There's a giddy like feeling going through Jaehyun's veins, a warm sensation that makes his skin tingle and the butterflies in his stomach flutter to his throat.
It's game day.
It’s a mixture of excitement and nerves that makes him feel like he’s the one putting on football cleats and getting on the field, even if all he’s doing is walking to the stadium. Being drowned by the atmosphere of thousands of people ready to cheer, feeding on each other’s energy as they make their way: while Jaehyun surely enjoys watching games from the comfort of his couch with a beer and some friends, there’s absolutely nothing like the experience of being there live and seeing all kinds of different backgrounds and paths of life coming together for the spectacle of football.
Except if you’re Ten.
"God, please tell me there's at least Wi-Fi in there" He whines, the stylish sunglasses perched on his nose doing nothing to hide his displeasure.
Jaehyun rolls his eyes, incredulous that his best friend isn't half as ecstatic for this opportunity as he is. He doesn't get the chance to complain about it, because Jungwoo is more than eager to cut him to it.
"Tennie, will you stop whining for 10 minutes? We're trying to enjoy the opportunity of a lifetime here, please".
Again, Jaehyun can't actually see behind Ten's sunglasses, but he can practically hear him roll his eyes. "Please. It's a friendly match, not the World Cup finals".
Ten is right, of course -- the game happening this afternoon at Wembley Stadium for South Korea vs. England means little to nothing in terms of actual results. Still, the reason Jaehyun and Jungwoo are so excited comes from the fact that this might as well be one of the few chances in their lives to see their national team play without having to travel all the way to another continent (which they definitely can not afford). Not only that, but Jungwoo's friend from university hooked them up with amazing front row seats that are right behind the benches; apparently, he comes from quite a lot of money and the seats are actually his dad's -- still, no one wanted to come to the game with him, so he offered them up to Jungwoo, his only Korean friend.
That is actually the only reason Ten is even present at the moment; apparently, the only gratitude or repayment Kun would take came in the form of introducing him to the feisty but charming Thai man that always picked up Jungwoo after lunch. A lot of blackmailing and emotional guilt tripping went into convincing Ten to give up his precious free time to come, as he couldn't care less about football despite having two best friends obsessed with the sport, but Jaehyun suspects the reason he came has a lot more to do with the fact that Kun has kind eyes and irresistible dimples than to his friend's pleads.
Making their way inside, their red South Korean jerseys are easy to be confused with the red England jerseys some fans are wearing, but the devil horns on their heads are unmistakable, as well as the red and blue lines on their cheeks Jungwoo painted on before they left. They’re not the only ones though: while few and far between in comparison to the locals, there’s more South Korean fans than they honestly expected.
Once they’re properly inside and looking for their seats, Jaehyun can easily identify Kun even if they’ve never met in person before. His brown hair looks fluffy in a carefully crafted way, and the grey turtleneck matched with a beige trench coat is honestly more fitting for a photoshoot downtown than a game; it’s obvious he made an effort for Ten, and looking at the way the corners of the Thai’s mouth are already quirking up, it was worth it.
“Where’s your devil horns? Boooring” Is the first thing Jungwoo says as he approaches his friend. The older smiles, getting up to give him a quick hug.
“I’m not ready to betray my nation just yet, Jungwoo” The chinese answers. Kun then turns to smile at the rest of them, but Ten doesn’t miss a beat even before he even introduces himself.
“That’s no excuse, pretty boy. I’m Thai and look, I even let Jungwoo paint me” He says confidently. Jaehyun exchanges a look with Jungwoo, both thinking back on the fact that not 40 minutes ago they had to basically threaten Ten to let them get him into the spirit.
Despite the out of the blue flirtation, Kun seems to take it in stride; he smiles back at Ten amused. “Isn’t red and blue technically the colors of Thailand too?”
Ten humms. “Touché. Maybe you’ll let us paint you just red so you can pretend it’s for China”.
“Maybe”. Kun smiles, straightening up to turn to Jaehyun. “I don’t think we’ve met each other before, I’m Kun”.
Jaehyun smiles back. “I’m Jaehyun, thank you for letting us come today! This is honestly like, a childhood dream come true”.
Kun waves his hand dismissively. “It’s ok, I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself then! You’re all welcome to come with me whenever the seats are free”.
They all seat down, Ten immediately hogging the place next to Kun and engaging the older in conversation. Jaehyun is itching to tease at his friend, but he doesn’t want to cockblock, so he stores it all away for when they’re on the commute back home. Instead, he lets himself look around the stadium, being unable to avoid the breathlessness.
Jaehyun has watched games at Wembley Stadium before, both times to see his own team, Chelsea. Still, it doesn’t cease to impress him, to make his heart beat faster. It’s an impressive and imponent construction, with so much history and meaning; one of those places you can’t help but feel lucky to have the chance to step on.
Once the game starts, even Ten and Kun focus themselves on seeing the team walk in the field, the tunnel right to the side of them. Jaehyun has never had the chance of seeing the players so up close, and he’s not embarrassed by how loudly he screams some korean words of encouragement, all in between the clapping and cheering.
He can’t help but let his eyes stay a bit longer on the man standing in front of the entire team; tall, confident, focused and absolutely gorgeous , Johnny Seo up close is a sight to behold. The goalkeeper for the South Korea national is eye catching, someone that every single person on that stadium would probably knows, regardless of their knowledge of football: not only he’s the current goalkeeper for Arsenal and last year’s Best Goalkeeper Award by FIFA despite being only 25, he’s also an openly LGBT football player.
Jaehyun still remembers first seeing the articles talking about Johnny’s coming out -- it was right after The Best FIFA Footballers Award, and Jaehyun was getting ready to go out with Jungwoo. He couldn’t believe it at first -- what player in their right mind, would have the guts to come out knowing they could lose their unbelievably promising career over it? Well, Johnny Seo, apparently. He posted a picture with the trophy on his Instagram, together with a heartfelt and incredibly touching caption tackling homophobia and toxic masculinity in the sport, as well as coming out himself as a bisexual man.
What came after was a storm -- suddenly, the topic of homophobia was everywhere when it came to football, and there seemed to be armies of people asking for Arsenal to fire him, as well as so many other fans that were supportive and defended him. Three days later, another player at Premier League, Manchester City’s forward Yuta Nakamoto (who also won the FIFA Puskás Award that year) also came out as gay, and both Arsenal and Manchester City released statements of support, condemning homophobia and being clear that their player’s sexuality wasn’t their problem as long as they played well for their teams, and a lot of their own teammates came out in support of them.
It was a mess, and Johnny Seo was at the center of it, remaining strong despite being called names every single time he stepped in the field. Jaehyun himself wasn’t an Arsenal fan, but he couldn’t help growing a gigantic admiration for the man who put himself out there like that, still playing his all and putting his heart on the field. As the months went by, and both Johnny and Yuta remained world class players that helped their teams to a Champions League and Premier League trophy respectively, the rockus started dying down. It still wasn’t easy, Johnny had to deactivate the comments for his Instagram page and Yuta legally took action against multiple death threats, but they kept going strong, day by day, proving themselves inside those lines.
And this day, it meant a lot in the path they were walking. Even if it’s a friendly match, this is the first time Johnny is playing for the national team after coming out; the coach refused to call him for months after, until it became obvious they weren’t in a situation where they could pass up on having the world’s best playing for them. To have a gay man defend the national team for a asian country known for it’s tradionalism was a day to be registered in history, and Jaehyun can’t help but smile knowing he was there to see it.
“Stop ogling” Jungwoo pushes Jaehyun, giving him a knowing smile, “or you’ll be distracted the entire game”.
Jaehyun rolled his eyes -- so what, he had a crush on Johnny Seo? So did 90% of all the other gay man he knew, entire Twitter threads dedicated to admiring the man’s plush thighs, attractive height and heart shaped lips. At the end of the day, Jaehyun was the most excited to see the match, the incredible feeling of the ball rolling on the field; seeing Johnny sweaty self was just the bonus.
Jaehyun was right, after all -- the game ended up being so enthralling, he barely had time to think about Johnny, except for the four times he made catches so impossible the entire stadium had already started to cheer. Deep down, neither Jaehyun or his friends seriously considered the idea of South Korea winning -- yes, this is only the second time in history they’re playing against each other, and the previous one was a draw, but the current generation of young English players are arguably twice more than talented than most of the Korean ones, by far. Still, by the 80 minute mark, the score was still tied 0 - 0; even if the Korean team was obviously technically inferior on the field, Johnny was pulling miracles against Harry Kane’s shoots, and the entire team was playing with incredible and surprising sinergy. With three minutes to the end, there’s a corner kick and out of nowhere comes Hwang Uijo, unmarked, jumping and scoring a headed goal.
Jaehyun has never screamed louder in his life, jumping to his feet and immediately turning to hug Jungwoo, who reacts just the same by his side. They shake each other, still jumping and screaming in celebration, no care in the world for the fact that they were surrounded by England fans. Even Ten ended up getting invested in the game at some point, his entire body thrown at Kun in celebrating the moment.
The rest of the game flew by, and soon the whistle sounded and they knew they had won. Jaehyun was giddy, posting one Instagram story after the other, texting his friends and having the time of his life. The feeling of winning is always amazing, but the feeling of having your national team win right in front of you? Friendly match or not, it was still elating.
And then came another great perk from their seats; after the players celebrated amongst themselves in the field, many of them exchanging shirts with the rival team, they start coming towards the tunnel to give interviews and go back to the locker room. Jaehyun and Jungwoo drape themselves on the barrier, to scream “Good job” to every player that passes by, some of them looking up and waving to them at the sound of the Korean words. Jaehyun though, has his eyes dead set on the gigantic man currently giving an interview and smiling brightly at the knowledge that he was by far the best player that day. He’s really close, close enough to obviously hear if Jaehyun screams, but the younger waits for the perfect moment, staring (and taking pictures) until he finishes up and starts walking to the tunnel side by side with a teammate. When he’s right under Jaehyun, he then shouts for the man.
“Johnny! Great game!”.
Johnny immediately looks back, before he even finishes up; at first, he smiles automatically and starts raising his hand to wave, but then he does a double take and pauses. Jaehyun’s heart is beating to his mouth, having his idol’s (and crush’s) attention, and he can’t miss the opportunity: he then signals to Johnny’s shirt, indicating he wants it, and Johnny smiles brightly, understanding. He tells his team mate to wait, immediately pulling the long sleeved yellow shirt from his body, revealing a wide and defined chest that makes Jaehyun’s mouth water. He comes right under Jaehyun, extending his arm with the shirt, and so Jaehyun drapes himself completely over to grab at it with the tips of his fingers. Jungwoo is practically having a meltdown next to him, and Jaehyun immediately hugs the shirt close to his heart with a “Thank you!” before Johnny waves one last time, the same blinding smile, and turns to go back on his way.
The moment Jaehyun turns back to his friends, his face is comically stuck in a perpetual state of disbelief. Jungwoo immediately grabs at his shoulders and starts shaking him:
“You lucky fuck! I can’t believe you!” The younger screams. “Let me see it!”
Jaehyun is reluctant to let go of the shirt, as if it’s going to disappear the moment he stops hugging it, but he extends the shirt in front of him for his friends to see anyway.
“Wow,” Ten says, impressed. “How much do you think you could get by selling it on eBay?”.
Jungwoo snorts. “As if Jaehyun would ever sell this. He’s probably framing it in the middle of our living room”.
“Over my dead body!” Ten exclaims.
“That would just be a plus” Jaehyun cheekily says, making Kun and Jungwoo laugh.
They decide to celebrate by going to dinner together; “dinner” meaning McDonald’s, the only thing their university students’ asses (Kun excluded) can afford at this point. As they get outside of the stadium though, Jaehyun gets an idea.
“Wait, I want a picture here” He holds Jungwoo’s arm back, “with the shirt”.
It feels weird to get shirtless in the middle of the street, with people around, but Jaehyun does it quickly to put on the Johnny shirt he just got. It’s sweaty (“Gross, Jaehyun!”, Ten immediately exclaims), and a little bit oversized in Jaehyun’s frame, but it fits him really well. He positions himself in a way Wembley looks great behind him, and then brings a V sign to his face, smiling brightly. Jungwoo takes a few pictures, and then they take a group selfie, before Jaehyun changes back into his own shirt and they go on their way, a foolish smile never leaving his lips.
Jaehyun is already home when he finally opens Instagram to post the pictures he took. He scrolls around at first, liking the pictures his friend’s posted including the group selfie, as well as some posts from the players themselves.
He throws a soft filter on the picture to make sure it matches his feed, and after struggling to come up with a witty caption for a while, settles for something simple that lets the picture speak for itself.
“ 😈😈 ; thank you @kunfucius for the seats and @seojohnny for the shirt ❤️”.
“Jaehyun” Ten suddenly calls from the other corner of the couch. “Do you think I should follow Kun?”
Jaehyun has to fight every part of himself not to roll his eyes. “Yes? You’ve spent the entire night flirting. Didn’t you exchange numbers at the end?”.
“I gave him my number, he hasn’t texted yet” Ten corrects. “So I’m wondering if following him on Instagram will seem desperate or something”.
“As if you’ve ever cared about that before, Tennie” Jungwoo snorts, coming back from the kitchen with ice cream. They literally just shoved themselves full of McDonald’s, but Jungwoo was already eating again; it never fails to surprise Jaehyun how much food Jungwoo can eat.
Ten throws Jungwoo an unimpressed glance, but continues on regardless. “Kun is different though. He’s like… put together? Adult? I don’t know, this is dumb”.
Jaehyun’s eyebrows raise at this; this is not normal Ten behaviour, who exhales confident gay energy, and it’s definitely surprising considering the bickering dynamic him and Kun estabilished today. If anything, Ten would rather swallow a set of knives than have the chinese men know this was what was going through his mind.
“You do know you’re both the same age, right?” Jungwoo says with ice cream on his mouth.
“And yet he’s interviewing for Grad Schools already even though he’ll probably be accepted in his first option and stay on Imperial College and then go on to, I don’t know, build planes or whatever Aeronautical Engineering students do” He whines. “Meanwhile, I’m still busting my ass hoping I’ll be offered a permanent position at the studio and one breakdown away from giving up on my final showcase”.
“And yet, he was the one who practically begged me to make you come because he developed the biggest crush on you from a few 2 minutes interactions every week” Jungwoo argues. “Since when you let yourself be intimidated by a guy? Follow him with confidence! Thrist like his pictures! I bet you everything in my wallet right now Kun hasn’t texted you because he’s freaking out your number is on his phone”.
Ten smiles at that. “You’re right, Jungwoo. So what he’s already a hundred times richer than me and will end up making three times my salary anyway? I bet he owns a hundred sweater vests. He seems like the type”.
Both Jungwoo and Jaehyun laugh at that, and Ten busies himself on his phone to get to work. Jungwoo is scrolling through Netflix, trying to find something they haven’t already watched, so Jaehyun grabs his phone for a second to check how many likes his picture has gotten.
His heart stops for a second the moment the screen lights up.
seojohnny has liked your picture
seojohnny has sent you a message
“What the fuck” He says out of nowhere, and both his friends look at him curiously. “I think Johnny just liked my picture and messaged me”.
“You’re kidding” Jungwoo says, but he’s already moving across the room to check the notifications as well. He screams when he sees it, pushing Jaehyun so hard he almost drops the phone. “I can not believe you Jung Jaehyun! It’s the fucking dimples, I’m telling you!”.
“What does the DM say?” Ten asks, coming closer.
“Wait, I haven’t opened” Jaehyun takes his time unlocking the screen, checking to see if the account was really Johnny’s, before he goes to his inbox. “Maybe he’s like, asking for me to take the picture down for some reason”.
Jungwoo rolls his eyes. “Yes, and he’d like the picture first then. This obviously has impure intentions”.
Ten crackles up at “impure intentions”, but Jaehyun is too busy getting the nerve to open the message.
the shirt looks good on you 😊
Both Jungwoo and Ten squeal at the message, and even though Jaehyun has more self respect than that, he can’t help but blush. Jungwoo was right, this was definitely Johnny sliding into his DM’s, and the younger is more than flattered.
“What are you going to reply?” Ten asks, perched on his shoulder like a hawk.
Jaehyun thinks for a second before settling on something basic but still nice.
thank you 😳
it definitely looked better on you tho
“Look at you, acting coy!” Jungwoo slaps him again. Jaehyun really has to make Jungwoo understand he has a lot more strength than he believes, but he doesn’t want Ten to call him a cry baby for a month afterwards.
“Shut up” Jaehyun grunts back. They’re all staring at Jaehyun’s screen like it’s the most interesting thing in the world, which may be pointless; he has no idea if Johnny is going to answer it, much less quickly.
agree to disagree 😉
Before Jaehyun even has the change to think what to reply, a bunch of notifications pop up, all indicating Johnny is liking his picture. Pictures . Johnny is liking a bunch of Jaehyun’s pictures, mostly selfies and pictures of him but some others of London landscape.
“See Ten, that’s the confidence you should have!” Jungwoo laughs.
i like your pictures!
your feed is very cool
i can see that arfbrfef
but i’m curious abt something
how did you find my picture?
“What does it matter how he found your account?” Ten asks. “He could’ve seen it written on a bathroom stall and you wouldn’t care”.
“I don’t know, I’m curious!” Jaehyun defends himself. “Having you two perched on my shoulder is making me nervous, c’mon”.
Neither Jungwoo or Ten seem happy, but they both back away enough so that they’re not looking over Jaehyun’s screen. Ten checks his own phone and squeals.
“Kun texted me!” He says, delighted. “It says ‘ did jaehyun see johnny liking his picture?????’ ”
“You’re welcome!” Jaehyun exclaims “My post got your man to finally text you”.
i saw it on my mentions!
totally by luck
but i immediately recognized you
you’re very hard to miss
oh really? 😌
what about me?
well, for once, you’re very good looking
like, blindling so
but also!!! dimples!!!
yours are the deepest i’ve ever seen
Jaehyun snorts to himself. “Hey, Woo, you were right. Johnny just said it was the dimples”.
“I’m telling you!” Jungwoo whines “Those are an unfair advantage!”
well thank you
you probably hear this everyday but you’re very handsome too ✊
i have been told my dimples are my charming point
thank you uwu
i do hear it a lot
but it feels a lot better to hear it from you
did you just uwu
i did indeed
you’re very uwu worth
nothing arbfoerufaoref it’s cute!!
just never pegged you for the uwu type
i’ll have you know that if you get to know me better
you’ll find out i’m a very soft man
very much the uwu type
Jaehyun is honestly still in mild disbelief of the path this conversation is taking. Still, Johnny’s obviously being flirtatious and Jaehyun is never one to back out of an opportunity, so he types while feeling bold.
guess i’ll have to see for myself
on that note
i don’t know if this is too direct honestly i’ve never actually done this before
but as you may imagine i don’t check my dms a lot
and i would like to keep talking to you
so i was wondering if maybe i could have your number…?
“Guys” Jaehyun says to his friends, both of them immediately stop what they’re doing to listen. “He just asked me for my number”.
Ten laughs from how insane the situation is, Jungwoo squealing on the background. “What are you waiting for? Give it to him!”.
Jaehyun wants to, but he also doesn’t usually gives out his number so easily. “I don’t know, isn’t it a bit sudden? To just give out my personal number like that?”.
“It is though?” Ten furrows his brows. “You’ve given your number for guys you’ve made out without knowing as much as their name. You actually know a lot from Johnny, and honestly, this is a bigger risk for him than to you. You could just leak his phone number and it would be really annoying for him”.
Ten makes a solid case Jaehyun can’t argue against (he doesn’t want to either), so he goes back to the conversation, quickly typing in his number and hitting send. He checks that his picture received a lot more likes than his other ones, probably due to Johnny liking it, and he fights the urge to open his profile and archive all of his old, embarrassing photos. Less than five minutes later, he receives a text.
is this jaehyun?
who are you?
that’s a joke
but i could also be batman
Jaehyun can’t fight the smile taking over his face; that was a terrible, extremely dorky joke, and somehow still feels endearing to the uni student.
fighting crime and playing football?
you must be very busy
we must all make sacrifices for the greater good ✊
also, worm? what?
you know uwu but not worm?
don’t judge me!!!!
i’m only mildly fluent on internet slang
my son tells me a lot of this stuff
oh god that makes you sound so old fneoirfmeoigeor
worm means basically “really?”
can also be used when you’re surprised
also??? son??? you have a kid??
thank you kind sir
i’ve taken note
also fuck you febrbfeorfe we’re almost same age
how old are you actually you’re not a minor right
you keysmash!!! so not that old at least
and no i’m not a minor i’m 22 lmao
oh ok that’s good
still young but not like… Young
also answering what you asked before i don’t have a son foerfr
donghyuck is like my? godson? but not actually?
i don’t know how to explain i met him at a charity thing i did like 3 years ago
and we’ve gotten really close, he’s the greatest little demon
charity work huh
hot and kind hearted? sign me up 🤩
also that’s really sweet afbeoifaerferf how old is he?
omg shut up fonerafierfef
he just turned 19
freshman at ucl
wow dude that’s really impressive!
i’ve actually almost went there but tuition was way too expensive
it’s an amazing university though, i have friends that go there
you tell me i’m actually paying for it
oh so you’re a Dad dad
paying for uni and everything
you laugh but hyuck actually calls me that as a joke too ofbaierfnaorfe
honestly the money is not that much for me as you could image
football players are very overpaid
and it just seemed like a waste for him to not be able to attend the university he wanted and almost died to get into because of finances
that’s still really nice of you, even if money wasn’t an issue
i’m sure hyuck is really thankful
you really going for my heartstrings huh
I’M SORRY IF THAT WAS LIKE
idk if it looked like that
OFAEIJORFIAERF IT WAS A LIL BIT BUT IT’S FINE
out of all the things to show off about this is a good one !!
still rfnaeoirfef omg
i’m sorry i’m really nervous i guess i really want to impress you
i was being honest when i said i’ve never done this before
bold of you to assume i wasn’t already impressed
Texting Johnny is easy -- or at least easier than Jaehyun imagined it’d be to text a football star. Johnny is a very considerate texter: he always replies timely, and when he has practice or concentration, he always lets Jaehyun know and then replies as soon as he’s free again.
Jaehyun too makes an effort to fit Johnny into his agenda -- while the student is usually too busy with univeristy to text continuously during the day, he finds it in himself to sneak a few conversations when he can. Jungwoo and Ten tell him it’s because he would never ghost a superstar, but honestly, Jaehyun might; it’s more about the fact that it’s Johnny than how he’s famous. Johnny who’s not only hot and sends Jaehyun bed selfies, but Johnny who has an adorable streak and is set on convincing Jaehyun to learn to appreciate 10 minute loop videos of vine compilations. Despite his initial nerves, the older is great at making conversation, at sharing stories and listening to Jaehyun’s rants, and making the student laugh at the most mundane, stupid things. They text themselves to sleep almost every night, and it’s easy .
It’s also flirtatious, in a way that builds up and gets its own dynamic. They don’t flirt all day long, they don’t even flirt with most of their conversations, but it happens every now or then and it feels really right. It’s obvious that whatever they’re building slowly through this weeks has an end goal that differs slightly from friendship.
can i talk to you about something
(that wasn’t a football joke)
i really like talking to you
you’re really funny and nice
and really,,, attractive
and i hope this wasn’t me reading things wrong
but i was thinking maybe we could like, meet?
Jaehyun reads the texts three times to make sure he isn’t imagining things, and then has to fight the biggest smile taking over his face in the middle of the library. Sicheng is sitting in front of him working on an essay, and as if he can sense Jaehyun’s energy go from “stressed and wanting to die” to “excited and putting a hold on the dying thing”, he looks up from behind his computer.
“What is it? I thought no texting loverboy in the middle of studying” He says in a bored and yet judgmental tone.
“I’m taking a break” Jaehyun defends himself, the smile unable to slip off his expression. “Besides, he just asked me out”.
Sicheng tries to keep the mask of indifference, but having your friend dating a celebrity is significantly more interesting than the essay he has to write for his required English class. “When? Where?”.
“I don’t know, I didn’t answer yet.”
“Isn’t he like, super nervous about this stuff?” Sicheng furrows his brows. “You should answer it already before he starts to freak out”.
like a date?
yes, i want to take you on a date
then yes, i would love to go on a date with you johnny
i was really nervous you’d like block me or something
why would i block you johnny
we’ve been flirting for weeks
what if you were just being polite
oh my god 😂😂😂😂
ok then, disclaimer: every time i flirted with you was because i like you and you’re one fine man.
every time i flirt with you on the future is because i would very much like to kiss your cheeks, hold your hands
and maybe suck your dick
we clear? 😉
so.. about the date?
where are you taking me, mr.worldwide
oh man, didn’t know you were going on a date with mr pitbull himself
also, about that,,
so, i’m sure you’re aware that i have a lot of eyes on me, and by eyes i mean literally paparazzi and random people that are dying to see me out with a guy for the first time to put up on every website on earth.
it’s part of the reason i really haven’t been dating a lot after coming out
and i really don’t want that attention this early on?
not just bcs of me but bcs you shouldn’t have to deal with all that rn
so maybe we shouldn't go for a really public date?
i’m really sorry jae
i don’t want you to think i’m hiding you or something 😞
oh, yeah i totally understand
and don’t apologize johnny, it’s really not your fault at all
i know you’re not hiding me
as if you wouldn’t be jumping to show off my cute ass 😌
still, i feel sorry
i’m not an easy person to date
you sure you’re ok with something lowkey?
yes, it’s honestly fine johnny
our date could be us literally staying in and watching something on netflix and i would be more than happy
it’s about spending time with you, not the date itself
i can’t believe i lucked out like this with you
i was hoping maybe you could come over?
i’ll cook us something and we can just like
already inviting me to your house? damn
at least you’ll dine me first i guess
oh my god afuerfhaeorf shut up
that wasn’t what i was thinking
i know, i know
this is a wholesome date
two bros standing five feet apart because they’re gay but taking it slow
oh would you look at that suddenly i have no free openings in my agenda
They end up setting the date for the following Tuesday, and it’s an understatement to say Jaehyun is anxious. It’s easy to clown and tease Johnny over text, especially because the older has already clearly shown himself to be the panicked gay in the relationship and it’s very easy to fluster him. But as he showers and gets ready for the date, Jaehyun can’t ignore the fact that he’s going on a date with an extremely attractive, older and successful man; it’s nothing like the first dates he’s used to, where they’ll meet at a campus coffee between classes, so he feels justified in his own nerves.
When he steps out of the shower to pick what to wear, Jungwoo and Ten are already on his bedroom. Jungwoo is looking through his wardrobe, taking things out and analyzing them before putting it back or setting it on the bed. Ten is just laying there, smiling to his phone like a giggly teenager.
“Jesus, doesn’t Kun get tired of you?” Jaehyun rolls his eyes, grabbing a pair of boxers from his drawer and quickly making work of putting it on. They’re way past the embarrassment of being naked around each other, so it’s really not a big deal.
“You’re one to speak” Ten rolls his eyes. “As if you’re not exactly the same with Johnny”.
“You’re both gross, no need to compete” Jungwoo ends the argument, immediately shoving a pair of jeans towards Jaehyun. “Put these on, they make your legs look really good”.
They’re not the thotest jeans Jaehyun owns, but they’re still very tight. “I told you it’s a wholesome date Woo”.
Jungwoo doesn’t even glance from his task of looking through Jaehyun’s hoodies. “Doesn’t mean you can’t make him wish for a second, less wholesome one. Also, here, you’ll wear this hoodie so you’ll still look soft and vanilla like I’m sure he likes”.
Jaehyun rolls his eyes, but puts on the pale pink hoodie over a white shirt regardless. It looks slightly oversized on him, and he admits it does make him look really nice. He sits down on the edge of the bed and taps Ten’s legs a few times. “C’mon, if you’re gonna be here at least dry my hair for me”.
Ten whines, getting up to grab the blow dryer and position himself in front of Jaehyun. It feels good to have someone else drying your hair, so Jaehyun lets his eyes close and enjoys the sensation.
“Seriously though, how are things with Kun?” He asks.
“I feel like punching him at least half the time we’re together. The other half I just want to kiss him dumb”.
“So, great then?” Jaehyun laughs.
“Yeah” Ten laughs too. “He’s like, the most considerate guy I’ve ever dated. He listens to me whine all day long about my showcase and then shows up at my practices to bring me lunch even if he doesn't study at my campus. Last week he took me to this really fancy place for dinner and I swear to god, I clowned him half the time but he just took it and clowned me right back even if the waitress was clearly judging us. I really like him”.
“You’re welcome, by the way” Jungwoo singsongs from somewhere in the room.
Jaehyun doesn’t need to open his eyes to see the silly, lovefool smile on Ten’s face. It makes him really happy to see his best friend this happy, because after the streak of assholes Ten has been dating in the last year, he really deserves someone who honestly cares.
“Well, you should bring him over sometime then” Jaehyun says. “You’ve monopolized his attention, but I want to be his friend too”
Ten finishes off Jaehyun’s hair, stepping in to brush and make it properly fluffy right after. The Thai and Jungwoo stand in front of him afterwards, evaluating their work.
“If Johnny doesn’t want a second date after seeing you,” Jungwoo says “I’ll gladly take it”.
If it was up to Jaehyun, he would’ve just gotten a Uber ride to Johnny’s place and it would be fine. However, Johnny insisted on picking him up at his apartment, especially because the ride from Central London to Hadley Wood, where he lived, was around 50 minutes long and probably extremely boring. “We’ll keep each other company”, he texted that morning.
“Ok, I’m going out guys” Jaehyun announces. “I’ll probably be back late but I’ll text you when I leave”.
“Ok, be safe! Don’t be kidnapped!” Ten screams as Jaehyun is already closing the door.
Jaehyun’s heart is beating fast as he goes down the stairs, the anticipation of seeing Johnny in person for the second time; or first, depending if you consider the game their first meeting (Jaehyun does, Johnny don’t). It’s not hard to find Johnny’s car; the black Range Rover Sport SVR looks completely out of place parked in front of his student appropriate residential building, and so does the smiling guy leaning over to look through the passenger window.
Jaehyun smiles back. “Hey you”
“Hey” Johnny laughs, opening the door. “Come in, we got a long ride”.
Jaehyun slides in, immediately busying himself with the seatbelt. When he looks back at the driver, Johnny is staring at him. “What?”.
Johnny smile is sheepish. “Sorry, you just look really good. Especially up close”.
Jaehyun rolls his eyes, but he knows his ears are going red. “Smooth, Prince Charming. Thank you, you don’t look so bad yourself”.
Johnny laughs, in that way that’s so characteristically his and Jaehyun has only ever heard on TV or in Youtube videos. It takes everything inside Jaehyun not to fanboy just a little bit.
The older starts driving, and the conversation picks up comfortably from where it left off when they were texting earlier. Jaehyun is telling him about his day at university, the test he has coming up that he really should be studying more for and how annoying it is that this guy he paired up for a group project isn’t really pulling his weight. Johnny listens attentively, throwing in his own opinions and questions, and it makes Jaehyun feel really good that the older seems to really care for what he’s saying, even if uni drama is probably really silly in comparison to his own life. When Jaehyun asks about Johnny’s day, the older tells him about how training went earlier and his expectations for the next game, soon enough moving on to funny stories from all his time playing.
It could’ve been awkward, but Jaehyun feels comfortable in Johnny’s presence. The older must have been nervous, at least as much as Jaehyun himself was, but he doesn’t let it show with how he’s always filling the space with conversation. Johnny talks a lot, Jaehyun realises, much more than he texts, but it doesn’t bother the student at all: it’s endearing to see Johnny go from subject to subject, his enthusiasm for everything seeping through his words.
The only times Jaehyun spaces out have nothing to do with what Johnny is saying. He’s trying his best not to be the most basic gay ever, but it’s just that Johnny’s looks really attractive while he drives, the relaxed look and the flexing arm, and it’s honestly hard not to lose himself sometimes.
It’s safe to say Jaehyun has never come even close to Hadley Wood -- it’s just one of those places so out of his league, with its huge houses and exclusive golf clubs, it doesn’t even cross his mind most of the time. As they finally start going through it’s streets, getting closer to Johnny’s place, Jaehyun lets himself think about how nice it must be to live there, though: there’s a lot of green areas and huge gates, and the atmosphere is rather calm even if it’s just the start of the evening.
“Do you like it here?” Jaehyun asks, still looking out the window.
“I actually really do” Johnny replies, smiling a little. “It’s all very residential and suburban but I really like the peace and quiet, especially these days. It’s also nice to be such a short ride away from the training center, and living on the same street as a lot of the guys”.
Jaehyun snaps his head back, eyes widening. “Really? Other players live here too?”
Johnny snorts “Basically the whole team”, and then proceeds to point out to Jaehyun whose house is whose. There’s a small part of the younger’s mind admonishing him for being such a fanboy, but Johnny seems to find it amusing and Jaehyun is honestly too excited at the private tour to really care.
Eventually, the car comes up to a grey gate, and Johnny presses a button to open it. As he drives up , Jaehyun gawks at the house: it’s huge and imponent, made in red bricks and surrounded by a well tended green lawn. To Jaehyun, who currently lives crumpled up in an overpriced three bedroom apartment in Central London, the place is basically a mansion; he has never even come close to somewhere this expensive. Johnny seems to notice the way Jaehyun is looking at it in mild disbelief, letting out a sheepish sigh.
“I know, I think it’s unnecessarily big too, especially with me by myself. But everyone told me houses here are an investment and bla bla bla so, you know.”
Jaehyun smiles, amused but just a little teasing. “So you bought a mansion, no biggie”
Johnny looks like he’s about to defend himself, or even worse, apologize for sounding privileged, so Jaehyun interrupts him. “I’m just messing with you, this place is really cool, even if it’s very... domestic”
Johnny is finally parking as they continue talking. “Really? Not really the life in the suburbs style?”
“I mean, not right now at least. Maybe when I’m married with kids, but I can’t see myself living somewhere like this at 22, so far from… you know, everything”
Johnny chuckles a bit, the car coming to a stop. “Fair enough, but I feel like I should remind you we’re 40 minutes from Central London by train, not 4 hours. I can always go up there if I wanna have fun”
“I’ll remember that” Jaehyun says cheekily, getting out of the car.
Johnny walks them to the house, unlocking the doors. If the house looked great from the outside, it looks even prettier on the inside, lavishly decorated and organized. The place was all lit up, and Jaehyun wondered if there was someone else with them inside, so he voiced it to Johnny.
“Oh? No, I think Lucy probably left it on when she left because she knew I’d be back soon, but considering her car is no longer here, she’s probably gone” Johnny explained, distractedly leading the way through the rooms.
“Is Lucy the housekeeper?” Jaehyun asks, also distracted at the art pieces hanging on the walls. Johnny had good taste.
“Yeah, but she cooks for me too. She’s my lifesaver to be honest”.
Jaehyun thinks about making a joke about Johnny being an adult that has his meals made for him like a kid, but he holds back, as it’s only their first date. Instead, he asks. “So, should I thank her for dinner tonight too?”
Johnny smiles brightly as they finally enter the kitchen, turning to Jaehyun and walking backward. “Only for the recipe! I’m cooking it myself, and I hope you like pasta”
Jaehyun can’t help but have his dimples show at the older man’s enthusiasm. “I love pasta. Do you want help?”
Johnny is already getting busy with washing his hands and finding his place on the big kitchen, but he glances over his shoulder to throw a smile in Jae’s direction, so casual it brings butterflies to his stomach. “No, no, you can hang back and relax, I got this”.
Jaehyun is still unsure, partly because he’s not sure how experienced Johnny really is at the kitchen and he was hoping for a really nice dinner considering how hungry he is, but he settles down in one of the benches around the island anyway. “Oh man, I’m being pampered tonight”
Johnny laughs, and calls for his Alexa to start playing Lauv’s EP on a low volume. Jaehyun appreciates it, one of the artists he texted about with Johnny, and the background noise is good to help with the younger’s nerves. They make small talk about food and cooking while the water boils, and after Johnny puts the pasta in, he takes a second to get a bottle of wine and serving the both of them glasses.
“This is really good” Jaehyun says sincerely after a few sips. “My roommate is super into wine, he’d love this”
“It is, isn’t it?” Johnny wonders. “It was actually a gift from a friend, his family owns a vineyard. I was saving it for a special occasion”.
Jaehyun tries to play it cool, but he knows his ears are turning embarrassingly red at the implication. “I’m honored, then”.
He and Johnny exchange a look much too loaded, so Jaehyun is thankful when Johnny takes another sip and continues on. “I didn’t know you lived with roommates”.
“Oh?” Jaehyun perks up in surprise, mentally running through all of his texts conversations with the older. “I guess it never came up. But yeah, I live with Ten and Jungwoo, they were actually the ones at the game that time”.
Johnny humms. “How did the three of you meet?”
“Me and Jungwoo actually grew up together, he was my neighbor. We really bonded over being Korean and having to learn English, so we stayed friends even if he was a year younger” Jaehyun explained. “As for Ten, we only met him much later. He was dating a mutual friend of ours and we hit it off really well, enough so that even after they broke up Ten just continued to hang around. We only moved together last year.”
“Must be nice to live with friends” Johnny says as he starts getting things out for what Jaehyun assumes it’s going to be the sauce. “Like, you always have someone around to look after you when you need”
Jaehyun smiles fondly, thinking on his two best friends “Yeah, it’s cool. Sure, they drive me a little insane, and it can be stressful when both of them love to bring boys over for one night stands during finals week, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything”.
Johnny looks up at this, surprised. “Oh, they’re both gay too?”
“I think 98% of my friends are gay” Jaehyun snorts. “It’s true what they say, we kind of flock together”.
Johnny gives a small smile. “That’s… really cool. I actually didn’t have any gay friends besides Donghyuck until after I came out and Yuta reached out. He introduced me to his friends too, so now I have four”.
Jaehyun can’t image how hard it must have been for Johnny to come out when he had basically no support network around him, or even someone who understood what he was growing through. It made the younger a little bit sad, but also incredibly proud. “Well, maybe I’ll introduce you to mine one day, so you’ll be full of gay friends, like you should.”
The older smiles at that, so warm and open. “Yeah? You think they would like me?”
Jaehyun rolls his eyes. “You’re like, the most likeable person ever. Like an oversized Teddy Bear. Of course they’d like you”.
Johnny laughs, loud and unabashed. “Should I be flattered you’re comparing me to a plushie?”
“Uh, yeah” Jaehyun says like it’s obvious. “It means you’re really soft. Probably gives good hugs and even better cuddles”.
Jaehyun thinks he sees the older blush as he lets out a small giggle, adding broccoli on the pan with the pasta. “Well, hopefully you’ll see for yourself soon”.
It’s only about ten minutes later that Johnny is done with cooking, plating two dishes of Cheesy broccoli pasta. Jaehyun has to admit that despite his doubts, it looks absolutely amazing, and they sit down on the island to eat (Johnny offered the dinner table, but Jaehyun thought it was unnecessary to sit down on such a huge table when it was just the two of them).
Jaehyun moans around the first bite. “God, this is amazing Johnny”.
Johnny smiles and laughs, clearly relieved Jaehyun liked it. “Are you not just trying to kiss my ego?”
Jaehyun finishes off his next bite before answering. “Oh baby, you shouldn’t expect ego boosts from me. If it was bad, I would’ve told you and ordered us some pizza”.
The younger doesn’t even realize the pet name until after he said it, but if Johnny is bothered, the smile on his face doesn’t give it away. “Is it competition to the food on the school cafeteria?”
Jaehyun cringes, and Johnny laughs. At this point, with all the texting, the older was aware that Jaehyun mostly had lunch in school, and it was often the reason for sad selcas and rants almost every day. “God, it’s going to be so sad to go back to eating that sad excuse for food tomorrow”.
“Oh yeah” Johnny appears to suddenly remember something. “I forgot to ask, how did that project go?"
Jaehyun is taken aback for a split second, coming up blank with what project was Johnny even talking about, until he remembers a conversation they've had the previous week, about a paper Jaehyun was very behind on and not completely sure he'd be able to turn in. He did, of course; to be honest, Jaehyun could be just a tad bit dramatic when it came to his academics, a direct result of living with Ten, and the paper wasn't as much of a big deal as he made it seen when he ranted to the football player. Still, he felt very endeared that Johnny remembered, and cared enough to ask.
"Oh, yeah, it went fine" He chuckles. "I turned it in ten minutes before the deadline and then slept for thirteen hours. It was great".
Johnny furrows his brows, though he is smiling. "That doesn't sound very good for you".
Jaehyun shrugs. "I'm still here, ain't I? To be honest, as long as I don't drop out or drop dead, I'll take it as a win".
"That… actually makes me glad that I didn't go to uni" Johnny gives a short laugh.
"Oh?" Jaehyun takes a sip of the white wine Johnny pulled out before. "Did you want to?"
"I would've loved to, if I'm being honest" Johnny sighs. "It just wasn't possible, with football. I would have had to choose, and as much as I love learning, I love playing more".
Jaehyun nods, understanding. "What would you have majored at, if you could?"
"Probably Literature. It was my favorite subject in school and I still really love reading in my spare time" Johnny replies, thoughtful. "Or Education. I love children and would've loved to, you know, teach them or something".
Jaehyun gives a surprised sound. "I would've thought something along photography? You have some really cool shots on your Instagram".
Johnny smiles sheepishly, and Jaehyun decides he loves seeing him like this. "Thank you, it means a lot. I do love photography but like… it's stress relief for me. I feel like it'd lose the spark if I had to do it, you know?"
"I guess but," Jaehyun takes another sip. "Wouldn't it be the same with football? It was a hobby and it became a job, but you still love it".
Johnny shakes his head. "It's different. Like, I know it’s cheesy but I really do believe football is a part of me, like something I was meant to do, you know? I never feel as comfortable as I do when I’m under those posts. I don’t think I could hate football even if I tried ".
“It’s not cheesy, it’s endearing” Jaehyun smiles softly. “Being passionate about something is very attractive.”
Johnny lets out a laugh, but looks away and gets a pink tinge on his cheeks. Jaehyun is getting the sense that compliments from him make the older just a little bit bashful, which is oddly surprising when Johnny has always appeared to be nothing but confident in any other area of his life.
Conversation flows easily during the rest of dinner, and it’s a relief to see that their relationship through texting adapts naturally to real life. Even if Jaehyun is clearly the bolder one of the two, Johnny is perfectly charming throughout the entire thing, with his undivided attention to the younger words and kind compliments that gets Jaehyun’s heart to an embarrassing stutter.
Jaehyun offers to do the dishes but is immediately denied, and then promptly threatened to be removed by force if necessary (Jaehyun has to hold himself from calling the bluff, if only to find out if Johnny really would get those beefy arms around him). They keep talking as Johnny quickly washes everything, but the house feels quiet with just the soft music and their voices; it’s nice now, makes it feel intimate, but Jaehyun can’t help but imagine it must get a bit lonely with just Johnny around.
After a little dull of conversation, Jaehyun suddenly declares. “You should get a puppy.”
Johnny glances back at him with an amused expression. “What? Right now?”
Jaehyun rolls his eyes. “Not right now, though I wouldn’t refuse going puppy looking with you. Just, you know, so you have something to come home to.”
Johnny finishes off with the dishes, grabbing a cloth and drying his hands. He’s looking at Jaehyun like he’s the most exquisite thing he’s ever seen, and for the first time during the night it’s the younger one blushing.
“A puppy.” The house owner repeats, letting out a laugh. “Wouldn’t they get lonely when I’m not around? I really don’t spend that much time here.”
“Doesn’t Lucy come every day? Maybe she could keep them company! And then you can shower them with love when you get home at night” Jaehyun says excitedly, already imagining a little pawed thing running around. “Besides, I wouldn’t mind taking care of them when you have away games or something.”
Johnny raises his eyebrows. “Oh, already offering babysitting duties so far along? Do you plan on staying around, Jung Jaehyun?”
Jaehyun knows his traitorous ears are red now, the downside of being so damn pale, but he’s not crumbling just yet. “Depends if I’m getting those promised cuddles now or not”.
Johnny laughs, nodding. “Alright, let’s watch something on Netflix”.
Jaehyun thinks about making a Netflix and Chill joke, but knowing how these things make Johnny nervous, he doesn’t want to add on to pressure even if it’s not serious. Instead they move to the living room, where Johnny’s obnoxiously large flatscreen is turned on after an Alexa command.
He settles down in the couch first, bouncing with his back a bit to settle down. “This is comfortable. I could take a nap here.”
Johnny glances back. “Are you tired?”
“Not really” Jaehyun grins lazily. “But don’t hold it against me if I fall asleep on you. This is nicer than my bed.”
Johnny laughs, and finally settles down on the couch; to Jaehyun’s happiness, he’s close enough that it’s obvious what he’s going for. “You know what’s even more comfortable?”
“I think I have an idea...” Jaehyun plays along, scooching over under Johnny’s arms, and the older brings him even closer. It’s warm and Johnny smells really nice, and Jaehyun feels just a little smitten to be on the arms of his crush like this.
They bicker a little over what to watch, but settle into Nailed It. They spend most of the episodes talking anyway, commenting on everything and going on tangents, and Jaehyun can’t remember if he ever talked this much on a date before; it’s just natural with Johnny, like they can’t get enough of getting to know each other, which is a really good sign this might work out after all.
It quiets down after a while, and everytime Jaehyun glances to the side he can see Johnny is trying his best not to fall asleep on him. He looks so soft and open like this, comfortable even with Jaehyun tucked under his arm, and the student feels a little guilty and a little touched knowing he’s up so late for him even after training all day. He glances at his phone and realizes it’s already almost midnight, letting out a disappointed sigh.
He stares at Johnny just a little bit, lets himself take in a fill, and the older finally meets his gaze, a questioning little smile.
“Hey, it’s pretty late. I should probably leave.” He says softly.
Johnny pouts : honest to god, full on adult pout, and Jaehyun wants to kiss it off his face. “I don’t want you to leave though”.
Jaehyun giggles, his dimples coming out. “Just ask me out again, big shot. If I don’t leave now I’ll get home way too late”.
“Alright, I’ll drive you.” Johnny sighs, moving his arm from over Jaehyun’s shoulders, but the younger sits up faster than him.
“Not a chance” He shakes his head vehemently. “There’s no reason for you to drive 40 minutes there then 40 back if I can just take an Uber. Besides, you need sleep.”
Sleep might be making Johnny braver, or maybe he’s just smooth; he makes an even poutier face, in that one way that makes his cheek dimples show, and whines. “But I wanted to kiss you at your doorstep, like in the movies.”
Jaehyun can’t decide if he wants to laugh or blush, because holy fuck, Johnny Seo wants to kiss him. “Sorry to disappoint, you can get it next time. For now, though…”
The younger boldly leans in, his heart beating fast. “Let me make up for it”.
Johnny is the one who ends up making the final move, bridging the distance so that their lips meet. It’s not as soft or slow as Jaehyun might have expected; Johnny presses closer meaningfully, and they kiss like people who wanted this for a long time, a little too passionate for a first kiss with how demanding their lips move against each other.
The position starts straining Jaehyun’s neck, so instead he decides to swing his legs over Johnny waist, settling down softly on his lap as a question; the older answers by moving his hands to Jaehyun’s hips, bringing him closer and taking a little nip at his bottom lip on a question of his own. The student is more than glad to let the kiss be deepened, and Johnny’s tongue takes over his mouth and completely wipes any other thought from his mind. His body is overwhelmed by Johnny’s touch, heat, scent, and maybe Jaehyun’s a little too biased in his crush, but he doesn’t remember ever being kissed so thoroughly like this before.
They make out for another twenty minutes or so, before Jaehyun’s phone starts vibrating with notifications and he’s reminded again of how late it is. He pulls away, breathless, and his voice sounds a little ruined when he speaks. “I really, really should go now.”
Johnny steals another long peck, smiling as he plants soft kisses on the other’s cheeks and jaw. Sighing, he pulls away and looks up at the younger with the dumbest, most pleased smile. “Alright, alright. But I want to see you again soon, like, next week soon”.
Jaehyun nods, smiling too. “Yeah, me too. This was really nice.”
“The date or the kisses?” Johnny asks cheekily.
“Both” Jaehyun rolls his eyes. “You, in general.”
The younger is more than a little smug at how Johnny blushes at that; Ah , he thinks, the natural order of things .
Johnny walks him to the door, stopping every two steps to steal another kiss or two, and Jaehyun is giggling and thinking to himself what a fucking field day Ten would have if he ever heard about this. He requests an Uber and kisses Johnny for the seven minutes until it arrives, and has to talk the older out of walking him to the car; hopefully, the driver doesn’t know whose house this is and won’t be calling the tabloids or something in the morning.
Jaehyun texts his friends in the car, letting them know he’s on his way back, and less than five minutes later his screen lights up again with a new text.
so, is tuesday ok for you?
Jaehyun is only a little embarrassed by how quickly he and Johnny get obsessed with each other.
They meet up that Tuesday, and then the following Monday, then Thursday, and then at some point it appears Jaehyun is coming up to Johnny’s house up to twice a week. Their dates aren’t very diverse as you may imagine, but it doesn’t matter: it’s fun to catch up on Netflix shows together (even if they take ages to decide on anything) or to watch football games with some beer (even if they spend half the time arguing about it), and it’s definitely fun to makeout on Johnny’s couch until their mouths feel a little numb. More importantly, most of what they do in those dates is just talk , for hours because they just hit it off that well, and there’s nowhere better for that than on the comfort of Johnny’s home with a John Mayer album playing.
It’s interesting, how they function together; Johnny tends to bring out a more talkative side of Jaehyun, who’s adaptable nature just matches up to the hundred words a minute way of Johnny’s personality, but at the same time, Johnny seems to understand and respect when Jaehyun feels more comfortable listening. He’s always attentive and interested in anything the younger has to say, but he’s not afraid of taking the reins in the conversation if necessary either.
Whenever they’re not physically together, be it due to Johnny’s tight schedule or Jaehyun’s responsibilities with university, they are either texting each other or talking about each other. While at first it might’ve been super exciting to have their flatmate dating a famous person, the novelty seems to be dying in Jungwoo and Ten due to how often the older’s name comes out of Jaehyun’s mouth these days. It’s always Johnny this, Johnny that , and the entire thing is so completely out of character for someone who prides himself in how chill he is, Ten has offered to call a friend and find out if he’s under witchcraft.
Things aren’t serious per say, but the domestic routine they’ve fallen into show that there’s more to this than something purely casual. They’re also taking things slow, nothing more than some heated makeouts, per Johnny’s request for a more firm connection first; it showed Jaehyun that the older is looking for something at least a little long term, which means they’re on the same page.
(“Really, who takes things slow these days?” Ten questions when Jaehyun tells him. “I thought all football players were fuck boys. It’s like, their job description.”
“I’m the first guy he’s ever dated Ten, I think he’s just nervous” Jaehyun says affectionately. “And Johnny is the furthest possible thing from a fuck boy. Yesterday I said his dimples were cute and he giggled .”)
It’s unexpected and so thrilling that what Jaehyun thought would, at best, turn out as a hook up with a celebrity crush he could tell his grandkids about someday is actually becoming something so much more special.
February tends to be a busy month with Jaehyun’s apartament, considering himself, Jungwoo and Ten all share birthdays in the same month. After a few tries on making three separate celebrations they’ve all decided it just wasn’t worth it, and ever since they started living together, it was agreed that while they could have some cake and a birthday song on their actual days, only one joint party was allowed for the sake of everyone’s money and peace of mind.
After last year’s semi-disaster, where they invited too many people and received enough noise complaints to have to pay a fine, they’ve decided to make it really lowkey this year, with just their closest friends. Jaehyun was nervous about inviting Johnny at first, scared that the older might think it’s too soon to introduce whatever they have to friends, but knowing how disappointed the older felt when he couldn’t see Jaehyun on his actual day (especially after Jaehyun came over with a surprise cake on his day), it just didn’t feel right to not at least ask.
Johnny was thrilled about it, if not a little nervous, which Jaehyun thought was adorable. Knowing his friends, he should be the one getting a little anxious: there is a fifty fifty chance Doyoung is getting drunk enough to break out in tears, and Mark and Ten together are never ones to hesitate bringing out Jaehyun’s embarrassing memories. Still, he is more so excited about showing Johnny this other part of his life, getting their relationship out of the bubble; all the time they’ve been spending together so far was alone, and he’s eager to see how Johnny is around other people. Besides, it’s a good opportunity for the older to make other queer friends, build a more supportive network that understands him better.
Kun is the first to arrive to the party, just on time if not a little early considering Jungwoo and Ten are still getting ready. He brings some fancy wine none of them could afford and gifts for the three birthday boys: Jaehyun gets a nice expensive shirt, Jungwoo a new makeup palette, and Ten’s gift is apparently a ‘secret’, which means it’s probably something for the bedroom (Jaehyun is curious, but not too worried; Ten will absolutely show it off to his flatmates later).
They chat a little on the living room until Ten finally comes out, looking amazing and barely sparing anyone a glance before taking a comfortable seat at Kunn’s lap and unashamedly making out with his boyfriend in front of everyone. Jaehyun and Jungwoo whine about it, but they’re both too happy for their friend and how well this is going to truly mean it; Ten deserves this, the nice guy who spoils him and does freaky stuff in bed but also grounds him and never makes him feel less about himself. It’s amazing to see the relationship blossom, and Jaehyun is already secretly coming up with everything he wants to say on the best man speech.
Mark and Lucas arrive together, and there’s no more comfortable silence to be had in the apartament. Lucas just took a backpacking trip through east europe that went horribly wrong, and he’s more than excited to tell everyone about the details of how he made it home with close to no money and without having to ask his parents for a bail out. Doyoung arrives in the middle of it, right when Lucas talks about sleeping at strangers houses for a few nights, and both him and Kun are mildly horrified at the idea, chewing him out on how he could’ve died.
Johnny and Sicheng arrive at the same time, Sicheng with the cake and Johnny bringing beer and an arm full of gifts. Jaehyun isn’t even up to hug them before Sicheng is already ratting out on Johnny:
“This guy was standing at your door like a doofus when I arrived.”
Johnny splutters, turning red. “I- I was just making sure to--”
“Oh my god, are you shy ?” Ten gasps like it’s the most obscene idea.
“Don’t tease him.” Jaehyun says protectively, laying a peck on the taller’s lips. “He was nervous about tonight.”
Mark makes a confused face. “Why are you nervous? The world’s best goalkeeper is standing on Jungwoo’s £20 rug, we should be nervous.”
Johnny chuckles awkwardly, still a little red. “Well, I’m here only as Jaehyun’s date and you’re his friends so of course I’m nervous. There’s a lot of you and only one of me, too.”
“Well, Kun is kind of new too” Doyoung observes. “Maybe we can save time and just grill both of you on the spot.”
“No one’s grilling anyone” Jaehyun rolls his eyes. “Babe, meet my friends: Jungwoo, Ten, Lucas, Doyoung, Mark, Sicheng and Kun. Everyone, this is Johnny, be nice.”
There’s proper nods and shaking of hands, and Jaehyun is thankful when the conversation moves on and all the attention isn’t on Johnny anymore. He wishes happy birthday to Jungwoo and Ten, handing them their gifts (both price appropriate, after Jaehyun explained to Johnny he would just make them awkward by gifting them Balenciaga wallets or something of the sorts) and Jaehyun takes the beer from his hands, settling it down.
The last bag with gifts is for Jaehyun, of course, and Johnny seems to be less nervous about it. They’re already sitting down on the couch when he hands it to Jaehyun, smiling in expectation at the younger’s reaction. “Alright, I know you said not to go too overboard but I couldn’t resist so I got you two things. Please don’t be mad”.
Jaehyun throws him an unimpressed look, but there’s a small smile at the edge of his lips as he opens the bag; of course he wouldn’t actually be mad, Johnny was just being sweet after all. He glances inside and there’s two smaller packages inside, so he grabs the first he sees, a small white box.
His eyes widen the moment he sees the writing on the outside: Northskull. He doesn’t even have to open to know what it is, already smiling widely at the memory of the conversation he had with Johnny about it weeks ago, but he does it anyway, just to see the beautiful gold bracelet he has been eyeing for years on the way to school everyday.
“You smooth motherfucker.” He says, delicately picking it up. “This is the definition of going overboard, Johnny.”
Jaehyun’s betrayed by how widely he’s smiling and the way his eyes are twinkling at it, so Johnny doesn’t look a bit regretful. “You deserve nice things, Jae. Put it on”.
It goes perfectly with Jaehyun’s look tonight, all black, and immediately makes him feel a hundred times fancier. It is a bit much, especially when they’re not even officially dating, but there’s a part of Jaehyun guilty of feeling happy at being spoiled like this so early. He leans forward to kiss Johnny again, more purposely this time. “I love it Johnny, it’s beautiful. But don’t make it a habit, ok? No more expensive gifts.”
Johnny pouts. “Not even on Christmas?”
Jaehyun’s heart flutters at the thought of being with Johnny for so long, and he’s sure it shows on him dumb love fool smile. “Alright. Gifts are birthday and Dhristmas deals only, ok?”
The older nods cutely, stealing another kiss even though he’s still smiling through it. “Look at the other one now, go”.
Jaehyun is a little nervous that the other thing will turn out to be even more extravagant, but he reaches into the bag anyway. It’s wrapped in a plastic bag, but it’s very obviously some sort of shirt inside; he throws one less apprehensive glance at Johnny before opening and immediately letting out a screech.
Everyone is looking at him now but Jaehyun couldn’t care less, not when he’s looking at a Chelsea jersey full of black scribbles: it’s signed , by nearly the entire team from what he can see. He might shed some tears.
“How - How did you even? Johnny !”
Johnny is clearly happy with himself, and Jungwoo and Lucas practically kick themselves for a chance to have a closer look. “Oh my God, this is amazing!”.
“I asked a few favors around” Johnny explains. “It still pains me you cheer for my rivals, but...”
Jaehyun hands the shirt for his friends to look at and can barely contain himself at jumping on Johnny’s lap, kissing all over his face. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Johnny laughs, cupping Jaehyun’s cheek to give him a proper kiss. Jaehyun is on cloud nine, not just from the gifts itself but from knowing Johnny put in so much effort to get them and give Jaehyun something he knew the younger would like.
The nights keeps on, Jaehyun moving to sit tucked on Johnny’s side instead, and slowly but surely the older starts feeling comfortable enough to join in on the conversations, showing more of his extroverted and playful self. It’s really funny for Jaehyun, who’s so used to the mellow and sweet guy he knows, to watch Johnny be all ‘dude bro’ with Lucas and Mark, something he probably should’ve expected considering the type of people the older hangs out with. He wants to tease him about it but holds it in for when it’s just the two of them, not wanting to make him self-conscious about it; instead, he joins his own conversations with Doyoung and Sicheng, who he hasn’t seen in a while, sippin his beer and enjoying the feeling of Johnny’s arm holding him close.
Johnny’s sort of clingy with Jaehyun the entire night, not being able to stay far from him for more than a second, something Ten and Jungwoo clearly notice with the looks they’re throwing their friend. It’s a little surprising but now much; Johnny is a physical person, so it makes sense to look for comfort in Jaehyun’s touch in a place still strange to him. Jaehyun isn’t complaining anyway -- he loves to see the older like this, so soft for him.
“So, Johnny” Ten takes the vague seat where Lucas was previously sitting, measuring the football player with a look. Jaehyun narrows his eyes at his friends, already wary of what’s he’s about to ask. “I was just checking your Instagram earlier and…”
“You were stalking him?” Jaehyun sighs.
“He has millions of followers so it’s hardly considered stalking” Ten rolls his eyes. “And there’s a bunch of pictures there from what I assume are film cameras? Are those yours?”
Johnny perks up at that, a little surprised at the question. “Oh, yes. I really like shooting on film.”
“So, you’d say you’re a connoisseur, then?” Ten asks. “Like, you know your way around film cameras”.
“Well,” Johnny chuckles awkwardly. “I’m not a profession or anything, but I know enough I guess. It’s a hobby so I study it a bit on my free time”.
“Are you going to ask to pose for him?” Jaehyun narrow his eyes playfully. “Cause I’m not sure how I feel about that.”
Ten’s eyes shine with mischief. “Don’t worry, the only one taking pictures of me on a lace set is Kun”.
Jaehyun laughs and Johnny follows, though he’s blushing a little, not completely used to the best friend’s banter.
“I actually really like photography too though it’s mostly on my iPhone, however , Kun gave me a film camera a few weeks ago and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to properly use it. I tried online tutorials but I don’t think the camera is turning on? Does it turn on at all?”
Johnny chuckles at the outburst. “Ok, first of all, which camera?”
“It’s a Nikon AF600, 28mm. I can get it for you?” Ten sits up straighter, ready to get up, and then runs off to his room once Johnny agrees.
“You cool?” Jaehyun checks on the older quietly, and Johnny gives him a wide, grateful smile.
“I’m great. I really like your friends.” Johnny says back, stealing a quick peck just because he can. Jaehyun smiles back, all warm and tingly at how well the night is going, and then Ten is back with a camera and more than ready for a lesson on how to use it.
Jaehyun isn’t that interested in the conversation anymore, though it’s kind of hot how focused and patient Johnny is at helping Ten out, so he takes note of everyone else in the room. It appears Doyoung and Sicheng are already filling more than a little tipsy, if the way they’re swiping on Tinder matches and giggling to themselves is any indication, and so Jaehyun figures it might be time to cut the cake. He slips off from Johnny’s side, giving him a reassuring smile, and moves to the kitchen to get stuff ready.
Jungwoo shows up less than a second later, saying something about “helping out”, and Jaehyun rolls his eyes already knowing what’s that’s an excuse for.
“So,” Jungwoo starts not a second after he’s next to Jaehyun. “When’s the wedding?”
Jaehyun rolls his eyes and starts pulling mismatched forks from the drawer. “What are you even talking about.”
“The way you look at each other Jae” Jungwoo swoons. “Seriously, I wish I had something like that.”
Jaehyun blushes, looking away. “Should I tell Doyoung to hurry up, then?”
It’s Jungwoo’s turn to turn red now, almost dropping the dish he’s carrying. “I have no idea what you’re talking about and don’t try to change the subject.”
Jaehyun rolls his eyes -- it’s been a few months since Doyoung has started making heart eyes at their friend, and Jungwoo still refuses to acknowledge, the same way Doyoung childishly refuses to confess. “We’re taking it slow, Woo. I really like him and I think he likes me too but we’re not making anything official until it feels right.”
“Boring” Jungwoo sighs. “But I respect that. Hopefully if you start dating you won’t have to keep sneaking around forever.”
“I don’t really mind, to be honest” Jaehyun shrugs. “I will happily keep our dates private if the other option is people following our every step.”
“Who would’ve thought, huh” Jaehyun smiles. “You, with a super star, and Ten with the sweater vest nerd. I would’ve thought the opposite.”
Jaehyun snorts. “Johnny would probably crumble at all of Ten’s kinky shit. He looks like he’s super vanilla.”
“Really?” Jungwoo eyes the older, sitting on the couch still. “That would be a waste. He’s so hot, like, big enough to break your…”
“Ok, alright, that’s enough” Jaehyun stops it with a chuckle. The last thing he needs right now is think about Johnny fucking him.
Jungwoo grins cheekily, shrugging. “I’m just saying. If you’re ever interested in a threesome…”
“I would invite Doyoung, thanks” Jaehyun quips while taking out the cake from the box, and Jungwoo throws an offended “hey!” before the older addresses everyone. “Time to cut the cake!”
Lucas makes the three birthday boys put cute celebratory hats and tiaras, and Doyoung whines that he should be included considering his birthday was technically in February; he’s quickly turned down because they already celebrated his day by going pub crawling on the actual date. Ten, now apparently able to use his camera and eager to try, wants to take all sorts of pictures (though they also take them on their phones, just to be safe). They take all sort of funny pictures of just the three, then Johnny takes one of everyone else, and then the phone is set on timer for one of them all.
“Wait, I want one with Kunkun” Ten annouces happily.
“ Kunkun ” Sicheng, Jaehyun and Doyoung immediately repeat, mocking. Kun is blushing, but his dimples are out in a smile, and his eyes twinkle at Ten with nothing bure affection.
They take of just the two next to each other, smiling with the cake, but then Ten turns in the older’s hold and smashes their lips, getting the most adorable picture of the kiss. Once they’re done everyone starts insisting that Jaehyun and Johnny, as the only other couple, should take one too.
Jaehyun asks Johnny with a glance, but the older seems more than happy to. They move behind the cake, and Johnny hugs his middle from behind, letting his chin hit Jaehyun’s shoulder. They take a few like that, smiling, and then Johnny surprises him by turning his head and kissing the younger’s cheek, getting Jungwoo and Lucas to coo at them.
They sing happy birthday (with Lucas adding his own out of tune “adlibs”), and then shove themselves full of red velvet cake (“My coach would kill me if he found out” Johnny sighs after his second slice. “I’m supposed to be on a diet”). Doyoung is enebriated enough to start asking to get the Karaoke machine out, and they all have to fight him on it as not to get a huge fine again; Instead, Jungwoo digs around his closet and finds an old Risk board, and they decide it would be fun to play one round.
Of course, that one round decides to last almost two hours, and involves Doyoung and Jaehyun almost ripping each other to threads over winning South America. Johnny was the first to die, followed by Mark, Sicheng, Lucas and Kun. Though it’s not a part of his personality he’s proud of, Jaehyun admits he has a tiny competitive streak, and it more than shows throughout the entire thing, even if he himself isn’t fully sober at this point. Johnny seems to find it really funny, teasing him everytime he loses and getting a kick out of the glares the younger sends him (knowing they mean little when Jaehyun snuggles back into his chest the next second). In the end, he ends up winning by making a deal with Jungwoo and Ten to clean everything up by himself if they help him destroy Doyoung and then surrender.
It’s late when the board is finally put back, but not late enough for everyone to want to crash at their place. Instead, Lucas, Doyoung, Mark and Sicheng decide to split an Uber, and after many goodbye hugs (some more emotional than other due to alcohol), only the apartment residents, Johnny and Kun are left.
“Well, good luck with cleaning, we’re going to bed” Ten yawns, holding Kun’s hand and already leaning into him. “Johnny, it was a pleasure to meet you, thank you for helping with my camera.”
“Me too, it was an honor. I’m a big fan.” Kun smiles, dimpled.
“It’s no problem Ten, you gotta show me how the pictures came out later.” Johnny smiles, ever charming. “And it was my honor, Kun. You guys took me in so well and I’m really glad I got to meet you”.
Jungwoo offers to help clean despite the earlier deal, but Jaehyun shoves him off to his room saying it’s fine and he’s got it. The younger still hugs both of them goodnight, Johnny more than surprised at the sudden intimacy, and then closes himself in his own room.
Jaehyun starts cleaning and Johnny follows him, no words needed. With the two of them working quietly, the entire thing is done in less than half an hour. Once all is done, Jaehyun finally gathers a little of his nerves, smiling a little.
“So, it’s pretty late and you had a few beers,” Johnny hums, paying attention. “Do you wanna crash here tonight?”
Johnny narrows his eyes at him, his lips twitching a smile. “Are you just trying to get me to cuddle you to bed, Jung Jaehyun?”
“Well, it is technically my birthday celebration” Jaehyun pouts. “So I think I deserve it.”
Johnny seems to ponder over it for a minute, checking his phone to see what time it really was. He sighs, giving in, and Jaehyun can’t help but beam. “You’ll have to let me borrow some clothes tomorrow morning but yes, I’ll stay the night.”
Jaehyun presses closer, kissing Johnny until his back presses on the counter, more than giddy at the very small thing that is having the guy he likes sleeping on the same bed as him for a night. It’s feels a little juvenile, when Jaehyun probably would’ve gone so much further than this with anyone else, and just a little bit dangerous, knowing he’s already so attached to someone he can’t even call ‘boyfriend’, but he pushes it all away to the feeling of having Johnny’s hands steady in his waist as he guides them to his bedroom.
He didn’t plan on bringing anyone here tonight so things aren’t exactly organized -- a lot of clothes thrown around from when he was getting ready, and his bed is unmade from an afternoon nap. It’s also very small, like everything else in the apartament, a price to be paid for a place with three bedrooms in London, but Jaehyun did his best in decorating it and making it feel like home.
“Not gonna lie, this is a lot nicer than I imagined” Johnny says mindlessly, looking around.
Jaehyun takes a shirt from the floor and throws at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Johnny laughs. “I don’t know, the picture I had from a college student’s room was much less… aesthetic. It’s all white and minimalistic.”
It’s true -- basically everything in Jaehyun’s room follows a white and grey palette, neat and chic. The only real pops of color are from the LPs he keeps in one his shelves, and then a small corner over his desk where he has pictures of himself, his friends and family.
“Well, that’s just me. There’s a million colorful prints on Ten’s walls.”
Johnny makes a non-committal sound, now moving to look at the pictures while the younger keeps organizing everything so they can sleep. “He makes art, right? I thought I heard Kun commenting about it but I remember you telling me he was a dance major.”
“He is” Jaehyun explains. “But he does digital art as a side thing ever since he was in high school I think. He sells it online too, if you want to check it later.”
Johnny makes Jaehyun promise to send him a link, and then they start getting ready for bed. Jaehyun showers first, then Johnny, and the older borrows a pair of clean underwear and sweats to sleep in. Jaehyun tries offering a shirt, to which Johnny shakes his head. “Is it alright if I sleep shirtless? It’s just how I usually do it.”
Jaehyun lets out a strained “Sure”, though he’s not completely certain he’ll be able to fall asleep with Johnny’s bare chest touching him. He’s seen the older shirtless before, through the screen of his phone while looking at the pictures for an underwear ad he short last year, but it’s nothing compared to the real thing: lean but built, clearly a result of playing despite not spending much time in the gym like Jaehyun does.
When they finally slip under the covers, it takes less than a second for legs to tangle and Johnny to bring the younger closer, a hand on the small of his back. They just look at each other for a bit, and Jaehyun can’t help but snort at the sappiness of the moment; Johnny smiles too, bringing a hand to poke at the dimple that isn’t squished into the pillow.
“I know I asked earlier, but this was nice, right?” Jaehyun asks, quietly. “Not too much too fast?”
Johnny shakes his head as much as he can like this. “Not at all. I loved it tonight, Jae. It’s been a while since I’ve done… this.”
Jaehyun snorts. “Meet the friends?”
Johnny smiles a little, though it’s a small thing, just a little sad. He’s quiet for a bit, and Jaehyun wonders if he said something wrong.
“Meet friends, in general, I guess.” Johnny sighs quietly. “I- Ever since I came out, there hasn't been many opportunities like tonight, to be totally comfortable around people. It’s not like all my friends turned their backs on me or something, but we really don’t hang out as often anymore.”
The idea of someone as warm and friendly as Johnny feeling lonely of all things breaks a little piece of Jaehyun’s heart. He looks for the older’s hand under the covers, and threads their fingers together. “I thought you said the ones you were closest were cool about it.”
“Yeah, but like,” Johnny sighs. “It’s more sort of “I’m cool with you liking guys as long as you’re the exact same”, you know? Which might sound ok because yes, I’m still the same, but it also means having to put up and laugh at casual homophobic jokes because being offended would change things. They’re good friends and good people but it’s hard to spend too much time with them right now.”
Jaehyun bites back a remark about how they’re probably not good friends or good people if they’re making homophobic jokes, because he knows things aren’t always that easy. Cutting people off after you come out is a painful ordeal, and especially on Johnny’s field, where having a good relationship with your mates makes it or breaks your career, this is even more complicated.
“I’m really sorry Johnny.” Jaehyun says instead, quietly and sincerely.
Johnny finally lays on his side again, offering a small smile. “It’s ok, I’m not completely alone or anything. I have Yuta and our friends, Donghyuck, and now I have you. I’m not doing too bad.”
“And you have my friends, too. You’re more than welcome to hang out with us whenever you want, if you’re not bored by a bunch of college kids, that is.”
“I would take you guys arguing about who washes the dishes over dick talk from my teammates anytime, believe me.” Johnny snorts, and then leans forward, kissing the younger softly.
It’s lazy and comfortable, making out softly under the covers with no rush or need for anything else. The intimacy of it all makes Jaehyun’s stomach flutters with butterflies, and he finds himself wishing for the small moment never to end. After they break away and whisper each other ‘goodnights’, he lets his head hit his lover’s chest and falls asleep to the lullaby of Johnny’s heartbeat.
Despite their best efforts, the frequency of their dates doesn’t last.
They still text each other constantly, anytime they’re free, but life keeps getting in the way of actually seeing one another. Jaehyun is getting drowned by papers he spent the last month neglecting, and Johnny has a sequence of complicated games that seem to be draining a lot of his energy, especially when Arsenal loses the first two and ties a third, dropping a position in the league. None of the losses were technically his fault, but he reminds Jaehyun one night on Facetime that being who he is, people will always try to find reasons to blame him, which is why he always has to be at the best he can. That means whenever he’s not at the training center, he's at home exhausted, and while Jaehyun would love nothing more than to drop everything and go over and look after him, he has Jungwoo and Ten more than ready to remind him he can’t let himself be sucked into Johnny’s life, when he has his own stuff to worry about.
Talking on the phone or facetiming is nice, but it isn’t enough, not when Jaehyun misses Johnny every second of his day. It’s kind of dumb, really, that he’s like this -- it’s not like Johnny was ever such a present part of his day to day life, but still, he can’t help but long for the older’s presence in the most random, unimportant times. This is unlike any relationship Jaehyun has ever had, so much slower too, and it’s not that he’s unhappy with it as much as he’s frustrated that there’s not much either can do to get things to move faster.
It doesn’t help that he has to see Ten and Kun be infuriatingly adorable right under his nose, knowing the couple met around the same time he and Johnny did, and are so much further along in their relationship. It’s not a fair comparison to make, he knows, because despite being rich enough to make everyone forget it at times, Kun is still a college student, who goes to a university three underground stations from Ten’s, and who has no problem sleeping over enough at their apartment to start helping out with groceries. Despite how insanely unordinary Ten and Kun might be as people, their relationship is painfully normal in the big picture -- something Jaehyun reminds himself his and Johnny’s won’t ever be.
But Jaehyun misses Johnny. A lot. So sue him for letting his mood dampen a little at having to hear his friends giggle to each other on the next couch when he’s stuck with waiting for Johnny to finish showering and answer his text.
So when the player asks him if he’s free to spend the next Sunday and Monday at his place, Jaehyun jumps at the opportunity. He technically has an early class on Monday but he’s more than willing to skip it to get some quality time with Johnny, just the two of them catching up and holding each other. It’s silly how just the prospect of it brings up his spirits throughout the week, to the point even his friend’s are looking forward to it as well (“God, I can’t wait for Johnny to fuck away the cloud of gloom over your head” “We’re not fucking, Ten” “Fine, cuddle it away then”).
Johnny offers to pick Jaehyun up, as he often does, but knowing the older had a game the previous evening, the student decided it was better that he slept in. The tube ride is one Jaehyun has grown used to back when he was coming over every week, and he takes the time to catch up on a few class readings on his Kindle. He doesn’t like taking cabs from the station to Johnny’s place, always hyperaware of how everyone knows whose house is whose around here, but he doesn’t feel like walking and so takes the risk; he still asks for the driver to drop him off at the corner rather than Johnny’s place, and goes the rest of the way by foot.
He approaches the intercom next to the gate of Johnny’s place, hoping Johnny isn’t sleeping too deeply not to be woken up by the noise. A minute goes by and he debate the need to call the older, before the loud buzz lets him know the gate is being opened, and he can walk up to the house. He’s already eager, hoping to get a glimpse of sleepy, bed hair Johnny, but when he comes close enough it’s clear that the person behind the door isn’t Johnny at all.
There’s a boy, quite a bit shorter than him and full of boyish looks at the doorstep. His eyes shine with the same mischief Jaehyun has seen in Ten more times than he can count, and even if he hasn’t seen about a billion pictures of this kid before, Jaehyun would probably still be able to guess he’s finally meeting Donghyuck.
“Oh, hi.” He says, suddenly very nervous. “I- Is Johnny up?”
Donghyuck snorts. “Of course not. I got here half an hour ago and he hasn’t moved an inch from the spot on his bed.”
“Oh.” Jaehyun says, without knowing what to add. “I’m Jaehyun.”
“I know.” The younger grins. “Johnny talks about you a lot . I probably know more about you at this point than most of the people I go to college with.”
Jaehyun is flushing, and he’s sure his ears are burning up right now. “He talks about you a lot too. I think Johnny just talks a lot… in general.”
Donghyuck laughs at that, and then moves to the side. “That’s true. Come on, get inside, he’ll eventually get up and I’m making breakfast.”
Jaehyun awkwardly steps inside the house he’s been in tons of times, leaving his bag somewhere near the couch in the living room. Donghyuck walks around the place like it’s his, completely familiar and at home at the mansion, and it makes Jaehyun feel even more nervous about being alone with the younger. Out of all the people in Johnny’s life, except maybe for his parents, Donghyuck was the most intimidating for the student to meet: the boy meant a lot for Johnny, and the thought of Donghyuck not liking him makes Jaehyun more nervous than probably warranted.
Donghyuck is already busy in the kitchen, and if the eggs and beans are any indication, he’s probably cooking a fry up. “Do you know how to use Johnny’s toaster? It has a million buttons and I burned three toasts so far.”
Jaehyun smiles in humor because he has done the same more than once; Johnny has a million fancy appliances he doesn’t actually use, but the younger has been over enough to start getting familiar with them. “Yeah, it’s actually pretty simple once you understand.”
He starts making busy by slicing the bread, and the silence is a little awkward; not for long though, because much like their common friend, Donghyuck doesn’t seem like one to keep quiet for long. “You know, this is actually a really happy coincidence. I’ve been begging Johnny to meet you for the longest time but the timings never work out. I know he’s just just busy but I was starting to think he was embarrassed of me or something.”
“Yeah, he told me.” Jaehyun gives a small smile. “If it makes you feel any better this will be the first time I see him in weeks.”
“Yeah, I know. It’s not like Johnny whines to me every other day about how much he misses you or anything.” The younger cheekily rolls his eyes, seemingly enjoying the way Jaehyun blushes and chuckles sheepishly. “Wait. You’re not going to jump each other the moment he walks in, right?”
“And what if we did?”
They both turn their heads to the familiar voice, and Jaehyun swears he can feel his heart swell up at the sight; Johnny, shirtless, barefoot and with his adorable checkered pajama pants hanging. He looks like he just fell out of bed, eyes only half open, and the final blow is the way he walks over and naturally, like it’s nothing, hugs Jaehyun’s behind and lays a good morning peck on his lips.
Jaehyun thinks all the wait is worth if this is what’s expecting him at the end. He could probably wait an infinity more.
“Gross.” Donghyuck whines. “If this is what I’ll put up with all day then I’m leaving after breakfast.”
“No you’re not.” Johnny yawns. “You came over, of your own accord, so I’m getting my Donghyuck fill whether you want it or not.”
The youngest throws Jaehyun a pointed look as if saying ‘you see what I have to live with’, but honestly, Jaehyun thinks the way Johnny is attached to Donghyuck is incredibly endearing; he joked when they first started talking that Johnny was like a dad to Hyuck, but it’s honestly not too far from the truth: they love each other like family, and the older dotes on him like a parent.
Johnny doesn’t help make breakfast, in fact, he only hinders the process by refusing to let go of Jaehyun for even a second (“I haven’t seen you in weeks, I’m entitled to this!”), but the food ends up on the table anyway. Donghyuck and Johnny talk away the entire time, Jaehyun inserting his own two cents every now or then, but honestly, he doesn’t mind just listening when it means watching the way Johnny gets comfortable around his “godson”. It’s just another small piece of the older’s life Jaehyun is getting privy to, and he appreciates it with care like all the others.
Donghyuck takes the opportunity of listening ears to whine about about uni, work and his semi-adult life, and enjoys having Jaehyun there to back him up on things Johnny can’t quite understand. Eventually the topic moves to Donghyuck’s personal life, both the older ones eating up all the friend drama and gossip until the food in the dishes are long over.
(Donghyuck is, Jaehyun realizes, an incredible story teller. The gossip isn’t even that interesting, especially when it’s about people he doesn’t know, but the way Hyuck delivers it gets everyone fully invested in it.)
“How are things going with that boy? Renjun?” Johnny eventually questions, and the way Donghyuck deflates is immediate and a little concerning. “...not well, apparently? What happened?”
Donghyuck shakes his head. “Things are great, actually, and I think that’s the thing. I think he wants us to go steady.”
Johnny furrows his eyebrows. “And that’s not what you want?”
“No. Yes. I-” Donghyuck lets out a frustrated whine, his cheek hitting the table making it seem he’s years younger than he actually is. “I don’t know. I want to but… commitment like that kind of sounds like a lot. I don’t know.”
Johnny hums and takes a second to ponder over his words. “Well, it doesn’t have to be, Hyuck. Don’t do it just because you think it’s the natural next step or because he wants to, but if you really feel like it’s something you want, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier than it seems. Are either of you seeing other people?”
The younger sits up again, shaking his head. “I don’t think so. I’m not and I don’t think he is either.”
“And you like each other, right? You’ve talked about how you feel?” Johnny continues.
Donghyuck agrees. Johnny smiles then, small. “Sounds to me like you’re already committed in a lot of ways Hyuck. I know it seems like a scary step but it’s just a word that doesn’t have to mean a lot more than what you already have. Don’t make it scarier than it really is.”
Jaehyun sort of wants to kiss Johnny right now, both because this mature older brother thing is very attractive and also because the conversation makes him think about how close to a next step the both of them are, and the thought brings butterflies to his stomach. Johnny might have something similar on his mind, because he squeezes Jaehyun’s hand under the table, and the younger’s heart does dangerous things.
Donghyuck seems thoughtful for a moment, before he breaks into one of his usual smiles. “That’s surprisingly good advice coming from you. I’ll think about it, I promise.”
Johnny rolls his eyes, but smiles fondly and gets up to start cleaning up when Donghyuck moves on to chatter on about something else. It’s just after noon when they’re done and the weather is a little cold, but Donghyuck suggests they go into the pool anyway; apparently it’s heated, so it won’t be a risk for colds. Jaehyun burrows a swimming trunk from Johnny and eventually they all settle into the warm water, letting themselves soak and relax.
Jaehyun hasn't actually stepped in a pool in years , and he’s not proud of how much childhood bliss it brings him to play around with his friends in the water. It seems silly now, that he was worried about Donghyuck’s opinion on him: the younger might be the most easy going person he’s ever met, and even with all the snark, he seems to be enjoying Jaehyun’s company as well, especially when it means he now has someone to team up against Johnny.
(Johnny doesn’t seem to mind the teasing -- if anything, seeing two of his favorite people getting along so well brings a sort of dumb happy smile to his face that swells up a sort of pride in Jaehyun’s chest.)
Eventually they get too tired for the rough housing, and settle down to relax for a bit. Donghyuck puts on some music and floats around on the pool, eyes closed, and Johnny takes the opportunity to bring Jaehyun closer, the younger’s back pressed to the edge of the pool as they hold each other and sneak a few kisses.
“You look tired.” Jaehyun says quietly, pushing away a few wet strands from his lover’s forehead. “Everything alright?”
Johnny makes a non-committal noise. “It’s ok, I’m fine babe”
Jaehyun doesn’t buy it, not even after the pet name meant to distract him. “ Johnny .”
He sighs. “It’s just.. football, as always. With the way last game went and how we’re playing lately there’s a really high chance the quarter-finals will come down to penalty shootouts. You know that’s not really my forte, so it’s a lot of pressure from everyone for me to train and get better at it.”
Jaehyuns hums, understanding. Arsenal is up against Juventus on the Champion’s League quarter finals, and they tied last game, despite playing at home. The following game is next week, in Italy, and there’s a lot of pressure from fans and media for a victory; it’d be really upsetting to leave this early in the competition after being last year’s champions, especially when the team kept all of its key players and coach.
“Well, I don’t know if it means anything, but I believe in you. You work hard Johnny, harder than all of them, and it’ll show when it comes down it, I guarantee you.” Jaehyun reassures. “I’ll be here to celebrate with you when you come back, so you better call me as soon as you leave the airport.”
“And what if we lose?” Johnny asks, his eyes only on Jaehyun.
“Then I’ll still be here, even if you’re upset and frustrated. This game is important but it’s not everything, Johnny. You guys already done a lot this year, and there’s still the league, so don’t stress it so much.”
Johnny smiles, so warm, and hugs Jaehyun closer. “I thought you said you wanted us to win the Champions so Chelsea could win the league.”
Jaehyun rolls his eyes. “Well, I’m not picky. I’d be pretty ok with us winning the Champions and you can have the league.”
“I still can’t believe I haven’t completely converted you into a Gooner.” Johnny whines.
“Oh, baby, were you trying?” Jaehyun mocks, smiling so wide. “Give it up. My heart is blue forever, and no pretty boy is going to change that.”
“Oh yeah?” Johnny asks lowly, inching his face closer. “Let me try to change your mind”
Their kisses are warm and taste like chlorine, but Jaehyun’s certain there’s no feeling like this; his entire body feels alive, comfortable, home in the arms of the man he missed so much. It’s the way Johnny holds him, how soft his touches are, a complete contrast to his demanding lips. Jaehyun doesn’t have to think much to know he’s falling, unrestrained and with no means to stop.
Donghyuck leaves after they order and eat a very late lunch, but not without exchanging numbers with Jaehyun and making million promises to Johnny that he’ll text when he gets home. When they hug goodbye, he takes the opportunity to make his small version of what Jaehyun would consider some shovel talk; “Don’t let him fool you, Johnny’s a baby, and so you better take care of him. It was nice meeting you dimples, and I’m sure you’ll be sticking around, so text me to hang out sometime.”
His words stay with Jaehyun into the night, when he and Johnny can finally catch up by themselves, watch their shows and talk about everything they’ve missed in each other’s lives since they saw each other, because while they text and facetime, there’s things that only really make sense to tell in person. It plays on his mind when he cooks dinner for two, when they eat on the floor of the living room so they can keep watching The Crown, and even more when Johnny gives him a new toothbrush he bought for the occasion, and then immediately lays on the right side of the bed because he remembers Jaehyun likes sleeping on the left. It’s like every day, he’s carving a small Jaehyun shaped space in Johnny’s life, and it should be illegal for such a small thought to bring so much bliss into his heart.
The moment they get into bed, Jaehyun is on Johnny; kissing, feeling, holding him in renewed desperation for more, more, more . Johnny reciprocates in kind, and it’s a mess of rushed ressurances, nervous touches, so much passion and need . Jaehyun gets to look into Johnny’s eyes, chest to chest while the older fucks slowly into him, and the way he sees every single feeling reflected into the older’s eyes brings him over the edge, nothing but Johnny on his lips. When they hold each other afterwards, tired but almost giddy at how good they feel, the older kisses Jaehyun on the lips with far too much feelings to be put into words. Still, Jaehyun understands, and falls asleep with the certainty that he’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to this for as long as he can.
(And when Johnny wakes him up with breakfast in bed the next morning, tender hands on his cheeks as he pecks him awake with a “Goodmorning, boyfriend”, Jaehyun knows for certain the feeling is mutual.)
Jaehyun might be a little biased, but he thinks Johnny is the best boyfriend ever.
He doesn’t even care if the thought makes him a sap -- he’s too distracted by being in the forever honeymoon phase of their relationship, where every second he’s away from the player, all he’s thinking about is the next time they’ll be seeing each other.
Things get easier compared to those cursed busy weeks, especially because after a few tactic changes, Arsenal seems to get out of the funk they were for a while. They win against Juventus, like Jaehyun said they would, and then against Liverpool on the quarter-finals in April; they might still be third on the Premier League, behind Chelsea and Liverpool, but they’re picking up steam on the Champions and there’s no words to explain how legendary it’d be to win it twice in a row, after never winning it once. The team is in good spirits, so are the fans, and it reflects on Johnny having more free time to rest and spend with Jaehyun, who seems to be over at his place every week once again.
It’s fascinating, getting to know a little more of Johnny every day. He learns about his parents, how Johnny misses them living across the ocean, but can’t convince either to move out of Chicago. He also hears a lot on Johnny’s previous relationships, how his bi awakening happened, the first time he slept with a guy in the bathroom of a club and spent a month scared to shit the guy would say something on Twitter or whatever. Almost as importantly as those, Jaehyun learns the small things about Johnny, about how he drinks way too much coffee that he brews himself, or how he gets deep with conversations way too easily and then turns embarrassed at it. Johnny is full of details, that come to surface the more comfortable and safe he gets, and Jaehyun keeps each and everyone of them in a careful place in his heart.
As the months go by, they start getting a little more daring about going out together. There’s only so much time they can spend at each other’s places before starting to feel bored, and so they do little dates, here and there when they don’t think people will pay attention. It’s all small things, like going to the movies at the last screening, or getting private rooms to have dinner at fancy restaurants, but there’s something addicting on taking something that was exclusively theirs and exposing it to the world, in tiny and safe amounts.
There’s always craving for more . Jaehyun wishes Johnny could pick him up at his college, or that they could do the typical date spots like London Eye, but he understands it won’t ever be that easy, and he’s fine with it. What they have is enough. Johnny is enough.
Of course, Jaehyun should’ve known it would never be that easy; it couldn’t be, not when people are so obsessed with his boyfriend’s life like he’s a zoo animal just because he’s gay and happens to play football.
He wakes up startled one morning, being shaken awake by who he assumes is Jungwoo, judging by the frantic voice. There’s a lit phone being shoved on his face, and all he can whine out is a “What?”
“They caught you, Jaehyun. Read the article, right now.” Jungwoo sighs.
He sits up against his pillows, rubbing his eyes so he can actually see the screen. It’s 10:43am, earlier than what he should wake up on a day he doesn’t have morning classes, but the moment he reads the headline, he understands why Jungwoo had to get him up.
“Arsenal’s Johnny Seo seen out and about with a new lover for the first time since coming out. ”
Jaehyun’s heart drops to his stomach, and he can’t breath for a second. He scrolls down the screen, and is faced with pictures of him and Johnny walking along the Thames path; they’re smiling in the first ones, holding hands, and the biggest one is one of them kissing, adorable with Johnny’s hand on the small of his back. Jaehyun remembers the moment clearly, as it was just the previous weekend, after Jaehyun said he never walked it; they went at night, on an empty part of the trail, and he could’ve sworn they were alone throughout the entire walk, though apparently not.
He reads the article with his hands shaking a little, and it’s exactly what he would’ve expected it to be; it talks about their date, how affectionate and physical they were with each other, but the biggest chunk of it is about Jaehyun himself: who he is, where and what he studies, apparently even speculating how they met, bringing back the picture after the friendly match. There’s nothing negative in it per say, and even ends with wishes for the couple, but that’s not where the harm is; he already knows it won’t end here.
Jungwoo doesn’t have to ask before hugging him tightly, and Jaehyun clings to him even though he’s still a little in shock. The younger whispers reassurances to him, and helps him breathe properly again, so he can calm down and think logically about what to do next.
“I don’t want to freak you out, but you should know there’s a few paparazzi outside the building.” Jaehyun’s eyes widen, and Jungwoo quickly adds. “Not too many, just three or four. We can probably sneak you out if we have to.”
Jaehyun snorts a laugh at that, because the entire situation sounds too ridiculous to believe. “I’m too scared to look at my phone right now.”
Jungwoo winces, sympathetic; they both know it’ll be filled with family, college colleagues, friends and anyone that can get their hands on his number trying to reach him. Still, the younger takes Jaehyun phone and puts it in his hand. “You should at least call Johnny. He called me after he couldn’t reach you and I think he’s freaking out right now.”
Jaehyun nods immediately, because yes, just the thought of being able to hear his boyfriend’s voice brings him some peace right now. He unlocks the screen, ignoring the obnoxious amount of notifications in favor of calling Johnny back, after feeling a tinge of guilt upon seeing the twenty missed calls.
Johnny picks up after the second ring. “Babe? Jaehyun?”
“Hey.” Jaehyun croaks out, his voice still filled with sleep.
“Are you ok? Did you read the article?” Johnny questions, frantic.
“Yeah, Woo just showed me. I’m ok, don’t worry, just a little freaked out I guess.” He hears Johnny sigh at the other end of the line, and tries to lighten up the mood a little. “At least they picked cute pictures.”
It works -- Johnny chuckles shortly, even though it still sounds sort of wet. He takes a deep breath before starting. “Jaehyun, I’m so so sorry about this and I completely-”
“Johnny, don’t.” Jaehyun interrupts him before the older can even properly start. “Don’t apologize, let’s talk in person, ok? I know it’s a Thursday but do you think I can see you?”
Johnny sounds so relieved about the small thought of Jaehyun wanting to see him, the younger almost starts to cry. “ Yes , yes, absolutely. We can see each other after my training. Do you want me to pick you up?”
“And give the photographers in front of my building pictures for tomorrow's article? No thanks.” Jaehyun snorts. “I’ll just catch an Uber.”
“Are you prepared to talk about it for the entire 40 minutes drive? The guy will be all over you, Jae.” Johnny points out.
Jaehyun hums, and starts thinking of an alternative, until a very obvious one pops up in his mind. “I’ll get Kun to drive me. I’m sure he won’t mind considering the situation.”
“Ok, but let me know.” Jaehyun hums, and there’s silence for a second. “I really am sorry though, Jae. You didn’t sign up for this.”
“I know you are, baby, but we’ll talk.” Jaehyun sighs. “Don’t worry too much, I’m fine. A few thousand Instagram followers won’t scare me away.”
Jaehyun reaches Kun a few minutes after his call with his boyfriend ends, and the older is more than willing to drive him there after his classes. Ten wants to tag along, to offer support but also because Jaehyun knows he’s curious to see Johnny’s place, and Jaehyun doesn’t mind -- having the two there will be a welcome distraction.
Jungwoo and Jaehyun both know they probably shouldn’t spend the entire day reading people’s tweets on the situation, but they’re both too weak to what’s possibly the most insane thing that ever happened in that apartment. Jaehyun’s not surprised to see the homophobic jokes and comments, as expected from football fans, but it does make him a little happy to see there’s a lot of supporters too -- people who are eager to defend Johnny, and even those that vouch for protecting Jaehyun’s privacy, on account that he’s just a college student.
Jaehyun skips his afternoon classes, and the thought that he will never be able to attend class without everyone staring at him is the only time he comes close to freaking out about the situation. He can be surprisingly shy around strangers, and it’s already something hard as an LLB major; having this on top of everything won’t help. Jungwoo does his best to calm him down though, remind him that the novelty will wear out after a while, especially if he and Johnny don’t feed into the public life too much.
They hope for the paparazzi to leave as the day goes by, but they seem determined to get at least one comment from Jaehyun. It’s around 5pm when Kun says he’s about to pull over, and Jaehyun goes down the stairs wearing a cap to hide the fact that he didn’t wash his hair today. He waits on the inside of the building until he can see clearly how Kun parked right in front of his door, and he already knows all the photographers have their cameras up and ready.
“It’ll be ok, but call me if you’re sleeping at his, ok?” Jungwoo says when he hugs his friend one last time.
“Alright, I will. Thank you Woo, for being with me today.” Jaehyun says into his friend’s shoulders, but Jungwoo just shakes his head as if it’s nothing.
Jaehyun takes a deep breath, and then opens the door, looking down and rushing as fast as he can in the direction of Kun’s car. It’s not further than four steps until he’s opening the door and sitting down in the backseat, but it’s enough to be blinded by flashes right in his face and loud questions he can barely make out the content off. Kun doesn’t wait a second before he’s inside to drive off, and Jaehyun’s heart is at his throat, beating fast with adrenaline.
Ten immediately looks over from the passenger seat, worried. “Are you ok?”
Jaehyun lets out a breath, nodding and putting on his seatbelt. “Yeah, I guess. This is insane.”
“That it is.” Ten nods. “I just wish people knew how to mind their own business.”
“Ten, you read gossip websites.” Kun points out, rolling his eyes.
“Not about football players, where’s the fun in that?” Ten defends. “If Johnny was an actor or a famous singer, I could understand, but shouldn’t boring sport people get to live boring lives?”
Jaehyun chuckles at that, thankful for Ten’s own version of protectiveness over his friends.
“How is Johnny with everything?” Kun asks, focusing on the road.
“I don’t know yet, but mostly sorry I think.” Jaehyun sighs. “But seriously guys, can we talk about something else? This is the only thing I thought about the entire day.”
Kun and Ten are happy to comply, filling in the car conversation with talk of their own lives. Ten is meeting Kun’s parents next week and he’s more than stressed about it, despite the older’s reassurances that they’ll love him (Jaehyun thinks so too, if only because he hasn’t met a single person that wasn’t charmed by Ten), and there’s also all the nerves from his final showcase. He doesn’t provide much useful commentary, but it's a nice distraction to think about somebody’s else's life drama for the time that takes to get from Central London to Hadley Wood.
Jaehyun helps directing Kun to Johnny’s house, and is thankful to find there’s no one there. They pull up at the gate and it immediately opens, showing Johnny was already expecting them. “Oh my God Jaehyun, this place is huge . Imagine how much it must cost to own this in London .”
“Yeah, it’s excessive. I think Johnny would move out in a second if he left Arsenal.” Jaehyun offers, though he’s already looking at the door, waiting to see Johnny step out.
Kun has just parked when Johnny appears at the doorstep, looking like he just took a shower. His eyes search for Jaehyun immediately, and the younger can’t stop himself from practically running out the car and jumping into his arms to a tight hug.
Johnny’s embrace is comforting in all the ways he expected, the smell of his cologne familiar as he inhales on his neck. He feels the older relax on his arms, just holding Jaehyun tighter for a little while.
Jaehyun pulls away first, but only enough to leave a kiss on his lips. “Hey.”
Johnny smiles, so small. “Hey.”
They hear someone (very obviously Ten) clean their throat behind them, and finally step out of their little bubble. Kun is looking at them with a soft smile, while Ten bends over the car to look out the driver’s window. “Jaehyun’s safely delivered, so we’ll be going. Nice to see you, Johnnathen.”
Jaehyun smiles at the nickname, overjoyed everytime he sees the way Johnny and Ten’s friendship developed with their relationship. Johnny chuckles too, and asks politely, “Do you want to come in? I ordered some Italian.”
“No, no, you two need to talk.” Kun answers before Ten can get tempted. “Will you be alright to come back later Jae? I can pick you up in the morning.”
“That’s ok, thank you Kun.” Jaehyun smiles sincerely. “I can just take the tube tomorrow, since there’s no one around here.”
Kun nods. “Alright, but call me if you need anything.”
The two of them drive out, and soon enough it’s just Jaehyun and Johnny, in the comfort of the house they spend so much time together in. They make some small talk about London traffic, Ten’s dramas about meeting the in-laws, all while Johnny sets the table with the food he ordered. Jaehyun can’t help but notice how tired the older is, and has to fight the urge to just insist on tucking him in for the night. They need to talk.
The moment they’re both seated down, Johnny takes a deep breath, clearly ready to start talking. Jaehyun waits, paying attention.
“Jaehyun, I know you told me not to apologize, but listen to me. I want to. I’m so, so sorry about putting you in this situation, putting your privacy at risk like that. You shouldn’t need to have help to leave your own house, or skip classes, or sneak around to my place. You’re young and handsome and smart and you shouldn’t need to worry about all of those things. You deserve someone easy to be with, and I can’t give you that, and I’m so, so sorry Jae.”
“I knew this would happen at some point when we started dating, but I was greedy. I’m still greedy, having you here right now. You’re perfect , Jaehyun, more than anyone I’ve ever met, so how could I not be, you know? These months with you have been the happiest of my entire life, and so I just kept pushing thinking about when it would happen.” He reaches for Jaehyun’s hand across the table, the look in his eyes bare like an open wound. “I’m sorry about that, and I’m sorry for what I’m about to do now too, for the small selfishness I’m indulging myself. I love you , Jaehyun. I love you so fucking much, and I want you to stay, to not give up on us, even if I know it’s selfish to ask.”
Jaehyun takes a stuttering breath, overwhelmed, and he knows his eyes are welling up. All he wants right now is to forget the pasta in front of him, climb on Johnny’s lap and hold him tight, but he forces himself to think of the right words to say, to make the older understand.
“Johnny, there’s so many things you just got wrong.” He starts out quietly, and a chasticized expression takes over Johnny’s face. “First of all, you shouldn’t apologize because it’s not your fault. You didn’t take those pictures, you didn’t expose me to the world. You’re a victim just as much as I am, and if I deserve my privacy, then you do too, even if you don’t believe it anymore. Second, wanting to have me isn’t a greedy thought, Johnny. It’s called being human, who deserves to be loved and held and kissed like anyone else.”
“You say I didn’t sign up for this, but I did. I knew there was a chance this would happen eventually, and I still chose you, and fucking God I would choose you a hundred times over if I had to. This is nothing compared to what you give me, and I don’t think you understand that for me, this is easy. Dating you is the easiest thing I’ve ever done, because you make me so happy it completely outweighs anything else. I love you too Johnny, so fucking much, and it’s not selfish to ask me to stay when there’s nowhere else in this world that I would rather be.”
Johnny’s face is a confusing mix of hope and relief and so much love , and he knows Johnny to be someone who never really cries, but now his eyes are filling up with tears and Jaehyun can’t hold himself back anymore. The pasta turns cold as they hug each other, kissing cheeks and foreheads and lips and any other place they can, laughing shallowly at the entire situation.
Eventually Johnny pulls Jaehyun into a more meaning kiss, deep and slow just like they like. When they pull apart, the younger cups Johnny’s cheek, looking at him in the eyes.
“I love you and this won’t tear us apart, ok? We’ll deal.” He lays one more kiss on his boyfriend’s plush lips.
Johnny smiles goofily, so wide. “You have no idea what my heart does when you say that.”
“Say what?” Jaehyun asks coyly, and Johnny pouts, turning his cheek to another kiss. Jaehyun laughs, so relaxed after a stressful day, and indulges him. “I love you, I love you, I love you. I’ll tell you everyday if that’s what you want, you big baby.”
“I’ll hold you accountable for that, Jung Jaehyun.” Johnny teases, before adding in a more sincere voice. “Thank you, Jaehyun, for being in my life. There’s no one out there like you, and I get to be the one to hold you here.”
“Sap.” Jaehyun rolls his eyes, though he knows he’s blushing. “Thank you for always holding me, then.”
It’s Yuta’s idea , Johnny says; He wants to meet you .
Well, that doesn’t help Jaehyun’s nerves about the night at all. Being invited to play football with two of the best players in the world does not seem like the best way to make a first impression on your boyfriend’s friends.
Johnny assures him that it’s all playful, no one’s expecting him to play that well, especially when most of everyone playing have no idea what they’re doing either. Johnny, of course, doesn’t account for the fact that Jaehyun is competitive and the idea of losing embarrassingly, even to professional players, would not do well for his ego at all.
Still, he lets Johnny drive him, Donghyuck and Renjun (who he just met for the first time and is already soft for, with his adorable face but sharp tongue) on the backseat bickering over some show they’re watching on his phone, over to Manchester. The younger two only came because apparently their apartment has two broken pipes and they were planning to stay at Johnny’s place -- the older, not eager to leave them unsupervised at his huge house, drags them along against their will. It’s a four hour drive, but the weather is surprisingly nice enough to let the windows down, enjoying the impromptu road trip. Johnny lets Jaehyun picks the music to appease the younger, and Cigarettes After Sex plays on the speakers.
“I’ve never been to Manchester, you know.” Jaehyun says once they’re already inside the city, right as the sun is setting.
“Really?” Johnny glances at him, surprised. “You should’ve told me, I would’ve booked another night for us to explore.”
“Nah, we have to be back tomorrow night anyway.” Jaehyun sighs. “Mark will cry if we miss his birthday party.”
Johnny and Jaehyun have been travelling a lot lately, after Johnny’s season ended and Jaehyun got a break from school. Arsenal didn’t end up winning the Champion’s League after all, losing to Real Madrid on the final, and they finished second on the Premier League as well, after -- you guessed -- Chelsea, much to Jaehyun’s mixed feelings. Still, it was a great season for the team and they felt really satisfied by the results, so Johnny went into his vacation feeling happy and ready to relax with his boyfriend.
This is a short trip compared to how they went to Paris for a week and Amsterdam for another, but it’s sort of the closing to the few peaceful months, as Johnny starts training again on Monday. They’re spending the night in a nice hotel room, just the two of them as Johnny booked a different one for Renjun and Donghyuck, and Jaehyun is more than ready to let himself soak in a nice bath.
Before that, however, there’s dinner and then a match between friends. They get to the place Yuta sent the address for, being let in after they check their names and ID’s, and Jaehyun can see the artificially lit field in one side, while the other had a small restaurant. Apparently Yuta rented out the entire thing, because the place is nearly empty.
Nakamoto Yuta is an interesting character: bold both on the field and outside, he’s been known for one too many rivalries, and giving his coaches more headaches than necessary. Right now though, he receives Johnny and Jaehyun with unashamed tight hugs, and a smile wide enough to blind someone. He’s just as warm to Donghyuck and Renjun, despite not really knowing them, apparently happy to get to know anyone who’s close to Johnny.
“Hey Chicago, how’s it going mate? Haven’t seen you in months.” He greets, adorable accent despite living in Europe for years.
“That’s the point, man. Been on my sabbatical leave to recharge.” Johnny jokes.
“If by sabbatical leave you mean debauching hotels all over europe, then sure.” Donghyuck rolls his eyes.
Yuta looks at Jaehyun like he just grew another head. “You managed to get this guy out of London?”
Jaehyun laughs, a little bashful. “What if I told you it was his idea to begin with?”
Yuta gasps, dramatic, and hits Johnny. “You dog . If I knew all it took is have you fall in love I’d have set you up earlier!”
“Yuta, stop being embarrassing.” The boy previously busy with something on phone finally said, extending his hand. “Hi, I’m Taeyong!”
Jaehyun recognizes him, of course; the boy is a famous model, originally from South Korea, though he’s based in London and New York at the moment. He and Yuta have been friends for years, way before the latter came out, and as far as Jaehyun knows they’ve been dating since, even if Taeyong is not out yet.
“I’m Jaehyun, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He smiles politely, and watches with surprise as Taeyong squeals .
“Yuta, the dimples!” He exclaims, excited, and Jaehyun immediately blushes as everyone else laugh. “They’re just as deep in real life. Tell me, have you ever thought about modelling?”
Taeyong spends most of the dinner trying to convince Jaehyun to at least let him talk to a photographer friend to schedule one shoot, and Johnny doesn’t help by showing everyone all the pictures he took of his boyfriend on their travels. He’s only saved when Taeil, Taeyong’s agent and a close friend of all of them arrives and hoggles everyone’s attention with horror stories from his flight from New York.
They’re already done with dinner and a little tipsy from wine, letting their bodies digest before running off to exercise, when Yuta suddenly gathers everyone’s attention.
“So, I know I gathered everyone because we all wanted to meet Jaehyun, but there’s something else I wanted to tell you in person too.” He says, looking at Johnny more serious than any of them expected. “Well, me and Taeyong, really.”
“We’re thinking of going public next week. Something simple, just a Instagram post from both of us, but you know.” He says shily, and Johnny lets out a huge gasp.
“Oh my God” He says, smiling widely. “I can’t believe this! I’m so happy for the two of you!”
He hugs both of them, and Taeil smiles at the scene fondly, as he certainly already knew. Jaehyun hugs them too, and Donghyuck and Renjun feel a little lost but seem happy for the couple nonetheless.
“We have to thank you, actually.” Yuta says. “I know this is becoming a pattern, me following in your steps, but having you and Jaehyun out to the world and so happy gave us the final push to do it.”
“I don’t know if you two realise, but you’re very inspiring. Brave.” Taeyong adds softly, looking at Jaehyun especifically.
It’s overwhelming for Jaehyun, who’s both shy at the words and attention and really touched from hearing that. Johnny reaches to bring him closer, kissing the top of his head.
“It’s nothing. You guys deserve to live and love openly, just as we do.”
When they finally move to the field to play a 3 vs 3 match (Taeil will be the referee, too tired from the flight to play), Jaehyun feels none of the nerves he thought he would. He finally gathers what Johnny said about not having to worry, because at the moment he’s much more focused on laughing at Taeyong trying to dribble Taeil than on his performance.
His team is composed of Renjun and Taeyong, the younger of the three as the goalie despite being the smaller (“I can jump pretty high, I did gymnastics.”). Having both the professional players in the same team seems terribly unfair, but they didn’t want it to turn into a match between Yuta’s shoots and Johnny’s defense, so this is how it turned out.
They are, unsurprisingly, losing 3 to 0, but Jaehyun would like to think he’s playing pretty well. He has always been more of a basketball person when it came to exercising, but he’s had his fair share of games between friends as a teenager, so he sort of knows what he’s doing (which can’t be said for Donghyuck and Taeyong), and if it wasn’t for Yuta’s expert cuts, he knows he could’ve scored already.
He just wants one chance to score against Johnny.
The chance comes in the most unexpected of ways; tired of losing the ball every time he tried coming into the area, he takes two steps from the mid-way line and decides to take a risk; with his left foot, he kicks the ball with strength, and everyone watches as it flies, flies, flies, and scores a tight angle goal.
Jaehyun screams, Taeyong screams, even Yuta screams, and they’re all a little flabbergasted at what had just happened. Jaehyun pulls all the stops in celebrating, running to the edge of the field and extending his arms to the fans (just Taeil, really), and filled with smugness, sends a wink and kiss to Johnny, who grins softly under the posts.
They still lose 4-1, but it’s so much more fun than what Jaehyun expected. Even Donghyuck and Renjun, the ones least eager to sweat themselves off in a game, talk excitedly about their own skills as players as everyone drinks water and takes a breather.
They’re all sweaty and gross, Jaehyun more so than Johnny, being that he actually ran across the field as Johnny barely had any work at all. His shirt is sticking to his body and he looks red all over, so he just dumps an entire bottle of water over his head to cool down, shaking his hair afterwards.
He looks for Johnny to offer water, and finds the older staring at him with eyes that make Jaehyun heat up all over again. He pushes down the feeling at the pit of his stomach to come closer, expecting his boyfriend to snap out of it, but when he gets close enough Johnny pulls his into a hug instead, leaning down to whisper in his ear.
“You have no idea how hot you look right now.”
Jaehyun blushes, smiling shyly into Johnny’s shoulder. “Maybe we should hurry up so you can tell me, then.”
They say goodbyes with promises of catching breakfast together tomorrow before they have to drive up to London again, and Johnny has to set a towel on the seat so that Jaehyun doesn’t drip all over his car. The drive to the hotel is short, and the older has a hand on his tight the entire time, heavy like a promise; it moves to the small of his back while they check in, and then tightly at his waste as Donghyuck and Renjun are practically shoved to their own rooms with rushed goodbyes.
The door has just closed before Johnny pulls Jaehyun flush to his body, bringing his mouth to Jaehyun’s neck to bite and suck on every patch of skin he can find, no consideration with how it’ll look tomorrow morning. “Fucking christ Jaehyun, watching you play… I almost popped a boner right there.”
Jaehyun grins, letting out an airy whine at the feeling of Johnny’s teeth on his collarbone. “Are you sure you don’t want me to shower first? I’m all sweaty.”
“ No ” Johnny practically growls, surprising the younger. He starts walking backwards, bringing Jaehyun with him. “I want you like this.”
He sits down at the edge of the bed, and Jaehyun naturally straddles his thighs. They’re both wearing football shorts, and the fabric is thin enough that it rides up as both move. Johnny doesn’t appear to have any hurry to take their clothes off though, not with how he pulls Jaehyun down to a wet kiss, sloppy and deep. He’s patient in how he coaches every sound out of Jaehyun, who’s only getting needier with the way his boyfriend’s tongue feels filling his mouth, possessive and so demanding. He presses closer and closer, until his bottom is seating right at Johnny’s boner, and the girth of it gets an embarrassingly loud moan out of him.
Johnny chuckles. “Yeah, baby? See how it made me, seeing you like that?”
Jaehyun whines an agreement, more than weak at the pet name, and brings Johnny to another kiss, his fingers tugging at the older hair. He can’t stop himself from giving an experimental grind, and then another, more and more the needier he gets, eager to be touched.
The older notices, of course, and lets Jaehyun have his fil. “Are you getting off like this, baby? So horny you want to ride your boyfriend’s thighs?”
The idea of grinding on Johnny until he comes sounds both annoying and so fucking hot , and Jaehyun doesn’t stop himself from saying breathlessly. “Yes, yes , I want it.”
Johnny moans deeply at that, claiming Jaehyun’s neck in a deeper bite this time, hard enough that the younger lets out a shallow scream. He moves his large hands from Jaehyun’s waist to cup his ass through the thin shorts, giving a few strong grabs at the plush muscles.
“Do it then, Jae. Ride me like this.”
Jaehyun’s hips stutter immediately, and he doesn’t hesitate in moving down a little so that he’s settled exactly at Johnny’s strong thighs. The feeling under him is solid, full of muscles from having a sportist boyfriend, and knowing Johnny can hold his entire weight on a single tigh makes his dick twitch helplessly.
He starts with long and slow movements, enjoying the feeling of so many layers between his dick and Johnny’s bare skin, taking advantage of the friction. Johnny is leaning back on his arms to watch him, and Jaehyun moves his hands to his shoulder so that he can have a little more control and start moving faster, building a rhythm.
He feels so dirty like this, getting off while still wearing clothes and sweaty from the game, but just the thought of how he must look is enough to make his whine louder. Johnny loves when Jaehyun’s loud, and so the younger doesn’t try to hide any sound, doesn’t matter how needy and embarrassing he sounds.
“Tell me how it feels, baby.” Johnny says, voice tight. “Do you like being my little slut, getting off like this?”
The degradation is something they found out after months of vanilla sex, Johnny letting it slip while he took Jaehyun from behind and startling at the loud moan the younger let out. It’s so hot for Jaehyun to have his boyfriend, who’s usually the world’s sweetest human and who used to be so insecure when it came to sex, speak to him like this, and it only gets better the more Johnny gets comfortable with it, the more he’s reassured Jaehyun likes it too.
“Yes, fuck , Y-yes” Jaehyun answers, moving his hips in a circular motion. “Love being your slut, just yours.”
Johnny sits up at that, biting at Jaehyun’s bottom lip before licking into his mouth, energy renewed. It’s dizzying, knowing he’s making his boyfriend this horny just with the way he looks and sounds, as there’s not much stimulation like this, and Jaehyun almost screams when Johnny starts to help him move, the hands on his ass pulling him faster.
He’s using Johnny’s tight to get off, but with Johnny’s grip and strength over him, it feels like the older is forcibly rutting his boyfriend against him. Jaehyun throws his head back, feeling his stomach and groin get tighter and tighter, and it’s obvious he’s getting closer.
“ Johnny , Johnny, I’m going to - I’m coming I’m”
Johnny moves one of his hands back, bringing it back with strength to slap Jaehyun’s ass. “Do it, slut. Come like this, without even touching your little dick.”
Jaehyun’s vision blanks out as he comes into his pants, and it’s one of the most delicious and frustrating orgasms he ever had. He lets himself fall forward right after, exhausted, and Johnny holds him as he comes down. “You did great baby, so fucking hot, so amazing to me”
Jaehyun stays like that, catching his breath for a second, and then lets out a disbelieved laugh. “That was the horniest thing we’ve ever done.”
Johnny laughs too, kissing under his ear. “Was it good?”
Jaehyun pulls back to look at his boyfriend. “Good? Johnny, that was… Jesus christ. I’ll invite you to see me work out everyday if it’ll get you this hot and bothered.”
He then remembers something, and as he looks down, it’s there: Johnny’s erection, hard and trapped in his shorts and underwear.
“Oh, baby” Jaehyun coos. “Want me to help?”
“You don’t have to, you must be tired.” Johnny says, running his fingers through Jaehyun’s wet hair.
Jaehyun doesn’t answer, and instead moves out of his boyfriend’s lap, cringing at how uncomfortable his underwear feels right now. He kneels down in between his legs, and with eyes that are coyly innocent, nuzzle up against Johnny’s crotch. “Don’t you want my mouth?”
Johnny lets out a grunt at that, and without even bothering to pull his shorts down, whips out his hard dick over the elastic waistband. Jaehyun doesn’t hesitate before getting his mouth on the tip, barely spending time with teasing before leaning forward and taking as much as he can into his mouth before choking on it.
“That’s right baby, just like that.” Johnny moans breathly. “Good sluts take it all.”
Jaehyun’s determination is renewed at that, pulling away and relaxing his throat to try again. Johnny’s dick is the biggest he’s ever had, but he still tries to deep throat him, no concerns on how wrecked he’s going to sound the next morning. He finally gets his nose to touch Johnny’s pubes, the smell strong and intoxicating, and Johnny’s hands take the back of his head, holding him there. “Yes, fuuuuck, Jaehyun .”
Jaehyun finally pulls back to breath when he can’t take it anymore, and he knows Johnny is very close to coming with how heavily he's breathing. He grabs the base of his dick with one hand, and then gets his lips just on the tip, like he’s suckling on it, licking at the spot right under the head.
“Jae, baby, I’m going to come.” Johnny warns, and Jaehyun pulls back, sticking out his tongue and closing his eyes while he jerks his off to completion with the hand that was at the base. Johnny comes with a longe grunt, all over Jaehyun’s face, and before the second spurt can come Jaehyun's mouth is back on it, sucking him through it and drinking every drop that comes out.
Johnny lays back into the bed, exhausted, and Jaehyun climbs over him, face still dirty as he pulls the older into a kiss. Johnny licks his come out of his mouth, and then with no hesitation, licks Jaehyun’s face clean. It’s disgusting in the most arousing of ways, and with the way Jaehyun’s dick is already filling out again, he knows the night is still far from over.
Hopefully everyone can forgive them if they show up a little late to breakfast.
“You know I wouldn’t need a puppy if you just moved in with me, right?”
The streets of London are white with snow, and there’s Christmas lights everywhere they look. The holiday is two days now, and finally, after almost a year of being together, Jaehyun has convinced Johnny to drive to a shelter and adopt a dog to keep him company in that huge house.
“Cute that you think I’d ever live with you if you didn’t have a puppy” Jaehyun shoots back, amused and only half joking.
Johnny rolls his eyes, but keeps driving nonetheless. He’s been complaining, but Jaehyun knows he’s also excited about having something waiting for him at home, ready to keep him company while Jaehyun can’t. The younger will be busier with an internship in the coming year, and probably won’t be coming over during the week, so it felt like the right time to make good on the suggestion Jaehyun made when he first came over to Johnny’s.
The shelter is open despite the weather and the date, much to their relief. They rush out of the car to the inside of the building, artificial heat hitting their faces, and walk hand in hand to the reception desk.
There is a girl no older than a teenager, smiling with a name tag saying “Sarah”. “Hello, how can we help you?"
“We’d like to adopt a dog.” Jaehyun says excitedly, already a little distracted at all the animals he’s seeing behind her.
“That’s great! We have many angels looking for a new home. Are you looking for a specific size, or maybe you have kids?”
“Oh no, no kids yet.” Johnny chuckles, and Jaehyun’s heart stutters at the yet . “And I live in a big place, so it can be as big or as small as you have.”
The girl looks like she’s trying to recognize where she knows the both of them from, until it finally dawns on her. To her defense, she tries to play it cool, though it’s now obvious that she’s nervous about having famous people at her store. “S-Sure, I’ll show you to the back and then you can choose one.”
The dogs are kept in individual cages, but she explains they let them out to go potty when they need, and everyday at a scheduled time to play. The shelter isn’t too full, but there’s still a lot of dogs, and as she introduces one by one the two of them are more than a little overwhelmed at the amount of choices.
“There’s one puppy I think you two might like. All of his siblings were adopted already, but as the run of the litter he’s still around here. He just weaned, so he’s ready for adoption.” She moves ahead to one of the last cages, and then kneels down to open it from above.
She reaches in to pull out the puppy, handing it for Jaehyun to hold. The dog is so small, black with brown splotches, and he’s looking at the two of them with curiosity.
Johnny reaches over to pet him, and the small thing tries to playfully bite on his finger. His teeth are tiny so Johnny lets him have his fill of it, and Jaehyun can’t help but coo at how adorable it is.
“Can I hold him?” Johnny asks, and Jaehyun is sad to part but with the warmth, but hands him over regardless. Johnny holds the puppy in front of him with both of his hands, and immediately starts talking to him in a high pitched voice. “Hi little guy, you’re very cute aren’t you? You wanna come home with us?”
The dog doesn’t answer, instead wriggles on Johnny’s hold, but it doesn’t deter the human from holding him close, under his chin so he can kiss the short fur on top of his head. “Yes you do, don’t you?”
It takes once exchanged look with Jaehyun for the younger to know. “We’ll be taking him.”
It’s a lot of paperwork, and Jaehyun gets to hold onto the puppy while Johnny fills out all of it. The girl hands them a flier with care instructions for a puppy that young, and then promptly blushes when Johnny thanks her with a smile so wide his dimples appear.
They keep debating names on the car, and then at the pet store where they definitely go overboard with buying supplies. Johnny wants to name him Scrooge in celebration of Christmas, but Jaehyun thinks he’s too cute for that -- in the end, they settle with Rudolph, which is both a cute name and in season with the time the puppy was adopted.
(They should’ve predicted, really, that Donghyuck would tease them about the name for years , well after Rudolph is no longer a pup and runs around the house causing all sorts of havoc.)
“Can you make some hot chocolate while I set up Netflix?” Johnny says, still holding Rudolph who’s now chewing on a toy almost as big as his body. Jaehyun knows it’s an excuse so that he can take a thousand photos os the dog to post on Instagram, but he agrees regardless.
It’s after the mugs are on the microwave when Jaehyun leans over the kitchen island, looking at Johnny playing with their new puppy on the living room (Well, it’s technically Johnny’s puppy, but there’s no pretending Jaehyun isn’t taking his co-parenting role whether Johnny wants it or not). The Christmas lights they put up a week ago make the living room look warmer, especially next to the huge tree Johnny insisted on buying, only half filled with ornaments because they didn’t buy enough and then got too lazy to buy more.
These days, Jaehyun is filled with gratitude for this year more often than not. Maybe it’s the season, but when he looks at his boyfriend like this, there’s nothing to stop his mind from wandering far ahead into the future. Sometimes it’s small things, like when Johnny talks about the both of them moving in together, but lately it’s so much more. He looks at Johnny right now, and he can see so clearly: the two of them together year after year, the tree getting heavier with ornaments as time goes, Christmas where it’s just the three of them until it isn’t, when there’s little feets tip tapping everywhere.
He once thought about the Jaehyun shaped spaced he carved in Johnny’s life, but right now, he can’t help but think how their lives are intertwined, how they’re shaped like both of them, together. They fit in the most unexpected of ways, even when they don’t, and maybe the thought that Jaehyun (after less than a year together) can only see the future with the man in front of him should overwhelm the 23 years old, but it doesn’t .
Not when Johnny looks up, and smiles at him confused at the way the younger is staring. Not when he raises Rudolph, and starts waving his little paw at him, making Jaehyun snort a laughter at the goofiness.
It isn’t overwhelming, no. It’s just enough.