Rating/Warnings: G? Except for Onew nearly getting killed by the light, I guess.
Summary: When everything goes to pieces on Music Bank, Taemin keeps his head best, not that that says much in his band.
AN: procreational wanted fic where Taemin isn't 12 anymore. SHINee for serious sleeps in bunk beds with Onew in the middle, which is so cute as to be completely disgusting. Feel free to go check it out. Sometimes I think about KAT-TUN or Kisumai being forced to live like that, and then I stop because they'd all be dead.
When It All Comes Down
When the light structure starts to topple, only Taemin and Jonghyun happen to be looking in the right direction to see the way Onew's eyes go almost comically wide, right before they roll back into his head and he collapses.
Jonghyun screams Onew's name and darts towards him without thinking; only a lucky grab from Taemin stops him from running right into danger himself.
"Hyung, stop it!" Taemin yells, although even he can barely hear it over the screams of the audience and the panicked babble from the talents surrounding them. He tightens his grip on the back of Jonghyun's T-shirt and digs his heels in, cursing the way the hi-tops skid across the polished floor. But after a second, it doesn't matter anyway, because the crowd is pushing them backwards, away from Onew, and even if Taemin let go, Jonghyun would probably only be able to hold his spot.
"Where is he?" Key's panicked voice is suddenly close to Taemin's ear. "Did he get hit? I didn't see, did you see, is he okay?!"
Taemin can't spare a hand from Jonghyun's struggles, but turns his head enough to find Minho's face, pale with shock, and to make a pleading face at him. Minho seems to snap himself out of it, at least enough to grab Key's hand so he doesn't get himself smushed either.
"Let go!" Key snaps, not nearly as cooperative as Jonghyun is comparatively being. One of the girls shoves past him, Taemin can't see who it is, and nearly gets a faceful of Key's elbow before Minho yanks him back again. "I can't see what's happening!"
But Minho can, sort of, being tallest. "Calm down! Siwon-hyung and Kyuhyun-hyung are holding up the lights, they're helping the staff now. Nobody looks hurt."
"Then where is he?" Jonghyun demands, voice shrill with panic.
"Manager-sshi has him," Minho says, relief lacing his voice, but he doesn't let go of Key yet.
Taemin takes one look at where Minho is pointing, then shoves Jonghyun into Key's arms and takes off, dodging and weaving around people as best he can. The press of the crowd tries to shove him back, but Taemin shoulders through, until he can jog the last few steps to one of their managers. He's carrying Onew on his back, and Onew's eyes are closed, his body limp.
"Manager-sshi?" Taemin starts, heart racing all over again.
"He just fainted," the manager says quickly, sounding out of breath. "Nothing hit him, he's okay."
Relief slaps cold over Taemin, and he freezes for a second, the last minute and a half catching up with him and making his own knees weak.
Then he shakes himself and jogs to catch up, until he reaches their manager again and can walk shoulder to shoulder with him. A glance backwards shows Minho catching up, the other two behind him. Satisfied, Taemin turns back to Onew, catching at one of his limply dangling hands to squeeze it.
Their nerves are all on edge on the way to the hospital, and when Key bursts suddenly into tears, the noise scares Jonghyun into crying as well. Minho, face sober, just rubs both of their backs, the motion soothing and familiar from every time they've won an award in the last year. Taemin's eyes start to burn as well, but he grabs one of Key's hands and squeezes it tight until the feeling passes.
In the hospital waiting room, after they've been assured that Onew is awake, but they can't see him yet, waiting gets old quickly. They all shift uncomfortably on the plastic chairs, skin itchy from drying sweat, cranky from fading adrenaline. They're sitting in their order, accidentally, and it would be funny if anything was. Jonghyun is clinging tightly to Minho's arm, his cheek on Minho's shoulder, and Minho is on Key's phone, getting news because Key's voice was cracking too badly to sort anything out.
"The hyung are all fine," Minho reports at last, closing the phone and handing it back to Key. Key stares at it like he doesn't know what to do with it. "Nobody was hurt."
Everyone's shoulders slump, a little of the tension draining out of them. They all fall quiet, and the only sound in the waiting room is their managers bickering with each other in hushed voices about safety measures and who is going to call the office. Key's phone rings again, and after a second of staring at it blankly, Key hands it back to Minho.
Taemin is the only one who seems to notice a doctor coming out of the big double doors. The doctor stops at the nurse's counter and starts to scribble something on his clipboard. Taemin glances around at the others, but everyone else is occupied, and after a moment, Taemin slides off his seat and trots over to the counter.
"Excuse me," Taemin says, over the noise of Minho telling the other two to shut up a minute, "but can you tell us anything about our friend? Lee Jinki?"
"Hm?" the doctor looks up and peers at Taemin over his clipboard. Taemin stares back, glad they got rid of his bowl cut finally because nobody ever took him seriously with it and he wants news from the doctor, not a pat on the head. "Lee Jinki?"
"Yes," Taemin nods vigorously. There's a scuffle going on behind him now, he can hear the squeak of sneakers on the floor and the bang of the chairs, but he doesn't look, not even when Key uses a curse word that makes their managers both snap his name. "He fainted, and we brought him in, and nobody's told us anything for ages!"
"Ah." The doctor flips a few pages on his clipboard. "Lee Jinki, fainting spell. Some sort of accident with lighting? But he's perfectly fine, just shock. All he needs is rest."
The waiting room is suddenly silent, and so everybody hears when Taemin asks, "What about his ankle?"
"His…" the doctor frowns. "What?"
The doctor peers at his page harder, and another scuffle breaks out behind Taemin, and the managers are getting into it now, and Key's phone is ringing again, and in the midst of it all, Taemin sends the doctor scurrying back past the doors with a glare and a pointed finger.
"And check him PROPERLY this time!" he barks at the doctor's retreating back.
Finally Onew is released, pale and shaky but otherwise whole, and he looks sheepish when he turns up in the waiting room as the managers get him discharged.
Jonghyun and Taemin rush in for hugs, ignoring their manager snapping at them to be careful, and Minho puts hands on Onew's shoulders as if checking him for hidden damage. It takes a second for Taemin to realize that something's odd, and when he looks over his shoulder, Key is still standing a couple steps away, face set in a furious scowl. Taemin shoulders Jonghyun a little, and both of them step out of the way for Onew to see Key.
"Kibum-ah," Onew starts.
"Why's it always you?!" Key interrupts fiercely, then his lip starts to wibble again, and Taemin reaches over to yank him in so that he can hide his tears against Onew's shirt.
By the time they're back in the car, it's so late that Taemin doesn't dare look at his watch, and they're all bleary-eyed and grumpy when they arrive back at the apartment. The stricter of their two managers tells them they'd better get to bed without any fooling around, and then stomps off into the managers' room and probably directly towards the bottle of Soju he thinks they don't know is under his bed.
"Try and get some sleep," the more sympathetic manager says, patting Minho on the shoulder because he's nearest, and because he looks like he might keel over like a felled pine tree at any moment. "We'll see what we can do about the schedule for tomorrow."
"Thanks, Manager-sshi," all five of them say hollowly, because they all know there's absolutely nothing that can be done about the schedule ever. But it's nice of Manager-sshi to try.
So they tug on pajamas and brush their teeth (Key sends Jonghyun back into the bathroom to do it right this time) and then crawl into bed, all of them glad that Onew isn't in one of the top bunks, because the way he's been going he'd probably roll right off to his death in the middle of the night.
Taemin can't sleep, though, even though he's exhausted and everything aches dully from the dancing and the panic and the hard waiting room chairs. He thinks the others have already passed out. Jonghyun he's sure about, because there's a sort of breathy humming coming from the bed above his, as sometimes happens when Jonghyun is too exhausted to even sing in his sleep like normal.
But when Taemin rolls onto his side, he finds Onew watching him, Onew's eyes glimmering just enough that Taemin can see in the dim light.
"Why aren't you resting?" Taemin demands, although quietly. On Onew's other side, there's the creak of Minho's mattress as he changes positions.
Onew shrugs a shoulder. "Taemin-ah?"
"Yeah?" Taemin scoots over, closer to the edge of his bed so that they can talk across the small gap without waking the others. It's close enough for Onew to reach over and tug on a piece of Taemin's hair, the bleached curls bunched up even weirder from his pillow.
"You were really grown up today, huh?"
"You just think that cause I don't have the bowl cut anymore," Taemin says dismissively, but his chest warms.
"That's not it, stupid," Onew scolds. "Jonghyun said you kept your head when the rig fell, that you grabbed him. Manager-sshi said you helped carry me. And you sent the doctor back in to look at my ankle, right?"
"I didn't do anything, really, hyung." Taemin shakes his head. "I just didn't cry, or nearly get myself killed too."
"Well," Onew seems to be having a hard time trying not to laugh, "around here, that's pretty good, don't you think?"
Taemin considers that a moment. In the silence, Key grumbles, "Let go of my son!" and then rolls over. "…damn noonas…"
"Maybe," Taemin allows, after they've both smothered their snickers into their pillows. "Hey, come over here."
"What?" Onew asks, but he's already sitting up, taking his pillow with him as he crosses over to Taemin's bed and under the blankets Taemin is holding up.
"No, the other side," Taemin orders, making Onew crawl over him, so that he's between Taemin and the wall. "I have to make sure you don't fall in the gap and die."
"Such a thoughtful dongsaeng," Onew chuckles as he gets situated. Taemin waits until Onew stops moving, then edges back until his back is pressed against Onew's chest, and Onew has to put an arm around Taemin's waist as their feet bump each other.
"You should keep your ankle warm," Taemin says, his eyes already falling shut, but he makes sure Onew's hurt ankle is indeed tucked warmly between his own feet.
"Quit being so responsible." Onew yawns, making Taemin's hair stir. "You'll still be maknae no matter how hard you try to outpace us."
"Quit nearly getting yourself killed," Taemin retorts.
They both laugh, because there's nothing either of them can do about it, not really, and then Taemin finally does fall asleep with Onew's arm tight around his waist and his hand holding on tight to Onew's pajama sleeve, in case he really does roll into the gap.