“Yoohan-ah,” a voice called down to him gently, slightly muffled as if the owner had just taken a bite out of something. “Did you figure out what you’re going to do now instead of becoming an idol?”
Yoohan wanted to answer him. Planned to, in fact. But with each passing second he was finding himself threatened by an inviting drowsiness. Having his head rested in Yeonwoo’s lap, with balmy summer sun soaking into his skin and through his uniform, was only making it harder.
“Go Yoohan,” it said again, firmer this time, and even with his eyes closed, Yoohan could see the way his mouth was probably pulled into an involuntary pout. He didn’t answer again, on purpose this time. One of the outstretched legs pillowing his head bounced up experimentally, and he was thankful of the black mask obscuring the bottom half of his face as he failed to conceal an impish grin. Yoohan liked a lot of things about Yeonwoo, obviously, but one of his favourites was how incredibly fun - and easy - he was to tease.
“Who falls asleep on a date?” he heard a mutter under breath, before fingers hovered at his forehead, seeming to debate whether or not to play with the hair lying over it, leaving a tickling sensation. Only when the hand travelled to his mask, intending to pull it down did Yoohan finally crack open an eye, curling his own fingers around the invading wrist gently.
“Not at school,” he reminded lazily, clicking his tongue in mock disapproval as Yeonwoo fixed him with a look that he felt was supposed to be intimidating, but came off more cute, especially with his trademark pout out in full force.
“Oh, Go Yoohan, are you awake?” came a reply, dripping with sarcasm and a very specific brand of semi-serious annoyance personal only to Yeonwoo.
Yoohan slowly sat up at that, eyes crinkling into little crescents as Yeonwoo feigned offense in front of him, icing from half the twisted doughnut still in his hand caught on the corner of his mouth.
“I was never asleep,” he denied lightly, still oddly endeared and transfixed by the unnoticed icing. “Being with you just makes me feel safe.”
Maybe a month or two ago, a line like that would’ve sent Yeonwoo running, probably also stuttering and tripping for good measure. But the boy was getting used to his dramatic turns of phrase at an alarmingly fast rate. Fast enough to occasionally throw them right back at him. Or ignore them entirely.
“You were asleep,” Yeonwoo countered, eyebrows raised almost in challenge as he let his head drop back against the brick wall behind him. “I even made you triangle gimbap and you haven’t eaten any of it.”
“Sorry,” Yoohan apologised with a tilt of his head, moving to pull his mask down, only to be stopped by a quick hand paired with an accusing expression. “I’ll eat some now if you feed it to me.”
He gestured toward his mask as he spoke, but this new betrayed obstacle didn’t seem to want to relent. “You said the mask stays on in school.”
“We’re not in school, we’re on the roof.”
“Then why did you stop me earlier?”
“You look cute when you’re sulking.”
There’s the tiniest pause and stutter before, “You’re kind of petty, you know?”
Yoohan could only shrug at him, unbothered, eyes playful as he let his hand drop from his mask, waiting expectantly. Yeonwoo took his time pulling the mask down - he always did. Yoohan knew by now it was his way of mentally preparing himself for the intense rush that came with going from a world of greyscale to full colour in the blink of an eye. It never mattered how long it took, not anymore.
Before he had been impatient, desperate to see Yeonwoo’s expression of pure awe as the world he’d become accustomed to rapidly transformed into something new, just in case he never got the chance to again. But now he was more than happy to wait, since the reward of seeing his eyes flash with that brilliant mirage of colours was enough every time. Of course, there was also the added bonus that now, it was something Yeonwoo was more than willing to experience with him, without the lingering fear of something darker consuming him.
“Okay?” Yoohan checked, although there was no real need anymore. Without regular exposure to his colour rushes, Yeonwoo was very prone to collapsing almost immediately - something that had happened only two weeks into officially dating. Yoohan had gotten enough funny looks for a lifetime after running off to the rooftop with Yeonwoo in tow, only to return half an hour later with him entirely unconscious and hanging off his shoulders. Since then he had made it almost mandatory to take his mask off around Yeonwoo every other day minimum.
As Yeonwoo nodded, blinking the cloudy glaze out of his eyes, Yoohan reached out, unable to ignore the remnants of doughnut a third time as Yeonwoo’s mouth smiled at him faintly. He swiped the icing away with his thumb easily, before bringing it to his own lips, savouring the sweet, creamy taste on his tongue. “Gimbap, please.”
Yoohan could only watch with great fondness and amusement as a flustered Yeonwoo snapped out of his momentary deer-in-the-headlights pose to rummage for his bag which held six carefully wrapped triangles stuffed with rice and vegetables.
“You still haven’t answered my question,” Yeonwoo mumbled, visibly still recovering from Yoohan’s actions as he fed a triangle into the latter’s waiting mouth. “We’ve got less than a year left here.”
“I’ll tell you when you come round later,” Yoohan promised simply, tone unashamedly coy, before he reached to trail his fingers down the side of Yeonwoo’s face seeing him visibly stiffen, knowing why before he even said it.
“Will your parents be there?” he asked carefully, shifting uncomfortably as he seemed to try and fail to keep his tone neutral, and not one brimming with nerves.
“No parents, just us,” Yoohan reassured firmly, the fleeting thought that in an ordinary relationship this should be the situation causing nerves, not the opposite, crossing his mind. However, this relationship wasn’t exactly ordinary - at least not according to society - and his parents were still more than a bit rocky on the subject of their son dating a mono themselves. “Maybe my sister.”
“So what are you going to do?” Yoohan heard the question ask absently from across the room. Yeonwoo had seemed so deeply engrossed in wandering his bedroom, fingers trailing over everything almost unconsciously: glossy kpop posters, the famed lapis lazulite, lingering at the desk where a pile of silver jewellery collected - the sudden sound of his voice had made him start.
Anyone would be able to gather from a glance that becoming an idol had been his original plan from a very, very young age. Everything, from the quirky fashion to the lavish accessories had all been absorbed somewhat into Yoohan’s personality, so he could understand why Yeonwoo sounded a little more worried than he had on the rooftop hours ago.
Yoohan hummed as he thought it over, shrugging. “At first I thought maybe something in fashion, but now I’m quite interested in the police.”
“The police?” Yeonwoo echoed, back turning away to reveal an expression of mild surprise, along with a genuine curiosity. “I didn’t know you were interested in the police.”
“I wasn’t,” Yoohan admitted easily, throwing himself down onto his bed unceremoniously, leaning to keep Yeonwoo’s face in view. It was true that for the longest time he had wanted nothing to do with the law in his country. The way innocent people were labelled as uncontrollable monsters on principle rather than on factual evidence had always made him sick to the stomach; as did every conversation he was forced to endure around the dinner table from his family, warning him of the terrible dangers of mono’s and what his own might do to him should he ever meet them. “But I thought, maybe I could help find your mum.”
“You don’t have to do that for me,” Yeonwoo muttered awkwardly, going back to fiddling with the rings on Yoohan’s desk, regrettably obscuring his face from Yoohan’s view.
“I want to, dummy,” Yoohan retorted, an exhale of laughter escaping him as he noticed the tips of Yeonwoo’s ears had turned red. “What about you?”
It was Yeonwoo’s turn to shrug, sliding rings on and off his fingers in silence as he seemed to mull it over.
“You could definitely be a model with that face,” Yoohan mused aloud, eyeing the boy in question mischievously. “Though I might get jealous.”
Yeonwoo huffed a little laugh at that, dropping the rings and turning to address him, face one of barely concealed skepticism. “I don’t think everyone’s going to see me the way you do.”
“They should,” Yoohan grinned, pausing to see any visible effects his comment might have had gleefully, before sliding back off the bed, coming to stand behind Yeonwoo quietly, one hand joining his in the sea of silver scattered over the table.
“Pretty, right?” he murmured, conscious of the way Yeonwoo tensed up at the close proximity, seeming to suppress a little shiver as Yoohan’s voice sounded next to his ear.
“You want to try?”
There was a nod, before he seemed to catch himself, hesitating. “But I don’t have pierced ears.”
“That’s okay,” Yoohan assured, rooting around deftly for one of several pairs of earrings he owned. Carefully, he lifted two thin, sparkly threads with a dainty flower hanging at the bottom of each. “Here, these are clip-on.”
As Yoohan had secretly hoped the moment Yeonwoo had taken an intent interest in his jewellery, this led to the latter allowing himself to be sat in his desk chair obediently as the shimmery earrings were attached gently, one at a time. “They look so pretty on your cute red ears.”
“My ears aren’t red,” Yeonwoo protested, hands going up instinctively to hide his very red ears from sight.
“They are around me.”
Yeonwoo rolled his eyes good-naturedly, seeming to debate whether or not to voice what Yoohan suspected was a dry retort, before speaking. “Do you do your own make up?”
Yoohan blinked, not expecting the subject change, nor the scrutinising, intent way his face was now being studied. “Sure. You want to try that too?”
Delighted, Yoohan had set to work, the very real intimacy and awareness that he was gently applying make up to the one and only face he had ever clearly recognised and seen in his life, not fully hitting him until he had moved from defining Yeonwoo’s eyebrows and finished brushing a shimmery golden colour over his eyelids, leaving him now with applying a cherry stain to his lips.
Yeonwoo had been almost completely silent this whole time, though Yoohan had felt his gaze following his every move steadily, but now as he brushed the first layer of colour across his bottom lip he heard the way his breath visibly caught. “Sorry, it’s cold.”
“You’ll get used to it,” Yoohan murmured, concentrating too much to fully tease him. Instead he found himself taking pity, applying the rest of the product with a finger. “All done.”
“How does it look?” Yeonwoo asked as Yoohan straightened up from where he had been knelt in front of the other boy, knees protesting slightly. Without waiting for an answer he scooted the chair toward the full-length mirror leant up against one of the far walls, inspecting his face silently.
Yoohan watched him from behind, leaning his arms on the back of the desk chair to study his reflection. His expression right now wasn’t unlike the one he wore during a colour rush. His eyes were wide and fascinated, mouth parted just barely, as if it was an outlet for all the building emotions on his face to escape through.
“You probably shouldn’t go to school like that.”
“If you did the entire class would be all over you.”
Yeonwoo scoffed at that, eyebrows raised as he met his eyes through the mirror knowingly. “I think that would just be you.”
Without warning, Yoohan spun the chair around to face him, stopping it by planting his hands on the arm rests either side. “Would that be bad?”
“To have me all over you?” Yoohan continued, voice faint and even as he leant into Yeonwoo’s space. He felt fingers come up to grasp at the material of his hoodie on each arm, followed by a swallow and an almost imperceptible shake of the head.
He forced himself to edge closer slowly, until he had his forehead pressed up against Yeonwoo’s, close enough to see the way he was staring down through half-lidded eyes at his mouth, breath hitching in his throat while the grip around his arms progressively tightened.
Finally, he kissed him and just like the first time, just like all the times after that, he was hit with the longing reminder that this was normal, this was what he deserved - what they deserved. They had less than one year, he had decided, less than a year left of high school that they could spend finding themselves, of living like carefree teenagers.
But after that, Yoohan was going to make it his mission to undo any and all harm that had come, and might still, to Choi Yeonwoo.