Is how much effort you put in ever really worth it? Are you ever really happy in the long run, when you put your all into something? It must be possible, somehow, to put so much of yourself into something that it becomes you and suddenly you forget who you are, where you are going and what it is you aimed for in the first place. At some point, doesn’t it lose all meaning? If it breaks you inside, maybe reaching the end doesn’t matter. Maybe nothing matters.
Those thoughts crossed the seven minds, in some form or another, through the year long training period. The increase in their frequency was sudden, and all of them could feel it. It was the unexpected rigorous preparation for debut, even months before it was scheduled, the intense workload seemed to suffocate and lead to impossible questions. Was it all justified so long as it was done in the name of success?
The feelings of unrest and displeasure seemed to swirl and brew like an imminent storm, crawling across the sky before it dropping its wrath from the heavens.
It had been a particularly long day - Sungyeol had fallen during practise for the intro song and shattered some bone in his foot. He still wasn’t home, having been rushed by Hyoan to the hospital. After all, practise time was practise time. It was precious and couldn’t be made back.
Without his presence, the dorm was eerily silent, other than the snide snapping between Sunggyu and Woohyun. The two of them were fighting again. The members seemed to have congregated on the sofa, though Dongwoo paced, biting the nail on his left thumb absentmindedly. He hadn’t settled since Hoya, who was now sat firm jawed and seething on his bed, had threatened to punch him. Neither would back down from their petty fight, and finally the younger had snapped, temper stretched by exhaustion and frustration.
Sungjong, on the other hand, had crawled into Sunggyu and Woohyun’s room, when he thought no one was looking, to cry. He was homesick, again. It was the third time this week he had holed himself away to sniffle pathetically as he choked back the sobs, believing it was private, and that no one had any idea. It was his weakness, as far as he was concerned, and he wanted it to remain that way - it was not another burden for his hyungs.
Of course, they heard it all, but they never told him that. They didn’t see what good it’d do.
When Sungyeol returned home, foot in a cast, crutches under his slender arms, no one greeted him, and he greeted no one. He just took his place on the sofa, careful not to bring himself to any further harm. He hissed slightly as he stretched out his leg.
During the days like these, they hated each other, resented the fact that they had to work with one another every single day, live together for every single minute of their lives. It was unbearable. Once or twice, they had considered giving up, just quitting, but pride seemed to get in the way every single time. One occasion it was the opposite - the total lack of dignity displayed when Dongwoo burst into tears, screaming at everyone to just shut up and stop talking about such horrible things. This is no way to talk about something we all love, about each other, who I’m sure we love even more, he had said as the others stared at him incredulously. Regardless, it had worked, and he didn’t regret a second of it.
Quietly, each member agreed and wandered off to their respective rooms, or places on the floor, or the kitchen, and thought silently about what Dongwoo had said.
Sungyeol frowned to himself, bored and disapproving of the silence that hung in the dorm - Sunggyu and Woohyun’s erratic snapping had peetered out and the two of them had settled for pointedly not looking at the other, soft pout on Woohyun’s lips and surly grimace on Sunggyu’s.
Fortunately, tension was broken when a knocked resonated through the dormitory, the door opening immediately after.
The five boys in the living room barely had the spirit to bow, but they murmured their greetings and nodded to their hyung. The sound of his voice drew Hoya from the depths of his stony silence, his face appearing through the bedroom door; and even pulled Myungsoo’s face into an expression that wasn’t a stoic indifference.
“What the Hell is up with you guys?” He asked looking around, the definite lack of energy striking a dull note in the atmosphere. Even Tablo, an outsider of sorts, could feel the gravity in the room, the undeniable force that was dragging them all down - no wonder they all seemed so crushed today.
When he received no more than casual shrugs and grunts of vague answers, he continued speaking.
“Look, I heard things had been pretty bad today from Dongmin, so I came to cheer you up with some good news.”
Dongwoo stopped pacing and stared intently at his hyung, where as Woohyun raised his eyebrows, both disbelieving and expectant at the same time.
“Go on.” Myungsoo offered, lazily shifting himself so his left side sagged into the soft material that seemed to swallow him up. Tablo looked at him questioningly before reaching into the backpack he was uncharacteristically sporting today, to pull out a small laptop, compact and light.
He unfolded it, balancing it precariously on his knee as he turned it on and began browsing the web for something that had caught his eye earlier that morning.
“I’ll just let you guys have a look at it for a while, I’ll be back in ten.”
He dropped the laptop on Sungyeol’s knees and headed right back out of the door through which he had entered, shutting it behind him.
Sungyeol’s eyes burst, widening as he read the page that glowed through the screen.
A white background, starkly contrasting with the bold font of the title that read “Infinity fan board, the 1st Infinite fan forum”. They hadn’t even made their debut, but they already had a forum?
“Woah, hyung, is this a joke?” Sungyeol asked staring at Sunggyu who couldn’t quite seem to believe it himself. It clearly said there were a hundred members. One hundred. One hundred different people that like them enough, or had enough interest in them to actually want to talk about them.
The five were silent, just staring at the screen, reading the words again and again, staring at the little black numbers that they barely dared to believe.
Finally the silence was shattered as Dongwoo looked up, tearing his eyes from the laptop to drag them over to the bedroom door that was open a crack. He beckoned Hoya over, no longer worried about their disagreement before, and called Sungjong out too.
Both emerged from their rooms, slipping into the group as comfortably as their numbers allowed, peering curiously at what all the fuss was about.
None of them said anything, they were still silent, though it was lighter somehow.
They were lighter.
A soft, disbelieving laugh slipped past the youngest’s lips, before it blossomed into a full smile, an expression of pure happiness. Like wildfire, the infection of joy spread from member to member, each of them lighting up, as they took in what this meant. It meant that it was paying off, it was working, they were achieving. They didn’t even read the comments, they didn’t have time - Tablo came in and took back his laptop since he needed to leave, but they didn’t care. They were almost numb to reality.
For the first time in weeks, they prepared a meal together, suddenly, almost magically, bound together. They ate in between the bursts of gleeful, animated conversations, the food unimportant now that they had made it.
Nothing more was said on the topic of the fights, nor the sadness, though Sungyeol still insisted on complaining about not being able to sit comfortably on the floor with everyone. He had been tempted, and had begun, to say his "With his bandmates", but something stopped him. It was recognised, everyone caught the hesitance in his words, and understood why.
They had grown to realise they weren’t just a group, just idols-in-training. They were so much more, they were a family, the seven of them together, even their managers. They would argue, and they would cry, and they would (at times) hate each other. It was just the way it went, they were human after all, but it wasn’t what lasted. The intimacy, the bond, the, at risk of sounding clichéd, love the seven shared would always outlive the discord and always be so much more potent.
It was then that it struck them, each in different ways.
Yes, it was always worth the effort. To put your all into something and watch it grow, to watch it bloom into something beautiful and wonderful, it was always worth it, just for that.
Even if it broke you or tore you apart to pour yourself into something that much… Surely the thing itself would fill the cracks and heal you, making you whole and new once more. It would give you the energy and power you need to continue and strive. If it was enough to effect someone else’s life, even in the tiniest most minute and insignificant way, it would be a sin to give in and let it all fade away. The effort would always have meaning and purpose.
It would be infinite.They were Infinite.