When a Nerd falls for a Jock
The corridors of SM would be quiet and deserted once the Academy tower clock strikes six. By this time almost all of the students will be present in their rooms, done with all the club activities, either plopping straight onto bed or preparing to head to the canteen to grab some food. There were also people like Jinki who got changed straightway and took out the books out of their backpacks to finish off all the homework so that they could begin their revision for the midterms that was coming next week. It all depended on what House you are in.
Lee Taemin walks down the gloomy corridors, feeling the clothes damp with sweat and wetly sticking to his skin. He lifts his hand to look at his wrist watch, frowning at it when it shows that there is barely fifteen minutes left for him to make it to his room. The clock will soon be striking six and the guards will march in from various directions to see if any of the students were still purposelessly wandering around the Academy.
He forgot to check the time while he was in the dance studio, failing to remember about his and Jinki’s plan of hitting the library once he returns. Yunho had strictly instructed all of them to not attend any of the clubs for this and the following week, and instead, focus fully on their studies until the exams are over.
Taemin complies for the first four days, but fails to do so today.
He didn’t go to the studio because of his extreme passion for dancing or anything. As much as he loved dancing, he still preferred staying in his room and burrowing under the covers while he ate his ice cream. But not today, though. Because today is Friday and Friday was the day students will get to speak to their family or friends or any others they are closely related to for the maximum time of five minutes.
Technically, Taemin has none of the above to speak of outside of SM. Which is why he chooses to head to the dance studio when an eager and giddy Jinki runs off to phone his family, but only after looking back at Taemin with the excitement glint in his eyes and promising him that he won’t forget to say hello to Eunsook for him.
Taemin smiles, remembering the way Jinki bumped into a security guard straight after that, earning a scornful glare. But Jinki had awkwardly smiled nonetheless, sheepishly rubbing the back of his head and bowing ninety degrees at the large person in front of him to show just how sorry he was while Taemin laughed to the back of his hand from the doorway of their room.
Taemin wishes he had the capability to take care of Jinki. When he said he had a brilliant plan to save Jinki from Jonghyun, he was lying. And he knows the older boy is aware of this. He knows that it is for him Jinki has agreed to come to the trip. He wants to help and protect Jinki like any other friend would want to. But the thing is, he doesn’t want to get murdered by Jonghyun during the process of rescuing his best friend.
He slings the backpack over his shoulder, which contains two big and empty water bottles and an unused change of clothes, and makes a turn to the left. This corridor is a long. There are other corridors that meet with this one but he has to walk all the way through to make it to the exit of the Academy building, and to enter through the backdoor of the Apollo boarding. He decided it is safer to take the backdoor because otherwise there were chances of him getting caught by Yunho. He would hate to see the disappointment that will flash through the Head’s eyes when he finds out that Taemin has disobeyed him. It is a long walk but once he is out of this building, he wouldn’t have to deal with the guards either.
As he makes his way through the dark silence, he thinks that may be it wasn’t a good idea to force Jinki into coming to the trip. He had many other friends he could have hung out with. That wasn’t an issue. The issue was Jinki. Jinki staying here by himself. What if Jonghyun isn’t planning on going to the trip and stayed in the Academy? If Jonghyun does come, then Taemin could make sure that he won’t do anything to the older boy. He knows even though Jinki says he appreciates his help, he doesn’t like it when Taemin becomes all too worried about him. But is it really that bad that he doesn’t want him to get hurt? That he doesn’t want to lose him like how he lost his previous best friend?
There is another option which includes Taemin choosing not to go the trip and staying here in SM with Jinki. But Taemin is a boy who strongly believes that having fun is what life is all about. If someone asked him what is life goal is, he would offer them a full beam and answer, ‘to have a world tour and try out all kinds of food they have in each country.’ He might even consider taking Jinki with him.
He sighs, remembering how he used to dream this together with Cheondung before, but the latter has probably forgotten all about it now, with how he abandoned Taemin and their dream and everything else they had between them. Now Cheondung’s place is vacant and he doesn’t mind taking Jinki in for that position.
Taemin abruptly stops on his track when he sees three figures emerging from the side corridors. The people in black suits on both sides are huge, with broad shoulders and bear-like bodies. Compared to them, the frame of the boy walking in the middle appears to be much smaller.
Taemin heart starts pounding.
Cheondung has changed. He has changed a lot. He is not the cheerful boy Taemin had once known anymore. His lips are curled down and his eyes look tired and lonely as he takes his steps, barely even looking up from the floor. Taemin holds his breath and expertly slides to the side to give way, quietly watching and looking ready to avert his eyes away if the Cratus boy ever happens to notice him.
Unfortunately, the security guards quite easily spots Taemin.
“What are you doing in the building this late?” the large man on the left demands when he comes in level with where Taemin is standing, with eyes grimly staring down at him.
When Cheondung’s eyes snap up from the floor and locks with Taemin’s, they widens just as big as his ones. Taemin swallows hard and turns towards the guard, his mind rapidly searching for a reply.
“I-I was just --“
Cheondung’s voice has gone deeper and much more serious that Taemin remembers. He hasn’t heard it for almost a year and he thinks his heart is going to swell and burst with happiness as he looks at the other boy. He is looking back at him with so much glee, Taemin has to stick his back to the wall to prevent himself from running to the boy and squishing him to a hug. But he forgets to resist the smile that spreads on his lips, eyes shining with hope and relief all at the same time.
Taemin missed him.
“Master Thunder, we have got to go. Master TOP is right behind us.” the guard on the right leans and informs.
The security guards are not dangerous. At least the ones Taemin know aren’t. Each member of Cratus has guards that specifically work for them. Taemin has seen this guy around in Apollo. They have even passed a few greetings to each other before. What he just said to Cheondung is more of a warning than anything else, the original meaning of those words being, ‘You have to stop talking to the boy before you get caught.’
Cheondung’s chest falls up and down as he looks at Taemin, the hint of emotion on his face vanishing like it has been slapped off. His eyes glisten and he quickly looks on the floor before Taemin could catch it, and starts to walk again.
“You should hurry.”, Taemin hears him whisper when he walks right past him without giving him another glance.
The guard he knows offers him a sympathetic look and follows. He watches with stinging eyes and heart as the boy in black blazer slowly starts disappearing from his line of sight.
They shifted apart so fast.
“I’m different, Taemin. I’m just as dangerous as them. You don’t understand. We can’t be friends anymore”, Cheondung had told him last year, when Cratus’s official members for next year were revealed along with the Heads of each houses. He had told that and walked away, leaving a confused Taemin behind with tears brimming down his face.
That summer Taemin had felt so alone.
When he came back from home finally, expecting to see his best friend in their shared bedroom again, hoping to fix whatever he had done wrong so that they could go back to what they were before, what he instead found was a half empty room and a hastily written note on the table.
After that, the first time Taemin sees him is with his step brothers, wearing the Cratus uniform and looking very, very different from before. He had a hard time in believing that Cheondung was actually from the mafia. But Cheondung’s later actions proved it.
The tower clock chimes loudly. Taemin looks at his watch and gasps, jogging towards the exit and blinking away the tears that kept on forming. He pushes the door open and gets out of there as the clock marks the hour and eventually comes to a halt.
Cheondung demanded he want to go by the name Thunder from then on. Students weren’t apparently taking him seriously enough. So he decided to show them just how vile he can be. He cut down the amount of time students could use to call their home, from fifteen to five minutes. When that didn’t bring the effect he wanted, he added a new Academy rule that not once would be the parents allowed to visit any students, not even when they were severely sick.
Taemin and him had a lesson together, Biology, though he never dare to spare a glance at the boy. He could sometimes feel Cheondung’s eyes reaching across from the back of the classroom and he is always so tempted to look back. But he never does.
And sometimes he becomes cruel enough to think Cheondung deserves it.
Taemin climbs up the stairs, stopping occasionally to catch his breath. Two more floors to go. Jinki is probably getting prepared to go to the library. He did tell him that he could go without Taemin if he was too late.
Jinki is not Cheondung. Taemin won’t say there is even a mere similarity between them. Cheondung was enthusiastic and passionate about music. He was friends with everyone in Apollo, just like Taemin. You could say that Cheondung was like a copy of Taemin, even though he had a quieter nature.
Jinki is different. He is studious and clever, but naïve and stupid all at the same time. When Taemin first met him, he instantly knew the boy’s level of social awkwardness was off the charts. And yet Taemin became instantly fond of him. There was something about him that made Taemin want to stay with him, make him see more of this world, the things he has missed.
When Taemin unlocks the door and enters the room, Jinki is sitting on their study table, writing down notes. He probably had a shower, Taemin concludes, as his hair looks wet and they are standing up in all directions, reminding him more of a damp duckling. He closes the door and the sound of it seems to have jolted Jinki. He drops his pen and clutches his chest, seeing Taemin.
“Oh. I thought you were... never mind. You can have a shower by the way. We’ll go to the library after that. I need to finish this off first. ”, he smiles and gestures towards the heap of thick notebooks. Taemin smiles thankfully at him. He can see that Jinki is in an extremely good mood after talking to his family.
“How is your family doing?”
Jinki’s smile widens impossibly.
While he starts explaining how Eunsook has started going to a school near their house and how Aunt Yoona’s futile ways of getting his Mum to hook up with someone else are going, Taemin wonders what would have happened if he was still friends with Chandeong. He wonders who Jinki would have had to share his rooms with then. It probably would have been Kevin, since he was only one in Apollo without a roommate. (Apparently, his ex-roommate Kibum got expelled for sexually harassing him and after that he has never had a roommate)
Onew would probably treat him like a girl. Taemin chortles at the thought, causing Jinki to stop in the middle of his explanation.
“Urm. Do I have something on my face?”, he asks pointing a finger towards his face and blinking.
He doesn’t stutter when he speaks to him anymore. Taemin likes to think it’s one of the biggest accomplishments he has made this year.
“Yeah.” , he says chuckling when Jinki blurts out a ‘really?’ and slaps both his hands on his face, rubbing furiously until it turns red.
“A pair of slits for eyes, a bunny nose, and some fat lips that could stretch wide like elastic when you smile.", he says and disappears into his room to take his towel.
Jinki freezes for five whole seconds and then, finally getting it, beams.
The following week goes very slow. Jinki stays up until 2’o clock every night and bags were starting to form under his tired eyes, though he takes no notice of it.
“How do you finish all your exams so fast? I never finish mine on time.” Taemin says, coming out of the exam hall and joining Jinki.
Jinki just shrugs. He doesn’t know it either. He feels quite positive about how he has done in his exams. He surely won’t be failing any.
“I’m pretty sure I failed Maths.”, Taemin exclaims looking crestfallen, when Jinki asks him how it went.
Jinki thinks Taemin is definitely cleverer than he gives himself credit for.
“There is a reason why you study in the most prestigious school in Seoul, Taemin.” he tries to cheer up the boy. He was clearly getting better at it because as soon as he says it, Taemin smiles at him brightly.
“Let’s hurry. We need to pack our bags for the trip.”
Kyuhyun and Heechul join them on the way to their rooms.
“Want some? It’s from the After Exam Party we had.” Heechul says, offering some sweets. Taemin gladly accepts it all while Jinki shakes his head politely.
“Did you hear that we’ll all be sharing rooms with at least one Hermes student in the hotel?”
Taemin chews violently and swallows, his eyes going wide. Jinki hopes he won’t choke on it later or anything.
“But I thought they were not coming.”
“They will miss the first two days because of the match but that’s all. I heard they will be coming to the hotel right after the match.” informs Heechul, shrugging afterwards. “The problem is, we don’t have a way to find out which one of them will be our roommate. Too bad I’m only familiar with people from Adonis than Hermes. They’re all giants.”
Taemin nods in agreement.
“They eat a lot too.”
“They sure do, don’t they Taemin?”, Kyuhyun offers him a look full of sarcasm.
“I hope it’s Joon hyung we’re sharing rooms with.” Taemin ignores the comment and continues, turning to Jinki, “I’ve talked to him before and he seemed nice.”
While Jinki stuffs his bag with as many clothes as possible that night, he tries hard to find the positives of going to this stupid trip.
It is not entirely a bad start. At least, Jinki wouldn’t like to think so. The students are separated into groups and they will be travelling in five different buses since there were so many students.
“Where the hell is Donghae?!”
Jinki can hear Nichkhun scream on the top of his lungs from the back when the teacher announces that they are going to be departing soon.
“He won’t be coming. He is not feeling well.”, Jaebom replies.
“Not feeling well? He was looking fine yesterday.” Nichkhun presses.
G.O only shrugs.
“When I woke up this morning, he said he can’t move from the bed.”
Nichkhun nods, however, still scrunching his brows in suspicion. Yoochun says nothing.
They visit the National Museumon the way to the hotel they will be staying at. Jinki enjoys every single minute of it, even taking notes down while the guide leads them from one part of the museum to another. Taemin seemingly enjoys it too, though he falls fast asleep as soon as they get on the bus to continue their journey. They don’t see Heechul and the rest until much later, when they finally reach the hotel to spend the night. It doesn’t come as a surprise when the teacher reveals that Taemin and Jinki will be sharing a room.
During the first two days of the trip Jinki learns a lot of interesting things about SM and its students, the obvious sources being Heechul, Shindong and Kyhyun.
Years ago, SM, as it turned out, was actually owned by some man called Lee Soo Man. (that made sense. Jinki has been trying to figure out what the hell SM stands for) Then came this guy, Ahn Suk-Hwan, demanding that he want his son to join SM. Soo Man obviously would not let that happen since the boy had a long criminal record and he knew who Suk Hwan was. It is said that Suk Hwan, with all the grudge he held against the other man, kidnapped Soo Man’s two year old son and ordered him to sign the agreement that stated he is giving the ownership of the Academy to Suk Hwan, if he wanted his child alive.
But there were things Heechul revealed that Jinki found even more interesting.
Like Kim Kibum was openly gay.
Jinki almost chokes when he hears it. Right. He just has to get it out of his chest now.
“Why do we have so many homosexuals?”, he blurts out the thing that’s been bugging him since the moment he figured out half of the people he knew in SM were actually gay.
“Are you homophobic or something?” Kyuhyun sends him pointed look.
They are sitting in a restaurant in Myeongdongwhere they serve traditional Korean food. They have decided to come here as they barely get any traditional food in the Academy. For Taemin, it is bliss.
Jinki swallows the dumpling in his mouth and smiles uneasily at the other.
“N-No. I just, err, never happened to come across this many of them.”, he explains, making sure to not sound offending or anything.
“Well then, get used to it.” Heechul says extending his hand to pat his head two times.
They spend the rest of the day by taking silly pictures and going to every shopping centre they saw. At the end they realise they are completely lost. They get told off by the teacher when they finally find their bus, for separating from the group and making all the students wait for so long.
“It’s not our fault we’re not allowed to have cell phones.”, Heechul mutters under his breath.
By the time they get back to the hotel, Jinki and Taemin are exhausted as heck and all they want is get some sleep to prepare themselves for all that was coming tomorrow. So when they open the door, giggling together about how Shindong almost got stuck between the lift doors, they almost do not notice the third presence in the room.
But once they do, Jinki and Taemin visibly starts gaping.
Minho stares at them.
They continue to gape.
This goes on for another ten seconds before Minho looks at the bag that was on one of the two beds and reads the name tag. He then pointedly looks at Jinki.
“Lee Taemin, could you please remove your bag from my bed?”
Jinki, blinking confusedly, looks at the bag and then at Minho.
“Urm. Actually, I’m not-“ he begins.
Taemin’s eye twitches. He left his bag on the bed this morning after he found his underwear. It is wide open just as he had left it and all the underwear he brought with him are sort of all over the bed, looking like they are there for display.
“I am Lee Taemin!”, Taemin snaps pretending like he’s not embarassed, crossing his arms and waiting for an apology.
Minho stares at the both of them some more, making his message clear.‘Just remove the fucking bag off the bed.’ He is clearly not about to apologise or repeat what he said before. He once asked and that was that.
When the expected apology doesn’t come, Taemin looks at Jinki, (who’s still trying to accept the fact that they’ll be sharing rooms with a potential bully), and then back at Minho. He huffs disbelievingly at the blank expression he is offered with and drags the bag along with the underwear, off the bed.
“Thanks, Lee Taemin.”, Minho says drily.
Heslumps on the bed the next minute and the other two boys are frozen on spot when his snores starts echoing in the room. Taemin glares at Jinki and stamps his feet two times, the frown still plastered on his face. Jinki sighs, gently telling Taemin to get onto the spare bed and switches the lights off before lying next to the constantly whining boy.
“Why was he saying it’s his bed? It’s not even his. I was sleeping there yesterday. How come he gets a bed all to himself when we have to share one? Why is even…” and so on and so on.
Jinki really can’t imagine how this is going to work out. But Minho being here told him one thing.
Jonghyun and Key were somewhere in this hotel.
A/N: I’m so really sorry about the long delay. But I swear I had a good reason for not posting. I, er, sort of got into an accident. Not a big one though so doworry. My limbs are all fine. :D I’ll try not to keep you waiting for really long. (I know I say it every single time but.)
Hope I didn’t disappoint you with the chapter. The first part was Taemin centric but I still wrote Jinki instead of Onew. I just thought that sounded better, I don’t know *shrugs* And also, sorry about all the OnTae fluff. =.= It really wasn’t meant to be that fluffy.
AND THANKS FOR SUBSCRIBING!! *bows* I love you people ;__; <3
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