Stray Kids // Throw Her a Bone (Part 1)
Loosely based on a dream I had last night. Honestly, it might not make sense because it was based on one of my dreams, but I tried to pull it together. I also probably have to break this up into at least two parts or it’ll be way to long. Sorry for typos, not proof read 💕
Summary: A small town baker with social anxiety is off to visit her friend and his music group in a totally different country, but maybe she didn’t make the greatest first impressions.
Trigger Warnings: social anxiety (no extreme attacks), mentions of abuse
Stray Kids x Reader (angst/fluff mini series)
You couldn’t keep track of the time that had passed since your best friend had left and taken on his own journey in a totally different country. You just knew it had been too long since you had seen him, and that this vacation wouldn’t be long enough for you to properly enjoy the company of your long lost brotherly figure.
You gripped the leash in your left hand tight enough to keep the easily excitable mutt at your side in place. Airports were never your thing. You weren’t necessarily a nervous flier, but the large crowds had the ability to take your breath away. Now, mixed with the mass confusion about the direction you were supposed to go in and the sideways glances being thrown at you from everyone questioning why a foreigner and her small beast were in their country, you felt your breaths shorten.
Noah wasn’t your service dog for your anxiety, but the feel of him sure as hell helped in the worst cases. This fact prompted you to scoop him off the ground and hold him to your chest, which wasn’t easy because he was admittedly a tank of a dog. If you were to guess a breed, you may assume a basset hound and pit mix. At least, that was your best guess. He had a long white body, and a lengthy tail to match. Freckles under his coat poke through occasionally and the two uneven dark marks around his eyes held resemblance to a bandit mask. He was a rambunctious thing, with a tendency to want to jump onto any passing person or dog, but you always assumed that was only part of his large personalilty.
A tap on your shoulder turned you to a couple of blondes among the sea of otherwise black hair. They both wore masks, hats, and dark clothing to submerge themselves into the crowd as best as possible. But you would know the eyes of the boy on the left anywhere. Those eyes used to sparkle at you from a few feet away in the elementary school sandbox, when you and he were the only tweens that we’re willing to play in the messy terrain. Those eyes were the same eyes that crinkled in joy when the owner of them would pounce on you in the morning and disturb you from a peaceful sleep. Those eyes looked terrified when you tried to put him up on a horse at your family’s farm, and happy when his fidgety and unnerved body could finally settle into the vibe of the coffee shop that you used to visit regularly. You’d seen those eyes in person, and in your dreams, and they seemed even more beautiful every time you looked into them.
“Felix,” you breathed out, holding your pooch to the side and using your semi-free arm to wrap around the boy and hold him tightly. His arms held you in place as well, one firmly around your waist and one that held your shoulders pressed to his own. It was like he feared letting go of you because he was afraid you would never come back.
“Oh my God, I missed you, Y/N,” he whispered lowly. “You have no idea how hard it’s been to be without you.”
“I missed you too, Lix,” you responded, nuzzling your head into his neck where it belonged. It used to always end up there when you were cuddling, or sitting close together on a dreary day. “So much.”
“I hate to interrupt,” said a voice from behind your brother, “but we really should get out of here before we get spotted.”
You stepped back from Felix, looping arms with him and standing almost pressed into his side. You knew you’d be meeting his band mates within these couple of weeks, as you’d be staying with them, you were just trying to mentally prepare yourself for taking in everyone. Maybe you weren’t the best with new kids, not that you didn’t play nicely with them, but rather the awkwardness that could stifle your breath upon meeting them. “I’m sorry,” you said as you bowed to greet him. Upon rising you noticed his broad shoulders and built frame. Everything about him looked wide, from his eyes that examined you to the the bridge of his nose that peeked out above his mask.
He chuckled. “It’s okay, but maybe we should get out of eyesight of people who could recognize us.”
You gave a small nod, setting down your loyal pup and following in the footsteps that your brother and his friend lay before you. When you reached the conveyor belt, you narrowly plucked your bag off before it made another round and circled through once again. You threw the Navy duffle bag over your shoulder and stepped on the heels of your friend and his own, who offered to help you carry something. You handed him the smallest of your bags to recognize his offer and show that you were greatful for it.
“I’m Chan, by the way,” he said extending his hand to you.
You took it and smiled. “Y/N.” You didn’t know whether or not you were supposed to comment on his English, to praise him or not. Felix had told you that, including himself, four of his members spoke English, one of them being from Australia like himself. Though his accent was just as thick as Felix’s, you didn’t want to assume to know much about him. You decided to stay quiet and let the thought die without reaching your lips.
“Y/N, I want to know all about what’s been going on at your home. The farm, the bakery, the boyfriend.” Felix winked at you. “Get ready for a full on share circle tonight.”
They helped you take your things to a black van in the airport parking garage. They explained that it belonged to the company and that the driver was their manager who would be laying out some house rules on the way, just to avoid the possibility of any scandals popping up.
Your pup found himself in your lap, enjoying the attention from the boys on either side of you. One of the previously mentioned rules was that your travel companion wasn’t allowed to freely roam the house; Noah would have to be either in your room or outside with you, which was fine because he was always content in any space, being more adaptable than yourself.
On the way to their shared house, you found yourselves talking quite a bit. Slowly but surely, your introverted personality molded with Chan’s much more outgoing one and you found yourselves developing a nice friendship. But for the most part, the car’s noise mainly consisted of you and Felix messing around.
“Remember that time we set my shed on fire with fireworks?” you reminisce. You all broke out into a fit of giggles. “Those were the days, man.”
“The days you threatened to kill me if I didn’t get in the saddle?” he questioned, making you nod. He looked over you at Chan who was listening intently to your stories. “Y/N was quite the horse whisperer back in (country). I swear she trained those things to buck me off any time I got in the saddle.” Chan only laughed.
“So Y/N, you aren’t from Australia (or pick somewhere else if you are)? I noticed your accent was different. How do you two know each other?”
You smiled at his investment into your life and interests; it made him fun to talk too because you knew he would actually listen. “Mm, Felix and I went to summer camp together, and I actually spent a year studying there in highschool. His family hosted me, so I guess we’re really brother and sister after all.” You giggled. “But there were lots of trips in between. Travel can get expensive though, so we tried to stay together for long periods of time. What about y'all? Can I get any details there?”
While Chan told his stories of the boy and the named boy laughed at all the dumb things they both remembered about him, you noticed that the surrounding area outside the van’s window we’re beginning to morph into greenery instead of skyscrapers.
“You guys don’t live in the city?” you questioned.
“We did until recently, but a couple of fans broke into our apartment. We aren’t far outside of Seoul, though. We’re kinda up on a hill. It’s becoming a reoccurring theme these days, actually. There are a couple of other groups in the neighborhood, but the landlords are super particular about who they rent to, so we don’t have to worry about anyone like that up here.”
Gravel roads with big potholes in them lead you in and out of the treeline and up the side of a mountain to a lane of sturdy looking houses. Had the climate been a little different, it would have very much resembled one of the smaller mounds in Colorado. Still, it was quite the trek none the less.
“Home, sweet home,” Chan commented as he opened the door of the vehicle and stepped out.“ The ride, though most are usually boring and sleep inducing, was loud and fun. It felt refreshing after your thirty hour airplane ride, and you felt wide awake and ready to meet new people. At least, that’s how you felt before you were actually confronted with the situation.
Chan grabbed your bags, holding up a hand to stop your protest and reassuring you it was part of his ‘civil duty.’ You only laughed, guiding Noah out of the backseat and over to Felix. You intertwined your fingers with his own, a couple of nervous vibrations catching his attention.
"You’re doing great,” he cooed. “I know new people aren’t your favorite thing, but thank you for seeing how much they mean to me and for doing your best. Just remember that they know how much I love you, so they already like you,” he soothed into your ear. You thanked him and tried to shake off any nervous jitters as Chan unlocked the door.
The outside wasn’t huge- rather a healthy size for nine boys to share- but the inside seemed massive. Maybe it was the minimalist design, or the spotless polished hardwood flooring, or even the false-beaded chandelier that hung from the high ceiling. Regardless of what it was, it was nice, and cleaner than you’d expect a boys’ home to be.
The kitchen counter tops were black marble, a fragrant candle lit on the corner of the island smelling strongly of cactus blossom. There was a tall boy standing behind the counter as you entered. His hair was dark brown, he was dressed in a nicely fitted black shirt and dark jeans, and his rather dainty hands were cutting up vegetables on a cutting board.
He looked up, glancing over you and smiling. You noticed that his top lip was slightly larger than his bottom, similar to your sister’s mouth.
“I’ll get you a key since you’ll probably be in and out more than me while we aren’t here next week,” Felix says, ready to slip away. You sent him a helpless look, and he pressed a reassuring kiss to your temple. There was no romance in it, just the same comfort it used to give you before a big test in your worst class.
He slipped away, down the hallway to the left. Instinctively, your grip on Noah’s leash tightened and you slipped your arm into Chan’s, having developed somewhat of a comfort with him. You bowed to the stranger and Chan introduced him as Minho.
Minho greeted you with a bow, which you returned. “I’ve heard lots of good things about you. Felix never shuts up about you,” he chuckles. You force yourself to laugh along and hope it doesn’t seem too strained.
You almost winced when Noah tried to pounce on the man, barely yanking him down by his leash in time. You knew he was only trying to say 'Hi’ to him, but the disgusted look on Minho’s face told you that he wasn’t aware of that fact.
“Well,” Chan is quick to cut in, “I’ll show you too our guest room. We’ll give you some time to settle in.”
You pulled Noah along, trying to keep him close at your heels as he let out high pitched yaps and raised once again to Minho as you passed him. Your chest burned with embarrassment and the heat from it pulsated through your cheeks. You kept your head down, hoping he didn’t notice. You’d never been embarrassed of your four-legged best friend and you discovered that you certainly didn’t enjoy the feeling.
“Don’t mind him,” Chan said lowly, pushing open the furthest door on the hall to the right. “He’s more of a cat person. But he was raised on a farm too; maybe you’ll find some common ground there.” He set your bags down on the mostly bare desk in front of a window that allowed the room the be filled with aestheticly pleasing warm light. On the right side of the room was a freshly made bed adorned with a Autumn-toned floral pattern and a couple of pastel orange pillows.
“Thanks, Chan,” you smiled genuinely at him, realizing you were attached to his arm and trying to slink your arm away without his noticing.
“If you need anything, let us know. We’re gonna have a fun two weeks together, yeah?” He smiled, crinkling his nose at you, trying to bring a laugh past your lips. It worked, and you agreed, allowing him to slip out and be off to enjoy doing something else that wasn’t babysitting you.
“Well,” you whispered to your pal who sat patiently by your bed, tail wagging and a happy look adorning his face, “I don’t have that much to unpack. All I brought was like, clothes and necessities. But,” you winked at Noah and unzipped the side of your duffle, pulling out a treat, “I brought your things.” You tossed it to him, making him raise to catch it, his jaw making a harsh snapping sound around the heavily processed meat.
You took out his toys and laid them at the foot of the bed, also taking his bowls and putting them by the door. You emptied your untouched water bottle into one of his bowls before turning around to find him already gnawing on a tennis ball.
“I hate to leave you in here alone,” you commented sideways, “but rules are rules.” You told him to stay as you slipped out of the doorway and down the hall. You were going to try to make a better second impression on Minho than your awkward first. You collected yourself to the best of your ability before rounding the corner and offered a hand with the meal he seemed to be making.
“Actually, I honestly forgot you were coming today,” he shyly admitted. “I didn’t make enough for you. I’m getting there though. If you want to cut up some meat, I’ll grill it in a moment,” he offered.
“That’s okay,” you countered. “You don’t have to make me any. I ate a few hours ago on the plane. Cooking for nine must be kind of hectic, though. Is there anything I can do to help with that?”
“Your Korean is good,” he commented. You bashfully thanked him before he handed you some ingredients to put together a salad. “And thank you for offering to help.” You didn’t answer, only getting to work and trying to engage in soft banter every now and again. The atmosphere between the two of you fell from tense to comfortable silence. You both worked in peace. He even hummed a small tune as he cut something up.
You had no idea where Felix had gone off to, the ass- abandoning you in a house full of strangers. It wasn’t until dinner was served that you saw anyone else, though. Two had apparently only recently woken up from naps, two had returned from the grocery store, one had seemingly been reading- assuming from the book and glasses he left folded on the edge of the counter- and one came into the room drenched in sweat.
“Do I have time to shower?” He asked, poking his head into the dining room. You weren’t seated at the kind of table you were used to, but rather on a pillow, your legs tucked under a kotatsu.
Chan, who you came to find out was the leader of the group, waved him off, telling him to hurry before it was all gone. You smiled at how close everyone seemed.
Although you may have had no intention of eating, you found yourselves sifting through a bowl of salad anyways. Felix had warned you that it was part of the Korean culture to force-feed other people, and a couple of boys by the names of Kim Woojin and Han Jisung were particularly bad about doing just that. From beside you, he whispered that the slower you eat, the less they will push food onto you.
You didn’t speak much during dinner, only giving your best replies when spoken to until you heard a familiar scratch at the door of your temporary room and asked to be excused. Of course, they let you go, and you returned to your pup who was waiting to be fed. You listened in on the friendly banter at the table through the door as you poured some of Noah’s food into his bowl and refilled his water dish in the bathroom sink. You sat with him awhile, happy to be away from the crowd with the ability to breathe. The bunch were in no way rude, but the feeling of needing them to like you for Felix’s sake felt like you were barring the weight of worlds.
It was a scary thing that you had that thought at the same time that you heard your name come up in conversation.
“What about her?” you heard Felix ask.
“She seems a little uh, clingy? Yeah, kinda clingy.” You heard someone mention.
“I mean, she has really bad social anxiety which is why I wasn’t so sure about this trip. She really pressed me to let her come though, so it’s important to her.”
“Dude, she looked at me like she thought I was gonna kill her earlier. That’s not a little bit of anxiety, that kid has problems. Did something happen?”
“She’s just always been like that.” You heard a small clank, supposedly of the dishes.
“I wasn’t going to bring this up, but she doesn’t seem to have a lot of control on that dog. Why’d she bring it?”
“Yeah, I heard it bark earlier. The echo made my ears ring.”
You didn’t know it, but Felix was visibly shrinking in his spot as he tried to vouch for you again and again. “She couldn’t find anyone to take care of him, and she recently had his paperwork updated so he was okay to travel.” The boy picked at his food, suddenly not very hungry. It felt horribly wrong to be in such a familiar setting, around his group of friends as they spoke unfairly of the girl he considered family.
“She didn’t eat much. Did she not like the food?”
“It was kind of rude of her to leave in the middle of a meal.”
“She literally didn’t eat anything.”
“Maybe Minho-hyung is just a bad cook.” The conversation shifted to Minho’s terrible food choices and his strange taste pallet, no longer holding much of your interest. Their conversation about you, while short lived, certainly threw you for a loop. On one hand, you read them all as sweet boys who had better things to do than gossip, and on the other you saw it as only fair. Yes, you had behaved strangely and they were allowed to discuss your actions; they were also incredibly close friends which made it slightly more okay, in your opinion. You and Felix had talked plenty of shit about other kids in the cafeteria when you were younger. You would only ever speak that way of others with him, but everyone does it, at least with those they’re close to.
But as you were rethinking the things they had said, you caught one line in particular that didn’t set well with you. You pressed Felix to let you come here? You guessed maybe you had been a little persistent with the idea of visiting. Last time he was in (country), you were in Korea, spending time with your old friend and Korean teacher. And when you were in Korea, he was out traveling the globe with his members. You wanted to see him. Maybe you had been forceful with approaching the topic.
You sat on the floor of the foreign bedroom as you tried to peel back those thoughts, thinking instead about your parents’ farm that you visited often, and the bakery where you worked when you weren’t in uni. You thought about the mountain trails that made for great hiking locations around your small town. One time, you had raced Felix on a mountain biking trail and ended up crashing into his bike on the way down hill. You were struggling with your brakes, which in turn cost you an ankle and him an elbow. During both of your recoveries, you made sure to take care of each other. And he made sure that when someone asked, they knew you had both gotten hurt by being stupid together. That was back when he was proud of you.
An epiphany hit. You’re on top of a mountain. What’s to stop you from going out and having an adventure right now? You took out your phone and sent Felix a quick message.
You: 'I think think Noah and I are going to go on a walk after he finishes eating.’
Felix: 'Great. I’ll come with you.’
You: 'That’s alright. I kinda want to explore the area, it that’s okay?’
Felix: 'Be safe. ily’
You patiently waited for Noah to be done before hooking a leash to his collar and leading him down the hallway.
“I’m going out for a while,” you mentioned to the group. “I’ll be back to help clean up.” You waved goodbye to everyone and headed out the front door of their house.
The air outside felt free and natural, as all air should. The oxygen felt purer, strange as that may sound, being not far from Seoul. With every step, the gravel beneath your sneakers made a familiar crunch. Down the path a little ways, you passed two elderly women in aerobic uniforms and made a mental note that you would like to be active in your old age. You greeted them as you passed, strange behavior for yourself, but it was pleasant.
You were lost in the sound of bird calls and the wind ruffling the trees when something else passed you. A black van similar to the one that had dropped you off at the Stray Kids residence earlier that day. The windows were rolled down, but none of the passengers inside sent even a glance your way. They all looked horribly tired and you wondered if they were one of the other groups that Chan had mentioned earlier. Was that really what practice did to them? You had come while Stray kids we’re receiving a small break, meaning none of them would be doing much for the next week and a half before they began working on the development of their future shows.
You had a serious respect for how hard they worked and wanted them to get as much rest in that time period as possible. However, in your mind, they were wasting valuable time on someone like you, all because you had pressed to come over.
You tried to shake the thoughts out of your head, but made an agreement with yourself to stay out of the house for as long as possible, not wanting to give them a burden with your presence.
On your journey down the mountain, you discovered a trail that led back up, but in a different direction. It was much narrower than the road, in fact, you and Noah would probably have to walk single file. You decided to explore it, praying it didn’t lead to someone’s house.