Road Not Taken

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Giving Stray Kids the letters Rose had written for them was definitely a good decision by their manager. A light had returned to the Idols' eyes: hope. The last few rehearsals before they flew to LA were a lot better than they had been before. The boys seemed to have a renewed determination.

They hadn't discussed exactly what had been written in each of their letters. Each member felt as though it was too personal to share, at least while their emotions were still fresh. However, each member found the words on that piece of paper either comforting, heart-warming, or inspiring.

Jeongin kept his letter in his bag so that he could read it whenever he needed to. Seungmin kept his in the back of his diary, so it was safe and always with him. Felix had his tucked away in his bedside drawer and would read it every night before he went to sleep. Jisung's was in his pocket It was the most worn as he held it a lot whenever he needed strength. Hyunjin had taped his letter to his wall next to his drawing of Rose. Changbin had his hidden underneath his pillow and like Felix, he often found himself reading it while he lay awake at night unable to sleep. Chan's was in his studio and every time he looked at it he worked harder. Minho had been the only member not to read his letter.

KCON was a little hectic. Minho barely made it before the concert started as he had a schedule in Korea so had flown out a day later than the rest of the group. Not having their performance leader had been a little jarring, but Chan had done his best to get the rest of the group ready.

It had been nice to see the other groups who were performing. Obviously, they were all close to the members of ATEEZ since participating in KINGDOM together. However, there was one Idol that Chan was very happy to have finally met. The fellow Australian, Jake from ENHYPEN.

Other than ISAC, this was the first big event that the group was doing with Rose. They all felt her absence and it made them realise how comforting her presence had been to them. It also made them notice all the little things she would do for them to make their lives easier. A weight she had helped carry returned to Chan's shoulders as it became clear how much he had started to rely on her.

They did their best to put on a high-level performance for STAY. No matter how they were feeling, they wouldn't let it stop them from putting on a good show for their fans.

After KCON, Chan did his usual V Live in the hotel room. Minho was hanging out in the room at the time but didn't want to be seen and so stayed off camera. Afterwards, the two continued to hang out. The dancer stared at his leader, who despite his best efforts, looked tired and obviously had a lot on his mind.

"You should do it."

"Do what?"

"Tell everyone that you've found your soulmate."

Chan looked at Minho in shock. This was the last thing he had expected the dancer to say.

"What? Are you serious? What about the fallout? The whole reason she left was to stop me from going public and save our career!"

Minho shrugged.

"You told us yourself that JYP himself told her that she was going to ruin our career. We already told you that we were willing to take that risk. This is your soulmate, Chan-Hyung. Is the possibility of losing a little popularity more important than her?"

"No... but she thought it was."

"I never said she was clever. She's so stupidly in love with you that she sacrificed her own happiness to make sure you achieved your dream. In a way, it's sickeningly sweet although very much misguided."

"Our dream. She didn't do it just for me. She did it for all of us."

The dancer looked down and picked at the hem of his top.

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