“Can I get coordinates?”
“It’s literally behind the door on your left— did you not get any spidey sense tingles from a thirty pound box of explosive material?”
“My spidey senses don’t work like that, we’ve been over this! And spring has been up my ass with this shitty hayfever, so I don’t need you to be either,”
Jaemin makes an effort to sigh heavily into his mic before pulling his arms up and stretching, cracking his back and neck before sinking into his computer chair.
“Got it, where’s the closest exit?”
“You see that window in front of you? Yeah, that’s your best bet,”
“You know I hate jumping into the woods!”
“Just do it fool, you have fifteen seconds until they come up the stairs,”
“Ugh, okay catch you on the flip side Nana!”
The audio cuts out before Jaemin can say “remember your antihistamines!” but he figures Spidey will be alright. He always is.
Pulling off the headset, Jaemin rubs at his red ears before leaning back into his computer chair, despite the fact that it serves no real purpose for aiding his posture, because of the unfortunate state it’s in.
For context, Jaemin and Spiderman weren’t always friends (or in a ‘working relationship’, as Spiderman himself likes to refer to it as. Jaemin finds it rude, but as the Guy in the Chair, apparently he gets no say). Jaemin hadn’t even wanted to be remotely near the Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman that resided in his city for fear of his safety, but also because he was also a major klutz and a little bit of an embarrassment.
For someone who had been a superhero for the good part of three years, the guy was really clumsy. The number of times Jaemin had spotted Spiderman miscalculating the distance, falling short of his webs and falling facedown onto the grimy footpaths of New York City was more than he could (or should be able to) count on his two hands, and those were only the times Jaemin had crossed paths with him. The other times included every situation that Spiderman was even vaguely involved in, whether it be the cat in the tree, attempted mugging, you name it, that got recorded on some bystander’s phone and uploaded onto Youtube in ‘spiderman falling compilation #3’. Jaemin had the fortunate opportunity to meet the infamous oaf one February afternoon, lugging with him a new computer chair from IKEA. He had saved up his paychecks from working at the pizza joint near Central Park, determined to buy this chair with all its supposed ergonomic features and overall plush factor of 5 stars (well according to Jeno, who had purchased it previously and insisted Jaemin did too, for it would make losing Overwatch a little better if he had back support. Jaemin did not speak to the boy for the whole night.)
He didn’t want, or have the funds, to pay for delivery, so he picked it up in-store, holding it by the arms so it wouldn’t touch the aforementioned grimy concrete streets of NYC and was walking swiftly to make it to his dorm before his RA had his ass for being late to Bonding Time. Also known as an excuse for Doyoung to coddle the freshies and coerce the sophomores in facilitating discussions about mental wellbeing and making sure you’re not burning out a semester in— Jaemin really just sticks it out to have Doyoung pat him on the head and treat him to a hot dog.
But alas, before he could make it to the entrance of the building, someone slammed into his side and promptly lifted him into the air, gripping his waist and forcing the chair out of his hands and onto the grimy NYC asphalt.
“What the hell?!”
“Would you be so kind as to help me hack into the surveillance system of the bank down the road?”
Jaemin swore again before craning his head to see who the hell his assailant was, and lo and behold, it was Spiderman in all his red and blue glory.
“What makes you think you can just grab me from off the streets like some sort of prey?! Or that I know how to hack into a bank’s encrypted CCTV system?!”
They were higher now, hanging off the side of an apartment building next to Jaemin’s dorm, by that he meant right next to his dorm window. He spotted his freshie bestie Jisung watching the new season of Queer Eye without him, and the door opening to reveal Doyoung, beckoning Jisung out before peering for any sign of Jaemin. “I’m right here!” he wanted to yell, but Spiderman was taking them higher and higher, and being held by the waist was restricting him from making any loud noises or from breathing at all.
“Well, you were holding a highly rated computer chair design, so you must at least know your way around a computer,” Spiderman stated nonchalantly as they reached the side of a high rise building, and he used their momentum to swing into an open window.
“And what? What if it was a gift?! Dude I can’t believe you, what the hell—” Jaemin was mad mad and for good reason as he got unceremoniously dumped onto the carpeted floor, whilst Spiderman landed gently on his padded feet, wiping his hands together as if he’d just dropped a load of cargo onto a ship.
“Shush, you have no inside voice!” Spiderman pressed his finger to his masked lips before creeping over to an open laptop, turning it on and logging in. The whole room was dusty and dark, cardboard boxes piling up to the ceiling and vacated office cubicles littering the room. It reminded Jaemin vaguely of the part in Ace Attorney when Phoenix and Maya walked into Fey & Co. and found Mia dead against the wall. Jaemin hoped he didn’t become the latter and that Spiderman wasn’t a sleazy old man with purple hair under that suit. But he digressed. His sheer anger overtook his fear and vivid recollection of video game plots.
“How could you just kidnap me in broad daylight?! Over the assumption that I know how to hack because I was holding a computer chair?! The reach! Boy, if I was strong enough I would jump you as fast as you jump to conclusions—”
“Would you be silent for a moment, geez some people need peace and quiet to save cities!” Spiderman resorted to sitting on the floor opposite Jaemin, typing furiously into the laptop balanced on his outstretched legs. He looked like a little boy like this, probably around the same age as Jaemin, and for a split second Jaemin wanted to reach over and peel the mask off his head just to confirm his assumption. But he respected the superhero’s privacy, even if he’d just been scooped off the street and thrown into this shifty abandoned office building to be killed a slow painful death (like Mia Fey, his mind unhelpfully supplied).
“Are you fluent in C++?”
“Of course I am, in C and Java as well, I could totally finesse Python too if I wanted— why do you need C++ though? I think it’d be more helpful if you used Python,”
“So my reach was correct,”
Jaemin knew Spiderman was sporting a smug smirk under his mask and cursed himself for being such an idiot (and a prideful computer science student).
“Doesn’t mean you get to abduct me! And my hacking skills are pretty subpar, I haven’t practised in months,” Jaemin reasoned and Spiderman only looked up from his laptop and cocked his head.
“You’re my best bet, there was literally no one else who I saw who would even know a smidge of any computer programming language,” Spiderman shuffled his bottom over to get closer to Jaemin and swivelled the laptop to face him.
“And a whole bank and its customers’ assets are on the line here so their fate is up to you, genius.” The sugarcoating was unnecessary but not unwanted, so Jaemin sighed, running a hand through his hair before clicking the window open on the screen and getting to work.
Let it be known that he was only doing it for the sake of the city and its inhabitants, not for Spiderman.
“Well, it might take a while, how long have you got?”
“Hm, maybe a day or two?”
Jaemin shot up and frowned deeply, his fingers halting their rapid motion.
“Then why on Earth am I here?”
“We’re all about preventative measures in the superhero world, so your help would be much appreciated two days before a grand heist is supposed to occur.”
Jaemin did not appreciate the sass coming from his abductor.
“You could’ve asked me nicely, instead of breaking my expensive chair and swinging me across the city without my permission,” Jaemin’s face went sullen, opening window after window and tapping the keyboard furiously while Spiderman leant back on his arms and crossed his legs.
“Okay, I’m sorry alright, I was being impatient and unreasonable.” The somewhat sincere apology was accepted, but Jaemin only waved him off with a hand before squinting back at the screen.
“Are we talking about Bond Bank on 61st? Because they have about 3 CCTV cameras for the entire building and a whole lot of blind spots.” Pulled up next to the live footage was a PDF blueprint of the bank, and Jaemin flipped the screen to show Spiderman.
“That’s concerning for a bank with approximately 1.1 million clients.” Spiderman leaned over and pressed his nose to the screen.
“Looks like they’re doing some dodgy shit Spidey,” Jaemin commented offhandedly, sensing Spiderman creasing his face into one of despair before shutting down the laptop and jumping back onto his feet.
“Well, this got more complex than I imagined,”
Jaemin ignored the fact that the boy didn’t bother to even offer a hand, and got up on his own, brushing off the dirt at his knees. What he did acknowledge though, is how he had just an inch and a bit over the superhero.
Jaemin: 1, Spidey: 0
“Well thank you for your service…”
“Nana,” Jaemin said, giving up his childhood nickname in lieu for his birth name and Spiderman snorted.
“Thank you Nana, now if you don’t mind grabbing onto me while we swing back down?” He shot out a web to the neighbouring building and Jaemin went by his first instinct and curled his arms around the hero’s small waist. It was cute how petite the superhero was up close, but Jaemin would rather die an ugly death than voice that out aloud.
“You could’ve just held my hand but alright, whatever suits you,” and before Jaemin got to let go, violently pink in the cheeks, they were out of the window and swinging across New York City again.
“Can you, I dunno, sling me back to the building we passed on our way here? That’s my dorm,” Jaemin yells and Spiderman shot another web to the balcony of a red brick apartment building.
“Alright princess, 5 star Uber experience coming your way,” the superhero leapt into the air, no webs attached, and Jaemin screeched, clutching harder than ever before the wind stopped whipping past his ears.
“Okay we’re here now, you can stop crying into my shoulder,”
Jaemin didn’t bother to refute him, wiping away tear tracks as Spiderman sat on the edge of the balcony and let Jaemin prop himself onto the stool by the balcony window.
“I guess it’s goodbye then Nana,” the lilt in his voice as he rolled the nickname off his tongue made Jaemin scowl before he crossed his arms.
“Good luck on your crime preventing Spidey,” Jaemin dabbed away at his eyes and Spiderman let out a muffled chuckle before standing on the edge of the balcony fence.
“You know, I don’t let anybody calls me Spidey,” the boy leaned over the fence to peer up at Jaemin, like he was trying to commit his face to memory. He hid his face in his sleeve and turned away from the hero.
“Maybe I’m special because I helped you hack into a corrupt bank’s surveillance cameras or something like that,” Jaemin just wanted to leave and go to Bonding Time.
“Or maybe you’re cute and I’m okay with you calling me anything you’d like,”
And with that, the superhero backflipped off the edge, not without hitting his head on the actual fence in true Spiderman fashion, and left Jaemin gaping like a fish on a February afternoon.
It was fair to say Jaemin kept up with all the Spiderman update accounts on Twitter and watched every single compilation of the hero falling thereafter, smiling when he listened to Jisung yap excitedly the next day about Spiderman ambushing a band of thieves that were attempting to execute a heist, and exposing the bank president’s dirty laundry with drug smuggling and other illegal activity.
And then Spiderman fell again after saving a girl on a bike who almost got run over by a bus one night, and split his head on the kerb.
Jaemin was worried sick, anxiously awaiting any news about the superhero’s condition and checking Twitter every few minutes, even being unable to sleep just thinking about him. It got to the point when Jisung had to sit him down and telling him that everything would be alright and Spiderman would survive this as he’d done everything else for the last three years.
A few weeks later, after Spiderman had been up and about again, his private doctor stating he had suffered a minor head injury and short-term memory loss but was in a good condition to save the city again, he convinced Jisung he’d just been acting strange because of college finals and was trying to mask it under the news of Spiderman so he wouldn’t burden the younger. Now that was a reach if Jaemin ever heard one, but his roommate ate it up and just told him it was okay to share his worries and unload his stress.
(“You tell us at Bonding Time that sharing your burdens with people you trust is a good thing, only if you know, and ask if you don’t, that the other person is in a healthy state of mind to listen to you. So I’m letting you know I am, and that I’m always here for you hyung. Maybe you should listen to your own advice next time,”
Jaemin flinched at the slip of the honorific, not imagining it to hit so close to home. But Jisung looked at him imploringly and he wrapped his arms around the younger.
“Will do Jisung-ie,”
The younger had groaned at the term of endearment but hugged him back anyway).
So he thought he was back to square one, his encounter with Spiderman a wispy memory now, but of course, the moment he got back to the dorms from a long study session at the city library, a patched up computer chair stood in front of the doors. The holes in the plush cushioning were closed together with duct tape and painted over in black in a last ditch attempt to make it look even a semblance of what it did on that February afternoon, and a small sticky note was attached to the left arm of the chair.
“hey, I don’t remember you too well but I do remember dropping someone’s expensive chair, and someone who lived in a dorm close to the chair. connected the dots and tried my best to fix it with a broke man’s budget, but yeah sorry?
your friendly neighbourhood spiderman,”
Jaemin grinned, slipping the note into his jean pocket and lifted up the chair all the way to the 11th floor, where Jisung had turned around, widened his eyes at the sight of the mangled chair, before looking back up at Jaemin’s beaming face, and sighing.
Now cue to May, and Jaemin again gets ambushed by Spiderman out of sheer coincidence. It had been a May morning, and not much was happening when Jaemin had gone out to get his daily Americano until Spiderman came swinging down from the sky and landed right in front of him.
“Hello kind sir, do you happen to know how to access confidential blueprints for a corporate building on the outskirts of town? You’re my best bet this morning,” Spiderman huffed out, and Jaemin hid his smile behind his coffee before composing himself.
“You’ve found the right guy,”
And then Jaemin had been given a phone wirelessly connected to Spiderman’s suit, Karen alerting him with all he needed to know about the owners of the building through an extensive message in the Notes app, told that Spiderman would get back to him in the afternoon when he needed to apprehend the evil suckers, and left to his own devices.
Jaemin was appalled with how fast everything went, and sent a text to whom he assumed to be Spiderman, named ‘Spinnenmann’ in the contacts list. Jaemin didn’t know Spiderman dabbled in German.
you trusted me so easily wot if i
was an evil villain out 2 sabotage u
shouldn’t you be cracking code
or smth instead of texting me
bold of you to assume i would help u
i am out 4 ur blood spidey
you know i don’t let anyone call me
spidey do i get to call you something demeaning too
call me nana ☆*:.｡.o(≧▽≦)o.｡.:*☆
that sounds oddly familiar huh maybe you are an enemy of mine n i totally forgot about you after my accident
i’m telling u i aM why don’t u believe
lol ur 2 cute to be a villain
Jaemin left the superhero on seen.
Fast forward to July, and the two are somewhat friends, Jaemin assisting the hero whenever he’s able to, under the guise of practising his codebreaking skills. He works remotely sometimes, his phone newly installed with high quality Stark technology with the help of Spiderman who had dropped the gizmo into his dorm through the window, his wallpaper updated to a picture of the superhero throwing the peace sign. It’s an adorable picture but Jaemin would take that with him to the grave.
Jeno and Jisung have asked about the picture, curious on how he found it when it hadn’t been released on one of those Twitter accounts or online in general.
“It’s just a photoshopped picture someone sent to me as a joke,” Jaemin waved them off, and Jisung pulled him aside after to ask him if he was using his weird Spiderman coping mechanism to deal with stress again and Jaemin assured him he wasn’t, masking his adoration and amusement under a smile.
But apart from that, life’s been okay, being Spiderman’s Guy in the Chair and all. They talk about life sometimes, when Spidey is mid-swing or just bored on patrol and Jaemin happens to be free. Spiderman still does attend college, and is more than happy to rant about annoying professors and shitty tutors, or anything in general that bothers him the slightest, to Jaemin, who just listens and smiles, wondering what the eccentric boy looks like under his mask, complaining about seemingly everything under the sun.
It’s been so long since they last saw each in real life that Jaemin is positive he’s over his baby crush on the superhero. He’s unattainable after all, and Jaemin is just a friend to him, as he should be. Working relationships do become strained when emotional attachment is added to the mix.
“Yo, Injun asked if we were free tonight, he wants us to meet his cousin,” Jeno’s voice drifts through from the bathroom, where he’s most likely playing Clash of Clans on his phone while on the toilet, and Jaemin sighs, rolling around in his bed. He’s just submitted his essay and is too drained to even entertain the thought of going out.
“I’m deadbeat after submitting my essay Jen’, do we have to go?” He whines, writhing in his bed sheets like an agitated snake.
“Apparently he’s cute,”
Jaemin frowns. Just because he’s single and very gay doesn’t mean Jeno can incentivise going out with attractive boys.
Jeno snorts, the sound echoing in the bathroom.
Jaemin gasps silently. Chenle Zhong, the freshie who’s best friends (or more than, Jaemin speculates) with Jisung and has impeccable taste (figure 1. Jaehyun Jung, the post-grad student whose fits paired with his pastel pink-now-purple hair have been off the charts lately), but then again, Jaemin is easy to please and is easily swept up by anyone who even spares a glance at him (figure 2. Spiderman).
“You’re joking, Chenle doesn’t throw around cute lightly,”
“Exactly, plus he’s related to Renjun, he literally cannot be ugly,”
Jeno isn’t being biased towards Renjun as his boyfriend when he says that. Jaemin thinks to all of the Chinese boy’s relatives that he’s met, and realises that all of them are stunning, Renjun included. Junhui, his cousin on his mum’s side with the sharp jawline and piercing eyes. Sicheng, his cousin on his dad’s side, who’s a world-renowned traditional Chinese dancer and often takes Renjun with him when he goes on tour. Guanheng, who works at the coffee shop near the library and is somehow Renjun’s uncle through large age gaps within the family and is the closest thing to Prince Eric that Jaemin has ever seen. Even Dejun, who is probably hiding secrets in his eyebrows, is a massive hottie who is related to Renjun on his mum’s side. Jaemin saw him at the gym once and almost keeled.
“Shit indeed,” Jeno flushes the toilet for comic effect and Jaemin hits him with a pillow when he comes out.
“Maybe I should go,” Jaemin muses what the mysterious cousin looks like while Jeno spins around in Jaemin’s grotty computer chair.
“I think you should, don’t you wanna have fun after that soul-consuming essay?”
“Yeah but also, I could stay in, order pizza, binge Patriot Act and get educated on the issues plaguing society and the world and have a laugh while I’m at it,” Jaemin hasn’t watched the new episode about Fentanyl yet, but the thought of dressing up and going out is becoming more enticing the more he thinks about it.
“Yeah but also, hearing about pharmaceuticals screwing Americans over always gets you riled up and angry and you end up going to bed with this crease in between your eyebrows,” Jeno reasons back, demonstrating said ‘crease’, and man, does he know Jaemin like the back of his veiny hand.
“It is so unfair Jeno! People have to pay exorbitant amounts for the medicine they need to survive, even insulin Jen’, insulin, one of the most easily accessible and widely produced medications in the world, is hiked up just so these assholes can leech off the sick—”
“What did I tell you? I’m not saying you should go out instead staying in and getting woke about the Third Opium War, but I’m telling you that delaying your self-awareness about how corrupt the world is for a little while won’t hurt,” Jeno offers a placating hand to Jaemin, who grabs it and squishes it while sporting a pout.
“And Mark’s gonna be there, so it’ll be like the old times!”
Jaemin missed the elder dearly, whom he was only able to see every other weekend since he went to college in a whole other state, much to the dismay of his actual boyfriends, who missed him so much more. Jeno looks so excited to have both his partners in his arms for the first time in forever and Jaemin knows his best friend would be devastated if Jaemin refused to join them.
“Fine, I’ll go,” he concedes and Jeno lets out a high cry before grinning, his eyes curving and he kisses Jaemin’s knuckles.
“Okay, no need for that Jen,” he retracts his hand and only nips the elder in the arm when Jeno sticks out his tongue.
“Where’s ‘Hyuck gonna be? Not joining us tonight?”
Donghyuck is another close friend of theirs, a lightning bolt of a boy who does more co-curriculars than Jaemin can remember and is always up for a good night, his singing comparable to an angel and his dancing akin to the motion of water.
Okay well, Jaemin may have briefly had an obsession with the sun-kissed student in their first year at college, enthralled by his charming demeanour, endless talents, and coquettish behaviour that drew Jaemin in like a moth to light. Actually, all of them went through a Donghyuck phase, Mark, Jeno, and Renjun included. They all laugh about it from time to time, joking about beginning a polyamorous relationship over their shared adoration for Donghyuck, but the boy follows through with his words more often than he really should, and Jaemin isn’t ready for that kind of commitment.
“Yeah him and Yukhei are celebrating their one year anniversary tonight, so he can’t make it,” Jeno is back to playing Clash, and Jaemin gets himself off the bed and sitting upright.
“Has it been that long already? Aw, I’m happy for them,” Jaemin remembers when Yukhei had first met Donghyuck at a friend’s gathering, and how his eyes lit up like fireworks when they started talking about the nuances of public museums and their purposes in representing history. It was fascinating to watch someone fall in love in real time.
“Yeah, it’s been a while huh,” Jeno is putting zero effort in this conversation so Jaemin only squeezes his bicep and trudges over to his closet.
“Jen, what should I wear tonight to impress Renjun’s cute cousin?”
“Anything with the black slacks that make your ass look good,”
“Aye aye captain,”
Jeno and Jaemin rock up at the hole in the wall bar in the centre of the city that goes by Highway, owned by a man who goes by Billy (Jaemin has no comment), but the four of them know him by Taeil hyung, a family friend of Mark, and by default, Jeno and Jaemin.
“Taeil-ie!” Jaemin croons, running up to jump into the older man’s arms, and Taeil wheezes before catching him in a hug.
“Hi Jaem’,” the elder pats him on the back for good measure before giving him a little squeeze. The man was sporting a black silk blazer and a mesh undershirt with embroidered flowers, black hair slicked up and highlighting his undercut, exuding all the vibes of an Expensive Man. Jaemin was pleasantly surprised that their favourite hyung who used to treat them to snowcones in the summer holidays and greasy diner burgers after school had changed, and for the better. He possessed the gait of not only a businessman, but someone with confidence and reassurance within themselves, quite unlike what Jaemin remembers. Alas, maybe it was with the help of a certain John Suh that Jaemin had seen in Taeil’s Instagram pictures recently, but that’s neither here nor there.
“Hyung!” Jeno, Renjun, and Mark all chorus, hitting him with one handed bro hugs, complex handshakes from grade school that they’d made and remembered after all this time, and with beaming smiles.
“You boys are so grown up now,” Taeil makes an effort to look up at all of them, except for Renjun who he only slings an arm around, and the younger only frowns, yet curls into the elder nevertheless.
Mark quips about the elder’s age that only gets him a huff before the rest of them laugh, taking in their surroundings simultaneously.
The perfect placement and synergy between the neon lights, indoor plants, silver hardware, decorative computer monitors, and other retro decor was impeccable, definitely adding to the atmosphere shrouding the bar.
Now all Jaemin really needed was for Renjun’s cute cousin to come through.
“Drinks are on the house for these boys!” Taeil shouts to the bartender before saying goodbye, insisting he had ‘business’ to attend to, but Jaemin bets in half an hour’s time, Johnny’s Instagram story is going to be a snap of Taeil in his sweats, dozing off on the couch while some Netflix Originals movie plays in the background and a bunch of heart stickers surrounding his face.
“When’s your cousin coming ‘Jun?” Mark slips a hand around the Chinese boy’s waist to pull him closer and Jeno coos, while Jaemin just watches in half amusement and half disgust as Renjun blooms as bright as the neon sign behind him, coughing violently on his cocktail olive.
“He said he’d be here in five, something came up at work,” Renjun manages to voice out, and Jaemin only sulks in his corner of the booth, impatiently waiting as he fiddles with the collar of his white button up and Jeno nudges him.
“Be patient you horndog,” and for some odd reason, Mark perks up at the word ‘horndog’.
“Oh?” the eldest props his elbows on the table and sits his chin between his palms, seagull brows raised expectantly.
“Ah, did you tell him that Chenle thought he was cute?”
Jeno nods, reaching over for Renjun’s hands and folds them into the shape of a needle, aimed at Jaemin.
“This boy has gone stir crazy thinking about your mysterious cousin and his alleged good looks, so I think we gotta put him down,” Jeno mimicks what is assumed to be the injection sound and Renjun bops him across the head.
Mark hiccups out a laugh, already displaying the effects of the coke and rum he just sipped from and Jaemin sighs. What a lot of friends he got himself associated with.
“Boys, we’re keeping the love at a minimum tonight because there’s three of us and only one Jaemin, okay?” Renjun gives Mark and Jeno a Look, and they only respond with sheepish smiles. Jaemin appreciates the sentiment but it feels just a little more patronising coming from the resident Bitch in the group (Donghyuck not included).
Just as Jeno begins to sulk, a figure whooshes past their booth in a blur before halting, and Jaemin is stunned. Not only at the sheer speed, but wow.
Messy, crimped brown locks, a red and black racing jacket hanging off his shoulders, lean legs, and his face. Good heavens, he is a cutie. Twinkly eyes, sharp jaw, and perfect pearly whites grinning at the four.
“Hey guys, sorry I’m late,” his voice comes out clear and slightly accented, and he offers a small wave to everyone. Renjun steps over Mark’s legs and shuffles out of the leather booth to get up next to him.
“Guys, Yangyang, Yangyang, guys,”
Jaemin is too starry-eyed to notice that a hand has appeared in front of him, and someone pinches the small of his back.
“Jaemin!” Jeno whisper-shouts, and Jaemin shoots up, posture ridiculously straight (‘unlike you,’ his Jeno-sounding conscience says snidely), before he takes the hand.
“Hi, I’m Jaemin,” Yangyang shakes his hand rigorously, and again whips out the killer smile.
“Nice to meet you,” Jaemin almost doesn’t let go.
Introductions go around, and Jaemin stops his bottom lip from jutting out when Yangyang sits next to Renjun, fingers littered with silver rings clasped in front of him. Jaemin is having a hard time stopping himself from being a creep and thinking about holding the boy’s hands.
“So, Yangyang is my cousin on my dad’s side, and Sicheng is basically his older brother,” Renjun explains, and speaks in rapid Chinese to Yangyang which he responds with, “yeah, just a vodka soda.”
So he’s super close to Renjun’s dancing cousin and he’s a vodka soda kind of guy. Interesting. Jaemin adds this information into his mental almanac of ‘Yangyang The Cutie.’
“Does he bring you on tour as well?” Jeno asks while fiddling with Mark’s bracelets, and Jaemin leans a bit closer to the boy opposite him subconsciously.
“Ah, Sicheng-ge goes for longer than I can vacation for so I don’t tag along but in Germany, I went to every single one of his shows,” the boy beams, evidently proud of his older brother and Renjun chimes in with an enthusiastic nod.
“Yangyang lived in Germany when he was a kid before he graduated and came here to study,” Renjun throws an arm across his cousin’s shoulders and Jaemin is becoming more intrigued with every single word.
“That’s so cool, you’ve been here for a while then? How come we’ve never gotten to meet you?” Mark blurts out and Renjun elbows him in the rib, shooting daggers at his boyfriend. Yangyang only laughs, higher-pitched than his speaking voice and Jaemin is entranced. It’s a whole ass giggle and it’s so cute Jaemin wants to eat it— eat him? Maybe the rum’s hit him too, or he really is whipped.
“No it’s alright, I’ve been here for three years already but it’s been a little difficult settling down and balancing college as well, so that’s why I’ve been turning down Renjun’s offers to hang out for so long,” he says with a small smile, before sipping at his drink.
Jaemin knows a little about how that feels, but can’t fathom how hard it must’ve been to move to an entirely new country. The boy only clears his throat and puts down his drink with a resounding clink.
“Enough of me, what about you guys? I want to get to know Renjun-ie’s boyfriends, and friend,” he looks at Jaemin directly with a cheeky glint in his eye and he colours immediately.
“Well Jaemin and I do computer science at NYU, and Markie here does aerospace engineering at Princeton!” Jeno thumps Jaemin on the back and also rubs circles on the back of Mark’s hand, grinning as the eldest blushes.
“Wow that’s awesome! Wow cuz’, surrounding yourself with intellectuals yet you’re still, well, yourself,” Yangyang bites back his laughter when Renjun punches him in the arm, and Jaemin lets out a quiet laugh, watching as the boy loosens up more and more as the night goes on, easing into conversation about how Jeno and Renjun’s long distance relationship with Mark works out, empathising with how difficult it must be (Jaemin almost cooed out loud) and asking if Jeno actually has three cats at home because he has a cat back in China named Hutong that he adores like no other.
He’s easy to talk to, down-to-earth, a cat lover, an Intellectual himself being a chemical engineering student at Columbia, loves racing and all things car-related (the way his eyes lit up talking about his favourite German racer made Jaemin feel terribly warm inside), and is a total subtle flirt. The way he talks to Mark and Jeno tiptoes the line between legal and illegal but by the way Renjun is unphased, sometimes playing along and laughing at how Mark and Jeno (those two, of all people he could’ve chosen as lovers) freeze up, unsure how to act. Really, he reminds Jaemin of, well himself, but that’s far from why he is truly Jaemin’s perfect man and not why he is determined to at least get his number by the end of tonight.
“Hey, have you got a ride?” Renjun asks Yangyang in slurred Mandarin and then English as they all scoot out of the booth, warm-blooded and a little clumsy on their feet as they make their way out of the bar. Yangyang doesn’t bother with a reply as his cousin almost falls onto his face and he quickly hauls him back up, while Jaemin is busy trying to separate Mark and Jeno from making out and breaking noses in the process.
Him and Yangyang are definitely the most sober out of the five, and they both watch as Jeno tries to drag his boyfriends ‘to bed’, arms wrapped loosely around the two as he walks a few metres down the street and promptly runs into a streetlamp.
When Jeno yelps in half shock and half pain, Jaemin lets out a loud sigh before tugging the blonde out of his boyfriends’ mangled arms as they try to soothe Jeno’s pain with absolutely zero coordination. He grabs Renjun by the arm with his free hand, and pulls them to his side.
“Hey, can you call an Uber for Mark? I’ll take these two losers home,” Yangyang’s eyes widen a fraction at the sound of Jaemin’s voice and only after an awkward moment of silence, Jaemin realises that it’s the first time he’s spoken to the Chinese male after introducing himself in the very beginning, this entire night.
Jaemin knows that he was too starstruck to even make any conversation with the guy the whole night, satisfied with just listening and staring at him, totally enraptured by his every word but his behaviour definitely had consequences as Yangyang fumbles clumsily with his phone, trying to manhandle Mark into standing up straight at the same time, and swiftly drops his iPhone on the pavement.
“Um yeah sure, will he be able to get back to his dorm by himself?” Yangyang asks quietly, ignoring the large crack on the front of his phone screen, and Jaemin doesn’t know whether he should laugh or cry at the unfortunate, expensive mishap. Yangyang is determinedly not looking at Jaemin and maybe it’s just the lighting but he looks a little red in the cheeks. Jaemin bites back his chuckle.
“Yeah I just texted his roommate so he’ll meet Mark at the entrance.” Jaemin duly ignores the whines coming from the two males clinging to his sides at the mention of their boyfriend’s name, and Yangyang looks up at him with an amused smile.
“Okay, cool,” an silver Toyota Camry pulls up at the kerb, and Yangyang helps an inebriated but still functioning Mark slide into the backseat, does his seatbelt for him, before thanking the Uber driver and closing the door shut.
Jaemin confirms the Uber on his own phone, and then, a silence permeates the air. Yangyang is rocking on the heels of his feet, while Jaemin is staunchly holding up the two deadweights on either side of his body.
Immediate sheepish smiles, and the silence returns. Not as uncomfortable as before, but not comfortable enough for Jaemin to ask Yangyang for his number confidently, and he’s in the middle of accepting the fact that he’ll just kick the bucket knowing he’ll never get this charming boy’s number ever. Or he might, but he’ll be so embarrassed at the thought of this very night that he’ll block it out of a flight response.
“I’ll see you around, Jaemin?” Yangyang spares him a warm grin, hands shoved into the pockets of his jacket as he turns at his heels to face Jaemin.
“Of course,” is all Jaemin can muster out of his stupid mouth, and Yangyang only offers another genial smile before he walks in the opposite direction, Dr Martens scuffing against the concrete.
“Jesus, Jaemin you’re an idiot,” Jaemin curses out loud as he lugs Jeno and Renjun down the street.
The groggy “I know,” that comes from Jeno makes him want to tear his hair out.
Once Renjun is in his respective dorm room, and Jeno is tucked into bed, Jaemin scrolls through his Twitter feed and finds that spideytube has again uploaded the eleventh instalment of the ‘spiderman falling compilation’ series, updated with Spiderman’s recent venture, catching a petty thief just a few blocks away from Highway, and almost toppling over the kerb before catching himself on the concrete. It’s not too mortifying but it adds to his character, and Jaemin finds it, to absolutely no one’s surprise, adorable.
He wonders aimlessly if Yangyang was able to get a glance at the hero, and then laughs.
“You’re pretty stupid for having a crush on a superhero and one of your best friend’s cousins,” Jaemin mumbles to himself, before falling asleep on his phone. He wakes up with a fresh pimple on his chin.
“What’s the agenda today Spidey?” Jaemin answers a call from ‘spinnenman’ the next draughty afternoon and Spiderman only groans in response.
“Nothing much, just patrolling and mulling over how stupid I am,”
“Funny, I was doing the same before you called,”
“Shut up Nana,” Spiderman’s crackly voice makes Jaemin grin even harder.
“What happened that’s got you so down in the dumps,” Jaemin slips in his Airpods, while he types away at again, another essay about the evolution of computer science and the vital role that it now plays in the technological age of the 21st century. Standard stuff.
“I embarrassed myself in front of someone,”
“You do that on a daily my friend,” Jaemin omits the fact that the latest addition to his series of clumsy acts was trending on Youtube just the day before.
“Yeah but like, without the suit, and in my uncool, basic self,”
Spiderman never misses a chance to boast about how exceptional he is with or without his suit and superhero powers. Jaemin ends his topic sentence.
“Hey now, what’s wrong?”
“There’s this guy right, and I made a total fool out of myself in front of him,”
Spiderman has a crush? Crush is a guy? This is news. Jaemin doesn’t want to ponder why he suddenly feels so queasy.
“I’m sure you didn’t,”
“But Nana! You don’t understand, he was so pretty,” the superhero whines and Jaemin feels a little more sick.
Okay, maybe he’s not over his baby crush.
“I’m sure it wasn’t that bad Spidey, how did you meet this guy anyway?” Jaemin can’t even focus on his essay anymore, so he might as well quell his curiosity about this pretty boy Spiderman is whipped for.
“Uh… we’re in.. um the same class at college,” Spiderman is suddenly far away from his microphone and Jaemin wonders why on Earth the hero is lying to him.
“You don’t have to lie you know, if you met him on an app, or in other, not incredibly organic circumstances,”
The thought of Spiderman going on Tinder or Bumble or whatever else is jarring and Jaemin doesn’t want to think about it for too long.
“No! It- no, I didn’t swipe right on his face, we met through some mutual friends, and uh, realised we were in the same, anthro class,”
“O-kay, I didn’t know you did Anthro,” Jaemin senses something fishy when Spiderman starts to cough and it sounds an awful lot like Karen Smith in Mean Girls.
“Yeah, um, well anyway, I embarrassed myself and now I don’t know if I can bear to look him in the eye anymore,”
“I’m sure you’re just overreacting, I bet you he was charmed by your personality.” With or without the suit and superhero powers, it was unbelievably easy to be enchanted by the boy and his endearing qualities. Too easy maybe.
“Thanks Nana, I’ll see how it goes, man I don’t even know if I have his number,”
Jaemin saves his Word document and closes his laptop.
“Just shoot your shot Spidey, you won’t do anyone any harm by trying right?”
“I guess so, I— thanks for everything Nana, you know being my—”
“Guy in the Chair?” Is that all he is?
“Friend, my friend Nana, life would’ve gone a whole lot differently if I hadn’t met you,”
The first time or the second?
“Don’t get all corny on me Spidey, I thought this was just a ‘working relationship’.” Jaemin spins the hero’s words on him and he lets himself smile when Spiderman huffs into the microphone.
“Go and ruin the moment why don’t you,”
“Technically you’re the one who put a label on our relationship—”
“Oh no! There’s a calico cat stuck up in a tree in the distance! Talk to you later Nana!” Spiderman yells and hangs up.
Idiot, Jaemin thinks all the while sporting a fond smile as he sees his lockscreen.
Yukhei might know some Anthro guys. Or guys that might be in an Anthro class, somewhere in the Upper East Side. Christ Jaemin, what are you thinking? Are you going to hunt him down? What is wrong with you?
Jaemin stops himself from typing Facebook into the search bar and throwing himself into an abyss of pure envy when he eventually finds out who the subject of Spiderman’s affections is. Flicking through tagged photos, mutual friends, club pages and events, you name it, Jaemin could find out who it is or could be in a matter of a few clicks. He’ll find a pool of guys that seem like Spiderman’s type, or what he thinks is his type through what he’s gathered being his friend and— God, he won’t, of course he won’t. He doesn’t want to breach whatever thin line he’s already teetering on, being Spiderman’s friend but desperately wanting to be more.
He was wrong for calling it a baby crush, so so wrong.
“So, what did you think of Yangyang?” Jeno asks over malatang the following afternoon, and Jaemin conveniently chokes on a piece of rice cake.
“What about Yangyang?” he swallows the whole rice cake down in a painful gulp and Jeno goes deadpan.
“What about the fact that you definitely wanna get yourself some of that Chinese ass,”
“I don’t want to hear the words ‘Chinese’ and ‘ass’ together in a sentence ever again, especially coming out of your mouth,” Jaemin pinches Jeno on the wrist before chugging down his cup of water. He can feel—he knows his cheeks have coloured themselves the shade of cherries. It’s the spice, he swears.
“Okay my little chaste child, I know for a fact you want to court the young Chinese fellow,”
Jeno only smiles with all teeth and crinkly eyes, simpering as Jaemin glowers at him.
“Okay sure, maybe I want to get to know him better, but I don’t know how to approach him, I didn’t even get his number that night,” he forgoes telling his best friend of their strange interaction so he doesn’t tarnish the boy’s image in front of his cousin’s boyfriend.
“You could get it from Renjun, the world is not over just yet Nana,” Jeno lets the nickname slip to mock him and Jaemin scowls, not without wondering when was the last time someone called him that, who wasn’t a particular red and blue costumed superhero.
“I don’t want to be the guy who texts ‘hey i’m not a creep i swear i just got your number off your cousin haha!’ that makes it so obvious—”
“That you want to get some of his Chinese ass? You’re just proving your case here Jaemin,” Jeno says through a large mouthful of noodles.
“Maybe I should just perish without ever getting his number Jeno, let climate change get to me before love does,” Jaemin bemoans, sweeping through his empty bowl with his chopsticks for any meat scraps and noodle bits.
“You’re so dramatic for God’s sake, I can literally ask Renjun if he can bring Yangyang out again? We can meet up together on the weekend so you can conjure up your au naturale love story,” Jeno air quotes with suggestive eyebrows and Jaemin wipes his mouth on the napkin before setting down his chopsticks with a loud clatter.
“You’re so annoying,”
“Thank me later horndog,”
Renjun does indeed invite Yangyang out again, this time with pizza in lieu for alcohol and an overall sober afternoon in mind. Jaemin couldn’t be more excited.
guess who’s meeting up w pretty boy this afternoon!
don’t you have people and cats to save spidey? instead of going on dates with pretty boys who do anthro????????
you’re just jealous nana!
i’ll have you know i’m gonna be on a date with my own pretty boy ok >:<
haha ok sure hope u have fun on ur ‘date’
piss off asshole i hope ur pretty boy steps on your stupid expensive shoes
jokes on u they’re BLACK
talk to u later i’m almost there n i don’t want to look like a fool
aw but that’s how you you always look!
“Yangyang! Over here!” Renjun waves his arm and Yangyang again, zooms over to their booth at an incredible speed. Jaemin slips his phone into his pocket, not as unsettled as he thought he was once he saw the notification light up his phone. Maybe he’ll get over his infatuation with the hero and find a special friend within the brunette who stares at them with shiny eyes, this time, rocking a white Uniqlo graphic tee, skinny blue jeans cuffed to show just enough ankle, an Off-White belt, and a pair of clunky, beat up Balenciagas. Jaemin is livid.
“Hey guys,” he waves as he slides into the booth, sporting his cheeky grin, yet a film of confusion flitters over his eyes as he looks at Jaemin and Jeno.
“This one is Jaemin, and this Jeno,” Renjun says, gesturing to the two, his other hand curled over his cousin’s and Yangyang nods slowly, scratching the back of his neck.
“Ah right, Sorry about that, I have a bad memory,” Yangyang shoots them an apologetic smile, and Renjun’s grip tightens.
“It’s alright, they’re not all that memorable anyways,” he jokes, but it comes out forced and Jaemin’s chest clenches.
Jeno only furrows his eyebrows in mock-anger, not without his eyes flashing with the same concern, and slides a menu over to Yangyang.
“Anyways, pizza. What do you feel like, Yangyang?”
Jaemin only watches the boy for the rest of the afternoon, watches as he talks about playing with Renjun at their grandma’s place in the winter and how he always threw snow down the elder’s back when he wasn’t looking. He talks about how beautiful New York is at night, but it’ll never top Dusseldorf as his favourite city in the world. Jeno and Yangyang bond over rappers, mainly their mutual adoration for Rich Brian (“Asian American tings!” Jeno trills and Renjun threatens to knock over his caramel milkshake). Jaemin cackles at the sight of the two trying to sing Rapapapa, spitting their food in the process, and at Renjun yelling at Jeno for spitting a half eaten pepperoni slice on his arm.
“So Jaemin, what’s your favourite song right now?” Yangyang asks and Jaemin catches himself from pulling a Yangyang and dropping his phone on the tiled floor.
“Hm, probably Boyfriend? By Ariana Grande and Social House,” Jaemin’s the Arianator in the group and even though he knows she’s been acting odd (re: queerbaiting, unrightfully insinuating that The Kris Wu was a cheat, amongst others) for the past year, he’d still stream the My Everything album forever if he could.
He doesn’t realise the implications of the song title until he sees Jeno smirking into his glass of Coke and Renjun raising his eyebrows.
“Oh, I like that song too! She’s been riding off her Sweetener clout and doing strange shit but man, does she still release really good music,” Yangyang says while nibbling on a sweet potato chip and boy, is Jaemin really in for it now.
“Yeah I totally agree! Some of the things she does and says makes me go ‘huh?’ but then she goes and releases a bomb ass album and I don’t know how to feel,”
Yangyang throws down his half-eaten chip in response.
“Right?! Like okay, in the grand scheme of things, compared to other Western artists, like say, Kanye or Chris Brown, she’s obviously not terrible but still, you can’t expect me to not scoff after she takes another picture of herself post-fake tan—”
Jaemin doesn’t even notice Renjun and Jeno slipping out of the booth, tittering as they hold hands and leave the parlour.
supreme dream team (6)
jeno n i paid for the pizza so have fun on ur date!
yeah have fun nana <33333
when he got up to go to the bathroom we both realised it was just us 2... u shits
oOOoOOOooh we like this song
oh my god yes
They had i jumped from Ariana Grande to problematic public figures to the power of digital media in the modern age to Netflix shows to Patriot Act (“Dude, have you seen the episode on public transport?”, “Dude, screw the Koch Brothers,”, “You mean the old Koch brothers,”, “Oh my God, duh,”), to student loans and legacy admissions, to college, and it was here, that Jaemin began to question himself.
“Yeah, I dunno, I enjoy doing Chem Engo but I don’t know if it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life, you feel?” Yangyang sweeps his fry into the smear of mustard sauce on his plate and sighs heavily, brown hair flopping over his forehead as he leans on the palm of his hand.
“Me neither, like Computer Science just seemed it to me you know? One second you’re in high school, enjoying AP Calc and then bam! You’re in college and suddenly, the future just seems so scary,” Jaemin slurps at his milkshake and watches as the sunset bleeds orange over Yangyang’s visage. What a pretty sight.
“Right? Back in Germany, I liked doing Chem and Phys, so Chemical Engineering sounded like the perfect match and I never looked back,” Yangyang stares pensively at the direction of the window, the streetlamps glowing a warm yellow over the asphalt as deep purples pull their way up onto the canvas of the sky.
They have more in common than Jaemin ever realised. Yet, why can’t he stop thinking about Spiderman and how he must be having dilemmas regarding his own educational career? If pursuing college is even worth it when he has a moral obligation to fulfil. Does possessing super radioactive-spider powers limit his goals in life? What if he never wanted to be a superhero? Jaemin, concentrate! It’s Yangyang, not that clumsy superhero you’ve managed to acquaint yourself with and crush on like an absolute idiot!
“It must’ve been hard moving to an entirely different country for school,” Jaemin asks, shoving his thoughts into the back of his mind, where they’ll simmer until he gets home.
“You definitely grow up faster than everyone else, and sometimes I wonder if I should’ve just stayed in Germany where my family could’ve been my support system when things got too much,” Yangyang says, uncertainty lacing his tone, and Jaemin’s heart sinks.
“I mean, if it means anything, I moved to New York without my parents, starting from middle school, to live with my grandparents and that was hard, not having them with me when I was growing up,” Jaemin omits the fact that his parents had sent him off to the East Coast for one summer after finishing elementary school, and decided that they’d leave him there while they sorted out their own marital issues. One summer became five and when they asked him if he wanted to come back, he almost didn’t want to bother with a reply.
“Shit man, did it like, break down your relationship with your parents for good?” Jaemin smiles at that.
“It did, especially when I started college and I realised my parents hadn’t been there for almost a third of my life and I was contemplating whether I wanted them out forever, but after I reasoned with myself, asked my grandparents and my friends on what I should do, they all encouraged me to at least tell them how I felt, and try to understand why they did what they did,” Jaemin remembers stepping back into his childhood home, feeling the white carpet beneath his feet and bursting into tears instantly.
His parents were in the kitchen when he arrived that June morning, and at the sound of a cry ripping in the air, ran into the living room to find their son sobbing on his knees.
Jaemin knew that what his parents shared wasn’t the same anymore, a young, impulsive love that couldn’t grow into a forever with the advent of a child. They were immigrants who chased the American dream— they fell in love underneath the rafters of their local high school, bonded together by shared cultural values and ideals, graduated and went to college together, secured stable jobs in their respective fields, got married, bought the house, had the kid, and the dream slipped from in between their fingers when they realised that maybe they weren’t all that ready, that maybe this isn’t what they wanted after all. They had ticked off the checkboxes, fulfilled the criteria for a happy life. What went wrong?
His grandparents were always hesitant to answer his questions year after year, and it was only the day after his graduation, that he’d asked them with a hiccup, why his parents had left him all alone, that they gave him the answers.
It was a culmination of shame, that they had made Jaemin’s mother feel so trapped, that she had an obligation to go through this course of life, because if she didn’t, what was the point in them moving to the land of the free? Leaving their life in Korea for something completely unknown, sacrificing whatever they had for opportunities that were so plentiful in the Western world? The realisation that they should’ve told her to do what made her happy settled in too late. They knew his father meant no wrong when he called them, voice shaky when he pleaded for them to take their grandson in for the summer while he tried to pick up the pieces of his marriage.
Jaemin doesn’t hold anything against his dad, he can’t. His mother doted on him, giving him all the love he needed for a lifetime, and his father consolidated what foundations were already laid down by his counterpart and expressed his love in actions more so than words. They weren’t perfect parents but they were his, and Jaemin couldn’t hate them even if he tried. Plus, now he has a cool step-brother who recommends him good Japanese music and plays soccer professionally, and a half-sister who learnt how to say oppa last Christmas. They’re not a perfect family, but they mean more to Jaemin than he every could have imagined when his parents had finally parted ways and found love in other people.
“That’s good, I’m happy for you Jaemin,” Yangyang smiles back, but as he sips on his own milkshake, Jaemin can’t knock off the niggling feeling that there must be more to the German boy’s story.
“How about you and your parents? How did they feel about you going to school in the US?” Jaemin asks, hoping he isn’t crossing uncharted territory.
“Um, my parents died in a freak accident when I was young, so I lived with my aunty and uncle in Germany, but they were happy for me, you know, told me to reach for my dreams and call them every Sunday so that they knew I was doing okay,” Yangyang smiles again, but immediately pales when he sees tears welling up in Jaemin’s eyes.
“Shh, it’s okay Jaemin, I’m doing fine! It’s okay, don’t cry!” Yangyang laces his fingers between Jaemin’s across the table, and Jaemin feels a warmth crawl up from his fingertip and into his face.
“Y-yeah sorry, I just— wow I didn’t know.”
“You couldn’t have, I mean, now that I’m saving the world and whatever, I know they’d be proud of me,” Yangyang replies with a bright grin, offering Jaemin a napkin and he takes it with tentative hands, dabbing away his tears. This feels awfully familiar— Deja vu?
“Saving the world? That’s lofty of you,” Jaemin teases, still sniffling but through his sniffles and blurry eyesight, he sees Yangyang’s eyes grow twice in size and him blanching immediately.
“Uh you know, with the advancement of science nowadays, chemical engineers are in high demand, you know, to advance science and all that, you know, I’m saving the world one step at a time,” Yangyang avoids all eye contact with him and starts to fiddle with his silver rings.
No, Jaemin does not know.
“Yeah,” Yangyang lets out a stilted laugh and the silence that envelops them is disconcerting.
They both let out strained laughs, unsure of where to look.
“Well, it’s getting a little late, are you okay to get home?” Jaemin knows that it’s probably going to take Yangyang a little over an hour to get back (damned public transport!) but the younger nods, his previously sheepish facial expression settling into one of ease. Jaemin mentally pats himself on the back for changing the subject.
“Yeah I’m good, you?” Yangyang gets up, brushing off any stray crumbs off his shirt and Jaemin does the same, frowning at the red sauce stain dotting his faded NYU crewneck.
“I might just walk back to my dorm,”
“Should I-uh walk you? To your dorms?” Yangyang shoots up and suddenly his chest caves back in, realising exactly what he had just said, and Jaemin doesn’t stop the giggle from bubbling up his chest, warm in his throat and out his mouth.
“What a gentleman you are Yangyang, but your chivalry bypasses the fact that you’re a long way from home and I’m in the totally opposite direction,” Jaemin picks up their rubbish and their trays, swiping his hands against each other after putting them on top of the bin.
“My chivalrous nature knows no bounds Jaemin,” he says, holding open the door and bowing with a hand folded over his stomach and Jaemin almost rams him out the doors with coloured cheeks.
“Stupid,” Jaemin mutters under his breath and by the smug smile plastered over Yangyang’s pretty face, he heard him crystal clear.
“I’ll walk you it’s all good, I need the exercise after that meal,” Yangyang pats his stomach as if the sound that emits doesn’t sound exactly like a knock against wood and Jaemin furrows his eyebrows, half in frustration and half at his own feebleness. Yangyang has the audacity to flirt and flex at the same time? With this air of nonchalance that Jaemin definitely so, so weak for?
“Okay that’s a whole ten minutes of your life you’re wasting, so your loss…” Jaemin racks his memory for a last name, just for the emphasis—
“Liu, Yangyang Liu.” The James Bond reference is unsurprising and Jaemin stares Yangyang down until he cracks and his lips split into a wide smile that it almost hurts.
“You’re corny as hell Yangyang Liu,”
“It’s part of my charm, you could almost say that I, uh Liu-d you in,”
Jaemin lets his eyeballs roll to the back of his head this time while Yangyang belts out into this adorable, high-pitched giggle that slowly evolves into a flat out cackle that Jaemin can’t help but revel in, keeping it in the deep crevices of his memory and adding it to his unintentional but completely necessary inventory of Yangyang Things. He ignores the fact that Yangyang laughed at his own pun and tucks the sound into the back of his mind, for a rainy day, or every other day, really.
“Liu has nothing on my last name, or should I say zero, zilch, zip, na-da,” Jaemin enunciates so hard he spits and narrowly misses Yangyang’s chin.
Yangyang only looks at the small darkened spot on the concrete and snorts.
“So which out of those is your surname? Last time I checked, none of those sound remotely Korean—”
“It’s Na, as in Jaemin Na, Na-da,”
“Na? That’s— huh,” Yangyang’s eyes fall onto Jaemin, darting across Jaemin’s features like he’s searching for something.
“Why? Do you know someone with the same surname?”
“Something like that, to be honest he kind of sounds like you too,” Yangyang cocks his head at Jaemin with a lift of his perfectly arched brow and Jaemin’s breath catches in his throat.
“Dude, are you sure it’s not me? I have literally never met another Na in my entire eighteen years of existence,”
“No, I think I’d remember someone like you,”
Jaemin’s ribcage trembles at the speed of his heartbeat.
“Oh,” is all he can muster out and Yangyang’s smug grin widens inch by inch as he watches Jaemin colouring in real time.
“You’re real cute Jaemin Na.” Jaemin is two seconds out from throwing up out of a fight or flight response.
“Wait, what about Nana? My friend goes by that—Has anyone called you that before?” Jaemin doesn’t want to dwell on how familiar and warm his name sounds rolling of the boy’s tongue. He must be projecting, because the only time he’s ever felt like this is with his Friend, Spiderman.
“That’s actually my childhood nickname, what a coincidence!” Jaemin hopes his laugh doesn’t come out too strained, caught onto the walls of his throat like he’s had to swallow something whole. But Yangyang only smiles sheepishly, hand scratching at the back of his neck where his hair brushes.
“Must be huh,” and Yangyang does nothing but to keep on the outer side of the pavement by Jaemin’s side, left hand awfully close to Jaemin’s and well, Jaemin can’t help but let himself concede.
“Are you going to hold my hand Mr Liu? Or should I hold yours first?”
Yangyang grabs onto Jaemin’s hand like in a split second, and Jaemin watches amusedly as Yangyang’s left cheek almost matches the burgundy door of the brownstone apartment they’re walking opposite to.
“I can’t let you beat me to everything,” is what the younger musters after thirty seconds, and Jaemin giggles to himself, rearranging their hold so that Jaemin can clasp his hand around Yangyang’s, as opposed to the vice grip Yangyang had gotten his wrist into in that moment of terror.
“Okay big guy, our scoreboard is one to one right now, to me for my superior puns, and to you for your… speed.” Jaemin can see University Hall in the distance and his stomach sinks. He’s been thinking about holding the younger’s hand since Yangyang first sat in front of him with his windswept hair and twinkly eyes in Taeil’s bar and the sensations that pulse underneath his fingertips where they meet Yangyang’s beats whatever fantasy his mind conjured up this historic event to be. And now it’s going to be over in approximately two minutes.
“Please, I deserve a half point for Liu-d,” Yangyang swings their hands and Jaemin slows his pace as they reach the front entrance.
“You’re asking for too much,” Jaemin says with no bite and Yangyang scrunches his nose in feigned frustration, but as their hands stay very firmly clasped, Yangyang takes a step forward and suddenly, their noses are almost touching.
“Am I still asking for too much if I ask to kiss you?”
Jaemin’s mouth widens in shock, but as Yangyang leans in further, he lets his eyelids flutter close and puckers up his lips. Maybe he will get some of that Chinese ass—
Yangyang presses his lips to the top of his cheek and Jaemin wants to hide in a dirty gutter and never come out. Like It, except he changes into a clown, stays perpetually a clown, and doesn’t lure little children, just mourns over his dignity.
“You should invest in some Blistex Intensive Repair,” Yangyang whispers into his ear and leaves Jaemin, still puckered yet his eyes are wide open now, hanging as he skips down 14th Street and into the sunset like he’s just Done Something. But by the time Jaemin breathes out a good fifteen seconds later, the boy is gone, a small dot at the end of the street.
“Hey Jaem! How did your date go—” Jeno watches as Jaemin dives face first into their couch and stays like that until twelve in the morning when he finally convinces Jaemin to at least brush his teeth before he cries himself to sleep out of utter humiliation.
When a video of Spiderman buying a bouquet of flowers circulates on Twitter in the early hours of the morning, Jaemin is fast asleep, still in his stained sweatshirt and opting for boxer shorts instead of his ripped skinnies that he was duped in. So when he wakes up at twelve in the afternoon, with a bouquet of red poppies, blue salvias, red, white, and pink camellias in a shocking array at his door, he only lets himself blush before heaving the bouquet onto the kitchen counter and spending the rest of the day setting up the flowers in a vase hidden in the depths of the kitchen cupboards.
“Who’re the flowers from? They’re kind of, uh,” Jeno says as he shucks off his sneakers at the door and scratches his head in confusion.
Jaemin only grins and shrugs bashfully, to which Jeno almost throws hands at the sight of.
“My secret admirer,”
“Damn, Yangyang has the worst taste.”
Spiderman Seen Purchasing Flowers For a Special Someone?
At 8AM this morning, the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman was sighted at Ariston Florist purchasing a strange collection of flowers, with the florist’s perturbed expressions to show for it. Who is our superhero’s special someone? Follow us @spidermandoesthings for more!
Jaemin is on a grocery store run when his phone rings and he throws a box of cereal into his basket before staring at the contact.
“Yes Spiderman? How can I help you?”
“Are you near your computer right now? I need to check something.” Spiderman sounds slightly distressed and Jaemin is already scanning his items at self checkout.
“Nope, but I’m about three minutes away from my dorm, can it wait?”
“You’re at the supermarket aren’t you? The one down the street right? Yeah, it should be okay,”
Jaemin gives a onceover around him, the only other person in the room being the cashier half-asleep at the register.
“Are you stalking me?”
“I can hear the beep of you scanning the items and using my amazing deduction skills, I assumed you were at Food Emporium because it’s the closest grocery to your dorm, am I wrong?”
Jaemin pulls out his reusable bag and scowls to himself.
“Okay genius, I’ll be home in a few, give me a rundown though?”
A laugh drifts through the phone as Jaemin exits the automatic doors, and he paces down the street to UHall.
“No, it’s not super urgent but I just wanted to check up on the bodega that experienced the armed robbery the other day? Could you grab their CCTV footage?”
Jaemin dumps the bag onto the dining table and drapes a blanket over Jeno’s sleeping form that’s almost merging with the couch before going into his room.
“Wasn’t that just a nine-year-old with a nerf gun? I swear it was a total hoax because it was Halloween…” Jaemin still looks up the address and Spiderman only coughs awkwardly in response.
“W-Well still! Doesn’t hurt to heck the camera footage for safety purposes!” Jaemin stifles his laugh and pinpoints the location on the map, realising its proximity to his dorm.
“Aw, Spidey are you worried for my safety? It’s okay I’m armed with biceps that could definitely knock out a little kid with a plastic gun,” he teases through his headset and Spiderman sputters on the line, as Jaemin pulls up the footage and indeed, watches as a little boy pushes open the glass door and points his ‘gun’ at the uncle at the cashier, who puts up his hands in mock terror, before scooping the boy up in his arms and tickling him until the boy goes red with laughter.
“Haha, I’m not worried about you, I’m worried about, well, my—”
“Your pretty boy? That’s pretty cute Spidey! Speaking of, how did your date go yesterday?” Jaemin leans on the palm of his hand as he pops a few pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch into his mouth.
“It was actually so good, we talked so much that our other friends left us and we didn’t notice until like way later, also his smile? Actually blinding, and his eyes sparkle like diamonds—”
“You sound whipped,” Jaemin doesn’t let his jealousy seep through, for there isn’t anything to be jealous of or about since he is 100% over Spiderman. He’s got other things to worry about, like what Yangyang’s favourite flavour of ice-cream is.
“Honestly? He’s like perfect, and it’s so funny because he has the same name as you!” Jaemin slows his chewing and frowns. Another Nana? You’ve got to be kidding.
“Are you for real right now? I swear there’s no one else with this name, I’ve been called Nana since I was a child! And plus it’s my nickname, not even my real name,” Jaemin discloses as if it’s new information, taking into account that the hero probably doesn’t remember the first time they met, when Jaemin helped him hack into a bank’s system and told him his name. The second time he asked, Jaemin had said Nana with such finality that the boy just took it and called him that ever since.
“You’re kidding! That’s his nickname too! Are you sure you guys don’t know each other?” Spiderman sounds more and more surprised by the way his voice is rising in pitch and Jaemin leans back into his broken chair.
“I thought you met this guy in Anthro, I don’t think we would ever cross paths,” Jaemin says, eyebrow raised despite being on the phone and hears a sheepish chuckle in response.
“Aha, well I should tell you, I kind of lied?” At least he has the gall to sound guilty when he admits it, Jaemin thinks to himself.
“I just- I don’t know, it just seemed too personal if I told you the whole truth because we’ve never you know, talked about these things, you’ve just been my like, Guy in the Chair you know?” Jaemin hasn’t heard those words in a while.
“You know you can tell me anything right Spidey? I know we haven’t spoken in real life in a long time, or been particularly close over the past few months, but I’m always here for you, even if I was just your Guy in the Chair in the beginning.” Jaemin hopes the hero can place his trust in him, even if he can’t trust the rest of the city to have his back, to believe in him. Not everyone loves the Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman, and Jaemin has had the unfortunate pleasure of reading hateful words spread over the local media, and overheard enough conversations to know that some citizens of his beloved city don’t think the hero could make real change if he tried. It hurts Jaemin to read it and know it exists, so he can’t imagine what it must feel like to the boy in question himself. From crushes to feelings, Jaemin would die happy if the hero knew he could tell him anything. Jaemin’s need to be of a beacon of light is concerning most of the time, but this is an exception.
“I know Nana, it means a lot you know, that you didn’t hang up the phone the minute I told you about that boy, and expose everything you knew about me. I-I hope you know I’m forever thankful for you,”
Jaemin’s Saturday night is not going how he originally planned, but by the tears pooling in his eyes as he listens to the line, he’s not too mad about it.
“Anytime Spidey, you know I’m always on your side, always here for you, wasting away playing League in the ratty old chair you gifted me,” Jaemin leans even further to emphasise the creak that reminds him that he’s just that close to breaking his spine.
“Dude that was you?! Why does it feel like our paths have crossed so many times and I had no clue,” Spiderman almost whines, as if he isn’t a total oblivious idiot three-quarters of the time but Jaemin stays mum and just grins. How everything has come full circle is unknown to him, but again, he isn’t too mad about it.
“It really be like that Spidey.” Spiderman giggles in response, and it really is the most precious sound in the world. It reminds him of Yangyang but in a, ‘aw these two people make me feel so happy and gushy inside’, but strictly platonically for the former. That line needs to be drawn in permanent marker.
“Speaking of paths crossing, I guess you probably wouldn’t know pretty boy though because I met him through my cousin,”
“Oh really now? What’s his name?” Jaemin is busy checking through his emails, scouring for coupons that haven’t expired yet as he mindlessly shoves more pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch into his mouth, too distracted to register how familiar it all sounds.
“His name is—”
“Jaemin! Have you eaten dinner yet?!” Jeno yells from the kitchen, having woken up from his nap at 11:39 at night and Jaemin holds a hand over the mic as he yells, “Nope! There are leftovers in the fridge though, you eat first!”
As soon as he hears Jeno’s tired-and-hungry grunt in reply, he lifts his hand and gets back to his Gmail inbox.
“Sorry that was my roommate Jeno, anyway, pretty boy’s name?” Spiderman hacks up another cough and Jaemin subconsciously frowns. Is he getting sick? In summer?
“Sorry did you say Jeno?” Spiderman has suddenly gone to a whisper, and Jaemin finds himself lowering his voice when he replies with, “Yes? Do you happen to know him Spidey?”
“I- um, Nana? I have to go, something’s happening down the street, I’ll call you back,” and without a ‘Goodbye Nana!’ the line drops, and suddenly Jaemin is alone, with his Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the microwave whirring in the back.
Does Spiderman know Jeno? Do they have some history Jaemin is completely unaware of? Jeno doesn’t seem to give much of a care about anything Spiderman-related, apart from when he saves cats from trees, but that’s just Jeno as a person. Maybe Jeno knows Spiderman as not Spiderman, but by his true identity? Jaemin has a million questions running through his mind so his first order of business is to get some of them answered.
“Hey dude, do you know who Spiderman is?”
Jeno stares up at him from his bowl of rice and furrows his eyebrows.
“If I did, you know I’d tell you … why?” Jaemin drags his feet towards the dining table and hooks his chin over his best friend’s shoulder.
“Are you sure you don’t know who Spiderman is?” Jeno drops his chopsticks onto the table and turns around, promptly knocking Jaemin in the face, ignoring the pained yelp that escapes him.
“Why are you suddenly asking me this? Did you have a run in with Spiderman and he namedropped me? You know I don’t really care about him. I have no issues or any lasting memories with the guy, so…” Now it’s Jeno’s turn to ask questions, an inquisitive look in his eye as Jaemin pulls over a chair and sits backwards on it.
“You see, I have a relationship with Spiderman. You know we’ve had run-ins, I’ve told you about those, but about like five months ago? He swung down one morning, asked me to help him find blueprints for this corporation outside of town and then naturally, I became his Guy in the Chair. So we’re pretty good friends I wanna say but just then, I was chatting to him and you asked me if I had dinner, and then I apologised, said ‘sorry that was my roommate Jeno,’ and the guy just went silent! And then gave me some dodgy excuse and hung up! So either you guys have beef or he doesn’t like the sound of your name!”
Jeno is surprisingly calm throughout this and purses his lips in thought.
“Well I don’t remember getting into any verbal or physical altercations with Spiderman, but I mean when he comes up in conversation, Renjun’s really defensive of him and sometimes I refute if I don’t think it’s all that true, but those are our own personal conversations, I don’t see how that has anything to do with Spiderman or my name at all? Maybe he’s got a bad memory with another Jeno—”
“Nobody in this damned city has the same name as you,” Jaemin deadpans and Jeno scratches at the base of his hairline.
“I got nothing for you Jaem’, but I’m not all that surprised that you’re chummy with Spiderman. I mean it explains your wallpaper and your weird Spiderman stan stage in June and the phonecalls you’ve had recently, cos’ like you have no other friends apart from Jisung, who is definitely hiberdating after Chenle asked him out, ‘Hyuck and Yukhei who are dead to the world, Renjun, Mark, and me so I kind of connected the dots,”
“You connected the dots with all of that? Still, isn’t that a bit—” Jaemin knows he’s not the most subtle soul but it seems like a huge leap, especially from his most logical, rational friend.
“Jaemin, you are the most predictable person I’ve ever known. And honestly, anything is possible if it’s you,” and Jeno leaves him with that bombshell of a statement as he goes back to digging into his fried rice.
Jaemin thought he was a pretty amiable guy, who loved making new friends, and being an overall friendly person, but those personality traits weren’t supposed to engender anything completely out of question. Like happening to befriend his city’s local hero with superpowers acquired from a radioactive spider bite. It wasn’t supposed to get him into such confusing situations either.
He goes to sleep with a frown etched on his face and even the sight of his flowers doesn’t lift up the ends of his mouth when he sees them in the morning.
“What’s got your panties in a twist this morning Na?” Renjun’s curt voice snaps Jaemin out of his daze, and Jeno just sighs in lieu of him.
“He’s in a toughie with some boy,” Jeno says as he sips his iced Americano, rolling his eyes in the process.
“A boy that is not Yangyang?! Are you two-timing my cousin you dickhead—” Renjun almost leaps out of his chair, soy cappuccino at the ready.
“I am about this close to marrying your cousin, but this boy on the other hand, he’s just acting weird and I have no idea why,” Jaemin moans, sipping meekly at his black coffee of death and Renjun just massages his temple with his fingertips.
“So ask him what’s wrong! What’s stopping you from asking such a simple question?”
Jaemin, horrified at the blatant betrayal, watches as Renjun just nods and sighs in sync with his boyfriend.
“Figures,” Renjun says, as if that explains anything and Jaemin’s mouth open and closes soundlessly.
“I mean Jaemin, the guy probably has his reasons right? You either ask him straight up or marinate in this confusion until you burst and create a bigger rift in your relationship than necessary,”
Trust Renjun Huang to come swooping in with completely valid, helpful advice.
“I guess you’re right, but we haven’t spoken in person in so long! You have no idea what—”
“I have no idea?” Renjun raises his drawn brow and Jaemin realises, too belatedly, that he is very much in the wrong with the statement.
“Is Spiderman not someone who you trust, cherish, and barely get to see?” Jeno punctuates with every sip of his straw and Jaemin sinks into his chair, guilt bubbling in the pit of his stomach.
“I’m sorry,” is what he mumbles from under the neckline of his pullover and Renjun only rolls his eyes, pinching Jaemin’s arm from his seat
“Are you now realising that everything you’re saying out loud right now sounds quite frankly, stupid?” Jaemin refuses to take his entire head out of his crewneck and Jeno kicks his leg under the table.
“Yes,” he moans in response.
I’m glad you realised dumbass,” and Renjun pushes him out the door and into the street like old furniture, which unfortunately serves as an accurate analogy for how Jaemin is feeling right now and Jeno sends him off with a salute.
“Don’t text me until you’ve stopped moping!”
Some asshole with the remote to Yangyang’s life has to be messing with him when his crush and unofficial best friend happen to be the same person right?
Life as Spiderman hasn’t been easy that’s for sure, and the role was not what he was expecting when he touched down in JFK, leaving his only family for an education and career he wasn’t certain about. A whole Chinese-German, trying to find his way on the East Coast, with a devoted cousin who would move the oceans for him and a crippling guilt complex just to top it off. Yangyang Liu was not liking the free world and no one could save him from it. But of course, the damned spider! Of course, the one night Yangyang lets himself get tipsy, he finds himself in some alley against some wet wall which probably had a neon sign reading ‘Haha you’re screwed! Guess who’s contracted some nasty measles! Dumbass!’ in front of it and a strange tingling sensation surging up his arm.
Now he sticks to walls, can sense when someone is about to swipe his phone from his pocket, and is forced to make web juice with stolen chemicals from the lab prep room after hours and hoping something out of the beaker sticks to the wall, literally.
The costume and cat-saving comes a little after, when Yangyang finds himself in a tree after practising shooting webs late into the night, and a tiny tabby stares at him with these pretty eyes and Yangyang scoops up the little thing and drops it off at the house down the street where a large sign reading ‘MISSING TABBY WITH SPARKLING EYES. REWARD $200.’ is stuck in the front yard.
Then he does a little research and realises that some comic book hero actually exists under the moniker Spiderman, with a whole cheesy costume to boot. So Yangyang slaps on the costume, that barely functions sometimes but works just enough for him to get by, and lets life carry him into this river with no foreseeable end, where he’s terribly lovesick over cute boys in his college classes and very, very scared of what life could throw at him next. But he masks it under branded clothes with coin he makes with his Spotify streams under 2YANG, occasional violin covers on YouTube, and doing merch and graphic design for his world-renowned dancing legend of a brother. It’s a strange income but it works in masking his sadness and fear, so with the Off-White belt he wears, he wears an aura of confidence. His drip, one could say.
Yangyang never asked for any of this, but now he’s got it in abundance, hence he’s committed himself to going with the motions and forced himself to juggle whatever else is thrown in his path next.
Limited but not excluding the meteor that is Jaemin.
Although they’ve only met a few times, when Yangyang had unfortunately embarrassed himself by either the ‘falling-flat-on-the-ass’ or ‘eating-asphalt-while-face-collides-with-ground’, Yangyang knew of the guy quite well. From Renjun’s accounts of his boyfriend’s best friend and by default, his best friend, to the guy doing compsci that everyone at school thought was a total catch from girls to guys to anyone with eyes. Yet, Yangyang had no time to ogle at pretty boys when he had a whole city to protect and villains to defeat and old ladies to help and cats to save.
Yet, come a random morning when he sees Jaemin lugging a huge, expensive computer chair to University Hall and Yangyang saw his chance to finally see what the guy was about. And get some hacking help while he was at it.
It was an untasteful approach to getting to know someone, Yangyang realised in hindsight, but it worked because Jaemin figured out something fishy was going on and Yangyang was able to stop a whole heist, drop off a sniffly Jaemin back to his dorm and leave him with a flirty line and a knock to the head just for that Clumsy Spiderman branding. But then he had to go injure himself seriously and was left with minor memory loss and a concerned cousin who swore to never let him leave his sight again.
Then Yangyang spots the guy grabbing a coffee and without even remembering their first interaction, asks him amongst the few others awake at that time of morning, if he could help find out the blueprints to headquarters of a underground drug syndicate and alas, their short-lived interaction extends into an unconventional relationship that Yangyang finds himself treasuring. He isn’t one for asking strangers to help him crack down on cartels and illegal happenings in New York City, but his spidey sense spoke to him on that morning and honestly, when have his heightened senses ever been wrong?
He remembers very belatedly after he drops off a corpse of a computer chair in front of University Hall, that indeed, the guy he’s inadvertently made his Guy in the Chair is the total hotshot from NYU.
Then Renjun asks him out for drinks. He cracks his iPhone screen in front of Jaemin like a fool. Almost forgets who Jaemin is. Eats pizza with Jaemin. Talks. Laughs. Ends up liking Jaemin. A Lot.
It’s quick, the way he drowns in the boy’s glittery eyes and pink blush that Yangyang makes an effort to induce. The way he finds himself drinking in every low laugh and giggle, agreeing with almost every opinion about social injustices in the country and world, catching himself just when he almost thinks he’s in love with Jaemin.
He’s known they were the same person for a little while, unsure of when to really spit it out, but of course, the moment he spills that his crush is a ‘guy from Anthro’ like some blithering idiot who would be the last person to ever take Anthro, Yangyang finds himself in a pickle.
Showing his adoration through incessant gratitude towards Jaemin for being his ‘friend’, to talking about Ariana Grande to painful family background stories and everything in between, this is how Yangyang has channelled his adoration for the boy without blowing his cover. He finds himself realising how well Jaemin compliments him, and how their silly banter gets Yangyang through all of the late night patrols. God, even the fact that he’s encouraged Yangyang to go get his ‘pretty boy’, that he has a chance and he should shoot his shot is proof enough that Jaemin is an angel incarnate. Nana, now synonymous to Jaemin Na, is the pretty comp-sci major with those dazzling eyes, pink, chapped lips and stupidly cute personality to match that has Yangyang wrapped around his finger like a Spiderman printed bandaid from Walmart.
But oh, the moment Yangyang thinks it’s the right time to tell Jaemin that he is Pretty Boy, in a frankly very unromantic time of day and environment (a shocking statement via phone call? What were you even thinking Yangyang?!), only to realise that his cousin’s boyfriend, the more perceptive out of the three person couple, lives with Jaemin, the gravity of this whole double act he’s managed to uphold for the past months weighs down on him like a hand reaching into his brain and pulling down at the back of his skull.
Hannah Montana totally lied when she said ‘you get the best of both worlds.’ Yangyang hates himself for actually believing that he could pull this off without a major catastrophe at the end, that could cost him more than just his nylon costume, but the only friendship he’s ever cherished in his twenty years of existence.
So as he sits atop the building, sandwich no. 5 in hand, he wonders how the hell he’s going to get himself out of this unscathed, and hopefully with a boyfriend at the end.
“Hey Karen, call Spiderman again,”
“Calling Spinnenmann for the fifth time,”
“Okay Karen, I didn’t ask you to be an ass about it,”
Karen remains mum and the phone dials.
“The number you have called is not available, please leave a message after the tone…” Jaemin hangs up and stares at his iPhone, at the call log where the red painfully reminds him that Spinnenmann has not picked up the phone out of the five times Jaemin has called him.
jennnnnnnn he didn’t pick up
do you want me to buy u lunch
ur the best :(
coming home now
don’t do anything stupid - renjun
i’m holing myself up in this apt bc
stupid spiderman won’t answer
my calls i’m already doing smth
So Jeno and Renjun find him curled up in the corner of the couch, phone lying limply in between his fingertips and give each other a look of defeat before sitting themselves on either side of the desolate man. Renjun wriggles himself in the tiny triangle of couch cushion that Jaemin hasn’t occupied while Jeno drapes himself over his best friend’s folded legs.
“Okay is maybe we were a bit harsh on you, I mean the guy probably has got things to do and isn’t checking his phone right?” Jeno says as he pets the top of Jaemin’s head like a cat, and Jaemin only whines in response. What would Jeno know, Spiderman evidently has beef with him and that’s why he’s in this mess in the first place. Okay, now he’s being a bit harsh but sue him! His superhero is ghosting him and he’s sensitive.
“Exactly, he’s probably saving the city at this very moment, so let’s give him some time, he’ll come around and if he doesn’t, I’ll hunt him down and waterboard him until he says something,”
Jaemin scoffs at that but knowing Renjun, he stays silent and lets the Chinese boy pet him lightly on the head before getting up and brushing off dust from his knees.
“Why don’t we eat lunch together? Then we can watch all of Hasan Minhaj’s Deep Cuts videos on YouTube, and we’ll ask Donghyuck and Xuxi to come out of their hole and have dinner with us, sound good?”
Man, Renjun has the best ideas, Jaemin thinks to himself as he nods, cheek rubbing against the rough upholstery and Jeno sighs.
“C’mon fatass, get up and warm up your food or I’m inhaling your laksa before you can even say the words ‘hand gestures’.”
Jaemin appreciates Jeno remembering the idiosyncrasies of Jaemin’s celebrity crush and jumps off the couch, racing Renjun to their microwave and promptly spilling his soup all over the floor.
“For God’s sake Na Jaemin!” Renjun screams in fluent Korean and Jeno slaps a hand to his forehead.
It’s safe to say that Jaemin forgets about his Spidey problem for the entire afternoon.
supreme dream team (6)
@donghyuck @yukhei hey assholes r u free to get dinner w me jeno + jaemin 2nite
yeah get some fresh hair from ur lovemaking den
gross but yeah what he said
i’m a child of god how dare u
but yes i’m free dunno about big guy
also, s’not pre-marital if its the backdoor
So after half a laksa, aliens, horoscopes, and a shower, Jaemin is in the middle of drawing his left brow when the doorbell rings.
“Jaemin can you get it?! I haven’t got my jeans on!”
“What about Renjun?!”
“He’s taking a dump, just do it Jaemin!”
Jaemin huffs as he drops his Benefit Ka-Brow! and marches up to the door. He opens it to find a bouquet of yellow roses sitting by his feets. In between the flowers is a white card, but Jaemin has a feeling he knows who they’re from anyway.
Okay so I dropped my phone in the toilet yesterday and realised I didn’t even get your number in the first place BUT I booked dinner for us at this address for 7PM - I’m pretty sure you’re free because Renjun told me you don’t do anything on Friday nights, but feel free to contest that… on Friday night when I meet you for dinner :)
Jaemin is too giddy to even refute Renjun’s legitimate statement and brings the bouquet inside, replacing the wilting reds and whites with vibrant yellows. What a gentleman, Jaemin thinks to himself as he admires the butter-coloured flowers in the light of the six o’ clock sunset, and Renjun walks out as he buckles up his belt, lifting up his, finished, left eyebrow.
“Is this what the kids are up to nowadays? Sending flowers? Last time I heard it was dick appointments and eating ass,”
Jaemin duly ignores him and continues admiring the flowers until Jeno comes bustling out of the bathroom with his jeans half buttoned up and a pout on his face.
“My thighs got too big,”
Renjun stares at the sight of his boyfriend’s rippling quads in the black ripped skinnies he’s got half of them into and Jaemin catches him almost drooling but his best friend regains himself too quickly, and Jaemin can’t catch a Snapchat fast enough.
“Go change into your blue ones babe,” and Jeno turns around, shoulders hunched as he silently mourns the death of his pants at the expense of the birth of his new thick thighs. Jaemin can’t relate but he empathises with the poor guy.
“God we’re never going to grab dinner at this rate,” Renjun complains as he paces over to the kitchen counter and starts to fiddle with the rose petals between his fingers.
“Hey! Hands off the goods!” Jaemin drags the vase away from Renjun and the Chinese boy throws his hands up in surrender.
“I meant no harm touching your goods!”
Jeno walks out at that moment in a pair of dark blue jeans and halts.
“I’m not going to ask, let’s go shall we?” and he loops his arm in Renjun’s and grabs Jaemin by the arm like he’s hauling a sack of potatoes as all three of them exit the apartment.
It’s always a trek for the three of them to even get up to Brooklyn where Yukhei lives and by default, Donghyuck, but already, before Jaemin can go 24 hours without a crisis, one hits them like a train.
“Please stand by, we are experiencing signal failures and will be delayed. Please keep alert of further announcements, we are sorry for the inconvenience…”
“God, I told you guys we should have just walked,”
“Shut up Jeno!” Jaemin and Renjun both chorus and the entire carriage is too quiet for three guys to be arguing.
As the train stays stagnant for an indefinite amount of time, Jaemin resorts to leaning on Jeno’s shoulder, knees so close to giving out. The chance of him falling onto the old man squashed up against the metal next to him is 95% likely.
Of course, just as Renjun challenges Jaemin to a Words With Friends game, the train starts to chug back to life, only to fizzle immediately after and then, something alike to hail starts pelting down on the roof of the train.
“Evacuate. Exit the vehicle. Evacuate.”
The three of them share a look before they get crushed as everyone begins to run out of the congested carriage. Or at least try their best to run while squeezing past dozens of people and Renjun grabs Jeno’s hand and reaches out for Jaemin’s as he charges forward, ignoring the old man Jaemin was afraid of falling on top previously when he surges. Yet Jaemin catches in the corner of his eye, an elderly woman with a zimmer frame trapped by the carriage pole and he lets go.
“Jaemin! What are you doing?!” Jeno screams over the clamour and Jaemin only gestures to his phone.
“I’ll call you!” and before Renjun and Jeno can turn around and come back, they get carried out by the crowd stomping from the carriage on their left.
The elderly lady, wheels of her frame refusing to cooperate, is on the verge of tears and Jaemin goes by his first instinct and carries her, like a hero out of an apocalypse movie. Although it’s the first time he’s ever experienced a situation like this, Jaemin knows that if he has to go down in history for anything, do any one good thing in his life, it’s getting this elderly woman out of this damned train and to safety.
“It’s okay, we’ll be out soon, hold on okay!” Jaemin says to the petrified eighty year old and she wraps her shaky arms around his neck as tight as she can as Jaemin leaps out of the carriage. A guy with a hi-vis vest on labelled ‘emergency staff ‘catches sight of Jaemin as the train begins to slowly dent further and further into itself as the crumbling cement from the top of the tunnel keeps pummelling down onto it.
“Hey! Over here!” Jaemin swivels his head around and the emergency staff member, named Taeyong as by the tag on his breast pocket opens his arms out and Jaemin, as gently as he can, lets her go into his arms, unfurling her quivering hands from his neck.
“Get out of here kid!” Taeyong yells as he leaps the stairs two at a time, and Jaemin follows suit. But of course, as the tunnel behind him starts to fall apart, cracked cement bursting out of the walls, he trips on his goddamn shoelace and hits his shin against the stairs.
He can see the blood seeping into his jeans, and he can’t get himself up by his hands. His elbows are shaking and hot tears well up in his eyes. This is not the way he wanted to go, alone and injured because of his, shoelace. He tries again, palms punctured with tiny debris as he pushes himself up and onto the higher step. Taeyong is far gone now and the light from the entrance is blurring.
This must be it.
Jaemin just hopes his siblings and his parents know how much he loves them, that he’s sorry that he can’t get to Christmas this year. That Jeno and Renjun are safe and together, that Donghyuck and Yukhei aren’t waiting for too long. He hopes Yangyang won’t sulk about getting stood up on Friday. And God, he hopes Spiderman will come save him. Now that it’s Jaemin’s sorry ass that forgets to tie his laces on the day New York’s transport infrastructure decides to collapse, he’s hoping the superhero will come and scoop him up. But as he nurses his leg, blood staining his hands as he watches the light grow smaller and smaller, Jaemin realises his dreams aren’t coming true today.
Should he close his eyes? Is that what he should be doing now? Jaemin has never come so close to death before, and all without getting a ticket to Patriot Act, or kissing Yangyang on the lips, or telling his grandparents that he’s truly happy now—
“Oh Nana, you idiot,” and a blur of red and blue jumps down from a hole in the roof and slips his arms underneath Jaemin’s knees and behind his back.
“Spidey!” Jaemin hiccups in tears as Spiderman shoots a web into that circle of light and slingshots them out of the station.
“And you call me the clumsy one,” he murmurs as he cradles Jaemin closer to him, landing just next to the pole that previously indicated Union Square Station, now half its size by means of the cement cracking into half.
“Is it just your leg? Let me get you to a paramedic,” and Spiderman is back on his feet, carrying him to one of the ambulances while Jaemin grips onto the front of his suit like a child, his cheek pressed to his chest and staining the suit with tears.
“T-Thank you, for saving me,”
“Hush, you’ve saved me more times than I count,” and it’s only now that Jaemin looks up at the hero and wonders why that voice is so familiar.
Is it the slight accent? The pitch and tone? And then Spiderman has the gall to look back at him and wink, his mask creasing as he does and Jaemin immediately looks away, choosing to glare down his bloody shin.
“Wait ‘till you see what I look like under this Nana,”
Spiderman laughs, his warm giggle that makes his shoulders shake as he keeps dodging past other casualties and emergency staff to find a free ambulance.
Jaemin knows that laugh. He tucked it into the back of his mind and into the very depths of his chest to remember it everyday after the first time he heard it.
“Hi, could you help this young man- yes I am Spiderman, ha ha how did you guess! No but seriously, I think he might have fractured his shin or injured it in some way, could you please look after him, for me- he’s a close friend of mine, thank you so much, you do such great work for our city and I appreciate how fast you arrived.” The hero lays Jaemin down onto the stretcher and pries his fingers from the front of his suit.
“Are you—” Jaemin begins, eyes watering again because he doesn’t want him to go. He has so many questions to ask.
“I’m sorry I didn’t answer your calls, I promise I’ll tell you everything soon,” and Spiderman leans in, curves over Jaemin and kisses him on the forehead, before he swivels and leaps off the stretcher, disappearing into the crevices of New York’s skyline.
Jaemin does not, cannot, fathom what just happened and as the lady, just as shocked as he is, pulls an oxygen mask over his head with shaky hands, he goes out like a light.
Spiderman Seen Kissing a Special Someone?
In the event of Union Square station collapsing last night, the city was in chaos, trains cancelled and first responders flooding the area promptly after getting calls from transport staff. There have been at least 85 casualties but thankfully, no deaths. At the scene, Spiderman swooped in and helped commuters move out of the afflicted train and platforms, garnering the praise of our city as he deserved. But, as the entrance out of the station closed in with rubble and debris, the hero was seen diving in and pulling out a young man in his arms. Spiderman was then sighted running to an ambulance and upon laying the young man onto the stretcher, he was seen speaking to him before pressing a kiss to his forehead! The first responder at the ambulance spoke to news outlets: “I was flabbergasted! They seemed to know each other, and as Spiderman placed him gently onto the stretcher he told the injured male that he would “tell him everything soon,” and kissed him! It was so cute, like straight out of a movie! But the moment I pulled the oxygen mask over his boyfriend’s head, he fell unconscious so I couldn’t ask any further questions.” Is this maybe our superhero’s special someone that he purchased those lovely flowers for last week? Follow us @spidermandoesthings for updates!
It’s fair to say that Jaemin wakes up to a state of chaos. He wakes up to see Renjun and Jeno fighting off a hoard of reporters and journalists outside his room, his grandparents by his bed, watching reruns of Friends and laughing at the parts they understand, and a pile of bouquets sitting on the table at the edge of his hospital bed.
“Harabeoji, Halmeoni, what- what’s happening?” Jaemin croaks out as he tries to push himself further up the bed, and his grandparents turn to him, unphased by the fact that their grandson has just woken up after a day and a half.
“Well that Spider Boy just had to go and kiss you and now everyone is going ballistic outside and your friends are trying to fight them off,” his grandma says plainly before she pours him a cup of warm water from the kettle.
“We’ve just been watching this TV show for the past three hours, it’s quite entertaining Jaeminnie, look they’re all friends!” his grandpa chimes and Jaemin doesn’t know what quite to say. The complete contrast of chaos against calm in this room feeds into the migraine growing at the back of his head.
“Renjun! Jeno! What is happening?!”
“Oh my God, Jaemin you’re awake! Wait let me just—” Jaemin watches, horrified as Renjun wrenches a microphone out of some journalist’s sweaty grip and throws it out the door before shoving the door closed, with Jeno applying extra force so that the door doesn’t break from its hinges.
“How are you feeling? Does your leg still hurt? It was fractured but thank God everything else was okay. Renjun and I were so mad at you for leaving us and when we couldn’t find you, you couldn’t imagine how terrified we were, but of course Spiderman had to come and save the day and give you a cheesy ass forehead kiss of all kisses and then Twitter broke and everyone was talking about it, so that’s why you have a pack of wild tabloids outside wanting to know what you and Spidey have going on. Jesus, even when you’re unconscious, you become hot news, is this is your impact?” Jeno sidles up next to Jaemin’s grandfather and squeezes Jaemin’s arm with a pout on his face, as if he didn’t just rap a whole verse and pre-chorus at him.
“Anyways, you should be good to be out by tomorrow after you speak to the doctor, and we have to book physical therapy sessions—”
“Did he come by?” Jaemin peels up with enough strength to sit up straight and he holds onto Renjun’s wrist, looking at him imploringly.
“If you can spot the brightest bouquet, that’s from him,” Jaemin sees it instantaneously, a splatter of pink, red, and white.
“Can you give it to me?” He makes grabby hands at his best friend, who only snorts before grabbing the brown paper wrapped flowers and placing it in his arms.
Jaemin looks for the telltale scrawl on a piece of white card and he spots it in between the carnations and chrysanthemums.
So you stood me up, way to let a guy down Jaemin Na. I’m joking. Ish. I hope you’re feeling better now and that your leg isn’t in too much pain. Also I know the cat’s out of the bag but I swear I’ll explain everything when I see you next
Stay out of the subway and stay safe. I love you.
“Jaemin you’re so red!”
“Because he got flowers from Spider Boy! Let him be!”
It’s in this moment that Jaemin despises his best friends for understanding Korean fluently as he buries his face into the sheets, hands still clutching the card as Jeno and Renjun titter to themselves while his grandparents bicker over why Jaemin is blushing so hard (“He might have a fever!”, “No! He has a BOYFRIEND!”)
“Here, lean on me,” Jeno slides his arm under Jaemin’s and holds up some of his weight as they make it to their floor with Renjun trailing closely behind, hands full of Jaemin’s luggage.
They make it to the door and Jeno gets their code wrong three times before he finally punches in the correct combination and all three of them collectively fall onto the couch.
“I’ve missed this,” Jaemin muffles into the couch cushion and Jeno and Renjun moan in agreement. Even though the piece of furniture smells perpetually of fried chicken grease and reminds them of all of the failed exam results they’ve found out sitting on this very thing, all three of them have missed it dearly. Nothing beats watching shitty Netflix romcoms on Jeno’s battered Macbook and throwing popcorn at each other while snuggled together in the cold as New York dives into wintertime. Even though his best friends have been dating for years now, with the addition of a new boyfriend during those years at that, they never failed to make Jaemin feel loved and he can only thank them endlessly for the time they’ve sacrificed to keep him feeling that way during the past few months.
As a result of his injury, Jaemin had been staying with his grandparents, Jeno and Renjun keeping him up to date with university information he couldn’t access online, and the latest updates about their friends and peers every day after class (“Yeri and Sooyoung finally got together last night after the Ball!”, “Yeah and I think Taeil and Johnny are going to tie the knot soon, I saw hyung at a jewellery store last night!”, “Oh and Professor Park has totally has the hots for—”). Jaemin insisted that it was just unnecessary to come every single day of the week but the two, with the addition of Mark, Donghyuck and Yukhei, and his freshie bestie Jisung and freshie bestie’s boyfriend Chenle, made the continuous effort to at least come every weekend. Jaemin’s grandparents had never had to feed so many mouths in their lives, but the company made them even more pushy for Jaemin’s boyfriend to visit as well.
One night, when the eight of them were crowded around his grandparents’ dining table, hands fighting for side dishes, and spoonfuls of rice and stew into their bowls, Jaemin’s grandma suddenly demanded that his “Spider Boy” should first, come and visit, and second, that they should get a pet together soon, because her and grandpa would love to look after a dog when they went on trips. There was a lot packed into that one demand, so much so that Jaemin choked violently on his kimchi jigae, to the absolute delight of his cackling friends beside him.
After three months, Jaemin was finally able to get up and go about his day without having to rest his leg every half hour, so he reluctantly moved out of his childhood home, hugged his grandparents for what seems like forever, with them packing ten tupperware containers of food for the next week, before Jeno and Renjun picked him up in Mark’s dinged up Camry and they were on their way home.
Yangyang hadn’t contacted him since, but Jaemin knew that he would come around to it some time soon. He probably needed time to sort himself out too.
“Jeno and I are going to grab dinner, you stay put and we’ll be back soon okay?” Renjun pats his thigh, a habit he’s grown into after hearing Jaemin complain about how all the affection he gets is hitting and pinching while they were less than sober one night. It was mortifying to have Renjun coddling him for the days after that, but Jaemin decided he liked the thigh pats. And Jeno, well he’s always been a cuddler, since they were in middle school, acne-ridden and just coming to the realisation that boys and girls were equally as pretty.
“Will do sir.” Jaemin already has his hands on his laptop, ready to jump on Netflix and click on the latest episode of Patriot Act about the importance of the Asian American vote in the 2020 elections. But just as the intro begins to play, something flies into the balcony window and Jaemin winces, afraid of seeing whatever remains of pigeon has landed on the terrace.
When Jaemin said Yangyang would come around to it soon, he didn’t mean this soon.
But alas, there he is, face mask peeled off and sure enough, it’s that mop of brown fluffy hair and those twinkling eyes, hanging upside down from the ledge of the balcony door, holding out a bunch of baby breaths tied with twine. It’s not as shocking of a sight and revelation as it would’ve been three months before, and Jaemin can’t help but think that Yangyang really suits red and blue.
Jaemin almost throws his notebook off his lap by the speed he gets up from the couch and only hobbles slightly to the door and turns the knob.
Yangyang backflips in the air before the door can swing into his face and gets down on one knee, thrusting out the blue and white flowers at Jaemin.
“How are you, my prince?”
“Doing very well if I say so myself, General Liu,” he accepts the flowers with tentative hands and can’t help but grin at the sight of the hero. He’s missed that face dearly.
“I’m glad to hear that, but first, I must tell you,” Yangyang perches himself on the metal stool beside the balcony railing and leans close, staring up through his windswept bangs at Jaemin.
The tension melt away from Jaemin’s shoulders when he throws his hands around his neck, and presses his head flush next to Yangyang’s.
“I know, it’s okay,” and Jaemin holds him tighter as Yangyang lets himself hug Jaemin back, sniffling into Jaemin’s new Balenciaga shirt.
“I just— I’d known for a while, but I didn’t know how to break it to you without making you upset, and when it hit me that my cousin’s boyfriend was living with you and that our lives were far more intertwined than I had ever anticipated scared me. How was I supposed to tell to you, that this clumsy idiot that you’ve helped hack computer systems for the past six months was the guy who kissed you on the cheek the night before and doesn’t know how to pick flowers for his life?” Yangyang says all while pulling Jaemin closer, his thighs hitting the legs of the stool.
“I would’ve taken time to understand it all, but you have nothing to be afraid of. I’d believe your every word and would have tried my best to understand where you were coming from, because—” Jaemin clears his throat for emphasis. He knows now, for sure, as to quote Twilight herself, unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him. When you find yourself thinking and missing someone, from their giggle to the way their hair floofs up and down when they talk, to their resilience and courage that bleeds through them. Under that suit, Yangyang is more transparent than he thinks himself to be but Jaemin is so grateful that he’s allowed him to see that. But he doesn’t say it, something about Jaemin’s adopted spidey sense is telling him it’s not the right time.
“I know you would have, but sometimes, I don’t believe in my trust in other people, it kind of comes with the job.” He sounds defeated and Jaemin doesn’t have to look him in the eyes to see that they’re glistening.
“I don’t want to feel like this anymore, I’m trying not to and it’s hard. But I-I think, after I kidnapped you off the street that day—”
Something changed. With you by my side, I feel like I could do anything. Jaemin knows Yangyang would rather throw up than utter those words out loud, but Jaemin saves him the torture and presses kisses into his hair.
“Your life changed forever, yup I know, save your breath Spidey,” Yangyang retches and lets go of Jaemin to rest his hands on his waist instead. He’s sitting on the stool this time but he pushes it behind him using the heel of his feet and gets to eye level with Jaemin, albeit the slight height difference.
“Who knew the Guy in the Chair would hack his way into Spiderman’s heart,”
“Stop, I’m feeling queasy,”
Yangyang smirks and holds Jaemin’s face in between his fingers, pushing his cheeks in slightly. Jaemin pouts, because the younger for one, starts to dip his thumbs into the apple of his cheeks and wriggle them around like he’s playing with jello. Second, he knows Jaemin wants him to kiss him. On. The. Lips, this time.
“Come on you buffoon,” and Jaemin closes the distance. It’s soft, because Jaemin finally invested in Blistex, and Yangyang tastes like vanilla ice-cream and for once in Jaemin’s life, a good decision.
“You used Blistex! I can taste the spiciness!”
Jeno screams and Renjun gags when they come back with Thai food, but Yangyang gets invited in, still clad in his nylon suit and gets a threatening smile and a sentence in Mandarin from Renjun that keeps him mum for a whole half hour, which is truly a feat for the mouthy hero. Up until Jeno pumps up the 88rising album through their Bose speakers, Yangyang is silent and refuses to eat any of the Thai fried rice with beef that Jaemin hovers near his mouth. Typical, Jaemin thinks as he makes a face at his best friend and boyfriend rapping to Tequila Sunrise.
Here’s the recap:
Jaemin is a subpar hacker at best, is concerningly dependent on his friends and family, is terribly enamoured with his radioactive, still hayfeverish, adorable button of a boyfriend, and realises that he can always smell bullshit from a mile away. He loves Hasan Minhaj and Ariana Grande, not in equal measures but he does, and honestly, is just your average Korean-American from New York City.
Yangyang thinks Jaemin is out of his league, but with every new friend he makes and each barrier he lets down, he thinks he’s making steady paces towards it. Jaemin makes him better and Yangyang would save him in every life to show him how grateful he is for him.
Renjun lets him know months after they start dating that he knew this entire time that he was Spiderman, said he saw his suit in the laundry machine when he came to visit one time and never thought to mention it. Classic Renjun, lets shit unfold and watches like a smug asshole.
“You better treat him right or I will personally embezzle your Soundcloud money,” he says to him during one of their friends’ Christmas parties as Jaemin is busy playing Uncooked with Jisung, Chenle, and Mark and failing miserably.
“I’d be more insulted if you made songs under my name, posted them, and got a deal with 88rising with them. That would truly offend me,”
Jaemin is now crying with laughter when Mark drops the patty meat onto the floor for the nth time and the boat splits in half, with both Mark and the cooked meat falling into the ocean. His cousin laughs with him when Jaemin cackles so hard that he falls off the couch and accidentally collides heads with Chenle and like dominoes, crashes into Jisung’s side and the four of them break down into tears. Jeno watches it unfold from the other side of the room and almost hits his head onto a lamp when he too, throws his head back in laughter.
Renjun turns to him and clinks his warm beer with Yangyang’s peach soju.
“To happiness ‘Yang?”
His eyes search for the ugly Christmas sweater, pink hair, and reindeer antlers. Jaemin catches his gaze from across the living room and shoots him a smile.