Seungcheol jogged up the stairs, panting as soon as he opened the door to the practice room. The members were already there, he was a bit late because he had to attend a meeting with the management in the morning.
“Alright, everyone in formation. We’ll just go through the planning design briefly for now.” The performance team took charge to lead their practice. They spent hours trying to perfect their dance moves and made sure everyone’s moves were synchronized.
“I think you should turn a little bit more, hyung. About 4.5 degrees?” Hoshi pointed out from the front, pointing at Jeonghan and Seungcheol as he showed examples.
“Huh?” Jeonghan chuckled. “How much is exactly 4.5 degrees?”
“Yah, only you know how much that is, Hoshi-yah.” Seungcheol grumbled and suddenly Hoshi’s eyes changed.
“Do you want me to scrutinize some more?” Hoshi suddenly raised his voice. “You’ve been half a beat late, and you keep messing up the choreo! What do you think you’re doing?”
“At least, I’m a bit better than some of us, ain’t I?” Seungcheol tried to lighten the situation.
“You’re the only one who’s always tired! I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want any fight! But you’ve been too much! You know how demanding our choreography is, yet you just kept complaining here and there. The members always have to slow down because of you, yet you always think you’re better than others!” Hoshi called out angrily.
Seungcheol frowned at that. “What? I’ve been keeping up as much as I can! If only you used Myungho’s suggested move, we’ll get a simpler version, and it won’t be taking us this long to finish the whole coreo!”
“Stop blaming others, Choi Seungcheol!” Hoshi countered back. “You should take better care of yourself instead of complaining about the complicated level of my work! You are a leader, yet you’ve been dragging us down!”
“Yah!” Seungcheol shouted back angrily. “Is that what you really thought about me?”
“Why are you angry, hyung? Hoshi is right, you were too focused on your job as a leader.” Jihoon chimed in. “You won’t lose anything even if you didn’t become one, hyung.”
“I was too focused on being a leader?” Seungcheol frowned.
“Yeah, don’t you realise it? You kept using it over us throughout the years, acting as if you had all the power upon us, but all you did was bring us down.” Mingyu added out of nowhere.
Seungcheol chuckled bitterly at that. “Fine, I’m sorry for dragging us down. Can we just continue to practice?”
The practice continued, but the situation became a bit tense and awkward. Seungcheol tried his best despite his nausea and dizziness that definitely came back after dancing non-stop for the whole hour.
“Yah, you okay?” Joshua held Seungcheol's arm, preventing him from falling onto the floor face first.
“Yeah, thanks.” Seungcheol gave him a soft assurance smile before softly pulling his hand away from his hold and backed away.
“Alright, let’s start again from the top!” Hoshi called out. Everyone gathered back around and continued practicing until late night.
After the practice finished, they started their quick game to choose the person who was going to clean the room. “Can I be excused, guys? I’m not feeling very well…” Seungcheol asked from where he was sitting.
“You were fine the whole day, hyung!” Seungkwan pointed out.
“Yeah, we’re all tired too!” Mingyu agreed.
“But I’m really not feeling well…” Seungcheol croaked out, he couldn’t even stand up properly.
“Eyyy, stop acting like you’re sick just to get out of the punishment, hyung!” The members complained one after another.
Seungcheol didn’t argue back anymore, he didn’t have enough energy anymore. He just wanted to lay down and sleep so badly. His head was thumping so bad, his whole body was aching like crazy, he couldn’t even feel his feet anymore, that’s why he was sitting down instead of standing like everyone else.
“Let’s play numbers!” Jeonghan threw out and called out number one as fast as he could. Seungkwan got caught with Joshua, so the members cheered and teased them before getting ready to leave.
“Hyung?” Seungkwan called out to Seungcheol who was leaning by the wall. “Aren’t you going to leave?” He asked, but he got no response.
“Hyung?” Jun tried next, shaking Seungcheol’s arm lightly, but he was totally unresponsive. The two glanced at each other anxiously and Jun quickly ran out to the café where some of the members and one of their managers were waiting for them.
“What’s happening here?” Their lead manager appeared not long after Jun left. He was just outside to receive a phone call, since he was supposed to supervise the members cleaning the practice room.
“I don’t know!” Seungkwan was already in tears. “I tried waking him up, but he’s not responding!”
“Calm down, Seungkwan.” The lead manager told the younger man and he obeyed, standing up and backed away from his spot. The lead manager took charge of the situation, laying the unconscious leader down on the floor, although he had no idea what to do next.
“What’s wrong with hyung?” Asked the members who arrived along with the manager and Jun as soon as they saw their leader laying on the floor with their lead manager trying to wake him up, albeit failing.
“Help me get him on my back!” The lead manager told the others. The manager with Jun’s and Vernon’s help lifted Seungcheol up and got him on their lead manager’s back and held him steady as their manager stood up.
“I’m going to bring him to the hospital, you should go back to the dormitory first.” That was all the managers said before he rushed out of the room with Seungcheol on his back.
“Is he really sick…?” Seungkwan asked no one in particular.
“He hasn’t been sleeping for a few days already, that’s what the manager told me just now…” Minghao replied as he looked at the empty spot where Seungcheol had been laying down just now.
“He’ll be fine.” Their manager assured them. “I’ll get an update about him from the lead manager later, so let’s go home first, shall we?” The members decided to finish cleaning the practice room together before returning to their dorm.
“How’s Seungcheol?” Jeonghan questioned the lead manager as soon as he got on the van that morning. All they got was panic messages from the other members, saying that their leader passed out in the practice room and had to be brought to the hospital.
“He’s having a fever, the doctor said he had to be resting for a few more days, but we can’t have him hospitalised for that long, so I brought him to the dorm.” Their lead manager answered as the other members got inside.
“He’s sleeping when I went to see him.” Joshua said as he took a seat behind Jeonghan. They were on the way for a meeting with the producer of their variety show. No one said anything after that and for the whole drive until they arrived at their usual meeting room.
“Good morning everyone.” The producer of their variety show appeared not too long after they all took a seat.
“Good morning.” The members replied.
“The reason why I call everyone for a meeting is because I have to show you guys something from the footage we shot for our game a few days ago.” The producer told them. “The management agreed not to release the footage, but we believe you guys have the right to take a look at it.”
The members paid attention to the screen where the producers played the footage. The members’ expressions slowly changed from confused to surprised to anger as the footage played in front of them. They never thought that the junior who had been admiring them for so long had been so rude to their leader.
“What the heck?” Jihoon couldn’t control his anger anymore. Why would they say all those things to their leader? Sure, Seungcheol would have been in control of a group, but that was just because the members would end up asking for his advice rather than he purposely taking control of the group, the youngsters were just brazenly calling their leader bossy! That’s not acceptable at all!
“I’m going to give those rude jerks a lesson!” Seungkwan stood up.
“No need, we’ve sent the footage to their management and your director had also gone to have a talk with their director and filed an informal complaint. They’re on their way here as we’re speaking.” The lead manager told them.
Not too long after, the door opened and the manager and SuperSeven members arrived, everyone looking remorseful and apologetic as they made their way inside the meeting room. The Seventeen members couldn’t control their expression as the younger boys sat down in front of them.
“We’re here to apologise for what happened on the recording day…” Sunghoon, the leader of SuperSeven bowed, followed by the rest of the members.
“You’re apologising to whom?” Hoshi suddenly questioned. “The person who you had been rude with is not even here!”
The SuperSeven members kept quiet at that. “How dare you say that to our precious hyung! For your information, he’s not just a leader, he’s our brother! We’ve been with him for 10 years! What right do you have to judge him only after seeing him a few times and from whatever you heard from others?!” Seungkwan was the one who fired it to the members of the rookie group. His voice was trembling, and his eyes were teary in pure rage, making the members of SuperSeven cowered in fear.
“I’m really sorry on behalf of my boys. I’ll make sure to have a talk with them…” T