A group of hurried footsteps run over to Chan who just collapsed onto the floor with a loud smack. He notices numbly that his left ankle is in red-hot excruciating pain as he tries to blink away the building tears. He flips over to lie on his back, breathing out relief from the more comfortable position.
The members have surrounded him and Seungcheol is leaning over him with a worried face, eyes wide with concern and anxious lines running across his forehead. A hand threads itself through Chan's hair and he already feels, just a bit, better.
"What's wrong?" Seungcheol asks.
Chan moves to sit up on his elbows but a electric jolt courses through him and he falls back onto his back with a sharp intake of breath. He faintly registers a hand cushioning the back of his head which he is silently grateful for.
"I, my ankle, it's—" He glances at the rest of them hovering around him and a sudden wave of anxiety washes over him. They're all tired from practicing all day, sweat dripping down their necks and hair plastered against foreheads. There's schedules happening soon and he'll be out of commission, unable to perform. He won't be able to train to be better then he'll start lagging behind and he'll be dragging everyone down, a million thoughts are speeding around his mind without control. Chan chokes out a "—fine."
Seungcheol narrows his eyes at him and Chan shrinks a little, turning away and staring at the stereo instead.
"Oh-fucking-sure," Soonyoung calls him out and the other members agree quietly. As if to emphasize the point, a finger gently pokes at his ankle. Chan twitches from pain as his face scrunches up, someone's hand rubs his shin comfortingly in return.
"Chan, are you hurting anywhere else?" Jeonghan crouches next to him, blocking his view of the stereo and forcing Chan to look at him instead.
"Uh," He shifts in place, careful to avoid moving his ankle, "My knees hurt. My hands hurt." Moving his attention away from his ankle to focus onto his whole body made everything wrose. He's still in incredible pain now with two whole added bonuses of more pain.
Jeonghan flips both of his hands over and looks over at his exposed knees, nodding. "Alright," he mumbles to himself.
Seungcheol redirects Chan's attention back onto himself, Chan's head being forcefully yet gently turned back to him. "You're going home and No. You're not allowed to stay back and watch the rest of practice."
Chan can't bring himself to argue back and confirms with a quiet, "... Okay."
"Okay. Now hold onto me, I'm gonna carry you," Seungcheol orders. The hand moves from his hand and goes to wrap around Chan's shoulder blades. Another arm hooks itself underneath his knees as someone tells Seungcheol to be careful.
There's a retort on Chan's tongue, only one of his ankles hurt and it's not even broken, he can walk with one leg but he keeps his mouth shut. He sits up and wraps his arms around the oldest's neck.
Seungcheol lifts him up and despite himself, Chan hides his face in the crook of the older man's neck, unable to look everyone else in the eyes. The searing touch of concern from the others radiating around him heats him up uncomfortably, nervous thoughts from earlier latching onto his skin like a wetsuit.
A myriad of hands pet him everywhere with some of the members saying their goodbyes.
"See ya later."
"Rest up when you get home."
"See you back at the dorms."
"Do I really need crutches?"
"Can you walk on your own?"
Chan begins to chew on his bottom lip then ruffles his hair with a sigh, "...No."
Seungkwan leans back onto the couch again with a huff of his own, "Exactly."
Chan looks at the crutches lying innocently next to the couch and pouts.
"This sucks," Chan complains as he leans his head on Seungkwan's shoulder who is flipping through the channels on the television. He got checked in with the Doctor's earlier today, his hands and knees were patched up real quick and easy. However the ankle situation was something more annoying yet expected. He was prescribed to rest for around three-to-four weeks since he managed to hurt his ankle pretty bad, when asked how this happened Chan could only honestly answer, 'I don't really know my leg just decided to freak out during practice for no reason.' A pair of crutches and instructions to recover from the injury were given to him and now he just has to rest for the next month or so.
Chan knows for a fact, he'll get restless.
Seungkwan settles on a variety show that Seungkwan is currently guesting on, however this current episode doesn't have him on. So (un)fortunate. "Watch this episode with me then."
"Sure, it doesn't have you in it so."
"Shut up," Seungkwan replies with a pinch to his cheek. Chan giggles as Seungkwan stretches his skin.
Chan lightly taps the other's hand, "You're hurting an already injured person."
"The only damage you should worry about is whether or not your brain is working," Seungkwan quips as he releases, moving back to his spot. Chan sticks his tongue out at him, moving to scoot away from him. Seungkwan stops him from moving by wrapping an arm around his shoulders and forcing Chan back onto his own shoulder. "Don't move away, watch the episode with me."
Chan turns to quirk an eyebrow at him. Seungkwan's gaze is solidly on the television screen with a calm expression. However the tips of his ears are dusted a light pink that grows with color the longer Chan stares. A laugh bubbles itself out from his mouth. Chan turns back to the television screen with giggles and snuggles into Seungkwan's side, making himself comfortable as he reaches out to tap Seungkwan on the thigh.
"When's your latest episode?"
"Oh, it's up next after this one."
Chan acknowledges with a light hum. He goes to tap the elder's left thigh playfully. Before Chan could pull away his hand, Seungkwan moves to grab ahold of it and interlaces their fingers together. Seungkwan squeezes their hands, Chan returns the squeeze with a bright smile.
The door to the shared bedroom swings open to the sight of both Junhui and Seungkwan, both tired and ready to pass out. Chan looks up from the book in his hands, debating if he should stop then goes back to his book. Seconds later, the bed dips underneath new weight and another body joins him on his bed.
"I'm so tireeeed~" Jun drawls out as he lies down next to Chan, half of his body hanging off the bed. Chan scoots over to make space for Jun who rolls onto his side and props himself up onto his elbow.
Chan turns his head to face the elder and lowers the book onto his chest, thumbs resting against the inside of the spine, cautious of leaving it and losing his page. "And how was your day?" Chan asks.
"Pretty nice, we managed to win some snacks earlier for a thing and I specifically gotchu some," Jun ends with a wink.
"Oh really? Thanks," Chan perked up with a smile.
"Yeah, i left the snacks in the mini-fridge." Jun smiles brightly, "As thanks, can I sleep with you tonight?"
" ... That was your endgame?"
Chan rolls his eyes fondly, he's pretty sure that Jun wants to cuddle because of his injuries. Looking at Jun who's still smiling with his pearly whites, he spots the concealed worry hidden in the other's eyes. With a soft smile, he muses why not. "Sleep with a shirt on then," Chan pats the older, knocking on Jun's collarbones with his knuckles.
With Seungkwan already passed out in his own bed, it's now Chan and Jun left awake in the shared room. Chan's book is safely marked from where he left off and set aside. Shifting around to check on his bandages, he looks up as Jun comes into their bedroom with a towel hanging around his neck and with a tank-top on. Not a shirt but he'll accept it. The elder places the towel onto his own bed, quickly folding it and leaving it on top of the pillow.
"Let me help you with that," Jun says as he sits down on Chan's bed. Before Chan says anything, he grabs the younger's leg and maneuvers it into his lap.
"It's okay, I'll—"
"Kwannie is sleeping, don't be too loud," Jun interrupts without looking up, hands unhooking the small pin and setting it aside. Chan closes his mouth with a pout and leans back into the pillows, allowing Jun to do as he likes.
He begins to untie the bandages, unwrapping it slowly from Chan's ankle. When the bandages are off, Jun hands it back to Chan who sets it on the nightstand. Jun stares thoughtfully at his ankle while his fingers slowly rub at the edges of swollen flesh with a careful touch. Movement pauses then fingers lightly stroke across, Chan tries not to wince, bruised skin still sensitive. Jun tilts his head at Chan, fingers pausing their administrations.
Chan represses the earlier wince, schooling his expression into a neutral state. Staring into Jun's awaiting eyes, the small smile on his lips, hair back into its natural state, Chan subconsciously rubs his fingers in his lap.
"No," Chan smiles as Jun gives him a look. Jun twitches his finger and Chan breaks facade quickly, hands gesturing and head shaking along. "Yes! yes, yes, it does!"
Jun's smile blooms brighter, fully satisfied with the younger's answer. "Well, any nighttime things?" He nods to the ankle.
Jun uncaps the ointment cream and applies a small dollop onto an index finger. "Sorry Channie, it's gonna hurt a bit," He mumbles as he presses onto Chan's ankle. Chan winces at contact, body uncomfortably twitching to which Jun pets him on the leg with his free hand.
After the cream is applied, Jun returns the cream. The elder grabs a pillow and elevates the younger's ankle. When Chan's ankle is situated fine, Jun maneuvers around to sleep next to him. Without a word, Jun reaches over and hugs Chan around the waist, shifting closer to him until Chan's head is underneath his chin.
"Comfortable?" Jun whispers into the crown of his head, warm breathes tickling.
Chan reaches up to rest his hands on top of Jun's forearm, warmth flooding through his palms. He tucks his head in close, moving until he can hear the faint heartbeats of the elder. The rhythmic thumping washes over Chan and quietens his mind, normally racing thoughts brought to a calming standstill. A very nice alternative to listening classical music before bed. Everything outside of Jun's hold is forgotten as Jun presses a light kiss onto his crown, softly squeezing him. Consciousness begins to fade away into the night, Chan sighs in contentment.
Chan looks up from his phone as Jeonghan shuffles into the kitchen, fully dressed and everything but still drowsy. The elder slinks over to the counter-top with a yawn that he doesn't bother to cover. Chan turns back to his phone again, attention back again to monitoring past performances. It's only been a couple of days since the incident and slowly but surely, his injury is healing. He doesn't feel like dying when the lightest touch skims the top of his sprained ankle so that's quite a plus in his book. Though on the other hand, he hasn't done much work over those days and the familiar itch that lingers inside is starting to act up, if it hadn't before. Chan knows his anxious thoughts are worse than usual concerning the nature of his injury, his incredibly stupid injury that was entirely his own fault.
The music flowing from his earbuds stops, pulling Chan from his cloudy thoughts to muffled silence and artificial light staring back at him. Ignoring the sudden twitch in his right eye, Chan taps away from the video, knowing he won't be able to do the proper routine monitors until he can dance properly weeks later. The twitch is more annoying now, he reaches up to press the area under his eyes, trying to push down the spastic muscles.
A body sits right next to him that briefly startles Chan.
"Channie~" Jeonghan calls out as he tears open a snack bag and popping a stick into his mouth. "How you feeling?"
Chan removes the earbuds and sets the phone down onto the table. He chews on the insides of his cheeks as he takes a glance at Jeonghan who chews another salty stick. There's a sudden sense of hesitation that has Chan unable to speak up. His cloudy thoughts rumble from the depths, a small poke that makes Chan think he should share his burdens but another part of him holds it back. He's just being unreasonable with himself and it's only been a couple of days, it's not a big deal. The eye twitch is back again and Chan's reaching up to touch the area.
" 's really good snack," Jeonghan says breezily as he shakes the bag in front of Chan, offering a bite.
"Ah, uh—" Chan stumbles, "—Thanks Jeonghannie." A small prick of embarrassment heats his ears when he pulls out a stick to eat.
"I'll be leaving in a bit for some individual scheduling, you want anything?"
"No, not really."
A hand places itself on the back of Chan's neck, "Alright then." Fingers slowly stroke on his neck and Chan finds himself focusing on the touch, subtly craning closer to the elder's hand.
"It's only been a couple of days now, you've been following Doc's orders faithfully," He says it like a statement but it curls like a question.
Chan's lips curls into a smile, "yeah, I have. I've been taking care of myself like instructed."
"Good, can't have the youngest hurting even more," Jeonghan knocks his head to Chan's, "It'll hurt my heart too much."
A soft laugh escapes from his throat. "Ah, you have a heart?"
"You're so mean!"
A louder laugh rings in the room, "Ah... sorry. I'll recover as well as I can."
"Good. I already miss dancing with our youngest," Jeonghan flattens his palm, cupping the base of Chan's neck and thumb stroking down hair. Chan relishes the warmth as much as he can.
"I miss dancing with the members too," Chan mumbles.
Jeonghan smiles fondly at the younger who's looking away with his small hands now clasped together in his lap. The elder knocks against Chan once more with a gentler touch and keeps them together. "Rest up, don't hurt yourself again Channie." Chan nods his confirmation.
Jeonghan pulls away entirely, Chan pouts at the distance, and grabs the empty bag. He gets up from the table to toss away the trash and walks to the counter-top hosting various arrays of snacks and delights on it. He grabs a different brand of bad then heads back to the table. The elder drops off the bag in front of Chan and pets the younger's hair while walking off towards the kitchen entrance. "I have to go now, see ya' kiddo," He waves behind him.
"Bye Jeonghannie!" Chan calls out in return. Turning his attention back to the snack, he tears it open and chews on a bite happily. Halfway into the contents, he realizes faintly that his earlier eye twitch is gone. Reaching up to touch the spot again, Chan mumbles to himself, "huh... it's gone now."
Jeonghan texts the group chat a picture of a otter plushie later that night.
[7:59 PM]: [Attached Image]
[7:59 PM]: it's Channie~!
Chan laughs at the cute text, flopping backwards into the mattress.
Chan looks up from grabbing his crutches and spots one of the members by the room's entrance. The voice is from Joshua who just entered, the man clothed in a pair of sweatpants and a black hoodie.
"Hey Shua," he greets back. The elder walks closer to where he's sitting with a curious smile. He stands behind the chair Chan's sitting on and leans on it with his arms, Chan's head directly below his chin.
"Whatcha' doing?" Joshua asks as he places his chin onto Chan's crown.
"I'm going to ice my ankle for the next... " Chan motions a shaky hand, "Twelve-or-so minutes."
Joshua hums in acknowledgment. "I can help you ice your ankle," he offers.
"Really? You sure?"
"Yeah, it's fine. I'll help you." Joshua leans back, moving away from Chan. He walks around the chair and flashes a thumbs-up at the younger, "I'll gotchu' " He walks off into the kitchen's direction before Chan says anything in response.
Chan sighs and leans back into his chair again, setting the crutches back down onto the floor. The faint noise of the freezer door closing echoes in the dorm and familiar footsteps come walking back. Joshua appears again with the desired ice in his hands, large hands cradling a covered pack of ice. He pulls up a chair right next to Chan. Placing the bag onto his right thigh, Joshua reaches out and lifts up Chan's leg onto his lap.
He cradles Chan's ankle and places the ice pack on it, adjusting the position to Chan's instructions.
"Looks like our youngest is healing up well," Joshua comments with a light tone when he looks up to the younger.
Chan nods and places his fiddling hands into his lap, "Of course I am. After all, I need to be tip-top shape for Carats!" Chan nods once again with a firmer gesture.
A fond smile appears on Joshua's face. He reaches out and taps Chan's cheek, "There's the Bang Chan I've missed." Pulling away, Joshua makes himself comfortable in his seat again. A content silence befalls the duo, both of them quietly enjoying each other's presence.
Joshua breaks the silence minutes later, "Hey Chan, you wanna watch a movie together in my room?" He offers with a head tilt. "I have a movie in mind but you can also choose something, I don't mind."
Chan tilts his head in response, "Oh? Yeah! I would love too and we can watch your movie, I don't really have any right now."
Joshua smiles at his answer and pats Chan's leg, "Movie night, it is then."
The bedroom door opens up to Vernon who slides in and closes the door behind him quietly, infamous pair of headphones around his neck and a small notebook in hand. Chan spares a second-long glance at the visitor and goes back to brushing up on his Japanese. The bed sinks and Vernon appears next to him, moving his head to the music flowing in the headphones. The elder doesn't say anything as he sits cross-legged, pencil rhythmically tapping against the notebook's cover.
"Studying Japanese?" Vernon asks without looking up.
"Uh huh," Chan asnwers.
Silence slips back in place again, Chan practicing Japanese from the textbook lying in his lap with Vernon by his side. The music that leaks out of Vernon's headphones is the only sound in the room accompanied with paper rustling, pencil tapping and steady breathing. They spend quite a while with each other, both of them in their own worlds.
The pencil scratching stops and Vernon looks up, slipping off his headphones. "Wanna listen to music together?"
Chan looks up from his work and he quirks his lips up in amusement, "Huh, I already thought we were doing that."
Unplugging the headphones, "Well, yeah, true," Vernon chuckles. "But now we can officially do it together," He taps his phone screen a couple of times. Music starts to play from the phone and the elder places between them.
Vernon closes his notepad and tucks the pencil into the silver spirals. The notebook is carefully placed at the end of the bed. He moves over and squeezes behind Chan to lie down on his side, Vernon now taking up residence between Chan and the wall. Propping his head up on his elbow, Vernon shoots a smile at the questioning look on Chan's face.
"Don't mind me, I'm just chilling here."
Chan gives him another look.
Vernon smiles with his gums, "Your Japanese is great," he flashes a thumbs-up with his free hand.
Chan shakes his head and turns back to his books, best to leave Vernon up to his own devices. It ends up turning into a mini-tutoring session between the two, Vernon asking multiple questions from what he observes in the books and Chan answering and talking about whatever comes up in the textbook.
Chan sits down in front of the set-up camera while his crutches sit behind the camera. It's gotten to the point during the recovery where he can start appearing during the group's schedules now which boosted everyone's moods, especially Chan's. He itches to start up on Vlive again after appearing with the rest of the group during one of their schedules today. It was for a brief moment but he enjoyed it, missed being with the members and resuming activities as a whole group, excitement coursing through his veins. Once the group was finished with their activities, Chan decided to do a Vlive stream with one of them since he was nervous from being off the radar for a while. Ever since his appearance earlier, he's been antsy the entire time, mind going into hyper drive with thoughts.
He fiddles with the sleeves of his hoodie, fingers rubbing the warming fabric. He stares off into space as he waits, his heartbeat ringing in his ears. Chan fixes up on his appearance; smoothing out his hair, straightening up his glasses, patting down his hoodie and repeats the cycle.
Just when it starts to get overbearingly constricting, Mingyu opens the door with a easy smile on his face. Chan finds himself breathing more easier in the presence of the elder. Mingyu walks over and takes a seat next to him. Chan immediately finds purchase by moving and interlocking their hands together, his free hand rubbing circles onto Mingyu's knuckles.
"Are you excited?" Mingyu asks.
"Yeah, yes, uh, definitely," Chan awkwardly answers with choppy words. Mingyu's gaze softens. "I-I, uh, it's just been a while since I've done this and. I'm just a lil' nervous. I shouldn't be this nervous but I am and it's awful. It's been too long for some stupid accident and It's not even a serious injury and—" Chan stops his nervous rant, subconsciously shrinking himself into his chair.
Mingyu is quiet and Chan stares at their interlocked hands.
"Chan," Mingyu calls out quietly, "It's okay." Mingyu hooks a finger onto Chan's chin and forces him to look at him. "You're nervous and it's okay. Earlier, you did amazing, really. Everyone's proud of you. It sucks but you've been doing such a great job dealing with it."
Heat pricks on Chan's body, a burning sensation crawls up to his neck and cheeks. Chan squeezes his eyes shut. "I'm sorry... I've been antsy ever since my appearance today."
Mingyu releases from Chan's grip and wraps his arms around the smaller male, cheek pressed against the soft strands of hair. Chan returns the hug and hides his face into Mingyu's chest, breathing in the elder's scent. The fidgeting energy slowly calms down as Chan relaxes in Mingyu's hold, tension easing out of his body.
Chan pulls away first but doesn't release his hold on Mingyu's arm. He fixes his glasses again and nods at Mingyu with a small, grateful smile.
Mingyu presses the start button.
Chan takes in a breath, holds it in then releases it slowly. He shifts his weight onto his left crutch and right foot, slowly letting the right crutch off the ground. As Chan nods, Soonyoung takes the right crutch and places it onto the ground. He stands back up and watches Chan like a hawk, his body posture ready to catch Chan if he falls.
"Okay, now take it slow," Soonyoung instructs. Chan nods again.
Chan begins to slowly shift his weight back onto his left leg, a quiet hiss escapes his lips. It's his first time trying to stand back on both legs again and it's a weird feeling. His ankle's at the point where he can try to do some actual walking, or at least standing in place. It's definitely not comfortable there's some pain but Chan can push through it, he's confident. When Chan is fully standing on both feet, he slowly moves the crutch and Soonyoung gets the hint immediately. The older man quickly grabs it and puts it with the other crutch on the floor. Soonyoung then holds out his arms and Chan takes them, holding on his forearms with a vice grip. Chan scrunches his face a little at the discomfort rising up his body.
"How ya' feeling?"
Chan chews on the insides of his cheeks, "Weird."
"Weird good or weird bad?"
Chan scoffs at the question, "How would weird good feel like?"
Soonyoung cracks a smirk, "Like tickling, I assume." Chan laughs, hands gripping tighter onto Soonyoung's forearms during his outburst. Soonyoung steps closer, knowing about the younger's tendency to double-over when laughing.
"Then probably like... " Chan pouts, "Weird mediocre."
"Better than bad then," Soonyoung confirms. "Take a step forward for me."
Chan nods. Soonyoung takes a step back, giving Chan enough room to take a full step forward. Taking a deep breath, Chan steps forward with his left leg first with careful movements. With it firmly planted, he moves forward with the right. Blowing out air from his mouth with displeasure Chan plants both of his feet down in front of Soonyoung, warmth radiating from the older man that eases Chan. The younger moves his hands and places them onto Soonyoung's shoulders instead. An encouraging smile curls on Soonyoung's lips as he finds purchase onto holding Chan's waist.
He pats Chan on his lower back, "Great job Channie!"
"Thank you," Chan smiles at the compliment, "I can keep going."
"Determined as always Channie," Soonyoung says as he steps backwards again, repeating his earlier action. "Let's continue then."
Minghao steps into the dark living room, squinting at the dark shape sitting on the couch.
Minghao walks up to figure and stares down at Chan who's clutching a glass of water, "Why are you up?"
Chan chuckles nervously and looks down at his water again, "Couldn't sleep so I came out and got some water. What about you?"
"Bathroom," The elder rubs at his eyes drowsily.
"Ah," Chan acknowledges faintly. Minghao takes a seat next to him and rests his head onto Chan's shoulder, their thighs pressed together and sharing heat. Chan sighs feebly, strands of hair lightly brushing his face. He woke up earlier for some weird reason and the strongest urge to just move so he took a crutch and slipped out into the living room. He spent seven minutes sitting silently and cradling his drink before Minghao woke up then approached him.
"... You should sleep."
"I can say the same to you," he retorts and Chan muses he did walk straight into that one.
Chan circles the rim of the glass cup with his thumb, not caring about the moisture that gets onto his finger. He doesn't really know how to explain why he just woke up with the urge to move that borderlines to dancing even. A strange mixture of drowsiness and energy courses through him, limbs itching to move even just an inch. Instead Chan's just kept himself still as a statue on their couch.
"Can we dance together?" the words tumble out uncontrollably before Chan can reel them in. Embarrassment thrums underneath his skin afterwards and leaves him flustered. He clutches the cup up to his chest now, hoping the cool temperature can lower his rising body heat.
Understandably, Minghao looks up at him in confusion. "Dance?"
"Ah, I mean, uh," Chan pauses. He takes a gulp of water from the cup in haste.
" 'tha's why you woke up? Got a lot of energy?"
Chan stops drinking and hesitantly pulls away from the cup. He pouts, "Yeah...."
Minghao then slaps his hands onto his thighs, startling Chan, and stands up. He gently pulls the glass of water away from Chan and puts it onto the table next to the couch. He holds out his hand, "Shall we dance then?"
Chan stares at Minghao's hand then his eyes travel up to Minghao's face. He can barely see the elder's expression since it's very dark in the dorms right now. He wordlessly reaches out and takes a hold of Minghao's hand, fingers curling around each other. He rises up from his seat and MInghao leads them to the center of the room with slow steps, Minghao stops and caresses Chan's hand with his thumb.
"Follow my lead," Minghao mumbles. He circles an arm around Chan's waist and presses in close. The elder interlaces their fingers, pulling their occupied arms closer. Chan rests his head on Minghao's shoulder, cheek on shoulder and breathing softly into Minghao's neck. "Step onto my feet," Chan follows his orders and carefully edges his feet onto Minghao's, making sure to keep at least half of his feet off.
Minghao begins to move and Chan follows. They sway in place, Minghao leading them in a gentle rhythm in a tiny circle. It's peaceful.
Chan flutters his eyes shut to the soothing rocking, "Thank you."
Chan opens the door to Jihoon's studio and is mildly surprised to see Jihoon inside by himself. The elder, unsurprisingly, is on the computer, mouse clicking away in the quiet of the studio. Chan slides his crutch in first, leaving it next to the doorframe and shuffles in after while holding a cup of coffee made specifically for Jihoon's taste.
The door shuts and Chan grabs a hold of the crutch again, tucking it under his armpit. Chan holds up the cup, announcing "I got coffee."
Jihoon looks away from his screen to Chan and his lips twitch upwards, "Thanks. You can set it on table behind me." He twirls back around in his chair with a halfhearted wave.
Chan walks around and sets the cup down onto the table. He takes a seat on the couch but sits on the edge on the cushion, crutch at ready.
He wants to take a walk outside, breathe in some fresh air. Though leaving to go outside by himself doesn't sound appealing and nice, Chan stares at the back of Jihoon's head. His free hand rubs his knee, fingers twitching as he thinks on what to do. Hugging his crutch close, "I want to go outside."
The mouse clicks stop. Jihoon turns to Chan's direction but barely, a neutral expression on his face yet a curious twinkle in his eyes.
Chan clears his throat, "I want to take a walk outside. Together." Chan taps on the handle, awaiting for Jihoon's response. The elder gave no reaction to his thoughts.
Jihoon turns back around to the computer. "Okay, sure, let me finish up quickly then we can go outside."
Chan brightens up within seconds. He stands back up quickly, happiness bubbling up inside of him as he shuffles over to the studio door. Chan watches as Jihoon closes out of various programs and he gets up from his seat. Grabbing the cup of coffee and a pile of clothing on the table, Jihoon gestures at Chan with his head. "C'mon, let's go."
Jihoon plops down onto the park bench across from Chan with a bag full of snacks picked up from some grocery stores. He places the bag on top of the bench and shifts in place to get comfortable. The older man pulls down the black mouth mask to take a sip from the second cup of coffee. He watches as Chan tears open a snack bag and takes a happy bite.
"Enjoying yourself?" Jihoon asks after the sip.
Chan nods with a big smile, "Today's so nice, such refreshing weather out. I'm really happy that you came with me!" Chan tilts his head, somehow with a brighter smile on his cheeks before he eats another chip.
Jihoon hides his fond smile with another gulp of coffee.
"The cats are here today," Wonwoo says happily. The duo stop in front of a wall that holes off an abandoned house from the rest of the quiet neighborhood they were walking in. He nudges Chan with his arm and gestures to the group of cats hiding behind the brick wall.
Chan gasps in delight at the sight of the four cats who peek out from behind the wall, their meows delicate and adorable. "I can pet them?" He whispers excitedly.
Wonwoo crouches down and holds his hand for a cat, "Yep, they're good kids." A black cat approaches the older man, sniffing at his fingers before meowing and rubbing up against his hand. Chan crouches alongside him and watches with joy as Wonwoo pets the black cat, the other three walking forwards and out from behind the wall. Chan holds out his hand in the center of the cat gathering, awaiting for any cat to take him up on the offer.
"Do they have any names?"
Wonwoo hums, "Originally? I don't know. However personally, I did give them names."
"This one is Charcoal," He pets the black cat.
"The white cat is Milk."
"Tabby cat is Pebbles," He points to the orange colored cat, "Ginger is Sunflower."
Chan squeaks when Sunflower rubs up to his hand, forcing his hand to move and stroke down its fur. Pebbles sits in front of Chan and meows loudly as they paw the air. Charcoal escapes from Wonwoo's grasp and walks up to Chan with Milk joining in the cat gathering around Chan who is very delighted at these turn of events. Chan moves to sit down on the ground and when he does, all of the cats descend upon his lap, climbing up to have their own perch on him.
"This is so cute," Wonwoo watches the youngest get crowded by a bunch of loud cats pawing for attention. "They're very interested in you, Channie do you have any food on you?"
Chan shakes his head as he squeaks again from the cats' attention.
Wonwoo feels like he's gonna explode from the adorable display as the smile on his face grows from ear-to-ear. A small light bulb appears in his thoughts and Wonwoo goes to search through his pockets. Pulling out his phone, he blatantly holds up his phone since Chan's very distracted. He records a video of Chan playing with cats quietly, he knows the rest of the group will get their kicks from this. Charcoal reaches up and rubs noses with Chan, purring vigorously. Wonwoo tries not to cry.
Chan looks up to see Wonwoo filming him and immediately covers his face with a whine, "Aaaah stop it!"
Wonwoo is having a great time.
Seokmin peeks into the dorm's hallway, looking from left to right in an exaggerated manner. He turns to Chan and winks, "The coast is clear."
The older man pushes open the door and tip-toes outside, the apartment building's lights filtering into the dark dorms from the door's crack. Chan muffles his giggles behind his hand as he follows Seokmin's steps, stepping outside their living space. He closes the door behind him as quietly as he can. The duo walk down the hallway and exit the building, the night welcoming them outside.
" 'Night-time Shopping Mission' beginning part is completed," Seokmin victoriously shakes their hands together as they walk down to the local grocery store to buy some food.
Chan knows that he's nearing the point where he's almost fully healed, in fact, it's only a couple of days left until the doctor's appointment. No more lingering bouts of pain shooting up his leg and he can walk on both legs just fine now. Doing physical exercises to work himself back into dancing condition since the first day he tried walking with no crutches with Soonyoung. Chan misses being able to dance his heart out in the practice room and knowing he can finally return to it makes him want to jump in happiness.
The doors to the store slide open and a small ding rings out afterwards. The duo walks inside the chilly building. Chan pulls his hat lower and tugs his jacket closer to his body. The duo split off in different directions off to find their desired food items. Artificial lights shine down on wrappers and bag, reflecting back with a clear yet green glow. Chan browses through the aisle, staring at shelves with heavy concentration. After much thinking, he grabs five bags then moves to where Seokmin is.
He comes across the older man who's looking into the drinks aisle, the glass door open and releasing clouds of chill air.
"I'm done, got my stuff."
Seokmin glances at Chan before looking back at the freezer shelves and taking a pack of sweet drinks. He shuts the door and turns to face Chan, revealing his other arm which cradles a bunch of food items. "Yep, me too."
They leave the store with their acquired goodies in hand. Seokmin takes a can out from the bag with an "ahah!" He peers over to see Chan not paying attention to him and a smirk appears on his face.
Chan flinches away from the sudden cold, shrieking in surprise. Seokmin laughs in delight as he cracks open the can and takes a sip.
"Don't be so loud, everyone's sleeping right now," Seokmin chastises him despite the smile on his face.
"I wasn't that loud... you're so mean," Chan pouts as he crosses his arms. Seokmin slings his arm around Chan and pokes his cheek.
"Alright, alright, sorry 'bout that." the older man apologizes without a hint of remorse but Chan lets it slide.
Chan opens the front door to the dorm and steps inside the shared living space, plastic bag crinkling in his hand loudly. Setting the bag down, he slips off the shoes and places them onto the shoe rack. When Chan looks up, he certainly doesn't expect a sudden greeting from all the members standing in front of him blasting his eardrums out.
The aforementioned man startles immediately, flinching and pressing himself back into the closed door with wide eyes.
"Welcome back to the land of the healthy!" Soonyoung shouts as the rest whoop and clap excitedly like they're welcoming back a glorious hero who defeated the legendary monster.
Chan stares at them wearily as he catches his breath with a racing heart, body still pressed up to the door next to the doorknob, his arms tucked against his chest. They weren't there when he entered the dorm, how did they all just pop up like that without him noticing. As he stares at them, he suddenly notices that the living room looks strange somehow, different than usual but he can't quite tell from the angle he's at as it's barely visible from the narrow gaps in between the members. It's also... darker than usual too in the dorm, the lights are dim which casts the group in an almost sinister looking light and Chan lets a soft amused noise slip out.
"W-what... are you guys doing?" Chan asks, slowly peeling himself off the door.
Jeonghan gestures upwards, "Celebrating, of course!"
Chan racks through his brain through special dates and tries to remember why today is suddenly special. He tries hard to pull a reason from his memories and flounders like a choking fish when nothing comes up in his brain. Picking the bag up from the ground, Chan tilts his head, "Celebrating... ?"
Clapping his hands together, Jeonghan walks up to Chan and grabs onto both of his shoulders, "The fact that you're officially healed from your injury!"
"Huh?" Chan automatically responds. They don't really celebrate, per say, when one of them heals up from an injury but despite that, Chan can't help the warmth that floods through his body at Jeonghan's words. Jeonghan gently maneuvers him forward and the group parts for Chan, revealing the living room.
Chan audibly gasps in amazement at the sight. A giant pillow fort stands in the middle of the room, taking up most of the space in the room. It's comparable to a giant kingdom comprised of pillows, blankets strewn about chairs and various little stuffed animals taking residence. Chan takes a step forward onto the fluffy rug, eyes twinkling in awe and delight. In the center of the comfy kingdom is a large blanket tent that's held up by multiple chairs and decorated with an assortment of knick-knacks. Despite never being at a summer camp, Chan thinks the living room is reminiscent of one.
Seongcheol pats him on the shoulderblades, "C'mon, change your clothes, get into the sleepover theme like the rest of us."
Chan blinks out of his trance and nods. Mingyu reaches over and takes the bag from Chan's hand as Seungcheol lightly shoves Chan into the direction of the bedrooms. The youngest takes the very obvious hint and walks down the hallway to his shared bedroom, shutting the door behind him.
Chan steps out of the room, now comfortably clothed and barefaced like the rest.
He steps back into the living room and Seungcheol waves him over, patting the space next to him. "Sit next to me!"
The youngest goes over to the center and crouches. The members make room for him to move and he crawls over to Seungcheol's side, sitting down with an 'oomph.' Chan grabs a pillow and hugs it close to his chest.
"What's the plan?" He asks the rest.
"We're gonna," Seungcheol pauses for dramatic effect, "have a pillow party!" The group cheers and claps are heard all around. Chan splutters out a laugh at the vague introduction.
"It's a street rules party too," Soonyoung adds in. "No stops on this train to hell."
Chan's eyes crinkles in amusement, "I thought this was a celebration, why we goin' to hell?"
Seungkwan smacks Soonyoung on the arm, "Don't listen to this fool," Soonyoung lets out an indignant 'hey.' Seungkwan gestures around them. "It's just gonna be our night-time party to relax together. And don't you think this is pretty summery?" The rest nod in agreement, it is quite a summertime moment.
Seungcheol reaches over and ruffles Chan's hair but it catches the attention of Mingyu who copies his movement then it starts to snowball within seconds. Now the rest of group is cooing and babying Chan, a collection of hands petting Chan who has his face scrunched up.
Chan squirms away, brushing away their hands with a huff. The members, once again, coo over him being adorable.
(Chan chases Seungkwan down when he finds out Seungkwan recorded and posted the video of the group cooing over him onto his Instagram.)