Total Coverage

Title: Total Coverage
Rating: PG
Pairing: Yewook!
Word Count: 3,336
Warning: Although the procedures described below are realistic, this does not replace actual lifeguard training. Whatever you may think, you are not certified unless you have taken a class and have the certification card! :P
Disclaimer: If only I owned them...haha
Summary: Shit goes down while Yesung is the only lifeguard on duty.


It was hot…Bearable under the umbrella, but it was still too much for comfort. Yesung inhaled the familiar scent of chlorine and sunscreen and settled into an attentive position. He scanned the pool from the elevated lifeguard station watching each of his patrons closely, memorizing their ability to swim and quickly moving on. He was on the only lifeguard on duty meaning he had the entire pool to cover and no to time to take breaks. His manager Leeteuk was running the office and the lap swim was unusually full for a late Tuesday morning. Eyes never leaving the pool, Yesung scanned the area by turning his head 45 degrees to each side making sure no one was breaking the pool rules.

“Walk!” He called as a little boy ran soaking wet across the pool deck.

Readjusting the sunglasses on his face, Yesung examined each of the swimmers once again. There were four young girls swimming freestyle in the shallow end of the pool. They were tall enough to stand if necessary so they didn’t bother him too much. In the first lane to the right there a tall built man gazing up into the sky, slowly going through the motions of backstroke. Three high school boys were racing in the next lane over while an old lady used paddles as she swam a deathly slow front crawl in the neighboring lane. Seeing that she was not yet exhausted Yesung made a note to watch her closely and moved on. There was a blonde woman in her thirties swimming breaststroke in a bikini in the lane further to the left.

“God, who wears a bikini to a lap swim?” Yesung shuddered as the thought ran through his head. He turned his head to watch a young boy swim breaststroke towards him, forearms surging forward with each lift of his head.

He nodded his head in approval. This boy was probably not even in high school, yet his technique was excellent. Nearby, a middle aged man took off his fins and pulled himself out of the pool, leaving the last lane vacated.

Yesung took a few sips from the water bottle beside him as a bead of sweat ran down his face. He reminded himself to look for signs of heat cramps, in this weather it was a strong possibility. Turning his head back to the shallow end of the pool he heard a voice call from below.

“Yesung!” The voice cried excitedly.

He didn’t need to look to know who it was.

“Wookie! How are you?”

“I’m fine, just crawled out of bed to get my morning swim for the day.”

“You know it’s almost noon right?”

“I know. I still consider that early enough though.”

Yesung grinned as he scanned the pool. “Sorry I can’t look at you to make this a proper conversation, but I’m on duty.”

“I see. Don’t worry! I’ll hop in the pool in a moment. You can see me from there.”

Yesung imagined Ryeowook’s lips curl into a smile, eyes shining as always. He saw a faint splash out of the corner of his eyes. Turning his head, he saw Ryeowook had literally hoped into the pool and began swimming a strong freestyle at speed. Yesung watched him swim back and forth, lithe muscles contracting and relaxing, working to pull his body in a clean line across the pool. If there was a word to describe Ryeowook’s style of swimming it was graceful. He was an accomplished swimmer with beautiful technique and it was refreshing to watch such ability in the morning.

Trying his best to not get distracted by Ryeowook’s body lines, Yesung continued scanning the pool, shifting his position every few minutes so not to get stiff or lose focus. Half an hour passed when he heard Leeteuk’s voice on the deck.

“Hey Yesung, are you doing alright?”

“Fine. Glad I have an umbrella. Is there a problem?”

“Well, Eunhyuk just called and said he couldn’t make it today. Something about a dog crisis and Donghae’s at his door with the clothes.”

“So you’re saying I won’t have a replacement before lunch.”

“Unfortunately, yes. I’m going to try and call Sungmin to see if he can come on short notice.”

“Ok.”

“Lunch is in 90 minutes. Just hold on until then.” His voice faded as he heard Leeteuk start to walk away. “Remember to stay hydrated!”

A sigh escaped his lips. “Ninety minutes?” Yesung thought to himself. “The pool better empty around lunch time.”

But he was wrong. Just as the clock struck noon a bus load of summer camp kids turned up at the pool ready to play. Since there was no time to administer a swim test, Yesung allowed them all to play in the shallow portion of the pool, roped off at 5 feet. With the screaming and cries of little kids splashing to his right, and full lap swim to handle on an empty stomach, Yesung felt his shoulder muscles tense.

The stress settling in, he constantly turned his head back and forth effectively scanning the premises.

Wait, were those two kids holding their breath under water on purpose?

What about the old lady swimming with the paddles? Shouldn’t she be done by now?

Ryeowook is on his next 300 fly, wow.

Hold on, did that kid just punch that little boy?

The mess of thoughts was overwhelming. Yesung drank more water and swallowed in large mouthfuls.

“Only 30 minutes left, you can do this.” He whispered to himself. Sitting upright on the elevated chair, he turned his head to the right by 45 degrees. The summer camp kids were having a blast spraying each other with water, and paddling around in the shallow end. No one had punched one another and they weren’t holding their breath underwater. So far so good.

He turned his head directly in front. The old lady finally stopped swimming and was crawling towards the ladder to exit the pool. Good. The lady in the bikini had left and two competitive students swam in her place. Great.

Yesung turned his head to the left, watching the last few lanes of the pool. The young boy swimming breaststroke was drinking water and there was a blotch to his left.

Wait. Yesung knew every square inch of the pool floor and there was no blotch to the left. He stood up to make sure the sun’s glare wasn’t toying with his eyes. No, the blotch was still there.

Hold on, Ryeowook wasn’t in the last lane anymore.

A load of adrenaline surged through his body. Yesung pointed at the blotch and blew his whistle 3 times, signaling the Emergency Action Plan. He tore his sunglasses off his face letting them fall to the ground. Squeezing his rescue tube securely between his upper arms and chest he leaped off the elevated station and did a compact jump into the pool. Letting the rescue tube trail behind him, he swam head up freestyle towards the blotch at the top speed.
He heard Leeteuk call in the distance, “Clear the pool!”

Blood pounding through his ears, Yesung had no other purpose than to remove that blotch from the bottom of the pool. Taking a deep breath he plunged head first into the 13 feet depth. He saw the blotch immediately take form as a curled body on the pool floor. Ryeowook’s body.

Yesung had to no time to clear his ears though the pressure made his head hurt. Reaching his left arm around the victim’s chest he thread the rescue tube line between his hands, using the buoyancy of the tube to pull them to the surface. Once at the surface Yesung leaned back making sure Ryeowook’s head was tilted back on his shoulder. He quickly thrust the rescue tube between their bodies, using it to support Ryeowook’s torso.

“I need 911 and a backboard!” Yesung screamed at the top of his lungs.

Using powerful breaststroke kicks he pulled him to the nearest edge of the pool while Leeteuk staggered towards them, carrying the backboard above his head. As soon as Leeteuk arrived to the pool’s edge he lowered the board the ground and held out an arm to grab Ryeowook’s opposite wrist. Once Teuk had a firm grip on both wrists, Yesung jumped out of the pool and grabbed the backboard.

“Which side?”

“My right,” Leeteuk replied.

Lowering the backboard steadily into the water, he stabilized the edge with his foot so it didn’t move out of place. Leeteuk carefully rotated Ryeowook’s body onto the backboard while Yesung grabbed his other wrist. Together, they pulled the backboard out of the water and lay it on the deck.

Yesung put on his gloves and was at the victim’s side in an instant. He lowered his face down by the victim’s mouth and put two fingers on Ryeowook’s neck to feel for a pulse.

“One 1,000, Two 1,000, Three 1,000…Nine 1,000, Ten 1,000.” There was no response.

“Call 911! Tell them we have an unconscious adult without a pulse and report back.”

Leeteuk rushed off to the office to use the phone.

Pulling his pocket mask out of his fanny pack, he shook the water out before placing it over the victim’s mouth and nose. Sealing the mask with his fingers, Yesung tilted Ryeowook’s head back and gave two rescue breaths making sure he saw the chest rise. Interlacing his left fingers with his outstretched right palm, Yesung started a cycle of CPR, beginning with compressions on Ryeowook’s chest.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…” Each compression sunk a good two inches on the victim’s chest and was forceful enough to break ribs in order to pump the heart.

Once he reached 30, Yesung lowered his head to give another two breathes before continuing the next cycle. Three minutes later he heard Leeteuk return.

“I forced everyone out of the pool area and paramedics are on their way.”

“Ok, go get the AED. We can’t wait until they get here.”

Again, Leeteuk rushed off towards the office.

Yesung started his 8th cycle of CPR. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, crack, 7, 8…” His heart cringed at the sound of Ryeowook’s cracking ribs, but there was no preventing it.

“I’m sorry, but I have to pump your heart in order to save your life and your ribs are preventing me from doing that.” Yesung cried in his head.

It had been just over six minutes and Yesung had to stop. Completely out of breath, sweat pouring down his face, he was exhausted. He panted and looked for Leeteuk to come running back, AED in hand, but he saw nothing.

Peering down at Ryeowook’s limp body he screamed in agony.

He wanted to yell at himself for being tired. How could he let something happen like that? He couldn’t bear to lose his friend’s life. There were so many emotions tearing through his body, but Yesung had no choice but to continue CPR.

His voice quavered as he spoke out loud, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…” He saw white foam fall from the corners of Ryeowook’s mouth.

Yesung swore and stopped compressions in order to move him into Hayne’s recovery position. He straightened Ryeowook’s left arm under his head, bent his right knee and rolled him onto his side. The foam dribbled down the corners of Ryeowook’s mouth and onto the deck. The reason he was foaming was because he was regurgitating a mix of blood and water. Yesung cleaned the foam from the victim’s mouth and returned him to lying on his back.

Finally he saw Leeteuk sprinting towards him, AED and a towel in hand. Yesung started another cycle of CPR while Leeteuk placed the AED on the ground and dried Ryeowook’s upper body with the towel. Yesung gave two more breaths as Leeteuk placed the two pads on the victim’s chest; one on the upper left side and one sideways on the lower right side. If done correctly the current from the AED should flow between the two pads, directly through the heart.

The AED spoke, “Analyzing heart rhythm, stand clear from the victim.”

Leeteuk repeated the prompt, “Everyone stand clear.”

They both moved away and waited for the response.

The AED spoke again, “Shock advised, stand clear from the victim.”

They repeated the prompt and listened. The AED beeped loudly as it delivered a shock.

“No response, continue CPR.” The AED droned loudly.

“Here, I’ll take over compressions for a while,” Leeteuk offered.

Yesung nodded as he moved directly above Ryeowook’s head, ready to give two breaths after the set of compressions. After two more cycles of CPR, the AED analyzed the heart rhythm again.

“Shock advised, stand clear.”

“I’m clear, you’re clear, we are all clear.” Leeteuk repeated.

The AED beeped obnoxiously as it shocked Ryeowook again. Finally the wailing sirens pulled up in front of the pool. Leeteuk ran to guide them to the scene while Yesung watched over Ryeowook.

He removed the pocket mask from his face and lent down so his ear was just above Ryeowook’s mouth. Pressing two fingers against the side of his neck he counted silently to himself.

When he reached seven 1,000 he felt a slight pressure against his two fingers. Then again.

“He has a pulse!” Yesung called loud enough for the paramedics to hear him. The medical team ran to the scene, Leeteuk providing information as they arrived. Yesung backed away as two of the paramedics lifted the entire backboard off the ground while a third picked up the connected AED. As they hurriedly returned to the truck Yesung addressed his manager.

“I’m going with him.”

Leeteuk held his gaze for a moment.

“Alright.”

Yesung leaped into the truck without another word. The medical team was busy attaching wires and sensors to Ryeowook’s chest and Yesung did his best to keep out of the way. His job was over since the paramedic team relieved him with a higher level of training. All he could do now was watch and wait.

After a few dangerous swerves and screeching brakes, the ambulance arrived at the hospital. The medics wheeled Ryeowook out on a stretcher and delivered into the arms of waiting emergency doctors. Yesung started to follow his friend, but a nurse stopped him.

“Sorry only authorized personnel are allowed beyond this point. You’ll have to wait here.”

“But-” It was already too late. Ryeowook’s body had rushed off behind a corner and out of sight. Yesung did not sit down; he was too jittery for that. The best he could do was pace frantically back and forth and avoid the eyes of the other relatives who were waiting for their loved ones.

Yesung checked his watch every 5 seconds, but lost all sense of time. Any amount of time was too long for him to wait. He had to know if Ryeowook was alive.

What seemed like hours later, that same annoying nurse appeared in the hallway:

“Anyone here for Kim Ryeowook?”

Yesung stood up bolt right, “YES!”

After giving Yesung a quick head to toe glance she indicated with her left hand, “Please follow me.”

Making no immediate action to disclose any details regarding Ryeowook’s condition, the nurse guided him through many intersecting corridors and paused at a room marked D406.

“He’s just been stabilized. You can wait for him in here.”

“Thank you.” Yesung bowed his head and quickly made his way inside the room.

He saw Ryeowook asleep in a bed with an IV needle protruding from his forearm. A machine beeped quietly as it monitored his heart rhythm. It was slow, probably under 60 beats per minute, but there was no arguing over its existence. Yesung followed each pulse wave of the EKG with his eyes for a while before turning to face Ryeowook’s sleeping form.

Yesung took a seat in the chair positioned beside the bed. His knee hit a clipboard dangling from the bedside and it made a clattering noise before settling on the ground. Stooping to retrieve the board, he read what it had to say.

He muttered some points as he glanced over the page“…Some previous medical history, a summary of the case, and a recovery with 2 broken ribs. Lovely.” Yesung looked down at his own bare skin.

“And I’m still in my jammers. No wonder the nurse was weirded out!” He thought to himself.

He returned his gaze to Ryeowook…He looked so peaceful. Yesung stroked his defined jaw line with the back of his thumb. He saw Ryeowook’s eyes flutter as he cautiously opened them, squinting at the white light pouring down from the ceiling.

“Ugh.”

Yesung realized he was holding his breath. Letting out a quick sigh, he replied, “Hey you.”

Ryeowook turned his head to see the owner of the voice. “Yesung!” He smiled.

“You gave me quite the scare back there.”

“Really? How so?” His eyes opened wide with confusion.

“You went for a swim, don’t you remember? I’m not sure what happened, but you ended up at the bottom of the pool with no pulse.”

Yesung watched Ryeowook’s as he continued to recount the day in detail. He noticed him blush when he told him the CPR. When he finished the story he allowed some time for it all to sink in.

Ryeowook spoke up. “So, I went for a swim. Drowned. You broke two of ribs while I was dead. And now I’m here.”

“Mmm pretty much.” Yesung nodded his head.

“I’m hungry!” Ryeowook exclaimed.

Yesung laughed, “Oooh Ryeowook what are going to without you?” He thought to himself. Glancing around the room he spied a packet of graham crackers and a can of grape juice on the counter.

“Do you want some graham crackers?”

“Yes, yes, yes!”

Yesung grinned and grabbed the packet from the counter. Unsealing the wrapper he broke the cookie in half and fed it straight into his friend’s mouth.

Ryeowook licked his lips contently. “Another!” He beamed.

“Hey don’t I get any?” Yesung interjected, “I haven’t eaten anything either! I was about to when you decided to die on me!”

“But Yesung…I’m still hungry.”

He looked down at Ryeowook’s undeniable pouty face. Sigh, there was no arguing with that. He fed him the rest of the packet and threw away the wrapper.

“Can I at least drink the grape juice? You have an IV drip giving you some liquid.”

“Yup, that’s fine with meeeeee,” he grinned.

Yesung took a few sips of the juice when his phone rang in his pocket.

“Hello?”

“Hey Yesung, It’s Leeteuk. I’m just calling to see if Ryeowook is alright.”

“He’s fine,” He said, glancing over at the boy. He was making a face at the apparent sight of the IV sticking out of his arm. “He just woke up in one piece, I’m still wearing my jammers and we’re all ok.”

“Glad to hear it. I closed the pool for the rest of the day, but you know where you need to be tomorrow morning?”

“I’m there.”

“Good. I’ll also pay you extra for working long hours today.”

“Thanks. See you tomorrow!”

The phone on the other end clicked shut and Yesung closed the lid of his phone. As he turned around, he met Ryeowook’s searching eyes.

“Yesung?” The boy asked tentatively.

“Mmm?” He made his way over to his bedside.

Ryeowook tingled the fingers in his left hand and tried to move the arm with the IV closer to him. Yesung quickly leaned in and laced their fingers together, ceasing all Ryeowook’s struggling.

Their eyes met and they held each other’s gaze for a long time. The only audible sound left was the rhythmic beeping of Ryeowook’s heat beat, monitored on the screen behind him.

“Thank you…for saving my life.” The ends of his lips curled into a smile while his eyes spoke volumes.

Yesung simply smiled and gave his hand a gentle squeeze. “It’s all in a day’s work.”

Under the Big Top (2/2)

It’s just two clubs in one hand...You have to throw a lot higher because they have to spin once…leave more horizontal space between the clubs, then they won’t collide…ok now in the left hand…1,2,3 shit…again…practice makes perfect…

The thoughts in Sehun’s head both mocked him and encouraged him to continue. Once he could successfully catch two clubs 20 times per hand, he decided it was time to try them together. Synchronous pattern first, but it only lasted nine catches. It seemed as if the clubs had a tendency to be near each other because they always collided in the middle. Sehun wanted to yell, “DAMMIT, I KNOW YOU GUYS ARE FRIENDS AND ALL BUT STAY AWAY FROM EACH OTHER FOR A MOMENT, I NEED COOPERATION HERE!” but he refrained. He had already received bewildered looks from this morning, he didn’t need any more.

He took a short break and watched Baekhyun and Chanyeol try out their new trick under the Director’s scrutiny. Chanyeol did a kick flip to get on the unicycle first then after he went in a circle once, Baekhyun stepped on his feet as they continued moving. Slowly Baekhyun leaned further and further away from Chanyeol, arching his back, feet still on top of Chanyeol’s. The catch was that once he leaned back in, Chanyeol lifted him up and Baekhyun had to spin up and sit on his shoulder. That’s where they kept messing up. More than once Baekhyun fell to the ground, or kneed Chanyeol in the face, but they were both robust and continued until they got it right.

Motivated to try again, Sehun placed two clubs in each of his hands and looked up. Both in sync he watched the clubs spin above his head, 12, 13, 14, 15…he got to 45. He nearly smashed them to the floor he was so excited and turned as he heard a squeal of glee from behind him. He saw Baekhyun clapping his hands, proudly sitting on Chanyeol’s shoulder. The Director gave them some comments on how to improve and made his way over to Sehun, sketchbook in hand.

“Hey Sehun, I sketched a bit of your costume during lunch. I wanted to see how you like it so far.” He held up the page for him for him to see. The figure on the page was dressed in what looked like a sports jacket and tight slacks, but they were covered in what looked like fish scales. And his face…were those crazy eyebrows? Maybe eyelashes?

“I was thinking mirrors,” Suho added.

“Mirrors?”

“Yea all the scale like things, in effect those will look like mirrors. Think of a disco ball.”

“Ok….are those my eyebrows?” He asked, pointing at the strange puffs around his eyes.

“No silly that’s your face paint. I was thinking red flares around the eyes and maybe streaks down your jaw line…I’m still not sure about that.”

“Oh,” he breathed a sigh of relief. “It looks great!”

“Fantastic, I’ll make sure it goes to production right away,” the Director smiled and glided from the room.

Sehun practiced until he could do 50 catches reliably then went to find Luhan for dinner. He wandered through the confusing arrangement of rooms until he found the main stage under the Big Top. There, Luhan and D.O were singing the song for the tightrope act as Lay and Chen ran back and forth on the rope, seemingly effortless. Sehun picked a back row seat in the audience and listened. After a few minutes of watching the tantalizing effects of the graceful tightrope walkers’ feet he tried to listen to the words of the song. Surprisingly, he could not understand a word.

Meh, it’s probably in a different language.

Once the rehearsal finished he saw Luhan coming toward him, warm smile as always.

“Hey what’d you think?”

“It was really cool, but I couldn’t understand what you were saying…Were you singing in a different language?” he asked as they sauntered to the cafeteria.

“Oh no, don’t you know? We don’t sing in any particular language, it’s gibberish!” he grinned.

“What? Nooo you’re pulling my leg.”

“No, if I wanted to pull your leg I would trip you first.” He laughed, “And if you want to be official, it’s called Cirquish. It’s a made up language created from bits and pieces from almost all languages be it English, Italian, Cantonese you name it!”

“Oh.”

“And speaking of Cirquish, we need to figure out a song that goes with your act. Hey D.O!” he flagged his roommate down. “Come sit with us!” The boy made his way over with his trademark surprised look.

“Hey guys what’s up?”

“We need to create a song for Sehun’s act.”

“Cool, alright. Hmm,” he eyed Sehun from across the table. “Something that emits confidence…That’s probably what I’d go with.”

“Yea, yea something strong, but not too in your face.” They were both staring at him now as if there was an octopus on his face.

“What are you guys talking about?” Sehun asked miserably, “You’re giving me strange looks.”

“Oh sorry, we’re throwing words around that we think might describe you.” Luhan informed helpfully.

“Right, usually a song is based off the person’s attitude and the style of their act.” D.O added. “Since juggling is sort of rapid, I’m thinking the song would be fast.”

“And you always seem pretty confident in your skills, which is why I suggested something strong but not obnoxious.” Luhan smiled.

“Oh. Like electric violins!” Sehun gasped.  “With lots of bass!”

The two paused for a moment before erupting in, “YEA THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING! THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!” including high fives all around.

After a quick meal the three returned to Luhan and D.O’s room to figure out the mechanics on D.O’s laptop.

“It shouldn’t be too hard, for seem reason I have a lot of Epica on my computer.”  D.O smiled.

“Alright. What sort of languages should we put in?” Luhan thought aloud.

“Spanish! You get to roll your R’s,” Sehun stuck out his tongue cheekily. “And Korean, you know background and all.”

“And Russian! Why not!” Luhan nodded excitedly. “Cool ok, now to write a poem.”

“A poem?” Sehun asked.

“Yea, usually I write a poem about the artist and the act. It can really be about anything, then D.O uses his computer magic to translate it word by word into the languages we suggested to make it incomprehensible by anyone!”

Luhan took out a pen and paper and sat on his bed, eyeing Sehun from across the room.

“Am I just supposed to stand here then? I feel useless.”

“Don’t worry. The song we are about to create is all about you, without you, there is no song. So really you’re doing all the work,” D.O rationalized.

Sehun crossed his arms and moved until he could look out the window. The sun was setting, coating the room in glorious shades of orange. He watched the sun fall deeper and deeper into the town until the sky went dark and the first stars sprinkled the sky.

“Finished!” Luhan called sweetly.

“Cool just hand it over and-”

“Wait!” Sehun interrupted. “I want to read it.”

“No! The whole point is that you don’t know what we’re saying.” Luhan replied.

“But you could have written that I’m a monster with weird eyebrows or something! I have to know!” He tried to close in on Luhan who was still lying on his bed. “Show meeee,” he reached out his hand, but tripped on an unseen cause and ended up falling on top of Luhan. They were at a strange angle and actually rolled off the bed, tumbling into a mess on the floor.

“Woah, are you guys ok?” D.O asked, peering around the edge of his bed.

Sehun’s eyes widened as he noticed Luhan’s face was only an inch away. The world seemed to stop. Sehun’s heart beat fast as he slowly peeled himself from Luhan’s body.

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

“It’s ok. I’m fine. Are you ok?”

“Yea.”

“Phew alright let me see that poem then,” D.O reached out his hand. Luhan handed him the poem, sticking his tongue out at Sehun.

While D.O worked his computer magic, Luhan and Sehun decided to draw conjoined doodles where they folded a paper in half and each drew half of the doodle without looking at the other half. By the time D.O had finished mixing the translated words with the violin/drum line, Sehun and Luhan had created a chibi cat girl with pogo sticks as legs, an angry looking hamster with a mermaid tail, a little boy eating a popsicle with tyrannosaurus rex feet, and an astronaut centaur. They giggled like small children as they littered their drawings all over D.O’s laptop. He gave them a pseudo annoyed face and showed them the final edit of the song.

It was exactly what they had hoped for. Bright opening with the electric violins and fast drum beat, perfectly mixed with the soothing voices; it was intense, but not tense. After listening to it a few more times Sehun bid them a cheerful goodnight and headed back to his room next door. Sehun’s hands didn’t even look that bruised when he showered that night and he fell asleep with a smile on his face, dreams filled with pretty ponies and talking waffles.

He awoke to the sunlight streaming in through his window yet again. He really had to start remembering to close the curtains at night. Quickly dressing in his borrowed clothes he headed down to breakfast. Skipping the line for normal food Sehun headed to the end of the line and grabbed three bananas, juggling them in preparation for the clubs he would practice with later on.

“Think fast!”

He turned just in time to see the incoming banana and Luhan’s bright smile. He expertly changed into a four club pattern and added the extra banana with ease.

“Your practicing going well?”

“Yea,” he caught the bananas in his arms, “I just really need to put in the hours before the big rehearsal.”

“Alright, but you probably want to eat something better than those bananas for breakfast.” Luhan smiled.

“I’ll be fine.”

“Yup.” Luhan casually walked away.

Sehun grinned as he noticed Luhan left a muffin on the table for him anyway. He wolfed down the blueberry goodness in two bites and rushed to the practice tent, anxious to practice with the clubs. An impressive four hours later, he had tamed the five club beast and incorporated some tricks into his three and four club patterns. On his way to lunch he accidently bumped into the Director while walking behind him.

“Oh, Director! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-”

“It’s alright Sehun. I was actually looking for you anyway.” The Director smiled.

After serving themselves decent portions of polenta and savory chicken, the Director led him to a corner table near a window.

“Sehun I want to ask you how long you estimate your act to be right now,” he stated.

“Um probably six or seven minutes?”

“Ok, well can you try and aim for ten? That’s how long the previous time slot allowed.”

“Alright, definitely.”

“And it should include the variety of specialties, balls, clubs, rings…”

“Certainly.”

“Ok. Just making sure you get the picture. This is going to be great.” Suho rose and patted him on the shoulder affectionately.

Sehun stared into the remains of the polenta on his plate. I have a week to become an expert on clubs and rings…I really do have a bad sense of judging time.

He spent the rest of the day in the practice tent, first with the basics of seven rings then to five clubs. When the clubs felt heavy he switched to learning different tricks with five rings. He was in the midst of learning the pancakes trick when he heard someone come in. He turned his head and missed the catch. The ring rolled away from him and stopped at the feet of the intruder.

“You know it’s already past eight o’ clock right?” Luhan stooped to pick up the lost ring, spinning it his hands.

“Oh. Really? I could have sworn it was only five.” Sehun returned his gaze. “I’ll only be a moment; I really have to nail this trick!”

“Ok then, I’ll be in my room if you need anything,” he mumbled and left the tent quietly.

Sehun thought it would only take him an hour, maximal two hours. No, it was midnight when he finally mastered the trick. Although it looked extremely cool, it didn’t look that great in the dark, especially when no one was there to see it. He groggily made his way back to his room when he realized he hadn’t eaten dinner. Remembering Luhan’s offer he gently knocked on door 7C.

“Hey, are you hungry or something?” Luhan smiled as his face appeared from behind the door.

“Yea just about.”

“Come in.”

As he entered he noticed most of the room was dark where the only light on was above the limited kitchen space. There was a pot on the stove and a copy of The Da Vinci Code lying open beside it, cover side up.

“Were you waiting for me?” Sehun turned, eyebrows raised.

“What? No.” The boy looked away.

He snickered as he made his way to the pot on the stove. “What’s this?”

“D.O made a large quantity of some sort of soup. We have quite a lot left.”

“I see.” Sehun cocked his head to the side and stuck out his tongue. “So you were waiting for me.”

“Shut up. D.O’s trying to sleep.” Luhan slapped his arm gently.

They heated up the rest of the soup and eventually found themselves sitting on the floor of the main stage under the Big Top. The vast rows of seats in the audience seemed never ending and the tent ceiling stretched perpetually towards the dark night sky. It made Sehun feel very small.

“Do you ever get nervous performing on stage?”

The older boy shook his head.

“Really?”

“Yea. It actually has a lot to do with the audience. You might think that they are the ones to fear, that they are the ones who are going to laugh when you make a mistake. But they’re not. They are the ones that fuel your excitement. The show we perform, it’s all for them.”

Sehun stared out into the rows of seats before them, sipping his soup softly.

“I mean, think of it from a clown’s perspective,” he added, “They have to have an audience in order for their act to work. They directly interact with them at all times. A clown doesn’t have a purpose if there is no one to entertain…Why? Do you get nervous?” He turned his face to Sehun expectantly.

“No.” Sehun flashed a devilish smile. “I just wanted to hear what you had to say.”

“Why you little-” Luhan reached out to tweak Sehun’s ear, but the boy leaned out of reach.

In order to avoid the awkward mess from before they settled for lying on their backs, staring at the ceiling of the tent. The night crept on and they lay in silence.

Words were unnecessary.

The following days past in a blur. With the big rehearsal marking the end of the week, everyone’s scheduled practice hours raised considerably. The practice tent was almost always filled while the Director worked tirelessly under the stage lights, making final adjustments for each act. Sehun barely saw Luhan during the day, only during evening meal times. Despite their limited time to talk, they continued their friendly gestures: Luhan would leave bubble milk tea for Sehun in the afternoon and he would return the favor by leaving half of a doodle on Luhan’s dressing mirror for him to complete. Practicing 12 hours a day, Sehun rapidly improved in all areas of clubs, balls, and rings. He was able to juggle seven rings with decent confidence and improved his weak seven club routine. By the end of the week he noticed his biceps had noticeably toned and his club routines could last longer without any pain.

There was a knocking at the door.

“Sehun! We have 20 minutes ‘till the rehearsal starts, are you ready?”

“Almost! And it’s open!”

The handle clicked and Luhan walked into the room. He hesitated before sitting on the end of the lone bed, carefully pulling his cape to the side to avoid damage. He raised his head as Sehun walked out of the bathroom in his shorts, hair still wet from the shower.

“Hey.” He stopped and did a double take. “You get to wear a cape!” Sehun’s jaw dropped. “Gosh and I thought my costume was cool.”

Luhan let out a laugh, “I haven’t even seen your costume yet, so I can’t make any decisions.”

Sehun turned to rummage through his closet; his sparkly shirt should be in there somewhere. Suddenly he froze as he felt a delicate touch on his back.

“Are you ok?” Luhan asked quietly, fingers running down the pink scars on his back.

“I’m fine,” Sehun turned quickly, pulling the shirt from the closet. “Those are really old. I wouldn’t worry about them if I were you.”

Luhan met his gaze and held it, face creased with worry. “But how?”

Sehun stared him straight in the face, “I used to live in an orphanage…That’s how they punished us when we did something wrong.”

“I’m so sorry…I didn’t know.”

“It’s ok, you didn’t do anything wrong.” Sehun pulled on the reflective dress shirt, closing the buttons quickly.

“Well, you don’t know that…” Luhan said softly.

“Know what?”

“Whether or not I have done anything wrong…” He sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled up his corduroy pant leg.  Sehun did a sharp intake as the pant leg revealed a thick scar just above Luhan’s left knee. He lent forward and gently ran his fingers over the mangled dark skin.

“Did you have stitches?” He asked, eyes wide.

“Nine.”

“What happened?”

“I fell during a show.”

“What? Did you fall over the railing, what kind of song could you have been singing to-”

Luhan twisted his mouth into a smile, “I wasn’t always a singer Sehun….I used to be a tightrope walker.”

Sehun sat next to him, never breaking eye contact.

“I grew up at the circus. Once upon a time, everyone in my family was a tightrope walker. My parents taught me at a very young age on probably the same low rope we have the in the practice tent today. We had a group act, my parents, my older brother and I. One day my foot was in the wrong place and I overbalanced. I fell in front of over a thousand people, the rope cut my leg badly and there was blood everywhere. I was ten.”

“Wait there weren’t safety nets or anything to catch you?”

“No. The heavy poles holding the rope don’t allow enough space for a net. We always walk unguarded.”

“What happened next?”

“Well obviously I went to the hospital right after and they cancelled the show. It was a miracle the rope didn’t slice my leg clean through. Our tightropes have around 6,500 lbs of tension on them so it barely moves under our feet. Well to say the least I haven’t been on a tightrope ever since. My family moved to a different show to continue their act as three while Suho’s father found me a place in this show, EXO.”

“Wow…you don’t even limp.”

“Lots of physical therapy and enough stitches,” He flashed a smile.

They heard a thump and cries of glee from outside.

“Oh, Baekhyun is probably going down the stairs on his unicycle again.”

“We better get going. The clowns are always fashionably on time.”

They hurried their way to the Big Top and sat beside Baekhyun and Chanyeol, who were touching up their face paint while the Director gave a speech. Sehun observed the rest of the cast. Each artist was wearing a part of their full costume for the dress rehearsal. For example, Luhan and D.O were both wearing their golden capes. Lay and Chen both wore their special boots for tight rope walking while Baekhyun and Chanyeol fixed their face paint. Kai and Xiumin wore what looked like body suits under some normal clothes and Kris and Tao wore the bottom halves of their respective costumes.

“This is the last big rehearsal before our first show here. You know how it goes; introduce yourself and your act, then get into character and perform.” Suho finished, “Make it count!” He nodded at the singers to take their place on stage. Luhan gave Sehun’s hand a tight squeeze before making his way up the spiral staircase to the stage’s upper level.

Tao was the first one up. After making a brief introduction, he attached the lowered safety cord to his belt and made his way to the single hand block raised high in the air on a pole. Kris silently stepped onto the stage and bent one knee in a steady position near the block. He made a quick hand gesture and Tao propelled himself off the ground using Kris’s leg as a step. Sehun’s eyes widened as he saw Tao expertly balance on his hand gripping the block, legs high above his head. Kris exited the stage as Tao’s act began. He shifted his legs all the way to the right and held the pose, then did the splits as he brought his left leg to the other side. His act continued for nearly 5 minutes, as he supported all of his weight on one hand. As the final pose, he bent his elbow in a perfect 90 degree angle as if doing a one handed pushup. His body lines were impeccable, each movement exact and controlled by pure muscle. Tao dismounted and took a single bow for the crowd. Sehun continued clapping and until he saw him take a seat next to Kris on the far side of the stage.

The tight rope walkers were next. Lay cordially introduced the members and the act while Chen began climbing the rope ladder to the high wire. Luhan and D.O began singing to the fast beat while Lay and Chen ran back and forth across the wire. He saw Chanyeol shake his head beside him as they jumped rope in the center of the stage. They looked like small children from this height, it was ridiculous. To finish the act, Chen stood in the center of the rope while Lay leapfrogged over him and landed on the wire. The entire cast held their breath until they were back on the ground smiling at the crowd.

Baekhyun and Chanyeol immediately bounded on stage and grinned.

“Heeeey, guys! We finally figured out a better name for our act!” Baekhyun smiled.

“You all remember how we used to call it the ‘BAEKHYUN AND CHANYEOL UNICYCLE DUO WITH CLOWN INTERACTIONS ACT’ right?” The cast laughed in agreement.

“Well now we shortened it to…drum roll please.”

“B.U.C.C.A!!!!” The yelled together. “It’s Baekhyun and Chanyeol’s Unicycle and Clowning Act with the beginning letters rearranged.” They grinned childishly. The crowd applauded in agreement so they continued with their act. The unicycle portion was flawless. They performed their duo tricks perfectly and they even added a few dance moves here and there. Chanyeol’s clowning act was engaging, but provoked unenthusiastic reactions because the cast had seen it so many times. After sensing their lack of excitement Chanyeol called for a volunteer for the next part of the act.

“IT COULD BE ANY ONE OF YOU!” Baekhyun warned, waving his hand around to pick a victim. He ended up choosing the Director out of all people.

“Welllll Director, how about that? Come on down so the magic can begin!” Chanyeol grinned.

Suho just smiled as he walked down towards the stage, dressed in one of his many shiny blazers, tight slacks and fancy shoes. Luhan and D.O sang a few curious chords while Chanyeol and Baekhyun sat the Director in a chair and covered him in a blanket.

“And now, prepare to be amazed as our very own head honcho DISAPPEARS!” Chanyeol announced in a deep voice.

They all clapped when they pulled off the blanket and the Director was in fact, gone.

Baekhyun started to tell an embarrassing joke when they heard someone clear their throat. They all turned to see the Director standing at the very back of the auditorium.

“And there he is!” Chanyeol finished. They all applauded and someone even threw a weed onto the stage. Baekhyun beamed and bowed multiple times with the weed in hand.

The flying trapeze lowered onto the stage, signaling the next act. Kris gave them all a daredevil smile as he jumped onto the trapeze. He swung back and forth, gaining speed as the trapeze raised to a great height. Once securing his safety wire he jumped backwards off the bar and caught himself again with his feet. On the next full swing he did a four full body spins and ended in a sitting position on the trapeze. The crowd forgot to breathe again. He continued with more advanced flips and spins until he was sure they were absolutely terrified. They all applauded wildly while he bowed twice and returned to his seat.

There was a short five minute break for a fake intermission while Sehun gathered his props from the practice tent. He placed them delicately on the stage before beginning his act.

“Hey. I’m Sehun. I’ve met all of you at least once so you should all know I’m a juggler. But most of you aren’t familiar with the contents of my act, so here I go.” He heard the electric violin intro and casually tossed 5 stage balls into the air. He did the usual shower, mills mess, and box pattern with ease. He heard the crowd’s excitement and decided to jump right into the alternating behind the back catches.

5, 6, 7, 8…. He heard the thud on the ground and the emptiness in his left hand. The crowd fell silent as the stage ball rolled away. Sehun felt a chill run through his body. He quickly caught the remaining balls and turned to pick up the runaway. He heard Luhan’s voice falter, but D.O continued to sing just as they had practiced before. Sehun took a deep breath and narrowed his eyes.

Shit’s going down.

He kicked up two additional balls and began juggling all seven. He tossed them all extremely high and did not only one spin, but two full rotations before catching them all in a cascade pattern once again. The cast cheered loudly and a smirk appeared on his face. The rings and the clubs came easily given all the extra practice the past week. Each grip, though different, felt natural and he finished the act without any more mistakes. He grinned and bowed once before taking his seat.

Luhan and D.O did a short singing break where they sang a beautiful duet where they questioned the feeling of love. Sehun thought it sounded like it was in Chinese.

The beautiful notes ended and Kai and Xiumin leaped on stage. The center stage tiles moved away, revealing two long intersecting stretches of trampoline beneath them. They test jumped on the trampoline a few times before backing up to the beginning of the each track. Completely in sync, they did continuous back handsprings almost meeting in the middle of the x, and performed the same set of flips and twists at the end. The music lined up perfectly with each strong beat, while they somersaulted through the air. They made it look so easy. For the finale they lined up behind one another on one track and jumped into back handsprings less than a foot from each other. At the end of the track, Kai jumped high into the air while Xiumin did nearly six body twists beneath him and landed on the mat. The music ended and they posed together. The cast erupted in cheers and applauded not only for them, but for everyone who performed given that they were the last act.

After a few kind words from Suho everyone dispersed into the other tents, finally able to grab dinner before heading off to an early rest. Sehun stayed behind at the Director’s request.

“Oh, Sehun. Haha, hey isn’t that your full name?” The Director commented as he made his way down from the stage.

He nodded.

“I just wanted to congratulate you on your drop back there. Everyone messes up at least once, and it’s better if it happens during a rehearsal.”

“Mmm, thanks.”

“I’m also glad you kept going. D.O and Luhan should know to always continue singing if something goes wrong. And, I’m impressed. A seven up, 720?”

“Yea it was a little crazy, but hey it worked,” he grinned.

“Do you think you could actually incorporate it in your act?”

“Most likely. Luhan was right, the crowd actually helps power your act more than I thought.”

Suho nodded as they slowly walked towards the cafeteria. “I’m glad you think so…Anyway I should rush off. I have to make a phone call.”

Sehun waved as the Director peeled away to the left and went up the stairs to the apartments. His stomach growled as he arrived in the cafeteria and he had no regrets while he served himself a heaping bowl of ramen. He cast his eyes around the room in search of Luhan. He smiled as he found him arguing with D.O about the latest doodle Sehun had started for him.

“Sehun, I’m so glad you’re here. Now what have you done to my face!” D.O started.

“I don’t know… I didn’t have any ideas for what to draw, so I drew you!”

“I think it’s hilarious.” Luhan added. “Check it out, I gave him the bottom half of a T-rex.” They high fived and watched D.O throw a small fit while they sipped their ramen sympathetically. A half hour later, everyone was already turning in for an early sleep. The trio followed in suit and everyone was asleep before midnight.

Sunlight poured through his open window promptly at seven am, but Sehun was already awake. He didn’t need anything to tell him that it was a show day. His first show day. He got dressed and jogged to the practice tent, grabbing a banana on the way.

251, 252, 253, 254, he was doing well. All seven clubs were spinning above his head without fail; each catch was firm and unwavering. He didn’t even blink when it was past lunch time.

The fish was delicious and Luhan watched as it disappeared bite by bite into the Sehun’s mouth.

“Are you ever full?” He asked.

“Not if I can help it,” Sehun smiled with his eyes closed.

Luhan shook his head, “Hey it’s almost time to put on our costumes and you haven’t even practiced putting on your face paint!”

They took three left turns and a right, but not in that order. It didn’t matter anymore. Sehun had grown accustomed to the strange layout of the rooms in each tent and he knew his way around. The majority of the cast was already dressing and applying their face paint when they arrived in the dressing room. Each artist had a well lit area in front of the mirror, but Sehun’s was on the end while Luhan’s was somewhere further down the line. He noticed that each artist had a wrapped yellow rose on their table. Sehun checked the note inside: “You are wonderful. Have a great show!” signed Suho. He laughed to himself and put on his sparkly costume that was hanging on the rack behind him.

Sehun had almost perfected the red streak down his jaw line when two identical golden figures appeared in the mirror. His hand jerked to the left and the streak was ruined.

“Do you need help?” One of them spoke.

“HUH? Luhan! Is that you? I couldn’t even recognize you!” Sehun spun around in his chair. Luhan was dressed in all golden colors from cape to boots. There was a thick horizontal line of black face paint stretching from the tip of each ear. It completely covered his eyes, making it hard to distinguish who it was.

“Haha, pretty awesome right?” The other figure said.

“D.O! Wow. Those are pretty awesome.”

“I know.” He grinned and continued on his way.

“Here, let me fix that for you.” Luhan grabbed a wet cloth from the table and dabbed the stray red marks on Sehun’s face. Then taking the paint in his hand easily drew two thick lines down his jaw line, including small flourishes on both sides. In less than three minutes he had already finished the flares around his eyes.

Sehun glared at him in the mirror.

“Hey, it takes practice,” Luhan beamed. “You should take a look at everyone else’s costumes. They’re pretty cool.”

He stood up from his chair and peered down the row of chairs. It was like night and day. Everyone had thick streaks of paint across their faces and entirely different costumes than he would have imagined. Kai and Xiumin were wearing sand yellow body suits, with the equivalent of a short tank top and shorts made out of thick sea green rope. Sehun wanted to say they looked like creatures of the sea. Their faces were powdered white with blue shadow around the eyebrows and they both wore reflective silver head bands. He shook his head and wondered how in the world could Suho come up with such designs.

Baekhyun looked like someone from the medieval age with his puffy white shirt and simple black leggings. His lips were colored white and there was a huge star painted on his face in alternating blue/green colors. The point came down from his forehead to his nose, the two sides came across his cheeks, and the bottom tips finished around his lips and chin. Chanyeol looked very similar except the star on his face alternated in orange/yellow colors. His pants dawned vertical red stripes instead of a lone solid color.

Tao was shirtless and wore rich green leggings, cut off at the knee. Across his face there were three interlacing X’s each in a dark, prominent color. He sat on his table facing away from the mirror, legs dangling off the side while Kris painted intricate designs on his chest. Sehun turned to Luhan with a strange look on his face.

“It’s part of his costume. Tao’s supposed to have great tattoos on his back and chest because he’s shirtless, but he can’t paint them himself. So he gets Kris to do it.”

Sehun laughed, “And how does he do that?”

“Oh, he has his ways.”

Sehun looked back at the scene. This time he noticed Kris’s costume. It looked as if he was wearing navy blue under armor. The suit covered his arms and legs and was very plain except for the array of silver rings dangling around his right shoulder. His face was plain except for some heavy eyeliner.

Suddenly there was a color change as two figures passed by. They were wearing all white. He assumed they were Lay and Chen given that he hadn’t seen them yet. The two had head pieces with a few red accents and disturbing red streaks trailing from their eyes. The streaks were symmetrical on both sides of their noses, but it made them look like they were crying. Their lips were painted silver.

Before he could take in any more he saw a flash of black rush down the hall, footsteps echoing off the walls.

“That’s Suho.”

“What, in a cat suit?”

Luhan nudged him, “No! He’s wearing a tuxedo genius!”

“Oh. I could only see from the back.” He grinned sheepishly. “Oh, speaking of back, I’ll be right back. I need to get my props from the practice tent.”

Sehun jogged through the rooms until he reached the tent. The lights were off and it was deathly quiet. He turned on the front light and made his way to the props cart. Piling seven of each item into his hands he staggered to carry them all in his arms when a huge thud filled the room.

He peered to the side, he had dropped a club. Sehun carefully knelt down to pick up the fallen prop, but apparently not carefully enough. There was a deafening crash as the load spilled from his arms and strewed all over the floor.

Sehun froze. Although the noise had ceased, the thud rang through his ears again and again. He thought back to the rehearsal where he dropped the stage ball. It had the same thud. And before when he would drop apples in the common room. The noises were all the same.

What if I drop during the show? What will the crowd do then?

A cold shiver ran down his spine. He tried to collect the fallen props, but his hands began to shake.

What’s going on?

“Sehun!”

He heard Luhan’s voice carry through the tent.

“Sehun, are you alright?”

“My hands are shaking.”

“You’re probably nervous. Are you hurt? What happened to your props?”

“I dropped them. I was carrying too much...But Luhan, I don’t get nervous.”

“It’s ok, it’s your first show. It’s natural. Here, I’ll help you gather everything. The show is about to begin.”

“Luhan.” Sehun’s voice cracked a little. “What if I drop during the show?”

He stopped gathering the fallen props and looked the boy straight in the eyes.

“You practiced a lot this week didn’t you?”

“Yea.”

“And you can juggle seven of every prop here reliably right?”

“Well yea.”

“Then you have nothing to worry about.”

“But-” Sehun felt something soft press against his lips. His eyes widened as he realized they were Luhan’s lips. The kiss was gentle and sweet, just like Luhan.

The older boy pulled away, “I’m sorry. You were freaking out and I really had to get you to stop talking and-”

This time is was Sehun that pulled him close. He pressed their lips together and this time he kissed back with a little more confidence.

Meanwhile the stage lights flared under the Big Top. Suho walked into the center of the stage, a general murmur still passing through the crowd.

Sehun pulled away and looked Luhan in the eyes.

The Director smiled at the crowd and raised the microphone to his mouth.

“Everything is going to be ok, right?” The younger boy asked.

“Yes, of course it will.”

A voice boomed: “Ladies and Gentlemen; now introducing our latest touring show, EXO!” The crowd applauded and cheered loudly.



And he was right…It was.

Under the Big Top (1/2)

Mood: Accomplished (haha, my first fic)
Music: Epica - Presto
Title: Under the Big Top
Rating: PG
Pairing: Sehun/Luhan, maybe some Tao/Kris and Baekhyun/Chanyeol. Oh and a really bittersweet cameo made by Suju's Leeteuk
Word Count: 12,500+
Summary: Sehun runs away to join the latest touring circus show, EXO.
Important Things to Note: Pertinent Juggling Vocabulary…(these are all juggling tricks I mention)


Flash – Okay I lied. A flash is sort of a sample of juggling. It’s used when you are learning to juggle a certain number. For example, if you are trying to juggling five balls a flash is catching exactly five throws. Before trying to flash five balls, you would want to make sure you can flash four. (Throw four balls in a five ball pattern and catch them all again.) It’s not really a trick xD

Box- A trick where you throw the balls in a pattern that WOW look like a box (this kid will show you an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEmM_TzLYyI)

Shower – A trick where you throw the balls in a pattern that AWKWARD looks like a shower. HA, some people think this is how you are supposed to juggle, but it is actually a trick. (this time a little boy with GLOWING BALLS will show you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG15Qra2hE4)

Mills Mess – Another trick where it looks really complicated (not actually) but it’s cool. (ANOTHER REFERENCE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE2qI5uTb1U&feature=relmfu)

A 5 up 360 – This is just an example. It doesn’t have to be five objects, but the idea is you throw everything you are juggling high in the air while you spin (pirouette) underneath them and continue juggling when they fall down. If you are juggling 5 things, a four up 360 is the same thing except that you keep one item in your hand (it’s easier than doing all five in pattern).

High Lows – this might not be a trick, but it’s alternating heights of each throw. One high, one low. I guess it looks cool :P

Pancakes – This is a trick you do with rings only. Instead of rings normally you throw them so they flip in the air. It apparently looks like you’re flipping pancakes (it’s a really cool trick so I got the best juggler in the world, Anthony Gatto to show you what it should look like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m_OggrkroU)

Important Circus Vocab…

The Big Top – The highest/biggest tent where the circus show takes place…people also call it the Grand Chateau

Power Track – I tried to explain it in the fic, but just in case I didn’t do a good job THIS is one of the coolest circus acts there is (in my opinion) so see it from the best. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP6AJXprOXc

Wheel of Death – the coolest circus act ever. Extremely dangerous, but I saw it live and it was incredible. It’s in the Cirque du Soleil show Kooza J http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKFAly6G5cA



“531, 532, 533, 534-” A loud bell interrupted his concentration and the seven orbs previously in the air crashed to the ground with multiple displeasing thuds.

“534 catches…That’s got to be a new personal record.” Sehun muttered to himself as he made his way down the long corridor towards the dining room. Hordes of children poured out of the adjoining rooms and tumbled over each other in an effort to race to dinner. Sehun walked briskly down the hall, always a few heads taller than most of the other children in the orphanage. He could see that the headmistress was not scowling yet.

Plop. Murky sludge slightly resembling stew now covered the bottom of his bowl. Sehun sat down at the end of the long dining table and was immediately accosted by one of his younger bunk mates.

“Hey do you think we have a chance of seeing the circus this week?” The little boy asked, eyes wide.

“I don’t know Haku. Those signs have been driving me mad too.” Sehun replied wearily. They could all see the brightly colored signs advertising that the circus was in town. And it wasn’t just any circus; it was Cirque Du Soleil’s most famous touring show EXO. They were all dying to see it.

“I’ll ask the Head Mistress again.”

After he had rinsed and dried his empty bowl, Sehun approached the stern faced Head Mistress. The younger boys craned their heads, anxious to see the confrontation.

“Head Mistress, is there any chance we will be able to see the circus this week? You may know that this is the Cirque’s final week in our town.” he asked politely.

The Head Mistress fixed her cold gaze on his face and replied, “No. We don’t have any time to visit such things.”

“But Madame, some of the boys have never seen a circus before and it is their dream to-”

“My answer is final,” she snapped and averted her eyes back to an old newspaper headline that read: The Time to Act is now as the Human Lifespan Decreases to 62!

Sehun exhaled loudly as he returned to his place at the end of the table. “Sorry guys, she said no and you all know what happens when we beg so I would leave this one alone,” he grimaced.

“Awww man! What if they never come again! You know they never visit our town often!” the boys cried out in despair.

“I know.” Sehun whispered and looked away. Soon enough he found himself back in his dark room, staring at the inviting signs miles away. After finishing his basic schooling he wondered if there was any chance of him receiving any further education at all. What if there was no way out? No family ever wanted to claim an eighteen year old boy. The oldest he’d ever seen adopted successfully was age eight and he was certainly past that. Sehun frowned and stared out the window a whiles longer.

Night had fallen long ago and around three in the morning Sehun still lay awake. Images of the circus danced before his eyes for hours. He was lucky enough to have seen a circus show when he was seven, back when the economic times were a little better. He remembered the clowns, the unicycle act, and the juggler. Ever since he saw that show he had been inspired to juggle. Sehun learned the hard way that certain objects served as better props than others, when a ceramic figurine smashed into a thousand pieces when he missed a catch. His hand slowly traced the welts along his back. He had received a few too many belt slaps when he was younger.

Since those days Sehun picked up juggling with relative ease, starting with three objects and quickly moving to four then five. A smile emerged on his face as he remembered that apples were indeed the best juggling prop he had come across. A snicker escaped his lips as he recalled the time when he kept those apples in his socks for so long that they rotted into the fabric. Another belt slap for that one.

Suddenly, Sehun sat up with such force he hit his head on the base of the bed above him. Rubbing the spot with his hand, he dressed in his finest clothes (a t shirt with talking waffles on it and dark jeans with minimal stains) and looked out the window again. This time he was going to do it. He was going to leave.

Sehun stuffed his pack with as many apples and oranges he could find in the kitchen along with his minimal possessions. His pack was lumpy and awkward, but still closed easily enough. He undid the screws holding the screen in place and gently pushed the window open. It was quite a ways down, (his room happened to be on the upper floor) but it was manageable. He was about to jump when he heard the soft tread of footsteps coming his way. Sehun dropped to the floor and held his breath.

He saw bare feet standing just a few feet away, but he could recognize those toes anywhere. Shifting his weight onto his legs, Sehun pounced on the unsuspecting victim and caught him before he hit the ground.

“Wah!” Haku let out a muffled cry. “Sehun!” He smiled, “What are you doing?”

“I’m leaving,” Sehun laughed as Haku struggled in his tight grip.

“No! Take me with you!” The little boy pleaded.

“Not while you still have a chance to be adopted. You’re still young, who knows, maybe you’ll be adopted tomorrow.” Sehun whispered encouragingly.

“Humph. Yea right, like any family wants someone who’s allergic to all dairy and wheat,” he sniffled.

“Don’t lose hope. That’s only allowed when you’re my age.” Sehun said firmly. He put a finger to his lips as he cautiously made his way to the open window. “You won’t forget me will you?”

“Of course not!” Haku smiled.

“Take care.” And with that he leaped into the air, a cold breeze slapping him in the face sending shivers down his spine. Sehun landed in a pile of leaves outside and with a final wave to the window above he turned to walk towards the distant lights of the circus tent ahead.

The first rays of sunlight began to emerge just as Sehun arrived at the famous yellow and blue striped tent. Eyes barely open, he fumbled around until he found his way through a back entrance and into the back stage area.

“So far so good,” he whispered to himself, examining the decor. There were protective mats, harnesses, huge metal clips, and equipment everywhere. As long as I don’t trip, I’ll be fine he thought to himself as he carefully made his way to another door. He placed his numb fingers on the handle and pulled. It didn’t budge. Sehun twitched at the sight of a challenge and raised his foot in order to smash the door when-

“HEY!” a voice screamed. Sehun felt his body make hard contact with the floor as another body rolled with him across the floor. A boy with jet black hair and an extremely strong grip quickly had him pinned to the ground.

“What do you think you’re doing?” The boy said, cold gaze fixed on Sehun’s shocked face.

“Uhhh I’m investigating!” He stammered, frantically peering about. His eyes caught sight of a whiteboard with a list of each act of the show, but one of them was crossed out. The wheel of death?

“I’m here for the wheel of death! I’m your new replacement!” Sehun stated, gaining his confidence.

“Huh, very funny. That act was removed because it was too dangerous genius. Try again!” The cold gaze hardened.

“Tao, what are you doing?” Another voice called. Sehun raised his head to find an extremely tall man striding towards them.

“I caught this kid sneaking around. He was about to break a door down…” The tall guy crouched down next to them, brows furrowed in a vexing “v”.

“Kid. What were you thinking?” he inquired, “You don’t belong here.”

“But I do!” Sehun raised his voice, “I completely belong here! I need to join the circus! I-” but the tall guy placed his hand over his mouth.

“What should we do, Kris?” The dark haired boy asked. “If you don’t suggest something I’m going to punch this guy in the face for trespassing.”

“Relax. We should probably take him to the director. I don’t know how he’ll react this early in the morning, but it’s worth a shot.” Kris shrugged. Together they picked up the struggling Sehun and made their way out of the tent. A few minutes later, and a couple more turns than Sehun could remember they arrived at the door of an apartment.

Kris removed his hand from Sehun’s face and knocked on the door. Almost immediately they heard a bolt unlatch and a new face opened the door.

“Good morning Director. Sorry to bother you before eight, but we found this guy sneaking around backstage. We were going to throw him out before he said that he wanted to join the circus. We thought it would be better for you to decide.” Kris explained.

The Director turned his head from Kris to Tao and finally to Sehun. “Alright, bring him in.” he gestured, opening the door wide. They dropped Sehun into a chair, but otherwise remained standing.  The Director took the seat adjacent to him and dismissed the others.

“So kid, what’s your name?” The director asked kindly.

“Sehun. Oh Sehun if you must.”

“And Sehun why do you want to join the circus?”

“Because I’m a really good juggler and I have nowhere else to go.”

“No parents? Friends?” he asked with his eyebrows raised.

“Nope. Parents gave me away almost immediately after I was born because they were too busy to take care of me.” He paused. “And, I guess my only friends remain at the orphanage….”

“I see. And Sehun, what is your extraordinary skill that you feel will add to our cirque.”

“I’m a juggler. I really good juggler,” he stated adamantly.

“Well I guess I can’t see you perform right now, you look awful.”

Sehun stopped himself before he could respond. Do I really look that bad? He thought. Crap, that’s awkward….

The door suddenly opened and a boy with dainty features took a few steps in, but he stopped short.

“Oh, Director I’m sorry. I knocked, but I guess no one heard.” He waved the papers in his hand
“Uh, anyway I was just going to leave these sheets with you, I wanted to make a few changes to the song from the balancing act…ok. I’m sorry, I’ll leave now-”

“Luhan,” the Director called, “Hold on a moment.” The boy looked surprised, but waited quietly by the door.

“Tell you what.” The Director said, turning back to Sehun, “You can rest here for a while and when you wake up you can perform for me. If I see you have what I’m looking for, you’re in.”

Sehun nodded, “Thank you.”

“Luhan!” The Director called again.

“Yes?” His voice was sweet.

“Please take Sehun back to Leeteuk’s old room. It should be empty by now.”

“Sure.” He nodded.

The walk was relaxed and quiet. They soon arrived at a seemingly arbitrary door, 8C.

“Here you are,” Luhan grinned, “8C. If you need anything I’m right next door in 7C.”

“Thanks,” Sehun smiled. He opened the door and without another thought, fell asleep on top of the neatly made bed.”

Exactly 9.3 hours later, Sehun awoke to the sound of music playing. It was distant but the thump of the bass was clearly audible. He stood up, washed his face and slowly made his way out the door. After walking down the hall for a minute or so, Sehun realized he was following someone. That someone was decently tall, slender, and had dyed golden hair. Wait, is that the guy who showed me to my room earlier…what was his name again? He thought for a moment when it came to him.

“Luhan!” He called.

The boy in front of him turned, “Hey, Sehun! You’re finally awake. Hope you slept well. Anyway, the Director said that he’ll meet you in the practice tent for an audition. You probably don’t know where that is….” He trailed off. “It’s alright, I’ll take you there!”

“Cool, thanks!”

They weaved in and out of many similar rooms full of scattered faces.

“Hey, um Luhan?” Sehun asked randomly.

“Yea?”

“I was just wondering….How old is the Director? He looks really young.”

“Oh,” he laughed softly, “He’s only 21! A year younger than me, but never underestimate his judgment. His grandfather was the founder of the Cirque Du Soleil and his father is the director of some of our other well known touring shows like Super Junior and SHINee. His name is Suho, but everyone calls him the Director out of respect.” Sehun nodded attentively.

 “He’s pretty much a genius at everything and has a strong background in every circus discipline.” Luhan stated seriously. “But don’t worry,” he smiled, “I’m sure you’ll do great! Suho told me you’re a juggler. That’s fantastic! We haven’t had a brilliant juggler for quite a few years now….Well good luck!”

Sehun hadn’t even noticed they had arrived. The practice tent was much smaller than the Big Top, but that was to be expected. This tent had rows of various props along the sides and machines and a low tightrope in the corner. The rest was empty space with a very high ceiling, perfect for juggling.

He turned just in time to see Luhan waving as he walked away. Sehun smiled and returned his attention to the rest of the tent. He was just about to begin exploring when a tap on the shoulder stopped him in his tracks.

“Great, you’re here!” the Director grinned. “Now show me what you’ve got.”

Sehun almost blurted out, “Oh shit I forgot my apples back in the room,” but ended up giving the Director a blank stare.

“We have juggling props over on the far side,” the Director prompted, pointing with his left hand.

Sehun made his way over to a promising cart which had sleek rings hanging on a rack and sparkling clubs in the pockets. He looked in the largest pocket and found a whole pile of brightly colored stage balls. His eyes widened as his fingers ran across the smooth vinyl surface. Glancing back at the Director, Sehun started to juggle three balls in one hand, quickly adding two more. His head arched back, concentrating on the five orbs cascading through the air.

“I’ll give you minute to warm up,” the Director announced as he wandered over to help another artist who had appeared at the entrance.

Sehun didn’t even notice; he was completely entranced by this new juggling experience. The stage balls, designed for professional jugglers, had a sticky grip and were the perfect size for his hands. It had been almost four minutes and he hadn’t dropped a single one, even when he switched to seven.

A minute went by…probably two and Sehun was still laughing to himself, performing various tricks from a seven ball shower to throwing alternate catches behind his back. It was too easy. No lumpy shapes, no stems to avoid, nothing like the apples he had used all these years. He heard the Director clear his throat and Sehun dropped the orbs back into his arms.

He smiled, “Show me your skills.”

“Of course,” Sehun smirked. He gauged the distance between him and the cart with the props before he started, already having an ending in mind. Starting out with five balls, Sehun did a variety of tricks starting with a shower, then a four up 360 and he even threw in a complicated mills mess. The Director nodded in approval when Sehun kicked up the stage balls lying at his feet right into the ongoing five ball cascade. Now juggling seven balls, he put a smirk on his face as he pulled off some difficult tricks like a seven up 360, some high lows, and a series of throws from behind the back. Casting a quick glance to the cart, he ended by throwing all the stage balls back into the cart behind him one by one. Once his hands were empty, Sehun grinned and did a quick bow.

The Director laughed and clapped his hands. “Wonderful! That was quite a routine. Well Sehun, I won’t keep you in suspense.  Congratulations, you’ve made it into Cirque Du Soleil!”

A huge smile appeared on Sehun’s face as he did a small victory dance. “Thank you, Director.”

“No thank you for putting in the effort to become this skilled at your discipline. Can you also juggle clubs or rings?”

“No, I couldn’t really find anything similar enough to practice with back at…home.”

“That’s alright, but I suggest you learn quickly. Stage balls are entertaining for a while, but the crowd always loves shiny objects they can see from far away. Clubs are real eye catchers,” he pointed out.

“I’ll get right on it. And thanks again.”

The Director smiled and gracefully showed himself out. Now alone, Sehun turned to the stack of rings hanging from the cart. He threw a few into the air and watched how some flew straight up while others spun diagonally and fell out reach. It wasn’t long before he could juggle three and then five; the only difference was the hand position he had to use to catch them. Although his eyes could only catch the slivers of each ring as they fell back into his hands, he knew from the sides the audience could see the large flat parts of the ring he could not. 'Hmm, I guess that’s what the Director was talking about' Sehun thought to himself.

Once he was able to flash seven rings without fail, Sehun decided it was time to switch to clubs. Starting out with just one, he tossed the club back and forth between his hands, making sure it rotated once each pass. It was easy enough, but when he added another he cringed every time they collided in the air and tumbled to the ground. Not one to give up, Sehun narrowed his eyes and kept at it.

A few artists came and left the practice tent, but Sehun’s eyes never left the spinning clubs above his head. He had just caught five in a row when a voice interrupted him.

“Hey that was better.”

Sehun turned to find Luhan leaning on a wall nearby.

“How long have you been standing there?” he asked, almost embarrassed.

“Oh not long. Maybe three or four minutes, but I’ve seen you progress. You’ve been in here for hours, let’s get something to eat.”

Sehun nodded and quickly put away the clubs that lay scattered across the floor. He hadn’t realized how hungry he was until his second bowl of food sat empty on the table.

Luhan’s eyes widened, “Guess you were hungry after all.”

Sehun smiled sheepishly, “I guess so.”

“Hey well if you’re still here, you must have passed the audition. How’d it go?”

“Good.” He replied, “Great actually. The professional equipment really helps. I’ve never done so many tricks without dropping at least once. It felt great.”

“Nice! I knew you would do well,” he smiled pleasantly. “But, you’ve really never used professional equipment before? How did you practice?”

“Oh, I used apples actually.”

Luhan laughed, “Didn’t have any juggling stores nearby? Well, I guess they aren’t very common.”

“Mhm… Yea there weren’t any stores in my town so I used apples all these years.”

“Effective. Oh, I guess the cafeteria is closing,” he observed as people filed out of the room. “We should leave.”

Together they slowly made their way back to the apartment rooms.

“Well if you need anything, I’m right next door. Oh, and if you get hungry again you’re in luck! My fantastic roommate can cook up a storm so just knock.” Luhan offered.

“Thank you, I might just take you up on the offer sometime,” he smiled.

“Wonderful. Well, good night!”

“Good night.” Sehun finished, glancing back as Luhan went inside room 7C. Opening the door to his own room, he decided to take a shower given that he wasn’t yet sleepy. The warm water gushed over his face, pushing his hair into his eyes. Sehun was shocked to find bruises on the joints in his fingers and on his forearms. He sighed into the soothing shower and stared at his hands.

“Probably from the clubs,” he mused.

Wrapping a towel around his waist, he went over to the small window in the room and sat on the sill. Gazing out at the lights beneath, Sehun admired the beauty of the twinkling shop signs and the buildings around him.

“Finally, I get a good view from my window,” he smiled gently. As night crept over the town and the streetlights left as the sole protectors of the streets, Sehun made his way over to his bed and snuggled into the soft sheets; asleep in an instant.

He awoke to a quiet knocking at the door.

“Sehun,” a voice called. “It’s Luhan.” 

Sunlight streaming through the window, Sehun jumped up to unbolt the door.

“Hey what is it,” he answered.

Luhan’s mouth stood ajar as he realized Sehun was shirtless. “Uh,” quickly pressing his lips together, “The Director wanted you to see him. He says he needs to get you fitted for a costume.”

“Sure, where is he?”

“Probably down stairs in the props room…It’s another room down from the practice tent.”

“Ok, thanks for letting me know.” Sehun was about to leave when he realized he was only wearing a pair of boxers. “Uh Luhan?”

“Yea?” he turned around.

“Could I borrow something to wear for a bit? My set of clothes is dirty.”

“Um sure!” Luhan nodded.

Following him back into room 7C, Sehun noticed that Luhan’s room was very neat and organized.

“Hey D.O!” Luhan called, “Come meet Sehun!”

They heard a clamoring of noises escape the bathroom as quite a few things fell of the counter. A door slide open and a boy with a very confused look stepped out the bathroom in a robe.

“Oh hi!” He extended his hand smiling.

“Hey, I’m Sehun.”

“I’m D.O, I’m one of the singers here at EXO,” he grinned.

“And I’m the other,” Luhan reminded him from across the room.

“Cool. I’m a juggler. Just made it into the cirque yesterday.”

“Very nice! I’m excited to see you perform,” he nodded. “Well, catch you later.” He called, rushing back to the bath which had just started to overflow.

“Here you go.”

Sehun turned to see Luhan holding out a pair of clothes to him.

“Hopefully they’ll fit you,” he added. “And you better run. You shouldn’t make the Director wait for you.”

“Right. Thanks again!” Sehun yelled racing out of the room, pile of clothes still in hand. He ran down the stairs turned left at the cafeteria and raced through the backstage of the Big Top. He received many bewildered looks as he ran and noticed that he was still wearing only a pair of boxers. Wonderful first impression he thought, pushing his legs to go even faster.

Screeching to halt at the props room, he opened the door completely breathless.

“Great, thank you for making it on time.” The Director turned to face him. “And you’ve even stripped down, very prepared.”

Sehun gave him a strange look.

“I’m measuring your body…It has to be exact so your costume can fit well. So I would have asked you to take your clothes off anyway.” The Director laughed, ruffling Sehun’s hair.

He pulled out a measuring tape and in a very professional manner, recorded every dimension of Sehun’s body on a chart.  After a few minutes he looked at his clipboard, satisfied look on his face.

“Thank you. You’re free to go.”

Sehun nodded and returned to the main floor of the practice tent. Before embarrassing himself yet again, he remembered to put on the clothes Luhan let him borrow earlier. Pulling on a pair of athletic shorts and a sleeveless shirt he returned to the area with the juggling props which was, of course, completely vacant.

With bare feet Sehun had to be careful not to drop any clubs too close to his body, no one wanted to have their toes smashed by such nice looking clubs. Eyes narrowed in determination, he spent the next 3 hours nailing three club patterns. When he felt his stomach growl Sehun reluctantly put the clubs away and quickly returned to the cafeteria.

After serving himself two bowls piled high with noodles he scanned the room in search of Luhan. He felt a hand on his shoulder and nearly dropped his tray when Luhan appeared behind him balancing his tray in one hand.

“Hey. Where do you want to sit?” His smile was genuine and it gave Sehun a shiver.

“Um,” turning his head wildly, “There!” He pointed with his left hand as he felt one of his bowls of noodles fall off his tray. In a flash Sehun grabbed the bowl still upright and placed it back on his tray.

“Wow. Fast reflexes.” Luhan admired.

Sehun shrugged. “Probably from all the juggling. I don’t like letting things fall.”

They made their way over to a corner table and sat down across from each other. Chopsticks never seeming to leave his face, Sehun finished his first bowl before Luhan had even made a dent in his own.

“Sooo,” Luhan started. “Adjusting well to the circus life yet?”

“Yea. It hasn’t been long, but I’m definitely enjoying my time here if that’s what you’re asking.”

“Great. Just wait until you start traveling with us, then you’ll love it! Nothing to tie you down, everywhere to go, and doing what you love to do every day.”

“Sounds like you can get pretty close to the people around you…”

“When you’ve been here as long as I have, you really start to act like a family; I’ve known most of these artists for years. Being this close for so long I know that we would all go to extremes to protect our family.”

“Hm, I guess I see how that would work,” he replied, eyeing the one named Tao as he exited the room.

“Hey, you haven’t met most of the cast yet! Here, I’ll introduce you as we take a walk.” Luhan said, rising from his chair.

“Oh we can start here,” he said smiling as they approached a nearby table. “Hey guys have you met Sehun yet?”

“Nope, hey I’m Kai,” the boy grinned, casually waving a hand in the air.

“Hi I’m Xiumin,” another with chubby cheeks added.

“And I’m Lay,” the third added, extending his hand, “Pleased to meet you.”

“Cool. Yea I’m Sehun. I’m a juggler…What acts are you guys in?”

“Xiumin and I do power track.” Kai offered. Sehun gave him a questioning look.

“It’s basically a long stretch of trampoline that you gain speed along then do tricks at the end. You have to see it live.” Xiumin stated.

“And I’m a tightrope walker.” Lay smiled.

“Pshhh, the odd one out,” Kai whispered.

Xiumin snickered and gave Lay a pat on the shoulder. Lay tried to retort, as Luhan and Sehun silently slipped away.

Continuing their quest to formally meet everyone, Luhan led Sehun to the practice tent to see if anyone had an early lunch. They found a boy walking back and forth on the low tightrope in the corner. Luhan snuck around to the side and was about to blurt out something, but they boy beat him to it.

“Hi Luhan!” He smiled.

“Hey, how’d you know it was me?” He said crestfallen.

“Haha, I heard you come in! And someone else too,” he said, glancing up from his feet. The boy giggled childishly to himself, “Oh. You’re the one I saw running around this morning.”

“You saw that? Huh, well I’m wearing clothes now…” Sehun stated awkwardly.

After walking along the rope backwards a few times, the boy lightly hopped down and extended a hand.

“Hi, I’m Chen.”

“Sehun.”

“Cool and you’re a…”

“Juggler,” he finished. “And I can see you’re a tightrope walker.”

“Yup,” he giggled again. “Well it’s nice to meet you.  Hey and if you guys see Lay, can you tell him he takes too long to eat. I’ve been here for half an hour already.”

“Sure thing,” Luhan replied as they left him to practice in peace.

With the cafeteria now empty, they wandered through the backstage area to find two more artists.

Sehun stopped completely stunned as he watched the tall guy from earlier flip twice off a swinging trapeze and catch the bar safely. He dangled from his legs daringly until he realized their presence.

“Oh, hi there,” he said still hanging from a foot. “Ha, give me a moment…” Once sitting upright on the trapeze, he signaled for the boy on the ground to lower the swing to the floor. Safely on the ground the two figures approached them.

“Hey, I’m Kris. I would shake your hand, but I’m a little sweaty,” he grinned and wiped his face with a towel. He nudged the dour boy beside him to introduce himself.

“Sorry. Hi, I’m Tao,” the boy extended his arm.

“Hey I’m Sehun….I remember we met earlier.”

Kris laughed, “Yes. I can see that you’re still here which means your audition went well. I’ll be looking forward to seeing your act.”

“Me too. I mean your act. It looked really cool from what I just saw.”

Kris shrugged, “Thanks.”

“Hey now that you’re officially one of us, I’m sorry for what I did earlier.” Tao deadpanned.

“It’s fine. Luhan told me about the protective family thing. You did what you had to do,” he nodded.

A smile crept onto Tao’s face, “I’m glad you understand.”

“We should probably leave. You guys have practicing to do.” Luhan smiled sweetly.

“That’s right; the last big rehearsal is just a week away!” Kris stated.

They turned to exit when Sehun called out, “Tao, I almost forgot! What’s your discipline?”

“Hand balancing. You’ll see it in the big rehearsal,” he smirked.

Once out of earshot Sehun turned to Luhan, “Hand balancing, is it weird? Why wouldn’t he show me?”

“He’s probably just messing with you,” he smiled. “It’s also relatively new for him. Tao recently switched disciplines. He used to be a wushu specialist before he joined EXO.”

“Why did he switch?”

“Well it was a bit of a reckless art that didn’t necessarily have a place in the show. He injured himself enough times that Suho told him to switch. He already had the muscle build it required, so hand balancing wasn’t too difficult for him to learn.”

“I see,” Sehun absorbed.

“Hmm, I think the only ones that you haven’t met are Chanyeol and Baek-”

“LOOK OUT BELOWWWWW!”

They looked up in shock to see a boy at the top of the stairs bouncing down on a unicycle.

“WHEEEEEEE!” he giggled on each step. “C’MOM CHANYEOL!” Not far behind, another boy with a clown nose slid down the banister to meet him at the base.

“That was fun!” the shorter one laughed. “Hey!” he turned as he noticed the others. “Did you guys see that?”

Luhan and Sehun both nodded their heads.

“It was so cool! You guys should try it!” He exclaimed, pushing the unicycle towards them.

Sehun was speechless, but Luhan managed a, “Not this time,” and politely shook his head.

The taller one with the nose appeared behind Sehun and put his clown nose on him. “Have you at least figured out who we are yet?” His smile was huge.

Sehun opened his mouth to reply when the two stood side by side and yelled, “WE’RE THE BAEKHYUN AND CHANYEOL UNICYCLE DUO WITH CLOWN INTERACTIONS ACT!”

“That’s what I was going to say,” Sehun pulled off smoothly, running a hand through his hair.

“You’re smart boy without clothes,” the unicycle boy laughed.

“He’s wearing clothes Baekhyun,” the clown commented.

“Not this morning he wasn’t! I saw him run through the cafeteria in his underwear!” Baekhyun beamed.

Suddenly recognizing their presence once again they took a few steps closer and introduced themselves.

“Hi! I don’t actually know your real name, but I’m Baekhyun!”

“I’m Sehun, I’m a juggler.”

“Cooool, Hey I’m Chanyeol,” his voice was surprisingly deep. “You can keep the clown nose by the way. It suits you!”

“Don’t you need it?”

“Are you kidding, I have so many there must be a few falling out of my ears by now.” He ruffled his shoulder length hair and sure enough a folded red material fell to the ground. He stooped to pick it up, “Yup. I really don’t need anymore,” he grinned.

“Well we should probably be heading off now. The Director wanted us to try a new trick in the practice tent.”

“But there’s only one way we can leave you now...and that is”

“IN STYLE,” they said in unison. At this prompt, Baekhyun leaped on top of Chanyeol’s broad shoulders as they mounted the unicycle.

“See you later alligator!” Chanyeol teased.

After their boisterous encounter the room seemed awfully quiet without them.

“Well that’s everyone given that you’ve met the Director, me and my roommate. Oh wow.” Luhan glanced at his watch. “It’s already two p.m, I have singing rehearsal with the tightrope walkers. I’ll see you later.” He playfully squeezed the clown nose on Sehun’s face then quickly departed to the Big Top.

“See you!” Sehun called after him. The clown nose, now deflated, tickled his face so he folded it up and put it in his pocket. The rest of the day was free for juggling so he headed to the practice tent to nail the four club pattern. 

http://sesame-wit.livejournal.com/856.html Part 2