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Show Me Devotion (And Take Me All The Way)

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The shriek of the whistle has the whole field collectively slumping.

‘All right boys, great job today!’ The coach shouts. ‘Remember to keep this form at practice on Sunday.’

Baekhyun takes off his helmet, sweaty from the afternoon running around, and runs his fingers through his hair, partly to actually comb through it, but also partly to get the attention of the girls crowded around the edge of the field who make it their weekly routine to watch the men’s lacrosse team practice. He smirks at one girl in particular who catches his gaze and holds it, tilting her head slightly and raising her brow under his attention. But her boldness is tempered by the soft flush settling high on her cheeks, to which he smirks wider before he turns his back on her and heads up the field to where the changing rooms are.

Someone else catches his eye on his walk there, sitting quite away from where they were playing, but at enough of vantage that Baekhyun knows that this guy was definitely there to watch them play. He’s fiddling around on his phone, clearly unused to the surroundings, and when he looks up and catches Baekhyun staring at him, he immediately returns his attention back to the screen. Guys watching them isn’t uncommon, especially if they’re friends of anyone on the team, but Baekhyun’s never seen this one before and he’s certain he’d remember those pretty eyes and pretty face. He has him thinking he’ll ask around, but it battles against that greedy bit of him that doesn’t want anyone else to know about him.

He continues on his walk.

He hops straight into the shower when he gets into the changing rooms, scrubbing sweat and mud of practice off, until he feels as clean as he can get in the university showers. When he gets out into the locker area, towel around his waist, he’s expecting to see Chanyeol, the team’s goalie and his flatmate, waiting for him, but when he rummages through his bag to find his phone, he’s greeted by a text.

 

Hey, can’t go home with u today, something came up 😊 I’ll probably be back at like midnight, don’t bother waiting for me

 

Baekhyun raises a brow at the eagerness of the emoji, but replies with a ‘no worries’, and quickly changes into his clothes, stuffing his dirty gym and shower stuff into his bag. He hurls his bag over his shoulder and grabs his crosse and leaves. He’s hoping to catch a glimpse of the pretty boy on his phone again, but he’s gone, along with the sun in the autumn sky. However, the girl from before is still there, waiting for him, alone, at the end of the field.

‘You shouldn’t be waiting here alone,’ Baekhyun remarks as he approaches her, ‘who knows what could happen to you in the dark.’

‘Well, I’m not alone now,’ she says, coy, ‘I have a strong, handsome lacrosse player here. Hopefully he’ll protect me?”

Baekhyun gives her a cheesy grin, swinging his crosse in front of him and bowing exaggeratingly making her giggle. ‘Of course, my lady.’ He winks, just for added effect. He’s now incredibly grateful that Chanyeol’s ditched him for the night.

 


 

Baekhyun walks out onto the field and he’s pleasantly surprised to see the pretty boy again. Apparently, he’s making it a habit of checking out their practices, having attended the one the week after Baekhyun had first noticed him and the Sunday after that. Today, he looks much more comfortable there, sitting cross legged on a jacket placed on top of the grass, resting on his backpack with a notebook in his left hand, pen in his right. He’s also significantly closer to the field, and Baekhyun thinks, if he can manipulate the game enough, he’ll be able to catch a better look of him.

Baekhyun thinks up a number of situations of why he’s there doing that, almost all entirely self-indulgent. One is he works for the student paper and he’s been tasked with writing a column on one of the lacrosse team’s midfielders with the most potential. Another is that the notebook is in fact his diary, where he’s confiding all of his secret thoughts and feelings about Baekhyun, how he has to go to all the practices because he’s just so enamoured with one of the players and that it’s the only way he can make sure he can see him. Even more, that he’s writing a love letter to him, to confess of how his feelings have grown for Baekhyun ever since the other had first set his eyes on him on that fateful Wednesday two weeks ago. And Baekhyun would accept his feelings, accept his love, hold him close and—

—The piercing shrill of the coach’s whistle has him reluctantly looking away from the other and he moves to position.

Usually, Baekhyun is on it with the drills, the circuits, the practice games they’ve been doing more recently in anticipation of a big match with one of their rival universities. There’s a reason he’s one of the best players on the team, a midfielder rather than one of the attackers. He’s fast, strong, and quick thinking and adaptable, able to see little pockets in the game that no one else sees until it’s too late. He’s needed on all parts of the field.

But seeing the guy who’s been such a mystery to him has been distracting to his game. Baekhyun wants to play bigger, better, but he has to keep the balance between wanting to impress this guy and not pissing off the team.

Still, he can’t help but keep glancing his way every so often, hoping to see those pretty eyes on him when he does lunges during the warm up, showing off his toned thighs, or when he makes artful dodges and steals when they do play. Baekhyun’s always gotten his kicks out of the chase, and this one’s making it a challenge that he’s enjoying.

But it looks like the third practice is the charm when, in the midst of the game, he hears a voice somewhere to his right.

‘You’re really amazing.’

Baekhyun turns to the source and—oh. His head had been so in the game that he hadn’t even noticed he’d gotten close to who he had been peacocking most of practice to. And it was all so worth it.

He sees one of the prettiest people he’s ever laid his eyes on. He has, perhaps, the most beautiful eyes Baekhyun’s ever seen—all cat-like with the longest fluttery lashes and seemingly coy—but still so kind and warm. And his lips, his smile, they fit so perfectly with his eyes too, the corners of his mouth turning up just like content kitten. He’s not sure he believes in a higher power, but he couldn’t help but think whoever made him poured all the sugar, spice, and everything nice on this one person, with a more than healthy dash of hot and incredible cheekbones because they were in such a good mood that day.

So lost is Baekhyun in the idea of the existence of God based on this one human being, that, for the first time in his life, he loses the ability to speak.

‘Cat-b—I mean, uh, thank you,’ he replies. He hasn’t once looked away from this angel since, but the other doesn’t seem to mind, his smile only getting wider.

‘I think you should get back to the game,’ the hot angel says, in his hot voice. ‘I don’t want to be getting you into trouble.’

Baekhyun blinks. ‘Yeah. The game.’ He nods and turns, just in time to see the ball speeding towards his face.

He panics, enough to swipe his crosse over his face and catch the ball, before swerving back to avoid attackers trying to take it off him. He runs behind the goal and passes it to one of the long-legged defenders, who runs out back towards end of the box to pass it to another attacker. Baekhyun, wanting to show off to the hot angel some more, sprints by the right of the goal, coming to the right of the attacker who then passes the ball to another, who runs further down the left side, nearer to the opposite team’s goal, where Chanyeol is. The attackman is blocked by two eager first-years, but Baekhyun yells for the ball as he passes by, and in one rapid movement, he both catches it and deposits it past Chanyeol’s long limbs into the goal.

Baekhyun cries and punches high into the air as Chanyeol falls to the ground, dropping his crosse and taking his head into his arms. Everyone but the first years are well used to their show of dramatics, so the coach allows them their allotted ten seconds before blowing the whistle to start the play again.

 

 

‘Bro, I didn’t think you were gonna make that catch,’ Chanyeol says as they walk into the locker rooms. ‘It was gonna go straight to your face.’

‘Instead, the whole thing went straight to my head,’ Baekhyun replies, blissfully. He’s in a pretty good mood after another goal and the fact that the hot angel saw every cool thing he did. Oh, he’ll absolutely be begging for Baekhyun to get in his pants.

The taller offers to throw another ball at him so this time it won’t miss his face, at which Baekhyun swats a chortling Chanyeol at the back of his head. Nevertheless, he offers a silent thanks to his newfound God that he hadn’t been completely humiliated in front of the hot angel and makes a promise that for the next week, maybe, he would be loyal and faithful to this beautiful child of God.

‘Oh, yeah,’ Chanyeol starts, ‘uh, don’t wait up for me by the way—I have someone I’m meeting.’

Chanyeol won’t really look him in the eye and his posture is almost entirely bashful that Baekhyun can’t help but tease.

‘Someone you’re meeting?’ Baekhyun wiggles his brows ‘A date? You’ve got a date?’

‘No!’ Chanyeol denies, but Baekhyun knows his best friend too well to not notice the way his large eyes light up at the statement, how his lips fight the instinct to tug up into a giddy smile. Baekhyun gives him a knowing look, forcing Chanyeol to cave. ‘Okay, yes? Kind of? He doesn’t really want to put a label on anything. Wants to take things slow.’

Baekhyun frowns as they walk into the showers, the feeling of protectiveness inflating in his chest. He’s said those words before. ‘Take things slow?’

‘No! Not like that, he’s really sweet, you’d get along with him actually! You have a lot in common,’ Chanyeol hums through the stall. ‘He’s just, really into commitment you know?’

‘So not like me at all,’ Baekhyun snorts as he lathers shampoo into his hair.

Chanyeol laughs. ‘I’ll introduce you when he’s ready. Trust me, you would love him.’

As promised, he doesn’t wait up for Chanyeol, who gets ready in such a haste that he’s gone out the door before Baekhyun can even warn him that his shirt had been on backwards. The hot angel is gone too when he walks out onto the field, dusk beginning to cast blue-grey shadows onto the surroundings. He’s not too disappointed this time. The other’s clearly becoming a fixture at their practices.

 


 

The next time Baekhyun sees him isn’t at his next Wednesday practice. It’s the very next day, when he’s waiting for Kyungsoo for lunch at the quad outside the literature department. Kyungsoo comes out of one of the doors, nodding at Baekhyun when he sees him, but he’s stopped in his tracks by hot angel who follows him out. Baekhyun sees him hand Kyungsoo a notebook, chatting enthusiastically, before his eyes follow the slighter figure who, sadly, runs off in the opposite direction.

‘Close your mouth, you’ll catch flies.’ He jumps at Kyungsoo’s voice. He turns to the source to find Kyungsoo standing much closer to him,

‘You know that guy?’ Baekhyun demands.

‘Who?’ Kyungsoo frowns.

‘The one you were just talking to. Really pretty, looks like a cat.’ He pauses. ‘Nice ass too.’

‘Okay, okay stop,’ Kyungsoo says, staring at him in distaste, then walking away. ‘Now I’m definitely not telling you his name.’

Baekhyun whines as he follows suit. ‘But you need to! My life literally depends on it!’

‘There is no need for you to know J—his name. And I don’t particularly want to give it you either.’ Kyungsoo keeps firm, staring straight ahead as they walk to the main part of campus.

Baekhyun grips Kyungsoo’s forearm tight. ‘You know how annoying I can be, right? Not just for lunch, I’ll keep it up and you know I will, day and night. And—you might be able to block me on all social media, but your studio’s close enough to my place. I—’

‘Oh my God!’ Kyungsoo groans. ‘Fine, whatever. He’s called Jongdae.’

Baekhyun sighs, content. Finally, a handsome name to a handsome face. But Baekhyun has to milk this for all it’s worth.

‘Is that it? You obviously know more.’

Kyungsoo fixes him with a glare. Thank God Baekhyun became immune to those a month after meeting him,

‘You asked for his name. Nothing more. Unfortunately, you’re smart enough to surmise the rest from that tiny little interaction you witnessed earlier. You just want me to do your work for you.’

‘Well… it would be easier if you did,’ Baekhyun replies.

Kyungsoo gives him one last, long, glower before he speaks again. ‘You’re paying for lunch if you want anything more from me.’

Baekhyun reluctantly agrees to pay when they arrive at one of the nicer places to eat on campus. However, he’s grateful that while Kyungsoo is stern and, on many an occasion, cruel, he’s far too honourable to take advantage of those weaker than him, only commanding him to get him a club sandwich and fries with a water.

‘So, why do you want info on Jongdae?’ Kyungsoo asks him when he returns to their table. His eyes are narrowed, but not entirely hostile—rather, curious instead.

‘He comes to watch lacrosse practice. He’s been doing it often.’

Kyungsoo keeps staring at him, examining him with his dark eyes, like he can see into Baekhyun’s entire being, can see all of his desires and motivations and has deemed them all nefarious.

‘And you want to sleep with him. You do actually want to know who he is. But then after, you’ll sleep with him.’ Kyungsoo hits the mark.

‘Okay. Yeah… in a way.’ Baekhyun replies tepidly.

‘Jongdae is one of the few people in my seminar I actually like. So, I don’t want to tell you anything. You’ll sleep with him, then ghost him after getting what you want, and after that he’ll never want to study with me again because he’ll always associate me with the human incarnation of the devil because you broke his little heart.’

‘Hey! I’m not that bad, like, not enough to be the devil,’ Baekhyun pouts.

‘Baekhyun, I’m going to be very honest with you. You’re bad enough to have been gossip material for the first years. First years were talking about you before they even met anyone here that wasn’t a first year,’ Kyungsoo says.

Baekhyun winces. Kyungsoo sighs. Their food arrives, and Kyungsoo thanks the waiter for the both of them as Baekhyun sits a little more dejectedly than before.

‘Listen, I’ll tell you a bit more about Jongdae alright? I do keep my promises,’ Kyungsoo says as he chews on a fry. ‘I just—Jongdae and I, he’s one of the friends I have outside of all of us, and he’s really sweet. I don’t want him to get hurt.’

‘I—’ Baekhyun wants to say he wouldn’t hurt Jongdae, but the truth is he doesn’t know if he would. Jongdae’s clearly someone who doesn’t get into flings or hook-ups or friends-with-benefits situations. And he doesn’t intentionally want to hurt someone else, but what if Kyungsoo’s right? What if he does get bored of Jongdae? He doesn’t know what he would do then—he thinks for the present, not the future.

‘Look, I’ll just tell you, save you some of the stalking.’ Kyungsoo takes his silence as him thinking of a rebuttal. ‘You’re persistent. One of your worst qualities, by the way.’

What Kyungsoo tells him is that Jongdae is a literature and creative writing student, that he writes poetry, songs too sometimes, and that he gives them to Kyungsoo to read over before his workshops. In return, Kyungsoo gives him outlines of essays to look over, because Jongdae insists on fairness. He also learns that Jongdae is not that much younger than Baekhyun, separated only by four months, and that he has little social media presence, only having messaging apps to keep up with people on the course. Kyungsoo also reveals that Jongdae, between their first year and currently, volunteers for a couple of the charity societies on campus and that they’d posted some pics of him online.

‘That’s where you’re most likely to get stuff for your spank bank,’ Kyungsoo finishes.

‘Don’t ever say that again,’ Baekhyun says, wrinkling his nose, to which Kyungsoo dutifully nods. Kyungsoo is not someone Baekhyun needs involved anywhere around thoughts concerning his dick. But Jongdae is, and when Kyungsoo mentions the volunteering pages, Baekhyun slyly pulls out his phone when the other isn’t looking and bookmarks them on his phone for later viewing.

When Kyungsoo waves him goodbye from his bus, Baekhyun decides to pursue Jongdae in a more, traditional, way. From what Kyungsoo has told him, Jongdae is entirely an angel—he doesn’t want his broken heart on his conscious, not when he’s just started believing in God. Kyungsoo’s threat to maim him and leave him on the quad outside the literature department, entrails leaking out of his body is also incredible encouragement to reform his ways.

God, theatre majors are so dramatic.

 


 

‘What are you doing here?’ Kyungsoo asks as Baekhyun saunters towards him in the corridor. ‘I can’t hang out; I have a seminar in fifteen minutes.’

Baekhyun smirks, all teeth, almost feral. ‘I know.’

‘Why on earth would you—.’ Realisation falls over Kyungsoo’s eyes. ‘You are obsessed.’

‘A little. Kyungsoo, he has a really nice ass,’ Baekhyun whines. The other only looks at him in disgust.

‘You can’t do this,’ Kyungsoo says, slumping against the wall as Baekhyun comes to stand across him. ‘I may not care about how you’ll come out of this, but I have a degree to do, and so does he. So do you.’

‘C’mon Soo, you don’t even have to get involved, just put your earphones in and tune us out,’ Baekhyun replies, wriggling his eyebrows.

Kyungsoo scoffs. ‘You do know how weird it is just to strike up a conversation with him? You don’t know him—you don’t take literature or creative writing. I’m, unfortunately, your in.’

‘In his pants? Never, that’s for me,’ he quips, earning another look of complete revulsion. But, Kyungsoo has a point. Kyungsoo’s the only reason that Baekhyun has to even be in this part of the university, the only reason that Baekhyun can talk to Jongdae outside of lacrosse practice. And with that, they’ve had one meagre, rushed conversation. ‘Fine, I’ll be less of a pain.’

‘Impossible, but I’ll take it for effort. I’ll play along. Just this once.’

‘Wow, you’re so generous, trying to get us both laid. I don’t care what anyone else says Soo, you’re the best!’ Baekhyun grins.

‘He really is!’ A melodic voice agrees, somewhere behind Baekhyun.

Baekhyun and Kyungsoo’s eyes meet, before both of them turn to the source. There, at the end of the corridor is Jongdae, the hot angel—he who currently occupies Baekhyun’s fantasies. And he may have just heard all of Baekhyun’s less than innocent intentions for him.

He smiles sheepishly at him, searching for any clue that Jongdae heard anything about what they were saying, but the other just beams, eyes sweetly turning into crescents at Baekhyun’s attention on him.

‘Oh! You! You play lacrosse, right?’ Jongdae asks.

‘Um, yeah… I go to the gym three times a week too,’ Baekhyun replies. In his peripheral vision he sees Kyungsoo squeeze his eyes shut.

However, Jongdae only takes in his stride, in awe of Baekhyun. ‘Wow. I don’t even do anything sporty like that in my free time. I’m Jongdae by the way. I major in lit and minor in creative writing.’

‘Baekhyun.’ He holds his hand out for Jongdae to shake, and the other, so well-mannered, takes it. He hopes he’s not the only one feeling the sparks as their palms slide over each other’s. ‘I’m a business student. Business management.’

Jongdae’s eyebrows raise like little slanted rooftops, and Baekhyun thinks it’s one of the most precious things he’s seen in a while.

‘How do you have all that time?’ Jongdae laughs. ‘I barely find space to write and I don’t do all the stuff you do.’

‘That’s not true!’ Baekhyun interrupts. ‘You have all your volunteering, c’mon that has nothing on me.’

Jongdae’s lips form a little ‘o’, confused, and Baekhyun feels his stomach want to swallow him from the inside out as a defence mechanism before his quick mouth saves him.

‘Kyungsoo talks about you all the time!’ Baekhyun feels Kyungsoo’s eyes burning holes on the side of his face, and he prays that the younger won’t kill him today.

‘You do?’ Jongdae asks Kyungsoo, teasingly. Baekhyun finds he likes it all too much, the smug lilt in his voice twisting his insides, the sharp, mischievous eyes leaving him almost breathless. ‘I knew you were fond of me.’

Kyungsoo huffs, but to Baekhyun’s surprise does nothing more, like maiming Jongdae. ‘I don’t do what I do for all the creative writing students.’

‘Just for me?’ and Jongdae laughs again, not loud enough to disturb the other seminars in the hallway, but hearty enough to get his fill out of teasing Kyungsoo.

Baekhyun stands there, stuck to the carpet, the audience to their easy rapport. It sounds like Jongdae’s flirting with Kyungsoo. And this is probably the closest Kyungsoo’s come to flirting, ever. Jongdae’s probably just a flirty person—Baekhyun’s a flirty person too. Or this is just how he talks to people. Baekhyun hopes not.

He has to fight the frown forming on his face when Jongdae turns those mischievous eyes back to him, and he lets his blood cool down at the softness in his dark eyes.

‘I spend a lot of hours thinking whether or not Kyungsoo likes me. I’m pretty sure I wrote a whole scene in my screenplay around it.’

‘You did. I had a lot of criticism for it.’ Kyungsoo pipes up.

Jongdae whines, even as the previous class leaves the room they’re waiting for, and Baekhyun can’t help but savour his sounds, his face, the twist of his lips, for later so he can remember him until their next interaction.

‘Well Baekhyun,’ Kyungsoo speaks, ‘I suppose you’ll have to be leaving. Our class is free now.’

‘Bye Baekhyun! It was nice to meet you,’ Jongdae gives him one last grin, before heading into the seminar room.

Baekhyun grabs Kyungsoo’s wrist before he can join the other.

‘Hey. You better gas me up,’ he commands. Kyungsoo shakes him off.

‘I can’t promise anything. I’ve already let you stand here and wait for him like a creep.’ Kyungsoo opens the door, barring any more conversation from Baekhyun lest Jongdae hear him. ‘Goodbye, see you whenever I see you next.’

‘Bye Kyungsoo.’ Baekhyun smiles sweetly, making sure Jongdae can see him, and, before finally leaving, he gives the younger a friendly wave which is promptly returned.

Baekhyun leaves the Literature department confident, giddy, and just a little lighter.

 


 

‘I’m going to do you a favour,’ Kyungsoo says over lunch the next day.

Baekhyun meets Jongin’s eyes over his smoothie, and he can see the same trepidation mirrored in the younger’s eyes.

‘Uh you know you don’t have to—’

‘—It’s about Jongdae,’ Kyungsoo interrupts and Baekhyun’s all ears. ‘I was supposed to meet him at the library so we could go through notes for our next seminar, but I just got a message that they need me over at the theatre for production issues. I haven’t messaged him yet and he’s still going, so I reckon he’ll want someone to keep him company.’

Baekhyun gasps. It’s almost too good to be true.

‘Oh my God. I owe you so much!’ he cries.

Kyungsoo bares his teeth in what Baekhyun thinks is meant to be a smile. ‘I know.’

He tries to supress a shudder. ‘What time will he be there?’

‘One o’clock. You better get your ass to a seat Byun.’

Baekhyun has never moved quicker, not even on the field. He gets to the campus library in record time, managing to intimidate a booth and table on the second floor from a poor first year, before he settles his stuff in, gets his laptop out, and texts Kyungsoo where he is. The bastard better stick to his end of the bargain.

And, Baekhyun is beyond pleased when Jongdae appears at the top of the stairs, eyes unsure until his gaze falls on the elder, and then gives him an eager wave which makes Baekhyun all gooey.

‘Hi!’ Jongdae whispers when he approaches him. ‘Kyungsoo said he couldn’t make it, but that you were here so that I could join you?’

‘Absolutely! Yes! It’s okay!’ Baekhyun replies in eager whispers, shifting his bag to the floor. ‘I saved a spot for you.’

‘You’re like a cute puppy,’ Jongdae coos, reaching over to pinch his cheek, ‘and this puppy saved me a spot.’

Baekhyun tries not to choke at how hard he has to try to keep his breathing at a normal rate. Jongdae makes it even harder when he finally sits down and, from out of the corner of his eye, he spies the other’s profile. His cheekbones are even sharper from this distance, his lashes longer, his jaw more defined.

He turns his eyes back to his laptop screen and decides to work on an essay so he can actually do something productive with his time because, sometimes, Kyungsoo is right. He does have a degree to do. He shouldn’t spend all of his time trying to pick up cute boys who look like cats. God, he’s not even a cat person.

Still, he doesn’t consider it a sin when, after every completed paragraph (and, maybe when his eyes just need the fix), he takes a glance at Jongdae. He’s never liked looking at somebody this much, and Baekhyun is nothing if not self-indulgent. And he gorges himself on the furrow of his brow, feasts on the smatter of beauty marks that start at his forehead and disappear underneath his collar, delights in the furl of his lips.

But Jongdae isn’t just pretty to look at. He has a way of making Baekhyun feel at peace that, honestly, very few people are able to. And he’s also incredibly thoughtful, asking Baekhyun if he’d like any water too when Jongdae gets up halfway through to go to the vending machine, and offering him his snacks that he’d packed for throughout the day.

He almost happy for that to be their entire interaction until, when they’re both outside of the library, he asks for Jongdae’s number. It’s utterly thoughtless, something his mind had not coordinated with his mouth, but he can’t pretend that he’d said something else when Jongdae turns back to him, lips parted in surprise.

‘You’re a good person to study with,’ he mutters, much less confident, at the uncertainty in Jongdae’s eyes.

‘Oh! You are too Baekhyun,’ he smiles, taking Baekhyun’s proffered phone and keying his number in, ‘I like spending time with you.’

Baekhyun lives off the high he gets from Jongdae’s words for the rest of the day and the next.

 


 

He hangs out a few times more with Jongdae, once with Kyungsoo, the rest alone, just the two of them. He’s pleasantly surprised when their interactions take a turn and Jongdae starts messaging him to ask if he’s on campus, and if he can join him. Unfortunately, because they’re both under different disciplines, their schedules clash too much for Baekhyun’s liking, but he’s quick to grasp onto what few opportunities they have together.

Baekhyun is… attached to Jongdae, and the attachment is growing the more time he spends with him. He reasons that it’s easy to do so, Jongdae is sweet and witty and caring—how could he not be attached? Sometimes he jokes to himself that Jongdae was the one who’d intended to sink his kitty claws into Baekhyun, not the other way round, showing up at their practice and being so nice to him. Because it’s so much easier to joke about why Baekhyun gets so excited to see him, easier to ignore that his heart strings pull him towards Jongdae, even when they’re sat like this on the university steps, knees constantly skimming each other’s legs as they laugh around.

‘Oh my God it’s 1.45?’ Jongdae says when Baekhyun gives him the time. ‘I’m sorry Baek, I have to get to my lecture.’

‘Before you go?’ he mumbles. The ease which he previously had when interacting Jongdae abandons his body. ‘I have a lacrosse game—the first of the season—Thursday night. Would you like to go?’

Jongdae looks at him and laughs, and it almost has Baekhyun crumbling, but his voice speaks exactly what he wants to hear. ‘Thursday? I’m already going!’

And Baekhyun smiles at those words, keeps smiling even when Jongdae parts ways with him, even when he’s in his car driving back to his and Chanyeol’s apartment and his lips are stretched and his cheeks are cramping up, but he’s just so happy that he can’t find it in him to stop.

 


 

Thursday night is a home game between their university and another, two cities to the north of them, close enough to foster some healthy competition but not enough to dampen the atmosphere between the two audiences.

Baekhyun, for one, is excited. It’s their first actual match of the season, and after their team came in third place when he was a first year, he’s determined they win this time. He’s better, more experienced, and honed. He had enthusiasm in droves last year, but this year he’s had all the practice of last year, and experienced the highs and lows in the game—he’s a different player to the slightly awkward guy who was in this position last year. He’s got this.

And he does. The entire team does, efficiently carrying each other as the game wins on. The other team manages to score the first few goals, but Baekhyun scores their first point of the night, and after they’ve regained some hope, they fight back valiantly, managing to win by 12-7 by the end of the game. Baekhyun’s proud to say that he’s scored four of those goals, even prouder to say that all of them were seen by Jongdae, who was originally late to the match but made it in time to see the team play at their best. If his first goal coincides with him noticing Jongdae’s arrival well, no one else is going to be able to put two and two together.

‘Baekhyun! You played so great!’ Jongdae greets after the coach has all let them go after his congratulations and final words of housekeeping. ‘It was amazing, you scored more than anyone else on either of the teams.’

Jongdae is sparkling under the bright floodlights, slightly breathless from running (and, hopefully, a little bit of awe), and Baekhyun thinks this is his shot. His adrenaline is high, his confidence is piqued. He’ll bring up the fact that the team, upon their win, were going to celebrate with drinks and wouldn’t it be great if Jongdae would join? Baekhyun himself would love for him to be there and—

‘—Jongdae! You came!’

Baekhyun whips his head round to see Chanyeol bounding over to them with his long legs and he curses his friend’s poor timing, only to realise that Chanyeol knows Jongdae and is standing close to him. And Chanyeol is placing his sweaty arm around Jongdae’s shoulders. And giving Jongdae a kiss on the cheek. Making Jongdae all flushed.

‘I—’ He who usually has more than enough words for a situation has nothing to say to this, not when all he can hear is the thick blood swirling in his ears, not when he can feel his heart dropping past his stomach, all the way to his feet, heavier than lead. Baekhyun can’t do a thing but watch.

‘Of course, I was gonna come,’ Jongdae laughs under Chanyeol’s affection. ‘What do you think I was just going to show up to practice and not show up to my boyfriend’s actual games? My workshop was rescheduled incredibly late so I had to run from class.’

God. Boyfriend. Chanyeol, his roommate, is Jongdae’s boyfriend. He can’t help his rough exhale—he feels utterly betrayed and played and devastated.

‘Have you eaten?’ Chanyeol asks, worry in his voice. ‘You know what, we were going to hit one of the bars to celebrate, but what do you say I convince the team to go to a proper restaurant. I mean, we’re all starving. Aren’t you Baek?’

‘I—I think I’ve got to miss out, I don’t really feel well.’ It’s not a lie. He doesn’t think he could handle food; he’d probably throw it back up. Alcohol would facilitate an even worse situation.

‘You sure?’ Chanyeol’s attention is solely on him now. ‘It’s really gonna be a celebration for you. God knows you’ve had enough of those, but you deserve it today.’

‘No, I mean Baek does look kind of ill,’ Jongdae says. He reaches out to place a hand over Baekhyun’s forehead, but Baekhyun flinches back. He ignores the deflated look in Jongdae’s eyes as he takes a further step back.

‘I’ll see you later Chanyeol, I just. It’s going to better for me if I’m at home right now. You guys enjoy.’ Baekhyun turns and walks away, not willing to be around the either of them any longer. He marches to the lockers and grabs his things quick; he doesn’t want to make small talk with any of the other players at all, not when he’ll probably blow up in their faces. They don’t deserve that.

It’s not until after he’s driven back and gotten back to his apartment—the one that he shares with Chanyeol, who’d not even thought to mention anything to him—that he screams.

He takes a shower and goes straight to bed. He can’t go to sleep at all though, and stays awake even when Chanyeol comes back home earlier than expected at ten minutes past midnight. Baekhyun hates that he strains his ears, listening to see if there’s two pairs of footsteps instead of just the one, but it looks like at least someone up there’s on his side when he can only hear one Chanyeol trudge to the bathroom, and then after to his own bedroom. Baekhyun gets to sleep not long after that.

 

Baekhyun wakes up some time after nine thirty, walking to his kitchen to see Chanyeol cooking them breakfast. A little built of guilt settles into him at how brusque he had been to both Jongdae and Chanyeol, but he’s still chafing from being caught so off guard, and the jealousy that came with seeing them together hadn’t eased away overnight, nowhere close. Not even when Chanyeol slides a full plate of strawberry pancakes in front of him.

‘They’re fresh from the pan, you get the first batch,’ Chanyeol says, offering him a consoling smile. It doesn’t help how he feels, but he hadn’t eaten all night, so he takes it anyway, shovelling the stack into his mouth. ‘Uh, so how are you feeling?’

‘Fine. I’m alright now.’

He doesn’t want Chanyeol prying at all, not when his bitterness is so tied to the fact that he wants Jongdae, his boyfriend, for himself. But he needs to know why neither of them bothered to say anything to him, especially his own roommate. He’d spent weeks with Jongdae, chasing him, and, okay, maybe Baekhyun hadn’t mentioned Jongdae to Chanyeol either, but he feels like he’s been set-up, made out to be the biggest idiot, when Chanyeol could have mentioned that he was dating Jongdae specifically, or Jongdae could have mentioned a boyfriend.

‘Why didn’t you mention Jongdae?’ Baekhyun asks after a bout of silence.

The question surprises Chanyeol, now seated with his own plate of pancakes, but he gives him a sheepish smile.

‘I did kind of? A couple of weeks ago at least. I didn’t want to let anything more on, I was too afraid to jinx it. Jongdae needed a lot of convincing in the first place and, to be honest, last night was the first time he called me his boyfriend.’ Irritation swells inside him the more Chanyeol talks. ‘I was kinda surprised, but I guess that means we’re official!’

Baekhyun nods, and shoves another forkful of pancake in his mouth. He tries to focus on his chewing, his breathing, the taste, but he can’t not when the only thing his mind wants him to focus on is how Chanyeol, of all the people at their university, was the one to nab pretty little Kim Jongdae.

‘Hey, how do you know him?’ Chanyeol asks.

Baekhyun allows time for him to chew and swallow before answering. ‘I met him through Kyungsoo. How did you meet him?’

‘Ah, he knows Kyungsoo? I didn’t know that,’ Chanyeol hums, and Baekhyun can’t help the surge of satisfaction he gets that he knew something that Chanyeol didn’t. ‘He was part of a fundraiser to raise money for one of the charities, and I just thought he was so cute, I had to try and ask him out, but he said no at first. Then I bought five pages of raffle tickets off him, it was for a good cause, and he felt so bad that I hadn’t won anything so he agreed to one date. I was just persistent with the rest.’

Chanyeol grins after speaking, wide and goofy, his expression proclaiming how Baekhyun feels when he’s around Jongdae. It might be unfair for him to be so mad at them, especially his roommate, but he also can’t be around the either of them right now.

‘Thanks for making breakfast,’ Baekhyun says, getting up. ‘I can’t stay long. I’ve got a lecture at twelve.’

He washes his dishes before he moves to the bathroom and then his bedroom, getting ready and changed. He leaves the apartment a good hour and a half before he needs to be on campus, so he loiters around the waiting area of the business school, checking his socials, as well as ignoring the couple of messages from Jongdae asking if he was alright after last night. He wants to reply, he craves the connection and easy rapport they have, but he’s too hurt to have anything to say to him. He would never want to hurt Jongdae, even if he was dating someone else, and he refuses to let his anger boil over onto him—it’s enough that Chanyeol’s been a little bit scalded.

Yes. As much as he wants to be left alone, he thinks they should be too. Who is he to ruin what they have? Just because he wants that for himself? He’s never been that person. It’s best that he doesn’t really see them for the next couple of days.

And the opportunity to do so presents itself in his lecture. There’s a guy there who Baekhyun had noticed before giving him coy looks, and if he plays it right, he’ll be sleeping in someone else’s bed tonight. Tomorrow, he can crash at Kyungsoo’s or Yixing’s or even Junmyeon’s under some pretence.

And the guy plays right into his hand, flushing as Baekhyun takes the seat next to him and is absolutely taken with his demeanour the entire hour. Baekhyun offers his number and it comes as no surprise to him to find that the guy invites him to a club, to celebrate his friend’s birthday or something, and while Baekhyun hates clubbing, there’s going to be alcohol and a ninety percent chance of sex and, quite frankly, bad coping mechanisms have always been his brand.

The morning after, he doesn’t expect to wake up proud, feels even worse when he gets up to put his clothes on and leave, but he doesn’t feel like absolute shit until he sees five more messages on his phone, four from Jongdae and one from Chanyeol, one that Baekhyun knows is mostly made on Jongdae’s behalf.

It’s six thirty in the morning. He can probably sneak back into their apartment, take a shower and pick up some clothes. He’d gotten really talented at doing so during first year and, even more, Chanyeol sleeps like a log.

And he would’ve succeeded if, after his shower, he hadn’t run into Kim Jongdae outside his bathroom. He thought Jongdae looked cute before, but this one in shorts and an oversized t-shirt—Chanyeol’s a voice in his head screeches—is too provocative an image. He’s far too sleep deprived to even hide the way he drags his eyes up the other’s shapely calves and thighs, staring openly at Jongdae’s neck and collarbones. The blood curdles in his gut as his mind screams at him that Jongdae spent the night, Jongdae slept with Chanyeol, Jongdae is with Chanyeol.

‘Oh! I hadn’t thought you’d be here,’ Jongdae whispers, eyes darting down. Baekhyun doesn’t miss the slow creep of pink on Jongdae’s cheeks, carrying further down his lovely neck.

‘But you’re here anyway. Were you that worried for me? Wanted to wait for me to come back home?’ Baekhyun teases. He wants to see more of that pretty flush before reality set in for the both of them.

‘No!’ Jongdae argues, his gaze finally resting on him as he raises to Baekhyun’s heckles. Baekhyun is expecting that answer, but it bites at him all the same.

‘Well what are you here for?’ he asks, again looking Jongdae up and down, making a show as he allows his heavy gaze to emboss the image in his head. ‘Don’t tell me—it’s for Chanyeol isn’t it.’

He cackles but this glee doesn’t taste the same, even when Jongdae whines softly at him.

‘Don’t worry Dae,’ Baekhyun breathes as he heads to his room, ‘I’ll be out of your hair in a bit, just needed to pick up some things.’

Jongdae follows him to his door. ‘Hey. You are feeling better right?’

No. ‘Yes.’

He closes the door at that, grabbing his holdall and stuffing some pyjamas and a change of clothes and other necessities into it. This should only be for one night. He can get over it by Sunday night.

Baekhyun rushes out of their apartment as quickly as he can without making any noise, and heads back in his car, tossing his bag in the backseat. Initially he intends to drive to Yixing’s place so he can sulk and feel as sorry for himself as he want without judgement, but as he waits at a red light, he can make out Minseok’s building and thinks, no, if he wants this over and done with it, Baekhyun needs all the judgement he can get. He approaches the block and parks, taking his stuff with him.

Minseok was the oldest of their group of friends, and the only one that was a Master’s student, studying music for his degree. They met when he was a third-year rep when Baekhyun was a bright-eyed fresher, and although the elder had easily drunk him under the table the first night they met and, quite emphatically, introduced Baekhyun to his friends as ‘that first year that gets around a lot, you’ve probably heard of him’, he did appreciate the other’s honesty and sincerity. And from the sound of it, he definitely wouldn’t be taking any of Baekhyun’s shit right now.

‘Baekhyun, what are you doing here? It’s eight in the fucking morning on a Saturday,’ Minseok answers over the buzzer. ‘You better be here for a good reason.’

‘Well. You’re up anyway, and it is for a good reason so you have to let me in!’ Baekhyun pleads.

Minseok, responsible as ever, buzzes him in but not without letting Baekhyun miss a pronounced sigh.

‘Hyung! You look great!’ Baekhyun greets as Minseok frowns at him from the other side of the doorway. He pushes past him into his neat home. ‘Thanks so much for letting me stay here for the night.’

Minseok’s raises a brow as he closes the door and follows Baekhyun inside. ‘You’re staying over?’

‘Just for tonight, I’ll go back to mine tomorrow, I just—Chanyeol has a new boyfriend and I can’t be there tonight,’ Baekhyun says as he makes himself on Minseok’s sofa. Yes, this will make a lovely bed for tonight.

‘So Chanyeol has someone over tonight and you haul yourself over to mine at eight in the morning.’ Minseok is now sitting across him on a chair, hands over his lap and eyeing him sharply. Baekhyun’s always thought Minseok was vaguely cat-like, and right now he feels like a cornered mouse under the scrutiny of some street-smart cat with sharp teeth and sharp claws toying with his life. Not at all like Jongdae. Jongdae would probably let anyone pet him and scratch behind his ears and would press his sweet face into Baekhyun’s hand, in bliss at his warmth and affection. He sighs at the thought, a slipup that Minseok pounces on.

‘What’s going on really?’

‘That. That’s going on really,’ Baekhyun replies too quick.

‘Maybe. You’re a shit liar after all, you give everything away. But that’s not all you’re telling me, there’s more,’ Minseok says, tilting his head to the left. ‘Don’t tell me you’ve caught feelings for Chanyeol now?’

Baekhyun’s denial is instant. ‘No! Oh my God, no! We’re only bros.’

Minseok hums. ‘Alright, I can see that’s true. But why would you avoid Chanyeol and his boyfriend so early—oh. Oh my God. You’ve finally caught feelings for someone. Wait until I tell Junmyeon about this!’

‘I haven’t caught feelings!’ Baekhyun cries. ‘I—It’s just that… I thought I saw him first, and then Chanyeol got to him before I did, and they didn’t even tell me! They were dating for weeks and they didn’t tell me.’

‘They? Oh Baekhyun, you actually got to know him too, you’re growing up!’ Baekhyun’s glare wilts Minseok just a little bit. ‘But fact of the matter is, you definitely like him. You took the time to get to know him, it sounds like you became friends, I mean, he’s probably your only contact out of your family and us that you haven’t ghosted.’

Baekhyun huffs. He resents that the last part’s true.

‘Look,’ he replies, ‘I don’t know if I caught feelings for him or whatever, but this is probably just a phase, right? You know how I am, it’s probably because Jongdae’s someone I can’t have. Wait when Chanyeol breaks up with him, I probably wouldn’t even look at him.’

Minseok’s eyes dim a bit at Baekhyun’s argument, but there’s still some certainty lurking there. Still, he grasps the opportunity to tease the younger,

‘When Chanyeol breaks up with him? Who’s to say that they won’t be together forever and they get married and you’re the best man at their wedding, still seething because, Jongdae was it? Has been, for years, someone you can never have.’

And Baekhyun imagines it, Jongdae in a white suit—and it just looks so right on him, making him look even more like an angel—walking down the aisle to marry Chanyeol, of all people, and it makes him see red.

‘That’s exactly what I mean when you can’t lie,’ Minseok observes. ‘You’re jealous too, you’ve gotten all tense and you try and wipe all expression off your face because you think you can hide how you feel, but it just makes you look even more pissed off. Look, you don’t have to tell yourself anything, but just try and distract yourself because from what it sounds like, he’s going to be over quite a bit. Get a hobby if you really need to. Besides! You’re you! I think you’ll be able to do it, you’re you! No one’s really kept your attention for long anyway.’

Baekhyun must look unsure because Minseok reaches over to pat his knee.

‘I’ll start you off. You’ve already disrupted my morning, so why don’t you come with me to get breakfast and my groceries. Even better, you drive, you love to drive,’ Minseok says, smirking. Baekhyun rolls his eyes, but agrees anyway.

 


 

Baekhyun hasn’t gotten over Jongdae, let alone within two weeks after he said he would, but even more, Jongdae becomes unavoidable.

Almost as effortlessly as Jongdae had cleaved a space for himself with Baekhyun, he slots himself into their group of friends with so much ease it’s like he’d always been there. Minseok, for all of his talk of Baekhyun getting over the younger, loves him, appreciating his neatness and care and capability. Junmyeon and Yixing are taken with Jongdae almost as much as Jongdae is with them, preening when they make him laugh or smile. Yixing even had Jongdae record his demos for his compositions, joking that the other was his muse. And Jongin and Sehun had only been so happy that Jongdae was so doting and generous, even if both also had a tendency to tease and bicker with him.

What started out as the first meeting became Jongdae being invited to their gatherings and then, seeing Jongdae every other day—if not every day—on campus for lunch or just to keep each other company while they were in-between classes or even Jongdae passing by him as he walked Kyungsoo or Yixing or Jongin or whoever to class. And that’s not even counting the extra time he’s with Jongdae in his own apartment. While most of the time, Baekhyun is grateful that Chanyeol hadn’t tapped into any of how Baekhyun feels for Jongdae—he’s never going to be in the mood to have to say to his roommate, ‘hey, I love your boyfriend’s fat ass, kind of want to grab it, also kind of want him to be mine instead’—he thinks that if Chanyeol had picked up on the smallest of Baekhyun’s thoughts, he’d be for the better because then at least Jongdae wouldn’t be over every other night.

Like tonight, when they’re all in pyjamas and watching the latest episode of Succession at his behest, but he can’t focus on it when all he’s thinking about is how Jongdae is perched on Chanyeol’s lap, looking slightly aghast at some of the scenes, and that while he loves that Jongdae is small, even smaller than Baekhyun, surely this is a mismatch? He might not be as tall as Chanyeol, but his shoulders are broader and better to protect him with, and his thighs are thicker so they’d be even better for Jongdae to sit on.

God. He’s starting to sound like the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood.

‘Baek? Are you still watching?’ Chanyeol asks. Baekhyun blinks, drawn from his thoughts. The ending credits are running down the screen.

‘Uh, I think I’m going to head to bed. I was really beat after practice,’ he responds. Chanyeol nods in understanding. They had done circuits.

‘Alright, I think we’re gonna go as well. This one,’ Chanyeol says, jerking his thumb at Jongdae, ‘still has three pieces to give feedback to. And they’re due tomorrow’

Jongdae sticks his tongue out at the taller. ‘It’s poetry anyway, I always read poetry last.’

‘No excuses,’ Chanyeol laughs. He leans down to kiss the corner of Jongdae’s lips. Baekhyun looks away and stands up before he can see the outcome.

‘Goodnight, I’ll see you guys in the morning,’ he says, leaving for his room.

‘Goodnight!’ a muffled Jongdae wishes.

As soon as he gets into the safety of his own bed, he plugs in his earphones and searches for the episode he’d missed on his laptop, one so he can watch it, two so he can drown out any noise if needed.

Baekhyun doesn’t actually know if they’ve slept together, for all he knows they have and they’ve already done it at Jongdae’s considering how often Chanyeol spends his time there too, but he’s always been doing this if Jongdae spent the night at theirs. Which, to be honest, has only been a handful of times, but that does anything to placate the racing of Baekhyun’s mind. That means it’s only more inevitable that they’re going to sleep together soon.

He should be fairer, because God only knows how much Chanyeol’s put up with him both last year and maybe the first month of this year, but he doesn’t want to be fair, not at all. Because Chanyeol is with the one who matters, and it’s like Chanyeol’s flaunting him in his face even though he’s never done this with anyone the other’s liked, so why does he have to go through all of this. And why did Jongdae say yes to Chanyeol of all people? Surely, he couldn’t be that dense, he has to feel what Baekhyun feels, had the knowing that they meant more for each other.

Baekhyun dozes off to his own thoughts, waking up to his laptop on standby. He presses a key to check the time and sees that it’s only eleven o’clock. He hasn’t brushed his teeth yet.

He tears away from the warmth of his covers and leaves for the bathroom, but he’s stopped by soft, muffled sounds coming from Chanyeol’s door. He’s just a little bleary from his little nap, but a sharp chill floods his veins when he realises what the sounds are and who they’re coming from. Jongdae. He’s frozen, feet stuck in the carpet when the sounds don’t let up, only pitching higher and louder the more time Baekhyun takes standing there. Some part of him wants to stay, wants to listen, even crouch by the door and listen to Jongdae’s whines and whimpers; however, he prides himself that he’s not that sort of person so he drags his leaden bones to the bathroom to brush his teeth and when he’s done, he does his best to return to his room as quickly as possible.

The sounds don’t escape him because try as he might, the walls are always thin in student accommodation and Jongdae is quite loud. Even if he weren’t, Baekhyun’s mind would still try its hardest to drag the memories from the deepest dredges of his recollections, as it does now with his previous imaginings of what Jongdae would look like if he were to fuck him.

He blinks them away, opting instead to burrow his head under two of his pillows and duvet, but it’s like his ears are so finely attuned to Jongdae clear moans because he can still hear him.

He sobs a little as he laments having to get to sleep like this.

 


 

As hard as it is for Baekhyun to do, both in the literal sense and the figurative, he makes up his mind that he has to avoid Jongdae.

However, because it’s so difficult, it’s a goal that he can only really meet halfway and also probably makes him out to be the biggest asshole. When Jongdae’s in their living room, Baekhyun either goes into his own room or doesn’t speak to him. When they’re in their big group, he sits on the farthest side from him, even tries not to face him for fear of falling deeper.

And though he’s playing a mean game, it’s probably so much less convincing than the actual truth. His mind constantly refers to how Minseok hyung has said he was so obvious and he thinks Jongdae must see it too at how uneasy he looks, the little frowns he’s been giving him. He probably doesn’t want to be around Baekhyun.

Baekhyun convinces himself it’s for the best because he doesn’t want to get in between anybody’s relationships—he’s never been that guy—and that it’ll all pave over soon because then he’ll find this ‘distraction’ that Minseok hyung and Kyungsoo have been prophesising and he’ll move on.

But that’s not the case.

They’re all gathered in Yixing’s massive apartment to watch some movie they’d collectively agreed on. A couple of them, Minseok and Junmyeon if he remembers correctly, are also using this as their pregame session, evidenced by the assortment of beers and liquors collected on the coffee table. Baekhyun sort of wants a sip, a whole glass maybe, but he’s afraid he’ll just spill his guts out before Yixing even gets the chance to press to play on his laptop, so he’ll put up with the less appealing but safer option of sobriety.

He sits huddled up next to Sehun on the sofa to the right of the tv, farthest away from the lovely couple. He can still see them though because they’re just across the way, right in his line of vision if he looks directly across, and in the periphery when he turns his head to the screen.

Baekhyun’s never resisted the chance to steal glances at Jongdae, even with this situation that they’re in, and he gets his fill during the two hours. But Jongdae seems to have picked up on it, taking curious looks back when he thinks the other isn’t looking, and his heart positively leaps into his throat when, just before the end, his eyes meet Jongdae’s, the other sporting a small frown. He forces his eyes on the screen, even as the ending credits roll by and the talking picks back up. That’s why he doesn’t notice Jongdae when he stands by him.

‘Baek?’ Jongdae asks. His voice is small. Baekhyun’s terrified that Jongdae knows, he knows and finds the idea repugnant. ‘Can I talk with you outside?’

‘Yeah, sure,’ he breathes out.

They get up, toe their shoes back on, and take the elevator down in complete silence, Jongdae not saying a word for a while as they lean on the red brick of Yixing’s building. Baekhyun is of two minds. While he’s almost entirely certain that Jongdae’s picked up on the weird tension that Baekhyun’s been carrying exclusively in his vicinity, and feelings of that calibre are never things he wants to talk about, it’s early November and he’s freezing his ass off. He can even see his breath mist up.

‘I-I just need to know, so I can decide for myself and don’t make things awkward for Chanyeol.’ Jongdae takes a deep breath, seeming to steady himself, and looks at Baekhyun. ‘Do you not like me?’

Baekhyun wants to laugh. He does. It’s so absurd that Jongdae would think that Baekhyun, of all people, wouldn’t like him, when in fact it’s the exact opposite of the situation. God only knows he wishes he liked him less. He laughs the hardest he has in a while. It seems to placate Jongdae who smiles a bit too as he watches Baekhyun.

‘God, I like you, I like you so much!’ Baekhyun gasps out, words translating into frosty clouds. ‘You feel it too, right? We get along so well.’

Jongdae blinks, his eyelashes almost twinkling in the cold night under the streetlights. And then he beams. Baekhyun thinks he easily outshines everything else.

‘Yeah, I do,’ Jongdae replies. ‘To be honest I feel like I could’ve known you forever. I’m sorry for thinking that about you, you’ve just been kind of weird lately.’

Baekhyun can only stand there, imploring Jongdae to at what he’s just said, wanting to scream his words back at him, as loud as they resound in his head. But he doesn’t and Jongdae only looks at him with that kind face.

‘It’s just stress I think,’ he lies, ‘I’ve got a few deadlines coming up and lacrosse on top of it.’

Jongdae nods in understanding. ‘I get what you mean, I miss first year already. I can help you out with the stress if you’d like? But we should probably head upstairs, it’s freezing.’

Jongdae wraps his fingers around Baekhyun’s cool wrist to lead him back into the building. He melts into the touch—Jongdae’s hands are so warm, even after all that time.

 


 

They have an away game at a university two hours away. Against his own sanity, he offers Chanyeol and Jongdae a ride to the place, but it’s fun. It’s almost like before, when it was just him and Jongdae, it’s just that Chanyeol happens to be there too, and it’s not even as awkward as he thinks it’ll be when, during the entire journey, they all laugh and crack inside jokes and have too-loud conversations.

Baekhyun ruins it for himself.

The game they win, and very easily, beating the home team 15-5 by the end of it, made even better by the fact that they’d one with only quite a few supporters in the crowd. The team goes off to celebrate, promising their hardest to do so with as little drama as possible so as to not aggravate students of the other university. So of course, they sensibly settle on a pub right in the middle of the university town.

One of the attackers, a first-year by the looks of his enthusiasm, orders a round of shots for the whole group, which was the team and anyone else that came up with them—including Jongdae.

Jongdae, as good as ever, refuses—he’s not part of the team, it would be unfair he argues—but the first-year insists, accepting the change that Jongdae offers him for the drink. Seated across from him, Baekhyun watches Jongdae down the drink, from how his lips purse around the rim and the way his throat constricts as he swallows, to the rosy glow spreading across his cheeks.

Against his better judgment, Baekhyun downs his shot, pulling a face as the bitter liquor slips down his throat. His eyes catch Jongdae looking at him.

‘Can’t hold your drink Byun?’ Jongdae asks, bright eyes dancing in amusement. Baekhyun’s gaze flits over to see if Chanyeol is paying attention, but he’s busy, animatedly talking to their team captain about some Netflix series they’d gotten each other hooked on.

Baekhyun returns his focus onto Jongdae, who still looks at him with his pretty eyes and smile.

‘I never could, I probably wouldn’t last two of these,’ he replies. And he’s right, he can already feel the warmth racing across his cheeks, knows he’s already slurring his words just a bit.

Jongdae gives him an indulgent smile, eyes tender. Baekhyun’s heart squeezes in Jongdae’s hands.

‘You should have fun you guys scored big! I’ll take care of you so don’t worry about passing out or anything like that,’ the younger replies. ‘Besides—I can hold my drink pretty well; I’ll be where you’re at in four of these.’ Although Jongdae is smug, his smile never stops being pretty.

‘Oh, I see how it is,’ Baekhyun teases, ‘you’re just trying to get me drunk so you can have your time with the star player! I’ve seen all this before!’

Jongdae blinks, clearly startled. The words dawn on Baekhyun too, heavy and cold, but before he can take back what he’s said, Jongdae laughs, his voice sounding as clear as crystal.

‘As if! I’d never try to get you like that, my approach would have much more class and subtlety. You’d fall in love with me before I even had to put in the effort, so you’d chase me down,’ Jongdae says, waggling his eyebrows before he turns to Chanyeol who is now pouting for his boyfriend’s attention after their captain heads to the bar to order more drinks.

Baekhyun huffs. He wonders how much truth Jongdae had gleaned from his own words, if he had seen how Baekhyun had looked at him, spoke to him, how he’d spent so much of his time with him—how he does that all in the present tense too—and if Jongdae just ignores it to spare Baekhyun the embarrassment, the pathetic heartbreak. He wonders if Jongdae had gotten any of that from just how Baekhyun interacted with him.

‘Hey, Baek?’ a voice asks, breaking him out of his head. It’s Chanyeol. ‘We’re gonna go ahead to our room. We’ll see you in the morning yeah?’

Baekhyun nods them off, returning Jongdae’s little wave as they walk out of the pub. The captain returns, two beers in hand as he scans the table.

‘Oh, did Chanyeol and Jongdae leave already?’ he asks, sitting in the seat that was Jongdae’s. He offers the beer to Baekhyun.

‘Yeah, them and a couple of the third years,’ Baekhyun answers, taking the bottle and taking a swig. The stuff settles a rotten taste in his mouth, but at least it won’t get him pissed like the shots would. Just perk him up enough to ignore whatever’s going on in his mind.

‘Speaking of third year… Are you thinking of going for captain for next year?’

‘Captain.’ Baekhyun tries the feel of the word out in his mouth. ‘Captain? It’s a bit early to think about, isn’t it? We’re in November.’

The captain shrugs. ‘It would be a good experience to down and, more importantly, you’re a really valued member of this team.’

‘Because I score goals.’

Because,’ the captain cuts in, ‘you’re also a natural leader. You’re protective, adaptable and dependable. And the team, the younger ones especially? They listen to you, soak up what you say like a sponge. Despite what you might think about me, I don’t like to force people what to do, but I do want you to consider this.’

Baekhyun presses his lips into a thin line. He’s not so sure about what his captain says about him being things like dependable and protective when he does stuff like sleeping around and wanting his best friend’s boyfriend for himself. He nods anyway. Considering wasn’t the same as accepting.

‘Yeah…I’ll think about it.’

‘Great! That’s so great to hear,’ the captain says, flashing him a bright smile. ‘I’ll buy you another drink just for that.’

It’s the third drink that gets him, the second bottle of beer flooding and bursting the banks of his common sense. His teammates have either dispersed or are mingling among the local student population who have now filled the place to the brim. A girl, pretty and soft with dark eyes, has taken the seat closest to him. Though she’s sat with her back to him, facing her friends chatting away on the other side of her, he can see how close she sits by him instead of leaning away, and when her friends get up to get a drink, she turns so that she’s sat with her profile facing him.

She’s playing coy; he joins in her game.

He spins his chair to face her, giving her a very blatant once-over, to which she turns and raises a brow.

‘Hi, I’m Baekhyun,’ he states, leaning closer to her.

She doesn’t lean back, gives him an amused smile. ‘Hi.’

Her friends return, and she whispers in one of their ears, the other nodding before she pulls her chair closer to him. It goes down after that.

He takes her back to his accommodation for the night, in one of the rooms that the university offers to guests, and they have sex, the girl falling asleep at some point afterward.

He’s drunk enough to not have thought through how bad of an idea this was and to have forgotten to lock his door, but he’s not drunk enough to have forgotten how Jongdae had knocked and opened his door to ask for something, only to have seen Baekhyun and the girl in bed, barely covered by the sheets. Baekhyun almost sobers up at the shock and, what he’s sure is, disenchantment on Jongdae’s face.

‘I—uh—I just wanted. You know what? It’s not important, good night,’ Jongdae says as he goes to close the door.

Baekhyun starts to scramble off the bed to stop him, but the door closes before he can do so and he hears the soft padding of feet. Jongdae must be running back to Chanyeol’s arms, thinking about how he made the right choice—scratch that. Baekhyun was never a choice. He returns back to his place on the bed, lays his head on the pillow, and hopes that Jongdae ignores what he’d just seen.

 


 

‘Hey, Baek?’ Jongdae starts over breakfast after Baekhyun returns to their table. Chanyeol’s over by the checkout, paying for his and Jongdae’s meals.

This is the first time they’d be alone together after last night, and he has tried to avoid it by having Chanyeol go first in the line, but the other had insisted.

‘Uh, yeah?’ He tries not to squirm in his seat.

Jongdae licks his lips before continuing. ‘I’m really sorry for just walking into your room like that—I didn’t know, it’s all my fault.’

‘Oh—yeah. Um, I’m sorry for putting you in that position,’ Baekhyun replies, rubbing the side of his neck.

‘I just didn’t think you were t—you know what never mind that. I’m just really grateful that you’ve never walked in on Chanyeol and I like that,’ Jongdae jokes, and he laughs, but Baekhyun knows that the way Jongdae’s seen him has changed, even if in the smallest of ways.

He feels himself getting riled up over it, blood running hot at being judged. At being rejected. ‘I mean there’s nothing wrong with that.’

Jongdae blinks. ‘No, I wasn’t saying anything was.’

‘You didn’t say anything but I could see it in your eyes. I mean you almost said it.’ It’s like a string in Baekhyun snaps. He can’t stop, his mouth is running faster than his mind. ‘It’s my life, my experience. Maybe I just want to have fun, not be in a relationship yet. I’m only twenty years old.’

‘So are me and Chanyeol and we’re in one.’ Jongdae stares at him now, lips he usually adores pulled in a thin line.

Baekhyun opens his mouth to retort, but he sees Chanyeol return and he clamps his teeth down onto his lips to prevent more words from coming out.

Breakfast is quiet, Chanyeol leading most of the conversation as Baekhyun eats quietly and Jongdae hums along to his boyfriend’s words. The car ride back to their city is pretty much the same. 

He tries not to show his relief when Chanyeol asks for him to drop them off at Jongdae’s place because he’ll be staying the night there, and although Baekhyun would usually balk at the idea, he’s still angry. His shoulders sag in reprieve when he drives away from Jongdae’s building.

 


 

He doesn’t talk much to Jongdae for almost another week, spending most of his free time on campus—at lectures, workshops, the library, practice—or cooped up in his bedroom. Chanyeol’s suggestions to hang out, and everyone else’s, are easily dismissed with the excuse that he needs to do work, and while most of them are sceptical—Baekhyun is widely known among their group to be naturally clever, and so, a slacker—most of them also accept the turnaround in his work ethic. Junmyeon even smiles proudly and pats him on the back when he comes across the younger in the library.

But, it’s Friday morning, just when Chanyeol catches him before Baekhyun can unlock the door to their apartment.

‘We’re going to a party tonight,’ Chanyeol announces, just as the other’s hands make contact with the door handle.

Baekhyun slowly spins around, looking at Chanyeol as the other looks down at him. ‘We?’

‘Yeah, we, all of us. All nine, including you,’ he affirms.

‘But I—’

‘—You don’t have any work to do Baek, not today. You’ve not dicked around since we got back from that game, and even that was work. I’m getting worried for you,’ Chanyeol says. Baekhyun rolls his eyes. ‘But really, we’re all going, Yixing hyung and I are gonna DJ and it’s at Junmyeon hyung’s.’

‘Wait really?’ Baekhyun demands. Junmyeon’s place is a fancy apartment, with a balcony overlooking the river, even bigger than Baekhyun and Chanyeol’s place when Junmyeon lives on his own. His body itches to be part of such luxury again.

‘Really,’ Chanyeol replies. ‘And it’s kind of for you, a reward for apparently just sighting you at the library which is unfair when I’m there maybe once a month. I’d argued that and that’s why I’m DJing, so you have to come or else you’d be letting the both of us down. Yixing hyung too.’

‘I mean, that’s not fair using Yixing hyung against me. But you had me at Junmyeon hyung’s apartment.’

‘Great! We’re all gonna go for 7:30 because I have to help set up,’ Chanyeol says. ‘We’ll pick up Jongdae and Yixing on the way to Junmyeon’s.’

Jongdae. In truth, he’s not that angry anymore. He knows his… lifestyle… isn’t for everybody and he’s known that Jongdae fit in that category even before he’d been introduced, but he’d been hurt at the time and he hadn’t expected him, of all people, to judge him like that. However, he’s ready to put it past him. He just doesn’t want to have to speak to the other about it, hopes he’ll be able to intuit it.

‘Sounds good,’ Baekhyun replies, ‘My class ends at six, but I’ll make it back around quarter past.’

‘Great, I’ll see you later!’ And Chanyeol lets him leave at that.

 

 

 

Baekhyun fidgets as Chanyeol buzzes into Jongdae’s apartment.

‘Hey, Dae? We’re outside,’ Chanyeol says into the intercom.

A pause. Then Jongdae gives a cheery response saying he’ll be right down, and Baekhyun wants so badly to be swallowed up by the hard concrete below them. He’s feeling dramatic enough to think that he would really rather die right now.

But his mind holds off those thoughts when Jongdae comes down, dressed in a bright blue shirt over a striped yellow sweater and, the tightest white jeans Baekhyun’s ever seen on anyone. Alright. He could die after a couple of minutes.

‘Chanyeollie!’ Jongdae greets. Baekhyun averts his eyes when Jongdae leans up to give Chanyeol a kiss. ‘And Baekhyun! I didn’t know you’d be coming.’

Jongdae sounds genuinely pleased, looks it too when Baekhyun’s gaze flickers to see his bright smile and eyes looking at him. It’s just a bit subdued, likely from guilt perhaps, but still. Jongdae is happy to see him.

And Baekhyun is just as happy. It’s only been six days, but he’s felt at dis-ease from not having Jongdae within the same vicinity for so long. Baekhyun misses him.

‘Chanyeol convinced me,’ he says, offering a small smile, ‘he said you were all worried about me?’

At this he waggles his brows, trying to deflect, but Jongdae doesn’t rebuff, only nods in the affirmative, making Baekhyun feel like he’s sinking in the sea, an anchor tied around his ankle.

‘I was worried, I haven’t—no one’s really been so out of touch from you in so long,’ Jongdae says.

‘Well he’s out today, now come on, Yixing hyung’s waiting for us,’ Chanyeol complains, taking Jongdae’s hand and starts walking down the street. Baekhyun follows, not too far behind.

Yixing’s building is only a few streets away from Jongdae’s, and when they pick him up, their formations change so that Yixing and Chanyeol are at the front, talking about whatever they’re talking about. Jongdae pries his hand from Chanyeol’s and slinks back so he’s walking side by side with Baekhyun.

The pads of warm fingers graze against the inside of his wrist and Baekhyun almost jumps out of his skin.

‘Baekhyun?’ Jongdae starts softly. ‘I’m really sorry for judging you—’

‘—hey don’t worry about it,’ Baekhyun cuts in. Jongdae frowns at that but he continues. ‘I wasn’t really thinking straight that day and you didn’t deserve to be snapped at.’

‘Well, you didn’t deserve the judgement either. I’m just very… traditional in that aspect I suppose,’ Jongdae says. ‘We just have very different approaches to relationships and neither is good or bad.’

Baekhyun almost wheezes. ‘Surely they’re not that incompatible.’ He can feel his heart pump through his hands.

‘Baek,’ Jongdae says giving him a look, ‘what are you saying? They’re like on opposite ends of the spectrum.’

‘Opposites do attract,’ Baekhyun blurts out. His eyes widen at the implications of what he’s just said and prays with his entire being that he’s just elusive enough that Jongdae can’t read in between the lines.

But he doesn’t, only tilting his head. ‘I suppose. But obviously one would have to give in.’

Baekhyun would do that. All Jongdae would have to do was ask, be with him, and ask, and Baekhyun would do anything, give him anything that he’d wanted.

 


 

Kyungsoo shuffles through the crush of people to make his way to Baekhyun, two beers in each hand. He drops himself on the plush sofa next to him.

‘You haven’t moved from your spot since I came,’ Kyungsoo says, thrusting one of the bottles into Baekhyun’s hand. ‘You also haven’t stopped staring at Jongdae, but that’s normal.’

Baekhyun observes Jongdae as he chats enthusiastically to Chanyeol and Yixing behind the mixer. He can’t stop watching the way Jongdae throws his head back as he laughs, the line of his throat every time the younger takes a gulp, the shadows his lashes cast under the warm lights of Junmyeon’s apartment. Baekhyun takes a swig.

‘Thanks, at least I can feel less like shit tonight,’ Baekhyun smiles grimly. Kyungsoo frowns.

‘I think you should tell Jongdae how you feel. Knowing you, it’s only going to blow over if you don’t do anything.’ Kyungsoo grabs his shoulder and fixes him with a stare. ‘Listen. He told me about the fight, he couldn’t stop talking about it.’

Baekhyun groans. ‘He told you?’

Kyungsoo nods. ‘He wanted to tell you in person, or at least call you, but he thought that it would only make things worse. Obviously, you were also avoiding all of us, so he didn’t know how to gauge the situation. He was thinking you didn’t want anything to do with him.’

‘Now we both know that’s not true,’ Baekhyun murmurs as he swirls his beer. ‘But I can’t just tell him, he… he’s with Chanyeol. I know what people might think but I’m not that guy, I’m not going to do that to my best friend.’

‘You’re not trying to sleep with him,’ Kyungsoo hisses, ‘you’re just telling him how you feel. It’s up to Jongdae what he wants to do, at least then you can try and get over him if he rejects you.’

Oh, how much Baekhyun does not want to do that. He doesn’t even know what he would say—hey Jongdae, I’ve liked you since pretty much the first time I laid eyes on you, and yes! All through the time you’ve been dating Chanyeol. I’ve liked you more than I’ve ever liked anyone and while I’m uncomfortable thinking it’s ‘love’ love, I might be in love. But it’s up to you to do what you want with this information haha.

And God he doesn’t think he could handle rejection from Jongdae. He’s never been rejected like this before, but of course the only person he wants this badly would be the one to do so. The other would absolutely do his best to let him down easy, but Baekhyun can’t think of any way where Jongdae wouldn’t break his heart, no matter how gently he handled it.

‘No, no I don’t want to do that.’ Baekhyun is firm in this.

Kyungsoo sneers. ‘So, what are you going to do? Just suffer like this? Not even try and get over him? What are you going to do if they get married and you’re the best man and you have to watch them together at their wedding while you’re still pining your ass off?’

He shakes his head, frantic. ‘They’re not getting married, why does everyone keep saying that,’ he spits out.  He doesn’t want to ever get over Jongdae, doesn’t want to try. He doesn’t think he’s physically able to anyway. He takes another gulp of his beer, already feeling lightheaded.

‘No, honestly, I don’t think so either,’ Kyungsoo hums. ‘To be honest, I think he could like you too. Obviously, not while he’s still with Chanyeol, but it would be easy for him. He cares for you, so much. Those days after your lacrosse games, you’re all he can talk about: how fast you move, how quick-thinking you are, always crediting the teams wins to you. Honestly, it’s sickening.’

Baekhyun tries to chuckle but it dies in his throat. ‘I just don’t want to come in between them. They’re my friends. Chanyeol’s my roommate.’

Kyungsoo stares at him but just nods. ‘It’s your choice. I do know I would hate to be in your position.’ He gets up and leaves him, making his way to Junmyeon sat by the kitchen island.

Baekhyun checks his watch. 10.45. He really wants to leave. He thinks he could do it if no one was looking. Kyungsoo would probably be able to distract Junmyeon enough. He scans the room. Jongdae’s still over with Chanyeol and Yixing, knocking back his third beer and looking no worse than he did before his first. Sehun and Jongin, who were both dancing casually at first, have initiated a competition of sorts with some other performing arts students. Minseok is tucked away in his own little corner, flirting with a Chinese post-grad student who, ever since he had arrived, had failed to take his eyes off Minseok.

Minseok, as if sensing Baekhyun’s scrutiny, turns his way and meets his eyes, baring him a sharp smirk which earns Baekhyun’s confusion and the stranger’s irritation, but it becomes clear to him when a weight settles next to him and he turns to Jongdae, frowning at him. The air leaves his lungs.

‘You’re not enjoying yourself?’ Jongdae asks, placing his hand on top of his. Baekhyun almost jumps out of his skin at the touch. ‘You’ve not moved since we’ve arrived.’

‘I’m not really keen on this kind of stuff,’ Baekhyun replies before taking another swig of his now warm beer. ‘Not my style.’

Jongdae gives him a gentle smile. ‘To tell you the truth it’s not mine either, I’d prefer to be at home. Familiar surroundings, familiar people, that’s why I’ve been hanging off Chanyeol and Yixing hyung the entire night. I would’ve thought you would be mingling, charming everyone’s pants off.’

Baekhyun’s lips quirk up. ‘You think I’m charming?’

Jongdae returns his smirk. ‘Sometimes. Other times you can be annoying.’

‘That’s also part of my charm. I’ve been nothing but annoying to you and you spend every other day with me.’

‘That’s because I’m dating your roommate!’ Jongdae whines. And Baekhyun’s heart dips to the bottom of his stomach. It must show because Jongdae looks at him with concern, tinged with sadness.

‘Are you… are you still angry at me? Is this why you’re not,’ Jongdae gestures with his hands, ‘out there?’

Baekhyun sighs. ‘I’m not angry at you anymore, only really in that moment.’ He glances at Jongdae, eyes rounded in guilt. ‘But you’re with me now, so I should at least try to have some fun for your sake. Come on.’

He grabs Jongdae’s wrist and pulls him towards the table with all the drinks, grabbing another beer for himself and Jongdae. He shouldn’t drink, he’s going to regret and show his ass to Jongdae, and he’s already slightly tipsy and another drink would only make it worse. So Baekhyun takes a sip, swallowing down the guilt he feels, just as bitter as acrid as the beer pouring down his throat.

He turns to Jongdae. ‘Do you want to dance?’

Jongdae blinks. ‘Oh, I’m not really the best dancer.’

He grins, alcohol fuelling his daring. ‘Neither am I! It’ll be much more fun!’

They dance and they drink, Jongdae moving onto harder stuff because he insists that he can handle it, and they dance some more, laughing between themselves. The longer they spend together, the more Baekhyun wants him, wants to hold him and kiss him and, maybe do as Kyungsoo told him to do and tell him how he feels. It would be so easy right now when Jongdae looks like this and looks at him like that and does things for him like keep people from spilling drinks on him. He kind of wants to cry, he’s so overwhelmed.

Baekhyun’s knee is jostled into the side of Jongdae’s thigh and he stiffens. Jongdae, even in his state of mild inebriation, notices his discomfort and places a warm hand on his neck, anchoring him back to reality.

‘Hey, you okay?’ Jongdae asks.

Baekhyun swallows. ‘Yeah, I just—’

‘—want to leave?’ Jongdae finishes. Baekhyun nods. The younger checks his phone. ‘It’s 12.15. I’ll just go tell Chanyeol and then I’ll walk you—’

‘Don’t leave me.’

Jongdae looks at him, eyes hesitant, but he pulls his phone out and, presumably, sends a message to Chanyeol to tell him that he would be dropping Baekhyun off at the apartment.

‘C’mon,’ Jongdae says, holding his arm out for the other. The elder slips right under, Jongdae’s arm solid and warm over his broad shoulders.

 

 

‘I’m freezing my ass off Dae,’ Baekhyun whines petulantly, even though they’re close to his apartment. Jongdae rolls his eyes, but snuggles him closer to his own body, probably trying to siphon Baekhyun’s own warmth for himself.

‘You’re drunker than I am, you shouldn’t even feel a thing,’ Jongdae mutters.

‘Yeah! But you drunk more and y-you’re wearing more l-layers!’ Baekhyun shouts right in Jongdae’s ear, causing the younger to swat him gently at the back of the head. Jongdae earns an even whinier, more pitiful moan from Baekhyun.

‘You shouldn’t hit the vul-ner-able,’ Baekhyun slurs. He’s pretty proud he’d been able to say such a big word. ‘Like me, anything could happen to me. So, you should work your darndest to keep me safe!’

He burrows his face into Jongdae’s neck to seek even more warmth there. Jongdae stiffens as Baekhyun breathes in his scent, burrowed beneath sweat and the faint smell of alcohol from the party, he catches wisps of freshly cleaned laundry and something sweeter, greener, like notes of apple. Cologne perhaps? He never really took Jongdae for the type to wear cologne, but he likes it, it suits—

‘—Baek?’ Jongdae asks, pulling him away from his comfort and warmth. Baekhyun frowns, desperate to be back in that space. ‘Are you alright?’

He nods. ‘You smell really good.’

Jongdae’s eyebrows raise, but then he laughs, bringing Baekhyun to thoughts of silver bells and stars. He likes his laugh too, would bottle it up just to keep for himself, so even if Chanyeol had him, at least Baekhyun could have one little ounce of Jongdae.

‘I want to hear you laugh more,’ he blurts out. Jongdae looks startled but doesn’t let up chuckling and it settles Baekhyun’s pounding heart that he wouldn’t bar him from this.

‘Aw,’ Jongdae coos, pinching Baekhyun’s cheek, which the latter tries to bat away, pained. ‘The handsome lacrosse player can’t hold his alcohol.’

‘I’m more than a lacrosse player, I’m also a Tau—wait. You think I’m handsome?’ Baekhyun asks, mouth dropping open. Jongdae’s finger taps it closed.

‘Objectively, you are. And objectively, you also play lacrosse.’ Jongdae says.

Baekhyun frowns. ‘What about subjectively?’

Jongdae tilts his head in thought. The streetlights cast a warm halo over his dark hair, making everything shinier and softer. Baekhyun can’t help but stare.

‘Subjectively? You are handsome I suppose…’ Jongdae teases.

Baekhyun pouts. ‘That’s unfair because I think you’re stunning.’

‘Stunning?’ Jongdae asks, quirking a brow.

Baekhyun nods. ‘I was stunned when I first saw you, so stunning yes. I couldn’t really stop thinking about you the first time I saw you. Well, actually maybe the second time I saw you. But it still stands. I don’t think I could ever forget you.’

‘And why’s that?’

‘Because I like everything about you, your face, your eyes, your ass.’ At this Jongdae flusters. ‘But then you were just so kind and gentle and smart and I could talk about anything with you. You feel so comfortable. I’ve never felt like that with another person before. I guess I’ve got like a massive crush on you or something.’

Jongdae pales drastically, and that has Baekhyun moving closer in an attempt to warm him because they’ve been out here for a while and he must have gotten cold. But Jongdae holds an arm out, keeping him at a distance.

Jongdae swallows. ‘You’re drunk. You’ve had too much to drink.’

‘That might be true,’ Baekhyun frowns, ‘but everything I’ve said is also true!’

‘Baekhyun do you know what you’ve said’ Jongdae asks, eyes frantic.

‘Yes? That I like you?’ Does Jongdae not understand what he means?

‘Tell me you like me like a friend,’ Jongdae pleads, voice almost a whisper.

Baekhyun frowns at the other’s attitude and grabs Jongdae’s hand, stubborn in the thought that Jongdae gets what he means. ‘No more than that, I want to date you and kiss you and other stuff.’

Jongdae doesn’t let go, fixing him with sad steady eyes, but saying nothing. Baekhyun holds his hand tighter like Jongdae’s going to fly away if he keeps looking at him like this.

‘What is it?’ He can’t stand the silence, chafing to fill it.

The other looks like he has a lot to say, but he stays silent, pulling them so that they’re at the front steps of Baekhyun’s building. After a beat, Jongdae speaks up.

‘It’s—never mind. I’ll… I’ll call you in the morning.’ He doesn’t smile as he usually does, and he sounds so unsure and confused. Baekhyun doesn’t like it.

‘Good night!’ He tries as Jongdae steps away from him onto the sidewalk. ‘Text me when you get back home!’

Jongdae’s lips quirk up sadly, but he doesn’t say anything, only giving him a small wave before he walks back down to his own place.

 

 

It’s after Baekhyun’s done brushing his teeth and he’s burrowed in bed that Jongdae sends him the message that he got back safe. Baekhyun smiles, saving that as his last memory for the night, and goes to sleep.

 


 

Baekhyun wakes up at one in the afternoon, an exceptionally late time for him, with the lingering dullness and dizziness of a hangover. He groans. He really shouldn’t be allowed to have hangovers when he’s only able to drink so much.

He leaves his bedroom and is greeted by the sight of Chanyeol, slumped on one of their sofas, looking even worse than how Baekhyun feels, his hair in disarray and sporting such a sad look on his face that it makes the elder’s heart twinge. There’s nothing on, no music, no television—just Chanyeol sitting cross-legged in his pyjamas, staring, morose, at the bare walls of their apartment. Baekhyun can even see smudges of tear tracks on his cheeks.

He tentatively sits down on the same sofa, but at a distance so as to not provoke Chanyeol even further into whatever he’s feeling.

‘Hey, Yeol,’ Baekhyun starts, ‘you okay?’

Chanyeol doesn’t turn to him, but Baekhyun can see his handsome face morph into a grimace, muddled and pained.

‘Jongdae,’ Chanyeol starts, voice hoarse, ‘he broke up with me this morning.’

‘This morning?’ Baekhyun asks, ‘why—’

Last night comes flooding back to him, overwhelming his memory, making him feel sick. No. He didn’t, he wouldn’t, he—

Chanyeol speaks. ‘He broke up with me because he needed to take some time and space for himself because someone,’ now he turns to Baekhyun, ‘told him some things. And he didn’t want to come in between best friends.’

It’s like ice is shot through all his veins. Baekhyun can only stare as Chanyeol looks at him, betrayal and disappointment and sadness surging in his dark eyes.

‘I would have appreciated knowing Baekhyun,’ he scoffs. ‘You’ve had feelings for Jongdae all this time and you didn’t tell me? I just have to assume that you didn’t trust me enough to do something. Now we’re all miserable.’

Baekhyun opens his mouth to defend himself, but it’s not words that come out, only bile. He scrambles to the bathroom.

 

 

‘Are you feeling better now?’ Chanyeol asks after Baekhyun’s sure he’s done throwing up and has gotten the bitterness of bile out of his mouth. They’re back in the living room, sat on different seats.

Baekhyun smiles wryly. ‘Shouldn’t I be asking you that?’

‘You can ask me that after like a month, I’m gonna be pretty hung up over this,’ Chanyeol huffs, crossing his arms.

Baekhyun lets a beat of silence pass before answering. ‘I’m okay, I think. For now. Depends on if you’re going to beat me up.’

Chanyeol looks at him, sullen. ‘I’m not gonna beat you up dude, I’m not that kind of guy. I just want to know—why didn’t you tell me anything? I would’ve understood.’

‘Would you have broken up with him though?’ Baekhyun questions.

‘I… I don’t think so, no,’ Chanyeol sighs. ‘You liked him that much? That you wanted me to break up with him so you could date him?’

‘I wouldn’t have done all that—not to him. I actually tried to ask him out, properly, not just as a fling. But you got there first.’ Baekhyun’s starting to ramble now, the words tumbling out after weeks of bottling them up. ‘It really wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was the wrong place, definitely the wrong time. I never stopped having feelings for him, but I didn’t want to be selfish this time. You—he—looked so happy, I didn’t want to ruin that.’

‘Well, you got what you wanted. He told me everything you said to him last night when he took you back here,’ Chanyeol replies.

‘Nothing happened I swe—wait he told you everything?’ Baekhyun looks at him, eyes wide and aghast. ‘Everything I said was ridiculously embarrassing!’ He whines as Chanyeol cracks a small smile.

‘Yeah, it was pretty cringy,’ Chanyeol snickers. He pauses before continuing. ‘He reassured me nothing happened and I’m going to choose to believe you both.’

Baekhyun thanks him quietly, leaving a lull in the conversation. Chanyeol moves to get up from the couch but hesitates. He opens his mouth, changes his mind, then changes his mind again.

‘I’m still sore over this, so… I’d appreciate some space.’

Baekhyun nods. ‘Yeah, I understand. I-I’m sorry.’

Chanyeol smiles, small but real and tangible, before leaving for his room.

 


 

To both Chanyeol and Jongdae’s credit, no one else seems to know about what’s gone down when Baekhyun steps foot on campus the Monday after. He still feels like shit though, helpfully exacerbated by Kyungsoo when he confronts him after Baekhyun leaves his lecture theatre.

‘Baekhyun,’ Kyungsoo hisses, ‘you’ve done something.’

Baekhyun chuckles nervously as people pass them by, giving him worried looks.

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he says.

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes. ‘Jongdae avoided me in our lecture, he sat right across the room from me and bolted out the door, didn’t even look at me once.’

‘Well how is it my fault that you’re lonely but don’t have more than one friend in your module,’ Baekhyun replies haughtily. He knows he’s going to be punished for those words, but he’s really hoping to deflect.

Kyungsoo thumps him on the head, ripping a loud cry from him that alerts the other students in the vicinity. Kyungsoo just takes it in his stride. ‘Don’t worry, we’re just doing a bit, I’m aa theatre student.’ And to Baekhyun’s consternation, it works and now, he’s left completely under Kyungsoo’s questioning and fists. ‘Alright, so Jongdae’s avoiding me and unless you want a matching bump, you’re gonna tell me why. Because I know it’s not me, I haven’t even talked to him since the party.’

‘It could be someone else’s fault?’ Baekhyun tries weakly. ‘Junmyeon hyung could’ve done something to upset him, I mean we were at his party.’

Kyungsoo just raises a scathing brow. ‘I don’t think Jongdae is capable of feeling any sort of negativity towards Junmyeon, he loves him. You,’ he punctuates with a sharp jab in Baekhyun’s chest with his index finger, ‘were with him the last bit of the night. I even say you leave together. Now. Answer me this—did you fuck him?’

Baekhyun sputters, indignant and insulted. ‘No! I didn’t fuck him, oh my God! At least Chanyeol didn’t think that about us!’ He squares his eyes on Kyungsoo, the other’s stare just as fierce. ‘I actually did what you suggested, for once. I told him how I felt.’

Kyungsoo’s eyes go almost comically wide. ‘You did? I’d ask how it went, but clearly it didn’t go great.’

‘Yeah,’ Baekhyun winces, ‘um, first of all I was kind of really drunk, so I mean he really shouldn’t have taken it as seriously as it actually was, but then he broke up with Chanyeol the day after, so he got the message.’

‘Oh. I didn’t know that,’ Kyungsoo murmurs, deflating.

‘How was he? During your lecture?’ Baekhyun asks. ‘Was he alright?’

‘I don’t know, obviously I wasn’t near him, but something was off.’

Baekhyun nods. He needs to know how Jongdae feels, but he doesn’t have it in him to message him or, even worse, talk face-to-face.

‘I’ll ask tomorrow, I have a seminar with him,’ Kyungsoo says.

‘Can you tell him I’m sorry?’ Baekhyun whispers. Kyungsoo nods.

 


 

Kyungsoo tells him as much as he’s been given which, to Baekhyun’s dismay, is very little. Most of it Baekhyun has already surmised: Jongdae has broken up with Chanyeol, he’s hurting, and he’s not really ready to talk about it.

‘Did he say anything about me?’ Baekhyun asks, voice small in a way he doesn’t like. Kyungsoo shakes his head no.

‘Just give it time, let him talk to you first, don’t push him into anything yet.’ Kyungsoo advises. Baekhyun nods. Of course, he wouldn’t want to do anything that would upset Jongdae further.

While he’s not talked to, or even seen Jongdae since the party, Chanyeol’s started talking again, spending more and more time with him in the living room as the days go by and, by the end of the second week after the shit that went down, they’re sitting in front of the television and laughing away as they eat through their takeout.

Even then, Baekhyun can tell there’s something Chanyeol needs to get off his mind, something he’s been skirting around ever since that Saturday afternoon when he’d told Baekhyun about the breakup.

‘Um,’ Baekhyun starts, nervously licking his lips. ‘The offer’s still there, you know, if you want to beat me up.’

Chanyeol looks at him, baffled. ‘What? Why would I do that?’

‘You have that kind of,’ Baekhyun pauses, gesturing on his face, ‘constipated look? But it’s always when you look at me and you’re thinking you’re being casual about it.’

‘I’m not?’ Chanyeol pouts. Baekhyun shakes his head. Chanyeol is the least subtle person anyone knows.

‘No, now get it out of your system,’ he replies, getting up.

Chanyeol pulls him back down to his seat. ‘I’m not going to beat you up. I just—there’s something I can’t stop thinking about.’

‘What is it?’

‘I reckon he—Jongdae—had feelings for you too,’ Chanyeol replies, his face twisting into something sour.

Baekhyun feels his mouth dry. No. No, Chanyeol has it all wrong, he’s got retrospect and knowledge he didn’t have clouding his mind. Jongdae wouldn’t, doesn’t, made it clear enough the night after their last game. He grabs his food to try to distract himself from the thought recoiling in his ears.

Still, the curiosity gnaws at him. ‘What makes you say that?’

‘He wouldn’t have broken up with me if he didn’t,’ Chanyeol murmurs. ‘He would’ve just let you down, wouldn’t have done anything else, but instead he just straight-up dumped me. He said he didn’t want to come in between best friends, that he didn’t want to make things weird. That he couldn’t get what you said to him out of his head. I mean clearly. Do you know how forgetful he is? But he remembered everything you said? It just makes so much sense.’

Baekhyun sits there, two hands clasped around his takeout container because he’s scared he’ll just spill it all if he has anything less than that.

‘That’s what you think,’ he says, and he had meant to phrase it like a question, but his lips are quivering like his hands and his tongue always held the reins over his mind.

‘Yeah, it is,’ Chanyeol states. ‘I’m not gonna lie, when I found out you knew each other before that match, I thought you had—you know. Before we met.’

‘No, no, I promise we haven’t—ever,’ Baekhyun insists.

‘Yeah, I can tell now. Would have rather had the former hook-up instead of the pining.’ Then Chanyeol laughs, abrupt. ‘Don’t take this as me saying you can date him yet by the way. Then I would pummel you, for the guts you have in trying that only two weeks after.’

‘Couldn’t even if I wanted to,’ Baekhyun sighs, playfully, so the despondency doesn’t settle. ‘I haven’t seen him since. He probably doesn’t want to see me, like, ever. Jokes on him though, it only makes me wanna see him more.’

‘Aw,’ Chanyeol coos wryly. ‘I guess this is your karma.’

No,’ Baekhyun scoffs, ‘my karma was having to hear you have sex through paper-thin walls.’

‘Wait. What?’

 


 

By the beginning of December, Baekhyun has seen very little of Jongdae. Of course, he’s stopped going to their lacrosse practices, but he’s also just stopped hanging out with them. When Junmyeon had asked for Jongdae’s presence, Chanyeol spilled, telling them that they broke up and, while there were no hard feelings, he said that Jongdae didn’t feel comfortable hanging out with people who had been Chanyeol’s friends for longer and that he needed his space. Everyone had accepted it, but Baekhyun and Chanyeol are the only ones who know better, know that Chanyeol and Jongdae haven’t interacted with each other in weeks, know that if Jongdae wanted to tell them anything, it would be through Kyungsoo. But Jongdae wouldn’t want discord and they cover for him because they care for him.

Baekhyun himself has had few cherished opportunities to see Jongdae around on campus. One, he remembers, was a rearranged lecture where one of Jongdae’s modules was moved to a room near his, so the younger had stood there, zealously avoiding eye contact while Baekhyun gawked across the corridor, openhandedly, the entire time they were waiting, trying to telepathize everything he wanted to say to him. It’s the best he’s gotten. They’ve also had a few opportunities to come across each other while walking on campus, but Jongdae seemed to have such a strong sixth sense for him that, whenever their paths did cross, the other would keep his head down, tersely avoiding any sort of interaction.

Baekhyun can’t say it doesn’t hurt him.

It’s also at this time that Baekhyun realises something. While he’d done what Minseok and Kyungsoo told him to do, he doesn’t feel any less over Jongdae, even after not seeing him for over half a month. He’s not even been ‘distracting’ himself with anyone else for the meantime, just sort of, pining, after the little scraps of Jongdae he’s able to get that week, locking them in the space in his mind that he’s dedicated to him.

And while December is a new month, a promise of a different season, it also means the end of the term, which means all sorts of deadlines all pooled together for the last day of the term. He’s bogged down by essays and group reports and forms, up to his eyeballs in letters and words and numbers. It’s an unwelcome reprieve from Jongdae because, while he’s not a fan of the whole pining and unrequited love thing, he hates work more. He’d much rather lay in bed or the sofa and think about the little things, like how many moles are on Jongdae’s face and the way his eyes get bright and shiny when he’s content and, in more subdued tones, if the other will ever talk to him again.

 

It’s the middle of December and come far too quick, Baekhyun thinks, as he puts his suitcase in the trunk, before saying goodbye to Chanyeol and getting into the driver’s seat of his car to go back home to his parents’ place.

 


 

‘Woah,’ Chanyeol breathes as they get to Baekhyun’s car. Baekhyun opens the trunk, placing his bags and crosse in the back, doing the same to Chanyeol’s when he passes his stuff over, mouth still agape. ‘He asked if you wanted to be captain.’

They get back round to the front, Baekhyun hopping into the driver’s seat, Chanyeol in the passenger.

‘Well,’ Baekhyun says as he starts the engine, ‘he already kind of asked? In November? I think he’s actually serious now, lmao.’

‘Don’t—stop saying LMAO out loud. But in November. My birthday month and you didn’t tell me?’ Chanyeol looks incredibly affronted.

‘Uh, it was just before the time everyone got mad at me, I had a reason,’ Baekhyun bickers. ‘And that proved my point. I broke up the two people that I cared about most.’ He shakes his head. ‘No. There’s no way I can be trusted to lead the entire team.’

Chanyeol deflates in his seat, and for a while, it’s silent, just the hum of the heating inside the car. Baekhyun’s fingers are itching to turn the radio on so, at least, he’s not wholly overcome by the guilt that still has him collared. It doesn’t help that they’re now two weeks into the new term and he has yet to see or even hear about Jongdae.

‘It’s not going to be the same Baek,’ Chanyeol finally says. ‘I don’t think you’re going to drunkenly confess your love to anyone on the team.’

Chanyeol cackles at his joke and even Baekhyun can’t help sporting a grin at that.

‘But, in all seriousness, I think you’d be a great captain.’ Chanyeol says. ‘I mean leading is scary and it’s something that you’re not used to, but dude, you’re good at a lot of things and I think you’ll be great at this. And if you’ll need help, I’ll be right by your side, intimidating the fuckers into doing your bidding.’

Baekhyun thanks him for that.

 


 

It’s their biggest match of the season, a home game with their biggest rival, and the stands are packed enough to prove it, with students and staff overflowing onto the grass in spite of the cold weather, donned in the colours of their uni and cheering as loud as they can. Baekhyun blooms with pride at the support thrown towards the team. They have to win. And fast, because he’s not a fan of dying of hypothermia in these shorts.

The captain sidles up to the rest of them, all in a huddle, his arms slinging over Baekhyun and Chanyeol’s shoulders.

‘Come on boys! Let’s show them what we’re made of!’

They cheer and whoop and holler as they walk into formation, the home crowd crying in tandem. The referee’s whistle is the only thing that pierces above the sound, calling them to start.

There are nerves clawing into him like Baekhyun’s never felt before as he runs around, trying to come free of the opposing player marking him. Obviously, derby games hit harder at them—the effort, all the extra practice he and Chanyeol have done leading up to this, worth so much more when they get that victory. And the loss, a bitter shard in the gut. He would be letting down so many people—university forming a good eighty percent of a student’s identity—and he’d let down the team, he’d let down himself. That was what happened last year when he was a fresh-faced first year, and he had never been more disheartened, throwing himself into extra practices and hitting the gym until Chanyeol had snitched and told the coach and he had a sore telling-off and was benched anyway for accidentally self-sabotaging and pulling a muscle.

But he also has the new mantle of captain-elect. This is his first game playing with this new status and, of course, it would be the biggest fucking game of the season.

His intuition’s telling him something else too, a churning in his gut that’s different to the rest and, ugh, he wants to put a name to it but he can’t, he’s far too busy trying not to shit this.

The game is fast and heavy, both sides putting their all into it. Chunks of mud and grass are displaced into the misty February air as the boys run around shouting orders at each other—it’s almost as if they’re in battle. Caught up in the energy, Baekhyun has fallen twice, the last almost stumbling into one of the opposing players nearby, before he just lets himself fall into the grass to avoid trouble.

There’d also been a brief fight over someone tripping someone else up, one that even brought Chanyeol out of his little net, before Baekhyun had to go over and attempt to diffuse it, ordering one of the first years caught up in it to get a hold of himself while the ref doled out punishments.

Now, it’s the last quarter, they’re at 10-12 to the other team and have three minutes to pull of three points. The first of those is scored when their captain whips the ball into the goal, off sheer luck and will, from almost the edge of the pitch. The second is by another fourth-year attacker almost immediately after the eleventh point, dashing the ball with so much force it had reverbed off the net and snapped back onto the other goalie’s calf.

And now they’re less than a minute down, tied, and to be honest, they’re far too close to leave it to a tie, not with this team.

One of their team’s middies traps the ball dropped by an opposing attacker who had gotten far too close for anyone’s liking, and he steals it, hurling his body like a slingshot to the other side of the pitch. He screams at someone, anyone to receive it, but obviously the opposing defenders and middies hear too, and block his team, making it difficult to receive. Only Baekhyun, at the other side of the goal, is unmarked and he’s too far for the other to throw the ball at him without it a hundred percent missing.

But fortunately, one of their attackers dodges a defender and catches, running towards the net that is now shielded. Baekhyun is the only one available to catch it, behind and to the left of the goal, and the attacker—a first-year who puts far too much faith in Baekhyun—throws it to him.

Panic seizes his body, but adrenaline wins and he catches it in spite of the prickle in his hands and the lactic sting in his legs. Two opposing defenders charge toward him, one from the front and the other on his left, of the same mind as him that he’ll move to get around to the goal and so they try to get him in a pincer. But his body has more gall, and so he swerves, following the circle around the goal and leaps, aims his crosse over the net, and gets the ball in with only ten seconds to go.

The nearby players bury him in victory, their cheers mixing in with those of his fellow students which morph into a hungry countdown after the referee blows his whistle to call them to restart the play. He’s buzzing by the time they’re back in position and the ref starts the play, the team moving about in a lighter step now with that weight off their shoulders. Glee is coursing through his veins, in time with the count, and it’s on the thunderous zero that he drops his crosse and yells running to the closest team member and pulling him in a sweaty, teary hug, which gets bigger as more join them.

Chanyeol and one of the bigger defenders hoist him on their shoulders, the height making him dizzy and anxious and he’s furiously yelling at them to put him down when his eyes catch something.

Just past the metal railing separating the play from the crowd is Jongdae, incandescent as ever, beaming up at him. At him. Looking at him.

The protests die in his throat, even when Chanyeol manages to lead the procession over in Jongdae’s direction, dropping him off a half a metre away from him before they all leave the two of them alone. He has no words, the shock blasting and mining his brain until there’s nothing there, save for his thoughts about how beautiful Jongdae’s smile is, how he wants to see nothing but this.

‘Hi,’ Jongdae greets, eyebrows doing that sweet thing that makes Baekhyun’s heart melt, ‘that was a great game.’

Baekhyun can feel his breathing get shallower, faster. ‘Thanks. You saw it?’

Jongdae nods. ‘I didn’t know how much I would enjoy lacrosse, I missed watching.’ His eyes flit down to his shoes. Baekhyun’s enthralled, staring at the way the field lights cast shadows on his face, his eyelashes looking even longer than they are.

‘I also realised—’ Jongdae sighs, looking back up at him and fixing him with his eyes. ‘—I realised how much I missed you. Being around you, talking to you, seeing you.’ He swallows. Baekhyun’s eyes drink the movement. ‘I guess, I’m trying to say… I have feelings for you too. If you still have them—if you don’t, I said that as a joke.’

‘I still have them, so I really hope you’re not joking,’ and Baekhyun’s laughing, but his feet feel so light from all the blood rushing to his head and his heart is pounding, commanding him to move closer to the other.

Jongdae blinks, and lets out a trembling sigh as he places his hand against the green railing for Baekhyun. He follows his lead, palms and fingers touching and Jongdae’s hand is a warm balm, always so warm for Baekhyun.

Their moment’s cut short by Chanyeol who tackles him and places him in a headlock.

‘This is your penance to me,’ he declares as Baekhyun thrashes in his hold, furious at the younger for interrupting him. Chanyeol looks up at Jongdae. ‘I’ll get him in the showers for you Dae, make sure he’s not all gross for your date.’

Baekhyun sputters, whines that they don’t have a date yet because of him, but Jongdae just flushes and makes Chanyeol promises that he’ll return Baekhyun to him intact.

Baekhyun sports the goofiest smile as Chanyeol carries him all to the showers over his shoulders.

 


 

The others are out at some party or club or whatever and Jongdae has used their Friday night to watch a horror, just them two, in the dark. He’d agreed, but only because he thought that Jongdae would hide in his chest but instead, his boyfriend is far too invested into it, leaning forward as the camera pans through a dimly lit hallway. Meanwhile, he’s nervously anticipating the obvious jump scare which still gets him because he screams at the same sound that startles the protagonist.

Jongdae shifts and turns to him, eyes apologetic.

‘We can turn this off if you want?’ Jongdae asks.

‘No, no,’ Baekhyun protests. Jongdae was excited to watch this and he’s not letting him watch this on his own. ‘I’m fine.’

Jongdae glances down for a second but a smirk graces his pretty face when he peers up at him beneath lovely long lashes. ‘That’s a shame. I was thinking there was something better we could do tonight. In your currently roommate-free apartment.’

Baekhyun leans in, crowding the other’s space. ‘Oh? What do you have in mind?’ They haven’t had sex yet, but if Jongdae’s bringing this up the fact that they’re alone then—

—Jongdae takes his face in between his hands and closes the gap, and it’s nowhere near as soft and tender as all their previous kisses have been. No, it’s heavy and heady and heading somewhere else as they meld their lips across each other’s, desperate to touch and taste. Jongdae playfully nips Baekhyun’s bottom lip which prompts him to squeeze the younger’s waste in warning, but parts his lips anyway for Jongdae to explore and lick and suck on his tongue, while Baekhyun pulls him onto his lap and even closer until their bodies are flush. He groans as he gets his hands on the ass of his dreams, grasping so firmly that Jongdae pulls away to swat him on the shoulder. Baekhyun pulls his face in close again and murmurs an apology against his lips before he traces his lips to his jaw, his neck, collarbone, sucking and biting marks onto Jongdae’s neck to make sure everyone knows who he belongs to.

Jongdae moans, tracing his hands down to the hem of Baekhyun’s sweater and the elder stills. He grips his wrists, drawing an impatient whine from Jongdae’s that Baekhyun is not ashamed to say, goes straight to his dick.

‘I’m not fucking you on the couch,’ he groans, ‘I’m doing this right.’

He drags Jongdae to his room, both of them giggling as they tumble into Baekhyun’s bed.