No Gain - Xiah Junsu
“Alright, who wants to be the seeker?” Chanyeol called as soon as everyone came outside.
No one raised up their hands.
“Psh. Fine.” Chanyeol frowned, “I’ll be it first, then. Party poopers.”
Naeun raised an eyebrow, “You know, for a guy that didn’t want to play Hide and Seek in the first place, you sure are pumped up about it.”
Chanyeol contemplated that for a while before smirking and ruffling Naeun’s hair, “And that, my little human dongsaeng, is why my motto in life is ‘enjoy what’s given to you’.”
“Giant.” Naeun muttered, making Baekhyun and Suho snicker.
Chanyeol didn’t seem offended, “I am a giant. A y giant.” He his lips and winked greasily, “Rawr!”
Kai slapped a hand over his eyes, “Ew. Ew. Ewewewewewew.” He turned and attempted to guide Naeun away from him.
“You? A y giant? Please.” D.O rolled his eyes, making the guys laugh louder.
Naeun cringed when Chanyeol outstretched his long arms towards her. She burst out into laughter, “You make me laugh, Happy Virus.”
Chanyeol gave Naeun his trademark grin that made him look like a maniac. His eye also did that oddly lovable twitching thing. Naeun chortled at that and turned around to her side, expecting Sehun to be laughing along.
But Sehun was in the corner by himself, looking very uncomfortable. While the others were laughing, Naeun approached the maknae and lightly tapped his shoulder. Sehun quickly turned around.
His expressions softened a tiny bit when he realized it was only her.
“Are you okay?” She looked terribly worried.
Sehun gave her a fake smile and nodded, “I’m fine, Naeunnie.”
Before Naeun could push the issue any further, Chanyeol called in his low voice, “I’m gonna start counting! 1… 2… 3….” Everyone quickly dispersed and ran to find a good hiding space.
“Shh!” Sehun put a finger to his lips. “You’ve gotta be quiet. Follow Jongin because he always has the best hiding spots, araso?” He beamed and disappeared into the forest.
*But—*She reached out for the maknae, but it was too late.
“Naeun!” Kai’s voice was sharp and urging. She spun around as he grinned excitedly, “Hurry! I’ll find you a spot!”
Without any choice, Naeun ran to him, but she just couldn’t help thinking that there was something wrong in his gaze.
A few hours passed as everyone became more immersed in the game. This time, Naeun was the seeker.
*Hmm.* She tapped her chin after counting up to 50. *Where could they be?*
Naeun clasped her hands behind her back and walked very quietly. That was her tactic. She barely heard her light steps in the muffled green grass.
All of a sudden, she froze when she passed by a thin tree. Rolling her eyes with a silent chuckle, she curiously walked around and saw Suho smiling back at her. He gave her a fatherly grin.
“Ah.” He said, a bit surprised, “You found me.”
Naeun giggled, “You’re too obvious!”
Suho sheepishly scratched his head and looked at the small tree. His head cocked to one side in slight bewilderment, “Am I?”
She burst out into laughter, “Of course you are.” Naeun put a finger to her lips, “That’s why you’re my favourite.” She whispered.
Suho’s eyes widened in faint pleasure, “Even more… than Baekhyun?”
Naeun pulled back and blinked obliviously, “Baekhyun…? Why would you say his name?”
Suho’s gaze softened and he shook his head, “Nothing, Naeun-ah.” He—like a gentleman—leaned down a bit for her to tag him.
Smiling secretively, he signalled Naeun to follow him, “Come. I know where Kyungsoo is hiding.”
“Found you!” Naeun mused as she peered up through the branches of a large tree.
Chanyeol jumped back, a bit startled, as Baekhyun stared at her. “Whoa!” Chanyeol gaped, but then grinned crazily, “You found us.”
Naeun beamed, “You guys are inseperable.” She lightly touched Chanyeol’s head, “Got ya.”
“Aww.” He pouted, but leaped off the tree with ease. Baekhyun slowly grabbed Naeun under her armpits and leaped down with her.
Baekhyun tilted his head a bit, “How did you know where we were?”
“I know you, Baekhyun.” She poked the tip of his nose, “You love the trees.”
Baekhyun’s eyes widened, but then he softly smiled. *Good answer.*
She tagged him as he gladly obliged. D.O came over and crossed his arms, “You tagged everyone. Good game.” Naeun gave him a hi-five and grinned back.
“I can’t believe you found me.” Kai had his hands on his hips with an amused look, “I guess you’re better at finding than I am at hiding.”
Naeun stuck his tongue out at him, “Or maybe you’re just too full of yourself.”
Kai rolled his eyes, “Always the charmer, Song Naeun.” Everyone laughed.
“We should go home.” Suho spoke up and looked at the sky, “It’s getting dark.” Everyone unanimously agreed.
“Wait.” Naeun stopped in her tracks after a bit of walking, “Where’s Sehun?”
“I don’t know.”
Naeun recalled his anxious face and depressed vibe earlier this afternoon.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, Naeunnie.”
Her heart rate sped up in nervousness. *Oh no… What if something happened to him?* She turned around and bolted off as Chanyeol looked surprised, “Naeun! Where are you going?!”
“I’m gonna look for Sehun! You guys go ahead first!” She looked over her shoulder and called as they grew farther and farther away.
*Sehun oppa… Where are you?* She bit her lip, frustrated and concerned.
After fifteen minutes passed, Naeun still wasn’t victorious. She frantically ran around the woods, calling out Sehun’s name. She came to a stop.
*Come on, Sehun.* She looked through the trees and ducked under the bushes. *Where are you?*
Drip. Drip. She heard the hushed sound of water in the distance. Her eyes immediately lit up in remembrance. *The water fountain!* She carefully followed the sound.
She scanned the place and let out a sigh of relief as she saw Sehun sitting on the stone base of the fountain. His bangs covered his eyes and his expression was unreadable. He looked… lonely.
Sehun slowly looked up emotionlessly to see Naeun in front of him, angry. He paused, “Naeun…”
“You idiot!” She scolded, “Where were you?! The game ended a long time ago! You had everyone worried sick!”
Sehun was shocked, “I…uh...”
Naeun raised a hand, and Sehun almost flinched, but he froze like ice when he felt a warm, comforting hand on his head, buried in his hair.
He gazed up to see Naeun’s softened expression.
“Pabo. I found you.”
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