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Seojun doesn’t get the obsession.

It’s all everyone in his year is talking about now; whenever he checks his social media, it’s full of just people speculating. A creepshot or two from across the street. (Eugh.)

He frowns down at his phone. Gowoon doesn’t usually post much, but here she is posing with Jugyeong, peace sign and coffee cup visible against her cheek. At the back, almost out of frame, is a leg Seojun knows belongs to Suho.

Seojun doesn’t get the obsession. So what if he stalks their posts? He’s the one being slighted here. The one being left behind. The least he can do is stew about it.

With a heavy sigh, Seojun drops his phone back on the table, then lets his forehead thunk down next to it. It only hurts a little bit, and at this point Seojun is exhausted enough to not think about it.

(Except he thinks about it a lot, that’s all he does. Not just with this. He thinks, and he feels, and then he fights about it. Good going. Maybe that’s why these things never work out for him.)

 

He needs a little convincing, a bit of an internal pep-talk, but half an hour later Seojun has finally managed to drag himself across the mall to the cosmetics store he’d wanted to visit in the first place before the distraction of smoothies and doom scrolling. Frankly, Seojun doesn’t even want to be here, because the last time he had been here he’d been with Jugyeong, and then Suho had shown up, and, well.

Seojun doesn’t like to be reminded of things he can’t have.

But Gowoon had gushed to him about this liquid highlighter Jugyeong uses, and he feels like he’d be a bad brother if he didn’t at least try to find it for her. She’s been doing better, after all, ever since Jugyeong had helped her out for her performance. Seojun wonders if they spend time together often. If they go out for snacks or if Jugyeong comes over to their place when Seojun is out.

(Things Seojun can’t have: time with Jugyeong.)

He zones out, fingers skimming along the tops of moisturiser bottles, staring at a little mirror but not quite seeing himself. What it comes down to is this: Suho and Jugyeong are a couple. The couple, even; the talk of the school for the past couple of weeks. It hadn’t really come as a surprise to him after the entire fucking mess that had been the school trip, but he can’t deny he had hoped to have more time before having to see them together all the time. Sometimes Seojun looks up in class and sees Suho’s eyes laser focused on the back of Jugyeong’s head; once the bell rings, he watches her place a drink on Suho’s table, just barely makes out the shape of her grin from behind the hair that’s fallen over her shoulder. Notices how Suho’s face has softened up from it, that not-quite-smile Seojun hasn’t seen in so long. Shouldn’t see, actually. Since it’s not meant for him.

Ah.

(Things Seojun can’t have: a smile.)

Begrudgingly, he makes his way over to the brand section, wanders until he hits an assorted collection of highlighting and sculpting products. It’s not like Seojun hasn’t had any experience with make-up—being as he is a former trainee with a strict regimen he’s never quite been able to shake—but truthfully all this packaging look exactly the same to him, labels either glittery or holographic under the bright lights overhead. Maybe he should have paid more attention when he’d been here with Jugyeong, except paying attention to her is always more important than looking at bronzer samplers.

Still, it leaves him in a weird spot. Should he just text Gowoon and ask which one she wants? Would that be weird since it’s supposed to be a surprise? But it’s not for a special occasion, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be one...

A few minutes of fiddling with his phone and Seojun still hasn’t decided. With an annoyed huff, he thumbs through his contact list and is about to call Gowoon when some guy steps up to the aisle, very close to him. He sways away, turns, irritated quip about keeping their distance on the tip of his tongue, but.

Suho blinks at him. Slow, like a cat. His cheeks are pink and his hairstyle’s all messed up from the wind outside because he’s an idiot who doesn’t do his hair so he can read longer in the mornings.

Seojun grunts and looks away.

(Things Seojun can’t have: Suho.)

(He’s still in the process of admitting that to himself.)

“Are you looking for something?” Suho asks, because he’s confusing and delights in Seojun’s emotional suffering by choosing the worst possible moment to engage with him for the first time in ages.

“None of your business.” Seojun sets the sculpting palette he’d been inspecting down harder than entirely necessary. Then, because he’s nothing if not a masochist: “I thought you were out with my sister.”

“I forgot I had to pick up something from here.” Here, under the cold lights, Suho’s voice sounds as even and measured as ever. Seojun kind of envies that about him. He’s never been able to be any of that.

In his peripheral Seojun can see Suho looking at him as he pretends to browse, opening and closing the little sampler drawers until Suho sighs and pushes back the one he had just pulled out.

“You have no idea what any of this is,” Suho tells him.

(Fuck you, Lee Suho.) “Don’t pretend like you know me.”

The hand that grips Seojun’s wrist is searing—Suho’s the one who runs cold usually. Seojun remembers having to warm Suho’s hands up with his own sometimes, cupping them with his own and putting them in the pockets of Suho’s jackets. Remembers Seyeon laughing at them, scarf pulled up to his nose.

Seojun pulls himself free, turns to go, but Suho grabs at his sleeve, and that’s enough for Seojun to grit his teeth, warmth welling up his throat, skin too tight, the rush of blood in his ears. “What do you want,” he grits, because if he pulls his teeth apart, he might lay himself too bare.

Wordlessly, Suho pulls him two aisles over to the lipgloss exhibit where Seojun had stood with Jugyeong. It feels like months ago now. Seojun frowns down at a shade of coral like he’d like it to spontaneously combust.

“Jugyeong’s birthday is soon,” Suho mentions offhandedly, like that isn’t information Seojun would have killed to have. “I wanted to get her something.”

“Yeah?” Seojun picks up a tube of bright red, twirls it around his fingers. “The Swarovski not enough for her?” Of course he’d heard about it, Sooah would barely shut up about ‘true love’ and ‘eternal devotion’ until her boyfriend would buy her a knockoff. Who even spends that much on someone they’re not dating yet? Who might just as well have dated Seojun instead?

Well, that’s not entirely fair. Seojun knows he’d never really had a chance in the first place. It’s always been Suho for Jugyeong, as much as it’s been Jugyeong for Suho. Seojun doesn’t fit in there. Doesn’t want to think about what it would be like if he did.

(Except thinking, again, is all he does.)

Suho mutters something under his breath that Seojun tries very hard not to catch. “She likes this stuff,” is what he eventually settles on. “You two went shopping earlier, so I figured you’d know what she likes.”

God, Seojun wants to punch Suho so bad. So, so bad. They might get kicked out, but that’s worth it, right? Except Suho can just bribe them with all the fucking money he has, and Seojun will just be left sitting out in the wind, and maybe he doesn’t want to punch Suho but he sure as hell doesn’t know what else to do about it.

He flexes his hands until his knuckles turn white, takes a deep breath, and then he sets the tube back down. “I’m not responsible for your relationship with your girlfriend , Lee Suho. Just go spend time with her instead of annoying me about it.”

“And what if I want to spend time with you too?”

Seojun swallows thickly. “We’re not friends.”

“But we could be.” When Seojun raises his head, Suho looks… like he means it. Serious. Intense, even, immediately latching on to the eye contact.

Seojun wants to throw up. Wants to throw something. Wants to call Suho a murderer. It would be easy, so easy to retreat. To flee from all of this. He could just…

Suho takes his hand and Seojun’s brain immediately short-circuits. He rips it away, and Suho’s face flashes something Seojun doesn’t want to acknowledge. Their relationship is so broken, so in ruins, that Seojun doesn’t have the capacity to hurt Suho anymore. They’ve traded that in. There’s nothing there anymore.

And yet Suho’s eyes flicker over his face like he’s been kicked.

And Seojun… Seojun is tired, and hurt, and confused, but maybe he doesn’t want to run anymore. Maybe he wants to stand his ground this once, accept what it is he wants, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.

He can forget all about it afterwards. They’ll pay, they’ll part ways, and Seojun can go and get drunk and get in a fight and forget all about his stupid fucking feelings.

Call it self-indulgence, he thinks, and jerks his chin in the direction of an Etude House lip tint display. “She was looking at those last time,” he mutters. Suho looks at him for what feels like a full minute before he nods and breaks away to inspect the display. It’s a collection of cute little packages, the price tag at the top of the cardboard standee not steep enough to even tickle Suho’s allowance. All things considered, Jugyeong could come and buy those for herself whenever she’d want to.

He’s not sure why he’s here anymore.

Seojun turns to leave, but then Suho looks at him, holds up a sample tube, and Seojun approaches him instead. “What?” he asks, doing his best to sound as snippy as he ought to, given the situation. Suho’s annoyingly large thumb covers most of the writing on the face of the glass, but Seojun catches something that might read ‘dear darling’ and suddenly has to swallow down something incredibly ugly.

If Suho has noticed something’s wrong, he doesn’t comment on it. He just inclines his head, bland as ever, and approaches Seojun until the backs of his knees hit a table and he swears he could count Suho’s eyelashes individually if he wanted.

“What?” he asks, voice whisper-quiet.

“I’m just testing out this colour,” Suho hums, and swipes the applicator brush over Seojun’s bottom lip.

Seojun is about to lose it. He’s about to drop dead from cardiac arrest and then Suho will actually be a murderer, what the fuck

Suho reaches up, brushes his thumb over Seojun’s lips to smear the red more evenly. (Seojun’s entire mouth feels like it’s on fire.)

“Hm.” Suho nods, seemingly satisfied in a way Seojun can barely begin to comprehend, screws the tester tube shut, and steps away. “I’m pretty sure Jugyeong and Gowoon were talking about Chosungah highlighters earlier. See you.”

And then he just… leaves?

He leaves.

Seojun stares down at his shoes, not trusting himself to say anything in return, because what the fuck was that .

(At least he finds the brand, but was it really worth his sanity?)

 

Seojun takes his motorcycle out that night. The round little thing of highlighter is burning a hole in his jacket pocket; he hasn’t wanted to look at it ever since he’d stuffed it in there as he rushed out of the mall earlier. Doesn’t want to touch it still. Else he might start thinking, and that’s never good.

Seojun pulls into the emergency stop lane on a highway bridge, flips his visor up, looks down at the rows of lights and Seoul twinkling in the near distance, and tries very hard not to scream.

He isn’t just imagining it, right? Suho hasn’t bothered trying to talk to him ever since… well. Seojun had made it pretty clear he didn’t want to talk to Suho, and Suho had largely respected that, so what’s going on now? Not just with the lip tint, but also when he lifted him up at the baseball game, and when he leaned his head on Seojun’s shoulder in the bathroom that one time. But those were more like Suho—no words. Awkward. Not something they ever talked about after the fact.

This, though? Suho saying he’d like to be friends? Holding his hand ?

Seojun brings his fingers up to his lips, tentative. He can still feel them tingle if he focuses hard enough, and when he pulls his hand away, he can see the slightest smear of red.

“Oh, fuck me,” Seojun tells the highway, and flips his visor down.

 


 

The next day sees him bleary, tired, and with a headache the size of Daegu. Gowoon laughs at him when he emerges from his room for breakfast, and he drives so slow that some businesswoman behind him just about willfully rams him with her car. His teeth still feel gross and all he really wants is a nap. Maybe he’ll take one during English. Nobody’s going to care if he does.

The hallways are awash with whispers—no doubt about Suho and Jugyeong doing some mundane couple shit as usual. Seojun tries not to listen, instead drags himself to his classroom, to his seat, and immediately slumps over the top of it, knocked out before he can even hear his friends greet him.

He’s all set for a refreshing rest too, except something keeps jabbing him in the arm, pulling him from a very comfortable dream he’s never going to analyse very closely. He tries to pull away, except the jabbing gets worse and worse until he groans loudly and pushes himself to sit upright. “What?” he snaps, squinting, hair wild despite his best efforts to tame it in the morning.

Chorong raises the hand he’d been using to poke at him, makes the universal face for ‘don’t look at me bro’ and jerks his head upwards. When Seojun looks up, he sees Jugyeong in front of his desk.

Oh. Okay.

“Are you alright?” Jugyeong asks, leaning forward to get a better look at him. “You slept through all of homeroom. I thought you died.”

Seojun huffs. Despite it all, he does want to look cool in front of Jugyeong, so he leans back, runs a hand through his hair, says “I am very much al—” and then promptly proceeds to eat shit as his chair tips too far back.

Agh. Fuck, his head. Jugyeong is right, he might as well be dead.

“Oh shit!” Chorong’s voice is muffled against the ringing in Seojun’s ears. He squeezes his eyes shut, but that doesn’t make the spinning of the room above him any better, it just makes him feel weirdly weightless.

He kind of wants to throw up again.

“Do I take him to the nurse?” Jugyeong sounds a little pitchy, like she’s worried? Is she? With great effort, Seojun cracks open an eye to check. Except Suho’s joined in now, looking down at him with furrowed brows, and Seojun wouldn’t think anything of it except he’s got his hand on Jugyeong’s shoulder, and she’s leaning against his side, and suddenly Seojun wants to throw up for more reasons than just the one.

“I’m fine,” he grits out, tries to sit up, but immediately loses his balance again; Suho and Jugyeong are down with him in a flash, each holding one of his shoulders.

“You’re clearly not, dumbass,” Jugyeong tells him. There’s some kind of look exchanged over the top of his head, and then they both hoist him up, weight resting mostly against Suho’s side, though Jugyeong does hold one of his arms as she looks out into the hallway. “Come on, before Mr. Han comes and thinks you’re drunk,” she worries, and both of them half-escort, half-carry him out. Seojun wants to protest; he’s not emotionally equipped to be sandwiched between the two of them like this, not today and possibly not ever, but his mouth is so dry that he can barely get a word out without coughing, and his limbs feel like wet noodles besides, so there’s not much he can do about this horrible, awful situation.

(Jugyeong’s perfume is nice, though. Fruity. And he can almost smell Suho’s shampoo if he focuses, with the way he’s all slumped over him. Is that apple?)

If he says any of that out loud he’ll never live it down, so he forces himself to think about math homework instead, except that makes his brain hurt something bad, so he gives up and tries very hard to black out until they’ve arrived at their destination.

 

That’s his first success of the month. When he blinks his eyes back open, he’s staring at the ceiling of the nurse’s office, his head thrums, and Jugyeong is leaning over him, hair bracketing them off from the other side of the room. It’s quiet, and Seojun can’t say he isn’t thankful for that much at least.

“Oh!” Jugyeong disappears from his vision, then a water bottle is held against his lips as she guides him to sit up. “Here, the nurse said you should drink a little. Do you have a headache?”

“Mrgh.”

Jugyeong takes that as a yes; a bit of rustling later, she presses a small pill against his mouth. “Here you go~” she says, voice lilting, and Seojun really doesn’t have a choice but to swallow, really, does he? Even if he did, her patting his cheek once he’s washed it down with more water makes it worth it.

Except the better he feels, the more he remembers his feelings from yesterday, and suddenly he wishes he was still drunk actually.

The bed dips under the weight of Jugyeong sitting down next to him. “Is everything okay?” she asks, and it takes all of Seojun’s strength to not giggle helplessly at that. “You’ve never been this…”

“Fucked up?”

“I was going to say out of it, but sure, that works.” Jugyeong pulls one knee up on the mattress. Seojun works very hard to not look at it. “Did you do too much karaoke last night?”

“What, still thinking about my voice?” 

Jugyeong stares at him; Seojun raises an eyebrow. He sure as hell doesn’t want to talk about what’s been going on, so this is the best self-defense he has: make Jugyeong lose her composure and flee before she can get anything out of him.

Except then she laughs, and Seojun is the one left speechless.

“Maybe I am,” she hums, which is so, so unfair because she has to know, right, there’s no way she doesn’t, not with how loud Seojun has been about it all. She has to be aware that he’s still very much the unwanted third wheel in this equation, so she shouldn’t be this nice to him. It might give him false hope.

“Well.” Seojun’s voice cracks like he’s thirteen. He immediately takes another sip of water and hopes it’ll serve as an excuse. “I…” A pause. He suddenly has no idea what to say, the room stiflingly quiet.

Jugyeong doesn’t say anything either. God, being around her has never been this awkward before. Probably Suho’s fault, like everything else.

Speaking of. Seojun cranes his head a bit, trying to see over Jugyeong’s head; he fails, but she looks over her shoulder anyway. “Suho had to go back to class,” she says, and Seojun immediately wants to protest having looked for him. “He said he’ll be back after.”

“What, not you?” Not that he isn’t glad Suho isn’t off in the corner staring at him right now. “He gets better grades than the both of us, he can stand to skip a class or two.”

“Do you want him to?”

“No.” Seojun sighs. “It’s just unfair that he’s making you stay here when you would need the time more.” Is… Is Jugyeong rolling her eyes? When had she gotten so sassy ?

“He’s bringing us his notes, and anyway, it’s not like studying is going to improve anything going on up there.” It’s too self-deprecating for Seojun’s taste, because Jugyeong is objectively really good and hard-working, definitely more than he himself, but his head throbs again and he decides to drop it for now. Later, though. Later Suho will hear all about how he’s not making Jugyeong feel as confident as he ought to as her boyfriend.

Boyfriend. Gross.

“So.” Jugyeong leans in again, and suddenly her eyes are way too close. “What happened?”

“Huh?”

“Did you get in a fight? Did those bullies get you again?” She begins patting him down as she asks, possibly trying to find bruises under his clothes, except all she finds is Seojun trying his best to fuse with the bed to escape this situation. Her fingers hit the highlighter still in his pocket—right, he’d forgotten all about that—and she pulls it out with the utmost focus.

“Oh!” Jugyeong turns it over, eyes immediately focusing on the description on the back. “Were you out buying makeup? I didn’t think you were the type to go by yourself. Is this for someone?”

Seojun, on his part, has never turned down the chance to make an absolute fool of himself. “Would you like it if it was for you?” he asks, easy grin already settling, except she looks at him with that cute little surprised face that she does, and Seojun immediately runs out of steam. Instead of pressing, he sighs, lets his head fall back against the wall despite Jugyeong’s immediate squeak of protest. “No, it’s for my sister, she’s been gushing about what you did for her.” I figured I’d support her, he thinks, but that’s too close to home to articulate, even in this context.

Jugyeong blinks. “Aw? I didn’t know you could be so thoughtful,” she says, something like delight creeping into her voice. “That’s so cute!”

Seojun bites down on his tongue. 

For someone so nice and happy, Jugyeong really can be thoughtlessly cruel sometimes.

“Don’t say that,” he snaps, all levity from earlier dropped. “Don’t lead me on any more than you already have.”

“Huh? Seojun, I—”

Behind Jugyeong, the door creaks open.

“You’d best get going, Miss Lim,” the nurse says, approaching the bed and gently pulling Jugyeong to stand. “Your friend will be alright with some rest, I assure you.”

Jugyeong rises, lets herself be led, but her eyes remain fixed on Seojun, brows furrowed, like she’s confused or worried or something. Seojun refuses to look at her. He can’t do this, especially not today when he feels rubbed raw like that.

“Han Seojun,” the nurse intones once the door has closed. “Let’s talk about your home life for a minute.”

Seojun really, really wants to die.

 


 

 

Seojun tries very hard not to think about Suho and Jugyeong and their weird behaviour recently, and he mostly succeeds. He goes to karaoke more, takes more rides at night, gets in a nice fistfight or two behind some shady barbeque place that serves soju to minors if they look over the age of fifteen. Sometimes Gowoon looks at him all quiet and concerned, but that’s none of his business. He’s dealing. He’s working things out. It’s fine.

Realistically, he’s aware that he may be a bit too rash sometimes. Jugyeong definitely hadn’t deserved his outburst at the nurse’s office, he’s self-aware enough to realise that. She probably just wants to be friends. Suho too, weird as the whole mall experience had been. He still doesn’t know what’s brought this on—maybe they had a talk together. Seojun hopes not. He can’t stand being talked about when it’s those two.

But even though he’s aware, it’s not like he can deal with all of this any better, right? Suho and Jugyeong likely don’t get it. Surely it’s weird to be like he is. To want to be with two people who are dating each other and don’t see you that way. At least on Jugyeong’s end. Suho… well. Seojun has trained himself for years to not think about feelings he may or may not have had. Even still, those are definitely gone now, because Seojun has set them on fire and then trampled on the remains until Suho would never see him as even a friend again.

Who’d like someone who blamed you for a death you couldn’t have done anything to prevent?

Who’d like someone who kept being annoying and overbearing to keep you away from the person you liked in the first place?

Yeah. All Seojun can do is repress everything until they’ve all graduated and then privately explode. Easy.

 

He’s a week into his perfectly healthy Repression Session when Gowoon bursts into his room and drags him out by the elbow.

“Whuh?” Seojun asks very intelligently because he’d just been in the middle of learning Twice choreography, but Gowoon doesn’t spare him a glance as she pulls him over to the shoe rack and shoves his jacket into his arms. “We’re going out,” she says, decisive, and nudges the backs of his legs. “Shoes on, c’mon. Let’s go.”

“What’s gotten into you?” Despite grumbling, Seojun does slowly pull on the leather jacket she’d given him, reflexively checks his reflection. He doesn’t look his best, hair a bit messy, stubble unshaved, but he can just pull his hood up and look fine, he figures. It’s just his sister anyway, he’s seen him in tiger pattern boxers.

(So has Jugyeong. He doesn’t think about it.)

“Nothing, I just want coffee,” says Gowoon, which means something is very much up, but she doesn’t elaborate and Seojun doesn’t press the issue. Maybe she’ll be more forthcoming once they’re there? He doesn’t even know if he should be congratulating her or beating someone up for her once he finds out whatever it is. Keeps him on his toes in a way he doesn’t entirely enjoy or know what to do with.

He wants to find out, though, which is why he follows her a couple streets to this hole in the wall type café they both like going to. Probably the one where Gowoon had met up with Suho and Jugyeong too, considering the coffee cup in her post. No, Seojun had not obsessed by himself about where they are and what they’re doing together. Absolutely not.

Speaking of Suho and Jugyeong.

The second he sees them sitting there, talking quietly to each other, Seojun wants to turn right on his heel and flee except Gowoon has him in an iron grip she’s picked up from god knows where, and before Seojun can really process it, he’s been sat down opposite the two of them and Gowoon has left. The ‘you’re welcome’ still rings in his ears. He has no idea what he should be thankful for. Didn’t she want coffee too?

Seojun looks at Suho and Jugyeong and, once more, wishes for death.

“Are you doing better?” Jugyeong asks. She leans forward to push a cup of coffee across the table, but her other arm is angled, like she’s holding Suho’s hand under the table, and suddenly Seojun feels not in the mood whatsoever. “You kinda disappeared for a bit. We got worried.”

Seojun can’t dispute that. He had bounced from the nurse’s office before either of them could come back and continue an already uncomfortable situation, and after that he’d tried to make himself scarce as much as possible. He hasn’t even spent too much time with his friends because for all of their positives, they’re a large group. A loud one. A very easy group to find if you want to talk to Seojun outside of class, and maybe Seojun just did not want that, okay?

Still doesn’t. Especially with this ‘we’ business.

“I’m back on my feet, aren’t I?” He’s sitting. None of them point that out. Seojun rolls his eyes, drains the offered cup about halfway—it’s good, surprisingly, even though he’s never told them his usual order—and moves to stand. “Look, I don’t have time for you two to play therapist couple now that you’ve had your shit all figured out, so I’m leaving.” He only makes it halfway up before Suho follows to grab his wrist, and Jugyeong catches his other sleeve.

“Wait,” says Suho. “We needed to talk to you,” says Jugyeong.

Straight people and their freaky fucking couples telepathy. Seojun doesn’t need this.

“What?” he snaps, but he doesn’t sit back down. “What else do you want me to do, transfer?”

“Huh?”

Suho doesn’t say anything, but it feels like Seojun had just told him that the sky is green. He frowns, looks back and forth between the two of them. “What do you mean, huh?”

“That’s not…” Jugyeong interrupts herself to look confused. “Why did you get that impression?”

“You don’t need to say anything about it.” Seojun shrugs. “All of us know I like Jugyeong and it makes sense you’d be uncomfortable with it now that you’re… that.” He can’t exactly blame them either, but he’s absolutely never going to say that part out loud. “I get it.”

Jugyeong blinks at him as if Seojun had somehow missed the biggest, most obvious blinking neon sign of a hint, and Seojun begins to feel like he actually has. 

(Neither of them have let go of his wrists yet.)

“Seojun,” says Jugyeong, and Seojun hates how careful she sounds, like Seojun would blow up at her otherwise. What he hates more is that he actually just might. “Seojun. Do you like Suho?”

What.

“What.”

“Sit down,” she says, and begrudgingly, Seojun does. They still haven’t let go. Suho’s hand slides down to take Seojun’s in his own, and Seojun can taste his heartbeat in his throat and the red lip tint on his fingertips. 

“What do you mean.”

Jugyeong takes his other hand.

What the fuck?

“We’ve been talking,” Jugyeong begins, hesitant as before. Suho just nods, and for a change, he doesn’t quite come across as aloof as usual. Is that a blush? Seojun wants to pinch him so bad, if only his hands weren’t… occupied…

“We’ve been talking, and, uh.” She worries her bottom lip between her teeth, and for all the sudden confidence the two of them seem to have gained after starting to date, there still seem to be certain topics that are hard to broach for her. Like this is just as unknown territory for her as it is for him.

Suho looks at her, measured, until it becomes clear that she doesn’t know how to proceed. “We both like you,” he says then, easy as that. Like that isn’t an earth-shattering revelation. Like that doesn’t shine a completely different light on everything that’s happened over the past couple weeks. 

Wait. Is he being serious?

“Whuh?” asks Seojun, absolute pinnacle of intellectualism.

He’s suddenly glad he’s sitting.

“We’ve been trying to figure this out.” Suho pulls his and Jugyeon’s joined hands on the table as well. Both their knuckles are white; Suho seems a little lost for words. Jugyeong tries her hand at a little smile, hopeful and nervous in equal measure. Yeah. Seojun relates to that much.

“You like Jugyeong, obviously, and Jugyeong likes both of us. And I like you. I don’t know if anything’s changed for you, but.” Suho shrugs.

“Neither of us have ever been with two people before, but,” Jugyeong gets out in a great big rush, “but we figured we could try, if you wanted to. Because we want you to be happy too. It wouldn’t be right to just let you fall to the side like that.” Her thumb smooths over the skin of Seojun’s hand, and it’s that movement that jolts him back to reality. Suddenly, every sensation around him is so much , his heart thrums against his ribcage, his face is burning, he doesn’t know—

“You don’t have to say yes,” Suho says. His fingers twitch against Seojun’s palm, like he’s wrestling with himself to not let go. “Or say anything. We just. We figured you’d want to know.”

Seojun blinks at them. Jugyeong, the emotional mess, and Suho, who never speaks and only sometimes acts. For them both to have worked up the initiative to do this, and to actually communicate out loud…

“Seojun?” Jugyeong prompts.

Seojun… he can’t help it, he laughs, just a little, quiet, near-breathless. “Wow,” he says, then exhales shakily, “wow, okay, yeah. Uh. I didn’t expect that.”

“Me either.” Suho still seems wary at best.

“I…” For all his initiative, Seojun is not very good at words. Never has been. “I, uh.” He looks at Suho. Quirks an eyebrow. Swallows. “You’re not that horrible, Lee Suho.”

Suho doesn’t smile, but it’s the closest he’s seen him come since Seyeon, and Seojun’s heart gives a last feeble kick before it gives up for the day.

“Yeah?”

“We can make something work if you like me that much,” Seojun lilts, feeling a lot more like himself now that he’s had a second to process. “I’ll afford you two the grace of my presence.”

“Don’t push it,” Jugyeong complains, and Suho kicks his leg under the table. Seojun just laughs.

(They have a lot to figure out still. They’ll have to have painful conversations, they’ll have to navigate the world a little differently from now. But first they work out a system where they can actually drink their coffees while holding hands as much as possible, and they crowd together for selfies, and both of them kiss Seojun on the cheek, and in the end, it’ll all be fine. They’ve been through worse.)

(Things Seojun can’t have: free hands. Ever again.)