Chapter 1: the quieter road home
Hyunjin hummed happily to himself as he checked his phone one last time, sending Minho a text wishing him good luck with his MC job he had that day, not forgetting to complain about being left alone in the dance studio today, with Felix still recovering at home.
He smiled as he read Minho’s snarky reply telling him to ‘hurry up and get to the studio’ and that he needs as much practice as he could get if he wants to dance as well as him. Hyunjin just shook his head and continued to walk down the familiar hallways inside the JYP building heading towards the practice room reserved for Stray Kids.
His happy mood was shortly lived through as he heard familiar voices exit the practice room to his left, dread filling his chest as the faces of three people he really didn't want to see appear in front of him.
A sharp pain hit his shoulder as his back was thrust into the wall, he squeezed his eyes shut tightly to try and prevent himself from whining at the winded feeling in his lungs.
“Look who it is,” one voice said smugly.
“If it isn't Stray Kids very own pretty talentless Hwang Hyunjin,” another said.
“In his yellow uniform and everything,” the third voice mocked, punctuating his words with a hard kick to Hyunjin’s knee as he yelped out in pain.
“Oh that reminds me, did you like the little bruise we gave you last time, pretty boy?”
Hyunjin’s breath hitched as he remembered the painful kick to his ribs he’d gotten the last time he'd seen the trio, he'd had trouble trying to hide the large purple bruise from his Hyungs. Hyunjin shook his head, eyes still closed, head pressed against the wall as the three older boys surrounded him.
“Well that's just too bad, isn't it? Maybe if you didn't flaunt that you're a rich kid who got into a school for gifted kids, or maybe if you had even an ounce of talent that told everyone that you belong here instead of that pretty useless face of yours, then maybe we'd finally leave you alone. But that's not going to happen, is it Hyunjin?”
The other two boys laughed and high fived as a single tear fell from Hyunjin’s eye. He didn't want this.
“It's a shame that your looks are mediocre at best,” the first boy sighed, “dunno why Chan’s so fond of you, it seems like there are a hundred other people in this company better fitted to be in the group but he chose you,”
“It's not even like you are a nice person, maybe that's why I haven't seen any of the others with you this week,” he taunts.
Hyunjin scrunches his eyes closed as he tries to ignore their words, he knew they weren't true, that Chan and the others loved him and knew how hard he worked. He knew they were wrong so why did their words still cut him so deep?
Heavy footsteps could be heard from down the corridor and the boys quickly backed away when they saw that the figure approaching was their rap instructor, “alright boys, let's get going we've got a lot to cover today!” he says shooing them away from where Hyunjin stood.
Once the boys had disappeared into the practice room, each one sending a threatening glare his way telling them that they weren’t finished with him yet, the rap instructor approached him, “you okay, Hyunjin? They're not giving you any trouble are they?” he asks cautiously.
“No Hyung, it's okay, thank you,” Hyunjin says bowing politely, his eyes trained to the floor before walking away to get to his own practice room.
He slammed the door closed, purposely locking the door, ripping off his yellow blazer and throwing it to the floor before connecting his phone to the speakers, playing his music as loud as the speakers would go as he started to dance, not allowing the tears to spill from his eyes.
Hours later once Hyunjin’s playlist had long since finished he collapsed to the floor, chest heaving as he finally felt lighter, dancing always helped. He gathered up his things once he checked the time, 7:30 pm, he deemed it an acceptable time to return back to the dorm. He unplugged his phone, switched out the lights and pulled his yellow blazer back over his aching shoulders.
He left the building and walked down the streets of Seoul, it was a beautiful evening, the sky pink as the sun was setting over the horizon, workers bustling around him eager to go home. Hyunjin stumbled a little as the third worker pushed past him before deciding to take the quieter roads home, it only took 5 extra minutes and Hyunjin wanted to enjoy the fresh air.
As he started walking, he thought about his members, where were they, what were they doing? He missed them. He hoped they were all happy and not overworking themselves. A pang of guilt pulled at Hyunjin’s heart, he felt bad leaving the studio so early especially when his Hyungs were still working hard somewhere in the building, composing or practicing. That’s when those dreaded words echoed across his mind.
“it seems like there are a hundred other people in this company better fitted to be in the group...”
Hyunjin’s heart ached as he heard the words be repeated in his head, it never bothered him before, why Chan had chosen him, he just thought that he was lucky and hoped that Chan could see the effort he poured in each day to try and make his decision worthwhile. He smiled a little as he thought back to all his members, how hard they all worked, how they had all promised that they were going to give this everything they had, and if they didn't work out then it was okay because they'd given it their all, leaving nothing on the stage but broken dreams. But Hyunjin was confident, he knew they'd make it big, it was Chan’s first promise to all of them and he believed in Chan.
“What the hell is he doing out here, smiling to himself about?”
Hyunjin froze as he heard a familiar voice from behind him, his heart stuttering as he turned around to see the three boys once again.
“You thought that we’d just go home without finishing what we started earlier didn't you Hyunjinnie?”
Hyunjin’s heart ached as he heard the nickname, only his members called him ‘Hyunjinnie’ it was warm, soft and loving when they said it but now it was stone cold, and teasing. Hyunjin hated it.
“Can't you just leave me alone?” he sighs, to which the three burst out laughing, “please, just leave me alone, I don't want this,”
“Well, we don't want to be pushed to the curb by JYP but we can't always get what we want Jinnie, though you wouldn't know that, would you?” one said flickering his eyes over Hyunjin’s yellow uniform.
“I-I earned a scholarship though,” he stutters lowly, attempting to stand up for himself, his eyes trained on the road beneath him.
“We all know the truth Hyunjin, they'd never take someone like you,”
“Someone as useless as you,”
Hyunjin tried to answer back but his voice was stuck in his throat, breath hitching as the boys took a step closer.
“We checked out your schedule today,”
“You don't need to know, but we did find out that you've got a cute little fansign tomorrow, is that right?”
Hyunjin felt his heart drop to his stomach, “yes,”
“Yes Hyung,” the other corrected, reaching out and grabbing Hyunjin’s hair tightly in his fist.
“Y-yes, Hyung,” Hyunjin repeated shame filling his stomach.
“A fansign you say, well wouldn't that be a shame if your face didn't look as pretty as it does today. That would be sad, I wonder how many fans would leave you if you didn't look pretty anymore,”
“Most of them I bet,” another chimed in laughing.
“Why don't we find out hmm? It's quiet enough out here, no one's going to find us,” their leader suggested, gripping his fist tighter in Hyunjin’s hair so that his head was tilted back.
“P-p-please Hyung, don't!” he cried, finally breaking from the mix of fear and frustration at not being able to defend himself.
“It's a little late for begging Jinnie, don't you think?” he responded readying his fist aiming for Hyunjin’s lips.
Hyunjin squeezed his eyes shut tightly, heart thumping in his chest as he waited for the hit. Sure enough, it came, sending Hyunjin flying backward landing on the road hard, he felt warm liquid begin to rush out of his mouth and he could only cry out as he registered the flood of pain.
“Oh don't cry yet, princess, we’re just getting started,” the eldest said gripping Hyunjin’s chin in between his fingers, pinning him there. Hyunjin thought he was going to be sick when he offered him a wicked smile as he readied his other fist.
Changbin ran his hands over his face in defeat as he dragged his eyes away from his notebook, tuning back into the coffee shop around him, it was small and cute, nearly always quiet, perfect for writing lyrics and sparking inspiration. Changbin loved this coffee shop, so did the rest of 3racha, they often held meetings and workshops in here when the walls of the studio became claustrophobic and counterproductive. The sun was beginning to set Changbin noted, as he began to pack his notebook and pen back into his bag, he’d done enough for today. He checked the clock on the wall across from him it read 7:35 pm, his eyes widened a little in surprise, it was later than he'd hoped. He promised Felix that he'd be home earlier today to keep him company and help him cook dinner but in his defense, this was earlier than normal for him.
He thanked the waitresses as he left the cafe, shrugging his backpack on his shoulder as he decided to take the longer route home for today, the sunset was pretty and maybe it’d give him a chance to unwind a little before he got home and had to deal with an overly clingy Felix, don't get him wrong he loved Felix but that boy could cling, that's probably where he got his koala nickname from he guessed.
As he walked he became increasingly aware of some kids messing around a little way in front of him, one of them with a yellow blazer on, Changbin recognized it as the same one that Hyunjin and Jeongin wore every day. His heart swelled at the thought of the two younger members working so hard and battling with school work, it wasn't easy on them, Seungmin included. He shrugged his bag further up his shoulder thinking nothing of it. But when he got closer a sound caught this attention, it sounded familiar from somewhere but Changbin couldn't quite place where.
“P-p-please, don't, I-I can't. Stop!”
Something in his heart pulled as he heard the voice cry out, a choked wail following the strangers pleading. Changbin frowned for a moment turning his head in the direction of the kids, studying the situation he’d first ignored a little closer.
The boy in yellow was kneeling on the floor seemingly lost all of his strength to stand up, as three other boys dressed in black sweatpants stood over him, one of the boys propping him up as they taunted and threw kicks at him.
Everything about the picture in front of him screamed wrong, he placed his bag onto the floor beside him slowly edging towards where the boys were stood, his heart stuck in his throat. He didn't want to get involved, this wasn’t even his fight but there was something about the boy in yellow that he just couldn’t ignore.
As he got closer he heard the boys say something which made Changbin’s blood run cold.
“There there Hyunjinnie, this is what kids like you deserve,”
Changbin felt like he’d just been shot as he stole another glance to the boy collapsed on the floor, head hung low as bloody spit pooled out from his slack jaw and lips swollen. Changbin recognized the boy, that was Hyunjin, his Hyunjin, their baby. Stray Kids’ Hwang Hyunjinnie, sat on the floor holding a hand around his chest as he coughed and heaved whilst the boys in front of him laughed while he cried.
A switch inside Changbin turned off, all rational throught leaving him as he surged forwards fists clenched as they collided with a cheek, sending them to the ground.
“Get the fuck away from him! Do you hear me, get away from him right now!” he roared, lurching forwards to deck the eldest looking one, nose making a stomach-churning crunch as his head tilted backward taking his body with him as he hit the floor.
As Changbin waited for the third boy to make his move he gently pressed his palm to the top of Hyunjin’s head, who violently flinched against him, whispering, “Woah easy, easy. It’s okay baby, Hyung’s here now. Stay out of the way okay?”
Hyunjin managed to look up at him, eyes glazed over as Changbin tried not to cry at the state of the poor boys face, “Binnie-Hyung?” he slurs.
“That’s right, baby. Give me a moment and I’ll be right back,” he says as he presses a kiss to Hyunjin’s head before standing up and turning to the third boy who was trying to pull his semi-conscious friend from the floor, murderous glint in his eyes.
“So it’s you three, who’ve been giving him these bruises. You really didn't think we'd notice,” he says, taking a step towards the boy whose eyes widened as Changbin smiled, “I think it goes without saying but you guys fucked up messing with him,”
The boy nodded slightly visibly gulping as he finally managed to pull his friend up from the floor, the other one still out cold against the roadside, “we were telling him what he needed to hear, he’s deluded for thinking that you guys want him on your team,”
Changbin kissed his teeth and offered a tight smile as shook his head, readying his fists again as he met eyes with the two stood before him, “you're going to wish that you hadn't laid a finger on him,”
“...nie, Jinnie, are you still with me, baby?”
Hyunjin heard a voice call for him through the fog in his brain, he winced as he tried to breathe, pain blooming all over his body, he cringed as he felt something warm and thick drip from his chin.
“Hyunjinnie, can you look at me?” Hyunjin swayed a little, he didn't know where he was but his body hurt and he felt sick, the strong smell of iron making his stomach churn. He heard the voice calling out his name again but couldn’t find it in himself to answer, he felt like he was floating, his head felt heavy as he slowly heard the voice calling out to him fade away.
“Hyunjin? Look at me baby, Hyunjinnie!” Changbin says holding the younger’s face gently in his hands, his thumbs gently swiping over the bruised eyes, “no, no, no, don't do that! Stay with me baby, you can do it,”
Changbin sighed as he felt Hyunjin’s head fall heavy in his hands. He gently laid Hyunjin down, head resting in his lap, mindful to keep him away from the various patches of blood that now littered the road. He brushed Hyunjin’s fringe from his face, examining the bruising on his cheek, lips, and eyebrows.
“What a mess,” he sighed to himself, feeling his adrenaline begin to crash, the grazes on his fist and ache in his eyebrow now at the forefront of his mind.
The sun was lower in the sky now, the pretty pink being replaced with deep oranges and reds. It’d taken longer than he’d first anticipated but he’d finally seen the three boys off, each one looking pathetic as they limped and scrambled away. Though he couldn't find it in himself to be happy that he’d won the fight, nor was he proud of himself for doing so, losing wasn’t an option, not when Hyunjin was involved like this.
The younger boy stirred a little, catching Changbin’s attention as he immediately began to fuss over him, hands running through his blood-covered golden hair.
“Hey, Jinnie,” Changbin mumbled once Hyunjin had cracked his eyes open and blinked around confusedly.
Hyunjin’s eyes widened as he suddenly scrambled to stand up.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay baby, they aren't here,” Changbin told him, hands on his shoulders as he steadied him, “you’re safe, it's just me and you,”
“Y-you saw?” was all that Hyunjin could say, Changbin nodded, watching his lip wobble as tears fell down his cheeks mixing with the dried blood, “I’m sorry Hyung,”
“Let's get you home and safe, yeah?” Changbin says, wrapping his arm around Hyunjin’s waist being careful not to jostle the other too much, his other hand holding Hyunjin’s, as they slowly walked home a sad silence washing over them.
Chapter 2: After-effect
“I, I was so scared…” Hyunjin whispers.
“I know, darling, I know,” Woojin says as he wipes away the blood from the others plump lips.
“Ch-Changbin-Hyung, he got hurt because of me…” he sobbed, “Changbin-Hyung, it's all my fault,”
in which Hyunjin gets beaten up and Changbin protects him.
Wassup I'm back with a second chapter so i hope you enjoy it! ♡♡
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“I can’t Hyung, n-not like this!” Hyunjin whimpers, he was crying again, pulling on Changbin’s hand attempting to stop him from approaching the dorm.
“We have to go home sooner or later, baby,” Changbin tells him, voice hushed.
“I can't, Hyung, they'll-”
“Hyunjin,” Changbin tells him turning serious, “if you're scared of worrying us, we already are worried about you,”
Hyunjin’s eyes widened in shock, “w-what?”
“I’ll tell you later, but for now just trust me okay. We need to get you inside, cleaned up and then we'll all talk about this. No one will be mad, okay? I promise you,” Changbin says, taking a small step towards Hyunjin, eyes glued to each other the whole time. Hyunjin sighed heavily as he leaned down to rest his head against Changbin’s shoulder, Changbin turning to press a kiss to his head, “trust me,”
“I do,” Hyunjin tells him quietly.
Their eyes met again when Hyunjin stood back up having a silent conversation, Changbin asking Hyunjin if he was ready and Hyunjin nodding with a sad smile.
Changbin smiled and took the other’s hand and led them to their front door, he didn't miss the way Hyunjin’s hand shook the closer they got to the door. Changbin unlocked it with relative ease.
“We’re home,” he called, listening out for voices or any signs of the other’s being home.
Socked feet padded down the hallway as their eldest made an appearance, “ah, Changbin, you’re later than I was expecting, Felix was worried about you. Welcome home,”
“I got held up, Woojin-Hyung,” Changbin sighs, knowing this won't be easy.
A soft gasp is heard as Changbin steps to the side, revealing a very small looking Hyunjin still clinging onto Changbin’s hand like a lifeline, his eyes glued to the floor as tears steadily drip from his chin.
“Oh, Hyunjinnie…” Woojin sighs sadly trying to not let the horror creep into his voice, feeling like his heart had been ripped out of his chest.
“H-Hyung...” Hyunjin cries finally looking up between Changbin and Woojin.
Woojin smiles softly as he approaches the other like he’s a scared animal, “Hyunjin, can I touch you, baby?” he asks, voice nothing but a choked whisper, Hyunjin nods once as his crying gets heavier.
Warm arms envelop Hyunjin and he let’s go, cries and sobs in the safety of his Hyung’s strong arms, Woojin whispering soft and comforting words to him whilst he strokes his hair.
“It’s okay baby, you’re okay, you’re safe now. You’re home and safe with us.”
Woojin turns to where Changbin’s stood watching them, his eyes wet and his hand still tightly held in Hyunjin’s. He catches the young rapper's attention and mouths, “call everyone home, we can't do this by ourselves,”
Changbin nods, pulling his phone out of his pocket, he looks over to Woojin eyebrows raised in question.
“Not the managers, not yet,” he mouths back in response, clinging to Hyunjin tighter as a new wave of tears burst out of him.
Changbin lets go of Hyunjin’s hand, cursing himself when he hears the other's breath hitch sharply, “it’s okay baby, I just need to make a phone call, I'll be back in a second, I promise. But while I'm gone, Woojin-Hyung will look after you,”
Hyunjin sniffs and nods, letting Changbin’s hand slip out of his own, trying to ignore the way he felt his heartbreak at the absence.
“Come on then angel, let’s get you cleaned up,” Woojin mumbled softly into Hyunjin’s hair as they begin to shuffle in the direction of the bathroom.
Changbin collapses into the couch beside where Felix is chilling, notebook in hand seemingly trying to think of lyrics. He looks up from the lined paper, his eyes widening as he caught a glimpse of Changbin’s face, eyes wandering down to his bloody grazed fists.
“Oh my god, Hyung! What the hell happened?” he says, leaping up from the couch and pushing himself closer to Changbin, gently holding the others face in his hands, so he stops trying to hide the damage that had been done, “I heard Hyunjinnie crying? What happened, you two didn't- you didn't fight did you?!” he asks, the heartbreak visible on his face, melting Changbin’s heart a little, he hated to worry him like this.
“No Lix, we’re fine, it's fine, well it's not fine but…” he trails off, the weight of the situation now dawning on him, bringing the tears back to his cheeks. He turns his attention to his phone typing a message out to their group chat urgently calling everyone home, no matter what they were doing. Changbin heard Felix’s phone vibrate on the table where his ankle was resting, he looks up to Changbin, sadness written all over his features.
“This is bad, isn't it?” he asks.
Changbin doesn't say anything just nods sadly.
In the bathroom, Woojin hears his phone in his back pocket chime but he ignores it, knowing it’ll be Changbin's message, as he continues to gently dab away the blood from Hyunjin’s swollen lip and chin.
“Stay with me baby, you’re okay,” he says periodically when he sees Hyunjin beginning to space out, he knew that nothing good would come from Hyunjin getting too into his own thoughts, “sorry,” he says, as he watches Hyunjin visibly wince as he wipes over the split wound on his lips.
They didn't speak, Woojin waiting to see if Hyunjin was going to open up to him whilst he diligently cleaned up his face. The bruising was beginning to show up a bit more now, his left cheek and eyebrow turning a nasty purple colour, and his left eyebrow beginning to swell into a small sore looking lump. His lips were red and sore looking, a split in is bottom lip also starting to swell as Woojin pressed an ice pack onto it, kissing his forehead gently in apology.
Hyunjin sat on the bathroom counter staring vacantly at the way his grazed legs hung not touching the floor. His mind was filled with nothing, until it suddenly wasn’t; it was filled with too much all at once, overwhelming him.
“Shhh, shhh, shh, it’s okay baby, let it out,” He heard Woojin tell him as he rushed over to hold his face in his hands, forcing the other to look up at him, “whatever happened, you can tell me, I won't be mad at you, I promise,” he tells him, choosing his words carefully.
“I, I was so scared…” he whispers.
“I know, darling, I know,”
“Ch-Changbin-Hyung, he got hurt because of me…” he sobbed, “Changbin-Hyung, it's all my fault,”
Woojin quickly realized what had gone on, remembering the gashes on Changbin’s face and knuckles as his hand was clasped in Hyunjin’s. He felt sick, he knew Hyunjin needed Changbin right now, he needed the reassurance that Changbin was okay.
“Hey Jinnie, let's go get changed into something more comfortable and then go find Changbinnie, yeah?”
Hyunjin nodded desperately, eyes pleading for Changbin.
Woojin pulled Hyunjin off of the counter, catching his as he stumbled stlightly. He held his hand tightylu as they slowly walked out of the bathroom in the direction of the bedrooms.
Just then their front door opened, Chan was home, panting and a sheen of sweat covering his skin as if he had just run home from the studio. Woojin sighed in relief, Chan was exactly the person they needed right now. Woojin caught the leaders eyes before they had a chance to wander onto Hyunjin, “don't freak out, okay? Talk to Changbin.” was all he needed to say. Woojin felt guilty ordering Chan around like this but Chan nodded, immediately leaving his backpack in the hallway, brushing a gentle hand through Hyunjin’s hair, as he walked past, frowning in concern as the boy flinched under his touch, something was wrong, the leader knew that much already.
“Chan’s home,” Woojin told Hyunjin, who relaxed a little as they continued walking to their room.
“Is he mad with me?” Hyunjin whispers frantically, “don't let him get mad at Binnie! It wasn’t his fault!”
“He won't get mad baby, Changbin’s going to talk to him,” Woojin explained, trying to calm the other down again.
“Changbin-Hyung…” Hyunjin whimpered quietly, as Woojin continued to lead them into the bedroom and sit him on the bed.
Woojin kept a steady eye on Hyunjin as he rifled through their mountains of clothes in search of something soft, warm and comforting for Hyunjin to wear. Eventually, he pulled out Seungmin’s oversized lilac hoodie and a pair of grey sweatpants that belonged to no one in particular. He smiled softly at Hyunjin as the other smiled back at him frowning for a moment as the cut on his lip threatened to pull open again. Woojin sat next to Hyunjin on his bed and began to help the other get changed, trying his best to ignore the nasty purple and green bruises on the other’s ribs.
“Hey Bin, Lix, what’s going on?” Chan asks as he enters the quiet living room, the two looking up from where Felix was playing with Changbin’s hair, “Woojin told me to talk to you, let’s go,” he points to Changbin tiredly but awakens quickly as he eyes Changbin’s face and frowns for a moment, coming to his own conclusions.
Changbin sighs and nods, pressing a kiss to Felix’s lips before moving to stand up and follow Chan to the bathroom, expecting shouts and phrases of disappointment to be thrown his way.
Changbin’s breath hitched in surprise as Chan drew him in for a hug, soft yet secure. Changbin melted into it as their leader spoke softly as he petted his hair.
“It can’t have been easy. Whatever happened, but I'm sure you made the right decision,” he told Changbin.
“B-but you don't even know what happened,” Changbin says confusedly as he pulls away from Chan just enough to look up at him.
“I know that you protected Hyunjin and that's enough for me,” Chan smiles sadly as he kisses Changbin soft and deep, trying to show his emotions that way instead of through words, “now let's get that face of yours cleaned up, and those fists,” Chan says as he lifts one of Changbin’s nasty looking fists close to his face, inspecting it before pressing a kiss there. Changbin sighs nods, “and while we’re at it, I need you to tell me what actually happened, I know you'd rather not but I need to know,”
“Yes Hyung,” Changbin responds voice neutral, wincing as a light finger presses at his eyebrow.
“There,” Woojin whispers as he pats Hyunjin’s thighs, signaling he was done getting the other changed, “feeling any better?”
Hyunjin hums and nods in affirmation, head seeming to be a little clearer as he's a little more with it now, just very tired and in need of reassurance. He looked so soft, so precious, how anyone would want to harm him the way they did was beyond Woojin. He smiled softly and pushed the golden hair back pressing a kiss there, slowly trailing them down his face until he reached the lips, ignoring the iron taste as he pecked them once, twice, three times. Hyunjin giggled softly at that, warming Woojin’s heart, “he'll be okay,” he assured himself as he pulled Hyunjin up from the bed, walking them to the living room where Felix was sitting with Seungmin who’d just arrived home.
“Ah Hyunjinnie,” Seungmin smiled reaching his arms out for him, acting like nothing was wrong, Felix obviously gave him a brief rundown of what had happened since they'd returned home as he didn't seem fazed in the slightest. Woojin smiled as he watched Hyunjin collapse into Seungmin’s waiting arms snuggling closer to him than he knew Seungmin would normally be comfortable with. Felix smiled fondly at the two when he heard Hyunjin mumble a soft “Seungminnie,” before reaching over to grab a fleece blanket from the end of the sofa and draping it over Hyunjin and Seungmin, his heart fluttering as he watched Hyunjin for the first time in a while relax.
Changbin and Chan appeared a while later, hand in hand. Hyunjin starting to drift off on the couch as Seungmin stroked through his hair as they watched some kind of variety show that Felix had put on tv as background noise, supposedly to stop Hyunjin from dropping again.
Chan smiles at the sight in front of them letting go of Changbin’s hand and nudging him forward a little to where Woojin was smiling at him, “he's been missing you,” he informs Changbin who nods and smiles a little, sadness still clear as he approaches the couch settling himself down next to Hyunjin.
“We need to talk,” Chan says to Woojin, coming to stand beside him their hands automatically entwining.
“Yeah, we all need to talk, but we should wait until the others get home at least,” Woojin nods.
“Let’s start on dinner, we can talk in the kitchen,” Chan suggests, “they’ll be okay here,” he reassures Woojin before they both leave the room, heading to the kitchen.
“Ah Jisungie and Jeonginie, come here,” Woojin says as soon as he catches the two in the doorway, worry painted across both of their faces. They look to each other and nod, following the elders into the kitchen as they began to fill them in on the evening's events, horror and shock filling Jeongins face as he worried at his bottom lip so much it almost bled, whereas Jisung’s face just drained of colour and he had to steady himself on their counter for a moment.
Hyunjin was struggling to stay awake when he felt a weight to his right, someone came to sit on the couch beside him, he blinked his eyes open softly glancing over to where he saw Changbin eyes gentle and loving as he smiled.
“Hey Jinnie baby,” he whispered, “can I sit here?” he asks.
“Changbinnie-Hyung,” Hyunjin whined smile on his lips, “you're okay...I was so worried,”
“I know baby, I'm okay, are you okay?” he asks, moving to settle down alongside Hyunjin, smiling at the way the boy moved to melt into him, Seungmin rolled his eyes in mild annoyance but was quickly distracted by Felix snuggling closer to his other side.
“I don't know…” he answers honestly, his voice small.
“That's okay baby, you don't have to be okay just yet.”
Hyunjin nods softly against Changbin’s chest, struggling to keep his eyes open. “Its okay baby, sleep, you're safe, I’ll be here the whole time to protect you,”
“okay,” he sighed, shifting a little to get more comfortable, “Night Binnie-Hyung, Minnie ‘n Lix,” he mumbled speech slurred as he finally lets himself fall asleep surrounded by the safety of his members who all smile fondly at him, sadness in their hearts as their eyes rake over the unmissable damage done to their precious member. A promise written in the silence that they’d protect each other no matter what happened.
thank you for reading ♡ i hope you enjoyed it ♡♡
btw last time i updated i said i was going to see skz live and holy shit it was amazing i cant even tell you!! they're so soft irl ♡♡
anyway thank you for reading, kudos & comments are always appreciated! ♡♡
Chapter 3: Finding Safety
if you're reading this far, thank you! ♡
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“So, what's the plan, who're we killing?” Minho asks as he enters the kitchen, startling the others in the process, he laughs as he watches Chan fumble with a knife before slamming it down on the countertop with a ‘bang’.
“How long have you been standing there?” Jisung asks, gripping his heart dramatically through his hoodie.
“Long enough to be a suitable witness for all of your trials,” he deadpans, “but seriously what’s going on? You're not seriously planning a murder, right?”
“Of course not. We should do something though,” Chan says voice firm, “get them kicked out of the company at the very least,”
“A couple of idiots thought it'd be funny to beat the shit out of Hyunjin,” Woojin sighs as he informs Minho on what had happened.
“Those sons of bitches are in the company?!” Jisung blurts, quickly covering his mouth after realising what he'd said.
“You're right Sungie, they're trainees?” Minho says astounded.
“Yeah, that's what Changbin told me, said that there were three of them,”
“Oh my god,” Jeongin says, eyes wide, his hands trembled as they reached up to cover his mouth, “I know who they are, they trained with me for a bit before trying to become a rap trio like 3racha. Oh my god, I knew they weren't nice but for them to do something...something like this…”
“Its okay, baby, if you know the names that would be a big help,” Chan tells him, watching as Minho walks further into the kitchen and wraps a protective arm around their youngest.
“Y-yeah, I think I might remember,” he says, as the room fills with golden smiles as they return back to finishing preparing dinner for the rest of the members. The atmosphere was strange and could only be described as protective.
By the time dinner was ready, Hyunjin was awake and laughing softly as he squishes Changbin’s face between his hands, Seungmin and Felix asleep beside them. Changbin’s smiling down as Hyunjin admired him despite the discoloration of the bruises on his own face.
“You're so beautiful,” he breathes.
“I have to be, don't I?” Hyunjin responds sadly, smile dispapearing almost instantly.
Changbin frowns, “and why’s that, baby?”
“Because otherwise, you wouldn't need me,” he tells him.
Changbin’s eyes open widely at that, confused and upset by what the other was saying.
“Why would you say something like that, Hyunjinnie?” Jisung cries as he rushes in and sits behind Changbin, who welcomes him thankful that someone was there to help him with this.
Hyunjin looks down sadly, “because it's true... If I didn't look like this,” he motions vaguely to his face, “I wouldn't be here, on this team, with all of you…”
“Yes you would.” Chan cuts in this time coming over from where he was standing in the doorway to crouch in front of Hyunjin, “I chose you to be a part of us because you're good at what you do. Yes, you're gorgeous, but you're talented too. Tell me, who choreographed that whole dance that we had to show to JYP last week, hm?”
“Me, I-I did,” Hyunjin tells them, eyes widening and lip wobbling at the realisation.
“Listen to me, Hyunjin,” Chan tells him seriously, pulling his face into his hands, insecure eyes meeting confident ones, “I chose you to be a part of this team, this family, and without you, it wouldn’t be a family. I chose you once and I would choose you a hundred times more if it meant that you'd be here with us,”
A single tear fell from Hyunjin’s eye as he took in the words of their leader, the one person he couldn't argue or disagree with, he nodded and sniffled, a small smile on his face, “thank you, Hyung.”
“They told you that, didn't they. They told you that we didn't want you here, that you weren't good enough,” Jeongin spoke from the corner of the room, eyes welling with tears as Hyunjin nodded, “they did that to me too…”
A sad silence enveloped the room.
“We need to talk about this,” Chan and Changbin say in unison, both moving to sit straighter.
“I know...” Hyunjin sighed, he felt a hand squeeze his thigh, Seungmin and Felix were now awake and smiling reassuringly at him. Hyunjin heaved in a breath as he began to tell them what's been going on for the past few months, feeling the weight in his chest tighten before it disappeared almost completely.
“Why didn't you tell us all this earlier?” Woojin says as Hyunjin wiped his eyes with his sleeve, wincing a little as he pressed on one of his new bruises.
“I, I don't know, I didn't want you to know. I didn't want you guys to get hurt, but you still did…” he says looking over to Changbin, who shakes his head and shrugs.
“I'd do it again without hesitation if it meant that you were safe,” Changbin told him.
“Tell us if anything happens like this again, that goes for all of you,” Chan tells them sternly. They all nod in a silent promise.
“I'm glad we got that cleared up, now let's eat!” Jisung jumps up from the floor, excitedly skipping to the kitchen to grab as many bowls as he could and brought them into the living room, placing them on each member’s lap with a kiss to their foreheads.
“We love you Hyunjin, please don't hide away from us,” Seungmin whispers to him as he passes him a tissue when the room got a little quieter, Hyunjin nodded and thanked him, leaning his head onto the others shoulder.
Once warm bowls of food were placed in front of each member, and an overly long debate of what they should watch on tv, they finally dug into their food. Hyunjin picking lightly at his.
“You okay?” Changbin whispers as to not draw attention to them.
“Yeah, my lip hurts, that's all,” he says motioning to the cut on his bottom lip. Changbin smirks and kisses it softly pulling back before any of the other members complained. Hyunjin’s cheeks turned a light shade of pink.
“want me to spoon feed you, you baby?” he teases lightly, and Hyunjin almost considers it before shaking his head cutely.
“you need to eat too, Hyung,”
Changbin follows Hyunjin’s gaze down to his untouched bowl of food and then back up to Hyunjin, “I know, but I need to make sure that you eat first, baby,” he tells him, Hyunjin smiles a little and nods before lifting some rice to his mouth and gently closing his mouth around it, small bites to accommodate his sore lips and jaw. Changbin watches him eat for a few more moments before smiling and digging into his own food.
“Innie,” Hyunjin called out making grabby hands at him from his bed as he saw the youngest return from the bathroom, ready for bed, his red hair soft and fluffy.
“Hyung,” Jeongin responded in the same voice, as he sat down on Hyunjin’s bed, holding one of the hands that reached out for him.
“I haven't seen you all day, I missed you,” Hyunjin tells him as he pulls the other down to lie on top of him.
“Careful Hyung, your bruises aren't healed yet! I don't want to hurt you,” Jeongin shrieks quickly wriggling off to Hyunjin’s side.
“I'm fine Jeonginnie baby, everyone's overreacting,” Hyunjin pouts, not actually upset, “I'd tell you if you were hurting me. I just wanted to cuddle,”
“I know, Hyung,” Jeongin says, moving to snuggle further into Hyunjin’s side, feeling the blanket being draped over him, “I missed you too, I was really worried about you,”
“Hmm,” Hyunjin hums, eyes beginning to close.
“It looks really painful Hyung,” Jeongin whispers as he runs his fingertips gently over the others eyebrow and bruised cheek, frowning at the lumps and deep purples.
“Its okay Innie, it'll heal,” Hyunjin says, “I just wish the fansign didn't get canceled, I was really looking forward to it,”
“But you need to get better first,” Jeongin reasons, a stroke of mischief washing over him, “until doing this doesn't hurt, then you shouldn't be doing anything even close to working,”
Jeongin reaches over where his fingers were still running up and down the side of Hyunjins face and presses a little harder once he reaches his eyebrow, laughing as Hyunjin grumbles and flinches in pain.
“Ouch, you little-” Hyunjin says, sealing his lips before he says something he’d regret, “do that again and I'm not responsible for my actions,” he tells him, moving his large hands to tickle at Jeongin’s ribs and stomach.
“Ah! Hyung stop!” he giggles struggling to get away, “okay, okay I'm sorry!” he wheezes as Hyunjin finally stops his teasing, leaning over to kiss him instead. Jeongin kisses back but pulls away after a moment, disgust painted on his face.
“What?” Hyunjin laughs quietly.
“It's gross kissing you with your lip like that, hurry up and fix it,” he says, nose wrinkled and lips pursed as Hyunjin bursts out laughing.
“I'm working on it baby, but until then you'll just have to get over it because you love me,”
“You do, don't deny it,”
Another kiss gets pressed onto Hyunjin’s lips and he smiles in victory, “I bet kisses will make it heal faster,” he tries.
“Nice try Hyung, but no,” Jeongin laughs with him, tightening his hold on the other as they finally settle down in the soft safety of their blankets, the sound of the Hyung’s still talking outside the room a comforting white-noise as the pair slip away into sleep.
“Okay, thank you, Hyung. Sorry about all of this, yes, okay. Talk more tomorrow Hyung, thank you, goodnight,” Chan sighed as he hung up the phone and stuffs it in his pocket, the rest of the members looking up at him eager to hear about their conversation.
All except Changbin who was hunched over on the couch his head in his hands, dread settled deep in his stomach.
“So?” Minho prompted as he pulled Felix into his lap, hooking his chin over his shoulder.
“So,” Chan began, perching on the arm of the couch, rubbing a hand through his hair before placing it onto Changbin’s back, “obviously they can't do anything until tomorrow but it looks like they'll be kicked out of the company and we can choose to press assault charges but I don't think that'd be wise given Changbin’s involvement,”
The others all nodded sighing in relief that at least something would be done.
“I think a restraining order is a good idea though,” Seugmin spoke up as he nervously fidded with the strings of his hoodie.
“I agree, so they don't try anything again outside of the company,” Minho nodded in agreement.
“I guess we’ll see what tomorrow brings then,” Chan trails off, hoping to prompt the others to get ready for bed, it was late and whilst they'd been given the following day off to recuperate now that the fansign had been cancelled, they were all exhausted and sleep would be the best thing for them right now.
Woojin picked up on Chan’s prompting and started to usher the younger members and himself off to bed so that the others could talk with Changbin, who hadn't moved at all in the past 20 minutes. Woojin and Seungmin stood up and began to walk to the bedrooms while Jisung picked Felix up and carried him to the bathroom, despite Felix’s protesting that he could walk there himself.
“Goodnight Hyungs,” Jisung says before the quiet washed over the three left in the living room.
Once the silence became stifling Chan broke it, rubbing his hand over Changbin’s broad shoulders, “Changbin-”
“I'll get in trouble for this, right?” he beats Chan to it, voice bitter, “I'll get in trouble for getting involved, won't I?”
“I don't know,” Chan answered honestly, “I want to say no but that's just unrealistic,”
“The funny thing is, I wish I did more,” Changbin laughs humorlessly, finally looking up meeting eyes with Minho, who sat across from him. A single tear fell from his eye, which he hastily wiped away.
“I know, I would too if I was you,” Minho told him, reaching out to grab his hands, “but I'm glad that you held back,”
“We need you on this team, I know that you won't get kicked out because of this but you'll definitely earn a reputation,”
“I don't care, no one approaches me anyway,” Changbin scoffs, “I did what I did, right? It was the right thing to do, so why do I feel like I should've done more like I should've protected him better,”
“I dont know Binnie, but you did enough, any more and it could've destroyed all of this,” Chan gestures all around them vaguely, “Hyunjin knows that too,”
“I did enough…” Changbin repeats softly.
“You did.” Minho finished, nodding and squeezing his hands.
“We’ll be okay, won't we?” Changbin asks, “this won't ruin us?”
“Of course not, we’ll be okay, we’ll get through this. We’ll come out of this even stronger,” Chan tells him brushing Changbin’s dark hair back.
Minho nodded in agreement bringing a smile to Changbin’s face, “okay,” he sighs, dread still heavy in his chest at the prospect of tomorrow, but at least for now he was safe and with his family who assured him he wouldn't be kicked out.
“I love you guys,” he says wiping his eyes.
“I love you all too,” Chan says with a soft laugh.
“Well don't look at me,” Minho jokes when they both turned to him expectantly, “yeah, I think you guys are worthy of my love,” he relents after a moment, sniffing before meeting eyes with Changbin, something about him more serious than normal, “thank you for protecting him, you did the right thing and I'm proud of you. Now it's our turn to protect you,”
“He's right, we’ll protect you. I'll come with you tomorrow, to JYP’s office. We won't let you go,”
“Thank you, Hyung’s,” Changbin says, heart full as he looks between the two faces filled with love and unsaid promises.
The three of them stumble to bed, not caring who’s they landed in as long as they fit, curling around each other softly as their breathing became even.
They would protect each other, no matter what. That was a promise, the second promise that Chan had made to them.
thank you so much for reading!!
if you have any requests for other members or just fics in general feel free to comment them!!♡
kudos & comments always appreciated ♡♡♡