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Jaemin is a hopeless romantic. What can he say?

He loves seeing couples on the street enjoying each other's presence, watching the cheesiest and stupidest romantic comedies, and swooning over random strangers because they make eye contact once or twice. He loves love—loving, being loved, and everything that encompasses it.

So, it comes as no surprise when he feels his heart beat faster when he sees a very pretty boy sit at the same table as him at the public library. (Jaemin could always go the one at his university, but he much prefers the familiar scent of the library that he remembers from his childhood).

The place isn't even busy in the slightest. On days when Jaemin is feeling especially productive, he likes to stay at the library for hours, often until the time it closes, to start on his assignments early so he doesn't have to deal with the stress that comes with procrastination later in the semester. This day is one of those days; it's nearing eight o'clock in the evening on a Thursday, so many of the students who come to the library after school for tutoring or just to do homework are long gone. There are a few people milling around here and there, but it's mostly empty. The boy could have chosen to sit anywhere else in the library, but he sat at the same table as Jaemin, so it’s like they were just destined to meet at this exact place and time.

Pretty Boy, as Jaemin has dubbed the stranger, has dark brown hair that's almost long enough to cover his eyes, and a cute, pointed nose that Jaemin would definitely like to boop if Pretty Boy would let him. He's wearing an extremely large hoodie that is probably three sizes off, and the size just makes him look smaller than he probably is. He has earphones in, and Jaemin wonders what he's listening to. He doesn't like to judge or assume when it comes to strangers, but he gets some strong vibes that Pretty Boy is currently listening to either some jazzy lo-fi or rap, and there's no in between.

When Pretty Boy sits down, he takes out a sketchbook and a pencil and eraser from his backpack, presumably to draw ( Duh, what else would he do with the most basic supplies an artist could have? , Jaemin's brain supplies). Jaemin is already focusing all of his attention on the other male at this point, his own work long forgotten, and he can't help but notice a sizeable mark on his right hand. He looks at it curiously, and he doesn't know if it's a birthmark or a mole or a scar or if he smudged some pencil on it somehow.

Pretty Boy is fully immersed in his drawing, and Jaemin is fully immersed in him. Suddenly, Pretty Boy huffs softly when his hair keeps getting into his eyes, so he takes out a red hair clip from his bag to pin his hair back. Jaemin audibly gasps when he sees the boy's forehead because Holy shit, his forehead is so cute!!! I'm screaming!!! Wait, since when were foreheads cute? Whatever, I don't care. Pretty Boy invented foreheads and everyone else can go home.

Upon hearing Jaemin's gasp (the song he was listening to must have ended, or something), Pretty Boy takes out one of his earphones and looks at Jaemin quizzically. It baffles Jaemin that for someone so cute and dainty-looking, he can look really threatening with just one glance.

"Can I help you?" Pretty Boy asks, voice almost monotone and bored-sounding.

"U-um," Jaemin's brain short circuits because Pretty Boy is talking to me? Wait, Pretty Boy is talking to me, right? Oh, fuck, he is ! "My name is Jaemin, what's yours?" Jaemin finally squeezes out. He doesn't know why his normal charm suddenly stopped working and he had to resort to an awkward, abrupt conversation starter, but he'll take what he can get if it means that Pretty Boy will talk to him more.

Pretty Boy's expression morphs into one of confusion, making Jaemin feel nervous and sweaty in the hands region, and Jaemin hates it. He's supposed to be confident, the one making other people nervous, but nope, here he is. He must sense Jaemin's nervousness, or desperation, or both, because he does answer his question.

"Call me Renjun, or Injun, if that's easier for you. I don't really care." Renjun replies, his tone no longer sounding so monotone, but instead being clear and a tiny bit squeaky, and all of a sudden, it's the only voice Jaemin wants to hear for the rest of his life. He can't get over it.

"That's a really pretty name." Jaemin blurts out without thinking. And it's not like he's lying or anything, he genuinely thinks that “Renjun” sounds extremely nice to his ears, especially with the way it rolls off of Renjun's tongue.

Jaemin doesn't miss the way Renjun's cheeks flush when he hears Jaemin's compliment. Instead of saying something, Renjun gives a small smile, shy and unsure, but appreciative nonetheless. Then he goes back to his drawing, and Jaemin is a little sad, to be honest. As much as he would love to watch Renjun's thin fingers work their magic with the fancy-looking mechanical pencil in his hand, he would much rather keep up a conversation and get to know him more.

Thankfully, Renjun keeps one of his ears exposed, and Jaemin is definitely going to take advantage of that.

"What are you drawing?" Jaemin cranes his neck a bit in an attempt to look at Renjun's sketchbook for himself. The page Renjun is turned to is full of bodies in numerous poses, with different shapes making up the components of each body part.

Renjun looks up at Jaemin with wide eyes, surprised that the other male wants to keep talking to him. "Oh, uh, well, I've just been working on anatomy and stuff because I'm pretty shit at drawing bodies. It's really difficult though, so they aren't that great." Renjun shrugs afterward, but not after laughing a little nervously at his slightly self-deprecating comment. But hey, at least he's working on his weaknesses and trying to improve!

Renjun senses that Jaemin is kind of struggling to fully look at his sketchbook, so he moves his hand out of the way so Jaemin has a better view of it. He can't stop the heat rising to his cheeks when he sees Jaemin's mouth gape open in what seems like amazement.

"Hey, these are really good! Like seriously, I'm not just saying that to make you feel better or anything. Like, they seem super realistic and stuff." The way Jaemin maintains eye contact with Renjun while he's talking makes it seem like he's really listening and engaged in the conversation, and Renjun would be a complete dummy if he didn't take the time to appreciate that.

Renjun is about to thank Jaemin, but then the latter starts talking again. "So you're like super serious about art? Like do you study it in school, or is it just an off-to-the-side thing?" Jaemin rests his chin on his hand and tilts his head slightly in curiosity, and that's the first time that Renjun has to admit to himself that maybe Jaemin is a little more charming than he initially thought. He's definitely handsome, too, so that's a bonus.

"Oh, it's just a hobby, I guess. My parents would never let me study anything art-related in college, but it's fine." Renjun's smile when he finishes his sentence is sad, and Jaemin's heart clenches at the sight. He just wants Renjun to be happy, especially if he's studying for something he's planning to do for the majority of his life. (Yes, he did just meet Renjun forty minutes ago, and no, he doesn't care that he just met Renjun forty minutes ago. He wants pretty boys to be happy, goddammit.)

After an exchange of a few more questions and answers, Jaemin finds out that Renjun is a biochemistry major at the same university as Jaemin. He figures that it's entirely reasonable that they've never seen each other on campus before because their majors are so different, with Jaemin being an psychology major and all. Jaemin also finds out that Renjun lives in the university dorms with his best friend Donghyuck, whereas Jaemin has his own apartment that's a five-minute walk away from campus. Jaemin knows that, after talking to Renjun, even for a small while, something about Renjun draws him in and intrigues him greatly. Perhaps it's the snarky comments Renjun makes from time to time, or the way he blushes slightly when he's complimented in any way. Whatever it is, Jaemin wants more of it.

As the time reaches 9 o'clock, the librarian reminds the two boys that the library will be closing soon. They're the only ones left in the place and Jaemin didn't even notice that everyone else left while he was talking to Renjun. They both pack up their things, and Jaemin has to pout when he realizes that his night with Renjun is already over. So, with his bottom lip jutted out, he sulkily watches Renjun put his supplies back in his backpack with his pretty fingers. But then he remembers that phones exist, so he it's his mission to get this boy's number before they both leave.

They walk out the doors of the library together, Jaemin letting out a relieved sigh as he passes the detectors without any alarms sounding. (Jaemin has never stolen a book from the library, but sometimes the alarms go off for no reason and get some random kid in trouble for a bit before he's let off the hook. And maybe he accidentally put a book he didn't check out into his bag and gets caught that way. He gets scared of those kinds of things sometimes.)

Before Renjun gets into his car to drive away, Jaemin makes sure to pop the question.

"Um, hey, Injun, can I have your number?" Jaemin looks up at Renjun expectantly, searching his face for any sort of opposition. When Jaemin doesn't see any of that on Renjun's face, he continues, "It's just that I really liked talking to you and it'd be really cool if we could hang out some other time, maybe." God, Jaemin kind of hates himself for sounding like a wimp while talking to Renjun. Get yourself together, Nana, he's just another pretty boy , Jaemin tries to convince himself, but he knows that Renjun is different, and he needs to pursue that.

Renjun smiles sweetly, albeit a little embarrassed, before he agrees and hands his phone to Jaemin as well. After inputting his number, Jaemin notices that Renjun's earphones are still plugged in, which most likely means that he's still listening to music. So, he swipes up the see what Renjun is listening to, and Jaemin knew it. Renjun's Spotify is currently playing "Japan" by Famous Dex.

He smiles to himself before handing Renjun his phone back, and he feels like a little kid when his heartbeat stutters when their hands touch accidentally.

 

━━━━━━━━━

 

It's no surprise that even a month after Jaemin first laid his eyes on Renjun, he's still completely smitten with him. Jaemin doesn't think there's anything about the elder that he doesn't like, if he's being honest.

In the time that they've known each other, they've been spending a lot of time together, and when they aren't able to do so, they talk over the phone or FaceTime or send random memes to each other on Instagram. Jaemin approves greatly of Renjun's choice of memes and adds it to the ever-growing list of things he loves about him.

Every time they see each other face to face, Jaemin studies Renjun, from his features to the clothes he likes to wear to his mannerisms and habits. One of Jaemin's favorite habits of Renjun's is the way he bites his lips, whether it's from nervousness or boredom or no reason at all. His lips aren't exactly the plumpest or the fullest, but they look really soft and Jaemin always feels the urge to kiss them (and he holds back, of course). Renjun cares a lot about skincare and always carries at least two sticks of lip balm with him, so he always scolds Jaemin for having really dry lips. The scolding usually ends with Renjun shoving one of his lip balms into Jaemin's hand for him to use, and Jaemin feels his cheeks get hotter because by using the same chapstick as Renjun, he's indirectly kissing him and that's better than getting no kisses.

Something else Jaemin has noticed is that Renjun really likes to wear oversized tops, and he especially likes to take them from Jaemin. Renjun has been spending a lot of time at Jaemin's apartment because Donghyuck always has his boyfriend over and Renjun doesn't want to hear their gross, lovey-dovey noises. He gags whenever he has to bring the couple up.

"Oh, please, I'm sure you're just sick of being the third wheel." Jaemin supplies from his spot on his bed as Renjun scours through Jaemin's closet after ranting about his roommate, his roommate's boyfriend, and their romantic endeavors. Renjun is currently wearing a shirt from his old high school and some basketball shorts that stop just short of Renjun's knees. Jaemin appreciates Renjun’s legs, lean and muscular, but still delicate-looking, and it reminds Jaemin of a fairy or something like that. "Why do you need another one of my sweaters anyway? You have, like, three at this point and I'm starting to run out of clothes to wear to class." Jaemin pouts even more at the thought of having to do his laundry more often than necessary.

Renjun turns to scowl at Jaemin. "Okay, well, so what if I don't want to be the third wheel? Who does? It's just that they're so disgustingly in love that seeing them do couple-y shit makes me want to puke." Renjun's words make Jaemin frown a little bit. As a hopeless romantic, he can't help but feel dejected when the boy he has feelings toward has distaste for a strong, healthy relationship. It's probably not that deep, but Jaemin is dramatic and wants a boyfriend really badly.

After a few more moments of searching, Renjun takes out a plain light blue hoodie and pulls it over his head. Jaemin's heart melts upon seeing Renjun basically drown in the fabric, sleeves falling past his hands and the bottom hem reaching the middle of his thighs, and he even forgets that Renjun forgot to answer his question from earlier. Renjun turns around to show Jaemin how he looks, and Jaemin has to will himself to calm down before facing him. "What do you think?" Renjun asks while examining himself in Jaemin's full body mirror.

You look so adorable!! I think I'm actually going to fucking cry, this should not be allowed. I wanna give you the biggest hug and kiss your forehead and hold your hand!! is what Jaemin wants to say, but he's not just some beast. At least he has a good amount of sense control and manages to gulp down the words bubbling in his throat in exchange for an off-handed "Oh, it looks nice."

Renjun pouts and crosses his arms, clearly in dissatisfaction at Jaemin's boring, empty compliment. "Just 'nice'? Seriously?"

Jaemin knows what Renjun is trying to get him to say and it gets his adrenaline pumping. Renjun is usually like this, like he's always going to be two steps ahead of Jaemin. Untouchable, hard to reach. He expects Jaemin to chase him, run faster and faster until he crosses the finish line.

So Jaemin takes a bold step. "Fine, you look cute. Happy now?" Jaemin huffs in a teasing manner, trying to pull Renjun closer instead of letting him get away. He smiles, his heart racing, when Renjun walks toward him to pat him on the cheek and say, "Very."

Just as Renjun's hand leaves his cheek, Jaemin has to resist the temptation to reach up and touch where Renjun's hand was, the skin tingling and growing hotter with each passing second.

Jaemin loves that Renjun is so touchy, almost as much as he is. Whenever Renjun’s skin makes contact with his own, it feels like a burn, but no pain, all heat, leaving a buzzing sensation underneath his skin that he never wants to get rid of.

A lot of the time, though, Renjun’s touches come in the form of playful punches whenever Jaemin says something dumb or teasing. It almost always leaves Jaemin rubbing the spot Renjun punched, trying to soothe the dull, pulsing feeling. The latter is surprisingly strong despite being practically the tiniest person Jaemin has ever seen. Jaemin will never get over how small Renjun seems in comparison to himself. It makes Jaemin want to hold Renjun in his arms and cuddle him for hours and do other gross shit like that.

Renjun also likes to touch Jaemin’s face a lot, whether he’s just patting or squishing or poking his cheeks. Renjun’s hands are always soft and smell like vanilla-scented hand cream. Despite the fact that Renjun cares a lot about skincare, he ignores Jaemin when the younger says that touching your face is bad for your skin. Jaemin is kind of glad for that, though. He would much rather have acne than for Renjun to stop touching his face with his soft, sweet smelling hands. Kind of weird, to be honest, but Jaemin really does not give a fuck.

 

. . .

 

Even when Renjun left Jaemin’s apartment, he still hasn’t answered his question as to why he keeps taking his sweaters. To answer it, Renjun does it because Jaemin has cute clothes and smells good. Simple as that. Not that he’d ever tell Jaemin that he thinks he smells good. As the saying goes, ignorance is bliss.

(The thought that wearing Jaemin’s clothes makes him feel safe, secure, crosses his mind, but he makes sure to get rid of it as quickly as possible.)

When Renjun opens the door to his dorm room, he’s surprised to see that Donghyuck is sitting on his bed watching Netflix on his laptop and not making out with Mark.

“How was your date with Jaemin?” is the first thing Donghyuck says to him when he enters the room. The little fucker is smirking at him, and Renjun wants to slap it right off of his face.

“Shut up, it wasn’t a date.” He sputters out in disbelief, a deep blush threatening to creep onto his cheeks. Why would he even think that? But then he realizes. “How did you know I was with Jaemin anyway?” He adds, eyes narrowing at the younger male.

“Oh, c’mon, he’s literally the only person you’ve been hanging out with for, like, the past month or whatever.”

Renjun begs to differ. “No, he isn’t!” He huffs, but he doesn’t provide any evidence to support his thesis. This stream of thought suddenly reminds him of an eight page research paper due in two weeks that he hasn’t had enough time to stress out about yet.

Donghyuck sighs and rolls his eyes. “Jun, as much as I love spending time with you, binge-watching Brooklyn 99 with me until three in the morning does not qualify as hanging out. Neither does taking Chenle out for McDonald’s after you pick him up from school!” Donghyuck is now fully invested in Renjun’s love/social life, laptop forgotten at the foot of his bed.

Renjun sits on his bed roughly, bouncing from the force of it. He hugs a pillow and digs his chin into it, not wanting to face the truth that he has been spending a lot of his free time with Jaemin. “B-but that doesn’t mean anything, right? We’re just friends!” He tries to defend himself.

“You’re deadass wearing his hoodie.” Donghyuck deadpans. Okay, he isn’t entirely sure that the hoodie is Jaemin’s, but he remembers that Renjun left the dorm with only a t-shirt on and he’s never seen the article of clothing before.

It seems like Renjun has forgotten that he’s wearing Jaemin’s hoodie, for he looks down at his outfit with his face heated slightly. “It was cold. Shut up.” He flops down onto the bed to lie down, back facing Donghyuck’s bed, resulting in an exasperated groan from the younger boy. Renjun has always been a stubborn one.

Renjun isn’t in the mood to talk anymore, so he opens his phone to the iMessage thread between him and Jaemin to respond to Jaemin’s text me when you get home!!! text. The words alone make him smile dumbly, and he tells himself that fluttering he feels in his stomach is just a result of Jaemin being a nice guy.

He doesn’t want to move as an act of defiance, to show Donghyuck that his words are definitely not true, that his meetings with Jaemin don’t mean anything, but then he starts to feel an itching around his torso. He twists and turns a little bit to try and get rid of the feeling, but it proves to be no use. He doesn’t know what’s wrong, and it’s not even like he’s been wearing it for that long. He’s left staring up at the ceiling, enduring the discomfort for a little longer until Donghyuck is asleep and he can prove his point.

Donghyuck picks up on Renjun’s squirming, and his intuition tells him exactly what’s wrong. “Hey, you should take it off. You’re gonna sleep soon anyway.” His voice is soft, cautious. Sometimes, when he’s not careful, Renjun snaps, telling him that he’s not a child, that he doesn’t need to be told what to do, that he can take care of himself. He really is too independent for his own good.

Renjun breathes in deeply through his nose and complies without a word. He simply gets out of bed and walks into the bathroom, his eyes adjusting to the almost harsh, white light. Whenever he has to take off his binder, he changes as quickly as possible, not wanting to remind himself further of the body parts he should and shouldn’t have, especially with how often and deeply the thoughts penetrate his mind.

It has gotten easier since he started taking hormones almost a year ago, though. It was comforting to see his physical body change into something more masculine, more himself. The dysphoria didn’t go away, but it’s no longer as prominent, not as toxic. He still has some episodes sometimes, crying over the lumps of fat on his chest that never should have been there in the first place. But however he feels about his body now is a million times better, more freeing, than how he felt when he was younger and people would stroke his long, silky black hair and call him “such a beautiful girl.”

He didn't tell his mother explicitly at first. It started out as him wanting to cut his (her, then) hair shorter and shorter each time, to which his mother generally accepted. She always loved how soft and long and healthy his hair was, and she was sad when he told her that he wanted it gone. But then she smiled, telling him that it was okay to experiment with different styles until he found something he liked. He wondered how she would react when she found out that he wasn't experimenting.

When he actually told her at the beginning of his senior year of high school that he was transgender, she cried, tears falling from her eyes at the thought of her perfect, God-given daughter not being a daughter at all, but instead, a son. She couldn't face him for two months, and neither could he. He couldn't help but feel like he let his mother down, disappointed her for not having the female brain that would have made the entire situation easier. He cursed whatever beings were above, blaming them for not just making him a boy with a boy body to fit his boy mind. He didn’t cry, though, rather feeling numb while lying in bed, having no energy or desire to get up. For those two months, he even rode the bus to and from school to avoid having to sit in the car with his mother. They didn’t have any meals together and stayed in their rooms whenever they were home at the same time. It was like they were complete strangers who had no desire to get to know each other, and it was a living hell.

After the unbroken silence between them, however, his mother managed to face him. It was late afternoon on a Sunday, and Renjun had left the confines of his room to grab a bag of chips. She surprised him, walking into the kitchen when she heard the pantry door being opened and the rustling of miscellaneous packaging being rummaged through. Upon seeing her right there and feeling like her presence was no accident, he fell into a state of shock. But she was ready. She ran her fingers through his hair, smiling at the short strands falling in between the gaps. She looked him in the eyes before saying, “My son.”

(He cried for hours after she said that.)

Renjun pulls on Jaemin’s hoodie, the soft material warming up his bare skin and making him feel safe.

When Renjun comes out of the bathroom, the lights are already off and Donghyuck is lying on his bed with his phone screen lighting up his features, the corners of his lips turned up in a fond smile. Renjun smiles himself when he realizes that he’s definitely texting Mark or looking at something that reminds him of Mark. As much as he talks about how much Donghyuck and Mark’s relationship annoys him, he truly admires their dynamic and silently craves what the two of them have. He knows that the pair are meant to be, and anyone with eyes can see that, too.

Renjun crawls into bed and revels in the warmth he feels from both the sweater and his blanket. It’s February, meaning that the weather is cold, but most days have the reward of the sun shining, shielded by clouds, but shining nonetheless. February also means that it’s still winter enough for the nights to be mostly destitute of any sort of heat outside. But now that Renjun has not only a blanket, but Jaemin’s hoodie also? The cold doesn’t stand a chance.

 

. . .

 

12:07AM

Jaemin

i bet youre still wearing my hoodie huh

Renjun

pffffft how are you even able to tell

Jaemin

i can’t but i just know that you are

Renjun

………

okay fine i still am WHATEVER

literally how is your intuition so good i swear youre psychic or something

Jaemin

maybe i am u never know

Renjun

this is proof youre not psychic

anyway

what made you text me lmao

Jaemin

hm just wanted to talk to you

OMG WERE YOU ABOUT TO SLEEP AND I WOKE YOU UP IM SORRY

Renjun

omg calm down i definitely was not going to sleep yet

but thank you for the concern

Jaemin

you are very welcome! :-)))))

but uh yeah i probably made it seem like i was like upset at you taking my clothes or something

but i don’t really care tbh

Renjun

you dont?

i mean even if you did, i would probably still keep the ones i already have

Jaemin

i really don’t

like i said earlier

you look cute in them anyway

Renjun

good

don’t expect to get these sweaters back alright

Jaemin

wasn’t doing that in the first place lol

Renjun

:)

in all seriousness, thanks for just letting me take your clothes lol

Jaemin

it’s my pleasure junnie :-))

the one you’re wearing is super comfy right

it’s one of my favorites!!! or it was lol

Renjun

it IS really comfy i dont think i will ever stop wearing this

and wait are you for real like this is your favorite one???? i could give it back to you if you want

Jaemin

nah don’t worry about it! i might just buy the same one in a different color

then we would be matching!!!!!

and i know that you don’t wanna give it back so keep it haha

Renjun

right again there mister

and us matching?????? gr*ss

Jaemin

but it would be cute :-(((

Renjun

ya know what

do what you want lol

if you wanna buy the same sweater in a different color so we’d match, go ahead

Jaemin

thank god you said that because i already ordered it on amazon

Renjun

OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS

Jaemin

yes :-)

it’s coming tomorrow!

shoutout to amazon prime

Renjun

youre insufferable

Jaemin

hmm i don’t think so

i dont think that you think so either

Renjun

UM

anyway

are you gonna stay up for a bit longer? im not really feeling tired yet

Jaemin

idk i’m feelin sleepy already

i think that by taking my hoodies, especially my favorite one, you have drained some of the life force out of me

Renjun

oh my god

Jaemin

well i think i’m gonna go to sleep now

good night injun

rest well :-)

Renjun

you too

 

━━━━━━━━

 

It’s the middle of March, almost springtime, but the weather is already starting to become a little warmer than usual and Renjun usually enjoys the newfound brightness that just comes with the turn of the season. Usually. However, he’s unable to do so because his immune system decides that the middle of March is a great time to get sick.

When Renjun wakes up, his body aches , muscles weak and so, so fatigued. His nose is congested, rendering him unable to breathe through both of his nostrils. He suddenly realizes that he doesn’t remember how it feels to have clear airways. He really needs to start cherishing those kinds of things; he never knows when they’re going to be taken away from him.

Despite his pain and uncomfortable breathing, he manages to pull himself out of bed to start getting ready for work. He’s always been the type of person to go to previously scheduled obligations even when he’s feeling like complete shit. He’s only ever missed two days of school in his entire high school career and those were mental health days because junior year truly does live up to the stereotypes of being the hardest year of high school, at least in his own experience.

While he’s eating breakfast and watching some random video on YouTube, he hears a ding! from his phone and ignores the smile that tugs at his lips when he sees who it’s from.

 

10:57AM

Jaemin

hey i meant to text you earlier but i got distracted by weird health videos on youtube!!!

anyway good morning!

how are you feeling on this fine day

Renjun

of course you did lmao

and feeling like shit!

love being sick 

Jaemin

oh no are you for real? :-(((

Renjun

yes jaem why would i lie about being sick

Jaemin

OKAY IDK A LOT OF PEOPLE LIE ABOUT BEING SICK TO AVOID TALKING/HANGING OUT WITH SOMEONE SO

Renjun

okay trust me i am not doing that to you lmao

i wouldn’t do that to you

Jaemin

okay that reassures me haha <3

anyway when’s your shift today

Renjun

it starts at 12 and ends at 6

why???? 

Jaemin

no reason :-)

and your job is super chill right????

Renjun

yeah it is

it’s honestly a damn mess but at least we have a lot of freedom lmao 

Jaemin

alright that sounds perfect

i mean like that sounds really fun!!! like you’re not really working!!! haha

Renjun

lol i guess so

alright i need to actually start getting ready i’ll ttyl

Jaemin

see ya :-)

 

Renjun has a job at the new boba shop that opened a few months ago. It’s really close to the university, so there’s the convenience aspect to it, and Renjun just loves boba so why not be surrounded by it all the time?

He’s been on his shift for about two hours now and he can confidently say that he’s doing pretty well. The activities of having to walk around and make drinks and talk to customers would have made anyone else more tired, but doing more work actually makes Renjun more energized. His pain is significantly more bearable, and it’s not as difficult as he thought it would be to keep up the same level of service he always provides.

It’s a Tuesday afternoon, so business is slow as expected. There aren’t any people, so Renjun and his coworker Lucas are laughing at some random videos Renjun has bookmarked on Twitter while sitting on the floor behind the counter, unable to be seen from the outside. Suddenly, they hear the chime that signals the front door being opened. Both Renjun and Lucas stand up in record time and straighten out their aprons in preparation to deal with a customer. Renjun immediately goes to the area where drinks are made; Lucas is better at talking to customers anyway. They have a system worked out when it’s only the two of them working.

He’s starting to prepare the ingredients and materials for the new customer’s order when he hears Lucas’ voice call out to him.

“Hey, Renjun, this customer wants to see you.” Renjun turns around to see who it could be and his heart starts to race in both surprise and a feeling he doesn’t want to label.

Jaemin is standing right in front of him with a lidded hot drink cup in his hand and a warm smile on his face.

“W-what are you doing here?” Renjun feels his face heating up as he struggles to get the words out.

“I wanted to surprise you at work! And I brought some honey and lemon tea to help you with your cold and stuff.” Jaemin holds the drink out for Renjun to take and their fingers brush together for a fraction of second, but both of them still feel it.

“I can’t believe you.” Renjun laughs, bringing the drink up to his lips and feeling the heat warm up his insides. “You know, I don’t have a sore throat, so this technically doesn’t really help me that much.” Renjun loves to tease Jaemin, to rile him up just to see how he retaliates. And maybe see that cute pout of his, too.

And there it is. Jaemin’s bottom lip juts out before speaking. “Okay, fine, but it’s warm and you sound really congested so it should help with that! Like clear up your airways and stuff.” He tries to defend himself.

“Sure, Jaem.” Renjun takes another sip. “Did you make this yourself? It tastes pretty good.”

“I sure did!” Sometimes, the way Jaemin speaks just makes Renjun smile. “I usually don’t drink tea because I’m definitely a coffee person, but this tastes good and it’s easy to make so that’s a plus for me. And this drink is to help you, of course, so that makes it worth it.” Jaemin smiles that dumb, charming smile of his and Renjun wants to melt right there on the spot, but not because of the warm drink in his hands.

They talk for a bit longer, talking about the mundane happenings of everyday life. The whole time they’re talking, however, Renjun can’t stop talking about the fact that Jaemin is here, visiting him at work without an invitation with a drink to help with his cold. Sure, Jaemin said that the drink doesn’t really take all that much effort to make, but it still makes Renjun’s insides flutter more than he would like to admit. Renjun conjures up a scenario in his mind in which Jaemin is humming while heating up the water for the tea with the intention of giving it to him . Jaemin did it for him.

Renjun is snapped back to reality when Jaemin mentions leaving.

“Well, I have my history lecture in, like, ten minutes so I should probably get going. I really hope you get better, though! You look more tired than you usually do.” Sometimes, Jaemin is the one who teases and it makes Renjun smile for some reason. ( I don’t know, it’s just cute when he does it. )

“Yeah, well, fine.” Renjun rolls his eyes, causing Jaemin to snicker in return. “Thanks for this, though, like, actually. You didn’t have to make me tea and visit me at work and stuff. But you’re always extra so I guess that it’s not a surprise.” Renjun laughs at his own words.

“I am not extra, you’re just boring! Anyway, don’t even worry about it, it wasn’t a problem for me at all. It was for you, anyway.”

Renjun tries not to dwell on Jaemin’s last statement too much, but knowing himself, he does it regardless. As Jaemin leaves, Renjun feels a tug on his heart as if it wants to go through the door along with him. He wills himself to calm down and stop thinking about Jaemin and his words and what they mean and if they mean anything, but it doesn’t work. He’s left standing there, staring down at the cup and biting his lip to keep himself from smiling too largely.

“Damn, Renjun, who was that?” Lucas swears, and Renjun would scold him but there aren’t any customers around so Renjun couldn’t care less. There aren’t any customers around either, so Lucas’ swearing doesn’t really matter anyway. Renjun is sure that Lucas helped some by himself while he was talking to Jaemin and he starts to feel really bad about it.

“Oh my god, Lucas, I’m so sorry, like I didn’t help you with customers or anything .” Renjun is mortified, but Lucas only laughs in response.

“Dude, don’t even worry about it.” Lucas waves one of his huge hands, dismissing any sort of remorse Renjun feels. “Only, like, one person came in and you know that I like talking to customers. And that boy who came in? He seemed important, so of course I wouldn’t disrupt whatever that was.” Lucas wiggles his eyebrows suggestively and it makes Renjun punch him on the arm. Lucas is big with lots of muscle, so it’s not like that hurt him anyway.

“Hey, man, I was doing you a favor! You didn’t answer my question either! Who was that?” Lucas leans against the front counter to listen to what Renjun has to say.

Lucas is definitely the person Renjun is closest to at work. It’s not like he dislikes any of his other coworkers or anything, it’s just that Renjun and Lucas seemed to click really well. Lucas even texts him outside of work sometimes just to talk and get to know each other. There has never been one moment when he was talking to Lucas and there was a dull moment or a lull in the conversation and any sort of awkwardness, at least on Lucas’ part. Renjun is sure that Lucas was one of those popular kids in high school who still talked to everyone regardless of their level of coolness or social status, a real gem.

“Oh, uh, his name is Jaemin. He’s just a friend.”

“The way you hesitated and said that he’s ‘just a friend’ kind of tells me that he’s not ‘just a friend.’” Lucas reasons, putting air quotations around those three words. “Not to mention how he was looking at you while you two were talking. Like, fuck, I couldn’t even look at you guys because of that. It was like I was seeing something I wasn’t supposed to.”

Renjun’s face flushes, blood rushing to his cheeks to make his embarrassment evident. Does it usually look like there’s something between us? Renjun can’t help but think.

“I—we’re just friends, I swear.”

Lucas narrows his eyes at him, clearly skeptical of Renjun’s words. “Alright, I won’t bug you about it anymore, but it really doesn’t seem like that. Maybe you should get that sorted out.” Just as Lucas finishes his sentence, a customer walks in and he switches to his Work Voice.

Renjun returns to work also, but he just can’t take his mind off of what Lucas told him. He ponders on whether Jaemin possibly has feelings for him or not. Surely no, right? He was just being a good friend by stopping by and giving Renjun tea he made himself and making sure that he was okay and wishing him to get better. Friends do this kind of stuff for each other all the time, so Renjun tells himself that it isn’t that big of a deal and tries to push it out of his mind.

But thinking about himself, on the other hand, that’s a whole different story. He’s not an idiot, he recognizes that Jaemin makes his heart beats a little faster than it should sometimes and his face flush pink more than anyone else, even if he doesn’t want to admit it. He’s no stranger to having romantic feelings for someone, and he's not going to deny that the younger boy is the one making him have those feelings. But he isn't one to jump to conclusions. He doesn't want to rush into anything because the fluttering in his chest may be fleeting, temporary. He doesn't want to hurt Jaemin just because he wants to be with him after liking him in that way for a few weeks. Jaemin doesn't deserve that. Jaemin deserves more, so much more. And Renjun doesn't know if he can give that to him.

 

━━━━━━━━

 

Jaemin is blessed enough to have an apartment big enough to fit a couch in the living room, even though it's a little small. It's a comfortable couch, so who is he to complain?

He definitely isn't complaining when Renjun is sitting on the couch next to him, their hands dangerously close to each other. They're watching High School Musical 2 ( Are you kidding me, Jaem? The second one is the best one! Sure the third has better production value, but it literally has the same plotline as the first movie and the music in this one is untouchable. ) and Renjun is singing along to every single line. The movie is still stupid and cringey, but it makes the both of them laugh and Jaemin swears that an angel is born whenever Renjun lets out that twinkling laugh of his.

Suddenly, Renjun sighs almost dreamily. “Zac Efron is so cute in this.”

Jaemin's ears perk up at this. Surely, as a bisexual man himself, Jaemin has wondered if Renjun swung that way ever since they started to get to know each other. Neither of them have explicitly mentioned their sexualities, and it hasn't really been a problem. But Jaemin’s gaydar has always been pretty good (or he just hopes that every cute boy he meets likes boys, too, whatever), and he knows that his charming words and flirty comebacks have some effect on Renjun, so that has to mean something . There's no way that Renjun can blush at 62% of the things Jaemin says to him without being at least a little gay. He needs more confirmation.

“Yeah, he is, but c’mon, have you seen Corbin Bleu’s ass in those baseball pants? It's seriously a gift from God himself.” Wow, that was really fucking gay. Nice.

Renjun nods in agreement. “Can’t argue there. See? Another reason as to why HSM 2 is the superior movie out of the trilogy.” Renjun has taste; Jaemin approves.

“Did you just say ‘aych es em’? Literally what the fuck, Injun.”

“Oh, shut up. High School Musical would have taken too long to pronounce, and I just wanted to be efficient.” Renjun crosses his arms and sticks his tongue out at Jaemin in retaliation. He's seriously too much for Jaemin’s poor heart.

“Cute.” Jaemin whispers out without any thought, barely audible even to his own ears. Before he realizes what just came out of his mouth, Renjun's expression definitely dictates that he heard it, eyes widening and cheeks starting to grow a little pinker.

But Renjun doesn't say anything, instead continuing to watch the movie. When he knows that Jaemin isn't looking, however, he steals a glance at the younger male, biting his lip as he studies his expression. He's focused on the movie, but Renjun stops staring when he realizes that Jaemin might be able to see him through his peripheral vision and he does not need to exposed like this.

Little does Renjun know that Jaemin did manage to see him out of the corner of his eye, smirking when he realized. He doesn't know why Renjun would be staring at him, but he's taking it as a good sign.

Toward the second half of the movie, Renjun feels himself becoming more and more tired as time goes on, even though it's only about ten o’clock at night. He's had a long day, only to seek solace at Jaemin’s apartment after his last class. He doesn't know why he didn't just go straight to his dorm, but being in Jaemin’s presence gives Renjun a sense of comfort that he can't find anywhere else.

Renjun yawns, making Jaemin turn his attention toward the older male.

“Aw, is it the baby’s bedtime now?” Jaemin coos, a smirk on his lips.

Renjun scoffs in disbelief at Jaemin’s bold words. Still, his heart beats faster at Jaemin calling him a baby, even if it isn't in the context he's necessarily seeking. He wants Jaemin to call him that more.

“Fuck off!” Renjun punches Jaemin on the arm, causing Jaemin to chuckly deeply. “You know that it's been a long day.” Renjun resists the temptation to pout, but he can't help it. He pushes out his bottom lip and looks at Jaemin with wide eyes.

It's a one in a million experience for Jaemin to be the one blushing, but sometimes, Renjun’s cuteness is just too much to take. Renjun smiles in triumph, his eyes turning back to the laptop screen that they're watching the movie on.

A few minutes later, Renjun leans his head Jaemin’s shoulder, squirming slightly to find a more comfortable position. After a few moments, Renjun stills and sighs in content. He's already feeling his eyelids droop, and he's not in the mood to fight sleep at this point. Jaemin’s shoulder is a perfectly fine pillow, so he'll take it.

Jaemin tenses upon feeling the pressure on his shoulder, making Renjun sit up right away.

“Is this okay?” Renjun says sincerely.

“Oh, uh, yeah, of course. Just a little surprised.” Jaemin shifts to better accommodate both of their bodies, to which Renjun places his head back on Jaemin’s shoulder.

Jaemin's heart rate increases, because as mushy and cliché as it is, Renjun fits him perfectly . Jaemin loves to imagine Renjun in his arms, his face buried in his neck as the two hold each other close, soaking in the warmth. This is just bringing him one step closer to that, and it makes him crave it more and more because of how well Renjun fits next to him. God, Jaemin is in deep.

Then he decides, Fuck it. He really wants to hold Renjun’s hands, his tiny hands, so he takes some actions to do that.

“Hey, Injun.” Jaemin says quietly, just in the case that Renjun is already asleep. But Renjun only nods and hums to let Jaemin knows that he's at least partly awake and listening. “Can I—can I hold your hand?”

Normally, Renjun probably would have looked at him incredulously, blushing profusely and stuttering his words, but he doesn't. Instead, he laces his fingers with Jaemin’s without a word, filling the gaps in between. Jaemin immediately notices how cold Renjun’s hands are and it makes him worry a bit because Oh, shit, is it too cold in here? Has he been freezing this whole time and just didn't tell me?

“Your hands are really cold.” Jaemin says as he runs his thumb along the side of Renjun’s hand. For some reason as he's speaking, that’s when his brain decides to process that RENJUN IS HOLDING MY HAND, HOLY FUCK, HOLY FUCK, HOLY FUCK, HOLY FUCK. But he tries not to show it, which must work because Renjun doesn't say anything about it.

“They get cold easily.” Renjun seems to be able to read Jaemin’s mind because he stops him before the latter is able to do something about Renjun’s coldness. “It's fine, I'm not actually cold. ‘S just my hands.” The way Renjun’s words start to slur together due to his sleepiness is way too adorable.

“You sure? I could get you a blanket or something if you want.”

Now, the offer of a blanket is too tempting for Renjun not to accept. So, he looks at Jaemin with sleepy eyes and a pout in his voice. “Please?” And who is Jaemin to refuse?

He attempts to get up to go and retrieve a blanket for Renjun, but Renjun’s weight on him makes it pretty difficult to do so. “Hey, let me get up. It'll only just be for a little bit, alright?” Jaemin tries to coax Renjun, but Renjun just whines. This is when Jaemin realizes that Renjun can be a real brat sometimes. “Injun, do you want the blanket or not?” Bingo . With a groan, Renjun sits up straight, freeing Jaemin from his clutches.

Jaemin returns with a cream colored fleece blanket with little bunnies all over it. When he saw it while he was shopping for things for his apartment, he just couldn't refuse. When Renjun sees the item in Jaemin’s hands, his eyes basically light up. He stretches his arms out to receive it, practically making grabby hands at Jaemin for it and Okay, that was too much. What the fuck. How is anyone even this cute?

Jaemin hands it to Renjun with no hesitation, who drapes it over his own shoulders and waits for Jaemin to sit back down again. Without apprehension, Renjun takes Jaemin’s hand in his once again and rests it in Jaemin’s lap. He also leans on Jaemin again, the position they're in now familiar and comfortable. Jaemin takes the opportunity to use his free hand to circle his index finger around Renjun’s bony knuckles. They're pretty and dainty and look like they can create beautiful things.

When the movie ends, Jaemin supposes that it's time for Renjun to go home. It's late and he's been leaning on him for about thirty minutes now.

“Hey, Injun, it's late. I think you should go to your dorm now.” When Jaemin doesn't get a response, he only figures that Renjun has fallen asleep without him knowing. He cranes his neck to see Renjun’s face, which is quite difficult due to the weight on his shoulder and the two of them being connected by their hands, and sure enough, Renjun's eyes are closed and his mouth is parted slightly, letting out slow, even breaths.

Jaemin really doesn't want to wake Renjun up, especially with how angelic and peaceful he looks when he's asleep, but Jaemin is sure that his bony shoulder isn't the most comfortable place to rest.

“Injun,” Jaemin shakes him gently to wake him up, “c’mon. Wake up.”

Renjun stirs, looking around at his surroundings when he's a little less than half asleep. “Wh-what happened?” He rubs at his eyes with his fingers. His expression becomes surprised when he looks down at their joined hands, suddenly remembering how he fell asleep and held hands with the boy of his interest due to his tired haze.

“O-oh my God, I'm so sorry. It's really late, I should get going.” Renjun frantically scrambles away from Jaemin, removing the blanket from around his shoulders and going to the entrance to put on his shoes.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, don't let him go, Jaem.

“Hey! Hey, Injun, it's fine! Trust me. You can stay the night if you want.” Jaemin's voice at the end of his sentence lilts, denoting what he said as something in between a question and a statement, full of uncertainty but also knowing what he wants.

Seeing Renjun’s unreadable expression that's bordering on discomfort makes him panic, because, yeah, he probably came on way too strong. “Okay, wait, that sounded weird. I meant, like, it's just that you were really tired and I don't want you to drive home like this because it's dangerous and you could get hurt, and I really don't want you to get hurt.” Jaemin takes a break from his rambling to breathe. “You can take my bed and I'll sleep on the couch, so it's not weird or anything. If you're down to stay, I mean.” Jaemin scratches the back of his neck nervously, waiting for Renjun’s response.

Renjun’s expression softens when he realizes that Jaemin has no intention of making a move on him or making him feel uncomfortable in any way, but he can't risk it. He's already been wearing his binder for over six hours and there's no way he's going to take it off in Jaemin’s bathroom with the possibility of him accidentally leaving it there and Jaemin finding out about everything. He would love to spend more time with Jaemin, but he can't risk it .

“I—It's fine, but thanks for the offer.” Renjun offers a genuine smile. “I really appreciate it.”

“Are you sure?” Jaemin's tone is earnest, almost desperate.

“Yes, Jaem. Next time?” Renjun opens the door, taking Jaemin’s hand in his smaller one. It's not as intimate as it was before, but this time, it feels like a promise.

Jaemin smiles brightly, eyes turning into half-moons. “Next time.”

Renjun pats Jaemin's face as he leaves, and this time, Jaemin is able to place his own hand on the spot Renjun touched, savoring the feeling.

 

━━━━━━━━

 

It's the beginning of May when the excitement of nearing the end of the semester is near, but also the stress of finals and the growing heat of the promise of summer.

Jaemin is sprawled out on the couch, none of his limbs touching each other to avoid the gross feeling of skin on skin in the heat. Renjun is sitting next to Jaemin’s head, reading some book just for the fun of it. Jaemin hates reading and only does it for the grade, but if Renjun asked him to read, he would pick up the book in a heartbeat.

“Injun,” Jaemin whines, dragging out the last syllable of Renjun’s name, “it's too hot.”

Renjun clicks his tongue and puts his book down. “Then turn on the air conditioner! Stop complaining and actually try to fix your problem.” Renjun states very matter-of-factly, and the way he sounds like someone who doesn't take bullshit is strangely hot to him.

But still, Jaemin groans. “But that's too expensive, and you know I’m just a broke college kid with a part-time job!” Jaemin pouts at Renjun, but the older male is not taking it.

“Your parents literally help you pay rent every month! They can help you pay for some air conditioning if you're that desperate for it.” Renjun rolls his eyes, and that's when Jaemin realizes that he's probably a little pissed off at this point.

Jaemin sits up, thinking that his position is too silly for the atmosphere in the room. He scoots closer to Renjun, their thighs basically touching, which makes Renjun flinch. Renjun snaps his head at Jaemin, shocking the latter into backing away slightly. It seems that Renjun has processed how he just acted, because he mutters a small “Sorry” and returns to his book.

Renjun instantly feels bad for being so harsh toward Jaemin when the younger boy did absolutely nothing wrong. Renjun is absolutely sure that his increased irritability is because of his hormones and it really bothers him. He’s always been a little rough, punching his friends and putting them into chokeholds even before his transition, but it was never like he was angry or had any malicious intent while doing so. But nowadays, Renjun’s temper is shorter, and he’s really afraid of that getting in the way of his relationships, especially the one he has with Jaemin.

After seeing Renjun’s change of expression, Jaemin becomes more worried than upset or hurt. He knows that Renjun didn’t mean to be so brash, but he doesn’t know why , and he wants to find out.

“Hey,” Jaemin props himself up, turning his body so he’s facing Renjun, “what’s wrong?”

When Renjun looks at Jaemin, Renjun’s heart absolutely melts. The younger boy has all of his attention on Renjun, focusing on his expressions and studying him as if he’s trying to figure out what’s going on inside of Renjun’s head. His eyes are full of intent, and Renjun doesn’t know how eyes can look genuine and caring, but Jaemin’s eyes do and he’s kind of obsessed with it.

Renjun smiles fondly from how much Jaemin is invested into figuring out what’s going on with him, even though nothing is going terribly badly at the moment. Renjun waves his hand in front of Jaemin’s face, dismissing his question to let him know that everything is fine. “Nothin’. I’m just pissy because it’s too hot , and you know I hate the heat, Jaem.”

“And you’re the one getting on my case for complaining about how hot it is? That’s funny.” Jaemin scoffs, only to send Renjun a look of what seems to be pure adoration afterwards. At least, that’s what Jaemin feels like.

Renjun rolls his eyes again, playfully this time around, before bringing his book back to reading distance. He feels like both he and Jaemin are being over dramatic because it’s only about 84 degrees outside. He knows how much worse the heat is going to become when it’s actually summer, but for now, he’ll complain with Jaemin about the weather to his heart’s content.

All of a sudden, Jaemin wraps his arms around Renjun’s neck lazily, peering over his shoulder to try and see what Renjun is reading. Renjun jumps in surprise at the contact, but Jaemin still doesn’t move away or even make an effort to. He panics because there’s a small chance that Jaemin touches something that he’s not supposed to be touching, let alone know about. He visibly relaxes when he realizes that Jaemin’s expression hasn’t changed at all, meaning that he doesn’t suspect anything weird.

Renjun likes to keep his hair a little longer at the top, and he's settled for cutting his own hair because he needs to trim it often to keep it the same length. It's a win-lose situation; he looks cute and soft and likes how it feels when it’s freshly washed, but it always gets in the way of his vision, sometimes even making his eye itchy. It's annoying, to say the least, and he doesn't know how he dealt with having such long hair before his transition. To remedy the inconvenience, Renjun always keeps a hair clip or two on him, just in the case that he doesn't want to deal with his hair.

This is one of those cases. It's hot and Renjun doesn't sweat that much, but the heat is making the feeling of his hair on his forehead uncomfortable. So, he pulls out his favorite red hair clip from his pocket and pins it on, pulling his hair away from his face. He knows that Jaemin loves when he shows his forehead, so he’s been trying to do it more often, just for Jaemin.

Jaemin smiles upon seeing Renjun and his cute forehead, and he actually thinks that he melts. Like he is a legitimate puddle on his couch. He groans to reveal his suffering and shifts, his arm around Renjun’s waist and his head leaning on Renjun’s. He’s close enough that he can smell Renjun’s apple-scented shampoo and he resists the raging temptation to press soft kisses to Renjun’s hair. He does all of this without thinking, but then he realizes that this is the most intimate position that the two of them have ever been in, and he starts to pull away when Renjun flinches slightly.

“Shit, sorry, that was totally out of line—” Jaemin is interrupted when Renjun reaches behind himself and pulls Jaemin’s hand back to his waist.

“It’s fine.” Renjun says, tone vague, and puts his hand on Jaemin’s cheek to make him lean on his head again. Renjun releases all of the tension in his body, flushing against Jaemin’s warmth. The heat is almost suffocating, but for some reason, neither of them care all that much.

Now, Jaemin can see the text on the pages of Renjun’s book perfectly, but Renjun reads more quickly than he does, so he always flips the page before Jaemin is done. After about ten minutes of clueless, contextless reading, Renjun yawns and puts the book down.

“Why are you always so tired when you come over?” Jaemin chuckles, running his hand up and down Renjun’s waist extremely slowly and making the older male shiver.

“Maybe you’re just boring , Jaem.” Renjun smiles in victory, turning toward Jaemin to rub it in his face.

“Oh, yeah?” Jaemin’s words are short, but they’re dripping with something that Renjun can’t quite name. Whatever it is, it makes Renjun blush and bite his lip, to which Jaemin smirks.

“Shut up. I didn’t say anything.” Renjun curls against Jaemin’s body, trying to make himself take up as little space as possible.

“You’re so cute, Injun.” Jaemin says almost out of nowhere, and Renjun is shocked, to say the least. Jaemin is no stranger to flirting—no, not at all—but it always comes as a surprise to Renjun when Jaemin compliments him. It’s not that he thinks he’s ugly or anything, but it’s just that Jaemin does it so often that it’s making him start to question things.

Renjun bites his lip again , in embarrassment this time, and hugs his knees to his chest, making himself look smaller, if that’s even remotely possible. “ Jaemin .” It sounds like a warning, honestly striking some fear into Jaemin’s heart because Renjun never calls Jaemin by his full first name unless he does something that seriously irks him, but there’s a large hint of a whine in there as well. Renjun glares up at Jaemin, and Jaemin knows that he’s trying to look threatening, but he just looks like a pouty puppy and Jaemin cannot resist .

Jaemin turns his body so he’s facing Renjun and takes the elder’s face in his hands, squishing his cheeks together and making him look ten times cuter than he usually does. Jaemin thinks that this should be a crime. Renjun’s expression, on the other hand, turns blank, like he’s done with all of Jaemin’s shit and just wants to go to sleep.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Renjun asks, definitely not amused one bit.

“I’m squishing your face, duh! You look so cute!”

Renjun is not having any of it, so he takes Jaemin’s hands off his cheeks, buries his face into Jaemin’s neck, and puts the younger male’s arms around his shoulders. He wraps his own arms around Jaemin’s midsection, bringing the two of them closer together. Jaemin starts to freak out because they’re basically cuddling and Jaemin loves cuddling. He’s not taking any chances at wasting this opportunity, so he just tightens his hold on Renjun and sighs, reveling in the feeling of being so close to the prettiest, smartest, wittiest, most genuine boy he’s ever met. Yeah, he could really get used to this.

 

━━━━━━━━

 

It’s June. School is done for the year, finals are officially over, and there’s more than enough time to make memories that last for a lifetime. Renjun is at home for the summer, and he feels blessed that his mother still gives him the freedom to hang out with his friends even though he’s under her roof for the time being.

After the school year ended, Renjun’s duties at work only intensified, leaving him with more work hours during the week due to the abundance of free time. He's still not as busy as he had classes alongside his job, but now he works eight hours a day, four days a week. It's tiring, especially when he has to deal with customers (but it's not like he's rude to them, but a lot of social interaction tends to suck the energy right out of him). Something that gets him through the week, though, is Jaemin. In addition to their regular hang-out sessions, Jaemin makes sure to visit Renjun at work at least once a week, and he feels apologetic when he can't.

This week, though, is special. They have a beach day planned, just the two of them, the sunshine, and the waves.

Renjun was apprehensive to the location at first, to be honest. He tends to avoid places with bodies of water because that means that there's at least a slight chance of him taking his shirt off, which is definitely not what he wants to do. But Jaemin convinced him, saying that he wasn't even planning on swimming in the ocean anyway because sand gets in places where sand shouldn’t be. Renjun couldn’t help but laugh at that. So, because Jaemin is so persuasive, Renjun gave in, indulging Jaemin in his beach picnic dream (Renjun is sure that Jaemin mentioned the word “date” in there somewhere, but he forces himself not to overanalyze it).

Now that Renjun is here, sitting on a large blanket that he dug out of his mom’s closet and laughing at Jaemin trying to stuff half of a spam musubi into his mouth, he’s glad that he indulged Jaemin. It’s late afternoon, around five o’clock, and the sun is just barely starting to set, the lighting making their skin glow golden. Renjun is wearing a large sun hat to keep himself from squinting from the brightness and Jaemin has been teasing him all day about it, but Renjun really couldn’t care any less. He thinks the hat is cute and he knows that, underneath all the snarky and to-the-side comments, Jaemin thinks so, too.

His suspicions are confirmed when Jaemin pulls out his phone to take some pictures of Renjun in the sun because he looks absolutely breathtaking . It’s not like Renjun is wearing anything particularly fashionable, just a ratty, old t-shirt that and some shorts that are a little bit too short for it to be good for Jaemin’s health (he appreciates them nonetheless), but that’s what makes it so much more beautiful, in Jaemin’s opinion. Renjun has never been one to do things to impress other people, and that’s one of the things that Jaemin loves so much about him. Jaemin knows that everything Renjun does or says is genuine, the absolute truth. He’s blunt, straight-forward, but that just makes everything so much easier. No staying up trying to decode Renjun’s words, no wondering if Renjun really means what he says, no worrying about lies or questioning Renjun’s loyalty. Renjun isn’t one to pretend.

Jaemin thinks that, at this very moment, Renjun looks so ethereal, so angelic, like he was sent down by God himself to bless the Earth with his beauty. He studies the curve of his cheeks, the way his lips are soft and kissable around the straw while he’s drinking his smoothie, how his shorts ride up whenever he shifts his legs. Renjun’s beauty is raw, organic, and Jaemin can’t get enough of it.

When Renjun notices that Jaemin is taking pictures of him, he strikes a few poses, most of which are silly and dumb, for the jokes, really. But there are some that Jaemin manages to sneak while Renjun isn’t looking, capturing the natural lines and details of his body. When Jaemin looks back at the photos he took, he frowns because although Renjun looks absolutely amazing in them, they don’t come anywhere near the real thing.

“What, do I look bad?” There’s genuine curiosity in Renjun’s voice, but also a hint of meekness that Jaemin doesn’t fail to miss. The pout on Renjun’s lips doesn’t make the butterflies in Jaemin’s stomach flutter any faster, but instead it makes Jaemin wish that he never sees that look on his face again. He knows that the elder has his bad days, but he’s most beautiful when he’s smiling.

“No, no, of course not.” Jaemin goes to show Renjun his phone screen. “You look fucking great, really.” Jaemin’s tone is dripping with sincerity, which simultaneously calms Renjun down and makes him blush right on the spot.

“Then why did you look disgusted when you saw them?” Renjun is the one teasing now.

Fuck, should I be honest? It won’t be weird, right? I always tell him flirty shit and we literally cuddle sometimes! I compliment him all the time, too! This shouldn’t be any different from that , Jaemin contemplates, weighing his options and wondering if what he’s about to say is too… romantic. Fuck it .

“I wasn’t disgusted , for your information! It’s just that,” Jaemin pauses, gathering his confidence in preparation for what he’s going to tell Renjun, “my phone camera doesn’t serve your beauty justice at all . Like seriously. It’s kind of a crime, honestly.” Jaemin says it almost nonchalantly, trying to mask the fact that his heart is literally about to beat right out of his chest from how intensely Renjun is staring at him.

Renjun’s eyes go wide at the mention of that word. “My beauty ?”

Jaemin really hopes his face isn’t as red as it feels. “Yes, your beauty.”

Renjun stares down at the picnic blanket in an attempt to shield his blush from Jaemin’s gaze, but even if the latter can’t visually see it, he still knows that it’s still there.

“You’re stupid. You know that, Jaem?”

“So what if I am?” As Jaemin speaks, he stands up and wipes any stray grains of sand off of his shorts. He smiles down at Renjun, who’s looking up at him with flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes. Jaemin extends his hand, offering it to Renjun and pulling the smaller boy up on his feet. He intertwines their fingers and starts to walk toward the ocean, which makes Renjun stop in his tracks.

“Hey, where are we going? I thought you weren’t gonna swim! That was part of the deal!” Anyone can hear the pout in Renjun’s voice. Renjun isn’t walking, toes digging into the sand so he doesn’t even budge.

“Injun, c’mon! I just want you to take some pictures of me in the water!” Jaemin looks Renjun right in the eyes and tightens his grip on Renjun’s hand.

After a few seconds of thinking, Renjun gives in to Jaemin again . He really doesn’t stand a chance against Jaemin and his power to make him try things that are out of his comfort zone. When Renjun complies, Jaemin beams at him, his smile so wide and bright that Renjun forgets about any dash of fear or anxiety he was feeling.

When they get to the shoreline, the sun is finally setting, the sky shades of blue, yellow, and pink. Jaemin runs into the water with the excitement of a child who just saw the ocean for the first time. Renjun is lying if he says that that doesn't make a dumb smile play on his lips as he watches Jaemin have his fun.

Jaemin hands Renjun his phone for him to take pictures and Renjun gets to work. Jaemin is just standing there , not trying too hard and looking as handsome as ever. Renjun is swooning over Jaemin with a shirt on, so he isn't even prepared when Jaemin proceeds to take off said item of clothing. Renjun stops taking pictures because Holy fuck. Literally WHAT THE FUCK. I want to lick his abs. Wait, what the fuck? Did I seriously just think that? That's so fucking weird but I still… want to do it. Time to bury myself into a hole now because there's no way I can look at Jaemin shirtless and not think about licking his body! Goodbye, cruel world!

Renjun is snapped out of his thoughts when Jaemin calls out to him.

“Stop drooling, Injun!” Renjun seriously touches the corner of his mouth to make sure he isn't actually drooling because that would be way more embarrassing than whatever hell Jaemin is going to make him go through right now.

Flustered, Renjun sputters out, “I—y-you can't just do that! And I wasn't drooling, shut the fuck up!” His cheeks are burning and he internally asks all of the higher beings in existence to end his misery here and now.

“I'm just trying to flex for Instagram. Gotta show off my hard-earned body, right?” Jaemin smirks, all greasy and cheesy and reminiscent of a fuckboy. If it were literally anyone else, Renjun would be walking away already.

Instead, he settles for a grimace, his lips turned down in disgust. “Oh my god, why would you even say that? Do you want me to throw your phone in the ocean?”

Jaemin laughs out loud and closes the distance between him and Renjun. “Oh, Injun,” Jaemin gently cups Renjun's cheek and Renjun's legs turn to jelly, “you know I'm only joking, right? Okay, sure, fine, I am trying to flex just a little bit, but I'm not a fuckboy!”

Renjun purses his lips before rolling his eyes. “I know, it's not that big of a deal! Just…” he waves his hand in the general direction of the water, “stand over there and look pretty again.”

At first, Renjun doesn't think anything of his words, but then Jaemin makes sure to bring it to Renjun’s attention.

“You think I'm pretty?” Jaemin says it almost in disbelief, which makes Renjun confused because Uh, duh, yes. Have you seen yourself?

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Renjun tries to say as indifferently as possible, but his pink cheeks blow his cover right away.

“Aw, thank you!” Jaemin practically throws himself at Renjun, causing the smaller boy to stumble back and wobble around, trying to regain his balance.

“You're prettier, though.”

Renjun wishes he wasn't so affected by Jaemin’s words, but he's always been a sucker for compliments and attention and kind words, so he'll take whatever he can get. It’s even more special when those sweet words and actions come from Jaemin.

Jaemin takes his phone from Renjun’s hands and starts to lead him to the water.

“J-Jaem, what are you doing?” His voice is trembling, but not enough for Jaemin to notice.

“I wanna take pictures of you in the water, too! The background looks so nice, right now, it would just be a waste if you didn't take advantage of it!” Jaemin exclaims, the motive of persuading Renjun clear in his voice. This time, Renjun doesn't want to give in.

When his feet are submerged in the salty seawater, Renjun desperately tries not to show his panic. “I thought... we weren't gonna go in the ocean.”

“But Injun! Look! It's not even that bad!” But Jaemin is wrong. The waves aren't the biggest Renjun has ever seen, but a few more feet into the water and Renjun is likely to get knocked over by some wave, wetting his clothes and making his white t-shirt see through.

Renjun stops moving altogether. Trying to get Renjun to just walk , Jaemin takes his hand and starts using his strength.

“Jaem, stop—” The water is up to his knees now. It's so close.

“Hey, I'm here! You don't need to worry!” Jaemin's words do little to comfort Renjun. He keeps pulling, pulling, pulling until Renjun feels his knees get wet. He can't take it anymore.

“Jaemin, can you fucking stop?!” Renjun almost yells, eyes welling up with tears from the fear and pressure. God .

Jaemin pauses instantaneously, eyes widening and expression filling with regret. He looks at Renjun and how he's on the verge of tears, how the bottom part of his shorts is partially wet from the waves crashing against his legs, and how Renjun is backing away from him, keeping his distance from him .

Renjun sits down on the sand, vigorously wiping his eyes with the back of his hand to get rid of any evidence that shows that he was almost crying. His hands are still shaking, but now in shock because he acted out in front of Jaemin, throwing a tantrum like a child . He's so angry with himself. He disappointed Jaemin, weirded him out, scared him away. Renjun's eyes start to water again when he thinks about how Jaemin probably thinks of him as an uptight freak who's incapable of doing simple things like walking around in the fucking ocean .

He brings his knees up to his chest and wraps his arm around them, resting his forehead on his arms to hide his face. Then, he feels and hears the sand in the area next to him shift, and he can already tell that it's Jaemin. He really doesn't want to face him right now.

“Hey, Injun,” Jaemin talks quietly like he's tiptoeing around Renjun’s boundaries, “I'm so sorry about… pressuring you like that. It was disrespectful and I completely disregarded your personal space and preferences and that’s not okay.”

The way Jaemin is acting right now, how his voice is so soft and quiet and how he's not touching him in any way, makes Renjun even more upset with himself. Jaemin isn't acting like Jaemin , and that's because Renjun scared him off.

When Renjun doesn't say anything, Jaemin tries again. “I'm so sorry, Injun, I really am. You didn't deserve that.” Jaemin puts a hand on Renjun’s back, rubbing it in soothing circles. “Will you forgive me?”

Renjun still doesn't respond, only lifting his head to lean against Jaemin's shoulder and nod against his neck. Jaemin wraps a protective arm around Renjun, as if he wants to shield the elder from anything that has the capacity to hurt him.

They stay like that for a while and Jaemin tries to calm him down, but everytime he thinks about the situation, he wants to cry, trembling slightly from trying to keep his tears and emotions at bay.

“Hey, hey,” Jaemin almost whispers, “what's wrong, Injunnie? Hm? I'm sorry.”

Renjun inhales deeply to calm himself down, regaining air in his lungs and allowing himself to breathe again. He doesn’t plan to tell Jaemin just yet, but he’ll be honest about something. “I’m just…” he pauses, “are you upset with me?” He glances up to meet his gaze with Jaemin’s, voice quiet and scared.

Jaemin’s heart breaks upon hearing Renjun’s words. He can’t believe that Renjun would even think that way. Renjun is small in his arms, shrinking into himself even more, eyes still expectant of Jaemin’s response.

“I—what? Injun, I’m not mad or upset at all. W-why do you think that?” The disbelief Jaemin feels is loud and clear. He pats the sand in front of him, guiding Renjun to sit so Jaemin can really pay attention to what Renjun is feeling right now.

Renjun’s gaze is turned down now, embarrassed and ashamed. “I don’t know, I just—it’s kinda dumb.” He mutters.

“Injun, it’s not—nothing you say is dumb. Especially if it’s bothering you, you don’t need to worry about if it’s stupid or irrelevant because I’m sure it’s not.” Jaemin takes one of Renjun’s hands in his own, letting Renjun knows that he’s being sincere, that he’s here for him no matter what.

“I guess it was like I thought that you would think I’m over dramatic or a buzzkill or just weird , and, and… I was just scared of scaring you away.”

Jaemin’s face falls. “Oh, Injun...”

He hugs Renjun despite their current positions, awkwardly draping over him. Jaemin is on his knees while Renjun remains seated, and the sudden contact causes the latter to stiffen at first, but then relaxing when he feels the warmth that Jaemin’s body is radiating.

“I would never think that of you like that. God, Injun, I… I would never.” Jaemin just holds Renjun even tighter.

Renjun simply nods in acknowledgement. He isn’t in the mood to say anything anymore. Instead, he feels so, so grateful that Jaemin is so understanding, so kind, so genuine in everything he does. He finds the most comfort being in Jaemin’s presence, and his words never fail to make him feel something .

They stay like that for a little while, eventually talking about more light-hearted topics like how pretty the sunset looks today and how it’s starting to become colder as the sun goes down. When Renjun starts to whine at the decreasing temperature, that’s when Jaemin decides that it would be a good idea to return to their original picnic spot and hope that nobody stole their stuff. Renjun lets out a sigh of relief when his mother’s picnic basket and blanket are still in tact. He and Jaemin gather their things and take them to the latter’s car, walking hand in hand the whole half-mile trip.

In the car, they listen to Renjun’s playlist that he listens to when he wants to get hyped up, which is mostly composed of rap music with a few EDM songs here and there. Jaemin tells himself that he and Renjun should go to a rave together one day. They probably look so stupid to anyone who is able to look through their windows, banging their heads along to the music and pumping their fists in the air and screaming out the lyrics to most of the songs. Renjun makes sure to document these moments, putting videos on his Snapchat story of Jaemin rapping aggressively while driving, his own laughing prominent in the background.

The music switches to lo-fi sometime halfway through the trip to Renjun’s place, the mood winding down as the night grows darker. Renjun is starting to get tired, eyes struggling to stay open as the soothing music fills his ears. However, he jolts awake when Jaemin does that thing that guys do that makes most teenage girls go crazy, and as a gay boy, it drives him crazy, too. Jaemin places his hand on Renjun’s knee while he keeps his left hand on the wheel. Renjun stares at the hand with wide eyes and looks at Jaemin with the same expression.

The younger male seems to notice this, because he smirks. “This okay?” He glances at Renjun to gage his reaction, which is Renjun nodding a little too quickly.

Renjun is tapping through his friends’ Snapchat stories when Jaemin strikes up a conversation.

“Hey, um, Injun,” He clears his throat, “I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while, but I just couldn’t find the right time to say it, I guess.” Jaemin keeps his eyes on the road.

“Well, what is it?” Renjun’s curiosity peaks, pressing Jaemin slightly to get him to tell him as soon as possible.

After a few more moments of no talking, Jaemin speaks again. “What are we?”

Renjun barely knows what to say to that; even he doesn’t know their relationship status. They’ve never explicitly talked about anything or established a title to how they act toward one another. They’re constantly teetering on the line between friendship and something more, but both of them know that there’s something in between the of them.

Still, despite knowing this, Renjun pulls away more and more, continuing to take a few steps back when Jaemin is trying to take a step forward. “W-we’re friends, right?”

Renjun’s heart nearly stops beating when Jaemin slowly draws his hand away from Renjun’s knee, having to face the reality that, maybe, Renjun just doesn’t feel the same way. He can barely believe it, though; there’s no way that they do everything they do, the cuddles, the holding of hands, the exchange of smiles with pink cheeks, because they’re friends . Jaemin wants to cry because—he’s not going to lie—it hurts . But he holds everything back because it’s not like it’s Renjun’s obligation to reciprocate Jaemin’s desire for relationship. In the end, he just wants Renjun to be happy and follow his heart, and if being with Jaemin in that way satisfies neither of those things, then Jaemin will just have to accept it.

So, Jaemin purses his lips and simply says, “Right.”

It’s clear that the conversation has ended, nothing more to be said with the tension thick enough to cut with a knife, but Renjun is just really good at digging deep, deep holes for him to fall into. “Yeah, friends do that kind of stuff all the time! It’s not even that big of a deal!” Fuck.

Jaemin says nothing, and that’s when Renjun knows that he has royally fucked up. The rest of the drive remains silent save for the music coming from the speakers of Jaemin’s car. When Jaemin pulls up to Renjun’s house, he gives him a tight-lipped “Bye,” staying behind for a moment to make sure that Renjun gets inside safely.

Jaemin is still his courteous, honest self even when he’s been hurt, and that makes it so much harder for Renjun to forgive himself. Renjun has no idea of what he’s going to do about him now, and he’s not sure that he wants to find out.

 

━━━━━━━━

 

It's been three weeks since that conversation in Jaemin’s car. Three weeks of Jaemin crying himself to sleep every other night. Three weeks of Renjun beating himself up over how stupid he was. Neither of them can take it anymore.

When Renjun goes to work with puffy eyes for the third time in a week, Lucas decides that he needs to say something . Sure, it's not like he and Renjun are best friends, but Lucas would just be an ignorant person if he chooses not to do anything. There are no customers in the store, so Lucas seizes the opportunity.

“Hey, Renjun,” he places his hand on Renjun’s arm to catch his attention, “what's up?”

When Renjun starts to tear up again, Lucas panics because Oh, shit, that is never a good question to ask someone who looks like he’s on the verge of tears . “Shit, you don't need to tell me, that's totally fine.”

Instead, Renjun breathes in deeply and grabs a napkin to dab away any stray tears. He's been giving Donghyuck updates here and there, but other than that, he hasn't really told anyone about the situation. Lucas is such a nice guy, a gentle giant, if you will, so it's hard for Renjun not to trust him.

“Long story short, I friendzoned Jaemin even though I'm 99% sure that we both have feelings for each other.” Renjun says all in one breath. “We haven't talked to each other since then. It's been, like, three weeks and I'm gonna be honest, I miss him so fucking much.”

Renjun isn't close to crying, which is a damn miracle. He thinks that, at this point, he's glad to just let everything out without a filter.

Lucas’ expression softens upon hearing Renjun’s words. “Oh, Renjun.”

Renjun groans, further reminded of how much he regrets saying those words to Jaemin. “I know, I know, that was stupid. But I don't know how to fix it. I'm sure that he doesn't wanna talk to me anymore.” Renjun runs a hand through his hair, frustrated and upset at his streams of thought.

Suddenly, a large group of teenage girls walk into the shop, and Renjun and Lucas give each other knowing looks.

“Text me after your shift, alright?” Lucas says sympathetically before giving the girls a bright smile that undoubtedly makes them swoon. Renjun smiles, which then falls away when he remembers that Jaemin had that effect on him, too.

He tries his best to smile, but his mood is sour for the rest of his shift.

After shedding himself from his work clothes the moment he steps into his room, he opts for something more comfortable and goes searching through his closet to look for it. Then, his eyes focus on a light blue hoodie. Jaemin's favorite. He resists the urge to burst into tears, but then again, he is weak . So, he pulls the piece of clothing over his head and revels in the soft material. The scent of Jaemin is long gone, instead smelling like the laundry detergent Renjun uses, but Renjun can recall the events of when he took it like it was yesterday.

After flopping onto his bed and letting out a scream into his pillow, he pulls out his phone to text Lucas.

 

Renjun

um can i just: end myself

Lucas

dude what's wrong???? :(((

Renjun

ughhgghhfgggg i started wearing jaemin’s hoodie and i'm sad because it was his favorite one but he let me keep it anyway because he thought i looked cute in it

Lucas

oh renjun……

Renjun

i know I KNOW it's stupid but this boy does shit to me i swear. i hate it 

Lucas

you can't keep running away from this though… from what you're telling me, wearing his shit and thinking about him and dwelling on your mistake is only making you feel shittier

you either need to confront him or try to forget about him altogether. you dont deserve to feel this way

Renjun

i dont wanna forget about him :(((((

Lucas

then you gotta confess to him

Renjun

but i dont wanna do that either :(((( 

Lucas

renjun :( you aren't gonna solve ANYTHING like this

Renjun

ik but it's just…. hard

i don't wanna get hurt

Lucas

nobody wants to get hurt, renjun. but the possibility of something coming out of this weighs more than whatever sort of regret youre gonna feel for not doing anything

Renjun

i guess youre right……

i'll think about it lucas

Lucas

tell me how it goes. im always here for you, alright?

Renjun

thanks, lucas.

 

. . .

 

Nothing is working. At least, wallowing in a puddle of his own tears is not working. Jaemin has been steadily crying at least four days a week since Renjun friendzoned him about a month ago. Some days, he thinks that it’s pointless, that he shouldn’t even be crying over this because it’s not like he can control Renjun’s feelings or make him feel the same way that he does, but… just friends? After everything they’ve done together? That was a hard, painful pill to swallow.

After reviewing all of his options, Jaemin decides that he basically only has one thing he can do to possibly change whatever is going on between him and Renjun right now. And that’s to confess to him.

(Of course, being the occasionally irresponsible college student that he is, Jaemin considers drinking until he forgets about all of this, but the hangovers and disgusting feeling of being totally shit-faced aren’t exactly more pleasant than the pain of actually dealing with it. So he crosses that one off of his list.)

Jaemin had hoped that being away from Renjun could have helped him move on from this pseudo-rejection somehow, but he was just trying to make himself think that distance would help. It doesn’t. Call him dramatic, call him helpless, call him “too easy,” but Jaemin can’t deal with it anymore. He can’t stop thinking about Renjun and his pretty smile and his loud laugh and his hand mole and his dainty fingers and the way he would look at Jaemin and literally everything else about the older boy. The memories of Renjun are starting to become too painful for Jaemin to simply reminisce about. He needs to make more of them, and he wants to do that with Renjun by his side.

So, he tells Renjun to come over one day. It’s the middle of July, meaning that it’s way too hot for anyone to be comfortable, really, but Jaemin really doesn’t think that he can keep everything bottled up inside for any longer. Might as well get it over with while the sun is high in the sky and Jaemin will have plenty of time to cry some more if things don’t work out without having to worry about assignments or midterms. He has a plan, and he’s going to stick to it.

Which is what he thinks until he opens his door to see Renjun standing right in front of him for the first time in a month, and suddenly his brain short circuits and he forgets all about his plans to confess to Renjun and see where the conversation takes them. Best case scenario, Jaemin has a boyfriend, and worst case scenario, Renjun thinks he’s gross and never wants to speak to him again. Shit. Maybe Jaemin should have thought this through more thoroughly.

But there’s no time for a wandering mind when Renjun is literally right there . Jaemin composes himself after having a minute mental breakdown, inviting Renjun inside in a manner so unfamiliar and foreign that it’s making Jaemin uncomfortable. He hates this.

They both sit down on Jaemin’s couch. Ah, this couch. It’s a very integral part of their relationship, really. It’s where they have laughed about the weirdest, most stupid things. It’s where they spent much of their time cuddling once they established that that was something they were okay with doing with each other. It’s where they have made so many memories that even sitting on it is enough to make both of their hearts ache.

Jaemin remembers Step One of his plan : Confess to Renjun, no holding back or stalling. So he follows through.

Jaemin takes a deep breath and looks Renjun right in the eyes. They’re still as beautiful as ever, albeit a little sad, maybe scared.

“I don’t—I’m not sure—” Jaemin stops himself, closing his eyes to collect his thoughts. He can do this. He will do this. No holding back. No stalling.

Renjun’s gaze is starting to shift, indicating to Jaemin that he either needs to speed this up or Renjun will say something about how he needs to leave because his mom’s wondering where he is. It’s now or never.

Now.

“I like you, Renjun.” Jaemin sees Renjun’s eyes widen, but he doesn’t let that stop him from saying everything else that he needs to say. “I mean, of course, I think you know that, but I mean, like, like like . That sounds so fucking stupid, like I’m a middle schooler, or something, but I mean it.” Jaemin’s hands are so sweaty, holy shit. “You’re literally the most beautiful, most interesting person I’ve ever met in my entire life, and I love spending time with you, you know, all of that generic shit, I guess. But I don’t mean you’re generic! I mean—I just don’t wanna waste your time, because I know that you’re such a hardworking person so you’re probably busy, but, uh, yeah.” Jaemin says in what sounds like one breath.

Jaemin’s heart is beating a million miles a minute by the time he’s done, and he can feel it pounding in his ears. He’s scared that Renjun is able to hear it through the silence.

Then Renjun starts to speak. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. “Jaemin, I—” And Jaemin interrupts him.

“Wait, um, you don’t have to like me back, or anything.” God, he sounds so pathetic. “I mean, that would be great if you do, but it won’t make you any less of a person, or even make me see you as less of a person. Like, I care about you a lot, and I wanna keep being in your life, but it’s not like I’m gonna force you to spend time with me because that’s so weird, holy shit.” A forced laugh. “Just—I understand if you wanna ignore me after this because, yeah, this is kinda sad, honestly. I just want you to be happy. If there’s any way that I could help you with that, too, then I’d be glad to—”

“Jaemin, fuck, can you just shut up for a few minutes?” And Jaemin does just that. The way he shuts his mouth on command is almost laughable, but he has to admit that he definitely said way more than he originally intended to. YOLO , his stupid, love-dizzy brain supplies.

Then, to Jaemin’s surprise, Renjun scoots closer to him, which, in his mind, is impossible after the garbage that spewed out of his mouth a mere minute ago. He feels like he's in whiplash from saying all that, head still blank and body frozen except for his rushing blood and heart threatening to beat out of his chest.

“Were you being completely honest, Jaemin? Do you actually feel that way toward me?” Renjun sounds like he’s in disbelief, but cautious and wary. Jaemin nods fervently, still keeping quiet, just how Renjun told him to.

I would never lie to you .

“Do you, um,” Renjun glances at the floor for a second or two, the embarrassment of what he’s thinking of saying almost too much for him to bear, “want to be with me?”

And Jaemin can’t keep his mouth shut anymore. “Holy shit, yes.” Curse his monkey brain. Curse Renjun and his ability to make him do dumb, dumb things.

The grin that breaks out on Renjun’s face only serves to confuse Jaemin even more. But the way Renjun’s eyes crinkle and the barely-there dimple on his left cheek makes itself known cuts through any trace of confusion or uncertainty in Jaemin’s body and leaves him feeling giddy and excited and like Wow, I really want to spend all of my time with this boy .

“Good.” Renjun just keeps smiling. They’re both sitting on Jaemin’s couch with big, dumb smiles on their faces and their knees touching, which most people would find awkward, but it just feels so natural and easy.

“If you can’t tell,” Renjun moves even closer , “I feel the same way.” There it is. That same smile finds its way back onto Renjun’s face. It’s so beautiful. Jaemin wishes that Renjun could smile for eternity because he’s pretty sure that it would bring happiness and comfort to all people, because it does to Jaemin.

And… wait. Did Renjun just confess to him? When Jaemin finally processes that fact, his brain-to-mouth filter becomes nonexistent because Renjun likes me back. Oh. My. God.

“God, can I kiss you right now?” Jaemin says without even thinking, and he regrets it instantly. He clamps a hand over his mouth, physically preventing himself from saying anything that could ruin their potential relationship. He cannot mess this up.

“Oh, shit, fuck, um, you don't need to say yes.” Renjun rolls his eyes and sighs deeply, giving Jaemin this look to communicate his answer without saying a word.

“Unless you… want to?” Jaemin says slowly, unsure about if that's what Renjun is trying to tell him.

His suspicions are confirmed when Renjun nods while biting his bottom lip. It's not hot or sexy at all—he looks more dorky, really—but Jaemin doesn't even care . Renjun wants to kiss him!

Now, Jaemin has kissed more than a few people in his life, mostly boys who thought he was attractive despite having a little too much alcohol, so he’s pretty experienced in the kissing department. He’s tried everything from tiny pecks to full-on makeout sessions, but none of that could have prepared him for what he’s about to do. He’s so nervous , like a twelve-year-old about to have his first kiss with some random girl in his grade because of a game of Spin the Bottle, and it’s quite embarrassing. But this is Renjun he’s about to kiss, so it’s understandable. In his standards, at least.

They don’t kiss right away. Instead, they just look at each for a few seconds. Jaemin’s eyes flit down to Renjun’s lips, and he’s thinking about how pretty they’ll look all swollen and shiny with spit and—he calms himself down. They’re definitely not at that stage yet, but Jaemin hopes, after proper communication and even more time spent with each other to build their trust, that they’ll get to it in the future. No matter how long it takes.

But for now, Renjun and Jaemin are facing each other, eyes closed and lips relaxed as they lean closer and closer to each other. Renjun has one of his hands placed on the side of Jaemin’s neck, gently tilting his head to get the angle that much more comfortable for the both of them. Jaemin knows that it’s Proper Kissing Protocol for him to be touching the other person in some way, so he puts a hand on one of Renjun’s slender thighs. It’s almost 94°  degrees outside, so Renjun is wearing those shorts that he wore to the beach that Jaemin loved so, so much. Renjun probably didn’t do it on purpose, but Jaemin appreciates it, really appreciates it, nonetheless.

Then, their lips touch. It’s not like the movies, where fireworks go off in the characters’ heads the second their lips make contact. Rather, it’s warm , warm enough to make Renjun feels like he’s melting. The kiss is long, but slow, their mouths eventually moving against each other so easily that it feels like they’ve done it a million times before. Renjun even gets so comfortable that he leans closer to Jaemin, if that’s possible, arms draping around the other’s neck as they continue kissing. There’s no tongue, no heat or intense passion in whatever they’re doing, but the honey-like warmth flowing through their veins is more than enough for the both of them.

When they pull apart, Jaemin is wearing a dopey smile while Renjun is biting his lip coyly, laughing a little before closing the gap in between them to press another soft, brief kiss to Jaemin’s lips.

They both study each other’s faces for a small while, eyes roaming around as they take in every single feature. Both of them have known of the other’s beauty ever since they laid their eyes on each other, but now that there’s something more and they know it, it’s just… different.

Renjun has never really explicitly stated how he feels about Jaemin’s looks, but he would be the biggest liar to ever exist if he says that he has never thought about the the younger boy’s long eyelashes or the pretty slant of his nose or his cute, sturdy hands. Because he has. Many, many times. And not to mention that incident when Jaemin essentially stripped in front of Renjun and exposed his toned body because Oh, boy . Renjun swears that he still has dreams and intrusive thoughts about that very moment, but, hey, he’s not complaining.

So Renjun makes sure to truly engrain every detail on Jaemin’s face into his brain, maybe even burn them onto his eyelids, who knows?

Jaemin, on the other hand, has done this more times than he can count. Renjun’s appearance, at this point, is so familiar that Jaemin could write a five-page essay solely on the topic of Renjun. He wouldn’t even be remotely embarrassed about it, if he were to write that essay.

After a few more moments of just looking at each other, they start laughing because the situation seems the slightest bit ridiculous. The two of them were stuck in a month-long slump in which they felt so emotionally drained because Renjun said they were friends, and that’s that. Jaemin still feels like such an immature teenager because of the heartache that came as a result of that, but it wasn’t like it meant nothing to him. Instead, it felt like everything.

Now, they’re here, staring at each other without remorse and kissing and basking in each other’s presence because it just feels so right. Perhaps it’s juvenile and cliche, but it’s definitely real, and it’s them .

 

━━━━━━━━

 

It’s the beginning of September, but Mother Nature decides that it’s still an optimal time to make the sun shine that much brighter and the days burn that much hotter. As much as Renjun dislikes the heat, he makes sure to draw out the vacation as long as possible before the start of the school year.

Renjun and Jaemin have been together for two months now, and their bond is as strong as ever. Their dynamic is mostly the same, complete with the constant teasing and finding the strangest things funny, but everything is just so much more open. They’re no longer afraid to steal a kiss when the other least expects it, nor is it a surprise when one looks at the other to see that he’s staring at him.

Neither of them have felt more content in their entire lives than they do at this very moment: Jaemin sitting on Renjun’s bed with Renjun in his lap, tongues and lips leisurely moving against each other like they have all the time in the world. The conditions aren’t ideal, of course; Renjun’s room is a mess from trying to gather all of his things in preparation for moving back into the university dorms, and it’s still warm enough for their skin to feel sticky and slightly uncomfortable.

Despite how hot it is outside or how disorganized Renjun’s room is, both of them are too engrossed in each other to even be remotely bothered. The only thing on Renjun’s mind right now is the way Jaemin’s hands are resting on his ass as they make out, and he’s trying so hard not to combust right then and there. Jaemin’s palms are so big and Renjun’s shorts are so thin and he cannot handle this. Like, at all. But it’s in the most amazing way possible. Renjun doesn’t think that kissing has ever felt this good, and the way he feels himself melt against Jaemin’s body is more than enough evidence.

Eventually, they pull apart and Jaemin automatically presses his lips to Renjun’s neck, making unnecessarily loud smooching noises as he does so. The sound makes Renjun laugh, but then he realizes what could happen if he lets Jaemin keep on going.

“Jaemin, babe, stop. You can’t━not there━” Renjun pushes Jaemin away because he will not risk his mother seeing a big, fat hickey on his neck when she comes home from work later.

“Can I do it,” Jaemin rubs his thumb on Renjun’s collarbone, fingers threatening to pull his shirt down, “here?” The way Jaemin looks at him makes him feel like he’s on fire, but then he starts to freak out a little bit because any further and Jaemin will see his binder, which he definitely is not ready for yet.

“U-um, can you not do that today?” Renjun says meekly, afraid of disappointing Jaemin.

Instead, when Jaemin smiles warmly, eyes soft and understanding, Renjun’s fears bury themselves away.

“Of course, babe.” Jaemin moves his hand to meet one of Renjun’s, interlacing their fingers together and placing one more kiss on Renjun’s neck.

“I can do it to you, though.” Renjun’s expression changes, his aura suddenly confident and hungry for something .

“Oh, shit━” Jaemin has no time to be surprised because when Renjun starts sucking on the skin of his neck, his mind goes completely blank. He doesn’t even care that when Renjun’s done with him, his neck will be littered with purple marks that he knows he won’t make any effort to hide. It’s not like it matters anyway; ah, the joy of living on one’s lonesome.

Receiving hickeys doesn’t even feel particularly good to Jaemin. He literally just feels like someone is sucking on his neck. Big whoop, how romantic! The thing that gets to Jaemin about the whole process, though, is the aftermath, the parading around of the marks and showing the world that Huang Renjun is the one who did this to him.

Renjun pulls away eventually, widely grinning down at Jaemin before cupping the latter’s face 

and pressing his lips to his forehead. His eyes trail down to Jaemin’s neck, which is littered in lovebites. Renjun smirks because I did that . He uses his thumb to put some pressure on the newly-formed bruises, making Jaemin’s breath hitch.

Jaemin retrieves his phone from his back pocket, setting it to the front camera and using it to assess the damage. When he sees all the marks, his eyes widen because it looks like his neck actually got mauled by a bear or something.

“Shit, Injun, there's no way I can cover this up.” He cranes his neck, lightly brushing against the skin with his fingers.

“Just wear turtlenecks for the next week! It should be starting to cool down, anyway,” Renjun says smugly. “I know you don’t wanna cover them, though, you freaky bitch!”

Renjun laughs loudly when Jaemin pushes him hard enough to make him fall back against the sheets, the springs of his bed squeaking loudly from the impact. He’s undoubtedly grateful that his mother isn’t home at the moment, because he doesn’t want her to get the wrong idea from how loudly his bed is squeaking. (He can imagine attempting to explain the situation to her: Mom, please, it’s just an old mattress! We weren’t even doing anything! Jaemin would have to wrap the blanket around his body as tightly as possible to hide the spots on Jaemin’s neck. Now that would have set her off completely.)

Jaemin lies down on his side next to Renjun, who shifts his body so he’s facing Jaemin as well. They resume another round of kisses, this time sweeter and more frequent, and it’s so intimate that Renjun feels his face heat up when Jaemin caresses his cheek.

But then, Jaemin moves his hand to rest on Renjun’s hip, and Renjun stops breathing for a few seconds. His hand is dangerously close to his crotch area and sirens go off in his head, loud and clear and not allowing themselves to be silenced. He starts breathing again, but something’s not right . His heart rate is getting faster and faster, but his lungs can’t keep up, and he starts to feel like he’s suffocating. The binder constricting his chest is not helping in the slightest. He closes himself off from Jaemin, curling in on himself as his body starts to shake. Tears spring from his eyes, falling down his cheeks and wetting his face in messy, hot streaks. His mouth creates sounds that seem to resemble words, but they’re unintelligible. His chest feels tight; he can’t breathe. He can’t breathe .

He can’t seem to think much, either, except for Not now, not in front of him, not now .

Jaemin, on the other hand, is in shock for a moment. One second, he’s kissing his boyfriend and everything is all fine and dandy, but the next, said boyfriend is curled up into a ball and shaking and sobbing for a reason he doesn’t even know. Nonetheless, he tries his very best to help Renjun overcome whatever he’s feeling right now because, if he’s being honest, it looks scary . He can’t even imagine what he’s going through, and it breaks his heart to see Renjun like this.

Jaemin assumes that Renjun is having a panic attack or something similar to that, so, thankfully, he has a vague idea of what to do. He distances himself from Renjun slightly, knowing that not only does Renjun need to regulate his breathing, but also the space to do so.

“Hey, Injun, I’m here, I’m right here, babe.” Jaemin says in the most soothing voice he can muster, but in actuality, he’s so nervous that he’s scared that his voice will start shaking and it’ll cause Renjun to panic even more.

Through his blurry vision, Renjun looks up and sees Jaemin looking down on him, expression unreadable. The ambiguity does nothing to calm him down, but the familiar voice gives him something to focus on.

Jaemin relaxes by the smallest amount when Renjun’s action confirms that he’s responsive, which is a great sign. “That’s right, babe, I’m right here. Can I touch your hand, please?”

Without a word, Renjun weakly reaches out one of his hands for Jaemin to take. Jaemin holds it and squeezes it gently, a silent reminder that he’s going to help Renjun through this. “Breathe with me, Injun. Follow my breaths.” Jaemin inhales for four seconds and exhales for six, making the air pass through loudly on purpose as a guide. He always uses this exercise to calm himself down whenever he’s feeling nervous or stressed. He feels extremely blessed to have never really had to deal with an attack like this, but sometimes, it helps even to just take a minute or two out of his day to recuperate and clear his mind.

Slowly, but surely, Renjun starts to follow Jaemin’s breaths, the rise and fall of his chest becoming more regular as the minutes go by. About fifteen minutes later, Renjun’s breathing is relatively back to normal. He’s lying on his back now, arms thrown over his eyes as the last of his tears take their course. Jaemin is simply sitting next to him on the bed, his fingers lightly running through his hair. The action almost makes him want to cry some more because his mother would do that to calm him down after a crying fit or when he just couldn’t go to sleep. But he doesn’t, he holds back and allows himself to fully calm down.

“You okay, Injun? Do you need water? Food?” Jaemin asks in that same gentle voice he’s been using this entire time. Jaemin is too good for this cruel, cruel world.

“W-water, please.”

“Of course, baby. I’ll be right back.” Jaemin gets off of the bed as quietly as possible as to not disturb Renjun.

When Jaemin comes back with a glass of water in his hand, Renjun is so drained that he doesn’t feel like using his arms to lift himself up and drink the water that Jaemin got for him. Attacks like this always suck the energy out of him, everything being poured into the way his shoulders shake and his chest tightens and head aches. Still, he gathers up just enough strength to do just that, drinking only the tiniest amount before lying back down on the bed.

Now that the whole ordeal is over, both of them are left to their own thoughts, all of the worries and thoughts that they didn't have time to think about fifteen minutes ago flooding back into their minds.

Renjun cannot believe that he just had a panic attack in front of Jaemin. His boyfriend knows that he struggles with them from time to time, but Renjun has feared the day he would have one in front of Jaemin ever since they started spending time together regularly. It finally happened, and the insecure and anxious part of him feels like a burden for making Jaemin go through all of that just because he was scared that Jaemin would find out that he, in fact, does not have a penis.

(He did put on a packer that very morning, but sometimes, your mind favors irrationality over any sort of logic. Renjun’s brain in that very moment went a little like this: I mean, what if he reached into my pants and felt a rubber dick instead of an actual one? That would need some explaining, and I am not down for that yet. Cue panic. )

The other part of him, though, the one designated for mushy feelings, takes over slightly, filling his heart and mind with feelings of gratitude and love . Jaemin really stuck through that entire incident with him, helping him calm down, asking him if he needs anything, and Renjun fails to recall a time when he has felt more loved .

Jaemin is just glad that Renjun is okay.

He has no plans of asking why Renjun had a panic attack because he’s sure that Renjun will tell him when he feels ready, and he respects that completely. He trusts Renjun enough to let the latter take things at his own pace, no matter how slowly or quickly he wants to progress their relationship. Time will only tell.

 

(“Hey,” Jaemin says quietly, “Injun.”

They’re lying down on their sides with Jaemin’s front pressed against Renjun’s back, his long arms wrapped around Renjun’s waist. Jaemin probably needs to leave soon; Renjun’s mother gets off of work in fifteen minutes. For now, though, they’re just taking each other in, maybe striking up a conversation here and there which will eventually tamper off into silence. But there’s nothing wrong with that in their books.

Renjun merely hums in acknowledgement. He’s already feeling quite tired, the comfort of Jaemin surrounding him is enough to put him to sleep.

Jaemin lets out a breath. “I━” A pause.

“What is it, babe?” His voice is raspy with the need to rest.

“You know what, go to sleep, Injun. I’ll tell you later.”

Renjun tries to turn his head around to face Jaemin, but frankly, his human physiology doesn’t allow him to do so. “Hm, tell me.” He’s whining at this point.

Jaemin smiles and kisses Renjun’s cheek, which makes Renjun display a smile of his own in response. He can’t resist Renjun when he gets like this.

“I love you, baby.” Jaemin mumbles against the back of Renjun’s neck, which adds to the liquid heat flowing through Renjun’s body.

He said that he loves me .

“Say it again.” Renjun requests with a squeaky giggle tacked onto the end of his sentence.

“I love you, Injun.” A kiss to Renjun’s nape. “So much.”

And that’s all Renjun needs.

“I love you, too, Jaem.”

This time, Renjun turns around to fully kiss Jaemin, albeit for a few seconds only, and shifting again to resume their previous position.

Renjun knocks out five minutes later and dreams about him and Jaemin running around an open field, the sky pink and yellow as a result of the sun setting and bringing the day to a close.)

 

━━━━━━━━

 

A month later, and Renjun has decided that it’s time.

He feels guilty about it, in all honesty. He has, essentially, been lying to Jaemin all this time, not letting him know about his biology and making him think that he’s a cis male when he’s not. (Still, it reassures him that he passes for a cis guy, and that just makes his life a whole lot easier. Dysphoria is still a bitch, but at least strangers don’t ask him what’s in his pants.)

Not to mention that he’s just scared . He’s heard of stories of trans people coming out to their partners only to be broken up with, which, sadly, isn’t even the worst of it. It suffocates him to even think about it.

The thought of telling Jaemin crossed his mind from time to time, but he believed that if Jaemin didn’t suspect anything, then he didn’t need to know for the time being. But now that they’re together and have been for over three months now, he knows that it would just be a disservice to both him and Jaemin if he kept going on like this. He needs to be honest, and Jaemin needs to know the truth and nothing less.

That’s why Renjun invites himself over on a cool October afternoon to do just that.

 

Renjun

hey i’ll be over in like ten minutes

i need to talk to you about something

Jaemin

oh okay? that sounds ominous lol

Renjun

you didn’t anything wrong if that’s what you’re worried about lmao

i’ll see you

love you jaem <3

Jaemin

alrighty :ooooo

still sus tho lol

jk

i love you too babe!!!!! uwu

Renjun

ew

When Jaemin hears a few loud knocks on his door approximately ten minutes later, he springs to his feet and almost slips on the floor trying to answer it so quickly. Curse socks and their ability to slide on smooth surfaces. When he opens it, Renjun walks right past him and takes his shoes off before sitting on Jaemin’s couch. Jaemin makes a face of disbelief at his boyfriend, who’s patting the spot next to him as an invitation for Jaemin to sit down.

Jaemin does so with that same incredulous look on his face, perhaps mixed with a dash of suspicion, and it makes Renjun’s eyes widen. He mutters out a “Sorry” before leaning in to peck Jaemin’s lips. That seems to appease his boyfriend, thankfully.

“So,” Jaemin wipes his slightly sweaty hands on his joggers, “what did you need to talk to me about?”

“Oh, yeah, that.” Renjun’s heart is racing. If there’s a Top 10 Moments Where Renjun Was So Nervous That He Felt Like He Wanted to Throw Up list, then this exact moment would probably take #3. (#2 is getting his first dose of hormones, and #1 is coming out to his mom.)

Renjun feels like he would actually burn alive if he were to drag this on any longer so… here goes nothing.

“I’m a trans male.”

The words feel awkward and clunky coming out of his mouth, and his eyes turn to the floor to avoid having to look at Jaemin and his reaction.

“Oh, hey, Injun. That’s great .” Upon hearing Jaemin’s response, Renjun looks up at him with wide eyes. Jaemin places a comforting hand on Renjun’s thigh before continuing. “Thank you for telling me.” Jaemin presses his lips to Renjun’s cheek to show how thankful he is to Renjun for trusting him enough to tell him something like this.

Renjun, on the other hand, can’t believe what he just heard Jaemin say. “I━what?”

“I said ‘thank you for telling me.’ You good, babe?” Jaemin chuckles lightly, trying to lighten the mood.

“I know, it’s just━do you know what I just told you? Do you know what me being a trans guy means?” Renjun is starting to get slightly defensive because Jaemin should be more surprised, but he’s not . Why is he not surprised?

“I know what that means, Injun.” Jaemin is trying his best to be patient and remain calm, but he has no idea why Renjun feels the need to start raising his voice and snap at him

“Then why are you not surprised or something? Was it obvious?” The fear is seeping into Renjun’s voice, and Jaemin starts to get a hint as to why Renjun is starting to act out. He’s so used to getting bombarded with questions and dirty looks from people after coming out that he’s just confused as to why Jaemin isn’t acting the same way.

“Injun, babe…” Jaemin gives Renjun a sympathetic look. “Okay, fine, I was surprised, not gonna lie. But it’s not like you’re suddenly this whole different person just because you’re trans. As sappy as it sounds, you’re still my boyfriend and I still love you just the same.” Jaemin says with every drop of honesty in his body.

Then Renjun starts tearing up, which is something that Jaemin was not expecting. The older male practically flings himself onto Jaemin’s body, wrapping his arms around Jaemin’s neck and burying his face into his shoulder as he cries.

“Baby, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” Jaemin coos as he rubs his hand up and down Renjun’s back.

“I━you just━” Renjun hiccups, and Jaemin tells him to take his time, “I was so scared . I-I thought you would have━I don’t━I don’t know! I was just scared, Jaem.” Renjun blubbers into Jaemin’s shirt, his words muffled and fluctuating, but Jaemin understands.

“Oh, baby, I know.” Jaemin wraps his arms tighter around Renjun, who, in his mind, deserves all the love in the world. “But you did it, hm? I’m so proud of you for telling me.”

Renjun’s tears keep on coming, but he can’t resist smiling. God, he really could not ask for a better boyfriend, nor does he want to. He’s imperfect, so, so imperfect, but Jaemin makes him feel like that’s better than perfection.

“I love you, Jaemin.”

Jaemin presses a kiss to the top of Renjun’s head, lingering a little longer to smell his apple-scented shampoo.

“I love you, too, Injun.”

When Renjun’s crying subsides, he feels as if he can tell Jaemin anything , and the feeling is liberating. No more hiding, and for some reason, it’s so much easier. His chest is lighter, no longer burdened with the pressure of having to keep this a secret. So, he tells Jaemin more. He tells him pretty much everything, to be exact. He talks about his experiences with coming out not only to his mother, but also having to transition during the school year and all the words, ranging from supportive to harsh, that were thrown at him in the halls. He talks about how much he loved starting his freshman year of college because he didn’t know anyone, except Donghyuck, so he could start anew and create a new identity for himself. He talks about how he’s been on hormones for almost two years now, but he still hasn’t gotten top surgery. He talks about he’s been working so much to save up for top surgery because he doesn’t want the weight to be put on his mother’s shoulders, despite the fact that she has approved of him getting the operation done.

The words are spilling out of Renjun’s mouth at this point, but Jaemin doesn’t mind at all. If anything, he’s still so happy that Renjun trusts him on such a deep level to open up about his experiences as a trans man, ranging from the good ones to the bad ones. Jaemin believes that Renjun only deserves happiness and love and beautiful memories, and Jaemin will go through fire if it means that Renjun gets that.

Sitting here with Jaemin and talking to him without a filter and with his heart full of love, Renjun thinks that everything will be just fine, no matter what happens in his and Jaemin’s future.

And they wouldn’t trade what they have together for the world.