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To Be A Family

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"Don't leave me, don't leave me, don'tleavemedon'tleavemedon'tleaveme please come back please oppa I’m scared-" she choked on her tears, pulling on her hair with her bloody fingers and ignored how harsh she tugged it, how her glasses fell into pieces on the rough dirt ground, because she deserved it, she deserved it shedeserveditshedeservedit-

No, no she couldn't breathe. Air wasn't getting in her lungs and the solid lump in her throat was blocking her only source of breathing. Her vision was too blurry to find anything distinguishable in front of her and her hands were shaking too much—but she couldn't do a thing. She gasped roughly, clawing at her chest at how suffocating it felt and she could feel her heart thundering against her ribcage, desperate to break free.

She screamed when she felt a pair of arms pulling her, falling on a solid chest and felt the same arms trapping her. She struggled, trying to break free and she couldn't scream because her throat was too dry and scratchy but she wanted out and find them she couldn’t take the darkness she was lost where was-

"Shh... Choheun, jagi, it's okay. I'm here. Oppa's here. The others are coming. You're safe, I promise. Just breathe, please." She heard a soft, calming voice that sounded so close yet so far away. Yet she still felt herself ease up a bit and felt a wave of tranquility wash over her. She felt the person's hand on her back, rubbing comforting circles, and how their chest heaved up and down exaggeratedly and she involuntarily copied their breathing.

She whimpered once her harsh sobbing dimmed down to sniffles and her violent shaking subsided into subtle tremors, burying her face in their chest as tears dampened the jacket they wore.

"You're doing good, Cho-yah. You’re doing good. Just keep breathing, okay? Breathe."

Choheun felt a pair of lips against her sweaty forehead, lingering a little longer before nuzzling in her unruly hair, feeling herself melt into the hug. She hiccuped, hesitantly opening her eyes, meeting her best friend’s dark ones that were filled with worry and warmth-

 


 

"Ittai! That hurts, imouto-yah~"

Choheun sighed meekly, flicking some of the water on his face before dipping the piece of cloth on the bowl with cold water. She ignored her brother's sputter as she briefly nudged her glasses up. "Dohyuk-oppa, please don't mix Japanese and Korean together. It's been the twenty-seventh time in under three hours-" it's really not, "-and it still sounds weird. Maybe even offensive if you consider how it sounds like in our and their respective languages."

The man only pouted playfully, glaring at the snickering woman on the other side of the bed then switched his gaze back to the spectacle-wearing girl. "You're such a party pooper, Honi-yah," Choheun's meek but irked 'don't call me that' was pointedly ignored. Aish... "Anime is, like, the best thing ever in the world." He glared at the woman again when she snorted. "Yah! You agree with me, too, Eunji-yah! That's why I married you in the first place!"

Oh God, her brother was ridiculous. That's not what one would say to their wife for six years and together for nearly eleven.

Thankfully, her sister-in-law flicked the man's forehead with her perfectly manicured fingers that had long and clean nails, smirking smugly at the pained yelp she got in return.

Choheun moved her gaze to stare fondly at the little boy beside Eunji, who's giggling adorably behind his chubby little fingers. Her heart melted at the sight. Again.

"Appa is dumb!" her young, little six-year-old baby nephew chirped happily as if he didn't just insult his father. Choheun tried not to laugh at the incredibly offended look on her brother's face.

"Eunjinie!" Dohyuk cried dramatically, a hand clutched over his shirt where his heart was. "Our strong boy just called me dumb. Dumb, I tell you!"

Yeon (or formerly Park) Eunji looked as if she was done with her husband, red lips pulled down to an annoyed frown and released an equally annoyed sigh. Her eyes were way too fond for Choheun, though. "Yah, he's right, you know. You're acting dumb again, yeobo." She huffed, haughtily flipped her black hair over her shoulder.

Choheun burst into a fit of uncontrollable giggles she briefly muffled as she gently pushed the whining and complaining man back to the pillow. She grabbed the cool small towel, twisting it to remove some of the extra water but not completely, and placed it on his forehead.

Dohyuk frowned at the two, his giggling son and smirking wife, before turning his gaze to his sister. The latter blinked warily. "Jagiya, am I dumb like they said I was? Is your one and only oppa really dumb, Honi?" he went full-on aegyo on her, almond-shaped eyes wide and bottom lip jutting out to a pout, and Choheun almost gave in right then and there because—how in the heck was her twenty-eight-year-old brother still able to look like a handsome K-Drama actor and also look cute?

Keyword was almost.

She was immune to his puppy-dog look by now.

And why must he use her name as 'honi' like honey? Aish, she's just confusing herself with English and Korean.

"Yeah, you kinda are, oppa." She ignored his betrayed whimper (why was he still childish even as an adult?). "And don't call me Honi. I'm not a child anymore." Choheun sighed exasperatedly. He pouted even more. Once upon a time, she loved hearing her brother call her with that nickname, feeling warm and bubbly whenever he did so, but ever since he was diagnosed with a dangerously weak heart (Dohyuk had always been a weak boy) when she was only fourteen back in 2011, she insisted him to drop it. When the disease turned ten-fold with vigor last year, making him collapse at random times, she really wanted him to take this seriously and stop fooling around since no one could ever know when he was going to d-...do stupid things again like standing up after promptly spilling his breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Predictably, nothing worked. As always.

But Choheun didn't have the heart to exactly get mad at him. She secretly loved their bickering over a measly nickname, longing for a piece of normality in their disastrous life regardless of Eunji and their son, Choheun's baby nephew, Jaegoo, trying to brighten up the place.

The honey-eyed girl sighed silently and quietly stood up from the chair to grab her brother's daily medicine. The husband-and-wife duo was now, somehow, engaged in a silly argument so they didn't notice her slipping away. Except for one.

Choheun gently pulled the door closed, hearing it click and sighed, leaning her forehead on the wooden door.

In all honesty, she was scared. Sure, she was about to turn nineteen, practically a legal adult (she's actually seventeen to eighteen outside of her Korean age, but that's beside the point) and had a decent job in a cafe to pay for the bills, her college intuition even if she was already done, and her brother's medical bills with the number of times he lands in the hospital in a week (cardiomyopathy was serious)...she always felt like nothing was ever enough no matter how hard she tried.

Maybe she was just overthinking things again. It's always been like that. Thinking about the worst things instead of the best things in life. Like how there's always a chance her brother could... maybe...survive...

Choheun entered the kitchen with a sulk, her shoulders slumping at her own thoughts. She huffed when her glasses slipped down just a bit. Aish, she needed to at least try to be happy and chirpy around her family (just the three, actually. Maybe four?) for once. Yeah, that sounded like a good idea, to be honest. She sighed, a small smile on her face as she opened the kitchen cabinet.

(She pointedly ignored the glinting knives hanging in the corner and the burning itch on her wrists-)

But when the honey-eyed girl grabbed all the medicine needed, she looked at all of then one-by-one and felt depressed all over again.

She was hopeless. Aish...

"Noona?"

Choheun jumped, whirling around to see her nephew staring with big eyes at her. She released a breath, eyeing the boy with tired amusement. "Aigo-yah, don't scare me like that, Jaegoo-yah. Your noona isn't exactly young forever." She placed a free hand on her chest to feign hurt and smiled when the boy gasped loudly that his whole body moved.

The little boy ran to her and slammed his body on her legs, hugging her tightly, and she brushed his hair fondly. "I'm so sorr', noona! I p-promise didn' mean 'o!" was his muffled response in her stomach, stuttering on a word for a bit. Aigo, he still struggled with some of his words.

Cute.

Choheun giggled, pulling away from his hug, which the boy whined at, to brush her lips on his forehead. He blinked up at her, confused but undoubtedly happy with the kiss (he had always loved her kisses; she still didn't understand why though...).

"I accept your apology, my cute little knight." She cooed, giggling again when he swelled with pride at the name.

Jaegoo puffed his chest out, placing his hands on his hips looking so proud of himself. "Da's righ'! I am a  knigh' who prot-tec' 'ou from evil bo's!"

Choheun shook her head fondly. "You mean evil monsters, Jae-yah." She corrected helpfully.

Jaegoo only shook his head, as if annoyed, pouting at her like she didn't understand what he really said. What? "No! I reall' mean bo's, noona! Like dhose evil bo's dha' hur' you!"

She honestly didn't understand him, what he was trying to imply, but it was still cute. Choheun patted his head, not noticing his annoyed huff, and slowly walked back to where her brother was resting in so Jaegoo could follow. He did, stumbling slightly to catch up to her longer strides and reached a hand out to her with big, hopeful eyes.

She blinked, eyes softening behind round glasses and carefully moved the medication on her left hand to grab his little hand with her right. Jaegoo beamed happily as if she hung the sun and stars (except she didn't notice that).

The two walked in silence as they made their way to the upper floor.

 


 

Choheun left the house when her boss needed her in work after scolding her brother for being so dang stubborn to stay in bed, hug her said stubborn-like-a-mule brother and Eunji and Jaegoo, before dashing outside. Her workplace was a little far, somewhere kinda close, but not really, to a company she never exactly paid attention to (she did, it was called BigHit and ignored it whenever she passed by because she had other important business than think about her old childish dream-), but with some detours she managed to arrive on time. In, like, five minutes.

Lies, she left at four in the morning and travel time took nearly three hours. Her workplace was far, but it's the only job that actually accepted her. Busan to Seoul and traffic in-between was what anyone would expect.

"I'm so sorry I'm late, oppa!" she apologized for the umpteenth time with a bow while tying the apron on her back (surprisingly, her glasses didn't slip off). Her boss had already accepted her apology with a kind and fond smile, but her only best friend and coworker rolled his eyes with a mock-exasperated sigh.

"Cho-yah, how many times have I fu- fudging told you to stop apologizing all the time for something so small?" The short-haired, redheaded man (he's twenty-one or twenty-two), Lee Kaejji, said with a blank and unimpressed face that the honey-brown eyed girl twiddled with her fingers sheepishly.

"Sorry..."

Kaejji raised a brow, "What did I just say?"

Choheun blushed (the male refused to give in and pinch her cheeks as usual 'cause that would mean eating back his words) and giggled nervously. "R-right."

The redhead stared for a few seconds before pulling the younger girl to his side with an arm around her shoulder, ignoring Choheun's adorably tiny squeak, and started directing them to the front of the cafe where all the customers would be son gathering. "Now that you've learned a lesson-" he ignored the girl's small protest, "-we better start working or else our boss will bite my ass and give you another free pass with a cinnamon roll sprinkled in powdered-fucking-sugar."

Choheun peered up at her friend older than her by three years with confusion, not even bothering to scold him for his language. It would be fruitless anyway, since Kaejji was a normally colorful-mouthed man, especially at a young age, but she still disliked curse words (she had not-to-nice memories-). At least he's trying to dwindle it down when she's around. "But unnie’s your cousin.”

"I know."

"Why would she-"

"We just hate each other's frickin' guts, 'kay?"

"But-"

"Don't even ask why she would allow me to work here if we hate each other."

Choheun blinked, furrowing her brows but nodded slowly, letting the subject go. He tried to hold back his cursing, so she'd let it slide. For now. "...If you say so."

Reaching their destination, Kaejji patted the shorter girl's head as if she was a puppy, which made no sense, and grabbed a notepad, winking at the other. "Talk to you later, jagiya~" he walked away cackling as Choheun flushed, sputtering a 'd-don't call me that!' at the male's back. She had the briefest urge to throw her glasses at him for some reason but she didn't because they were, you know, brittle.

Aish, she wasn't a child! Could people stop using honey as her nickname just because Choheun-ie sounded like one?! Especially 'jagiya' since it could also mean honey.

(Only three people in her life actually called her that, but she had some pride to try and be the serious one, okay?)

 


 

"Thank you for visiting!" Choheun bowed politely with a happy smile sent to the last customer that paid.

The older woman only chuckled, "And thank you for serving, jagiya."

When the last customer finally left, Choheun sighed and propped her elbows on the counter, placing a cool hand on her forehead underneath her long bangs after pulling her glasses away. That was exhausting. Since it was the last day until the weekend, the customers multiplied by five and she had to multitask a lot of times. She usually handled the money and drink-making sometimes, but mostly the latter, so her legs were killing her from rushing around and pleasing some customers that had adorable little kids with them.

She had a nephew and couldn't resist playing with them, sue her.

(Actually, don't. She's not that rich at all-)

"You okay there, honeybee? You look like you're dying." Kaejji snorted upon seeing the girl once he got out of the male's restroom, adjusting his shirt that no longer adorned an apron like prior.

Choheun lifted her head up to see her friend in front of the counter, slipped her only source of good-sight back, and pouted (being nearsighted sucked), "How the heck are you not tired, huh?" she remarked bitterly, though with no heat behind it, as the man still looked ready to go run a marathon and look good while she felt and probably looked like death. She may dance nearly twenty-four-seven when listening to songs and could still keep going—but this wasn't dancing. There's a difference.

The redhead laughed, rounding the counter to sling his arm around her shoulder again to bring her to the staff room. The other employees already started leaving, Choheun and Kaejji waving goodbye as the honey-brown eyed girl began keeping her stuff in a simple bag.

"I'm not tired because I did all the easy work." He responded smugly, both walking out of the cafe from the back after he shouted an 'uncaring' goodbye to his cousin who had to stay all night to sign some papers. Ha, served her right. At least the cafe was pretty popular because of how domestic it felt (some idols would come and go, too, but only for a few minutes because, well, they're idols).

Choheun uncharacteristically glared, though it looked more like a kitten trying to look scary than anything close to intimidating. Especially when the glasses weren't helping much with how big they were. Nothing looked scary when her cheeks were round and rosy and squishy. He wished he could bite her cheeks again, but he got whacked on the head and scolded how painful it was the last time he had done it.

"Easy? How is writing down the orders as fast as you can and tell us what they were easy? I can barely write fast without making my handwriting bad! Hangul is hard!"

Kaejji rolled his eyes, "Come on, matcha-yah. Your handwriting is pretty damn cute. Actually, you have the best handwriting I've met so far." The girl blushed but tried to scowl anyway, wanting to look tough despite her baby-face. With a smirk, he added, "Unless you write fast, then yeah- it's crap. Your English is pretty good, though. Even when you're being shaken."

Instead of retorting back, Choheun just sighed and shook her head softly. "Why am I friends with you again?" she questioned more to herself than to the redhead. Then she glared at the man. "Don't call me after a drink, pabo. I already told you that."

Kaejji ignored her and cooed and hugged her from behind, penguin-walking. The girl allowed him to do so and made no move to push him away and leaned her head back on his shoulder (damn her height, she barely reached his lips). "Because you can't resist me and I must protect you at all cost~"

Choheun scoffed, "No, I can definitely resist your idiotic face." The teen flicked his forehead not-too-gently and he flinched back, yelping out a 'respect your elders!' that was swiftly ignored. He never even liked formality much. She furrowed her brows at him in confusion, however, when the words sunk in. "Protect me? What do I need protecting from, oppa?"

Not providing her an answer, the male latched on her back once more and she gave up on getting an answer out of him. He was just as stubborn as her brother, which was saying something. Her whole family was stubborn as her. Kaejji patted her head again like she was some kind of lost puppy that needed to be taken care of at all times—and that made no sense to her at all. Why was she even compared to a lost puppy most of the time anyway? She was not an animal in any way or form.

"You'll understand when you grow up, Cho-yah."

She made a face at that, nose scrunching and glasses going up with the movement. "Oppa, I'm turning nineteen."

"Or eighteen in non-Korean age, meaning still a baby,” he really loved to bring up their international age, huh? “because you're currently seventeen, but same thing." The man said bluntly with a nonchalant shrug as they continued walking in silence. Then it took a moment for Choheun to realize they weren't walking to the usual path they go to. She was about to ask him, but he beat her to it.

"How's Dohyukkie-hyungie?"

She nearly jumped, head snapping to the side but the redhead wasn't looking at her, just staring ahead with an unreadable gaze. Choheun chewed on her lip nervously, honey eyes sliding down to the ground and watch their shoes dragging on the tiled ground. "Oppa is... Oppa's fine. He's doing well and able to consume his food without running to the toilet because he shouldn't be standing much."

"But...?" he prompted slowly, voice soft and not its usual loudness.

Choheun frowned slightly, "...But there's a high chance of his heart acting up randomly again and—and he'll only have a few more years to stay in the land of the living before it gives out." She took a shaky breath, hating how her heart ached at the meaning behind her words. Pathetic. It wasn’t that bad but why did sound like it?

Kaejji smiled sadly, wiping a stray tear she didn't notice with a single finger. She hated herself for that, getting so weak so easily. Then again, her resistance had always been terrible, to begin with, when she was around Kaejji and her unnie or brother. "I'll be sure to visit him this weekend, then." He said and she was so grateful he didn't try to reassure her that everything was going to be alright. Because it's not.

Nothing had been truly alright in her life when the reality couldn't be ignored. Reality was too painful.

Choheun sniffed quietly, nodding her head and smiled weakly. "Yeah, he—he'd like that very much." Kaejji smiled widely in return. Her brother would really like the younger male to visit. Ever since she introduced Kaejji to Dohyuk years ago in her middle-school days, the two immediately hit it on and made it their personal mission to embarrass the crap out of her. If they were paired together, they're like two hyperactive children than adults. Even with the age difference (by six years), Dohyuk already accepted the redhead like a younger brother and Kaejji felt the same way. Don't even get her started with Jaegoo and Eunji. The latter and the redhead were like long-lost twins or something. They were equally mischievous and sly it was horrifying. And with Jaegoo—her poor baby nephew was getting influenced by her foul-mouthed of a friend too much.

At least he never cursed around Jaegoo's presence. Or else Choheun would've chopped his limbs off and she was very experienced with a knife (she cooked in the whole family. Dohyuk couldn't stand too long, Eunji was surprisingly hopeless, Jaegoo was learning, why, and Kaejji couldn't cook shiteu to save his life).

"By the way," Kaejji started, bringing the honey-eyed girl back to reality, "do you mind if we stop by in this building an old colleague of mine works in? I just need to get a few contacts. You can stay in a room I have access to and wait."

Choheun blinked, bemused but nodded. It's not like it was the first time he dragged her around (she wasn’t going to mention that one time they went to Daegu for some reason). "Uh, sure? I guess I don't mind. I'm needed back at home until dinner anyway." She shrugged, her mind listing the medicine she had to buy again since the current ones were almost out.

Kaejji grinned, looking excited and somehow she immediately got a bad feeling about the glint in his eyes. It reminded her of Eunji when she planned on bribing her to sleep on the same bed because Choheun was apparently comfortable to sleep with (Choheun was a cuddler, warm and soft, and the woman loved to cuddle with her sister-in-law a lot... not like the girl ever knew that).

"Great! Let's go!" without letting her recover, the redhead had already grabbed her very small hand and started running to the other direction. Choheun squeaked, hugging her bag closer to her chest as she tried to catch up with the taller male, making sure her only pair of glasses were still intact.

"Oppa! Aish, s-slow down!"

 


 

Choheun felt like gaping.

Actually, no- she was gaping.

Why did she agree to come with again? How in the hell did she end up in Seoul again? Oh, right, because saying no to a friend's request (her only friend) always made her feel bad afterward, obviously

And Kaejji also lived in Seoul, same with her workplace, so there’s that.

(She sucked at refusal. Saying no had always been difficult for her. Unless it was Dohyuk against his medicine. She could say no to that and shove said medicine down his throat.)

Beside her, Kaejji muffled his chuckles, eyes curving to show his mirth as the honey-eyed girl continued to stare in awe at the building front of her. He snapped his fingers in front of her face, "Yah, honeybee, are you back in earth yet?"

Choheun jumped, blinking up at him quickly and then nodded as fast as she humanly could (Kaejji found it honestly endearing). "Yeah! Totally fine, oppa. I'm here. On earth, obviously. Mhmm." She didn't seem to notice the nickname slip.

He chuckled, ruffling her chocolate-brown hair and walked to the entrance door. Choheun followed behind quickly, nearly tripping on her feet to catch up (he had longer strides. Again, screw her height).

As Kaejji talked to the woman behind the reception desk after greeting her with a polite smile (oh, wow, Kaejji polite? Was it the end of the world or what?), Choheun stopped behind him to gawk at everything around her. The interior was beautiful and cleaner than she imagined every time she passed by the building. Well, it took half an hour to enter the building because of the high security she forgot to mention, the company was mostly known for forming BTS.

Yeah, she knew the group. Who didn't? Choheun looked up to them since the beginning. Okay, maybe not, she started searching them up after hearing their first song, but same thing. Early fan or ARMY.

And she was standing in their building. Choheun wasn't one to fangirl (unless she was a big fan, which she was but just wouldn't admit it), but she'd admit she squealed under breath in complete awe. It was just so amazing that they grew up in a small place and became country favorites. In fact, she'd feel like this all the time if she stood where her favorite idols stood. The power they had to inspire people was just amazing.

Okay, she never liked bragging, not one bit (she felt like the scum of the earth just by thinking she was special-), but Choheun was happy she discovered BTS after a week since they debuted. She still had the homemade gift her biggest idol, Min Yoongi, made when he had prepared over three-hundred gifts for their fans attending their... was it a concert or another fan sign? She forgot; that was like almost three years ago already. But still, she was happy to call herself an ARMY since the very beginning, even if she'd never tell anyone that until her death because who'd believe someone like her anyway?

The honey-eyed girl stared at a potted plant standing in the corner, smiling softly. She better stop thinking about it now, or else she knew her mind would take it somewhere different.

Smiling one more time at the spotless and beautifully decorated building, Choheun returned back to her friend's side, convenient that it seemed Kaejji was finished conversing with the woman. The girl hummed and instead walked to the doors, the lights immediately catching her interest and made sure to imprint the image in her head to write a little song about it later.

 


 

"Thank you, seonsaengnim." Kaejji bowed politely to the woman and she waved her hand dismissively with a kind smile.

"You're welcome. Take your time finding what you need." She said before turning away to talk to another person waiting behind the redhead.

Kaejji looked around, finding his friend when realizing he forgot about and his gaze landed somewhere near the glass doors. Choheun was staring with wide, curious eyes behind clear spectacles at the lights outside of the building, looking like a child.

He chuckled softly, smile fond and affectionate. It's so rare to see the teen act like her age, not the unknowingly mature and serious one who refused to be babied when, in reality, she craved for being cared for (she turned into the absolute personification of a soft fluff-ball and a baby kitten craving for affection despite not saying a thing). Something she had been neglected of at such a young age it left an emotional scar.

Kaejji sighed sadly. Then again, that's what would happen to someone when their last living relative and only family had a few more years to live—maybe even months if Dohyuk's heart weakened down more. He sometimes selfishly wished it didn't happen to Choheun. The girl was just too forgiving and pure to grow up so quick and face how harsh reality really was, even if she was nineteen, nearly a grown adult, since she never even had the chance to be a normal and happy kid in the first place (he knew her history and what her pathetic-excuse-of-some-parents did to her and Dohyuk-hyung. If he could, he'd gladly strangle the daylights out of them. Had they ever realize how fucking precious Choheun was?).

Shaking his head and breathed out calmly, Kaejji pasted a smile on his face and poked the girl's cheek from behind.

Choheun jumped, turning around to blink her big honey eyes at him curiously and patiently. He inwardly sighed, see what he meant? This girl was selfless to the fucking core. It was probably unhealthy, to be honest.

"Yah, why are you just standing there, Cho-yah?" Kaejji grinned cheekily, "I almost left you here since I got the keys, you tea lover." He snickered at the indignant and flustered look on her face still apparent with baby-fat.

At least she looked healthy, not like a skinny model (no offense, he had nothing against skinny models or skinny people in general) when he first had laid eyes on her when they were barely teenagers. Dohyuk did a good job persisting the girl to eat more since he knew her diet was pretty damn bad and bordering on unhealthy. It's funny and not funny at the same time how Choheun thinks her brother should eat more when she herself needed to follow her own advice. Dohyuk loved food, so the man knew when to eat when starving and no one could stop him from getting what he wanted (Choheun loved food to death as well, but she just refused to eat because she kept saying she's 'saving money for her brother'. Haha, bullshit. She had a decent amount for herself and she's just saving more since Cho-yah hated wasting money and how much she needed to spend for her brother's medical fees. Why couldn't she do something for herself for once?).

Aish, this girl was too selfless for her own damn good she probably wouldn't care at all if she starved or someone would steal her wallet.

Which was why he should protect her at all cost, duh. If she wouldn't take care of herself, then he would.

Choheun puffed her squish-able cheeks, looking more like an angry kitten every second. Or maybe a bunny since puffing her cheeks meant scrunching her nose. She's never aware of those kinds of things. "Shut it, oppa! Are we going or not?" she scowled, hands on her hips as if to intimidate him. Ah, her fiery personality was showing now, yay. A shy and demure Choheun was cute, he adored it, but he didn't like it twenty-four-seven because then he'd have to give in the urge to spoil her and shower her with soft cookies and fluffy blankets until she was adorably swaddled in it.

Too bad 'cute' was immediately his first thought, traitorous mind. Kaejji laughed, already walking away to the nearest lift he last remembered. "Aish, where's my respect, Yeon Cho-yah? I'm the eldest here and more responsible." He teased her and the girl walking beside him scoffed, nudging her glasses up.

"Can I ask why I'm friends with you again? You're so insufferable." Choheun grumbled cutely with a blush as she pressed the button for a lift.

"Because you're a baby that needs to be loved and protected at all times and I'm the oppa who'll take good care of you until you're old enough to get a boyfriend."

"Oh my-"

Choheun uncharacteristically groaned (she's usually instinctively shy and quiet, but if a lucky one were to get close to her, by lucky one Kaejji meant not him or Dohyuk-hyung or Eunji-noona, she was just an adorable soft little bean with an equally stubborn personality like her brother), entering the elevator first and pressed the floor she remembered him telling her before they arrived, not even waiting for the man as he quickly slipped in before it closed.

"Please stop." She whimpered desperately as the elevator began going up; Kaejji, the cruel, cruel man and best friend he was, only laughed at his dongsaeng's suffering. Teasing her was the best. "You're sounding like Hyukkie-oppa and Eunji-unnie now. And who said I'm looking for a relationship-" she visibly cringed at the word, good, "-anyway? I'm. Not. Interested." She mocked gagging, face flushed red.

Kaejji smirked the smirk he knew would annoy the usually calm girl's nerves. "You can't believe that, matcha-yah~ Who knows? Someone might sweep you off your feet when your oppas and unnie are not looking and we won't be able to keep your attention to ourselves." And punch and threaten anyone who tried to steal you and break your trust.

"Huh?"

"It means you need to hang out with me more!" was what he ended up saying regardless of how he wanted to just shower her with compliments and kisses and hugs and bubble wrap and confess he was ready to plan a murder spree of it meant keeping her safe. 

He was a good oppa, alright?

Choheun lightly smacked his arm, glaring up at him (their height difference was everything-) as her nose scrunched up in confusion and annoyance. "Yah, what does that even mean? I'm always paying attention to you all, you pabo." She muttered shyly. She looked so cute like that, her lips unconsciously turning into an adorable pout that made her gradient lips more eye-catching and pale cheeks puffing up like a chipmunk's. She had always been shy when it came to admitting her love for them since she always thought it was never enough when a small spec of love from her was his entire world.

Aigo-yah, she's too innocent alright. What's a brother going to do to keep the wolves at bay from the oblivious red-riding hood?

Intentionally keep her attention away. Kaejji had a plan made with the help of Dohyuk-hyung and Eunji-noona already.

"Aish, this oppa... I don't need to lose more brain cells when I literally see you twenty-four-seven."

"Aigo, what a mean dongsaeng~! I'm hurt, matcha-yah~"

"You're being dramatic again."

"My harteu~" he said in broken English, clutching his chest as if he got shot. He laughed at the completely offended expression on her face since he knew Choheun was brilliantly fluent in the language (just how was his little baby dongsaeng so good at English but trash at math?). She was fine if others did it, but when he did? He's just purposely butchering the international language and he knew it because riling her up to get out of her shy shell was the best.

Not to the point of angering her, of course. An angry honeybee was a honeybee no one wanted to ever encounter. Like, ever.

"...Oppa?"

"Yes~?"

"Stop."

Kaejji stared down at her while she ignored him with a blank face, looking so done with life. Well, Choheun did mention briefly how if she was given another chance at life, she'd rather stay dead than walk again. And apparently being reincarnated into a cloud was appealing to her. Just what.

"...You're such a mood-killer, Cho-yah. Why can't you be like teenagers these days?" like go party around, talk to girls her age, and no boys whatsoever? Any boys, whether they were genuine or not, would meet his glare and his fist, if the latter was ever needed.

The brat had the nerve to smile smugly at that, looking so proud and too damn cute for him to really be upset he had lost another verbal battle against her. Again. She even ignored his last sentence. What a little shit. He loved her too much, dammit.

"I know, oppa. Someone needs to be an adult, you know."

She had the goddamn audacity to indirectly call him immature. He was twenty-one for crying out loud!

"Aishii! You little brat!"

He still loved her anyway, loved her so much he thanked the world for giving him a chance at having and experiencing what it was like to have a little sister. Not like Choheun was really aware of how she had him wrapped around her finger—and how she could get anyone to bow down their feet with one puppy-eyed look she displayed every day.

(If she did, Kaejji knew she'd just endlessly apologize for being rude to him nonstop when he intentionally allowed her to snap. Aish, she really needed to think about herself. He was getting worried.)

 


 

"Are you sure this is the right room, oppa?" Choheun asked nervously for the tenth time, glancing around the empty hallway as she nudged her glasses, more habitually than it actually slipping since it's her exact size and stuff. Kaejji, who was just done opening the door to a room, rolled his eyes fondly at the worried girl.

"Yah, have some faith in oppa, matcha." He pushed the door open, stepping inside and the girl followed with widened eyes once her eyes observed the room—no, a dance studio.

Choheun gawked, eyes practically sparkling as she twirled around to look at everything before her honey orbs landed on her reflection in the wide mirror. She barely held back a squeal, running close to the glass and stared even more like her reflection had never been so interesting and amazing at that moment.

Kaejji chuckled, knowing how much she had always wanted a dance room to herself (a mirror, too) and privately dance to her favorite songs. Which gave him an idea, actually, as a mischievous grin took over the smile on his face. Wait, no- it's the reason why he agreed to the request his colleague asked him in the first place. A perfect opportunity. 

"Cho-yah?" the sweet little bean whipped her head to him, perking up like a little curious little puppy (as much as he wanted to tell her that, he knew she was going to vehemently deny it and lose a bit more of her self-esteem). "I'm just going to take a quick bathroom break and then find the notes my friend left, if that's okay with you? You can dance here if you want, just make sure not to be too loud. I might take a while."

Choheun nodded fast so eagerly, her glasses surprisingly still not falling, excited to dance in an actual dance studio alone where she would probably see any mistakes she might've made with the recent dance she learned. He was her first audience, after all. "Mn! That's alright with me. Don't take too long, oppa!" she chirped excitedly before approaching a nearby chair and placed her bag on it, zipping the front pocket to pull her phone out and swiped the screen open.

Kaejji hid a winning smirk and left the room, whipping his own phone out and messaged someone he knew.

As he left, the last thing he heard was the sound of Super Junior playing in the room before he closed the door.

 


 

Choheun panted, wiping the small dribble of sweat on her forehead and grinned at herself in the mirror, her reflection following suit. Her hair was tied up to a messy and slightly oily loose bun (she had a sensitive skull), her jacket tied around her small waist and sleeves rolled up. She moved from her last dancing position and grasped the collar of her shirt, pulling it back and forth to gather some cool air to her neck. Her glasses were folded in her casing inside her bag, too (she wasn't blind or anything, just unable to see things from afar).

It's been an hour since Kaejji left, and she had already danced and played twenty-something plus songs. And admittedly, this was the most fun Choheun ever had to herself at the start of the year.

She loved dancing with passion.

She loved moving and controlling her body in a way only she could command, how she's able to let her mind go numb and fall under to the music and instinctively follow the flow of the beat. Just relaxed and—and free.

Whenever she felt herself going that dark part of her mind, the itching urge to feel the swift line she made on her arm so, so satisfying, she forced her body with a lot of effort to move to the music instead.

The feeling she felt bubbling up in her like a blanket of comfort and safety made everything feel like a taste of sanctuary and paradise. Of heaven. Choheun thought she was going to drown in the warm feeling. Her own source of familiarity.

Other than her brother being the only one keeping her from ending it all when their parents had lived with them, music was her other option of comfort.

Choheun loved dancing, it was her life ever since she discovered it when she watched a street dancer as a little child, but she loved singing too.

The feel of pride and happiness upon knowing your own voice was euphoric. Her voice was like her best friend. She could reach notes as high as she possibly could (with no problems) and then sing softly like a lullaby.

It took a while to really get to know her own voice, what her limits were and what she couldn't do, but Choheun was patient (as in, there were times she screamed in frustration and sulked and rolled on her bed and stress-eating at the end of the day with pitiful tears-). As she grew, she always took care of her voice, refusing to sing a note she wouldn't be able to reach so she didn't have to damage her vocal cords (it hurt, and it hurt bad).

And Choheun loved singing more when the people she loved asked if she could sing to them, original or not. Especially Jaegoo. She had been singing to him ever since he was born, vowing to be the best aunt or big sister to the little boy (she had wanted a younger sibling before-). He had always like her singing voice, too; he'd stop crying whenever she lets a gentle hum pass her lips and Eunji was grateful since Jaegoo couldn't behave all the time.

Choheun stood up from her kneeling position on the floor and tapped the play button on her phone, immediately scrambling to position and waited for the first beat to sound.

Ayo ladies and gentlemen-

At the sound of Jeon Jeongguk's voice, she instantly entered her inner dance space and copied exactly how the Golden Maknae acted, expressed and moved. At least she thought so, but she was in her own world so it didn't matter if she slipped some of her own flavors in. Acting hot or sexy was great, by the way, even if she’d rather die than let anyone know that fact.

Junbiga dwaettdamyeon bureulge yeah!

Ttan nyeoseokdeulgwaneun dareuge

Nae seutaillo nae nae nae nae seutaillo eo!

When the maknae's part ended, she quickly changed her position and expression, so deep into the music and listening to Park Jimin's part that she wasn't completely aware of the sound of the door creaking open and a pair of curious eyes peeking in.

Bamsae ilhaettji everyday

Niga keulleobeseo nol ttae yeah

Ja nollajj malgo deureo maeil

The first chorus beginning to start, Choheun spread her legs and clutched the front belt of her jeans, turning her torso up to the left with the rise up of the beat.

I got a feel, I got a feel

Nan jom jjeoreo!

As the first chorus played and the song continued, Choheun danced completely with no trouble, her muscle memory doing it for her while she contorted her face to their expressions or something similar while making sure to also keep the movements sharp, controlled yet smooth and sharp. This choreo was admittedly hard because of the sharp and really fast movements, but she managed to nail every one of them with all her practice.

She was now at the end of the song, her arms moving and exact before turning around with her legs crossed over and her right hand over her head. The song came to an end as she panted tiredly but felt completely satisfied and giddy she wanted to hug a large pillow and squeal into it while rolling on her bed.

And then she nearly fell back at the sound of clapping behind her.

Instead, she whirled around, eyes going wide and flustered as a woman clapped her hands together, a smile gracing her beautiful red lips and features. She had her medium hair curled inside and a neat uniform that was no doubt from this building.

Suddenly, Choheun felt extremely self-conscious when noticing how utterly gorgeous the woman looked. Making sure not to show her thoughts on her face, Choheun bowed shyly but made sure to send a small smile.

"I apologize if I intrude or scared you, but you were amazing!" The woman squealed, entering the room as the honey-eyed girl flushed in embarrassment yet slightly bubbly and hopeful at the praise.

"You- w-were you watching the whole time?" Choheun asked bashfully, timidly playing with her fingers hidden underneath her thin sleeves and avoiding the woman's eyes. She couldn't believe she didn't notice. She should've, honestly, but was it really her fault for falling in deep for something she's passionate about?

Yes, yes it was. She should've known better than to be open.

The woman hummed, smile still in place. "That's right. I was actually passing by when I heard the music through the door. I'll admit, curiosity got the best in me and I must say," she looked at the girl who finally met her eyes, eyeing her with a satisfied hum, grinning, "I'm not regretting that decision at all."

Choheun didn't know it was possible to blush until her face was probably red caused by a stranger and not her family. "O-oh..." she smiled meekly but did her best to be polite, bowing again. "I'm glad you enjoyed it, then."

Almost as if remembering something, the woman snapped her fingers, startling the poor girl, and grinned excitedly. "Ah! I nearly forgot! May I know your name, jagiya?" she asked kindly, leaning closer to the girl and she blushed shyly but nodded slowly.

J-jagiya? "Ch-Choheun. My name is Yeon Choheun." She said with a stutter, a little bemused why the woman would ask her name and immensely mortified at the nickname.

"How cute," the woman muttered quietly, the girl confused since she couldn't hear it, before brightening. "I'm Choi Hyojee, a stylist for a certain group in BigHit, but also a stylist in general. And I was wondering if you're interested in participating in an audition to train and become an idol here. Under BigHit's name, of course."

Choheun's thought process immediately stopped circuit and blanked. "What...?"

Hyojee continued with a kind smile as if understanding what she's going through. "I'm asking if you want to become an idol." She said softly and patiently so the words could sink in the girl's head.

It did.

Yeon Choheun just had a reaction despite how different her mind immediately supplied the answer for Hyojee's request.

"A WHAT?!"

Chapter Text

"What do you mean you said no? Are you out of your mind?!" Kaejji yelled, gaining some people's attention with weird looks sent their way, and Choheun shushed him harshly, cheeks red as a rose as she brought him down face-level with her. Aish, he had no restraint.

"Pabo! I didn't say no, oppa, I said I'll think about it and give my decision tonight!" she scowled, slapping his clothed bicep and the man had the decency to look apologetic. She did her best not to apologize no matter how bad she wanted to (feeling guilty so easily sucked, but she didn't know that).

"Oh, sorry." He chuckled sheepishly, brushing his red hair away as it flopped back down in front of his eyes. He sighed, frowning in confusion. "But still, I don't understand. I thought becoming an idol was your dream, Cho-yah, and you'd take the offer immediately," he stated more than asked because he knew that was her dream since the beginning. Kaejji knew how much she loved to sing and dance and everything in-between, more so when she could make anyone happy when she did.

Choheun smiled sadly. She knew where her friend was going with this and would've agreed wholeheartedly. But... Dream, or family? To her, the answer was obvious. "I know what you mean, oppa. I just- you know-" she huffed in slight frustration, "I can't forget about Dohyuk-oppa. Or unnie and Jae-yah. I can't leave them alone knowing they need my help. And unnie barely has the time to stay for dinner these days, and someone needs to take care of Jaegoo after school."

Kaejji sighed softly. This was why she was too kind. She cared about everyone and everything, putting others first before herself. Most of the time, however, she barely took care of herself. One time, Choheun nearly starved herself to death because her nephew's health was more important, and the only reason why was because she forgot. Literally. She knew she was hungry but forgot and dismissed it instantaneously when noticing Jaegoo holding his tummy (Kaejji was there to witness it one time). Seriously, what the fuck, Choheun. It's fine to care for her second blood-relative, but missing lunch because she was more concerned about the boy was not normal. Especially since she had probably done something like that since the beginning of time—maybe before he even met her. Dohyuk had told him stories, so Kaejji knew.

Scratch that, she only knew how to eat and drink and take care of her family and forgets everything about herself. It was painful to watch knowing nothing could change her mind when she grew up with that mindset.

The redhead patted the girl's head, the teen peering up at him with confused and sad eyes (the fu- that's too cute why-), "It's not my decision to make, no matter how much I really want you to take it, but I think you should talk about this with hyung, Cho-yah." He suggested.

Choheun pouted ever-so-slightly, fingers reaching up to tug on his shirt meekly. He was right. If she wanted to think about the right choice, she needed to talk to her brother about it (maybe with Eunji-unnie, too, if she wasn't busy). She just didn't know what to do. The temptation of finally grabbing a hold of her impossible dream, to become someone people (young kids especially) might look up to, sounded amazing. The missing piece to complete a part of her missing life despite how content she was with it.

But, at the same time, Choheun didn't wanna leave her family and only best friend behind because of a silly, unreachable dream. Her brother could end up in the hospital at any time and she wouldn't be there. Like- what if she couldn't hold his hand or something when he's in the hospital bed lying pale and still? The possibilities kept going on and on and more frightening with each thought.

She needed her brother to convince her that everything's going to be okay. But she's still afraid and her mind adamantly chose the decision to refuse the audition instead of her heart that longed for the dream right on her hand (or phone).

"You're right. I'll discuss it with oppa." Choheun finalized, gripping on the cloth in her fist while looking ahead through her clear spectacles, uncertainty and anxiety hanging heavily in her head like a rock tied with a thin rope and any movement would trigger it.

Kaejji side-glanced at her, lips pursing before looking away. He didn't care if his sleeves were going to be crumpled by the time he dropped her off. If she needed that source of comfort, he'd give it. She deserved more in the world, and he didn't care if he sounded fucking selfish because really, it's nobody's business.

Nobody knew what Choheun had been through, what she had to suffer throughout her whole while, and what she couldn't deserve to have something she wished for that was never there in the first place.

 


 

"WHAT?!" Choheun screeched, flinching at the sound of her own voice and slapped her mouth. Great, she sounded so rude to shout at someone older than her.

Hyojee didn't look bothered at all, just smiling. Which freaked the teen out. Aish, what did she do? "Should I repeat myself?" the woman said with a playful tone and chuckled when the girl shook her head so fast.

"No! No need! I know what you said I just...need a minute...to...process." Choheun's voice turned quiet and soft in the end, the reality of the words finally hitting her.

She could become an idol.

She could finally get the chance to reach out for her dream...

But at the cost of what? Her family? The amount of time to travel to the building was a good two to three hours without any detour (which was honestly rare and lucky she wasn't caught, sorry, but she couldn't do it all the time. Seoul was far) and was it really okay to leave her family behind if, if she actually succeeded in becoming an idol?

Aish, her head was seriously not giving her the chance to properly think this through, just giving her terrible scenarios if she left her brother behind without the usual twenty-four-seven updates. 

Hyojee sighed through her nose with a gentle smile, patting the girl's head slowly as she held back a flinch, eyes wide and confused. "I can tell you have personal reasons for hesitating."

Choheun's eyes widened more in shock and shame, "H-how did you know?" was she that obvious? Then again, she wasn't the best at masking her emotions. At least properly when she least expected it.

Hyojee chuckled, grinning, "The other volunteers that wanted to audition said yes the moment I uttered one word. And this is the first time someone hesitated when I asked, like, twice. Or was it a third time?" she mused amusedly, not annoyed or anything. Just curious. Genuinely curious why she had said no.

The girl lowered her eyes and nodded curtly, "Um- y-you're right. It's—it's personal reasons, Choi Hyojee-ssi. I'm not really sure if I want to try it out, even if there's a high possibility of me not making it through."

Hyojee smiled in understanding, humming. "Please, it's alright, Yeon-ssi. Oh!" she brightened, pulling something out of her handbag and handed something to the girl. Choheun accepted the card with both of her hands and a small bow. "Here's my contact number. The deadline for your decision will be tonight at ten o'clock sharp. By then, please give me a call for your answer whether you want to audition or not. It's totally fine if you refuse, okay?" she said kindly and softly. Choheun peered up and smiled shyly, nodding.

"I- th-thank you, Choi Hyojee-ssi." She bowed until the waist, the woman waving her arms in dismissal at the formality. "Really, thank so much for being so considerate. I'm sorry for wasting your time when others could've taken your offer." Choheun said apologetically and Hyojee just smiled wide, patting the girl's shoulder.

"No worries, Yeon Choheun. I'll be waiting for your answer tonight, and honestly? I really want you to join and win." Hyojee winked, a look in her eyes that distinctively reminded Choheun of her unnie (except didn't notice the excited glint in the woman's dark eyes when she said join).

The honey-brown eyes girl cocked her head to the side, blinking. "Mwo? Why me?" she asked with genuine curiosity and honesty that somehow caused the woman to muffle a squeal that confused her. What was she squealing about? Why was she even squealing? Not that she was judging, of course. She just didn't understand why it was aimed at her.

"Nothing, nothing. I'll tell you soon enough. But only if you pass, though. Thank you for your time." Hyojee bowed slightly, smiling, and walked to the door.

Choheun nodded quickly, stuttering briefly and bowed again even if she knew the woman wasn't looking. "O-of course! You too, Choi Hyojee-ssi!"

Hyojee smiled one last time before waving a hand and exited the room, closing the door behind her.

Choheun was left in the middle of the dance room, staring blankly at the door, before releasing a pitiful whine that forced its way to her throat and fell to the ground on her bottom, wincing. She groaned quietly, burying her face in her hands.

"What am I going to do..."

"Should you really be asking me that?" she heard her brother say with incredulity, sighing and flicking her eyes up to stare at his nonplussed face.

Choheun groaned again, falling face-first on the pillow (her glasses were on the nightstand), causing a little bounce to the bed with Dohyuk grunting at the movement. Her brother's bed was big enough for both of them to fit anyway. Eunji had a good salary.

"I don't know! I mean," she propped herself up with her elbows to face her brother, conflicted and lost, "I would gladly, enthusiastically even, take the offer, but how can I train to become an idol, if I even pass, when my thoughts directly lead back to you? I can't go knowing you still can't even walk to the kitchen yet!" she reasoned, unsure if it's a reassurance to herself or her brother.

Dohyuk stared, eyes soft with empathy and smile gentle as he raked his fingers through her hair, knowing it lulled her with a sense of tranquility and she couldn't even feel irritated he's treating her like a baby becauseshe deeply needed the comfort. Choheun was lost and confused, her thoughts struggling to accept and decide such a simple choice as if she was in the matrix; either the red pill, take a risky chance forward, or the blue pill, pretend nothing happened and continue on to try and become a doctor (why did she use an action movie to compare her situation? Oh, right, Eunji was surprisingly a huge fan of western action movies). She wanted to because of her brother, actually. But, at the same time, she wanted to help people through music when no one else did for her and her brother back then.

(Not even their parents-)

Choheun massaged her temple to ease the faint form of throbbing and ignored the last thought instantaneously. God, what was she doing again? It's just a simple 'yes or no' question, dammit! Why did she have to complicate something so easy?

"Choheun."

The said girl snapped her head up so fast, eyes widening at the use of her first name. Dohyuk never called her that unless it was important. He didn't even call her with a nickname or a pet name, and those were his usual choice of names for her. Never her given name.

"O-oppa?"

Dohyuk chuckled lightly, placing a hand behind her head and pulled her to his chest, letting her rest against his thin and pale body. She stilled, confused, but hesitantly wrapped her arms around him and snuggled in his shoulder, breathing in the scent of home and her brother and relaxed with an exhale.

"Take the chance, Choheun." He said with finality, face serious.

Choheun blinked, taken aback. "I- no, I don't think I will." She still stuttered anyway, ignoring the hesitance in her. She couldn't take it. Others could be better and—and she was fine, she was okay with it (she might regret it but it's her fault entirely if she felt that way). She had other important things to be concerned about, not chasing some childish dream just because she couldn't do a single thing as a kid. She knew better than that. She knew.

Her brother softened, "Oh, Choheunnie-yah." He sighed sadly, realization flitting in his eyes. "It's because of me, isn't it." It sounded more like a fact than a question and Choheun felt her face burn in shame. Why? She didn't know. Her brother just sounded disappointed.

When she only avoided his steady gaze, Dohyuk sighed again and brushed his lips against her forehead. "Jagiya, I already told you I'm doing fine—great, actually. Better than before. I'm not going to die or anything, just a little weaker than most humans. You don't need me to hold you back."

Choheun narrowed her eyes at him, lips pulled down to a frown, "That's the thing, oppa! You're going to end up in the hospital anytime and anywhere and I won't be there and I'm worried I'll be too late! I don't need to become an idol, okay? I'll—I'll make enough money on my own to help afford the hospital bills you need because Eunji-unnie and Kaejji-oppa can't always help because unnie has Jaegoo to take care of a-and Kaejji-oppa doesn't need to waste his own time doing something can manage and—and I- y-you-!"

She didn't realize her breathing picked up or the tears steadily streaming down her cheeks, dampening the sheets below her. She gasped, a lump heavily stuck in her throat no matter how much she swallowed, her heart feels as if it's getting scratched and her ears were beginning to ring and she couldn't get the air she desperately needed and why couldn't she do better she's going through a panic attack-

Choheun yelped as her face was full of thick cotton and hands rubbing her back, rocking back and forth.

"Shh... It's okay, baby. Jagi. It's okay..." Dohyuk's calming, deep voice rumbled in his chest and she whimpered, swallowing big gulps of air as she grabbed onto him tightly she was sure she might've left a bruise.

She buried her face on his chest, trying to stop the tears but they kept ignoring her pleas and she could feel the wetness forming on her brother's jacket. "I'm sorry, oppa. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'msorryI'msorryI'msorry-"

(For being like this, for being your sister-)

Dohyuk held her shaking body close, hugging just as tight as the grip she had on him. "There's nothing to apologize for, honeybee. I understand why you're hesitant about this." He's so understanding. He's always understanding and kind and caring and he used to have a lot of amazing friends but they left him because they didn't want his disease and he didn't have much time to live since his heart was gradually getting weaker every month and here she was, thinking about whether or not she should become a fucking idol-

Choheun cried even harder, voice cracking. "Don't leave me, oppa. Please don't leave me. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do..." she hiccuped, curling up into a ball on her brother's lap. The fight left her immediately and felt drained and emotionally exhausted. She just couldn't get the thought of if she was ever an idol, she would never know when her brother actually needed her and that was her fault for chasing a dream that was never important than her family.

"I will not—never leave you, cheonsa. I'd never even dream of it." He said firmly, pulling away slightly, ignored her sad whine, to cup her face and wiped her tears with his thumbs, smiling. "But for once, think about what you want. What you really want."

Choheun sniffed, feeling her eyes puffy and nose runny. What—what she wanted? Wasn't it obvious what her mind wanted? "But—but I have to-"

He cut her off sharply, "No, Choheun. Don't pursue something you really don't wanna do because of me." He paused, staring at her face, looking for something, then sighed. She assumed he didn't find what he was looking for. She mentally apologized for that- "How about this; when you become an idol and debut, I'll watch you on TV or YouTube. All the time. When it even mentions you. And if you're busy, I'll text you and call you until you get tired of me and finally tell me to 'fuck off' at five o'clock in the morning-" he ignored Choheun's quiet 'language', "-and if there's a slight problem with me, and I can't respond to your messages, I'll order Eunjinie to do the same instead. Maybe even pull Kaejji in and Jaegoocchi—when he could properly read and write, though."

Choheun couldn't help the traitorous giggle that bubbled its way out her throat, sniffling here and there (she didn't notice her brother's relieved smile at the sound). "Oppa, you can't just order unnie around. I think she'll kill you first before your heart does." She hated the word with a passion.

Dohyuk scoffed, puffing his chest. "So? Yeobo's as stubborn as me, jagi, but I'm still her husband." He said confidently, smirking. Yeah, right. He cowered easily when Eunji raised a non-threatening wooden spoon that somehow did look threatening and waved it around menacingly. Sure.

Choheun rolled her eyes so hard she felt her head move along with it, smiling shakily as she wiped her moistening eyes. "Okay."

"And besides, if Eunji-yah won't do it, I could always guilt- wait what?" Dohyuk stopped his sentence almost instantly, wide eyes snapping down to meet hers and lips parted.

She met his gaze head-on, eyes determined and lips in a firm line, even if she was still shaking with small tremors. "I'll do it. I'll audition." Even if she wouldn't win, she'd do it for him. 

Right?

The man gaped, looking more like a goldfish every second because of his blonde-dyed hair, before Choheun yelped (she did not squeal!) when she was pulled to another tight hug—but this time, she was on top of him since he fell back down on the mattress.

"Oppa!"

"My baby honeybee is growing up!" Dohyuk cried dramatically, peppering kisses all over her face and she was too ticklish and sensitive not to burst out giggling. What's wrong with her brother? She only said she'd try the audition out, not as if she became an idol already. She tried to push herself off of him, failing as she was still weak from prior. And even if he was bedridden, Choheun had always been on the weak side when it came to strength. Literally (her height was another topic). "Oppa, please- I c-can't breathe!" she laughed wetly, Dohyuk turning them around so he was hovering above her and began attacking her ticklish sides, blowing air on her sensitive neck and Choheun promptly died.

Her number one weakness was any touches on her neck.

"OPPA!"

"Yah, what the hell is going on here?" she heard an annoyed-yet-not at the same time voice of Eunji and—wait, when was the door open? When was Eunji even home?!

"Unnie!" Choheun squeaked, hiding her face with her arms crossed in front of her face and Dohyuk finally stopped his assault. Thank fricking God. What came with a weak body came with terrible weakness against tickles.

"Eunjinie-yah! She said yes!" her brother shouted loudly as if he wanted the whole damn neighborhood to hear him. Wait, what did he mean she said yes? Did unnie know the whole time or somethi—oh.

Lee Kaejji.

Right.

Note to self: keep Eunji and Kaejji away. Even on social media.

She peeked over her arms to see and hear Eunji squeal just as loud (oh my God quiet down!) and quickly joined them in the bed by tackling them and—yah! Choheun couldn't breathe for the third time in under an hour!

"Aish, get off me! You two are giants!" Well, her height didn't exactly change in the past two years—but that's beside the point right now! She was suffocating!

And they finally did, thank the heavens. Choheun sat up, breathing the precious taste of air and glared at the two as she did so. "I expected better from you, Eunji-unnie. Are you two trying to kill me instead?" she scowled at the utterly perfect image of innocence on their deceitful faces of angels that were secretly mischievous devils underneath. She didn't like swearing, but what the fuck.

The woman had the gall to smirk, flipping her silky black hair behind her. Was it just her or did the light in the room literally reflected Eunji's hair?

"But still, did you really say yes, jagiya?" she repeated and Dohyuk looked at her, both sporting looks of anticipation and eagerness.

Choheun stared between them, chewing on her bottom lip because she had the feeling her brother already told his wife beforehand and damn her small circle of mischievous devils. Even Jaegoo and Kaejji.

She sighed, nodding in defeat and the two supposedly mature 'adults' started cheering and jumping on the king-sized bed (what a relief).

"YESSS! Aigo, my baby sister is becoming an idol!"

There's a really high chance she won't.

"She's going to do great, yeobo!"

She's going to die.

"I know, right? They have to accept her or else!"

Uh...

"Choheunnie has such a beautiful voice that anyone would kill to have!"

Please don't kill her...

"Her face, too, Eunji! My honeybee has the face of an angel!"

What.

Choheun huffed a laugh, smiling fondly at them and their weirdness. She didn't even audition yet and they were already becoming like excited parents watching their kid go off to school for the first time (except she wasn't a kid, so maybe something was wrong with them). Aigo, she never really understood how creepily alike they were.

But... She decided that she'd take that chance. If this was what she got with her choice, her brother's beaming face and her older sister's ecstatic gushing, then yes, she'd do it.

Just for them.

(But what about herself—no.)

 


 

Choheun sat on her bed, fiddling with the phone in her hands. She chewed on her bottom lip, certain it was slightly swollen with how much she bit it today. Her eyes repeatedly glanced at the clock on her nightstand, watching it tick to '09:58'. Choheun breathed in, eyes closing, then out, letting the air in her lungs deflate slightly.

Why was she so nervous? She made the decision already. She said yes, she'll audition to become an idol but—but why was she still hesitant? It's not like she was really going to win. She's not that hopeful or optimistic.

Choheun twisted and flopped back on her bed, bouncing slightly at the sudden movement and weigh from her and stared up at the ceiling, resting her phone on her tummy. She lifted an arm up in front of her eyes, clenching and unclenching her hand, before slowly pulling the long sleeves of her pajamas down slowly. She winced at the sight of the angry pink lines on her wrist, staring at the size of the cuts and inadvertently wondered which of them had the deeper ones.

Choheun sighed, quickly pulling the sleeves over her hands to hide it and her arms fell limp on her sides. No, she wasn't going to think about it. She's making a big decision today, and if she approached her drawer, it's going to take two hours to realize what she had done to herself. Again.

The girl jumped, squeaking when she felt a sudden vibration from her phone, nearly rolling off her bed or throwing the said phone to the wall. Instead, she fumbled with the small gadget and stared at the screen, the name 'Choi Hyojee-ssi' blaring brightly in the dimly lit room.

Realizing she didn't do a thing in a second, Choheun quickly swiped the call button and placed the phone in her ear, chewing on her bottom lip again.

"Yeon Choheun?" was Hyojee's voice from the other side of the phone.

Choheun could feel her heart nervously thump heavily in her chest. She gulped inaudibly, "Choi Hyojee-ssi! G-good evening!" she cringed at her squeaky voice, small and nervous. Aish...

The woman huffed an amused chuckle, "Good evening as well, jagi." She greeted back with a chirpy voice, something that confused the girl, especially the insistent nickname, but thought nothing of it a second later when Hyojee continued. "So...have you made the decision? What's your answer?"

Choheun breathed out slowly, gripping the cloth of her pants and willed the words to get out of her mouth. "When's the timing, Choi Hyojee-ssi?" Well, that's a little better to say yes anyway.

She could practically feel the woman's abrupt burst of excitement through the phone. "Oh, thank God! I was worried there for a second," Hyojee cleared her throat, perhaps embarrassed at losing her cool like that, getting her professional front back in place. "The audition takes place tomorrow at twelve sharp. No later than that or else the doors close to visitors. I'll be the one helping you through the security, but if I'm not there on time or late, then just tell the guards that Choi Hyojee sent you." For some reason, Choheun could somehow feel the woman winking.

A breathy laugh escaped her throat, smile making its way to her face. Hyojee wasn't that bad, she was pretty cool. "Yes, I got it. Any, um, advice I could use?" she asked, unsure if she should ask or not. Did that count as cheating?

Hyojee only made a happy sound, if that made any sense (it didn't, to her at least). "Well, before anything else once it's your turn, they're going to ask you a few questions. I'm not going tell you all of them, obviously, but here's a few of them; 'what can you do', 'when were you born', and 'what are you going to sing and dance'. Those might be the main ones, but whatever. I don't really pay attention to those kinds of things. Oh, and be yourself. Don't panic or anything; just imagine you're alone in the room." The sound of movement made it seem like the woman had waved her hand in dismissal.

Choheun nodded, even if she knew the other couldn't see. It was instinct for her to respond like that. "Understood. I'll see you then?"

"Yup. Get plenty of rest for tomorrow, Choheun-ah. Don't forget to practice as well before you go. Goodnight~" the woman made a flying-kiss sound and the girl giggled. Hyojee was pretty funny. She reminded her of Eunji a little.

"Goodnight, too, Choi Hyojee-ssi. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Later~"

The call ended, a ringing sound of it echoing in the room.

Choheun stared at her phone for a moment before breathing a long sigh of relief, falling back on her bed and threw an arm over her eyes to block the light, smiling. Then a heartbeat later, she whipped her phone up and stared at it like it was an alien.

"Did she just call me 'Choheun-ah'?"

 


 

"-and baby, make sure you don't force your angelic voice to a range uncomfortable for you, okay? And don't forget to drink lots and lots of water! Stay dehydrated! And sunscreen! Don't forget the sunscreen, honeybee!"

Choheun rolled her eyes fondly at her brother, watching the view of the city outside the window and leaned on it. Beside her, Kaejji sniggered, having overheard of the conversation with the older man. Dohyuk could really be a kid sometimes (especially with the best, ironic nickname for the girl. Choheun despised honey with her entire being regardless of having a glossy hue of honey around the iris of her eyes. She just hated it and its sweetness; basically she hated sweets in general except ice cream, Twix, and milk chocolate and some other small treats she never usually nibbled at on a daily basis).

"Aish, this oppa of mine is crazy..." she grumbled under her breath, Kaejji snorting, and an indignant shout resonated from the phone. Oh, right, it was on speaker-mode. Not exactly her fault, honestly speaking.

"Yah! What did you say?"

Choheun giggled innocently, smiling (Kaejji shuddered; the girl could always look like a demon when she wanted to be without even trying). "Nothing, Dohyukkie-oppa~" she said sweetly, eyes curving up behind golden-rimmed spectacles until they looked like crescents. To Kaejji, she literally looked like the epitome of innocence—when she's confused or lost. She just looked like a prankster (though she couldn't trick anyone except her health).

Dohyuk sounded wary, "Honeybee-yah, I just felt a shiver down my spine. Why do you sound like that? You only do that when you plan to bribe me with something."

Choheun scrunched her nose, pouting. She leaned away from the window to lean back on her seat, staring down at the sleeves covering her fingers (why were her fingers so small?) "What are you talking about? I don't bribe you, oppa." In fact, she didn't know how.

...Maybe she did when it came to his medicine.

"Fine. Let me rephrase that; blackmail."

"Ai, that sounds evil," Choheun was confused, blackmail was something only Eunji and Kaejji would do whenever they asked her for something. She was sure she never asked them for anything.

"But you are!"

Choheun made a pitiful whine, staring at her phone in confusion as if it's the reason for all her problems. Kaejji chuckled, but inside he was cackling like crazy. She was so clueless and oblivious most of the time it was kind of sad. Choheun never realized how whenever she absently wanted something, not aware she had said it out loud or made it obvious, and the three of them (Kaejji, Dohyuk, and Eunji) would immediately follow her request like a bunch of loyal dogs when she accompanied her words with a lost, wide-eyed look with lips pulled down to a pout. Most of the time, she got so baffled why they end up getting the stuff she had secretly wanted and felt bad so quick, thinking she was selfish and it's her fault, but they hastily reassured her that they wanted to buy it for her. It took a long time to convince her. So she's pretty oblivious and Kaejji planned to keep it that way.

Besides, Choheun would never say what she really wanted aloud, but they could see the subtle body ticks and mini habits she usually did whenever she liked something but never made a move (like furrowing her brows together with focus as if debating whether or not she wanted it, or doing that while nibbling on her bottom lip). And yeah, they bought it for her without telling her the real reason.

Again, Kaejji shook his head, Choheun really needed to think about herself and what she wanted.

"Matcha-yah, we're almost there." He said, turning the wheel to a drop-off lot. Choheun briefly glanced at him and nodded. She tapped on her phone to off the loud-speaker option and brought the phone up her ear.

"Oppa, I have to go." She said and heard the older man pause for a second, before sighing.

"Okay, baby. Just do your best, okay? I believe in you. Fighting!" he used a sweet, childish voice in the end and Choheun giggled, lifting a small fist momentarily.

"Fighting!" she said quietly, smiling.

Choheun ended the call, breathing out slowly as she placed a hand on her chest, feeling her heartbeat calming down just slightly.

"Nervous?"

The girl faced her friend, who had his gaze ahead but a smile was on his face. She made a small hum as her answer, not saying anything but not denying it either as she shuffled in her bag and pulled out a small sunscreen bottle to quickly apply it on her face since in the morning the sun was a little hot, despite it being February. Kaejji accepted the answer nonetheless.

As Choheun finished applying the cream on her hands, rubbing them together and on her face, Kaejji pulled over near the drop-off lot since there were other cars as well. He turned on his seat, watching the honey-eyed girl click her seat-belt off and push the door open.

"Cho-yah," he said softly. The girl was out of the car, just hovering near the hood of the car and blinked at him.

"Yes, oppa?"

Kaejji smile, pearly teeth showing slightly and cocked his head, his red hair falling over his eyes. "Fighting!" he said, a fist already up for the girl.

Choheun blinked behind her glassed again then giggled sweetly, doing the same gesture as well and smiled. "Fighting!"

When the girl closed the door with a soft sound and vibration from the movement, Kaejji stared at his friend's back through the window as she walked away before turning back to the front. He switched the lever and turned the wheel around for the car to follow suit.

As he drove off, the view of the building getting smaller and smaller, Kaejji glanced at the mirror to see Choheun disappear into the doors, her figure no longer seen. He sighed, gripping on the wheel firmly as he switched his gaze to the traffic light. Red.

"Good luck, jagiya."

Green.

 


 

What was she doing here again?

Choheun felt a dribble of sweat rolling down her forehead and quickly wiped it away, swallowing nervously as she felt a burst of uncomfortable butterflies flutter in her stomach like crazy. It wasn't comforting the very least, honestly speaking.

She tried so hard not to fidget in her seat, staying still like a statue as she watched girls and boys walk (all beautiful and probably more talented than she'd ever be-) through and out of the door where her fate would be decided (hah, fate, as if). Some of them looked hopeful, some upset, and others were just emotionless or indifferent. She envied them for their amazing control of their emotions.

Choheun bit back a sigh, pulling her glasses away to minutely rub it clean with her smooth sweater. She thought she'd be fine, really, but now she felt like panicking and just rewind time to forget this moment from ever happening in her life. The anticipation was positively killing her, even if she had just been sitting in the same place for nearly an hour, courtesy of the many contestants participating.

She wore her glasses back, choosing to whip her phone out instead. Only to blink in surprise when she stared at the unexpected message in the center of the lock screen.

Choi Hyojee-ssi
good morning Choheun-ah! 
(  ◕✿)

It was sent ten minutes ago. Choheun blinked again, then muffled a giggle wanting to really get out with her sweater paws when an older girl beside her glanced at her in slight annoyance before turning away(so sorry!).

She swiped the message to the right, holding the phone properly to type a response back.

YC
Good morning, Choi Hyojee-ssi. :)

Choheun was somehow not surprised when she got another message almost immediately (thank gosh her phone was silent since she got out of the car).

Choi Hyojee-ssi
aigoyah, just call me without the formalities, Choheun-ah (◕‸ ◕✿) we might be coworkers soon!

Choheun smiled in amusement, especially the cute emoticons the woman was using (which was an odd contrast to her strict look—but who was she to judge? It was cute, and Choheun loved cute things- not that she was going to admit it), thumbs tapping on some letters quickly.

YC
Sorry. Is Hyojee-ssi better?

She felt horrified at the message she sent without thinking. It sounded too familiar and maybe a touch disrespectful!

But the woman was first to respond before she took it back.

Choi Hyojee-ssi
...no. but it's better than Choi Hyojee-ssi, admittedly. i'd be happy if you call me Hyojee-unnie, but i have a feeling you're not comfortable with that. hm?

She released a breath she didn't know she was holding. Then she quirked a brow when she fully read the message twice. Hyojee-unnie?... Well, honestly, it would make her feel uncomfortable because she wasn't close to the woman who deserved more but, at the same time, she was too shy to really say it (or type it, whatever).

YC
I'm sorry, Hyojee-ssi...ㅠㅠ

Choi Hyojee-ssi
aww, it's okay! i wont make you do something you're not okay with

Choheun smiled bashfully yet touched that the woman would say that to her, so considerate but felt a little bad for not being able to use the honorific. Aish, she always makes everyone feel so understanding that it's her fault for having personal issues that refused to call anyone in a familiar manner. It took nearly a whole year to call Kaejji oppa after they met, after all.

YC
Thank you for being so understanding. I won't disappoint you again.

Choi Hyojee-ssi
there's really no need, and you're welcome. take as much time as you can. i actually wanna get to know you more! even if there's a tiny chance you might not pass the audition, but meh

YC
I...think I feel the same way, too. You seem amazing already, Hyojee-ssi. I look up to you

Choheun mentally giggled at the response she got.

Choi Hyojee-ssi
uwaaaah! you're so cute, Choheun-ah! i feel so lucky to have such a cute hubae!

Choheun blushed at that, nearly dropping her phone in the process of letting the words sink in her head. A cute hubae? She's so certain she could never understand why most of the people she knew (now five) continuously kept calling her such things. Cute and adorable, or even beautiful or anything related to the words paired with her name when she was really anything but. She was just...

YC
Ah, you're making me blush...

Except she really was. Her cheeks felt hot.

Choi Hyojee-ssi
omo, i somehow feel accomplished about that hahaha ^^ by the way, did you have your turn yet? i want to know how you did

YC
No, not yet.

Right when she sent that, the glasses-wearing girl nearly jumped out of her seat when her number was called, whipping her head up with the expression of a deer caught in headlights. The one who called her, a female employee, was peeking her head out of the door, holding a clipboard in her hands.

"Number twenty-two?"

Quickly scrambling up to her feet without looking panicked or a total idiot in front of incredibly talented contestants, she tucked her phone back in her bag and sling around her shoulder, straightening her back. "That's me." Her voice was thankfully composed holy crap.

The woman smiled and nodded, motioning her. "Please come to the room." Was all she said before turning back in the room. Choheun clutched her bag tightly and followed her, avoiding any eyes following her form.

Upon entering the room, Choheun could see a table on the right with three chairs, and sitting on them were two males and a female. Her eyes immediately flicked down to their name tags on the table and already felt anxiety beginning to fill her body.

Bang Sihyuk, Kim Sejin, and Yong Daeun. The CEO of BigHit, one of BTS' managers, and the head-stylist of the company.

Well, fudge. She could faint right now.

Choheun didn't know what to do, just staring like a lost puppy, and the woman who called her prior must've noticed as she gently took her bag and led her to the center of the room, wide and spacious. The woman placed her bag somewhere on a chair near the door but the girl wasn't fully paying attention, just nervously playing with the sleeves of her sweater as the three judges scrutinized her after reading her profile. Daeun was already writing something down on her clipboard, nodding to herself before looking back up to the girl, smiling kindly.

"May we know your name, sweetie?" the beautiful woman (who looked to be in her late-twenties but was actually in her mid-thirties) asked gently, voice soft. They probably already knew her name, and maybe her birth date and so on, but she didn't mind answering.

She's freaking out anyway, so following sounded amazing at the moment.

"Yeon Choheun."

"Birth of date?"

"S-September one, nineteen ninety-eight." She stuttered a bit, blushing because she knew she coincidentally shared the same birthday as the Golden Maknae (why wasn't she born in any other day?).

All three of them simultaneously lifted their brows in obvious surprise, which made her retract the thought that they read everything about her. Sihyuk especially looked intrigued, a thoughtful look on his face but, nevertheless, remained unreadable to her.

Um...why?

"Are there any languages you can speak?" This time, Sejin was the one who had said that.

Choheun blinked, her shoulders already relaxed without knowing it. "Uh- English. Just English." She said confidently with a nod, though the nod seemed more of a reassurance to herself than anything. But nonetheless, she was fluent in English without messing up the letter 'z' sound. English had always been a uniquely strange language, especially why it was necessary to have 'ch' sound like 'sh' sometimes but—again, she wasn't going to judge.

Sejin hummed, writing something down. Daeun appeared happy for some reason.

"What can you do, Yeon Choheun-ssi?" Sihyuk.

Choheun stuttered a bit, still not meeting their eyes since it might seem rude. Just somewhere on their faces or below their eyes—cheeks, on their cheeks. She was going to die. "I-I can sing and dance." Okay, she wasn't the most confident of girls, but who could even blame her? She was standing in front of three amazing people, auditioning to become an idol—who wouldn't be nervous? She definitely was. Her legs were shaking so much (subtly, of course) she was surprised she's still standing ('I'm still standing, yeah, yeah, yeah-').

"What about rap?" the CEO asked curiously, raising a brow.

Choheun unwittingly released an airy giggle, eyes curving just a bit from the small smile on her face. Rapping was never her forte. Even if she always wanted to rap like her biggest idol, Min Yoongi's lines, her voice would be uncomfortable and too awkward-sounding. It's too soft. She could only soften it up and somehow turn rap into normal vocals, just fast-paced. She was that bad at rapping. But she still wished she could. "My voice is too soft to rap. I highly doubt rapping could even save my life." She admitted shyly, resisting the urge to slap her mouth at the informal way she spoke.

But the three didn't seem bothered. If anything, they looked amused and welcomed the minor humor.

Which really confused her, but bit her tongue from saying anything.

"Are you ready, Yeon Choheun-ssi?" the head stylist questioned, tapping her pen on the table in a beat Choheun was very familiar with; BTS' 'I Need U' song.

Did she know the song?

Well...of course she did.

She mentally shook her head. The girl took a deep breath, releasing it with her fluttering nerves and nodded determinedly, lips firm and body ready as she tucked her glasses away. Sihyuk signaled someone behind Choheun and the sound of the music rolling began to play.

Choheun laid on the ground, body relaxed and controlled, breathing out, and allowed herself to get lost in the first beat of the music with the words drifting pass her ears, facial expression morphing with the feel of the music and immediately became one with it.

Fall (everything)

Fall (everything)

Fall (everything)

Heuteojine

With that part, Choheun was sitting up, back bent and a leg brought up as she lip-synced to Min Yoongi's part. She was up in no time, expressing how the song felt with her body movement, precise and smooth, as she moved and rolled her hips and body with the chorus. Her mind was hazy and lost in the music, rolling her upper body while sliding her hand from her chest to her neck, eyes closed.

Choheun's sharp coordination with the choreography allowed her to dance as if the music was one with her, playing to her will. A content smile was on her face as she continued to dance, happy she got to dance in a way she wanted and how she wanted it to feel as if she was just alone in the room like back at home again.

The music stopped abruptly and Choheun followed suit, eyes flying open with a newfound determination within their honey-brown orbs.

The little bud of excitement was slowly blooming. She felt like a child again, when she told her brother she wanted to become an idol, to reach out regardless of the cons that came with the job.

Maybe chasing a dream wasn't too bad.

She was willing to try before it slipped through her fingers.

Chapter Text

Kim Namjoon could feel the uncomfortable tension in the air in the room.

He eyed his eldest hyung who was busy humming one of their next comeback song (Fire) under his breath as he washed the dishes, then at the eldest rapper looking half-asleep on the table while listening to a music sample he was testing out, then at Hoseok who was staring out the window with a thoughtful expression, then to the maknae line all spread around the couch. Jimin was scrolling down on twitter with his phone, and Taehyung and Jeongguk were playing a game he couldn't remember the name of.

Despite all of them looking normal, doing their own normal thing on a weekend, the tension was unmistakably hanging over them but pointedly chose to ignore it as best as they could, not wanting to snap at each other by mistake.

Namjoon didn't blame them. Ever since Sejin and Bang PD-nim told them the news about opening an audition for the first time in a while last month, they had been briefly excited to see some new trainees. But when Bang PD-nim finished what he said, that they were going to get a new member, all of them had frozen, saying something about opening up more to the fans and new fans and something missing in their music. They weren't paying attention, however.

The shocked silence didn't stay long as half of them had started voicing their protest, angry and almost betrayed.

They were already a family, acting like loud, chaotic brothers and impossibly caring for each other for years now, but the fact that their newest member might possibly a girl caused some turmoil and distress. Though they weren't too upset, just more uncomfortable than anything.

But that was last week.

And then their manager had just told them a few days ago that they have finally made the decision who their newest addition would be.

The eighth member was confirmed to be a girl. Who was also younger than the Golden Maknae.

The whole morning, Jeongguk was slightly upset and bitter, already developing a tinge of resentment to the girl they haven't met yet and as much as Namjoon wanted to reassure and comfort the boy, he left it be since the feelings were pretty mutual.

Like, what if the girl was a huge fan?

No, they absolutely had no difficulties with fans near them, their family the ARMY, but as a new member? Who's going to start living with them from now on? Namjoon couldn't help but think of scenarios that might happen with their newest addition (no offense to their amazing fans, but they were still humans and there were minimum times the fans constantly following them around when they just wanted a brief walk—it left them exhausted and stressed, maybe even annoyed but they felt guilty for feeling like that towards their amazing supporters. But no one was a patient saint. Idols had their limits they try to push those feelings away). She might be one of those fans who pester idols, flirt, maybe cling onto them, and the chances of shaking her off them might be low.

If the new member wasn't going to be a fan, that was fine, but Jeongguk didn't like anyone taking his youngest member title. The maknae loved being the youngest, teasing his hyungs, getting away with nearly everything (read: nearly), and being cared for as the baby of the group even if Jeongguk repeatedly denied being babied since he was a grown man now (Namjoon amusedly called bullshit). And if the girl might be how Namjoon thought of in the worst probability, then he and his Bangtan brothers were going to have their patience tested.

But Namjoon didn't want to idle around those kinds of thoughts too long. He had hope for their new member, and as long as they worked together with no problems at all and remained professional, they were fine with that. Even if the chances of accepting the girl with open arms, to become a family, to welcome her, was somewhat low with how everyone was feeling right now—it was fine, too.

Yet Namjoon felt a little bad for what's coming to the newest member, particularly when she might be getting the cold, silent treatment from the maknae line (maybe not much from Taehyung or Jimin) and Yoongi. Maybe more so from the latter and Jeongguk. And the thought of the ARMY reacting to the news made him hold back a shudder; their fans, mostly female-populated (no offense), would most likely destroy the girl. Either in a protective way, or...the other way.

He really hoped not. They were already uncomfortable at the thought of having a girl living with them soon, but they didn't want her to feel hated and looked down upon. Especially if she was a fan of theirs and possibly a fellow ARMY. It wouldn't be a nice feeling to feel threatened in one's own fandom.

Regardless of the downsides, Namjoon was still hopeful that, maybe, they would get along with the girl well.

Though, he knew that they all have to stop acting like how they always do from now on. With a girl as their newest member, they couldn't walk around the dorm in their underwear, shout and argue like a bunch of crazy rebellious teenagers, or spite back some boy-things insults anymore. Like normal boys.

That was going to be hard. Plus the fact that Sejin had said that the girl was going to take Jeongguk's room. The boy was not pleased, at the very least, but reluctantly agreed nonetheless. He'd rather not share his room.

Which was why he was angrily letting his stress go by playing video games with Taehyung.

"You're thinking about some stuff, aren't you?"

Namjoon opened his eyes, not noticing when he had closed them, so see Hoseok standing in front of him with a smile, holding a mug of steaming coffee he probably got from Jin. Subconsciously, the sound of plates clanging together had stopped for a while now and, from the corner of his eye, Jin was already arranging the dishes to where they belong.

Namjoon sighed, nodding as he leaned against the wall behind him. "Yeah..." he admitted quietly, eyes fleeting to the maknae line near the TV, briefly to the eldest rapper, then back to the dancer waiting for an answer. "I'm just worried if this will create a dent in our dynamic."

Hoseok nodded in understanding, eyes glimmering with sympathy since the leader had to bear more of the responsibility on his shoulders. "Thought so. I hope nothing can go wrong." The dancer stuffed his free hand in his pocket, glancing at the others in the room and took a sip of his coffee.

Namjoon hummed in agreement, doing the same as him. The two watched the others in silence, lost in their own thoughts.

It wasn't until the leader felt a vibration near his leg that he snapped out of it. Namjoon pulled his phone out, eyeing the message on the screen and raised a questioning eyebrow.

Hoseok heard the nearly inaudible noise, looking at his fellow rapper curiously.

"What is it?" he asked, trying to peek a glance on the phone and Namjoon tilted it for the dancer to see.

"It's a message from PD-nim, saying we'll be meeting in the dance studio later in the evening," Namjoon said, Hoseok blinking before leaning away.

"That's weird. Is there a meeting or something? We've already practiced Fire for hours yesterday, so I'm really hoping that's not the case."

Namjoon shrugged, pocketing his phone after typing back a response. "Not sure, but I have a gut feeling it has something to do with our new member. I mean, it's been a week now." He concluded.

Hoseok made a noise of understanding. "Ah, that makes sense." Then the dancer gasped, eyes widening. "Wait, what if we're meeting the new maknae today? If so, then Bang PD-nim probably wants us to start getting comfortable with her!" he said with a whispered voice since he didn't want their current maknae to hear it, or else there would be some arguments.

Namjoon chuckled, shaking his head in amusement at his hyung. How Hoseok was actually older than him (by like seven months) was beyond him. Then again, the dancer just had a more sunny and cheerful personality and he could light up the room just by smiling and being himself.

At least there was one member who was a little excited for a new addition to their group (other than Jin, since the elder wanted to spoil someone young again because Jeongguk kept saying he was growing up repeatedly, but Namjoon was sure the vocalist wouldn't admit that to anyone). Namjoon was hesitant at the thought of opening up to the new member, unsure if they really needed another, but decided, why not? They would be the judges whether or not they really wanted to welcome the girl to their family circle. He was willing to give a chance anyway, but he's wary how the others (except Jin and Hoseok) would act around the future trainee.

Namjoon was more or less looking at Min Yoongi and Jeon Jeongguk at the thought.

And later in the evening, none of them would expect what they might learn about their newest member.

 


 

It's been a week since Choheun auditioned.

She would've forgotten she even did such thing, but her anxious bundle of nerves was there at all times, happy to remind her when she listened to any BTS songs and literally stopped listening and dancing to their songs without freaking out so suddenly (Twice and Super Junior was a blessing).

Choheun still remembered what had happened last week with a clear memory (for some odd reason, because Yeon Choheun was terrible at recalling things).

After giving it her all to dance to 'I Need U', she sang afterward with a song that gave her the free will to control her voice without any problems. She hit the right notes, using her head voice properly and her falsetto, and felt the emotion and feel of the song through her singing.

She felt free when she was singing. It was great.

When it was all over and the three judges noted down some things in her clipboard, Bang Sihyuk had complimented some words to her she already forgot and was allowed to leave the room after getting her bag back.

(She didn't notice or acknowledge the fact her audition took a little longer than the others since the judges actually asked other questions not part of the script. She had been a nervous wreck the whole duration of the audition and her anxiety won over her common sense.)

"Noona?"

Choheun flickered her honey eyes down and smiled softly, tilting her head slightly to stare at her nephew better. "Yes, Jae-yah?" she said with a baby voice, smile widening a little when the adorable boy giggled behind his tiny fists.

Jaegoo blinked his wide eyes he got from her brother with shining innocence, head tilted the same way as hers that Choheun was the one who giggled next. The boy grinned at the sound, but she didn't notice he did it on purpose. It’s not like he was trying to make her happy when she was supposed to be the one doing so. "Wha' do think of dis, noona?" he pointed at the drawing he made, moving a bit to the side of the bed for the girl to see properly.

On the paper was a really cute drawing of the Yeon family. Dohyuk on the left, Eunji beside him holding hands, Jaegoo himself holding his mother's hand, and then Choheun on the right holding the boy's hand. It was too cute why.

Choheun hummed with the smile still on her face, nodding at the boy and he cheered. "It's the best I've seen you draw, Jae-yah. I think you improved your coloring, too." She said honestly because he was starting to shade his drawings now, using softer strokes than promptly dragging the crayon on the poor paper like how all babies start off with holding colorful sticks. She's not an artist, but her brother was—which was why Jaegoo loved drawing ever since he was two.

(Dohyuk was a former architect but stopped when it was clear his body was too weak. He still drew in his spare time, though.)

Jaegoo beamed, clearly happy with the praise. He shuffled closer to the older girl and wrapped his small arms around her neck, snuggling in her neck as Choheun huffed a chuckle and rubbed his back. "Thankyuu, Cho-noona!"

The said girl laughed at the shortened name, having only heard it a few times this year, placing a kiss on top of his head and hugged him like a bear, "Aigo, you're so cute, my little knight. How did I get such an adorable nephew like you, huh?"

Jaegoo only giggled sweetly. She swore she always fell in love even more with her sunshine and adorable nephew she didn't deserve. Her little sunshine.

Choheun looked up when she heard a notification bell from her phone, eyebrows furrowing. She fleetingly glanced at the clock in her room to see the time at '11:08'. Who could be messaging her at this time? Surely not Kaejji or Eunji; the two long-lost twins (not really but still) were working even on a weekend. Dohyuk was still asleep in his room for about two hours now, he needed his much-needed rest after trying his best to keep his breakfast in.

"Jae-yah, you don't mind if noona gets that for a while, don't you?" she asked the boy when he, too, heard the noise. Jaegoo blinked, pouting a little, probably bummed out for a reason unknown to her, but nodded and pulled away from the hug to continue his drawing after giving her a small peck on the cheek. Her heart melted.

Choheun crawled to the edge of the bed and grabbed the phone, folding her legs underneath and leaned back on the wall. She pressed the home button, eyes widening in surprise to see Hyojee messaging her. She hadn't talked to the woman for three days.

Hyojee-ssi
are you free right now, honeybee?

Right, the woman had discovered Choheun's nickname when she heard her brother shouting her name to get him some food (she didn't use it much, though).

It was embarrassing, to say the least, and the flustered girl had to clear some possible misunderstandings with the woman why she had heard a grown man's voice (she didn't notice Hyojee sounding a little protective).

Meanwhile, Dohyuk had been laughing his butt off when Choheun finally realized he had called her loudly on purpose and didn't feel bad at all when she slapped him with a pillow. Hard. Even when said pillow was the fluffiest and softest pillow ever it couldn’t hurt anyone.

Humph! That crazy oppa of hers.

Choheun quickly typed out a reply.

YC  
Uh, not really?

Hyojee-ssi
;A; really? are you free sometime later, then??

The girl muffled a giggle at the weird emoticon Hyojee used; she's never seen that before. It looked so cute. Choheun glanced at the clock in her room, then back at her little nephew, then back to her phone and shrugged, fingers tapping away a response.

YC
Sure. I'm free later before six once my friend comes back from work and babysit Jae-yah.

Hyojee-ssi
ah, your nephew, right?

YC
Yes.

Hyojee-ssi
aigo, your still so young to become a gomo
but I bet you'll be a great one even when you become an idol ^ w ^

YC
"If" Hyojee-ssi. Not "when".

Hyojee-ssi
D: you don't believe you'll make it? Heunie-yaaaaaah!

Aigo-yah, Choheun could practically hear the woman (who was only six years older than her) whine like a child from the text. For the past few days she had communicated with the stylist, Choheun discovered that Hyojee only acted professionally when working, as a strict boss with a stern face and a cold voice that could make anyone cower, but was actually a loud and sassy woman. The girl still remembered when she had overheard a conversation on the phone between Hyojee and a coworker of hers; the woman sounded so snappy and scary when the male (Choheun could distinctively hear his voice) asked what's taking her so long.

Important note to self: don't mess with Choi Hyojee.

Hyojee was savage as heck (she hated cursing, even if hell wasn't exactly a bad word).

YC
Sorry, sorry, Hyojee-ssi. I'm not exactly the...optimistic kind.

Hyojee-ssi
yah! well then it looks like to me its my job to get your hopes up! i'll meet you in the same cafe we met before okay bye i need to go do my shit

Choheun sputtered, smiling sheepishly at the curious look she got from Jaegoo before returning back to her phone, a little displeased yet very amused at the rushed curse. It sounded funny when the woman used it, plus the fact she could imagine it.

YC
Hyojee-ssi, we only met there by accident like, once. What are you planning?

Right when Choheun sent that message, the woman already left the chat (or app), leaving the girl confused and suspicious with questions jumping in her head and then slight exasperation.

If she didn't know any better, Choheun would've thought that Hyojee was perhaps Eunji's and Kaejji's long lost sibling. Their personalities were too similar and uncanny and she couldn't imagine what would happen if they ever met. If they ever do (for some reason, she had a gut-feeling of when instead but ignored it because it's the thought that counts), Choheun's going to make sure she wasn't in the same room as them. She'd feel terrible if others were involved, but she'd love to keep her sanity, thank you very much.

Choheun pouted, "Why is it that the new people I meet end up like a duplicate of Dohyukkie-oppa? Eunji-unnie and Kaejji-oppa were enough, and I've known them for years..." she grumbled under her breath, placing her phone back on the nightstand and crossed her arms with an annoyed huff, blowing a stray strand of her hair out of her face (even if that was quite useless because she had bangs and bangs usually hover over her forehead and that meant tickling her eyes. Logic).

"Noona?" Jaegoo said innocently, crawling towards her until he was lying down on her legs, cheek resting against her lap and peering up at her with wide brown eyes. "Ah' yuu sad?"

Choheun felt a smile making its way to her lips, ruffling the boy's hair with eyes curving up. "I'm fine, Jae-yah. I was just talking with...a new friend of mine." She should really stop thinking about comparing people with her brother since the man was solely the reason Eunji and Kaejji acted how they were now. He was a terrible influence because they kept hovering over her like some sort of protective wolves (and she wasn’t going to admit she loved how much they cared for her).

Well, she's hoping nothing would happen once she meets up with Hyojee. She didn't want her horrible luck jinxing her with a troublesome scenario around the woman.

 


 

Hyojee rushed to where the park was, glancing down at her phone and silently cursed at the time. Aishii, she was late! Well, not really; she never really cared about how late she arrived to anywhere she was needed since she was like a boss of her own (other than Daeun-nim, but the woman was like a mother-figure to her, meaning she allowed Hyojee to boss the lazy-ass newbies to get their work done!).

But she didn't wanna be late this time. She was going to see Choheun again for the second time.

Honestly, Hyojee had a very hard time holding back an excited squeal when it was revealed in a meeting with PD-nim that he and the others had chosen Yeon Choheun as the eighth member of BTS. She tried very hard to keep a straight face.

She failed.

(She also tried to ask if she could see Choheun-ah's audition video, but Sejin-oppa had a knowing look in his eyes and said it's off-limits until the girl debuted. Dammit, oppa!)

When Hyojee had first met the girl, she was astonished and amazed at how Choheun danced to the group's song 'Dope'. She's been working for the boys since the beginning, when they were literal babies, so she's seen them dance a plenty lot she wasn't that surprised anymore, but seeing the girl dance exactly the way the boys did with so much emotion and visible passion... Hyojee really thought the girl was a professional dancer or something from another company. She was so damn good! If she didn't know any better, she would've assumed the girl was also a new idol. The glasses-wearing girl was that talented, and her expressions were so on point, practically on par with the Golden Maknae himself. She was literally that good.

Also, might she add, Choheun was adorable. Like, super cute and adorable and a fluffy ball of shyness that Hyojee wanted to gather the small girl in her arms and hug her forever. Did she mention her eyes, too? Aigo-yah, Choheun just radiated softness in her entire being. And her sweater paws. Her sweater paws. SO CUTE.

Hyojee swore that she'd follow the girl anywhere and do anything she wanted if Choheun blinked her big, almond-shaped eyes at her with shining innocence.

Was she getting to over her head and sounding unrealistic like some anime, or some drama of a smitten character over a cute girl she wanted to wrap in a blanket forever?

Nah, fuck that. Reality was shit anyway.

Maybe because the woman never had a little sister or a sibling that it's probably (one of) the reason she was completely and utterly whipped for Choheun. In under a week or two.

Ah, she didn't care, though. Besides, she was excited to personally tell the news to the girl, which was why she was meeting her because PD-nim and Sejin were so busy to make a phone call or message. The former had thought that Hyojee relaying it in person would be much better for the girl, or else she might assume it was a prank.

Hyojee brightened considerably upon catching sight of the said girl sitting under a tree on a bench, glasses perched on her nose and eyes trained on her phone, probably reading something.

"Choheun-ah!" she called out with no amount of subtlety when a few people looked her way, waving an enthusiastic hand in the air to garner the girl's attention like a crazy person.

Choheun snapped her head up at the sound of her name, perking up like a curious puppy when seeing the woman close by. She turned her phone off and tucked it in her bag, standing up. The girl smiled cutely, and Hyojee wanted to die. "Good afternoon, Hyojee-ssi." She bowed politely in greeting. Not a full bow anymore (Hyojee was thankful for that 'cause the girl was extremely formal) but just a half-bow, especially how she always made sure to use her full name and just recently dropped it. Progress!

The woman returned the smile more eagerly, "Good morning to you, too, Choheun-ah." She nearly chirped but held back because she wanted to look like a badass woman to the girl with her even voice. She had a reputation as a stern stylist to maintain, okay? She wanted to look cool in front of the girl.

Ah, she was like an older sister who wanted to impress her dongsaeng so bad. Nice.

"I didn't get to ask, since you left so quick..." Choheun mumbled quietly in the end but Hyojee heard it anyway and smirked briefly until the girl looked up again. "But are we going somewhere or something? I'm curious and a little afraid of what you're planning for today." She said honestly, adjusting the sling attached to her bag.

Hyojee hummed, nodding and resisting a smile as she thought of what the girl's reaction would be. Choheun's expressions were always something to look forward to because she was irresistibly cute (she was not going to talk about an in-depth description of every expression Hyojee had seen from the girl and wished she had a photo album and a good-ass camera-). "Yep. I just wanna hang out with the newest trainee of BigHit before we start working on your training in the next few days. Is that a problem?"

The spectacle-wearing girl was oblivious.

Choheun shook her head immediately, frowning slightly but her plump lips made it into a pout. Aww, she reminded the stylist so much of the little maknae-line shits. Those three were a bunch of annoying brats (she was fond anyway, so whatever). "No! Of course not! I don't mind it at all, Hyojee-ssi. I'm just nervous for-" the girl abruptly stopped, head snapping up and eyes widening in complete shock and disbelief. "Wait- what did you say?"

Hyojee decided to humor her. "Hm? I said I just wanted to hang out with you." She said nonchalantly, checking out her nails as if she hadn't said anything out of the ordinary.

"Hyojee-ssi!" the girl whined, cheeks flushing and turning demure.

"Okay, okay." The woman gave in and laughed, patting the girl's shoulder and showed her a big, brilliant grin. "You passed, Choheun-ah."

The reaction was so worth it.

Choheun's eyes bugged out and shrieked, "WHAT?!" she slapped her mouth again with her sweater paw and flushed under the many curious stares she gathered from the people passing by. "Sorry..." she sounded genuinely sorry, too. Hyojee laughed because it was the same reaction the first time she had told the girl if she wanted to become an idol. What was that French term again? Ah, talk about déjà vu.

Hyojee patted the girl's head, grin still there. "It's alright. I felt the same way when I finally got accepted as a stylist." She assured cheekily and Choheun peered up at her with a shy smile. Then she hugged herself almost protectively, rubbing her arm as a doubtful look appeared on her face.

"Did I-... Did I really...?" she muttered dubiously, obviously not believing it completely, as if holding herself back from accepting the news, and Hyojee felt her heart melt. The girl was so scared Hyojee might break out into a laugh and say it's all a joke (that's what Hyojee thought, anyway).

Hyojee smiled softly, "You did, Choheun-ah. We're actually going to go back to BigHit later so PD-nim and Kim Sejin-oppa can discuss some things with you before signing the contract they're currently preparing. Which is why they had me tell you instead of doing it themselves." She informed, and Choheun, bless her, nodded attentively like an obedient student. Hyojee's so excited to play with the girl's face, hair, and overall appearance once she debuted.

Choheun played with her small fingers, a skeptical look taking over her face. "Okay, but... Why do I have a feeling you are not telling me everything?"

Aigo, the girl was very smart and observant.

Hyojee flashed a shit-eating grin and lived for the instantaneous wary look on the girl's face. "You're going to debut as the eighth member of BTS in their next upcoming album this winter." She was glad there weren't many people around them to overhear.

Choheun blinked, deadpanning in disbelief. "...huh?"

"Congratulations, Choheun-ah! You're Bangtan Sonyeondan's new member!"

"HUH?!"

The girl's reactions would never get old for the woman.

 


 

Choheun was internally stressing out.

Like, a lot. Ever since Hyojee laid the news to her. Or was it double news?

She bit into the straw of her Starbucks drink, keeping a firm grip on the cup as the same sentence rung in her head like a broken record on loop while Hyojee left the table to get her own drink and snack herself to leave the girl to her own thoughts, unaware of her inner turmoil.

She was going to become the eighth member of BTS.

The new member of her favorite idols.

Was she happy? Seriously? Of course not! Which was why she was stressing out like nobody's business (oh how she longed for something shar-).

Why would BigHit open an audition for a new member for their popular group? Why was she not informed about this? If so, she wouldn't have auditioned in the first place and others would have been happy with this piece of information. And why herWhy choose her? Choheun was so sure, was so sure by a-hundred-percent that she wasn't going to pass. She never believed she could have the chance of becoming an idol, it's just a dream she had in her mind as a kid. That's it, a child's dream.

But she did.

They chose her and Choheun was undeniably terrified and baffled why.

She was going to start training (Hyojee said in the next few days), too, and that worried her a lot. Did that also mean she had to move to another building close to BigHit? Aish, did that mean she had to move away from her family? Well, she wasn't that surprised. She had been thinking that if she passed (which turned out to be when), she'd have to move out since travel time took way too long.

Choheun groaned quietly, chewing on the straw with new vigor, uncaring if it might break the plastic straw and she'd have to drink from the cup instead.

What about the group themselves? She had a feeling they didn't know about this, too. Or maybe they did- but a female as a new member? Choheun was admittedly horrified. Again, why did they choose her when there were other amazing contestants waiting to be picked—okay, now she felt extremely remorseful and guilty for taking someone else's dreams (she's bad luck with a body and a brain). To her, it felt as if she was intruding the group's already content lifestyle and she was suddenly added to the mix. How would they feel about having a girl in the group? Would they hate her? Welcome her? Somehow, she highly doubted the latter from ever happening. And they were seven boys, boys who're comfortable around each other to mess around like caring brothers and probably do boy-stuff a girl couldn't understand (even if she might, because having three boys in her life was already a lot).

Choheun was a stranger, someone who just entered their lives while they were already a loving family.

Sure, she had, like, three boys in her life right now, but they weren't strangers and she had just started getting familiar with calling Kaejji oppa since last year without having the urge to take back what she said and just start running in the other direction.

She hadn't met them yet (oh, she did in their first fan sign and the next, but she looked different back then and stopped going since her brother needed her more—they probably didn't remember her anyway. Who'd even remember her?), but Choheun really didn't want to see them. She's not ready to face them, face incredible rising idols in the K-Pop industry when she knew she's going to become a part of their band for a reason unknown to her.

Aish, what about the ARMY? Choheun felt an unwanted, cold shiver down her spine as she took small sips of her drink. She's certain they were going to hate her with their entire being, teaming up together to kick her out of BTS' life (or maybe BigHit in general as well!). Then the news would be spread everywhere in Korea, especially to the international ARMY that started looking up to BTS, and there would be questions speculating why the company decided to add another member to the group. Then a new horror dawned to the girl. What if she might ruin the group's reputation (and the company!) just because they had a new, female member in their family circle? No, she didn't want that. She didn't want to possibly ruin someone's lives because she merely existed.

So, in short, Choheun just wanted to stay a fan, a fellow ARMY, train to become her own idol, instead of being the new addition to the already amazing, inspirational group that helped and reached out to many people.

Why did she have to ruin everything?

She never talked to the boys in person yet (fan meet-and-greet did not count!), never even met them, and she was already afraid that she'd screw everything up by uttering one pathetic word.

Speaking of pathetic, how pathetic was she? Choheun was already dreading her decision to become an idol and now she was reminded once again why she refused to pursue her dream in the first place.

Choheun breathed out through her nose, massaging her faintly throbbing temples. It's barely through the day and she already felt like crying and grabbing anything sharp. Oh, and now she remembered Hyojee was supposed to bring her to BigHit to discuss some things with the CEO and manager. Maybe she could get her answers, then? She just hoped she didn't encounter the group when they reached there.

"Choheun-ah, you're looking a little pale. You okay?" Hyojee's worried voice said and Choheun opened her eyes, not aware when she had them closed. The woman was standing behind the chair, lips pulled down to a concerned frown with her drink placed down on the surface of the table with a steaming cheese croissant. Aish, she made the stylist worried.

Choheun attempted a smile but winced, certain it looked strained and gave up with a sigh. "No... No, I'm—I don't think I am..." she confessed wearily, gently stirring her drink with the chewed up straw inside the container.

Hyojee frowned more, eyes softening sympathetically. She reminded the girl so much of her brother it hurt. "Are you perhaps worried about how the boys might feel?" she inquired and Choheun pouted, nodding slowly in confirmation. The woman broke into a tender smile, patting the girl's head and Choheun unconsciously leaned into the warmth (she didn't notice Hyojee's fond smile). "I think I need to say sorry. I was so excited for you to become an idol that I forgot how you might feel about all this, about becoming the new member in an already-formed group." She said sadly, and Choheun peered up at her in confusion and bemusement.

"There's no need to say sorry, Hyojee-ssi. It's my fault for feeling this way." She said since everything was always her fault (if only she didn't give in to her brother to audition-), but Hyojee only shook her head.

"No, Choheun, I really mean it. And you're not at fault." Hyojee raised a hand before Choheun could protest that yesit's her fault for being so damn selfish. "You had personal reasons for hesitating on accepting the offer, and now you have doubts if you fit into the group or as an idol. But trust me when I say everything will go smoothly." She said.

Choheun pursed her lips, not believing the woman. "But—but what if they'll hate me-"

Hyojee immediately cut her off with a stern glare, but not exactly mad at the girl. "No. I can't guarantee the boys will warm up to you instantly, but they won't hate you, Choheun-ah. I won't allow that..." she muttered quietly that Choheun didn't hear it before continuing louder. "I think they might actually like you if they get to know you better. I sure do and I've only met you for a week." She grinned happily at the last, finally taking her seat and opened the cap of her drink to mix the cream floating on the top with her straw.

Choheun blushed slightly, briefly nudging her glasses up. She felt...warm that the woman felt that way. That was—that was new. "You... You really think so?" she said hopefully, pulling on her sleeves over her fingers to cover her hands. It was cold in the room (she had always been sensitive to the weather).

Hyojee winked, finally taking a sip of her drink and Choheun giggled at how silly the woman made loud, slurping noises while looking so cool at the same time. "Yah, are you accusing me of lying, Choheun-ah?" the woman had a hand over her heart, mocking hurt. "I'm hurt. I got hurt by my hubae!" she shrieked, wiggling an intimidating straw at the girl.

That reminded the girl of Eunji now.

Choheun muffled a giggle again, facing away to finish her drink. "Sorry, Hyojee-ssi." Her honey-brown orbs slid down to the table and huffed a laugh behind her sleeve, gaining the stylist's attention.

"Mwo?"

Choheun shook her head, pointing at the bite-sized snacks Hyojee had bought in front of them. "Your food is going to go cold, Hyojee-ssi." The woman made an indescribable noise and immediately scolded the girl and herself for leaving the really expensive snack cold. It really was expensive, too.

"Yah! Why didn't you remind me earlier! This is only best hot!"

Choheun laughed behind her hand, accepting the piece Hyojee offered and nibbled on it. Maybe she should stop worrying too much and just enjoy the present. She could worry about her future at a later time.

 


 

The girl was shaking with worry and anxiety.

That much Hyojee could see.

Choheun was repeatedly chewing on her plump bottom lip, the subtle lip gloss long gone from the repeated swipe of her tongue and kept hiding her small hands inside her sleeves to create sweater paws. She might've shivered a bit too, probably from the cold but the stylist wasn't that affected so she wouldn't know.

But regardless, the shorter girl looked absolutely adorable right now.

Hyojee cooed, wrapping an arm around her neck and brought the smaller girl closer to her as they walked through the busy hall. After they left Starbucks, the two immediately made their way back to BigHit in a surprisingly short amount of time (courtesy of yours truly). "You worry too much, Choheun-ah.  PD-nim and Kim Sejin-oppa will only be informing you about the important stuff or whatever of becoming a trainee and the rules you should follow to avoid the public and the ARMY from finding out about you." She reassured with a confident voice, her grin obvious.

The glasses-wearing girl only stared blankly at her. "That's not really reassuring..." she mumbled with a small pout, but Hyojee heard her anyway.

Hyojee lightly flicked the girl's ear, scowling at her adorably smug look (she's not going to give in and finally pinch her chubby cheeks and feel the softness beneath her fingers so she could contemplate what brush she should use in the future-). "I'm the older one here! Don't doubt my words, you brat." Choheun only giggled behind her sweater paw, visibly relaxing and Hyojee inwardly cheered.

"If you say so." She had the nerve to say that. The brat!

"Yah! Just go and get your contract down already!" Hyojee scowled, getting behind the girl to push her faster to Bang PD-nim's office. They were close already.

Choheun squeaked, nearly tripping over her feet by how fast the stylist was pushing her. "H-Hyojee-ssi!"

But the woman ignored her and wrenched the door open, pushing the girl inside the room and held back a laugh at how clearly startled Bang PD-nim and Sejin-oppa looked, both had their eyes wide in surprise. "Sejin-oppa! Don't take too much time with Choheun-ah, okay?! She's mine!" Hyojee shouted before slamming the door closed, not before laughing at the downright betrayed look on the girl's face.

 


 

Choheun stared at the door in shock, her glasses slipping down by an inch. Did- did Hyojee just- the woman didn't even give her much time to prepare herself! Hyojee-ssi!

When noticing where she was, the girl gulped and slowly turned around to see matching amused looks from the CEO of BigHit and the main manager of BTS. She blinked, then quickly bowed. "S-sorry for the rude interruption!" she apologized. Uwah, that was so embarrassing!

Kim Sejin muffled his mirth by coughing in his fist and Bang Sihyuk clearing his throat, arranging a pile of papers on the table.

"No, it's alright, Yeon. We're already used to Hyojee-yah's behavior since the beginning." Kim Sejin dismissed her concerns with a kind smile and Choheun relaxed her tense shoulders again, breathing out calmly. She nodded, that's a relief.

The men took their seats and Bang Sihyuk gestured towards an open chair in front of them. "Please, take a seat." He said politely and Choheun bowed again, muttering a quiet 'thank you' and sat down.

With that, they began explaining some certain rules, like when and what her schedule was when her training would start, and when she'd start moving, and answered some questions the girl was curious about.

 


 

"Hyungie, what's the meeting all about? Do you know?" The maknae brat asked for the eleventh time under an hour. Hoseok rolled his eyes fondly and watched as Jin swiftly whacked Jeongguk's head in exasperated annoyance.

"Yah, you brat! You're driving us crazy! Just ask Namjoon-ah why we're needed. I don't have the answers." Jin scowled, walking ahead to avoid any more questions from the maknae and the others laughed quietly, Hoseok included. Namjoon looked betrayed that their hyung just left him in the dust.

Almost as if on cue, Jeongguk practically twirled to the leader and widened his eyes, smiling widely. Namjoon groaned, looking and feeling so done. Hoseok didn't feel bad at all for his fellow rapper's demise. "Hyung! Why does hyung-nim need us? Do you know? Come on, tell me, tell us!"

Namjoon nervously smiled at the maknae before whipping his head to the obviously-laughing elder singer, even if his back was facing them. "Jin-hyung!" he screamed in desperation to escape from the buzzing maknae, and Hoseok briefly wondered what kind of sweets Jeongguk ate before they all left for BigHit and why the hell they even allowed him to eat sugar in the first place.

Well, no one could exactly say no to the maknae when he flashed those puppy-eyes and cute bunny smile.

Hoseok shook his head, holding back a laugh as Jeongguk grew bored from Namjoon's constant rambling and moved on to start a conversation with Jimin and Taehyung. Yoongi was the only one unbothered and silent the whole walk (in fact, Hoseok was so sure he was sleep-walking with how his eyes kept fluttering close every now and then).

They spoil Jeongguk too much. But the boy deserved it since he missed his own family he mostly communicated in messages and video calls.

The boys all walked through the BigHit building, bowing and greeting some staff employees passing by and were returned with energetic or rushed smiles. Hoseok had also noticed some of their managers walking around, too, looking busy and serious whilst holding a bunch of papers in their hands, eyes focused and preoccupied. They didn't even raise their heads up to greet the boys like they usually do, and that confused the dancer.

The group was nearing Bang PD-nim's office, and since the others were still engaged in some kind of heated debate that involved food, Hoseok (who's now walking in front of everyone) was the only one who noticed their stylist noona sitting on the waiting chair just outside the office, playing with her phone with an unfamiliar bag near her thigh.

Hoseok furrowed his brows. He was sure that wasn't her bag. Even if the company's income was getting higher and higher every day, Choi Hyojee adamantly refused to buy expensive and better-looking bags since she had said they were pointless to her and that all she needed was her makeup-kit. He'd know because the woman would always complain and rant stuff to him whenever she did his makeup (and that Hyojee also watched over them as if they were all a bunch of children, despite being a month younger than Jin).

So he decided to be the one to get his brothers out of their conversation. "Choi Hyojee-noona? What are you doing here? I thought it's your day off,"

The others finally stopped talking and turned to stare at the woman in question, and Hyojee jumped, head whipping to them and stared with surprised eyes. "Boys? Wha-" she stood up, approaching them as they stopped a few feet away from the stylist. Hyojee looked really bewildered to see them. "should be the one asking you that, Hoseokkie. What are you boys doing here?"

Jin stepped up, expression mirroring hers. "We were called here by hyung-nim. Not really sure why, but that's what we're here for."

Hyojee's eyebrows disappeared in her hairline. "Mwo? Didn't you just come back from practice, though? Shouldn't you all be taking a break?" she questioned in puzzlement.

"Noona, when did you get a new bag?" Jimin piped up from behind them, pointing at the small sling bag on left behind on the chair with curious eyes. Hoseok eyed it as well, before moving his gaze to Bang PD-nim's office and could distinctively hear a conversation taking place inside. And- was there a girl inside, too?

Hyojee glanced at the said bag before her eyes widened, looking back at them and she seemed to have realized something they didn't. "Oh..." she whispered quietly, but they heard her since the hallway was isolated and quiet.

Hoseok could see Taehyung raising a confused brow from the corner of his eye. "Is something wrong, noona-"

Before the deep-voiced singer could finish his sentence, all their attention was turned to the office door opening. A person stepped out from the room and-

And Hoseok's first thought was how the girl's sweater seemed to hang off her small frame, swallowing her whole that her hands were hidden underneath her sleeves.

The girl bowed, and Hoseok couldn't see her face with her back facing them. "Thank you, Kim Sejin-nim, Bang PD-nim; I promise I won't disappoint you." Her voice was so soft and airy, and Hoseok didn't care if he sounded cheesy, but it also sounded melodic with how quiet she had spoken.

Before she could close the door, she turned around and instantly froze, sweater paws stilling around the doorknob. Her eyes widened behind round spectacles and nearly dropped the phone she had in her hand, paling considerably. Since Hoseok was studying her, he could see the subtle shake of her hand that kept a tight grip around the knob as she finally shut the door close.

The dancer was quick to feel concern. The girl was clearly scared at the sight of them, but that made no sense. Why would she be afraid of them?

"Choheun-ah." The girl flinched so slightly that Hoseok nearly missed it—except he didn't. With a quick glance to the others, he assumed they didn't see it. Hyojee was walking towards the girl, placing a hand on her shoulder and Hoseok raised his eyebrows. The stern stylist never initiated touch, not even with them or the other staff members she was close with in BigHit.

He was probably wrong with his earlier assumption since Yoongi, who had been quiet the entire time, had his voice soft and low. "Noona, is she a new employee here?"

The girl shuffled closer behind the woman, eyeing the group warily as Hyojee blinked then a bright smile appeared on her face, not aware how her next words completely rooted them frozen in place. "Hm? Oh, this is Yeon Choheun. The new addition to your group." She said with a beaming smile, and the room soon felt cold.

Hoseok held his breath, eyes flicking to the eldest rapper and the maknae line, just in time to see their posture turning rigid and Jin and Namjoon exchanged worried looks. The girl also had her eyes wide and frightful at the woman, trying to shrink away from all the eyes on her and her sweater paws clutched on Hyojee's denim jacket like a terrified child.

Wait-

She's the one? The new maknae?

She was the eighth member of Bangtan Sonyeondan?

Hyojee seemed to have finally felt the sudden change of atmosphere. Her smile fell slightly, eyes furrowing in concern as she looked back and forth between the group and the girl trying to hide from them. "Is something wrong?"

It wasn't until a long moment of tense silence that someone snapped.

"She's WHAT?!"

Chapter Text

The girl, Yeon Choheun, instantly hid behind Hyojee right after the maknae's outburst, avoiding anyone's eyes and stared at her shoes, appearing to have deemed them more interesting than anything in the room right now whilst playing with her glasses every second or so the longer the silence dragged on.

Noticing the girl's obvious uneasiness, Namjoon subtly elbowed Jeongguk's ribs not-so-gently and the maknae flinched, narrowing his eyes at him in confusion. Namjoon tilted his head to the girl who's apparently their new member and Jeongguk followed his gaze, expression faltering slightly and soon feeling guilt swirling in his gut at how...afraid she had reacted to his outburst. She was tense, incredibly so, and he didn't know if her eyes were glassy; her glasses were in the way for him to confirm it. If he was looking for it, he noticed how her barely visible fingers shook just the slightest bit to the visible eye, attempting to sink back into her sleeves while her sweater paws dug into the woman's jacket.

Now that the maknae observed properly, she was young. She definitely looked young (if he remembered right, she was supposed to be the new maknae because she was a year younger than him). Her petite figure and how her sweater seemed to drown her wasn't helping, either. She literally looked like she could barely hurt a fly, better yet slap anything with enough force without stumbling forward—that's what he thought, anyway. And, damn, he felt like a jerk. Jeongguk couldn't help it, though. It'd be...weird to have a girl to live with them (he also had a gut feeling she was moving in soon or something).

Unsurprisingly, Seokjin was the first to break the awkward silence that unknowingly descended upon them.

The eldest member smiled kindly, head tilting to the side to eye the girl hiding behind the woman. "So this is our new member, Hyojee-ssi?" he asked gently and softly, not wanting to scare the girl when she looked so ready to bolt away from the room—or maybe the whole building.

Hyojee nodded, the bright smile returning to her flawless face, definitely aware of the awkwardness around them and the girl, and made it her job to get them to know Choheun (and beat their bratty asses in case they hurt the little honeybee-). "That's right. Though I just told her the news earlier today, not my fault Sejin-oppa was so late, so she's still a little in shock, and she just finished signing her contract with Bang PD-nim back there." She informed them, looping an arm around the girl and brought her to her side again, unaware of how much Choheun just wanted to remain behind the stylist or stilled stiffly.

The boys noticed, however, and half of them felt bad for immediately thinking the worst of their new member (a young female, nonetheless) without actually meeting her in person or get to know her at all. The stress of their comeback was really getting to them (one of many excuses).

Seokjin hummed, "Ah, I see." He looked back to the girl and sent a gentle smile, before facing his brothers and gave each of them a pointed look only an older brother could give. "Well? What are you waiting for? Do I have to introduce all of you for her?" he said impatiently, arms crossed with an expectant eyebrow and the boys shifted nervously where they stood.

Namjoon coughed in his fist, quirking a hesitant smile. "Hello, Yeon Choheun-ssi. I'm Kim Namjoon or Rap Monster." He said, unsure whether or not he should add his stage name but unconsciously relaxed a bit when the girl only nodded since she was unable to return the bow (Hyojee's not letting go). She knew them already. That's a good start. She wasn't what he expected (like what he previously had thought earlier today), but it was more than okay, truth be told.

But the obvious fear of them was...uncomfortable? He could say?

Hoseok was quick to go next, maybe even a little eagerly. He smiled widely like always, waving a hand to the girl, but slightly subdued. "Good evening, Choheun-ssi," he knew he skipped the proper formality, seeing how the girl's eyes widen, but he needed to show that he wasn't going kick her or anything. "I'm Jung Hoseok or J-Hope." He greeted cheerfully (not his usual way, though, with 'I'm your Hope' and whatnot), inwardly grinning in triumph when the girl slowly but surely returned his smile—rather shyly. Aigo, she was pretty cute, not going to lie.

Jimin bowed, his eyes nearly disappearing with his smile, widening a little when the girl briefly glanced away shyly. "I'm Park Jimin. I look forward to working with you in the future." He said sincerely, inwardly chastising himself that he had judged her quickly just because there's a chance their normal lives might change (they've been together since the formation of BTS, come on). He's willing to give her a chance (and respect Bang PD-nim's decision why he wanted to add another member even if none of them knew the reason why) anyway.

"Min Yoongi, Suga," Yoongi said, clipped and short, but his eyes remained on the girl, watching her intently with scrutinizing eyes. He still had doubts about this entire idea, not sure if it was even a good one in the first place. He wasn't going to act friendly in any way, clearly, just business and professionalism and reallyhe didn't have any trust towards the girl yet. It was going to take some time, but he would decide whether or not she was reliable to the group and trustworthy enough to get him to say hi. Not forgetting about the ARMY, too. He was a little worried about them if they ever find out (depends when the girl was supposed to debut with them).

Taehyung flashed his boxy grin, making sure his voice was softer and quieter than usual since their new addition looked at him as if he might bite her (that hurt a little, since he would never ever do anything bad or rude to his fans- at least he was hoping she was a fan, because then he could, maybe, show off to someone new—but at the same time that was just wishful thinking). "Hi, I'm Kim Taehyung. Also known as V." Not being able to resist, he went for it and made a v-sign with his fingers, happy that it got the girl to nod at him with a small, evidently hesitant, lopsided smile (aigo-yah, that's cute).

"Name's Jeon Jeongguk." The maknae said as politely as he could, bowing as well and trying to get rid of the bitter taste staining his tongue (the resentment was gone, but the bitterness remained). He didn't want to show his thoughts on his face, but he was still reluctant to hand over his title as the youngest in the group, especially as the maknae. But if Bang PD-nim had a plan for wanting to add a new member, a female one, too, then he'd push those thoughts away and think about the present. Jeongguk learned from his mistakes, after all (but that didn't mean he'd open up quickly. She's still a stranger to them—to him).

Lastly, Seokjin beamed, his plush lips forming a friendly smile. "And I'm Kim Seokjin or Jin for short. I hope we get along well, Choheun-ssi." He said kindly, somehow feeling excited about what the future might bring them with their newest member in the group. At first, since Bang PD-nim had said she was going to be the youngest, he had thought she would be like Hoseok or Taehyung; those two were a lively bunch. But he was proven wrong when Choheun turned out to be more like Jeongguk. Extremely shy, barely made eye contact to any of them no longer than three seconds, not uttering a single word, and definitely reserved around them.

Choheun hesitated, chewing on her rosy bottom lip, before gently untangling Hyojee's arm around her and bowed (though her hand still gripped the stylist's jacket). "Y-Yeon Choheun. A-and yeah, I hope so, too, Kim Seokjin-ssi." She said, painfully polite and voice just a hint of shakiness but stayed upright regardless. She finally flickered her eyes at them, wide honey doe eyes blinking then caught Jeongguk's eyes. It took a full four seconds before she turned away from the gaze first, facing the side of the wall and went back to hiding behind Hyojee.

Seokjin only hummed in response, and the awkward silence returned right after that.

Before anything else could be said, everyone nearly jumped (except Choheun did) when the sound of a ringtone (worth it? Fifth Harmony?) echoed in the quiet hall. Their eyes landed on the phone Hyojee had just taken out and she put it on her ear, sending all of them an apologetic look before turning around and walking to the corner of the hall, far from earshot.

Choheun glanced at them, the boys already staring back, and she emitted a faint squeak and skittered to the stylist huddled away from them. Hyojee briefly spared the girl an amused glance and a sweet smile before continuing her conversation on the phone.

The boys blinked, bemused, and it was Hoseok who broke the silence with a quiet, breathy laugh. Seokjin looked at him, raising a questioning eyebrow and the dancer smiled, "She's cute." Was all he said, not elaborating further and the elder didn't say anything except nod once.

"She's so small, hyung," Taehyung spoke up quietly, watching the girl talking with Hyojee.

Jimin kept his eyes on the girl, frowning slightly. Choheun was pretty small, all things considered, but she reminded him a lot of himself when he was doing his...

Hyojee walked back to them, tucking her phone in her pocket with the girl trailing close behind her like a lost puppy with her sweater paws on the woman's jacket again (Hoseok held back a coo). "Guys, PD-nim wants you all in the room. I need to send Choheun back home because it's going to be her last day staying in her own house with her family before moving in with you guys tomorrow." She explained, pointed her thumb behind her.

Half of them gaped in bewilderment, excluding Jeongguk who was somewhat surprised he was right. Choheun was already moving in with them so early?

Namjoon, the only one who was informed about this, nodded. "We'll go in right away, Hyojee-noona." He switched his gaze to an unsuspecting Choheun, who blinked in confusion, and he bowed slightly once more. "It's nice meeting you, Yeon Choheun-ssi. We'll see each other tomorrow again, right?" he said softly.

Choheun surprisingly blushed (not only Hoseok held back, but Taehyung and Seokjin tried not to coo as well), cheeks taking a sweet rosy hue and partially hid her face by pretending to scratch her top lip. "O-okay..." she uttered quietly instead of actually answering Namjoon's question, eyes sliding down to the floor demurely.

Hyojee smiled at the leader before suddenly grabbing Choheun's sleeve-covered hand, the said girl squeaking again, and pulled her along as they walked away from the idols. Hyojee looked over her shoulder and waved her free hand, eye-smiling. "You all better start clearing the damn dorm or else!" she yelled back loudly without care until turning to a corner and disappeared with the younger girl, who was clutching her bag they all almost forgot about.

The boys only stared at the last place Choheun had stood, all silent for once without anyone barking up a conversation like usual when it was just them left alone.

Meanwhile, Yoongi's eyes had been trained on the girl's hand and frowned before shaking his head to himself.

 


 

"You're moving tomorrow? Already?" Dohyuk said, baffled, as he leaned back on the dining seat of their living room. Eunji was busy cooking, the aroma of her delicious kimchi bokkeumbap wafting through the whole room, and Choheun relaxed at the feeling of familiarity of home and sighed, nodding.

"Yeah, that's what Bang PD-nim told me, then Hyojee-ssi repeated it next and I have to start packing stuff now." Choheun pouted, bouncing a giggling Jaegoo on her lap and quirked a lopsided smile when the adorable little boy squealed and wrapped his arms around her neck, snuggling. She grinned and pulled him away slightly to rub their noses together. The boy had been rather upset when she broke the news that it'd be the last time she'd be sleeping in their home, bawling his eyes out and screaming why she was leaving him. It took forever to calm him down, Choheun reassuring him that she was going to be busy for the next few months but she would always call him if he wanted. Jaegoo stopped crying when he heard that and threw himself on her, nearly knocking the wind out of Choheun, but quickly caught him and kissed his chubby red cheeks.

(Dohyuk recorded the whole thing, sniffing and wiping a non-existent tear and Choheun gladly kicked his feet under the table with no sympathy for his pained yell. He deserved that.)

Jaegoo giggled, feeling her bangs ticklish. "Noona, tha' tickle!" Choheun only cooed at her nephew and squished him (gently) in a hug, leaning back on the chair.

"Aigo, you're so cute, Jae-yah! Cute, cute, cute!" she showered his chubby face with kisses on each pronounced word, the sound of his and Dohyuk's laughter ringing harmoniously in her ears.

Eunji approached the table with two plates in her hands, kimchi and kimchi bokkeumbap (Choheun may have mentioned her unnie was a terrible cook, but she only knew just a few dishes that tasted pretty damn good. And by few, she meant less than five fingers). She placed the two dishes on the table with the rice ready on the center and huffed a laugh at Choheun's situation.

Choheun's face was buried on Jaegoo's stomach, hugging his backside, and the six-year-old boy giggled, his arms trying to wrap around the teen's head.

Dohyuk snorted a laugh and Eunji smiled, shaking her head amusedly, "Okay, that's enough play-time with noona, baby. We need to eat dinner first before you play with her again or else Choheunnie won't have time to prepare her things. She might get in trouble."

Jaegoo gasped, eyes widening at his mother's words and whipped to Choheun, "I'm so sowwy, noona! I don' wan yuu to ge' in twoubul!" his eyes were wide and panicked, truly and genuinely scared he might get his only aunt and big sister-figure in trouble.

Choheun cooed, brushing her lips against his forehead, "It's okay, Jae-yah, I need to play with you as much as I can before I go." She said, and the boy nodded happily at that.

"Yeah!" Jaegoo chirped, making grabby hands to his mother and Eunji picked him up, setting him down beside the teen and pecked his cheek before sitting down on her own seat beside her husband.

Dohyuk picked up his chopsticks and they all followed suit (Jaegoo using a spoon and fork since he still couldn't use them) and started taking the bokkeumbap with the kimchi, facing his wife and smiled lovingly, "Thanks for the food, yeobo." His voice was undeniably filled with affection and adoration for his wife.

Choheun wanted to be like other younger siblings, to gag playfully and shout 'gross!' at the top of her lungs, but she loved romantic and feel-moments. There's nothing more important than seeing your family smiling with happiness.

Eunji blushed heavily and turned away from his gaze, coughing in her fist and started mixing her rice. Her cheeks were flaming red and an annoyed scowl was on her face. "I-It's nothing," She stressed the word with an unintentional stutter, stuffing the kimchi in her mouth and purposely munched loudly to ignore she had stuttered in the first place.

Choheun exchanged a look with her nephew and muffled their giggles behind their hands, grinning widely. She moved her gaze back to the couple in the table and smiled fondly. Her brother and sister-in-law were so sappy and totally in love with each other. Oh, had she mentioned Eunji was an actual tsundere? It's one of the reasons why Dohyuk fell in love with her back in high school when he first met her. Choheun had been a young child but she could read between the lines.

Eunji was a tsundere, and Dohyuk was a sickly teenage boy admiring her from afar since she was a popular student.

How cliché.

An actual anime in real life (or a K-slash-Asian-Drama, but Choheun rarely watched those).

That's so cute.

Choheun inwardly gushed, so happy for her brother even if it's been years now. She was so glad and relieved her only blood-related family member (and now Jaegoo) found his happiness when he was always looked down upon by their parents because of how weak he was since birth. He may not show it because of his stubborn personality, but Dohyuk had previously been depressed and lonely as a child, closed-off towards anyone and cried in his room while buying his own medicine for his asthma (thankfully, he had it for a few years).

It's why their parents decided to have another child ("We'll have another strong baby boy to lead our family name, dear-"), and that turned child out to be Choheun, an unnamed daughter for five years (how they managed to hide that from the doctors and the law or something was beyond her).

It's why Dohyuk ignored her presence ("I don't need your help! Just leave me alone-") in the house for the first four years of her life because he was so jealous of how much their mother used to pamper her with attention and hire tutors.

It's why she turned out to be another failure in their part, just as weak and pathetic as her brother if not more—a huge disgrace because they had a daughter, a weak girl, and it was their turn to ignore her as if she was invisible ("Eomonie? I don't like this game-"), and then Dohyuk finally realized what was going on and protected her when really, he was the weak one in the family, and abuji broke them the news-

Choheun opened her eyes, pulling the steel chopsticks out of her mouth as the lingering taste of spicy kimchi stung her tongue and her gaze dropped to the half-finished food on her bowl. A frown pulled on her lips, her stomach rolling inside. Why did she trail off to those memories? She had thought they were pushed back in the dark parts of her brain, trying to forget her childhood. Now she lost her appetite.

She smiled, gently pushing the bowl away from her, gaining the whole table's attention (except for Jaegoo, who was seemingly lost in his own world of food).

Dohyuk furrowed his eyebrows, "Honi-yah? Have you finished already? Your bowl isn't completely done." He pointed his chopsticks to her bowl, and Eunji stared intensely.

Choheun nodded her head, her tongue automatically making a lie without thinking about it, "Yeah. I'm actually a little full when Hyojee-ssi treated me for lunch. But I have to start packing up now." A lie. She had already eaten lunch before meeting up with the woman. But she still felt bad at lying so easily to her family with a genuine smile on her face. Lying became second nature to her, almost as easy as breathing.

The couple seemed to have bought the lie as they visibly relaxed slightly (Choheun inwardly grimaced), Eunji shaking her head with a smile. "Sure, go ahead. You're leaving tomorrow afternoon, right?"

Choheun nodded, standing up from the table and maneuvered around to the hall. "Yes!" she yelled over her shoulder, though her voice was still lowered.

"Then hurry your as- butt, Heun-ah! Try not to make a mess!" Eunji shouted back and Choheun laughed. She knew the woman was holding back the urge to curse. There's a reason why Eunji and Kaejji were sometimes considered twins.

"No promises, unnie!"

"Yah!"

Dohyuk and Jaegoo's laughter could be earn echoing in the living room. "Heunie-yah! Don't provoke her! You know Eunjinie's the devil in disguise!"

"PABO!"

A slap. "Hey!"

An adorable giggle. "Appa, eomma looks mad."

"DOHYUK!"

 


 

Choheun carefully stuffed the folded sweaters (that were admittedly bigger than her but it felt so soft, sue her) in a bag, swiping her bangs and breathed out. She lifted her arms in the air and stretched, her back a little aching from slouching for so long because of folding the clothes she needed. It wasn't much, just a couple of oversized shirts, waist-high shorts and jeans, leggings, her undergarments, pajamas, socks, and most of them being sweaters that were either thick or thin. She got cold easily, okay? The heat and the cold were never her favorite when it came to the weather, and the dry air was her enemy.

She also nosebleeds a little too easily, especially since it would be a lot, but she's always prepared and cautious to prevent that (if she nosebleeds at least once, it would turn into five more that would last a whole hour and she'd have to stay in bed because of the minimum blood loss).

Not urgent, but it got annoying and tiring. She's wasting too much precious tissue.

She stood up from the bed, hands on her hips to eye the boxes taped and closed near the empty closet and gave a nod to herself, pleased with the result of using up three hours packing up without stopping for anything—except maybe going to the kitchen for water. She was thirsty.

There was one more box, a small one, and Choheun knew exactly what to stuff it with.

She made her way to her drawers, pulling the first one open and quirked a lopsided smile at the sight of her calligraphy materials.

Calligraphy was such a nice hobby to have, relaxing and easy once she got used to it. Not a master, but very comfortable with it. Choheun was pretty damn frustrated the first time she tried it (she wanted to throw the pen on the wall), her usually fantastic patience wearing thin because of the plenty of mistakes and errors she had created with her shaky hands.

But at least she had a damn good handwriting. Good handwriting was so underrated.

After tenderly gathering the pens and the ink bottles into a cotton-soft bag and her calligraphy kit for the pens, Choheun opened the second drawer, briefly forgetting what she had in there, and her relaxed smile slowly slipped away.

Sharp.

Everything inside the drawer was sharp and pointy. Either small razors that were long or short, pencils that were sharpened way too much that the tip was too long and pointy, small sculpture knives with an edge so curved and smooth, and long pointy needles that looked more like a weapon than that of an innocent sewing needle. They were all sharp in their own way. Most of them were new and shiny, glossing under the calming white light of her room, but some of them still had a faint tint of red on the ends. Her blood. When she had cut a little too deep and the bloodstain wasn't washed clean for an hour, causing it to dry and remain as a permanent hue on the blades.

And she didn't have it in herself to throw the evidence away. She just couldn't do it. Not wanting to risk her family to know what she bought since they always had the habit of checking what any of them bought (in reality- what she bought. Not them). Especially since only Eunji took the trash out when she's home, not elaborating why the trash duty was left to her.

Instinctively, Choheun gently picked up a razor with a red hue, sliding a finger on the flat side of it (she didn't want to cut; she loved her fingers, thank you very much-). She knew she had promised her brother that she had stopped, but she couldn't help but lie because...doing this had become a part of her life since she was twelve.

Choheun still remembered the first time she had a cut. Funny enough, it was on accident.

Choheun was practicing how to cook for her brother, trying to make one of his favorite foreign food called 'Tocino(whatever that was but she heard it was good) and a knife was required to slice the big chunk of meat into thinner and smaller sizes. At least that's what she had seen on YouTube.

Next thing she knew, she made the mistake of not paying attention to what she's doing and her hand slipped off the meat, the blade sliding down to sink in her skin. Choheun had felt the burning sting almost immediately and threw the knife on the sink, grasping her hand urgently and eyed the blood with shocked eyes.

Why shocked?

Well, the pain felt...good. Maybe because she had been stressed because of school back then, mind stuffed with cotton and muscles buzzing with a prickling sensation while also feeling like jelly. Everything fell too stuffy inside her mind and body.

That's probably why it felt as if an ooze of the heavy feeling in her head melted away just slightly, as if the blood itself was the weird throbbing sensation she now knew was a headache in the cut. 

Soon enough, Choheun continued doing it impulsively when her head felt too stifling, too heavy and throbbing and ears ringing silently in her mind.

Unsurprisingly, she couldn't keep her new habit a secret. Dohyuk had found out a month later when he noticed blood seeping through her white sleeves (Choheun didn't clean the wound much and the dressing wasn't wrapped tightly. She didn't have an ointment for it as well because it ran out from the amount of usage she needed for the precious cuts; some of them were deep when she had been a little lightheaded and unaware).

Dohyuk kept telling her to stop, roping in Eunji and Kaejji when they entered her life and she reluctantly said yes to them (including Jaegoo when he innocently found one of her red needles and cluelessly asked why it was red).

But she lied.

And she's a damn good liar when it came to cutting (and her health).

Though she didn't cut as much as she did before; only if she was stressed out of her mind and felt as if something wrong had happened because of her.

Choheun sighed, gripping on the blade tightly before pulling the box near her. She grabbed the blades carefully with a pair of gloves on top of the drawer's surface and stuffed them above the calligraphy materials. She pulled the tape off and secured the box after closing it, tightening with so much tape she was slightly surprised it didn't run out yet.

She stood up, picking the small box in her arms and placed it over the other boxes near the closet, forcing herself to turn around and sit on her bed or else she'd stomp back, open the box, and run her fingers on the blades again.

Choheun pulled the gloves off, dropping them beside her nightstand and plopped down on her bed, bouncing slightly. She pulled her glasses off, pushing the edges close and laid them on her chest.

She was done packing now (her personal stuff wasn't much anyway)... What then?

She checked the clock still hanging on the wall, staring at the time and frowned. Maybe she should sleep? She did promise Jaegoo she'd play with him after, but Choheun still had more time to waste tomorrow since she would be moving in the afternoon at six.

Plenty of time left to spend with her family and only best friend until she had to move away, permanently (thank God for the creation of phones. No need to write letters anymore. Making letters gave her anxiety whether or not they were sent with no hassle or not).

Glancing at the clock one last time, seeing it tick to '08:53', Choheun breathed out a sigh and jumped out of bed, zipping her bag open to pull out her sleepwear.

Once she finished changing, she walked to her bathroom and brushed her teeth, gargling the water in her throat and spitting it out on the sink. Patting a small clean towel to dry the water around her face, she folded it back down and pushed a headband to her head. She grabbed her usual skincare cream (nothing fancy, really), tapping them lightly on her skin and giggled at the cold sensation. She closed the cream and rubbed her hands together, bringing them up to her face to gently rub the cream all over her face. Choheun picked up her lip balm, applying it softly on her lips twice before pulling away, rubbing her lips and smiled at the mirror.

When she's done, Choheun jumped back on the bed with her arms and legs spread open like a starfish. She was glad her glasses were already on the nightstand or else she might've thought it was still on her face (though she then remembered they weren't on her nose when she was doing her routine in the bathroom). Her hands grabbed the edge of her covers and pulled it over her body, rolling until she ended on the other side. She giggled, snuggling on her pillow. She felt like a sushi roll. It was a weird sleeping habit she had when she slept early; taking her time rolling into a sushi roll or that foreign food called a 'burrito' from America.

She rubbed her cheek against the plush pillow, trying to sleep by closing her eyes and even her breathing.

...

Yeah, there's a reason why Choheun mostly had a max limit of three hours of sleep in some days (everyday-). Today was a rare day for her to actually want to sleep before two in the morning.

She sighed, rolling to face up at the ceiling and surrendered to her thoughts when she finally couldn't take it.

Choheun always felt floaty and heavy when she's in bed. Almost as if she might possibly sleep on it forever if she gave in.

It... It made no sense, honestly. She didn't know why she felt that way, or why every night, when she went to bed, fully comfortable and relaxed and ready to fall into slumber, the urge to cut grew stronger and stronger as seconds ticked by.

Her mind briefly flashed with the image of her wrist bare for her; a clean straight line on the center of her wrist where her vein would be as a dark stream of thick blood trail down around her wrist and drip on the bedsheets below her, soaking it red. The sight would be beautiful, her skin glowing blue and making the blood look dark blue, almost black, under the blue corn moon from her window.

Choheun gulped, rolling to the side and curled under the sheets, controlling her breathing when she just noticed how quick it was and held her left wrist with her hand, gripping it tightly where she would want to cut to relieve that throbbing feeling of freeing the blood, of feeling the burning yet cold pain of the blade sinking in pass her skin with blood oozing out.

She breathed a shaky exhale, her cheek rubbing against the soft pillow and had enough of those thoughts. If she continued thinking about them any longer, she might just rip the box open to grab a blade, or even find anything sharp lying around her room at this moment to satisfy her thirst of that stinging pain, the feeling of a million bees stabbing her arm and through her whole body.

Choheun chewed on her lip, eyes screwed shut to ignore the sudden pounding and buzzing in her head, the hushed whispers telling her to do it.

And before she even knew it, her brain shut off, falling deep into dreamland as her body went limp. The tight grip she had on her wrist loosened completely, resting on the bed. Her lips slowly parted just slightly, air entering and exiting from them in synchronization with her breathing.

Before she knew, she fell asleep two hours later, but her dreams were nothing but faded images.

 


 

"It's sleeping time, baby." Eunji cooed, tugging the blanket over her baby boy.

Jaegoo puffed his cheeks, pouting with furrowed brows. "But eomma!" he whined, kicking his feet under the sheets but made no move to pull it off. "I wanna pway wi' noona! She pwomise me," his bottom lip quivered, eyes going wide with unconcealed sadness and dammit he reminded her too much of her husband!

Eunji smiled, pressing a gentle kiss on his chubby cheeks. "I know, baby, she did, but your noona needs her sleep so she can wake up early tomorrow and play with you. She'll have more time to spend with us before she leaves. Don't you want that?"

Jaegoo pouted, his doe eyes sliding down but slowly nodded. "Mhmm... I wanna pway wi' noona before she is gone."

"Aww, baby," Eunji cooed, showering her baby's face with an onslaught of kisses. Jaegoo squealed, giggles tumbling out of his mouth as he tried to push her face away. "Choheun-noona won't be gone forever. She'll give us a call every night and send messages on the phone. Maybe even write you letters!" she chirped, brushing her baby's hair away from his big eyes he definitely got from his father.

Jaegoo's eyes widen, "R-really?"

Eunji grinned, nodding exaggeratedly, "Really, really, baby."

The six-year-old boy smiled widely, making an adorable, pleased noise (okay, when had Choheun influenced her son? The girl was the master of anything cute even if she wasn't aware of it!). "Okay!" he relaxed in his bed, snuggling into the sheets and closed his eyes, eager to fall asleep so he could have more time with Choheun tomorrow morning.

Eunji muffled her laughter behind her hand, leaning down to press one last kiss to his forehead before reaching to the side of his bed and pulled the switch of the lamp on the nightstand off, the darkness swallowing the room with only the glow-in-the-dark star stickers and the open door the only lights remaining.

"Goodnight, baby," Eunji whispered affectionately, standing up from her kneeling position and headed towards the door, grabbing the doorknob outside.

If she had left right then and there, she wouldn't have heard a quiet and soft, "Goodnigh', eomma," from Jaegoo, voice muffled from the blanket covering his mouth.

Eunji looked over her shoulder, smiling tenderly before finally leaving the room, silently closing the door with an inaudible 'click'.

She breathed out, finally glad she got her baby boy to sleep. It always took forever for him to go to bed unless Choheun was around to read him a book with a soft voice or sing him a lullaby with her soothing voice.

Jaegoo really did take after his parents. Both were equally stubborn.

Speaking of the Yeons, Eunji wanted to see her other baby before tucking her husband to bed (he was still in the living room couch lounging about. He's still bedridden, even if he wasn't in his room at the moment. The man was ill, not...unable to walk or whatever the word was called—oh! Disabled. He just couldn't stay upright for ten minutes without feeling his legs turn shaky).

Standing in front of her little sister-in-law's bedroom, Eunji grasped the handle, pulling it down and pushing the door as quiet as she could without making the slightest bit of noise. Choheun was a very light sleeper, after all.

Though if anyone asked Eunji, she'd say that having a sleeping time for only five hours was not healthy. But like her husband, Choheun was unyielding and, unsurprisingly, clueless that she needed eight hours of sleep.

(Dohyuk told her Choheun grew up having a short amount of sleeping time. Used to be six hours, but it gradually shortened as the years pass, including when Choheun had found multiple part-time jobs two years ago and only stopped because Kaejji asked her to work with him. When she was only around seventeen. What the fuck.)

Eunji hoped her sleeping schedule would change once she moved tomorrow and start training. Idols needed their sleep, especially with all their hectic load of work. And maybe someone else would watch after the teen. Choheun was terrible at watching over herself, after all.

Poking her head inside the dark room, Eunji quirked a smile at the sight of her husband's baby sister (and her baby sister!).

Choheun was literally a lump of blankets, covering her whole body until her neck. With what she could see, the teen must've rolled herself into a burrito as well since some of the bedcovers were tangled around her legs and waist.

How adorable!

With feathery-light footsteps, Eunji slowly approached the girl's bed and crouched down once she was close enough. She eyed her baby sister, face softening with affection and smiled dotingly. Choheun's face was relaxed and peaceful, peach lips parted slightly for small puffs of breath to go out and body heaving slowly. Her small nose twitched every now and then, scrunching up as if she ate something sour before smoothing out and snuggled on the pillow that it covered half her face. The teen's arm moved up from the covers to rest beside her head, so much like a child, and the woman had no doubt her other hand was in-between her knees, a sleeping habit she acquired since childhood (from what Dohyuk told her anyway).

Eunji clutched her chest, resisting the urge to coo and glomp the girl and maybe even spoil her with love. Too CUTE.

The fond smile on Eunji's face faltered quickly, however, when she finally noticed Choheun's sleeve sliding down on her arm and stared at the skin.

That... That's a lot of lines.

Eunji felt her throat tighten up, and before she knew it, her shaky hand delicately held the girl's wrist and turned it around to see the lines properly. She bit her tongue in her mouth, holding back a frustrated (and defeated) scream that wanted to break through.

Choheun promised her. She promised them.

She promised.

Did she?

Eunji glided a thumb on a pink line on Choheun's pale wrist, feeling the small bump as she continued to caress the other cuts. Some were slightly red and mostly pink, and some were healing. A few of the cuts were recent, she could tell. But she didn't know how recent (she hoped it wasn't a week ago-).

She breathed a shaky exhale, tenderly placing the girl's hand back on the pillow and retracted her own hand back to her side, limp. Eunji stood up, quickly turning around and swiftly strode out of the room. She closed the door, silent and inaudible, and leaned back against the wooden material, hand clenching and unclenching.

Eunji wanted to punch the wall so fucking bad right now.

She wanted to shake the girl awake, yell and scream at her and demand why she broke her fucking promise, but she couldn't. Eunji knew it was too late to change the girl's mind. She knew. She fucking knew. Once Choheun started, she wouldn't be able to stop that not even her own brother could convince her otherwise. No one had successfully changed the girl's mind, and Eunji wasn't going to add how Choheun barely had any friends and no relatives to help her through (doctors and therapy did no good for her baby sister-).

If there was one thing she hated about the Yeon family, it's their unrelenting stubbornness.

Eunji hoped, with all her damn heart, that those group of idol boys, Bangtan or something, could help her baby sister. Change her, heal her, what-fucking-ever! Choheun needed help, but her own family and only best-friend couldn't provide her with anything, no matter how much they showed their affections and love. Any words that screamed 'I'm taking the-fucking-care of you' would always pass over the teen's head, refusing to believe that someone in the whole damn world would care for her and waddle away from human contact (unless it was from them and Kaejji, but she still turned away most of the time when in public) and focus on taking care of others.

With her jaw clenching together tightly, Eunji brisked out to the living room, biting her tongue hard to hold the words wanting to spill to her husband, wanting to tell and cry and shout and scream that Choheun broke her promise.

 


 

Choheun woke up exactly at five in the morning (that's what her clock said). Not a minute late, or a minute early.

She grumbled, hand shooting up to pat her bed hair, trying to tame it. Including her bangs. They were curled and basically everywhere.

With so much effort than necessarily needed, Choheun pushed herself off the bed and folded everything. Especially her favorite fluffy pink blanket. There's no way she wasn't going to bring it when she moved. It's staying with her until her last breath (the big blanket was a gift from her brother on her sixteenth birthday. She still slept with it all the time whenever she wanted a nap or a sleep).

Today was the last day she was going to see this house, and suddenly she was glad she woke up so early in the morning. Choheun was going to spend the rest the day with her family (and only friend... Somehow, that sounded sad).

After slipping an oversized white shirt with long sleeves, fabric light and thin, and wore her glasses, Choheun dragged her feet to the bathroom to do her usual morning routine; splashing her face with cold water and applied her morning cream and lip balm because lip balms were important. Once she's done, she headed to the kitchen, intent on finding something to fill her empty stomach (fooooood-).

Choheun opened the fridge, pouting at how empty it was (okay, it really wasn't. But there weren't any leftovers or anything inside, just snacks and ingredients). She was feeling a little lazy today, so she grabbed a carton of milk and closed the icebox (heh, who called it that these days?).

Her hand reached up to a cabinet and pulled it open, huffing at how high the cereal box she only ate was. With a grumble, Choheun placed the milk on the counter and faced the cabinet again, glaring at the cardboard box conveniently placed on the highest shelf (did she mention Eunji and Dohyuk were giants? She literally reached above the woman's ears and was a whole head smaller than her brother).

"Fight me," she clicked her tongue, nudging her glasses and went on her tippytoes, hand outstretched up to the shelf. "Come on!" she whimpered, pursing her lips together as the tips of her fingers grazed the box. Choheun felt hope bubble up before dwindling back down to nonexistent when she pushed the box back by an inch. Damn her small hands! Her long nails didn't even help!

She glowered, scowling at the object of her current troubles, and lifted her leg to brace it on the counter, propping herself up and reached even higher. She just wanted the freaking cereal, dammit! Why did everything have to be a challenge? Her stomach was starving for anything solid!

"Closer...!" Choheun bit her lip, eyes squinting in focus and held back the urge to cheer randomly when her index and middle finger got the box in-between them. "Yes!" she beamed, nudging the box back and finally, finally grabbed it with her whole hand. When she got it off the shelf, Choheun jumped off the counter and hugged the box (because she wanted to throw it against the damn wall-) and sighed, long and relieved that nothing bad had happened. Like maybe another accident (same situation. Except she was much, much smaller before).

"That's a cute show,"

Choheun let out a startled noise (she did not squeak!), dropping the box as it landed on the floor with a loud 'thunk' and whipped around, promptly blushing hard at the sight of all three of her family sitting on the dining table. Eunji was grinning wide, Jaegoo was muffling his giggles on his mother's shoulder, and Dohyuk was smirking, shamelessly holding a phone up. Recording.

Hold up- why were they even awake in five in the morning?

Choheun sputtered, her cheeks feeling too hot. "H-how long have you been watching?" she demanded in embarrassment, ducking down to grab the cereal box and clutched it to her chest protectively for no reason.

Dohyuk shrugged one shoulder, tapping something on his phone and placed it down. "When you tried to sneak out of your room. Our door wasn't exactly closed."

Choheun frowned, briefly taking her attention away to prepare bowls of cereal for the rest of her family then looked back up as she uncapped the milk. "I didn't even sneak out, oppa. I was sure my feet were pretty loud."

"Heun-ah," Eunji snorted, bouncing Jaegoo in her lap and grinned, "you do remember that your shoe size is, like, around two-hundred thirty-eight, right? Your feet are as light as Jaegoo-yah's."

"Yah! My feet aren't that small, unnie!" Choheun scowled, somehow angrily pouring milk on each of the cereal-filled bowls and dropped the spoons in them without care (okay, maybe she gently dropped Jaegoo's spoon, but she had no restraint of being gentle towards the so-called adults!).

Jaegoo giggled, clutching his mother's shirt. "Noona, yuu haf tiny feet! Appa say so!" he chirped with way too much energy in the morning, which still confused Choheun, by the way. Or else she would've squawked at her brother for telling her nephew that.

Choheun opted to stare at them in confusion, bringing all four bows balanced on her arms to the table. "Why are you all up so early, anyway? It's five in the morning." She pushed their bowls, with Jaegoo having the smallest specifically for him, and sat on the table as they all began to eat after Dohyuk took his first spoon.

Surprisingly, Jaegoo was the one who answered. The six-year-old brought two of his hands up, showing three and four fingers on each hand, pouting adorably and—holy crap Choheun's sleepy heart was going to melt. This amount of cuteness in the morning was illegal. "Bu' noona, it's sev'n o'clock!" he widened his doe eyes, bottom lip jutting out and please stop. Choheun wasn't sure if she could survive this right now.

Wait- "Seven?!" the teen shrieked, head snapping to the clock in the living room and her eyes practically bugged out of her sockets at the sight of '07:19'. "B-but my clock said- it said five." She made a pitiful noise, staring at the clock in disbelief as her mind tried to take the information. When was she ever wrong? Choheun had never been wrong before!

Dohyuk and Eunji laughed at her expression while Jaegoo happily ate his cereal, making cute munching noises. "Baby, I'm pretty sure the batteries ran out." He teased, scooping a spoonful and shoved it in his mouth, more crunchy since he preferred eating cereal with less milk and more crunch.

Choheun's jaw dropped, barely made a move to feed herself, "Th-the batteries ran out already?!" Why was she overreacting? Well...probably because she was still sleep-deprived, but she wasn't going to admit that any time soon.

Before the girl could rant how bs everything was in the morning and how if she had work, the clock would've ruined her, a mouthful of cereal was shoved in her mouth and she yelped, lips quickly closing on the spoon as it was pulled away once the food was resting on her tongue. Choheun instantly glared at her brother, always the culprit, giving him the stink eye while he had the audacity to smirk.

"It's too early for your complaints, jagi. Just enjoy your cereal for the time being," Dohyuk said pleasantly, sipping the milk as if he was drinking tea with a freaking pinky finger out and Choheun glared harder but she chewed on the cereal nevertheless, swallowing the milk. She tried to open her mouth to protest, but blinked bemusedly when her spoon was in front of her face once again, the owner of the hand being Eunji instead. She gave the woman a confused stare but Eunji only smiled, nudging the spoon closer to her mouth until a small bit of liquid milk touched her bottom lip. Understanding what she was trying to do, Choheun sighed and parted her lips for the spoon to enter.

Moments later, Choheun just allowed her oppa and unnie to feed her by turn, not even letting her feed herself. Even Jaegoo wanted to feed her (the happy smile she got in return was worth it, though). It was supposed to be the other way around! What in the name of ice cream? She was eighteen (seventeen)! Not ten!

But regardless of the weirdest start of the morning, Choheun did spend the rest of the day with the people she loved. She discussed topics with her sister-in-law, and watched the married couple playfully poke at each other before actually arguing (that escalated quick, but what's new?). Dohyuk had even invited Kaejji without her knowing, even if she was planning to do so herself earlier on, and they just talked and hung out in her room, sometimes going out to play in the living room with her baby nephew while Dohyuk and Eunji lounged on the couch, watching them and quietly conversing with each other, voice hushed and expressions serious (Choheun couldn't really tell if it was genuine or not. Those two rarely acted serious).

This was the kind of day she wanted to see, to experience; only smiles and laughter from her small circle of family. Just them. No one else. Nobody else.

And needless to say, she wasn't worried about the fact she was moving away to live with a group of idols anymore. That this would be the last time she'd be with her family in person and would soon rely on computers and phones, calls and messages, the internet and video calls. That she wouldn't even know when or how her brother might end up in the hospital in the future when she's busy getting accustomed to her new life. That, hopefully, Eunji could get an extra weekend off so she could come home more to take care of Dohyuk and Jaegoo when she couldn't anymore. That she could no longer listen to Kaejji's annoying and mindless rants every morning when going to work anymore. That she couldn't always see Jaegoo's smile directed to her when she complimented his drawing. Her comfort zone changed so drastically so fast.

So.

She wasn't worried.

She wasn't.

(Except she still was-)

Chapter Text

Time moved too fast for her liking.

Now she had a bawling baby nephew in her arms.

"Noonaaa! I'm gon' miss yuu so much!" Jaegoo wailed, hiding his teary face on the teen's chest, small arms wrapped around her as best as he could. Choheun felt her heart squeeze at that, rubbing his back comfortingly while also trying to soothe herself as well. She kissed his head, letting her lips linger a little longer.

"I'm going to miss you, too, Jae-yah. I'm going to miss you all so much." Choheun whispered, the reality that this was really the last time she'd be seeing them hitting her hard. But she wasn't going to cry; she knew she'd be talking with them again later tonight before bedtime every day, every week, every month. Thank the geniuses who invented touchscreen phones (especially the iPhone, but she was pretty biased since 2012).

It's already been a while since Jaegoo started crying and even when Choheun tried to pull away, just the slightest bit, he'd start bawling all over again and she had to quickly whisper sweet reassurances in his ear as she hugged him. For ten minutes. In the background, she could hear the others' laughter and amusement, not bothering to even help her.

Aish, such rude and un-cute unnie and oppas. Why was she so loyal to them.

(She loved them, though.)

After convincing the little boy to let her go (it took another five minutes holy crap-), Choheun peppered her nephew with kisses all over his face, eliciting adorable giggles despite his puffy face and pinky-promised that they'd talk every single night when she's not busy (because Choheun had a feeling she was going to be really busy).

And now, she was currently trapped in a sandwich hug on both sides by the husband-and-wife duo; Dohyuk on her right and Eunji on the left. Choheun just melted in the hug, her face warming up at the obvious affection from the two with how tight yet gentle their hold was. She could feel her eyes burn, vision briefly blurry, but refused to shed a tear, tightening her own arms around them and they pulled her closer if possible.

Dohyuk kissed her temple, his soft lips leaving a tingling warmth on her skin and Choheun held back the urge to bury herself in his arms and just stay forever. "Show everyone how amazingly talented you are, honeybee. Show them how much passion you have to become an idol, even if it means you'll be the new member of Bangtan something." He stated, voice thick yet still composed, and Choheun let out a wet laugh, slapping his arm lightly when she pulled back from the hug to look at them.

"It's 'Bangtan Sonyeondan', oppa. Don't disrespect my idols. And I promise I'll do my best. I'll work really hard and not disappoint." The teen promised, nodding her head. Even if she was scared of the group right now, they were still the same people she idolized back in 2013. 

Eunji leaned forward and pressed a hard kiss on Choheun's cheek, her lips smacking the skin and made an exaggerated 'mwah' that Choheun muffling her giggles at the woman. "Don't overwork yourself, okay, Heun-ah?" she gave a pointed stare at the girl and Choheun nodded, making the woman smile wide. "Knock 'em dead, sweetie."

Dohyuk whined, gaining their attention. Choheun blinked at her brother confusedly. "Yeobo, please speak in Korean. You know none of us in the room-" he gestured to himself, a blinking Jaegoo, and an amused Kaejji, "-can understand your English conversations. Also you, jagiya." Dohyuk pointed at an innocently blinking Choheun and did the most mature thing she saw him do today- he stuck his tongue out at her, and the girl laughed at his childishness.

(She was going to miss it so much-)

Choheun quietened a heartbeat later, pursing her lips to hide how they were beginning to quiver, leaning to hide rest her head on Eunji's shoulder. She was so close to crying right then and there when her unnie lifted a hand to comb her hair, something she did back when she was still in middle school. She's going to miss this- "I'll miss you..." she muttered so softly it was scarcely audible.

Dohyuk smiled, nuzzling her soft and puffy hair and she would've purred if she could. "We'll miss you more, honeybee. There'll never be a second where we won't be thinking about you."

Eunji snickered, moving to place tender kisses on Choheun's cheek, then button nose and jaw, and her bare shoulder that her oversized sweater couldn't hide. The girl held back giggles, ticklish. "He's right. And we're planning to message you nonstop you'll be so annoyed and begging us to shut up once we're done!"

Choheun laughed again and kissed their cheeks, moving away and smiled wide. "Me too, unnie. But about the messaging—I highly doubt I'll say that you know. There won't be a day where I won't stop thinking about both of your constant bickering over tiny things." She teased, living for the immediate redness appearing on their faces.

"Yah!"

Choheun snickered, quickly getting away from them knowing Eunji couldn't follow since she had to support Dohyuk. The teen looked at the last person in the room and grinned, "Bye, oppa."

Kaejji grinned back, nodding his head. "You too, Cho-yah."

Choheun smiled at him and grabbed her bag, slinging it over her shoulder and walked to the door, hand reaching the doorknob before stopping, hovering. She clenched her fist, then abruptly turned back and ran to Kaejji.

Kaejji yelped, arms full of a hugging Choheun and quickly wrapped his arms around her small waist. "H-hey!"

Choheun ignored him and pressed a long kiss just near his lips, pulling back and smiling at his flushed and confused look. "I'll miss you, too, Kaejji-oppa-yah!" she chirped, eyes curving up and peach lips pulling up.

Kaejji blinked, throwing his head back to laugh and grinned down at her, patting her head like she was a puppy. "Me too, Cho-yah. More than you'll ever know."

Choheun hummed, smirking, and inwardly cackled at the wary look that took over his face. Yeah, she knew that her and smirking never fit in one sentence. "I must confess, however- I don't think I'll miss how much you take away my last brain cells and slowly drive me crazy with your loud, mindless ranting that I never really listen to."

The redhead scowled, flicking her forehead and it was his turn to smirk at her startled squeak. What a rude oppa! "Aish, you little brat! I knew you never listened! I thought hyungie raised you better than this,"

The honey-eyed teen gaped, "Wh-what does that even mean?!" she shrieked.

Kaejji sniffed, lifting his nose up in the air. "You'll understand when you're older."

"I'm eighteen, you pabo!"

He scowled instantly, "Who're you calling pabo, you tea lover?!"

Choheun deadpanned but held back a smirk. "Is that really the best comeback you've got? And excuse you, oppa, but tea is way better than black coffee. You're already bitter, to begin with, so it's not necessary to consume more of it. So old-school." No offense to others who loved black coffee. She just loved messing with Kaejji. Sometimes.

"I'm only three years older than you!" Kaejji squawked, jabbing his thumb over his shoulder. "And say that to Dohyuk-hyung!"

"YAH! YOU CALLING ME OLD?!"

Without hesitation or fear, Choheun and Kaejji turned to the couch to face the married man lodging there and yelled a determined- "YES!"

Jaegoo and Eunji giggled and laughed as Dohyuk blushed red, glowering at the two near the door. "AISH, YOU LITTLE BRATS!"

They all laughed at the poor man trying to defend himself indignantly. Choheun wiped a tear that fell from her eye, squeaky giggles escaping her throat as her stomach burned from how much she laughed.

Yes, this was definitely how she wanted to say goodbye to her family. All smiles and happy faces.

It wasn't as if she was moving to another country. She just wouldn't be able to see them twenty-four-seven anymore and must rely on the internet (it's a blessing and she'd never know how she survived without it back then). And messages and calls. Always.

Choheun felt...so far...

Ah, what's the word?

Content.

 


 

"Omo, Choheun-ah, did you cry?" Hyojee inquired with sparkling eyes once the teenager finally entered the car. Choheun was given an hour to spend her last moments with her family before it was time to move. The girl was going to ride with the stylist since the woman was assigned to drop her off to the boys' dorm.

Choheun blushed, pouting and puffing her cheeks (what a cute chubby honeybee!) and tried to sink into the passenger's seat as best as she could. "No I didn't..." she muttered, but her puffy red eyes and red nose said so otherwise.

She was an adorable about-to-be trainee baby in denial.

Hyojee chuckled, turning the car on and the engine roared to life, clicking her seat belt on and gripped the wheel. "If you say so. But denial is a cute look on you~"

"I-I'm not!"

"Sure~" Hyojee cooed, disregarding the girl's glare (she was pouting and looked more like a kitten aww-) as she also clicked her seat belt over her front. Choheun huffed, looking out the window to gaze at her house and her expression shortly softened after, resting her cheek on the palm of her hand but also bypassing her glasses perched up on her nose. Hyojee smiled at her, facing the front to watch the truck carrying the girl's stuff (she was surprised Choheun had minimum luggage) started to move and followed.

As Hyojee drove the car to the designated dorm in comfortable silence, the glasses-wearing girl staring out the window full of wonder as if she's never seen this part of the road, she quickly tapped the screen in front of her and began playing a list of songs, the first starting its first beat and Choheun perked up, eyes brightening. Hyojee chuckled at the sight, quirking a smile up. "I take it you're a BigBang fan?"

A pretty rosy hue colored the girl's cheeks as she nodded shyly, absently tugging on her sleeves over her fingers. The song 'Fantastic Baby' playing in the car. That song definitely blew up.

Hyojee smiled, "Who's your bias? Mine's TOP-ssi. And Daesung-ssi is my bias wrecker."

Choheun too a moment, a hum passing through her lips with a thoughtful look on her face. She blushed, ducking her head and mumbled her answer so quietly under her breath Hyojee couldn't hear a thing.

"Choheun-ah, a little louder, please?" Hyojee pleaded with widening eyes, blinking repeatedly even if she knew her aegyo wasn't that good. She had a reputation to maintain, but for Choheun, maybe she didn't mind.

But apparently, Choheun liked anything cute since she deflated, her ears burning red. "I said G-Dragon is my bias..." she admitted, fiddling with her fingers that were peeking through her sweater paws.

A surprised laugh escaped Hyojee, startling the girl as she whipped her head at her and flushed. "I-It's not that funny!"

Hyojee shook her head, pausing a bit to turn the wheel for a u-turn before responding, "Sorry, I'm not laughing at you. I'm just not expecting someone like Kwon Jiyong-ssi to be someone of your liking. He's..." the total opposite of you, "...well, who's your wrecker, then?" she changed the topic, pretending to be half-listening and focusing on the road (which she wasn't faking).

"Seungri-oppa," Choheun answered with no hesitation and Hyojee laughed at how adorably giddy the girl looked. Oh? Perhaps she was a huge fan of the maknae, even if her bias was the leader. She wanted to ask, but the information she had now was enough.

Speaking of biases, Hyojee felt a smirk making its way on her face. "So, Choheun-ah," she drawled calmly, side-glancing to see the teen eyeing her warily (she cackled), "do you have a bias in Bangtan?"

Choheun blanched, scooting away from the mischievous woman. "D-does that really matter? I'm going to start working with them soon, right? I think choosing such a thing is not appropriate anymore." She squirmed when Hyojee drilled holes on the side of her face (when the stoplight was red).

Hyojee smirked, "I'm not letting you escape this one. I don't care if they're not your bias anymore, but I really, really wanna know who used to be your favorite." She persisted, planning to use it for blackmail and possible bribery once the boys were comfortable around the young girl and she with them.

Choheun tilted her head up at her, narrowing her honey eyes with slight annoyance (and exasperation) and a cute pout on her peach-colored lips (Hyojee's still wondering how on earth such natural lip color existed). She huffed, crossing her arms and sagged her shoulders in defeat. "Okay, fine, but don't tell anyone, okay? I highly doubt they, you know, would appreciate hearing this pointless information." She snapped, hunching in on herself.

Hyojee nodded seriously, drawing a cross sign over her chest where her heart would be. "I promise I won't." For now.

Choheun sighed, blowing a strand of her bangs to the side only for it to fall back on her forehead. She looked to the side, avoiding the stylist's very interested gaze. "My bias is—was...Suga-ssi." Her face turned even red, voice small and squeaky with embarrassment.

Hyojee was having the time of her life.

"Seriously?!" Hyojee exclaimed in disbelief and surprise, eyes gazing back on the road when the light turned green and stepped on the pedal. She laughed, "Aigo, Choheun-ah, you're full of surprises."

Choheun sputtered, "Wh-what does that even mean? I-Is it bad that he's my bias?" she questioned in terror before pouting, "I mean, I really...admire him. Well, I admire all of them, but Suga-ssi is... w-well..." she stuttered, pursing her lips then leaned back on the seat, deciding not to finish her sentence.

"Come on, spill! I won't tell a soul," Hyojee prompted, dying to know why the girl looked up to the cool (and short, heh) rapper. Choheun seemed to be one of those fans who admired idols not because of their looks, but their talents and ambitions first and everything else second. But she had a hunch there was more to it than that...

Choheun stubbornly shook her head, "Nope. There's nothing to spill, Hyojee-ssi. Nothing at all. I swear." She said, face guarded and voice very adamant from explaining herself.

Hyojee frowned but decided not to press any further. Just from the look on the girl's face, her reason was probably personal or something close. She knew where she stood on the line and didn't want to try and step over to test Choheun's trust. Her trust to trust Hyojee that she wouldn't pry anymore.

That's what she did. Hyojee had an inkling the girl's trust was something valuable. "Okay, then. If my hubae insists, then I shall listen."

A sad look but relieved look was present on Choheun's face. She must be feeling bad she couldn't tell her anything (and from what Hyojee learned so far about the eighteen-year-old, Choheun felt guilty so easily, even from the tiniest thing). "I'm sorry..." she peered up at her with sad doe eyes and all Hyojee wanted to do was hug the girl to erase that look off her face. Frowns shouldn't belong to someone like Choheun, so kind and polite and adorable and...selfless. The realization just hit her hard then and there.

The grip she had on the wheel tightened just a bit, "Aigo, there's nothing to apologize for, honeybee. You can tell me whenever you want when you feel like it, okay?"

Choheun was still pouting but nodded slowly, reluctantly, as if she was still at fault but let it slide. "Mm..."

Hyojee grinned, reaching over to pat the girl's head and she made an affronted noise. "Daebak... You're so cute, Choheun-ah."

"I-I'm not cute, Hyojee-ssi!"

Ah, Hyojee was waiting for the day the shy little ball of fluff under big sweaters would start opening up. She wondered who Choheun really was behind the walls around her little heart. But first, she better get the girl to feel relaxed and adjust to her new lifestyle soon.

 


 

"Jeongguk-ah, is everything in the room clean?" Seokjin asked as he placed the dripping plate on the side to dry off, grabbing the sponge and squeeze it to produce some bubbles out.

Jeongguk resisted the urge to roll his eyes and sighed quietly, briefly poking his tongue in his inner cheek as he scrolled down through Twitter on his phone. "Yes, hyung. All is spotless and ready to be used." He snarked, ignoring the warning jab on his arm from Jimin, the dancer giving him a pointed look.

Fortunately, Seokjin didn't notice the bite in his tone, too immersed with washing the dishes. The singer nodded, even if the maknae couldn't see, and pulled the gloves off his hands and placed it aside to dry near the plates. "Okay, that's good. Next thing to do..." he trailed off, turning around and went to Jeongguk's room, just to double-check, and maybe their other rooms as well. The bathroom, too. Must clean the bathroom.

Jimin watched his hyung leave the room and looked back at the younger, frowning in disapproval. "Jeonggukkie, you need to let it go. Yeon Choheun-ssi didn't anything wrong, you know," he said softly and the maknae scoffed, face twisting up to a sullen expression.

"That's the thing, hyungie! She didn't do anything wrong, and I hate myself for feeling this." Jeongguk scowled, rubbing his face and Jimin reached out to gently run his fingers through his hair, smiling at how the boy quickly relaxed at the touch. "A part of me doesn't want this change, and another part is... I guess a little bitter that she got a quick pass and has a few months before debuting. But I—I don't know, hyung. I really don't know how to feel about having a new member. A female one, at that. Wouldn't that change, I don't know, everything? Will things be different from now on? Do we have to pretend, in case?" he confessed tiredly, leaning back on the couch.

Jimin stared at him in surprise, processing the words to understand and smiled fondly, moving his hand down to the younger's shoulder and squeezed gently. "I don't know either. But, hopefully, the difference is going to be a good one. For all of us. Who knows, maybe Yeon Choheun-ssi might be cool." He assured with a big smile, eyes disappearing with it and Jeongguk huffed a chuckle, shaking his head. Jimin sure knew how to comfort someone.

"Yeah... I guess so. Sorry for being so childish this past couple of days, Jimin-hyung. Maybe I wanted to keep my title as the youngest." Jeongguk scratched his head sheepishly, turning his phone off to get comfortable on the couch (so soooft).

Jimin waved his hand in dismissal, his eyes curving into crescents, "Don't worry about it Gukk-ah. Though try to tone down your hate towards the poor girl. She's younger than you," he teased, though half-serious because he didn't want the maknae to scare their new member (when she looked so scared to begin with).

"I know that already. And I don't hate her, hyung. Just..." he shrugged helplessly, "...doubts." Jeongguk rolled his eyes, playfully, and the dancer lightly smacked his arm at his curt tone in the beginning. Jimin was glad the maknae didn't harbor resentment towards the teenage girl, though, or else working together would be difficult.

"Yah, show some respect to your elders, Guk-ah."

"When it's someone short named Park Jimin-ssi? No thanks,"

"Aish, this brat! I'm not that short!"

"But you're shorter than Yoongi-hyung, and he's short. But all of us are too afraid to say that to his face."

"YAH!"

"What's going on?" Taehyung raised a brow at the sight he was greeted to (his best-friend shouting and yelling at their maknae and Jeongguk laughing and blocking Jimin's slaps which provoked him even more), Hoseok laughing behind his hand beside him. "Wait, no, don't answer that."

Jimin whipped his head at the newcomers, pointing an angry finger at the younger's direction, face red and fuming. "This dongsaeng is being disrespectful again!"

Hoseok laughed at the look on Taehyung's face. "Jiminnie~" he whined, making their way to the couch and the two occupying it moved to give some space. "I said I didn't wanna know," he pouted, letting Jimin whack the back of his head (lightly, of course).

"I do!" Hoseok raised a hand, grinning when they all laughed amusedly at his quick answer.

Taehyung ruffled his only dongsaeng's hair, smirking at the way Jeongguk glared at him, displeased, and tried to fix his hair. "By the way, did we miss anything? Jin-hyung is pretty busy." As if to further prove his point, Seokjin flew pass the room and grabbed something before quickly retreating back to the hall, muttering something under his breath.

Hoseok and Jeongguk snickered as Jimin answered, "He's buzzing around because Yeon Choheun-ssi will be arriving any time soon. Probably a few hours more or something," he supplied helpfully, fingers tapping on the pillow he had on his lap.

Taehyung widened his eyes, "Yeon Choheun-ssi? She's about to arrive?"

Jimin shrugged, "As I said, we're not sure when exactly. Bang PD-nim didn't mention the time, and Hyojee-noona refused to say anything. Not sure why."

The dance-line and singer all made a noise of understanding, nodding their heads simultaneously. They all had noticed, when first meeting Choheun for the first time, how much the stylist really liked the small girl. Which was saying something because their long-time noona was hard to impress. The woman looked ready to fight anyone just to protect the female teen like a protective mama bear. They noticed how Hyojee would subtly shift to the front to block Choheun from their view, like she knew the girl was afraid and didn't hesitate to make a move. How her face softened and her smile so fond when the girl shyly introduced herself. And how she was quick to initiate touch with the other girl so easily and didn't mind when Choheun hid behind her a lot.

"Noona likes her, obviously."

The dancers (and singer but Taehyung might as well be part of the dance-line) turned to see Yoongi and Namjoon walk inside, the latter moving to close the door. The two had returned from their studios just in time to overhear their conversation about their newest addition they had met for the first time yesterday.

Yoongi, the one who spoke up, sat on the chair of their dining table, pulling his face mask off and cap. Namjoon was in the kitchen, opening the fridge grab some water to cool his dry throat.

Jeongguk scoffed, crossing his arms. "Of course noona likes her. She's not exactly subtle about it." He said like it was obvious, but calm enough that he didn't sound sarcastic about it.

"You're not...too upset about it, are you?" Namjoon asked, moving towards the wall near the couch and leaned against it, tilting his head up to the side to chug the water down.

"No, hyung," Jeongguk was getting a little annoyed now. Okay, he may not like the idea of a new member so suddenly right before their next comeback completely, their managers and Bang PD-nim not even letting them in the discussion about it, but that didn't mean he wasn't willing to give the girl a chance. Besides, what if Jeongguk might actually take a liking to her? He wasn't a jerk to newbies. He just...never liked changes that much. "I'm fine. Don't worry too much about it. It's not like I'm planning to scare her or something."

Yoongi snorted from where he was, gaining their attention. "You looked like you were, yesterday." He commented dryly, wearing his special headset and plugged it on his phone to listen to the new sample for their other song.

"Hey! I wasn't the only one! You were, too! Don't think we didn't notice, Yoongi-hyung," Jeongguk retaliated, pouting, and then smirked a second later when the others started to laugh at the Daegu rapper when Yoongi sent a quick glare to the maknae, not denying it or admitting it, with his cheeks dusting the faintest hue of pink.

Yoongi huffed and looked away, grumbling as he pressed the play button on his phone and listened to the first beat of the music blast through the headset and to his ears. He was so sure he didn't look too affected, but alas, he was caught redhanded. But at least he didn't dislike the girl. Meanwhile, Jeongguk wasn't that good at hiding what he really felt (displeasure was written all over his face yesterday, but to the boy's credit, it was only for a brief moment before guilt took over).

Soon, they all fell to their usual routine, the atmosphere calm and relaxed for the first time today. The maknae-line snickering and talking about some funny memes Jeongguk found on the internet, Hoseok taking a seat near Yoongi and discussed something about their next album (always prepared for the next), and Namjoon brought a chair near the couch and played with his phone, listening to what his members were saying and sometimes answered Taehyung when the singer asked for his opinion about something. Even Seokjin joined in once he was done roaming around the dorm, his windshield wiper laugh loud and obnoxious in the room when telling another of his horrible jokes and the others couldn't really get annoyed with their funny and caring hyung (except for Yoongi, who groaned at his only hyung, and that evoked more hilarity from the boys).

But it didn't remain for much longer the moment the sound of the doorbell rung out once.

 


 

Seokjin shot up, eyes widening when he heard the sound of a truck parking outside and then following the doorbell was a knock on the door.

"Boys?" was obviously the voice of their stylist, Choi Hyojee, from outside their dorm. That only meant-

"She's here!" Hoseok whisper-yelled, face so comically panicked that Seokjin would've laughed if the circumstances were different. And, soon enough, they all scrambled up from where they were and started clearing out any extra things lying around the living room, the kitchen, and the dining table.

Seokjin quickly approached the door, patting his clothes down and looked over his shoulder to see Jimin, Hoseok, and Namjoon on the couch, Jeongguk and Taehyung sitting on the floor in front of the couch, and Yoongi sitting on the chair Namjoon sat on prior. The room was clean and tidy, nothing out of the ordinary as if they didn't run around like headless chickens, and Seokjin took a deep breath before reaching out to open the door.

Hyojee blinked up at him (Hyojee was taller than Hoseok but still shorter than him and Namjoon; she was a genetically tall woman), and Seokjin didn't see their new member anywhere.

He turned his gaze on the woman only a month younger than him and smiled, "Good afternoon, Hyojee-ssi."

The woman returned his smile with a big grin, eyes glancing over the idol's shoulder to see the other members watching something on the TV, and blinked back at Seokjin. "You, too, Jinnie. Is everything ready?"

"Yes."

Hyojee nodded, pleased, "Oh, good, well," she motioned to the movers (who were carrying boxes; Seokjin assumed were Choheun's stuff) making their way to the dorm and the two moved aside to let them in to place the boxes in the room near Jeongguk's former room, "as you can see, they're going to quickly leave Choheun-ah's belongings. It's not much, so, I hope none of you guys mind." She shrugged nonchalantly. The men returned from the dorm and made their way back to the truck, the two moving aside once again to let them pass.

Seokjin hummed, "It's fine. But could I ask where's...Choheun-ssi?" he asked curiously, looking around to find the small spectacle-wearing girl.

Hyojee made an acknowledging noise, nudging her head back. "She's just getting her bag from the car. She'll be here right about-" before the woman could even finish her sentence, a body slammed into her, startling Seokjin as a yell escaped him.

"-now." Hyojee finished, an arm already wrapped around the girl's shoulder. Choheun gazed up at the stylist, eyes wide and cheeks colored as if she had been running with how quick her breathing was.

"I'm so sorry I took too long, Hyojee-ssi! M-my seatbelt got stuck," she stuttered, clearly embarrassed as she absently pushed her glasses up. She looked ready to move away from the woman, but the stylist kept a firm hold around the teen.

Hyojee laughed, patting the girl's head and Choheun ducked her head down shyly. "Seriously? Aigo-yah, that's so cute, Choheun-ah. Battling with a seatbelt." She cooed, causing the teen to flush even more until her chubby cheeks were apple red in indescribable embarrassment.

Seokjin may or may not have released an inaudible squeal. That was...so cute.

Choheun opened her mouth, probably to retaliate, but shut her mouth closed once she finally noticed Seokjin hanging by the door, watching everything unfold with unconcealed amusement. She squeaked, instantly hiding behind Hyojee. "S-sorry!" she apologized for no reason at all. Seokjin smiled at her in bemusement.

Hyojee sent a look at him, maybe wanting him to say something, to let Choheun know he didn't mind, and he did so since the apology was for him. Seokjin chortled softly, "No worries, Choheun-ssi. Want to come in? I'm ordering dinner." He gestured a hand to the room.

Hyojee seemed to consider the request but shook her head after a moment of contemplation later, smiling apologetically at the singer. "As much as I'd like to accept your offer for free food, Jinnie, I have to report back to PD-nim and Sejin-oppa. Plus, we need to start preparing all your schedules together and when your next comeback this winter would be; Choheun-ah will be debuting then." She looked down at the girl on her side, Choheun staring up at her with wide eyes, clutching the woman's sleeve tightly with her sweater paws as if she didn't want her to leave. "Are you okay on your own, honeybee?"

Seokjin's eyebrows were raised high to his forehead, honeybee? What kind of nickname was that? Not that he was judging, by the way, but it was pretty endearing, to say the least.

Choheun glanced at him then at Hyojee, chewing on her peachy lips almost unconsciously, before nodding slowly, hesitant. "I...yeah. Yeah, I'm okay from here. Thank you, Hyojee-ssi, for your help." The girl bowed gratefully, after pulling away from the stylist's hold, gripping her bag Seokjin didn't notice close to her chest.

Hyojee smiled widely and patted the girl's head before looking at Seokjin, "I'll be heading out now. Take care of her, will you? She's literally a lost puppy, so do guide her well." She smirked, voice teasing but Seokjin could see how her eyes said so otherwise and felt a wave of understanding and determination wash over him. So Choheun was like that, huh?

Seokjin nodded, a secret smile on his face, "Sure."

Choheun looked at the two of them weirdly, nose scrunching up as her face smoothed with confusion. "Mwo?" she questioned curiously but Hyojee just smiled, patting the girl's head for the last time and turned back.

"I'll message you later, honeybee. Have fun, okay?" the woman assured, the girl nodding slowly in response, and the woman waved a hand at both of them before leaving Choheun alone with Seokjin outside the dorm.

He looked down at the girl, smiling slowly when he noticed how she followed Hyojee's figure entering the car before driving away, an unreadable look on her face. "Choheun-ssi?" he called out softly, not wanting to spook the girl, and she snapped her head back to him, her expression that of a deer caught in headlights.

"Y-yes?" she squeaked, sweater paws immediately covering her mouth and eyes drifting down to her shoes.

Seokjin chuckled softly, "Are you going to stay there?"

Choheun shook her head so fast, quickly skittering inside the room and removed her shoes and blinked slowly in surprise when she saw a small pair of fluffy slippers innocently waiting in front of her. She looked up at Seokjin in puzzlement and he smiled. "I asked Bang PD-nim to order slippers that fit your size. Two-hundred thirty-eight is pretty small, don't you think?" he said playfully and it was his turn to be surprised when the small girl sent a small but really adorable smile at him.

She giggled shyly, sweater paw muffling the sound and her doe eyes curved up, reminding the singer of Jimin. "I... I get that a lot, Kim Seokjin-ssi." She glanced down at her feet, a wistful smile on her face. "It makes it hard for me to...find a shoe size for me, you know? Two-hundred and thirty-eight is so nonexistent for teens my age. Adults especially," her smile soon fell (no, wait, keep smiling-) and stared at him with wide eyes and cheeks red. "S-sorry, I didn't m-mean to s-say that,"

That she was rambling with a cute look on her face? Please do continue, it suited her better than the wary one she wore when he first met her. Seokjin smiled, "No, it's okay. It's nice to hear you talk," he said honestly and Choheun flushed even more, if possible, with confusion and avoided his gaze once more as he closed the door behind them.

"O-oh... Um, th-thank you?" it ended like a question, her face baffled. She also looked a little uncomfortable at the compliment and Seokjin kept a mental note in his head; their newest member wasn't used to compliments (and he planned to change that soon enough-).

Seokjin sent a smile, one that Choheun hesitantly returned with a rosy blush and hugged her bag closer, before facing his dongsaengs who were completely absorbed with the drama they were watching (so much for pretending to act natural). "Yah! Are you all going to forgo introductions again? You're all going to make Choheun-ssi feel unwelcomed, brats!" he yelled, the girl beside him jumping slightly.

The boys whipped their heads up, their expressions rivaling Choheun's deer caught in headlights that Seokjin refrained from laughing out loud, and they all scrambled up to stand. Seokjin faced the girl beside him, Choheun peering up when she noticed his stare, and patted her shoulder. He knew it was a bold move (especially towards the opposite gender), but he wanted to make the message clear that he really wouldn't do anything bad to the teen. He wanted her to feel comfortable in her new home.

Choheun briefly flinched at the unexpected contact but soon relaxed, making Seokjin cheer in his mind before walking to his group members and stand alongside with them.

They all exchanged glances, talking through their eyes, before facing the lone girl.

"Two, three, good evening, Yeon Choheun-ssi! We're Bangtan Sonyeondan!"

Choheun stared at them in surprise, peach lips parted slightly and eyes wide. A small, lopsided smile soon took over and Seokjin couldn't help but feel his breath hitch in his throat (she looked so free and soft-).

She bowed shortly after, shy and fidgety but her eyes curved with her smile, cheeks glowing. There was still a hint of fear in her eyes she tried to hide but Seokjin could see it. Either way, he was glad she was trying her best to speak up and stare at them longer than three seconds (yeah, he noticed, and the others did too).

"G-good evening, everyone. I hope we g-get along well."

 


 

The silence after the introduction was...surprisingly not awkward. Just calm and... well, talking wasn't deemed appropriate at the moment.

The boys had slowly returned to their seats on the couch or the dining table, not uttering a word to each other and listened or watched the show currently playing on the TV, even if no one was fully paying attention anymore, or were playing with their phones.

Choheun was sitting on the farthest seat of the table, facing the opposite of Yoongi, who sat back to his previous habitat and was listening to something on his phone again. She was apparently interested in the drama, lips parted just slightly and eyes filled with interest while leaning forward towards the table, head tilted a bit.

Because the girl was so focused on the television show, a K-Drama, she didn't notice Jeongguk stealing glances at her from time-to-time, eyebrows furrowed together in confusion as he observed the teen younger her than him by a year.

He frowned, unable to help but notice how...innocent Choheun looked right now. The apprehension and fear yesterday no longer present. Not only that, but since he was closer to her by where he was on the sofa, the maknae (would he be former now?) could see the signs of fatigue and anxiety lingering behind. No, not her face (maybe a bit; there were faint bags underneath her eyes), she was busy watching the TV like a young child watching a cartoon for the first time, but how she held herself. Her fingers that weren't completely covered by her sleeves were repeatedly tapping the surface of the table, soft that it was barely audible, just a gentle thrum. Her shoulders were sagged, appearing relaxed, but her knees under the table were pressed up together, the heel of her right foot jumping up and down silently.

Jeongguk immediately felt bad once he was done with his observation, clenching his fist to prevent himself from slapping himself. He never once stopped to think that this new change, becoming an idol and as the new member of their group, would not be easy for Choheun. He never once thought about what she might feel, and that she just left her family so suddenly, even if she probably spent most of the day with them.

Regardless if Choheun was a fan of them or just auditioned because she wanted to become an idol, she was still human. And sure, a lot of idols start training at such an early age, maybe as kids, but they had years of training before their debut. If Jeongguk remembered right, Choheun only had less than a year to train before debuting with them on their next album (still hadn't decided when). It would be the first time she'd be doing something like this, no experiences with packed schedules and tiring practices that left them craving sleep but unable to fall asleep.

If Jeongguk was in her place, he highly doubted he was going to survive that long. He might collapse and cry when realizing the amount of expectation and pressure being placed on his shoulders to be assigned in an already-formed group, so unexpected and unplanned. Plus the fact that Choheun was a female and the youngest (she was...eighteen, fuck). Backlash, hate, and anti-fans wouldn't hold back, and who knew what the ARMY would think. Jeongguk didn't even wanna think about it.

Unbeknownst to the Golden Maknae, he wasn't the only one thinking about this. Slowly, one by one, the boys were realizing what everything meant for not just them or the company, but Choheun. She might not be inexperienced with singing and dancing (she passed the audition with flying colors for a reason, at least that's what they were told), but with her training starting someday with not much preparation under her sleeves, her journey might be a smooth one...or it might break her instead.

"What do you all want to eat?" Seokjin's sudden question filling the silence startled everyone, more so with Choheun (Jeongguk didn't notice he was still staring at her too long), who had jumped and her knee bumped against the table from underneath, creating a loud 'thud' sound and a pained yelp from her.

They immediately looked at her, concern or worry (Yoongi wouldn't admit it, but he did raise a brow). Seokjin was already nearing towards her, watching how the girl grimaced and leaned forward until her head was resting on the table—also, somehow, keeping in mind of her glasses.

"Are you okay, Choheun-ssi? Are you hurt? I didn't mean to scare you!" Seokjin asked worriedly, crouching close on the girl's side with his hands raised unsurely, resisting the urge to touch because she wasn't like his dongsaengs. She might run away from him if he tried.

The others were bemused at the older male in the room, and Namjoon raised his brows in surprise. When was the eldest vocalist already comfortable around the teen that he wasn't afraid to come closer without some distance?

Choheun lifted her head, eyes meeting Seokjin's and sent a small, embarrassed smile. "Y-yeah, I'm fine, Kim Seokjin-ssi. I was only startled."

The man sighed, standing up and patted her shoulder (Choheun only blinked slowly but wasn't bothered whatsoever and the others held back their gasps). He knew that was another bold move, but he had a goal in mind to get the girl to feel at ease. "Ah, you had me worried there. I'm sorry about that, by the way."

Choheun softened, smile lopsided and shy. "Apology accepted..." she got a beaming smile in return for that.

Seokjin looked at everyone, holding up his phone with a brow raised. "Let me repeat myself, do any of you want anything? Because I'm ordering Panda Express and some beef," he asked again.

The rest of the members blinked, exchanging looks, before Jeongguk raised a hand, eyes hopeful. "Can you add lamb skewers, too, hyung?" Yoongi was already staring at the Golden Maknae with approval, sending an expectant look to his only hyung.

Meanwhile, Hoseok was the only one who noticed how Choheun had briefly perked up at the name of the food before quickly trying to shrink in on herself.

Oh?

Seokjin sighed, "Fine, lamb skewers. Anything else?" he directed the question to the others who stayed silent. When all he got were a bunch of 'no's, he faced the girl once again and smiled (he was smiling a lot today-), "What about you, Choheun-ah? Anything you'd like to add?"

Choheun was obviously flustered at all of them staring at her curiously or seemingly disinterested (Yoongi) and ducked her head, pulling her sleeves over her hands. "U-uhm...maybe...jjajangmyeon?" she said meekly, cheeks flaring a bright red and avoided looking at them.

"Jjajangmyeon?" Seokjin repeated softly, glad that she actually answered him, and smiled widely, "All right! I'll be right back, kids." Ignoring the immediate response of groans and protests of 'we're not kids!', Seokjin dialed his phone, placing it on his ear and walked out of the room.

Yoongi noticed Choheun was watching the others with a small smile on her face at their shouts that were ignored by the elder, expression bittersweet yet wistfully fond. He frowned, perhaps she was thinking about her family.

Seokjin quickly popped his head from the hallway, the phone still on his ear and dialing, "Hobi-yah! Jiminnie! Do you guys mind if you move Choheun-ah's stuff in the room? I don't think she'll be able to do it herself."

The two dancers blinked at the elder, sharing a look, before swiftly standing up. "Of course we don't mind, hyung!" Jimin assured, ruffling his hair subconsciously.

Seokjin smiled at them and glanced at Choheun. "You don't mind if they help, do you?"

The glasses-wearing girl only shook her head demurely, her eyes catching the dancers' eyes for a full three seconds before instantly straying back to the table.

"You heard her, hurry up!" Seokjin hollered before disappearing as quickly as he appeared once more.

Hoseok chuckled quietly at his hyung while Jimin shook his head amusedly, making his way to Jeongguk's former room with the lead dancer following behind.

 


 

"So, hyung, what do you think about Yeon Choheun-ssi?" Jimin asked curiously as he plopped the moderately heavy box in the room just beside the closet. The rapper pushed the other boxes closer together before looking at him, blinking.

"Choheun-ssi?" he hummed, walking out the room to get another box with Jimin following him to pick up a smaller one with so much tape around it (but he didn't notice the tape on the side of the box ripped apart, making it loose). "I'm...pretty excited to see her skills, to be honest. What if she's an amazing dancer? Think about how easy it'll be to think about more dance moves and teaching others." Hobi grinned, placing the box on top of another.

Jimin blinked, his mouth forming a small circle. He didn't think about that. And he had to admit, that did sound amazing to have another experienced dancer help them since their other choreographers (like Son Sungdeuk-nim) worked hard all the time to come up with new dance moves that matched well and blended together with the song and lyrics, even if Hobi and Jimin (sometimes Jeongguk and Taehyung) helped, too.

"That...does sound great." He meant it.

"I know,"

The two paused when they heard their eldest hyung calling out, "Jiminnie! Hobi! Can one of you help me carry the food and set the table? I don't trust Namjoon-ah!"

"Hyung!"

Jimin and Hobi laughed under their breath at the incredibly offended (and whiny) yell from their resident leader. While it's not completely true that Namjoon was always clumsy, he did, in fact, never paid attention to his surroundings much, and when it came to props when shooting, he never watched his strength.

So, yeah, Kim Namjoon definitely earned his title as the 'God of Destruction' perfectly.

"I'll go ahead. You can finish up the last of the boxes, right?" Hobi stood up, staring at Jimin in case he wanted him to stay and continue to help.

Jimin only shook his head, "Sure. It's only this big over there and this little guy right here." He jumped the one he had in his arms, a clattering sound muffling inside that distracted him for a moment because it sounded like steel or metal. But he dropped it for the time being when Hobi smiled, beaming brightly like the sun (he learned why the ARMY kept calling him the sunshine of the group).

"Don't take too long, Jimin!" Hobi chirped before leaving the room, pulling the door close with only Jimin and Jeongguk's former room remaining.

He shooked his head, finding his hyung so silly but adorably endearing.

Focusing back at the task in hand, Jimin looked around the room, a small hum escaping him as he sought after a perfect space to place the small box in his arms. The room was not stuffed, per se, he just didn't want to place it where anyone could walk by (specifically Choehun). It might cause an accident even if the chances were low.

His eyes brightened when he suddenly thought about the bathroom and clicked his tongue at himself, chuckling. "Aigo, I better hurry up or else Jin-hyung will scold me." Technically, he wouldn't, but Jin would be yelling loudly like an eomma or an annoyed and exasperated older sibling.

Jimin chuckled at the thought and made his way to the bathroom, pushing the door open with his hip and balanced the box in one arm to switch the light on, seeing the spotless bathroom with nothing but tissues and other basic necessities left behind.

Jin probably did all that. He's such an eomma.

Jimin placed the box on the top of the closed toilet bowl just near the edge, standing up to stretch his back and arms from all the bending and carrying he had to do. He tilted his head to the side, wincing at the faint crack and rubbed it to soothe the uncomfortable feeling it left behind.

When he was done, Jimin nodded his head in satisfaction, smiling, and turned around to move the last box by pushing because, well, it was big.

But before he could step foot outside, he jumped and nearly screamed in fright when the sound of loud clattering and ringing bounced off the walls of the bathroom, the hair on the back of his neck rose up and a tingle ran down his spine.

Jimin immediately whirled around, eyes widening so much he was sure they're the size of dinner plates by now at the sight of...of so much sharp, glinting objects sprawled across the floor coming from the box (and only now he belatedly realized he had placed the box more closer to the edge than the center).

There's...so many of it. Small razors blades, small knives, needles—anything that had a pointy edge or a sharp blade.

In the midst of how shaken he was, a part of him briefly thought the girl was a murderer or something, before spotting the other stuff behind the blades still inside the box.

A calligraphy kit with ink bottles that were fortunately intact (oh, thank God).

Then he released a shaky breath, relaxing when he assumed the blades were part of a project Choheun was doing, since he recognized the type of needles they were and the other blades were made for artists or something.

After calming his racing heart (from fear or the blades, he didn't know), he shakily approached it and crouched in front of it, carefully picking them up and dropped it inside the box once he got it upright. As he slowly took his time putting them back inside, mindful of the sharp edges glinting mockingly at him, he abruptly stopped, breath caught in his throat and nearly threw the blade away from him.

Red.

There's a red hue on the blade.

Faint and rusty, as if it hadn't been used or cleaned in a long time that it was barely visible (but he had it raised up for his eyes to see).

At first, he thought it was red paint. But then he glanced at the other blades, like properly studied them, and noticed how some of them also had a distinct tint of red. Jimin's mind blanked, staring at the blade in his hand, before a wave of horror washed over him when his traitorous mind passed him a possibility.

Choheun couldn't have been... No. No, she didn't seem the type to be doing something like that. Right? Perhaps it was a past thing? Because there's no way she would do it... would she? But that wasn't right. Choheun was young and, admittedly, small. Quite literally smaller than Yoongi and Jimin himself. And now that he looked a little closer (now that he could really look closer), Choheun—Choheun was thin. Too thin. So thin she reminded Jimin of how he looked when he tried to follow a diet that was dwindling down to unhealthy on so many levels.

But the blades...

Jimin shook his head, quickly shutting the box close once everything was inside and patted the leftover tape back on that still remained, briefly thankful it wasn't completely ripped away or crumpled together.

No. He refused to believe someone so young like Choheun, their newest member, would do something like that. She's too...delicate, Jimin would say. Fragile, even.

"Jiminnie! Are you done? The food's all ready to be devoured or else Taetae will devour it instead!"

Jimin jumped at the sudden call of his name, Hobi's voice just outside of the bedroom and hastily scrambled back up, flicking the bathroom lights off and skittered to the door, shoving it open so fast that Hobi blinked at him in surprise and bemusement, hand mid-raised as if he was planning to knock. But the rapper's confusion immediately turned to that of concern. "Are you okay, Jimin? You're looking a little pale. Did you see a spider or something?" Hobi asked worriedly, eyes glancing back at the room behind Jimin.

The dancer in question felt panic flare inside him but kept his face composed, a sheepish smile forcing its way to his full lips and laughed nervously. "Y-yeah, it was just a spider, hyung. It's small and harmless, but it really surprised me." He lied through his teeth, eyes curving up to their usual crescents.

Hobi visibly relaxed, a fond and amused smile on his face. "Aish, you scared me there for a moment. I thought you witnessed something traumatizing in Choheun-ssi's stuff." He ended it with a laugh, probably thinking about the girl's belongings like her clothes (shirts and sweaters).

Her blades, he wanted to say. Jimin returned the laugh with his own, sounding so fake even to his ears but let Hobi assume it was from the lingering fear from the spider. "As if." He scoffed playfully, lightly hitting the rapper's shoulder. "Let's go now, I'm pretty hungry."

Hobi nodded, leading the way as Jimin followed closely behind. But the latter's thoughts were not about food right now.

And during the rest of dinner, when they all seated themselves and grabbed the food they wanted on their plates, Jimin had his eyes frequently glancing back at the girl who was silently eating her jjajangmyeon alone on the couch while the rest of them ate and talked energetically on the table, a frown adorning his face and food ignored.

Jimin finally snapped out of it once he heard someone calling his name. He blinked, eyes finding Jin's dark ones. "Huh?"

Jin frowned, concern in his eyes as everyone else quietened down to look at him. From the corner of his eye, he noticed Choheun also staring at him, puzzled and concerned as well (but she hid it so well that he nearly missed it). "Are you feeling well, Jimin? You barely touched your food." He pointed his chopsticks at the still-full food on Jimin's plate.

Jimin was stuck, mouth slightly agape to form a response, but only shook his head and pasted a smile he hoped looked reassuring. "It's nothing, hyung." Was all he could say as if he hadn't been staring at Choheun repeatedly. At least he hoped none of them noticed.

Jin didn't look to convince, as well as the others with Taehyung eyeing him in alarm, but thankfully let it slide. "If you say so... But don't waste the food. I can't keep giving the leftovers to Taehyungie or else he'll get fatter than he already is."

The deep-voiced singer snapped his head at the eldest, cheeks turning red, "Hyung! I did not eat that much!" he said indignantly, glaring at everyone on the table when they all laughed.

Jimin laughed, too. Genuine and amused.

When they resumed to their loud chattering once again, Jimin slowly ate his food, chewing slowly to savor the taste, but he couldn't stop himself from sneaking a glance or two (or more) at their newest member.

He was going to ask Choheun about the blades when the time's right. He wasn't going to ignore it like he hadn't seen it.

For now, if his assumption was correct, which he really hoped not but it was wishful thinking, Jimin was going to keep his eye out on the girl.

While also making sure the others, and Choheun especially, wouldn't get suspicious of his sudden interest in watching the girl from now on.

(And about his former thought about any of them noticing his gaze on the glasses-wearing girl, only one had indeed noticed.)

Chapter Text

It's been a total of two hours since she woke up (and yes, her clock was definitely working this time, she checked).

Choheun...was not exactly sure how or what to feel about her first day as a trainee in BigHit. Even if it hadn't started yet.

Worried? Scared? Anxious? Feeling ready to flee or pinch herself to wake up from a dream her weird mind decided to create to fudge with her? Maybe hide and try her very best to avoid looking at anyone in the eye, specifically the group of idols in BigHit and everyone in general?

Oh, she wished.

But it was reality, and she was terrified.

Choheun rolled to her side on the bed, unknowingly getting trapped like a sushi roll and eyed the clock on the nightstand beside her bed, reading '07:25'. Practice was going to start at ten, and from what Hyojee messaged her last night, she was going to start practicing her vocal chops, refresh her dance moves, and then try to sing and dance at the same time. Not in that specific order, just if she could manage to take it.

She never really thought about it before, but now that she did, Choheun realized she somewhat underestimated how talented and hardworking K-Pop idols were (even if she definitely knew how much they worked so hard for their fans). Singing and dancing at the same time was hard, because they had to control their breathing and voice to avoid a shaky and raspy singing voice when performing. Especially live performances, where anyone can hear your mistakes. It had to be steady and decent.

Holy ice cream that multitasking though.

Her admiration for idols went higher even more she didn't think it was possible to admire someone (or some people) so much.

And, unsurprisingly, Choheun's thoughts drifted off to the events yesterday and felt her face heat up like a kettle, waiting to blow up and squeal except she didn't want to squeal (she wanted to cry). She ducked under the covers, squirming in the soft bed in embarrassment.

The moment Choheun saw the rest of the BTS members, she wanted to dig up a hole and bury herself so that no one would be able to find or see her at all.

She could feel their stares, didn't bother to check who because that would mean she had to look at one of them, so she forced herself to focus on a show that was playing on their TV.

(She ended up watching it and found herself into the story, and briefly thought why had she stopped watching K-Dramas in the first place. There were new ones now. Maybe she was so busy and packed with taking care of her brother because the last time she watched a drama was three years...ago... Oh.)

Choheun was honestly scared of their presence that she refused to talk or attempt any conversation (even though she wasn't one to start said conversation because hello? Introvert over here!) and stayed far away from them with a good distance on the dining table. Yoongi was in front of her, and she definitely felt his stares plus her peripheral vision but ignored him as best as she could.

Which proved to be slightly (really) difficult because her traitorous inner fan wanted to stare at the Daegu rapper and admire his existence and praise him since he was still her bias like a loyal fan she was.

But what she really liked (and was freaking confused) about yesterday was Seokjin.

He... He reminded her so much of Dohyuk. So gentle, so caring, so understanding, silly, and pretty bossy and so... she couldn't find the right words to describe him.

Choheun didn't know why, but when he was around her, she felt the tightness in her chest loosen slightly, allowing her space to breathe for air and felt warmth run all over her body. Which was probably why she got used to his touch so quickly when usually she'd shy away and never allow him to touch her ever again (or maybe never allow him to ever stare at someone like her-).

She felt alarmed that she warmed up to the eldest member so fast, the faint prickle of anxiety kicking in on the outer edge of her mind to stop (stop and stop and don't get attached-), but since Hyojee couldn't be with her all the time, Choheun guessed that her subconsciousness immediately latched itself to another familiar presence, which happened to be Kim Seokjin, the said to be 'eomma' of the group.

(In her personal opinion, he was the perfect epitome of a caring older brother... from what she had seen on YouTube, anyway.)

But Choheun was really scared when she had the unwanted urge to want the older male to hug her, wanting to feel how nice it would be to hug him and melt and just feel safe like when Dohyuk hugged her and peppered her with kisses and compliments when she wanted to push his face away and protest and scowl. She wondered if he was a cuddler (her family loved giving hugs-).

Her face burned, hating herself for feeling so...open towards Seokjin. She just officially met him for a day, and already she felt bubbly and warm when she was around Dohyuk. He felt like Dohyuk and Eunji, actually. It was also hard because he was close to her brother's age, and the similarities were teasing her.

It was like Hyojee all over again. She warmed up to the stylist so fast and wanted to be with her side at all times, or vise versa.

And, oh, she thought she misheard once, but Seokjin clearly called her 'Choheun-ah' in front of everyone. With no hesitation whatsoever and he had said it with the utmost confidence it was assuredly intentional. She wondered if the others had noticed the slip or the close honorific, because she did, and she felt...ashamed for feeling the slightest bit of happiness that bubbled in her chest because of the disregard of formality.

So similar to Hyojee when she ignored the formality and called her so closely, too. Especially the touching. Why didn't she just, flinch away from it? Choheun honestly didn't understand why she was feeling this way, and them treating her nicely, politely more often than not left her confused and small. She only thought she could feel safe with her small family circle, not with...strangers she only knew for a day (Hyojee for a week). No one had been that nice to her when she was new, even when she had started working with Kaejji and his cousin and the employees were already generally nice (they were only acquaintances; calling them her friends seemed too selfish of her that she thought she could have that many friends. Who would want to be friends with her? Not when she couldn't do anything right and failed to be a friend back then-).

Idols or not, they were only human, and she didn't know them. She knew BTS. She knew Jin. She knew Rap Monster. She knew Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jeongguk.

(She didn't know Kim Seokjin, or Kim Namjoon, or Min Yoongi, or Jung Hoseok, or Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung and Jeon Jeongguk, or anyone-)

But Choheun needed to do her best to remain professional and not bother anyone in BigHit (she hoped she wouldn't annoy anyone while she's here as a trainee because she wasn't sure if the thought of so many people hating her because she did a little mistake and failed to do what was expected of her would be good for her heart-) and do what's expected of her without question. Her family was cheering for her, and she would do her best to become an idol or as the eighth member of her favorite K-Pop band (other than Super Junior or EXID or Shinee or SNSD and others, of course).

Hold on- why was she even overthinking about this? Why was she making everything about how she felt again?

Dohyuk... No, eomonie and abuji taught her better than this. They taught her so many things when she was only four; they spent their money, their time, hired tutors to teach her everything they knew because her parents were so busy and they only started to ignore her because she failed to live up to their expectations. She failed to become the daughter they had always wanted. Bright, confident, beautiful, determined, serious... a leader. A perfect child.

And she wanted to make them proud. She did everything she could, sacrificed everything she had to try and make them smile at her once and finally tell her they were proud like they had said to Dohyuk before, that she did good and she had done enough pleasetellhershewasagooddaughter-

At least, that was what she had thought before they dropped the bomb on her and Dohyuk that they were no use for them anymore and moved to another country to raise a new family together. Without themThey left themThey left her.

(Please don't leave her-)

Choheun could still remember how terrible she felt, that she had failed her parents so bad they left her and her brother to fend for themselves when she was just ten. She felt like a failure, hating herself for not doing better, that if she couldn't do anything right, they would leave, like how abuji and eomonie did, and how her friends did back in middle school and high school.

She learned that she didn't like failing people. Didn't like disappointing them in any way when she could obviously do better. When she had more t give.

(She didn't want them leaving her like them she promised she'd do better  please -)

Dohyuk had told her many times that she should forget them, that they could live a better life without them. It was...kind of true? But the message their parents left, that failing people meant them leaving, was forever engraved in her mind, and it wouldn't go away. A scar.

It still worried Choheun, though. Because when everything went downhill once she never saw their parents again, along with most of their money.

A month after they left, Dohyuk was diagnosed with what he had now, when he had suddenly fallen to the ground whilst cooking with short and quick breaths, clutching the front of his shirt where his heart was, and had gradually gotten worse as the years pass by. It worried her so much that he might leave her as well (he reassured her he'd never leave but what if-).

And he still smiled at her like everything was all well and good, in that hospital bed she learned to hate. Choheun never understood her brother, either. Why would he still be smiling at her? When she could do nothing but watch her only family and reason to live wither away slowly in front of her eyes, when he was suffering and dying?

Not only Dohyuk, but Eunji and Kaejji, too.

Before Yeon Eunji, Park Eunji had suffered from bad relationships and exes before meeting Dohyuk and fell in love—but not without questioning herself if she was doing the right thing, to return her love to someone deserved so much more, who loved her so unconditionally, because she was always in disbelief someone like that was real, someone like Dohyuk whose friends left because he was weak and pathetic, until Choheun encouraged her to be with her brother because he was worth it and she was worth it and they were perfect together and it turned out to be the best decision Eunji had made in her entire life. Engagements, weddings, everything in-between, and then Jaegoo, Choheun's new light in her life other than her oppas and unnie.

Choheun still remembered how Eunji would go to her and cry and sob about another failed relationship, that no one wanted to stay with her, and it always broke Choheun's heart; she wanted to reach out and tell the woman she was amazing and she was the best unnie out there, but then the older female smiled at the girl when she was done. Eunji smiled down at her as if Choheun had done something good (did she do good yet-) when all she did was help her and lend an ear. She didn't do anything but sit in one place, so she couldn't understand why Eunji had that same smile Dohyuk had when he was suffering. Always aimed at her.

Why?

And before Eunji, there was Kaejji. Lee Kaejji. Her only best friend who stayed with her until the very end when he had first found her, beaten and bruised on the rooftop of the school, alone and tending to her own wounds with no problems as if Choheun had been doing it since the beginning. Used to it.

See, Kaejji—he was a stubborn and hard-headed shit (so much for disliking cursing, but hey, she hated actually saying it). He was loud, cocky, overconfident, determined, stubborn, the most popular boy in school, and he irritated Choheun.

Which was a feat because Yeon Choheun had never felt so much irritation at someone other than herself before (and maybe her brother, too, because of his stubbornness).

He irritated her because he kept protecting her from her old 'friends' and the other classmates who had hurt her. When Kaejji befriended her and she got to know him better, Choheun once slammed him against the wall (well, as best as she could with their height and body difference) and demanded why he was helping her, getting hurt to keep her safe, when he had no one.

Lee Kaejji was an orphan. Both of his parents had died in an accident a few months after he was born before his mother's sister, his aunt, found him and he met his older cousin, so he had no one to take care of him. It explained why he was so rebellious and became a bad-boy all the girls liked and all the boys hated back in their last year of middle-school going to high-school. Choheun had to patch him up in the infirmary almost every day because he kept getting into fights with her old bullies just so they couldn't touch a single strand of her hair (that's what he told her, at least, and why a strand of hair, exactly?). He was damn lucky the principal saw potential in him to expel him.

Choheun had asked him the same question she had asked both her brother and her sister-in-law, why were they trying to smile for her when she could clearly see them breaking down on the inside?

And Kaejji, the boy who got on her nerves, had only grinned widely and said something similar to what the other two had said.

I wanted to.

That—That made no sense at all. They didn't even bother to explain what they really mean and just left it at that after all these years. And Choheun was a little too scared to bring it up again for the chances of them laughing at her face for still remembering that (she knew they wouldn't, she knew, but her mind didn't fully believe it-).

Just a few minutes later, Choheun huffed in annoyance with how her thoughts drifted back to the past instead of the present. She always thought of it when she thought of them, like the first time she was away for a few days years ago and literally cried alone (with a knife-) and then scolded herself the next day for being too emotional over something small. Emotions were scary.

Choheun pushed herself up, planting her feet on the floor and started folding the sheets before walking to the bathroom and closed the door (her room was locked, but she never felt comfortable leaving it open even if the environment was very safe).

When she was done washing her face and do her usual routine, she dressed in a white oversized shirt with oversized sleeves (her brother loved them so she got influenced, sue her) to hide the cuts she's sure hadn't healed completely yet, black leggings and black waist-length shorts over it (because she wasn't completely comfortable with shorts so short with so much skin showing and she wasn't going to question why she even had it in the first place).

Choheun softly closed her door, hearing a quiet click, and quietly walked to the living room. Seeing that no one was awake, all doors closed, she tiptoed to the kitchen and yanked the fridge open, tilting her head at the contents inside. Not...much food. Some leftovers from yesterday were clumsily wrapped (not Seokjin for sure). It seemed that grocery shopping day was closing in for the boys.

Choheun giggled silently, it reminded her of Kaejji when he kept forgetting to fill his fridge with food since he couldn't cook and she ended up coming over to his place and cook (and scold-) for him. Not so easy since he, again, lived in Seoul.

Right when she thought of that, she stopped instantly, shoulders sagging.

She... huh. How pathetic was she that she missed her family already? That even seeing the smallest things, she got reminded of any one of them. Choheun had only been homesick once, so the feeling was really not welcomed at all. Her stomach was doing flips, her body craving for the usual hugs she got from her brother or nephew (sometimes her unnie when she was home) when she got started for the day. It always calmed her down when she had one of those bad days, where she felt everything was too much, too heavy for her. Too suffocating. Their hugs felt like a safety blanket, like a reassurance that no, they weren't going to abandon her or leave her or turn their backs on her or, worse, do all of the above with her broken heart left in her small hands.

(And she couldn't have a single hug from the people she lovedShe was going to suffer through the day with her dark head and no one was going to be there and tell her everything's okay. That she wasn't a complete failure-)

With a shaky breath, Choheun grabbed a couple of eggs, milk, and butter. She closed the fridge and placed the ingredients she got on the counter near the stove and moved to the cabinet, reaching up to open it and felt relieved to see a pancake mix ready to be used (well, literally because it's still closed and she noticed it was an American brand with all the English letters. Namjoon, maybe?).

"I hope you don't mind, Kim Seokjin-ssi..." Choheun muttered for borrowing the kitchen stuff, grabbing the box and returned to the counter. Adding all the ingredients together, she mixed it with a wooden spoon she found in the drawers (with another silent permission to the older male). When she was finished, making sure it was perfectly mixed and not overly so, she grabbed the bowl and placed it by the counter near the stove. She turned the fire on at low, getting the cooking pan heated up first before adding the butter to set it so nothing would stick.

Once it was hot enough and the butter melted nicely, Choheun picked up a steel ladle with a bowl-like end (she didn't know the name) and scooped a fine amount of batter inside. Sliding it on the edge of the bowl to remove the extra thick liquid underneath, she quickly hovered it over the heated pan and carefully tilted it down for the batter to land on the surface. Choheun poured the rest of it until it was finished and smiled, satisfied at the perfect circle on the center of the pan and relaxed at the soft sizzling sound underneath the cooking pancake. It felt like she was back at home, making breakfast for her family as if she wasn't in a dorm-

"Good morning, Yeon Choheun-ssi."

"Yah!" she squealed, throwing the ladle at the person who spoke without a second thought, the sound of steel slapping against skin and a yelp echoing in the room telling her that Jimin's hand was hit to protect his face and then the steel item clattered on the ground loudly—Jimin?!

"Park Jimin-ssi!" Choheun squeaked in horror and realization, immediately maneuvering the counter over him and quickly took his hand on hers. Her eyes widened at the irritated red blossoming in color on the palm of his right hand, guilt and shame running over her like a car.

The male in question blinked, glancing down at his hand then back at the girl, smiling with a little grimace. He probably just felt the pain prickling his hand now. "Ah, I'm sorry for scaring you, Yeon Choheun-ssi. I should've known yesterday." When Seokjin scared her? Well, it was her fault for being off-guard then. She would've reacted better instead of freaking out and bumping her knee like a child.

Choheun shook her head, grabbing a small towel she found and wet it with cold water on the sink before going back to the dancer's side. She grabbed his hand again, turning it over and tenderly touched the cold towel on his palm. Jimin hissed, his arm twitching to pull away from the instant coldness clashing with the heat from the slap of the steel.

"Sorry, sorry, I'm sorry..." she mumbled soothingly (a habit when Kaejji, and now Jaegoo, got hurt), gently rubbing the cloth to lessen the pain and sighed in relief when she felt the skin turn cold when she touched it with a finger. It was still red, but clearly turning pink. Then she suddenly remembered she was cooking something and peered up at the dancer, his gaze already staring at her with something she couldn't read. "I have a cream for this in the bathroom, just wait for a second." Choheun practically ran to the stove and hastily flipped the pancake over, so relieved it wasn't burned since the fire was low and realized she had a little time to get the cream for Jimin.

She walked back to the dancer, refusing to make eye contact, and hurriedly went back to the room she was staying in to grab the cream in the bathroom (it was Jeongguk's room, not hers).

 


 

Jimin rubbed the cold cream on the palm of his hand, eyes trained on the girl cooking in Jin's kitchen (well, his and the others' as well, but they barely cook anything, him included) and flip a pancake.

That wasn't how he wanted his day to go, to nearly get hit on the face with a sauce ladle. But he was the one who scared Choheun, so technically it was his fault and kind of deserved it. He had a mini habit of making his presence known without people knowing he was there (and everyone assumed only Yoongi would do something like that. Ah, his poor hyung, always assumed to be so rude and cold).

Plus, he was actually thinking about Choheun the whole time he was awake and when he was going to bed last night (well, until Taehyung distracted him with internet stuff. Memes). Thinking about what he had seen and connected the dots when he watched her throughout dinner.

Back to the present...

Jimin was, however, surprised by the girl's quick reaction when he got hurt. It was just a light burn, like he had clapped his hands a little too hard. Not too bad.

The teen's eyes were swimming with guilt and regret in them, how she had rubbed the towel on his hand with the most tender and feathery touch as if she had done something like this so many times before. She reminded the dancer a bit of Jin, how concerned and worried she was and quick to act just like his hyung.

"U-uhm... I didn't hurt you too much, did I?"

Jimin snapped back to reality, blinking when Choheun stood behind the counter in front of him, fiddling with the sleeves of her shirt and chewed on her bottom lip as she tried not to maintain eye contact. She looked so scared, fidgeting where she stood and toying with the sauce ladle from time-to-time, looking afraid he might get angry or something just because she nicked a small injury (did it even count as one? It was more like a slap) on his hand. Her fingers were twitching, as if restraining herself from doing something (like to hide herself, his mind supplied) but what unsettled Jimin was the look she had on her face.

She looked slightly subdued and upset, her eyes suspiciously turning glassy that the light coming from the window caused her eyes (honey brown, she had honey brown eyes and they looked so pretty-) to briefly glint into a lighter hue, somehow making her whole appearance sadder like Jimin had kicked her puppy—no, she looked like the kicked puppy. Choheun's shoulders were tensed up, appearing to be bracing herself for something. Something from him. Like she was expecting him to explode, expecting a...

...a punishment.

Jimin felt nausea rising in his throat, his hands turning clammy and rubbed it together with the cream he nearly forgot. Why was she expecting a punishment? From him? It's like she had faced the same situation before, and thought that she had to face it every day with other people.

What the hell was going on?

If he hadn't paid close attention to the girl, didn't observe her with attentive eyes (he told himself he'd keep an eye on her ever since the box incident and he wasn't planning on stopping because she was going to be staying with them for a long time-), he would've been oblivious to how she behaved, might've brushed it off while she...continued to be miserable without telling anyone, probably.

Aish, he was suddenly reminded of his youngest dongsaeng in the group. Jeongguk was just like that before.

And Jimin refused to turn a blind eye to someone who clearly needed help and someone to talk to (maybe a shoulder to lean on) when Choheun was all alone with only new faces, strangers, constantly around her in an unfamiliar place.

"No, I'm okay, really. It will probably heal in a few hours. It's not that bad." Jimin smiled softly, despite wanting to ask why she's looking at him like that, why he had the sudden urge to just comfort her and tell her she didn't do anything wrong and that it's not her fault she reacted normally when one was scared so suddenly without being aware.

Choheun didn't look too convinced, but she did relax, breathing a sigh of relief and the look that made Jimin uneasy (and suspicious and oddly angry) disappeared as if it wasn't there in the first place. "O-oh... Okay, I... I'm sorry..." she trailed off, eyes drifting to the side and to the ladle in her hand, seemingly deep in thought, before-

"W-would you mind if I asked for help your to make these pancakes?" she blurted out, slapping a sleeve-covered hand on her mouth with eyes going wide and cheeks tinging a faint red like she didn't intend to say that out loud. Choheun then turned around and covered her face with her sleeve paws, and—and was she screaming in them in embarrassment? He heard bits of words that weren't quiet enough like 'why did I do that' and 'stupid mouth' and-

Yeah, uh, could Jimin say that he honestly found that so adorable?

Jimin chuckled softly, feeling a wide smile quirking up along with his eyes. Choheun hesitantly turned over her shoulder, honey eyes peeking from behind her sleeves (why was she cute?) in confusion at his amusement. "Of course I'd love to help. It's been a while since we had pancakes or something non-Korean. We're used to eating takeouts these days, busy for our next comeback, so anything homemade sounds really nice, actually."

Choheun finally turned to him, doe eyes blinking at him languidly, as if not believing he said yes. "I- wait, really?" she said dumbly.

Jimin nodded, his smile not leaving his face. Did she think he was going to say no? Think again. "But I highly doubt I'd be any good." He added.

"No! It's—it's fine! I just need a little help because...uh... Why do I feel like I need to make a lot of pancakes." Choheun mumbled absently to herself, face no longer looking like a scared bunny and glanced at the bowl on the counter with the batter inside with contemplation (okay, she looked cute thinking deeply because her peach lips formed an adorable pout-).

He snorted, the girl peering up at him curiously at the sound. "There's seven of us, so definitely finish the whole box."

She made a small 'o' with her mouth, a hand tucked under her chin in thought and eyes shining with understanding and—and what the fuck? When had there been a human being who was this cute? Jimin liked cute things- well, everyone in the dorm liked cute things with some not admitting it (Yoongi—excuse him) and her whole being screamed 'hug me I'm cute!'. He's seen a lot of cute things, especially boys or girls and on the internet, everybody knew that, and adorable cute kids he cooed and gushed, but Choheun? Jimin was so tempted to grab her cheeks and squish and just pull.

Okay, he was going over his head with these ridiculous thoughts.

(But her cheeks were so round and soft looking-)

Choheun furrowed her brows together, biting the right side of her bottom lip. Huh, was there a difference between chewing on her lip and biting it? "Should... Should I be concerned about that...?" she said to no one in particular, turning around to continue cooking the pancakes and Jimin rounded the counter to follow.

He shrugged, grabbing the box to make more of the pancake batter. "Maybe, maybe not." That didn't exactly sound helpful, and Jimin really liked how Choheun must've thought the same thing. She looked at him, face blank in disbelief, and she seemed so normal around him (he felt happy at that fact-). But he didn't get his hopes up that she was fully relaxed around him. And maybe to the others (except Jin) as well.

"You're all like them..." Choheun mumbled to herself, sliding the flat ladle under the pancake and flipped it over. The pancake was a perfect fluffy brown color that wasn't too dark or too light.

Jimin's curiosity piqued. He made a humming noise, smiling at how the girl froze and looked at him like a deer caught in headlights. She probably realized she had said that out loud before relaxing when he didn't ask. He wasn't going to pry since it sounded like she had said it out of memory from her family or something. And he was dying about something, too... How was he going to bring it up to her in a casual way without freaking her out?

"Yeon Choheun-ssi?"

The girl glanced at him, blinking those wide doe eyes of hers with a small hum passing her lips. "Yes, Park Jimin-ssi?"

Jimin pointed a finger at his eyes, smiling when she scrunched her nose in confusion (aigo-yah she reminded him of Jeongguk and a bunny-). "I hope you don't mind me asking, but where are your glasses?" he asked, simple and curious.

Choheun blinked again, taken aback by the sudden question but answered him, "Those glasses are for nearsighted people. I'm, uh- I'm not blind or anything. I can see perfectly fine, just not...too well...when it comes to things afar. Don't ask how far, math is not my area." She said dryly and wryly, scratching her cheek with a finger.

Jimin made a noise of understanding, huffing a laugh at the last one (math wasn't that cool, too) and the face she made. That made a lot of sense. Might he add, she looked much cuter without the glasses, it made her look younger and innocent—not that she wasn't already. And now that she looked relaxed enough, he was going to ask his next question.

"Can I call you without the formality?"

Choheun promptly choked, and with nothing around her that was drinkable, he safely assumed it was her spit, and quickly rushed to her and patted her back (he noticed she had flinched a bit but kept patting and rubbing her back regardless. He wasn't clueless, he saw what Jin did. Hell, be bet everyone else noticed it). She coughed, staring up at him with widened eyes, confused and shocked. "Wh-what?"

"I asked if I could call you a little familiarly," Jimin repeated slowly, like he was just talking about the weather and nothing out of the ordinary.

Choheun continued to gape at him, closing her mouth and opening it often like a Goldfish, unable to process what he had just told her. She tried to form words, all sounding broken and different, before she settled with- "Why?"

Jimin shrugged nonchalantly, smiling, "Why not? You're our new member, right? It means you'll be working with us for a while until further notice, and I don't think to call each other formally all the time is necessary. That is if you don't mind?" he added hesitantly, unsure if he was overstepping his boundaries since he really wanted to genuinely get along with her and get her to feel comfortable and used to everything.

She clicked her jaw shut, furrowing her eyebrows at him, her face so open yet unreadable at the same time. She's scared and confused, yes, but the other emotions were something that made his gut queasy.

The longer the silence dragged on, the more Jimin started to feel nervous. Maybe he was pushing it a little too much. It had only been a day, after all, and it was only now that he started talking to her, they barely talked yesterday and the day before, but he couldn't help it, dammit, he really wanted to be friends-

"I...guess it's okay." Was her answer at last, uttered so quietly he nearly missed it.

The dancer blinked, bewildered, "Huh?"

Choheun straightened up, peering up at him with shy and timid eyes through her lashes. "I don't...mind it if you call me without the formality. Though it might...take a while for me to, um, get used to it."

Jimin gazed down at the girl (he just noticed she was a few inches shorter than him) with confusion. Get used to it? "Don't your friends call you without all the formality?" he asked without thinking about the words first, his mouth filter off and wanted to take them back so bad when Choheun shrunk in on herself, turning back to the pancakes to flip it on the plate and pour a new one but her movements were tense and stiff, uncomfortable.

"I don't... I don't have any friends except one." She whispered sadly, frowning with troubled and dazed eyes, the words heavy with negative emotions, and Jimin wanted that look to go away. He wanted to ask why she didn't have friends, why someone so gentle like her didn't have so many friends, why she had that look on her face that told Jimin she didn't deserve to have any friends, but he bit his tongue. It wasn't his business, but he was hoping it would be in the future.

And, dammit, Jimin had to admit now, he's starting to really like Choheun. In the short amount of time from just observing and talking to her, watching her body language and the emotions she was displaying in her eyes, he could see she's a really, really good person (and nice and painfully shy-), and he wanted to learn more, wanted to know who she was when she wasn't so guarded and shy. But he'd wait, because it's only a been day since she moved, so there's still plenty of time to get to know her in the future. No need to rush, but he was admittedly feeling a little impatient for that time to come.

He wanted to become friends.

"If I call you Choheun-ah, can you call me without my last name?" Jimin asked with newfound confidence. He had a feeling Choheun wouldn't be very comfortable with dropping the '-ssi', but he didn't mind as long as she dropped the Park. It sounded too formal when it was coming from their future eighth member.

The girl stared at him with wide eyes, surprised and taken aback at his straightforwardness before uncertainty took over. "B-but it's- isn't it disrespectful to call you so—so closely? I don't...I don't even know you." She said warily, leaning away from him with apprehension.

Now Jimin was even more determined to become friends with her. She's clearly a fan of their group (Hyojee accidentally slipped that she saw Choheun dancing to 'Dope' when she first met her. When? Don't ask) and possibly knew some information about them, plus their lives, but she confessed that she really didn't know him personally and was scared to drop the formality because of it.

She didn't say yes, but she didn't say no, either.

"Then know me, Choheun-ah. You're staying with us from now on, right?" he questioned her and she nodded almost robotically, dumbfounded, and he continued, "I want to be friends."

Choheun's jaw dropped, "F...Friends? Us? Wh-why bring this up so suddenly?"

"Well. I want to get to know my new future bandmate. Is that so wrong?" The dancer said with no hesitation, quick to answer but voice still soft and low.

Choheun looked at him as if he wasn't real, like she was staring at an alien or something with how utterly shocked she looked, gaping. He didn't falter the slightest bit, keeping his determined expression when her eyes roamed around his face, his eyes, looking for something, something he wasn't sure what, but it was probably there (he damn hoped it was) because she deflated, her face blooming with wonder and awe at him, but fear and worry was evident as well.

"Really?" her voice was shaky and breathy, so much vulnerability and hope on her face and glassy eyes and—and suddenly Jimin could see a glimpse of the real girl behind the mask Choheun wore. He could see her.

Maybe the blades he saw in that box meant something deeper and painful than self-inflicted cuts. Maybe she wasn't exactly suicidal like he thought. Something he might not understand, not even close to what's really troubling her, what's really hiding behind those honey brown eyes that were so open like a book but at the same time not, but he sure as hell wanted to.

Jimin smiled widely, nodding, and lifted a hand. "My name is Park Jimin. I hope we get along well, Yeon Choheun-ah." He introduced himself again.

Choheun looked at his waiting hand, then at his eyes, and reluctantly, hesitantly, she reached up and stopped. She appeared she wasn't going to take it, but right when he thought that, she grasped his hand. Jimin closed his fingers around her and—wow, she really had smaller hands than him. Even through the cloth around her fingers. Feeling so smug about that newfound information wasn't supposed to make him happy.

"Hello, Jimin-ssi. I'm Yeon Choheun. Please take care of me well." She introduced back with the formality finally dropped, a smile now quirking up on her peach-colored lips, no matter how small and shy (for some reason, her shy smiles seemed to be her default smile and it was so endearing-) with her large eyes disappearing into slight crescents nearly similar to his and Jimin wanted to take a picture of that and stare at it forever. So this was how his fans felt when they see him crinkling his eyes into crescent moons? Sign him up, please.

Jimin grinned and felt his morning brighter as they both returned to tend the pancakes, the dancer listening to Choheun when she meekly asked him to do something and complied without a second thought.

 


 

"What's for breakfast? It smells so good!"

Choheun jumped at the sound of Taehyung's voice, followed by the others and their footsteps making their way to the living room. She nearly dropped the maple syrup bottle she had in her hands if it wasn't for Jimin grabbing her wrist.

He looked amused, taking it from her hands and placed it down on the table along with the plates he was carrying. "Do you get scared easily, Choheun-ah?" Jimin teased, his tone still polite and kind but distinctively playful meaning he respected their current distance and she flushed, cheeks feeling hot but smiled slightly.

The dancer had been using every opportunity to call her informally for the past half an hour they have been preparing the pancakes (there were a lot of pancakes holy ice cream-). Choheun was honest to God terrified with what Jimin proposed, but when she thought about it, for like a few seconds, it made...a lot of sense. She was staying with them (until the company had no use of her anymore-) unless told so and that meant keeping secrets wouldn't remain as secrets too long. She couldn't call them formally forever, but it's not like she was ever going to become friends with the rest of the Bangtan boys. She was fine with only a few just to feel a little relaxed.

However, that didn't mean she was going to tell them everything when the time came. She was scared that if she did, they might...leave her, laugh at her because of how weak and pathetic and useless she really was and she didn't want that. Especially Hyojee, and now Seokjin and Jimin. She really liked them now and the thought of them leaving because of how broken she was would not end well for her.

Choheun didn't want that.

And Choheun wasn't completely oblivious. She...knew she had problems. Like a lot of them (at least she thought so, but she was somewhat hoping they weren't much). Choheun's aware, she acknowledged them, she accepted those thoughts and voices telling her from the dark part of her head. She knew. But she didn't have it in herself to figure out why because it felt...like she deserved it, she deserved those thoughts and everything she might've done wrong. That she was perhaps a mistake (she already was the moment abuji and eomonie told her she was useless and left her-). Like why she couldn't stop cutting when the urge was strongunbearable, and afraid of disappointing anyone and everyone.

So she was going to keep her mouth shut and would do her best to pretend nothing was wrong(at least, she hoped it would last since she knew she had a limit when it came to pushing her feelings away, but she's willing to try). That she was a normal, introverted girl who hated socializing and had no parents because they left. She was good at that, after all. Abuji and eomonie taught her that, and it proved to be very useful.

Choheun puffed her cheeks at the dancer, not noticing the rest of the boys already in the living room and watching their interaction with confusion. "I don't. What are you talking about?" she grumbled quietly, pouting at Jimin and he only laughed and went to the kitchen to grab the plates filled with pancakes. Her cheeks warmed at how relaxed and casual he was around her, and how she was calm in his presence already like Seokjin and Hyojee. It was actually nice. If this was how she's going to fair in her trainee days, Choheun was sure she wouldn't mind it.

(In fact, she might actually like it a lot but why would she like it-)

"Aigo, Choheun-ah, Jiminnie, why didn't you wake me up? I'd love to help out and make them!" Seokjin cried, pulling a chair out and sat on it as the others followed, Jimin returning with the steaming pancakes looking fluffy and full but not thick or too thin.

Choheun ducked her head, smiling shyly as she sat down as well. "I-I'll keep that in mind, Kim Seokjin-ssi." She took no notice of Jimin immediately taking a seat beside her when she was sitting the furthest away from the boys at the end of the table. She did, however, notice the weird stares Yoongi, Namjoon, Jeongguk, and Taehyung were giving him. Hoseok was busy poking at the fluffy pancakes before the latter slapped his hand away, grinning at the shriek from the rapper-slash-dancer.

Um, what...?

The smile she got from the older male, however, made her want to hide and die or maybe hug a pillow and scream into it because something warm fluttered in her stomach at the sight (like when Dohyuk smiled at her with obvious love and adoration-). Of course, Choheun only smiled meekly on the outside and looked away after holding eye contact. She's never good at looking at other peoples' eyes without getting flustered and panic for no reason.

Choheun blinked when Namjoon hummed, sending her an appreciative smile that froze her in place, her mouth drying suddenly (his dimples looked more cooler up close! Woah!). "Are these the pancakes I bought in the cupboard up there?" he pointed at the cabinet in the kitchen, the one Choheun nearly struggled to get the box in because it was slightly high, and she nodded slowly. Namjoon's smile widened a bit more, his dimples deepening, "I wanted to try these again, but, well, I'm not the best when it comes to the kitchen." He admitted sheepishly, cheeks rosy, and Choheun smiled bashfully even though she wanted to stare at him longer because wow, people with dimples were so pretty.

"What hyung is saying is 'thank you for making these delicious-looking pancakes, Choheun-ssi' because they look really good," Jimin piped up, nudging the girl's shoulder with his own with an innocent smile. Namjoon's sputter was ignored.

"O-oh, uh, you're welcome, I think?" Choheun squeaked, inwardly cringing at how it ended like a question and how her voice went a pitch higher. Was it that hard for her to be a little confident with how she talked? It made her look and sound weak, aish...

Some around the table were amused, but none more so than Jimin who smiled so wide his eyes almost disappeared with it (oh, was this how her family felt when they said her eyes curved into moons? She didn't understand, but now...maybe a bit).

"Hyungie," Jeongguk said simply, directing the question to Seokjin, eyeing the homemade food on the table, barely hiding the sparkle in his eyes and when Choheun looked around the table discreetly, she felt a little happy that they were all excited to eat what she made. She's always cooked for her family, so to see others appearing impatient to try them out never failed to make her squirmy with giddiness.

Seokjin rolled his eyes at the Golden Maknae, sending a smile to Choheun (she glanced away, missing his lips forming the words 'cute') and started picking up a piece of pancake carefully in case it might break apart. "Let's eat, everybody!" soon enough, everybody else followed suit, but not before looking at the female teen and expressed their thanks like 'thanks for the homemade breakfast' from Taehyung, a quiet but audible 'thank you' from Yoongi, Namjoon and Jeongguk, and a chirpy one from Jimin and Hoseok.

Choheun didn't think it was possible to blush so much she was sure her cheeks were as red as a rose. And she was certainly going to ignore how her head felt light with warmth.

And then they all took a bite of the pancake.

Taehyung was the first to be vocal about his thoughts. His eyes bugged out, snapping his head to Choheun as the girl started in surprise, "I'm sorry, but- Yeon Choheun-ssi!" the poor girl nearly let out a squeaky 'Is it bad?' but bit her tongue. "This is so good! How did you make them feel so fluffy and soft?" he asked loudly but still continued to stuff his mouth with the sweet breakfast (slowly, of course), adding syrup on the next piece.

"It looks nothing like the cover..." Jeongguk spoke up slowly, staring at the pancakes with awe in his voice. Hoseok nodded his head in agreement, looking at the girl curiously but smiled widely all the same (she stared, his smile looked like a heart-).

Choheun was so sure she's going to explode red. Her neck and ears were hot, so she instinctively covered half of her face with her sleeve paws timidly, avoiding their impressed and awe gazes once again (if she held their eyes, she might combust and she's not ready to die from embarrassment and so much happiness that people other than her family enjoyed her food so much—though all she did was mix the batter and measured it to the pan in an even length to make them really puffy).

"I...enjoy cooking a lot, so I experiment with new tricks in my free time." She confessed meekly, reaching out to grab the whipped cream and sprayed a decent swirl on the center of her pancake, picking up her fork and butter knife afterward to slice a piece.

Yoongi's unreadable eyes trained on her intently, head cocking to the side just slightly, "It's good." He commented plainly, but there was something Choheun couldn't pinpoint in his voice.

"Um," Choheun said dumbly, the words stuck in her throat because her idol, her former (not really) bias, just said it was good regardless of his seemingly bored expression.

(Her heart was too warm and fast and the butterflies broke free in her stomach and fluttered around uncomfortably and she didn't like the feeling for some reason because she didn't actually dislike it and that's why she didn't like it-)

Not wanting to embarrass herself by saying something she didn't want to say, the honey-eyed teen nodded stiffly before quickly stuffing her mouth full to prevent herself from spouting any incoherent words tumbling out of her mouth without permission.

Her face burned when half of them chuckled and laughed at her, but they didn't sound mean or anything. They sounded...genuinely amused. Not mocking like she was dirt in their shoes, not mean like her supposed friends back in her school years, not... well, she didn't know what else to add, honestly. They were all picking on each other, not too loud but just relaxed around each other that she was a little envious how free they looked, even with a stranger in their table, their home. All smiles and grins and it hit Choheun hard how similar the atmosphere felt back at home.

They were comfortable around each other like a family despite not being related.

Choheun looked down at her plate, her smile faltering slightly but still there, her throat clogging up that she had to swallow the lump away.

She... She missed them. She never realized how safe and secure she felt around them. Protected. Around her brother, around her only best friend, around her sister, around her baby nephew.

"Choheun-ah?" she heard Jimin mumble, quiet for only both of them to hear, and the teen turned her head to glance at him. His face was evident with worry, eyes raking her face and a frown adorning his plush lips. "Are you okay?" he asked in a hushed tone, kind and warm and so, so nice why.

Choheun subconsciously noticed the chatter beginning to lower until it was silent, and when she looked up, everyone was staring at her in concern or confusion. Or both.

She stared at them, meeting their eyes one by one, before flickering back to Jimin and hoped her smile was reassuring and convincing even if it felt fake on her face. "I'm feeling just fine."

And she was.

She was fine. Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, finefinefinefineshewasokay-

At least, she hoped she felt and looked fine, because her mind felt like a brewing storm and, unbeknownst to her, it was beginning to feel like cotton was stuffed in her head, so heavy and buzzing.

(No, she wasn't fine at all, she wanted her family back, she wanted Eunji's warm kisses, she wanted Kaejji's annoying loudness, she wanted Jaegoo's bright smiles and adorable giggles, she wanted her brother's comforting hugs and beautiful words that made her feel like she's maybe worth something-)

She's fine.

(And no one on the table was actually convinced, but said nothing.)

Chapter Text

Her first day of training was...

Training was eventful? If Choheun could say? So many weird things had happened in just a day.

After her first weird but somehow okay breakfast (in her personal opinion, because she still hated how she nearly would've broken down in front of the group of people she looked up to) with the boys, Choheun asking if she could help with the dishes but Jimin and Seokjin brushed her off saying they could handle it, they all changed quickly and head off to the building where they meet Hyojee half way there who was currently waving her arm in the air like an energetic little kid.

Half of the boys were staring at the stylist weirdly, and then they all stared some more as Choheun flushed red when Hyojee practically skipped to her like a joyous kid and wrapped an arm around the teen's shoulder, eliciting a confused squeak from the girl. But the woman only smiled and continued to lead the walk while keeping Choheun on her side and excitedly talk her ear off (Jimin was unknowingly staring at the woman's arms, at how the girl was so comfortable around the stylist).

There were more things that had happened at that moment, but Choheun really didn't want to elaborate since Hyojee was mostly involved with everything that occurred (Hyojee unashamedly called Choheun 'honeybee' in front of everyone, Jimin was cooing how cute that was and Choheun blushed, Hoseok and Seokjin proceeding to say 'cute' with smiles causing her to blush even more, Yoongi was still eyeing her with the same look she had felt and seen from yesterday and breakfast, Namjoon found the nickname quite endearing, Taehyung was like Jimin, and Jeongguk kept his mouth shut but he may or may not find it cute, too).

Seriously, what's running in that woman's mind? One moment she was a complete badass when approaching them then promptly turned into a high school gossiper the moment she stood near Choheun.

So far, Choheun thought it was safe to say that it was the strangest morning for her. Don't even get her started with the staff and employees buzzing around. They weren't rude or anything, they were just...so nice. They waved and greeted the boys and the stylist, but they also greeted her. HER. They greeted Choheun.

Definitely strange.

When she parted with the group with a simple meek wave and a shy smile that widened just a bit when it was Jimin (she didn't notice his reluctance to leave and stayed to watch her back until her silhouette was gone), skittering away with Hyojee, that's when everything started.

The moment she entered the dance studio room cleared out for her, Hyojee introduced the girl to the two people who're going to train her until she debuted. Her dance trainer was BTS' main dance coach and choreographer, Son Sungdeuk, and her vocal trainer was Yoon Saego, formerly Jeongguk's vocal trainer before moving on as their personal vocal coach.

Before she Choheun was going to explain more of her training, she wanted to think about the two adults.

Staring with Son Sungdeuk-nim, he was...um...nice?

Well, when she started refreshing and listened to the man, he was strict. Like, very much so. His words were not harsh, just mentioning the obvious mistakes she might've slipped, but still lowered and firm, gentle. Which confused Choheun why he was not too harsh with her because she had heard he was a little rough to the boys (she had flinched with every criticism, briefly lost in her thoughts to improve and do better, and didn't notice the realization flashing in Sungdeuk's eyes when it continued on for an hour). He watched out for any mistakes and helped and corrected her when he asked her to dance a choreo she knew, a full one. She had timidly said she knew how to dance 'Run', a song he had made a dance for, and so Sungdeuk played the song and didn't pay attention to anything else other than the music and her body moving along with the beat, so lost in the music once again.

He had said that she pretty much nailed all the steps, plus the expressions, with a few errors here and there, and was pretty impressed Choheun admitted the dance took her about three-to-four hours to learn all by herself with no help when he asked because everything was on point. Meaning no one to teach her, no tutorial videos from YouTube other than the mirrored MVs, and just herself, her memory, her observation, and her body.

There was a look she couldn't read, however, on his face, when she was done dancing. Thoughtful and knowing and...and excitement? But for what? Excited for what?

Regardless, Choheun refused to say she felt happy at the praise and was determined not to disappoint the man she already started to like in a day. He reminded her of Kaejji's cousin, her (former?) boss in her old job (she was going to visit it again, someday, and maybe stumble upon her best friend). She told him that, and Sungdeuk only replied that he was fine with any mistakes in the beginning and was happy to train her well in the future.

Next was Yoon Saego, and the woman was amazingly patient. She was so calm and kind and silly when she asked Choheun a series of questions concerning her voice and didn't seem fazed when the glasses-wearing teen slipped a few stutters here and there. At all. And Choheun really thought her shyness and introverted-ness was annoying, but she didn't want to try and continue to stutter so she did her best dimming it down to a more decent, tolerable, and less annoying level.

Saego started her training with simple and easy vocal tests, like going from her lowest note to a crescendo, testing each and every note she could hit without problems, and took it up a notch by letting Choheun hit the high notes she could hit comfortably. The woman was also surprised but immensely pleased when Choheun could actually hit the whistle notes with no issue at all. Just not used to hitting it during a song. So Saego had her try and attempt to sing this American song called 'Emotions' by Mariah Carey, who happened to be one of Choheun's biggest inspiration and idol.

And yeah, Choheun was sure that Bang PD-nim told everyone or something that she knew English, because why would Saego suggest an American song instead of a Korean one?

Oh, and did she mention Hyojee was involved once again? She was everywhere (but Choheun liked it because she felt mildly relaxed around her and didn't want her to leave yet-).

"Choheun-ah, this is Son Sungdeuk-nim, and he's going to be your dance trainer, or coach, or whatever," Hyojee said, making hand motions towards the man's face as he eyed the stylist with exasperation, his arms folded over his chest. The woman beside him looked intrigued at the nickname Hyojee gave.

Choheun blinked. O-kay?

"Hyojee, I can introduce myself just fine." The man said with a put-off sigh as if he was so done with her antics already (she felt the same way towards Kaejji). But Choheun could see how fond he was of the stylist, if the small twitch of his mouth was to go by. She held back an 'aww' sound when she noticed the look he gave her, though—exactly like how Dohyuk would look at Choheun; affection, care, and, the most important of them all, irritation.

Relatable. Except it was Choheun who felt that way towards her brother. The latter of the emotion was more prominent, too. 

Hyojee only turned to the man and stuck her tongue out maturely, ignoring his scoff of 'disrespectful brat' before turning back to the teen, smiling widely. Choheun minutely thought the woman was not to be trifled with. That smile was too sugary. "Anyway, that's your dance trainer, and this amazing woman is Yoon Saego-nim, your vocal trainer!"

Saego waved her fingers, her small and curved eyes crinkling behind rectangular glasses with an arm supporting her elbow around her front. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Yeon Choheun-ssi. We can't wait to see what you can do."

Choheun only flushed under their gazes, fiddling with the hem of her sleeves. "I-it's an honor to meet you both. A-and I'll do my very best, Yoon Saego-nim. Son Sungdeuk-nim." The woman smiled, pleased, and Sungdeuk quirked a small one before returning to stare down at the stylist with disgruntlement. Hyojee smirked smugly.

Sungdeuk was the first to teach her, then Saego, and it took three hours each for them to get Choheun accustomed to her new training schedule. When her time was up, they both teamed up and gave Choheun a test she needed to do three times every week; singing and dancing at the same time. Which took a total of two hours.

And she must say, Choheun was a little delighted when there was only breathiness halfway through the song she was dancing to, Red Velvet's 'Ice Cream Cake(she loved them so much). Saego advised her to practice her breathing and controlling the shakiness in her voice when singing, and Sungdeuk told her to improve her dancing mixed with singing because he pointed out Choheun struggled to focus on which one.

Did she mention she was dead-tired, too? It felt as if her muscles were burning and screaming for rest, prickling like pointy needles and air barely getting in her lungs and her throat was horribly dry she downed at least three cold water bottles in under an hour during break times. She felt lightheaded multiple times as well when she had to dance and sing at the same time, sometimes a headache pulsing behind her head for a moment, but did her best trying to hide it from the two.

Despite all that training that made her ready to take back her dream of becoming an idol, Choheun was very content and happy with how the first half of the day went, and she was the first to go to the dorm first when told the boys were starting to record their next comeback song called 'Save Me' before practicing 'Fire' again. Apparently not counting another called 'Young Forever', but she didn't know much about it.

But then she also felt bad she was the first allowed to go back because it was only the first day for her training and the others were working so hard while she was just sitting on the couch.

And that brought her to her current predicament.

Choheun sighed again for the umpteenth time as she rubbed her aching thighs, glancing at the clock in the dorm's living room to see it tick to '06:45'. She was all alone, the room so silent and empty. It should've made her happy that she got so much time for herself, but alone with silence? That was never a good combination since it would mean being alone with her thoughts. And Choheun was finally content and a tad bit relaxed for her mind to ruin everything right now. Besides, it might lead her to the still-sealed box in the bathroom filled with the blades and rip them open in case for future preferences.

Again, Choheun hated making everything about herself when it didn't matter in the end.

Choheun brightened a moment later when the free time meant something useful. She got off the couch, waddling to the bedroom (she was still exhausted despite taking a cold showerto get her phone and grabbed the big, soft and puffy pink blanket from her bed before returning to the living room. She bounced on the sofa when she sat, tucking her legs up together until her knees nearly pressed her chest and pulled the blanket over her head, wrapping it around herself until only her face was visible. A big smile spread on her face at the warmth of the blanket, swaying side-to-side like a happy child feeling so warm.

Once she was comfortable, she whipped her phone out and unlocked it, swiping the screen to find the app she was looking for and tapped on it. Finding the right name, she pressed on it and somehow felt nervous yet excited as she typed.

YC
Oppa? Are you there? It's Choheun.

After the message was sent, Choheun waited, slowly feeling dread pooling in her gut the longer the silence dragged on and no response was made. And when three minutes passed, her anxiety spiked and chewed down on her bottom lip, careful not to bite down on it to bleed like before, because if he didn't respond it could mean that he either lost his phone again, the battery died, he probably collapsed, Eunji was not home to take care of him and Jaegoo had to watch his father fall without any knowledge on what to do and maybe he was in the hospital and Choheun couldn't do a thing because she was too far and she had a feeling she wasn't allowed to leave the dorm without notifying anyone but oh God what if he really was in the hospital-

Choheun jumped, eyes widening when a sound emitted from her phone and quickly opened it to see a message and felt a bucket of relief fall over her but instead of water it was the solid bucket itself. Meaning there were still traces of tremor underneath her skin.

Stubborn-oppa^^
BABYYYYYYY!!! ARE YOU OKAY??? IS SOMETHING WRONG??? ARE YOU FEELING STRESSED??? ARE THOSE BANGTAN SONYEONDAN BOYS TREATING YOU RIGHT BECAUSE IF NOT I OUGHTA-!!!

A surprised laugh broke free, the girl gasping in air to catch her breath while still relieved all the same. Aigo, only her brother would say something like that right when she was worried to death. At least she wasn't right. Because most of the time she was right, and she hated being right.

Speaking of worry...

YC
That's one way to say hi. And yes, I'm fine. No, nothing's wrong. And please don't think about coming here to give them a lecture or something that's not really necessary. I highly doubt you can walk right now.

Stubborn-oppa^^
Oh... well to be fair I wasnt thinking about giving them a lecture, I was thinking of giving them, you know, a whole...

YC
Oppa...

Stubborn-oppa^^
Ugh fiiiiiiine. Please stop I can feel your disappointment from the screen. I thought I was supposed to be the older, more responsible sibling >:(

YC
Oppa, you're bedridden. Actually, the bed is probably your next wife other than unnie with how much you meet it every day. > 3 >

Stubborn-oppa^^
YAH! Im not always sick, brat! In fact I was able to stay in the living room for a whole day

Choheun was horrified.

YC
You WHAT

Stubborn-oppa^^
Okaaaaaay maybe it was only for more than six hours, give or take ^-^

YC
That's much better. :)

Stubborn-oppa^^
Heunie-yah... I can feel your smirk through the text. Please stop Im a little scared right now

YC
:))

Stubborn-oppa^^
I swear youre a little demon in disguise. I thought Eunjinie was bad, please dont tell her, but I think youre worst 😦

YC
I love you, too, Dohyukkie-oppa. :)))

Stubborn-oppa^^
Baby please dont hit me with that triple smile

YC
:D

Stubborn-oppa^^
...
Somehow thats much worse
Please stick with the smiles I take everything back

YC
Oppa you're so weird. I'm just sending how I feel right now :/

Stubborn-oppa^^
Oh
Oh no
Jagiya dont do that. I refuse to face this again

YC
What? :(

Stubborn-oppa^^
Noooooo
Dont do THAT
Dont start it or else ill leave this chat!!!

YC
But oppa...I just finished my first day of training and I have so much free time to talk to you. You don't wanna talk to me? :((

Stubborn-oppa^^
NO! Of course I wanna talk to you!!!

Choheun giggled, the sound muffled with the blanket paw she had over her mouth. Dohyuk was so easy when it came to these emoticons. She never understood completely, but his reactions (or rather responses) were pretty funny.

YC
Then what's wrong? I'm so confused :(((

Stubborn-oppa^^
Im not telling you >:T

YC
Oppa...

Stubborn-oppa^^
Nope.

Omo, he's serious if he added a period in the end. Again, Dohyuk was way too easy.

YC
D:

Stubborn-oppa^^
.........
Youre grinning like a cat on the other side of this phone, arent you?

YC
:D

Stubborn-oppa^^
....youre a terrible dongsaeng, Choheun-ah

YC
I still love you, oppa. <3

Stubborn-oppa^^ changed  YC 's name to  Killerbee

Killerbee
Really? Oppa, this name sounds evil. :(

Stubborn-oppa^^
No, no, i think its a very fitting name for you, baby.

Killerbee
...

Stubborn-oppa^^
...
You're not making me change it

Killerbee
T_T

Stubborn-oppa^^
...jagi?

Killerbee
Yes? :(

Stubborn-oppa^^ changed  Killerbee 's name to  Babybee

Choheun didn't understand why he chose a name such as 'Babybee', but it sounded better than 'Killerbee'. Besides, he always comes up with the weirdest nicknames for her that she frequently had a hard time wrapping her head around how he thought of these names quickly.

Stubborn-oppa^^
You are a horrible little sister

Babybee
I still love you, oppa <D

Choheun laughed, falling on her side to rest on the soft couch, rolling to face the ceiling with her phone up above her. She had a holder on the back, so she wasn't worried about it falling.

She continued chatting with her brother, telling him how she felt about everything and turned bubbly at the reassurances and comfort he sent on the chat, happy for her and told her to do her best but not push her limit. Choheun also flushed when he mentioned that if she even thought about ignoring her needs and her feelings, he was going to send either Eunji or Kaejji (or both) to give her a long lecture about self-care when none of them were there.

Okay, there were times she ignored her health, but it was only sometimes! She knew how to eat and sleep if that's what he was worried about! She knew how to take care of herself!

...But she definitely didn't understand what else he meant when it came to her health.

She also asked about what's going on back at home, and Dohyuk responded with Jaegoo drawing her every single hour, even in school, Kaejji bothering and whining to the older man about Choheun, and Eunji actually accidentally cooking an extra plate meant for her.

...Was it bad Choheun felt happy that they missed her just as much as she missed them? Because, surprisingly, when she was practicing, she didn't think of them a single time until she realized she had so much free time.

And now she felt incredibly guilty for not thinking about them when they were thinking about her more than once today, goddammit.

Before she knew it, as she texted with her brother and read the letters on the screen that were beginning to blur, slowly, Choheun was feeling sleepy, body numb and head heavy from extreme tiredness catching up to her, unaware of the fact that three hours had passed before her eyes slid closed, hand dropping to the side and her fingers loosen open until her phone slipped and fell to the carpet floor.

Stubborn-oppa^^
Heunie?
Baby??
Are you still there?
Oh, wait its already 9 youre probably still tired from training. You did tell me it was worse than learning a choreo by yourself
......
Choheun? I hope youre not buying anymore new blades. Eunji told me before you left and I was pretty mad you lied to me
How long have you been keeping it a secret? Its been 2 years since you told me you stopped. When did you start again?
Please dont think about cutting
Hello?
Choheunnie?
Please dont hide away
Try to make some friends while youre there, okay?
You know what happens when the stress gets to you
Choheun?
Are you sleeping?
...

The last text was sent five-minutes ago now, remaining unread as the honey-eyed teen had fallen asleep, Choheun remained oblivious to the sound of the front door of the dorm opening.

 


 

Hoseok knew something drastic changed between his dance-partner (sort of?) and the cute girl (she was and he wasn't afraid of admitting it) back in breakfast. Or before they all got out of their rooms.

He wondered if the others had noticed, too. It would be a wonder if no one did. Jimin was very talkative, but most of the time he was talking to Choheun. And the said girl was visibly relaxed around him, not fidgety whenever she made eye contact with any of them who weren't Jimin or Jin, but calm and just naturally nervous, very shy. She only talked when Jimin asked her something or asked for an opinion, and Choheun willingly answered and spoke.

Obviously, she shrunk back in her seat once she was done, but she appeared a little happy when Jimin had beamed at her for answering him.

Seriously, he was so curious about what had happened between them. Especially since they both dropped the formalities—okay, Jimin did, even adding an '-ah', but Choheun also dropped his last name, so it counted. She seemed to be the type who wasn't comfortable calling people she didn't personally know informally.

Hoseok also noticed how...protective Jimin was around her. Just a little bit, meaning Jimin probably wasn't aware he was hovering over the girl like a wolf who had found something worthy to protect. Jimin gave her the syrup when it was far from her, he picked her plate first over his when clearing the table, he reassured her he didn't need any help before Jin could open his mouth, he immediately complimented Choheun's outfit (an oversized loose black shirt, white long-sleeved shirt underneath that was way too big more her and simple gray leggings) once they were ready to go which caused her to blush bashfully, he actually stayed behind to engage a conversation with the girl instead of his fellow maknae-line, and, the most obvious, when he stood still to watch Choheun walk away with Hyojee with a sad look in his eyes, frowning.

Oh, and Jimin was subtly displeased when Choheun's attention was taken away from him by the said stylist earlier, too.

So Hoseok was very curious.

The others probably were as well, since Taehyung nearly looked like a kicked puppy (he was sulking because he wanted to show Jimin another meme) and Jeongguk had briefly been poking his tongue inside his cheek with a pout in the end.

Hoseok had to contain a snicker, those two always enjoyed hanging out with the eldest, affectionate maknae of the three. They were the maknae-line for a reason. But they weren't really jealous, honestly speaking. Taehyung had admitted to him earlier when they entered their dance studio that he wanted to talk with Choheun but he didn't want to make her nervous since they've never really talked (like Hoseok and the rest of them, except Jimin and Jin). And Jeongguk was just like Hoseok; he was curious but didn't want to interfere with whatever the two had. Their new friendship just formed this morning, so the (former?) maknae didn't want to ruin anything between them.

And Hoseok felt the same way. He wanted to get to know the girl without making her flush into so many shades of red and possibly flee the room the moment he said hi.

So here he was, contemplating whether or not he should bring Choheun up as Jimin patted a towel on his neck to absorb the sweat. Hoseok moved his gaze to watch the others around the room. Namjoon and Yoongi were sitting near each other, quietly discussing something about their other songs, probably, Jin was leaning against the wall with a water bottle in hand, and both Taehyung and Jeongguk were lying down on the floor, occasionally nudging each other with their feet until it turned into a contest. As usual.

It was late, and they all had been done recording their next comeback. Well, they were halfway finished recording because of a few problems here and there, actually, but progress counted. Improvement in a day only instead of the usual three-to-five days of recording their voices. Right now, they were just finished trying to start practicing the formations in 'Fire', the first half of it at least. It was challenging since Keone Madrid-nim, their other choreographer who made the dance, wasn't actually there in Korea to teach them in person. He could only send the video of the final product. So it was Hoseok and Jimin's job to teach the others since they already knew the dance, anyway.

"So..." Hoseok started slowly and quietly so only he and Jimin could hear. The dancer looked at him, the towel replaced with a bottle of water in his small hands.

"Yes, hyung?" he twisted the bottle open, removing the cap and brought the water to his lips. Maybe getting straight to the point was better.

"Where did the no 'Yeon' and only Choheun-ah come from, Jiminnie?" he asked and watched with amusement when Jimin chocked in his drink, some liquid dribbling down to his chin and coughed after he swallowed it. Hoseok helpfully patted his back and sent a reassuring smile when Namjoon briefly glanced at them in concern at the noise.

"Wh-what brought this up?" Jimin coughed, clearing his throat as he tried to play it cool by closing the bottle and resuming to pat the sweat away with the towel despite already dried up so far.

Hoseok shrugged casually, "Oh, you know, when you were following her around like a puppy." He said plainly, voice bland and straight to the point.

Jimin released an indescribable noise, gaping at the rapper in incredulity. "What? No, I wasn't! I was only talking to her," he protested hotly, shoulders tense.

"Jiminnie, you kept hovering over her like a protective oppa."

Jimin flushed, huffing and looked away but didn't try to deny it. "So? I just wanted to be friends, hyung. Is it bad?" he side-glanced at the rapper, eyes narrowed slightly and Hoseok finally noticed what's wrong. Jimin was getting defensive and he didn't want to unintentionally provoke him. The dancer may be the one who rarely got angry, but if he was, it meant Hoseok was stepping over a line he wasn't allowed to.

He raised his hands in a placating manner, smiling apologetically as Jimin scowled at him. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you, Jimin." The dancer relaxed slightly, shoulders lowering, but still kept his watchful stare. "You're pretty defensive over her, aren't you?" he stated more than asked, voice gentle.

Jimin stared at him before ruffling his hair, cheeks pink. "I...guess I am. I didn't realize. And sorry for getting mad like that, your tone wasn't friendly-ish earlier so I couldn't help it."

Hoseok smiled, "It's alright. It's my fault for not taking this in a better way than the blunt way. Now that I think about it- I sounded pretty rude, right?" Jimin nodded, leaning back against the chair and the rapper chuckled, shaking his head. It did sound as if he was skeptical about their new friendship, and he didn't want that at all. It's obvious how the others are hesitant about approaching Choheun, still unsure whether or not they should get to know her.

"Why are you asking, hyung," Jimin stated more than asked.

Hoseok hummed, sliding his gaze to see Yoongi getting up and approach Jeongguk, probably asking him something as the Golden Maknae shook his head. "Hmm... Is it bad I want to get to know Choheun-ssi, too?" he saw the dancer wince a bit at his own words used in the sentence, rubbing his neck sheepishly.

"No... No, it's not. Sorry about earlier, by the way."

"It's fine, Jimin-ah." He waved at the eldest maknae reassuringly.

Jimin quirked a smile at him before sighing, "About earlier this morning... Well, I asked Choheun-ah if she wanted to be friends, and she said yes." Hoseok nodded, gesturing for him to continue. "But she was very hesitant about accepting. And, uh, she looked as if...that she wasn't exactly sure she was supposed to have any friends? If that makes any sense? She was hesitant."

The patient smile on Hoseok's smile faltered slightly at that. "I don't think I'm following." He really wasn't. What did he mean Choheun wasn't sure she was supposed to have friends? Anyone could make friends even if they didn't initiate the conversation first.

Jimin scratched his head, frowning as he tried to find the right words. "Ah, I don't think I worded that right. What I mean is that she looked scared to make a new friend. And from what she also told me, she only had one friend in her life. One. She didn't even seem to be lying, either, because she looked really scared and... sad." Jimin paused, looking up at Hoseok and frowned sadly, and the rapper wanted to remove that look from the affectionate dancer. "Choheun-ah looked so sad at that moment, hyung. So I asked her."

Hoseok didn't know what to say from all that, other than a particular sentence that made his heart beat a bit faster. It was obvious to him Jimin wasn't telling the whole truth, but this was more than enough. "She only had one friend? No one else? I assumed she was the type to have a lot of friends."

Jimin shook his head, downhearted. "I thought so, too, but we were obviously wrong to assume that." He brightened then, a determined glint in his eyes. "But I plan on making sure she opens up to us, hyung. Not only her but also the others because I can see Yoongi-hyung's planning on hiding away in his Genius Lab to avoid her."

Hoseok grinned, "That sounds like hyung, alright. He did the same thing to Jin-hyung, you, and Taehyung-ah and Jeonggukkie. It took how many months for him to start a conversation with you four? One?"

Jimin scoffed at that, looking offended. "Two, Hobi-hyung. It took two months for Yoongi-hyung to talk to me whenever I tried to say something. I just hope it won't take too long with Choheun-ah since her debut won't come until winter and that would just make an awkward working relationship between them. I can already imagine it, and I don't want to see it happen." His face scrunched up in displeasure and Hoseok laughed.

It did take long for Yoongi to open up to a new member. It surely took a while for the Daegu rapper to even open up to Hoseok when they first started to form Bangtan in the beginning when he was put with Namjoon and Yoongi. It was awkward with a painful silence hanging over them until their leader made the first move. But none of them blamed Yoongi. He was a normally closed-off person; introverted, awkward and shy when it came to anything that involved human contact or socializing. Plus the fact that he struggled so much, adding with his parents not supporting him and his dreams (not that they hated him or anything). However, once they realized Yoongi did care and just felt insecure about it, to show it, they made sure to include him more and show him they cared and loved him for him and the gummy smile Yoongi never usually made was worth it in the end.

Especially Jeongguk. Aish, that kid was probably worse than his fellow rapper. He was just as shy, reserved, and never spoke more than two words which were yes or no, and mostly nodded or shook his head when asked something. It took an even longer time for the maknae to open up and build his confidence, but when he did, he was just as lively as Hoseok, Jin, and Taehyung combined. And to Hoseok's amusement, Jeongguk always denied being treated like a baby in their group. Well, not always, honestly, that was too much, but mostly in public where there were so many eyes were on them, watching.

He was still a baby, though.

But back to the subject in hand, Hoseok hoped they would all get along well with their newest member currently starting her first day in training. And from what Jimin said and what other words he was hiding in his eyes, Choheun had problems, too (he could see it, actually. She flinched when someone touched her, she easily got embarrassed, she always hid behind Hyojee a few days ago, and she was still scared of them other than two). If she did, then Hoseok wasn't going to remain professional when she was staying with them as their future eighth member. Not a new member, but a possible new family member.

Eight... It didn't sound too bad, in his opinion. And having a possible sister. He had a sister of course, an older one, but he had never had a younger sister before.

He wondered how different would it be.

Before Hoseok could say something to Jimin, Yoongi walked up to them, a frustrated frown on his face. It wasn't directed at either of them, though. "Sorry if I interrupted something, but has any of you seen my phone?"

Jimin shook his head, followed by Hoseok. "No. It's not with you, hyung?" the young dancer questioned confusedly.

Yoongi shook his head, the frown still remaining.

"You didn't leave it back at home again, did you?" Hoseok piped up, and mentally snickered when realization flashed on the Daegu rapper's face before quickly morphing into a scowl.

"Aish... I think I did." Yoongi grumbled under his breath. It's been the third time this month since he left his phone, which had a lot of important notes and things inside, anywhere around the house when they leave. Hoseok couldn't blame him, Yoongi had been staying up late more to come up with lyrics and help produce their music, so his sleeping schedule had to be personally managed by Jin. The only one who could actually control and order Yoongi around with no problems. Not even their managers and PD-nim could budge him. The pale rapper was that stubborn.

Jimin got up and patted his hyung's shoulder sympathetically, smiling as the elder continued to grumble before it slowly turned into cursing quietly under his breath so that no one other than himself could hear.

Hoseok stood up, stretching his arms in the air to relieve the tiredness in them and looked at his hyung. "Want me to get it for you, hyung? I needed to get something back in the dorm."

Yoongi blinked, nodding slowly, "Sure, if you don't mind. But don't take too long."

Hoseok waved his hand, already walking out of the room. "I know, I know. We need to get back to practicing afterward anyway, and I need to help Jin-hyungie." He said, before turning to everyone else when they all turned to look at him curiously, wondering why he was going out. "I'll be right back. Yoongi-hyung left his phone again!" he chirped, and they all voiced their understanding and Hoseok closed the door.

As he made his out of the building, humming under his breath, he almost bumped into Hyojee upon rounding the corner. He took a step back, blinking as the stylist tried to keep a hold of the makeup stiff in her arms.

"Ah, Hyojee-noona."

Hyojee lifted her head up, blinking, and smiled, "Seokkie," a confused look passed her face barely a second later. "What are you doing out? Aren't you practicing or something?"

Hoseok shook his head. "Oh, I'm getting Yoongi-hyung's phone. He left it at home."

"Again?" Hyojee frowned, shifting a bit to jump the items in her arms in place. "I swear that boy never knew what the word 'break' means." She huffed with a look, clearly annoyed, and Hoseok laughed.

"Hyung is only a year younger than you, noona. Or two months, actually. He'd throw a fit if he hears you call him a 'boy'."

Hyojee scoffed, head tilted up with a stubborn look on her face. But he could see she was only playing. If there was anyone else who could spit fire and scold Yoongi and get away with it, it was Choi Hyojee. Then again, Hyojee was so similar to the rapper when it came to spitting said fire. Not even the stylist's own boyfriend could escape her savagery. She's very intimidating that Jin wouldn't try to bother her despite being older than her by a month.

(Though Hyojee was respectful towards Jin, the older male really wouldn't try to push her buttons. He wouldn't even dare.)

Hoseok had been on her receiving end plenty of times back in their debut year, and he grew to learn that messing with Hyojee was always a mistake.

"I can call him whatever I want. Besides, I swear you all are kids we're watching over when the camera's done rolling." She scowled. Hoseok knew she meant the whole BigHit staff working under the label. But it was nice since they all treat each other like family, which made choosing the company so worth it in his opinion. They all went through a lot.

Hoseok smiled before realizing he had some places to be. "Sorry if I was keeping you up. I need to go or else Son Sungdeuk-nim will scold me."

"Oh, right. Before that, by the way, how's Choheun-ah's first day? She's not having any problems, is she? None of you are complaining, are you? I hope she wasn't uncomfortable, she doesn't like changes much. Are you treating her well? Was dinner awful? If so, I swear I'll be lecturing all your ears off and get Yonsookkie-unnie to help because you know how much she doesn't like anyone being impolite to newbies." She said seriously, eyeing him critically the more she spoke and her voice practically dripped with protectiveness for the glasses-wearing teen. So she already liked Choheun that much?

He swore other than Jeongguk and Namjoon's stylist, Mae Jangmi, and Jimin and Jin's stylist, Ryeo Yonsook, Hyojee was the biggest mother hen when it came to them. And their fans think Jin was the eomma, they just haven't met their stylists yet since they tend to shy away from the camera except for their voices.

And they're just as savage, too. And scary.

Hoseok chuckled nervously, "No, nothing bad happened if that's what you're thinking, noona. Dinner was fine, trust me." He hoped that was enough to appease the woman, even if he didn't exactly know how to respond to that.

It did, if just a bit. Hyojee observed him a little longer before leaning back and smiled. "Good. Tell me, though, did you order lamb skewers?"

What kind of question was that? "Of course we did. You know Jeongguk and Yoongi-hyung."

He didn't expect Hyojee to frown in puzzlement, "Did Choheun-ah not ask? She loves lamb skewers."

What.

"What? She does?" Hoseok repeated dumbly, confused as Hyojee mirrored his expression.

"She didn't tell you?" she sounded just as confused as he was. None of them even knew Choheun liked lamb skewers (or loved, from what Hyojee revealed). The girl kept her mouth shut the whole time last night when she arrived, not uttering a single word to start any kind of conversation whatsoever or even open up just the tiniest bit. Though Hoseok did notice her perking up at the food, he didn't give a thought that it meant it's Choheun's favorite.

Now he really wanted to get along with the girl. Or else working together just wouldn't work out in a professional sense. Hoseok didn't want that to happen between his group and their new member.

"Was she supposed to?" he said bemusedly.

"I think so? She told me immediately when I took her out for lunch a few days ago. My wallet was nearly empty because of that, but I didn't mind." Hyojee sighed, shaking her head. "Too bad Choheun-ah kept apologizing I had to keep reassuring her it was fine. Aigo-yah, that girl, she feels too bad way too easily."

Hoseok furrowed his eyebrows. Choheun felt guilt easily? Maybe that's why she didn't say anything other than a timid request for jjajangmyeon, she didn't want to take any piece of Jeongguk and Yoongi's lamb skewers since they asked first. She really reminded him of their Golden Maknae, but even Jeongguk could hold a few conversations before backing away.

"Ah, I'm keeping you here too long. I keep forgetting about the time. Sorry about that, Seokkie-yah." Hyojee apologized sheepishly, and Hoseok only smiled at her.

"No, It's okay. I don't mind the extra information about Choheun-ssi. We know nothing about her right now."

She hummed, "Right. Choheun-ah is a very guarded person if you've noticed by now." Yeah, he definitely did. Hoseok had smiled at her only once in breakfast and she instantly looked at anywhere but him with a face so red he didn't know it was possible for someone to resemble a rose (it was cute, too, because her round cheeks were red as a blush). "Try and be gentle with her, okay? If you want to get along with her, be friends or something, take it slow or else she'll feel overwhelmed. Like, really slow. I'm lucky I got her to trust me in under a week before meeting you boys. Choheun-ah didn't say it, but her actions speak more than her words. Other than the extreme formality and politeness. It's obvious to me she never had that many friends, and she's incredibly sensitive."

Hoseok nodded slowly, taking the information in as his mind jumbled it around for him to understand. It made sense, now that Hyojee pointed it out. He thought Choheun was painfully shy, but her nervousness and uncertainty told him more than simple shyness. She wasn't only afraid of them, she didn't know how to act around them, staring at them like complete strangers, like normal people she had never met, instead of K-Pop idols the moment they directed a question at her, as if she couldn't believe someone was talking to her.

Unease prickled the back of his head. Why did it feel as if he was missing something important here? Maybe when they were done with practice, Hoseok was going to have a talk with Jimin.

"She doesn't trust people easily, does she," he stated more than asked, eyes sliding to the wall in thought, and Hyojee smiled sadly with a knowing look.

"No. She doesn't. She doesn't trust you, either." Hoseok held back a wince, that hurt a little. A fan distrusting their own idols. Not a nice thought, actually. "Choheun-ah has metal walls surrounding her. Did you know she actually hesitated to audition?"

He snapped his gaze back at her, surprised. "Mwo? Really?" hesitated? Like, saying yes wasn't the first thing in her mind?

Hyojee nodded, "Yep. She looked so ready to say no before stopping herself. I assumed it was because of personal reasons, and I guessed right." She frowned again, but it appeared to be focused on herself than anything. "I felt so bad when I told her she passed. Honeybee was shocked, predictably, but she was stressed out and worried when I said she was going to be a part of your group. I think that's where she looked ready to call it quits. I felt really bad 'cause I wanted her to pass but never thought of what she thought of everything."

"Oh..." was all Hoseok could say because he didn't know what to say. He never realized Choheun didn't want to become their eighth member at all. It's true that none of them stopped to think about how this would go for the teen, but they did and realized how hard it would be for someone inexperienced.

Hyojee seemed to think about something, pursing her lips together and Hoseok knew she was contemplating whether she would tell him something that's on her mind or not. She probably chose the former as she sighed, somber, "Choheun-ah was afraid you'll hate her, you know. I think she still is. It broke me a bit that she thinks her idols would hate her."

Hoseok was horrified, "Why would she think that?" What really hit him hard was the fact that Choheun did look up to them, and they've thought the worst about her in the beginning without even meeting her. What kind of idols were they to think of a fan of theirs that way? Especially Choheun, who was so close to saying no to BigHit and they might never meet.

Hyojee shrugged, which wasn't helping him the least. "Honestly, Seok-ah, I don't know. I really don't. I'm not close to her, having befriended her in a week, and even I didn't get her to open up to me that much. I'm hoping she'll open up to you, though. Since I won't be there for her much. Your comeback is closing in, after all."

"Right, we'll do our best..." Hoseok sent a weak smile. He could understand that. He was also hoping they would all get along well. How was he going to get Yoongi to be friends with the girl, though? The Daegu rapper was a hard one to crack without a good reason.

Hyojee seemed to like that response, smiling brightly that he was reminded the stylist wasn't that older than any of them despite acting like a strict but gentle mother, along with the rest of their personal stylists and staff.

"I'm counting on you, Seokkie. See you," Hyojee attempted a wave as best as she could with the makeup supplies Hoseok nearly forgot was there in her arms, leaving him in the hallway alone.

Hoseok stared at the ground blankly for a bit, hands moving to hide in his pockets and walked away, his thoughts accompanied him throughout the whole walk back to the dorm.

 


 

Reaching his destination in a few minutes (he realized the talk he had with Hyojee wasn't that long—it felt like it was to him), he took the spare key they're all given and slotted in the keyhole, twisting it to hear it click and pushed the door open. He closed the door behind him once he stepped in, quickly removing his shoes leaving him with his socks and started to find what he was here for.

But before he could turn to their rooms when he was done looking around the kitchen, he paused, finally noticing someone occupying the couch. It was Choheun.

Oh, he forgot Sungdeuk told them she went home first once she was done with her training. The rapper didn't mention how for her first day of training, it took way longer than necessary compared to when they first started. Eight hours was a little too much for the first time, but it might mean Choheun was that good.

He couldn't wait to see her dance and sing. He wanted to see one of the reasons why she passed.

Hoseok walked around the couch, tilting his head to observe her better. Choheun was sleeping on her side, her blanket no longer on her body and partially on the floor. One of her hand—sleeve paw was under her cheek, cheeks squishing up slightly (that was really cute), and the other was in-between her thighs in a childish way, so similar to Yoongi.

His eyes softened, she looked so innocent when sleeping. Peaceful and so relaxed. Not uncomfortable or practically shaking with anxiety when she was around them (or they were around her). A breathy chuckle escaped him when he spotted some bed marks on her face, the cause probably from her sleeve paws.

He flinched when he heard a bell sound ring softly in the silent room, eyes drifting down to see a phone on the floor near the sofa. Definitely not the phone he was looking for, so it was fine to assume it was Choheun's phone.

Hoseok noticed it was a notification for a message and, damn his curiosity, he crouched down and picked it up, mindful of not creating a single noise to disturb the younger.

He pressed his thumb against the home button, the screen brightening back to life and his eyes followed the words typed in the white bar.

Goodnight, baby.

His eyebrows went up to his hairline, his jaw dropping down just a bit. That was...so familiar and intimate.

He eyed the name above the message, seeing 'Stubborn-oppa^^', and the first thing he thought was she had a brother. It couldn't be a boyfriend, since Jimin had said she only had one friend, and Hyojee's words of Choheun not having that many friends reminding him of that fact.

Also, the name 'Stubborn-oppa^^' with two cutesy eyes on the end somehow appeared more sarcastic to the rapper than affectionate for some reason. Especially with the word stubborn as a nickname. Not a very kind name but quite endearing for him. It sounded like a word Jin would always call Yoongi. Meaning Choheun was perhaps annoyed with this man in a fond way but still annoyed nonetheless.

Hoseok noticed there were more messages, and he couldn't help his curiosity and scroll down, confused why they weren't read yet then realizing Choheun probably fell asleep before she knew the new messages were sent.

He quietly cooed, the poor girl. She must have been so tired from her first training. Eight hours was pretty long. He hoped to help her if she had any problems with dancing. He'd be glad to help and teach her.

But the more he read the unread messages sent nearly five minutes ago, the more his smile slowly fell off his face and paled, alarms blaring inside his head like a warning as he stared horrified at the words his eyes followed.

Choheun? I hope youre not buying anymore new blades. Eunji told me before you left and I was pretty mad you lied to me

How long have you been keeping it a secret? Its been 2 years since you told me you stopped. When did you start again?

Please dont think about cutting

Hello?

Choheunnie?

Please dont hide away

Try to make some friends while youre there, okay?

You know what happens when the stress gets to you

Choheun?

Are you sleeping?

...

Goodnight, baby.

Hoseok felt as if something was stopping the airflow around him, cutting off his breathing completely. His hands suddenly felt clammy with nervous sweat, and his mouth went dry that he briefly thought about getting water. His mind was a mess, scrambling back and forth with questions begging to come out of his mouth; he could feel a headache beginning to form with all the thinking.

Buying blades? Secret? Kept a secret from her family (by now he was sure this man was her older brother)? She had lied? She presumedly stopped cutting two years ago, but it seemed she had lied about it and had been cutting without telling. But from what the message implied, Choheun had yet to cut again, and it sounded like it's been a while since she last cut.

Hiding away, try to make some friends... Jimin and Hyojee were right, Choheun really didn't have any friends. But all Hoseok could think about right now, the same sentence repeating over and over again in his head like a broken record, was that Choheun cuts as if it was a hobby, something normal which was really notdammit, and there's no one she was familiar or close with as a trainee to even mention she was cutting in the first place.

No one was going to help or support her in a more personal way. She was alone.

Alone.

Hoseok had a good guess she wasn't even planning on telling anyone any time soon, either, probably not even Hyojee and she didn't know about this and for some reason, that thought scared him the most.

He could assume that Choheun wasn't entirely suicidal (please hope she wasn't-), but from what the message said, and what he could make out of it, she, probably, only cuts when she was under stress. Maybe severe stress. The kind of stress that made someone feel as if everything was too much since Hoseok used to feel that way before but he never...cut because of it. Because Hoseok had people in his life who cared for him and helped him and Choheun...

Fuck, she had no one.

And apparently, her brother (or her whole family) couldn't even help her if she still continued to cut without telling them. So Choheun would lie when it came to her mentality and how she's feeling. What's worse was that she might keep her mouth shut, feigning innocence on the outside with her shy and distant behavior about what's truly bothering her in the inside while Hoseok and everyone else remained ignorant.

Too bad for Choheun, Hoseok wasn't the type to ignore this kind of thing. She was hurting on the inside, alone and still afraid regardless of being comfortable around three people so far, something causing her to act this way, and he planned on helping her if no one was because he wasn't going to leave her like this when he wanted to be friends.

Hoseok blinked back to earth, staring down at Choheun when a quiet whine slipped from her throat, shifting a bit on the couch. Her face scrunched up, brows furrowed together in obvious discomfort and he could tell she was no longer comfortable sleeping in the couch. It may be soft, but it wasn't that big or long for her legs to stretch out. And Choheun was a really small girl.

Pocketing her phone, for the time being, Hoseok stared at the girl before thinking 'screw it' and took a risk. He grabbed the pink blanket on the floor and pulled it over her shoulder, making sure it wouldn't fall, before slipping his hands underneath her back and her knees and heaved up.

Hoseok stumbled a bit, taking a few steps back to gain his balance. No, Choheun wasn't heavy. In fact, she was light enough that lifting her up didn't give him that much difficulty and surprise him when he was expecting a little more weight.

But that bothered him.

She was too light.

Deciding to dwell on that later as he remembered he needed to return back to the others, Hoseok brought the small girl closer to his chest in a firm grip and made his way to her room. He kept his eyes on her, watching with a growing smile how Choheun made a small noise that was too adorable for words to describe and snuggled her face on his shoulder near his neck, her soft cheek pressing against him and a content sigh coming from her slightly parted lips.

"Warm..." she mumbled so quietly he nearly missed it. But he didn't, and he felt swelling pride fill him that he was comfortable enough for the girl to relax against him instead of tensing up from an unfamiliar warmth.

The door was open, lucky him, so he pushed it open with his hips and shoulder, stepping in with silent footsteps and stood in front of her bed.

Hoseok slowly lowered Choheun down on the bed, gently pulling his arm away from underneath and watched with growing fondness when she rolled on her side until the blanket slipped a bit down on her shoulders and a hand returning back beneath her cheek, sighing.

Wait, hand-

She had sleeve paws-

Hoseok's gaze slid down to her bare arm, on her wrist, and clenched his jaw so hard he was practically gritting his teeth together.

Lines.

Faded and healing with some still pink and red but still lines.

She really was cutting, and some looked too recent for it to be a while.

Hoseok looked at Choheun, her face so relaxed and innocent and so damn young that absolutely no one would suspect she was cutting.

He reached out, delicately pulling her sleeve up to cover the precise lines over her fingers and brushed some stray bangs away from her eyes, fingers touching her forehead so tenderly, and the young teen mewled so quietly (his brain melted), unconsciously leaning towards the contact with an expression free of wariness and nervousness, peaceful. Innocent and young.

Hoseok felt a surge of something he knew was protectiveness spread in his chest. The feeling familiar because he felt this way towards his family, his Bangtan brothers, towards BigHit, and now he already felt it towards this small girl he barely knew for a day while she stayed oblivious to everything that's happening. He was ready to wrap her in a blanket and keep her comfortable and safe and warm until she felt at peace.

And he wasn't even close to her or even talked to her a few couple of times to be considered acquaintances.

He pulled away, taking Choheun's phone from his pocket and placed it down on the nightstand beside the bed.

Clenching his hand briefly that touched her, he turned and walked away, languidly closing the door behind him before making his way to Yoongi and Jin's room. He grabbed what he needed, his hyung's phone on the bed, and exited the room and quickly headed out, walking to the door and opened it once he slipped his shoes back on.

Hoseok grabbed the doorknob, pausing to stare at the couch where Choheun previously occupied on. He stared, face blank despite his head heavy with thoughts, and his hand clenched around the knob before finally shutting it closed, a clicking sound following afterward.

Chapter Text

The first thing Choheun thought the moment she woke up was that she felt warm. Comfy, warm, and swaddled in her favorite puffy pink blanket gifted by her brother.

The second thing she thought about next was—when and where had she fallen asleep? Answer: right on the couch of the group of idols' dorm.

The third thing she thought next was crap, she fell asleep while talking with her brother last night. She must've been that exhausted after practice.

The fourth thought was that she fell asleep on the couch.

Which gave her the fifth thought with slow realization.

When had she moved to the bed?!

Choheun sat up, looking around the room in confusion and bewilderment and drowsiness. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside her, leisurely blinking at the time of nine in the morning (practice would start later). She saw her phone near it and picked it up, smiling softly at the last message her brother had sent and shook her head, placing it back so she could fix the bed.

(Before Hoseok left, Dohyuk had deleted the messages the last second but left the last message behind. He didn't want to add unknowing pressure for his sister once he realized the implications behind the texts. But he hoped she wouldn't cut during her time there since idols had it hard.)

Deciding to brush off how she ended up in the bed when she swore she fell asleep on the couch, her active mind yet to catch up with her body, Choheun languidly stretched her arms up to the air, back arching and on her tippy-toes and sighed. She reluctantly dragged herself to the bathroom, doing her daily routine as usual before walking out to the closet and tiredly eyed the clothes piled inside. She had just moved two days ago now, but she didn't have enough time to organize them.

The teen lazily shrugged one shoulder. She could always do it once she's free. Maybe tonight at twelve would suffice?

She grabbed a simple, oversized striped shirt with the usual she sleeves to cover her wrists and baggy black sweatpants and rushed to the bathroom, taking a quick shower. She closed the bathroom door after she was done, hair just the slightest bit wet because of her hairdryer and folded the clothes she wore yesterday, leaving it on the end of her bed.

Straightening up slightly, the honey-eyed teen blinked repeatedly once she realized her vision was a bit blurry for a few seconds (this always happen at any time whenever she woke up but she didn't know why. Maybe when she was extremely tired?) and looked around the room, squinting her eyes to try and spot her glasses since she would mostly put somewhere obvious to find.

Choheun may have taken a bath, but that didn't mean she was fully awake. After all, she wasn't used to having a full-rested sleep to the point she wanted to go back to bed again.

Not that she knew it.

"Aish..." Choheun whined upon coming to a dead end. They weren't in the room. Maybe her glasses were left in the living room? She did remove it and placed it somewhere before lounging around and chatting with her brother.

Coming to a conclusion, Choheun breathed out a sigh that was close to a whimper and walked out of the room, mind still half-asleep and drowsy or she would've been a bit more aware of how she looked.

 


 

Taehyung was the first to notice her.

He was in the middle of eating Seokjin's homemade kimchi, the others slowly piling out of their rooms and pulled a chair for themselves, greeting each other with sleepy good mornings while Seokjin, Jimin and Hoseok were the only ones somehow awake and smiling like the sun with no care of what time it was or how tiring yesterday's practice was. Plus Jeongguk, his only dongsaeng was looking fine and well-rested as if he hadn't been on the floor lying down, drowned in his sweat with exhaustion after their third attempt of the dance. 'Fire' was their most difficult choreography so far. Their next actual comeback was Young Forever, but even that didn't have a choreo.

Taehyung had always admired the dance-line. He was definitely going to catch up with them in their next upcoming album when their managers had mentioned they might do solo songs. He was slowly trying to come up with an idea, like lyrics and stuff, but it was still far so he'd think about it someday. They had a comeback to prepare to, after all.

Then he noticed Choheun.

He stopped mid-bite, eyes widening in surprise at the sight of the young female halting on her steps to languidly blink and take in what she was welcomed to. Choheun didn't appear to be fully awake, swaying so subtly that he wouldn't have noticed if he didn't pay close attention. Her doe eyes were half-lidded, a little dazed and it confused Taehyung a bit when he saw her hair wet.

She took a shower, that much he could see, but it seemed the water didn't help open her eyes a bit more. He thought people would be more wide-awake after a shower or splashing a bit of water on their face.

Taehyung nudged Jimin's bicep, gaining the dancer's attention as he eyed him with confusion. "What?" he said and the deep-voiced singer only pointed his finger at Choheun and Jimin followed his gaze, widening his eyes.

Jimin stood up, everyone stopping what they're doing to stare at him in confusion but the dancer ignored it. "Choheun-ah?" he called softly, ignoring how everyone whipped their heads around, finally noticing the young female behind them.

Choheun made a small noise of acknowledgment, blearily blinking her honey brown eyes at the dancer and Jimin swore he heard a quiet, almost inaudible coo of 'so cute' from Hoseok. Of course he did, and Jimin still found it unfair how the rapper was able to see Choheun sleep with her sleeve paws. Sleeve paws, dammit. She probably looked so adorable.

"Good morning, Jimin-ssi..." she greeted sleepily with a yawn, muffling it with her sleeve paws.

Seokjin immediately turned around, covering his mouth—probably to refrain from gushing because Choheun was literally drowning in that oversized shirt. It was a cute sight, dear God. And he thought seeing the girl blush with apple red cheeks two days ago was the cutest thing he had ever seen. Apparently, there was more cuteness hiding underneath.

Jimin brightened a second later, smiling so wide and eyes curving up into crescents (don't make a sound you'll regret-). "Good morning to you, too, as well, Choheun-ah!" he chirped, pulling a conveniently unoccupied chair beside him and patted on it. "We're having kimchi for breakfast. I could've woken you up earlier, but I thought you needed the well rest after your first day of training."

Choheun tilted her head at him, reminding all of them too much of a puppy, and slowly nodded, moving to waddle towards the chair and sat down. "Thanks, I guess..." she mumbled, bringing up her sleeve paw to rub her eye, maybe attempting to rub the sleepiness away. It proved to be slightly successful as her eyes lost a bit of its daze but her posture was obviously tired. She glanced up at the dancer, her peach lips forming into a pout. The action done more subconsciously than on purpose.

Jimin screamed in his head.

"Jimin-ssi, have you seen my glasses? I'm not sure if I left it here, it's not in the bedroom..." Choheun asked with a voice that was so close to a whine and Jimin melted at the sight and sound. This much cuteness in the morning was too much—how was this possible?

From the corner of Taehyung's eye, he could see Seokjin coming back with an extra plate of kimchi and Hoseok was trying his best not to coo too loudly. Taehyung raised a brow at the latter. What in the world happened for the two dancers to change around the girl?

Yesterday, when Hoseok came back with Yoongi's phone, he instantly made a beeline towards Jimin and muttered something to him that caused the eldest of the maknae-line to straighten just slightly, face morphing to worry. Taehyung had been watching them from afar, paying attention to the way Hoseok folded his arms with a rare tenseness on his shoulders and jaw, face surprisingly serious. Jimin's eyes were wide when the rapper finished, shocked, before thinning his plump lips and nodded in confirmation to something and spoke quietly as well. Hoseok had rubbed his face, softening with concern and Jimin had sported a determined look; the two seemed to have come to the same agreement before Sungdeuk entered the room and ordered everyone back in position to observe them.

Whatever they were talking about, Taehyung was sure it was about Choheun. They had briefly tensed up when Seokjin brought her up for a few seconds when discussing what's for dinner.

Jimin shook his head, "No, I don't think I saw it. After practice, we all kind of headed back to our rooms the moment we came back." He said as the eldest male pushed the plate of kimchi towards the girl, Choheun shyly muttering a quiet 'thank you' and picked her chopsticks up. Seokjin beamed happily at that.

Jeongguk perked up, quickly swallowing the food in his mouth. "Ah, you mean the glasses on the couch, Yeon Choheun-ssi?" he piped up politely with a bit of nervousness and Taehyung inwardly smiled at his dongsaeng.

Taehyung had a talk with the younger about his thoughts of having a new member (a female one who's younger than him), and he was pretty proud Jeongguk wanted to try and get along with the girl. But in normal Jeongguk style, once the maknae didn't completely dislike Choheun anymore, the boy realized that he had to befriend a girl. He was still never comfortable with making a new friend that's not the same gender as him, with the exception of the female staff in BigHit and their fans, so he was back to his usual shyness when it came to girls.

Good to know Jeongguk was willing to try and talk with their future eighth member. After all, she was staying with them for a long time the moment she debuted with them in Bangtan, and tight or tense relationships when working together while living in the same dorm wouldn't work out the slightest bit (too. Much. Awkwardness-) and their fans would be ready to spit fire at Choheun.

Though that didn't mean Taehyung and the others weren't adjusting to this new change, too. And they'd definitely learn why Bang PD-nim decided to add a new member after nearly three years, and why now of all times—or ever, actually. Reaching out to fans was not a very reasonable idea to pursue it.

But right now, Taehyung was more than okay to make friends with the extremely shy girl he hoped to see as a little sister (because he had cousins and a younger sister and they're so cute and Choheun was also cute and he'd have to be blind not to see that), because anyone in BigHit was family, and he hoped that Yoongi, Namjoon, and Jeongguk would stop overthinking things since it's not healthy to stress about a new addition when it would also stress Choheun out—or even hurt her. Taehyung didn't want someone young to feel overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, Jeongguk was hoping he didn't sound too weird. Like, come on, how hard was it to get along with their future eighth member? Very hard, because he didn't know what to do when he harbored not-so-nice feelings towards her in the past weeks. There's no way he was admitting he briefly, genuinely hated someone younger than him to anyone. He was the Golden Maknae, dammit! Why did he feel like stuffing his face in a pillow and scream in it when he tried to open his mouth for a normal, simple conversation to the female teen? Aish, it's not that hard. It wasn't supposed to sound hard.

Speaking of Choheun, the girl looked at the maknae, visible surprise taking over her adorable features when he spoke up. Jeongguk held back a wince. Welp, there went his opportunity. It seemed that she was aware of his obvious dislike towards her a few days ago.

The others held back a wince as well, realizing the same thing that Choheun was also aware their youngest wasn't too happy with her presence. Hoseok especially felt bad when he remembered what Hyojee had said yesterday; Choheun still thought they didn't like her (not hate, dammit).

"U-uhm... I think those are the ones. Sorry about that..." Choheun apologized meekly, probably already awake with how her cheeks tinted a slight red.

Jeongguk shook his head and smiled slightly, kind and gentle but still nervous. Okay, maybe this was much harder than he thought in the beginning.

Meanwhile, Taehyung was mentally clapping his dongsaeng on the back. Progress!

"Uhh... It's fine. They're on the counter in the kitchen, if you're wondering." Jeongguk explained helpfully and Choheun nodded, briefly flitting her eyes to where her glasses would be while absently stuffing her mouth with kimchi, chewing slowly that her cheeks puffed up.

To Jeongguk, she looked like a chubby bunny. He had to admit it was adorable (she was adorable, to begin with anyway, he's just denying it because of guilt. Guilt). He felt even more bad for what he thought about her but was getting a little boost of determination to change the obvious awkwardness between them. Jeongguk was the former maknae and she would be the new one the moment she was revealed to the world. He didn't want her to feel how he felt when so many people had high expectations from him because he was called the 'Golden Maknae' and the youngest. Choheun might get it harder because she's a girl (seven boys and one girl. Oh boy, the media was going to have a blast. Note his sarcasm).

"So, Choheun-ssi, how was practice? Was it okay for your first time? Nothing too intense in the beginning or whatnot?" Namjoon asked once he noticed the awkward air beginning to form around the two youngest while also wanting to make sure the girl was getting comfortable with them so far and worried if it was too much. He didn't want her to feel pressured since it was still the second day she stayed with them. If he remembered right, which he definitely did because it was a shocker, Choheun was about to turn nineteen at the same time with Jeongguk.

They had had the same birthday, month and date together, and Namjoon didn't know whether to laugh in surprise or faint in shock at the information when Bang PD trusted him to keep it a secret for the time being. But he wasn't going to ignore the fact Choheun was only seventeen in non-Korean age. She was literally a baby. A guarded, wary, shy teenager who's suddenly thrust in the world of training to become an idol that came with a lot of expectancy. Admittedly, Namjoon was starting to feel worried about her once she actually debuted. Especially her mental health. Just under a year of training and then introduced to the whole world with constant eyes on her, high expectations and doubts would be circulating around her and he was worried she would break down from it.

Or maybe he was thinking about it too much. Her debut day was still far, and Namjoon needed to focus on their comeback first before thinking about ways to help the young girl (who was also very vulnerable because he wasn't dumb, he could see it when no one was looking and he also noticed how both Jimin and Hoseok acted differently when it came to her). How difficult could it be?

Oh, he had no idea.

Choheun blinked up at him, nodding with an endearing 'mn' while her cheeks were still round with kimchi. Hoseok, Seokjin, Jimin, and Taehyung were dying, she was so cute! The latter couldn't wait to befriend her and see what she could do—too bad he was just as shy as Jeongguk.

"It was...tiring," Choheun admitted a little blandly, too blandly, pouting as if she wasn't expecting to be tired from it so quick or something. Jimin and Seokjin chuckled while Hoseok and Jeongguk shared a look, smiling. Taehyung knew they shared the same feeling when it came to dance. "But it wasn't too bad. To be honest, I'm looking forward to doing my best, Kim Namjoon-ssi." She promised with a bright smile, the first wide smile they had seen from her as Namjoon returned her smile with a relaxed one and Taehyung really couldn't resist anymore.

"You should keep smiling, Yeon Choheun-ssi. It's a nice look on you." Taehyung blurted out, not finding it in himself to regret it and smiled his boxy smile when the girl snapped her head at him, gaping with her cheeks rapidly turning red.

"I- wh-what?"

Seokjin immediately scolded him, "Yah, Taehyung-ah! You can't just randomly say that to a girl! Choheun-ah isn't like other girls," he scowled, already getting protective over the small girl (Namjoon was amused, Seokjin was truly the caring one in the group), but Taehyung only grinned with no shame and gave a high-five when Jimin raised a hand with an amused smile.

"But it's true, hyung," Hoseok piped up, moving his eyes to the girl with an unreadable look in his face, smiling softly at the blushing Choheun. Jimin hid a secret smile. Yoongi was eyeing the two dancers with a calculative look, wondering what secrets were going on between the two. He had no doubt it was about Choheun. "You have a very nice smile, Choheun-ssi. You should smile more." Hoseok said with sincere honesty that everyone in the table (sans Choheun) knew he meant it.

And when Jung Hoseok meant it, it's clear to them that there's no way to stop him from becoming friends with the honey-eyed teen.

Choheun leaned back from the table, lowering her head to hide her red face with her sleeve paws. But after a few seconds of silence later from her while Taehyung was getting scolded by Seokjin along with Jimin and Hoseok, she lifted her head up and did something that not only shocked Hoseok and Jimin, but the others as well.

She laughed.

It wasn't loud or anything. It wasn't a giggle, or a boisterous one. It was breathy, a hint of squeakiness a pinch similar to Seokjin's that was too adorable, but what followed with the laugh was her expression.

Choheun was smiling wide, cheeks bright red and eyes curved up just like Jimin's, carefree and lively, her sleeve paws hovering over her mouth, and shoulders shaking with mirth as those beautiful sounds continued to fall out of her peach-colored lips like a melodic echo belonging to an angel.

This Choheun and the Choheun they first met seemed totally different to them. She's more open and...normal. It's like Hoseok and Jimin (and the rest) could actually see a peak of the real her and not the shy and cautious girl anymore.

Taehyung knew he wasn't the only one enthralled.

He took a glance at the others. A wide, beaming smile was on Seokjin's rosy plush lips, Namjoon and Hoseok had their eyes wide as if the found the answers to life, Yoongi and Jeongguk had their jaws dropped a little bit like they weren't expecting Choheun to laugh so freely, in front of them nonetheless, and Jimin was all of the above but to Taehyung, the dancer looked ready to get off his seat and hug the girl like a precious soft pillow he loved to cuddle with. He would've laughed if he wasn't in the same situation as the rest of his band mates.

"I-I'm sorry, I wasn't expecting that." Choheun breathed, trying her best to hide her wide smile with her sleeve paw but she was undeniably pleased with the compliment. "What you said reminded me a bit of my brother. Thank you, though I doubt my smile is as nice as yours, Jung Hoseok-ssi." She said shyly, her curved eyes and small, lopsided smile directed to the dancer. "I... I like your smile. It's, um, really uplifting."

Hoseok was surprised, blinking his wide eyes but soon smiled widely, signature heart-shaped smile in place. He was sure the others were surprised Choheun actually said more than one sentence. He was planning on getting her to open up before the others (Yoongi—ahem). "Woh, I feel so flattered, Choheun-ssi. Thank you," Hoseok fanned his face and it elicited some laughter from the others. Choheun just blushed bashfully, picking up her chopsticks to finish the kimchi.

Jimin immediately pouted, facing the young girl, "Choheun-aaah, what about me? You're ignoring me for Hobi-hyung!" the dancer whined childishly as if someone had taken his candy, eyes going wide and sad. Namjoon shook his head at him and Taehyung grinned.

Choheun panicked, waving her sleeve paws frantically with doe eyes wide. "I-I am? I'm sorry, Jimin-ssi! I didn't mean to!"

"Park Jimin-ssi, look what you did. She's all flustered now," Seokjin chastised, but he was smiling as the girl continued to apologize profusely to the amused and giggling dancer. It's nice to see her talk more than keep to herself.

Jimin shrugged, leaning closer to the girl and slung an arm around her shoulder (it didn't go unnoticed to Yoongi how Choheun looked startled at the contact, a touch of wistfulness in her eyes that went away quick). "But she's so cute. Right? She's like a bunny and a puppy combined," he said with no hesitation, smiling wide while the girl in his arm sputtered.

"J-Jimin-ssi!"

Seokjin clicked his tongue, shaking his head in disapproval. "Jiminnie, you forget to add a cat." Choheun didn't only look like both a puppy and a bunny, she was also like a cat. He saw how curious she was when watching that drama before and she tilted her head like one, too.

"No, she's more of a kitten," Taehyung commented, only grinning when Choheun stared at him in shock, as if she wasn't expecting him to join in.

Jimin blinked, a hum slipping pass his lips, "Ah, wait, you're right. Choheun-ah," he turned to the girl, gripping her shoulders and the girl could only blink in utter confusion, visibly confused as to what's going on right now, "can I ask why you're so cute?" he sounded so serious that no one would've paid attention to what he actually said.

Choheun exploded red.

The honey-eyed teen only released a confused whimper (no one in the table would admit that it was the cutest thing they had heard first thing in the morning-), eyebrows furrowed and honey eyes filled with incredulity. "M-mwo? Jimin-ssi, I-I'm not cute, what are you talking about? I'm not following this conversation at all." She stuttered, the redness slowly coming back to her cheeks.

If anyone asked Yoongi and Namjoon, they would agree with the girl because what was getting into half of their band mates' heads?

Jeongguk could maybe, probably, sort of, understand what's going on...but he wasn't going to say anything, so he took a sip of his water in the glass.

Jimin mock sighed as if disappointed but his eyes were too playful. "No, you're definitely cute, Choheun-ah. I bet even Namjoon, Yoongi-hyung, and Jeonggukkie would agree." The said three immediately protested, the Golden Maknae choking on his water. Taehyung, his very cruel hyung, only laughed at his only dongsaeng's dismay while Seokjin shrieked at the wet mess on the table.

Choheun squeaked, "J-Jeon Jeongguk-ssi! A-are you okay?" she asked worriedly, finally pulling away from Jimin and Hoseok laughed at how his fellow dancer pouted.

Jeongguk coughed, giving the girl a thumbs-up that was hopefully reassuring (which was really not, Yoongi shook his head in exasperation, because Choheun was obviously the type to worry easily). He hit his chest a couple of times before glaring at Jimin, "Hyung! Why are you bringing me into this?" Jeongguk rasped, grabbing the glass again and drank the cold water to soothe his burning throat.

Jimin stared at him straight in eyes, dead serious. "So are you saying you don't find Choheun-ah cute?"

Jeongguk spluttered, feeling his face heating up like a kettle, "Wh-what?!" he exclaimed, gaze somehow finding Choheun's and he wanted to die in embarrassment when the girl younger than him by a year hid her red face with her sleeve paws once she was done eating. That was too awkward!

When the maknae wasn't going to answer, Jimin zeroed on Namjoon and Yoongi and the two subtly leaned back on the chair from the eldest maknae. "What about you two? Do you find her cute?"

"Yah, what kind of question is that?" Yoongi grumbled, not answering the boy and returned to his phone. Namjoon just kept his mouth shut, clearing his throat awkwardly and looked anywhere but the girl in question and Jimin.

Choheun abruptly stood up, surprising them as they stare at her with bemused eyes. She flushed under their gazes, face rosy along with the tips of her ears and avoided their eyes once again. "U-uh, i-it's almost time to go, s-so I think I'll start changing now. Kim Seokjin-ssi!"

The eldest nearly jumped, pointing a dumbfounded finger at himself. "Y-yes?"

Choheun bowed so fast they were worried she might've broken her spine or something. "Thank you for the kimchi, it was really really good, bye!" she skittered around the table, went to the kitchen and grabbed her glasses, and then promptly fled the room, the boys watching her as she disappeared to a corner and flinched at the sound of the door of her room shut close.

Silence fell over them, staring at the hallway, before they slowly looked at each other.

Jeongguk broke it by accidentally coughing, rubbing his throat. "Jimin-hyung, that was totally your fault," he said bluntly and the dancer immediately squawked in defense while the others laughed in the background.

"What? I was being honest!"

 


 

Choheun knew this was going to happen.

She was slowly, like, painfully slow, starting to like them. She was starting to like the Bangtan boys. Like them for how amazing they were. Not as amazing idols she looked up to (she loved them, she was a fan after all), but like them as normal people who reminded her too much of her family it hurt. It hurt so much.

Choheun was getting attached.

She was worried about what else feelings would appear and mess with her head when it was just the second, official day she had stayed with them.

The girl couldn't help it, they were so likable and... and friendly. That's why she openly laughed because the atmosphere felt too much of home that she couldn't help but relax. But that's one of the things she couldn't understand with them. Why were they so friendly towards her to the point she didn't mind? She literally had done nothing but shy away from them and reluctantly answered their questions as best as she could—so how did she deserve their kindness, kindness she had never received from a bunch of people she had never met or personally knew except her family.

Choheun was so afraid of what it would mean for her.

It had happened before. She had really good friends like the boys back then. They were nice, friendly, made sure to involve her with any activities because she was still an introverted girl, but they left her. They left her because she told the truth of what she was hiding. They were so disgusted by her, found her pathetic and weak and walked away, never talking with her again and throughout the school year, they regarded her like someone they never knew in their entire life as if they had never hugged her, laughed with her, smiled with her, cried with her before.

Just like that. They forgot about her like her parents.

Left her because she wasn't good enough, she disappointed them like she disappointed her parents.

It broke Choheun that time. It messed her up so much that she stopped trying to make friends, real friends, and kept a smile on her face when others wanted to be friends with her with smiles she was already familiar with. She could see it now, the difference between real smiles and fake smiles.

It also showed Choheun something she could never hope for anymore. Something she could never have.

Dohyuk had said with the utmost positivity that it was possible to find a family and become a family in a group of friends. To feel the same warmth, the same comfort, the same security, the same happiness towards people who weren't her actual family.

It was a big lie. She refused to believe it.

She was so close with them, so attached and loved them, took care of them and listened to their problems and watched over them like how Choheun would watch over Dohyuk but they left her when she told them her problems.

They left her because she was really weak and useless.

Becoming a family toward friends was impossible. Sure, it really wasn't, but when it's Choheun, it's nonexistent. She just couldn't risk it, she couldn't risk getting the same treatment of her heart getting stepped over repeatedly like it was nothing important when she timidly offered it with hope that was repeatedly crushed like a bug.

She couldn't take the risk.

Maybe she really wasn't important, maybe Dohyuk was wrong about Choheun being important because she didn't matter, dammit, why did she matter? She didn't (couldn't) understand, or maybe he didn't understand why she was useless and worth barely a spec of dirt while her whole family deserved a better sister than someone like her—stop.

She had to stop thinking about her family like that. It's not the first time, not anymore, but if she kept going, she was going to start questioning and doubting if her family really loved her and that's why she's stopping. Choheun might unintentionally hurt their feelings for assuming their love for her was fake when it wasn't (it wasn't, it's not fake Choheun they really love you just stopitstopitstopit-).

So to conclude everything, Choheun was scared of becoming real friends with her idols.

They wouldn't do such a thing, right? To laugh and spit at her for her pathetic issues despite being a fan, right? They would never do that, BTS loved their fans and their support so they would never do that. It was fine. Choheun was okay with it if they remain simple friends like her old coworkers in her former job with Kaejji. She was fine with it. They would never do that. Right?

(But what if they would do it to Choheun instead-)

Choheun could tell between real smiles and fake smiles, it's why she avoided getting real friends when she went to high school. She was good at it.

So why was it that she couldn't tell if the boys were being honest or not?

She couldn't tell if Jimin meant what he said about getting to know her, to become friends (please don't become friends with someone like her-), she couldn't tell if Hoseok and Taehyung really liked her smile (that's so ridiculous-), she couldn't tell if Namjoon was genuinely worried about her first day of training (why was he even worried-), she couldn't tell if Yoongi didn't mind her presence (why-), she couldn't tell if Jeongguk was trying to actually be nice to her.

She couldn't tell.

It confused her so badly she was wondering if she was hallucinating things. Choheun was so damn sure they didn't like her the first time they met her back in BigHit. She had seen the look on their faces. She may have been scared and hid behind Hyojee most of the time, but she wasn't completely oblivious. She saw their expressions.

Hesitance. Wariness. Doubt.

Especially Jimin. She had seen those exact emotions in Jimin's eyes even if he had smiled as politely as he could. It's why she had looked away quickly in the first place.

(She couldn't tell.)

Hoseok... Hoseok was surprisingly hard to read. He was the only one who looked happy to see her, but ever since yesterday, something must've happened because he's smiling at her more often than not but...but there's something else in his gaze she couldn't understand. It's the same gaze she had seen in Kaejji's eyes, but she couldn't understand what it would mean, what he was thinking.

(She couldn't tell.)

Seokjin was confusing to Choheun, too, because he was very easy to read. His intentions were true, just like his words and actions were true and genuine. Like his beaming smile and his soft look that was too scarily similar to Dohyuk she wanted to run away why.

(She couldn't tell.)

Jeongguk was... Well, she didn't know what to make of him. He obviously didn't like her the first time. There was dislike on his face and hidden in his way too polite words when he introduced himself. He tried to hide it, but it was obvious to Choheun. So it puzzled her when he seemed to have changed in breakfast this morning. His smiles were real and his kind words, too, even if following them were awkward stops and nervous hesitancy but he still smiled (he smiled like Kaejji when she had first met him-).

(She couldn't tell.)

Taehyung was weird. He was skeptical around her in the beginning and then became his normal self around her, like she was worthy enough to become friends because his unusual (but really cute-) smile was heartwarming and Choheun was scared.

(She couldn't tell.)

Namjoon was somewhat similar to Seokjin and Taehyung combined. He was kind and polite and respected her space as much as possible without prying. Or maybe he's doing that because he was the leader of the group. It was probably necessary, but it shouldn't when it came to Choheun.

And Yoongi...

Well, she was never able to read her biggest idol's expressions anyway, so what was the point. All she knew was that he kept staring at her with that same look from two days ago.

(She. Couldn't. Tell-)

"Choheun-ah?"

She jumped, snapping her head up to see Jimin staring down at her with barely concealed concern.

Choheun blushed, nervously nudging her glasses up. "S-sorry, did you say something, Jimin-ssi?"

The dancer shook his head, smiling slightly, "No, nothing much, I was just wondering if..." he cleared his throat, rubbing the back of his neck. "...If I was too much earlier."

Choheun blinked, confused for a moment before realizing what he meant. Right, back in breakfast when he...asked how she was cute (just what?). If she was being honest, she didn't really mind it much. It was... hm... how should she put? It was nice to be brought in to a conversation with the others, even if, much to her embarrassment, the topic was about her.

"Ah, no, it's fine, Jimin-ssi. I didn't mind it. It was nice, actually..." she trailed off demurely, covering her mouth with her sweater paw to hide the smile begging to take over. It was more than nice, she felt warm and fuzzy.

Jimin stared at her a little longer, eyes searching her face before breaking into a relieved smile (what did that even mean? Why was he relieved?). "I'm glad. I thought I pushed you to something you might be uncomfortable with."

See, every time he said something like that, Choheun immediately felt something warm and familiar bubble up in her chest, her face warm and tingly (he's so nice-). She turned away from his gaze, head lowered to stare at the ground they were walking on and rubbed her arm timidly. "I-it's not a problem at all,"

Jimin only smiled down at her (he was the shortest member, right? Then how was he still able to tower over her? Damn her height! A hundred and fifty-nine was not cool-) and boldly wrapped an arm around her shoulder, bringing her closer to his side that Choheun didn't know whether or not to flinch or just melt in the side-hug because it felt like Kaejji, sue her. She decided right then and there that she didn't mind getting close to Jimin if she got to be hugged. Hugs were nice and warm. It made her feel safe, even for a short moment.

Too bad she didn't know how to reciprocate a hug when it came to people she had just met for a few days. So she just let the dancer do everything.

"Good to know. But promise to tell me if I say or do something that makes you uncomfortable, okay?" Jimin said seriously, his tone and expression clearly saying that any lies would be seen through easily.

Which made no sense to her. Why did it matter?

Regardless, Choheun didn't mind this kind of promise. It was simple and easy, even if she didn't understand why it would matter if she was comfortable or not (wasn't it supposed to be the other way around?). It should be her fault if she felt that way since they had done nothing wrong.

"Sure, I guess? If that's what you want." Choheun said bemusedly but felt that the bright smile followed with crescent eyes were worth it.

Jimin grinned, finding her answer satisfying and briefly squeezed around her with an arm that felt sort of protective to Choheun (it's like Kaejji-) with how firm yet gentle it was. The teen only smiled shyly and hesitantly rested her head on his shoulder once she stopped arguing with her head to not do it. She felt too warm and bubbly to pull away from the hug right now. Choheun lifted her gaze up to watch the others walk in front of them, all immersed in their own conversations Seokjin and Hoseok laughing together, and Taehyung and Jeongguk racing each other by walking a little fast every second, and Namjoon just shaking his head at all of them as if he couldn't believe he was stuck with kids for band mates.

Choheun mentally giggled at the latter. They reminded her of Kaejji and herself back in their high school days. When Choheun finally opened up to him and gladly slapped his head with a book when he cheated because of his long strides when they agreed for shorter steps. Humph, what an unfair oppa.

Meanwhile, both Choheun and Jimin failed to notice one more member missing in front of them. Yoongi was trailing behind the two with furrowed eyebrows and a frown on his face, head cocked slightly to observe the duo with pensive eyes as he observed how Jimin kept her close to his side with the protectiveness he had seen from Hyojee.

 


 

Choheun followed the group behind while timidly clutching Jimin's sleeve as they greeted the staff walking by, some giving smiles to the girl. She didn't mind this time, but what confused her was the look in their eyes, all knowing and filled with...sympathy, for some reason. She dismissed it with the shake of her head when Jimin looked over his shoulder to stare at her curiously when she had slowed down a bit. She gave him a small smile that he returned with a wide one before they turned back to the front once they reached the hallway where their separate dance rooms would be.

Choheun blinked behind her glasses when she spotted both Sungdeuk and Saego conversing quietly to each other, the woman perking up when she noticed the group making their way towards them.

The girl remained behind Jimin, moving close to press up against him just slightly while peeking her head to listen. The dancer glanced down at her briefly with a smile before doing the same, looping an arm around her.

"Ah, you're all here. Does that mean Yeon Choheun is here with you?" Saego questioned, a hand under her chin as she tried to spot where the small girl was.

The boys parted aside to show Jimin with Choheun partially hiding behind him, waving a meek sweater paw at the vocal coach. "G-good morning, Yun Saego-nim." Saego quirked a smile, shaking her head before approaching them.

"Perfect timing. Choheun, I'm going to have to postpone our session. I need to discuss with Bang Sihyuk-nim about the needed lessons for your voice just in case, and your schedule and what's necessary to keep your voice from getting strained and achy. You don't mind, do you? We'll continue again tomorrow." Saego explained, staring down at the girl with slight concern as if she was worried if Choheun wouldn't like it.

And, hm, that made no sense. What's going on with the people in BigHit? They're so nice and seemed to be...honestly worried about her.

Choheun shook her head, smiling shyly with understanding, "No, it's okay."

Saego smiled, "Ah, good. I'll be heading my way now." She turned to the boys, nodding at them with a quick wave, "Good morning to you all as a well, be sure not to exhaust yourselves."

Taehyung grinned widely, "But Yun Saego-nim, that's what we're supposed to do." He replied cheekily that Choheun bit her tongue to hold back a giggle wanting to escape. He sounded like her when she wanted to rile Kaejji up.

The woman scoffed, sending Sungdeuk a put-up look. "How you manage these kids is beyond me." She said blandly and the choreographer chuckled. "It's beyond me, too."

The boys vehemently protested that they weren't kids.

"Son Sungdeuk-nim!"

"We're not little kids!"

"Yah, I'm older than these brats!"

"Jin-hyung!"

"You're supposed to be on our side!"

Maybe she wouldn't mind facing this in her time as a trainee, Choheun thought as she muffled a giggle behind her sweater paw as she got led by Jimin inside their dance studio. It was pretty funny and amusing.

Before Choheun and Jimin went inside, Sungdeuk stopped them with a hand, looking at the smaller girl. "Choheun-ssi, you don't mind if I also postpone our session together, too, right?"

Choheun cocked her head slightly, somehow ending up resting on Jimin's shoulder and took no notice of the older man quirking a brow at how Jimin brought her closer. "No. I don't mind, Son Sungdeuk-nim."

Sungdeuk nodded, smiling slightly before adding, "Then you don't mind if you want to watch the boys watch? It's up to you,"

Choheun widened her eyes, staring at the man, then at Jimin who was looking somewhat pleased with the suggestion, then blushed slightly. "U-uhh, if none of them mind me being in the room..." she trailed off shyly, excited to actually see her idols perform in front of her with her own two eyes as if in a concert since she had never been in one in two years, while also terrified she might intrude and they might not focus properly.

Before Sungdeuk could answer her, Jimin peeked into the room. "Yah! None of you mind if Choheun-ah stays and watch us practice, right? She's taking a day off!" he hollered loudly at the others in the room and Choheun flushed, weakly hitting his arm with a meek 'th-that's not needed!'. The dancer only chuckled.

The boys looked at each other before looking at the three hanging by the door.

"It's okay, Yeon Choheun-ssi! We don't mind!" Taehyung was the first to respond, sending a boxy grin her way and she returned it shyly but happily. Beside him, Jeongguk nodded his head slowly before turning his head away, pretending to be busy by drinking his water when he had drunk a lot of water already before they left.

Hoseok was beaming excitedly, smiling, "I agree! You should watch us, Choheun-ssi," beside him, Seokjin said his own agreement with the idea, smiling softly at the teen (she felt bubbly at the smile).

Choheun nodded at him then timidly glanced at the last remaining three of the hyung line. Yoongi caught her eyes, holding the stare with a thoughtful hum and shrugged. Namjoon shook his head at the elder rapper before looking at the girl, "We don't mind," was all he said.

"Well, then let's start warming up!" Jimin chirped, leading Choheun to the chairs on the opposite side of the mirror and finally pulled his arm away from her shoulder (she ignored the disappointment she felt and the urge to tug him back and snuggle into his embrace—woah, where did that come from?). "You can stay here, Choheun-ah. Tell me if you need anything, okay?"

She nodded with a soft 'mhmm' that made the dancer smile fondly—at least she imagined it looked fond. There's no way he was actually fond of her or anything.

Jimin gave her one last smile that reached his eyes then left, walking to where the others were huddled in as Sungdeuk began talking.

Choheun looked down at her lap where her hands were, pulling on her sleeves to cover her small fingers and smiled gently.

Maybe spending her time with BigHit and the group wouldn't' be so bad.

But since the weather was getting hot, she didn't notice the air getting warmer inside the room when Sungdeuk turned the air conditioning off, necessary so the boys could sweat it off as they dance, and left the room. The glasses-wearing teen leaned back against the white plastic chair to watch as the boys threw words, bickering back and forth of what warm-up song they should dance to before practicing 'Fire' until finally deciding with something Choheun couldn't hear. Jimin, Hoseok, and Seokjin were pouting while Taehyung and Jeongguk gave each other high-fives, smirking with glee. Namjoon shook his head at them in exasperation and amusement. Yoongi rolled his eyes at everyone and scoffed, making his way to the speakers and started preparing the music.

Chapter Text

Choheun realized the Bangtan boys were just a bunch of kids, she decided. She couldn't choose whether or not she should faint because she would be living with a bunch of boys who were like clones of her brother and Kaejji (somebody stop this cycle she's freaking out-), or die in laughter at how ridiculous her idols were right now.

Not that she was going to admit to anyone or the boys (except maybe Hyojee, humph!) that she was one of the first fans, like, ever.

And as much as she wanted to stay composed, she couldn't help it.

Choheun had, sadly, chosen the latter.

Touch my body, urin jogeumssik ppareuge

Oh everybody, pureun haneul boda nopi

Choheun died, laughter shaking her small frame covered in an oversized sweater as she clutched her stomach, tears beginning to form in the corner of her eyes and tried her best not to fall off the chair. She didn't want to embarrass herself, regardless of how embarrassed she already was just by laughing at her idols (aigo, they might think she's weird and rude-).

But, aish, she couldn't help it. She never expected to see her favorite idols dance to something like this, and she was so sure half of them exaggerated some parts of the dance.

Jimin and Hoseok grinned at each other, exchanging high-fives as they continued to dance to Sistar's classic song 'Touch My Body'. It's already the second time they've danced to this song as a warm-up, and the two were very smug and proud of themselves that they got Choheun to laugh. Maybe getting her to open up wouldn't too hard as long as they took it slow, a pace comfortable for the girl without pressuring her.

And maybe get her to confess some things she wouldn't want to reveal because she was their future eighth member, an adorable girl, and possibly struggling on the inside while keeping a polite smile on her face.

They were all like that in the beginning before debuting. But with what they discovered, it seemed her problems were harder than what they faced. Who knows, maybe they might break through.

Maybe. Hopefully.

Jeongguk kept a straight face the whole time as he danced, immensely embarrassed as fuck (if his hyungs heard him curse, oh boy-) because dancing to this specific song in front of their new member was not really a good look at his reputation as the Golden Maknae who's always cool and apparently perfect. And he'd never admit he was smirking on the inside when he had noticed how Choheun laugh even harder when she glanced at his blank face while his body moved ridiculously, trying to be subtle with her stares. She failed, but it was honestly adorable.

Namjoon was standing aside watching the others (he backed out the moment the music played again because no one told him there's a second time), snorting in his drink as he downed half the bottle. Taehyung, who had stopped with Namjoon, clapped his hand along with the song, boxy-smile so wide with laughs falling off every now and then when Seokjin took it up a notch and got extra, causing not only the singer to double over in laughter but Choheun was starting to have a hard time breathing.

Meanwhile, Yoongi, the only one who refused to dance to—to this, stared at his hyung and the dance-line in utter disgust and suffering, his face screaming 'ugh' and cringed hard when the four kicked and stuck their butts out.

Jigeum i rideumi joha tteugeoun taeyangarae neowa

My body body, touch ma body

The rapper turned his head when he heard a quiet snort, the small (and cute-) sound coming from Choheun as she muffled her mirth behind her sweater paws as best as she could before clearing her throat. Kind of failing if someone asked him. Yoongi watched how her eyes curve up so much he was sure she shared similar eyes with Jimin, how her cheeks turned round and soft and chubby-looking with the wide smile behind her sweater paws and noises that failed to stay inside.

He had to admit, she looked better when she's smiling and laughing, not always hiding behind shy smiles accompanied with closed-off words that were too short and clipped. It reminded the rapper of himself.

And he had enough with the music. Yoongi was now certain the dance-line was no longer warming up and just messing around. Maybe it was on purpose to make the lone girl in the room laugh, but he really didn't want her to faint from laughter or continue watching them dance. His eyes were going to bleed rainbows.

"That's it," Yoongi shot up, striding to the speakers and grabbed his phone filled with all the music in his playlist (embarrassingly enough, also other girl group songs and it was all Hoseok's fault) and turned it off, the sound cutting off abruptly that Jimin and Hoseok stumbled slightly in surprise while Seokjin laughed at them, already aware of the rapper about to turn it off. Jeongguk only, somehow, coolly went back to a normal stance and rolled his head as if it was nothing. As if he hadn't been dancing like his so-called hyungs.

Brat.

As the presumed 'dance-line' and responsible hyung snickered or giggled under their breath at how annoyed Yoongi looked, Choheun leaned back on the chair, covering her face with the whole sleeve of her sweater (it was pretty big) and tried to keep her shaking in control, shoulders jumping from time to time with small giggles following and clearing her throat every five seconds.

Just what in the name of ice cream had she just witnessed right now? Aish, this was the most she had ever laughed and her stomach was prickling by now, throat a little (veeery) dry and inwardly sighed when she knew she had to clear her throat every minute. That was going to get annoying. It happened every time she laughed too hard. She also got too sensitive to anything touching her (aigo-yah, her sweater was tickling her sides already) and needed water. A lot of it. Too bad she didn't bring her own bottle with her. Aish...

Jimin jogged up to her, panting slightly since the dance was only a warm-up, holding a bottle in his hand. Choheun peered up at him, refusing to remove her hand in case she might giggle randomly from how ticklish she was (and didn't want any of them to think she was weird-) as the dancer smiled widely. "How was that, Choheun-ah? Were we good? I mean, that was just the start and we haven't even started with our comeback song."

Jimin looked way too proud of himself that he danced to Sistar's song and that was all it took for Choheun to burst into fits of giggles again, moving one arm to clutch around her stomach so the sweater wouldn't keep shaking and brushing her sides and tried to quietly clear her throat at the same time. Jimin smiled wider at the sound, crouching down in front of her and uncapped the water bottle and tilted his head back to let the liquid slip through his lips. Hoseok approached them a second later with the other members close by and listening in curiously.

"I-I'm so-sorry for l-laughing at you, J-Jimin-ssi, b-but-" Choheun cut herself, giggling behind her sweater paws once again and Jimin chuckled along this time, even if his heart was currently warming at how adorable and happy she looked. One point for him.

"Wah, I feel like Jiminnie's dancing skills have improved with this song. Especially Jeongguk-ah and Jin-hyung." Hoseok sighed in amazement, patting the small traces of sweat away from his face and neck with a small towel provided for him from their leader. Namjoon rolled his eyes with a smile. Choheun giggled more at that, clearing her throat.

Seokjin scoffed, "What? You call that improvement? Ai," he rolled his arm back, holding his shoulder as determination flooded his eyes, "wait until we start practicing." Jeongguk eyed his hyung with disbelief as Hoseok somehow started an argument with the eldest.

As they bickered back and forth once more for a few minutes before they start again, Choheun looked at Jimin, watching with a small frown when she saw some sweat still lingering on his neck and face as he laughed at something Seokjin said and laughing his windshield-wiper laugh. She looked around, not sure what she was looking for, but brightened when she saw a folded towel stationed on the chair beside her and picked one up gently.

Choheun looked back at Jimin, seeing his back facing her while crouching as he threw his head back to drink. Without thinking or noticing her actions, she unfolded the towel and softly patted it on the dancer's visible neck glistening with sweat.

Jimin jumped, nearly spitting the water out of his mouth but thankfully swallowed it before that happened. He looked over his shoulder, eyes furrowed in confusion when he saw Choheun patting his neck with a towel. "Choheun-ah?"

Choheun blinked once, twice, then flushed a bright red so fast and pulled away. Aish, she was used to doing this to Jaegoo when she attended his sports events. She couldn't stop her sisterly instincts. "A-ah, s-sorry. I- um, I didn't mean to! I-it's just, there was still some sweat that's formed even if you were only warming up, a-and I thought that getting ready for your actual practice nice and dry was o-okay, and I think I did this by instinct, and, uh..." she gulped (clearing her throat was so troublesome-), lowering her head in defeat and fiddled with the puffy cloth in her fingers. "I'll shut up now..."

Jimin stared at her for a bit before chuckling softly, amused and endeared, and the girl peering up at him in embarrassment. "It's okay, Choheun-ah. That's nice of you. I didn't say I didn't like it. I don't mind if you continue," he smiled, turning back to the front and inched back, tilting his head slightly to the side.

The teen blinked behind her glasses, dumbfounded, and fumbled with the towel slightly when Jimin glanced back at her in question, realizing he actually didn't mind. Choheun cleared her throat weakly, "O-okay..." she shakily reached out again, timidly patting the towel on his neck and couldn't help but soften when he let out a relaxed hum, reminding her of the times she had done this with Dohyuk when he broke out in a sweat after a coughing fit, and Jimin liked how caring Choheun was, the feeling he got from his stylist noona but just a bit different.

The others were busy talking to each other and patting themselves on the back from the dance (Namjoon didn't bother, just watching in the sidelines and Yoongi was not amused) so none of them saw the interaction between Jimin and Choheun, but Jeongguk glanced behind him at the right moment to see the girl pull away and fold a towel. He raised a brow, watching how Jimin whispered something to her with a wide smile and Choheun blushed pink, muttering something with a shy smile that caused the dancer to chuckle quietly, patting her head gently. Choheun seemed to be okay with the contact and appeared to lean towards it almost inattentively.

Huh.

What was that?

Did Choheun pat Jimin's sweat away and Jimin didn't mind it? Like, at all? To Jeongguk, the dancer even looked more than pleased before and after she stopped, eyes obviously showing fondness Jimin was probably not aware of himself.

Just how close were the two already in the past two days? And it had only been two, he realized. TwoTwo days and Jimin was already cheery and smiley around the girl (Jeongguk could see it, his hyung was acting like how he acted around Taehyung and him when they were feeling down) and Choheun was surprisingly not hiding away or distancing herself from them—or rather Jimin. Like right now; Choheun was muffling a giggle from something the other said, seemingly normal and just shy.

What would it be like if that small, incredibly shy smile that's clearly filled with faint happiness and her eyes curving up sweetly was directed at him? The only time Jeongguk saw that particular smile was only shown around Seokjin and Jimin (so far). The other smiles she made was more polite and shaky (and scared and anxious-), not exactly genuine or sincere.

The maknae looked away, cheeks burning red as he watched Yoongi go over to his phone and fiddled with it with a scowl. Aish, how was he going to get along with Choheun when he wasn't that comfortable around girls? He hoped there wouldn't be a day the two of them would be left alone together or else he might as well jump out a window. He really wanted to prove he didn't mind having a new member (especially Choheun, and the fact he wanted to try and be friendly since she always looked like a frightened puppy-), that he didn't dislike her anymore, that Choheun shouldn't have to remain polite forever around him just because she was going to be the youngest and the new maknae instead once she debuted.

This was what he got for having not-so-nice feelings towards their eighth member before even meeting her, and just how was he going to pass through the obvious wall between them? He was worried he would be the one to actually scare her. Maybe he should ask for some tips from Jimin?

Also, why did it look like Choheun wasn't aware she liked the human contact from Jimin? Jeongguk had briefly seen the unsure stillness on her posture before it deflated away.

He mentally shook his head and chose to think about it later.

Hoseok suddenly clapped his hands, the loud sound echoing in the spacious room and gained all their attention. Choheun jumped in her seat, blinking in confusion as Jimin turned around.

"O-kay, let's get into formation, everyone!" Hoseok chirped, mixing a little bit of accented English (Choheun resisted the urge to answer back-) as he smiled widely, but the look in his eyes changed. His dark eyes were harder and had a determined glint to them. Choheun was more confused at the change, clearly not used to seeing him in a more personal view other than an idol, while the boys knew he was getting into his 'dance coach mode'. They all gave exaggerated and mock groans of complaints as they dragged themselves to the center of the room in front of the wide mirrors, none more so than Yoongi who was walking back from the speakers.

Choheun blinked, head cocking to one side slightly as she watched the idols walk to their position—or rather crouch down. Starting from left to right on the back was Seokjin, Taehyung, Yoongi, and Namjoon. On the front was Jimin, Jeongguk, then lastly Hoseok himself. Was this the dance practice for their next comeback this coming on May she had heard of?

Before anything else could be said, Jimin quickly raised his head to looked at the mirror, staring right at Choheun in the reflection in front of him and startling the poor girl. "Choheun-ah! Please watch us," he said with a sweet smile, eyes curving up into crescents as the others made confused noises and stared at him weirdly. Other than Hoseok, Yoongi, and Seokjin, of course.

Choheun flushed slightly upon noticing all of them staring at her through the mirror, meekly raising her fingers partially covered by her sleeves and tried for a smile. "A-ah, yes. I will, Jimin-ssi." She said, wiping her forehead underneath her bangs with her sleeve to remove the heat (aigo, why was it so hot in the room? Maybe wearing a baggy sweater was a bad idea...).

The dancer grinned at her, ignoring the looks from the other members and went back into position, the others slowly following in a state of bemusement at their resident dancer.

Choheun blinked, letting her hands fall to her lap as she cocked her head, staring at them.

A moment of silence later, the teen held back a flinch when the first beat sounded in the room, eyes immediately moving to see Yoongi languidly stand up and make his way to the front, the others following suit with more relaxation and clear serenity. Yoongi stood beside Jeongguk, throwing his elbow on the maknae's shoulder while the loud trumpet-like sounds continue to vibrate the floor (and her heart) with the rise-effect coming up.

And when Yoongi looked up to the mirror, everyone else doing the same with such intensity and confidence, Choheun was sure she imagined that they all were looking at her while the Daegu rapper caught her eyes because she had been looking right at him.

Bultaoreune

 


 

Choheun was so shocked and amazed once the intro of the song started, the sound strong and powerful and just energetic but nothing amazed her even more than seeing her idols dancing. They were so in sync, perfect and calm and so relaxed with moving their body, their intro dance giving an amazing impression for what's coming next with the song that she was practically jumping in her seat like an excited little kid, unable to resist the wide smile of awe to spread on her lips as she watched them, listened, and how their expressions just blended so well with the music like they were actually performing in front of her.

When I wake up in my room, nan mwotdo eoptji

Haega jigo nan hu biteuldaemyeo geotji

Hoseok started his part, his cheerful aura was combined with a more powerful persona as the others surrounded him, all making shocked and gleeful faces as they waved their arms with their bodies. Choheun tried not to laugh at the way Seokjin threw his head back with so much exaggeration and the way Jimin looked way too surprised, eyes wide and mouth open and all.

Da mansinchangiro chwihaesseo chwihaesso mak yokhae gireseo gireseo

Na masi gatji michinnom gatji da eongmangjinchang, livin' like ppi

Choheun muffled her giggles quietly as Yoongi made his way to the front in a drunk fashion, just like the lyrics, and the others copying him with their own expressions that matched the music too well (it was hilarious and amusing to her).

Ni meotdaero sareo eochapi ni kkeoya-

-aesseuji jom mareo jyeodo gwaenchanha

The pre-chorus was so funny to her, how they all quickly neared Jeongguk and slowly leaned to the right, making wondrous gazes with only Jimin looking normal (as normal as an intentionally blank face could be) while the others had completely unattractive facial expressions that had Choheun covering her mouth as Jeongguk lifted a hand to the mirror. Then they leaned to the other side once the first line was done, more funnier than the first and Choheun really had to quiet down her laughter when she noticed the Golden Maknae sending a flying kiss to himself in the mirror. 

Errbody say la la la la la (La la la la la)

Say La la la la la (La la la la la)

She bopped her head to the music when Jimin (she did not smile a little wider, she did not-) twirled to the front and led the dance, jumping from one leg to the other before Jeongguk took over the front once again and Choheun already anticipating the chorus.

Soneul deureo sorijilleo burn it u-u-u-up

Bultaoreune

The dance was nothing she expected but, at the same time, she expected something like this. Whoever made the choreography was just plain awesome, because the precision and fluidity of how fast each and every move was made Choheun remember who they were again. They were her idols, right in front of her, and she was the only one who could see this (other than the BigHit staff, of course).

She knew she shouldn't feel like this, feel so selfish, but Choheun couldn't help but feel privileged and a little lucky to see the inspirational members of Bangtan Sonyeondan practice their comeback song like normal people preparing everything for their fans. She had been interacting with them for some time now that she almost forgot what group she was going to debut with.

Almost.

And now Choheun felt a new rush of realization and tranquility fill her. This was why she wanted to be an idol in the first place, to inspire and reach out to people that they weren't alone, that everyone was more relatable than they seem no matter where they came from.

Choheun continued to watch them dance and lip-sync through the whole song, just staring and listening in complete awe. Also, the part where half of them bit their lips with seemingly hooded eyes, by the way? Choheun would never admit she was envious and wanted to try looking like that as well if she ever debuted. She also let out a few laughs here and there when one of them (more like half of them) went a little extra on some parts of the choreo. Especially the dance-line, Seokjin, and, surprisingly, both Namjoon and Yoongi. The latter had a more bored expression, but it seemed to be expressed a little too hard and, at some point, Yoongi

Then she realized she had mentioned all of them and mentally face-palmed. What was the point of saying them one by one when it was all of them in the end? Aish...

Ssak da bultaewora, bow wow wow!

Choheun leaned back on the plastic chair, smile wide and the feeling of admiration growing in her chest every second as she watched them dance and sing with no problems or worry at all, just at ease and comfortable around each other that their chemistry was just as obvious as their friendship. It was adorable to her, really, how they actually treat each other as family.

Fire (Hot, hot, hot hotter) Fire oh-eh-oh

Ssak da bultaewora, bow wow wow!

Yongseohaejulge

When the last beat was finally over, Yoongi being the last to turn around after delivering his last line to end the song, Choheun watched as they kept their gazes down on the floor, their heavy breathing filling the room with their chests heaving up and down.

And then it was promptly broken by Jimin ungracefully falling backward on the floor without hurting his back or butt, releasing a sound that was an odd mix of a groan and a cheer (what).

"Yah! When was it this hard? Hobi-hyung, please don't tell me there were some mistakes!" Jimin moaned in agony, Taehyung and Jeongguk soon joining him and fell flat on their back while throwing complains here and there. Yoongi deadpanned at them as Seokjin stomped to the maknae-line and unapologetically nudged their heads with his foot, scolding them all while they only laughed.

Hoseok huffed a laugh, grinning at them, "Jiminnie, don't tell me you're already tired. We still have to work on our timings and the bridge. All of us made mistakes on the bridge and the ending." He laughed for real when Yoongi groaned.

"Aish, the endings are always hard because of the drop. Why did we even make this again?" Yoongi scowled, though more playfully than actually annoyed from the way his lips twitched just a bit. And everyone playfully ignored him causing the rapper to scowl harder.

Jimin then lifted his head up, quickly moving to a sitting position and turned, "Choheun-ah! How was that? We're we good?" he asked earnestly, eyes wide in anticipation for her answer and Choheun squeaked when everyone else followed suit and looked at her curiously.

"A-ah," she scratched her cheek with a finger that peeked through her sleeve, cheeks warm, "I don't really know what to say, Jimin-ssi. You were all so amazing," she said honestly, her smile more wide and honest because they were all just amazing. Were there any other words she could use to describe what she had seen? Well, other than ridiculous, of course; she wasn't going to mention the Sistar situation to anyone any time soon.

Except for Dohyuk, maybe.

"Really?" Jimin smiled wide, eyes curving up into happy crescents as he stood up, stretching his tense body. "Wah, I'm glad you enjoyed it, Choheun-ah. We're practicing hard for this comeback."

Choheun let out a breathy giggle, later covering it with her sweater paw. "The ARMY will love it for sure," she beamed and Jimin laughed, approaching where she was sitting and grabbed an unopened bottle on the other chair beside her. The boys all got up and followed the dancer, all grabbing their bottles and wiping their sweat away with their own towels.

"We appreciate that, Choheun-ssi," Namjoon commented gratefully, his dimples showing on each side of his cheek that Choheun had to glance away after returning his smile so that she wouldn't gaze at them too long. Seriously, people with dimples are so cool and pretty!

"Ah, you're welcome, Kim Namjoon-ssi."

"Choheun-ah, can you deal with this for me again? I can't completely reach behind me," Jimin piped in, the girl looking at him in bewilderment when he sat in front of her on the floor, his back facing her as he eyed her with a hopeful smile. She blinked slowly, flushing when she noticed the others staring at them in confusion except for Jeongguk, who had an unreadable look on his face as he poked his tongue inside his cheek.

Huh?

"A-again? U-uh... I-It's no problem," Choheun blushed, grabbing the towel she had folded earlier and started patting its surface on the dancer's neck once he faced the front, looking at her in the mirror with a pleased smile and opened the bottle he had in his hand. She did her best to ignore how Hoseok and Seokjin gawked at them, how Namjoon had his eyebrows practically raised above his hairline, how Taehyung nearly choked whilst drinking, how Yoongi intently stared at her, or how Jeongguk drilled holes on the dancer's head with his gaze.

Aigo, she felt like melting in embarrassment! Why would Jimin ask for something like this when the others were watching? Choheun was so sure her whole face resembled a pathetic tomato by now.

"Uwah, did you ask Choheun-ssi to do that for you?" Hoseok directed the question to his fellow dance partner, capping the bottle closed once only a quarter of water was left in one go.

Choheun weakly slapped Jimin's shoulder when he laughed warmly after answering, "Nope. She did that first without me knowing it, said she usually did it with her brother." He explained shortly, leaning back until he was resting against the girl's legs and sighed as Choheun continued to gently pat the sweat away from his skin.

Seokjin made a surprise sound, "Woh! Really? Daebak, that's so sweet of you, Choheun-ah!" he cooed, like literally cooed exactly how Dohyuk would and Choheun flushed even more if possible, not being able to help herself and hid her face behind Jimin's neck (it was dry now thanks to her, and her glasses were long gone hanging on the front of her collar), sweater paws lightly gripping his shoulder. Jimin and a few others chuckled or cooed at her behavior.

"Y-you say such weird things," she mumbled shakily under her breath in embarrassment, trying to bury her face on the dancer's neck in a pathetic attempt to hide herself from their stares. Why were they all so nice? Choheun was so confused and even more so when she felt warm every time they say something only her family would always say.

Unbeknownst to the girl, Jimin heard what she had, his jaw clenching so subtly and relaxed to reach his hand behind him and pat her head, chuckling. Yoongi noticed the action more clearly and narrowed his eyes slightly.

"Yeon-ssi, can you do for me, too? My arms feel like jelly to wipe it all away," Taehyung butted in, eyes wide and lips pulled down to a pleading pout and Choheun was so lost and struggling between complying or dying. Why did he remind her of a puppy for a brief moment? And why did she feel a little trickle of happiness seep in when he asked her without hesitating?

Jimin snapped his head to the side as Taehyung sat beside him, disbelief visible on his flawless features. "Yah! You're just trying to steal her away, aren't you?"

What.

Taehyung stuck his tongue out, boxy-smile breaking through, "You're not the only one who wants to be friends with her, Jiminnie. You don't mind, do you, Choheun-ssi?" the singer faced her, his smile also hopeful like Jimin's and Choheun wanted to faint. He dropped the formalitiesHe dropped it!

Just- what? None of her former co-workers with Kaejji even called her so closely! They remained acquaintances.

(They wouldn't like her if she-)

"I-I don't mind, Kim Taehyung-ssi..." she replied shyly, and Taehyung beamed like she hung the stars (she still didn't notice that), completely ignoring the scowl sent his way by his fellow ninety-five liner.

Taehyung handed her his towel and bounced excitedly from where he was sitting on the floor, his lips pulling up to a happy smile as he played with the empty bottle in front of him. Choheun couldn't resist a small smile at his behavior, finding it cute just like Jaegoo's when her nephew won a running contest.

She slowly unfolded the fluffy cloth, gripping it lightly so it wouldn't fall off her fingers and gently pressed it on the back of Taehyung's neck, letting it rest there for two seconds for the towel to absorb the sweat before pulling away and moving to another spot, her smile turning soft when the singer sighed happily, shoulders relaxing.

"Yah, you're so lucky, Jiminnie. Choheun-ssi is so good at this," Taehyung said with another calm sigh through his nose. The girl was able to see his utterly relaxed boxy-smile on his face because of the mirror in front of them. She frowned in confusion at that.

"What does that even mean?" a hit of déjà vu washed over her, "I'm just wiping your sweat off. Don't your stylist noonas do this too?" she flushed slightly at how her tone sounded a little rude and cleared her throat, voice dimming down more quietly. What made her any different? "A-at least from what I've heard..."

Jimin huffed, pouting at her, "Choheun-ah~ It's more different because of how gentle your hands are." He formed a round ball with his hands, making squeezing motions. Choheun blinked, perplexed. She wasn't the only one since she could see the others giving the dancer a look she couldn't decipher. "You see, it felt like a soft pillow was pressed on my skin instead of a regular, quick towel licking the sweat away. No offense to the noonas, but it feels much, much better when you did it."

The girl in question didn't find the explanation helpful and was even more confused than before. "M-mwo?" they couldn't have hit their head or something since she had been watching them practice. Choheun would've panicked if they fell. What happened?

Taehyung nodded at Jimin's words, looking somehow serious in a ridiculous topic such as this (that involved her once again-). "I second to what he said." He peered up at the female teen over his shoulder, grinning. "You have very gentle hands, Choheun-ssi."

Choheun did not whimper in confusion. She did not. She didn't do such a thing!

And she probably imagined Seokjin cooing at her. She had got to stop comparing him to her brother. Her heart wouldn't take it, aish.

Hoseok had his eyes wide, "Really? Wow," he glanced down at the girl, Choheun smiling bemusedly at him. "I'm feeling a little envious now. Choheun-ssi, could you do the same for me after our second try?"

Choheun blinked slowly. Aigo, how many times was she going to blink her eyes slowly to anything they do or say? Aish, just what's going on with them... Was she missing something here? She literally told herself becoming simple friends with Jimin was fine (Seokjin was...different), but Hoseok and Taehyung? Who's next, Namjoon? Yoongi? And, she highly doubts it, Jeongguk? Were they going to be besties or something?

"I...guess so? It's only drying your sweat away, right?" she said hesitantly, looking between Taehyung and Hoseok with uncertainty and confusion.

Right?

Seokjin came up behind the two, flicking their foreheads and Taehyung and Hoseok flinched back with simultaneous yelps of 'hyung!'. The eldest only scowled at them. "Yah, behave you two! You're going to make her uncomfortable," he gave them the 'look', a look Choheun was familiar with because she saw Eunji direct that look to Dohyuk and Kaejji all the time when they bothered her too much (she was also at the receiving end of it, too, but that's beside the point!).

What confused her was why Seokjin was directing that look at them because of her.

Taehyung and Hoseok glanced at each other before facing a still-confused Choheun, bowing (or in the singer's case, bowing his head since he was still sitting in front of her on the right). "We're sorry, Choheun-ssi." They said at the same time, surprisingly.

Choheun blanked out slightly, so terribly confused why they were even apologizing to her. They didn't even do anything! "U-uhm, a-apology accepted...?" she said slowly with raised sweater paws, her right still holding the towel. Jimin looked smug for some reason unknown to her, so she wasn't going to read into it right now.

Namjoon, who she realized was just watching everything unfold in the sidelines and blushed, chuckled in amusement, placing his own towel on the metal chair on her right. "Take it easy, Taehyungie, hyung. None of us want to overwhelm her, do we?"

"Yes," everyone and even Jeongguk agreed with no hesitation, nodding seriously as if not overwhelming her was a task they had to follow with no complaint. Only Yoongi stayed silent, but he nodded once, too.

Holy ice cream, could someone tell her just what in the world was going on? Was this how coworkers treat each other or something? Other than Hyojee, Seokjin, and Jimin, Choheun was still nervous to be around the others, hating herself for attempting to stay away from them, but they were trying to engage a casual conversation with her like a friend. Like they accepted her presence in their life and Choheun didn't like that. They weren't supposed to feel obliged to be friendly with her just because she was their eighth member. She didn't even want to be in their group in the first place in worry she might ruin something!

(They shouldn't care at all-)

Choheun snapped out of her thoughts when she heard Hoseok hum with a smile before clapping his hands together. "I think break time is over now. We better get back to practicing the whole dance one more time before Jimin and I will correct and help with any mistakes and necessary improvements. Let's get back to it, everyone!"

Half of the boys groaned, whining and groaning and moaning with Yoongi grouching out a pained 'correct and help my foot' that Choheun had to bite her tongue to prevent a giggle from breaking free. Her bias really didn't like doing anything except sleep. Ah, but he deserved it. From what Choheun had heard (she may be a big fan and a fan since the beginning, but she never felt comfortable searching up personal information about them because—well, it was personal information. She had nothing to do with it except their amazing achievements, dreams, and motivations for doing what they're doing), Yoongi was rumored to pull an all-nighter just to write down lyrics and produce some music samples for their group.

That's one of the reasons he was her bias.

Not that she was telling anyone about it. Even Dohyuk didn't know. She'd rather drown than spill a single word about it.

Choheun smiled in amusement as they all got up and dragged themselves to the front of the room once again, folding the towel and placed it with the other towels on the chair on her right and sighed through her nose, leaning against the chair and watched as Yoongi strode to the speakers and picked his phone up.

She cleared her throat, taking her glasses away from her front and placed it on top of a towel she was sure was Jimin's (hope he didn't mind), briefly pulling on the collar of her sweater for air to kiss her warm skin inside. Aish, the air around her in the room was too dry and hot.

She chuckled silently to herself, shaking her head at the silly thought that made itself known in her thought process and let go of her collar. Heh, it reminded her of the time the hot dryness got into her nose and blood was leaking down her chin for a whole hour straight. So much tissue was needed that day and Dohyuk and Eunji were such a worrywart of a couple-

Choheun's mind stuttered to a halt, horror slowly settling in her gut and only felt it grow stronger when her nose seemed to feel a little wet and blocked.

With a shaky hand, she raised her hand to her nose and pressed her index finger beneath her nose, pulling away with dread and a rock dropped her stomach.

Red.

There was blood on the center of the middle of her index finger. Small, but still there.

Crap. Crap. Crapcrapcrapcrap-

Why, why now out of all times?! Why now? Right now was the worst timing to happened, and- aish, she realized how dry and hot the air was in the room. Why didn't she excuse herself when she saw Sungdeuk off the ac, or even turn it on herself?

(Because the man said the boys preferred to practice and sweat it off since the clash of their hot sweaty body and the cool air didn't mix nicely-)

Choheun wiped any lingering blood off her nose and pulled her sleeve over her fingers, looking up just in time to see Jimin glance at her through the mirror, raising a confused brow. She returned his look with a small smile and inwardly sighed when he accepted it before focusing on Hoseok when he garnered their attention.

It's fine, she told herself as she took steady but shuddering breaths and kept her gaze on the idols in front of her. Maybe it would be a—a temporary nosebleed. Yeah, just temporary for only a few minutes. It had happened before, not all her nosebleeds were long. The air wasn't too dry for it to be urgent or anything. Nothing was going to happen. She was fine. Everything was fine.

But she couldn't breathe properly. Every intake of breath made her want to dunk her head in a tub of water just to relieve the dry feeling prickling her only source of air passage-

It's fine.

(It wasn't and she knew it because she was just trying to convince no one but herself-)

 


 

Something was wrong with the girl.

Minutes had passed, and she was acting suspicious and weird.

Something was wrong with Yeon Choheun and Yoongi was sure of it.

In the middle of practicing, Namjoon and Hoseok rapping their lines, Min Yoongi had noticed Choheun repeatedly brushing her nose with her fingers that were hidden under her sleeves. Her shoulders were no longer relaxed, like how they were supposed to throughout her whole stay during their practice, and was just tense and nervous. When she thought no one was looking, Yoongi could see her eyes glazing over just slightly for a few seconds as she stared at the floor before quickly shaking her head as if noticing what she was doing, and then partially covered her face with her sweater paws.

But that's where he knew something was wrong.

Choheun didn't pull her hand away from her face for the past fifteen minutes they've been reviewing the dance and following Hobi's instructions. She wasn't even watching them anymore; she seemed to be focusing on something else with her own worry that involved her with covering her face.

Admittedly, he was the one feeling worried and alarmed.

Yoongi snapped back to focus on Hobi when he gave them, specifically Namjoon and Jin, some tips and techniques about the faster steps in the dance. He bit his lip, he couldn't focus. Not when he was repeatedly glancing back at the girl every few minutes in the mirror instead of looking back or else the others would be suspicious and question what the hell was he doing.

If he was being honest, in the beginning about the glasses-wearing teen, he didn't mind Choheun. She wasn't proving to be someone difficult to work with in the future, just reserved and shy.

Though Yoongi still found it weird how Jimin was quickly enamored over the teen. And Jin and Hobi, too. Namjoon was still clearly nervous to try and get along with her even if he didn't show it, but Yoongi had known him longer so nothing was concealed from him. Taehyung appeared to have gained newfound confidence to talk with Choheun, it was obvious with the weird request to ask her to wipe his sweat away (Yoongi didn't understand, was she that good? Was it any different from their stylist noonas? All he knew was aggressively scrubbing the towel on the skin and that's that). Jeongguk was still the same when it came to the other gender, so that's it, nothing different there.

So yeah, Yoongi didn't mind Choheun at all so far. She was sweet and very considerate. He knew she always chose her words carefully around them, but too bad her words would get thrown out the window when one of them (not Yoongi) said a compliment or say something nice to her.

Yoongi found the uncomfortable and confused look on her face when that happened worrying. She reminded him of himself, how any compliments made him feel weird and uneasy. But he grew to like it and welcomed any nice words with a cool smile, even when he was grinning like an idiot on the inside.

However, Yoongi got used to it because of his Bangtan brothers, BigHit, his family, and their supportive fans the ARMY. He got used to it if someone randomly said it in public, in the airport when they're on tour, or in fansigns.

Choheun looked like she had never been complimented by friends before. Did she even have friends, to begin with? If she had, she wouldn't have been confused or hide a flinch when Jimin had an arm around her earlier, or reluctantly rested her head against the dancer's shoulder (she was so damn short, or maybe everyone in BigHit were over one-hundred and sixty-four).

Yoongi got used it a year after they debuted, and Choheun's eighteen and it seemed to him she had no friends to shower her with kind words. Sure, she was slowly not minding it much when Jimin or Jin would say it, but the others? And with Namjoon showing concern about her training, and Jeongguk trying to be friendly? She looked at them as if they had grown two heads or something.

What the hell was going on?

Yoongi took a deep breath and exhaled through his nose quietly, watching as Hobi and Jimin discussed what they should work on next.

"We do have to work on the ending, hyung. Executing sharp moves is hard." Jimin said with a small frown and their lead dancer hummed thoughtfully.

"That can be arranged. Though perhaps we should try to do everything again before we go with that. I'd like to see everyone one more time." Hobi stated, Jimin nodding, and faced the others. "Guys, we'll do one more go. So take a small breather." They all said or nodded their yes and quickly found ways to cool themselves since the air conditioner in the room was off. It would be weird if it was on when they were sweating, it clashed weirdly for their skin.

Yoongi especially. He hated the cold so much. And the heat, fuck the heat. No- fuck summer, really. The weather sucks. Aish, not to mention the hot wind in summer, or the dry air that made breathing too easy and too much.

Thank God for spring, though. The weather was just perfect. No rain, not too many clouds, just perfection.

As the others began to exchange short and quick words to pass time, Yoongi used his free time to observe Choheun.

He turned his head, eyebrows furrowing slightly as the girl pressed her sweater paw more on her face, honey-brown eyes droopy and unfocused. Yoongi pursed his lips together and burned his gaze on her, wondering if she felt his stare.

She didn't.

Her eyes were still unfocused.

"Aish..." he cursed silently under his breath, gaining the attention of Jeongguk who was beside him.

The maknae looked at him curiously, "Hyung? Is something wrong?" he asked, hands moving to slide inside his pockets. Yoongi didn't know how to exactly respond to that, so he just stayed silent and kept his gaze on the suddenly tired-looking female leaning back on the chair.

Jeongguk blinked, raising a brow, and followed his gaze. Yoongi could see how the maknae's confusion morph into concern. "Hyung, what's wrong with Yeon Choheun-ssi?" he asked lowly, his tone worried.

Yoongi shrugged as nonchalantly as he could despite his won worry, glancing back at the girl just in time for her sweater paw to shift and his ears started to ring.

Her pastel beige sleeve had a suspicious hue of red on the wool, the color contrasting strongly against her sweater it wasn't normal.

Jeongguk seemed to have noticed it as well as he paled, round eyes widening and a nearly inaudible gasp escaping him. Yoongi looked back just to hold back a flinch when Choheun's gaze was met with his and his own eyes widened a second later.

She was scared. She was scared with wide doe eyes but what he hated was the guilt and shame that passed her features for a brief moment. It wasn't directed at anyone but herself, that much he could see.

(He was like that before, once upon a time-)

And Yoongi could see when her eyes slid closed, head lolling to the side and body dangerously swaying to the right side. If Choheun fell on the floor in front of her, that would've been better but she was falling on her side where the sharp edge of the metal chair was waiting for her (why the fuck was it metal and why didn't she just fall on the other side where a plastic chair was placed in?!).

Not even aware of what he was doing, Yoongi immediately ran to the girl, leaving his position before they even started the dance, ignoring the confused looks and surprised shouts from the others except Jeongguk's frightened-

"Choheun-ssi!"

 


 

"Choheun-ssi!"

Jeongguk didn't know that was him screaming in alarm, but who the hell would blame him? He just saw Choheun drop her sweater paw for him to see a deep red hue on it where he couldn't see from the front, a line of blood trailing down past her lip and her chin with some of it appearing to be smudged (he subconsciously thought Choheun tried her best to wipe it away but obviously didn't work-) and her head was about to get hit on the metal edge of the chair on her right.

The others snapped their heads to him at the sudden cry, soon following his gaze to see Choheun's condition just in time before Yoongi kicked the chair away and caught the girl, her face safely landing against the rapper's chest and nobody paid attention to the loud clattering of the metal chair scraping the floor, or the water bottles popping open and rolling everywhere with water spilling on the floor.

"Choheun-ah!" Jimin's horrified shout broke the silence right after Jeongguk. In one blink, the dancer was already on the girl's side and, soon enough, everyone else was surrounding the rapper and Choheun. Taehyung and Hobi were pale and frantic, eyes wide, and Namjoon was frozen. No one was more worried than Jin and Jimin themselves. Jeongguk hovered near, fidgety and worried and he didn't know what to do.

"Yoongi, what happened?!" was Jin's panicked question, quickly using his own white sleeve to absorb the terrifying amount of blood. Choheun's eyes slowly fluttered open, still dazed and unfocused. Yoongi only tightened his grip on the girl on his chest just slightly, bringing a hand up to wipe her wet bangs away from her sweaty forehead.

"I don't know, hyung. I just noticed she kept covering her nose and then seeing the blood she tried to hide on her sleeve." The Daegu rapper sounded just as panicked and lost as the eldest, though he sounded more composed regardless of the faint tremor in his deep voice. Jeongguk was envious of his hyung, he was the total opposite right now and was totally ready to run out of the room to call for help.

Jimin reached out and shakily grabbed Choheun's hand, Jeongguk grimacing at the clear redness on her sweater that reached down until her elbow. Just how much blood was it and when did she even start? Or, better yet, why didn't she tell anyone?

The dancer took a shaky exhale, "Do we have a tissue or something here?" Jimin asked quietly, pulling the girl's sweater sleeve up on her elbow just to see another white sleeve covering her fingers. At least the material was thinner than the sweater, and it seemed to be clean, not a single spec of blood visible.

Taehyung was ready to jump up and look around, but Namjoon was already coming back, holding a box of tissue in his hand and gave it to Jin. Jeongguk was worried about their leader, he could see the emotions in his eyes. Namjoon was going to blame himself for not noticing Choheun's condition and no one could get it through his head it wasn't his fault unless it's from the person in question that made him think that way.

(But why did Jeongguk have a feeling Choheun would do so with no hesitation and not care about herself-)

Jin muttered a quiet and quick 'thanks' before pulling his hand away, plucking out at least six pieces of tissue and folded it all once then placed it under Choheun's nose. Jeongguk saw how she finally opened her eyes, still hazy but definitely more awake than before.

Jimin noticed first before the others did. He leaned forward, taking the girl's sleeve paw and held it, covering her very small fingers with his own. "Choheun-ah?" he called out so softly, face filled with worry and concern with a hint of his remaining fright. "Can you hear me? Are you okay?"

Choheun let out a small, vulnerable noise that somehow did something to Jeongguk's heart (she sounded so tiny and scared and-), trying to move to sit up but Yoongi did that for her. He sat straighter, wrapping his arms around her small waist (the sweater was hiding it, but now it wasn't) and allowed her to rest her head on his shoulder. Choheun shakily raised her other hand that wasn't held and slowly placed it on top of Jin's that was still holding the tissue under her nose, clear to everyone she wanted to hold it.

Jin was very hesitant in doing so, his jaw clenching, but reluctantly let go for Choheun to take over and covered her nose.

They all stayed silent, anxious nerves running them right now, Jeongguk was sure, and watched as Choheun blinked her eyes a few times before she met their eyes, mostly Jin who was the definite personification of a worried mother hen right now.

She licked her chapped peach lips, her tongue poking out to slide on her plump bottom lip, before she opened her mouth, "I-I'm sorry you had to see that, Kim Seokjin-ssi..." she apologized, voice so small and scared and-

Why the fuck was she apologizing? She didn't even do anything wrong!

Jin was just as confused as Jeongguk, "Why are you sorry, Choheun-ah? It's not your fault. But it would've been nice if you told any of us, you know," he berated, but his tone didn't sound angry, just sad and a little irked that she didn't say anything. Choheun blinked up at him, almost as confused as the eldest singer but stayed silent.

Jeongguk gulped nervously at her silence. Did she even plan on telling anyone?

"What happened, Choheun-ssi?" Taehyung asked softly, and Choheun flushed red in shame (why was she ashamed this happened-).

"I... I think the air was too hot and dry for me. I'm, uh, very sensitive to the weather and dry air, if it wasn't obvious by now. I didn't notice it at first, but I think it started when you practiced the dance for the second time." She confessed weakly, finally getting enough strength to sit up away from Yoongi, eyes sliding down to the floor. She was avoiding their gazes again, Jeongguk thought sadly as Yoongi frowned at her with a look the maknae couldn't read.

Hobi suddenly cursed, startling them all, and he stared sharply at the girl. "Choheun-ssi, that was around fifteen minutes ago. Your condition must've worsened by now if it hadn't even stopped yet!" he exclaimed in worry and he softened when the girl flinched and tensed her shoulders. "I'm sorry," he sighed, "I didn't mean to raise my voice."

Choheun shook her head, a small smile that was filled with too much sadness in it. Jeongguk knew that look. He used to look and feel that way, but why was she pushing Jin away? "It's okay, Jung Hoseok-ssi. You're right, I should've done something about earlier than hope for it to stop."

Hobi looked as if someone had stepped on his puppy. "Wh-what? That's not what I mean-"

Choheun moved to stand up, Jimin immediately supporting her when she stumbled slightly but she shook her head at him, the same kind and shy smile she had back on her face and Jeongguk realized it wasn't her real smile.

That same smile he had seen in the beginning was never really out of politeness. It was a mask. But a mask for what? What was she hiding?

Why was she hiding?

"It's really fine." Choheun smiled shyly, patting her clothes down and folded the sleeve that had her blood on it. Jeongguk didn't know whether to be impressed or uneasy about how the blood was no longer visible anymore. "It's not the first time this has happened, Jung Hoseok-ssi. So you shouldn't worry about this. I'm used to it." No, Jeongguk was sure he and the others were definitely more than worried about this, and the fact she dismissed the situation like it was normal.

Sure, nose-bleeding easily because of dry air was normal, it happened to everybody, but what unnerved Jeongguk was the fact she didn't care it happened to her, like it shouldn't matter. And, excuse him, but 'used to it'?.

She's brushing off the whole thing.

Hobi looked horrified, just like the rest of them as Jin stared down at the smaller girl warily. "Not... Not the first time?" he repeated, voice cracking slightly.

She shook her head, "Mm. Like I said, I'm sensitive to the weather so I avoid going out when it's too hot outside. And this happens normally for me for years. Nothing new." Choheun said, clearing her throat and wiping any remaining blood left behind on her face before making her way to the door after getting her glasses.

"Ch-Choheun-ah, where are you going?" Jimin asked confusedly, following her like a lost puppy as she opened the door. The others were not too far behind, staring at the girl with confusion and worry.

Choheun looked away for a moment, a calm hum slipping pass her lips and glanced back to smile reassuringly at the dancer. "I can't stay here watching you all when I look like this. I'll just change and come back. If Son Sungdeuk-nim saw this, he might get worried, too, and there's no need for that."

Jeongguk bit his tongue to hold back the questions begging to come out of his mouth without permission. She's acting normal, not shy or guarded anymore. It meant she really didn't want them to care, that much he could tell. How did he know? Well, he was used to reading his hyungs' faces for years now, seeing what's really bothering them and what they didn't want the others to see, and the fact he almost couldn't read Choheun's expressions without looking closely was giving him warnings in his head.

She's good. She's really good.

Jeongguk was scared of how long she had been like this. Had she acted like this in front of her parents, too? Her family?

For some reason, trying to befriend her seemed harder than he thought now. Not when he might not even get to talk to the real Choheun without her retreating back to her shell and hiding behind a mask that hadn't gone away yet.

Aish, it was so obvious to him now that he didn't dislike her. He no longer could see Choheun as their eighth member, a trainee in training. He could only see an eighteen-year-old girl struggling on her own without the support of her family.

Shit.

"Choheun-ssi-" Hobi tried to call her out, to maybe keep her here or something, maybe apologize when he didn't need to but had to because Choheun probably wouldn't accept it no matter what, she probably wouldn't accept his apology and maybe stare at the rapper in confusion as to why he was even apologizing (like earlier when both Hobi and Taehyung apologized because Jin-hyung said so), and she only smiled.

"I'm fine, really. I'll come back." She gave one last smile, clear to everyone in the room that it didn't even reach her eyes, and stepped out of the room, closing the door shut and silence took over them once more.

Jimin lowered his hand slowly, staring at the door with a blank and unreadable look on his face. Hobi rubbed his face, worn out in worry and Namjoon had his fingers running through his hair. Taehyung was barely breathing, face still pale as Yoongi's lips pulled down to a frown, ignoring the redness on the front of his button-up. Jin was staring at the red hue on his white sleeve, back faced to Jeongguk so he wasn't able to read what his hyung might be feeling.

Jeongguk slid his gaze at the door, biting his lip. He stayed where he was for a moment even when Hobi walked back to the front, telling everyone to return to practicing and wait for Choheun to come back. They all followed his orders reluctantly, and Jeongguk knew they wanted to run out of the room and check on Choheun. Even Hobi, despite taking his dance coach role because he kept sneaking glances at the door as well during their dance.

The whole day, Choheun didn't come back.

Jeongguk didn't know what that meant for them. He was also afraid of what it could mean.

Chapter Text

She felt like she probably, maybe, screwed up.

Was Choheun a coward if she successfully avoided seeing or talking with her idols for two days straight except a few quick greetings and a weak smile before skittering away?

Well, yes. Obviously. She had always been a coward. She always ran away from her problems with fear gripping her heart of the 'what if's. What's new?

Choheun ran a hand through her hair, fingers sliding through her bangs and sighed as they flopped back down over her forehead. She picked her glasses off the nightstand, letting it rest on her nose bridge and flickered her gaze to the digital clock beside it.

'07:15'

It's kind of early, wasn't it?

She chewed on her bottom lip, playing with the black sleeves of her long-sleeved shirt. She didn't know if she should go practice first before the boys woke up. And she definitely didn't want to encounter any of them right now without feeling the need to run back into the room or profusely apologize for what had happened before.

Choheun shook her head, taking a deep breath. She didn't mean to ignore her idols. In fact, she didn't even know why she was ignoring them in the first place ever since the practice incident (she had a nosebleed in the worst timing ever and she was very embarrassed and ashamed about it-). Maybe she was scared of what they might think of her? Maybe they wouldn't want her in the room when they were practicing anymore? Did they have a different opinion of her now? Was she weird?

She hoped they didn't find her weird. It wasn't her fault she was so sensitive to the weather. It's one of the reasons why she had at least four bottles of sunscreen with her in the bathroom that would be used soon this summer.

Oh, and she seriously did not want to see Yoongi. Or Seokjin. Or Jimin. Or everyone, really. Embarrassment was so quick to run over her when she remembered what had happened prior. But it still confused her to no end why they were concerned instead of staring at her in disgust. She actually felt so guilty and ashamed when she saw how positively worried Jimin looked, plus Seokjin.

Aish, why did she have to go and make them worried about something that didn't matter? Why did they look so concerned about her? It didn't make any sense.

It was just a small nosebleed...that, admittedly, took a little over twenty minutes in total and the amount of blood that dripped down was a little concerning, now that she thought about it.

And to make things worse, she was clearly avoiding them, especially if she saw one of them around the building and always ran to the other direction when they opened their mouth. Choheun knew that it was rude and disrespectful to ignore her idols like that, because they were her biggest idols, and they were idols in general, but she couldn't help it. She literally felt nauseous imagining what they thought about her, her head buzzing with anxiety and panic every time she looked at them.

(Maybe they finally realized she was actually-)

Don't even get her started with the looks they were giving her. Most of their expressions were unreadable, but Choheun's heart pinched whenever she saw Jimin's face every time she left early and tried not to meet his stares. He reminded her of Jaegoo when she couldn't play with him, looking like a kicked baby puppy or a hurt baby kitten (and the latter sucked because she was a cat person-). He looked so hurt yet also hopeful as if she might talk to him by herself instead of running away.

And then he'd deflate like a balloon when she did the latter with no hesitation. He had looked so hopeful like a lost puppy who'd found his owner again.

Aish, it felt like she had disappointed him somehow. Just like how she had disappointed her brother

She groaned, burying her face in her hands and muffled a quiet scream. Choheun was going to stop with her ridiculous train of thoughts. Her head just wouldn't shut up when it came to this kind of thing. What happened to the days when she was just worried about her brother? "I can't deal with this right now. I gotta go," she whispered to herself, standing up from the bed and made her way to the door.

It's true, though. The day after the incident when Choheun got up and left early, Saego had given her a new schedule and the girl nearly dropped her jaw once she read it all. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday she had longer sessions with Sungdeuk focusing on relaxing her body so it wouldn't be tense, practicing new types of dance moves she had never learned before (like cardio. What's cardio? Was it from the west? And...what's contemp—contemporary?), and was informed she was going to have another vocal trainer who was going to help her with her breathing. And Tuesday and Thursday was more time with Saego since the woman told her she wouldn't have that many problems working on her vocals because apparently, she had good control over her voice not many idols could manage in the beginning without years of training.

Choheun wasn't going to admit she felt a little smudge of pride fill her. She had been singing when she was young, and had always trained her voice by herself (with a little help from YouTube—ahem) and made sure to keep her whistle register as she grew because her voice wasn't going to stay high-pitched or squeaky forever. She still didn't know whether to feel lucky she was one of the few to hit whistle notes with no problems at all, though, or be able to belt as high as she could and quickly change techniques so quickly in a second. It felt like she cheated a little, that she didn't deserve it.

Though she didn't know much about voices and stuff. Like—what's a baritone? A soprano? The latter sounded like some sort of drink, or did she even say it right? Also, she still struggled a bit with vibratos because hers were too slow and, yep, soft.

Was there even such thing as soft vibratos?

Exactly why she didn't know much about the human voice except for the fact she wanted to sing better. She's hopeless.

Oh, and she had to do yoga, too. Saego told her that it helped when it came to controlling the breathiness during dancing.

Which, really made no sense, but she wasn't the expert and she had never really been one to judge (cough—Dohyuk), especially since Saego was a professional.

Choheun sighed, shutting the door behind her and snuggled into the scarf around her neck, the small flakes of coldness making contact with her visible skin as she walked down the dorm from the stairs and began heading her way to BigHit.

 


 

"Good, that's good, Yeon-ssi. Well done." Saego said with a gentle clap of her hands once she placed her clipboard on her lap, her smile warm and proud and plain beaming. Choheun blushed, clearing her throat from all that vocal training and smiled shyly.

"Thank you, Yoon Saego-nim."

Saego chuckled, handing the girl a cold water bottle and Choheun gladly took it with both hands, twisting it open and downed half of it in three seconds flat. "It's only the third day since I've assigned you these sessions and specific lessons for your voice but it seems that you're an amazing student to teach. I swear your immediate switch from head voice to whistle without any muscle tension in your throat is impressive."

Choheun averted her gaze timidly but smiled happily at the praise, capping the bottle close with only a quarter of the liquid left. "You're only saying that..." she uttered softly, the smile not going away any time soon even if she felt as if the words she had said were not entirely true (even if they were true she would never accept it-).

Saego smiled, eyes sparkling like a child's the teen would've forgotten the older woman was only a year younger than Sungdeuk. What was up with most adults she had met not acting their age? Somehow, she was reminded a bit of Super Junior. "Oh, but I mean it. I'm sure in the next two months, you'll be the master of your voice in no time and I'll only be there to help give some warm-up exercises. I'm honestly excited to hear the news of everyone talking about another female idol able to effortlessly hit whistle notes almost on par with Mariah Carey-nim and the highest belts like Kim Sohyang-nim." The woman sighed dreamily, looking at Choheun with proud and excited eyes that reminded the girl of Eunji.

In the past two days, while she avoided interacting with the boys, Choheun had actually grown quite close with her two coaches. Not in a Hyojee or Seokjin-like way, but more of an actual teacher-like way.

Despite not having that many friends back in her school days, the only people she didn't completely run away from were the teachers. They were nice and gentle yet keeping their title as teachers, stern and strict, but still. Nice. Really, really nice. Adults were vastly different from others close to her age, since they had different opinions and thoughts and had to remain professional, so it wasn't that hard for Choheun to immediately take a liking of the two trainers. It was a plus that they somewhat reminded her of her sixth-grade homeroom teacher, too.

That didn't mean Choheun was not afraid of the chances of them changing their opinions of her, though. She still didn't like disappointing people who expected things from her, so there's no way she was going to fail them while she's training under them.

And back to the topic in hand...

Choheun's face flamed at the mention of her two biggest vocal idols, sputtering, "E-eh? Why would you compare me to them, Yoon Saego-nim? There's no way I'm on par with—with vocal legends. The chances of that happening are zero in a billion!" she squeaked, covering her face with her sleeve paws in embarrassment.

Saego laughed, brown eyes brightening behind her rectangular glasses. "Okay, maybe it does sound a little far-fetched to be compared with those two, but who knows? Maybe you'll one day surpass them since you're technically still growing, and even match Ariana Grande."

Choheun whined, grabbing the collar of her turtleneck and pulled it over her face to hide the rising redness and flushed even more when she heard the woman chuckle at her. Aigo, first the two amazing vocalists, and then Ariana Grande? The latter was her biggest inspiration (other than Halsey and Billie Eilish in terms of female western singers). She looked up to Ariana Grande the moment she first listened to her debut single 'Problem', and the song played in Korea everywhere. And to be compared to an amazing singer? Someone so talented and incredible like Ariana Grande? Holy ice cream- "Yoon Saego-niiiiim," her whine was muffled because of her collar, cheeks hot along with her neck and her ears.

The woman only continued to laugh, "Okay, okay, I'll stop." Saego said finally, waving a hand in the air.

Choheun deflated, sigh long and embarrassed, and let go of her collar for it to instantly snap back around her neck loosely. She frowned at the woman, eyes narrowing slightly behind her glasses. "You better," she huffed, trying to will her blush to go away. She should really stop thinking about whether or not everyone she met always reminded her of her brother (Dohyuk was a bad influence, okay?).

Saego snorted without care and brushed her dark hair behind her shoulder, sporting an innocently professional and kind smile like the first time Choheun had met her with Hyojee and Sungdeuk as if she hadn't just snorted in an unladylike fashion.

That's one of a lot of reasons she liked the woman already in the past two days. Saego was so polite and quiet and patient, her whole demeanor screaming a gentle but strict teacher, that it confused Choheun so much when that said demeanor was promptly thrown out the window like it had never even existed for the girl to see a similar personality as Hyojee.

Maybe she could see why, since Choheun discovered, despite the age difference, they have actually been friends since high school (apparently Saego was tutoring Hyojee until they ended up as best friends regardless of their age difference. It's a little odd since the stylist was still addressing the vocal coach with formality, though...) before coincidentally applying for a job in the same company at the same time, stumbling upon each other on the reception desk.

Choheun found that cool and really cute. Their friendship, despite the age gap, was goals.

And speaking of Hyojee...

She grew closer with the stylist as well... At least she thought so? Hyojee was still as confusing as ever and was more touchy and vocal about everything Choheun did (complimenting her simple outfits that were only simple and bland and oversized, clapped and cheered after Choheun completed a dancing session with Sungdeuk, whistled when she nailed some high notes when she passed by and so on-), but it's not like she was ever going to admit she liked the attention. The girl did find Hyojee's presence nice and relaxing, for some reason, and didn't mind it much.

It's been two days, but already Choheun liked being around the woman, and she was secretly delighted when it seemed to her Hyojee liked to be around her, too (at least she thought and hoped so-).

Though, she would rather die than admit she actually followed the woman around like baby duckling during their lunch breaks and remained by her side, especially when the stylist suggested jjajangmyeon and Choheun was peering up at the taller woman as if she made her wishes come true.

It's just embarrassing.

Ugh...

Choheun blinked back to reality when she saw fingers snapping in front of her face, turning her head to face Saego. "O-oh I'm sorry, did you say something, Yoon Saego-nim?" she flushed up, scolding herself for not paying attention. Aish, she's been spacing out so much ever since she signed the contract and moved. That's never happened before.

Saego shook her head slightly, smiling, "Nothing much to remember, but I was going to ask if how you're holding so far in BigHit."

Choheun blinked, "Um... It's okay, I guess? Everyone's been nice so far, though I'm still honestly confused why..." her voice quietened at the end, frowning slightly as she glared at the floor as if it would tell her why everyone she met in the company was so nice and welcoming and kind to her. Maybe that's how they work things here?

Saego's smile turned a little sympathetic, and Choheun was fighting the urge to ask the vocal coach why she was looking at her like that. She wasn't blind to the looks the staff were giving her, too, every time she stumbled upon them when heading towards her lessons. Choheun had noticed how whenever she said something like that, by accident or not, they always look sympathetic and their words and greetings would instantly turn soft, as if she was some sort of glass ready to crack by a single breath of air the moment they opened their mouths.

She didn't understand at all, no matter how hard she tried to form a thought if she had done anything or said anything that caused them to do that. It's like they knew something she wasn't aware of, something about her.

Maybe Bang PD-nim said something? But then that wouldn't make any sense, since she barely said anything about herself except for the fact she had no parents and had a brother who was having heart problems.

(She had noticed how Sejin looked a little agitated and tense when she explained why she had no parents, that they left her and her brother, and only calmed down when Bang PD-nim patted his shoulder. She didn't know what provoked the manager to be that way. Or why they both looked ticked when they read her files sent via email by her brother.)

"Have you memorized the whole building yet, then? I hope you're familiar with the place. After all, you'll be staying with us for a very long time." Saego questioned, stacking her papers on her lap and clipped them on her board before standing up, Choheun following as they started to clear everything for lunch (it was around twelve noon, probably).

Choheun let out a nervous giggle, her ears burning up at the knowing look the woman gave her and covered half her face by pretending to scratch her nose. "Ah, about that..."

Saego snorted a laugh, walking towards the door with the teen following and pushed it open, "Aigo-yah, don't tell me you didn't fully explore the place with the map Hyojee-yah gave. You said you were going to get familiar with the building and turned down her suggestion to give you a tour. Which, by the way, she's still moping to me about it,"

Choheun burned red. It wasn't her fault she felt like she was asking the stylist too much even if she wasn't the one who asked. Hyojee had done so much for her already, especially the fact Choheun allowed the older woman to get away with anything when it came to her (like touching, patting her head at least seven times every two minutes, calling her with so many new nicknames already, teasing her about her biases with other groups, complimenting her 'cuteness' and wardrobe, and just about everything). She didn't want to ask more of her time when she was busy with, well, makeup-related stuff, and that it looked as if Hyojee was ready to drop everything and anything just to be with Choheun and the girl did not want that.

She didn't want the woman to lose her job, thank you very much!

The woman chuckling at her face with an inaudible 'cute' before continuing, "Well, before Sungdeukkie-oppa will be calling out for you in, like," Saego glanced at her wrist where her watch resided, "the next three hours, maybe I should suggest someone to give you tour?" she asked more to herself than to the younger girl and Choheun turned flustered, waving her sleeve paws around.

"W-wait! That's not necessary, Yoon Saego-nim-" she tried to refuse what Saego was about to imply but the woman cut her off before she could finish.

Saego quirked one brow up, smirking, "Oh? You dare try to persuade your seonsaengnim? If you want, I'll stop if you call me Saego-nim." She said cheekily with eyes glinting in a knowing look and Choheun didn't have it in her to hold back a loud groan and pulled her hair over her glasses, cheeks flaring red.

Oh, what also changed in the past two days was the fact everyone knew Choheun was impossibly hesitant about dropping formalities. The other staff employees only smiled amusedly, but both Hyojee and Saego somehow made it their job to get her to call them a little more closely. Sure, she addressed the stylist as Hyojee-ssi, no more Choi, but her vocal coach? She started getting to know the woman in only two days (the first day didn't count because Saego had been more focused with Choheun's voice) and there's no way she was going to drop the formalities to someone who's literally far better than her, older than her- not that Saego was old-looking, holy ice cream no, not even close, but she wasn't comfortable calling her that. Saego deserved better!

She only called Hyojee 'Hyojee-ssi' because-! Well-... Dammit.

Choheun released a sigh afterward, peering up at the woman with defeated eyes (yah, why was everyone so tall?!). "Okay, I'll give you that, Yoon Saego-nim." She sighed through her nose this time, nudging her glasses up and closed her eyes as if in pain just for a brief moment. "Who do you have in mind?"

Saego punched the air with a fist, a cheerful but childish 'yes!' exclaimed quietly that Choheun's lips nearly twitched up to a smile. Up until now, she was still befuddled this was how her gentle and patient vocal coach actually acted. What was with the politeness before, then? "I have the perfect candidate for you!" Saego grinned, whipping her phone out, "He's a trainee like you, and was just accepted by BigHit about...almost two months ago now, earlier this year. He knows the whole building like the back of his hand by now. At least I think so."

Choheun blinked very, very slowly, lips unconsciously forming a small 'o'. There was another trainee who was new like her? Well, she hadn't exactly seen that many trainees like her other than the BigHit staff. In fact, she was close go assuming there weren't even any trainees other than BTS. "Mwo? Really? Someone new like—like me?" her voice was unknowingly excited and hopeful, twisting the tips of her hair like she was twisting the stem of a flower.

Saego let out a loud 'mhmm', her smile akin to Taehyung's, "That's right! So you stay here, and I'll send him in, maybe, five minutes give or take. Don't go anywhere, okay?" she gave the girl a pointed look and Choheun giggled shyly and nervously, nodding.

"Okay. I won't go anywhere, Yoon Saego-nim." She assured the woman and giggled behind her sleeves again when Saego scowled, bouncing her head back for her glasses to slide back up.

"I swear I'll make you drop the formalities one day, Choheun-ah," Saego promised with determination on her flawless face (what was up with the women here working in BigHit looking nothing like their age? Not that Choheun was really complaining, because she's already admiring them and their hard work). The teen only huffed another giggle as the vocal coach, who can most definitely sing so amazingly well because vocal coach, turned around and walked away.

 


 

Ten minutes had passed, and Choheun had been listening to music the entire duration without paying attention whatsoever to the real world. And the next song in her playlist had just played (ignoring the mixed songs she had that were both in western and English and Korean but—hey, she could understand and speak both languages. What's not to love? Other languages had really catchy and meaningful songs, too).

I see your monsters, I see your pain

Tell me your problems, I'll chase them away

She was humming softly under her breath that it was probably inaudible as she listened to Katie Sky's 'Monsters', the tips of her fingers that were peeking out of her sleeves rhythmically drumming on her thigh and head swaying side-to-side gently. It wasn't a very famous song, perhaps underrated at least to her, but she adored the message the song gave. The message she had felt and grown up with around both Eunji and Kaejji when they had their bad days.

I'll be your lighthouse, I'll make it okay

When I see your monsters, I'll stand there so brave

And chase them all away

Choheun sighed slowly, leaning back against the wall and slid her eyes closed to listen to the soft melody, beats, and instruments being played in the background, the sounds echoing left and right in her ears from her simple earphones. Since she was thinking about music, it didn't hurt to stray down to the rabbit hole about another thing she was passionate about.

When Choheun was deep into singing and dancing, she didn't only want to do those two, but she also wanted to produce her own music and compose lyrics.

She had been fascinated by the concept of writing lyrics, always daydreaming about all the kinds of words she could use. Well, she did have a lyric notebook. It was already half full by now, filled with all the things that inspired her, or what she had been feeling and struggling in certain days. Sometimes it would even be about her family, of her point of view when she saw them smiling at her while she knew they were struggling on the inside, failing to hide it from her. It could also be about the most simple things in life; like how she felt about the seasons as they come and go, her everyday life, her thoughts and the feeling of excitement and happiness when she had discovered something priceless.

It could be cheesy and sweet, too. Like her love for her family, and how she felt about her brother's love for Eunji and vise verse. It's cute, really. Every time she would read a piece she wrote about her unnie and oppa, she always giggled like a shy school girl, feeling all mushy inside and would end up writing another piece similar to it.

(She was still hopeless when it came to family oh biscuit buns-)

There was, however, one particular piece she had written that always stuck to her. It was incomplete, though, and an old one as well.

Her cries of help fall on deaf ears, in a room empty and lonely

Her tears of despair remain unseen, where the light cannot see

Her regrets keep appearing, on the palest of her skin

But her mouth is shut, with silk deceivingly pure

And so she stays quiet, and sits in silence

That was only the first chorus, the rest blank and empty and abandoned and most undoubtedly forgotten.

Choheun had the usual bad day when she wrote that. She still remembered that day very well, yet, at the same time, she also forgot everything that had happened. That piece was written two years ago (how was she so sure about it? Well, she wrote dates on anything she did on paper, of course. She's usually forgetful when it came to very small and very important things).

She wrote that with no beats or tune supporting it, just letting her mind blank out and her hand moving by itself.

Which was probably why she didn't finish it. Writing a piece without any beats or tune guiding the flow was very difficult. At least she had learned her lesson, anyway.

Now, about producing music...

Choheun was a little hesitant around that subject, if she was being honest, tip-toeing around it like it was something too strong for her to handle. She knew nothing when it came to actually producing beats like how every producer would do these days in modern music (especially from the west because holy ice cream they had amazing beats and Marshmello-). She was simple, just using the instruments she could afford like a guitar, a keyboard, a violin, a flute and other instruments she was a little lazy to mention but she loved them, too.

So, yeah, a piano, guitar, and a violin usually sufficed. She only needed something to keep the notes in her head without always humming under her breath.

And thank God for iPhones. Voice memos was a literal lifesaver and blessing.

Except when her storage was full with other saved files and she had to play every single recording she had ever made and delete the ones she found the least likable (she loved them all, don't get her wrong, and it really hurt to see the files disappear. And no, she did not whimper whenever it happened). Now she promised to record only a full song that had a finished piece so she didn't have to delete everything.

Though the piano was easier. The guitar and violin were heavenly, but she wasn't a complete master of them. Memorizing everything about how to use them and their strings were not the easiest things in the world—especially the violin. Aigo, the violin was so intimidating to the moment she had to learn how to properly hold it.

Her poor neck, shoulder, and wrists hurt so bad for a week straight.

She wasn't a quitter when it came to music, however, so she jumped right back to learning a week later.

Worth it, by the way.

And she was so deep in her thoughts she was blissfully unaware of what's happening in the real world.

Like right now as the music thrumming in her ears came to an end.

"Um... Y-Yeon Choheun-ssi?"

She heard the voice first before she felt a finger tap on her shoulder lightly and nearly released a startled scream, snapping her eyes open and jumped up from the chair she had taken from the room to sit on.

The newcomer, a young male teen probably younger than her despite being a few inches taller, was just as startled as her and yelped, stumbling back slightly from her sudden reaction and had nothing to grab onto as he fell on his behind, wincing the moment he landed on the tiled floor.

Choheun panicked, instantly kneeling beside the younger and nervously hover her sleeve paws above his arm, unsure if she should touch or not. But her worry won over her fear and gently placed one hand on his shoulder and on his bicep.

"I-I am so sorry! I didn't mean to startle you so bad! I should've paid better attention to my surroundings," Choheun babbled anxiously, eyes darting everywhere around the boy in case he might be hurt somewhere that's not visible to the eye. She caught his gaze, chewing on her bottom lip for a quick moment, "A-are you okay? You're not hurt anywhere, are you? Aish, I'm sorry!"

The boy blushed a faint pink but smiled slightly, scratching his head as Choheun helped him up. "No, I'm okay. I just lost my footing. It's all good."

Choheun sighed, taking a step back and shrunk in on herself, mentally scolding her awful reaction. "Aigo..." she muttered in relief under her breath, eyeing at the boy with guilt. "I was so worried I might've indirectly hurt you or something."

The younger male smiled, chuckling softly and—woah, okay, he had a very nice voice for being so young. She didn't know why she felt her face warm up at the gentle and carefree sound that she unintentionally caused.

"I'm really fine." He reassured, the smile still on his face before continuing, "And- uh, Yun Saego-nim sent me to give you...a tour? Of the building?" confusion slowly appeared a second later, "Not to mock you or anything, but you haven't explored the whole place, yet?"

Choheun flushed but also huffed because aish, Saego probably told him that. Or maybe he heard it from one of the staff, because news around here was a hit or miss. "Why does it feel like everyone knows about it by now? It's not a big deal, I just didn't have enough time to consider it."

The boy chuckled again, the honey-eyed teen slowly relaxing in his presence and unwittingly smiled herself, "No problems here." He said before brightening a bit and held a hand out, "I forgot to introduce myself, sorry. My name is Choi Beomgyu, I'm, uh, fifteen, if you're wondering."

Choheun huffed a quiet giggle under her breath, slowly lifting her hand and clasped her fingers around his longer ones (oh come on-) after internally fighting with herself to gather her nonexistent courage and grab his hand without wanting to run away. "It's okay. I'm Yeon Choheun, as you already know, and eighteen."

Beomgyu's eyes shone slightly, his smile widening just a bit, "You're three years older than me? Can I-" he cut himself off, suddenly losing his confident front and played with the hem of his shirt, eyeing her almost shyly in a way she knew the feeling of (she couldn't help but coo in the inside, he reminded her of Jaegoo when he tried to talk to her with longer sentences-), "I mean...do you mind if I call you... call you noona?" he asked timidly that Choheun melted a little, instantly reminded of her baby nephew since he was the only one who would call her that way.

She wasn't comfortable calling others casually and closely, but it's mostly directed towards people who were her age, older than her, and, obviously, adults (especially towards people who clearly deserved to be called closely by someone better than someone like her-). But to others younger than her like Jaegoo...

How could she say no when all she could see was is hopeful eyes, a shy smile, fluffy-looking hair, and a baby puppy? Aish, she could feel her inner 'sister-instincts' trying to break free... "No, I don't mind at all." Beomgyu beamed a second later at that, and then it was Choheun's turn to feel shy. "Can I...also call you Beomgyu-yah? I-It's just calling you more formally is weird since you're younger than me—not that I can only call you that because you're younger! Definitely not, but- ah, it's okay if you don't want to, I understand-" she slapped a hand on her mouth, peering up at the younger male apologetically. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to ramble..."

Beomgyu only chuckled, a little close to laughing, and his smile was bright and amused and happy, his eyes twinkling, "I'd like that, noona." Choheun felt her whole face warm up and she was sure the look on her face was happy like a puppy finally finding their owner, "I didn't want to call you formally, too, but I was told you aren't comfortable when called that way, so..." he shrugged, smiling. "And I'm kinda the only teenager trainee here so far, probably the only one and maybe still the youngest, so I'm a little glad you're here. I was nervous when I first started my training once I realized no one was the same age as me."

Choheun softened slightly, smiling lopsidedly as she nudged her glasses up to her nose bridge, "Call me whatever you want, then. And I have to say that I feel the same way when Yun Saego-nim mentioned another trainee who's a teenager like me, by the way. Even if I'm three years older than you, and you're already pretty tall," she giggled lightly at that and Beomgyu did the same, chuckling again. Ah, her height. So many would usually assume she was younger than her actual age—especially her face still apparent with baby fat on her round cheeks (other girls would be delighted, but Choheun was not. Not when she got teased endlessly by her family and even Jaegoo. Aish...).

"I'm happy I'm like some beacon of support for you. And, uh, same. I feel the same." He grinned, outstretching a hand to the hallway behind him. "Well? Shall start the tour, Yeon Choheun-noona?" he asked playfully and cheekily, reminding the girl of Kaejji, and she returned his grin with a relaxed smile, reaching her eyes as they curved into crescents behind her golden-rimmed spectacles.

"Lead the way, Choi Beomgyu-yah."

 


 

Taehyung wasn't sulking.

At least that's what he told himself for the umpteenth time as he wandered around the halls, his feet taking him to the spacious room with a kitchen where everyone would eat in to get some water. The water dispenser in their dance room ran out of water and he was sent to get water bottles for all of them.

He huffed, stuffing his hands in his pockets and greeted some of the staff passing by, eyes sliding down on the floor as his mind wandered to what kept him a little distracted during practice.

Yeon Choheun had been ignoring them for two days.

By ignoring, Taehyung meant she kept her distance between them, barely meeting their pleading eyes (Jimin, Hobi, and Jin mostly), always left early before they even woke up, arrived home first after practice and was already asleep in her room with the door closed, and only threw weak and scared smiles whenever she stumbled upon them with quick waves in greeting before practically running away.

Taehyung didn't know why she was avoiding them as if they scared her. If anything, she scared them when that incident happened two days ago.

He'd admit he was a little impressed she managed to swiftly avoid them for two days straight despite the fact they lived in the same dorm and worked in the same building. She was good at dodging, and he didn't like that. At all.

(It worried him, to be honest-)

Why was he down, if anyone were to ask? Well, his chances of befriending the girl seemed too far and nearly nonexistent now with how she was determined not to stay alone with any of them for three seconds.

Taehyung wanted to be friends! In the past few days she had moved in with them, he started to get used to having another human being living with them and he really started to like her, even if he hadn't spoken to her that much. She was nice, kind, very polite, an amazing cook if her pancakes said so otherwise (he was excited to try more of her food, honestly), super duper adorable whenever she wore those clothes that were probably twice her size with sleeves that covered her hands, had really cute and honest expressions when she enjoyed or intrigued her, and extremely shy that it's just as cute as it was heartbreaking because she's still sporting that fearful look in her eyes whenever she stared at them other than Jimin and Jin (lucky hyungs).

So yeah, he wasn't sulking or anything.

He had been sulking for two days.

Taehyung wondered, a lot, if he, maybe, made her uncomfortable when he asked her to...well, wipe his sweat away from his neck. Honestly, he really didn't know how to engage a conversation with her without shying away and possibly stutter. He wasn't a shy person, no way. He was an extrovert when it came to socializing with others, especially the staff.

But it wasn't his fault he chose that route to start building their blooming friendship! He was, probably, inspired by Jimin when he saw the dancer asking the girl to do what she did. Besides, he couldn't help but coo and melt when Choheun meekly did so to Jimin, her round cheeks so red and flushed but her small shy smile was so adorable he wanted a picture of it.

And he couldn't help but feel a little envious how comfortable and relaxed Choheun was around Jimin and their eldest hyung, Jin.

He was still wondering what Jimin and Hobi were talking about before when practicing, by the way, but he was patient enough to wait it out before finding the perfect time to confront one of them about it.

Not his fault he was curious. He just wanted to find a better way to get along with Choheun without the girl looking at him like a frightened, doe-eyed deer.

Taehyung quirked a smile when the wide room he was looking for was coming into view, already seeing a couple of the BigHit employees entering and exiting while sending the singer smiles and greetings. The room was like a big living room and a school canteen without any doors except the kitchen where anyone could cook food.

As he stepped in, hearing the calm chattering of people around the room, he looked around to find the boxes filled with water that's usually sitting in the corner of the room.

Until he heard a peal of familiar laughter.

Taehyung snapped his head to the left, eyes widening and immediately hiding behind a corner not too far.

The owner of the sound was from the girl he had just been thinking about.

Choheun was sitting in a table a little far from where people were crowding the place, a plate with something, probably food, in front of her and was talking with someone, a male, right beside her on her right. He recognized the tall male she was with; Choi Beomgyu, one of their recent trainees and the youngest in BigHit so far (Choheun was probably fourth or fifth). He'd only seen him a few times by passing, never really stayed to talk or anything. And the building he actually trained in was located somewhere else, plus where he was staying.

But-

What was she doing with him?

Not that he was judging.

And since he wasn't that far, his jaw dropped just a bit when he noticed how...really, really carefree she looked. The girl was laughing freely, a sleeve paw already covering her mouth in an attempt to muffle the sounds, eyes doe eyes behind round spectacles curved so much they were so similar to Jimin's, literally reminding Taehyung of the dancer, and her cheeks were rosy and so squish-able. She wasn't the only one laughing; the fellow teen beside her was also laughing, though not so much, meaning Beomgyu was presumably the one who made her laugh like that.

Taehyung didn't know why, but he felt a prickle of...maybe jealousy bubbling up in his stomach. Perhaps it's because he had an assumption Choheun had just met Beomgyu today (he heard a staff member say behind him for a brief second), and she was already opening up to the boy faster than she had opened up with them.

Hold on, that's not right- she barely opened up to them at all, and here Taehyung was, watching with a small envious frown how Choheun playfully reach over and slap Beomgyu's shoulder and Beomgyu quickly grabbing her wrist to stop her, smiling widely when the girl giggled and leaned forward to rest her chin on the surface of the table. Her glasses slipped down an inch, tipping to the side in the most endearing way to Taehyung, eyes shining with unshed tears from laughter.

"P-please stop! I d-don't think I ca-can take another horrible j-joke, Beomgyu-yah," Choheun's shoulders shook from the pressure of her laugh, her sweater that was still being held falling limp. Though Beomgyu kept his grip on her, smile a little bit of shy but very proud.

Taehyung's eyebrows were raised above his hairline. Beomgyu-yah? That was a complete drop of formalities. He chuckled to himself, if Jimin ever found out about this, that their youngest trainee was able to get Choheun to open up in a few hours and even earned an affectionate suffix, the dancer would throw a fit.

Jimin was literally taken with the girl. He did stare at the hallway where her room would be when they ate every time. He felt a little bad for his ninety-five partner, but he was more amused than anything.

Beomgyu chuckled, cupping the older teen's sleeve paw with both of his hands, his mirth reaching his twinkling eyes, "You're so easy to please, noona. I only told you five really bad jokes and you already look ready to fall over the chair in laughter." He said with a teasing tone, making Taehyung wonder how the hell did the younger boy managed to get Choheun to be...well, like that! So normal and comfortable and...

She acted like a normal shy teenage girl.

Choheun looked ready to glare at her fellow trainee but instead, she burst into another fit of giggles as if she remembered something (Taehyung would never admit he actually cooed under his breath because that was just adorable-) and pulled her wrist away from the boy's grip to slap his hand, clearing her throat and narrowed her eyes, "Yah, it's not that funny! Keep in mind I'm older than you, Beommie-yah," she scowled, wiggling a finger peeking under her sleeves at the boy. Too bad her lips kept twitching to form a smile.

Beomgyu kept his smug smile, "Of course, noona." The girl scowled harder at the evident tease underneath his tone. "But, I have to say," he drawled, dragging the words and smirked when Choheun's expression quickly went from annoyed to wary in an instant, "you are pretty-"

The teen whimpered slightly, sleeve paws bunching on her ears, "Please don't-"

Beomgyu didn't let her finish, his smirk growing wider, "-small. You're really, really, really small, noona. Tiny, even. I know I'm younger than you by three, but I'm pretty sure you're smaller than the average eighteen-year-olds." He added mischievously, sending the smaller teen an eye-smile and Choheun groaned loudly, covering her face while keeping in mind of her glasses.

"Oh my God, right when I was starting to like you. Where's the Beomgyu I liked the first time? All shy and fidgety, huh? I want that Beomgyu back!" she grumbled, giving the boy the stink eye with a pout (it was so cute holy-) but Beomgyu was far from fazed.

Beomgyu smiled innocently like the fifteen-year-old he was. Taehyung held back a shiver, Jeongguk used to be like that—wait, no, he still was (thankfully not all the time). The boy raised his hands in a placating manner, but the look on his face was the total opposite. "I'm just saying. It's not a crime to be honest," he shrugged casually, laughing when the glasses-wearing teen grabbed his cheek and pulled hard for a moment.

"Noona~ That hurt!"

"Yah! Quiet, you little brat! Hurry up and finish your drink so we can continue on before Son Sungdeuk-nim looks for me."

"Yes, noona,"

"Stop calling me noona in every sentence, please,"

"Okay, noo-"

"I'm done. I'll head off first."

Taehyung swallowed down a squeak (manly squeak excuse you-) and practically stumbled out of the room, plastering his back on the wall right on time for Choheun to exit, scowling with a stubborn pout as she stomped away. Right when she did so, Beomgyu was quickly catching up to her, grinning down at the smaller teen as she ignored him.

"Don't leave me, noona. You don't even know where you're supposed to go." Beomgyu stated, stuffing his hands inside his pockets as Choheun peered up at him, pouting and looking angry like a baby kitten.

She was so cute.

"Whatever. Let's get this over with,"

As the two continued to bicker (more like Choheun was the one bickering with the taller teen while Beomgyu snarked back with an easy and adoring grin at her), Taehyung watched their backs as they walked further and further away, later turning to a corner and disappearing from the singer's sight.

Taehyung turned his head to gaze at the table Choheun had previously occupied with the other trainee, his eyes soft and lips pursed. What he had just seen and heard about the Choheun...he was so confused and lost. Was there something wrong with him and the others? Was there something she knew about them and they didn't that made her shy away from them too much, even from Jimin whom she was obviously close with? He didn't understand at all.

Or, maybe, there was something holding her back from actually opening up to the group, something she wouldn't show or tell, yet she was able to be herself around Beomgyu.

Though he had a feeling it was because Beomgyu was a new trainee like her, and he was younger than her. It was understandable to Taehyung since he would probably feel the same way.

But...

Taehyung really liked the Choheun he had just seen. She acted like any teenager. A shy introvert, so reserved and closed-off, stutters around him and his bandmates with a permanent pink blush on her face and those heart-melting sleeve paws—but was actually stubborn, more sweet and adorable as ever, and quite rebellious, too, that it made Taehyung even more determined to get closer to her, to see that same smile, infectious laughter, and attitude directed at them (at him) with bright crescent eyes.

It would take a while, he knew. He saw how Jimin tried to coax the girl to open up, and he successfully did, if only by a bit. But at least Choheun was evidently calm around the dancer to the point she didn't mind his touches, her smiles a little shy as always but genuine and sincere.

Taehyung inserted his hands inside the pockets of his jeans, turning on his heels and walked back inside the room to get the things he was supposed to get, clenching his hand into a fist as he held his head high with a new promise.

He was going to get the girl to open whether she liked it or not.

Taehyung wasn't the only one who noticed something was troubling the girl. He could see it in her eyes, her wide, doe, honey-brown eyes filled with so many emotions he could read her like an open book, yet still unreadable at the same that maybe he had been staring at the front cover of the book instead of the contents inside the whole time.

He wanted to see the real Choheun.

He wanted to know what it would be like to get along with the real her, to see the days where she would greet them without running away anymore, to maybe treat her like a family, like a sister, and Taehyung could already feel those warm butterflies fluttering in his stomach at the thought of seeing that adorable smile aimed at him. He couldn't see his family a lot, the schedules taking more space of his everyday life (not that he minded, his career as an idol was his life), and he wanted to have a little sister again.

No, Taehyung wasn't replacing Choheun for his sister, or any of his siblings. Far from that.

He wanted to welcome her, to make her feel at home because it's clear to literally everyone she was still scared, homesick. She didn't feel safe, felt so out of place despite the kindness and warm smiles she got from everyone she met. Even with Beomgyu.

Taehyung grinned, carefully keeping the bottles in his arms as he made his way back to the others waiting for him.

He couldn't wait to finally see her.

Chapter Text

Three days passed since getting a tour from Beomgyu, and this time Choheun didn't exactly avoid the group. At least not on purpose, even if she would still refuse to remain eye contact no matter what because of the guilt brewing in her gut.

Their busy schedules gladly did that for her, so when they see each other, they wouldn't idle too long before getting called back to practice and get ready for their next songs after Fire that was still in progress.

Though they still try to say something to her, mostly Jimin and Seokjin, as always. Nothing new.

Much.

Choheun would still run away, too, but mostly by habit instead of running away because of what had happened a week ago. She no longer felt embarrassed, but she was really guilty for ignoring them for so long, especially when Taehyung seemed to look like a kicked puppy whenever he saw her as they passed by, pouting with hopeful eyes that Choheun had a hard time holding herself back from running to the singer and apologize profusely for being the cause of that look.

She was weak for cute things (Jaegoo—cough), and Taehyung looked like a puppy.

(Plus Jimin, he'd been staring at her the whole time if she was close by and Choheun always flushed in under his unreadable gaze-)

She knew she couldn't stay away from them for too long eventually. Like, Choheun could just walk up to them and say hi in the most casual and normal way she could muster up, the implication that she already had moved on from what had happened prior.

But like in the beginning, Yeon Choheun was a coward. She was scared. Scared that maybe they thought of her as an annoyance for ignoring them because of that incident, and that they had already moved on and just got tired of waiting for her to say something.

So, it's not her fault she felt like panicking when she thought of finally facing them. After all, she was close to getting a panic attack when, in one morning two days ago, she woke up with all of the boys already eating breakfast in the living room. They had immediately looked at her, Jimin with more hope in his eyes, but Choheun felt like suffocating and hastily rushed out of the dorm with an excuse of 'Yoon Saego-nim wants me to arrive early' before they could say anything.

(She didn't even greet them a simple 'good morning' and she felt so bad and hated herself for it the entire day after that even during practice-)

Which was bullcrap, by the way. Regardless of her new schedule, her two coaches actually gave her plenty of time to arrive at any time between seven and ten. She could be there at seven if she wished, or arrive a little late like at ten, and the two didn't mind it at all, saying something about Choheun choosing to start and appear whenever she was comfortable and didn't even try to push her or order her.

That was...really sweet of them, actually. Choheun liked how considerate they were, that they were worried if her schedule was a little too much, but she didn't mind it. It's the nicest thing she had heard so far in her time as a trainee.

But she was still confused why they cared, before brushing the thought away that they were her teachers. Of course they would be worried if she could do it or not, so Choheun would do her best to get better and better without making a single mistake no matter what. She didn't want to fail them (because what if they-).

And the past few days, she grew closer to Beomgyu and tried her best to interact with the staff a little more (she accidentally stumbled upon a few of the group's personal stylists and greeted them in a fluster but they waved it off with kind smiles and playful laughter that made Choheun warm and shy). She was still very hesitant, obviously, wanting to run away to the other direction or wish for the ground to swallow her whole, but the feeling of doubt simmered away just a bit when she discovered how amazingly kind and open the staff was, all laughing and sincere smiles.

They're still giving her that same look, however, but Choheun didn't have time to think about what those looks meant and didn't know what to make of it. Especially since they were specifically directed at her and her alone when they thought she wasn't looking.

Okay, that's a lie, she had plenty of free time after her sessions (and she felt bad about it because they were all so busy and she had way too much free time-), but even then she couldn't figure it out or connect any dots. There weren't that many things she could really think about and make sense of, honestly. So she left it be. Besides, it's not like she was going to get along with everyone in BigHit, like they were all going to accept her or even like her because everyone had their own opinions.

Choheun was fine with it.

Maybe.

She hoped she was, actually, but she wasn't that sure.

(No, she was scared because there were so many people she already liked, the most she had ever had than her coworkers in her former job, and they might-)

She sighed tiredly, closing the door behind her and languidly took her shoes off and slipped her fluffy slippers Seokjin gave her on. Choheun stepped in the room, flicking the lights on and eyed the dimly lit living room (she only turned one light on; there were two others). Her honey-brown eyes slid to the clock hanging near the kitchen, just above the dining table, and watched as the long hand tick to twelve, turning the time to exactly eight in the evening.

With another sigh, Choheun dragged herself to the room she stayed in, her sling bag hanging limply in her hand as she pulled the doorknob down and pushed the door open with her shoulder. When she was inside, she briefly glanced over her shoulder, drowsily contemplating whether or not she should lock it closed before deciding against it. She was the only one in the dorm and the others wouldn't be back until ten (Sungdeuk told her).

She threw her bag on the foot of the bed, plopping down on the bouncy mattress and fell on her back, releasing a long breath as she blankly stared at the ceiling, her mind empty and body a little numb.

Choheun was actually stressed. Only a little bit, but she was stressed when there was something she couldn't do when she practiced dancing. She couldn't change her posture fast enough, unused to such quick movement, and she could do nothing but listen to Sungdeuk reassuring her that it was fine that she couldn't nail it in a day. It took a lot of getting used to and experience to master it, but Choheun couldn't accept it. Because it told her she didn't do too well, and she still needed to know more about her body.

She was so disappointed in herself when she tried to do the move over and over again (when Sungdeuk wasn't in the room, of course), her body just refused to listen, and she hated it. She hated it because she knew she could do it, she knew, she could do better, but her body was not ready for it.

She really hated not being able to do anything when she knew she could do it.

She felt like she somehow disappointed Sungdeuk when she failed to do it, noticing the small frown on his face when he observed and watched before he told her to stop and take a break.

"Aish..." Choheun muttered, bringing her left arm above her chest and pulled the sleeve down with her right hand, sliding the palm of her hand on her wrist to feel the small bumps of her cuts and grimaced when the urge to rush to the bathroom caused her chest to pinch. Not the first time she had the urge to cut, she had it for a couple of days now but restrained herself. But, maybe...

She mentally shook her head, pulling the sleeves up to cover the faint cuts. No, there's no need to cut right now. Nothing was wrong. She was doing good. Even if she didn't do well in her dance training, she was pretty satisfied with the results with Saego.

So it's fine. There's no need to open the box filled with all her sharp blades of all kinds (her calligraphy kit was already removed from it, currently residing in a drawer).

Besides, she couldn't risk cutting so suddenly without preparation. Her usual ointment for the cuts and her stash of bandages was close to nonexistent under the bed in a med kit. If she did start cutting out of impulse, she wouldn't be able to hide it or treat the wound and then everyone in the dorm would know what she did and Choheun didn't want that. She didn't want them to see. She didn't want them to see-

Maybe she should go out in the night to buy some supplies? When everyone was home and asleep in their rooms out like a rock, so sneaking out wouldn't be too much of a hassle. She had done it before, sneaking out in a late-night or morning when her family was sleeping to buy what she needed. Though she couldn't do it all the time because- well, anxiety was there with her, especially when she was going out buying stuff alone, in the night.

The boys (or anyone in BigHit really) didn't know about her sneaking habits, probably would never assume she would do such a thing, and while Choheun felt like the dirt of the earth to use their ignorance to her advantage, she really had no choice. She could cut any time, anywhere, and she preferred to be ready than to be reckless without precaution.

She only cut to relieve some stress, relieve her mind, and nothing else, so it was normal, right? Right. At least she assumed it was normal, for her. Normal for her. 

Choheun glanced at the clock in the room, pouting slightly at the time when she realized she could only sneak out when the boys were home and asleep or somewhere at twelve. She had four hours to waste time, and she didn't know what else to do right other than-

Almost as if a light bulb lit up, Choheun felt a smile appearing on her face when she found a perfect way to pass time.

She could talk to Jaegoo again!

She had already talked to him using face time on her phone after Beomgyu gave her a tour, and after she finished all her lessons that day, and Choheun had been talking with her nephew ever since for the past three days.

Feeling her smile pulling up a little wider, Choheun jumped off the bed and quickly changed to wear something comfortable, so that when she could go out, she didn't need to change. When she put on an oversized, white winter sweater that slipped off her shoulder just a bit and black leggings, Choheun was on her bed again by her front and took her phone from the nightstand beside the bed, quickly unlocking her phone and got into the app she was looking for.

She smiled more when she noticed that Jaegoo was currently online and giggled under her breath. He was probably playing video games again, like Undertale or Plants Vs Zombies. Jaegoo may be only six, but he's a very smart and observant kid (meaning he could learn things easily and that's why he knew how to cook simple dishes now) despite not being able to fully speak properly yet. He got that from both of his parents; Dohyuk was observant towards people, he could tell if they were good or not and was great at judging them even if Choheun always judged her brother for not taking his damn medicine, and Eunji was the smartest back in her days with a surprisingly high IQ accompanied with a scary silver tongue that she didn't use that much these days (because of Jaegoo).

(Choheun was envious of how smart her unnie was because she could do math. Math gosh dammit! And she was still embarrassed and shy to ask the woman for help but Eunji helped her even when she didn't ask-)

Choheun typed something, sending the message and waited, humming under her breath. After a few seconds passed, she grinned when she got a response before messing with her phone a bit more to prepare the call.

"Noonaaaaa!" a small squeaky voice immediately sounded from her phone, echoing slightly in the room and Choheun giggled. Aigo, Jaegoo never failed to impress her. Leave it to her nephew to figure out how to use his new phone he never got to use in a span of a few days without any help (except maybe a bit from YouTube, from what he had told her).

"Good evening, Jaegoocchi-yah," Choheun greeted sweetly, tilting her phone to the side in a landscape way and smiled when she could see her nephew's face from it.

Jaegoo beamed, his smile so bright and adorable that the teen could practically feel her heart burst from the cuteness. What had she done to have someone so precious like him in her life? "Look, noona! I di' it! I know how to use th-the tingy now!" he said proudly, stuttering with his words a bit but was clearly happy he was able to use that many.

Choheun only cooed at him, she forgot to mention he had improved his pronunciation with the words he struggled within a few days as well. From what Dohyuk (she missed Eunji, but apparently the woman was still busy) had told her ever since she left, Jaegoo wanted to get better with talking so that she would be proud and that he could talk to her more, since he could no longer play with her in person, and Choheun could never be more proud of her nephew. No doubt his parents were just as proud as well.

Dohyuk's crying face was evidence.

And blackmail material—excuse her.

"It's called a phone, Jae. APhone." She repeated patiently, smiling as the boy repeated her words slowly. "Are you liking it so far?" she asked softly, placing her cheek on her fist as her feet moved back and forth in the air behind her.

Jaegoo nodded, beaming, "Uh-huh! The games is fun an' all, bu' is more fun 'cause I get to talk wi' noona more!"

Choheun was surprised her heart was still beating from all the cuteness. How did she even survive all those years ago? "Aww, I'm happy to talk with you, too, Jae-yah." She said and the boy smiled so widely. "Anyways, how is your day so far? Anything productive and fun? I hope you didn't spend the whole weekend alone. If so, I'll need to call your appa."

Jaegoo nodded eagerly, "Yeah! Kaejji-hyungie came to v-vi-visit appa and I and we played! He also help with my homewok, too!" at that, he pouted, making Choheun muffle her giggles. "Science is ha-ha-harr-" he huffed, crossing his arms childishly, "Science is not easy, noona. I don' like it."

Choheun allowed a chuckle to break free, smiling at him, "I know, Jae-yah. Noona also had a hard time with Science when she was in school back then. It's not easy, but studying really helps."

Jaegoo pouted but he nodded, "Mhmm! I like reading but there are so much di-difficult words in the book. I will do my best to understand it, noona!"

Aigo, he kept saying noona in every sentence. It reminded Choheun of Beomgyu for a brief moment. That boy wouldn't stop teasing her, the brat. Was this how Kaejji felt when she was around him? She made a self-note to apologize to the redhead when she got the chance to talk to him. "I know you will do your best. Make noona, appa, eomma, and Kaejji-hyungie proud, okay?"

"Mn!"

After that, Choheun spent nearly half an hour talking with her nephew (well, more like listening to Jaegoo ramble adorably about his day and Choheun busy trying not to melt from the sheer cuteness holy ice cream-), laughing at the tales of Jaegoo and Kaejji painting by the boy's request and the latter getting paint on his face everywhere, somehow. She smiled adoringly when Jaegoo explained what was going on in the household, Dohyuk mostly staying in bed but was able to stay out in the living room to spend time with his son (oh biscuit buns her heart-), Eunji successfully letting her boss (Choheun had met him and he was really nice) have Friday and Saturday as her official day off to be with her son more now that Choheun couldn't watch over him anymore.

Working as a busy secretary in a rich company was pretty demanding.

Choheun was glad her unnie could have more breaks now since she worked so hard to the point she might not even come back home until early in the morning at two before the weekend. Especially since Eunji only had a Sunday, and she wasn't able to play with her son and be there for Dohyuk because she needed her rest that would last the whole day.

Without even noticing, Choheun had propped herself up on the wall on the left side of the bed, leaning against it as she held her phone against her lap and continued to listen to her nephew talk about more stuff, this time about school.

She noticed she was slowly feeling relaxed the more Jaegoo talked and smiled at that thought. He always had a way of making anyone feel calm and free, especially when it was her brother and Eunji with the latter coming home stressed sometimes.

As Jaegoo switched the subject about Kaejji again, Choheun couldn't help but miss her family all over again. She missed her nephew, she missed her unnie, she missed her annoying best friend, and, of course, she missed Dohyuk the most. She missed their hugs, their touches, their smiles, their words—she just missed them. Choheun wanted to just run back home and hug them, cuddle in their familiar warmth and stay and treasure it forever.

Not that she had never treasured every single intimate moment that happened with them. She always did, because she had realized how she took everything for granted when Dohyuk had landed on the hospital when she was fifteen, staying unconscious for nearly a week that Choheun swore her heart had been stabbed at least multiple times with how her breathing stuttered every time she talked while Dohyuk was blissfully to ignorant to the world and to her words and her promises.

After he had finally woken up (she would never admit she bawled like a baby and made herself smaller in her brother's arms) and was released, Choheun had a new view of the things she liked, cared, and loved.

She loved every cuddle moments she had with her family, her playtime with Jaegoo to see the bright smile that always made her fall in love with him, her supposedly mindless banter with Kaejji that urged her to hug him whenever they walked home regardless of receiving some odd stares, the role of unnie and dongsaeng being switched when Choheun was cooking with the teen scolding the woman about 'not setting the damn noodles on fire' and Eunji taking in the lecture with stride and a wide sheepish smile, and Dohyuk's teeth-gritting stubbornness when it came to medicine and she would end up nearly falling asleep in his arms as he carded his fingers through his hair, and she-

(She missed them.)

Sure, she was making sure she got to talk with them through messaging, even though she had yet to talk with her unnie and oppa, but Choheun knew pop up words through screens and far away calls with their voices so close yet so far would never be enough for her.

Choheun wanted to be with them again, to feel the safe warmth she never realized blanket her whenever she was with them.

(She missed them.)

It sent her back to the same question that had been circling in her head ever since she started her training.

Was it really worth it to leave her family just to pursue her long-time dream of becoming an idol?

She didn't know.

Choheun really didn't know.

And, if she was being honest, she didn't want to ever answer that question if she actually succeeded in becoming an idol.

(She couldn't choose if she regretted meeting such nice and amazing people in BigHit or regretted leaving her family that were her only reason for living-)

Absently, as Jaegoo talked about food somehow, when and why she didn't know don't ask, Choheun glanced up at her clock in the room, hanging above the wall, and saw the time at '08:47'. She faced back to Jaegoo, calling him to get his attention which she successfully did so.

"Jae-yah?

Jaegoo made a sound of acknowledgment that was too cute for her to describe. "Cho-noona?"

"I think it's time to end our chat right now. It's getting late and way past your bedtime. You have school tomorrow, right?"

Jaegoo pouted, "Nooooo~ I wanna keep talking wi' noona," he whined sadly like a sad puppy and God did she want to hug him through the screen.

Choheun softened, smiling sympathetically, "I know, Jaegoo-yah. I want to keep talking to you, too, but school is important. I promise I'll talk to you again soon, okay?"

Jaegoo's pout intensified, pink bottom lip jutting out and cheeks puffing up like a chipmunk's (her heart-) but nodded slowly, reluctantly, "Mmkay," he said quietly, sulking, before brightening up a second later that Choheun was a little bewildered at the sudden change of attitude, "Talk to you again soon! Goo'night, noona! I loveyuu!" he waved energetically from the other side of the screen, smile so bright and happy Choheun just wanted to kiss his little chubby cheeks.

"I love you, too, Jaegoo. So much. Do your best in school. Fighting!" she raised a sleeve-covered fist, smiling at the boy's giggle.

"Pighting, noona!"

That was so cute, dear God.

And then the call ended, making her stare at the bright screen of her phone for a few seconds, eyes gliding up to stare at the time with a burning gaze as if it could go faster.

And then Choheun fell front-first on the bed, sighing long and loud and obnoxious. It was barely even ten and Choheun really wasn't that patient to go out and get what she needed when everyone was home and asleep.

Maybe she should just—go? Right now?

Aish... Maybe she shouldn't. Or she should? No one would notice. Probably. She could make an excuse for buying something she needed, but then she was stumped with a particular thought.

Was she even allowed to go out?

Well, it's not like anyone would know her. She's not an idol or anything... But that's not what she's really worried about. It's a Sunday, and there would be people crowding the nearby grocery store in a gas station down the street opposite of BigHit, and Choheun did not do well with crowded places or people touching her.

Okay, maybe going out in a time where people would mostly be in their beds would be better...

Choheun was so close to jumping out of her skin when she felt her phone suddenly vibrate in her hands, fumbling with it before it eventually tumbled out of her fingers. She blinked, her heart beating just a bit fast from surprise, and picked it up. A second later, her confusion melted into a soft smile, a little lopsided.

Her brother wanted to call her.

Of course he would. He probably heard her talk with Jaegoo. Her brother's room was literally beside the boy's room, and the walls were pretty thin.

Then again, it's been a while since she talked with him because the last time she did was...in the phone, chatting, through texts.

At least she thought so.

Aigo, did she forget already? Dammit...

Rolling her eyes at herself and her forgetfulness, Choheun accepted the request and waited.

And when she saw her brother's face and mouth ready to open, she immediately took over before a single word could leave his mouth. "Before you say anything, I'm sorry for not mentioning to talk with you through a video call and I know you're currently sulking I talked with Jae-yah first before you and have been talking with him for the past few days without even telling you. So," Choheun coughed, feeling herself flush when she realized she totally forgot the promise she made with her brother (to call him first when she was free), "eum, sorry."

Dohyuk raised a perfect brow slowly, somehow looking a little bit intimidating with his slightly pale-blond hair.

Choheun bit her tongue, cheeks heating up, before her self-control proved to be too weak and blurted out, "Okay, I'm not sorry, to be frank with you. So I'm sorry about that, oppa."

Dohyuk's stoic expression broke quickly and whined loudly like a child, "Babyyyyyy~! You promised me~" he pouted, almond eyes going wide and pleading like a kid.

Choheun was not amused or swayed whatsoever. "I know I did, I do, but Jaegoo-yah is my little baby nephew and your baby son. I can't say no to him."

"B-but you always say no to me! Me! Your own only brother!"

Choheun barely batted an eye, trying her best not to double over laughter. "That, I do." She admitted with no shame.

Dohyuk scowled a second later, "Yah! That's not fair! What's also not fair is that I'm actually jealous of my own son! This is all your fault, Choheunnie-yah! And also Jaegoocchi's because he keeps stealing your attention from me," he ranted, quite pointless if anyone asked her because why would her brother feel the need to be jealous over his son? That made no sense. If anything, it's supposed to be the other way around. Choheun was sure she got Dohyuk's attention more than her nephew that Jaegoo should be the one who was jealous, and Dohyuk should be jealous of her because she also stole his son's attention more.

Why was her family so confusing and so intent on 'stealing-her-attention' again? Well, that's a question she'd never find an answer to. Sadly. And she wasn't even going to try and find it. Ignorance was bliss, after all.

Not being able to hold it, Choheun let out a small chuckle, "Will it appease you if I say we can chat for as long as two hours? With no interruption"

The blonde frowned, concerned, "Are you sure, jagi? It'll be late for you there."

Choheun only shook her head, smiling reassuringly, "I actually came home first, oppa. So I have plenty of time, especially for rest. Plus, I'm sure I already told you my schedule is due to start around nine to ten in the morning." She explained and the man relaxed slightly.

"If you say so," Dohyuk said, the frown later leaving his face to show a wide smile instead. "Anyway, how are you? How is it there so far? It's almost been a week since we last talked, and it's been a week since you've stayed there in the...dorm, right? What's it like being a trainee there, or being a trainee in general? How do you feel about it? Made any friends?" he asked curiously, eyes shining with interest as he leaned forward.

The teen hummed, thinking about an answer for that. "Um... Well, for starters, it's not that bad, to be honest. As you know, the group, Bangtan Sonyeondan, are getting ready for a comeback—or more like preparing for their next comeback, not sure when, so it's pretty tame. The atmosphere, I mean. And as a trainee... hmm... To be honest, I kinda...like it?" she winced a bit, why did she end it like a question with a tone that's clearly uncertain? She hoped her brother didn't notice.

"What do you mean you 'kinda like it'? Is something going on there? Nobody's bothering you, right?" Dohyuk instantly cut through with narrowed eyes, and it was probably the lighting in his room that made her think his face darkened just a bit.

She hoped a bit too soon.

And- okay, could the world ever be on her side when it came to things like this? She swore the only time Dohyuk was actually serious was only when the topic was about something happening to her.

"No! Nothing's bothering me!" Dohyuk didn't look convinced and she realized she answered it a little too quickly. Aish, to tell that she was lying was when she answered quickly in under a second. "Really, oppa. Everyone's been so nice to me if you're wondering about that!"

Dohyuk stared at her longer than necessary that Choheun was beginning to shift nervously under his intense gaze before the man sighed, the sound so sad it caused something in Choheun to pinch. "Baby, you're lying." He said simply. Her heart ached. "And while I'm glad the people there are treating you nicely, and I can tell they are because you look happy when you mention them," Choheun shut her mouth at that, "but what I really want to know is- are you holding up okay, Choheun-ah? Please tell me the truth, and don't think I didn't notice how you dodge bringing up the idol group you're living with. I noticed the last time we've talked you barely said anything about them except when I was planning on giving them a lecture."

Choheun resisted the urge to click the exit button on the screen to stop the call and regret her decision afterward. See, this was what she meant. Before Dohyuk was bedridden, unable to go anywhere except the confinements of his bed and their apartment, he was more observant and perceptive than what people assumed. He also had the best memory that suited his talent and love for art and drawing, both digital or traditional or any kind, really, so nothing would go forgotten in his eyes and ears the moment something piqued his interest. Which also meant his observations usually paid off when it came to judging people, especially when he used to work for a few (six) months.

And Dohyuk was also an amazing convincer. Just a few words from his gentle, deep, and soothing voice would make anyone follow him without a second thought.

And Choheun—she wasn't completely unaffected by that fact, either.

Mostly because she couldn't lie to her brother when he was aware she was lying.

She released a shaky breath, sliding down from the wall just a bit. She didn't care her position was uncomfortable. "I'm...scared, oppa." She admitted quietly, voice soft and vulnerable and she didn't like it.

Dohyuk's face melted into worry and concern so fast with something a little dark. "What's wrong, then? Is it stressful?" he inquired, "That's not the case, is it? I've heard what work trainees are put under, but it's only a few days since you've started so that's not it."

Choheun shook her head, automatically reaching out to grab her blanket and draped it over her front to probably hide the sudden exposure she's feeling. "No. No, it's—it's not that, oppa. It's- I'm mostly confused. Or rather, they-... they're confusing."

Now she was sure Dohyuk's expression darkened, "Who is it, Choheun? Why? What's going on? Who's 'they'?"

"The..." she hesitated, her eyes finding his hazel brown ones, already knowing how he would react and wasn't looking forward to it. "...group. The group."

He snapped, growling, "Are they bothering you?! I swear I'll-"

Choheun panicked, she didn't say it right. Where's her mouth filter? She's making it sound like the boys were at fault, and they weren't, mind you! "Wait- no! Nonono, it's not them, oppa! It's—It's me! They didn't do anything! They didn't do anything wrong, at all! Literally! did!" she slapped her mouth, ashamed of how weak she sounded.

Dohyuk softened a bit, just slightly, the anger dimming down by a pinch. "And what, do tell, does that mean?" he grounded out, eyes still narrowed and she nearly flinched at the bite in his tone, even if she knew it wasn't directed at her and at the group.

Choheun sighed, feeling so small as she used one hand to place the blanket over her shoulders, the room suddenly feeling cold and she didn't notice how Dohyuk faltered at the sight. "The group- the Bangtan boys are nice, oppa. They're nice. They're so nice to me, and—and it's probably all my fault for making them think as if I didn't like them because I'm always avoiding them." She confessed, not adding that she only started to avoid them because of a certain incident.

Dohyuk looked confused, "If they are nice like you said, why are you avoiding them?" Choheun stayed silent at that, and slowly, the realization caught up to the man as he widened his eyes, immediately trying to catch her gaze but she was avoiding it. His shoulders sagged, "...You're scared they might turn their backs on you." She still didn't say anything, biting her tongue. "I'm right, aren't I?"

Choheun flushed, chewing on her bottom lip as she fiddled with the edge of the blanket and only nodded, refusing to say a thing with the possibility of spilling everything that's been in her mind about how the boys were treating her (Jimin and Seokjin mostly) and what she felt about it.

Dohyuk smiled, but it was too sad and understanding and at times like these Choheun really wanted his comforting hugs right now because she felt like crying. Only he could understand and read what was going on with her when she didn't know, when she couldn't understand what's going on herself. "Baby, Choheun-ah, you can't do this forever, you know? I know I didn't convince you about this, you don't want to listen, but thinking like this isn't healthy."

"Thinking like what?" she bit back, suddenly defensive and she wanted to take it back and say sorry and cry but she couldn't. There were times (a lot) where she wasn't honest towards her own brother when it came to talks like this.

"Thinking that everything is your fault and that you don't deserve any friends when you dodammit-" Dohyuk stopped himself, trying to calm his breathing and hold back from saying something she wasn't supposed to hear. "Choheun, you need to stop doing this to yourself. It's not healthy, it's practically hurting you, and I'm worried you might start cutting again because of this when everything is too much for you."

Choheun felt her heart jump up to her throat. He knew. He knew. How did he know? When did he know? How long did he- "Wh-what? Cutting, I- how- no, I'm not c-cutting, oppa-"

"Eunji told me. She saw there were fresh cuts on your wrist, Choheun. She didn't know how recent, but I'm sure it wasn't that long. And as much as I want to be mad and scold you for lying to me—to all of us for two years, two damn years 'cause you've lied to my face for that longI can't magically go over there and tell you face to face myself." He took a deep breath, massaging his temples and he suddenly looked like his age. Choheun hated that she was the one who caused it (why couldn't she do anything right-). "Listen, I know there's no convincing you, I know that. We all know that. But please, Choheunnie, don't hide away this time. I don't know anything about the idols with you, but I can somehow tell you genuinely like them; you want to talk and hang out with them more, like how you wanted to do around Kaejji, but you're holding yourself back because there's a chance they'll leave you if you do something that they might not like and I highly doubt it—and, jagi, I can guarantee you they won't. They won't leave you, Choheun. If they're how I think they are, then there's no way they'll leave you. They're not like our parents. No one is like our parents."

Choheun didn't notice her eyes watering, but she did notice her vision getting blurry so she blinked it away. "H-how do you know? How are you so s-sure about that, oppa?"

Dohyuk looked as if he was in disbelief, like what she had just said was the stupidest thing out there, gaping at her. "Choheun, do you not realize how fucking amazing you are? You're the sweetest little thing to ever exist and I swear there have been a million times I've thank God, even if I'm not religious, how damn lucky I am to have a little sister like you. To have someone like you, period." He stated them like they were facts he and the others already knew and she didn't. "You care about the tiniest things, even the things that didn't concern you to begin and God does that annoy me because it makes me want to hide you myself. You watch over us and take care of us like a true mother that even Eunjinie can't escape you, and don't even get me started about how precious you are. There's not a single time I don't wish I could get better so I can make up for the years I couldn't help you, be there for you when you needed someone the most, couldn't bring you to the park to get you ice cream or watch you play in the swings, something you've always wanted to do even after our parents left before you stopped thinking about normal kid-like things once you got into middle school to high school. You-" Dohyuk cut himself off, glancing at her and his face softened considerably.

"You deserve better, Choheun-ah. You need to let others see what you're hiding for once, to let them in, so they can see the Choheun we see. The Choheun I see. The Choheun we love and treasure forever. And if they turn away like those jerks in your high school days then fuck them. They don't matter."

Choheun didn't know she was crying until she noticed a wet stain on her sleeve paw that was covering her mouth in the middle of his rant (was it a rant?). When she did, she tried to wipe them away, wanting them to disappear and leave her alone because she didn't want to get emotional, she hated getting emotional because it means weakness, it shows how pathetic she was, but they wouldn't stop because she never expected her brother to say something like this. She never knew he really thought that way about her. She really thought he only cared and loved her because she was his little sister, and that she would always stay by his side and he'd do the same but not... not this.

Now that she thought about it, Choheun had never asked her brother what he thought about her, always ignoring the topic by squishing her in a tight hug and mutter sweet words (that weren't nothing) in her ears and she'd end up feeling warm and fuzzy and sleepy.

A wet giggle tumbled out of her lips, avoiding her brother's gaze by repeatedly wiping and rubbing her eyes with her sleeves. "Y-you're so c-cruel, oppa." She giggled a bit more at his squawk of protest, immensely offended. "I th-thought I was g-going to ha-have a normal conversation a-about what y-you did and not e-end up c-cr-crying bec-cause you went to a-another d-deep lecture. An em-em-motional o-one." Aish, damn her stuttering. Why was she so emotional?

Dohyuk blinked, hazel eyes wide and bewildered, before breaking into a wide, adoring smile. "Ah, you know me. I always know what to say when I can see you acting the way I hate so much. It's my job to make sure you don't fall under again." He frowned then, serious. "But I'm serious. You like the boys, don't you?" she nodded slowly, shy, and he beamed, "Then don't run away like how you ran away from Kaejji when he wanted to be by your side until the end, when he admitted he liked you for you regardless of your problems and history. You should've seen how helpless and pitiful he looked when he came to me and asked if there's something about him you didn't like, or if he had done something that caused you to ignore him for nearly two weeks. Like maybe him cursing twenty-four-seven made you turn your nose away or hide behind anything that's blocking his view of you."

Choheun unconsciously gasped, "W-wait, that's why he kept looking at me like some sort of sad puppy? I-I thought did something that made him sad!"

Dohyuk blinked before promptly throwing his head back, cackling, "Aigo-yah, you're both hopeless back then, oh my God! Don't change, Choheunnie. Don't ever change."

Choheun whimpered, confused, "Oppa!" she whined, her face flaming up in embarrassment.

When Dohyuk finally calmed down, clearing his throat, he looked at her again with a soft smile. "Seriously though, I know it's not like school, and I know you're not adapting to everything yet without feeling a sliver of doubt, but it's okay to be yourself there, jagi. And if you still disagree with me, at least try. Try to let someone else, other than me and the others, in your life. You won't be seeing us for a long time, probably until after you debut but I doubt it, too, because of your possible busy schedules, so it'll make me breathe easier to know someone is watching over you and supporting you when we can't. Can you do that for me, Choheun? Please, babygirl?" he pleaded hopefully, almost begging, and Choheun already knew she was a goner for this man, for her loving brother.

Had been the moment he decided to name her 'Choheun' when their parents refused to officially name her for the first four years of her life without letting the doctors know (surprisingly).

And the fact he called her 'babygirl', a pet name he hadn't used in a while unless he was desperate for something.

With a defeated sigh, Choheun nodded slowly, a smile quirking up when she heard her brother cheering in the background. "I'll t-try, oppa. I-I'll try, but it doesn't mean I'll open up to th-them in a blink. That'll be weird, and I m-might not like it."

Dohyuk nodded like an attentive student, "Mhmm. That's more than enough. Even if it takes months, I'm happy you're willing to try, though I know it'll take a lot of energy in you to do so. Thank you, Choheunnie-yah." He said softly, eyes filled with so much love and utter adoration and smile unmistakably tender and doting.

Choheun blushed brightly at the look, shyly glancing away but didn't do anything to hide or stop the small, happy smile on her face. "Aigo, I should say that to you instead, not the other way around." At least she wasn't crying anymore and her voice was stable, despite ignoring the tear stains left on her cheeks and her puffy, probably red eyes and red nose. And cheeks. Also the cheeks. And maybe her lips, too, because she had been absently biting it without knowing it.

It felt swollen when she briefly went to touch it, so obviously, she had been biting it.

Dohyuk's face morphed into an offended expression in seconds, sputtering, "Yah! Stop doing that! Every time I say something deep and comforting to ease your worries, you immediately say something like—like this! Or that! It makes me think you're the one who said something amazing. Just accept my thanks and say 'you're welcome'!"

Noticing the playful air coming back, Choheun smiled wide with a hint of cheekiness (and relief-) and then quickly sported an innocent look, "I don't think I follow, Dohyukkie-oppa."

The blonde squawked, "Aish, you little brat!" Choheun only laughed, not reacting to any of her brother's protests thrown at her as she wiped her face, letting the tear stains soak into her sleeve to remove the evidence before smiling back at her brother, listening to his rants while pretending to not listen at the same time. That only provoked Dohyuk to scowl and shout.

Inwardly, she was smiling so fondly at her brother. Only he knew his way with words, and while it was probably near-impossible to face the boys she admired so much right now, Choheun was willing to maybe cover the distance between them slowly. Greeting them in the morning properly with smiles and a few words was a good start, right? She hoped it was. And besides, she really wanted Jimin to stop looking at her like that. Same with Taehyung, Seokjin, and Hoseok.

Listening to her brother move on to a different topic about food, much like Jaegoo because like father like son, and she argued that 'lamb skewers were food made by heaven', Choheun kept track of the time as she laid on the bed on her front, propping herself up with her elbows and her phone just in front of her levered with a pillow.

Unbeknownst to the honey-eyed teen, someone had come back from practice to get something. He had overheard a conversation Choheun had with her brother, smiling at how adorable she had looked when he took a small peek from the door without any noise, and was ready to leave her alone when he realized she was fine, but stopped frozen when he had heard what was bothering the girl.

What was truly bothering the girl and her brother's words that imprinted itself in his head, repeating the words over and over again like a broken record that had never been fixed in a long time.

Hoseok was sitting on the ground, back resting on the wall beside Choheun's door that was slightly opened, meaning she didn't see him at all. He had a leg propped up to throw his arm over it, head tilted back against the wall as the phone that belonged to Yoongi's stayed limp in his other hand on the floor, dried up tears sticking on his cheeks down to his chin. Not once had he wiped them away.

Realizing he still had to return to the others, Hoseok wiped his eyes, pushing himself up with ease silently and released an inaudible, shaky breath that was close to catching in his throat before it quickly turned into a silent gasp to control his quivering breathing.

Clenching his fingers around his hyung's phone, Hoseok briskly walked away as quietly as he could, slipping his shoes on and slowly closed the door behind him, practically running down the stairs as he made his way back to BigHit.

Chapter Text

Okay, this was ridiculous. Her brother was so damn stubborn that it literally took her almost five minutes to persuade Dohyuk to end the call.

"Oppa, I think it's time to end the call." 

"What?! Already?! B-but I wasn't even done explaining-"

"Dohyukkie-oppa, it's already ten in the evening, pretty late, and you should sleep, I should sleep, we should both sleep-" a lie, because she wanted to make dinner and eat since she hadn't eaten a thing when she got back, "-I really need to go and wasting my battery right now is not advisable."

"Butbut jagiyaaa~! Can't you just, I don't know, charge your phone? You have the power bank Kaejjinie-yah gave you, right? It's not that late~" Dohyuk whined through the screen, causing the teen to roll her eyes so hard her head moved with it. Fondly and playfully, of course.

Nope. Not really. Not the latter. She was more annoyed and exasperated than anything.

And she couldn't choose between laughing her head off at the adorable and ridiculous nickname he gave her best friend (though he always said it around her and the male in question), or shake her head in exasperation. Plus, wasn't he always the one scolding her for staying up late? Now he was asking to talk longer? What a stubborn hypocrite.

She chose the second option, in the end, and added another eye roll with it because it's Dohyuk. She might've rolled her eyes all the time without noticing it because. Dohyuk.

"Goodnight, oppa-yah." The man whined more but she ignored it. "Sweet dreams, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite, la la la layada yada yada, though I highly doubt there are any of those little critters left roaming there, or I swear..." she muttered the last part and Dohyuk must've heard it anyway since he bursts out laughing, the sound loud yet breathy and filling her with warm flowers blooming in her stomach. God did she love him. So damn much.

"Fair enough. You managed to convince me to sleep because, now that you mentioned it, I am feeling pretty tired." Dohyuk chuckled, a yawn suddenly breaking free as if to prove his point and didn't make a move to cover it, an obvious sign that he was more tired than he looked (he was tired-looking and pale, to begin with, so...).

Choheun giggled airily, feeling her eyes curve up that her vision was just slightly restricted before calming down, suddenly feeling demure and played with the edge of her phone. "I...I love you, Dohyuk-oppa." She said softly, voice turning a little quiet and shy every time she would utter those words. Not only to her brother, but to her family, really (even to Jaegoo. She only relented when he wanted to hear her say it).

Dohyuk's response to it was the same as always, smile wide and idiotic like a lovestruck teenager, eyes just as soft as hers and smile wide, tender, doting, and so affectionate that it made him more handsome (before Eunji, Dohyuk was a pretty good-looking boy back then, he was just as dense as she was, though). He seemed to love those words said to him even more than her saying it, if that made any sense. Mostly because she rarely mouthed those words in general. Not even to Jaegoo sometimes. "I love you, too, baby. So much."

Choheun blushed, huffing, shy, "Aish, just go away now. You're making me flustered, you stubborn oppa-yah of mine." She said, her finger hovering over the end video call button, pouting.

The blonde chuckled again, grinning, "As you wish, you stubborn but cute dongsaengie of mine." He threw her words back with a more loving undertone that she was sure her cheeks were apple red. Oh, leave it to Yeon Dohyuk to leave her flustered with a couple of words.

"Bye,"

"I love you, too~!"

Choheun ended the call, staring at the screen for a moment then sighed, face still red and tried to will it away as she hid her face with her sleeve paws.

"Ah, what exactly is functioning that head of his? Is it really his goal to turn me into a tomato?" she groaned in her sleeves, the noise muffled but she didn't care about it except for the fact her face still felt a little too hot. Her brother was the absolute worst.

She loved him way too much.

Rubbing her face, Choheun dropped her phone along with the power bank (oh, yeah, she had been charging the entire timenot like she was going to say that to Dohyuk or else they would've been talking until the morning and nope) and pushed herself off the bed, walking out of the room and made her way to the kitchen. She was hungry. Had been the moment she started calling Jaegoo, but she didn't want to say anything, especially to Dohyuk. He was going to scold her for forgetting to eat.

Choheun pulled the fridge open, slowly blinking as she stared at everything inside before her brain finally caught up to her, eye twitching.

Right.

The whole week they've only been eating takeouts. Not including the one time she had made pancakes. She'd rather not think about that, thank you very much.

Choheun pouted, closing the fridge and leaned against the counter behind her, playing with her sleeves as she glanced around the room, trying to think of what she could do to eat. Maybe order a takeout? Ah, no, Choheun was going to panic the moment she heard another voice on the other side of the phone she wasn't familiar with.

She flickered her gaze back to the clock, the time '10:04' meeting her eyes and memory. She pursed her lips, glancing back at the fridge, then at the clock, before landing her honey eyes at the door just beside the kitchen that had a small wall.

Maybe...

She could go out and buy stuff now?

Yes, Choheun planned to leave in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep and oblivious to the world around them the moment their faces met the pillow, but...

Maybe it's a good idea to go now. No one was going to suspect a thing if she bought food for the fridge, right? She would just buy stuff that would last them a week if any of them would take over the kitchen to cook, and no one would suspect her buying other things that weren't even food-related. It sounded really tempting, honestly.

Choheun looked at the clock one last time, letting her gaze stay for a little longer with her face blank along with her thoughts, watching it tick to '10:06'.

Very, very tempting.

...

There wouldn't be another chance. Besides, Choheun was really hungry and there's no way she was going to make a phone call to a stranger just to order food.

Pushing herself off the counter, Choheun made a decision and went back to the room she was staying in, quickly grabbing a thicker sweater in the closet and pulled it over herself. She rushed to the bathroom, grabbing a comb to quickly straighten the messy knots on her hair and her curly bangs (that were not supposed to be curly-) and applied lip balm over her peach lips to prevent them from drying from the cool air outside. It was still March, and it meant it was still cold and still winter.

After picking her glasses up from the nightstand beside the bed, sliding it above her ear as it rested above her nose bridge and pulling the soft scarf hanging by the door, Choheun was about to close the door and lock the bedroom before she paused, blinking when a sudden thought entered her head.

What if the others might be looking for her or asked if she was in the room if they came home first before she came back? That would be bad, she wouldn't want them to come looking for her, or worry where she went if they actually might be worried.

With a long sigh, Choheun opened the door and walked inside the room again, quickly finding a sticky note she kept in a drawer along with a speedball dip pen and used the wall as a supporting flat surface to place the paper on, writing a simple and short sentence before returning the pen.

Choheun was out of the room as quick as she had gotten inside and closed the door, locking it with the key she was given (courtesy by Hyojee) and gently placed the sticky note on the front of the door, using her thumb to slide the top of the note where it would stick to keep it up there. She took a small step back to examine it, cocking her head slightly to the side with blinking wide eyes behind golden-rimmed spectacles.

I'm going out for a quick shopping trip because there's barely any food in the fridge. I'll be back soon if I'm not here yet.

-Yeon Choheun :)

The said girl blushed a little at the small face she added, shaking her head at how silly it was but it was too late to replace it and make a new one. She used a pen, after all. And the sticky note was pink, so correction ink wasn't going to work out well since it was white and a little thick.

Uwah, she needed new materials soon. That correction ink was the last one she had and it was pretty old.

With a quiet, amused huff at where her thoughts suddenly led her to, Choheun turned on her heels and walked out to the front door, slipping out of her comfy slippers and slid some simple shoes and tying them before standing up, pulling the door open and closed it behind her, turning the key until she heard a soft click.

Sighing softly through her nose, Choheun turned her back on the door and made her way down the stairs, turning on a corner and finally left the dorm.

 


 

"Is it December or what? Aish..." Choheun muttered to herself as a harsh shiver shook her entire body, hugging herself tighter to keep her sweater closer to her covered skin and pulled the scarf higher until it covered her lips just below her nose. She let a small breath of air out of her lips, watching as a cloud formed above her until it dissipated just as quick as it formed. She shivered again.

Choheun didn't know how long it had been, but she was sure she had been walking around for nearly ten minutes around the neighborhood surrounding the dorm. Maybe even twenty.

Since she wasn't that prideful, Choheun wasn't ashamed to admit she was lost. But she was prideful enough to never admit that to anyone if asked. She had some pride, okay?

Choheun whimpered, bottom lip jutting out as she looked around her surroundings, watching a few people pass by doing their own thing, like two couples holding hands and sticking together to stay warm. Probably. That's what she thought, anyway.

She sighed, another puff of cloud forming but she paid no mind to it for now since she'd usually be fascinated by it all the time when it was winter. Maybe she should've asked Hyojee where the closest department store would be before venturing out on her own.

But, then again, Hyojee might possibly freak out and then scold her for going out on her own without anyone accompanying with her. Choheun wasn't sure when the stylist had become like her brother, like another clone, but oh well. Whatever happened, happens.

Choheun glanced back up from where she was looking at the ground, blinking a bit when she saw a police car positioned where a nearby roundabout and traffic light would be.

Gathering her courage (and keeping her anxiety in-check-), Choheun trotted to the car, a little relieved and a little intimidated when she saw a police officer leaning against the car, a cup of what she assumed to be coffee gripped around his fingers. It had probably just been bought since there was still steam emitting from it.

She brightened just slightly, maybe a store was nearby after all. As she closed by, she faltered slightly in her steps when she noticed there was another man inside the car, but what made her uneasy was the fact the other man was in the back of the car, leaning against the window.

She mentally shook her head, willing her heart to calm down. Maybe it was another one of those drunk men wandering around the neighborhoods. It's been mentioned in the news plenty of times already, that many drunk men had been getting themselves in trouble probably because of not being able to get a job that was too busy, so she wasn't that worried since the police were more active at times like these (wait, no, they were active all the time what was she talking about).

Luckily, the news about that was only minimum, so not completely that much or a threat. Which was why she didn't open up the news much, or any news in general since it had only started earlier in February. She tried not to watch the news much since they were thoroughly and honestly depressing.

That didn't mean she wasn't cautious, however. And since she didn't know this neighborhood, she wouldn't know any shortcuts to escape just in case. It's better to be ready than not. Like, run. And Choheun was a damn good runner and she wasn't that shy to admit it.

"Excuse me! S-seonsaengnim?" Choheun called out with a nervous stutter, tugging her scarf up a little higher so it nearly covered half her face (to hide away from the police officer or from the coldness? She wasn't sure) as she slowed down once she was getting closer.

The man perked up, turning to face the smaller girl and Choheun definitely felt small because he was tall. Or maybe everyone she had met was tall, but that's beside the point right now.

The officer didn't look too old. In fact, he looked fairly young, maybe around Seokjin's age. And he was admittedly attractive, too.

She was not going to admit she had been admiring his flawless face for a second because come on, everyone had amazing skin and hair. She took care of her skin, too, but mostly she avoided using cheap beauty products since they might cause the opposite effect of what she wanted for her skin.

"May I help you with something?" he said kindly, his smile just as polite as his words as he pulled his cup of coffee away from his mouth for the time being to respond.

Choheun flushed, feeling her anxiety prickling in the back of her head but pushed it away because she was wasting time. "A-ah, um... D-do you know where the c-closest convenient store or supermarket would be? I'm new to this neighborhood, just moved a week ago, really, so I-I'm a little lost." She asked, fiddling with her sleeves to keep the cold air away from making contact with her skin.

The man smiled, nodding, and Choheun was relieved since there would've been a chance he bought the coffee elsewhere and he had just parked in the neighborhood to drink here. "Yes and no. The only supermarket here that's open in this time is closed, and a little far." She refrained from pouting, how was she going to get the vegetables, then? "But there is a gas station just around the first two houses in front of you to the left. Are you heading there?"

Well, she guessed it wasn't that bad to maybe buy snacks instead of making a dish. Instant Ramyeon sounded fine, especially her favorite one. Garlic-flavored, mildly spicy Namja Ramyeon. Or maybe Koka noodles. Instant ramen?

Ah, as long as she could eat and fill her empty stomach, anything would suffice.

Choheun nodded, glasses bobbing slightly with the movement. "Mn! I need to get some things."

"Well, be safe on your trip there and on your way back. You've heard of the news going around, right?"

"Y-yes, I have,"

"Then do stay safe, gashina-ssi," Choheun blinked, was that a Busan word she heard? 
Even if it continues on for a few weeks. Next time, though, I suggest you bring someone along with you if you plan on doing this again." He said with a hint of worry, glancing around the place before gazing back at her.

Choheun nodded diligently, smiling slightly, "I will keep that in mind." She bowed waist down, "Thank you for your help, seonsaengnim."

She waved the officer another goodbye before continuing on, the older male chuckling slightly with a returned wave, a little skip on her steps as she turned to the left. The teen instinctively hummed the comeback song of a certain group she's living with under her breath, a small smile on her face as her hair swayed side-to-side from her little skips.

Choheun brightened once she finally saw the gas station the kind officer told her. It was definitely and mostly empty, not many people around in the area, but that's what she liked since it meant no accidental contact or forced words of apologies she'd be shy to really say (even if she was really sorry, though). There was one car with a man getting his car refilled, but that was pretty much it. And, oh, it must be luck or something because there was a pharmacy beside the convenient store. Even better to buy what she wanted!

Rubbing her hands together despite being covered with her sweater's sleeves, Choheun walked in as the glass doors slid open once it scanned her presence, breathing out when the extreme coldness dimmed down the moment she stepped inside the store. It was pretty warm and tame and she appreciated it.

"Omo, welcome, lost stranger!"

Choheun jumped, whipping her head to the owner of the voice and blushed slightly when she was met with a beautiful woman with brown hair up in a neat bun, coffee-colored button-up and an apron in the front. She was probably an employee here.

"O-oh, g-good evening..." Choheun trailed off nervously, eyes finding the woman's name tag before looking back up. "...Daye-ssi," she forced herself to say it, even if she wanted to take it back and die in embarrassment because just what. It's not like her to call someone casually (a little bit but same thing!), but the woman didn't look that older than her so it was fine, right? She didn't mind dropping the last name as long as it wasn't someone she was starting to like (cough—Seokjin). There's a big difference.

And the woman looked nice, so she definitely didn't mind dropping the formality.

Weo Daye smiled widely, clearly delighted, making her look younger and pretty and Choheun was already admiring her. So pretty. "Good evening, too, kkoch-ssi!" the teen was sure she exploded red at the sudden and unexpected (though not completely unwelcomed but she wasn't going to admit that-) nickname. "What brought you here, hm? Looking for a midnight snack?" she asked curiously, looking away to resume filling some cans back in their place.

Choheun giggled quietly, moving to the chiller where the eggs, juices, milk, and other dairy stuff were. "Ah, no. I'm just buying some things to make dinner."

Daye made a noise of understanding, bending down to arrange some cans below. "Oh, okay. May I ask why this late, though? Did you come here alone?"

"U-uh, I kind of overslept when I came back from...work," a lie, "and uh- yes. I came here alone." She answered as best as she could, walking around a bit to find some ingredients to make a simple and quick japchae. Choheun was quick to hide her surprise when she noticed a lot of sauces in an isle she found and a fruit and vegetable one in the far corner.

For a simple convenient store in a gas station, it seemed more like a supermarket to her (now that she thought about it, it was really big and wide in a small gas station that's not exactly small, per se). It even had garlic and meat, two things she needed the most to make japchae! She was so going to come here more often.

Daye clicked her tongue, standing up and clapping her hands clean but Choheun could tell she sounded worried. "It's pretty late, kkoch-ssi. When you come back in a time like this, don't forget to bring someone with you. From what I can tell, you're not exactly an adult, are you?"

Choheun blushed, feeling the woman's knowing stare and cleared her throat. That was exactly what the officer told her, too. "Y-yeah. Sorry. I-I will keep that in mind, Daye-ssi," she sent the woman a small smile and Daye grinned, giving her a thumbs-up before turning around and walking to a door that said 'Staff Only'.

"Good! I expect you to come back with another company!" she shouted from where she was inside. Then quickly poking her head out, the teen blinking in bemusement. "I hope you don't mind, but may I ask what your name is? I have a gut feeling I'll be seeing you more."

Choheun blinked, that was what she had thought, too. This small convenient store had everything she needed—well, except for clothes, of course. "Yeon Choheun, Daye-ssi."

Daye smiled, showing the front row of her teeth, "Cute name. But I'm sticking with kkoch, if you don't mind."

Okay, what was with the nicknames? Choheun didn't mind, but it was something she was not used to. Maybe the people in the neighborhood were just really nice? It's not like she knew much about Gangnam-gu or Seoul. Heck, she wasn't even that knowledgeable with the geography of her own country.

Pathetic, really.

"...Uh, no, I don't mind at all, Daye-ssi."

"Daebak, you're so formal~! I like you already, just give me a call if you're done!"

Choheun only ducked her head bashfully and went back to focusing on listing off the ingredients she needed in her head when the woman was gone. Aigo, thank God her anxiety was at bay or else she would've panicked the moment she engaged a conversation with Daye.

Shaking her head, Choheun moved to the meat area, pulling the top open and scanned the meat inside. She reached down to pick a small pack of beef and pork shoulder (she pouted for a second, there wasn't any filet mignon). Putting in the basket she picked up nearby, she moved to the vegetable area and grabbed a pack of garlic ready, placing it beside the meat and left the basket down on the ground for a bit to get the vegetables she needed.

When she was done ripping some plastic and plucking out some spinach, green onions, white mushrooms, carrots, and red bell peppers, Choheun decided to manually price them herself since she didn't want to bother Daye, apparently the only employee still active, right now.

Choheun lifted her head up when she heard the automatic doors slide open, signaling her someone else had entered. Her relaxed smile soon faded slightly when she saw who came in.

A man, probably in his mid-thirties, and all he was wearing were wrinkled dark clothes with some looking worn out, a black beanie on his head, and a stubble around his jaw and chin.

And Choheun immediately didn't like him when she met his gaze for the briefest second. His face was pale, bags underneath his eyes, and his eyes were bloodshot and wide.

She quickly averted her gaze away, trying to calm her racing heart and seem normal as she picked the basket up and brought it to the counter where the cashier would be. The trainee was getting red warnings in her head around the man, wanting nothing more than to run and hide away from his too intense gaze she could feel boring on her head.

Choheun mentally cried in relief when she saw Daye coming back from the backroom, pausing to take a subtle glance at the man behind the girl stalking towards the drink area (why was there even a drinking isle? Because there's always soju and such in every store, right).

Daye met her eyes, like literally in the eyes, and smiled, a silent conversation sparking through their eyes. "Is this all you need, kkoch-ssi?"

Choheun nodded curtly, nervously nudging her glasses up as she released a silent, shaky breath. "Y-yeah. Th-this is all, Daye-ssi."

Daye smiled and swiftly scanned all the items, Choheun lending a hand to stuff them in plastic bags, and looked up. "That'll be ten-thousand five-hundred sixty-three and eighty-eight won, kkoch-ssi." The teen fumbled to get her wallet, giving her card to the woman with both hands and the other accepted it with a smile, sliding the card on something Choheun didn't know since all she could focus on was the reflection of the other person in the store slowly approaching them with a bottle of wine.

Choheun snapped back to Daye when she felt warm hands covering her covered ones, slipping her card back in her fingers and smiled wide, but she could see the concern in the woman's eyes. "Have a safe walk back home, kkoch-ssi. I hope you don't come back alone, okay?" she whispered quietly, squeezing briefly before letting go.

"I promise, Daye-ssi. Stay safe, too."

Daye winked, smiling, "Don't worry about me, little flower. My manager is actually resting in the back room and we'll be closing up soon later in an hour. Worry about yourself first."

Choheun smiled shakily, muttering a grateful 'thank you' and slung the plastic bags on her arms and waved Daye goodbye before skittering out of the store, the doors sliding open and the cold instantly surrounding her, causing a shiver to run up her spine.

Breathing in, she started making her way back to where she came from, keeping the bags in her arms steady since they were a bit heavy and continued to hum another BTS song, this time one of her favorites, 'Just One Day'.

Haruman neowa naega hamkkehal su ittdamyeon

Haruman neowa naega sonjabeul su ittdamyeon

Haruman neowa naega hamkkehal su ittdamyeon

Haruman (Haruman) neowa naega hamkkehal su ittdamyeon

"Ah, aigo-yah..." Choheun stopped, pouting when she realized why her vision was getting blurry. She pulled her glasses off and began wiping the lens with her undershirt with a smoother material, grumbling as she did so.

She sighed, smiling softly as she watched the lens start to clear like crystals. She really needed to hurry up, her stomach was still empty and craving for food, specifically japchae for some reason. Kimchi or bokkeumbap would've been nice, too, but she'd allow her stomach to make the choice for her. Or her head, but whatever.

Right as she made a move of slipping her glasses back on, Choheun felt a sudden chill run down her spine, a ringing sound in her ears, and the subtle hairs on the back of her neck rising up.

Footsteps.

There were faint footsteps, and they stopped the same time she did.

Please tell her it wasn't what she was thinking...

Shakily bringing a hand up her chest where her heart would be, clutching the front of her sweater to steady herself, Choheun glanced around her to see if anyone was around and, right then and there, she actually wished people were still awake in Sunday night because all she could see around her was empty and quiet darkness with the flickering street lights not helping one bit.

Swallowing a lump in her throat, Choheun made trembling step forward, feeling paranoid as she heard the crunch of the leftover snow in the ground with every step she made. Her shaky breathing was one of the only things she could hear, plus her thumping heart she could practically feel in her ears.

She soon felt nausea and dread mix together to form a rock and drop in her stomach when she heard the same footsteps resume, the sound not too far and—and it was... it was...

How close was it?

Biting her lip until her brain was telling her for relief, Choheun turned her head slightly over her shoulder, her blood instantaneously running cold that wasn't from the coldness around her when she saw a figure walking a few feet away from her.

Shibal.

She could always shrug it off and kindly call the person out that following someone (a girl, too) was not cool, but who was she kidding? All her safe assumptions were thrown away out the window the moment she realized the figure had started walking a little faster when she looked back and—fuck.

Maybe it was surely safe to assume she knew what kind of person they were and why they were following a teenage girl like her in an empty and dark area in the street.

So Choheun did the only thing any sensible female teenager would do in a situation like hers in a late hour close to twelve.

She fucking ran.

No longer caring if she might've bumped the eggs or bottles inside the plastic bag in her arms, maybe even cracking a few with the cracking sounds, the only thing Choheun could really hear was her pounding heart and the footsteps soon sounding like running behind her, and she cursed at herself for thinking it was a good idea to go out in a time like this and in a place she wasn't even familiar with and—and what the fuck was she thinking?

She had the biggest urge to shout that person (a man, definitely a man- wait, what if it was the same man earlier in the gas station? Oh shi-) to hell and back with all the curse words she knew, apologies to her brother she didn't mean to learn them, but she couldn't because all she could think was run, run, runrunrun-

Choheun refrained from laughing out loud hysterically like a crazy person, of course she would immediately scold herself now when something bad was happening. Only she could think of such things about herself because she hated how careless she was at this moment.

She'd finish hating herself and bang her stupid head in a metal wall when she was safe and back in the dorms, first.

Panting harshly and feeling sweat beginning form on her forehead and her neck despite the cold climate, Choheun forced her legs to run as fast as they could, eyes wide and panicking as she realized she didn't know where she was and needed to make a choice right now and fast because she could hear the man gaining speed.

Ha, for a drunk person, he could run as fast as she could. Or maybe she was so hungry and that's why she wasn't at her best speed.

Fuck.

Without even thinking, Choheun turned to a sharp right, feeling a small bubble of a relieved, frightened laugh that was barely a whisper escaped her when she heard the man slip and curse loudly (she was a good runner for a reason, and thank God since it meant the slippery street wouldn't bother her). But that same relieved feeling was turned into dread and horror a millisecond later when she caught sight of what was in front of her.

A bunch of garbage bags and cardboard boxes huddled near a street light that's meeting a wall and alleyway she was directly heading with speed and she either must be cursed, in a mother fucking horror movie, or the world straight-up just hated her because she couldn't dodge it on time-

Bracing herself, Choheun bit her tongue as her leg hit the boxes, yelping in pain when she hit the rough cement of the ground, thanking her fast reflexes for quickly protecting her face and head, and cringed when everything she bought jumped out of the plastic bags and spread everywhere.

But maybe she wasn't that lucky enough because Choheun felt her throat close up when everything in front of her was too blurry. If her glasses were gone and possibly broken, fuck, if she didn't completely protect her head the impact on the ground even with her arms and had a minor concussion or whatever, fuck, and if they were tears, fuck, too.

They were all terrible options anyway, so she wasn't going to choose.

When she heard the footsteps getting louder and way too close for comfort, Choheun pushed herself off the ground and scrambled to get up, her leg ready to kick off in a sprint, but her heart clogged up in her throat and a scream ripped through her when she felt cold hands grip around her ankles and pulled hard.

She winced when her head met the cold ground hard, feeling it pulse in pain but she couldn't pay attention to any of that when all she could feel was the fact she was getting dragged back.

She was getting dragged.

"Let go!" Choheun screeched, wincing at her own scared and loud voice, and successfully heaved one leg up and kicked it back, feeling something solid making contact with the surface of her shoes and safely assumed that was a face and managed to twist around and prop herself up with her elbows, breath hitching in her throat when she finally saw the man following her.

She was right. It was the same man back in the gas station. His nose was getting swollen with blood dripping down, lips appearing to be cut from her shoe (she couldn't help but smirk in the inside), but most importantly, he was pissed.

"You little- that hurt. You shouldn't kick your elders, jagiya." He sneered, grinning widely and lecherously and the look on his face scared Choheun more than the fact she had been chased or that he had called in a way only her family were reserved to call her.

Fuck him. He could go to hell for all she cared.

"I think you need to be taught a lesson," before Choheun could say a thing or make a move, she squeaked in fright when she felt her front sweater getting bunched and was suddenly pulled up, feeling the first tear slip down her cheek when her back collided with the solid wall behind her with her small fingers instinctively shooting up to grip tightly around the man's wrist. She knew she wouldn't be able to push him away, though, because she was too weak, short, and frail to really possess such strength and that was something she hated about her body.

"Let—l-let me go, p-p-please-" Choheun pleaded, her voice too shaky and weak and her vision was no longer clear and she couldn't even see the man in front of her anymore. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, let me go, let me go, let me go let me gopleaseplease-"

The man smirked drunkenly, a hand moving down to her hip but she couldn't feel it in midst of her panicked state. "Oh, I promise I will, jagi. But I needed to find some sort of reliever because I had another failed job interview, pretty shitty if you asked me 'cause those bastards are stupid to realize they're missing a future worker, and I must be lucky to have found a pretty thing like you wandering around in the night." He slurred, Choheun hearing the ringing sound returning to her ears once again when she realized she couldn't get through him because he was too damn drunk and insane—why else would he go after a girl like her in a time like this?

She should've listened to her gut the moment she talked with the officer, she should've turned back right when she stepped out of the dorm, she should've stayed back and fuck she wanted to hear her brother's voice again-

"Now," she heard the man slur with a tone she couldn't decipher, making her feel her panic rise and getting ready to break down, "why don't you be an obedient little kkoch and give me a good time, hm?"

Choheun's eyes widen in fear at the address and the situation in genera;, her knees shaking together and the only thing keeping her upright was the hold he had on her front sweater where her heart was beating wildly and erratically, practically begging to jump out of her chest. She looked around behind the man, her breathing picking up in a way she knew wasn't good when there was literally no one around from what she could see because everything was still blurry and her nearsightedness wasn't helping one bit.

The teen felt more tears falling down her cheeks and dripping from her chin when she felt her mouth being covered by a large and cold hand that made her shiver, the man's face getting closer beside her head that she could properly smell the fresh scent of beer and soju, a combination that wasn't good the very least.

Right when she stopped struggling, Choheun's eyes slip closed and gave up, too weak to put up a fight, and just waited for her fear to drown her to unconsciousness as her hands slowly unclenched around his wrist and drop-

"YOU MOTHER FUCKER!"

 


 

Namjoon scratched the back of his head, breathing out through his nose as he walked up to the stairs to the dorm, reaching in his pocket to pull his keys out. Oh, the advantages of being the leader was getting free reign of working on their music right after a successful practice that he nailed. And it wasn't easy since Jin was damn ready to magically pull out a wooden ladle to hit Namjoon with.

Okay, so it was maybe his (and Yoongi's) fault for always staying out late when working on their music and the lyrics, but he couldn't help it! He always felt responsible to do a lot of things in advance, and it worth it all in the end when they prepare for another comeback song. Like 'Save Me', for example. That song was almost done, just missing a few components, mostly the dance, and then all they would do in the future was work on the choreography and shooting again, as usual.

As he inserted the key in and heard a soft click, Namjoon pushed the door open with his shoulder and breathed in the calming and familiar scent of their home (well, not home home, but home nonetheless). He stepped inside, getting his shoes off and decided not to slip on the slippers since he was already wearing socks.

Namjoon took his jacket off and placed it on the chair, ruffling his hair a bit and glanced up at the clock. '10:54'. Hm, it wasn't too bad. He still had a bit of time to work with their other comeback song (aigo, if he told anyone, no doubt their managers would be scolding the hell out of him for working again without them knowing) before the others came back and sleep like a log.

Namjoon walked through the hall, resting his hands behind his head and went past Yoongi and Jin's door, Jimin, Hobi, and Taehyung's door, Choheun's door, then close to his room that was shared with Jeongguk-

He paused, backtracking a bit until he was staring eye-to-eye at Choheun's door. Or, more specifically, at what's sticking in front of her door.

He untangled his fingers from behind his head, plucking the pink sticky note from the wooden door and eyed the words written in it, neat and simple and really cute.

I'm going out for a quick shopping trip because there's barely any food in the fridge. I'll be back soon if I'm not here yet.

-Yeon Choheun :)

The rapper couldn't help the smile twitching up on his lips, huffing a small laugh, before he stopped once the words finally sunk in his head and gazed at the note once again, reading it once, twice, and didn't notice his feet dragging him back to the living room.

Namjoon's eyes instantly glided up to the clock, worry filling him when he realized how late it was and their soon-to-be eighth member was still out there. He wondered if anyone had told her that the only closest store to buy food in was the gas station that took only ten minutes by foot.

Or maybe she was already home and just, he didn't know, asleep?

He turned around, walking back to the girl's room and raised a fist, hesitating a bit, then knocked a few times, lightly. "Yeon-ssi?" he called out softly. Silence was his response. He cleared his throat and tried again, "Yeon Choheun-ssi?"

Still silence.

He bit his lip, not wanting to do the other option just in case, but he was getting a little worried if Choheun wasn't really at home. He took his keys out, still kept it with him, and started opening the lock. "Yeon-ssi, I'm going in,"

When he managed to get the door open, Namjoon squinted his eyes, seeing a slightly dimmed room with only a small lava lamp lighting the room in a soothing manner that somehow didn't soothe the rapper's nerves. If anything, it got him more worried now that it's confirmed Choheun was still not home yet.

Okay, he knew he shouldn't exactly feel this much worry and concern over someone he barely talked with in a span of nearly two weeks she had been living with them, but Namjoon couldn't help it. It's hard to not not like the girl. There was just something about Choheun that made you want to just...follow her around and do anything to get that adorable laughter and sweet smile to come out.

Sure, it's usually directed at Hyojee, Jimin, and Jin (though none of them were that sure of the two since Choheun had still been avoiding them), but even by observing the girl, Namjoon found that he didn't mind her much. Besides, he could tell even Yoongi and Jeongguk were beginning to get comfortable around her, much to his immense surprise and relief, and he'd slowly admit he was feeling the same, too.

Though he didn't know how to approach the younger girl. She was so...closed-off and unapproachable when it came to conversing. Choheun would always shy away and close up like a baby turtle whenever someone said something to her, whether it was a simple greeting or a compliment. Or maybe just words said to her in general.

She reminded Namjoon of Yoongi a lot, actually. But from what he had seen, Choheun was...worse. Worse as in there's really something troubling her, holding her back from talking casually around them, especially Jimin.

And he wasn't stupid. Living and being long-time friends with Yoongi helped him realize some things, and that made him realize Choheun might possibly have social anxiety, or just plain anxiety in general. Except, you know...worse. Much, much worse because she always looked ready to break down in an anxiety attack when someone spoke to her. He had seen it. He had seen it in the day Choheun had made them pancakes, how she seemed to try and hide her panic when the others who weren't Jimin talked to her.

That concerned Namjoon a lot, and he always wondered what was going on with Choheun.

"Aish..." Namjoon cursed under his breath, closing the door and walked back to the living room, grabbing his jacket again and quickly slipped his arms through as he slid his feet in his shoes, crouching down to hastily tie them before throwing the door open, barely getting to lock the door (and getting his black face mask hanging by the said door) and carefully yet quickly stepped down the stairs.

As he turned a corner, trying his best not to pay attention to the coldness getting in his body since he didn't zip his jacket closed, his phone vibrated in his pocket and whipped it out, seeing his oldest hyung's name on the screen swiped it, placing it on his ear.

"Hyung?"

"Namjoon-ah!" was the familiar sound of the singer's wonderful cheery voice that somehow didn't calm him down. "We're heading back home now! You're not trapped in your room again, are you-"

"Sorry to cut you off, Jin-hyung, but I'm kinda busy right now."

Jin made a noise he couldn't describe, a sort of mix of a scoff and a screech (just what-), "Busy? So you are in your-"

Namjoon didn't have that much of patience right now with the worry and concern that was taking over, "Hyung, now's really not the time. I'm currently walking out finding Yeon-ssi because she's not in the dorm."

"Mwo? But weren't we told she was home first? Hyojee-ssi said so herself when she visited to, you know, do stylist managing-stuff. And what do you mean you're 'finding her'? Namjoon-ah, what's going on?" Jin said worriedly, a trickle of panic seeping in his tone and the rapper remembered to sound calm.

"Nothing's going on, hyung, at least not what you're thinking. Yeon-ssi left a note saying she wanted to buy a few snacks, and I have a safe bet she's going to the closest gas station from here."

Jin sighed, though it sounded like a breath of relief to him. "Okay... Okay, just come back safe. I don't any of us will be waiting behind for you two to come back, so don't take too long, okay?"

Namjoon smiled, walking past two houses and turned to the left already seeing the faint light of the convenient store inside the gas station. "I know, hyung. Promise. Don't wait for us."

"Mn. Come back soon, Joon-ah." Then the call ended.

Namjoon sighed, the heat of his breath reflecting back from the mask, and walked a bit faster until he was close by. His worry doubled slightly when he noticed someone, a woman, walking out of the store and reaching up to close the place along with a man who entered back inside the store.

"Excuse me, seonsaengnim! Are you closing?" he jogged closer, raising a hand in greeting as the woman turned around, blinking her dark eyes at him curiously.

"Yes? Yes, we are? Do you need anything?" the brunette asked kindly, wiping her hands on the apron around her waist before placing her hands on her hips.

"Uh, no. No- I don't need anything, but—but I was wondering if you've seen a teenage girl about this high," he gestured his hand right below his ear, "and has big brown eyes and light-colored lips?" what he really meant to say was honey-brown eyes and peach-colored lips, but that was way too specific and it would make him sound like a creep or something.

The woman's eyes lost a bit of its kindness, a speck of suspicion flittering through them and her smile turned down to a small frown. And since Namjoon wasn't a genius for nothing, he knew she had met the smaller girl already (and probably liked her, too). "And why should I feel obliged to tell you that?"

Namjoon pursed his lips behind his mask, thinking of how he could get answers from the woman but maybe telling the truth would be better since it seemed he wouldn't be convincing her any time soon and he really didn't want to waste time. He pulled his mask down, paying no mind of her surprised gasp. So she knew him. He felt a little bad for using his fame like that, but he's really worried and concerned. "I'm Kim Namjoon, I think you've heard of me, and the girl I mentioned—her name is Yeon Choheun and she's..." he trailed off, trying to come up with a quick but believable lie. "...she's a new employee in our company, and my manager sent me to get her because- well, you've heard of the news, right?"

The woman regained her shock quick, nodding slowly, "Yes. You already missed her, though. She left about..." she checked her watch on her wrist briefly, "...five, six minutes ago? Not too long."

"Have you, maybe, seen where she went?"

The woman nodded again, humming, "Yep. She went somewhere there before going to the left," she pointed her hand to the opposite side of where Namjoon came from, the road leading to a nearby park.

Namjoon bowed his head repeatedly, grateful, and the brunette waved her hand in dismissal, "Thank you, seonsaengnim. Really,"

"No problem, Kim Namjoon-ssi. Just get kkoch-ssi back home safe. Who knows how many drunks are roaming around right now. I've heard the rate is a little high in Seoul, especially in the night so late and in Gangnam-gu."

The rapper raised a brow, pulling his mask back up, "Uh, 'kkoch-ssi'?" he repeated confusedly. Flower?

The woman winked, grinning wholeheartedly, "Choheun-ssi is a really adorable girl, Kim Namjoon-ssi. I'm hoping to see her more often."

Namjoon chuckled, "Hopefully not in this time."

"Agreed. Well, off you go now! Goodnight!" the woman waved, turning around to enter back in the store.

Namjoon smiled slightly before doing the same, running a bit to not waste time and maybe catch sight of the girl.

The rapper huffed, a small cloud of air forming despite the face mask and shivered a bit, slowing down as he zipped his jacket close just as he took a left, spotting a few trees on the side from the edge of the park and glanced around. He admittedly felt a little creeped out how dark and silent and pretty much isolated the neighborhood was. No people, most of the lights are off and dark, and the faintly flickering street lights didn't help calm him the slightest.

"-let me go, let me gopleaseplease-"

Namjoon halted in his steps, hands stilling from sliding up to close his jacket, and kept silent to strain his ears to listen. His heart was practically beating in his ears because that voice couldn't be who he hoped would not be.

But he was either fortunate or unfortunate because he felt his blood run cold like ice inside his skin, the faint but clear whisper of a—a disgusting voice whispering in such a lustful and drunk way Namjoon just wanted to call the cops right now.

Before his mind caught up with his body, his legs automatically started walking, soon taking a pace faster, and was immediately full-blown running to follow the owners of the voices he had heard, one he confidently knew was Choheun's (she sounded so damn scared and small and-), and the other- oh, he didn't even want to mention who the other was, but all he knew was that it was an older-sounding man, and he had a good hunch he was one of the guys the news was talking about and he needed to hurry the fuck up-

When he turned to a sharp right, Namjoon's only air supply stopped right then and there, his eyes widening and heart possibly stopping at the sight he was welcomed to.

Choheun was trapped against the wall, eyes wide and frightened and scared with her whole body shaking along with her quivering knees that were barely grazing the ground, a large hand clamped on her mouth and another hand gripping the front of her sweater. Her eyes were staring at the front, unseeing, glossy with tears that were dripping down her chin, appearing to be in a state of shock because she wasn't paying attention to the man's face nearing her head on her right ear, and Namjoon was close enough to unluckily hear the other's words and-

"Now, why don't you be an obedient little kkoch and give me a good time, hm?"

-and he saw fucking red.

Namjoon didn't know when he took off in a sprint, his blood boiling underneath his veins like lava and pulled his fist back right as he grabbed the man's shoulder and pushed him back, surprising him, and grasped the front of his shirt closer to the rapper.

"YOU MOTHER FUCKER!"

Namjoon never knew he had it in him to sound so fucking pissed and furious and livid, his low voice dipping down to an even low and threatening growl even to his own ears, or swearing in such a way his bandmates and hyung would disapprove of, maybe, but he didn't care about it so much when his fist made contact with the man's face, finding the crack resonating in the silent air more satisfying than he thought and even more so when the drunk fell face-first on the ground in a painful fashion he deserved. The stinging burn on his knuckles was a bitch, for real, God he'd been watching so many western movies, but it felt damn good.

And, apparently, he had put so much force in that one punch because the older man didn't make a move to get up, or even made a small twitch indicating he was conscious. There was also blood seeping out in a small snake-like trail but not at an alarming rate, probably from his already-broken nose he broke even more with his fist.

That shouldn't make him feel satisfied or vindictive, but it's not like he wasn't not going to admit to himself it did. It really did.

A small, pitiful sob snapped him back to reality, his head whipped to the side to see Choheun on the ground, knees brought up to her chest and hiding her face on them with her arms above her knees, blocking her face from his view and Namjoon could feel his heartache at the sounds she was releasing, the subtle tremors racking her small frame like she was a delicate piece of glass ready to break.

Namjoon was in front of her in a second, falling to his knees and reached out, not caring about the fact that she wouldn't react to touch well, but he needed to let her know that it's overdammit.

"Choheun-ssi. Choheun-ssi, hey, it's fine. It's okay. You're safe." Namjoon whispered soothingly, pulling his mask down before quickly rubbing his hands on her sides in a way he hoped was comforting. The girl flinched briefly at the touch but he mentally cried in relief when she relaxed a second later. "Choheun-ssi, Yeon-ssi, please look up. It's me, Kim Namjoon. Look at me, please," he pleaded, a little desperately because the sobs were making him fidgety and seconds away from going back to the man and punch the life out of him.

There must've been something in his tone that caught the girl's attention as she finally, slowly and reluctantly, looked up from her knees, Namjoon feeling his heart practically cracking at the sight of her puffy red eyes filled with so much fear, the tears still trailing down her flushed red cheeks, and peach lips taking on a faint hue of pink that was borderline purple, quivering just like her whole body.

"K-Kim... K-Kim Namjoon...-ssi?" she whispered so quietly and shakily that the rapper almost didn't hear it if he hadn't strained his ears to focus on her.

Namjoon breathed a sigh of relief, a small smile taking over his features that his dimples appeared a little and continued his ministrations of rubbing the girl's sides, soon closer to her to move a hand on her back and hesitantly made small circles. "Shh... It's okay, Choheun-ssi. It's only me."

The girl peered up at him with honey doe eyes, wide and unreadable as a new wave of tears trailed down like a waterfall. Namjoon didn't even have time to get ready before Choheun moved, abruptly throwing herself at him. Her small trembling fingers clenched the front of his jacket and the rapper nearly fell back if it wasn't for his arms darting out to reflexively wrap around her back to keep them steady.

He froze, unsure of what was going on and why, but soon relaxed and softened when the small girl (really small-) shook in his hold in, sobs racking through her small frame almost violently and didn't care about the wetness forming on his jacket.

"Kim Namjoon-ssi... Kim Namjoon-ssi..." she mumbled wetly and repeatedly, whimpering so sadly, like a reassurance he was really here, sobbing as quiet as she could but obviously failing as she continued to wail. Namjoon lowered his eyes at the ground, biting his lip to hold back the urge to maybe find a steel garbage bin somewhere and hit the bastard on the head with no mercy or sympathy whatsoever. Maybe thirty times would suffice.

The rapper shushed the girl gently despite her cries and heartbreaking sobs breaking his heart instead, pulling her even closer to his body and slid a hand through her hair, combing it tenderly while simultaneously cradling her head like she was something so precious as his other arm looped around her small waist, nosing the side of her head and breathed in calmly to also reassure himself that he had made it just in time before the worst could happen.

A new wave of anger and fury ran over him but held himself back, a little startled with the sudden emotion but it felt so right when all he wanted to do was punch the bastard a few more times every time he took one glance at the small girl tucked in his embrace.

This might've been the worst thing Choheun could ever experience in her first week as a trainee.

She was almost... she was.... she...

He wasn't even going to think about it.

"You're safe, Choheun. You're safe. I'm right here," Namjoon continued to whisper comforting words in her ear, closing his eyes and rocked them back and forth slowly as best as he could whilst on the ground. The girl only crying harder, her shoulders jumping a bit from occasional gasps, and letting out whimpers and whines that were really breaking his heart, burying her face on his neck and shuffled closer, and the grip she had on his jacket tightening ever-so-slightly.

"You're—you're here," Choheun hiccuped, attempting to make herself look smaller than she already was by curling into a ball, unknowingly ending up on his lap but the rapper didn't mind, just tightening his hold on her a little more.

As Namjoon soon felt a strong swell of protectiveness over this small, vulnerable girl he barely talked with other than observing her and watching over her from afar ever since the practice incident, he promised right then and there that he wasn't going to shy away himself around her just because he was still skeptical about having a new member.

Not anymore, and there was nothing stopping him from deciding that.

He hoped he could help her get through this.

 

Chapter Text

Namjoon didn't know how long they had been staying in the ground, surrounded by the early winter coldness of the year in March.

He listened to the sobs and gasps Choheun was making, rubbing her back as the sounds slowly softened and quietened considerably as time passed and the harsh tremble of her body tucked in his embrace relaxed until she slumped against him, exhausted and so, so very small.

Choheun's breathing was shaky and quiet, keeping her head buried in his chest as she shuffled closer, Namjoon's larger frame literally hiding her from any eyes around them and the rapper moved his chin on top of her head. His fingers slower carded through her cold yet soft hair, a small smile twitching on his lips when he felt the young teen practically melt at his touch, seeming to lean to it subconsciously and unknowingly whimpered slightly in her throat.

After what felt like forever, Namjoon felt the teen start to shift, squirming slightly on his lap and he slowly (and really reluctantly-) pulled away, far enough to see Choheun do the same but she kept her sweater paws on his chest, peering up at him through shiny lashes.

He smiled small and soft, lowering his voice as he spoke, "Are you okay now, Choheun?" he asked gently, definitely aware how he dropped all the formalities, but for some reason to him, he didn't want to add formalities anymore. Especially after what had happened (and maybe because he had secretly wanted to try and call her a little casually like how the others did—he was just nervous and a little bit of a scaredy-cat to do it).

Choheun stared at him, briefly at his eyes, before she averted her gaze shyly, leaning closer to cover half of her face with her sweater paws that were still clutching his front jacket. "I'm... I think so..." she answered slowly, hesitant. Namjoon knew she really was not okay, not a single bit, mentally and emotionally, but he didn't want to pressure her, not when they barely spoke to each other and he wasn't Jimin or Jin.

Namjoon sighed quietly, not able to help himself and lifted a hand up to gently caress her head, Choheun blinking up at him in confusion and uncertainty with a subtle rose blush on her cheeks but she didn't move away from his touch. If anything, she was actually giving him permission to continue, even leaning towards it again and Namjoon would never admit how his chest warmed a little that Choheun wasn't afraid of him and evidently showed it.

He turned his head to the side, frowning a bit at the grocery the girl had bought all sprawled on the ground not too far from them. "I'm sorry I was late. If I made it a little faster, maybe then you could've cooked something back home." He tried to lighten up the mood, pointedly shifting the main topic away.

Choheun must've noticed but didn't mind the change of topic, following his gaze and nodded slowly, a small pout forming on her face (oh, now he understood why Jin kept gushing about her last week). "It's okay, Kim Namjoon-ssi. I... uh, also bought some instant cup noodles and ramyeon. Not everything went to waste." She followed along, finally moving away from him (he didn't want her to go yet-) and the rapper stood up, patting his clothes and helped the girl up by offering her a hand she took without hesitation.

Which surprised him, but no one would be hearing him pointing it out or complaining about it. In fact, he welcomed how she was letting herself relax around him.

It really shouldn't make him feel happy, but it did.

Namjoon nodded, about to say something but the words got stuck in his throat when he just noticed the redness seeping through from under her bangs. Before Choheun could make a move to shakily pick the grocery, Namjoon shot his hand out and grabbed her wrist, preventing her from stepping away from him.

The girl blinked up at him, clearly startled and confused as she furrowed her brows in concern. Somehow, that bothered the leader a bit. Why was she concerned about him and not herself? "Kim Namjoon-ssi..."

"You're bleeding..." The rapper said quietly, the words more breathy and unintentional as he gently placed his hand under her bangs, swiping them above her head to show him her forehead. Choheun flinched slightly at the unexpected contact but stayed still, eyeing him with wide eyes as Namjoon caressed the small cut on her forehead with a thumb just a shy inch away from the redness surrounding the wound. He frowned, releasing his grip on her wrist to rest them on her shoulder, involuntarily moving her hair behind her back.

Choheun surprisingly quirked a small smile at that, but what made Namjoon bite his tongue was how sad and defeated it looked. "I was-... I noticed." She whispered, meeker and very, very vulnerable that he had the biggest urge to wrap her in blankets.

Namjoon frowned at her, using his sleeve to let the material absorb the blood and Choheun noticed it, eyed widening and sputtering as she tried to move his arm away. Not that it worked, she was so small compared to him, in size and everything. "Wh-what are you doing?! Y-you're going to ruin your jacket, Kim Namjoon-ssi!"

"Namjoon."

He swiftly cut her off, his own name enough for the girl to stop and peer up at him with more confusion and apprehension. "I-I'm sorry?"

Namjoon continued to gently clear the blood trailing down on her forehead, the wound just near her hairline. "Don't call me Kim Namjoon." The teen's eyes widened even more if possible, mouth dropping open and he mentally chuckled. Cute. "Just Namjoon is fine, Choheun. Can I call you that? Choheun? Choheun-ah?"

Choheun flushed red and the rapper wasn't sure if it was from the cold getting on her round cheeks or because of him, but she didn't answer. She looked so confused and lost and in utter disbelief, but there was something else in her eyes that Namjoon couldn't read well. It's a look he had seen nearly all the time when she was around them, specifically the two members she was somewhat close to so far. "I'm sorry, but I can't understand you guys at all. First Kim Seokjin-ssi, then Jimin-ssi, then Jung Hoseok-ssi and maybe even Kim Taehyung-ssi." She huffed, cheeks puffing up slightly as she moved away from his touch, the rapper watching the girl gathering her groceries back in the plastic backs.

Namjoon smiled, moving to help her and smiled a little wider at her half-annoyed and half-flustered look directed at him. "Why? Is there something wrong with us trying to get along with you?" he said bluntly, a little dry and accusing, he knew, but he wanted to get his point crossed because he wasn't dumb.

It didn't pass him like an unnoticed green leaf flowing in the wind with other orange-colored leaves. He's not the most perspective and people-smart person in the group, not like Taehyung and Yoongi (the former sounded surprising, but to them, it was obvious), but he wasn't an idiot. He could read between the lines at least once or twice and he understood. He understood what's going on with Choheun and why she was fluttering around them like a frightened butterfly.

Choheun's holding herself back from getting along with them and, at the same time, she's not letting herself accept the new world she was placed in. She's scared of accepting their kindness, of Jimin's open arms waiting for her, Jin's warm eyes with fondness in them, Hoseok's wide smile and heart-lifting friendliness, and Taehyung's weirdness with very straight-forward words laced with sincere honesty and kindness. Jeongguk and Yoongi, Namjoon wasn't sure, but the Golden Maknae had a stubborn look on his face whenever Choheun was brought up before shrinking back a little, nervous and anxious, and the elder rapper was mostly silent and unbothered, but Namjoon could see the look in his eyes. His eyes had all of the above.

But the most obvious question was what unsettled Namjoon the most.

What's holding her back from feeling at ease with them and everyone else in BigHit? Why was she holding back? Why would she refuse them every time when Namjoon could clearly see she wanted to run back to Jimin's arms and let herself be wrapped around his comforting warmth?

Choheun was incredibly hard to read despite being an open book at the same time. It seemed that unless one were to look closer, almost literally and figuratively, it's her eyes that told the truth, that held the truth without any lies and deception, and Namjoon had been paying attention ever since that day.

Namjoon could see it. But he still didn't understand, didn't know what's running inside the girl's head, how it worked even if it had only been a few weeks since she stayed, and wondered if she really wanted to be friends with them, with a group of popular idols who'd soon be her future bandmates.

So he wanted to ask again and again.

What's wrong with them wanting to be a part of her life?

Why wouldn't she let them in?

Because, if it wasn't obvious by now, everyone in BigHit already accepted her presence in their lives in under almost two weeks, and most of the staff who'd already met her, when Namjoon had the time to engage a small conversation during their break, he didn't know whether to laugh in incredulity or gape in disbelief how they were clearly wrapped around the girl's unknowing finger and weren't afraid to admit it. Some of their stylists kept on gushing how cute and polite Choheun was and were excited to work with her and her face since she was a girl, meaning they could apply more makeup than what they used with the boys (a little foundation, some lip gloss, and subtle eyeshadow depending on the concept), despite the fact they had only seen and met the girl probably only once or twice with the younger teen uttering a few shy words that were barely enough for a conversation or a sentence at all.

Because, in all seriousness, Namjoon wanted to know more about Choheun, get to know her. He'd admit there were times he thought about showing the girl some stuff about the group, about how they work, how BigHit ran, and how she could help and add her opinions and thoughts about everything.

He wanted to learn and understand why Bang PD-nim chose Choheun out of the other contestants and why the older man refused to show anyone (except the managers) her audition clip when they all saw the others. What was special about Choheun? What did their CEO see in Choheun to choose her out of everyone else they saw with so much potential.

The girl in question took a step back from him once they finished picking everything up, Choheun's eyes shining with the same fear he had seen since the beginning when they first met, but this time there was also another emotion hidden behind it.

Hope.

But hope for what?

Namjoon barely let out a groan of frustration. Choheun was way harder to crack than Yoongi, and the man was very stubborn. It seemed there's someone else who's just as stubborn, and maybe just a bit worse. She's impossible, right now.

Which was why it was a good amount of determination for Namjoon to get more answers out of her, even if it was only a fraction of what she would give. It's more than enough.

"Yes. Yes, there's something wrong with all of you trying to be f-friends with me." Choheun's stuttered reply brought the rapper back to reality, and he couldn't help but notice how she was holding back once again. It seemed to him that anything she would say, her eyes were saying the opposite. "You shouldn't try, because I'm not going to do anything. I..." she trailed off, closing her eyes as if she nearly said something she shouldn't.

Namjoon narrowed his eyes, straightening up slightly and that made him see how really small the female teen was compared to him. She barely reached his chin. And the shortest person in BigHit was only half a head shorter than him. "Then tell me what's wrong with it, Choheun. Did you know Jimin is literally sulking after practice because he couldn't see or talk to you? Jin-hyung accidentally bought another bottle thinking you were with us. Hobi mentioned ordering jjajangmyeon for dinner before realizing you wouldn't be there. Taehyung-ah is acting like a kicked puppy. Jeongguk, well, I'm not sure about him, but I can tell you he wants to be friends with you and Yoongi," he scoffed a bit, "he's locking himself up in his studio again for some reason. I don't know. So tell me, Choheun," he closed the distance between them, hands placed on her shoulder and squeezed briefly, "why are you pushing us away?" he ended softly, his voice so close to a whisper with the amount of emotion and the need to understand her, wanting to know why she would turn away when her eyes clearly said the opposite.

Choheun didn't say anything for a while, the silence lingering around them. She then opened her eyes, meeting his gaze head-on, and a single tear slipped down her cheek, Namjoon already stepping close to her and gently brushed it away with a finger, his other hand resting (but scarcely touching) on her shoulder.

She sniffled quietly, almost inaudible, but it was only them and the coldness and the silence so Namjoon clearly heard it. "I... I can't, Kim Namjoon-ssi..." she whispered, another sliding down and the rapper effortlessly caught it, keeping his eyes on her.

Namjoon softened, "Why? Is it because we're idols? Because there's a chance someone might see you hanging with us, and it would spring up rumors or possible scandals? Trust me when I say we know what we're doing. Everyone in BigHit promised not to mention BTS having a new eighth member soon to anyone outside of the company." It's not exactly what might be troubling the girl, but it's one of his assumptions of what Choheun might think about her situation outside of the company.

Choheun whined, shaking her head slightly and only stopped when Namjoon cupped both of her cheeks to silently wipe her new wave of tears trailing down her face, catching every single one of them. The girl only whined harder at the gesture, sweater paws shakily reaching up to place her hands on his and leaned on them, and he would never admit how his heart fluttered at the obvious display of trust she had on him to allow his touches (while, at the same time, further breaking his heart-). She closed her eyes again, breathing in a shaky breath, "I... I'm sorry. I can't tell you or the others. Not yet. Not now. I'm not ready, a-and you won't- you'll all- I'm scared, Kim-Namjoon-ssi and, I'm—I'm so sorry-" she cut herself off as a sob broke free, her shoulders beginning to tremble and Namjoon didn't hesitate.

The rapper pulled the small girl, the small vulnerable and sweet and kind girl to his chest, one hand on her back and the other sliding through the back of her head, fingers gently tangling with the soft strands of her dark hair.

Namjoon tucked her head under his chin, rocking them both slightly as soft sobs reached his ear and vibrated from the girl's body. "Shh... It's okay, Choheun. I understand if you're not ready. I can wait, and I'm sure the others, and everyone else, will wait for you, even if it will take a long time. But can you..." he paused, unsure if he should ask something from her like this now since it seemed like he was taking advantage of her fragile state before mentally shaking his head and scolding himself harshly.

He was not taking advantage of her in any way, he was just worried. So damn worried if Choheun continued to act like this to everyone she clearly liked and they like her back, then it wasn't healthy. At all.

Apparently, she wasn't letting herself have friends, perhaps protecting her from a memory or a certain, maybe traumatic, event from her past (which he really, really hoped was not the case but he could only hope-). If it was intentional, that was fine because it meant they could coax her to open up slowly until she could see they want to be friends. Just them before their idol-selves.

But if subconsciously? Like some sort of defense mechanism for herself only a reason she knew? Then getting to see the real Choheun would prove more difficult than he and the others thought. Not only was she hurting the others from refusing to even look at their open arms, but she was also unknowingly hurting herself from ignoring what she really wanted, especially those wide, sad eyes looking at Jimin when the dancer and others weren't looking.

Except Namjoon noticed.

And he didn't want her to continue following a mindset and rules she had subconsciously made for herself.

If she thought it was okay, well, it was normal for him to think it's not that okay at all.

"Choheun-ah, can you promise me something?" he blurted if before he could hesitate again and probably not say it in the end because he needed to say it, wanted her to just take his hand so he could pull her up. She's ignoring what she needed and wanted the most, and it was to fill the loneliness that's literally surrounding her when she thought no one knew.

If what he heard right from Sejin, who was surprisingly very reluctant to tell, that Choheun only had one older brother as a relative with no parents (not including her nephew... She had a nephew-), then the younger teen would be needing the support from them.

(Oh, he knew she currently had no parents, a fact he couldn't bring himself to believe at first, before forgetting it for a few days until now, because it sounded like her story came from a movie or a drama. But Sejin had looked serious and a cold feeling of guilt and shame had washed over him, scolding himself internally for comparing Choheun's life, a girl who clearly had many problems she refused to tell or show, to a fictional drama and telling him that it was reality and Choheun really didn't have any parents growing up and he was scared to ask how young she was when they had left because no child should go through that-)

Choheun didn't say anything, but Namjoon took her silence as a sign that she was listening, her warm breath tickling his neck that was bare from the jacket.

"Don't push us away anymore, okay?" he started quietly, voice low and soothing as he subconsciously began rubbing the small of her back in a comforting way. "Remember that we don't want to be your friend just because you're our eighth member and we're idolswe're not obliged to forcefully get along with you. All of us genuinely and sincerely want to know more about you on a personal level by ourselves, and we're not letting our fame as idols get in the way, okay? I hope you can do the same as well. Can you promise me that, Choheun?"

The girl remained silent, and the longer she didn't say anything the more nervous Namjoon was getting because he might've been getting ahead of himself and asked too much.

He didn't have to worry anymore as Namjoon soon relaxed when Choheun only snuggled closer to him, soft cheek pressing against his beating heart, her sweater paws shakily returning his hug and clenched the fabric of his jacket, bunching it in her sweater paws and the mental image his head gave him was way too cute for him and close for a coo to get out (and he did not want to embarrass himself!). Namjoon sighed silently in relief with a small smile and nuzzled her head, detecting just a subtle hint of honey and lemon scent in her hair that he thought suited her, and tightened his arms around her just a little bit, pulling her closer if possible.

And if he hadn't been listening, he wouldn't have heard Choheun's timid and meek, "I-I'll try..." that was barely a whisper, so quiet and breathy but since it was just the two of them with the silence and coldness he nearly forgot, he clearly heard it.

Namjoon was never going to admit his smile widened even more until he was sure his dimples were showing, staring at the wall in front of him like some sort of teenager getting confessed from a girl he liked.

"That's all I'm asking."

It was. And it's more than enough, as long as he kept her near arm's length because he refused to let her fall under when she kept quiet to herself. He didn't do much before, but he would do better this time.

 


 

Choheun frowned, trying her best wiping the lens of her glasses clean but all she ended up with was smudged dust, a subtle speck of snow, and moist, which was a horrible combination if someone asked her. How was she going to clean it now?

She sighed, tucking her glasses back in her collar and looked up, her honey eyes meeting Namjoon's back. A hot blush crept up her cheeks and quickly looked down, even if she knew he wouldn't see what was happening.

After the hug from Namjoon and his sudden promise (and she didn't know why she felt as if she wasn't going to break it this time and why was the hug so nice-), Choheun picked her glasses up that was thankfully not broken, sharing some (nearly all, actually) of the plastic bags to the rapper and the two were soon making their way back to the dorms.

The silence around them wasn't awkward at the very least, if anything, it was very calm and comfortable that Choheun even relaxed. Not that she hadn't been relaxed the moment she saw Namjoon come to the rescue. She felt like a balloon that deflated in so much relief when she saw the rapper.

She mentally chuckled at the thought, she made it sound as if the leader had actually saved her from the bad guy, which he very much did.

At the thought of the guy prior, however, was enough for Choheun's relaxed smile to fade away, her eyes sliding down to their feet to watch the distance between them start to grow larger every time she slowed every second.

In all honesty, Choheun was very, very grateful and glad Namjoon had intervened right on time. She owed the older male big time, and she couldn't imagine what would've happened if he never... if he...

The teen shuddered, definitely not from the cold, and consciously hugged herself, wrapping her arms around her waist.

Choheun wasn't clueless. She absolutely knew what was going to happen if Namjoon never came and found her.

She could practically feel it when she closed her eyes or think about it for a second. His hands on her waist, her hips, her arms, her shoulders, on her face... If Namjoon hadn't come to find her, that man—that man would've- he was going to-...

Choheun felt her throat close up, feeling tears starting to gather in her eyes and her legs were getting weak and shaky. The reality of the situation she had been a few moments ago finally hit her like a truck, and the feeling wasn't even pleasant when her stupid head wouldn't stop giving her scenarios and more 'what if's the more she treaded further and-

Without thinking and probably not caring right now, Choheun stopped walking and shot her hand out, grasping Namjoon's sleeve and tugged on it gently, lightly, hesitantly and fearfully.

Namjoon stopped, looking over his shoulder to stare down at her with visible confusion on his face before it soon morphed into worry when he noticed the tears again.

Oh, she was crying? How pathetic.

"Choheun?" Namjoon said softly, concerned, but uncertain as he stayed where he was without fully facing her. Aish, she really liked hearing call her informally. "What's wrong?" he sounded genuinely worried, too, and that was all it took for Choheun's mind to lose against her heart.

"C-can-" she winced at the squeaky crack, clearing her throat and clenched her jaw, tightening her hold on his sleeve. She needed to this, because, for once, she wanted to ignore that dark part of her head that was telling her that if she chose this path, there's no going back, and who knew what would happen once they discover the truth about her, about her habits, that she was someone not worth to befriend and care for because everyone in BigHit deserve more and she wasn't sure—no, she was sure she couldn't give them anything perfect except her battered heart she tried to protect so hard but she couldn't help but care and grow closer when they might possibly follow her old friends' and parents' footsteps-

"C-can I h-hold your h-hand on the way back, N-Namjoon...-oppa?" She finally said, already wishing she could take everything back and dig a hole and never come back up for anyone to find her. But she did, and she had never trusted someone so much when they barely talked more than a few sentences than Namjoon. Not because he saved her, that's just part of it, but she honestly and seriously trusted the rapper. A faint whisper in her head, a voice she hadn't heard in a while ever since she befriended Kaejji, was telling her that if there's someone in the group she could put her trust, even if it wasn't all of it right now, was Kim Namjoon, Bangtan Sonyeondan's leader.

She wanted a feel of familiarity again, of security in a place she didn't know. Like how she so wanted to call Jimin 'oppa' but was afraid doing so would cause the dancer to laugh at her and say how funny her joke was (it wasn't the first time-).

It was a very, very bold move to call him 'Namjoon-oppa' when she had always addressed him as 'Kim Namjoon-ssi', and the gap was huge and far but Choheun wanted to risk it (even if she was going to regret it so bad later on-). She wanted to know if he would lend a hand out again, regardless of her strange request and just how plain strange she was in general but she wanted the comfort, she wanted to feel safe for once because she couldn't bring herself to feel safe in the dorm and in BigHit, surrounded by so many amazing and kind people with many more she hadn't met yet because of one dark thought telling her that one day they were going to leave her and finally see she wasn't worth it and kick her out and maybe then she could go back to her brother's arms and yell and shout that she was right all along, that she didn't deserve to be happy and maybe she should just end it all because she was tired-...

A slight gasp had escaped the said man, his eyes widening and mouth dropping open slightly, gaping, face evidently full of shock and surprise and something unreadable on his face and his eyes and Choheun was a little thankful her thoughts were interrupted because she didn't know if she could handle the direction her thoughts decide go.

But, at the same time, she wished she was still with her thoughts because the impact of her words reached her and she was scared, like the small little girl she truly was all along. Scared and confused and hopeful when she had called Dohyuk 'oppa' for the first time when she was four, only for her brother to turn her down the first time and called her weird before, a whole year later, at five-years-old, he kept whining and begging her to call him 'Dohyuk-oppa' again with the same beaming smile she grew up with-

Choheun clenched her eyes closed, lips pursed and holding back the urge to cry again and was so close to letting herself fall into another panic attack slowly simmering in her chest and throat.

It was so silent, the only sound she could hear was her rapid heartbeat pounding against her chest, her nervous breathing, and the sound of the calm cold wind that did nothing to calm her nerves.

Her eyes snapped open when she belatedly felt herself getting abruptly tugged forward, a startled squeak escaping her. Choheun was pressed against Namjoon's side, her sweater paw reflexively grabbing a hold of the front of his jacket as the rapper threw an arm around her shoulder, bringing her even closer if possible.

Choheun blinked a few times, lifting her head up to peer at the male and flushed all over, face and heart too warm when she saw Namjoon staring down at her with a wide smile, pleased and happy, dark eyes practically sparkling and his dimples holy ice cream she had the sudden urge to poke them right now and barely held herself back from doing so.

"N-Namjoon-ss-"

"Can you call me that again?" he cut her off quickly, beaming smile still in place and Choheun soon felt confusion and embarrassment roll over her like rolling sushi (what kind of metaphor was that-).

"Wh-what?" she squeaked meekly, certain her very hot cheeks weren't red from the cold and from the embarrassment instead.

"Please?"

Choheun blinked, the man giving her a hopeful look with his eyes wide and—and how was she going to say no when he was looking at her like a hopeful and cute koala that wanted to hang on his comfortable tree again?

The teen blushed furiously, diverting her gaze away with a pout, but Namjoon was still looking at her. Aish... "N-Nam... Nam... Namj-joon... Namjoon-oppa," she finally said through her immense embarrassment, hiding her face on his chest and felt the older male chuckle lowly, the sound amused and delighted and that made her feel the same warmth she felt around her family and—and this was what she wanted.

She felt safe and warm, even if the moment wouldn't last, she was content with this.

Namjoon leaned closer, the girl probably imagining she felt lips brushing against her bang-covered forehead, and soon started walking again, leading them back home. He chuckled, "Aigo, you're so cute, Choheun-ah. Looks like the others were right all along and I missed out on a lot of things. Jeongguk-ah and Yoongi-hyung will be in my place soon, so I'm not that bummed out about it. Daebak, Jin-hyung's going to make fun of me..."

Choheun released a noise that was half a scream and half a whine that was luckily muffled in the rapper's jacket (saving a bit of her dignity), pulling away just enough to glare at him with teary eyes that were from utter and complete embarrassment. "What does that even mean?!" her voice went a pitch higher, not like a shriek, but close enough.

Namjoon wasn't even fazed, just smiling even wider that his dimples deepened and showed a little bit of teeth. It was like he was watching an angry kitten throwing a tantrum for not getting the certain milk brand she wanted—which she was notthank you very much. She's not acting childishAish! "I'm not saying a word." He suddenly said in English, leaving the girl surprised and baffled before she puffed her cheeks out and glared, pouting. If he thought he could get away with it by speaking another language, a language she knew, too, then he had another thing coming!

"I thought Bang PD-nim told everyone I knew English. Also, nice try, by the way." Choheun quipped bitterly, still pouting, and her pout changed to a smug smile when Namjoon choked on the air a bit (she was this close to asking if he was okay-), wide shocked eyes meeting her curved ones.

"You know English, too?!" Namjoon instantly switched back to Korean, barely missing a street light in front of him and Choheun giggled, feeling her eyes curve a little more and maturely stuck her tongue out at him.

"Mn," was all she said, which wasn't even a word, and then pointedly ignored him when Namjoon tried to strike up another conversation, persuading her to speak in English, and the teen let him sputter and whine slightly for a while before giving in and engaged a conversation with the Bangtan leader in English, the only Korean words being Choheun-ah and Namjoon-oppa (with the former also sputtering and stuttering with a red face).

They soon talked about English-related stuff, like the western culture, and earnestly complimented the rapper how his accent was so good and distinct, and Namjoon blushing bashfully and returning it with her accent just as good as his but more cuter and softer.

Choheun learned to despise the smug look on his face when she felt her own burning up again. He reminded her of Eunji more than Dohyuk, and with Eunji meaning a little bit of Kaejji.

Which was not cool. She refused to give him the win.

Somehow, it ended up becoming a compliment battle in both Korean and English, trying to make the other flustered and stutter out a comeback. Unsurprisingly, in the end, Choheun lost because there's no way she could win against the leader and rapper of Bangtan Sonyeondan who had the IQ of freaking a hundred and forty-eight what in the world?

It wasn't until Choheun saw the glimpse of the dorm, the living room lights still turned on, that she could finally say the words she had wanted to say in the beginning.

"Thank you..." she uttered quietly, softly, leaning her head on the man's chest and hoped he got the message. She wasn't saying thank you because he saved her, no, that wasn't it. It's because-

"I know," Namjoon said simply, voice just as soft as hers and when she glanced at him, the rapper was staring ahead at their down with a small, relaxed, and happy satisfied smile. Choheun didn't know why he was satisfied, but he looked happy and that alone was enough for the younger girl to return it, beaming brightly and followed his gaze, gently humming their comeback song under her breath and this time, she didn't look when she felt Namjoon's gaze at her.

But she couldn't stay quiet too long because she was still embarrassed- "I'm not calling you oppa around them, got it?" bold of her to order him around, but seriously, she would die if she called him so casually and too comfortably around the others, and she didn't want them to learn why she decided to call him as such.

Or rather, what had happened between them that caused her to call him that way. If they cared about her, even if it was just a tiny bit, she didn't want to worry them when it was unnecessary and not worth it.

"But why?" Namjoon immediately whined childishly, pouting, and she was glad she wasn't looking at him or else she would've easily given in again like earlier on.

When she was sure he wasn't pouting at her with pleading eyes, Choheun snapped her head back to him and glared, huffing, "Because it's embarrassing, Namjoon-oppa—wait, no -ssi! Namjoon-ssi." She nodded to herself as if she did the right thing correcting her mistake.

The rapper seemed to want to laugh but he only pouted, "But-"

"A 'no' is a no, got it? You can't change my mind."

Namjoon sighed, glancing away for a bit, before he looked back and perked up, hopeful, "Then can you drop the '-ssi' when it's only us?" he asked, and Choheun didn't know why she imagined a puppy taking his place, all eager and expectant with his tail wagging back and forth excitedly and this was where Choheun asked herself once again. Why was it no one in BigHit stick to one personality? When she first saw Kim Namjoon and learned a bit about him, she saw him as a serious and stone-faced leader and an IQ that made him intimidating, and just when she got to know him more (past fan meet-and-greet still didn't count-), he was as intimidating as a dorky koala and a clumsy puppy (he literally tripped a few times on their way back when there was nothing in front of him, she knew). What's next, Min Yoongi acting all soft and giggling and Jeongguk goofy and the true maknae he was? All of them acting so friendly around her like she was apart of their family circle?

Ha.

They kept reminding her of her family and Choheun didn't know if she should feel warm that there were still people out there like her precious family, or cry and yell at the sky that she was staying with a bunch of clones of her brother, or maybe a bunch of kids.

Neither option sounded pleasing, at least to her sanity, but honestly, she liked to see more.

But first, as Namjoon started unlocking the door and pushing it open to see a pacing Kim Seokjin, maybe she should worry about what would happen next before everything else. Especially since the eldest male in the dorm looked ready to combust with worry and maybe explode in relief the moment he laid eyes on them.

 


 

Seokjin felt like drowning in his flurry of emotions.

Ever since he called Namjoon and the younger telling him he was out finding Choheun because he was worried about the news going around, Seokjin was tempted to go out and find the younger girl himself with his nerves going haywire.

When Jeongguk asked what's keeping him up, since they were all still outside their dance room waiting for him, Seokjin put up a cheerful facade so the wouldn't have to worry and said Namjoon was out getting some snacks or something. They bought the lie with Jimin frowning in slight concern and with something else, muttering under his breath that Namjoon needed more breaks these days.

Which was true, of course, because of their upcoming comeback and their next comeback after that, and being the leader had a lot of responsibilities that Seokjin just wanted to grab the back of the younger's collar, drag him to his shared room with Jeongguk, throw him inside, lock the door, throw the key where no one would be able to find, and sweetly order Jeongguk to move in to Jimin, Hoseok, and Taehyung's room, and ignore the leader's whining for a few days before finally letting him out then scolding him and shoving food down his throat and tell him to eat goddammit.

Too aggressive? Well, he was ready to plan a similar thing with his dongsaeng who was a year younger than him (three months, really, but year number), and despite not being the leader and all, Yoongi was much, much worse than Namjoon himself and that was saying something.

Actually, noall his dongsaengs were a bunch of stubborn brats who wouldn't eat anything except takeouts and his cooking (Jimin was worse but he was glad he pulled him through-).

That was nice and all, but oh did he want to pull his hair out and swear at them that eating was important why was it that nobody in the group understood that? Don't even get him started with the hardworking staff in BigHit who had been working with them for a long time and even they forget to eat when the schedule was hectic.

Especially Hyojee, and the only time he felt like the eldest around the stern, scary, and bossy stylist was when she also forgot to follow her eating schedule (Hyojee would sheepishly apologize and teasingly said he was finally acting like an oppa to her, and then Seokjin would bravely flick her forehead and tell her with confidence to eat-).

Seriously, what's up with everyone forgetting how to do the most basic thing they all need in their everyday life, and that was eating?

Seokjin's nose flared, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Aish... Now I'm more anxious," he huffed, all his thinking about all the people he knew working under BigHit forgetting to eat was making him more fidgety and becoming a bundle of nerves.

But, hey, at least he wasn't thinking about what's possibly happening to little Choheun-ah outside the dorm buying groceries, which was nice, how kind and sweet of her he's mentally cooing now, and literally almost midnight...

...He didn't like cursing much, but he was an adult man, the eldest in BTS, and no one was around since he put his stubborn dongsaengs to bed (ordered them, especially Min-freaking-Yoongi-), so- "Fuck..." he cursed under his breath, rubbing his face as he began to pace around the open space between the living room and the dining table.

Since he was the first to enter the dorm, he had found the small, cute pink note the only female in their dorm left, briefly cooing how cute and pretty her handwriting was, before promptly shoving the paper inside his pocket when the others were inside and did his best not to show his anxiety, probably why he got them to bed with an excuse of he'd be cooking breakfast. They were all eager for his cooking, so he felt a little bad for using their love for his cooking to his advantage but really, he didn't want any of them to worry if they were still up and awake and then suddenly Namjoon came home with Choheun. They'd start asking questions, more specifically Jimin, because Seokjin wasn't blind, the dancer was practically a clingy puppy around the girl before looking like a kicked puppy when she avoided them like a plague.

He did not want to see the dancer like that again, and mostly because he'd never admit he was a little envious of his mochi of a dongsaeng because hey, he liked Choheun, too! And he definitely didn't sulk in his shared room with Yoongi alone and finding it so unfair Choheun was sticking with Jimin a lot when she clearly like Seokjin first.

He was not.

Okay, maybe he was a little salty, but that's in the past!

(He didn't move on yet, but whatever.)

And then he heard the sounds of a key jiggling outside the door and he jumped, cursing again, before realizing that the only ones who could come back home so late were-

"Seokjin-hyung?"

The singer stopped pacing, head whipping up so fast he was surprised he didn't break his neck but he didn't care about that right now. Seokjin eyed the rapper, his gaze immediately scanning his body and squared on his right hand that's still holding the doorknob, focusing on the red, bruised, and slightly bleeding skin on his knuckles and already knew what had happened (he wasn't going to think about it further or else he was going to combust with anger-). He wasn't that sure with the redness on his sleeve, though.

Seokjin's eyes flickered to the girl behind the rapper, seeing Choheun peeking from behind the other male with worried eyes raking his body and face, sweater paws timidly clutching the material of Namjoon's sleeve on his arm as her brows furrowed together. They both had plastic bags hanging by their elbows (or hand, in Namjoon's case).

He exclaimed in relief so loud it startled them, already approaching the two and before Namjoon could open his mouth, probably to explain, Seokjin ignored him and instantly wrapped his arms around the smaller girl, pulling her to his chest and felt his tense shoulders finally deflating.

Choheun squeaked, her sweater paws quickly clutching his back to prevent herself from falling since Seokjin quite literally draped himself over her and he knew his size. He didn't even let the girl breathe as he pulled away just as fast as he hugged her, keeping his hands on her shoulders and stared at her in the eyes, the girl frozen in bewilderment as she peered at him. "Thank goodness you two made it back safely," Seokjin sighed, giving the two a pointed stare and a frown and the two sheepishly (and shyly) avoided his gaze. He shook his head at them and returned his gaze to the girl, ready to scold her why in the world she thought it was a good idea to go out alone by herself when the news specifically told them not to, before his mind blanked a bit when he noticed something else.

Blood.

There was blood on her face.

Seokjin swiped the girl's bangs away from her forehead without warning, Namjoon letting out a sputtered 'h-hyung!' and Choheun yelping, but he paid them no mind when he saw a cut on the girl's head near her hairline, the wound dried up and subtly purple in color.

Seokjin scowled, shooting the rapper a look and Namjoon gulped nervously, "Namjoon, go get the first aid kit in the bathroom. Now," he ordered, a dark almost-growl seeping in his tone, and the younger must've noticed it as he moved without hesitation, giving a curt nod in before leaving the vocalist alone with the honey-eyed teen.

Not saying a word and gave a brief squeeze on the girl's shoulder (after letting her drop the groceries down along with Namjoon's), Choheun stayed silent as Seokjin grabbed her wrist and led them to the couch, gently pushing the girl down by her shoulders before kneeling on the floor in front of her, their height difference a little greater but he was still taller than her.

Seokjin cupped the girl's face and brought it closer to his own, inspecting it, and frowned in slight irritation when he couldn't properly examine the wound with her bangs in the way. Using one hand wouldn't do, either.

"Choheun-ah, do you have a clip with you?" he asked, wanting to face-palm because what were the chances of that happening? Fortunately, the girl nodded mutely and reached into her pocket, a small black hairpin in her hands and Seokjin picked it up when she offered it to him.

Huh.

Would you look at that?

"Thank you," he gently moved her bangs to one side for her wound to be visible in the open, slipping the hairpin to keep the strands away from her forehead, eyes softening at the sight of it again and looked back at the girl's eyes, already seeing guilt and apprehension in their honey-glazed depths.

Seokjin sighed, moving his hand up to pat her head, rubbing gently, and Choheun blinked at him with confused eyes. "What happened out there, Choheun-ah?" he questioned quietly, noticing the slight flinch he got from the girl and she slowly shook her head as best as she could with his hand on her head, eyes sliding closed.

"It... It doesn't matter, Kim Seokjin-ssi. I don't want to talk about it." His heart clenched slightly at the vulnerability making itself known in her voice, Choheun sounding scared and guarded once again with a look he didn't want to see on her young, innocent face.

"Can you tell me why you didn't tell any of us you were planning to leave? In the night, nonetheless? It's dangerous for you to go out alone like that, especially on the weekends." His words sounded accusing and blunt, but his face and his voice told the exact opposite, moving his hands to grab ahold of her sleeve-covered ones, and even if her sweater paws were in the way, it made him feel things when he could still tell how tiny her hands were on his own. And he thought Jimin had the smallest hands in BigHit.

Choheun glanced away, face full of shame, and he didn't mean to make her feel that way. Who knew what she was thinking? "I... I didn't think about that." She ducked her head down, cheeks flaring a bright red in embarrassment. "I'm sorry." The words were simple and common, but the heavy emotion accompanied with her eyes that were getting glossy somehow made it sound painful.

And Seokjin couldn't help it. He spent his new life around boys younger than him and steadily grew to care for them as his own family. He had hyung instincts around his dongsaengs, not once having a younger sister (Hyojee didn't count since she acted more like his noona most of the time, anyway) even with his family back home, and maybe, right now, and in more days to come as she stayed here, he could have oppa instincts as well.

Seokjin hushed the girl pleasantly, cupping her face again and rubbed the skin below her eyes gently with his thumb, despite no tears falling just yet. "It's okay, baby. It's okay. Just promise next time you could tell one of us, alright? We'll get worried otherwise." Choheun gasped softly and he couldn't blame her, but the pet name slipped and it felt just right at the moment that he couldn't bring himself to feel embarrassed.

Apparently, Choheun must've liked it as she closed her eyes, leaning her face against his hands and smiled, small and lopsided and just adorable. "Okay," she said simply, and before anything else could be said, Namjoon took that moment to come back, Seokjin looking up to see the first aid kit underneath the rapper's arms.

"Here, hyung," Namjoon uttered quietly, passing the kit to the elder and Seokjin quickly grabbed his wrist to prevent him from walking away.

"And where do you think you're going, Kim Namjoon-ssi?" Seokjin said sweetly with a pleasant smile on his face. Namjoon paled slightly, and that was because the look in his eyes wasn't so pleasant and as sweet as his words and smile presented.

Namjoon sighed, nodding in defeat and sat down beside Choheun. The vocalist raised a questioning brow at the really close proximity of their thighs bumping onto each other and shoulders brushing every now and then before pushing his curiosity back for now.

Seokjin placed the medkit on his lap and popped it open, grabbing the things he needed (a fabric bandage, tweezer, antiseptic wipes, Neosporin, alcohol, and cotton) and paused when he heard the sound of a stomach grumbling. He looked up, seeing Choheun's face flushing red and averted eyes. Beside her, Namjoon disguised a chuckle with a cough.

Shaking his head, Seokjin allowed a relaxed smile to appear on his face for the first time in midst of his previous state of panic. "Since our kitchen is nearly empty, what did you buy, Choheun-ah?"

Choheun blinked, glancing down at the floor as a contemplative look passed on her face, nose scrunching slightly in concentration and Seokjin chuckled silently when she chewed on her bottom lip. Cute. "I have, uh, almost all the ingredients to make japchae, some instant cup noodles, a pack of ramyeon, ramen, a few vegetables, and... that's it."

Seokjin nodded, humming as he dabbed a little bit of alcohol on the cotton, catching it between the tweezers and looked up, cupping her face with one hand and brought her closer, the girl complying without complaint. "I'll make ramyeon for you after this. Do you know how to patch up one's bruised knuckles?" he asked, eyeing a certain leader who had the decency to look sheepish under his burning gaze. Yup, he had a lot of explaining to do when he sends Choheun to bed.

Choheun followed his gaze, confused, before giggling slightly and nodded, smile shy and it was the same one Seokjin was enamored with when he first officially talked with her last week outside their dorm. "I have a little experience with it. Having an older brother and all." She answered and he accepted that, a little glad it wasn't because she had patched herself up.

"Good, now heads-up. Wait- not literally, sort of-" Seokjin grinned when the girl did exactly as told, another giggle escaping her that her eyes curved up into crescents. Namjoon was smiling at the girl fondly and Seokjin was really going to ask the rapper to spill the beans later tonight...or maybe tomorrow. "This is going to hurt a bit. You up for that?"

Choheun nodded firmly, lips pursed together but her eyes wavered a bit when they glanced the alcohol-filled cotton in-between tweezers and didn't blame her. It was going to hurt, especially since it was near the head. "I can handle it, Kim Seokjin-ssi."

Seokjin gave the honey-eyed teen a smile before quickly pressing the cotton on the wound because doing so gently would take long and the pain would be present longer. Quicker would be better to get it over with.

The trainee probably wasn't expecting that as she squeaked, flinching and barely holding back the urge to move away from his hands but he had a firm hold on her face. Namjoon jumped, his fingers twitching. "Hyung! Not too harshly!" he admonished, the vocalist only giving a smile.

"Sorry, but I thought getting it over with would be better than prolonging the pain."

Choheun grunted, a sweater paw gripping his wrist that was cupping her cheek gently. "M-maybe a little w-warning would be nice." Her face twisted in discomfort, biting her lip to perhaps hold in pained noises.

Seokjin smiled slightly, delicately wiping the blood away once the first pulse of pain had evidently lessened with how the girl didn't squirm as much. "Sorry, sorry. But the first part is over now, right?" Choheun blinked bemusedly at him but nodded.

It was only the sound of the clock ticking in the room that Seokjin heard as he took his time patching the girl up, wiping the area of the wound with Neosporin then antiseptic wipes before plucking up fabric bandages from the kit and peeled one of them open, hovering it over the clean skin with only a red cut on the girl's forehead.

"Hold still for me, okay, baby?" Seokjin whispered, the girl nodding (and Namjoon gawking at the unexpected pet name) and stayed still as he pressed the bandage on the wound, using his thumb to swiftly smoothen the slight crinkles on the side. He held her chin, tilting her head to scrutinize the wound before nodding to himself, smiling. "Finished."

Choheun blinked, moving to touch the bandage once Seokjin pulled away to stand up. He looked at Namjoon, the rapper looking back at him and the vocalist stared at his bruised hand. The younger male rolled his eyes, playfully, and nodded.

Seokjin smiled then faced Choheun again, gaining her attention by booping her nose with a finger and he definitely cooed this time, gushing in the inside when she blushed baby pink. "I'll start making your ramyeon, okay? Be right back. Take care of Namjoon-ah for me."

She nodded like an attentive student, an adorably determined look on her face. "Got it,"

Chuckling, Seokjin made his way to the kitchen, grabbing the plastic bags to place them on the counter and pulled a pack of Namja Ramyeon out, garlic-flavored, and pinched the sides before simultaneously pulling it open. As he took one pack out, Seokjin moved to one of the cabinets below and opened it, reaching out to grab a saucepan since making the noodles wasn't that hard and didn't need that many fancy materials.

Seokjin filled the saucepan with two full cups of water, turning the fire on a high level for the water to boil quicker and placed the pan there.

Waiting for the water to boil, Seokjin moved his attention to the packet of noodles, opening it with the same technique and pulled out the flavoring packet and small packet with additional, miniature vegetables. He carefully ripped them open on the top, leaving them on the side and waited for the water to boil since it's beginning to do so, leaning back against the counter with his arms folded in front of his chest.

Seokjin glanced up when a sudden giggle grabbed his attention and he blinked slowly in surprise when he saw Choheun lightly push Namjoon's chest, her cheeks bright red with an adorable glare on her face but the small smile said so otherwise. Namjoon was smirking in a smug way, saying something to her that caused the girl to stick her tongue at him as she appeared to apply something on the rapper's knuckles. This time it was Choheun's turn to look smug when the other winced, face twisting in pain and scowled at her.

Seokjin chuckled, well, look at them getting along so well in under an hour when they barely talked at all. Of course Namjoon would be taken with her that fast. If Jimin ever heard about this, the dancer would no doubt be jealous.

Seokjin switched his focus back to the saucepan when he heard it boiling, grabbing the noodles and breaking it in half before letting it fall in the pan, the water soaking it up as it bubbled. He picked up a pair of chopsticks, poking at the noodles to see if it had softened a bit and when it was, Seokjin poured the spicy-garlic mix on top of the noodles and the vegetable packet, mixing and stirring it gently and occasionally picking them up one by one to separate the ones that were sticking together.

When the noodles were soft enough, Seokjin turned the fire off, switched the soup of ramyeon in a bowl, grabbing another pair of chopsticks, and made his way back to the living room where he could see Choheun's head resting on the rapper's shoulder and Namjoon holding her left hand, tugging on the sleeve every now and then, whispering something to her.

Seokjin cleared his throat, quirking a smile when the two startled and jumped away from each other, staring wide-eyed at him with blushing faces. Mostly from Choheun, and he suspected that she was embarrassed for getting caught being relaxed and comfortable around the rapper.

He didn't mind it at all, because something's telling Seokjin that Namjoon had probably said something to the girl on their way back, that her time of avoiding them was up.

"Well," he started, holding the bowl of hot ramyeon towards the girl with the chopsticks, smiling, "hurry and eat up, Choheun-ah, because we'll all be needing our rest for tomorrow."

Choheun blinked, accepting her late dinner with a shy thank you before smiling widely at the vocalist, Seokjin's heart melting at the sight of her curved eyes, flushed red apple cheeks, and peach lips tilting up to a beautiful and cute grin (wait, was that a hint of gums he could see or was that his imagination-). "Thank you, Seokjin-ssi." She said, surprising the man with the sudden change of address before briefly stealing a glance at Namjoon, refraining from smiling when he realized he was the one who probably convinced the girl to call him in a more casual manner.

Which, again, he didn't mind.

And for some reason, he had a good feeling about tomorrow.

With a fond smile filled with newfound care and affection that was just starting to build for the girl, Seokjin patted her head gently, thumb briefly brushing the bandage hidden underneath her bangs, feeling the bump under his skin.

"You're welcome, Choheunnie-yah."

Chapter Text

It was a Monday, and Choheun had been awake for nearly two hours before her alarm clock even woke her up.

She shut it off before it made a noise.

Choheun stared up at the ceiling, face and mind blank and her whole body limp as she sighed, long and breathy and tired. She was currently facing a difficult decision before deciding to get up before the others do, and that was cooking them breakfast or not.

Choheun pouted, rolling on her side whilst hugging a pillow that was bigger than her, squishing it to her chest and nuzzling it until her face was partially buried in it.

Aish, should she cook or not? Technically, she didn't buy that many ingredients to make a couple of dishes the boys would like, only for japchae and instant noodles, but she wanted to...show them that she wasn't going to avoid them anymore, thanks to Namjoon and Seokjin. They made her realize some things, and maybe her brother had been right this time (huh, probably the whole time-).

"Namjoon-oppa..." Choheun unconsciously uttered, blinking slowly when she realized she said it out loud before promptly flushing, hiding her face in the pillow and screamed in it, rolling back and forth on her bed in utter embarrassment and giddiness.

"Yah, why do I like it so much!" she whined pathetically and childishly, her bottom lip jutting out, annoyed how her whole face and her chest warmed at the thought of the rapper she trusted the most so far (maybe more so than Jimin. Maybe). She was getting too comfortable around Namjoon and she shouldn't immediately hand her heart over so quick because of what had happened yesterday. That would be naive of her to do so, but she- she couldn't help it, come on!

Just thinking of Namjoon, of what had changed between them in a span of a few hours, made her want to go to the rapper and bury herself in his comforting embrace she already liked after a couple of them (most being initiated by the said man), snuggling in his warmth and smile like a happy little kid who had gotten a hug from a family member.

Namjoon was like a confident, dorky, clumsy, and goofy friend (big brother or oppa-) she never had, and the world must've felt bad for her or something, maybe even pity her that they gave her the chance to have someone like the rapper in her life despite him being her idol from her favorite idol group for three years and she wasn't supposed to be close to her idol.

Choheun was so grateful all the same, however, but she wasn't going to admit that any time soon without blushing like crazy and shying away as usual.

Not only Namjoon but Seokjin as well. She was never, ever going to admit it, obviously, but when Seokjin had hugged her, worry for her, patched her up, comforted her, made her ramyeon, called her 'baby'...

Choheun's face heated up like a kettle, squealing into the pillow once more as she briefly kicked her legs out.

She had the biggest urge to throw herself at the man and cuddle into his arms like a baby kitten and purr loudly to show her appreciation for what he had done for her, and the reason she felt just a little bit welcomed when she had just moved in.

Aigo, the vocalist reminded her of Dohyuk way too much! Actually, no, Seokjin was like a close carbon copy of her brother. She felt the same warmth when Seokjin smiled at her like how Dohyuk would smile at her, both of their eyes looking at her like she was something so precious (um, no?), how they would coo and murmur soothing and comforting words that turned her into mush, and the pet names and nicknames, oh biscuit buns.

And to officially confirm the similarities between the two, Seokjin had called her 'Choheunnie-yah' last night with a warm and fond smile that was scarily identical to her brother's.

Choheunnie-yah.

She hadn't heard that nickname in a while, and it's because only Dohyuk would call her that! Seokjin was probably unaware of the impact that certain nickname had on the teen, and Choheun was suffering alone at that fact because she had been so close to reflexively calling him 'Seokjin-oppa' or telling him he reminded her of her brother. A lot.

Yeon Choheun wanted to die right now because of the number of times she had been blushing, face red as a rose, was probably not normal and should maybe go to a doctor or something (she was always flustered and ten times more shy and bubbly when someone said nice things to her and meant it when that someone was on her 'you're-cool-I-admire-you-already' list-).

Someone help her because she liked Seokjin and Namjoon way too much in a similar way she had felt when she started to like Kaejji back in middle school when she didn't know she liked the redhead.

This time, she was well aware of how much she liked their presence, and Choheun didn't know what to do with that information.

With an annoyed huff at herself, Choheun threw her covers off and stood up, arranging her bed and all. When she was done, she started stretching her arms up in the air, her thin sweater lifting up slightly at the stretch and waddled to the bathroom, throwing the door open (and then frantically grabbing it before it created a loud sound).

The teen clipped her hair up, using a headband to move her bangs away and splashed her face with water and her bubbly, foamy face wash. After drying her face with a towel, Choheun did her morning routine, brushing her teeth, face cream, lip balm, that's pretty much it, and stared at the mirror once she was done. She turned her face side-to-side, eyeing her face critically and nodded to herself when her face was clean, satisfied.

Smiling, Choheun turned, ready to get out of the bathroom to change, before spotting something in the corner of her eye.

She stopped, her smile dying on her lips when she saw a small bottle innocently sitting on the shelves along with her small makeup stuff and other beauty products.

Choheun frowned, taking a step towards the steel shelves and picked the small bottle in her sweater paw, turning it aloft in her hand to inspect the front label and chewed on her bottom lip.

Antidepressant pills.

She almost forgot she had previously been taking them and instinctively brought it along when she moved.

Choheun was supposed to take two pills every week, prescribed by a doctor her brother suggested. Ever since Dohyuk discovered she had anxiety and depression and probably more, he had managed to convince her to go to a doctor to get checked. So Choheun had been on antidepressants since she was fourteen (thirteen), a total of four years, except she had been lying to her brother about it again.

She had stopped taking them about half a year ago without letting her brother or her family know, since they always remind her of her pills.

How ironic because that's probably the reason why Dohyuk forgot to take his medication. He was paying more attention to her instead of his own health.

Choheun never mentioned her pills until now because, well, it was the same reason she had stopped taking them in the first place.

When she swallowed one, she hated how...empty she felt. It felt like her emotions refused to cooperate with her body and then her thoughts would take over a few moments later with tempting whispers and hushed words telling her to do something.

And, obviously, it always ended up with her sitting on the floor of her bathroom with her wrists bleeding open and a blade dripping with blood abandoned beside her.

And when that happened, Choheun never wanted it to happen in the first place, especially since she didn't even have anything to clean herself up with when her usual kit was low on items.

Taking those pills that were supposed to help her made her feel and do the opposite. Her rational mind would be forgotten, her dark thoughts would surface in the front part of her head, the burning itch on her wrists would be back and urging her to grab something sharp, and throughout it all, Choheun felt nothing and felt like she deserved every single thing he had done to herself.

She had done her research and the doctor had mentioned that there would be certain times she would feel nothing after taking them, especially on a daily basis. She didn't know much because she wasn't sure if she should care about being given pills when other people might need it more than someone like her. She could learn how to survive without them.

And what she hated the most was how many times she had to pretend to put up a smile on her face for her family when she felt absolutely nothing at all. She hated it so damn much she wanted to cry and tell her brother and then hate herself all over again for crying over something like that.

Which was why she had stopped taking them when, one incident, Choheun was almost caught by Eunji when she had suddenly cut after taking a pill and was thrown into a state of panic.

Luckily for her, the woman hadn't noticed the red tissues in the trash can.

But even when she stopped taking the pills, there were times she was contemplating taking one when she felt as if everything was too much. And yes, Choheun would only move to cut if she swallowed a pill down, the temptation too great to ignore, and if she didn't take any then she would just suffer with her mind alone before finally taking action to cut without a pill. The whole process would take so many hours, which was why if she really wanted relief, the pill would be her boost.

It made no sense, she knew, since they were literally supposed to help her, but that's what the antidepressants had done for her all these years.

She just didn't want to experience that again, or the sudden need to also take her spare sleeping pills and take a couple before falling into a deep sleep she wished she could never wake up from.

It had happened before, and oh how she wished she could do it again. Sadly, the last time she had done something like that was only once when she was sixteen, just three years ago during high-school.

Hopefully, she wouldn't be taking any pills any time soon. It just didn't help her at all (but the pain was so relieving-) and she felt bad for taking something that clearly had no improvements for her when other people in need would need it more than her.

Hopefully.

She knew she was lying to herself, but one could hope, right? After all, if she took one, the chances of the boys in the dorm finding out would be pretty high and she didn't want that to happen. Ever. And she couldn't throw it away, that would be a waste of medication people worked hard to make and distribute. Plus, medicine was pretty pricey these days.

Always take your medicine when your doctor said so. Choheun had learned that the hard way when it came to her stubborn brother.

With a tired sigh that reflected how she felt right now, she placed the pill bottle back where she had taken it and exited the bathroom, pressing the lights off and shut the door behind her. Choheun sighed again, eyes clenching closed. Only her stupid head would lead her to one of the hardest times of her life.

(Nothing was harder than her heart getting crushed and broken to pieces without picking it back up when her parents told her she-)

Choheun threw on an oversized white shirt with a pastel blue long-sleeve underneath and a pair of sweatpants. Deciding to forgo her glasses, she peeked her head out of the door, staying quiet to listen to any sounds telling her that the others were awake.

She only heard faint snores.

She had strong brother vibes from that, especially from Kaejji, too.

Swallowing down a giggle, Choheun closed the door behind her when the coast was clear. It was still seven in the morning, so she had more than enough time to prepare breakfast for everyone before they woke up. That was if she had any ingredients to make something.

Choheun blinked at the thought as she stepped into the living room, groaning and slapping the palm of her hand to her forehead. Maybe she should've thought of that first before thinking of making breakfast.

She shook her head, even if she was low on ingredients, she could always improvise. That's something she was good at.

Puffing her cheeks, Choheun opened the fridge to get the ingredients to make japchae, already spotting them before pausing when she noticed a complete row of eggs. Huh. She was so sure the only ingredient she was missing to make japchae was eggs since the ones she bought were broken in the midst of her...situation.

"Aish, stop thinking of that. It's over," she scolded herself quietly, taking everything she needed and placed them all in the counter, spreading them apart to see them properly so she wouldn't get confused. Choheun looked through the cabinets to get all the...cooking things she needed to make japchae (don't judge, she may love cooking and it's like her third hobby after music and calligraphy, but she didn't bother memorizing what the kitchen stuff was, Her memory wasn't that good).

Placing the cutting board she borrowed, Choheun started cleaning the blood off the beef (thank God she bought three and were decently big for eight people. The pork shoulder would be used next time) with kitchen paper, making sure to get every single drop before dropping the paper down the trash bin she prepared beside her leg. She grabbed a knife that appeared to not have been used much (probably the only cook in the dorm used it), slicing the meat into thin pieces before moving the strips to a white bowl.

When she finished gently mixing the beef with the marinade mix, Choheun covered it with a wrap and moved on to get the other ingredients ready. She separated each ingredient on a place or a bowl after slicing, dicing, and chopping them ready.

Nodding to herself, Choheun quickly took care of the mushrooms, adding another mix in it and got it ready before cooking it in the next twenty minutes.

As the teen continued moving around the kitchen, turning the fire on and started putting all the ingredients together, she was in the middle of slicing some of the cooked eggs that were separated by white and yolk, already cooked, before she nearly cut her own finger off.

"Morning, Choheun-ah!"

The girl squeaked, whirling around to see the beaming and slightly sleepy face of Kim Seokjin, standing behind the counter with his cheek resting on his hand that was propped up on the counter. His eyes were sparkling when he looked around the kitchen, probably already connecting the dots of what she was doing and awake so early in the morning.

Choheun wanted to melt into a puddle. She was so sure everyone was still asleep!

"G-good morning, Ki- Seokjin-ssi," she stuttered in embarrassment, her face abruptly heating up when the vocalist laughed goodheartedly, a sound that was making Choheun feel all sorts of warm right now.

Seokjin quirked a smile on his plush lips, raising one perfect brow as his eyes briefly glanced at the stove currently cooking something up. "What are you doing up and about so early in the morning, hm? And are you cooking breakfast? For... Is it for us?" he questioned teasingly, and Choheun would've protested that what if she was just cooking for herself before pushing that away since the ingredients scattered around her was way too many for one person to eat alone and handle.

Choheun blushed, turning around to continue what she had been doing before, cursing herself mentally once again for not paying attention. Aigo-yah, this reminded her of the time Jimin saw her making pancakes. It's a coincidence, right? "I, uh- I wanted to make you all breakfast as... as an apology for...you know..." she shrugged helplessly, not wanting to finish her sentence because she still felt guilty for ignoring them for so long, even when the last two days were not intentional and their schedules were in the way. "...ignoring you all."

She didn't notice she was close to cutting her fingers once again when she was already done slicing the eggs, jumping in fright when a big, warm hand enclosed around her wrist that was holding the knife. Choheun snapped her head up, flushing timidly when she saw Seokjin right behind her. The man only smiled warmly at her, pulling the knife away and turned her to him by her shoulders.

Seokjin placed a hand on her head, gently rubbing it and his smile widened a bit when Choheun couldn't help but lean towards it, eyes closing. She really couldn't help it. When she knew she started placing her trust on Namjoon last night, Choheun started to really like Seokjin more and more, and not because he reminded her of her brother.

There was just something about him that told her to trust the older male, that it was fine to show a small piece of herself to him, lend her small trust to his hands. She obviously wasn't ready to show her heart yet, not now (she wasn't ready and she didn't want to make a mistake because she wanted to offer it again-), but starting to trust them one by one, not only the boys in the dorm but also the others working in BigHit and Beomgyu, and Choheun found that she was happy with the first step. Baby steps, she thought to herself, baby steps.

Even if there's still a chance they might do what she feared the most, it was better to make the best of it and grab onto the only strand of happiness she could find before everything went to hell.

First chances were fine, but Choheun wasn't that brave for a second chance.

"It's okay, sweetheart," Seokjin cooed softly, his hand sliding down to her cheek and Choheun made a comfortable noise in the back of her throat she couldn't explain at the new pet name, snuggling on his hand that the vocalist smiled widely and, dare she say it, fondly. "You have your reasons for doing what you did, but I'm hoping you won't be doing that again any time soon. We can't get along that way,"

Choheun frowned sadly, understanding what he meant, and covered his hand with her own sleeve-covered ones. She peered up at him, apologetic, "I'm sorry, Seokjin-ssi..."

Seokjin only cooed again, cupping both of her cheeks and the smile on his face was so much like Dohyuk that, surprisingly, it didn't hurt at all. In fact, she welcomed the slight familiarity and the warmth she felt from the smile directed at her. "You don't have to apologize, baby." Choheun wanted to giggle out of habit from an endearing pet name, her usual reaction to it because of her brother, but he paused, blinking down at her worriedly, "Is it okay for me to call you that? I don't want you to feel uncomfortable. That's the last thing I want. Or any of us, really."

Oh, she was more than uncomfortable, she really, really liked the pet name from someone not from her family. Especially coming from Seokjin. She probably wanted him to keep saying it more but held her tongue. The others might find it weird, so maybe when they were alone was better. Until she was fully comfortable with it, and the others as well.

Choheun beamed at him, smiling happily as best as she could despite the hands squishing her cheeks slightly on both sides. "Mn, don't worry, Seokjin-ssi. I don't mind. It's really..." she blushed, ducking her head shyly, "...nice. I-I like it." Maybe a little too much, she added in her head but mentally shook it away.

Seokjin smiled widely, relieved and ecstatic, "Omo, that's a relief." And then he leaned down, casually pressing his plush lips on her bang-covered forehead with his hands still gently cupping her cheeks with so much care—and she promptly froze, body going still and gaping in shock at the taller male, not caring that her eyes were probably as wide as a deer caught in headlights and mouth opening and closing like a fish, no words passing through.

Except if Seokjin was also surprised by his own actions (or maybe it was intentional), he didn't show it and only flashed a beautiful warm smile, pink lips stretching wide in a gracefully handsome manner with his eyes curving up that it almost made Choheun forget what had just happened.

Almost.

But not quite.

She's having a bit of trouble trying to get her brain to function and once she finally processed what had just occurred, Choheun's face exploded a concerning bright red, her ears too hot and the cold air making contact wasn't pleasing the very least.

He kissed her. On the forehead. So akin to how her brother would do it.

He kissed her.

Kim Seokjin did. The eldest member of her favorite group. Of BTS. Of Bangtan Sonyeondan.

What the fu-

Choheun spluttered, skittering back away from the vocalist once he hummed happily and turned to what was cooking, taking over to cut some carrots she was about to cut next before he popped up out of nowhere.

"Wh-wha- S-Seokjin-ssi, what was- what-" she stammered pathetically, face and neck and ears too hot (but her heart was too warm and butterflies were fluttering nicely in her stomach instead of them feeling painful-) and her hands were frantically trying to make motions and gestures that made absolutely no sense, her face burning up even more if possible when Seokjin turned to look at her and innocently cocked his head to the side, the perfect picture of confused curiosity.

"Is something wrong, Choheunnie-yah? Would you like me to help you finish this?" Seokjin grinned, placing a hand to his chest, and Choheun didn't know if the familiar look of mischief and cheekiness was a welcomed sight. "Woh, daebak, I'd be so honored to help! Hurry up now, we don't want the noodles to burn up~"

Choheun tried to say something, but ended up giving up when the words refused to cooperate and shut her jaw close with a click, padding to the vocalist with her head ducked to pointedly avoid the other's eyes and they both continued finishing the japchae.

(Choheun would never, ever admit, not even in a million years, that she felt like that same little girl years ago who always ran to her older brother for comfort and heartwarming kisses and would beam up at him with wide, innocent eyes, looking for his approval.

She felt the same way towards Kim Seokjin.)

 


 

Seokjin was in love.

Okay, maybe not, because he had never been in love yet (did his past relationship count?), but he concluded this was how it would kind of feel like.

In a platonic sense.

If that was possible. Was it possible to like someone in a platonic way? Maybe even love or adoration?

Not that it mattered.

As he finished getting the table ready with plates and such, Seokjin went back to staring at the young, honey-eyed teen who was quietly humming a song under her breath as she started moving the finished dish to another bigger bowl, carefully tipping it sideways and turning the fire off.

Choheun turned around to bring the filled bowl with japchae to the counter with the kitchen gloves protecting her small hands, the cloth looking way too big and adorable on the equally small girl, and she lifted her head up, finding his eyes. A second later, when her eyes fleetingly glanced at his lips, Choheun flushed red and turned away to get the bowls, probably remembering the little incident that happened between them almost half an hour ago.

Aigo, that was so cute Seokjin didn't know how he never figured out in the first place what that strange feeling was spreading in his chest earlier on. A feeling a little different than what he felt towards the boys.

He had a sudden urge to shower the smaller younger girl with how much he was actually glad she was here, training under their company, no longer pushing his advances away, welcoming him and hopefully she'd do the same to the others, her smiles slowly but surely appearing more genuine and honest with a touch of innocence he could see instead of the weary and scared look, and just the fact they met her.

He met her.

Seokjin felt his chest clench at the thought of never meeting the girl. She was just like the other contestants, someone who auditioned (to either become an idol, to meet them, or maybe both), but there was always that small, lingering thought of what would've happened if there was someone who was better than Choheun. That just one change, one choice from Bang PD, would never lead him to where he was, watching Choheun's back as she arranged all the stuff they both used to cook and kept them in one place on the sink.

For some reason, Seokjin couldn't help but feel glad that it was Choheun who won that audition, now training as a trainee under BigHit to become their eighth member soon (now he was really excited for that time to come, to show the whole damn world this beautiful and precious little girl-). He didn't know why, but it just felt right, to see the girl right now, standing in the kitchen and cooking breakfast with her shoulders relaxed and face calm and content for the time being.

Seokjin couldn't help but think that Choheun deserved to be here. He only felt a little guilty to dismiss all the other contestants who auditioned along with her, and that there would've been others who were maybe better than Choheun, but the vocalist immediately squashed that thought away because no, Choheun was definitely better, and he was glad she was the winner.

Seokjin didn't want to think about what would've happened if Choheun never won, or worse, never even auditioned.

He's going to ignore those thoughts, those scenarios, and what-ifs, and just be thankful everything led up to this.

Seokjin didn't believe in any heavenly being up there, but he wanted to get on his knees and shout to the heavens thank you for giving them someone so precious and sweet and unconditionally kind-

Yeah, he was going to stop himself there or else he'd just continue saying so many endearing words to compliment the trainee.

(Ahem- but Choheun deserved all the endearing compliments in the world because remember what he vowed a week or two ago that he'd make the girl get used to compliments-)

"Seokjin-ssi?"

"Yes, baby?" Seokjin replied almost instantly as if he hadn't been staring at her with eyes and face he was sure was like someone who found something they liked. Or maybe loved. Same thing. And maybe the smile he was sporting was that of a teenage boy staring at his crush or something. Or an incredibly doting older brother looking at his younger sibling doing something that made him proud.

And aigo, he was really starting to like calling the girl that. It was becoming his new favorite hobby.

Choheun blushed at his choice of response and briefly averted her gaze before glancing back, eyes narrowed in what it seemed to be flustered annoyance but it was too weak for it to be really annoyed. She huffed, nose scrunching up slightly as she placed her hands on her hips. "Can you help me bring these to the... the table...p-please?" she started off with confidence before suddenly turning shy as she avoided his gaze once she finished talking and nervously played with her sleeve, biting her plump bottom lip.

Seokjin felt attacked right now, holy fuck, but he really wanted to coo and wrap the girl in blankets and poke her button nose. She was all annoyed and flustered before quickly turning shy and flustered. The transition was so cute.

So he did, walking around the counter and before grabbing the bowls she was handing to him, Seokjin poked her nose, his heart fluttering when Choheun scrunched them afterward and blinked up at him in confusion. "Of course, Choheun-ah." He cooed, the girl only blushing more in return. "Do you need any help with the big one?"

Choheun shook her head gently, smile small and lopsided (and so sweet) as she followed Seokjin to the dining table, placing the big bowl with japchae shaking about from the movement as Seokjin organized the bowls to all their designated plates.

They both took a step back, staring at the table ready to be invaded my food on the empty plates water and other drinks that would be poured on the empty glasses. The serving spoon and chopsticks were also ready to be used with tissue, salt and pepper and lemon beside the japchae. The main dish, of course, was all Choheun's doing and cooking while he only lent a helping hand when it came to other things.

And, might he add, Choheun was great at adding the finishing touches on the japchae, like adding the carrots, eggs, and vegetables on the top like a professional. Her plating was so damn amazing and it only took a minute.

He couldn't wait to cook more things in the kitchen with someone, with Choheun nonetheless.

Seokjin was also impressed by how she was able to find and get all the ingredients needed to make the dish, since finding vegetables and sauces, meat especially, in a convenient store in a gas station was very rare.

He let out a chuckle, the sound probably unexpected as Choheun looked at him with her head tilting to the side like a kitten in confusion. "Seokjin-ssi?"

The said man shook his head, smiling down at the girl, "Nothing. I'm just a little amazed you managed to find all of these yesterday, and most of them survived, too." He said before he could stop himself, remembering what Namjoon had said last night.

No, Seokjin didn't successfully get that much information about what had happened. Since it was late, almost twelve, all he could get from the leader was that Choheun had been running away from one of those men from the news before he found her.

Of course, Seokjin found bullshit in that story. He could see the hesitation swimming in Namjoon's eyes as he explained all of that after they both watched Choheun leave to her room. The taller idol wasn't that good at lying to his hyung or his band members. Seokjin knew what went unsaid, but at the same time, he was grateful the other didn't elaborate or else his emotions would get the best of him. Like anger and the somewhat paternal instinct to protect.

And maybe it was a mistake to say that because Choheun flinched slightly like she was struck, her arms moving to wrap around herself in an almost protective and self-conscious fashion as she peered up at him with wide, wary doe eyes. Seokjin felt his heart clench. He must've unintentionally reminded her of the night she probably didn't want to remember.

"Ah, I'm-" Seokjin swallowed the lump in his throat, "I didn't mean to bring it up again. I wasn't thinking," he lowered his voice to a near-whisper, guilt rolling in his stomach at how Choheun slowly started rubbing her arms, face softening a bit. She looked so—so vulnerable like this. Seokjin found he didn't like it. "I'm sorry, Choheun-ah." He really meant it.

Choheun didn't say anything for a moment, her expression guarded and eyes darting on his face, looking for something he didn't know, and he was slowly getting nervous the more the silence stretched too long. Maybe he crossed the line today. Maybe he shouldn't have said anything.

But Choheun surprised him when she closed the distance a bit, reaching out to gently grab his large right hand (the size difference was so apparent-) and enclosed her sleeve paws around it. She still didn't look at him, just staring at her hands covering his and pulled it a little closer to her chest, hovering aloft.

She closed her eyes, expression slightly pained but still calm, licking her lips briefly. "It's... It's okay, Seokjin-ssi." She said softly, and Seokjin wanted to say no, it wasn't okay, but she continued talking after a few seconds of thought, brows furrowed together as if she was deciding whether or not she should say what she wanted to say, and she did.

"Yesterday, I... I was scared. I was really scared." She started to say, fluttering her eyes open to stare straight into his eyes, face so open and trusting and scared and Seokjin wanted to wipe that look away from her young face.

But he was also stunned, because—because she was actually opening up. To him. She was telling him about what had happened yesterday. No Namjoon. Just Choheun herself.

Seokjin didn't say anything, bringing his other free hand to cover hers, silently encouraging her to continue.

She got his message and took a slow, shaky breath, the last crack of her guarded mask finally crumbling away and Seokjin wanted to hug her, comfort her, shower her with reassurance—anything to remove that look on her face because it proved that his heart was too weak to handle it, and if it wasn't for the fact she was opening up, Seokjin's self-control would've snapped since it was barely stable to begin and all he wanted to do right now was protect her from the world and the impact that left her yesterday.

Seokjin was glad Namjoon chose to go find her. He couldn't imagine what would've happened if he didn't.

He probably wouldn't have had the restraint to hold back.

"I can still—I can still feel it. I can still feel it t-touching me, Seokjin-ssi." Choheun said quietly, her voice shaking and her hands beginning to tremble beneath his left hand and Seokjin immediately knew what she meant, what she was trying to imply.

He rubbed her hand covered with her sleeve with a thumb, taking one step closer to her until her hands grasping his was nearly touching his chest. "What was touching you, Choheunnie?" he coaxed softly, wanting her to say it even if he already knew.

(And he's also trying to push down that bubbling anger begging to come out-)

Choheun let out a weak whimper, lowering her head, but no tears fell. "That—that man. I-I can still feel his touches even wh-when I was p-panicking. I pleaded for him to let me go. I pleaded and begged him to let me go, that I didn't mean to kick him in the face even when I didn't feel that bad," he tried not to smirk (the bastard deserved it) but soon sobered up when Choheun sniffled, "but he-" her voice cracked slightly, and Seokjin's heart was cracking, "-he wasn't listening. He didn't listen and he- he was about to- he almost- I-"

Sensing that she was about to panic even more, her breathing starting to fasten just a bit, Seokjin was faster and quickly pulled her to his chest so abruptly her body collided on his, hiding her face on his shoulder (she was so small and tiny-) and buried his face on her hair. His anger was dimming down slightly, the urge to comfort her stronger and persistent.

"It's okay, Choheun. You don't have to continue. I get it." Seokjin hushed soothingly, softly, stroking her hair and rubbing small circles on her back with tenderness.

Choheun wasn't crying, no tears spilled, but she wasn't quivering like a leaf anymore, timid fingers grasping the front of his shirt. She choked a bit, whimpering again, and he wanted to tell her to stop making that sound because he couldn't hold back- "I was scared. I was so, so scared, Seokjin-ssi. And I—I owe Namjoon-oppa big time, you know? I-If he didn't—didn't find me on time..." she laughed a bit, almost a little hysterical, but she was more relaxed as she spoke and Seokjin was glad, tightening his hold on her, protecting her like a protective wolf around his territory.

Seokjin chuckled, ignoring the burn in his eyes and blinked the unshed tears away, leaning down until his head was on her shoulder, bending down slightly. "Daebak, Namjoon-ah is your lifesaver, isn't he?" he teased gently, pointedly ignoring how she had called the rapper 'oppa' and barely refrained from making a reaction (Choheun mattered first).

Choheun was the first to pull away but only to lean back slightly, peering up at him with shy eyes filled with so much trust and a small bit of doubt. He didn't know what the last what meant, but then-

"I also owe you, too, Seokjin... Seokjin-oppa." The small girl added shyly, quietly, smile small and just as shy and her cheeks a pretty pink.

Seokjin only gaped, staring down at her with wide and shocked eyes and plain confused. Either at her words or the fact she called him 'oppa', he didn't know. "Wh-why me?" he cracked a bit, cheeks heating a bit in embarrassment but composed himself, "I didn't do anything," he wheezed, his eyebrows drawing together.

Choheun shook her head, huffing at him but the small smile remained (and Seokjin wanted to squish her cheeks-). Like she knew something obvious and he didn't. "No, you did so much for me. You're the first one who greeted me when we first met, helped me feel comfortable when I moved, and you have no idea how happy I with what you did last night and..." she paused, blinking up at him, and smiled wide, the same smile he saw that was directed at him last night and he was sure he officially loved that smile on her face that was now innocent, open, and so, so happy. "You welcomed me first, helped me feel a little safe. Other than Hyojee-ssi, you're the first one who truly made me comfortable. Don't say you didn't do anything. You did so much for me, and I've always wanted to say thank you, so..."

Choheun took a calming breath, smiling at him that her honey eyes curved into beautiful moons and—yep, Seokjin was officially in love with her smile (and he wasn't imagining it she had a gummy smile like Yoongi-). "Thank you so much, Seokjin-oppa. I want to say the same thing to the others, because I can see they're also trying to make me feel welcomed, too, but I'm, uh, a little shy. And," she paused, shrugging one shoulder, smile turning lopsided, and his heart hurt- "don't tell them that I'm grateful for their attempts, okay? Maybe when I'm ready, but now, not yet."

Choheun was shy, as usual, but there was a hint of cheekiness and playfulness, and was he finally seeing the real Yeon Choheun? Because if he was, then he wanted to do everything he could to keep her here, to see the girl really look and feel comfortable around them.

Seokjin smiled so wide his cheeks were starting to hurt a bit, but he really didn't care. "I promise I won't," a total lie... maybe, "but- Namjoon-oppa and Seokjin-oppa?" he teased, melting at the way she seemed to realized what she had really said and flushed a bright red once again.

"D-don't tell anyone, please! I-It's just- I tend to call the people I feel comfortable with and really like closely—but I can not say it again, if it makes you uncomfortable! I-I'll understand!" she stammered nervously, flustered and embarrassed, but Seokjin could see she was half-serious about not calling him that way with what he would say next.

And nope, he wanted her to keep calling him that, actually.

He was also honored and ecstatic that she admitted, maybe unconsciously, that she was comfortable around him and Namjoon and liked them both to the point she was willing to drop all the formalities.

Yes, please.

Seokjin cooed, pulling her back in his arms and hugged tight, pressing a kiss on her forehead again and let it linger a little longer than the first, his cheek resting on her head and smile so wide. "It's more than okay with me, Choheun-ah. I don't mind you calling me that. And I'm so happy you think of me that way. I promise I won't disappoint you, and we'll all show you everything about BigHit. You'll love it here, baby."

Choheun's ear turned red, meaning she was flushing up again and he cooed, and Seokjin completely melted when she pouted against his shoulder, burying her face to hide it. "I'll keep your word on it. And I'm not calling you oppa with the others around except for Namjoon-oppa, okay?" she grumbled in embarrassment and he hummed, smiling.

"That's fine by me."

They stayed hugging once again for a few moments, and if Seokjin hadn't been paying attention, he would've missed what Choheun said next, voice so soft and quiet he almost didn't hear it at all.

"I promise not to disappoint you all, too..."

Seokjin wanted to give her everything to make her happy holy-

"WOW! Something is smelling good!"

Both Seokjin and Choheun immediately jumped away from each other, whipping around to see the others walking out of the hallway, all wide awake and excited as they sniffed the air (minus Yoongicchi, of course), the smell of japchae wafting through the room.

Seokjin noticed how Choheun was shaking with so much anxiety, eyes wide and cheeks red. She was probably thinking the others have overheard what they were saying and Seokjin wanted to soothe her worry.

So he did. He didn't want the chances of her opening up going down again because of this. "How long have you all been awake?" Seokjin demanded with his arms folded in front of his chest, staring at all of them with narrowed eyes. If one of them had indeed overhead, eavesdrop really, then he hoped his eyes would say everything that meant they should keep their mouths shut or else (there would be bloodshedahem).

Hoseok, the one who spoke up earlier, beamed brightly like the sunshine he was. "A few minutes ago. Jiminnie was the one who woke all of us up before coming out." Seokjin barely held back a sigh of relief, and he noticed Choheun relaxed considerably her shy smiled returned.

As they all moved to sit down, Jimin plopped down beside Choheun again, but this time Namjoon was on her other side. Seokjin saw how the others, half of them, raised a bemused brow at that but he was glad they didn't say anything.

"Choheun-ah, did you and Jin-hyung make this for us?" Jimin asked, shaking excitedly in his seat but holding himself because, obviously, he wasn't sure if she was still planning to ignore them. It's the first time in almost a week since they've all seen Choheun with them in the same room and not at the opposite end. And she always left first before they woke up and was already asleep when they came home. Seokjin didn't blame the dancer for that, especially since Jimin really liked the girl a lot.

Choheun nodded slightly, smile nervous but evidently genuine now and, as usual, shy (and so cute-). "I-I did. I wanted to cook breakfast for all of you as..." she trailed off, cheeks turning pink and avoided all their curious gazes, pulling on her sleeve. "...I guess an apology for avoiding you all like that. I didn't mean to do it because I dislike or anything, okay?" she reassured hastily, flickering her eyes up to the dancer and gulped. "I'm very sorry about that, by the way. I promise I won't do that again, Jimin-ssi-"

The poor girl didn't have time to finish her apology when the dancer lunged forward, clutching her to his chest and the girl squeaked, quickly holding him before they both fall off their chairs.

The girl blinked twice, her eyes finding Seokjin's definitely amused ones and he quirked a fond smile at the adorably panicked and unsure look on her flustered face. "U-uhm-"

"I'm so glad, Choheun-ah!" Jimin cried out, a little bit dramatically if someone asked Seokjin, and he chuckled a bit when Choheun stilled in utter confusion, her sleeve paws slowly and hesitantly moving to the dancer's back. "I really thought you hated us for something we probably did wrong. Please don't do that again." He nuzzled his face on the girl's shoulder and Choheun blinked once before giggling lightly and Seokjin knew the others fell in love a bit.

He'd know because he could see how they were trying not to smile and grin like idiots or coo at the sound and their interaction. Namjoon looked so fond and looking every bit like a proud brother, and Seokjin needed to remind the leader his lovestruck-like look directed to the girl was the opposite of subtle right now that everyone noticed for a brief moment. Hoseok didn't bother and grinned his signature heart-shaped smile, eyes softening at the girl that Seokjin was curious. From what he had heard and remembered, Hoseok and Jimin were talking to each other last week with serious faces, no doubt it was about Choheun. Taehyung was looking at the girl like how he looked at his family and siblings (and BTS and BigHit). Even Yoongi and Jeongguk were holding back smiles.

Oh, and Seokjin was all of the above. Maybe on par with Jimin and Namjoon.

"Don't worry, I won't. You'll be seeing more of me again every morning and night, Jimin-ssi." Choheun said, patting the dancer's back with confidence and her grin was just adorable.

Hoseok snorted, smirking just slightly, "You better, Choheun-ssi. You should've seen how sulky he was for the past couple of days. He's like a puppy, wanting your attention." He commented cheekily, laughing when Jimin pulled away and threw a dirty look at the dancer leader.

"Yah, hyung! You're no better!"

"A little bit, but your sulking was so sad it's funny, Jimin-ah." The dancer only scowled at that, glaring and his cheeks bright red.

Taehyung muffled his laughs behind his hand, eyes glinting with mischief, "Both of you were, stop denying and pointing at each other." The two dancers squawked in protests, staring at the singer with betrayal.

Namjoon grunted, shifting a bit to get comfortable in his seat, quirking a brow with a face of perfect nonchalance. "All four of you were."

"Yah!"

"Namjoon-hyung!

"Joon-ah!"

Yoongi rolled his eyes at them all, exasperated like always with their pointless arguments and Seokjin wanted to laugh. "Aish, stop. Just admit that all five of you were sulking when Yeon-ssi avoided us."

Namjoon, Taehyung, Hoseok, and Jimin all yelled and shouted and groaned at the eldest rapper, Jeongguk snickering and Choheun giggling as Yoongi smirked smugly as if he won. Except he didn't because Seokjin hadn't said a thing.

Seokjin made cooing noise and they all stared at him, Yoongi's smug smirk slowly faltering when he noticed the look on the elder's face and Seokjin was definitely smug right now. "Aww, Yoongi-yah. Don't think I didn't notice how you lock yourself in your studio more when Choheunnie-yah avoided us." The rapper flushed red and scowled with a glare when everyone on the table laughed at him, Choheun's giggles slowly turning into laughter as she tried to muffle the sounds with her sleeves.

Kind of failing, but adorable all the same.

Aish, Seokjin was smitten.

And seeing Jeongguk smirking at the rapper, Seokjin wasn't letting the Golden Maknae get away with it, either.

"Jeonggukkie-yah," the said maknae froze, snapping his head to the vocalist with wide doe eyes, his expression clearly pleading 'please don't' as the others stared at the two curiously and amusedly (Choheun the former, everyone else the latter, while also holding back their laughter). "You're the same as the rest of us, too, you know?" he flashed a shit-eating grin, soon bursting out into his windshield-wiper laugh when the boy blushed as red as red beans.

"Hyung!" Jeongguk whined, sounding so scandalized and betrayed like the others. Everyone, however, was laughing all around without giving the younger idol an ounce of sympathy and laughed at his face. Jeongguk was blushing and scowling and embarrassed, alternating between the three, but he had a small, barely noticeable smile on his face when he glanced at the laughing Choheun, leaning her head against Namjoon's shoulder as the rapper patted her back, eyes so fond he was so obvious everyone would see it sooner or later.

Yoongi cleared his throat, lips twitching, but tried to stay composed, "Can we all eat now? It's going to be nine soon and we need to go early. And I'm hungry." He stated once everyone calmed down, and, almost immediately, all their stomachs growled at the mention of hunger.

They all stared at each other, some red-faced, but soon burst into another fit of laughter as Seokjin clapped his hands together, smiling wide. "Okay, let's dig in, everyone. Please finish what you have in your plate because remember Choheun-ah cooked all of this for us!" he beamed, smiling warmly at the girl and Choheun ducked her head bashfully when they all said their thanks, reminiscent of the first time she made pancakes for them, her smile soft and small and shy.

When Seokjin picked his chopsticks up first, everyone following suit, they all started filling their plates with japchae, the food quite large like what people would usually see in a party, and when they took a bite, all hell broke loose.

Not really.

But close.

Taehyung groaned loudly and purposely intentional, pulling the chopsticks out of his mouth and stared at the cook appreciatively, awestruck. "You're an amazing cook, Choheun-ssi. This is the best japchae I've ever had the honor of eating!" he praised, already stuffing his mouth full.

Choheun blushed but smiled, grateful and amused. "You're welcome, Kim Taehyung-ssi. But I highly doubt it's that good," she huffed a gentle laugh, humble and polite, "cooking is just a hobby of mine."

Surprisingly, Jeongguk was the one who spoke up next, swallowing a mouthful. He was frowning, eyes burning with determination, "Yeon Choheun-ssi, it's really good. And if hyung said so, then it is. Besides, I agree with him. This has more flavor and the texture is really different and a little softer than the ones we always eat."

The girl blushed but smiled, nodding his head at him instead of protesting, since she looked ready to do so. Aigo, Seokjin thought with a fond smile, Choheun was so humble. "If you say so, Jeon Jeongguk-ssi." The maknae wasn't satisfied with the response but he accepted with a curt nod nevertheless.

"Choheun-ah, you should cook more for all of us." Jimin piped up, before backtracking quickly, "Not that you have to always cook for us, it's just that eating homemade food is better than takeouts, and if you maybe cook with Seokjinnie-hyung, I bet all the food will be heavenly."

Choheun flushed red this time, lowering her head timidly as she gathered the noodles in her chopsticks, pouting adorably. "Y-you're all impossible..." she uttered quietly, stuffing her cheeks until they were chubby like a chipmunk's, and Seokjin smiled as they all cooed (minus Yoongi and a little bit of Jeongguk) at her. She wasn't as quiet as she thought, so they all heard what she had said and that only encouraged them to throw her even more compliments and praised until Choheun was bright red on her face, neck, and ears and covering her face with her sleeve paws. The cooing intensified.

As Seokjin ate quietly, watching the others talking and chattering and also including Choheun for her opinion, he felt his heart warm at how the girl was finally comfortable around them. He compared how their first breakfast together went, and Choheun barely talked at all, just quiet and blushing and stuttering when one of them talked to her other than Jimin and him, and now?

Now Seokjin definitely preferred this Choheun, smiling more and laughing and eyes curving into crescents to show her amusement and happiness when Taehyung accidentally flicked some carrots on Hoseok's face, the latter shouting and chasing after the second maknae after they were all done eating. This Choheun was so different and better than the one who had first moved in with them. And to think it was nearly two weeks.

Seokjin leaned back against the chair, smiling on the glass as he sipped water.

Somehow, he had a good feeling that today would be a good day, and the days after that, when Choheun was finally opening up to them, no longer shying away from their kind smiles, fond eyes, welcoming words and open arms.

Choheun didn't trust them completely, of course not, but she was slowly letting her own walls break down bit by bit, and maybe, Seokjin thought, just maybe Choheun could finally grasp their hands, and the others like Yoongi and Jeongguk would accept her into their lives.

Maybe they could even be a family. Who knows?

It certainly felt like to Kim Seokjin.

(And when he briefly met Namjoon's eyes, a knowing look on his face, Seokjin knew that everyone had heard what he and Choheun were talking about. Jimin's angered eyes, Hoseok's grim face, Taehyung's horrified eyes, Yoongi's unreadable face, Jeongguk's pale face, and Namjoon's livid eyes were proof to the vocalist when Choheun wasn't looking.)

Chapter Text

Hi, again, another note from yours truly! ^^

And don’t worry, it’s nothing like the last note to those who have read it before I deleted it.

If anything, what I want to say is...

I’M SO SORRYYYYYY!!!

I don’t think I’ll be able to update properly, you guys. ;A;

Nothing personal or anything, just that the laptop I was using to do all the typing belonged to my dad’s office, so he had to return it back to work because he has a 2 week leave from work after my birthday last week (it’s a holiday of some sort??).

I would use my brother’s laptop, but it’s his and he loves gaming and I don’t want to get in the way of that, or take it away from it most of the time.

I could continue writing in my phone, but my mind just doesn’t cooperate when my fingers are tapping a screen.

I’m really sorry, but I only prefer to write with a keyboard, nothing else. It’s been that way ever since I’ve started writing this fic (and last year on an old fanfic of mine- cough). It just doesn’t feel the same. I swear it feels like there are more words and motivation when I write with a keyboard.

My parents are actually planning to buy me an iPad Pro that has a pen and the keyboard, but it’s still far away before they actually buy it. Maybe by the end of the month.

Call it a late birthday gift, if you could say, I guess.

So, I’m really sorry I won’t be able to update tomorrow on schedule. :(

I’ll try my very best to continue writing on my phone even when my ideas and motivation cut short every minute since I literally only managed to write 200 words every time I write on my phone. Pathetiiiiiiiiic ㅠㅠ

I’ll seriously try my best, you guys! I’m sorry you won’t be getting any updates possibly for the next 2-3 weeks. Gaaaah I’m waiting for the iPad Pro so I can also show off my neglected digital art skills when I post a new chap. ;D

Still, I apologize in advance. :( I already have a completed idea for the next chapter I have no doubt you’ll all enjoy, but I still have to think about dialogue and feelings and my mind is blank on that without a precious keyboard. T-T

The new chap only has 1800 words so far for the past week until now. That’s so baaaaaaad I could’ve written more last week when I still had the laptop but I guess either laziness or the little stress about a project was getting to me. Eeeeek.

I knew I should’ve written more when I had the chance. I had, like, so much free time. Humph! >:T

(Wait, does it make it sound personal??? If it does, whoops! Lmao xD)

Regardless, I will try to continue writing on my phone and maybe, sometimes, on my brother’s laptop when I have the chance (tho I doubt it) and again I’m sorry for the change of schedules. D:

When I get my hands on that iPad Pro, ooooooooooh I’ll be back alright! 

I WILL finish this fic until Choheun debuts and so on until maybe the end of 2018!!

Wait, actually, I don’t know if I should keep adding more chapters once Choheun debuts in this fic. I was actually wondering if I should make it a separate story, you know?

Like, the first fic “TBAF” will be all about Choheun in her trainee days and building her relationships with BTS and BigHit and more (basically becoming a "family"), and then the second fic will be Choheun’s journey as a newly debuted idol and so until the end of 2018.

What do you guys think??

Should I do that or just write everything in the same fic? Because I have no doubt this fanfic of mine will reach 50+ chapters and around 400k words when I’m half way through 2017 before DNA and Mic Drop. I also have a good guess I'll reach 200k words in 20 chapters. Maybe.

(Okay, when I put it that way, hOLY ICE CREAM THAT IS A LOT OF WORDS-)

Oh! And I had this idea going in my head for a while!

After Choheun finally debuts and some evens in the future, I was thinking of making an AU fic for this...fic, lol.

Like a bunch of what-ifs? They’re all one-shots or more, not connected to each other, but Choheun and more are still there, if that makes any sense?

Like... Oh! What if Choheun was not the youngest and was older than Jimin? Like she was the noona of the maknae-line??

That sounds like fun and really complicated to write! xDD

And, hmmm, what else...

What if Choheun never auditioned at all and was instead related to one of the BTS members? 

Whaaaaat if it was a high school or college university (I have no clue about college and stuff tbh xD) AU?

What iiiiiiif Choheun was a...hybrid? Tho I don’t know what kind of hybrid she should be, lol. Maybe a cat cuz I love cats.

And OOOOOOH! I also wanna try those A/B/O dynamic thingy kinda whatchamacallit stories!

(They’re all Gen, don’t worry. I don’t really care much for M and E, tbh. I’m all for plot and fluff. =3=)

I have the perfect plot already! Like, maybe two ideas???

Most importantly, I wanna write Choheun being the only “omega” in the group and not because the boys would be protective over her on some occasions, but because I reaaaaally wanna write her acting like a a literal caring little sister and mother hen- and who doesn’t wanna read Choheun scolding the crap out of the boys (who’re all maybe alphas and a few betas) while being a sweet and shy friend?????

...Oops, I’m rambling. I totally changed topic so quick, didn’t I? *giggles nervously*

But I have been thinking about making this fic into a series, splitting the story into 2 parts and adding an AU of some sorts for fun. I mean, I already have the title of the next book planned.

(And yes, that’ll also mean you’re all allowed to give me ideas and requests for the AUs. It’ll be fun! But only if you’re all up for it after Choheun debuts. :D)

Soooo, again, sorry for no updates on a weekly basis now. I’m sad about that too because you’re all amazing readers waiting on this fic. TT___TT

But I’m not abandoning this story! Don’t worry about that haha. ^^

And to conclude everything that was the main point this note...

...I guess I’m on some sort of hiatus???

I really don’t knoooooow I’m so bad at this, sorry xC

Bleh, and I don’t like that word. “Hiatus”. I had bad experiences with it back then on my early writing days. ㄱㅅㄱ

Then again, I was only 12 when I discovered writing and the fact fanfiction exists. > w <

Anyway! That’s all I have to say!

I’m still very sorry for no more possible updates. Who knows? Maybe I’ll update next week! Just...not this week. Aka tomorrow. 

:’(

Well, moving on, have a great week everyone!!! :D

Sorry again!

(Aaaand I don’t know if I should delete this note as well when I update again... eh, we’ll see about that *shrugs*)

Tell me what you think as well about that series suggestion something, too!

Byeee~!

<3

 

Chapter Text

So!

Hello again, everyone!

:D

It's been 2-3 weeks now! Oop I'm alive don't worry I haven't crawled in a hole yet.

How are u all doing? I'm doing pretty good, just finished my last project (stress freeeee-), going out of the house pretty much every day last two weeks (and probably will still go out again since there's a report of rain coming), and I'm really surprised this story is still getting hits even when I didn't update.

Woaaaaah ㅇ0ㅇ

You're all cool, especially the new readers. Or should I call you all ARMY since this is BTS and stuff?

(Ahem- hello new readers/ARMY! Welcome to this crazy ride of my broken-ish-but-will-be-improving-her-health OC named Yeon Choheun and her 9 months of her trainee days to become an idol and 8th member of BTS and making sure it's slow, realistic, heavy with feelings and makes-a-lot-of-sense-plot-and-bonding-with-floof-maybe as possible! Meaning my head is gonna explode with all the research I have to do when I recently realized the first season of Bon Voyage is in 2016. Fudge. Please be nice????? Stil kinda scareddd >~<)

Back to why I made and posted this-

I have good news for all of you guys!! :DD

I'm (hopefully lol) getting the iPad this week on Thurs or Fri, meaning I can finally update again next week because I can write 7k words in a day!! YESSSSS!!! CHOHEUNIEEE I MISSHUUU <3

Again, hopefully, I can finish before Monday because, duh, I prefer staying on schedule so I don't screw up and get lazy and I want to stick with weekly updates so I can finish this story until somewhere before mid-2020, lol (I have a feeling, okay??).

Anyway, back to what I said in the last note...

So far, most of you that commented would like the series idea, and the more I think about, I'm kinda agreeing with it since just the first part of this story, of Choheun's trainee days and BTS and everything in-between, it's gonna be super looong because if it wasn't obvious by now, I DO NOT like time skips unless it's under a week with a reason why. 

Meaning I'm writing what's gonna happen in every single day with no time skips most of the time (oh biscuit buns I need original ideas ASAP-). I like character development and writing what Choheun and others would do in their everyday life and trying to get her to open up come ooooon (with busy schedules, of course).

And, apparently, so far a lot of you reeeeally like the AU ideas! xDD 

I actually have a plan for when I'll start making that, btw. I'll only make it when Choheun finally debuts after the first part so that you can all request what ideas you like and how it would maybe go because Chot7 is already very close by the time I'm done with TBAF (name of the first story, duuh x3).

Oh, I forgot to add this, I think, it also means that you all can request a paaaairing!! Like, a specific member or more with Choheun with a story about them if you have a favorite (BTS member)/Choheun bonding until the end. Or ship because it's easier to say, haha

And yes, also "Romance" everyone (a big O O F good luck me xDD *throws glitter*). Either with a pairing(s) or just platonic floof and AUs and stuff but the main focus is with Choheun and someone(s). But tbh, family is best forever.

(^ o ^)b

Aaaand I'll also do "what-if" scenarios. If you know what I mean *wink wonk*

(*cough* I actually don't know what I mean lemme take some time figuring that out-)

But don't make any requests now!! Choheun's debut is still too far lmao x3

So yeah, that's pretty much it. I'll definitely update again somewhere next week (yay uwu) and I have a special idea for the next few (spoiler alert: more) chapters!! More bonding but in a different way! I wonder if you'll all figure it out when the Ch15 is out. <)

And before I finish this, I wonder if any of you are trying to imagine what Choheun's voice sounds like. 

Lucky you, I, the Author, have prepared a few idol contestants that have the closest voice I imagine Choheun to have; soft, light, and sweet-sounding.

A little bit of Miyeon from (G)I-dle, Jiwon from a group called Fromis_9 (idk them peace), a Korean singer named Ben (search her on Spotify cuz that's where I found her ^^), a little bit of Lee Hi (dunno her either sowwy), and another singer named Migyo. A total 5 that are close to Choheun's voice from what I imagined, and I guess try to mix their voices?? ㅇ0ㅇ

But the singers who are definitely the closest has to be Ben and Migyo (maybe Jiwon, too). Their voices are just PERFECT (thanks to my brother, he's the one who introduced me to Migyo) for what I imagined Choheun's voice would be!!! I highly recommend you guys listen to Migyo's "Rain Sound" and any of Ben's songs on Spotify (if you have it). Imagine that's Choheun's voice if it's hard to think of her voice cuz don't ask me to describe honeybee's voice xD I won't do her justice and even I can't imagine her voice when I think of her singing any BTS songs TvT

Oh, also listen to Jiwon's cover of Ariana Grande's "Into You" because holy ice creeeeeam it's P E R F E C T!!!!! <3 <3 <3

Anyways, that's all I have to say!! :D

Basically, to sum this whole unnecessarily-long note up, I'm updating next week, yaaaaay, I'm leaning towards the series idea (comment if you have other opinions, 'kay? I'm listening!! Or reading!!), finally I mentioned how Choheun sounds like (I wanted to since ch13 but I forgot lmao), aaaaand that's it!

Okay bye or else it'll be too long oof.

Tell me what you think if you wanna comment uwu

Have a great week ARMY unnies (most of you are all females, right??? If not, hi oppas as well xD)! Be prepared for the story to continuuuue!!

Bye.

:DDD

Chapter Text

"See you later, Choheun-ah!" Jimin said loudly, hugging the smaller girl to his chest in a way that seemed like he didn't want to ever let go. It was kind of true, actually, since he had been hugging Choheun for the past five minutes without even loosening his grip, and she was beginning to suspect he wasn't planning on letting go any time soon.

But she didn't mind, of course. If anything, Choheun just snuggled up to the short dancer (except she was still shorter than him-) and buried her face in the space between his neck and shoulder, hoodie paws barely wrapping around his back. "Jimin-ssi, I know that already, but you're not...letting me go." The girl said slowly, still bemused why he was still not letting go. Not that she minded, again, because she liked hugs. At that thought, she snuggled even closer, bubbly and smiley and very, very warm.

Seokjin scoffed, rolling his eyes as he folded his arms. Choheun held back a giggle, he looked like her brother when she turned to hug Eunji instead of him (though she wanted to either laugh at Dohyuk's appalled expression or run to his arms and apologize) . "Yah, Jimin-ah, I think you've hugged her for too long, it's not like she's going away. And we need to go or else Son Sungdeuk-nim will come and find us." He said sharply, his lips pulling down to pout.

Jimin chuckled, the sound vibrating through his chest and Choheun smiled, squishing her cheek against it with a happy hum (she wasn't even going to question how her glasses were still intact and not cracked yet) . Hugs were so nice . "Okay, hyung. I know you're just jealous Choheun-ah Like es me more." He teased with a cheeky grin, hand moving up to pat the girl's hair.

Choheun blinked her eyes open, peering up at the danced who was looking at the others who were also amused and exasperated (Yoongi) . What.

" What ?" Seokjin sputtered, cheeks coloring as he scowled, "I'm not jealous , what are you talking about? I'm just saying we should part ways or else we're going to be late! And besides," the elder pointed a finger at Jimin, frowning, "if you didn't know, Choheunnie likes me better. Which, I bet you actually know." He ended, smirking slightly at the end as if he won something and Choheun blinked slowly when Jimin glared slightly in response, his hold on her tightening a bit before relaxing.

O-kay? Did they know something she didn't?

Namjoon sighed, walking up to them and gently pulled Choheun away from Jimin, who whined a dramatic ' hyuuuung ' and briefly made grabby hands for the girl, but Namjoon kept her away from the dancer with an amused smile, dimples showing a bit as he placed a hand on Choheun's shoulder. The others look surprised yet knowing at the bold contact and Choheun was confused again. It's like they discovered something about her recently and she was oblivious to it all.

(Oh, she had no idea.)

"Don't look at me like that, Jimin-ah. Someone has to make a move or else we'll be here all day with you suffocating Choheun with your hugs." The Bangtan leader said simply. Jimin pouted like a child who was told he couldn't have his favorite candy and huffed a quiet ' I was not suffocating Choheun-ah ' under his breath that everyone heard. Namjoon switched his gaze to Seokjin, raising a brow and the elder pointed at himself in a ' what did I do? ' fashion. "You, too, hyung. You could've done this earlier."

Seokjin made a strange sound at the back of his throat, sporting an affronted look on his face. "Yah, why are you blaming me ?! What about you , huh? You stayed back watching everything play out! You didn't do anything, too, for the past five minutes!" he pointed out indignantly, making Jimin, Hoseok, and Taehyung laugh when Namjoon turned red at the truth behind Seokjin's words. Jeongguk and Yoongi were trying their best not to smirk, but kind of failing in that department when Choheun glanced at them.

"How would you know it's been five minutes already?"

Seokjin faltered a bit, "I- well I didn't, but it felt like it!" Namjoon smirked slightly with an expectant eyebrow lifted up and the others started laughing at their eldest vocalist when he glowered. "Mah! Don't laugh at me! Is this how you all treat me? The eldest ? The one taking care of you all? Where is my respect ?"

Jeongguk snorted, "But hyungie, we always respect you." The heavy emphasis that could clearly be heard with obvious sarcasm was not lost on the eldest and everyone else, and they all laughed or chuckled. Even Yoongi. Seokjin just fumed.

" Aishii - Jeon Jeongguk!"

" Nooo , hyung, protect me!" Jeongguk hid behind bored-looking Yoongi, the Daegu rapper's whole face and posture screaming ' why am I even alive '.

Choheun mentally thought she felt the same way. Every day.

"Don't use Yoongicchi against me!"

Yoongi's eye twitched, frowning at the nickname. "What the hell does that mean?" he said quietly but not quiet enough when beside him, Hoseok gasped loudly and most definitely on purpose as he repeatedly slapped the smaller rapper on the arm. Choheun couldn't tell if he was hitting lightly or not since Yoongi didn't react at all.

" Hyung ! Watch your language carefully! There are kids here!" Hoseok whispered harshly, not-so discreetly looking at Jeongguk and Choheun. But it was too obvious and barely trying to be subtle that Taehyung's laughter was quickly muffled behind his hand.

Jeongguk blushed, "Hobi-hyung! I'm not a baby! I'm turning twenty soon!" he defended indignantly, Yoongi smirking just for a quick second before his usual blank expression took over and Choheun wasn't sure if she was imagining it or not.

Hoseok looked at the maknae, flashing a heart-shaped smile that was just pure mischief that it didn't match well with his curving, bright eyes. "I didn't say you were a baby, Jeonggukkie-yah. I just said you're still a kid. You're only nineteen, after all." Jeongguk only protested weakly before stopping with a grumble. Hoseok clearly got him there.

"Or eighteen by international age," Taehyung suddenly commented, boxy-grin in place as Jeongguk threw him a betrayed look, shocked.

Namjoon chuckled, watching as they all somehow started to argue with one another about their age like 'Seokjin-hyung, even if you're one year younger in your international age, you're still getting old' by Jeongguk and then a 'and you're an actual baby, brat!' from Seokjin, and watching their language like 'Hoseokkie, I'm a grown adult man I can say what I want' from Yoongi and 'yeah, true, but what will Yeon Choheun-ssi and our fans think?' from Hoseok, and laughing at everything going on (Jimin and Taehyung).

Choheun stared at the really taller male as he smiled wide and fondly (and also exasperatedly) at his band members, fingers twitching underneath her hoodie paws to just poke his dimples at least once -

Namjoon snapped his gaze to her, eyes widening as all chatter and yelling stopped abruptly as they all stared at her, their eyes wide and few jaws dropped in surprise.

Choheun blinked, finally noticing she had her hand raised up with a finger literally poking at the dimple of Namjoon's cheek.

She touched his dimple.

She touched his cheek .

She touched Namjoon . In front of everyone .

When that piece of information finally got her head moving, able to think properly, Choheun flushed red and quickly pulled back taking a few steps away from the rapper and everyone else, and then took another few steps back for good measure, "U-uh, I think I gotta go. Now . Right now. I have to go right now or else you'll be late. I'll be late. I mean we'll be late-" she cut herself off, certain her ears were red as her face. Aish, did she have to ruin everything when they were all having fun? Not that it wasn't true, they would be running late and that excuse was perfect right now. Even if her execution was blatantly terrible and a normal person could probably do it better than her like, you know, a normal person .

Someone kill her.

With a hasty bow and a quiet and but embarrassed, "Bye!" Choheun fled the heck away from the group, ignoring their surprised and startled calls of her name with confusion.

Yeah, nope . About what Jimin said about seeing her later when they all go back to the dorms? Yeah , she's sure she didn't have the courage to see them after what just happened. Not without stammering and dying in embarrassment.

And there's no way in hell was she explaining anything to Namjoon if she was ever alone with him.

Aish, she wasn't sure if she could look him in the eye if they see each other again after the day ended.

"Stupid me and stupid Namjoon-oppa for his really cool dimples," Choheun grumbled under her breath (though it was more of her scolding herself for her lack of self-control today, maybe she was still tired) , pouting as she walked all the way to the dance studio she was training in, greeting some staff members and employees when they passed by.

Her mood brightened up a bit when they all smiled and greeted her with kind words and compliments she was not used to yet, though.

 


 

Jeongguk watched as Choheun's back grew smaller the further she walked away from them before fully disappearing from view when she turned the corner. Blinking, he turned to look at his hyungs and held back a snort of laughter when he saw the dumbfounded looks on their faces. Even Yoongi was surprised.

Namjoon was more confused and baffled than the others, slowly lifting a hand up to his cheek where Choheun poked his dimple. Though in Jeongguk's opinion, Namjoon's dimples were pretty cool and he didn't blame the younger teen. He had his fair share of pokes, but that was in their early idol days.

"Why does it seem like Choheun-ah likes Namjoon -hyung more than me now?" Jimin broke the silence with a childish whine, glaring with a pout at the youngest (and tallest) rapper. Namjoon looked as if he didn't know whether or not he should sport a smug or a baffled look on his face.

Jin made a protesting noise in his throat, petulantly crossing his arms over his chest. "Yah! Excuse me, Jiminnie, but Choheunnie-yah liked me first before any of you!"

Which, was kind of true, now that Jeongguk thought about it. He thought back to the first time they met her and inwardly grimaced when he remembered how badly he reacted and lost his cool. He could never forget the scared and ashamed look on her face, feeling guilty for being the cause of her distress. She looked as if he might hurt her or something, and it really hit him hard when Hobi had said before during practice, when Choheun was avoiding them, that she was apparently a big fan of them.

And he reacted like that towards a fan of theirs.

Jeongguk wanted to hide in his closet in shame and guilt and just get on his knees and apologize to the younger girl.

Oh, and now he remembered she was younger than him. By a year .

He was such a jerk. Why the hell was he so jealous of the fact she was going to take his title as the maknae when she debuted? What sucked even more was that Choheun might not even accept that title because, if it wasn't obvious by now, she felt guilty way too quick and seemed to mean it, too. She even brushed off anything bad happening to her like it was normal, Like she deserved it, until yesterday.

And, If he remembered right, only Jin and Hobi were relatively okay with having Choheun, their still a trainee but soon-to-be-eighth-member, around. Yoongi... Jeongguk remembered how skeptical and disgruntled the pale rapper looked when they first heard about the news from PD-nim, but he was pretty unreadable when he actually met Choheun. Jimin and Taehyung were the same as Jeongguk, but more tame and controlled.

So far, only Jimin, Jin, and surprisingly Namjoon got along with the honey-eyed girl better than them all. Jeongguk had no doubt Taehyung and Hobi would find their own ways to talk with Choheun and get her to open up to them soon, and he wasn't sure about Yoongi.

Though, Jeongguk would admit that he really wanted to try and befriend the female trainee. He's never had a friend close to his age before who's the opposite gender and Choheun was the closest female his age. He was not going to miss the opportunity to try and talk with her. BigHit didn't have that many trainees (just a good few really) , so there were not many people in the company close to his age.

If she didn't run away first, however, because he had an inkling if they ever stumble upon each other alone, Jeongguk was probably going to be the most awkward human being on earth and say something absolutely stupid while Choheun planned how to get away yet still remain polite. No, he might not say anything at all except for pathetic stutters and words that made no sense.

Jeongguk pouted slightly at the thought. Someone give him luck if he ever tried to get at least three words out of Choheun without her promptly running away. He's hopeless . And he better stop overthinking things. Maybe not everything would go bad for him when it came to Choheun.

Jimin huffed, "But I was the first to become her friend a day after she moved in." Jin stumbled with his words for a bit, apparently not expecting that comeback and didn't know how to counter it.

"S-so?!" was his best retort but it really fell short. The others noticed that, too, and tried not to laugh aloud as Jimin smirked triumphantly at the eldest vocalist before the smirk fell a second later, "I was more welcoming and happy to have her move to our dorm while you were all awkward!"

"Yah!"

Jeongguk chuckled under his breath, watching as Jimin and Jin continued to argue and bicker a bit more about whom Choheun liked more between them while, somehow, pulling a poor Namjoon in the mix. The Bangtan leader looked exasperated and confused why he was brought to this pointless argument, and no one bothered to help him. If anything, Taehyung and Yoongi were throwing their own opinions and comments about what they think, but then it soon dissolved into a four-way argument in the end. Though Yoongi didn't bother as much, and Namjoon didn't bother getting involved at all.

At least he looked fond.

... Maybe .

They continued to throw words back and forth as they made their way to their dance room, stopping to greet the staff that passed by every now and then, and when they were close with no one around, Hobi piped up.

"Aigo, I'm pretty sure Choheun-ssi likes Namjoon more because of what he did yesterday, right?" Hobi commented casually, and then he realized what he had said the chattering fell silent immediately. Jeongguk watched as the dancer-slash-rapper eyed the others, at Namjoon and Jin in particular, before chuckling lightly. But the sound was weak.

"Ah," Hobi smiled, but it was blank and somehow unreadable, "I didn't mean to bring that up," he said quietly, almost a whisper, and Jeongguk knew they all thought back to the conversation they had all eavesdrop to the moment they heard Jin leave his room first.

It was hard not to think about it, and even harder to not say a thing when they were around the oblivious trainee who had cooked for them as an apology. Who would've thought Choheun was really nice and sweet? Jeongguk wouldn't know since he used to despise her (to be fair, he didn't meet her yet and his dislike had already dwindled down the next day after he met her) , but he was beginning to understand why the others liked her so fast.

The maknae gulped, hiding his shaking hands in his hoodie's pocket and clenched them to control the emotions he was feeling slowly bubbling up, waiting to break free to the surface since he was close to losing it when he listened Choheun talk to their eldest. He refused to act on it and stayed quiet as his hyungs exchanged glances with each other, their faces grim and pissed. Namjoon especially and he seemed to be having a hard time trying not to say a thing, probably to curse at the bastard like earlier when they eavesdropped (luckily, Namjoon had only cursed quietly so Jin and Choheun didn't hear a thing) .

Jeongguk didn't blame him. He would've cursed up a storm and his hyungs would be disappointed with his language. But still- just the sight of the younger teen looking so small under the baggy sweater she was wearing, eyes so weary and open, trusting towards Jin, and her whole figure and posture screaming vulnerable and so damn scared in front of the vocalist was enough for Jeongguk to wish he could be brave enough to reach out a hand towards her and tell her everything was okay, even when it's not. He was surprised he felt that way when he barely talked to her like a normal person, but come on. Choheun was really likable despite her obvious reluctance to fully relax in their presence, as if she was holding herself back.

It was just...really hard to continue harboring negative feelings towards someone who already had negative feelings towards themselves . Which was much worse, if anyone asked Jeongguk.

Jimin sucked in a harsh breath, letting it out shakily as he looked down on the floor. "Namjoon-hyung," he uttered lowly, his expression scarily blank and Jeongguk briefly thought about backing away from the dancer since it was well-known between all of them that the dancer was the scariest when angered, but then shook the thought away when Jimin's reaction was clearly normal. Hell, he bet they were all pissed off at some point, him included. "Did it hap-... Is Choheun-ah okay?" he asked instead of saying what Jeongguk knew was actually on their minds.

He had a good guess if Jimin finished what he wanted to say, someone was going to snap and maybe find the bastard and wring his neck— ahem , excuse him.

Jin glanced away from them as Namjoon clenched his jaw, folding his arms over his chest like he was holding back or something. He sighed, looking at the dancer who was glaring at the floor, seemingly trying to set it ablaze with his dark gaze alone . "Honestly, she's not fully okay mentally. But from how it looks, she's doing fine. She will be fine." 

Hopefully went unsaid but everyone could understand the message underneath Namjoon's tone.

That was apparently the wrong thing to say because Jeongguk nearly jumped when Yoongi cursed loudly, snapping his head up to narrow his eyes at the leader. "That's bullshit Namjoon and you know it." Jin looked ready to scold the second eldest for his language but didn't act on it when Jeongguk could tell the vocalist felt the same way about the situation. "She obviously got sexually harassed and with what I know about her so far is that there's no way to tell if she really is alright when she probably might not even tell us." His eyes darkened, but a flicker of worry was evident in them. "Hell, I'm pretty sure Yeon-ssi wouldn't tell anyone and we can't just bring it up. The last thing we'd do is admit to her that we heard what had happened, and I know you all agree with me she's gonna go back to ignoring us if that ever happens."

Jeongguk had to admit that Yoongi was right. Choheun barely spoke up about herself. Getting her to say more than one sentence was hard enough without her closing up, and her shyness was worse than him and Yoongi's combined when it came to socializing because it was obvious she actually didn't want to do anything with them, pushing them away as best as she could, whether it was intentional or not. The only information they knew from her personal life was that she had a brother, and not once had she mentioned her parents, a fact that had the maknae growing slightly concerned the more he thought about it. Either she just didn't want to mention anything about her life, or maybe it was something else, and Jeongguk really hoped it was the former because he had a bad feeling about the latter.

"Hyung..." Hobi placed a hand on his fellow rapper's shoulder, squeezing just for a second and it was enough for Yoongi to relax just a bit. Though he was nowhere near at ease.

Taehyung spoke up, his deep voice lower than it usually was, "He's right, Namjoon-hyung. It's not a secret that Choheun-ssi doesn't care about herself," Jeongguk mentally snorted, that's an understatement , "but I'm worried she'll continue to keep everything in. Last week's incident was an example." He stated with a thoughtful frown, his worry and sadness etched into his face, and Jeongguk didn't like how that statement alone added another confirmation for his suspicion about Choheun.

Namjoon pursed his lips before sighing again, rubbing the back of his neck, "I don't know what you want me to say, but what I can say is that all we can do now is quietly support her."

Hobi brightened a bit, eyes a little hopeful, "Does that mean we can try to get her to open up to us? Like, for real, because so far she clearly trusts you and Jin-hyung, maybe Jiminnie, too, and I doubt Choheun-ssi will willingly talk to us-" he gestured towards himself, to Yoongi, Taehyung, then lastly Jeongguk, "-without looking ready to flee or trying too hard to remain polite while she's shaking in the inside. Only the three of you have talked and spent more time with her."

Jeongguk couldn't help but agree with Hobi at that, "And Yeon Choheun-ssi is more comfortable around you three more than us." He got surprised looks from that and he didn't blame them. He had hated the female trainee at one point, and it was probably uncharacteristic of him to say that, to clearly want to try and befriend Choheun with his earnest tone, but Jeongguk genuinely wanted to get along with her now. And with what had happened to her last night, maybe Jeongguk could provide a familiar companion close to her age, his own way to start supporting her more than him doing his best not to shy away from the opposite gender.

Then again, he's still going to be awkward and it took a lot of effort to compliment Choheun's cooking earlier during breakfast. He was pretty proud of himself for not stuttering, though.

Jin looked at all of them with a small smile, quirking one brow up, "Well, then let's all try to gently get her to open up to us. But it also means we have to open up to her, too, so it would give her a good reason to trust us and show that we really want her to get along with all of us. It's a good start, right?"

They all said their agreements except for Yoongi, who was now frowning with doubt in his eyes. Jin must've seen it since he sent the older rapper a pointed stare, "Yes, it also means you have to open up to her, too, Yoongi."

When they all stared at Yoongi expectantly, Jeongguk included, the pale rapper let out a scoff and grumbled under his breath, looking a second away from forming a pout that usually appeared when something was bothering him. "Yah, fine! I'll try, okay, just stop staring at me like that!" he scowled, a faint pink hue coloring his cheeks and Jeongguk snickered behind his hand while Hobi, Taehyung, and Jimin didn't bother holding back their happy cheers. Well, at least Yoongi wouldn't be planning to hide away in his studio again like before when Jimin joined them.

Jin smiled widely, clearly pleased as Namjoon chuckled, "I'm hoping for the best, Yoongicchi!" the elder ignored the said rapper's glare and Jeongguk tried not to laugh, "Now, shouldn't we all be heading to our dance studio? I doubt Son Sungdeuk-hyungie will appreciate us getting late for practice." He mentioned casually and Jimin's eyes popped out of his skull, same with Namjoon and Hobi.

"What?!" the dancer shrieked, quickly getting his phone out and slightly paled at the time. Jeongguk pulled his sleeve up his elbow to blink down at his watch around his wrist and yep , they were late. Well, about to be late in two minutes and crap they weren't even on the second floor yet!

"Hyung! Why didn't you say anything?!"

Jin had the audacity to look sheepish when his eyes said the opposite. "Oops?" Namjoon and Yoongi groaned with a synchronized ' hyung! '.

Jeongguk huffed a laugh, shaking his head as he followed his hyungs to the elevator, already seeing Namjoon getting a call from their choreographer and the maknae could hear the exasperated tone of Sungdeuk's voice on the other side of the phone as Namjoon chuckled nervously and tried to explain.

As they all rushed to their room, Jeongguk couldn't help but think about how he was going to befriend Choheun without both of them shying away from each other and turning the air awkward. He knew the atmosphere would be unbearable and full of mutual embarrassment.

But first, he needed to plan how he was going to tell Choheun that he definitely didn't dislike her anymore and convince her if there was a single doubt in her eyes. Maybe, for once, he could have a female friend close his age.

 


 

"No."

Was Choheun's deadpanned exhausted, slightly wheezing response to the vocal coach leaning towards her with an earnest and excited expression that quickly fell into an appalled one. Behind the sitting Saego, Sungdeuk didn't bother to hide a snort, smirking down at the woman when Saego sent him the stink eye before looking back to the trainee.

"But—But Yeon Choheun-ah!" Saego whined childishly, the last bit of maturity and silent gracefulness went down the drain as she moved her fists up and down, like a child, pouting sadly it actually made her look younger than her actual age (Saego had turned thirty-two earlier on January sixth) . "It'll be a good idea!"

Choheun's face met her hands—er, her hoodie paws , sighing long and hard, she felt her breath seep through the fabric and touch her skin while she ignored her tired and aching body. What was Saego asking or proposing, if anyone were to ask?

The woman suggested if she could invite one of the dance-line members of BTS to come and observe her newest dance practice (a dance just for her, choreographed by Son Sungdeuk himself holy ice cream -) and they would be the ones who would teach and help her with some things. Maybe even one of the vocalists as well to listen to her singing.

Nope .

She couldn't face any of them right now (a lie, she moved on and was fine but terribly embarrassed earlier this morning-) , and why would she want any of the amazing idols to watch her practice and then train her a bit? She didn't want to take more of their busy time, and Choheun was sure she was going to embarrass herself with a voice crack or a misstep.

Just- no. No . Nope.

It's already four in the afternoon and Choheun wanted to sing something one last time (maybe cover Kim Sohyang again? What about Park Kiyoung?) before going out to get lunch. Or make one herself but she didn't want to go to the open kitchen where a lot of people from BigHit would lounge in and yeah, no thanks. Though she did want to see Beomgyu again since he's been busy as well but they stay in touch with texting and stuff every now and then.

"Maybe now is not the time, Saego-yah." Sungdeuk shot the idea down smoothly, glancing down at his phone he took out and ignored Saego's put-off pout and grumble. Choheun snickered behind her hoodie paw. "Ladies, it's way past lunchtime and our time with Yeon Choheun-ssi is actually up." Yeah, she had been singing and dancing for the past seven to eight hours. Just like the first time she started her day as a trainee. "Yeon-ssi?"

Choheun blinked, "Yes?"

"Would you like us to get you some food? I'm heading off to the supermarket and Saego is coming with me. Or maybe a takeout, if you'd like." He asked kindly with a caring smile that Choheun briefly thought it was a fatherly kind of smile before the thought disappeared a second later. What?

Choheun shook her head, smiling slightly, "Ah, there's no need, Son Sungdeuk-nim. I'm not hungry yet, and I can get my own food if I am." She assured, pulling on the sleeves of her hoodie over her fingers to hide away from the slightly cold air around the room. "And before I get something to nibble on, I want to sing one last song. For fun."

Sungdeuk eyed her for a second before nodding slowly, a knowing smile on her glossed lips as if she knew what she wanted to sing, "If you say so. Just don't forget to eat properly, okay?" Choheun nodded with a quiet ' eum '. She was actually hungry, right now, but it was only slightly and not strong enough for her to run out of the room and hunt for food like an animal.

Saego reached out to pat her head, smiling widely that her eyes followed suit and glasses shifting up slightly. "See you tomorrow, Choheun-ah. Sleep well tonight," she ruffled the girl's hair gently and Choheun held back a giggle, nodding her head again as she watched her two coaches-slash-trainers get up from their chairs and head to the door. "See you tomorrow, too, Yoon Saego-nim and Son Sungdeuk-nim!" she waved her hand halfway through the air, causing the two to chuckle with mutual waves before closing the door behind them.

When she was finally left alone in the room, Choheun blinked once and turned her head to glance at the large mirror in the dance room she was borrowing, meeting her own honey brown gaze. She turned her gaze down to her phone as she took it out to turn it on. She slowly stood up to walk to the speakers in the corner of the room, quickly searching through YouTube. Choheun searched one of her favorite singers of her country, scrolling to find a video she could cover.

"Uwah, I forgot about this..." Choheun muttered under her breath, a smile slowly growing as she pressed on the video.

When she watched the whole thing, for like the hundredth time because it wasn't really the first, first time she had seen the video anymore (she had watched it the moment it was released on YouTube) , and repeated it at least ten more times while mouthing and following the words and the rifts Kim Sohyang did, the female trainee was practically shaking with excitement to sing this song (again) . Well, it was already a song, but she was going to cover Kim Sohyang covering Whitney Houston's ' I Have Nothing '.

That sounded weird when she put that together but she giggled anyway, shaking her head at her own thoughts.

Oh, and she felt a little bad she'd never watch the movie of the song. It was called ' bodyguard ' or something, right?

Finding the audio version, which was convenient since she didn't expect people to actually cut off Kim Sohyang's voice and leave the instruments from the performance when it wasn't even a studio-recorded instrumental, Choheun played it once to hear if it was accurate and nodded to herself when it was.

And, not to brag, she didn't really need to read the lyrics when she knew the words by heart by now (cough—thank you Kim Sohyang-nim) .

As she pressed play, Choheun placed her phone down beside the speakers and grabbed the remote for the air conditioner, hastily skittering to the center of the room in front of the mirrors and stood there, watching her own reflection as she gripped the remote with her hoodie paws (without it slipping, surprisingly ) .

Choheun slowly closed her eyes, feeling a smile turning up on her lips as she listened to the intro of the song begin, gently swaying to the slow string of the violin and soft press of the piano as she cleared her throat and took a deep breath, getting ready when the drums finished with a smooth silence, and opened her mouth.

Share my life, take me for what I am

'Cause I'll never change, all my colors for you

She started slowly with rising ease, letting a small pause start just like how Kim Sohyang did and let her voice attempt the smooth vibrato, inwardly happy when she actually nailed it despite it being easy.

Take my love, I'll never ask for too much

Just all that you are, and everything that you do

She changed the flow of her voice gently, holding a note for barely more than two seconds before transitioning to a smooth vibrato again, slowly opening her eyes and stared at herself in the mirror as if she was her own audience, eager to please and impress.

I don't really need to look, very much further

I don't wanna have to go, where you don't follow

I won't hold it back again, this passion inside

I can't run from myself, there's nowhere to hide

Choheun held the last word, stretching the note with little to no effort and relaxed her chest and throat to get ready for the next note, her eyes sliding close as she smoothly delivered the emotions in her voice to the song she was singing. Almost copying the legendary singer covering the song, but also adding her own touch and flavor since her voice was still soft and light-sounding.

One second later, Choheun brought the makeshift microphone closer to her lips, stomach compressing as she belted the next notes and words just a little pitch higher since she was a soprano (told by Saego herself, because apparently a soprano wasn't a drink and was instead a type of voice that could only hit high notes and mostly unable to hit low notes, unlike a tenor and baritone) .

Don't make me close one more door

I don't wanna hurt anymore

Stay in my arms, if you dare

Or must I imagine you there

Don't walk away from me

Choheun's free arm moved by itself, moving in front of her as if to emphasize the note she held, her own body moving and dancing with every beat of the song.

I have nothing, nothing, nothing~

She deviated from the video a bit by dragging the note more gently, voice softer and instead of a vibrato, she did it flatly with a few rifts.

If I don't, have, you

Choheun felt a smile grow on her face as she dragged the note and word once again like how Kim Sohyang did, the same giddy and excited feeling thrumming warmly in her chest and was reminded why she had love singing in the first place. Being able to control your own voice with ease and no difficulty made her feel as if there was something she could actually do and succeeded in doing without failure. Her love and passion for singing more evident in her voice as she continued to sing the next verse with growing glee, ecstasy, and pure, childish excitement.

Because she was too deep into the song and her own little world whilst singing, Choheun remained oblivious when the door of the room opened just slightly for a pair of eyes to watch her curiously before gradually turning into awe, starstruck and utterly amazed.

 


 

"Why do I have to do it, hyung?" Jeongguk whined immediately when Jin told him what he wanted him to do and he puffed his cheeks slightly when the others around them only laughed, not even bothering to hide their mirth.

Jin only rolled his eyes him, placing his hands on the maknae's shoulder in a firm grip to prevent him from moving away as he pushed Jeongguk out of the room, the younger complaining and whining and trying to convince the older vocalist to no success. And give him some credit, Jeongguk was actually not whining like a child because he did not want to do this request at all .

Okay, so maybe he was. Just a bit.

"Yah, stop being a brat. Asking Choheun-ah if she wants to eat with us is not that hard, you know." Jin deadpanned, stepping back inside the room once Jeongguk was out of the door, pouting.

"But—But hyung, you know how awkward I am with Yeon Choheun-ssi. And I'm pretty sure she's not very comfortable around me either unlike you. Why can't it be Jimin-hyung or Namjoon-hyung? Or better yet, why can't it be you ? You get along with her so well," Jeongguk tried to persuade his hyung, widening his eyes and jutting out his bottom lip in a way he hoped would sway the vocalist since it usually worked.

Keyword was usually .

Today was, sadly, not one of those days.

Aish, was he losing his cuteness already? Or maybe Jin was actually serious with this request this time since the other times were usually Jin trolling all his dongsaengs (except he didn't touch Namjoon and Yoongi much, lucky hyungs) .

Jin raised a brow, his unimpressed expression slowly morphing into a smirk with a knowing glint in his eyes and— yeah , okay, Jeongguk preferred the other one. He didn't like the look on Jin's face. It always brought him and the others bad news and they had to do something they didn't want to do because it was like they were doing the eldest a favor they weren't aware of.

...Like throwing the trash when Namjoon asked, except it was Jin who asked Namjoon to ask Jeongguk, if that made any sense. Jin was adamant about them doing chores and hold responsibility for things they were supposed to do.

"Guk-ah, that's exactly the reason why I'm sending you first instead of the others. Be thankful I'm not asking you to eat lunch with Choheunie-yah. Now get out of here."

Jeongguk's eyes widen, "Wait, hyung -"

Before he could even finish his sentence, Jin slammed the door shut on his face, leaving the Golden Maknae of Bangtan Sonyeondan gaping at the door with a betrayed look on his face. None of his other bandmates even tried to lift a finger and help him, just staring at him with pity and amusement. If anything they were all probably laughing at him on the other side of the door.

" Aish , this hyung..." Jeongguk stared at the door with disbelief, a hand on his hip with the other ruffling his hair in annoyance before huffing, turning around and walked away to do what he was asked to do .

Fine, he's going to ask Choheun. He was probably going to die and turn red in embarrassment the whole time he was standing in front of the girl, but maybe he didn't mind this as much as he thought. After all, Jeongguk did promise he would try to start building his nonexistent friendship with the female teen in a way that was more comfortable to Choheun than to him because she would most likely run away if he did a single thing wrong because no doubt she would think it was her fault or something.

Jeongguk chuckled, but the sound was more pathetic and pitiful than the usual joyful sound. With his shoulders slumped as he chose to take the staircase instead of the elevator to the floor below him, his mood turning gloomy. He flicked his chin to the side briefly, biting his lip, "Ah, who am I kidding. I don't know how to talk to girls. ARMY is one thing, but a trainee of BigHit and soon-to-be our eighth member? Our relationship has to develop into more than just coworkers or else Jin-hyung will be disappointed." He whined to himself, wondering if he had finally gone crazy for talking to himself but then realized it was kind of a normal thing to do.

Pushing the door open, Jeongguk peeked his head out to see if anyone was around and stepped into the floor when the coast was clear. The staff might look at him weirdly if they saw him there looking like he was sneaking around in secret, which sounded ridiculous. Jeongguk shook his head, hair bouncing from the movement, and started walking, already knowing where and which room it was since he had mapped the place just in case (specifically to know and remember what room Choheun was using and practicing in, which was actually his former dance room to, well, dance and practice alone when the others were home. But he wasn't going to tell Choheun that. Ever. Because what were the chances of the new maknae practicing in the former maknae's room? Coincidence, apparently) .

Jeongguk took his phone out, pressing the home button to check the time, around four-thirty, and quickened his pace a bit to catch up since the others were probably hungry and waiting for him.

When Jeongguk looked up, already seeing the door of the room he was heading, he quirked a smile and took deep breaths while starting to think of words to use for a conversation with the honey-eyed teen without appearing and sounding forced and that he didn't like her because he didn't dislike her anymore. Was it hard to befriend Choheun?

Well, yes , obviously. Jin, Jimin, and Namjoon were better at conversation, and if Taehyung and Hobi would start making a move, Jeongguk had no doubt they'd be friends with Choheun too. Maybe Choheun would relax around them, quicker than the first three. Then again, Jimin and Jin were definitely faster when it came to befriending her.

He wasn't too sure about Yoongi, though. His prediction for his cool hyung was mixed, if he was being honest.

Before Jeongguk could tuck his phone back in his pocket when he neared the door, he froze, nearly dropping his it when he heard something from the other side of the door.

Music and a voice.

Someone was singing . Choheun was singing.

Singing .

She was singing . Right now .

He literally forgot that she could sing because how else did she pass the audition with flying colors? Though he and the others had never heard her voice yet when she sang, or even watched her dance.

But...

Swallowing thickly, Jeongguk kept his phone and gathered his courage (actually, he forced himself with much more effort than necessary) to wrap his hand around the handle of the door, hearing the click that made him panic a bit, before pushing the door just slightly for him to peek into the room and— oh .

Oh .

No way, she was singing this song? This song by the amazing Whitney Houston everybody knew in their lives, with the really high notes?

And, wait, she knew English ?!

Jeongguk couldn't help but let his mouth drop open in complete awe as he watched the girl hold that last note so cleanly like it was no trouble at all, his breath getting stolen by the beautiful melodious rift she must have come up with herself on the spot.

Not wanting to disturb her, the Golden Maknae gripped the door tightly to prevent it from automatically moving further away from him if he let go, his dark eyes intently focusing on the girl through the mirror (her back was facing him and her eyes were closed, luckily) and watch how she sang so easily, like it was a normal thing for her to have a voice so soft and light yet powerful and loud at the same time.

You see through, right to the heart of me

You break down my walls, with the strength of your love

Choheun skipped a part of the song, probably following the music she had played that was bouncing through the walls from the speaker, and she grinned widely as if she was having fun just by singing a song that wasn't commonly pulled off with the very high notes and how long one would want to hold the note for.

I don't really need to look, very much further

I don't wanna have to go, where you don't follow

I won't hold it back again, this passion inside

I can't run from myself, there's nowhere to hide

Your love I'll remember, forever

Choheun let the note flow, taking a calm breath before she belted the iconic part of the song, bending over slightly as she placed a hand over her chest where her heart was with so much emotion yet she looked so free, and Jeongguk could feel his eyebrows fly up under his bangs when the seemingly small trainee belted one note higher of the word ' one '. He couldn't even think properly to remember how high that note even was. Definitely somewhere in the fifth octave by now.

Don't make me close one more door

I don't wanna hurt anymore

Stay in my arms, if you dare

Or must I imagine you there

Don't walk away from me

I have nothing, nothing, nothing~

Choheun held that note longer than the others, head tilted a bit up and how in the hell was her voice still soft-sounding and light when belting something so loud? And then Choheun must be actually having fun because she surprised him, even more, when she paused the next words each time with every. Note. Higher along with the drums in the background, pronouncing every word as her voice rose higher.

Don't!

Make!

Me!

Close one more door

I don't wanna hurt anymore

Jeongguk's jaw dropped even more, because that note had to be a G-hash five . There's no way it wasn't, no freaking way, and it wasn't even a falsetto or head voice. It was legit a belt . On a note he usually heard could only be sung without belting. And Choheun didn't even look as if she was struggling at all! There was a hint of a smile on her face as she belted the extremely high notes that not even Jin or Jimin could hit, and they were the main vocalists of their group what the fuck .

Stay in my arms, if you dare

Must I imagine you there

Don't walk away from me

No, don't walk away from me

Don't you dare walk away from me

I have nothing, nothing, nothing~

Choheun continued to surprise him with every note, repeatedly hitting G, F, D, and more hashes and maybe other notes in the fifth octave he suddenly couldn't remember, and she surprised him, even more, when she held that note (and word) longer than the last ones she did, in a belt, and then she switched to falsetto almost immediately!? That usually it wouldn't work, but she made it work because the transition was way too smooth for someone who was training. Jeongguk was damn sure she had probably been singing far longer than him despite being a year younger.

If I don't, have, you~

Choheun gently turned in a circle as she dragged the last note effortlessly, as if she hadn't just been belting a note no one in BigHit could hit (except Saego, because she was their vocal coach but she refused to become a singer or an idol) and dragging said note like she was just singing a normal, everyday song she listened to.

But then Jeongguk wasn't ready when Choheun slowly opened her eyes, her body facing him, and he couldn't do anything but stare back with wide eyes and tense shoulders as the girl herself stared back with a deer-caught-in-headlights look.

Before he could even open his mouth, maybe to say hi or preferably a pathetic ' uhh ', Choheun accidentally dropped the remote she had in her fingers (holy- she was using a remote to sing and he actually thought it was a microphone because her voice had bounced in the room, fuck , that was so cute -) and fell right on top of her feet.

Hard .

It even looked heavy, especially when it was the edge that hit her.

Choheun yelped, squeezing her eyes shut in pain as she slipped a step while backing away and fell on her bottom, a loud ' thud ' resonating in the silent room and Jeongguk quickly stepped inside and rushed towards the wincing girl reaching to her feet but only hovered. It was probably still throbbing.

"Y-Yeon Choheun-ssi! Are you okay? I'm so sorry- I didn't mean to startle you!" he apologized with worry as he forgot everything else and just knelt beside her, placing a hand on her back as his eyes wandered around her body in case she was hurt somewhere else before landing back on her honey brown eyes. "Aish, I'm really sorry,"

Choheun blinked at him, small little tears hanging on the corner of her eyes (surprisingly not falling yet) but a look of confusion took over her face, cheeks turning pink. "U-um... It's- I'm okay, Jeon Jeongguk-ssi, but..." she paused, furrowing her brows underneath her bangs slightly and it was Jeongguk's turn for his face to heat up. Right, he just got caught spying on the teen like a creepy dude, even if he was only a year older than her. "H-have you been watching me?" she blushed, her ears that weren't hidden behind her hair turning red, "Wait- how long have you been standing there? Watching me?"

Jeongguk smiled sheepishly, holding a hand out for the girl to take, which she did so, and helped pull her up on her feet before letting go and backing a few steps away as Choheun rubbed her back. She peered up at him, briefly reminding the maknae of their height difference (she barely reached half his head-) and he flicked his chin to the side, nervous. "Ah, maybe...since the second verse?" he admitted a little shyly, "Sorry, I could've left and let you continue alone. Spying on you sounded rude and creepy now that I think about it, but I couldn't help but listen because wow , have you always hit notes that high so easily, Choheun-ssi?" he ended up rambling instead, unable to help himself like, come on, she hit a D-five in a belt and held it. How could he not be impressed?

Choheun blushed pink, letting out a noise in the back of her throat he couldn't describe (except adorable-) as she quickly slapped a hand, that was partially hidden by her sleeves, over her mouth, glancing down on the floor like it was the most interesting thing at the moment. He wished he could do the same, but then that would cause the awkward air to start building up and he really didn't want that right now when he had the perfect chance to talk to the younger. He was not going to screw it up or so help him.

"It was—It was nothing, Jeon Jeongguk-ssi, really . I-I highly doubt I did that good. It's not the first time I sang that song and cover. Probably like a million times already, and, uh-" she tried to deny it, that she hadn't sung a note so high he was very envious and— nope , Jeongguk could tell she was genuinely and honestly saying she really didn't do well when she did plenty. He could sense the honest doubt of her own abilities and talent, and he wasn't going to let her continue on with that thought because she was fucking amazing .

"Choheun-ssi," he cut her off swiftly, saying ' fuck it ' in his head and placed his hands on her shoulder, keeping it firm when he felt her flinch just slightly it was barely noticeable, staring at her with determination in his eyes and a small frown on his face. She blinked up at him, fear and apprehension clear as day in her eyes and he wanted that look gone . "Please don't say that about yourself. You did so amazingly well I was honestly starstruck. I still am, actually. Nobody hits notes like that so effortlessly like you except some others I'm currently forgetting at the moment. I'm really glad I watched because I think I kind of know why you won the audition."

Choheun stared at him, dumbfounded and baffled like he grew another head or something (which, to be fair, maybe, because he just did something uncharacteristic towards the girl who still thought he didn't like her, twice ) . Her cheeks stayed pink, though, and she averted her gaze as she hunched in on herself a bit, turning shy but hesitant. "I..." she played with the hem of her hoodie, a small pout on her lips as she looked back up at him, still not believing him. "You—You really mean that? Was I good, Jeon Jeongguk-ssi?" when she said that with so much hope and fear in her eyes, like she was half-expecting him to say no, like a young child asking for approval, and Jeongguk could feel his own last piece of doubt and hesitance around her disappear like it was never there.

Jeongguk grinned wide, certain he was showing his ' bunny teeth ' that everyone, especially the ARMY, liked to call them. "I'm very positive, Choheun-ssi. You were really amazing." He said as convincing as he could so she could understand he meant it because seriously , Choheun was literally one of the rare few who could belt in the fifth octave, probably able to hit the sixth , too (what if she could hit the seventh? Holy fu -) and now he couldn't wait to see how well she could dance.

Choheun stared at him for a moment, eyes searching around his face and gazed back at his eyes, before letting a bashful, lopsided smile to appear on her lips no matter how small. And it was really endearing, if anyone asked Jeongguk though he would never admit it because it was actually aimed at him. Not polite or anything, but genuine and happy and it was directed at him and him alone. So this was how the others like Jin, Jimin, and Namjoon felt? Awesome . "Thank you, Jeon Jeongguk-ssi. That was...really nice of you to say."

Jeongguk quickly frowned and shook his head, causing the girl to tense up slightly in confusion as if she had said something wrong and was expecting him to snap or something. That definitely wouldn't happen. "Just call me without my last name, please? I'm only a year older than you, and it makes me feel old to be called that way by someone not too younger than me." Which was true, and since she was staying with them for a long time, staying formal wasn't going to cut it, especially in the BigHit household where everyone viewed each other as family and friends.

Choheun let out a giggle just as he released his grip on her shoulder, shoving them in his pockets as the trainee smiled, "If—If you don't mind?" Jeongguk nodded, "Then Jeongguk-ssi it is, Jeongguk-ssi." She repeatedly playfully, leaning back slightly as if she realized what she had just said and her smile faltered just a bit, but then stayed and grew a little when Jeongguk only laughed.

She was still doubtful, huh? Well, he better fix that soon. And what better than to ask about dance?

"Choheun-ssi?"

"Yes?"

"You can dance, right?"

Choheun blinked once, then twice, and a small hue of red colored her round cheeks. "I-I think I can?" why did she sound unsure? He bet she was very good at it. "Why do you ask?"

Jeongguk shrugged, crossing his fingers inside his pockets as he hoped this would go the way he wanted to. He wasn't sure if it was the best idea to start their friendship, but it was admittedly better than nothing and his only chance to get her to be comfortable around him in a short amount of time before he talked to her again was now. "You already know that our comeback song it coming soon, right?" she nodded slowly, still confused as to where this was going, "Well, when you're going to debut with us, I have a good feeling you'll need to learn Fire for future performances during your debut days. And you'll probably get some lines for the song, too, just in case. So?" Jeongguk stared at her carefully, head tilted a bit to get a closer look at her when he spotted surprise and bewilderment in her honey-colored eyes. "What do you say? Want to learn a few moves from our comeback song?"

Choheun opened her mouth before closing it, and repeated the notion a few times, perfectly speechless. She found her voice after five seconds of gaping later, "Y-you'd do that? For me? A-and you're okay with it? Jeongguk-ssi," she looked at him in concern, squinting her eyes a bit with a small pout on her face, "you're not sick, are you?" she questioned innocently and Jeongguk, again, remembered how much of a jerk he was when he had first met and seen her. He didn't blame her at all if she found his request to teach her sudden and uncharacteristic. Plus the fact they barely talked at all with the exception of a few words here and there (mostly from him than her) .

But, then again, he was willing to change her impression of him and get her to trust him just a little bit because he was instantly reminded of the incident that happened to her last night and he felt a new rush of confidence run over him, determined to try and befriend her and, maybe, he could try to be an ' oppa ' for once. Jeongguk had always wondered what it would be like to be a hyung, but an oppa to someone who was definitely younger than him and would soon be their eighth member this winter? He could settle with this as well.

"Choheun-ssi, I know I wasn't the nicest member when we first met after you were told you were going to debut with us in our next album," he started slowly, making sure to keep his gaze steady and was pleased when Choheun held it without trying to look away, eyebrows furrowing worriedly, "and I'm sorry with how I acted before. It was unprofessional and rude of me to react like that."

Choheun chewed on her bottom lip for a second before opening her mouth, "I don't blame you for reacting like that, Jeongguk-ssi. I was going to take your place as the maknae of the group and you felt threatened, and I completely understand when you and the others were clearly doubtful about having a new addition so late in about three years, especially a female and someone like me."

Jeongguk shook his head, sighing, "That's true. I'll admit my opinion and feelings towards you weren't exactly positive," he saw her smile sadly in understanding, so considerate, and he felt guilty yet so eager to break the walls in their way—because he could see why the others liked her, why the staff were so nice and kind, and why she was chosen to become their eighth member out of the many others who participated. He finally understood, "but that didn't mean I stayed disliking you. If anything, I wanted to try and talk with you for the past few days. I was just awkward and feeling guilty and didn't know how to... you know... talk to someone who's a girl and near my age. I want-" he stopped, swallowing down the sudden lump that formed in his throat and cleared his throat in embarrassment at how his voice cracked a bit, quieting down until his next words were close to a whisper. "I want us to try and become friends, Choheun-ssi. If you can forgive me for how childish I behaved before."

Choheun stayed silent, her eyes so wide and peach lips parted open in utter disbelief that Jeongguk was getting nervous at her look and wondered if he was asking too much, especially since it was common knowledge with them back at the dorm that his dislike towards her was so apparent when she had moved in, even if said dislike was already dwindling down the more he observed her around their dorm.

Then Choheun took a deep breath, sliding her gaze down to avoid his, and lifted a hand in front of him, palm opened sideways.

The taller teen blinked, taking a second to understand what that meant, before feeling a smile growing on his face as he removed his own hand from his pocket, long fingers wrapping around her incredibly smaller ones that he briefly compared how her hands were even smaller than Jimin's.

Choheun lifted her head a little once his hand was wrapped around hers, peering up at him shyly through her bangs as a rosy blush tinted her cheeks, smiling so sweetly and Jeongguk couldn't stop staring. "I forgive you, Jeongguk-ssi." She said softly, her eyes beginning to curve up just a bit and his first thought was that she had adorable crescent eyes. "So, friends?"

Jeongguk was sure his heart was going to burst, grinning widely and let out a relieved laugh as he shook hands with her, the trainee giggling, " Yeah . Friends. We're friends now."

When they let go, Choheun turned her head slightly to look at the mirror behind her before looking back at him, head cocked slightly to the side as she eyed him curiously with a very innocent, child-like smile, hopeful and practically bouncing excitedly where she stood. "So... about that dance?"

Holy fuck , she was so...what was the word people on the internet used these days? Precious .

Yeon Choheun was fucking precious holy crap how had he not seen it before?

He grinned, bunny teeth flashing and nodded, just as excited as her. "Sure. Let me get the song ready on my phone." Choheun returned his grin with a lopsided one.

 


 

Panting sounds and heavy breathing were the only sounds so far inside the dance room.

"Jeongguk-ssi?"

"Yeah?"

"Did I do it? Please tell me I did it or I swear I'm going to find a water-filled bottle and throw it at you, BTS member or not."

"No, I was going to say you perfected the moves on point, and please, I don't want to get checked to the doctor because I got hit by a water bottle. That'll be embarrassing, Choheun-ssi."

" Aigo-yah !" Choheun exclaimed in relief, Jeongguk laughing behind his hand despite panting at the same time as he watched the younger teen ungracefully sat on the ground and fell back on the floor, arms and legs stretched apart like a starfish as her chest heaved heavily with puffs of air coming from her panting mouth. "I thought I was going to die . You weren't kidding when you said Fire was going to be the fastest and hardest song you choreographed this time. I can't imagine what else future dances you'll do."

Jeongguk didn't bother hiding his laughter this time, bending over to clutch his knees to keep himself upright, just as tired as her. "Ah, don't forget that you're also going to be dancing with us after your debut, Choheun-ssi. Who knows? Maybe your debut song with us will be hard," and maybe the others could see her dance as well because she was really good at it in her own way.

Choheun was actually more smooth and delicate with her moves, more swiftness and precision, but she was not used to very sharp and fast-paced movements like in Fire, which impressed Jeongguk a lot because she got the whole chorus down in under an hour despite not used to this kind of dance style.

She was legit a combination of him, Hobi, and Jimin with more of the latter because when she was stretching around before they started, she was really flexible like she had been stretching for years. And when she bent down to hug around her knees whilst standing?

That was cool .

Choheun lifted her head a bit to stare up at him, eyes narrowing and frowning, but she looked nothing close to intimidating and he was sure she was pouting instead. Now he understood why the others called her a kitten. "Don't jinx it, please."

He smirked a bit, inwardly happy how at ease they were around each other for the past half an hour learning the chorus of Fire. They were both throwing questions at each other from time to time during their practice with Jeongguk teaching, and how shocking was it when Choheun timidly admitted her birthday was on September first like him-

("Wait, you share the same birthday as me?" he said, shocked and gaping as he stopped for a bit. The girl shrugged one shoulder, quirking one shy smile, "Don't ask me, Jeongguk-ssi. I wonder that as well when I realized I shared the same birthday as my bia- nevermind ."

"Wait, what were you going to say?" he asked again like he hadn't heard her the first time, his smirk slowly growing because he definitely heard it.

Choheun puffed her cheeks, crossing her arms over her chest and glared at the ground with a red face, pouting, "Nevermind, Jeongguk-ssi."

"Fine, fine.")

-that she was born in Busan like him but only stayed for a few years before moving-

("Busan?" she answered, but it sounded more like a question after she finished the first easy part of the chorus.

Jeongguk raised a brow, surprised, but was more confused by her answer. "Why do you sound uncertain, Choheun-ssi?"

Choheun blinked slowly, cocking her head to one side as she closed her eyes, thinking. A hum slipped passed her lips, "Mm... My brother told me we stayed there for a while but moved. I don't really know the reason why, but that's pretty much it. Oh!" she snapped her fingers, eyes popping open as she stared up at him with surprised eyes as if she had just remembered something. "And my brother was born in Daegu, I think. I remember he told me before."

Jeongguk blinked down at her in surprise as well, "What? How old is your brother for him to be born in another area before moving to Busan?"

"Dohyuk-oppa?" oh, that was her brother's name? New piece of information about her personal life. Nice . "He's nine years older than me."

Jeongguk sputtered, " Mwo?!"

"Wh-what? What's wrong?")

-that, apparently, they actually share a lot of things they like together-

("Choheun-ssi, do you mind if I go out to buy some food? I told Jin that we can go back to the dorms later at six as long as we ate something before he cooks dinner."

Choheun perked up, letting her leg down from dancing the pre-chorus, known as Jimin's part, and nodded, "Yes, please! And, wait- Jin ?" she raised a confused brow, blinking her wide eyes, "You call him informally?"

Jeongguk lifted a finger to his lips, shushing her with a mischievous wink, smiling softly when she giggled in amusement at his very maknae-like look, "Don't tell hyungie, okay? I call all of them informally, mostly when I plan on pranking them."

Choheun formed a small ' o ' with her mouth and nodded in understanding, smiling, "Promise. Back to the topic in hand, can you get banana milk, too?"

Jeongguk's eyes widened, gaping. She liked banana milk, too? "You like banana milk?"

Choheun returned his confusion with her own, blinking widely, " Wait, you like it, too?" she sounded just as surprised as him.

"What?"

"What?")

-and more he kind of forgot because most of the time Choheun kept laughing at him when he intentionally exaggerated a move from the choreo, like dabbing a bit too much, and then repeat it and maybe even dab with his leg, by the end he was laughing with her as well.

Meaning, he actually got along with Choheun just fine in the past thirty minutes, and he was glad his silliness as the Golden Maknae and his normal self was enough for the younger teen to relax just enough around him.

Worth it, by the way, and not forgetting to call Jin back that they (the other members waiting) all could eat and head back first before him and Choheun.

"We'll see, right?" Jeongguk shrugged, smiling when the female teen groaned and sat up, both of them walking back to the chairs beside the door where their sort-of lunch and snacks await them. And Jeongguk's jacket, too, because he had removed it in the middle of their practice since he was getting too hot and sweaty, leaving him in his extra large black shirt. Choheun refused to remove her hoodie.

After a few minutes of getting a breather, both Jeongguk and Choheun sat down on the floor and started eating their instant ramen the former prepared on his way back from the kitchen, their banana milk and water bottles, and a couple of sweets like chocolate and small tubs of mint chocolate ice cream (oh yeah, she also liked mint chocolate like him. Aigo, just how similar were they now that he didn't like her anymore? They would've been friends in the beginning if he hadn't been so rude and childish-) , and that was pretty much it.

They stayed silent as they slurped on their ramen, the silence not as uncomfortable like earlier and was instead relaxed and calming as they faced the mirror, staring at their own reflection.

Jeongguk glanced at her after a while, chewing the noodles in his mouth as Choheun continued to stare at herself, not aware of his gaze and just stared down at herself with a small frown as she ate, loosely holding the cup of ramen on her lap.

He frowned as well, wondering what was on her mind for her to look at herself like that as if she was staring at something she didn't like. "Choheun-ssi?" he called out softly, putting his quarter-filled ramen down on the floor in front of his folded legs.

Choheun blinked, seemingly remembering where she was, and turned to look at him, a questioning look on her face as if saying ' what is it? '. But Jeongguk wasn't fooled, he had clearly seen the obvious distaste and self-deprecating look she aimed at herself in the mirror. "Do you like it?"

Choheun made a confused noise in the back of her throat, "What? The ramen?"

Ah, he didn't elaborate enough. But the answer was cute. "No, I mean here. In BigHit. Do you like it here so far?" Jeongguk asked again.

She paused, meeting his eyes for a second, before looking back down at her ramen, stirring the noodles inside inattentively. "...Honestly, I guess it's... it's okay."

"Okay?"

Choheun shrugged one shoulder, avoiding his gaze as she played with her food, "I mean, I miss home, Jeongguk-ssi. I miss my family a lot, back home, and I never realized how much I think about them when I was around them. It feels different and foreign to me, to be away from them for so long, and probably longer when I debut."

Jeongguk softened, remembering how he had felt the same way towards his family when he was getting used to BigHit and his hyungs. "And now? How do you feel?" he asked, voice more gentle and lower than before.

The trainee didn't answer for a while, stirring her noodles while her gaze stayed unfocused on the floor in front of her, before slowly lifting her head up to meet his gaze, a subtle smile on her face. "I like it. So far. Everyone's been so nice to me." She added the last as if it was meant for herself, her tone a calm awe full of surprise, her soft voice quiet and nearly inaudible like she actually couldn't believe someone was nice to her. Jeongguk felt his heart pinch at that, and he didn't know why he felt that, his heart reaching out for her. He was hoping he could maybe understand in the future, though, because that's what Jin was hoping to happen, that they would all get along well with her soon enough and maybe even get her to finally open up, no matter how small she revealed her true self and how long it took.

Jeongguk smiled at her response, Choheun returning it hesitantly and shyly, before turning back to his ramen, scooping the noodles in his chopsticks and opened his mouth, slurping it up as the leftover ones were left behind.

"How... How about you, Jeongguk-ssi?"

The said maknae looked up, blinking as he paused on chewing before resuming to quickly swallow so he could speak. When he did, he glanced at her, intrigued, "Hm?"

Choheun blushed slightly, scratching her top lip briefly before focusing back on the question. "How is it like being the ' Golden Maknae ' of Bangtan Sonyeondan? What's it like?" she said curiously, the air quotes of Golden Maknae obvious, a little drawled like she might be poking a bit.

Jeongguk hummed, leaning back against his left arm behind him, looking up at the ceiling in thought. What's it like being the Golden Maknae? Well...there's a lot of things to say, but he'd stick with an easy and simple answer. "It's cool, I guess." He settled with that.

Choheun blinked slowly, "You guess?" a hint of confusion was in her tone with something else, but he couldn't decipher it.

Jeongguk shrugged one shoulder like how she did just a few minutes prior, smiling when her lips quirked up a bit. "Like making music, dancing to our music, making the music videos, planning out future albums and concepts, meeting our fans, performing for our fans, going to interviews sometimes- stuff like that, you know? The idol life I dreamed of, along with the hyungs." He answered easily, like he had answered that kind of question a million times.

From the corner of his eye, he could see Choheun eyeing him with an unreadable look on her face, head cocked slightly to the side. With the amount of time he spent with her, he guessed that it was a habit of hers when she was curious about something. But what was she curious about of the Golden Maknae?

"How about you? How are you doing as Jeon Jeongguk?" she asked, her voice soft as she leaned forward in front of her to look at him at a better angle. Oh.

Oh .

He...didn't expect that.

For some reason, he felt his throat close up and chest tighten at the new question, somehow finding it harder to answer than the last. But she had been honest when she answered his question, so why would he lie to her when she was finally relaxing a bit around him? "As Jeon Jeongguk... I'm scared. A lot, I guess. We're getting more and more fans, which is amazing by the way because we have many awesome supporters, the ever-protective ARMY, but that also means a lot of antis and haters will come breathing on our neck. And as for me, they usually go for the ' Golden Maknae ' of BTS to watch me like a hawk if I do any mistakes, even if it was just a small one. On concerts and live performances, too. There have been...a lot of times where I struggle and question myself if becoming an idol was the best decision, you know?" he shrugged, finally looking down to meet her gaze. "With so many eyes on you, one can take so much before you finally can't take it, and I don't want that to happen to me, and to the others as well. Even BigHit. But that's the life of an idol, regardless of the pressure. Do you get what I'm saying?" well, there's plenty of other reasons, but he was going to stick with this one for now. He didn't want to make her too worried. Sure, he had a lot of fears and doubts as an idol and the Golden Maknae of BTS, but there were also a lot of good reasons, too.

Choheun blinked, eyes furrowed slightly, before she placed her ramen down and scooted a little closer to him so that her hips were an inch away from him and shoulders, surprisingly, were brushing lightly. Jeongguk blinked down at her, startled as he, too, placed his ramen down in confusion. "Choheun-ssi?"

The honey-eyed teen said nothing as she reached out and grabbed both of his wrists and made an ' x ' form over his chest, letting go and looking back up at him with determined eyes. Jeongguk raised his brows, bemused.

"You're right, Jeongguk-ssi. An idol life is not an easy one, from what I've seen and read online. Even that's not enough. But hearing you admit that..." she found his gaze, smiling lopsidedly, "It makes me admire you and other idols even more. With all the doubts you have, you still keep going no matter what, doing it for the fans, for BigHit, to make a difference in the music industry or the world, and at the same time you're doing what you love, right?"

Jeongguk nodded slowly, hanging on to her every word because she made it sound so easy like she had been an idol her entire life or something. Was she really a fan who dreamt to audition to become an idol?

"So," Choheun crossed her hands over her chest like she did to him, smiling wide until her eyes disappeared just slightly, "you already know this, but as a fellow ARMY of Bangtan Sonyeondan for three years, now a trainee of BigHit, just ignore what all the ' haters ' are saying and continue doing what you love, okay? Do what makes you happy the most, and the ARMY will continue to support and love you just for that alone. If you asked me, I think you being Jeon Jeongguk and the Golden Maknae together is better. Listen to the right people and keep going. So, fighting, Jeon Jeongguk-ssi!" she finished with a small, light giggle a little shy as she peered up at him looking a little nervous but determined at the same time, reminding Jeongguk once again that she was, indeed , a fan of theirs, and somehow one of their early fans , too. For three years .

She had been a fan for three years, and everything she said was like Jeongguk had been talking to one of their loyal fans, having a meaningful conversation and not just the usual ' we love your music ' and ' we love you ' talk, but a literal, meaningful talk about him being the Golden Maknae. Just- "How are you real ?" he breathed out unconsciously, noticing he said his thoughts out loud when Choheun's face faltered into bewilderment.

"Did you say something?" she asked confusedly with a small tilt of her head, eyes squinting slightly as if she was waiting for him to repeat what he had just said.

"Nothing!" he quickly shouted, slapping a hand over his mouth when he startled the girl from it, "S-sorry, but just-" he took a deep breath, staring back at her honey eyes. " Thank you , Choheun-ssi. That... That means a lot to me. Really . It does." He managed to say, in the end, because he was still speechless, and Choheun brightened back up with her hands still crossed, smiling.

"Ignore and listen to the right people?" she prompted playfully with a gentle nudge of her elbow on his arm, cheeks pink and rosy but she looked happy. For him . She was happy for him and not because she got to talk to Jeongguk of BTS, but because, right now, since the beginning right when she moved in with them and talked with him, regardless of how short the conversation between them was, she had been talking to Jeon Jeongguk the whole time. The real, insecure, unsure, but passionate Jeongguk who loved doing what he loved the most despite all the cons that came with it.

Jeongguk decided right then and there that he wasn't going to let Choheun down with their new friendship. He was going to be the bestest friend she ever had in her time in BigHit and BTS.

He grinned, bringing his arms up again and crossed his wrists over his chest, bunny teeth showing, "And keep doing what I love to do."

Choheun giggled, her eyes closing to curve into happy crescents, delighted like a young child, "BTS!" she cheered quietly, still shy, but it was genuine.

"BTS!”

�

Chapter Text

It's been about an hour since Jeongguk had taught Choheun how to dance the pre-chorus and chorus for Fire, and he didn't know if the world was giving him a chance to get along with the trainee better than he had initially imagined and had worried about in the beginning.

After eating their small snack of ramen, twice (he bought two each ramen, ice cream, maybe some mochi, and maybe some pocky as well when Choheun requested it the last minute before he left) , Jeongguk found himself just sitting on the floor of the room with Choheun, talking about lighter and funnier topics after the deep one (he really liked it, okay? It made him feel better and what's better is that Choheun was a fan and a new friend who told him all that) , and somehow it led him to talk about their similarities like their birthdays.

And what his hyungs and the staff had done for his birthday before back in 2014, too.

Which brought him to his current situation with Choheun, both eating their small cups of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

"Mwo?! Really ?! They did that to you on your birthday?!" Choheun was practically screaming at his face by now, their faces just a respective distance away, her face showing disbelief and shock, the small spoon from the ice cream hanging off her lips.

Jeongguk snorted out a laugh, his cheeks red in embarrassment at having to tell the story but the girl's reaction was pretty priceless (and cute, of course. He had noticed a lot of things she did was in such an endearing way—when she wasn't hiding and using her polite words implying a 'please leave me alone' kind of vibe, and he wondered if this was how it felt to have a female friend like her-). He lifted a hand up to gently pluck the wooden spoon out of her mouth, leaving Choheun to blink repeatedly in surprise and bewilderment as she shot him a confused look, blinking her doe eyes that he came to realize were pretty cute (now that he didn't hate her and started talking with her, aish...he was not forgetting about that any time soon).

"It was a long time ago now, Choheun-ssi. I made sure they promised not to do that again." Sure damn hope so , "It's okay." He assured with an amused smile at her reaction. Choheun stubbornly shook her head, tugging on his free hand she had been holding earlier with a petulant pout, eyes narrowed with her cheeks puffed and pink.

"B-but it was your birthday, Jeongguk-ssi! Aigo-yah, if it was me, I would've cried for a whole hour..." she pouted, taking the spoon when Jeongguk handed it over to her, scooping a spoonful of ice cream and shoved it in her mouth, lips set to pout. She formed a fist with her hand that was still holding the spoon, glaring down at the floor with determination. "I'll promise to give them a piece of my mind when I can! Maybe!" Jeongguk only chuckled at her response, waving a hand in dismissal. No doubt she probably might not do that without turning shy and stutter a second later, her pink cheeks and unsure eyes were proof of that. No offense to her, but maybe she'd do it if she was fully comfortable around the others and him.

Yes, Choheun wasn't completely comfortable around him yet despite the small closeness that anyone might assume she was perfectly fine. She was relaxed, true, but there was still obvious hesitancy and disbelief, added with confusion and doubt left behind in her eyes and her expressions when she thought Jeongguk wasn't looking. Her words were playful and expressive but he could see she was still holding back because whenever she said something, she would subtly incline back as if expecting him to reject her, to snap at her or something, before relaxing her tense shoulders when he would laugh or smile with an innocent question thrown back at her in return.

Jeongguk frowned, glancing down at the mint-green ice cream mixed with chocolate chips in his cup. He really wondered what had happened to Choheun, in her life, to act like this; like she wasn't expecting anyone to be so nice, to be accepted, to still feel doubt and skeptical about their advances like she was waiting for them to tell her they were joking and were only friends because she was their future eighth member, to always sport a surprised look when someone showed her they cared .

The signs were all obvious to Jeongguk, leaving him to assume the worst, maybe a traumatic experience or some bullies who had beaten her so low she became so wary about everything that was ' good ' for her.

And yeah, with everything he had observed from the honey-eyed girl since the beginning up until now, Jeongguk could safely assume Choheun was selfless. Like, incredibly so that it wasn't good. At least from what he had seen.

(He had seen how she looked so guilty and ashamed yet longing when she kept avoiding Jimin when the dancer looked at her with hopeful eyes. How she ignored her own health when she had lost a concerning amount of blood last week. How cooked breakfast for them in her way of an apology when she didn't even have to. How she was clearly afraid of them, her eyes always wide with hesitation and uncertainty every time she tried to open her mouth, but still went out of her way to talk and respond to their words despite clearly wanting to disappear and panic-)

"Jeongguk-ssi?"

The Golden Maknae blinked out of his thoughts, feeling a small timid poke on his shoulder and turned to see Choheun peering up at him with slight worry and nervousness. "Uh- yes?"

She furrowed her brows, leaning back as she moved her knees near her chest, ice cream cup on top of them. "You have a frown on your face and I've been calling you for a minute. Are you okay, Jeongguk-ssi?" she paused, eyes finding his fore a bit before straying to his cheek, biting her peach lip (oh, right, her lips were a natural peach hue he didn't know that was an actual lip color-) before slight panic passed her eyes. "I-I'm not bothering you, am I? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to," she said worriedly, slowly hunching in on herself and trying to look smaller than she already was. Her oversized hoodie wasn't helping much, either.

And- fuck , that was the same emotion he kept seeing her make, the one he had just been thinking about and he's the cause for making her think he was annoyed with her or something.

"Ah, no! Sorry, Choheun-ssi! You're not bothering me, not the slightest bit, I swear." Jeongguk rushed to reassure, if a little frantically, and continued when Choheun was still staring at him with unconvinced honey eyes. "Really. I was just reminded of what happened. I still can't believe even the staff were in it, too, you know? I trusted them, Choheun-ssi." He pouted, inwardly crying in relief and patting himself on the back when Choheun lost a bit of her tentativeness, face softening, but also kicking himself in the back for making her assume the wrong things.

She giggled a bit, her smile a little hesitant but a hint of genuineness was showing. Aigoo, what a relief .

"Well, don't think about it, then." Choheun's smile was wider and lopsided again, making Jeongguk release a quiet breath he didn't know he had been holding the entire time. "I have a good feeling that you'll have a better birthday this year because you're turning twenty, right?" she brightened a bit, "The ARMY will be so happy their favorite Golden Maknae is going to be an adult now!" she stopped herself for a second, looking at him sheepishly, "...At least I think so? I mean, you're technically nineteen to the international ARMY out there. And, now that I think about it, what's good about you being an adult? For the fans, I mean. Um..."

Jeongguk snorted, chuckling when Choheun somehow ended up mumbling to herself in confusion as she tried to figure out what she meant about him being twenty was good news for the fans.

She had no idea.

Oh, another fact about Choheun was that she actually talks to herself frequently, apparently even more so when people are around. She had done it earlier, and when Jeongguk pointed it out, Choheun froze up and immediately babbled apologies. It took a whole minute to reassure her it was alright and that he didn't mind since he would do the same sometimes (when he was alone, mostly) .

It was endearing, to say the least. Especially when the end result was her looking all pink and embarrassed and then laughing when he said it was okay.

After a while, Jeongguk and Choheun jumped when they heard a ring sound loudly in the room, their eyes simultaneously zeroing on the former's pocket where a small vibration could be seen. Jeongguk slipped his hand in to take his phone out, seeing his eldest hyung's name blaring on the screen.

"Who is it?" Choheun asked curiously, setting her now-empty ice cream cup aside along with Jeongguk as he looked at her.

"It's just Jin-hyung."

"Ah..."

Jeongguk quickly swiped his screen and tapped the speaker mode on, "Hyungie?"

" Jeon Jeongguk, " crap, he sounded a little irked, " do you know what time it is, young man? " he finished a little sternly, making the maknae share a glance with Choheun when she heard since the call was on speaker mode, her own eyes wide like his.

"Uh..." was all Jeongguk could say, Choheun already whipping her phone out, just as Jin answered his own question.

" Jeongguk-ah, " Jin sounded slightly exasperated with a faint hint of annoyed-fondness, leaving the male teen to chuckle sheepishly as Choheun shook her head with a small, amused smile, " It's six in the evening. Is your phone silent? Because I have been messaging you for about an hour now. None of them were even on read. "

Jeongguk's jaw dropped, somehow at the same time with Choheun when she turned her phone on and showed him the time. ' 06:18 ' was shining clearly on her lock-screen, the two staring at each other with widened eyes while the maknae was surprised with the time. Had he been hanging out with Choheun for that long? And had he been enjoying spending his time with her that he completely forgot about the time? Aishii, Jin had even told him earlier before he asked him to go to Choheun that he was going to prepare dinner at six...

"S-sorry, hyung," he apologized sheepishly, feeling a little bad, but a smile twitched upon his lip when Choheun silently giggled behind her hoodie paw. "I was, uh, teaching Choheun-ssi how to dance a bit. I think." Jeongguk explained, not really a lie but not the truth either. He did teach Choheun how to dance a bit of Fire, and he was going to teach her the rest of the dance next time since she agreed when he offered.

Jin made an unconvincing sound that Jeongguk could practically imagine his hyung raising a brow. " If you say so. Well, you two better start heading back home. Dinner is almost ready. I'm leaving Hoseok-ah to finish it up. "

Jeongguk blinked bemusedly at that. Usually, meaning all the time, Jin would finish preparing dinner all by himself without any help, and unless he was busy with something else, then he'd ask one of them to watch over the food until he came back. And Jin was at home, so he was confused about why he wasn't finishing it himself. "Got it, hyung. We're about to leave right now, actually." He lied, exchanging a look with Choheun and smirked when she laughed again, silently of course.

" Oh, really? " Jin mock-surprised, heavy sarcasm in his tone Jeongguk nearly laughed himself, " Then why are you and Choheun-ah still sitting on the floor trying not to laugh? "

Jeongguk paused at the same time Choheun's face melted into that of adorable confusion (geez, they've been doing a lot of little things and gestures together. It was like they were twins or something) .

Wait what?

A small knock was heard and the two teenagers whipped their heads around, Jeongguk's eyes widening into the size of dinner plates when his sight was met with the eldest vocalist of BTS himself. Choheun gasped in surprise before slapping a covered hoodie paw over her mouth, cheeks red in embarrassment.

The door of the room was propped open to reveal Jin leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed and a smirk on his face as he raised his phone beside his head. He clicked the end call and tucked his phone away, waving a friendly hand with a happy, sweet smile on his face. Except it was too sweet , and his eyes were full of amusement. Probably at the situation.

"Good evening, kids," he greeted cheerfully, like him sneaking up to them unnoticed was a very normal thing to do. Jeongguk's jaw dropped while Choheun sputtered.

"S-Seokjin-opp- SSI !" she cut herself off with a sudden shriek, her face definitely rivaling the color of a rose with her ears now and Jeongguk immediately eyed her, trying not to smirk when he knew what she was about to say but stopped herself from saying it. "Seokjin-ssi, h-how long have you been standing there?" she asked, face red in shame as her eyes widened even more helplessly.

Jeongguk mentally chuckled, cute.

Jin only smirked at her, but the Golden Maknae could see how his eyes softened into fondness he now understood. The vocalist playfully thought about it, placing a hand under his chin with an audible hum. "I don't know... Maybe way before Guk-ah told me you were about to leave right now?" he answered with a teasing tone, losing his smirk and dissolved to a chuckle when she buried her face in her hands in shame, briefly hitting Jeongguk on the shoulder for lying in the first place and he snorted out a laugh, reaching out to pat her head.

"Choheun-ssi, why did you hit me?" he asked cheekily, laughing again when she moved to hide her face on his arm, not providing an answer but her whine told him everything he needed to know.

Jin cleared his throat, getting Jeongguk's attention and the latter blushed pink when the same smirk was back on the elder's face. Oh no, he was going to say something embarrassing - "So, Jeongguk-ah, Choheunnie, when were the two of you so friendly around each other?" he now had a shit-eating grin on his face and Jeongguk wanted to groan. Loudly and exaggeratedly. He knew what his hyung was actually implying under his words, but he also wanted to puff his chest out proudly that he managed to get Choheun to relax around him to the point she didn't mind his little touches, and him with her hesitant ones.

Choheun must have noticed as well, but maybe in a slightly different way as she instantly lifted her head away from Jeongguk's arm, leaving him pouting a bit, as her face turned even redder if possible and promptly scooted away from the other teen, mouth opening and closing for an answer and stammering. Jin only cooed, face full of fondness for the girl and the maknae had a hard time trying to fight back a grin.

That just made Choheun turned so red that he could practically imagine steam emitting from her like a cartoon or anime character or something. So cute . "I- It wasn't- It's- he - me and Jeongguk-ssi- we were just-! Kim Seokjin-ssi !" she whined a little childishly, flushing with embarrassment and Jeongguk had the brief urge to coo (he was not going to do that thanks-) . She narrowed her eyes at the broad-shouldered male, attempting to look intimidating but instead looked more like a baby kitten hissing and meowing angrily in an adorable manner—at least that's what he thought in his head, which was weird like where the hell did that come from, but left it be since it was kind of true, to be honest.

Jin chuckled, placing his hands up in a placating manner. "Sorry, sorry, sorry. But seriously, dinner is almost done. Why don't you two clean up a bit since you wouldn't want to leave a mess." He told them, smiling, "I'll be waiting by the elevator, okay? Don't take too long," he sent the two one last smile before turning around and left from their view, his footsteps echoing slightly outside the hallway and left the two teens alone in the room once more.

Jeongguk stared at the opened door a bit, before looking back at Choheun their eyes meeting at the same time, blinking together, causing them bursting into peels of surprised laughter and giggles at what had just happened.

"Well," he started after his laughter died down a bit, watching with a smile as the trainee tried to do the same, only to giggle again with how she hugged around her waist, pressing her hoodie against her body. She was probably ticklish that the fabric was lightly grazing her sides, "we better start clearing up now, right?"

Choheun nodded, smiling wide as she accepted his hand and pulled her up to her feet. "Mn!"

The two started cleaning up the place, Choheun arranging and putting things back together while cleaning the floor they sat on since some ramen soup and melted ice cream spilled a little on the floor, and Jeongguk collecting all the trash he could find in the room.

As they were close to finishing, keeping mind that Jin was waiting for them, a question popped into the maknae's head when he remembered something was missing about the honey-eyed girl—or what was usually on her eyes.

"Wait, Choheun-ssi, I thought you wear glasses?" Jeongguk asked as they finished cleaning the room, holding up all the trash in his arms as Choheun made her way to him, opening up the plastic bag in her hands so he could tilt the trash out of his arms.

She peered up at him, head cocked slightly with a blink (again, cute ) as Jeongguk held the trash inside the plastic bag around his elbow before suddenly giggling under her breath. The taller teen was bewildered at her unexpected giggle, quirking a smile. He crossed his arms as best as he could, raising a brow, "What?" he asked curiously, finding her sudden amusement endearing—not like he was ever going to admit that. Jin, Jimin, and Taehyung would give him the ' I told you so ' look he didn't like.

Aish, they were so annoying .

That's his older brother hyungs for alright. He loved them anyway. Though he wondered how they were all going to treat Choheun when she finally opened up to them.

"Nothing, Jeongguk-ssi," Choheun waved a covered hand, small fingers peeking through as a lopsided smile appeared on her face, "I just had a deja vu feeling when you asked that."

Jeongguk's eyebrows went up in interest, "Oh? Who asked you first?"

"Jimin-ssi did. A day after I moved in."

Jeongguk smiled, of course the dancer did. He liked to notice the littlest things. "And what was your answer?"

The honey-eyed teen mirrored his smile, just more lopsided, "Those glasses are for nearsighted people. I'm not blind, but I can't see that far, Jeongguk-ssi. Don’t ask how there are such glasses, too. Because I don’t know either." She answered playfully, eyes twinkling with happiness but there was wistfulness behind her gaze as well, and Jeongguk thought back to how Jimin got along with her so quick a day after she moved, even dropping the formalities immediately.

He huffed a chuckle, grinning widely, "Got it. I'll keep that in mind. Do you know how far you can see?"

Choheun deadpanned a second later, grimacing, "I am not answering that. I hate math. I hate numbers ."

"Oh, same here, then." Another similarity. Seriously, was it because they were both born in the same month? That couldn't be it; Namjoon was also September but he and the dimpled leader weren't that similar.

Or was it because they were born on the same day, and their age gap was just by a year?

Ah, he needed to stop his head was going to hurt.

She puffed her cheeks, narrowing her eyes, "I'm probably worse than you, though."

Jeongguk raised a challenging brow, walking up to the chair behind them to grab his hoodie. "How so?"

She turned to him as she watched him walk up to her where she waited near the door. Choheun tried to glare at him, pouting, "What's thirty-four times fifteen."

Jeongguk blanked, eyes sliding up to the ceiling and squinting on it as he placed his hand below his nose, taking a deep breath. Thirty-four times fifteen? He couldn't tell if that was a large number, but since it's just fifteen... "Eum... five-hundred ten?" he answered, glancing down at her to see the disbelief on her face.

"You-" she choked, "Y-you actually answered it? Is it even right?"

"I don't know," he said defensively, opening the door for both of them to step out. Jeongguk closed it afterward, noticing Choheun getting her phone out again and fiddled with it. "Is it right?"

Choheun scoffed, nodding, staring at him with wide and impressed eyes, "It's five-hundred and ten, Jeongguk-ssi." She squinted her eyes at him, frowning (pouting, really) , "Are you sure you're bad at math? Because I just said those numbers randomly and I don't even know the answer to it."

Jeongguk only smiled, "It might be that we're both bad, but I'm probably a little smarter than you."

Her eye twitched, scowling with a huff and abruptly turned around, walking ahead to where they would meet up with Jin. Jeongguk chuckled under his breath at her reaction, she acted like any annoyed eighteen-year-old.

Shaking his head, the taller teen followed behind the girl as they both made their way to the elevator, turning to a corner as the said older vocalist was coming to view, leaning against the wall with his eyes down on his phone in his hand.

Jeongguk glanced down when his shoulder was bumped against Choheun, the trainee staring up at him furrowed brows. He frowned slightly, worried. Was something wrong? She looked really troubled about something. Hopefully not because he just called her dumb earlier, because he definitely didn't mean that.

Right as he was about to open his mouth to ask what's wrong, she beat him to it first, "Um... Jeongguk-ssi?"

"Yes...?"

"Remember when you asked about what note I could reach when we were finishing our ramen?"

He blinked, confused as he nodded slowly. He remembered. Jeongguk had asked if she knew what the highest note she could reach was, and she said she could at least hit the sixth octave easier than the seventh, which never failed to make his jaw drop mentally when he thought about it because it was the freaking seventh octave hit with little to no effort like it was child's play, come on, and Choheun added she wasn't so sure if she could hit the eighth since she was told most of the seventh and eighth were either whistle notes, head voice, or falsetto.

Did Yun Saego-nim inform her about more stuff? Even he knew them by now (he studied nonstop about voices and stuff in his early trainee days, promising himself to learn everything about the music industry. Worth the burn in his brain with all the information) . Jeongguk fleetingly wondered if someone would teach Choheun about music, like, literally. Would the rap-lin teach her about producing and composing music? Maybe others that were technology-related? Oh, maybe their producers? Did Choheun meet them yet? Dohyung and Yebeom would maybe enjoy teaching someone new their ropes.

Realizing he took a few seconds too long to respond, Jeongguk nodded, "Yeah, what about it?"

Choheun pursed her lips, eyeing with unreadable intensity, before saying, "Jeongguk-ssi, I thought it was the notes were usually called ' sharp ' and ' flat '. Yun Saego-nim told me that."

Jeongguk froze, what? "What did I say?"

"You told me the whole time when you were rambling how ' I could hit ridiculously high notes '," she made air quotes in a comical way, "that they were ' hash ' and ' B '. I was confused the whole time when you added the notes, then I realized along the way but didn't say anything since I thought maybe I was wrong."

Jeongguk stared. And stared.

And then- "Fuck!"

Choheun jumped, obviously surprised and startled as she stared up at him with wide, confused and lost eyes, and he quickly apologized sheepishly. But aish, that was embarrassing! Maybe he should blame Jimin for that because the dancer had been showing him videos about notes and it involved a lot of said notes that did not inform him they were called sharp or flat, just a lot of Bs and the hash sign that it made him forget about the actual notes.

This was why one had to remember what they were watching instead of staring at all the captions and words popping up on the screen or else he'd finish the video with having no clue what he had just learned.

"Oh my God, I can't believe I said that..." he groaned pathetically, burying his face in his hands. Choheun blinked at him before giggling, helpfully patting his back (reluctantly at first) as if to say ' there, there '.

"It's okay, Jeongguk-ssi. We all make mistakes." She chirped, beaming with a sympathetic smile and he bashfully returned it, happy when it made her smile grow a little wider causing her eyes to curve up into adorable crescents.

"Jeon Jeongguk!" the two teens jumped, whipping their heads in front of them to see Jin facing the maknae with disapproval and amusement, meaning he had overheard what they were talking about.

Someone kill him .

Jin frowned, scowling, but clearly playful and teasing. "Watch your language, you brat. I will not approve of your foul words around Choheun." He said once they were close, and Choheun flushed a bright red, gawking.

"Wh-what does that even mean? Seokjin-ssi!"

Jeongguk watched as Choheun somehow managed to steal the elder's attention from him, the two engaged in a little argument with Choheun sputtering and blushing and Jin grinning and laughing while patting her head as she pouted with a sulk, he just remembered what had happened for the past hours, and smiled widely when he realized his mission to get along with Choheun had been a success.

And, hopefully, their friendship could grow more, and Choheun could get along with the others, too.

Again, he wasn't so sure about Yoongi.

How would one convince a stubborn person to try to open to someone who was just like them but worse because if Yoongi wouldn't open up, Choheun might think of the worse about her situation and assume things about what the pale rapper thought about her...

Jeongguk shook his head, entering the elevator with the eldest and, heh, the new youngest.

He wished his cool hyung the best of luck.

 


 

"Choheun-ah?"

Choheun blinked, glancing up to see Seokjin looking at her over his shoulder. Jeongguk was a little bit in front of her, switching his gaze between the two with curious eyes. "Yes?"

The older vocalist smiled kindly, "You don't mind samgyeopsal-gui, tteokbokki, and bibimbap for dinner, do you? Hyojee bought us all the ingredients before we went home, so it's a little much for dinner."

Choheun blinked, nodding with a small smile. She hadn't had any bibimbap for a while. "It's okay, Seokjin-ssi. I don't mind." He smiled back before turning back to push the door open, Choheun following with Jeongguk right behind her.

Seeing the others home, Jimin perked up from his phone as he sat on the dining table, a wide smile breaking free on his face. "Choheun-ah! Welcome home!" he greeted cheerfully, Hoseok and Taehyung glancing back and repeated what the dancer said with happy smiles while Namjoon nodded at her with a soft look, smiling slightly his dimples showed just a bit.

Choheun ducked her head down, blushing with a shy smile. She waved her fingers at them, "Jimin-ssi. Everyone." That was kind of pathetic, but she didn't know how to respond to something like that when it was usually her family saying it, so she settled with a short answer instead.

Jimin apparently didn't mind since he only beamed before patting an empty seat beside him with Namjoon on the other side. Choheun padded forward, eyes already on the food on the table and blinked, mentally drooling at the sight of so many foods since she had only eaten ramen with Jeongguk and some snacks, but she was still hungry after the dance practice. And with a glance at the said Golden Maknae when he sat in front of her, his mouth already open and eyes wide at the dishes, she could say he felt the same way as well.

Once she sat down, making herself comfortable, Jimin was quickly on her face with a glint in his eyes. Choheun squeaked and leaned back until her back touched Namjoon's arm, the leader steadying her.

"So," the dancer started, resting his face against the palm of his hand, elbow propped up on the table as Seokjin sat down beside Jeongguk, "I heard that Jeonggukie stayed with you for lunch instead of coming back with us. What did you two do?" Jimin wiggled his eyebrows playfully, a teasing yet knowing smirk on his face.

Choheun turned red, knowing what he actually meant (if her and Jeongguk were very, very awkward facing each other, or if she started opening up to him) , as everyone else turned to her with Jeongguk choking in the background. "U-um..." what was she supposed to say in a situation like this? She couldn't say they were now friends after she honestly said her opinion about Jeongguk and the Golden Maknae, that would be so weird and she didn't know she felt embarrassed at the thought of admitting that to Jimin.

Jimin was still looking at her expectantly, along with the others as well, and even Namjoon.

Thankfully, Jeongguk intervened with a small frown, "Hyung, don't bother Choheun-ssi. If you're wondering, then I was just teaching her a bit of our dance. You know, in case for future preferences." He said, Choheun feeling confused when she saw all of them, except for Seokjin, widening their eyes in surprise.

"Really? You taught her our comeback song?" Hoseok spoke up, shock evident in his voice like he wasn't expecting the maknae to actually, let alone willingly, teach the female trainee their newest song that wasn't released yet.

And, yeah, Choheun couldn't blame him. She had felt the same way in the beginning when Jeongguk offered, because, of course, she had still thought he didn't like her or something when, in reality, at least what he had told her, he was feeling guilty and nervous to approach her by himself. Basically how she had been feeling the same thing towards him, except she was kind of scared of him, despite the fact he was her former (not really) bias wrecker.

Jeongguk furrowed his brow in confusion at the rapper's tone before realization dawned on him, his cheeks red and scowled. "Come on, why does everyone think I hate Choheun-ssi or something?" he grumbled, folding his arms.

"Because you did," half of them (Seokjin, Jimin, and Taehyung) responded at the same time, making Choheun jump in surprise. That was...convenient. And she was a little stunned that they all knew Jeongguk wasn't that fond of her in the beginning. She assumed she was the only one who noticed since none of them said a thing. Or maybe they were still unsure about her that time and chose not to say anything.

That, ah, made her feel sad and guilty for some reason.

Jeongguk pouted at them all before sighing, sliding his gaze at her and smiled apologetically, "I'm sorry about that, again, Choheun-ssi." Choheun could read what he didn't say and she smiled slightly in understanding. Just a secret between the two of them.

"It's okay, Jeongguk-ssi." He smiled gratefully, relaxing in his seat and leaned against it.

Meanwhile, Jimin looked between them, a thoughtful look on his face, before a playful smile appeared. "Oh? Since when did the two of you start dropping the surnames?" he asked eagerly, and Choheun blushed red, covering her face with her hoodie paws (she briefly thought about taking a quick shower and change after she ate. She had been sweaty the whole day when dancing, after all) .

Jeongguk sputtered, "J-Jimin-hyung!"

Jimin just shrugged nonchalantly, smirking, "What? You've been calling her Yeon-ssi or Yeon Choheun-ssi the whole time, same with you Choheun-ah, and in just one day you two dropped the formalities. Did you have a fun time in her dance room?"

Jeongguk blushed but he scowled at the older maknae, huffing, "So what if we did? I'm not going to call her formally forever, too, you know? And I think I know more about her than you now, hyungie."

Choheun peeked up a bit at that, her ears getting hot because—why would he bring that up? Then again, it wasn't like she was keeping it a secret. She just...didn't think it was necessary to tell him what she liked. But it made Jeongguk happy when she answered his questions, so Choheun didn't feel that bad (she was more happy when he answered her hesitant questions, too) .

" Mwo ?" Jimin gaped, quickly turning to an unsuspecting Choheun, "Choheun-ah, did you tell Guk-ah things about yourself first before me?" she nodded slowly, confused when he looked displeased and pouty, " Choheun-aaaah ! Why didn't you tell me in the beginning? I wanna know more about you, too!" he whined childishly, leaning forward to wrap his arms around her shoulders, clinging onto her as she made a startled noise that wasn't a squeak (it wasn't!) . Still confused and maybe feeling a little guilty, Choheun tentatively patted his back in a way to comfort him, even if she didn't know if he needed it.

Namjoon and Seokjin chuckled at them and Choheun was sure her cheeks were so red it could put a tomato to shame.

Jeongguk's disgruntlement soon changed to smugness, smirking at the dancer, "Well, that's probably because I'm the same age as Choheun-ssi, and she was more comfortable sharing such information with me than you." He said, before pausing, "Uh, you didn't mind, did you, Choheun-ssi?" he asked her, uncertain.

Choheun wanted to shake her head but decided against it since Jimin was still draping over her, sending him a reassuring smile. "No. You're kind of right about that, by the way." She peered up at the dancer who was still clinging on her, smiling timidly, "Sorry, Jimin-ssi."

Jimin blinked at her before sighing, shrugging it off and tightened his hold around her a bit. Choheun melted slightly at the now-turned hug and subconsciously snuggled closer to him, smiling. "I guess I don't mind. It's alright, Choheun-ssi." She relaxed at that, relieved he wasn't angry or anything, before freezing a second later. "So, what did she tell you, Jeongguk-ah?" Jimin asked with a sly grin, not even asking Choheun if she was okay with the maknae sharing information without her permission.

Choheun looked at the said teen with a slightly panicked look before her eyes widened when Jeongguk sent her an apologetic look and turned to the dancer. "Well, she told me a lot of things, actually..." he trailed off as Jimin and everyone else listened with eager expressions, more so with Namjoon and Seokjin, and maybe even Taehyung and Hoseok—okay, they were all eager to hear more stuff about her and what she liked. Aishii ...

And that's pretty much how the rest of the dinner went as they started picking their food up on their plates. Choheun refused to acknowledge or look at any of them as Jeongguk talked about her, Jimin mentioning how they were so similar that the soon-to-be-former maknae flushed and scowled despite secretly being secretly pleased and smug at that fact, Seokjin and Hoseok cooing at her with their own nice comments here and there, Namjoon smiling widely with a fond ruffle of her hair causing her to pout at him, and Taehyung kept complimenting her with a boxy grin.

Until Jeongguk brought up the fact that Choheun could hit the sixth and maybe even the seventh octave and now she wanted to die in embarrassment when they had stared at her in shock and awe, Jimin, Seokjin, and Taehyung more than the others since they were vocalists as well. Namjoon just somehow looked proud and Hoseok made impressed and excited noises.

Choheun swore she would someday throw a water bottle at Jeongguk.

Once she had the guts to actually do so, however.

Aish, he now reminded her heavily of Kaejji now that she felt okay around him. He was definitely somewhat similar to her best friend and Choheun was seriously wondering if it was because she never had friends, everyone she met only reminded her of her family.

That was...sad, now that she thought about it.

But then it meant she could chuck a bottle at Jeongguk without feeling bad, and the chances of him getting mad would be low.

Hopefully.

With a whimper, Choheun ducker her head with a red face as she stuffed her cheeks full with bibimbap as they all continued to talk about her with so many nice words, and then said nice words would be directly said to her afterward. And coo, they were definitely cooing (except for Jeongguk, obviously) now and she wasn't imagining it anymore.

Aigoo, they were so weird.

(Choheun secretly liked it and wondered if the rest of her trainee days would be like this every time she came home from practice; all of them greeting her, accepting her, all their nice words and smiles genuine and sincere, and not ignoring her. Friendly and so, so nice. She didn't want to disappoint them, regardless if they were her favorite idols and idols in general or as normal human beings she's beginning to like and, maybe , view as friends, and hoped they wouldn't know anything about what's really in her mind, what's kept away in the bathroom in her room.)

Choheun didn't realize it at first, but she soon noticed one member was missing.


 

After dinner was done, with Jimin saying he and Taehyung would clean the table instead of her since she wanted to help and instead helped Jeongguk washed the plates in the end, Choheun headed back to her room to take a nice, cold shower to soothe her sensitive scalp and clean up since she had been tying her hair up during her practice time with Jeongguk, and, of course, she had been dancing almost half the day so obviously a bath was needed.

Choheun sighed in content as she stepped out of the bathroom feeling fresh, her hair and bangs neatly and thoroughly combed all the way and teeth brushed until it was minty fresh, her glasses finally back on her eyes (she didn't really need it all the time, but it's instinct by now) with another oversized gray hoodie draping over her small figure and black leggings adorning her slender legs, flicking the lights off.

Yes, she had two of the same hoodie. It was a buy-one-get-one deal, okay? Who didn't like free things?

Choheun jumped and nearly yelped when there was a sudden knock at the door. She patted herself for a second in case her hoodie was crinkled and tiredly waddled to the door, her sleeves grasping the doorknob and pulled it open (she hadn't noticed the other hoodie she bought was an extra-large size, so the hoodie ended until her mid-thighs and her sleeves literally went past her thighs) . She blinked in confusion when she saw Seokjin on the other side of the door, a sheepish look on his face. He was also holding a small plastic bag in his right hand.

Choheun peeked out a bit to see if anyone was within earshot of the hallway before stopping herself once she realized everyone was probably in their rooms now. "Seokjin-oppa?" she said with a small, innocent tilt of her head.

Seokjin looked as if he didn't know whether to coo and melt because she called him that or just hug her and cuddle her forever (it was hard to hold back but he had to since she would probably shy away) , but instead he smiled softly, patting her head gently and kept it there. "Hey, Choheunnie. Sorry if I interrupted you if you were doing something, but I have a favor to ask."

Choheun blinked in interest and confusion, nudging her glasses up slightly. "It's okay, Seokjin-oppa. I just finished taking a shower." She informed him with a reassuring smile, and he nodded, smiling as well (she didn't know his smile turned fond when she called him ' oppa ' again) . "What is it you want to ask me?"

Seokjin snapped out of what he was thinking, since he had been staring at her with an unreadable gaze, and nodded again, moving his hand to the side of her head, "Yes, actually. I was going to ask if you don't mind delivering Yoongi his dinner." He said, fingers thrumming on her head gently like he was patting them. "He couldn't eat with us since he said he wanted to finish something he was working on, and since it was important, I allowed him to stay as long as he came back before ten. I would ask the other boys to do this, like either Jeonggukkie or Hoseok-ah, but they're currently busy as well." Seokjin paused, adding with fond exasperation, "Maybe not so much with Jeongguk since he's possibly playing in his shared room with Namjoon."

Choheun giggled in understanding at that. Jeongguk had told her prior he was a big gaming fan other than loving music, though she wasn't going to tell him that she loved playing video games, too, and was secretly competitive even if she felt bad for winning after the game ended. Yet.

And about delivering Yoongi his dinner they had extra leftovers of, since dinner was more of a dinner party than anything... "Okay." She said with a nod, Seokjin blinking down at her in slight surprise. Probably not expecting her to say yes without much hesitation. "I don't mind doing it, oppa. Min Yoongi-ssi needs to eat his dinner as well, right?"

Seokjin stared a bit before a wide smile stretched his full lips, "Thank you so much, baby," Choheun smiled shyly in return while feeling warm butterflies in her stomach, ducking her head bashfully. Seokjin truly did remind her of her brother. "Here's the food I packed for him." The taller male lifted up the plastic he had in his grip and she took it from him, moving it to her elbows. She couldn't hold it properly since her sleeves still covered her hands, so hanging by her arm would suffice. Better than it possibly slipping off.

Choheun smiled happily at the elder, closing the door of her room behind her with her free hand—er, sleeve .

"I'll start heading off, then." She told him, but before she could take a step, Choheun blinked in incredulity when Seokjin moved his hand behind her head and leaned down to press a kiss on her hair, feeling his soft and warm lips press on her head. The spectacle-wearing girl blushed red in confusion (she had the same feeling when Dohyuk would do that too-) once he pulled away, reaching up to cover the area he placed a kiss on with curious eyes at him.

"Seokjin-oppa?"

"Stay safe out there, Choheun-ah. Don't take too long outside, okay?" Seokjin said, patting her head a few times before finally pulling his hand away. His eyes shone with worry, and she remembered what had happened last night.

Choheun nodded with a hopefully confident smile, "I promise I will."

Seokjin smiled at her one last time, soft with slight worry, and nodded as well. "Take care." He said before turning around and left, heading to his shared room with the rapper she was going to pay a visit.

Choheun touched her head again, where he left the kiss, and smiled happily almost like a puppy before turning around and walking through the hallway and past the living room and kitchen.

Choheun placed the food on the counter so she could wear her shoes, kneeling down on the floor to tie the laces together. When she was done, she nudged her glasses and stood up, turning around to get the plastic bag again, before a squeak spilled from her mouth without permission, nearly stumbling if it wasn't for the door behind her, hoodie paw clutching the front of her chest where her heart was.

"J-Jeongguk-ssi!"

The said teen who startled her, now wearing a sea-blue, long-sleeved pullover and black sweatpants, smiled sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. "Sorry, Choheun-ssi. I didn't mean to scare you." He apologized sincerely and she breathed out shakily, pouting at him.

"It's okay, just—a heads up would be nice next time." She puffed her cheeks, the maknae huffing a low chuckle in amusement with a nod. "What are you doing out? I thought you were in your room?"

Jeongguk shrugged, "I was going to get water since I was thirsty." She made a small ' o ' with her mouth in understanding. He chuckled, "And what about you?" he eyed her curiously, first at her tied shoes and her slightly damp hair, then lastly at the plastic bag she took in the midst of their conversation. He found her eyes again, his own unreadable and intense as he slipped his hands inside his pockets. "Are you going somewhere, Choheun-ssi?" he asked softly.

Choheun was clueless how his voice lowered more than usual, slow and deliberate. She nodded, "I am. Seokjin-ssi asked me to give Min Yoongi-ssi his food since he didn't eat dinner with us." She lifted the food inside the plastic bag to help prove her point.

"Huh," Jeongguk tilted his head back just a bit, his deep eyes still on hers as he ran his tongue inside his cheek as it poked out a bit, face seemingly blank. "You want me to walk you there?" he finally said after a long moment of silence. "You know, just in case you don't know where Yoongi-hyung's studio is. I'll gladly show you the way."

Choheun cocked her head to the side, surprised. She glanced over her shoulder at the door, her mind unhelpfully reminding her what had happened when she went outside alone at night, especially since it was eight in the evening now, and returned her gaze to him with a small, hesitant nod. She tried not to shudder at the memory. "If—If you don't mind?"

Jeongguk nodded, the serious look on his face disappearing as his bunny-grin broke free, eyes curving up slightly. "I definitely don't. Wait here a bit, I'll get my jacket real quick and tell Namjoon-hyung." Choheun nodded and watched him as he left her, her gaze instinctively sliding up to the clock right on time for the longer hand to strike at ' 08:27 '.

After about four minutes (she had been staring at the clock) , Jeongguk came back with a black winter jacket draped over his back, swiftly slipping his shoes on and tying the laces with ease, and stood up. He looked down at her, quirking a smile as he inclined his head at the door. "Ready to go?"

Choheun nodded, her own smile small and lopsided, "Mn!"

Choheun followed Jeongguk out of the door, closing it behind them quietly and walked down the stairs before heading out, the latter already wearing a black face mask in case there were any unwanted eyes on them.

There weren't that many people roaming around in the area, just a selective few with most of them being older adults and couples, probably because of the fact it was a Monday and people were usually asleep at this time. Huh, workdays. At least back in her neighborhood at home, even at midnight on a Wednesday, plenty of people were up and about. The locals were nice.

Walking closer to the taller and older teen until their shoulders brushed, Choheun wrapped an arm around her waist, pressing enough that she felt her hoodie touch her shirt-covered stomach, the fabric crunching up as she took a shaky breath when the cold air hit the surface of her cheek.

She knew the...incident only happened last night. She knew she just had to forget it ever happened, move on, but...

Choheun unknowingly shivered, moving her hoodie paw to clutch the front the loose collar of her hoodie and clench it in an attempt to close it around her bare neck.

She wasn't sure, but Choheun might have developed a new fear of going out alone in the dark with coldness surrounding her body.

A squeal escaped her then escaped her when she felt an arm loop around her shoulder and pull her towards a hard body before she could even tell herself to stop thinking about yesterday, her eyes instantly peering up to see Jeongguk staring straight ahead without glancing at her at least once.

"U-um, wh-what-"

Jeongguk let out a gentle scoff, a smile twitching up on his lips but his gaze remained the same, "Sorry, but you looked cold. I hope you don't mind because your hoodie doesn't look that thick."

"Jeongguk-ssi..." Choheun breathed out, creating a puff cloud of air that quickly dissipated. She glanced down, noticing how he briefly and subtly tightened his hold on her, then back up and eyed the faint red hue coloring his cheeks she couldn't decide if it was from the cold.

With a smile, Choheun leaned closer to Jeongguk's warmer body, his jacket soft and comfy, and partially hid herself under his arm as the teen idol casually brought her closer to him with a hum, his other hand moving inside his pocket.

They stayed like that the whole way back to BigHit, no words exchanged between them except each other's presence.

Who knew one could get closer to the other in a day?

 


 

"Is this the floor, Jeongguk-ssi?"

"Yeah."

"Oh," Choheun bowed in gratitude, "Thank you for walking me and taking me here."

Jeongguk blushed pink, waving a hand in the air with a smile, "Ah, no need to thank me and be so formal about it, Choheun-ssi. And besides, that's what friends do, right?"

Choheun straightened back up, beaming happily. They were... Yeah, they were friends now, even if she still had a hard time wrapping her head around that because she's friends with Jeongguk. Not only Jeon Jeongguk, but Jeongguk of BTS. Her bias wrecker.

She was so not admitting that to anyone and was thankful Hyojee didn't know the Golden Maknae was her bias wrecker when she asked who her bias was, formerly (still not) Yoongi.

Choheun genuinely didn't know if she should feel lucky she's now friends with her idol , feel happy she now had a new friend close to her age for once and being able to get to know the Golden Maknae behind the cameras, or just crawl under her bed covers and cry in shame and guilt for having this chance when other fans or ARMY would be much happier in her place.

"Of course we are," Choheun chirped, patting the front of his chest lightly, eyes curving up behind her glasses as he chuckled. "I'll get going now. I'll see you later or tomorrow, if you go to bed first, Jeongguk-ssi."

Jeongguk raised a brow at what she said but made no comment about it, leaving her wondering what he was thinking about, especially with such a knowing look in his eyes, and smiled at her. "You too, Choheun-ssi. Don't take too long."

With a wave of her still-covered sleeve hand, Choheun smiled as Jeongguk let go of the elevator button and watched as the doors slid closed, the maknae sending her one last bunny-smile before the elevator closed completely.

Choheun shook her head, turning on her heels and started walking, keeping a lookout for the studio room's name Jeongguk had told her. He said Yoongi's studio was named ' Genius Lab ', which she found accurate because her idol was amazing and he helped produce BTS' music and— okay , she didn't want to list how much she admired the Daegu rapper, it felt unfair towards the other members she looked up to just as much.

(To be honest, she liked Seokjin more... Only because he reminded her of her brother, that's all!)

Choheun nearly tripped on her feet when she passed by the room she was looking for, backtracking immediately and blinked owlishly when her honey brown eyes were met with...three locks on the door. Then she glanced down and nearly choked at the sight of the carpet in front of his door.

A cat flashing two birds and the English words ‘ Go Away ’ beside the white cat. What.

O-kay?

The female trainee took a deep breath when she remembered she was going to face Yoongi eye-to-eye (no, wait, she wasn't going to look at him in the eye to begin with-) , feeling her nerves starting to prickle and buzz into a messy ball of anxiety (that she really didn't want to deal with right now) , and lifted a hoodie paw up, lightly knocking on the door twice she grimaced at how it was barely audible, at least to her, and took a step back, waiting.

A minute passed, and then another, and Choheun was beginning to think he didn't hear her knock on the door at all, and her anxiety wasn't helping at all in this situation. Wait, what if he was wearing headphones since he was presumably making music? Should she knock even louder? But then what if he wasn't wearing any and just didn't hear her knock—because she didn't want to annoy him. She knew he wasn't pleased when he first saw her after all (she inwardly winced, seeing your idol and former-not-really bias look at you with distaste was something she didn't want to experience or talk about ever again because it hurt -) .

Right when she was deciding between scurrying away and tell Seokjin he was busy or knock again, Choheun froze with her sleeve paw midair as the locks sounded and the door was opened slightly to reveal an annoyed and tired looking Yoongi.

"Jeongguk-ah, I swear if hyung is asking you to-" the rapper stopped himself, eyes widening just slightly when they met hers, which she immediately averted somewhere behind him, and opened the door a little bit wider for the girl to see him wearing a worn-out dark cyan jacket and black ripped jeans.

Yoongi frowned slightly, eyes flickering to hers then down to what she was holding then back up again. Choheun wanted to hide from his gaze and just melt to the ground. "...Yeon-ssi," he drawled slowly, his voice was relaxed and a subtle touch of huskiness, like he hadn't been talking much at all or drank anything. 

"Eum..." Choheun swallowed, nervously scratching the top of her lip, "G-good evening, Min Yoongi-ssi. I'm, uh, sorry if I interrupted you." She bowed her head demurely, really meaning what she said if he had been doing something.

Yoongi just stared at her, his face and eyes not giving anything away of what he was feeling or thinking, before leaning against the doorframe and saying, "Let me guess, Jin-hyung sent you," he stated more than asked, eyes half-lidded and tone not accusing like she thought it was going to be.

Choheun smiled nervously, but she knew it was probably strained as she nodded, "You guess right, Min Yoongi-ssi. He, uhm, w-wanted me to give you your dinner." She lifted the plastic bag with both of her sleeve-covered hands, the pale rapper only glancing down at it for a quick second before stretching his hand out and she took that as a cue to give to him, lifting the handle up and dropped it on his open hand, taking a step back afterward.

She bowed again, smiling politely as best as she could but probably fell short in that department with how he barely reacted except a small frown. "Seokjin-ssi also told me that he's expecting you to come back before ten, so, uh," she cleared her throat, voice quiet and small when she remembered she needed to walk back to the dorm alone at night because Jeongguk had already left, "I-I'll be going now. Please excuse me, Min Yoongi-ssi."

Choheun quickly turned around, walking away without waiting for his reply and hugged herself as she readied to go out-

"Yeon Choheun-ssi?"

She stopped, hesitantly looking over her shoulder with confusion and dread, looking at the pale rapper. "Y-yes?"

Yoongi looked around the halls, eyes then landing on her with nothing she could read (when she had said he was hard to read, he was hard to freaking read -) and took a step back in the room, opening the door wider. "It's already late in the night, Yeon-ssi, I would advise not going out alone." He said plainly, a glint flashed in his eyes at that, "You can stay or not if you want, just close the door and wait for me to finish." He left it at that and went back inside the room, Choheun blinking as he sat down on his chair, clicked something on his computer, and then opened up the plastic bag to get the food out.

Choheun blinked again, her shoulders relaxing just slightly at the invitation since it meant she didn't have to go back alone (in the dark, at night, no people around, the coldness touching her, cold hands touching her-) and when she stayed where she stood without uttering a word, she jumped and quickly skittered inside.

 


 

Yoongi paid no attention at the sound of the door closing, unwrapping the cling wrap around the foil and removed the lid. He eyed the dish, still steaming hot and he assumed Jin heated it up for him again.

He heard shuffling noise and sighed through his nose, picking up the chopsticks that packed inside as well. "I have a couch on the side. You can sit there, Yeon-ssi." He said without looking up, mixing the food with the rice he was given and took a good amount in his chopsticks before opening his mouth.

From his multiple computers' subtle and slightly blurry reflection, he could see Choheun hesitate a bit before padding to the couch, sitting on the far end away from him and leaned back, releasing a small breath he assumed was relief and quickly slipped her shoes off with her feet, propping them up on his couch and huddled herself in, cheeks and nose flushed red from the cold.

They stayed silent, neither of them uttering a word except for the sound of Yoongi chewing and slurping the food.

Yoongi leaned back in his chair, watching from the corner of his eye how Choheun glanced around his room with awe, more specifically at his keyboard, guitar, and other instruments and gadgets in the studio.

"Do you play, Yeon-ssi?" he asked after a long silence, still not glancing at her as he finished up his food.

Choheun was startled by his sudden question, perking up instantly and blinked a couple of times before furrowing her eyebrows with a small, confused tilt of her head. "Uh... Play what?" she asked dumbly, clearly nervous and wary around him and he didn't blame her. While Jeongguk was somewhat obvious with his opinion towards her before, Yoongi was quieter and hadn't said a word—but he knew his face and demeanor were a little more expressive than words.

Again, after two weeks, he didn't mind the girl that much anymore. Choheun wasn't troublesome or anything. Maybe, but it a different way.

Yoongi finished the last of his food, keeping his chopsticks along with the package inside the plastic bag and grabbed his water beside his computer. He leaned back in his chair and turned it slightly so he could see Choheun properly, said girl blinking languidly at him as he popped his bottle open. "Instruments, Yeon-ssi. Do you play any instruments?" he repeated patiently, making sure his voice was gentle and softer to make her a little more comfortable as he took a sip of his water.

Choheun unconsciously made a noise of understanding, hoodie paws fleetingly pushing her glasses back up to her nose bridge. "I-I think so? I can play all the instruments I have played so far at least decently." For some reason, Yoongi doubt she was as ' decent ' as she placed herself on, "Why do you ask?" she questioned more curiously now and less skittish, wrapping her arms around her legs and rested her cheek on her knee, eyes glancing at the items around the room like his shelf filled with albums and some books.

Yoongi shrugged, closing the lid of his bottle as he swallowed, "Curious." He said simply. He knew his words were curt and tone almost disinterested, but he didn't know what else to say except for what he could. He was never a conversationalist anyways. "Any type you like?"

Choheun stared at him confoundedly before looking down at the carpet-covered floor, licking her peach-colored lips, "I, uh... I like the violin. Or I play the violin. I can play it." The tips of her ears turned red as she huffed at herself, "And, ah, the piano is a close second, I guess." She added with a shrug of her shoulder, trying to make herself look smaller than she already was and Yoongi was instantly reminded of how she looked earlier this morning in front of Jin and squashed down the bubble of anger building up slowly.

He let himself quirk a small smile, moderately relieved she actually relaxed marginally at the sight though he bet she wasn't aware, but was more pleased about what he heard. Violin, huh? He had tried it once and regretted it immensely when his wrist, neck, shoulder, arm, and fingers hurt for a whole damn week. Not many could play the violin in BigHit. And the piano? He mentally scoffed, impressed, he should ask her to play something in the future so he could see how good she was. "You play the violin?"

Choheun nodded, and Yoongi could see the way some of her wariness lessened as a smile spread on her face, "Uh-huh. I heard it's one of the most difficult instruments to play, especially when not growing up with it, but I tolerated and I'm happy with the result. Sure, my wrist was screaming at me the first time, I couldn't even eat or write anything properly, but at least I can play my favorite classical pieces or do a cover with my favorite song without any help from the internet—except for the audio, of course. I have been playing it for about...five years now." She answered earnestly and excitedly, a child-like, innocent twinkle in her eyes that made Yoongi smile a bit at how she was obviously passionate about the violin and music in general. It was relaxing to see how her love for music won over her nervousness around him, if only for a brief moment since she quickly recoiled and shrunk in on herself, eyes wide. "U-uhh, I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean to ramble. I even did the same to Jeongguk-ssi..." she mumbled the last one quietly, but since the room was silent and only consisted of two people, he heard it loud and clear. Choheun was clueless.

Yoongi raised a brow, Jeongguk - ssi ? What did Jeongguk do with Choheun back in lunch for her to call him less formally and more comfortable talking about him?

"I don't mind at all. I don't play it, I've tried and was very traumatized and in pain," Choheun tried to hide a grin behind her knee but he saw it with how her cheeks lifted, round and soft, and mentally huffed a chuckle. Admittedly, that was cute, "but I still find it interesting because of how complex it is. Do you think you can play and show me how it's done some time?" he asked soothingly, making sure he didn't sound so forward or blunt. He doubts Choheun could take that well. He had some suspicion about her, how she acts, but he needed more information before finalizing. He didn't want to assume things and misunderstood if he asked her about it in the future.

Choheun froze, eyes wide behind gold-rimmed glasses, before wilting like a flower and expression turning sad and dejected, "I-I would, Min Yoongi-ssi, but I- eum..." she chuckled, the sound sad and pitiful as she ended with a smile just as sad. "...I forgot it back at home. I thought I brought it with me, but I guess not." She smiled regretfully at him and he nearly asked why she was looking at him like that, that she felt guilty she forgot it and couldn't play something for him.

Damn, Jin and Namjoon weren't kidding when they thought how selfless Choheun was, not even caring about her own happiness and love for the violin except for the fact she couldn't play for him, like she wanted to please him or anyone more than herself, as a matter of fact.

But he mostly wanted to ask why she was this selfless to the point she genuinely didn't care about her own needs and how she felt.

And, out of all the assumptions he had, there was one that stayed with him, because he was almost like her before.

He was hoping it wasn't the case, because if she proved his suspicions right, then he had a bad feeling about it.

"It's fine, Yeon-ssi." He dismissed, spinning his chair to face his computer once again. "I can ask PD-nim to get you one, anyway."

Choheun gaped, shocked, "M-mwo? Th-there's no need to, Min Yoongi-ssi!"

Yoongi only shrugged, switching his headset with his headphones and placed one bud in his right ear so he could hear Choheun's voice properly. "I want to. You may play the keys well, but if you love the violin more, then I'll get you one." He said like it was obvious.

Choheun said nothing at that, lowering her chin on top of her knees, but a rosy hue dusted her round cheeks. "...Thank you, Min Yoongi-ssi. I... I'll be waiting for it." She whispered shyly, and Yoongi hid a smile.

"By the way, you can look and touch things if you like. Just try not to break anything." He suggested, since it would take a while to be really finished with his work that was currently in progress so far, but hopefully he would be satisfied with what he had done before ten. It was only eight, after all.

Choheun looked uncertain, looking at his stuff and other things in the room and bit her lip, "Are you sure...?"

Yoongi shrugged, eyes focused on the screen but not what's in it yet, "We're going to be here for a while, Yeon-ssi. It's better to get yourself comfortable, hm?"

Choheun opened her mouth to say something, maybe to say something against him (in actuality, maybe to say there was no reason for her to be comfortable) before closing it and nodded mutely when no words could come out. Yoongi was satisfied and continued to working again, clicking at play buttons, editing some things, adjusting some sounds, and moved some of them somewhere else and replace a sound, and he heard another shuffling sound before he felt more than saw Choheun hovering behind him, timid hoodie paws clutching the headrest of his chair, a little bit of her shadow covering half of his keyboard.

She didn't say anything so he didn't say anything, just doing his production and surprisingly working fine and easier even when Choheun was watching him work, her curious honey eyes watching the screen of the computer.

As they stayed in silence, and Yoongi noticed how Choheun was completely relaxed now, content hovering behind the chair and watching him editing and adding some sounds to the music he was working. She would tense up slightly when he moved, like getting his water to drink again, and then relax when he went back to work without saying a thing.

That made him confirm another of his suspicion—Choheun didn't like talking. Or more accurately, she didn't like talking to people she wasn't comfortable with, or have never been close to yet. He had a good guess she was more open only with her family, but at the same time not once had she brought her parents up. He doubted she mentioned them at least once when Jeongguk was with her.

Yoongi had noticed this since the beginning. When she had first moved in with them, she was relaxed when no one uttered a word to her and was only rigid and stiff the whole time after Jin spoke up, how relaxed when no one said a thing to her in breakfast until someone complimented or asked her a question, how relaxed when she watched them dance with an expression of a child looking at something they liked, and how relaxed she had been this morning's breakfast when everyone was done complimenting and praising her, eating her breakfast quietly with a peaceful look on her face.

He wanted to ask her about it right now, but he didn't want to push it yet since they barely talked, at all, for the whole two weeks, and he knew Choheun wasn't going to open up even a bit if he pursued it now when she was finally comfortable around him despite not saying anything. Maybe later, when she was relaxed, but now?

Not yet. He's patient enough for that.

So now he had to get her to trust him a little. Even if that meant he had to open up as well because he could see a bit of himself in her, and he really didn't like how she was apparently like this for who knows how long.

Huh, Jin was right after all. His only hyung had said, after Jeongguk had left to go ask Choheun today, that being around Choheun would make you soft when you observe and talk to her.

He wanted to deny it and say he wasn't, but he was .

He was getting soft around her.

"Do you want to listen, Yeon-ssi?" he asked, tilting his head around to side-eye her, seeing her flinch and widened her eyes.

Choheun pointed at herself mutely—at least he assumed she did because her sleeves were covering her whole hand and fingers, only showing a small bump. "M-me? I can listen?" she questioned incredulously, marking another suspicion in Yoongi's head because of how genuinely shocked and stunned she sounded and looked, and he was really dreading when his assumptions were right. "B-but isn't this your work? I don't...want...to..." she trailed off, sounding small with every word and he could understand the unsaid words just by the look in her eyes and her body language.

She felt privileged she would be the only one, other than Namjoon and Hobi, listening to the early stages of his production, to his music, but honestly did not want to feel a little special because she was feeling guilty for having this chance.

He didn't know if he hit the nail on that one, but he wouldn't tell anyone or say anything yet when it was only an assumption for now.

But if he was right, then he wasn't going to let her go and stray down that path.

"It's fine, Yeon-ssi." He waved a hand, giving her a small, amused smile at her reaction, "It's better than just watching me work while you can't hear what I'm working on." Yoongi picked up the left bud and wore it, holding the previous one he wore so the wires wouldn't stretch between them.

Choheun hesitated, eyes flitting to the screen with childish interest before nodding slowly, picking the bud and placed it in her right ear. Yoongi moved his mouse cursor and hid some things then played the audio, hearing the powerful drums and trumpet-like sounds booming in their ears as Choheun gasped.

The sound so far was repetitive only twice, obviously incomplete and just halfway through the chorus, but she was already impressed with the sounds he made himself without any help. He prides himself in being a producer, it had been his dream after all before becoming an idol with Bangtan.

When it ended with an abrupt cut, Choheun was awestruck, looking at him with wide eyes. "Did you do all that, Min Yoongi-ssi?" she asked in complete awe and evident admiration in her voice, reminding the rapper that she was, in fact, a fan of theirs before becoming a trainee.

He felt like shit.

"I did," he confirmed with a hint of pride in his voice, lips twitching up a bit to form a barely-there smirk. "This is actually for a mixtape I'm working on to publish." Choheun's jaw dropped.

"Y-you're working on a mixtape? Like—like an album?"

Yoongi couldn't help but huff a low chuckle in amusement, "That's the same thing, Yeon-ssi." Except mixtapes were usually free while albums were definitely not .

" Daebak ..." she breathed in amazement, eyes doe wide and round behind her glasses. He had to admit, that was pretty endearing. "Are you planning on releasing it?"

He nodded, returning his gaze back on the moderately dim screen (he hated too bright screens) . "I am hoping somewhere in summer. Maybe August, because that's almost like the name of my mixtape and new stage name."

"Name? Stage name?" Choheun repeated confusedly, her lips unknowingly forming a near-petulant pout, "I thought it's Suga?"

Yoongi hummed, "It is, but for this, my name would be ' Agust D ' if I perform any of these few more songs I have yet to start working on."

"Agust D?" she repeated again, tone a pitch higher as she scrunched her nose. The latter reminded him of Jeongguk a bit. Cute.

"Agust D is actually my name in reverse with my home town. You know it, right?"

"Daegu Town? Oh ," she stopped, realization on her face, "That's so smart , Min Yoongi-ssi, daebak... Daegu Town Suga. D T Suga. Agust D - uwaaah ," she gushed, her hoodie paws moving up and down like she was closing her hands into a fist like an excited kid. Choheun looked back to him, eyes twinkling that really , if she continued looking at him like that, he was going to think he was her bias or bias wrecker and he had been avoiding engaging any conversation with someone who idolized and admired him and feel more like shit. "So, are you going to produce everything yourself? Can you even manage that? What about the lyrics?" she babbled out questions before slapping her mouth when she realized it. She glanced at him apologetically, the same wariness, anxiety, and fear returning in her eyes. "S-sorry, I didn't mean to annoy you..."

Yoongi shook his head, quirking a small smile, "It's okay, kid." He didn't know where that came from, but he found he didn't mind it, even as Choheun blinked owlishly in surprise. "And to answer your questions- yes, I plan on producing most of it myself, but I'll ask one of our producers for a little boost if needed. And I only have two songs with the lyrics finished. The one for this one titled ' Agust D ', I know, very original for the first song in line, and the other one called ' Give It To Me ' I'll work on after this."

Choheun relaxed slightly and giggled, nodding, before turning shy and played with her sleeves."Can... C-can I see them?" she asked meekly, and it's not like Yoongi was ever going to say no. Not even when she was half-expecting him to actually say no, and her hopeful look wasn't that strong.

She was actually seriously expecting him to say no, if subconsciously.

"Sure," he shrugged, opening a drawer beside him and picked up two pieces of paper, giving it to the trainee, which she accepted it with grabby hands, and pushed the drawer back closed.

He leaned on his fist and watched the small teen read the paper with written lyrics on them, her eyes growing wide with every word as she read the other one, and when she finished, she said- "Min Yoongi-ssi..." she started shakily, trembling slightly with worried eyes, "...Are you trying to pick a fight with your haters and a lot of people, or are you trying to roast them all because—because what the fuck ?" she cursed with wide honey eyes still trained on the paper, face filled with shock and disbelief.

Choheun cursing with genuine shock with a voice so soft and usually gentle was so uncharacteristic for her, fucking hilarious , too, and Yoongi didn't bother holding back a laugh, the girl flushing a bright red when her mind apparently caught up to what her mouth said without permission and hid her face behind the chair, whining slightly in embarrassment and shame.

"Sorry..."

"No, it's fine," he chuckled, reaching up to pat her head and didn't pull away even when she snapped her head up in surprise. Baby steps. Not the time yet. "And you can say that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm just being honest." Yoongi shrugged his shoulders, a little too much, like it wasn't a big deal at all.

Like he wasn't roasting those people putting him and the group in a ' K-Pop ' category, or that no rappers, not even famous western ones, would match up to him and how he spat fire.

Choheun blanched, eyes squinting as she gripped the paper, " Brutally honest , if you ask me." She deadpanned, more to herself than to him, giving the lyrics back to him.

"Honesty is the best policy. I take that very seriously, kid." He deadpanned with a fist held up, face blank and bored, "Fighting."

Choheun shook her head, muffling a giggle as she inched back behind the chair again, her eyes avoiding his and stared at the computer. Though she wasn't even looking at anything specific anymore.

But then the same look she had sported before when he opened the door for her was back, her smile faltering slightly like she had actually realized what she had said and acted towards him, the same look she had seen on her face ever since she moved here, and Yoongi couldn't hold it in anymore because he knew that look, the emotions in her eyes, how she held herself like she was expecting him to reject her but at the same time hopeful for a response she wasn't expecting, like a child looking up at an adult or a teacher.

The kid had social anxiety.

And with her body language, her expressions, her usually thought-out words, she was either neglected by her parents or family, or had been neglected, ignored, or rejected by something else similar in her childhood.

And apparently either no one helped her, or Choheun didn't want any help to get better.

He didn't know which was worse.

And he couldn't hold it back.

"Choheun, were you ever going to tell anyone you have social anxiety, or an anxiety disorder at all?" Yoongi asked bluntly, eyes serious and grim as he turned his chair to face her.

Choheun froze, whipping her head to him with an expression of a deer caught in headlights, breath hitching just slightly as her face paled.

With how incredibly shocked she looked, Yoongi clenched a fist away from her view when it meant he was right, and that she was never planning on telling anyone to begin with.

"H- how did you- I don't- h-have I been-" she cut herself off, avoiding his gaze entirely and hunched in on herself, attempting to look smaller as she hugged her waist protectively, and Yoongi couldn't lie that the sight was making him feel things. Choheun chuckled, the sound more dry and defeat just like her shoulders that sagged, "...Have I been that obvious, Min Yoongi-ssi?" she uttered so quietly it was nearly inaudible, his question alone had her more vulnerable and open than when she confronted Jin and he realized, late , that this topic was too sensitive for her.

With how she held herself right now, defeated and so open he could see almost everything in her face and eyes her glasses did nothing to hide, Yoongi mentally apologized to her because he wasn't letting this topic go.

Not when he knew how she felt when he told Namjoon he had anxiety before.

"Honestly, you weren't, Yeon-ssi." Yoongi admitted, because she wasn't that obvious for the first few days until recently when he observed her behavior more. "But... are you getting any treatment for it? I know you almost had an anxiety attack before." When she had made them pancakes for breakfast, and whenever she saw them when she was avoiding them. And if Choheun really had a social anxiety attack, one she didn't completely recover from, then it meant she would almost, or at least nearly get an attack whenever she talked to any of them and Yoongi cursed how she truly didn't care about herself that she would ignore her anxiety attack, even if it hadn't gone away yet, just to provide and answer for their innocent question, like from Taehyung in the beginning, for example.

Choheun looked conflicted, shoulders tensing up slightly as if battling between telling him the truth or lie again. He guessed she chose the former as she sighed, nodding wearily, "I...do. I do have treatment for it, but I don't... I don't want to take it, Min Yoongi-ssi." She said, and he wanted to ask why she stopped, but then bit his tongue when he noticed it's only a reason she knew, a personal and sensitive one, and he wasn't close to her to have the permission to ask about it.

Yoongi sighed, reaching up to pat her on the head again, ignoring her flinch and the brief flash of fear in her eyes at the motion before relaxing a little, her face confused. He kept his hand there for a while and caught her eyes, his face completely serious. "Choheun, can you promise me something?" he asked, because he was right about one thing about her, and if he was ever right about the neglect, then he needed to know so he could maybe tell Jin, or change it himself.

Choheun peered at him with glassy eyes, wavering with her arms still protectively wrapped around her waist. "Y-yes...?" she said nervously, wanting nothing more than to run away or hide to never be in this situation, he bet, especially since he called her by her first name without any more formality, indicating he was dead serious.

Sighing again through his nose, Yoongi softened considerably, voice lower and gentle, "Promise me if you ever have an anxiety attack, or feeling it, come to me, okay?" his request was ridiculous and sudden, but he meant it. "I don't know how much of a help I'll be, but I had the same anxiety as you before and I'm hoping it comforts you a little." Yoongi didn't know if he was any help, but he had been a little for Jeongguk when the maknae faced his first panic attack, even if it only happened once years ago.

But now, he wanted to help because having social anxiety and fear of neglect was never a good combination to someone so young and someone like her should ever have.

Choheun held her breath, eyes looking at his own before looking everywhere around his face, searching for something, and what she was looking for must have been apparent on his face (thank fuck) as she finally relaxed, the same hopeful look returning but with so much relief as well. She was really waiting for rejection, not a promise.

Well, he would continue to prove her wrong.

"Okay..." was all she said, voice small and scared like a child's, but her face was hopeful and relieved at the same time, sliding her eyes closed to unconsciously lean towards his touch when he rubbed her head gently again. Yoongi discovered she was almost like a kitten. "I'll go to you if the feeling is back, Min Yoongi-ss." Choheun opened her eyes when he pulled away, more open and vulnerable than ever, but even so, she was now relaxed and comfortable around him.

Yoongi huffed, shaking his head at her and turned back to his computer as she followed suit, wearing the single earbud again. "Just drop the Min and call me Yoongi, kid. I won't mind it, and being called too formally is making me feel old, and I already know I'm getting old." He advised, placing his hand on the mouse to start working again.

Choheun blinked at him in surprise before letting a smile appear on her face, more genuine, more trusting, a little lopsided, but real . "Yoongi-ssi, then." She murmured softly, a small pink blush on her face as she turned back to look at him continuing his work again.

Smiling, the Daegu rapper only grunted and went back to work, creating new sounds to add and edit them as he thought about where to move it, the female trainee just watching with interest and childish awe at how he moved so fluidly and effortlessly like he had been doing this for a long time—which he had, mind you.

And as she moved away after a while to look at his lyric book he allowed her to read on the couch, lying down on her side and turning to another page, not noticing how Yoongi was watching her from his other computer's dark screen reflection, he concluded how he was feeling about Yeon Choheun as a whole, as their future eighth member in Bangtan Sonyeondan.

She was...

She was alright.

 


 

Yoongi sighed, throwing his head back and stretched his arms in the air and groaned when his back protested a bit. He wasn't done, of course, but only a quarter was left to finish and he saw that as good progress he could be satisfied with for the time being.

He turned his chair to face Choheun but kept his gaze on the computer as he saved all the files and sounds and turned it off, mentally slapping himself in the face when he noticed the time. It was way past ten, like a whole hour past ten.

Yoongi inwardly shuddered, he was going to get an earful from Jin.

"Yeon-ssi, I'm done here. We better start heading back or else Jin-hyung will have...my...head." Yoongi finally turned to look at Choheun and blinked in surprise when he saw the younger teen sound asleep on his couch, his notebook just a shy inches away from her face, her own hood pillowing her cheek it was squished up quite adorably, breath even and peaceful like her expression, and a hand in-between her knees like how he would hide his hands in the middle of his own knees when he took a nap or slept on a flat surface.

Yoongi raised a brow before chuckling softly, walking up to her and crouched down, "Yeon-ssi?" he called out softly, placing a hand on her shoulder and shook her gently. Choheun whined slightly, peach lips forming a petulant pout before slowly and reluctantly fluttering her eyes open, bleary and exhausted. "Yoon... Yoongi...-ssi?" she mumbled incoherently, almost drawling, her eyes close to sliding closed again but did her best staying open and awake.

The pale rapper smiled softly, "Sorry to wake you, kid, but it's time to go now. You can go back to sleep when we're back home." Huh, calling it home with her.

He didn't mind it.

Choheun whimpered slightly, sleepily, but nodded anyway, even if she barely moved. But when she struggled to stand once she sat up after clumsily tying her shoes back on, nose scrunching up in childish annoyance, Yoongi huffed a quiet chuckle and turned around until he was crouching with his back facing her. He looked over his shoulder, "I'll give you a ride back home, Choheun. I promise we'll get there in no time."

She must've been very tired if she only nodded once a heartbeat later, shakily moving and threw hers