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heat of the summer

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Jisung has one goal this summer: Not die of boredom. Three seconds into arriving at camp he realizes this might not be achievable.

“Be good will you? Don’t get into too much trouble,” his mother tells him, setting his suitcase on the forest ground next to him.

Jisung wipes the sweat off his forehead. “So you’re allowing me to get into a little bit of trouble?”

She shakes her head fondly and kisses him on the forehead. “Just a little bit.”

“Have a safe drive back. Try not to miss me too much,” Jisung says, right hand nervously grabbing at the handle. Goodbyes at the beginning of the summer are never easy, but they make the hello at the end that much better.

She gets in the car, “I’ll do my best,” and with that she rolls up the window, puts the car in reverse, and drives away.

Jisung watches her leave, but forces himself to look away just as she disappears from view. Turning his head back to the amalgamation of campers arriving for the summer, he scans the crowd, quickly turning away from the far too emotional goodbyes of the others in an attempt to find Renjun and Chenle.

His search leaves him with the knowledge that he’s the first to arrive, and with this newfound information he makes the executive decision to climb a tree. Jisung can feel the stares as he makes his way up into the lower branches, but honestly, this isn’t the weirdest thing he’s done, so they can all fuck off.

Once he’s up in the tree, the idea of this summer being just as boring as last year makes Jisung vaguely consider taking the easy way to visit his dad and jumping. Thankfully, Chenle arrives before he has to do that. Also, there’s no way jumping would do more damage than at most a broken limb.

“Guess what?” Chenle says in lieu of a hello, looking up at him, the brightness of his shirt personally offending Jisung.

“What?” Jisung responds in a deadpan, doing his eyes a favor and looking way from Chenle’s shirt in favor of scrolling through his playlist.

Chenle makes his way up the tree and snatches the phone out of his hand. “Na Jaemin got hotter over the school year.” Jisung doubts that, and he voices these doubts. “I’m being serious, I looked at him for three seconds and got the urge to jump his bones.”

“Everyone gets the urge to jump his bones, hotter or not,” Jisung says, jumping down from where he’s perched. Chenle follows and then takes advantage of his unsteadiness to shove him not so gently in the shoulder, attempting to knock him down. He swears under his breath and pushes Chenle back, their height difference making it that much easier.

“Asshole.” Chenle steadies his footing. “But seriously, he looks good.”

“He always looks good,” Jisung says under his breath, ducking under Chenle’s attempt to ruffle his hair. He heads down the hill towards the volleyball court knowing there’ll be less people there. It seems like a good enough place to waste time while they wait for Renjun arrive.

Renjun shows up about three-fourths of the way through Chenle’s story about how he fought off three Empousai at once.

“Hey losers,” Renjun plops down on the ground. The sand underneath him turns to grass at the last second.

Chenle stops retelling his story, a look of disgust on his face. “Out of all the things you could use the mist for, this is what you do?” He plucks a few strands of grass and lets the wind carry them away.

“I’m not sitting on sand, that shit gets everywhere.”

“Yeah, but, really?”

“What else should I be using it for?”

“I don’t know, bring my favorite comic book characters to life or something?”

“Why the fuck would I do that? It serves no purpose.”

“Yes it does. It would make me happy.”

Jisung tunes their bickering out in favor of looking at the campers crossing the yard, heading for their cabins. He spots Mark Lee, a son of Poseidon, attempting to push Donghyuck Lee, a son of Apollo, off the path.

He’s about to turn back to Chenle and Renjun when someone catches his eye. Jisung squints and lifts a hand to shield the sun. Just as the yard fades back into view, Na Jaemin walks into his line of vision. Jisung’s throat dries up at the sight of him. Somehow, Chenle was right.

“What did I tell you?” Chenle stops his story to tell him, lips set in a cheeky smile.

Jisung watches Jaemin chase after Mark and Donghyuck, Jeno Lee trailing after the group. His stomach twists uncomfortably, but he doesn’t know why.

 

Contrary to everyone else at camp, Jisung doesn't particularly enjoy capture the flag. It's outdated and the kids at camp take it annoyingly seriously. There's about a thousand other things he could be doing with his time, like: watching his favorite movies, turning off all the lights in his cabin and blaring his music, or even cleaning up pegasus shit in the stables. Yeah, he really doesn't like capture the flag.

Thankfully, everyone at camp knows about his feelings toward their favorite past time, so he's usually left to guard the flag instead of running around the woods. It's great, really, and Jisung wouldn't have it any other way.

That is, until he hears a branch snap somewhere off to his right with no one around him that actually gives a damn. Jisung swears under his breath, getting up off of the forest floor, and grabs his sword. He has two options: put up a fight or willingly give up the flag. Today Jisung doesn't feel like getting his ass kicked by Renjun, so he tenses up, surveying the area for whoever made the noise.

"Oh, hey Jisung! I'm surprised they dragged you into another one of these games. Thought you were given permission to not participate a long time ago, can't exactly remember when though.”

Jisung turns around slowly, keeping the flag in his peripheral. "Chiron gave me permission after I summoned too many skeletons to stand guard for me and passed out."

"You really don't like this game. That was, what, two years ago?"

"Yup. Renjun threatened me if I didn't do something tonight."

"Tonight's game is that important to him?"

"He has a bet with Donghyuck and he refuses to lose."

"Those two have quite the relationship. Do you think Renjun will be able to win?"

"I kinda have to say yes."

"Yeah, I suppose you do," Jaemin says, "Listen, no shade on you, but I'm kinda gonna have to take that flag off your hands. No hard feelings, yeah?" He has this stupid smug look on his face that’s exactly what Jisung expects from him. Jisung wants to punch it off.

"Of course, no hard feelings," Jisung says right as he swings his sword down. Jaemin expertly blocks him.
"C'mon Sungie, thought this was gonna be easy."

"Sorry to break it to you Jaemin, but I'm not easy," Jisung says, and before Jaemin can reply, Jisung has him on his knees. He didn’t exactly do nothing all these years at camp, and he has the element of underestimation on his side.

He tilts Jaemin's head up with his dagger, careful to not cut him. Jaemin's face is red, eyes wide, and Jisung's suddenly struck with the thought that maybe his reaction isn't just from the physical exertion of the fight.

He steps back when he hears shouts of joy, the sound of a prevailing army traveling through the forest, the red team's flag in their hands. "Pleasure doing business with you," Jisung says as Chenle comes up behind him to clap a hand on his shoulder.

Jaemin doesn't reply. Jisung can feel his eyes on him as he walks away.

 

Things Jisung was expecting to happen this summer: nothing, nothing, and more nothing. Things Jisung wasn’t expecting to happen this summer: Na Jaemin showing up on his doorstep not even a week into camp. It’s not that Jaemin’s never wandered over to his cabin before. It’s happened once or twice over the years, Jaemin’s easy going everyone’s in my pocket attitude forcing him to say hi at least once a summer, eventually bringing him to Jisung. His only problem is that it’s a bit early.

Jisung opens the door to a smiling son of Nike and a sinking feeling develops in his gut. “Um...hello?” Confusion drips from his words, but Jaemin doesn’t seem to pick up on that. It’s annoying, Na Jaemin’s perfect face not even a foot away from him, but Jisung honestly can’t put into words why it annoys him.

“Hi,” Jaemin smiles wider.

“Can I help you?” Jisung’s words are blunt as he studies Jaemin for a clue on why he’s here. He would’ve been more upfront about it if this were the normal ”hey how you doing how was your year good that’s good well see you again next summer!” conversation.

Jaemin steps forward to lean against the wall in what he probably thinks is a nonchalant way but really just looks like he’s trying too hard. “I need your help.”

Alarms sound off in Jisung’s head. He can’t say no to Na fucking Jaemin, his fanclub would kill him, but he has no idea what Jaemin could possibly need help with. For all he knows, it could kill him in faster and more painful ways than a bunch of annoying demigods could. “With what?”

“Pranking Mark.”

Jisung pauses for a moment. Okay, that changes things. Pranks are fun, Jisung likes pranks. He weighs his options. On one hand, big three kids solidarity. On the other, it’ll be fucking hilarious. After a moment of careful consideration he looks Jaemin in the eyes. “Let me call Chenle and Renjun.”

 

The prank is a success.

“See you around, Jisung,” Jaemin tells him after thanking him profusely. Jisung freezes at his words. He doesn’t know how to exist in a world where Na Jaemin knows him.

And that’s how it all starts.

 

Jisung’s halfway through his daily tasks when Na Jaemin himself waltzes into the backroom of the infirmary. It’s no surprise that Jaemin’s in the infirmary, they have a bed with his name on it, it’s just a surprise that he’s in the back room of the infirmary—Jisung’s territory.

“There you are! I’ve been looking for you for almost an hour. Honestly thought you shadow travelled to Scotland or something.” Jaemin looks like an excited puppy. It’s not something Jisung’s used to. What Jaemin could possibly be excited about is lost on Jisung.

Jisung stares at him for a beat too long. “Why would I go to Scotland?” It’s a valid question, if you ask Jisung. Jaemin makes a face at it though, like it’s not.

“I don’t know, honestly, just knew that you weren’t anywhere I looked.” Jaemin straightens up, looking around the cramped room like he’s only just now realized where he is. “Oh, this place is cool.”

“Why were you looking for me?”

“Why are you in the infirmary if you aren’t injured?”

“I asked you first.”

“I wanted to see you.” And cue a Na Jaemin special, that stupid fucking smile of his that has literally everyone at Camp Half Blood swooning. Not Jisung though, definitely not Jisung.

Jisung ignores him and the way his stomach twists. “I work here.” At Jaemin’s look of surprise he backtracks. “I know what some people think of me, being a son of Hades and everything. I guess I just wanted to prove to myself that I can do the opposite of what people expect of me.”

"So you clean up after the Apollo kids?"

"And do basic healing tasks if needed."

"That's," Jaemin pauses and for a moment Jisung thinks he's going to make fun of him, call him a loser for wanting all the other camper’s approval so much, but instead he smiles. "That's nice Jisung."

Jisung hesitates, not expecting the nice words. "Thanks." Jaemin smiles, a softer one that Jisung hasn’t seen on him yet. It’s nice, Jisung realizes after his brain reboots from the surprise of Jaemin not being a dick about it, the smile, Jaemin being here, Jaemin wanting to spend time with him. He hopes it’ll happen more often.

 

Meals are boring. Always have been, always will be. Even after the whole “Oh, by the way, there’s an entire Roman camp on the West coast and they don’t force you to sit with only your siblings at every meal” thing Chiron refuses to at least let the kids with no siblings sit with other tables. It’s upsetting and alienating. Jisung hates it.

So when Jisung rolls up to the dining pavilion for lunch he expects another boring meal. What he gets is Na Jaemin casually making his way towards Jisung’s table the second he sits down. “So,” Jaemin says as he slides in across from Jisung, completely ignoring the rules that very obviously say campers have to sit at their assigned tables during meals, “aside from being the Apollo cabin’s bitch, what else do you spend your time doing?”

Jisung freezes, his fork halfway to his mouth, as he tries to process the situation. One: Na Jaemin is sitting at his table, which he should not be doing, considering he doesn’t even do this for his friends. Two: He wants to know more about Jisung which is, in all honesty, not something he ever expected would happen. It’s a lot to take in. “I uh-I hang out with Renjun and Chenle? Or just chill in my cabin.”

“That’s nice.” Jaemin’s face is set in another one of his smiles, which does nothing but make Jisung feel uneasy. And because Jaemin has never been anything other than upfront about his feelings, he asks, “Do you wanna hang out sometime?” Jisung briefly recognizes how out of the norm this situation is, but nods slowly. The way Jaemin’s smile widens until he’s full on grinning at him, making how out of his depth Jisung is worth it. “Great! I’ll see you around camp Jisung,” and with that he gets up and makes his way back to his actual table, leaving Jisung to ponder what in the fuck just happened.

 

Jisung’s four o’clock activity on Wednesday is canoeing. That being said, he doesn’t actually canoe, just sits on the dock and watches everyone else canoe. It’s not his favorite past time, because summers on Long Island aren’t as hot as one would think, but he prefers it over everything else Camp Half Blood has to offer. Spending an hour sitting down with his headphones in while everyone else splashes about in the water is quite relaxing, and he totally expects to do it again today, but someone else has different plans.

“I’m not gonna let you sit here and not do anything.” Jisung is very strong willed, but even the most stubborn person alive couldn’t say no to Na Jaemin in a dripping wet white tee shirt. “C’mon, you can do it with me.”

Jisung freezes, mouth open as he stares up at Jaemin. “Why is your shirt wet?” comes out, not whatever else he was going to say.

Jaemin laughs, causing the water droplets barely hanging onto his shirt to sprinkle against Jisung. “Mark,” he says, not at all elaborating, but honestly, he doesn’t need to.

“Oh,” Jisung says softly, eyes focused somewhere off to the side of Jaemin’s right hip.

“Will you come on the canoe if I promise to not get you wet?” Jaemin asks after a beat.

Jisung, slightly dazed, and definitely going to regret this later, looks up and nods. Jaemin holds out a hand and helps him up, apologizing for the wetness.

“I’m going to assume you’ve never been in a canoe before, which, honestly, bad on the camp if you’ve been here for seven years and have never ridden in a canoe,” Jaemin says, a hand on Jisung's arm as he guides him to an empty canoe.

"I tried once, but Renjun pushed me into the lake, so I don't think it counts."

Jaemin laughs and nods. "Sounds like Renjun. I promise I won't push you in."

 

The first thing Jisung notices when they get out on the lake: how annoyingly good Jaemin’s arms look as he paddles the canoe. Like seriously, it's unfair. Jisung's not stupid enough to lie to himself and say that Jaemin isn't attractive, but seeing him this close up, dripping wet, and smiling at him, makes Jisung's throat dry up.

"So," Jaemin starts, setting the paddles down on the floor of the canoe. They're drifting in the middle of the lake, the closest person ten feet away. It's nice. "How's your first actual canoe ride going?"

Jisung stares out at the lake, briefly remembering the last time he was out here. "You haven't pushed me in yet, so it's going okay I guess."

"Hey! Don't say yet. I said I wouldn't push you in," Jaemin says, lips set in a pout that tells Jisung he's playing up how offended he is.

He smiles. "Who knows what'll happen," Jisung says breezily, looking out at the horizon.

Jaemin huffs. "I won't push you in out of my own volition, but if an accident happens that's not on me."

"Whatever you say, Jaemin."

Jisung watches as Jaemin opens his mouth to respond and then the next thing he knows he's underwater. He breaks the surface, breathing deeply, and almost runs into their canoe.

Jaemin comes up somewhere behind him. "What the fuck."

Jisung whirls around to find Mark and Jeno on the dock, hiding their laughs behind their hands. He sighs and floats on his back.

Jaemin pokes him in the cheek. Jisung opens an eye to look at him. "See. Accident."

Jisung's look of indifference slips off his face, replaced by annoyance. He tackles Jaemin and holds him underwater for a couple seconds, gleefully taking in the way Jaemin oversells how much he needs air.

 

The highlight of Jisung’s morning is Lee Jeno dragging an unconscious Jaemin into the infirmary. It’s a welcome distraction; doing inventory is boring as shit, and there’s nobody else to treat in here. The Apollo kids disappeared in the ‘break room’ about twenty minutes ago. Jisung half wishes he joined them even though he knows they don’t want him back there. Something about it only being a place for Children of Apollo™.

“What did he do?” he asks instead of hurrying. The injury doesn’t look serious enough to warrant panic, only a trail of blood slinking down the side of his face.

Jeno smiles, a strange mix of pride and sheepishness Jisung’s never seen on another person before. “Thought he could take me in a fight.” That explains the pride, not so much the sheepishness. But then again Jeno’s known around camp for being a sweetheart, so maybe he’s just always a little bit sheepish.

Jisung’s brain supplies him with all the rumors he’s heard about Jaemin over the years, specifically the ones about his fighting abilities. “I thought Jaemin could take anyone in a fight.”

“That’s true, but he was distracted and didn’t quite see my shield before I hit him across the head with it.”

Jisung sighs. “If he has a concussion I’ll be really annoyed with you.”

“Why? Do you care about him?” Jeno asks in a voice that’s strangely devoid of any actual curiosity. He sounds like he’s reading off of cards. It’s weird.

He eyes Jeno, not really knowing what to make of him. “No, he’ll just be extra annoying when he wakes up.”

“Well, have fun with him,” Jeno says before unceremoniously dumping Jaemin onto an empty bed.

“I’ll try,” Jisung says to Jeno’s back as he retreats out the door, more like a question than a statement.

After a moment of letting himself bask in the weirdness of that entire interaction, Jisung goes about everything he needs to, cleaning and dressing the wound. It’s quick work and he gets it done before any of the Apollo kids poke their heads out to see if anything interesting’s gone on. It’s Donghyuck who’s the designated poker today, which is weird because Jisung’s not even sure he has infirmary duty. “Oh, Jaemin’s here. Probably did something stupid again,” he says before slipping back into the VIP backroom.

All of Jaemin’s friends are weird, Jisung declares to an empty infirmary.

 

Jaemin wakes up with a grunt.

“Welcome back sleeping beauty,” Jisung’s voice is dripping in sugar and sarcasm, something he hopes Jaemin appreciates. He doesn’t. Jisung has to act like he’s not annoyed by that.

Jaemin observes his surroundings and then sighs. “Since when do they actually let you treat people instead of cleaning up after everyone?”

“Since when do you let people get the jump on you?” Jisung shoots back, eyebrows raised.

“Shut up,” Jaemin’s cheeks turn a pretty pink color. Jisung forces himself to look away. “What happened?

“Jeno gave you a concussion,” Jisung says lightly, “you’ll have to stay here for a couple more hours for resting reasons.” He pauses in wait for Jaemin’s inevitable complaints, but they never come. “What? No complaints? Damn, Jeno must’ve hit you really hard.” Jisung laughs quietly as he moves closer to Jaemin to check the bandage.

Jaemin lies back, lifting his arms up to fold his hands behind his head, allowing Jisung to do his job. “Every now and then I like to do as I’m told, just to confuse people.”

Jisung pauses, shifting back to look Jaemin in the eyes. “Seriously?”

“Yup.”

“That’s not the only reason though.”

“What makes you think that?”

“I don’t know, maybe the fact that I know you?”

A soft smile spreads across Jaemin’s face. This time Jisung can’t look away. “You’re here. Even if I wasn’t hurt I wouldn’t leave.”

Jisung doesn’t know how to feel about that, but then again, he doesn’t know how to feel about anything Jaemin does. It’s weird, having Jaemin care for him, not something he ever expected would’ve happened. And yet here he is, a smiley, slightly out of it Jaemin staring at Jisung’s hand like he wishes to hold it.

He only has the tiniest urge to want him to reach out.

 

The beach is quiet this time of night. Jisung found that out years ago and subsequently fell into a routine. On Thursday he'd eat as fast as he could and then take a walk down the beach. He likes the quiet and alone time, he uses it to think without Renjun making fun of him.

This Thursday, however, is different in one aspect. Jisung makes it a quarter of the way down the beach when he spots Jaemin sitting alone, staring at the water.

“You look lonely.” Jaemin jumps, clearly not expecting anyone to interrupt him. “The beach is always empty this time of night.”

Jaemin smiles up at him. “How did you figure that out?”

“Years of being at this camp and having no friends.”

Jaemin furrows his brow. “You have friends now though, right?” He gently grabs ahold of Jisung’s hand. It makes him think of that day in the infirmary, Jaemin’s longing looks towards his hands as Jisung patched him up. The feeling of Jaemin’s hand in his own makes Jisung wish he’d done it then too.

Jisung allows himself to be pulled down. He settles next to Jaemin, “Yeah, Renjun and Chenle are great,” he pauses, looking over at Jaemin, “What about you?”

“Mark, Jeno, and Donghyuck are...quite the combination of personalities,” Jaemin looks down at his hands and laughs softly, “I love them a lot.”

Jisung looks up at the setting sun. The light washes over the beach, making everything look hazy and golden. His breath catches when his eyes inevitably find Jaemin again. He looks unguarded and vulnerable, beautiful in a way that Jisung’s never seen him before.

For the second time since Jaemin and Jisung developed this kind of sort of friendship, alarms go off in his head.

 

Jisung wakes up to incessant knocking on his cabin door. Out of all the ways he’s been woken up over the years, it hits at right around a monster getting into camp and destroying the Hera cabin in terms of how annoyed by it he is. And of course, it’s Jaemin.

“Would you come to my funeral?” Jisung’s greeted with as he opens the door, eyes too blurry to make anything out.

“What the fuck,” is his eloquent response.

Jaemin pushes in, forcing Jisung to take a couple steps back. He glances behind him quickly and then shuts the door, smiling nervously at Jisung when he turns back to face him. “If I died, would you come to my funeral?”

“If you died we’d have to burn your shroud, and I’d be the one doing your funeral rights, so I’d have to go to your funeral.”

“Okay, but, like, if you had a choice, would you?”

Jisung pauses, letting his barely awake brain wrap around the question. He sighs, “Yeah, Jaemin, I’d choose to go to your funeral.” Jaemin grins. “Why are you even asking me this?”

Jaemin stops grinning. “I might have done a thing.”

“You’re an idiot,” Jisung deadpans, flopping back onto his bed. “Did you come here to hide?” Jaemin nods and opens his mouth to speak. Jisung cuts him off. “You can stay, just don’t annoy me.”

“Cool,” Jaemin says. “Cool, cool, cool.”

“That’s annoying.”

“Right.” Awkward silence fills the room. Jaemin stares at Jisung’s wall filled with posters. “I don’t...have my phone...so I really don’t know what to do now.”

Jisung closes his eyes and sighs. He points to his bookshelf. “I have books, some comic books, and a DS with about a dozen games if you would like to do that. Find something to entertain yourself with.” Jaemin makes his way to it while Jisung throws his comforter over his head.

He doesn't know how much time passes before he huffs and throws the blanket off, looking around the room for where Jaemin settled. Jisung finds him on a bean bag absorbed into whatever game he's playing. He doesn't even look up when Jisung approaches him.

"You fuck up my town and you're dead," Jisung says as he sits down on the bean bag next to him, eyeing the screen. He's playing Animal Crossing.

Jaemin hums. "Don't worry, I won't," he says as Isabella pops up with an update. They sit in silence for awhile, Jaemin going about through the town, Jisung trying to figure out how to start up a conversation in a non-awkward way.

"What exactly did you do?" he asks after a moment.

"You'll find out soon enough."

Jisung lies back in the chair and stares at the ceiling. "Well that isn't ominous at all."

Jaemin laughs softly. "No, it isn't."

They fall back into silence after that, but Jisung doesn't care. Eventually he picks up a comic from his shelf and settles back in, flicking through it as Jaemin continues his journey through Jisung's town. It's nice if he's being honest, companionship with comfortable silence. Jisung quite likes it.

There's a knock on his door about an hour after Jaemin arrives. He freezes, eyes pleading as he looks at Jisung. Jisung waves him off and gets up to answer the door. He's greeted with Donghyuck when he opens the door. "What do you want?"

"You wouldn't happen to have seen Jaemin, have you?" Donghyuck asks, leaning against the wall.

Jisung's good at body language, and Donghyuck's says that he's probably going to kill Jaemin. He can't have that, he's not in the mood for a funeral. "No? I haven't left my cabin today. What'd he do?" he asks, feigning innocence. Jisung can almost hear Jaemin's smile from here.

"He's been an asshole, that's what he did," Donghyuck says, standing up straight. "If you see him, give a call, yeah?"

"Sure," Jisung says, then promptly shuts the door.

Jaemin's grinning at him when he returns to the bean bags. "You're amazing, you know that right?"

Jisung blushes, for some fucking reason. "I have plans later, a funeral would get in the way of them."

Jaemin's smile falls, just a little bit, but Jisung notices. "What plans?"

"Renjun and Chenle are coming over for a movie night."

"Oh," Jaemin says, looking back at his game. "That's nice."

"Chenle's probably gonna make me watch that animated Spider-Man movie."

Jaemin's smile returns. He eyes him from the corner of his eye. "What's wrong with Spider-Man?"

"Well, nothing, but I won't give Chenle the satisfaction of giving in."

"That's nice Jisung," Jaemin says, returning his full attention to his game.

Jisung glances at him and sighs, not at all understanding the feeling in his chest when he does. He shakes his head and returns to his comic, trying his best to forget about it. For some reason he can’t focus on the story, so he sighs and gets up.

“What are you doing?” Jaemin looks up at him, forehead creased.

“I need music.” Jisung finds his phone after two minutes of searching around his bed, pointedly ignoring how he can hear Jaemin laughing at him. He sits back down, phone in hand, and presses shuffle on his favorite playlist.

“You need to expand your horizons,” Jaemin tells him after a while, setting down the DS.

“Expand what horizons?”

“Your music horizons.” Jaemin snatches Jisung’s phone off the ground where it’s sitting between them.

“Give it back.”

Jaemin laughs, scrambling as far away as he can manage on a bean bag. “No. I’m making you a new playlist. This time with less 80’s hits.”

“The 80’s was a good era for music, you’re just mean,” Jisung says, crossing his arms over his chest.

Jaemin hums, not bothering to reply. Jisung leaves him alone as he, presumably, makes his playlist. Jaemin shifts closer after a couple of silent minutes, resting his head on Jisung’s stomach. Jisung snakes his fingers through Jaemin’s hair, softly singing along to the very 80’s song playing in the background.

“And…” Jaemin says, sitting up slightly. He poses for a moment, mouth open, and snaps a quick picture. “Here you go.”

Jisung takes the phone back from him. He looks at the cover picture for the newest playlist on his phone for a moment too long.

“I kept in some of the songs you listen to that I like, but it’s mostly just songs I think you’ll like,” Jaemin says, rubbing the back of his neck like he’s shy. He hits shuffle and jumps at the intro of the song. Jaemin laughs quietly, “This is Fancy by Twice. It’s nice and upbeat, thought you’d like it.”

“It’s catchy.”

Jaemin smiles as the chorus starts playing. “Yeah, catchy.”

 

Jaemin leaves three hours into his stay, deeming it safe enough. Jisung’s not sure, but Renjun and Chenle are due any minute, so he lets him go.

Renjun stops three steps out of the door to the Hades cabin, an expression that can only be described as dumbfounded on his face. “What in the fuck are you listening to. Isn’t this too modern for you?”

Jisung looks up at him from where he’s thumbing through one of Chenle’s X-Men comics. He leans over and presses the home button of his phone. “It’s Why Don’t We Go There? by One Direction and yes, it’s way too modern, but Jaemin made me this playlist, so I have to listen to it.”

Chenle stares at him as he pushes past a still frozen Renjun. “Who are you and what have you done with Jisung?” He moves closer to poke at Jisung’s face like he’s checking to make sure he’s real.

Jisung slaps his hand away. “Fuck you. Why can’t I listen to new music?”

“We’ve been trying to get you to listen to something other than Stranger Things soundtrack rejects for years. We’re not saying you can’t, we’re just surprised is all,” Renjun says, rolling his eyes at the offended look on Jisung’s face.

They join him on the floor, Chenle making eyes at Jisung's phone, and he gives him a couple seconds before he gives in. "Your fingerprint is in my phone, just look at the damn playlist already."

Chenle snatches the phone off the ground immediately, unlocking it and then opening the music app. "Let's see. We have a great mix of exactly what I would expect from Jaemin, some songs I know for a fact you like, and some surprises." He goes silent for a moment as he scrolls through the playlist, taking a closer look. "This is...actually a good playlist. I'm impressed."

"Give it here," Renjun says, not even waiting for Chenle to hand the phone over as he grabs it. He spends a considerably longer time scrutinizing the playlist than Chenle did, long enough for Jisung to feel uncomfortable. Eventually though, Renjun nods. "Not bad. Some very basic song choices mixed in with some absolute bops. I'm not angry at this."

The song changes to something Jisung hasn't heard before, but by the way Chenle's face lights up, he knows it. "Sunflower! That reminds me, Jisung, we're finally watching Into The Spider-Verse tonight."

Jisung groans, he knew this was coming. "Seriously? You know I'm not an Avengers fan."

"You've gotten out of this for too long! It's on Netflix now, you can't talk your way out of it anymore," Chenle pouts, "Please, Jisung. If you don't watch it, I won't let you read my comics anymore. Or worse, I'll only let you read my Avengers one's."

"I can't stand you," Jisung says. "Fine. I'll watch the stupid movie."

Renjun hits him over the head with his forgotten comic. "Watch your fucking mouth, Into The Spider-Verse is art."

"You can invite Jaemin if you want. Anything to get you to actually watch it," Chenle says as Jisung rubs at his head, contemplating retaliating. He decides not to, out of respect for Chenle, who would most definitely be dragged into it, and Jisung knows he would side with Renjun.

"Maybe I will." Jisung picks up the comic again, carefully opening it to the page he left off.

Chenle smiles a smile that doesn't mean well for Jisung. "Good."

 

Jisung admits defeat ten minutes into the movie. It's fantastic. Jaemin coos at him when he admits it, and Chenle would've probably thrown a party in celebration if he wasn't so engrossed in the movie. Renjun, on the other hand, seems more interested in the way Jaemin's casually thrown his arm around Jisung. He doesn't blame Renjun for that, if Jisung wasn't so versed with being unbothered he might've paid more attention to it too.

Jaemin, as far as Jisung can tell, enjoys the movie too. About halfway into the film Jisung has a horrifying thought. "Oh gods," he says loud enough that everyone takes their attention off the screen to focus on him, "you're an Avengers stan."

"And if I am?" Jaemin asks, already answering Jisung's question, an annoying smile on his face.

Jisung groans, turning around to face the ceiling. "I'm surrounded by people that like the Avengers. What did I ever do to the gods to deserve this?"

"You're so mean Jisung!" Jaemin digs his face into Jisung's shoulder as he speaks, causing his heart to speed up.

Jisung's voice is quieter as he speaks. "Just once I would like to meet someone else that prefers the X-Men over the Avengers."

"You'll find that person one of these days, but now I need you to focus on the goddamn movie," Renjun throws a pillow at him, not bothering to take his eyes off the screen.

Jisung pouts, but shuts up, because he knows better than anyone how scary Renjun can be. He turns back to lie on his stomach, jostling Jaemin as he moves, but his arm returns back to where it was resting over Jisung's back, so he doesn't seem too annoyed by it.

"You know," Jaemin leans in to tell him just as the movie’s ending, "I wouldn't mind you teaching me about the X-Men if it would make you happy."

Renjun snorts. "You just made the worst mistake of your life, Na."

Jaemin continues staring into Jisung's eyes, not at all deterred by Renjun's interjection. "No, I don't think it is."

 

The worst part of summer at Camp Half Blood is the fact that Jisung can’t just dick around all day. He’s forced to participate in random activities that range from Definitely Dangerous (the climbing wall, that spits out actual lava) to Only A Little Bit Dangerous (arts and crafts with the younger campers, who are all assholes who shouldn’t be given scissors) against his will and it’s not at all what Jisung wants to be doing on a Wednesday afternoon.

Thankfully, by three in the afternoon Chiron decides he’s done enough archery to last him a life time and lets him leave. As he’s leaving the archery range he passes by the sword fighting arena. Whatever fight’s going on doesn’t seem to be too interesting to Jisung, but he’s stopped before he can walk back towards the comfort of his cabin.

“Hey! Jisung!”

He spins around to face Mark Lee. He’s not that mad at it, Mark’s nice enough, but seriously? Why him, why now? “Hey, what’s up?”

“Oh nothing much,” Mark says, leaning against the opening to the arena, “Jeno and Jaemin are fighting again even though they know it never ends well.”

Jisung suddenly remembers all those weeks ago. “Well, tell Jaemin I won’t be there to heal his concussion he’ll inevitably get.”

Mark laughs and eyes the fight. “Oh I will—actually, I think you’ll get the opportunity to tell him yourself.”

Jisung moves to ask him what he means when a very sweaty Jaemin makes his presence known by pulling him into a very uncomfortable hug. “Jisungie! Did you see the fight? I was great, right?”

“I didn’t see much, I just got here,” Jisung says, not so subtly pushing Jaemin away.

“Oh,” Jaemin deflates, lips setting in a small pout, “that’s okay I guess.”

Jisung opens his mouth to apologize for whatever reason, wanting to cheer him up a bit, when Donghyuck joins them. “Jisung! How nice of you to join us.” Mark elbows him in the stomach. Why, Jisung doesn’t know, just focuses on the way Donghyuck seems to be scrutinizing him. “I bet Jaemin’s real happy you were here to watch him get his ass kicked.”

Jaemin shifts uncomfortably next to Jisung. “Shut up.” He scratches the back of his head, which Jisung knows is something he does when he’s embarrassed, but he doesn’t know what he’s embarrassed about. It’s not like he actually got his ass kicked, if he did, he wouldn’t be standing.

“No, it’s nice. We haven’t really gotten to hang out with him. You’ve been keeping him all to yourself,” Donghyuck jabs at Jaemin’s ribs and he hisses in pain, moving to stand a little bit behind Jisung like it’ll protect him.

“Have not.” Jaemin’s voice is uncharacteristically quiet, his eyes shifting around the group, not focusing on one thing for long.

Half of Jisung doesn’t want to see Jaemin out of his depth, but the other half finds a little joy in it. Either way, it’s way too hot outside, so he decides the weird lull in the conversation is the perfect time to make his leave. “Well, I have to go. It was nice seeing you all.”

Donghyuck stares at Jaemin who steadfastly keeps his eye contact on the floor. “It was nice to see you too, even though I see you almost as much as Jaemin.”

“Bye, have fun doing whatever you’re doing next,” Mark says before dipping into the arena to strike up a conversation with Jeno, who’s been watching them with amusement in his eyes. Donghyuck narrows his eyes at Jaemin before following him.

Jisung watches him for a moment before shaking his head. “I’m gonna–” he says at the same time Jaemin starts with “Do you wan–”

Jaemin steps back. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. Continue.”

He takes a deep breath. “Do you wanna hang out after dinner?”

“Ah–Sure,” Jisung says, averting his eyes in an attempt to not start staring at Jaemin, whose entire demeanor does a 180 at his words.

“Oh, cool,” Jaemin says, his embarrassment overshadowed by his bright smile. “I’ll see you later?”

Jisung nods. “Yeah. Bye.” His words are stilted, but in his defense, this entire interaction did not go how he expected. Jaemin nods, smiling as he takes a step back, not watching where he’s going. He trips over his own dropped sword, laughing as Jisung watches him.

He finally turns away, Jaemin’s embarrassment having transferred itself into him. Jisung allows himself to look back once he makes it a few feet away. Jaemin’s still standing in the entrance, stupidly smiling at the ground. Somehow, it makes Jisung smile too.

 

Jaemin shows up an hour after dinner. Jisung’s not at all nonplussed by the time; Jaemin hadn’t mentioned a specific time he would come over, so he just steps back and allows enough room for Jaemin to slip in.

“Hyunjin’s an ass,” is the first thing he says, collapsing on top of Jisung’s bed.

Jisung sits down gently next to him, careful to leave enough space between them. “What did he do this time?”

Jaemin blushes, red rising slowly from under his shirt collar to settle prettily on his cheeks. “That’s not important, I just wanted you to know.”

Jisung blanches for a moment, not entirely sure how to continue the conversation. He elects to change the topic entirely. “Wanna watch a movie?”

“Which one?”

“First Class? You said you’d let me teach you about X-Men. It’s not entirely accurate to the comics but I enjoy it.”

“That’s cool,” Jaemin sits up and stretches, the hem of his shirt coming up and revealing his stomach. He gets up before Jisung’s staring gets weird. “You have the DVD right? I’ll put it in.”

“Third cubby on the top row,” Jisung tells him as he leans back comfortably against the bed. Jaemin nods and begins his search. He returns once he starts the movie, not caring about how him jumping back onto the bed clearly jostles Jisung, but he doesn’t mind all that much either.

The movie’s nice. Jaemin asks questions here and there but is mostly quiet. Jisung, though he swears up and down he’ll never get tired of this movie, spends more time looking at Jaemin than the screen. He mentally slaps himself for it, it makes him feel like a schoolgirl with a crush, which he is not. It’s late by the time it’s over and Jaemin yawns as he lays his head back, turning to look at Jisung.

“It’s past curfew,” there’s a hint of something in Jaemin’s voice, but Jisung’s too tired to put a name to it.

“Yeah,” Jisung says, and then a beat too late adds, “the harpies will probably eat you if you leave.”

Jaemin laughs. “Most likely.” He looks like he wants to say something else, but Jisung doesn’t know what it would be. Just because he’s been spending a lot of time with Jaemin lately does not mean he understands the way he thinks.

“You can stay the night? I don’t think Hyunjin will tell on us,” Jisung blurts out after a moment, his tiredness making his mental filter stop working.

It seems to be the right thing to say because Jaemin smiles at him. “I think that’s our best option.”

“I think most of my clothes will fit you, hold on, I’ll grab you something,” Jisung clambers out of the bed, the blanket wrapped around him, and he almost trips. It’s annoying, but almost worth it for the way Jaemin laughs quietly at him.

He rummages around his drawers to find pajamas for both himself and Jaemin and presents them to him with a nervous smile. Jaemin takes them and heads to the bathroom, allowing Jisung a moment of reprieve to think about what this means.

He’s going to have to share a bed with Jaemin.

This wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t give the Hermes cabin all of his unused beds because really, there’s only one of him in this cabin and like, two dozen kids in the Hermes cabin: they need them more than he does. And if he ever wants to have a sleepover with Renjun and Chenle, they always have it in Chenle’s cabin, so there’s been no need for more than one bed. Except now he needs another one and there’s none available.

If Renjun were here he’d laugh at Jisung and call him ridiculous. They’re just sharing a bed, but this whole friendship thing with Jaemin is so new and he’s afraid of doing something to mess it up. He may act like he doesn’t want to be around Jaemin most of the time but he truly does want to be his friend, Jisung just doesn’t know why Jaemin would want to he his friend.

Jaemin comes back just as Jisung’s really starting to freak out and the reminder that he’s not alone shakes Jisung out of his thoughts. “Do you have a side?” he asks, pointing at the bed with his free hand. The other is carrying his clothes, which he throws onto the dresser next to him.

“I prefer the right, but after years of sleepovers with Renjun and Chenle, I’ve learned to not really care,” Jisung says.

Jaemin pulls the blankets back on the left side. “I get that. You have no idea how much of bed hogs Jeno and Donghyuck are. Sleepovers with them are nightmares.”

Jisung huffs out a laugh and climbs into bed too. He situates himself, getting comfortable, and thanks his past self for at least keeping the biggest bed out of the lot the camp gave him. “Night Jaemin.”

“Night Jisung,” Jaemin hums, still trying to get comfortable in the unfamiliar bed. It takes him a few seconds, but he relaxes just as Jisung’s eyes are closing for good.

 

Jisung wakes to Jaemin’s head resting on top of his own and his face pressed into Jaemin’s neck. It’s honestly what he should have expected, but it actually happening still makes Jisung’s stomach stir. Speaking of stirring, Jaemin does too a couple minutes after Jisung, probably because of the way he froze up.

“What time is it,” Jaemin says, and oh gods, his morning voice should be illegal.

“I don’t know,” Jisung says, voice scratchy and not at all as smooth as Jaemin’s. He mentally hits himself, but relents when Jaemin pulls him closer.

“Go back to sleep.”

Jisung hesitantly wraps his arms around Jaemin. “We have stuff to do today.”

“No we don’t. Go back to sleep.”

Jisung relents, and is so very grateful he did.

 

“Jisung,” Jaemin whines from where he’s sitting—more like sprawled—on Jisung’s bed, lips set in a pout. Music plays softly in the background, a staple in Jisung’s cabin; It’s too quiet without it.

“I’m not going to the campfire,” Jisung says, not bothering to look up.

“Why in Hades not?” Jaemin grabs Jisung’s arm and pulls him forward.

Jisung sighs. “It’s not really my thing.”

“Please. I’ll make you the best godsdamn s’more you’ve ever eaten.”

“You make a compelling argument, but have you considered this?” Jisung flips him off.

Jaemin pouts. “That’s mean! You’re so mean to me Jisung!”

Jisung hums in confirmation, plopping down on the bed next to Jaemin. He ignores Jaemin in favor of scrolling through his Instagram feed. Jaemin rests his chin on Jisung’s chest, puppy dog eyes out in full force.

Edge Of Seventeen starts playing as Jaemin huffs. “Please Jisung.”

Jisung sighs. “Fine.” This is new, the whole giving into Jaemin so easily. If it were Renjun or Chenle he would’ve never given in, but it never would’ve been, considering they gave up trying to get him to come to the campfires years ago. “But only for a little bit.”

He doesn’t know what this is, this feeling deep in his chest that forces him to give in, but for some reason it doesn’t bother him.

 

The campfire is nice, which is something Jisung would’ve never admitted to or found out last summer. Jaemin next to him grounds him, even though everything else around him is fuzzy and warm. He can kind of see Renjun and Chenle across from them through the flames, but he doesn’t try to catch their attention. It’s highly probable that they’ve already seen him, which means he’s going to get interrogated later, but right now he’s going to ignore them in favor of using the darkness and Jaemin’s distractions in the form of his other friends to mask how he’s very obviously staring at him.

Someone’s playing a song on a guitar while shittily singing along and Jisung feels like he should be annoyed or at the very least make some sort of sarcastic remark about it, but he can’t find it in himself to do so. Jaemin looks so fucking happy and Jisung doesn’t want to ruin that.

That’s something new, Jisung caring so much for Jaemin’s happiness. Part of him thinks it’s some new feeling, but the other thinks it’s just that Jaemin’s the first friend he’s made in a couple years and he’s slowly relearning how to be a friend without the easy dynamic of knowing everything there is to know about them. Whatever it is, Jisung’s held off from telling Renjun and Chenle about it, for fear that they’ll either make fun of him for not knowing what it’s like to be a part of a blossoming friendship, or that he’s right in thinking that it’s something new.

“You alright?” Jisung’s torn out of his thoughts by Jaemin’s question, his mildly concerned face slowly coming back into focus. Instead of answering, because it’s almost uncomfortably hot in front of the fire and everyone’s so loud and Jaemin’s so solid against him he drops his head onto Jaemin’s shoulder. He feels Jaemin laugh and reach an arm around him, gently pulling him closer, and this is the moment when Jisung has the fleeting thought that this isn’t what being friends is.

Being friends may entail leaning your head on their shoulder from time to time, but it doesn’t involve Na Jaemin looking at him with those annoyingly wide and expressive eyes of his as he smiles a smile that could only be described as fond, considering the fact that Jisung’s never seen him smile at anyone else like that. If they were just regular pals, Jaemin wouldn’t grab for his hand immediately after leaving Jisung’s cabin, he wouldn’t sneak away for secret visits in the backroom of the infirmary, whispered words telling of how much he missed him and how much he wanted to see him again, and it definitely isn’t Jaemin staring at his lips every fucking time Jisung opens his mouth.

Someone behind Jisung shouts, interrupting his internal spiraling, and he pulls away from Jaemin, the contact that once grounded him turning scalding hot. Jaemin twists around to yell back at the person before turning to Jisung, the carefree smile on his face melting off when his eyes focus on Jisung. “Sung?”

“Times up,” Jisung says. He gets up off the bench and hurries away, not bothering to—or more like, refusing to let himself—look back at Jaemin.

 

Jisung’s not having a breakdown.

“You’re having a breakdown.” Jisung swears under his breath as Renjun—that bastard, he refuses to ignore Jisung’s problems like Jisung wants to—nonchalantly lies back on his bed, stretching out like a cat in a sliver of sunlight. Chenle peeks up over the edge of the bed, having chosen to stay as far away from Jisung as he could get without sacrificing not being able to hear whatever is going to go down.

Jisung pulls his covers over his head, trapping himself underneath, deciding the irritatingly hot air is better than Renjun looking at him like he’s an idiot. “No I’m not.” He hears Renjun snort and kicks him in the shins.

“Ow, fuck,” Renjun slaps him on the back—hard. “You’re just a little bastard, aren't you.” Chenle laughs from his position on the floor, hastily turning Renjun’s words into a little song.

Jisung throws the covers off of his head and chucks a pillow at Chenle, effectively shutting him up. “I can’t fucking stand either of you.”

“We can’t stand you either bub,” Renjun says, eyes focused on his phone.

Jisung huffs. “Why the fuck are you even here? Is my life so boring you need to find entertainment from your dry ass Twitter timeline?”

“I’m here because you’re an idiot and somebody needs to get you to stop avoiding Jaemin. He’s moping, it’s actually disgusting.”

“I’m not avoiding him.”

“You are, do you want to know how I know that?” Jisung pauses a moment before nodding morosely. “Because he’s not in this fucking cabin hanging off of you and staring at you with those goddamn heart eyes of his.”

“Jaemin doesn’t stare at me with heart eyes,” Jisung says quietly, unconvinced of his own words, because goddammit, Jaemin does stare at him with heart eyes. It upsets Jisung greatly but he’s also disgustingly enamoured by it.

“You’re full of shit Park Jisung.”

Jisung groans, annoyingly loud, and he holds it for longer than he should, just to annoy the absolute shit out of Renjun. Chenle shuts him up by digging his fingernails into his foot. Jisung just barely stops himself from kicking him in the face.

Renjun sighs and looks up as he closes his eyes, almost like he’s sending a prayer off to the God of Stupid Idiots Who Refuse To Get Their Shit Together. “Jisung, I’m gonna stop being an asshole for like, five seconds here, and give you some actual advice.” Jisung looks up at him, hoping he doesn’t look at stupid as he feels for his stupid not-breakdown actually getting Renjun to stop being an ass. “You like Jaemin, everyone knows this, and deep down you know it too. And it’s a good thing you do because he likes you so fucking much. He’s always talking about you with that look on his face and it warms my heart that you’ve found someone like him,” Renjun leans closer, and for a split second Jisung thinks he’s gonna do something like run his fingers through his hair, but instead he pinches his ear. Jisung flinches and grabs at his hand as Renjun says, in a tone dripping with irritation, “So for fucks sake just tell him.”

Jisung briefly considers shooting back a sarcastic retort asking Renjun what he knows about feelings but he realizes he’s stupid and that Renjun is the smartest person he knows, so he must be telling the truth. Renjun loves him in a sort of tough love kind of way, and he’d never lie to him, especially about something like this. Chenle taps his foot gently to get his attention and Jisung looks down at him, face set in a look that can only be described as defeat.

“You deserve to be happy Jisung, and Jaemin makes you happy, so you just have to tell him.” Of course Chenle makes everything seem so simple, but that’s what Jisung loves about him. He’s always able to whittle Jisung’s fears down into what they are at their core, making it easier for Jisung to get over them.

Jisung smiles for the first time since the campfire. Gods, he loves his friends. He loves their different approaches to cheering him up; Renjun’s annoyance turned caring advice and Chenle’s simple words. “I love you losers,” Jisung says, still smiling up at the ceiling.

Renjun makes a face. “You’re disgusting.”

“I love you too Jisung,” Chenle says, finally climbing up onto the bed to take his rightful place. He makes a face at Renjun.

Renjun balks. “I’m not saying it.” Chenle stares at him. Renjun sighs. “Fine. I love you too Jisung. Now go and kiss Jaemin already or something, I don’t care anymore.”

“You do,” Jisung says, wrapping his arms around them, pulling them uncomfortably close to him.

“Do not,” Renjun’s face is squished against Jisung’s shoulder but he still keeps up his indifferent facade.

“Do too.”

“Do not.”

“Yes you do.”

“Definitely don’t.”

Chenle cuts them off. “You’re both losers.”

“I know,” Renjun and Jisung say at the same time.

 

Things Jisung’s come to realize way too quickly for his liking: he has a crush on Jaemin, Jaemin most likely likes him back, and he has no idea how to proceed from here. It’s not that Jisung’s never had a crush before, it’s just that Jaemin seems to like him too, and that’s where he gets tripped up.

Another thing Jisung’s realized: Jaemin constantly feels the need to be touching him in some way or another, which he doesn’t hate, it’s just something incredibly hard to deal with with a straight face now that he’s realized his feelings. Like seriously, who knew having the person you have feelings for hanging off you at all times would be difficult. Jisung certainly didn’t.

It’s hard, and Jisung feels incredibly whiny when he complains about it, especially because Renjun calls him whiny everytime he complains about it.

Unfortunately for him, Jaemin’s noticed that something’s up. It starts at breakfast. Jaemin stops by and tries to start a conversation with him but Jisung can’t pay attention to anything that isn’t how fucking happy he is. Jisung quickly files through his memories of every time they’ve hung out this summer and yup, Jaemin’s had a stupid smile on his face every time Jisung’s seen him, but now that he’s realized his feelings it’s affecting him.

“Are you alright?” Jaemin pulls Jisung out of his head, the smile he was stressing over now fallen off his face.

Jisung cringes. “Yeah, sorry.”

“It’s fine,” Jaemin says, not entirely convinced if the way his eyes scan Jisung’s face have anything to say about it. “I should leave you to your breakfast, see you later Jisung.”

His fingers twitch with the want to ask him to stay, but he doesn’t voice it, instead watching as Jaemin walks away back to his table. Jisung sighs, slumps over on the table, and starts to bang his head against it. He only stops when he can physically feel an Aphrodite girl’s eyes on him, brow set in either disgust or worry; Jisung can never tell the difference with children of Aphrodite.

After sending the girl a quick smile in the hopes it alleviates...whatever feelings she has towards him at the moment, he heads back to his cabin. Jisung pulls his phone out as he walks in the door, thumbing through his playlists until he finds what is quite possibly the oldest one he has, and collapses onto his bed as he presses shuffle.

 

“My Chemical Romance, seriously Jisung?” is Renjun’s oh so thoughtful remark as he barges into Jisung’s cabin twenty minutes before lunch, Chenle trailing after him.

“It’s not even like, old school sad MCR, it’s the Danger Days album,” Chenle says, lips set in a disappointed pout.

Jisung lifts his face up from his where it’s been squished against his pillow for hours. There’s obvious marks on it from the lines of the pattern on it. “It’s a playlist,” he says as the song ends and Famous Last Words starts.

“Gods you’re like, an angst ridden middle schooler, what the fuck,” Renjun says, disgust dripping from his words.

Chenle laughs. Jisung throws a pillow at him.

“You two are so mean to me.”

“It’s our job to be mean to you.” Renjun pauses for a moment, obviously waiting for Jisung to respond with some scathing remark, and then sighs when he looks up to see Jisung’s face back to being squished against his pillow. “What’s wrong?”

Jisung sighs, lifting his head back up. “I made a fool of myself in front of Jaemin.”

“Did you try to confess or something?” Chenle asks, sitting down on the edge of the bed.

“No,” Jisung’s glad he didn’t; he can’t even begin to imagine how much of a mess that’s going to be. “I just couldn’t stop freaking out about his smile and scared him away.”

Renjun pushes Jisung’s hair off of his forehead and out of his eyes. “You’re probably overreacting.”

“I mean, yeah, I’m definitely overreacting, but now I notice when I do something weird around him because I care if he thinks I’m weird or not.” Jisung rolls over to stare at the ceiling. “This is bullshit.”

“Your problems would be fixed if you just kissed the guy,” Renjun says as he lays down next to him.

Jisung covers his face with his hands, willing his cheeks to stop flushing as he thinks about kissing Jaemin. “Oh gods.”

Chenle laughs, plopping down to join them. “What did you think dating Jaemin would entail, just holding hands? Or sharing a bed?”

“We’ve already done that,” Jisung mumbles from behind his hands.

Renjun and Chenle sit up, staring down at him. “What?”

“Holy shit,” Chenle says, lightly pushing Jisung’s shoulder, “and you never told us?”

“I forgot.”

“Like hell you did,” Renjun lays back down, jostling Jisung. “You’re an ass Park Jisung.”

Jisung pulls his hands away from his face. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Ask him out,” Renjun and Chenle say in perfect unison.

“But how do I do that?” Jisung says in near hysterics. “Isn’t he supposed to do it? Why does it have to be me?”

“Jaemin’s content to just stare at you with those stupid heart eyes of his while he follows you around like a lost puppy for the rest of eternity. I don’t think he’s gonna do it himself Jisung,” Renjun says.

Jisung sighs. “Like I said, bullshit.”

 

The universe proves Jisung’s theory that it likes watching him suffer, because three days later he opens the door to a very nervous looking Jaemin.

“Um...hey?” Jisung says, confused as all hell at Jaemin’s downright anxious demeanor.

Jaemin smiles but it doesn’t quite reach his eyes. “Can I come in? I need to talk to you.”

Well Jisung’s fucked. “Yeah, of course.” He leads him in, brain working overtime to try to figure out what he wants to talk about. For a terrifying moment it comes up with he doesn’t want to be your friend anymore and Jisung immediately considers jumping out of a window. He doesn’t, but only because Jaemin sits down on his bed and smiles up at him; it actually reaches his eyes this time, and does wonders for calming him down.

“I don’t,” Jaemin starts, ringing his hands, “really know how to do this.” He laughs, looking down at the floor, completely oblivious to how much Jisung wants to die in this moment.

Jisung sucks in a breath. “Just...try your best.” He means it to be mildly encouraging, but it comes out more scared than anything else.

Jaemin laughs again, or it’s supposed to be a laugh, but it comes out more like a noise a scared, cornered animal makes. “Shit. I didn’t think this would be that hard.”

Jisung doesn’t know what to say, so he doesn’t say anything.

“I like you? Like a lot. It started when you kicked my ass during capture the flag but I didn’t realize it was, like, serious to me until a while ago. You probably don’t feel the same, but I thought you deserved to know,” Jaemin says, a little too fast, letting Jisung privy to how hard this is for him to say.

Jisung, on the other hand, physically can’t say anything. His brain short circuits the second the words like and you come out of Jaemin’s mouth.

Jaemin seems to take his silence as a rejection, curling in on himself like it’ll protect him. “I’m sorry, maybe I shouldn’t have told you.” He looks down at the floor, eyes widening. “Oh gods, this just ruined our friendship. I’m so sorry Jisung I just needed to get it out. It was kind of eating me alive,” he says, letting out another nervous laugh.

Jisung slumps back against the wall. “I can’t believe you.”

“I’m sorry?” Jaemin says, face settling in a look of utter confusion.

“I just spent a whole fucking week trying to figure out how to confess to you and you beat me to it?” Jisung says, voice raising in incredulity near the end, bursting out into laughter when he’s done.

Jaemin stares up at him, a blank look on his face. “...What?”

Jisung slaps a hand over his mouth, swallowing down the rest of his laughter. “Shit, wait, sorry.” He walks forward and kneels down in front of him. “I like you too asshole. I had a whole breakdown about it. At one point Renjun tried to turn me onto poetry to get me to shut up about you.”

“That’s…” Jaemin says, but his laughter stops him from finishing. Jisung joins him, falling back to sit on the floor, and rests his head on Jaemin’s knees.

Jaemin’s the first to stop, petting Jisung’s hair softly. “We’re so stupid.”

“It’s our charm,” Jisung says, pushing up against his hand.

They don’t speak for some time after that, relishing in the fact that their feelings are shared. Jisung breaks the silence. “Who do you think won the bet?”

Jaemin pauses, moving his hand to look at him properly. “What?”

“Renjun and Donghyuck’s bet. Don’t tell me you think they didn’t make a bet, it’s what they always do.”

He thinks for a moment. “Chenle.”

“Chenle wasn’t an option.”

“I don’t know, there’s just something about that kid. I think he knows everything that goes on in this camp.”

Jisung thinks about it for a minute. “It kinda...makes sense, I guess.”

They fall into another silence, but this time it’s Jaemin that breaks it. “Hey, come up here, I wanna cuddle.”

Jisung’s face falls. “I’m never gonna be able to get you to stop hanging off of me, am I?” Jaemin smiles unsettlingly, nodding his head. Jisung shrugs, “Alright, I’m fine with that,” and drags Jaemin under the covers.