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"So how do I look?" Jooan asked and twirled around to show off his outfit.

Shihyun looked up from the webtoon he was reading and at his flatmate. Jooan was wearing his favourite tight jeans and a new black dinner shirt. Shihyun was sure that on the way out Jooan would put on his leather jacket, the drool-worthy one. As if that wasn't enough Jooan had also styled his short blond hair up and away from his forehead. All in all, the boy looked like a snack. Shihyun might be staring a bit but heavens help him, he couldn't look away.

"It's good, yeah, cool," Shihyun finally managed to stutter out. He looked down back to his phone, no longer even seeing what was on the screen.

"So not good enough then?" Jooan signed and when Shihyun looked up his friend appeared to be disappointed. "The shirt maybe, should I change it? To the violet one you like?"

Shihyun stifled his first response which was 'what does it matter what I like  when you're going on a date with someone else?'. He couldn't say that, not now, not ever. Any internal struggles Shihyun was going through he'd have to keep internal. He tried a smile instead and, being a good friend, he was quick to reassure Jooan. "The violet does wonders for your eyes, but this look is more mature. It's sexier. I like it. I'm sure she will too."

Jooan beamed immediately, happy to have been called sexy and mature, as Shihyun knew he would. It made a real smile appear on Shihyun's face too. Even if Shihyun was hurting inside, if Jooan was smiling then Shihyun would be okay.

"Thank you, Shyon-ah! I'm so excited, she seemed so cute when we chatted. I hope she likes me. Oh god, I'll be late if I don't leave soon," Jooan was ranting in his nervousness. He might have picked that habit from Shihyun. "I'll take one last look at myself and I'll be off. Don't stay up waiting for me. Oh, and can I use your perfume? Thanks, bye!"

Jooan left the living room and Shihyun heard him shuffling around for a few more minutes. Finally, the front door opened and then slammed closed. Right. Jooan had gone out again, like he did once or twice a week. Leaving Shihyun to stay alone at home, contemplating his damn life choices.

Shihyun should be like Jooan - finding guys and girls on dating apps and going out on dates. But how...

... how, when he was madly in love with his best friend?

 

 

 

A gentle hand was caressing Shihyun's hair away from his forehead and Shihyun could acutely smell his own perfume. It was intoxicating when mixed with Jooan's natural scent. Jooan? Shihyun sat up so fast he almost hit his friend in the face; he would have if Jooan hadn't straightened up fast enough. What was Jooan doing anyway, leaning down like that?

"Oh shit, Shihyun. I didn't mean to startle you. You were sleeping and I was wondering if I should get you a blanket or carry you to your bedroom." The light was still on. Shihyun must have drifted off on the sofa.

The thought of Jooan carrying him to the bedroom was embarassing and it made Shihyun flush. "I can walk!" He snapped, not meaning to sound petulant but in his embarrassment he might have. Luckily, Jooan just laughed. Shihyun rubbed the sleep from his eyes, feeling disgruntled. Then he settled down again and curled his feet to his chest so Jooan could sit down next to him. "Why are you home so early? Wait, is it early?"

Jooan made a grimace. "So um yeah, she wasn't anything like she was online," He admitted. "It just didn't work out. There was no spark, nothing."

Jooan sounded so sad Shihyun felt bad for him. There was a sense of relief too, but he tried to stifle that out. It wasn't the time to be relieved, it was the time to try and cheer Jooan up. Shihyun shifted closer so he could lean his head on his friend's shoulder, and spoke up.

"We can break out the ice-cream and watch some movies, if you want. But first, tell me about it. It looks like you really liked this girl."

"I did..." Jooan sneaked a hand around Shihyun's shoulder and brought him closer, Shihyun's face almost burrowed into Jooan's neck. "I mean, not really. I liked how cute and sweet she seemed. But I should know by now that most people put masks online. She was actually pretty rude to me, and to our waiter. I was so shocked, I didn't even know how to react. But that's not why I'm frustrated. It's because I'm sick of it. I'm sick of going on meaningless dates all the time and not finding anyone. I mean, what is wrong with me? Maybe the fault is in me. I'll die alone."

Shihyun's heart clenched in his chest. Honestly, he wanted to fight anyone and anything that made Jooan look so defeated.

"Hey," Shihyun raised his head to look at Jooan, who was now so close Shihyun was almost rendered speechless. Shihyun could count each of Jooan's eyelashes if he wanted to. "The problem isn't in you. It can't be. Because you're perfect. And anyone would be happy to have you."

"Anyone?" Jooan's voice sounded small and hopeful and the look in his eyes wasn't something Shihyun was used to.

"Anyone," Shihyun said firmly. "And if they don't apreciate you, quite frankly, I would be happy to meet them and give them a piece of-" the rest of his words were abrubtly cut off by Jooan's lips. Shihyun was so startled that he didn't react and before he knew it Jooan was pulling away.

"Oh no no no, I am sorry, I know you're not into dating and stuff, I am so sorry, I misread-"

"Wait, wait, Jooan," Shihyun exclaimed. "What do you mean I'm not into dating and stuff?"

Jooan looked uncomfortable and he avoided Shihyun's gaze. "We've lived together for about 2 years, Shi. During this whole time you never went out with anyone. I assumed you're not into this kind of stuff."

Shihyun gaped. "I am, I am, I just. I don't like to go on dates lika that, it's not my thing. Besides," he felt his face hot as flames but he continued on bravely. "I have someone I like already." Shihyun watched as emotions flashed on Jooan's face, disbelief, shock, happiness. "I was just surprised. I've wanted to kiss you for so long, I could barely contain myself."

"You did? You do? Can I kiss you again?" Jooan's rapid speech made Shihyun laugh. Instead of a verbal reply Shihyun gently cupped Jooan's face in his hands and leaned in. Second time was the charm.

 

 

 

Many minutes later Shihyun was tucked into Jooan's side, lips still red and tingling. They had indeed broken out the ice-cream and were watching a movie while sneaking a kiss here and there. Shihyun was more focused on the sucking and slurping sounds Jooan made as he enjoyed the ice-cream (If Jooan noticed Shihyun's overly red face he didn't say a thing, thankfully).

"I thought I told you not to wait up for me," Jooan said in a soft voice as the heroine on the screen was thrown from a moving car and she somehow ended up on her fours like a cat and then sprinted towards a motorbike nearby, coveniently placed. "Not that I am complaining."

Shihyun took the can of ice-cream from Jooan and ate a spoonful. It cooled the heat in his cheeks, if only a bit. "I will have you know that I wasn't waiting for you. I was reading and then I guess I fell asleep." It was mostly true.

"Mm," agreed Jooan. When Shihyun looked at him, Jooan was grinning even though he was watching the screen. The film wasn't that interesting to warrant such a reaction. Shihyun narrowed his eyes. "Oh shut it." He knew he sounded pouty and that was what made Jooan look at him.

"I'm sorry, sweetheart, I won't tease."

"Sweetheart?" Shihyun snorted. "Cheesy."

"You like cheesy," Jooan retorted.

Shihyun huffed and put the ice-cream down. "I don't, but I'll tolerate it. Now because you teased me I deserve compensation."

Jooan looked near laughter. "Compensation? Oh, I know what kind of compensation my little bunny wants," he purred playfully and leaned down for a kiss.

It was sweet and lingering, the kind of kisses they had been exchanging for a while now. Shihyun felt as if he was up on a cloud, weightless and without a care in the world. "Good guess," he said when they pulled apart. "But what I had in mind was you do the laundry for a week." The shocked and betrayed expression on Jooan's face was priceless. Shihyun giggled and stole a kiss from Jooan's unresponsive lips. "Hey now, I was just joking. Please, go back to kissing me?"

That made Jooan laugh loudly, laughter gritty like sand washing through Shihyun's senses. "You little fox! Not a bunny but a fox. I have been conned!" But he was grinning.

"Uh-huh, I admit it. Now kiss me."

Jooan's smile softened. His lips on Shihyun's tasted like happiness.