Title: Sarang, Sarang, Sarang
Pairing: Sehun/Lu Han
Summary: In which Lu Han is a clumsy waiter at Sehun's favorite cafe. But it's Sehun who falls the hardest.
Sehun starts his senior year when the summer fever breaks, and students are dragging themselves back to school. He doesn’t feel ready to enter a year full of exams and college apps; he thinks he might have a bit of a Peter Pan complex, not wanting the work and the responsibility above all else. But he has his eyes set on becoming a veterinarian and he pushes himself to stuff the last of his three-inch binders into his backpack.
It’s the first day of school, and Sehun’s disoriented from a restless night and lack of breakfast. He stumbles as he gets up from his seat to exit the bus but Jongin grabs him before he can even step on the ground and practically drags him to their class.
“Hey, a big favor, I nee- ”
“You didn’t finish your summer homework.” Sehun’s already digging into his backpack, and slaps a lime green folder to Jongin’s chest. The older boy smiles at him, all teeth and gums, and slings an arm around Sehun in a quick hug before hurrying off, yelling an “I owe you!” over his shoulder.
The day passes by smoothly enough; Sehun forgets his lunch money and ends up mooching off of Jongin, who had the nerve to whine even as he was copying down the answers to the last of the calculus problems from Sehun’s worksheets. He finds his schedule bearable, even with advanced calculus and higher level psychology being back to back - he thinks he can survive it.
He and Jongin have a tradition of doing their homework afterschool in a small coffee shop that’s tucked in a corner between the two streets where they live. Jongin would order a frappuccino while Sehun got a simple milkshake, and they would sit at a single booth in the back of the shop. Jongin likes the view from the window next to them; Sehun merely enjoys the quiet and lack of people around them.
They’re halfway through their World History essay when a loud clatter erupts from behind the counter and Sehun picks his head up just in time to see a young boy attempt to pick up the trays he dropped on the floor. Sehun notes how his hair is a fluff of golden brown on top of his head, and his doe-like eyes. He turns to Jongin who wasn’t paying any attention to the front of the shop.
“Is he new?” Sehun elbows him. Jongin shrugs, glancing at counter where the boy is restacking the trays before returning to his essay.
“Probably, never saw him before. What, why? You interested?” Jongin smirks obnoxiously. Sehun jabs his elbows into his ribs, making Jongin wheeze and bend over the table.
“Shut it, I was curious.”
Jongin makes no further comments about the new boy, and instead badgers Sehun for a good half hour about his biology assignment. The two manage to finish half of their work before Jongin stretches and calls it quits, packing his bag and leaving a tip next to his empty cup.
When he leaves, Sehun realizes that he was the only one in the café besides a pair of elderly couple sitting at the opposite end of the shop. Sehun looks over at the counter; the new boy isn’t there. Trying not to feel disappointed, he finishes drawing the curves of the rough ER in his sketch of an animal cell.
Suddenly something wet splashes all over his table, staining his textbooks and notebooks. He curses, pushing away from the table to avoid the spill, and heard a frantic voice saying, “Oh jeez, oh God, I’m so sorry, wait let me –”
Hands grab him by the shoulder and napkins are pressed to his chest where some of the spill landed. Sehun looks up to see the large doe eyes staring back at him, and he’s suddenly reminded of something out of an anime because no human being’s eyes can possibly be that big. The new boy starts pilling napkins on the table, soaking up the mess; he mutters endless strings of apologizes, even when Sehun convinces him that it’s fine (“This is my least favorite shirt anyway.”).
When the last drop of apparently orange juice has been cleaned away, Sehun takes a good look at the boy. He’s short, a lot shorter up close, and everything about him seems small besides his eyes. He doesn’t look very old, not much older than Sehun himself and he’s half convinced the boy is even younger than him.
“I’m so sorry, here I’ll give you a refund for when you come next time, just please don’t tell my boss, this is my first week on the job and –” the boy cuts off short when Sehun laughs and waves his hand.
“No, seriously, it’s fine,” he squints at the metallic name tag pinned on the boy’s shirt, “Lu Han…ssi?” Lu Han? Is he –
“Oh, are you sure?” And that’s when Sehun hears the accent. It’s barely there, just a slight lilt and drag in his words, but Sehun confirms that he’s a foreigner.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” Sehun smiles. Lu Han smiles back, relieved, and Sehun watches as his large eyes crease into half-moons and thinks shit, he really does look like an anime character. Lu Han stands by, flustered, as Sehun carefully dries his books and papers and tucks them back into his bag. He walks Sehun to the exit, handing him an extra cup of strawberry milkshake as an additional apology and saying that the promise of a refund still holds.
Sehun can’t stop smiling the rest of the way home. He mother scolds him for the stain on his shirt and he can hardly decipher the melted words on his soaked papers, but he smiles even wider.
“Hey,” Jongin snaps his fingers in front of Sehun’s nose. “What’s up with you, you’re drifting off on me here.”
Sehun blinks and reality comes crashing down. He waves his hand at Jongin, annoyed, and returns to his sketch pad. “I’m listening, I’m listening,” he mumbles as he retraces the outline of a pair of large eyes on his sketch pad.
“No you’re not, you’re –” Jongin reaches over and snatches the sketch pad, pulling his arm away when Sehun yells and tries to grab it. “You’re drawing this. Wait.” Sehun’s fuming at this point; their position is almost comical with Jongin’s hand against his chest, pushing him away, and Sehun’s arms reaching around him, fingers grabbling for the pad.
“This is…” Jongin’s shoulders begin to shake, “this is that new boy at the café!” Sehun presses his left palm against Jongin’s mouth, smothering him because he is sure everyone within a one mile radius could’ve heard Jongin’s yell. He manages to snatch the pad back, glowering daggers at Jongin as he stuffs it deep into his backpack.
“You’re impossible,” he hisses. Jongin shrugs, the infuriating smirk back on his face.
“Hey, I’m not the one who’s obsessed. You better not drool when we’re working or else I’m never going back to that café with you.”
Sehun kicks at Jongin’s knees. “I’m not obsessed,” he says, ignoring Jongin’s groan, “he has a nice face. And you know I like drawing nice faces.”
Sehun manages to keep his mouth closed while he works on his psychology paper. Jongin left half an hour ago for dance practice, but not before giving Sehun a pointed look and shrugging his shoulders towards Lu Han’s general direction (to which Sehun threw a crumbled paper at his head). The gentle hums of the coffee machines are the only sounds in the café as Sehun hurries to finish his last paragraph. He almost wishes Chanyeol is still working –he’s currently making full use of his sick days for the next two weeks – even though Sehun would often get annoyed at his crazy antics and much too loud laugh. But he would be a nice distraction from certain things.
Things like when Lu Han suddenly sits himself in front of Sehun, a chilled cup of frappuccino in hand. “Did your friend leave already?”
Sehun takes a few seconds to recover before answering. “Uhm, yeah half an hour ago actually.” Lu Han looks at him, confused, before he says, “But he came to me half an hour ago saying he wants a refill.” He shrugs and takes a small sip of the frappuccino, unaware of Sehun who is silently cursing Jongin in his head. Because he so obviously planned this, that idiot.
Lu Han sits by silently –there aren’t any more customers around during this time of day – while Sehun wrings out the last few words for his psych essay, skims through it real quick to check for mistakes before placing it somewhere random amongst the pile of notebooks and papers, and pulls his calculus workbook towards him with a sigh. He’s punching numbers into his calculator when Lu Han taps him gently on the shoulder.
“You got your visual accessing cues mixed up,” he says as he holds up Sehun’s psychology paper. “When someone looks to your left, that’s constructing images and auditory. When it’s to your right, they’re remembering visuals and audios.” He hands the paper back.
Sehun feels himself blush as he quickly corrects the mistake. “How’d you know?” he asks as he squeezes in Lu Han’s words. He’s kind of embarrassed that Lu Han has read through his paper; he doesn’t have the best handwriting in the world, and his grammar isn’t any better.
“I’m majoring in psychology,” Lu Han says simply. Sehun stares at him.
“You’re in college?” he asks. There is almost no way, he thinks, because Lu Han looks like a normal eighteen year old, just like him. “Wait, how old are you?”
“I’m 21 –well, 22 if we’re going by the Korean system.”
Sehun’s convinced there’s an actual fountain of youth somewhere, and Lu Han’s the source. He reaches over and pokes Lu Han’s forehead, ignoring the tingling in his fingertips after he did so, and says, “You look nothing like a 21 year old.”
“I get that a lot,” Lu Han laughs as he pokes Sehun’s nose in return. The younger tries to hide the blush that is starting to stain his cheeks by bending over his calculus workbook, scribbling down numbers and functions.
Sehun leaves an hour later, rather begrudgingly because talking to Lu Han turned out to be a lot more fun –or rather, addicting -- than he imagined it would be, and thanks Lu Han for helping him with his Psych homework. “Maybe you can tutor me when you’re free,” he jokes.
“Maybe I will,” Lu Han says before disappearing behind the counter with a laugh. Sehun hopes Lu Han didn’t take him seriously – but there’s a small part inside him that hopes he did.
Sehun starts spending more time at the café, almost running all the way there when the last school bell rings and dragging Jongin with him. He sits up straighter every time Lu Han walks by with a tray full of orders, and he pays for refills that he never finishes because he just wants Lu Han close to him, even if it's just for a minute. He doesn’t know that he leans towards Lu Han like some sort of flower leaning towards its only source of light, but Jongin picks up on it and watches the interaction between the two with amusement.
“He’s got you whipped,” Jongin whispers a bit dramatically into Sehun’s ear. They’re in the library, trying to find articles on Gojoseon, Korea’s first kingdom. Sehun glares at Jongin out of the corner of his eyes, and hisses, “I’m not whipped. Pay attention and read, dumbass.”
Unfazed, Jongin chuckles and leans even closer to Sehun. “You have to face reality, Oh Sehun. You’re in love.”
Sehun musters up the courage to ask Lu Han if he needs an extra hand with running the café, to which Lu Han nods happily and replies with a yes, he would appreciate the extra help. Soon Sehun finds himself behind the counter with Lu Han who teaches him all the basic handlings of the coffee machine and the blenders, and which flavor to add for this order and how much sugar to add for another. Sehun finds himself drifting off sometimes, focusing rather on Lu Han’s eyes or lips than the actual words coming from his mouth.
“… and that’s about it. Think you can handle it?” Lu Han asks as he ends the brief tour of the kitchen. Sehun nods jerkily, “Yeah, I get it.” He hopes Lu Han couldn’t tell that he certainly does not get it and will probably end up doing something worse than spilling orange juice all over someone’s table on his first day, but Lu Han’s smile is gentle and a whole lot encouraging. He pats Sehun on the shoulder, saying “It’s a lot at first. But it gets easier. I’ll help you, don’t worry.”
(Jongin stares at Sehun in disbelief when he puts away his books half an hour upon arriving at the café. “You fucking work here now? Traitor,” and Sehun feels the urge to kick him off his chair.)
Sehun had lost count of the days ever since school started, so he’s a bit shocked and starts panicking when he realizes that finals are in two weeks. He feels like he’s only learned about a month’s worth of knowledge, when supposedly he learned a whole two semesters’ worth. The only subject he thinks he’s going to pass is psychology, thanks to Lu Han, and it doesn’t feel right because Sehun prides himself on his high marks in biology. And he hates psychology to begin with; this definitely isn’t right.
“Just ask your Lu Lu to help you with studying. He’s in college isn’t he? He should know this shit,” Jongin suggests one day when he finds Sehun half buried under five workbooks on biology and astronomy. Sehun throws a pencil at him and shouts back, “He’s not my Lu Lu!”
But Sehun doesn’t even have to ask for help because Lu Han can see the dark circles under his eyes and his increasingly heavy backpack. He offers Sehun longer breaks, even though they’ve been receiving more customers every day, and Sehun feels beyond guilty but the panicky part inside of him overrides everything so he spends all his breaks cramming his brain with as much information as he can.
Lu Han stays with him after hours, when the sun is long gone and the clock reads after nine o’clock, and helps him through his classes and the piles of review packets. Sehun admires how patient Lu Han is, even when he himself feels like flinging all his books across the room or maybe burning them because he never wants to see the word ribosome or superego ever again.
Sehun thinks he’s delirious after nights of studying and no sleep because he pulls Lu Han towards him on the day they decide to focus on biology, the subject that Sehun loves but has now come to detest, and kisses him like he means it. He finds Lu Han’s lips with his own, and they’re warm and soft and Sehun knows right then and there that Jongin has been right this whole time, but he’ll never admit it to him. He can finally taste Lu Han, and he tastes like the cream he pours into his coffee and the bitter mocha he drinks; Sehun doesn’t think he can get enough of it. He registers that Lu Han is slowly kissing him back, lips moving with his and hands resting on his shoulders, grabbing and pulling.
They break apart when their lungs are screaming for air, and Sehun drinks in the image of Lu Han, eyes wide and cheeks red, his kiss-stained lips wet and swollen, his breath heavy and ragged just like his own. “I like you. I like you a lot, Lu Han hyung.” And Lu Han’s smiling and laughing and it’s the most amazing sound Sehun has ever heard, because he’s the only one who’s ever going to hear it like that, soft and breathless.
“I think I figured that out,” Lu Han whispers before he covers Sehun’s mouth with his, and Sehun’s brain shuts down for the night, his biology textbook forgotten on the counter as he pushes Lu Han against the tiled wall, hands on either side of his neck, thumbs brushing the sharp jaw line. He feels Lu Han’s arms wrap around his middle and lips on his neck, slurred I love you’s pressed into his skin.
Sehun tears through his exams like a mad man, putting in all his energy and focus and snapping several pencils in the process. He’s forced to go home every day after school now because his mother worries he’s not studying properly. He’s upset, but he reminds himself just three more days. So he takes a week off from his work to appease his parents.
He feels like crying with joy after he finishes his last exam –psychology- and awards himself by going to the café. It doesn’t look any different after his one-week absence and he pushes inside a bit too eagerly. When he sees Lu Han, wiping down one end of the counter, he drops his bag and runs toward him, his arms wrapping around the other’s slim waist. He feels fingers in his hair and a hand grasping the back of his t-shirt – Lu Han kisses him right there, in front of the whole shop, but Sehun couldn’t bring himself to care.
Lu Han’s eyes are bright when they pull away, his smile wide and proud as he asks Sehun how he did. They spend the rest of the day catching up, their fingers twining together every so often, and Sehun’s having an even harder time focusing on the orders.
When the “We’re closed” sign is flipped on, Sehun pulls Lu Han towards him and kisses him nice and slow. He can feel the chill of Lu Han’s lips from the ice coffee he’s been sipping all day and the sweet bitterness on his tongue, and he smiles.
“I missed you,” he says. Lu Han’s expression is guarded as he brushes the fringe out of Sehun’s eyes.
There is a long pause. Sehun waits because Lu Han’s eyes are flickering from side to side and his eyebrows are furrowed. “Sehun,” he starts, “Sehun, I’m moving back to China.”
Sehun feels like the world has stopped spinning at that moment and his lungs suddenly become restricted. He stares at Lu Han, and he’s hoping and wishing that the older will break into a smile and say something like ‘gotcha!’ but nothing like that happens.
“I’m an exchange student. I’m only here for a year. And the year ends next week for me.” Lu Han isn’t looking at him anymore. Sehun’s legs are numb and his eyes are stinging; he brings up an arm and wipes away his tears angrily.
“You forgot to mention this?” He hates the sound of his voice –cold, flat. Lu Han looks up and he could see the tears too.
“I didn’t think it would matter. I didn’t think we would get this close. I didn’t think –” he stops. “I wasn’t thinking at all, Sehun.”
Something in Sehun’s chest breaks, and the tears are flowing endlessly now. He crumples and falls against Lu Han who holds him tight, arms wrapped around his shoulder and fingers stroking his hair. His lips are pressed against Sehun’s ear as he shushes him, whispering already broken promises and meaningless nothings, and Sehun wants to tell him to shut up. But he can’t and he doesn’t and he clings onto Lu Han tighter, as if it will bind him to Sehun and make him stay forever.
Sehun spends as much time as he can with Lu Han during his last week. They meet outside of the café; Sehun takes him to a small park where there is an ice cream cart and they sit on the bench all day, licking away happily and just talking. Lu Han takes him to an amusement park where they get soaked on a water ride and Sehun chases him in a laser tag game.
Lu Han invites him to his apartment the day before he leaves. Sehun walks in to find everything packed and suitcases leaning against the wall. But Lu Han’s room is still cluttered with his desk and papers, his bed a mess of unfolded blankets and throw pillows. Sehun sets his backpack against the wall and walks around the room.
“You’re a messy person, hyung,” Sehun laughs as he jumps on the bed, landing on his back. Lu Han sticks his tongue out at him childishly.
“I usually never allow people on my bed, you know,” he says. Sehun laughs, tossing a pillow at him.
Lu Han tackles him, and they soon become a mess of flailing limbs and twisted blankets. They kept it up for a few minutes before Sehun manages to grab Lu Han’s shoulder and shove him back on the bed, straddling him.
Sehun leans down the same time Lu Han reaches up and they kiss for the first time that day. Sehun moves his hands under Lu Han’s shirt, feeling the flat stomach and the dips between the ribcages. He pulls back, searching Lu Han’s eyes for any hint of hesitation. Lu Han simply nods before dipping his head down, his lips trailing down Sehun’s jaw, his hands coming to rest on his shoulders.
It’s rushed and awkward, Sehun fumbling with the condom and lube, but Lu Han’s moans and whimpers tell him he’s doing something right when he presses against him. His lips trail from Lu Han’s down to his jaw where he nips at the sharp bone and then to his neck, littering red marks all over his pale skin. He tries to pace himself, tries to drag it out as long as possible, but Lu Han’s skin is hot against his and his lips are pressed right against his ear, breathy moans falling from his mouth every time Sehun shifts and moves. When Lu Han comes, Sehun watches the way his head tilts back and his eyes flutter close, his mouth hanging slightly open, lips red and swollen. And then Sehun’s falling with him, burying his head in Lu Han’s neck as his body goes static.
A few minutes later, after they’ve cleaned up and showered, Sehun calls his mother to inform her that he’s staying at a friend’s house (because it’s a Friday night). He pulls on one of Lu Han’s old college shirts and it’s so baggy it falls past his waist. Lu Han’s sitting on the bed, a large sketch pad in hand. It takes a few second for Sehun to realize it’s his, but before he could say anything Lu Han’s flipping the pad around and pointing at a certain page.
“Is this… me?”
Sehun blushes ten shades of scarlet and rushes over to snatch the pad away. Lu Han laughs as Sehun presses the sketch pad against his chest.
“Don’t go through my things,” but he starts laughing too as he plops down next to Lu Han. “Yeah, it’s you. I started drawing it the day I first met you. I’m still not quite done with it though.”
“Why don’t you finish it now?” Lu Han’s already handing him a pencil. Sehun takes it and starts drawing in the last lines and curves. Lu Han rests his chin on Sehun’s shoulder as he watches him work.
“You’re really good you know,” he says. Sehun shrugs.
“I’m alright. I just do it for fun; it helps me relieve stress sometimes.”
When Sehun finishes and holds the sketch up to the light, Lu Han praises him and says he should put it in a gold frame. “And hang it on your wall. So you’ll never forget my face,” he laughs. Sehun joins in with him and tucks the sketch pad back into his bag.
“I won’t forget you,” he says seriously when he returns to the bed. “Ever.”
He feels Lu Hans fingers link with his under the blanket, and he looks up to see Lu Han smiling at him, the smile that makes his eyes squint and wrinkle appear in the corners. The smile that made Sehun fall hard for him on the first day. “Good. And I’ll never forget you. Ever”
Sehun squeezes his hand and he feels Lu Han squeeze back.
Ambiguous ending is ambiguous. Sorry if it sounds ridiculously rushed because I just wanted to get this done and posted. This is honestly my first EXO fic, I hope you guys enjoyed it. Inspiration came from Epik High’s Love Love Love. Comments are ♥