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Take Note | 주의 깊게 살펴

Chapter Text

Hyungwon

you’re going to be late, you know

changkyun

chankgyun seriously I don’t give enough of a shit to keep texting

omfg CHANGKYUN

C

H

A

N

G

K

Y

U

N

oh fuck it be late see if I care

 

Changkyun

shhh i’m sleeping

 

Hyungwon

Exactly, you’re going to be late

get the fuck up

 

Changkyun

why u vibratin im gonn turn u off

 

Hyungwon

oh dear god

I give up

 

Changkyun

I hold u I love u why you play me like this

 

Hyungwon

WTF

oh my god

Changkyun I’m not your damn pillow

 

Changkyun

ye I know ur the devil

ugh fine I’m up class is only at like 10 tho chiiiiill

 

Hyungwon

it’s half past nine

 

Changkyun

fuck

 

---

 

All the buildings looked alike. All the fucking buildings looked alike. How on earth was he going to find his English Lit class when all the buildings looked alike. Sure, he could ask someone but he could also, like, not that obviously be such a first year. He had his pride. Maybe not enough to admit that he should probably have attended orientation, but still.

Glancing at his watch, he realised he was already five minutes late and after sucking in a tiny, panicked little breath, he ran his eyes wildly across the buildings in front of him again.

There. It said West Block in big fat black letters across the front and Changkyun sprinted towards the entrance, mentally cursing the fact that his class was on the third floor (it was, right?) and that exercise ranked very, very low on his list of priorities.                        

By the time he made it to the third floor--his lungs having gone straight to hell--it was two minutes later and Changkyun was pretty sure he was going to die. Nevertheless, he slid into the classroom just as the lecturer approached the door, obviously intending to close it. Shooting what he intended to be an apologetic smile, but Changkyun was pretty certain was really a pained grimace at the lecturer, he slid into the first available seat, searching through his backpack for his book.

At least he had made it to class on time. At least he wasn't missing his first class on the first day. Because that would've been just awkw--

"Good morning, and welcome to Programming and Problem Solving, part one," the lecturer began.

Changkyun froze, his prescribed anthology of Shakespeare’s Sonnets readily at hand, eyes wide, and voiced a small, extremely heartfelt, "Fuck."

The boy next to him looked at Changkyun with ill-disguised irritation at being a disruption. That is, until he glimpsed the book held in Changkyun’s slack hands. The boy looked at the flowery, dated cover of Changkyun’s book, took in the sweat on his forehead, the absolutely miserable expression on his features and let out an abrupt snort of laughter that he tried, a bit unsuccessfully in Changkyun’s completely unbiased opinion, to hide with a fit of coughing.

“Is something funny to you about the WriteLine method Mr...?”

The boy immediately sat up straight, face still a bit pink, shaking his head. “No, sir. Sorry, sir. Er, Yoo, sir.”

“Good,” the lecturer said with a raised brow. “I trust there won’t be any more disruptions in this class or I will lose my shit. Is that alright with you, Mr Yoo?”

The boy nodded adamantly, before the lecturer continued talking in Computer Nerd Language that just...

Changkyun, meanwhile, put his book back in his backpack, took out a pencil case, his notebook, and simply hoped the lecturer wouldn’t notice him.

Ten minutes into whatever Hell Class he’d accidentally walked into, Changkyun could actually feel himself mentally ascend the extreme panic and agitation at missing his first class and enter the serene, soothing state of nihilism he had last experienced with his final exams.

Changkyun looked longingly at the door. Near… far…

He was stuck now. At least until the end of class. Because god knows he did not have enough belief in his own ability not to make some inane comment if he tried to leave the class beforehand and thereby embarrassing himself for all eternity.

The exam pad jabbing into Changkyun’s side snapped him out of his thoughts, and he looked up to see the boy next to him studiously taking notes with his one hand and seemingly paying complete attention to the lecturer while his other hand pushed the exam pad into Changkyun’s side even more persistently.

Changkyun frowned at the note, giving the boy a look that clearly read ‘no shit, Sherlock’, but of course, he was looking at the lecturer and not him and it wasn’t like Changkyun had anything else to do, so he wrote back;

Changkyun paused, before smiling to himself. Might as well have fun, right?

Changkyun jabbed the exam pad right back into the boy’s side, taking a vindictive pleasure in the way the boy gasped and squirmed away from him. The boy still didn’t look at him though, merely frowned and took the offending notepad from Changkyun.

Changkyun stared at the boy, waiting to see what he would do. It’s not like he had anything else to do. Besides, the boy wasn’t too bad to look at, if he was honest. He had a small pointy nose, full cheeks and light pink hair. He was pouting and it seemed almost unconscious, and Changkyun idly wondered if it was a habit of his.

He didn’t know what the lecturer was talking about anyway, so he might as well try to make this awful moment into something he could at least look back at later as something other than: ‘that one time I walked into a class that was obviously not English Lit and didn’t notice until the lecturer started talking but I’d already whipped out my Willy Shakespeare.’

The boy, as he looked up to follow along to the piece of code the lecturer was demonstrating on the screen, caught Changkyun staring at him, and his ears turned red at a truly impressive rate as he frowned slightly and looked away, before grabbing the exam pad and scribbling something down quickly before forcefully shoving it at Changkyun.




Changkyun hid his grin behind his hand. Who was this guy? Jeez.





 






Changkyun tried not to laugh when Kihyun silently spluttered, ears turning even redder.








Changkyun watched him for a minute, as he furiously took notes, refusing to even acknowledge his existence though he could hardly ignore it. It was adorable. He smiled, wrote, and innocently slid the exam pad over again.

 

Kihyun’s eyes widened almost comically before shoving the exam pad into his bag and resolutely staring at the lecturer for the rest of the lecture. Changkyun did notice, however, that his ears remained a blazing, fire-engine red and that he didn’t take another note for the whole rest of the class.

 

---

 

Hyungwon

I wake you up

Out of the goodness of my heart

And then you

You absolute shit

Decide to not show up anyway

 

Changkyun

I know Internets now

You could say I was on router class

 

Hyungwon

Speak human, please

 

Changkyun

Aaaaaaaand got lost and may have sat through an entire programming class

Fascinating, truly

 

Hyungwon

You’re a literal human  disaster and I give you a literal week before you crash and burn

 

Changkyun

Love you too, hyung

ON THE PLUS SIDE

I met a rude boy

 

Hyungwon

how is that a plus side

 

Changkyun

His ears turned red

He got insulted when I called the nonsense they were doing html

Did you know it isn’t really coding?

I’ve got some very disappointing news for our resident ‘hacker’ Minhyuk

He was so proud

He made a website, remember? It sparkled

So many pictures of various puppies

Are you ignoring me

Hey. Hyungwon.

Hey you look really ugly today

Hyungwon pls

I’m sitting alone outside if I’m not texting someone I’ll look like a weirdo

Feel free to say I’m already a weirdo

Hyungwon pls

 

Hyungwon

I told Minhyuk

He cried

You have a lot of chocolate to buy

 

Changkyun

You turn my friends against me

And my limited budget

You monster

 

Hyungwon

lol

 

Changkyun

Where the fuck am I

 

Hyungwon

Repeat after me:

This is why I should’ve attended orientation

 

Changkyun

No orientation, we get lost like men

 

Hyungwon

Follow the sound of exasperation and mild disgust

You’ll find me

 

Changkyun

you just can't handle my selfie game

Do you think I would be allowed to just like, sit in the class

To stare at the pretty rude boy

Do you?

Hyung?

 

Hyungwon

Do you mean by, like, law

Or socially

Cos both is no

 

Changkyun

Why do you hate love, hyung

 

Hyungwon

Why are you a literal disaster whoops guess we’ll never know

 

Changkyun

At least I’m human

with a beATING HEART

 

Hyungwon

You think you’re insulting me but you’re really not

 

Changkyun

 

Hyungwon

I think I can see your head

Follow the sighs

 

Changkyun

Don’t need to, you’re like a beanpole that beckons

In a sea of people, there was He

Majestic. Oddly Pepe-like.

Glaring?

Yeah, glaring.

 

Hyungwon

You are about quarter my size

I can squish you with my thumb

 

Changkyun

A stiff wind would snap you like a twig, hyung, come on

 

Hyungwon

And I would look fabulous while breaking and the people would mourn

You, on the other hand

I’d be surprised if your dog noticed you were gone

 

Changkyun

I love our friendship

Such support

Such mutual respect and love

#goals

(look hyung I’m coding already)

 

Hyungwon

Stop sending me horrible memes and I might not eat this cheeseburger I bought for you

(no you’re not)

 

Changkyun

I agree to that as long as you know we’re both probably #lying

 

Hyungwon

Naturally

 

---

 

“There’s about a half of this cheeseburger left, I’m actually impressed,” Changkyun said, turning the food item over in his hand before taking a large bite.

“I restrained myself,” Hyungwon deadpanned, looking at bit mournfully at the cheeseburger. Changkyun was about eighty percent sure he was bemoaning the fact he didn’t eat faster.

“So gooood,” Changkyun moaned obscenely around the food in his mouth (like an uncultured, manner-less animal) lying back on the grass like it was a king sized bed.

Hyungwon, mid exaggerated eye-roll, spotted a familiar face. Familiar, but uncharacteristically red. He frowned, amused as the photographer he’d become acquainted with not too long ago, choked on thin air after being exposed to Changkyun’s lewd food appreciation.

Hyungwon laughed, because seriously? Changkyun? His dongsaeng? Really?

“Don’t laugh at me when I’m being sexy!” Changkyun whined with a pout, pushing himself up on his elbows.

Hyungwon, then, proceeded to laugh even louder, because Kihyun had literally run away. He’d read the situation, and noped the fuck out. What the hell? Kihyun didn’t seem like the type of guy to be so easily embarrassed by some kid moaning about food. And, really, Changkyun was more of a ridiculous sight than an attractive one in Hyungwon’s quite literally professional opinion.

“I’m glad you’re so amused at my display of wantonness. Next time I won’t waste it on someone as unappreciative of it. I’ll find a willing and appropriately appreciative audience who--“

“Do you even know how to spell ‘unappreciative’,” Hyunwon snorted, still recovering from the sight of seeing the normally unflappable photographer literally run away.

“I’m a language major, you frog. I know how to use a dictionary.”

“I’m a turtle, excuse you very much.”

“Because you’re so slow?” Changkyun grinned.

“For your information turtles are incredibly intelligent animals,” Hyungwon huffed, crossing his arms. “Now hurry up and finish that burger or you’re going to miss your second class as well.”

“Will you show me where it is?” Changkyun asked, laying the sweetness on thick, before taking a large bite of the burger.

“Now why would I do that? Don’t you want the riveting experience of walking into a programming class again? You might be able to teach Minhyuk how to actually code then.”

“Oh god,” Changkyun groaned, already imagining the crushed face of the literal sunshine that is Minhyuk. “Don’t give him ideas.”

Hyungwon only grinned and started walking off, leaving Changkyun scrambling around to pick up his bag, throw away the wrapper (because he’s not a fucking animal) and run after Hyungwon before the fucker disappeared from his sight.

 

---

 

 

Changkyun

BRO

 

Jooheon

BRO

 

Changkyun

BRO YOU GOTTA HELP ME BRO

 

Jooheon

WHATCHA NEED BRO I HAVE TWO FULLY FUNCTIONING KIDNEYS AND ADEQUATE EYESIGHT

 

Changkyun

I’m so fucking lost, my guy

Hyungwon just left me in a field

 

Jooheon

He drove you twenty miles outside of campus and left you in a field?

 

Changkyun

Well no I guess there’s like buildings and shit

Listen I already monumentally screwed up once today you gotta help me out

 

Jooheon

I GOTCHA M’DUDE

What do you see??

 

Changkyun

Big building. Statue thingy. Pigeons???

 

Jooheon

Cool I’m on my way

 

Changkyun

Shit you really got something from that

Colour me fucking impressed

 

Jooheon

I speak Daniel

 

Changkyun

DAAAAMN

 

Jooheon
DAAAAAMN DANIEL

 

Changkyun

For realsies I’m gonna be fucking late

Hurry your ass up

 

Jooheon

Im runni ng

 

Changkyun

My hero

My man

The one who went to orientation

 

Jooheon

Only an idiot wouldn’t go to orientation dude c’mon

 

Changkyun

I take back everything I said

 

Jooheon

Not running anymore fu

 

Changkyun

I’m sorry plz save me

You’re right I’m so dumb

M’dude I was in a programming class this morning

I’m so dumb

 

Jooheon

Stop grovelling and run after me

 

Changkyun

Shit ok

 

Chapter Text

“These violent delights have violent ends,” Changkyun read, sighing deeply, dramatically, as he held the book above him and read on his back. “Which in their triumph die, like when Twilight ruins a perfectly good Shakespeare quote on sparkly angsty boys.”

“I like Twilight,” Minhyuk sniffled, sadly clicking through the sparkly puppy site he had created.

“Of course you do. Team Edward?” Changkyun enquired with a shit-eating grin, shifting onto his elbows to see Minhyuk rubbing at his eyes miserably.

“Team Jacob, you coward.” It was quiet for a while as Minhyuk sniffled some more and Changkyun returned to the riveting tale of two overdramatic teenagers.

“Do you really think I can’t code, Changkyunnie?”

“This is ridiculous,” Changkyun puffed, very subtly changing the subject of the conversation. “I mean, who falls in love that quickly? In crush, maybe. Maybe even like them in a ‘I’d stare at you in class for a while until we inevitably part ways and I never see you again’ kind of way, maybe--”

Changkyunniiiiie,” Minhyuk pouted, flopping over onto the younger boy who dropped his book with a huff. “The puppies, they deserve the truth.”

“Min-hyung, I literally accidentally sat in on one programming class, next to a man with too many opinions for his size, I honestly can’t give you an informed answer here.”

“Changkyun, you’re really short yourself, you know--“

“No, you’re all vertically stretched freakshows and that is besides the point--”

“Let’s sign up for a programming class.”

“I--what?” Changkyun paused, completely abandoning his book and sitting up to give Minhyuk the proper, bemused look he deserved for such a preposterous statement.

“It’s the twenty first century!” Minhyuk said excitedly, like it was something to celebrate. He grabbed onto the younger’s shoulders and throttled the jacket off his shoulders. “We should know how to make a proper site for dogs!”

Changkyun squinted. “You make it sound like the site is literally for dogs. To peruse others of their kind. And like, I’m pretty sure you already know how to make a site? That’s a great site. Great… cashmere style sheet.”

“Cascading style sheets.”

“That’s what I said, Minhyukkie, keep up.”

“Oh, pleeeeease, Kyunnie?” Minhyuk whined, clinging onto the younger’s arm and swaying slightly, enough to threaten complete loss of balance any second now. “I don’t wanna do it alone but I really, really wanna do it.”

“But--"

“And I won’t even tell Shownu you made me cry!” Minhyuk added brightly, beaming up into Changkyun’s face.

Changkyun calmly nodded, swallowing before looking around and asking in a slightly strained voice, “Right. Where’s the registration building, again?”

 

---

 

Changkyun

So guess who’s taking programming

 

Hyungwon

I’m gonna regret this but WHAT

 

Changkyun

Believe it or not

This is not because of the hot guy

Well

It depends on how you view Minhyuk???

Also idk man idk why I do these things

 

Hyungwon

Lemme guess

Minhyuk did that thing where he pretends he’s not blackmailing you

But he actually fucking is

 

Changkyun

… m a y b e

You literally can’t say no to him though???

Not that I want to

It’d be like switching off the fucking sun or something

 

Hyungwon

Okay cool but like somehow Shownu was involved right

 

Changkyun

Listen. I like my nose

I’d like to keep it thanks

I think if that man sucker punched me it would fly out the back of my skull

 

Hyungwon

And that would, of course, be such a horrible thing

Right

 

Changkyun

If you say it would be an aesthetic improvement I swear to god

 

Hyungwon

You know.

I wasn’t even thinking about it

But now that you mention it

I have to admit

It would make some purely aesthetic improvement to your profile

You know

You can trust me I’m a model I know what I’m talking about

I’m sure you can still ask Shownu to do it

 

Changkyun

“You can trust me I’m a model I know what I’m talking about”

Hyungwon

You really wanna start this

 

Changkyun

Banana-hyung, you see, the difference is

I don’t give a shit

There’s plenty more where that

You know what nevermind I’m good

Who the fuck took that picture how did they make you look so damn fine what the fu

 

Hyungwon

Okay what do you want

 

Changkyun

...so technically I haven’t actually signed up yet

 

Hyungwon

And that’s my problem why

 

Changkyun

Because deep

Deep

Within your cold dead heart

You know I’m useless at anything practical

Like… forms

 

Hyungwon

I’m not that deep

That knowledge is on the forefront

 

Changkyun

OH MY GOD PLEASE OKAY

I said please

Please

Please please please

 

Hyungwon

Minhyuk will be there right? You don’t need me

You know I read that sentence and I realised

Okay fuck fine

Just to keep you both from accidentally setting the actual building on fire

 

Changkyun

What did you realize

Hyungwon what did you realize

 

Hyungwon

If you think really really hard

And reach down really really deep

You’ll realise, too

 

Changkyun

Ah I see you realised you’re actually a decent human being I gotcha

No time to text and retaliate come to the building Minhyuk found some matches???

 

Hyungwon

Good fucking lord

 

---

 

“Do you have any idea,” Changkyun laughed, trying not to drop his phone. “What kind of bullshit excuses I’m thinking up right now to explain my enrollment to this class to my paying, hard-working family? I’ve never advocated blogging this much.”

“Why are you laughing,” Hyungwon grumbled, adjusting his glasses as he frowned at the paperwork in front of him, twirling the pen, “When you’re making your hard-working parents pay for this bulshit class you’re only taking because you’re scared to take a hit.”

“And we really appreciate it,” Minhyuk said with a little pat on Hyungwon’s back, watching avidly as Hyungwon filled in Minhyuk’s details. “One day, I might even be able to do this by myself! It doesn’t look too hard…” Minhyuk mused, missing the wide-eyed glance Changkyun and Hyungwon shot each other before looking away, each trying their very best not to burst out laughing.

Changkyun, hiding behind his hand, continued giggling. “I just told my grandmother that blogging is the future, and so am I. I feel so dirty. Shownu’s biceps hold far too much power over me.”

“Same,” Minhyuk said.

"Meh, it's fine, though," Changkyun shrugged, pocketing his phone. "Dad's head of the science department so we're barely paying for anything anyway. I'll just buy the book myself or mooch off of Minhyuk-hyung."

Hyungwon just sighed, turning back to his papers when he heard a throat being cleared behind him. Without looking up, he said, “Okay, look. Yes, I am aware of the fact that I am currently sitting in the middle of the hallway and have about ten different forms spread out around me but honestly you can just step over me because I am not--”

Hyungwon looked up.

He looked up. He kept looking.

He was aware of the fact that Changkyun seemed to have something stuck in his throat if the violent way he kept clearing it was any indication but honestly Hyungwon was too busy admiring the absolute god that had just appeared before him.

The Adonis like creature smiled at him. The fucking nerve.

Hyungwon felt a slight pressure on his shoulder. He shrugged it off. The pressure increased. The pressure got really fucking painful and finally, to save his shoulder, he looked around indignantly to see Minhyuk standing behind him staring at him intently.

“The nice man asked you a question, Hyungwon. Aren’t you going to answer it?”

“I- what?” The Adonis spoke? When? How did Hyungwon miss this momentous occasion and oh god why did Changkyun have his phone pointed in Hyungwon’s direction giggling like a madman.

“I, um, what? You said something?”

The Adonis frowned and Hyungwon almost cried because even his frown looked pretty what the fuck what the fuck what the -

A sharp pinch to his shoulder brought him back on track enough to actually pay attention to what was coming out of the Adonis’s mouth no Hyungwon focus.

“I was just asking if you would help me with these forms? I just,” he gestured at the papers spread out around Hyungwon, “you seem to know what you’re doing.”

“He will, yes,” Changkyun said, smilingly ignoring Hyungwon glaring daggers at him. “He’s the King of Forms. A god among… pens.”

“Oh!” Adonis smiled, widely, (and Hyungwon let out a pained sounding moan). “Thank you so much!” He did a little bow. What the fuck.

“You can just start with your name and number--” Changkyun had to stop his sentence, because Hyungwon’s bony ass elbow really hurt. Especially when it made contact with your stomach that wasn’t quite as hard as you wished it was.

(“Minhyuk, did you see that shit?”

“Listen, this man could ask me for the keys to my car and I’d give it to him with all my passwords and social security number.”

“What would Shownu say?”

“Eh. He’d be okay with it.")

“So,” Adonis squatted down, tilting his head at the forms Hyungwon had diligently been filling out, “What should I fill out first? The first time I registered for classes there was someone helping me.” He let out a self-deprecating little laugh, running his hand through his hair. “I might not have been paying as much attention as I ought to have.”

Hyungwon shook his head. Okay. He could do this. He could definitely do this and not get distracted by the way this guy’s thighs looked when he squatted. Hyungwon was a strong, powerful -

“Here, let me just sit next to you so I can follow along to what you’re doing.”

-very very weak man who will not survive natural selection.

“Oh, and my name’s Shin Hoseok by the way. But people call me Wonho.” He smiled.

“I’m Shin Hyungwon--Chae! Chae Hyungwon.”

Changkyun and Minhyuk fell over each other laughing. Hyungwon turned towards them with a brittle smile on his face that promised mountains of pain. “What class did you want to sign up for again? Advanced Physics, right?”

“Advanced Physical, am I right.”

“Changkyun, I swear to God. I’ll do it. I really will."

Throughout this exchange Adonis, or, well, Wonho, was looking at them with a furrowed brow.

“Are you guys okay?”

“Oh, yes. Ignore my friends. They’re a bit…”

“Did Hyungwon-hyung just admit to us being his friends?” Changkyun asked, his hand splayed over his heart.

“Unstable." Hyungwon smiled, nearly straining a muscle to do so. "Soon to be dead, actually. They can’t even fill out these forms without my help. And this one is a third year,” Hyungwon added, pointing at Minhyuk who scrunched his nose at Hyungwon before shrugging.

“In my defence,” Minhyuk started, holding up his hands and tilting his head. There was a long pause before he deflated and lowered his head, saying, “I, erm, yeah, you might be onto something.”

“At least he knows his own name, hyung,” Changkyun giggled.

“Okay you know what, they have Calculus on here too don’t push me--“

A loud laugh rang out next to Hyungwon and he looked up, surprised, as Wonho laughed next to him.

“I like you guys. You’re funny. Are you always like this?”

“No,” Changkyun deadpanned.

“Yes,” Minhyuk countered, a wide grin on his face.

“Nearly always,” Hyungwon said, with a star-struck expression Changkyun would definitely hold over him for the rest of time.

“Cool. I feel like we’re going to be friends,” Wonho said, still smiling brightly as he starts fumbling with his pockets. “Oh, can I get your number?”

“Mine?” Hyungwon said, pointing at himself.

“Yes?”

“Cool, cool, cool.”

“Don’t mind him he’s just having an emotion. He’s not used to it.”

"Changkyun.

“That emotion is anger. Lovely,” Minhyuk helpfully supplied as Hyungwon almost violently stapled the forms together and got up, Wonho trailing after him as they made their way to the front desk.

Changkyun's shoulders fell. “I’m a dead man, aren’t I.”

“I’ll pick nice colours for your funeral, I promise,” Minhyuk hummed.

---

Hyungwon

So, when do you want to schedule your murder

You have a free period tomorrow right

 

Changkyun

That’s after class, though

At least take me out before I go to class, man

 

Hyungwon

You know I’m not that merciful come on

 

Changkyun

YOU WERE SO CUTE THO

I LOVE LOVE

AND OH MAN

[insert whip sound effect here]

 

Hyungwon

You know, one day, when you least expect it

I’m gonna get you

It’s going to be beautiful

People will be screaming

Birds will be dying

Fantastic

 

Changkyun

Threaten me with death and you have nowhere to go, hyung

You can’t one up death

I’m not scared of anything anymore

 

Hyungwon

Why you think I’m talking about death

 

Changkyun

True, you’d never give me what I want

 

Hyungwon

You know me so well

Anyway

I have a few ideas

At least one of them involves you showing up naked to class

 

Changkyun

~~~Friendship is the rainbow between two hearts

You raise me uuuuuuuup

So I can stand on moooouuntaaaaains

Please don’t hurt one half of your soul

 

Hyungwon

You can see my eyes screaming for help

What soul

 

Changkyun

The one that screamed at the sight of a hot boy

 

Hyungwon

I fear you have been severely misled

That was not my soul

That was my dick

 

Changkyun

Your dick IS your soul

Explains the personality

 

Hyungwon

So tomorrow at two it is then

 

Changkyun

Disappointed but not surprised

Bring cheeseburgers

I demand a last meal

 

Hyungwon

The only thing you’ll be eating is your own damn words

 

Changkyun

[walks up to camera] Hyungwon is the mafia

---

 

“So I got horrifically lost, there was a very rude but very pretty boy, I signed up for a programming class because of Minhyuk, Chae Hyungwon grew a heart and then promised to murder me, and we may have made a friend that looks like a demi-god. Not much, honestly.”

“Hyungwon sounds like he mellowed a bit. Usually the threat would have been a bit more graphic,” Jooheon mused, while simultaneously placing a bomb underneath Changkyun’s character on screen and watching in satisfaction as he blew up.

Changkyun’s character respawned in the time it took him to process that Jooheon had indeed Just Done That.

“Bro. That’s low.”

“Bro’s blow each other, bro.”

“I’m disconnecting if this continues,” Shownu voiced over Discord.

“You can be a bro too if you want,” Jooheon offered.

“Bros come with bro perks,” Changkyun offered.

“Bro it up.

“I hate this,” Hyungwon moaned.

The sound of someone dropping their controller, followed shortly by Changkyun’s surprised, “Shit when did you appear?” followed that announcement.

“Guys, what happens when your bro is your hoe?”

“Shownu’s okay, he already gets blown,” Minhyuk added in a perky voice, the sound of Shownu choking audible.

“That. That’s what happens.”

“Do you guys know if Wonho plays online games?”

“Changkyun, no.”

“Changkyun, yes.”

“Changkyun, wetalked about this. We have a time and date set for the murder and everything.”

“As with Romeo and Juliet--”

“Oh, Jesus Christ, not again--”

“--I dothn’t believe my fate to be set in stone, and I’ll probably end up killing myself because of a petty misunderstanding or some shit, anyway, I guess--”

“Oh, shit guys, nevermind Changkyun dying, some guys who are actually good just joined this game pay attention,” came Jooheon’s panicked voice.

“Jooheon, you literally just meleed me in the ass and tea-bagged my corpse,” Hyungwon deadpanned.

“Respawn and stop your bitching, goddamn.”

“That bro needs a blow,” Minhyuk added casually.

“Shut the fuck up, oh my god."

---

Kihyun

Hey, you said you’re free for some modelling this weekend, right?

 

Hyungwon

You’re so needy

 

Kihyun

You’re getting free headshots I don’t know what you’re complaining about

Anyway, I need some photos.

 

Hyungwon

Please don’t make it at some ridiculous time in the morning again ffs

But sure

 

Kihyun

When you are a struggling programming student 

you can fucking complain about the time again kay

 

Hyungwon

Fuck fine

We know so many pretty people why me

Why must I suffer like this

I know a kid with a great nose bother him

 

Kihyun

Stop complaining you love it

Funny you mention that

There was this kid with a great side profile in my programming class the other day

He was a little shit though

So a no go on that

 

Hyungwon

...right good to know okay

Out of interest’s sake

Why is this boy a no go

For science

 

Kihyun

Ugh

He was just being annoying

With his Shakespeare book and his sass

Oh yeah he was in the wrong class too

So I doubt I’ll ever see him again

 

Hyungwon

You’re right

I advise you lose all hope of ever seeing him again

This campus is simply too big for two people who have nothing in common

To randomly meet again

 

Kihyun

I’ve never seen you type this much

The hell

 

Hyungwon

Just sad that you’ll probably end up dying alone, is all

You’re such a sad person hyung

It makes me sad

 

Kihyun

Fuck you, you waste of a good face

 

Hyungwon

Aw love you too

Have fun in class!

 

Kihyun

Literally snap in two, you photogenic turdblossom

---

 

Kihyun pocketed his phone and walked into his programming class, safe in the knowledge that at least he only has to deal with one sassy little shit today. Brushing his hair back with his fingers and tugging on his beanie, he took his place in the front of class. At least he would be able to pay attention this time. Unlike last time where he got to his dorm, took out his notes, and realised he had exactly half a page of usable notes and then the notes he had passed to the little shit.

Which, was just ridiculous. He shouldn’t have let himself get distracted like that. Especially by someone who wasn’t even supposed to be in class. It’s just, the little shit kept staring at him and he really did have a nice side profile and -

Oh. God. No.

What was he doing here?

Kihyun stared in horror as the little shit, the self-same one, strutted into class, looking like he fucking owned the place with what looked like a human koala hanging from his arm.

“I told you we should have come earlier, all the spots at the back are taken,” the koala pouted, staring up at the little shit beseechingly. The little shit looked around, his eyes catching Kihyun’s and Kihyun just had enough time to see a frankly evil looking grin spread over his face before Kihyun whipped his face away. He could feel his ears reddening. He'd been staring. Fucking hell.

Kihyun pulled his beanie down over his ears. God-fucking-dammit.

The little shit (was his name Changkyun? Not that Kihyun gave a shit) pulled Koala Boy down next to him, at the front of the class. Which was, coincidentally, where Kihyun was seated.

Maybe he hadn’t noticed Kihyun. Maybe if Kihyun sank down really low in his chair and didn’t look at him things will be just fin-

A piece of folded paper had found its way under Kihyun’s arm, and with a herculean effort, he just about managed not to scowl at the page. What the fuck did this little shit want? He risked a glance, just a quick peek from the corner of his eyes, at Changkyun, but he wasn’t even looking at Kihyun, instead offering his hand for his Koala friend to doodle on (probably more than a friend, going by the way the guy had hung off Changkyun).

Which was fine. It was fine. It wasn’t like Kihyun wanted his attention anyway. Hell, Kihyun didn’t even know why he was in the class again. Which, he was not going to ask. Because it wasn’t his business and he was just there to pass the class.

Kihyun decided to ignore them both. Another note made this very difficult.




Kihyun frowned at the note before pointedly crumpling it up and making a perfect throw into the dustbin. Another note followed soon after.


Before Kihyun could destroy this particular catastrophe, Changkyun snatched the note back quickly, writing more before passing it back.


Kihyun knew he didn’t have a very firm lid on his temper. He also knew that he had, in fact, told this boy that html was not fucking coding and that was a warning in Kihyun’s book so he thought he was at least a little justified in his reply.




Kihyun hesitated only slightly before adding:

 

He had already replied. He might as well satisfy his curiosity. He forcefully slid the note back, allowing a tiny smirk to slip onto his face as his hand jabbed at Changkyun’s elbow.

Changkyun read the note (looking satisfied at a reply, the jerk ) and pursed his lips, mouth corners twitching. The Koala had finally stopped doodling on Changkyun’s hand and was now, seemingly, doodling on a piece of paper, somehow perfectly capturing the essence of the lecture and shit the lecture had started Kihyun should be paying attention.




Kihyun tried to resist the lure of the note next to his elbow, but, frankly, he had already worked ahead and, well, if he was perfectly honest with himself, the stuff they were doing at the moment was quite simply horrifically easy. Scanning the note, Kihyun didn’t know if he should laugh or glare. He settled on a grimace.





 





 





 





 




Watching all colour drain from the kid's face was oddly satisfying.

 

 

Kihyun smirked. Damned Humanities students. Didn’t know how easy they had it.

 




 



 


 

 

 

Kihyun had no idea why, but he felt a tiny, miniscule, barely worth mentioning (so why the hell was he mentioning it why won’t be brain shut up) shiver work it’s way down his spine at the nickname. 

 



 

 

Glad that his beanie was pulled down low enough to cover his ears, Kihyun rolled his eyes at the page.

 



 

 

Kihyun stared at the page, aware of the fact that his whole face was flushing and that muffled choking sounds were coming from his right, but he didn’t trust himself to look up. Deliberately, Kihyun crumpled the page, slid it into his bag, and fixed his eyes on the screen. Changkyun seemed to get the message, because apart from one half-hearted attempt to get his attention by loudly coughing his name, the other stayed silent.

Despite himself, however, Kihyun kept noting the little, almost unconscious touches between Changkyun and Minhyuk. The latter was more touchy than the former, but they were always somehow touching, whether it was with a hand casually resting on the other’s shoulder or playing with the hair at the backs of their necks.

Kihyun didn’t know why, but for some reason it made him quite uncomfortable. It was probably because they were two boys, Kihyun tried to comfort himself. That was definitely it.

Chapter Text

Changkyun

Y’all I’m in rude boy’s class wtf

 

Hyungwon

You are aware of the fact that this is not a group chat

You are in fact only bothering me

 

Changkyun

Y’ALL

Height wise you’re like two and a half people shh

Seriously though he was wearing a BEANIE

ON HIS HEAD

 

Hyungwon

I would assume

How else would you wear a beanie

 

Changkyun

I feel that you’re making a point of ignoring my s t r u g g l e

 

Hyungwon

I’m probably going to regret asking this but

What struggle?

 

Changkyun

The, and this is brilliant, hear me out on this

the ‘Shin Hyungwon Struggle’

 

Hyungwon

…you know I blame myself

I knew I shouldn’t have asked

 

Changkyun

It’s an hour to my scheduled death so I’m taking Risks

Hyungwon?

I’m scared now

Do you know where I am???

No way pffft

YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE I AM

Oh god

 

---

 

Changkyun

Bro if I die

Tell Beanie boy I’d totally hit that

 

Jooheon

Dunno who that is but will do bro

Out of broness sake, why will you die?

 

Changkyun

Death By Pepe

 

Jooheon

Oh yeah. That’s a thing

My bro

I will miss you

I will find Beanie boy and tell him you’d hit it real good

Go in peace

 

Changkyun

Sympathy is hard to find apparently

sdhgsdig

I just saw a rando tall person and literally dived under a table holy shit

WAIT SHOWNU WILL PROTEC

WHERE IS DAD

 

Jooheon

Didn’t you just have class with Minhyuk?

That new programming thing?

You should have just stayed with him bro

You’re my best bro

But you’re kinda dumb

 

Changkyun

I LOST MY DAD MAGNET FUCK

IF I JUST RUN INTO THE SUN WILL I FIND LEE MINHYUK

 

Jooheon

I would honestly not discount that theory

 

Changkyun

Hang on I just spotted adonis I’m safe

 

Jooheon

I

I don’t even know anymore

 

---

 

“Wonho! Hide me behind your biceps,” Changkyun panted, not even waiting for an answer before hiding himself behind Wonho’s much buffer frame. “You’re like a big hunk o’ Hyungwon cryptonite.”

“Nice to see you again, Changkyun,” Wonho laughed, frowning in amused confusion and shrugging at the nearest student that looked at them funny. “Have you been running?”

Changkyun plucked at his damp t-shirt, letting the cool wind get on his chest as he looked around the courtyard like a spooked meerkat. “Just a bit. You’d think he’d planned this additional torture.”

“Who? Hyungwon? He seemed so nice! Why would he torture you?”

Changkyun waved his hand dismissively, fanning his face in the process and leaning slightly into the much buffer boy who looked like the extra weight barely even inconvenienced him. Changkyun frowned and poked at Wonho’s arm as he talked. “We’ve known each other just like… way too long. It’s fair game at this point.”

“...Do you want to sit down or something?”

“You ask me like I have a choice.”

Wonho helped Changkyun towards a bench (if Changkyun had any manly pride, it would be wounded, but at this point he was made solely of cringe and to hell if he wasn’t going to enjoy Wonho’s strong arms) and sat down next to him.

“I have some salad,” Wonho informed Changkyun, digging around in his bag. “You want some?”

Changkyun squinted at the larger male, but just as he wanted to open his mouth to say thanks but no thanks, he made eye contact and, like... goddamn. “Riiiiiight, salad. I love salad. Eat it… all the time.”

“It’s really good for you,” Wonho informed Changkyun with a serious face, already digging his spoon into a pile of what looked suspiciously like the leftovers of a pruned tree. “And it’s really nice once you get used to it,” Wonho said happily, crunching into a spoonful of greens.

Changkyun assessed the leaves in front of him. Fucking leaves. Was it really that difficult to just say no to--Changkyun’s eyes widened, a smile creeping onto his face. “Wonho, this is really random, but would you mind if I took a picture of you real quick?”

Frowning, Wonho shrugged. “I mean, sure. But why?”

Beeeecauuuuuse,” Changkyun stressed, giving himself time to think as he scratched the back of his head, before happily proclaiming, “My mother thinks I am a chronic loner and have no friends.”

Wonho crunched his leaves.

“That’s honestly a bit sad, Changkyun.”

“I am a sad, sad man. Smile?”

 

---

 

Changkyun

You’d never kill me in front of a puppy would you

loooook

 

Hyungwon

I

I’m not

You play dirty

 

Changkyun

:)

Wonho says hi

 

---

 

Hyungwon groaned, giving his face a soft slap before stuffing his phone into his pocket. It’s fine. It’s all fine. Changkyun may have found some temporary protection with the most beautiful man who had ever lived, but it couldn’t last forever.

Hyungwon knew where Changkyun lived, after all.

His phone chimed in his pocket and, rolling his eyes, he prepared to give Changkyun a sassing to remember, before seeing it was his resident photographer.

 

---

 

Kihyun

So.

You know someone with a great nose huh

 

Hyungwon

It’s very important to know one’s self

 

Kihyun

SO

You know SOMEONE with a great NOSE HUH

 

Hyungwon

I can literally hear you screaming in my head and it is very distressing

 

Kihyun

Aw shame poor hyungwonnie

Oh wait

I don’t care

 

Hyungwon

Why do you care if I know someone with a great nose

Are you going to replace me

Because then by all goddamn means

 

Kihyun

Stop bluffing

I know you love your photoshoots

It’s why you still bring me tea each time

 

Hyungwon

I forgot how to read suddenly

 

Kihyun

Unfortunately it seems like you retained your writing abilities

So, you know this boy?

Your reaction yesterday tells me you do

 

Hyungwon

Careful Kihyun you’re showing interest in an actual human being

But if it’s the same little shit, then yes, I know him

For too long

and far too much

 

Kihyun

Listen you overgrown tree

I’m asking for purely artistic reasons

As pointy as your angles are

I do need other models

It might be the same little shit yes

Changkyun?

 

Hyungwon

You know his name?

PS: He always eat his burgers like that

 

Kihyun

What

What burger

I don’t know what you’re talking about, honestly

And, btw, it’s his fault I know his name he kept bothering me

And he had the wrong book out I couldn’t not ask him who he was

 

Hyungwon

Changkyun?

What Changkyun?

I don’t know who you’re talking about honestly

Wait no nevermind that he was bothering you and you LET him?

 

Kihyun

NO

He’s persistent

 

Hyungwon

Are you saying

That Changkyun

Has decent angles?

 

Kihyun

From a purely artistic point of view

He has nice angles

What of it

 

Hyungwon

From a purely realistic point of view

You’re full of shit

 

Kihyun

You know what

I suddenly have the urge to take photos at 3 am

The moon is really nice then

Be there

And don’t wear a sweater

It’ll mess with the shot

 

Hyungwon

You’re an evil little man, you know that?

 

Kihyun

:)

 

---

 

Changkyun

Broheon my day has just blowed in the not good way

 

Jooheon

Bro

You’re still alive?

 

Changkyun

Barely. I haven’t Exerted like this since middle school soccer

BUT

I am AT THE DORM

I AM SAFE

WE CAN PLAY OVERWATCH

AND HAVE POPCORN

 

Jooheon

Bro

 

Changkyun

Yeah bro

 

Jooheon

Run bro

 

Changkyun

:)

Changkyun can’t come to the phone right now

Why?

Because he’s dead

 

Jooheon

Stop talking shit and RUN BRO

 

Changkyun

It’s funny that you think Changkyun is still capable of texting

 

Jooheon

This became really creepy really fast

I'm gonna go hug my dog

 

---

 

Hyungwon

Not sorry about what I did

But hit rude boy next time you see him

 

Changkyun

Why the fuck were you awake at 02:30

 

Hyungwon

Hit him really hard

 

---

 

Hyungwon had been sleeping in the same corner of the library since he was an ickle little first year. At first, it had been a mistake, born of pulling all-nighters trying to study all the work and finish assignments. The second time it was more a thing of convenience, in that he was bored and didn’t have fuck all else to do anyway.

After that it became a regular thing. It was on the top floor, which, admittedly, was quite a way to go for a nap, but it was the perfect napping spot. Somehow, no matter what season or what time in the day it was, there was always a spot of sunlight that managed to be just big enough for him to curl up in with his head on his bag.

And, the best part of it all was, because it was so far out of the way, no one ever came up there. He was all alone to just nap and -

“Hyungwon?”

He was pretty sure that was his name, but mid-nap was definitely not the optimal time for brain function. When he decided that sleeping further was definitely more important than someone telling him to stop sleeping in the library, he nuzzled into his bag, grumbling and hunching his shoulders.

A hand shook his shoulder lightly, followed by another soft, “Hyungwon?”.

The boy in question picked up his head, blinking slowly at the big, blonde figure. Who dared--

A final blink that brought his eyes into focus also brought forth the horrifying realisation that this was Wonho. Wonho, who he wanted to make a good impression on. Wonho, who even with Changkyun’s shitty phone, had made the photos look so good Hyungwon had nearly walked a freshman out of the ground. Wonho, who was smiling at him.

“Fuck.”

“Sorry?” Wonho frowned, probably trying to figure out why the apparently homeless person who helped him with his forms was swearing at him. Hyungwon had to admit he didn’t have an answer to that that didn’t include several things that he was aware was not to be repeated in company. (Changkyun would protest, but then again, Changkyun didn’t exactly count as company.)

“I meant, hi, hello, uhm,” Hyungwon swallowed, trying (really, really trying) to keep his eyes open (but damn), before making a point of looking around confusedly. “Is this the library? My bad, er, must have, um, studied too hard last night. Um.”

“Oh, sorry,” Wonho winced, letting his hand fall. “I probably shouldn’t have woken you up.”

Hyungwon made a noncommittal noise that might have been agreement but which might also have meant: You could punch me in the face and I’d thank you.

“I just, I saw Changkyun--”

Hyungwon groaned reflexively.

“--yesterday and, well, he looked really out of it. Are words I’d use to describe him. He didn’t even want any of my salad!” Wonho pouted.

“How dare he,” Hyungwon agreed, while simultaneously trying to remember what fucking day it was again, and, was he supposed to be in class right now .

“Right? They’re so good for you. The only thing better, I think, would be ramen,” Wonho added, nodding thoughtfully.

Hyungwon hummed in agreement, thinking of the whole entire pizza topped with extra cheese he had eaten the night before. He’d fucking destroyed that thing, man.

“Anyway, is Changkyun alright?”

Hyungwon, who had basically been lying on the ground for the entire conversation and might have begun feeling extremely fucking vulnerable like that as he woke up more, shoved himself upright into something that might, if you squinted and were in a mood to be generous, be called sitting.

“He might not be able to sit down for a while, I guess.”

“...Excuse me?”

“I may have put butter in front of his dorm room and made him run.”

“...Why.”

“Cos it’s slippery and--”

Wonho laughed, which knocked Hyungwon’s train of thought right off track.

“--and, um, the running. It’s hard. I mean difficult. Because it’s slippery. And you fall. Which he did. And screamed. Er, I mean, er, exclaimed--fuck, do I have class right now, I really might--

At this point, Wonho had sat down next to him and was outright slapping his thighs and laughing silently.

Hyungwon laughed a little, uncertain. “So, he’s fine, I mean. Just needed some…” He gestured vaguely. “Fuck, what’s that word--”

“Do you--” Wonho started, before giggling into his hand and taking a breath. “Do you always wake up like this?”

Only when I see a cute boy’s face first thing, Hyungwon almost said. He had enough presence of mind to stop himself however, and said instead, “I’m awake? This isn’t a dream? I feel really... asleep.” Which was just great. Because that was obviously much better, really. Hyungwon resisted the urge to actually facepalm himself and instead managed to only do it mentally.

“Cute.”

“You too.”

Oh god did he really just say that what will Changkyun say oh god--

“Thank you,” Wonho smiled widely. “Hey, do you want my number? I just, I just want to be updated on the Changkyun situation. You know. Because of the butter.”

“I already have pictures of you on my phone, might as well have a number.” It took Hyungwon a second to realize what he had just uttered with his actual mouth.

“Pictures? Why do you hav--”

“I! It was…” Hyungwon trailed off. He actually had no explanation for this and his brain wasn’t working because he had just woken up and fuck.

“OH! Did Changkyun send those to you?”

“...Yes. Yes, he did.”

“I thought it was for his mother.”

Hyungwon frowned. Hard. Was that fucking kid on drugs.

“...He has his little jokes. I don’t think he listens to half the words that come out of his mouth sometimes, honestly.”

“So was that a yes for the number thing or? Because last time you said yes but never actually gave it to me so--”

“Yes! I mean, yeah, sure. I mean, sure. It doesn’t matter.”

“Ouch,” Wonho chuckled, taking out his phone.

“No, I didn’t mean like, I was only,” Hyungwon despaired, already seeing Wonho just up and leaving him alone on the library floor because he was incapable of being nice and acting like a normal human being.

“Hyungwon, calm down, I know,” Wonho, who was still clearly highly amused, patted Hyungwon’s knee and held out his phone. “Listen, I need updates on the state of Changkyun’s ass.”

Hyungwon let his shoulders fall, laughed through a sigh and shook his head.

“I…” He cleared his throat. Tried again. “I’m sorry, I’m not really good at, like, people stuff.” Hyungwon rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, shielding himself from Wonho’s gaze.

People stuff?” Wonho, the little shit, raised his eyebrows and grinned.

“Socializing, oh my god, give me the damn phone.”

It was as Hyungwon was done entering his number into Wonho’s phone (under a very interesting name) that he spotted the time in the top right corner and realised --

"Fuck I do have a class now!”

He was off, almost throwing the phone onto Wonho’s lap as he, for once in his life, exerted himself and ran, breaking the rules of the library in the process.

 

---

 

Kihyun took out his books, managed to pick the pen with the least ink in one try (because what kind of animal uses another pen before using one until it’s finished), and flipped through his notebook while he waited for the lecturer to show up, not thinking about anything or anyone else at all.

Which was, of course, why his eyes kept straying to the entrance every time someone entered. The doodling boy had already arrived. But that didn’t mean anything. It didn’t mean he was coming or not coming or. Whatever.

He was just beginning to allow his shoulders to drop from their tense position, when a figure limped into class, and Kihyun ( godfuckingdammit ) looked up. Changkyun seemed to be limping, at least, and Kihyun frowned slightly in a moment of weak, weak concern, before the little shit grinned at him, pulled his hoodie off his head, and plopped down next to him. The moment he did, however, he let out a completely uncalled for, “Ah, fuck.”

Kihyun looked over at him with wide eyes, already feeling his ears light up. That… Was that the first time he actually heard the boy say anything?

And did he really have to say that . Like… that. Like, in what universe was that necessary, honestly.

“Sorry,” Changkyun apologized nearly immediately, wincing as he readjusted in his seat, letting out a low whine as he dropped his bag down next to him. “I was very recently murdered. You know. No biggie. Just takes the fun out of living for a bit.”

“You… what?” Kihyun honestly didn’t even know where to begin with that statement.

“I have a friend who wildly misuses butter for his personal benefit.”

Wait. If that’s a weird sex thing I really don’t want to know and--”

Changkyun burst out laughing. “Wow, nice talk. Wanna comment on the weather before we get into the subject of kinky sex, Mr Yoo?”

“Oh, shut up. I mean, what the hell did you expect, you can’t sit and you said butter-- just whatever! And my name’s Kihyun.”

Kihyun, fuming, turned around to face the front again, furious at the boy and himself because of course he couldn’t keep his mouth shut and of course he blushed about as easily as an easily bruised peach.

“Sorry,” Changkyun said through a laugh, wiping at his eyes before coughing into his hand. “Oh, god. No, actually. Getting murdered isn’t code for anything, my friend just decided to be oh so hilarious and turn my life into a Vine Fail. I just fell, okay.”

Kihyun opened his mouth. He closed it. He frowned.

“Why do you keep sitting next to me, anyway? I’m sure there are a lot of people in this class who would love to be bothered and none of them are me.”

Changkyun stopped laughing, face still a bit pink as he looked towards him, eyebrows knit in confusion. “I could... move, if you want? So could you, for that matter.”

Kihyun frowned at him harder. “I mean, you’re free to sit wherever you want, I guess, but still. And, I was here first.”

Kihyun managed to refrain from actually pointing out one of the numerous seats Changkyun could move to. He looked around, and at a quick count, it was… Not full. Changkyun literally came to sit next to him when he really didn’t have to. And when his friend was sitting just a few seats behind them, seemingly engrossed in the textbook. What was this boy’s game?

“So…” Changkyun trailed off, still looking at him, and Kihyun could have sworn he saw the ghost of a smile on his face. “I can stay, then?”

“Shhh! The lecture started.”

“Mmm, that’s what they all say.”

"That makes no sense."

“Shh, the lecture started, God.”

It was only as Kihyun was packing up his books from a surprisingly note free lecture (he was even a little disappointed, honestly, though he’d deny it even at gunpoint) when he saw a piece of torn paper lying on the seat next to him.

Picking it up, he spotted the familiar, scrawled, stupidly capitalized handwriting.


 

---

 

The following day, Kihyun walked into class, threw the paper down onto Changkyun’s book, sat down, and ignored him for the rest of the lecture.


 

He also, vehemently, ignored the smug little smirk the little shit wore, and the odd tug at the bottom of his stomach. If he ignored both, it would go away.

Right?

 

---

 

Minhyuk

HOW’D IT GO???(。>ω<)。

 

Changkyun

I’m scared of these curly bois {}

They coed

But when they alone {

They attac

Also I forgot I was supposed to hit him

For Hyungwon I’m not kinky

Wait lemme think about it first

 

Minhyuk

WHAT

NO????

ALSO NO WITH YOUR CRUSH DID YOU GET HIS NUMBER OR SMTH

 

Changkyun

I don’t know what ur talking about ur halucinating

 

Minhyuk

YOU

IN THE FRONT OF THE CLASS

STARING

I MEAN REALLY

HAVE SOME CONTROL

 

Changkyun

I know these words but what do they meeeean

 

Minhyuk

(◕︿◕✿)

U R MEAN

 

---

 

Changkyun

He spoke??? And it was like an angel???

Like I was near death like that heavenly but like

I also wouldn’t mind dying if angels looked and sounded like that

Do you think angels are also so angry

like

“You die and now I have to take care of yo dead ass”

Idk man I feel like I need to sit down

Is this why man invented poetry

 

Jooheon

Dude you whipped

Changkyun

I wonder what other sounds he makes OwO

 

Jooheon

BRO NO BRO PLZ I’M SO YOUNG

Changkyun

I MEANT LIKE SINGING OR LAUGHING

GODDAMN JOOHEON

i'm younger than you anyway omg

Jooheon

I need to go rethink some stuff

---

 

Kihyun sat in the car for a few seconds after switching it off, just breathing. This was always the hardest part. It wasn’t like the university was stress-free, or anything like that at all, in fact quite the opposite of that. But, at least, at the university, he didn’t feel like he was being watched all the time.

On campus, everyone was too busy. Too wrapped up in their own little worlds, studying or talking or reading or whatever. Nobody really cared what the fuck you did on campus, as long as it didn’t bother them.

Home, though. That… was a different story.

“Kihyun? You still out there? Come in, the food’s getting cold.” His mom’s voice floated out to him from the doorway, and he felt those precious few seconds of peace slip away from him as he grabbed his bag and got out of the car, making sure to lock the car behind him. (He had gotten a talking to about that far too many times to forget now. Not that’s it’s a bad thing, but still.)

He shot a tired smile at his mother, who was getting the table laid out and ready, before making a quick stop at his room, just long enough to place his camera carefully on his bedside table, throw his bag next to his desk, take off his beanie (it was rude to wear one at dinner, after all) and run a comb through his hair. When he entered the dining room again, his mother, sister and father were already there.

It was quiet as they ate, as it was most nights, only interrupted every now and then by someone asking for something and by his mother’s quiet enquiries about their days. Kihyun gave the usual answers. Everything was fine, his classes were going well, his tests had gone well. Nothing to worry about. The model child.

“Have you seen that friend of yours recently? Hoseok, right?” His father asked, tilting his head and helping himself to the kimchi, hopefully not noticing the way slight tensing in Kihyun’s shoulders.

“Yes. We have lunch together, sometimes.”

Kihyun silently prayed (not that anyone ever listened) that that would be all. Please let it be all. He knew his parents didn’t exactly… approve of Wonho. And they didn’t even know about his, well, his proclivities. It wasn’t exactly fault by association, but… Even association could be turned to assumption.

“Is he still doing the dancing, um, thing?” His mother asked, lips pursed. His parents considered Wonho’s choice of study to be short-sighted at best, and selfish at worst.

“Yes. He actually got one of the lead parts in one of their productions,” Kihyun said, trying to smile, but falling flat when he saw the glance his mother and father shared.

“He’s quite handsome,” his sister commented with a bright smile, smiling even brighter when Kihyun caught her eye with a little shake of his head. “Too bad he doesn’t come by so much anymore.”

“Yes. What a shame.” His father laid down his chopsticks, and looked at Kihyun’s sister, Jeongyeon. “You should finish studying for that chemistry test tomorrow. Your teacher said you weren’t doing as well as you could be doing.”

“Dad, they always say that. ‘One’s full potential’ is just a fancy method of guilt-tripping you into studying.”

“Ah, that reminds me, I have to go study for a programming test tomorrow, thanks for the food,” Kihyun said quickly, excusing himself before he got pulled into the middle of yet another bickering match between his dad and Jeongyeon.

“Honey, you barely ate anything,” his mother pointed out with so much concern Kihyun nearly sat down again, before seeing Jeongyeon get a glint in her eyes that promised absolute chaos and oh god he had had a long fucking day (with that little shit) and he was just not in the mood to be held up as a good example with his sister looking knowingly at him. Because, of course, she was the one that caught him that one time he and Wonho had been absolute idiots and--

Yeah. He was not in the mood.

“I’m fine, mom. I had a big lunch.” Kihyun walked off, already hearing the rising voices of his dad and Jeongyeon and readying himself for a night of studying with his headphones on.

Chapter Text

It was a habit now; spotting Kihyun in class and just sitting down next to him. Sometimes they’d talk, sometimes Changkyun could tell the boy was concentrating on something (he had this pout and oh god was it adorable) and he wouldn’t bother him until the lecture started and he’d slide over a piece of paper Kihyun could willingly ignore if he wanted to. Most of the time, he didn’t ignore it (Changkyun liked to think it was because he was particularly good at irritating the boy just enough with his comments that his temper wouldn’t let him not respond), and Changkyun had to go through the trouble of not losing his shit.

So it was a tiny miracle, something Jooheon would hear about for days, really, when Kihyun wrote to him, first, for the first time since it had happened on the first day and then never the fuck again.


 


 


 




 


 

Changkyun simply slid the note over, head resting in his hand as he blinked at the lecturer, and Kihyun frowned at him.

 




 

Changkyun contemplated the note, before sighing and writing It took much longer than usual.

 





 

Kihyun thought for a minute, trying really hard not to look like he gave a damn, which he didn't.

 

 

Changkyun looked at the note, frowned, and tucked it into his book before looking at the lecturer.

It was a day for big things, apparently, because it was also the first time Changkyun didn’t reply.

 

---

 

Kihyun was sitting in the computer lab. He was sitting in the computer lab, listening to his music, going through the slides of his computer hardware class and minding his own business. Only his business. Not the business of the person in front of him who just so happened to be Changkyun and who just so happened to be staring at the screen as if it, personally, was responsible for all the misery in the entire world.

Which, normally, Kihyun would just ignore. Because it wasn’t his business, and he didn’t care two shits about anyone else, and he didn’t even like the kid, but still. Paired with his strange behaviour from two days ago and the way he had just seen the kid open Google, searching for life insurance and various coffin prices, before sighing deeply and opening Visual Studio again, Kihyun had fairly had it up to here with the kid.

(It wasn’t because he was worried or anything. Like he said, the kid was an annoying little brat and the only reason Kihyun tolerated him was because…….well. Because.)

After watching him type in the same variable twice, both times coming up with the variable not created error because the absolute idiot had gone and declared and instantiated the variable in the main method and not on class level, Kihyun just. He just couldn’t take it anymore.

Heaving a huge, entirely put upon sigh, Kihyun stood up, walked up behind Changkyun (who didn’t even seem to notice him wow he must be more fucked than Kihyun had thought), and batted his hands away from the keyboard and mouse  (with maybe a tad bit more force than strictly necessary) while leaning over him. He felt the kid jolt when he touched him, but he proceeded to ignore the initial sputtering and then the suspicious silence that followed as Kihyun systematically went through the code and declared the variables in the correct places.

“There. That ought to work.”

Kihyun looked down with a self-satisfied smirk only to freeze when he saw how close they were and how wide Changkyun’s eyes were. It was only for a moment, however, before Kihyun hastily removed himself from behind Chankgyun and stood beside him, nodding at the computer screen and resolutely not paying attention to the way the kid was staring at him or his own, rapidly reddening ears.

“Try it now. It should work.”

There was a slight pause, before Changkyun seemed to get what was going on and ran the program. The sound he made when the program actually ran was somewhere between a delighted laugh and a giggle and goddamn if Kihyun couldn’t even hide from himself how adorable he found that.

“How did you do that?” Changkyun asked, turning in his chair to look at Kihyun with something that resembled adoration too much for comfort and it made a lump form real fast in Kihyun’s throat.

Kihyun cleared his throat and tried to frown. He could not tell you what his face looked like then, cos he himself did not know.

“You just, you just read the textbook, really. I mean, if you don’t declare the variables outside the main method, they’ll be created anew each time you try to do the calculation and then it would just start at zero again--stop looking at me like that,” Kihyun finally snapped, running a hand over his neck. Dammit, he just wanted to make the kid stop looking at life insurance would he stop with the fucking eyes ?

Changkyun blinked, eyes widening a bit and cheeks pinking. “Like what? You’re, like,” Changkyun waved a hand around noncommittally, “Really smart, and stuff. I have the textbook literally open--” He laughed a little nervously, “And couldn’t figure that out.”

Kihyun barely restrained himself from snapping something about illiteracy. Granted, that was what he would say to literally anyone else, even Wonho, the one person who managed to make Kihyun call him friend, but… but there was something about Changkyun’s eyes. They were so fucking puppy like and right at this moment they were looking at Kihyun like. Like something. Like he was someone really important and special and goddammit Kihyun wasn’t sure how that made him feel but he did know that he didn’t want that expression to go away.

“Yeah. Well. Practise, I guess,” Kihyun mumbled, already turning around to trudge back to his seat behind Changkyun.

“That’s what I was trying to do, you know,” Changkyun huffed. “Practise doesn’t matter much when you keep fucking up and you don’t know why .”

“Yeah, well, good luck with that,” Kihyun said, right before sitting down to continue taking notes on the mechanics of how a video card actually worked .

Kihyun was well onto his second sentence since sitting down, when he heard a quiet, “Well, fuck me,” come from in front of him. He stayed strong until the beginning of his fourth sentence, but when he heard something solid hitting the desk he looked up in alarm to see Changkyun lifting his head from the surface with the clear intent to smack it down again.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Kihyun groaned, hastily standing up and moving quickly, catching the collar of Changkyun’s shirt just before he smacked his head again. “You know, destroying your brain cells isn’t going help anyone.”

“Maybe it’ll resuscitate a few,” Changkyun said, lifting his head to look mournfully at first the screen, then Kihyun.

“Oh my god, will you just, I mean, seriously can I just, ugh ,” Kihyun leaned over Changkyun’s shoulder and squinted at the screen, glad for the slight obstruction between their faces thanks to Changkyun’s hoody. “Okay, explain to me what you’re trying to do.”

Changkyun swallowed thickly. Kihyun chose to ignore it. “Well, I’ve got this curly boi, right--”

“This what .”

“That thing,” Changkyun said, pointing at a curly bracket on the screen.

“Changkyun, I swear to God --”

“No, but, like, I think it actually hates me and all of its own kind. It doesn’t want to find a friend and you know, I can’t make it like the other ones so--”

“Oh you absolute-- okay, listen, just ignore the curl-- the thing for the moment and let’s concentrate on the code--”

“I”m trying --”

“--Okay. So, it looks like you were trying to make the user choose between a red or green button?”

Kihyun felt Changkyun nod next to him.

“Okay, so basically what you want to do is create two separate event handlers for the buttons. Like, if you want to form to turn blue, or the font to be italics or something when you press the button, you do it in the event handler, not the initialising component.” Kihyun squinted at the screen, unconsciously letting his chin rest on the younger boy’s shoulder. “Do you remember how to create an event handler?”

“If I say no will you actually kill m--Wait!” Changkyun exclaimed (causing a nearby student to frown in their direction) and clicked on the tab for the form design and double clicking on the button, beaming when Visual Studio automatically created the event handler.

“I did it!”

“Okay, good,” Kihyun said, letting himself chuckle. “Just remember to check in the event list that the default event is the one you actually want. Later on you might want something to happen when you, for example, hover over the button. There’s a different event handler for that that you have to set it to. Now, just add the code you wanted into the event handlers for the buttons and it should work.”

“Okay, okay,” Changkyun said, typing and biting his lip in concentration before tugging at Kihyun’s sleeve when he started to lean away. “No, there is still every chance I could fuck up, just wait…”

Kihyun rolled his eyes just as Changkyun ran the program and clicked on the button. The form changed colour. Kihyun allowed himself a small, proud smirk while Changkyun whooped for joy.

“Can you two lovebirds keep it the fuck down?” came an extremely put-out voice in the row just across from them.

Kihyun looked up, ready to fight anyone who dared suggest something so completely insane , only to suddenly be faced with a rapidly paling Min Yoongi.

“I, I mean, sunbae, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to--you two can be as loud as you want, really,” Yoongi stammered, even inclining his head slightly at Kihyun’s eyebrow raise.

“Just because you’re the best in class doesn’t mean you have the right to sass your TA. I gave you those marks. I can decide to stop being so nice,” Kihyun said, struggling to keep an amused smirk in check. He had seen that little shit wear a death glare so potent he could almost feel it, yet faced with someone in authority the little brat broke.

(Oh, yeah and that kid with the blond hair seemed to have found a way past his defences as well.)

Yoongi bowed his head slightly, put on his headphones, and didn’t look their way again.

“Er, Kihyun?” Changkyun asked in a soft, slightly strained voice from where he was sat in front of Kihyun. “You know that, uhm, with great power comes great responsibility.”

“...Oh my god.”

I’m sorry , you’re kind of scary and it’s kinda sexy and I may have regressed back into a twelve year old with a Peter Parker crush?”

“...Do you have a filter?”

“I manage not to swear in front of my grandparents. Sometimes. That’s something, right?”

“Good fucking lord…” Kihyun went to bury his head into Changkyun’s hoodie covered head, realised what he was doing, and hastily stepped back. “Anyway. That’s how it’s done. So, yeah. Gotta get back to studying now.”

“Cool. See you again in about... two minutes,” Changkyun smiled up at him, cheeks dimpling and slightly pink, if Kihyun saw that correctly. “I’ll just move my hands, though, you hit really hard.”

Kihyun looked at him. Changkyun grinned back cheekily.

“Feel free to scream at me, too, by the way, Yoo Sunbae,” Changkyun said, turning back to the screen.

Kihyun pinched the bridge of his nose.

“You did understand all of that, right? Like, you’re fine now, right?”

“Oh, yeah, totes,” Changkyun said, and then immediately tried to enter the code for one of the buttons in the initialising component, before glancing over his shoulder at Kihyun, with Kihyun glaring absolute daggers at him because how do you do something so wrong jesus christ-- “See, a complete natural.”

“At driving me insane, maybe,” Kihyun breathed miserably.

“Mm?” Changkyun asked, innocently blinking at him.

“Nothing.”

“Oh, good, thought you said I drove you crazy for a second there,” Changkyun shrugged, frowning as many, many errors popped up on his screen. “Oh, bother, what are thoooose…”

“I don’t fucking understand why you just keep typing. Like, do you not see all the little red lines fucking hell,” Kihyun moaned. “They’re supposed to be a warning to stop. To like, go through the code and see what you did to make it give an error.”

“They’re decoderation.”

“Are you being this annoying on purpose or were you just born this way?”

“It’s a talent.”

Changkyun merrily kept typing, literally just describing what he wanted the code to do like it was fucking story he was writing and well, Kihyun saw red. And lost his mind a bit. That’s the only possible explanation for what came out of his mouth next as he literally grabbed Changkyun’s wrists so it would just end .

“Will you stop, I’ll even fucking tutor you just stop.

Changkyun turned to look Kihyun in the eye impassively, before turning back to the screen, and correctly typing what Kihyun had showed him. “Mmm,” Changkyun mused. “I mean, if you insist. Thanks, hyung.”

Kihyun thought he was perfectly justified in savagely pulling the hoodie from Changkyun’s head and hissing, as menacingly as he could, into his ear, “You asked for this, you little shit,” before walking away.

 

---

 

Changkyun

So what do I do if I

Hypothetically

totally popped a boner in the computer lab

 

Jooheon

Not fucking tell me about it

 

Changkyun

What happened to bros bro

That’s harsh

 

Jooheon

I don’t

Want to know???

But I’m so curious???

 

Changkyun

Right so firstly I may have discovered a kink

 

Jooheon

NOIPE


---

 

Kihyun

Would you help me hide a body

 

Hyungwon

Just wear clothes goddamn

 

Kihyun

...

Two bodies

I’ll ask Wonho

 

Hyungwon

Wait what

KIHYUN

 

---

 

Wonho

You know...

I found this random contact on my phone...

And went through a lot of people...

But no one quite has your legs, Hyungwon

 

TheOneWithTheLegs

I had honestly forgotten that something literally possessed me

and made me write that as my contact in your phone

I mean

I know my redeeming features at least

 

Wonho

More than just legs and a pretty face, then? ^.^

 

TheOneWithTheLegs changed to Hyungwon <3 Legs

Hyungwon <3 Legs changed to   Hyungwon

 

Hyungwon

I would say that’s demeaning

But I did that to myself

Um, you want an update on Changkyun’s butt or

 

Wonho

Oh yeah I forgot about that heh

How is he?

 

Hyungwon

I do not have a fucking clue

Although a friend of mine also wants him dead (I think) so

His odds are looking weaker by the minute

 

Wonho

Why would anyone hurt him??? :o

I don’t understand.

He’s so cute

 

Hyungwon

Text him then if he’s so cute

I mean, do you want his number?

I’m sure he’s more informed about

...his ass

 

Wonho

I’m sure he is

 

Hyungwon

Okay

I’ll give you his number

Let me just look for it

 

Wonho

I don’t want his number, Hyungwon

 

Hyungwon

Oh okay cool

But you still think he’s cute

 

Wonho

He’s not my type \^_^/

I just kind of want to protect him

Which I think might be more necessary than I thought in the beginning?

 

Hyungwon

Protect him? He brings this on himself honestly

Don’t pity him

He doesn’t deserve it

What is your type then

 

Wonho

He’s too short…?

Haha idk jk someone who can make ramen I guess?

 

Hyungwon

Yeah, Changkyun almost set my kitchen on fire once making coffee

The short shit

 

Wonho

Told ya~

Mmm, idk, guess I’ve not really thought about what my type is

Just that I like certain people more than others

So do you have an ideal type?

Heh you’d think we’re idols on a variety show

 

Hyungwon

Same as you I guess

 

Wonho

...Someone who can make ramen?

 

Hyungwon

I mean, I just like certain people more than others

So

Can’t really explain it

You know

 

Wonho

Heh no biggie

Oh man first conversation and I’m already quizzing you about boys

I MEAN

I DIDN’T MEAN TO ASSUME I’M SO SORRY

 

Hyungwon

Lol dude it’s chill

I’m super bi

 

Wonho

Same omg thank god

I MEAN

Just that you’re not going to like hit me in the face or something idk

NOT THAT YOU WOULD

Omg just ignore me

 

Hyungwon

You know, I normally wouldn’t say this to anybody that wasn’t me

But I think you need to take a few deep breaths m’dude

 

Wonho

Sorry I just make a fool out of myself a lot??

And… overshare. Whoops.

 

Hyungwon

You’re just nice

It’s

Nice.

Because I’m

Well

Not nice

 

Wonho

I don’t believe that??

I don’t mean to like, call u liar or something ugh sorry I just mean like

You helped out a total stranger to fill in forms

Who does that

 

Hyungwon

Not nice people?

I mean, going by the evidence

 

Wonho

How long is it going to take to convince you?

 

Hyungwon

Days

Weeks

Years

 

Wonho

Heh guess we’ll find out, then \^.^/

 

---

 

Kihyun, standing on a small ladder, frowned, looking down from where he was adjusting one of the artificial lights pointing at where Hyungwon was supposed to be, not lounged like a prince on the nearest couch.

“What are you smiling about, you damn turtle?” Kihyun said, now frowning at the light, the blank canvas on the wall it was pointing at, back at the light, before adjusting it just a tad more.

“Why so salty? You jealous you can’t find anything to smile about?”

“Yeah, that’s definitely it,” Kihyun said, rolling his eyes as he got off the ladder and went to tug at the white canvas. There was a crease, okay. “Has nothing at all to do with the fact that you’re supposed to be over here so we can both go home earlier and not over there smiling. If you’re gonna smile, do it in front of the damn camera.”

“I thought you said my smiling ruins my angles.”

“A chair against your face might also ruin your angles, don’t test me.”

“Mmmhmm,” Hyungwon hummed, smiling as he tapped something out on his phone.

Kihyun tilted his head. He looked. His eyes widened.

“Oh my god who are you texting do I know them?”

Hyungwon scoffed, unconsciously holding his phone just… a little bit closer to himself. “You know, like, three people and two of them are related to you.”

Kihyun squinted, walking towards Hyungwon, who immediately put his phone to his chest, covering the screen. Kihyun stopped walking and looked at him in a ‘ are you fucking kidding me ’ kind of way. There was a tense silence before Kihyun practically pounced.

“Oh my god just show me--

“GET OFF--”

“Please god I need this in my life--OW, YOU’RE SO DAMN BONEY--”

Hyungwon rolled off the couch before standing up to get away from Kihyun, who pulled him down by the leg. “Kihyun, my angles!”

“Fuck your angles, who are you TEXTING--

“I’D RATHER DIE WITH HONOUR,” Hyungwon squirmed, effectively managing to get his bony elbows into every soft, squishy place on Kihyun’s body.

Fuck! ” Kihyun exclaimed, cradling a very delicate place on his body. “The fuck what fucking honour you have none why would you do this.

“Oh, please,” Hyungwon sniffed, pocketing his phone and straightening his clothes before walking over to the screen to take his place in front of the camera. “It’s not like you were ever going to use it anyway. For that to happen you’d need to find someone who actually tolerated you for more than five minutes.”

Kihyun glared, but was unable to make anything other than a fairly embarrassing dying whale noise as he slowly got to his feet. After he had had caught his breath, with Hyungwon smirking infuriatingly the whole time, he managed to get out, “You know, you talk big for someone who’s only friend is a frankly disgustingly annoying brat who is also at least two years younger than you.”

“Mmm, he’s still sticking around, then?” Hyungwon grinned, stretching his arm languidly behind his back. “Maybe you should just hit that and get it over with.”

What? I mean, that’s just-- so stupid-- honestly who would even-- I’m a man, I mean, that’s not-- I don’t do that, okay,” he practically spat. “That’s not--men aren't supposed to do that.” Kihyun looked away, flushed and frowning, hands twitching, expression unreadable.

Hyungwon raised an eyebrow, trying to figure out what exactly had just happened. Flustered, maybe; denial, check?; slightly… disgusted? No, that’s not... right. Hyungwon felt something uncomfortable stir in his stomach and creep up his neck. “I’m not going to explain to you why that doesn’t really matter, but whatever, dude,” Hyungwon sighed, shaking his head. “In what position would you like me?”

“Did you do that on purpose?”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

---

 

“One hot chocolate,” Shownu said, passing the paper cup to a texting Jooheon and putting another cup down next to Minhyuk’s laptop. “And a chai tea for you, love.”

“Thank you, teddy bear,” Minhyuk smiled widely, patting Shownu’s arm before going back to frowning in the utmost concentration at the screen.

“What are you working on?” Shownu asked, scooting his chair closer to Minhyuk, draping his arm over the boy’s shoulder, playing with the hair near his ear. “There are no dogs?”

“Sad, isn’t it?” Minhyuk pouted, “But no, it’s actually pretty cool! It’s a game, look, I think I’ve got it right--Oooh, I did, look--” Minhyuk pointed excitedly, Showu’s eyes crinkling in a laugh.

“That’s great and all, hyung,” Jooheon deadpanned, sipping at his hot chocolate and looking at the disgustingly cute scene in front of him with something approaching resignation. “But why did you drag me out here in the middle of the day, when we’re both supposed to be studying, and claim an emergency if you’re just going to code a game? Which is great,” Jooheon hastened to clarify as Shownu, probably completely unintentionally, flexed his arms, “but still.”

“Because we have something important to discuss,” Minhyuk explained simply, as Shownu leaned forward towards his laptop to play the rudimentary game of pressing the up, left, right and down arrows to catch one pixel with another pixel. “And I was supposed to do that last night, okay.”

“Are you sure? Because last time I talked to Changkyun he was talking about doing equations on something called console or something, not catching pixels.”

“...Fine, I might be reading ahead a bit, that’s not the point,” Minhyuk conceded, smiling away Jooheon’s negativity, and moving aside a bit so Shownu could just play the damn game. “This is about Changkyun, actually. And Kihyun, for that matter. Hyungwoo went to school with him, you know.”

Jooheon turned to squint at Shownu, who simply nodded as he continued tapping on the laptop’s keys. “Yeah, Minhyuk told me about a kid called Kihyun, and I remembered him from school.” Shownu shrugged, eyes not straying from the screen. “We didn’t hang out or anything, but from what I knew of him then I never would have thought he’d date Changkyun.”

“Hon, they’re not dating, that’s why we’re here,” Minhyuk gently corrected, calmly pointing out a way in which Shownu could catch the pixel easier.

“Right, sorry.”

“Wait, what?” Jooheon spluttered. “Why wouldn’t he date my best friend? Changkyun’s a catch and I’ll literally punch anyone who disagrees with that.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Shownu said, frowning as he just missed the pixel yet again. “I just meant, well, he was one of those, well, really artsy type people. I think he was in the choir? Always practiced the piano in break times. Took photo’s, I think. Just quiet, I guess.” He frowned. “And there was this… incident. I don’t know the details, but he got into a lot of trouble with the school board for bullying. Which was really odd because I’m pretty sure a month or two before that, I heard something about him getting pommeled behind the gym, by the same guys he teamed up with or became friends with or whatever. That was ages ago, though, I think he was like fourteen or something, it was when I was sixteen.”

Jooheon frowned, looking down at his coffee. “He was a bully? I mean, Changkyun calls him ‘rude boy’ so I’m not expecting a Disney Prince but…”

“You think I’d let my son marry a bully? No, no,” Minhyuk rolled his eyes.

“Hyung. As far as I know they’re barely talking. You can’t talk about marriage and shit. Which isn’t actually legal.”

Yet . Call me optimistic. The damn point is,” Minhyuk stressed, because damn, they missed his point more than Shownu missed his pixel. “That I did some networking.”

“Oh, God,” Jooheon had vivid flashbacks of the last time Minhyuk did some ‘networking’. “Please tell me there are no breaking into the Science building and leaving flowers on desks again because that was just fucking ridiculous and not what I would call networking in any sense at all . And we got caught.”

“You know full well we didn’t get completely caught and now, really, Jooheon, what are the chances of me needing another bunsen burner.”

“Listen, hyung, I’ve learned not to have any sort of line when it comes to you. And what the hell is completely caught that makes no sense. ”

“They caught me and you, not Shownu. Now,  please,  can I make my point,” Minhyuk groaned dramatically, ignoring Jooheon’s sputtered complaints. “I did some networking, and I have a new friend who’s close with Kihyun, and I was curious about who he is now compared to when Shownu went to school with him. Do you know a Shin Hoseok?”

“I know of Shin Hoseok, or Wonho or whatever, although none of my shitty friends have made the effort of having us meet or anything--”

“Okay, good, because he’s close to Kihyun and I don’t think someone like Wonho would be friends with a bully. Which, is where shit gets really interesting,” Minhyuk said, leaning in towards Jooheon, who backed away. “The guy Kihyun got into trouble for bullying? That was Wonho.”

“Wait, what?” Shownu asked, looking up for the first time, just as the laptop made a pinging sound, announcing his first win to the table.

“Right?! Crazy!” Minhyuk exclaimed, leaning in even further to grab Jooheon by the shoulders, Jooheon wincing a little bit because too damn close to my face to be screaming, man. Shownu simply pulled at the back of Minhyuk’s shirt and Minhyuk fell back into his chair with nearly practised ease.

(Shownu didn’t even flinch at the volume. Which Jooheon chose not to think about because just no. We do not go there. Those places are covered in shadow and the sun did not touch those places.)

“Who the hell becomes best friends with the guy that bullied you? And from what I’ve heard Kihyun’s not the biggest specimen so I’m having a really hard time imagining Kihyun being intimidating to a man made out of muscles, which, again, I’ve only freaking heard about, you assholes .”

“He was smaller back then, and again, that’s not my damn point, ” Minhyuk sighed, looking at Jooheon with crossed arms. “The point to all of this is , that I asked Wonho what Kihyun had bullied him about.”

“And?”

“And he wouldn’t tell me,” Minhyuk pouted. “Said it wasn’t his place to say, which makes no sense .”

“So? I mean, do you have a plan for this or are we still just here so Shownu can test your game?” Jooheon knew he was being a little shit, but honestly, he did have a very important test tomorrow that was not going to study for itself.

“You’re Changkyun’s best friend--”

“Forever and always, yes, go on.”

“--And I know Changkyun can get…” Minhyuk hesitated, biting down on his lip. “I just mean, I don’t… Ugh! I don’t want him to get hurt. By getting into something without knowing all the information.”

Jooheon smiled softly. “Of course I care about Changkyun, hyung. Of course I do. But, do any of us really know all the information before going into anything ? Like, obviously if this Kihyun seemed like a really bad guy, we would do something, but since he seems to have changed, at least if this Wonho guy being friends with him is any indication, is it really our business to tell anyone about this? Like you said, he was fourteen. People change.”

Minhyuk leaned back in his chair, still looking concerned, yes, but definitely calmer. “Good point.”

“Besides, from what I can tell, Changkyun actually likes him,” Jooheon shrugged, before frowning. “Maybe a… bit too much.” Jooheon had a vivid flashback of a text Changkyun had sent him earlier, and shivered visibly. “Anyway! I’ve got this. I know the kid.”

“I hope we’re doing the right thing,” Minhyuk worried, smiling absently as Shownu fist-pumped the air after getting his second win, before he looked up and hummed in agreement.

“Dunno who I’d hate more if we aren’t,” Jooheon said, running a hand through his hair. “Kihyun, or my dumb ass.”

 

---

 

Hyungwon

So how much do you actually know about this Kihyun guy

 

Changkyun

Is this #concern I smell

It smells a bit like salt???

 

Hyungwon

Fuck off do you have any idea how long it would take me to testify if you got yourself into shit

Unfortunately people have seen us together before

I’d be a suspect

 

Changkyun

Do you accuse people of murder often or

Seriously hyung why?

Wait, how do you know about Kihyun?

I didn’t tell you shit about his actual name??

 

Hyungwon

Nice talk

 

Changkyun

NO

HYUNG???

HYUNG I’LL LITERALLY COME FIND YOU

MINHYUK SAYS YOU HAVE CLASS IN THE DRAMA BUILDING

I WILL LITERALLY KICK DOWN A DOOR

 

Hyungwon

Holy shit can you chill please

I just

Maybe

Know a photographer

That may or may not have complained about an annoying little shit

In his programming class

It wasn’t hard to put the dots together

 

Changkyun

He’s a photographer? \o.o?/

 

Hyungwon

That’s what you focus on okay cool

Cause obviously you are an annoying little shit

I’m glad you know yourself well enough to admit this

 

Changkyun

Shhh so many words, none of them about a beautiful photographer

You actually know him? Fuc there go my chances

Wait you model for him??? That’s where you keep getting pictures of yourself?

I’m processing

WAS HE THE ONE WHO TOOK THAT MIGHTY FINE PICTURE OF YOU

Man he’s good

GOD I DON’T STAND A CHANCE DO I

 

Hyungwon

Well, you know I look like a literal god

So, you might want to step away for a bit

I don’t like him

But yeah

 

Changkyun

Right

Thanks for the warning

 

---

 

Jooheon

Uhm hyung why the FUCK is Changkyun in my room, close to tears because

Apparently his crush is deeply in love with you??

 

Hyungwon

That little shit that’s not what I said at all

Well, mostly

But also not at all

 

Jooheon

Were you trying to scare him off Kihyun or something?

 

Hyungwon

I may

Possibly

Definitely have been trying to do that

 

Jooheon

Is this because of the bullying thing? Did Minhyuk tell you?

 

Hyungwon

WHAT

WHAT BULLYING

DID KIHYUN BULLY CHANGKYUN?

WHAT

 

Jooheon

NO HE’D BE DEAD BY NOW IF HE DID

No idk man apparently in school he beat up a guy or something

But they’re best friends now

WAIT YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT IGNORE EVERYTHING I SAID

WHY were you trying to drive Changkyun away then?

 

Hyungwon

…..

Idk

He said some things

It made me just

A bit wary

 

Jooheon

Don’t fucking sprain something, I know you actually care

Wait, what did he say?

 

Hyungwon

Well I never

Such slander

Wait I didn’t even know Kihyun had a best friend

Idk man, it was just some

Well, it might be nothing

I made a joke about them boning?

He didn’t really react the way I was expecting

 

Jooheon

Yeah you met him?

Dude called Wonho

Hmm

Something to keep an eye on

But maybe not freak Changkyun out this much cos GOD

Hyung you know how he gets

 

Hyungwon

Ah

Right

That’s cool

People should have friends

Right

 

Jooheon

Hehe woah Changkyun was right

You DO have emotions

But you better think of SOMETHING cos Changkyun’s still upset you know

No matter what I tell him

About how unlovable and shit you are

Y’know, the usual

 

Hyungwon

…..

You want me to show up in that horrible outfit is that it?

Because, man

That’s cruel

 

Jooheon

:3

You did this

You fix it

 

Hyungwon

Omg fucking fine

Lemme just find the fucking stockings

If he doesn’t stop crying then

I’m out

I tried

 

Jooheon

Honestly I might cry a little

PS Minhyuk and Shownu say hi :3

 

Hyungwon

Fuck all of you

And tell Minhyuk to put away the camera

 

Jooheon

The lord is testing me on this day

But fine just make it quick, this is breaking my fucking heart u dick

 

Hyungwon

I know

I’m on my way

These heels are hard to walk in goddamn

Chapter Text

“It’s just one class, dude.”

“Yeah, but what’s the use of one class when we’re all going to die, anyway.”

“Oh, my God, you’re hell like this. Hyungwon wore a dress, what more do you want?” Jooheon groaned, standing outside of the classroom with Changkyun.

“Effortless beauty, long legs, I don’t know,” Changkyun pouted, adjusting his backpack. “What if I really am just annoying him? Like,” Changkyun waved a hand around, looking at Jooheon with a pout. “I don’t know, he’s actually really annoyed with me and I’m just--”

“Bro,” Jooheon placed his hand on Changkyun’s shoulder, looking him deeply and brofully in the eyes, “I really think that, from what you’ve told me of this Kihyun, if he really didn’t want to talk to you, he just, plainly and simply, wouldn’t.

“Maybe he just feels sorry for me because of my pitiful existence.”

“I mean, that is a valid argument,” Jooheon hummed, “but I honestly don’t think so.”

Changkyun nodded thoughtfully. “Trash deserve love, too, right?”

“Right,” Jooheon agreed, nodding energetically, looking to the side before pulling Changkyun into a hug. “He likes you, bro, trust me.”

(Unbeknownst to Changkyun, Jooheon had spotted Kihyun glaring at them, and, while hugging Changkyun, he grinned cheekily and placed a sloppy kiss on Changkyun’s cheek.)

---

“You’re looking particularly pissed off today,” Changkyun pointed out cheerfully, flopping down next to Kihyun.

“How many boyfriends do you have?” Kihyun asked, just about managing to sound as aloof and sarcastic as he was going for. He thought. He hoped.

“What?”

“What?”

Changkyun giggled--flat out fucking giggled. “Oh, my God, do you mean Jooheon? Broheon? Bro of my life? My brotein shake? I brofess, he is my bro, but not my hoe.”

“...Fucking what ?”

“We’re just friends, hyung.” Changkyun grinned, patting Kihyun’s hand consolingly. It took Kihyun a distressingly long time to snatch his hand away, in his opinion. “Oh, yeah! Can I get your number?”

Frowning, and a little pissed off (at himself mostly) for even asking such a stupid question (he didn’t even care honestly), Kihyun merely paused before scoffing and saying, “No, why?”

Changkyun pouted. It was not adorable at all, fuck. “But sunbae, how are you going to tutor me if I can’t even text you?”

“Okay, first of all, I’m your hyung, not your sunbae. Technically. Second, I can’t believe I agreed to this fuckery, and third, we can just decide on a time in class.”

Changkyun frowned (so quickly Kihyun almost didn’t catch it), before nodding a little and getting out his books. “I guess, yeah. Sorry.”

Kihyun should have been satisfied with that reply. He really should have been. No shitty comeback, no smartass comment. Just a normal, reasonable agreement. It was fine. They didn’t bother each other in class at all, and Kihyun took fantastic notes and felt very great about the test coming up that week.

Which, of course, didn’t at all explain why, at the end of the lecture, when Chankgyun demurely asked him for a time, he blinked, hesitated, almost did just give a time, and then grabbed Changkyun’s phone, keying in his number.

“This is just for the tutoring, okay? I’m only doing this because I don’t have my schedule on me at the moment,” Kihyun grumbled, trying not to let the huge fucking smile spreading on Changkyun’s face affect him. Good god, could he just, like, keep that, that, fucking adorableness okay , inside him? It was disturbing Kihyun’s whole aesthetic.

He handed the phone back. Did Changkyun have to look so damn happy about this?

“Thanks, su-- hyung ,” Changkyun stressed, biting the inside of his cheek to fight off the smile. “I meant hyung.”

“It’s fine, I’m just not your sunbae,” Kihyun winced.

“Oppa?”

Kihyun turned around and walked the fuck away, ignoring the not at all muffled sniggers coming from behind him.

---

 

Changkyun

I GOT HIS NUMBER

I HAVE HIS NUMBER ON MY PHONE RIGHT NOW

LIKE I GO TO HIS NAME AND BAM

HIS NUMBER

 

Hyungwon

That’s

great

 

Changkyun

You’re super sure he doesn’t like you, right?

 

Hyungwon

Yes, Changkyun

Not even sure why you like him

 

Changkyun

You’re so nice sometimes

...why are you being nice to me

You’re supposed to tell me that I’m bothering you or something

 

Hyungwon

I don’t know what the fuck you mean

You fucking shit

Calling me nice

Disrespecting his hyung

 

Changkyun

I’m on cloud nine idgaf nothing can bring me down

Not even your salty ass

Love ya hyungie

 

Hyungwon

Cool

Even me telling you that I accidentally

Well

No yeah it was an accident

Broke your PS4 controller

Nice

 

Changkyun

I

I trusted you

Dont make me cry in the middle of english lit plz

 

Hyungwon

You should have known better

Than to buy Until Dawn

You know how I get with horror games

And Jooheon was here

The controller didn’t stand a chance

 

Changkyun

YOU INVITED JOOHEON ARE YOU INSANE

MY LAMP SCARES HIM

I ONCE GOT UP TO PEE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND HE ALMOST KILLED ME

WITH THE FUCKING LAMP

 

Hyungwon

It was funny though

Good times

 

Changkyun

I take back everything

You’re evil

 

Hyungwon

Order has been restored to the universe

 

---

 

Unknown

Heyyyy it’s Changkyun

Admittedly not about tutoring, but I never actually gave you MY number so

Just so you have it

For tutoring emergencies or whatever

 

Kihyun

Right

Thanks I guess

 

Unknown changed to Little Shit

 

Little Shit changed to Changkyun

 

---

 

Changkyun

You lied, he hates me

 

Jooheon

De fuck why

 

Changkyun

I texted him and he’s not??? Idk

 

Jooheon

WAIT

YOU HAVE HIS NUMBER?

 

Changkyun

Well, yeah… doesn’t mean shit tho

 

Jooheon

I’m going to whack you into another blood group

Stop texting me and go be funny

 

Changkyun

Right

I can be funny

I was BORN funny

You remember I showed you that picture of me with

Like, that face I made when I pooped right and I

 

Jooheon

BRO

 

Changkyun

FUCKING FINE

I’m going

 

---

 

Changkyun

Hey Kihyun

How does a programmer laugh

He Giggles

 

Kihyun

……

The fuck

 

Changkyun

#kihyun {

  right: 100%;

  margin: 0%;

}

 

Kihyun

You are

Of course

Aware of the fact

That that

Is HTML

 

Changkyun

Well the script is definitely working because

You are, indeed, right

What did HTML do to you dude

 

Kihyun

Made people think coding is easy

While we sit and suffer in the real coding class

It’s fucking annoying

 

Changkyun

I know actual coding is difficult why do you think I did HTML

 

Kihyun

I’m going to take a wild fucking guess here

But because you know

It drives me crazy

And you live off being an annoying little shit

 

Changkyun

Hyung Takes My Life

#HTML

Nah, it’s just easier to get something out of you when you have someone to prove wrong ;)

 

Kihyun

Why do you want to talk to me?

Didn’t we agree to make this for tutoring sessions?

Do you want to schedule one?

 

Changkyun

I was using HTML, I thought that was your idea of an emergency

But we should, to rectify my sins etc

AND I want to talk to you because

I

You’re interesting

And shit idk

Hyung?

 

---

 

Jooheon

Changkyun I can hear you screaming from next door wtf

 

Changkyun

BLESS ME WITH DEATH

 

---

 

Kihyun

Interesting

Right, so I have no classes on a friday, so we can meet up in the computer labs?

Like, basically any time

Just let me know the day before so I can schedule my study time

 

Changkyun

Cool, I’ll let you know

And

Thanks again

Have I said thanks yet? Anyway, yeah, thanks, you’re really giving me a hand here

I appreciate it :)

 

---

 

Jooheon

WHY U SCREAMIN BOI

 

Changkyun

A HAND WHY DID I SAY A HAND

 

---

 

Kihyun

Well, it would physically pain me if I saw you mutilating C# any further

So yeah

You’re

Quite

Nvm

 

---

 

Wonho frowned at the odd noise coming from Kihyun, looking at his best friend from across the table. “Er, who you texting there, Kihyun?”

“What? Nothing. I mean, it’s no one. Hey, don’t eat all the kimchi!” Kihyun grabbed at the bowl, successfully pulling it out of the reach of Wonho’s chopsticks. Wonho, like the best best friend he is, chose not to mention right at that moment how extremely red Kihyun was.

Wonho’s eyes widened and distressingly resembled those of a puppy, mouth full of kimchi. “M’no’! Gim’e!”

Kihyun dug furiously into the kimchi, cheeks bulging as he ate with righteous fury . God, who did this kid think he was, anyway? Kihyun had explicitly said the number was to use for tutoring related things only and… well, yes, while they had made arrangements on that front, he’d also made really horrible lapses of coding judgement and---Kihyun pushed the bowl away, frowning deeply, nose crinkling as he stared at the table so intensely, Wonho unconsciously patted it in sympathy.

“Wonho, do you think I’m an interesting person?”

“Uhm?” Wonho said, gently pulling the bowl towards himself again. “Well, yeah, you’re not boring or anything. Sorry, I’m confused, why are you asking me this?”

“Is a man not allowed to ask his best friend a simple question? Jeez.”

“Of course, I’m just confused as to what prompted it,” Wonho shrugged, only putting a reasonable amount of food into his mouth. “You’re interesting, Kihyun. Double major, artsy, short fuse,” Wonho shrugged. “Competitive? Smart?”

“Why do I hear question marks.”

“Well, I didn’t hear one just then, so I’m assuming that isn’t a question.”

“I just mean,” Kihyun huffed. “Why would someone go out of their way to talk to me?”

Wonho frowned, chewing thoughtfully before swallowing and taking a sip of his chai tea. “Is this about a girl?”

“What?!” Kihyun whipped his head up, “No--what--do I sound like I’m talking about a girl? What--”

“Dude, chill,” Wonho laughed, “I’ve just not seen you act like this before, okay? Usually with guys they get---” Wonho gestured towards him. “Like that, because of a girl. Or a boy. Whatever. You know I don’t care.”

You don’t,” Kihyun snapped, sitting back in his chair, before frowning. “Sorry, I just--"

“Yeah, I know,” Wonho said, voice small as he played with his food. “It’s fine, Kihyunnie,” Wonho smiled gently, as the other lowered his head guiltily into his hands, peering up from underneath his fringe. “We’ve had this talk before. It’s fine. I get it.”

“Yeah,” Kihyun breathed. “It’s nothing, by the way. Just this… little shit kid sassing me constantly. He’s driving me crazy--in a completely reasonable, I can’t handle this shit, kind of way.”

“Hm, why do you have his number then? I’m assuming that’s who you were texting?”

Kihyun grunted affirmatively. “He can’t just schedule a meeting like a normal person, noooo. He said he talks to me because I’m, and I quote, ‘interesting’.” Kihyun flipped a piece of kimchi around on his plate. “I don’t get it. I mean, I’m tired and grumpy and I’m pretty sure I’m not good conversation so why the fuck does Changkyun keep talking to me?”

Wonho nearly choked on his kimchi, laughing as he recovered. “Oh my god, Changkyun ? No wonder you’re like this.”

“Wait what? You know him?” Kihyun asked, leaning forward, food now completely abandoned.

“Mhm!” Wonho nodded animatedly. “Met him when I had to go register for classes. His friend Hyungwon helped me out with some forms. You know, the cute guy I mentioned texting? I don’t think I mentioned his name, though,” Wonho frowned in thought.

Oh my fucking god you like Hyungwon?” Kihyun basically screeched before catching himself and looking around a bit apologetically, before leaning in again, eyes wide. “What, I just, what? That beanpole? That piece of sass on a stick? What? I didn’t even know you knew him!”

“Wait, you know him?” Wonho gaped.

“Oh, my god, my entire life is falling apart, when did this happen …Oh my god was he texting you that one time oh my god.

“Earth to Kihyun, how do you know Hyungwon? This is important. Focus.”

“Remember when you got so busy practicing you couldn’t do shoots for me anymore?” Wonho nodded. “Hyungwon’s my current model. Christ, I cannot believe --”

“He… models for you? Like, in front a camera? Pictures and stuff?”

“Yes?” Kihyun looked up, frowning. “Why?”

“So, you have a lot of photos of him, huh? Like, a lot. Like, A LOT.”

“I don’t know you anymore. I’m going to go faceplant off a bridge, goodbye world.”

“No, but Kihyun wait like, you must have photos of him you don’t use right and--don’t walk away we were talking .”

“I am not enabling you!” Kihyun called back, slamming the cafe door.

 

---

 

Wonho

Hey! I saw you on campus and tried to say hi

but you weren’t paying attention to the rest of the world lol

What was the rush?

 

Hyungwon

Oh, sorry, I was just late for a class

Overslept

 

Wonho
In the library or? ^.^

 

Hyungwon

You know, the library was more a nap place

Not a sleep place

Per se

 

Wonho

Oh, yeah, Kihyun said he knew you?

And that you model for him?

 

Hyungwon

He did what now

 

Wonho

...So you don’t model for him?

 

Hyungwon

Not for HIM

Ugh okay but don’t, like

Idk think of me as an airhead model or some shit please?

I just

...Pout brainlessly at a camera

A+ for effort

 

Wonho

Of course I don’t think of you as an airhead model!

I just thought that

Um

Nvm

It’s stupid

I see that now

 

Hyungwon

Did you… want to model for him or something?

I’m sure you could just ask?

 

Wonho

No!

That’s not it!

Haha can you imagine ME being a model?

Hahahahaha

...

Okay so I admittedly modelled for him a little bit

But then my schedule got crazy as hell and he told me to focus on my dancing

BUT I think he actually got rid of me cos I kept laughing and blushing

I am not good at, well, keeping a straight face

Hehe

 

Hyungwon

Did you just….

 

Wonho
Did I just what?

 

Hyungwon

…..

Come on.

You know what you did.

 

Wonho

Bi the way

I was curious to see cos Kihyun’s my friend and all

And his photography is amazing

But I didn’t wanna look at your pics

Well, the pics of you

Without asking first

Is that dumb sorry

 

Hyungwon

Okay that was definitely on purpose

 

Wonho

…*by

hehe

 

Hyungwon

Uh-huh sure

Oh, okay well I guess if Kihyun says it’s okay you can look at them?

I mean, it’s not like I’m shy about what I look like

Oh wow that sounds really conceited I’m sorry.

 

Wonho

I offer this as a show of good faith and trust

Oh, no, don’t even worry about it, I mean

You’re gorgeous and I’m sure you own a mirror

 

Hyungwon

THa

Thanks

。(*^▽^*)ゞ

 

Wonho

(/^▽^)/ You’re welcome!

 

Hyungwon

You’re quite good-looking yourself

Very...adonis like

Ahem

 

Wonho

Sorry I dropped my phone

I mean
Kihyun asked me something

Thank you??? (´,,•ω•,,)♡ that’s a new one haha

 

Hyungwon

Whatever he offers you or blackmails you with

Do NOT agree to a photoshoot at 3 am

That’s evil

Also, I can’t believe you haven’t heard that comparison before

Have you looked in the mirror lately?

 

Wonho

Getting up earlier doesn’t sound so bad hehe

No I guess you’re the most

Hehe

Straight-forward

Person I’ve met before

I did look in the mirror recently, actually

It thanked me

 

Hyungwon

Oh.

I’m sorry I was too forward

Sorry

Um

But yeah.

Thankful mirror nice

OH MY GOD YOU DID IT AGAIN YOU ABSOLUTE

 

Wonho

The word sorry is forever banned from this chat

Not allowed

It’s nice, Hyungwon, calm down

 

Hyungwon

I’m so

I mean, sometimes I just

Well I think too much

Ugh sor

I’ll just shut up now

 

Wonho

You know what

Do you want to have coffee sometime?

 

Hyungwon

Um yeah

That would be nice

 

Wonho

I love that you go through the effort of typing ‘um’ o(≧∇≦o)

Tomorrow sometime? I’ll text you when I’m free

 

Hyungwon

Oh, you know

Just want to illustrate accurately how

Painfully

Awkward I am.

Works for me

 

Wonho

It’s cute

Well, I mean, it’s not cute that you’re uncomfortable or whatever

That’s not what I meant

Um

SEE I UM TOO EVERYBODY UMS

 

Hyungwon

I’m not uncomfortable

It’s more that I’m tongue-tied

Oh wow I just put my foot so far up my mouth didn’t I

Nice job Hyungwon fucking fantastic

 

Wonho

Flexible

I MEAN OMG I PRESSED SEND WAY TOO EARLY

AHAHA I WAS STILL THINKING OF A WAY TO MAKE THAT NOT SOUND WEIRD

And here we are

Omg I’m gonna just let Kihyun kill me

 

Hyungwon

I’m very flexible yes

I’ll see you tomorrow

 

---

 

Kihyun

You’re buying my best friend a new phone at this rate, beanpole

 

Hyungwon

What, why what

Are you talking about

 

Kihyun

-.-

For our next shoot

I’m bringing an actual gun

 

Hyungwon

I’m sure some people will be sad to see you go

I’m not one of them though

Hold off until Changkyun realises what a pain you are

 

Kihyun

He knows

Why are you even

Ugh just be nice to Wonho, you asshole

 

Hyungwon

What are you talking about?

I AM nice to him

I am in fact, in general

A nice person

 

Kihyun

Could have fooled me

I have a test coming up, stop bothering me

 

Hyungwon

You texted me first, idiot



---

 

Hyungwon fiddled with his phone, barely listening as the lecturer finished up the class. He waved half-heartedly at the few people who he’d actually managed to get to a speaking level on in this class, and headed out, immediately unlocking his phone for the fifth time in as many minutes, checking for any messages that wasn’t Changkyun singing various versions of his new song, ‘Hyungwon and Wonho Stuck In a Tree, There Might Be K-i-s-s-i-n-g’.

It was true that he and Wonho hadn’t specified a time for their coffee date, but Hyungwon couldn’t help feeling antsy. It was already two, and he had just had his last class of the day. He could get started on his homework while he waited for Wonho to contact him, but he felt too on edge to do anything. And it wasn’t like he was paying attention in class anyway.

Thinking about it, did they say Wonho would contact Hyungwon, or was Hyungwon supposed to contact Wonho or --

 

Kihyun

Ohmygod I’m so sorry my phone died

and I forgot to let you know about a time for our date!

 

Hyungwon

…..I’m so confused

Did you have a stroke my dude

Have you been to the doctor

 

Kihyun

Huh???

OMGOSH SORRY IT’S WONHO

I’m using Hyunni’s phone to text you real quick

 

Hyungwon

Ok

That makes much more sense

Jeez, I almost had a heart attack

 

Kihyun

Anyhoo Kihyun’s glaring so

mind meeting at the on campus coffee place in about 15??

 

Hyungwon

See you in 15! :)



Hyungwon stared at the text. Specifically at the bracket, right next to the colon, like… when did this happen to him. When, a few seconds later, he realised Kihyun would probably be able to see the texts, he furiously Googled how to erase a text message.

 

Kihyun

:)

really

 

Hyungwon

Shut the fuck up Hyunni

 

Kihyun

FUCKING

NOBODY CALLS ME THAT ISTG HYUNGWON

 

Hyungwon

Okay Hyunni calm down:)

 

Kihyun

blocked

 

Hyungwon

That's fine

I’ll just take my perfect angles and fuck off then

Kay Hyunni?

He really did it huh

So petty

 

---

 

Hyungwon nearly dropped his phone as Wonho plopped down across from him at the table. “Wow, that was qu--”

“Hey, Wonnie! What are you doing here, of all places?” Minhyuk (not Wonho, fuck ) asked at the door of the coffee place, beaming distractedly at Wonho as he made his way over to them and pulled out a chair next to Hyungwon, Shownu, predictably, trailing after him, dressed in sweaty exercise clothes..

Oh, god. Oh no. Not this. Hyungwon barely managed to stop himself facepalming, instead pasting a strained smile on his face. “Minhyuk-hyung. Hyunwoo-hyung. Didn’t know you’d be coming.”

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see… Hyungwon sternly ordered his brain to shut the fuck up.

“Neither did we! We just so happened to be passing when we saw you and…” Minhyuk looked questioningly at Wonho, who was, of course, smiling at them.

“Shin Hoseok, but call me Wonho,” Wonho introduced himself, offering his hand to Minhyuk who grabbed it and shook it gleefully, before Shownu solemnly took it, nodding at Wonho, before turning back to the water he was nursing.

Minhyuk’s chair squeaked painfully against the floor as he moved closer to Hyungwon and leaned in. “Did you get a boyfriend without telling us? ” Minhyuk whispered. Loudly.

Hyungwon caved. He facepalmed.

“What I say?”

“Ah, no. We’re not dating,” Wonho corrected, coughing gently, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Not yet, anyway.”

Hyungwon let his hands fall, looking at Wonho with wide eyes, brain stuttering. “Don’t egg them on!”

“What, am I not boyfriend material?” Wonho asked, hand to his chest, grinning at Hyungwon. Hyungwon could literally feel his face heating up, which. Well which was just not okay. He did not blush .

“This is hell,” Hyungwon deadpanned. “I died just outside of class tripping on a brick, and this is hell.”

“Are you blushing, Wonnie? Shownu look he’s blushing ! Our Wonnie is blushing, wow .” Minhyuk fluttered his hands around, grabbing at Shownu’s arm while he smiled indulgently at them all.

“You know, Wonnie could be me too,” Wonho pointed out with a grin.

Wonho ,” Hyungwon groaned, lifting pained eyes to Wonho’s face. Begging. For what he wasn’t sure, but he sure was begging for something .

“I’m sorry,” Wonho laughed, shaking his head a little, frowning softly at Hyungwon’s expression before turning to look at Minhyuk and Shownu with a soft smile. “It was really nice to meet you two, really , but I was wondering if maybe--”

“Say no more! Babe, move, we have literally everywhere else to be right now.” Minhyuk shooed Shownu up from his seat, waving cheerily at Hyungwon and Wonho before going to literally wherever the fuck Minhyuk spent his time, Hyungwon really didn’t know or care at this particular moment.

It was silent for a few long seconds before Wonho cleared his throat, prompting Hyungwon to look up from where he had been studying the table.

“Are you okay?”

Hyungwon shrugged slightly, then shook his head.

“Um, yeah. I mean, I’m just. I’m big on the um, privacy thing. I just. I don’t like other people knowing things about me. I don’t know. That’s stupid.” He shook his head again, a small, self-deprecating smile on his face.

“Hey, no, it’s not,” Wonho smiled, looking surprisingly sincere. “I’m sorry if I was out of line, honestly. I didn’t mean to put you on the spot like that.”

“It’s not so much out of line… I just feel extremely uncomfortable when people know things about me that I didn’t choose to share. It’s just, it’s a thing I have. Ha ha! Wow, you probably expected someone a lot cooler than this. Don’t pay attention to me. Hah! I’m unbothered by all of this, ha ha ha...” Hyungwon, mercifully, stopped rambling after that, hiding his red face in his hands.

“Hard not to pay attention to you, Hyungwon. Not in a bad way,” Wonho shrugged, still smiling kindly, from what Hyungwon could see as he peeked through his fingers. “But I get where you’re coming from, I really do. People knowing things about me haven’t always worked out wonderfully. I guess now I just sort of…” Wonho breathed. “Put it all out there, so there’s nothing for people to feel like they can use against me.”

Hyungwon let his hands fall, watching the boy with confusion and interest. “What do you mean all out there? Don’t you feel, I don’t know, too exposed?”

Wonho ran a hand through his hair, frowning at the ceiling for a second before shrugging. “I guess it’s like the difference between… I don’t know, taking your shirt off or having someone rip it off in public.” Wonho laughed, eyes crinkling. “Sorry, I’m terrible at metaphors. I just mean, that I felt the need to hide a lot of myself from the world--not in the same way you do, I know, I mean we’re different people--and in my experience, being open gets you the things you want and gets rid of the things you don’t need. It doesn’t always work out like that, but--” Wonho shrugged, smiling at Hyungwon again. “I say what I mean. Which is why I’m sure you know I like you, for one.”

“I.” Hyungwon paused. Swallowed. Tilted his head. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. So how about that coffee, then?”

---

 

“You guys good to go?” Changkyun asked, holding his taped together controller (fucking Hyungwon ), his character dancing at the entrance.

“Just getting some melon juice,” Minhyuk sang over his headphones and Changkyun had a solid two minutes of mental deliberation over whether that was in game or not. “Hey, Changkyun, have you submitted your online test, yet?”

There was a long, resounding groan.

“You forgot about it, didn’t you?”

“Maybe. Drink your melons.”

“I’ll help you afterwards. Okay,” Minhyuk’s tiny character jumped up and down. “I’m good!”

“Great,” Shownu said, “So--no Changkyun that doesn’t mean you can just run in--!” Shownu cut off with a muffled groan and a giggle. “Er, Jooheon, damage control.”

Changkyun exchanged a laugh with his roommate as he went in, waving his sword about, sending spells flying as he tried to keep everything off their incredibly squishy mage, Minhyuk, who Shownu was trying to delicately explain how threat worked and that’s why we let Changkyun run in first and hit everything, okay? Also, this would work much better if you weren’t sitting on my lap.

“I DON’T UNDERSTAND,” Jooheon whined loudly. “Guys, why the fuck isn’t Hyungwon here? This random asshole we got is really breaking my will to--oh my god did he just fucking--

“Oh, Hyungwonnie’s on a date,” Minhyuk hummed distractedly as he almost died for the nth time.

“What?” Changkyun choked with a laugh, sending a quick vote through to kick the random asshole who thought sneaking all the way through to the boss on his own was a smart move and was probably twelve years old. Jooheon was turning red, it was his duty.

MInhyuk , you know we weren’t supposed to say anything. You could see it on his face,” Shownu reprimanded his boyfriend, successfully dragging Minhyuk’s character out of the worst part of the fighting. There was a reason Shownu usually got stuck as the party’s healer.

“Is it with Wonho?” Changkyun cackled. “Oh, my god, it is, isn’t it--”

“That’s pulling way too many, Kyunnie, chill--”

“Sorry! Just do an AOE--There we go. No, but seriously, did he actually say it was a date?”

“Um. No?” Minhyuk squeaked. “What? Date? Hyungwon? Hahaha, you must have heard me wrong.”

Jooheon and Changkyun exchanged a look .

“I didn’t say anything. He’s probably… sleeping,” Minhyuk concluded with a nervous giggle.

Minhyuk, stop wiggling, you’re gonna die --”

“Yeah, god Hyung, you’re gonna give Shownu a boner.”

“Too late,” Minhyuk said cheerfully.

“UUUUGH,” Jooheon groaned.

Changkyun sighed wistfully. “I wouldn’t mind a boner right about now.”

“Dude, I’m literally two metres away from you, can you not--”

“Oh, my God, Jooheon, a Boner is a tool with which you Bone, how how have I never made that connection--

“We’re all seconds away from death, can you focus,” Jooheon deadpanned, kicking Changkyun.  

“But wait what about the date and--”

Changkyun, focus! I’ll never let you tank again.”

“Sorry, jeez. Seriously, though--”

“Seriously though nothing, you guys know Hyungwon is an exceptionally private person and something like a date, which I’m not saying it was --”

“You kind of are.”

“--Is a big deal, something he should tell us about, so can we please, please just focus on killing this... fish in a cauldron,” Shownu finished, succeeding in quieting them all down for all of five seconds before--

“Captain Cookie. The fish is called Captain Cookie.”

“Yes, thank you, Jooheon, that.”

“Guys,” Changkyun suddenly started laughing. “ Joy stick .”

Chapter Text

Changkyun

Hey sorry for bothering so late

Are you free tomorrow?

 

Kihyun

Oh, wow, is it really that time already?

Yeah I said I would be.

You have a time for me?

 

Changkyun

Okay I know how busy you are so don’t judge my weak-ass humanities schedule

But I have like the whole day free except 10h-11h and 12h-13h

 

Kihyun

You lucky little...

Okay

Lemme just check my study schedule real quick

We can do it from two until like, four?

Whenever we get done I guess. I’ll try to finish most of my stuff before then.

Eat before you come, we’re gonna be there a while.

 

Changkyun

That would be great, thanks, hyung

Where do you wanna meet?

Oh and tea or coffee?

Shhh I’m buying you a beverage just let it happen

 

Kihyun

…..okay, yeah, sure, whatever

Tea, with milk and two sugars

Labs?

 

Changkyun

Cool, see you then. I won’t keep you up, get some sleep

Sleep tight hyung!~

 

Kihyun

Shouldn’t you be asleep?

You have class tomorrow, I don’t

 

Changkyun

Shhh shleeeeep

 

Kihyun

Hmm

Goodnight

 

---

 

Changkyun had some bad habits; almost never sleeping before midnight, picking at his lips when he was nervous; starting his assignments the day before they’re supposed to be in; chronic peace signs and winking in selfies; and, most relevant to the current situation, pacing.

The back entrance to the library was a courtyard away, but not far away, from the various food stalls on campus, so it was usually always crawling with hungry students and pigeons. Jooheon tried his best to concentrate on his textbook, desperate to cram as much information as possible into his head before his next class, while Changkyun was slowly wearing a path into the dirt with his insistent back and forth pacing fuckery.

“Jooheon.”

“Yes, Changkyun.”

“Will you tell my mother I love her?”

Jooheon rolled his eyes, closed his book (it was a hopeless case) and walked up to his best friend, put his hand on the younger boy’s shoulder, and said, “No.”

Changkyun groaned, picking at his lips (with a hand Jooheon swatted away), before resorting to fiddling with the strings of his hoodie. “This was a horrible idea. Like, those medieval pictures of various clearly dubious medical procedures? That level of bad. Who pumps air into a man’s anus, Jooheon? Why?

“You’re being obscure, Kyunnie, reel it in.”

“I’m a mature man. I can do this.”

Jooheon laughed. “I really don’t know what you’re expecting to happen here.”

“I am expecting,” Changkyun said, calmly, contemplatively. “To die of utter humiliation? To make inappropriate dick jokes? I’m expecting horrific, KDrama-esque... disastrous... situations. What if I fall off my chair or something, or, or--” Changkyun waved his hand about. “Fart? Loudly.”

“Why are you like this.”

“Have you seen Yoo Kihyun, Jooheon?”

“Short, angry…” Jooheon frowned in thought. “Pink? A little bit jealous?” Jooheon laughed at his best friend’s expression. “Listen, it’s a tutoring session, just be cool, okay?”

Changkyun looked at him for a long moment, before digging his phone out of his pocket, opening his chat with Kihyun, and handing it to his friend. “Just… just read it.”

Jooheon raised his eyebrows. “That’s some trust you’ve got there--yeah, yeah, gimme a second.” Jooheon scrolled, reading before glancing at Chankyun with a shit-eating grin. “Dude--”

“Shut up, I know .”Changkyun groaned, pulling the strings of his hoodie taut, managing to hide nearly his whole face and looking particularly helpless.

“You need to just unwind, Kyun. You’re overthinking everything in an attempt to make yourself likable.”

Changkyun stared at the wall. How dare he be so profound.

“Or maybe the two of you were just so tired you couldn’t muster the energy for all the unnecessary sass flirting.”

“Oh, my God,” Changkyun said, turning to Jooheon, wide eyes visible through the gap. “I’m being totally obvious and stupid, aren’t I? What if--What if he’s just trying to show me how to code and I--”

“Pop a boner in the middle of the computer lab? Already did that one, buddy.”

“It was a hypothetical situation. Like, that didn’t even happen and even if it did, it was in the utmost--”

“Dude,” Jooheon had to make quick work of catching his pacing best friend by the shoulders, shaking him a little as he did. “Sit down.”

“But I like pacing. It’s good exercise. For my legs.”

“It’s also stressing us both out, Kyunnie. Sit.”

Changkyun did, plopping down on the nearest little wall, craning his head to look over the bridge filled with food stalls towards the Math building. “What time is it?”

Jooheon tossed his phone back to him. It landed in Changkyun’s lap even as he made an uncoordinated attempt to catch it, his hands flailing.

“Ugh, Jooheon, you know I can’t catch for shit.”

“Yeah, you’re a real catch." Changkyun groaned. "And it’s okay, I was aiming for your lap, anyway.”

Changkyun sighed and held his phone face upward, eyes widening comically as he saw the time.

Oh, jesus, fuck, I’m going to be late, fuck!

Changkyun ran off without a second thought, pushing people out of the way, waving Jooheon’s shouted, “You haven’t eaten yet!” off with a frantic hand.

 

---

 

Kihyun shifted the backpack on his shoulder, looking down at his phone, around him, and back at his phone wondering if he should just text the little shit. It was ten past two. He had thought to go in and wait for him numerous times, but something indefinable and stupid kept him waiting.

He was mid-text when he heard hurried footsteps behind him, and turned just in time to see Changkyun barreling up the stairs, coming to a stop just before colliding with the pillar Kihyun had been leaning against.

“Kihyunnie! Goodness, are you early? The cockel hath barely sung, ‘tis almost time for lunchen or whatever--”

“No. You’re late. And my name’s Kihyun . That’s all.”

Changkyun nodded, breathing only slightly labored. “Cool, my bad for, like,” he gestured vaguely. “Literally everything.” Changkyun smiled, looking apologetic and running a hand through his hair.

“Hmph. Come on, I still need to finish two chapters of math after this.” Kihyun flashed his student card at the scanner, opening the door after the beep, holding it just long enough for Changkyun to grab it before walking to the very back of the room where, luckily, two computers were open. It was Friday afternoon, so the lab was quite empty, and Kihyun was glad. He never really liked sitting in the middle or the front, preferring his back against a wall. He just… generally didn’t like people seeing what he was doing on his screen.

Changkyun took the other open seat, bouncing a bit on his chair and pulling the lever so he would be taller. Kihyun, glanced at him, before pulling the lever on his own chair so the chair would sink in.

“So!” Changkyun beamed at Kihyun, who glowered back. It had not been… the most productive day thus far. He was in what one might call, a bad mood. Changkyun’s grin faltered a bit, but he quickly recovered, tapping the desk lightly with hands. “So, what do we do first?”

“Well, first,” Kihyun drawled, pulling his textbook out of his bag and opening Visual Studio on his computer, “you get out your book. Then, you open Visual Studio.”

Changkyun’s grin flickered, disappeared, and returned rather strained. “Right. Right, sorry. I’ll do that.” He clicked the icon and quickly shrugged out of his hoodie while the program loaded, before taking out his book and looking at Kihyun, almost… carefully.

Kihyun noticed his hands stilling in their tapping, and sighed. He would not feel guilty about being grumpy. He wouldn’t. He was tired and stressed and Calculus was breaking him a bit (a lot) and honestly what did he care what some kid thought about him? It wasn’t like he owed the kid anything. He was doing him a huge favour. In fact…

“Hey, where’s my tea?”

The kid’s mouth opened, closed, opened. “There, uhm, aren’t any drinks allowed in the labs?”

Kihyun sighed, yawned, and flinched as his neck cracked ominously, before pointedly looking at the water bottle next to him, reaching out, and taking a sip, before turning back to his computer. “Right. No beverages in the labs.”

Changkyun looked away from him, chewed on his lip and frowned, before looking at Kihyun out of the corner of his eye.

“I’m really sorry about the tea, and being late,” Changkyun started quietly after a moment, shifting in his seat. “Er, I’ll get you some afterwards? Not that I--never mind. Uhm... what if I just try doing it and then I ask you if I’m doing something wrong? Or you feel a disturbance in the code or something.”

“Sounds good. Start with the first exercise in chapter one. It might seem easy, but it doesn’t hurt to cover your bases. You might just be getting something wrong that’s actually really easy to fix and you’re just overlooking it or something.”

Kihyun turned to his computer, plugged in his memory stick and pulled up the Calculus papers he had been working on, flipping open his exam pad and twirling his pencil in his hand as he glared at the screen.

Changkyun nodded, smiling softly before opening his book and getting started, and, Kihyun noted, glancing at Changkyun out of the corner of his eye, he was being far less vocal about his frustrations and thought processes than he had been last time. Changkyun frowned, went back a couple of pages in the textbook, read quietly, and continued on his own. Kihyun couldn’t help but wonder if he was doing this just so he wouldn’t bother him, which would defeat the whole purpose of the tutoring in the first place.

Kihyun jumped slightly in his chair when the girl next to Changkyun dropped her pencil case. Changkyun, seemingly on instinct, reached down to help her, and, naturally, nearly headbutted the poor girl.

“Oh, my god, sorry,” Kihyun heard him hastily apologize, as the girl just laughed and shook her head.

“Chill, dude, it’s fine,” she said, grabbing a handful of pens before squinting at him. Kihyun looked away. This was none of his damn business. He needed to figure out how to integrate this function or he’ll actually fail the next test “Hey, aren’t you the kid who got trapped in the automated doors at the library?”

Kihyun choked because of fucking course, waving his hand and playing it off as a cough when the two looked at him. They both turned away quite quickly, Changkyun with an odd expression before cocking his head at her..

“Aren’t you the girl who was laughing at me?” Changkyun asked, eyebrow raised with a grin.

“You sat down,” she pointed out with a laugh. “Like a scolded, trapped dog coming to terms with its fate. Was I not supposed to laugh?”

Kihyun couldn’t keep his eyes from shifting slightly to the side, enough to see the way Changkyun was smiling at this, admittedly, very pretty girl. Kihyun frowned. Changkyun shouldn’t be flirting right now. They were busy studying, for fuck’s sake. Changkyun needed to put away that damn smile and concentrate on his godawful programming.

...And Kihyun really had to watch whatever temper was flaring up right now for absolute no reason, thank you very much.

Another girl, who was obviously waiting for the blonde girl to get her shit so they could go, seemed to also disagree with the state of the situation, if the way she emphasised the nickname was of any indication. “Lisa, honey, can we go? Jisoo just texted.”

“Shit, right, sorry,” she, Lisa apparently, said, quickly stuffing all her stationary in her pencil case before chucking that in her bag and putting the earphone back in her ear. “See you in class, Stuck In Door Dude.”

“That’s Stuck in Door Changkyun, actually,” Changkyun pointed out, waving a little as she and her friend made their way out. Kihyun looked away just as Changkyun made to turn towards him, scribbling down the function he needed to integrate.

He heard a quiet sigh from beside him, but paid it little heed, getting caught in the complexities of integrating. Kihyun got about halfway with the problem, frowned, leaned back, shook his pencil a little bit (as if that was going to help at all), and finally gave in and pulled out his textbook. He was supposed to have the formulas memorised by now. He had, in fact, spent the whole morning doing exactly that. But… but it was different. Memorising and implementing were worlds apart and Kihyun couldn’t remember a single goddamn thing . He could feel the pit of stress and fear yawning in his stomach. He could feel how tense he was, the sharp line of his shoulders. He could feel it, but he couldn’t do anything about it. He just needed to keep working, keep trying. What else could he do, after all?

He was just on the tip of solving the problem, it was just barely out of his reach, he could feel it on the tip of his pencil, if he just wrote a little bit more it would all become so crystal clear --

“Well, fuck.”

The tip of Kihyun’s pencil snapped. Perfect.

Chankgyun was looking at his screen in utter incomprehension, hands gesturing wildly. “I don’t understand, I just don’t understand. I followed the steps, I really did. I implemented the writeline method correctly, I know I did. I put in the readkey so that the console window doesn’t immediately close. I followed the instructions for writing an if statement perfectly, this computer must hate me, I don’t understand,” Changkyun wailed, sounding suspiciously close to actually crying.

Kihyun relaxed his grip around his pencil. He was here to help this kid. Now was not the time to obsess about what he could and couldn’t do. Turning towards Changkyun, shifting closer to get a look at the screen, he said, “So. First rule of programming: never blame the computer. The computer doesn’t have free will. It only follows the instructions people give it. It’s not it’s fault if someone enters faulty instructions. Also, calling a computer dumb, or hateful, or any of that, is basically calling yourself those names. You’re the only one that can make the computer do anything.”

“Hyung, that’s super profound and all, but honestly, I’m like 100% certain this computer is going to physically manifest and punch me in the face.”

“Stop being dramatic,” Kihyun sighed even as he smiled softly, pushing closer to see what was going on on the kid’s screen. Damn, he should have just brought his glasses with him. It wasn’t like he could look any more nerdy than he already did, what with the calculus splayed across his screen. “Now, what the hell have you been doing here… Show me what problem you were working on?”

Changkyun shoved the textbook at him, pointing at a viciously marked up section of the book. Most of it, Kihyun saw with barely concealed amusement, was just the word ‘fuck this’ written over and over in various fonts.

“Ahem,” Kihyun cleared his throat slightly, willing the wide smile that threatened to make the corners of his lips twitch upwards to disappear. “Right, so, it looks like you were trying to change the colour of the line on the panel, right?”

Kihyun saw Changkyun’s head nodding out of the corner of his eye and continued.

“Okay, so, first of all, you didn’t declare your graphics object correctly. Remember I told you we work on different levels?" Changkyun nodded again. It was quite endearing the way he hung off every word. Kihyun shifted, feeling something flutter in his chest. "You, er, you didn’t declare this on class level. Also, you can’t just say when the combobox equals the colour red,” Kihyun leaned his chin on his propped up hand, blinking tiredly at the screen. “You have to say the text of the combobox. As in, what’s actually inside the combobox, not the object itself.”

“Whoops?” Changkyun said, biting his lip.

“It’s not that big a deal,” Kihyun mumbled distractedly, highlighting the errors. “I’m not going to fix them for you, otherwise you won’t learn, but try to remember the different levels of the coding, and also just change that so that you use the Text property of the combobox and we’ll see if it works.”

Kihyun sat back, ostensibly returning to his Calculus, and Changkyun tapped away at the keyboard, pausing a few times, before poking Kihyun’s arm and pointing excitedly at his monitor. “Kihyun, I think I did it!”

Kihyun rolled his chair forward, eyebrows lifting as he quickly scanned the code, his eyes snagging on a particular comment that literally made him purse his mouth in an effort to keep his smile at bay. There, at the bottom of the code, in comments, Changkyun had written:

 

//student only mildly hurt in the coding of this program.

//Ki-hyung to thank for lack of brain injuries

 

“You know,” Kihyun commented, biting his cheek. “And I know you know this, because I’ve told you a few times, now. My name is Kihyun .”

“You’ve mentioned it.” Changkyun smiled widely. Not grinning, per say, not… smug? Just… smiling at him.

Christ, this kid.

Kihyun shook his head slightly. “Anyway. The code looks okay. Why don’t you run it and check? You know, whenever you’re unsure, you can always place a stop-point in the program and then, while the program is running, go through the process the computer goes through step by step, to see where you went wrong.”

“Oh. I’ll do that next time.” Changkyun took a deep breath. “Okay, running it now.” Changkyun gave an exaggerated wince, leaning back like it would explode in his face or something.

The form appeared. Kihyun gestured towards the combobox, and Changkyun, obviously holding his breath, clicked on it, picked the colour red, and let out a relieved breath when the line changed colour.

“We did it!” Changkyun exclaimed, turning towards a reluctantly grinning Kihyun, who looked at him with that same smile for about two seconds, before something… shifted.

Kihyun didn’t know what it was. He didn’t know what had suddenly, inexplicably, changed so that the happy, relieved and slightly silly atmosphere that had been there just a few moments before suddenly deepened. Got more heavy. Drew Kihyun’s eyes inexorably towards Changkyun’s, holding fast like magnets. Kihyun, throat feeling suddenly extremely dry, swallowed and Changkyun’s eyes dropped, following the movement with a hooded gaze, eyes moving downwards before his eyes lazily travelled up, catching on Kihyun’s lips. Just as Kihyun felt a tsunami of heat threaten to overwhelm his face, he tore his gaze away from the sight of Changkyun staring at his lips like… Well, like something.

Kihyun stared at his screen. Changkyun cleared his throat softly beside him, but Kihyun did not fucking look over because he was studying. He had just helped a classmate with his work, that was all. That was all.

The functions swam before his eyes. He needed to focus. He needed to focus. He needed to not think about anything else he just needed to focus . He was not allowed to think of Changkyun’s eyes following the line of his throat, he was not allowed to feel the phantom heat of those eyes on his lips.

He was not allowed.

A low, loud grumble sounded from where Changkyun sat, followed very quickly by a soft, heartfelt, “oh my god, fucking really,” and the now nearly familiar sound of Changkyun’s head hitting his desk.

Kihyun looked over, previous… whatever the hell that was, now replaced with a sense of disbelief, diligently ignoring the fact that Changkyun’s face, ears and goddamn neck was a deep, telling pink. “I fucking told you to eat something. I told you.”

“I diiid,” Changkyun whined, his hands coming up to cover his face even as he rested it on the desk.

“Oh, yeah? Cos from what I’m hearing--”

Oh, my god, just let me die--

“Seriously, though, we’re going to be here for more than two hours, I fucking told you --”

“I ate an apple, okay.”

There was a moment of silence. “An apple? A fucking apple ?”

“Do you not like apples or something, cos they’re actually--”

“Oh my fuck-- Come on. We’re going to get you some food now. I can’t work like this.”

“No, no, no, I’m sorry, I’ll tell my stomach to shut up,” Changkyun defended, but Kihyun was already gathering his stuff.

“Just... come on. You owe me that tea anyway.”

 

---

 

Changkyun followed Kihyun out of the computer labs and the Math building, holding back every single urge to fling himself into the sun. Christ, what was today? Was the universe messing with him or something? First, he was late, second, he forgot the damn tea. Then Kihyun looked so damn tired and here he was, being a dumbass and probably wasting his time. And, hell, the one damn time he’d gotten the older boy to have a semblance of a smile, he had to go ruin it by being a gay disaster with absolutely no self-control.

He could feel his cheeks pinken just thinking about it. When had he gotten so close? It had probably been only a few seconds, but Changkyun wasn’t too sure it wasn’t an eternity. What really stuck in his head, though, was the look on Kihyun’s face when he’d (finally, unfortunately) looked away. He didn’t know what to make of it, and honestly he’d barely seen the frown knit itself between Kihyun’s eyebrows, but--

“Get a table, I’m buying you a sandwich.”

“You really don’t have to--”

“Table. Sandwich.” Changkyun hesitated. Kihyun rolled his eyes. “Now.”

Changkyun promptly plopped down at the nearest open table, putting his backpack on his lap and hugging it.

 

---

 

Changkyun

The lord is testing me on this day

 

Jooheon

shhh no time I'm staring at someone from afar

 

Changkyun

What

 

Jooheon

What

 

---

 

“You should put your backpack down,” Kihyun said, lifting an eyebrow at the way Changkyun was sitting, bag clutched close. “You can’t eat with that on your lap.”

‘Can’t' is a strong word.”

Kihyun gave him a look.

Changkyun weighed his options here and swallowed heavily. Bag meant protection. Bag meant shield. No bag meant none of that. No bag meant complying to Kihyun. Complying meant he might not need said shield.

He put the bag down next to him, before noting what Kihyun had brought with him and stating the obvious with something approaching disbelief. “You bought me food.”

“I literally said I was going to buy you a sandwich,” Kihyun deadpanned, sitting down and pushing the food towards the younger boy, holding a cup in his hand. “You owe me for this tea, by the way. Call it a tutor’s fee.”

“Hell, keep helping me and I’ll buy you the next five teas--” Changkyun bit at the crust of his sandwich. “You’re really saving my ass, you know,” Changkyun mumbled, mouth full.

Kihyun shrugged, looking away and sipping at his tea. “Yeah, well. I couldn’t very well let you continue mutilating C# while I knew about it. Don’t speak with food in your mouth, it’s rude. Do you really think this is going to take five more lessons?”

“You literally just described my coding the way you’d describe a crime scene,” Changkyun pointed out, after swallowing. “Just five is me being optimistic.”

Changkyun watched in utter, fascinated amazement as Kihyun let a small, grudging and very amused smile grace his lips. (Changkyun specialised in being a human disaster for a living. He knew what amusement looked like, okay?)

“How did you even make it this far in life?” Kihyun asked, still with that strange half-smile on his face that could make Changkyun do anything it wanted. Like, swallow before he spoke. “Like, I’m honestly curious.”

“Well,” Changkyun said, getting a damn grip (getting a damn grip). “I, erm, it’s, well, firstly, I’d say it’s my flawless eloquence when asked questions.”

“Well, yes, of course. Obviously,” Kihyun snickered, lowering his head and looking up at Changkyun through the strands of hair falling into his face, rolling his cup of tea between his hands.

God mother fucking damn shit seriously who’s fucking idea had this even --

“So, I mean, that’s a plus,” Changkyun said, examining his sandwich intently. What a sandwich. So little butter. “I get nice people to help me? I don’t know, Hyungwon says I get away with murder because I look so apologetic about it.”

Kihyun tilted his head and pursed his lips, before nodding. “I mean, it’s still annoying as fuck, but I can definitely see that. You do look a bit like a puppy, so.” As soon as the words left Kihyun’s mouth, his eyes went wide, he clenched his jaw and he looked away, staring at his tea.

“A kicked one,” Changkyun said, still making eyes at his sandwich. “Raw skill, though? Mm, let’s see,” Changkyun said, leaning back in his chair. “I can…” He frowned. “Gimme a sec.” He frowned harder. “...Rap? Clap my hands behind my back and walk like a penguin?”

“You had to dig deep for those, huh?”

“We’re talking Marianas Trench, and even then, I’m not sure rapping in the shower counts,” Changkyun chuckled, running a hand through his hair. “I’m assuming you’re just good at everything, yeah?”

Kihyun scoffed, finally looking up at Changkyun again. “Of course.”

Changkyun couldn’t help the grin that overwhelmed him at that point. Such a cocky boy. So pretty too. And so smar--

Nope, derailing that train of thought at the damn station, nope.

“You’re a photographer, right?”

Good one .

Kihyun frowned. “How did you know that? Did Hyungwon tell you?" He leaned forward with narrowed eyes. "...Are you talking about me?”

“No, I was talking to the table,” Changkyun grinned, before feeling a bit self-conscious and nibbling away at the sandwich. “Er, yeah, Hyungwon mentioned that he models for you. My sincerest condolences, by the way.”

Kihyun shrugged. “He’s an ass, but he’s got good angles. Also, if you ever tell him that, I will murder you in your sleep.”

Changkyun laughed. “Good angles?”

“Mmhmm,” Kihyun hummed, throwing his head backwards as he drained the last drops of his tea. Changkyun had to fight to lift his eyes from Kihyun’s throat.

“You’re made of good angles,” Changkyun mumbled.

“What?” Kihyun lowered his cup, licking his lips.

Changkyun looked at him for a second with his mouth open before blinking. “Nothing,” Changkyun squeaked. Changkyun reached for his bag, quickly slung it onto his back, stood up, and honest to god fucking bowed. “Thank you for feeding me, hyung.”

Kihyun raised an eyebrow at the kid. “Yeah. Well. Eat next time. And we’re not done, by the way. We need to do at least five more exercises.”

Changkyun hid his face behind his hands. He had just fucking bowed to Kihyun in a coffee shop and he didn’t even have the saving grace of being able to leg it out of the situation as quick as possible.

“Right, five more. Let’s go,” Changkyun said weakly, following Kihyun’s quick strides back to the computer lab, shoulders slumped.

 

---

 

Minhyuk

Doth mine eyes deceive me or DID THEY GO ON A DATE

MY FRAGILE HEART

 

Jooheon

Wait, what?

Who?

I’m confused

 

Minhyuk

I JUST SAW CHANGKI ON A DATE

 

Jooheon

The hell is a Changki

Hyung I’m in class

 

Minhyuk

MEANINGLESS

Changki has relocated

CHANGKI RISE

I lost them

 

Jooheon

Please stop following them around

Because I assume Changki is your

Oh god I almost said ship name

 

Minhyuk

...

I was not

I’m not following them

What are you talking about

 

---

 

Jooheon

Hey Shownu-hyung where you at?

 

Shownu

Outside the computer labs with Minhyuk, why?

 

---

 

Jooheon

[screenshot attached]

B i t ch

 

Minhyuk

…goddamnit

I told him to stop being so honest to other people

Isn’t he just so precious tho

I wanna smooch his cheeks

 

Jooheon

why do people keep telling me these things thinking it's okay

 

---

 

Jooheon

Did you go on a date???

 

Changkyun

WHAT NO HE JUST BOUGHT ME LUNCH

My stomach may have started talking in various whale tongues

 

Jooheon

Do you ever think before you speak or

That sounds like a date

But anyway if you see Minhyuk hiding behind a bush or something just wave

 

Changkyun

Why would I

Anyway did you know that curly bois ha

 

Jooheon

The hell is a curly boi

??

Bro???

You there?

 

Changkyun

I’m not allowed to be on my phone kihyun said so

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

 

Jooheon

Oh dear god

 

---

 

Jooheon

Are you done with the tutoring yet?

I have something to tell you

BRO

 

Changkyun

My highly sexually frustrated virginal ass is ready to listen, my friend

 

Jooheon

I... met a boy

Who raps and isn't you

he's short and funny and sassed Hyungwon

I want to smooch HE'S SO GOOD

 

Changkyun

I’m assuming you mean good at rapping

or does this story come with a happy ending

 

Jooheon

I wish

Man can't dance for shit but HIS RAPPING

DICKS OUT FOR DAT RAP 

Like, I was working on my raps?

And we were assigned to work in groups??

And then this guy came up to me saying we should work together???

And he wanted to go discuss it today after class????

And I saw him rapping?????

(May have been looking through doors a bit ngl)

seriously did I mention the rapping

 

Changkyun

Quick interruption to mention

One: HOLY SHIT DUDE THAT’S AWESOME

Two: we’re all incredibly gay aren’t we this is the gayest fucking college

 

Jooheon

I take offence to that

I’m bi af

 

Changkyun

I apologise

THIS IS THE QUEEREST COLLEGE

Continue your story I’m fucking RAPT

(lol geddit RAPt I'm so fucking funny)

 

Jooheon

That’s it

I’m done. Got his number

Working on the raps tomorrow

 

Changkyun

YOI GOT HIS NUCMEBR NOIIIIIIIIIICE

 

Jooheon

Learn to spell you’re an English major

 

Changkyun

KISS MY ASS IM EXCVITED 4 U BROE

 

Jooheon

I’m gonna

Stop enabling you now

Talk later

 

Changkyun

Im fucking gidDY

 

---

 

Changkyun

Remember how I said that you can throw a rock and hit a not-straight in this university

 

Jooheon

Something like that

 

Changkyun

Jackson Wang is on the roof

Singing a song called ‘For You, Markiepoo’

I’m guessing that’s the name

Though he has said that like seven times

 

Jooheon

This is an incredibly queer fucking place

For a country in which same-sex marriage is not legal

 

Changkyun

We’re making up for centuries of repressed homoerotica

LMFAO HE ALMOST FELL OFF THE ROOF MARK IS YELLING

BAMBAM LEGIT YELLED DO A FLIP

BRB THIS SHIT IS GOLD

 

---

 

Jooheon

When your bro texts you about his boner

 

Hyungwon

Why would you send this to me

 

Jooheon

Idk man I need a hug

 

Hyungwon

Who even took that picture

 

Jooheon

Irrelevant

 

---

 

“Hey, so, are we dating?” Wonho asked, not looking at Hyungwon, which was fortunate, since Hyungwon was fairly sure he was dying from choking on his water.

“I --” Hyungwon broke off, coughing so hard his eyes teared up and the water he just inhaled came bursting out through his nose. He stared in dismay at the mess he was making while Wonho hit his back, asking in an increasingly concerned voice if he was okay. That’s… very attractive, Hyungwon. Nice.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you choke.” The choking increased. “God, sorry!”

“S’fine,” Hyungwon wheezed, feeling the sweet relief of air entering his lungs at last. “I was just dying for a bit. No biggie.”

“Don’t die, it’s bad for your health.”

Hyungwon just looked at Wonho, who smirked at him, before it gentled into a slightly unsure smile.

Wonho fidgeted. “So, um. You didn’t answer me? Are we dating? I mean, it’s fine if you’re not comfortable with it yet, not that I’m assuming or anything, we were just getting along so well that I--”

“No, no, it’s just…” Hyungwon trailed off. “You wanna date me? I mean, are you sure ? I mean, I’m not exactly...”

Wonho, who had made a habit out of doing absolutely nothing Hyungwon ever expected, smiled softly at him and turned his chin so they were facing each other. “Seriously?”

“Hey, don’t trivialise--” Hyungwon started, feeling how hot his face was and knowing Wonho would notice and feeling about ten years old again, standing in front of his first crush and wondering why the boy was laughing and running away from him.

“I’m not trivializing what you say, or feel, for that matter,” Wonho spoke softly. “I just thought it was excruciatingly obvious how much I like you, Hyungwon.”

“I thought,” Hyungwon started, looking into Wonho’s eyes, then away again, “I just, I have trouble reading people sometimes. Especially when it concerns me. I thought, but I’ve thought wrong before. So.”

Wonho didn’t frown, didn’t pull away or pull that face that people always insisted wasn’t pity even if you mentioned it. He tilted his head, moving his hand to cup Hyungwon’s cheek. “You overthink stuff, right?”

“Yeah, no shit--”

“I’ll speak plainly, then,” Wonho chuckled, the sound reverberating somewhere in his chest. “I like you. A lot.  Do you believe me?”

Hyungwon finally lifted his eyes, flushing when he looked into Wonho’s sincere eyes, but didn’t drop his eyes as he leaned forward to press a soft, chaste kiss against Wonho’s lips. “Yes,” Hyungwon breathed, forehead resting against Wonho’s.

“Yes you like me or yes you’ll date me?”

Both, god…”

 

---

 

Minhyuk added Jooheon, Changkyun, Hyungwon and Shownu to Bros & Hoes

 

Hyungwon

What fresh hell is this

 

Minhyuk

IT’S A PARTYYYYYY

 

Changkyun

[celebratory toot]

Seriously though what party

 

Minhyuk

I will explain in a sec

Hyungwon add Wonho

Changkyun add Kihyun

We need all boyfriends

 

Changkyun

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

What no what are you

I’m not adding him to this chat

I choose life

 

Hyungwon

Ugh

Fine I'll add Wonho

He’s probably gonna have to meet you shitheads sometime

 

Shownu

That was…

 

Changkyun

...easy

 

Jooheon

HI

What did I miss

Holy fuck Hyungwon isn’t arguing?

 

Hyungwon

Fucking listen

There’s no goddamn reason to fight against this shit

This is basically self-protection

Now for the love of god have some control

 

Hyungwon added Wonho to Bros & Hoes

 

Jooheon

Hi I’m a bro

 

Minhyuk

And I’m a hoe

 

Changkyun

I’m both

 

Minhyuk

WELCOME

 

Wonho

Oh!

Hi! o(≧∇≦o)

I’ve heard about you guys!

Hi, Changkyun

 

Changkyun

God aren’t you just so precious

I wanna wrap you in a sweater

HI WONHO~~~

 

Hyungwon

CHANGKYUN

 

Shownu

Hi, I’m Shownu, Minhyuk’s boyfriend

 

Minhyuk

୧༼✿ ͡◕ д ◕͡ ༽୨

 

Wonho

Hi, I’m Wonho, Hyungwon’s

Very nice for adding me to the chat (/^▽^)/

 

Hyungwon

What fresh hell is that emoji Minhyuk

 

Minhyuk

Proud yet cute

Ah yes

The niceness of Hyungwon

Legendary

 

Jooheon

Changkyun, remember that time Hyungwon was just so

Goddamn nice

 

Changkyun

IDK Jooheon you’re gonna have to be more specific

He’s just

So goddamn nice all the time

It’s hard for me to keep track

I have tears in my eyes just thinking about all that niceness

 

Hyungwon

Thanks guys

Especially you Changkyun

I’m so nice how about I just do you this favour :)

 

Hyungwon added Kihyun to Bros & Hoes

 

Minhyuk

Oh wow

Oh WOW

HI KIHYUNNIE

 

Kihyun

...Hi?

What is this?

 

Changkyun

Unfair

Unfair is what it is

 

Wonho

HYUNNIE

 

Kihyun

HOSEOK NO

 

Hyungwon

Oh, come on Hyunnie

 

Changkyun

what the

 

Minhyuk

I’m pretty sure we’re all here because I have something to say

So I’m gonna go ahead  !(•̀ᴗ•́)و ̑̑

 

Kihyun

I don’t know why I’m here

(I have all those photos Hyungwon just remember)

 

Minhyuk

You’re Wonho and Hyungwon’s friend, of course you’re here!

And inviiiiiiiiiteeeeed ٩( ᐛ )و

 

---

 

Changkyun

I'm totally fine not being mentioned it's c o o l

 

Jooheon

You're not his friend, you're putty in his hands

 

Changkyun

fair

 

---

 

Bros & Hoes

 

Shownu

Minhyuk’s parents need house-sitters for the weekend and we were thinking of holding a get-together

 

Jooheon

Mmm meeting people, that must be nice

 

Changkyun

Mmm dat sodium chloride

 

Minhyuk

Nobody is allowed to say no!

 

Wonho

Why would I say no, count me in~

 

Hyungwon

Ugh do we have to

 

Changkyun

What is we

 

Wonho

They’re your friends, Won, it’ll be fun

 

Jooheon

What am I witnessing with my eyes

 

Minhyuk

There’s more than enough room for everyone

Pleeease ɾ⚈▿⚈ɹ

 

Changkyun

I’m with Jooheon on this

Won? Are you sure you want to come?

Won?

 

---

 

Wonho

I’m so sorry!!

 

Hyungwon

It’s okay just

Gimme a minute

 

---

Bros & Hoes

 

Wonho

Yeah, I just call him that lol Hyungwon is a mouthful

 

---

 

Hyungwon

That does not help, Wonho

 

---

Bros & Hoes

 

Changkyun

I’m so fucking quiet right now I want that to be known

I have SELF-CONTROL

 

Kihyun

Yeah sure you do

 

Minhyuk

oh man you are DEFINITELY invited, Kihyun

 

Jooheon

Kihyun you don’t know this yet

But you’re not allowed to say no to Minhyuk

You’re just not

 

Kihyun

I

Ugh

When is it?

I need to check my schedule

And I’m only going because I know Wonho

 

Jooheon

ouch

 

---

 

Changkyun

I’m fine

 

Jooheon

Mmmhmm

Wait I have an idea you in the dorm yeah? omw brush ur hair

 

---

Bros & Hoes

 

Minhyuk

It’s next weekend~~~

IT’S BY A LAKE! And there’s a karaoke machine!

We’ll bbq and everything

Please please please please please

 

Jooheon

We’ll definitely be there!

 

Wonho

We’ll be there

I mean, I’ll be there

Hyungwon?

 

Hyungwon

I’ll be there.

Someone needs to be the grownup

 

Minhyuk

See you there~~~!

Kihyun??? How’s the schedule looking??? ⌒°(❛ᴗ❛)°⌒

 

Changkyun

lmao is Shownu sleeping

 

Kihyun

I should be able to shift things around to make it

 

Changkyun

Awesome!

 

---

 

Jooheon

Be cool, bro

 

Changkyun

 

---

Bros & Hoes

 

 

Changkyun

Can’t wait to hang with my friends~

 

---

 

Hyungwon

Dude

 

Changkyun

LET ME LIVE, WON

 

---

Bros & Hoes

 

Minhyuk

Oh my goodness Kihyun

I just realized I don’t know what you look like!

 

---

 

Jooheon

Lies u literally have class with him and followed them around like a creepazoid

 

Minhyuk

Shhh I’m doing this for Kyunnie

I even asked Hyungwon to play along

 

---

 

Minhyuk

send a selfie on the group

 

Hyungwon

fucking why

 

Minhyuk

cos Changkyun

#pain

 

Hyungwon

hah yeah ok

 

---

Bros & Hoes

 

Kihyun

...does it matter???

 

Hyungwon

Oh come now Kihyun

Look we’ve all sent selcas it’s your turn

 

Minhyuk

Pleeeeeeeeeeeease ㅠㅠ

 

Jooheon

The rules do state that saying no to Minhyuk isn’t allowed

 

Wonho

I have pictures of Kihyunnie!

Wait lemme check

 

Kihyun

Don’t you dare

 

Wonho

I’ll do it

 

Kihyun

Hoe don’t do it

 

Wonho

...

 

Kihyun

For fuck’s sake

 

---

 

Changkyun

Oh my god

he's so beautiful how H O W

Jooheon

Bro you need to stop screaming into your pillow

it’s not good for your throat

 

Changkyun

Fuck my throat

 

Jooheon

Screenshot acquired

 

Changkyun

 .

O

H MY GOD NO JOOHEON I DID'NT MEANI T LIKE THAT

---

 

Hyungwon

you nasty

 

Changkyun

THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT O MFG

 

 

Chapter Text

Kihyun fiddled with the strap of his camera, barely able to restrain his leg from jiggling about. He was supposed to be in the library, waiting for Wonho who was on his way from his last class. It was a routine they had. It helped them both to concentrate, having someone else there with them struggling just as hard. But, instead of being in the library, he was in the smallish courtyard filled with plants between the West Block building and the Chemistry building.

He wasn’t supposed to be there. He really wasn’t. He usually only ever sat there on Wednesdays between his eight am and ten am class. And it was neither a Wednesday, nor between eight and ten.

It was, in fact, Monday afternoon. At two.

The precise time, Kihyun had discovered exactly three weeks ago, Changkyun walks on the path leading from the administrative building to the bridge, which, coincidentally, was right next to that little courtyard. And, somehow, the little shit always, always, always managed to look just… fucking heart-stoppingly good and Kihyun had no idea how he managed it because the rest of the time he looked exactly like a college kid on his last pair of clean underwear.

And, after a week of denying to himself that he just happened to be around the courtyard at two every afternoon coincidentally, he’d finally caved and just brought his camera with him. Because, it was for the angles.

The angles.

The first thing he noticed this time around was that Changkyun was laughing. He was unsuccessfully trying to tell a story, from what Kihyun could tell, at least, and the boy walking with Changkyun was having trouble keeping his laugh in. Kihyun vaguely remembered a selfie shared on whatever hell chat group he’d been added to, and the boy with red hair who’d been in it with Changkyun and had walked with Changkyun to class a few times now.

It was an almost helpless movement when Kihyun lifted his camera, focusing on the two before taking the first picture. He thought he saw saw Changkyun stiffen for a second, but just as he was about to lower the camera and run like the fucking wind, Changkyun grabbed the red-haired boy’s arm, laughing, seemingly oblivious, allowing Kihyun to snap one more picture before they disappeared around the corner.

Kihyun lowered his camera onto his lap. He flipped through the two pictures he had taken for a few minutes. He lowered his head into his hands.

“Well, fuck,” he mumbled.

 

---

 

Jooheon

BOI

DID YOU SEE

THAT CAMERA

 

Changkyun

Boi I sure did

And it sure did look like an expensive camera

 

Jooheon

Try telling me he doesn’t like you now

You little shit

He was literally sneaking photos of you

What the hell

 

Changkyun

Idk man I like that courtyard

That is a nice courtyard

If I could take pictures I would definitely be taking pictures of that courtyard

 

Jooheon

What…

What the hell am I supposed to do with you

 

Changkyun

Not laugh at me when I fall off a chair in the middle of a lecture hall

Although you know actually I laughed just typing that, you’re good

T h i s   t i m e

Dude he’s a photographer I’m sure he takes pictures of literally everything

 

Jooheon

Uh-huh

And the fact that he’s been there for the last two weeks

Means nothing at all

Also, can you stop dragging me along now

I’ve been late to dance class twice already

which sucks since I also have a

almost said crush 

 

Changkyun

I really wish you'd just tell me his freaking name already

LMAO NO WAY DUDE

I’D SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST

He’s taken a picture of you too you know

Since you’re always there

We really don’t know it’s me at all

If he actually is taking pictures of me which he’s not

 

Jooheon

Changkyun

I'd let you

Hey bro

 

Jooheon

Yeah bro

 

Changkyun

I really like this guy

And I’m scared shitless

 

Jooheon

I know Kyunnie

I can’t promise you it’s all going to be fine

Cause honestly idk what the fuck’s going to happen

But

You know I’ll always be here for you bro

Right?

 

Changkyun

Yeah I know

Especially this weekend right? Cos I can’t promise I’m going to be okay like

I am out of my mind rn

 

Jooheon

WELL

It seems like no one wanted to invite MY sunshine

(tbf I never mentioned him)

I’ll be there

Pushing you out of your comfort zone like always

 

Changkyun

:) fun

Lol I’m going to make a fool of myself at least ten times aren’t I

 

Jooheon

Your name is Lim Changkyun

So yes

But, no worries

Minhyuk will be there

Also Hyungwon with Wonho

You are not alone young padawan

 

Changkyun

And knowing Minhyuk he’ll be on top of poor Hyungwon and Wonho lmao

Watch me divert attention like a pro

 

Jooheon

Tbf I am horrifically interested in whatever the fuck is going on there

 

Changkyun

OPERATION HYUNGWONHO

 

Jooheon

INITIATED

 

---

 

Where the fuck had the week gone?

Tuesday, Changkyun was sure, had just been, like, five minutes ago. It was just... tests kept popping up, like weeds, especially programming. Essays, too! And homework. And every time, every single time Changkyun thought he had, like, five minutes to himself, something else grabbed him by the throat and throttled him with panic until it was done. Rinse and repeat.

At least the incessant amount of programming meant more time with Kihyun.

...Cue incessant cringing because of that thought. God, he was like a fucking teenager.

But fuck it, he liked it. The tutoring session with Kihyun had been like a breath of fresh air, with Kihyun being all bossy and pretty and helpful and nearly hitting Changkyun’s arm off when he’d made one too many self-deprecating jokes. (Though Changkyun professed himself firmly of the opinion that ‘too many self-deprecating jokes’ was a myth.)

Changkyun broke out into a wide smile when he entered the chips aisle and, in one fell swoop, deposited six bags of potato chips into his shopping cart.

This was fine. He was fine. Fucking fine. It was Thursday and he was perfectly, fucking fine, okay. He had bought a nice new sweater and socks that actually matched. He was going to be put together. He was going to go to this party, and he was going to be funny, and chill, and holy shit was that Wonho and Hyungwon being cutesy and holding hands and giggling in the vegetable aisle?

Changkyun abandoned his trolley in the middle of the aisle and hid behind a watermelon.

It didn’t exactly work as well as it should have.

(Who would have thought a bright green watermelon didn’t work well at hiding a fully-grown boy in a bright yellow shirt. Also, the trolley was a problem, especially with Changkyun refusing to let go of it completely with one hand stretching out to keep a pinkie finger on it).

“Oh, heeyyy, ” Changkyun said, awkwardly cradling the watermelon and smiling brightly at a murderous looking Hyungwon. Murderous, embarrassed, he honestly couldn’t tell you.

Wonho carefully slid his hand out of Hyungwon’s. Changkyun wondered how Hyungwon was going to explain away that clearly purely platonic hand holding.

“Don’t mind me, just…” Changkyun wanted to gesture, but had to put down his watermelon first. It ended up crushing four of the chip bags and Changkyun winced, even as he did nothing to stop it. “Shopping.”

Changkyun waited for the acidic remark. The witty, sharp thing that Hyungwon would inevitably say.

“Um. Hey, Changkyun.”

Changkyun started, and looked up. What he saw made a tiny, humane part of himself who actually cared about this soft-hearted asshole, stand on its hind legs and start screaming. Hyungwon was… slouched in on himself, arms crossed, rubbing his elbows, resolutely avoiding Changkyun’s eyes.

“We were just. Getting stuff. For tomorrow,” Wonho giggled, a bit hysterically, hand behind his neck and a bright red flush on his face.

Don’t make a condom joke, don’t make a condom joke, do not--

“Well, isn’t that just such a coincidence, so was I!”

“Do you… have a craving for watermelon?”

No. 

“Yep. I just… love my watermelons. They’re, healthy. I think?”

“Oh, very! I mean, there’s a lot of natural sugars in them, but it’s all good for you,” Wonho enthused. “They’re basically just made of water. You’ll go to the bathroom a lot.”

“...Yes, thank you, Wonho.”

Changkyun stood there for a moment longer, staring at Hyungwon, before plastering a grin on his face and saying, “I’ll just, take my watermelon then. And, um, these six bags of chips…” Wonho frowned. “Which I was definitely not going to eat all by myself ahahaha I’ll just go now.”

Changkyun grabbed his trolley, drove into a stand, reversed a bit, tried again, and hurried to the checkout line. It was only once he was taking them out that he realised all six of the bags had been crushed.

How crummy.

 

---

 

Changkyun

:)

 

Hyungwon

Thanks

For not

You know

Whatever

 

Changkyun

I’m just happy for you dude

Like all memes and shit on a stick

You two are cute as hell

You know nobody would like

Have a problem with it

It’s not like Minhyuk and Shownu are subtle

 

Hyungwon

I know that

But

You know I have things

About privacy

 

Changkyun

Yeah six brave packs of chips died for your privacy

 

Hyungwon

Did you eat them to make them feel better

 

Changkyun

They’re in a better place now

With a massive watermelon

Which reminds me I need to go buy snacks for tomorrow night

Wonho was right I have gone to pee exactly five (5) times now

You realize Minhyuk would be 657890 times chiller if he knew you two were dating, right

Which I’m assuming you are cos I have eyes

 

Hyungwon

Oh yeah no I just hold hands with random dudes

Like, don’t you remember that time I just fucking

Held hands with you

Damn

 

Changkyun

I think about it daily yes

 

Hyungwon

Your hands were really sweaty

 

Changkyun

Maybe one day I’ll hold hands in a supermarket

with someone who doesn’t judge my bodily functions

 

Hyungwon

Kihyun would judge your bodily functions like SO HARD DUDE

 

Changkyun

 

---

 

Kihyun

Hey, I know it’s like

1 am

But are you awake?

 

Changkyun

Nearly always

You’re not usually awake though...

You okay?

 

Kihyun

You know, you shouldn’t be awake this much

It’s not healthy

 

Changkyun

Kihyun

you’re doing that thing where other peoples’ problems take precedent in an attempt to avoid your own

stahp

 

Kihyun

Stop spelling like a two year old

You’re a language major

 

Changkyun

Are you telling me to… stahp?

Also I just used the word ‘precedent’ at 1 am let me live

(you’re doing it again. Kind of.)

 

Kihyun

Whatever

Okay

Good god if you make this into a fucking joke I will

...

Stop the tutoring sessions

I’m only doing this because I’m pretty sure Wonho will actually kill me

If I wake him up

 

Changkyun

I wouldn’t joke about something serious ok

Not… really. Not if it’s serious serious. You know what I mean

I MEAN it’s fine, you can talk to me

 

Kihyun

What the fuck am I doing talking to the little shit in programming...

Okay

So about tomorrow

I was invited

Sort of

I mean, am I actually supposed to come?

Was it a joke?

 

Changkyun

We invited you because I

we legit want you there

Why would you think it was a joke? That wouldn’t be funny

We’re idiots, not dick lords

Well I guess as titles go

Anyway no it wasn’t a joke

 

Kihyun

It would be funny to some people

And I don’t

I don’t

Fuck

I don’t know anybody there

I don’t know if you’ve noticed

But I’m not super great at talking to people

 

Changkyun

Don’t know what you mean~

Sorry I cope with humour but

You know me?

And Hyungwon and Wonho are going to be there

Minhyuk is Minhyuk

Shownu’s an awkward dad but he’s incredibly kind

Seriously though we want you there

We’re not expecting idk whatever you think we are, from you

 

Kihyun

Right

Now I feel stupid

Ignore this

Pretend it never happened

 

Changkyun

Pretend what never happened?

 

Kihyun

Oh, and please tell me there’s a first aid kit there somewhere

 

Changkyun

I NEARLY ELECTROCUTE MYSELF ONCE

FUCKING ONCE

 

Kihyun

Okay, yeah

I’m bringing a first-aid kit

Ugh

Thanks Changkyun

See you

Well, later today I guess

DON’T EVER BRING THIS UP

 

Changkyun

Kihyun can I

Nvm

No problem :) Literally any time

And idk what you’re even talking about it’s 1 am unicorns are real, up is down

Sleep tight

 

---

 

Minhyuk fluttered around the house, double, triple, quadruple-checking that everything was ready and in place.

Line up of horror movies sure to make Jooheon pee his pants and provide all couples cuddling opportunities? Check.

Meat in sink being defrosted? Check.

Clean sheets in the cupboards for when everyone inevitably passes out and Minhyuk has to cover them with blankets? Check.

Cupboard stuffed full to bursting with junk food? Check.

A quick kiss to Shownu stringing up the fairy lights outside? Check.

Drinks in the fridge and a meager showing of fruit? Check.

Karaoke machine up and running? Check.

Pink neon ‘fuck’ up on the wall? Check.

Minhyuk stood in the living room, surveyed his handiwork, and nodded, satisfied with himself.

“Minhyuk,” Shownu called from outside, and Minhyuk glanced out the window to see Shownu frowning at the set of lights in his hands which looked suspiciously like the ones Minhyuk had bought them once for…

“Oh!” Minhyuk giggled, hurrying outside to relieve Shownu of the peculiarly shaped lights. One would almost say, suggestive lights. “We don’t want those. Well, not out here anyway.”

Shownu merely lifted an eyebrow, an amused grin plucking at the corners of his mouth. Minhyuk smiled back and was just about to suggest where they could hang the lights instead when his phone lit up, announcing the first arrivals.

 

---

 

Kihyun was parked outside the address Minhyuk had sent on the group. Of course, he wasn’t directly in front of the house. That would make sitting in the car five minutes after he had arrived even more awkward. The soft, gentle sound of VAV’s Flower helped calm him down a bit, enough that he almost thought he would be able to get out of the car after that song.

It wasn’t that he was nervous about meeting everyone. Exactly. He already knew Hyungwon, and from what Kihyun had gathered he was considered the height of ‘niceness’ in their group, so he was pretty sure he would able to handle the rest. And Wonho would be there, of course, and long gone were the days that Kihyun was intimidated by that big softie at all .   

Which just made the way he had spent an hour deciding between shirts that more ridiculous. It wasn’t like he was trying to impress anyone there. Right. He could do this.

Kihyun took a deep breath, lifting his overnight bag with one hand and the cooler full of food in the other. (He told his mother not to… but she tended to get a bit excited about Kihyun hanging out with friends. That weren’t Wonho.)

He was a few steps from the path leading up the front door when he noticed Changkyun sitting on the porch, staring into nothingness before absent-mindedly glancing at his phone. Hoisting the cooler further up his shoulder, (really regretting that extra meat) he cocked his head at the boy and called out, “Hey, aren’t you going to help your hyung?”

Changkyun jumped. Literally. He scrambled a bit before standing up, regarding the other boy with large eyes. “When did you get here?!”

Kihyun lifted an eyebrow. “Does that matter? I’m still dying here.”

Sorry, sorry, sorry ,” Changkyun apologised, quickly rushing over to take the cooler from Kihyun. “It doesn’t matter, I just--er, the rest are inside, I just wanted to make sure you found the place okay.”

Kihyun watched in amusement as the younger’s whole body seemed to sag with weight of the cooler. “Careful, it’s heavy,” he quipped, full-out grinning now. This night was going to be fine. It was going to be fine .

“It’s fine, not heavy at all,” Changkyun said with a strained sounding voice, heaving it up higher, pushing his chin out, before nearly falling over and face first on the pavement. “How the hell did you not--fucking hell, did you bring your entire fridge?”

Kihyun shrugged, yanking the cooler bag away from Changkyun and pushing his overnight bag into Changkyun’s arms instead. Changkyun pouted, leading the way to the front door. “Not exactly. I have ice packs. For the inevitable injuries.”

“Yer a hazard, Harry,” Changkyun mumbled to himself. Kihyun elected to ignore it.

Kihyun came to a stop just in front of the door, even as Changkyun was already opening the door and leading the way in. Kihyun wasn’t panicking. He wasn’t. Any moment now he’ll unlock his legs and follow Changkyun and meet all his friends and be happy about it and have fun and stop stressing about what everyone thought and said and--

“Hyung?” Changkyun asked, paused in the doorway with an odd look on his face, and Kihyun bristled, ready to be offended at being pitied but that… wasn’t quite it.

“I’m--” What was that word again? “Fine. I’m fine.”

Changkyun looked into the house and bit down on his lip with a soft frown, eyes quickly glancing up at Kihyun before skittering away to land on the tiled floor. “Hey, you know that conversation we didn’t have this morning? I meant what I… didn’t say.”

Kihyun was blushing. He could feel it. He could feel it, and it wasn’t making things any better. He should never have talked to Changkyun in the first place. He should have just shut his brain up by playing music like he usually did and gone to sleep. Honestly what was he even thinking . What must Changkyun think of him ? Kihyun’s fingers tightened painfully on the strap of the cooler bag. He begged his legs to start moving.

Changkyun fiddled with the strap of Kihyun’s bag. He opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again. He widened his eyes at the carpet, as if begging it for help.

Kihyun decided to take pity on the poor kid. It wasn’t his fault Kihyun sometimes freaked out over stupid things.

“It’s fine. It’s fine. I’m just being stupid. Ignore me.”

“No,” Changkyun said, before looking a bit surprised at himself for saying it. “I mean, sorry, I didn’t mean, I just--I want you here, okay? It’s stupid that the only times I ever see you is with at least two computers involved. I want you here, and I want you to know that, that’s…” Changkyun ran a hand through his hair. “You’re not imposing or anything, you’re wanted...here. Yep. Here. Want you here. That’s a thing.”

Kihyun felt a… a feeling go through him. He didn’t know exactly what it was, but it made him feel vulnerable. Too vulnerable. Like he was showing too much all at once. He blinked at Changkyun, before nodding, a bit uncomfortably, and looking away.

Changkyun nodded a bit, looking a bit sheepish before walking into the house, Kihyun trailing after him.

 

---

 

Hyungwon was glaring at Minhyuk. Minhyuk was beaming at Hyungwon. Wonho was laughing outside, helping Shownu with the barbeque.

Hyungwon pinched the bridge of his nose. “Was it really, and I mean, really necessary to greet us at the door with those lights hanging off of your arms? I mean, honestly. Dicks , Minhyuk. Dicks.

“I got excited and forgot about it, okay,” Minhyuk defended, bouncy and smiling. “Besides, Changkyun and Jooheon thought it was hilarious.”

“I once saw Changkyun laugh for twenty minutes straight at a shitpost,” Hyungwon deadpanned. “About crabs and a pile or something. Not exactly the most discerning of comedic tastes there.

“Oh, shush,” Minhyuk giggled, filling bowls with popcorn. Well, the bag said it was popcorn, but Hyungwon was about 90% sure it was more preservatives than actual popcorn. “Anyway, I put it away before Kihyun showed up. And you’re just huffy that Wonho thought it was funny and didn’t pay attention to you while he was asking me where I got them.”

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about, yet I resent it.” Hyungwon sighed, stealing a hand of popcorn as Minhyuk swatted at him. “Do I want to know why you have tiny dick shaped fairy-lights?”

“I’m gay. Isn’t that explanation enough?”

“No,” Hyungwon frowned. Hard. “ No . It’s really not.

“Is that a pink luminescent ‘fuck’?”

“Oh, Kihyun, thank god you’re here,” Hyungwon said, not answering Kihyun’s question before standing up (grabbing one of the popcorn bowls as he did) and gesturing between Minhyuk and Kihyun. “Kihyun, this is Minhyuk. Minhyuk, that’s Kihyun. Now leave me alone.”

“Hyungwon, you can’t just do that,” came Changkyun’s voice from behind Hyungwon, but Hyungwon just shrugged and walked off, intent on finding Wonho.

Hyungwon found Wonho. Standing in front of the grill. Very noticeably not wearing a shirt.

Hyungwon swallowed. Hard.

He sat down, right there on the grass, and ate his popcorn.

 

---

 

Changkyun watched as Kihyun looked at Minhyuk, before his nose scrunched up a bit and he put his cooler down, Changkyun immediately scrambling to take it to the kitchen. Jooheon spotted Changkyun from the living room and walked over to help, the younger regarding him with wide eyes.

(“He’s so nervous,” Changkyun told his best friend in a panicked whisper, bent over by the fridge. “And I feel like everything I’m saying is stupid, even telling you is stupid, I--”

“Hey, calm down, what did you tell him?”

“That I want him here.”

“That’s good, dude, come on, you know that when you get all insecure and anxious I have to reassure you, like, fucking constantly? Just do that.”

“I mean, I thought so, but I wasn’t sure--”

“It’s fine, but don’t leave him alone with Minhyuk right after he arrives, okay?”

“Oh, Christ,” Changkyun squeaked before quickly making his way over to Kihyun’s side.)

“You know, I just realised you knew exactly what I looked like,” Kihyun said, crossing his arms and squinting. “We have class together, I’ve seen you everyday since University started, why the hell would you ask for a picture?”

Minhyuk blinked, a strained giggle bubbling out of his throat. “Er. Was that Shownu calling me just now? Yeah, he definitely just called for me--Oh, Changkyun, mind showing Kihyun where he’ll be sleeping tonight?”

Changkyun gave Minhyuk a look .

Why, Minhyuk, why, you know full fucking well--

“I--you--christ, fine. It’s this way.” Changkyun did a little… dipping gesture in the direction they needed to walk, like, god , Changkyun was one hundred percent trying not to be awkward and stupid yet here he was . He was really, really trying, but this was admittedly the first time Kihyun didn’t… well, didn’t have a reason to talk to him. Coding was a central weight to orbit conversation around or whatever, but here… he was just drifting aimlessly and getting hit by asteroids and bad internal metaphors.

Kihyun just scoffed at him and started walking, Changkyun trailing behind before hovering in the entrance of one of the guest rooms, stopping Kihyun with a quick, light touch to the older boy’s elbow.

“We, me especially, will probably just pass out in the living room after the upteenth movie, but there’s a bed here if you want it.”

“Thanks.” Kihyun shifted from one foot to the other, Changkyun letting his hand fall.

It was quiet for a moment before Changkyun stepped forward to put Kihyun’s bag on the bed, wincing at himself for being so damn awk--

“You know,” Changkyun’s head whipped up, eager to hear Kihyun say absolutely anything to break this absolutely painful silence, “you could have just left my bag in the kitchen or whatever. But thanks. Also, don’t think just because you’ve…” Kihyun trailed off. “Well, just because we’ve, um, not talked, I’m going to be any nicer to you. Or that you’re any less of a little shit.”

Changkyun let out a relieved breath before grinning at Kihyun. “Thank god. I’ve wanted to mention the fanny pack since the moment I saw you. Very stylish.”

Listen , you little shit,” Changkyun just grinned wider. “This fanny pack holds the items that are going to keep you, and anyone else, from bleeding to death when an accident happens and -- will you stop smiling, good God .”

“Nope,” Changkyun said. “Hey, wanna see Minhyuk’s tiny dick lights?”

“His what now.”

 

---

 

Kihyun didn’t know why he was surprised when, true to his word, Changkyun showed him the tiny dick lights. He honestly didn’t know why he expected anything normal from this boy.

“Dicklets,” Changkyun giggled hysterically for a few seconds, regaining his composure a little bit before the look on Kihyun’s face made him guffaw again.

“I…” Kihyun trailed off, gingerly holding a tiny, um, light that was shaped like a certain appendage in his hand. “ Why? ” he finally settled on.

Changkyun shook his head, still chuckling. “Like I said, the man’s an enigma. Or just very weird. Or both. There’s a betting pool.”

“I’ll make a contribution for the ‘weird’ option.”

Nice. To be fair the only ones who had bet on ‘enigma’ so far was Shownu and Minhyuk himself. So.”

Kihyun allowed a small smile to appear on his face, ignoring the way Changkyun beamed at him. It was distracting and, honestly, Kihyun had just managed to calm himself down. He didn’t need to be overthinking things right that second.

“I’ll put the dicks away now.”

“I think that might be best.” Kihyun still gave the ‘appendage’ a curious once over before handing it back to Changkyun, who, for some reason, appeared strangely flushed before turning to the box he’d taken it out of and closing the cupboard door. Kihyun looked around the living room with a frown.

“Where is everyone?”

“I think I saw them outside, come on.” Changkyun quickly led them to the porch where Minhyuk, Shownu, Hyungwon and Jooheon were absolutely rapt at the image of a shirtless Wonho manning the grill.

Kihyun rolled his eyes, muttering, “Un-fucking-believable.” He was content to let the rest make fools out of themselves, (though he would be lording this over Hyungwon later, of course ), until Changkyun’s face went slack next to him, eyes glazed

Goddamn.

Kihyun looked at Changkyun. Kihyun raised an eyebrow.

Changkyun flushed. “I mean, I--I’m guessing he does push ups. I’m just-- I appreciate his efforts, er--”

“Shut the fuck up,” Kihyun growled, stalking forward and grabbing the apron conveniently left on the side, throwing it at Wonho. “Put a fucking shirt on. None of us need to see that.”

Five boys groaned in perfect unison as Wonho looked up, ostensibly confused, catching the apron and pulling on his shirt before tying the apron around himself. (Kihyun wasn’t fooled for a goddamn second . He knew this bastard and the mischievous glint in his eyes too well).

“A crime.”

“A goddamn shame.

“I definitely need to see that,” Hyungwon mumbled morosely at his popcorn bowl.

“You all do realize that he was going to burn everything, right?”

Hyungwon shrugged.

“I would have eaten it,” Minhyuk said.

Kihyun sighed visibly. “Gimme the--” He took the apron from Wonho before he even finished asking, quickly putting it on as he spoke. “Changkyun, can you bring me my cooler?”

Changkyun nodded quickly and ran to the kitchen. Hyungwon grinned to himself, offering the bowl of popcorn to Wonho who came to sit next to him.

“Shownu,” Jooheon said, then, stretching himself out and lying flat on the grass, staring up at the sky. “I can’t help but notice that you don’t mind your boyfriend drooling over Wonho.”

Shownu shrugged as Minhyuk giggled, “Why? It’s not like he has reason to be jealous, have you seen --hon, take your shirt off real quick--”

“That’s not necessary-- oh he already did it.”

See ?” Minhyuk stressed, beaming brightly at Shownu as Minhyuk absentmindedly pet Shownu’s muscular arm.

Hyungwon sighed, looking down at his own scrawny arms.

“How about you, Hyungwon?” Jooheon asked with a grin, eyes flashing to those self-same arms Hyungwon had been looking at just a second ago.

Hyungwon looked at him with dead eyes. “I want you to think about how you reacted when we played Until Dawn. And then remember that I was filming it. And then you think about that question you just asked.”

Damn , I just wanted your input on healthy relationship dynamics, Hyungwon, damn .”

Kihyun shook his head at the lot of them and rolled up his sleeves. Right, this he could do. The meat was already a bit too dry for his liking, but he was sure that if he put together a sauce real quick he could still save it.

Changkyun came back with the cooler, panting slightly, “The fridge you requested, hyung. Need any help?”

“Not really. Maybe if you could whip up some sauce for the meat. You do know how to make sauce, right?” Kihyun asked, brandishing the tongs at Changkyun.

Changkyun leaned back a bit, eyes on the tongs. “I can make… salad.”

“...Right. That’s a great help, thanks.” Kihyun turned away from a visibly deflated Changkyun. “Minhyuk, could you make some sauce?”

“Okey dokey,” Minhyuk said cheerfully, giving Shownu’s arm a farewell pat before heading to the kitchen.

The rest of the barbeque went smoothly. Or, at least as smoothly as it could, considering that Kihyun was surrounded by six apparently starving boys who started eating before Kihyun had even finished. Kihyun pouted, but couldn’t really say anything as they laughed and ate, given the fact that he had practically demanded to be in charge of grilling the meat in the first place.

There was also the fact that Changkyun was being ridiculous. He kept coming up to Kihyun to ask him how things were going even though it had only been a few minutes and meat didn’t Do Much in a few minutes. And, when Changkyun saw Kihyun glance longingly at the eating boys, (even though Kihyun had quickly looked away to pretend he wasn’t salivating over the food) the little shit actually took a lettuce wrap, walked up to Kihyun, and shoved it at his mouth.

Kihyun really had no other choice but to open his mouth and chew, avoiding eye contact and trying to pretend like it wasn’t a big deal .

Which it wasn’t. Changkyun was just being a good dongsaeng, feeding his hyung who was preparing the food. That was all. There was absolutely no reason for Wonho to smirk at him like that. Like Kihyun couldn’t see the way Wonho was practically glued to Hyungwon’s side, like he didn’t have the perfect vantage point to see how Wonho’s hand would, every now and then, stroke Hyungwon’s thigh. Like they were being subtle at all .

Honestly. If anyone had the right to side-eye anyone here, it would be Kihyun. So he did. Wonho, of course, noticed.

“Kihyun looks sexy in front of a grill, don’t you think?”

Wonho . That absolute shit.

“He looks like he hasn’t got any muscles, but look at his forearms--” Jooheon agreed, nodding, a tiny smirk playing around his mouth.

“Personally, I think his calves look very good--” Hyungwon started, biting his lip, a smile clearly threatening to spill out. Kihyun looked at the group in amused disbelief. Were they always this ridiculous?

“When he’s all sweaty and brushes his hair back...” Minhyuk mused, nodding enthusiastically.

Changkyun nodded, rolling the meat around with his chopsticks, “Mmm, and you can see the veins on his hands, very sexy.”

There was a pause, before everyone started laughing and talking again. Though Kihyun could barely hear them over the sudden rushing in his ears as he stared resolutely at his hands. The same hands Changkyun had mentioned. Which were, Kihyun admitted, quite veiny. Did Changkyun like that?

He immediately shook his head at himself. It didn’t matter if Changkyun liked it or not. It didn’t matter.

“Here,” Changkyun said, having stood up from his seat to walk over to Kihyun, again offering food on the end of his chopsticks.

Kihyun ate, and didn’t think about it anymore. That was safer.

 

---

 

“Not a word,” Kihyun grumbled under his breath to Wonho smirking beside him as he held the camera up, focused it on Changkyun as he waded about in the lake, laughing at Jooheon screaming at anything that touched his legs. Wonho leaned over to look at the picture as Kihyun let the camera drop to his lap.

“You know, you could just ask him to model for--”

“I said not a word, and those were many words,” Kihyun deadpanned, looking at his best friend. “Enough words for me to feel completely justified in asking what the hell is going on with you and Hyungwon.”

Wonho paled before turning an interesting pink and stuttering a bit, to which Kihyun simply rolled his eyes. “Don’t deny it, I’ve known you too long. I know what it looks like when you like someone.”

Wonho looked like he was going to say something, but must have thought better of it. Kihyun kept fiddling with his camera, not daring to go back into his gallery. There were all those candids of a certain little shit, after all.

“I could say the same about you.”

Kihyun bristled, feeling his ears redden. “That’s not--Don’t do that. Are you two dating now or what?”

Wonho sighed softly. “I can’t--” He broke off, rubbing his neck.

Kihyun raised an eyebrow. “What, you’re not allowed to tell me?”

Ugh, it’s not like that,” Wonho groaned, rubbing a hand over his face as he saw Kihyun frowning at him. “You keep this quiet, okay? We’re not ashamed of us, or each other, and he’s not being a dick about people knowing or anything or whatever you’re thinking, it’s just--” Wonho let out a breath, watching as Hyungwon lobbed a wad of lake sludge at Changkyun who barely managed to duck.

“You could have told me, you know,” Kihyun smiled softly, nudging Wonho (who barely moved). “I would have withheld the nation wide e-mail blast.”

“Hyungwon likes his privacy, and I like him, and that’s really all there is to it, honestly.”

“HEY, WONHO,” Minhyuk yelled from where he was currently atop Shownu’s shoulders in the water. “TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF AND COME CLAIM YOUR MAN.”

“Ah, yes, privacy,” Kihyun said, biting his lip to fight back a smirk.

Hyungwon looked murderous. “MINHYUK YOU ABSOLUTE--”

Hyungwon was about to direct an assault in Minhyuk’s direction, when Changkyun threw a wad of mud right onto Minhyuk’s chest. “FIGHT ME, YOU HONOURLESS SWINE,” Changkyun yelled before quickly running (read wading like a scared penguin ) in the opposite direction as Shownu started towards him. Jooheon had to cling to Hyungwon he was laughing so hard at Changkyun’s panicked flailing and over exaggerated squealing in the knee-deep water. When Changkyun looked up at the sound of Wonho’s laughter, he looked straight at Kihyun who, at this point, was laughing just as hard as everyone else.

Changkyun’s facial expression… Well, Kihyun didn’t know what to make of it, that look of absolute affection. It made something in his chest feel simultaneously too light and too heavy, and as much as he tried, Kihyun couldn’t keep the smile off his face.

 

---

 

Everyone was exhausted and scattered across couches and the living room floor like the debris after an explosion. Minhyuk would definitely be getting his movie night. With some reasonable apprehension.

“I am not watching that.”

“Aww, come on, Jooheonie, I’ll hold you,” Changkyun offered, making puppy eyes at Jooheon.

No. Definitely not. Last time you offered to hold me, you ended up scaring me half to death by whispering creepy shit into my ear. You stay far the fuck away from me,” Jooheon said, already scooting himself away from Changkyun into the welcoming arms of Minhyuk, who cooed at him before snuggling up to Shownu with Jooheon in his arms.

Hyungwon looked through the directory of horror movies idly--Minhyuk had absolutely insisted on watching horrors and Hyungwon would gladly rather watch gratuitous violence and psychological horror than some American romantic comedy--before he looked back to lift his eyebrows at the group. What a lot of cowards. His nose twitched, and his eyes furtively scanned the group.

Right, no one had popcorn yet. He could fix that. He got up, disappearing into the kitchen without notice.

Kihyun had sat down on the end of the couch, and by extreme coincidence , everyone quickly found their places soon after, leaving the only place open next to Kihyun. And, of course, Changkyun hadn’t found his seat yet and had to settle down next to Kihyun.

“Maybe if you watch something really scary, you’ll get over it.”

“Yeah,” Shownu agreed with Minhyuk (of course). “Face your fears or whatever.”

“Yeah, and I’m also sure the movie is more scared of me than I am of it, I am not falling for this .”

“Pretty sure that only applies to spiders and student teachers,” Kihyun said.

Wonho, settled on the ground, suddenly looked up. “Where’s Hyungwon?”

“Here I am!” Hyungwon’s voice cheerfully announced. His voice was quickly followed by him, leaning far back from three bowls he had loaded into his arms. He didn’t look like he was breathing. As he came closer and the overwhelming scent of salt and vinegar assaulted everyone’s noses, Minhyuk groaned.

“Who the fuck let Hyungwon make the popcorn?”

“Nobody was watching him, it’s not my fault!”

“What’s wrong with--” Kihyun started, taking a bowl from Hyungwon and making the mistake of breathing in its vicinity.

Changkyun patted Kihyun’s back as he coughed violently, taking his own handful of popcorn from the bowl. “The secret is not breathing while you eat. Or chewing. Just put it in and swallow.” Changkyun demonstrated by throwing the whole hand of popcorn into his mouth, not breathing even once. After he swallowed he licked his lips and turned, grinning to Kihyun. “See, easy! It’s quite nice once you get used to it.”

Kihyun didn’t watch Changkyun’s adam-apple bop as he swallowed, or watch his pink tongue disappear into his mouth again, and he definitely didn’t have trouble breathing at all.

(“Is nobody going to say anything about ‘just put it in and swallow’?”)

“Right.” Kihyun reached forward, grabbed a hand of popcorn, made the mistake of breathing, and started coughing.

Changkyun patted his back. “Swallow or you’ll choke, dude.”

(“Seriously, is anyone else hearing this shit or is it just me?” Jooheon squinted.)

“Right, first movie,” Hyungwon announced loudly as Minhyuk started giggling, moving towards the TV, “Insidious!”

“Fuck no, fuck you, fuck this, I am fucking out.” Jooheon made to get up, but Minhyuk’s arms tightened around him, anchoring him to his seat before somehow still managing to stuff a handful of popcorn into his own mouth.

“God, Minhyuk, just wait for the movie to start eating your popcorn.”

“Why would the movie eat my popcorn?”

Everyone paused to look at Minhyuk. Kihyun laughed into his hand.

Minhyuk’s confused frown remained for a few more seconds before -- “Ooooh, right, nevermind, I get it now.”

I am not watching this shit .” Jooheon wiggled.

“Then I guess I won’t rap for your new song,” Changkyun said, casually, shoving another handful of popcorn into his mouth.

“Low blow, bro.”

That’s what he sa--

“I’m starting the fucking movie,” Hyungwon interrupted the maknae, pressing play and settling down next to Wonho, eyes quickly scanning the room before moving just a bit closer.

“Oh, I didn’t realize we were watching a Fucking Movie--”

Kihyun clamped his hand over Changkyun’s mouth, the latter turning an alarming shade of red and staring forward with wide eyes.

Jooheon immediately threw a pillow at Changkyun, grinning something wicked before Kihyun realized what he was doing and retracted his hand like it was an open flame. Changkyun hugged the pillow, red faced and staring at the screen.

“Shownu, move up a bit--”

“Hey, I don’t have popcorn, just pass some on--”

“Does anybody need a blanket?”

“If all of you don’t shut up and watch this stupid ghost movie,” Hyungwon said evenly. “A haunting will be least of your fucking problems.”

“Actually, I have no problems fucking--”

Minhyuk .”

Chapter Text

“Just kill the kid,” Hyungwon exclaimed exasperatedly, waving his hands at the screen for the upteenth time.

“Stop suggesting filicide,” Shownu said evenly for the third time.

“What’s filicide?” Minhyuk asked, exchanging his empty popcorn bowl for a full one. Kihyun shivered at the thought of how pruned his lips would be. The popcorn really did contain an excessive amount of salt.

“Killing your own kid.”

“Isn’t that infanticide?”

“It’ll be Minhyuk-cide in a minute if you don’t shut the fuck up. But honestly, it would solve literally every problem they have.”

“Yes, and leave them with a dead child, Hyungwon,” Kihyun sighed, feeling compelled to chip in.

“They can have another one! It’s not like she’ll suddenly lose the ability to have children, honestly.”

“What if killing him isn’t enough, Hyungwo--

“OH JESUS WHERE DID HE COME FROM?!” Changkyun screeched, flying up and behind the couch, nearly kneeing Jooheon in the face. Kihyun looked at him with a raised eyebrow before giving in and laughing at the boy, grudgingly extending a hand to help the boy back onto the couch, Changkyun blushing in embarrassment. The others barely paid any attention to the little exchange, as wrapped up as they were in the movie.

Changkyun clambered back over the couch, settling into the spot he had claimed next to Kihyun. It had been awkward at first, sitting next to each other, but gradually, before either of them really realised what was happening, they were sitting much closer than at first intended. Changkyun had made a habit of turning his scrunched up face towards Kihyun when the tension on the screen built and he was preparing for some sort of jump-scare, and when that didn’t work and he got scared anyway, he’d nearly completely hide himself in the couch cushion. That is, until he instinctively clung to the nearest human (who just so happened to be Kihyun) after a particularly cruel jump scare, burying his face in the older boy’s sweater.

Kihyun, though he wouldn’t admit it for the world, wasn’t unaffected by the jump-scare and only realised the position he was in a few minutes later. He also realised he was absentmindedly petting the younger boy’s hair, Changkyun’s head still buried in his chest. Almost leaning on his shoulder, really.

Wonho gave him a look. He elected to ignore it. Though he did stop petting Changkyun’s hair, instead merely cautiously resting his hand on the boy’s head. (He was not impressed to discover, about twenty minutes later, that his fingers had started carding through Changkyun’s hair without his permission. And that Changkyun was now definitely leaning into him.)

About halfway through the second movie (Kihyun was sure Changkyun had fallen asleep on him at some point, but he was too comfortable to check), Kihyun glanced down at the floor to see Hyungwon curled up beneath Wonho’s arm, his face buried in Wonho’s neck.

Kihyun’s breath caught in his throat.

It wasn’t really about the way they were seated, since Minhyuk was seated practically on Shownu’s lap and Kihyun didn’t think much of it. But. This. This was different.

Wonho’s arm was lazily trailing up and down Hyungwon’s back, and his face, though currently facing the screen which was portraying a man almost brutally murdering his wife, was shockingly serene. Hyungwon shifted, and Kihyun’s eyes snapped towards him. He was shocked to see that, instead of the usual droll smile or blank face, there was a smile on his face. A smile that Kihyun himself had never once managed to capture on camera, despite the two years Hyungwon had been modelling for him.

Suddenly ashamed at having seen what was obviously something private, Kihyun’s eyes dropped, only to drop onto Changkyun who… was staring right at him.

Under any other circumstances, Kihyun would have looked away as quickly as possible, shrugged it off, tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. Any other place, any other time, Kihyun would… well he wouldn’t have done what he did.

He smiled slightly, barely a twitch at the corner of his lips, (his chest was so tight, it was so tight he felt like he would break), and dropped the arm, the one not in Changkyun’s hair, the one that Kihyun had been awkwardly holding just shy of Changkyun’s shoulders, around the younger boy’s frame. He froze for a moment, watching the way Changkyun’s eyes widened slightly, before dragging his eyes away. He tugged the boy tighter against him, eyes focusing on the movie.

It was chilly tonight. That was all. Changkyun kept him warm. And he kept Changkyun warm. That was all.

And, if he could feel the exact moment Changkyun looked away (if he could feel that burning hot gaze slip off of him), well. That was no one’s business but his own anyway.

 

---

 

Changkyun woke up, blinked slowly, and realised it was still dark. Jooheon was snoring peacefully between Minhyuk and Shownu, his phone tight in his hand. Hyungwon was, amazingly, the little spoon, but most importantly, Changkyun’s pillow was Kihyun. Not only his pillow, Changkyun realised, shifting slightly. Kihyun’s arm was flung over him as well, tugging him close.

He was just about to snuggle down when had the sudden, abrupt realisation that, although he would, honest to Christ, not move for the next five years if at all possible, he had to pee.

Typical.

Cursing his body to hell and back, Changkyun shifted, oh so slowly , and oh so carefully out from underneath Kihyun’s arm, trying not to jostle Minhyuk sprawled next to him while simultaneously trying his absolute best not to lose his balance and fall on Kihyun.

Of course, he was Changkyun, and when did things ever go right for him.

His foot slipped on the pile of blankets on the floor. He tipped over, barely even touched Wonho’s head, and landed with hands outstretched on Kihyun’s chest, his palms making a smacking sound as they connected.

Kihyun grunted, to which Changkyun immediately responded by smacking his hand over Kihyun’s mouth in an attempt to not wake literally everyone up.

“Shh, hyung, they’ll hear you.”

Kihyun, eyes now fully open and alert, rolled his eyes at Changkyun. Changkyun burned red when he thought about the implication of his words, grateful for the lack of light, before removing his hand.

“I need to pee.”

“So, you decided to wake me up for that as well?” Kihyun whispered harshly, wriggling out from under Changkyun.

“No, I was just--” Trying not to wake you up because we were cuddling . “Gotta pee.” Changkyun scrambled up, ignoring Kihyun’s muffled protests as Kihyun inadvertently got an elbow to the stomach and walked away quickly, head down.

Changkyun stared at himself in the bathroom mirror. This was fine. Liking someone was not a nerve-wrackingly scary thing. And… actually it wasn’t. Changkyun had always been completely convinced that once he liked someone, his insecurities would get at least a million times worse. That he’d make a fool of himself and say stupid things but, not once, had he considered the way it would actually feel. Scary, yes, but at the same time, comforting. Like a heavy woolen blanket during a storm.

He slapped his cheek softly. Was it one in the damn morning? He always got like this past midnight...

“Stop being so goddamn sappy,” he ordered his reflection, before sighing and exiting the bathroom, making his way to the kitchen instead of the living room. His mouth had an unpleasant taste to it. He blamed it on Hyungwon’s liberal salting of the popcorn.

He squinted into the fridge, looking for some sort of midnight snack. Or maybe just water, since all that was left in the fridge were three blocks of cheese and some milk. He pouted and simply poured himself a glass of water (straight from the fridge, goddamn rich people and their nice ass fridges).

Glass of water in hand, he tiptoed through the living room (a quick glance confirmed to him that all was silent, and he assumed Kihyun had gone back to sleep), and out onto the porch, leaning against the railing while he sipped his water.

“What are you doing out here?”

Changkyun promptly choked on the water, coughing violently as he spun around to face a frowning, messy-haired Kihyun, who yawned and came to stand next to Changkyun. Changkyun wiped the water off his face, trying not to stare at how adorable Kihyun was.

Goddamn whipped .

“I was just… hydrating.”

Kihyun smacked his lips and glanced at the water in Changkyun’s hand. “Gimme that. I’m parched. Fucking Hyungwon, throwing a small ocean’s worth of salt onto that popcorn.”

Changkyun chuckled, quickly handing it over. “Yeah, sorry about that, he always does that. I think he’s trying not to be the saltiest thing in the room?” Changkyun shrugged. “Breathing is apparently not on his list of priorities.”

Kihyun shrugged, taking the water and gulping it down. “It’s fine. It wasn’t that bad. Just a... shock.”

“Not the biggest shock of the night, to be honest,” Changkyun noted softly, deciding that looking at Kihyun was just generally a bad idea and the view of the moon reflected on the lake was… almost as good.

“What? What do you mean?”

Changkyun motioned with his head to the living room. “Did you know about Hyungwon and Wonho? I saw them being cute in a supermarket yesterday like they’ve been dating for years.”

Kihyun, who had been tensing, relaxed. Did he have to be so damn difficult to read?

“I wasn’t sure, but I suspected. Wonho all but told me today, though. I don’t know what to think about it, honestly.”

Changkyun frowned, but still resolutely refused to look at Kihyun. “They look happy. I’ve known Hyungwon for… much too long.” Changkyun scoffed. “You should have seen his face when he saw Wonho for the first time, it was hilarious. Freaking priceless. But I had no idea he’d fall like this. It’s… nice.”

There was silence for a few moments before Kihyun spoke up again, his voice soft.

“It… it doesn’t bother you? Even a little?”

Changkyun turned to look at Kihyun, the elder’s face unreadable in the moonlight. Changkyun bit down on his lip, rolling it between his teeth. “I… Why would it?”

“I… I don’t know. Are your parents.... I mean, ugh I don’t know what I mean.” Kihyun straightened up, frowning at the lake. “Doesn’t Hyungwon worry about what his parents would think?”

“We all do,” Changkyun breathed, something small nagging at the back of his mind, as he turned to lean against the railing. “I told you my dad’s head of the science department, yeah? I’m a literature major. It’s not the same, obviously, I just mean that… it’s impossible to make everyone happy. Especially one’s parents, I think. They have, I don’t know, a set idea of who you’re gonna be? And that’s never gonna happen, so I think it’s just good to try and make them proud with what you decide. I know Hyungwon’s mom. She doesn’t agree with Hyungwon on… a lot of things, but if he’s happy, and works hard, she’ll be happy, too. Not in the way she expected, maybe, but,” Changkyun shrugged. “You know.”

Kihyun turned towards Changkyun, still frowning. Softly, almost inaudibly, Kihyun said, “No. I don’t know.”

Changkyun paused, not knowing whether to acknowledge the fact that he’d heard Kihyun. He dithered a bit, hesitating, before, “Kihyun-hyung, why are you studying programming? I’ve seen your pictures. You’re amazing. There’s an amazing photography course, so why Computer Science?”

Kihyun, although he had been frowning a second ago, had still been, well, loose. Not as tense. Open. Now it seemed like something had been drawn over his eyes, blocking out the life in them. His shoulders straightened up, pulling himself up as tall as he could, as if against an invisible threat.

“Computer Science is a good field,” Kihyun said, evenly, practised. “There’re lots of jobs, lots of opportunities. I’ll always be guaranteed a job. Photography is…” Kihyun’s shoulders slumped slightly, and he seemed to curl into himself, even as his voice became harder. “Photography is a hobby. That’s all. I might’ve wanted to be an, an artist, when I was younger, but that was a pipe dream. I had to-- have to be realistic.”

Changkyun shifted, ignoring the tightness in his chest at Kihyun’s pinched expression. “Artists, succesfull artists, photographers, all that, they’re not fictional or anything... But I do get it.”

Kihyun snorted, slightly, face losing a bit of its tightness. “Yeah? What are you gonna do with your literature degree?”

Actually,” Changkyun grinned. “There’s translation, editing, publishing houses and, of course, being a broke screenwriter. Oh, and teaching, of course. That’s a staple I can always fall back on. As long as I’m doing what I like, I’m happy.”

“But, you want to be a screenwriter?”

Changkyun chuckled. “Call it my own little pipe dream.”

It was silent again, only the sound of the water lapping softly against the pier breaking it.

“Changkyun?” Kihyun’s voice was soft, and Changkyun waited a second to be sure he really spoke, looking carefully at Kihyun before he answered, wary.

“Yes, hyung?” Changkyun whispered, just as softly.

“I…” Changkyun felt more than saw Kihyun turn towards him, hyper-aware of the older boy. “Why, why… Why do you talk to me?”

Changkyun’s heart pulled painfully in his chest. Why would Kihyun ask him this? Did Kihyun not see how talented he was? How hard he worked? Kihyun had literally demanded to make food for a bunch of strangers, after agreeing to help Changkyun when he had no reason to fill his already cramped schedule with his idiocy.  Kihyun worked so goddamn hard that Changkyun couldn’t help but work harder as a result. When Kihyun laughed he did so unabashedly, cheeks dimpling and eyes disappearing into crescents. Kihyun was competitive and his face was an open book, pouting when he was annoyed or concentrating, and Changkyun couldn’t help but be endeared by it.

“Because you’re amazing,” Changkyun said, because that was really all he could say, and there was no reason not to.

Kihyun’s eyes widened. Changkyun’s attention was drawn to Kihyun’s hand as he half-lifted it, leaving it hovering in the air in front of them. Changkyun swallowed, not knowing what on earth was going to happen next, but knowing that he wasn’t going to do fuck all to mess it up and just shut up and stand really, really still.

Kihyun’s hand hovered for a few more seconds, the owner looking more and more conflicted, before it dropped and Kihyun sighed.

“Thanks. That’s, I’m not sure I believe you, but thanks.” Kihyun turned around to walk into the house, but paused just before entering. “You’re not so bad yourself, you know.”

With that he was gone.

Changkyun wasn’t surprised to see no sign of him when he entered the living room again. He peeked into the hall just to be sure that the guest room’s door was closed (it was open when he passed it a few minutes ago), before walking back to the couch, though he found it very difficult to look at the spot where they’d fallen asleep earlier that night. He ran a hand over his face, sighing softly.

“Hey, bro?” Changkyun spun around, almost tripping on the blankets again, looking straight into Jooheon’s concerned face peeking up from between Minhyuk and Shownu. “Are you okay?”

Changkyun’s shoulders slumped after the initial shock. “I don’t… I’m super fucked, dude. I don’t know.”

Jooheon frowned, before nudging Minhyuk, who moved with barely a murmur before clinging to Shownu and being dead to the world once more, and beckoned Changkyun over. Changkyun gingerly picked his way through the minefield of bodies and blankets before plopping down next to Jooheon, head automatically going to lay on Jooheon’s shoulder.

“What happened?” Jooheon asked in a whisper, pulling the blankets over them both.

Changkyun shrugged. “Nothing, really. We talked. He… he doesn’t sound happy, hyung. He sounds so sad. And…” Changkyun wanted to say more, wanted to voice the way in which Kihyun seemed so incredibly unaware of how he seemed to other people. He wanted to tell Jooheon how Kihyun had been looking at him with that look in his eyes, and with his hand hovering between them but. He didn’t know how. “He’s so sad, hyung,” is what came out instead.

Instead of saying anything, Jooheon pulled him closer, rubbing circles into his back. When Changkyun’s shoulders relaxed, Jooheon smiled softly before letting out a soft sigh and closing his eyes. What had this boy gotten himself into?

 

---

 

Kihyun blinked himself into wakefulness.

It was early. Way too fucking early. Kihyun could smell how early it was in the air. People who made a habit (or whose bodies and schedules forced them to make a habit), of getting up early knew that the early morning air had a smell and almost taste to it that was completely unique. It usually only lasted for half an hour or so before things started being normal and everyday. Those few moment, however, had made Kihyun’s early schedule a bit more bearable sometimes.

It was just, right at that moment, he didn’t appreciate his body not being able to sleep past half past six. He had stayed up until who knew how late the previous night, and honestly, he was still tired. He wanted to sleep, he really did. He knew he wouldn’t be able to though.

So, with a muffled moan of protest, he hauled himself into an upright sitting position, blinking blearily for a bit before getting up, stretching. Right. Bathroom and a shower first, and then off to look for some food. He could already feel his stomach getting ready for a good long rumble.

You would think eating a whole two bowls of popcorn the previous night would have deterred it, but no such luck. It was just as adamant as always that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, and it would be fucking Judgement Day before it missed breakfast.

Kihyun shuffled out of the room he had slept in last night (he had not been hiding, it was a tactical retreat. That was all). The house was still quiet, so Kihyun felt safe in assuming everyone was still asleep. That was, until he shuffled into the kitchen, still rubbing his head with a towel, to see Jooheon slumped over the kitchen counter, staring out of the window and drinking what appeared to be coffee.

Jooheon jumped slightly at his presence, but quickly relaxed, letting out a breath and smiling lazily. “G’morning. You missed out on some quality snoring, my dude.”

Kihyun snorted. “What a shame.”

“Didn’t Changkyun kind of fall asleep on you, though?” Jooheon asked, frowning over the brim of his cup.

Kihyun almost bristled defensively, but then he saw the lost way Jooheon was looking at the dregs of coffee in his cup and realised the boy was probably more out of it than Kihyun had been last night.

Kihyun shrugged. “Changkyun woke me up in the middle of the night when he had to go to the bathroom. Couldn’t get to sleep again with all you fucks snoring, so I moved to the bedroom.”

“Mmpf,” Jooheon hummed slightly in response, setting his empty cup on the counter with a sad sigh. “That explains why Kyun was---” Jooheon frowned, rubbing at his eyes before giving himself a soft slap on the cheek. “Anyway. Didn’t get much sleep because of the inevitable demons. Why are you up so early?”

Kihyun shrugged again, moving to the fridge, frowning at the meagre selection before closing it again, moving towards the cupboard now. “My stomach has a thing with being fed. It’s so adamant it wakes me up. And I’m too used to getting up early. Never been good at sleeping late anyway.” Kihyun let out a small, triumphant noise when his eye fell on a box of pancake mix.

“I now know exactly two morning people. Wonho was up early staring at Hyungwon, who… Yeah, I should probably try to get them up before Minhyuk wakes up.” Jooheon squinted at nothing in particular.

“I’m not exactly a morning person. I’m just… up in the mornings. It’s not like I particularly like mornings. Want some pancakes?” Kihyun held up the box.

“Dude, fuck yes . Here,” Jooheon reached next to him for the fruit bowl and tossed over the last banana. “Changkyun likes bananas.” He shrugged, heading to the living room. “Wish me luck.”

Kihyun frowned at the fruit in his hand. Changkyun likes bananas in the morning? And, what did he mean by… “Luck with what?”

Jooheon simply gave him a thumbs up before turning the corner. A few seconds passed in quiet nothingness. Then a loud thump, followed by a loud “Fuck!” that was quickly shushed, a loud Wonho laugh (Kihyun could tell), and Jooheon was limping into the kitchen again, grimacing.

“Ungrateful bastard,” he mumbled, sinking down into a kitchen chair and pulling his foot into his lap, gingerly poking at his toe. “You’d think me saving them the embarrassment of being woken up by Minhyuk’s ungodly cooing would be worth some gratitude, but noooooo ,” Jooheon said in a petulant voice, “I get a fucking knee to my shin and a headbut to my toe. What the fuck, Hyungwon.”

Kihyun opened his mouth. Closed it. Shook his head and started preparing the mix for the pancakes. He had found two boxes, so that should be enough for all of them. He hoped.

“What are you doing?” Minhyuk asked after a particularly large yawn, having wandered into the kitchen not too long afterwards, eyes barely open.

“I was asking myself that same question. Put your hand over your mouth when you yawn, you heathen,” Kihyun grumbled, flipping a pancake before sliding it into a plate and sliding the plate over to Minhyuk, who looked particularly petulant. Seriously, why was he constantly feeding six grown men?

“Mmmmm!” Minhyuk exclaimed happily, already stuffing the pancake into his mouth.

“...You’re supposed to put something on it,” Kihyun deadpanned.

“Fine, gimme the banana.” Minhyuk held out his hand.

Kihyun moved the banana away. “Er, no. Here,” he looked around. “Here have some…” his hand flailed for a bit before landing on a jar of peanut butter and putting it in Minhyuk’s outstretched hand. “Here you go. Knock yourself out.”

Minhyuk happily took the jar and began smearing peanut butter on his pancake. Kihyun couldn’t resist the rather incredulous smile spreading over his face. Was this guy supposed to be older than him?

“Here, I’ll take over for a bit. Go wake up Changkyun. He’ll be mad if there’s no pancakes left,” Jooheon said, coming up behind Kihyun. Kihyun frowned, but handed over the utensils easily enough, making to walk away before Jooheon’s voice halted him. “Don’t forget the banana!”

Rolling his eyes, Kihyun grabbed the banana, walking to the living room, passing Wonho and Shownu on the way, who seemed to be talking about chicken breasts? Anyway.

Kihyun stopped short in the doorway. Jesus Christ , the living room was a disaster zone. There were so many blankets you had to take the fact that the floor existed on blind faith alone, and popcorn was scattered from where Jooheon had upended a half-eaten bowl during the second movie. Kihyun had to actually look for Changkyun amid the chaos. Hyungwon was at the same place he’d been last night, hugging what must have been Wonho’s pillow, but Changkyun had… moved. Well, moved from where they’d, er, accidentally fallen asleep. If Kihyun’s memory served right, he was now fast asleep where Jooheon had been sitting.

He was curled up, like a little ball, legs pulled up and hands under his head as a pillow and, and .

Kihyun swallowed. Shook his head.

And he was so cute that Kihyun physically could not stop himself from grabbing his camera from where it had been sitting, carefully out of the way on the dining table, and snapping a picture.

He just. He literally couldn’t help himself. From a… purely artistic standpoint. Yeah. (Kihyun sometimes wondered if he actually thought he was fooling himself anymore). That was--

“Oh my god, will you not do that here, some of us are trying to sleep, I hate that goddamn clicking sound,” came a grumble from behind Kihyun.

Kihyun flushed. No, that wasn’t the right word. He fucking burned with embarrassment, and if it wasn’t for the fact that he had bought that camera himself, with his own fucking money, he would have thrown it so far away. As it was, all he could do was fumble with it, finally placing it back on the table, keeping his back turned to Hyungwon.

“I thought you could sleep through an earthquake. Where did that handy fucking talent go to, huh?”

“I have an excellent sense of dramatic timing. And great hair.”

Kihyun snorted, hiding his slightly shaking hands behind his back as he turned around again to face Hyungwon. “Dramatic timing, maybe. Hair, well…” Kihyun tilted his head at the literal bird’s nest that was Hyungwon’s hair.

“Oh, please. My hair is awesome,” Hyungwon mumbled, before squinting at Kihyun. “What were you taking a picture of any-- oh.” As he spoke, his gaze landed on Changkyun shifting slightly in his cocoon of blankets, burying his head in his pillow. Kihyun was frozen. Slowly, Hyungwon turned his head back towards Kihyun, leaned back on his elbows, lifted an eyebrow, and said, much too fucking smugly in Kihyun’s opinion, “That’s really fucking gay, Kihyun.”

Kihyun glared and opened his mouth to deliver a truly scathing, scorching remark when--

“Kihyun-hyung?” Changkyun groaned almost as if in response, eyes barely open, voice deep with sleep and muffled slightly by his pillow, before his eyes landed on Kihyun and widened, quickly pulling the blankets over his face.

Kihyun, momentarily distracted from the shit-eating grin Hyungwon was wearing, frowned. Why did Changkyun hide? Did he not want to see Kihyun? Should… should he go?

Changkyun managed to peek through the mess of blankets, his face pink (from what Kihyun could see, which wasn’t much) and hair sticking every which way out of the open slit he was staring out of. “Er. Morning.”

Kihyun cleared his throat, ignored Hyungwon completely, and grunted out a barely legible ( honestly was he a caveman what the fuck was wrong with him) “Morning. I brought you a banana. There’re pancakes,” before lobbing the banana in Changkyun’s general direction and booking it out of the living room. There were too many fucking judgemental faces there. (read: Hyungwon).

 

---

 

Changkyun watched Kihyun practically run out of the living room, before turning his face to scream into his pillow. Two minutes into the day and he was already like this .

“You know, he was taking your picture.”

Changkyun’s head whipped around to stare at Hyungwon with wide eyes, heart plummeting into his stomach. “He what ? But I--Oh God .” He sat up, still wrapped in blankets, hands flying up to cover his cheeks, which were most definitely not covered when Kihyun was taking pictures, oh god .

“...Why are you freaking out? It’s like, basically a declaration of love from a photographer.”

“I have acne scars if you haven’t noticed, Hyungwon,” Changkyun moaned regretfully, looking down at his lap, head cradled in his hands. He had been planning on legging it to the bathroom when he woke up, applying his foundation before Kihyun saw anything. Not waking up to Kihyun’s face and, apparently, a goddamn camera. Not that he could complain too much about that first part , but still. He pulled his hoodie over his head. Oh god, what must Kihyun think now oh wow shit fuck. Wait, why was he taking a picture, anyw--

“Changkyun.” Changkyun heard him, but didn’t bother looking over, too lost in the mantra of insecurities spinning through his head. “Ya! Changkyun!” Changkyun was rocked backwards by a flying projectile, which turned out to be the pillow Hyungwon had been clutching once he lifted his head to stare mournfully at Hyungwon.

“What.”

“Will you, like, not do that. I know you have scars. I was there when the acne happened that caused those scars. But it really isn’t as bad as you think. Just now, you looked,” Hyungwon grimaced, looking like what he was about to say physically pained him, “Cute. You looked cute, okay. And you should have seen the look on his face…” Hyungwon looked seconds away from exaggerated retching noises.

Changkyun squinted his eyes at the man who, even with his hair defying gravity and clothes crumpled, managed to look like a magazine editorial, before the fact that that exact man had just said those words to him registered in his mind. Changkyun wasn’t sure if he should believe him (not that Hyungwon would lie , it wasn’t that) as he was prone to, stretching, the truth. But, he really… wanted to believe him.

Changkyun glanced at the banana lying next to him. “What… what look was on his face?”

Hyungwon rolled his eyes and groaned. “I’m not a fucking poet, Kyunnie, I don’t know how to describe it.” Hyungwon paused, glancing at Changkyun, now looking at him all hopeful and expectant, before sighing. “Alright, fine. He, oh dear god, the things I do for friends , he was looking extremely fucking soft , okay? Also like he was having a heart attack. But I’m pretty sure that was about the cuteness, so forget about the stupid scars, okay.”

Changkyun listened, and thought. He thought about the brief look he’d caught on Kihyun’s face  before he’d hidden under the blankets; he thought about Kihyun’s hand reaching towards him last night and how Changkyun would have given just about anything to know what was going on in his mind at that moment because he didn’t have a fucking clue ; he thought about the way his eyes grew hard and softened throughout their conversation, making Changkyun’s chest hurt ; and he thought about this goddamn banana . How the fuck did he know about the fucking banana .

“Thanks, Hyungwon,” Changkyun said, picking up the banana and smiling at him.

“My pleasure,” came Hyungwon’s muffled voice, as he had already buried himself back into his nest of blankets. “Never make me do that again.”

“You look pretty damn adorable yourself, you know.”

“Shut the fuck up.”

 

---

 

Later, after breakfast, they were all sitting around in the living room, playing on their phones and talking quietly among themselves, none of them willing to admit the day had to end. (Kihyun adamantly didn’t look at Changkyun, though he could feel the younger’s gaze on him every now and then.) Kihyun could feel stress sinking its claws into him bit by bit though. He had so fucking much to do before Monday, he really should go--

“Guys!” Minhyuk exclaimed, pouting. “We never got to use the karaoke machine.”

“You know, Kihyun does have a really nice voice,” came Wonho’s voice, dripping with hidden amusement as Kihyun turned a murderous glare on him.

Wonho, you shady little bitch.

“I’m not going to si--”

“Changkyun can rap!” Jooheon said, before glancing at Changkyun, and giggling nervously. “I mean, he’s literally featuring on a song of mine, boy can rap, just saying.”

“...Well, you know, maybe this isn’t the worst idea.” Kihyun realised what he had just said just a second after it left his mouth. Changkyun was looking at him. “I mean,” he hurried to say, “I think it would be hilarious to see Hyungwon trying to rap. Cause, like, everyone will be doing it.”

“Yes, this is all on me,” Hyungwon said drily.

“Wonho can sing, too, you know,” Kihyun said, a verifiable expert on misdirection, really, as he grinned at his best friend.

“And dance,” Wonho said confidently, grinning up at Kihyun smugly.

“Yes, we’re all super gay and talented, can we get a move on?” Shownu said, getting up to turn on the karaoke machine.

“I am bisexual,” Jooheon said, squinting at Shownu. Wonho gave Jooheon an enthusiastic thumbs-up before grinning at Hyungwon who rolled his eyes.

“Yeah, especially for a certain rapper in his cla--ow!”

“I’m not ga--” Kihyun was cut off by a loud cheer as the screen flickered to life, music thumping as the song selection screen appeared.

“So you’ll be going first--” Minhyuk smiled in Kihyun’s direction, offering him a microphone.

“I will not. Also, I’m not ga --”

Changkyun got up and took said microphone, interrupting Kihyun, quite possibly on purpose, and grinned, a bit maniacally, at Minhyuk. “Play my song, Minhyuk.”

Hyungwon and Minhyuk paled and simultaneously shook their head, saying, “No way.” Jooheon, on the other hand, was grinning like a madman. Kihyun was worried.

“I will do this shit acappella, do not test me.”

Jooheon talked between laughs. “Just--” he waved his hand. “Minhyuk, just--”

“Christ, fine ,” Minhyuk said, unable to stop the smile creeping onto his face before quickly scrolling and selecting a song before Kihyun could read the title.

A familiar beat started playing and Kihyun was sure he would be feeling this particular facepalm for years, when Changkyun adamantly started his own rendition of Pen Pineapple Apple Pen. Like, nobody was supposed to get that into fucking PPAP.

Jooheon was on the floor laughing, with Wonho hanging off Hyungwon, who looked like he had accepted death in all its forms. Kihyun tried his best not to look up.

This… was going to be interesting.

 

---

 

Changkyun

I am dead. I have died.

Heaven? Hell? Who tf knows man

 

Jooheon

One day we will all stop being such dramatic ass bitches


Changkyun

Jooheon

lol his voice was nice though I'll give you that

but you looked so gone dude

Changkyun

Listen you know how you went on about mystery boy’s raps for an hour and I didn’t judge you?

Let me live

The fact that I got a word out, nevermind rapped adequately, is a fucking miracle

 

Jooheon

Lol judging by Kihyun’s face

You rapped more than adequately

 

Changkyun

I was NOT looking at his face

That sounds wrong I JUST MEANT I WAS

You know what no I am tired

 

Jooheon

BOI

WHAT WERE YOU LOOKING AT

 

Changkyun

bye

 

Jooheon

LOL

(I know you were looking at his mouth lol)

(And, I mean, everyone was looking at Kihyun’s butt when he danced like that)

ALSO

Did you see Hyungwon literally undressing Wonho with his eyes when he danced?

Cause damn that was…

Illegal

 

Changkyun

I DID and then went home and read the bible :)

(I was not leave me alone)

(he has this cute little frown when he sings though??)

No not doing this

 

Jooheon

Good for you I was enjoying the view

OF WONHO

You with Kihyun was just like

Awkward, painful, and sweet in equal measures

Changkyun

Can you like get a move on with whatshisname so I can give you this

UNFAIR TREATMENT

I’m so hurt why would you

I’m that second male lead in a drama that just doesn’t #win aren’t I

 

Jooheon

I’m still fully convinced that one day

Writers will see the absolute narrative GENIUS

Of letting the second male lead get the girl

Like, that would be the ultimate plot twist


Changkyun

Or get the guy. Just saying

Looking at you, While You Were Asleep

 

Jooheon

I literally told you that if you spoil that for drama for me I will disembowel you with a spoon

I’m not fucking joking


Changkyun

Love ya <33333333

Only spoiler you need is that Lee Jong Suk looks DAMN FINE

I’ll send you the screenshots of me making a fool of myself to Kihyun in a minute to reconcile

Gotta thank him for coming and I’m 110% sure I’m going to somehow fuck it up

 

Jooheon

Damn.

(Hello, when doesn’t Lee Jong Suk look like fine, like, when bitch)

When did we become so morose

I miss the days we could tease Hyungwon without worrying about inconvenient things

Like feelings

 

Changkyun

For the literal first three episodes of pinocchio holy shIT

You’re just saying that because you’re a scaredy cat

Just text Him, dude

whatevER HIS FUCKING NAME HIS

 

Jooheon

He still looked kind of cute idgaf unabashedly whipped

Who you calling a scaredy cat?

I’m not scared

I’ll have you know I’m texting him

Like, right fucking now

 

Changkyun

Sounds SUPER FUCKING FAKE but ok

 

---

 

Jooheon

Hey

Just wondering what you’re up to

 

Gunhee

Hey

Not much

Just wondering why you’re asking

Lol u bored or what

 

Jooheon

Something like that

 

Gunhee


Jooheon

Hey, do me a favour

Like, pretend that we’ve been talking for hours and just like

Say something really random so it looks like we’re in the middle of a conversation

I’ll explain later

maybe


Gunhee

Cool dude I gotcha

OMG JOOHEON HOW DID YOU GET YOUR DICK WAY STUCK UP IN THAT TOASTER

TELL ME MORE

 

Jooheon

Ffs

WOW DUDE LIKE I SAID MY BREAD HOW DID YOU MISREAD

THAT SO HORRIBLY


Gunhee

Fucking autocorrect man

No wonder my roommate keeps bringing dicks back from the supermarket

 

Jooheon

Damn yeah you gotta fix that.

(thanks this’ll do)

(I guess you can go back to ignoring me now)


Gunhee

That’s what the toaster said

Seriously what’s up???

Yes I was ignoring all those texts I definitely did not get

 

---

 

Changkyun

...oh? Where those receipts boi

 

Jooheon

EAT YOUR WORDS BITCH

 

Changkyun

We literally don’t own a toaster

A NAME. I HAVE A NAME

GUNHEE, HUH???? owo

 

Jooheon

...I didn’t say it was MY toaster ffs

 

Changkyun

Why you putting your dick in Gunhee’s toaster

Do we need to have a chat

You know what nevermind well done

but actually talk to him about, like

Not complete fake shit? K? K

One of us deserves love

 

Jooheon

It wasn’t fake

I’m definitely dumb enough to get my dick

BREAD stuck in a toaster

 

---

 

Gunhee

Ignored... How will I go on...

He appears, like a passing storm

 

Jooheon

SORRY

For that

I had to bring receipts

My friend doesn’t believe that I have

Other friends

 

Gunhee

Aren’t you and Jackson friends, too?

And isn’t Jackson friends with like literally everyone

 

Jooheon

YOU KNOW WHAT

I don’t appreciate this judgement

I panicked

 

Gunhee

Lol it’s fine I’m just glad you texted me

Whoops autocorrect I meant

...yeah I got nothing

 

Jooheon

Damn I was looking forward to seeing how you’re gonna get out of that one

So you wanna talk to me?

Apart from just about the rapping?


Gunhee

YOU KNOW WHAT

I don’t appreciate this exposure

Yeah you’re a cool dude so sue me

 

Jooheon

Cool

Hey, wanna come over to mine and play games?

I think I’m actually getting good at Overwatch


Gunhee

YOU HAVE OVERWATCH FUCK YES I’M ALREADY THERE

 

Jooheon

YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE I LIVE

WHERE YOU GOING BOI

 

Gunhee

IDK I JUST STARTED RUNNING AND SCREAMING

WHERE YOU AT

 

Jooheon

Lmao I sent you my location

Don’t fucking run into the middle of the road or some shit

 

Gunhee

soz can’t text running in front of a bus :)

 

Jooheon

Oh jeez fuck

See you in a bit

PS: Death is no excuse

 

---

 

Changkyun

Hey, thank you

For coming to the party

Thing? Get-together? Thing

Thanks for coming to the thing

It was nice

To have you there, I mean

 

Kihyun

Yeah

It was fun

I kinda want my popcorn to be that salted forever now though

Which might be bad for my health

 

Changkyun

It’ll kill Hyungwon first don’t worry

But I’m really glad! About you having fun not the popcorn

Ignore me

 

Kihyun

No but, like

I actually tried eating popcorn that wasn’t that salted when my mom made earlier today?

And it wasn’t nice. I couldn’t eat it

I need salty popcorn

Who needs to breathe honestly.

 

Changkyun

Unsalted popcorn is like puffy cardboard. Nasty.

Don’t tell Hyungwon though he’ll get all smug

You’re gonna have to pretend to hate it for the rest of time

cos I cannot handle smug Hyungwon

 

Kihyun

For the rest of time huh?

How long are you planning on knowing me?

 

---

 

Changkyun

Good luck with Gunhee hyung I’ll smile down at you from heaven

 

Jooheon

78% sure Gunhee is dead

 

Changkyun

What the

THE WORST PART IS I DO THIS TO MYSELF???

 

---

 

Changkyun

Well you know that exams always feel like an eternity so hahaha

yeah

 

Kihyun

Okay I get it.

You’re only planning on using me for the exams and then going away

Well FINE

 

Changkyun

I DIDN’T MEAN IT LIKE THAT HYUNG

I WOULD NEVER USE YOU

I JUST MEANT

WHY U GOTTA PLAY ME LIKE THIS

 

Kihyun

You’re digging your own grave

But it really was fun this weekend

Just make me a promise

Never do that PPAP dance thing again

For my sanity

 

Changkyun

He tutor.

He sing like an angel.

He protec.

But he also attac

Sigh. But only for you, hyung. That’s a part of my soul I’m sacrificing, you know

 

Kihyun

You think I sing like an angel?

You have a soul?


Changkyun

...Did I say that

oh look I scrolled up definitely said that

haaaaa

 

---

 

Changkyun

aaaaaHHHHHHHHH

 

Jooheon

Things are going well I see

 

---

 

Changkyun

Yes, hyung, you have a nice voice and you know it

...I don’t think I have one anymore, no


---

 

Kihyun grinned down at his phone. He had a calculus test he should be studying for tomorrow, and the study material was in front of him, yeah, but this was more entertaining than Kihyun had been anticipating. Changkyun seemed to have a particular talent for leaving himself open to all sorts of interpretations, which… well. It was just too tempting to resist, really.

Just as Kihyun was about to type a reply, preferably something that would trick Changkyun into saying something incriminating, his door creaked open. Startled, Kihyun looked up, seeing his father leaning into his room with a steaming cup in his hand, frowning at him.

“I brought you some tea, since you said you were going to study late.” His father pursed his lips at the phone held loosely in Kihyun’s hand, and Kihyun had the insane urge to hide it. “Doesn’t seem like you’re doing much studying though. I know you’re a young adult now, and you can be responsible on your own, but if you have a test tomorrow you shouldn’t be wasting time on your phone.”

His father walked over to put the cup of tea in front of Kihyun, and Kihyun smelled the familiar, comforting scent of honey tea waft over to him.

“Who were you texting, anyway? Wonho?” His father’s expression didn’t so much change, rather than becoming curiously blank.

Kihyun shook his head quickly, eager to stay on good terms with his father that night. He had, after all, brought Kihyun his favourite tea.

“No. No, it’s just. Just this boy I’ve been tutoring in programming. He was asking me some questions.”

His father nodded slowly, expression normalising. “That’s nice of you. Just don’t... get too distracted trying to help him. I’ve always been proud that you’ve never let girls intrude on your drive and ambition. I would hate to see friends do it.”

Kihyun nodded again, turning back to his books as his father closed the door behind him. His chest felt curiously heavy.

 

---

 

Kihyun

Right

Sorry, I’ve been wasting both of our time

I have to study

See you around

Chapter Text

Changkyun

Minhyuk

The Kind

The Beautiful

 

Minhyuk

Yes go on

 

Changkyun

So I maaaaaay have left my charger at yours o(≧∇≦o)

 

Minhyuk

Hahaha how??? It’s been a week?????

but fine just come to my dorm, I think it's with my things

 

Changkyun

I’ve been using Jooheon’s but he’s…

How do you say...

Playing Overwatch

For the fifth time this week?

...with a boy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

 

Minhyuk

A BOI YOU SAY

FIFTH TIME, U SAY

TELL ME MORE MY SON

 

Changkyun

I WOULD BUT I KNOW NOOOOOTHING

Except that he can apparently get him to say whatever he wants to get me to believe his shit

Haven’t met him. Although I’m actually very tempted to just burst in there at this point tbh

 

Minhyuk

…I

I will buy you six (6)

Bags of chips

To make the sacrifice, and take me a picture of that boy

PLZ

 

Changkyun

Six you say

 

Minhyuk

SIX

And a watermelon

Wonho says you like them

 

Changkyun

If a single drop of watermelon

Yes, I said drop

A drop of watermelon graces my lips within the next five years

I will euthanize myself

 

Minhyuk

What did the watermelon do to you?

WAIT I will not be distracted

PLZ

 

Changkyun

Unspeakable things

Ok fine gimme a sec lemme just piss my best friend off

 

Minhyuk

Did you know there’s probably a type of poison that could kill a man in a second?

I think I found it.

Its name:

Curiosity

 

Changkyun

That was

Oddly profound

 

Minhyuk

I keep telling you people I’m a genius

But you don’t believe me

 

Changkyun

Never said you weren’t, Minnie

If I do die it is completely your fault tho

 

Minhyuk

A worthy sacrifice

GO, YOUNG ONE

 

---

 

Changkyun knocked on the door of his own goddamn dorm room. “Joohoney!”

It was silent for a moment, before the door opened just enough for Jooheon to stick his head out, eyes slightly too wide. “Changkyun! I thought you were going to be gone for--”

Jooheon was interrupted as a face popped out from under his arm, grinning, soon followed by a body squeezing itself between the doorway and Jooheon. “‘Sup, Changkyun! I’m Song Gunhee, and this is MC Rude, cos he so damn rude.”

Changkyun snorted, eyebrow raised and unsure smile plucking at the corner of his mouth, but waved a dismissive hand, mustering the most hurt expression he could. “The wounds run so deep they barely sting anymore, my friend.”

Jooheon paled as Gunhee laughed, “Oh, God, there’s two of you.”

Gunhee grinned at him and opened his mouth, but Jooheon seemed to stiffen, eyes going even wider (Changkyun later swore he saw a faint blush tinging Jooheon’s cheeks), let out a little squeal, pushed the door open almost violently, before promptly losing his balance and stumbling backwards, tripping over the side of his bed.

Jooheon stared up at them with wide eyes from his forced seat on the bed. “I’m fine.”

Changkyun and Gunhee stared at him for a minute, before turning to each other with barely contained mirth.

“Joohoney has told me so much about you,” Changkyun said.

“What a sweetheart, you know, he was literally just talking about you.”

“Good things, I hope?”

“Nah, apparently you’re absolutely terrible at most things.”

(“I never said that--”

“Shh, Jooheonie, the big boys are talking now.”)

“I learned from the best,” Changkyun grinned, keeping himself from bursting out laughing at Jooheon’s face. He could definitely learn to get used to this guy. “ You know , he once punched me in the face while we were watching a horror and I was trying to comfort him.”

Jooheon spoke up, indignant; “You were whispering creepy things into my ear, you little shit.

Gunhee scoffed, shrugging his hands into his jacket. “There’s worse ways to get punched.”

Changkyun physically had to restrain himself from further comments or laughing, as Jooheon seemed to be quickly turning a truly alarming shade of red. Changkyun grinned, a very, extermely dumb (genius) thought crossed his mind. “Hey, Gunhee, my guy, will you do me a favour--”

“Whatever it is, just say no--”

“Sure,” Gunhee agreed easily, still smiling at Jooheon who squinted at him. Changkyun giggled before coughing to hide it (it failed and Jooheon said so. Loudly) and quickly fishing his phone out of his pocket.

“Okay, so you might not know this,” Changkyun said, putting the phone to his ear. “But Jooheon has a gay, twenty four year old mother.”

Jooheon scrambled up from the bed. “NO DON’T YOU DARE CALL MINHYU--”

“Hello?”

“Minhyuk!” Changkyun grinned, eyes sparkling when he saw Gunhee grin and ruffle a pouting Jooheon’s hair. “Did you know Jooheon has a boy in his room?”

“PICTURE OR NO CHIPS, CHANGKYUN,” a shrill voice blared from the speakers, causing Changkyun to hold the phone away from his ear with a wince, before winking at Jooheon.

“Unacceptable, you say?” Changkyun gasped, holding the phone up against his ear again. “ Grounded, you say? Oh, you meant grinde--

“Oh, god, stooooop ,” Jooheon whined, trying his best to snatch the phone from Changkyun.

Gunhee seemed to catch on quickly to what Changkyun was doing, holding his hand out for the phone. Changkyun handed it over while Gunhee, laughing, quickly got out of Jooheon’s reach while Changkyun moved in to hold Jooheon in a bear hug.

“Hello?” Gunhee laughed into the phone.

“Who is-- are you the boy ?!”

“Yes,” Gunhee said, lips pressed together as his eyes twinkled in Jooheon and Changkyun’s direction, saying in an overly serious voice, “My sincerest apologies for my and your son’s behaviour, next time we’ll keep the door open.”

Yep, Changkyun was definitely going to like having this guy around. Jooheon managed to wiggle free amidst Changkyun’s near frantic laughter, pouncing towards Gunhee and grabbing the phone. Or, well, trying to grab the phone. “No, stop, just give it to me--!”

“Not now, Jooheon, babe, your dad’s on the phone--”

“Oh, god…” Jooheon trails off, evidently deciding that clinging to Gunhee and attempting to get the phone was a better use of his breath than protesting, since Changkyun was fairly certain that neither of them were listening to his protests either way. Jooheon seemed to resort to just softly hitting Gunhee on the chest and looking decidedly miserable about the situation.

Changkyun saw, as Jooheon pouted, how the sharp amusement in Gunhee’s eyes turned softer, somehow, around the edges. More how you would look like when you were laughing with someone, rather than at someone, though, Changkyun didn’t think that was exactly right either.

“It’s Minhyuk-hyung, yeah? Mhm, yeah, no, I’ll talk to you later. We can have coffee and you can bring every baby picture of Jooheon you can find. Yeah, sounds good.” Gunhee lifted the phone from his ear, grinning at Jooheon before tossing the phone at Changkyun. “Changkyun, catch--”

Changkyun caught the phone as Gunhee tossed it to him underhanded, quickly putting it to his ear. “Hey, Minnie. Do I still need to take a picture or?”

“YES.”

“NO.”

 

---

 

Changkyun

So I had to play Overwatch with them for like four hours to get this

Deposit the chips straight into my dorm room thank u

 

Minhyuk

OH MY GOD CAN WE KEEP HIM

 

Changkyun

Yes

But if he starts humping legs I’m out

 

---

 

Jooheon

wtf dude wtf



Changkyun

You two are adorable

When’s the wedding

 

Jooheon

I can’t believe you sold me out

For chips

What happened to bros

 

Changkyun

I will share those chips with you I’m not heartless

I was just gonna come bro out, Overwatch and chill etc

Shit got out of hand

Gunhee is the best thing ever honestly I had NO IDEA HE’D DO THAT

Seriously can we keep him

 

Jooheon

He’s not a pet

Also, he’s mine

Fuck off

(And I don’t know if he even likes guys so shhhhh)

 

Changkyun

Well I’m definitely not putting a leash on him

HE’S YOURS HEY??? (☞ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)☞

Screencapped, shared, printed, framed

(yeah well welcome to my world)

Seriously though you don’t know? damn

 

Jooheon

Oh, shut up

(Yes he’s mine shut up)

Nope

I mean, there isn’t really like a sure fire way of telling, right?

 

 

Changkyun

Ask him his opinion on like… a hot dude

idk this is Korea they’re everywhere

Literally look at our friendship group damn we pretty

 

Jooheon

I’ll just ask him what he thinks of Sense8

I’ve yet to meet a queer person that doesn’t like it

Although, I’m sure straight people like it too….

Fuck

Lol you mean YOU GUYS are all pretty

 

Changkyun

WHAT THE FRICK FRACK MAN YOU’RE HOT WTF

I will go on a rant about your dimples and thighs don’t test me

 

Jooheon

Ah, not again

Last time you did that the people around me thought I was having a stroke

I was ‘so red’

And ‘wheezing for breath’

Don’t make me laugh that hard again I’m begging you

 

Changkyun

One day you’ll take me seriously. One day

Seriously though just… keep at it with Gunnie, I’m sure things will

Fuck how do we test queerness there must be a way

WAIT I GOT IT

WONHO

NOBODY WHO IS EVEN REMOTELY ATTRACTED TO MEN CAN RESIST

 

Jooheon

No straight man can look at him and not blush

Let’s be honest

 

Changkyun

True. Fuck.

I’ll think about it. ACTUALLY NEED TO STUDY NOW???

Kill me

 

Jooheon

Nah

Too much trouble

Have fun with…?



Changkyun

Programming

Have never studied for anything else in my life

This is new and I hate it

But I have to do well, can’t let Kihyun think he’s

Idk farting against the wind

#englishmajor

 

Jooheon

Brilliant metaphor

Mind if I use it?

 

Changkyun

Ya but I want 10% and merchandising rights

I HAVE TO HASHTAG SHHH

 

Jooheon

I’ll give you two (2) cups of ramen

 

Changkyun

You make it and we have a deal

 

Jooheon

Deal

Now go hashtag my son

 

Changkyun

Go Gun, my son

(☞ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)☞

 

---

 

Kihyun

Hey beanpole

Hyungwon

Seriously?

My photography lecturer is sick of your face but not nearly as much as I am

Okay, I get why you’d ignore me after that but seriously I need just, like, a placeholder?

I asked Wonho and he is refusing to model for me but I need to hand in a planning thing

Hyungwon?

Ugh

 

Hyungwon

I’m BUSY

Unlike some people

I have a life

Also, why don’t you just take still lifes

Go find an actual beanpole or something

 

Kihyun

Because my goddamn focus is photographing people

And somehow

You fall under that category

 

Hyungwon

I’m actually legit busy though

Like, salt aside

I’m busy

You’re gonna have to bribe another incredibly beautiful person with pictures

Oh wait

Yeah you’re fucked

 

Kihyun

Selfies are apparently not allowed so…

there goes that idea

 

Hyungwon

I said ‘incredibly beautiful person’

Not hamster close ups

 

Kihyun

Fuck you

Honestly

Wth does Wonho see in you you’re just

Literal salt

who just Salts

And Bones

 

Hyungwon

Your capitalization of ‘bones’ makes me very uncomfortable

Also, what he sees in me? Him

 

Kihyun

I don’t get it

Is that supposed to be funny or profound I don’t???

Oh

...eeeeeew dude

 

Hyungwon

:)

 

---

 

Kihyun tapped his fingers against the desk as he waited for his marks to load on the screen. He had already gotten back his marks for his other modules, (he had done… alright in them), but the marks for programming had taken a bit longer to be uploaded. Probably because it was such a practical module, but it still made Kihyun feel antsy.

The speed of his finger-tapping increased as he waited for the slow internet of the campus to display his marks. When finally, a few seconds later, the page was loaded, he scrolled down and…

Kihyun felt a huge sigh leave him, his shoulders even relaxing a bit from their habitual tensing. This was good enough. It wasn’t full marks, not what Kihyun knew he could’ve gotten if he had done one or more exercises extra, but it was good enough. He just had to--

Fuck yes, I got 60%, bitches!” Kihyun whipped his head up just in time to see Changkyun high five the nearest confused person, who just so happened to be a small, quiet-looking girl who looked a bit like she wanted to run away.

Apparently realising that the girl was close to tears, Changkyun’s smile faded even as he started giggling uncomfortably and tried to apologise, bowing repeatedly. Now apparently done at his station, (or just desperate to get away from the frightened looking girl) Changkyun stood up, looked around a bit confusedly for a moment, before he made eye-contact with Kihyun. Who, at this point, couldn’t even pretend he hadn’t been looking.

Changkyun waved at him and Kihyun fought off the blush (and the urge to look away immediately) and simply nodded at him. And then he looked away. There. He hadn’t been rude, he’d been perfectly civil. Changkyun should be able to see that he was busy and not to both--

Woah, holy shit, how are you so smart?”

Kihyun, absolutely, did not almost jump out of his seat in shock at the voice that came over his shoulder and he definitely didn’t bump heads with Changkyun so that they both had to lean back, whining a bit in Kihyun’s case, holding their foreheads.

Kihyun squinted at Changkyun, still wincing a bit because yes, this was completely his fault and there was absolutely no reason to be looking at Kihyun all red-faced and wide-eyed

Ow. Fuck, Changkyun, what the hell,” Kihyun said, not even trying to keep the whine out of his voice. It fucking hurt, okay.

“I,” Changkyun shook his head, moving the hand from his forehead to slap his cheek. “Sorry, hyung, I just saw your marks and--” He slapped his cheek again. “Remind me never to compliment you again. Fucking hurts.”

Kihyun frowned at him, still rubbing his forehead. “You’re fucking weird. Why are you slapping yourself. Whatever.” Kihyun rolled his eyes, turning back to his screen. “I heard you got 60% though. Good job. That was much better than that class test, right?”

Changkyun made an affirmative noise behind Kihyun. “Thanks to you, yeah.”

“I didn’t write the test for you, you know.”

“You can lead the idiot to the test, can’t make him not fail it, etc. I gotcha.”

Kihyun quirked a smile, but didn’t reply, hoping that Changkyun would get the hint and wander off. Which, he didn’t. He just. Stayed behind Kihyun, hands eventually finding their way onto Kihyun’s shoulders as Changkyun leaned into him, peering onto the screen as Kihyun clicked around, trying to look busy. It was as he opened his photography file and remembered that he was a bit fucked for the upcoming assignment, that he let out a sigh and Changkyun’s hands tightened on his shoulders.

Which was fine. (Kihyun had not been trying to calm himself when Changkyun’s hands first found his shoulders and he wasn’t doing it this time either. )

“What’s wrong, hyung?”

“Um. Nothing. Really. I mean, I’m a bit fucked, because Hyungwon is too busy to model for me, Wonho just laughed at me, and I need to get my preliminary planning stage in and I have nothing. ” Kihyun cleared his throat. “So, yeah. I’m fine. This is fine.”

“You need a model? What about Minhyuk, or Shownu?”

“I don’t… know them well enough. I, struggle, to photograph people I don’t know. I mean I can , but I wanna do really well on this and it would take too long to get comfortable enough to make it perfect .”

Changkyun paused. (Kihyun didn’t think he realised his hands were digging into Kihyun’s shoulders.) “I could do it. You know me well enough, right? I can, like, pout, if it helps you. Do models have to be Hyungwons?”

Kihyun tilted his head, considering. It’s not like he hadn’t been thinking about it… It was just, a lot. And, well. His photography was very personal. Kihyun knew himself well enough to know that he was right to be a bit scared by what the camera lense would reveal about himself.

“Sorry, it was a stupid idea--”

“No. Wait.” Changkyun paused, hands still digging painfully into Kihyun’s shoulders. “It’s not that I’m not grateful for the offer but… I’m very nitpicky. I get very. I’m a pain in the ass about my photography, basically. Like, this isn’t going to be just a quick thing to do for an hour or two after classes.” Kihyun fidgeted slightly, resisting the urge to shrug his shoulders. It was surprisingly helpful to know Changkyun wasn’t as calm as he was obviously trying to be.

“Kihyun-hyung,” Changkyun said evenly, turning Kihyun (stupid swivel chairs allowing him to do this) around to face him, a hesitant smile on the younger’s face. “You realize you’ve been tutoring me for close to a month now, right? You literally correct me while I’m still typing. I’m sure I was just as much a pain in the ass, and you stuck with it, so --” Changkyun wavered a bit, taking his hands off Kihyun’s shoulders, scratching at his cheek. “If you want me, I’d be happy to help. I can wear, like, a lot of makeup?”

“I don’t actually like my subjects to be caked in make-up,” Kihyun mumbled. Kihyun shrugged. “Listen, I’ll think about it. Thanks for the offer. I’ll… I’ll think about it.”

Changkyun nodded, eyes on his shifting feet. “Cool. Cool, cool, cool, cool . I’ll, er, see you around--just text me if you want me--need me for the thing, I mean. For the--yeah, bye.”

Changkyun quickly waved, turned to leave, walked into a chair, apologised to the chair, and then walked faster, disappearing out the door.

Changkyun as a model. Changkyun as a model. Changkyun as Kihyun’s model.

Kihyun fought the shiver running down his spine.

 

---

 

Changkyun

I just

Suggested that I model

MODEL

For Kihyun

KIHYUN

ME, I SUGGESTED IT

 

Hyungwon

WHAT DID HE SAY

I mean

What, really?

 

Changkyun

He said he’d think about it

which I’m sure means “sorry I meant I need a model, not a potato”

 

Hyungwon

Get over yourself

He’s not like that

Most of the time

 

Changkyun

I’m so stupid like I thought he’d want to??

Cos you said he took that picture of me while I was sleeping????

Ugh I need Jooheon to hug me and say nice things

 

Hyungwon

It’s literally probably just him working out how to fit you into his concept

Like, I know he has to have a theme and stuff

Like, he didn’t say no

Which is more than I can say the first time I asked him if I could model for him

 

Changkyun

I’m insanely curious what did he say

 

Hyungwon

He said he didn’t need a beanpole

But he came begging for me a few weeks later

Apparently his usual model dropped him

Which, now I think about it, was probably Wonho

 

Changkyun

...huh ok well if he said no to you

And feel free to take this straight to your ego

Then he must really just be thinking about it

I mean look how cute I am

 

Hyungwon

Now that I’ve stroked your ego

Can you please tell Jooheon that no, he cannot buy another horror game

He wants to play the evil within 2

Why does he do this to himself

 

Changkyun

He might be trying to prove himself to Gunhee

I mean

He’s a masochist what a crazy guy

 

---

 

Changkyun

TALENT

 

Kihyun

How did you even

 

Changkyun

Through pure talent

Ow

 

 

Kihyun

lol did the phone fall on your face

 

Changkyun

If only

 

Kihyun

Where

You know what

I don’t want to know



Changkyun

My selfies are much better when I’m not using my feet

I promise

You’re a PHOTOGRAPHER your selfies are probably frickin’ amazing



Kihyun

Do you think you’re being subtle



Changkyun

I like to imagine I can be, yeah

 

Kihyun

Imagination is a powerful thing

 

Changkyun

Can’t top this

 

Kihyun

You have dimples?

I mean, not bad

 

Changkyun

I do lol haven't you noticed

but yeah hang on I have an old pic or two somewhere

Seeeeeeeee you can’t beat dimples #illegal

Skills < dimples

 

Kihyun

That’s

That’s nice

You free tomorrow afternoon?

 

Changkyun

For what? Didn’t we just write the last test??? :O

OH GOD IS THERE A TEST I DON’T KNOW ABOUT

 

Kihyun

Chill your pants

For the modelling

Thing

You said you would

I mean, if you still want to

 

Changkyun

Wait seriously

Sorry I just meant

Like for real???

 

Kihyun

It’s fine if you weren’t serious

I mean

I’ll find someone else it’s fine

 

Changkyun

NO SORRY I JUST

I know those are some damn good selfies but

I’ve never modelled before and my face is a wreck and

Sorry I just mean I want to help I do

But I

 

Kihyun

Changkyun

Your face is fine

I’ll help you with the modelling

Believe it or not, I’ve had to help quite a few people

Anyway, my concept is ‘natural beauty’

I don’t want you to look posed anyway

 

Changkyun

Natural beauty

Okay well I mean if you’re sure I can do it

Lol I’m so fucking sorry I literally said I’d help you and look at me being

Anyway yeah no I’m not doing shit tomorrow afternoon, so yeah, no problem

 

Kihyun

Okay, it’ll be in my house’s garage.

The wall is clear and stuff it

It’s not as weird as it sounds

 

Changkyun

do you also photograph people in remote basements

[Life is Strange flashbacks]

I do not know where you live, but i’ll be there

With all my ~~natural beauty~~

 

Kihyun

I’ll send you the location in a bit

Thanks

You’re really helping me out here

 

Changkyun

It’s the least I can do :3

 

---

 

Changkyun

So Kihyun wants me at his house tomorrow afternoon

 

Hyungwon

He wants you

At his house

hmmmmm

 

Changkyun

YOU STOP RIGHT THERE SIR

I already accidentally made a sexual innuendo

about topping

right in his chat

next to my own goddamn face

I don’t need this

I meant modelling. He said yes to the modelling.

Let me live

 

Hyungwon

How the fuck did you manage to make yourself

*deep sigh*

ANYway

Yeah

Told you he was just thinking about it

You insecure potato

 

Changkyun

Whatever you conceited beanpole

Please help me I have no idea what to do or what’s gonna happen

Please I’m losing my mind a bit

 

Hyungwon

Someday

You’re gonna need to stop being so dramatic

Just

I mean, I basically just put on my bitch face and chill

?

 

Changkyun

If I had your face this wouLDN’T BE A PROBLEM, WOULD IT

It’s fine

The only reason I texted you of all people was because

His concept is Natural Beauty

 

Hyungwon

Wait

When did he tell you about this ‘concept’?

 

Changkyun

After he asked me to model for him. Why?

 

Hyungwon

Interesting

Because, I’m pretty sure his theme before

When he still wanted me to model for him

Was ‘Hands’

Like, he was gonna photograph me holding stuff and shit

Like I said

Interesting

 

Changkyun

...what are you trying to say here

 

Hyungwon

You know

I’m not your personal therapist

I’m not gonna spell this out for you

Stop being an idiot for a second maybe

And you’ll see it



Changkyun

...are you saying… that…

That maybe he...

Chose the concept for me...??

Instead of choosing me... for the concept...???

Hahahaha sure

Good thought though it made me laugh a lot thanks

 

Hyungwon

You’re missing a hyung there

You little shit



Changkyun

And you’re missing sense and reason, hyung

But I forgive you

Now teach me how to pout

Naturally

 

Hyungwon

Hyungwon is offline

 

Changkyun

Texting doesn’t work like that

 

Hyungwon

Message not received

Try again later

Or not

Fuck off

 

Changkyun

Changkyun is sad and alone now

 

---



Kihyun fidgeted around with his tripod and his light modifier, trying to get the angle perfect. Usually he set up without much fuss about twenty minutes before Hyungwon showed up, adjusting things as need be as the shoot progressed. For some reason, though, things didn’t seem to want to fall into place and honestly if this fucking reflector would just, fucking stop , bending at that weird angle--

“Oh, dear brother of mine, what the fuck are you doing?”

Kihyun felt his ears burn and shot up, ignoring the smirk on Jeongyeon’s face as he moved to fiddle with the camera.

“Watch your language. You don’t want dad to hear you.”

Jeongyeon leaned against the wall, folding her arms across her chest. “No worries. He’s at work. Like he always is when you hold these photoshoot things. You didn’t answer my question though, don’t think I didn’t notice.”

Kihyun rolled his eyes. “What? Suddenly I’m weird for adjusting my equipment? I always do that,” Kihyun scoffed, testing the flash the nth time.

“One,” Jeongyeon said, holding up a finger. “Please never refer to anything as ‘your equipment’ ever again. Like, ever . Two,” she said, adding another. “I’ve seen you do all this in like, five minutes. You’ve been in here for half an hour. Do you have a new model or something? You know Hyungwon’s angles way too well at this point, my dude. Ooh! Is it a giiiirl? ” Jeongyeon smirked, lifting an eyebrow at Kihyun.

KIhyun looked at her with a blank face, before flipping her the finger. She knew damn well that he wasn’t--

Nope.

“Go away,” he said instead. “Isn’t it your scheduled ‘annoy mom’ time.”

“Yeah, but I got some good annoying in before coming here so,” she grinned brightly. “When will he be here, then?”

Kihyun flipped her two fingers.

Two fingers? Wow, Kihyun--”

“Honey, there’s someone at the gate!” His mom’s voice floated in from the kitchen, and Kihyun felt the fluttering nerves he had been suppressing for the better half of an hour flare up again in full force. Why the fuck was he so nervous this was just a photoshoot he had done this about a thousand times before this should be chill.

“Go get him, tiger.”

“Okay, that’s it I’m telling Dad about your tattoo.”

Kihyuuun.

 

---

 

Was he supposed to ring the bell? Text Kihyun? Definitely wasn’t supposed to loiter around their gate for ten minutes. They must have spotted him, though, if the gate suddenly opening was any indication.

Oh dear lord.

He hiked his backpack up his back, taking a deep breath before walking forward, to what must be the front door. Right?

“Are you here for Kihyun?” A woman appeared out of the house, drying her hands on a towel and looking at him inquisitively. Changkyun desperately tried to appear like a normal human being, while also trying to remind himself that he isn’t actually meeting the parents of his crush because that wasn’t the agreement and--

“I’m not meeting you,” Changkyun said, before he realize what he had just fucking said and bowing deeply. “I’m so sorry! I mean, it’s nice to meet you, Mrs Yoo. I am here for Kihyun-hyung--for the modelling? For the--I’m sorry.”

Way to go with that word diarrhea, there, Changkyun, really, you could literally just have said ‘yes’ and it would have been fine but no you had to go and--

The woman laughed. “Oh, no worries, dear, let me show you through to his ‘studio’. Be warned, it’s not nearly as fancy as it sounds. But, don’t say that to Kihyun.”

“I wouldn’t dare,” Changkyun said, smiling softly, knowing full well that he was still blushing furiously at his own failure of an existence, but followed her through the house nonetheless.

“Are you the boy he’s tutoring?” she asked, looking back at him curiously.

Changkyun nodded, glancing around. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Please don’t call me ma’am, dear--I am neither your teacher or an old lady you’re helping across the road.”

“Sorry, ma--” Changkyun snapped his mouth shut. Silence was better. Definitely better. Christ, this was going so damn well.

She just laughed, leading him down a long, dark hallway before going down some stairs. “Just call me Mrs Yoo.” She stopped in front of a closed door, out of which muffled voices were coming.

She opened the door, and the two people on the other side, one of whom was Kihyun, froze, voices cutting off abruptly. Changkyun swallowed nervously.

“Kihyun, dear, your friend is here. Who you could have met at the gate if you two weren’t so busy bickering.” Kihyun mother smiled thinly at her son, and Changkyun had the singular, and, frankly, disturbing experience of seeing Kihyun abashed.

“Yeah, Kihyun, be a gentleman for once,” the girl, looking particularly amused, directed at Kihyun.

Did Kihyun have a girlfriend he didn’t know about or--

“Oh, this is my daughter, Jeongyeon. Isn’t she beautiful?”

RIght at that moment, Jeongyeon, Kihyun’s sister , with her mother’s back towards her, scrunched up her nose, crossed her eyes, and stuck out her tongue.

Changkyun physically could not contain the tiny snort that escaped him, though he quickly tried to cover it up with a cough. Kihyun looked particularly amused. Fighting off his smile was a feat . “Yes, very beautiful. Nice to meet you, Jeongyeon.”

Her features relaxed as her mother turned towards them, before smiling widely. “It’s so wonderful to meet you...?”

“Oh, er, I’m Changkyun,” he said, bowing a little.

Changkyun , fantastic. It really was nice meeting you, oppa ," she grinned, walking past him and to her mother with a spring in her step. "Have fun~”

Changkyun saw Kihyun tensing out of the corner of his eye, but resisted turning towards him, smiling and bowing until Mrs Yoo and Jeongyeon exited the room.

(“You really shouldn’t call a boy you just met oppa, Jeongyeon--”

“Don’t worry, mom. I’m sure we’ll get acquainted quite soon.”)

 

---

 

It was silent for a few moments after Kihyun’s mother and the little shit he was forced to call his sister left. Honestly though, that little shit. Who called someone oppa when they just met like--

“I brought clothes.”

“I… would hope so.”

Changkyun’s eyes widened, cheeks red,  before he spluttered a bit. “I meant--just--” He quickly shrugged his backpack off his shoulders. “I mean, I don’t know if what I’m wearing is okay, so I just brought some--”

Kihyun tilted his head, really looking at what Changkyun was wearing for the first time. He looked, well, a bit more cleaned up than he usually did. Red, checkered button-up, white shirt underneath, and… Kihyun swallowed. Very, very tight jeans.

“Um.”

Changkyun paled. “What? Is it bad?” He looked down at himself. “I’m sorry.”

“No!” Kihyun exclaimed, loudly, before clearing his throat. “I mean, no, it’s fine. You’re, fine. Um, so, okay, we’ll start with those clothes. You can take them off later.” Changkyun blanched. “ I mean, we can check out the clothes you brought and maybe just take off the button-up-- Okay, you know what,” Kihyun said, desperate to stop his stammering, “Just, just go over there. Just sit on that couch. Did you bring a book?”

Changkyun’s face fell, looking down at his backpack. “Was I supposed to bring a book ? Fuck.”

Kihyun snorted, feeling a bit more in control now. He always liked it better that way. “It’s fine. It’s just for the natural thing. Here,” Kihyun glanced around, grabbing a book lying on the floor beside his own backpack before tossing it at Changkyun. “Take this.”

Changkyun caught the book, an eyebrow lifting with a sly smile. “The Picture of Dorian Gray? Really, hyung?”

Kihyun frowned. “What? What’s wrong with it?”

“Right, I forget not everyone is conditioned to read books critically,” Changkyun said, walking over to the couch, opening the book on a random page, and plopping down.

“Right.”

Kihyun frowned again, before moving in behind the camera. He instantly felt more calm, more, in place, somehow. Now, if he could just get the angle. There . That captured the curve of his jawline--

It was delightful to watch him,” Changkyun read, eyes mischievous and words formed around a small smirk. “With his beautiful face, and his beautiful soul, he was a thing to wonder at.”

Kihyun felt cold, as if a bucket of ice had just been emptied out over him, and his eyes widened. He didn’t lift his face from behind the camera, too conscious of himself to move. How did Changkyun know ? Did he know? What was going on? His body temperature was going haywire, cold one moment, then hot the next. Kihyun honestly felt as though he was about to pass out.

“W--what? What was that?”

“I’m reading your book, hyung,” Changkyun said, not even looking up, leaning back into the couch. There was a curiously blank expression on his face. “Now shhh, this is classic literature and I’m getting to the good part.” He cleared his throat. “ It was no matter how it all ended, or how it was destined to end--

Okay . That’s enough. I just wanted you to look like you’re reading, not actually reading. And, it doesn’t really help to have your mouth moving.”

“But he just got a telegram! Dorian’s getting married and he cannot figure out why he’s so damn upset --”

Changkyun . Please. I want to get done before nine tonight.” Kihyun pinched his nose, grateful for the chance to look down in an attempt to get his heart back under control. It was beating furiously, and not in a good way.

“Whatever you say, hyung,” Changkyun said, flipping through the book, smile softening as he scanned through the book, before seemingly deciding on a place and reading. Or, at least, he just stopped talking , which Kihyun could now actually work with.

Kihyun breathed in, breathed out. Shook his head slightly. He didn’t have time for this. He has one week to hand in his planning. There’s no time to get distracted. Now focus.

 

---

 

Changkyun

I read some gay shit

and now Kihyun won’t look at me except through a camera

Whoops

In my defence it was his gay shit

 

Jooheon

I’m

So confused

 

Changkyun

I’m so stressed :)

 

Jooheon

Boi

What is going on

What gay shit?

Aren’t you at the dorm?

 

Changkyun

OH SHIT I NEVER FUCKING TOLD YOU

I’M MODELLING FOR KIHYUN

I’M SO SORRY I WAS SO BUSY FREAKING OUT I DIDN’T EVEN TELL YOU

 

Jooheon

WHAT

WHAT

WHAT

YOU ARE WHAT

AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME

WHAT

BRO



Changkyun

LISTEN I’M PANIC TEXTING IN HIS BATHROOM RIGHT NOW

LET ME LIVE

 

Jooheon

HIS BATHROOM

WTF DUDE

WHERE ARE YOU

I’M SO

 

Changkyun

Plz can we focus on the fact that

NONE OF THIS MATTERS COS I FUCKED IT UP TWO MINUTES IN

He handed me the Picture of Dorian Gay to pretend-read

man what was I supposed to do

 

Jooheon

I thought this was modelling why is he giving you gay literature



Changkyun

Fuck if I know man

Okay I literally do not have the time to discuss this

Gotta go pose and shit

 

Jooheon

WAIT

WHY DID HE GIVE YOU THE BOOK?

ARE YOU AT HIS HOUSE?

CHANGKYUN?

WHY AM I ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW EVERYTHING

Ffs

COME BACK AND EXPLAIN YOURSELF

FUC K

 

---

 

Jooheon

the world is cruel and my best friend hates me

 

Gunhee

there there

Chapter Text

The thing about photography was that is was, well, easy . In a way other things weren’t to Kihyun. That wasn’t to say that he didn’t work damn hard on developing his skill; on figuring out the correct angle, using the correct filters and lighting, but… he had a certain knack for it. He always had. Intuition , his professor had called it. He had intuition when it came to photography.

So basically, he had never expected to struggle much in photography. In any aspect of it, really. Sure, he could spend hours agonising about a photo, about whether this or that one worked better (and often did), but… He had never found photographing someone this fucking difficult.

When it came to Lim Changkyun, Kihyun’s intuition seemed to have a life of its own.

To be perfectly clear, Changkyun wasn’t a bad model.

In fact, an unbiased observer would have commented that Changkyun seemed to have a natural knack for tilting his head and looking at the camera in a way that just worked ; even positioning his hands came naturally, all of which were things most models tended to find difficult in the beginning.

(Kihyun couldn’t even begin to count the number of times he had had to tell people what to do with their hands for every picture, since they couldn’t seem to figure them out and ended up cradling their own hand in front of them like an awkward prom photo or internet meme.)

It was just, well... Kihyun had the distinct impression--a suspicion that grated over his mind and threatened to overwhelm by how unbelievable ( scary ) it was--that he wasn’t, completely, one hundred percent, unbiased.

Of course, it was all about the project. This particular photoshoot that meant a bit more to him, because this was, after all, for his final project. This was for his final grade , something that might as well dictate whether or not he would be allowed to continue with that class. This was important .

It was important, but didn’t exactly explain why--in the little break they had between shoots, something they both seemed to need urgently judging by the way Changkyun immediately booked it to the bathroom--he found that the clothes he had laid out for Changkyun to wear next was, well, this .

He had wanted to do a scene with a suit. Of course, that was something he had wanted to do even before Changkyun was his model. He had adapted it a bit to fit the new concept, but he hadn’t expected to stand back and realise he had put out pants, a suit jacket and… well nothing else.

He felt a shiver of something slither down his spine as he looked at the clothes he had unthinkingly laid out. Changkyun shirtless was… something he wasn’t entirely sure he was comfortable with. It was a thought, a thing , that might make the slightly shaky feeling he had had for the duration of the shoot spiral out of control, slip out of his hands. And shaky hands on a photographer just wouldn’t work.

(And Changkyun, the little shit, would undoubtedly say something about it and Kihyun just couldn’t deal with his particular brand of ridiculousness today. Which of course made it a brilliant idea to have Changkyun as his model. Chist, why had he agreed to this? )

“Do you want me to change into that?”

Kihyun looked around to see Changkyun standing behind him, looking at the clothes with curious eyes, hands fiddling with his button-up.

“Yes? I, yes. I want to do something a bit more formal for the next set.”

Changkyun hummed and nodded before stepping forward and picking up the clothes. Kihyun’s shoulders sagged a bit in relief that he hadn’t said anything about the shirt. He hadn’t said anything about the shirt and it was fine --

“Hyung, is this all? I, I mean,” a slight, hesitant, high-pitched giggle, “There’s not much .”

Kihyun froze, ready to go on the offensive, spouting things about ‘angles’ (for some reason that always got people to shut up. Everyone, that is, except Hyungwon, that fucking annoying beanpole), before his brain caught up with him. Changkyun didn’t sound amused, or annoyed, or smug, or disgusted or anything, really. Nothing that Kihyun had been preparing himself for.

He sounded, in fact, a bit, scared. Obviously Kihyun wasn’t an expert at reading Changkyun ( obviously ), but there was a slight tremor in his voice, a slight cadence that gave away that he was trying just a tiny bit too hard to sound unaffected. (Distantly, Kihyun wondered when he had gotten so good at reading the slight inflections in Changkyun’s voice.)

“I mean, yeah.” Kihyun turned around, raising an eyebrow at the way Changkyun was holding the jacket a good foot away from his body. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to, obviously…” He trailed off, still unsure how to react to this particular Changkyun.

Another high-pitched giggle. “It’s not that I don’t want to, hyung, but, um, I’m not exactly,” Changkyun gestured to himself, a bit wildly, before running a hand through his hair (a tuft standing at an awkward angle). “I’m not Wonho.” Changkyun cleared his throat. “Or Hyungwon, for that matter. Because I know he looks like skin and bones and shit but he actually does have abs and shit from dancing or whatever. Which, I don’t. The dancing or the abs. Yeah. I mean, I live off chips and ramen. I just-- I don’t have abs, hyung.”

Kihyun frowned. That’s what Changkyun was worried about? He couldn’t help the slight huff of amusement at the thought that this boy was insecure . Ridiculous. Utterly laughable.

“So?” he asked, still smiling. “I don’t have abs either. And, honestly, if I wanted someone that looked like they lived in the gym, or, a fucking natural abomination like Hyungwon, I would have asked someone else. This is about natural beauty, remember?” Changkyun seemed to swallow, looking down at the jacket, lip between his teeth. “As in, not that polished image people have of males. Not that I believe for a single second that you’re hiding flab or something under there,” Kihyun ended, pointing at the white t-shirt Changkyun was wearing under his unbuttoned checkered shirt, which, while not tight, was fitted enough to see that the person wearing it definitely wasn’t anything other than thin.

Changkyun laughed softly, face flushing, something Kihyun wasn’t sure what to do with. Changkyun looked up at him, back at the jacket, back at Kihyun, the jacket, then puffed out a breath. “Well, if you insist ,” Changkyun said, shrugging off the checkered shirt.

“Um! You can change in the bathroom. I don’t want my sister walking in on a naked boy or whatever.” Kihyun’s ears were red. They were red and he was trying extremely hard not to concentrate on that as he focused an exasperated glare at Changkyun.

“Why, does that happen often?” Changkyun smirked. Smirked.

“No, of course not.” Kihyun told his brain to shut up. That was just once and-- Shut up . “Now go, before I go beg a random stranger to model for me cause you’re wasting time.”

“Sir, yes, sir,” Changkyun said, mock-saluting before quickly grabbing the pants, draping the jacket over his shoulder and walking out of the room.

 

---

 

Changkyun walked out of the room, into the bathroom, and then promptly sat down against the bathroom door to just take a damn moment. This was fine, right?

He pondered the clothing, frowning. Okay. He could put this on. He could be confident. He didn’t even sleep shirtless, but okay. This was Kihyun , but okay.

This was fine .

This was only his ridiculously big crush. No big fucking deal.

He recalled Kihyun mentioning the fact that he was wasting his time, and quickly shook himself out of whatever self-piteous spiral he might be approaching because goddammit, his insecurities could wait. He changed quickly, ignoring the temptation to look in the mirror (he didn’t need to feel more self conscious than he already did), before gathering all his clothes into a little pile and holding it in front of himself as he hurried back to the “studio”, scared Jeongyeon or Kihyun’s mother would find him half-naked (not really, but still ) in their house.

Half-Naked and Afraid.

He ducked into the studio, silently putting his clothes by his bag as Kihyun seemed to pay him no mind, engrossed in setting up the space Changkyun assumed he’d be posing in. Posing in .

Christ, he wasn’t fucking naked , he really shouldn’t be so damn nervou--

“Are you ready?” Kihyun asked, and Changkyun looked over to find the other boy not looking up from the camera now held carefully in his hand. Changkyun took a breath, and a moment. A moment to collect his thoughts; a moment to get the hell over himself; a moment to just look at Kihyun which always seemed to be able to calm him, (and make his heart beat faster nearly simultaneously). It was a dizzying, sobering feeling, one that Changkyun could hold onto so that when Kihyun frowned at him (he was always frowning) and asked, “Are you okay?”, that Changkyun could honestly say, “Of course I’m okay. I’m in good hands, after all.”

Kihyun quickly looked back at his camera, a small smile playing over his lips. “Only good ? I’m insulted.”

“Hey, I haven’t actually seen the pictures, you know,” Changkyun said with a sudden courage, walking over to the space Kihyun had clearly set up for this. “God knows how you make me look, hyung.”

Kihyun rolled his eyes. “You being a little shit is not enough for me to intentionally take a bad picture. Stand a bit to the left.”

Changkyun shuffled a bit to Kihyun’s left, pulling at the collar of his jacket. “Right. So exactly how sexy would you like me to be here? I can do at least a seven, if eight is, like, a really tasty looking bowl of kimchi. You know, actually, make that a six.”

Kihyun glanced up at him, a small, hesitant smile playing around the corners of his mouth. “Oh, I think you can get at least a nine.”

“Now that sounds like a challenge,” Changkyun stuttered and then, trying to mask his confusion to that strangely flirtatious comment, shook his shoulders loose, took a deep breath, imagined the best goddamn bowl of kimchi he had ever seen, and broke one of the rules Kihyun had given him at the beginning of the shoot; namely, don’t look at the camera.

He fucking smoldered at that goddamn camera. (Or, well, he tried, at least. Smoldering was just pouty squinting, right? )

He was still staring intently at the camera when Kihyun seemed to choke, coughing up a lung in the process, it sounded like. Changkyun frowned, breaking the, well, fairly ridiculous pose he had been holding, and took a hesitant step forward, lifting his hand before Kihyun noticed him and waved him off wildly.

“No! No, I’m fine.” More coughing. “Just,” cough, “breathed into the wrong airway…”

“Is that even possible?”

“Probably. I mean, I just did, so yes?” Kihyun shook his head. “Anyway, didn’t I tell you not to look at the camera? Especially when you’re all nak-- not fully dressed. I’m not shooting some sort of po-- adult thing or whatever.” Kihyun’s cheeks were flaming.

“I won’t do it again, then, if you’re going to choke like that.” Did he just fucking say that. “No looking into the camera, gotcha.” Changkyun turned around, feeling his own face flush. Why was he like this.

Attempt number two. He could do this. He stretched his neck from side to side, entwining his fingers in front of him and stretching to try and fix that goddamn tense feeling literally everywhere in his body , when he had an idea. He looked down, because looking at either the camera or Kihyun was just a bad, bad idea, and lifted his arms over his head to stretch whatever abdominal muscles might accidentally exist. That should do it, right?

Right at that moment, however, as he was lifting his arms, the door clicked open, and Changkyun turned around to see Jeongyeon poking her head into the door, arms frozen above him.

She smirked at him, eyes travelling up and down him in a way that made him feel a tiny bit as if he were a piece of meat on display, then glanced over at Kihyun, her smirk growing.

“Damn, Kihyun, take the damn picture, it lasts longer.”

At that Changkyun’s arms, which he had for some reason still been holding in his stretch, fell to his sides suddenly, eliciting a ‘whump’ of sound and he turned around to see Kihyun, literally, staring at him open-mouthed.

“I, I need to go. Bathroom.” With that, Kihyun almost rocketed out the door, taking his camera with him.

“What just…”

“You heard him, he needs to go bathroom.”

 

---

 

Kihyun

Help

I can’t

Why is this my life

 

Wonho

Did you get locked out of your house again?

I’ve literally lost count

 

Kihyun

This is somehow more pathetic than that

(And stop bringing that up they were all accidents and completely unavoidable and not my fault)

 

Wonho

oooooooooookay you’re being extra fun

what’s wrong, Kihyun?

 

Kihyun

You know I’m not one for hyperbole, right?

So, anyway, I think Changkyun is trying to kill me

 

Wonho

I mean, I sincerely doubt it, but he is quite accident prone

You didn’t give him a knife did you

 

Kihyun

No, Wonho, I’m not an idiot

Well actually considering what

I asked him???

Well, he offered, and I accepted the offer

He’s modelling for me okay

 

Wonho

WAIT LIKE RIGHT NOW?

 

Kihyun

Yes

He is shirtless

Wonho

I didn’t know

Why didn’t you just model for me you jerk

 

Wonho

Damn Kihyun I’m sorry honestly

I know you don’t

I mean

I was just so busy I didn’t think and I didn’t think Kyun would offer

Are you okay?


Kihyun

No

 

Wonho

Do you want me to come over?

Kihyun?

 

Kihyun

I

Please

Please Wonho


Wonho

Breathe, I’ll be there in ten

And ffs give Changkyun a shirt

 

Kihyun

A shirt

Right

I have shirts

 

Wonho

Cool, give him one

I’m on my way

 

---


“Oh, God, I screwed up, didn’t I?” Changkyun rambled immediately, hand in his hair. “I took my shirt off and he literally ran away, I’m the worst model to exist ever on the planet.”

Jeongyeon rolled her eyes and leaned against the wall. “Ignore my brother. He is a big gay issue who refuses to acknowledge that fact.”

Changkyun let his hand fall, looking at Jeongyeon as something stirred in the pit of his stomach. “Wait, what ?”

“This is fucking unnecessarily complicated, which is his own fucking fault,” Jeongyeon’s face seemed to be stuck in a permanent eyeroll, “But, he is messing up his own fucking life with this, so.”

“I literally have no idea what you’re saying to me right now.”

“Okay, first, before I tell you shit, what the fuck are your intentions with my brother?”

Changkyun could feel himself blush, closing the jacket over his chest because, yes, when he blushed, his entire fucking body turned pink. “I don’t-- intentions -- What are you say--” He swallowed. “I don’t have intentions --”

“Okay,” Jeongyeon plopped herself down on the couch. “Let me put it this way: do you just want to get in his pants, or do you want to feelings him?”

He gaped at her, open-mouthed and flushed. “How are you even saying that without feeling embarrassed, oh my god .” He ran a hand over his face, heart pounding in his ears. He wasn’t going to tell Kihyun’s sister , was he?!

“I have walked into my fair share of fucked up shit, my dude.”

Did he want to know? “Listen, it’s really not what you think--he’s tutoring me, I’m just helping him out, I don’t--” Who are you fooling, here? “Want to--” Changkyun settled on a pained noise and hiding his face again.

Jeongyeon looked thoroughly unimpressed. “If you want to be clueless, be my guest. My guess is that Kihyun has almost pulled himself together by now, and you are missing out on some prime information here, my dude. But, whatever, if he’s just your tutor…”

Changkyun paused, weighing his options carefully , here. “I don’t… just wanna get into his pants. Okay? Are you happy now?”

“Ecstatic.” Jeongyeon’s facial muscles didn’t move an inch. “So, tip number one, my parents are big homophobes. That’s a thing. Keep that in mind when he runs away and gets pissy. Tip number two…” Jeongyeon paused. “Okay, this one is awkward. I know what both my brother and Wonho looks like naked. Because they were naked together. That’s a thing.”

Wonho?! ” Changkyun’s voice strained over what must be his heart stuck somewhere in his throat, eyes wide. He couldn’t get himself to look at Jeongyeon. “I have to compete with that ?” Wonho, bonafide Adonis, sex-god, abbed Wonho ?! Changkyun had kissed exactly one (1) boy before running away and then struggling to even look at him in class afterwards.

They’d been naked?!!?  Changkyun flushed, hitting his cheek. No no no bad thoughts get away bad bad bad.

Jeongyeon frowned, pushing herself up on her elbows and looking actually invested in the conversation for the first time. “ That’s what you held on to? Out of all that? Not the fact about our parents? You need to get your priorities in order, my dude.”

Changkyun frowned at her. “Well, Minhyuk and Shownu--er, they’re friends of mine. Their parents are horribly homophobic, but they’re-- You know. Hyungwon’s mum isn’t the best either, I--”

Jeongyeon raised her eyebrows. “Uh-huh. Yeah I’m not sure you’re really getting it--”

The door slammed open behind Changkyun.

“Right! So, the shirtless thing doesn’t really fit my concept, so here’s a shirt and--” Kihyun stopped talking, and Changkyun, who had frozen upon hearing the door open, turned to see Kihyun frowning at Jeongyeon. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m doing you a favour, honestly,” she mumbled, already standing up. She twiddled her fingers at Changkyun, flipped off her brother, and walked out the door.

Kihyun pinched his nose. “Sorry about her. She has no boundaries or just, like, manners. At all.”

“It’s fine,” Changkyun said, clearing his throat, trying to get himself to sound more confident and less like the nervous boy he was. “The, er, shirt?”

“Yeah, right.” Kihyun tossed the shirt towards Changkyun. He caught it (barely) and briefly wondered if he should go to the bathroom again to get changed. That would… probably not help? Or would it? Fuck it.

Changkyun shrugged off the jacket, not looking at Kihyun. Was Jeongyeon just messing with him? She didn’t seem the type, but something in Changkyun had trouble coming to terms with the fact that Changkyun shirtless could cause anyone to literally run away, nevermind Yoo Kihyun. The boy who literally glared at him at least once during every conversation they had. Yeah, he was sensitive in that any amount of teasing could make his ears flare up, but… Nah, couldn’t be.

Knock knock . “Kihyun?”

Changkyun dropped the shirt. Was that Wonho ? Now?!

Wow, things just kept getting better didn’t it. He scrambled for the shirt, while Kihyun told Wonho to come in.

“Hey, are you--Oh, hey, Changkyun,” Wonho said, smile a bit too wide. He looked at Changkyun and frowned. Why was he-- oh christ the shirt just put on the shirt already oh my god--

Changkyun flushed, quickly turning around to pull on the shirt.

“Hey,” Kihyun barely looked up from the camera he was fiddling with, nodding at Wonho before looking curiously at Changkyun. “Ready to continue?”

Changkyun nodded, pulling the jacket on again, and wondering if Kihyun had invited Wonho over. Must be, right? Kihyun didn’t exactly seem surprised by his presence. Changkyun glanced at them as he took his place again. Okay, so now he had to look like some sort of ‘natural beauty’ with Wonho right there . Okay. Wonho, who Kihyun had clearly invited. Who, possibly, according to Jeongyeon, Kihyun had been… naked with. Um. This was going to be fun.

 

---

 

Wonho

Quick question

does Kihyun also constantly order you around when taking pictures of you?

 

Hyungwon

Lol of COURSE

The bossy little shit

Like I haven’t been doing this for years

 

Wonho

And you are absolutely wonderful

You know Changkyun’s modelling for Kihyun, right?
Well. I’m here.

Never in my life has Kihyun been this quiet

 

Hyungwon

OMG

I mean, yeah Changkyun told me

But, really?

Not even positioning him about a thousand times in the minutest ways because

‘Your hand was making a stupid shadow’?

 

Wonho

Nooooope~~~

I mean, props to Changkyun, I know he’s nervous but he’s good at this

But. Damn.

 

Hyungwon

I honestly don’t know whether to be amused

Or offended

Like, damn, Kihyun shutting up is the biggest fucking compliment

 

Wonho

Honestly, I’m more concerned than anything else >.<

Kihyun doesn’t handle things well

Also I’m like 99% sure Changkyun thinks he’s doing a bad job bc Kihyunnie is this quiet heh

 

Hyungwon

Hold on, I got this

 

---

 

Hyungwon

Okay, I forgot to say this earlier

But don’t be offended when Kihyun tells you what to do like a thousand times

Cause that’s just how he is

Like, even with me

Also, he won’t ever tell you if you’re in the right position to make a shot

He’ll only like, shut up and take photos if he’s happy

 

---

 

“Is that your phone?”

“Yeah, sorry,” Changkyun winced, quickly digging the phone out of his pocket, reading Hyungwon’s message and ignoring the thirty seven Jooheon had sent him over the last ten minutes.

“Oh.”

“What is it?”

“Nothing. Nothing.” Changkyun tossed his phone onto the couch, a small smile playing on his lips as he tilted his head and Kihyun took another picture without saying a single word.

---

 

Hyungwon

Did something happen???

Please tell me Changkyun’s reaction

I’ll give you kisses

 

Wonho

Holy shit that was you?

yay kisses o(〃^▽^〃)o

 

Hyungwon

You’re not getting kisses if you don’t tell me his exact reaction

Like, which freckle moved where etc

 

Wonho

He seems fifty times more relaxed.

Like, he’s moving a bit more, smiling more easily, the freckle on his throat is jumping for joy etc

Dare I ask?

 

Hyungwon

I sent him like

Fifty puns about dicks

He loves dick puns

 

Wonho

I know you’re joking but that would probably work

 

Hyungwon

Why would I be joking

I don’t do supportive shit

I’m the sassy bisexual friend

Who cheers people up by being a walking pillar of salt

 

Wonho

Of course you are, babe

Heart of stone

Definitely didn’t almost cry when we kissed the first time

lmao Changkyun just acted cute and I could physically see Kihyun’s soul leave his body

 

Hyungwon

I didn’t cry it was

Shut up

Honest to God why isn’t Kihyun just fucking dating this idiot already

Instead of being a literal idiot

 

Wonho

Kihyun is

I told you about us, right? From literal ages ago

I didn’t tell you everything. I should, it would explain a lot, but

Idk it’s not my story to tell, in a way

Sorry ugh ( ̄□ ̄;)

 

Hyungwon

So what I’m picking up

Is that he is an idiot with issues

 

Wonho

Yep

And one of them is modelling for him rn

 

Hyungwon

I think

I think we need Kihyun to talk to Minhyuk and Shownu

 

Wonho

What? Why?

 

Hyungwon

They’ve got a story and a half to tell

And I think, I hope

It might help

 

Wonho

And you’re totally not a big softie, right?

 

Hyungwon

Not at all.

This is just giving me stress and I need it to end

 

---

 

Jooheon

You bother me with your problems

and then you don’t bother telling me WHAT THE PROBLEM IS

He’s gone he left fantastic

You know, I have a life

I didn’t ask to be disrupted in this manner

Seriously why aren’t you answering me

Are there more gay books?

What were you doing in his bathroom

I cannot believe you went to his house

To shoot porn for him

And I know nothing

It took me a week to meet Wonho and now this

Gunhee is upset with you too y’know

Okay you know how I sound angry at you rn

I am a bit but that’s not the point why aren’t you answering me

It’s been

Okay it’s only been ten minutes but still

I’m very concerned

WELL FUCK FINE

I hope you two are being safe

Feel free to continue ignoring me

It’s fine

...Changkyun please I can’t handle it anymore

I’m so fucking curious what is happening

I will lure you out with memes and

And

And pictures of Kihyun I’ll bribe from someone

Okay so Wonho said he won’t send me pictures of his best friend cos it is

And I quote

“Weird, Jooheon, why”

I tried Hyungwon but he’s seriously sending me pictures of hamsters rn

Like, why would he even

DID YOU TELL HIM WHAT WAS GOING ON BUT NOT ME BRO

That hurts

I can’t even ask Gunhee to comfort me cause idk if we’re close enough yet

Fuck you

Okay, not actually

Do you think I can ask Gunhee to come over? That’s not weird right

No why am I asking you you suck

 

Changkyun

Not at all

Get your cuddle on~~

 

Jooheon

SALJDKJDGDFHGFJ

YOU ABSOLUTE

YOU LEAVE ME FOR HOURS

 

Changkyun

It was like, 20 minutes, max

you type really fast wth

 

Jooheon

...that is besides the point

ARE YOU GONNA TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED NOW OR WHAT?

 

Changkyun

Did u know that Kihyun and Wonho used to

Do stuff. Naked stuff?

I think they might have dated?

Idk

Stuff

 

Jooheon

….I did not know that no

Why do you know that

BUT, at least you know he has at least a passing interest in dudes now

 

Changkyun

His sister told me after he ran away

A passing interest in SHIN HOSEOK

 

Jooheon

Wait, why did he run away?

 

Changkyun

I was shirtless? I don’t

His parents are homophobic?

Dude I’m as lost as you are

 

Jooheon

WAIT WHY WERE YOU SHIRTLESS

WERE YOU REALLY SHOOTING A PORNO?

WHAT

 

Changkyun

WTF JOOHEON NO

IDK HE ASKED ME TO TAKE MY SHIRT OFF I’M NOT SAYING NO

AND IT DOESN’T MATTER COS IT WAS FOR LIKE TWO SECONDS

I STRETCHED AND HE RAN AWAY

AND THEN HIS SISTER CONFUSED ME

AND THEN FUCKING GOD ABOVE WONHO SHOWS UP

I need a hug

 

Jooheon

But like, did he run away because of those abs you insist don’t exist?

Or because the microwave was on or some shit

 

Changkyun

My non-existent abs and I are both confused as to why you would mention a microwave??

I have abs olutely no idea what you mean

Heh. oh man I deal with shit badly

Idk man and it was going so well, he flirted? I think?

I just

Do you ever wish you could read minds?

 

Jooheon

Idk man microwaves were the first thing I could think of

I might be hungry

He flirted? What did he say

Also, sometimes

But then I remember that people are fucked up

And I don’t want that in my brain

(How did I not pick up on this but: He asked you to take your shirt off? HE LIKES YOU)

 

Changkyun

FOR THE PHOTOSHOOT U NASTY

Well Wonho shirtless is forever embedded in my brain

Christ anyway

I’m so lost

How can you say he likes me just like that you don’t actually know that he likes me

 

Jooheon

I have intuition about these things

And didn’t you just say he liked dudes?


Changkyun

Yet it’s too early for you to call Gunhee? Sure

Yes, dudes. Apparently. IDK I’m lost

 

Jooheon

Stop being a salty ass bitch and think a bit

 

Changkyun

I’m actually physically lost I panicked and just walked out of his gate

I’ll just roam the streets like

Like a pigeon

I’m thinking about it okay it’s not going well

 

Jooheon

...did you at least wait until the shoot was over before you walked

What are you thinking then?

Like, come on, I’ll help you, what’s your thought process

 

Changkyun

Of course ffs

I’m THINKING

That…

Jooheon, I sincerely, really don’t want to get my hopes up

But I think he might like me

A bit. Not as much as I like him, obviously, but

Something

 

Jooheon

You have no idea how proud I am

That you managed to get your head out of your ass

And realise that

 

Changkyun

Your fucking turn, bro

 

Jooheon

FFS IDEK IF HE’S INTO DUDES

AND LIKE
HAVE YOU SEEN ME?

I’M NOT EXACTLY A FUCKING CATCH

 

Changkyun

I’m going to sit down under this tree just now

Give me a second I got this

I am also seriously going to hit you

 

Jooheon

CHANGKYUN NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING

CHANGKYUN???!!!!

DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE


---

 

Changkyun

So I’m having one hell of a day

Do me a favour and look at this

Opinion?

 

Gunhee

Blessed

Beautiful

My crops are thriving

My skin has cleared

12/10 would bang

Er

I meant

Starbucks is of the devil

Er

[sweats nervously]

 

Changkyun

wow dude lmao

okey thank you for your time

 

Gunhee

[sweating intensifies]

 

---

 

Jooheon

CHANGKYUN WHAT ARE YOU DOING

YOU LITTLE SHIT

WHY AM I YOUR FRIEND

 

Changkyun

Gunhee likes exactly one (1) cute-ass dude

 

Jooheon

WHO IS HE

Fuck I knew he couldn’t like me

I give up

 

Changkyun

Holy shit

Please come pick me up so I can hit you

 

Jooheon

I literally can’t, Wonho said he needed a car urgently and

As any human would when asked anything from Shin Hoseok

I gave him mine

 

Changkyun

...unbelievable

yet absolutely believable

 

---

 

Changkyun

Do you mayhaps have a ride?

 

Gunhee

DIS DICK

I’m so sorry about who I am as a person

yes I do why

 

Changkyun

lol you may stay

I need a favour~~~


Gunhee

.. .I’m listening

I’m assuming you need a lift?

 

Changkyun

:)

[location sent]

Please and thank you

 

Gunhee

How is a human being that cute

Ignore I just said that and then I will come pick you up

...one for the road?


Changkyun

ya damn thirsty

 

Gunhee

ah jeez

 

---

 

Kihyun opened the gate for Changkyun and waved a goodbye, letting the same hand fall down onto his face as Changkyun disappeared down the street.

“Is he… walking back to campus?”

“Quite possibly,” Kihyun sighed into his hand. “He’s an idiot like that. Anyway. Have you eaten?”

Wonho gave him a look. “Are you seriously going to stress-cook?”

“No! … Maybe. Oh, shut up. At least I don’t like, smoke or some shit.”

“Fine, you can make me a sandwich. If! If you talk to me.” Wonho frowned at his best friend. “The last time you panic texted me out of a bathroom--”

“Happened a really long time ago, okay? And it was like, a completely different situation.” Kihyun glared, turning to walk into the house.

“Okay, sure.” Wonho trailed after Kihyun, hands in his pockets. “Still, it’s not like you to panic like this.”

Kihyun let out a strangled laugh, pulling the kitchen door open almost viciously, immediately making his way to where the bread was stored. “Are you kidding me? Panicking is exactly like me. I’m just better at hiding it, usually. But that fucking kid…” Kihyun frowned at the bread he had placing on the counter, butter knife clutched in his hand.

Wonho laughed, shaking his head. “He does a good job of shaking you up, who would’ve thought.”

Kihyun was still frowning as he smeared a liberal amount of peanut butter on the bread. “Who gave him the fucking right. Like, why did he even volunteer for the modelling thing? Was he just trying to fuck with me?”

Wonho laughed nervously, eyeing the door. “Careful, dude, your mom’s still here.”

Kihyun glared at Wonho for a second before his shoulders slumped and he said, softly, “Fuck, I know. This is just… I don’t need this. Maybe I should just photograph fruit or some shit. And sit in a really crowded place in programming.”

“I don’t know, man, pineapples are pretty sexy,” Wonho joked.

“I will stab you with this butter-knife. It’ll take effort, but don’t think I won’t.”

“I’m sorry, I just,” Wonho let out a puff of air, tilting his head to look at his best friend looking at a half-made peanut butter sandwich like it was the cause of all his problems. “How serious is this, Kihyun?”

“It’s not serious. I mean, it’s nothing. I just need to, I just need to focus. I just need to focus.” Kihyun took a deep breath. “It’s not like I don’t have enough going in with my classes and all. And my dad wants me to pick up a part-time job, so, there’s that.”

“You're  shitting me,  right? Aren’t you busy enough as is?”

“It will, apparently, teach me the worth of hard work and make me more responsible. He’s even told me, ‘jokingly’ that he’ll stop giving me an allowance. I know he’s just looking out for me, but still…”

“I really hate your dad sometimes, you know,” Wonho said, biting the inside of his cheek and glaring at the wall.

“Oh, don’t be so dramatic. He’s doing what’s best for me. You know that.” Kihyun swallowed and picked up the sandwich. “Want one?”

“I do. Most of it is , anyway, I just--” Wonho sighed. “Yeah, just gimme.”

Kihyun handed the sandwich over, starting on the next. “How’s Hyungwon, by the way?”

Wonho laughed. “Seriously?”

“I am allowed to ask about your stupid--” Kihyun spoke softer, giving a quick glance to the door. “About your annoying boyfriend, okay.”

“He’s perfectly fine, thanks, although that is not going to change the subject.”

Kihyun snorted. “What, no wild urge to start spouting poetry about his frog-face or giraffe legs?”

“Mmm, it’s more of an interpretive dance I’m sure your mother wouldn’t appreciate walking in on,” Wonho joked. “So I’ll get back to you on that one. Your texts , on the other hand--”

“Should have just screamed into a pillow like I planned, but nooo --”

“Kihyun, please? You keep saying it’s not serious, that things are ‘fine’, and then you reach out to me? You only do that when you feel like you can’t cope alone, and you barely let anyone, nevermind me, see what you consider a ‘weakness’. Please talk to me.”

“I…” Kihyun sighed, turning around to look at Wonho, who looked so damn concerned , and leaning back against the counter. “I-- the barbeque, sleepover thing. We, we were talking in the middle of the night, and I might have been a bit sleep-deprived and--” Kihyun broke off, staring at the floor. “Hyung, I-- I almost kis-kissed him.” Kihyun stuttered, voice breaking a tiny bit. He cleared his throat, shaking his head. “I almost, did that, and I can’t-- I can’t-- Wonho you know I can’t--

Sandwich long forgotten, Wonho breathed out a heartfelt, “Kihyun,” and walked forward, hand going to rest tentatively on his friend’s shoulder.

Kihyun tensed slightly at the hand, before his body seemed to lose its will to stand upright and he tilted forward, slowly, his head coming to a rest against Wonho’s chest.

“He, he called me amazing and interesting and, and…” Kihyun’s voice shuddered to a stop, and, with a sort of muted horror, he realised he was shaking.

“Kihyun, it’s--” Wonho’s hand tightened on his shoulder. “It’s okay.”

Kihyun felt an odd, numb, tearing sensation somewhere in the region of his stomach before realising with a start that he was crying. Silently, but, he was crying. Big, fat tears that he couldn’t write off as anything else.

“Shh, Hyunnie, it’s okay. It’s okay.” Wonho pulled him closer, slowly, cautiously, until his arms were wrapped securely around Kihyun and his hands were stroking a soothing pattern on his back.

Kihyun weakly hit Wonho’s chest with his fist, a litany of, “It’s not, it’s not. Hyung, you know it’s not,” falling from his lips. And, for a while, that was all Kihyun was aware of.

 

---

 

Gunhee leaned over to open the passanger door to Changkyun, who looked very comfortable underneath a tree on the sidewalk. “Your uber has arrived.”

“Rejoice,” Changkyun said, flinging on his backpack and plopping down onto the seat, letting out a breath. “Ah, Uber has a tight budget. Was this your great grandfather's car or?”

“I sincerely don’t think you know how Uber works, dude,” Gunhee said, putting the car in gear. “Put your seatbelt on.”

“I was gonna!” He put on his seatbelt and frowned at the radio. “Hang on, who dis?”

“Oh, er, nothing,” Gunhee said, reaching towards the radio, but Changkyun swatted his hand away.

“Hands on the wheel,” Changkyun smirked, turning the radio louder because he could swear -- “No way, dude.”

“He produces music, okay, I’m allowed to listen to it.”

“How many times have you listened to it?”

“It’s really, really good music and--”

“How many--”

“Twenty four.”

Changkyun laughed. “Oh, man, here I thought I was whipped.”

Gunhee looked at him, mouth open. “Whaaaaat? This is only the second time we’re talking but I am aghast at not knowing every single detail of your life.”

We are not talking about me, we are talking about you listening to Jooheon for--how long is this mixtape even--”

“There are seven songs, and I will not be judged by you. Nice rapping, by the way.”

Changkyun paused. “Really, which one?”

“Interstellar. Is that one of your friends singing?”

“Yeah, it’s Hyungwo-- don’t distract me like this. ” Changkyun raised a stern finger to Gunhee. “I was going to say something important.”

“About?”

“I’ve almost completely forgotten--Jooheon! About Jooheon. I,” Changkyun pointed to himself. “Want to talk to you,” he pointed to Gunhee again, who looked exceedingly amused, “about Jooheon.”

Gunhee tapped his hands on the steering wheel, huffing out a breath. “Who?”

“Lee Jooheon?” Changkyun whined. “Dude, seriously, you’re doing this --”

“No idea who you’re talking about--”

“His name is on the CD in your car--”

“Never heard of ‘im--”

“You cuddled on my goddamn bed--”

“Am I that obvious?” Gunhee asked, looking over at Changkyun with big eyes. Changkyun blinked.

“I---Well, yeah. To me at least. Somehow I thought getting you to say anything would be harder but I guess not.” Gunhee grimaced. “It’s not a bad thing, though! Being obvious. I mean, Jooheon has trouble spotting these things even if you paint it in neon colours and do a dance. I tell him he’s cute every single day and he still thinks I’m just kidding.”

Gunhee looked terribly affronted. “He doesn’t think he’s cute?”

“For some goddamn reason, yeah.”

“He’s not the guy you’re whipped for, right?”

Dude .”

“I’m all for OT3, I almost run a blog for Stranger Things, but I hardly know you, dude--”

Changkyun laughed. “God, you’re difficult, I get why Jooheon throws me with shit now. No , you donut , it’s not Jooheon.”

“I just realized I don’t actually know where I’m driving you.”

“The dorm’s fine. Are you gonna tell him?”

Gunhee laughed, snorting. “Uhm. No? Of course not?”

“Why the hell not, I need a win today.”

“Who shat in your cornflakes this morning?”

“Try to change the subject one more time and I’ll pull this steering wheel and drive us into a tree.”

Gunhee hummed a near frustrated ‘mmm’, before pursing his lips and squinting. “What do you think he’d do?”

“If you told him?”

“If I kissed him.”

Changkyun flailed in his seat, looking over at him with wide eyes. “Dude!”

Gunhee pouted. “I really wanna.”

“God, this is dumb. Get a boombox and rap about your emotions outside his window or something.”

“I can’t get 'dimple' to rhyme with anything other than ‘pimple’ so I’m not too keen on that one.”

Changkyun considered many things. Not often, but he did. He considered the fact that 1) Jooheon definitely liked this guy, 2) Jooheon was in their dorm right now, 3) they were pulling up to their dorm right now.

“Do you have any big romantic gesture planned or are you just planning on kissing him?”

Gunhee paused, seeming to think about it as he looked at their dorm building. “Kind of? Is that bad…? Wait, no , I didn’t say I was going to go kiss him, you can’t say I said that, I didn’t say that.”

“Dude, just go,” Changkyun said, opening the car door and getting out, making a big sweeping gesture towards the building. “If you have it in your small body--”

“You are literally probably like a centimeter taller than I am,” Gunhee defended, locking his car and stuffing his keys into his pocket.

“Go knock him off his feet, my guy. I’m his best friend, you think I’d lie to you?”

“He likes me?”

“He sure does. Go get ‘im, tiger.”

Gunhee grinned widely at Changkyun, nodded enthusiastically, turned his snapback, gave a big thumbs up, and ran.

 

---

 

Gunhee ran, physically ran, into at least four people on the way up. He apologised, grinning widely at all of them, who seemed unable to stay angry at the clearly very happy man. He stopped at Jooheon’s door, not even bothering to stop and steel his nerves, just knocking rapidly.

“Kyun, Christ, just gimme a minute--”

Jooheon’s eyes widened comically, freaking adorably , at seeing Gunhee in his doorway instead of his best friend. Gunhee panted a bit, coming to terms with his own level of unfitness as he waved a hand at Jooheon.

“Lemme breath for a sec--phew it was definitely farther than I realized I could handle at a brisk run, damn --”

Jooheon frowned, eyes still wide. Gunhee smiled, taking another deep breath. “Okay, so, your best friend is a dick--”

“Oh, God, what did he do--Did he get you to drive him around?!”

“Yes, but that’s not why--”

“He can’t just do that, I’m gonna freaking kill him--”

“Jooheon.” Jooheon pinched his lips together, still looking a bit wild-eyed. “Listen to me for a sec, ‘kay? Ahaha, wow, cannot believe I’m doing this. You are, for lack of a better word and my own eloquence, fucking adorable.”

“I, what? I’m not--”

“That thing you’re literally doing with your face right now? Cute as shit. But you’re also just, so, fucking, goddamn talented . You know, I saw you rap at the beginning of the year and I honestly think my soul left my body for a while there. It came back to one husk of a man, but still.”

“I’m so confused what did Changkyun say, oh my god,  I’m gonna kill him.”

“You are seriously still on that, aren’t you?” Gunhee laughed, shaking his head. “I just exposed myself to you and this is what I get.”

“Did he make you do this or blackmail you into saying--”

Gunhee stepped forward, “He didn’t make me do anything I didn’t already want to do. He just, sort of, brought it to my attention.” Gunhee smiled. “Would you mind terribly if I kissed you right now?”

Jooheon’s fists clenched at his sides, and he blinked furiously. “So, you’re actually, like, serious right now? I mean, I know Changkyun likes jokes but this isn’t, you’re not pulling my leg.”

Gunhee’s first instinct was to laugh, say something like, ‘of course I’m serious’. But. He saw the honest to god panic and fear hiding in Jooheon’s eyes, the way his eyes kept flickering around, the way his hands were clenched tightly in his shirt.

“Lee Jooheon, I, Song Gunhee, really, really like you and I really, really think you’re a great rapper and I really, nearly desperately want to kiss you. May I?”

Finally, finally , Jooheon’s eyes cleared and he looked down, smiling a shy smile that made his dimples pop, a light dusting of red on his cheeks, and nodded. “Um, ye--”

Gunhee cut him off with a chaste, lingering kiss, pulling back just to smirk lightly. “You’re adorable.”

“You’re embarrassing,” Jooheon said, kissing him again, just because he could.

 

---

 

Changkyun

DID YOU KISS

 

Jooheon

I hate you

 

Changkyun

NIIIIIIIIIIIICE

 

Jooheon

You’re an absolute disgrace of a best friend and I don’t know why I tolerate you

What the fuck did you say to him

 

Changkyun

I literally sent him a picture of you and he crumbled like a dry leaf

I didn’t do shit, he talks too fast for his brain to realize what he’s actually saying

OH GOD I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU I’M GONNA CRY

 

Jooheon

I LITERALLY DIDN’T SAY THAT ANYTHING HAPPENED???

For all you know we could have had a massive falling out

And decided we hated each other

 

Changkyun

Nah he’s reading this over your shoulder I can feel it in my bones

Also Hyungwon asked me who you were kissing in the hallway so

:) have fun

 

Jooheon

That fucking beanpole of salt he better wat

HI

THIS IS GUNHEE

I’M GONNA TAKE HIS PHONE NOW

AND THEN HIM

HAVE A NICE DAY CHANGKYUN

I OWE U

 

Changkyun

THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER GO GET ‘IM JOOHEON

You two stay off my bed

Are you on my bed?

Sorry you’re probably busy but plz don’t

Jooheon?

JOOHEON

 

Jooheon

#revenge

Chapter Text

Changkyun

I’m gonna flirt with him

I have made up my mind and

I am going to actually make an attempt and flirt with Yoo Kihyun

 

Hyungwon

Marvelous

Please invite me I need to see this

 

Changkyun

...dude i’m not scheduling it

“Tomorrow at noon I’ll tell Kihyun his butt is nice”

No that’s not

Christ, I meant to text Jooheon, fuck

 

Hyungwon

No no please do tell me more about Kihyun’s butt

I’m practically glued to my screen

 

Changkyun

I’m ignoring you in favour of self-love

 

Hyungwon

Please don’t call masturbating ‘self-love’

 

Changkyun

THAT’S NOT WHAT I

FUCK YOU

 

Hyungwon

No need.

You seem to have that

-light cough-

under-hand

 

Changkyun

Never speaking to you again bye

 

Hyungwon

Try to be more careful with your texts

I’m sure Kihyun doesn’t wanna know about your ‘self-love’

Or he does idk he’s weird

 

---

 

Changkyun

Say something nice, Hyungwon is being

...Hyungwon

ALSO I’M GOING TO FLIRT WITH

...oh jeez

I meant to send that to Jooheon

I’m so sorry Kihyun please ignore that I

Death. I am going to flirt with death.

“Death, take me now!”

Ignore me I beg you

 

Kihyun

…okay

Who are you going to flirt with dude

 

Changkyun

DEATH

 

Kihyun

Not yet I still need some photos

You can do that after I have the photos

 

Changkyun

I need your permission to die, then?

 

Kihyun

Well

Eh

Not permission

Just, make sure not to inconvenience me



---

 

Changkyun

BITCH I’MA DO IT

 

Jooheon

DO LITERALLY WHAT

I WOULD SAY GO FOR IT BUT YOU’RE CRAZY AND DO SOME WEIRD SHIT

SO I NEED CLARIFICATION

CHANGKYUN?

FFS

 

---

 

Changkyun

Of course, I’ll remember to stretch beforehand

For hyung’s sake

 

Kihyun

…what?

 

Changkyun

I still have your shirt, you know

Would you like me to wear it this time or?

 

Kihyun

Are we just completely ignoring what you just said

Okay, then

Nah, just bring it along

Saturday still good?

 

---

 

Changkyun

Newsflash I am bad at flirting

 

Hyungwon

Wtf do you mean ‘newsflash’

 

Changkyun

Was ‘I’ll stretch beforehand’ too subtle?

Pretty sure he nearly dropped that camera tho

 

Hyungwon

Like, I just think that

Basically, Kihyun is stupid

And, like, also that was really bad flirting?

 

Changkyun

Fucking fine you tell me what to do then

If you can bag Wonho

WHO APPARENTLY EVERYONE WOULD JUST LOVE TO BAG

 

Hyungwon

Idk man

I just basically existed

 

Changkyun

That helps

 

Hyungwon

My pleasure

 

---



Changkyun

Okay so if I were to flirt with Kihyun

 

Jooheon

KJAGDHGJDGHK YES?

 

Changkyun

Advice?

 

Jooheon

Just be cool. Be yourself.

 

Changkyun

...I cannot be both, pick one

 

Jooheon

...say nothing

Just send selfies

I give up with you

 

---

 

Changkyun

Saturday is great!

See you then~~

 

Kihyun

Yeah

You wear glasses?

 

Changkyun

I do, when I’m not wearing contacts

I’ve seen you wear glasses before???

Want me to wear them for you on Saturday?

 

Kihyun

Yes

I mean, I think it would fit with the concept

I need to study now



Changkyun

Okey~ go at those books until they beg for mercy _へ__(‾◡◝ )>

 

---

 

Changkyun

I may, MAY, have gone too far

 

Jooheon

What did you do you nasty fucker

 

Changkyun

For reasons known best only to myself

 

Jooheon

You need Jesus istg

WHAT DID HE SAY

 

Changkyun

Jesus wouldn’t want me

Nothing ffs I told you I WENT TOO FAR

SELF-EXPOSE MUCH

CHRIST

 

Jooheon

Damn

I would say I feel sorry for you

But you dug your own damn grave

Is he even into that shit?

 

Changkyun

I fuckin hope so

Er

I’m going now

 

---

 

Gunhee

LMAO

 

Changkyun

THAT SNAKE

 

---

 

Kihyun

Wonho

You didn’t

Tell Hyungwon anything about us, right?

Like

Did you?



Wonho

You know I wouldn’t tell anyone anything without your permission

Why? You okay? Did someone find out?

 

Kihyun

I’m not sure

Like, I would understand if you told Hyungwon we

Kinda

Were together

But you didn’t tell him anything else, right?

You’re sure

 

Wonho

...Why? You only send multiple messages like that when you’re flustered or confused

What is happening

I didn’t tell anyone we dated in high school if that’s what you mean

 

Kihyun

I just

Changkyun said some things

I thought maybe you told Hyungwon

And he might have let it slip to Changkyun

 

Wonho

...omg you mean

omg HE DIDN’T

Are you serious right now?

Changkyun

Like, CHANGKYUN

We are talking about Lim Changkyun???

 

Kihyun

Idk man you all see him as some innocent little fucking puppy or some shit

He isn’t okay

He isn’t

 

Wonho

I’m in shock

Can I tell Hyungwon?

Nvm no not doing that

...u okay

 

Kihyun

I’m fine

Maybe he didn’t realise he did what he did

I mean

It was only the one message

Am I obvious about it?

 

Wonho

...you ARE very bossy

...were you, er

Bossy

With Changkyun?

He’s good at reading people

 

Kihyun

NO

IDK THAT’S NOT

I WAS JUST TUTORING THE KID????????

AND THEN WITH THE FUCKING PHOTOSHOOT

I am calm



Wonho

I see that

gentle reminder that we also had ‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘tutoring sessions’’’’’’’

 

Kihyun

That wasn’t the same thing come on

Like, not even a little bit

 

Wonho

I cannot tell you how curious I am as to what this kid said

But anyway

Just stick to the friend plan, okay, until

Well, idk, until Something

 

Kihyun

...okay but I am pretty sure he is flirting

And he’s sending me selfies

He’s trying to kill me

 

Wonho

That is uncharacteristically dramatic of you, Kihyun

 

Kihyun

I am not being dramatic

I am being very calm

Considering the fact that he DID THAT

 

Wonho

Send a selfie back

That’ll shut him up

 

Kihyun

Like, what selfie though?

 

Wonho

What kind of attack are we instigating?

Cute or?

 

Kihyun

I honestly just want him to shut up with the flirty things

It’s not helping the friends thing

And, my parents just called me to talk to them in the sitting room

I think they fucking saw us last Wednesday

 

Wonho

...fuck. I’m so sorry Kihyun

You were crying I couldn’t

I’m sorry

It could be something else

 

Kihyun

They sounded very serious idk

Fuck

I’ll talk you you later

 

---

 

Kihyun wavered in the hallway, hearing his parents talking softly in the living room, and took a deep breath. This could be anything. This could be about his grades (he did do badly in that one Calculus test), about his older brother (who’s kid was nearly a year old now, Kihyun could hardly believe it), about his constant squabbling with Jeongyeon or even about how they finally found out about Jeongyeon’s tattoo and wanted to have a family meeting about it.

It really could be anything.

There really was no reason to assume it was about the thing that happened Wednesday afternoon.

Stepping into the living room wasn’t very promising though. His parents were on the ‘lecture couch’. The couch that was just about big enough for two people to sit side by side facing the other, bigger couch… where Kihyun had to sit, trying not to look as nervous as he felt.

“Kihyun,” his father began, reaching out to hold his mother’s hand, “I think we need to talk about your friendship with Wonho.”

Kihyun’s skin felt like it was stretched too tight over his skin. His hands kept twitching, fidgety and restless. Kihyun could feel something lodged in the back of his throat, and he coughed quietly, trying to get it out. It didn’t work.

It could have been anything, but, of course, it wasn’t.

 

---

 

Wonho

What happened?

Are you okay?

 

Kihyun

I’m fine

It was nothing

I need to study, talk later

 

---

 

“How often do you think people lie when they tell you they’re fine?”

“Like, at least nine and a half times out of ten. Minimum.” Hyungwon rolled over on his back, eyes moving away from the textbook he had been paging through. “Why?”

Wonho sighed, locking his phone and tossing it onto the bed, running a hand over his face. “Any chance Kihyun is that zero point five out of ten?”

“Doubt it. When, in the entirety of the time you have known Kihyun, has he ever been ‘fine’. I swear, he has at least five panic attacks going simultaneously at all times.” Hyungwon snorted, but stopped when he saw the frown flitting across Wonho’s face. “Is, um, is something wrong with him?”

“No? Maybe? Ugh, it’s stupidly, unnecessarily, complicated,” Wonho groaned, falling sideways from where he’d been sitting against the wall, looking at Hyungwon with a pout. “I can’t do anything to help him. Anything I do would just… make it worse.”

Hyungwon paused, before closing his textbook and placing it on the floor, turning to Wonho. “Is it something you can tell me about?”

Wonho pouted, shaking his head. “No. Sorry. I want to, though.”

“It’s fine, I get it.” Hyungwon tilted his head, before scooting closer, sitting crossed legged next to Wonho with their knees touching. “Can I do something to make it better?”

“Probably not and, you’re really not being fair right now,” Wonho let out a breathy laugh, turning his face into the bed for a moment before peeking at Hyungwon again. “Seriously, you’re being way too cute for me to be appropriately upset for my best friend right now.”

A light blush dusted Hyungwon’s cheeks. “I, I’m being cute?” He let out a short, stilted giggle. “For your information, I was trying to be a supportive boyfriend. But, I’ll take cute.”

“You’re both,” Wonho mumbled, turning his face into the bed again. “Why am I allowed to be so stupidly happy--I don’t-- uuuuuugh.

“Allowed to be?” Hyungwon laughed, laying down next to Wonho. “What, do you feel guilty or something?”

“Yes,” Wonho moaned pitifully. “You, me, Minhyuk and Shownu, Gunhee and Jooheon. But especially me. No way any of them are as stupidly happy as I am and it makes me feel guilty, okay?.” Wonho faced Hyungwon, a small smile on his lips. “How could I not be happy, though. Having you as a supportive, cute boyfriend and all.”

Hyungwon leaned over, placing a soft kiss on Wonho’s lips. “You are such a fucking cheeseball, you know that?”

“An incredibly lucky cheeseball,” Wonho smiled, big, unhibited. “That loves you very much.”

“Aaaaaaaaaaah, that’s too cheesy.” Hyungwon was grinning however, twining his legs with Wonho’s and laying his head on his chest. “You can die from too much cheese you should stop.”

“As long as you let me cuddle you, of course I’m not gonna stop.” Wonho kissed the top of Hyungwon’s head, closing his eyes. “Its… I just want…” Wonho shook his head. “Nothing, it’s nothing, I’m just gonna keep holding you, if that’s okay.”

“Hey, no, what is it? I’ll move, I’ll wiggle fervently, I swear to God.”

“I’m too strong, you wouldn’t be able to escape.”

“I would snap like a twig, you wouldn’t let me snap like a twig.”

“You haven’t snapped yet, so…”

Hyungwon huffed and hit Wonho on the arm. “What were you going to say, goddammit.”

“I just,” Wonho started, pulling Hyungwon closer. “I just want Kihyun to be this happy, too.”

 

---

 

Changkyun

Hyuuuuuuuuuuuuung can I borrow your notes pleeeeeeeease

 

Kihyun

No

You weren’t paying attention, this is your fault

 

Changkyun

You frown, like, all the time, it’s very distracting



Kihyun

How is that distracting

What fucking notes

 

Changkyun

You’re going to have frown lines at 27

I’m just very concerned

The ones on what we did yesterday

I cannot remember what it was about, but, like, yesterday’s

:)

 

Kihyun

Were you just not paying attention at all good lord

What do I get in return

 

Changkyun

My eternal gratitude?

A selfie?

Chai tea?

You may have all of the above

Seriously, I’m at the coffee shop with Minhyuk and them, you could really get one

I still kind of owe you a tea lol

 

Kihyun

I LOVE chai tea

I mean, chai tea is a good bribe I will take that

 

Changkyun

Good to know ;)

 

---

 

Minhyuk

HEY!

Kihyunnie

Want to get coffee or tea later?

I feel like we don’t talk enough

 

Kihyun

We don’t talk

Like, at all

 

Minhyuk

I know :( sad, isn’t it

BUT IT’S OKAY THAT’LL CHANGE

You’re in the party now, no takesie backsies

Kyunnie says he asked you to come??? o((*^▽^*))o

 

Kihyun

Party?

What are you even talking about

No, he said he was gonna bring me chai tea I’m not moving out of the library

He wants notes, he’s gonna work for them

 

Minhyuk

Mmm he wants notes, I’m sure

(.﹒︣︿﹒︣.) well okay but you HAVE to come hang out with us

You just gotta~~~

 

Kihyun

Actually, I don’t

 

Minhyuk

Okey ㅠㅠㅠ

By the way

Changkyun just bought Chai Tea for you when he could have gotten the notes from me

 

Kihyun

That

Why would he do that that’s so stupid

 

Minhyuk

Depends who you ask

Enjoy the tea

 

---

 

The only problem with bringing Kihyun his tea while he was holed up in the library was the fact that, technically, you weren’t allowed to have food or beverages in the library. Of course, that had never stopped Changkyun before, it was just that, all that other times, he had been able to hide his food and drinks in his bag. Since he was never stupid enough to try and smuggle tea or coffee into the library.

Until Kihyun, of course.

The guards at the entrance of the library weren’t the most observant people, (or they just didn’t give a shit, which Changkyun found the most likely of the options), so usually they would turn a blind eye to a water bottle in your bag etc. He had a feeling though, that they weren’t going to be as lenient in this case.

He took a breath, pushed the cup under his jacket, and walked into the library with one hand held suspiciously under his jacket.

Best case scenario; he gives Kihyun his tea, Kihyun smiles (hopefully), all is well and right in the universe.

Worst case scenario; the guards think he’s hiding a gun in his jacket, tackle him to the ground, and his definitely not toned chest gets burned by some tea.

The guards barely noticed him, but he did trip a bit over thin air and dribble some tea over his shirt. Like an adult.

Changkyun knew where Kihyun studied (and it definitely wasn’t because he spied on him sometimes). It was the quietest spot you could find that still had a plug nearby, so it was no real surprise when Changkyun turned the corner and saw Kihyun sitting there. No real surprise, so his goddamn heart needs to start acting like it and chill the fuck out, please . He took a breath, securing the cup, wincing at his slightly wet shirt, now cold and clammy, sticking to his chest, and walked over, waving slightly at the older boy and smiling widely when Kihyun looked up, distracted by the movement.

He opened his jacket and pointed at the tea, grin growing as Kihyun sighed and lowered his face in his hands.

“You actually-- You know you’re not allowed to bring food and drinks into the library. It’s the rule .”

“Those are guidelines,” Changkyun grinned.

“I hope you realise that you spilled on your shirt, and they’re really not .”

“I realise, and have the burns to prove it,” Changkyun carefully put the tea down next to Kihyun’s book. “Enjoy. It’s illegally smuggled, for your convenience.”

Kihyun’s eyes widened as Changkyun brought the cup into the open, eyes flicking around nervously. “If the librarians catch us…”

“You can just blame it on me,” Changkyun winked. “Besides, they’re quite literally glued behind their desks. I’ve never, ever, seen one of them out and about between the shelves. They have students doing that for them, and they just literally do not give a single shit. Jooheon and I had tacos in here once, so. Tea!” Changkyun motioned towards the cup, smiling.

Kihyun, still frowning slightly, took a sip of his tea. “You ate tacos in here? How did you get them past the guards?”

“My charms, naturally,” Changkyun said, sitting down at the empty table next to him, laying his head down onto his arms and looking at Kihyun innocently.

“You put them in your bag and it smelled like tacos for weeks afterward didn’t it.”

Changkyun paused. “Did Hyungwon tell you about this? Okay, yeah, fine, but it still worked, my point stands.”

Kihyun grinned slightly at Changkyun, who beamed back. As he did, however, a slight shadow seemed to pass over Kihyun’s face. The grin faded, and he looked away, hands clenched just a bit too tight around the cup.

“Right, the notes,” Kihyun bent down, shuffling things around in his bag for a few seconds before emerging with a sheath of papers. “Here you go. Make a copy, somehow, and give them back to me at the next class. As quickly as possible, please. We have another test on Thursday, remember.”

“Uuuugh,” Changkyun groaned. “Don’t they get tired of setting these things up. I bet they find some sort of… sadistic joy in it.” Changkyun reached out a hand towards the notes, coming up a bit short and hand making grabbing motions in the air.

Huffing, Kihyun extended his arm enough for Changkyun to reach.

“It’s literally every week, aren’t you used to it by now? And it’s more for us than them anyway. You know, to make sure we can do the things they talk about in class and that we’re not behind and that if we are behind they can help us.”

“Stop rationalizing my struggle,” Changkyun said, smiling nonetheless, carefully stuffing the notes into his bag. “ Yes, I understand, Changkyun, I also hate tests, Changkyun, no, you’re not just lazy, Changkyun~

“Eh, you are a bit.”

“Says the one who couldn’t even come get his own tea.”

“I was busy and you were the one who wanted a favour, thank you very much.”

“Shhh, you’ll wake the librarians.”

Kihyun rolled his eyes, seemingly fighting a smile. “Hey, why is Minhyuk trying to get me to hang out with him?”

Changkyun tilted his head. “He’s just… I don’t know, he’s Minhyuk, he’s like that. He likes people, and you, apparently. God knows why, ” Changkyun teased. “Just give in and say yes. Seriously. He always gets what he wants. Remember why I’m taking this class in the first place?”

“You’re a pushover, it doesn’t count.” Kihyun ignored Changkyun’s scandalised expression. “Also, from what Hyungwon told me, you were threatened with Shownu? Whatever that means.”

“Shownu’s arms hold far too much power over me, okay.”

“...Okay. Now, go away. I have a Calculus test tomorrow and I need to study.”

Fine ,” Changkyun sighed, soft smile on his face nonetheless, as he got up and pushed the chair back in. “Seriously, though. Just say yes. To Minhyuk, I mean. He’s not gonna stop.”

“I’m not a pushover! He needs to like, learn boundaries and shit.”

“Never said you were a pushover, hyung,” Changkyun grinned, walking backwards to leave. “Quite the opposite, actually.”

Changkyun would have been alarmed at the bright red colour that instantly assaulted Kihyun’s face if he weren’t so amused at the slightly strangled noise Kihyun let out.

“What-- I’m not-- Just go away, God .”

“See you in class, hyung” Changkyun laughed, turning the corner.

Well. That certainly went better than expected.

 

---

 

Kihyun

Why do you want to hang out so desperately anyway?

 

Minhyuk

I wouldn’t say desperately

BUT, I think me and Shownu have a very interesting story to tell you~~

Like, I really think you would be interested

 

Kihyun

Why?

 

Minhyuk

An inkling~ A suspicion~

Also Wonho and Hyungwon said so

Besides why wouldn’t you want to hang out with me

I’m fucking delightful

 

Kihyun

What the fuck did Wonho say

 

Minhyuk

Mmm~~~~ not much

So how’s tomorrow at 12? o((*^▽^*))o

 

Kihyun

Fucking hell

Okay, fine

Where?

 

Minhyuk

YYYYAAAAAYYYYY

The coffee shop on campus

See you then Kihyunnieee~

 

---

 

Kihyun

What the actual fuck did you say to Minhyuk

 

Wonho

Literally no idea what you’re talking about

 

Kihyun

If what Minhyuk wants to talk about what I think he wants to talk about

Then I don’t know

But something

 

Wonho

I once literally just sat on you and you couldn’t move

I am not scared of you, Kihyun

Please go, though? For me?

 

Kihyun

I already said I would, chill

 

Wonho

(ノ≧∀≦)ノ

 

---

 

Kihyun walked into the coffee shop, beanie pulled low over his head, half-wishing that Minhyuk had decided not to do this in such a public place. If they wanted to talk to Kihyun about what he thought they wanted to talk about, then they really could have chosen some place less, populated. He would just avoid drawing attention in any case.

Minhyuk seemed to have other ideas, as he waved animately from a corner table, where he and Shownu seemed to have made themselves comfortable. “Kihyunnie~!”

Right, time to deal with this over-excitable child that is, somehow , older than Kihyun. He still found that hard to believe. He lifted a hand in a half-hearted wave and seated himself across from the two, slumped in his chair.

What the fuck would they even talk about like, honestly what story would they have that would relate to Kihyun’s kin--

It’s better not to think about it.

“I was asked to come,” Kihyun said.

“Me too,” Shownu said.

“Honestly, you two, just act like this isn’t actually torture.” Minhyuk shook his head, before smiling widely. “How have you been, Kihyunnie?”

“I’m fine?” Kihyun shifted in his seat, attempting to at least appear more comfortable. “Why am I here. You made it sound, well, somewhat serious? I don’t know.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s serious ,” Minhyuk said, attempting to wave the waitress over. “Hyungwon just said I should talk to you, is all. Calm down.”

“Talk to me about what?”

“Well…” Minhyuk trailed off, glancing at Shownu who seemed just as nonplussed as Kihyun. “Okay, so, Hyungwon felt that you would benefit from hearing about how we got together.”

The first thing Kihyun felt was relief. So, they were not there to talk about that. That only lasted a few seconds though. As soon as Minhyuk’s words sunk in, his chest seemed to seize up, a nauseous spot forming in his stomach.

“What, what do you mean? Why would he…” Kihyun’s throat was too dry for this shit.

“I don’t know,” Minhyuk frowned. “I’m sorry. I won’t--” He waved his hand uncertainly. “Inquire or whatever, just, it’s not an easy story to tell either. Not always. But, like I said, Hyungwon asked so…”

Kihyun wanted to scoff. He wanted to pull a face and tell them it wasn’t necessary at all and that they didn’t need to relive what was obviously painful memories for them when he didn’t even need to hear this and really, Hyungwon should learn to mind his own business.

For some or other reason, however, he just… couldn’t get himself to say it. He couldn’t make a joke of it. He couldn’t laugh it off, scoff it away. All he could do was stare at Minhyuk with wide eyes, waiting.

“Okay? Okay,” Minhyuk giggled nervously, hands fidgeting before Shownu placed his hand over them. He let out a breath. “Okay, so …” He trailed off and, for a long moment, Minhyuk, talkative, energetic Minhyuk, said nothing, instead looking down at his hands with an unreadable expression.

“We met when we were pretty young,” Shownu said, giving Minhyuk a small, reassuring smile. “Friends of the family. He’d always come around, and I’d always love it.” Shownu shrugged. “In high school, I realised I’d fallen in love with him. It was as easy as that.”

Minhyuk laughed, softly. “If only. We, er,” he looked up, eyes shiny but seemingly more at ease. “It wasn’t a big deal, you know? It didn’t feel like it. He confessed and I--” Minhyuk laughed, breaking Kihyun’s gaze to look at Shownu, who had a huge smile plastered on his face. Kihyun still felt nauseous.

“He said ‘I know, dummy’,” Shownu said, shaking his head. “And I’d gotten myself so worked up, too. Wrote cue cards to read off of and everything.”

“I still have those. When he bitches about me eating all the cereal, I whip them out for good measure.”

Shownu rolled his eyes, and Minhyuk continued; “Like I said, it was fine. We---I don’t know, we just instinctively knew, and we also knew that nobody else should know. We were in different schools, but we could see each other all the time. We managed to keep it a secret for… God, three years?” Shownu nodded. Kihyun felt itchy. He couldn’t sit still, yet he knew he wouldn’t be going anywhere until this story was done. “Yeah, three years, and nobody noticed anything, or treated us weirdly, so we thought, ‘hey, they’d understand, right?’.”

“It was my idea.” Shownu sighed softly. “After we graduate, we’d go home, and we’d tell them. Because it wasn’t just high school, you know. It was going to be forever, and I knew Minhyuk hated lying to his parents, almost as much as I hated having that… barrier, that wall between me and my parents, as well. My mother,” Shownu smiled, but it hardly seemed to reach his eyes. “She was kind. She was the most understanding and compassionate person I have ever known. I thought she would understand.”

“They kicked us out.” The way Minhyuk said it wasn’t sad, or self-pitying. It was blunt, matter of fact. Minhyuk even smiled slightly, mockingly, as he said it. Kihyun’s chest was squeezed so tight he could barely breathe. “Or, well, my parents did. Shownu’s dad…”

“I didn’t have chance to say goodbye before my father had already made arrangements for me to enlist immediately. He blamed my ‘condition’ on Minhyuk. Said I was just...” Shownu shook his head. Kihyun didn’t think he’d ever seen so much emotion on Shownu’s face. “He was livid. Said that some proper discipline would ‘fix me’. Minhyuk had nowhere to go, nowhere to sleep, and I... I had to leave.”

Kihyun swallowed past the lump in his throat, gasping in a short breath. “What, what happened then?”

“I had good friends,” Minhyuk said, his smile almost fond. “I didn’t tell them what happened, though, just that I needed somewhere to sleep. I was lucky. My aunt came back from where she’d been living in England, and she helped me. After giving my parents hell, mind you. Amazing woman, my aunt. I was so, so grateful, but she had ties in my parents’ company, and they cut her off. We had a house, but we both had to work hard to keep it.”

“He had three jobs, and still managed to bother me on a daily basis.”

“Oh, shush,” Minhyuk said, throwing his head back and blinking furiously. “I wrote you letters. And, honestly, how was I not supposed to send you memes 24/7 while stuck at a till or stocking shelves the whole day, honestly.”

“My parents hadn’t exactly considered that, I think,” Shownu said. “You don’t just forget about Lee Minhyuk. He won’t let you.”

“I swear to--” Minhyuk smacked his arm again, but his smile was back, and he looked at Kihyun. “In any case, we survived. He came back from his service--”

“I have never heard someone scream like that--”

“I was excited to see you! It’s not like I had money to go and visit you while you were enlisted.” Minhyuk was giggling again.

“My parents were there, waiting for me,” Shownu said. “I think they thought that I’d ‘come to my senses’. So I kissed him, because of course I hadn’t.”

“I still can’t believe they--” Minhyuk seemed to bristle next to Shownu, frowning at his cup of long-abandoned coffee.

“I was their only child. I don’t think it was something they could just get over,” Shownu said, squeezing Minhyuk’s hand and looking at Kihyun. “I haven’t heard a word from them for years.”

Minhyuk broke. He turned his face into Shownu’s shoulder, and Kihyun could, just barely, make out what he mumbled against Shownu’s shoulder.

I’m so sorry, Hyunwoo.

Kihyun wanted to look away. He shouldn’t be seeing this. It felt almost sacrilegious to intrude on such an obviously very personal and intimate moment.

“I don’t regret it, Minnie. Never will.” Shownu lifted his hand to stroke Minhyuk’s head.

“The--” Kihyun said, looking down, looking away. “The house we stayed at, I thought it was… Changkyun said it was your parents’?”

Minhyuk nodded, quickly wiping his tears to little avail.

“I was lucky. His parents never came around, but mine did. My mother came by the shop I worked at and saw me. Well, us. There. Me and Shownu. He’d started working, too, so we could save up for college, you know.” Minhyuk breathed deeply. “And she couldn’t believe it. I think she realised, I don’t know… Realised what she did. She started crying and hugged me, and I was in shock. She even--” Minhyuk laughed. “She even hugged Shownu. Went over to him and just squeezed him. I’ve never seen him look so confused, it was brilliant. I was so happy. My mother had lost me, her sister, my brother, even, he’d started resenting my parents for what they did, so. I’m not sure what exactly changed her mind, but I’m glad it did. She talked to my dad. He’s still… Well, he watches Shownu like a hawk.”

“He honestly scares me.”

“It worked out, is what I meant. Well, not everything, obviously,” Minhyuk wiped at his eyes once more.

“But we’re happy. I’m happy,” Shownu finished, a big smile fixed on his face yet again. “He was worth everything.”

Kihyun’s chest had slowly been getting tighter, constricting his breathing more and more as the story continued. Although some small, vague part of him wanted to stay, wanted to ask more questions, wanted to know the logistics, wanted to know how they had managed it all, the bigger, louder, infinitely more insistent part of him was struggling to breathe, to function.

So, with barely more than a gasped, “Okay. Right, thank you. I-- I need to go,” Kihyun ran off. Literally ran. He slowed down once he reached the library, the only place on campus he could really be alone, flashing his student card before rushing to the quietest corner, between the shelves filled with History books.

Bracing himself against a shelf, he slid down, lowered his head into his hands, and quietly tried to remember how to breathe.

 

---

 

Minhyuk

We told him. He ran away.

I’m so sorry, I didn’t see where he went.

 

Hyungwon

Wait, you told Kihyun about you and Shownu?

And he ran away

Oh dear

This is not good

 

Minhyuk

Wonho still not telling you what’s going on?

I just wanted to help, I feel so

ugh

 

Hyungwon

No, dude, it’s fine

Wonho said he had issues

I just

I thought this would help?

 

Minhyuk

Did you see the way Changkyun looked at him at the sleepover?

I’m just so worried for Kyunnie

IDK what this did, if it helped, maybe it did???

But I just hope that Kihyun

I’m sorry I’m just worried

 

Hyungwon

I know Minhyukkie

Even though I hate the guy

I want him to be okay because Wonho cares about him

Also, Changkyun, the idiot, seems to be head over heels

 

Minhyuk

From what Jooheon’s told me, you’re not wrong

 

---

 

Kihyun, hands still shaking slightly, gathered himself up from the library floor. He still felt a slight buzzing at the back of his head and he knew that, if he thought about it for too long, if he dwelt on it, it would end with him back on the library floor.

But, he didn’t have time for that right now. He really didn’t. He had a tutorial beginning in, like, Kihyun glanced at his watch, five minutes, and they were getting their tests back today ( and writing another test because college is a literal bitch) and he just didn’t have the time .

Later. He would think about it later. If it hadn’t faded by the time he got home and finished his homework, he would think about it. Later.

Kihyun took a precious few seconds to slip into the bathroom and smooth down his shirt, ensure that his eyes weren’t red, pinch his cheeks so that he didn’t look so god-awfully pale. Kihyun could see he was shaken up. He could see his hands trembling and the too desperate way his eyes kept flicking around, looking for distractions. He could see it, and maybe Wonho, but Kihyun knew his tells were subtle enough that other people wouldn’t be able to. Especially self-obsessed, panicky, college students.

He arrived at the tutorial in the nick of time. For two hours, it was fine. He practised his work, asked questions, wrote his test and basically functioned like a normal human being.

Then, just before they left for the afternoon, he got the previous week’s test back.

He got his test back, and it felt like the air in his chest was being forcefully pushed out because fuck he had studied so fucking hard for this test and still he couldn’t get his mark above seventy. He pushed the panic back, pushed it and pushed it and pushed it until he was safe, away from the class, hidden in a small, seldom visited courtyard.

He needed help. He needed Wonho.

Fumbling slightly as he pulled out his phone, hands still shaking as he dialed the number, Kihyun focused on taking long, even breaths as he held the phone up to his ear, the dial tone ringing in his ear.

“Hyung?”

No. Wonho was--That was not Wonho’s voice.

“What, Changkyun, what--” Kihyun gulped in a breath, his rhythmic breathing hitching. “Why do you have Wonho’s phone, I don’t--What?”

“Why are you calling, you barely even text me. This isn’t Wonho’s phone, I--Hey, are you okay?”

Kihyun let out a breathy, gaspy laugh, more a fast exhalation of air than anything else.

“Of-f-fucking course i-it would be you. F-fuck my entire life.”

“What would be me? I don’t--Seriously, are you okay?”

“I just--f-fuck I just wanted to talk to Wonho, but I can’t--my hands are shaking I can’t--” Kihyun gasped in another breath, clasping the hand that wasn’t gripping the phone so tight he could feel the edges cut into his palm, between his thighs as he lowered himself to his haunches.

“Fuck, Kihyun, breathe, okay? I can’t--Where are you? I’ll come, I--Hey, please breathe, please.”

“I wasn’t supposed to-- you weren’t supposed to-- fuck . I’m--” For a startling, terrifying second, while Kihyun looked around, trying to explain where he was, he couldn’t recognise a thing. For a moment, everything was strange and unfamiliar and Kihyun felt so painfully lost he could cry. “I d-don’t know where-- fuck this was just the-the t-test and then Minhyuk and last n-night and, and-- Ugh, I c-can’t even fucking talk, fuck .”

“You don’t need to, just breathe--” There was a noise on the other side of the phone. “What test, Kihyun?”

“C-Calculus I don’t-- I think I’m in a courtyard near there. I, I, I,” Kihyun stuttered, trying to breathe and talk at the same time, hoping that the few people walking past wouldn’t look at the guy crouched in the corner. He still didn’t know where he was. His thoughts were too fast, to fragmented, too chaotic to try and make sense of it

“I know where you are. I’m coming, okay? Now God, hyung, please, just breathe, you don’t need to talk, I’m here, just breathe.”

“Changkyun, I-I wasn’t supposed to--” Kihyun broke off, chest aching, and he realised he was taking small, ineffective breaths. Shaking his head, trying to think, trying to reason above the din in his head, he started counting, softly, taking breaths in time with the counting.

He counted to ten maybe four, five times, before Changkyun’s voice no longer came from the phone against his ear.

“See, told you I’d find you.”

Kihyun barely had time to register the voice above him before arms were sliding over him, stroking his back, leaning his head against a chest.

“Just follow my breathing, okay? Hyung, please, you’re still breathing too quickly, I’ve got you, but you need to slow down your breaths, okay?”

Slowly, slowly, slowly , Kihyun managed to get his breathing under control. It went from erratic, to fast, to almost normal. His head was still chaotically trying to obsess about everything at the same time, still hyping things up to a ridiculous degree, but he could breath.

He could breathe, and with that came an awareness of where he was, who was with him, and what had just happened.

Kihyun tensed almost immediately, weakly trying to push Changkyun away.

“S-sorry I should just--”

Changkyun let him pull away slightly. “You’re shaking, hyung,” he said, voice small, hand hovering near Kihyun’s face before coming to rest on Kihyun’s cheek. “It’s okay, it’s okay. Okay? Don’t apologise, please.”

Kihyun took one, two, three deep breaths, Changkyun’s hand still on his cheek, before he pulled away completely, sitting back on haunches, eyes slightly too wide, slightly too bright as he looked at Changkyun.

“Right. It’s okay. It’s fine. I’m fine. I’m fine.”

With the way Changkyun was looking at him, eyes soft and, and concerned in a way that made his heart ache, Kihyun almost felt bad about lying to him. Almost.

But with the way Changkyun was looking at him, he had to lie. He had to.

Changkyun looked down, one hand still grasping at Kihyun’s shirt sleeve. “It’s okay that you’re lying to me, just--It’s okay.” He let go.

Kihyun looked down, at his still shaking hands. He couldn’t stand looking at Changkyun right at that second.

“It was really, it was nothing.” He ignored the faint scoff Changkyun gave at that. “I just got a bad mark on a test and, and things are... a bit stressful right now.”

“You were having a panic attack, hyung.”

“It was nothing, ” Kihyun stressed, getting shakily to his feet even as Changkyun made a protesting noise. “I need to go. My parents will be expecting me home.”

“You know, you can--I know it was an accident that you called me,” Changkyun said, looking down at his hands, still hunched on the ground. “But… I care about you. You can talk to me.”

Kihyun nodded once, not bothering to check if Changkyun was looking at him, before walking away, the need to just get away stronger than any guilt he might feel at just leaving Changkyun.

 

---

 

Changkyun

I’m

I’m in love with him

 

Jooheon

Changkyun?

Oh, Kyunnie…

Are you sure?

 

Changkyun

He called me and

Oh god please just

I do, I love him, and I don’t know what to do

I love him so fucking much, Jooheon

 

Jooheon

I wish I could say congratulations

I wish I could say the stuff you’re supposed to say when your best friend tells you he loves someone

Can I ask what made you realise this?

 

Changkyun

I realised

I was holding him and he was crying, barely breathing

And I realised I would do absolutely anything for him

Anything to make it stop and

Jooheon, I

What do I do

 

Jooheon

I

I don’t know, my dude

I don’t know

Be there for him

Don’t leave him

 

Changkyun

He already left, I

Fuck I

 

Jooheon

Do you want me to come over?

 

Changkyun

I’m in the courtyard by the chemistry building

Please

 

Jooheon

I'm on my way

Chapter Text

Hyungwon

Okay. So.

Should probably come clean and tell you

The story I wanted Minhyuk to tell Kihyun is not exactly

Er

Easy to hear

And I’m scared Kihyun

Uhm, he ran away???

Shit sorry er

 

Wonho

Fuck

Hyungwon, I love you and all

But what did you do to my best friend

 

Hyungwon

...you what

I

???wha???

 

Wonho

What did you do to Kihyun?

I don’t understand the confusion???

You said he ran away????????

 

---

 

Wonho

Kihyun?

Are you okay?

 

---

 

Hyungwon

Fuck okay we’ll address the I love yous in a minute

The story, it’s about

Ugh I’m sorry I legitimately thought it would help

Minhyuk and Shownu’s parents didn’t react very well to them coming out

But things worked out! They’re happy!

Minhyuk’s parents even got over it, and Shownu just

I thought it would help I’m so sorry

Kihyun apparently ran away after the story and I haven’t

I haven’t heard anything else idk I’m sorry

 

Wonho

Ah, fuck, Hyungwon

I know you meant it well

But Kihyun

This isn’t my place, and

God, this really isn’t my place

He was fucking

We were, sort of, dating

People at school found out

I was big, and strong-looking even then

No one fucked with me

Kihyun is small

 

Hyungwon

Oh god

Hoseok I’m so sorry

 

Wonho

You know where I’m going with this

And his parents….

They didn’t find out

But they know I’m bi

And they’ve tried to forbid him being friends with me multiple times

 

Hyungwon

I

I heard from Minhyuk that, fuck I’m sorry for asking this but

Minhyuk said that Kihyun bullied you at school

I don’t understand??

 

Wonho

I’m not telling you this so you can pity him

Or tell anyone

I’m still firmly of the opinion that this is his story to tell

This was just

So you wouldn’t think he was being an asshole or something

I already told you enough

I feel guilty enough as it is I’m not going to say anything else I’m sorry

 

---

 

Wonho

Kihyun please answer me

 

---

 

Hyungwon

You don’t have to, I’m so sorry

Have you heard anything from Kihyun?

 

Wonho

No

He would

He would contact me if he feels too overwhelmed

 

---

 

Changkyun

Hyung, can I, er

Can I talk to you about Kihyun-hyung? Maybe.

 

Wonho

Sure?

What’s up Changkyun?

 

Changkyun

Earlier today, Kihyun

He meant to call you, and he got stuck with me instead

He had a panic attack

 

Wonho

Oh

Oh no

Is he okay?

Where is he?

Is he still with you?

 

Changkyun

I think he was too embarrassed, he

He left. I calmed him down, a bit, I think, I hope

I’m sorry I know he would have preferred you but

I couldn’t just

 

Wonho

No, no it’s fine

Was he breathing normally when he left you?

 

---

 

Kihyun

I’m fine, Wonho

Of course I’m fine

Why?

 

---

 

Changkyun

Yeah, but he

He’s not okay, and I just thought you should know

Just ask him if he’s home safe?

I don’t think he’d answer me and I can’t stop worrying I’m sorry

 

Wonho

Okay, yeah, no

Thanks for telling me

Thanks for helping him

Don’t

Don’t bring this up to him unless he says something first

 

Changkyun

That’s just. I don’t think I actually helped idk he looked so

It’s fine, I won’t, I know that much

Will he be okay?

 

Wonho

Probably

Look, you’re a good kid, and I know you like Kihyun a lot

But there’s a lot of stuff going on with him that

Well, that you just don’t know about

It’s not and will never be my place to say anything

So, just

Go easy on him

 

Changkyun

100% yeah of course totally

...who told you I liked him

 

Wonho

...Seriously, Changkyun

 

Changkyun

...really though did someone tell you

 

Wonho

You’re so obvious it hurts a bit

I mean, to other people, at least

 

Changkyun

Well, fuck

Er. Do you think Kihyun, er

Does he

 

Wonho

Know? No

 

Changkyun

I’m sorry I know you

I meant, he used to

You two used to

I’m leaving I’m sorry

 

Wonho

Changkyun

If I had any feelings left for Kihyun

Other than the feelings a best friend should have

I wouldn’t be dating Hyungwon

 

Changkyun

That is oddly comforting

You like them salty, don’t you

 

Wonho

I don’t know how to deny that

 

Changkyun

Okay, okay, last question, sorry

How can I

I mean

I know he’s going through a lot and I sincerely don’t want to add to any of it

I just

How can I make him

Even just a tiny bit

Happier?

 

Wonho

Like all of us mere mortals

Although he will deny it

He is a sucker for memes

And sweet things

 

Changkyun

Thanks

I just want him to smile, you know?

SDkl;jg ignore that I’m going to go, er

Buy a doughnut or something

Thanks for helping

 

Wonho

You two are making me old before my time

 

---

 

Wonho

Kihyun you don’t have to lie to me

Changkyun, do understand he was just worried but

He told me, okay

I’m not saying you

Fuck I’m not saying you aren’t okay??? I just

Remember when

Well, after all that shit, when you came to my house

We were kids but you were so damn stubborn

And it all just

I’ve told you to stop bottling this shit up, Kihyun

 

Kihyun

I’m not bottling anything up

It was just a test

I did bad on a test, okay

 

Wonho

Okay, I get that, but

Are you sure the test wasn’t just

Kihyun, you cried for nearly an hour the other day

I’m sorry I just

I’m worried and I care about you

 

Kihyun

I know

I’m working through it

Don’t worry about me

Go, idk, fuck Hyungwon or some shit

God I can’t believe those words just appeared in front of my eyes

I made them

I want to scrub my brain

 

Wonho

...yeah, me neither

If there was ever a solid indicator of you not being all there

It’s that sentence

Wait

Fuck

Hyungwon

 

Kihyun

That’s what I said, yes

Eugh

 

Wonho

No it’s not

FUCK

PS this conversation is not over

Just gimme a

Gimme maybe an hour

 

Kihyun

Ugh, are you actually gonna go fuck Hyungwon now?

I’m so disgusted I want to barf

WHY DID I SAY THAT

 

---

 

Wonho

WAIT

what did you mean about addressing the ‘I love you’s’?

Do you not want me to say that?

 

Hyungwon

I just

You probably didn’t mean

Nothing

Wait

You love me?

 

Wonho

…Yes? I’ve said it before?

 

Hyungwon

I… am so epically confused rn

When?

What?

 

Wonho

I love you, Hyungwon. I literally said that last night.

I, admittedly, er

Thought you just ignored it cos I’m

I fall quickly and it’s not

People don’t always

It’s okay, you don’t have to do anything

 

Hyungwon

NO WAIT I

FUCK I WASN’T PAYING ATTENTION FUCK I

I WASN’T IGNORING YOU I SWEAR

IT JUST DIDN’T REGISTER

OH MY GODDDDDD

I’m such a massive idiot I’m so sorry you were saddled with me

I’ll just take myself out to the trash now excuse me

 

Wonho

NO PLEASE DON’T YOU’RE NOT AN IDIOT I SWEAR

If anyone’s the idiot, it’s the idiot saying

Well, y’know

Wait

Saddled with you? You’re

You’re not

Usually people run in the opposite direction when I say

Well. That.

 

Hyungwon

Lol why would people run r they dumb

 

Wonho

The opposite, actually

 

Hyungwon

Are you calling me dumb

 

Wonho

...No?

 

Hyungwon

You just implied that people who run aren’t dumb

Which meant you think they’re smart

I’m not running Hoseok

 

Wonho

Why not?

I’m sorry I just

I said it too early, why aren’t you

 

Hyungwon

Okay, this is how I would have addressed it had I not been an idiot

I don’t know if I love you

I honestly don’t

I’ve never been in love so I just

Don’t know

But

You make me happy

I want to be with you all the time

You’re adorable and funny and sweet and kind

And honestly a fine piece of ass

And you saying that makes me feel all

Ugh

‘Warm’ and ‘fuzzy’ inside so

Yeah

 

Wonho

Sorry i’m 100% cr ying rn

Are yio at the dorm i needt o kiss you silly

 

Hyungwon

I’m in the library

ON MY TO THE DORM NOW DON’T WORRY

 

Wonho

O kay good thats good I thinkl everyone thisnk Im crazy

Im jsust crying infrnt of your room i love u so mch

 

Hyungwon

Fuck don’t cry

I’m almost there

I’ll kiss you lots

 

Wonho

okay :)

Kiss u soon x

Ignore myf ace it’s all pufy

 

Hyungwon

It’s beautiful

Now stop murdering the english language, I’m coming

 

---

 

Kihyun

I really hope I’m not sending this in the middle of you two

Ugh

Anyway

I can handle it, okay?

I can handle one annoying little kid

 

---

 

Changkyun sat down, bumping Kihyun a bit (immediately apologizing, of course), looking particularly antsy as he fidgeted with his bag. Kihyun raised an eyebrow at him before looking away.

“Kihyun-hyung,” Changkyun leaned over to whisper as the lecturer readied himself at the front of the class.

Kihyun ignored him. He wasn’t in the mood today. Barely two days have passed since the… incident, and he just, wasn’t in the mood. It was still hard to be with Changkyun and pretend nothing happened. Luckily, the kid hadn’t brought it up either.

“Kihyun, hyung, please can we move to the back of the class?”

Huffing, irritated at being distracted, Kihyun, without looking at Changkyun, murmured, “Why?”

Changkyun opened his mouth, and Kihyun heard a small meow emanating from the bag a suddenly frozen Changkyun held in his lap.

Slowly, carefully, ascertaining that Changkyun saw that he was so done, he turned towards him and stared pointedly at the bag.

“What, was that?”

Changkyun opened the bag a fraction, revealing the tiniest of tiny kittens Kihyun had ever seen, peeking up out of the bag, blinking curiously up at Kihyun. “I couldn’t just leave it out there, hyung, it’s so small and cute .”

The worst thing, Kihyun mused, as he grabbed Changkyun’s arm and moved to the back of the class under the lecturer’s stern gaze, was that Changkyun was right . It was small, and cute, and so tiny and Kihyun just wanted to rub it against his face.

“Where did you find it?” Kihyun whispered, unable to help himself as he leaned in slightly and held his hand for the kitten to sniff at, before it decided it liked him and started rubbing its face against his hand.

“I-I, er,” , Changkyun coughed a bit, keeping his voice low. “I was late and took a shortcut through on of those small passageways between the buildings, you know, and it was just like, stuck under a plastic bag--” Kihyun frowned at that piece of information, though it was soon replaced by a small smile as the kitten let out a tiny noise. “ I know , okay. I think its mum was a stray, or something.”

“Oh, you poor thing,” Kihyun mumbled. “Can I hold it?” he asked, looking up. He blinked. Changkyun was staring at him. His eyes were… Kihyun didn’t know how to explain it, exactly. They were, well, soft was the only word that fit, but he didn’t want to use it. Kihyun cleared his throat.

“I--yeah, yeah, of course, here,” Changkyun gently reached into his bag, the kitten meowing as he separated it from the make-shift rubbing post that was Kihyun’s hand. It looked absolutely miniscule in Changkyun’s hands, and Changkyun beamed at it, before looking up at Kihyun, holding out his hands, the tiny kitten perched in them.

If asked about it later, Kihuyn would vehemently deny it, but at that moment, he could swear his heart stuttered . He, honest to god, actually felt it stop, before skipping into another beat much too quickly.

Fuck. Not good.

Kihyun ducked his head and made to take the kitten, but, somehow, with fumbling hands and a heart that felt like he had just run a marathon, he miscalculated, and his hands jabbed, fingers first, into Changkyun’s stomach, who let out a loud, pained moan.

Kihyun’s head whipped up, staring at Changkyun with wide eyes.

A tired sounding sigh echoed through the classroom (immediately followed by a loud “WHAT WAS THAT?” from a wide eyed, far-too excited looking Minhyuk at the front of the classroom) and Kihyun looked away from Changkyun to see the lecturer cradling his head in his hands.

“Please, please, please, will you horny little monsters please leave the handjobs for outside the classroom.”

Kihyun immediately broke out into coughing fit, frantically waving (both) hands at the lecturer.

Changkyun, the absolute shit, scoffed with barely contained laughter, holding the kitten closer to himself.

“From the sound of it, might have been a blowjob, sir.”

“Good point, Mr Min. Yoo, Lim, please leave the class.”

Finally getting a semblance of his breath back Kihyun said, “No! I--” Cough, “It wasn’t like that! You see, he has a kit--”

The lecturer held up a hand, the entire class giggling and whispering at this point, pointing at the two of them, Changkyun still giggling with the kitten held close to his chest while Kihyun literally wanted to sink into the floor.

“Please, spare me. Just, get out. Next time, just, don’t.”

Kihyun, red, embarrassed, felt tears gather at the corners of his eyes as he picked up bag with wooden arms, looking down the whole time. He can’t believe-- and this lecturer actually liked him and--

Keeping his back as straight as possible, staring straight in front of him, Kihyun stepped quickly, his face on literal fire , just wanting to get out, get away .

The door closed behind them with a thunk . Kihyun kept walking, not acknowledging Changkyun’s at first laughing call of his name, though his voice quickly turned panicked. Kihyun didn’t want to hear the kid apologise for yet another situation he had placed Kihyun in. He just-- He needed--

He needed to get away .

 

---

 

Changkyun

I FUCKED UP

I FUCKING FUCKED UP

SO BAD

IDK HOW ONE FUCKS UP THE CUTENESS OF A KITTEN

BUT MAN

I FUCKED UP

 

Jooheon

What iS EVEN GOING ON?

 

Changkyun

I am trying to just fucking

Make Kihyun smile

Instead oooooh no let’s get kicked out of class

Good going, me

Do YOU have any ideas cos I’m on like

Confetti and a flash mob atm

 

Jooheon

How did you get kicked out of class?

 

Changkyun

I made a loud sex noise

 

Jooheon

You

what

 

Changkyun

IT’S KIHYUN’S FUCKING FAULT

FUCK THIS I’M GONNA BUY

Hey any idea where I can get a giant hamster plushie

 

Jooheon

NOW I’M EVEN MORE CONFUSED

KIHYUN MADE YOU MAKE A SEX NOISE

WHAT WERE YOU DOING

 

Changkyun

All I’m saying is that I hope Kihyun’s a bit more coordinated than he seems to be

 

Jooheon

I give up

Fuck you

Fuck this

No one tells me shit I am so done with the lot of you

...so Minhyuk just told me

Wtf were you doing giving handjobs in class

That’s nasty

 

Changkyun

Okay even if that was true

I was the one making the sex noise so it would have been him giving me

No

Fuck whatever place that sentence was going

I handed him a cat okay I handed him a tiny ass little kitten and he poked me in the stomach

Dunno where the fuck his head was at

Can u please tell me where to find a giant hamster plushie

Minhyk took the kitten btw he's in love

 

Jooheon

WHY DID YOU MAKE A SEX NOISE THEN

Idk man, try Toys ‘R Us

 

Changkyun

You don’t know my sex noises bro

Thanks bro

I owe you bro

 

Jooheon

I’m so incredibly thankful for that

(Do you even know your sex noises?)

 

Changkyun

-.-

That is

A fair point

It was a generically sexual noise and I’m not happy about it alright

 

---

 

Changkyun

:)

 

Gunhee

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH

yes?

 

Changkyun

Want to come to a toy store?

 

Gunhee

Fuck yeah

 

---

 

“I severely misunderstood what you meant when you asked me to come to a toy store,” Gunhee said in the entrance of Toys ‘R Us. Jooheon elbowed him in the stomach. “I’m not complaining, god, ouch .”

“Where the hell was your mind at? And why were you so enthusiastic about it then?” Jooheon asked, lifting an eyebrow at a grinning Gunhee.

Changkyun looked around the place, eyes searching, standing on the tips of his toes like that would help at all. “We’ll go there next. First, I really need a stuffed hamster.”

Gunhee squinted contemplatively. “See, you say that but all I’m hearing is--”

“Gunhee!”

Changkyun took off for what looked to be the stuffed animal aisle, Jooheon groaning as Gunhee enthusiastically followed.

“You know, guys, I was actually looking forward to just, chilling for once this afternoon, but noooo , I get to escort two hyper-active toddlers in a toystore,” Jooheon grumbled, looking appropriately put out as he dragged himself after the two aforementioned toddlers.  

“HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS IS THE CUTEST FUCKING THING I HAVE EVER SEEN,” Gunhee practically screeched, jumping to try and get one of the stuffed honeybees on the top shelf. “GIMME GIMME GIMME.”

“You’re so short,” Jooheon said, grinning apologetically at two store employees raising an eyebrow at the sight of a fully-grown ( well.. ) male jumping up and down in excitement, pulling a bee down to deposit in Gunhee’s arms.

“Thanks, honey ,” Gunhee said, holding the bee up at Jooheon as he laughed. “Get it? Cos you’re sweet and your name is Joo heon ? See, it even looks like you!” Gunhee poked a dimple into the bees face, looking practically ecstatic.

“That’s nice…” Jooheon could feel his face heating up, and he looked around for a distraction from his face in the form of Changkyun who was… staring at an entire shelf of hamster plushies in various different sizes.

“Would it be bad if I got a pink one?” Changkyun asked, still staring like it was the most important decision in the world. Seriously, Jooheon has seen him sign up for programming classes with absolutely no plan or real reason but no, this required thought. “He won’t be offended if it’s small, right? I mean, it’s a hamster …”

“This really isn’t such a difficult decision, Changkyun. Just pick one.”

“You’re right, I should get the biggest one.”

“That is not what I said.”

“Joohoney, I’m buying this bee.”

“What would you possibly--”

“I’m calling her Beeyoncé.”

“Oh my god, did you even bring your wallet?” Jooheon asked exasperatedly, trying not to smile as he watched Gunhee’s face peeking over the bee.

“...It...” Gunhee frowned. “Might be in the car? Hold Beeyoncé.”

Jooheon caught the bee as Gunhee threw it, before he took off for the parking lot. Jooheon looked over at Changkyun, who he could barely see behind the absolutely enormous hamster plushie he found.

“That’s impractical.”

Changkyun’s voice was muffled. “It’s representative of how sorry I am for being a magnet of dick-jokes and embarrassment. Which is very.”

“Changkyun, you can barely carry it. Wait you’re gonna walk into that--” Jooheon sighed as Changkyun, mercifully cushioned by the hamster, walked straight into a wall.

“Ow.”

“Literally won’t even fit in Gunhee’s car, dude. Also,” Jooheon stepped closer to read the tag, “this is way out of your price range bro.”

“Fine,” Changkyun sighed, turning to try and get the hamster back on the shelf. “Help me, dude. I reeeeally fucked up. I also can’t get this hamster back on here.”

“I have my own toddler to clean up after,” Jooheon sighed as he saw Gunhee enter the shop again, this time with a pleading expression and empty hands, Changkyun still pushing against the massive hamster to force it onto the shelf.. “I don’t have time for this. Just,” Jooheon plucked a smaller, actually holdable, but still big hamster plushie from the shelf, “get this one. Now, excuse me, I have to go pay for Beeyoncé .”

 

---

 

Changkyun

Thanks for the lift dude

 

Gunhee

No problem

So I’m assuming we’re NOT going to the toy store anymore

 

Changkyun

Drag Jooheon there and take a video I beg you

 

Gunhee

lol how are you actually going to give this dude the hamster

Knowing you, you’re probably not just going to walk up to him and give it

You like making your life difficult

 

Changkyun

You’ve known me for like

A few weeks how do you

...I don’t know I didn’t think that far

Leave it on his desk? Throw it over his fence? Idk man

 

Gunhee

Actually

I know a kid

 

Changkyun

You know a kid?

 

Gunhee

Who knows a kid

 

Changkyun

Fine just

Don’t say it’s me, he’ll know anyway

 

Gunhee

It’s that small guy with the pink hair right?

Changkyun

You’re literally the shortest person I know

 

Gunhee

Shhhh gimme the hamster

Also, I’m fun size thank you very much

 

Changkyun

LOL did Jooheon say that to you or

I actually forgot it in your car :)

 

Gunhee

He wouldn’t lie to me

 

Changkyun

True enough

 

---

 

Changkyun

Fun size, huh?

 

Jooheon

GO AWAY

 

---

 

Kihyun

Changkyun

I appreciate the apology

But did you fucking have to

 

Changkyun

wow the kid actually found you

Guess there really aren’t that many short pink haired boys in this university

 

Kihyun

why do you just have people doing deliveries for

ugh I don't want to know

WE ARE THE SAME HEIGHT

 

Changkyun

So smol

So angry

DO YOU LIKE IT? ;3

 

Kihyun

FUCK OFF

Why a hamster?

 

Changkyun

Uhm, you

you have cheeks

 

Kihyun

What

You have cheeks too

What

 

Changkyun

Well yeah but

Yours are like

Much

Much cheeks

 

Kihyun

You confuse me so much

 

Changkyun

I confuse myself honestly

 

---

 

Changkyun

He looks like a hamster

That’s not just me, right

 

Hyungwon

Yes

 

Changkyun

That’s not really answering

Which question are you on here

 

Hyungwon

Yes

 

Changkyun

Changkyun is the handsomest, smartest, cutest man that I know

 

Hyungwon

Wonho

 

Changkyun

Listen I’m not going to argue with you here

But I’m starting to think this conversation is a bit one-sided

 

Hyungwon

Yes

 

Changkyun

Cool nice chat

 

Hyungwon

No

 

---

 

Kihyun

I hope you realize that I have been stuck in a practical for three hours

Sitting next to a giant stuffed hamster plushie

 

Changkyun

What kind of hell practical happens when the sun hath set

 

Kihyun

Sweet summer child

You have not been in college long enough

Web development

 

Changkyun

KiKi is happy to be at your side though

How is he?? Does he miss me??? I think he misses me

 

Kihyun

Kiki?

Who tf is kiki

Ugh I’m almost done at least

Also you’re bothering me

 

---

 

Changkyun

Hey quick question

Kihyun has many opinions right

What’s his opinion on cinnamon buns???

 

Wonho

Loves em.

Especially the plain vanilla icing ones

 

Changkyun

Thaaank you~~~

 

---

 

Changkyun

Our hamster son, hyung, pay attention

 

Kihyun

We do not have a son??

You gave me an overstuffed hamster???

That for some reason you think looks like me

Because of cheeks?????

 

Changkyun

My side of the family clearly doesn’t have very strong genes

The Power of the Cheeks

 

Kihyun

You are

Ridiculous

 

Changkyun

My wit, your cheeks

KiKi will be unstoppable

Practical is almost over, yeah?

 

Kihyun

Yeah ten more minutes

Thank fuck

 

---

 

Kihyun would rather admit that Hyungwon was right about literally anything than admit he liked the giant stuffed hamster sitting next to him, especially to Changkyun, but even though the other people in the practical, (especially the girls), giggled and teased when they saw the hamster, most people ignored it. Kihyun has said it before and he will say it again; the things you can get away with in college is fucking criminal, because people just really didn’t give a single shit.

The last ten minutes ticked by slowly, and Kihyun, along with most of the class, let out a sigh of relief when they were finally allowed to sign the attendance paper and leave. Starting a practical at six in the evening is already less than ideal. Having to end at nine and then still go home and do homework… it was downright painful.

Kihyun walked out of the computer lab hugging the hamster to his chest. There was absolutely no way he was letting Changkyun find out that he liked it, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t hug it and hold it close to him when he was alone, right? Also, it was cold. It was nice to have something soft and fluffy next to your chest when it was cold.

It was in that frame of mind, a little soft, a little tired (and hungry), a lot done with the cold and college in general, that Kihyun stepped out of the building.

And it was that frame of mind that screamed a little at seeing Changkyun sitting on the pavement next to the building, shivering slightly in the chilly wind, a small pack of papers next to him, and two baby-blue Cinnabon boxes on his lap, a wide, toothy smile on his face as he waved to get Kihyun’s attention. He let his hand drop, smiling even wider ( if that was even possible) at what Kihyun guessed was the sight of him, wide-eyed and holding the plushie hamster much closer to himself than anyone who was supposed to actually hate the damn thing would.

Changkyun stood up, apparently having forgotten about the boxes on his lap, if the way he scrambled to catch them as they nearly tipped over was any indication, picked up the papers, and jogged over. “Hyung!” His eyes flicked down to the hamster, eyes practically fucking sparkling as he bit down on his lip, saying nothing as he looked at Kihyun.

Kihyun, frozen for the second it took Changkyun to get up, slowly lowered the hamster, aware that if he were to jerk it away it would only serve to make him look more… well, guilty.

“Changkyun,” he acknowledged with a slight nod. “What, ah, what are you doing here?”

“I forgot to give you your notes back,” he said, nodding down to the papers in his hand, arms full of Cinnabon boxes. “ And considering you didn’t like the hamster…” Changkyun smirked. “I thought I might, just--Well, everyone likes cinnabon, right?”

Kihyun scoffed lightly, but nodded anyway. He might think Changkyun is a little shit, but he was hungry. And, honestly, anything would be better than getting home and having to heat up leftovers yet again because he couldn’t be home in time to eat the food when it was actually hot.

“What, so you were just waiting here for me to finish, to, give me a cinnamon bun?”

Changkyun smiled so wide his eyes scrunched up into little crescents, practically closed, nodding almost proudly. “Yep! Well, one is mine, obviously, I have a stomach, too.”

“Damn, and here I thought I was getting two,” Kihyun pouted, laughing when Changkyun’s smile dimmed just a bit.

“W-well, I mean, if you want it, you can --”

“Changkyun, chill, I was joking .”

“Right,” Changkyun laughed, looking down at the boxes with a teasing grin. “Sorry, I sometimes forget you have a sense of humour.”

Kihyun paused in reaching out to take the box and notes from Changkyun, eyes narrowing, before lifting the hamster and delivering a sound blow to the back of Changkyun’s head.

“Yah! Respect your hyung.”

Changkyun looked vaguely startled for a moment before laughing and bowing slightly. “My apologies, hyung. Peace offerings will become a habit at this rate.” Changkyun wiggled the boxes in his hands.

“Why? Do you think you’ll be needing them a lot?” Kihyun plucked a box from Changkyun’s head, smiling at the cinnamon bun nestled within.

“I hope not, that hamster cost me a fortune,” Changkyun mumbled, smiling down softly, looking behind him. “Do you, er--I mean, if you have to go home, that’s fine, really, I was just wondering if you maybe, uhm,” Changkyun looked down at his own cinnabon box, and frowned, lips pursing.

“Do I want to what? Spit it out, my parents are probably waiting for me.”

Changkyun scrunched his eyes closed, face pink. “Will you eat with me? I--please?”

Kihyun’s mind flashed back to the ‘chat’ he had with his parents a few days ago. To the pani-- to him calling Changkyun. He shivered in the wind as his hand tensed around the hamster’s paw. Which, in turn, made him realise the ridiculous situation he was in.

There he was, standing outside the Computer Sciences building, hungry, tired, cold, holding a hamster plushie and a cinnabon box, both from the boy who, just a two days ago, he had promised himself he was never going to talk to again because of how much he had embarrassed himself in front of said boy.

It started as small giggles, growing louder and louder until Kihyun was full out collapsing into himself. It took a while, but he was finally able to calm himself down enough to smile up at an extremely bemused looking Changkyun.

“Ah, sure, Changkyunnie, why not.”

“I--Good? I mean,” Changkyun let out a laugh, frowning before clearing his throat. “Sorry, you just--I mean, you gave me a heartattack --” Changkyun shook his head, still smiling. “Do you--” He glanced around. “Sit? Do you want to sit, is what I meant.”

“Can we just get out of the wind?” Kihyun shivered, pulling his jacket closer around him. “I mean, it’s quite cold, and the wind kinda cuts through my clothing like a knife .”

“Fuck, of course, sorry,” Changkyun said, looking around again and gesturing with his head to the entrance to the courtyard close-by, “In there?”

“Okay, or we can just, go inside somewhere?”

“Dude, I don’t know,” Changkyun whined. “You’re older, you make the decisions, I fold under pressure, okay.”

Motioning to Changkyun to follow, Kihyun led him to a tall, brick building, one of the only buildings whose lights were still on, a beacon of light, almost, in the dark.

“They keep this open the whole night. I mean, the lecture halls themselves aren’t open, but the building itself is. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.”

“Maybe for the cats,” Changkyun said, following him and looking contemplative.

Kihyun just shrugged, walking into the building and heaving a sigh of relief when the wind immediately cut off. He already felt warmer. He led Changkyun to the stairs, where he sat down, opened the boxes, and started eating, all in silence.

Surprisingly, Changkyun sat down, slipping easily into his silence. He fumbled a bit with the box, but picked at the cinnamon bun without saying a word, glancing around as he chewed.

“I didn’t know you could be this quiet,” Kihyun commented idly after having finished about half of his bun.

Changkyun smiled softly. “Well, you don’t know me very well, then.”

Kihyun tilted his head.

“Huh. Guess I don’t.”

“I don’t know you that well, either, so,” Changkyun shrugged.

“What’s there to know, really,” Kihyun shrugged, picking at the cinnamon bun. “I mean, I study programming and maths, though we both know by now I prefer photography. I’m not the best with people,” Kihyun gave a self-deprecating smile. “I’m just… your average anxious student I suppose. What about you?”

Changkyun frowned at him for a moment, “My calling you ‘amazing’ and ‘interesting’ didn’t stick, then? Well, I am just your average insecure student, I suppose,” Changkyun said, an unreadable smile pulling at the side of his mouth.

Kihyun waved Changkyun’s words away. “I don’t know about sticking it’s just, it’s not, how do I explain this...” He paused, taking a bite from his cinnamon bun, chewing and swallowing before speaking again. ‘It’s like, no matter what people say, or how much they compliment you or whatever, it always feels, somehow, like, they’re just doing it because that’s how they’ve been taught? Because, we all say ‘fine’ when people ask, ‘how are you’, never mind that we might be the furthest from fine you’ve ever been in your life. And, I’ve always felt that applies to compliments? Like, of course you’re going to tell that girl her dress looks nice, or that, no, her speech about knitting wasn’t boring. Those are bad examples, but, do you get it?” Kihyun looked up at Changkyun, waiting for some sort remark. He was well aware that he didn’t sound completely coherent, and that he tended to ramble but, for some reason, it felt really important to him that he get this point across.

“I get it,” Changkyun said, “I mean, nobody’s going to be like--’How are you?’ ‘Oh, no, I just had, like, the biggest shit of my life’ or ‘you know, actually, death sounds good about now’,” Changkyun laughed softly. “I get it, I honestly do, but don’t you think that, maybe not every compliment, sure, but that… That compliments can be sincere?” Changkyun looked at him, head tilted.

Relieved that Changkyun wasn’t laughing him off or completely denying it, Kihyun hummed thoughtfully before answering.

“I mean, sure, compliments can be sincere, but there’s always the possibility that they’re just said because, well, that was what that person was taught to do. Not that it’s a bad thing to give compliments instinctively, it just makes it hard to actually believe any of them are sincere, and not just about how that person was raised to interact.”

Changkyun scoffed. “Fair. Maybe we should all just be Hyungwon and never compliment anyone.”

“I once saw Wonho’s phone while he was texting Hyungwon and the amount of sweet, ugh, stuff in there was enough to make me puke. Hyungwon is honest, at least. Most of the time. He’s a dick, but he won’t lie to you.”

“So you think I lied, then?” Changkyun asked, softly, “When I said you were amazing.”

“I just think you don’t know how not to be charming.” Kihyun froze a second after the words left his mouth. Oh my god did he really just say that oh my god --

Changkyun laughed. “I have all the charm of a washed up jelly-fish. Jokes aside, because you obviously do have a sense of humour, my bad, honestly, that’s not really answering my question.”

Kihyun coughed lightly. Well, that had gone better than the fifty-five scenarios his head had conjured up in the space of 0.5 seconds.

“I mean, you’re less slimy than a jelly-fish, at least. No, I didn’t think you were lying. But, like I said, you could just be socialised to be extremely, I don’t know, complimentary towards people?”

“You are incredibly difficult to flatter, Kihyun-hyung,” Changkyun exaggerated a sigh before grinning. “You know, now I’m wondering whether you just called me charming because of social conditioning and not because you actually meant it.”

Okay, so he had heard that. He had a chance to play this off here, to make light of it. He should definitely do that.

“I’m not conditioned to any type of social niceties.” Well, there went that plan.

“Awww, thanks, hyung” Changkyun said, popping a piece of bun into his mouth. “You may not know much about me, but at least you’ve got the basic facts.”

“Which is?” Good, take the attention away from the fact that Kihyun just said that , dear lord.

Changkyun smiled widely, popping another piece into his mouth. “You said I was charming. Most people just call me an annoyingly persistent little brat. I think you said that, actually.” Changkyun hummed contemplatively. “Not sure what to believe anymore~”

“You are an annoying little brat,” Kihyun scoffed. “Doesn’t mean I don’t think you’re funny and cute.” What. At this point, Kihyun was ready to go home and fucking choke himself. What the hell.

Changkyun seemed to choke on his cinnamon bun, quickly hitting his chest with his fist, laughing a little as he did. “I--you do?” Changkyun looked at him, like he wanted to believe him, but wasn’t sure if it was just a joke or not.

“Ah…” Kihyun could feel all his doubts, all his worries, every single thing he had been feeling two days ago, creep up on him. He could feel them, but, strangely, it didn’t, it didn’t make him want to run away. He could feel his heart beating faster, he could feel his hands start to shake but, inside, where it mattered, he felt, almost, calm. He was still scared. He could still remember the-the things that were said to him in high school, the things his father had called people who liked people of the same sex. He could still feel it, still remember it, but, at this moment, he didn’t feel like it mattered all that much, really. “Yeah. ‘Course I do.”

The carefree smile on Changkyun’s face quickly vanished, replaced by a frown, lips parting. Kihyun could feel his heart beating fast, too fast, painfully fast. His chest was threatening to constrict his breathing. Did he say something wrong? Should he have played it off as a joke? Should he have--

He felt shaky fingers, warm even in this weather, slide cautiously onto the top of his hand, careful and questioning, before settling there, the weight firmer now but the fingers still so shaky.

Kihyun stopped breathing for a moment. His fingers twitched, and the hand on top of his flinched, as if to move away, and, quickly, almost quicker than Kihyun knew he could move, he slipped his pinky over Changkyun’s, keeping his hand there.

He couldn’t look up. He couldn’t look up. He couldn’t look up because if he did, if he did this was really happening, this wasn’t just some strange dream. His breath was already too fast, his brain was buzzing he couldn’t look up .

“Hyung?”

Changkyun’s voice was smaller, softer, more vulnerable than Kihyun had ever heard it and that, more than anything else, forced him to lift his head, to take a peek at what expression the younger boy could possibly be wearing.

Whatever Kihyun expected, this… wasn’t it.

Changkyun was looking at him like… Like Kihyun wasn’t entirely sure anyone had ever looked at him before. His eyes were soft, searching... attentive, almost. He was biting softly onto his bottom lip, the hand not currently resting on top of Kihyun’s hovering in the air between them. Without his permission, Kihyun’s eyes fell to Changkyun’s mouth, staying there just long enough to see his tongue flick over his lips, before he dragged them up to Changkyun’s eyes again, which were darker this time, still soft, but more intense.

This, almost, in a way, felt like a curious repeat of what had happened, so long ago, (but, really, not that long ago), in the computer lab.

This time, though, this time, Kihyun couldn’t make himself look away.

This time, though, Changkyun leaned in.

A laugh, incredibly loud in the empty hallway, emanating from two people walking in their direction, brought Kihyun to his senses like a bucket of ice had just been emptied over him, shocking him out of the small, tight bubble of tension he had been trapped in for what felt like eons, but was probably only a few seconds.

Snatching his hand from underneath Changkyun’s, all the worries and fears and words that had somehow been kept at bay for those precious few seconds, flooding back in, informing Kihyun that if he didn’t get away right that second , he would face the fucking consequences . He sprang up, hamster clutched tightly to his chest.

“I, uh, thanks for the cinnabon, and the, uh, monstrosity,” Kihyun half-heartedly waved the hamster before clutching it back again, Changkyun sitting frozen on the steps. “But, I have to go. Bye.”

He just about managed to restrain himself from running out of there, although he did have to sit in the car for about twenty minutes, getting his breath and his brain back under control. His skin was still buzzing, (from anxiety or, or something else, he couldn’t tell), when he started the car and drove off.

Chapter Text

Changkyun

Ever wanted to throw someone with a shoe

 

Hyungwon

Yes

Usually you

 

Changkyun

Why do I talk to you

 

Hyungwon

Because I’m a wonderful human being with a fantastic face

 

Changkyun

Why did the universe just look at you and go

“Nah, he doesn’t have ENOUGH let’s give him HOSEOK”

Like did you save the entire fucking country in a previous life??

 

Hyungwon

Bitch I might have

Back to the point

Why do you want to throw someone with a shoe

 

Changkyun

BECAUSE THEY’RE WALKING IN THE HALLWAY

AND LAUGHING

LIKE ASSHOLES

WHEN I HAVE PEOPLE TO

THINGS TO

ARGH

It’s not fair

 

Hyungwon

No finish that sentence I want to see the trainwreck

 

Changkyun

An actual trainwreck happened ten minutes ago on the second floor stairway

You missed it

And now I have cinnamon bun all over my pants

 

Hyungwon

Why does the universe hate me

Because I really wanted to see that

 

Changkyun

We’ve already established that you’re the universe’s golden child stfu

I didn’t fall if that’s what you’re thinking

Well I guess if you’re being metaphorical???

No stfu changkyun go home and cry into a pillow like a man

STOP BEING DRAMATIC WHY AM I LIKE THIS

listen

 

Hyungwon

You should have been a theater major I’ve been trying to tell you for years

I’m listening

(Only because I literally will kill myself if I have to look at this essay I’m supposed to be finishing okay)

 

Changkyun

:(

I did a dumb thing

 

Hyungwon

What’s new

 

Changkyun

That I wanted to do it

 

Hyungwon

You mean you didn’t want to get stuck on the escalator for an hour?

Wow

My mind is blown

 

Changkyun

Still not sure how I managed to do that tbh

 

Hyungwon

I’m pretty sure it involved a shopping cart

 

Changkyun

Hyuuuuuuuuuuuung stop bringing up old mistakes and focus on the new one

What do you do if

Hypothetically

You almost kissed

And this is completely hypothetical

Someone that you

Er

Someone that doesn’t

Er

HYPOTHETICALLY

If you almost HYPOTHETICALLY kissed the love of your life

But instead got yourself covered in cinnamon bun cos

SOME ASSHOLES

Decided to exist nearby and he ran

 

Hyungwon

Oh dear god did you kiss Kihyun?????

 

Changkyun

Almost

HYPOTHETICALLY

 

Hyungwon

Okay, so, HYPOTHETICALLY (bullshit)

You are both idiots

And

I would caution against getting involved with Kihyun

 

Changkyun

If I hypothetically wanted to get involved with Kihyun

...why?

 

Hyungwon

Let’s just say

He...

 

Changkyun

YOU LIED YOU SAID HE DIDN’T LIKE YOU HE DOES DOESN’T HE

 

Hyungwon

OMG LET ME FINISH

 

Changkyun

 

Hyungwon

I’m considering not telling you anything don’t fucking push me

 

Changkyun

Tell me what?? Hyuuuung

This is hypothetically very important to me

 

Hyungwon

Fine

As you know, I’m an extremely funny human being

And make jokes all the time

So, once I made a joke

About something that wasn’t completely heterosexual

Kihyun wasn’t the most receptive of audiences

 

Changkyun

I don’t

What do you mean?

 

Hyungwon

Changkyunnie

He was

Well, disgusted is one word for it I guess

 

Changkyun

This isn’t funny, hyung

 

Hyungwon

I know

I’m actually not trying to be funny right now

I could have misread it

I’m not very good at people, as you know

But, yeah

 

Changkyun

I don’t know why you hate him but

I mean, I get if last time you just said that shit to get me to leave him alone

But this

 

Hyungwon

Changkyun, this has literally nothing to do with whether or not I hate him

I’m

God fucking dammit I don’t want you to get hurt okay

 

Changkyun

I’m not a child

He hasn’t

I mean, I know I’m not exactly, well, you

But there are moment when I think he actually likes me you know?

I don’t want to think that about him

 

Hyungwon

You ARE a fucking child Changkyun

I’m your hyung and however much we like to pretend we hate each other

I don’t trust him

 

Changkyun

You don’t trust him or you don’t trust me?
I’m just a fucking child, after all

 

Hyungwon

Oh my god stop being so dramatic

I know that you think you know what you’re doing

But

You’ve never dated anyone

Kissing one boy doesn’t count

And

Kihyun doesn’t seem like the sort of person you want your first relationship to be with

 

Changkyun

Yes feel free to throw my inexperience at me, that’ll help me

That is incredibly judgemental of you?

Do you actually know him?

Or are you just being like this because

Fuck idek

I’m sorry hyung I am, okay I just

 

Hyungwon

Do I know him???

You fucking

I knew him for two years before you did

You’ve known him, what, a couple of months?

And am I just being like this because of what?

You really think I’m petty enough not to want to you to be happy?

This is WHY I’m doing this you piece of shit

 

Changkyun

What do you actually want me to do here?

It’s not like I can

Fuck I should have known you would be like this

 

Hyungwon

I’m actually curious as to what you think I’m being like

Should I not worry about you?

Should I not try and spare you the hurt I can practically smell from a mile away with this guy?

 

Changkyun

I’m not just going to fucking abandon him or whatever

Just because you’re being a self-righteous snob and justifying it with concern

And to go as far as to say he’s homophobic??
He dated Wonho ffs

Dated and then some, I’ve heard

Is that your problem?? That he’s Wonho’s ex??

 

Hyungwon

...you can date someone of the same sex and still be homophobic, my dude

It’s not that uncommon

Oh I’m being a snob?

You’re being so naive it’s actually hurting me rn

You really think I’m insecure in my relationship with Wonho?

Have you SEEN me?

You know what, I try to help, and I get this treatment

 

Changkyun

Now isn’t the time for your ego, honestly

 

Hyungwon

Having an ego and having self-confidence is not the same thing

You should try getting some

 

Changkyun

I know

 

Hyungwon

Oh, spare me

Now’s not the time for your pity-party

 

Changkyun

I know you’re right okay

You can stop now

I get it

 

Hyungwon

What do you get?

 

Changkyun

Fuck do you want a list?

I’m self-deprecating

I’m a naive child

I’m a stubborn idiot

Meanwhile you’re right and I’m

It doesn’t matter

 

Hyungwon

Changkyun-ah

 

Changkyun

You’re right but it doesn’t fucking help me does it

I’m not you

I don’t have an off switch

I can’t just

 

Hyungwon

You can stop liking someone Changkyun

I mean, sure it would take a while but

 

Changkyun

I know you’re angry

So you probably missed the part where I said ‘love of my life’

 

Hyungwon

...you’re dramatic

 

Changkyun

Maybe

Fine, I am, but

Would you tell Minhyuk this?

If he lost Shownu forever, could you honestly look him in the face and tell him

‘You can stop liking someone’

 

Hyungwon

Minhyuk and Shownu are

They’re different

 

Changkyun

If someone said that to YOU

Do you think it would make losing that person hurt any less?

 

Hyungwon

Oh, Changkyun

Why

Kihyun is so

He has so many issues

Where are the soft gay boys can’t we get them in here

Why him

 

Changkyun

He’s so much more than you think he is, hyung

I know you think I’m just a kid with a first crush but he’s

He cares so much more than you think he does and

We all have issues

You said it yourself, I throw pity-parties on a daily basis

 

Hyungwon

Your issues are more amusing than anything else

And when they’re not

They don’t actively hurt the people near you

I can’t...

Wonho told me some things in confidence which I can’t tell you

But this is not a good idea

 

Changkyun

Yeah, never been good at those, have I

I can’t

I can’t just stop loving him, Hyungwon-hyung

What do I do

 

Hyungwon

……

I’ll be here to hug you if

Well

I’ll be here

 

Changkyun

Thanks, hyung

I just

It’ll hurt either way, you know?

If I give up

If I don’t and he

Thank you

 

Hyungwon

Why was I saddled with you aish

Anyway, if you’re not in your dorm yet

Get there

It’s cold out

 

Changkyun

Hah I’m still on the staircase

 

Hyungwon

Go to your dorm

Play a game

Read a book

Try to think of something else?

 

Changkyun

Idk man this is a good song

Really feeling it

 

Hyungwon

Changkyun so help me

Get your ass off of those stairs

 

Changkyun

Cry Baby’s a good song too

Ugh fine I’m going

I have to go model again on Saturday you know

 

Hyungwon

Aish

Do you want me to come?

I can annoy Kihyun into letting me stay

 

Changkyun

Ever going to admit he’s actually your friend or…?

I don’t know, I think I’ll just go alone. It’ll be fine.

 

Hyungwon

What the hell we’re not friends

He supplies me with photographs

I supply him with a model

 

Changkyun

Sure

 

---

 

Hyungwon

I’m going to kill this fucking kid

 

Wonho

We talked about this

Murder is bad

 

Hyungwon

It’s for his own sake at this point

Like, can he just

He’s so stubborn

I’m TRYING to HELP

Also, your bff is a dick pass it on

 

Wonho

I sense a lot of anger here???

Kihyun is... an acquired taste

I’m so confused I’m just gonna state that as a fact at this point

 

Hyungwon

Changkyun told me about a very HYPOTHETICAL situation

That ended up with him sitting on some stairs alone

While Kihyun ran away

And now he’s holding a fucking pity party for himself because he is a drama queen

 

Wonho

THIS DOES NOT HELP I AM STILL CONFUSED

What did Kihyun do??

No wait what did Changkyun do

What happened

 

Hyungwon

Why do you assume it was Changkyun

He is a poor innocent child

An idiot

But a child

 

Wonho

Oh okay so it wasn’t Changkyun

Thank god

For a moment I thought you were gonna tell me Changkyun tried to kiss Kihyun or something

 

Hyungwon

I mean

I didn’t say it wasn’t Changkyun

Just that you shouldn’t assume

I mean

He told me it was a HYPOTHETICAL situation um

 

Wonho

Okay well HYPOTHETICALLY

That would be a terrible idea

 

Hyungwon

Well, hypothetically

You know what, fuck this

We just had a massive argument

Kihyun is gonna break his fucking heart and he won’t listen to me

Control your friend

 

Wonho

Kihyun didn’t

I mean, he just ran away right?

He didn’t do anything else?

 

Hyungwon

Yeah but

Isn’t that bad enough?

I mean, this was just a simple kiss

ATTEMPT, I might add

 

Wonho

Idk if you’ve noticed but Kihyun is… a little high-strung

His immediate response to situations he can’t deal with

Is to run away

Not… necessarily things he doesn’t like

Just, things he doesn’t know how to process

 

Hyungwon

I know I have noticed thank you

But, I made a joke once

(I am HILARIOUS)

About him banging Changkyun

And he looked fucking disgusted

I’m sorry, but I won’t let him hurt my dongsaeng because he has issues

 

Wonho

It’s not his fault...

 

Hyungwon

Idgaf who’s fault it is

This is Changkyun

I’ve known him literally forever and he’s like my little brother and

I’m sorry idgaf about Kihyun rn

 

Wonho

Changkyun is a great kid and I would never want anyone to hurt him

Especially not my BEST FRIEND, Hyungwon

I know Kihyun has issues but your blatant prejudice towards him isn’t doing anyone any favours

 

Hyungwon

It’s not prejudice if it’s true

I know you wouldn’t willingly hurt anyone

But

I want you to know and I want you to know now

This is a line I will not budge about

Don’t hurt my friends

Especially Changkyun

Just, don’t

 

Wonho

You make it sound like I’m choosing sides

And I just can’t

I’m not going to join you in your mission against my own best friend

And I’m not particularly eager for Changkyun to get hurt and you KNOW THAT

 

Hyungwon

I know

Let’s not talk about this anymore

 

Wonho

Agreed

I just need to say something, okay?

And please, just listen

 

Hyungwon

Go ahead

 

Wonho

Whatever you might think of Kihyun

And whatever he has done

I know him, and I know, for a fact that he cares a lot about Changkyun

Enough to

You wouldn’t understand me saying this, I guess, but

Enough to let it get to him

Remember when I told you that I feel guilty? That I want Kihyun to be as happy as I am?

Because I am happy, Hyungwon, I love you to bits

I just

You understand what I’m saying, right?

 

Hyungwon

Why would you feel guilty though?

Isn’t Kihyun just standing in his own way?

And, what do you mean ‘get to him’?

 

Wonho

Kihyun has this… this wall, right

And I feel guilty because he let it down, once

He let it down and he let everything in

Everything that wall had been made to keep out just

Poured in, and that was on me

Because he built it back up again

It scared me how strong he built it

and I honestly didn’t think anyone would even, ever make a scratch on it

Until he met Changkyun

 

Hyungwon

I don’t believe that was on you

Like, I just don’t

But

And I’m trying to be as sensitive as possible here

We’re all making the same risk here?

Like, do you even know what happened with Minhyuk and Shownu?

I understand things are hard with being, not heterosexual, in this country

But he’s not the only who’s had to deal with it

I believe you that you say he cares about Changkyun, I honestly do

But

 

Wonho

People… People are different

I get you, I really do

But some people just…

Kihyun just needs more time, I think

Needs more of a reason to risk everything

 

Hyungwon

And what happens to Changkyun if Kihyun decides he isn’t worth it?

 

Wonho

That’s a terrible way of putting it, Hyungwonnie...

 

Hyungwon

I know

It’s the truth though

 

Wonho

I want… I just want Kihyun to be happy

I want Changkyun to be happy

Is that so much to ask for

 

Hyungwon

I don’t know

I don’t want to talk about this anymore

Because it makes me think about choosing sides

And I don’t think we’re gonna be on the same side

 

Wonho

I really hope it doesn’t amount to that

I just don’t

I have dance early tomorrow. Can I see you afterwards? Please

 

Hyungwon

Sure

Usual place?

 

Wonho

Usual place

I love you

Just needed you to know that

 

---

 

"Why are you following me around? Go bother Jooheon. Or, better yet, go study. You’re always complaining about the amount of work you have.” Hyungwon huffed as he sank down on the bench outside of the studio Wonho had dance class in, Changkyun settling down next to him.

Changkyun pouted, pulling his jacket closer to himself. With his ripped jeans, pink ears and cheeks, Hyungwon knew the kid hadn’t even bothered to check what the weather was before leaving his dorm. “You know I can’t study. It’s against who I am as a person. I can bullshit myself into a distinction.”

“Not in programming you can’t, you dipshit.”

“Exactly, it breaks me down on a spiritual level.”

“Yeah, I heard it’s all about being logical.” Hyungwon glanced at Changkyun. “I can see why you struggle with it.”

Changkyun scrunched his nose at Hyungwon. “You might have a point.”

“I always have a point. Now, answer the question, why are you here?”

“It’s too fucking early to be awake and endure your salt.” Changkyun let out a breath. “Can’t I just enjoy the company of another human?”

“Yes, but why me. I’m only here because I get to see a sweaty Wonho in about ten minutes.”

Changkyun stuck out his tongue. “That’s disgusting, hyung.”

Hyungwon reached out and absentmindedly pat Changkyun’s head. “You’ll understand when you’re older.”

“Seriously, what is so sexy about--” Changkyun stopped, seemingly taking a moment to think about it. ‘It’ most likely being a scenario Hyungwon prayed to God he would never have to see Kihyun in, ever. Changkyun let out a sudden cough. “Nope, no, shut up, I’m not a kid and--” Cough.

“I don’t want to know where your brain just went.”

Changkyun ran a hand through his hair, before looking at his hand like it had just betrayed him. Hyungwon laughed a little. “Nowhere.” Changkyun squeaked before coughing, again. “Listen, you’re my only option right now, okay, Jooheon has a permanent fixture now, and also threatened to throw my playstation out the window if I woke him up before nine.”

“Why are you awake before nine?”

“I think you being so thirsty that you don’t sleep in is a marvel , actually. Sleep is your ex, now.”

“I see what you’re doing, but I’m too tired to care.” Hyungwon saw Changkyun eyeing the steaming cup Hyungwon held in his hand wistfully. “Don’t even think about it. This is for Wonho.”

“Domestic as fuck. Never thought I’d see the day. Mr I’ll Marry My Bed and Have Fifty Cats, waking up early and bringing his boyfriend coffee. Amazing.” Changkyun sounded, admittedly, a tiny bit bitter.

Hyungwon lifted a hand to flip him off, but didn’t complete the gesture as Wonho stepped out of the studio, dressed in a tank top and pressing a towel to his neck, his eyes lighting up when he spotted Hyungwon standing up and holding a steaming cup of…

“Tea?”

“Of course.”

“That’s not even coffee? Uuuugh,” Changkyun slid down the bench, looking despondent, but waving at Wonho anyway, smiling a bit. “‘Sup. I’m dying.”

“I’m Wonho, nice to meet you.”

There was a pause to marvel in the cringe-worthiness of Wonho’s dad joke. “And you... love this man?” Changkyun asked Hyungwon after a moment, pointing at Wonho.

Wonho spluttered, spraying tea, before turning to Hyungwon with his eyebrows raised. Hyungwon could feel his jaw clench as he turned to glare at Changkyun.

Changkyun laughed, a bit high-pitched. “Oh my god I was just making a joke. My bad.”

“Ha ha, that’s so funny,” Hyungwon deadpanned, shooting a strained smile at Changkyun while Wonho lowered his gaze to the floor, a small smile playing around his lips.

“Ugh, I miss memes and dick jokes, when did my life turn into a drama,” Changkyun grumbled, pulling his hood over his head and looking at his feet. “Sorry, sorry, go on, be cute, just ignore me. I am the bench .”

Hyungwon, a prickly feeling playing over the back of his neck, turned to look at Wonho, an apologetic grimace on his face, only to be confronted by the elder smiling softly at him, leaning in to say, “It’s fine, Hyungwon, really, it’s fine.”

Hyungwon smiled a bit, as Changkyun kicked a stone on the pavement. “How was class?”

“Great! I mean, there’s another Hoseok in there that is seriously incredibly good and I was a bit intimidated, but he’s actually super nice. You wouldn’t believe how quickly he picks stuff up,” Wonho let out a low whistle, taking another sip of tea, shivering slightly against the cold morning air.

The sound of someone running drew Hyungwon’s attention, and he looked up just in time to see Kihyun, beanie shoved over his head, scarf wrapped around his neck and bundled in possibly the warmest looking sweater Hyungwon has ever seen, coming to a stop beside Wonho, frowning up at him, brandishing a sweater in his hand.

“Wonho! I’ve told you once if I’ve told you a million times, you can’t go out in this cold without a sweater and oh my god, you’re wearing a tank top how irresponsible--”

Kihyun cut off as Wonho grabbed the sweater, laughter shaking his frame. Hyungwon could feel a smile twitching as his mouth corners, but he couldn’t help the faint tightening of his eyes and the way he shifted, just slightly, to cover Changkyun.

Kihyun’s eyes flicked up at the movement, his annoyed frown coming to rest on Hyungwon, before sliding to the form shivering behind him. His frown slipped a bit, softening, and Hyungwon could see the older man’s flailing in his eyes.

Children. Both of them.

(He knew Kihyun would probably have gone off on him not ensuring that his boyfriend was properly clothed against the cold and, as much as Hyungwon loathed getting lectured by Kihyun, he was pretty sure that, at this point, he would prefer it above the awkwardness he was sure was about to descend on them.)

He could feel how rigid Changkyun had gone next to him, and he was sure that if he were to look, the stupid kid would be wide eyed and staring at his fucking shoes or something. Which definitely helps. Fuck, why does he have to deal with this where are the nice soft gay boys honestly.

“Thanks for the sweater, Kihyunnie.”

There they are.

Before an awkward silence could descend upon them in its suffocating embrace, Wonho piped up, a slightly strained looking smile on his face, “So! Um, would you all like to go get some coffee? Since we’re all here…”

He trailed off, Hyungwon pursing his lips at Wonho. He lifted his eyebrows, trying to communicate with facial expressions and telepathy alone that this was not the fucking time you big sweetheart .

“I have to go stu--”

“I hate coffee.”

A gasp sounded from behind Hyungwon and he didn’t even need to turn around to see the absolutely scandalised expression on Changkyun’s face.

“But you’re a student ,” Changkyun said, before snapping shut his gaping mouth, sitting back with pink cheeks.

“So?” Kihyun snapped, before his eyes fell to Changkyun’s jeans and he heaved an extremely put upon sigh. “Are you fucking-- oh my god how do you survive without supervision, it’s literally fucking freezing. Here,” Hyungwon watched, a bit shell-shocked, as Kihyun unwrapped the scarf around his neck and held it out to Changkyun, “Take this. I won’t be responsible for you dying.”

Changkyun’s eyes were comically wide as he frowned in absolute confusion. “Wha--huh?”

Kihyun shook the scarf. “Take it. And put it on. My arm is getting tired.”

Changkyun blinked before scrambling to get the scarf (Hyungwon sighed) and put his hood down to drape it around his neck. “Th-thanks, hyung.”

Kihyun nodded, apparently satisfied, before levelling a stern glare at Wonho.

“I had to leave the house a whole hour earlier because I just knew you would forget a sweater. Don’t make me do that again.”

And, with that, and a swift nod in Hyungwon’s direction, he was off.

Changkyun buried his face into the scarf, letting out a pained whine.

“It smells like him ,” he whined pitifully, looking up at Hyungwon with a pout.

Hyungwon looked up at Wonho because naturally, this was absolutely ridiculous and he expected Wonho to look appropriately embarrassed for Changkyun, but no, instead of that, Wonho was looking practically starry-eyed.

“That’s so cute !”

“It’s not cute , it’s--what the hell does he even smell like? Sawdust and rage?”

Changkyun was so fucking pink, it was so dumb. “I don’t know! Just…” Changkyun sank down into the bench, looking progressively more pitiful. “ Him . Strawberry shampoo and tea...”

“That’s disgusting don’t talk to me about what he smells like jeez .”

“You literally asked me!”

“It was hypothetical .”

Changkyun turned his half covered face to Hyungwon to glare. “ Rhetorical .”

Inconsequential . I’m leaving.”

With that, Hyungwon stomped off, before realizing that he was missing his boyfriend and stopped, turning around and crossing his arms. Wonho shot an apologetic grin in Changkyun’s direction.

“I’m sorry about him. You can still join us if you want…?”

“It’s fine. Have fun.”

Wonho nodded, walking backwards to join Hyungwon. “Just give him that scarf back, okay? It’s one of his favourites.”

With that Hyungwon turned around and walked away, though he did turn around once they were a few steps away, raising his eyebrows at Changkyun. A silent, are you okay?

Changkyun lifted his shoulders in a shrug, a small, dimpled smile on his face, a silent, guess I gotta be .

Hyungwon hesitated half a second, body twitching to turn around, but Changkyun shook his head and waved him away. Hyungwon sighed, nodded and turned around, arm sneaking around Wonho’s waist.

Things were going to be fine, right?

 

---

 

To say that he was nervous about this whole thing would be like saying ‘Minhyuk is quite cheery on occasion’ or ‘Hyungwon is decent to look at’.

Changkyun’s nerves were fucking wrecked . He’d fretted over his clothes and hair and literal entire appearance for ages before Jooheon snapped, reminded him to take his glasses, and basically threw him out of the dorm with the keys to his car.

Jooheon must really have wanted him gone if he’d trusted him with his car.

The car, which quickly became Changkyun’s Metal Box of Angst. He’d parked in front of Kihyun’s house, and stared at his phone hoping that, somehow, it would alert Kihyun to the fact that he was here all on its own and he wouldn’t have to open the chat window and rethink his entire life.

This was fine. This was fine and he wasn’t going to fuck it up and do anything stupid and Kihyun was going to keep talking to him and-- Right. It was fine.

The gate opened, and Changkyun jumped in surprise, dropped his phone, desperately tried to catch it, and hit his head on the steering wheel, which let out a sad (loud) honk.

Great. Superb. Kihyun was probably laughing at him right no--

“Yah! Oppa!”

Wait what the --He looked up, and instead of being faced with the source of his internal turmoil, Jeongyeon, the internal turmoil’s sister, was standing next to his window, grinning and waving at him.

Changkyun, after blinking up at the girl for a few seconds, belatedly rolled down the window to smile uncertainly at her. “Hi. Er, am I parked in front of something or--I’m here for the thing?” Smooth.

Jeongyeon giggled, pulling Changkyun’s door open without even so much as a ‘by your leave’.

“Kihyun’s running late. He was setting up when Mom asked him and Dad to run to the store, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay in here by yourself while he’s out buying milk. Come on, come in and help us make lunch.”

Before Changkyun could even try to think of a coherent protest, Jeongyeon already had his wrist in her hand and, like a helpless puppy, he was dragged along behind her, finding himself in the kitchen with his hands busily cutting up some lettuce before he could so much as blink.

“Honey,” Kihyun’s mother said evenly, after Jeongyeon called him ‘oppa’ for the seventh time, grinning maniacally as she handed him some tomatoes to chop off.

“Thank you,” he said automatically, before staring at the tomato, shaking his head and blushing as he heard Jeongyeon laughing beside him. “Sorry, it’s instinct.”

“That’s alright, dear,” Mrs Yoo laughed softly, waving a dismissive hand before continuing with her lunch preparations. “You met Kihyun-ah at one of your classes, right?”

“Yes, ma’am, er, Programming and Problem Solving.”

“You’re also studying Computer Science, then?”

“English, actually.”

Jeongyeon and Mrs Yoo gave him a near identical look, heads tilted, eyebrows scrunched together.

Changkyun almost flushed. “I, er, wandered into Kihyun-hyung’s class by accident--” Jeongyeon snorted. “And I--” Got blackmailed into joining it cos I’m a pushover and your son was really cute so it didn’t take too much prompting, to be honest . “Found it interesting.”

Mrs Yoo frowned. “And you just… decided to join the class? Hmm. What did your parents have to say about that?”

“My father is head of the Science Department at the University,” Changkyun said, smiling a bit, concentrating on his tomato. “He was just happy I was taking a class in something useful.”

“I have to admit I was wondering… What do you plan to do with your English degree?”

Changkyun bit onto his lip, his stomach rolling uncomfortably, before smiling at her. “English is the third largest language in the world. I can use it to teach, or edit, or translate. It’s not, well, Computer Science or Medicine, I guess, but it’s what I’m good at.” He shrugged, a bit uncertain as he chopped the tomatoes. God, he wanted them to like him.

“Well, at least you have a plan, some hope for job security. Better than Dramatic Arts or Dancing, I suppose.”

Changkyun’s hands froze for half a second before he nodded and smiled politely. Looking away from Mrs Yoo, he saw Jeongyeon staring at him, rolling her eyes when she caught his, smiling a bit before shrugging. I’m sorry , she mouthed.

Changkyun smiled, genuine, the one he always used when Jooheon was sad, before sticking out his tongue, Jeongyeon laughing a little. Mrs Yoo looked over at them, a contemplative look in her eye.

“So,” Mrs Yoo began, a certain lilt in her voice. “Do you have a girlfriend, Changkyun-ah?”

Changkyun nearly dropped the knife as it slipped half-way through cutting a tomato, and he was one hundred percent prepared to stutter and make an absolute fool of himself, but Jeongyeon was already groaning out a loud, “Moooooooom, really?

“You were the one calling him ‘oppa’, dear!” Mrs Yoo was still smiling as she shrugged ‘innocently’. “I was just curious.”

Changkyun, still smiling a bit disbelievingly, picked up the knife and risked a glance at Jeongyeon who was staring, one eyebrow lifted and something about her expression just, completely unmade Changkyun.

It started as a small giggle, both of them coughing and trying to hide it, but it wasn’t long until it had grown so much that it was all Changkyun could do to stay upright, the corners of his mouth hurting, they were both laughing so much.

So much, that he hadn’t realized that Kihyun and an older man, who Changkyun naturally assumed to be his father, had made their way into the kitchen, Kihyun stopped in his tracks until his father pushed past him, at which point Changkyun managed to regain enough control of himself to notice Kihyun standing wide-eyed in the doorway, fingers slack around a plastic bag filled with milk and various other groceries.

Changkyun looked at him, knowing that he was still smiling and pursed his lips into the smallest smile he could manage at the moment, feeling a bit (a lot) sheepish. He really should have just waited in the car. He waved a little at Kihyun, before realizing he was still holding a knife, and ceasing immediately.

“Um, hi, hyung. I was just…” Changkyun nodded towards the tomato, realised he didn’t know what he was doing, and shrugged again. “Jeongyeon let me in.”

“Of course she did.”

Before Changkyun could answer, Kihyun’s dad, who had been greeting his wife and daughter, turned around to face Changkyun, leaning against a counter.

“You gonna introduce me to your friend, Jeongyeon?”

“Kihyun’s, actually,” she chirped, shooting a tight smile at Changkyun.

“Oh,” his father said, and Changkyun wasn’t sure what to make of the blank expression on his face. He swallowed and bowed his head a little.

“I’m Lim Changkyun, sir. Kihyun-hyung helps me with my studies and I’m here today to, er,” Changkyun glanced a bit uncertainly at Kihyun.

Thankfully, Kihyun seemed to take pity on him and stepped forward, placing the bag next to his mother.

“He’s here to help me with my photography project.”

“And lunch, apparently.”

Kihyun hummed.

“He’s… early.” Kihyun frowned slightly at Changkyun, who pouted a little.

“No, he’s not,” Jeongyeon interrupted, waving her knife admonishingly at Kihyun, before Mrs Yoo tutted and took it out of her hand. “You’re late.”

Mr Yoo pursed his lips at Kihyun, before shrugging.

“Then you should get started on that, shouldn’t you. You don’t want to waste more of this boy’s time than you already have, son, that’s not professional.”

Kihyun stilled, hand resting on a bottle of milk, before smiling ruefully at his dad.

“Yes, father. Come on, Changkyun, I’m sure you have loads of places to be.”

Changkyun opened his mouth to say something, before closing it and looking down at the cutting board. “But the tomato.”

Leave the f-- Leave the tomato. I’m sure my mom will manage. Right, mom?”

“Have for years,” she said, before waving the two of them off. “Go on, then.”

Changkyun put the tomato down and bowed a little before he followed Kihyun out of the room. He pushed his glasses up from where they’d been sliding down his nose, and looked at Kihyun nervously. Well, the back of his head, at least. From this angle Changkyun was sure Kihyun couldn’t see how much of a nervous wreck he was.

“I, er, brought your scarf,” Changkyun tried, because he was desperate for Kihyun to say absolutely anything as they entered his ‘studio’, Kihyun automatically walking over to his equipment and making miniscule adjustments Changkyun couldn’t even hope to understand. Changkyun hovered in the doorway. This was fine.

“Thanks,” Kihyun looked over his shoulder, smiling slightly. “You can just put it over there,” he said pointing vaguely to a counter. “You know, after I gave you that scarf, I realised that I had nothing to keep myself warm with. And I was already on campus. That was fun.”

Hyuuung ,” Changkyun said, feeling incredibly guilty all of a sudden, walking over to put the scarf (perfectly folded, thank you very much) onto the counter. “I literally live on campus. You could have just, I don’t know, asked for it back or something. I’m, er, sorry.”

Kihyun shrugged, still fiddling with the camera.

“It’s not like we had a class together yesterday. Anyway, it was only for about three hours, then I got to go home. It was fine.”

Changkyun puffed a breath of air, unsatisfied. Kihyun had been cold when he had been warm, and that was fundamentally not okay. He couldn’t exactly argue any further with the man, though, but still . “Well, now I’m just going to have to give you my scarf once and freeze my ass off for a change. So, er, forget your scarf one morning, alright?” Changkyun said, in his sternest voice. “It’s for the sake of the balance of the cosmos.”

“That is literally the dumbest logic I’ve ever heard, and one of the students for the Linear Algebra class I TA for once tried to argue that the sky was purple because the logic statement made it true even though it obviously isn’t.

Changkyun blinked. “That entire sentence makes my brain hurt so I am incredibly glad I don’t take any sort of Math, thank you very much. I struggle enough with past perfect tense, so.”

“I don’t have to deal with that, so. Anyway, the point is, don’t let yourself fucking freeze over some sort of imagined debt.” Kihyun rolled his eyes so masterfully that Changkyun was actually in awe for a few seconds. He stared a little, and Kihyun frowned.

“What is it?”

“Sorry, that was just--literal textbook eye-roll.”

“What on earth is a textbook eye-roll? Also,” Kihyun gestured to a small camp table set-up against the wall, “I want to focus on ‘Inner Beauty’ today, so you can just look there for some props.”

Knowing full well he couldn’t even begin to describe Kihyun’s amazing eye-roll, and honestly very curious, he made his way over to the box, laughing a little as he peered into it. “Inner Beauty? Like, personality and stuff?”

Kihyun stopped himself mid eye-roll, frowning. “Yes.”

“So, when you were thinking ‘hey, we should put emphasis on Changkyun’s personality’, you got--” Changkyun reached in, waving a stuffed little bear in front of his face. “This, and,” he placed a fake (obviously) gold crown on his head and grinned. “Ta-dah! How do I look?”

Kihyun grimaced, shrugging. “Those were just ideas, okay. If you think of something better by all means … Also, you look like a child, but I guess that can’t be helped either way.”

Changkyun felt his smile dim a little (a lot), but turned back to the box, digging around.

“I mean,” Kihyun cleared his throat and Changkyun turned around to see him smiling a bit sheepishly. “I just, that is kinda your personality, right? It’s not,” he turned around, barely even pretending to fiddle with the weird camera equipment, in Changkyun’s opinion, “necessarily a bad thing.”

“Well,” Changkyun said, as he hugged a teddy bear to his chest. “What’s the point in being an adult if you can’t be childish every now and then.”

Kihyun mumbled to himself and Changkyun thought he caught the words, “Every now and again , huh.”

Changkyun threw the teddy bear at Kihyun, regretting it for a split second before he saw Kihyun’s face and burst out laughing. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry--”

“Did,” Kihyun spluttered, ears rapidly reddening, mouth comically wide and eyebrows raised “did you honestly, just, throw a teddy bear at me?

“I’m emphasising my--” Changkyun laughed. “My inner beauty.”

Changkyun felt a wave of amazement as Kihyun seemed to deflate, some sort of nervous energy he hadn’t even noticed in the room dissipating as Kihyun chuckled slightly.

“You’re a fucking menace, is what you are. Now, please, I want to finish before my mother comes in here asking if we’ll be joining them for lunch.”

“Emphasize my inner beauty in front of the camera, I getcha,” Changkyun said, before grabbing a few more things and hurrying to the area Kihyun had set up, fixing the crown on his head and grinning. “Am I seriously supposed to just let you photograph me while I’m fooling around?”

Changkyun frowned as Kihyun’s jaw clenched and he seemed to shake his head, widening his eyes, before looking up at Changkyun with a just slightly strained smile.

“Just, be yourself.”

Changkyun picked up the little horn and did a sad little toot before bursting out into laughter. It was as he was laughing, the horn still loosely clutched in his hand, that he heard the camera erupt into little clicks, and, startled, his laughter stopped abruptly as he looked inquisitively at Kihyun.

“Don’t stop,” Kihyun whined, pressing some buttons on the camera before looking up at Changkyun with a frown. “That was what I was talking about.”

It was odd, how this made him more self-conscious than the other photoshoot they’d held, even the short (disastrous) shirtless debacle, because, well… They hadn’t talked about it . About any of it. Kihyun had given him his scarf and Changkyun had accepted that as a ‘you may stay’ but they haven’t actually talked about shit , and now he had to, well, be himself. Be himself, under the critical eye of the person he was a tiny bit scared disliked him for said childish behaviour. He let out a breath.

“Alright, then,” Changkyuns said, picking up the teddy bear again, and trying to balance it on his head with the utmost concentration.

Kihyun broke out into a grin, lifting the camera to his eye again and, somehow, after that, things were a bit easier. Sure, every now and again Kihyun would tilt his head and frown and Changkyun would freeze, worried that he was being too silly, too irreverent, somehow not doing the right thing , but, every time, after a few seconds, that frown would even out as Changkyun did something even more ridiculous, or, once, simply buried his face into the teddy bear.

After a while, Changkyun wasn’t sure how long, since he had stopped being so very extra a while ago and was now mostly softly stroking his fingertips across the soft fur of the bear while watching Kihyun out of the corner of his eyes as surreptitiously as possible, Kihyun lowered the camera, flipping through the pictures with a soft smile on his face.

Hesitantly, Changkyun straightened up, trying to crane his head enough to see even a sliver of the photos, before Kihyun noticed, rolling his eyes, (Changkyun chose to think it was fondly), before waving him over and tilting the camera towards him.

He left the teddy bear as he walked over, eyes fixing themselves on the camera and he was honestly taken aback by how Kihyun had managed to make one idiot boy fooling around look soft, cute, even. Kihyun continued to flip through the pictures, making some comments here and there, but Changkyun had stopped looking at the pictures at about the same moment he realised how close they were standing.

Kihyun didn’t seem to realise their proximity, leaning even closer as he pointed out some detail in one of the pictures. Changkyun, however, couldn’t concentrate. He couldn’t, couldn’t focus and, and Kihyun was so close , and he was warm and, and, and he had been smiling so softly, even being nice, in his own way, throughout the photoshoot and oh god , his hand had just brushed against Changkyun’s and--

“Changkyun?”

Changkyun’s head snapped up, eyes wide, as Kihyun called his name, and he found the photographer staring at him with something, something perilously close to concern in his eyes.

“Are you paying attention to a word I’m saying?”

Frantically, Changkyun nodded, willing himself not to flush, not react to the fact that Kihyun’s face was right fucking there and god, he could see the few, almost non-existent freckles on his skin and--

“Yeah!” His voice came out as a bit of a squeak and he cleared his throat, beaming a slightly desperate, (and a slightly deranged looking, he was sure), smile.

“Really?” Kihyun sounded unimpressed, and opened his mouth again, clearly about to say something but, at that moment, Changkyun’s traitorous, bastard eyes flitted down, lingering for just a second on Kihyun’s lips, before he swallowed tightly, heart thudding in his ears and hands shaking slightly as he slowly lifted his eyes, the faint tendril of hope he had been clinging onto, the one that had been whispering into his ears that maybe, maybe , Kihyun hadn’t seen that, dashed to pieces as he met Kihyun’s eyes.

Kihyun’s eyes were, not something that Changkyun had seen before. They were darker, darker than he had ever seen them before, pupils slightly dilated and, and, Changkyun would swear before God himself that he wasn’t imagining the swift glance Kihyun shot at Changkyun’s own lips.

“Hyung…” God , his voice was a wreck. Changkyun couldn’t find it in himself to care though, as Kihyun’s eyes seemed to grow even darker at the sound.

Changkyun felt a drop of sweat slide down his neck and it wasn’t even hot, what the hell , but somehow he was burning up and Kihyun wasn’t moving, just staring at him with eyes that looked like they wanted to swallow him up and--

Changkyun felt something in him, (his will? His fear? His caution? Who the fuck knew), snap and, with another, small, whimpered, “ Hyung, ” he leaned in, lips softly bumping against Kihyun’s with a sort of heavy finality.

 

---

 

Kihyun was frozen.

He wasn’t an idiot. (He was many things, but not that.)

He saw the intent in Changkyun’s eyes. He saw it and he couldn’t move. Worse, much worse, something in him wanted to lean in, lean closer, close that gap, let this whole, this whole thing , just come to an end already.

But he hadn’t. He had stayed, staring, palms sweaty, still frozen even as Changkyun swayed towards him. He had stayed, even when Changkyun fucking whimpered at him and, when, he had leaned forward, this time with intent, Kihyun--

He didn’t move.

He didn’t move and, for a few, blissful, silent seconds, all he could think about, all he could feel , was the sensation of Changkyun’s lips on his, still not moving, but starting to press a bit harder now, starting to make their presence a reality.

But, of course, it was only for a few seconds.

As Changkyun’s lips pushed a little against his, still hesitant, but definitely there, his mind came crashing back, almost painfully and, really, Kihyun should have anticipated this.

”Are you sure?” Kihyun’s voice was shaking, unsure, even as his hand trailed up Wonho’s side, taking his shirt with it. “Are you sure this is okay?”

“Trust me, Kihyunnie. Have I ever let you come to harm before?”...

Kihyun couldn’t move, he couldn’t move and Changkyun was still kissing him, an almost desperate whine in his throat.

”Faggots!”

The yell came from behind, and Kihyun pushed Wonho away, pushed him away with enough force that he stumbled backwards and almost fell. They were supposed to be alone , there wasn’t supposed to be anyone there .

Wonho turned around to yell something back at them, but deflated when he saw Kihyun’s face, eyes wide in fear as the boys neared them. Kihyun couldn’t, he couldn’t go back to school with the label ‘faggot’. He was already--they already bullied him for being, for being small and playing piano and not being manly enough, he can’t--he can’t go back home with another black eye, his father would--

“Ugh,” Kihyun heard himself say, pushing away from the wall. “I told you no !” he yelled, distantly aware that his heart was shattering as he saw Wonho staring at him, an almost resigned look on his face.

He had no choice. He had no choice…

Changkyun was moving his lips insistently now, seeking a response and, Kihyun, Kihyun, he couldn’t--

He lifted his hands, braced them against Changkyun’s chest, and pushed .

…”--don’t want you to be friends with that boy anymore, Kihyun, do you hear me? We heard some rumours and--”

“I won’t have my boy being friends with some ponce!” Kihyun’s father interrupted, his face nearly unrecognisable as he sneered, disgust clear. “Is that clear, Kihyun? Kihyun, I asked you a question.”

Kihyun swallowed past the lump in his throat.

“Yes, sir.”

“You have to understand, dear,” his mother said, voice sweet. “If people thought that you were… You know...”

“I understand.”...

...He was sobbing, knocking against Wonho’s door, shaking. The door flew open to reveal Wonho, disheveled, as if he had just woken up and Kihyun, Kihyun sobbed even louder at the sight of his face.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, my parents just-- Wonho, I’m so sorry, please, forgive me, I’m so sorry--”

Kihyun heard a sigh above him, before he was gathered into strong, warm arms, tugged into the house. He collapsed against Wonho’s chest, sobbing so hard it hurt to breathe .

“It’s-- it’s not okay. Not yet. But,” Kihyun felt a hand petting his head, “it will be. It will be.”...

“Get away from me!”

It was a ragged cry, tore from somewhere deep in Kihyun’s chest, the place he always tried his very best not to think of. It was wrong , this was wrong , he wasn’t allowed, he wasn’t allowed, his father, this wasn’t right, (yet somehow, pushing Changkyun away wasn’t right either but he couldn’t think about that ).

Changkyun was looking up at him, pushed so hard he had fallen onto the floor, he was saying something but, but there was a buzzing in Kihyun’s ears and, and his father was in the house he couldn’t--

“Get out!”

Kihyun turned around and collapsed into himself, arms around his knees, rocking back and forth.

He wasn’t allowed, he wasn’t allowed, he wasn’t allowed .

He barely registered a broken sounding whisper behind him, followed by some scuffing sounds, a door closing and, then, silence.

He wasn’t allowed.

 

---

 

He managed to make it to his car. He’d asked Jeongyeon to please open the gate, that no, he wouldn’t be staying for lunch, thanks, and to tell her parents he said goodbye. He even managed to keep a polite (strained, but polite) smile on his face the whole time. He managed to get the car started, and drive for two, three minutes, not even two blocks, before he felt it.

He managed to stop his heart breaking just long enough so no one would see. He pulled the car over and felt a sob tear its way up his throat, felt a sharp, shooting pain in his chest, and folded in on himself.

He coundn’t stop. He felt sob after sob wrack his body, and it hurt, it fucking hurt how much he was crying, but he couldn’t stop.

He’d fucked up. He’d fucked up, and he couldn’t stop thinking about the look on Kihyun’s face after he pushed him away.

He had been so sure , though. For a few seconds, just before the kiss and the few seconds into it, he could’ve sworn that… that Kihyun wanted it, too. But there was absolutely no mistaking the look on Kihyun’s face as anything other than disgust.

It broke him all over again, the sobs hurt as they shook his body, and he wasn’t sure for how long he just sat there in the car, crying, but eventually, when every sob didn’t make him curl into himself anymore, he managed to get his phone out of his pocket, breathing still uneven and broken, and he called the first person, the only person, really, he could think of, the first person he thought might be able to help him.

“Changkyun?”

He couldn’t say anything coherent, couldn’t get his breathing fixed, couldn’t stop thinking .

“Changkyun?” There was a sharp edge of worry in Hyungwon’s voice. “What’s wrong? Where are you?”

“Hyu-hyung, you were--” Changkyun’s voice broke. “You were right, I’m--I’m sorry, you were right.”

“Changkyun? Right about what? Changkyun, please, where are you?”

“About Kihyun. You were right, I--” Thinking about what happened, about what he had to say, it was too much.

“Changkyun, breathe. Come on, breathe with me. Now, tell me where you are.”

“I don’t--I drove a bit, but I can’t--He kicked me out and--” Changkyun breathed, deeply, a shudder more than a breath.

A growl sounded over the phone.

“That absolute wanker . Can you make it to the bus stop near, um, his house? I’ll meet you there.”

Changkyun looked up. “Yeah, I--I think so, sorry, I’m just--” He wiped at his tears, feeling stupid, feeling like an idiot child . Hyungwon had been right, he’d been right and-- god, he’d fucked up so much.

“It’s fine, Changkyun-ah,” Hyungwon’s tone gentled, though Changkyun could still hear his voice trembling, a hard edge lurking underneath the soft words. “I’m gonna actually kill that asshole, but it’s fine. See you in about fifteen minutes.”

“I--Okay,” Changkyun said, ending the call, putting the phone down on the seat next to him, and wondering how he could have been so, so wrong.

 

---

 

Hyungwon was livid .

He was shaking with unspent anger, trying to keep it in check for Changkyun who was currently sitting on his bed, staring miserably at a bowl of yogurt Hyungwon had forced into his hands, still sniffling every now and then.

So, when the knock on his door came, Hyungwon was grateful for the chance to unleash his wrath on some clueless first year who had the bad luck to come to his room to ask for help. Little shits.

When he opened the door however, ready to unleash a tirade of how first years should really be more considerate of their sunbaenims trying to get some work done, he was faced with Wonho’s smiling face, a face that quickly turned into a frown as he looked behind Hyungwon to see Changkyun sitting on his bed.

“Is... is he okay?”

Hyungwon quickly stepped out of the room, closing the door behind himself, before turning to face Wonho, arms crossed.

“I--I really don’t think you should be here right now, Wonho. Your presence right now isn’t going to help anything .”

Wonho frowned, utterly confused. “Did---Did I do something?”

Hyungwon let out a strangled laugh, fists clenching.

“No! No, you didn’t and, well, funnily enough, that’s kinda the whole fucking problem.”

“Hyungwon, I don’t--I don’t know what you’re--”

Your friend , that marvelous excuse of a human being, made Changkyun cry. He pushed him away and I told you, I told you to control your friend. But you’re so fucking scared of offending someone that you did absolutely nothing and now look where we are.”

Wonho paled, eyes filled with concern, mouth opening and closing. “What--What did Kihyun do? I’m sorry, Hyungwon, I don’t--”

He pushed Changkyun. Hard.  He kicked him out. Do you know how hard it is to make that kid cry? Like, actually cry ? Do you know how-- No, you don’t. He called me , sobbing , parked on the side of the road somewhere because he was crying so hard he couldn’t breathe .”

“I’m sorry, I told Changkyun to go easy on Kihyun, I didn’t think he would--”

“I’m sorry?!” Hyungwon could feel the white, hot rage pushing up his throat, clouding his thoughts. “You told Changkyun to go easy on Kihyun ? Are fucking kidding me? Are you an idiot? This boy has kissed one boy in his life, just kiss, mind you, ever, and he’s supposed to be the one going easy? Are you fucking kidding me right now?”

“Hyungwon, I’m sorry, okay, I am, but that’s not fair, you don’t know what Kihyun’s been through, he--”

“I. Don’t. Give. A. Single. Fuck.” Hyungwon was breathing heavily. “I don’t know. But you do. You do. You could’ve done something. It’s all well and easy, saying you want everyone to be happy, that you feel guilty for being happy, but you don’t--”

“What do you want me to do?!” Wonho yelled, his voice raised for the first time, an odd desperation in his eyes. “What exactly is it that you wanted me to do here, Hyungwon?!”

“YOU COULD HAVE TOLD KIHYUN TO BACK OFF. You could have told him to leave Changkyun alone. You could have-- you could have at least warned the poor kid other than ‘go easy on him’. Jeez, fuck, if he was so damaged , you never should have encouraged this in the first place,” Hyungwon hissed. He felt a heavy weight in his stomach.

“Warned him?!” Wonho gaped. “Hyungwon, you don’t get to decide when someone is damaged . You don’t get to judge someone over shit you don’t have a fucking clue about. Kihyun’s not---He’s not --”

“You can’t even say it.” Wonho froze, and Hyungwon shook his head. “Get out.”

Wonho hesitated, before saying the exact wrong thing. “Can I just… Can I talk to Changkyun? Maybe just explain--”

Hyungwon felt a fierce wave of protectiveness rush over him.

“You, stay away from Changkyun. You and him both . You don’t get to talk, you don’t get to explain . Not after shit already hit the fucking fan. I am not giving you the opportunity to justify Kihyun breaking his fucking heart. Get. Out.

Wonho stood there, eyes watering, as Hyungwon turned, opened the door to his room, and slammed it in Wonho’s face.

 

---

 

Hyungwon

Come near him again, Kihyun, and I’ll kill you

Chapter Text

Wonho

Kihyun, I really fucked things up for myself standing up for you

The least you can do is answer my texts

Kihyun?

Goddammit, why did you have to do this…

Again...

 

---

 

There was no conceivable way to not think about Kihyun, so that’s what Changkyun did.

He thought about Kihyun as Hyungwon screamed at his boyfriend on the other side of the door, knowing that it was his fault, Changkyun’s own stupidity, his own damn fault , and no one else’s. He thought about Kihyun as he tried to sleep, but the tightness in his chest felt almost like hands, pushing, pushing at him until he couldn’t do much else than try to breathe. He thought about Kihyun as he got up the next morning, tired from dreams that sought to tease him, trying to remember if he had ever felt so torn up before. He thought about Kihyun, about how wrong he must have been to think that his smile and help and company was anything more than just being polite to the annoying kid from programming.

He thought about Kihyun, and he would keep thinking about him, until the sharp, stabbing pain in his heart would regress to a throbbing ache.

It would take time, he knew that, so he thought about Kihyun, and the knife in his heart twisted.

A pillow hit him square on the chest.

“Changkyun-ah?” Jooheon asked, sat on his bed across from Changkyun, laptop open on his lap, earphones dangling from an ear, eyes wide with concern, hand hovering from where he’d thrown the pillow. “Changkyunnie, you’re crying.”

Changkyun blinked, and sure enough, felt tears run down his cheeks. He looked down, the page of his textbook stained with three, four drops. “Oh.”

Jooheon moved the laptop off his lap. “Dude, just talk to me or--”

“I’m sorry,” Changkyun apologised.

“Are you--” Jooheon slumped where he was sitting, shaking his head. “Kyunnie, are you apologizing to me for crying ?”

Changkyun thought about it and nodded, saw Jooheon’s face fall, and went to the bathroom, not looking at his reflection as let the pain and its effects run its course. When he went back to their room, tired, spent, he apologised again, turned his back to his best friend, and pretended to sleep as his heart pained, and he thought about Kihyun.

 

---

 

Jooheon

Hey bro wanna come over? Gunhee’s here

He’s making me play support to his reckless Genji loving ass

Like that isn’t ALL I DO ANYWAY

Could really use that melodramatic dragon of yours

 

Changkyun

Thanks but I have a test to study for

Sorry

 

Jooheon

Oh, what test?

I need to study too, actually

Maybe we can study together?

 

Changkyun

It’s Literature

We don’t have any subjects together it’s fine just

Just go play overwatch with your boyfriend, I’m fine

 

Jooheon

Bro...

 

Changkyun

I know. I’m sorry

I know you care but I just

I'd rather be alone than pretend to be alright

I need to finish this book, okay?

Have fun with Gunhee

 

---

 

Kihyun frowned at the black screen of his computer. He was supposed to be putting together the planning for his project, which included some sample shots. He had the proposal and everything all written up it was just the… well, it was just the sample shots.

All of which were of… him.

Kihyun felt a sharp pain lance through his stomach and he hunched over, wincing. Which, that right there, was the fucking problem.

How the fuck was he supposed to complete and submit the proposal for tomorrow, if he couldn’t even think about… certain things.

Kihyun knew he had… fucked up. To put it lightly.

It was just--

No. Thinking about it made everything worse so he would just, not think about it. Because that had worked so well in the past. But, like it or not, he needed to get this proposal done. Photography was the only thing--well. Photography was the only thing worth caring about at the moment.

He just, had to get this over with. It’s like ripping off a band-aid, right?

A few minutes later, feeling a bit light-headed and a lot nauseous as he tried to edit his pictures, Kihyun had to admit that, no, this was not like ripping off a band-aid. In fact, he would, at this point, take ripping off fifty band-aids simultaneously , rather than this.

Right at the point where he was beginning to think it would just be easier to just, like, attach all the contents of his memory card rather than go through this torture, a knock sounded at the door, followed by Jeongyeon opening the door and slipping into his room. With Jeongyeon, it was always more of a warning that she’d be coming in than waiting for any sort of acknowledgement or permission.

“Ooooh, that looks nice,” she commented, tilting her head at his computer screen.

Kihyun glanced at the screen, before quickly looking away and staring up at Jeongyeon, too tired and, used up , to muster up the energy for a glare.

“What do you want?” He meant to sound accusing, irritated. Instead, he sounded nothing other than tired.

She frowned a little. “Can’t I compliment you? It’s a nice picture, I don’t get why you look like death itself. You barely ate yesterday.” She poked his arm with a squint.

“School’s just tough,” Kihyun grunted, flinching away from Jeongyeon’s finger.

“School’s always ‘been tough’, don’t think that’ll work on me.” She rolled her eyes, before leaning over to his computer, reaching for the mouse. “Lemme seeee.”

It was like something came over Kihyun. It wasn’t… it wasn’t rational, or deserved, or anything close to an appropriate reaction to his little sister asking to see his photos.

“No!” Kihyun slapped her hand away, the feeling still riding hot and heavy in his chest. “Just, no, don’t touch my stuff. Fuck, just leave me alone.”

“Ouch! Jeez, I knew you were the jealous type but--”

“What the fuck are you even talking about?”

She huffed a breath, leaning away from him. “Oh, please, you’ve never been shy about your pictures. And you’ve always shown me, at least,” she looked down for a moment before tilting her head at him. “I’m just saying ...”

As suddenly at it had appeared, the feeling receded, leaving Kihyun with a lot of pent-up frustration and guilt.

“I--I’m sorry, okay, but now’s really not the best time. Please, can you just…” Kihyun trailed off, lowering his head into his hands.

“Kihyunnie…” He felt a hand on his back. “I didn’t mean to--I just…” She sighed softly, the hand moving up and down his back. “Why did Changkyun-oppa leave like that? On Monday. He looked… I don’t know, like he’d jump the gate if I didn’t open it. What happened?”

Kihyun froze, before frantically shaking his head.

“I- I don’t know what you’re talking about. We were done with the photoshoot, and he-- he had somewhere to be, that’s all.” Even Kihyun could tell his voice was sounding far too strangled to be as nonchalant as he was trying to be.

“I’m not…” Her voice was soft, careful. “You don’t have to lie, hyung-ah. Not to me.”

Kihyun cleared his throat, shaking Jeongyeon’s hand off of him.

“I’m not. I’m not lying.” He stared fixedly at a spot just to the left of his computer screen.

“You are!” Her voice cracked a little. “I thought that this---That he--” She stood her ground, unrelenting, like she couldn’t see his heart forcing itself up his throat. “You like Changkyun-oppa, don’t you?”

“What are you talking about?” Even as he said it, Kihyun could hear the panic in his voice, his chest tightening up and, and, all he could think was, not again . He was so, so tired of this. Why couldn’t it all just stop? Why can’t he just live in his own little world and why… why do people keep bothering him ?

“I saw you, Hyunnie,” she said, pleaded, almost. “You never even looked at Wonho-oppa like that.”

“You saw what , exactly?” Icy, so, so icy. Kihyun couldn’t help it. He didn’t want to be like this. “And why are you talking about, about that ? I thought we agreed it was-- it was a mistake, and we wouldn’t talk about it again, ever.”

Jeongyeon visibly deflated, her eyes searching as they took him in. “Why are you so…” She trailed off, unsure, fidgeting with the sleeves of her sweater.

“So what? I’m just… asking Changkyun to help me was a mistake. It--he didn’t fit the modelling, and we both agreed that we--” He broke off. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t say it.

“You’re lying again.” She didn’t sound hesitant, like she was questioning him. She said it like a fact, like she somehow knew .

“I--what? How would you know if I’m lying or not. You weren’t there. You didn’t see…” See Kihyun being an asshole. Seeing him pushing away a boy that, that, despite everything, he had managed to grow fond of. Didn’t see her brother being a literal excuse for a human being because he couldn’t deal with the fact that maybe, maybe he’d grown fond of the boy in turn.

“I saw the pictures,” she said, glancing up at the screen before looking at him. “Did you chase him away because he’s…” Jeongyeon bit down on her lip. “Because he likes you?”

There was a long silence after he words. Kihyun tried to rationalise his way out of this, tried a thousand different renditions of, ‘that’s ridiculous, I would never’ and, ‘don’t be silly, he doesn’t like me’, but, in the end, didn’t have to energy to keep lying to himself.

“Maybe.”

Jeongyeon’s fidgeting hands stilled. “Are you worried you’ll make another mistake?” She looked at him, eyes shining with unshed tears but, somehow, determined. “I’m not even sure what you consider a mistake anymore. Asking Changkyun to model was a mistake, Wonho was a mistake…” She shook her head a little, looking down at her hands again, scoffing. “Maybe I should have just lied to Changkyun in the first place. Should have known you’d never--”

Something cold crawled up his spine, stopping at his heart.

“Wait, what ? What did you tell Changkyun?”

She looked up, eyes wide, guilty, almost. “You ran away! What was I supposed to--”

Jeongyeon . What did you tell Changkyun?”

“He was so worried you hated him and I--he likes you so much , hyung,” she pleaded. “I told him that--I told him about you and Wonho.”

Kihyun was numb. He was legitimately numb , apart from the sharp sting in his chest of... of... Shock? Betrayal?

“Why would you do that? You, you know that mom and dad-- you know they’re not-- that I’m not --”

“You are!” He looked up, and she was crying. Her body wasn’t shaking, she wasn’t falling in on herself, she just let the tears fall down her face. “And I’m--” Her voice broke. “I just wanted you to--to come to terms with it, so I don’t… So I wouldn’t have to do this alone.”

Kihyun had been getting ready to yell. He had been getting ready to get righteously angry at Jeongyeon for talking about his private business, but.

He was speechless. There was something soft, yet at the same time, suffocatingly heavy settling in his chest.

“I thought that--” She hiccuped a little. “I thought that it’d be better if--if it wasn’t just-- me . Everything I do it’s ‘Yes, well done, Jeongyeon, but look at your brothers, can’t you be more like your brothers.’ Not just you, it’s--He has kids , a wife, and I just thought that this , with you, at least...”

Kihyun felt the soft thing in his chest expand and encompass him, and, suddenly, he couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pity. For both of them.

They were both trying so, so hard and… And he hadn’t even known , hadn’t looked past himself, his own hang-ups, to focus on the fact that his baby sister--always getting into trouble with his parents, constantly testing boundaries--might also… That she might also have been struggling.

“I’m sorry.” That was the first thing he could think to say. The only thing he could say, really. “I’m sorry. I, I didn’t know. I wasn’t paying attention.” He swallowed. “I’m sorry.”

She laughed a little, sadly, trying in vain to wipe away the free-falling tears. “Hey, it’s not like I was trying to hide it or anything,” she said, sarcastic, sniffling. “And it’s not--” She breathed in. “It’s not anything to be sorry about. I know who I am. Guess I was just being… I don’t know, hopeful that it wasn’t just me. It’s fine, hyung-ah.”

Kihyun swallowed again.

“And what... Who are you?”

“I’m really, very gay,” she said, and tried a smile, that quickly crumbled in a cry she hid behind her hand. “I’m sorry.”

There was a lump in Kihyun’s throat, something big and painful.

“There’s nothing--” he let out a choking kind of laugh. “There’s nothing for you to be sorry for. Guess we’re both kinda fucked, right?” He tried smiling, failed, and held out his arms. “Come on, I can’t have my baby sister crying in my room. Mom and Dad will think I hit you, or something.”

She laughed despite her tears, quickly walking over to hug him, breathing unsteadily as she leaned her head on his chest.

Though he felt nothing like it--like he was simply spouting nonsense platitudes--he chuckled quietly, stroking her hair, and said, softly, reassuringly, believably, in the same way Wonho had held him all those years ago when Kihyun cried his eyes out his arms; “It’s okay. We’ll be okay. We’ll both be. We’ll be okay.”

 

---

 

Jooheon

WHAT DO I DO I THINK MY BEST FRIEND IS BROKEN WHAT DO I DO

 

Minhyuk

Changkyun?

Is this about us throwing Kihyun with a rock?

 

Jooheon

...did you really?

 

Minhyuk

No! Of course not

But, Hyungwon told me to do that if I saw Kihyun

And while I trust his saltiness

I don’t really understand why

BUT

If he made Changkyunnie sad

I will throw two (2) rocks

 

Jooheon

I have never seen Changkyun like this, hyung

Legitimately. I’ve known this kid for years, okay

This is… scary

Cos I thought I knew him best in the world and I’m at an absolute loss

 

Minhyuk

Hmmmmm

Do you think a movie night (cuddle party) will help?

Changkyun can never say no to that

 

Jooheon

A few months ago I’d agree vehemently

But I tried to hug him yesterday

And just.. Nothing

 

Minhyuk

Do you mean nothing as in he didn’t react?

Or do you not want to say

 

Jooheon

Idk it was odd

He smiled kind of… like he didn’t think I meant it

Like a pity hug or whatever

Hugged me back meekly and then went to the bathroom for a while

And last night, he was just sitting on his bed

And I don’t even think he realized he was crying

And he said sorry. To me. For crying

And I’m so sure he wasn’t really sleeping. I kept hearing

Idk sniffling. My heart is breaking rn

 

Minhyuk

I will definitely be throwing two rocks at Kihyun

 

Jooheon

Do you remember that conversation me and you and Shownu had?

It was like fckn two months ago or something

 

Minhyuk

Yeah?

 

Jooheon

Should we have… done something?

 

Minhyuk

:(

You were the one who told us to back off...

 

Jooheon

Hey, I know that! Doesn’t make me feel any better okay

THAT’S JUST THE THING THOUGH I AM SO CONFUSED

Why would Kihyun do this? I was there

You should have seen it, dude, Kihyun got jealous of you, me

He took pictures of Changkyun all the fucking time

It makes no sense

And he even seemed nice, you know? At the party...

He made us all breakfast. IDK. I was just hoping.

 

Minhyuk

Love makes no sense

Just

Let’s all try and be there for Changkyun, okay?

There’s not really much else we can do

 

Jooheon

Of course I’ll be there for him

Something still doesn’t feel right though

Ugh I’m going to buy some food. Don’t think he’s eaten today

 

Minhyuk

How do you think he would react if I just came and

IDK bothered him for a bit

 

Jooheon

You buy food for him, then

I spent my last money on a stuffed bee

 

Minhyuk

I WANT A STUFFED BEE
JOOHONEY

 

Jooheon

Holy shit Queen Beeyonc é

Idk if I wanna hit Gun or kiss him that’s so shit

 

Minhyuk

You guys are so cute

My sweet baby gays

Now, on to go help my distressed gay son

 

---

 

Minhyuk created Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Minhyuk added Jooheon, Hyungwon, Shownu

 

Minhyuk

Week 1, Day 2:

Picking up snacks for the pupper

Will update later~!

 

Jooheon

This… is actually not a bad idea

 

Hyungwon

Just to be clear

This is not about an actual puppy

Right?

 

Shownu

Hyungwon, read the group name

 

Minhyuk

And I’M the dumb one pfffff

 

Hyungwon

I got CONFUSED

 

Shownu

Are you using my credit card?

I can’t find it

 

Minhyuk

I’ll bring home a snack, dear, shhh~~~

What’s the point of a daddy if you don’t buy me things

*sugar daddy hehe

 

Hyungwon

I believe that correction

I need it

 

Jooheon

I FUCKING KNEW IT SDHGKHAHA

 

Shownu

I don’t mind

I was just a bit worried about where it could be

Do you want me to be your sugar daddy now, too?

 

Minhyuk

I already get enough sugar, honey, it’s fine

 

Hyungwon has left the chat

 

Minhyuk added Hyungwon

 

Minhyuk

Okay, sorry, I’ll be good

 

Shownu

He always is

 

Hyungwon has left the chat

 

Jooheon

FJHDSD AHAHAHAHAHA

MY THEORIES FUCKING VALIDATED BITCHES

 

Minhyuk

Try not to sound too happy about it, Jooheon ;)

 

Jooheon

lol why

Hyungwon owes me five pizzas

 

Minhyuk added Hyungwon

 

Minhyuk

Going to Changkyun’s now!

Sorry Hyungwonnie~

 

Hyungwon

I crave death

 

Jooheon

And hopefully, pizza

SUCK IT

 

Hyungwon

I HAD HOPE

 

Jooheon

Y’all

we need to get Changkyun back on his feet so I can kinkshame him again in peace

 

Shownu

Kids

Play nice

 

Jooheon

Now that’s definitely NOT Changkyun’s kink

lololololol

I’m sorry

 

---

 

Minhyuk knocked at Changkyun’s door, his hopes high as he held a plastic bag filled to the brim with soft drinks and candy in his hand. Nothing was bad enough that candy couldn’t at least help you feel better, right? Even just a little.

Minhyuk waited a few seconds. Then a few more. Frowning, he knocked again. Again, nothing.

“Kyunnie? Open up, it’s me, your favouritest hyung! I brought snacks!”

The door opened, barely enough. and Minhyuk could feel his smile dim a little. He wasn’t sure what he expected but… Changkyun looked fine. He honestly did. His hair was combed, he was wearing pants, his eyes weren’t red and the bags under his eyes could easily just be late nights of studying or tumblr in bed, but… His bed was made. There were no accumulation of coffee cups next to his computer on his desk. No socks on the floor .

Minhyuk smiled determinedly.

“You look good! Guess you’re finally getting used to college life, huh? If you’re this put together.” Minhyuk smiled some more, waiting for Changkyun to move aside.

Changkyun scoffed softly, smile sardonic, barely glancing at the plastic bag in his hand. “Did Jooheon send you here?”

“What are you talking about, I sent myself, I don’t see my son nearly enough . Now, are you really going to leave me standing in this hallway. Alone. With no one to help me eat this?” Minhyuk asked, pouting and holding up the bag of goodies.

“No, of course not,” Changkyun sighed a little, stepping aside. “Come in, hyung.”

Minhyuk stepped inside, glancing over at the desk to see an actual textbook open and an exam pad next to it, filled with notes.

“Have you actually been studying? I’m so proud! Want me to help you with programming? I know that’s something you struggle with a bit.”

“Fuck programming,” Changkyun said, walking over to plop down on his desk chair.

Minhyuk paused, sinking down on the bed head tilted before saying, “Actually, don’t do that. I think your dick would get stuck in the wires.”

Changkyun pursed his lips, eyebrows raised and furrowed. “Yeeeah, wouldn’t want that.”

Minhyuk shook his head, face serious. “You really don’t want that.”

“Is this coming from experience?” Changkyun asked, staring at his legs, toying with a little thread of material on his jeans.

“... No.”

“Your hesitance indicates that you definitely at least tried.”

“You can’t prove shit.”

“You know,” Changkyun sighed. “I wasn’t actually lying when I told Jooheon I needed to study,” Changkyun looked at Minhyuk but Minhyuk felt like Changkyun could just as well have been looking at the wall behind him, for all the interest that lay there. “And I’m not exactly amazing company right now, so...”

Minhyuk waved a hand, smile drooping a tiny bit.

“That’s fine. Just let me sit on your bed, eat my snacks, and use your Netflix account. I don’t care if you know I watch Drag Queens but last time I did that on our account Shownu kept trying to talk to me about lipstick and honestly it scared me. I’ll be quiet.” To demonstrate this, Minhyuk mimed zipping up his lip.

“I don’t need a babysi--” Changkyun stopped himself, just sighing again and turning to his laptop. “It’s fine. Whatever makes you happy.”

“Who’s the babysitter,” Minhyuk mumbled, shifting around on the bed, patting the cushions into submission behind him. “I’m the fun one, honestly.”

“That you are,” Changkyun mumbled, picking up his pen and putting in an earphone and proceeding to speak about four sentences to Minhyuk for the rest of the afternoon.

 

---

 

Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Minhyuk

Week 1, Day 2, Update:

:(

 

Jooheon

:(?

 

Minhyuk

:(!!!

 

Jooheon

:’’’(

 

Hyungwon

What language is this

 

Shownu

Changkyun is sad, so Minhyuk is sad

And Jooheon is sad because they’re both sad??

I think

Oh, and I think the emoticon you now need to use, Hyungwon, is >:(

 

Hyungwon

I hate this

 

Minhyuk

Let’s just

I’m sorry but let’s just

Changkyun’s not… He…

He’s not himself and it scares me

Let’s just be there for him. Okay?

 

Hyungwon

And throw a rock at Kihyun?

 

Minhyuk

Hyungwon

 

Jooheon

I’ll be there, don’t worry, Hyungwon

 

Hyungwon

Okay, but if Shownu throws a rock at Kihyun...

 

Minhyuk

It will actually kill him

 

Shownu

Thank you

But I do not want to kill anyone

 

Hyungwon

...and…?

I sincerely don’t see the problem

 

Minhyuk

Hyungwon

It will make Changkyun sadder

And you're welcome, dear~

 

Hyungwon

Only for a little while!

Then nice soft gay boys will enter his life

Ones WITHOUT issues

 

Minhyuk

LISTEN HERE YOU SALT STICK

I SWEAR TO GOD I’LL SHOW YOU FUCKING ISSUES

BE A SUPPORTIVE HYUNG TO CHANGKYUN

OR I’LL GET SHOWNU TO THROW YOU WITH A ROCK

 

Hyungwon

I’m very supportive

Of him having a healthy relationship

With a nice boy

 

Jooheon

From what Kyun told me, Kihyun is nice in a

Er

In his own way

And he was! Tutoring, breakfast, just saying!

I’m shocked at this development alright

And you know full well Changkyun didn’t choose any of this

so while I fully support your...

Rage???

Let’s just deal with this first ok

 

Shownu

You can have a healthy relationship with someone who has issues

As long as you work things out and nobody’s hurting anyone because of said issues

Just saying

 

Hyungwon

Where the fuck is this even coming from

Also, this is obviously not that scenario

Since Kihyun is hurting Changkyun

 

Minhyuk

THIS IS THE CHANGKYUN PROTECTION SQUAD

NOT THE CHANGKYUN PROTECTION SQUABBLE

Changkyun is heartbroken because of a guy with issues

So shut it and focus on where Changkyun is in this

And not where you think he should be

Okay? Okay.

 

---

 

Wonho

Kihyun, it has been days

Answer your fucking phone

 

Kihyun

I

It

I didn’t

Initiate it

 

Wonho

And that makes it alright, does it?

Listen, I know where you’re coming from

This is something I’ve had to forgive you for before

But

 

Kihyun

Of course it doesn’t

I’m not dumb

I know what I did

 

Wonho

I really don’t think you do

Kihyun?

For fuck’s sake, Kihyun, this isn’t just something you can ignore

And hope it goes away

Changkyun cried in his car on the side of the road, you dick

Hyungwon told me

He had to go fetch him

I don’t know what’s even going on with Changkyun anymore

Because Hyungwon fucking refuses to talk to me

Because I was defending you

And you don’t even have the fucking nerve to reply to my texts

Changkyun isn’t a problem, so good luck ignoring him

And me, for that matter

You know what

Actually

Fuck this

 

---

 

Kihyun stared at his phone. Well, there goes Wonho.

Isolating yourself always works wonders good job.

He sat for a while, thoughts on absolutely nothing but Calculus. A big test was coming up and he had to do well. That’s all there was to it. He vaguely registered the sounds of movement outside the house, probably just Jeongyeon’s friends. His parents weren’t home, so they were probably going to annex the living room. Hopefully they wouldn’t be too loud and he could--

His door slammed open.

“We are going to fucking talk whether you want to or not.”

Kihyun jumped so bad his chair tipped over backwards, ending with him groaning on the floor, arms coming up to cradle his head.

“You deserve that.”

“Hyung,” Kihyun tried, blearily blinking up at him. “I literally just fell on my head and you’re not even sorry?”

Wonho paused, walked forward, helped Kihyun up, and frowned. “I can’t yell at you when you’re on the floor, okay? That is the extent of the amount of shits I give right now.”

Kihyun took a seat on the bed (considering the fact that it was much less likely to tip over), and frowned at Wonho.

“Why are you--”

“No, no, no, this is my time now, I’m going to stand here and be angry at you and you’re going to listen and be appropriately ashamed. Alright?”

Kihyun still frowned, but Wonho continued staring at him expectantly, hands on his hips, so, reluctantly, he nodded.

“Thank you. Now. How fucking could you, Kihyun?”

“You know, if you’re expecting an answer--”

“It was a rhetorical question!” Wonho said, red faced, as he suddenly paced the room.

Kihyun watched him, a strange calm settling over him. Distantly, he was aware this was not an appropriate response to your best friend yelling at you, but he felt almost well . He deserved to be yelled at. For once in his life, Wonho wasn’t treating him with kid gloves and it felt not good, but freeing... in a way.

“I thought---I thought you were better, you know? After high school, after what you did, you just decided to fucking bottle everything and…” Wonho let out a breath. “Fuck, I don’t even know. I wasn’t even as angry with you then as I am right now , I hope you know that. You literally beat the shit out of me and I wasn’t even angry. But this…”

“This?” Kihyun let out a broken sounding laugh, and shook his head, unable to continue. He felt his heart, that traitorous bastard that he’s been ignoring for days , (weeks, months , if he’s being honest with himself), give a shivery little pang and, for once, he didn’t shove that feeling down. He was so tired .

“Yes, Kihyun, this ,” Wonho looked at him. “You pushed me away, and it was fine, you know? We were kids. You were a kid. We were just fooling around, figuring things out. We were best friends , Kihyun, and even when you pushed me away, and even as you turned on me , I knew you still gave a shit about me. Do you think Changkyun has any sort of assurance? Absolutely anything in his mind that’s holding him together? Fucking hell, Kihyun.”

“Do you think I don’t know?” As he spoke, a part of himself that’s been screaming loudly in his head since Saturday took over. “Do you think I’m giving myself any sort of lenience here? I know what I did to you was terrible, and I still regret it, and I will forever be sorry for it. But, Seok-ah,” Kihyun’s voice broke and, with a shock, he realised there were tears streaming down his face. “I, I’m broken . I can’t even--I can’t even kiss a boy without having a panic attack and I, I’m so sorry for having hurt Changkyun but--but don’t you think he’s better off without me? I don’t--I don’t work the right way, my mind’s not, not right and--” Kihyun took a shuddering breath. “I’m sorry for coming between you and Hyungwon, and I’m sorry that you had to defend me. I’m sorry I hurt Changkyun, and it’s not his fault it’s just--” Kihyun sobbed, now. “I’m not worth it, hyung. I’m not worth your attention, your unending kindness and acceptance of me, and I’m definitely not worth that kid.” Kihyun breathed deep, trying to take control of himself. “He deserves someone less broken than me, don’t you agree?”

Kihyun looked up from where he’d been staring at his hands to find Wonho looking at him in plain, unadulterated shock.

“Ah, hyung,” Kihyun smiled, slightly, “Don’t look so surprised. It’s not like that wasn’t what you were thinking as you came over here.”

“Not at all,” Wonho said, face drawn, though clearly still shocked. “God, Kihyun, why do you think I was so angry at you in the first place?”

Kihyun shrugged, half-heartedly wiping at his face.

“I’m angry , Kihyun, because you are worth so much fucking more than you allow yourself to have. You’re worth forgiveness, and you’re worth...” Wonho sighed, “You’re worth loving. Whether you believe it or not, you’re worth that stupid kid, and whether you like it or not, you already have him.”

Kihyun still sniffed, raising a disbelieving eyebrow at Wonho. Wonho has always been too soft on Kihyun, and Kihyun didn’t think he was above spewing platitudes to keep Kihyun from crying.

“Sure,” Kihyun said, not even trying to hide his rolling eyes. “Now, why is that tall bean pole refusing to speak with you?”

“Because my best friend broke his dongsaeng,” Wonho said, plainly.

“Right, of course. That’s just great. You know, the long term benefits of being friends with me really isn’t paying off. You should request a refund.”

“Christ,” Wonho breathed, coming to sit down next to him, slumping forward to bury his face in his hands. “Do you think me giving you a black eye will get me my boyfriend back?”

Kihyun shrugged again, wiping at his face a bit frustrated now. The tears still hadn’t stopped.

“You could try.”

“I really might,” Wonho said, reaching out to put his arm around Kihyun’s shoulders and pull him closer.

And so, quietly and without much fanfare, Kihyun, for the first time since Saturday, let himself cry about what he had most certainly lost, and, again, Wonho just held him there. This time, without those kid gloves and words to soften everything. He let him cry, let him mourn. Later, when he had mostly cried himself out and was pretending he wasn’t using Wonho as a cushion, a quiet voice murmured above him.

“You need to make a decision, before you lose everything.”

“Haven’t I--” Kihyun hiccuped. “Haven’t I already?”

Wonho paused for a moment, long enough for Kihyun to see it as agreement when he finally spoke: “People don’t stop loving so easily.”

“Loving, huh?” Kihyun sniffed. “Okay, and how do you propose I fix things, if I do decide to do that?”

“Hell if I know, Kihyun. But I think the first thing you need to do is literally the opposite of what you’ve been doing.”

“Great advice, thanks. I knew I kept you around for a reason.”

“Sarcasm has no place here, okay. Just… I know you’re scared but you’re delaying the inevitable, just... Aish, Kihyun, just do something before you lose that kid forever, okay?”

“I’ll…” Kihyun hesitated. “I’ll try.”

 

---

 

Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Minhyuk

Week 1, Day 3:

It honestly feels like years since I last saw Changkyunnie smile

 

Hyungwon

Christ…

 

---



Minhyuk

About Changkyun yesterday...

He really

Isn’t handling this well

 

Hyungwon

He hasn’t talked to me

What happened when you went over?

 

Minhyuk

I watched Drag Queens on his Netflix account for a bit while he studied

He didn’t even want any snacks

 

Hyungwon

Unrelated

But you need to learn to watch Drag Queens on your own account

I’ve been getting recommendations to some weird stuff

 

Minhyuk

Drag Queens ‘till I die

Watch the recs~~ maybe you like it

Hyungwoooon not he pooooint Changkyun’s broken

Studying? No snacks???? NO SNACKS, HYUNGWON

He’s been going to every class today and barely said a word to me and Jooheon

Your throwing rocks idea doesn’t sound too bad now

 

Hyungwon

I always have good ideas

 

Minhyuk

What’s Wonho saying about all this?

I know he’s soft on Changkyunnie but Kihyun IS his best friend

 

Hyungwon

Well

The last time I spoke to him he

He tried to defend Kihyun

Said there was ‘extenuating circumstances’

And ‘I don’t know everything’

So I told him to go away

 

Minhyuk

Well, aaaare there extenuating circumstances?

Still...

That is a bit

Mmm

Well, I suppose if he can forgive Kihyun for bullying him there’s nothing he won’t overlook

 

Hyungwon

Somehow

I completely forgot Wonho was the guy Kihyun beat up

I hate him even more now

That’s nice

Also, why the FUCK

Would Wonho stand up for that douchebag

 

Minhyuk

For the same reason he forgave him in the first place, I guess

I don’t see someone like Wonho getting beaten up by

Well... Someone like Kihyun

Without Wonho kind of… idk letting him? I’ve been thinking about it

Nothing makes sense

Maybe there really are extenuating circumstances?

Also, please tell me what actually happened cause all I know is that

Well, obviously something happened...

 

Hyungwon

While I don’t necessarily think Changkyun should have done it

The way Kihyun reacted was way out of line

Changkyun

He kissed Kihyun

As he tells is, Kihyun pushed him away and looked at him with disgust

 

Minhyuk

I guess Changkyun’s reaction kind of makes sense now…

He’s insecure at the best of times

He really liked Kihyun, huh?

 

Hyungwon

That’s one way of putting it I guess

 

Minhyuk

So you’re… not talking to Wonho anymore..?

 

Hyungwon

That’s right

 

Minhyuk

I’m sorry, Wonnie. How are you doing with all this?

 

Hyungwon

You know me

Heart of stone

Feels nothing

What are feelings anyway

 

Minhyuk

Definitely not a coping mechanism or anything...

Hyungwon, really, though

You guys never actually said you were dating or anything but...

 

Hyungwon

I just

I just want him to admit that

Well

He shouldn’t have been defending Kihyun

I know Kihyun’s his best friend

But right at that second

He should have just let it go

And he seriously needs to explain to me why tf he actually likes that...

Excuse of a human being

 

Minhyuk

Would you have let it go? If he started talking bad about Kyunnie?

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

Plus, Changkyun likes ‘that excuse of a human being’

So~~~

 

Hyungwon

I never said he had good taste

It’s different

 

Minhyuk

You are deflecting

It’s not different, not really…

I’m just saying. You said it yourself, you don’t know everything

And I know you get… er… I don’t wanna say dramatic

But maybe deciding then and there you wouldn’t talk to Wonho again was

JUST A BIT

Hasty

I get what he did was wrong, what Kihyun did was wrong, all that

But everyone has that person you’d forgive for nearly anything

PLUS this not talking this is driving me insane, okay

Can’t help Changkyun, I guess, but I can at least give you some grief

 

Hyungwon

Go

Go give Shownu a blowjob or something and leave me alone

 

Minhyuk

You’d only mention Shownu’s dick if you knew I was right~~ heehehe

But gonna go do that anyway

You now have that image in your brain

An image you specifically asked for

Your hyung loves you!

 

---

 

The first programming class, actually the first class, that Kihyun could get himself to go to, fell on a Tuesday. Which was, in a way, good, since he only had two classes that day, (the first of which only started at ten), and a tutorial in the afternoon. On the other hand, his first class of the day was programming. He played around with the idea of skipping it, but the fact that their exam was creeping up on them wasn’t helping his resolve and, also, he… Well, he had promised Wonho.

He would try. He had made no promises about how good that try would be, but he would definitely be trying.

He couldn’t quite keep his leg from jumping up and down while he waited for Changkyun to enter the classroom, but he figured that was better than a full-out panic attack.

Soon enough, Changkyun walked into the class, his eyes flitting over the classroom once, landing on Kihyun only fleetingly before flickering away, the boy’s shoulders coming up almost defensively, which at the same time somehow made him look smaller.

Kihyun swallowed.

Right, this was on him. He... he needed to... um... say something. He needed to like, at least get the kid to look at him for more than a split-second.

Right, this was his fault. He could... he could be a functioning human.

Kihyun steeled himself, waiting for Changkyun to take his customary seat next to him but… he walked right past Kihyun. Walked right past him, and didn’t even acknowledge the way Kihyun, (like an idiot), kept staring after him. Changkyun sat down next to Minhyuk, who slung one arm across his shoulders and lifted an eyebrow at Kihyun before looking away, while Kihyun couldn’t get himself look away and was only vaguely aware of the fact that the lecture had started.

He saw Minhyuk say something to Changkyun, head bowed, and looked away as soon as Changkyun minutely shook his head, before burying his face in the older’s hoodie.

Right. First attempt failed. Kihyun swallowed, turning back to the lecturer and ignoring the pounding of his heart and the sick feeling pushing up his chest. (Kihyun was pretty sure it was half absolute panic about talking to Changkyun after what happened, or the way Changkyun had barely looked at him, the way his face was turned… and it was half panic that he had actually attempted to do something. Attempted being strongly emphasized, here. )

Right.

If his hands would stop shaking, he might attempt that again.

Some other time.

 

---

 

Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Minhyuk

Week 1, Day 4:

Kihyun showed up to programming

And looked at Changkyun

It’s the first time I’ve seen Kyunnie cry since it happened

Albeit silently and on my hoodie in the back of a lecture hall...

 

Jooheon

Oh great now I’m crying

 

Hyungwon

Are you gonna post this every day?

 

Minhyuk

Yes.

From the looks of it, we’re gonna be here a while.

Chapter Text

Kihyun

I tried

 

Wonho

Did you talk to him?

 

Kihyun

I mean

No

 

Wonho

Then try again

 

Kihyun

But

 

Wonho

Kihyun I am in my fourth hour of strenuous dance practice

After having to study through the night for a test

But I will literally still find you

And enact upon you my frustrations

 

Kihyun

Did you eat enough?

You know how you sometimes forget to eat

Also, don’t tell me you forgot your jacket again

It’s really getting cold out

 

Wonho

YOU’RE DEFLECTING AGAIN I SWEAR TO GOD

YOUR SHIT

I AM TIRED OF IT

 

Kihyun

AM I NOT ALLOWED TO WORRY ABOUT MY ONLY FRIEND

JESUS CHRIST FINE

I WON’T BRING YOU THE LUNCH BOX

 

Wonho

...is it ramen

 

Kihyun

I have only known you for about ten years

So no

The salt is bad for you

 

Wonho

Fine

Feed me and I’ll help you in your “””attempts”””

Have you tried just smiling or winking

Usually works for me

 

Kihyun

I feel like you need to understand

That I am not you in any way

 

Wonho

So that’s a no on stripping half naked

 

Kihyun

...ignoring that

Also, maybe he’s too angry at me

I mean, I tried

Sort of

And he didn’t even look at me

 

Wonho

I’m not allowed within ten feet of the kid

Seriously I think he has a bodyguard

But anyway

From what I know of him, and what Hyungwon told me

I don’t think he’s angry

Did he LOOK angry?

You’re bad at emotions, maybe you got confused

 

Kihyun

(I’m not that bad)

Then he’s an idiot

Fuck

Anyway

Need to work on my project

My prof said he liked my idea

And the samples

 

Wonho

Oh. fuck

Is this the shots of the kid?

 

Kihyun

No it’s of the butterflies that follow my ass around

Of course it’s of the fucking kid

 

Wonho

...find me being concerned again pffff

I’m glad the project is doing well and

Er

Just bring me my food

I have the desperate need to eat and then fix your life

 

Kihyun

Fine

Talked to Hyungwon yet?

 

Wonho

Kihyun…

 

Kihyun

Yeah okay gotcha I’m on my way



---

 

Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Minhyuk

Week 1, Day 5:

I hate this

I hate this so much

I just want things to go back to the way they were

 

Hyungwon

Sometimes something needs to break so it can heal

 

Jooheon

Shut up

 

Minhyuk

Stop with your fake deep quotes

I’m sad :(

Let me be sad you ass

 

Hyungwon

Nobody’s stopping you

Also, I thought we were supposed to get updates on Changkyun

Not you

 

Minhyuk

I’m with him right now

He is literally right here

And I miss him :((

 

---

 

As Kihyun saw it, this was his fault.

(Actually, everything was his fault but he wasn’t going to think about that because thinking about that made his throat close up and-- Yeah.)

Wonho wasn’t talking to Hyungwon, someone who, although Kihyun had a hard time fathoming why the fuck, made Wonho happier than he’d been since high school.

Kihyun wasn’t under any delusions that Hyungwon would want to talk to him, or agree to meet up somewhere so, of course, the only solution was to, well, wait in front of the one class Kihyun knew he had.

Sitting in front of the lecture hall, hands twitchy, his hands fluttered to his pocket, hovering over the fidget cube Wonho had stuffed into his hands yesterday after Kihyun had precisely and methodically torn up an entire pile of napkins. His hand clenched over the small object, before releasing.

There were people milling about, and although Kihyun knew it was most likely in his own head, that it was most probable that no one was paying attention to him, he couldn’t help but think about how it would look. He didn’t need to play with a toy. This was okay.

It really was, really. It was just Hyungwon. He could handle anything the tall bean pole threw at him.

There was muffled noise behind the door, and then the doors slammed open as a parade of hipsters and bored-looking humanities students poured out, slowing down to a trickle after the first big rush.

Kihyun watched the door closely, but after five minutes had gone by and no one had exited in a while, restlessness turned into agitation and he decided to leave, to say fuck Hyungwon and his stupid, well, stupidness and if he wanted to be such an idiot as to let Wonho go that really wasn’t Kihyun’s problem and--

And there the idiot was, stepping out of the room with his head down, focused on the phone in his hand and a slight frown on his face.

Kihyun took a deep breath, tried to shove the buzzing anxiety away, stood up and neared Hyungwon, stopping a few feet away from him to say, in as normal a voice as he could manage, (the buzzing was in the back of his head now and all he could think about was Changkyun’s face after Kihyun shoved him away and then there was his dad and Jeongyeon and and and--)

“Hey, Hyungwon. Do you have a moment?”

Kihyun saw a faint tightening of Hyungwon’s jaw before the boy turned away and started walking.

“Oh my g-- Are you serious right now?” Kihyun waited for a second, hoping that Hyungwon would at least stop if not turn around, but he just kept walking. Rolling his eyes, Kihyun started walking after him. And he, the fucking ass, started walking faster and taking longer steps. The absolute asshole . “Are you honestly making me chase you down a fucking hallway? Oh my god, slow down you fucking giraffe,” Kihyun panted, now almost jogging to keep up and desperately trying to make it seem like he wasn’t.

“You know, I’m literally not forcing you to follow me. In fact, most people would assume someone didn’t want to talk to them if the person just walked away,” Hyungwon called over his shoulder, still walking.

“Yeah, well,” Jesus, fuck, Kihyun was really unfit damn he needed to work on that, “I don’t particularly care if you want to talk to me and I’m going to talk to you so will you slow the fuck down .”

Hyungwon kept walking for a few more seconds, before he slowed down, coming to a stop as Kihyun walked up to him.

“Thank you for being a human being. Now, can we have--”

“I’m not talking to you about Changkyun,” Hyungwon said, resolutely not looking at him. “You’ve done enough. I literally wouldn’t even have stopped if you hadn’t been so embarrassing.”

Kihyun felt something heavy and painful land in his chest and he winced, slightly, but shrugged as he turned to face Hyungwon, keeping his face as neutral as he could manage.

“This, isn’t about Cha-- him. Not exactly. It’s about Wonho.”

Hyungwon scoffed, shaking his head. “Seriously? You want to lecture me ?”

Kihyun straightened up slightly. “I’m not here to--”

“Then what? Are you going to ask that I talk to him? I wouldn’t do anything you ask me to do, almost purely out of spite at this point.”

Kihyun scoffed.

“That’s fucking stupid. And, honestly, what you did to Wonho was the stupidest fucking thing ever I mean… I get being mad at me, okay. I get it. But Wonho? You know him. He wouldn’t harm a mosquito. A fucking mosquito . And you’re angry at him for, what? Trying to defend his friend of more than ten years? Are you actually insane? He didn’t do anything to Chang-- ah fuck. He wouldn’t do anything to him.”

Hyungwon let out a breath, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. “It’s not just killers that go to jail, dumbass. The people that hide the bodies follow very soon after. I am angry at him ,” Hyungwon said, opening his eyes and clenching his jaw. “Because he saw you standing there with a goddamn gun to Changkyun’s heart, and did nothing. How is he not to blame for that? And who the fuck are you to come here and try to make me feel remorse? Jesus Christ, Kihyun,” Hyungwon shook his head, something like disbelief in his eyes.

Kihyun knew he should stop and think about what he was going to say. He knew that answering with his gut would not be the most helpful thing right now but damn , Hyungwon always knew how to say just the wrong (right) thing and the guilt was clawing up his throat, working its way behind his eyes and it was just.

Breathing out a dry laugh, more a bark of air than anything else, Kihyun shook his head.

Held a gun to his heart? What, are you fucking Shakespeare now? I get that I did something a bit bad, that it was really shitty and all, but I wasn’t the only one there. Changkyun kissed me. He kissed me, I didn’t initiate anything, I really didn’t, and I might have reacted very, well, bad, but it wasn’t my fault he read me wrong.” Kihyun’s heart was thumping in his ears, the beat sounding out the word, liar, liar, liar like a refrain. “All that is beside the point because to paint Wonho as some sort of accomplice in this weird little story you’ve built for yourself in your head is--”

Hyungwon punched him. That must have been what happened, because the next thing Kihyun knew he was staggering backwards, his hand clasped to his nose, warm liquid starting to drip and the pain setting in.

“‘A bit bad’?!” Hyungwon yelled, looking (now that Kihyun was paying attention) absolutely furious, fists clenched at his sides, face red and eyes wild, jaw clenched so tight Kihyun could see the veins popping out in his neck. “You fucking broke him, Kihyun! I have never fucking seen him like this, and you think it’s a ‘bit bad’?! That you were ‘sending the wrong signals’?! Are you--” Hyungwon bit down on his lip, hard. “You actually expect me to--” Hyungwon laughed, cold, disbelieving. “Have you fucking met the kid? He had ‘I’m whipped for Kihyun’ written all over his face and you want to tell me the first time you thought to say anything about it was pushing him and chasing him out of your fucking house?”

Kihyun breathed heavily. He wanted to say something, anything, but not only was blood dripping into his mouth and pain lancing through his head, making it hard to form words, but anything he could think to say paled in front of the cold fury radiating from Hyungwon.

“He called me . Fuck knows why, but I’m the one who had to hear--hear him break. Hear him cry over your stupid ass. He’s not---He’s not eating, he doesn’t--” Hyungwon breathed in again, fists clenching even tighter. “I want you to know--and I swear to God if you come near me or Changkyun ever again, or try to fucking lecture me about a decision I made to distance myself as far as fucking possible from you, I will actually break your goddamn nose--But I want you to know, and if you ever cared about this boy I really hope it fucking hurts ... You broke Changkyun’s heart.”

Hyungwon looked at him. Hyungwon looked right through him.

Swallowing, a curious numbness forming in Kihyun’s chest, a small, wounded, pathetic little sound escaping his throat, he said, softly, voice muffled by the hand to his face, hardly daring to look at Hyungwon, “He’s not-- I mean, he’s not angry? I thought he was angry, I didn’t think--”

“Yeah. That’s kinda the whole fucking problem here. You didn’t fucking think .”

Kihyun swallowed again, opened his mouth to speak, but Hyungwon beat him to it.

“You know what he said to me? The only goddamn thing I’ve gotten out of him since all this shit went down. The only sincere thing he’s said to me. ‘Tell him I’m sorry’.”

“No! That’s not-- I’m sorry. That’s what I wanted to--” Kihyun couldn’t speak. He could barely breathe. This was so bad. He’d fucked up so bad and he couldn’t breathe and he didn’t know how to handle this. He didn’t know how to handle this. He was supposed to be fixing this , why did he keep fucking things up .

“I held him as he cried, for hours . And before he left he said ‘I’m sorry’. Do you fucking get that ? No, you don’t, because all you saw was this kid, a kid who fucking adored you . And you loved it .”

Kihyun thought he might be crying at this point. He wasn’t sure. He couldn’t feel his face.

“I-- I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to--”

“That doesn’t really matter right now, does it?”

Kihyun turned around, stumbling a bit, hand still over his mouth. He had to get out of there. Hyungwon was right, damn him , he was right, and Kihyun couldn’t handle this. He never could. He was just a fucking fuck up who makes everyone around him unhappy.

He could feel the panic setting in, feel his breaths shortening dangerously, feel his grip on his surroundings falter. He needed to call Wonho--

No. He couldn’t do that.

Wonho, sweet, caring Wonho, who literally lost his boyfriend because of Kihyun’s stupidity and--

He was alone.

For the first time in a long time, he was really alone.

 

---

 

Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Jooheon

Would anyone care to tell me why I just saw Kihyun

walking around with red eyes and bloody nose?

Anyone?

 

Minhyuk

WHAT?

 

Shownu

Hyungwon, what did you do?

 

Hyungwon

He fucking deserved it

Also, why did you all assume it was me?

I mean, it was but that’s beside the point

 

Minhyuk

You literally wanted us to throw rocks at him, Hyungwon

 

Jooheon

I sincerely don’t see how punching Kihyun helps Changkyun

AT ALL

Seriously, hyung

 

Hyungwon

You didn’t fucking hear him

Any of you would have punched him, too

Kind of wish it was you, Shownu

Didn’t break his nose

Fucking should have

 

Shownu

What did he say?

 

Hyungwon

He was playing the victim and I called bullshit, okay

 

Minhyuk

None of us were there Hyungwon…

We don’t know what happened, exactly

 

Hyungwon

Seriously, you, too?

Fucking hell...

 

Jooheon

Guys, Changkyun’s back, he just sort of

Fell down on the bed.

I think he’s sleeping

Kid must be exhausted. Don’t think he slept at all last night

 

Minhyuk

What do you mean me too?

I’m just listing the facts here.

Which is: we weren’t there

We don’t know what happened

Not that I don’t think Kihyun is an asshole for shoving Changkyun away

But maybe it isn’t all that clear-cut

Also, Jooheon, make him some camomile tea with honey next time

It should help him sleep

 

Hyungwon

Changkyun is hurt, and Kihyun is the fucker that hurt him

That’s all that matters to me right now

 

---

 

Kihyun

I talked to Hyungwon

 

Wonho

No no no

Please tell me you didn’t

 

Kihyun

You love him, right?

Like. Actually love him.

Like, hold his hand and wake up next to him

All that gooey shit

 

Wonho

Kihyun, come on, why would you ask me that…

 

Kihyun

I have to know

 

Wonho

I do. I love him but that doesn’t explain why you’re asking me about it

You know he won’t talk to me

 

Kihyun

Why would you

Why would you defend me?

Do you even know what I did?

You’re so goddamn stupidly loyal

Like, has it ever crossed your mind

That maybe I really did something very, very bad

And that I shouldn’t be defended?

 

Wonho

Yeah but you didn’t mean to...

 

Kihyun

But what if I did?

What if I meant to hit you?

What if I meant to shove Changkyun away, to lead him on

 

Wonho

Kihyunnie please stop I know you didn’t

Why are you saying this???

 

Kihyun

Because you’re so goddamn stupid

I have to point it out to you

You’re such a loyal person, that you would never suspect me

Never think I’d do anything bad on purpose

You’re too trusting by far

 

Wonho

STOP IT

You’re being

God, I don’t even know what you think you’re doing right now

I mean

Why would you come to me

Why would you cry like that if you meant it all

 

Kihyun

Maybe I got scared

Maybe I was scared of being alone with myself

Doesn’t mean I’m not a bad person

 

Wonho

I don’t understand

Goddammit Kihyun answer your phone

 

Kihyun

So, you see

I’m really not someone you should be wasting your time with

 

Wonho

This is ridiculous, I’ve known you for ten years

Why would I ever believe you’d purposefully hurt me

Or Changkyun. Or anyone

 

Kihyun

You aren’t listening to me

I was a selfish, bossy little shit as a kid who loved to tell you what to do

I still am

But, for once in my life

I’m trying not to be the bad person

So, seriously, just

I’m still selfish

I still don’t think about other people

But, I think I’ve hurt you enough for a lifetime

Just do yourself a favour

And choose Hyungwon

God knows I’m not gonna get better

And I’d rather not take you down with me

 

Wonho

Kihyun stop please

I told you to fix things

This isn’t

Breaking even more things isn’t going to help

 

Kihyun

I meant all those things I said to you

That day in the alley

I meant it

I tried not to

But I did

 

Wonho

No. No you didn’t

I’ll never believe that

Stop this

 

Kihyun

Please, choose Hyungwon

If you ever cared about me

Choose him

You don’t need me

Goodbye, Hoseok

 

Wonho

Please please please just answer your phone

Kihyun?

Kihyun…

Kihyun, I know what you’re doing

I’ll give you your space but please

Please be kind to yourself

This isn’t who you are

 

---

 

Kihyun

I’m sorry, Changkyun

I really didn’t mean to

I know it doesn’t mean shit

But I didn’t mean to hurt you

I’m sorry

 

---

 

Changkyun stared at his phone. He’d reached for it, expecting yet another message from Minhyuk or Jooheon or whoever, someone trying to get him to do shit, reminding him to eat, but now he couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t think. He was vaguely aware of the fact that his chest hurt, that he was supposed to do something. He stared at it , and he didn’t know what to do.

This was Kihyun.

This was the reason he couldn’t sleep. The reason he turned his back on his best friend so he wouldn’t see him crying. The reason for that dull, ever present ache, and he didn’t know what to do.

This was Kihyun, and he wanted so desperately to say something.

He wanted to ask what the hell Kihyun could possibly be on about when he said ‘I’m sorry’, like he had to apologise for not loving Changkyun. He wanted an explanation. He wanted that specific string or words that could maybe fix everything. He wanted so desperately to tell Kihyun everything, that he loved him and that he didn’t even know what he could be apologizing for but he’d forgive it, forgive everything if it meant they could just go back.

Kihyun didn’t need to love Changkyun back, Changkyun just wanted Kihyun back so he could love him.

He’d do anything.

But it wasn’t much use when he didn’t know what ‘anything’ was.

So he stared at his phone, heart so incredibly tight in his chest, and didn’t do anything at all.

 

---

 

Hyungwon pushed his way into the room, his knock having been answered by a muttered, “Come in,” box of tea held loosely in his hand. Changkyun turned in his chair with a little wave, Hyungwon blinking for a moment at how pale the kid looked.

“Studying?” Hyungwon asked, glancing at the papers and books strewn in front of Changkyun.

“Trying to. What’s that?”

“Chamomile tea,” Hyungwon said, holding the box up and giving it a little shake. “Thought it--Er, it helps to relax your muscles. And shit. So, you know, nice and relaxed for bed.” Hyungwon shrugged. Changkyun scoffed a little, nodding, fidgeting, his hands in his lap.

“Do you want some tea or--”

“Can I ask you something?”

Hyungwon paused, box still in the air, before lowering it.

“Yeah, sure.” He sat down on the bed, adjusting the cushions behind him.

Changkyun chewed his lip, glancing at his desk, at his phone that lay, screen down, before twisting his chair around to face Hyungwon.

“Why aren’t you talking to Wonho anymore?”

Hyungwon froze in his patting of the cushions into shape, fingers twitching slightly, before he turned around, settling back against them, mouth pinched.

“Don’t be stupid, Changkyun. You know why.”

Changkyun shrugged, lips pinched together, before tilting his head at the older boy. “I am stupid. So humour me.”

Hyungwon rolled his eyes, shoulders tensing up. Why would Changkyun bring this up now?

“Ah, fuck, Changkyun. He was trying to defend the asshole. He was picking his side. What was I supposed to do?”

“Right, yeah, I did hear the yelling at each other,” Changkyun hummed.

“Then why the fuck did you ask,” Hyungwon grumbled, tossing the box at Changkyun as he did. “And here, take this tea. I didn’t buy it for myself.”

Because, hyung,” Changkyun said, catching the box with deft hands as he fixed his eyes on Hyungwon. “You seem to think you’re doing this for my benefit. Are you telling me you would have taken Kihyun’s side if I’d been the one who--” Changkyun coughed, taking a small breath. “If things were different.”

“Don’t flatter yourself. I’m doing this for my own benefit. I didn’t know how willfully blind Wonho could be before this. You wouldn’t have done anything like this, so that would never have come up.”

Changkyun laughed, sardonic and without any warmth, a sound that made Hyungwon flinch slightly. “Wow. So, what, if only Wonho had been there to, what, tackle me before I could approach Kihyun. Is that it?”

Hyungwon shook his head, irritated, eyes narrowing.

“That’s not what this is about. He knew Kihyun a lot longer than either of us did, and he obviously knew the guy had some issues or whatever, and he still didn’t say shit while he watched you lose your heart.”

“It wouldn’t have made any difference, hyung,” Changkyun said, evenly.

Hyungwon blinked.

“What are you talking about? Of course it would have made a difference.”

Changkyun shook his head. “No, it wouldn't have. I can’t imagine what you think Wonho could have possibly told me that would have stopped me from, how did you put this--’Losing my heart’.” Changkyun looked at him, a small, sad smile on his face. “It’s not Kihyun’s fault that he doesn’t love me back. And it most certainly isn’t Wonho’s.”

“What-- That’s not--” Hyungwon spluttered, before taking a deep breath. “Listen, you little idiot, no one who wasn’t a colossal idiot could look at you, watching them with fucking stars in your eyes, and not care about you. He obviously did care, and he still did that, which just makes him that much more accountable. And I’m pretty sure you might not have been so easy for Kihyun if you knew the stuff about him that Wonho apparently does.”

Changkyun frowned, “Stuff that you apparently know as well. What ‘stuff’?”

Hyungwon sighed, rubbing his hand across his face.

“I don’t know all of it. Bits and pieces, here and there. I pieced stuff together. You know Wonho and Kihyun dated too, but, apparently, at some point they were caught out, or something and… things didn’t go well for Kihyun.” Hyungwon watched as Changkyun’s hands stilled, the fidgeting stopped, as he rested wide eyes on Hyungwon. Hyungwon swallowed. “As far as I know, things got bad, real bad. At some point, Kihyun, well, he turned on Wonho. He… bullied Wonho.”

Changkyun turned his eyes down to his hands, knuckles white as he clenched them around the arm rests. “You knew this.”

Hyungwon opened his mouth, paused, closed it again, and nodded.

“You knew this, and you’re blaming Wonho for not telling me.”

“I had no, absolutely no idea it was this bad. I tried to warn you, but at that point I still trusted Wonho to know his friend, to trust that he wouldn’t hurt you. And I didn’t want to break Wonho’s confidence if he didn’t think it was necessary. I’m angry at him, because apparently it was that bad and he didn’t inform me and…” Hyungwon trailed off, a slightly lost look on his face as he glanced at Changkyun. “And I couldn’t protect you.”

“That’s not your--” Changkyun’s voice broke, and he took a breath.

‘What, it’s not my responsibility? Of fucking course it is. We’ve known each since damn near in the cradle, Changkyun, of course it is. You’re my brother in every way but blood.” Hyungwon looked away, hands clenching, unwilling to see the reaction his words provoked.

“I don’t--I don’t understand--why would--” He took another breath, swallowing thickly, face turned away from Hyungwon.

Still looking down, Hyungwon unclenched his hands, one finger at a time.

“Why what?”

“Wonho forgave him. Wonho forgave him, Hyungwon, I--” Changkyun shook his head. “Hyung, please, just, talk to Wonho. Please. You said yourself, Wonho knows Kihyun better than both of us. If Wonho could forgive him--”

“If Wonho could forgive him, and he was still capable of pulling shit like that, then Wonho’s clearly a massive pushover.”

“You know that’s not true.”

“Hm,” Hyungwon hummed, abruptly tired of the conversation. He had just yelled at Kihyun, punched him, yelled some more, went to buy tea, and then had a very nice conversation about stuff he’d rather not think about. “Have some tea.”

“I don’t know what to do,” Changkyun said, and Hyungwon looked up, frowning with the abrupt realisation that Changkyun appeared to be crying.

Slowly, slowly, aware of the fact that he and Changkyun didn’t really share a very touchy relationship, Hyungwon shuffled closer to the edge of the bed, hand hovering above Changkyun’s shoulder for a moment before descending, pulling slightly. And, with a soft sound, Changkyun slipped off the seat, ending up kneeling on the ground as Hyungwon semi-awkwardly pet his head.

“You don’t have to do anything.”

Changkyun took a shuddering breath. “I don’t--I feel like there’s so much I don’t know, and I hate it, but I can’t stop--I don’t understand. I was--I was going to ask you what to do, he--Kihyun, he--he sent me a text and--”

Hyungwon’s hand paused, before a slight whimper from Changkyun had him resuming his ministrations.

“He did what?”

Changkyun sniffed, moving to fumble for his phone which he managed to reach, but let fall almost as soon as he’d gotten it into his hands. He picked it up, unlocking and handing it to Hyungwon.

Hyungwon stared at the message, a curious sensation in his chest. He could see, clearly, that this was sent after their little talk , and. Well. He didn’t know how to feel about it. Although his gut instinct was anger, something in the message had a whole different sort of warning flashing in his brain.

“I just--I just wanna talk to him, I just want to know--I don’t understand what he’s sorry for, hyung.”

Hyungwon bit his lip, trying to squash the feelings in his chest. Kihyun definitely deserved everything he said to him, seeing as it was all true. He deserved to know how much he had hurt Changkyun. What it made Kihyun feel really wasn’t Hyungwon’s problem. Hyungwon suddenly had a very clear, startling flash of Kihyun’s face before he had turned away, apparently done with being yelled at. At the time, Hyungwon hadn’t felt much beyond anger and vindictive sense of righteousness.

Kihyun had needed to hear that. He deserved to feel even an ounce of what Changkyun must have been feeling.

And yet. And yet.

Kihyun was also the photographer Hyungwon had laughed and made jokes with. The one who had always accepted the tea Hyungwon brought with a grateful smile, eyes friendly. He had even helped Hyungwon get his first professional modelling gig.

He was angry, he was so angry. But, something inside him, small and hesitant against the rage filling him up, whispered to him. Told him that, maybe, just maybe, Kihyun was in a really bad place. That he was still that same boy. That no one deserved that amount of pain.

He handed the phone to Changkyun, already angry at himself for what he was about to say, but unable to keep it in either.

“Well, why don’t you ask him, then?”

Changkyun blinked up at him, eyes big, still wet with tears. “I--” Changkyun looked down at his phone. “I don’t know what to say…”

Hyungwon huffed out a laugh that felt like gravel.

“Quick, before I change my mind and confiscate your phone.”

Changkyun smiled. It was small, barely noticeable, but a smile.

“You’re a big softie, you know that?”

“Never say those words again.”

“Thank you,” Changkyun said, taking a small, shaky breath. “Dunno what I did to deserve a brother as stubborn as you.”

Hyungwon felt a curious squeezing sensation in his chest and sniffed, glancing at the phone with a scowl.

“Do… whatever. Drink your tea. I need to go… buy some fucking milk.”

“Hey, could you maybe go get something while you’re out?”

Hyungwon huffed and scowled at Changkyun.

“What am I, your delivery boy?”

Changkyun smiled at him, and for a second, Hyungwon could see that familiar spark in his eye.

“Oh, it’s not for me.”

Hyungwon frowned. What the --

“Go get Wonho back, you big idiot.”

“I--”

“Yes, I know you’re a moron, shh, just go.” Changkyun smiled again, tilting his head. “I think what we’ve learned here is that there’s very little that hurts as much as the person you love pushing you away. Don’t lose him, Hyungwon. Like I said, it’s not his fault. Please? Pretty please with a cherry on top?”

Hyungwon stopped in the doorway, head racing a mile a minute. He was still so angry . Every time he thought about Changkyun’s face when he went to pick him up, every time he thought about Changkyun’s listless attitude the past week, the rage just swelled up again. At Kihyun, (the bulk of it), at Wonho, at himself, even at Changkyun, a bit, for being fool enough to fall for someone like Kihyun.

But he also, he also missed Wonho.

He drowned it out, tried not to wince every time he looked at his phone and he didn’t have a hundred sweet, loving messages from Wonho, every time he saw a puppy or flower or, hell, a sunset that Wonho might like, taking out his phone to take a picture before reminding himself that he doesn’t do that anymore.

At night though, when he had to sleep and couldn’t think of anything other than the empty space next to him, the one that Wonho had been occupying a lot recently, he had to work hard to stifle a few stray tears. And, he didn’t always succeed.

He didn’t like apologising. Didn’t like admitting he was wrong. Especially when he wasn’t convinced he was wrong.

But, oh, and this was the one thing that made him turn around, stare at Changkyun slightly, before nodding and walking off, the thing was, the damnedest, stupidest thing was, he loved him.

And his heart never liked listening to his brain anyway.

 

---

 

Changkyun

What would you say if

Like, imagine that everything depended on what you said next

Everything depends on what you choose to say in one particular moment

If everything you loved hanged in the balance

What would you say?

 

Jooheon

Fuck, Changkyun, I don’t know

The only the thing that matters at that point, then, I guess

The truth

Did Hyungwon bring you that tea?

He said he would

Minhyuk said it might help you sleep

 

Changkyun

Yeah, Hyungwon was here with the tea

Let’s hope it’s worth all the fuss you guys are making about it

 

Jooheon

...don’t know what you’re talking about

 

Changkyun

I know I haven’t been very

Let’s call it ‘receptive’, this last week

But thank you

 

Jooheon

Always bro

You know me

We’re bros

 

Changkyun

I’m incredibly thankful to have you as a brother, Jooheon

You and Hyungwon

And those two goddamn parents I managed to pick up along the way

 

Jooheon

I’m

I’m so soft rn

 

Changkyun

Better than being hard, dude



Jooheon

...you just had to do that

 

Changkyun

Indeed I did

So

The truth, you said?

Lemme try that

 

---

 

Changkyun

I love you

 

---

 

Kihyun stared at the message, nails digging grooves into the palm of his hand.

This was... this was everything he wasn’t allowed to want, wasn’t allowed to have, and this kid, this stupid kid, was offering it to him. As if Kihyun hadn’t taken his heart and stomped all over it before. As if Kihyun deserved it . Deserved him .

Kihyun swallowed.

He could hear his sister singing along to music in her room, his mother busy stitching clothes in her work room. His father was at work.

Everything so normal. Every one so normal, peaceful.

They thought everything was fine. They didn’t know that Kihyun had come home, finally having managed to calm down only to realise he’d missed his practical and his last class, washed his face, and said all those, horrible, horrible , things to Wonho, because he had to. They didn’t know that their son, brother, was holding on by a thread.

But, Hyungwon had been right, after all. He was selfish. He was stupid, and mean. He’d seen the affection growing in Changkyun’s eyes, had ignored it, happy to have him, but too scared to actually face him. And then, when the poor, innocent, stupid, lovely kid had kissed him, he’d…

He’d been an asshole.

And assholes really don’t deserve to get the happy ending.

 

---

 

Kihyun

Don’t

 

---

 

Kihyun typed, ‘I’m not worth it’, finger hovering over the send button, before sighing and erasing it.

He knew Changkyun wouldn’t take that lying down. Would make it his personal mission to convince Kihyun he was , that he wasn’t as big of a fuckup as Kihyun knew himself to be. And then, Kihyun might believe him. Might let himself believe it. Might let himself have this.

And he just, really couldn’t stand hurting Changkyun again. So, it was better this way.

Let Changkyun think he rejected him. Let Changkyun think he wants nothing to do with him. Let Changkyun move on. Let Changkyun fall in love, with someone else, someone better.

Let Changkyun be happy.

(And, if Kihyun crawled into his bed afterwards, hamster clutched to his chest, shaking with the weight of his sobs, trying to muffle them in the hamster’s fluff. Well. That was no less than what he deserved.)

 

---

 

Hyungwon

Can I

Can I meet you somewhere?

 

Wonho

YES

I mean, yes, of course

Um, where?

 

Hyungwon

The courtyard next to the chemistry building?

 

Wonho

Meet you there in 10?

 

Hyungwon

See you there

 

---

 

Hyungwon was tapping his fingers against his leg, absently staring at the tree in the middle of the courtyard, when he registered a presence approaching from his right.

“Hey,” Wonho said, head down, smiling sheepishly at the ground, hand rubbing at the back of his neck.

Hyungwon sprang up, rubbing his hands against his jeans, clearing his throat as Wonho regarded him with wide eyes at the sudden burst of activity.

“Hey.” They stared at each for a few seconds before Hyungwon nodded at the bench, heart clenching at the sight of Wonho in a big, green sweater. “Um, wanna sit?”

Wonho, Hyungwon noted, was nearly uncharacteristically unsure of himself, as he nodded, sitting down and busying himself with the cuffs of his sweater.

“You wanted to talk?” Wonho prompted, looking up at Hyungwon, before quickly looking away again after the silence had reached profoundly awkward. Hyungwon had the nearly unstoppable urge to grab Wonho’s hand, but he held himself in. He had some things to say.

“I-- yeah. I did.” Hyungwon cleared his throat again, shaking his head. Why was this so fucking hard . “I-- I’m still mad. I’m not going to lie. Though, I’m a bit angry at just about everyone right now, so I don’t know if that really counts.” A rock seemed to have taken up residence in Hyungwon’s throat. “I’m still mad. But-- but I’m also sorry.”

Wonho looked at him (finally), eyes wide and hopeful.

Hyungwon found it impossible to keep talking and looking at Wonho, so he looked down, hands fidgeting with the rips in his jeans as he continued.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have-- have put all that on you. It wasn’t fair to you, to me, or to Changkyun. I was just-- I was so angry.” Hyungwon let out a ragged breath, swallowing. “I was so angry , and Changkyun was not-- he wasn’t okay, still isn’t. You were there. You were convenient, and I felt almost justified in blaming you. I punched Kihyun .”

Wonho let out a bark of laughter, and in the time it took Hyungwon to glance at him in incredulous amusement, Wonho’s hands had come up to cover his mouth.

Hyungwon just shook his head, at himself or Wonho, he wasn’t sure, before looking down again.

“I was angry, am angry, but that’s not an excuse. So. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.” A choked sounding noise came from beside Hyungwon, but he didn’t look up, knowing that if he didn’t push through, he’d chicken out. “I’m sorry, and…” Here Hyungwon trailed off, paused, steeled himself, and looked up, straight into a now crying Wonho. Hyungwon smiled softly. “And I miss you. I miss you. I-- I love you.”

Hyungwon lifted a hand, shaking visibly, and wiped at the tears on Wonho’s cheeks, feeling strangely light. Grinning now, he repeated, “I’m sorry. I love you. I love you. I lov--”

Wonho let out a sob, throwing himself at Hyungwon, who had to brace himself with an arm behind his back.

“I love you, too, so much, I’m so sorry that I--” Wonho sniffed around his crocodile tears, clinging onto Hyungwon like Hyungwon would physically even be able to get out of his embrace. “That I didn’t do enough or that I let you down, I just wanted everyone to be happy and, and, and then you got so angry and I just felt so bad, thank you for forgiving me, I love you and, and--”

“Shhh,” Hyungwon hummed, finally having found a way to stay upright, mainly cling onto Wonho. “It’s not your-- well, it’s not all your fault, at least. I know, dear, I know. Shhh. You didn’t let me down. Shhh.”

Wonho sniffed, nodding against him before pulling back, dragging Hyungwon with him so that they were just sort of, sitting on a bench, holding each other. Wonho wiped at his eyes, and fixed his hair with quick fingers. “God, I’m such a mess.”

Hyungwon grinned at him.

“Yeah. You are.” Wonho pouted and Hyungwon wiped a tear off his cheek. “ My mess.”

Wonho’s eyes softened to a degree that Hyungwon wasn’t sure humans should be able to reach. “You know,” Wonho sniffed again, before smiling wide, eyes disappearing into crescents. “You should be careful. Someone told me once that you can die from too much cheese.”

“Pssh,” Hyungwon scoffed. “That person probably wasn’t very smart.” He winked at Wonho, who laughed, throwing his head back.

Wonho calmed down, nodding, clearly trying to stifle a giggle.

“Of course not. What smart person would ever let me go.”

Leaning closer, forehead resting against Wonho’s, Hyungwon huffed.

“So, so dumb. Definitely never doing that again.”

With that, Hyungwon leaned in, sealing their lips together, uncaring of the fact that other people might be walking by.

This boy was his , and from now on, he wouldn’t allow anyone a sliver of a doubt about it.

Chapter Text

Wonho

Hyungwon apologised

Which is, you know, amazing

Apparently he punched you? I’m so sorry

I just wanna make it clear that I didn’t choose him or anything

I mean, I love him. But you’re my best friend

I don’t see why I even have to choose if you would just

Anyway

I don’t know if you’re going to answer

But I’m not just gonna let you go, okay

 

---

 

Changkyun gripped the strap of his backpack tightly as he entered the class, following closely behind Minhyuk. He had been skipping the class for the past three weeks, mooching off of Minhyuk’s notes, but the last time he had showed up at Minhyuk’s to get the notes, Minhyuk had looked at him with a creased brow and told him that he had to have 65% attendance to pass the class. Which meant not coming anymore wasn’t really an option since his parents had already shelled out the money to pay for this fucking hell-class, so there’s no way he’s not passing now.

If he could understand what the hell they were doing, that would really help that plan.

He had really thought he understood the notes Minhyuk gave him and, in theory, he did. In theory, it was easy.

It was while he watching the lecturer demonstrate some of the code onscreen that he realised he probably should have taken what his textbook said a little more serious.

Programmers learn by doing - not listening.

There was also, of course, that certain something eating gently at the back of his mind, as he tried his best to understand just how much studying he actually still had to do. That something that told him that three weeks of coping, of slowly building back up what one simple text (one word) had broken down, would come crashing as soon as he might happen to glance over and see a boy with pink hair, frowning at the front of the class. That something that made him glance around anyway, that something that wanted to see him, even if it hurt, even if he had to start all over again.

(Because he was a fucking masochist and didn’t know when to stop.)

Minhyuk elbowed him, frowning. “Pay attention,” he whispered, and Changkyun nodded and smiled and pretended he didn’t see the concern in Minhyuk’s eyes. That’s all he ever saw from his friends, these days. The only one who didn’t treat him as fragile, at least to his face, was Hyungwon, though Changkyun was about 95% sure he was the one who orchestrated the ‘spontaneous’ midnight excursions that led Minhyuk to drag him out of his room at midnight to ‘go look at the pretty stars’ and that made Jooheon and Gunhee show up with enough junk food to make them all pass out and insist on playing Overwatch the whole night.

(Minhyuk, at least, thought he was ‘un-fragile’ enough to withstand Minhyuk’s frankly brutal ‘constructive’ comments about how ‘he couldn’t hit something if it stood still in front of him’. Which, fair, but he shouldn’t say it. Besides, Hyungwon was much worse.)

Changkyun tried to concentrate, so hard to only pay attention and not let his mind wander and look as okay as he wanted people to think he was, he really did. He tried so hard Minhyuk must have thought he actually was , since he didn’t bother Changkyun again, but Changkyun didn’t really see how that could be possible, seeing as, well. Seeing as missing orientation and stumbling into this classroom and picking that exact seat (just four rows in front of him and damn he shouldn’t be paying attention to stuff like that, not anymore), was the best mistake he’d ever made.

He took a deep breath, and looked back to the lecturer.

There was nothing to miss. There was never anything. Changkyun had made (almost, sort of, sometimes he believed that) peace with the fact that whatever it was, whatever he’d thought he’d seen, was just the delusions of a stupid kid falling in love for the first time. The smiles he’d coaxed out, so proud of his work, had been nothing but friendship. The times Kihyun had called him, texted him, let Changkyun hold him while he broke, that was just… Changkyun was there.

He was convenient, and he didn’t protest, and he didn’t tease Kihyun about it. That was all.

And, every time he thought to think that it was anything else, every time the little hopeful goblin in his brain insisted that it meant something more, that Kihyun had felt something, every time his stupid heart tried to change his mind, all he had to do was think about that; that word that had quite literally left Changkyun motionless for more than half an hour, staring at it, not really wanting to look away and acknowledge that this was not some sort of nightmare.

Because if he did, if he looked around and saw his dirty boxers shoved under the bed, saw the setting sun outside his window, saw the empty take-out containers in the dustbin, then he would have to accept that that had really happened.

That he had just done that , had just opened himself up, putting his feelings out there like a naive child who couldn’t read the signs, couldn’t see that he was being an embarrassment.

So he sat there, only blinking himself out of the stupor when his phone buzzed again, lighting up the now dark room with a message from Hyungwon; a selfie of him and Wonho, smiling.

That had been… a dark night.

One he really shouldn’t be thinking about in the middle of class, when Minhyuk was urgently whispering his name, when Kihyun could see him, when he should be focusi-- “Changkyun-ah?”

“I’m fine,” Changkyun said, instinctually. He’d start to believe it eventually.

 

---

 

“Congratulations, Kihyun.”

Startled, Kihyun looked up, discomfited to see so many eyes focused on him.

“I-- what?”

Professor Kim, a tall, lanky man, frowned at him, crossing his arms, before smiling again and gesturing to Kihyun.

“Congratulations, you won.”

Professor Kim was smiling, but Kihyun still couldn’t make heads or tails of his words. He… won? What?

“I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t--”

There were a few snickers around him, the students around him glancing at him as if he was being particularly dense. Kihyun hunched his shoulders, before deflating slightly. It’s not as if he could blame them for laughing at him. He probably would have, too, if he wasn’t in this situation. It’s just… he’s been having trouble concentrating, lately. Things, people, events, time , seemed to slip by without Kihyun’s notice, leaving him feeling slightly (a lot ) out of step with reality.

Professor Kim smiled again, but, this time, instead of looking happy and congratulatory as Kihyun was belatedly realising he had the first two times, there were now two faint lines between his eyes, even as he smiled and said, “I see someone had a late night last night,” cue laughter from the class.

(What they didn’t know what they didn’t know was that Kihyun had been having five sleepless nights in a row before crashing and sleeping for twenty hours straight, his work wasn’t up to standard anymore his father was getting angrier and angrier at the dinner table, still demanding updates and Kihyun didn’t have anything good to say and they didn’t know they didn’t know--)

Kihyun forced a smile on his face, forced it hard enough that his eyes laughed along almost automatically, (it was a trick he learned during the two years he took drama in high school, and every day thereafter with his family), and nodded gratefully at Professor Kim.

After class, one in which Kihyun desperately tried to stay present enough to pay attention (because goddammit this was the only class which he actually liked, he wasn’t going to fuck this up, too. At least, not without trying his damndest first,) Kihyun approached his professor’s desk, one hand in his pocket, playing with the fidget cube.

(He had found it helped to ground him, to keep his head from spinning into a thousand different directions and tearing itself apart. Which was something he desperately needed these days.)

“Ah, Kihyun,” Professor Kim said, lifting his head to smile at Kihyun once he came to a stop in front of his desk. “Still not sure what competition I could possibly be talking about, right?”

Kihyun shrugged, then shook his head, hand tightening on the fidget cube.

“Um, no, sorry, professor. I guess I was drifting off a bit there.” He smiled sheepishly, but Professor Kim merely smiled a slightly pained smile before nodding slightly.

“You’re my best student, Kihyun, but try not to drift too far, okay?” Professor Kim sat back in his chair.

(Kihyun wanted to say it didn’t matter one little bit how good he was because it wasn’t like he would be allowed to take this class next year, not with how his father had been going on about his other marks and how this class had been monopolising all his attention lately. But, he sealed his mouth. It wasn’t Professor Kim’s problem.)

“In any case, I should be the one apologizing. Of all the projects, yours really stood out to me, so I submitted it to the annual University photography competition. Well, more of an expo, but you understand.”

“Oh.” Kihyun honestly couldn’t think of anything more eloquent to say. “I… won?”

Professor Kim nodded. “You won a spot in their gallery, yes. If you want it, that is. Like I said, I did submit it on your behalf so you are more than welcome to decline, but it is a fantastic opportunity to put your work out there.”

Kihyun swallowed.

“I don’t… take this class because I think I’m going to be a photographer one day, sir.”

It was odd, the way the older man tilted his head and frowned, gentle, more understanding and compassionate than people usually are.

“I’m not going to lie to you, Kihyun, it’s not easy. But I give this class because of people like you. You’re already a photographer. I’m not teaching you anything you don’t know, rather, refining those skills. Those qualities that a select few, you included, seem to be born with. I’m not saying the other people in this class don’t have a chance to make it, that they wouldn’t do just as well, but you , you have something special. Don’t you think it would be a shame to waste it?”

Kihyun felt frozen, his mind brittle, the only thing keeping him from spinning out of control the steady pressure of his thumb on the spinning wheel on the fidget cube.

“I--” Kihyun broke off, glancing up to stare into the older man’s earnest gaze. He couldn’t lie. He couldn’t trot out his usual reasons, like it was just a hobby, just a way to relax, that he wanted to do Calculus and programming his whole life. Not when photography had literally become a lifeline for him, in so many ways. “It’s not my choice, sir. I don’t-- I don’t get to decide.”

The older man paused, the frown sliding off his face as he looked at Kihyun with absolute sincerity. “Of course it’s your choice. A lot of things in life aren’t, where you come from, who you are. But,” he said, leaning forward on propped up elbows. “I just want you to think about this gallery, for now. Nothing afterwards, not what you want to do with your life, just this one gallery. And that, at least, is completely your choice.”

Kihyun swallowed, again.

“What--But what if, what if I want to do it again?”

He hated the way his voice sounded, the way it came out all desperate and, and, the way he said anything like that at all .  

“Then choose to. Or choose not to,” Professor Kim shrugged, features still relaxed. “But I think you deserve at least this one, or you’ll go your entire life not being given any choice in the first place.” He paused, before grinning. “Oh, and the finger foods at events like that are nothing to sniff at, let me tell you.”

Kihyun nodded, not agreeing to anything, simply acknowledging, before turning around and making his way to the door.

“Oh, by the way,” Professor Kim’s voice stopped him in the doorway, Kihyun turning around to face the man again. “Who is he? The boy in the photographs.”

Oh. Kihyun smiled. This was an easy one.

“Just a boy I used to know, sir.”

 

---

 

Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Minhyuk

Week 4: Day 3

Changkyun came with me to programming for the first time since

Well

 

Jooheon

This group chat is still going, huh…

Did anything happen?

 

Minhyuk

No

Yes

Maybe????????

No. He was understandably on edge and I’m not sure he even concentrated on Professor Lee for like, a minute

But it was… better. I think. IDK the kid’s hard to read when he actually tries

 

Hyungwon

Kihyun was there right?

I mean, he hasn’t missed a class once so I ASSUME

 

Minhyuk

I didn’t see him???

Pink hair isn’t really something you can miss easily

 

Hyungwon

I don’t know how to break this to you, Minhyuk

But I’m 100% sure his hair isn’t naturally goddamn pink

 

Minhyuk

That’s not the point

ANYWAY

Are you guys avail? Just for a coffee or something

Changkyun looks like he needs it

Ugh I just wanna wrap him in a blanket and keep him at home :(((

 

Jooheon

Well, yes

I’m glad you got him to go to class though

 

Minhyuk

You wouldn’t be saying that if you’d seen his face

 

---

 

Kihyun knew this wasn’t healthy. He knew this was the opposite of what he was supposed to be doing, namely avoiding Changkyun and letting him live his life without the threat of Kihyun looming over his head.

He could force himself to stay away. It wasn’t as if he wasn’t used to it. But… he might need a few more photos. And that was a convenient excuse to at least see Changkyun again. To see what Changkyun’s life looks like without Kihyun in it. To ensure that, that he was better off. Or, at least, getting there.

So, he waited, hoodie on his head, hunched over his books, for them to show up. They always show up at this coffee shop, one or other way.

Ah, there.

Kihyun swallowed a lump in his throat as he saw Changkyun throwing his head back, laughing, and he lifted his camera without even thinking about it. This, this was what he wanted.

This is what he had cried over for weeks. This is what he wanted .

He ignored the sharp twist in his heart, lowering the camera and getting up.

This is what he had wanted.

 

---


“Kyunniiiiiiiiie.”

Changkyun tried not to laugh. Really, he did. But Jooheon holding a solitary noodle in front of his face with a pair of chopsticks, voice incredibly (eerily) similar to that of a goddamn baby, dimples showing and bouncing in his seat, it was impossible not to. Gunhee, for one, was smiling at Jooheon like he was literally the sunshine on a cloudy day.

“Just one lil noodle, Kyuuuunniiiie.”

“I did eat breakfast. This time. You don’t have to keep feeding me.”

Jooheon pouted. Like a goddamn five year old. “But I wanna.”

“...If I eat this noodle--”

“--one lil noodle--”

Changkyun laughed, trying not to notice the way all the faces around him brightened at the sound.

“--Will you stop?”

“I will only stop for at least five lil noodles.”

“Four.”

“Five.”

“Three?”

“That’s not how this works.”

“Fine, five,” Changkyun relented, opening his mouth and rolling his eyes. Jooheon looked far too pleased with himself as he fed him one solitary noodle. “This is really sad, you know.”

“What’s sad is how long it took you to eat the damn thing,” Hyungwon said, looking down at his drink as he played with his straw, feigning disinterest, but Changkyun knew that the quick glance Hyungwon threw Minhyuk’s way held a smile. He was intuitive like that.

Changkyun accepted the other four noodles (all separately for some reason) with resignation and vague amusement. Yes, his friends were absolutely ridiculous, but any annoyance Changkyun could have felt at their persistence was easily clouded by the warm knowledge that they cared enough to keep trying.

At least they’ve been getting results, or, they think so, at least. Changkyun wouldn’t lie and say he felt quite as bad as he had three weeks ago. But, he felt far… less, than he normally did. In a way. Yes, his friends were funny and silly and and he loved them, but there was a curious distance to all the joy and happiness they were trying to force on him, as if he could sense it, could even appreciate it, but he couldn’t… feel it.

He just… didn’t have the capacity.

He blinked himself back into the present, the familiar coffee shop they’d been coming to since the beginning of the year, as Hyungwon raised his voice to call Wonho over from outside.

Wonho smiled widely at the five of them sitting there, his eyes softening so perceptibly when they landed on Hyungwon that Minhyuk cood and Changkyun gagged, grinning, as Wonho came in and took a seat next to Hyungwon, who was, Changkyun was horrified, (in a horrifically pleased way), to notice was smiling a particularly dopey smile as well.

“Shownuuu,” Minhyuk whined with a pout, playfully hitting Shownu’s arm, who had trailed in behind Wonho, both of them in exercising clothes. “Why don’t you look at me like that anymore?”

“Your ego would cause a gravitational disruption and we’d all die,” Hyungwon said, playfully pushing Wonho away with a wrinkled nose and a pointed look at his sweaty clothes, relenting when Wonho pouted at him.

“I look at you like that all the time,” Shownu shrugged. “It’s not my fault you stopped noticing.” Minhyuk continued pouting. “No, really! Look.” Shownu looked at Minhyuk, before looking at Hyungwon, and back at Minhyuk again.

“...Damn, he’s right.”

“We’re talking micro-expressions I’m not even sure he’s aware of.”

Jooheon squinted at the couple, before turning to Gunhee, who barked a laugh at Jooheon’s squinting.

“No need to look so in love with me, dear.”

Jooheon coloured up to his ears, a brilliant red colour that would have put a tomato to shame, mumbling something indistinct, though Changkyun did catch, “not”, and “you never said”.

Gunhee blinked, nodded, pursed his lips and turned to the table, clearing his throat before loudly and almost proudly proclaiming, “I am a moron.”

Changkyun nodded seriously.

“We know.”

Jooheon kicked Gunhee under the table as the latter fell forwards to hide his face in his crossed arms, while Minhyuk fussed around Shownu’s shoulders, starting what looked like a massage. Hyungwon and Wonho were having a hushed conversation about what sounded like a (slight) argument about whether Wonho ate enough, and Changkyun was....

Yeah. Changkyun just was.

He pulled at a thread on his jeans. He bit down on his lip. It wasn’t difficult to look away, not really, but Changkyun hated that he had to. That he couldn’t just be happy for his friends. That this had to get to him at all.

There was a sharp, pointed sound from Hyungwon, nothing more than an abrupt cough, really, but it was enough to snap everyone out of their little bubbles, leaving every single one of them looking at Changkyun with a trace of guilt in their eyes.

Changkyun sighed, inwardly rolling his eyes at how ‘subtle’ they all were, before plastering a smile on his face and pushing his chair backwards, getting up.

“I, actually, I just remembered I need to study for this test I have tomorrow. It’s just a class test, but if I do good in them it can boost my exam score, you know?”

They nodded, all sympathetic sounds and understanding faces and Changkyun knew full well that nobody believed him for even a second. Hell, he barely believed himself.

“Right. Bye,” Changkyun said, giving a quick wave before slinging his backpack onto his back and pushing his hands into his pockets, walking off.

After barely a minute of walking along morosely, eyes fixed on the ground in front of his feet, he heard hurried footsteps behind him. More pointed and coming in his direction than any of the hundreds of other footsteps from students around him, that is.

Right. Of course they wouldn’t leave him alone. He couldn’t remember the last time he was alone.

Jooheon, maybe? Nah, he had Gunhee to talk to now. (And, from the look of it, they have some serious talking to do).

Hyungwon? Nope, wouldn’t make so much noise on the pavement.

Changkyun turned around, ready to tell Minhyuk that while his expertise in programming would be appreciated any other time, he was more than capable of handling a class test, (even though deep inside he highly doubted it), but whatever he’d planned on saying to brush off his nosy friends, died on the tip of his tongue as he saw Wonho. Almost running after him, by the looks of it.

Changkyun slowed, walking backward, before stopping entirely, awaiting his fate resignedly. It wasn’t like he could outrun Wonho anyway. Might as well make this easy on himself.

“No, I don’t have any ramen on me at the moment.”

Wonho caught up to him, barely breathing heavily, (which just wasn’t fair, okay), and frowned.

“I, um, I wasn’t going to ask..?”

“I know, hyung. I was just…” Changkyun shrugged, barely a lift of his shoulders, before looking at Wonho. “I’m fine, okay? You didn’t have to come check up on me.”

Wonho scratched the back of his head, a slightly sheepish look on his face.

“I know…” He sighed. “I just-- we haven’t really spoken since, well, since everything. I just wanted to spend some time with you?” Wonho winced, and Changkyun had the feeling that wasn’t supposed to come out in the form of a question.

“You don’t.” Changkyun shook his head with a sigh. “Sorry, I just mean--”

“But I do want to spend time with you!” There was a surprisingly sincere distressed look on Wonho’s face, eyebrows pulled in the center of his face and puppy-dog eyes so big it made Changkyun doubt his own.

It wasn’t difficult to see why Kihyun had loved him.

Changkyun shook his head at himself. No. He wasn’t going to think like that. He had told himself he wasn’t going to think like that. It hurts so much and--

No. Not going there.

“I didn’t mean to be so loud just then, uhm,” Wonho shifted from one foot to the other. “I’d just like to get to know you better. You’re a good kid.”

A good kid. Ouch.

“Yeah, just the best kiddo out there.” Changkyun sighed to himself, again. Fuck, he really wasn’t trying to be like this. “Listen, hyung, thanks for wanting to submit yourself to babysitting duty, but maybe another time, okay? I can’t--” I can’t look at you and see everything I clearly don’t have. I can’t look at you without thinking of him. “I can’t.”

Wonho wilted, shoulders shrinking in on himself, nodding.

“No, yeah, I understand. But,” Wonho paused, lifting eyes that looked suspiciously perceptive, “You know… me and Kihyun didn’t really… I mean, it wasn’t serious. Between us. We were just,” he smiled slightly, “figuring things out, you know?”

Changkyun could feel himself wince. He tried not to, but the sharp twist in his chest made that nearly impossible. “Well. Nice to know we have something in common.”

Wonho shook his head.

“No, no. That’s not what I meant. He.. cared more. With you.” A twist of his lips that was too self-deprecating to be a smile. “He tried more.”

Changkyun laughed. A loud, broken, stupid thing, as he looked up at Wonho. “ Seriously ?”

“I know you don’t see it. I know it feels like he threw you away. Trust me , I know.”

“He did! He threw me away, but the fucking difference is that he still kept you around. A friend or whatever, I don’t care, you still...” God, Changkyun couldn’t do this .

Wonho shook his head, a vehement light in his eyes. Changkyun didn’t know what could possibly be on his face at that moment, the mish-mash of feelings inside him threatening to overwhelm him.

“No, he didn’t! You think he cared more about me because he let me stick around? You really think that? Let me tell you what happened in high school. I know you got hints and stuff from Hyungwon, but, trust me, you don’t know the whole story.”

“Why does that matter ?" Changkyun almost cried. "What does that have to do with anything?

“It has everything to do with everything . Listen.” Changkyun looked at him. He was so tired. “Please?”

Curiosity was a terrible thing.

Changkyun nodded, and followed Wonho to a nearby, quiet space between buildings. An alleyway.

“That whole thing in high school? Us ‘experimenting’ and figuring out what we liked? That was mostly me. I asked. He went along. Yes, we were friends, yes, we cared about each other, but I was the one who pushed it into another territory. I was the one who dragged him into that fucking alleyway,” Changkyun blinked, not used to Wonho cursing, “Just like this one. And I was the one who pushed him enough that, at that point, even though I knew the pressure he faced at home and at school, about being delicate and feminine , he… turned on me. I’m not saying he couldn’t have handled it differently, but, I pushed him when I knew. You didn’t. You didn’t know, and he knew it, and he felt that you deserved more and and--”

“Wonho, what---What alleyway? Wonho, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Wonho took a deep breath.

“We were near school, and I kissed him. He didn’t really want to. I made him. Or, well, persuaded him, I guess. Gave him reassurance when there was none. They found us. Those same boys who had tortured him his whole school career. I could see it in his eyes. Not only was he going to side with them, but he blamed me. And, the thing was, I kinda did too. The point is, the point is. Kihyun felt so bad about something that wasn’t even his fault in the first place , or, at least not at the start, that he came crying to me about it later.”

Somewhere between Wonho talking, between Changkyun trying to process what he was saying, Changkyun had backed himself against the wall. Somewhere along the way, his legs gave in, slowly, as he sunk down against it.

Wonho wasn’t done talking, however.

“He felt so bad about it , he still hasn’t stopped apologising. But, with you, I just think-- no, I know , he feels so bad about what happened with you, blames it so much on himself, that he-- he didn’t tell me but damn it I know that boy-- he thinks he’s protecting you. By staying away. He didn’t stay away from me. He… cares more. Trust me.”

“I--” Changkyun started to say, tried to say. He pressed his forehead against his knee, legs drawn in to himself, back cold against the concrete wall. “I want to believe you.”

Wonho tilted his head at Changkyun.

“You… don’t think he ever cared at all, do you?”

“Of course I don’t.”

Wonho sighed and sank down next to him, close enough that Changkyun could feel the heat of his body next to him.

“May I ask, why?”

“You may,” Changkyun said.

“Changkyun…”

“You didn’t see his face, hyung.” Changkyun took a deep breath. It was uneven, shaky. He hated it. “I was so sure. I was so scared, but I was so sure . I made a fool of myself because of how sure I was. He pushed me, and I saw--There was this look on his face. Sometimes I still dream about it. It was disgust, hyung.” Fuck, he wasn’t crying. He wasn’t. He wasn’t . “I was convenient. I was annoying and persistent and I pushed myself into his life and nothing in me is telling me that ‘hey, maybe he wanted me there’! ‘Maybe I’m just a terrible kisser’!” Changkyun laughed at himself. God, was he always this dumb. “He doesn’t want me. And I don’t blame him.”

There was a pause for a few seconds. A few seconds in which Changkyun fell even further into that hole he had tried so hard to get out of.

“I think you’re wrong.” Wonho said it so softly, so delicately, that there was no reason for it to hurt so much. “He let you calm him down, after he talked to Minhyuk and Shownu, didn’t he? From what I saw between you two, there was more than that, things that neither of you told me about. And that means a lot. He doesn’t… He’s not a fan of vulnerability.”

“I told him I love him,” Changkyun said, raising his head to look at Wonho, to let Wonho look at him. “And he told me not to. I told him I loved him, and it wasn’t enough. I know you mean well, hyung, I really do. But any hope that he might have cared for me, any hope of… whatever you’re trying to tell me. That he’s letting me go for my own good? God, that doesn’t even sound right… Whatever you’re saying, it’s not… I don’t… He doesn’t --”

“Changkyun, I really think--”

“Stop,” Changkyun pleaded, cried, almost. “Please stop. I can’t afford to be hopeful. I can’t--I need to stop and I can’t if you keep--” Changkyun turned his face back to his knees, hugging them closer. “You can’t mourn if there’s hope. Please.”

“Okay.” Wonho put an arm around Changkyun and pulled Changkyun up against him. “Okay. I’ll stop. I’ll stop.”

“Thank you.” And Changkyun let himself be pulled in, let himself cry, again, like he did with Hyungwon. With Minhyuk. With Jooheon about a month ago when he missed Kihyun so much he couldn’t even breathe. Except, this time, it felt like he was finally letting something go.

And hopefully, one day, someone.

 

---

 

Kihyun stared down at his bowl, trying to appear present even while his mind was a million miles away.

The gallery thing had been bothering him almost incessantly for the past two days. When he got home that night, he’d sent Professor Kim an email saying he’ll… participate. He agreed. He’ll cooperate. Whatever.

For a short time after he’d sent the email, he’d been almost euphoric. For once in his life, he’d decided to do something for himself. He was going to do the thing. Something that he wanted to do.

And then… reality came crashing back. Yeah, he was going to do this. His mother, (though, not his father, he was pretty sure), might even be happy for him. As long as he made it out to be a one time thing, just something he did for fun, it should be fine. But… it was only going to be for one night.

He was still miserable. He still missed Wonho and, and Changkyun and even Hyungwon. That miserable bag of salt. He was still stuck studying something he desperately didn’t want to be studying.

“Kihyun? Did you hear me?”

Kihyun’s head whipped up, startled to find three sets of eyes fixed on him.

“Um, yeah? I mean, no, sorry. I’m a bit tired. Must have drifted off.”

“Mmm,” his father hummed. “Better than drifting off in class, I suppose. I said that I’m glad you came to your senses and dyed your hair back to a reasonable colour. As you know, I wasn’t too keen on my son walking around with pink hair.”

“I liked the pink,” Jeongyeon butted in, shaking her newly cut hair so that her overly long fringe shifted out of her eyes. “I begged him not to change it to black when we went to the salon but…” She trailed off, lifting her eyebrows.

“I’m still not so sure you made the right choice with your hair, honey,” his mother fretted, frowning. “You had such beautiful long hair.”

His father laughed humorlessly. “Funny, the moment my son starts looking like a boy again my daughter decides to stop looking like a girl.”

Kihyun grimaced slightly, before cracking an incredibly fake smile. It was better to play along. He didn’t have the energy to get into a debate tonight. Jeongyeon, however, didn’t seem to have any of that kind of restraint.

“Oh, please, dad, we watch TV all the time and you’ve seen plenty of male celebrities with dyed hair like Kihyun’s was.”

Mr Yoo gave her a pointed look. “That’s different, dear. Everyone knows most of those… ‘boys’ are, well…”

Kihyun’s eyes widened, seeing the way Jeongyeon’s shoulders straightened, the way her eyes narrowed and, without really thinking too much further than the voice screaming in his head to, ‘stop this stop this’, he blurted out, “I’m going to be showcasing at a gallery!”

“What?” his father asked, voice level as his mother cooed next to him.

Shit.

“I-- I mean-- That is-- Professor Kim submitted my pictures and--”

“Oh, isn’t that nice! People like your pictures, dear? Oh, don’t look like that, hon, if he has fun with his little hobby, so be it,” his mother said, smiling encouragingly as she cut Kihyun off, smile turning slightly icy as she looked at her husband.

Kihyun shut his mouth with a snap, glancing between his parents with wide eyes. Was this actually going to work? Were they actually going to let him? His eyes flitted to Jeongyeon, seeing her watching the situation just as closely, before her eyes caught his and she smiled widely.

Kihyun started to smile back, adrenaline pumping through his veins, before he froze.

His mother had just been supportive of his showcasing at a gallery. She’ll probably insist on coming. Maybe, god save him, his father too. And… his pictures were all of Changkyun. All of them. Most were candid shots…

Kihyun swallowed.

Well, this was going to be fucking brilliant .

They might not notice. They… might not notice.

“When is it, Kihyun?” his father asked.

“Friday night in two weeks.”

Please let them be busy. Please let them be busy. Please fucking G od let them be busy.

“Isn’t that when you have that meeting with the Japanese, dear?”

“Yes, and it’s a dinner, so I need you there with me.”

His mom smiled apologetically and apologised, and Kihyun made all the right noises, but inside he was jumping . That was close.

“I can go, right?” Jeongyeon, who actually was bouncing a little, asked excitedly, smiling widely at him.

“Of course, Jeongyeon.”

 

---

 

Gunhee

Soooo

 

Jooheon

Sooooooo :)

 

Gunhee

Sooooooooooo

 

Jooheon

I feel like you’re trying to tell me something

But I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT

 

Gunhee

Cool yeah good talk guess that’s me off the nearest cliff

You know, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic

 

Jooheon

Take a wild guess

 

Gunhee

...can we add like a little smiley face or something…

...just so we know…


Jooheon

What if I don’t feel like adding a smiley face?

Lol, it’s fine

I mean

It’s nothing

 

Gunhee

It’s… er… it’s not nothing?

I’m just an idiot?

 

Jooheon

Don’t worry about it

 

Gunhee

Listen, Jooheon, I didn’t mean to say that

 

Jooheon

I know, it’s fine

Really, you can chill

I know it was just a joke

 

Gunhee

Christ alive lemme just rephrase

I didn’t mean to say THAT like THAT

Like it’s nothing

Like it’s a joke or like you don’t deserve at least five months of planning

And the murder of a million roses

Or fireworks or whatever the hell else people do these days

I didn’t mean to just let it… slip like that

I forgot that you didn’t know

I forgot that it’s not blindingly obvious

 

Jooheon

Let what slip?

 

Gunhee

Wait fuck no I’m not fucking this up again

Where are yOU?

 

Jooheon

You honestly don’t have to

 

Gunhee

Damn, you’re right, I really don’t have to

But fuck, I want to

All the time, every day, every chance I get

But hell, I don’t want to tell you with a text

Please tell me where you are

 

Jooheon

I’m in the computer labs

Supposed to be working on my essay and leeching off the uni’s internet

 

Gunhee

This bitch be running

 

---

 

Jooheon locked his phone. He looked at the computer screen, his half-written essay staring back at him. He looked at his phone again.

Swallowing thickly, he saved the file and pulled out his memory stick, packing up his stuff so Gunhee wouldn’t be tempted to run into the building and make a scene. Not that that wouldn’t be funny, but, not this time.

Jooheon had a heavy, nagging sensation of guilt tugging at his conscience. He shouldn’t have reacted so strongly. He shouldn’t have made such a big deal out of it. It was obviously just a joke and he can’t help feeling that he, somehow, forced Gunhee into… whatever this was going to be.

He stepped out of the building just in time to catch a red-faced and out of breath Gunhee racing towards the door. As he stumbled under Gunhee’s weight, Jooheon grinned slightly at the thought that Gunhee probably would have run into the door if he hadn’t caught him.

“Damn, there’s a door there?” Gunhee panted, before grinning widely at Jooheon, a quick waggle of his eyebrows. “Heeey.”

Jooheon rolled his eyes, pushing Gunhee away slightly, so that Gunhee was no longer literally leaning on him.

“Hey. Come on. Let’s get out of the way of the door.”

“Good idea,” Gunhee said as he started walking, throwing a quick look back at the door. “Hmpf.” He looked back at Jooheon. “You know, I was planning on this big speech in the middle of the computer labs before I inevitably pass out from exertion. This is very anticlimactic.”

“I think that would’ve been embarrassing for both of us,” Jooheon grinned, softening his words.

“You say embarrassing, I say big romantic gesture, but alrighty.”

Jooheon smiled, but that same guilt dropped like a stone in his stomach. He stopped them after a while, after they got what Jooheon deemed an acceptable distance from other people.

“Listen, I didn’t mean to guilt you into anything,” Jooheon started as soon as they stopped, wringing his hands in front of himself.”

“What now.”

“You don’t have to, like, do anything you don’t want to. I know you were just being funny and, yeah. I-- it doesn’t matter, okay? I didn’t mean to-- it’s fine.” Jooheon felt so infinitesimally small at that moment, overly aware of his definitely no-abs stomach, his thick thighs, his round cheeks. All those things he tried really hard not to think about most of the time.

“But.” Gunhee blinked rapidly, opened his mouth to say something before closing it, before opening it just to make a “Huh?” noise. He shook his head. “I told you I want to. Listen, I breathe bad jokes. It’s bound to betray me every now and then--” Jooheon winced. “No, no, no! I mean. Fuck. You know how sometimes you make a joke and you kind of want it to be true? Or you’re making a joke but it’s… not really a joke, but more a way of saying something, but jokes have, like… ‘Oh, just joking!’ and then people just forget all that stupid shit you said cos you’re unsure and dumb? Well. That. I guess.”

Jooheon frowns.

“I’m still not… actually sure what you meant to say there.”

“Yeah, neither am I at this point,” Gunhee mumbled, taking off his snapback to run a hand through his hair and put it back on back to front. “I’m an idiot, this has been established.”

“Okay..?”

“Do you not… want me to say it?”

Jooheon shook his head, then shrugged.

“It’s not that. You just, you only brought it up because I… reacted to it, and, obviously I sort of guilt-tripped you into saying it and--”

“I haven’t said it, Jooheon. You haven’t guilt-tripped me into… I mean, why would you think…”

“Because,” Jooheon’s face, despite his best efforts, contorts into the face Changkyun calls his, ‘kicked puppy’ face. “Because I’m not particularly, well, anything. I’m not that funny. I’m not that talented. I’m definitely not that handsome. I mean, my cheeks are so round and my thighs are--”

“Fucking amazing,” Gunhee said, eyes glazed over a bit as he looked at Jooheon’s, well, thighs.

Jooheon blinked.

“What?”

“I’m sorry, I just, I hear what you’re saying, and you know I value your opinions and feelings about things, but you’re just really, really wrong.”

“I don’t-- what?”

“I wish you could meet yourself. Seriously, you have no idea . I think my appreciation for your thighs is frankly sinful at this point, but, like, you’re so talented? And you make me laugh with just a simple facial expression. You’re cute and extra and sexy and you get so frustrated so easily and it’s adorable and I’m an idiot most of the time cos that makes you smile and then you have those dimples . Those motherfucking dimples , Jooheon.

Jooheon touched his face, a bit gobsmacked.

“My… dimples?”

“You’re so cuuuute ,” Gunhee whined. “And you don’t know it , and that hurts me . Okay, wait, not the point,” Gunhee slapped his own face lightly. “It doesn’t work that way, anyway, by the way. There’s no set level of talent or handsomeness or whatever that you have to surpass or conform to for someone to love you. That’s just not how it works. I mean, you’re dating me of all people, so.”

Jooheon frowned.

“Yeah, so? You’re, well, you’re you. You’re like,” a light blush dusted his cheeks, and he looked down, unable to meet Gunhee’s eyes. “You know. You’re you .”

Gunhee laughed a little, high pitched. “Thanks. And you’re you . Just in case you forgot.”

“So…”

“I am me, you are you, and I--” Gunhee laughed again, a bit high pitched, a bit shaky. “Damn, I really do, don’t I. I, and it’s not much, but I…” Gunhee giggled again. “ Oh, my god, I’m so useless .”

Jooheon made a high pitched sound in his throat and grabbed Gunhee’s hands, trying to ground him.

“Okay, Gunhee, I need you to use your words here.”

Gunhee bounced a little. “I don’t know if I have anyyyy , I’ve forgotten how language works.”

“Gunhee, love, please.”

As soon as the words left Jooheon’s mouth, he froze, watching in a sort of frozen dismay and excitement as Gunhee’s eyes widened.

“I’m sorry I--” he started.

“There it is! That’s the word!” Gunhee squeezed his hands. “‘Love’. I love you, Jooheoney.”

Jooheon jumped a little at the words, a grin spreading on his face.

“Really?”

“Yep! I really, really, really love you.”

“Brilliant,” Jooheon grinned, euphoria flooding through his veins.

Aahh, dimples !”

 

---

 

Jeongyeon

WONHOOOO~~~

Wonnie Wonho

‘Sup. It’s me

Ya girl

Back with the newest edition of Hamster Watch

 

Wonho

If he knew you called it that

He would… do something?

Idk

He wouldn’t be happy


Jeongyeon

Furiously run on his lil wheel or hide in a plastic tunnel idk

SO ANYWAY

Are you okay?

Sorry you just sound down :((

...Wait is that a stupid question it probably is

 

Wonho

It’s fine.

Dance exams just have me stressed

What’s new?

 

Jeongyeon

Do you know one Professor Kim?

I want to send him flowers and hear if he has a daughter

Seriously tho he sent Kihyunnie’s pictures into

Well I’m not sure what but now he has a showcase!

For his pictures! AaaaAAAAH!

 

Wonho

Oh, WOW

That’s great!

I’m glad he’s doing so well

 

Jeongyeon

Doing well and being happy isn’t the same thing, unfortunately

Ugh sorry Daddio was a dick tonight, I’m on edge

 

Wonho

But, he’s still fine, right?

Kihyun, I mean

 

Jeongyeon

He’s… idk he’s being my stupid older brother

But yeah, I think he’s okay enough

But I’ll keep an eye on him~

Good luck with your exams, oppa!

 

Wonho

Thank you

Both for watching over Kihyun and the exams thing

 

Jeongyeon

Happy to help~

 

---

 

Kihyun stepped back, eyes flitting over the walls. Okay. This was it.

He’d… he’d actually done it.

This was… a lot. All these pictures. Of him . Up on the walls for everyone to see. He, he didn’t want to see it. Not when he first took them, and not when he edited them. He ignored it. He put them up, helping to organise them, (as much as they would let him, that is), and… now there it was.

All those feelings he didn’t want anybody to know, not even himself, put up on the walls to see. And… it hurt less than he thought it would. More the sting of a papercut than a thousand band-aids being ripped off at once.

It was bearable.

This was for one night. One night he was allowed to be honest with himself. And however many people actually showed up. One night.

He took a quick walk through the gallery, (hands flying up every now and then to tug on the tie that still felt too tight, even after one of the staff members folded it over for him and he ascertained he could stick his whole thumb through the opening between his neck and that tie), artist’s eye tracking the positioning, the colours, before he stopped in front of the centerpiece, feeling his knees go slightly weak even as he chided himself. That was the first time Changkyun had literally left him breathless.

“Kihyun!”

He spun around, smiling as he saw Jeongyeon walking in, her short hair full of glitter, looking beautiful in a black cocktail dress, before he saw the woman walking in behind her and… afterwards he would swear his heart stopped for a second, before resuming in a frantic beating that left him breathless and swaying without even moving.

“M--Mother,” he managed to get out, trying his level best not to actually faint. This was fine. This was, this was art, there was no reason his mother would-- Best not to complete that thought. “I-- I thought you had to go to the dinner thing with father?”

His mother’s eyes took a long, meandering journey along the interior of the gallery, before landing on him with raised eyebrows and something, something indefinable in her gaze. Something that made Kihyun want to fucking dump the tie and just run .

“I managed to get out,” she breathed, still with raised eyebrows. “This is, quite a collection. You’re… very good.”

“T-Thanks,” Kihyun managed to stutter out, throwing a wide-eyed glance at Jeongyeon who made some sort of complicated shrugging movement before rolling her eyes and spreading her hands. Right. That was helpful.

Throwing him finger guns, ( extremely fucking helpful, Jeongyeon was), she sauntered off, leaving Kihyun to handle his mother, who was beginning to get an uncomfortably knowing glint in her eyes.

“This… is all of the same boy? All of Changkyun?”

Kihyun felt his neck tensing as he nodded, unable to say something. Anything. His, his heart was on the fucking walls , and he just… had nowhere left to hide.

His mother stepped closer to the centerpiece, hand lifting up as if to trace before she took a lengthy glance at the pictures surrounding it.

“I had wondered, that day after he rushed out, why you were suddenly so… withdrawn. Not that you were ever the most loud person, ever the most sharing ,” she laughed, slightly, almost tiredly. “You know, I wasn’t blind to you and Wonho, in high school. I knew there was something. I was hoping you’d grow out of it, of course and, when it seemed to resolve itself, I thought it was fine.”

Kihyun knew he was still standing only by the fact that he wasn’t staring up at the ceiling. His body seemed to have locked up. Head swimming. He was still calmly, methodically, taking deep breaths. Mostly out of habit.

“I--” Kihyun coughed, “It wasn’t-- Wonho and I-- there’s not-- I’m not --”

His mom waved a hand at him, effectively stopping his stuttering.

“I know you’re nothing more than friends now. I also know that, no matter how much I wished that you actually wanted to become a computer scientist, or that you would find a nice girl and settle down, how I was still hoping it… I can’t look at these pictures, at the passion that went into them, and the subject, and believe that any of those wishes would come true.”

Kihyun could feel his legs shaking, his breath coming in gasps. This was… Was this bad? He didn’t know. He couldn’t think.

“M-Mom I’m-- I’m sorry I don’t-- I tried--”

“Kihyun, honey.” Kihyun lifted his eyes with from his feet with some effort, finding his mother standing in front of him, eyes impossibly soft. “I know. I know you tried. I’m not,” his mom lifted a hand to wipe at her eyes, sniffing slightly, “I’m not going to pretend I’m not sad. I’m not going to pretend I’m not worried about you and your happiness and your future and… I’m not going to pretend. But, honey , I can’t stand it seeing you this way. Do you know how hard it’s been for me, this past month, knowing that my little boy was sad, that something was wrong and that, that I couldn’t fix it, couldn’t make him smile, because I didn’t even know what was wrong .”

Kihyun was horrified to discover wetness on his cheeks, and he made to turn his head away, something, anything , to get away, before his mother’s hands came up and grabbed his face, wiping at the tears, cradling.

“You’re, you’re my little boy, okay? I might not, I might not agree with all your choices, or even, even understand them, but if it makes you this sad, then, honey, you need to make them . I’d rather see you living a life I don’t understand, happy and smiling and glowing , than living a life pre-chosen, miserable. Come here.”

Before Kihyun quite realised what was going on, before he could process the words, he was pulled into his mother, sobbing quietly onto her shoulder, such a sharp feeling of, of relief coursing through him that, really, there was nothing else he could do.

His mother stroked his back with one hand, the other petting his hair, rocking him slightly for a few minutes before giving him a light push, smiling at him with a watery smile.

“Come on now, suck up those tears. We can’t have a crying artist at his first showing! People will think you don’t want to do this.”

Kihyun laughed through his tears, ugly, wet noises, as he shook his head, desperately trying to wipe the tears away even as they kept flowing.

“I’m just gonna-- bathroom--”

“Of course, dear. Oh, and, Kihyun?”

He looked around, seeing his mother’s glance slide off of Changkyun’s pictures before landing on him.

“You love this boy, don’t you?”

Kihyun thought about denying it. Of course he did. That was his knee-jerk reaction, always. Easier to pretend photography didn’t mean much to him. Easier to pretend he wanted to go along with his father’s plans. It was… easier. Not to deal with things.

But.

He loved photography. He didn’t want to work with computers in an office all day, every day the same thing day in and day out. He didn’t want to… keep pushing it down. Didn't want to keep having to pretend indifference towards the things closest to his heart.

“Yes, I do.”

And he did. He loved Im Changkyun.

 

---

 

Jeongyeon leaned against the wall (a necessity, at this point) and smiled to herself as she cried. Her heart felt impossibly full, and she almost didn’t notice when Kihyun and their mother went separate ways. She quickly wiped at her cheeks, still smiling softly as she looked into the other room. Empty. She sniffed, took out her phone, walked towards the pictures on the wall, and took a picture.

 

---

 

Jeongyeon

Wonho, the whole place looks like this

My mom saw this

I think the boy in the pictures should see them, too, don’t you?

 

Wonho

I

Oh my god

 

---

 

Wonho had a key to Hyungwon’s room. Hyungwon knew this. Hyungwon really shouldn’t have been so surprised when Wonho came barging in.

“What the--” Hyungwon started, headphones having fallen off his head to around his neck, eyes wide as he took in his boyfriend leaning against the door, panting.

“Right! So you know how you got mad at me for not interfering last time and letting people get hurt?”

“Well, yeah, but we already discussed that and--”

“Okay! So! Keeping that in mind, please look at this.”

Wonho handed his phone to Hyungwon. Hyungwon frowned at him, before looking down at the phone, eyes slowly widening as the significance set in.

“Is he shirtless here? What the fuck? Who told Kihyun he could--”

Hyungwon ,” Wonho laughed. “That is not the point here.”

“Yeah, okay, but still .”

“Hyungwon, Changkyun needs to see this.”

Hyungwon bit his lower lip, glancing up at Wonho’s through his eyelashes.

“Are you sure--

“Changkyun really thinks Kihyun never cared. Never ever. I talked to him, that time when he left the coffee shop and… Whatever happens, he needs to know he was wrong about that.”

Hyungwon raked a hand through his hair, squared his shoulders, before deflating and looking at Wonho.

“Okay, fine. Take note, however, that I’m still angry and I still think Kihyun is a di--”

“I won’t make you apologise for punching him.”

“...Deal. I’ll punch him again if he fucks this up, though.”

“So will I. Now. Any idea where Changkyun actually is or…”

Hyungwon made to shrug, before tilting his head, considering.

“Actually, he might be at an internet cafe. I mean, he was complaining about how his computer was too shitty to play Overwatch on so. Maybe we could ask Jooheon?”

“Ooh! Great idea.” Wonho didn’t even wait before nearl running to Jooheon’s door, which was so close he really didn’t need to run, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right.

Hyungwon waited a few seconds, putting on shoes, before Wonho appeared with a grinning Gunhee and a red-cheeked Jooheon.

“Oh, my God.

Oh, my God .”

Jooheon said ‘oh my god’ five more times before Hyungwon had to intervene.

“You know, what, I don’t want to know. Let’s just… go find Changkyun.”

“He’s playing Overwatch at the internet cafe,” Jooheon said.

“Hah! Knew it.”

“Have y’all ever actually looked at Jooheon’s thighs--”

Gunhee--

“I know how I want to die now.”

GUNHEE .”

“Oh, God,” Hyungwon groaned, massaging his temples. “If you don’t both shut up, I’m gonna die.”

“How long do gallery showcases usually last?” Wonho asked.

“Er, the whole night, usually, why?”

Jooheon hopped on his feet, typing something on his phone. “Damn, we need to get there. Gunhee--”

“You’ve offered a ride, I’ll offer a ride, it’s cool.”

Hyungwon frowned. “What are you talking-- oh jesus christ what did I just say about shutting the fuck up --”

“Dunno if we’d all fit in there, though.”

“It’s cool,” Jooheon said, holding up his phone before gesturing for everyone to follow him. “I already texted Minhyuk. He’s on his way with his van.”

Hyungwon followed Jooheon with the rest of them and locked his dorm door behind him, sighing. “When did this turn into a field trip…”

“Listen, if you think Minhyuk will ever forgive us if he misses out on this gay ass showcase, you’ve got something coming.”

 

---

 

Changkyun was good at this game, really, he was.

He just… wasn’t used to having a good computer, is all. He’d developed all these tactics to deal with having a shitty computer, see, like shooting wildly cause you might hit something cause aiming is useless when you’re computer is slow so… he just needed to learn different tactics.

He whined in frustration, kicking his legs a little under the table as he got sniped again , wondering if he really should just give in and ask Minhyuk to help him or actually admit that he can’t actually aim and therefore Hanzo is just a really fucking stupid choice to play, but uuuugh .

He wondered idly if Kihyun would be bad at this game, too, and laughed softly to himself because, yeah, probably.

Goddammit.

He shook his head, pouted, picked Mei, ran out, and died again. At this point, he wasn’t sure his ranking could get any lower.

“CHANGKYUN!”

“Uhm, sir, could you not scream, there are people playing with micropho--”

“CHANGKYUN-AH, WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?”

Changkyun took off his headphones, the word “DEFEAT” flashing across his screen to nobody’s surprise, and poked his head out from the crowd of desks and people. He knew that was Minhyuk’s voice, and for a moment thought that Minhyuk had actually felt how bad Changkyun was in the Force and had come here to whoop his ass, but no, everyone was here.

“What the--”

“There he is!” Jooheon said, hopping.

“Excuse me, could you please leave?”

Shownu smiled apologetically at the employee.

“We’ll be gone soon, I promise, I’m so sorry.”

“NO TIME TO EXPLAIN, GET IN THE VAN.”

“What’s going on--”

“Sir, please! Just go.”

Changkyun took one look at the employee, saw that she was near to tears and quickly stood up, collecting his things and bowing profusely at her as he followed his absolute asshole friends out of the cafe.

“You couldn’t just text me, could you?” Changkyun asked, but he was already being chauvered into Minhyuk’s bright yellow van. “Where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise,” Wonho said, grinning as Minhyuk fussed with Changkyun’s hair. Minhyuk frowned, ruffling Changkyun’s hair again, before, apparently, going by his grumbling and the amount of pawing at his head, trying to comb it into some sort of style. Fuck knows why.

“We are going to… a…” Wonho began, and Changkyun wasn’t an idiot, (despite some compelling evidence to the contrary), so he squinted at him, immediately suspicious. “A party!”

“Riiiight,” Changkyun said, as Minhyuk took a critical look around. “Because, of course, Hyungwon always wears sweatpants to a party.”

“Shownu, did I bring my make-up?”

“I didn’t want to go,” Hyungwon grumbled.

“It’s under the seat, dear.”

“Well, neither do I --”

“Bro, this is a once in a lifetime experience. Trust me, you don’t wanna miss it,” Jooheon added, leaning over from the backseat where he and Gunhee were squashed up, an uncharacteristically serious look on his face.

“Is this a ‘never dye your hair blonde again’ level of trust me?”

“Oh, dude, yeah, definitely.”

Changkyun sighed as Minhyuk started prodding at his face and shoving his own jacket at him. “Fine. But I’m not happy about it.”

Hyungwon laughed softly. “Yeah, we’ll see about that.”

 

---

 

Everything was a bit hazy, if Kihyun was going to be honest.

After he went to the bathroom, cleaning his face and making himself presentable, the revelation still humming in his veins, he’d emerged to the gallery filling up, and he’d barely even had a moment to think past the overwhelming attention and people looking at his work .

He’d seen Professor Kim a while ago, arm around the waist of a tall man, staring up at his work with a smile. He’d managed to catch the professor’s eye for a second, smiling a bit incredulously, before his attention was grabbed by the people next to him exclaiming at the use of colour in one photograph.

It was a lot.

But it was manageable. Or, it got manageable, as the evening wore on, as he got used to… everything.

That was, until the door opened for the nth time that night and he turned around with a smile that felt practically ingrained on him by now, only to be faced with… Changkyun.

There were other people around Changkyun, hands pushing him forwards, whispers rushing around them but. Changkyun was here. He was staring at the walls, mouth hanging slightly open and, and Kihyun’s hands felt too big and he felt like an absolute moron why did he do this what was Changkyun doing there and--

“Don’t fuck this up,” a voice whispered close to him, and Kihyun glanced up just enough to see Wonho smiling at him, before pushing Kihyun forwards a little bit, and, stumbling, he came to a stop in front of Changkyun.

Who was, oh god, he was staring at Kihyun. What, what was going on. Why was he here. Was Kihyun having a nightmare again?

“What are you doing here?”

The words sounded harsh, biting, and Kihyun winced as Changkyun, who had been staring at him in something close to awe, flinched back, head lowering.

Changkyun looked up, not at him, but glancing at the walls, at the floor, at his hands.

“I, uhm,” Changkyun swallowed. “That’s me? I mean, the pictures, I…”

Oh. Right. The pictures. Shit. Fuck .

“I don’t understand..?”

“I-- I’m sorry. I didn’t ask you if I could use them for this. I mean, it was for the project and then--” Kihyun stumbled to a stop, heart beating too loudly in his ears. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Changkyun said, shaking his head, still not looking at him. “I mean, I offered, so… It’s just weird to see myself everywhere…”

Kihyun nodded, once, sharply.

“Okay. But, what are you doing here? I didn’t tell…” Kihyun’s mind flashed to bouncing, excited looking Jeongyeon. “Ah, fuck, that kid.”

“I can leave! It’s--you didn’t invite me, they just sort of dragged me here--”

“No!”

They both paused, everyone did, shocked at the volume of the word. Kihyun shook his head.

“I mean, no. I don’t want you to leave. I didn’t think… I didn’t think you’d want to come. Or want anything to do with me, really. I-- If you want, you can stay.”

Changkyun blinked, frowning at him, biting at his lip. “Hyung, I don’t--when did you take these? I only posed for--” Changkyun’s cheeks reddened and he coughed a little. “Well, that one you’ve put in the middle, f-for some reason.”

“Ah.” Kihyun’s hand snuck up to the back of his head, scratching. “I-- sorry, this is weird, I took a few candids. You were just so, so b--beautiful, and I-- I had to.”

“Beautiful?” Changkyun choked out the word, cheeks still red, eyes wide.

“W--Well, yes.” Kihyun frowned. “That’s not-- I wouldn’t have asked you to be-- I mean, yeah.”

“I, uhm, I offered.” Changkyun fidgeted with his hands. “You didn’t ask.”

“I should have.”

There was a pause. Kihyun didn’t know what to say. His palms were sweaty. He was overly aware of the people around them, of his mother somewhere in the crowd, her tentative acceptance still too new to flaunt; he wanted to run . But, Changkyun was here. He was in front of Kihyun, beautiful, red, wide-eyed and goddammit , Kihyun didn’t have the strength to turn him away twice.

“Five weeks ago,” he started haltingly, eyes fixed on Changkyun’s face, “You sent me a message.”

“Oh, God ,” Changkyun whined, covering his face with his hands. “That was so stupid --”

“I just, I wanted to know,” Kihyun’s heart was beating so hard , his head was screaming at him. He shouldn’t be doing this. He was bad news. He hurt Changkyun so bad. He was, he was broken , his mind didn’t-- “I just wanted to know, if you still, if you still meant it.”

Changkyun let his hands fall, looking straight at Kihyun with wide, sad eyes. “I---Does it matter?”

No. It shouldn’t. Kihyun should be strong enough, unselfish enough, to give this boy to someone who deserves him but--

“Maybe. I mean, I-- I don’t know why you would-- would l-love me, but. I’m not, I’m a horrible person, Changkyun. I, kinda fucked everything up, for myself and Wonho and you and--”

“It’s not your fault, I shouldn’t have… Done that. It’s not your fault that you don’t…” Changkyun took a deep, shaky breath.

Kihyun heard a soft, sad sound, realising it came from himself a second after Changkyun’s eyes fell on him.

“That I don’t… what?”

“That you don’t…” He saw Changkyun’s hand tighten around his arm, arms forming a protective barrier across his torso, scrunching together the fabric of his hoodie. “That you don’t love me back. I don’t blame you, it’s--”

“That’s not…” Kihyun breathed, incredulous. “Why do you even love me ? I, I’m broken , Changkyun. You shouldn’t… care about someone like me.”

“You’re not broken, hyung,” Changkyun said, smiling at him with such terrifying amount of affection, Kihyun’s chest tightened up. “You’re just... you.”

Kihyun felt something inside himself shatter at those words, a clean break, something that simultaneously made him want to cry in relief (you’re okay you’re okay you’re okay you’re not broken you’re okay) and curl up into a ball, in front of all these people.

“Changkyun…” Kihyun’s voice broke, scratching. He could hardly speak .

Changkyun frowned softly, and god, if Kihyun didn’t notice the pure concern in this kid’s eyes as he took a tentative step forward, lifting his hand. “Hyung, what is it, what’s wrong?”

Kihyun took a deep breath. God, of course he’d still care like this. Kihyun hurt him so much, and still…

He’d fucked this up enough. He’d been an absolute idiot long enough. He was not going to mess this up. Not again.

Hand visibly shaking, he caught Changkyun’s hand, holding it tight, ignoring the gasp the boy let out, the way his hand was shaking.

“Changkyun,” Kihyun started, Changkyun blinking at him in what was obvious confusion. “For the past few months I’ve been, I’ve been trying my damned best not to like... Not to fall for you. Because, because there was just no way I was ga-- that I was going through that again. Just, no way. I just, wasn’t. And, I thought I had it handled. I thought I knew what I was doing. You were just a harmless kid. Fun to hang around with.” Kihyun winced. “Convenient. Until, until you weren’t. Anymore. I didn’t, I didn’t let myself realise this, because it was easier to keep telling myself it was nothing.”

Changkyun’s hands tightened around Kihyun’s, and Kihyun looked over to Changkyun looking at him with shining eyes, full of confusion, full of hope. Kihyun took a shaky breath. One word at a time. He could do this.

“And then , and then you kissed me. And I… freaked out. I was so deathly afraid , and I know that’s no excuse and I’m so sorry , Changkyun I’m so sorry, the way I acted was just, I’m so sorry --”

“I shouldn’t have done it,” Changkyun said, voice shaking. “I don’t--Hyung, I don’t understand , you said I shouldn’t love you, you pushed me away, you--”

“I love you,” Kihyun blurted out, the words tripping out of his mouth without his permission, and, though Kihyun knew that everybody probably wasn’t looking at them, that there was probably just a small circle of people around them aware of the fact that they were talking, it still felt as if everyone fell silent around them.

“What?” Changkyun asked, his voice so, so small, eyes shedding the tears Kihyun had seen swimming in his eyes.

“I-- It’s probably not enough, and I’m sorry I took so long and hurt you so much, but, but I love you. I do . I swear. I’d understand if you don’t--”

“Oh, shut up,” Changkyun said, mumbled, almost, smiling like nothing mattered before this, stepping forward and taking Kihyun’s face between his hands and kissing him, surely, securely, even as his hands shook and Changkyun pressed close enough that Kihyun could feel the frantic beating of the kid’s heart against his chest. Changkyun kissed him, and this time, instead of being an idiot, instead of pushing him away, he pulled him in, and kissed him back.

I love you , Kihyun thought, arms coming up around Changkyun, holding him close, deaf to the cheers and chatter around them. I love you, so much .

Chapter Text

Changkyun had walked into that gallery ( not a frat party, or whatever his friends had been gearing him up for, no a gallery ) with his pictures up on every damn surface, some he had hadn’t even posed for, his eyes falling onto the boy insistent hands were pushing him towards last of all. For a second, what Changkyun was seeing didn’t make sense. That was, that was Kihyun’s face, but his hair… Kihyun was standing there, in a suit, hair dark and eyes wide, and his walls, his defences, those damn precious defences he’d worked so hard to build up just… vanished. Blown away by the boy before them as if Changkyun hadn’t spent nights crying about it, nights fighting with himself.

And it was stupid, it was ridiculous and almost dangerous how quickly he fell back into that boy’s orbit, how quickly he was aware of… just about everything about himself. From his tattered jeans to the ratty old hoodie that was his most comfortable but that he knew made him look a bit like a homeless person, of the sweat already gathering under his arms, on his brow, of his stupid arms and hands and how he had no idea what to do with them.

Changkyun knew Kihyun was talking, and that he was replying, but he honestly… wasn’t-- no, couldn’t pay attention to anything that was being said, not really, until… he brought up that damned stupid message. (He shouldn’t have said that. He really, really shouldn’t have said that, not if he wanted any semblance of… well, anything, when it came to Kihyun.)

Changkyun wanted to die. He wanted to die, and after that he was going to kill every. Single. One. Of his friends.

But… but then Kihyun… kept talking. And he…

Made no goddamn sense.

Changkyun didn’t really understand what was going on, but he knew he couldn’t stand there and just, just let Kihyun have that incredibly broken and open and vulnerable expression on his face and not at least try to do something about it, anything.

And then he said some more stuff and everything was a blur and moving way too fast and Changkyun didn’t understand and then--

And then he said it.

He said it, and Changkyun’s ears felt as if they were ringing.

There was no way he’d heard that right.

But, but then Kihyun kept talking and he was saying something, something completely idiotic , (not a word Changkyun ever thought he would be applying to Kihyun), and Changkyun’s ears were still ringing, but his heart had understood the words and his eyes felt suspiciously sore and he just… He stepped forward, pulled the stubborn, stupid, complicated, beautiful boy that he loved, to him and… kissed him.

And, this time, instead of arms coming up to push him away, he felt arms coming around his back, pulling him closer , keeping him near.

And, for one still, silent, beautiful moment, everything was okay. Everything made sense, no one had ever gotten their hearts broken, and no one was confused.

Of course, because his name was Changkyun and he knew some of the most goddamn irritating people imaginable, that moment was broken by a piercingly loud wolf whistle, causing Kihyun to stiffen before jerking away, hands going hard and tense, causing Changkyun to whimper unconsciously.

Changkyun flushed hotly at the sound, glancing at Kihyun through his eyelashes who was staring at him with slightly wide, panicked eyes, eyes that softened a bit as they took him in and, even though Kihyun was still stepping away, still putting distance between them, he let one hand linger on Changkyun’s arm, sliding down as he stepped away before halting at Changkyun’s hand, linking their pinky fingers together.

Changkyun took one swift glance around, before hiding his probably incredibly red face behind the hand not by Kihyun’s side.

“Oh, my god, I just kissed you-- you --in a room full of people with my face everywhere --”

“I’m so proud of my little gay son,” Changkyun heard Minhyuk say in a stage-whisper behind him.

“Which one?” Jooheon asked, earnestly.

Both of them.”

If the earth could hurry up and swallow him already, that’d be great. God, his chest felt really, really full . He looked at Kihyun. That helped.

Kihyun blinked at Minhyuk and Jooheon, jaw clenching, before turning to Changkyun and proceeding to stare somewhere in the vicinity of Changkyun’s shoulder.

“Yeah. Um, you did. And… in front of my mother and sister. Um.”

Changkyun almost screeched in horror. “ Your mother is here?!

At that moment, of course, Jeongyeon came bouncing up towards them, her smile so blinding Changkyun felt the urge to look away. He was so distracted by Jeongyeon, he didn’t see Mrs Yoo behind her until she was with them.

Changkyun, pinky around Kihyun’s (oh god this was really real, wasn’t it?) bowed.

He was a goddamn moron.

He straightened up, face hot, and glanced at Kihyun apologetically, hoping his predicament was clear enough. (And valiantly trying to ignore the uncomfortably big lurch his heart gave every time he looked at Kihyun.)

Kihyun nodded slightly, almost as if to himself, then straightened himself up, loosening his pinky from Changkyun’s to fix his collar. Changkyun stared mournfully at Kihyun’s hand, but, before he could spiral into some sort insecurity parade, Kihyun took his hand again, firmly this time, lacing their fingers together, pulling Changkyun’s slightly as he faced his mother.

“Mother, I know you’ve met Changkyun, my friend, but this is Changkyun my....” He trailed off, losing the confident tone of his voice as he looked at Changkyun, a questioning tilt to eyebrows and a slight amount of fear in his eyes. For a second, Changkyun couldn’t figure out what was going on, why Kihyun looked afraid, until…

Oh. That was a question.

“Boyfriend. I--” Changkyun cut himself off, looking at Kihyun for confirmation, before his brain completely caught up with the situation, gaping. “You want me to be your boyfriend?!”

Kihyun winced, and Changkyun realised he might… have been a tad loud.

“Sorry,” Changkyun laughed, high pitched and nervous, feeling the stupid smile on his face he really shouldn’t be wearing in this, er, situation. “Don’t let me stop you. Continue.”

Kihyun frowned at him, but there was a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, and Changkyun could actually see the moment he gave in and full out giggled , mouth stretched into the kind of smile Changkyun could count the number of times he’d seen on one hand.

Kihyun turned back to Mrs Yoo, still giggling slightly.

“Um, yeah, this is my boyfriend.”

Changkyun brought his hand up to his mouth, trying to cover his smile, as he looked over at his friends (trying not to think too much about the small Korean woman who had given birth to Kihyun standing right in front of him while he held hands with her son and giggled like an idiot).

“I… see.” There was silence for a tense second as Mrs Yoo’s eyes swept over Changkyun, before her eyes moved to Kihyun, lingering a moment before she sighed, quietly, and smiled a small, careful smile. “I see.”

Kihyun’s hand tightened around Changkyun’s, and Kihyun nodded at his mother, almost a mini-bow. There was a silence, verging on awkward, before Changkyun took a deep breath, firmly commanded his heart to calm the fuck down , (to… minimal success), and tugged at Kihyun’s hand, head tilting towards the doors. Kihyun stared at him for a second, before blinking rapidly and, with a very short glance towards Hyungwon, took a step towards the door.

“We’ll… be back in a moment. Hopefully.”

Kihyun tugged Changkyun forward, and with another nervous, painfully awkward smile towards Kihyun’s mother, he followed, towards the doors, towards his friends who--”Could you please stop standing here like a row of newborn ducks.”

Minhyuk pouted, as Wonho awkwardly shuffled sideways, moving slightly behind Hyungwon as if that made it any better. “But it was the only way we could all watch the show.”

Changkyun didn’t even have to look at Kihyun to know that he was rolling his eyes. “Well, show’s over. Enjoy the gallery,” he said, pushing the doors open.

“Yeah, great photos. Still creepy,” Hyungwon mumbled, but Changkyun ignored it and the concerned look thrown his way. Kihyun pulled them to just outside the door, paused, then looked at Changkyun, who took the lead and led them to a sheltered corner. Changkyun looked down at their hands, fingers entwined, and physically couldn’t not giggle in glee.

“What are you laughing about?”

It would have sounded harsh, demanding, but Changkyun could hear the smile in Kihyun’s voice and, sure enough, when he looked up, there it was. He giggled again.

“I’m happy , I can’t help it, you’re--you’re beautiful and that just happened? That really just happened?”

Kihyun ducked his head, and even the low light, Changkyun could see the red on his cheeks.

“I-- Yeah. I guess it did. That was-- unexpected.” Kihyun laughed, slightly. “I was saying goodbye to you tonight and then-- well then you showed up.”

“Goodbye? I wasn’t going anywhere.” Changkyun winced, still grinning. “Sorry, that was cheesy. I just--there’s a lot of stuff I don’t really understand at this point and will probably be nagging you about but--” Changkyun laughed, again, he couldn’t help it, fuck . The best part, though? Kihyun was laughing, too.

“Um, okay, sorry, I’m trying to be serious but my face won’t play along, what do you want to know? I mean, I can’t talk long, there are people in there I need to talk to but--”

“It can wait, hyung,” Changkyun said, reaching out to take Kihyun’s other hand as well. He could do that , now.

Kihyun paused, the smile on his face fading slightly.

“Are you sure? I don’t want-- I don’t want you to, to, to work things up in your head and not understand and go away and--”

“You love me?” Changkyun asked. He still couldn’t really believe it. “You love me and you want me to be your boyfriend? You really, really mean that? Cos--”

Changkyun squeaked as Kihyun’s hands came up to grab his face, lips silencing him.

“Yeah. Yeah, I meant that,” Kihyun said, smilling, having pulled away after an amount of time that Changkyun literally couldn’t name if held at gunpoint .   

Changkyun stared at him, feeling the heat most likely lighting up his cheeks. He nodded a little, blinking. “Right, yeah, I’m sorry, but that will literally be the only thing I’ll be thinking about now.”

Kihyun nodded and smiled, taking a step away, before pausing, tilting his head.

“The others… Please get them out of my gallery. I’ll text you.”

“Hm, your gallery, huh? I am at least eighty percent of what’s going on in there right now.”

And, just like that, the Kihyun Changkyun knew and loved, was back. Kihyun rolled his eyes, crossing his arms.

Listen --”

“Okay, okay, I’ll get them out. God knows what Hyungwon’s doing right now.” Changkyun glanced to where they’d come out, before squeezing Kihyun’s hand a little, nodding. “You’ll text me? You really will? Sorry, I--”

Kihyun squeezed his hand, head bent down, and nodded.

“Yeah, I will, I promise,” he said, voice soft, soft , before flashing a small, sweet, slightly embarrassed smile at Changkyun, slipping his hand out of Changkyun’s and walking off.

And, if Changkyun stood outside for a few more minutes before going to deal with his friends, if he stood there for a moment, rubbing his lips and smiling a small, entirely delighted smile, well. That really wasn’t anyone’s business at all.

 

---

 

Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Minhyuk

AAAAAAH I CANNOT FUCKING BELIEVE

!!!!!!!!!!

 

Jooheon

BITCH SAME

 

Hyungwon

I’ll be watching

Always watching

 

Minhyuk

You’re a spoilsport

Be happy for him! :<

 

Hyungwon

Don’t get me wrong

I’m goddamn ecstatic

I haven’t seen the kid smile like this in over a month

I’m just saying

He does anything like this again

:)

 

Minhyuk

Then I’ll help you hide the body

BUT FOR NOW

 

Jooheon

While I agree with all of those statements

The smiley face scares me

Please never use it again

 

Shownu

I don’t usually get involved with discussions like this

But if Kihyun hurts Changkyun again

I’m with you Hyungwon



Minhyuk

Damn that’s hot

Speaking of which~~~

Shownu and I will have a talk with Kyunnie about some

Er...

Things

 

Hyungwon

But

...but he’s a baby I don’t

He doesn’t do anything

Ever

No

 

Jooheon

I am his roommate and I regret to inform you that he most certainly does

There being another person present might confuse him a little though...

 

Hyungwon

I DON’T WANT TO KNOW STOP

HE’S A BABY

 

Minhyuk

Yeah, Kihyun’s~

 

Hyungwon

Kihyun’s what?

OH NO YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW

 

Minhyuk

If he’s anything like me and Shownu

Just saying!

I know a dom when I see one

 

Hyungwon

CHANGKYUN IS NOT A

THAT

OKAY

 

Minhyuk

I was talking about Kihyun, dear

 

Hyungwon has left Changkyun Protection Squad

 

---

 

Hyungwon

I am going to ask you a question

And then I am going to throw my phone off a bridge

If you ever

Tell anyone

That I asked you this

I swear to GOD

 

Wonho

...lmao uhm okay?

What is it?

 

Hyungwon

Is Kihyun

OH CHRIST ALIVE

Is Kihyun

I can’t do it

Is he

 

Wonho

Use your words

 

Hyungwon

They taste horrible in my mouth I cannot

Okay

Is Kihyun

I am deleting this message right after I send it do you hear me

Is Kihyun a…

dom

I want to die

 

Wonho

………………………………….

………………………………..

…..

 

Hyungwon

ASKING FOR A FRIEND

 

Wonho

…..

...yes

(WHAT FUCKING FRIENDS?????????)

 

Hyungwon

My poor, poor little sub dongsaeng

Oh god

I need to save my boy

 

Wonho

I’m sorry

I’m laughing so much

If it makes you feel any better

Kihyun’s a very caring dom

ahahahahahahahaha

 

Hyungwon

…..

………..

I hate this so much but yes, I do feel better

I’ll just go die now okay thanks

 

Wonho

See you tomorrow

:)

Goodnight, love you

 

Hyungwon

I cannot believe you learned all that shit from KIHYUN

I’m

Yeah okay dead bye love you too ffs

 

---

 

Hyungwon

...Go talk to Changkyun

But I do not want to know a single fucking thing, okay

 

Minhyuk

LMAO FUCKING KNEW I WAS RIGHT

Are you sure you don’t want back in the chat?

RN it’s just us having a ~chat~ with Jooheon

Riveting stuff

 

Hyungwon

I’ve had enough horror for one night tyvm

...You seriously have a radar for this kind of shit?

Seriously?

 

Minhyuk

What can I say, I’m talented

 

Hyungwon

...What about me

What’s my…

Ugh

kink?

 

Minhyuk

For me to know~

And Wonho to find out~!

 

Hyungwon

I hate you

 

---

 

Kihyun

Hi

Sorry

I’m not sure what to say

 

Changkyun

HI!

Ahaha yeaaaah me neither

But if it’s any consolation

I am going to go out of my way to be awkward and cringey so

You looked GREAT by the way

Just real good

Uhm

 

Kihyun

Thanks

You looked good too

 

Changkyun

I’m sure through your camera I would really rock this threadbare hoody and holes for jeans

 

Kihyun

You looked cute

It was fine

I’m sorry

I’m really trying to be normal but my brain is

Loud

 

Changkyun

If it’s at all as loud as my heart rn you’re forgiven

You don’t have to say anything or aaaaaaaaaaah sorry

I’m just happy and it’s fine, really

 

Kihyun

I’m

I’m very happy

You had questions?

And, I should probably explain some stuff a bit more...

 

Changkyun

Yeah, I think there are some things to clear up but honestly, take your time…

 

Kihyun

Questions would be nice

So I know where to start

 

Changkyun

Ahaha riiiight sorry uhm

I don’t know??? I just

You’re really difficult to understand sometimes??

Which isn’t a bad thing! It just

Hah makes my life a little bit hard when I’m desperately trying to not make an absolute fool of myself in front of you, or impress you or

I’m gonna shut up

 

Kihyun

I’m difficult to understand?

I always feel like I give too much away

 

Changkyun

You really don’t

How do I put this delicately uhm

Hahah sorry I’m a nervous wreck rn I just

I kissed you

Not tonight, the, er, first time

And you… pushed me

Like, really, pushed me

And I know people think I’m confident and carefree or whatever but

I really thought you hated me, hyung

 

Kihyun

I could never hate you

But, I can

I can see where the confusion comes in

I don’t know how much Wonho told you?

(Obviously, all of that does not excuse what I did I am still horrible)

(But yeah)

 

Changkyun

He told me about you two

Which I’m going to be really honest intimidates me a little but that is a story for waaaay another day

Now that I actually think about I

I don’t know, I found it easier to just accept that you hated me than anything else but

Yeah, he told me about school and the kids who caught you

What you did and

Sorry he was just trying to comfort my emo ass but yeah

I’m sorry, by the way

For all of that

 

Kihyun

Yeah, the school stuff… sucked

But

That’s really only… half the story

 

Changkyun

Oh. Okay

 

Kihyun

Okay

So

You’ve met my parents

Both of them

They’re, they’re very nice people

In fact, my mother even made me cry earlier tonight about some… stuff

But yeah

They’re not

Or, well, more my father, really

He’s

Very traditional

You get good grades, get a (useful) degree, get a job, and get married to a nice girl

In that order

None of those are bad things

But

Wow, okay this is harder than I thought

 

Changkyun

I’m here, it’s

Not okay I guess but

Sorry

I’m here, I’m listening, I love you

 

Kihyun

I love you, too, Changkyun

Sorry, my brain is stupid

Okay

My dad has always been, well, less than positive about

‘Sissy’ boys

And it didn’t exactly help that I played piano and sang in the choir

And that I…

Fuck it

I’m small. Smaller than most people

Some would say… delicate looking

My dad didn’t like that

He wanted me to do sports and get a girl and basically be the perfect son

Like my brother who I love but who is also very much Normal

God, it wasn’t even

He never fucking hit me or something

He just said some… stuff

I’m probably making a bigger deal out of this than it has to be

He was always making comments

Like the boys at school

That was

That was all, really

It sounds stupid now

 

Changkyun

It’s not stupid…

I’m not saying he did abuse you AT ALL okay I just

Not everything is physical stuff and

Words

Especially for some people

Can take a worse toll and

Fuck I’m sorry I’m just

I keep saying that but I’m here

And I really wish I wasn’t just in my stupid dorm room rn but actually with you and

I wanna hug you so bad right now

 

Kihyun

I

Aha

I’m hugging that fucking hamster plushie

 

Changkyun

@ google how to be a hamster plushie

Sorry I shouldn’t but it’s

You’re so cute god help my fragile soul

And... Hell, I’m so sorry you went

Well, that you’re still going through that

 

Kihyun

I’m not cute

I need to sleep

I’ll

I’ll talk to you tomorrow?

 

Changkyun

Is “I can’t wait” cheesier than “not if I talk to you first” or

 

Kihyun

Both are incredibly cheesy

Goodnight

I love you

 

Changkyun

SDGDFH

Dropped my phone. Never gonna get used to that

Goodnight, hyung

I love you more <3

 

---

 

“It’s just such a beautiful day, don’t you think?” Changkyun said, grinning at the bleak, unpromising sky through the window of his dorm room.

“Mmm. Yeah, who doesn’t love the fact that they’re definitely getting rained on when they walk between classes,” Hyungwon hummed, half-lidded eyes scanning his surroundings as he clasps his hands around a steaming cup of tea.

Changkyun turned his face up to the sky, like the light rain outside would actually fall onto his face, cheeks still dimpled in a smile. “It’s refreshing.”

“You once threatened to sue God cause he ‘ made it rain ’ when you had to walk five steps without a roof to your next class,” Hyungwon deadpanned.

“We’re on good terms now,” Changkyun said, laughing a little as he turned to look at Hyungwon. “What shat in your coco pops this morning?”

“Firstly, fuck you for putting that imagine in my head and, secondly, I don’t eat coco pops you know this. It’s a little kid’s cereal--” Changkyun gasped. “How many times must we talk about this.”

“Has Wonho been making you eat cardboard in the morning? I can’t stand that stuff. Is that what’s wrong?”

Hyungwon glared at Changkyun for a few seconds before his face broke into a grimace.

“He’s been making me eat All Bran for the past week . Changkyun, I’ve never used the bathroom this much. My colon feels scraped clean. I hate myself more every second.”

Changkyun burst out into a laugh. “God, no . If you lose any more weight you’ll just poof out of existence.”

“It’s not funny ,” Hyungwon whined, shrinking into himself, staring balefully at his tea. “This isn’t even normal tea , Changkyun. It’s some sort of fucking, herbal, healthy, green tea thing.”

“Have you tried telling him?” Changkyun asked, trying his damndest to stop laughing.

Hyungwon’s eyes widened, looking genuinely shocked.

“I can’t do that . He looks so fucking happy every time I eat the things he tells me to. I can’t let him know I hate it . That would be cruel.” Hyungwon’s stomach gave a sad little gurgle and Hyungwon patted it consolingly. “I know, trust me, I know.”

“The things we do for love,” Changkyun hummed in a sing-song voice. “Good to know I have blackmail on you now, though. Classic.” Changkyun jolted as his phone buzzed in his jean pocket, grabbing for it before pouting.

“Lover boy ignoring you already? See, I knew he would--”

“He’s not! We talked last night,” Changkyun locked his phone, letting it fall to his lap, held in his hand, blushing a little at 'lover boy'. Kihyun. Lover boy. Lord help him. He continued pouting. “That was Jooheon. Some meme. I didn’t look.”

Hyungwon lifted an eyebrow. “You didn’t look at a meme ? Wow, who hurt you.”

Changkyun squinted at Hyungwon. Squinted. Not glared. Hyungwon would smack him if he dared glare. “You realize I’m made of more than memes and insecurity, right?”

Hyungwon shrugged. “Occasionally.” Hyungwon let out a sigh, placing the tea on the window sill with a thud. “Yes, Changkyun, of course. I just didn’t realise this conversation was serious.”

Changkyun, looking down at his phone with a pout, said, “I don’t know what you mean.”

“What was the last thing he said to you?” Changkyun opened his mouth to reply, before Hyungwon seemed to shudder before saying, “ Except if it’s any… personal stuff, like, you know, I don’t want to know . Please, don’t make me know.”

Changkyun’s eyes widened, blushing to the tip of his ears. “ Personal stuff ?! He didn’t--I--” Changkyun let his shoulders fall, scrunching up his face and whining a little. “Hyuuuuung, I’m new to this, stooop .”

“Oh, good god, thank god. You’re too young to be thinking about stuff like that anyway.”

“I’m not--” Changkyun tilted his head. “Hang the hell on, didn’t you lose your virginity at, like, sixteen?”

“Irrelevant. You’re a baby -- No you’re not what why brain --” Hyungwon broke off, an absolutely horrified look on his face.

“This is hard for you, isn’t it.”

“Stop it. Seriously though, are you okay? Do I need to hit Kihyun again?”

“You don’t need to hit Ki--wait, again?!” Changkyun gaped. “You hit him?! When? I-- What?

Hyungwon paused, eyes wide, deer in the headlights expression on his face.

“I never said that. Hey, do you want a cheeseburger? I want a cheeseburger.”

“I cannot believe you went out there and defended my honour. Wow,” Changkyun said, shaking his head. “I physically can’t imagine you hitting anyone.”

“... I had bruises on my knuckles for five days.”

“Ooooh, that’s what that was. I just thought you and Wonho--”

Stop it, that doesn’t even make sense . Now, let’s go get me a cheeseburger so I don’t starve. And, Changkyun,” Hyungwon stood up. “I know he… kissed you and, like, stuff , but that doesn’t mean he won’t hurt you and, and I just-- Be careful, okay? Don’t get pressured into doing stuff you don’t wanna do and--”

“I know,” Changkyun said, sighing softly before pocketing his phone again, standing up to follow Hyungwon. “I’m pretty sure I want my heart to stay in tact more than you do, hyung. Which is actually what I wanted to talk to you about.” Changkyun bumped Hyungwon slightly with his shoulder. “Lead the way, you’re not the only starving human here.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that ate All Bran this morning so, your argument is flawed.”

Hyungwon paused by the door to grab an umbrella (the Avengers one Changkyun bought as a joke but then grew unironically fond of), shepherding Changkyun out the door and locking it behind him.

“Is it weird that, although this is my dorm, you’re the one locking it?”

“No. Someone has to do it.”

Changkyun pouted, although, to be fair, he had forgotten to lock his door a few times. And the one time he’d actually forgotten his keys in the door , but that was neither here nor there. He tested a theory though, where one night he intentionally didn’t lock his door, and heard someone lock it from outside, proceeding the slide the keys under his door afterwards. Ah, if Hyungwon only knew that Changkyun knew about his soft little heart.

(He would definitely kill Changkyun, but Changkyun preferred not to dwell on that.)

“I didn’t take my wallet.”

“You don’t own a wallet, you have loose cash everywhere and a card that switches from jean pocket to jean pocket.”

Changkyun shrugged.

“I could have gotten a wallet, jeez, hyung. Have some expectations.”

“Did you?”

“No, but my card is in my other jean.”

Hyungwon bumped his forehead against the door.

“Fuck, fine , I’ll pay, but this is the last time , I swear.”

Changkyun grinned, steering Hyungwon away from the door and down the hall with an arm around his waist. “Nobody has a hyung like mine. Nobody~”

Hyungwon sighed and whined and swatted and Changkyun, though he did stay close enough for the arm to stay around his waist.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. What did you wanna talk about, anyway?”

Changkyun puffed. “Yeah. I’m just--I told you we texted, right? And it went great! I was giggling and grinning into my pillow like some sort of teenager, but I feel like--I don’t know, like I was thrown into the deep end of the pool and I’ve never swam in my whole life.”

“Speak in normal human and don’t use ridiculous metaphors.”

“Can’t I just be myself anymore,” Changkyun laughed. “Yeah, yeah, I just meant--we said I love you, hyung. We kissed and we’re dating , but I’ve never even just… hugged him. I have no idea how to go from zero to a hundred like this.”

“You’re sure you’re dating? I mean, I just meant, this is something you should talk about a bit more than something said in the heat of the moment. Like, a good long discussion. Not that I’m an expert, or anything. And, anyway, you shouldn’t go from zero to a hundred. That’s unhealthy.”

Changkyun thought about the rushed conversation they’d have outside of the gallery, his heart too full to really think about anything. “He said I was his boyfriend. To his mother . In a room full of people.”

Hyungwon groaned and came to a stop, stepping away from Changkyun to face him head on.

“Okay, yeah, he did do that. But , and hear me out here, things, emotions were running really high there. It’s the first he’s seen you, that you’ve seen each other , in weeks . I’m not saying he didn’t mean what he said, or that you shouldn’t be all happy and shit about it, but I would recommend talking to him again. I mean, he, and you, for that matter, might have rushed into something neither of you were ready for as a result of like, high emotions and shit.” Hyungwon paused, then smiled. “Huh, I actually sounded smart there.”

“We’re all very surprised,” Changkyun mumbled, knowing full well that he was pouting. “You don’t think he’ll change his mind, right? I’ve liked him for months , hyung. I don’t mind rushing a little.”

Hyungwon grimaced, motioning Changkyun into motion with his head.

“You’ve liked the idea of him for months. I know you know things about him that I don’t, and you guys are closer than we are, but I also know that, after a year of his snark, it’s really not that endearing anymore. And that people have a lot of quirks and tricks that you don’t know about until after. I mean, Wonho is making me eat healthy. This is not what I signed up for. I’m not saying don’t go for it, just be aware. Although, if you also don’t want to go for it, I’ll support you one hundred percent.”

He said this with such a big smile that Changkyun had no choice but to scoff.

“You’re terrible at pep talks, I hope you know that.”

“That wasn’t a pep talk.”

“Exactly, I wanted a pep talk.” Changkyun groaned. “I know, okay. Trust me, I know he has flaws, hell, I never lock my dorm room door. But despite your confusion about the fact, I really do love him. I’m just.” Changkyun shrugged. “Unsure.”

They walked in silence for a bit, Changkyun fiddling with his sleeves, Hyungwon’s hands jammed in his pockets, before Hyungwon spoke up again.

“Aha, I probably shouldn’t tell you this, since this will only paint me in a bad light, and I need you to know this is horrifically uncomfortable for me and you are going to buy the food next time, but the first time Wonho said he loved me I freaked the fuck out and couldn’t really believe him for like, a few weeks. He, well, he said he didn’t care, but I could see that he did, and it only got better when I finally got the guts to tell him I love him. So, um, stop staring at my face Changkyun .”

You’re blushing, it’s so cute, oh my god .”

Hyungwon lifted his hands to cover his cheeks, glaring at Changkyun.

My point is , asshole, that the fact that you and Kihyun had already both said it, already makes for a less unsure relationship than me and Wonho had. Okay, I’m seriously gonna need you to stop cooing now.”

Changkyun laughed. “I might never stop. Ugh. Okay. So. So I should just. Be confident, right? He loves me--” Changkyun giggled a little. “Sorry. He loves me so I can just hold his hand and smooch his cheeks and shut up.”

Hyungwon raised an eyebrow. “You’re so fucking whipped.”

“Whatever you say, Shin Hyungwon”

Instead of hitting him again, as Changkyun had half expected, Hyungwon ducked his head and grinned, slightly.

So fucking whipped .”

 

---

 

He… probably had to say something, right?

His mother hadn’t said anything, and his sister, surprisingly, had held her mouth, but… he should say something. Right?

Kihyun felt the familiar old demons filling up his head and clawing up his throat even as thoughts like that filled his head, and he gasped, once, before picking up his phone and calling Wonho. He hadn’t spoken to his friend in weeks , had only exchanged the most cursory of words with him the night at the gallery, but… Kihyun had absolutely no doubt in his mind that Wonho would answer.

“Kihyun-ah? Are you okay?”

“I-- Hi. I’m fine. I, want to do something. Something, that might be a bit… stupid. And, damn, I, aha, probably should have said this first. I’m, really, really sorry for all the things I said. All those horrible things. I didn’t mean them. I want my best friend back.”

“I know you didn’t mean it, Kihyun-ah, just breathe, okay. You didn’t lose me in the first place. What--what do you want to do?”

“Don’t sound so worried.” Kihyun let out a hesitant laugh. “It’s-- it’s not a bad thing. I don’t think. A bit scary, maybe. A bit stupid maybe. But… something I have to do anyway.”

There was a slight pause on the other side of the phone, before Wonho breathed out a soft, “Oh.”

Kihyun breathed in, a bit surprised to feel his chest rattle and hitch. He hadn’t realised he was that worked up.

“Yeah, oh. I just, I wanted to ask, if you wanted to, if you didn’t-- if you would please come over. I don’t think… I can’t do this alone, Hoseok.”

“Of course I’ll--Yeah, I’ll be there. Do you want me to come over right now?”

“I mean, I’m pretty geared up for it now, but if you don’t-- if you can’t come right--”

“Shut up for a second, okay, I’m coming. You don’t--I assume you don’t want, er, Changkyun to come?”

“No!” Kihyun paused. “No, he doesn’t need to see this. However this turns out, it’s more my and your business anyway.”

“Hyunnie, are you sure? Not about Changkyun, about… You know. Sorry, I’m just…”

Kihyun tilted his head, giving the question the consideration it deserved.

Was he sure? Was he sure he wanted to blow, perhaps forever, the little security he had now? The financial security, for one. Knowing his parents supported what he did, even if he didn’t want to do it?

Kihyun swallowed.

No, no he wasn’t sure. But… it had to stop somewhere. If he didn’t stop it now, didn’t do something about it now , he might never do anything and then, before he knew it, he could be doing a job he absolutely loathed , going on blind dates his parents set up, just because he didn’t have the guts to tell his parents… anything.

And, Kihyun had made this very clear to himself, earlier, knowing that if he didn’t do it and things went wrong later, he’d resent himself and Changkyun, this wasn’t about Changkyun . Not... entirely.

Sure, he had been the lynch pin, the thing that galvanised Kihyun into action, that made him struggle past his anxiety, but this wasn’t about him. It was about Kihyun. It was about what he wanted, and what he deserved, and, good fucking lord , he had gone so long , so long, denying that he deserved anything , that he didn’t need to be miserable…

This was about him.

He didn’t deserve this. This was about Kihyun.

“I’m scared,” he answered, honestly, the shiver in his voice making it abundantly clear. “I’m scared, but yeah. I think so. I think I am. At least, I want to try .”

“Then… Then I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Kihyun ended the call with shaking hands, fingers automatically opening his most recent chat.

 

---

 

Kihyun

Hi

Did you put on a sweater today?

It’s cold

 

Changkyun

Kind of wish I still had that scarf of yours~

But yeah, I did

I’d be less cold if you were around though :<

 

Kihyun

Are you blushing

 

Changkyun

...how did you know that

I’m smooth

I don’t blush

 

Kihyun

You’re always blushing

You’re adorable

It’s cute that you think you’re smooth

 

Changkyun

SDGKJHSDFG STOP

Don’t invoke that curse upon my brand like that

I only blush when you’re around though

so I understand how you could be so very confused

 

Kihyun

Mmmhmm

I

I might be about to do something

A bit scary

So, yeah

 

Changkyun

Oh. I’m sorry

Can I help at all??

Does me telling you you’re amazing and can do anything help?

I hope so cos it’s true

 

Kihyun

I’m not amazing and I can’t do anything

But, thank you

 

Changkyun

Fine, you can’t reach the top shelf

But you’re amazing nonetheless

Er, good luck, I guess?

I don’t wanna pry, I’m sure you’d tell me if you wanted to

Now I’m gonna tell you I love you cos it’ll never get old

So fair warning

I love you~

 

Kihyun

I love you too

Now….

Go do literature stuff or whatever you actually study

 

Changkyun

Okay fine I’m blushing you win <3

Also, rude (but I will)

 

---

 

His father was in his study, door open just slightly, to let out a sliver of light. His mother is at yoga, something she picked up a few weeks ago and which she claimed has been doing her a world of good. His sister, he was fairly sure, was still at school, practising for some play.

Wonho was standing next to him, holding his hand, (because Kihyun was a fucking baby. And also, Wonho insisted), and they were both staring at the door, Kihyun’s heart running so fast he was sure he was about to get a heart attack. In fact, the light-headedness might be an early sign and he should really--

“Ready?”

Kihyun swallowed.

“No. Let’s go.”

Kihyun stepped forward, Wonho just behind him. He wanted Wonho to take the lead, to open the door and just, tell his father, but he also knew, he knew that he had to take the steps. He had to do it. He had to start it.

He pushed open the door, his father glancing up at them, glasses perched on his nose, eyes immediately falling to their linked hands. Kihyun had the sudden, almost unstoppable urge to jerk away, to fold his arms, to make himself small, unnoticeable, and… he almost did. He almost jerked his hand away, but Wonho tightened his grip and Kihyun looked over to see Wonho looking steadily at him, eyes soft and serious.

Kihyun took a deep breath, and nodded. Right.

“Father, I--”

His father took the glasses off his face, rubbing at the bridge of his nose, and Kihyun’s words got stuck in his throat. “What is it, Kihyun?”

“I-- I wanted to talk to you.” He had to say more, had to go on, had to tell him, but this was harder than Kihyun thought it would be and his father is just looking at him, and he still felt like he was about to cry.

“Does Hoseok also want to talk to me, then?” he asked, his jaw tightening slightly as he glanced down at their hands again, before putting his glasses on, folding his hands, and looking at the two of them evenly.

“Uh, no, I just--”

“Why is he here, then? Talk to me by all means, Kihyun, but I’ve--” his father glanced at Wonho. “Made my position quite cle--”

“”Let me speak !” Kihyun exclaimed, yelled almost, and, and his father actually, actually flinched backwards. Kihyun, Kihyun didn’t really know what he was doing, but his father had shut up, had seemed surprised, wasn’t saying anything , so. So he had to speak.

“You, you never let me speak .”

“Kihyun, you’re being dramatic--”

“No. No, you, you be quiet now. I’m talking, and you’re going to listen.” Kihyun was shaking. Shaking and hyperventilating but this felt good . “You’re always, you’re always speaking over me, pressing your own ideologies and, and your idea of what’s right and, and what I should be doing down on me, on everyone around you and, I don’t want to listen anymore. Dad,” Kihyun paused, hand squeezing Wonho’s so tight, if he could think clearly he would guarantee there would be a bruise. “Dad, I’m gay. I’m a, a fucking sissy . I don’t like girls. I never have. And, and I don’t want to be a computer scientist. I don’t want to write programs. I hate math . I honest to god hate it. I want to take pictures and make art and--”

The sound of his father slamming his hand down on his desk made Kihyun jump. “ Enough , Kihyun, that’s enough . I knew I shouldn’t have let you take those classes, that I should have been stricter about your contact with people like him--”

“I don’t--”

“Giving you these ridiculous ideas about--about--” His father gritted his teeth. “I will not let you throw this family’s name in the dirt for these notions of yours.”

Dad , it’s not about the family, it’s about me and, and I deserve to--”

“And you are a part of this family! Whether you like it or not, whether I--” His father closed his eyes, face red and letting out a breath.

Kihyun took a step back, his heart in his throat. Whether his father liked it or not. He was part of this family, this family that hated him and, and that he didn’t fit into and why couldn’t he just be normal, couldn’t just be the son his father wanted--

“I just want what is best for you, Kihyun. You will get a job--not this--this hobby of yours, and you will get over this--this perversion of yours.” His father glared at Wonho, still seated at his desk, but speaking like he was looming over them both. “You will get over this, you will continue your studies--without that ridiculous subject--and marry a nice girl, and live a happy life, and you’ll thank me for it. I will not let you throw your life away, okay. I will not allow it . Do you understand me, Kihyun?”

Kihyun was frozen. He, he wanted to say so many things , but he couldn’t get enough breath to speak, could barely move his head enough to nod and, and it was all too much. Why did he ever think he could do this?

“How--how fucking dare you.”

Shocked, Kihyun looked to the side, seeing Wonho squaring his shoulders, jaw tight and with the angriest expression Kihyun had ever seen on him.

“How fucking dare you try to determine his life , his happiness-- He’s your son , not your--your prisoner or--”

At this, Kihyun’s father stood up, bracing his hands on his desk.

“Young man, I don’t know what, what relationship you and my son share, but you do not get to speak to me like that in my own home and--”

“I can do whatever the hell I want, thanks. I have absolutely nothing to lose by speaking my mind to you, sir . Kihyun is my best friend and--” Wonho clenched his jaw. “And I’m sick and tired of seeing him do this to himself because of you. Because you care more about your family’s reputation, or yourself, or whatever hell else--you care more about that than your own son.”

“I love my son, you don’t get to say anything to me about him--”

“Do you know your son? At all ?”

Kihyun’s father straightened himself up to his full height, and, although he wasn’t much taller than Kihyun, Kihyun felt like he was a tower, and he was cowering in it’s shadow.

“Of course I know my son. He’s flighty and dramatic and makes poor choices, and needs someone to guide him. Someone that will take him away from bad influences such as yourself.”

Wonho laughed, bitterly, face still red. “Wow, you are so full of shit. I didn’t ask what you see in your son, I was asking when the last time was that he told you anything . The last time he could come to you, his own goddamn father , and trust you with something about himself. The last time he complained about a headache, or talked about his friends--do you even know any of his friends? Do you know what calms him down or makes him happy? There is a giant goddamn hamster on his bed and I bet my right leg you have no idea where it came from, and my left leg that you don’t care as long as whenever you walk into his bedroom, he’s studying something he hates.”

Kihyun still felt small, still felt like running, but Wonho’s hand was like an anchor weighing him down to reality and Kihyun clung on with all his might.

“Maybe you should start caring about your son more than you care about the expectations you put on him. Because then, maybe, you’d actually be the kind of father he’d want to make proud. Or--or--” Wonho closed his eyes, breathing out, breath shaking in anger. “Just. Listen to him when he talks to you. Care about what he wants every now and then. Be a father, and help him, instead of pushing him so far that he doesn’t dare ask for help. What use is it to have the son you always wanted, if he’s fucking miserable , and not your son at all.”

Kihyun was so busy processing what Wonho had just said, about Wonho apparently thought , about how it made his heart ache, he almost didn’t register his father getting closer until he was standing right in front of him, steely eyes fixed on Kihyun.

“I’m giving you a choice, Kihyun. You either say goodbye to, to your ‘ friends ’, and live your life and get a good job, or you can get out. You can get out, stop getting money and food and shelter from me, and never talk to me again.” Here, his father’s eyes softened, slightly, and made Kihyun’s stomach turn . “Make the right choice.”

Kihyun swallowed, glanced at Wonho who was staring at Kihyun’s father, although his hand was impossibly tight around Kihyun’s and… And Kihyun remembered his mother. Remembered her hug, her acceptance . He, he wasn’t alone. This was scary and he was going to regret it a bunch of times, but…

“I am. Goodbye, dad.”

And, with that, still holding Wonho’s hand, Kihyun walked out, stopping off in his room only to pick up his laptop, camera and the hamster plushie, Wonho grabbing bunches of clothes out of his closet and stuffing it into a bag, before walking out the door.

Chapter Text

Changkyun

Hey cutie

Is the scary thing over yet?

 

Kihyun

Um

You see

Well

 

Changkyun

Hyung are you okay?

 

Kihyun

Well

You see

The thing is

I sorta

Well I kinda

um

 

Changkyun

“Yes Changkyun I’m fine don’t call the police”

Seriously low key stressed?? What’s wrong???

 

Kihyun

Ahahahahah

Nothing’s wrong

Exactly

I…

You remember me telling you about my dad?

 

Changkyun

Yes… Was he the scary thing?

 

Kihyun

Yeah…

Long story short, I got kicked out of my house

 

Changkyun

Fuck I’m

Fuck I’m so sorry Kihyun I have like

Every bed is a bunk bed if someone sleeps under it man you are more than welcome

To sleep on the bed I mean not the

Fuck I’m so sorry

What happened???

 

Kihyun

Are you seriously proposing sleeping under your no doubt shitty dorm bed

It’s

Well, not fine

But Wonho said I could stay with him for a while.

Fuck

In the moment I was all like, ‘fuck yeah fuck him’

But now I’m realising I’m probably gonna have to drop out of college

fuck

 

Changkyun

God bless Wonho now I don’t have to clean under my bed

I’m… I’m really sorry. I’m sure there’s something we can do

I’ll, uhm, I’ll tell my grandparents I’m taking up photography!

 

Kihyun

Sorry I’m loading this all on you

I should go calm down somewhere before I talk to you again

 

Changkyun

:( I want to help you, hyung…

It’s not much but yeah my shitty dorm and shitty dorm room bed is always open for you


Kihyun

I shouldn’t but

I mean, I’ve already put you through so much shit but

Can I

Can I come over?

I mean, if you’re studying it’s FINE

I should really calm down first but

I mean I

 

Changkyun

Hyung

Of fucking course you can come over

I wasn’t kidding about the whole I love you thing, you know

Like I said, it’s not… much

But I’m here

 

Kihyun

Good to know

You in your dorm rn?

Or at class or idk

 

Changkyun

I’m next door begging Hyungwon for a broom :)

See you soon? My dorm is the one next to the drama department

Big stupid horse statue outside, can’t miss it

A BROOM! SUCCESS

I’ll meet you outside, just lemme know when you’re here

 

Kihyun

Why do you need a broom

 

Changkyun

To defend your honour

En guarde, world

 

Kihyun

Why do I talk to you

 

Changkyun

Cos you think I’m cute shhh

I’m sweeping for you, Hyungwon’s taking pictures

 

Kihyun

Hmmmmm

Hyungwon’s there huh

 

Changkyun

Not anymore I hit him with the broom

His own broom lmao

Hyungwon: smacked

Honor: defended

He won’t hit you again, I’m armed

 

Kihyun

Ah

He told you about that

 

Changkyun

Yeah… I can’t really imagine him angry enough to do that

Or having enough power in his stick arms

I’m sorry, by the way, he’s… stupidly protective

 

Kihyun

I deserved it

It’s fine

 

Changkyun

I might hit you with this broom though stop saying that

It’s okay, I forgive you, it’s over, would do it all again, yadda yadda

 

Kihyun

It’s not okay yadda yadda

But I’m outside so

 

Changkyun

It will be

On my way!

 

---

 

Kihyun was standing outside, fingers clenched in the hoodie Wonho yanked over his head when Kihyun asked if Wonho could drop him outside Changkyun’s dorm, all worried protectiveness and endless assurances that Kihyun always had a place to stay.

“Did you really mean everything you said to… to my father?” Kihyun had choked out, wide-eyed and still unbelieving that he had actually Done That.

Wonho had paused, turning off his cars ignition. “Of course I did. Been wanting to say all that stuff for years now. Sorry, for, er, snapping at him a bit.”

Kihyun had let out a slightly hysterical little giggle, shaking his head, waving away Wonho’s apologies.

Because… this was… not good. Not really. But it was freeing. It was needed. And it made Kihyun feel, in equal amounts, exhilarating excitement and soul-crushing anxiety.

Kihyun had never been one for physical touch, never needed, never wanted or even understood other people’s need to touch the whole time, or how other people could touch each other so casually.

But now, he needed a hug. He needed, he needed someone to hold him, to tell him he was going to be okay, that things were going to be fine, that he hadn’t just ruined his fucking life .

Kihyun could feel his breathing speed pick up, could feel himself beginning to get light-headed and, at a loss, wrapped his arms around himself, huddling himself into the hoodie. Where was Changkyun?

At the thought, the sound of a door opening had him looking up on instinct.

Changkyun looked around for a second, before he saw Kihyun, and his face practically lit up. Kihyun tried to muster a smile, but it quickly faded, Changkyun’s smile with it. Not surprising,  with what Kihyun must look like, pathetic and stupid and--

Kihyun barely caught Changkyun’s expression (a mix of what looked like a frown and, and something that looked so much like tenderness Kihyun’s heart ached ) before Changkyun had rushed over and pulled Kihyun into a tight embrace.

“God, hyung, I’m so sorry. It’s--It’ll be okay. I swear it will, I promise.”

“I--I’m f--fine,” Kihyun stuttered, even as he tried to nose his way into Changkyun’s neck, beyond caring what he looked like. Changkyun was warm. Changkyun felt safe. Changkyun made him feel less like everything was spinning apart. He… he was allowed to have this.

That’s what this had all been about right?

“I--I’m fine,” Kihyun sighed, coming to rest with his face pressed against the side of Changkyun’s neck, trying his best to disappear into Changkyun’s arms, clutching handfuls of Changkyun’s sweater.

“Okay,” Changkyun said, hands rubbing soothing circles into Kihyun’s back, voice somehow soft and deep at the same time. “Gonna take more than that if you want me to let go any time soon.”

“Don’t.”

The word is out before Kihyun could stop it, slipping out with no brain to mouth filter and, and he wanted to take it back, he shouldn’t be so needy, so fucking clingy--

Changkyun’s hands stilled for a moment, before he let out a little, shaking sigh, squeezing Kihyun a little tighter, just for a second, just holding him for another minute, until the weight on Kihyun’s chest didn’t push down on his lungs, until his heartbeat felt on par with Changkyun’s, the sure slow beat of which he could thudding against him, close as they were.

“Come on, sweetheart,” Changkyun said, pulling away, a small smile on his lips as he brushed a few strands of Kihyun’s hair away from his eyes. “My bed’s not that shitty, and I did sweep for you, so you kind of have to come up now.”

“Are you inviting me up to your bed?”

Changkyun flushed. “I, er, kind of don’t own a couch, so. Yes?”

“Oh.” Kihyun flushed, and shrugged himself out of Changkyun’s arms, only one hand still grasping the hem of Changkyun’s sweater. “Well, then. Up we go I guess.” Kihyun took a step forward before pausing. “Wait, wait, did you just call me sweetheart?”

“Some, er,” Changkyun said, a truly impressive shade of pink, “Some really soft part of my brain just went ahead and did that, yeah. Hah, what’s a filter, what’s a stable heartbeat, never met her,” Changkyun laughed nervously, before hiding a little groan behind his free hand.

Kihyun smirked, a modicum of, of control and just, a damn urge to tease rising up in him.

“Aww, it’s okay baby, you can call me sweetheart anytime.”

Changkyun made a satisfying mini-series of choking noises behind his hand, which was now clenched in a fist in front of his mouth. His face was doing a lot .

Kihyun shivered, shifting slightly closer to Changkyun.

“Not that this isn’t awesome and all, standing outside in the freezing cold and making you blush, but I’m fucking freezing so…”

“Right, I was just dying real quick, come on,” Changkyun tugged at his hand, pulling him into the (admittedly still a bit cold) building.

Kihyun, somehow more cold at Changkyun pulling away from him, even if it was just to lead him forward, stretched his steps so that they were walking arm to arm, shoulders brushing with every movement. He… needed this.

It was okay, he, he was allowed to have this now. He was allowed to see Changkyun’s still pink cheeks stretch into a tiny grin as he realised what Kihyun was doing, he was allowed to, to look and not feel guilty and, and smile back.

He realised, as they fell into a comfortable silence, that he’d missed this. Just… the company. They’d studied together, after all, there hadn’t been much space for conversation, but the silences didn’t feel awkward, and every time Kihyun had piped up about something or wanted to talk about the work or just complain about the kid in the corner of the room who’d obviously sneaked doritos into a freaking computer lab, Changkyun had always looked up and given him his full attention.

“Did you buy this hoody five sizes too big or something?” Changkyun asked as he ran his hand up and down Kihyun’s arm as they walked. For heat. For comfort. Both, maybe.

“I do not need judgement from someone who looks like all their clothes are at the minimum five years old.” The heat in Kihyun’s words were negated as his arm snuck around Changkyun’s waist.

“These rips are fashion ,” Changkyun said. “And the tightness of these jeans would have worn in five years, okay. And I wasn’t judging you. It’s kind of cute, you look like you’re drowning in clothes.”

Kihyun glared at him, only to find Changkyun looking at him with such a soppy expression that all Kihyun could do was scoff and shake his head.

“You’re biased.”

“Obviously,” Changkyun scoffed right back, stopping by a door in a hallway of stupidly similar doors, and fishing for his keys in his jeans. “Now speaking of not judging anyone… I sweeped.”

Kihyun eyed Changkyun’s hand wriggling its into his pocket, and was just opening his mouth to say something probably a bit insulting when--

“Like what you see?”

Kihyun glanced up to see Changkyun waggling his eyebrows at him. Scoffing, Kihyun crossed his arms, leaning backwards.

“I wasn’t-- those pants are just tight and your hand--”

Changkyun laughed, opening his door, switching on the light and stepping in. “Yeah, it’s the jean’s fault. Uhm.” Changkyun glanced around, biting onto his lip. “Just, er, look at my ass for another minute, I need to check if I left any cups standing around.”

I wasn’t looking at your fucking ass .”

Changkyun looked around at him and pouted. Unbelievable.

“You’re negating the point of my ridiculous jeans.”

And, well, okay, Kihyun might regret this later, because this honestly wasn’t him, it wasn’t how he acted or what he did , but, godammit, he just got kicked out of the house and he was keeping the anxiety at bay with a combination of sheer pigheadedness and Changkyun’s presence and he didn’t really know what he was going to do about school, what he was even going to do tomorrow but, dammit.

Changkyun ,” he whined, slouching in on himself and, and stepping forward to rest his head against Changkyun’s back. “Hold me.”

Before Kihyun could feel embarrassed at how needy he must look right then, Changkyun turned around, sliding his arms around Kihyun, replying with a soft “Come here” and a tug towards the bed, folding himself down and pulling Kihyun into his embrace.

“Why am I the little spoon,” Kihyun grumbled, settling himself tighter against Changkyun.

“Do you wanna switch?” Changkyun asked, carding his fingers softly through Kihyun’s hair.

“...No.”

Changkyun chuckled softly, wiggling a little to settle, before letting out a soft sigh against his hair. After a few minutes of just laying there, Kihyun letting himself feel, feel small and, and protected and… taken care of, he said, quietly, almost unwilling to break the silence, but unable to keep it in any longer, “Changkyun… did I do the right thing?”

Changkyun paused, his hand wavering for a moment before continuing its soft ministrations. “What did you do? Sorry, you just said they kicked you out… I can guess, but. Yeah.”

Kihyun took a deep breath, one hand catching Changkyun’s hand slung over his hip.

“I… told my father I’m gay. That I’m a fucking sissy.” Kihyun shook his head, even as Changkyun’s hand tightened around his. “Sorry, I didn’t mean--”

“Hyung, while not appreciated, I once lost an Overwatch game and cried, you’re good. Go on.”

“Ha,” Kihyun blinked, eyes feeling suspiciously tight. “Okay, yeah, so I told him that, and that I didn’t, I didn’t want to work in IT. That I really don’t like it. That I want to be a professional photographer. And, and he basically told me to, to stop, to stop, st-stop--” Kihyun’s voice was stuttering now, his throat hurting from forcing back the tears.

“Hey, it’s okay, I got you...” Changkyun hushed, squeezing Kihyun’s hand.

“Sorry,” Kihyun huffed, sniffing. “I’m getting your pillow all wet.”

“You’re more important. Cry all over the thing, it’s fine,” Changkyun said, an attempt to tease, but his voice was smaller than Kihyun was used to.

“Wonho, hah, Wonho yelled at my father. That was… something.”

“Wonho yelled ? Damn…”

Kihyun let out a hiccupy laugh. “You’ve all got this picture of Wonho as a precious little cinnamon roll, and I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that you… really don’t want to make him angry. What’s that thing they always say? ‘Beware the anger of a good man’?”

“‘There are three things all wise men fear’,” Changkyun quoted. “‘The sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man’.

“You’re so smart,” Kihyun mumbled, eyes beginning to feel heavy, all the exhaustion of an emotionally charged day catching up with him.

“It’s literally a quote from a Patrick Rothfuss book,” Changkyun chuckled, nuzzling into Kihyun a little. “You don’t have to tell me now, hyung. Or ever. I just… wanna help.”

Kihyun breathed out heavily.

“Changkyun… I, I don’t have a home anymore.” Kihyun hated how small his voice sounded in that moment. How very vulnerable .

“I… I’m sorry. We’ll…” Changkyun’s voice shook. “We’ll get you a new one, okay? Shownu and Minhyuk are okay. It wasn’t easy, and it might not be, but you’ll be okay, too.”

“I…” Kihyun hesitated. He was warm. He felt safe. The, the boy he loved was with him, arms around him and, and right at that moment, he couldn’t, he couldn’t stress about classes, and money, and his family , (oh, god, Jeongyeon). He was with Changkyun. So… “Okay. Okay.” Kihyun sniffed. “Sorry I’m such a mess.”

Changkyun chuckled lightly, his shaking jostling Kihyun.

“Hyung, have you seen my room? Well, clearly, but I mean, I’m not exactly the neatest person and--”

Changkyun ,” Kihyun grumbled, eyes slipping closed even as he wriggled slightly.

“I don’t remember you always being this cute,” Changkyun laughed. “Were you always this cute? Damn.”

“I’m not cute.”

“I have evidence to the contrary. They’re called ‘my eyes’.”

“Are you sure, are you sure you’re okay with having a b-boyfriend that doesn’t have a h-home and is probably gonna drop out of school and--” Kihyun stopped, gasping slightly at Changkyun’s particular method of stopping his rambling. It was… efficient, to say the least. Not much else mattered when Changkyun was pressing his lips softly against Kihyun’s own, the uncomfortable angle easing out as Kihyun wriggled around, giggling slightly as it jostled his lips against Changkyun’s.

God , this was a thing he could do now? Like, this was something he was allowed to have now. He… didn’t have to hide anymore. Or, or be scared , at least not of himself. Everything else, yes, but, but not himself.

Changkyun kissed him like it was the easiest thing in the world, and for once, it was.

Kihyun leaned up, having to strain his neck a little to reach, to kiss back, and Changkyun practically sighed against his mouth. Changkyun’s hand, still in Kihyun’s hair, shook slightly as it smoothed its way down to the back of his neck, and it… It wasn’t desperate in the way their kiss had been in the gallery, but desperate like Changkyun was trying to prove something, pressing Kihyun almost impossibly close, hand pressing against his back.

Changkyun pulled back. Not much, leaning his forehead on Kihyun’s, breath still hot, enough to make Kihyun glare at him playfully, but Changkyun was smiling at him so damn sweetly, dammit . Kihyun really, just, really couldn’t help the small smile that broke out across his face.

“I’m really, really, really sure, hyung,” Changkyun said, voice almost a low whisper, cheeks dimpled in a smile. “You’re stuck with me now.”

Kihyun ducked his head down, pressing his face to junction of Changkyun’s neck. “That’s… okay then. I guess.”

Changkyun giggled. “Sorry, that’s so you , I’m so goddamn happy I got lost as hell that first day of uni.”

“You’re such a sap ,” Kihyun groaned, lips pressing against Changkyun’s neck. “Why the hell do I love you.”

There was this high pitched squeal and it took Kihyun a second to register that it was coming from Changkyun, who kicked his legs slightly, like an excitable puppy. “You can’t just say that and that tickles.

“I’m not doing anything,” Kihyun murmured, withdrawing his fingers from Changkyun’s sides. “I’m… probably gonna fall asleep soon. I’m exhausted.”

“Wait, you’re staying?” Changkyun asked, pink faced and blinking at him.

Kihyun stiffened.

“I mean, I didn’t mean to assume, I-I’ll go it’s fine--” Kihyun started to struggle away from Changkyun, trying to extract himself from the younger’s grasping arms. Arms that didn’t let go, but instead clung even tighter.

“I, er,” Changkyun stuttered. “I didn’t say you had to go, I’m just,” Changkyun laughed a bit nervously. “I’m just still getting used to being able to just… Well, kiss you and stuff.”

“And stuff, huh?”

Changkyun’s eyes widened, pink cheeks now red. “No! No? No, I just meant --do you actually want me dead oh my god --I just meant --Stay. Sleep here. No, er, stuff.” Changkyun pinched his eyes shut. “Or just leave me here to die. Your choice.”

Kihyun pursed his lips, ignoring the flush in his cheeks.

“So… you don’t want to do stuff?”

Changkyun whined like he was in literal pain. “ Hyuuung .”

Kihyun huffed a laugh.

“Okay, I’m gonna sleep now. I’ll shush.”

Changkyun opened an eye to peek at him. “Don’t you want to take your pants off, though?”

“I mean if you wanna do stuff now --”

Changkyun stared up at the ceiling. “I--I can’t even be mad, I walked right into that one.” He turned his head to squint at Kihyun, although he was still clearly flustered, which was hilarious, honestly. “You really want to sleep in jeans? Just for the sake of giving me a heart attack?”

Kihyun shrugged, before shaking his head and getting up, starting to shimmy off his pants, before pausing as he saw Changkyun staring at him, wide-eyed.

“See something you like?”

“‘Like’ isn’t the word,” Changkyun said, before smacking himself on the head and jumping up, opening his closet and throwing Kihyun with a pair of sweatpants. “It’s cold, okay.”

“Mmmhmm.”

Changkyun glanced at him, before giving himself another soft smack and walking towards the bed. “If you went back and told past me this would be happening in his future, he wouldn’t believe you. I barely believe it and it literally is happening.”

Kihyun glanced at him as they settled back onto the bed, Changkyun’s hand settling almost gingerly on Kihyun’s waist before Kihyun wriggled himself firmly into Changkyun and his hands settled into a comfortable grip.

“Are you happy, now?”

“Almost stupidly so, yes.”

“Good. That’s… good.” Kihyun was slipping fast now, falling into that floaty space just before you fall asleep. “I don’t deserve this…” he mumbled, voice trailing off.

“I think you deserve everything you want. And I’m lucky enough to be part of that.”

“Shut up,” Kihyun mumbles, before slipping into sweet, dark, sleep.

 

---

 

Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Jooheon

THE SMOLS ARE CUDDLING

I REPEAT, THE SMOLS ARE A-CUDDLE

 

Minhyuk

HOLY SHIIIIIIIIT YES

 

Hyungwon

The what is what now

Is this code for something you guys didn’t tell me about again

 

Jooheon

I WENT BACK TO THE DORM

I LEFT OBVIOUSLY I AIN’T DISRUPTING THIS SHIT

BUT I WENT BACK AND

KIHYUN IS IN CHANGKYUN’S BED Y’ALL

WRAPPED AROUND HIM LIKE A KOALA

IT’S GODDAMN FUCKING ADORABLE

 

Hyungwon

The WHO is in the WHAT NOW

 

Shownu

Why do I feel both proud

And also like I should threaten Kihyun’s life a bit

Just a bit though

 

Minhyuk

Dad instincts, dear

Omg I’m so happpyyy ^o^

 

Hyungwon

NO WAIT WHAT

ARE YOU SERIOUS WHY WAS HE

IN HIS BED

 

Jooheon

Those bran flakes makin’ you real slow huh

Metabolism speeds up and brain function comes to a halt

Yes, Hyungwon, they were sleeping

Together

In Kyun’s bed

 

Hyungwon

THEY’RE SLEEPING TOGETHER??????????????

 

Minhyuk

Of the unconscious variety, I assume

Sadly

HEY WERE THEY NAKED

 

Hyungwon

!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Shownu

I don’t think you’re helping

(Were they?)

 

Jooheon

They were dressed, you animals istg

I mean there were jeans on the ground

but I’m pretty sure they were wearing sweatpants

Do you feel better now

Are you comforted somehow

 

Hyungwon

Oh thank god clothes

Oh fuck that doesn’t really help

OH GOD IT’S

IT’S WINTER FUCK

 

Minhyuk

lol winter fuck

Love those

 

Shownu

REALLY not helping dear

 

Hyungwon

I need to go

I need to go SAVE HIM

 

Shownu

Save him from… Kihyun?

From sex?

I’m confused isn’t Changkyun an adult

 

Hyungwon

NO

He’s a BABY

I mean

No

He’s a child

Children shouldn’t be…

Doing that

 

Jooheon

I agree

But then again

Changkyun is a grown ass man

As difficult that is to believe…

 

Hyungwon

NO HE’S NOT

HE ALWAYS ASKS TO PLAY ON THE PLAYGROUNDS OF MCDONALDS

THAT’S NOT AN ADULT

 

Minhyuk

At least Kihyun knows what he’s doing ;)))

He can show him the ropes

 

Hyungwon

NO ROPES

NONE

 

Jooheon

Wait omg did Wonho tell you stuff???

Is that why you’re so damn clenched??

 

Hyungwon

I don’t know anything go away

 

Shownu

lol he totally did

 

Jooheon

lmaaaaao omg no way

They really are perfect for each other

 

Hyungwon

Wtf does that mean

 

Jooheon

Weeeeeeeeell

Oh and this which still gives me nightmares

 

Hyungwon

Okay so

Right

WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU SHOW US THAT

HAVE PITY ON OUR INNOCENT EYES

 

Minhyuk

MY SON

HYUNWOO IF EVER HAD ANY DOUBTS

HE IS OUR BLOOD BORN GODDAMN SON I CANNOT BELIEVE

Also, Hyungwon, innocent eyes?

Please

I know what’s on your laptop

 

Jooheon

It’s like you’ve never met Changkyun lmao

Our own lil baby boy Changkyun

But sorry it was easier than having to explain my best friend’s obvious sub kink

[shudders]

Wait what’s on his laptop

 

Hyungwon

Hyung please

No

 

Minhyuk

*cracks knuckles*

Okay listen up kiddos

 

Hyungwon

Hyung

Please

 

Jooheon

Hyung

Please

 

Shownu

I love that you’re saying the same thing

But somehow not

 

Minhyuk

Wait for it

(and boy does he like to)

...

EDGING

And

Ahahahaha

This is fun

 

Hyungwon

I hate all of you

 

Hyungwon left Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Minhyuk

I’m not done though!

There’s more!

 

Jooheon

AHAHAHA BRING HIM BACK

AHAHAHAHA OH MY GOD

OKAY LISTEN THIS IS BEAUTIFUL PLEASE ADD HIM AGAIN

 

MInhyuk added Hyungwon to Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Hyungwon

WHY

 

Minhyuk

AND

(I’m having so much fun)

PET PLAY

COCK RINGS

OKAY

I’M DONE BYE

 

Jooheon

I have so many questions

Do you own a tail

 

Hyungwon

I’m not doing this with you people

 

Jooheon

WAIT

Does Wonho know

Hyungwon

Is Wonho satisfying you sexually or should we have a talk

 

Minhyuk

We don’t mind talking to him, Hyungwon

I can even send him some links

The deliveries are VERY discreet

 

Hyungwon

I am DONE

BYE

 

Jooheon

WHAT ANIMAL HYUNGWON

WHO’S THE PET

YOU HAVE TO TELL ME I AM LITERALLY AMAZED

 

Hyungwon

NOBODY IS ANYTHING WE’RE NOT

I’m leaving

 

Jooheon

omg Minhyuk I have to do something

 

Shownu

I would scold you Minhyuk

But this is funny af

 

Hyungwon

Ooooh no protect Changkyun but expose Hyungwon I see how it is

Fake friends smh

 

Jooheon

No wonder you’re so tense

 

Hyungwon

Fuck right off

 

Minhyuk

Grrr Kitty got claws

 

Hyungwon left Changkyun Protection Squad

 

Minhyuk

Wait Jooheon real question

You know Changkyun better than anyone

 

Jooheon

Amen

 

Minhyuk

Is he a furry???

I heard him howl once

I’m not judging…

 

Jooheon

Lmao no omg

 

Minhyuk

Oh thank god

Because I was totally judging

I WILL buy him a wolf tail for his birthday though

 

Jooheon

Jokes aside I cannot think of my best friend like this for another minute I am

Screaming a little

wait

I have to talk to Wonho I literally have to

 

---

 

Jooheon

Good evening, hyung

I hope you are doing well

Are you still awake?

I wouldn’t want to bother

But this is important :))

 

Wonho

Um

Hi

I’m doing fine

What’s going on?

 

Jooheon

Nothing :)

I just wondered if you

Okay listen

Please don’t ask too many questions just do me this one thing

And I’ll owe you one

I need this

There is a bunny filter

Use it

Send it to Hyungwon

Please and thank you

 

Wonho

This is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard in my life

But okay

The bunny filters are really cute…

Heh gimme a second

 

---

 

Wonho

Hey babe~~~ Hope you’re having a good night~~

 

Hyungwon

A;kgbdfg

Ah

That’s cute

 

Wonho

Awww ⌒(=∵=)⌒ thanks!

I like these filters they’re so cute

 

Hyungwon

They are

Very cute

Um, what made you decide to use those filters?

NOT that I’m complaining

Just curious

 

Wonho

Jooheon reminded me that they exist and now I loooove them

Being a bunny is fun hahaha

 

Hyungwon

Oh, Jooheon

That

Rascal

Aha

Yeah, being a bunny

So fun

Hold on for a moment

 

---

 

Hyungwon

You’re a snake and I hope you die slowly and painfully

 

Jooheon

Bouncy bunny bounce~~~~

I’ve accepted death LMAO

 

---

 

Hyungwon

Okay, I’m back

That’s honestly adorable though

 

Wonho

Didn’t think you’d like it so much

I’m all blushy now heh

 

Hyungwon

CUTE

 

---

 

Jooheon

So does he like it???

 

Wonho

Yes… Quite a lot actually

How did you know??

 

Jooheon

:))

You’ll thank me later

 

---

 

Wonho

Oh my god I never mentioned!!

You know I dance??

Of course you know I dance

But we had a stage once and we performed a girl group song

It was hilarious lmao but yeah we had to wear these bunny ears??

I almost forgot about that

 

Hyungwon

Oh my GOD

Ar;iughst

I mean

That sounds hilarious and cute and

Ahahaha yeah

Cute

 

Wonho

Kihyun took pictures?? hang on

It was so much fun! Heh I was just bouncing around and stuff

Hyungwon?

Lol sorry am I being weird I just thought you thought it was cute so...

 

---

 

Hyungwon

WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU TELL HIM

 

Jooheon

Oh he’s jumping (hopping ehehehehe) to his own assumptions here my guy

You’re fucking welcome though

 

---

 

Wonho

I have a sneaking suspicion…

 

Jooheon

Yes

Just. Yes.

 

Wonho

I didn’t even say anything yet???

 

Jooheon

:)

 

---

 

Hyungwon

You’re not being weird

I think it’s fucking adorable

I’m just

Processing the cute

 

Wonho

I still have the ears~

You’re very flustered it’s very endearing

 

Hyungwon

Aaaaaaaaaaaah

Stop teasing me

 

Wonho

I’m teasing you? mm

With what, I wonder

heehehe

 

Hyungwon

Go away

 

Wonho

:”( i’m sorry

See I was being weird!

You said I wasn’t being weird but I was!

 

Hyungwon

You weren’t

I’m weird

Oh my god

I’m going to KILL Jooheon

 

Wonho

He didn’t say anything…

Well, besides pointing me to you and a filter

But :’((

I mean

I can… bring the ears when I come over next time?

Fkhgdjfhgkdfh omg bye

 

Hyungwon

I’m sorry I made you feel weird and uncomfortable I’m sorry

I’m gonna go live in a hole now bye

 

Wonho

So that’s a no to the ears then...

 

Hyungwon

I MEAN

I don’t want to make you uncomfortable

Because I’m weird

 

Wonho

Hyungwon

I kept the bunny ears

It’s been a year

Think about it

 

Hyungwon

You…

Like the bunny ears?

 

Wonho

:3

I love the bunny ears

 

Hyungwon

Cool

Cool cool cool cool

Cool

 

Wonho

Shall I bring the tail too?

 

Hyungwon

God yes

 

---

 

What had Hyungwon been thinking?

Why had he told Wonho he should come over? It was, it was embarrassing and something Hyungwon usually tried his best not to think about, because people tended to think it was weird, and, and--

Damn it, Jooheon. Why’d you have to be like this?

No, actually, fuck Minhyuk.

Hyungwon had rolled his eyes when Changkyun had come over to ask for his broom, solemnly promising not to ‘disturb’ them, but… damn now he wished he had an excuse to go in and bother him. To do something, instead of pacing around his room, obsessively straightening the books on his two shelves and opening and closing the Word document he was supposed to be typing his essay on (he had the title so far, which he thought was excellent progress).

Wait. Had he remembered to change his sheets this week?

Just as Hyungwon was about to change his shirt (why? He didn’t even know), someone--Wonho, obviously, who the fuck else, Hyungwon--knocked at his door. He could do this. He wasn’t slightly worried that he’d open the door and Wonho would have bunny ears or anything. Not at all.

Knock.

“Wooonniiiiiie.”

Knock knock .

Hyungwon opened the door with an unimpressed, lifted eyebrow.

“What did you call me?”

“Wonnie,” Wonho grinned, unabashed, eyes curving into crescents. “The only Wonnie for me.”

Hyungwon squirmed, shoulders lifting uncomfortably.

“Don’t…”

Wonho’s grin faded slightly, a frown maring his forehead. “Oh. I’m sorry. Can I come in?”

“Uh,” Hyungwon looked behind him, at the actually quite spotless room, thanks to his nervous pacing. “Sure.”

Wonho stepped in, glancing at Hyungwon again before sitting down on his bed with a slight exhalation of air, eyeing Hyungwon carefully as he set his bag down next to his feet. “I’ve called you Wonnie before… Are you okay?”

Hyungwon scratched the back of his neck, looking away, still standing next to the door.

“I just… you just…” he hesitated, the words running through his head, before bursting out, “Are you making fun of me? I just, this is why I don’t tell-- I know it’s weird and I don’t--”

“What?! No!” Wonho stood up, eyes wide and concerned, wringing his hands in front of him. “I wouldn’t make fun of you, I’m sorry I was just… I don’t know, being cute? I’m sorry.”

Hyungwon took a step closer, sticking his hands in the pockets of his sweatpants.

“You don’t, you don’t have to be sorry. I just, I would-- seriously I know this is strange. Like, I know. And you really don’t need to pretend, or like, push yourself to do anything. Like, I’m honestly fine with what we have now.”

“I, er--” Wonho laughed nervously. “I don’t think it’s weird, though. It’s cute that something gets you flustered like that.”

Hyungwon took another step closer, glancing down.

“You think it’s cute?”

Wonho nudged Hyungwon’s foot with his own. “Yeah. B-besides, you know I like cute things.”

Hyungwon pursed his lips. “You stuttered there.” He glanced up through his eyelashes. “Why?”

“Sh-shut up, I’m--” Wonho giggled before putting his hand over his mouth. “If I tell you something really embarrassing, will you feel better about... well, this?”

“Depends.”

“Minhyuk sent me a picture of you in a dress.”

“Oh my god . I hate my friends. Why would that make me feel better oh my god .”

If Hyungwon thought that Minhyuk had an ounce of shame about his proclivities, he would have blurted them out for the world to hear, but, as it was, he knew Minhyuk did most of the blurting himself anyhow. God damn .

“It didn’t occur to me that this might not just be embarrassing for me… My bad.”

“Wait, why is this embarrassing for you ?”

“Because I... kind of couldn’t stop looking at it.” Wonho screamed into his hands a bit. “I’m sorry! You were wearing stockings and a wig and--” Wonho screamed a bit more.

“You… like looking at me in dress?”

Wonho peeked at him through his fingers, incredibly pink. “Maybe? You’re so pretty. Not that you’re not pretty right now that’s not what I meant, uhm.”

“Hyung,” Hyungwon grinned, stepping closer and pulling Wonho’s hands away from his face, “do you like the idea of me in a skirt, pulling off my stockings?”

Wonho stared at him with wide eyes, red-faced and swallowing dryly. “Is that--oh god see I’m the weird one!”

“Hyung,” Hyungwon crooned, excitement thrumming in his veins, “Hyung, I still have those heels. And Changkyun bought me two new skirts as a joke.”

“How did he know . Wait,” Wonho shook his head, before blinking. “I’m processing--you’re okay with that? With--that.”

Hyungwon shrugged. He’s never fantasized about wearing a skirt, about… that. Not really. But… the thought of Wonho’s hands creeping up his skirt, finding Hyungwon bare underneath and…

It had a certain charm.

“I’m… pretty okay with that, yeah.”

“I can’t believe we’re at that point where we’re discussing kinks,” Wonho giggled, nudging at Hyungwon slightly.

Hyungwon ducked his head into Wonho’s neck.

“I’ll make you a deal. If you wear those bunny ears, I’ll get out my stockings. Hm?”

“So you admit that the bunny ears are definitely a kink.”

“Oh my god , shut up .”

“Deal. But you have to wear the ears once too,” Wonho grinned, still pink, but clearly more confident than he’d been a minute ago. His hands had even relaxed, coming up to rest on Hyungwon’s waist. “Like I said. I like cute things.”

“Good.”

 

---

 

Kihyun groaned. He was… not in his bed. His bed had a softer blanket. And he had been waking up to his face buried in his hamster plushie for a month or so now but… this time, something seemed to be wrapped around him.

He realized something was vibrating harshly against something, probably the reason he’d woken up in the first place. Could that thing just like, shut up? He was comfy and the arms around him were tightening and pulling him closer and--

Wait. Arms.

Kihyun’s eyes flew open.

Arms. Around him. Warm, comforting arms. Turning, carefully, trying not to disturb the boy around him, Kihyun came face to face with Changkyun. He looked… peaceful. Resting. Not like a million and one things were still going around in his head like it always, always did when he was awake.

Softly, so as to not disturb him, Kihyun whispered to himself, not censoring the awe on his face or voice even a little bit, “Holy. Shit.”

Changkyun stirred slightly, before frowning softly with a groan. “Phone,” he grumbled, voice even deeper and more gravelly with sleep. “Throw it out of the window.”

(His voice did not send a little thrill down Kihyun’s spine thank you very much .)

“Changkyun,” Kihyun whispered, ignoring the buzzing. He was feeling soft, and warm, and the most adorable boy in the world was in front of him and god dammit it he wasn’t going to say something. “Changkyun, you’re adorable. I love you.”

The frown slipped off Changkyun’s face as quickly as his eyes opened, blinking incredulously at Kihyun. Changkyun smiled widely, cheeks pink and dimpled, looking at Kihyun like… like something, before ducking his head into his pillow.

“What?” Kihyun grinned. “Should I not say that?”

Changkyun peeked at Kihyun (so cute ), eyes softening. “I’m dreaming, right? Nobody’s this beautiful when they wake up.”

“Dimples,” Kihyun mumbled, hand coming up to poke softly at Changkyun’s face. “Also, this is all soft and shit, but the fucking vibrating of that phone is driving me insane .”

Changkyun laughed, leaning forward and over Kihyun to poke at his phone, the vibrating finally ending, Changkyun leaning back before scooting forward a little, clinging, forehead leaning against Kihyun’s, eyes searching Kihyun’s face for a moment before he spoke. “You’re… You’re really here.”

“Yup.” Kihyun’s hand had gone rogue and was now smoothing over Changkyun’s hair. It was so soft .

“I still can’t believe it,” Changkyun smiled softly, a strange, vulnerable expression on his face, “Hyung. Can I kiss you?”

“Okay.”

Changkyun leaned in, lips soft but slightly chapped against Kihyun’s. Kihyun sighed against his mouth, pressing closer. This was so nice . Why had he… made this so hard for himself. (Okay, various valid reasons but still ). Changkyun was soft and pliable and whining softly as Kihyun’s mouth slipped from his and pressed small kisses against the line of Changkyun’s jaw.

“I love you, too,” Changkyun breathed. “I--I’d forgotten to m-mention earlier. M-my bad.”

“S’fine,” Kihyun breathed, nosing his way behind Changkyun’s ear and latching onto the skin there, sucking softly. Changkyun’s hand tightened on his arm, a soft, sharp sound leaving his mouth.

Kihyun pulled away slightly.

“Do, do you want me to stop?”

Changkyun swallowed, Adam’s apple bobbing. “No--not at all.” Changkyun squirmed slightly, teeth biting into his bottom lip.

Kihyun felt something bump into his hip, and, after a breathless moment, he lifted Changkyun’s leg, sliding his thigh between Changkyun’s legs, watching with wide eyes as Changkyun’s breath hitched, his hips kicking down reflexively before he froze, eyes snapping to Kihyun’s.

“Should I-- is this-- do you want me to--” Kihyun rambled, struggling to find the words as Changkyun flushed bright pink right in front of his eyes.

“You--” Changkyun’s voice was just a little higher than usual. Maybe more than a little. “You w-want to?”

Swallowing, Kihyun kicked his own hips forward, just enough for his own erection to brush against Changkyun’s.

“I--I mean, if you want-- we don’t have to I just--”

“Yes.” Changkyun’s grip on his arm pulled him closer, hips stuttering against Kihyun’s. “ Yes. I mean-- fuck , yeah, of course.”

“Okay.” Kihyun latches his mouth onto Changkyun’s collarbone, hands gripping Changkyun’s hips and pulling him down on Kihyun’s thigh. “Okay. That’s-- okay.”

Changkyun breathed out and his breath shook, and Kihyun could feel his fast heartbeat under his mouth and under his hands. He heard a muffled whine, and looked up to see Changkyun pressing his face into his cushion, his hips now making small circles against Kihyun’s thigh.

“Changkyun. Changkyun, please,” Kihyun grabbed his hips more firmly, “Changkyun, baby, let me hear you.”

At that, Changkyun turned his head slightly to look at Kihyun with a glazed expression, before letting out a decidedly not muffled whine as Kihyun moved against him.

“Good. Yes, fuck ,” Kihyun whimpered, finding just the right amount of friction as they moved against each other.

Hyung ,” Changkyun panted, hand coming up to grab at Kihyun’s hair, clenching. Kihyun groaned, dropping his head against Changkyun’s chest.

“Yeah, I know. You, you okay?”

Changkyun moved his hand, the one not pulling at Kihyun’s hair, down Kihyun’s side before gripping at his ass, hand snaking in under the sweatpants.

Kihyun gasped, hips bucking up almost violently.

“Gorgeous.”

Kihyun grinned almost helplessly, face red.

“Me or my ass?”

“Definitely both,” Changkyun said in a breathy laugh, before throwing his head back. “Fuck, I’ve never--I don’t think I can-- aaah.”

Kihyun could feel Changkyun’s hips starting to stutter, losing their rhythm.

“Are you, are you close? Come on, baby, Changkyun-ah, it’s okay, it’s fine--”

With a whimper and Changkyun’s hand tightening almost painfully in Kihyun’s hair, Changkyun’s hips stuttered and with a last jerk of his hips and a cry that sounded like Kihyun’s name, held onto him and whined as he shuddered through his orgasm.

Kihyun petted his hair as Changkyun huffed out a breath against his neck, his own hips still twitching against Changkyun, mindful of how sensitive he would be, but… damn it. Fuck it.

Pushing Changkyun away slightly, Kihyun stuck his hand into his (well, Changkyun’s, technically), sweatpants, getting in two good strokes before Changkyun was shuffling closer and shoving his hand away, even as he asked, surprisingly hesitant for his confident movements, “Hyung, can I, I mean…?”

Kihyun nodded almost frantically, heart pounding in his ears and already extremely close with just the feeling of Changkyun’s hand wrapped around him. Changkyun wrapped his fingers around him, leaning in to kiss at Kihyun’s neck, before--thank god --realising how much Kihyun needed to come right now , and moved his hand in fast, hard strokes.

After a few more strokes, Changkyun sucking a mark onto Kihyun’s neck, Kihyun cried out sharply, finishing in Changkyun’s hand.

“Ah.” Kihyun moved gingerly, trying to limit the mess in the sweats getting on everything, panting slightly. “Sorry about the mess. These are your sweatpants. Oops.”

“Mmm, my favourite ones now,” Changkyun said, grinning down at him.

“Ew. That’s actually gross.”

“I meant! I was being sentimental, you asshole.”

“Sure."

Changkyun sat back, looking considerably more abashed than he had a few minutes ago. “There’s... a shower, if you wanna use it. You can borrow some clothes, too.”

Kihyun sat up slowly, eyes blinking, still slightly sleepy, bones heavy with that and, well.

“Right. Wonho still has my clothes.” He blinked again. “ Oh . I was supposed to go over to his afterwards… I was supposed to stay there. He must be freaking out…” Kihyun trailed off as he picked up his phone, brow furrowing. “...Aaaaand, there’s nothing. What, did he just completely forget about me?”

Changkyun frowned, leaning over to his own phone, scrolling for a minute before bursting out into laughter. “ Oh my god . He didn’t forget about you, don’t worry.”

“Um, okay?”

“He was with Hyungwon. He’s like, three rooms down, man. Apparently, if Jooheon is to be believed, doing some interesting things with a--”

I don’t want to know . Please, spare me. The time when I was interested in his sex life is long gone. And I sure as fuck don’t need to know about Hyungwon’s.”

Changkyun winced slightly, mouth corners tightening and chin dipping slightly.

“What?”

“Er. Nothing, it’s stupid.” Changkyun moved to get off the bed, head still ducked down, a red flush visible on the back of his neck.

“Wait,” Kihyun reached out, grabbing his wrist, pulling him around to face Kihyun. Changkyun refused to meet Kihyun’s eyes. “Changkyun, seriously, what is it. What’s wrong?”

Changkyun slumped his shoulders, glancing at Kihyun before flushing even more and staring at the ground. “It’s nothing! It’s just… Wonho . You know?”

Kihyun frowned. What was he even talking about?

“Um, no? Changkyun, I seriously have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Changkyun groaned. “He’s, like, some sort of demi-god and I’m just a little twirp and you guys used to--” Changkyun stopped himself, eyes widening as they stare at the ground. “ You know .”

Kihyun flushed, but shook his head. “Okay… I mean, yeah, we did. But, that’s in the past. You know, past relationships and shit. Like, I don’t understand… didn’t you ever meet any of your other boyfriends’ exes?”

“Uhm,” Changkyun scratched at the back of his neck. “I’ve, er--that, er, stuff we just did? Yeah, I’ve never… done anything like that. You’re my--I mean, I’ve never dated anyone before, hah, surprise.”

Kihyun knew he was gaping. He knew his eyes were wide and his mouth was hanging open and he was staring as Changkyun shifted his feet and crossed his arms in front of himself but-- what the fuck. This boy, this beautiful, cute, funny, adorable boy, has never had a boyfriend before? He’s never had someone to, to kiss him breathless and to squeeze him so tight it hurts just, just because they wanted to and loved him so much . So, he just, he just couldn’t be--

What ? You’ve never-- And we just-- And you’ve never done--?” Kihyun was sputtering and gasping a bit because oh my god he just did that without making it special or--

Changkyun groaned like he was in pain, hiding behind his hands. “I’m sorry! I know it’s kind of sad and see that’s the thing you had Wonho and I--”

“That’s not what I-- I just mean, why the fuck didn’t you tell me? I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t have made it so rushed or, or whatever, or pushed you if, if I knew you didn’t--”

“Cos it’s embarrassing and you didn’t push me, I--I wanted to. I really wanted to and it was just... fooling around, hyung, it’s not like we--It's fine.”

Kihyun was still reeling a bit, still shocked, but Changkyun’s words helped to assuage the sudden guilt that had threatened to overtake him.

“I mean, I mean, okay, but still. Also, why didn’t you have a boyfriend before? I mean, you’re, you’re fucking adorable I don’t understand why you wouldn’t?”

Changkyun flushed even deeper, shrugging. “There was never anyone I liked.”

“Oh.” Kihyun swallowed. “Okay. But, you-- Me. You like me. Huh.”

“You sound surprised,” Changkyun chuckled, finally glancing up at him.

“Uh, yeah? I mean, I’m not exactly the greatest person? I kinda, fucked you up a bit, Changkyun.”

Kihyun wasn’t going to go into a flat-out spin over the guilt. We’re not doing this right now, Kihyun. Keep it together.

Changkyun smiled shyly. “I’ve heard first loves can do that to a person.”

“Um. Okay.” Kihyun’s voice was squeaking, slightly. “I’m… going to go take a shower. Um,” Kihyun glanced up, shyly, “Wanna join me? Not for, you know, anything weird. Just, it’s faster…”

“Mmm, domestic.”

“Is that a no…?”

" Hyung. Fuck no. I am fully on board for seeing you naked.”

Kihyun choked on a laugh.

“Well. Same. For you.”

Changkyun seemed to waver for a second, before quickly pressing a kiss to Kihyun’s lips before standing up, rubbing the back of his neck as he grabs clothes from his cupboard, smiling to himself.

Kihyun allowed himself a small, happy smile as he stood up to join Changkyun, his hands bumping against Changkyun’s as they walk. Things… might be okay.

 

---

 

Jeongyeon

What

The

FUCK, HYUNG?!?!?!

 

Kihyun

Ah

Hey, Jeongyeon

 

Jeongyeon

‘Hey Jeongyeon’

Unbelievable

You know, I come home

And dad is on some sort of

Fuck idek yelling high

I have no idea what the fuck is going on

But apparently his son has run away from home

WITHOUT ME

 

Kihyun

Jeongyeon

You’re still in high school

You can’t run away

I…

Am a bit sorry I came out without you?

 

Jeongyeon

What happened to queer solidarity, man

Yeah, you should be

Fuck now I’m gonna have to wait

Mum…

Kihyun, mum’s crying a lot idk what to do

 

Kihyun

Fuck, mum

Also, technically, I didn’t ‘run away’

He told to either, to either ‘stop it’ and to leave my friends

Leave Changkyun

Or, or go away.

I… chose to go away

 

Jeongyeon

God that’s so cute

I thought it might have been something like that

Mum’s defending you, you know

So am I

Nobody wants to lose you, not even dad, I think

I hope

I’m so sorry

 

Kihyun

I don’t

I have nothing to say to, or about, Father

He told me he didn’t want me in the family

Basically told me I was a disappointment

Yeah

I’m with Changkyun rn, btw

Was supposed to stay with Wonho but…


Jeongyeon

:OOO

:OOO!!!!!!

MY BABY BROTHER

I’M SO PROUD

 

Kihyun

I’m older than you

 

Jeongyeon

So cute

God, you should have learned from me how to be an incognito gay

Been going strong for years

 

Kihyun

I Am Older Than You

Stop calling me cute

 

Jeongyeon

Riiiight that’s Changkyun’s job now ;))

And listen, I’m not talking to dad either

But mum’s not happy about it

 

Kihyun

What

What’s mum saying?

 

Jeongyeon

She mentioned that she knew about it

And he got even angrier

She’s really upset about what he did

Says she wants you to be happy and you were brave for telling him…

She’s trying but she keeps, like, saying the wrong thing???

She said that Changkyun was a nice boy

And he just went off

Idk dude it’s crazy

 

Kihyun

God, I love mom, but she doesn’t

Aish

Are you okay, though?

Like, you’re okay with father there?

 

Jeongyeon

He’s still the same asshole as before, Ki

And it’s not like he’s yelling at me

I’ll be fine, but I’m glad

Euuurgh this sounds bad but I’m glad you’re not here rn

I want him to get this shit out of his system

I don’t even want to think about what went down when you told him

He really dislikes Wonho

lol how do you dislike Wonho

 

Kihyun

Wonho might have

Said Some Things

 

Jeongyeon

Oh god I wish I could have seen that

How are you, though?

He’s not going to pay for you anymore

He was loud about that bit...

 

Kihyun

Yeah…

I’m going to have to drop out of school

Not like I actually like what I’m studying

But still

 

Jeongyeon

I see you took your camera

You’ll be fine

Just ask Changkyun before you hang his nudes on the walls of a gallery ok


Kihyun

It wasn’t nudes stfu

 

Jeongyeon

Just some advice for the future~~~

Just text me if you need me to sneak shit out of the house for you

 

Kihyun

Thanks

And, be careful and shit and

Yeah

You’re not an awful sister you know

 

Jeongyeon

:’’’))

You’re not an awful brother either, Ki~~

 

---

 

Kihyun

Hey, mom

I’m okay.

I’m with friends

I love you

 

Mom

Stay there for now, okay?

I’m sorry about this, and I’ll help where I can but don’t come home just yet

I love you, Kihyun

 

---

 

Kihyun sighed as he locked his phone, stuffing it into his pocket after the umpteenth email he’s had to send to a lecturer to apologise and… Well. At the moment, he was just waiting for the email from administration to come through to confirm that he had been deregistered from his classes. The longer he stayed registered, the longer he had to pay.

But, this class. This class he wanted to, no, he had to do this in person. This was something he had to do. He owed it to himself. He owed it to Professor Kim.

Knock, knock .

Kihyun cleared his throat, stepping away from the door. Maybe he wouldn’t be there. Maybe Kihyun didn’t have to deal with this awkwardness and--

“Come in!”

Of course he was here.

(Kihyun had come in office hours, but, you know. College man. People were never where they were supposed to be.)

Kihyun walked in to a tall, broad-shouldered man ruffling his Photography professor’s hair with a stern expression, before smoothing it back down, glancing over his shoulder at Kihyun. Kihyun recognised him as the (unreasonably beautiful) man Professor Kim had been talking to at the gallery.

“Sorry, I’ll be out of your hair in a minute.” He turned back to Professor Kim. “Namjoon. For the love of god. Start eating the food I bring you or I will shame you in front of your student.”

“Yes, Jin. Stop nagging me.” Professor Kim was grinning however, taking away from the harshness of his words. “Also, aren’t you supposed to be at your restaurant right now? You know, interviewing the new cook?”

Jin groaned. “Yes, I know, I brought you restaurant quality food and still--Aish, I’m going, stop grinning. Bye, sweetie,” Jin leaned in to give Namjoon a loud kiss on his dimple before turning and smiling at Kihyun as he walked out, before calling back. “Remember to buy milk this time!”

Professor Kim (er, Namjoon) laughed as the tall man, Jin, disappeared out the doorway, leaving Kihyun standing awkwardly in the middle of the room, gripping the strap of his backpack like a lifeline.

“Um, Professor…”

“Morning, Kihyun,” Professor Kim said, taking the little plastic tub of what looked like kimchi off his desk and pushing it into the little mini fridge behind him.

“Morning. I wanted to come talk to you…” Kihyun trailed off. Professor Kim was smiling at him. Expectantly even. He couldn’t… say it.

“Which, of course, you can. I just really want to take the moment and be that professor and just congratulate you on the gallery, Kihyun. It went amazingly. It’s like you were born to it. Usually I have students stumbling around in confusion, but you were reprimanding the photo placement before I could even get a word in. I’m so proud.”

Kihyun flushed, grinning slightly. That was… a great night.

“Yeah. That was fun. That was… really fun.”

Professor Kim’s smile grew. “I have to admit, I didn’t expect the, er, inspiration for your exhibition to make an appearance. As confessions go, that was… well. Something.”

Kihyun was grinning full out now.

“Yeah. Changkyun is, I, he’s-- yeah.”

The older man laughed. “No, I saw. Jin was squealing in my ear the entire time. In any case, what did you want to talk to me about?”

“He was?” Kihyun laughed slightly, but it tapered down as the reality of the situation settled in. “Okay. So. Yeah. I… have to drop this class. Actually, I have to drop out of school. I just, I wanted to come and tell you myself. I felt like I… had to do that.”

Professor Kim blinked up at him, frowning in confusion. “ Have to?”

“Yeah…” Kihyun swallowed. Took a deep breath. Gripped his fidget cube hard . He was not going to spin right now. “I have to. There was a situation at home, after the gallery. After… Changkyun. I’m… I’m with friends now, but at the moment, I can’t afford to pay for my classes. So. Yeah.”

“Oh, God. Oh, I’m so sorry, I don’t even have to imagine but--but you don’t have to drop out of my class, Kihyun.”

Kihyun grimaced.

“Yeah, I do. Like, even if I drop out of all my other classes, which, I don’t even like them anyway, so whatever, but, I can’t. I can’t pay for this.”

“You don't have to. Sorry, could you sit down, maybe?” He opened his drawer, frowning as he searched through it. “I was going to approach you about this after class.”

Kihyun frowned. Professor Kim wasn’t making any sense.

“Okay…” He eased himself down onto the chair, sliding his backpack onto his lap and clutching onto it.

“Hah, knew I remembered it,” Professor Kim said, after rummaging around in a drawer and putting a small pile of papers in front of him. It looked like a form. “Okay. Don’t know if you remember but there was this woman at the gallery, Ji-eun. Small, long black hair?”

“A little bit? Sorry, things were a bit of a blur that night.”

“Understandable. Anyway, she owns a photography company in Seoul, IU Photography, you might know it? And absolutely adored your pictures. I mean, she loved it. She even wanted to buy one of them but I wasn’t sure how keen you would be on having Changkyun’s face hanging on the wall of her house. Was gonna ask you about that, too, but anyway .”

Kihyun’s head was spinning.

“I-- what?”

“They give out like, two scholarships a year. Highly esteemed, etcetera. It’s a--” Professor Kim looked slightly nervous and he picked up a few pages and read for a second. “Yeah, it’s a full scholarship, but it’s for Photography. It wouldn’t have covered your other classes, which is why I wanted to talk to you and--”

Kihyun held up a hand, cutting off the flow of words.

“I can get-- I can get a full scholarship ?”

Professor Kim blinked at him. “Uhm. Yes. You’d have to take art history and English--it’s an international company and I guess the art thing is just for personal growth or something I don’t even know but--”

“Yes. I, yes. How do I, what do I sign, what do I give, how--”

Kihyun was rambling and stuttering and he was a mess , hands shaking and heart beating so fast it was painful but, but it wasn’t a bad thing. He didn’t think so anyway. It didn’t feel bad. It felt. It felt free.

Kihyun was aware of the fact that his eyes were burning, slightly, pricking at the corners of his eyes but, but this was a lot .

“Just say yes. Er, and register for the classes, I just need to do a few things, but it’s all admin, ‘ll need to call Ji-Eun, but don’t worry about--Are you okay?”

Kihyun was sniffing, trying to hide his face.

He’d been ready, crushed, but ready , to drop all of his classes. To drop out of college. To work a long list of shitty jobs and maybe, maybe , one day making it back to college. And, yet, here he was. Getting a full ride to, to do something he loved , to go into the field that made him feel alive and, and Changkyun loved him and--

“I--I’m okay.” His voice was breaking. He was choking up, and he knew it. “I’m just-- I thought I was going to have to drop everything and--” Kihyun broke off, leaning forward, hands coming up to cover his face, unable to stop the silent sobs from rising up inside him and shaking his shoulders for the whole world to see.

“Oh. Oh, no, don’t cry, I--Do you want me to call Changkyun? I don’t have his number, but, er--”

Kihyun shook his head, still hidden in his hands. No. He was, he was okay. He really was. This was just. It was a lot.

“Well, er. Congratulations, Kihyun. You… you deserve this.”

“I-- I’m sorry,” Kihyun mumbled into his hands, still sobbing lightly. “I’m not, I’m not usually like this, I promise. This has been. A long two weeks. I’m sorry.”

“I know, Kihyun, I physically had to seperate you and Jungkook because the sass was just.. Palpable. You’ve corrected me in class before. I know, but it’s okay. Tissue?”

Kihyun laughed wetly, grabbing the tissue and wiping off his face and blowing his nose, looking up with watery eyes.

“Thank you. I, I owe you.”

Professor Kim smiled at him, pushing forward the box of tissues on his desk. “You took the pictures. You held the gallery opening. I just sent an email.”

Kihyun laughed, grabbing more tissues. Things… things were looking good. He was so happy. He was so happy .

“I need to go tell Changkyun,” he realised, suddenly, almost jumping up from his chair. “Bye. Thank you. I’ll… I’ll see you in class, I guess.”

“I’ll see you in class,” Professor Kim said, before mumbling to himself as Kihyun practically bolted out of the room. “God, Jungkook is going to be insufferable .”

Chapter Text

Kihyun

Mom, I think you and me and father should talk tonight

 

Mom

Alright, dear

---

 

“Did you send it?”

Kihyun sighed, staring at his phone.

“Yeah. She said we could talk. Hah.” Kihyun shook his head, curling up on Changkyun’s bed.

Changkyun frowned, scooching closer to run his fingers through Kihyun’s hair. “It’s better like this. I’m not one to talk, God help you when you finally meet my mother, but… It’s better than just ignoring it."

Kihyun groaned, burying his face in the pillow.

“But it’s so much easier to just ignore it. Like, we can all pretend it doesn’t exist and live peacefully in self-inflicted discomfort and ignorance. It’ll be great.”

“Listen,” Changkyun scoffed. “I am all for procrastination, but shit like this just, gets worse the more you ignore it. You know that.”

Kihyun pushed himself up and frowned at Changkyun.

Listen, everything might have worked out. We don’t know for sure it wouldn’t have worked.” Changkyun quirked an entirely disbelieving eyebrow and Kihyun sighed. “I just… don’t want to see my father again.”

“Completely understandable,” Changkyun nodded. “There’s parts of my family I haven’t seen in years and don’t intend to. I get it. But that was after I got to say everything I wanted and it felt really, really good. And some of them even still talked to me afterwards.”

Kihyun scrunched his nose and moved over to lay his head on Changkyun’s shoulder.

“Okay, yeah, but my father doesn’t even want me in his family. I’m not even sure I want to be in my family.”

Changkyun laughed softly, hands trailing up and down Kihyun’s back. “Then you don’t have anything to be scared of. It’s just some more people you can reprimand to your liking.”

Kihyun scoffed, nosing into Changkyun’s neck.

“You act like I actually like reprimanding people.” Kihyun paused. “Well, okay, yeah, sometimes. When they deserve it.”

“Well, they definitely do.”

Kihyun said nothing, closing his eyes and just breathing, feeling Changkyun’s heartbeat (which still managed to be slightly erratic, even after a week and a half of acclimatiSing themselves to being able, to being allowed, to touch, casually, constantly) and finding comfort in the warmth, there.

“Do you…” Changkyun swallowed. “Do you want me to come with you? I’m really awkward, but I can, I don’t know, hold your hand and nod vehemently at everything you say?”

Kihyun snorted. He was too comfortable and warm now to panic properly now, to enter into a head-space that made his skin itchy and tight, but he could feel it linger under the surface. The hand smoothing its way up and down his back helped, though.

“Now that’s an image. You just sitting there, nodding and trying to keep a serious face. You have the most expressive face I’ve ever seen, Changkyun. You really can’t keep a straight face.”

“Isn’t that the point?” Changkyun teased, pressing a finger into Kihyun’s side (Kihyun quickly swatting his hand away and nestling back into his shoulder, feeling Changkyun’s voice rumble against his ear, warm and comforting.)

“Oh, shut up. Yeah, probably.”

“So was that a ‘yes, walk into my parents’ house on my arm like the trophy wife you are’ or ‘no way in hell I’m letting you sit there and look like an idiot’? I’m a bit unclear.”

“Why are you the trophy wife? Is this supposed to imply that I’m the one that makes the money and shit? Let me be the trophy wife.”

“Oh, shush, you can be the trophy wife when you meet my parents.”

Kihyun could physically feel his face pale, and he glanced up at Changkyun with wide eyes.

“Oh, yeah, god, I still have to do that.”

Changkyun rolled his eyes, smiling, placing a quick kiss on Kihyun’s cheek. “You have literally nothing to worry about. My dad's super chill. And my mother’ll probably insist you’re too good for me and then try to teach you how to two step ‘for the wedding’.”

“...She does know it’s not actually legal for us to get married, right?”

Changkyun shrugged. “She’s an optimist. All I’m saying, is that I told her I was gay and she said ‘No Shit, Sherlock’. Didn’t even pause the show she was watching. You’ll be fine.”

Kihyun laughed quietly against Changkyun’s neck.

“That sounds… underwhelming. Nice, but doesn’t quite live up to the hype of coming out.”

“‘Coming out’ is for the straights. Ridiculous concept, but we indulge them,” Changkyun joked, laughing, before his hand stilled on the small of Kihyun’s back. “Wait, your only problem with us getting married is that it’s not legal?”

Kihyun stiffened and stuttered.

“Well, you see, in a purely hypothetical situation-- I mean I wouldn’t be against --” Kihyun shut his mouth with an almost audible snap, burying his head further into Changkyun’s neck. Who was laughing. The ass. “Shut up.”

“I’ll make sure my mum teaches you, then,” Changkyun said without a hint of mirth, turning his face to press his lips against the sensitive skin behind Kihyun’s ear. “Are you okay?”

Kihyun shivered lightly.

“Yeah. What makes you think I can’t dance?”

“Mmm,” Changkyun hummed against Kihyun’s skin. “Can you?”

Kihyun pursed his lips, trying to subtly open up as much of his neck as possible. He had a weak spot, okay?

“M-maybe. A bit. My mom made me take a few classes in high school.”

“You’ll have to show me some time.” Changkyun, thankfully, took the hint, brushing his lips against Kihyun’s skin and placing soft kisses down his neck and against the line of his jaw.

“Where-- where do we ever-- would we ever dance like that. D-Do you just want to dance in some random room?” Kihyun laughed, slightly breathless, one hand sneaking up to weave into Changkyun’s hair.

Changkyun pressed closer, hands on Kihyun’s waist, fingers teasing at the hem of Kihyun’s shirt as he hummed against his skin again. “Mmm, mine would do. I’ll sing us a song and we’ll dance like in the movies.”

You’ll sing a song? I thought you hated singing.” Kihyun was squirming slightly, he knew he was, but Changkyun’s fingers were tickling, gentle, dragging slightly against his stomach.

“I want to see if you can dance while in stitches laughing,” Changkyun breathed out a slightly shaky laugh, hand snaking up the back of Kihyun’s shirt.

“I wouldn’t be laughing. Too much,” Kihyun smiled, pressing a kiss just beneath Changkyun’s jaw, his own hand smoothing over Changkyun’s stomach. Kihyun had a shaky, anticipating feeling in his stomach, something he was familiar with but hadn’t felt in years, and even that… Hadn’t felt like this. It had tugged and pulled at him, but hadn’t left him feeling like every inch of his skin was too hot and too cold, hadn’t made his hands shake like this, hadn’t made his head spin and heart tighten and flutter painfully, dizzyingly. Changkyun took a breath, leaning his forehead against Kihyun’s chest and it felt a lot like standing on the edge of a cliff.

“You okay?” Kihyun asked, reaching down to tilt his head up and gently touch Changkyun’s cheek. He traced his fingers along the small indents on Changkyun’s cheek and felt him flinch beneath his touch. “Changkyun?”

“I’m sorry, I just--” Changkyun raised his hand to cover his cheek, tilting his head down again, eyes avoiding Kihyun’s. Kihyun felt his heart clench and, on a whim, dove in a placed a kiss on Changkyun’s other cheek.

“Don’t be sorry. You’re beautiful, Changkyun. Don’t…” Kihyun paused, lifting a shaky hand to cup Changkyun’s scarred cheek. “Don’t hide from me. You’re beautiful.”

And, and he was , and Kihyun couldn’t, he couldn’t believe, didn’t know even know how , this boy could think he wasn’t. He shone like a fucking star, all through Kihyun’s photographs and, and Kihyun just wanted to tell him until he believed it.

Changkyun raised his eyes and a smile tugged at his lips. “You’re biased.”

Kihyun shrugged, pulling Changkyun closer. “So? Doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You have no idea how hard it was to pick some pictures for the gallery. I wanted to pick all of them, but, you know, the gallery is only that big.”

Changkyun laughed softly, flushing up to his ears and threatening to duck his head down again. Kihyun kept his hand on his cheek, thumb gently stroking. Changkyun’s eyes softened so perceptively Kihyun couldn’t help but smile. He hadn’t been joking when he said Changkyun’s face read like an open book, but he didn’t mind it one bit.

“I should show you some of the texts I sent Hyungwon and Jooheon about you,” Changkyun admitted with a laugh, eyes glancing down shyly. “The cute boy in my programming class. You wore a beanie once and the world collapsed in on itself. I… I still look at you and wonder how you’re real, how any of this is real.”

Kihyun flushed, shifting so he could place a long, lingering kiss against Changkyun’s lips.

“That’s so fucking sappy. I love it.”

“And I love you,” Changkyun breathed. “So so much.”

“I love you too. I was stupid to try and pretend I didn’t. I’m sorry I fucked up a lot, but I love you a lot. I do,” Kihyun breathed, pressing his face against Changkyun chest.

“Don’t be sorry,” Changkyun said and Kihyun could almost laugh, if Changkyun’s hand wasn’t in his hair, if his nails weren’t dragging softly down the small of his back. “You’re here now.”

“Yeah,” Kihyun agreed, kissing down to Changkyun’s collarbones, “Yeah, I’m here.” Kihyun’s heart was pounding and he felt a little bit like he wanted to die, but, but Changkyun was here and he was holding onto Kihyun so tightly Kihyun could barely think past the constant refrain of ‘I love him’.

Changkyun kept his grip on him even as he pulled back, just enough to create and instantly close that space between their lips. He was pulling Kihyun closer, like they could be closer even with their chests pressed up against each other, Changkyun’s hand gripped tightly at the back of Kihyun’s neck.

Kihyun smoothed his hand down Changkyun’s side, hesitating at the edge of Changkyun’s shirt.

“Is this okay?”

“Yes,” Changkyun breathed against his lips, swallowing thickly as Kihyun let his hand wander under the shirt, pushing lightly in the process until Changkyun tipped over backwards, ending up beneath Kihyun, staring up at him with wide eyes as Kihyun’s hands continued to push up his shirt.

Kihyun ducked down to place a kiss to Changkyun’s soft stomach and he could feel Changkyun’s stomach muscles contract, could feel the way Changkyun shook under his touch. Kihyun smoothed his hands up Changkyun’s sides, pushing the shirt up only after kissing the skin the motion left uncovered, working his way up, inch by inch, until it bunched up and Changkyun lifted himself and his arms so Kihyun could pull it off. Changkyun’s arms immediately came up to cover himself, head ducking down again, and Kihyun shook his head, leaning in to press a soft kiss to his lips until he could feel the tenseness in his shoulders dissipate, and his arms slowly come down to his sides.

“Don’t hide from me,” Kihyun repeated, smoothing a hand over Changkyun’s chest, thumbing almost absent-mindedly at a nipple, revelling in the soft little gasp Changkyun gave. He guided Changkyun’s hands to the hem of his own shirt, nodding as if giving permission and lifting his arms obligingly when Changkyun slowly, slowly, started sliding his shirt off. Kihyun found Changkyun’s eyes again, and--God, Changkyun was smiling at him and he felt himself smile, heard himself giggle. Changkyun smoothed a hand over Kihyun’s hair.

“Hello.”

Changkyun was smiling, smiling so beautifully, head tilted, lying open and vulnerable in front of Kihyun and Kihyun’s heart felt so full he could hardly breathe.

“Hey,” Kihyun giggled again and leaned down, hoping his soft, insistent kiss would make Changkyun feel even a little bit close to as precious as he was to Kihyun. Kihyun moved, knees on either side of Changyun’s hips, and could do nothing to prevent gasping against Changkyun’s lips.

“Are you okay?” Changkyun giggled shakily against Kihyun’s lips, breathless as he ran a hand down Kihyun’s back (his bare back, oh my god), shyly lingering at the waist of Kihyun’s sweatpants.

“I’m, I’m fine,” Kihyun breathed, unable to stop his own hands from going back to playing with Changkyun’s chest, just to see Changkyun gasp and writhe against him. “Changkyun, I--Do you--” Kihyun bit down onto his lip and against the question that shouldn’t be this difficult. “What do you want?”

“You.”

Kihyun laughed, breathy, because of course he would say that. He looked down to see Changkyun sm