Popularity

The phases of Kim Hyunjin

Heejin stepped inside the venue, wowing at the stage ahead and the rows of chairs, some already occupied with people cheering for their favorite bands.  

“Let’s get a seat at the front while they’re free!” Ryujin lead the way with everyone following her.  

She sat, followed by Heejin, Chaewon and Yerim, and in the row in front of them, sat Jiwoo, Sooyoung, and Haseul’s little sister, Yeojin. She entrusted Sooyoung with the task of looking over her.  

Heejin’s heart beat so fast already and nothing even happened yet. She would give anything to kiss Hyunjin and wish her good luck before their performance, but they were already backstage preparing. Even so, Heejin fetched her phone. 

[Heejin] 
I really want to see you one more time before the show starts. 

“I’m so excited!” Jiwoo turned back to them. 

“Same, they’re gonna crush it!” Ryujin joined the excitement. 

Heejin was somehow relieved that Ryujin wasn’t sad when she found out Jungeun was with Haseul, earlier when all of them had lunch together. And even though Heejin was obviously excited as well, she kept peeking at her phone every ten seconds. There was this feeling in her gut, like she had to see Hyunjin no matter what. But for now, she would try to tame it. 

But when her phone vibrated, Heejin almost jumped in her chair 

[Hyunjin] 
Meet me at the backstage entrance in a minute. 

She bolted up, making her friends look up at her.  

“Where’s the backstage?” 

“Why? You can’t go there,” Chaewon said. 

“I know, but they can come outside.” 

“I think it’s that way.” Sooyoung pointed at the right side of the stage, where some long black curtain hid what was beyond, and a security man stood. 

“Thank you.” Heejin rushed there. 

She didn’t approach the man too much so she wouldn’t be scolded about not being able to be there. A few seconds later, the curtain flew and Heejin’s heart hit her ribs. 

“You aren’t supposed to leave, the show is almost starting,” the security told Hyunjin. 

“I know, but it’s just a minute, and I won’t go far.” 

The man followed her line of sight, that was locked in Heejin the second their eyes met. 

“Don’t take too long.”  

The second he moved away, Hyunjin bolted, crashing her body against Heejin’s in the tightest hug. 

“Hyunjin.” She caressed her hair, noticing how her body trembled under how she squeezed her. 

“I’m so nervous.” 

“Awn, baby.” Heejin felt herself blush as the pet name suddenly escaped her lips without her thinking. She had never called her that. What had gotten into her? 

“B-baby?” Hyunjin stuttered, her voice muffled against her shoulder. 

“I-I’m sorry, you don’t like it?” 

“I love it. You can call me that as many times as you like and I’m always going to love how it sounds when you say it.” 

Heejin squeezed her tighter, then pulled away just enough to look at her. With the excitement of seeing her and the dim lights of the venue, she had barely noticed Hyunjin’s new look. 

“Oh my--- Your hair.” Heejin took a strand of her freshly-dyed dark red hair. “You look so, so, so beautiful.” 

That was enough to rip a small smile from Hyunjin. 

“You like it? I wanted to surprise you and look extra special tonight.” 

Heejin found it hard to speak with how in awe she was. The black eyeliner decorated her eyes, the red lipstick matched with her hair, and that fake lip ring that made her look so fierce and cool. 

“You’ll always look extra special to me.” 

Hyunjin pecked her cheek. “The question is... Can I sound extra special too?” 

“Of course. I know you can do this. You were born to be on stage, you don’t need to be afraid. I know you’re gonna do amazing.” Heejin fixed her hair behind her ear, resting her hand on her neck. 

Hyunjin pulled her in for a kiss, and for some reason, Heejin had to get a hold on her knees. Maybe because it was the first time she was kissing Hyunjin with her lip ring? 

“I don’t want your fangirls to hate you for this,” Heejin said with a teasing tone. 

Hyunjin chuckled. “I couldn’t care less if they did. It would only prove they’re not real fans.” 

If it was like that, there wouldn’t be a problem if Heejin kissed her again, just a little deeper this time, not caring about where they were. 

“Thank you, Heejin. I really needed that.” 

“To kiss me?” 

“Hearing those words, but to kiss you as well.” 

Heejin smiled, but noticed the look the security were throwing them. “I think you should go inside.” 

“Yes. Root a lot for us.” 

“Of course. You won’t hear anyone else screaming your name but me.” 

Hyunjin smirked, then approached her ear. “I wouldn’t want anyone else screaming my name but you.” 

Heejin flared her nostrils with a hoarse inhale.  

“But this time I want you all screaming for us.” Hyunjin giggled and kissed her one last time. “I love you.” 

“I love you too. When is your turn?” 

“Second from last.” 

“Okay. I’ll wait patiently to see you crush the stage.” 

Hyunjin beamed and went back, thanking the security, as Heejin went back as well. As she approached, she noticed Ryujin talking to a girl who sat at her other side. She sat and turned to Chaewon, but before she could even ask, she started. 

“Why can’t I see Hyejoo before the show as well?” 

“Did you ask her to come see you?” 

“No...” 

Heejin shook her head. “Who’s Ryujin talking to?” 

Yerim and Chaewon leaned forward to peek at them, then shrugged. “I’ve been listening to Chaewon whining about Hyejoo, I didn’t even notice. But she’s pretty.” 

“As if you weren’t talking about Jinsol as well!”  

“W-What? I’ve been saying I’m excited to see them!” 

“Yeah, mentioning Jinsol’s name every two sentences.” 

Yerim huffed. “She’s pretty, and has a pretty voice! What do you want me to do?” 

“You crushed pretty hard on her.” 

“What if I did?” 

“What about you two tell them about that?” Heejin rolled her eyes, and they looked at her with terrified features. 

“Oh, Heejin!” Ryujin noticed her at last. “How was Hyunjin?” 

“Nervous, but I think she’s feeling better now. And how are you?” 

“Oh, hm...” Ryujin scratched her neck, and peeked at the girl before approaching Heejin. “Her name’s Jisu and oh she’s so pretty.” 

“Are they here to support them?” 

“No, they’re rooting for a boy band, but I don’t care, she was the one who started talking to me! She thought I was alone, because Chaewon and Yerim were too busy talking about their crushes and you were with Hyunjin. Isn’t that so cute?” 

Heejin laughed. “Yes, she’s very kind. And you’re welcome I wasn’t here so she thought you were alone.” 

Suddenly, the lights went off, except for the stage ones, and a man entered the stage. 

“Good evening, everyone, thank you for joining us tonight for this battle full of incredible and talented young musicians! I won’t steal much more time, and we’re gonna start right off with the first band, make some noise for NCT U!” 

He did tell the audience to make some noise, but Heejin didn’t expect that much screaming and fangirling. Five guys stepped on stage, taking their places with their instruments, and they sure were handsome, especially the guitarist. He had the sharpest jawline Heejin had ever seen, awesome white hair and a weirdly captivating aura. What was Heejin’s thing with the guitarists, though? 

“TAEYONG, TAEYONG, TAEYONG!” The girls at the front shouted, and the guitarist smiled, waving at them, probably killing one or two in the process. 

But soon Heejin could understand why they were popular – they were great. Not only technically, but their voices were amazing, they singed and rapped beautifully, and their songs were very unique as well.  

They finished with an amazing song called The 7th Sense, and Heejin applauded, watching them waving and thanking time and time again as they left. 

“Wow, they were great, I didn’t expect that,” Ryujin said with her eyebrows high. 

“Me either. Though I arrived halfway through.” A voice sounded behind them. 

“Wha- Vivi?! When did you get here? And how?” Jiwoo asked. 

“I came as fast as I could. I was stuck at my shift, but thankfully I saw at least a little of the first act. They were so good! And they were only the first ones up... I wonder if all the others are that good.” 

The following acts were cool, but not as good. Heejin was trying not to count how much was left for their turn so she wouldn’t feel more nervous, but it was inevitable. She knew they were next, and she couldn’t stop tapping her feet on the ground. 

Then, finally... “Loona!” 

Heejin didn’t remember screaming so loud before. Not only her, but her friends, and she could hear some more noise coming from the back as well. Her heart beat so hard she felt sick in the stomach as they entered, so beautiful and ethereal she wouldn’t believe they were real if she didn’t know them. 

A collective gasp came from the entire group, and all the girls turned to Yerim instinctively to check on her pulse. 

Turned out Hyunjin wasn’t the only one who had decided to change her look suddenly for the show. Jinsol, the girl most people could almost swear they’d never seen without her platinum blonde locks, now rocked sleek, straight, jet black hair, with thick bangs framing her face. 

“Choi Yerim! Choi Yerim!” Chaewon shook Yerim by her wrist, starting at her pale face with a low-hanging chin and wide eyes.  

“She’s meditating, guys.” Ryujin said from the other side. 

“She’s died.” Heejin chuckled. 

“I really have.” Yerim said softly, barely moving. 

“At least wait until their performance is over to cross to the other side. Pretty sure you’re gonna want to see this.” Chaewon assured her. 

Haseul shared a look with the members, making sure to gather the nod from everybody before Hyejoo hit her drumsticks, as always, and Loonatic started. Heejin couldn’t stay quiet in her seat. She applauded, sang, screamed, anything to keep up with every emotion flowing through her.  

Hyunjin didn’t even seem nervous, nor did any of them. They knew how to give a show, to captivate the audience not only with their talent and skill, but their charisma.  

People screamed and cheered when the song ended. Heejin looked around her, sharing proud looks with her friends. Chaewon and Yerim couldn’t stop panicking together about how cool their crushes looked. 

Then, the beginning of Uncover broke the cheers. Oh, how that song still affected Heejin. Would it ever not affect? 

She had to actually hold her tears every time Hyunjin opened to sing, and there was no way she could ever describe that feeling.  

By the end of it, they let the people cheer all they wanted as they took a second to breathe and drink some water. Haseul thanked into the mic, and Hyunjin scanned the crowd, finally finding them, and most importantly, Heejin. Their eyes met and Heejin beamed, giving her thumbs up. 

“We hope you enjoyed our songs, and we’ll finish with our most recent song, that we’re gonna perform for the first time, Chaotic. Thank you all again, please enjoy!” Haseul said, earning another wave of applaused. 

Chaotic. 

That unique, mysterious instrumental start sent a chill down Heejin’s spine, and she was most certainly not ready to hear the final version of the song, now with the lyrics. 

Jungeun was the first to sing, followed by Jinsol, and when Hyunjin sang next, she looked straight at Heejin. 

Our attraction is unstoppable 
Mysterious secrets endlessly spread out 
The universe is filled with light 
I’m filled with you, I’ll go crazy 

How Heejin knew Hyunjin wrote that thinking about her, for her, and was now singing it live, directed to her. But she didn’t know how to process, how to react with that information, with what she was hearing. Everything hit her so intensely she couldn’t help but cry. But she cleaned her eyes in an instant, because she didn’t want to lose not even a second of that performance, of that masterpiece of a song. 

And when the song came to an end, with Hyunjin singing the last sentence, Chaotic my heart is off time, the venue erupted in screams. Her friends stood up, applauding, shouting, jumping and hugging, but Heejin seemed frozen in time. Until she remembered she had a job to do, so she bolted up, filled her chest with air, and released a loud, “HYUNJIN!” 

She wasn’t sure she had heard it or not, so she tried again, “HYUNJIN, I LOVE YOU!” 

And now she knew she did, because she looked at her with a smile. 

“I LOVE YOU, HYEJOO!” Chaewon shouted, and the whole group turned to her with dropped chins. 

“YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL, JINSOL!” Yerim’s turn to scream, and Heejin was only laughing by now. 

“HASEUL, YOU’RE ANNOYING AS HELL, BUT I LOVE YOU!” Yeojin, even though small, had such a loud voice it made Haseul laugh. 

“NO YOU’RE NOT, YOU’RE AMAZING!” Vivi joined in. 

“Aren’t you going to scream for Jungeun?” Heejin teased Ryujin, who glared at her. 

“WE LOVE YOU, JUNGEUN!” Shouted Jiwoo and Sooyoung at the same time.  

The band thanked one more as they made their way out, and Heejin dropped to her chair, a hand to her chest.  

“How are we feeling?” Sooyoung turned back to them. 

“Dead,” Chaewon mumbled. “I... I said what I said, didn’t I?” 

“Yes, you did.” Heejin patted her shoulder. “We’re all proud. Now go say that in a proper way.” 

“Man, I’m so proud of them. I just want to engulf them in a big hug,” Ryujin said, her eyes gleaming. 

“They were really good!” Jisu, the pretty girl sitting next to Ryujin said. “We loved them.” 

“Oh, thank you so much!” Jiwoo turned to her, grabbing her hand and shaking it enthusiastically. 

“We’re really happy you enjoyed. Who are you rooting for?” 

“We came to support Stray Kids, the ones just before Loona. They’re a band from our school.” 

Heejin had been so nervous thinking about their performance she didn’t remember that band well, just the fact that their songs were full of energy and loud. 

“Good luck!” Heejin said. 

“You guys too!” 

Jisu turned back to her group of friends and Ryujin gripped on Heejin’s arm. “She’s too cute, what do I do?!” 

“Write your number on her arm. It worked for Hyunjin.” Heejin smirked. 

Heejin allowed her heart to calm down a bit, now that their performance was over, and enjoyed the last band performing.  

The judges were now deciding on a top three, then they would announce the winner, who would have the opportunity to work with a label and record a song with a music video. That was so huge, it would be like a dream come true.  

“The wait is killing me,” Ryujin whined. 

Heejin sighed, nodding. She was trying to fill her head with good thoughts only, but she still couldn’t fight the doubts. There were other great bands, what if they didn’t win? 

No, she shouldn’t think like that. 

At last, all the bands were called on stage, so the judges commented in each one of them before calling the top three. 

“Loona, I heard you guys back at the bar that night, and I was blown away. You still managed to surprise me with your last song, Chaotic. You guys have a very unique style, very different from the usual bands we hear nowadays, so I congratulate you for that,” one of the judge said, and people cheered once more, as they bowed to the judges and to the crowd. 

“That was a huge compliment, right?” Yerim asked. 

The judges were done with the comments on the bands. 

“Alright, it’s time to finally announce the top three! Everyone, who do you want to be the winner tonight?” 

In that same second, the group started shouting “LOONA, LOONA!” the loudest they could, but still the NCT U fans, though they weren’t as loud individually, significantly outnumbered them. 

“I can hear some names, let’s see if they’re in the top three. So, the first band to be in the top is... Blackpink!” 

The only girl band aside from Loona. They were cool, but Heejin thought the songs were too commercial. The four girls walked to the center, smiling and bowing. 

“The next band in the top is... NCT U!” 

Of course, that one was kind of obvious. The fangirls screamed their lungs out as they walked to the center, standing beside Blackpink. 

“And now, the last band to make top three...” 

Heejin held on her breath, her hands unconsciously holding on Ryujin and Chaewon’s. Her eyes focused on them, at the back, also holding each other’s hands. Hyunjin kept her face expressionless, looking ahead at the void, but Heejin could see her knees wobbling from there. All she wanted to do was run, hug her, kiss her- 

“Stray Kids!” 

No... 

What? 

Heejin felt sick, and had to look away from Hyunjin and the others, or else she would break in tears right there. She couldn’t even look at her friends, as if she was ashamed to do so.  

“What? You’re all wrong!” Yeojin yelled, and Sooyoung turned to her, trying to calm her down. “Just say you hate talented women and leave!” 

After the awesome comments from the judge, they weren’t even in top three? They may not be the most popular band there, but their songs were no doubt superior, and that was supposed to be about the music, and not the popularity.  

But if it was popularity that they wanted, they would show it. 

Heejin stood up and started shouting again, “LOONA, LOONA, LOONA.” And soon, her friends joined, screaming so loud, so strong, without even stopping to breathe. And for their surprise, many more people joined them as well, all screaming their name together, overshadowing all other names.  

Hyunjin shook her head, her eyes widened in her face, but they didn’t stop, and they wouldn’t. They would show how loved they were there, and how much they deserved this. 

The MC looked around, uncertain of what to do. He rushed to the judges, and after a few seconds, he came back. 

“Everyone, this was an unexpected situation, but due to your enthusiasm towards Loona, we’re nominating them top four! Come forward.” 

Hyunjin was too stunned to move. Jinsol held on her arm, bringing her forward with the others following behind, shining eyes and trembling limbs. Even Hyejoo was getting emotional. 

And still, they wouldn’t stop shouting their name. Heejin’s heart beat with each Loona she shouted, and she didn’t care she would ruin her voice. 

“T-Thank you so much, everyone, this means the world to us, knowing you’re rooting for us and that our performance had an impact on you. Thank you.” Haseul bowed ninety degrees, followed by her band mates. 

Heejin was crying again, but she didn’t bother anymore.  

“What a turn!” the MC said. “But we still have to announce the big winner.” 

At last, the room went silent.  

“I’m not going to torture you anymore, so I’ll get straight to the point. Tonight’s band battle winner is... NCT U!” 

The boys jumped and hugged each other, while the other bands around them clapped and congratulated them. 

Heejin kept clapping her hands, watching as Taeyong approached Hyunjin and extended her a hand. Hyunjin shook his hand and congratulated him and his band.  

“They were good, we have to admit,” Sooyoung said. 

“They were. But our girls were the true winners. What will people remember more? The band who won first place, or that amazing band that wasn’t chosen, but people called and cheered so much they just had to be acknowledged?” Heejin said, earning nods of agreement. 

“I still just want to hug them all!” Ryujin said. 

The bands were stepping down the stage one by one, waving at the crowd and their fans. Heejin kept her eyes on them, watching as they disappeared to the backstage.  

They took their time to leave the venue, as Heejin typed on her phone. 

[Heejin] 
We’re outside. I’m so proud of you, and I love you so much <3 

The night was cold, and they had no idea how long they would take to leave, but they would wait. Heejin laughed as she watched Ryujin saying goodbye to Jisu. She looked so flustered as she came back, her face all red. 

“So?” Heejin asked. 

“We exchanged numbers and Instagrams.” 

“Wow, congrats on officially moving on from Jungeun!” Yerim hit her arm.  

“I was never in love with her or something, she’s just hot. But I’m not so sure about you-” 

“Shut up!”  

Their bickering made them all laugh, but Chaewon was awfully quiet. 

“You okay?” Heejin stood close to her. 

“I wanna tell her.” 

Heejin blinked. “Seriously?” 

“Yes. I’m gonna tell her, Heejin. I kind of did already, so, I better be honest, right?” 

Heejin pulled her into a hug. “Yes! Please, do that.” 

After some more time, the bands started leaving the venue, and it was only a matter of time until they appeared. Heejin was a nervous wreck again. She didn’t want to break in front of Hyunjin, and hoped she wasn’t too sad or disappointed. They did an amazing job, after all. 

“Look, the true winners of tonight!” Jiwoo said, making everyone turn to meet them with smiles. 

Heejin knew they were all there, approaching, but all she could do was walk towards Hyunjin and let their bodies meet into another tight hug. 

“I’m sorry,” Hyunjin whispered. 

“Don’t you dare apologize, Hyunjin, you did nothing wrong.” 

“Aren’t you disappointed?” 

“Of course not, I couldn’t be prouder of you and the others! You guys were amazing, I won’t even start talking about Chaotic, you probably know how I feel about it already.” 

“But I want you to tell me. Did you like it?” 

Heejin looked into her eyes, resting a hand on her cheek. “It’s absurdly beautiful. I’m running out of words to describe your songs, I really don’t know what else I can say about them. I love it so much, all of them. And I love you, Hyunjin. I’m so proud of you, you can’t imagine.” 

“But I made a promise. I promised you we would win, so you would work hard and upload your story-” 

“I still will.” 

Hyunjin widened her eyes. “You will?” 

“Yes. I’ve decided that even before knowing if you were going to win or not. And you were the true winners. Did you see, did you hear how everyone was cheering for you? It wasn’t just us. There was a lot of people rooting for you. Everyone loved you guys.” 

Hyunjin’s eyes shone, and she looked up, maybe to stop the tears from falling. “Look at the moon.” 

Heejin looked up as well. The moon was almost full, shining in the cloudless night sky. “It’s beautiful.” 

While Hyunjin kept on looking up at the moon, probably thanking and telling her grandma about the night, Heejin took a look around. Yeojin hugged Haseul close, crying into her chest and babbling something, and her sister laughed at her. Jungeun held Haseul’s hand and patted Yeojin’s head, trying not to laugh along with Vivi, Jiwoo, and Sooyoung. Close to them, but talking with each other, was Yerim and Jinsol. Yerim couldn’t stop smiling, and when Jinsol grabbed her arm and pulled into a hug after something she said, Yerim went red in the cheeks. 

Now, where were Chaewon and Hyejoo? Heejin looked around again, and there they were, far from them. 

“Look at them,” Heejin said, and Hyunjin looked at the same direction. 

Chaewon looked down at her hands, until she looked up at Hyejoo and said something that made her widen her eyes. When Hyejoo didn’t answer, Chaewon mumbled something else and turned, but Hyejoo was fast to grab on her hand, pulling her into her embrace. 

“Awwwn!” Heejin squealed. “Finally!” 

Hyejoo cupped her cheeks and looked down at her, a smile creeping on her lips. 

“Oh my god, is she going to kiss her?!” Heejin gasped. 

“You’re having too much fun.” 

“Look, look! Just kiss her, for ’s sake!” 

Heejin really felt like she was watching a drama. Hyejoo pulled her in, painfully slow, until their lips touched at last. 

“Are you done fangirling?” Hyunjin chuckled. 

“I’m sorry, but I’m really happy!” 

“I can do that as well, if you want.” 

“Then what are you waiting for?” 

Hyunjin kissed her, again, and again, and how many times as she wanted. 

“Yah, why are we all scattered? Join us, let’s all celebrate!” Jiwoo babbled. 

Heejin giggled. “Maybe we should.” 

“Wait.” Hyunjin tightened the grip on her. “Thank you, Heejin. For everything. If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know if I would be able to be so confident, even after losing. And you lead me into a better direction. You showed me what is to love and to be loved.” 

“And if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be doing what I love. So, thank you as well, Hyunjin. We’re always here to support and root for each other.” 

Hyunjin smiled at her and kissed her forehead this time. “I love you.” 

“I won’t call you guys again, next time I’ll drag you here!” Jiwoo shouted. 

“I love you too, baby. Now let’s go before Jiwoo hits us.” Heejin kissed her one more time, grabbed her hand and lead the way. 

Heejin still remembered the first night when she had crushed hard on the cool guitarist that wrote her number on her arm. But she would never expect they would walk that path and share a story worthy of becoming a webtoon, aside from the vampire one she was already working on. 

---

A/N: Wow, it's already over, I'M ACTUALLY SAD T^T 

Happy ending for everyone! Hyewon together, Ryujin got herself a girl (RYULIA ♥️), Yerim and Jinsol... For some reason I like them together lmao

FUN FACT, all this competition situation, they all screaming for them and the band getting into the top four, was actually based on something that happened to a friend of mine on a drag competition sdigbnsdigua we went to see him, and he did amazing and the judges said wonderful things about his performance, but then, he wasn't called for top three. Me, my friends, his family, got so upset, that we literally didn't stop screaming for his name, and so they called him as top four, for a final performance. He didn't win though, but it was really the most memorable thing of the night, and I remember thinking like 'okay, I NEED to add this in my band au' LMAOOOO 

Thank you so much everyone who read this story, I hope you enjoyed it a lot! And thank you to my gf/editor for the awesome job as always ♥️

Now, I have an announcement. You see, Heejin was working on a vampire story, right?

What if... I was already working on THAT vampire au, as a 2jin fic? Hyunjin as Selene, of course. She was Selene's main inspiration, after all hehe. But It's not my next fic, though. In fact, my next story is not Loona centered. That's right, ITZY FIC INCOMING!!!

Stay safe everyone, thank you a lot again, and until my next story! ♥️♥️♥️

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