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Water Under the Bridge

Chapter Text

If you're not the one for me, then I'll come back and bring you to your knees. 

Chanyeol sat at his keyboard, tapping away at the same arpeggio again and again. It just wasn't right, he could feel it. A tweak to the interval, another few passes over the keys, and the frown still remained on his face. Two hours into working on the bridge for this damn song and he hadn't made more than ten seconds of progress. He let his hands run through his hair, lifting his hat to run his fingers quickly through the dark strands before replacing his White Sox cap. His fingers came to rest, one covering the other clasped into a fist, resting against his lips. He contemplated giving it a rest for the night, but he had promised to share the progress of his song with his livestream viewers next week. He was running out of time to complete the song. At this rate, he'd be sheepishly throwing out one of the many other finished but unsatisfying projects he had worked on in the past year. 

"Chanyeol," a voice called from outside the door. "Busy?" 

"Not really," he sighed, pushing his chair away from the desk of recording equipment. "What's up, Soo?" 

"I picked up some fried chicken from the place down the street," he whispered, peeking his head into the room. "Do you want some before Jongin finds it?"  

Chanyeol gave him a nod and the man stepped inside, shutting the door behind him quietly. He looked so soft, his glasses framing his wide eyes and his short legs hidden by a pair of loose grey sweatpants. In one hand, he held a styrofoam container of said chicken and two sets of chopsticks, while the other held a large cup of soda. The sight of Kyungsoo made Chanyeol exhale all the air he had been holding in his lungs out of frustration. There was something about the man that just melted the stress away. Only Kyungsoo would think of him enough to bring him food after he'd been holed up in his studio all day. Most of the others left him to his own devices, ordering burgers in the middle of the night.  

"I figured you'd be hungry after using that brain of yours to compose the next big hit," he teased, patting the couch behind Chanyeol's setup. All he got was a nod for confirmation, and his lips curved into a soft smile. With their schedules, the two didn't often have quiet moments like this. Kyungsoo had only hoped that Chanyeol hadn't already ordered something for himself or been fed by one of the other members. When he saw the commercial for chicken while watching a free movie on his tablet, his heart had panged for their younger days eating takoyaki after practice. He had slipped on his sneakers and slipped out to order something. The sight of Chanyeol stuffing fried chicken into his mouth was more endearing than it probably should have been, but Kyungsoo had stopped questioning the warmth that spread through his limbs at the sight of his best friend a long time ago.   

Chanyeol had scarfed down around a third of the chicken before he took a second to breathe. "Drink?" Kyungsoo chuckled, holding out the soda to him.  

"Thanks," he mumbled, his cheeks tinting slightly. He took a long sip before letting out a sigh. "You always know what I need." 

Kyungsoo just snorted, looking away toward the window. It was just what he did for all of the members, co-workers, family, and such. He was always looking out for them when they were busy and forgot about themselves.  

"Aren't you going to have any?" 

He blinked, raising an eyebrow as he returned to Chanyeol's gaze. "Oh, um. Yeah, I guess." He pulled out the disposable chopsticks and grabbed a piece of chicken. He smiled as he chewed, humming at the taste. "I made a good choice."  

"Of course, you connoisseur," Chanyeol laughed, elbowing the smaller man in the side. They turned away from each other, attempting to hide their giggles, but their eyes were drawn back to each other as the laughter died out. "I missed this, didn't you?" 

"That's kind of why I'm here." 

His confession was met with widened brown eyes, one cheek puffed out from holding all of the food Chanyeol insisted on chewing at the same time. "Really?" 

Kyungsoo fiddled with a small scrap of chicken in the container, tossing it around on the open lid. "Yeah, I was just thinking about the times we used to go out for food after practice when we were young, and-" 

"Weren't those the days!" He interrupted, nodding and taking another gulp of soda. "Man, does this have caffiene in it? I'm going to be up all night." He was showing off his brilliant set of teeth again, and Kyungsoo wasn't even mad that the man was always trying to end his sentences prematurely.  

"They were. And yes," he snorted. "My mistake." 

"Maybe you don't know me as well as I thought," the taller man teased, leaning back from the coffee table that held their food. He reached a hand over to muss Kyungsoo's hair and received a gentle swipe to his arm. If Chanyeol was going to start this game, Kyungsoo was going to play along, even if the better portion of his brain was still pining for the chicken. Another swat was incoming, and he easily leaned back out of range, his eyebrows raised in surprise at the level of tenacity he was experiencing. Chanyeol let out a breathy laugh, leaning forward to reach out. Kyungsoo pretended to bite the fingers that stretched out to touch his forehead. The gangly arm flinched and retreated momentarily, leaving Kyungsoo free to launch his own attack.  

He whipped the pillow out from behind his back and smacked Chanyeol in the face, gentler than he deserved. The barrage of whacks and smothering began as he raised up onto his knees on the couch, flinging the pillow back and forth as Chanyeol tried and failed to retaliate. The obnoxious man was screeching and howling "Kyungsoo-ya!" Said man was busy giggling with murderous intent. He pressed a hand to the man's chest, pushing him back onto the armrest. His knees fit on either side of Chanyeol's leg that was propped on the couch, while his other one was busy trying to compensate for the fact that he'd just been knocked off balance by flailing out trying to find purchase on the floor. Kyungsoo's attacks were incessant, but eventually, Chanyeol's hands found his shoulders and Chanyeol's long arms started working in his favor. He pushed up, letting the smaller man swing to no avail as he was lifted away from his target.  

Chanyeol began to laugh, his hat long gone and his hair a glorified rat's nest after being destroyed by Kyungsoo's pillow fury. When he looked to Kyungsoo, he was met with a pout so strong, it could have set the city ablaze. It just made him laugh harder. He loved pushing the man's buttons. This was what friends were for, right? 

He wasn't expecting it when Kyungsoo spiked the pillow off of his face in a final attempt at glory. His grin was momentarily stifled by cotton and he lost his grip on the flailing man's shoulders. Chanyeol shook his head, opening his eyes to find the man that was once several feet in the air very close to him. So close that they were sharing the same air, and he could definitely feel it. He could feel the soft puffs from Kyungsoo's nose as he attempted to stop the laughter from bubbling from his pink-tinted lips. He felt his hands resting on Kyungsoo's hips, and after realizing it, was afraid to pull them away. Wouldn't that just make it more awkward? His eyes traveling from the man's deep brown eyes to the lips he was so famous for, currently straining to not go into full heart mode.  

Kyungsoo lost it, his body shaking with laughter as he brought his forehead down to rest against Chanyeol's, his eyes scrunching up and his cheeks turning red. After a couple seconds, he realized how quiet the man below him had gotten and swallowed roughly. He sat back onto his heels, rubbing his chest with one hand. "My heart is beating so fast all of a sudden, sheesh." 

Chanyeol's hands fell away from his body, and he felt a sudden sense of loss. He sat up as well, the pull in his stomach refusing to fade as he took in the site of a flustered Kyungsoo. "Yeah, mine is too, probably because you were trying to kill me with that thing," he chuckled, pointing to the forgotten pillow on the ground.  

"I was going easy on you." 

Kyungsoo looked away toward the computer, its screen flipping through various pictures Chanyeol had saved to his hard drive.  A familiar picture of the skyline of Seoul flashed briefly across the corner and his stomach flipped. He turned back to face his friend, who had focused his gaze onto something equally as uninteresting as the computer's screensaver. He followed the lines of Chanyeol's side profile and the way his unkempt hair curled at the ends to tickle his eyebrows, his eyelashes, his slightly oversized ears. His friend let out a sigh and closed his eyes briefly, as if bracing himself. When he opened them, he glanced out of the corners to see Kyungsoo unabashedly drinking in his image.  

"Can I-" They both spoke at the same time.  

"Oh, you go-" in sync yet again.  "No, you-" Kyungsoo turned away reached a hand up to rub the back of his neck in distress and found Chanyeol's hand on his cheek and his face a mere inch from his own. He turned back and oh-this was new. He was seeing something in Chanyeol's eyes that he swore he only ever imagined and they were sharing the same air again, damn it. He had to stop doing that with someone so enticing. What was he saying? Calling Chanyeol enticing, and finding himself leaning forward against his will and placing a hand on his best friend's thigh and- 

Kyungsoo's heart was going to burst. It was inevitable. 

"Can I kiss you?" He felt Chanyeol's words against his own lips. The man's hand was trembling against his cheek and Kyungsoo's fingers were hooking onto the belt loops of Chanyeol's jeans. He let his eyes flutter shut, giving in to the pull of his stomach that longed for them to be closer. His lips pressed gently against Chanyeol's, letting them fit around his bottom lip. They stayed like that, connected, yet still so far apart, for several seconds before their eyes flew open and Kyungsoo pushed himself back. He let his fingers come up to rest on his bottom lip, as he started to worry it with his teeth. "I didn't think we'd ever get to-" Chanyeol was kissing him again, this time gripping his shoulders with seemingly all of his strength.  

Kyungsoo whined under the pressure, refusing to be pushed down. Instead, he sucked gently on the man's lower lip, tasting him. Chanyeol was on fire, his breath hot and shuddering. It was as attractive as it was endearing, and Kyungsoo took it as a good sign. He let his lips do the talking, and guided the man's mouth open so he could explore more thoroughly with his tongue. For the level of passion Chanyeol so often expressed in his music and love life, he seemed unusually shy. Kyungsoo knew for a fact that Chanyeol loved to pin his lover down and ravish them. He had bragged about it enough times for the whole world to know.  

He let the hand that had held onto Chanyeol's thigh raise up to the man's hand that clamped on his shoulder. He grabbed it, guiding it down to his hip and broke away from the kiss. "I didn't take you for a beginner, Chanyeol," he smirked, pressing their foreheads together once more. The man's eyes were closed and his chest rose and fell so fast, Kyungsoo wasn't sure whether he was happy or experiencing an asthma attack.  

"I just- I wish I could express what you do to me, Soo. You've always done this, this whole rendering me speechless thing. You make me feel like my whole body is on fire sometimes, and I don't know why. Shouldn't we just be friends? Why is it that Yixing can grab my ass during practice and I just laugh it off, but when you smack me with a pillow, I want to know how it would feel if you kissed every inch of my skin? Just-why, why? Am I making any sense?" He shuddered at the addition of a pair of hands running up the back of his neck to tangle in his hair. "Kyungsoo. It's not supposed to be like this between friends. I shouldn't be feeling this way." 

The smaller man just smiled softly, giving Chanyeol's lip a tiny bite. The man gasped. "Soo. Aren't you the slightest bit concerned about this-" he sputtered before Kyungsoo captured his lips again, feeling the man tug on his hair and force their bodies closer.  

Chanyeol gave up like a dam after its floodgates have opened.  

"You're a monster," he growled, pushing the smaller man down on his back with a huff. They gazed into each other's eyes as Kyungsoo let out a snort.  

"Idiot," he smiled. Chanyeol pressed his hips down into Kyungsoo and all of the taunts that threatened to spout from the man's lips were tossed aside in favor of moans at the contact. He really hoped no one got curious about their whereabouts in the next twenty minutes, because if they came within twenty feet of that door, they were going to hear things that they shouldn't ever have to experience. 

Chapter Text

 

 

If you're not the one for me, why do I hate the idea of being free?


Jongin had his arm slung around Kyungsoo’s shoulders, hardly carrying his own weight due to the sixth shot of soju he’d taken five seconds ago. “Kyungsoo. There’s a pretty girl over there. She’s been watching us for like, years.”


Kyungsoo scoffed. Of course Jongin would be looking for someone to take home.


“Do you think she’s a fan, or she’s just digging me?” His lips kept grazing his ear as he drawled, and Kyungsoo wanted nothing more than to brush his arm off and watch the man topple.


“I think she’s staring because you unbuttoned half your shirt two shots ago and that’s bordering on public indecency.”


“I can’t help it. It’s so hot in here,” he whined, grabbing a bottle off the table and shoving it at Kyungsoo’s chest. “You sir, need to drink more.”


“Jongin, please. I’m fine.”


“But I never see you having any fun when we go out together. Sehun is having the time of his life over there with Jongdae. They’re matching each other shot for shot and you’re hanging out in the corner like a neglected potted plant.”


He narrowed his eyebrows, turning away from Jongin’s needless teasing. The man just giggled and slid into a seat with the bottle of soju. “Get some ass, Kyungsoo. You could use a break.”


The girl who’d been staring was making her way over to the table and Kyungsoo was having none of that. He lowered his gaze, letting his resting face do the work. She easily slid past him as he headed toward the bathroom, instead targeting the cheerful Jongin, with his smudged eyeshadow and tousled hair. The man easily slid his arm around her hips, tugging her closer. He watched long enough to see him offer her a shot and then he left.

Thankfully, the bathroom was empty. He pulled out his phone and texted Chanyeol.


What’s up


Working on a new trick shot. You?


He smiled at the message. Chanyeol was going to try and impress him with his pool tricks again.


In the bathroom at a stupid bar with Jongin.


Need a ride?


Nah, I’ll get a taxi.


Sure? I can come get you if you want.


He chose not to answer, partially because he wasn’t sure he couldn’t get away with taking a taxi in this part of the city without being swarmed with fans, and also because Jongdae and Sehun had burst into the bathroom, laughing hysterically. He slipped his phone into his pocket quickly and pretended to be fixing his hair in the mirror.


“Kyungsoo! What’s up man?” They slapped his back and leaned on each other, still laughing about something he didn’t particularly want to stick around to hear about.


“It’s lit out there, Jongin just left with some chick like two minutes ago. Looks like you’re not gonna be sleeping in your room tonight.” Jongdae gave him a nudge in the ribs and he just ran his hands through his hair.


“Great.”


“Man, where you going? Hey! D.O!”


He was already out of there.


Kyungsoo got about a foot from the front doors to the club when he saw the mob. Teenage girls were crowded outside, shrieking at every person walking out of the club. He reached up to pat his head, regretting his choice to leave his baseball cap at home. Looked like he wasn’t going to be taking any kind of public transport tonight.


On second thought yeah. I could use a lift.


;p knew you’d change your mind


I’ll be there in five


His teeth wore away at his bottom lip as he loitered near the exit, glancing out past the crowd every ten seconds to check for Chanyeol’s car.

 

It was more like eight minutes before he showed up, and the bouncers had to part the crowd like Moses in order to get Kyungsoo into the passenger side seat of Chanyeol’s car. The screeches only got louder when they realized who was driving.


“You weren’t giving an impromptu concert in there, were you, Soo?”


“God no,” he muttered, rubbing his temples. “Please drive.”


“Sure thing.”


Once they had cleared the throngs of people and were on their way back to EXO’s dorm, Kyungsoo finally let himself breathe again. Chanyeol was throwing him concerned gazes and he knew it, but he didn’t really want to talk about it at the moment.


“We can’t go back to our room, you know.” He rested his head against the window, gazing at the tail lights of the car in front of them. The storefront signs were excessively bright tonight, in his opinion. Maybe it was the soju from earlier finally getting to him.


“What do you mean?”


“Jongin brought some girl home with him and they’re going to be up all night doing who knows what who knows where until who knows when.”


Chanyeol just chuckled, shaking his head. “Is that a little jealousy I hear?”


“No,” he snapped. They looked at each other as they sat at a stoplight and Kyungsoo broke away first, scoffing as he looking at the dollar store they always passed on their way home. “Okay, maybe.”


His friend just smiled, pressing the gas as the light turned green.


“I just don’t like hanging out just to look for a stranger to hook up with. I don’t know how he even does it. How does he get these people to approach him? I thought the guy was supposed to make the first move? It doesn’t even matter,” he said, picking a thread off his pants. “I never approach anyone. I never feel like going through the trouble of getting to know someone in such a superficial manner, only to toss them away after a night.”


“I feel the same way,” he heard Chanyeol answer, but it only made him want to be alone even more.


“Ah, liar. You clicked with Yuna right away. You guys have been as attached at the hip as two people can get.” He waved him away, refusing to look over. He didn’t want Chanyeol to notice the pain that was starting to show on his face. His lip was going to start bleeding if he didn't stop biting it. He brought a fingernail to his lips instead, biting on it to soothe the feeling of acid in his stomach, churning at the thought of his best friend laying in bed with some girl, caressing her face and pulling her close. He had already taken four months to come to terms with the fact that Chanyeol didn’t feel the same way, but it didn’t make it hurt any less when he tried to empathize with Kyungsoo’s loneliness. Chanyeol was the reason his heart hurt like it did! The stupid idiot couldn’t even get a clue because Kyungsoo couldn’t help but smile when he met Chanyeol’s gaze. He couldn’t bear for anyone to know how much he hurt from losing someone he’d opened his heart to so easily.


“Yeah, but it’s not like I’ve never experienced having to small talk with girls just to find someone to dance with for the night.”

 Kyungsoo just huffed and turned his attention to the road. Chanyeol wore a small frown as he merged onto the highway, unsure of how to break down the wall that Kyungsoo had constructed between them so suddenly.

 


They rode in silence for awhile, passing the dorm and continuing farther out of Seoul. The lights started to fade, or Kyungsoo’s head started to ache less. He wasn’t sure which. Chanyeol was whispering the words to a song on the radio as he drove, tapping his fingers gently on the steering wheel. Kyungsoo had lowered his seat, pretending to be asleep for what seemed like an hour. He glanced over, watching the man’s lips softly forming words. The lights above the highway would illuminate his face every couple seconds with their soft orange glow. He wondered where they were going, but the silence wasn't something he felt like breaking.


The lack of other cars on the road gave Chanyeol the chance to glance over at his passenger and found him staring right back. He gave him a small smile, his eyes warm with a fondness he reserved only for the man beside him. He wondered if Kyungsoo missed him like he missed Kyungsoo. He’d never tell anyone, but he carried the weight of his guilt with him everywhere he went. He was supposed to be giving all of his love to the girl of his dreams, with her long legs and flawless face. She loved to cook for him and she even played a little bit of piano. She listened to his rants and laughed at all of his jokes. He’d never met someone so perfect. And every time he looked at Kyungsoo, he felt like he was going to throw up.

He couldn’t stop the pull he felt in his chest that tugged him to reach out and touch him. He just wanted to press their bodies together and run his hands through the man’s hair. Leave bruises on that tender neck, leave his heart-shaped lips red and swollen from being kissed.


Kyungsoo’s neck was getting red and Chanyeol swallowed dryly. He had looked for too long. Kyungsoo turned away again, content to continue their ride in silence.


By the time they made it to the beach, Kyungsoo was asleep and Chanyeol was watching the sun rise by himself. Yuna had asked him if he’d made it home safely, and he’d left it unread on accident. She’d probably be worried when she woke up later in the morning, but he couldn’t find the heart to care at the moment. He felt so far away from her, far away from his real life. Here, the sun was casting a soft pink glow in the sky as it rose, the ocean reflecting the tones and glistening with gentle waves. The lavender was starting to disappear from the sky when Chanyeol gave Kyungsoo’s shoulder a shake.


He groaned, blinking slowly as he came to. “Did we make it?”


“Yeah,” Chanyeol answered, keeping his hand on his shoulder, rubbing it gently.


“Wait,” the man sat up, rubbing his eyes. “Where exactly did we end up?”


“Not in Seoul,” he laughed, letting his hand drop away. He leaned his head back on the headrest, letting the sun cast its soft morning rays on his skin. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the peace of being far away from home.


“Not Seoul,” Kyungsoo whispered. He also heard him let out a small huff. Chanyeol opened his right eye just a bit, peeking at Kyungsoo’s reaction. He was not disappointed. The man’s eyes were wide, his lips turned up into a smile for the first time since he’d picked him up. “How long was I asleep?”


“Not too long. I picked you up at like 4.”


“Ah. I haven’t seen a sunrise like this in a long time.”


“Me either.”


“Hey, Chanyeol.”


“Hm?”


Kyungsoo didn’t answer right away and Chanyeol sat up straight. He waited, watching as Kyungsoo’s face slowly changed from a smile that rivaled the sun to one twisted with an emotion he couldn’t quite place.


“You’ve got to stop doing things like this for me.”


Chanyeol felt his heart stop for a couple seconds. Had he made a mistake? It had seemed like Kyungsoo wanted nothing more than to escape for the night. He’d never taken someone to a beach to watch the sunrise against their will, but I’m sure not everyone thought it was as touching as he did. He started to flounder, stuttering and reaching out a hand to pacify Kyungsoo, but the look on his face when he turned to meet Chanyeol’s gaze made him freeze.


“It makes it really hard not to kiss you right now.”


“Soo.”


“Please, don-don’t call me that.” He balled his hands into fists, trying his hardest to resist the urge to claim lips that weren’t his to own.


“Kyungsoo.”


“We’re just friends now. At most. And I don’t even know if I can do that.”


Chanyeol reached out and grabbed Kyungsoo’s fist, tightening his grip as the man struggled to pull away.


“Please stop. Don’t touch me-please don’t-“ Kyungsoo was straining against Chanyeol’s grip, his whole body rigid with the urge to open the door and run away. He turned away, looking out the window to stop himself from crying. He could feel the tears burning at the corners of his eyes anyway.


“I miss you, Kyungsoo. More than you know.”


“Shut up,” he spat and yanked his hand away. He felt dirty. And stupid. Stupid for wanting something more from someone who couldn’t give him anything at all.

Chapter Text

And if I'm not the one for you, you've gotta stop holding me the way you do.


Chanyeol has been dancing to the same 45 seconds of music for about a half hour before he turned around to check on his dance partner. Kyungsoo sat slumped against their stack of sport bags, eyes closed. His chest rose and fell evenly with the downbeats of the music that continued to play. Chanyeol couldn’t help but smile at the boy. He knew that Kyungsoo had been tired; that he hadn’t needed to stay just to keep Chanyeol company while he drilled the day’s choreography into his mind and bones. Ever the loyal friend, he had stayed regardless. His perfectly sculpted tufts of hair had begun to fall, drooping across his forehead to tickle his eyebrows. He was going to have a matted patch from where his head was resting on Chanyeol’s bag, and he wasn’t going to like it. The boy was always fiddling with his hair.


Chanyeol walked over to the stereo controls and unplugged his phone. His eyes glanced back to his friend, hoping the sudden change in volume would wake him up, but he was still there, getting precious seconds of sleep that Chanyeol could only dream of. He walked over to him, crouching down to be at eye level with him.


“Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo-ya, it’s time to go hom- “ 

A small groan emanated from the boy and his brows furrowed slightly.


“Kyungsoo. I’m done with practice. Let’s head home,” he spoke a little louder, placing a hand on the boy’s shoulder. They didn’t usually stay this late at practice. Chanyeol had never woken up a sleeping Kyungsoo before. He wondered briefly if it required him to be shaken violently. He hoped not. He’d probably get punched if he did that.


A pair of dark eyes finally greeted his.

“Ah! You’re awake. Good, good. Let’s go home, yeah?”


“Mmm-,” Kyungsoo blinked a few times, adjusting to the lights of the studio. “Yeah, sorry about that. I kind of- I was supposed to be critiquing wasn’t I? Ah-I must have fallen asleep,” his cheeks colored as he realized what had happened, and glanced over at the hand on his shoulder. Chanyeol recoiled quickly, reaching up to scratch at his head.


“Nah, it’s okay. It was only the 24th time running through that section anyway. I think I’ve got it now. My arms don’t jut out at the wrong angles now,” he laughed, giving Kyungsoo a blinding smile. “Wanna head back now?” He stood up, offering a hand.


Kyungsoo took hold and heaved himself up. He glanced at himself in the mirror, huffing at the status of his hair.


“You’ve got some sick lines on your face too, Soo.” Chanyeol smirked as he grabbed his bag. Kyungsoo just ran his hands through his hair a few times to no avail and rubbed his cheeks to try and get rid of the indented zipper pattern he had on his face. Chanyeol knew he was pouting inside, even if his expression on the outside was indifferent. He was cute when he was tired, he decided. The way his movements were a little slower, a little clumsier; it was endearing to see his new friend in this state. Kyungsoo tried to be polite and soft-spoken during the day while they were training, but as Chanyeol was still learning, Kyungsoo had many sides, all of which were much more interesting than the professional one.


At least he wasn’t one of those people who was angry when they got woken up, he sighed outwardly in relief. He got punched enough during the day when Kyungsoo thought no one was looking. He was going to have bruises if he didn’t stop being so bothersome!


They were halfway to the bus stop when Chanyeol suggested that they both just crash at his place. Kyungsoo had agreed after several attempts at wanting to not be a burden.


“Kyungsoo-ya, you’re not being a burden. Just stay. It’s 3 AM. We have to be back at the studio tomorrow at 8 anyway.”


After staring at him for a couple seconds, he gives in. One does not simply tell Chanyeol “no.”


Chanyeol’s apartment was a five-minute train ride and a three-minute walk from their trainee building, while Kyungsoo’s was an extra two minutes of solo commute on foot. They walked home together every day, but had never entertained the idea of spending the night at each other’s places. They would stop at the corner of 167th and 36th, uttering small goodbyes as they parted ways. A lift of the hand to wave as one turned away to walk into the darkness untouched by the street lamps. A nod to answer as the other stuffed his hands in his pockets and turned down the street to the right.


This time it was different.


They toted their sport bags on their shoulders as they turned down the street, both walking in comfortable silence. It was as if they didn’t want to break the spell of early morning, when there was nothing to hear except their sneakers on the wet pavement and the fading roar of trains rolling away toward the next station. The orange fluorescent glow that reflected off the puddles on the ground cast a haunting glow on their faces as they walked, Kyungsoo staring at his feet and Chanyeol’s eyes tracking the doors of the buildings as they passed. Occasionally he would look down, only to find that Kyungsoo was still staring at the ground. Maybe he had been mistaken to have asked something like this from a new friend? Could he really call it new though? They’d been training together for months now, becoming virtually inseparable every day. It was only normal to want to hang out outside of training, he tried to justify to himself as they approached his building.


Chanyeol held up a small piece of plastic to the sensor on the door and it released with a click. “Welcome to the better dorm,” he let out a breathy laugh as he pushed the door open, giving it an extra nudge to accommodate his friend trailing behind him. “Hope it suits you.”


“Looks pretty similar, actually.”


“Figured,” he caught himself rubbing at the back of his head again. Why was he so nervous about this? It was just Kyungsoo.

 ----

“I’m really not that tired now,” Kyungsoo huffed. “After being exhausted in the studio like that, I figured I would be out in a few seconds.” He kicked gently at the trim of the doorway to the bathroom with his bare feet as Chanyeol brushed his teeth.


He spit in the sink. “Me too. I’m still wide awake.”


“You were exercising though. That’s supposed to keep you up later.”


“Really?” He rinsed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Maybe I need to stop practicing so late then. Sheesh.”

He turned the light off and Kyungsoo vacated the doorway so they could return to Chanyeol’s little bedroom. It was barely enough to be called a bedroom, but Chanyeol had managed to jam a couch in there as well as a bed and a keyboard. Kyungsoo seemed to making himself comfortable in the space after he had gawked at the amount of stuff crammed into the room the first time. He was plucking at the keyboard, avoiding eye contact. He’d been doing that all night. Kyungsoo wasn’t usually that shy with Chanyeol. It was different. Something was different.


“Want to watch Youtube videos for a while?” Chanyeol flopped down onto the fraying couch, patting the spot beside him. “You'll be out in no time if I put on some LoL gameplay.”


Kyungsoo let himself collapse about halfway through the motion of sitting down and found himself a little bit closer to Chanyeol than he would have preferred, but was too irritated at his own body to give a damn anymore. He couldn't stop his stupid heart from beating irregularly. Ever since Chanyeol had put his hand on his shoulder, he'd been feeling a little off about things. He shouldn't be this warm at the thought of spending the night at a friend’s house.

He was glad that they had been sweaty from practice and had to shower when they had gotten back. Otherwise, he was sure Chanyeol would have noticed his red cheeks at the thought of changing next to each other in such a private space. He kept his body to himself. It wasn't anything to be proud of. A little too thin in all of the wrong places and wider in the hips than he would have liked. He admired Chanyeol’s excessive legs and the lines of his body. He returned back to reality with a tsk.

---- 


They both lay on Chanyeol’s twin bed, as far away from each other as they could manage, which wasn't far at all, judging by the way their knees bumped every time one of them readjusted. Kyungsoo had his arms tucked underneath his blanket, pulling the edge up to his chin as if the room was frigid. Chanyeol seemed not to mind their proximity, instead opting to let his legs spread out into the middle area while he propped his head up with his hand.


“Do you think we'll ever get to debut?” He mused, fussing with the seam on his blanket as if he'd done it his whole life. Kyungsoo hadn't known him long enough to know, but he figured everyone had their calming habits. He let it cross his mind that Chanyeol was nervous about something, probably the idea of being chosen to debut, maybe the fear of never amounting to anything. Kyungsoo thought it was bullshit for the boy to be worried. Chanyeol was a shoe in for a role in the newest boy group the managers had hinted at during the last meeting. He was tall enough to model, handsome yet pretty, and if his fingers lay on an instrument, no matter how obscure, he knew how to play it.

Kyungsoo smiled, his eyes trailing down to watch Chanyeol’s fingers worry the blanket instead of meeting the boy’s gaze.


“You definitely will.”


“But I wasn't talking about myself alone. I was talking about us. Do you think there's a chance we could both get into the group?” Chanyeol’s smile was as wide as ever, but there was a touch of sadness in his eyes one could only recognize if they’d studied the way his eyes crinkled when he was happy. Kyungsoo hated to admit it, but he’d spent at least 10 hours of his life looking at that boy’s eyes, if he added up every instance he caught himself staring at Chanyeol from across a room. If he added in all the times he’d gotten a little bit lost in his eyes while across from him in a diner, watching the boy tell a story about his childhood pet ferrets or Baekhyun’s lightning bolt-shaped arms during rehearsal, he was borderline obsessive. even though he tried to hide it.


“I can't imagine that they’d pass you up with vocals like that.” And Kyungsoo felt his heart lurch a little bit. They couldn’t, right? He’d tried so hard to be the most well-behaved of the trainees, so that not only his singing, but his manners would set him apart. Chanyeol was looking at him with his damn puppy dog eyes still.


“But your dancing has improved so much. You've been spending hours practicing while I'm too busy napping,” Kyungsoo scoffed inwardly. “I almost feel like I don't deserve it.”


“But what if we made it? What would you do first?”


“Chanyeol. Don't get my hopes up,” he huffed. They stared at each other and butterflies were fluttering all around Kyungsoo’s stomach. He wasn’t sure if it was the faint wish for a brilliant future full of magazine photo shoots and cheering fans, or the fact that he had someone laying beside him that felt the same way as him about dreaming to be an idol. Chanyeol must have been feeling the same thing, because they broke into a fit of giggles, letting the troublesome butterflies escape into the air.


“I'd want to room with you for sure, you know, the clutter, the copious amount of instruments and hats. It's almost as if I'd be living with a hoarder,” he laughed, rolling from his side onto his back. “I'd pay for a brand new kitchen in my parents’ house so that my mother and I could spend all day cooking together, and maybe a theater room for my dad. I'd love to watch movies with him, since he was the one who got me interested in cinematography. And whatever my brother could dream of. I miss him,” he let out a small breath, a laugh to hide the way his voice threatened to break.

He missed his family sometimes. He spend so many hours pouring over music and staring at his reflection in the mirror as he danced to songs from his sunbaenims. He missed lounging on the couch next to his brother, getting his hair mussed for telling an inappropriate joke when his parents might be listening.


“Yeah?” Chanyeol's eyes brightened as Kyungsoo spoke. “You're such a nice guy, Soo.”

Kyungsoo glanced out of the corner of his eyes and raised his eyebrows at the nickname, letting the resting frown on his face sink in.

“Can I call you Soo?” Chanyeol faltered before Kyungsoo let his face brighten into a smile that rivaled his friend’s own.


“Yeah, Soo is fine,” he brought a hand out of his blanket to punch Chanyeol lightly in the chest. “What were you going to do if I said no?”


“Come up with at least ten different ones that were worse than Soo so that you'd let me call you that,” he laughed, reaching out to return the punch. “What about Kyungie, Do-ppa, Cutie Soo-“ he screeched as Kyungsoo reached his other hand out to grab the elder boy’s ear and give it a yank.


“I have an older brother, Chanyeol. I'll put you in a headlock if I have to.”


“I have an older sister, Soo,” he countered with a fair amount of sass. “I know how to fight dirty.”


Kyungsoo waited not a moment longer, reaching out to grab at the other boy’s neck. Chanyeol’s longer arms flailed out to stop the impending doom, but collapsed into a fit of giggles as the smaller boy wiggled out of his blanket cocoon enough to drag him close enough to trap. Chanyeol brought a knee up to stop him, and the aggressor raised an eyebrow. They locked eyes, a sheepish grin on one’s face, and a trademark glare on the other’s.


“T-t-tiny little Soo-ya, trying to play tough,” he giggled, and had to put both of his hands out to catch the fists flying at his face. “Soo-ya, Soo-ya! Okay okay, easy there-“ and was met with a pillow in his face. “Now I gave you that pillow in good faith. Don't use it against me like that.”

He grabbed for the boy’s wrist, stopping the second blow. He struggled, trying to free himself, but Chanyeol’s hands were big enough to encircle his entire wrist tightly and there was no way he was getting out now. He bared his teeth into a malicious smile.


“You know, when I let go-“ He broke off, trying not to laugh at the way Chanyeol flinched and squeezed his eyes shut in anticipation. “I’m going to punch you.”

He was smiling. He was not going to punch Chanyeol. His arms were getting that weak feeling when you’ve been laughing too much and you’re not sure your muscles are going to work when you need them to. Chanyeol let go of his wrists and he flopped down beside him, his arms tangling with Chanyeol’s gangly ones. He gave the left one a gentle slap just to make sure he didn’t get away without punishment.


"I'd want to buy a bunch of instruments.”


Kyungsoo met his gaze. “Hm?”


“The first thing I’d do if I became a part of the new group. I’d save up for a bunch of instruments. A whole room full of them. Keyboards, guitars, drums, saxophones, beat packs, loop pedals, you name it.” And Chanyeol’s eyes started to get that glint that indicated he was no longer in reality, but off in the wonderland only he could see. “Can you imagine having everything within reach, and having an audience that would listen to every little melody you could come up with?”


Kyungsoo wasn’t sure he fully understand just how bad Chanyeol wanted to share his music. It seemed so personal. A side of the boy that he didn’t often show so openly during the days they spent at the training quarters was on display now. Of course, Chanyeol mentioned how he wanted to compose his own music to all of his friends. It was part of his charm as a trainee. But there was a hunger in his heart, Kyungsoo understood now.


“Do you have songs written already?”


“Of course,” he laughed softly. “Not that I’ve ever showed anyone, let alone sang. Singing isn’t my strongest attribute at the moment.” He rubbed his arm and flopped onto his back. “I don’t know if it ever will be. I’m trying to hone my raps instead. Too hard to compete with people like you, Soo-ya.”


He felt his face redden, and suddenly, a finger poked him on his warming cheeks.

“You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

Kyungsoo was surprised that a hand was waiting to catch his fist as he sent it toward Chanyeol’s gut.

“Don’t go punching me now. I’m just stating facts, Soo.”


Chanyeol was holding his fist with one hand and was dragging the backs of his fingers against his cheeks with the other. He had to stop doing that-this, this touching thing. It was one thing to be lost in someone’s eyes from across a table, still at least two feet away from each other. Here, he was so close. Kyungsoo didn’t touch let people touch him like this, didn’t ever let himself touch anyone else with such intimate intentions. He let out a shaky breath and Chanyeol pulled his hand away sheepishly.


“Heh, pretty warm,” he muttered to himself, blinking and looking away from the smaller boy. He was getting that feeling he had gotten earlier when he had woken Kyungsoo from his nap in the dance studio. There was a warmth, not quite a fire because it didn’t hurt, and not quite starvation because he wanted to savor each touch. Just enough of a flame that made him want Kyungsoo to rest his head on his chest while he let his arms pull the boy closer. Was that too much to ask from someone who was spending the night for the first time? It didn’t help that Kyungsoo was visibly affected by his touch.


“We should get to bed,” he heard the boy mutter beside him. He wasn’t going to look over. He couldn’t make eye contact again with him just yet. The image of his pink cheeks and wide eyes, soft lips slightly parted as he breathed, was still burning in his memory enough to make his heart pound. He didn’t give an answer, but turned off the reading light beside his bed.


“I’m not cute, by the way.”


Chanyeol scoffed.


Kyungsoo whacked him with his arm. “I’m not.”


Despite every instinct in his brain telling him not to, Chanyeol rolled over and let his arm drape over the boy’s chest and a leg tangle with Kyungsoo’s. He felt the boy go stiff as a board and brought his lips close to his ear. “Soo-ya. Shut up."

He could almost hear Kyungsoo blushing in the dark silence of the tiny dorm room.


They fit nicely like this. Much better than when they had started.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Honey if I'm not the one for you, why have we been through what we have been have through?

 


They were on their way home. Kyungsoo was no longer reclined, but sat almost sideways, refusing to look anywhere near Chanyeol. He tried to focus his attention on the passing scenery as they traveled down the highway, but he wasn’t doing a very good job. Anytime he thought he had himself under control, the feelings of want and betrayal started to strangle him again. They were a noose around his neck, tightening to the point where he couldn’t breathe. Just focus on the trees. Those are some nice leaves there, he thought, drawing in a shaky breath.

Chanyeol glanced over at him, wanting more than anything to reach out and touch the man beside him, but he didn’t know if it would make it any better. Probably it would just worsen the situation they were already in. He glanced at himself in the rear view mirror, noticing the dark circles that were starting to color his under eyes. Their manager was going to kill him for showing up like this, still in the clothes from last night, looking like an absolute mess. They had to report to a set for SPAO photoshoot at 9 and he’d kept Kyungsoo out until 6 and they weren’t even back yet. The sun was rising into the sky slowly, ridding the horizon of the colors that had captivated them earlier. Instead, blue was spreading everywhere.


Chanyeol found himself wishing the sky was dark again, just before the dawn, when Kyungsoo had been soft and asleep next to him. Before he’d known how much pain he was putting his friend through. He couldn’t say it was only Kyungsoo that was feeling that things weren’t right. He’d tried so hard to become closer to Kyungsoo after he’d distanced himself initially when Chanyeol had started dating Yuna. He’d been confused, that Kyungsoo had been jealous that he was being replaced as a best friend. This was something more. He hadn’t realized it then.


The moment was replaying in his head over and over. Kyungsoo wanted to kiss him. Kyungsoo didn’t know if he could be friends anymore because it was causing him too much pain. The way his voice had cracked, his hands trembled, it all made Chanyeol want to hold him close so he would never be hurt again. He had to admit, when the man had confessed, his stomach did that fluttery thing. It was different. It didn’t do that with Yuna. He felt warm, confident, and comfortable with Yuna. He always felt that way with the girls he dated. But he’d never had his stomach feel like it was going to burst with butterflies like it did when Kyungsoo said something particularly kind to him, or smiled at him with his lips turned up into a heart shape and his eyes scrunched up when he told a good joke. It reminded him of their trainee days, these dumb butterflies. They made his cheeks flush and his palms sweat. He needed to calm down. He wasn’t 19 anymore. He was supposed to have some sort of emotional maturity.


They were nearing the exit to downtown Seoul when Kyungsoo finally turned to sit straight forward in his seat. Chanyeol raised an eyebrow, hoping for any words from the man, but it seemed like his lips were still sealed. It wasn’t until they were two minutes from the dorm that he finally opened his mouth.


“It’s broad daylight. People are going to talk if they see us walking into the building at 6:30 in the morning wearing the same clothes as yesterday.”


Chanyeol swallowed roughly. Kyungsoo had a point. It took him a couple seconds to think before it came to him. “Ah! I have an idea,” he blurted, turning into an alley next to a bank. “I’ve got a bag of clothes in the back. You can put on a new shirt and I’ll put on whatever is left. I can grab some coffee from down the street and we can act like we were out early this morning just have a chat, right?”


Kyungsoo just blinked. He took it as agreement and hopped out of the car to grab his duffel bag from the back of the SUV. He returned a couple seconds later, tossing a black shirt with a white slogan toward him. “They haven’t seen me wear this one yet, so they shouldn’t recognize it as mine. Looks like there’s a new hat and some pants in here. That’ll have to do I guess,” he mumbled, climbing back into the car.

Kyungsoo was already pulling his old shirt over his head. His pale skin kept Chanyeol staring for the brief moment that Kyungsoo’s head was stuck in his shirt, but he whipped his head back to stare at his own clothes afterward, his cheeks tinted slightly.


“I can get the coffee while you change,” Kyungsoo said softly as Chanyeol was staring down as his pair of pants. He didn’t think he could stand to sit there while the man stripped down to his underwear anyway. It was just too embarrassing. His confession rang out in his head to fill the silence. “Yeah, I’m going to just go.”

 ---

He returned with two steaming cups of coffee, hoping that he’d taken long enough to allow Chanyeol to change. With those gangly legs of his, he probably had quite a time getting into those pants. He couldn’t muster up the energy to chuckle to himself, so his face just settled into a despondent smile. He slid into the passenger side seat and handed Chanyeol his cup.
“Ah, thank you.” He clasped it with both hands, letting it warm his hands. They’d gone cold when Kyungsoo had left. It was as if all of the early morning comments were starting to sink in. He was sure that he was going to lose Kyungsoo. He was helpless.

The man was looking at him expectantly, wondering if he was going to turn the car on and get out of this dark alley. Chanyeol was panicking. His body took over and turned the key, reversed out into the street, and guided them home. His head was both silent and full of noise. The same thoughts over and over again. I’m losing him. I’m losing him. I cannot lose him. Please don’t let me lose him.


He pulled into the private space on the street in front of their dorm, thankfully open. He wasn’t sure muscle memory was going to parallel park his car for him. His hands were white, and when he pulled them away from the steering wheel, they shook. He stuffed them in his pockets quickly, hoping Kyungsoo didn’t notice.


He hadn’t. He was already getting out of the car. Chanyeol was running out of time.


“Kyungsoo, I-“


He didn’t stop like Chanyeol thought he would. He was already heading inside with his coffee, his head held low to avoid making eye contact with any passing people on the sidewalk. Chanyeol scrambled out of the car and ran after him, reaching out to grab the door as Kyungsoo threw it open.


“Kyungsoo-ya, hey I need to say something.”


He was heading up the stairs as if Chanyeol suddenly didn’t exist. Chanyeol huffed, quite used to breaking the silent treatment he used to receive for being a bother.


They entered the dorm, passing the kitchen that was starting to fill with members as they made breakfast. It seemed like they were all awake. Some of them raised their heads from their meals to give them a look as they hurried to their room. Suho made eye contact and Chanyeol gave him a sheepish smile and a wave that seemed to be enough of an answer. He just scoffed and returned to his cup of yogurt.

 


He shut the door after entering their shared bedroom. Thankfully, Kai had been in the kitchen with the others. “Soo. Look at me. Please.”


“What do you want, Chanyeol?”


It was said with such bitterness that he took a step back, wanting to retreat as far as possible. Maybe he had underestimated just how much he had hurt Kyungsoo. But his hands wouldn’t stop shaking and his heart was pounding in his ears. His mouth opened and the words died in his throat. The thoughts were swallowing him whole. There was only one thing, his bones were screaming it out.


“I don’t want to lose you, please.” His voice was weak and scratchy, as if he’d been crying. And it wasn’t until he heard his voice that he noticed the tears starting to well up in his eyes. “I-I,” Kyungsoo was looking him in the eyes for the first time since they’d drove home and it was making him want to break into a million pieces. “I don’t know what I’ll do without you.”


“I’m sure you’ll manage,” his words were acid. Chanyeol tried to stop his hands from trembling, but it just turned into him wringing them instead. Kyungsoo turned to head toward the bathroom instead, but Chanyeol reached out to grab his shoulder. “I swear I told you not to touch me-“


“I feel the same way. Kyungsoo, I don’t know what it is but I don’t feel this way with anyone else.” It stopped the man in his tracks. He was waiting, waiting for Chanyeol to say more. But Chanyeol didn’t have anything else to say. His words were running out. His pulse was still deafening in his ears and Kyungsoo was sand slipping through his fingers.


He tugged the man around to face him, but Kyungsoo wouldn’t lift his head to meet Chanyeol’s gaze. “Hey,” he whispered. “Soo.” Still nothing. He reached out and tilted his best friend’s chin up to force their eyes to meet. They only met for a moment before Kyungsoo averted his eyes, refusing to silently admit that they were filling with tears of his own. The noose was tightening around his neck again. His brow was furrowed with strain to keep the tears from falling.


“Soo-ya. Don’t cry too. Please don’t cry,” Chanyeol pleaded, resting his forehead against Kyungsoo’s. “It’s all my fault.”


“It’s no one’s fault, Chanyeol. I just have feelings that I’m not supposed,” he paused, feeling Chanyeol’s breath mix with his own. He forgot what he was supposed to be saying, the sensation of brushing noses with the taller man and the proximity of his lips were flooding his senses with a fire he tried so hard to ignore. “I-I’m not supposed to have.” He reached his hands up to push Chanyeol away, but hands were ready to catch his wrists and restrained him.


“Please don’t punch me for this.” Chanyeol whispered so softly, Kyungsoo could barely hear it.

And then he was being kissed.


Chanyeol was kissing him. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t move, lips were pressed to his and they felt so soft and warm and he was crying now, oh fuck. Chanyeol started to pull away from the lack of response he was getting, but Kyungsoo’s hands found the collar of his jacket and pulled him back flush against him. He was gasping for air and Chanyeol’s lips tasted faintly of coffee but there was nothing more he wanted in that moment. Their lips were moving in unison now and Chanyeol’s hands were at Kyungsoo’s back, grasping at his shirt in an attempt to press him closer. He was tentative, afraid to ask for more than Chanyeol would give, but the feeling of him sucking gently on his bottom lip made a shudder run down Kyungsoo’s spine. A soft moan rose from his throat and suddenly he was being pressed against the bathroom door.


Chanyeol was breathing like he’d just run a marathon and his hands were still wound up in Kyungsoo’s borrowed shirt, but he was beginning to learn the way Kyungsoo kissed, and dared to let his tongue graze the younger man’s lips. The way he whined in response had a pit of warmth growing in Chanyeol’s lower abdomen that he was too preoccupied to hide. A hand was teasing the bottom of his shirt, traveling up underneath to press against his stomach. Kyungsoo’s fingers passed softly over the skin and Chanyeol broke away from their kiss to rest his head on the door, his eyes closed. They were still pressed together and Kyungsoo’s hand froze. Chanyeol unwound one hand to press it against the door, trying to steady himself. The way Kyungsoo was touching him, it was twisting his stomach into knots. It was making him see stars.


“Kyungsoo.”


“I’m sorry,” he blurted, pulling his hand out of Chanyeol’s shirt. “I shouldn’t have done that.”


He opened his eyes and let the hand that wasn’t propping him against the door travel down to rest on Kyungsoo’s hip.

“Kyungsoo,” he laughed softly. He returned to gazing at the man he had pinned to the door. “You have no idea how much I want you right now.” Just admitting it had the flames jumping in his stomach.


“This is so wrong. We’re just friends and you have a-“


“I know.” He swallowed nervously, thinking about how he was going to deal with that. He preferred not to think about how the only thought in his head right now was of his best friend touching the growing problem in his pants. Unanswered texts from his girlfriend were still on his phone from earlier in the morning and it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was the man in front of him, with tear-stained cheeks and lips swollen from Chanyeol’s ministrations. “I can deal with Yuna, but-“


“Chanyeol.”


“Hm,” he answered, resting his forehead on Kyungsoo’s again.


“Your hand,” he gasped out the words, holding back a shiver that wracked his whole body.


Chanyeol became aware of his hand that was teasing the waistband of Kyungsoo’s black jeans. He could feel the elastic of the man’s boxers and the softness of his skin, the fuzz of hair that ran from his belly button down to his belt buckle. He wanted to undo it. He wanted to unzip the man’s jeans and palm him through his boxers. The way Kyungsoo was squirming and biting his lip had Chanyeol thinking that it wouldn’t be hard to get his pants off at all.


He felt Kyungsoo grab at his waist to pull their hips together. The sound he made at the contact was obscene. If he was in his right mind, he would have been embarrassed. But he wasn't, and the sigh that Kyungsoo let out ghosted over his lips, making him forget any inhibitions he had left.


He was leaving marks on Kyungsoo’s neck, unbuckling the man’s belt and tossing it to the floor. Kyungsoo’s hands were trembling, struggling to unbutton Chanyeol’s pants.


“Let’s go in here,” he mustered, opening the door to the bathroom. He flipped the handle on the shower, letting the water pour out at full capacity. “So they'll think we’re just getting ready.”

 ---

 

They were both in their underwear, Chanyeol grinding against Kyungsoo roughly as he pinned him against the wall. Steam was beginning to fill the room, making Chanyeol’s hair curl at the ends and frizz up. He hoped that the stream of water from the shower was enough to hide the whines coming from Kyungsoo as he left a trail of kisses down the man’s chest.


“Your hands are still shaking,” he chuckled, grabbing Chanyeol’s hand before he could pull his boxers aside.


“I just don’t do this very often,” he paused, on his knees in from of Kyungsoo. “And it’s you. Soo, I’m so nervous. I want you so bad and I’m so scared and-“


“Whoa, whoa, Chanyeol. Hey.” He grabbed Chanyeol’s face with both hands. “We don’t have to do this.”


“I was just so afraid of losing you, and I felt so many things all at the same time and I’m not sure what they all mean so I was just going with my gut,” he sputtered, sitting back on his heels. “I don’t know what I was thinking but I panicked and you’re the best friend I’ve ever had. I can’t go on without you. Who am I supposed to sing duets with if not you? Or play games with?” His eyes started to burn and his gasps for air made it hard to spit out the words he’d been worrying over in his mind. “ I guess you could go out to new restaurants with Jongin, but going to visit my mom at the restaurant wouldn’t be the same without you, Soo. You’ve wound yourself into every part of my life, damn it. You can’t just let whatever this is get in the way of that,” his shoulders started to shake as he sobbed.


“Chanyeol,” his name floated from Kyungsoo’s lips like a feather falling softly to the ground. Kyungsoo found himself lowering down to sit beside Chanyeol, and the man’s head was resting on his shoulder within a second.


“I need you, Soo.”


“I know.”


They sat on the tile floor together for a couple minutes, the only sounds being the shower running and Chanyeol’s stifled sobs as he finally let out all of the worry he’d been holding inside.


“I need you too,” Kyungsoo answered.


It only made Chanyeol cry even harder.

 

--- 

They never told anyone what had happened that morning. No one had to know that they had climbed into the shower after Kyungsoo had dried the tears from Chanyeol’s puffy eyes. Kyungsoo let his hands roam the man’s body slowly, humming a song he’d heard on the radio last night. Chanyeol stood with his eyes closed, letting the water hit his back while Kyungsoo soaped his front. He let the shorter man rub shampoo into his hair, and Kyungsoo may or may not have spiked it up into a mohawk before Chanyeol could rinse it out. They laughed for the first time in a long time, a laugh that came from deep in their chests. Kyungsoo caught Chanyeol staring at his ass and the blush that colored his cheeks was enough to send them into another fit of giggles. He raised a hand to punch Chanyeol gently and was met with a splash of water in the face. Chanyeol was all smiles and Kyungsoo decided it wouldn’t be all that bad if they could just stay like this. Maybe he didn’t need anything more just yet.


They never agreed on anything out loud, but they didn’t ever kiss each other again after that morning. Maybe it was that they never had the chance, or maybe Kyungsoo was just afraid.

But in that moment, with both of them fixing their damp hair in the mirror, towels tied loosely around their waists, they were closer than they’d been in the two years since they’d debuted.

Chapter Text

 

 

It’s so cold in your wilderness.

     Chanyeol was walking down the street alone, hands in his coat pockets. The wind tousled his hair gently as he stared at his feet, not noticing the stars that were starting to be clouded. It forewarned of a storm, but he didn’t know it then. He was busy fiddling with the satin lining of his pocket, thinking of what he was going to say to Yuna. He had asked her to meet him at their favorite restaurant five blocks from the EXO dorm, a classic evening sort of place. She’d be wearing the necklace he had given her for their three-month anniversary. Maybe even the shirt they’d picked out together when shopping in Myeongdong, the one with the white collar and the lace that peeked out of the sleeves.

     His lips curved into a smile of resignation. It was a beautiful thing to imagine, Yuna. She was everything and yet nothing at all. As he walked in front of the building, the warm yellow lighting from the low hanging lamps of the restaurant shone out of the tall glass panes that surrounded the dining area. Candles flickered in corners of the room. Chanyeol loved the atmosphere. It was soft and romantic, a real hidden gem of a place. He had a feeling he wouldn’t be coming back after this.

      As he pushed open the door to enter the restaurant, he caught the eye of the host.

      “Ah, Park Chanyeol-ssi. Your lady has already been seated at your preferred table. Please have a wonderful evening, sir.”

     He nodded, flinching involuntarily at the word “wonderful.”

     Yuna gave him a bright smile as she spotted him making his way to the table. She had already ordered his drink for him, and the sight of it already made him want to throw up. He mustered a closed-lip smile as he sat down across from her.

     “Chanyeol, what’s going on? You never told me what ended up happening Thursday night.”

     His eyes flashed up to meet hers, full of panic. Her smile had not faded, and she had her head tilted in question.

     “Chanyeol? Are you okay?” She reached a hand across the table to grab his clenched fist. “If you don’t want to talk about it, it’s fine. You’ve probably had a stressful week.” She ran a thumb over his knuckles, her warm eyes focusing in on his features one by one, as if it would make the motives of his behavior any clearer.

      “Uh, yeah. I-“ He paused, struggled to broach the subject. He felt the urge to pretend nothing had happened, to just continue having dinner with Yuna and then head back to her place. To put on some soft music and just lay there with her running her fingers through his hair. He came back to reality, her gaze still trained on him. “I needed to talk to you about it, actually.”

      She withdrew her hand slowly and leaned back in her chair. “Okay then, shoot. Tell me everything.” She didn’t seem the least bit concerned. She had no idea. And it made Chanyeol feel more nauseous with every second. He couldn’t even pretend to browse the menu. A waiter passed by to check on them, but he waved the man away. That caught Yuna’s attention. Suddenly, her brows furrowed, such a subtle movement on such a soft and elegant face. She was beautiful. Chanyeol didn’t feel anything but the sweat on his palms.

     “So I picked up Kyungsoo that night.”

      “Yeah, you mentioned that. Was he too drunk to make it back by himself?” She chuckled, taking a sip of her drink.

      Kyungsoo never gets drunk enough to need help like that, he thought to himself. The man’s face filled his mind and his stomach was churning. “Nah, he was sober. Just needed some help getting past the fans this time.”

     “Ah, that again? I’m sorry it keeps happening. Did something happen with the fans? Did someone get hurt?”

     Yuna was jumping to conclusions and if it was possible, Chanyeol would have blurted out everything at once. He didn’t want to be here for this. He wanted to leave his body.

     “It wasn’t the fans, Yuna,” he let out an exasperated sigh of a sentence.

      She shut her mouth quickly. The shining mood she had been in when he had arrived was fading quickly. Her hand flew up to her neck to fiddle with the silver necklace hanging there.

     “I took Kyungsoo to the beach.”

     She tilted her head again. “The beach? That’s kind of far away.” The waiter was back again, and this time Yuna beckoned him close. She ordered a warm noodle dish for them to share, with a few side dishes they’d never tried before. “I’m trying to add more vegetables to my diet instead of meat,” she explained after nodding to the waiter that she was finished ordering. “I hope you don’t mind.”

     She flipped her hair behind her shoulder and took a moment to glance out the windows into the street. “I wanted something warm since it’s so cold out all of a sudden.” She was smiling again. He wanted to beg her to stop smiling. “So you went to the beach in the middle of the night. Seems kind of random, but that’s about right for you, mister spontaneous.”

     “He-he was upset with me, I’ve never seen him so mad.” His damn hands were shaking again. The more he thought about the previous night’s events, the more real they became. His hands on Kyungsoo’s skin, feeling parts of him that he’d only imagined previously. His lips tasting the nape of the man’s neck. Fingers tangling in his hair as Kyungsoo tried desperately to bring them closer than physically possible. They were all double-edged swords of memories, thoughts that made his heart soar, but his stomach plummet to the floor. “He told me-“

     Yuna was trying to reach out to him again and he pulled his hands away to run them through his hair again, trying to remember how to breathe. “He told me that we couldn’t be friends anymore.”

      “Oh, Chanyeol,” her voice was soft as she tried to soothe him. “Why would he say such a thing?”

     He took a moment to answer, trying to swallow the bile that was rising in his throat. “I think he has feelings for me.” He didn’t know if he could do it. This was just dancing around the truth. The truth that Kyungsoo wasn’t the only one.

 

      Yuna was silent, glancing toward the floor as the words set in. After a minute, she tried to meet his eyes but Chanyeol was staring with such intense focus on the candle flickering in the middle of their table that she couldn’t get his attention. “Do you think you guys can still be friends even though he feels that way? It must be hard for him, I understand.”

      It would have been much easier if Yuna wasn’t so empathetic, so agreeable. Chanyeol was losing any shreds of composure he had left in his bones as he blurted out the words that had been riling in his stomach for so long.

      “I have feelings for him too.”

      He finally met her eyes, but they didn’t say much. She was staring at him, wide-eyed and stone still. Her lips started to move, to shape into a word, but nothing came out. She blinked a couple times, furrowing her brows even more. It was more than concern that painted her features now. Confusion was written in the way she pursed her lips, the way her eyes tracked across the room.

      “What do you mean?”

      “Yuna, I’m sorry-“

      “You said you have feelings. Feelings for Kyungsoo. Your best friend.”

      “Yes, I-let me explain,” he scratched at his head, his fingers trembling as they tried to complete the simple task.

     “Should I be asking if something happened between you two?” Her cheeks were starting to redden. “Chanyeol. Did something happen?”

     He swallowed, even though his mouth was as dry as a desert. His ears were turning red with guilt as he pursed his lips. He didn’t say anything, but the mortified look on Yuna’s face was enough for him to know that she understood. She knew.

     “I don’t even know what to do right now. I didn’t expect this from you, just-wow. You,” she pointed a finger at him. The waiter was walked toward them with plates of food on a tray and she raised a hand to stop him. Her voice was quiet, and it made it hurt so much more than it would if she had thrown her drink in his face and stormed off. “You cheated on me. You,” she paused to keep her voice from wavering. “You cheated on me, Chanyeol. And to think, I trusted you.” She stood up from the table, pressed her hands to her skirt to straighten it.

     “I don’t want to ever see you again. Ever.” She unclasped the necklace from around her neck and tossed it on the table. The way it hit the table with a simple metallic tap was a deadpan, much like her last words to him.

     “Thanks for whatever this was.”

 

     And then she was gone.

 

     He watched her walk out, her hair swaying with the movement of her hips. She crossed the street and headed out of sight into the night, leaving him sitting at the candlelit table with an empty heart. He knew that after the choices he had made, it shouldn’t hurt so much to lose her, but after the time they’d spent together, he’d become so fond of her. She was a light in his life and he hadn’t opened his heart to someone like that in a long time. She didn’t deserve to be treated this way. She deserved much more than him. He took a deep breath and stood up, pushing his chair back. He paid for the uneaten meal, bowing as he apologized for causing trouble for the staff.

          ---     

     He was still two blocks away from the dorm when the rain started. He patted his coat for an umbrella and felt nothing. Chanyeol let out a hiss as the drops started to dampen his neck, his nose, his sleeves. It was cold, only accenting the chill he already carried in his body from the loss of someone he’d been sure he loved. He wasn’t sure what he was feeling. It still didn’t feel real.

     He came to a stop, raising his hands up to look at his palms closely under the light of the street lamp. The rain was landing softly on his fingers, but he couldn’t feel it. He was sure that it was cold, but as it started to pour down, he realized that it didn’t matter anymore. It was as if he could melt into the unforgiving concrete beneath his feet.

 ---

     He didn't know how he got home. He didn't remember his vision getting so blurry, but there was someone waiting inside the door, shoving something soft and dry at him. He accepted the gift, not registering what it was. There was a muffled sound coming from the blur and a warm hand fitting into his own. He tried to tug away, rejecting the warmth, but it only tightened around his fingers, pulling him into the entryway.

     The sound was a voice. It was soft.

     His free hand gripped tightly around the thing in his hand. A towel.

     A towel.

     He lifted it up to rub his face, pulling it away to find Kyungsoo standing in front of him, his glasses framing his deep brown eyes that were flooded with worry.

     “Chanyeol, are you okay?”

     Everything was getting blurry again. His eyes were burning and his face scrunched up as he struggled to keep everything from falling apart. All he could do was shake his head as the tears spilled out over his cheeks onto the floor. He was not okay. He didn’t feel like he would ever be okay. His hand dropped to his side, letting the towel slip out of his fingers. His damp hair was flat against his head, the curls dripping slowly and mixing with his tears.

     The hand holding onto his own tugged gently, letting him stumble into Kyungsoo’s embrace. He was small, but so warm. He was a rock, steady and certain when the waves of sadness were washing over Chanyeol. The sobs were wracking his body and a hand was rubbing side to side across his back. His friend had started to hum a simple tune as he rubbed, keeping his other hand clasped tightly around Chanyeol’s. After a couple minutes, he was feeling well enough to notice how damp he was making Kyungsoo, which caused him to recoil in regret.

     “I’ve turned you into a human snot rag, Soo. I’m sorry.” He didn’t move his head from the man’s shoulder.

     “It doesn’t matter,” he heard Kyungsoo chuckle, and the apology earned him an extra pat on his back. The man slowly pulled away to look Chanyeol in the eyes. “Do you want to head back to the bedroom? You’re soaking wet. You must be freezing.”

     He didn’t wait for an answer, instead settling for dragging Chanyeol back through the dorm until they reached their shared bedroom. Kai was seated in the desk chair, his feet propped up on the desk as he read a book. Chanyeol watched as Kyungsoo shooed their roommate out of the room and then pulled him over to stand by the closet.

     “I’d let you sit, but then you’d have to sleep on damp sheets, so let’s get you changed first. Okay?” He was asking, but he wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer by the way he started sifting through Chanyeol’s side of the clothing. He tossed an oversized hoodie and a pair of sweatpants out without looking behind him. “That should be good.”

     He darted over to the drawers against the wall before adding a pair of boxers, an undershirt, and some socks to the pile. “Do you want to change here, or in the bathroom-“ he paused, taking in the sight of his friend still leaving a trail of water on the floor wherever he walked. The man looked like he was going to start crying again at any moment, so he decided to just help him peel off his wet clothing. He didn’t see Chanyeol smile, but the tears didn’t fall from his eyes, so he hoped it meant he had done something right.

 ---

     Kyungsoo sat on the bottom bunk, his back against the wall. Chanyeol was resting his head on a pillow in the man’s lap, curled up on his side, staring into space. Kyungsoo let his fingers wander, weaving their way into Chanyeol’s drying curls. He rubbed slowly, trying to massage some of the tension out of his friend.

     He was tentative. “She didn’t take it too well, did she?”

     Chanyeol shook his head, pulling his sleeve-covered hands up to wipe at his nose.

     “I’m sorry. I’m sorry you had to go through that. You’re very strong for being honest with her.”

     “I don’t feel strong. I feel like a piece of shit,” he muttered, letting a tear fall onto the pillow. His breath shuddered and Kyungsoo’s fingers paused, still resting in the man’s hair. “I feel like shit for cheating on her. For not realizing that I had feelings for someone else sooner,” he trailed off.

     “Kyungsoo. Am I a terrible person?”

     “No.”

     “Are you just saying that because you love me?”

     Kyungsoo’s cheeks tinted pink and he was glad Chanyeol was facing away from him. He cleared his throat quickly. “No-definitely not.” He took a deep breath. “I think you made a mistake and you owned up to it, which is more than a lot of people are capable of.”

     “Maybe I should have put more thought into things, you know. It’s just that you said we couldn’t be friends. I thought you weren’t going to talk to me anymore, and I felt like I was being ripped apart because I was hurting you.” He sat up quickly, startling Kyungsoo. “Damn it, Soo. I was so afraid of losing you that I fucked up everything with the other important person in my life. It hurts! It hurts no matter what I do and I did it all for you, but I can’t even look at you without thinking about what we did and it makes me want to throw up.”

     Kyungsoo agreed. He felt like he was going to throw up.

     “Was it worth it?” Chanyeol raised his head to look Kyungsoo in the eyes, instantly regretting his decision to make eye contact. Kyungsoo was fucking melting him from the inside again. He wanted the man’s fingers in his hair again, soothing away the pain. Kyungsoo had panic in his eyes and the tips of his ears were bright red, a clear sign of his embarrassment. “Was it worth it to lose her, to feel like this? I feel so empty, like there’s a gaping hole in my chest.”

     A hand rested on his shoulder, gripping him gently. It sent a ripple of warmth to his chest, but it wasn’t enough to thaw the chill that ran through his blood. He raised a hand to brush away Kyungsoo, but gave up halfway. “Damn, you,” he whispered. They stared at each other, their lips sealed and their hearts beating in synchrony. The way Kyungsoo’s eyes swirled with emotion had Chanyeol wondering just what the man was thinking. If he was worried about Chanyeol just as much as he had been afraid of losing Kyungsoo just a couple days ago.

     “Damn you, Do Kyungsoo.” He stood up, swinging out from under the bunk bed to stand in front of the window overlooking the neighborhood. It was still nothing but pouring rain outside, forming tiny ponds as the roads flooded. Kyungsoo was getting up to join him, but he held out a hand to halt him. “I think I need to be alone right now.”

     His best friend blinked at him, biting at his lip. What a bad habit that was, he thought. It was too easy to read him right now. So simple to see that he just wanted to be next to him. His fingers were twitching, fiddling with his uneven nails. He was bracing for the worst.

     “I think I need to be alone for a long time.”

     There it was. Kyungsoo’s stomach had dropped three floors to the entrance of the building.

     “Chanyeol. Please,” he stuttered.

     “Soo, don’t.”

     “No, you don’t. Don’t shut me out. I was here to be your friend before anything else, and if you don’t let me be that, what was the fucking point of any of this?” His voice was almost a shout by the end of the phrase and it sparked something in Chanyeol, a frustration he had been repressing the entire night.

     “I was sitting at the table with her and all I could think about was how she wasn’t you, Kyungsoo. How stupid is that?” He yelled, causing Kyungsoo to recoil. “Ah, I didn’t mean it like that, Soo-“

     “Stupid?”

     “I just meant that I’m not even sure what this is.”

     “We’re friends, Chanyeol.” He scoffed, clearly trying to guard himself.

     “Friends don’t kiss, Kyungsoo. That’s pretty obvious.”

     “What do you want, Chanyeol?”

     They were standing in front of each other now, the height difference between them almost comical as they argued. The way Kyungsoo was looking at him was resigned, the emotion that had been in his eyes earlier was muted now.

     “I’m not sure,” he muttered, staring at the man’s lips as he pondered the idea of never being able to kiss them again. “I’m not sure what I want.”

     It wasn’t the answer Kyungsoo was looking for. He stepped away from Chanyeol, reaching beside the bed to toss a blanket onto the bunk before he turned to leave.

     “Soo-ya.”

     “Yes?” He lingered in the doorway.

     “You understand, right? Why I don’t know right now?” His voice was trembling again and he was too exhausted to care.

     He turned around the flash Chanyeol a closed lip smile. “Of course. Take your time. It’s not like I’m going anywhere.”

     Warmth bloomed in Chanyeol’s chest, only to be overwhelmed by a wave of guilt. He let out a breathless laugh. Kyungsoo was turning to leave again, and as the door shut, it suddenly dawned on Chanyeol just how alone he was. The doorknob clicked into place, leaving the man to deal with his own demons.

 ---

     Kyungsoo slumped outside their room, his back to the door as he slid to the ground. He tilted his head to look at the ceiling, wringing his hands in his lap. His eyes closed slowly, his lips ghosting over the words that spilled out.

     “Take your time.”

     He prayed that it wouldn’t be too long. He didn’t know if his heart could take it.

Chapter Text

I want you to be my keeper, but not if you are so reckless.

                “We’ve gathered you all together to let you know that you’ve been selected to be a part of SM’s next boy group. We’re working with a focus group to come up with a suitable name for you guys, so we’ll get back to you on that particular detail, but please take the next few weeks to familiarize yourselves with the music we passed out at the beginning of the meeting. We’ll be starting rehearsals Monday morning so be ready.”

The man in front of them, their new manager, was stern but cheerful, his cheeks pushing his glasses up as he attempted to give them a bright smile. Kyungsoo was in shock. He assumed the others were as well. Echoes of thanks rang out as the members began to realize that it was over, that they were done being trainees.

As they walked out of the room and exited the building, they were becoming idols. The training they thought would eventually kill them was worth it. His bones ached, and Kyungsoo finally felt like his age for once. He took a moment to linger in the doorway, gazing at the lights that flickered around him. It was 1 AM, yet Seoul was still as alive as ever. His eyes met Chanyeol’s, the boy’s eyebrows raised in question. He had been chosen too. It had been the biggest stroke of luck Kyungsoo had ever experienced. Not only was he becoming an idol in a 12 member group, SM’s newest attempt had capturing the hearts of every girl in Korea, but he was going to go through all of it with his best friend.

Kyungsoo didn’t cry often, but he felt like he could at that moment. Chanyeol had his hands on the boy’s shoulders, dragging him out of the doorway. He was saying something to him, but Kyungsoo couldn’t hear anything. His ears were buzzing as if bombs had gone off inside them. He knew he had a stupid smile on his face, but it didn’t matter. Giggles started to bubble up in his throat and he brought up a hand to hold them back.

Chanyeol had been concerned for him, worried that the news had been too much for the smaller boy’s body. It had been a rough day in rehearsal, and toward the end of the day, Chanyeol had been sure Kyungsoo was going to collapse. They hadn’t been eating lunch all week, instead opting for extended dance practices. His face had gone pale, his deep brown eyes that usually shone with a fire that matched the boy’s passion were glazed over, and his hands were shaky on Chanyeol’s arm. “I think I need a quick drink. Keep going without me,” he muttered before stumbling out of the mirrored room. Chanyeol kept dancing with enough tenacity for the both of them. They weren’t the best dancers by far, but their improvements had been noted by the choreographers. He didn’t want to rest now.

“Kyungsoo. Hey, Soo-ya,” he shook his shoulders. The boy was sputtering. Chanyeol bent down to meet him eye-to-eye. He was met with a smile that lit his stomach on fire. Kyungsoo was a ray of sunshine even when it was the middle of the night and his laugh was contagious. Soon they were both laughing out loud, holding each other’s hands tightly.

“We made it,” he repeated between gasps for air. “I can’t believe we made it.”

“Me either.” Chanyeol wrapped his arm over Kyungsoo’s shoulders, guiding him as they started walking toward the train station. “Wanna get some takoyaki to celebrate?”

“But we were just there yesterday,” he chuckled, pulling his phone out of his pocket. He began a text to his mother, hoping to tell her the good news.

“You can get something else then, Soo. It’s not like it’s the only thing they sell there.”

“Ah, but they’re the best,” he brought a hand to his chest, closing his eyes in reverence to the delicious dumplings.

“I’ll buy you a soda though, as an extra treat.”

He was met with a smack on the arm. “What makes you think that it’s your treat? I believe that we both got job offers today. I’m buying you soda.”

“Gah, what a gentleman,” he laughed, ruffling Kyungsoo’s hair. “Wanna take it to eat back at your place though? It’s getting kind of late to be loitering around the train station.”

All he got was a hum of agreement, Kyungsoo too absorbed in his phone to answer properly. It was okay. Chanyeol had been texting everyone in his family, well everyone that SM said he was allowed to contact, during the meeting. It was probably bad etiquette to do so, but he was Park Chanyeol, newest SM idol. Who was going to stop him now?

--

“We just got jobs,” he blurted at the cashier as she handed back his change. He turned to beam at Kyungsoo who returned it with furrowed eyebrows, before bursting into laughter again.

“Congratulations,” the woman deadpanned, handing him a paper bag of the fried octopus dumplings. “Have a good night.”

“You too!” He called, turning on his heel to see Kyungsoo taking off for the train platform. “Soo-ya! Wait up, would ya?”

The boy just let out a sinister giggle and started sprinting down the stairs, his bag slung on his shoulder haphazardly as he ran.

“If you trip and break the soda bottles, I’m going to be pissed at you!” He called down the hallway as the boy’s head disappeared. He stumbled down the stairs and ran down the platform, laughing as he held the takoyaki bag cradled in his arm like a rugby ball. It wasn’t until he got to the bench they usually sat on when they waited for the last train that he realized Kyungsoo wasn’t there. He came to an abrupt halt, twisted side to side. Where had he gone? He could have sworn he was just her-

“Ahhhh!” Kyungsoo screamed, jumping out from behind one of the pillars to grab Chanyeol by the waist.

“Shit!” He flailed, almost dropping the bag of food as his hands momentarily forgot how to function. His stomach had jumped straight into his throat, he was sure of it. He clutched at his heart with one hand, bent over and heaving. “Damn you, Kyungsoo.”

The boy was cracking up, his eyes scrunched up and his gums showing as he laughed at Chanyeol’s expense. “You’re such a wimp.”

“Hey, this wimp is the newest SM rapper. I wouldn’t be messing with me if I were you.” He was still bent over, peeking through his eyelashes to glare at the boy.

“And I’m a main vocalist. Fight me.”

“The only thing I’m fighting you for is the last takoyaki. I’m not sure I can win at anything else. You’ve got one hell of a right hook, Kyungsoo-ya,” he laughed, finally regaining some of his composure.

“Damn right.”

They stood in silence for a moment, taking turns glancing at the arrival sign that updated every three seconds. “1 minute,” it read, and Chanyeol bounced on the balls of his feet.

“Soo.”

“Yes?”

He looked down at the smaller boy, letting the fondness bloom in his chest instead of swallowing it back down. Things were going too well for him today. He couldn’t help but let the high of success take over his body for a moment, could he? It wouldn’t be too much, would it?

“Chanyeol?” He was waiting for him to respond.

“Do you ever just want to scream because you’re so happy?”

“Totally.”

“I kind of want to do that right now.”

“Same.”

They made eye contact, staring at each other in complete silence.

Then they screamed at the top of their lungs. The walls of the train station rang out with their raspy shouts, sounds made from all of the nights spent slaving away over the guitar or in front of the mirror. Chanyeol’s deep baritone was gravelly, breaking at the strain of screaming so loud. They danced, forgetting themselves for just a moment. Chanyeol punched the air and Kyungsoo was spinning around in circles looking like an absolute idiot.

He wasn’t sure that there would ever be another person that shared his emotions as well as Kyungsoo. Their chests were heaving as they matched each other breath for breath. Kyungsoo’s cheeks felt like they were going to burst from smiling. He was sure he was going to be blinded by Chanyeol’s 22 thousand teeth that were on display. Wouldn’t be a bad last sight to see, he decided. It only made him laugh more, which made his stomach ache from effort.

The train was rolling up to the platform, preceded by a wind that roared through the underground tunnel and whipped across their bodies. The pre-recorded voice through the speakers was telling them to stay behind the yellow line and Chanyeol was grabbing Kyungsoo’s face in both hands and pressing their lips together.

Chanyeol swore his heart skipped a beat as their lips connected, pressing into the warmth of Kyungsoo’s soft mouth. He had meant for it to just be a short peck, one he could excuse as just being excited. He kept his eyes closed, it was too weird now to look. This was weird, wasn’t it? Kissing his best friend. He hadn’t meant for it to be like this. He didn’t know what had come over him, but the train was coming and they were about to be in a k-pop group and Chanyeol had never been so thrilled in his life. So he didn’t pull away.

Kyungsoo’s eyes had been wide open. But as the train approached their station, he felt one of his hands come up to rest on Chanyeol’s hip, fingers pressing into his side as his eyes fluttered shut. His heart was racing and he almost forgot to move his own lips, but as Chanyeol started to pull away, he tightened his grip, tugging their bodies flush. He slowly joined the kiss, sucking on Chanyeol’s lip softly before pulling away to look at the taller boy.

His face was so red, Kyungsoo thought he would have made a good tomato. He opened his mouth to say something but nothing came out. He settled for a tilt of his head and a tuck of his hair behind his ear.

Kyungsoo just smirked and walked forward to board the train as it opened its doors to welcome them.

“Oh!” Chanyeol stuttered, juggling his bag and takoyaki as he stumbled onto the train to sit next to his friend. The boy was laughing at him, his eyes focused on the dull blue subway seats as he rubbed at his lips with the side of his finger. He didn’t make eye contact, but as Chanyeol counted the stops until they had to get off again, Kyungsoo let his head fall to rest on his shoulder, his hands clasped in his lap.

--

Chanyeol knows he's got it bad when Kyungsoo bends over to grab a pot from deep inside one of the cabinets in his mother’s kitchen and he finds himself ogling at the boy’s ass. And it just looked so perky, the way it stuck out a little bit when he was standing there chopping up radish to boil in the stew. It was so soft when he decided to sit on Chanyeol’s lap while the whole family was watching a movie together in the living room. Chanyeol had suggested they sit on the floor instead of fighting over the armchair, but Kyungsoo just made himself at home on Chanyeol’s thighs while he munched on his bowl of nachos.

Chanyeol didn’t remember what the movie was about.

Kyungsoo had tried to have a discussion with him later when they were tucking into his bed side-by-side.

The entire duration of the film had been a struggle to suppress his crotch from showing just how much of a mistake it was for Kyungsoo to sit on his lap.

“What was your favorite part of the final battle?” He asked, turned onto his side to glean some information out of his best friend.

Your ass. “The hero,” he coughed. “The way he just-“ He paused. He couldn’t even manage to bullshit something passable.

“Were you sleeping during the end? I didn't notice if you were,” he laughed. “Sucks that you weren’t paying attention. The way they filmed the close-up shots of the martial arts really made the whole scene for me. Maybe I can replay the clip later if you promise you won’t fall asleep again.”

“Sure,” he gulped. “Yeah, I must have just been tired after getting my ass kicked in rehearsal today.”

“They really ripped you a new asshole for not having that rap memorized,” Kyungsoo chuckled. “I could have sworn you were singing it yesterday though and it sounded just fine. Must have just been a lapse in memory or something.”

I was too distracted by your voice.

“I just wasn’t paying attention is all.”

Kyungsoo yawned, rolling onto his back. “I know my eyes glazed over for a couple minutes during that part where Baekhyun kept singing the first refrain instead of the second. She had to play it like ten times to get him to realize what he was doing wrong.”

Chanyeol was quiet, his heart beating fast even though he’d slept in the same bed as Kyungsoo plenty of times since they’d become friends. His arms ached to wrap around him like they had the first night they’d spent together. He was too afraid to ask. What if he got rejected? Would it make it more awkward than it already was between them? After that night at the train station, he hadn’t been sure about the meaning of any of Kyungsoo’s touches anymore. Was it just friendly? Was that slap on the arm supposed to mean something more? The way flames licked up his spine told him that it was, but the way he would lean into Jongin told him otherwise.

Kyungsoo grabbed underneath the covers, his fingers grazing Chanyeol’s arm before they clasped around his wrist. He swallowed dryly, looking over to the boy.

“Gonna come here or what?”

“Oh,” he breathed, scooting closer to him. He hesitated, lowering his head down onto Kyungsoo’s pillow gently. He felt the boy’s hand tighten on his wrist, cold and clammy as if he was nervous. Kyungsoo, nervous, around him. The way it made his stomach flip was something to feel guilty about.

“Is this okay?” Kyungsoo whispered, sending his words up toward the ceiling.

Chanyeol just hummed, sighing as he dared to let an arm wrap around the boy’s waist. He heard the air catch in Kyungsoo’s throat, felt the pounding of his own heart in his chest. The way Kyungsoo refused to look him in the eye was unnerving, but he didn’t force it.

He tried to steady his breathing, letting his eyes close as he succumbed to the rhythm of Kyungsoo’s chest rising and falling. He almost didn’t notice the ghost of a kiss on his forehead before he drifted off.

--

They were curled up under the same blanket on Chanyeol’s couch, engrossed in the latest episode of Running Man. Kyungsoo had a packet of gummy worms in his lap, sending one his way every so often. He didn’t want to remove his hands from the warmth, so he just opened his mouth. He didn’t expect Kyungsoo to go with it, but soon he had the boy feeding him gummy worms on command.

All he had to do was bite down on empty air a couple of times and candy would appear, small fingers guiding it into his mouth. At first he found it funny, letting out a small chuckle whenever Kyungsoo saw it sufficient to let go. Although as the show continued, the boy’s fingers started to linger longer as he fed him. His fingers held on until the end, brushing against Chanyeol’s lips before drawing away. He looked over at Kyungsoo, but the boy just flashed him an innocent smile.

Maybe he didn’t mean to be taunting him. He wasn’t sure that Kyungsoo knew the extent of his attachment to him, that he regularly had dreams of his best friend grinding against him on the bunk bed, even though he regularly slept next to said best friend and it would be extremely awkward to wake up to the sound of Chanyeol moaning in his sleep. He couldn’t help that his subconscious would indulge in the sweet image of Kyungsoo on top of him, straddling his hips.

Fuck.

They were watching a variety show under the same blanket and Chanyeol was hard. How was he going to get himself out of this one, he panicked inwardly.

“It’s been a couple minutes. You done with the candy?”

Kyungsoo’s voice made him jump. He was met with a slight frown. He scolded himself for being so on edge, which wasn’t going to help his situation. Lucky for him, he liked to cause himself more pain.

“No, I’ll take another,” he gulped, flashing Kyungsoo a wide smile.

“Aw, it’s a blue and yellow. My favorite,” he whined, holding it out for Chanyeol to bite.

“Is it now?” He heard his voice deepen as he chewed on the gummy worm. He let his tongue peek through his lips to lick off the sugary taste. “Was it the last one?”

“Yeah, I think so,” he huffed, peeking into the bag. “The rest are all orange and red. Lucky.”

“Hm. Lucky,” he mumbled, sitting up a bit. His cheeks were beginning to get a bit flushed, much to his dismay. He was trying so hard to conceal that he had popped a boner in the middle of their hangout, but if the way he was fidgeting was any indication, he wasn’t going to win this battle.

Kyungsoo was laughing at something that was happening on screen and leaned into Chanyeol, resting his head on his shoulder. He jumped again and cursed in his head.

“Are you okay?” Kyungsoo sat back up, taking a second to study his friend more closely. Chanyeol’s cheeks were tinted pink and he was biting down on his lip so hard that Kyungsoo was afraid he would draw blood. “Hey, Chanyeol. What’s up?” He gave him a nudge and Chanyeol let out a broken sigh.

“I’m fine, Soo. Let’s just watch the show.”

Kyungsoo wasn’t one to question these kinds of responses, but there was something about the way Chanyeol’s eyes were not quite focused on the TV that had his curiosity peaked. He took a gummy worm from the bag and munched on it, letting his hand under the blanket slide over to press again Chanyeol’s thigh. The boy’s Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed, keeping his eyes focused straight ahead. Kyungsoo smirked. What kind of game did Chanyeol think he was playing, hiding things from his best friend? He was going to fuck with him now.

He let his hand slide up his thigh and let his finger wiggle into Chanyeol’s pocket. The slow breath he let out in response was shaky, and Kyungsoo was surprised at the way heat started to rise up his neck. He was meaning to mess with Chanyeol for not being able to control himself, but this wasn’t going as planned. He let his whole hand slide into the pocket of Chanyeol’s jeans, brushing through the fabric against his firm thigh. The scene of the television was long forgotten as his heart rate started to rise. He was being very forward for someone that had been kissed once three months ago on a whim. If this wasn’t what he thought it was, things were going to get very awkward.

He was rubbing back and forth on Chanyeol’s thigh, digging his fingers into the fabric every so often, pulling a gasp from the boy’s mouth. He glanced up at him, taking in the sight of the taller boy as he fell apart slowly. His eyes were squeezed shut, his lips parted as he turned his head away.

“Kyungsoo. What. Are. You Doing.”

He didn’t answer, but pulled his hand out of the boy’s pocket. Instead, he grabbed confidently at Chanyeol’s cock through the denim, giving him more friction as he started to whine into the pressure.

“Ah-ah, Kyungsoo. What are you doing,” he repeated, writhing as the smaller boy climbed into his lap.

“Helping you out,” he chuckled, the smirk on his face making Chanyeol’s stomach twist into knots. “Let me touch you.”

“But we’re not-we’re not like this,” he struggled, grabbing at Kyungsoo’s wrists as he tried to unbutton Chanyeol’s jeans.

“Who are you fooling, Chanyeol? I’ve seen you staring at my ass,” he laughed, rolling his hips forward to let his own growing erection press against Chanyeol’s. The way his eyes widened when he realized that he wasn’t the only one being affected had Kyungsoo wanting to kiss the corners of Chanyeol’s lips as he stroked him to orgasm.

                So that’s what he did.

                And Chanyeol’s moans sounded so much better than he had imagined by himself in the shower. His lips also tasted like the last lemon gummy worm that Kyungsoo was not going to forgive him for eating, but relished the taste of nevertheless. There was something inherently warm about Chanyeol, the way he touched, the way he tasted, the way he pleaded Kyungsoo’s name.

                His own whines rang out into the dark room as Chanyeol returned the favor, leaving small purple bruises decorating his neck.

                His boxers lay around his ankles and he had an equally disheveled rapper on top of him, his hot breath tickling Kyungsoo’s collarbone as he panted into the crook of his neck. He was damn mess, sweat dotting his hairline and his lower body sticky with a different substance entirely. They made eye contact before Kyungsoo planted a sloppy kiss on Chanyeol’s lips, his hand winding into the boy’s hair.

                “I think I’ve been in love with you for a while now,” he whispered. “I’ve just been trying to ignore it.”

                “So you were checking me out during dance practice on Thursday!”

                “Jesus,” he laughed, shoving Chanyeol’s chest. He refused to budge, deciding to rest his forehead against Kyungsoo’s as they fell into a fit of giggles. “Yes. I was.”

                “I can’t believe it.”

                “I can’t believe I love you, you dork.”

                “You never stood a chance,” he quipped, pressing a kiss to Kyungsoo’s nose. “I’m Park Chanyeol, remember?

                “Yeah, you’re the master of ferrets and you have 3 billion teeth.”

                “Cutie Soo, don’t make fun of my smile!” He shrieked as he got his ear pulled, Kyungsoo showing no mercy.

                “Let’s get cleaned up. I’m sweaty and that's not okay.”

                “Sweat is the last of your concerns, Soo,” Chanyeol snorted, still rubbing his ear. He screeched as he stumbled away from the incoming fists.