[twenty-five]

Catch Taemin If You Can
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Taemin used to resent his parents night after night, who abandoned him to live their new lives god-knows-how-far kilometers away. The resentment grew, especially on nights Taemin came back from school with a crumpled note in his hand asking for his parents for a visit to school. But for the first time in five years, Taemin was glad that they were far out of the country. His uniform was dripping water on every ends. Having and having been pushed, shoved, dragged, slipped, hit, pulled, and kicked, there was no way he could explain his wrecked state to his parents. 


 

The chaos had been halted by the drama teacher who was coming in with his class for a play rehearsal. He yelled at them to stop, failing to gain their attention until the drama class behind him erupted in cheers, chanting ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!' and hooting excitedly. And now, the five of them were aligned by the hallway with their arms in the air as punishment. Kneeling down, Sulli had the empty bucket in front of her while Taemin kneeled besider her with Soojung on his right. With her hands in the air, Soojung kept twisting her neck, trying to get her wet sticky hair over her shoulders while Chanyeol and Jongin sat next to her side by side, still glaring the life out of each other.
 

 


Heavy footsteps came from the end of the hallway, and Baldy’s shiny black shoes came into Taemin’s view.


 

“…You kids have finally lost it, haven’t you?!” His irritated voice boomed in the hallway. “This has got to be the most creative way to rebel that I’ve seen in my thirty years of teaching!!”


 

A group of students snickered at them as they passed by. Baldy walked towards the end of the line and stopped in front of Jongin.


 

“Kim Jongin.” He sighed.



“……”



“Kim Jongin, answer me when I call your name.” He said again, his scratchy voice getting impatient.



“……Yes, sir.”



“You’re never the one to get in trouble, what’s gotten into you?!”


 

Jongin didn’t answer, and the teacher turned towards Chanyeol.


 

“And you, who are you?” He questioned. “Do you even go to this school?”



“…I’m a new student, sir.” Chanyeol replied.



“That’s just great! New and already getting into fights, are we?” Baldy bellowed sarcastically and Chanyeol twitched his brows. Baldy’s eyes moved to Soojung, and his voice softened as he looked at her worriedly.


 

“And Soojung my dear… How did you get yourself involved in this mess?” He sighed, “A model student like you should know better than to hang around with…” And Baldy trailed off as his eyes crept disapprovingly to Taemin.


 

“Lee Taemin, Lee Taemin.” He said reproachfully, shaking his head. “Why am I not surprised, I don’t even have anything more to say to you.”


 

Taemin stared at the floor as Baldy waved his finger back adn forth in front of Taemin's nose. His gaze moved on towards Sulli, and Baldy frowned.


 

“Aren’t you the girl that volunteered to mop the auditorium?” He asked.



“Yes, I am.” Sulli replied, looking straight into Baldy’s eyes.



“And you pour water on Soojung instead?!” He screeched, “I should have new stendents’ records double checked before bringing them into school, goddammit.”


 

Without a change of expression, Sulli continued to stare blankly at Baldy.



“…Who taught you to stare at an adult so squarely in the eyes?!” He yelled.



“…Then how should I look at you? Triangularly?” Sulli asked in genuine curiosity, and Taemin snorted before he could stop himself.


 

That brought Baldy’s attention back to Taemin, and Taemin quickly made a straight face.


 

“Lee Taemin…” Baldy lowered.



“…Yes, sir.”



“You find this funny, huh?!!” He thundered. “It hasn’t even been a while since I caught you smoking in school and yet here you are again! What is going on in your head? Pull yourself together if you don’t want to end up like your parents!!!”


 

Taemin in his lower lip. Trying to suppress his rising anger, Taemin shut his eyes.


 

Whether inside a school, an office, or any place in the world, there was something called the common law. There were just some things that couldn’t be touched across the line, but Baldy didn’t seem to get it. Taemin felt his fists clenching. He was trying his hardest to control himself.


 

“This is why kids from a broken family needs extra attention, they never end up growing up properly…” Baldy continued, pushing Taemin’s head with his forefinger. “Tsk tsk, what would your parents know? They don’t seem to care how you’re doing anyways…”


 

But on days like today, Taemin just couldn’t let go.


 

“…I think that’s enough.”


 

Taemin opened his eyes. The voice hadn’t come from him. Everybody’s heads turned to the end of the line, and Baldy too looked at Jongin in surprise as his words hung in the air. Jongin was staring at the wall in front of him, his lips firmly pressed together. Baldy slowly approached him.


 

“What did you just say!?” He demanded, his eyebrows narrowing into a scowl.



“……I said, I think that’s enough.” Jongin said again, his eyes still fixed firmly on the wall.



“Trying to play games now, are we?” Baldy jeered as absurdity crossed his face. “These kids don’t think so highly of their teachers anymore…”


 

And he raised the file of attendance records he was holding to slam it down on Jongin’s head. He was stopped though, when another voice interrupted.


 

“I think he’s right.” It had come from Chanyeol this time. He even dropped his arms and massaged his muscles. Frozen in shock, Baldy stared at Chanyeol until he returned to his senses.


 

“Who told you to lower your arms!!?” He yelled, his eyes bulging.



“Just stick to regulations.” Chanyeol said. “I was never taught that it was alright for a teacher to talk about a student’s parents.”


 

Damn, that kid is crazy. Taemin thought as he gawked at Chanyeol. As Baldy’s face flushed deep red to a verge of purple, Chanyeol got up from his knees and groaned as if his legs ached.


 

“I think we got enough of what we deserved already.” He said, “You do know that coporal punishment is against the law, right?” Then he gave Baldy a triumphant smirk.


 

Baldy gaped, choking on his own saliva. Then he cleared his throat when a group of students gathered around, knocking some consciousness back into him.


 

“You, come with me.” He gritted at Chanyeol, and looked at the rest four students still kneeling with their arms in the air. “The rest of you go back to your class, but Lee Taemin and Kim Jongin. See me after school.”


 

As they watched Baldy speed down the hall to his office, Chanyeol stood up and followed behind him wordlessly. The four students staggered to their feet, their muscles sparking in pain. Taemin leaned against the wall while he waited for his legs to wake up and Jongin limped towards him. Unable to meet his gaze, Taemin let his head fall. He felt more scared when Jongin was front of him than Baldy was, as if he was standing dangerously on an edge of a cliff. As he scruntinized the end of Jongin’s running shoes, he heard Jongin’s voice.


 

“Forget what the old man said.”  


 

Taemin lifted his head. Averting his eyes from Taemin, Jongin looked hesitant to say something more but turned around before Taemin could stop him. Taemin watched Jongin get smaller and smaller until his view was blocked by the a swarm of students coming out of their classrooms. He looked up and closed his eyes, wanting to shut out the world for at least the time being that everything was dark.




 

***




 

Word flew flast, as its wings fluttered about every student’s mouth at Paran High. The gang-fight(?) in the auditorium became the most mentioned topic during breaks and lunch, the story covering from how Soojung had finally thrown off her mask, how Jongin not only kicks soccerballs but real balls, to if Chanyeol was actually going to become the Paran No.1 Jjang, and seriously, who was Choi Sulli?


 

When Taemin and Jongin went to the office, they were met with a week’s duty of cleaning the new theatre after school. The school was in preparation for the end-of-the-year festival, and Baldy thought it appropriate for the two boys to clean up after the construction took place each day. To Chanyeol, something even worse was waiting for him. For his punishment he was to attend night study sessions along with the seniors after school until eight, and even Taemin felt a bit sorry for the guy.


 

Taemin was sitting alone in the empty classroom after everybody had left to go home. He stared outside the window with no specific purpose, gathered his drying uniform by the windowsill and sauntered out for his clean-up duty. The theatre was being reconstructed in the old deserted building by the school storage. The setting sun casted shadows upon the building and the deserted structure seemed even more eerie than usual.



Taemin sighed as he walked over and saw plastic sheets, styrofoam boxes and empty paint cans rolling around the entrance. He opened the door and saw Jongin standing in the middle of the construction. Jongin too discovered Taemin and walked over with a broom in his hand. Taemin flinched, scared of Jongin and everything about him at the moment, and Jongin handed him the broom.


 

“Sweep here,” He said. “I’ll clean up over there.” And he spun around.


 

“…Jongin-ah.”


 

Jongin stopped at Taemin’s small voice. Taemin’s throat pricked as he met with Jongin’s cold face, but he managed to croak out.


 

“…I’ll sort things back together.”  



“…What?...”



“I’ll clear this mess up so don’t…”



“Sort what back?! Clear what mess?!!” Jongin suddenly yelled and Taemin widened his eyes, startled by Jongin’s hostility.


 

“…I’ll give up.” Taemin whispered, stunned at how frustrated Jongin looked. “…Like you told me to.”


 

Kicking the styrofoam laying on the floor, Jongin muffled a groan of exasperation. He stormed towards Taemin, his shoulders rising up and down irregularly. Jongin breathed heavily in anger but Taemin stood ground. He couldn’t bring himself to move, he hadn’t seen Jongin this mad before and it was scaring him.


 

“…Give up?” Jongin said, accenting the syllables. “You bring things this far, and… what? Give up?!”



“……I’m sorry.” Taemin choked out. “And I’ll clean this up too.” He said, referring to the cluttered trash on the ground. “I’ll tell the teacher that you didn’t do anything wrong, that you were only trying to stop us. Go, you’re gonna be late for soccer practice soon. …The big game is coming up…”


 

Taemin felt Jongin’s glare on him again and he stopped. Jongin didn’t feel like Jongin anymore. Feeling like he was being berated and beaten up by a total stranger, Taemin hung his head low. He couldn’t believe that it had only been two days ago that he and Jongin laughed and talked together at his home, playing games and drinking beer. It felt too long ago, and like something he would never be able to have, ever again.


 

“Don’t you dare make things worse by doing that.” Jongin spoke up.



“…What do you want me to do then?” Taemin cried out. “I didn’t mean for things to turn out this way..!”



Taemin didn't even realize that his voice was shaking, as he tried to hold back the rising tears. Jongin sighed, and his tone had softened when he opened his mouth again.


 

“Let’s talk later.” Then he turned around, but came back to Taemin only after a couple of steps. He studied Taemin’s face and snatched the broom from his hands.


 

“Go.” Jongin said.



“......?” Taemin looked up in confusion and Jongin continued.



“Go to the nurse. You’re face is a mess.”


 

Taemin touched the side of his mouth. It was crusted with blood but Taemin hadn’t even realized it from all the emotional turmoil he was going through. As Taemin dabbed at his wound, Jongin grabbed Taemin’ shoulders, spun him around and pushed him towards the exit.


 

“Nurse Yoon doesn’t go home until soccer practice is over.” Taemin heard Jongin at his ears. “Go and lie down for some time.”



“…I’m okay…” Taemin started, but Jongin didn’t let him finish.



“Go. Now.”



“…Okay, okay..” Taemin obeyed, cowering under Jongin’s firm voice.


 

As Taemin walked over to the exit, Jongin's voice shouted from behind him.


 

“You’re ing dead if I see you again with that bastard!!!”


 

Taemin helplessly fell in rapture as Jongin’s hostile threat and agresssive growl reached him. It sounded like a line from one of those dramas that he saw on TV, kind of like when the husband nagged at his wife for conversing with a y mailman. Whatever the case, Taemin’s stomach fluttered about, lurching nervously. He left the building without an answer.


 

Nurse Yoon stole cautious glances at Taemin as she applied ointment on Taemin’s face. The school nurse was itching to ask him questions regarding the gang-fight stories that have evolved into rumors in the genre of fantasy and sci-fi, but Taemin pretended to fall asleep. He lied down on the bed, and waited for her to leave the room so that he could dart back to the theatre. But she wouldn’t do with just Polysporin, and Taemin could only leave after an hour of hot compress on his bruises.


 

By the time Taemin dashed back out to the theatre and swung the door open, the building was clean and empty to his dismay without sight of Jongin anywhere. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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what a y filler chapter huh. 

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO WROTE SUCH WONDERFUL COMMENTS I REALLY APPRECIATE IT /throws heart woohyun style/

N_Precioustaenicole930 ♡ IM SO HAPPY I MADE U GUYS LAUGH lol soojung put up a good fight... RIP Paran High Angel JSJ

SHINBLUE ♡ lol u seem so confused at the sudden encounter of everybody coming together! dun worry so am i haha

MachiShupp ♡ awesome job for predicting that out (well not rly principal's office more like just hallway w principal in it)

WickedThunder02 ♡ crazypop is soojung's nickname for sulli haha isnt it cute ;-)

starkey ♡ ooh two thumbs up for suspecting the chanyeol-jiyeon relationship! it was suppoz to be a lil surprise teehee. soojung likes taemin, and taemin is both the old taemin and the new taemin, or the taemin right now who needs guidance asap. whoa that was a lot of taemins in one sentence lolol 

maxjibong ♡ yay did i serve a good purpose of keeping u company? hehe thanks for commenting! 

itstia ♡ /sobbing/ you can quote as much as you want cuz this comment. y u make me cry WAEE. no thank you for being an awesome reader and providing such feedback i love u too<3 (jieun is coming, she'll be here i promise...☞☜) 

klzteamK-POP_loverstern270des2bfree ♡ hehe im glad u guys enjoyed that >ㅅ< thank you for reading and commenting! 

dubuonew878 ♡ bcuz taemin is just awesome. lol thank you so much for ur compliment, n i wud give taemin both of them if i wasn't so mean >:D i will make taemin suffer HAHAH no jks. no but rly 

GalaRxnAnya_Azrael ♡ a masterpiece? the most beautiful thing ever? ;~~~; i dun even know wat to say THANK YOU♥

Miss_b2uty ♡ haha sulli is just floating there n u cant hate her cuz she's... like a lollipop? who hates lollipops? heheh

Icy_Heart ♡ *note: jongin already knew that soojung liked taemin ever since their misunderstanding got cleared up after soojung's one-sided kiss to taemin* i know it's all my fault i don't update as frequently as other authors and i rly apologize for that T^T thanx for commenting all the time!♥

nina93nya ♡ chanyeol... even i dont get this kid, i just claw at his perfect face on my computer and angrily type him up in ctiyc. haha thank you for commenting~ 

Pequinessa ♡ are you a new reader? wowwow im so happy that u cried and laughed while reading this! hehe thank you for reading!

imsocuriousyeah what kind of sudden development in plot is this? shud be the one line summary for ctiyc tbh. and uh i.............. i.............. i........... i am left speechless with ur angel comment like wa ; x ; i was kinda wincing as i wrote ch24 cuz like u know.. it was just crack. lol but i'm beyond satisfied if u enjoyed every single part of it and i just rly wanna thank u for bringing a smile on my face every time :) ♥!  

krispy-baozi ♡ ofc parkchan has a big ego look at his face. ty nugget

 

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Comments

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misskimhee
#1
i've read this story zillion times and it stills beautiful, thank you for making this story exist.
minniemac #2
Chapter 41: Needed something to distract my mind last night so I decided to reread this for like the 7th time. Now it's morning and I'm grinning like an idiot on my train to work. I'm pretty sure everybody thinks I'm mad but I just rediscovered something that I loved and have fallen in love with again. I love everything about this story and I love you for writing it! Thank you!! Hope you're gonna have as great of a day as you just made mine!
NCTNCity27 #3
Chapter 36: Oh my goodness!!! This chapter made me laugh so hard my sides are still hurting. I absolutely adore your writing style and honestly, someone should make a K-Drama out kf this fic. Thankyou for writing this.
michaelj316 #4
Chapter 42: honestly?? i cant even use words to describe how much i love this fic like !!!!!!! its so good !!!!!!! i love evry single piece, every single word/character/you name it lmao !!!!! ty for your hard work in this fic~
riplings
#5
i think it's been like 2 years since i last read this?? but i reread it all last night and i totally remembered how amazing this story is. thank you so much for writing this masterpiece!! i loved all the characters and honestly this is like one of the stories you could read over and over and never get tired of ^^
reyaakoh
#6
Chapter 12: This part is so hurting
reyaakoh
#7
Chapter 9: Wow amazing chanyeolliiieee
reyaakoh
#8
Chapter 8: This story is cheeky hehehe
lovekiller_tsuna
#9
Chapter 42: Slow but sweet~
I love taekai! <3
Keyq1998 #10
Chapter 42: this is really really good!!!