Well, you were in for it now. You spent the last two days doing nothing but looking at fanart and reading fics for your newest obsession, and now you not only were burnt out, but you still have to do at least SOME sort of homework in order to prevent being royally fucked tomorrow. Ugh, but your mind is so restless…
Zen walks into your dorm at the exact moment that you become slack in your chair, arms hanging limply at your sides, and you groan loudly. You’re at your desk which is right in front of the open door to the hallway that Zen had entered from. The timing would be funny if you were in a clear state of mind. But whoops, you’re not!
On Zen’s part, he looks at you in surprise and curiosity, and maybe the tiniest hint of concern. “And why are you annoyed, Mara?” He goes to sit on your bed, munching on some tortilla chips that were gonna leave crumbs all over the sheets for you to deal with later. GREAT.
You look at him upside down from bending far back in your seat. You try to glare at him for getting crumbs everywhere but it’s no use. “It’s 11:30 pm and I haven’t done a single. Assignment. All effing day!!”
“Well fuck’s sake, what’s your problem?” Zen now stretches out on the length of your bed, propping his legs up on the extra blankets at the end. He looks a little too relaxed there if you admit it to yourself, but your mind is currently otherwise occupied.
“I got stuck in fangirl mode again.”
He scoffs. “But aren’t you always in fangirl mode?”
This was true. “Ok, I mean hardcore fangirl mode. Where I physically CANNOT stop myself from consuming as much of the fictional universe as possible with as little effort and time necessary. And now because of that unhealthy state, I’m all burnt out. It’s like my brain was high on ecstasy but now I’m going through slow, painful withdrawal.” You pretend sob a bit, muttering “oh so painful” quietly to yourself as you lay in your chair.
“Sounds to me like you’ve got a character flaw to work on, honey.” Zen yawns lazily as he talks through the chips he stuffed in his mouth. “I know, it’s hard being around someone as perfect as me, but maybe you could learn a thing or two.”
You flip him off above your head without turning around. “Shut up. I can’t help it and besides I’m such a freaking goody two shoes the other ninety percent of the time, I needed a break! I deserve some time to myself. I just…”
“...you just can’t moderate huh?” Zen is watching you now, a bit more focused than before.
You nod tiredly. “It’s either all or nothing with me I guess. And now my grades are gonna pay for it, ha. Fuck me.”
Zen sighs dramatically. “Oh my, well, only if you insist, I guess I’ll have to take you up on your offer--”
He cuts off. You had turned around and thrown a stack of sticky notes at him, irritated that he can’t seem to take your worry seriously. “Forget it. You fucking suck.” You lean over your laptop, ready to ignore him until he left sooner or later. Actually, you prefer if he leaves now so you can actually try to focus on SOMETHING. “Just go, okay? I don’t need this right now.”
But before you know it, he’s gently pulling your hands away from where they were bunched from frustration in your hair, and he’s kneeling right there on the ground at the side of your chair, looking apologetic and more than a little worried. “Mara, wait. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize just how stressed you were. I was trying to lighten the mood a bit! I didn’t mean to be a dick about it.”
You can’t reply immediately due to a few things. First, you’re surprised he looks so worried about you, like he actually cares. Sure, he has a heart, but you could never say with certainty that it wasn’t all just fun and games to him.
Second, now that you’re looking at him head-on, you can see that his appearance is more relaxed than you’ve ever seen him look before. He’s usually all done up and dazzling, fashioned perfectly for any angle you look at him. But in this moment, it’s clear he was letting loose right before winding down for the night. His hair, instead of in his signature thin ponytail, is now spread lightly around his shoulders and face, shining in the lights of your cramped little room. His face has not even a hint of makeup on it and it makes him look both more vulnerable and more animated than usual. And he’s got a t-shirt and sweatpants on; presumably his pajamas, but you don’t think you’ve ever seen him in anything short of semi-formal before and it all seems very appealing in this moment.
Oh yeah, and a third thing. He’s right there. Like, RIGHT THERE in your face right in front of you like SO fucking cLOSE and you absolutely were NOT prepared to have his hotness aura so near you so quickly like wtf he basically sneak attacked you.
So yeah, you’re pretty speechless right now for these reasons and you know you’re blushing and your mouth is probably hanging open because how could you not he’s RIGHT THERE. He mistakes your red face and silence as stubborn anger and he sighs again, this time much quieter.
“Right, I’m sorry.” He looks down, avoiding your gaze. “I’ll go now so you can concentrate.”
He makes to stand up and leave and now that you’ve broken eye contact and are no longer frozen to your seat by his prettiness you blink at him as he turns his back to you. He starts stepping towards the door and your brain catches up, wait what no what’s he doing he can’t leave now get BACK HERE. You dash to the door and close it before he can reach it, staring up at him determinedly with your back against the door.
He’s in your room alone with you and it’s late at night and the door is closed and it’s private and you’re both in casually sexy sleeping clothes
And now he’s got a shocked expression on his newly vulnerable face as he stares at you and your unclear motives with confusion and it’s pretty adorable and well shit you did NOT think this through.
But it’s pointless to get flustered now and so you channel all your self-righteous attitude and say evenly, “Well, how am I supposed to answer you if you’re walking away? Just give me a second to say something…” you trail off because he’s really cute and you already knew that but he’s really close to you again, well you did kind of just run in front of him to slam the door right before he got to it so it makes sense that this happened and you are reallllly bad at thinking things through.
Zen, however, is still oblivious to everything going through your head, and so he takes a step forward and hell now you’re even closer together, but his expression is so earnest at this moment as he questions, “Really? So you’re not angry with me?” Honestly you’ve never seen him look so damn innocent before and it’s making it ultra hard to stay cool.
“Yeah, I...I mean, I understand now what you were trying to do and I was just pretty wound up but...yeah, it’s fine.” You feel gentler now at the sight of his transparency. You really aren’t mad at him anymore.
His eyebrows stop pinching together and his shoulders relax. “Good. I’m glad.” The relief on his face somehow only makes him prettier?? And now you’re not sure how to react???
Aaaaand now is when he finally realizes the situation you guys are in at this exact moment in time and how you got there. “So...did you want me to leave?”
You take a breath to reply but you have no idea what to say, so you close your mouth and ponder for a second. You don’t want him to leave anymore, but what reason are you supposed to give now?
“Shh, I’m thinking.”
“About what?” Now he just sounds amused.
“...well, should I go now?”
Gah, you’re making this too complicated. You take a deep breath and look back up at his raspberry red eyes. “Actually, I’d like it if you stayed.”
Cue the ego. You wait for it to come down on you, but strangely you’re met with silence. Instead of high and mighty like you expected, Zen looks utterly baffled now at your changed opinion.
“Wait. What? I thought I was distracting you. You’re not gonna get anything done with me here. Plus, why would you even want me here?”
God dammit Zen, with his guard down like this, you can’t help but feel attracted to him. You always were before, at least a little (I mean the dude is practically breathing sex appeal into the atmosphere), but what with his constant overdramatic demeanor and how he acts so full of himself, you had shut him down as an option. If he couldn’t be real with you or acknowledge anyone but himself, you knew he wasn’t for you.
But this. This is a whole new side of him. This, you can tell, is the real him, or at least more real than any other version of him you’ve seen before. You two are alone, there’s no audience to impress, and he’s put down all his barriers in front of you. He’s so human, more human than you first thought was possible, and you’re wondering if maybe he’s been himself with you for a while and you were too bent on seeing only the surface to realize.
...Now you’re looking at him again, really looking at him. You think…
No. You’re done thinking. You bite the bullet and swiftly rock up on your tiptoes and brush a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth. He’s so warm when you’re near him. His mouth is still, lips slightly parted. You can’t even hear his breathing, he’s so silent. But you don’t look at his eyes. You leave your hands on his shoulders as you sway back down and stare straight ahead at his chest.
“I want you here because...I don’t know...I guess I like you. When you’re not being a douche, that is.” You finish quickly. You dare a wary look back up to find Zen blushing like there’s no tomorrow. Well if you ever wondered what Zen would look like when he’s the color of a tomato now you know and of course he’s still cute, the bastard.
He tries to take a step backward but you don’t let go of his shoulders. No way in hell is he gonna retreat now, not when he’s finally maybe possibly opening up to you and if you give him the chance then he might just pretend this never happened altogether. You don’t want to lose this, the potential of whatever this could be. “Just tell me, okay? Don’t run away.” You try to sound assertive, but you’re self-conscious yourself. After all, this is Zen. The star in every musical, the prince of every play, the main event at any karaoke contest. He’s confident no matter what comes his way and secretly you admire him for that, given that he is endlessly critiqued by everyone, the curse that comes with the path of a career in the public eye.
“Just say it.”
“I...what’s there to say?” My god, this boy was dense. To his credit, he was still looking like he didn’t even know where he was anymore, like he had died and gone to heaven or seen a ghost or something. Or maybe...
Oh. Right. He doesn’t feel the same, he doesn’t want to say it outright, he’s trying to make it so you can pretend it never happened. Because he’s gentlemanly like that. Well, that’s fine. You’ve gotten over worse before, you’ll get over this just the same.
Still, you need to hear it straight from him. The words need to come out of that goddamn mouth of his to your face, you deserve at least that much. “Just tell it to me straight, then, if you don’t like me. I need to hear it.”
He just...stares cryptically at you. His eyes are no longer readable, filled with something you can’t understand. And still...he says nothing.
So you tilt your head down, hide behind your bangs, drop your hands from his shoulders. You got it, message received. You won’t bring it up again. You just hope you and Zen can still be friends then, or whatever you were before this rather wretched night.
You start to put your own walls up now. Back to real life. “Sorry, never mind. I won’t keep you here any longer.” You duck away from him and walk toward your desk, ready to put on your poker face and get back to work. It’s fine, you’re fine, you don’t have time for a relationship anyway--
What is that behind you. There are arms wrapping around your abdomen from behind and
A solid warm presence against your back, but most startlingly
A voice beside your ear, softly exhaling. “Mara, did you mean all that?”
You’re way too tense, which you only realize after you melt in Zen’s arms, becoming liquid. “You think I’m joking around with you about this?” you say bitterly.
He wraps his arms tighter, holding you to him. His chin is next to your ear and you can feel his presence behind you and it’s intoxicating. “Of course not, but you can’t blame me for checking. In that case,” he spins you around in his arms and tilts your chin upward to force you to look at him, his thumb dangerously close to your bottom lip. “I like you, too.”
He smiles a sweet, sweet smile right at you and you dare to hope he’s not faking it. “No shit? You’re for real?” Your need for reassurance shows in your eyes, and it catches him off guard. His eyes glint a second later and he proves his seriousness to you by ducking down and kissing the corner of your mouth the same way you had just done for him.
Except. He does it again. And again, and again. Alternating sides each time, he teases you just shy of a real kiss, but his imitation of you fills you with a wholesome joy at his reciprocation. God, he is so sweet. You feel like you’re no longer connected to your body, like you’re floating. You relax completely in his embrace, eyes heavy-lidded in the warm euphoria of his lips on you.
When he finally stops, he surprises you once more by embracing you wholly, and you can feel the thumping of his heart through his shirt. After a few seconds, he breaks the hug but keeps his forehead leaning against yours, staring right through your eyes and into your soul. “Do you believe me now, sweetheart?”
Getting lost in the depth of his eyes, you manage a nod. But your face is still in a look of wonder up at this person in front of you. Is this really happening? Did he really say…
“I guess I didn’t really think you’d say yes. I mean, what are the odds?” You let out a huff. “Rarely do people’s feelings actually match up at the same time for the same person. It hasn’t happened for me in a while…”
“Mm, that’s probably because you haven’t met anyone on the same caliber as me,” he says with a shit-eating grin.
“Oh my god, you’re as bad as the characters I draw fanart for.”
“Soooo that means I’m your type, right?”
You give him a shove. “Shut up!” but you’re both smiling. How could you not? He won’t take his eyes off you, and he’s looking at you like you’re the main event, like all this time the climax of the story was leading to you, and you’re better than anything he expected or even hoped for.
As for you, it’s hard to think of anything when he takes your hands from where they were placed on his chest and, those ruby eyes never looking away, brings one palm to his lips. You get a warm dizzying feeling in your head and in your chest. Is this a dream?
Dream or not, you’re sure as hell not going to hesitate now.
Without warning, you move so that your face is only a single inch away from his. His eyes get even bigger. They’re all you can see.
“How come you keep missing, huh? Now I have to do it myself,” you breathe.
You fit your lips onto his. They connect perfectly, and he makes a little surprised sound that reverberates into you. So warm. You let it go on for a little longer, then break away to give his bottom lip a cheeky little peck. You might have also nipped it a little. You step down from your tiptoes and smirk at him. He’s staring at you like you’ve grown wings and confessed you’re actually a real-life angel. Like you’re heavenly, and it makes you smile even brighter. You also want to kiss his face off.
“Where the hell did sweetheart come from?” you smile happily as you tease him.
He grins. In a flash, pulls the arm still in his grasp so that you stumble into him, and tilts your chin back into his. “Shall I call you my darling instead?” His voice is wayyyy too sexy to be saying those words right now.
“How ‘bout we stick to limited use of pet names for now, pretty boy.” He laughs, and just like that, you two are back to the way you usually are, except one thing different. A thing that is heavily tied to his arm still on the curve of your waist and the pleasant view you get of his lips from up close.
“Hey, what’s that look on your face for?”
You didn’t know you had a look on your face. “N-Nothing.” You turn your head away. It’s hard to lie to him.
He grips your chin and turns you back to him, but you still look down. “I don’t think it’s nothing. What’s wrong? Please tell me.” His voice gets thin, and his embrace loosens. “Am I...am I being too much? I can stop if you want, I mean, maybe I misunderstood, aha, I’m sorry, I’m an idio-”
“No! No no please don’t think that.” Your gaze had snapped up and you slap your hands onto either side of his face impulsively. His eyes are wide and you can’t believe how adorable he looks in this moment, getting insecure on your account. “I...I really like you, Zen. I really do. I’m just afraid of me being too much. You don’t know everything about me, I can be pretty overwhelming. In fact! You know this probably isn’t a good idea, like I don’t want to talk you into something you later will regret so-Ah! What the hell are you doing!!”
He had picked you up princess style and now you’re clinging to his neck because geez you’re farther off the ground than you would think like how is he even this tall and you never noticed???
“I’m taking you with me,” is all he says, and calmly at that. You’re outside your room now. How did that happen? And now he’s just CARRYING you through the hallways???
“What the FUCK do you mean you’re taking me with you?! Zen, what the fuck is this-”
He kisses you to shut you up. It’s super effective! You go DEAD silent. KO’d.
Instead of answering your question, the bastard just grins at your sudden mute state. “Wow, that’s all it takes to make you stop talking? If only I had known before, I would have used it much sooner and very often.” He’s grinning at you again like you’re the sexiest thing alive and you don’t know how you haven’t burst from the steam building up like how are you still here? Are you dead, is this heaven?
Seeing as now you’re incapacitated, you let him take you up the stairs(show-off, much? also this probably isn’t safe, um--) to his floor a few stories up. How he’s not exhausted you will never understand but for your part you’ve kind of given up fighting him because just doing that is exhausting enough and so you just hold on and keep your head close to his chest. You know, so you don’t bump it on a doorway or anything. That’s clearly why.
The two of you reach his door, which is already cracked open. Zen just kicks it open wider and walks in. You’ve kind of stopped trying to process everything. He nudges the door shut behind him and places you on the edge of his bed oh so gently and turns to his desk, ruffling around papers looking for something. Meanwhile your brain starts trying to comprehend information again since the ride is over and now you find yourself in Zen’s room...in his room...in his DORM ROOM AND YOU’RE ALONE WITH HIM and you were already past trying to understand everything. Huh, for some reason the air is 15 degrees hotter all of a sudden.
He turns back to you and all the hairs on your arms stand straight up but then he suddenly looks really shy. He’s got some papers in his hand, some kind of essay? Wait. You look closer. You recognize the title. Because it’s your title. From your story. He’s holding your story.
“I’ve been a fan of your work for, um, a while now. You enter all kinds of writing competitions right? You always win and I’ve always been impressed. I’ve read everything you put online and it’s so good.” He swallows visibly, eyes casting about the room for something to look at that’s not you. “But the reason it’s so good is because I can tell you’re writing about things that mean something to you personally. You write like you are the character and the reader can feel every emotion you write down. It’s...pretty awesome. You’re pretty awesome.”
“So, uh, I guess the point of all this is that I was already a fan of you before today. You say you’re too much, why? Because you feel everything as deeply as the characters you create?” He kneels down on the floor in front of you, and it reminds you of how he was the first time you saw him, really saw him tonight. “Mara, I started liking you because of the characters you create. They’re real and deep and...I feel like I know you better than I would have without reading your work. Because it all comes from you, right? It comes from your own thoughts.” He looks the same way as he did at that time a few minutes ago; so open, so honest, so purely there. Towards you.
You’re still silent and Zen is looking nervous now. But no, you’re done idling. This boy in front of you likes you more truly than you ever could have imagined and he needs to be held.
So you slide off the bed onto the floor in front of him and, before he can say anything, you pull him by his shirt into you. Your lips are on his and your hands are caressing his cheek bones and you can’t help but kiss him so rampantly, you want him to feel everything you’re feeling, for him to know just what you’re thinking.
After a few seconds, he finally reacts, holding you to him with one arm while burying his other hand into your hair. He is still hesitant, unsure. You pull away and look at his beautiful self. You want to brush away all the worry in his eyes. So you kiss in between his eyebrows, which works to make him stop scrunching them up.
“Zen,” you beam at him, “you sneaky bastard. You’re making me fall for you even more than I already am.”
He finally smiles. “All part of my master plan to get you to go out with me, of course.”
You laugh, eyes shining. “Fuck, man. This was not how I thought this night was gonna go.”
“This is way better, of course. After all, you’re with me.” There he goes again. But it’s all right, you know how to get him to stop.
You kiss him in the corner of his mouth. “Shut up,” you say smiling.
“As you wish, my darling,” he retorts, before capturing your lips himself, and you feel like you’re flying.