Pairing: Onew/Minho, with a side of Jonghyun/Taemin.
Summary: Trust Minho to get himself sent to a parallel universe the one day he has the dorm all to himself.
Status/length: Incomplete, 2,225 words.
Author's Note: This fic is kind of AU and kind of not. Dedicated to my angel Tana, my girl Aki, and my sunshine Lilith, because without them, I probably never would have written anything again. ♥
Kun. Kun. Kun. Kun. Kun. Kun. Kun. Kun. Kun.
Minho stared up at the apparently broken ceiling fan, wishing nothing more than for it to finally go silent. For once, he had the dorm to himself because everyone else was making an appearance at Star Golden Bell, something he himself should have been doing right at this very moment. Unfortunately, some lucky shoe-in was in his place right now, getting the screen time he could have used to his advantage, and Minho was not exactly pleased to say the least. The agency had forced him to stay home after a nasty tumble during the recording of the latest Dream Team episode. He hadn't broken a leg, or an arm, or sprained an ankle or anything. There was nothing serious wrong with him, but his manager had made it very clear that Minho was not allowed to go outside of the dorm in his condition.
For the first time in a long time, he regretted becoming an idol. There was no way that in the real world, the one where he would be a normal person instead of a star, he would have been able to take a day off from work simply because he had a cut right above his eye. In the real world, he would have just put a band-aid on it and went right off to work, explaining why he looked slightly like a thug with a sheepish grin. In the real world, there would have been no doctor coming to visit the dorm, no special ointment guaranteed to make sure the cut left no scar, and no drama over a stupid scratch above his eye. But Choi Minho was not living in the real world; he was living in the world most people only dreamed about, a world among the stars. And somehow, probably for the first time, he found himself wishing he had never been brought into this world to begin with.
Kun. Kun. Kun. Kun. ... Kun.... Kun... Kun........kun....kun...
Minho frowned, the skin between his eyebrows pressing together as he strained his ears, listening for the sound of the broken ceiling fan that was no longer there. Not only that, but suddenly his skin felt mildly flushed, like he had been laying out in the sun for a while, giving off an oddly pleasant tingling sensation that shouldn't have been there since he'd only been laying around in the dorm. Maybe the cut above his eye had been infected at some point, and was now giving him a fever? No, the doctors would have noticed that, no doubt. But then why was he suddenly hearing things like the distant sound of numerous voices and... was that a bell? Had he somehow made it to the Star Golden Bell appearance after all? But then why was there no sound of an audience, no obnoxiously loud laughter from Juri, no cluster of people talking over each other for the sake of getting screen time?
Ah, he had definitely made it somehow. Why else would he be hearing Kibum's voice calling him? Maybe he had just fallen asleep backstage somehow and imagined the whole thing about staying home all day. He smiled slightly, glad that his spot hadn't been filled after all, and opened his eyes. The smile disappeared almost instantly, the furrow between his eyes coming back even deeper, when he looked up to see the bright blue sky staring him in the face. He blinked a few times, trying to clear his vision, before looking around, expecting to maybe see a blue back room filled with stylists and makeup artists, or a bunch of cameras set up for a rare outside filming session. The very last thing he expected to see was... a school?
"Yah, Minho! What the hell is wrong with you? Didn't you hear the bell?"
Minho blinked in confusion, turning his head ever so slowly, almost afraid that Key would have two heads or be completely decked out in nothing but glitter or something equally insane; instead, it was something completely opposite, but somehow even more shocking. Key was... normal. His hair was black with no crazy colored streaks, cut the way a normal person would have their hair cut, and his face wasn't smothered in foundation. His clothes were average, and there were no crazy accessories or sponsor-induced pieces to be seen anywhere. The strangest part, though, was that he seemed perfectly comfortable. He wasn't standing around awkwardly like a slightly frightened child, the way he always reacted back at the dorm if he was forced to wear normal clothes on their day off. For one reason or another, Key just seemed like.. a normal person. A beautiful normal person, but someone that could have been seen walking down any street speaking with a slight Daegu accent.
"Yah, did your brother knock you upside the head this morning or something? Stop staring at me like some lovestruck fanboy and get your ass off the grass. We need to go to homeroom before Ms. Park gets seriously pissed."
Minho smiled and reached up to rub the back of his neck - something he did when he was seriously confused but trying not to show it - when he realized that his hair was missing. He froze for a split second, feeling the edges of his neck for any sign of his longer haircut, but no. Instead, he felt the same haircut he'd had when they first debuted, all short and unperfectly cropped and... normal. Was this a dream? Why did he have short hair in his dream?
"Fine, sit there like a bum all day. See if I don't laugh when she makes you wear that goddamned sombrero all day," Key remarked, turning around and heading to the school building. Minho froze - sombrero?
Dream world or not, Minho knew one thing for certain: he did NOT look good in a sombrero. He got up and followed after Key ever so slowly, starting to seriously wonder where exactly he was. Sure, it could be a dream, but somehow it didn't feel like one. The emotions he would feel in dreams were always fleeting, always short and whimsical like a cloud on a windy day. But this emotion, the confusion, was sticking to him like a piece of paper super-glued to a telephone pole. If this was a dream, the least he could do was follow along with the senseless plot, and none of it would matter the moment he woke up. So he did just that, following Key into what was apparently their homeroom, sitting in the only empty seat left near the back window, staring at his surroundings and wondering why, for a dream, this whole thing seemed... real?
Minho may have been any number of things, but he was not an idiot. Somehow, he knew that this world was not a dream, but reality. Normally in his dreams, he would be going from a strange plot about aliens taking over the world, to a dream about Key giving birth to a fully grown Taemin, to a dream about puppies the size of the KBS studio all in the space of an hour or two. Never before had he had a dream where he'd spent a full 8 hours in a school building being taught things he had learned already. He hadn't even had 8 hours to dream in years, and he was sure that by now at least Onew would have been back from schedule, and probably would have woken him up in his efforts not to. Jinki was always tripping over people and sending bottles crashing when he was trying to be careful not to wake them up. It was part of his condition, to do the exact opposite as he intended. When he tried to seem like a bad boy, it made him seem cute and innocent like a 12 year old claiming to be the toughest guy on the block. When he tried to be funny, he usually put people in such an awkward and uncomfortable state that they needed to create a song for it just to loosen the tension. And when he tried to smile more than normal to make himself seem happy, he just wound up making himself seem sadder than he had before. One thing Minho knew about Jinki was how bad he was at concealing his emotions, but he still tried for the sake of their image. Nothing ever bothered them, because they were idols and idols had nothing to worry about other than pleasing their fans. They were accustomed to people bashing their every slip-up, following them like a dog following the smell of bacon, and throwing a fit if they seemed to be dating someone other than their fellow band members.
Minho sighed, kicking the ground under his feet just slightly in irritation as Key, or rather, Kibum, rambled on about something or another. Minho made sure to nod his head and mutter words of encouragement every now and then, already used to this routine seeing as it happened nearly every day at their dorm. Key could have been talking about the first sheep to ever learn to speak English, or about the spaceship that had landed in China yesterday and Minho wouldn't have cared. All he wanted at this moment was to wake up and find himself laying sprawled on his bed underneath the broken ceiling fan. His muscles ached from not going through dance practice twice by now, and he could already feel his throat drying up. Maybe once he got to his home (which, apparently, Key was going to as well, thank god) he would be able to practice on his own.
Suddenly Key turned onto the next street, and Minho had to look up and study the area around him, making note of the landmarks and street signs so that if he had to make this journey on his own, he would be able to without getting lost. He took in the street name first, then the cafe located on the corner and the flower shop next to it. He looked directly next to himself and Key and saw a small bookshop that looked like it was family-owned, where a man was re-stocking the shelf of bestsellers. Minho felt his shoulders tense as he recognized the form almost instantly, his eyes taking in the shape, muscles, and movement of the man, drinking him in until he nearly forgot how to breathe. Somewhere behind him, he heard Key shouting his name to get his attention, but Minho was rooted to the spot, too entranced by the one person he had been missing far too much in this dream - if it was even a dream to begin with.
"Yah, Choi Minho! Are we going back to your place for kimchi or not?" Key shouted, causing the man re-stocking the shelves to freeze for a split second. Minho wondered why he froze, if maybe he felt the eyes that couldn't seem to tear themselves away, but when Jinki turned around with wide eyes, he knew it was more out of shock. Why was he shocked? Why was his face turning red? Had he finally figured it out? What was he doing, just standing there? Wait, why was he running away?
"Jinki-hyung!" Minho shouted, noting the way Onews' shoulders seemed to shrink as he bolted into the shop, presumably to hide somewhere in a back corner. But.... why was Onew hiding from him? What the hell kind of dream was this, if he was stuck in a boring life with no one but Key to keep him company? Would he not be able to see that smile, the one covering up all traces of sadness, the entire time? And just when would he fucking wake up already?
"Yah, since when are you so close to Jinki-sunbae?" Key asked curiously, sneaking his way into Minho's view.
Minho merely stared at the space Jinki had just occupied, feeling his arms shaking just slightly from the tension currently locked inside of his body. He'd had dreams similar to this before, where the members of SHINee were around him in another world. Only, no matter who else had forgotten who he was, Jinki always knew him. Jinki was always by his side, through every dream about being caught in a war, through every dream where he found himself lost in a carnival, through every make believe world about vampires and werewolves and witches. Jinki was always there. But... why, just why, was this one so much different from the others?
Minhos' fingers shook as he raised a hand to wave Key off, muttering something along the lines of 'let's just go' before continuing to walk down the street, waiting for Key to step beside him and show him the way to his home, the way Jinki would have been doing in any other dream. A sinking feeling bubbled in his stomach as he realized, somehow, that this was not a dream. This world, this hell, was not a dream. There was no way that this feeling coiling inside of him was a fabricated lie. The pain, the anguish, that he felt was too severe to be from a dream. This place, wherever he was, was real. And suddenly, Minho became acutely aware that he had never been so terrified in his entire life.
TO BE CONTINUED....
A/N: ODG, I'M SO NERVOUS. This is not only the first thing I've posted in almost a year (4 days away from being a year, actually) but it's also my first SHINee fanfiction, which leads me into completely unknown territory. XD I mean, I read quite a bit of it, but the SuJu fandom was my home for so long.... AHHHHHHH. I don't even know what I'm saying, but I hope you liked reading this, and that you'll stick around to see what happens later. ^^'
/waits in a corner anxiously with crossed fingers
Next Chapter: Chapter 02