“Are you sure you’re not gonna come?” Sehun asks for the fifth time when they’re at Chanyeol’s place Saturday afternoon.
“Fucking positive, and I’m going to shove this down your throat if you ask again,” Chanyeol says non-threateningly, eyes glued to his Nintendo DS.
“Did you know Baek’s the main makeup person in the theatre club too? Apparently he’s really good with eyeliner and stuff.”
Chanyeol snorts. “That’s nice to know. Now why are you telling me this when I obviously don’t care?”
Sehun doesn’t say anything for a long stretch of time, and Chanyeol almost forgets what they’re talking about, attention focused on fighting the fifth gym leader in Pearl. “Give him a chance, Chanyeol. Baekhyun… he’s been through a lot.” His voice is soft, caring, something Chanyeol doesn’t hear very often.
“You’re not going to guilt trip me into doing anything, Oh Sehun,” Chanyeol says, rolling onto his stomach. Something hard lands on his butt, probably Sehun’s biology textbook.
“God, would you shut up and fucking listen for once? Baekhyun worked his ass off for this musical, and he’s juggling other extra curriculars and HLs along with it, and he’s stressed out, Chanyeol, like you wouldn’t believe.”
“That’s what IB is, Sehun, stressful,” Chanyeol says, unsympathetic. “I’ve been through nearly four years of it and you’ve been through two, so I don’t see what makes Baekhyun so special.”
Sehun doesn’t say anything, just sort of sighs and shakes his head. “Whatever. I’m going and I’m not gonna lie to Baekhyun if he asks about you. So you can deal with the storm when Monday comes.”
“Okay Drama Queen,” Chanyeol says, turning to his side so his back is facing Sehun.
The day drags on like this until it’s almost eight o’clock and Sehun needs to get ready for the musical. “You need to drop me off there at least,” he grumbles as he tugs on a thick jacket.
“Yeah, yeah, hurry and get your permit, lazyass,” Chanyeol shoos him outside the door. The drive is silent, and Chanyeol blasts his radio on full volume to fill in the space of unspoken words between them.
When Sehun steps out, he turns around and gives Chanyeol a Very Serious look. “Last chance,” he warns. “Just… come and watch with me, okay?”
Chanyeol suddenly flashes back to Baekhyun’s tear-streaked face, remembers how sharp Baekhyun’s words had been, the smiling in the corner of his lips no longer there, and says, “No. You go enjoy yourself.”
Sehun looks heavily disappointed but he doesn’t say so, just slams the door and walks up over to the line in front of the auditorium with his hands shoved into his pocket. Chanyeol shivers against the cold wind that blew in, pulling the hoodie of his jacket up and rubbing his hands together.
He looks over at the auditorium again. The line is surprisingly long, students bouncing on the balls of their feet with five dollar bills clutched in their hands. They look too excited for a low-budget high school musical. Chanyeol thinks he sees Jongin’s ear-muffed head poking out from the middle.
Five minutes later, Chanyeol’s silently cursing himself for his heavy guilt conscience as he circles the parking lot for a space. He finally manages to squeeze his van in between two others, his fingers feeling numb from the cold as he yanks the key out of the ignition.
He’s jogging towards the line, trying not to breathe through his nose because it is so damn cold outside, when he hears a faint sneeze and turns around. On the far end where the auditorium and the gym sort of meet, there’s someone pacing back and forth, arms wrapped tight around his small frame.
It’s Baekhyun, dressed in nothing but the thin hoodie from Friday and really tight black pants. He’s looking down at the ground, muttering something underneath his breath. He doesn’t seem to notice Chanyeol jogging up to him, and jumps a mile when Chanyeol says, “What are you doing?”
He looks up, eyes wide when he sees Chanyeol glaring down at him. “Do you even know how fucking cold it is outside? Are you an idiot? You’re gonna die of hypothermia before you can even perform, oh my god, you’re fucking freezing,” he exclaims suddenly when he feels how cold Baekhyun’s skin is.
“Ch-Chaneyol?” Baekhyun’s lips are a deep shade of blue, and Chanyeol’s shrugging off his jacket and wrapping it around his shoulder. “What are you even -”
“What would they do if Demetrius doesn’t show up? It’ll ruin the whole show!” Chanyeol says, still tugging the jacket around Baekhyun’s shoulders. He’s stopped when Baekhyun wraps his fingers around his wrist.
“We have backup,” he explains then looks at Chanyeol closely. “Are you here for the show?”
Chanyeol shrugs. He’s suddenly aware of his ratty t-shirt and jeans that are starting to show his ankles. “What else would I be here for?”
Baekhyun’s smile is wide despite the tremble in his lips. He looks so happy that Chanyeol, momentarily, forgets he gave his ticket away.
As if he could read his mind, Baekhyun asks, “You have the ticket?”
“Uh,” Chanyeol rubs the back of his neck. “It’s - I lost it.”
Baekhyun sighs, his breath thin wisps of white in the air, but he doesn’t look disappointed or even surprised. “I’d figure that would happen with you. Looks like you have to pay for it now,” he says, knocking the tips of his shoes against Chanyeol’s shins.
Chanyeol kicks his feet back but ends up dragging his heel across the sidewalk when Baekhyun quickly buries his face into the crook of his elbow and lets out a violent sneeze. “Christ, Baek, get back inside before you seriously get sick.”
Baekhyun lets out a hoarse laugh before clearing his throat. “Too late,” he says quietly, sniffing as he rubs at his red nose. He looks up at Chanyeol curiously. “It’s Baek now?”
Chanyeol sputters until Baekhyun laughs, the sound a little nasally. “It’s whatever,” Chanyeol says. His body is covered in goosebumps, and he sincerely hopes the line isn’t so long anymore. “I need to go buy my ticket. You… you take care of yourself, okay?”
Baekhyun seems to freeze for a millisecond before he’s nodding, eyes suddenly looking at the ground and refusing to look up even when Chanyeol says his I’ll see you later.
The auditorium is too dark for Chanyeol to navigate without tripping over every step on the stairs. He swivels his head, trying to catch Sehun in this mess of people. He finally sees him, the shock of silver amongst the sea of black. He’s sitting right in the middle of the row, and Chanyeol sees an empty seat next to him, Sehun’s jacket draped over the back. He smiles.
“Wow, you’re a dumbass,” Sehun says without even looking up. Chanyeol grabs Sehun’s jacket and whacks his arm with the sleeves.
“Don’t flatter yourself, I didn’t come back for you,” Chanyeol says. Sehun finally looks at him, the knowing look on his face glaringly obvious even in the poor lighting.
“I know,” he says, turning to face forward again.
Chanyeol settles in a little, stretching his legs as far as he can get them without kicking the feet of the person sitting front of him. “Hey, thanks for the seat.”
Sehun waves his hand. “Would’ve gave it to Jongin if you hadn’t come when you did. Bastard’s probably sitting in the far back.”
Chanyeol cranes his head all the way back but in the pitch black of the auditorium, he couldn’t make out much of anything. He turns back when a single spotlight shines on the stage, and everyone quiets down. A hush falls over the auditorium.
The stage is sparsely decorated and only two people stand on the stage. Chanyeol recognizes one of them, he thinks, the girl named Jessica or whatever. She’s on stage with another senior (Joonmyun? Is he the valedictorian this year?), dressed in an extravagantly decorated top and skirt that falls down to her toes. They’re talking but Chanyeol can’t make heads or tails of what they’re saying.
He shuffles in his seat impatiently, wondering when Baekhyun will arrive when he suddenly hears a clear voice cry out “Relent, sweet Hermia!”
Baekhyun walks in from the right of the stage, his hoodie changed into a tight fitting green and gold vest, a slim sword attached to his hip, and the same black pants he was wearing outside. His hair is styled so that his bangs are swept to the side but his eyes. Chanyeol stares at the dark eyeliner, the way it makes Baekhyun’s eyes look sharper and brighter.
“Wow,” he breathes, not even realizing he said it out loud. Sehun turns to look at him.
“Impressive right? I bet he did that himself,” he whispers.
Chanyeol shakes his head, leaning back as he watches Baekhyun stand next to Tiffany who’s playing Hermia. He looks so regal, his back straight and head held high as he holds out a hand. Someone else steps in but Chanyeol doesn’t recognize him, doesn’t really care to either since his whole attention is focused on Baekhyun.
The musical moves forward fairly fast from that point on. Chanyeol hears Baekhyun sing for the first time, voice smooth and beautiful even as he’s pushing Helena (or whoever’s playing her) from his side. His words are amazingly harsh even when he’s singing them in that soft voice of his. Chanyeol even cringes when he pushes the girl away so harshly she falls on the floor, face tearful as she looks up at him.
Chanyeol doesn’t pay much attention to plot or the background or really anything other than Baekhyun. It’s like the single spot light is on him and only him throughout the entire musical, and only his voice stands out amongst the others. When he’s offstage, Chanyeol tries not to fall asleep, nearly nodding off until he hears Baekhyun’s voice again.
The show ends with an explosion of applause. All the cast members stand in a line in front of the stage, Baekhyun in the center as he grasps Tiffany’s and Joonmyun’s hands, and bow. A few people stand up, Chanyeol included, as whoops and hollers echo in the now bright auditorium.
“Wow,” he says for the second time that night. Sehun laughs, stretching as he stands up. “That was… good. Really good.”
“And this is what you would’ve missed out on,” Sehun says. He reaches under his chair and procures a bouquet of flowers from seemingly nowhere.
“Wait, where did you get that?” Chanyeol asks.
“Oh, they were selling a bunch of them near the entrance. They ran out pretty fast though, I managed to snag the last one,” Sehun explains. He looks at the flowers, expression thoughtful. He finally shoves it into Chanyeol’s arms.
“Give it to Baekhyun,” is all Sehun offers before he’s yanking his jacket on. “Mom’s picking me up so you don’t have to worry about me.”
“Since when am I ever worried about you,” Chanyeol retorts, hands numb as he grasps the bouquet probably too tightly.
Sehun smiles and it’s not snarky or smug, just a simple smile as he pushes Chanyeol towards the front of the stage. “Go say hi or something. Stop being an idiot.” The second command is said with more emphasis and before Chanyeol can ask about it, Sehun’s disappearing between the mass of bodies moving towards the exit. Chanyeol has to weave his way against the crowd, bumping shoulders and elbows and full on body collisions.
He finally manages to get to the front of the stage. All the cast members are stand around, some on the ground floor and some still on stage. Up close, Chanyeol can see how exaggerated their makeup is, glitter all over their arms and face, eye shadows dark and smudged. Tiffany is nearly buried underneath the amount of flowers in her arms, and she’s signing what looks like some freshman’s backpack for him.
Chanyeol stands awkwardly by the side as he searches for Baekhyun. He sees him on the far left side in front of the stage, chatting animatedly with that guy, Joonmyun. Chanyeol feels something like a sharp jab in his chest but he ignores it as he walks towards them.
“Baekhyun,” he says. He feels awkward and out of place when they turn around and notice him, Baekhyun’s face morphing from surprise to excitement while Joonmyun gives him a curious smile.
“Chanyeol! Did you enjoy the show?” Baekhyun asks, leaving Joonmyun’s side as he steps in front of Chanyeol. Chanyeol has to lower the bouquet to look at his face clearly. The eyeliner looks even darker up close, and the glitter is falling from Baekhyun’s vest onto his black pants and pretty much everywhere. He looks a little sweaty, his bangs falling back into his eyes.
“Yeah, yeah, I did. It, it was really good, I didn’t know… you could sing that well,” Chanyeol mumbles off, shifting from side to side. “Uhm, this is for you,” he says, shoving the bouquet forward, nearly knocking it into Baekhyun’s face.
Baekhyun stares at it as if he’s just now noticing it. He takes it slowly, fingers brushing against the back of Chanyeol’s. They’re still surprisingly cold. “Thank you,” he breathes, pressing his face into it and inhaling the scent. “Wow, they smell so nice.”
“Do they?” Chanyeol says shakily. Joonmyun’s still standing behind Baekhyun, dressed in his Duke of Athens costume. “Uhm, hi.”
“You must be Chanyeol,” Joonmyun says, smile warm. Chanyeol suddenly recognizes him as that senior Baekhyun sits with at the lunch almost every day. There’s another sharp pain in his chest.
“I am,” he says, trying to sound confident. Wait, what do I even need to be confident about? “You did a really good job. You all did.”
Joonmyun laughs. “Thank you. We worked pretty hard, especially these past few days. I don’t think we got that much sleep, Baekhyun especially.” He pats Baekhyun on the shoulder, and Baekhyun turns to give him a bright smile. Chanyeol’s stomach twists.
Joonmyun leaves with a wave, and Chanyeol asks, “Who was that?”
“Oh, Joonmyun?” Baekhyun asks. “He’s one of the co-president of theatre club. I don’t know how he does it, that guy’s the leader of half the clubs here. It’s a wonder he even finds time to tutor me.”
“Wait, he tutors you?” Chanyeol asks. “Why didn’t you tell me this?”
“Because… you didn’t ask?” Baekhyun looks at him, confusion in the furrow of his brows. “He’s been tutoring me since the beginning of the school year on physics and such.”
Chanyeol blinks a few time, trying to process the thoughts going through his head. Joonmyun’s been helping Baekhyun since day one, he’s been around Baekhyun far longer than Chanyeol have, and he probably knows more about Baekhyun than Chanyeol does. The pain in his chest returns and this time it doesn’t go away.
“Chanyeol?” Baekhyun tugs on his shift. “Hey, what’s up?”
Chanyeol shakes his head, his lips pulling into that fake smile Sehun said could scar a child for life. “Nothing, it’s nothing. Just, uhm, yeah, congrats again.”
Baekhyun looks at him, eyes narrowed as if he’s trying to look through Chanyeol’s facade, but he seems to lets it go when he asks, “Hey, come backstage with me. I need to wash my makeup off.”
“Okay,” Chanyeol agrees hesitantly. He isn’t prepared when Baekhyun grabs his wrist and leads him to the exit door.
Backstage is really just the theatre room which also serves as a chorus room for when Pride needs to practice. Baekhyun yanks the vest off his shoulders, revealing a thin white wifebeater beneath it. Chanyeol can see the curve of his shoulderblade through the nearly transparent cloth, the sharpness of his shoulder.
“I’ll be right back,” Baekhyun says as he makes his way to the restroom, hands carding through his hair.
“Alright,” Chanyeol croaks. He clears his throat and scans the room. There are costumes and miscellania scattered all over the floor and draped over chairs. There’s a pile of hangers in the corner and along it is a row backpacks and purses.
He recognizes Baekhyun’s backpack; the bulky thing is dumped in the corner next to a small pile of stage clothes. He walks over to it, toeing it and knocking it over on its front. He crouches down and straightens it up. He stares at it for a little while longer, fingers slowly finding their way to the zipper.
“Shit, Chanyeol, what are you doing,” he hisses as he drops his hands. He stares at the backpack some more, sees the protruding edges of what he’s guessing are textbooks pushing against the small confines of the bag. He does a quick check around; the room is empty.
“Okay, one look and that’s it,” he mutters, fingers going back to the zipper and trying to tug it up. It’s a struggle, and Chanyeol’s afraid he’s ripped it when the zipper finally slides up suddenly, and the contents of the backpack come spilling out.
A particularly heavy textbook slides out and lands on the floor. Chanyeol picks it up. Intermediate Physics the large red blocks on the cover spell. He frowns and picks up the next one. Calculus and Its Applications. The next one. The Cold War and the Aftermath.
“Hey, sorry I took so long, I didn’t -”
Chanyeol whirls around, the Cold War book still in his hands. Baekhyun’s staring at him, face make-up free and looking horrified. “Uhm, I can explain.”
Baekhyun seems to freeze for a split second before rushing forward and yanking all the books from Chanyeol’s hands and shoving them into his bag. “You weren’t suppose to see that,” he says, voice thick.
“Baekhyun, it’s okay, I just -”
“Why were you going through my stuff?” Baekhyun asks. He’s struggling with the zippers and Chanyeol reaches out to stop him.
“It’s just - why are you carrying all of this?” Chanyeol gestures towards the heavy bulk. “I see you lug this thing around ever since the first day of school, and I don’t understand why you need five textbooks in your backpack at all times.”
Baekhyun fiddles with the zipper, lips pressed in a thin line. “I need help catching up, that’s all,” he says. He gives the zipper a final tug and it finally slides closed all the way.
“But Joonmyun tutors you, and as far as I know, that guy’s ten textbooks put together.”
“Yeah, well, he’s not the best tutor ever so.” Baekhyun leaves it at that, adjusting the length of the straps.
“You could’ve asked me for help, you know,” Chanyeol says, still sitting even as Baekhyun stands up. “I could’ve helped you.”
“No you wouldn’t have,” Baekhyun says softly. “You should probably go, it’s almost midnight.”
“What about you?” Chanyeol asks. “I could -”
“Go home, Chanyeol,” Baekhyun says, his tone neutral as he bends down to pick up a few loose pieces of clothing. Chanyeol stands by helplessly, not sure what to do or say anymore.
Go home, Chanyeol. So he does.
“Do you know what roadkill looks like, Chanyeol?” Sehun asks one day during lunch, his words choppy over the fork in his mouth. “You. You look like roadkill. Like five-days-old roadkill. That’s been hit by an eight-wheeler -”
“I get it,” Chanyeol interrupts, glaring down at his salad as he attempts to stab a tomato with his spork. “I’m flattered. Really.”
Sehun hums. “Seriously though, why the shitty face?”
Sunday was spent with Chanyeol glaring at his ceiling from where he was laying on the floor of his bedroom. One hour passed like that before he groaned and moved to his bed and proceeded with the process from there. He managed to finish his calculus homework in ten minutes, attempted his chemistry practice IB exam, didn’t finish the second problem, and went back to glaring. Sehun texted him to ask if he wanted to see this new movie. Chanyeol didn’t reply.
Chanyeol sighs. “It’s a long story.”
“Does it involve Baekhyun?” Chanyeol freezes. Sehun nods sagely. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
“It’s whatever,” Chanyeol grits out through clenched jaws. He hears an all-too familiar laugh amidst the chatter of the entire IB body, and he turns to see Baekhyun leaning into Joonmyun, face scrunched up as he laughs against Joonmyun’s shoulder. The pain in Chanyeol’s chest never really went away over the weekend, and now it hurts even more.
“What is it?” Sehun asks curiously. He follows Chanyeol’s line of vision. “Oh.”
Chanyeol turns back around, stares at his salad, then stands up abruptly to throw it away, uneaten. Sehun watches, concern starting to show in the way his brows furrow.
“You know, it’s probably nothing,” Sehun says. “Baekhyun does that with everyone, it’s no big deal.”
“Really,” Chanyeol says, monotonous. “He certainly doesn’t do that with me.”
Sehun puts his grilled cheese sandwich down. “Okay, seriously, what happened after the musical. I gave you a bouquet, nothing could’ve possibly gone wrong.”
“Bouquets don’t fix anything, Sehun,” Chanyeol sighs. “Nothing happened. We talked and I left. Did you know Joonmyun tutors Baekhyun? Like, since the first day of school.”
Sehun blinks. “Yeah, Joonmyun tutors everyone. He probably offered the help when Baekhyun doesn’t even need it.”
“That kid carries around a hundred pounds of textbooks in his backpack and he doesn’t need it?” Chanyeol asks, voice raising and eyes wide. “He stays late because of stupid theatre club and doesn’t sleep when he has calculus and physics tests on the same day, and you’re telling me he doesn’t need it?”
“Sorry, I,” Chanyeol pauses, sees a few people glancing at him curiously, and stands up. “I have to go. Chemistry next and I didn’t finish the practice test.” He swings his backpack over his shoulder, the weight like air after what he experienced on Saturday.
“Chanyeol, wait -!”
Baekhyun’s voice follows him out the cafeteria, and he feels something pull him back by his backpack. He whips around to see Baekhyun standing in front of him, eyes wide and confused. His hand is still curled around the top handle of Chanyeol’s backpack. “Let go.”
“What was that?” Baekhyun asks. “What was that back there?”
“Nothing, Sehun was being an asshole, nothing’s changed,” Chanyeol growls, jerking his shoulder so harshly Baekhyun lets go with a gasp.
“Everything’s changed,” he says quietly. Chanyeol stares at him. “Saturday, when you -”
“No, I get it,” Chanyeol cuts him off. “I get it.”
“No you don’t, Chanyeol, let me finish -”
“Tutoring sessions are over,” Chanyeol says. “You’re free to go, no need to pay me. Go find Joonmyun if your textbooks aren’t helping.”
Baekhyun frowns, looking truly bewildered. “Joonmyun? What - I - Chanyeol, what are you even -”
“I have a fucking class, Baekhyun,” Chanyeol says, already turned away and walking towards the opposite direction.
He speedwalks through the 300 hallway, and his eyes are stinging. “What the hell, Chanyeol,” he mutters, pressing the heel of his hands against his eyes. They come away wet. “What the hell are you doing.”
On the surface, Chanyeol still hates Byun Baekhyun. He hates his voice, the way he looks with a sword held tight in his fist, expression fierce. He hates his eyeliner, how it makes Baekhyun’s eyes look bigger and sharper. He hates Baekhyun and the way he bites his lips when he’s concentrating hard, forehead wrinkling as he jots down equations and formulas and random scribbles on the side of his notes.
But start shoveling, and somewhere beneath all that, Chanyeol knows it’s all bullshit.
Chanyeol wakes up to loud banging on his door. It’s a Friday and also one of those weird days off for some holiday no one knows about or really cares for. He stumbles through yanking on a baggy t-shirt and trudging downstairs towards the door, scratching his stomach and yawning as he twists the lock open.
“Get dressed, we’re going out.” Chanyeol blinks, the sudden exposure of sunlight and reality blinding him momentarily before Sehun’s face comes into view.
“Get dressed,” Sehun waves his hands at Chanyeol, shooing him back into the house. “We’re going out to eat Häagen-Dazs.”
“At nine in the morning?”
“Yes, now hurry!” Sehun actually pushes Chanyeol back into his own house and into his own room, yanking the closet open, and Chanyeol finds himself with a face full of tattered jeans. “They have a special offer only in the mornings. Fifty percent off.”
“That’s so dumb,” Chanyeol mumbles. “I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet, wait -”
“No time!” Sehun says loudly, grabbing the front of Chanyeol’s shirt and nearly dragging him down the stairs. “If you go a little past speed limit, we might make it.”
“Never in my life have I risked getting a ticket for ice cream,” Chanyeol says as he grabs his keys from the small round coffee table his mother bought years back because all the model houses in magazines have one. Sehun’s already out the front door and waiting by Chanyeol’s car, excitement obvious in the way he’s bouncing on the balls of his feet.
“Where the fuck to,” Chanyeol asks as he slides into his seat. His hair sits unevenly on his head, more fluffy on the right than on the left, and Sehun stifles a laugh.
“Dude, it’s the small ice cream parlor by Starbucks. You know the one.”
Chanyeol’s nod gets lost in a loud yawn. Sehun wrinkles his nose.
“I can smell your breath from here.”
“Yeah, well, who’s the brat who barged into my house at the crack of satan’s ass and wouldn’t let me brush my teeth.” Chanyeol sets the car to reverse, backs up at what would be considered too fast of a speed, and then floors the pedal and takes off.
They make it in record time, getting their receipts just minutes before the deal ended. Sehun still looks a little shell-shocked after Chanyeol ran over two red lights and a stop sign on the way over.
“Wow you got a normal flavor this time,” Chanyeol says as he licks along the side of his cone, catching the stray drops of strawberry cheesecake ice cream.
“Shut up, the rose flavored was a one-time thing,” Sehun bumps his bony hips into Chanyeol’s and they nearly collide into the door. His two scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream nearly slipped if Sehun didn’t hold them in place with his mouth and spoon.
They sit outside because it’s getting warmer, finally, and the view isn’t half bad. It’s partially cloudy and right now the clouds are shielding the sun, casting a comfortable light over the patio in front of the small parlor.
Sehun’s already crunching on his cone while Chanyeol takes small bites of his ice cream occasionally, their knees bumping because the tables are always too small. “You gonna, you know, eat that?” Sehun asks, licking his fingers noisily as he eyes Chanyeol’s half-finished cone.
“Knock yourself out,” Chanyeol says, shoving it into Sehun’s sticky hands. They lapse into comfortable silence as more people start showing up, excited kids grabbing their parents’ hands and practically dragging them inside.
“Is there, uh, a reason why we’re here again?” Chanyeol asks as Sehun finishes off his ice cream. “Besides the fifty percent off thing.”
Sehun takes his time answering, wiping his fingers slowly on a square napkin, his lips pursed. “You’ve been really… down lately, to put it lightly,” he says. “Ever since the musical, you’ve been so out of it.” He looks up, lips thinning into a tentative smile. “You’re not being your usual dumb self. And I kind of hate seeing you sad and moping around.”
Chanyeol pauses in the middle of ripping his napkin into miniscule pieces. “What is this, therapy session?” He laughs weakly. “If I knew you’d be actually nice when I’m like this, I would’ve turned emo a long time ago.”
“Thank god you didn’t,” Sehun says, whacking Chanyeol’s elbow. “Be honest though, what’s going on?”
“Nothing’s going on,” Chanyeol says quietly, crossing his arms and resting his chin on top of them. He squints up at Sehun. “Everything’s fine.”
“You’re a terrible liar.”
Chanyeol snorts. “It doesn’t matter anyway.”
Sehun copies Chanyeol, tilting his head so that the right side rests on his arms. “This is about Baekhyun, isn’t it?”
“I told you it doesn’t matter,” Chanyeol grumbles, his voice muffled by his sleeve. Thinking about Baekhyun is the last thing he wants to do right now, but Sehun is hell-bent on fixing this mess.
“You need to talk to him. Clear all this up.”
“There’s nothing to talk about. I’m done tutoring him, I have nothing to do with him anymore, end of story. He has Joonmyun to help him so why do I even -”
“Joonmyun?” Sehun asks. “Is that what this is all about, Joonmyun?” He suddenly sits up straight and leans in uncomfortably close. “Is this… Chanyeol, are you jealous?”
“What?” Chanyeol sputters. He jerks up, arms flailing a little. “Are you serious, what do I even have to be jealous about?”
Sehun just continues to stare at him, and it’s like he’s slowly piecing together all the missing pieces. “Chanyeol, I need you to be one hundred percent honest with me. Do you like Baekhyun?”
Chanyeol’s mouth opens and his knee-jerk reaction is to say no but something stops him. He sits there, two fists on the table, fingernails digging into his palms. He looks down at them and remembers how it felt when Baekhyun’s fingers brushed against his knuckles while he reached for the bouquet. Baekhyun’s smile, laugh, the sickening lurch in Chanyeol’s stomach whenever he sees Baekhyun with Joonmyun or anyone else.
“What do I do, Sehun,” Chanyeol says, voice rough. “He probably hates my guts.”
Sehun doesn’t tease; he doesn’t laugh. He says, “You’re gonna talk to him and make it right,” and squeezes Chanyeol’s shoulder. Chanyeol sniffs, the emotional stress from the past few weeks finally crashing onto him.
They sit like that for a few minutes, shoulders pressed together as the sun peeks out from the clouds. Sehun shuffles in his seat. “I want more ice cream,” he says, pouting, and Chanyeol lets out a surprised laugh. It’s the first real one in a while, and Sehun laughs along, letting Chanyeol lean his head on his shoulder as they laugh themselves breathless.
Chanyeol grabs a surprised Baekhyun’s wrist right after calculus class.
“Tutoring’s moved to my room, the library’s closed today,” Chanyeol says without preamble. It’s Monday and they have early release as always. He feels Baekhyun half-heartedly try to pull out of his grasp as they walk down the hallway, weaving through the bustling bodies crowded around the lockers.
“But I thought you said -”
“Yeah, well, I changed my mind and our IB exams are in a month so,” Chanyeol shrugs as he walks towards the parking lot, Baekhyun’s wrist still secured in his hand. “It’s not just for you, it’s for me to study too,” he lies. He doesn’t need to study and he knows Baekhyun knows that.
“I thought you took the bus,” Baekhyun says, confused.
“Mom’s out of town for a few weeks, so I get her car.” Chanyeol unlocks the doors and only then does he let go of Baekhyun’s wrist.
The car ride’s a bit awkward, Baekhyun sitting next to him with his still-bulky backpack digging into his lap. Chanyeol glances over occasionally and sees the way Baekyun shifts the pack around, expression twisting in discomfort. “You can put that in the back if you want,” he says quietly, eyes on the road as he shifts to the left lane.
“I’m alright,” Baekhyun says, fingers digging into the coarse fabric.
Chanyeol parks outside the garage of his house, opening his door before he even cuts off the engine. Baekhyun follows behind slowly as Chanyeol winds his way through the millions of potted plants towards the front door. “Uhm, sorry about this mess,” he waves at the pile of shows on the welcome mat. “My mom and sis are shopaholics.”
Baekhyun laughs. “That’s nothing,” he says. “At least they have good taste.”
The inside of the house is quiet save for the occasional ticks of the grandfather clock in the living room. Baekhyun lets his backpack drop from his shoulder and it lands with a heavy thud by the stairs. “This is nice,” he says, smiling as he looks at the line of family portraits hanging on the wall. “This is your sister?” he points towards a girl who’s holding onto Chanyeol’s elbow in the middle picture.
“Yeah, that was after her graduation,” Chanyeol explains, walking over to stand by Baekhyun’s side. “She’s studying in America right now, the lucky bitch,” he laughs.
He gives Baekhyun a brief tour of the rest of the house before dragging him upstairs to his room. “It’s a little messy,” he warns before pushing his door open. He cringes when he sees random hoodies and snapbacks scattered all over the floor, and the surface of his desk is barely visible underneath all the loose leaf paper and textbooks. His blanket is balled up in a one big mess, his bed sheets rumpled and pillow on the ground.
He quickly tries to make some space on his desk, sweeping textbooks to the side and crumbling up random scrap papers. He thinks he accidently crumbled a chemistry worksheet that was due two weeks ago but he chooses to ignore that.
“We can… study on the floor?” Baekhyun suggests hesitantly behind him. “I think there’s more room down here.”
Chanyeol drops all the paper into the trash can. “I guess that’s better.”
Baekhyun turns to go get his backpack but Chanyeol grabs his wrist before he can even walk two steps. “Uhm, we’ll just review some stuff. I have the textbook anyway. You don’t need to get your stuff.”
Baekhyun stares at him, eyes flickering as he searches Chanyeol’s face. They stay like that for a few heartbeats, Chanyeol’s fingers pressing into the pulse of Baekhyun’s wrist. “Why are you doing this?” Baekhyun asks suddenly, eyes lock on Chanyeol’s. “You wouldn’t talk to me for a week and now this. What do you want?”
Chanyeol wants to pull away but something in Baekhyun’s expression forces him to keep eye contact. “I…” he starts. “I want to apologize… for what happened on Monday. And Saturday. And every other day.” His other hand comes up to cup the side of his neck, a nervous habit. “I know I’ve been a jackass towards you since day one and I’m not very good at this whole apology thing. But I really am sorry.” He finally looks down and focuses on his hand around Baekhyun’s wrist. The thin skin beneath his palm feels warm for once.
He breaths in a shuddery breath and lets it out slowly, counting off the seconds in his head. After ten, Baekhyun moves closer to him, twisting his wrist so it falls from Chanyeol’s grasp but Baekhyun catches onto his fingers, their hands slightly interlocked. “You don’t have to apologize for anything,” he smiles. Chanyeol swallows around the dryness in his throat. “You’ve helped me with so much, and you didn’t even need to put up with me but you did.”
“I liked it,” Chanyeol blurts out. “I liked being around you, I…” There’s something lodged in his throat and he’s trying to talk around it. Baekhyun’s looking at him with a guarded expression, eyes edging on suspicion and something like fear, like he’s afraid to believe anything that’s coming out Chanyeol’s mouth right now. “I think I’ve been really stupid.”
Stupid in the sense that he’s spent too much time focusing on an emotion that was never there in the first place. All those weeks wasted on finding excuses to keep his distance, calculating out the number of seating arrangements and who owes who, instead of seeing things for what they really were. This is like love at first sight. Except it’s hate. But that’s not it, and it took Chanyeol a World Lit-induced meltdown and an overflowing backpack to realize it.
“I think I might…” Chanyeol says slowly, trying to organized his jumbled thoughts through the rabbit-quick heartbeats pounding against his ribcage right now. He looks at Baekhyun and wonders if Baekhyun’s face is like his right now, pale and frozen, eyes wide and jaws clenched. Except his face feels hot, cheeks burning as he grips Baekhyun’s hand harder and pulls so Baekhyun steps in closer. “I want…”
A hand finds its way to the small of Baekhyun’s back, and Chanyeol’s pressing his face against Baekhyun’s neck, feeling every quivering line of Baekhyun’s body against his. “What,” he hears Baekhyun struggle to say against his hair. “What do you want?”
You is barely out of Chanyeol’s mouth before fingers grip his hair and pull his head back. Before he can process anything, thin lips are sliding against his, and he feels Baekhyun’s hand leave his only to cup his face, fingertips pressing hard into his skin.
Chanyeol freezes for a split second before he melts into it easily because yes, this is what he’s been chasing after the whole time. He feels Baekhyun’s breaths against his cheek when he pulls away only to dip forward again. He swipes his tongue against the seam of Baekhyun’s lips and Baekhyun opens readily for him, and his hands travel down to Chanyeol’s neck to his shoulders, gripping for balance or so that Chanyeol wouldn’t pull away, he doesn’t know.
“I’m sorry,” Chanyeol mumbles over and over again as he presses kisses against Baekhyun’s lips, cheeks, jaw. “I was so stupid, I was such a jackass to you because this whole time I thought…” Baekhyun shushes him, lips trembling as he smiles but his eyes are brighter than Chanyeol’s ever seen them. He presses a kiss near the corner of Baekhyun’s eyes and feels wet skin. He pulls back and sees tears sliding down Baekhyun’s cheeks.
Shit, did I do something wrong, Chanyeol thinks frantically and then realizes he’s said it outloud when Baekhyun shakes his head vigorously, sobbing laughter spilling from his lips. Lips that were pressed so desperately against Chanyeol’s just a few seconds ago.
“No, no,” he says, tugging Chanyeol down again so he can press their foreheads together. “You did everything right,” he says before tilting up and catching Chanyeol’s bottom lip between his teeth. Chanyeol lets out this strangled whimper, his hands catching onto the back of Baekhyun’s shirt and pulling him closer if that’s possible at this point.
“I like you,” Chanyeol says against Baekhyun’s lips. He feels the hands on his shoulder grip even tighter. “I like you so much, you make my life so difficult.”
Baekhyun laughs, the sound shaky as he presses his hands against Chanyeol’s neck. “But you love it,” he says, tone teasing but his voice is soft as if he isn’t too sure if Chanyeol really does or not. Chanyeol reassures him with a lingering kiss, wipes away the remaining tears with his thumb. “It’s stupid, you know,” Baekhyun says, breaths coming out heavier as Chanyeol pulls the collar of his shirt aside to kiss the dips of his collarbone. “I’ve liked you ever since I saw you in our calculus class but I never got the guts to say anything.”
Chanyeol pulls away, suddenly curious. “You’ve liked me?” he asks. “You’ve liked me since the beginning?”
Baekhyun nods, cheeks flushing a ever deeper pink. “Yeah, I -” he clears his throat. “You looked so confident and I liked that.”
“You must’ve missed all the times I fell asleep then,” Chanyeol mumbles, switching his interest back to Baehyun’s lips.
“We’re suppose to be studying,” Baekhyun says, not sounding like he wants to study at all as he presses against Chanyeol’s touch.
“We are,” Chanyeol says, hands sneaking up under Baekhyun’s shirt. “I’m studying at least,” he smirks.
“Oh my god, you’re disgusting,” Baekhyun says, pushing half-heartedly against Chanyeol’s shoulder.
“Mhmm, you love it,” Chanyeol says before he leans in and catches Baekhyun’s lips again, the scattered textbooks left forgotten on the floor.
Sehun’s eyeing him suspiciously during lunch for five minutes before he suddenly perks up, suddenly looking at something behind Chanyeol’s shoulder.
“What?” Chanyeol asks, twisting around and finding Joonmyun standing in front of him. He’s smiling like he always does, twenty-four seven, but Chanyeol suddenly feels nervous. “Oh, uh, Joonmyun. Hi?”
“Chanyeol, it’s been a while,” he says easily. He casts a glance towards Sehun. “I was wondering if I can talk to you about the IB exam schedule real quick?”
“Uh, sure, I guess,” Chanyeol says, standing up when Joonmyun motions for him to follow.
They’re walking out of the cafeteria when Chanyeol figures this isn’t about IB exams or IB at all. “Baekhyun pulled out of all tutoring with me,” Joonmyun says when they’ve reached one of the empty tables outside the gym. “I’m not really surprised it’s just… I figured you’re still tutoring him?”
Tutoring wouldn’t really be the word to describe it - it being making out with Baekhyun as he straddles Chanyeol in his large desk chair - but Chanyeol doesn’t say that. “Yeah.”
“That’s good,” Joonmyun says, tone bright but his smile isn’t. “That’s good. Make sure he studies well and… take care of him, please.”
Chanyeol blinks, Joonmyun’s words catching him off-guard but he nods in agreement. “Of course,” he says, hands clasped behind his back. “You take care too, hyung.”
Joonmyun laughs and Chanyeol smiles when he sees the eye wrinkles. “Just Joonmyun’s fine.”
They walk back in the cafeteria together, breaking away as Chanyeol walks towards Sehun and Joonmyun off to his model UN group. “What was that about?”
“IB exam schedules,” Chanyeol replies. He smiles widely when Sehun gives him a look. “I swear.”
“Okay…” Sehun says slowly. Chanyeol feels a slight pang of guilt because he hasn’t told Sehun anything and Sehun hates being left in the dark. All he knows so far is that Chanyeol talked to Baekhyun and fixed Things. How well he fixed them Sehun doesn’t know.
“Hey, I can’t come by tonight,” Chanyeol says, the guilt weighing down ten pounds heavier. “I need to study for the exams.”
Sehun pouts but he nods understandingly. “They’re in like two weeks right? How’s chem coming along?”
“Horribly,” Chanyeol says, smiling cheerfully. Sehun shakes his head.
“You’re a math whiz, you can do this.”
“I thought you said it got me nowhere in life,” Chanyeol teases.
Sehun sticks his tongue out at him, and Chanyeol feels the childish urge to do it back. So he does. “Yeah, well you’re my best friend so that’ll get you somewhere,” Sehun says, expression cocky as he sips his milk through a straw.
Chanyeol throws a crumpled up napkin at his face and it’s like nothing’s changed.
Baekhyun’s dozing off with his physics book cushioning his head. He’s sitting at an empty table in an empty library five minutes from closing. “Hey,” Chanyeol says gently, shaking his shoulders. “Hey, Baek, you gotta get up, we need to leave.”
Baekhyun jerks a little, eyes blinking open sleepily. “Oh my god,” he groans, the last syllable cut off with a yawn. “What even…”
“You fell asleep, stupid,” Chanyeol says, taking the physics book and stuffing it into his backpack because Baekhyun’s is still jammed pack despite Chanyeol’s pleads for him to lessen his load.
“I was studying,” Baekhyun complains, voice thick from sleep.
“You can study in my room, come on,” Chanyeol says, swooping down last second to kiss Baekhyun quickly on the lips. Baekhyun perks up at this, eyes suddenly awake as he stands and stretches.
“We never really study anyway,” he mumbles. His hands come up to grab at Chanyeol’s jacket and jerk him down. “You’re a huge distraction,” he says, lips brushing against Chanyeol’s cheek.
They arrive at Chanyeol’s house, and he has to wake Baekhyun up again. Chanyeol takes both their backpack while Baekhyun pushes in the PIN for the garage door. As they walk up the stairs to Chanyeol’s room, their hands unconsciously find each other and hold on.
“Seriously though, I need to study,” Baekhyun whines when Chanyeol’s closed the door and wrapped his arms around Baekhyun’s waist, lips already finding the skin of his neck. “All your tutoring will go down the drain if I fail.”
“I know,” Chanyeol sighs but he keeps Baekhyun close for a few minutes longer, pressing his nose into his hair and breathing him in. “I need to study for chemistry, god fuck.”
Baekhyun laughs and pulls away but he keeps his hands clutched loosely on Chanyeol’s jacket. “If you take a practice test and get a four or above, I’ll reward you,” he says, leaning teasingly close, lips brushing against Chanyeol’s in a ghost of a kiss before pulling away completely.
Chanyeol groans. “I should be saying that to you, goddamnit.” But he walks over to his desk and takes out the stacks of practice tests obediently.
He’s pulling one out and skimming over it when he feels a pair of warm arms wrap around his shoulders, Baekhyun’s chest pressing against his back. “Thank you,” is whispered against his shoulder, lips kissing the skin there. He turns his head just slightly and Baekhyun’s meeting him halfway, eyes closed and lips soft.
“Love you,” Chanyeol breathes out when they pull away and Baekhyun’s smile feels like getting that one hundred percent on the hardest calculus test. Except it’s even better because it’s Baekhyun, and Chanyeol thinks he’s the best risk he’s ever taken.
“Stop,” Sehun deadpans from across the table. “Stop that right now.”
Baekhyun looks up from where he’s trying to engrave the rules of continuity onto the back of his eyelids. “What.”
“Stop being,” Sehun waves vaguely at his general direction, “that.”
Chanyeol wraps a possessive arm around Baekhyun’s shoulder and pulls him in so that Baekhyun’s back is pressed against his chest. “Is this bothering you, Sehun?” he smiles wickedly.
“I swear to god, Park Chanyeol, I will puke on everything you love.”
“Good luck with that,” Chanyeol snorts before Baekhyun turns around and kisses him quick on the lips.
“Keep studying, dumbass,” he says and then returns to his notes. Sehun’s cackling as Chanyeol grumbles and goes back to his chemistry textbook.
|A/N: idk either ok
this is actually for lunathunderhead because i promised her this way back in like 2012 no lie. alternatively titled “what would vee and nancy do if they actually went to hs together” also “what would vee/siming/nancy do if they went to hs together” bc by proxy siming and vee and i are one person hence the major bff!seyeol. thank to admortems for the handholding ;___; and for looking over everything and making sure it’s not crap.
this is mainly ib!au. to those of you who’s gone through ib or is going through it now, i know The Pain. also this story was largely inspired by a skype vid chat and my own high school experiences.
i hoped you guys enjoyed!!!