when all of the bathrooms and water pipes burst was worse than they thought. None of the students could stay in the dorms, and that meant jisung was out of a place to stay. Jeongin and felix luckily lived close enough to campus to not have to stay in the dorms, and chan had his own apartment nearby. Jisung was going to have to room with chan until they got the whole place working again.

Classes could resume once the maintenance crew got the water cleaned up, but nobody could use the restrooms or public drinking fountains. That also meant the dining halls and cafeterias were down for a while. The place was utter disaster.

Jisung was more upset about the music production building being closed after hours than his dorm getting water logged. None of the extracurricular clubs and teams could practice for at least a week, and the library wasn’t even open for students to study.

Chan and jisung were out of a place to continue making music, and jeongin had no place to study. Felix didn’t care one way or another about the buildings, but now he couldn’t lounge around campus, meaning he would have to go home sooner than he would like, so he was also pissed.

They came up to the main golden gates of JYP University, some students already causing a ruckus demanding the school to compensate for the damages. Jisung fought his way to the front, the others at his heels.

A few of the rich kids took notice and snickered or ignored them, which only pissed them off even more.

“oh look, someone let the animals loose,” a girl yelled from the campus.

“sorry, couldn’t hear you with the nasally tone from that horrible nose job of yours. Must not be rich enough to afford the better ones,” jisung sneered at her through the gates.

“what did you say?” she screeched.

“did I stutter?” jisung shot back.

“take that back! I went to the best surgeon in the country!”

“tell that to the mirror sweetie. Whatever makes you feel better,” jisung sang.

“at least I don’t look like an oompa loompa!” she said, mocking his blue hair. that just riled jisung up.

Felix snickered, putting his headphones on his ears to block out the eruption of insults going back and forth through the gates.

One rich kid taunted some students through the gates, and the community kids weren't going to stand for it. they started grabbing at each other through the bars, ready to fight. This only caused more chaos and shouting between both groups, and things started getting out of hand.

“enough! I said enough!” woojin shouted. Instantly the crowd of university students separated, making way for the five student council members.

“what in hell is going on?” seungmin yelled.

“aww, nobody told me there was going to be a fight,” changbin whined.

Minho smacked his head.

Jisung grabbed the bars to the gates, jumping up to give him more height. He was always agile and good at climbing.

“you assholes ruined our campus! You burst all the water pipes and now we have no where to do our extracurriculars! Pay up you pompous rich bastards!”

The five student council members turned to the obnoxious blue haired boy.

“what proof do you have?” seungmin challenged him.

A few snickers could be heard behind seungmin. some students in the crowd muttered, “they deserved it after the fire alarm stunt.”

see! There’s your proof!” jisung pointed through the gates while still hanging onto the bars in the air with his other hand.

Woojin quirked an eyebrow. Minho glanced to hyunjin. Hyunjin nodded confirming it was indeed their side that caused the damage. Many students have been bragging about it all day.

“perhaps we can settle this calmly-“ woojin tried to reason.

“hah! It was you guys! Pay up! im sure one crack at your little piggy banks will be more than enough to fix our school,” jeongin insulted them.

“now hold on a minute, that gives you no right to insult us to our faces,” minho told him.

“aww did your wittle feelings get hurt,” jisung taunted him. minho gritted his teeth. He really is starting to get annoyed with this kid. And did he mention he hates the color blue now?

“listen here you little-” minho snapped, but was instantly shut up with a hand to his shoulder. He looked to woojin and pouted.

“looks like mommy doesn’t want you fighting,” jisung cackled as he shook and rattled the gates. Woojin glanced at him in interest. This kid certainly had spirit. He noticed a blonde guy with curly hair next to him chuckling.

“jisung, get down already. You look like a crazy person,” chan chastised the blue haired boy, finally putting an end to it.

Jisung looked down, flicking his bangs out of his eyes. He jumped down, his neon blue and black shoes hitting the ground. He was wearing a neon blue and black matching hoodie and his usual metal bracelets and earrings and necklaces clinking with the motion.

Chan stepped forward. “we demand the school for recompensation of damages.”

A few murmurs of agreement were heard from the crowd behind chan, and a few scoffs and denials were heard from the other side.

“and why should we?” seungmin argued. “don’t think we don’t know about the fire alarms and sprinklers recently.”

“yeah and my car!” minho chimed in.

Jisung froze at that. uh oh.

“and we know one of you messed with the security footage!” minho continued on.

Well damn. He got them there.

Arguing started again back and forth, and it was getting pretty loud and heated.

Finally, someone blared a whistle, shutting up most of the students. Immediately over half the crowd fled on both sides, knowing the authorities were about to show up.

Jisung and the others wanted to do the same thing, but they were at the front of the gates and there were too many students in the way before they could get away unnoticed. Unfortunately, the same went for the five student council members. Their classmates abandoned them without a second glance.

“pieces of shit,” seungmin muttered, hyunjin also nodding.

Then they heard dress shoes hitting the pavement as the headmaster of JYP University approached the commotion.

“I am completely disappointed to learn that my best students are in the center of this blasphemy!” he yelled. Woojin stood there with a blank face, and hyunjin stepped behind seungmin.

Changbin was ready to argue when the headmaster put up a hand to shut him up. minho gritted his teeth but didn’t say anything. They were also just as guilty as the rest of them.

“you five, with me! And you four!” the headmaster pointed to chan, jisung, felix, and jeongin. they were the only ones still at the front gates, the other students trying to take off.

Chan sighed, knowing it was pointless to argue or run away.

The gates were opened and they were shuffled off to the headmaster’s office.

The five student council members were in the lead, the four community college kids lagging behind.

Chan and woojin guesses they should have seen this coming.

It was only karma.

Chapter Text

Chan lead his three friends through the familiar halls of JYP University, head held high. He will be damned if any of these rich jerks tried to mess around with him and get them to cower just because they have more money than them.

Bang Chan. Also known as Bang Christopher Chan. Fourth year at JYP Community College. His grades are good, and he loves music. His family moved to Korea from Australia when he was a young teen, and he aspires to make his music known to the world. He is calm and gentle, and loves his close friends with all of his heart. He’s not afraid to go after the things he wants. Doesn’t have a particularly good relationship with his family, but music and friends is all he needs in life.

Next to him, he could hear muttering and cursing coming from a smaller boy. he was complaining and whining about the injustice of the situation, not even caring if the rich kids could hear him.

Han Jisung. Second year at JYP Community College. His grades are average, if he decides to actually show up to class that day. He loves expressing himself in any way he can. He dyes his hair more times than he can count, and is always wearing some kind of new accessory. Many students think he’s a delinquent or a trouble maker, and they aren’t entirely wrong. But he loves music more and will stop at nothing to accomplish his dreams. He’s a genius lyricist, and often works with chan on many tracks. he’s a wild child, his parents having enough of his antics and sending him all the way to the heart of the city so that they can get a break. He hasn’t spoken to them since the start of college. He loves his friends more than anything.

The taller red head stuck close to chan and jisung, playing with his rings on his fingers. He was worried for his friends and what could happen in the headmaster’s office.

Yang Jeongin. First year at JYP Community College. He always has a hard time keeping his grades up. his personality is a mix: he’s an absolute angel, but not at all against causing trouble with the others. In conclusion: chan’s secret weapon. Jeongin loves to sing, and wants to follow in chan’s and jisung’s footsteps studying music and earning a music degree. He excels in his music courses, but has trouble in the gen-ed courses such as math and English that all first years are required to take. His parents aren’t happy about his decisions, and always pressures him to get perfect scores on his exams. He absolutely adores his friends and would do anything for them.

Walking at the back of the group, a boy tsked and put on his headphones to tune out the low chatter all around them. Of course they would cause attention in a rich place like this, and students were beginning to gather at the commotion.

Lee Felix. Second year at JYP Community College. He’s a technological genius, able to hack into anything he wants. However, he would rather play his favorite video games instead. Music is a great inspiration for him, and you will always find him wearing his headphones over his ears, trying to tune out the world. He doesn’t have a whole lot of ambition, but he loves to dance. Told his parents he wanted to study dance, and they refused. He finally got his way, but only if he promised to also practice martial arts. He’s a third degree black belt in taekwondo. He tends to dissociate himself from people he doesn’t like or care about, and that includes his own parents. He’s extremely observant, and always takes care of the people he loves and respects in his own way, which includes mostly just chan, jisung, and jeongin. even though he doesn’t talk much, he is by no means a quiet person and rarely loses his temper.

The four of them walked behind the five rich kids, a complete contrast between their starch gray uniforms and the mash of bright colors, dyed hair, and piercings. They really did look like a bunch of criminals in this place.

“So let me get this straight,” Headmaster Kim Yugyeom folded his hands on top of his massive desk. He currently had all nine boys in his office, the five members of the student council the closest to his desk. “basically both schools are guilty for the pranks being made back and forth these past few weeks. And one of the pranks went too far, resulting in permanent damage to our partner school. Their facilities are down and they currently have no way of fixing it.”

Chan nodded. He was standing off to the side and behind woojin, ready to take the lead if he had to. To chan’s astonishment, when he heard the older student council president explaining everything, he was surprisingly fair. woojin simply stated the facts of what has been happening without showing any bias or favoritism to make his school look better. That secretly earned chan’s respect. chan was prepared to fight tooth and nail against the rich jerks, completely expecting them to try and throw their money around to get their way.

The headmaster sighed. “and does your current headmaster know about these little incidents?”

Chan shook his head. “No sir. Our headmaster hasn’t been at school since the end of last semester. We haven’t seen him since. I think he’s on vacation somewhere in Thailand.”

Headmaster yugyeom snapped his head up at that. “he’s what?!”

Chan leaned away at the sudden outburst. “uhhh, he’s on vacation indefinitely?”

“that stupid little, son of-“ yugyeom ran his hands through his hair, calming himself down. “and who is running the community college in his place?”

“no idea, sir,” chan answered.

“I cant believe-“ the headmaster grumbled, then jammed a button down on his phone, buzzing his secretary.

“secretary jihyo, can you please call my stupid hyung on his personal mobile number right this instant?! Its urgent!”

“sure thing!” she responded brightly.

He waited a few seconds, telling the students to shush as the speaker on his phone dialed. Then someone picked up, with the sounds of the ocean and joyful beach music in the background.

“yugyeom! Its been a while! What’s up?”

Yugyeom gritted his teeth in annoyance. “whats up? ill tell you whats up! you are supposed to be running a college! Did you know that its already a month into the new semester?!”

“oh damn, is it that time already?”

“I have four of your students with me right now Kunpimook Bhuwakul, clearly needing guidance, and I hear you haven’t even checked up on your students since last semester!”

“uh oh. You must really be pissed if you’re using my full name there yugyeomie.”

“yes im pissed! Even after all of these years, you are still worthless.”

“hey now, no need to be insulting-“

“ugh forget it hyung. Ill handle this myself. Just get your ass back to Korea right this instant!” and with that he hung up.

He turned to the students, ignoring the obvious attempts of not laughing some of them were trying to make. “it would seem your headmaster is currently out of commission until further notice. Since we both belong to the JYP family, I will take his place and punish you accordingly.”

Chan nodded, worried what this headmaster would do to them.

The headmaster was silent for a minute, studying the nine boys in front of him. they were so different, living in completely different worlds. He knows they each probably go through their own set of hardships. But still, this feuding between the schools has got to stop. Ever since Jackson from JYP University played a prank on Mark from JYP Community College all those years ago, the war between students has been never ending. The students probably don’t even remember what started it anymore, just that they are supposed to hate each other. perhaps this is his chance to lessen this to some degree.

He cleared his throat. “im punishing all of you for the damages done to both schools.”

Immediately jisung and changbin started to cause an uproar, but was silenced by a look from chan and woojin.

Minho spoke up. “with all due respect sir, we weren’t responsible for most of the damages done to the schools. How is that fair?”

Yugyeom smirked. “its not fair. Let me put this simply. I know more than you think. I'm sure a couple of you in here helped contribute to some of the pranks pulled on each of the schools. I also know you guys would never go as far as to damaging the other school’s water pipes to that extent. Unfortunately, I don’t know which students of mine did it. until we find out who, you five are going to be punished in their place.”

Hyunjin spoke up then. “how the hell is that okay?! We are the members of the student council and in the top of the nation for christ’s sake!”

The headmaster nodded. “you are right. Being at the top of the nation in academics and in leading the student body as the student council is precisely why im punishing you for something you didn’t do. im setting an example for the school through you five. To put it in simple terms, im using you five very powerful and influential students as a scapegoat, sacrificing you as a lesson for the other students to learn.”

Chan’s jaw dropped. Felix finally spoke up in the back, taking off his headphones. “damn, that was harsh. At least he was honest and didn’t lie about it. I can respect that.”

Changbin looked at the kid like he was insane. Felix noticed and shrugged, putting his headphones back on.

Jisung whistled for good dramatics. “well, it turns out our headmaster is a lazy piece of shit, and your headmaster is a hard ass. Go JYP!”

“language, young man,” yugyeom chastised him, but didn’t deny it. the families of JYP were quite interesting, to say the least.

He clapped his hands, earning their attention. “so! By protocol, I should demand money from both parties to repair the damages done to school property. But! I know that if I do that then it will go on all of your permanent records, and I don’t want that. especially for the top 5 students in the nation. Yes that is me playing favoritism, I didn’t become this rich by being nice.”

Chan laughed despite himself.

“so, the next thing I can do is require three months of community service from each of you. At least 10 hours a week.”

“aww, no fair!” jisung and changbin whined at the same time.

“and, that’s not all.” He stared at each of the students, smirking an evil smirk.

“oh here we go again,” seungmin grumbled from the back.

“I require you all to partner up with each other while completing your hours. Obviously there are nine of you, so one group will have 3 members. I don’t care how you decide, as long as there is a student from each school in the pairings.”

“what!?” changbin exclaimed.

“no way am I working with someone like him,” jeongin pointed to seungmin.

“hey watch who you are pointing to, little red head!” hyunjin yelled back.

“im just as tall as you!” jeongin argued back.

“yeah well im older!”

Felix shrugged, turning up his music now that the meeting was clearly over. Chan and woojin sighed, then glared at each other. jisung groaned, and minho gritted his teeth.

The headmaster stood up. “excellent! It seems things are off to a great start!”

“you need your eyes checked, old man,” jisung muttered.

Yugyeom ignored the comment, chuckling to himself. “I don’t care what kind of community work it is, as long as its local and in the neighborhood. I need documentation at the end of the three months as proof, or I make you pay for all of the damages done to the school as well as get your parents involved.”

Minho and woojin visibly paled at that. the headmaster noticed.

“of course, you all are adults now. I trust I don’t need to call mommy and daddy to tattle on their grown sons. Whether you decide to tell them or not is none of my business. But I will make it my business if you don’t follow through. All of you,” he made sure to glare at the community college kids as well.

“and one more thing. Im not completely all bad. I know that your college is out of commission for a lot of things due to the water damage. I will donate the money to your school on behalf of my idiot hyung and pay completely for the repairs, and then some. In the meantime, the community college students are free to use our facilities for after school activities until the repairs are complete. Our gates will be open to all that have a student ID to either the university or the community college, but no one else, so don’t even think about bringing outside friends. we will have security checks as you enter the campus. I expect the student council here to enforce complete cooperation between the two student bodies. No more pranks, and no more damage, do I make myself clear?”

They all nodded, jisung and jeongin not being able to hide their smiles. Even felix smirked. Looks like he doesn’t have to go home after all, and chan was secretly giddy to get a closer look at their music production studios and equipment.

“now go away,” he shooed them out of his office.

***

The nine of them did the walk of shame back to the front gates slowly with their heads held low. It really was unfair what the headmaster was making them do.

The five student council members were forced to politely show their ‘guests’ out of the campus. Woojin knew it was just a show for the other students to see they were stuck with each other from now on. Some rich kids snickered at the clearly out of place community students. Compared to the gray stiff and spotless uniforms, they stuck out like a sore thumb.

Chan and the others ignored the laughs and whispers and crossed over to the other side of the gates. The four of them turned back around, staring at the five student council members.

“so,” woojin began. “we need to decide who is going to pair up with who before you guys leave. And exchange numbers.”

“oooo look at him taking charge and being all bossy,” jisung sang.

Woojin ignored him, addressing the curly blonde guy. He seemed to be the only one of the four that had a brain. “im not taking that one,” he boldly stated, indicating jisung.

Chan chuckled while jisung blew a raspberry at woojin.

Hyunjin spoke up quickly. “me and seungmin take the red headed one. He looks the most normal out of you freaks.”

“most normal? Jeongin?” felix cackled in a high pitched voice while jeongin smiled a fox like smile mischievously at hyunjin and seungmin.

“no take backs~” jeongin sang, rubbing his hands together evilly, clinking his rings.

“seungmin, I’m scared,” hyunjin whispered while hiding behind seungmin.

“Alright!” changbin interrupted loudly. “I am SO ready for this! put em up pretty boy! me and you, after school tomorrow, 3 o’clock sharp. Be there or be square!” changbin danced around punching the air, already claiming felix as his partner.

“uhhh?” felix mumbled, watching him with mild interest.

“you do know that felix takes taekwondo?” chan budded in.

Changbin scoffed, flicking his black bangs out of his eyes. “Is that supposed to scare me? So what? I do too!”

“he’s a black belt,” chan continued.

“doesn’t matter what color he is once I crush him!”

“a third degree black belt,” chan pressed further with amusement.

Changbin stopped his jumping around, looking at felix more closely. Felix gave him a bored stare back. “oh damn.” But that didn’t faze him. “He may be a black belt, but I would like to see him try to bend down and reach me from that height. Its all about the agility baby!” changbin feigned blocking his upper body to the right, to the left, jab, jab, duck, swing, as he continued dancing on his feet like an idiot.

“did he just call himself short?” jisung looked to felix. Felix smiled despite himself, watching changbin nonstop talk and throw out some more punches, beginning to shadow box. “I kinda like him,” he stated, pulling his headphones back down around his neck.

“im taking the nerdy school president,” chan announced, pointing to woojin with a grin. He waved his fingers in a flirty hello. Woojin looked at him with a bored expression.

“isn’t the short idiot over there their president? I always see him leading their assemblies and stuff,” jisung asked, pointing to changbin.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!” changbin was rambling, not hearing jisung’s remark.

Woojin sighed, shoving changbin out of the way. “No, I’m the president. We just let changbin lead all of the school assemblies because he doesn’t shut up. im fine with it, and the students all know im the one officially making the changes around here. Changbin is just our spokesperson,” woojin shrugged. “he promotes things well, and he’s got that charm everybody loves.”

“then I guess that leaves gorgeous over there for me,” jisung winked at minho.

Minho winked back, blowing him a kiss and biting his bottom lip. Jisung was taken aback by that. nobody ever flirted back to his cheesy hit ons so fast before.

He quickly recovered. “Don’t feel too bad gem. With those looks, you might not be the smartest and you might not get the best of grades, but you will always be an A+ in my books,” jisung called over.

Minho snorted, already losing interest. He's used to people assuming he's some dumb pretty boy.

Seungmin laughed. “minho hyung here is the number one student in our school. He gets perfect scores on every single exam and assignment. He ranked in the top 1% of the country.

Jisung’s jaw dropped, “you’re shitting me.”

“then why isn’t he the school president?” felix challenged.

“yeah!” jeongin piped in.

Woojin again interrupted them. “he doesn’t want to be the president,” he defended minho.

They all stared at minho. Minho shrugged. “I hate people and like to have the freedom to do as I please. these four right here are the only people I can semi-tolerate. I would much rather have woojin be the president, leading is not really my thing.”

“then why the hell are you vice president?” jisung asked.

Minho snorted, blowing a puff of hair out of his eyes. “A number of reasons really. One, I absolutely cannot leave my woojinnie to run this school of idiots by himself. now, seungmin here would be a good vice president, but he’s way better as our secretary, organizing shit. Two, my parents won’t let me even think about dance unless I take my academics seriously and I was forced to join. I tried like hell to get the student body to vote for woojin and made sure he won the election for my own personal gain because I refuse to follow anyone else as a leader in this hellhole. And three, being vice president means I get to enforce all of the strict policies the school has such as dress code, no eating, no loitering, no littering. It’s completely up to my discretion to punish those that don’t follow the rules.” He smiled with a Cheshire cat smile and giggled softly.

“he has too much power Chris,” jisung whispered in mock fear.

Woojin frowned, hearing that name before, but then let it go. “he is such a big help,” he told them, and then he smirked.

“guys, I’m starting to think all of these nerds are spawns of Satan,” Felix whispered.

“You better not be thinking of backing out of our fight blondie!” changbin growled out.

“I didn’t even agree to it!” Felix called back, a bit exasperated at all of the attention he was getting.

“uh-uh, don’t bow down now! I like a challenge!” changbin gave a kick in the air towards felix.

“arrghfhghffh” felix yelled, running a hand through his hair in frustration.

“you get used to it,” hyunjin told him.

“At least that one is normal,” chan remarked, nodding to hyunjin.

Seungmin started to laugh so hard, leaning on hyunjin’s shoulder. He wiped a tear from his eye. “if minho is mean, hyunjin is nice.”

“and that’s a bad thing?” jeongin piped in.

“oh yeah. Hyunjin is the prettiest in the school. He’s our school ‘prince’ and people fall at his feet to do his bidding. One smile from him and you will be eating out of the palm of his hand.”

“uh oh,” chan looked over at hyunjin, already knowing where this was going.

Seungmin continued, “all the teachers love him, he can do no wrong.”

Hyunjin flashed a sweet smile at them. “oh no, im so sorry I missed class this morning. I didn’t mean to, but I got lost on the way and had to ask someone for help~” he singsonged mockingly at them.

“damn, even I would believe that,” felix muttered.

“he’s the deadliest,” jisung agreed. “at least vanilla cupcake over there is honest with his true rotten personality,” he nodded to minho.

“im not thanking you for the compliment,” minho said dryly.

“isn’t he the most precious strawberry,” jisung cooed, earning a glare from minho.

Hyunjin and seungmin snickered at his anger.

Chan clapped, getting their attention. “ok so its settled. Felix and changbin, minho and jisung, seungmin hyunjin and jeongin, and me and woojin will partner up to do the community service. The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can say goodbye to each other forever and never have to see each other again. Everyone cool with that?”

They all nodded, actually agreeing on something.

“great! See you guys tomorrow!”

And then the four walked off the campus grounds, heading back home.

***

Pretty soon the news spread around both campuses, and the community college students were ecstatic to be able to use the super luxurious facilities for their after school clubs. The student council was busy beyond belief, arranging scheduling times and sorting out conflicts. This was where seungmin came in, making sure everyone had a fair share of the facilities across campus. In no time at all he was able to set up rules and regulations for both bodies of students, and strict time limits.

Minho put the fear of god in any of the students who dared disobey seungmin’s rules, threatening both groups of students and promising hell to pay if they try any fights or pranks. Changbin swooped in, mediating between the two with any conflicts or complaints that aroused.

Hyunjin flitted from group to group, earning the trust of every new student that walked on their campus grounds and making sure to report any suspicions of someone not following the rules to minho and woojin.

They still got the occasional petty prank or snide comment. And more than once a fight almost broke out. the five members were exhausted by the end of the week, they didn’t even have the time to think about their community service. It went into effect the following Monday and they were running out of time to find a place.

***

Woojin briskly walked the halls to the familiar dance studio on the first floor of the fine arts building. He hurried to the room, breathing a sigh of relief when he made it there without being spotted by a fellow student, and slammed the door shut. He was alone today, minho off studying somewhere and hyunjin busy making friends with the new students.

He opened the window and then slumped to the familiar spot on the ground, resting his head against the wall. He closed his eyes, wishing hyunjin was there to play his music. Just a little longer and he would finally be free of the watchful eyes of his parents.

Since he didn’t have the actual music, he decided to hum it instead, softly singing in the quiet studio.

After a few minutes of that, he was suddenly inspired by a new tune, wishing he brought his guitar with him. he hummed it, committing it memory so that he could try it out later with an actual instrument.

It was a kind of tune that combined the melodies of one of the songs he listens to from CB97 and newer notes he added in himself.

***

Chan was wandering the halls of the huge campus, looking for a quiet place to work on his music. He hasn’t been through these hallways for a long time, and he vaguely remembers where the buildings were situated.

There should be studios around here somewhere.

He walked out of an exit, deciding to take a short cut and round the building outside instead of getting even more lost through the many hallways inside.

As he was passing by a group of windows, he stopped.

That melody. He knows that melody.

That was his song, but not quite. It was different.

It was better.

What the hell?

He slowly approached closer to the first floor window, listening quietly. He could hear the most beautiful voice he’s ever heard inside the room. It was quiet, but chan has keen ears for these things.

This person was incredible.

He must know who it is. He must have their voice for his music.

He hopped up a little bit, peering inside the window. He frowned not seeing anybody inside. He immediately began to panic. Did he miss them? Are they gone forever?

But then the voice started back up with a soft hum. It was another one of chan’s songs he posts for free on the internet. He grinned, so this person must be a fan of his. It warmed his heart knowing he was able to touch at least one person with his music. He knows he has a lot of followers and fans, but it feels so fulfilling to see it in real life.

He hopped up again, this time hanging from the ledge of the open window, looking ridiculous to anyone that passes by. With one smooth and fluid motion, he swung himself up onto the ledge and into the open window, his feet dangling on the inside of the room.

“ah, this must be a dance studio,” chan thought out loud, taking in the huge spacious room with mirrors and warm wood flooring.

“jesus fucking Christ, you scared me. Who the hell just climbs through windows?!” woojin swore, his heart beating a mile a minute. Finding this chan guy jumping through a window was quite unexpected. Nobody at his school would ever think of doing that. well, maybe changbin, but he wouldn’t actually do it in public.

Chan looked down, smirking. “hiya pres! Fancy meeting you here.”

“and why, exactly, are we meeting?” woojin asked dryly as he adjusted his glasses.

Chan pouted at his cold behavior. “I was just looking for a quiet studio to produce my music in, when I heard the most lovely voice through the window. So, here I am!”

Woojin blinked. Did he just compliment his singing?

“well this hall is the dancing studios. You gotta go to the next wing over.” Woojin instructed.

“hmmm,” chan hummed. “I don’t think I want to go there anymore. I think im gonna stay here with you,” he smiled, showing dimples in his cheeks.

Woojin looked at him like he was crazy. “why? I'm just taking a break here for a few minutes. I'm not actually doing anything.”

Chan jumped down easily onto the flooring and sat next to woojin. “because like I said. I like your voice, and now I want it for myself. Have you ever recorded a song with that voice before?”

“uhhh, no?”

Chan smiled evilly. “excellent. How would you like to help me with a little music project of mine?”

“nope,” woojin shot him down right away, motioning to get up since chan was obviously not going to leave.

Chan gripped his hand before he could get up, holding on tight. “please? just hear me out.”

“nope. I’m not studying music, and all we have to do is community service together. There was nothing in the rules saying we had to help each other in any way or be friends.” chan pouted at that, not able to argue.

He bit his lip in panic. Once he sees something he likes, he will stop at nothing to get it. and woojin’s voice is something he likes. The possibilities for songs are endless if he had a voice like woojin’s on his side.

“can I please just show you some of my works? You might like it!” he was playing dirty. He knows woojin will like it since he literally just heard woojin humming two of his most popular songs merely 5 minutes ago.

Woojin sighed, shaking off chan’s hand and sitting back down on the floor. “fine, you can let me hear one song, and if it sucks I’m leaving. I don’t like to waste my time with useless things.”

“duly noted,” chan grinned at him, taking off his book bag and pulling out his laptop he carries with him. he would rather produce music on a main computer, but he never knows when he will get inspired, and travels with his laptop just in case.

He scooted closer to woojin, excited to be showing him his works. Only jisung, felix and jeongin have witnessed the process of him making his songs, and he always loves a fresh pair of ears to tell him opinions. He can’t get better if he’s unable to please all of his listeners with at least one of his songs.

Woojin brought his knees to his chest and rested his cheek on them. He was tired and could barely keep his head up. he quietly watched as chan flicked through his library of songs with a concentrated look on his face.

This is the first time he’s ever seen someone so passionate about something. hyunjin and minho didn’t count since he’s known them for so long.

“ah, here it is. This one was an older one, so it was harder to find. But I unburied it for you! This was the very first demo of this song before the final one was published. You better listen closely, because nobody has ever heard it before~” chan winked at woojin.

Woojin furrowed his brows in confusion, having no idea what he was talking about.

Chan hit play and turned up the music. He watched woojin’s face closely, noting even the smallest reaction.

Woojin sat there waiting for the song to begin, bored out of his skull. He found it creepy how intently chan was looking at him, but he ignored it.

Then he heard it. the melody he always finds himself singing when he is stressed. One of the songs he always eagerly asks hyunjin to play for him on his speakers. He lifted his head off his knees with wide eyes, looking from chan to his laptop.

This was the original version of the song, completely played on acoustics before all of the mixing and producing was added to it. it was bare and unpolished. It was just chan’s singing and a guitar and piano, nothing more.

“i-i, but how?” woojin looked at chan.

Chan smiled a wide smile with dimples. He clicked pause on his song. “you are officially the first fan I have met in person.” He held out his hand for woojin to shake. Woojin reluctantly took his hand and held on to it. “hiya school pres! My name is bang Christopher chan. I’m from Australia, but my family moved to Korea and I’ve always wanted to pursue music. My Korean name is officially chan, and my producing name is CB97. My dream is to be a composer and producer, selling my music to fans around the world. It’s nice to meet you!”

Woojin blinked at him, looking down at their hands. Then he looked back up into chan’s warm eyes and he, Kim Woojin, one of the coldest people on campus, blushed just the slightest for the very first time.

Maybe there was more to chan than he realized.

“so, can I please hear your voice?” chan begged, enveloping woojin’s hand in both of his. He blinked rapidly at woojin trying to be cute, causing the older boy to snort.

“not if you do that again,” he smirked.

“did you just laugh?!” chan gasped, leaning in closer. Woojin could see the golden eyebrow piercing the closer he got. And he looked really pretty with those short dangle earrings.

He panicked at his thoughts and shoved chan away lightly as he got up. “seriously? im not a robot, of course I laughed.” He nudged chan with his dress shoe. “get up, ill take you to a quiet studio for your work. But then we have to discuss our community service together.”

Chan grinned, putting his laptop away and hopping up from the ground.

***

Changbin stood on the grassy hill, facing the campus in the warm August breeze. He let the wind ruffle his hair slightly as he took in the weird mix of students in normal colorful clothes and students in uniforms.

Someone cleared their throat behind him. he grinned as he turned, facing his expected visitor.

“right on time, pretty boy.” changbin took off his gray blazer and threw it to the ground, rolling up his white dress shirt sleeves. He cracked his neck, jumping on his toes as he shook out his hands, warming up.

“oh for heaven’s sake, I’m not fighting you,” felix rolled his eyes, putting his headphones back onto his ears. They were yellow today.

“aw come on!” changbin whined cutely, stomping his foot on the ground.

“and please text like a normal person. Sending a message that says ‘meet me on the hill at 3’ is so lame.”

“that was my challenge to you! You came, which means you accepted! Now put em up!” changbin lifted his fists in the ready position.

“you are seriously not going to let this go, are you?” felix asked. Changbin ignored him, swinging a few punches at nobody in the air.

“a promise is a promise!” he yelled over to him.

“once again, I did not promise anything!” felix was starting to get annoyed. This guy was just so hyper, it was hard to keep up with him.

Changbin stepped over to felix, dancing around him. he leaned into his face, and then backed out, shuffling his feet. felix tried not to giggle at how ridiculous he looked.

He rolled his eyes again, sighing and coming to the conclusion that if he wants to get this community service over with, he needs changbin to cooperate, and the only way he’s gonna get this hyper idiot to work willingly with him is to squash this poor boy’s ego.

While changbin was dancing around still, felix reached out and grabbed the front of changbin’s dress shirt with surprising strength, swiping his feet out from under him, and slamming him to the ground on his back. Felix kneeled on either side of changbin’s hips, leaning over the older boy so that their faces were inches from each other. then in a flash before changbin could retaliate, felix grabbed both of changbin’s wrists and pinned them above his head. Changbin blinked up at him in total shock.

“ding, ding, ding. You lose. Now are we done here?” felix said in a bored voice as he let go of changbin’s wrists and straightened himself, sitting on changbin’s thighs. He brushed off some dirt from his knees, and then fixed his hair. his fingerless gloves were yellow today, matching his headphones.

“that was…” changbin licked his lips, sitting up slightly onto his elbows, not even bothered that felix was using him as a personal chair. “AWESOME!” felix looked at him like he was nuts, totally not expecting this reaction. He thought the boy would at least be a little bit mad for having a ‘community’ college kid beat him at something.

Changbin sat up completely straight now leaning closer, causing felix to adjust himself. he still didn’t make a move to get off of the dark haired boy, a little overwhelmed with the admiration changbin was showing him. he watched as changbin’s eyes sparkled with interest, and he reached over lifting up one of his headphones slightly, careful not to break them.

Felix hissed, swatting his hand away and letting the headphone sit awkwardly on the side of his head. “what do you think you are doing?” he got up off the boy and stood over him, irritation on his face for touching his headphones.

Changbin pouted, looking up at felix. “I wanted to talk to you better, and I thought you wouldn’t be able to hear me with those headphones always on. You totally need to hang out with me more! that move was amazing, I didn’t even see it coming. How long have you been practicing martial arts? Do you go to it often? Where do you go? Maybe I can come with! Nobody here wants to go with me. You are just so pretty looking, almost like a fairy, nobody would even suspect how good you are at fighting. People always assume I like to beat people up, I mean, they aren’t wrong, but its not like I go out on the streets and start brawling with just anybody. Ok, that’s a lie, if I could I would, but obviously there’s like, laws and stuff. And-“

He was cut off from his constant rambling by the sound of giggles.

“what? What is it?” he asked the blonde boy standing above him.

“you talk a lot,” felix said bluntly.

Changbin frowned slightly at his comment, but then it was instantly gone, a smile replacing his face. “ah, yeah I get that all the time. I tend to talk fast when I get excited. I know it can be annoying sometimes, but I cant help it,” he shrugged.

Felix didn’t say anything as he readjusted his headphones back on his ears comfortably. He stared down at changbin for a few seconds, which made the older feel a little uneasy. Then felix wordlessly held out his hand, offering to help changbin up.

Changbin stared at his hand for a few moments. He took note of felix’s neon yellow fingerless gloves, painted black nails, and wrist bands of all different colors, sizes, and materials. This kid was weird, but a good kind of weird.

Changbin grinned up at him, taking his hand and hoisting himself off the ground. He brushed off the dirt and bent over to pick up his blazer he dramatically threw to the ground.

“so, felix. What are you studying over at the community college?” he asked, genuinely interested. Changbin was studying accounting. He doesn’t necessarily hate it, and he certainly excels at it more than anyone since he’s good with numbers, but its not a passion of his.

Felix ignored him and started walking away back towards the University, heading to one of the dance studios since changbin obviously didn’t have anything important to discuss up here on this hill. Changbin pouted, following after him.

“hey! Can you hear me? What’s your interest? Are you learning how to fight? Do you plan on being an instructor, is that why you take taekwondo? Did I ever mention you look totally cool when you fight? im still in awe over that by the way, and that’s why I wanted to go with-“

“dancing,” felix mumbled.

Changbin stopped talking, hearing his answer. Again, he was shocked. “dancing? So are you a fine arts major?”

Felix side glanced changbin, who was still walking with him and talking nonstop. He shrugged. “im good at fighting, but I like to dance. I like music.”

“ah! Minho and hyunjin love to dance too! And I kinda guessed you liked music, with the headphones and all. I like music too! Sometimes I write lyrics, and I can rap, but I’m not very good at it, and I have to spend my time studying accounting anyways. And then there’s the student council work, and making sure to keep in the top 5% of academics and-“

“do you love it?” felix interrupted, quickly learning that changbin was a chatterbox. Woojin wasn’t kidding when he said he never shuts up. felix doesn’t mind it as much though. He prefers to listen rather than talk anyways.

“what?” changbin stopped rambling and looked at him confused.

“do you love it? the accounting?”

“ah! I mean, I’m good at it, so it’s obviously something I should focus my career around. and my parents think it’s a good idea-“

Felix stopped walking, making changbin immediately stop with him. he looked at the shorter boy with a piercing stare. “but do you love accounting? Because it looks to me that you don’t actually have a passion for it. you are just doing it because it’s safe, it’s easy. It’s something that will make everyone around you happy to hear about.”

Changbin blinked at him, not knowing what to say to that.

Without waiting for an answer, felix continued walking again towards the building he found out held the dance practice studios.

Changbin walked a few steps behind him, a thoughtful frown on his face.

***

Minho was studying in one of the empty classrooms, sighing at his books. The windows were open because it was a warm day, and he would much rather be dancing. He rested his head against his hand, staring through the window with a bored expression.

And then something caught his eyes.

He watched with mild irritation and curiosity as a familiar head of blue hair climbed up a tree. He swung around a branch, landing perfectly on it and perching himself. his metal bracelets jingled, and his silver earrings glinted in the sunlight seeping through the tree’s leaves. He made himself comfortable as he wrapped his black jeans covered legs and combat boots around the tree branch. He tilted his head, his blue hair sweeping across his eyes.

“Hiya princess!” he grinned at minho, resting his chin on his hand. he was wearing black eyeliner, and his eyes crinkled at minho as he smiled. Minho noted his familiar silver lip ring on the side of his bottom lip.

Minho continued looking at him with a bored expression. He rolled his eyes at the goth boy. “anyone say you look like a squirrel? What even was that?” he called over through the window in answer.

Jisung puffed his cheeks in annoyance. “I am not a squirrel!”

Minho smiled despite himself. “what do you want? I'm busy.”

Jisung snorted. “clearly. I can tell you are having the time of your life over there.”

Minho ignored the comment. “how did you even find me? I obviously didn’t reply to any of your texts.”

“which was rude by the way, but I like a good chase. I know you are just playing hard to get,” jisung laughed, waving his hand cutely with nonchalance at minho. “I asked hyunjin. That boy knows everything. He said you might be here studying, something about liking being by the open window. And then I saw this tree, and I was itching to climb it. and here we are.” He leaned forward, his black and neon purple hoodie riding up a bit as he adjusted himself again on the branch.

“hyunjin and his big mouth,” minho grumbled.

“now put those boring old books away and lets go! I have come personally to retrieve your royal highness’s ass.” Jisung stuck out his tongue.

“and why would I go anywhere with you?” minho batted his long lashes playfully at jisung.

Jisung’s heart beat faster at that. shit this boy was pretty, and he clearly knew it, using it to his own advantage.

Jisung quickly recovered. He’s been doing that a lot lately around him. “uhm hello? Our community service duhhhh. I found us a place.”

Minho quirked an eyebrow in interest. He has been so busy, he almost completely forgot they have to start it this week. “I’m not selling drugs with my body,” minho said jokingly. “not because im disgusted by those things, but because I would be too dangerous putting everyone else out of business. I cant have them getting jealous and attacking the goods,” he pointed to his obviously pretty face and toned body.

Jisung was about to defend himself, everyone always assumed he was some kind of delinquent with his image and wild personality, but then he realized minho wasn’t making fun of him as a sly smirk creeped up on the older’s face. jisung realized this was minho’s twisted humor and he was obviously joking.

He laughed really loudly almost losing his balance on the tree. “Sure, whatever you say honeybunches. I promise I wont subject you to some criminal drug deal.”

Minho chuckled, “ok but seriously, where are we going?” he closed his books, interested in what the goth squirrel boy was up to.

“believe it or not sweetheart, but im not some kind of emo delinquent. I actually know of some places that we could help out around here in the neighborhood. Maybe if you didn’t coop yourself up with all those books you would actually get to experience a few things.”

Minho frowned. “I don’t always coop myself up inside,” he defended himself. he liked to dance.

“well anyways, that evil smirk of yours reminds me of a certain animal, so I knew immediately the perfect place we can visit. You gonna follow me or not, love?”

Minho sighed, used to the boy’s constant pet names after only a week of knowing him. He ignored jisung’s question, but got up anyways gathering his things. jisung grinned at him and jumped down from the branch suddenly, his combat boots making a thud as he hit the ground. Minho’s heart jumped out of his chest, slightly afraid for the boy for some reason, even though he’s only on the first floor and the tree wasn’t that high up.

“Let’s goooo gorgeous!” jisung called up to him. minho saw that he was okay, and breathed a sigh of relief.

***

“he’s late. I hate it when people are late,” seungmin complained as he drummed his fingers on the table in front of him.

“relax Minnie, he probably got lost on campus or something. he’s only 5 minutes late, so its not like it’s the end of the world or something,” hyunjin placated him. they were currently sitting in the student council room, waiting for jeongin so that they could discuss their community service. Seungmin was always thorough and he doesn’t want to put this off for much longer. And he knows hyunjin doesn’t care one way or another so he can’t rely on the older boy.

Just then, a burst of red hair barged through the doorway to the room. Jeongin came in panting, like he was running to get there. He had books and papers scattered in his hands, and he placed them on the table in front hyunjin and seungmin as he took a seat with them.

“sorry im late! I was studying at the library and lost track of time. You guy’s got a great place there!” he smiled warmly at seungmin and hyunjin. Hyunjin cooed at the younger boy, instantly reaching over to fix his messy hair from the run over.

Jeongin let him as hyunjin reassured him, “aw its ok! We know studying is very important, isn’t that right seungmin?”

Seungmin stared at the two of them, sighing and releasing his anger. “yes, I suppose. It cant be helped if you were taking care of your studies. At least one of you takes it seriously,” he glared over at hyunjin, completely implying his lack of interest in schoolwork.

Jeongin laughed nervously as hyunjin pouted in betrayal and scooted closer to jeongin. “innie- you don’t mind if I call you that do you?- he’s always being mean to me. Tell him to stop it,” he whined.

Seungmin curled his upper lip in distaste. “don’t try to make me out as the bad guy in front of the kid.”

“see what I mean?” hyunjin complained.

“uhhh…” jeongin was completely caught between the two.

Seungmin harrumphed and his 'clean genes' kicked in, and he started straightening jeongin’s books and papers into a neater pile in front of them. He couldn’t help himself, they were facing different ways and were getting bent from not being in a folder and he just had to fix it.

Jeongin watched with mild curiosity while hyunjin went back to fixing the younger boy’s hair again. He giggled at how alike the two were, but yet totally different.

As seungmin was finishing up fixing the papers, he noticed one of jeongin’s recent quizzes in the pile. He held up the paper, noticing the grade at the top. Jeongin snapped back to attention and quickly snatched the paper from his hands, blushing with embarrassment.

“ah, that was just a harder quiz I had recently. Thank you for organizing my things, but you don’t have to do that again,” he tried to be polite. He didn’t want someone as smart and rich as seungmin or hyunjin to see his grades and make fun of him. he wanted to get along with them as long as possible until the community service was completed. He knows they must think he’s some poor stupid boy from the community college who can’t even get good grades on simple math and English quizzes.

Seungmin stared at him with interest. Despite his reputation of being a hard ass and making people feel like they are worthless while he tutors them, he only does that to the rich bratty kids that don’t want to listen to him. he doesn’t like to waste his time, and they obviously don’t want to learn. But if someone who honestly needs help and wants to get better and is willing to try comes up to him for help, he would never make fun of them or put them down.

He decided to not say anything, and watched as jeongin stuffed his schoolwork back into his backpack. It was none of his business how this kid was doing in school.

Hyunjin noticed the awkward tension, and decided to ease things up a bit by changing the subject. He clapped his hands giddily.

“ok, so what should we do for our community service project? Any ideas?”

Seungmin grumbled. He had a few ideas, but nothing he was willing to try. And hyunjin obviously had none since he brought up the question.

Jeongin straightened up, giving them a soft smile that made hyunjin’s heart melt. “actually, I was thinking,” he began. Seungmin braced himself for a stupid idea, or one that he would have to kindly reject. He didn’t want to hurt the boy’s feelings after all.

Jeongin continued, “I was thinking we could go to a middle school in the area and do something for them?”

Hyunjin looked at him, his full attention on the boy. “like what?”

Jeongin played with his rings nervously as the two really smart and really rich boys stared back at him. “I know this might be a dumb idea, and you totally don’t have to do it or anything, but I used to want to be a teacher back when I was younger. But I was never really good at basic arithmetic and that kind of stuff. And then I became interested in singing, and then I met channie hyung, and now I want to study music alongside him. so I thought, why not kind of combine the two? And now I want to be a music teacher, so I was thinking that it would look good on our transcripts if we volunteered at a middle school and tutored children with whatever subjects they need help with, and maybe give singing lessons and…” he trailed off as they stared blankly at him.

He blushed, looking down. “and maybe just kind of be there for them? Help out any kids that might have trouble studying or feel bad because of their grades, as like an after school activity for the children? We can be kind of like mentors and help guide them to certain things they want to do in high school and later in life, and oh god now im rambling, it’s stupid just forget it.”

Seungmin spoke up. jeongin didn’t realize it since he was looking down in embarrassment, but a soft smile started to creep up on seungmin’s face. “I think that’s a brilliant idea,” he finally said.

Hyunjin squealed in excitement. “oh my god you are the cutest thing on this planet! Of course we can do that! I can show some of the kids how to dance while seungmin handles the boring old tutor stuff! Its going to be so fun!”

“r-really? You think so? You don’t think it’s a bad idea?” jeongin looked at the both of them in shock.

Seungmin shook his head. “it was better than anything I had in mind. Just tell me a list of schools you were thinking of going to, and I’ll call and arrange everything with their teachers.”

“are you sure? I can help out with that if you need me to.”

Hyunjin waved it off, hugging onto jeongin's arm with affection. “just let Minnie do all of that. he’s super good at it.”

“ok, sure if you don’t mind-“ and just then jeongin’s cell phone went off. Hyunjin was still latched onto his arm, and jeongin had to move around it to dig his phone out of his pocket. His face paled when he saw who was calling.

“h-hey mom. How are you-"

“come home right this instant young man! We just recently saw your grades, and your father and I are very disappointed in you! You are grounded until you can bring your grades up on the next exam. And no more hanging out with those distracting friends of yours when you should be studying!” his mother shrieked on the other end. Jeongin winced and held the phone away from his ear so she wouldn’t bust out an ear drum.

“mom, I was studying! I tried really hard on the recent test, I promise. And my friends aren’t distracting me, they help me-"

“don’t lie to me! If you were studying then why the hell are you always bringing home grades like these?”

“I told you, some subjects I just don’t get. I can’t help it no matter how hard I study,” jeongin argued, close to tears.

“that’s enough out of you. Get home right this instant!” and his mother hung up on him.

Jeongin sniffled a little as he looked down at the phone, but then remembered where he was and who he was with. He pasted on the brightest smile he could, and hurriedly stood up, shaking hyunjin off of him.

“ah, sorry you guys. That was my mother, and she wants me home. Just text me when you get the details all sorted out and ill be there. Bye!” he avoided eye contact with them, afraid he would start crying if he saw their faces. He knows they must either be trying not to laugh at him, or giving him a look of pity at how bad the little 'community college boy' was doing in subjects they already excel at.

He grabbed his things, and dashed out of the room before hyunjin or seungmin could say anything to him.

Hyunjin looked at seungmin in shock, a sad expression on his face. “you heard that, right?”

Seungmin nodded, his face blank and showing no emotion.

“they sound just as bad as minho’s parents,” hyunjin commented in the quiet room.

Again, seungmin nodded without saying anything.

After a few more silent moments, hyunjin whispered, “I don’t like seeing him cry.”

Seungmin glanced at hyunjin. “me neither,” he finally spoke up, surprising the hell out of hyunjin for once.

Seungmin briskly stood up and walked over to one of the bookshelves near his desk. He started thumbing through the many spines of books that lined the shelves and grabbing random books from them.

“what are you doing?” hyunjin asked with confusion.

“looking for the basic math and English books I used back in first year. Well, it was actually back in high school since im always ahead of this country’s education system, but you get the point.”

A smile started to creep up on hyunjin’s face as he watched seungmin take down a few more of his precious study books. “and why, exactly, are you bringing out books that you mastered like 4 years ago? You don’t have a use for them anymore.”

 Seungmin looked at hyunjin and pouted cutely. “To tutor him, of course.”

Hyunjin was full on grinning now. He got up and walked over next to seungmin, pulling out his own old books that might be of help for a certain young first year having a hard time studying.

 

Chapter Text

“so…this is your car, huh?” jisung asks minho nervously. Minho offered to drive them to wherever jisung was taking them for their community service. He refuses to say what it’s about, spouting something about ‘mysteries are fun!’ and crap. Minho thinks it’s kind of annoying, but he lets it go.

“yeah, why?” minho glances over at him as he unlocks it from his clicker.

“it’s mint green,” jisung giggles. “don’t you think that’s kind of obnoxious?”

Minho shrugs, grinning at jisung with his signature cheshire cat smile. “yep! I hate my parents with every fiber of my being, so embarrassing my dad even in the subtlest of ways brings me undying satisfaction. This mint green car was phase 1 of my revenge,” he laughed, echoing in the parking garage.

Jisung snorted at minho’s pettiness, surprisingly finding it kind of endearing. “well then my lovely, if it’s a loud statement you wanna make then you are talking to the right guy. Have you ever considered…..spray painting it?”

Minho gasped, causing jisung to bat his lashes cutely, a slight nervousness making his heart pound harder in his chest. He was waiting for minho to figure it out. “how dare you talk about my baby like that?” minho was flabbergasted. Jisung snorted again.

Or perhaps he was more of an idiot than he thought.

“can I be your baby?” he flirted with minho, changing the subject.

Minho blinked rapidly at him. “no, and you must have heard the rumor going around about my car getting spray painted a few weeks ago, didn’t you?”

Jisung pouted, flicking his electric blue bangs out of his face. “uhhh, something like that?” he said in more of a question.

Minho humphed, blowing his own bangs off his forehead giving him a messy look. It didn’t escape jisung’s notice.

“I can’t believe even people at the community college know about my car getting spray painted. As soon as I find out whoever colored it blue, im gonna,” and he motioned ringing their neck and stomping on the ground, lost in his anger.

Jisung would’ve laughed if his mouth didn’t run dry. It looks like he’s got another secret to take to his grave.

To cover up his jitteriness, he commented, “aww, but gorgeous, I think mint green and electric blue go so well together, don’t you agree?”

“are you insane?” minho growled out. he took a step closer to jisung, looking down on him. jisung took a small step back towards the side of the car to keep his distance.

“sometimes chan calls me worse things, so yeah im a little insane,” jisung joked, staring up into minho’s eyes. Minho took a step even closer, squinting down at jisung. He leaned in so that he was looking straight into jisung’s face. the squirrel boy was actually quite beautiful, in minho’s opinion, and his punk/skaterboy look actually worked for him in a way others couldn’t pull off.

Jisung tried, he really did. like really hard, but having minho this close made it impossible to not look at his lips. Minho was gorgeous, that was just common knowledge. Jisung forced his eyes back up to meet minho’s.

Oh god, were they having a moment? They were totally having a moment! Jisung was starting to freak out.

Should I kiss him? no, that’s weird. Wait, no its not! im a total catch! He would be lucky to have me kiss him.

Minho leaned in even closer, studying jisung carefully still, totally oblivious to jisung’s internal struggle.

Finally he spoke up. “I never told you what shade of blue it was.”

Jisung gulped, his heart beating rapidly for a new reason now.

Just when he thought minho finally caught him, the older boy said “is that shade of blue your favorite color or something? your hair is almost the same color that was on my car.”

Jisung blinked. He can’t be serious. Surely he’s playing with him. there’s no way the top student in the nation is this dumb.

Apparently he was.

“no…blue isn’t my favorite color. But it is now,” he laughed manically.

Minho stepped away, giving him a weird look. He chose to ignore it, and walked to the driver’s side. “ok, tell me where to go so we can get this over with.”

___

“Anddddd we’re here!” jisung grinned at minho.

Minho looked up warily at the building in front of him. there was no signs on the place, and it looked kind of run down. he worried for a split second that jisung really did take him to some criminal hang out. a kid as rich as him would never be caught dead in a place like this. well, unless he was kidnapped for ransom or something.

Then he heard a bunch of dogs barking from inside.

“oh good, the hounds are on us,” he said dryly.

Jisung snickered, “aw, I know this neighborhood isn’t the most richest of places like you are used to, but trust me it’s safe enough precious. Come on, the owner is waiting for us,” and then jisung suddenly grabbed minho’s hand, dragging him into the building before he could back out or argue.

Minho followed after him, his eyes flicking down to their hands. He should shake the younger boy’s hand off, but he kind of liked the feel of his cold metal bracelets against his skin in contrast to the boy’s warm fingers with his.

He frowned when jisung dropped his hand and walked up to the counter to where an older lady was standing. Minho’s eyes widened when he noticed they were in an old animal shelter. Mostly dogs and cats surrounded him in cages or play pens, but there were other animals too.

Jisung turned around with a boyish smile on his face that minho found weirdly adorable. It didn’t go with his whole punk-goth look at all and minho wanted to laugh.

“alright darling! For the next three months we are allowed to come here during the week and help out at this animal shelter. I hope you aren’t allergic to animals,” he skipped to minho, blinking up at him through his blue bangs.

It took minho a second to not stare at how pretty jisung was, but then he answered, “no im not. I actually used to want a cat when I was younger, but my parents never let me,” he smiled down at jisung sadly. “so, what do we have to do to get started?”

Jisung clapped his hands. “well! We just need to take care of the animals for a bit, like clean their cages, give them baths, maybe feed them, stuff like that.”

Minho nodded. “ok that doesn’t seem so bad. But im a beginner at this, so someone has to show me how to do things.”

“not a problem angel, the owner said she will give us a crash course of the place for the first few times,” and then jisung mindlessly grabbed minho’s hand again and dragged him into the back where they could put on aprons and gloves to begin their work.

Minho’s mouth twitched upward slightly as he looked down at their joined hands.

***

“are you sure this is what you want to do for the next three months?” felix said in a disbelieving tone at changbin. like seriously, what rich kid would want to do this type of community service willingly?

“yep! I like being outdoors, so I figured this would be perfect!” changbin grinned over at him, fixing his hair in the wind.

They were outside in the local park. It was a huge place and always busy with people throughout the day. Felix looked over at the trash bags and rubber gloves changbin was holding excitedly, bouncing on his feet ready to get going.

Changbin decided he wanted to clean up the local park two to three times a week for their community service. Felix didn’t really care one way or the other, but it was strange for someone like changbin to not pick a more…sanitary idea for their hours.

He shrugged in indifference over at changbin, then fixed his headphones to play music for the next 3 hours while he worked. Today they were green.

Changbin continued to chatter as they began to work. “so, the park’s groundskeeper is going to be the one to sign off on our papers each week for proof, just to let you know. I used to play at this park all the time when I was little so I know the area pretty well. The groundskeeper has a sick wife at home and doesn’t really have the time to keep up on the maintenance so I figured it would be good to help out as much as we can for him. plus I like being outside, staying inside for too long makes me restless. Oh no! I didn’t ask if you were ok with being outside all day. Even if you cant keep up or if you need a break, just let me know and I can do some of your share of the work, don’t worry I don’t mind. When I was younger, kids used to be annoyed that I could run around for hours without feeling tired and they always hated playing with me because of how hyper I was. So im pretty careful now that im older and-hey! Are you listening?”

Changbin peeked over at felix, who was wordlessly picking up some trash and brushing some leaves off a bench a few feet away from him. he had his headphones on like usual. Changbin pouted, figuring felix wasn’t even trying to listen, not even out of politeness.

Changbin shrugged, used to the strange quietness that always surrounded felix and used to people ignoring him while he talked. He figured it was actually kind of perfect that he got paired up with the disinterested boy, because now he could talk as much as he wanted and for once nobody would complain or get annoyed with him.

He opened his mouth to do just that when felix turned and spoke up in that beautiful deeper voice of his. “im not some fragile doll. You forget im better at martial arts than you and I also like to dance. I think I have enough energy and can handle picking up a few pieces of trash for a couple hours a week,” and then he went back to what he was doing, seemingly ignoring changbin again.

Changbin blinked at him, surprised that felix was even listening to him and even more surprised that he bothered to answer. He grinned over at the blonde who had his back turned and his green headphones on.

“so, like I was saying-”

***

“you know im not good with kids right?” woojin stared at the daycare in disbelief.

Chan laughed at the look of horror on woojin’s face. well, to the outside world it may look like he was just bored, but he’s been spending enough time with woojin to know that the rich school president tends to hide his real feelings behind a mask of indifference. And right now chan can tell that he’s slightly nervous.

“it will be fine! the kids all know me and they are all super playful and nice. Trust me this is the easiest community service ever. The hours will pass in no time,” he smiled over at woojin.

Today chan was wearing a black sleeveless shirt with a black beanie over his blonde hair, his usual gold piercings, and black joggers with black tennis shoes. For some reason it looked really good on him, and woojin wasn’t stupid enough to not know what that feeling was in the pit of his stomach.

This wasn’t good. The more he gets to know chan, the more he wants to be around him. and not in a ‘friend’ kind of way.

Chan was everything woojin admired in a person. He was laughter, and kindness, and he loves to express himself. even though he’s not the president of any club or a leader in any kind of sport or organization on his campus, people still follow him. the teachers respect him, the students trust him.

But what woojin admires most (and maybe even envies a little) about chan is that he’s doing something he loves. Woojin can see the complete joy in chan’s eyes as he sits at his computer composing and making music. It has become woojin’s favorite pass time to sit in a comfy chair next to him and just watch him for hours. He thought chan would get annoyed at first having someone constantly next to him while he works and tweaks his tracks, and he even tried to respect chan’s personal space. More than once he tried leaving early so that chan can work in peace, but chan whined and complained how he hates being alone all the time and that it would hurt his feelings if woojin left early.

Woojin eventually gave up, sighing and sitting in the chair. Sometimes he would fall asleep, only to be woken up by chan hours later.

“you should go home and rest woojinnie, its really late,” he would say quietly to woojin. Woojin never really wanted to go home, but chan was right and his parents would be furious at how late he’s been staying out even though he’s an adult in his early twenties.

“what about you?” woojin would ask him groggily. Chan would just smile and shake his head.

“ill be here a while longer. Besides, it gives jisung a chance to actually sleep on a bed. He’s been stuck on my very tiny couch for a while now because of the dorms being all damaged and shit.”

Woojin frowned, disappointed that chan wasn’t going back home. “oh. Well, don’t keep staying out too late. You might pass out from exhaustion. Seriously, when do you even sleep? You leave later than me and come earlier than me every single day.”

Chan smiled cutely, making woojin’s heart jump a little. “Is this your way of worrying about me?” he teased.

“no,” woojin grumbled out the lie, deciding now was a good time to get up and out of there before he did something he would regret. Like kiss him.

Now, standing in front of the daycare care center, woojin can see how this is something very chan-like. It was just a part of him to take care of others in some kind of way. That’s another thing woojin envies about him. He wants to be like that too. He wants to be an older hyung for the other four to rely on. He’s not even sure what they really think of him. he knows minho likes him a lot, obviously, since they have been best friends since they were little. But he’s noticed minho hasn’t been as open to him anymore. He doesn’t even remember the last time minho complained about his parents to him.

He frowned at this, panic suddenly taking over in his chest. How has minho been really doing these days? Is changbin eating okay? Seungmin hasn’t been getting too obsessed about his studies, right? Hyunjin’s slight social anxiety hasn’t come back recently, right?

Woojin felt kind of sick at the realization that they all have been so busy with school and pleasing their parents that they haven’t really been the best of friends together. Sure, they talk and have a good time at school. But when was the last time they truly showed how much they care for each other?

“hey, earth to woojinnie~” chan called over, already heading a few steps towards the front entrance of the daycare. “what you thinking about over there? It’s almost time to meet the kids!”

Woojin blinked away his thoughts, deciding to put them away for now. For some reason he felt like crying. Since meeting chan, he’s noticed how much he hates himself right now. He hasn’t been a terrible person or anything, but he now thinks he can be an even better version of himself.

That’s another thing chan does for others. He inspires people, without even realizing he’s doing it.

***

“so, how do we tell someone we want to tutor them, not because we think they are stupid but because we want to help and make them smile again because they have the most adorable little smile in the world, and now I need to keep him next to me forever?” hyunjin gasped out.

Seungmin snorted, “did you even breathe?”

Hyunjin whined, laying across seungmin’s lap on one of the small couches in the student council room. “im being serious!”

Seungmin looked down at him. “how about, ‘hey im bored, let’s go study these random books I found that will magically help you ace your exams’?”

Hyunjin pouted, “we have to be more creative than that.”

They stay there in silence for a few moments. Seungmin casually ran his fingers through hyunjin’s hair as he thought about it.

Hyunjin sat up, “oh I know! Do we look like the kind of nerds that would just pull out their books they mastered like 4 years ago because they are bored and think studying is fun? Do we come off as that kind of crazy nerd?”

Seungmin glanced at him and laughed. “No, because he already met you. There’s no way he would fall for that now."

Hyunjin smacked his arm playfully. Then he sighed. “looks like we are going to have to be honest with him then. Maybe if we tell him delicately he won’t get offended.”

“it’s highly unlikely he won’t get offended or embarrassed, but it’s worth a shot,” seungmin grumbled.

***

As the weeks went by, the mix of students started to get along much better. Jisung and changbin surprisingly became good friends, exchanging lyrics and ideas for rapping. Changbin started to let other people look at his works, and chan loved everything the younger boy composed himself, even asking him to join and collab with them sometime. hyunjin, felix, and minho all clicked instantly through dancing, and hyunjin thought it was adorable how felix always had on a pair of headphones. The two older boys caught on quick that felix was always listening and very kind, and he gets more talkative the more he is comfortable with someone. And of course, everyone loved jeongin. he was the kindest person but also the most hardworking. Woojin and seungmin admired his love for singing, and even managed to do a demo with him for one of chan’s tracks. they sounded beautiful together, and chan was going to cry tears of joy from how wonderful his newer songs were going to sound.

___

“innie,” hyunjin softly called over to the younger boy. seungmin nervously rubbed his hands together, knowing what hyunjin was going to ask. They’ve witnessed another disturbing phone call from his parents while at the middle school they were doing community service for. In the recent weeks, seungmin managed to set everything up and it went great without any problems. The two older boys watched as jeongin interacted with the middle schoolers, and they instantly vowed to protect him from everything bad in the world. Which also included his parents.

Seungmin knows its none of their business to get involved in someone else’s personal life like this, but he and hyunjin are finally putting their foot down, unable to take the hurt look on jeongin’s face anymore. it's been getting worse as the weeks went by in the semester.

Jeongin looked up from his studying with a hum. He started hanging out with the two older rich kids in their student council room instead of going to the library. It was easier to study there before leaving for community service with them.

Hyunjin scooted closer to jeongin, worry in his eyes. Jeongin looked at him with confusion. Seungmin remained quiet with a blank face even though his heart was pounding with nervousness. Hyunjin was best suited for these kinds of situations. Seungmin is always blunt and messes it up.

“innie, about your grades,” hyunjin began. Jeongin instantly froze up, his eyes guarded and suspicious about what the older boy was going to say next.

“I don’t think that’s any of your business, hyung,” jeongin said with a hiss. Hyunjin flinched, tears almost welling in his eyes. Jeongin never calls him just ‘hyung.’ He gave him a cute nickname of ‘jinnie hyung’ recently that made hyunjin melt with the adorableness.

“innie, hear me out. me and Minnie here noticed that your parents aren’t really happy with your current scores. I'm going to be honest, we can pretty much hear the phone calls from across the room. I know its none of our business, but we really want to help you and see if there’s a way for you to study better.” Hyunjin ended his speech as delicately as he could, biting his lip in anticipation. He gave jeongin his puppy eyes, letting him know he wasn’t making fun or pitying the younger boy.

Jeongin glanced from hyunjin to seungmin, and then back to hyunjin. “why would you want to help me? Am I some charity case?”

“no, innie you aren’t and-“

“or maybe you have no one else to spout off how smart you are to and you decided I'd be perfect-“

“of course not innie! We truly just want to help you do better-“

Jeongin got up, closing his book. “im sorry, but I just cant see why two perfectly rich and smart students would want to waste their time helping out an average community college kid like me. It just doesn’t make sense, and quite frankly I don’t feel like becoming a laughing stock once you guys see how horrible my grades have always been-“

“is that what you take us for?” seungmin spoke up, a harsh bite to his tone.

“what?” jeongin looked over at him. hyunjin was practically in tears, and jeongin felt bad for being mean, but he wasn’t taking any chances. He's been made fun of from the other students and called a failure by his own parents too many times for him to believe somebody else out there actually cares for him (besides chan and the others of course).

“do you honestly think that was our intention? Do you honestly believe we are that kind of people after spending practically a month together? Just because we are rich and get good grades and go to a top notch university, you think we would judge other students like that?” seungmin snarled.

Jeongin took a swallow, his mouth going dry. He couldn’t argue with that.

Seungmin stood up, abruptly walking around the table to get in jeongin’s face. jeongin took a tiny step back, a little bit afraid of the older boy.

Seungmin knows jeongin was lashing out to defend himself. just what kind of mental abuse did this boy go through to instantly make that kind of assumption? Just how many nights did jeongin sit in his room studying alone, trying to do the best he can? How many times was he told that he would never be good enough?

Seungmin’s face softened, and he reached up. jeongin flinched, thinking seungmin was going to hit him for talking back to his hyungs, but instead seungmin softly placed his hand on his cheek, trailing the dark circles under jeongin’s eyes with his fingertips. Not even the eye liner could hide it if you were looking closely.

“I have slight obsessive compulsive disorder,” seungmin admits. Jeongin blinked at him, confused by the sudden admission.

He continued. “its not that bad any more, but when I was younger it was really hard. The other kids thought I was weird and avoided me. I had to make sure everything was in its perfect place. I couldn’t do my work until I knew everything was lined up correctly. My grades could never be perfect enough. I was disappointed in myself if I got even one question wrong. I studied, and studied, and studied until it became unhealthy. my parents didn’t really care about me, and I didn’t really care about the other students. Why should I bother helping out other people if they weren't as studious as me? But then…” with shaky fingers, seungmin tucked some of jeongin’s red hair behind his ear.

“but then?” jeongin whispered, listening quietly.

“but then I met hyunjin about a year after. I was the worst version of myself in that time when the most beautiful boy transferred to our school. He was smart, and athletic. He had an addicting and precious giggle and everyone loved him. he was popular and had it all. I couldn’t give two shits about him. my grades were more important.”

Hyunjin sniffled, knowing the story all too well. He doesn’t mind seungmin telling jeongin even though it was a personal story.

“then one late afternoon, as I was briskly walking through the back hallways heading from the library, I heard someone crying from behind one of the staircases. I didn’t really care, but if it was someone injured I thought it would be important to at least report it. I wasn’t a total ass. And then I looked behind the staircase and saw hyunjin crying on the floor, his knees brought up to his chest and he was shaking all over. I remember sighing, putting my books down and saying ‘whats wrong with you?’”

Seungmin smiled at the memory of the very first time they spoke to each other. that day changed his life forever. “hyunjin looked up at me with tears in his eyes, and reached out his hand to me asking if I would hold it. of course I was like ‘ew no. why me?’ but hyunjin admitted he had slight social anxiety, and that day was especially hard for him, and he just needed someone to hold his hand to calm down. but he was scared of everyone else, because they were fake and would want to tell others about it and make fun of him. I asked him what made me different from everyone else, and he said-“

“I told him he was the only one in our class who had it worse than me,” hyunjin finished. He blinked the tears away from his eyes.

Seungmin snorted. “of course, that was like a slap in the face to me. How dare this pretty boy with social anxiety insult me!” then seungmin took jeongin’s hands in his, rubbing circles on his knuckles. “hyunjin was right. slowly I started to realize my problem, and me and hyunjin just kind of clicked after that. I held his hand for hours that day. And I never stopped holding his hand since then.”

Jeongin looked from seungmin to hyunjin, unsure of what to say.

“the point is innie, even though we are rich and smart, it doesn’t mean we aren’t people just like anybody else. We have our own problems we deal with. Yes there are a lot of brats here in the rich school, but there are also normal people too. We cant help that we were born with a silver spoon. But what we can do is help other people who need it, regardless of their social status. We aren’t going to make fun of you, and its ok to ask for help if you need it, its not something to be ashamed of. We all need someone.”

Jeongin’s lip trembled a little and his eyes started blinking rapidly.

Hyunjin stepped next to seungmin, leaning into him. “its kind of lonely dealing with everything by yourself, don’t you think?” he smiled softly at jeongin.

Jeongin sniffled, removing his hands from seungmin’s quickly. Seungmin frowned down at the rejection, but then noticed jeongin bringing his hands up to his eyes as he crouched on the floor. He started crying really bad, hiding his face from the other two boys.

“oh innie,” hyunjin whispered, crouching down next to him and rubbing his back.

“I…really w-want to get better and p-pass my classes,” jeongin said inbetween sobs. “I d-don’t know whats wrong with me. I-ive tried everything…and my parents keep y-yelling at me,” he let it all out, finally breaking down. its been too long since he last allowed himself to really truly cry.

Seungmin crouched down and circled his arms around jeongin, and hyunjin ran his hands through his hair, fretting at how the boy was upset.

“shh, its ok innie. Let us be there for you, yeah? Having mediocre grades in some classes is not the end of the world. We will find out a different way of studying so that you can do better. I promise. Me and hyunjin are here for you now, ok?”

Jeongin nodded, pressing closer to seungmin’s chest and gripping at his dress shirt. He was probably getting the front of his shirt dirty. At one time, seungmin might have freaked out about it, his OCD telling him to clean it right away. But now, seungmin didn’t mind it at all.

After a few minutes of jeongin calming down, he mumbled something against seungmin’s chest.

“what was that sweetheart?” hyunjin asked, leaning in closer to hear the boy.

“I said, 'you guys too'. If you need someone too, you can come to me. Ill be here for you,” he told them with a wobbly smile, his nose and eyes all red from crying.

Hyunjin started his round two of sniffling. “oh my god, you are the most precious thing in the world!” he squealed, grabbing onto jeongin and nuzzling the side of his head.

***

Jisung yawned for the tenth time that day. He was currently washing off one of the older dogs at the shelter. When he was finished, he stood up, groaning at his back aching.

Minho snorted. “you aren’t that old. Quit acting like an old man with an aching back,” he chastised him playfully. He was currently cleaning out the litter for the cats.

Jisung pouted. “listen here mister. Not everybody has a king sized bed at home. Since some dipshits from this school ruined the dorms, im forced to live on chan’s very small couch. And you know its small when even I cant fit on it. and he’s up at all hours of the night so I barely get any sleep than I normally do,” jisung complained, yawning again.

Minho watched how cute he looked when he was tired and cranky. Jisung ignored him, doing stretches and squats to get the kinks out of his back.

“you look like an idiot,” minho made fun of him.

Jisung glared over at him, not having the patience to fight or flirt back today, but then he watched as a kitten came over to minho, purring as it rubbed its small head against his ankle. Minho cooed at it, instantly forgetting about making fun of jisung, picking the small kitten up and rubbing his nose against its little button nose.

The kitten meowed at minho’s affection, and he giggled, his eyes crinkling in joy. “well aren’t you the cutest little thing,” he hummed in his soft lilting voice. He went out of his crouch and sat on the ground, letting the kitten curl up in his lap as he softly pet it to sleep.

Jisung blinked. He almost whined, wanting to be pet like that too. Seeing this side of minho took him by surprise, and he immediately labeled what this feeling was in his chest.

“I’m just gonna…go to the bathroom real quick,” he told minho.

Minho hummed, indicating he heard, but he didn’t look up from the kitten. There was complete adoration on his face at the little animal.

Jisung dashed to the nearest bathroom and whipped out his phone. “chan, I think im in love.”

Chan sighed on the other end, “not this again jisung. What did minho do now?”

“he was cooing at a kitten, and then softly pet it to sleep and-“ jisung was waving his arm around frantically, trying not to squeal. It was hard to contain his inner gay. “did I mention he is gorgeous?!” he hissed into the phone.

“everyday jisung. Everyday.” And then chan hung up, obviously it wasn’t anything important.

Jisung pouted at the phone. Chan wasn’t usually in a bad mood. What was his problem?

Jisung shrugged, skipping out of the bathroom to go admire minho like a creep some more. When he got back, he noticed another cat in minho’s lap, and one was softly padding around his knee.

Jisung laughed quietly, causing minho to look up. “I think they like you,” he said as he yawned again.

Minho doesn’t know why he offered it. maybe he was in a good mood from the kittens, or maybe the goth squirrel boy looked especially cute today in his ripped bleach-white jeans and purple hoodie, but the words left his mouth before he put much thought into it.

“you know, if its hard sleeping on chan’s couch you could just stay with me at my apartment for a few weeks. I got a spare bedroom that nobody is using.”

Jisung gaped at him, not knowing what to say.

Minho almost blushed at the look jisung was giving him. almost. He hid it well with a shrug, “or not. it was just a suggestion.”

Jisung blinked, “you want me to stay with you? How much is the rent? There's no way I could afford whatever you are staying in.”

Minho snorted. “I wouldn’t make you pay rent when my father owns the whole damn building. And its only until your dorms are fixed, so don’t act like you are moving in and staying permanently. I just figured it would be easier for you to commute with me to the shelter if we lived in the same area.”

Jisung looked at him some more, making minho feel uncomfortable from all of the staring. “you know what? Clearly you don’t want to so just forget it-“

“wait! No I want to! I was just still shocked is all!”

Minho frowned, taking slight offense. “why? You think im that stuck up to not help out a friend when they need it?”

“no! that’s not it!” jisung quickly denied. “I just didn’t ever think you would let someone like me near where you live. I mean, I don’t exactly fit in with the rich boy image and if people see me with you-“

“I don’t care about my image,” minho growled, distaste on his face. “don’t confuse me with the others at my school.”

Jisung flinched at the older boy’s harshness, instantly making minho regret snapping. “I d-didn’t mean it like that. its just, we can hear the comments on campus. We know we don’t belong here, mixing with you guys. We are from totally different worlds, and I don’t want to overstep my boundaries.” Jisung looked down, twisting his metal bracelets. He usually isn’t embarrassed about his social status, but for some reason in front of minho he gets self-conscious. He’s usually proud of his looks, proud he is able to express himself with confidence. But today is not one of those days.

Minho instantly softened his voice when he noticed the slight insecurities jisung has about himself. “you should know by now that woojin and the rest of us don’t think like the others. I don’t care about my ‘image’ or being seen with you in public. I can make friends with whoever I want.”

Jisung looked up at minho with doe eyes. Then he grinned at minho, his confidence coming back slightly. “does this mean you consider us friends, gorgeous?”

Minho rolled his eyes. “you know what? Forget I said anything.”

Jisung whined. “don’t be rude! Let me stay with you! When can I move in? does tonight work for you?”

Minho turned away, ignoring him with a smirk and small giggle.

“aw come on hot stuff, don’t be like this~”

***

“channie hyung, you look kind of tired,” one little girl said, curling her fingers around chan’s hand and dragging him to the slide.

Chan smiled, hiding his fatigue the best he could. “ah, I just didn’t get much sleep last night. Don’t you worry about a thing darling!”

Woojin looked up from where he was monitoring some children playing on the playground. He watched chan more closely, noticing he wasn’t as peppy and hyper as he usually is with the kids.

Over the weeks, chan has become even more endearing to woojin. He was so kind and patient with the children. Every time woojin saw him hug one of them, it made him kind of jealous. He wanted to be hugged like that too. But more specifically, he wanted to be hugged like that by chan.

Chan must have been going to bed much later than he was admitting because he looked pale and there was a slight sheen of sweat on his forehead. Woojin frowned, making a mental note to yell at chan to actually get some sleep more at night.

___

When they finished for the day, woojin sat next to chan while he messed around a bit with the music programs on his computer. Chan grumbled under his breath, his fatigue making him more frustrated than usual.

It was rare for chan to lose his temper, but after a fifth try of adding something and it not working out, chan slammed his keyboard back and scooted his chair away from his desk.

Woojin lifted up a brow at the sudden outburst. “everything alright?” he asked, looking up from a book he was studying. Midterm exams were coming up in a few weeks, and he needed to be ready for them.

“yes!” chan snapped at him.

Woojin didn’t take offense. He wasn’t called the ‘cold prince’ for nothing, showing no emotion on his face. he calmly set his book aside, giving chan his full attention.

“that would obviously be a ‘no.’ I think its time for you to go home and take a rest.”

“but something still is missing on this one track, if I could just-“

“no.” woojin stated firmly.

Chan looked over at him. “excuse me?”

“I said no. you need rest, and clearly you need someone to tell you when enough is enough. Go on to bed and maybe once you get a good night’s rest things will go more smoothly.”

Chan sighed. “fine, you're right.”

He got up, bending down to give woojin a hug. The older boy was surprised, but he hugged him back.

“thanks woojinnie, I don’t know what I would do without you,” he whispered, and then left the studio after closing down his programs.

Woojin let himself feel flustered by chan’s hug.

***

Felix was practicing his dance moves alone when the door to the dance studio was shoved open. He looked into the mirror in curiosity when he noticed a dark haired figure dart in real quick and slam the door shut.

Changbin was breathing against the door dramatically, then he looked up at felix. He started running towards felix super fast, “quick hide me! You are practically a tree next to me, they will never see me as long as you keep still,” changbin giggled, darting behind felix.

“uhhh? Who wont see you? Why are you hiding?” felix asked.

“ok well long story short, I ditched on a study session with the demon twins seungmin and hyunjin, and now they are hunting me down. I practically had to sprint all the way here.”

Felix shrugged, “not my problem,” and he made to move away from changbin.

Changbin whined, grabbing felix’s waist from behind as he was still bending down behind him. “aww don’t be like that blondie. Help me out here!”

Felix smirked in the mirror, finding changbin’s whining kind of cute. “nah, I think ill call hyunjin right now and tell him where you're at.”

Changbin gasped trying to grab felix’s cellphone out of his hand. “you are such a traitor! Did all of our days bonding in the park mean nothing to you?!”

Felix held the phone away from changbin’s quick hands. “you act like we are the best of friends now,” he argued.

“well why cant we be? Come on, don’t call hyunjin! I hate studying more than he does!” changbin tugged on felix’s waist, dragging the boy to the floor so that he can wrestle the phone out of his hand.

They hit the ground hard, changbin still hugging felix from the back. He curled his legs around him too for good measure. “ill stab your shoulder with my chin!” he threatened.

Felix snorted realizing changbin was serious, and giving up the fight. “fine, you win.”

Changbin reached over and grabbed his phone, sliding it across the floor away from him. he still had felix in a death grip with his entire small body. He didn’t let go of the younger boy, liking the close contact. Changbin was a needy person like hyunjin, what can he say? He tightened his arms and legs around the blonde’s waist, and hooked his chin over felix’s shoulder.

Felix relaxed in his hold, looking at them in the mirror.  

He smiled to himself. he kind of liked this.

Just then, the door barged open, seungmin stomping inside. “if you thought for one second you could ditch on me, then think again-“ seungmin bitched while grabbing changbin’s ear and dragging him away from felix.

“ow, ow ow,” he looked back at the blonde who was still sitting on the floor while being dragged by the ear. “lix! Save meeeee!” he held out his arm for felix.

Felix brought his hand up to the side of his head and gave him a salute.

Changbin gasped at that. "The 'e' in 'Felix' stands for the 'e' in betrayal! don't think i will forget this day pretty boy!" he yelled as he crossed through the doorway.

Felix found it absolutely adorable, and giggled when the door shut, changbin’s cries of pain echoing down the hall.

As he sat there for a few more moments in silence, he found himself missing the lively chatter of the older boy.

***

“has anyone seen chan?” woojin asked the seven of them gathered in the student council room. It has become a habit for all nine of them to hang out together when they aren’t doing their separate community service or going to class.

“I thought he was with you today?” jisung asked, lying on one of the loveseat couches with his legs propped up on hyunjin’s lap. seungmin was at one of the round tables, quietly muttering to jeongin some pointers on the math subject they were studying together for the afternoon. Minho managed to escape to the dance studio for a little bit and practice his dancing. The upcoming exams were stressing the hell out of him, and jisung now knows that he runs off to the dance room whenever he is about to snap.

“-and let’s see, my favorite color is red, but I like any of them really. Oh! And I really like sweet things, like strawberries! Do you like strawberries? You should really try out that new strawberry smoothie drink they have at the café in the dining hall, and-“ changbin was nonstop chattering to felix, who had on his headphones and was typing away at his computer, supposedly ignoring the older boy. he had blue ones on today.

Woojin snorted, knowing by now that felix is listening to every single word changbin is saying, even if changbin doesn’t realize it himself. “felix, have you seen him?”

Felix glanced up from his computer, changbin pausing in his sentence and just now noticing woojin was asking something.

“no I haven’t seen him in a while actually. Usually when he gets a great idea, he holes himself up in his studio for days,” the blonde haired boy answered. Then he turned and glanced at changbin, “no I haven’t been to the café on this campus before. We should try that strawberry drink together after we finish cleaning the park tomorrow,” and then he went back to typing on his computer, ‘ignoring’ changbin again.

Changbin blinked at the blonde, a happy smile creeping on his lips. And then he continued rambling on and on about his day.

Woojin frowned, dismissing their weird flirting. Usually chan was always around, it wasn’t that hard to find him. he shrugged off the bad feeling he was having, continuing his day and student council duties like normal.

___

It wasn’t until the next day of not seeing chan that he really was alarmed. They were supposed to be heading over to the daycare center, but woojin couldn’t get ahold of chan at all.

Looks like woojin was going to ditch afternoon classes for the first time ever in his final year of college. Oddly enough, he didn’t care one bit, chan was way more important.

He marched over to jisung, surprising the younger boy. “can you give me chan’s apartment address?”

Jisung frowned, “you still haven’t heard from him? it really is common for him to do this when he is producing new songs. I wouldn’t worry too much, but still it cant hurt to check up on him.”

Woojin shook his head. “I just get a bad feeling. Its not like him to miss our community service without a word or even an excuse. Plus he’s been looking pretty tired lately.”

Jisung nodded, agreeing with the student council president. He was sleeping when jisung moved out his stuff the other day, not even getting up from all the racket the younger boy was making. He quickly wrote down the address on a piece of paper and ripped it out of his notebook. “here, let me know when you hear from him ok? You can take my key.”

Woojin nodded, slipping the key to his apartment in his uniform pocket. Before taking off and skipping class, he quirked an eyebrow at jisung.

“you are really living with minho now?”

Jisung tilted his head, running a hand through his hair and making his bracelets jingle. “yeah, why? I think he’s finally starting to not be annoyed with me, which is progress on my part,” he chuckled.

Woojin smirked at the younger boy. minho never offers to help someone unless he cares about them in some kind of way. He’s very surprised he reached a hand out to help this eccentric second year.

“nothing, I was just wondering,” he snorted, deciding to tease his best friend about his obvious infatuation with this skater boy squirrel. Of course, minho isn’t going to let him live down what he’s about to do to go and see chan.

“ok hyung! Good luck with chan! Don’t be surprised if you find him at his computer ignoring the world,” jisung called out as he watched woojin head towards the parking garage where his car is parked.

___

Woojin rang the buzzer at the front entrance to chan’s apartment building, but he was getting no reply. He decided to just head on up and let himself in.

He knocked on the door first, still trying to be polite, but yet there was still no answer. Maybe he wasn’t even home? Biting his lip in anxiousness, he used the key and walked inside. He looked around, taking in his surroundings. The place was small, but neat and homey. He could tell chan didn’t have a whole lot of money from the sparse furniture, but he still made the place look nice. There was a small couch and TV in the living room, a few mugs and cooking utensils in the kitchen. As he moved further into the apartment, he saw books and other miscellaneous things scattered about.

Taking off his shoes at the entrance, he walked down the hall in his socks. The place was dark, barely any lights on. Woojin was starting to get the idea that nobody was home after all. At the end of the hall, he saw the bathroom and then another room that was mostly closed and dark inside.

“hello? Chan are you in here?” he called out, assuming this was chan’s bedroom. There were no other rooms in the place, and he slowly moved the door open letting the hall light filter into the dark room.

“hmmm?” he heard someone hum from the bed, a huge lump under the blankets on the mattress.

“chan? Are you ok? We were supposed to go to the daycare center later and you weren't answering your phone for almost two days,” woojin explained. he walked inside, getting closer to chan the best he could in the limited amount of light from the hallway.

He leaned over the figure in the bed, studying him. chan didn’t answer, so he called out again. “chan?”

Chan muttered something in his blankets, and woojin was getting frustrated that he couldn’t see him properly. He walked over to the window, opening the curtains and letting what was left of the natural daylight help him see better.

“oof,” chan grunted, covering his eyes with the blanket.

“hey, talk to me. What’s going on?” woojin went back and yanked some of the blankets from chan’s face, starting to get annoyed from the lack of communication. “I know you’re tired, but we have an obligation to finish our community service together, and there’s no way in hell im getting in trouble just because you decided to stay up all night again when I clearly told you to start getting rest more and-“

In his rant, he leaned closer, noticing chan was sweating a bit on his forehead.

Now, woojin is one of the top students in the nation, and unlike minho he’s actually pretty aware of what goes on around him.

“oh geez, are you sick? What did I tell you about overexerting yourself? I don’t place number two in the whole school for nothing, you know. I study and work just as hard as you do, and I still manage to get proper rest and take care of myself which is why im almost never sick,” he chastised the younger male. He couldn’t help the strict lecture, he was just worried about chan.

“congratulations genius,” chan muttered sarcastically into his blankets, waking up from woojin’s ranting.

“why didn’t you let one of us know you were sick? We could’ve come over to help,” woojin asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.

Chan sat up a little, shivering and looking at woojin with hazy eyes from fever. “it’s just a slight cold. No reason to make everyone worry,” he slurred.

Woojin reached over and pressed his hand to his forehead. “its not just a slight cold, you're burning up pretty bad. And dropping off the face of the earth worries us more than just telling us you were sick,” he scolded.

Chan hummed, closing his eyes at the feel of woojin’s cool hand on his forehead and feeling sleepy again.

To be frank, chan looked like shit. Woojin decided to take matters into his own hands and got up. he gently pushed chan back down to lie flat on the mattress and pulled the covers up around him.

“im going to get you some medicine and water, and maybe something to eat. When was the last time you ate?”

Chan blinked up at him. “what day is it again?”

Woojin sighed. “ill be right back.” As he was turning to walk away and head into the kitchen, chan grabbed his hand to stop him.

“promise?” he mumbled half asleep.

“promise what?” woojin asked, confused.

“promise to come back?” chan asked sleepily.

“yeah, why wouldn’t i?”

But chan fell asleep before he could answer the question.

___

Woojin managed to find some simple soup makings and medicine to help reduce chan’s fever. Surprisingly, chan kept his place pretty well stocked of the basic stuff, so it wasn’t all that hard to find what he needed.

To be honest, woojin isn’t the best of cooks, minho was better at it, but he isn’t a complete idiot and knows how to read recipes off the internet, so the soup turned out fine. he walked back into chan’s bedroom with the bowl, a glass of water, and the medicine.

Setting the items on chan’s messy desk, he turned on the lamp and headed over to chan’s bed again.

“here, I need you to take this and eat something,” woojin gently shook chan with his free hand. chan slowly woke up again, blinking his eyes to clear them.

He sat up, leaning against the head of the bed and did as he was told. Woojin smiled at him, handing him the soup. Chan began to slowly eat in silence, attempting to eat since woojin went through the trouble.

Woojin got up to get more water. When he returned and set the glass on the desk, something caught his eye.

Now, there werent a ton of sentimental things around the place, but there did happen to be one single photograph framed on the desk. Woojin picked it up looking closer.

It was a photo of chan with his parents, probably from a few years back. All three were posing for the photo, chan’s father resting his hand on chan’s shoulder and his mother smiling with tight lips. This wasn’t what caught woojin’s eye. It was the fact that chan was holding up an award, in front of the golden gates to his school.

As in woojin’s university, not chan’s community college. Woojin squinted and leaned in closer to the photograph, trying to read the award chan was holding.

It was an ‘academic excellence’ award, pretty much congratulating chan for placing number one out of the incoming students in the school. The award read his full name “Bang Christopher Chan” and woojin’s mouth went dry now that he recognized the name.

“G’day everyone. My name is Chris, and im from Australia!”

‘Chris’ is what he called himself that day, not ‘Chan’ which is why woojin didn’t realize it sooner.

On the very first day of University, woojin was scolded heavily for his scores on the entrance exams. He was ranked third place in the entire school. Even though woojin’s parents were mad at him for being third place, minho’s parents were absolutely livid because minho ranked second place. That was the first time he ever got bumped out of first place throughout his entire time at any school.

While woojin’s parents were reaming him out at the entrance ceremony, woojin frowned as he watched minho’s parents downright embarrass the younger boy in front of the whole crowd of parents and students. Minho was so fragile back then, cringing in on himself looking like he was going to cry but still putting on a brave face in front of his future fellow students.

A boy with curly dark hair that went by the name of Chris was at the podium continuing his speech for getting first place and congratulating his future fellow students. He posed for a photo with his award, smiling into the camera. But woojin didn’t pay any mind to that boy, his eyes focusing on his best friend instead.

Because minho got second place on the entrance exams, his parents wouldn’t let him join the dance team at the school. He had to fight his way a year later for them to let him at least continue private lessons, working hard to maintain his number one spot.

Minho only got number one again because the curly dark haired boy named chris soon transferred to a different school before the start of the first term. Because of his sudden transfer, minho and woojin both bumped up as number one and two at the university where they maintained their ranks for the next four years.

 Woojin swallowed a lump in his throat at the realization that the boy he was hard core crushing on right now used to be someone he cursed for doing better than himself and minho.

Its funny how your opinion of someone changes once you get to know them.

“hey chan?” woojin called softly to the boy who was still trying to eat his soup.

“hmm?” chan hummed, setting his spoon down. he gives up, not being able to eat anymore. Woojin walked over and took the half eaten bowl, satisfied that chan at least tried to put some kind of food into his stomach. He set it back on the desk, and then showed chan the picture he was looking at.

“what’s this? I didn’t know you got accepted into our University,” woojin carefully began. He sat on the edge of the bed as chan took the picture, frowning down at it.

“ah, that was a long time ago,” chan said sadly.

“you placed first in the entrance exams,” woojin continued, prompting chan to talk more about it.

“yeah I did,” chan said simply, handing the photo back to woojin. He looked like he didn’t want to talk about it, but woojin has to know.

“because of that, you bumped minho down to second place,” woojin persisted.

Chan tilted his head, confused on why woojin was all of a sudden showing such an interest in something that happened four years ago. “im…sorry?”

Woojin chuckled, obviously he needs to give a little to get a little with chan. He isn’t mad at the dark curly haired boy named chris anymore like he used to be. He isn’t petty like that. after he did some growing up in his time at the university, he knows he was just projecting his anger at his and minho’s parents onto the unsuspecting student named Chris. All chris did was get number one in the entrance exams. It wasn’t his fault that woojin and minho’s life was hell because of that.

“our parents…they are pretty strict if you haven’t noticed by now. They expect the best of us. They expect us to excel at everything in this university. Mine and minho’s are the worst out of the five of us. Because I was ranked third on my entrance exams, my life was pretty rough for a while there. Minho’s was practically hell for being second,” woojin sighed, remembering the pain minho would try to go through on his own.

Chan was listening quietly, starting to get where woojin was going with this.

“do you hate me then? For getting first place and making your lives more miserable?” chan asked in a quiet voice. His hands bunched up in the blankets at the thought of woojin hating him. this is the kind of environment he tried to run away from.

Woojin noticed his tension and reached out to loosen chan’s hold on the blankets. He grabbed his hand, holding it in his warmer and bigger one. He looked up at chan, his blonde curly hair all sweaty and matted down on his forehead from the fever, and his gold earrings and eyebrow piercing glinting in the lamp light whenever he moves his head. Chan has never looked more breathtaking and woojin kind of wishes they could stay like this forever.

He smiled softly at chan, shaking his head. “at first, yes,” he confessed. At chan’s frown, he continued. “but not as a person. I just hated the fact that some random guy who wasn’t even born in Korea comes walking in and taking first place, bumping our ranks down. but then you were gone, and our ranks went back up, and our lives were still miserable. It was then that I realized my hatred wasn’t focused on you, but really I just projected onto you my hatred towards our parents.”

Woojin looked down, playing with chan’s fingers slightly in nervousness, he had such pretty hands. He was choosing his next words carefully. It wasn’t normal for him to express himself to someone so intimately like this.

“why did you leave?” he was genuinely curious. Chan apparently had it all. Not only was he smarter than minho and woojin, but he was talented and kind. Woojin honestly should hate him just for that. chan was too perfect in his eyes.

Chan watched as woojin was still looking down at their joined hands.

“I hated it,” he said quietly.

Woojin looked back up at him, ready to listen.

“im not bragging when I tell you this,” he swallowed, his mouth going dry. “I was number one at the top university in the country. I was foreign and super rich. My parents moved us to Korea where we could be even richer. They wanted me to take over in their footsteps, the classic ‘you must continue our legacy’ bullshit. I fought them tooth and nail on that. I wanted to study music, I wanted to make songs and share it with the world. I didn’t care about the money or the academics.” He paused, thinking back on his life’s choices.

“and when you told them that?” woojin asked.

Chan smiled a sad smile at him. “and when I told them I wanted to study music, of course they were all like ‘no child of mine is going to waste their life on something so stupid.’ But music wasn’t stupid to me, it was my life. I was so angry at them for trying to convince me otherwise. I told them I was going to study music no matter what, and then they pretty much threatened to disown me if I did. that didn’t stop me though. And soon they cut off all my access to their money, saying they will take away my allowance and all of my music equipment. That was pretty much the last straw, and I told them they can take their money and shove it up their ass. I walked out, and they told me to never come back unless I quit music. I became your typical broke college kid. I left your university and went to the community college on scholarship, and managed to work and sell my music for extra cash. I got this small but cheap apartment and was careful with my limited money.”

Woojin blinked at him. he didn’t think chan could get any more incredible than he already is. “but wasn’t it hard? Suddenly being on your own like that?”

Chan laughed. “of course it was. I was scared and lost at first. However, living on my own wasn’t that bad. I was always on my own even when I had my parent’s money. They werent the most attentive of parents as you can guess. I always did everything by myself, which is why I turned to music. music filled the gap in my life. to be honest, I am so much happier as a poor college student than I ever was as a rich kid.”

woojin studied chan’s face as he continued to talk. A small smile graced his lips. “I met jisung in my third year. That boy is a genius with lyrics. And then felix soon after. And then of course little innie this year. I made all kinds of friends in my four years on my own, but I love them three the most. Now I can add five more to my list of people I love the most,” he grinned at woojin, showing his dimples.

Woojin tightened his hold on chan’s hands, no intentions of letting go any time soon. In that moment, he decided to tell chan his most cared for secret he’s been carrying with him since he was little. Chan told him about his life when he didn’t have to, it was only fair that he shared something as well.

“can I tell you something?” he whispered. Chan nodded, indicating for him to continue. “my parents, they want me to defeat minho. They want me to take his spot and everything from him so that I could be number one at the top.”

Chan frowned. “I thought you guys were best friends?” he asked.

Woojin nodded. “we are. Minho doesn’t know the amount of hatred my parents have towards him and his family. I will die trying to hide that from minho. He doesn’t need the added on stress. As long as minho continues to get number one in his academics, his own parents aren’t as harsh to him.”

Chan sighed in frustration, squeezing woojin’s hand and getting frustrated on their behalf. “see, this is why I left that world. This is so dumb. Who cares if he isn’t number one? Its not like his life is ruined just because he doesn’t have a perfect GPA.”

Woojin chuckled at chan’s outburst, feeling a little better about the situation. “i-i would witness the kind of things they would say to him, and do to him.” woojin didn’t have to go into detail because chan got the gist of what he was trying to say. It made him that much more angry. He liked minho and thought his personality was refreshing and charming. He didn’t know minho, woojin and the rest of them were suffering this much behind the scenes, and it made him want to protect them in some kind of way.

“when I was little, I saw first hand the kind of treatment minho got from his family. It made me mad that they would treat my best friend like that. and it made me even more mad that minho tried to hide it from me, acting like everything was okay. I overheard how his parents would threaten to take away everything he loved if he didn’t get first in academics, they even went as far as to suggest sending him to a boarding school in another country. I wanted to cry. if there was one thing I couldn’t lose in this personal hell of mine, it was my best friend. To be honest, it was actually all my fault,” woojin stopped, his eyes watering a little at the admittance of his sadness.

“why was it your fault?” chan asked, rubbing circles on the back of woojin’s knuckles with his thumb. Woojin looked down and watched it, feeling comforted.

“I was the reason minho wasn’t getting the first rank in elementary school. I was always number one, and he was always number two. we were just kids, and it was just stupid elementary school. I didn’t have any other friends, and minho meant the world to me. So I did what only a young boy could do at the time to save his best friend from getting hurt. I failed my exams on purpose.”

“you…failed?”” chan wasn’t understanding what he meant.

Woojin nodded, “well, i wasnt actually legitimately failing. on every exam after that, I always made sure to get at least one question wrong on purpose. I knew minho would get perfect scores, we both always did. if I got one or two questions wrong continuously, my rank would slowly drop to second place and I would stay there indefinitely as long as minho continued to do perfectly. I made sure to stay out of his way. It helped him a little bit with his parents. He was able to take private dance lessons because he does so well with his grades, and he was able to remain in the country at our school.”

“holy shit, seriously?!” chan exclaimed. “just because he bumped you down to second?!”

Woojin laughed, “yeah, it’s the stupidest thing in the world. I know its dumb, but I got to keep my best friend next to me throughout all these years at school. And then we met changbin and the others, and our lives werent so bad anymore.”

“but what about your parents? When you gave up your rank for minho?”

Woojin sighed, “of course I got yelled at and stuff. I still do even to this day, but I don’t regret a single thing I did. I hide all of my exams from both minho and my parents. They have no idea im getting questions wrong on purpose. Minho would kick my ass if he found out I was doing it for him. he would think he wasn’t worthy of first place anymore, which isn’t true at all. I honestly think that minho has already surpassed me in rank from his own hard work. I don’t even think I need to purposely get any questions wrong anymore. Minho is absolutely brilliant.”

The room remained silent as woojin was lost in his thoughts.

“will you ever tell him?” chan asked gently.

Woojin studied his face, looking into his eyes. “I thought about it. I figured it would be the right thing to do, but in the end, no I don’t think I ever will. Academics mean nothing to me now. I love minho too much, and of course he’s going to feel hurt if he finds out. he’s hurting enough as it is. This is the only way I can help my best friend in this shitty world. And I know if the roles were reversed, minho would do the exact same thing for me without hesitation. Sometimes, a little white lie is necessary.”

Chan nodded. There's not much he can argue with that. sometimes, we have to show our love in different ways.

Chan yawned, the medicine finally kicking in and making him sleepy. Woojin noticed, and pulled his hand from chan’s. he stood up, making sure chan had a full glass of water near him.

“well, I appreciate you listening to me and telling me about your parents. I guess I should go now,” woojin said awkwardly.

Chan’s eyes widened in panic as he realized woojin was going to leave him all alone.

“wait! c-can you stay here with me? Just for a little bit until I fall asleep? I hate being alone when im sick,” chan mumbled.

Woojin almost snorted. Chan hates being alone at any time, but he let it go.

“sure, ill just go sit in the kitchen and clean up while you go back to bed,” he told the younger boy.

“uhm, instead can you stay here next to me? Please? I always feel better when someone is next to me. I know it’s a weird request, and if you don’t want to that’s perfectly fine-“

“okay.” Woojin walked around to the other side of the bed.

“okay? Just like that?” chan asked, surprised at how quickly woojin agreed to it.

“yeah, I don’t mind,” woojin told him as he climbed up on the other side of chan’s bed, making himself comfy and sitting against the headboard next to him.

Chan blinked at him. “I honestly thought I was going to have to try harder, maybe even throwing in some whining and pouting. I didn’t think it was going to be this easy,” chan admitted while giggling.

“im tired, and I hate going back to my parent’s place. Sitting next to you is much better,” woojin shrugged.

Chan nodded, he can agree with that. he scooted back down onto his pillow and pulled the blankets up around him, cuddling closer to woojin with a happy hum.

“hey, school pres?” chan asked woojin. Woojin glanced down at him, indicating he was listening. “will you hold my hand? since im sick and all?”

Woojin rolled his eyes, taking chan’s hand in his own as he continued to sit up against the head of the bed. “I wonder how long you can get away with using the old ‘im sick’ card?”

Chan laughed but didn’t care that he was being equivalent to a demanding child as he intertwined his finger’s with woojin’s. he happily snuggled further into the blankets and closed his eyes, no longer fighting the sleep.

After several minutes of sitting in silence and lost in his thoughts, woojin had one more thing to ask chan.

“hey chan? Are you asleep yet?”

“hmm?” chan hummed half asleep. “not yet,” he mumbled.

“I just wanted to tell you that even though it must have been really hard and lonely, im glad you left home and pursued music. did you know that your music is what has kept me sane for the past year? It made me feel better in my worst times,” woojin admitted with a blush.

“stop, you're going to make me cry. I sob really loud,” chan sniffled, shifting his head to look up at woojin.

“no really, you have to know that your music managed to save at least one person from their own personal hell. I just want to assure you that all those years of hard work and sleepless nights really mattered. It really made a difference.”

“and now comes the tears, oh my god im too emotionally unstable to deal with this right now,” chan’s voice quivered. He scooted impossibly close to woojin now, tucking himself into his side with no shame.

“hey chan? Can I ask you something?” woojin was uncharacteristically chatty in front of chan, but he likes talking to him alone like this.

“go ahead. Might as well now that im back to being a crying mess,” chan chuckled inbetween sobs.

“I admire your strength for doing something you love even when nobody believed in you. I want to know how you did it? how did you manage to get the motivation to just go for it?”

Chan stopped his dramatic crying, rubbing his tears. He stared at woojin for a few moments, thinking about it. then, he smiled brightly as he blinked the tears away.

“When you truly love something, you’re willing to fight for it.”

Chapter Text

Woojin sat at one of the benches on campus, a little farther away from the main courtyard. He still had another hour before his next class, but he didn’t want to spend it studying.

He was sick and tired of studying. And he knows minho is too, so he texted his best friend to come join him.

Minho steps off the sidewalk, taking a seat next to woojin. He didn’t acknowledge the younger boy yet, just staring up at the clear sky with his arms spread out and hanging off the back of the bench. He breathed in the air, willing his body to relax. Minho watched him, waiting for the older boy to say something.

“I want to study music and to sing,” woojin finally spoke up in the small bubble of silence they created for themselves.

A breeze blew through the trees, making the leaves rustle before minho said anything.
He sighed, looking up at the sky. “I know.”

Woojin raised an inquiring brow at his friend. Minho smiled sadly at him. “you always have loved music. Your singing is breathtaking. Every time I was stressed or scared of my parents, I would hug you and then you would sing and I would feel better. It gave me the strength to go one for another day. But you already know this.”

Woojin chuckled, grabbing minho around the shoulders and pulling him to his side. Minho scooted over, snuggling closer into woojin, resting his head on his shoulder.

“what are you going to tell your parents?” minho whispered to him, scared and nervous for his best friend.

“the truth,” woojin said simply.

Minho laughed. “that’s going to be fun to watch. What made you suddenly come to this decision?”

Woojin didn’t say anything for a few seconds, hesitating to answer. Minho noticed and grinned his famous Cheshire cat smile, moving his head slightly to look woojin in the face. “or should I say, who made you come to this decision?”

Woojin cleared his throat, avoiding eye contact with his friend’s obnoxious wiggling eyebrows. He hoped to god minho couldn’t see how hot his face had become.

“I know my parents are going to reject the idea, that’s pretty obvious. But im gonna strike a deal with them. What’s more important is, will you be upset with me if I leave you?”

Minho sat up straighter, looking at woojin with confusion. “leave me? What do you mean?”

Woojin grabbed minho’s hand, and minho let him. he looked down at their hands, trying to figure out how to say this the best he could. He wishes he was as good as chan. Chan was always able to convey his feelings in such pretty words.

“I mean, if I just suddenly up and fight with my parents over this, it means I might be cut off from the family, or kicked out, or they might try to force me to cut ties with you guys or…” he gulped, his fear starting to show.

Minho smiled softly at him, squeezing their hands, forcing woojin to look up at him. “you really want to study music? you really want to pursue singing?” he asked his friend.

Woojin nodded, blinking to hold in his feelings from the world.

“then I could never be upset with you. This is something you love to do, we’ve always known it. singing is a part of you, and to be honest if you didn’t embrace it, it would be like a part of you is dying. Woojinnie, I want you to be happy. It’s about time you finally do something for yourself instead of for others, instead of for me.”

Woojin tilted his head slightly at his words. “but I do like business too. I never minded studying it. it wasn’t like your parents who forced you to quit what you loved.”

Minho intertwined their fingers, leaning over to kiss his cheek. “im not talking about business woojin. You’ve always taken care of me, ever since we were little. Its about time you do something that is completely you.”

Woojin teared up a little, not realizing the hidden meaning behind minho’s words. Minho let it go as he hugged woojin. “the rest of us will support you, no matter what happens. Hell, if it comes down to a fight you know changbin has no problems jumping in the middle of it,” minho laughed in woojin’s ear.

Woojin chuckled. “thank you min. I feel so much better about what im going to do. but that isn’t the only reason I asked you out here.”

Minho let go of his friend, facing him with his hands still on woojin’s shoulders. “what is it?”

“join me,” woojin asked. “all of you, come with me. We’ve always been together, we’ve always dominated the school and education system. Let’s do it again, but this time with the music industry. Instead of five, let’s be nine.”

Minho blinked rapidly at woojin. “nine? You mean with chan and the others?”
woojin nodded firmly, a fire in his eyes no one would have noticed except his friend of many years.

Doubt started to creep on minho’s face, and woojin can tell he was starting to go back within his shell. Minho was always afraid of failing, of being rejected, of change. Minho has to convince himself he really wants something before he is willing to stand up for it.

‘When you truly love something, you’re willing to fight for it.’

Chan’s words rang in his head from the other day. Woojin was willing to fight for what he wants, now its minho’s and the other’s turn.

“I would love to woojinnie, you know I would. But I cant. My parents will never let it happen. They will try to hold me back any way they can, and there is no getting through to them,” minho told him sadly.

Woojin nodded. he isn’t going to push, for now. He knows the harder he tries to get minho to do something, the more likely he wont do it. he just needed to plant the idea in his mind, letting minho think through it for the time being. Meanwhile, he’s going to have a talk with his parents.

“that’s ok min. this is my idea anyways. I understand how difficult it would be. Just know that im always here for you if it gets to be too much. We all are.”

Minho gave him a look of relief when woojin wasn’t going to argue with him about it. “thanks woojinnie. Of course I know. And you know im here for you too,” he reassured the older boy. woojin gave him a nod.

Woojin stood up then, stretching.
“when you gonna talk with them?” minho asked.

“tonight. I figured the sooner the better.”

Minho looked at him worried, but sent him a smile anyways. “call me if there’s any problems yeah? I’ll be at my apartment in case you need me.”

Woojin smirked at minho. “you seem to enjoy going back to your apartment more often these days. Now, I wonder why that is,” he tapped a finger on his chin.

Minho’s smile dropped. “don’t you dare,” he warned.

“hmmm, how’s the married life been? Do you have couple shirts and matching toothbrushes yet?”

Minho playfully shoved woojin roughly. “you know it isn’t like that! I offered because jisung has no where to go, and chan’s place is too small. Although, I bet you didn’t mind it,” minho shot back.

Woojin’s smirk also dropped. They were at an impasse.

“hmph. Agree to disagree?”

“of course,” minho told him. “why in the world would I like that stupid gothic squirrel who has nothing better to do than flirt with me and call me pet names? Did I mention just this morning I was getting ready to go on my morning exercise when he comes walking into the kitchen and says ‘you know, kissing burns 6.4 calories a minute. Wanna workout with me instead?’ I told him to go shove his tumblr posts up his ass. Then he yelled out as I was leaving ‘I love you with all my butt. I would say heart, but my ass is bigger!’ right down the freaking hallway for all my neighbors to hear! I was so embarrassed.”

Woojin laughed. “you love it. you always did like it when people paid attention to you and gave you compliments.”

“I do not!”

Woojin gave him a look like he didn’t believe him. minho just crossed his arms over his chest and pouted on the bench.

Woojin finally thinks minho has met his match.

***

“ow, ow, ow.”

Felix looked up from his computer he was typing at. Currently there was nobody in the student council room, so he figured he could get some dumb assignments done while it was peaceful. He ended classes over at the community college in the early morning, but everyone else was still out doing their own thing.

Changbin entered the room, limping. Felix watched as he hobbled over to the nearest couch next to where he was sitting at one of the nice little tables.

“owwwwwww,” changbin whined cutely as he plopped down.

Felix took off his purple headphones and let them rest on his neck. “judging from the sound of things, I take it you hurt your foot somehow,” he said bluntly at the older boy.

Changbin pouted, bringing his foot up to rest on the other side of the couch. “so don’t be mad at me,” he began.

Felix’s mouth quirked up slightly, getting ready to listen to changbin’s story. He knows it will take at least a good five minutes before changbin stops talking. He’s been with him long enough to know by now how the talkative boy works.

“go on,” felix told him, saving his work and clicking off his laptop.

“ok so don’t be mad at me. But I was watching this one movie last night, and they were running around a school campus that kind of looked similar to ours, and the main guy jumps up on the stairway railing and like slides down it slightly before jumping on the landing below it, which cut his time of going down the stairs in half-”

Felix chuckled, getting where this was obviously going. “please tell me you didn’t.”

“-and it looked so cool, and I get tired of going up and down the stairs all day and so I tried it for myself and it actually went good the first time, but then I tried it again, and my shoes kind of like stuck to the railing rather than gliding on it because our railings are shit, and then I lost my balanced and stumbled, but I caught myself! So I wasn’t too hurt, but then I landed all of my weight on my one foot and I think I sprained my ankle.” He finally finished with a huff, trying to bend his ankle and hissing in pain. “the student council room was way closer than the infirmary so I managed to get over here with no problems, but it hurt like a bitch.”

Felix was downright laughing now, covering his mouth with his hand. “that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard!” he giggled.

Changbin scrunched up his nose in distaste. “don’t laugh!” but felix ignored him and continued to giggle and snort. He brought his hand down and all his teeth were showing in a wide smile. Changbin forgot about yelling at him, watching him as he laughed really freely.

He was even prettier when he laughs.

Felix took in a breath, turning his chair to face changbin. he scooted closer to the boy on the couch, and then reached down to gently grab his ankle.

Changbin gasped, trying to hide the pain that shot up his leg. “what are you gonna do?” he asked worriedly.

Felix looked at him kindly. “I used to hurt myself all the time by accident in martial arts and in dancing, so I know my way around some basic injuries. Im just going to check and see how bad it is,” he told him calmly.

Changbin let out a breath of relief, “oh ok. That’s fine then.”

He watched as felix started to pull up changbin’s uniform pant leg carefully, then he slipped changbin’s shoe and sock off. Changbin bit his lip. It wasn’t too painful, but it still was uncomfortable and he could feel an annoying dull ache shooting up his leg.

With expertise, felix slowly rotated changbin’s ankle to the left and then to the right. He looked up at him, “how does this feel?”

“it hurts, but its not unbearable or anything,” changbin told him. felix nodded at this.

“yeah, I think you just sprained it. if it was a break or fracture you would be feeling a lot more pain and there would be a lot more swelling. Although its pretty recent, so it might get worse tomorrow or the next day. You are going to have to ice it on and off for 20 minutes over a period of four hours or so. At least for the first day. And only wrap it when you are going somewhere, otherwise keep it propped up on a pillow or something and take some pain killers to help with the pain and swelling.”

Changbin nodded at the instructions and felix’s matter-of-fact voice. “ok that’s not so bad. Im going to have to go to the nurse to get a bandage and learn how to wrap it properly.”

“ill help you get there. Its best to stay off it as best you can. I’m pretty good at wrapping up bandages so ill show you if you want. Or I can show somebody at home too so that they can help you.”

Changbin frowned. “nah, its ok. I can learn to do it myself,” he told the blonde boy.

Felix looked at him kind of funny, but shrugged. Without asking, he grabbed changbin by the waist and pulled him up with ease. Changbin really is impressed with how strong he is despite how delicate he looks.

“well come on. Ill help you get to the infirmary,” felix said, and then pulled changbin into his side so that he could take most of the older boy’s weight. Changbin wrapped an arm around felix’s shoulders, a small smile on his face at how careful felix was being. Plus he loved the attention he was getting. This was the most attention the younger boy had shown him in the weeks they’ve known each other, and changbin craved for more.

___

“so, why do you study dancing and martial arts?” changbin asked as he sat on the infirmary’s bed. He was icing his ankle for 20 minutes before the nurse comes back to wrap it up in a bandage.

Felix decided to wait with him, much to changbin’s enjoyment.
He thought about it for a few moments, and then decided to tell changbin a little about his life.

“I always loved music and dancing. When I was younger, I told my parents that, and also that I liked boys. I don’t have the patience to beat around the bush, and ive always been pretty blunt when it comes to stuff like this. my parents were more upset that I wanted to be a dancer than the fact that I was gay, which is pretty hilarious if you ask me. My father told me ‘no son of mine is going to do something girly like dancing,’ but of course I was pretty persistent. Its bad enough I looked more on the feminine side too. My mother hates everything my father says or does, so she was no help in the matter. He said to me ‘if you want to dance, you also have to do something manly like martial arts,’ and I eventually gave in, studying both. Jokes on him cause the martial arts actually helped build up my stamina, and all of the forms we learn are pretty similar to basic dance moves. I was able to expand my style a bit and incorporate martial arts into my dance evaluations.”

For once changbin was quiet, listening intently to felix. When it was clear felix was done explaining, he finally spoke up.

“first of all, that’s shitty of your dad to say that, but im glad the martial arts helped you out in the long run. Second, I think you are totally cool with how you look so pretty and cute and then can just slam me against the floor effortlessly, like uhm hello? That’s hot as fuck. I also think its amazing how you stood up to your parents like that and persisted on studying something you love, you are a total inspiration to people like me. I thought about going into music instead, and I really like to write lyrics and stuff, because if you haven’t noticed I tend to never shut up so I always got words to jot down somewhere on a piece of paper and my mind runs like a mile a minute, but when I mentioned it in high school, my parents ignored me and said that since im good at math that’s obviously what I should do as a career, which I guess they are right since the music industry is pretty risky and there’s like no hope of me doing good-”

“that’s cowardly in my opinion,” felix butt in.

“what?” changbin squeaked.

Felix shrugged nonchalantly. “I don’t like to waste my breath, so believe me when I tell you this. I think you are an amazing producer and songwriter, and chan let me read some of your lyrics and honestly I think they are beautiful. Most of your beats I can really dance to, and I think your darker vibe really blends well with jisung’s and chan’s music. the talent is there, you just have to grab onto it and make something of it. who cares if you fail? Who cares if it takes years to become something someone can recognize? As long as you are doing something you love, something that makes you happy, it shouldn’t matter what the outcome is.”

Changbin shifted in his seat, looking down at the ground. “you really think im that good?”

“of course I do. why wouldn’t i? chan produced some of your music on his soundcloud, and im always listening to it,” felix told him.

Changbin snapped his head up at felix, staring into his eyes with a hopeful feeling in his heart. “you listen to my music? is that what you are always listening to when you have your headphones on?”

The way changbin was looking at him, with those sparkly eyes again, like felix was his whole world made him blush slightly. “uhh well, not just your music, but yeah yours is in there too since it was released,” he muttered out.

To cover up his shyness and racing heart at what the younger boy said, Changbin faked a tear, sniffling dramatically. “you do care,” he whined.

Felix rolled his eyes, grabbing a box of band-aids on the nurse’s table and throwing it at changbin. it bounced off his arm, and changbin made an adorable gasp. “hey! Im injured!”

“you’ll be fine,” felix ignored his antics, chuckling a little. “anyways, how are you getting home? Can you drive like that?”

Changbin looked down at his slightly swollen ankle, and shook his head. “if it was my left foot then maybe, but I need my right foot to drive. Ill just have to figure something out I guess.”

Felix looked over at him worried. “what about calling your parents? Cant one of them pick you up?”

Changbin snorted, his demeanor instantly changing which took felix by surprise. Normally he was very happy-go-lucky, but the look of loneliness was something he hasn’t seen before.

“nobody is ever home. Usually my parents are off on a business trip somewhere. And even if they are home for a while, they wouldn’t care. I would be lucky if they picked up their phone.”

Felix didn’t know what to say to that. he doubts changbin wants any pity from him, so he simply said, “ah, I see. I didn’t know.”

Changbin shrugged, oddly quiet for a few minutes, looking down at his ankle.

For some reason, felix really hates it when changbin isn’t talking. His constant chatter has been a comfort to him once he got used to it. usually his music was a good distraction from all of the noise of the world, but recently changbin’s voice has been an even better distraction. Plus, felix was kind of enjoying the many stories changbin would tell him about his day and what he was doing. Usually when changbin is blabbing, felix puts his music on pause without taking off his headphones so that he can hear what nonsense the older was rambling about that day.

“well, it wont be ideal, but you can come to my house until woojin or minho hyung can pick you up. I don’t have a car, but it’s a short bus ride from here to my place if you think you can walk that slight distance to the bus stop,” felix offered.

Changbin snapped out of his thoughts. “really? You would let me come over?”

Felix stared at him, not getting why changbin seemed so happy by just the mention of inviting him to his house. “uh yeah? I personally don’t care, but im warning you that my parents don’t really get along, so it might be awkward. Of course, you would just stay in my room with me. Plus, I can help take care of your foot and wrap it up for you for the night.”

Changbin grinned, clapping his hands happily. “of course I would love to stay over! I don’t mind about your parents. We can have like a sleepover or something! can we build a pillow fort? Ive always wanted to do that while watching movies, or you can tell me what you think about some music ive been dabbling in recently, or we can even make something delicious and have a snack party or-”

Felix started laughing again. “okay, okay. I get it, you’re excited. We can do all of those things if you want,” he promised him.

Changbin squealed in excitement, making the most adorable sound.

Felix rolled his eyes, but his smile never left his face.

***

“honey im home!” jisung slammed the door to minho’s apartment shut, taking off his shoes at the entrance.

Minho sighed, praying to the lord for some strength that day. It has gotten considerably noisy at his place ever since he let the skater boy stay with him in his spare bedroom. He rolled his desk chair over to his bedroom door and kicked it shut with a bang. Then he rolled back and continued finishing up his homework. He glanced at the clock, noting the time. It was a little past midnight. Jisung usually stays with chan really late to work on his music, which is fine by minho since he gets a couple hours away from the clingy boy. jisung must have made it his life’s mission to annoy the hell out of him.

“aw don’t be like that, gorgeous,” jisung pouted as he opened minho’s door peeking his head in. he opened the door completely when minho continued to ignore him, then plopped himself on his bed without permission.

“you have two seconds to get off my bed before I kick your ass out,” minho grumbled without looking up from his books.

Jisung cuddled the top of his blankets, ignoring his grumpiness. He secretly took a deep breath in, loving the way minho smelled. Since he came to the realization that minho was going to be the love of his life and that they were going to get married someday, jisung has been extra flirty and clingy around the older boy until minho admits defeat and accepts his love.

Minho continued to pretend jisung wasn’t in the room, which irritated jisung. He really just wanted to be good friends with him, but minho was a stubborn one. It’s a good thing jisung was especially good at annoying people and getting what he wants.

“hey minho, you’re so hot, even my pants are falling for you,” jisung giggled.

Minho swung his chair around so fast, jisung was surprised he doesn’t have whiplash. “that’s it. I have something to get off my chest-”

“is it your shirt? Please say yes.”

“first of all, I cant believe you laugh at your own cheesy jokes you get off the internet. Second, don’t you have anything better to do than flirt with me?”

Jisung smirked up at him from his bed, “weeelllll-”

“I swear to god han jisung if this is another cheesy pick up line-”

“today I don’t feel like doing anything. Except you, id do you.”

Minho groaned, throwing his pencil at the younger boy. “fine, be that way you perv. Two can play at this game. I want to be the reason you look down at your phone and smile. Then walk into a pole.”

Jisung stopped smirking and giggling, a gasp leaving his lips. “did you just throw a flirty pick up line right back at me?!”

Minho threw another pen at him from his desk. “yeah, and what of it? you aren’t the only one who goes on tumblr.”

Jisung squinted his eyes at minho. “that’s it lee minho! This is war!”

“bring it on stupid squirrel!” minho yelled back, challenge set in his face.

Jisung got up with a hmph, heading over to the doorway. “im going to my own room to shower. I need to prepare to attack.”

Minho snorted at that. “have fun in your room. Please don’t come back.”

Jisung flipped him off as he was leaving. Not seriously of course, he did it just to be dramatic. As he was a foot in the hallway, he peeked back into minho’s room and said, “by the way, your clothes would look nice on my bedroom floor.”

Minho smiled his Cheshire cat smile, knowing the perfect comeback to that. “my tongue can do a better job of teasing you than my words can~” he singsonged.

Jisung blinked from the doorway, his mouth falling open and a serious blush creeping up on his face. for once he didn’t have something to say back.

Minho won this round.

***

Jeongin and seungmin looked up from their books as they heard someone run into the student council room. It was getting fairly late in the afternoon, and most students either had late night classes or were heading home for the day.

Since seungmin has been helping jeongin (hyunjin was moral support, he didn’t care about studying), jeongin’s grades have improved tremendously. Seungmin figured out that jeongin wasn’t your average learner, and he had to devise a different way for jeongin to study. It seemed to be working, and jeongin was able to gradually get better scores on the classes he was having trouble in.

“what’s up hyung? Why do you look like you ran a marathon?” jeongin asked hyunjin who was panting against the door. Seungmin looked at him worried. He knows hyunjin enough to guess that he either has some juicy gossip, or something happened to trigger his social anxiety again.

It turns out it was not juicy gossip.

Hyunjin looked at jeongin then seungmin, sniffling a little as he quickly walked over and bent down to hug seungmin who was still seated in his chair. Seungmin wrapped his arms around hyunjin, rubbing his back.

“what is it jinnie? What happened?” he muttered in the older boy’s ear.

“jinnie hyung?” jeongin asked worriedly, getting up from his spot across the table and walking over to hyunjin, crouching on the floor next to him.

Hyunjin took a deep breath in, feeling better now that he was with seungmin and safe from the stares and whispers.

“so I was coming back from a class, and a bunch of students from our university stopped me to talk to me about something. well of course I was going to listen to what they have to say, everyone knows im the reporter for the student council. And then they proceeded to ask me why I insist on hanging out with-with…”

He paused, peeking from seungmin’s chest and glancing at jeongin’s worried face.

Seungmin caught on, hugging hyunjin tighter, also glancing at jeongin. jeongin wasn’t stupid, he could tell it had something to do with him.

“go on hyung, I wont be mad or upset,” jeongin said softly, reaching over and placing a warm hand on hyunjin’s arm. Hyunjin let go of seungmin and crouched on the floor. Seungmin was still sitting in a seat and jeongin was still crouching next to hyunjin.

Some tears started to water his eyes as he continued. “they asked me why I insist on hanging out with ‘those filthy gold diggers’ and ‘common poor folk’ and a whole bunch of other stuff that im not going to repeat.”

Seungmin gasped at that, anger slowly rising in his chest.

“and of course I told them what the fuck? They aren’t like that, and they are my friends, especially jeongin, and just because they go to the community college down the street doesn’t mean they are my friends only because I have money and-” he hiccuped as he explained, rubbing his face with his hands.

“and they kept attacking me with questions and saying how if we continue to hang out with them, everyone on campus will consider us filth as well for siding with ‘poor people’ and I tried so hard to argue with them that they were wrong and I don’t care who I’m friends with and they have no right to act like this and I called them selfish spoiled brats. And then they started threatening woojin and minho as well, saying they weren’t cut out to be the leaders of the school, and me you and changbin only managed to get on the student council with them because we sucked up to them, and that we were brown nosing them, so we are no better than the community college kids,” he took a deep breath. “and long story short, my anxiety finally kicked in after they called all of us some hurtful names, and now pretty much a large percentage of the university’s student body is going to go on some kind of riot to get woojin and minho kicked off as council president and vice president, which also leaves us to get kicked off too. I couldn’t take it anymore and I ran here trying not to cry and draw attention to me, but now I just need someone to hug me and hold my hand while I try to calm down.”

Seungmin reached down and grabbed his hand while hyunjin continued to take deep breaths. He was royally pissed, but he hid it because right now hyunjin was more important. He heard sniffling next to hyunjin and looked over to see jeongin with a quivering lip.

“this is all of my fault isn’t it? its because ive been spending so much time with you guys every day, and the others hang out in your student council room also without asking, and we are all pretty much together in our spare time. Of course the other university students are going to notice and be bothered by it. we always knew we didn’t fit in or belong here,” jeongin looked down sadly, rubbing his hands together in nervousness. “to be honest, we get the same treatment from our fellow community college kids too. They sometimes say we are just sucking up to you guys to get a foot in the door, or we are just being your ‘pets’ and stuff.”

“what? They say that to you too?! How long has this been happening?” seungmin yelled.

Jeongin still didn’t look up from his crouch. “uhm? Honestly since like the second week of being together with you guys. Jisung of course went bat shit crazy and almost got into a couple fights to defend you guys, and he down right threatened to break the kneecaps of anyone who dares insult minho hyung behind his back. Im pretty sure just last week someone called changbin dumb for hanging out and talking with felix so much. Felix got pissed off at that and hacked into the student’s academic transcript and messed with his grades and GPA to make it look like he was the dumb one. I don’t think the student has noticed yet,” jeongin chuckled a little at that. "felix rarely does risky stuff like that, so he must really like changbin to go through the trouble for him. and a couple of students were talking about reporting woojin for skipping class that day chan was sick. Chan heard about it and personally went to the professor to apologize, saying woojin was completing his duty as the president of the school and helped him get home since he was so sick. Of course he exaggerated a little bit, but that was beside the point.”

“why didn’t we hear about this?” seungmin asked quietly.

“we know that we disturbed the peace of this school, and you guys were trying so hard to make things run smoothly. We didn’t want to bother you guys with this unnecessary stuff,” jeongin answered him. “I just didn’t think it was getting this bad to the point where they are bothering jinnie hyung now and making him feel bad. If it helps, I can always distance myself a little bit and make sure no one sees me with you guys. I know I will just make jinnie hyung’s anxiety worse-”

“no!” hyunjin shouted, making jeongin wince and look up at him.

Hyunjin’s eyes were frantic, watering again at the thought of jeongin not staying with him and seungmin anymore. He let go of seungmin’s hand and turned, throwing himself at jeongin. his weight was unexpected and they both landed flat on the floor. Hyunjin cuddled into jeongin, wiping his face into his shirt.

“please don’t go. I need you here too, seungmin needs you here. I haven’t had any problems with my anxiety since you started spending time with us. Seungmin isn’t even as stressed anymore about studying for the major exams, and he’s taking healthy breaks again. We like being with you. We like hearing you sing to the little kids, and seungmin even went back to singing like he used to when we were younger. Please don’t listen to those bullies,” hyunjin sniffled. “if you leave us im gonna cry and sob a lot,” he threatened, making jeongin giggle softly.

Jeongin folded his arms around hyunjin, patting the back of his head. “you guys really like me that much?”

Seungmin snorted. “of course we do. its always been me and hyunjin for as long as I can remember. Now I wonder how we even lived life before you stumbled into it.”

“but-but if you guys continue to be around me, to be friends with us, then they are going to pick on you more,” jeongin complained, trying not to accidentally get hyunjin’s hair in his mouth since the older boy showed no signs of moving from their position on the floor.

Seungmin chuckled evilly. “let them. There’s a reason we are the top five students in the school. We’ve just been going easy on them all this time, keeping the peace and stuff. If we would have known they were giving us a hard time behind our backs to you guys we would have already taken care of it.”

“w-what are you guys gonna do?” jeongin was slightly worried about the look in seungmin’s eyes. Hyunjin giggled, which jeongin was quickly learning it not always meant a good thing.

“I wonder how woojin, minho, and changbin would feel knowing the students have been giving chan, jisung, and felix a hard time~” hyunjin singsonged.

“huh? Will they be mad?” jeongin asked innocently.

“it would seem we weren’t the only ones who have started favoring our little community college partners, hyunjin,” seungmin smiled at the older boy.

Hyunjin nodded in agreement.

Those students almost took jeongin away from them, and seungmin and hyunjin were not happy about it.

***

“oh great father of mine,” woojin began dramatically as he barged into his father’s home office. His father looked up at him in confusion. His son never used sarcasm on him before, and it made it an awkward situation.

Woojin has been spending too much time around jisung and the others, their loud behavior has started to rub off on him. plus he was pissed.

“so I’ve decided im going to study music, particularly singing, and there’s nothing you can do about it. okay bye,” and then he turned on his heel to march out of the room. Of course, he wasn’t actually leaving, but he figured throwing it all at his father while he was caught off guard was the best way to handle this. his father would never listen to reason, so it was better to get it all over and done with.

“wait one second young man! Explain yourself!” his father shouted after processing woojin’s words.

Woojin paused at the doorway, slowly turning back around. “its just as I said. I don’t want to study just business. I want to sing, and play the guitar, and make inspiring music for other people. I want to join the music industry and become something.”

“you're joking, right?” his father snorted.

“why would I joke about this? I don’t have the time to play games with you,” woojin said with his usual dead pan expression.

“absolutely not. you are going to get your business degree and take over the company later for me. Then we might be able to take over some of the assets the Lee family holds on the companies we both invest in.”

“minho and I don’t care about that. you guys can battle it out amongst yourselves. I'm tired of dealing with your petty problems, and besides, you have no intentions of handing the business over to me. I would have to pry it from your cold dead hands before I even begin to have any control or power in your company,” woojin continued to argue with him.

“im sorry, I just don’t understand where this is coming from? is it the influence of those...those hooligans that are swarming your university? All of the parents are furious about their infestation. We send you there to learn, not to be running a charity.”

Woojin gritted his teeth, “no father. It is not because of my friends. if you paid any attention to me at all during my life, you would know that I hate doing what you ask of me, and I love music. I don’t care about being the top in the nation with grades, and I don’t care about studying.”

“woojin, if you don’t stop this nonsense right now, im going to take away all of your allowance and make sure you obey me,” his dad threatened.

Woojin laughed coldly. “how cliché! I don’t care about the money, and you cant stop me from doing what I want. I'm a legal adult and I just now realized that I could have left you years ago when I turned 18. I just never knew what else was out there. Until now.”

Woojin’s father blinked at him, noting the serious tone to his son’s voice. Then he laughed. “and you think you are good enough to make it as a singer? You think you have what it takes to be the best around and actually become successful? Look around you woojin. This is your world. All you have going for you is business and your skills as a company owner. You will never become a singer people will like or love.”

That was practically a slap in the face for woojin. Of course he has these thoughts and doubts. The music industry is a risky thing to get into. There are thousands of other people just as good or better than him. there is always that slight chance of failure, of wasting your time on something hopeless.
Perhaps his father was right? What if he really isn’t good enough? Is singing something he truly wants to pursue? Does he have what it takes?

‘When you truly love something, you’re willing to fight for it.’

Chan’s words once again reminded him what gave him the courage to venture down this path. What pushed him to step foot in a place he wasn’t familiar with.

“perhaps you're right,” he admitted to his father. “but that’s a consequence im willing to face on my own. If I fail, im willing to pick myself up again and try harder.”

“the answer is still no,” his father told him, leaving no room for argument. Normally this would make woojin give up and let it be, but not this time.

“I was not asking for permission. I was simply telling you out of respect for being my father and putting me through this higher education. I may hate what im doing, but I will not be ungrateful for all that ive received. How about this,” woojin began to suggest. “I will continue to study business and graduate with my degree by the end of this school year. After all, im not stupid enough to just quit when I have one more semester to go. I didn’t suffer this much just to pull a teenage rebellion and drop everything ive worked so hard for. Maybe if I was in my second or third year of college, then yes I might have dropped everything and switched majors. But its too late now to go back. So, I will graduate with my degree, hell I might even continue farther and get my doctorate (PhD) in business. Im good at it, so why not?” he shrugged.

“excellent, now you are starting to make more sense-” his father beamed at him.

“but,” woojin cut him off. “im going to start taking vocal lessons on the side and really learning the ins and outs of music. im going to put myself out there, start somewhere and do what I want to do. I don’t see why I cant pursue both music and business. Who knows, maybe investing in some of the entertainment companies might be a smart move on our part in the future, the Lee family hasn’t even done something like that yet,” woojin smirked slightly at this, knowing his father would eat up his last words.

He stood there in silence, letting his words sink in. it seemed to be working as his father sat there quietly thinking it over. If woojin outright told him to invest in music companies, his father would be against it. he was a stubborn man, and refused to take anyone’s suggestions or ideas, even if it would profit him greatly. His father has to think he came up with the decision on his own before going through with it. all woojin had to do was plant the seed of doubt to get what he wants.

He was also doing this for both him and minho, and the others too.

Woojin let his father sit there and think about it as he turned back around and closed the door behind him. he marched down the hallway with his head held high.

Once woojin wants something, he will stop at nothing to get it. but there was one more thing his father refuses to understand about life.

Successful people never achieve their goals alone.

***

Changbin hobbled over to felix’s bed, plopping down with a sigh of relief. His ankle was throbbing and the bandage was starting to get itchy and sweaty. For someone who always likes to move around, having to stay off his ankle for a week was going to be torturous for him.

He loosened his tie and unbuttoned his annoying dress shirt, tossing both onto felix’s bedroom floor. He had on a white tshirt underneath so it was totally fine. there was nothing he could do about his uniform pants though.

Felix shut his door, immediately grabbing extra pillows to prop changbin’s foot up with. Then he sat down on the edge of the bed as changbin scooted to lean against the head board.

“how’s it feeling?” he asked the older boy.

Changbin shrugged. “it hurts like a bitch, but I expected it to.” He tried to play it off, but felix saw through it.

The blonde boy gently started to unravel the bandage to let his ankle breathe a bit. He frowned noting it swelled up some more on the bumpy way home. He picked up changbin’s foot and placed it in his lap as he carefully massaged his upper leg, avoiding the swollen ankle.

“wow, that feels amazing,” he groaned. “are you a massage therapist too?”

Felix smirked. “I’m pretty good at giving massages. Had to learn since I took a lot of beatings in martial arts. I figured the rest of your leg must be pretty stiff from trying to keep off of it all day today.”

“yeah, and my shoulders, and my back, and also my neck and thighs,” changbin playfully batted his lashes at him.

“yeah, I don’t think so. Nice try there,” felix laughed. “wait here while I go get some ice,” and then he gently placed changbin’s foot back on the pillows and headed downstairs.

When they arrived 10 minutes ago, felix’s parents werent home yet, to his luck. But they both walked in and were setting things down in the kitchen. He ignored them, walking past them and opening up the freezer door to get some ice. He didn’t even bother telling them about a friend being over, since they wouldn’t listen or care anyways. He barely speaks two sentences to them on a good day.

And then it began.

His father said something to piss off his mother, and his mother would yell something back. And then they would both be arguing back and forth. Felix booked it out of there before things started to get ugly.

Changbin was humming to himself as he waited for felix. He looked around the younger boy’s room, taking note of the awards and accomplishments he has hanging up on the walls. He got a few dancing awards, and he has all of his colored belts from martial arts hanging nicely on one of the walls. He also noticed a few certificates of achievement for his skills in computers and technology. Changbin wonders why felix doesn’t pursue something like that instead.

Then changbin started to hear some arguing and yelling from the first floor. It would seem felix wasnt kidding about his parents not getting along.

Felix entered the room and quickly shut it, trying to drown out the noise of his parents arguing.

“sorry about them,” he said quietly. “here I have some ice for you and some more pain killers and a glass of water,” he handed changbin the pills and water while he gently wrapped the ice in a towel and placed it on changbin’s ankle.

Changbin sighed, enjoying the feel of the cold ice on his swollen ankle. He closed his eyes and rested his head against the head board and wall behind him, just letting himself relax. Felix was lost in his thoughts as he absentmindedly grabbed changbin’s leg again and rubbed the sides of it. the sounds of the arguing got louder, and felix felt uneasy. He usually tunes them out all on his own, but this time he has someone over witnessing the mess that was his life.

Changbin peeked a glance at felix, who seemed to look kind of sick as the arguing intensified and they could hear the banging of items getting thrown around.

To say changbin wasn’t worried would be a lie. He was so used to never seeing his parents his entire life that he would never have thought that there could also be a thing like seeing too much of your parents.

Felix snapped out of his thoughts, wincing when he heard some glass breaking downstairs. He stopped rubbing changbin’s leg, and put it back in place with the ice. Then he got up and grabbed a pair of headphones, connecting it to his phone. He reached over and put them on changbin’s ears.

“whats this for?” changbin asked him.

“sorry about the noise,” felix muttered, avoiding eye contact with changbin. “it will hopefully be over with soon. Just take a nap and ill wake you up for something to eat later.”

“but what are you going to do?” changbin asked, almost whining.

“im going to work on some assignments or something on my computer,” felix told him as he got up to dig in his desk for another set of headphones. He plugged them into his laptop and sat down at his desk, facing away from changbin.

Changbin pouted, wanting to spend more time with felix. He was starting to understand why felix always wore his headphones and ignored the world. However, the pain killers were starting to make him sleepy, and a nap sounded really nice. “cant you come over here and sit next to me?” he asked after a few moments of silence. He paused the music on felix’s phone’s playlist.

Changbin almost thought felix didn’t hear him, getting ready to give up and not bother him for once, but then felix turned around in his chair. “why?”

“because I hate being alone, and I like it when you pay attention to me, and I just want someone to finally spend some time with me for once, is that too much to ask for-”

Felix smiled a little. “okay, okay, no need to rant at me. Im not used to spending time with people, so you have to tell me pretty bluntly what you want.” Then felix grabbed his laptop with his headphones still connected to it, and walked around to the other side of his bed. He sat up against the headboard next to changbin. “there, better?”

“mmmhmmmm,” changbin hummed happily as he leaned into felix’s side. He didn’t hesitate to rest his head on felix’s shoulder as his eyes got droopy from exhaustion. It was a little uncomfortable with the clunky headphones on, but he didn’t dare move from his position. He pressed play on the playlist to drown out the noise, and started to fall asleep.

Felix looked down at him and chuckled at how shamelessly he made himself comfortable, using felix as a pillow. But he guesses it would be easier sitting up while sleeping since the ice was still on his ankle.

___

Changbin woke up a few hours later to the bed empty and the playlist finished. It was quiet in felix’s house again, no sign of the blonde or any sound of his parents.

The sun pretty much went down, and the ice was gone off of his ankle. He looked around frantically, a slight panic creeping into his chest.

Where was felix?

“felix?” he called out. “Lixseu?” there was no answer.

Changbin hates waking up alone in an empty house. “felix?” he squeaked out one last time. He thought about calling the younger boy, but his phone was still lying next to changbin with the headphones plugged in, so that would be useless.

Just then he heard footsteps on the stairs and soon felix came walking back into the room with bags in his hands. Changbin breathed a huge sigh of relief.

“where’d you go?” he asked quietly. He tried not to show just how much he was panicking.

Felix set the bags on his desk and turned to face changbin. “I went outside really quick. I figured you would be hungry, so I ordered takeout for everybody. Had it delivered. My dad shut himself in his room and my mom took off and wont be back until way later.”

“oh ok, thanks,” changbin said in a small voice. Felix watched him for a few seconds, obviously knowing something was up due to his quiet attitude, but he chose to not bother the older boy about it until after they’ve eaten.

He prepared a box of the food for changbin and handed it over to him, then took one and made himself comfortable on the end of his bed. He studied changbin’s ankle quickly making sure it was okay before digging into his meal.

They ate in silence for a few minutes before felix heard a sniffling sound and looked up from the chicken he was about to bite into. “hyung? Why are you crying?” he asked bluntly.

“im not crying,” changbin denied with a quivering voice. He was looking down, his bangs hiding his eyes.

Felix snorted. “I cant believe you just tried to lie to me like that. come on, tell me why you are crying. I thought something was off when I came back. You are never this quiet.”

“am I really that annoying?” changbin whispered.

“huh?” felix looked at him confused, putting his food down on the floor. “binnie hyung, I don’t understand you. You have to use your words with me.”

Changbin looked up at felix with watery eyes. “d-did you just call me binnie hyung?”

“you’re getting off topic,” felix chuckled softly. “spit it out.”

Changbin took a shaky breath, picking at some of his chicken with his chopsticks. “you’re gonna think its dumb.”

Felix rolled his eyes, “even if its dumb, it obviously upset you so tell me who I have to beat up and then we can go back to our meal.”

“no, no, its nothing like that. its just…” changbin chewed on his bottom lip, looking at anything but felix. “when I woke up, and saw you were gone, and everything was quiet, I kind of panicked  because I hate waking up alone in a quiet house and yeah…”

“oh,” was all felix said. “do you wake up alone often?”

“yeah,” changbin muttered. “ever since I was old enough to not need somebody to watch me, so maybe since I was ten?”

“ten?!” felix exclaimed.

“well, my parents always go away for long periods of time on business trips and I know I talk a lot and im super hyper so they think im annoying and don’t want to be bothered with me, and I know its my fault for being this way, but when I get really excited or emotional I tend to talk a lot. A lot of the kids used to make fun of me for talking a lot and they always called me annoying and didn’t want to play with me and-”

“well I like it,” felix interrupted him.

“huh?” changbin finally looked up at him.

“your constant talking. I like it. I never once thought you were annoying, and your voice filling the air helps drown out the noises around me. Did you know I never play my music when im around you, even though I have my headphones still on? I don’t need my music when im with you,” felix shrugged and bent down to grab his dinner again, resuming eating.

He was about to eat his chicken for a second time when he heard sniffling again. He sighed, “ok what is it now? Are you still crying? Because I told you that I don’t find you annoying, and yes I like listening to you talk and you have a really nice voice that I can just fall asleep to-”

“that’s why im crying now!” changbin laughed and sobbed at the same time. “you cant just say stuff like that and make me really happy and expect me not to cry like a baby!”

“well I just did,” and then felix went back to eating his food, ignoring changbin’s cute little sniffles, and he even sneezed which felix found adorable.

When they finished their food and felix threw away the trash, changbin was now lying on his back on felix’s bed, his ankle still propped up.

Felix watched him for a few seconds, and liked having the older boy take up the empty space in his room. He decided to just go for it and speak what has been on his mind since changbin mentioned it earlier.

“you know, if you hate being alone so much I can just come over your place more often, if you want,” he told him.

Changbin moved his head slightly to get a better view of felix. He didn’t say anything right away, which slightly worried felix.

“well, at least for the next week or so, to help you take care of that ankle. Bandaging it up yourself can be difficult, and I would worry if you fell down and there wouldn’t be anyone to help you, and also don’t worry about the community service, I can take care of it for the both if us until you are back to your energetic self-”

“I like you,” changbin said out of the blue.

“w-what?” felix stuttered.

“I really really like you. I like your blunt attitude, how even though you ignore everyone around you, you still always listen and take care of your friends, how you always help out even when no one asked you to. You could’ve just taken me home and ditched me, but here you are worrying about me and making sure im ok and even offering to come over when you don’t have to. I like your dancing, and your motivation to go after your dream. After getting to know you, I realize what im truly missing in my life, and its you and everything you stand for.”

He smiled over at felix, a slight shyness showing that he tried to hide.

Felix swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry and his palms clammy. And just like in any other situation when he becomes too emotional to say anything, he reverts back to sarcasm.

“d-does this mean you want me to come over and help out?” he blurted.

Changbin gasped cutely. “yah! I just confessed my undying love to you, and all you have to say is whether you should come over or not?!”

“uhhh…yes?”

Changbin threw one of the pillows at felix. “obviously yes I want you to come over! How else am I supposed to stare at your pretty face all day?”

Felix giggled, watching changbin try to reach over and throw another pillow at him.

“say it back!” changbin demanded in a whiny voice.

Felix walked over leaning towards changbin on the bed. “hmmm, nah I don’t think so,” he smiled smugly. Changbin pouted at this.

“does this mean you don’t like me back?”

“I didn’t say that,” felix told him teasingly.

“but you also didn’t reject me right away, so good enough for me,” and then changbin reached over and grabbed felix by his shirt, pecking him on the lips quickly.

Felix froze for a few seconds which made changbin worry he crossed the line, but then felix grinned a wide smile showing all of his teeth.

“you’re gonna get it now!” felix laughed, jumping on the bed and (carefully) tackling changbin.

***

“hey, what made you want to go into music?” minho asked jisung seriously.

Jisung looked up from his books on minho’s bed, flicking his blue bangs out of his eyes. His roots were starting to show which means he has to dye it again soon, or grow it out.

“dunno, I just loved music ever since I can remember,” jisung answered him with a shrug.

Minho spun in his chair, fully facing jisung. He’s been thinking about this for a few days now ever since woojin mentioned it.

“no, but like haven’t you ever thought about doing something else? Something not as…uncertain or risky?” he asked in a small voice.

Jisung blinked and studied minho’s face. normally he would be answering him with a cheesy pick up line like they’ve been doing for a few days, but right now minho seemed serious and was acting like something was bothering him so jisung held back and really thought about what he asked.

“of course I have. You would not believe the number of times my old friends and parents constantly told me I was making a big mistake. How many times they tried to convince me to go into something more stable. At first I took their advice and tried to come up with another career or major, but in the end it just didn’t seem right. I always end up going back to music.”

“aren’t you afraid?” minho whispered, looking down at the ground.

“of what the future holds? Of what people would think of me? Of failing? Everyday these thoughts run through my head, I even doubted myself many times,” jisung paused causing minho to look up into his eyes. He sat up straight, giving the older boy a piercing gaze of determination. “But then I realized im not alone, there are others just like me aiming for the same goals, the same dream. So now im going to trust in my choice and continue to do something I love, even if it gets me nowhere, even if everyone else laughs at me, even if it takes me years and years to finally reach my destination.”

Chapter Text

“ouch, what the hell mate?” chan glared at the passing student, rubbing his shoulder they just very rudely bumped into. He entered through the golden gates of the university’s campus noting the looks of distaste from both the university and community college kids.

He sighed, expecting this. it would seem they have noticed the very close friendship between the student council and his group of friends, and many people are not happy with it. the mixing of students was only supposed to be a temporary thing, but there have been rumors and talks of merging both campuses. Headmaster yugyeom doesn’t trust his good friend Bam Bam to run the community college, so he is bringing in the other families of JYP to combine the campuses. It’s not an uncommon thing to do in other countries. One campus will host certain majors and programs, and the other campus will host the other majors and programs. A common example would be: one campus is for all of the health and science majors, and the other would be for fine arts and English/math majors etc. it’s a good idea in chan’s opinion, but the rich kid families and even the middle class families are strongly against it. mixing social classes like that is unheard of and there will always be an underlying amount of hostility.

It would seem instead of fighting each other, a good majority of the students are starting to rebel and focus their anger and hatred on the five student council members and chan’s friend group. In a sense, they are what started it all. They are the guinea pigs for this little experiment. If everything goes good between them, the headmaster has proof that his ideas wont be for nothing when he tries to convince the powerful families to let him do as he wishes. They will be the start of this new era.

Unfortunately, chan couldn’t keep the bullying a total secret from the five student council members. He was hoping it would all just blow over and they could quietly move on, but now the bullying has progressed to the five top students at the university. Jisung was about to egg or TP everyone’s cars and houses, and felix was one step away from crashing the entire university’s wifi. And while chan was busy reigning them in, jeongin went and spilled the beans to seungmin and hyunjin.

He walked into the student council room, taking note of who was in there at the moment. Seungmin, jeongin, and hyunjin were muttering in the corner, giggling and cackling, which cant be a good thing. Changbin was whining about how he wants to go beat up some people over on the hill, but felix strictly told him no because he still has two more days left to stay off his ankle. Chan still doesn’t know how he injured himself, but when he asked felix, felix just burst out into laughter and told him it was his secret.

Chan noticed woojin has taken a serious interest in entertainment companies for some reason, and minho was sitting unnaturally quiet over at his desk, just staring at his books without actually reading them. Chan ran a hand through his hair, taking note that things are starting to spiral out of control, but for once he has no idea how to even go about fixing it. he was just an aspiring music producer and singer/songwriter, not a politician for crying out loud.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that things got really bad. Seungmin was booked in the hallway to one of his classes, woojin’s tires to his car were slashed, students started trying to blame the council members on things they didn’t do to get them kicked out such as trashing the dance practice rooms and saying it was minho, someone broke one of felix’s headphones, and changbin almost got suspended for almost beating up that student. Luckily felix was the voice of reason and managed to stop changbin before he landed a punch. A student tripped chan and he fell breaking his laptop. Felix was able to retrieve all of his files with no problems, but it still broke his heart that he was going to have to get a new one, especially with the little money he has saved up. little jeongin was made fun of, and people were trying to trash jisung’s reputation saying he was a bad influence on them just because of his bold way of dressing and dying his hair.

Finally, they all had enough when they returned from class one day to find that their student council room was destroyed. The walls were spray painted with random doodles, their desks and chairs turned over, papers thrown everywhere, books tossed all over. They all agreed to take matters in their own hands. If the other students want to play dirty, then they will just have to play dirty right back. They were tired of following the rules.

Besides, they werent the ones who destroyed the other campus with the water pipes a few months ago in the first place, so why the hell should they be treated like this?

“alright guys, that’s it. hyunjin, you know what to do,” woojin nodded over to the younger dancer.

Hyunjin smiled evilly, “you’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?” he asked to make sure.

Woojin nodded. “once we find the students who trashed our council room, I want you to find all information on them. Anything they want kept quiet.”

Hyunjin rubbed his hands together with glee. “I always enjoy blackmailing people,” he giggled.

Chan snorted next to woojin at the look of excitement on his face. he then turned to felix, “felix, hack into the security footage again and scan all the cameras from the last few weeks. I want to know every single person that has been targeting us,” he ordered.

Felix took off his headphones and brought out his laptop, “give me ten minutes and ill have access to even the security footage on the streets surrounding the campus.”

Woojin then glanced at changbin, “get the PA system up and running. We are going to be making an announcement soon.”

“sir yes sir!” changbin laughed, skipping to head over to the announcement room. “can I beat someone up once we find out who it is?”

“no,” chan told him. at the pout on changbin’s face, he relented and said, “at least not yet. If it comes down to it, you will be the first to know.” Changbin’s face brightened at that. chan really plans on not promoting any kind of violence if he can help it. although, if its self defense then its ok. 

Chan nodded to jisung, “go with him. you’re good with words and arguing your way through anything with that stubborn attitude.”

“seungmin, head over to keep them in line. I don’t trust them enough to not cause trouble,” woojin asked the younger boy.

Seungmin grumbled, “aw why do I have to be baby sitter?”

“because if I send jeongin with them, they would just have him join them. They are very impulsive,” chan explained.

“you know we can hear you,” changbin piped up in the background.

“they aren’t wrong,” jisung shrugged.

“minho, you know what to do once felix finds the students,” woojin told his best friend. Minho smiled his famous smile, sending shivers down chan’s spine. There was a reason minho was the enforcer for school conduct. Everyone still feared him, even when they tried to bully him.

“what are we gonna do?” chan turned to woojin.

“I was thinking we make sure the teachers and headmaster don’t catch on to what we are doing and try to stop us,” woojin told him. chan nodded in understanding.

“fine by me,” he agreed. “jeongin, you’re with me. If anyone can get away with anything if we are caught, its you and your angelic face. I need you to really lay it on them, kid. No holding back.”

“do you want fake tears or doe eyes, hyung?” jeongin responded immediately.

Chan thought about it. “better make it both, and a little bit of the quivering lip. I need you to play full on victim as Plan B for us.”

“you got it channie hyung!” jeongin smiled innocently over at him.

“jesus, he’s an unbeatable monster,” changbin whispered in slight fear.

Hyunjin and seungmin giggled at that. “isn’t he precious?” seungmin cooed.

***

Jisung and changbin were running to the announcement room side by side.

“so, you and felix huh?” jisung side glanced over at changbin.

“yep!” changbin smirked over at him. “how about you and minho?”

“my gorgeous man is too stubborn to admit he’s madly in love with me, so that would be a no,” jisung pouted.

Changbin laughed out loud as they turned a corner and headed down the stairs. “yeah, he’s pretty hard to get to know. It took us months to get close enough to him. but to be honest, he seems to really like you.”

“could’ve fooled me,” jisung muttered.

“ehhh just hang in there. He is under a lot of stress from his parents and the fact that he’s not allowed to dance,” changbin told him sadly.

Jisung nodded. “I figured. Im just glad felix has you with him. he sometimes forgets to have a little fun. I think you would be good for him.”

Changbin blushed, “t-thanks. But actually, he has been good for me instead.”

Jisung shrugged. “either way, im still happy for you guys.”

“you guys do know that I refuse to run any faster, so if you don’t fucking slow down im going to break your legs,” seungmin grumbled, trying to keep up.

They both turned, grinning at the younger boy and slowed down. “sorry, we forgot you don’t exercise very often,” changbin laughed.

Once they made it to the announcement room, changbin immediately began setting everything up. he tapped the mic to make sure it was working, then turned to seungmin and jisung.
“so what do we say that doesn’t sound threatening, but also enforces the school policies and stuff?”

Jisung made grabby hands for the mic, “gimme, I got this,” he told them.

Changbin handed the mic to jisung with a shrug, watching as jisung tapped it like they do in the movies, and hit the ‘on’ switch. He cleared his throat.

“ahem. Alright you pieces of shit, listen up yall cuz this is it. the beat that im banging is da-li-cious-”

Changbin snorted, grabbing the mic and high-fiving jisung, “-fergalicious definition make them boys go loco-”

Seungmin immediately grabbed the mic and turned it off, smacking both jisung and changbin on their heads not very gently. “what the fuck even you guys!” he hissed.

He turned the mic back on and pretended like that just didn’t happen across the entire campus in every single building. “this is a public announcement from the student council. We would like to take a few minutes of your time to greatly emphasize the importance of school policy and remind students of the consequences that could occur for not following those rules. It has come to our attention that damage on school property…”

“he’s no fun,” jisung whispered to changbin. changbin nodded in agreement.

***

Felix looked up from his laptop, snorting at the public announcement that just occurred.

“it would seem changbin, jisung and seungmin arrived safely to the announcement room,” woojin sighed.

“remind me again why we sent jisung and changbin together?” chan groaned.

Minho was too busy laughing to say anything.

“channie hyung, I just got a text from jisungie. He wants me to retrieve his ‘bag’ in case he needs it later,” jeongin told the older boy.

Chan thought about it, and sighed. “fine, go ahead. But make it quick in case we need you.”

Jeongin saluted and rushed out of the room. Minho gave a questioning look to chan.

“trust me, you don’t want to know,” chan told him. this only made minho more curious, and he was about to ask when felix made an evil ‘heh’ sound in the corner where he was sitting.

“found some of them,” he told the older boys.

“alright minho, show time,” woojin said. “felix keep us updated if you find anyone else.”

Minho cracked his knuckles. He was going to enjoy this very much.

Chan saw the look on minho’s face and brought out his phone, calling jeongin. “hello my sweet child. We may need you sooner than we thought to do damage control. Hurry back okay?”

***

“sir, we need to see a few of your students immediately,” woojin told the professors over and over as he collected the students who trashed the school property. Once he and chan retrieved the students, minho was waiting for them in the hallway to make sure they didn’t try to make a run for it.

Chan and jeongin trailed behind helping out. so far it turned out to be a few students from the university and a few from the community college. Both sides were mad they were being forced to interact together in extracurricular activities and blamed the student council for it happening, so they trashed the student council room.

“great, this is all your fault,” one of the college kids hissed at a university student as they made the walk of shame back to the council room. The university student glared at him.

“its not my fault you are too stupid to do anything right,” he shot back.

The kid gasped, and then lunged at his offender.

Minho grabbed both of them by the shirt collars, “enough haechan, mark. We know it was both of you that destroyed our council room, along with those other five,” minho nodded at the students trailing behind.

They entered the student council room as the seven of them kept arguing.

“if jaemin and jeno didn’t share a brain cell, we would have gotten away with it,” a community kid sneered at two university kids. They scoffed at the smaller boy.

“yeah, blame it on us renjun. Your artwork with the spray paint wasn’t a dead giveaway,” jaemin snorted. Renjun tsked at him, looking away.

A younger community college student raised his hand, “we were just here for the fun,” and a university student high-fived him. they giggled.

“jisung and chenle, both trouble makers, who unfortunately teamed up together to cause even more trouble,” woojin announced to his fellow friends in the council room.

“double the trouble, double the fun baby,” chenle sang without a care in the world.

Jisung stood up on a couch, putting his hands on his hips and letting his metal bracelets clink together as they slid down his arms. He flicked his blue bangs out of his eyes and glared at renjun. “you call that artwork?! To be honest, I am quite disappointed. Jeongin, toss me my bag!”

Jeongin threw the bag he retrieved for the older boy. jisung caught it easily, slamming his combat boot onto the back of the couch, pulling out a can of electric blue spray paint. He rattled it, satisfied at the sound.

“alright you little squirts. Where’s your cars, because im about to show you what real artwork looks like!!”

“jisung they are literally taller than you. And its not artwork, its vandalism. I thought we talked about this after the car incident,” felix sighed looking up from his laptop.

“wait a minute…” minho looked at the can of blue spray paint and jisung’s matching hair as he continued to rattle and shake his can of paint with expertise.

It suddenly all clicked. It made sense. Minho glanced at jisung and then felix, and his 2 month mystery finally was solved. “you damn gothic squirrel! You were the one who spray painted my car?!” minho yelled over at jisung.

“took you long enough to figure it out,” woojin snickered at his best friend. Minho gave him a look of betrayal.

“you knew?! And didn’t tell me?! How long?” minho demanded.

“we all pretty much figured it out after a week of knowing jisung,” seungmin chuckled. Hyunjin and changbin nodded.

“surprised you didn’t realize it,” changbin added.

“why didn’t you guys tell me?” minho whined.

“it was more fun that way,” hyunjin winked at him.

Minho turned his glare from them to jisung. Jisung gave him a cheeky grin, not denying anything.

“to be fair gorgeous, I didn’t know it was your car before we met,” he defended himself.

“but still!” minho yelled.

Jisung blew a kiss to him. minho pretended to catch it, and then threw it to ground and stomped on it with his shoe, baring his teeth at jisung. Jisung gasped at that.

“that was my love for you!”

“you can take your air kisses and shove it up your-”

“jisung please take your boots off the couch,” chan reprimanded his younger friend. Jisung frowned, but listened, hopping off the couch.

He wiggled his eyebrows over at minho, throwing out another pick up line. “ok, I admit I did wrong when I painted your car. How about this? we can flip a coin to choose the punishment?”

Minho nodded agreeing to this.

Jisung continued, “Heads im yours, Tails you're mine.” He laughed obnoxiously at the angry look on minho’s face.

“that’s it! I’ve had enough of that mouth of yours!” minho growled out, stomping across the room towards jisung.

Chan and woojin straightened to attention, actually concerned at minho’s behavior.

Minho stomped really close to jisung, raising his hand and grabbing him by the front of his shirt really harshly. It looked like he was going to punch him, and jisung let out a squeak as he was dragged into minho’s chest, dropping the can of paint onto the floor. But instead of hitting him, minho kissed jisung smack on the lips, shocking everyone in the room.

“damn, I honestly didn’t see that coming,” hyunjin said. “and I usually know everything.”

As jisung and minho continued to make out, one of the students in the room cleared their throat.

“what the fuck? Since when did we walk into a k-drama?” haechan declared.

“im sorry, does someone hear something?” mark cupped his ear near haechan making the community college kid glare at him.

“only the sound of jeno’s annoying breathing,” renjun taunted.

“are we the only two that actually get along?” chenle asked jisung. Jisung nodded.

Changbin stepped forward. “challenge accepted! alright pretty boy! we cant let minho and jisung show us up, get over here so that I can attack your lips with my lips!” changbin shouted at felix.

“why is everything always about ‘fighting’ with you?” felix asked his boyfriend.

“you better not be backing out on me!” changbin jumped in his spot.

“I didn’t even agree to it- you know what? I feel like we’ve been here before,” felix yelled back, exasperated but still a smile formed on his face. changbin skipped over, snuggling up to felix’s side and throwing an arm around his shoulders.

Seungmin slammed his hand down on the table, making a few people jump. “well in that case, now’s a good a time as any to announce that hyunjin, jeongin, and I are in a relationship. I dare anyone to judge us, go on and see what happens.” He squinted at everyone intensely.

“since when?!” chan cried out. “my baby!”

“he’s our baby now!” hyunjin laughed, hugging jeongin who was looking away from chan, whistling to not look conspicuous.

Felix shrugged, not caring. Jisung was still preoccupied with minho.

told you having three people in a relationship wasn’t weird,” jaemin hissed at jeno, sending a look to renjun who wasn’t paying attention.

“not now jaemin!” jeno also looked at renjun as he said this.

“me and chenle are already dating,” jisung volunteered, but nobody paid attention or cared. Chenle pouted at the lack of response.

“if anyone makes fun of us, changbin gets to beat them up,” seungmin told the room.

“yay!” changbin squealed.

Chan was clinging to woojin’s arm, pouting at the betrayal.

“you all are insane. can I go now?” haechan asked.

“oh great, remind them we are still here so that they can give out our punishment faster,” mark rolled his eyes.

“if you got something to say, spit it out!” haechan yelled at him.

Mark flicked some invisible lint off his uniform blazer. “I don’t have words to waste on an annoying brat like you,” he yawned.

“I’d like to hear you say that again as I ring your neck and throttle the snootiness out of you, you son of a-”

“so what should we do with them?” chan asked woojin.

Woojin thought about it. usually this is minho’s area of expertise. “ok, break it up over there. Make out on your own time,” woojin called over to his best friend. Minho and jisung broke apart, panting.

Not taking his hands from jisung’s waist, minho turned towards everybody. “ok so I was thinking,”

“you cant just stop making out in front of everybody and then act like nothing happened!” changbin laughed.

Minho just smirked at him, “so as I was saying. Punishing the younger students over there would be letting them off too easy. how about we stick them with each other like the headmaster did with us, and make them clean up the school for a few weeks?”

“I object on every single level,” mark started to say.

“starting with you and you,” minho grinned evilly as he pointed to haechan and mark. “you two better get used to each other, cuz you’re stuck together for the next month. You three have to work together,” he pointed to renjun, jeno, and jaemin. “and you two,” he nodded to chenle and jisung.

There were complaints all around, except for jisung and chenle who high fived again and squealed while hugging.

“as for the students who have been bullying us, like calling us names and pushing us in the halls, they will have a stricter punishment,” minho continued. “once felix finds as many people as we can, we will start cracking down on them. Hyunjin will make sure they start behaving.” At that hyunjin nodded.

“as for the powerful families and parents, leave that to me and chan,” woojin said. “I think its time we publicly announce that we fully support headmaster yugyeom’s movement to merge the two campuses.”

Minho clapped his hands with authority, “now off you go young ones! Before I change my mind and make sure your vandalism of our room is on your permanent records! Ill contact you with specific instructions by tomorrow.”

Most of them grumbled as they shuffled out of the room.

“you cant hold me back!” haechan yelled out the doorway, but then shut up as he was dragged by the back of the collar by mark.

“I swear to god if you ruin this for me, im gonna-” he argued with the younger boy as they left.

Woojin chuckled at that.

***

“you promise to be here when this is over with?” minho asked nervously, looking at jisung with wide eyes.

Jisung gave him a huge smile, grabbing his hand and giving it a squeeze. Then he intertwined their fingers. “im proud of you no matter what. Ill be right here when you need me.”

Minho took a deep breath, looking at the front of his parent’s house. “this is going to go so badly,” he muttered.

“if your father is being an asshole, you want me to spray paint his cars?” jisung giggled.

Minho laughed, feeling better. “if it comes to that, I might actually have you do that.” he then leaned down and gave jisung a peck on the lips, nipping his lip ring slightly. Jisung gasped at that.

“you really shouldn’t do that unless you want me doing bad things to you on the front lawn of your parent’s house.”

Minho smirked, then faced the house again.

“am I doing the right thing?” he questioned himself.

Jisung stood up on tip toes and cupped his cheeks, turning minho’s head to face him. “Lee Minho, do you love dancing?” minho nodded. “And do you want to study boring old economics?” minho shook his head. “And do you want to be a part of the music industry, helping to inspire people all around the world with your passion?” minho again nodded his head. “Then that is answer enough for you,” jisung told him. he let go of his face and took a step back, giving his hands a squeeze one more time and a soft smile. “remember, you wont be alone from now on. We all are going to be here with you, every step of the way.”

Minho nodded, then let go of jisung’s hand facing his house and taking a step forward.

***

“I cant believe you publicly announced you fully support this merge of students!” woojin’s father yelled.

Woojin shrugged. “I believe it’s a good idea. And once I graduate, im going to study and pursue music.”

“again with the singing! Haven’t you given that up already?” his father slammed his paperwork down on the desk.

“nope,” woojin made the word pop obnoxiously.

“you will regret this day going against me,” his father threatened.

“not really,” woojin told him. he almost smirked.

He managed to push his father into a corner. When he publicly announced that he supported the headmaster’s decision on merging the campuses and co-existing with the community college kids, an uproar occurred. First, he showed that he was against the stereotypes of the social class system. Second, he showed that he supports the importance of education for all people, and that it doesn’t matter what background you come from. he was an example for other students that come from prominent families. Most people admired him for making a stand and going against the norm. because of this, the bullying stopped, otherwise it would make anyone who opposed this very honorable act look bad in the eyes of the public.

Now his father cant oppose the merge with the other families, and he also couldn’t deny what woojin wanted to do. if woojin made known he was being forced against his will, the public that now supports woojin could destroy his father’s business.

The next big thing was that woojin wasn’t the only one who made the public announcement. Minho was right there next to him, so any plans of sabotaging the Lee family by his father was also ruined. The two families were forced to get along, at least out in the open.

Woojin and minho, along with the other top three students pledged to use their skills and abilities to assist with the merge in any way they can. chan and the others were also taking a huge part in it. woojin needed chan and the others help to prove that this merge would be successful.

Minho fought with his family a lot, but eventually they had to give in because of what woojin started.

Soon chan, woojin, and minho graduated college. Woojin went back to school to pursue singing, minho finally got to dance like he’s always wanted, and chan was offered an opportunity as an intern/ producer-in-training at a small entertainment company owned by one of the JYP families.

In changbin’s fourth year of college, he and felix moved into an apartment together. He could finally wake up and smile, never being alone again.

Chan offered changbin a spot with him as well, but changbin chose to finish out his program and get an accounting degree first before fully switching over to music.

Seungmin and hyunjin both ditched their programs. Hyunjin had no problems with it because he hated studying, and seungmin finally agreed that changing his major was the best for him. he could finally focus on himself rather than his studies. Jeongin inspired them to go into music and dance, and the younger boy was there for them every step of the way. Jeongin passed the subjects he had a hard time in, and aced his music courses. Seungmin joined woojin with singing, and hyunjin followed minho and felix with dancing, and also worked with chan and changbin on his newfound talent of rapping. All three moved into an apartment right across the hall from felix and changbin so that they can annoy them when they get bored.

Chan pouted at woojin for a whole week until the older boy relented and bought the apartment next to seungmin, hyunjin, and jeongin. he claimed he couldn’t stand being away from his baby and insisted on watching over him so that the “nerdy spawns of satan” don’t taint him. he and woojin moved in together.

Jisung decided to stay with minho, finishing out his last two years and eventually planning on following chan to continue working with him once he graduates. of course, once he heard that everybody was neighbors over at a different apartment building without him, he forced minho to move their stuff and minho ended up buying the apartment right next to felix and changbin’s.

***

Minho walked out of the dance room, having finished practice. He wiped his face with a towel and almost jumped when he felt arms wrap around his waist.

“excuse me? But why are you so sexy?” he heard a familiar voice ask him. “that workout offer still stands,” jisung giggled.

Minho laughed. “jisung get off, you’re heavy and im all gross.”

“im not heavy! My ideal body weight is yours on mine,” he laughed as he nuzzled his face in minho’s back.

Minho sighed, “I don’t know what it is about you that makes me want you so badly.”

“ahem, I hate to break up the weird flirting you guys insist on doing despite being together for over two years now, but I would rather get back to chan before I throw up all over the hallway,” woojin interrupted them.

“oh hey woojinnie, how long have you been standing there?” minho asked with his signature smile.

“the entire time, unfortunately. I walked over with jisung,” woojin grumbled.

“kay, well im heading over to go see chan. Byeeee,” and then jisung pecked minho’s lips skipping away.

Minho smiled watching as he left, then turned his attention onto woojin. “whats up?”

“I just wanted to see how things were going. Since we graduated, I haven’t seen much of you with our busy schedules and all.”

They walked outside to a familiar bench on the campus, sitting down. minho welcomed the cool air on his sweaty and warm skin.

“its going great. Im learning all different kinds of dance styles, felix and hyunjin are about to graduate and they are amazing at it. ive even gotten a few offers to join a few companies as a backup dancer.” Minho grinned over at woojin. It’s the happiest he’s ever seen him.

“that’s good to hear. I know it hasn’t been easy for all of us. Its been a long two years. Have you heard from your parents yet?”

Minho shook his head. “no, I don’t think they will talk to me for awhile. But what can you do about it?” he shrugged.

Woojin nodded, leaning against the back of the bench, staring at the sky. It was a comfortable silence for a few minutes.

“hey woojinnie,” minho began quietly. Woojin hummed, indicating he was listening. “I never did thank you properly. Its just something I never really knew how to bring up, and I was scared to approach you about it.”

Woojin looked over at minho. “thank me for what? We both stood up in front of that audience and announced we would be helping with the merge of the campuses-”

“no, not that,” minho interrupted him. “about…about helping me all these years.”

Minho looked like he was about to cry, and woojin started to panic. Minho rarely ever got this emotional unless it was something serious. “minho you need to elaborate. I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“come on woojin, how dumb do you think I am? Ok, wait, don’t answer that. woojinnie…we have been friends since we were children. We are both really smart, you especially. You always got first place on the exams in elementary school. I never envied you for it, instead I admired you. You always seemed to know what you were doing. But then one year, you didn’t get first place. You got second, and kept consistently getting second from then on. Woojin im not totally stupid. How could I not notice something was up?” minho reached over and intertwined their fingers.

Woojin gulped, his heart pounding really fast. This was something he promised to take to his grave.

He didn’t say anything, which was all the answer that minho needed.

“you did it on purpose, didn’t you?” minho asked softly. “im not mad or anything, I just want to know why.”

Woojin took a shuddering breath. Finally, he answered him.

“it wasn’t out of pity, or to make you feel good about yourself. In all honesty, it was for my own selfish reasons.”

“huh?” minho looked at him, confused.

“I heard your parents yelling at you about not getting first place, and then they threatened to send you away, and I was young and scared that I would be losing the only friend I ever had. I cried and cried thinking you were going to leave me, and I thought it was all my fault. And I just wanted you to be happy and stay by my side forever. So, yes I purposely got second place in order to selfishly keep you next to me all these years.”

Woojin looked down, tears almost threatening to show up at the memory of it.

“i…out of all of the things I thought up to figure out why you did it, I never expected that,” minho sobbed.

“why the hell are you crying?” woojin laughed, blinking away a few of his own tears.

“the same reason you are crying! Oh my god, are we really sobbing like teenagers on a bench right now?” minho laughed and cried at the same time.

“quick, call chan. This is some good emotional shit he can make into a song or something,” woojin laughed with him while sniffling.

“this is the stupidest but also most loving thing anyone has done for me,” minho told him, squeezing woojin’s hand.

***

“Channie? You here?” woojin asked, opening up the door to their spare bedroom that chan turned into a small studio so that he could work more at home and see woojin often.

He saw chan sitting at his desk, typing away at his laptop in his own world.

“channie? Hey what are you working on? I thought you said you were done with this month’s deadline,” woojin asked him, coming over and placing his hands on chan’s shoulders.

Chan snapped out of his world, leaning back and looking up at woojin, his head slightly upside down.

He smiled a huge smile, showing his dimples. Woojin couldn’t resist bending down and giving him a kiss.

“and what are you so happy about?” he asked.

“my song, its finally finished now that almost all of us are out of college and heading on over to this company with me. I sent in the demo today,” he sat up straight and spun around, clapping happily. Then he reached over and hugged woojin’s waist.

“demo to what? You have a lot of songs,” woojin chuckled, carding his fingers through chan’s hair. its pink now. He still has these random moments where he likes to dye his hair different colors.

“I finally found what was missing all this time,” he mumbled against woojin’s stomach.

“and what was that?” woojin asked him.

“You guys. It sounds a lot better when all nine of us sing it.”

Chapter Text

I want to thank everybody that has read this short fic of mine. It was supposed to be a oneshot, but well, things happened lol. Below is a commentary on my story. Its not necessary to read this, but it kind of helps explain my thought process while I was writing this.

I first want to say that this short fic was a way for me to vent my thoughts and feelings. All nine members in this story was based on my real life experiences. A little bit of my personal life was used to make each situation, which is why this probably seemed really realistic, because it was. Some of the members reflect things about me and my own problems I went through, and some reflect people ive known or helped throughout my life. (I wont say which is which, but I just wanted you guys to know)

I would like to point out that I have never had a problem with my parents. They are very loving and supportive, and they were always the type of parents that told me to “do something that you love, we don’t care what you study as long as you have a stable job,” which is a pretty reasonable thing to ask of your child. However, a lot of people that I have met in my life don’t always have that kind of support from their families or the people they care most about, which is why instead I wanted to become that support for them in their parent’s place. I projected that theme onto some of the members. As long as you have at least one person believing in you, anything can be possible.

I wanted to show that life isn’t always pretty. Everybody goes through their own hardships in some kind of way, whether you are rich or poor. I was always taught to not get offended or hurt right away if someone bullies me. Instead, I was taught to take a step back, to take a better look at the other person, and to see if you can find something the others couldn’t. more often times than not, you will be surprised to find that the other person is hurting just as much as they hurt you. Of course, sometimes there are just jerks out there in the world who like giving people a hard time for no apparent reason, so if that does happen then its okay to beat them up. I aint a saint up in here.

I also like to live by the motto ‘a day without laughter is a day wasted.’ I try to deal with my problems through sarcasm and laughter. Some people think im not taking stuff seriously, but that is just how I personally cope with life.

Now let me explain each of the members separately:

First, each of skz’s parents was based on real life parents I have met in passing. They really do act like that, and even though I kind of glossed over it and didn’t go into the details, it really happens out there.

Second, the bullying and making fun of social status was real. I have seen people being made fun of because they were too rich or too poor. It didn’t matter what category you fell into.

Despite that, I have also seen rare friendships where both groups of friends don’t care about social status and like spending time with each other because they truly like one another. I myself fall into this category, and I would like to thank my parents for raising me with this kind of mindset.

As you all know, I tried to write about some pretty common themes throughout this story. The main and most important one being about doing what you love and what makes you happy. Now, this is a lot easier said than done, and I tried to portray that in different ways.

First we have chan. Chan took the obvious way out. he wanted to study music so he set on the hardest path to accomplish that. he left his family and their ridiculous expectations when they didn’t support him and he went his own way. He never gave up despite being alone for a while. After meeting woojin and the others, he found that all of his doubts were for nothing. he managed to inspire people without realizing it. through woojin, he got the reassurance he always needed that he was on the right path.

Next is woojin. Woojin was stuck in between knowing he has a duty to his family, but also wanting to do what he loved, which was singing. In his case, he decided to make a compromise. He continued to get his business degree, making his parents happy, but he also made room for the things he wanted to do and finally standing up for himself. he set reasonable goals for himself and worked to achieve it. he wasn’t sure if what he was doing was the right thing, but through chan’s example he was able to take the first step.

Minho was probably the most realistic example for students out there. He was absolutely terrified of defying his parents and deciding something for himself. he wanted to dance, but that was slowly taken away from him. woojin tried to get him to also stand up for himself, but there was only so much he could do. minho had to want it enough to fight for it. I cant even tell you guys how many classmates I know were in this same situation. Some of them managed to break away, and some didn’t. it all depends on the person. Once minho snapped, he realized he would be much happier doing things on his own despite his fear of failing. In his example, I tried to emphasize that even if you fail and have those fears, try anyways because you never know if something good might come of it.

Changbin was my favorite to write about. He was in a way neglected as a child. Even though he was lonely, he never wanted to treat other people the way he was treated. He was friendly, open minded, and accepting of everyone. He was hyper and energetic, but also very talkative. This annoyed people a lot, and many times he was excluded from things because of this specific personality trait. He ended up having a major insecurity about it because of his parents and the other children bullying him. it wasn’t until he met the other skz members that he was no longer afraid to be himself in front of others and to realize there’s nothing wrong with talking a lot and being overly happy all the time. His parents convinced him to only pursue a career in something he excelled at. I tried to get the message across that even if you are great at something, it doesn’t mean you have to do it; that its okay to pursue something even if you have to try harder at it. sometimes taking the easier way out isn’t the best path. You can struggle at something and fail, but if it makes you happy that you are doing it on your own then go for it.

Hyunjin had social anxiety, which he hid really well from the outside world. Everybody loved talking to him and wanted to be his friend. He was able to understand people, causing him to get a lot of popularity. I tried to show that even if someone is popular and a good talker and everybody loves them, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have their own problems too. People are really good at hiding their true feelings. My point with him was that: yes its always good to try and understand the people who are problematic and seem to go through tough times, but also to not forget about the people who are popular and act like they are okay because they could be going through just as much as everyone else. It doesn’t matter who you are, anyone could be suffering in some kind of way.

Jisung was a blast to write. He was flirty, hyper, and obnoxious. He was more of your typical rebellious child, the wild card in the family. He was stubborn and refused to do anything he didn’t want to do. his parents couldn’t really handle him, so they sent him away. He believes in going against society, expressing himself in any way he can. this doesn’t mean he doesn’t get hurt by the judging stares and his own insecurities, but he braves through them anyways. He realized what he loved early on, and chose to stop at nothing to pursue it. I tried to show through him that not everybody struggles with what they want to do in life. they just hop on the train and go for it without looking back. These type of people offhandedly inspire other people who don’t have that kind of courage. Jisung inspired jeongin and minho, and he was a reassurance to chan. If you ever meet someone as courageous as jisung, then consider yourself lucky.

Felix was a joy. I tried to play off of his more quiet side that he tends to show from time to time. He obviously had a dysfunctional family. His parents only cared about hurting each other and ignored felix. he sort of developed a disinterest for the world and chose to drown out and filter the unnecessary things in life. in a way, you can consider him selfish. He only focused on what he liked to do and what he liked to study, and chose to only talk to the people he wanted to talk to. Some people might view this as rude or socially awkward, or maybe even stand offish. But it takes certain people to realize that he isn’t like that at all. He simply only values the important things in life. if he considers you important enough, then he is the greatest friend you could have. A lot of people thought felix was weird and strange and kind of scary in the story. A lot of kids refused to acknowledge or get to know him as he grew up. it took those few different people to finally take the time out to get to know him and all of his quirks (chan and the others).

Seungmin had slight OCD, which compelled him to be insanely perfect in his earlier years. But I tried to portray that there is no such thing as being perfect, only the best versions of ourselves that we can be. He had his priorities all wrong. He believed that studying was the most important thing in the world, and its not. yes, its great to get perfect grades, but they don’t define you. Even if you get perfect scores and study your ass off, it doesn’t mean you are better than anyone else. In the end, the person that cares the most for other people is the better person. what truly matters is being a good person inside and out. seungmin was able to snap out of his unhealthy mindset through the help of hyunjin, jeongin, and the others.

I think that almost everybody can relate to jeongin in some way. He was pressured by his parents to do well, and he honestly tried. But no matter what he did, he kept failing over and over. It got to the point that he considered himself dumb or that there was something wrong with him. however, that’s not the case. Everybody learns in a different way, some people are just better at some subjects than others, and that’s ok. We aren’t meant to be good at everything. I showed that sometimes we need to reach out and ask for help and that its ok to be bad at something. through hard work and the help of seungmin and the rest of his fellow members, jeongin was able to do the best he could in the subjects he struggled in.

___

It takes some pretty amazing people to realize that you never accomplish your goals by yourself. Even though I had many common messages and themes throughout this short story, the greatest one I tried to hide in the background was that you cant accomplish your dreams alone.

I think that stray kids as a group really defines the meaning behind that.

Yes you will have people who excel at many things more than you, and yes you will have people who struggle a little more than others. You might be able to get by in life pretty well on your own, but you also might be able to achieve even more with others by your side. Its up to us to put aside our differences and help each other out regardless of what you are good at or not good at. With our own talents we can fill the gaps in other people. For example: if you are someone who is extremely talented, you might not even realize you are missing something because you think you have it all. And if you are someone who struggles at some things in life, you might not even realize that you are special in some kind of way.

We are all kind of like puzzle pieces. Some of us are the outer edges of the puzzle, the easiest parts to find and piece together. They are the foundation, the ones who have it pretty good in life. but even those pieces cant be complete without the other pieces inside the borders. You cant see the whole picture without all of them together.

In my story, chan was someone who realized this early on. I tried to hint at this since the beginning using his ‘song that he could never quite get right’ as the metaphor. He kept getting frustrated and stating something was ‘missing’ but he didn’t know what. His song was good, but he believed it could have been great if he could just find that one thing it needed. In the end, he did find what that was with the help of eight other people.

*This was deeply inspired by lyrics from “broken compass (mixtape #4) by stray kids and my own view on life.*

Chapter Text

Chan pulled out a huge photo album from his bookcase, walking back to the couch. There was excitement in his eyes.

"This is the earliest one we have. Seungmin and hyunjin really started getting into photography after college and made these for me." He flipped open the photo album, and instantly started gushing over the photos.

Jaebum raised his eyebrows, mentally preparing himself for the next 2 hours.
____

"Channie hyung I'm back!!" Jeongin called from the doorway. As he was taking off his shoes, he could hear Chan rambling a mile a minute.

"...and this was our baby's very first recording session. He was so nervous, but woojin was there to help through the harmonies. And THIS was when he taught his first music class, and oh! Right here was the day our baby signed his first solo album and-"

"Channie, are you showing random people your photo albums of me again?!" Jeongin hissed as he walked into the room. He abruptly grabbed the 4th photo album out of Chan's hands, tossing it on the chair opposite them. Chan gasped.

"But innie, you're our baby! Of course everyone should see how cute you are! Right jaebum?"

Jaebum turned to jeongin with pleading eyes. "Save me," he mouthed to the younger singer.

Jeongin sighed at Chan's pout. "Channie, you are too old for this. Its been almost 10 years since you started working at JYP as a producer and music artist, it's time you start acting like it."

Chan clung to jeongin's arm, nuzzling his face into his shirt. "But innie, you are our precious child. How could I not brag at all that you have accomplished since college? Woojin tell him!" He shouted into the other room to the love of his life.

They could hear chuckling as woojin got up from his office desk and walked into the living room, adjusting his glasses. "Chan loves you very much jeongin. And Chan, be careful when you're around our other children. We don't want them thinking you favor jeongin over them, you know how hyunjin gets jealous, and seungmin will be pissed again at you taking up all of jeongin's time."

Chan frowned, crossing his arms with a huff. Jeongin smiled, secretly liking all of the attention he still gets from his hyungs. He turned to jaebum, another singer-songwriter at the company they all work for. "Jaebum hyung, what brings you here?" He asked with his doe eyes that nobody could resist.

"I came to talk with Chan about doing a collaboration with me. I suddenly got assigned to write and help compose a whole album for a bunch of upcoming singers at the company, and I know with Chan's help it will be a huge success."

Chan just giggled at the complement, shooing his hand in the air muttering "pshhh stop it you."

Jeongin clapped with glee. "Oh that would be wonderful!!"

"That's why I asked you to stop over innie. I was wondering if you wanted to help us, in your free time of course. I called the others too," Chan smiled, excited to see everyone all together again.

____

Its been almost 10 years since Chan graduated from college and started interning at a small and new company owned by one of the JYP families. In that amount of time, he and the other eight members of his family have been extremely busy with their lives, but still choosing to stick together.

Woojin not only now has a business degree, but also a degree in music. he managed to get a few small jobs here and there to start himself off, and Chan almost always used his singing voice in his songs and for his demo tracks. As the years went by, woojin remained persistent and ambitious. With his brilliant knack for running businesses, he made a name for himself and bought out the small entertainment business Chan was working for, evidently becoming the new CEO.

Of course, he didn't accomplish this great thing alone. With changbin's brilliant skill for numbers, having one of the country's best accountants to manage all of the money and legalities really helped. Seungmin lent a helping hand, organizing and making sure there weren't any loopholes in woojin's documents and planning. Buying out the company was way easier than they would have thought. Next was actually getting the company started on a bigger scale. Hyunjin helped with this. After finishing his passion for dancing, he heard what woojin was planning. To help out, he went back to school to earn a small communications degree. He suprisingly studied enthusiastically, graduating from the course really early, and was now certified to handle all of the public relations work for the new company. This meant all of the advertising and spreading the word, getting people to join and things like that.

the others played a large part in the takeover as well. Woojin appointed Chan as president of the music department, and he was in charge of composing and song-writing. As more people joined their company to pursue being an idol, jisung and changbin helped manage the new artists. Felix played a huge role in keeping everything up to date through the internet. He was in charge of promoting through social media and managing anything technical. This also meant he had to make sure nobody tried to hack into their system and steal music ideas and songs. Everything was kept safe with Felix watching over the systems. He also developed new algorithms and computer software the company could use to gain an advantage over other companies. When Felix and hyunjin weren't busy with those responsibilities, they helped run the dancing, choreography, and training while minho was away.

About 4-6 months out of the year, jisung gets crabby and pouty. This is because minho was away on tour as a backup dancer. He got tons of offers, and he was constantly going away in his earlier years. Now that he is older, he only leaves for a few months at a time. When woojin acquired the company for himself, he made minho in charge of the choreography and stage presence. After only two years, their company began to flourish and the workload became too much for minho, Felix, and hyunjin. Thankfully, a few talented people that the nine members were familiar with asked for jobs after graduation, and Chan was more than willing to hire them. Jeno, jaemin, and jisung really wanted to pursue dance, and also switched majors after word got around about Chan and his friends. They help with the trainees at the company.

Jeongin eventually got to do what he always wanted. He became a music teacher and vocal coach for the company along with woojin and seungmin. He teaches at the local middle school during the day, and stops by the company to help the trainees in the evening. As they gathered more and more trainees, Chan had to hire some more helping hands. Renjun didn't want to leave jeno and jaemin, so he applied to the company. He put to use his beautiful voice and art skills and helped hyunjin with the PR side of things.

Haechan and Mark were always in competition with each other, and after changbin repeatedly complimented mark on his rapping, offering the other boy a position as an idol, haechan of course had to show him up. They are always fighting over who won more awards, and whenever they have a comeback they schedule it around the same time so that they are against each other in all the categories. Woojin has to repeatedly remind them that they are both a part of the same company and should instead help each other out, but Chan told woojin to let it go. 'the fans go crazy over their rivalry and sexual tension' he would say with a chuckle. Woojin shrugged, giving up. Everyone in the company knew the two rivals had feelings for each other. They had no problems giving each other a hard time, but once someone outside of the company picks on one of them, the other is quick to protect them. This happened after one year of their debut. Haechan was getting slandered at a press conference, saying he copied a song from an artist, which was utter bullshit since Chan was in charge of evaluating the songs. Mark was quick to defend him, putting that reporter in his place. Now all of the fangirls ship them together, and woojin and Chan's company gained even more popularity.

Jisung thought it would be a great idea to eventually expand into other countries with their idols and artists. Chenle signed on board, entering into the Chinese music industry. They instantly gained more idols from other countries, including Japan, Thailand, the states, and China.

Soon, woojin became a millionaire, owning one of best new and upcoming entertainment businesses with Chan at his side. Many people have no doubt that within another 5 to 10 years, he will be considered one of the top companies in Korea.

Woojin offered Chan a more prominent title with his business, even willing to give over half the ownership to him. He would do anything for Chan and follow him everywhere. He may have managed to become CEO of this small but powerful empire he was building, but chan was the one who started it all. If it wasn't for Chan, woojin would have been lost and miserable. He owes Chan his life, in a sense, and everybody under Chan is extremely loyal to him.

Despite telling him this, Chan just shook his head with tears in his eyes. 'It means so much to me that you would do this on my behalf. But I'm going to have to decline your offer. Im already so busy being president of the music division. My passion was to make songs, and if I become co-CEO with you, I won't have time for that. Business was never my calling, but it certainly was yours along with singing.' woojin was a bit disappointed about this, but he completely understands Chan and respects his decision.

As the years went by, Chan managed to collab and partner up with many other producers and song-writers, jaebum being one of them. Every song Chan was involved in instantly became a success. Chan creates songs because he loves music, not because he wants them to be successful. Other artists see this in him, and Chan made a name for himself without even realizing it. It was not unheard of for Chan to help out with whole albums now.

Which brings us back to jaebum visiting Chan in his and woojin's huge apartment, asking for help with another album. It isn't that jaebum can't make his own successful album, but he enjoys making music with Chan and always has so much fun when they work together with the others. Chan was always fair, splitting the credits 50/50 between them, and even lending out songs for free to anyone who genuinely asks and never demanding anything in return. He still gets credit for the free songs though, because everyone respects Chan enough to tell the world he helped be a part of the incredible song.

They all moved apartments again a few years after establishing their company. The small apartment building they were in went bankrupt and was going to be demolished. Woojin decided to buy it under the company's name and get it remodeled from the ground up. He made it huge and luxirious. The top floor was reserved for the nine members, and they all helped in the plan and design for each of their apartments. Even after almost 10 years, they still all prefer to live together. The bottom floors of the apartment belong to idols and music artists for the company. Woojin later purchased another apartment building, remodeling it and making it dorms for the trainees under him.

Woojin, Chan, and the others are all legends at the university. It was a successful merge. Yugyeom managed to get a hold of Bam Bam and beat the shit out of him for his carelessness, and Jackson came back to show that it was a harmless prank spurred on by his crush for Mark that caused all this chaos. The students soon forgot why they were fighting, and after a couple graduating classes, it became one of the most well known colleges for students of all families and social backgrounds, making JYP one of the most prominent families in all of eastern Asia.

_____

Changbin grunted as he heard pounding on his apartment door. He rolled over on the bed, burying his head into Felix's shoulder.

"Go away!" Changbin yelled, muffled by Felix's t-shirt.

Felix chuckled, lifting his arms and wrapping them around changbin's shoulders. "Maybe if we ignore it, they will go away," Felix muttered.

"Good idea."

The pounding eventually became louder, and then Felix's cell phone started going off. It was jisung.

"If he doesn't stop, I'm going to beat him up," changbin yawned, half pissed and half sleepy. For once, Felix was totally okay with his boyfriend beating someone up. They stayed up really late helping Chan out and didn't get to bed until 7am.

Felix soothingly rubbed circles on changbin's back, making changbin smile giddily at the attention he was getting. He loved moments like these. For 10 years now, Felix showered him in all the love and affection he wanted, which was a HUGE thing since Felix can't be bothered with most things in the world. The truth was, Felix's heart secretly broke when he realized just how much changbin was neglected from his family, and swore to make up for all the years changbin didn't have anyone. At the same time, changbin managed to get Felix to open up and live a little. Every year, Chan lets them take 3 weeks off to go and travel to somewhere exotic. Changbin loves their vacations they made into a tradition for themselves. There was never a moment he spent alone, and Felix was always by his side every morning he woke up, no matter how busy they were.

After about 15 minutes, the pounding stopped, and changbin and Felix sighed in relief. They started to doze off again, when suddenly their sliding glass door to their balcony opened up, letting in a huge gust of hot air from the afternoon summer sun.

Changbin shrieked and instantly was on his feet, and Felix cracked an eye open, rolling his eyes and kicking the blankets off of his legs now that his room was filled with hot air from outside.

"Jisung what the fuck?!!" Changbin yelled, while putting his hands up in a fighting stance.

Jisung stood in their room, covering his eyes with his fingers, his metal bracelets clinking together. "I hope to God you guys are dressed and not doing something nasty," he told them.

Felix scoffed. "We aren't like you and minho. Why the fuck are you breaking into our room so early-"

"Its 4pm, lixie."

Changbin interrupted both of them. "The more important question is, how the fuck did you get up to the top floor and through my balcony door?!!"

"Its called a fire escape," jisung said sarcastically, his blonde hair gleaming in the sunlight.

"You managed to climb the fucking fire escape up 20+ floors?!" Changbin was still yelling, getting over excited.

"Of course I did. Never mind that. Why the hell aren't you answering your door or phones?!" Jisung looked mad, his cheeks puffing out in anger and his hands on his hips.

"Because I was sleeping?" Felix supplied.

"Do you know what day it is?!" Jisung yelled.

"Tuesday?" Changbin supplied helpfully. He walked over to his dresser and slipped on a t-shirt. It was still too hot outside to put on any pants.

"Yes dumbass, it's Tuesday. But do you know what day it is?!" He jumped up and down in excitement.

Felix yawned and ran a hand through his blonde hair. "Oh shit, binnie we were supposed to meet Chan like 30 minutes ago. He said something about jaebum coming over."

"Damn, I almost forgot!" Changbin started grabbing his clothes all over. "Lix come on, let's go shower before heading out, we look like we lived on the streets for a week. And let me tell you, I really don't want to hear seungmin complain again. He is such a clean freak, like, so what if I just want to lay around in my sweats all day and eat junk food? Its my life! We've literally known each other for like, 15 years you would think he gets used to it by now. And how come he only nags at me?? Hyunjin is just as gross sometimes, even jeongin on a lazy day! But noooo it's totally fine for hyunjin and jeongin to hang all over him without showering, and might I remind you hyunjin sweats a lot when he dances, but the moment I even walk into the room-"

"Bin, you're rambling again," jisung cuts him off. "Enough about you, this is about me!"

Changbin makes a hissing noise, grabbing Felix and pulling him up from their bed. He already has towels and a change of clothes for their shower. "And this is my place, so go away until I've had my shower time with lixie."

"Felix, are you going to let him talk to me like that?" Jisung whined.

Felix just shrugged, smirking as he snaked a hand around changbin's waist and pulled him into his side. "You kinda did break into our apartment." At the look of betrayal on jisung's face, Felix sighed. "Ok, I bite. What day is it today?"

Jisung's face beamed, and he jumped up and down clapping, the metal bracelets clanging with the motion. "Minho comes back from tour today!!!" He practically screamed.

"Minho was gone?" Changbin asked evilly, but then grunted when Felix elbowed him.

"What time is he supposed to be here?" Felix asked the excited boy instead.

Jisung's eyes lit up, "within the hour!"

____

Hyunjin slammed Chan's apartment door open, stomping in and heading straight for jeongin on the couch. He grabbed jeongin by the arm and yanked him away.

"How dare you steal our baby when we were supposed to go on a date after he got off work!" Hyunjin yelled at chan. Seungmin was behind hyunjin, nodding in agreement.

"He's my baby child! Im allowed to call him over whenever I want!" Chan argued back.

"I sat at that Cafe for 20 minutes, freaking out thinking something happened to him. He could have gotten hit by a car, or kidnapped-"

"Guys I'm almost 30," jeongin said in the background.

"-but you know what I find? Its even worse than those! He left us to go to your place!" Hyunjin pointed a finger at chan while seungmin grabbed jeongin and pulled him behind him. Jeongin sighed. For ten years hyunjin and seungmin have had to fight Chan for jeongin's attention.

Chan gasped. "He would much rather live here anyways! Jeongin, sweetie, there's always a place for you in our home. We haven't touched anything in your room, you are welcome to move back in at any time"

"Hyung, I have never lived with you in my entire life-" jeongin began to point out.

"You have a room for him?! That's it-" seungmin went to go and demolish the place, but then woojin snagged his shirt, yanking him back.

"He's kidding, it's just a spare bedroom. But jeongin's picture is framed and placed on the dresser-"

Seungmin went to go and smash that instead, "-but so is the rest of our pictures," woojin finished. "You know Chan just likes to rile you two up in his free time." He chuckled at that. He always did find it amusing.

Seungmin froze in his spot, and hyunjin snapped his mouth shut. They looked at chan. "You have all of our pictures framed around your apartment?" Hyunjin asked.

Chan huffed, "of course! I save every single one of them."

Hyunjin turned on his heel, heading for the bathroom.

"Where are you going?" Woojin asked.

"Be right back. I gotta go cry my eyes out now," hyunjin called with a sniffle. Jeongin and seungmin trailed after him to help calm down their boyfriend.

"What's his deal?" Felix asked about hyunjin from behind woojin.

Woojin jumped a little, "oh Jesus god, please don't do that felix, my old heart can't take this," he breathed out, clutching his chest. Felix shrugged with a slight smile.

"Lix wait up! I had to dry my hair because it was still kinda wet. You should too because even though it's summer time, you could still catch a cold, and then you could get a fever and I really don't know how to cook soup you know that and-"

"And there he is. I was wondering why it was so noisy," seungmin snickered at changbin, returning with his arm around hyunjins waist, and his other arm holding hands with jeongin.

"But it's true!" Changbin whined.

"Hey jaebum, how have you been?" Jisung asked, walking over and sitting on the top of Chan's armchair. He could never sit like a normal person.

"Fine and yourself-" jaebum began, but then the door slammed open for the hundredth time that day.

"Im back bitches! What is upppppp?!" Minho called from the doorway. Jisung squealed, jumping down and running at full force towards minho.

Minho laughed, opening his arms for jisung. Just as jisung was about to jump into minho's arms dramatically, Chan pushed him out of the way sending him stumbling into the wall. "This ain't about you," he told the squirrel boy.

He wrapped minho into a huge bone crushing hug. "My evil child #1. How have you been? Did you eat well? Have you been getting enough sleep? Tell me, how was Japan? Did you stay safe?" Chan started gushing, checking to make sure minho was healthy. They haven't seen him for 2 months this time. Minho laughed, hugging Chan back.

"Yes Dad. I've been taking good care of myself. The tour went great, and I really think you should let go before my wild squirrel stares daggers into your back."

Chan laughed, letting go of minho. Jisung huffed, tapping his foot impatiently. "Finally." Then for a second time, he went in for a hug.

"Our turn!" Hyunjin yelled pushing jisung, and he seungmin and jeongin all pounced on minho. Hyunjin kissed his cheeks, and seungmin patted his hair, while jeongin giggled when minho wrapped him in a hug.

"That's it! This cuteness is too much! Well challenged accepted! Come on pretty boy while we show them who the real cute ones are!" Changbin yelled, grabbing Felix's wrist and shoving seungmin and hyunjin off of minho.

"Hey, hey! You guys are suffocating me!" Minho cried out, laughing.

"With our love!" Woojin chuckled, joining in and really squeezing the life out of minho, jeongin, changbin, and Felix. Felix snorted at that, kissing minho on the cheek.

"Welcome back hyung. Thank God you're here because jisung has been driving us crazy," he told the older boy.

"He climbed over 20 floors on the fire escape and broke into our apartment today!" Changbin complained.

"Only because you wouldn't answer the damn door!" Jisung defended himself. He was close to tears because he waited all this time for minho to come back and he still hasn't gotten his turn to smother his boyfriend with love.

The others took pity on him, deciding to quit teasing him. Felix moved aside a bit, allowing a space at minho's side under his arm. Minho made a grabby hand to jisung, indicating for him to come on over. Jisung smiled so bright, skipping his way over and burying his face in minho's chest.

"I missed you too jisungie," minho said softly, kissing the top of his head. "I missed all of you so much," he said looking around him at the crowded apartment.

Jisung grinned up at minho mischievously. "Are you a dictionary? Because you add meaning to my life."

Minho snorted. "Even if there wasn't gravity on earth, I would still fall for you," he countered with his own cheesy pickup line. They both cackled while everyone around them groaned in annoyance.

"Ugh, I can't believe 10 years later and you guys still act like idiots," seungmin rolled his eyes.

"I think my ears are going to bleed," hyunjin complained.

"When do you leave again minho?" Woojin asked innocently.

While jisung and minho continued laughing, jeongin called out.

"Channie hyung?" Chan dramatically turned his head to jeongin, his eyes squinted and mouth open in happiness at finally being acknowledged by his son and child #7.

"Yes my love?"

"Can we all have a sleepover here tonight after we are done with business?" He said it so cutely that no one would ever believe he is in his late 20s.

"Of course we can," he answered, trying to hold back his overwhelming love for all of them.

"Hell yeah!" Changbin shouted while punching the air, and then ran out of the door to go get his and Felix's favorite blankets.

"I call laying next to minho!" Hyunjin said, giggling at the death glares from jisung, seungmin, AND jeongin.

"I'll order the chicken," woojin offered. Felix clapped his hands in excitement at that.

"Uhm you guys know I'm still here, right?" Jaebum said to them.

They all stopped their cheering, changbin slamming the door shut and throwing blankets at minho.

"Oh yeah, I forgot about him," Chan said, a little sad that he has to go work until tonight before he can spend time with his family. He heaved a huge sigh, "fine let's get this over with. Children #1, 2, and 3 can set the living room up, child #4 can help woojin order the food, and children #5, 6, and 7 can get drinks for everyone."

He clapped his hands and everyone chuckled while moving around.

"Sir yes sir!" Jisung saluted, going to order chicken with woojin. And cheesecake because it's his favorite.

Jaebum gawked at all of them, never before seeing this side to their family dynamics. The public knew they were all good friends, but they never knew by how much. It was honestly a bit weird for him how close they were, like they were an actual family living together and not just friends of a long time.

"Wait, you guys seriously just go and do what he asks? And you are legit having a sleepover in the living room even though we are all practically grandpa aged? And I can't believe it, but you actually WANT to all live together as neighbors forever on the top floor of this apartment building?"

They all stopped what they were doing, blinking at jaebum like his questions were ridiculous.

To them, they were ridiculous.

"Yeah, so?"