When he was around six years old Changkyun knew what sleep paralysis was.
The first time he could recall the event through hazy memories. Most of it filled with fear and what could be considered full on childhood nightmares. With the hallucinations and the inability to move his entire body, it was enough to strike fear into his family.
It could have been a single, scary experience, but his condition became recurring, so much that his parents had to call a specialist. It never conflicted with his daily life per say, but he will admit that it did make for an interesting childhood story. The sleep episodes happened almost on a weekly basis, for years might he add.
And suddenly they stopped happening, at least frequently. It was a strange but welcoming change that he gladly accepted. What was once twice a week now twice a year, Changkyun considered himself an expert. Though, he will admit, it definitely caught him off guard.
It had been a long day of work. New dances plus composing really exhausted him, but it was satisfying to finish a productive day. And even more so when he and the rest of the members swarming to the dorm after picking up some takeout along the way. The warm fuzzy atmosphere became apparent as they all changed into comfortable clothes and brought the plates and food to the living room. It was Kihyun who suggested a movie night at least once a month as part of a group bonding activity. And with the cleared off schedules for tomorrow, the group was in an all time good mood, including himself.
They joked, laughed, and overall had a good time as he snuggled closer to his hyungs. His family. Nothing could possibly ruin this.
Well, he spoke too soon.
With a full belly and the warmth of comfortable blankets, the maknae felt the deep pull of sleep. He initially tried to stay awake, Hyungwon had wanted to watch the movie and he didn’t want to hurt his feelings. But his exhaustion was beginning to get the better of him.
Before he knew it, he was falling asleep. Strange that he didn’t remember sleeping, not that people are supposed to remember falling asleep. In this moment he begins to realize that his body and mind were equally exhausted, but they weren’t exactly on the same foot about it.
He has no explanation as to why it happens, but considering the suspicious amount of time since his last episode, Changkyun has no choice but to accept it. As a stomach sleeper he immediately feels a paranormal pressure on his backside. His mouth felt sewn shut while his attempts to open his eyes were futile.
Whenever this happens, Changkyun just waits it out. Waits through the hallucinations, the made up sounds, and the heaviness of his body. Even after all these years, he can’t help but freak out during an episode, especially when he’s alone in the dark. He tries to move, tries to open his mouth but damn is this paralysis a bitch.
The flashes of light inside his eyes seem less frightening when he remembers where he’s at.
He’s not alone.
Relief washes over his body. His hyungs are here. And that thought alone is enough to get Changkyun through this.
Minhyunk shuffles inside the blankets as he readjusts his position. He stifles out another yawn as the boring part of the movie continues. Hyungwon just had to pick some plotless action movie with unnecessary romance.
He lets his eyes wander over to the other members. Hyungwon, Jooheon, and Hyungwoo are the only ones deeply invested in the movie. Their eyes glued to the screen as the main protagonist kisses the love interest.
Kihyun and Hoseok, on the other hand, are on their phones, mindlessly scrolling through god knows what, completely ignoring said movie. Which leaves the youngest member, who is the only one sprawled on the couch behind Minkyun. Changkyun’s legs dangled on the couch’s arm while the rest of the maknae slept on the couch with a fluffy pillow against Changkyun’s chest.
Minhyuk spotted a piece of thread on his maknae’s sweater, and as the reached in closer to remove the spec he’s shocked that Changkyun is lacking a steady rise and fall of his body. He inches in even closer, the original goal long forgotten as he checks over the youngest.
An uneasy feeling settled in Minhyuk’s chest when he hears Changkyun’s short, raspy breathing. It was almost like Changkyun was struggling to breathe, and in a panic, Minkyuk settled his hand in Changkyun’s arm.
Shaking the maknae seemed to do no good as Changkyun’s body has resorted to small twitching movements. Something was very wrong.
“Changkyun? Changkyun!” he shouted, shaking him harder hoping his maknae would magically wake up. The others immediately notice his distress.
“What’s wrong?!” Hyungwoo chimed first. As the leader, he reached out placing a calming hand on Minhyuk. “He’s not waking up! I don't think he’s breathing!” He almost chokes out through oncoming tears.
Amidst the chaos, someone turns on the lights and Kihyun pushes his way towards Changkyun to place his hands on his chest. “Should we call an ambulance?!” Jooheon responded. Kihyun places his hand on Changkyun’s face, making movements to shake the maknae awake, all while his eyes gleamed with anxiety.
All six of them hovered over the couch, their breathing quiet as Kihyun continued to call out to the maknae in a soft concerned voice. Many disturbing scenarios courses through Minhyuk’s head. What if it was a seizure? Or a heart attack? Worse, will they have to take him to the hospital?
“Should we call the manager?” Hoseok asked after a long stretch of worried silence, interrupting Minhyuk’s train of thought. But before anyone can answer, Kihyun’s shout catches everyone’s attention. “Changkyun!”
And just like that, the pressure in Minhyuk’s chest completely evaporates at the sight of a waking Changkyun. He seems disoriented and confused as hell, but awake nonetheless. The youngest members rubs his eyes and stares worryingly at the rest of them. “What’s going on?”
Everyone let out a sigh of relief. Their youngest member was going to be ok.
“You scared us all half to death that’s what’s going on!” Kihyun interjects. And as Changkyun moves to sit up, six pairs of arms hovered over him almost instantaneously. “Chill guys, I’m okay.” Everyone moved back to give Changkyun his space as he moves to get himself more comfortable.
“What happened? We were all worried.” Hyunwoo asked clearing the uneasiness in the air. Everyone settles down as the fear disappears, but the initial concern for Changkyun still holds. So they all look up at him expecting a reasonable explanation.
Minhyuk feels a sudden urge to hold Changkyun, and he does so by wrapping an arm around the younger’s bringing him closer as Changkyun tries to formulate an answer. In the end, Changkyun simply shrugs, “It was just sleep paralysis.”
“Jesus christ, we thought it was a seizure.” Changkyun’s face scrunches up in confusion at Jooheon’s statement. “What? No I get them all the time. It’s normal.”
“You classify that as normal?” Hoseok finally stands up, reaching towards the maknae and lovingly ruffling his hair. “Don’t do that to us again, kid. Us hyungs can only have so many heart attacks.”
The atmosphere in the room lifts when Changkyun stretches as the rest of the room agrees with the previous statement. “Sorry. I guess this was the first time it’s happened in front of everyone.” They all let out another sigh, finally letting the mood shift.
“Let’s watch Infinity War, this movie is hella boring.” They all begin to laugh as Hyungwon gasps dramatically at the comment.
For that Minhyuk is glad. He's had enough scares for the night.