The seventeen leaders had always gotten along well. They spent so much time together they had to get along well. But they also shared the same burdens and nothing brings people together quite like complaining. Every once in a while they would go on what the others had dubbed a “leader date” which consisted of going to some restaurant or cafe and talking without the rest of the group listening in. It had become less frequent since seventeen picked up in popularity. In between world tours and comeback going for brunch wasn't exactly top priority
One autumn day a few weeks before they were set to have comeback the 3 leaders decided that enough was enough. They needed leader time. And so they went for brunch. Some of the boys had complained, they wanted to go for brunch too. Seungcheol quickly shut that down calling both leader meeting and girls only event. They had picked a small place Soonyong have found a while back while she was taking a walk it was small and cosy and most importantly they could get a booth that was tucked away so no prying eyes could see seventeens leader line quietly enjoying breakfast.
Originally it was Jihhon who had requested a leader date. She was stressed the pressure of producing for the new comeback was upon her. On top of that, she had feelings. Not that she normally didn’t have feelings. Yes, it was running joke in Seventeen and among carrots that she didn’t have any emotions but it really wasn’t true and they all knew that.
She might just be a little emotionally constipated but that is a whole other matter. The problem with these feelings was that they were more of the romantic sort and she didn’t know what to do about them. It seemed that both Seongcheol and Soonyong were very eager to call a leader meeting as well. They were both very quick to find a date and a place.
When their order arrived Jihoon quickly grabbed her coffee and proceeded to blow on it. It was more of an excuse not to start the conversation, let the other two do it for her. Yes, she called the meeting but she would be dammed if she was the one to start it.
"So Jihoon" Seongcheol began.
"What did you want to talk about?"
"Can’t just go for brunch with my fellow leaders?"
Soonyoung snorted and Seongcheol just raised an eyebrow
"Okay fine" she sighed. "I’ve got these feelings". She waited for the other two to react.
"You're going to have to be more specific, feelings doesn’t really give us much to work with"
Another sigh. "Fine maybe IvegotitbadforaHansolbutI’malesbianandIdon’tknow "
"All I got from that is that you're a lesbian which we already knew". They both looked at her again.
She blushed a deep crimson. "I think I’ve got a crush on him"
"Like he bought me coffee that one time even though he is younger than me and I think he’s sweet kind of crush or I’ve already named all the puppies were going to adopt kind of crush?" Soonyoung asked
Jihoon buried her face in her hands "I've already named our dogs"
Soonyoung and Seungcheol shared another look. "have you talked to him about it?"
"God no, what do you take me for?"
"You do realise you have to talk to him about it?" Seungcheol asked.
"Yeah I know I just up until this moment I've always thought I was gay you know and then a couple of weeks ago I was in the studio with him recording for the new album. I had been looking at the lyrics on the monitor and when I looked up he was practising in the booth. You know that thing he does when he raps. And it just hit me like a freight train I’m in love with this guy, like really genuinely in love with him. And I haven’t been able to be around him properly since. Just this morning I snapped at him for having messy hair for no reason other than my brain couldn’t comprehend how absolutely adorable he looked"
Soonyoung looked surprised and Seungcheol et out a quit "wow" under her breath.
"And I feel so guilty about it." She continued "I watched the guy grow up, I'm to years older than him. I still call him kid for fuck’s sake"
It was quiet for a moment before Seungcheol spoke up: "I don’t think you should feel guilty for liking him yes he's younger but he’s also 20 this year he has been on an adult for almost 2 years now besides we all watched each other grow up that hasn’t stopped us before".
"That’s different". Seungcheol was probably right she should just go to talk to Hansol, but she just couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt every time she thought I thought about him.
"You are probably right I should go talk to him" Jihoon sighed. Soonyoung and Seougcheol nodded in agreement. They continued to eat in silence for a while.
"What about your guys?" Jihoon asked. "You seemed pretty eager to talk too".
Seungcheol was the first to answer: "I met up with Hyunwoo again"
"What but didn't you say it was a one-time thing?" Soonyoung and Jihoon wore matching shocked expressions on their faces.
"Well it was supposed to be no strings attached one-time thing but I met her backstage at a show and we talked she’s an absolute sweetheart. We decided to meet again and this time we didn’t even fuck!"
Jihoon continued listening to Seungcheols story. With the way she was talking about the older girl Jihoon hoped it would develop into something more than just a casual fuck. Seungcheol really did deserve it.
By the time brunch was over they had talked about everything from Jihoon and her feelings for Hansol to Soonyoung and her pregnancy scare. (“You haven't even been dicked down lately” “what if I am the Korean Virgin Mary beside I did fool around with Chan enough to get pregnant” “you did what now?!”)
Upon returning to the dorm they realised (to their collective horror) that they had all three forgotten their keys.
“Fuck this” Jihhon sighed preparing herself to wait until one of the boys got back home. The probability that they had all gone out to eat was quite high. How did the three (supposedly) most responsible in seventeen people collectively forget their keys.
Soonyoung went to knock on the door expecting the dorm to be empty and thus not getting an answer. To their great surprise, a hurried “coming” could be heard from inside the dorm followed by the sound of footsteps. The door swung open to reveal a sweaty Hansol. He was in a tank top that showed of his collarbones and arms he still hadn't done anything about his hair but contrary to this morning it was mattered to his forehead due to the sweat currently dripping from him. He was wearing barely-there shorts that might as well have been underwear, long legs on display.
If Jihoon had been an anime character she would be sporting an incredible nose bleed now she wasn't an anime character, however, she had to stop yourself from outright gaping at the Hansol because holy fuck. Instead of greeting him she pushed right past him making a beeline for the leader room.
He had no business looking that hot walking around the dorm like that. It was not fair to Jihoons poor fragile heart.
When she made it to the leader room she closed the door and set up against it guilt watching over her like a tidal wave.
This was Hansol. Hansol who she had watched grow up; from when he was barely a teenager up until now barely an adult. They still couldn’t trust him with the laundry because he would mix the colours and put too much detergent in. She could not be thinking this way about him all the reassurance the other two girls had talked into her was gone and all there was left was guilt. Hw could she think of hansol in such way?
By the front door, Hansol was standing looking after Jihoon trying to figure out what he had done wrong.
"Is noona mad at me?"’
"Jihoons not mad shes just-"
"tired she´s just tired" Soonyoung broke in. The two girls exchanged looks for what was probably the 100th time that day but said no more.
Back in the leader room, Jihoon decided that if Hansol was gonna go around looking like that she might as well go to the studio and be productive. She grabbed her phone, wallet and keys and threw them into a small bag.
She opened the door into the hallway and stuck her head looking to see if any of her members were there. She didn’t want to bump into Hansol for obvious reasons but it is also didn’t want to pop into either Soonyoung or Seungcheol. She did not need to be told that what she did was rude or that she needed to talk to hansol. She was fine as she was thank you very much.
She had almost made it to the front door when she heard Hansols voice call for her. She decided to ignore him she could almost pretend he was calling out for Seungcheol or Soonyoung
"Noona where are you going?"
Fuck he was definitely calling for her. She turned around to face him feigning annoyance.
"Are you going to the studio?"
Jihoon winced that meant that he definitely wanted to go with her and she really didn’t have the heart to turn him down.
"Can I come? I have a couple of tracks I would like your opinion on"
So much for productivity.
"Sure but I’m not waiting for you to get ready" and with that, she turned on her heel and went out the front door. She wasn't really going to leave him behind, She was going to wait for him in the car. And hansol knew that that was just how she communicated. Once in the car, she connected her phone to the Bluetooth unit in the car. She went through her library trying to pick a song that fit her mood. She ended up choosing some ballad about are unrecruited love queuing up a few more like it for the rest of the drive.
When Hansol came into the car he looked surprised a the choice of music but didn’t say anything.
On the way to the studio, none of them said a word. Jihoon couldn’t figure out if it was because she was being weird or if it was normal. What were they usually like? Did they usually speak? or not? When was the last time she spent proper time with Hansol? TO fill the silence she started singing along to the song coming from the car speakers. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Hansol turning to look at her. She was signing at the top of her lungs to match Adele and she was so into the song she didn't notice Hansol downright starring at her until they pulled into the studio parking lot.
"What" she has maybe a little too harshly because Hansol frowned ever so slightly
"Nothing you just look nice when you sing that's all"
Jihoon tried to fight the blood that rushed to her cheeks to no avail
You see me sing every day, flattery won’t make me go easy on you"
Hansol shook his head and mumbled something inaudible
"What? I could hear you" Jihoon this time a little softer
"Nothing nothing I said nothing that was"
Jihoon shook her head "kids these days she mumbled.
When they arrived at the studio Hansols mood seemed a lot more muted then usually. He wasn’t really talking only answering the questions she asked him with one or two words
"What did you want me to look at," she asked hoping that it would get him to talk a little bit.
Hansol silently pulled his laptop out of his bag and opened up a word document
"It’s a love song and I usually don’t do love songs your way better at it than me I can’t figure out if it’s actually any good or just sappy bad poetry"
"Let me see"
She sat down onto the couch next to him so she could see the laptop screen. Her eyes quickly scanned over the lyrics there was a surprisingly small amount of English lyrics compared to what he usually wrote. The further she got the more she realised this had to be written for personal experience. There was no way a song this heartfelt came from watching a movie at observing somebody else says romance.
"Who is she?"
"Who?" Hansol looked at her confused
"This is about a girl right?"
"Yeah" Hansol looked away.
"It’s okay you don’t have to tell me I was just curious"
"I’ll tell you when I’m ready"
Jihoon noded. "Okay just tell me what this English part means so I can help you with that"
Hansols translation was more of an explanation and she could see his eyes lit up when he talked about her. Somethings inside Jihoon broke a little. Of course, she didn't actually expect anything from hansol these were her feelings and therefore her problems but her heart broke a little hearing him talking about another girl like that. She had accepted that hansol wasn't gonna be hers but hearing hansol talking about someone else made her realise how much it would break her heart to see him with another girl. God she hoped whoever hansol had fallen in love with would treat him right. If the song lyrics and the way he spoke about her was any indication he was very much in love and would be heartbroken if she rejected him.
"These kind of tie in with the lyrics above and below. I’m trying to tell her how beautiful she is because she doesn’t really believe it herself and there is this really good metaphor in English"
Maybe it was for the best. Hansol finding a girl his age outside the band was probably way better than him getting together with Jihoon and this way she wouldn't have to deal with her feelings for him she could just stuff them into a faraway corner of her brain never to be looked at again.
Hansol finished today his explanation and looked at her expectantly. She searched for the right words without letting her broken heart shine through.
"The lyrics, first of all, are great you can really feel the emotions put into this. They are little sappy but in a good way, you know? In the way that love songs are supposed to be. This girl is incredibly lucky to have someone like you" she sent him a kind smile. Goddammit, Jihoon don't cry don't cry don't fucking cry.
She walked over to the monitors.
"do you want to give it a beat" she opened up one of the music programmes. The one she knew Hansol preferred it.
"I was actually thinking of letting it be just piano. She plays and I kind of want it to be her song."
Jihoon nodded slowly and pulled out the piano they had stored in the studio. Yes, there was a digital one in the music programme but she much preferred working with the real thing even if she had to write the scores down by hand.
They spent the rest of the afternoon and evening composing. At some point, one of the members came by with food but quickly left again.
At 1:34 she looked at the clock for the first time since they began and decided it was time to send hansol. They had a schedule in the morning and he needed to be well-rested.
"Hansol you need to go home and get some sleep you have an early schedule in the morning"
"sod do you we both have the same schedule."
"I'm different I have to finish this besides I'm used to running on 3 hours of sleep and coffee. You're a growing boy you need your sleep"
"Growing? nonna I´m 21 I haven't grown in like 4 years and I can make decisions for myself I'm not a baby". The annoyance was clear in his tone
"You can write your love song tomorrow I'm sure Juliet can wait a little while longer. You're barely 21 which means I´m 2 years your senior and you need sleep please just go home and rest." Maybe just maybe she had let some of the heartbrokenness that she was feeling inside slip into her tone in the form of annoyance.
"I’m not a goddamn kid stop treating me like one!"
She was a bit taken aback by Hansols tone of voice. But she was tired heartbroken and most importantly right. "I'm still older AND right so please just go home and sleep"
"Why won't you ever see me as an adult." He was practically yelling. " You always treat me like a little kid kid this kid that. You tell me to eat and sleep like I'm five hell you treat Chan like an adult why not me I'm 21 for christ's sake?" He picked up his bag and stormed out the studio.
Jihoon was left in the studio with a shocked expression on her face. What the hell just happened? It was unusual for hansol to react this way even if he was angry. She picked up his forgotten laptop to close it when the name of the document caught her attention
"For Jihoon," it said. That couldn't be right Hansol was not writing songs about her and certainly not these kinds of love songs yet here document was. Right there with her name on it. Could that be why he got so pissed when she babied him
HOly shit. maybe she almost couldn't think the thought maybe just maybe hansol had feelings for her too? holy shit she fucked up. She pulled out her phone and dialled Hansols number. It went straight to voicemail because of course, he was ignoring her. She tried calling Seungcheol instead maybe he had gone back to the dorm. A very groggy Seungcheol answered "yes?" oh right the time
"Have you seen Hansol?"
a bit of rustling on the other side and the sound of doors opening and closing. " He's not home is everything okay? isn't heat the studio with you?"
"I-yes no he isn't but it's okay ill find him just call me if he comes back" It only took slightly more convincing to get Seungcheol to go back to bed instead of starting an all-out search party.
If he wasn't at the dorm where was he? normally he would go the studio if he was angry but he wasn't there for obvious reasons. but then were? she wracked her brain to try and figure out where he had gone. maybe home? she checked the time. If hansol had run to the bus stop he could have made it to the last bus towards his parents' house She wasn't 100% certain but it was her best guess. She put hansols laptop in her bag and shut down the monitors and equipment.
"please let him have gone home" she wisåpred as a plea into the silent building.
She didn't play any music in the car ride she was too anxious hands gripping the steering wheel so tight her knuckles turned white. whether or not she yelled a little too loud at a guy who drove right out in front of her nobody needs to know.
when she arrived in front of Hansols house she didn't immediately go in. what was she supposed to say to Hansol? An apology was deffinelty in order but how and with what words and after that definatly a confesson that was if he still wanted anything to do with her.
Apparently she had been sitting in the car too long because there was a knock on the window. Outside the car was Hansols mum clad in a rope and with her hair up in a ponytail. She wasn't ready to talk to hansol let alone his mom. But because she was a polite woman who liked to not piss off her bandmembers mother she rolled down the window so Mrs. Choi, so they could talk
"Are you looking for Hansol?" In English
Shit Hansols mum didn't speak Korean. She nodded "Hansol" Maybe she should have worked harder on her English back in school.
Shit. " I don't understand" she stammered out. She definitely should have worked harder on her English.
"Hansol" Jihoon nodded in understanding "is inside" she pointed towards the house"
"he's inside" Jihoon tried in Korean. Hansols mom nodded and repeated the Korean. Mrs Choi moved aside so Jihoon could get out the car and then led her up the stairs and into the house. Once inside she could clearly hear Hansols voice coming from somewhere further inside the house.
"Go on," his mum said pushing to her gently in the direction of the voice. She rounded the corner sitting on the couch next to Sophia was Hansol both of them with hot chocolate in their hands.
Sophia was the first to spot her and she abandoned her hot chocolate in favour of running to hug Jihoon.
"Unnie I missed you!". Hansol turned to see who was there and his face feel when he recognized her.
"Sollie, can we talk?". She chose the pet name carefully making sure to not make it sound condescending.
hansol nodded hesitantly.
"Sophia, can you leave us alone for a moment?" She sent both of them a look that said she wasn't happy with it but left the living room without protest.
"That song it was about me" So much for apologising first.
"yes... I'm sorry if it made you uncomfortable I didn't mean to I know you aren't into guys and that nothing is ever gonna happen between us. I just wanted to get it off my chest and writing it out seemed like the best way to go. I didn't mean for you to find out"
His voice got smaller and smaller as he spoke and he slowly curled more and more into himself
"I'm sorry for the song and for yelling at you I should have just gone to be like you told me to and I understand if you want t distance yourself from me". By the end of his mini-speech, he had curled into himself and he was hugging himself so hard Jihoon was afraid he was gonna pull a muscle.
"Oh Hansol you don't need to apologise you were right I need to stop babying you. you are not a baby anymore I know that. I took my own heartbreak out on you and that isn't fair"
"Your own heartbreak" Hansol said a hint of hope in his voice
Jihoon sighed "I am 100% gay but somehow despite my lesbianness, I managed to fall for you. Hard. And at first I wouldn't even let myself think that thought because I felt like such a coocoo hell I still do but that is something I have to work on. Hansol I am so in love you" Telling it all felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders(or like on of Junhuis A+ backrubs" I also have no idea how boys work but I am willing to learn for you if you still want me. "I also have no idea how boys work but Hansel I’m so in love with you"
"You really mean?"He sounded like he was afraid of her answer his voice small and strained. She struggled to hear what he said
"would I drive all the way out to your parents at" she looked at her watch "3:17 just to lie to you, of course, I mean it hansol I would joke about something like that". She opened her arms and he practically leapt into them. She wrapped her arms around Hansols middle. He was a good head taller than her but somehow they fit perfectly together like two puzzle pieces.
They stood there for a while just wrapped in each other's arms but were interrupted by hansols mother clearing her throat in the doorway. She asked something in English and Jihoon looked up at Hansol for an explanation.
She nodded and turned to hansols mum "Yes please".
When they had finished their hot chocolate the sun was slowly rising and Seoul was coming to life outside the living room window.
"We better get back before Seungcheol wakes for her morning run and realises we aren't there. She will freak the fuck out". Hansol only nodded in response.
The car ride home was quiet . not the uncomfortable tense quite from the afternoon but a nice comfortable chosen quietness only interrupted by hansols snores when he eventually fell asleep.