I tried something in this chapter with switiching POVs without announcing them. If it's confusing let me know and I can change it, I kind of just wanted to see if I could do it.
So without further ado, the next installment of The Showdown.
As Taemin and Key neared their dorm, they could hear yelling coming from within. Surprisingly, the voice belonged to Onew, who rarely yelled at anyone – it just wasn’t his style. He was more the type to take you aside and tell you what was on his mind then to scream at you, and certainly not where anyone could hear him. Sharing a confused look, the couple quickly entered the dorm to find out what was going on.
Upon entering their dorm they could see Onew pacing back and forth with his phone held to his ear. His face could only be described as frustrated and he was pressing his lips together in a thin line. Minho was leaning against the wall with his hands in his pockets, seemingly observing the action taking place. Jonghyun was no where to be seen.
“I know…you can’t…hyung! You wanted to discuss the situation with me but you’re the only one talking!” Onew was silent for a minute, obviously listening to the person on the other end. When he looked up and saw Key and Taemin he tried to give them a smile, but it came out more like a grimace.
This call was about them, they knew it - which meant that their manager had to be the one on the other end of that call. Suddenly his reaction from last night crashed through Taemin’s head. As bad as Jonghyun had reacted, his anger seemed to be directed more at what this could do to SHINee, the rest seemed to be fear of this unknown irregularity in their usually cohesive group. Their manager’s reaction on the other hand had been two steps short of volcanic. Taemin was suddenly very afraid. It was as though the man was standing in the room with them rather than merely on the other end of a phone call. He tensed next to Key and actually started shaking.
He hadn’t fully processed their manager’s reaction until right now. And he was terrified. Jonghyun wouldn’t mess up the group no matter what, so he was somewhat safe. Their manager had power though. He was in charge of scheduling their events, and making sure that they made it to said events on time, with the proper prepping. He could easily forget to tell them an appearance and make them look like laughing stocks.
Even worse though, their manager had a temper. Taemin had seen him backhand a stage-hand before just because there weren’t water bottles waiting for them the second that they got off stage. There had been more than a few physical altercations involving their manager and he was not a man to be angered. He was suddenly afraid of what their manager would do. Not just to him, but to Key. Taemin could not stand by and watch the one he loved get hurt, but the sudden horrible twisting feeling in his gut was telling him that that situation might just come to pass.
Key’s thoughts seemed to follow along the same lines because at the exact same instant they both reached for each other’s hands and clasped them tightly together. Watching Onew anxiously, they listened to their leader trying to get a word in edgewise with their manager but seemingly not succeeding if the increased speed of pacing was any indication.
“HYUNG! We can handle this! Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?!” He stopped to hear something on the other end again, “No, I can’t agree with that. I refuse.” Another pause, during which they watched Onew’s face go from annoyed to outraged to furious. Taemin, Key and Minho all tried to figure out what their manager must be saying on the other end to provoke that response in Onew. In a quiet tone that could almost be mistaken for kind, but not quite, Onew stated with steel-laced words, “You know what, why don’t you try calling back when you are basing your ideas in reality. Then we can talk, until then don’t bother us!” And Onew ended the call.
For a moment, he just stared down at his phone, as though in shock as what he himself had just done.
“Hyung,” Minho started from his position against the wall, “You want to fill us in?”
Onew glanced up with an uneasy smile, “Well…the good news is that none of us had any schedules for the next few days for him to mess around with. The bad news is the likelihood of us getting any additional appearances for a while has just fallen drastically.” He looked toward Taemin, “You better keep your head down for a while kiddo. He’s angry, and I don’t want to see you hurt. As much as I hate to say it, make sure you’re not alone with him okay? Always have one of us with you, even if it’s Jonghyun.” Onew’s fears merely confirmed what Taemin already had thought.
Onew sighed, “I have to go out, just to clear my head alright? You guys take it easy today, or as easy as you can right now…” He shook his head, grabbed his jacket and shoes and quietly left the dorm.
Key had pulled Taemin into a hug as Onew gave his warning. Taemin looked near tears. Even though the thought had crossed his mind, having it confirmed out loud by another person seemingly made it more viable, more likely to actually happen.
Key led the younger boy over to the couch and made him lay down with his head in Key’s lap. Taemin turned in so that his face was facing Key’s stomach and started dabbing away at the few tears that had escaped with the tissue that Key had given him – once an Umma, always an Umma. Key continually rubbed circles on Taemin’s back and patted his hair with the other hand, trying to provide comfort, even though he probably needed some himself.
Minho watched all of this transpire from his perch near the wall. He was always the quiet one in the group. He would sit back and take everything in, think everything through before he acted on anything. And he knew that there was more going on then he was being told.
His alarm bells had started going off this morning when they found Key and Onew in the bedroom. He knew Onew had fallen asleep out in the living room last night, just like he and Jonghyun had, so how did he end up in there? And Key’s reaction last night was largely uncharacteristic of him. He was silent during the whole ordeal. Though given this morning’s declaration that could have been because he didn’t want to be outed himself – but he had done that not even 24 hours later so that didn’t make sense.
And that display at the table this morning. Minho had seen Key protective of Taemin before, after all he had taken up the caretaker position in the place of Taemin’s family with him being the youngest of them all, but this was something different. There was a different intensity to that protection than was normal.
Also, unknown to them, Minho had been watching the couple since they returned to the dorm. He took note of the way that they stood watching Onew. They stood a lot closer together than he ever remembered them doing, but the strange thing was their body language didn’t seem to show that fact, rather it almost seemed more normal for them to be standing that close. Then they reached out to grab each others hands at the same time. And the tenderness that Key was showing Taemin now on the couch, which, while no less tender than a mother caring for their child, was not the same tenderness Minho has watched his friend give the Maknae before. No less powerful, but different none the less.
All of that coupled with the fact that they never knew Taemin to be sneaking out to see someone else and Taemin’s certainty earlier than Minho would like the man solidified the fact. Taemin wasn’t just seeing any boy – he was seeing Key.
They always seem to comment about Minho being a deep thinker so I wanted him to be able to figure it out on his own. I think that it is strange trying to write from his POV, the same way I had trouble writing from Jonghyun's - because I feel that I have less of an understanding of them in relation to my understanding of the rest of the guys. (Starting to see where my biases are arn't you? hehehe) Let me know what you thought about his POV if you can, I want to know how it came out for you guys.
Head's up for the future:
There might be an entire chapter from Minho's POV, which will be a real challenge for me so we'll see how well that goes.
Expect Jonghyun to be confronted by Minho/Onew (I haven't decided which one yet).
And of course, more confrontation with their manager - and can I just say that I loved that I don't have a name for him because it is one less thing for my spell check to yell at me about (clearly doesn't like Korean romanized words...sadness).
And just because I am excited to so I feel the urge to share. I have applied for and been interviewed by the EPIK program in Korea about becoming an English teacher over there. I don't know if I'll be offered a position, but it is really exciting having just gotten this far. *keeping my fingers crossed*
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