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Haha, what if?

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Johnny was a coward, he told himself out loud.

“No, he’s valid,” Taeyong reassured. 

“What do you mean? He is being a total coward,” Donghyuck shouted from the back. 

“Shut up, he’s sensitive okay, he’s a soft Aquarius.” Taeyong looked defensive and Johnny appreciated the gesture, even though he knew Donghyuck was right.

“Yeah, emotionally constipated and can’t deal with feelings… Sounds like how Johnny’s dealing with his crush on—“

“Shut up.” Johnny was blushing now, hiding behind his laptop acting as if he wasn’t waiting for a notification from that someone that should come anytime now. 

“...Taeil. Yes, we know, you’ve only longingly stared at him for twenty times today,” Donghyuck rolls eyes.

Johnny pouted. “Did you know he asked me to be his valentine? I said yes but I think he was joking.”

Taeyong side-eyed Johnny, but gave him a supportive shoulder pat. “Who knows…”

“He is so obviously flirting, dumbass,” Donghyuck chimed in.

“I wish,” Johnny sighed.

“He is,” Donghyuck said louder than before, stomping his way to the dinner table Johnny was studying at and grabbing Johnny’s phone. 

“Just keep acting like you’re doing,” Taeyong tried to advise him. 

Johnny, however, was too preoccupied to listen. “Hyuck, stop!” He grabbed the hem of the younger one’s shirt but was too slow. Donghyuck ran to the top of their couch, and locked into it to access their chats. 

“You are sending each other hearts every two messages! And why are you sending him selfies?”

“I don’t know, he said if I send mines he’ll send back some too,” he shyly said, realising how ridiculous it sounded. 

Donghyuck gave him a pained look, “you stupid fucker.” 

“Language,” Taeyong scolded, and turned his attention back to him.“But he’s right. If you keep this up, he’s gonna think you’re just playing with his feelings,” Taeyong added. 

“But that’s what he’s doing! He always brings extra food so he can share with me—fuck, and then cancels on me last minute without telling me why. Too many mixed feelings.”

“Maybe he is just as cowardly as you, see. Perfect for each other,” Donghyuck mocked, once more.

“He will tell you later, maybe it’s too personal. You’ve told me about your interactions, there is too much flirting to ignore,” Taeyong intervened.

“Whatever. Let’s talk about something else,” Johnny tried to redirect the conversation. 

“Of course, deflection done well, my friend,” Donghyuck gave in, taking this new empty space to talk about Renjun and Jaemin instead, who were apparently giving him a hard time about his Valentines plans.

Johnny smiled at the thought of the three boys who’d taken too long to dance around each other’s feelings before finally getting together. Pointedly ignoring any possible similarities to his current situation, he focused on Donghyuck’s engaging storytelling instead.

•••

Days had passed since the last time he got pushed into the corner to confess, or act on his feelings. Johnny, yet again, found himself in another blackhole of feelings. 

Taeil was sitting next to him on the couch, his knee in Johnny’s lap somehow, and even though Johnny was taller than him, he wanted to put his head on his shoulder. Maybe lean even closer, and have one hand in his hair, one on his lips...

Was this how friends normally act towards each other? His internal monologue was battling inside of him; reason fighting against hopeful romantic fantasies.

He tried to shake the feelings off and watch Taeil play his music game instead. His own phone kept going off, but after seeing it was his roommates trying to convince him again to confess, he decided to pay them no attention.

Technically he knew he started this by ranting about his feelings for Taeil in the groupchat, but practically he felt like they should’ve left him in read instead of indulging him.

He was ignoring his phone’s notification just fine, until Taeil started asking about the numerous, increasingly more frequent sounds going off.

Johnny dumbly stared at his lockscreen, scrambling for an excuse. Seeing as he hadn’t been careful enough to cover his screen, there was no point to lie, so he made up a half-truth. “They’re telling me to confess to someone as quick as possible, you know, just stupid roommates and stuff…”

“You have a crush on someone?” Taeil asked.

Johnny’s mind went blank. He could not figure out the look on Taeil’s face, and that worried him. 

He gulped down all existing emotions and tried his best to keep his heart intact. “Yes,” he finally admitted. 

Seconds now feeling like hours, Johnny waited for an answer. But Taeil wasn’t giving him any, now looking away from him, deep in thought, Johnny guessed. 

All of the waiting made Johnny feel even more restless. Deciding to finally break this somewhat awkward silence, he poked the sides of his crush. 

“Hey, you alright there?” he asked. 

“Yeah, I am. Just gathering my thoughts cause it seemed like I was reading into things and misunderstood something,” Taeil replied. 

“Misunderstood?” Johnny repeated out of curiosity. 

“Yeah, misunderstood,” Taeil confirmed, turning his head to locked eyes with him. Holding his gaze, and making sure Johnny has his full attention. “Was it not obvious that I like you?”

The world turned quiet, time stopped and Johnny could hear his two roommates screaming from across the void yelling, “I told you so.”

“What?” Johnny exclaimed, looking as confused as ever. 

“Look, it’s not a big deal. Well, it is, but I understand if you don’t like me back. It’s my fault anyways for thinking you did for a second.” 

“Wait, no, fuck.” Johnny didn’t even know where to begin to address what was going on, still trying to wrap his mind around the fact that Taeil liked him. Taeil likes him, present tense.

“I do like you back; that’s why I’ve been acting so dumb lately. I’m sorry for not getting your hints earlier but…”

Taeil laughed, relief and joy sweeping over his face. “Hints? I think I was pretty obvious, asking you to be my valentine and all, but okay, go off.”

“Friends do valentines sometimes…” Johnny countered sheepishly, but knew it was a weak argument.

“Well, we’ve never felt like just friends, have we?”

Taeil’s smile suited him beautifully, and Johnny wanted it to last forever. He couldn’t believe he’d been such a coward—well, he knew he had been, but he should’ve risked confessing sooner.

Johnny was lost for a moment, somewhere between disbelief and utter happiness. He didn’t notice how close his crush—now boyfriend?—had gotten, legs tangled up, their sides resting comfortably against each other. Like puzzle pieces that were meant to be put together. Donghyuck was right, he had been dumb, but not as dumb as he was going to be in this second. 

“Haha… What if… I kiss you?” Johnny tried, half-joking, but also hoping Taeil would take the hint, although hint was an understatement.

“Unless?” Taeil teased. 

Johnny leaned back. “You did not give me consent, which I hereby understand, and shall discontinue my advances.” 

“You’re a dumbass, but a very cute one.” The elder moved in, their foreheads lightly touching each other. “I consent by the way.”

Johnny took the signal—finally—and closed the gap.