The room was still dark when you woke up, an unwelcome jolt bringing you back to your senses. Your eyes flitted across the room, but Doojoon’s arms were encasing you tightly. He had thrown himself against you, clinging to your body without any indication that he took into account how it affected you. He snuggled up against your shoulder, his face hiding in the crook of your neck. “Doojoon?” you asked after him, requiring an explanation for such behavior.
“You’re breathing,” his voice had a smile in it.
“That’s uh… pretty standard…” you replied, confusion tinting your voice. “You could say it’s a habit.”
“But just a minute ago you weren’t!”
“And in another minute I won’t be able to,” you choked out, finally noticing how tight his grip on you had become. It was becoming rather difficult to breathe. He released you instantly, apologizing though it was clear the thought hadn’t crossed his mind. “Now, what was this about me not breathing?” you turned onto your side to get a better look at him.
“You died!” he stared at you with wide eyes, his hands flying up in an exaggerated gesture. You were surprised to see him so wide-awake and enthusiastic in the middle of the night. He must have gotten really terrified.
“You must have been dreaming,” you informed him, voice almost bored.
“Well, yes, I know that now,” he rolled his eyes at you, as if it weren’t obvious. To be blunt, you weren’t entirely sure if it was obvious to him though. He was acting a little weird. “But I’m telling you now,” he cleared his throat and looked at you sternly. “You’re not allowed to die unless you ask me first.”
You stared at him, an eyebrow automatically lifting. “I have to ask your permission to kick the bucket?”
“That’s right,” he nodded, matter-of-factly with a resolute look on his face. “And I’m always going to tell you it’s not okay.”
“I really don’t think you’re going to be able to stop death,” you laughed, falling onto your back again and pulling the sheets up to your neck. You wiggled yourself into the mattress to make yourself comfortable. Suddenly he was above you, his arms on either side of your head as he held himself there.
“Sure I can! Haven’t you heard that true love conquers all?” He gave you a stupid grin and you couldn’t stop the same look spread over your face. You pushed yourself off the mattress for a second to press your lips to his quickly before falling back down.
“Go to bed,” you commanded, a giggle in your voice as you pushed him back on the bed. “You’re acting goofy.”
You heard a voice say your name in the distance, but your confusion prevented you from acting upon it. And then it came again, and again, each time a bit louder. Finally a pressure on your shoulder caused your eyes to shoot open and the shock of reality set in, surprised that you had been dreaming. Your heart felt like it was pounding out of your chest, the way it always did when you were shaken awake unexpectedly.
You looked around, expecting to find some sort of emergency situation. The only thing your eyes met was Hyunseung with his head on the pillow, staring at you intently. It was only a moment before your heart returned to its normal pace, a long breath escaping you. You lifted an eyebrow at him, waiting for a reason behind his actions. His voice was monotone and definite when he spoke. “You’re never allowed to go skydiving, got it?”
You stared at him with an open mouth, both horrified and confused. “You woke me up for that?”
“Promise?” he lifted his eyebrows at you, using a tone your mother used to use to scold you. You set your lips together in a tight line.
“Hyunseung, what is this about?”
“I’m not promising until you tell me why this was important enough to wake me up from my much needed beauty sleep!”
He narrowed his eyes at you, not appreciating your fiery attitude at this time of night. The two of you glared at each other, and it was obvious that neither of you were going to back down. Hyunseung let out a long breath, eyebrows still knit together in frustration. “Because you died skydiving.”
You lifted your fingers to your neck. “I’m pretty sure I still have a pulse.” You couldn’t help but tease him, reaching for his hand. “Want to feel?”
“In my dream!” he clarified, tone quite short though he let you lead his fingers to your neck. As touched as you were by his reaction, your exhaustion kept your attitude on edge.
“Well next time you could just check to make sure I’m breathing and tell me in the morning,” you flipped onto your other side so your back was facing him. “I’m pretty sure I’m not planning any midnight skydiving trips in the near future.”
You could hear him ‘humph’ before flipping over on the bed and copying you, his back pressing against yours. He fluffed his pillow and situated himself into a comfortable position, taking a few minutes to finally settle in. You had nearly drifted off to sleep once more when you heard him speak once more, voice barely audible. “And you don’t need any more beauty sleep,” he mumbled very quietly through tight lips. “If you get any prettier I’ll have to beat the other guys away with a stick.”
You couldn’t help but grin and flipped to lean over his shoulder and press your lips to his cheek. “I promise.”
There was little you could do when you couldn’t fall asleep. Usually Junhyung would lie awake with you or find some way to lull you into unconsciousness, but tonight the steady rhythm of his breathing took hold early on. He must have been exhausted from the long week, and you were not going to attempt to wake him when he so desperately needed every minute of rest he could get.
The night left the room pitch, though your eyes were beginning to grow used to it. You didn’t want to attempt to use your phone him or grabbing a book with the tiny lamp beside you for risk of the light waking him. Instead, the only occupation you found was staring at the ceiling, or trying to make out shapes from across the room in the dark.
Out of nowhere, you felt a hand move around on the bed. Soon it rested against your leg, very deliberate in its movements. It moved onto your hip, and then your stomach, the owner most certainly conscious. Before it could move any higher you called out, laughing a little. “Junhyung!”
There was a pause. “Just… had to make sure you were still there.” His voice sounded weaker than you would have guessed given his assumed intentions. Your laughter died in your throat and soon worry clouded your thoughts. You expected him to sound playful, but his voice was too scruffy for that.
“Nothing…” he mumbled, turning onto his side and laying his arm across your chest, pulling you against him. He pressed his lips to your shoulder and then rested his face against your neck. “I just…” he paused for the longest time before shaking his head. “Never mind.”
“No, what?” Your concern escalated. When he didn’t respond it only grew worse. You sat up and reached for the lamp to turn it on, light flooding through the room. He winced, squinting and blinking his eyes at the unwelcome rush of light. “Junhyung.”
He didn’t look any different, though his eyebrows were knit together. He stared at you for a long time, face eventually relaxing and eyes softening. Slowly, he leaned in and placed his lips against yours. He kissed you gently, his movements savoring each moment. He pulled away unhurriedly, leaving a lingering feeling on your lips. You had to force yourself to start breathing again as he pulled you back onto the pillow. Once again he buried his face against your neck.
“I never want to lose you…” he breathed against your skin. “Never…” His lips made contact with you once more. When you had restarted your heart, you adjusted yourself to lie beside him, forehead pressed against his.
“And you never will,” you assured him, a tiny smile playing on your lips. “Promise.”
Your eyes blinked open in a lazy fashion, aching slightly from the untimely waking. Your eyelids still felt heavy as they lifted, though you couldn’t help but smile realizing you remained in the same position in which you fell asleep. You were pressed tightly to Yoseob’s chest, your head tucked just under his chin, his face nearly resting on yours. His arms were wrapped tightly around you, leaving no space to wiggle.
It took you a moment to realize what exactly had woken you up, but soon you came to realize that something was trickling down your forehead. You frowned a little, unsure of what it could possibly be. Slowly, you inched yourself outward to try and get a better look at Yoseob’s face. You were surprised to see lines of tears streaming down his cheek. A tiny gasp escaped you.
“Yoseob…” you whispered gently, reaching out a hand and resting it on his shoulder. “Yoseob…” you repeated again, concern evident in your voice. His eyes blinked open. At first he looked surprised, then confused followed by a look of gratitude and relief. He lifted himself up a bit to scan the room before finally resting his eyes on yours once more. His eyebrows were pulled together, yanking at your heartstrings.
“Y-you’re…” he lifted his hand and placed it on your cheek, stroking your face with his thumb. His eyelids slid shut once more and he breathed out slowly. Your worries resounded in your head and you placed your hand on top of his.
“What’s wrong?” you breathed.
“I… I had a bad dream…” he mumbled, continuing to run his thumb over your face. You waited for him to continue, but it didn’t seem like he was planning on it.
“Do you want to talk about it?” you tried to encourage him. You were horribly curious to know what was bad enough to make him cry in his sleep, but even more desperately you wanted fix it. “Talking about it may make you feel better…” His eyes fluttered open again, that same look of worry in his eyes.
“You died,” he mumbled, his voice nearly inaudible. “One moment everything was okay and then the next…” he trailed off, staring off into the distance. Your eyes traced his face again, and soon you were pulling him closer against you, pressing your lips to his forehead and then to his lips.
“Don’t worry,” you smiled weakly at him, in an attempt to reassure. “I’m not going anywhere.” The corners of his lips were attempting to pull themselves up, but it was obvious that he was still too shaken. “C’mere,” you mumbled, pulling him up against your chest this time. You never had bad dreams when he held you, and now you were going to do the same for him.
When the phone began to ring a shot of adrenaline coursed through your body. You cursed yourself mentally for not turning it on silent before you fell asleep. You let out a long exasperated sigh before you attempted to struggle toward the nightstand to grab it. You could only be thankful for the fact that Kikwang was abroad at the moment with the other members that this didn’t wake him as well.
Just as the thought finished crossing your mind you saw the caller ID and smiled. Then again if he was here, he wouldn’t have had a reason to call. “Hello?” you tried your best to make your voice light, but as soon as you said it you realized you had failed. You still sounded unbearably weary and drained.
You heard a long sigh of relief and you imagined him dropping his head on his pillow. “You’re there,” he mumbled, relief evident in his voice.
“Of course I’m here,” you attempted to chide him lightly, though again your voice sounded flat and tired. “It’s nearly four in the morning… why wouldn’t I be?”
“I had a nightmare,” he muttered on the other end. “You were in an accident… there was nothing anyone could do and then…” He sounded choked up. “I was scared that you’d be dead or something.”
“Oh Kikwang…” you soothed him, wishing you could wrap your arms around him. Still, the tired side of you was annoyed that he had called and woken you in the middle of the night. You couldn’t help but tease him. “A dream doesn’t mean it happens in real life though you know.”
“You don’t know that! What if it was some sort of premonition thing or something!” his voice rose in pitch, attempting to defend himself. He made a small noise, probably sorry that he had spoken a little louder as well, the boys were probably asleep nearby. You tried not to laugh, though unsuccessful.
“You’re some sort of oracle now?”
He sighed, voice resigned. “I’m sorry… I just figured hearing your voice would make me feel better…”
“Don’t be sorry,” you mentally abused yourself for making him feel bad. “It’s alright, I was just teasing you…” To be honest his concern was touching, you just wished you weren’t so tired. “Get some rest,” you smiled into the phone, trying to make amends for your behavior. “And I promise I’ll be here when you get home.”
You weren’t used to waking up in the middle of the night, so when you turned your head to see the clock blinking back at you with a number indicating an ungodly hour you nearly groaned. The room was quite dark, but you could still trace the outline of Dongwoon’s face beside you from the faint light seeping through the window.
After an unbearable amount of time trying to force your eyes closed again, you decided a warm cup of tea might help relax you. Carefully, you slid yourself out of bed, making sure you didn’t move the mattress enough to wake him up. You stopped breathing for a moment when Dongwoon stirred, nervous that you had affected his sleep but he simply rolled back over.
A small smile played on your lips before you slipped out of the room. You began heating the water up and digging around for some chamomile when you heard your name from the other room. Though you were a bit confused, you thought nothing of it. You had heard him mumble in his sleep before.
Moments later however his voice called again, this time loud and frantic. Your heart began to pound, hearing him scream your name like that. Eyes wide, you headed toward the bedroom but he was already rushing out the door, eyes wild and hair frazzled. You stood stock-still in front of him, too surprised to move.
His body deflated in relief as he sagged in his posture and let out a long sigh. He spoke, his voice a mixture of a whine and partial terror. “DON’T DO THAT TO ME!”
“You look like you just got mauled by rabid squirrels,” was all you could manage to say.
He stood back up properly and pulled at his hair with a groan. “You scared me half to death!” he complained before pulling you toward him and enveloping you in his arms.
“I’m not allowed to make tea?” you mumbled against his chest, still confused about the situation. He pressed his lips to the top of your head.
“No… no…” he mumbled into your hair, voice weary. “I had a dream… a-a nightmare…” he corrected himself, mumbling his words as if unsure. “Where you… well… you died… and then you weren’t there when I woke up… and…” You stopped him by lifting yourself on your tip-toes and pressing your lips to his. Your heart swelled hearing his reaction to the thought of you being gone.
“Alright. No more leaving without leaving a note from now on,” you smiled at him teasingly, wrapping your hand around his. “C’mon, I’ll make you some tea.”