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fries dipped into a chocolate milkshake

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“your order, your majesty.” yanan looks up from the spot in the middle of the mcdonald’s table as a tray with a couple burgers and fries cover it. for the last ten minutes, he had been in a staring contest with the spot while shinwon went to grab their food. 

 

“thanks,” he mumbles out as he moves his drink to the side. shinwon sits down across from him with a hum and rips open two straws, offering one to him. yanan gives him a light smile as he takes it and jabs it into his pop. the next few moments are layered in the rustles of fast food unwrapping, with shinwon letting out a happy sigh as he bites into his cheeseburger. 

 

“been waiting for this all week,” shinwon comments which yanan only can nod at, taking a nibble from his own burger. 

 

yanan had a rough week. being a university student was never easy for him, especially during midterm season. he just finished his first two, of which he bombed one, and he had two back-to-back at the end of next week. as much as he should be scrambling to pack some info into his brain, he needed a break. 

 

earlier that day, he sent a text to the group chat to see who was free. however, he didn’t expect much. most of the others had their jobs or own exams to attend to. even wooseok, who yanan knows likes to take the same procrastination approach as himself, was busy with something. yanan really couldn’t blame them, but he still felt a bit sad when everyone was busy with their own things. 

 

that is, except shinwon. yanan could always count on shinwon to keep him company, even if it was just a short half hour walk around campus or a lunch break to mcdonald’s. they usually did it on wednesdays, but shinwon had time on this surprisingly sunny autumn friday afternoon. so when shinwon found him sprawled on an outdoor table about to head back to his dorm to hole up in his comforter, yanan was more that excited. he was ecstatic, because he knew being around his crush immediately dissipated his bad feelings and replaced them with a warmness he couldn’t explain. 

 

yanan also knows he has trouble expressing himself, but shinwon is someone who just understands him. someone who won’t judge him for crying at the latest hallmark movie. someone who will make sure he doesn’t do something he’ll regret in the morning when he drinks one too many beers. someone who will buy him fifteen churros as compensation for dragging him to the amusement park when he doesn’t like rides. he’s more grateful than ever to have shinwon in his life. 

 

“so,” shinwon breaks their silence while he crumples up his burger wrapper and grabs a fry after spilling the boxes over the tray in the middle, “what’s wrong?” yanan heaves a sigh, putting his half-eaten burger aside to shake a ketchup packet. 

 

“just did bad on a midterm,” yanan sulks as he squeezes the packet on a spot on the tray.

 

“how much is it worth?” yanan hums for a moment as he licks the excess off his finger and scans over the fries, wondering which one to pick. 

 

“thirty percent? i have another test for that class in two weeks… also thirty percent.” 

 

“hey! that means you have another chance in two weeks,” shinwon nudges over a longer fry, knowing exactly which ones yanan likes, “you can make it up then.”

 

“what if i just do bad again,” yanan takes a bite of the fry, staring at it with furrowed brows afterwards. 

 

“what subject is it?”

 

“economics.”

 

“oh, ouch,” shinwon winces a bit, though yanan thinks shinwon would wince at any subject, but the older scratches his chin in thought. yanan looks at him with a dejected puppy face until shinwon slaps his knee when the idea comes to him. “i’ve got it.” 

 

“what is it?”

 

“hongseok could tutor you! i’m sure he would be more than happy to help since he’s into that kind of stuff,” shinwon suggests triumphantly dipping a fry in ketchup, “and if he’s too busy to, i’ll just steal his notes and try my best to help you. though i only did average in that class.”

 

“you’d really do that?” yanan instantly brightens. he already had an underlying happiness when he met up with shinwon, but now it bursts out to the other’s surprise. however, shinwon just chuckles at the younger’s cute giddiness and nods firmly. 

 

“of course! with no extra cost. except you could maybe cover the fries next time.” for the first time on their outing, yanan breaks into the biggest grin due to the help and the possibility of seeing shinwon more. as much as yanan tries to wriggle into shinwon’s schedule, any new occasion makes him happy. 

 

“hyung, i love you,” yanan blurts out as shinwon is about to put the fry in his mouth. yanan giggles when it slips from his fingers and shinwon scrambles to catch it before it lands on his pants. 

 

“hey! these are new,” shinwon complains lightly as he dusts off some salt and little specks of ketchup that landed, “i didn’t want to wash them yet.” 

 

“sorry, hyung… but i really do love you.” it’s true. yanan even says it every time they go out for mcdonald’s. sometimes he worries if it’s too much. that he’s being too straightforward about it. except, despite being unable to express his other feelings, confessing that he loves shinwon is one thing that just rolls off his tongue. it’s the purest feeling and his brain doesn’t think twice before the words pass his lips. 

 

the only other worry he has then is whether shinwon feels the same. if he doesn’t and feels uncomfortable, yanan would stop, because that’s the last thing he would want to do. drive shinwon away from him. however, yanan is always hopeful when shinwon pretends to wipe his lips with his arm to hide the light blush that appears on his cheeks. 

 

as they finish eating with conversations of their days and other mindless things, yanan feels a lot better than he did at the beginning of the meal. that’s just the ko shinwon effect, he guesses, as he volunteers to throw away the trash. when he returns to the table, he stops for a moment to watch as shinwon pushes his hair back, scrolling a bit on his phone, just in awe again at how he could have such a great person in his life. 

 

as yanan slides back into the booth, he spots his overflowing bag and gleams as he takes out the contents. 

 

“hey, hyung...speaking of pants,” yanan starts as he plays with the plastic bag in his hands. shinwon glances up at him with a raised eyebrow as yanan holds it out to him. “here’s that pair of smiley pants you were eyeing the other week. hui hyung helped me buy them...well, he bought his own pair too but i noticed you liked them, so…” 

 

“thanks, yanan,” shinwon replies softly as he opens the bag, a smile spreading across his cheeks. yanan beams at him as he never saw such a genuine smile on shinwon’s face other than the time hyunggu got him a ticket to the harry styles concert last year. “i didn’t know you noticed.” 

 

“i did! and you’re welcome.” chuckling at yanan’s cheekiness, shinwon opens his bag to slip them inside before returning a huge smile at the other. 

 

“ready to go?” shinwon asks as he slips his bag strap over his shoulder. yanan frowns lightly, not wanting for this precious time to end, but he nods, putting his backpack over his shoulders. as he hoped, shinwon notices his light pout and ruffles his hair as he stands up. “i’ll walk you home.” 

 

with that, yanan is up in an instant, bumping shoulders with shinwon as they leave the fast food restaurant. his dorm may be only fifteen minutes away, but yanan keeps his walking pace slow and takes the long route just so he can listen to more things shinwon throws out for conversation. 

 

“and remember when we both ate churros together because we didn’t want to- oh we’re here.” yanan looks up to the familiar building, pressing his lips into a line. he looks at shinwon who smiles lightly at him, but also shows a glimpse of regret that they’re at their final destination. 

 

“thanks for walking me home…” yanan clutches his backpack straps and sways on his feet which don’t want to move towards the direction of his dorm. 

 

“no problem…” they stand in a soft silence, both not really wanting to move, but shinwon turns his shoulders first before yanan clutches his sleeve lightly. he thinks it’s maybe the school stress that makes him blurt out the next question, but maybe it’s the mutual want not to leave that makes yanan curl his fingers in shinwon’s sweater. 

 

“would… you like to come inside? i don’t think changgu is done with class yet… and we could watch a movie or something…changgu doesn’t like when i make popcorn but i can open the windows so he doesn’t notice…” shinwon breaks into a chuckle, reaching to pat yanan’s head as the other stares at his sneakers. as much as he said “i love you” a million times, it’s his first time asking shinwon to stay. 

 

“i would love to,” shinwon answers to which yanan whips his head up with a grin. at the confirmation, yanan slips his arm around shinwon’s tugging him happily into the building. it might not be a date yet, but the fact that shinwon wants to spend a few more hours is enough for him. with a bubbly feeling fill his stomach as they climb two flights of stairs to his floor, yanan can’t help but peek back a couple times at shinwon, who is amused by how happy the younger is. 

 

“hey.” 

 

“hmm?” yanan doesn’t look up as he fumbles with his keys to open the door. he completely drops his keys when shinwon lands a peck on his cheek. he stares with wide eyes like a deer in headlights when shinwon rubs the back of his neck, avoiding the gaze. 

 

“you’re really cute when you’re excited,” shinwon states first as his blinks up at the ceiling as if it’s the most interesting thing in the world, “and if spending more time makes you this happy, you could… always ask me to stay more often.” it takes a moment for yanan’s turn to break into a smile, one that spread across his face as he reaches down to retrieve the dropped keys. for once, yanan doesn’t know what to say, but he give shinwon firms nods as he unlocks the door, holding it open for him. yanan watches as shinwon walks in, shaking his head lightly as he mutters at how adorable the resident is. 

 

as he closes the door, yanan has to take a deep breath. shinwon always helps him find solutions to his problems, but now yanan feels like he got his first challenge... and he’s so ready to dive into it.