Ten sighed exhaustedly and leaned back in his seat, arms hung by his sides in almost-defeat. Hendery watched him and felt sorry for the older one who has been studying for hours now despite more hours of dance practise and vocal lessons, but smiled sweetly at him as he was proud to see how much effort Ten put into learning Chinese language.
Ten and Hendery had spent quite a lot of time together, even long before their debute - their first attempt of debuting, that is. Ten hadn't been in a fixed unit yet, so he also hardly had tight schedules or important meetings. Thus, he spent most of the time dancing and designing new choreographies in one of the gyms.
More often than not he was met with trainees and even Rookies, but when the managers annouced the soon-to-be Rookies and with that a soon-to-be China based subunit for NCT, Ten, Kun and Lucas made sure to look after them as much as possible. Neither of them had fixed plans except for Lucas who was highly requested for modelling-jobs, but it was still rather easy for them to get to know each other well.
But one problem remained; the language barrier since Ten was born and raised in Thailand, he hardly spoke any form of Chinese language. Sure, he had picked up some words and phrases here and there but it was never enough to think about an actual conversation.
The management organized a Chinese teacher for him personally, and although she was a nice person and quite a talented teacher, she was fast to be replaced by one of the Rookies - Wong Kunhang aka Hendery.
He somehow announced himself as Ten's new teacher and Ten had to admit he fancied the younger's actions. He tried to speak slower when Ten was just in hearing distance and reminded the others to do it, too, so Ten could have at least a chance to understand single words.
Hendery, to switch perspectives, was entirely happy that Ten just accepted him and the other two, Xiao De Jun and Liu Yang Yang, as a part of their group after the shortest period of getting to know each other. The way Ten tried hard to pay attention and even proved that he also learned by himself when he asked for words or their use in Chinese and none of the native Chinese members knew where he had it from.
Even when they moved into their very own dormitory and Kun was paired up with Hendery, the leader was alone in his shared room most of the time because Ten confiscated his roommate for his own purposes - research purposes, that is.
Every time Ten was with him he tried to converse in Chinese even though he spoke Korean with Lucas and Kun, probably out of habit, but it never failed to cause a smile on Hendery's face. To be honest, Hendery was undoubtedly whipped for Ten's engagement and deep down he knew it but he blamed the stress and rushing through his days as a bigger reason to enjoy the little personal moments with each other. But it's not like Ten didn't feel excited before - and during - every private lesson with Hendery. Who could possibly blame him with such a handsome Chinese teacher and his deep yet gentle voice; Ten knew he enjoyed it way too much but hey, when could he ever actually enjoy a little lovey-dovey time at all other wise?
Ten sometimes asked Hendery to tell him fairy tales or stories in Chinese so he could train his hearing comprehension - at least that's what he said... But the younger one would never hesitate or think twice before he sat or even lay down with Ten. The chemistry between these two really was something else. But still they remained physically rather distanced, to Hendery Ten seemed like someone who acted cute from time to time or flirted to joke around, but he didn't get the idea of Ten being a cuddly one. So, of course, Hendery made sure to test the waters on this topic.
He knew that Ten was a dancer and had a professional kind of feeling for bodies and movements. Hendery didn't. Yeah, he could learn choreographies and he could dance to their songs but he never was specifically interested in it - until he met Ten. He asked Ten for help during their practises and always wanted approval from Ten, no matter how many times Yang Yang would tell him it's fine. Well, Ten also didn't seem to mind about the questions and the actual need of approval, no, he looked happy to see Hendery's will to catch up on their level of performance - not that there were any options about it.
He was even happier when Hendery asked for more dance lessons and more "You know, thes- these things that are good for your body and health. Yoga and this stuff". Ten laughed loudly at the request but nevertheless accepted to help Hendery during warm up and stretching. Both of them knew they liked the therefore needed touching a lot and it didn't occur often that there wasn't more than necessarily needed pushing and pulling on each other bodies and every one else attending saw Ten didn't need to stand with his front to Hendery's back to correct the position of his arms.
But so it became a common scene that Ten's fingers silently search and intertwined with Hendry's when there was a chance. At one point Lucas announced Hendery as the WinWin to summon the Yuta in Ten. To be fair Ten did ask for cuddles and more stories and tales in Chinese more frequently until the scene of Hendery pressed up against Ten on the older's bed wasn't that special anymore. The only thing that was still special about these two was that they hadn't started dating yet... or at least confess anything to anyone.
Kun and Xiaojun even wanted to call out on Hendery and coax him out of his shell, maybe then the fear of rejection of the members would die down. Just after Ten left and Hendery made heart-eyes at him for a good two minutes straight they couldn't hold back anymore. "Gosh, you're so in love with him!", they cheered the moment the lock fell shut. Hendery blushed madly and tried to flee but of course caring Mama-Kun wouldn't let go so easily. They even told him to confess to Ten even though Hendery denied everything they said. There was just the thing that they lived together and could give him looks as soon as 'Tendery' was in their element again. Hendery could have laughed it off for himself so easily but there was this one little stupid thing Xiaojun said.
He said the attraction seemed mutual.
In other words Xiaojun believed there was the possibility that Ten might look at Hendery just as lovingly and it could mean that Ten maybe feels some kind of attraction towards Hendery apart from the Chinese speaking lessons and being the by far closest members in their subunit until now.
Hendery became somewhat paranoid after that. It was more noticeable how many times Ten initiates very unnecessary skinship but it never seemed unfamiliar to Hendery. It formed a little of a bitter taste when he caught Xiaojun's and Kun's looks whenever it happen, most likely all the time they were in the same room. It wasn't that Hendery suddenly didn't enjoy or like Ten and their-- whatever they had; friendship. But from one day to the other Ten was so clingy. Not really but it stood out more, especially the fact that Ten biased Hendery, he didn't withdraw when he answered to his cute acting or flirty lines.
It had Hendery worry about the group's dynamic, wasn't it a little weird when only two of seven were like really close but the rest behaved like normal friends with a normal amount of skinship and eye-contact? Some would say it had him anxious, he overthought the situation only to come the conclusion: This couldn't be healthy for his work-life balance, rather work-love balance and he found himself avoiding a lot of alone-time with Ten more often than not, firstly, until he even flinched as soon as he felt fingers crawling over his back as Ten used to massage his sore muscles or just holding his hand.
It was okay for Ten, he was a little surprised at the change but he didn't mind as it was only a few days - everyone had phases where they didn't want to. But as days turned into weeks he was actually sad because Hendery not just avoided but also refused him and his affection in any kind of way.
He would still ask for Chinese lessons and stories nevertheless, he had to learn, after all. But the answer had him actuall shocked and caused a sting in his chest. Hendery came with lame exuses like vocal lessons or he'd go for a run and just suggested for him to search for some books, there are even more tales for him to read and collect more vocabulary.
The answers were never completely satisfying of course, but Hendery had a point. Reading was a really good opportunity to understand the language better. He sat down alone in his bedroom that he shared with Lucas and WinWin and actually found a novel, a love story about a famous chef and a burglar who participated in his casting show to win a particularly huge sum of money. The story was really interesting with its twists and turns and the style it's written - Ten couldn't get enough. So he was found reading alone, not talking to anyone except for words he didn't understand but he'd made a list with new words that he looked up by himself.
But from an outer perspective it broke Kun's heart to see drama like this approaching their newly formed group and then so shortly after their debut - just because of failed communication! He decided to talk to Hendery and maybe flip some switches. Hendery also saw it coming and just followed Kun's silent gesture of beckoning after he denied Ten again so that the latter just shut his mouth and avoided any further eye-contact.
"This won't work out on the long term. Listen, Jun and I didn't mean to make you insecure-...", he started his scolding but immediately softened his voice as Hendery only hung his head low. "Look, we're all happy when members get along well despite age difference and units. No one cares how close you are. Go and talk to him again. Or at least explain what's happening", Kun looked at him with pleading eyes, Hendery nodded unable to form words. "Just make sure he won't jump to conclusion."
Hendery sniffled still facing the floor. He hated how Ten didn't look happy lately and also tended to speak Korean more often again. Kun pulled him in for a chest hug and after he left Hendery stayed in their shared room. He assumed Ten was in a too bad mood now even though he should talk it out as soon as possible, but he didn't want to cause a scene in front of everyone.
What he didn't know was that Kun took this opportunity to talk to Ten as well. More like suggest some things to speed up the process of the decision to confront the other one. And all of them thanked him internally - at first.
It took them another two days of awkward unwanted eye-contact caused by mutual staring when the other one wasn't looking and uncomfortable yet unavoidable small talk. Even though Hendery tried to approach Ten several times the older one turned and walked away as soon as he saw Hendery out of the corner of his eye. At some point Hendery gave up and chose to give it another go when they were back at their apartment in the evening when nothing much was too busy to interfere.
But things came different than he thought. He just came out of the shower when Kun called him for dinner so he put on grey sweatpants and an olive green t-shirt that he really liked. It was a little small by all the washing and drying, he'd have to throw it away soon, and now that he hadn't bothered much to effectively towel-dry his hair, water drops made their way down over his nape and wetted the collar. It felt weird and sticky, he could barely sit still during the meal and the fabric stretched over his chest.
He went to change into a light sweater afterwards but was pushed against the door from inside of his room surprisingly, he hadn't noticed Ten had followed him.
"Stop! Stop this- this whatever you're doing", he hissed into the younger's face. Hendery's eyes went big in confusion, he could understand what Ten was saying but the pronounciation of some words was still sloppy. "Wh-what?", he breathed out taken aback by the close proximity after what felt like months.
"Don't What? me. Stop ignoring me and then approaching me without doing anything! If I wanted to waste emotional energy and time I'd go and dicuss the line distribution of our songs with the mangagers", he spit angrily. Hendery didn't know what to say. How could Ten think he'd want to delay their silent fight? This was so absurd to him.
"You think I do this on purpose?", how could Ten still be sane with thoughts like those? Why would he say such things after they had been so close?
"Well, I can tell the difference between real and made up issues", Ten sassed and eyed Hendery with a fury Hendery never could have thought of as possible. "What are you saying?" Nothing made sense in Hendery's mind.
"Just tell me if I made you uncomfortable. Don't just drop and leave me! How could you do something like that after all, why can't you just open your mouth when things turn serious?", Hendery's nerves snapped, Ten's accusations didn't make any sense but he knew he wasn't at fault for what Ten had in mind.
"Wha- Can you stop acting like this is all my fault? I don't even get what your problem is. How am I wasting your time?", the younger one really had to keep his voice low, even though it came out as a growl for the reason of surpressing the urge to yell at his elder.
"How yo-?! You don't understand the problem? Are you fucking serious? Hendery, I sure hope you're fucking kidding me right now!", Ten took a step back and let an expression of pure disbelief take over his features. Hendery just frowned and made a gesture of utter confusion. Couldn't Ten just say what's going on? They hadn't talked in ages and now he was supposed to know every single thought that was flying through Ten's weird mind?
"I'd like to say so, too, but therefore you have to stop acting like you own the world and give me a chance to understand what's going on inside your brain", Hendery's mind raced with questions and insults, hurt and anger. Ten couldn't just slap him in the face and tell him to say sorry; what kind of logic was that? His heart was beating and pounding in his chest, his face grew hot and red. He felt unomfortable under Ten's glare, in Ten's presence invading his bedroom.
"You little brat! Just leave it", Ten pulled on his wrist to move him away from the door so he could run out and shut it loudly. Hendery's eyes burned, he didn't understand a thing. His mouth felt dry but he wanted to yell after Ten, shout at him and tell him how angry he was.
What was Ten saying all the time? Hendery wasted his time? And since when had Ten made him uncomfortable? What turned so serious that had Hendery drop and leave him?
Tears creeped out of the corners of his eyes and his throat hurt suddenly. He felt like his skin burned and a headache spread from behind his right eye. Shit! What was going to happen now? Was Ten over with him? Or was there a possibility of figuring this out and turning back to normal? What he knew is that he didn't want to see Ten or even think about him for now.
If Ten wanted him to leave it, he would do that. Maybe one thing he could manage to satisfy the dear Mr. On-Edge. Ugh, Kun probably knew about it already, not that they had been subtle but he felt like they played him dirty. All the nice things Kun said, talk to him again, explain what's happening, make sure he won't jump to conclusion, members get along well, my ass!, he screamed in his mind.
He sat down and tried to push away the latest events. He closed his eyes and concentrated on the colours and pattern that appeared on the inside of his lids. It helped to calm down and stop thinking for a bit, stop new thoughts to form for a bit, but the burning sensation of tears wouldn't allow him to keep his eyes closed for more than a few minutes. He sighed frustrated and lay down with an angry frown. He even turned away from the door in case Kun would come in so he could pretend to sleep.
The following days the tension was lying thickly and uncomfortable in the air even when just one of the two was in the room. Kun's plan didn't work out like he wanted to but it couldn't keep going like that for long. He provoked something and kept them on each others' minds, it was a matter of time until they'd confront each other again. And they did.
They had another movie night, it somehow wasn't as funny as before with the two squabblers, but it worked out without fists, fights or an ambulance. But as they had a break after Zootopia Hendery had enough of Ten's acting and attitude. This time the older one was pulled into the bathroom, Hendery locked the door.
"Alright, will you tell me what's going on?", he didn't even bother with any formalities and jumped right in. "Or will you go on with the silent treatment and never say a word as long as I'm around?" Ten hadn't seen that coming but he wasn't in discussion-mode either.
He just raised his eyebrows, surely not amused nor in the mood for having a constructive conversation and folded his arms over his chest, clearly defending himself. "Oh, am I wasting your time again?", Hendery couldn't stop himself from mocking the other's words. "Sorry, my bad. I just still don't know what's your fricking problem!", he rose his voice towards the end. He wanted Ten to understand he was serious and not backing down. How could have he dared to say such thing?
Ten licked his lips and turned his head away. "That's because you're being stupid and too caught up to see trough your own bullshit", he answered flaty, much to Hendery's distaste.
"Okay, now- What the fuck is your fucking problem? I want you to tell me. Now", Hendery stared at him with hard eyes. When Ten refused to look his way, he decided to do it like Ten did - come closer. He made two big steps to have Ten flinching back but therefore, he let himself being caged between the door on his back and Hendery's taller frame in front of him. "Now." Hendery's voice was urgend, demanding and didn't leave any spare room to actually argue. So Ten procured it by himself the only possible way. He reached up and pushed the other one away, turned around fast to unlock the door and leave but Hendery was faster to grab his wrist and pull him back.
"Stay", he growled for real, "and tell me."
Ten gasped quietly shocked by the sudden change of attitude. "You don't get to tell me anything. I told you to-", his voice was filled with anger but interrupted by Hendery. "Oh, but you can boss me around and make a fool out of me when you know I don't have any clue what you're talking about the whole time?"
"Stop talking shit! You know what's-", Ten was almost frustrated with the lack of cooperation. "No, I don't! How many times do I have to tell and ask you? I don't fucking know what the fuck is the issue with us! And I'm not acting dumb on purpose and I'm not fucking wasting your time! I want to solve this", he raged and missed every hint of Ten's discomfort. "Stop!", Ten shouted and shoved him away harder this time. Hendery wanted to reach out again but Ten slapped his hand away. "Don't you fucking touch me!", he hissed lowly and left.
Hendery was left alone, stressing what to do next, to do anything.
Neither of them knew that their fight was to be certainly heard this time. But the other five members stayed silent and just packed up, cleaned the table and the couch to leave for the night.
This time Xiaojun decided to interfere and maybe help a little so both, Ten and Hendery, woke up to a little note on their besides table saying "I'm sorry". But Hendery knew Ten wasn't sorry at all, he was burning with anger if anything and was never going to apologize. He just crumbled the little paper in his hand and threw in in the trash can.
At the table in the dining room despite Yangyang, Xiaojun, Kun and Xuxi were there, they sat in silence just eating his breakfast. He wasn't in the modd for anything. Until the little sticky note from his besides table was slamed on the table right in front of him. Didn't he throw that away?
"What are you sorry for?", Ten got to the point without bothering a glance at the others. Hendery sighed in defeat as he looked at the writing a little closer. It legitly looked like the one he had thrown way.
Then he looked up at Ten's stiff eyes. "What...?", he breathed and shook his head. He didn't understand what Ten wanted him to say. "For real?", Ten responded with as much disappointment as frustration. "When will you stop shitting me?", he asked desperately. "Ten, I didn't write that and put it into your room", he defended himself from further accusions. "But how do you know then?", Ten shot back, this couldn't be real.
"Because I had the very same note on my besides table, but I know you wouldn't apologize", Hendery explained. "It's not from me. I would like to apologize but I don't know what for because I really, seriously, truthfully do not know why you are mad at me", he was so tired of this. How many times did he have to tell Ten that he was left in the dark. "But of course you know what's going on! What else would you avoid me for?", Ten shouted again. Hendery shook his head again and rubed his forehead. This was getting out of hand. He stood up. "Ten, what words do you need to hear? What do you want me to say?", he demanded, his voice dripping with frustration and exhaustion, but he couldn't do anything else. He didn't want to reach out again, it hadn't ended well the last time.
Then a hand appeared on his shoulder and pulled him backward a little. Xiaojun whispered into his ear, "Hey, I told you about the mutual-feelings-thing, didn't I? You remember?", Hendery turned his head and looked at the smaller one in confusion. "What?", nothing made sense anymore. At least until a horrible idea formed in Hendery's head but he didn't want to think about it at all. But Xiaojun's eyes shot over to Ten for a second as he nodded with raised eyebrows.
"N-no, wait! You said it seems-! You didn't say it is-", Hendery couldn't close him mouth and looked back at Ten in shock. What was he supposed to do now? Was this real? Ten now also got a hang of the situation and looked at Kun. "You sai-...", another look at Hendery's fearful eyes. "You said he knows... You told me he knows!", he repeated in a shout.
Hendery inhaled shakily. All the eyes on him and the elefant in the room that no one dared to describe in a neutral way left too many possibilities. Tears formed in his eyes. He looked at Xiaojun, back at Ten, at Kun and back at Ten who still had his eyes burning into Kun's. "O-okay, for real. Stop", his voice was shaking and the stress was real. "I'm absolutely lost right now. Will someone tell me what's happening?", he looked at everyone for a second but never dared to turn back to Ten.
"You really don't know?", Ten asked, this time he shook his head in confusion. "No." Hendery wanted to cry, what were they even talking about?
"No, no, I don't know. I told you I don't", his lips trembled and he didn't dare to move. Ten took his hand in a soft manner and slightly pulled him away from the group. "Come", he whispered and took him to Hendery's room.
It felt like a deja-vu when Hendery was with his back against the door and Ten fussing in front of him. Tears fell from his eyes and ran over his cheeks fast. "Oh, why are you crying?", Ten's voice was soft and it truly took Hendery by surprise. He hadn't heard his friend talking like this for too long and it hit him like a truck when he realized how much he had missed it.
"Sorry", Hendery sniffled embarrassed and tried to turn his face away when Ten reached out to stroke his thumb over the younger one's cheek. "I'm a little-", he choked out a fake-giggle, "Overwhelmed?", Ten asked. "Stressed...", Hendery corrected.
"Alright, now, I'm sorry", Ten started and wore an expression that went with his words. "I'm sorry I never believed you and said so many bad things. There was a major misunderstanding", he apologized but Hendery smiled sadly, "Still is", he added.
"B-but I got it now, you really don't know anything", Hendery nodded even though he still wanted to ask what Ten had thought all the time. "You know, Kun gave me wrong inform-", Ten wanted to explain his outbursts and clarify their situation. He still wanted to know why Hendery suddenly stopped interacting with him if it wasn't the discomfort about Ten's romantic feelings for him.
"It's okay, ge. You don't need to justify yourself. I don't want to fight anymore about something stupid", Ten's eyes widened. Did he know after all? But why would he call it stupid?
"I just want to stop", Hendery said not looking at Ten but his eyes full of regret. "Stop?", Ten pressed out. "Yeah, it's weird and I just want to stop what we're having... right now", was he serious? Ten couldn't believe it. So Hendery did know and did feel uncomfortable with Ten's clinging. But therefore also nothing with mutual made sense, or what else was Xiaojun talking about?
"So, we're good?", Ten forced himself to say. "Yeah", Hendery smiled and his shoulders seemingly relaxed, "We're good." Ten then stood there awkwardly, looking at Hendery in hopes he would say something- anything else. Finally. Finally they'd make up. Hendery nodded and whipped the tears with his sweater. He giggled this time genuinely and pulled Ten in for a hug. Finally no more fights or drama.
Well, no drama to hear at least. Ten was still being weird in Hendery's opinion. They hadn't gone back to hugging and clinging on each other like he would have appreciated. Maybe Ten was just exhausted from their fight and needed some more time but Hendery would do anything to not pressure him; Ten seemed like it really affected him emotionally, so Hendery didn't plan on testing him again.
But the worries were washed away as soon as Ten approached him again, asking for vocabulary and Chinese reading or listening sessions. They even became closer like cuddling on the couch to watch documentaries. None of them cared about the topic of it but Ten was being so cute when he cheered over the complex sentences he could understand, Hendery was back at looking at him with so much adoration that Sicheng made fake-gag noises and Xiaojun facepalmed himself watching them dance around each other again from afar.
How was that even possible?
Just a week later Xiaojun was destined to get his wish granted, partly at least, when Ten was lying besides Hendery in his bed. Lucas and Kun were somewhere neither of them cared about so they had the room to themselves.
Ten lay on his stomach with the book in front of him as he read the text out loud to Hendery. There were still some mistakes in his pronounciation but he was able to understand what was happening throughout the story. Not that he actually cared with a sight like this in front of him. He was lying on his side turned facing the older one and listening to his soft voice speaking confidently.
"His eyes grew wide as the other tock only two steps but was sole close all of a sudden. He wanted to fly from the situation, he was ready to face the consequences. But arms a pear on either side of his head, caging him. 'Look at my', Bai Chao's voice sounded lowly but He Jian shut his eyes at the wave of emotion that rushed though his body. Fingers softly taped his chin and lifted it up a little, the pounding in his chest numbed his very nerve until Bai Chao qi-.. ky-...", Ten frowned and looked at the characters in confuson. "Bai Chao...", he repeated but hesitated again. "K-...", his head spun to the side fast and their eyes meet instantly. Ten didn't expect Hendery to watch him but read along to see if he's correct.
He looked back at the paper and searched the word to point at it. "What is it?", he asked in perfect Mandarin. If he was allowed to say one sentence for the rest of his life without making a mistake it would be this. Hendery dragged his eyes from Ten's to the where his finger was. "Kiss", he said slowly with the correct accentuation for Ten to repeat it. "Kiss", he whispered and looked back at the text, reading it again in his mind. Or so Hendery thought he tried to put it into context whereas that shouldn't be all too difficult.
"What?", Ten asked in a high pitched voice and tilted his head. "Hm?", Hendery made and looked at him questioningly. "What are they doing? I don't get it", he answered and hoped it sounded authentic.
"They kiss", Hendery said dumbfounded. "Muah", he pursed is lips and tapped them with his fingers to make the common sound for a kiss. Ten widened his eyes for a second to look even more confused than before. Hendery thought about how he could explain it in another way. He didn't want to switch to Korean directly but try it in Chinese. "Er...", he combed through his mind for other synonyms or phrases for kiss. "You know when lips...", he then said and tried not to look at Ten's mouth. "Touch", he went on and pointed at his own lips with one finger. Ten raised his eyebrows but stayed quiet. Hendery then decided on an air-kiss and hoped Ten wouldn't confuse it for something else but what could that be?
"Can you show me?", Ten answered much to Hendery's frustration. "Body. Explay white your body", he spilled out too fast and messed up the pronounciation but Hendery could just smile at it until it hit him what Ten just asked from him. He jerked back a little and looked helplessly suddenly.
"What is even happening in that scene? I don't understand most of it but I know they were arguing", Ten confessed quietly but with hopefull eyes. "Uh... yeah. They had a fight because He Jian...?", Hendery started of and waited for Ten to finish but he only shook his head and giggled, "I don't know but something with the fiancee." Hendery also chuckled and turned so he also lay on his tummy.
"He told Bai Chao's fiancee that he's cheating on her and she then-", he tried to remeber the few sentences from the beginning of their session when he still listened. "She say that he was jealous", Ten finished halfway correctly. Hendery nodded and continued, "And when Bai Chao was told he confronted He Jian because it was a risky move", Hendery could only laugh on the inside, he wished for a problem like this. At least their feelings were mutual.
"So Bai Chao say that He Jian can't talk to her again", Ten tried to go on and get the story line right. "No, just that he shouldn't say such things that could ruin their relationship", Hendery had to correct the detail to see if Ten could put the short scene were they shouted at each other together. "Ah~", Ten cheered as he he got it, "And then Bai Chao pushed him?", he went on. "Yeah, I think so. Well, the text doesn't say he pushed him but it seems like they're standing against a wall or something", Hendery made weird getures with his hand as if it would help to explain, "And then they...?", he looked at Ten. "Kise? Kiss?", he said and corrected the first try but he still seemed as if nothing made sense to him but Hendery nodded.
"Show me?", Ten asked again after a minute of silence and gave Hendery a waiting look. An idea dawned in Hendery's mind but he didn't want to spend another thought on it. "But I don't know how?", he answered and hoped Ten would drop the idea. "No, Hendery, you can show me", Ten insisted now more motivated and turned his body towards the younger one. "G-ge, no, I don't think so", he laughed awkwardly and turned to side, too, so he could shuffle away from Ten.
Ten then took Hendery's hand so he couldn't shield himself with his arm and scooted closer so they were almost chest to chest. "Ngh- T-ten, I think you kno-", the close proximity was stressing for Hendery all of a sudden. It's been weeks of uncertainty, after all, they hadn't been so close for some time. "Show. Me", Ten pulled Hendery as close as possible until there were mere inches between their faces and Hendery had to break their interwined fingers to hold himself up on the other side of Ten's head. He was practically hovering above him.
"Show...", it was just above whisper but Ten already tilted his head up, Hendery just had to lower himself a little. The eye contat was serious but uncomfortable at the same time. Hendery tried to calculate the possile consequences but couldn't catch a single thought. Ten's eyes flickered between his eyes and his lips with a pleading, almost hungry expression.
Hendery hesitantly pressed his lips on Ten in a sweet, innocent kiss. Just lips and nothing more. And it was perfectly overwhelming. Just a second in he moved to support his body on the elbow that was squished weirdly between them and put the other hand into Ten's neck to kiss him more confidently.
Ten answered just the same way and slung his arms around Hendery's upper chest and shoulders. Their bodies were pressed together, more like on top of each other but neither of them wasted a second to complain about a thing - until Hendery withdrew and breathed heavily through his nose. Ten looked at him with big eyes. Was it too much?
Ten couldn't read Hendery's eyes that looked right back at his, flickered down to his lips and back up. Then he leaned down again with more pressure. Ten responded happily and pressed his chest up into the other one's. The sensation was overwhelming. It felt like he had been underwater for an almost dangerously long time and now was the moment when he reached the surface and air filled his lunges again.
His lips felt numb with too much feeling and his body only tried to move closer as if it had a mind of its own. His arms wouldn't stop moving around Hendery's body, trying to claim every spot he could reach, not even his hips and legs lay still, he couldn't feel enough. Though the experience of finally - finally - receiving what he wanted to realize for quite some time, it hit him like a train and he was only able to welcome it.
However it didn't last long - well, it did, just not the way they wanted it to.
Neither of them searched the other one to sit down and do the real-talk conversation. You know, the one where they could sit down calmly and open up to each other about how they actually feel for another and where they wanted their relationship to go. But to their defense (not really, how could one defend their apathy and ignorance to each other?), it was not like before. They didn't avoid each other, they didn't avoid the gazes and touches. Oh no, it was quite the opposite. It somehow felt so risky, as if they did something they weren't allowed to, when they sneaked feather-like touches but lustful gazes - of course thinking none of the other five members caught on.
It didn't occur rarely that one of them ended up slammed against a wall or a door after of before schedules with the other one's lips immediately sucking at their neck and a hand down their pants. They made it clear to each other what they were interested in but still they lacked in verbal communication. The tension between them was real - once again - as both of them had this itching and aching, even burning desire for each other but never lost a simple word (or their pants) about it; they made their tongues and lips interacting but never used their mouth to make it easier.
It was another rather lazy, late afternoon after an exhausting routine since the early morning hours and even more appointments shortly after they had lunch. Kun was heading to his room, therefore, passing by Ten's room when he heard a muffled sound and some kind of scratching and pushing and knew better than to pay mind to it.
On the other side of the wooden door Ten had pinned Hendery to the flat surface, hands above their heads, one tigh between the younger's legs. Their hips ground softly into each other in comparision to the open mouthed and sloppy kisses they shared as Hendery tried desperately to surpress the moans and grunts building up in his throat - he had made up his mind.
He didn't want to give Ten anymore satisfication until they had clarified what they aimed for. And in case Ten was only searching for fun and entertainment then he had confused it with Hendery. Ten had just let go of Hendery's wrists and took a minimal step backwards to slide his hands beneath the beige sweater the younger one was wearing; his skin was hot under his finger tips.
Therefore, Ten's fingers were cold on Hendery's way too sensitive skin, he took a hold of Ten's forearms before he could go any further and start drooling at the sight. Ten looked up at him with wide eyes - was Hendery playing to surprise Ten with a swift turn of positions? Ten smirked in antizipation but Hendery wasn't returning the gesture. He seemed too calm for Ten's liking.
"What are we?"
It took both of them by surprise, Ten did not expect Hendery to be the one to ask this question, Hendery didn't expect his voice to come out as hoarse and rough as it did. Ten then relaxed and raised his eyebrows when a shit-eating grin made its way on his features.
"Let me show you", he whispered when he leaned in close enough so his breath would tickle Hendery's neck but the younger one crossed his plans. "No", he said with what he thought was a firm voice, but in reality it shook and he sounded like he was about to cry - well, he was. "Tell me." The expression in his eyes didn't leave any room for Ten to make a game out of it, as if he really assumed Hendery was playing Hard To Get. "Put your mouth to an actual use and talk to me. With words."
"Do you really use up all the time we have in privacy to waste it-", Ten wanted to loosen the mood but it was a fail. "Don't tell me I waste my time on thinking about you", Hendery interrupted him through gritted teeth. He became angry at how Ten wasn't taking this seriously. "Or is it that what I'm doing all the time?"
Ten let out a defeated sigh and took another step back. Hendery indeed was serious, he realised. "Um... N-n-no", he began with a stutter, not exactly knowing to what of the things Hendery had said he was answering. "No, you don't waste your time. Please don't think like that", Ten stumble over some of the Chinese words and switched to English mid-sentence.
"Then tell me what I'm doing with you all the time", Hendery asked again, more demanding. "It's- I...", Ten's voice broke towards the end and he shook his head to show he was not prepared to give an answer. Hendery's eyes didn't soften, he gulped dryly.
"May-maybe we can sit down, what d'you say?", he suggsted and was about to take the younger one's hand. "No, tell me. What are we?", Hendery stayed stubborn but he was ready to start another fight if he'd finally get his answers. "No, I don't think it's that simple", Ten half-smiled and hoped Hendery understood his discomfort.
"Yes, of course it is", Hendery responded in a second. "Are we friends?", he suggested and wished for Ten to just get his shit together. Ten's eyes grew big and he was closer again. "Yes, of course we are friends, Hendery", his voice went up as he said the name, he almost feared he didn't see him as a friend. "Do you kiss and jerk off all of your friends?", Hendery sassed then. The situation grew more ridiculous by every second that passed.
"N-o, you got me wrong on that", Ten tried again to sense what Hendery wanted to hear, to no avail. "So, we are not friends, after all", he stated and wanted to roll his eyes. Why couldn't Ten just say something on his own. "I mean- No, we- we are friends, of course, we are friends. But we are...", Ten was so puzzled and overwhelmed by the conversation - that's why he avoided it for so long. He licked his lips and tried to sort his mind. "We are..." then he looked up into Hendery's eyes again, "We are...", it looked like he wanted Hendery to finished what he was saying, so he did.
"So, at least I am here waiting for you to say something", he tried to give another input for Ten to just get his ass up. "I know... And I can see you're really upset about it", Ten tried to verbalise the emotion Hendery expressed, he knew it helped; he didn't know it was not the right moment to tell Hendery what was obvious, but to talk about his own feelings.
"I really think we should have a seat and talk about it all calmy and relaxed", Ten gestured behind him and took a step sidewards to free the way for Hendery but said one stayed still where he had been pressed against the door just mere minutes ago.
"I am calm and relaxed", he answered with his voice laced in what was definitely not calm and relaxed, "What makes me upset right now is you and the way you obviously avoid my question." Then he crossed his arms over his chest to show Ten he wasn't playing anymore for sure. "Just tell me how you feel for me?", he sighed and tilted his head to the side as he relaxed his arms again when Ten remained silent.
Ten found his eyes again but almost couldn't bare the feeling they expressed. "I'd like... I- ", he cut himself off again, he couldn't bring himself to say it, he felt stupid. "Listen, you know that I like you", he felt even uncomfortable speaking words like these out loud. Hendery only continued his blank face with eyes overflowing with what his chest held on to.
"You also like Kun... and Xiaojun and Johnny", he retorded now pissed at the older one. "Yeah, but you know what I mean", Ten exclaimed desperately. "Then tell me. Say it and verify my thoughts. Don't make me the fool in this one", Hendery pleaded but his face showed that he wanted to make Ten give in first.
"Yeah and I like you... very, very much", he spoke without having his brain-to-mouth filter switched on and inwardly cringed at his words. "You... like me?", Hendery asked - not because he didn't hear it but because he was willing to give Ten a chance to correct his statement but all the older wanted to make sure was the "Very much. I- I like you very much."
Hendery rolled his eyes at how actually disappointed he was. The only thing he could do properly now was to turn around and leave. When he was met with Kun passing by where the hallway ended in the hall towards to living area and the kitchen he was immediately wrapped up in strong arms. The tears were flowing before any of them realised. "Why can't he just say it?", he cried into Kun's shoulder and wetted his shirt but the older one didn't care.
Kun rubbed his back and patted his hair. His mind raced as he tried to decide whether he should blame himself for not stepping in or if he rather should whoop Ten's chaotic ass. "I'll talk to him. And don't even try to convince me otherwise. He can't pull off something like this. We've just finished our promotions, we should be able to enjoy some time without trouble", Kun semi-whispered to Hendery and tried to keep his voice gentle. It wasn't Hendery's fault, nor should he feel like Kun was annoyed by him.
"You'll just go to Yangyang and Xuxi, they'll make you feel better, hm?", he then suggested as Hendery's sobbed quieted down to hiccups and sniffles. "Okay", Hendery muttered but avoided to look at Kun and pulled his sleeves over his hands to whipe his tears.
As soon as the younger one dissapeared around the corner Kun stormed into Ten's room. He didn't even have to say anything but only look at Ten who of course anticipated something like a scolding. But he didn't expect so much fury in Kun's eyes.
"Please, I know I fucked up", he said as he stopped pacing around and sat down on the edge of his bed, his hands were fold together as if he was praying. Regret was obviously written across his features but Kun couldn't let him off the hook so easily.
"What can you not say to him?", Kun started therefore, trying not to get involved in regards to content but rather just solve the failed communication. Ten kept quiet for another good minute and sighed eventually. "He..." His voiced trailed off, the feeling of guilt heavy in his chest. "He asked... about what we are", he explained and his head fell as if the muscles keeping in up went limp. "And what was your answer?", Kun came closer and sat down next to him. "Nothing", Ten laughed angrily at how ridiculous he was. "I avoided it... I just couldn't say it."
"But why?" Kun was actually curious, there was no secret about the two love birds. "Everybody knows about the two of you. Well, we don't know the details and I'm convinced we don't want to, but you two aren't exactly decent", he pointed out how Ten's ambivalent shyness towards his feelings seemed unnecessary. "I don't know. It's just... until the fight we were so sweet around each other and then he just stopped. And you told me knows about my feelings and I guess I'm still insecure about it. And when we solved the fight, do you know what he said?", Ten looked at Kun with teary eyes, still so affected by the memory. "He said he wanted to end whatever we had. And afterwards we weren't as close as before. Like he really knew about my feelings and all but only wanted a normal friendship. If I hadn't approached him I'm sure we'd still be super awkward around each other." Ten ended his rant with sniffling to stop himself from crying again.
Kun cursed himself. He actually should whoop his own ass for stepping in at all. Of course Ten did have feelings towards Hendery and also knew about them, denial long forgotten. But the whole thing of not talking came back crushing both of them within their bubble of insecurity.
"It's not like I don't want to. I want him. I do, all to myself", Ten sounded like he really wanted to convince Kun as if it wasn't Ten doubting his situation. "But all this pushing and pulling - ... It was so exhausting and nerve-wrecking. Even for the others. And it just makes me questioning it more", he paused as he had begun to pick at his nails, stress level incresing with each second. "I'm getting actually anxious about what else can happen when we really take the next step. Of course, fights will always be there, but when we're boyfriends-", Ten had to stop himself there. Tears rolled down his cheeks, it all became to real the second Hendery had this look in his eyes.
"Hendery was so bold about it. And somehow it pressured me, I wasn't prepared and just couldn't handle it", his voice had died down to a whisper before he ended again.
"But you know you love him?", Kun tried to break it down to what actually mattered. Not that Ten's fears didn't matter, Kun just thought they wouldn't exist if they had been straight forward from the beginning. Ten nodded strongly. "But he hates me now."
"He doesn't, of course. He's hurt, if I knew it I would say he's just as insecure s you. You just need to talk it out. Relationships are based on trusting and being open towards each other, you know", Kun smiled warmly at him, to no avail because Ten's attention was given to the floor.
"And he just wants you as bad. He's desperate for answers so just go to him and-", the door opend and Hendery stood there with eyes wide open. Kun's and Ten's heads spun around to look at him in surprise and shock. "I can take over from here", he only said urgently and Kun hesitantly stood up but left within a minute.
Hendery closed the door again and Ten felt caged again. Hendery's eyes were just as red as how he imagined his own. They held eye contact and Hendery's chest rose rapidly. "Kun's right", Hendery broke the silence but didn't move. "I just want an answer", he added. His body language as well as his voice was so paradoxic. From the first look he looked and sounded calm but with a second glance the urgency in his voice and his tensed posture came across.
"I know", Ten answered softly and it made such a drastic difference between them. Hendery swallowed. "Ten, I know overhearing isn't nice but I heard what you said. I heard what Kun said. It's okay. Just... I want you to tell me", he explained and came closer slowly.
Ten felt like prey caught with no chance to flee. His heart beat rose and he could feel his face growing hot. He knew what Hendery wanted. And he knew what he himself wanted to say. But he couldn't speak. His throat was dry and he felt like he was blown into a parallel world where he was screaming and shouting, gesturing wildly with his arms - but Hendery couldn't see it, couldn't understand it.
"Hendery, please. I know what you want from me and I would-", Ten grew nervous again. Why did Hendery feel the need to ask him again and again as if he couldn't understand? "Then why don't you? Why don't you answer?", Hendery pressed. Why couldn't Hendery listen for a second and hear Ten out?
"That's what I'm trying to do!", Ten's voice shook with how stressed he was at the moment but Hendery got a wrong hang of it. "Will you reject me? That's alright!", Hendery almost shouted back after Ten had answered louder than he intended to, "I said I want an answer. I don't want you to say something you don't mean."
"Then let me speak or a second and don't just twist the words in my mouth!", Ten's body shot upwards but he immediately turned away from Hendery. The younger one fell silent after that, taking Ten's outburst as a request to listen - but Ten also kept quiet.
"So will you say anything?", he asked again after a mere minute of intense staring. "Yes", Ten exclaimed despretely and close to tears yet again, "Just let me think for a second-" "How many seconds do you still need?", Hendery was so worked up by waiting and being pushed aside. It only took one word to answer, what did Ten need to think about?
"Oh my God, will you shut up eventually?!", Ten pressed his hands against his temples as he turned around, shooting an angry look at the younger one - and the second their eyes met he knew he crossed a line. Hendery's features twisted in shock and hurt and he stepped backwards slowly.
"A-alri-...", he whispered and his eyes turned glassy, "Okay." Now he had his answer.
"Sorry", he muttered barely audible and turned around to leave. Ten bit his lip when he actually wanted to cry out for him to stay and sit down. No no no no no!, he thought but his body was frozen where he stood. He shook his head and his breath became uneven. Why did he say that? But Hendery was already out of the room and had closed the door. Now it was too late for anything. No Kun and no Xiaojun could do anything else to help them anymore.
Later that evening Kun forced him out of his room for yet another movie night - because it ended so well last time, Ten rolled his eyes. But Kun had a point when he said since they'd watch a movie, no one would speak and the attention would be on the screen. They had darkened the room and turned the volume a litlle bit louder than needed.
The atmosphere was weird when Ten entered but Hendery ignored him successfully - not without the others noticing of course. But as soon as the story of the film developed its difficulties the tension amongst the members sank. At least until Sicheng asked for a bathroom break and what ever had happened on the screen was washed away. "Tendery is not cuddling?", Xuxi asked a little surprised, "Didn't even notice it", he then giggled but shut up when Ten didn't smile back and Hendery's features seemed to harden. But Yangyang wasn't satisfied yet. "So what happened? I only know Hendery was crying bascially all afternoon", he disimproved but it fueled the passive-aggressive feeling the latter had in the pit of his stomach since a week ago.
"I asked Ten to be my boyfriend but he said no", Hendery said with a blank face, contrary to his voice. Xuxi's and Yangyang's faces fell as he spoke so bold about it and also Ten didn't see it coming. "What? No you didn't", Ten argued when he heard the twisted story. "Of course I did! What do you think I was crying for all afternoon?", Hendery shot back obviously fed up with the issue. "No, you only wanted me to say it and wouldn't stop when I asked to actually talk about it", Ten corrected the happenings but Hendery wasn't having it.
"Oh yes, how could I not hear that with the way you told me to shut up eventually", Hendery even made the quotation marks with his fingers as he repeated Ten's exact words. Xiaojun's jaw hung opend, Xuxi and Yangyang couldn't hold back but munch on some popcorn as the three followed the drama.
"I asked you several times to sit down with me and hear me out because I couldn't give you an answer with only 'I do' or 'I do not'. And don't tell me I didn't try to tell you I would lo-", Ten's voice grew louder as he got into it again therefore, Sicheng could hear him from the hallway as he came back. "Who's going to do or do not?", he spoke, not caring about interrupting another fight but Kun, who also just came back from the kitchen with another stack of snacks, was grateful for it. Hendery had told him after that incident he had given up and wouldn't give in if Ten tried to come back at him. "Sorry I took so long", Sicheng then said and sat back down so they could continue the movie but nothing could distract the pair anymore.
Even after the movie the tension between them was back and even heavier than ever. Hendery just changed into his pyjamas when the door clicked shut and Ten now looked at him intensly. But Hendery swore he would stick to his words and wouldn't let Ten get away so easily.
"Can I...?", Hendery wasn't sure what Ten was asking for but he also didn't want to answer. If Ten couldn't express himself properly it wasn't his problem. So Hendery just made a gesture with his shoulders and continued tidying up his clothes. "Listen...", Ten started again but seemed at a loss of words before he even used any. Hendery still listened; he was curious about what Ten had to say, after all.
"There have been major misunderstandings. Between us. And... I- I don't know if we should-", he obviously tried to sort his thoughts to make it an understandable row of words as he spoke. Hendery still refused to actively pay attention to him but wandered through his room, from his bed with a pile of clothes to the closet or to the arm chair by his desk and it confused Ten more with every second Hendery acted like he couldn't care less. Ten swallowed thickly.
"If it would be better if-... if we tried to solve those or just continue with what we have", he sounded so unsure and almost helpless. "Like- but not continue- like- I mean not with what we have right now because we're fighting but continue with what was before", he corrected himself as he realized it would only cause more problems. But therefore, his correction was still questionable. "But not like that affair kind of thing", Hendery rose his eyebrows at the word "affair" and it seemed to stress Ten. "I mean like the very before thing- you know? What was in the very beginning." He spoke as if he was panicked but had to get himself together in time before Hendery dissolved into thin air and he stumble over his words.
"But not like the very beginning but-... before it-", Hendery still refused to looked at him but Ten knew he had his attention with the way he changed his facial expressions. "Before it...", he slowed his words now that he was about to accuse Hendery for how the situation developed. "It got weird. I want to go back there and give it another try", Ten paused after that to wait for Hendery's final reaction to his ramble.
"Another try?", Hendery asked in response, more sarcastically. As he assumed: Ten would come back at him. "Y-yes", Ten nodded, still frozen by the door but Hendery kept stolling back and forth. "Another try from the point before it got weird?", Hendery asked again, repeating what took Ten almost two full minutes to say. But therefore, Ten knew Hendery had been listening closely and relaxed a tad bit. Another nod.
"And... when exactly did it turn out weird?", Hendery asked again just to tease Ten if he was honest. He wanted to know after Ten was so fond of talking it out. But now Ten hesitated again even though he knew he had to open up. "F-for me... it was when", he scratched his neck to avoid eye-contact for a moment. "When you stopped being cuddly with me", he muttered. "I-I don't mean it's not okay if you don't want to. Be-because some people don't want to b-but I mean you wer- you were before and i-i-it jus'... e-er...", Ten stuttered through his nervous train of thought somewhat afraid Hendery still was far from satisfied. "It's just that... I mean. I mean you... so we- were cuddly before. And I was... I still am - to be honest. I was wondering... why?", he whispered the last part as if he didn't mean to say it out loud.
He didn't mean to make Hendery explain himself after that was so long over and he was actually the one who owed the younger one an answer. He felt like he wasn't in the position to demand an explanation. And boy, did Hendery not look satisfied with that answer. He quirked an eyebrow as if to say Ten should quickly come up with something else.
"I don't mean to say this is all on you because it isn't! I swear I know it isn't on you, Hendery, this whole fuckery is on me, it's my fault and not yours, I swear", Ten babbled and even lifted his hands in front of his body like he could effect anything with the gesture. "I'm just really confused by it because Kun told me you... you...", Hendery had stopped in his tracks in the middle of the room and was bit by bit coming closer towards the older one. "I what?", he said impatiently waiting for Ten to finish his sentence.
Ten was so nervous and his chest felt like he was about to collapse. "O-okay listen, this is all very confusing an-and I'm in the middle of re-telling what happened and I still haven't decided if I should start from the end or from the beginning to sort this all out", Ten changed the topic, trying to clearify how uncomfortable and insecure he was. He turned his gaze to the floor and shielded his eyes with his hands as he tried to concentrate under Hendery's heavy glare.
"Alright, okay. So. For me, it's that I liked you from the beginning, from the first second and it hasn't changed one bit. You're like- my number one favorite. Out of all the members. And... I guess... I grew really attached to you... emotionally", Ten started again and Hendery was quick to catch up on what he tried to do, "So... we're at the point where you like me?", but he still wouldn't let go so fast.
"Yes", Ten answered, he knew Hendery was still urgent to get over with it. "And you also seemed to like me and we became really close", Ten looked up again only to be met with the same rather bored and impatient eyes of Hendery who nodded for him to go on. "And then... we suddenly weren't close anymore. Because... you refused to... you started avoiding me", Ten's face was red and he could feel his pulse in his tempes. "And Kun told me... it's because... you knew that-", Hendery knew he had troubles with some detils but unfortunately these were the most important ones so he didn't bother with being careful and understanding about it. His eyes were as firm as before. "You knew that I liked you more than... as a fr-riend", Ten eyes watered and he didn't even know why since Hendery didn't seem too shocked about it. "And that made me insecure because I thought I was too much for you and you didn't want-", his voice shook and he had to lick his lips to continue, "To be with me or somethin'."
Hendery merely relaxed his body. Ten looked like a mess in front of him trying so desperately to make it work out. But now that Ten had started to go deeper he knew he had to keep going, too. "And then?", he was actually interessted to hear Ten's side of the whole story. Kun and Xiaojun had caused some real and unnecessary troubles for them. "Then we had those fights because I thought you avoided me and believed it's so easy to end and when I tried to get an answer you wouldn't answer because you actually didn't know and I felt so bad for you but also relieved because there was no real reason to fight", Ten rambled and got into a flow of talking. Hendery slowly turned back to normal, listening to Ten attentively and nodding every once in a while.
"But then you said you wanted to end what ever we were having and I thought you knew about my feelings after all", Hendery's eyes widened for a second as Ten mentioned feelings for the first time but didn't see the younger's reaction, "But still didn't want me as anything more than a friend and I was so confused when Xiaojun had said something about mutual but I was too happy to finally talk to you again on a normal level", Ten had to make another pause to catch his breath and Hendery nodded in understandment. Seemed like he gave Ten two reasons to be insecure already before Hendery started actually fantasising about Ten as boyfriend-material.
But that also meant Xiaojun was right about the mutual feelings thing, after all. And both, Kun and Xiaojun brought so much trouble to them - of course in order to help them but in the end it was more for the worse. "And then we slowly came back to normal and I wanted to try... like I mean I wanted to test the waters with you and then we kissed and I was so happy", but against his words Ten only smiled sadly at the memory. "And then we... I don't know what happened afterwards. I really don't know. I mean I knew I avoided talkig it out that's one of the main reasons why I kissed you every time we were alone", Hendery snorted amusedly at that but let Ten continue anyway.
"And it's not like I didn't care about what would happen. Of course not", he looked into Hendery's eyes and for the first time since the afternoon he didn't feel like there was raging fire in Hendery. "It's just... after all those... misunderstandings and all those... things we said to each other I became so insecure and I really started doubting that opening up and talking about it was a good idea because I felt like the risk that you would reject me was too high-", Hendery snorted at that again but not so pleased anymore. He even turned away and walked back towards his bed. Ten's heart sank at that and tears built up in his eyes.
Didn't he just say he was afraid of Hendery's rejection? And the first thing coming to Hendery's mind was to turn away and leave him trembling as he poured his heart out to him? "No- don't-", he yelled in panic. Hendery turned back to him with wide eyes and looked at him with confusion. "What?", he asked with a light voice when he saw the glistening in Ten's eyes. And Ten wanted to give him an answer. He wanted to tell him it was just a short cut reaction when he was already stressed with emotions and real-talk.
But he couldn't bring a word aross his lips. He tried to speak but the air was out of his lungs all of a sudden and he spiraled himself into the next scenario of "Hendery wants an answer" that would cause trouble. It was difficult for him to talk about his feelings and after he just opened up and told Hendery about his fear of rejection and the following reaction - it made it even worse. He wanted to tell him it was only his mind overreacting and living two or three realities at once that's why he had troubles on deciding how to act. But he simply couldn't.
"S-sorry", he muttered and tried to stop the tears from falling. "'T's jus'....", he sniffled and choked out incomprehendale half-sentences. "I just... It's...", his face fell and he was too caught up to stop himself from sobbing helplessly. "P-please...", his jaw and lips trembled in the moment before breaking down and he stretched his hands out just for a second. Hendery was shocked to see the sudden change in Ten's figure and quickly closed the distance between them to pull him into a tight hug.
Ten sobbed into his shoulder and pressed himself against Hendery's taller frame. He repeated apologies and pleas but Hendery had long forgotten what for. This time he had pushed him too far and he had to make sure Ten wasn't falling for real.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry, I know it's ridiculous but I'm just so stupid", he muttered into the fabric of Hendery's shirt. The arms slung around his waist and the fingers combing through his hair just reminded him that Hendery was there but therfore, he also was still waiting. It took him a second to form comprehendable phrases through his sniffles but Hendery waited patiently. "I'm sorry, I don't make sense, I know", Ten had calmed down to hiccups but refused to looked at Hendery. He felt so bad.
"I know keeping up the make-out sessions to not talk but worsening my own fears with that wasn't the smartest thing I could have done... I didn't know how to...", Hendery's smile stopped him. "I know... I also needed some time to get myself togehter", he had both arms wrapped around Ten's back, not letting him go anywhere. "And the whole of thing of rejecting you first so you can't reject me... I'm so sorry. I panicked", Ten's body still shivered and he sniffled before lifting his eyes to meet Hendery's. "Oh really?", he tilted his head faked being surprised by that.
Ten giggled at that and lean his head back against the chest in front of him. "I'm sorry, too. You're right, there were too many things that had happened to bring some sort of order into it. And I should have been more understanding when you seemed out of it." Hendery's words were sincere and so was the beaming in his eyes.
"So, earlier you said something about boyfriend... Is that spot still open or...?", Ten asked sheepishly to intensify the upcoming akward silence between but Hendery giggled. "Do you have your CV and the report cards of your last four semesters with you? Then I could maybe arrage another date for an interview", Hendery just joined the act but Ten broke it with the most important keyword. "As long as there's going to be a date", he grinned and Hendery turned his head away. "Ugh", he faked disgust, "That was so cheesy", he laughed but then bit his lips to look at Ten again.
"I would really like to have you as my boyfriend."
"I'd really like that, too", Ten smiled back at him and tilted his head backwards for Hendery to put a sweet kiss on his lips. Their eyes were filled with endless adoration when they broke apart and Ten grinned.
"So how much do you pay?"
Xiaojun: So how are our lovers?
Hendery: Ten is not my lover!
Hendery: He's my boyfriend