This Side of Me
Life was never perfect, it was just a matter of being in a place where you belong.
Warning: mentions of family issues, crying, hurt/comfort because you guys don’t trust me lol
☕buy me a coffee☕
You're not sure why you had to be the one to come in the first place, but you were here. Even though your nerves were trying their absolute best to force you to back out and go home, you kept on a brave face when you entered the building with four of your members. They were buzzing with excitement, though Bora, understandably, was nervous too. Just not in the same manner as you were. While you were worried about the call segment, she was more worried about whether or not she would be doing well for the introduction that the program always had idols do.
"Hey." You lift your head when a gentle hand covers your own, and you see Minji smiling at you as the staff gets ready to start filming. "How are you feeling?" She asked softly and you had to let out a deep breath while your eyes fell to her hand. "I mean, I'm ready to run out the building." You say dryly and she chuckles before using her other hand to comb her fingers through your hair. "You're going to be fine. Four of us are here with you."
As though to prove her words, a body latched onto you from behind and Siyeon pressed a kiss to your head. "Is my baby getting cold feet?" She asked in a small voice and you can't help but smile as your muscles relaxed a bit. "A little."
Her lips pull into a pout that has Minji cooing before the vocalist squeezed you in her arms. "It'll be okay. I'm sure calling your parents might be a little awkward, but you'll do fine." She assures you before you bite on your lower lip, the anxiety rising again at the mention of the call.
"I just hope it doesn’t go too bad." You whisper before Minji cupped your face into her warm hands. "You'll be okay." She promises before pressing a kiss to your forehead and then sneaking a kiss to Siyeon's cheek.
When the filming starts, your heart is basically ready to leap out of your chest. But Yoohyeon was able to calm you down when she grabbed your hand after noticing your tense form when the host began to speak.
"Sua and Y/n, this is your first time here. How do you feel?" You were honestly starting to hate that question, but you're thankful for Bora since she had answered first. "I'm really nervous and excited. The members have talked a lot about their first time here and they've had a lot of fun." She explains before the host then turns to you.
You shift your weight from one foot to another and play with Yoohyeon's fingers. "I feel a little embarrassed, if I'm being honest." You mutter before the woman smiles at you. "A lot of fans have been curious to know more about you." The girls glance in your direction with fond smiles while you nodded your head.
While it has been years since you debuted, you weren't exactly as open with yourself compared to the rest of the group. Everyone outside only knew the basics of who you are, but only the staff and your girls knew almost everything about you.
"Shall we decide on who goes first?" Yoohyeon had to let go of your hand to take the papers and you tried to hide your nervousness. You inched closer to Bora before the older woman instinctively took your arm and held it against her shorter form as Yoohyeon came back.
With a quick game of rock, paper, scissors, you all ended up with a piece of paper in your hands and you had to force yourself out of Bora's grip to check.
"Switch with me." Yoohyeon stares at the paper Bora hands out to her before reluctantly switching. "Did you already see?" The taller of the two asks and the dancer nods her head before Yoohyeon lets out a panicked noise. You could only shake your head before hearing Yoohyeon again. "I don't feel good about this."
When you open it, you're more than relieved to see the number five staring back at you. But it's Bora's screaming that cuts off your thoughts.
"Sua unnie is number one?" Siyeon asks in amusement when the dancer holds up the piece of paper and you all can't help but laugh as she complains. "I knew I shouldn't have switched!"
"Do you want me to go first?" Minji suggested without pause and Bora's eyes widened gleefully. "Can we switch?" She asked hopefully and, thankfully, the host had agreed, leaving you all in the order of Minji going first, followed by Yoohyeon, Bora, Siyeon, and finally, you.
"What are the chances that Sua picks first and Y/n is last?" The host joked and the other four laughed while you kept the same awkward smile. "Okay, how about the rest of you take your seats and we can start with Jiu?"
Following their instructions, your leader took the seat right in front of the camera while you and the rest of the girls stayed at the side to watch her. And listening to your older girlfriend, you were a little comforted by the way she interacted with her family and how much genuine care they all had for one another.
The same feeling stayed as they all took their turns. The dread didn't settle in until Siyeon had finally finished her part of the interview.
"You're nervous." Bora pointed out when the staff began to prepare and you let out a slow breath before nodding in confirmation. "Is it that obvious?" You ask with a grimace and her lips pursed together when she takes your hand. "A little, but it's okay. I just didn't want to say anything earlier because you seemed stressed enough." She explains carefully and lets a small smile tug at your lips before you let out another breath. “Well, I guess it’s better to just get this over and done with.”
The dancer offers you a smile and you’re soon making your way to your seat with the four of them cheering you on. “Y/n fighting!”
“Do you know the introduction game?” The host asks you and you timidly nod your head. “I’ve watched the members’ videos before and Sua unnie had me practice with her a while back.” You explain, making them ooh while the host smiled appreciatively. “You’re very supportive of your members.” She comments and you nod without missing a beat. “I always do my best to check on our members.” You tell them with a smile.
“I love you!” Bora’s sudden declaration has everyone laughing a bit and you’re more than relieved to take off some of the weight on your shoulders.
“Sua did pretty well for her first time, and since you said you were practicing with her, how well do you think you’ll do?” The host asks and you blink before answering as honestly as you can. “I think I might be screwed.”
There’s another bout of laughter from your declaration and your members begin to whine and protest. “Y/n is fairly good with games. She just needs time getting the hang of them.” Siyeon explained to the staff. “Then that should be fine. You have three tries, so I think you’ll be able to do good.”
You nod and do your best to calm your racing heart once the host begins counting down. “Idol Ground, let me introduce myself.” You make brief eye contact with Minji and she flashes you a quick smile before you focus on your introduction. “Y/n, twen… twenty-five, Dream-”
You had to cut yourself off due to your laughter, a hand quickly coming to your face as you shake your head. “I forgot my age!” Your members laughed before Siyeon shot you a playful look. “Yah! You’re not that old to be forgetful!” She teased and you groaned before waving your hands in front of your face. “Y/n, fail!”
“I have two more tries, right?” You ask in embarrassment and the host chuckles while nodding her head. “Yes, you have two more chances.” She confirms as you sit properly. “Let’s start again.”
Your second attempt seemed to go well compared to the first. As your eyes landed on the next category, it was easy to give your answer as you straightened a little in your seat. “Games, voice, hugs!” The moment the words slipped out of your mouth and you stole a glance at the four, you faltered a little at the flirty grin Siyeon shot at you and the fond smile Yoohyeon wore. Both of them distract you long enough to miss the beat.
Collapsing forward, you bury your face in your hands with a huff. “You keep looking over to your members. Are they distracting you?” The host mused and you felt your cheeks heat up before you raised your head. “I’m just nervous.” You explain before sucking in a deep breath.
“One more. I swear, I’ll get it.” You proclaim and Bora cheers to help bolster your confidence, followed by Minji. With their support and your own determination, you’re able to push through with your introduction, changing your answer briefly. “Cheeks.” As you read ‘wish’, you softened a little before answering with a gentle smile. “Happiness.”
For the last category, the first thing that popped into your head was- “Chicken.”
Everyone grew a little quiet as you finished, eyes wide as you waited for the host to tell you whether you passed or not. And the girls seemed to be just as curious as you when Siyeon asks, “Did she get it?”
Your eyes widened even more, if that was even possible, but it did bring a smile to your face to know that you had done a good job. “Can you guess your score?” She asks and you look just as clueless as your members when you attempt to guess. “Fifty seconds?”
Shaking her head, the woman showed you the timer before announcing. “You managed to get forty-eight seconds.” She’s quick to congratulate you and you’re more than happy enough to know that you at least passed the introduction.
“You said that your type was based on the voice?” She soon asks for a little bit of an elaboration with your answers and you nod your head. “A person doesn’t necessarily have to be good at singing. I just like it when a person’s voice is soothing to listen to.” You explain calmly. "So all that matters to you is the voice?”
Your eyes shifted a little bit before you chuckled. “Of course. Siyeon unnie has that kind of voice that I find really attractive and comforting. But I guess I can also say Loona’s Hyunjin and Chungha sunbaenim are good examples, too.”
The name seemed to have surprised the host, so she’s quick to follow up with a question that surely a lot of people would like to know. “You’re close with Loona?” But you shake your head in response. “I also watched their episodes for Idol Ground and I have listened to their songs.” You admit and the host nodded, unaware of the little stares your girlfriends were sending you from the side.
With a quick break, you’re allowed to breathe a little, that is until Bora came barreling into you. “Yah! I didn’t know you were checking out other girls.” She huffs playfully and you had to wrap your arms around her petite waist to keep her from falling. “The others aren’t going to be happy about this.” Yoohyeon says with faux disappointment and you had to roll your eyes due to their dramatics. “Very funny.”
"I'm pretty sure Yoohyeon isn't joking." Siyeon laughs when all of your phones ring, almost simultaneously, when a few messages for your group chat come in. And when Minji goes to check, she can't help but chuckle at the good luck messages Gahyeon had sent. "Should I tell them now?" She asks playfully and you grimace a little before shaking your head.
"Let me have some peace."
When it’s time to start the next segment, you could feel your heart rate spike up despite the blank expression you kept on. With the way you constantly glanced down at the device in your hand, it didn’t take much for the girls’ to see that you were nervous.
“How often do you tell your parents that you love them?” The host asked and you shifted a little in your seat. “Not very often. The number of times we have called ever since I came to Korea can probably be counted with just one hand.” You admit, almost ashamed, and the host nods sympathetically. “Would it be possible to give them a call now?” She asks carefully and you take a moment before nodding reluctantly.
You open up the app and search for your parents’ contact information. “My dad is most likely still working so I’ll call my mom.” You explain and the girls all sit at the edge of their seats when the ringtone starts to echo, and you’re somewhat surprised to hear one of your older songs.
Looking like a deer caught in headlights, you don’t fully process that someone was talking until your members are waving at you from your peripheral view and you quickly snap back to the voice of your mother. “Hello?”
You’re not too surprised by the confusion in her tone, but you expected as much and just silently hoped that this wouldn’t be as awkward as you thought.
“Hello? Mom?” You say slowly and she makes another sound of surprise when the realization of you calling actually sinks in. “Y/n, yes? What is it?” She asks and you squirm a little, shoulders hunched as you hold your phone up.
“Are you still at work?” You question but you can already hear muffled beeping and engines not too far away. “I just left a while ago. I’m on the way home right now.” She tells you and your brows pinch together. “You shouldn’t be using your phone while driving!” You scold lightly and she chuckles, amused, before answering. “Well you were the one who called me and the phone is connected to the car.”
You pause for a moment and nod your head. “I forgot about that.” You mumble and there’s a bit of awkward silence before you notice the host gesturing for you to speak and you internally grimace before adjusting your hold on your phone.
“Mom.” You call out and she hums to tell you that she’s listening. “I… uh, love you.” You say quietly and the line goes quiet for a moment, the sound of the engine running being the only thing left to indicate that you’re still connected. You can feel your anxiety building up the more the silence stretches on, but eventually, she speaks again.
“I love you, too, sweetheart.” You’re even more surprised to hear her voice falter, something you had picked up on your mother long ago whenever she was-
“You’re crying?” You ask in disbelief. “Y/n, I know that your father and I haven’t been the best, especially when it came to your career. We’ve said a lot of hurtful things when you left and I’ve been afraid that you might have grown to hate us over the years.” She tells you with a sniffle and you could feel your defenses lowering as she went on. “The truth is, we’ve missed you and-”
Your heart jumped to your throat at the sound of a new yet familiar voice. “Calm down, calm down. I’m talking to your sister.” You hear her say and there’s a gasp before the new voice speaks up again. “Y/n? Can I talk to her? I missed her!”
There’s shifting somewhere in the background before a giggle comes from the speaker of your phone. “Y/n!” Hearing the little girl’s voice was enough to render you speechless, but you knew that it had been a long while since you had spoken with your little sister.
“Hi, squirt. How are you doing?” You ask softly and it’s admittedly the first time your members have witnessed you speaking with anyone from your family. “I managed to get into the top ten in my class! Mommy bought me ice cream.”
The girls and fans knew how you had always had a soft spot for children after that one fan meet, and they also knew it was because of you having a younger sibling and cousins back home. But there was a different kind of gentleness in you that they only saw now.
“Good job, kiddo! I’m really proud of you.” You tell her but she huffs out air while your mother laughs in the background. “Can I make a wish with you, too?” She asks and you blink in surprise before rubbing the back of your head. “And what do you want?”
She doesn’t miss a beat and the answer is enough to break through your defenses and for tears to well up in your eyes. “Can you come home?”
Siyeon grabs onto Bora’s hand when her own eyes teared up while Yoohyeon’s head landed on Minji’s shoulder, hiding the way her own eyes glossed over and the older woman wrapped an arm around her while her eyes stayed on you as you tried your best to stop your tears from falling.
“You know I can’t promise that but I will try.” You say, a little choked up, but your sister doesn’t seem to notice. “But I really miss you.” She protested and you had to take a shaky breath while lowering your head to shield yourself from the camera and everyone else who was watching you.
Bora looked almost concerned, but she knows she can’t do anything except comfort Siyeon the best she could while listening to the sound of you desperately trying to compose yourself while speaking with your sister. She hasn’t seen you openly cry, but she does know how sensitive the topic of family was to you. Minji held the same concern on her face as she watched, rubbing soothing circles on Yoohyeon's back while you spoke.
“I miss you, too, squirt. I’ll do what I can, okay?” Everyone could feel the regret dripping from your voice. "It's almost your birthday, right? Is there anything else that you want me to get you?" You ask in an attempt to stray away from the conversation. "Just don't forget about me."
Your heart broke at her quiet tone, but you agree nonetheless. "I could never forget you. You're my number one, remember?" You say in an attempt to cheer her up, and you're lucky enough when it works. "Yeah! And you'll always be my number one, too!" That had caused you to smile a little, knowing full well that there was no stopping your tears at this point when the overwhelming feeling of missing your family finally sank in.
While you and your parents did have your differences after the dispute of whether or not you could pursue your career, it didn't change the fact that you missed them a lot.
"Be good to mom and dad, okay?" You tell her and she hums happily where you can already imagine her nodding. "Of course! I'll wait for you, too. I love you!"
It's not long before your mother takes the phone again, sending your little sister to get ready for bed.
"I haven't told her, but would it be possible to ask you a favor?" Your mother soon says and you quietly thank Minji when she manages to hand you a tissue from the side. "She hasn't stopped asking for you, and your father and I talked a couple months back… do you think you could meet us at the airport when we get there?"
Your eyes widen at her question and your spine straightens. "You... You're coming here?" You choke out and your mother laughs despite her tears. "Your sister isn't the only one who's missed you." She tells you and you're not sure how to even respond at this point, but she decides for you.
"Listen, we can talk more about this another time, okay? I have to make sure your sister goes to sleep and I'm sure you and the girls are busy practicing." You could only mumble a quiet yes before she continued. "We'll see you soon, Y/n. I love you and take care of yourself."
Hearing her say that she loved you so genuinely had the wind knocked out of you. It was as though you were both carrying this burden ever since you left, and you could only imagine how hard it must have been to let go of their own kid so early.
"I love you, too."
When the call ends, you still can't find it in you to lift your head and face everyone, unable to see that a good portion of the people in the room had teared up at the exchange as well. They gave you enough time and space to gather yourself, letting you recover from the shock of your family's love for you despite your absence over the years.
"Can we…?" Minji asks softly after she wiped her cheek and the host nodded, allowing your girls to come over before you were wrapped into their warm embrace.
As soon as you felt their arms around you, it didn't take long for a sob to come passing through your lips. They try to comfort you as much as they can, whispering silent praises and assuring words before Yoohyeon pulls away to wipe away your tears.
Their conversations with their parents were all lighthearted, and you honestly felt a little embarrassed that yours had turned out this way. But Bora was already pressing a kiss to your cheek before she ran her fingers through your hair.
Siyeon was looking at you with the best puppy eyes she could muster and you knew the unsaid promises for cuddles when you got back home were there. She would look for a way, whatever the situation.
Minji had only given you a supportive smile, the one she usually gave whenever one of you began to show any form of doubt or insecurity. It was one of those smiles that had you falling for her in the first place - safe and comforting.
When they head back to their seats, you're using the tissue given to you to dry your face and the host offers you a gentle smile. "Your sister misses you a lot." She notes and you nod. "How old is she?"
"She…" You clear your throat before leaning back against your seat. "She's turning nine soon." You answer softly, shoulders a little less tense now that the call is over. "She told me not to forget her but I left when she was only five… I feared she would forget me since I left her at such a young age, but I really tried my best to call her as much as I could."
"Your sister means a whole lot to you." The host says and you nod without hesitation. "She's been my little ball of sunshine since the beginning." You tell them while wiping the corners of your eyes. "When I was a trainee, I had moments where I thought about going back home, but then I'd remember that I'm doing this for her, too." You can't help but smile a little at the memories of your past.
"I guess you can say that I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for her."
The trip back to the dorm, Yoohyeon had yet to leave your side ever since you exited the building. Despite not always being clingy with you, she had been clutching onto you ever since you finished filming and were finally on the way home. She was basically on your lap the entire ride back.
Bora had been quiet, only giving you a smile when you glanced at her before she was back on her phone doing god knows what. The complete opposite of her, Minji could not stop staring at you, watching you from her seat while you tried to assure the big puppy that you were comfortable even as Siyeon joined in on your little snuggle nest.
"You guys know that I'm okay, right?"
All four women look at you when you speak, though Yoohyeon opted to keep her face hidden in your neck. "We know." Siyeon quips as she pinches your cheek. "We just want you to know that we love you a whole lot." She coos before planting a big and exaggerated kiss to your cheek that has both older women laughing at the face you made.
"I don't doubt that you do." You tell them and Minji just smiles softly while shaking her head. "While you might not be the most vocal person out there, I'm proud of you for doing what you managed to do today." She tells you and Bora hums in agreement. "We didn't know just how bad your family situation was, but I'm happy to know that you finally feel comfortable enough to be open with us about it."
You grew quiet for a moment, pondering over their words while tracing random circles on Yoohyeon's back.
"You should call them again sometime." You hear the younger girl mumbling against your neck, but she does nothing to move from her place. "It could just be your mom, dad, or maybe just your sister. I'm sure she'd love that." She whispers and Siyeon smiles softly while nodding her head. "She most definitely will."
When you reach the dorm, Gahyeon is the first to greet you with a wide smile spread across her lips. She gives each of you a kiss before clinging to Bora's waist when the latter shuts the door and takes off her shoes.
"You're here. How was it?" Yubin asks when she stands up, smiling as Minji presses a kiss to her temple.
"It was fun." Siyeon answers, her eyes glancing subtly in your direction when you peel off your jacket and place it on the back of the couch. Yubin is quick at picking it up, looking a little confused. "Did Sua unnie and Y/n unnie have fun, too?"
You paused in your movements, looking up while Yoohyeon pursed her lips together. Gahyeon looked at you properly this time and she finally notices the slight redness in your eyes, causing her to look immediately to the older woman next to her.
"It was fine." You assure them with a gentle smile. "It was enjoyable." You add while looking down at your lap and Gahyeon feels the way the dancer gently pats her from behind, a sign that she could let go. "I wish I could have been there to see." The maknae tells you and you direct your smile at her. "You'll see it once the video comes."
The tension from the other four slowly dissipates and Yubin smiles when Gahyeon walks over to you to give you a hug and a gentle kiss on the cheek. "I'm pretty sure Dong unnie is going to look forward to it, too."
Remembering your other girlfriend, you smile wistfully before grabbing your phone. "I forgot, I should call her soon." You tell them and Yubin nods in agreement. "She called earlier to ask how we were. I think calling would be a great idea." She informs you. "She said that she missed us, but asked to pass the kisses for now." Gahyeon chimes while peppering your face with kisses.
Once the maknae finally let you go, you soon found yourself in your and Yubin's room later on, phone in hand while waiting for the Chinese woman to pick up the phone.
"I was beginning to wonder when you would decide to show your face." The redhead muses as soon as her face pops up on screen and you grin while laying down. "Sorry, I was a bit busy." She snorts a little and rolls her eyes, but smiles nonetheless. "I can tell. How did the interview go?" She asks and you hum lightly while shifting in bed. "It was nice. I got to talk to my sister." You tell her and her eyes softened as she stared at you through the screen.
Dong knew how much you missed your sister. She understood the feeling well, so to hear that you were able to talk made her a little happy.
"And how did that go?" She asked softly and you had to pause, recollecting your thoughts before speaking. "It was nice. It helped remind me why I've made all these sacrifices." You tell her, making her smile a little more. "You've always been one to have a reason. And your reason for fighting has always been admirable." She admits and you're a little embarrassed when you pull your knees closer to your chest.
The conversation goes on with you telling her more about the interview and she tells you a few things that she's done while she's in China. She had made a lot of friends while being on the survival show and she's more than happy to introduce you to some of them if she ever gets the chance.
"I miss you." Comes spilling from your lips when the two of you grow quiet and Dong only smiles while she holds her phone up. "I miss you and the rest, too. I honestly can't wait to come home." She tells you before she notices the time, a regretful sigh falling from her lips and you already know that your time was up for today.
"Text me?" She grins at you before rolling her eyes. "Of course I will. Who do you think I am?" She teases and you chuckle before giving her one more smile. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
Later that evening, you're in bed with Yubin in your arms, the younger woman tracing your arms in the silence of the room. You both decided to retire early for the night and the girls were more than compliant with Yubin joining you. But the rapper had snuck into your arms instead of climbing up to her own bed.
"The unnies told me about your call." She says carefully, unsure if it was okay for you to talk about. But you only hum as she continues to move her fingers along your skin. "I know you're not ready to tell us everything, but I hope you know that we're all proud of you no matter what." She whispers, causing you to look at her in confusion, but she only smiles while pressing her hand against your jaw.
Drawing you closer, her lips come in contact with yours in a soft and gentle kiss that still never fails to take your breath away. It's slow and full of emotions, and by the time she pulls back, she has to brush away the lone tear that trailed down your cheek.
Like Bora, Yubin knew you weren't one to cry in front of them. You always held such a strong front just because you wanted them to rely on you, so she doesn't comment on your moment of weakness. Instead, she shows you that she's a place you can allow yourself to be vulnerable.
"Whatever you need, I'm going to be right here with you." She whispers softly and you place your hand over the one she has on your cheek before brushing your lips against her palm. "There's no other place I'd rather be." You tell her, and that's enough to reassure her that whatever doubts you had had left your mind.
You were safe, and they would keep it that way.
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