[personal profile] maayacolabackup
at least it's not in lapslock this time?

Junmyeon feels dizzy when he wakes. Sehun is shaking him, too hard and impatiently. "Hyung, it's time to get up," he says, and Junmyeon groans and cracks open his eyes.

What time is it? he tries to say, but all that comes out is a croak.

"Hyung, are you okay?" Of course Junmyeon's okay. They've got a busy schedule today, and he's got to set a good example by sitting up right now and getting dressed, so everyone only has to wait for Kyungsoo to successfully drag Jongin kicking and screaming from his bed to go to rehearsal. "You look-"

"I'm fine," Junmyeon says, and this time his voice comes out okay. "Just tired."

"Okay..." Sehun sounds skeptical, but then he shrugs, accepting Junmyeon's reassurances at face value. "Then we've got to be ready in thirty minutes, before manager gets here."

"Right," Junmyeon says, and after taking a deep breath, he forces himself to sit all the way up and swing his legs over the side of the bed. After that, it's easy to pull on clothes, even though his muscles ache with every movement and his head is pounding worse than when he'd heard Maxstep for the first time.

When he stumbles into the kitchen, Sehun pushes a hot cup of tea into his hands. Junmyeon blinks at him confusedly for a moment, and Sehun blushes and averts his eyes. "Just drink it," Sehun says, and Junmyeon smiles before reaching one hand up and ruffling Sehun's hair. "Cut it out."

"Thank you," Junmyeon murmurs, and Sehun nods and moves away. Chanyeol chooses that moment to look up from his oversized cooking bowl filled with cereal to stare at Junmyeon suspiciously, and Junmyeon pulls his grin a little wider. Chanyeol tilts his head to the side before he nods to himself, looking determined, and Junmyeon fleetingly thinks he looks adorable like that, lower lip stuck out and eyebrows furrowed, before he returns his attention to trying feign alertness.

He still feels Chanyeol's gaze on him, and while normally, he'd welcome that attention, (because, for some reason, he rather wants Chanyeol to look at him, and he's still trying to figure that part out,) today it makes him nervous; afraid Chanyeol will see right through him.

Junmyeon feels a bit better when the pile into the van to head to the SM Building. But after a half an hour of dance rehearsal, he can barely stand. He feels like he's freezing, but his skin is hot to the touch. "Let's take a break," Chanyeol says authoritatively, when Junmyeon feels moments away from passing out.

"We just started," Jongin says, his morning grumpiness having worn off to be replaced with his customary dance adrenaline. "We usually take a break on the hour?"

"Well," Chanyeol says, in a tone that doesn't brook much argument, "we're taking one now." Sehun mumbles something that sounds like agreement and promplty sits down in the middle of the floor, fishing out his mobile and clicking buttons until the familiar tune of 'Angry Birds' starts playing from its tinny speakers. It adds to Junmyeon's headache.

"Fine," Baekhyun says, seeming not to care either way, and Junmyeon closes his eyes and wonders if he can even walk out in the hallway before he collapses.

"It's okay with me, too," Kyungsoo says.

This is an important rehearsal. If everyone has to stop because of him, he'll feel... really guilty. He's leader, and he needs to do his best; he doesn't need to let a tiny cold or something keep him from fulfilling his duties. He swallows, and steels himself. He'll go to the bathroom and rinse off his face, and he'll feel a lot better.

"Hyung," Chanyeol says, "can I talk to you outside?" Chanyeol doesn't give him a Chance to answer. He carefully puts an arm around Junmyeon's back and pulls him into his side. He stiffens, for a second, when their skin touches, but then he smiles easily. "It'll just take a minute."

"Sure," Junmyeon slurs, and focuses on the cool press of Chanyeol's hand to his bicep. To the others, it probably just looks friendly, but in reality, Chanyeol is keeping Junmyeon from falling; supporting his weight. "Thank you," he whispers.

Chanyeol doesn't respond, but does offer a gentle squeeze before they're walking, slow and steady, out of the rehearsal room. When the door closes behind them, Chanyeol cautiously helps Junmyeon sink down so he's sitting on the floor, and then sits down beside him. "Hyung, you're burning up," Chanyeol says.

"That's funny," Junmyeon responds, "because I feel like an ice cube." He tries to smile, but then he ends up being wracked with a shiver instead.

"Don't kid around," Chanyeol says. "You've got a fever. Why don't you want to say something?" Chanyeol presses one large hand to Junmyeon's forehead, while lacing the other one together with Junmyeon's. Chanyeol's hand laced together with his feels nice and comforting.

"We need the rehearsal," Junmyeon says. "Last time we made too many mistakes. We have a lot of eyes on us." Lee Soo Man has his eyes on Junmyeon especially. The seven year trainee that's finally ready to stand on stage.

"It's no good if you get too sick to perform." Chanyeol's low voice rumbles, and Junmyeon's eyes have fallen closed, but he can imagine the look on Chanyeol's face, eyes big and glossy with worry and mouth parted in a silly expression of dismay. It makes Junmyeon want to curl up into one of Chanyeol's famous bear hugs and fall asleep just like that until he wakes up feeling better. He knows he would, too, because Chanyeol's hugs are a bit like magic.

"I know," Junmyeon says. "It's worse than I thought." His throat feels scraped raw. "But I'm already..." Not quite leader enough, Junmyeon almost says, because when they're together everyone looks to Wu Fan and not to him. The least he can do is try his best at everything. "Jongin danced with a hurt back. So did Yixing."

"And that was stupid, too," Chanyeol replies. "Are you really going back in there to dance?"

"Yes," Junmyeon says. Chanyeol's fingers feel so lovely and soothing between his own. He opens his eyes, just a bit, and Chanyeol is staring down at him, that thick lower lip caught between his teeth now. "You're so pretty." Junmyeon can feel the words leaving his mouth but he's powerless to stop them. Later, he'll blame the fever, he thinks.

Chanyeol flushes, and Junmyeon wonders if Chanyeol's not feeling well, either. "Now I know you're sick," Chanyeol says, voice almost a whisper. He lightly tugs on Junmyeon's hand and Junmyeon falls into him. Chanyeol wraps both arms around him, and Junmyeon's getting his hug after all. "Let me run practice for you, today."

Sometimes, when Chanyeol counts heads or pushes people into the right places on stage or pulls and tugs one of the others in the right direction, Junmyeon feels a bit like he's watching one of his ducklings lead his other ducklings.

But Chanyeol sounds so sweet, so eager for Junmyeon to say yes. Junmyeon knows that feeling all too well, having experienced it himself; that wanting to be helpful, wanting to be useful feeling, and he finds himself agreeing even as he melts a little deeper into the taller man's embrace. "All right," Junmyeon mumbles into Chanyeol's collarbone. Chanyeol smells nice, like his laundry detergent and a tiny bit of perspiration and mouthwash, and Junmyeon probably only likes the weird combination because he likes Chanyeol so much. "I'm going to fall asleep if you keep this up." Junmyeon thinks it might have come out garbled.

"I wish you would," Chanyeol says. "No one is going to think less of you for being sick."

"You won't?" Junmyeon asks, as the world goes a little bit hazy. The only anchor is Chanyeol's hands, wandering in wide, calming circles across Junmyeon's back. The touch tingles, and it's the only part of Junmyeon's whole body that feels good.

"I especially won't," Chanyeol says into Junmyeon's hair, and Junmyeon hadn't washed it this morning but Chanyeol doesn't seem to mind. "You try too hard for me to ever think less of you." Chanyeol gives him that smile; the one reserved for when Junmyeon reaches up and keeps the sweat from getting into Chanyeol's eyes, or when he rests his hand on the back of Chanyeol's neck to say hello when Chanyeol is reading and hasn't noticed he's come in. It's slow and beautiful, and despite his illness, Junmyeon's heart still clenches.

Junmyeon wants to tell Chanyeol that lately, for some reason, it seems like Chanyeol's opinion means the most to him, or that if Chanyeol smiles at him with those big pearly teeth he gains a little more strength, but his throat is too sore and his thoughts are too jumbled. Instead, he burrows deeper into Chanyeol's chest and lulls himself to sleep with Chanyeol's steady breaths.

The sound of the door.

"Do you think he'll let us send him home?" Junmyeon hears Sehun ask, as he slips away from consciousness, and Chanyeol laughs.

"No," Chanyeol says. "But I'll carry him if I have to. Kicking and screaming." His tone is light but purposeful.

Junmyeon wouldn't kick or scream. Because it's Chanyeol, he would just let him.

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December 2012

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