“How’s Seungcheol?” Joowon asked as he walked inside the practice room. He was away for a family event last night, so he wasn’t able to come around when he received the report from Haejin, the manager who took care of the sudden mess last night.
“The doctor said he’s dehydrated and in shock, so he needs a proper bed rest.” Haejin updated the whole room who was probably wondering what is happening with their leader as well.
“He’s still sleeping when we left.” Mingyu added.
“Good. You guys only have a half day schedule today, so please keep an eye on him. We’re going to have everyone in the best condition and get ready for the comeback date announcement next week.” Joowon told the members. “And one more thing that I have to raise up today is about…” He drew a quick breath.
“Do you guys remember Sihyun?” Jowoon questioned and everyone solemnly nodded. They didn’t need to be reminded of the unfortunate incident. “Apparently his older brother had been sending a lot of threats to the company. We’re in the midst of trying to locate him, but other than his name, we knew next to nothing about him. He changed his identity and job illegally, so we’re asking for the help from the police to locate him since he’s using fake IP and identity.”
“Sihyun hyung has an older brother?” Chan asked no one in particular.
“Yes, his name is Song Sihoon, and I’ve sent his picture on your group chat room.” Joowon replied. Chan fished out his phone, so did the other and opened the picture in the group chat room. The picture was nowhere familiar to anyone he knew, but Chan felt a sense of déjà vu.
Not wanting to think about it too much, Chan focused on the practice along with the members, learning the details of their dance as usual. The practice continued until lunch before everyone left for their own schedule.
“Hyung…” Chan turned to face Jihoon as soon as everyone left. “I think I’ve seen this man somewhere.”
“Doesn’t he look a bit like Sihoon hyung?” Jihoon suddenly pointed out. “Even the name…” Both of them froze at the sudden realisation.
Chan inwardly cursed as he quickly dialled Seungcheol’s number. It was ringing, but no one picked up. “Come on, hyung! Please pick up!”
“He came and asked me about Sihyun hyung a few weeks ago… when he missed the meeting.” Jihoon tried to place the puzzle as Chan continuously tried to call Seungcheol’s phone. “, he’s not picking up!” Chan cried out.
Jihoon’s phone buzzed and he quickly checked the group chat room. There was a messagefrom Joshua asking the members if they had seen Seungcheol. Apparently, some of the members went back to the dorm and their leader was nowhere to be found. “Hyung is not at the dorm. Mingyu said his phone is ringing from his room, but he’s nowhere to be found.”
“I think I know where he is.” Chan pocketed his phone. “Hyung, I need you to get Ray hyung to come to the address I’ll send to you.” He told the older before he rushed out of the room.
The gym was in between their building and dormitory. It was closer to their dormitory, almost a walking distance, but close enough for Seungcheol to jog his way there as a form of workout. Chan managed to arrive at the building in record time, thanks to the taxi driver who seemed to understand his anxiousness. He ran up the stairs and stopped in front of the closed door.
“Hyung?” Chan tried twisting the doorknob and as he expected, it was locked. He tried twisting the knob a few times, but it wasn’t working. He knew he should call for someone, he even shared his location with Jihoon as soon as he left the taxi, but he knew the older won’t arrive as immediately as he wanted.
Chan knew it was a stupid decision as he rammed his body onto the door as hard as he could, his shoulder searing in pain every time he hit the door stronger. One last push… he whispered as he crashed over the door, stumbling and rolling on the floor as the door broke open.
“Hyung!” Chan shouted in panic as he saw Seungcheol’s limp figure on the bench, seeming like he had been beaten raw. Seungcheol forced his eyes open as Chan hovered on top of, his painful expression turned horrified in an instant before the younger was ripped away from him.
“My, my… look who walked himself into the cage?” Sihoon smirked before giving him his signature eye smile, which Chan realised was undoubtedly and eerily similar to the picture Joowon sent them just a few hours ago.
“No…” Seungcheol croaked out. “You promise… not to lay a hand… on the other members…” Chan’s heart broke at how weak his leader looked.
“I did, huh?” Sihoon let out a snicker as he stared dangerously at the youngest who was still on his on the floor. “But how can I reject a prey who walked in with his own legs?”
Chan was suddenly pinned on the floor, and his broken shoulder hindered him from pushing the much stronger man away. Chan couldn’t help but scream in pain as Sihoon twisted his shoulder harshly, amidst Seungcheol’s croaky scream to let him go.
“Shut up! I said shut up!” Sihoon grew impatient at Seungcheol’s constant scream. Chan couldn’t get up due to his aching shoulder, so he ended up having to watch his leader getting punches in the face before his shout became completely silence.
“I’m not done with you, just you wait!” Sihoon suddenly walked away from the room and Chan used the opportunity to stand up, groaning as he held his broken shoulder.
“Hyung!” Chan’s eyes watered at the sight of his oldest hyung. His eyes were closed, and his face was bruised. There were bleeding cuts everywhere, and the punches just now must have caused him the nosebleed that was aggressively bleeding.
“Hyung, wake up! Open your eyes, please!” Chan pleaded. Although he could see the quickness of Seungcheol’s breath, he couldn’t be sure of the older’s consciousness until he slowly opened his eyes, followed by an automated hiss of pain.
“Chan, you have to leave… Please…” Seungcheol cried out, tears streaming down his face as Chan helped him sit up.
“No hyung… I can’t leave you alone here!” Chan stated as Seungcheol coughed and Chan cringe in horror at the amount of blood on the older’s teeth.
“Well, well, well. Aren’t you the sweet little maknae who’s got traumatised from a non-existence kidnapping incident?” Sihoon questioned as he walked in with a baseball bat in his hand. “You think staging a non-existing kidnapping scenario would do less damage than firing an incompetent poor soul?!”
“We never staged anything, you moneysucker!” Chan bravely shouted back, his knuckles trembling in pure rage. “You’re just doing this for money! You wanted compensation for your brother, for what? He’s dead! Unless you’re burning the money along with his body…” Chan was cut off as the baseball bat hit his already broken shoulder with one full swing. He collapsed on the floor, barely conscious due to the pain, but still hyper aware of his surroundings.
“You, little prick has no right to talk to me like that!” Chan could hear Sihoon’s voice on top of him. He saw a silhouette of Sihoon, swinging the bat again and he shut his eyes tight in instinct and braced himself for the swing that never came. He heard a loud thud and a rushed breathing before another silhouette hovered on top of him.
“Chan-ah…” Chan could feel Seungcheol cradling him lightly, and he wanted nothing but to assure him that he’s alright, despite the killing pain on his shoulder, but he didn’t have the energy to even move, as if his body was frozen.
“Chan-ah, I’m sorry…” Seungcheol’s voice sounded hoarse and Chan could feel a droplet of water on his face. He tried his best to move, or at least to open his eyes, but nothing worked, his whole body was too heavy, despite his brain fighting and willing himself to stay awake and be hyper aware of his surroundings.
“No!” Chan could hear a sudden power on Seungcheol’s voice, despite it being hoarse and raspy. “You’re not allowed to lay a hand on him! You can do anything to me, but not my members.”
Chan really fought himself to be fully awake, but his body was betraying him very badly. “You think you’re strong enough, huh?” It was followed by an evil snicker that made Chan’s blood boil.
“I mean it, Song Sihoon! Over my dead body.” Chan’s brain paused for a moment. Seungcheol had known about Sihoon all along? Is that why he was stopping Chan from training with him?
“You’re practically dead already, Choi Seungcheol.” Sihoon let out another snickers. “By the time my brother was pronounced dead, you’re already dead to me.” Chan could hear thud and clang everywhere. He couldn’t move, nor open his eyes, he could only pray that Jihoon and Ray were fast enough. “But, let’s finish the youngest first, huh? You need to suffer the feeling of losing your own brother too before I kill you.”
“No! Chan-ah!” Chan’s prayer was answered as he heard the door crash open, just in time he managed to open his eyes.
“Freeze! Police!” Chan let out a breath he didn’t even know he was holding as he opened his eyes. All sense came back to him in slowly, including the killing pain from his shoulder, but this time, he felt an added weight on his chest. As soon as his vision cleared, Chan let out a scream that came out as a sickening whimper, because all he saw was blood, so much blood, and Seungcheol, bleeding from the back on his head, lying unconscious on top of him.
The first thing Seungcheol saw was white, it was blinding, and his heartbeat raced in surprise. That’s when he heard voices, panicked and commanding voices before he was lulled back to sleep almost immediately.
The next time he regained his senses, it was dark. The only thing he could hear was a beeping of machines and water dripping. His brain worked hard, tracing the last memory he had, gasping for air.
“Coups-yah!” Seungcheol opened his eyes at the call of his name. There was Jeonghan by his side, looking as if he just cried a river, but that was less of his priority now. Chan! He needed to see the maknae! The last thing he remembered was Chan, lying limply on the bloodied floor of the horrid training room.
“What’s wrong, hyung?!” Seungcheol recognised Mingyu’s panicked voice as he continued chanting Chan’s name, while s tried to figure out the meaning of his bantered breath since what they heard was just puffs of air.
“Hyung!” Seungcheol’s ears perked up at the familiar voice. Soon, the familiar image of the youngest appeared in his line of vision, cradling his arm in a sling bandage. His face was messy with tears and snots, but he was here by his side, which meant he was safe.
“Thank God…” Seungcheol let out a relief and content sigh at the sight of the maknae. His small smile triggered more water works from the members around as he went back to sleep, feeling relieved that at least, the youngest was alright, he was hurt, yes, but all that matter is that he was safe and well. A restful sleep claimed him, and he was quickly lost to the world.
“Excuse me, everyone?” The panicked members turned around to find a confused doctor by the door. “I heard the patience is awake?”
“Yeah, but he’s gone back to sleep.” Luckily, their manager was also there, being able to be the calm one in the situation. “Move, kids. Let the doctor do his job.” He told the members and Joshua helped him by pulling everyone away from the bed.
The room was big enough for the doctor to pry away whatever he was doing behind the curtain that was surrounding the bed. It took him a while, making the members start to worry all over again. Chan was still crying in Soonyoung’s hug, the older trying his best to assure the youngest that their leader is in good hands.
Thus, when the nurse drew the curtain, the members almost ambushed the doctor anxiously, while being held on by Wonwoo, Jihoon and Joshua.
“How is he, doctor?” Jeonghan was teh one who asked.
The doctor let out an assurance smile. “He is one strong guy, and a fighter. Based on countless tests we had him go through, I could say there’s not much to be worried about. He lost quite a significant amount of blood, but the hit didn’t have any impact on his skull. His ankle is twisted, but no surgery is needed. His bone is fractured around his arm and fingers, and his chest is badly swollen, but there’s no sign of any internal injury. He tore a bit of muscle around his thigh and shoulder and suffered some bruises and cuts that should be healed in around two weeks.” The doctor explained. “If there’s nothing more pressing, we can clear him up to be discharged by tomorrow. But I’ll advise against him doing any physical straining activities for three to five weeks to heal his fractured bone and torn muscle completely.”
“Oh, thank God…” Jeonghan replied before bowing to the doctor, along with the manager and the other members. “Thank you, doctor.
“My pleasure, boys.” The doctor smiled. He was used to the guys as he was always in charge of their medical needs and he saw them on weekly basis (it was supposed to be monthly, but there were too many of them) to ensure their perfect health as idols. He then walked out of the room, giving space for the members.
“I guess our comeback has to be delayed for a while more.” Joowon lingered his eyes on a crying Chan and the unconscious Seungcheol on the bed. He sighed lightly. “I’ll have to be back to the company to pass the medical reports, just call me if you need anything, alright?” Joowon patted Jihoon’s shoulder, who was standing closest to him.
“Yes, hyung.” The members chorused and Jihoon nodded before Jowo