the jury; lee felix
(7744 words) - large
summary - Felix and his boyfriend, Y/N, tread upon new ground - their first fight - due to Felix’s busy schedule as an idol leaving little time for their relationship. Felix, conflicted and fearful of losing the person he loves, goes to his members in search of their guidance.
requested - 👍
💡 This is the second of the Felix requests I’ve received: this is the one where Felix goes to his members for advice after an argument with the reader 💡.
Y/N’s sighs began to fall limply to the ground as his heavy breaths could barely afford to stand. The time always passes at a crawl at this time of day, when the sun doesn’t know whether to hide behind the horizon or shine its pretentious glow for a couple more hours. The coppers against his living room window sills that would dance with the laughter only now oozing between the cracks of Y/N’s lethargic groans.
For the past couple hours, all Y/N’s had to entertain him are the pinwheels in the half-finished latte on his coffee table and the hopes of his texts being returned dangling on the edge of his mind. Y/N thought he’d grown accustomed to the quiet, but even through all of his denial - telling himself he’ll be fine, just a few more minutes - it never seizes to sap all the light from the room and remind him that time only passes by quickly when he wants it on his side.
The mug across from him has sat half-full for the last couple hours - minutes? Hours? He literally couldn’t tell - the greys of the tea Y/N brewed settled to the top, casting a cloud of the last remaining slivers of hope that Y/N had of spending time with his boyfriend, Felix.
Felix and Y/N have been going for two years now, but the spare seconds they scrounge up as Felix rushes out the door to meet his schedules just don’t seem to be adding up to that milestone. Those kisses against his forehead fade away the moment they come with the rising of the sun, and Y/N can’t help but feel colder the moment he leans over to see an empty spot beside him. The other side of the covers that were thrown aside in some sort of haste made Y/N feel hollow.
He knows how hard Felix’s job is as an idol, it’s so crammed with sleepless nights dancing until the moon shattered, the eyes of millions of people upon him at every given moment. During those swift ‘good nights’ over the phone, Felix would always tell him how hard but rewarding it was to make the smiles on peoples’ faces just a little bit brighter.
Y/N’s been understanding - he sort of has to be, he knew what he was getting into as soon as Felix took his hand in the flurry of those city lights - and he loves Felix so much, but it feels like he never sees him. Those demons hidden behind his back always whisper in his ear and remind him of the loneliness that he always tries to bite back so Felix doesn’t leave in the morning with a bitter taste between his teeth.
When those voices get too loud and start to swell in his chest, he reminds himself though of days he wishes he could bring back, the ones that would always bring the smile back to his face the moment he felt his fake one faltering. Midnights spent with canopies of stars hung right over their heads, vows of affection molded by the cheap Bacardi they smuggled into their dorms. How those memories fleeted so quickly the moment Y/N wanted to chase after them, cling to them before the strawberry sunlight that stained their summers lost their glow.
Sometimes the memory of their first day meeting gazes across a stuffy bedroom greets Y/N on the end of a long day. Something to ignite the light at the end of the tunnel, but its glow also leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. It was a constant reminder of what they used to be.
The first day they met… Y/N would always meet that memory with a wistful sigh.
It was a Friday, dark ambers of the evening creeping into the sky as Y/N peered above his hand of cards and stole glances at the guy across from him, a brilliant smile on display as the freckles on his cheeks were like auburn stars in an ivory night sky. Sometimes, their gazes would even meet and Y/N would feel this fire lapping at his stomach.
If Y/N tried hard enough, he could still feel where Felix left their bliss to burst through his veins as they cuddled up against each other that following night. That memory seared into his skin, burning with the most joyful radiance. The movie on their mutual friend’s television was the least of their concerns as they got lost in each other’s faint whispers and the shattered moonlight caught in their eyes.
Fluttering lights against their slowly entwining lips in this heavenly, sapphire shine, it’s always the last thing Y/N thinks about before it starts feeling too much like a hastily made daydream.
The vibrating of Y/N’s phone on the end-table snapped him out of his trance. It always seems to be that way, reliving their glory days under the heavy weights of the afternoon sunlight, when staring into nothing and wishing for something more was just too much of a burden to bear.
Y/N leaned over to check his phone, a genuine awe parting his lips for a moment as he saw a text message under Felix’s name. He still hasn’t changed it since they met, it was a brief reminder of what they used to be, glimmering red heart emojis against his name that still haven’t faded yet. Those peppering his screen once every week gives him the faintest hope that maybe they could watch the first snow of the season from the porch where Felix met him for their first official date. Y/N still can’t pass by a cluster of tulips without letting a smile leak out - or look at spaghetti without experiencing physical pain.
‘I’m almost there, angel!’ Y/N read it over and over, soaking it in for maybe a little too long. He sort of forgot that they were still calling each other 'angel', mostly because they haven’t actually said it to each other for a while. The way Felix’s voice carved out his name, it was a melody he’d want to listen to until they became one with the stars. It just reminded him of how far away they were, several coastlines that used to be their playgrounds now nothing but the murmurs of low tide.
Felix’s words never really lingered as they used to since moments of him singing into Y/N’s skin have been so few and far between, they slip away as fast as they come. The more he thinks about them, the more they lose their potency, as if the way he used to think about them is wearing them down rather than shining their colours. Y/N’s wanted so bad for them to simmer in his chest the same, for the echo of the butterflies in his chest to resonate like Felix’s laughter between his teeth, they’re so faint now, like the meek glow of the autumn sun that would always make them want to just curl up in the sheets together and give up on life.
Y/N just sat up again. It’s been quite a while since he’s seen Felix come through that door. It’s like Y/N forgot how to act, his habit of bouncing on the balls of his feet by the bay window where they’d lean against the walls and carve hearts into the fog when it got cold enough to do so. They haven’t really completed one in a while.
Just another thing for Y/N to start missing.
Y/N snapped to attention the moment he heard an oh-so-familiar jingle from behind his front door and the sound of chunky loafers against the cobbles of his walkway. The sound of Felix’s keys is one he can’t get out of his head no matter how hard he tries, the clacks of all his obscenely large plastic knick-knacks fighting for dominance over one another as they swing like pendulums with each of Felix’s skip-like scampering steps. He made Y/N get a few matching ones, some he attached to his bookbag, and others he had on his house keys. The cherry charm that hung from that thin silver chain on Y/N’s keys, it constantly reminds him of home. The glory days of golden sunlight setting Felix’s skin aglow as they spent days on end beneath the same roof. Skies stained by the scarlet on their cheeks, clouds like satins dancing with the breeze and playing with their hair as they laid naked, tangled between bedsheets and the gravelly stereo Felix stole from his company’s practice room… Those times always seemed to pass by the quickest.
“I’m so sorry I’m late!” Y/N picked his jaw up from the floor as he heard Felix’s voice among his shuffling in the front hallway. Peeling himself off the couch - and taking a swift moment between his lagging heartbeats to realize how long he’s been sitting there. He wrapped himself around the corner and all those thoughts about waiting melted from his grasp as he caught a single look at Felix’s tired grin.
“It’s okay… It’s not like you left me at the altar.” Y/N brushed it aside but he couldn’t quite shove it off completely. He could feel it dragging down on him like a fresh thought about forgotten homework as he moved up to take Felix’s - actually Y/N’s - jacket. Those trepidations stuck between Y/N’s fingers like honey came back as swiftly as they left. They were supposed to meet at the threshold of his front door three hours ago, share their ‘I love you’s over the auburns of lukewarm tea two and a half hours ago and cuddle on the couch an hour after that - maybe some spare time for Felix catching Y/N’s hands in his own and pressing him against any wall wide enough to bear the weight of their kisses.
“I’ll make it up to you, I swear…” Y/N tried not to roll his eyes too hard. Good thing Felix didn’t catch that, his eyes squeezed shut as he sighed into the curve of Y/N’s neck. Felix has said this before, that he’d ‘make it up to him’, but Y/N knows better than to get his hopes up. It’ll only hurt more the harder they fall from grace. Felix looked up to see an uncertainty flutter about in Y/N’s eyes, and he jostled him gently by the shoulders and kissed him along the shoulder exposed by his faded jumper. “I will!” The lilt in Felix’s whine made Y/N’s knees weak.
“Okay.” Y/N nodded, not sure who he was trying to convince. But the firm line along his lips soon curved up as Felix took his face in his hands and entwined their lips. The sparks between their teeth didn’t ignite like they used to, but that’s just par for the course when they’re not with each other all the time like when they first started dating.
“I’m really sorry, babe. I really will, though, work’s just been so tough on me, promotions and practice are back-to-back and I feel like I have no room to breathe…” Felix took Y/N by the hand, their fingers threading together, and led him back to where Y/N had been waiting - punching holes into his lungs with all the heavy breathing he was doing.
Y/N sat on the arm of the couch with Felix on the corner seat right next to him, their hands still tied together under the slivers of copper sunlight. It doesn’t bend to their will like when they were younger, but it was sharing sunlight with Felix at least.
Pressing his cheek to Y/N’s knee, planting pecks to bloom under his skin, Felix let another heavy breath fall out from his faltering smile. Y/N just leaned into Felix’s touch, feeling a little bit of regret twist and turn in his stomach.
He felt horrible, Felix was tired all the time, just like when he was burnt out senior year of high school, that withered flame in his eyes, that trying shine on his face whenever he did so much as curved his lips. Y/N couldn’t think straight now, seeing Felix alone in practice rooms until five in the morning, promotions at six and performances at night, it made his chest tight.
He wanted to be honest so badly - that he was tired of being alone, that he felt neglected - but everything he thought was tied together in his head is now flailing around in his mind with frayed ends.
“I know… I just…” Y/N stammered, tripping over his words, and it was only made worse as Felix’s arms around Y/N’s legs clung tighter. The stars in his eyes were countless. Y/N always wondered how Felix kept them ignited even when he felt empty. “I just miss you… I feel like I never see you- I know that’s out of your control and all, but…” Felix postured up on his arms, shuffling to his knees to meet Y/N’s eye level. He bit his lip, starting to wonder if all of his pleading for more time, for a few more hours, for rain checks and pushbacks, have been weighing more on Y/N than he’s been letting on. Y/N tells him everything - at least he did. “I dunno…” Y/N’s voice sounded deflated as he dropped his fidgeting hands in defeat.
Felix picked them right back up and kissed along his knuckles. “I miss you too, Y/N… But this time, no excuses, we’re doing something together to make up for all of our lost time.” As soon as Y/N’s smile picked back up, Felix couldn’t help but let his shine through too. Y/N just had that effect on him, his contagious smile, and no amount of distance or time has ever dwindled that. “Dinner tonight, anywhere you want.” He clutched Y/N’s hands harder and pulled him atop his chest, their bodies colliding rendering him breathless.
“Really…?” Y/N’s heart leapt hurdles in his chest as he heard that, looking down to Felix’s smile and the glimmers idling in his eyes. It was then when Y/N realized how long it's been since their hearts last skipped a beat together. Y/N could feel the air slowly leaking from his chest, the breath slipping out from under his words as Felix stood from the couch and leaned in to touch his forehead to Y/N’s. Y/N melted into the touch that cradled his cheeks and the lips pressed against the corners of his smile.
“Yes, really.” Felix smiled into Y/N’s skin, only for their moments of bliss to be cut off and stifled out as quickly as they surfaced on their shores. A jingle could be heard from Felix’s phone from the other side of Y/N’s couch. That end of the couch was where their feet would dangle as they cuddled the weight of Felix’s long days away. Y/N didn’t know that the days could get longer than Felix said they were, but the horizon’s glow always knows how to wear them out.
Y/N could already feel the sting on his neck from Felix’s coarse sigh as he walked over to pick it up, a short fuse of spare time already shrivelled up past bursting.
“It’s alright, we’ve spent more time now than we have in the last few months. I was starting to feel too lucky…” Y/N tried not to lose himself in the thought that fifteen minutes of them being hand and hand was now a stretch, a luxury that they couldn’t afford. He still remembered when they’d spend hours and days together; now all he gets is a kiss to his lips that he’ll be half-awake for if he’s fortunate enough to hear the rustling on Felix’s side of the bed. As Felix turned around and shoved his phone in his pocket, he could still see the wallpaper on Felix’s lock screen, a picture taken in their bathroom mirror from a year and a half ago, the moonlight still fresh on their shoulders. Y/N was caught in Felix’s arms, half his facemask smeared off from Felix’s constant kissing and caressing.
He wonders if Felix actually thought about them until it was too late. If Felix dared to pick up his phone and text him before he was pulled away by his work, or if it just never popped up in his head, that there’s a person in his sweater, dangling on the edge of their bed, waiting for a text. A single text that still hasn’t lit up his screen.
He let his eyes linger on Felix’s back like the cologne that’d cling to their lazy evening kisses, sunset stained memories washed away by clementine tides of lonely nights like their footprints on their favourite beaches. He wished he was more honest today. Maybe he could’ve said something more instead of pretending like he was okay with waiting out the window until the moon grew tired of his staring, that he was okay with seeing Felix’s shadow down every single grocery line, that he was okay with being completely alone until Felix would burst through those doors three hours late. He’s so used to telling Felix everything, but this was a wall he couldn’t scale, a fence he couldn’t just jump and meet Felix’s lips on the other side.
“I’ll see you later, okay? I promise.” Felix looked back just late enough to miss the brief glimmer of sadness fade from Y/N’s face. Based on how Y/N’s facade’s been holding up, considerations about how Y/N’s heartbeat misses tripping on the stars slip Felix’s mind more often than he wants to admit, more often than he even bothers to recognize. It’s been so long since he truly took a moment to think about how all of this made Y/N feel. “We’ll spend the whole night together, you'll be stuck with me.” Felix grinned as he saw the corners of Y/N’s tried smile perk up as well. Felix too, barely remembers the last time they truly spent time together, nothing but them and the sickly sweetness that shone through their fingertips.
“There’s nobody I’d rather be stuck with.” Y/N’s been so exhausted with all of these fake smiles. As Felix pulled Y/N’s jacket tighter around his shoulders, he felt something, a single spark lap at the inside of his chest. Maybe everything will turn out fine this time.
Felix left with a parting smile and slipped out the door as if he was never there, as if he never tracked the lethargic, afternoon breeze in with his windswept hair and never buried his face into Y/N’s shoulder. It was all just picked up, scattered lazily like dust to the wind. All Y/N could do was sigh into the empty room, taupe walls only making the echo of his heavy breath come back to him that much louder. Felix had him convinced that he’d be here on time with a suit jacket tugged around his shoulders, dark jeans and dark eyes still carrying the glimmer of the streetlights they can only talk about dancing under. It was all starting to look perfect…
Until it didn’t.
Y/N’s been standing at the door, tugging at his lapel, long after the dying breath of the evening faded, still feeling the lilacs of the clouds leave his fingers as he moved from room to room, wondering why he wasn’t even surprised anymore. The chill of the night finally started to settle in on him no matter where he was. It began to prod at him, teasing him and calling out to him from every corner of the house. Felix was supposed to be at his door by sunset, but two and a half hours have darkened the sky and the sunlight lost its colour.
Y/N had to imagine being dragged by Felix from out the door, hopping into the front seat of his car where he could still find faint memories of the night they skipped the drive-in their friends were going to and made out in the trunk instead. Felix would always take the scenic route, as he’d love peering from the corner of his eye to see Y/N looking out onto the meadows by the single road separating them from the roaring tides of the city lights. When they were ‘just friends’, they’d carve their laughter into those fields, biting their tongue the moment those unintelligible feelings would rise above their waist and letting their curious hands take their place instead.
He could hear rapid footsteps and the glow of headlights, but with the luck he’s had tonight, it was probably his neighbour.
The moment Felix burst through the threshold of the doorframe, he could already feel the shattered pieces of Y/N’s hope and happiness lining the hallways. How long has Y/N’s front door stood unlocked? Felix knew, but he was too afraid to answer his own question and feel the guilt bite deeper than it did already.
Felix clambered further inside, whipping his head around in efforts of finding his boyfriend, if he even wanted to be found at this point. He finally found him, his shoulder silhouetted by the well-worn moonlight by the bay window, drawing half-finished hearts into the fog on the glass and fiddling with the cuffs of his dress shirt. The way that ivory light spilled down upon him, it was like that night they went to prom together ‘as a joke’, the night where they threw their boutonnieres to the wind and made out under the bleachers felt blurry around the edges, an image distorted by the nights Y/N would stand upon those bleachers alone to reminisce with a bitter taste in his mouth. The sapphires in the moonlight lost their patience before he did, and they never really held the same colour since.
Stepping closer, Felix stumbled breathlessly over his words as Y/N’s eyes met his.
“Listen, I’m sorry-”
“You’ve been doing a lot of apologizing lately…”
The room went dead silent, but it was still so deafening. The way Y/N’s voice so abruptly cut through the air and stopped Felix in his tracks, it was all of those meticulously tucked away frustrations coming crumbling down. There was nothing left but a sharpness in Y/N’s voice now.
Felix was speechless. He didn’t know what to say, all we were doing was letting himself hang, suspended in the shimmers of Y/N’s dejected gaze. He could feel something swell in his chest as he tried to catch up to his thoughts, his tongue in knots. He has been saying sorry for a lot, but until now, he thought it was for a good reason.
“Well I’m sorry that you don’t understand how hard I’ve been working!”
Felix tried to stop the words that slipped from out his mouth, but he was too slow. All he could do was clasp a hand over his lips to stop any more from deepening Y/N’s appalled frown. Y/N just shot up, an anger seething through every single one of his rough, heavy breaths. He was still trying to process what Felix just said as he stepped up to meet Felix at an eye level.
“Are you serious?! I don’t ‘understand’ how hard you’re working? THAT’S ALL I’VE BEEN DOING! All I’ve been doing is understanding!” Y/N saw Felix flinch, but he didn’t care. Based on what Felix just said, it was hard to believe that Felix cared either, that he cared at all. “I’ve been ‘understanding’ and putting up with being alone for the better part of a year now!” Y/N just shot his hands up, his raised voice making the walls shake. Nothing above a giggle and a stifled whisper have ever been murmured here. They could hear the walls weeping.
“I have a job to do-”
“I KNOW THAT! I’m just so fucking tired of being alone all the time… I can’t take it anymore…” A hot flush seeped onto Y/N’s cheeks and a tightness grasped onto his chest. “Why’re we even together if all we are is just broken promises? I’m just constantly giving in, saying it’s okay while you do nothing to fight for us… You don’t even call me anymore, you don’t spare me a single second…”
Felix didn’t know how to stop. ‘I’m sorry’, he wanted to say. ‘I’m so sorry’, he wanted to plead. But it just couldn’t come up, and as Y/N’s advance on him left him backed onto the side of the doorway he just stumbled through, he was just looking at his boyfriend with a parted mouth, regrets hanging off but none he could muster the energy to voice. He’s never seen Y/N this mad, he’s never wanted to see anything other than a smile on his face. He never knew how many frowns Y/N hid behind their front door whenever he left. He wished he knew, he wished he wasn’t too dumb to notice. He wished he gave Y/N his spare time, even a fraction of it to remind him that he cares.
“Maybe you should give your love to someone who can handle this, because all I feel is that I’m never gonna be enough for you…” Y/N couldn't stop his voice from shaking. He wanted to stay strong, hold his head up high as he told Felix about his honest feelings, but all that flooded his chest was the sadness he’s bottled up for far too long, the anger held captive in his stray thoughts.
Felix wanted to wipe his tears away so badly, to just rush up there and hug him, but he knew Y/N would just back away. What was worse was that part of him was still confused, blind to what Y/N was saying, still trying to peer around every corner and finding validity in what Felix said. It was a habit of his with Y/N, to find a way to be right. Usually it would just end up with him choosing a movie or winning fights over Y/N’s lucky game controller, but this time he wished he could just shut off the thoughts he couldn’t help.
“I think it’s best if you go for now. I can’t deal with this and I need my space.” For once, Y/N was completely fine with being alone, with seeing the back of Felix's head as he slowly turned back towards the door.
The firm line along his lips crumbled though as soon as he heard the door shut, and he fell to his knees, as if his sadness took his balance from under him. Y/N was at a loss for words, for breath. He felt like his chest was burning, the tears that dotted his lashes finally streaming down his face, carving rivers into his skin. This is what he gets for being honest, a turned back and a reminder that there are always going to be things more important than him, worth more than him. He knew this and recognized it, but realizing it every time Felix would leave the door or forget to text him was a feeling he always dreads.
All that was there to accompany Y//N now was the echo of his sobs, a hoarse melody hanging from his shoulders and pulling him into the floorboards. His head was leaned against the wall Felix stumbled against, still remembering when Felix pressed him up against it just a year ago.
Felix’s sighs whipped up into the air in thin, lifeless puffs of white. The night quickly grew tired, and its weight on Felix’s shoulders wasn’t making feel better about anything that happened. All of the things that just happened were still unfurling in his head, he was still struggling to understand what just happened. Even the drive back to JYP’s building, empty roads and moonlit meadows and mosaics of city lights couldn’t clear the picture. That image of Y/N’s face, one so torn with anger and sadness, contorted in a way he had never seen before. He had caused that.
He pushed through the building’s front doors and took the sleeves of Y/N’s jacket between his fingers, the softness of the fabric running coarse like sandpaper the moment he kept thinking about what he said, what he thought and the look on Y/N’s face the moment those words left his lips. He just couldn’t stop. He couldn’t stop to think about what Y/N was actually saying, how he was actually feeling.
Turning the corner, he pushed through the door with a deep breath and found his members on the floor, in the same places he left them just about half an hour ago. He tried not to wince at the twisting in his stomach as all their heads turned to meet the sound of his heavy steps and the crooning of the glass door.
“That was really quick.” Chan’s smile faded as he watched the forced glow in Felix’s cheeks slowly wither. Something wasn’t right. “What happened?”
“We had a fight.” Felix let himself crumple to the floor as he leaned back against the wall. He could feel his hands drop to his sides in defeat. He couldn’t see the glances tossed around by the other members, shocked expressions strapped to their once expectant smirks and teasing smiles.
“How is that even possible? You guys sound like the most perfect couple.” Changbin asked, propping his head up from his face-first position on the ground.
“Yeah, every time we hear about him, it’s non stop gushing.” Jisung scooted over to where Felix was perched against their panelled wall, patting his knee.
“I didn’t realize how frustrated he was with me always missing things and not being there because of being an idol. I could tell he’s been wanting to talk about it for a while, but it all just blew up. I feel horrible…” Felix sighed into his hands, and as he peeked between his fingers, he could see all of his members encroaching in on him, sitting around him with these pensive looks on their faces. He could see something dangling on the edge of Chan’s pursed lips, and something bubbling beneath Changbin’s still parted mouth. “I realized that I haven’t texted him, talked to him or reminded him that I love him outside of the one time a month I show up at his door at two in the morning... I-I-”
“I mean we're busy, he has to recognize that, right?”
Changbin’s response was met with uncertain stares in his direction. Felix looked to his right to see a shimmer in Jisung’s eyes, this furious spark in his stomach as he clicked his tongue and rolled his eyes.
“We’re all busy, Bin, but apparently Y/N’s been constantly giving in. We of all people should know how exhausting that can get. We thought you guys were okay. But you literally haven’t been reminding him that he’s still wanted and appreciated.” Jisung took a breath, but everyone in the room knew that he was far from done. He never realized how little effort Felix was putting into Y/N. “Being with Y/N is a commitment you decided on pursuing. So it’s your responsibility to make sure that he knows you’re there for him, Felix.”
Felix sat there, awestruck, and so did half the members. Part of Felix, the shadows hidden in the crevices of his thoughts, thought that they would defend him a little bit more, maybe validate the arguments that still churned within his head, but he was completely wrong.
Minho was the next to speak, his calm voice slowly easing itself through the tension Jisung pulled taut around the room. He still had a finger pressed to his lips, cautious words in his head watching their step as he let them wander into the stilling air. “Relationships like these are hard, they require a lot of giving and sacrifice…”
“But that giving can only be one-sided for so long until the other person has nothing left to give, you know?” Seungmin finished Minho’s sentence.
Everything was finally starting to settle in his head like an evening haze against the fields he and Y/N had once called their own. Was he really taking that much? He never really put that much thought into it. He couldn’t see it until now, but Y/N looked like he was sapped of all his wonderful colours. Ho could Felix not realize that he was the one to take the glow from between Y/N’s beautiful hands?
He opened his mouth to speak, but if his argument with Y/N taught him anything, he needed to listen, to hear.
Felix was originally shocked about the stance his members were taking, but now he couldn't be more thankful that they were taking Y/N’s side. If they didn’t see it from Y/N’s perspective, nobody would have.
“We do have spare time, we do have breaks. I’m surprised you haven’t tried to at least spend one of them with him instead of talking about it.” Chan said, his wisdom being something Felix could always depend on. “If you wanna keep a relationship like yours, you need to work for it. You can’t do nothing and expect Y/N to be alright with it. He doesn’t deserve that.”
“You’re right, he really doesn’t.” Felix’s words leaked through the fallen corners of his lips. As he rested his chin on his knees, he looked around to see their knowing glances. He never liked these ‘stern talking to’s from his members, but it wasn’t just about him now. It was about him and Y/N, the beautiful soul that made him laugh until his ribs grew sore and soft. The one who would weave the starlight together for him to guide him down darkened paths he couldn’t quite see without him. The glow of Y/N’s golden heart was something he couldn’t live without, and he’s letting it slip between his fingers.
“You chose this relationship, now it’s up to you to fight for it.” Hyunjin said, fidgeting with his hands, but his eyes on Felix were steady, unwavering. “If you don’t have the energy or the time to do that, if you don’t want to put in the effort-”
“But I do, I want to.” Felix’s voice was firm, determined, a spark setting off behind his dejected gaze.
“Then prove it to the one who should be hearing all this.” Chan nodded towards the door, shining a small smile as Felix shot up and pulled his jacket tighter around his shoulders.
“Thanks guys!” Felix bound towards the door, leaving his members’ lingering words to fill the empty space he left within mere moments. He was glad that he had his members to hold him accountable and help him see how complacent he’s been acting in his and Y/N’s relationship. However, the guilt in his stomach also seethed with this unforgiving sting as he realized that he shouldn’t have had to go to that extent. He should’ve listened to Y/N and understood what he was saying. Y/N was the person he loved, after all, why was it so hard to hear about what was breaking his heart?
Felix saved those thoughts and misgivings for later, though. He and Y/N will talk it over later, all he needed to focus on now, though, was reaching him before it was too late. The moonlight was waning, the night grew bitter. He wondered if Y/N would still even let him in or if he’d let him stand and shiver under the amber porchlight. He had to try.
“Not even a hug before he leaves…?”
“That’s not important right now, Changbin.”
Y/N was slumped on his bed, a deflated tangle in his knotted sheets as he let his legs dangle at the foot of the bed. He was stealing glances at his suit jacket from out the crack in his closet door, continuing to break the promises to just quit looking at it. This was just a resolution he couldn't stick to, it still has the withered cinders of their first ever fight, and he could still feel the scorch marks sully his own skin. Sure, they’ve had their quarrels through their years by each other's side and even through the time they’ve been dating, but nothing was ever like this.
This was one of the times where he wishes his times with Felix were really just a daydream, some random blank he let his mind fill while he was still waiting for Felix the first time.
The sigh he buried into his hands was cut short, however, as he heard a knocking against his door. It was frantic, desperate, and it made Y/N’s head shoot up instantly. It can’t be, Y/N thought. The conflict tugging at his heart and making an ache bleed throughout his chest wanted it to be him, but it also wanted it to just be the mailman. He doesn’t know if he has the energy to muster up another war of words with Felix, he doesn’t know if he can look him in the eye and listen to what he has to say, especially if it leaves his heart in more slivers than it did when he burst through that door the first time.
Out of all the times for Felix to try, it was a moment where Y/N didn’t quite know if he wanted to see him.
Y/N set a groan free to roam the house before he peeled himself from his sheets and headed towards the door. He could already see Felix’s silhouette carved by the moonlight that still bothered to hang around in the sky, the few greyed slivers peeking from behind indigo clouds outlining the shoulders that Y/N’s lips would hang from for hours in the bed he just left. Y/N just drew a sharp breath, his mind wasn’t ready, his heart was barely keeping up, but every physical whim kept him shuffling towards that front door.
There he was, the patience on his nearly firm expression quickly fading as Y/N let the door swing inwards with a whimper that filled the emptiness between their chests. Y/N was speechless, seeing him on his front doorstep again, quietly rocking back and forth on his feet and his hands nervously fidgeting in front of him. That breath he just took in? It left as quickly as it came. There was nothing he could scour up now, just him and a mixed feeling he didn’t want to confront quite yet.
“Y/N…” Felix’s voice has nearly died off and he just started talking. Y/N tried not to wince at the sound of his name as he stood aside, out of the way so Felix could come in. “Thanks for letting me come back to explain myself.” Felix said as he shrugged off his jacket, tensing under Y/N’s forlorn, nearly vacant stare as he ran his hand over the jacket he had around his shoulders. Y/N’s.
Y/N’s eyes were never empty or hollow, always so lush with a vitality and shine that left Felix tripping on the stars and boundless skies within. He’d give everything to succumb to those glimmers again, but now he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to see them ever again - whether he stays or goes. He was too blind to see that he was plucking them out, one by one with every stray hour he let fall into nothing as he just sat beside his phone and didn’t bother to send anything under the name that still had those purple hearts next to it.
“If I’m being honest, I still don’t really know if I want you here to do that.” Y/N sat himself on the arm of the living room couch. Felix had to do his best not to just drop onto the cushion next to him. He just scooted over to a little chair by the bay window, shifting uncomfortably under the weight of Y/N’s eyes that still haven’t left him since he entered. Felix understood his point, he honestly didn’t expect to get this far. He thought that door would’ve been slammed on him.
“I really want to tell you how sorry I am, Y/N.”
“For what, Felix?” Y/N’s gaze was starting to grow pointed, his tone as well. Felix has done a lot and he barely even comprehends what was truly doing, he did have a lot of explaining to do.
“For the fact that I just left you alone and expected you to be alright with that. That I just veiled our lost time with excuses about me being busy. I didn’t even text you…” Felix felt something bunching up in his throat as he watched Y/N hold back a whimper. “I put no effort in, I never put any extra thought in aside from the times where I didn’t have a choice but to see you because I was nearby. That should’ve never been the case because as my boyfriend, you’re as much a priority as my job. I had a tough time understanding that the choice I made required effort. That it was a responsibility that I chose. It didn’t just affect me, I took you down with me.”
Felix stood up from out of the chair to reach out and take Y/N’s hands in his. Y/N did nothing to resist his touch, his bunched fists falling limp in the touch that slowly kneaded across his knuckles and the caresses against his skin.
“Y/N…?” Felix wanted so desperately for Y/N to say something, him not shrugging away from Felix was a sign, but he wanted more, whether it was to scream and shout, yell and cry or to possibly forgive him. Just something so Felix could finally start listening.
“I thought I’d be like a vacation for you, a resting place where you don’t have to be anything. But I felt like I was just more work, a burden because I wanted to be with you.” Y/N’s voice sounded like it was shrivelling up, a dying flame trying its best to shine in darkness. A sob tore throughout the house, nearly ripping paint from the walls and all Felix could do was keep holding onto Y/N’s hands. He was here, now that he almost lost him, he’s not gonna let go.
Felix nearly tripped over himself, though, as he started to realize what Y/N was actually saying.
Y/N continued through his cries, leaning into the cool touch that began to wipe his scorching tears away. “I wanted to be the person you could go to when things became too much, not a person who would just make more things for you to handle…” He couldn’t stop the sobs from escaping, gripping at his chest like a vice and leaking out into the room in a river of hiccups and whines stifled in Felix’s shoulder. “I know I’m not as important as your job, I know that. But I want to at least know that you still love me...”
“Y/N…” Felix smoothed his hands against Y/N’s back, smiling in the words he began to whisper into Y/N’s ear as the glitches in his breath began to slow with the strokes down his spine. Every morning used to be like that, Felix tracing the freckles in Y/N’s skin, touches of wanderlust, wayward fingers dancing in the sunlight until hands finally caught each other and dove further into bleached oceans and ripples of satin sheets. The songs of the daylight were theirs to conquer.
When Felix was here, those memories started to taste less bitter along Y/N’s tongue, they looked less like wilted daisies along the faded horizon and more of a full bloom that he can’t wait to feel again.
“Don’t ever begin to feel like you’re a burden. You’re like paradise to me, you’re like an angel who abandoned heaven just to beat me at cards and take my breath away.” He matched the sweet melody of Y/N’s delicate, breathy laugh with a chuckle of his own. “I’m sorry I haven’t made you feel like what you are in my heart. I promise to put more effort into us, I’ll never let you feel like that again. I won’t give up on us like I almost did, and I won’t let us fade away.” Felix took Y/N’s face in his hands, and one of Y/N’s hands moved up to rest on Felix’s. They closed their eyes, taking this in for just a second as the violet of the moonlight swept up the silence and embraced them in its glimmer. “I’m really busy, I know, but I will make time for us, you’re not gonna feel alone. I’ll make sure of it.”
“Do you really mean it?” Y/N looked up into Felix’s eyes. They held such a shine that he’s only imagined until now. One that once filled all their memories lost to an endless night - it was back, the shattered starlight that set the butterflies free in Y/N’s stomach.
“Yes. Yes I do, angel…” Felix pulled Y/N closer, their foreheads touching as Felix’s fingers sat interwoven around Y/N’s neck. Y/N just let a chuckle ring between their lips that hovered a hair’s breadth apart, his hands dangling from Felix’s shoulders. “I love you, okay? Nothing’s gonna change that. Ever.”
“I love you too, Felix…”
Part of Y/N couldn’t believe what was happening, as the inhibitions perched on his shoulder were already forcing him to accept that things would never get better. But with the way Felix stared deep into his eyes, strummed his heartstrings and held him by the hands, the Y/N that spent sleepless nights plucking lilacs from the night sky on the other end of Felix’s phone line, the one with a slumbering Felix nestled just between his arms as they fell asleep re-watching their favourite movie - the Y/N that knew everything was going to be okay - finally began to show again.
Everything was going to be okay...
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I have a question, how many requests do you currently have?
I wanted to request something months ago but you said you had many requests and I didn't want to add more
Why, that is a wonderful question...
I currently have 28 requests in my inbox that I am working on, I'm trying to keep up with them but my university workload's been so incredibly intense that I'm just trying to keep my head above water at this point.
You could send it in if you want, I'll add it to my list. If I'm being honest, though, it won't be done for a while - or at least until I pull some all-nighters and free up some time.
I'm sorry you've waited so long, I know you're not the only one so I feel really guilty, but I'm going to do my best.
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I'm here to tell u that u have one of the most gorgeous way of illustration with words. Like i'm actually starstruck with your writing.
Aw, thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words. They mean a lot to me!
I'm really glad that you appreciate my writing, I try my hardest 💛!
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Do you still take requests?
I think I'm going to prioritize the requests I have right now, so I won't be doing new ones until my old ones are mostly done.
However, you could still send it in, my ask box is always open.
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Good luck on uniii 💫💫 Remember to take breaks since you'll probably have more to do now-
Awh! Thank you so muuuuch!
I'll still do my best to post some stuff don't worry, but I'll make sure to take breaks too!!
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CONGRATS ON GOING TO UNI!!!!🎉🎉🎉
Good luck dude!💙
Awh, thank you so much! I really appreciate it!
I'll need as much luck as I can get!
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i’m heading to uni 📚
Hey! I hope you’re having a wonderful day/evening/night 😊.
I just wanted to let you know that I’m officially leaving home for my first year of university!
Because I’m heading to university, I just wanted to forewarn all of you that because of a heavy workload I know I’ll have, updates might be slower than usual (if that’s even possible lol I’m so sorry 😅). However, I’m still going to do my best to complete all of the requests I currently have!
Alright, that’s it. I just wanted to let viewers of this page know where I am/gonna be. Thank you so much to those who support my works, it means everything to me.
I love y’all, stay safe and healthy 💛!
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cruise control; ten
(3630 words) - large
summary - In the midst of a regular weekday morning, Ten begs Y/N to stay in bed with him instead of getting ready for work.
requested - 👍
The daisies dancing on the horizon parted the clouds and painted the sky, ivory sunlight holding this sweet nostalgia of better times in its hands flourishing though the windows of Y/N and his boyfriend Ten’s bedroom. Their sheets fallen to the floorboards still held this lavender glimmer of the twilight that stained the hands that lay entwined between them. Even in their sleep, the tapestry laid upon them and their skin scorched by their dances under the sapphire spotlight of the moon still burned and left the edges of their tongues singed, still caught with baited breath.
Y/N stirred under the shine of the morning light, his hands that roamed the bare shoulders wrapped up in his arms and fingers that tangled in the head of hair resting beneath his chin still sparking with the adoration that soaked their bodies. No satin ocean or starless sky could douse their flames, in fact, Ten would say that their stars would always shine brightest whenever they had nothing to look at atop their roof but each other.
The comforting silence plucked from their entangled heartstrings, ran down their necks with nobody’s tongue to chase it, Ten’s breath against Y/N’s chest being the only thing he was concerned with. As Y/N shed the weights of midnight from his tired gaze and let his eyes slowly flutter open, he just sat there and marvelled at the person between his arms. They don’t really have much spare time to spend together with all of the work they have to do this coming season, but the moments they do have together are completely worth it. Nothing but them, touches sailing along their waistlines as they drown in the stars in their eyes, and fall into their own gravity. Whenever they were with each other, they constantly wished as they whispered between each other’s teeth that they had more time, the minutes spent in Ten’s embrace that would feel like hours still wasn’t enough.
Y/N let his touch fall against Ten’s cheek. He looked so peaceful, as if for this one moment the world finally stood in the palm of their hands, things went their way. The way their song fluttered between them even in his silence, all Y/N could think about was senior year of college, the world even beyond the coastlines they drew their heartbeats into and past the trees that still called their names was their playground, just a stage set for them and their moonlit parades in the blue velvet of the night. Pressing their foreheads together, Y/N leaned up, hoving over Ten and pressed his lips to Ten’s cheek. A kiss as delicate as the hazy, blue light of the dawn that carved their shape into the grey walls surrounding them that have kept so many secrets, and held dear such sacred vows.
Like all things that send Y/N high into the clouds above, what goes up must come down, and lending his gaze to the numbers on the digital clock by their bedside just made him plummet just a little bit faster. He had to get to work soon, and this week like all others was wringing him out and hanging him dry. With one last fond smile, Y/N looked over the curves of Ten’s silhouette and quietly slinked out from between his sheets and away from Ten’s kind, tender grasp.
As soon as he made his way to Ten’s side of the room to sift through their closet, the warmth from Ten’s skin that embraced him and soaked him in the soft golds that streaked their sunset-stained skies deserted his shoulders. No matter how many times the dawn greets him and pulls him from their bed, he still can’t quite get used to the way that the sparks stirred in his heart just moments ago stifle themselves out and whisk themselves away the moment the covers release him. As if he was still grasping at the single straw they’d always share whenever they’d get milkshakes under the neon glow of the diner a few blocks from them.
He walked over to their nightstand with a rough sigh into his hands, but as he left with his keys in hand, he could feel a hand jerk up to his, fingers threading between Y/N’s in a perfect harmony, and tugging him backward.
“Leaving without a kiss?” Y/N turned to meet Ten’s sleep-laden eyes, his signature sparkle that swept Y/N off his feet junior year of college still dancing in his gaze. It glowed in the sunlight with this coyness that always kept Y/N coming back in. Ten’s groan was stifled into Y/N’s chest as he pulled him in and wrapped his arms around Y/N’s waist. “How rude…” The hum of content sitting at the back of Ten’s throat was pulled out from behind his playful smirk as Y/N threaded his fingers through Ten’s hair.
“I did kiss you…” Y/N giggled as he bent down to kiss Ten’s cheek, only to see his pout deepen into those beautiful, rose-tinted lips he could still feel blazing trails across his body. To say Ten was growing tired of this routine was an understatement. Every time the sun peeked behind the roofs on the horizon, he’d reach out only to catch the butterflies he’d stir in Y/N’s stomach and nothing more. This constant cycle they’d always stumble into of Ten clinging to their midnight tapestries and scrounging up any spare kisses he could before Y//N’s shadow would shrink behind the door frame.
Ten knew how hard Y/N had to work for them, how taxing and demanding it was for him. But this part of him still draped in the jovial twilights of simpler times, the greed that preened at him every now and then as he’d stare into the greys of Y/N’s half-finished tea in the kitchen just wanted him to himself for just a little bit longer.
“Well, you missed.” Ten took the loose tie around Y/N’s neck and pulled him in for a kiss, the feeling of Y/N’s smile melding against his, tongues easing between teeth and the swansongs of their joy swelling in their chests; it brought him back to the times under shitty strobe lights in a stranger’s bathtub. That bitter bite of tequila that hung from Y/N’s tongue, and the sweetness of the words seared into his skin are things he could never forget. “Good morning, baby.” Swiping his tongue across Y/N’s lips and taking in the warmth of Y/N’s soft chuckle, Ten let him go and watched as he circled the room and picked out all of his clothes.
“Morning…” Y/N came back to sit on his side of the bed, failing to hide his smile as Ten shuffled closer to him, wrapping them both in the duvet he found in a knot hanging off the corner of their bed. He didn’t want to leave, all he wanted to do was to drown in Ten’s hands and never breach the surface ever again, to just let the pearls dancing across their ignited coastlines scatter in their hair and paint their mornings.
“Do you really have to go so soon?” Ten whined weakly, words falling to the sheets shoved out of the space between them. There it was, that breath of fresh air that made everything wash away in a split second. As Ten’s voice soaked into Y/N’s skin with this soft, tender burn and kisses danced across his naked collar bone, the numbers on that damn bedside clock wouldn’t leave his vision. “I took these couple weeks off just so I could see you more, but it honestly feels like I’m seeing you less now…”
“I… I don’t want to… But I’m so close to getting that raise so we can do more than just pay rent.” Y/N said as he caressed Ten’s cheek with a deep breath lacing his words. A bitter tasting smile started to rise on Y/N’s face, and even when Ten kissed the corners of it, it wouldn’t fade away. “They’re expecting a lot from me…”
Ten pulled Y/N closer, taking his cheeks and planting his angelic pecks on them. His hands dangling off Y/N’s waist and sketching shapes into his thigh. Maybe Ten’s mind crosses those thoughts every now and then, but he’s never truly realized how hard Y/N was working to just keep their brief mornings afloat. Taking a second to gather his breath as Y/N’s hand kneaded into his skin, Ten tipped Y/N’s chin down to get a look at his eyes once more, only speaking when he saw the stars in Y/N’s gaze begin to rekindle.
Ten was always so good at that, igniting sparks in Y/N’s heart and aligning the stars Ten would trace down his spine no matter how stifled they were.
“I understand, I just miss you, though. It feels like we really haven’t spent time together since college.” Ten kissed the fingertips caressing his cheek and brought Y/N’s forehead to rest on his shoulder. Just watching Y/N’s sit up was stressing him out, and he couldn’t help but feel his heart skip a few beats in their swansong as he could feel that deep breath that Y/N’s never realizes he’s holding run down his chest.
Ten looked back on their moonlit glory days, back when they’d stop at nothing to conquer the midnight and draw hearts in the cloudless night sky. They’d scramble to rooftops and connect the dots between their stars as they’d push each other up against doors and elevator walls. They were so free to burn down any street they wanted, the fluttering city lights their playground. He could still remember that first and last time Y/N convinced his parents to let him take the station wagon out for a weekend. They’d spend the night huddled under blankets in the cranked open trunk on some hill bordering the suburbs that were littered with childhood stories, entangled in each other’s arms as they watched the city beyond slowly fall asleep under the indigo haze of the night.
Sometimes they’d even head down to the beach that held echoes of their youthful laughter and dance in cherry-tinted tides. Those were Ten’s favourite because Y/N always looked so happy, the weights he always held on his shoulders swept up into the wind that even now still remembers the melodies they created together. Ten always loved to see those galaxies shimmer in Y/N’s eyes as he smiled in his arms, new worlds with new stories created with every blink - Ten could barely keep up.
“How about this?” Y/N’s voice was soft as he took Ten by his shoulders and pressed him down into the sheets below them, a sea of grey satin rippling around them. Ten smiled coyly and let the warmth of Y/N’s touch take over, the happiness under his heartbeats only racing quicker as Y/N leaned down to Ten’s neck, kissing against this skin gently. “After tonight, I’ll take the week off, then I’ll treat you to something special, something you deserve.” The way Y/N’s breath seeped into Ten’s skin, it made his hair stand on end and set his heart aglow with something so distinctly blissful. Only Y/N could ever do this to him.
“Baby, anything I do with you is special.” Ten said, fingers kneading tenderly into the back of Y/N’s head, and something made his knuckles tighten as he felt Y/N’s laughter bite deeper into his skin. “I just want you here…”
“I’ll be here,” Y/N pressed his forehead to Ten’s, his voice, faint and low, scratching against the surface of Ten’s lips, daring to take the dive in. “Just after today…” He just pulled back, though, a cocky smile moulding the kiss he hastily planted onto Ten’s cheek before he pushed himself off the bed and out from the sheets pulled tight around their shoulders. Y/N felt his chest swell as he heard Ten whine, biting his tongue so a giggle didn’t slip out.
“What a tease!” Ten scoffed, his mouth agape in something closer to awe and pride than annoyance. He slinked out of bed, throwing his covers to the side and wrapped his hands around Y/N’s waist, the small shrieks that began to soar between them as he prodded beneath Y/N’s waistband like music to his ears. Letting go for Y/N to turn around, Ten couldn’t help but flash his own brashly radiant smirk as a blush flourished across Y/N’s cheeks. One as deep as the shiraz they smuggled into their college dorm rooms on those stormy nights they spent together. They would watch the rain carve shapes into their windows in molten silver on Ten’s bed, Y/N on his chest. “Where’ve you had the time to get this smooth? ‘Cause college Y/N was definitely not.”
“I wasn’t that bad in college, I still took you by surprise every now and then.”
Ten rolled his eyes, almost wincing at how painful - yet adorable - some of Y/N’s self proclaimed ‘smooth’ moves were. He’ll never forget the time at the movie theatre where Y/N tried to ease an arm around his shoulders and accidentally knocked over the popcorn of the people behind them. “Yeah, because the night you asked me for my number was definitely one you didn’t regret every day of your life.” With a little bit of thinking, pushing past all the times he tried to shove it to the back of his mind, Ten could still see a blurry image of a flustered Y/N standing speechless under the amber glow of Ten’s porch lights, the night catching his tongue. By the time Ten just insisted and punched his number in Y/N’s phone himself, they could practically feel the yellows of the rising sun on their backs. Even with all of that, though, Y/N was the cutest person ever, still managing to sweep Ten off his feet if Y/N didn’t stumble and fall over first. “It’s a good thing you’re a great kisser.”
Ten pushed himself up on Y/N, the closet door behind them snapping shut under their weight. He took Y/N’s hands and entwined their fingers, holding back a snicker as he could see those famous lip twitches flicker across Y/N’s features.
Back then, before they even knew each other’s names, the things about Y/N he thought would make him tick and weather his fuse were the things he eventually fell head-over-heels for. The way he’d adorably stumble over his words or that endearing blush that would bloom across Y/N’s cheeks like the patches of marigolds lining fields of his childhood memories. Sometimes Ten would get tongue-tied from staring too hard.
Ten wasn’t used to this side of love, this calm, relaxed melody that he’d often disregard as ‘puppy shit’. He was always the one on midnight joyrides, igniting his veins with as much thrill and desire as he could until they burst, but he was glad he got Y/N in his arms now to stop and smell the roses with - he wouldn't want anyone else to do it with.
Before Ten could bring himself back down from the clouds Y/N’s touch would always send him into, his hands were caught and pinned above him. He was against the closet door now, a dazed, lovestruck smile strapped to his lips.
“You’re making it very tempting to not give them to you anymore.” Y/N’s voice barely breached a whisper, face a hair’s breadth from Ten’s. A triumphant glow lit in his cheeks as he watched Ten let out a deep breath and leaned in to meet Ten’s sickly sweet kiss on the other side, something that still feels like daybreak in an endless night for him..
“Okay, fine. You win…” Ten, try as he might, could never withstand the power of the stars suspended in Y/N’s eyes, a glimmering canopy of light frozen in time. Wiggling a hand free from Y/N’s gentle grasp, he caressed Y/N’s cheek with his thumb, bright grins on both of their faces nearly colliding as Ten brought Y/N closer to press their foreheads together. “I’m still here, so you’re obviously doing something right.”
Ten’s voice was always so soft, comforting, painting all of Y/N’s lonely nights gold with his light and draping honey against his skin whenever he’d sing into his chest. “Maybe it’s ‘cause I’m with the right guy.”
“I’m trying so hard to cringe but that was super cute.” Ten tugged Y/N in by his wrinkled shirt collar, not wanting to let go of the feeling that Y/N’s tongue easing between his teeth always brought him. This elating weightlessness that made him feel like he could take on anything, these dancing sparks that course through him and ignite his heart, leaving him breathless. He wanted that all the time.
The numbers on that digital clock by their bed shone with this scarlet glare that Ten couldn’t get out of his head, and as he stole a glance, he mustered all the energy he could to bite back a sigh. However, the shifting in his eyes told Y/N enough, and brought him to whip around to get a look at the time as well. Looking at Y/N’s dejected eyes, all Ten wanted to do was to somehow light them back up. The sunlight leaking through their windows wasn’t enough this time.
“I gotta go.” Y/N’s groan was half-hearted, hoarse and empty.
“Can you please stay for a little longer? The bus doesn’t come for another ten minutes…” Ten’s touch hung from Y/N’s shoulders, dangling on the edge of his skin. The sparks under his fingertips stain the air around them with the colours of their free weekends that’ve been so few and far between nowadays. Ten’s shimmering eyes were pleading, his lips jutted out in a pout bringing Y/N right back no matter how many times he looked away towards his ties on the back of their bedroom door.
“Ten minutes…” Y/N thought out loud, hands still resting idly on Ten’s hips.
“Please, just ten more minutes… I’ll be good, I promise.” Ten’s smile shone with a hopeful glow, a bashful tint in this emerging blush on his cheeks. All he wants is just a few more priceless moments to catch the shards of their twilight parades he knows are still smeared against their lips in the moon stained violets that line their quiet walks uptown. He tugged down on Y/N’s hand, slowly shuffling towards the bed. With the sincerity that pulled at the corners of his teasing grin, all Y/N could do was melt into his touch.
“Fine… Ten more minutes.”
“I knew you couldn’t resist me.” Ten let a triumphant giggle leave his lips as he plunged back into their sea of silver and satin and pulled Y/N in, wrapping his legs around his waist. The gentle hums that tumbled from Y/N’s lips as they brushed closer together being caught between their lips as Ten latched onto him first, his tender kisses making their way down Y/N’s neck and across his shoulder as he peeled back Y/N’s shirt. Y/N rolled his eyes and kneaded his hands into the thighs molding his hips, bringing Ten to whip his head back with a beaming smile and a melodic groan. His cherry lips, to this day, flooded their sunkissed daydreams that they’ve always talked about making into a reality one day.
“I’ll make it five-”
“Okay, okay…” A grin pulled at the corners of his lips as he brushed a hand through Y/N’s hair. He just took a moment to get lost in those eyes again, the one place he truly found himself. It was so easy now, to watch those fragments of shattered sunlight for hours and give in to their every whim, he loved how they shimmered as Y/N smiled the way he did just now, as Ten cupped and squished his cheeks. “I love you…” Ten said, sparks skipping across his skin, the flames boiling at the bottom of his stomach finally boiling over. It’s felt like forever since he’s said that. Sure, they know that their love sees no bounds, but he just really wants Y/N to hear it, to feel what Y/N makes him feel.
“I love you too…” Y/N draped his arms around the bare torso in front of him, his cheek pressed to Ten’s shoulder. There was nothing quite like a morning like this, the sunlight weaving between their heartbeats, golden twines streaming through their windows tying their tongues together. He wants these few seconds - where Ten’s smile bloomed with joy, where their outstretched hands hung off the edge of the mattress, still tangled together - to last forever.
It came to the point where they didn’t even count the minutes anymore, they just held each other in the embrace of the sunlight that seemed like shadows to the aligned stars in their skin. Y/N could feel his eyes slowly closing as Ten’s fingers brushed through his hair to this soothing rhythm that they always played between their chests back when times were simpler. It made him feel hopeful, that dreams of quiet nights under wispy streetlights, shoulders deep in merlot and sweet whispers weren’t as far as he thought.
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champagne problems; lee jeno
(13,445 words) - large
summary - Forced together as victims of circumstance, Y/N and their bully, Jeno, retrace the rocky paths of their past and present, and stumble across some revelations along the way.
requested - 👍
A/N: Hey 😄! So this is the second of the seven separate endings I'm making for the dear dream series. This story takes place right after the dear dream prologue - within the same timeframe as the previous Jisung story, suburban superstar.
Same as before, if you want a little bit of context about what’s going on, the prologue is a good place to start, but if you just want some nice Jeno content, then happy reading 💛!
prologue - mark - renjun - jeno - haechan - jaemin - chenle - jisung
With a sigh into the pale overhead lighting that threatened to crumble under one more of his heavy breaths, Y/N took out his biology textbooks, deciding to make use of the extra help period his English teacher’s supply held after hours. Every minute dragged along like an hour and he could just feel his energy being sapped from him, the fangs of this stupid school and stupid town that have been sinking further into his skin since the day his entire world was flipped on its head. Y/N struggled to look at the questions he was assigned just last period, all of his thoughts wandering in too many directions to keep track of.
He was starting to regret his decision, taking a look at the sky from out the windows and wondering what the peace it kept all to itself really felt like. The golden twines of the sunlight would descend and weave between his fingers every now and then, but it never felt the same ever since Jisung’s hands slipped from out of his faster than the countless nights they would burn through together planning their future and nestling themselves in the nook of Y/N’s bay window.
Y/N always thought that this year was theirs to lose together, but somehow he's the only one he feels like he’s lost anything. He just feels stranded now, stuck to wade through the tides of his constantly resurfacing thoughts of what used to be with no way out.
He looked at the progress he made through his questions, and he knew that he was going to be here for longer than he thought, so he took out his phone and texted Renjun back, heaving a sigh that felt like he was turning himself inside out. ‘It was fine, that he didn’t need to make up for anything.’ Y/N tapped into his phone, rubbing at his temples as he read Renjun’s text over and over again and tried desperately to read between the lines and find an answer to why Renjun’s smile faded so quickly nowadays.
Y/N never realized how many times Renjun said sorry, it was as if he was owning up to a mistake he didn’t make so Y/N wouldn’t find something to resent him for later. But that was impossible to do, to turn the memories he made with Renjun bitter like ash. Renjun and his head of silver curls was honestly a light at the end of the tunnel for Y/N, but looking back on it, he wished he’d make that a little more obvious so Renjun would stop worrying, pacing in the byline in their barely started story. ‘I’m free tomorrow, though, there’s something I need to make up for.’ Y/N sent another message, smiling to himself as he watched the coral-tinted sun shrink behind the clusters of roofs by the baseball diamond.
“Alright, students!” The cool rasp of the supply teacher at the front of the class shook Y/N violently from his trance, moments of peace were so few and far between, but he knew better than to take the quiet for granted. “Thanks for coming to my extra help period today, and I hope you were able to get some work done. However I need to leave early so we’re gonna end it here.” The teacher fiddled with a piece of paper on the desk, scanning it lightly with a narrow-eyed squint. He pushed his reading glasses back up, shrugging to himself before speaking again. “Before we all pack up and go, though, your English teacher wanted to split her students into pairs for the midterm case study she’s introducing tomorrow. But since you guys are in for extra help, I think I’m just gonna pair you up early and maybe get an evening headstart...” His stare hung suspended over every student too stupid to think that an extra help period would be anything but stressful and just started tossing out names, hoping that pairings would stick to the exposed brick walls.
Y/N forgot all about the impending doom that was this midterm, in fact he didn’t necessarily know about it at all. He’s skipped class the last few days because of Jeno and everything he’s been saying. All of his words shattering whatever’s left of Y/N’s resolve, but leaving just enough to tear into later. It was so detailed and precise, how Jeno did it. It was almost as if he nailed it down to a fine science - a perfected art form of revealing all of his subject’s deepest inhibitions and leaving them to glisten in the sunlight.
“I’ll just start pairing you guys up: the two in the back; you two near the window; and you two… Y/N! And the young man behind you, Y/N… What’s your name again?”
Y/N was too absorbed in his thoughts to hear anything, just his doe-eyed gaze burning a hole through the desk as he tapped the end of his pencil against this textbook. He was lost in the sweet nostalgia that his memories of Jisung still carried no matter how hard he shook them out; the good old times when they had nothing to their names but a blank slate and high hopes. He never thought their promises would fall from grace so fast. Y/N looked fondly over the avocado emoji slapped right next to Renjun’s name once more, reminiscing on how Renjun made Y/N’s sophomore year just a little more tolerable with him by his side, and how they would always manage to snag that one perfect corner in all of their classes together with the best views of the dewy fields in the morning.
Jeno’s ‘fake best friend’ comment towards him and Renjun earlier that morning really got to Y/N, it settled in his stomach and stirred inside like the frantic beat of a butterfly’s wings.
“Yes, yes! Jeno and Y/N, you two are going to be paired for this project.”
Y/N froze, eyes widening as he heard that oh-so-familiar voice claw its way through the air, the rasp that danced so smoothly with the amber sunlight streaming through the windows that it already sent a shiver down Y/N’s spine. He thought that in this place he would be free from the shackles of Jeno’s torment. After hours was the only time where Y/N could make up for lost time as Jeno was never here, that presence that loomed over him like a shadow that dwindled his light so effortlessly. Y/N didn’t even dare to look back, as he could already feel the scorching heat from his glare burrowing its way into his head and carving itself into every single one of his thoughts.
Hiding a sigh of defeat in the pit of his stomach, Y/N realized that this supply knew nothing about what Jeno put him through in English class, the reason why he’s been skipping class, scuttling away into the dimly lit drama room whose rusty, blue doors would always sullenly welcome him. Their regular English teacher would’ve never even thought about putting the two together, especially after what she’s seen.
“No. Absolutely not! I didn’t sign up to carry double my weight in this project, sir.” Jeno instantly refuted, staring disgustedly at the back of Y/N’s head. If his day wasn’t shitty already, working with Y/N truly hammered the nail in his coffin. “Can I just work with someone actually near my skill level?”
“What skill?” Y/N cut in, crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair, he wasn’t going to let Jeno just beat into him like that. He rolled his eyes as he could hear a low growl begin to ooze from between Jeno’s grimace, bracing for impact and closing his shoulders off as he could hear Jeno shoot up from his seat.
“Language, young man!” The supply teacher threw himself in before things got any worse.
Y/N actually realized that their marks might be closer than he initially thought. With Y/N skipping class, his mark has been stumbling on a steep, downward trajectory. He tries to push past it, persevere and learn something that might help him bump it up a bit, even just by a sliver, but it just slips right between his fingers like the sunlight that falls from his hands.
It was all because of Jeno, who turns everything and everyone against him and dangles it over his head with an arrogant smirk. The way Jeno’s glare hangs over him and pierces right through him, he anticipates every one of Y/N’s eventual slip-ups so he could pounce and tear into whatever was left of Y/N’s resolve. It didn’t help that Renjun moved up to AP to fulfill his credit requirements, there’s nobody to tell him that everything’s okay. Just Jeno and a class full of stone-faced bystanders who do nothing but watch it with vacant eyes and empty mouths.
“My decision for today is final, I just thought I would give you guys a head-start. Your teacher is introducing it and going in depth tomorrow, though, so if you still don’t want to be partners, you can talk to her about it and switch.” The teacher groaned roughly, pinching the bridge of his nose, and Jeno sat back in his seat. His sore, smoldering glare never left Y/N, not letting him breathe for even a split second. The teacher adjusted his glasses and looked at the only two students left in the classroom - everyone else was long gone, not wanting to feel the flames of Jeno’s rage lap against them too.
“Fine.” Jeno’s remark was curt and sharp, making Y/N wince as he shoved his chair back and slung his bag over his shoulder, watching the supply teacher leave the classroom with a small wave goodbye. Jeno felt his frustration sear his bones and simmer within his veins. He really didn’t feel like being dragged down by the singular person he would never want to share a room with, nevertheless an extended conversation about families, culture and whatever their teacher preaches on about at the front of the classroom. However, with the way Y/N’s been answering back at him lately, he supposed that Y/N’s cleverness and natural smarts could help him get a better grade.
And Y/N, despite everything he has against Jeno, just doesn’t necessarily feel like rocking the boat. They can always change later, and with the way Y/N’s mark is right now, leaving him shoulders deep in warnings from his teachers and resurfacing doubts he thought he submerged months ago, he’s desperate to scrounge up as much spare time as he could get. It was honestly becoming too much, but he couldn’t help but stoke the sparks that Jeno lit in his mind with all the extra moments he’s had to himself. Was he really stripping Renjun of all his beautiful colours, forcing him to fit into this mould that was nothing but a vague hope he’s been restlessly clinging to? Maybe chasing shadows of the past drained Renjun’s light as well, forcing him to burn out just so Y/N could see clearer.
“I have baseball practice so meet me by the diamonds. We’ll talk about it out there.” Jeno turned back to Y/N by the threshold of the classroom door, his voice like a song of cool steel, his glare cutting through Y/N and leaving him in slivers on the dirty, white tile floor. Y/N’s whine came out too quickly for him to catch it between his teeth as he began to pack up his things, the heavy breath he took not helping the weight that pressed into his chest with every word that left Jeno’s mouth. “Don’t make me late, don’t waste my time.” Jeno said again.
With one last pointed look from the side of his eye, Jeno was gone, the once settled sunlight kicked up from where it laid to rest. Y/N wanted to take a moment to just rest his head in his hands and let all of his frustrations out in a weak grunt, but the threads of their partnership that were already slipping from his grip were too short for his liking. He scuttled out the door and followed Jeno’s silhouette down the hallway, already regretting all of his life choices.
Y/N pulled his sweater tight around his shoulders and let a groan fade away into the breezes that nudged past him coyly, catching a quick glimpse of the copper sun resting upon the treeline before watching it sink into the rooftops by the basketball court. He still reminisced on when the sunlight would remind him of more happy things than those he constantly wished to scrub from his conscience. Everything in this stupid town reminded him of those coral stained memories, those days where a peek through those rose-tinted glasses weren’t as hazy or distorted as they are now. Y/N was just left to cling helplessly to the aftertaste of that bitter nostalgia, nothing but fragments of a faint memory.
He turned his head and looked over towards the baseball diamonds to spot Jeno, already wincing to himself as he heard the hectic chanting from beyond the rattling cages and the crowd of rustling red and white nylon heading towards tattered bases buried in the sand. Jeno was leaning against the post of the bleachers, shoving his phone roughly into his pocket and rolling his eyes as he made his way over to where Y/N was. Y/N made his way closer too, the song that rang in his heart telling him to turn back. They stopped an awkward distance away by the picnic tables, and Y/N could already see scars of the red sands marred into Jeno’s cleats, they must have been doing warm-up drills before Y/N made his way outside.
As Y/N ran his hand along the wood of the seat, he could still see snapshots of his sessions with Jisung on their Sundays that always seemed to move in a merciless slow motion. The lavender flush of the early evening against their skin, the blush that trickled into their cheeks as they plucked dandelions from nearby and blew them into each other’s hair. Even through the blurs and the gaps Y/N couldn’t quite put together, Jisung’s wide grin and melodic laughter is something he will never, ever forget.
“So… What d’you wanna talk about…?” Y/N shoved his fidgeting hands into his pocket, gaze restlessly averting from Jeno’s.
“Okay, don’t be a fuckin’ idiot.” Jeno’s voice was low but rough. “We need to work on our project, and with you of all people as my partner I need as much time as I can get. Your house at five, after my practice.”
“What makes you think I want you in my house?” Y/N cocked his head and edged an eyebrow up, a sour feeling of disdain already working its way onto his face at the thought of Jeno shoving his way through his front door.
“Because I’m not letting you anywhere near my property.” Jeno rolled his eyes, a disgusted frown overtaking him. “My parents are also working…” Jeno sighed hoarsely, this time it was his turn to avert his gaze from the way Y/N’s bunched fists floundered in his pockets. “No distractions, and you’re a distraction.”
“Right…” Y/N trailed off absently, his gaze hovering above Jeno’s shoulder and out into the field, ever since it fell upon the shoulders of the next batter, he just couldn’t quite look away.
Jeno’s frown deepened, but he could feel the anger that bubbled beneath his skin surprisingly simmer down as he saw the golden light spun by Y/N’s defeated gaze. He twisted around to see that Y/N’s forlorn stare was caught on Jisung - the way his focused stare shone was just another thing that made Y/N miss him that much more. Y/N wanted to feel that light soaking into his skin as they sang upside down at the foot of his bed, or dancing between their wandering hands as they stowed away onto Jisung’s front porch during family dinner parties. They were more than alright with being lonely together.
Now Y/N was just alone, left in the dark, desperate and heartbroken.
Jeno glare wavered for a second. No matter how many times he has cut into Y/N with his words, he has never seen him look like that, those shimmers in his eyes stifled by a sadness so strong and so pungent that Jeno could feel it latching onto his skin.
Wait… Why did he care? He’s spent the last year and a half grinding Y/N’s self-esteem under the hell of his hightops life every other student at this school. Since when did it matter whether Y/N’s eyes ignited in the midst of the afternoon sunlight or not? Jeno just shook his head and continued to stare as he watched Y/N follow Jisung’s small steps towards the bleachers and shrunk into a seat.
Jeno squinted, watching Jisung steal small, hesitant glances back at Y/N, and then took the opportunity to latch onto Y/N’s sigh, easing between the cracks in their tense stillness. He wanted this feeling to stop, whatever barreled over in his stomach and deflated his breath with every drawn out moment he felt himself looking deeper into Y/N’s solemn, vacant eyes-
“How does it feel, knowing you were dragging him down?” He said out of the blue, his words carving their way into the sky with an echo.
Y/N felt himself falter for a second, mentally stumbling over. He steadied his quivering voice under his tongue before speaking, “I don’t know how that’s any of your business…”
“Oh, struck a chord, did I?”
“I’m not really in the mood for you stroking your own ego.” Y/N tried to mask the glassy look in his eyes but his fire was trampled as soon as he met Jeno’s. “I’m surprised you haven’t gotten one of your lackeys to do it for you yet.”
“I’d be careful who you’d call a ‘lackey’, ‘cause last time I checked, one of them used to be your best friend.” Jeno basked in Y/N’s silence, but he couldn’t help but feel his fires slowly fading as he saw the sparks in Y/N’s eyes die out and whisk themselves away. A bitter taste of regret began to stir on his tongue, but it hid away from him as soon as it was found.
The flares of pride in Jeno’s eyes flickered a bit as Y/N did nothing but let a weak scoff out from between his lips. It didn’t stop him from heaving an annoyed breath, though, straightening himself out with an irritated glow under his cheeks that bent the sunlight to his will and rendered the sky speechless.
“Alright, where d’you live?” Jeno held out his phone, a reluctant request for Y/N to put his address in and just leave him to practice. But he was still distracted by the yelps and shouts that came from the baseball diamond, his gaze fixed on nothing particular, almost as if he was looking past everything. He didn’t care how irritated Jeno got with his silence that spoke with more weight than any words he could possibly think of at the moment. “I can’t believe I have to work with you instead of going to that party tonight…” Jeno murmured, the exasperation on his tongue staining every one of his words.
With Y/N at the mercy of the rusted evening sunlight that still moulded Jisung’s shape on the side streets near their favourite plaza, he knew that Jisung was too far to reach now. All he wanted was to have Jisung’s hands fit into his once more as they sat on the floor of his room and stitched back together the tapestry of all the nights dipped in the honey of their golden laughter. However, Jeno’s made it clearer than the broken dawn that Y/N’s distant fantasies were nowhere close to coming true. Y/N wondered how long he’s been deluded for, how long he was just clinging to the frayed ends of his daydreams.
“Ask Jisung, I… I gotta go.” Y/N nearly choked on his words as he whipped himself around, not wanting Jeno to see the tears that threatened to line his lashes. The frigid bite of the breeze scratched against his cheeks, but the violent heat that pooled within him made him feel nothing but numb. All Y/N wanted to do at the moment was leave, was to wind around the corner of that school and turn his back on the chatter in the grass below him.
Everything was just starting to hurt so much, with every breath he took his throat felt coarse like the gravel laid upon their favourite coastline, every step reminded him of the blue velvet of his and Jisung’s slow dances under streetlights and moments of silence upon rooftops, nothing but them and the stars. All those stars have died now, right in the palm of Y/N’s hand. The shrivelled light that weathered his hands and bruised his heart, it was a reminder every single day, one that Y/N was too stubborn to accept until now.
Jeno just watched Y/N leave, dumbfounded and silent as he let his eyes fall to Y/N’s steps that were wiped clean in the grass by the winds that at this point just wanted to be left alone. No shade of green that the breeze brought along with them from the clusters of trees by the edge of the lot could bring Jeno’s words up any faster. He couldn’t find anything to say. Usually he could scrape up at least a snide remark or two and bring them to the surface, but the sunlight on his shoulders bore such a heavy weight on him, one he realized was there until he caught himself in his own silence.
“Whatever…” He grumbled into the air that carried it above the gilded clouds and let it fade into the horizon, then headed towards the diamonds where his team was still practicing.
No matter what he did - the drills and placements he began barking as soon as he stepped within earshot of his team, or grinding out his thoughts in the sands beneath his heels - nothing could break the tethers that bound his gaze to where Y/N once stood.
Y/N sighed as he made his way to the front foyer of his house, his flimsy breath tumbling down the staircase with his heavy steps. It was almost five o’clock, the heavy, golden light of the evening staining the sky while auburn clouds wore down its shine through Y/N’s living room windows. At this point, Y/N just decided to brace himself mentally, emotionally and maybe even a little bit physically for Jeno’s arrival. He rested his arm on the bottom bannister of his staircase, but as he picked up his head and struggled to shrug off the weights that the harsh breeze still left on his shoulders an hour before, he caught a glimpse of a specific picture through the living room doorway. He tried to bite back some bitter laughter that stung as it went down, roughly raking his hand through his hair and trying not to relive the memory within its frame that he can still feel as if it was just yesterday.
It was perched by a window almost spitefully, so the embrace of the sunlight could gloss over the smiles in the photo that have long since faded. It was a snapshot of Y/N and Jisung grinning under the scattered shadows of a large willow tree, lavender flowers caught in frayed hair and a reckless glow in their cheeks, one that used to burn to the touch in such a blissfully satisfying way. Y/N still happens along that tree sometimes on his nostalgia trips down to the field where that photo was taken - their families together in an ignorant harmony, unknowing of the divide that was about to be cleaved right between them.
That day still never leaves Y/N’s memories alone, constantly taunting him during his dry conversations with the pretentiously shining moonlight. It was a snippet of their glory days, and even after what Y/N’s seen across cafeteria crowds and during his lonely walks to his last period class that used to be filled with so much laughter, he still wishes he can take it all back.
Before Y/N could sink further into his thoughts, he heard a knock on the door. He shoved down another heavy breath before tugging at the collar of his shirt and pulling the door open.
There he was, Jeno at his doorstep with a glimmer in his eyes that teemed with his latent varsity captain narcissism. A loose, grey sweater and joggers were draped effortlessly around his frame, his hair in sweat stained hatches swathing his forehead and eyes.
“Five doors down, huh? That must suck.” Jeno’s voice was coarse, his quip curt and sour. It ran rough along Y/N’s skin and dug into him. So much for ignoring his thoughts about Jisung, but then again Y/N had himself fooled if he was expecting for this work session to go along any less than horribly. Y/N swallowed dryly, forcing down the echoes of Jisung’s promises of taking him past the rolling hills that bordered their suburb and out to where the high-rises pierced the clouds. The only things on his mind, though, were the times where their entire world was nothing but four walls and Y/N’s bay window. “So… Are you just gonna stand there or let me in?”
“Right.” Y/N gritted his teeth and stepped back to let Jeno through. Jeno let himself inside, brushing by Y/N’s shoulder as he kicked off his shoes and strode through the corridor with squared shoulders. It was almost as if he had raised and built these walls himself. He always seemed to radiate that kind of energy at school. Wherever he went, his pride and egotism would follow and cling to him like an entourage. Y/N wondered if that would ever leave Jeno as easily as Jisung left him.
“D’you have anything to drink? I’m parched.” Jeno made his way into the kitchen and dove into Y/N’s fridge, pulling out a couple cans of beer Y/N swore he hid behind the Greek yogurt.
“Not that.” Y/N, pointed up the stairs and Jeno glared at him through the corridor, where Y/N was still at the foyer. He reluctantly put the cans of beer back with a click of his tongue. Y/N was glad Jeno missed his eye roll from down the hallway. “I put some chairs up by the balcony, we can work up there since it’s still light out.”
“Alright, buzzkill.” Jeno mumbled and groaned as he made his way up the stairs behind Y/N, following him down the hallway and through a pair of screen doors that led out to the balcony. The floor whined beneath his steps with a creak as he made his way over to one of the seats, taking his backpack off his shoulders and whipping out a tattered notebook. As Y/N sat down too, there was this very rare, profound moment of silence that washed upon them like the lavender flush that painted Jeno’s evenings jogging by the coastline and the lilac stained breeze that would play teasingly with his hair. One of the only times where everything was truly at ease, no schedules, no pressure on his grades, just him and the melody of the waves caressing the seashore.
Y/N felt a shiver as well, remembering his mornings strewn on a park bench with Jisung, the coolness in the air one foot through winter’s door. No matter how cold it was, Jisung would still get ice cream from the parlor around the corner, but he’d always forget it, getting lost in the fantasies he and Y/N would make together.
This lull was almost peaceful, nothing but the rhythm of Y/N’s pen tapping against an empty notebook joining in on their symphony of thoughtful quiet.
Leave it to Jeno to break the silence down, though, grind it between his palms like he did the shreds of Y/N’s confidence every morning in the hallways and send it off the balcony railing.
“I hate this project.” Jeno said, a deadpanned look strewn across his face as he continued to look out onto the sky, refusing to spare Y/N another glance. “It sucks.”
“I know, bold of them to assume we have families stable enough to do this kind of interview-”
“Can you shut up?” Jeno’s tone snapped to attention, almost making Y/N flinch. Then again what else did he expect from an interaction with THE Lee Jeno without a little bit of voice raising. Jeno felt Y/N’s words pluck harshly at his heartstrings, and he didn’t like that feeling at all. He didn’t know what it was with Y/N and making these insurmountable feelings rise in him and make him feel unable to breathe, but it was irritating him.
“Just stop talking…” Jeno shifted uncomfortably, a burning glare settling on Y/N’s face.
“Okay- you know what?” Y/N shot up from his chair, throwing his hands into the air. He felt his chest burning and his voice seethed, nearly setting the breeze alight. He was fed up trying to turn himself inside out, wandering endlessly to find a plausible reason why Jeno was constantly belittling him and tearing him apart. Whispers between his fingers as he hid his head in his hands in English class, nights all alone with nobody on the end of the line, the thoughts that ran rampant right after Jeno would shove himself past him. Y/N couldn’t bear it anymore, and he felt as if the bruises Jeno’s been leaving can never heal. Jeno was silent, the growl he hid beneath his tongue fading away the instant Y/N’s voice split the amber clouds that stood idly by. “What the hell’s your problem with me?! I haven’t done anything to you and you’ve been tormenting me since I moved to this stupid school!”
Y/N wasn’t going to let Jeno finish his sentence, not another word until he was done. “What don’t you have that I can give to you?! You basically get away with murder because the principal’s your dad, but you still make it your mission to ruin my friendships, my marks and everything in between with all the bullshit you’ve put me through!” Y/N could feel his chest tightening, a sob threatening to weave between his breath, but he swallowed it, stepping closer to Jeno. Jeno tried to step up and match him, but he was still held speechless, mouth parted by the awe that failed to sink in fast enough. “This is my home, not yours, Jeno, so you’re the one who’s mistaken if you think you can just keep hurting me!”
With Y/N’s voice ravaging through the air, anger boiling over, he shoved Jeno back harshly into the railing of the balcony, but regret instantly flooded him as soon as he saw Jeno stumble back and collide with it. All the fire in Y/N’s eyes stifled and words tried to bubble up, but nothing came out, a tangle’s-worth of a stutter lodged in his throat. Jeno’s legs buckled slightly making him falter, but he caught the railing with his hand to support himself. His fingers tightened around it, and Y/N could hear the metal whine beneath his grip.
Jeno felt a genuine shock run through him for a moment as he kept himself on the rail, stunned, but a vicious rage burned a hole through it as quickly as it settled. Before Y/N could lift his gaze from his quivering hands, Jeno was already stomping towards him and took him by rough handfuls of his shirt collar. His grip was life a vice, unrelenting.
Y/N remained speechless as he was jostled around, the pain coiling around him making him still beneath Jeno’s grip. He was dumbfounded by himself more than Jeno, and as soon as Y/N’s hands pried meekly at Jeno’s grip, the flares of anger in his eyes were flushed out too. Jeno’s teeth that were bared in a menacing scowl shrunk behind a weak frown, a thunderous rasp subsiding under the sunlight. Something Jeno couldn’t quite place boiled under his skin, a feeling that made his chest swell with something other than pride for once.
“I…” Jeno stuttered for the first time in years. He never expected to feel this way. He’s never actually touched Y/N like that, his threats always turning up empty handed, but doing their job. To actually lay his hands on Y/N, though, it was almost as if he could feel the pain too. “My problem with you, huh…?” Jeno shudders as he lets go of Y/N’s shirt, fists slowly unwinding. He heaved a defeated sigh, the soft cracks in his voice deepening against the weight of the darkening sunlight and the whispers between the clouds that began to dance along the treeline. The way that breath burst from out of Jeno’s chest and between his teeth, he knew he'd been holding it for far too long. “You’re everything I used to be…”
“What…?” Y/N tried to catch up to what Jeno said, but he felt himself tripping up.
With a rough, irritated sigh, Jeno continued, “you’re all the things I shoved aside and locked away so everyone else would accept me…” Jeno rolled his eyes as he glanced up to meet Y/N’s awestruck expression. “You’re happy, you’re loved, you just look so free and so willing to be yourself, and I have no idea how you’ve been able to do it. Why’re you able to be you, but when I try, my world threatens to crumble around me…?”
Jeno trained his eyes on the notches between the balcony floorboards, his voice carried away by the breeze that felt like it was moving right through him. He just felt so weak, and flicking his gaze up once more to see Y/N looking at him like some sort of victim wasn’t helping with the crumbling in his voice. All Y/N could think about was nothing, nothing but giving Jeno his space, allowing him time to regather his scattered thoughts and calibrate himself. It’s not like anything on this small balcony would help him, Y/N was the match that ignites Jeno’s core, that noise in his head that he just can’t drown out.
Y/N strode back towards the glass door, steps silent but Jeno’s eyes followed him closely. He couldn’t imagine what ran through Jeno’s mind on a daily basis, the urge to just be himself scrubbed from his mind like a dirty conscience. Y/N just crossed the threshold before Jeno shot up and stopped him with a hand around his wrist, cracks in his voice almost like a plea to stay.
“Where’re you going?” Jeno’s eyes shimmered with this pain that Y/N always saw, but never seemed to recognize until now. It reminded him of what he saw in the mirror every morning, where the blue light of the dawn would help him see nothing but what was worth leaving. All he wanted to do was tell Jeno that everything was okay, but he knew that it would just make him feel worse.
“I’m getting some drinks and giving you some space to take a breather, you obviously need one.” Y/N averted eye contact, the thought of sweeping the pedestal from under Jeno’s feet always surfaced in his daydreams during class, but for some reason he just couldn’t stomach the way Jeno’s voice settled like an evening haze, getting lost in the trees that blurred the horizon. “Is that okay?”
“Uh… Yeah… O-okay.”
Jeno let go of him and made his way back over to the railing, leaning against it and feeling the cool metal sear into his skin with an unforgiving chill. The sunlight lapped against the regrets that bubbled deep beneath his skin. They were once too deep to notice, but now, staring among the silhouettes of the houses in the distance and watching the coral sunlight submerge everything in its glow, he could finally feel them preening at him. He just never really paid them any mind until now.
Those flickering moments with Y/N that stuck out in his thoughts and he’s sure he’ll never forget them. They finally made him realize everything he was doing; all of the hearts he broke - the people he hurt - and all the scars he carved into the hallways of the school. Taking a breath never felt harder and easier at the same time, the weight that dragged down on his shoulders threatening to swallow him up at every second he was left to let his sigh flutter and fade into the sky.
He nearly flinched as he heard the click of the sliding door behind him, the bitter feeling of guilt resurfacing to the shores of his mind as he looked into Y/N’s eyes.
“Is that the beer?”
“Um. No. I'm not driving you home.”
It was Y/N’s first time hearing Jeno chuckle in forever, at least one that didn’t drip with the malice that was always pointed in his direction. Y/N shook it off, however and they both looked into the darkening, russet-stained sky, a tense quiet overwhelming them to the point where they couldn’t find the room to speak. The silence crooned a song of its own, it was until Y/N drew a sharp breath and let his eyes fall upon Jeno’s hunched frame that the breeze finally started to calm down.
“You wanna talk about it…?” Y/N said, raising his eyebrows as Jeno’s head shot up and their exhausted gazes met. Jeno felt weak and weathered, ground out like a worn cigarette on the side of the street, but as he saw Y/N’s abnormally stoic expression, a few sparks in his mind couldn’t help but set themselves free.
“I-” Jeno cut himself off, thoughts running rampant, stumbling over one another. “How're you so calm about all of this? Like seriously.”
“Let’s just say I’ve been through some shit myself, Jeno.” Y/N’s look was pointed, and Jeno felt himself shrinking down, words caught in his chest as he bit down on his lip and looked back out towards the sky. “Sometimes you just gotta let it out or it’ll chip away at you.”
“Right…” A mumble leaked through Jeno’s pursed lips as he fiddled with the can of soda Y/N gave to him. He needed something, anything to distract him and make his thoughts latch onto something else other than the guy in front of him, the warm glow of the sunlight suspending the sparks in Y/N’s eyes, igniting a glow in his cheeks. It was something that nearly made Jeno uncomfortable, he honestly didn’t know what anything less than despair and annoyance looked like on Y/N’s face. The extra seconds where he lingered on the sparkle in Y/N’s skin, all they did was stir the jumbled feelings inside of him that were inches, seconds, a spare thought from boiling over.
“Oh, okay. I understand. Let’s head inside then, it’s getting dark.” Y/N gestured inside with a headnod, he could see the subtle indigos of the night bleed out from the horizon. Jeno shook himself out as he stood up and followed Y/N inside, closing the door behind him before following Y/N’s lead through another door just a few strides away. As they shuffled in, Jeno waddling towards the centre of the room, he could feel this sense of warmth and comfort resonate through the silence around them, as if the sunlight that danced along the memories engraved within these four walls fwas flowing through his veins.
However, despite what he was feeling, he caught Y/N shifting uncontrollably by the door frame. Jeno followed his gaze to a shoe box that laid by the bottom of a closet, its innards strewn about and the closet door left ajar, as if Y/N was sifting through it recently, possibly tracing back steps that have long since faded. Y/N rushed back to shove it in his closet and sighed as he closed the door back up, he wished he could throw away some sort of key and keep it shut forever.
“What’s that?” Jeno moved a little bit closer, but stopped as he saw the uneasy flicker in Y/N’s eyes as he stood up and straightened out his sweater.
“I…” Y/N couldn’t believe he was actually doing this, threatening to pry open the inhibitions that he’s kept so close to his chest, but he felt unusually free at the moment, a genuine, surprisingly pleasant air mixing with the dying sunlight and the emerging silver glow of the moon. Maybe hearing Jeno express his vulnerabilities just eased the tension that was always pulled taut between them. Y/N scratched the back of his neck, something Jeno gathered was something he did when he was nervous. “Seeing Jisung earlier today… I guess it made me want to dive into the past for a second, it was a mistake, though. I was just organizing the stuff that I haven’t quite built the courage to give back yet…” Y/N’s voice was too weak to keep itself above a whisper for long, and he could feel his gaze catching itself in a blur just thinking about Jisung, all the things they did together - the memories they made, the stories they told, the affections they vowed into sapphire skies - all of it thrown away so easily as if they carried no weight. Y/N even wondered if those times actually existed.
Y/N bit back at the pressure in his chest and the words lodged in his throat, swallowing hoarsely. He barely heard Jeno’s soft sigh weave into their growing silence.
“You know, I know this sounds dumb, but he talks about you all the time…” Jeno thought that what he said would make Y/N feel better, but he could see Y/N’s gaze bear a furious glimmer like a change in the tide. If Jeno had the energy, maybe he’d be scared.
“It does, I find that hard to believe.” Y/N folded his arms, scoffing at the idea of Jisung murmuring his praises in the ears of the people they thought they would pay no mind to. He remembered when Jisung would say them all to his face, a brilliant grin on his face as he would flatter Y/N by their bay window until the stars cringed and grew tired.
“No, I’m serious. He really misses you.”
“Well, I don’t necessarily see him doing anything about it.” Y/N snapped, making his way over to his bed and taking a seat. Jeno wanted to roll his eyes at Y/N’s pout so badly, but he realized that Y/N might actually have a right to fester the frustrations in his stomach. “I thought we were inseparable, but you took him away from me in an instant.” Y/N’s glare rose to meet Jeno’s as the evening air hung still. A strange simmer of sadness washed over Y/N’s twitching frown as he looked down at the floor, nudging the carpet solemnly with his foot. Y/N thought about where he could’ve gone wrong, if there was this moment where everything quietly snapped between him and Jisung, but he realized that Jeno was the one who helped tear the threads that weave together their promises.
Everything seemed so possible, until, one day, he didn't text back and nothing was.
“Look, I’m sorry, I am, but it’s not like he was yours.” Jeno shrugged off Y/N’s glare as he made his way closer to him on the bed. Jeno’s voice was soft, tentative and low, like the pale blue sunlight that settled upon the field that Jeno would always stroll through whenever he needed to clear his head and take a breath without feeling so suffocated. Sometimes he wished he didn't have to be so alone, but on other days, he sort of knew that he deserved it. He couldn’t necessarily complain about losing everyone if he was the one throwing them away as if they were nothing but disposable vessels to echo his movements and words.
Jeno couldn’t help but look back on the day he dangled his proposition to join him and his friends over Jisung’s head, scratching at him like a careless whisper of a bad conscience. All he felt as he saw Y/N and Jisung parading down the hall together or stealing cheerful, fond glances at one another through doorways of classrooms was this painful envy that seethed through his skin and bubbled beneath his veins.
“I know he’s not mine, he was never mine…” Y/N tried to shake off the heaviness in his heart, but it was all in vain. He remembered that one night atop a hill on the edge of town, Jisung’s skin shone with this ethereal glow as they both bathed in the starlight, clusters of ivory in the sky weaving indigo clouds together in a flurry of the most beautiful colours they have ever seen. Their heartbeats floated up the horizon, pulsing across the flurry of lights that danced from the city that used to feel like a whole other world that they would conquer and take between their entwined hands. A brief thought flashed through Y/N’s mind that very night as he found Jisung’s smile - a beacon of light in the darkness - a thought of him possibly taking that leap of fate and asking Jisung if he actually wanted to be his. “But you made him turn his back on me and made him yours!” He doesn’t want to let out the memory of the Jisung who’d wait for him at the corner of the schoolyard just so they’d walk through the doors together. But he knows he might have to.
“I…” Jeno trailed off with a groan. Y/N had a point, Jeno swept him off his feet and left him with nobody to help him stand again. Looking back on it without the scarlet tinted vision that always used to taint the way he looks at Y/N, all that he feels now is a regret that boiled in his stomach. It made him sick. How many other Jisung’s did he take from their Y/N’s? Jeno needed to find a way to at least make it better. Because with the way Y/N was looking so longingly towards Jisung earlier that afternoon, and with the forlorn glances across the cafeteria Jisung made as he started talking about how much he loved sharing his fries with Y/N since he could never finish them, all they needed was a bridge between that wasn’t already reduced to ashes. “Look, just try talking to him tomorrow - I promise I won’t stand in your way this time. Maybe he’s been too scared to take the first step ‘cause he thinks it’s too late.” Jeno winced at Y/N’s thoughtful silence, the silvers of the moonlight against his skin starting to burn a little.
“Okay, fine…” Y/N considered Jeno’s offer, maybe without something to stand in their way, they could finally begin to rebuild what they had lost. With a reluctant groan, Y/N looked Jeno up and down and his gaze softened just a little. Y/N looked over to where he scrambled to put back in the closet, even through the closed door, all those things - the polaroid photos they took on Christmas day, his maroon hoodie given to him that still fits - they stare back at him. Y/N can still feel his blush creep in from the night Jisung kissed him on the cheek under his mistletoe headband. As deep as the violets of the winter night, that’s how ingrained he thought their bond was.
He wasn’t going to let Jeno off the hook just yet, but as he watched a small smile bloom across Jeno’s lips, he felt as if things were finally starting to get better. Even if it was just by a little. The way Jeno’s voice didn’t sting as he spoke, it was calm, resigned, something Y/N never thought he would ever hear. His eyes held a shimmer that wasn’t from the sparks of his anger anymore and Y/N didn’t feel as if he had to stumble across eggshells to make it through the school day.
“My textbook’s on the desk, let’s get working…”
“I just wanted to say something…” Jeno slowly eased his way through the silence, wincing slightly as he heard the scratching of Y/N’s pencil against this notepad slowly grind to a halt. Jeno was on the other edge of the bed, legs crossed and his notebook in his lap. Even though stars were well burnt into the night sky, he couldn’t quite get an idea down onto the page. His eyes were always fixed on Y/N and his focused stare at his writing, and the silver that leaked through his window were igniting this soft, jovial glow under his skin. There was this comfortable, faint smile slowly etching itself into his features, and Jeno couldn’t help but look at it for a little too long. “I’m so sorry…”
As soon those words left Jeno’s lips, that was when Y/N gave his full attention. He sat up and put down his notebook, arching a brow. Y/N wondered when Jeno was going to say that.
“Everything…” Jeno could feel his voice slipping from under him.
Jeno pulled a bitter chuckle from his teeth that deflated as soon as it left. He saw Y/N’s sarcastic smirk fade away as well. “All of the things I put you through, all of the things I took from you… The things I said that I can never take back… All of it.” Jeno held his head in his hands, looking back on all the days he ground Y/N’s resolve under his heel and the times he threw countless insults Y/N’s way and just expected him to be okay and stand to take a couple more.
When Y/N pushed him back earlier that day, his cries ripping through the air, tearing through the sky, he truly understood how much he was truly hurting him and the extent to which he was doing it. No wonder Y/N skipped class, Jeno would trace back Y/Ns roots under his front porch and rip the flowers from beneath them. He would dig up all the inhibitions he thought were carried away into quiet nights and throw them back at him. Now he asked himself how many people he was doing that to. How many others did he force to run from his shadow down the hallways?
“I just… I’ve been through a lot and-”
“My offer is still on the table if you wanna air your dirty laundry…” Y/N said, still processing Jeno’s words in his head. He never thought Jeno was capable of remorse - or human emotion in general. He understands sometimes what churns throughout Jeno’s mind, he’s been holding back so much. He’s bitten back so much sadness, so much anger and has had to stomach it for who knows how long. Maybe letting it out into the night and letting its song flutter away into the moonlight would make him feel better.
“Well yeah, if it makes you feel better. I’ve been told that I’m a pretty decent listener.” Y/N patted the spot in front of him and Jeno scooted a little bit closer, playing nervously with his fingers as he took a deep breath, preparing himself for everything he was about to say. “Please step into my office.”
“Uh, okay then.” Jeno’s voice began to quiver just a little bit, but with the way Y/N’s gaze hovered tentatively over him, he felt a little bit calmer. “All my life I was never seen or heard, I felt powerless and hurt all the time.” He looked up, cringing, but Y/N was still looking in his direction, nodding along. He continued. "It didn't matter how many people were home, whenever I got there it would always feel so empty. Nobody ever said they were proud of me, and I just needed that, to hear it for once, you know…?” Jeno shook himself out, chest feeling heavy. He could see something flash across Y/N's face, but he proceeded anyway. “I thought I needed to take charge so I could finally hear it, become the baseball captain so I could finally hear it, change everything about myself so I could finally hear it... Just once... Unfortunately, in the midst of all that changing I took everyone down with me… I just always wondered why nobody seemed to hurt like I did, so I wanted to make everyone feel the way I felt so I didn’t feel so alone all the time…”
A suffocating silence was suspended in the air between them as Jeno finished, Y/N’s voice but a shard of a whisper as he was trying to find something to say back, something to fill in the holes of the starlight that held itself over them in its very own disbelief.
“It’s okay, Y/N… I don’t like pity, but thanks for listening. I’ve never really been able to get that off my chest.” Jeno’s deep breaths didn’t stop his chest from tightening. Relieving all of the things he’s been too scared to say - he’s never threatened to stray from the crossroads he’s grown familiar with, where his silence and anger meet at a dimly lit intersection he comes to when nights on his own get too quiet. It felt too real, and no matter how much time passed by since the last time he confronted his past, no matter how many times he’s slapped a hand over these feelings and voices that try to pop up and make him look back, his bruises still haven't healed. He wasn’t ready, but if he ran his touch over these scars when he was ready, it would’ve never happened.
“Don’t worry about it, I’m glad you did.” Y/N said, words falling to the duvet he scratched at anxiously as he started to remember all the things Jeno has ever done to him. He felt bad, incredibly bad for what Jeno ahd to go through, but what about what Y/N was put through? What about all the times Jeno’s threats rendered him sleepless, the times where Jeno taunted Y/N with the idea that Jisung slipped right between his fingers? Every day felt like a walk home in the dark, a parade through constantly gray skies with nobody to take his hand and clear them up for him. He could feel his hopes - weathering stars - in his hands, slowly dying with every night the ones in the sky left him alone too.
“Everything I did to you… I… I didn’t mean it.” With all of the things he did to Y/N flooding into the room slowly but surely, leaving them up to their shoulders to wade in what felt like nothing but pent up envy, all Jeno wanted to do was to say something, anything to ease Y/N, but with the way Y/N rolled his eyes, he knew that nothing would convince him.
“Don’t be dumb… You did try to hurt me at the time, Jeno… But now I understand where it comes from." Y/N said, taking the duvet between his fingers, bunching it up in his hand to distract him from Jeno’s longing eyes that hovered over his now hunched figure. A hoarse whine threatened to bubble past Y/N’s lips, but he just hid his face in his knees, bringing them closer to him. The loose, shaky breath that he let leak into the starlit room made Jeno’s heart ache. "That doesn’t make it hurt any less, though.”
“Y/N… I’m so sorry…”
“No! It’s not okay…” Jeno cut Y/N off midway through his somber whimper, he shuffled forward to put his hand on Y/N’s leg, but pulled his arm back as he saw Y/N flinch slightly.
He tried again and let his hand rest softly on Y/N’s, watching with a small smile as he saw the shattered moonlight held within Y/N’s gaze reignite.
“I’m gonna make it up to you… I know I’ve hurt you and so many people, and now I need to correct my mistakes.” Jeno let his fingers wander, his touch sailing across Y/N’s knuckles, a sea he’d let himself drown in if they were any closer. “Let’s get working on the project, okay?”
“Okay…” Y/N said, the air ripped from his chest as he leaned forward and shuffled around, seating himself closer to Jeno. They took out their notebooks again and continued to read through the textbook held between them. However, not even after a few pulses of the indigo horizon, Jeno was flicking out his phone, looking through a folder of old pictures of himself as if a nostalgia trip hit him right there and then. Something about the way his juvenile bliss was captured in the amber wash of all these sunlit photos, it reminded Y/N of the honey that all of his fond memories were dipped in as well. Y/N brought himself closer to Jeno’s shoulder to take a look, and paused as Jeno stopped scrolling and stared at a picture of kids lined up in red and black jerseys.
It was a picture of Y/N, Jeno and many others from back when Y/N was a freshman and Jeno a sophomore, nothing to their names by the numbers on their backs. They were shoulder to shoulder, a soccer ball held between them. Those were simpler times, when their world was nothing but the suburb they lived in and the rolling hills that surrounded it. They had no idea what was around the corners of those very hallways.
“We were so young, huh...?” Jeno stared at it fondly, holding back the urge to smooth his fingers over it as he looked back and saw an awestruck Y/N leaning into his shoulder with a gaped mouth. “Remember when you were good at sports?” He set a giggle free as Y/N nudged him with his elbow and turned slightly so Y/N had more room to move in and look at his phone.
“This was back when I chose to run? Wow, time really does fly…” Y/N couldn’t help but stare at the two joyful, young men that he couldn’t believe were him and Jeno. He completely forgot that there was a time before the bitter stares between classes, sarcastic insults thrown about down the hallways and hatred that boiled their blood until they were both too tired to think. “There has to be more…” Y/N wanted to take a deeper dive, plunge further into their past.
Jeno handed Y/N his phone and let him scroll further, but he instantly lept to take it back as soon as Y/N happened upon the next picture. He was sure he deleted that.
What Y/N had in his hands and held back from Jeno’s grasp was a picture of Jeno as a baby, standing gleefully in a field with nothing on but a pair of dirty dungarees. The way the trees behind him looked like they bent to his wind and with how the sunlight curved around him and carved his blurred shadows looked like the world already had a plan for him.
“WHAT IS THIS?!” Y/N scoffed as Jeno swiped his phone back, rushing to get rid of that picture. But something held him back as saw a hand reach over towards his phone again, it was Y/N with this sinister smile in full bloom across his lips. It drew a chuckle from deep in Jeno’s chest. “Please, I need to see it again. I need baby Jeno!”
“Absolutely not! This picture is a danger to society!” Jeno yelped as Y/N dove to snatch Jeno’s phone from him, unable to hold back his laughter as he struggled against Y/N’s soft pushes and teasing nudges against his sides. Y/N was putting up a good fight, but Jeno knew better than to underestimate him again.
Before he knew it, though, the phone was the least of their worries as Jeno found himself under Y/N’s hands, shoved down into the sheets that pooled around him in all shades of blue. Y/N’s gaze hung over him, leg’s moulding Jeno’s waist and his breaths that were wrung out and ran dry filling the small space between their tired smiles.
No matter how much Y/N tried, he couldn’t lift his arms from Jeno’s shoulders, something keeping him stuck in this orbit, eclipsing his thoughts with no rhyme or reason.
And no matter how much Jeno tried, all he could see was the starlight caught frozen in Y/N’s gaze. It was so peaceful, so elated that Jeno could hardly recognize him. Maybe that’s what Y/N looks like when Jeno puts tormenting him on the backburner. If Y/N looked this beautiful when he was happy, shiraz-tinted blush ignited by the shimmers in his smile, laughter like the swansongs of Jeno’s long lost memories that only appear in his daydreams, and a touch that let the sparks in his heart jump for joy, then Jeno wants to make Y/N feel like this more often.
Jeno’s hands couldn’t help but be pulled into the gravity Y/N held in his eyes. It shimmered and glowed, beckoning him to come closer. He rested his hands on Y/N’s cheeks, the burn of his blush rendering itself useless as all Jeno could think about was the touch that slowly, tentatively wandered across his chest and up towards the sides of his neck. The moonlight leaking through the window fluttering in a silver sheen around them. Jeno just wanted Y/N to be closer, closer, until he couldn’t tell the difference between their breaths.
The starlight burst into flames the second they entwined their lips, cautiously at first, but the light in their hearts that burned through their chests melted the inhibitions from off their skin. Jeno felt himself sink deeper into Y/N’s delicate touch as he reached up to Y/N’s hair and took it between his fingers, drowning in the haze of sweetness that stifled his senses and clung to their skin. Y/N’s thoughts were nothing but a blank canvas, but the wildfires set ablaze in his bones, writhing throughout his veins did the thinking for him.
Their soft smiles were torn apart by the tongues that ran between their teeth like velvet, but for some reason, Jeno couldn’t have felt safer - breathing in the sparks of devotion that rose to the back of his throat and soaking in the midnight air that hovered on the slow, rhythmic pulses between their lips.
Y/N never thought that the thorns in his sides could bloom into roses so beautiful, nevertheless for someone like Jeno to caress them and take him in closer with a tug on their petals. All the worries on his heavy shoulders fled from Jeno’s touch, and all he felt was peace, the rolling, ashen clouds in his skies finally clearing up with the crack of daylight that shone between their lips. And as Jeno sat back up, gently pulling Y/N closer by the collar of his sweater, Jeno’s groans reaching deeper in the back of Y/N’s throat, they could feel something billowing in their chests and leaping over their racing heartbeats that wove the ripples in the indigo night back together.
Their touches grew brave, daring to embark on journeys further across their skin, and the ruby reds in their cheeks scorched their hands. But they didn’t care, not one bit. Y/N threaded his fingers through Jeno’s hair, taking in the sweetness of the hums that buried themselves into his neck and left violet tapestries of compassion on their way back into the air that circled them in cinders.
They didn’t notice the burn of untamed happiness coursing through their chests until they both pulled back to take a breath, Y/N’s back pressed into the bed, Jeno smoothing his fingers against the hands entwined with his above Y/N’s head. The moonlight hung still in their gazes, frozen in time as they just took a second to look at each other. How have they changed so much with a single shift in the sky’s colour? The silence that danced between them spoke volumes, the pauses in their breaths saying all they needed to say, speaking a truth they both couldn’t muster no matter how much courage they held in their hands they still kept in a tangle between them.
“I…” Y/N tried to speak, but the air he thought he had was still ripped out from his chest. He began to sit up and Jeno leaned back, still holding their hands between them. He slowly let go, but his gaze never let up from Y/N’s small smile.
“It’s okay… You don’t need to say anything…” Jeno took a deep breath. He felt so liberated when he was caught in the warmth between Y/N’s hands. Leaning over to catch a glimpse of the violets of the night staining the street, he reached over to smooth his touch against Y/N’s knuckles. He felt a glow flutter in his stomach as he heard a giggle trickly from Y/N’s lips, painting the air golden. “It’s getting late, maybe I should go…?”
“Wait…” Y/N held tight onto Jeno’s wrist, catching him before he could even move. “You’re right, it’s late… Too late… You can stay the night if you want…” Y/N tried to avert his nervous gaze, but the galaxies beginning to forge between their stares brought him right back to the crescents that began to form in Jeno’s eyes. He couldn’t quite take his stare off the way Jeno’s lips curled up into a grin that pushed back against the darkness in the room, the soft light of the moon against his skin making Y/N’s heart stir.
“Sounds great…” Jeno felt like a fool wading in his own fervent heartbeat as Y/N peeled himself off the bed and searched the house for some things to make Jeno more comfortable. He smiled to himself as he settled his stare on where Y/N was, fingers tracing the stripes in his duvet that were still facing the aftershock of their kiss. That sickly sweetness that still ran between his fingertips as it traced Y/N’s skin, the sparks Y/N tucked between his teeth that sting as they go down in the best possible way. They’re things Jeno never wants to forget.
Before Jeno could fall deeper into his thoughts, Y/N burst back through the door with a bundle of unreasonably large blankets and bedding in his arms. Jeno rushed over to help him lay them out on the floor next to Y/N’s bed.
“It’s perfect…” Jeno stared upon a complete mess in front of them, but all Jeno saw was the stardust brushed against them as it filtered through the window.
“You’re sure you don’t want the bed?” Y/N looked over their creation - a confused amalgamation of blankets and pillows - with a fond smile as well, nudging Jeno in the side softly to gain his attention. The way Jeno looks at him now, Y/N’s still getting used to the fact that he answers to the same name, the fact that he’s the same person at all, really.
“I’ve imposed enough, Y/N. I’m fine with whatever…” Jeno nudged back, countering Y/N’s cheeky smiles with one of his own. Looking around the room and back to his makeshift bed once again, Jeno couldn’t help but welcome this weightlessness that surfaced in his chest, his heart igniting to the beat of the twilight’s breaths. He caught Y/N by his hands as he tried to get towards his closet to pick something out for them and pulled him close, his arms wrapping around his waist in a warm hug. He wanted to let the brilliance that leaked from Y/N’s shy laughter embrace their skin for just one more moment, one more fleeting pulse of the starlight hovering above them in its humble, ivory glow. “Thank you.” Jeno whispered into Y/N’s shoulder before letting him go, a faint smile pushing past his lips as Y/N squeezed his shoulders and let a comforting touch smooth against Jeno’s side.
“Of course, now let’s get ready.”
The fires that hung over their head burned a hole into the night sky as they both laid awake, Y/N in his bed unable to sleep - the sheets swathing him too hot and too cold at the same time - and Jeno flat on his back, the mound of blankets he and Y/N prepared already everywhere but supporting under him. The grey waves of the blankets thrashed against Jeno’s sprawled limbs, and too many thoughts hung on the edge of his tongue, wailing inside his mind. He couldn’t put them to rest, his tossing and turning amounting to no avail.
Y/N leaned over a little bit, wondering if Jeno could get any sleep, and a strange comfort washed over him as he saw Jeno eying the ceiling. He decided to take his turn to weave through the silence between them. It was restless, anxious as it settled against their skin.
“Hey…” Y/N rested his chin on his hands, a smile shining through as Jeno dropped his arms and turned over to him with an animated pout. He still wondered what happened between now and when the amber sun was still sinking into the silhouettes of their suburbia that made the way he saw everything about Jeno sing at a completely new tone. He kind of liked this melody, it was settling, more comforting than the last that crooned obnoxiously in his ear with every day he entered those same school doors.
“Hey.” Jeno smiled back, this primordial instinct causing him to reach out to take Y/N’s hand in his own. The starlight melted against their intertwined fingers, bending to their will. Y/N still remembered a time, not too long ago, when the stars were still as stone, radiating an isolating, pretentious glow that only made him feel more alone. It was like second nature to Jeno now, a guilty pleasure, to reach for Y/N’s beautiful hands whenever he had the chance, to relive that blissful simmer that sparked between their fingertips.
“What’re we gonna do about… This?” Y/N fiddled with Jeno’s fingers, thumb caressing his knuckles. He dared to press the question that both ran rampant in both of their minds into the air between them, and now Jeno had to deal with the fact that it stood tall in the moonlight and lingered in every direction where he averted his gaze. The thought of them walking down the halls hand-in-hand beckoned his thoughts as soon as they kissed and plunged deep into the violets of the night. Would they just throw it away and pretend it was nothing? Or would they use it as the first stepping stone to reline their rocky paths and make a home out of the bricks Jeno tossed in Y/N’s direction?
“Us…?” As the word traced Jeno’s tongue and left his lips, it left a sweet taste to cloud his senses. It sounded so weird, so arbitrary, yet perfect to him. Jeno took Y/N’s hand and pulled it closer to his chest, watching with a cheerful grin as Y/N shuffled closer with a groan. “What d’you think?” Even with the blues in the velvet skies staining the moonlight that leaked through the window, all he could see was double in the rose flush that was almost palpable between their tongues just moments before.
“I honestly don’t know…” Y/N considered everything, his mind and heart tugging at different ends of him. “I know a lot happened, but I think I’m more comfortable if we can take it slow…” Y/N finally said, taking Jeno’s hand and pressing his lips against his knuckles. Jeno let out a delighted hum as the warmth on his hand bloomed from Y/N’s delicate kiss, every urge to snap up and take Y/N back down into the sapphire tides of his duvet being held back by all of the willpower that wasn’t already set free by the swansongs in Y/N’s voice. “Yeah, I know we kissed in the heat of the moment, but it still feels like I can’t quite wipe our slate completely clean just yet.”
Jeno could feel himself deflating, realizing that the kiss against his fingers was just to brace him for the thing Y/N knew he didn’t want to hear. However, Jeno kept his reservations in check as he just realized whose eyes he was gazing into. Just mere hours ago, the shattered starlight in Y/N’s eyes was nowhere to be seen, stifled and suffocated by the weights on his shoulders and the anguish that boiled over in his heart. As Jeno began to remember all the things he has ever done to Y/N, all the things he put him through even the day before, Jeno wouldn’t have forgiven himself either.
“I understand…” Jeno’s voice dripped with a compassion so potent Y/N could feel himself stumbling over. His patient, soothing stroked against Y/N’s hands and wrist urged him to continue, to say all the things he needed to say. They didn’t want to shed the skins of their twilight and still leave things unsaid.
“Like-” Y/N cut himself off as he sat himself up with a stumble, legs dangling from the edge of the mattress. Jeno edged himself closer too, shuffling himself close enough to lean his head on Y/N’s knee. Y/N braced himself with a tense exhale, choking on his words that crowded fearfully at the back of his throat, but Jeno just nodded along to every stutter. He was listening, and he wanted Y/N to know that. “I dunno, you changed in such a tremendous way in such little time, but you also did so much to me, you and your friends… I was so paranoid walking down the hallways every day, thinking that you’d be around every corner just to hurt me; I had to skip classes for some of my most crucial classes because I knew that you guys would sit around me just out of spite… You helped me get thicker skin, sure I guess, but things were so, so hard for me, and for a while I also believed that I deserved it…”
“Y/N… I…” To hear it come from Y/N’s mouth like that, it tore Jeno up inside. He never thought about the other side of the story, his walls always blocked them from his view, but subconsciously he knew that if he dared to take a peek, lean too close to his barbed wire, that he’d be slipping into the whirlwind he was now. Jeno tried to ease a quivering breath, no words or faded colours mixed between his scorned hands could possibly paint a vivid enough picture of his regret.
“We’ve come farther than I ever thought we would, seriously… But I would really like it if we took it step by step… We could mabe start with like… A fun handshake…?” Their giggles intertwining as they fumbled their hands around to try and make something up on the fly kicked up the dampened moonlight. Y/N continued, sketching out scenarios against the sky that made Jeno’s pulse ignite. He could see them now, clear as the blue light of dawn. “I could share my French notes with you too. We could hang out by my locker and chat for a while if Renjun doesn’t get to me first, and maybe we could even go out for a bite to eat at the plaza west of the school!” Jeno always wanted to try the pizza parlor by the gas station - his varsity jacket pulled tight around Y/N’s shoulders as the autumn breeze rolled mindlessly by them, sharing once slice of pizza with their November flush still freshly blooming on their cheeks. “I honestly just need time to think about shit and mull it over before I can take on anything too serious between us…” Y/N looked down, scratching into his duvet and his voice barely carrying a meek whisper. “Is that… Is that okay…?”
Jeno nudged Y/N’s chin up to meet his eyes again, a smile peaking through his bitten lips.
“Of course that’s okay.” Jeno propped himself up on his knees, reaching out to take Y/N’s hands in his own, their fingers resting peacefully between each other. “It’s still kinda hard to think about or truly get what I put you through. I understand your decision, I respect it, and I’ll be better…”
A sigh burst past Y/N’s lips and he collapsed into Jeno’s chest, leaning his forehead on his shoulder and murmuring a cluster of undefinable words into Jeno’s sweater. Jeno rubbed Y/N’s back with a soothing rhythm, wrapping his arms tight around Y/N’s waist and bringing him closer with a playful tug. The way Y/N melted into his inviting touch released a downpour of sparks in Jeno’s heart, they strode through his chest with so many emotions he didn’t have the time to recognize.
“I know you’re too scared to ask…” Y/N said into Jeno’s shoulder, breath seeping into his skin. “But yeah, the kiss was nice.”
“Of course it was! I’m a great kisser!” Jeno was too busy controlling his laughter to block the jab to his stomach that just fueled the fires of his happiness. “All seriousness, though, I’m glad to hear that.”
“Goodnight, Jeno.” Y/N rolled his eyes and bent down to fix some of Jeno’s blankets. How one ended up by the bay window several paces from them is something Y/N will never know. He pulled one snuggly around Jeno’s shoulders, flutters of the butterflies in their stomachs lodging in their throats. Their smiles were so bright they could feel the starlight against them starting to short out.
“Goodnight…” Jeno caressed Y/N’s arms and watched as he buried himself back under his covers, then as he watched Y/N’s peaceful smile subside and give in to the indigo tides of the night, he laid onto the blankets below him and stared up towards the night sky through Y/N’s window. Jeno knows that they won’t be able to start over like how the twilight hae sweeps up their stars before morning comes to claim the light, but he knew that he and Y/N were their own special lights. Jeno couldn’t wait to sing the songs of their atoned mistakes and release them into the spring breezes he hopes will soon hold more than just grudges that blemished their past.
This is just one of many conquered midnights to cross off the list, and Jeno will make sure that he’ll be there by Y/N’s side to ensure they’ll triumph over many more. He’s never learned to draw hearts into his skies, but with Y/N, he knows more that he’ll be able to figure it out sooner rather than later.
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I have found my new fave writer😀
Aw that's so sweet 💛!
I'm so grateful for your kind words, it really encourages me to do better. I hope you continue to enjoy/tolerate my future content 😄.
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I love you💙💙💙
The Chan fic was AMAZING!
I forgot I requested it but thank you💙
Awh, thank you! I appreciate it 😊
It's probably because I took so long (I'm so sorry), but I can't believe I was worthy of that blue text. I still don't know how to do that 😅
I love you too, thanks for all the support 💛!
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paper tulips; bang chan
(12,809) words - large
summary - “Forever and ever. That’s how long I said I loved you. But you never said it back.”
requested - 👍
Y/N for a small moment let the ivory light of his computer screen consume him for a second, enveloping him and lulling him into this quiet trance that he entered to drown out the screaming that often happened in their flat. He was renting it with Chan, his best friend since middle school, as their pleasant memories and sleepless nights conquering the dimming horizon always happened to lead them down the same path, hand in hand as if nothing’s changed. Y/N’s good friend and classmate from his political science class, Seungmin, was also there; falling face first into an argument with Chan over why he wasn’t allowed in the kitchen. These two, despite their bickering, have made senior year at their college just a little bit more tolerable.
Y/N knew exactly why Chan wasn’t allowed in the kitchen, though. It’s sort of the reason why Seungmin was over at all if he was being honest. That, and maybe he liked his company.
He could see Chan trudging back to the living room where Y/N was perched on the couch, still hunched over his computer. Y/N could feel Chan sulking before he even walked into the room. They’ve spent half their lives together, carving their ways though all of the skies they’ve travelled and making their marks in the strawberry sands of every beach by the coastline, so Y/N’s definitely developed this sixth sense of always knowing how Chan was feeling.
Chan dropped himself next to Y/N on the couch, a dramatic pout on his lips as he leaned into Y/N’s side. He looked over the screen on the computer tucked between his best friend’s knees to see the webpages of some international internships Y/N couldn’t stop talking about since they clawed their way through their first semester.
The one thing above all that always kept him and Y/N tethered to each other was their love for music. He could remember as clear as their summer mornings spent together on the rolling hills on the southside of their old town, when they both vowed to get into the same sound engineering program and one day work together on music. They were both just kids then, and they didn’t know how much work they had to do, how bright they needed to shine above so many others that were just as ambitious as them. On those many occasions where Chan laid sleepless at night - wondering if he was capable of becoming one of the stars he dreamed of, or if he was just another handful of dreams withered to ash that laid the path for the hopeful few - there Y/N was to fuel his fire and reignite the sparks under his skin.
It would be an understatement to say that Y/N was his inspiration, someone he always looked up to despite being a head taller. Whether it was to help Chan wrap up a verse he couldn’t quite thread into the rest of his lyrics or to rip him away from his computer to let the night air clear his mind, it was always Y/N who kept his head screwed on straight.
“So… Which one are you leaning towards?” Chan leaned further into Y/N’s shoulder, wrapping an arm around him and placing his hand on the trackpad. He spread out the webpages on the screen and let his eyes wander a little bit. “The one in Venice I’ve heard has churned out some of today’s most reputable indie singers, and you definitely have the sound to hit the ground running.” Chan still remembers the first time he heard Y/N sing, and reminiscing on that day still made the sweetness of their summer nostalgia feel as if he was reliving it all over again...
Y/N was sitting on a tattered swing whose weathered ropes still clung limply to an ash tree at the edge of their middle school’s old field. Chan could hear the melodic strum of a ukulele from that direction as he was getting ready to walk home, and he couldn’t help but follow the noise; he was glad he did. Y/N’s voice was magnetic, and made them feel as if time was slowing down just enough for them to soak in the moment, for them to recognize the small things they were always too busy to see the beauty in. The early afternoon sunlight clung to Y/N’s skin, giving him this ethereal, ivory glow that left Chan breathless. He couldn't take his eyes off of him.
Maybe it was the twines of destiny tying them together, maybe it was being in the right place at the right time, but nevertheless, Chan was always grateful that he followed Y/N’s melody that day.
“You really think so? I have no idea if I can even qualify.” Y/N leaned back and cracked a small, tired smile as Chan began to flick his fingers gently against his ear. Y/N always prided himself on his lyricism, his ability to make something out of nothing. But he could never coherently explain the way Chan’s touch made him feel. It set free the pulse of a butterfly’s wings in his veins and made a familiar warmth settle into his skin like the evening haze upon the street they were raised on. It made his words tremble on multiple occasions and sent him stumbling over his thoughts. It just made him so happy, it made him feel loved in a way that has been so foreign to him for the longest time. “Look at the portfolios of the first-year interns last year...” Y/N’s words lagged behind his thoughts as Chan slowly kneaded his fingers into Y/N’s nape, something he always knew would calm him down when he was stressed or anxious. Believe it or not, Chan was a little observant as well. “They're twice as big as mine and they have such a wide range of skills. I feel embarrassed just looking at these…”
“Listen-” Chan said with a sigh before he took Y/N in by his shoulders, a stare like molten gold capturing Y/N’s as a stern tone overtook his voice. Y/N caught his breath between his teeth, feeling the room freeze for a split second before Chan drew a breath through a soft sigh. “I don’t know what you think you are. But what I know you are is one of the most talented people I have ever known… Your voice is beautiful and authentic, your music is genuine and passionate, and you also smell pretty good too.” Chan’s grin flourished as Y/N let a laugh trickle from a freshly blooming smile, one as bright the happiness they shared on those early mornings they would spend wading through the blue light of the breaking dawn, laying in the dewy football fields by their middle school and letting their laughter weave between the pale pink clouds above them. Their mornings start a little later now, but he can’t help but feel his chest swell a little when the breezes of their sweet nostalgia brush past him with an airy chuckle on their walks to the local plaza together. Chan continued anyways, “I’d be hard pressed to find a program that wouldn’t accept you. It’d be a privilege to have you in their roster of talent.”
“Chan…” Y/N’s voice fell below a whisper and he couldn’t keep his gaze afloat. “That means so much to me… I love you.” Y/N’s eyes went wide and he froze for a second, but Chan didn’t even flinch, a giggle leaving his lips as if it was second nature. His melodic laughter tinted the room the colour of their midnights spent past the clusters of trees that border their small town, where they did nothing but let blind faith and flickers of moonlight guide them down the road and into the city.
“Aw, love you too, mate.” Chan nudged his shoulder and went back to looking at the computer. Y/N was glad that Chan turned quick enough to miss the weak smile fade from his face.
Y/N tried to hide his wince as he could feel Chan’s words burrow under his skin, their warmth tense and suffocating like a humid summer evening. They say it all the time to each other when the night sweeps them into his arms, but Y/N really meant it this time, there was a new meaning behind the vows of affection that trailed his tongue now. He could hear the hoarse whine in his heart as Chan’s reply echoed in his head, because he knew that Chan never said it with the weight of a thousand of their colliding worlds, he never did. It was a bittersweet feeling, actually, the way the high in his chest faded with every time he would look at Chan for a second too long and realize that he didn’t feel the same way.
However, Y/N wanted to just say something, do something to make this endless cycle of blind guessing stop. As today was the day he finally decided to bite the bullet and step onto those shores that left him shoulders-deep in unexplainable feelings and insurmountable words. He had Seungmin standing guard at the doorway leading into the kitchen because Y/N was hiding a modest bundle of flowers on the end-table by the fridge, a sunset-stained cluster of tulips that was everything he wanted to say but could never get across to him - he always knew that tulips were Chan’s favourite. Y/N flinched at the thought of the leap of faith he was taking, the fall below looked so high.
What if Chan really didn’t feel the same way? Would this burst of unearthed feelings really be all in vain? Y/N tried to shake those feelings off, but they still lingered and clung to his skin no matter how hard he tried. Y/N grit his teeth behind pressed lips and shifted in his seat, handing the computer over to Chan and peeling himself off the couch with a sigh. It was now or never, he thought, and the only thing that eased his nerves was his nails digging into handfuls of his sweatshirt.
“Hey, whatcha doing?” Chan’s question nearly fell upon deaf ears as he finally glanced up from the screen and at Y/N’s back. Y/N looked like he was shuttering, now easing breaths once flickering in and out like a dying flame. He looked like with one faint touch he would crumble like the twilight off their shoulders that one night they awoke in a drunken tangle on the living room floor. “Are you alright, Y/N? You look like you’re about to explode.” Chan continued speaking to Y/N’s back, flashing a quick grin as he knew he was caught in the corner of Y/N’s eye. Y/N’s smiled back, a weak one, though. Chan knew this year has been hard on Y/N, hell, it’s been hard on all of them, but this look on Y/N’s face, one filled with such a potent disquiet so loud it made his ears ring, was something he’s only seen very, very few times.
“Yeah, I’m fine, Channie…” Y/N steadied his voice and tried to silence the questions in his mind that wanted to flush those flowers down the toilet. “I’m just gonna go check on Seungmin.” Y/N felt bad for leaving Seungmin in the kitchen for so long just to guard a little bouquet of flowers, however Seungmin did owe him after Y/N covered his frantic departure from their sociology class. Seungmin vowed on that day to never order the campus sushi ever again.
“Okay, if you say so…” Chan’s voice faded into the walls as he heard an alert from his phone, a smile slowly playing its melody along his lips. It was a text from an old friend of his and Y/N’s from high school who took up a part-time job at the coffee shop a few blocks away. That one hole-in-the-wall cafe that Chan and Y/N always went to back when they actually studied for their midterms. They bumped into each other after one of the old friend’s late night shifts and decided to catch up with each other while splitting a soggy sandwich from the convenience store just across the plaza. From then on, Chan was greeted every morning at that coffee shop with a steaming hot, black tea latte already made and a wide, brilliant smile from behind the counter. His name was Felix, Lee Felix. That name now plays back in Chan’s mind like a symphony.
He was actually expecting Felix over later this evening, as Chan had his own confession burning at the back of his throat.
“How are they? Please tell me they’re not dead.” Y/N’s voice hovered above a whisper as he wound around the corner of the kitchen doorway and stood across from where Seungmin was, leaning lazily against the fridge with his arms folded. Y/N’s relief was almost palpable as he heaved a sigh and brought the small glass the flowers were nestled in closer to him.
“It’s been like, twenty minutes, it’s not like they’re gonna sprout legs or run for president.” Seungmin said curtly, a sarcastic drawl making his words drag across the laminate tile as he pushed himself off the fridge and to Y/N’s side. “They’re fine, see?” Seungmin took one of the tulips' coral petals tenderly between his fingers.
“I was nervous to leave something living in the same room as you, to be honest.” Y/N nudged Seungmin in the side and tried to hide his laughter as he saw his friend furrow his eyebrows and purse his lips in annoyance. Seungmin tried not to feel offended and just shook it off, letting a prideful smile sneak past his frown as he saw Y/N stare fondly at the flowers in his hands. He’s honestly never seen Y/N’s eyes glimmer as brightly as those nights tucked into the corner of Seungmin’s dorm room couch, where he gushed about those stupid pickup lines Chan used on him that morning between classes, or how Chan’s beautiful brown eyes spun that shitty cafeteria lighting into gold.
“Ha ha~” Seungmin rolled his eyes and stretched his arms back before opening Y/N’s fridge and plucking a can of soda from inside. “It’s the least I could do since you didn’t tell anybody about the situation that shall not be named.” The memories were still fresh in his mind and the blush bitten into his skin was still as raw and deep as the day it happened.
“Are we talking about the sushi bathroom thing, or the time when the barista said ‘enjoy your drink’, you said ‘you too’?” Y/N raised an eyebrow and lifted his gaze to meet Seungmin’s wide eyes. He let out a silent laugh, knowing that Seungmin is never going to live any of these moments down as long as Y/N was around.
“I said NOT be named! Emphasis on NOT!” Seungmin pulled at his hair and shook his head, trying to erase the images he knows will stain his thoughts for at least the next three days.
“Nobody heard, okay? Thanks for hiding the flowers, anyway, I appreciate it.” Y/N tried to settle him down, but Seungmin’s face still continued to hold a vibrant, red glow.
“No worries, now go get your man.” Seungmin cracked a small smile seeing Y/N hide the flowers behind his back, edging a thumbs up into the air before making a slow trudge through the door, the can of soda he stole from Y/N’s fridge still in his hand as he left. Y/N let a small giggle fade into the pale, overhead lights of the kitchen before shuffling to the doorway again, grip on the flowers tightening like a vice as he saw Chan appear right in front of him as if he popped up from out of the floorboards.
There it was again, one look from Chan and he was already skipping stones across his heartbeat like their evenings soaking in the weathered golds of their happy hour by the lakeside. Their deep conversations carried away by the springtime breezes that would pass them by with a teasing chuckle. The faint chill in the air would leave them breathless with every time they took a peek at the glow that the setting sunlight would ignite in their cheeks and wrap around the promises whispered into the sky. The way the coral sun smiled down on Chan’s face when they were younger… It was almost as if it already knew what he was going to become, a blessing with a heart full of molten gold to warm them up on those white nights spent dangling on the last threads of the twilight. Someone who - at the strike of a note on the keyboard they spent an entire summer saving up for - would always be there on the other end of the line for Y/N no after which colours stained the horizon.
There were so many times where the golden twines of the afternoon light would wrap around Chan just so, he looked so beautiful to the point where Y/N just wanted to rip some lilies that rested on this special trail that they would never follow and ask him to be his forever. He never followed through, though, his words tripping over themselves like ripples in the water.
Even though the lake is now further away, he still dreams about drawing hearts into the cloudless skies once again, maybe some that won’t drift away alone anymore.
“Do I look okay?” Chan’s words cleared the fog in Y/N’s head and pulled him closer. Chan had this panicked glint in his eye, a look on his face that teetered between anticipation and a hopeless, dwelling sense of anxiety that only pooled around them during midterms. He was also pacing by the front door with this uneasy gait, he looked like he was waiting for something. “I probably look like a mess… When was the last time I showered? Do we even have showers here?”
“Chan, calm down. You look great.” Y/N’s voice was able to slow down his frenetic pacing, it was always so soft, its warmth almost tactile as Chan could feel the words settle on his skin.
Chan was so grateful for how Y/N would always help him from the metaphorical ledges he would recklessly amble towards. Sometimes they’d sit on the edge of those very precipices and stare out into the rolling storms of their doubts together, reminiscing on times that were easier, but then they’d stretch themselves out and Y/N would turn him away by the shoulders, always reminding Chan about what was important.
“I thought I was supposed to be the one riddled with anxiety...“ Y/N’s words rolled off his tongue with a chuckle. He almost reached out to put a hand on Chan’s shoulder, but he remembered the flowers still clutched behind his back and what he was about to do. It was too late to back out now, and this time there would be no excuses.
“Sorry… I’ve just been so nervous, I’ve had butterflies all night…” Chan tried to shake himself out and released a tense sigh into the air, but he didn’t feel any better, in fact, he may have possibly angered the butterflies even more. “You remember Felix from high school?” Chan let a little smile peak through the firm line etched onto his lips as he could almost feel a weight lifting off his chest just thinking about Felix, the April flush seeping into his freckled cheeks and his smile as brilliant as ever.
“Yeah…” Y/N nodded, his voice but a sliver of a whisper. He didn’t know what Chan was getting at, but by the way Chan’s eyes glimmered under the halfway lighting - the way that Y/N’s friends would always describe how he looked when he couldn’t stop talking about him - Y/N decided it was best if he didn’t look too deeply into it. He fidgeted with the flowers behind his back and all of the nervousness he kept shut out of his mind for so long swept through his thoughts like a flood. He started to wonder if Chan’s eyes ever lit up like that when he talked about them, those sparks dancing in his eyes were always so beautiful, and Y/N wanted so badly for them to sway to the rhythm he and Chan would whistle into the treeline on their last day of high school. For some reason, part of the fantasy was already starting to slip between his fingers.
“We bumped into each other a few weeks ago and I think we made some sort of a connection… I was thinking of asking him out, like on a date?” Y/N’s whole world felt like it stopped the moment he said that. His heart that was lodged in his throat plummeting to the pits in his stomach, and his racing pulse dying off and giving into the silence that followed. “What d’you think?”
Y/N tried to say something, tried to force some air from his lungs, but all he could feel in his chest was an emptiness. He tried not to let his knees give in from under him as he realized that all of the starlit nights where he was so close to letting everything spill out and boil over were just never meant to be. The inhibitions set free in his heart coursed through his veins with a spiteful burn, as Chan’s words still echoed in the hollow crevices in Y/N’s mind.
Was this what it felt like to lose something that was never yours? Y/N’s thoughts wandered aimlessly, his mouth still helplessly forming absent sounds, as he wondered what all of their most cherished moments, those evenings where there was nothing but each other and a wine-coloured sky enveloping them were really supposed to mean.
Y/N just let out a defeated sigh. A bitter chuckle thrashed silently at his pressed lips. He found it funny how it took this long to realize what fantasy he was clinging to, a vague concept of feelings he blindly pleaded were mutual. It only took until it was too late to see how deluded he really was. He felt so stupid and foolish, he felt angry, sad, and somewhat betrayed, as if he wasn’t the person who stabbed himself in the back with the shards of his rose-tinted glasses.
There was no urge crawling under his skin telling him to yell, to scream or to cry. To say he loved Chan more, that he always did and that he needs him. He knew he couldn’t do that if he tried or even wanted to. Every moment has a time and a place, and Y/N ran out of time. Their vows and little secrets taken away by the summer breeze just meant different things to them, he knew that now. But he didn't know how long it was going to take to accept that harsh truth and step into the shine of that spotlight.
“That… That sounds great.” Y/N tried to tear through his sadness, but his words were frail and hollow, falling to the floor below them. He knew how important this was to Chan, his first date with someone in a long time, but he couldn’t find the room in his heart to be happy right now. He was just glad that Chan wasn’t ever really good at stripping back Y/N’s facades or seeing how he was really feeling.
Y/N dropped his hands from behind his back in defeat, revealing the flowers, a limp grasp still on them. Maybe an idea, a lie that he could cling to for just one more second. But what was the point now? Chan nearly jumped as he saw the flowers in Y/N’s hand, trying to see past the heavy fog in Y/N’s eyes that eclipsed the shimmers of anguish that would always get Chan crying too.
“Y/N! What’re these for? They look beautiful!” Chan just kept his eyes on the flowers, taking Y/N’s hand and holding the bundle of tulips between them. They were as deep in colour as the february flush that stained their cheeks on the winter mornings they reserved for bitter coffee and reminiscing on all of the stupid things they said when they were just kids. Y/N always looked back fondly on those days where they would stay out a little longer and wait for the lavenders in the horizon to fade into the sky and dissipate in the sunlight. They would be so close, sometimes Chan’s arm would ease around Y/N’s shoulders and it wouldn’t leave until they stowed away in Chan’s room to work on a few pieces they hoped would carry them through the year. They were more than mistaken, but they cherished every second wading through the twilight.
Y/N still has some songs written on crumpled paper somewhere on his desk, the ones he wrote for Chan, and he couldn’t help but bite back a shaking breath as he realized that he’ll never be able to sing them to Chan by the beaches beyond their childhood town.
“I… Uhm…” Y/N felt like he was choking on air as a searing pain pierced through his chest like a bullet. “They’re for you…” YN didn’t have the strength to tell him the rest after seeing his smile. Their fingers brushed against each other for a moment, and that made Y/N hate himself that much more. He’s still Chan’s friend, he wants to see him happy, and if that happiness only surfaced with Felix and not him, then he’ll just need to bear with his choices.
“For me…? Thanks so much, Y/N! Felix is gonna love these!” Y/N tried to shove the ache of surprise and unease beneath the tides of his rampaging thoughts as soon as Chan’s words began to die off into the room. Swallowing a frown, Y/N just decided to lose himself in the brilliance of the grin strewn across Chan’s lips and how close he held those flowers to his chest. There was this innocent, free happiness that embodied Chan in that very moment, one that he hasn’t seen for a long time. One that only flutters by them in faint memories of walks around sunflower fields and prances by empty railroads.
If anything, he hopes that Felix could make him experience that more often.
“Yeah, Felix…” Y/N murmured, a forlorn longing keeping his eyes trained on the flowers as Chan moved them to one hand to fix his jacket. Y/N was so lost in his dejection that he barely noticed the sleek, black suit jacket that trimmed Chan’s silhouette. They were so caught up most of the time in the tangles of their schoolwork that they forwent the little things - maybe dressing up to go somewhere or driving endlessly to a random corner of the city and enjoying the fluttering lights that hung above their aimless parades down the sidewalk. That sweet sense of childlike bliss was now lost to sleepless nights and stressful groans at the ever-ticking clock.
“What?” Chan whipped his head around, he swore he heard something leave Y/N’s lips. If he was being honest, he thought Y/N would be happier for him, but he understood better than anyone how drained he must be with all of the post-graduate work he’s been doing. No matter how in tune they were with each other, no matter what harmonies they would create by the foot of Y/N’s bed, Y/N was always down while he was up. It was something he always vowed to change, to swat the blue devils on Y/N’s shoulders away. He’s working on it, though, and these days, even despite the stress, he’s seen Y/N’s smiles last a little longer.
“Oh, nothing…” Y/N could feel his mind kicking itself, but he just let a tense breath ooze from between his teeth. He stepped up and fixed Chan’s suit collar, a flashback to their high school prom where he did the exact same thing making a reminiscent smile seep into his features. “Have a good time.” He could feel his heart crumbling in his chest a little bit more as he could see Chan glance over the flowers with this gleeful shine in his eyes.
“Thanks, mate. Your support means a lot to me…” Chan leaned in to wrap his arms around Y/N, but his embrace felt cold, his hug felt like torture to his heart. Y/N just let his arms rest limply on Chan’s waist, a part of him wanting to pull Chan back in and beg him not to go, but he was to paralyzed by the way one of their favourite things changed within the blink of an eye. Chan’s hugs used to be his favourite things in the entire world, but now the way Chan would always smooth his fingers against Y/N’s back and bring his head to touch Y/N’s was nothing but a taunt, a tether that led him further to the edge of his inhibitions. It all just felt paper thin, the midnight blue wax that sealed their pity parties on Chan’s roof in the canopy of stars melting faster than Y/N could comprehend.
With one final beaming grin, Chan was out the door, and Y/N’s smile finally slipped from his lips and shattered on the ground, its fragments feeling as if they were ripping into his skin, twisting in his heart as it leapt over his ribs and left him breathless. It was as if the room was spinning, the colour stripped from the walls as Y/N just struggled to stand trying to understand what happened. He held his head and let himself sink into the floor, tucking his knees into his chest. If only he let his feelings out earlier.
All of the chances he took for granted, always convincing himself that there was more time, another full moon to light their smiles before he would take him by the hand and shoot for the stars. He’s waited too long for them to align, and now they’re for someone else to reclaim, someone else who was able to make Chan feel special in just one night, something Y/N’s tried tirelessly to make chan believe for more than ten years.
Maybe they do deserve each other… Y/N thought, thinking about all of the time he’s taken for granted. Maybe I never deserved him... Y/N’s thoughts came rushing in, tripping over each other one by one. He just let his head drop to his knees and wrapped his arms tighter around himself, letting the fleeting coral flush of the tulips fade from his mind like a flickering flame.
He could see the two now, meeting at the post of campus gates and Felix’s smile unfolding as Chan took the flowers out from behind his back with a cheeky smirk - maybe using one of the pickup lines he used on Y/N in the library. They would wrap each other in each other’s arms and drown in a haze of cologne, and maybe even share a kiss under the neon glow of the ultraviolet light.
That could’ve been me… Y/N thought. But only wanting Chan more would deepen his scars when the sun rose again.
The blues and greys dancing coyly on the morning horizon broke Y/N’s fall deeper into the grey sheets pooling around him, peeking through the window with their notoriously pretentious glow. Y/N just groaned and buried his face further into his pillow, a sigh flimsily making its way to meet the songs hung in the silver clouds. The spring break at their college was almost over, mauve and rose petals peeling themselves from the trees and the streets gathering their shine from the April showers that tapped teasingly against his window almost every night. His second semester just barely started, but it felt like Y/N was out of breath already.
The room felt a little colder without the charming whistle of Chan’s tea kettle boiling on their portable cook-top, the heart, warm smell of chamomile long faded from the knitwear cardigan that hung on the post of his bed. But now as he lifts himself out of his stupor and tries to block out the shriek of his alarm clock, he begins to think that it was for the better.
Y/N had the option to move into a residence building because his second semester classes were on the other end of campus, and he took it without a second thought. The hard part, though, was having to explain it to Chan. They’ve been side-by-side their entire lives, the world wrapped around their interlocked pinkies. But after that night, Y/N couldn’t look at Chan and feel something other than the regrets that boiled under their parades under streetlights or those early mornings where they kept each other awake just to see the sun rise. All he saw were the whispers of his doubts and the fragments of his splintered heart guiding him down the moonlit roads they would once take on together.
He just couldn’t handle it, locking gazes with Chan now felt like torture.
He was jostled out of his trance by a harsh knock on his door, and he knew exactly who it was. Nobody else can pound on a door quite like Seungmin. Y/N just groaned again and clung tighter to the sweater that hung loosely from his shoulders, waiting for Seungmin to let himself in like he always did and meet him in the kitchen to make some coffee.
Speaking of the devil himself, Seungmin strode through the door with Y/N’s spare keycard in hand, a wide smile on his face only deepening Y/N’s frown. He scurried into the kitchen to meet Y/N, biting back a giggle as he saw Y/N lazily reaching over his counter to get things, eyes laden with the weight of the twilight still on them.
“Morning Y/N, are you having fun making your ‘depresso espresso’?” Seungmin clasped a hand on Y/N’s shoulder, kind of surprised that he was up this early on a Saturday. He weaved his voice between Y/N’s silence and took the cup Y/N offered to him, taking him in closer to his side with a tug on his waist. “You know what day it is, right?” Seungmin swallowed the sting of the bitter coffee and cocked his head to hear Y/N’s response, his voice finally settling like the summertime haze that fluttered in the treeline.
“Yeah, yeah I do…” Y/N just stared at the archway where his planned outfit hung on the back of his front door, it’s sat there for a couple days now, as the distance he edged between him and Chan has left him with way too much spare time to mingle with the shadows that Chan’s light often kept back. Y/N let another sigh leave from between his teeth, remembering that text he got from Felix as soon as the juvenile greens of the spring break tinted the air and painted the town.
While Chan was on a vacation with his parents, Felix decided to plan a ‘welcome home’ party for Chan with all of his closest friends for when he gets back. Today was actually the day where Chan would be coming back home and arriving from the airport, and Felix’s hard work and brilliant plan would see themselves realized. Y/N thought the idea was so sweet, but he couldn’t help but think about the hearts Chan and Felix etched into the byline of their love story every time Felix, Y/N and all the rest crammed into the corner of his coffee shop to discuss their party schemes. Y/N could still feel those shivers that clumsily slithered down his back when Chan showed up at his door telling him he was leaving - Y/N remembered how awkward that conversation was, how Chan would avert his gaze every few pulses of Y/N’s hammering heartbeat. It was like middle school all over again.
During the times where Y/N just began to drift away, Chan and Felix were adamant on including him in things, make him feel seen before he hid away in the back of their minds, but every moment spent with them just reminded Y/N of how with one wrong move, one thing unsaid, the sweet nostalgia that Y/N and Chan carried in their hands will never seem the same. He felt like his heart was crushed, ground out like a worn cigarette, but he needed to respect Chan and Felix's relationship despite what he was feeling, it was what a friend does and always will do.
“Let’s get ready then! We all need to be there for Felix so we can surprise Chan, right?” Seungmin yanked Y/N’s sleeve. Y/N remembered his reluctant acceptance of the invitation, a little bit of anguish tugging at his heart, jealousy settling into his skin with a simmer. Y/N hated himself every day for feeling this way, why couldn’t he just be happy for them? “Hello, earth to-”
“Yes, right… I’ll get ready…” Y/N just let his eyes fall to the gaps in his kitchen tiles and hid a frail chuckle as Seungmin reached out to fix the front of Y/N’s hair. Waddling up to his outfit and closing the door after Seungmin left to wait for him, Y/N took the collar of his jacket between his fingers, scraping up a loose breath, and wondered what he got himself into.
“We’re here,” Seungmin turned onto Chan’s street where Felix was waiting for them, the engine of his dilapidated, russet brown sedan humming quietly as Seungmin continued down the road. Y/N nodded and straightened himself in the seat, smoothing out his jacket and letting the golden twines of the sunlight that fell in slivers through the car window and rested between his palms fall to the floor of the car. With a little bit of squinting, he could see Felix waiting on the stone walkway of Chan’s house. All of Chan’s friends, old and new stood huddled near him awaiting their arrival, Changbin, Hyunjin, Jeongin, Minho and Jisung chatting amongst themselves with assorted party foods and coolers in their hands and resting by their feet. They followed Felix’s sunlit gaze out onto the driveway where Seungmin just pulled up, who hummed giddily, excited now that everyone was here.
“Alright, everyone’s here, great.” Felix turned and headed to the door as he saw Y/N and Seungmin step out of their car and catch up with the rest of the guys. “Now let’s set up the decorations and food stations, just like we talked about. I can’t wait!” He stood in front of the door, smoothing something over in his hands with a fond smile.
“How’re we getting inside-” Y/N cut himself off as he saw something held softly between Felix’s fingers, something that caught his eye with a single flash of its amber glimmer. He saw that it was a little gold key that Felix had in his hands, his chest filled with pride. With a flick of Felix’s wrist and a small click behind the lock, they were inside, but Y/N couldn’t shake the fact that he had one that was exactly like it. “Oh…” Y/N never truly had a grasp on how quickly things were moving by without him, how the world continued to revolve around him while his head was still spinning in another direction. Felix was given a house key too… It was only a matter of time…
Y/N thought, though, that he could cling to the warmth of the memory of getting his own when they graduated middle school for just a little bit longer. Now he didn’t feel so special, those times where Chan said that inside the walls of his home, Y/N was always welcomed and safe didn’t feel as sweet as they used to.
That big red door kept so many secrets behind it, held dear so many fantastical stories of two young, broke and socially inept kids that had nothing but each other and a vague, blurry idea of who they were and who they wanted to be.
“I was thinking through the window, but that works too I guess.” Minho tried to break the silence with a little bit of laughter, but by the way Y/N’s bleak expression bloomed with a withered, pekid blush, he probably should’ve refrained a little bit. He heard through Seungmin what had happened that night, and remembered how Y/N tried so hard for too long to force a smile and rebuild his facade that he knew was crumbling just as fast as he scrambled to put it together. He invited himself and Seungmin over with some pizza and drinks to make sure that he was alright, because although he’s only known him for a few months, he knows when Y/N needs someone. The back aches from sleeping on Y/N’s couch still haunt him, but to see Y/N a little more at peace the following morning was definitely worth it, even if it was temporary.
“Hey Y/N…?” Y/N heard Felix call his anime softly from the living room, which honestly caught him off guard for a second. Y/N picked his head up slowly to meet Felix’s kind eyes, but looking into them was too hard, so he just focused on something else while making his way over. He was so perfect, everything Y/N wanted to be, he said everything Y/N wanted to, and gave Chan everything Y/N couldn’t or just kept to himself. It was impossible to look into that gilded gaze of his and ask the devils perched on his shoulders to find a flaw in him. Y/N followed his voice anyway, meeting him at the coffee table and helping him clean the surface of it.
“Yeah, what’s up?” Y/N could feel the memories of them back in highschool crawling up his back and flooding his mind like the winter mist escaping the crack of dawn. The nights he’d spend in Felix’s car cruising down the highways at well past midnight, the makeshift therapy sessions in Y/N’s old backyard, all of the boys in this house going to senior prom as a gaggle of misfits drunk on their final stride through their last semester together.
Y/N had a faint sense of what would inevitably come, but he was not prepared for how hard life would hit them as soon as he flicked that tassel to the other side of his graduation cap.
“I know we haven’t talked in a while, but I’m really glad you’re here…” Felix looked up to see Y/N almost frozen in time, he giggled as he saw Y/N relax and melt back into his motions, nervously bunching the paper towel between his fingers. Y/N didn’t expect that, if he was honest he thought Felix was going to keep his distance based on how he’s been distancing himself from both Felix and Chan.
Even so many years later, he knows when Y/N’s not acting like himself. He doesn’t want to push or pry, but he just wants Y/N to know that he’s there for him.
“Thanks for coming, I know it’ll mean a lot to Chan, and it means a lot to me too.”
“Yeah of course…” Y/N smiled shyly, clearing the space for the punch bowl that Felix turned to get from the kitchen. “I'll be there whenever you guys need me…” Felix grinned brightly and wrapped his arms around Y/N’s waist, pulling him in for a brief but warm hug. Y/N squeezed Felix’s shoulder’s gently and pulled back, and for one fleeting moment he forgot about everything, the sleepless nights that rendered Y/N a sweaty tangle by morning, the constant regrets that boiled over and bit at Y/N’s skin, the feeling of the one thing he thought he’d have forever slipping between his fingers like a cool, spring breeze.
Felix patted Y/N’s side and left the living room to fetch the punch bowl, calling out to Minho, asking him not to down all of their lemonade before the party starts, and nitpicking at the balloons that Hyunjin strung on the archway by the front door. Raising his head up from the kitchen island to peek through a gap in the curtains from the living room window, he nearly dropped the punch bowl nestled in his cautious arms as he could see a flicker of Chan passing by, hauling his suitcases from out the back of his parents’ station wagon.
“He’s here, he’s here! Everyone, to your positions!” Squealing in excitement, Felix caught the attention of all the other boys, scrambling up to the door and hearing the growing sound of Chan’s boots scratching against the stones on his walkway. All the others were anticipating the party as well, with Jisung sneaking in a few nibbles from the fruit platter on the kitchen island and Hyunjin next to him having a mental breakdown on how to arrange the charcuterie board.
Y/N moved into the kitchen and settled next to Changbin, setting up a drink station by the sink, peaking through the front door window to see Chan’s broad-shouldered silhouette bending the soft, silver sunlight to his will. He hid a sigh behind his sleeve, eying Changbin warily as he slid a bottle of tequila right between the lemonades with a smirk. All he needs to do when Chan opens that door with his beautiful, wide grin is to just shove everything aside, all the memories of the shine and happiness Chan held between his lips that always caught Y/N staring, the inhibitions that call out to him on those lonely nights, and all the envy that runs deep in his veins and crawls up in his neck in a livid blush.
That doesn’t sound too hard.
Felix heard Chan fiddling with the doorknob and Felix could barely hold in his excitement, bouncing on the balls of his feet and frantically signalling for everyone to get ready to greet him. Y/N took one more deep breath, bracing himself, but he could feel himself loosening up, the tension running from his back as he could feel a reassuring touch from Seungmin. He just needs to make sure that Chan has a good time, this is a party to celebrate him after all, his accomplishments and his homecoming. He just doesn’t know if Chan will be able to do that with him there.
Chan opened the door to be greeted by an embrace on the other side that nearly plucked the air from his lungs. It’s not the first time Felix left him breathless, and he knows it’s definitely not going to be the last either.
Chan tried to glare back at his parents who hid a mischievous glow behind their innocent smiles, but his happiness overwhelmed him. Seeing all of his friends pile out of his doorway drowned his senses, dipping him into the lavender tides of their glory days together. It’s been so long and Chan really missed his home, the people he’s loved the most really does make it feel that way. Chan melted into the sweet nostalgia that caressed him as Felix hugged him tighter and everyone surrounded him, messing up his hair and fitting in an awkward side-hug here and there.
“All of this? For me…?” Chan was still breathless, his jaw dropped to the cobbles below him and the joyous shimmer in his eyes burning bright. He still couldn’t believe it. “How did you do this…?”
“Yes, all for you, babe.” Felix pecked Chan on the cheek, soaking in the light in his grin. “Let’s just say it took a lot of asking around…” With a cheeky smile, Felix planted a delicate kiss on Chan’s nose, a tender blush flowering under Chan’s face as he pulled back.
Y/N hid a wince behind a flat smile as he watched them together, doing his best to shove down the burning feeling that writhed around in his throat and wondering when it would ever subside. During that awkward period when Felix and Chan would hang out with him, Y/N became familiar with the envy that seethed through his skin and into his nerves and learned to weather the bitter whirlwind that lapped at his lungs with every breath he took. Y/N tried his best to be happy for them, that Chan found someone he loved and cherished but Y/N wanted, oh so badly for that to be him, for him to be the one wrapped in Chan’s embrace and faded sweaters.
He could feel it once again as he drew in a sharp breath, the air in his chest felt coarse like gravel as he watched them cuddle up against each other.
“What’re we waiting for!” Jeongin patted Chan on the back and Felix grabbed his boyfriend’s hand, leading him into the house. Everyone followed suit, elated smiles on their faces, and a bounce in their step Y/N haven't really seen since junior year of high school. “Let the festivities begin!” Felix shouted and took Chan in by his waist, their song of laughter following them through the front door and into the house.
Y/N was glad that all of the boys were together to experience this peace once again, but he knew his battle with the turmoil in him was only just beginning.
The party’s fire burned well into the evening, catchy music dancing to the beat of everyone’s harmonious banter and igniting with the happiness that was almost palpable in every room in the house. To say Chan was having the time of his life was a bit of an understatement. He’s gotten to see, talk to and catch up with all of his friends, old and new, and dangle off the edge of his boyfriend’s fingertips as they danced in the middle of the living room drunk on passion that flowed between their touches and the sting of tequila that flowed crystal clear in their cups.
However, Chan slowly realized something, like the indigo clouds releasing the moon from their grasp. All this time, the hours they’ve ground into the coral sky, and he hasn’t seen Y/N once. If there was anyone he wanted to see other than his boyfriend, it was the one person that stood with him through everything, thick and thin - at least until recently. He didn’t know what he did or what happened that cleaved the divide between them, he honestly couldn’t really figure it out, a cluster of blush-stained tulips and then the rest was history. He felt Y/N slowly slipping away, and what made it worse is that no matter what he said, he felt like the damage was already done, he couldn’t stop it.
Chan knew Y/N was here, hidden somewhere within the taupe walls of his parents’ house, he saw him coming out of the entryway to greet him just like everything else, but the moment he was lost in the blur of hilarity, he lost Y/N in his sea of laughter.
He didn't quite know how he was going to do it quite yet, but all he knew was that he wanted Y/N back. He wanted those mumbles and groans from the other side of the bed at their old flat, he wanted to look into those tired eyes that held the radiance of all their memories and hear the his gentle, melodic voice tell a joke he probably heard on the bus to school four times but they’d laugh like it’s still the funniest thing in the world. He wants that back, he wants to have his best friend again.
“I’m really glad you’re having a good time…” Felix’s words stood suspended in the air by the strawberry sunlight streaming through the windows as he nudged Chan’s cheek with his nose. Chan caught their giggles between their tongues with a kiss.
“I’m having the best time.” Chan sung into Felix’s skin, but pulled back as he saw a familiar silhouette shuffle by in the corridor, the shadows shifting under the ivory ceiling lights and curving against the walls. Chan knew exactly who it was, and now was his chance to clear the air, split the barren skies of senselessness that drowned the peppering of texts that slowly faded between him and Y/N. “I’ll be right back, okay?”
Felix nodded and let Chan go, heading into the kitchen to socialize with everyone else, and Chan quickly strode to the corridor leading to his childhood bedroom. He wandered for a little bit until he found Y/N by their china cabinet, leaning against the wall with a glass of something in his hand. Something, Y/N hoped, that would keep the scorching heat of his jealousy from boiling over.
“Y/N…” Chan’s low hum of a voice snapped Y/N out of his dazed trance. As they locked eyes, everything came rushing back to them, all of the pleasant memories of burning the midnight oil on a music project and singing together at the back of the bus. Every single thing resurfaced as if there was this rough tug on the tide, forcing it to shrink away from the shores Y/N was so consumed by. Chan couldn’t hide his smile, he was so scared that he'd forgotten what Y/N looked like without a frown. “It’s so nice to see you again…” Chan’s words barely breached a whisper, but to Y/N, it felt like every single word he said shook his very core.
“Likewise…” Y/N didn’t know what to say. They haven’t been face-to-face like this since their brief run in at Y/N’s residence building, where Chan told him he was leaving the country for a couple weeks.
“I feel like it’s been ages since we’ve spoken, it feels so weird…” Chan said, scratching the back of his neck. He never thought things between him and Y/N would’ve gotten so awkward, like jamming a square into a circular hole.
“Yeah…” Y/N murmured and looked down into his glass, taking another sip from his glass as he tried to bite back the feelings that rushed up his throat. He hasn’t been this close to him since the day his heart was left in splinters on the kitchen tile.
“Is everything okay, Y/N? You know you can always tell me.” Chan thought their reunion would’ve been a little bit happier, maybe a hug or two, some wide smiles. But here they were, left ambling hopelessly in their silence that almost felt coarse to the touch. There was a time, not too long ago, where Y/N would tell Chan how he was feeling. He would collapse into Chan’s arms on their couch and bury his stories into his shoulders, they would stay like that for hours, soaking in the golden sunlight until Seungmin would break into their room and wake them up.
“I’m fine, I am.” Y/N said, not quite sure who he was trying to convince.
“I don’t know what happened over the last few months, but I really want you back in my life. You haven’t acted like yourself in a long while.” Chan tried to reach out and smooth his fingers against Y/N’s arms and winced as he saw Y/N recoil sharply, but slowly relax. The tether between their gazes threatened to snap. Chan just didn’t know what to do, and helplessly scrambling for ideas in his head isn’t necessarily working. Why was Y/N acting this way? He thought almost out loud.
“A lot’s happened I guess, things change…” Y/N leaned back against the wall and closed himself off, a strange shimmer of sadness washing over his gaze as he looked back down at the carpet below them. He could still see the hurt on Chan’s face, feel it crawling on his skin as they both just stood there motionless. Y/N wanted to say it so bad, why he was acting the way he did, what was festering under his skin.
“No, seriously… Did I do something? It’s like a flick of a switch and I feel like I’m losing you.” Chan tried to steady the angered rasp in his voice. He was desperate, grasping at straws. One moment Y/N was tenderly smoothing his hands against this suit collar, that famous, radiant glow in his smile lighting up the room, and the next he was gone, nothing but a wall of silence between them. If Y/N just told him what he could do to make it better… “What can I do?”
“I don’t know, okay?!” Y/N threw his hands into the air, everything boiling over and spilling out. Chan flinched, pure shock widening his eyes. Ten years and Y/N never raised his voice. Y/N just continued, a tired sob tugging at his chest as he just felt like withering away. “Because the moment you smiled at me, the fucking second I saw your eyes light up I never looked at you the same way…” He raised his eyes to meet Chan’s once more, trying his best to keep his quivering lip still. All of the things he’s been too scared to say, the confessions he’s kept trapped under the heat of the summer sun and scattered by the lakeside now out in the open. “Forever and ever… That’s how long I said I loved you. But you never said it back.” Y/N could feel tears threatening to trip over his lashes, a heat swelling in his cheeks, the concern that laced Chan’s features nothing but a shaking blur now.
“What- Y/N… I always said that I loved you too.” Chan stepped forward and caught Y/N’s shoulders before he could turn away and retreat further down the corridor. He looked deep into Y/N’s eyes and gently wiped back his tears, holding him by his reddening cheeks. Chan could feel his voice sinking into the floor, falling upon deaf ears.
“Not the way I MEANT IT!”
“C’mon, mate, what’re you talking about-”
“The flowers! Those goddamn flowers were for YOU!” Y/N tried to push Chan back, but he wasn’t going anywhere. That didn’t stop Chan from stilling, freezing in time as he played back the memory of Y/N handing him the flowers like a broken record. How could he have been so stupid? How couldn’t he have seen what Y/N really meant, what he was really trying to say all those times where it felt like more than happiness coursing through their veins. He's thought about that moment so many times, but he never caught the way Y/N’s smile fell so quickly until now. “They were always just for you. But I guess the universe did everything in its power to keep me from having you, ‘cause the one day I gathered the courage to finally tell you how I feel, Felix fell right into your lap.” Chan let go of Y/N slowly stepping back as he just stared into nothing. “I couldn’t just stop you from going out with someone you actually liked, so I just stood there…”
“Y/N…” Chan stumbled over his words, trying to find words to say, but all he could do was keep thinking about those flowers and the pain in Y/N’s eyes he never recognized. His rose-tinted high blinded him from all of that, the stars that died between their hands that night, the blankness in Y/N’s face as he struggled to force a grin, but now the guilt started to settle in.
“I really want to be happy for you two. I do, I swear.” Y/N said as he tried to calm himself, slowly easing the quivering in his voice as he rubbed at his temples. “It’s just that every single time I look at you two, I think about how I screwed it all up.”
“There you guys are!” They turned to see Felix prancing down the hallway with a gleeful glow under his freckled cheeks. Felix draped his arms around both of their shoulders, a karaoke mic pinched between his fingers. “You guys are missing the celebration, the fun’s this way!” Felix pulled them in closer, touching his forehead to Chan’s. A subtle smile arose on Chan’s lips, and Y/N just looked out to where the rest of the guys were, maybe their laughter could distract him for a little while. “C’mon you two! The party’s for you anyways, baby.” Felix pecked Chan’s cheek. “No use standing around here! I know you guys still have a few of those senior prom dance moves in your repertoire.”
“Fine, fine. We’ll go.” Y/N let a small smile shine through his frown as Felix squeezed his shoulder.
“Great!” With Felix’s voice cutting the tension in the hallway with the gleeful chime of his voice, he was off and back into the living room with the other guys, but Y/N and Chan stood still, their eyes bound by the quiet surrounding them. Y/N was the first to peel away and head towards the crowd, but Chan stopped him with a soft hand on his shoulder. Y/N just couldn’t handle even looking at Chan in those eyes that would leave him drowning in a sea of stars or hear the voice that would always soothe him on their restless nights. There was no moonlight to hold between their wandering hands anymore, no silver lining to greet them on Y/N’s windowsills.
“We’re not done talking about this, Y/N.” Chan brought his hand down to Y/N’s, holding it between them. He was almost pleading at this point. He wanted to fix this so bad, but he didn’t know how.
“Yeah we are, Chan…” Y/N said into nothing, his hollow gaze averted from Chan. He knew that this was never Chan’s fault, and he cursed himself for all those times he convinced himself it was. “Felix is right, this party’s about you, and you deserve to have fun. The only way you’ll be able to do that is if I’m not here right now.”
Peeling his hand from Chan’s fading grasp, Y/N began to make his way down the corridor, choking back another sigh as he looked back into Chan’s defeated eyes. The sparks that always settled so soundly were drowned out by the way Y/N’s shrivelled, dejected voice rang through the hallway with a run-down melody.
“I’m sorry, I should’ve never brought it up…” Y/N said, barely strong enough to lift it above a whisper.
“Y/N, please don’t go.”
“I’m not leaving, but I’ll be outside if you need me, ‘kay?”
The light’s warped Chan’s breathless voice as he tried to call out, but nothing left his lips, all of the things he wanted to say - the things he felt like he needed to say - knotted up at the back of his throat. All he did was just watch Y/N leave and wrap himself around the corner, a smile plastered on his face as he found himself on the receiving end of another one of Jisung’s conspiracy theory rants. Chan stared at the ground, almost through it, the floorboards warping under the tears that threatened to stumble down his cheeks. He was in awe, like his and Y/N’s little world was flipped entirely on its head, and somehow he felt guilty, as if he should’ve recognized the signs sooner. He just didn’t, and he just couldn’t.
With a deep breath that ripped through him like a wretched sob, he shook his head and made his way back into the living room. Maybe the neon lights and some tequila-laced punch could help distract him until they finish what they’ve started.
The sun finally began to sink into the edge of the suburb that was carved into the horizon, and as the night bled into amber skies, the party was clambering on with its final breath. Some were getting ready to stay the night at Chan’s and others were preparing to leave and commute back to their schools, well wishes and warm hugs being tossed around the main foyer. Now it was just Felix, Chan, Minho, Seungmin and Y/N left in the house to sprawl out in the glow of the twilight.
While Seungmin and Minho were fighting over the guest room so they didn’t have to lay on the hardwood floor in the living room and Chan and Felix were getting ready to share the bed in Chan’s old room, Y/N was upstairs on the balcony resting against the metal railing. When Y/N and Chan were closer, this was the one place he would always be found if he felt like the night dragged along too quickly for him. It was a place to clear his head and listen to the swansong of the night, its cool whispers always managing to make him feel at ease if one of Chan’s back hugs didn’t meet him first. With a breath, Y/N revelled in the blankness in the stoic, night sky - silent, unmoving, even beautiful if he tilted his head a little - as the brisk air circled around him with a chuckle.
Y/N realized that no matter how many nights alone he had now, it was never necessarily quiet, maybe because Seungmin was over everyday, but besides that, having a moment with just him and a clear head just felt so foreign to him. All of his thoughts were clouded with the picture of Chan’s beautiful, endearing smile suspended just out of his reach, teasing him and begging him to just go that distance further. He sighed again, leaning against the railing and losing himself in the small specks of ivory that began to pierce through the sky.
Chan’s voice almost made Y/N flinch as he turned around to meet his eyes in the doorway. By the way Chan was leaning on the doorframe, he could’ve been there for a while - possibly thinking about what to say, where to begin, how to end? All he knows is that he wants Y/N back in his arms and back as his best friend again, but he also can’t stand to know that just standing here causes Y/N so much pain. He stepped up slowly, a soft smile on his face as he joined Y/N by the railing, settling down next to him. He heard Y/N take another deep breath before replying.
Chan remembers those faint summer nights where they would be out here together until the sun rose again, back when they were invincible, elastic hearts and silver tongues. It feels colder than normal, and it took everything in both of them not to just move a little bit closer to each other, to concede to their gravity that has barely faded even after so long.
“I know you hate unfinished business as much as I do… Can we please talk about this…?” Chan looked at Y/N, nibbling down on his lip as he watched Y/N turn around and lean back on the railing. Y/N drew in a deep breath to let the midnight breeze soothe him for at least a flickering second before he had to dive back down into the deepest of his regrets. Despite everything, Y/N felt a slight relief in seeing Chan’s face again, it was as if he didn’t age a day since the day they had met. It was only six months apart, but without each other it trudged along like years.
“Sure, I got Seungmin so save me a spot on the couch, he’s literally unmoveable.” Y/N said as he tried to let a smirk seep onto his lips, “Changbin spiked the punch and he’s been out cold since seven; but I also promised him cuddles if he did.”
“Nobody can resist your cuddles.” Chan shone a reminiscent grin, when they looked at each other, it was almost as if they were thinking of the same thing. Y/N missed that so much, the wavelength they waded on together.
They stood in this oddly calming silence, this comforting melody of the chatter between the wind and the trees easing the tension in Y/N’s chest. Maybe now he might be able to finally tell him.
“You remember when we were still living together…? The music internship I was looking at last semester?” Y/N asked, letting a bitter laugh leak quietly from between his teeth as Chan nodded excitedly. “I got a spot.”
“NO WAY!!!” Chan didn’t even care about the rips in their tapestry as he dove in for a hug, wrapping his arms around Y/N’s waist and pulling him close. Venice was so far away, more than one coastline that their memories have probably washed ashore, but he couldn’t be prouder of him. It was the one thing he wanted, the thing that teemed at the front of his mind with every minute that passed by. He knew that one day Y/N was going to find his way into the next generation of talent - he was the next generation of talent to Chan - and here it is, fully realized. He just wished he was there for it, just like they were when they both got into college, huddled on Y/N’s bed and yelps of excitement carrying them through the entire summer. “Congrats, mate!” Chan pulled back to see Y/N smile for the first time tonight, no forced shimmer, but the glow that ignited under his cheeks whenever he and Chan were together, the one that was filled with so much inspiration and bliss. “See? You were worried about nothing!”
“I know, I know…” Y/N almost forgot how good it was to melt into Chan’s embrace again.
“So… When d’you start- oh my God! Did you tell anyone else?!” Chan was shaking Y/N by the shoulders now.
“Actually I did, I told the boys before you got back. They were overwhelmingly proud of me. Felix hugged me like an accomplished mom…” Y/N braced himself with a tense exhale, smiling softly at the way everyone congratulated him. It was almost like everything was normal, like life didn’t tear all of them apart after high school. It felt so good, but Y/N knew he couldn't latch onto that fleeting nostalgia forever. “I also leave tomorrow.”
“W-what…?” Chan tried to hide his shock and distress, but with the way Y/N’s already shrinking smile deflated, he knew he was doing a poor job. “Tomorrow, really? They must really want you…”
“I chose to go early…” Y/N scratched the back of his head, now that he and Chan were finally covering ground again, rekindling their flame, now his choices are going to cut their freshly woven twines apart again. “Before tonight, my mind was pretty made up, and the choice was a lot easier than I’d hoped. I just thought that I’d need to give you your space, Channie…” Y/N could feel himself choking on his words, struggling to get them out again. Chan stepped closer, though, nodding along to every stutter and taking their hands between them, fingers resting between Y/N’s. “Because every time I look at you I realize all the mistakes I’ve made, all the feelings I shouldn’t be feeling and remember every single time I’ve cursed Felix under my breath for ‘taking you from me’… I should’ve never even thought about doing any of those things, and you were never mine. You’re your own person with your own feelings. Felix is so kind and gentle and loving, and you deserve the best… That’s Felix…”
“He is the best, isn’t he…?” Chan giggled dryly, realizing that the hands that settled in his are slipping away faster than he thinks. “But Y/N… I appreciate you respecting my relationship and all, but you shouldn’t base your entire decision based on it.” Chan’s eyes glimmered with this heart-wrenching pain that made Y/N want to pull him in and never let go. “You don’t have to leave because of it…”
No matter how tight Chan held onto Y/N’s fingers, it felt like he was already gone, already halfway across the globe.
“Ever since I couldn’t build the courage to take you by the hand, all I can think about is what could’ve been… It hurts so much…” Y/N squeezed Chan’s hands, moving his touch to his shoulders. He could feel a searing heat carving rivers into his cheeks, one that no matter how many times Chan wiped away at them, couldn't stop. “However it was also my dream, and going there means I finally get to prove myself, make my dreams into a reality. I know you’re gonna achieve yours too, you’re going to do so many great things and I can’t wait to be by your side to see it happen...” Y/N couldn’t see Chan nodding along, as all he was through Y/N’s eyes right now was a blur and a sad smile. “I’m gonna be far away, I know, but I’m not going to let distance separate us again… I’m a phone call away, okay?”
Chan doesn’t want to see Y/N go, for him to slip by the doorway and this time, not come back for maybe even longer. But for Y/N to spread his wings and soar into the skies they’ve always dreamed about touching, that’s what he’s always desired for his best friend. “Y/N… If it’s worth anything, I’m very proud of you too…” Chan said, a fond smile rising to the surface as he clutched Y/N’s hand.
“That means the world, it really does…” Y/N grinned as he looked into Chan’s eyes, a flash of all their glory days rushing through and around them as the emerging moonlight fell upon their shoulders. “I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll be gone in the morning…”
“I’m gonna miss you so, so, so much.”
“I’m going to miss you too…” Y/N said, biting back the sour string that festered in him as he could see Chan’s supportive smile falter. “See you-”
“WAIT!” Chan didn’t even let Y/N get past the threshold of the doorway before throwing his arms around him and pulling him into one last embrace, one he felt was to be one of their last. If not that, then one of the few and far between.
He sobbed into Y/N’s shoulder, pulling him in closer, and poured his everything into it, the light of all their early mornings breaking the light of dawn with their laughter, the warmth of their springtime nights watching the rain dance along the window pane like molten silver, all of the heart-to-hearts they’ve shared over the dying breaths of their fifty-cent ramen. Y/N was his everything, he’ll continue to be the first person to ever believe in him, to ever make him feel worthy of the things he was always too scared to do.
“I love you.” He blurted. He wants Y/N to know it before it’s too late, to make up for all the times Y/N needed his love the most.
All Y/N could do was let a grin shine through, the song of Chan’s adoration igniting the sparks in his skin and setting aglow a happiness in him that he hasn’t felt in so long. It was everything he ever needed to hear, the end of a chapter sealed by the midnight blue that carves the legend of two boys with nothing but a harmony on their lips. Whether it’s just a few snow-capped rooftops or an ocean lit ablaze by their ambition, Y/N will always be on the other side.
“I love you too.”
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happy pride! 🌈
🏳️🌈HAPPY PRIDE MONTH🏳️🌈
Every day is a celebration, but the month of June is where we recognize and celebrate the 2SLGBTQ+ community and all of its beauty, joy and diversity.
This is your opportunity to be proud and love yourself for everything you are - all parts of you.
To me, pride is an achievement, a moment of recognition of our value, purpose and the love we share in all its wonderful shapes and forms. Live your best life, you deserve nothing less.
From the bottom of my heart, wishing all of you a wonderful pride 💛!
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How are you? How's school? Are doing fine?
Don't over work yourself!
Be sure to take breaks and rest^^💛
School has definitely been a burden, but nothing can't handle 😅.
But thanks for asking, I'm doing my best to get some stuff out these next couple months, the workload's been dense, though.
I appreciate it a lot anyways! I'll make sure to 💛!
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Hello uhh, I feel guilty because I sorta requested two from you, sorry😅 you don't have to write them if you have alot of requests though, I'm serious you don't have to, I don't want to stress you out^^
(I requested a bang chan x male reader and lee minho x male reader, the enemies to lover ones)
Again, I'm sorry
Hello! Please don't feel guilty, my requests are open for a reason.
In fact I feel like I should be sorry for not putting out requests that quickly 😅.
Don't worry about it though, there's no need to feel bad at all. I'll do my best to get through all the requests, I promise!
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suburban superstar; park jisung
(11,538 words) - size
summary - Old friends Jisung and Y/N recollect fragments of their past, their worlds colliding inch by inch as Jisung searches for an opportunity to restore the beautiful friendship he let burn to the ground.
A/N: Hello 😊! If you want a little bit of context on what’s going on during a good chunk of this story, the prologue is a good place to start. However, if you just want some good ol’ fashion Jisung content, then I don’t blame you. Happy reading 💛!
prologue - mark - renjun - jeno - haechan - jaemin - chenle - jisung
Ending 1 of 7
Y/N clung to his sweater as he made his way outside, shoving himself through the side-exit and towards the picnic tables by the baseball diamonds. He always loved the way little flowers bloomed under the shadows of the seats. When he's with Renjun, they would always pick them and put them in each other’s hair as they studied for a test the afternoon of.
The breezes carried this faint tint of the jade greens of the cedar trees by the edge of the lot, it whispered in his ears with a whistle and a chuckle just as he tried to focus. He didn’t mind, though, as those silent conversations he had with the sky, stoic and resolute as it always was, gave him moments of peace that were so few and far between nowadays.
Flicking out his phone, he texted Renjun that ‘it was fine, that he didn’t need to make up for anything.’ He sighed, looking at Renjun’s text again, reading between the lines - even if there was only one line…
He never realized how many times Renjun said sorry for nothing. Y/N always felt a little annoyed before he felt guilty, and that made his regret dig a little deeper. ‘I’m free tomorrow, though, there’s something I need to make up for.’ He sent another message, sighing into the drafts that carried him high above the clusters of roofs by the basketball courts.
He always sat at the same table whenever he came over here, after all it was the best place to see the afternoon sun rest upon the silhouettes of the larger trees in the distance. The amber blush of the sun carved the shadows into shards as the leaves above him rustled and murmured to themselves.
Y/N opened his books and set his pencils and pens up, letting them roll into the tight groves of the table so they couldn’t go flying anywhere. Not even halfway through the first question and he already regretted all of his life decisions.
He heard the rattling of the cages by the baseball diamond and the increasingly rancorous chatter from where the red sands were kicked up by the varsity baseball team. He just shoved an earbud in and kept focusing, still unravelling the chord with one hand and holding the pages down with another. His attempts to get lost in the warmth of the sunlight fell victim to their captain, Jeno, and the barking he was doing towards his team. They were currently doing warm up drills, and some of them already heaved like they were a few innings in. The way Jeno’s voice cut into them, he could never forget the rasp that underlit every word of his. Y/N felt scared for anyone who messed up. It was almost meticulous, how Jeno did it, the way he made Y/N fall prey to everything he said. It was like he wanted to leave some sliver of Y/N’s confidence left so he could pick it apart for later.
It’s been several minutes and Y/N’s made relative progress on his homework, scratching away at some rustling papers as the breeze settled under his fingers and ran through his hair with a delicate hum. He snapped his head up to catch some flyaway papers and locked eyes with the next batter by accident. This time, though, he couldn’t just look away.
Even from a distance, he could still find himself swallowed up by the gold caught in Jisung’s eyes - he could never forget the way they glimmered under afternoon sunlight. It just made him miss Jisung that much more.
Their stare, though, caused Jisung to miss the pitch, and Y/N could see the fear coarse through him as Jeno stepped up with his stern voice telling him to get into focus. Was Jisung always that scared?
Wait… Should Y/N really care at this point? It’s not like Jisung did anything for him when he was scared, it’s not like he called him when his sheets did nothing but tangle him up and stayed on the line until the lavender flush of the early sunrise began to stain the horizon. It’s not like on those late nights alone, where he could’ve used a friend to tell him that everything was okay, Jisung would be there, in a minute tops, to distract him from his thoughts with their favourite ramen..
At least, he didn’t do things like that anymore...
Even when Y/N wrenched his gaze away and stumbled back over to his seat with his stray papers, Jisung couldn’t keep his stare off of him.
Did the sunlight always ignite that glow under Y/N's cheeks? Or was he just glossing over fond memories? Jisung couldn’t help it though, as he set his helmet down on the bench and wound around the bleachers.
Y/N always had this sixth sense of feeling when something stirred in his friend's minds, and even when Jisung left him in the dark - lonely and friendless - he never lost it no matter how many times he tried. A faint glance across the cafeteria and he could see that false veil of security and happiness. It looked so painful, that plastered façade… This time was no different to those. He could already feel the whirlwind from his seat.
That comment about Renjun being Y/N's ‘fake best friend’ struck chords with both of them. Y/N’s heartstrings ached since Jeno plucked them from right between his ribs, and Jisung couldn’t get over how Jeno said it either. The way Y/N froze made him think over so many things, about why he was putting off the very apologies that tripped over themselves in his thoughts and threatened to burst out at any moment. Every moment.
Y/N looked up and saw Jisung shyly trotting over. It must have been a mistake, there’s someone behind him, maybe his new best friend, someone he cares for as much as he did Y/N. Maybe they now have all those little notes flowering with affection that Jisung would always slip between the notches of Y/N’s locker door. He still has them in fact; they’re veiled in swathes of dust, but they still sit at the bottom of his closet, a memory not so abandoned anymore.
Jisung finally made his way over to Y/N’s table and stood cautiously by its corner.
Jisung didn’t know why he was there, now of all times. He didn’t know if it was too late and if he missed too many nights where they would perch themselves on the roof of Y/N’s house and watch the stars, nothing but ivory pinpoints threading together the indigo clouds swathing their night skies. As for Y/N, he didn’t know either, he hasn’t been this physically close to Jisung in a while, other than those awkward few minutes when they would bump into each other around the corner near the science department.
That was where they would usually wait for each other to finish their separate classes down that hall. Jisung would peer in from across his chemistry classroom, seeing Y/N in the doorway through his smudged lab goggles - a blur and a smile was all it took to get Jisung grinning too.
“Hey…” Jisung finally cut through the tension built in the breeze surrounding them. But the moment he tried to step through, he felt something pushing him back, maybe it was because they couldn’t look each other in the eyes. The same eyes with those same little glimmers Jisung would count and name as Y/N dozed off in their history class, but somehow it just felt so different.
“... Hey…” Y/N tried to catch his breath as his brain felt like it was short-circuiting. He had so much to say, so much to ask. He wanted to yell, to cry, but nothing came out but a shrivelled mumble. He couldn’t bring himself to look upwards, instead seeking comfort in the way the grass danced and whistled in sync with the chatter between the leaves.
“Is that tonight’s homework? It looks like a lot.” The words in Jisung’s head came out so different. ‘I’m so sorry’, he tried to say, ‘I miss you’, his mind chanted to him. He just kept swerving around it.
“Yeah, you didn’t catch it?” Y/N nervously tapped his fingers against the table, something Jisung still knew he did when he was anxious. He had every right to be.
Jisung wanted some sort of punishment for turning his back on the one person who ever loved him for who he was, the one who accompanied him on his perilous journeys through life he knew he couldn’t have made it through without him. He wanted Y/N to grab him by the shirt collar and yell, but he knew Y/N could never. He’s not the yelling kind of guy, but he might have changed… Maybe the Y/N who whispered everything he said when the sky got dark faded away with the dimples in his smile. Then again he rarely saw Y/N happy anymore either.
“I probably didn’t see it on the board on the way out.” Jisung scratched at the back of his head and let a chuckle trickle from his strained smile.
“Oh… Why don’t you wear your glasses…?” Y/N froze when he said that, his eyes widening as he looked back on the freshman Jisung who spent half an hour using the blue light of the broken dawn to determine whether he wanted to wear his black glasses or his very, very, very dark grey glasses. Y/N would always pick out the thin circular ones he never considered, and Jisung would take it with a relieved sigh. He told Jisung quite a few times that they made him look like a ‘cute little nerd’; the coral sunlight caught in Jisung’s blush as he said that is still something that Y/N can never seem to scrub from his conscience. He also remembered when Jisung wouldn’t even need to spend the night before planning anymore, he would just swipe the same circular glasses every time.
“I… Uh… I don’t really wear them anymore…” Jisung’s voice shrivelled up as he saw the way Y/N stilled. He can still see them in his dresser drawer, probably tucked under something with the amount of rummaging he’s been doing recently. He passes by them every day before he grabs his phone and his wallet, and Y/N’s words do as well. He was taught by his ‘friends’ that they were an obstacle towards his social success. They were an impediment to his image, and without them, he was told to think that he looked cooler. His new friends and baseball teammates always instilled in him that nobody would respect a ‘cute little nerd’, that he needed to ditch that and anybody who would have gotten in his way.
Regret churned in his stomach, twisting and tangling whenever he would remember agreeing to that. He was so desperate to fit in, to blend in and not stick out like a sore thumb at any cost. Even if it was to cast aside the one, singular person that embraced all of his qualities.
“Oh… Yeah, right…” Y/N trailed off.
“It’s probably why I couldn’t see that fastball either…” Jisung tried to ease a little more laughter into their makeshift conversation, but he could just feel it hitting a wall, slumping down in a heap where all of his nervousness laid to collect.
“Yeah…” Y/N looked down, thinking about how much they changed, how much they grew. Jisung was able to burst out of this protective little shell that encased them. Why couldn’t he? Why did he cling onto the past so desperately? Maybe it was because the sunlight always seemed brighter with Jisung around, he never needed to try to smile or to feel the warmth of happiness flutter in his stomach to the beat of the butterflies in Jisung’s. But it seemed that it was always more important to him than to someone who always said that they’d have his back, that their promises in freshman year were nothing but ashes to the winds where they used to soar together.
"What is he doing here...?"
Both of their heads snapped up to one of the many voices that taunted from the baseball team emerging on them. They fanned out with Jeno in the center, his arms crossed and his teeth grinding together in a concealed snarl as they marched upon Jisung and Y/N. Y/N knew they weren’t talking about Jisung, as they actually held a little bit of civility towards the way they treated him. It was the way they looked at Y/N - repulsed, like he was some sort of pest, the remnant of some sort of plague they've been coerced into avoiding. Y/N wanted so badly to tell them to look at themselves and see who was truly ill.
"I thought you were over those kinds of people." Jeno said from the head of the pack, his glare never leaving Y/N.
“It’s nothing... I just need to catch up on calc...” Jisung stammered, desperately trying to iron out the shakes in his voice that trembled under his nervous laughter a few moments ago when they were alone.
“Oh, so suddenly you decide to get help from this poor excuse for a living failure?” Jeno’s words made Y/N flinch slightly. Is that really how people thought of him as they saw him walking down the halls? He really didn’t want to care, but it hurt so much to hear it vocalized, to hear that ideal fully realized in someone. Even someone as ruthless as Jeno.
“You talk some mad shit, Jeno...” Y/N spoke up. Closing his book a little harder than he meant to as he rose from his seat. He was tired of constantly being bludgeoned by Jeno’s remarks, and he had enough of being too scared, nervous or hesitant to truly speak up for himself.
“And what? I think I’ve proven that I can do much more than that.” Jeno let a chuckle slither out from his sneer, he separated from the pack of other players and stepped forward.
“Y/N- wait, Jeno-” Jisung let his instincts take over - this primordial rush of abandoned feelings unlocking - for the first time in a long time, and shuffled closer to Y/N, standing in front of him.
Y/N was just as surprised as Jeno by the way JIsung stood in between them, but he wasn’t going to get caught up in it. Jisung was probably doing it to save himself, after all, that’s why he left, wasn’t it? To save himself from the ridicule of the classic social hierarchy.
“I don’t care what you do. No matter what it is, I know that I’m not the one peaking in high school.” Perhaps Y/N did feel a little too safe behind Jisung’s shoulders as he brushed by him to look right into Jeno’s eyes. But he felt his breath catch in his throat as soon as he saw the sparks in Jeno’s scowl flare up. The glimmers of the setting sunlight settled into their skin, but nothing compared to the flash of anger that flourished in Jeno’s eyes in a way he never liked. A slow, gradual burn etched into Y/N’s confidence, the once steady winds around them shaking under the pressure of their stare.
“I never knew you could give so much lip. Is it ‘cause you think Jisung’s gonna protect you now for some reason? He’s with us now, he’s one of us. You need to get over shit you don’t have anymore.” Jeno stepped closer, and all Y/N could do was stammer silently, a semblance of yearning glimmering in his eyes as his gaze flickered over to a conflicted Jisung.
Jeno was right, he always found a way to be right. Y/N was clinging to a fantasy at this point, a moment in his life where everything was fine and dipped in the honey of golden laughter and parades through sleeping meadows.
“Jeno, chill. There’s no need to get physical.” Jisung held his hands up. He couldn’t get over the way Y/N looked at him, this pleading flicker in his eyes. It tangled his stomach and strangled his thoughts.
“You think I’m really all bark and no bite?! I’m stronger than ten of you!” Jeno marched closer, his pace picking up and his breath ravaging the air, tearing through it.
“Big words for a guy with a brain the size of the baseball you whiffed.” Y/N couldn’t keep words from tumbling out, no matter how hard he tried, but he just wanted to say anything he could to hurt Jeno back.
“Y/N, please… What’re you doing...?” Jisung whined, his breath hitching as his voice faded into the warming air.
“Fuck you, Y/N!” Jisung’s feeble attempt to step in between Jeno and Y/N was swatted away by the former, the baseball captain shoving Y/N back by the shoulders, then taking a fistful of his shirt. He jostled a speechless Y/N around, watching as he cowered under the intense wildfire that twisted and tangled between Jeno’s clenched teeth. The glint in his eyes as they bore into Y/N’s, battering at the hands that pried at Jeno’s grip. “Jisung, give me his bag.”
As soon as Jisung defied him, his grip on Y/N tightened, a pain coiling in Y/N’s chest. He didn’t know if it was Jeno’s hold on him or the constant heartbeats he skipped like stones by the riverbank Jisung would always take him to. Even now, he remembers how they would lay down and let their laughs trickle into the blues of the Saturday sunrise.
Another member of Jeno’s team tossed him the bag instead, not forgetting to rake their shoulder against Jisung on the way back to the bleachers. Jisung tried to step up, but his trepidation coursed through him in a shiver of molten guilt. Shakes in his hands made him choke on his words - a tangle’s-worth of a sputter tripping over his tongue.
“I have who I need to have, Jeno.”
“You never know when to shut up.” Jeno’s voice was quiet now, settled like the evening mist upon the grass, but somehow, that bit in deeper than when his voice was raised above the tree line. As Jeno rifled through Y/N’s bag with his free hand, he pulled out his water bottle, letting the rest fall to the ground in a forlorn heap on the dirt-scorn ground. He popped off the cap with a measly flick of his thumb against it. A smile, feigning pity, swelled on his face. Y/N flinched and quivered and tried to step away, but Jeno’s grip kept him in place.
“What the- JENO!”
Jeno, with a jerk of his shoulder, poured all the water over Y/N’s head, soaking every inch of his head and shoulders. With a snicker and a shove, a half drenched Y/N was sent stumbling to the ground. Y/N couldn’t do anything, say anything, except for the meek whimper that was forced out of him as he landed on his hands.
“Have fun walking home... Next time, watch your mouth.” Jeno threw his bag back on the ground and began to turn away, this triumphant feeling swelling in his chest. But he couldn’t help but feel it deflating as he took one more look. It didn’t matter, though. He taught Y/N a lesson.
“Jeno! What the hell?!” Jisung called out, turning Jeno around by a handful of his jacket. Jisung’s voice crumbled between his heavy breaths, the way Y/N still sat on the ground, his eyes, dejected and glassy, hovering over his lap. Jisung could feel something driving into his heart, ripping it apart slowly with every time he looked back at Y/N, soaking wet on the ground, scrounging up whatever papers Jeno didn’t mess up.
“Don’t tell me that you’re actually doing this right now!!!” Jeno shoved Jisung back. “Fuck off Jisung?! Why suddenly do you CARE?!” Throwing his arms up in the air, it was now only them three at the table where Y/N’s head was hung low, trying to keep the tears from spilling out and the pain in his chest to stop burning so much.
“Yeah…” Y/N finally croaked, looking up between still dripping locks of his hair. He didn’t bother to wipe or dry them. His fingers were caked in mud, and the frigid bite of the cold made him shiver. Jeno stripped him of any dignity, whatever resolve he had left probably trickling down his spine, under his shirt. Maybe it was already on the ground, fluttering away with the breeze that felt as if it was taking pity on him. “Why do you?” Y/N tossed his hands up now, voice weak and frail, the stars in his eyes that Jisung never failed to marvel shrivelling up and collapsing with every quiver in his muffled cries.
“What…? I’m defending you!” Jisung instantly regretted raising his voice as he saw Y/N flinch and wince against another gust of the breeze against his wet shoulders. He looked at Jeno, who stayed resolute, but silent. The baseball captain didn’t know what to say, and maybe that was for the best.
“Oh really? Well it’s been about a year and a half too late, Park Jisung.” Y/N looked up at the Jisung he couldn’t recognize anymore. This wasn’t his best friend, and with the way he left him, maybe he never was. He spent so long chasing shadows of his past, desperately trying to catch up to faint memories of their laughter as they rang in his ears. He’s been waiting so long to have Jisung back in his arms, but everybody around him has made it very clear that it is never going to happen. It’s nothing but a delusion, a wavering hope dangling on the edge of his daydreams. “I’m done…” Y/N just grabbed his empty bag and broke towards the parking lot, trying not to let the cold beat into him as he rounded the corner of the school. He was so tired of trying to force the stars to align, it was finally time to let them die.
“Y/N! Wait!” Jisung called out again, the coral-tinted sky warping his cry. “Y/N!” Y/N was already gone by the time he heaved another breath.
“So I’m guessing you’re gonna go collect that mess?” Jeno finally said something, his voice easing between the cracks in Jisung’s. His voice was low, almost a mumble. All Jisung could do was scoff in response, he could feel the patronizing lilt in the way Jeno let the words roll off his tongue.
“Jeno… That was fucked up.” Jisung kept his eyes on the corner, though. He could still see Y/N’s tears, an image etched into his memories. He never liked seeing Y/N cry unless it was from laughing too much, like those times he had to tickle Y/N as hard as he could so he could finally get his game controller back. But those sobs from Y/N’s lips, they were a whole different melody, and he could feel it wrench his heart and twist his veins whenever he saw Y/N’s face contort with the sadness he vowed to never let Y/N feel since they met. He’s failed Y/N so many times...
“Try not to be too late for the party tonight with your babysitting…” Jeno looked down too, the weight of the sunlight bearing heavily on his shoulders, more than he ever thought it would. He couldn’t read the feeling that bubbled in his stomach, boiling over in the way his voice faded into a grumble. Maybe it was the way he grabbed at Y/N that made his hands quiver afterwards, or the sputtering Y/N made when Jeno doused him and whatever shreds of his spirit he had left. He never, ever actually laid his hands on Y/N in that way before, no matter how many times he said he would. It felt so different than what he had imagined.
“I’m not going. Maybe that’ll give you some time alone to think about whatever the hell you just did.” Jisung shoved past Jeno, ignorant of whatever punishment he may receive as the only thing on his mind was Y/N. He grabbed his gym bag and took off around the corner, hoping that Y/N wasn’t too far gone.
“Whatever…” Jeno said into nothing, the flares of anger in his eyes wavering as he caught one last glimpse of Jisung staggering around the corner.
“Y/N!!!” Jisung whipped himself around the corners of the school, calling frantically for Y/N as his breaths grew rough and burned the back of his throat. He saw Y/N’s silhouette in the now dimly lit street lights lining the entryway to their school, his shoulders still shaking and his body completely soaked.
Jisung kept up his pace, he was only a few seconds away. He already let go of Y/N’s hand once, he wasn’t going to abandon another opportunity by giving up.
“Y/N! Wait!” A flicker of hope struck in Jisung’s chest as Y/N turned around slightly, the tears carved into his cheeks making him stagger in his bolt towards him and he could feel his heart sink a little bit.
“WHAT Jisung?!” Y/N said with such pain in his voice, his sob sent the sunlight to shudder, convulsing to his own heavy gasps for air.
“I-I…” Jisung heaved as he tried to get his words out, following behind Y/N who desperately tried to pick up his pace to a speed walk, but Jisung kept himself on Y/N’s heels. “I’m sorry... Let’s just get you inside.” All Jisung cared about at this point was getting Y/N out of the cold. No matter how warm the embrace of spring was, the breeze bit into them both, sparing not a single ounce of mercy. It just wanted to be left alone at this point, for all the chaos weaving between the clouds above to seize.
Jisung caught Y/N’s shoulder and turned him around, gesturing back inside the building. The lights were still on, which means they still had enough time to get Y/N changed before they locked the doors.
“I’m fine.” Y/N mumbled under his breath, the trickles of water from the back of his head winding down his spine causing him to wriggle slightly. He just wanted Jisung to go away for the first time in his life. He wanted those eyes to stop settling on him like a spotlight, for that touch to stop feeling like a beacon in his void of loneliness, and for his voice to stop resonating in his chest with the warmth of their yesteryears. He wanted to shrug Jisung’s hand off so badly.
“It’s really cold, and I have a change of clothes... Please.” Jisung pleaded, trying to push his gym bag into Y/N’s hands, but Y/N just swatted it away.
“I said that I’m fine.” Y/N's voice raised slightly as he tried to turn back around and started walking again, he gritted his teeth as he heard an echo in his footsteps behind him. Why didn’t Jisung let up like all of those other times and go back to his new friends? “I’ve been fine on my own for a while...” Y/N coiled his arms around himself, the only thing keeping him warm other than the fond memories that erupted from Jisung’s touch on his shoulder and that reassuring squeeze he would always give him that morning of a big test. Jisung was his everything, and he just cut him off with no explanation. He was rendered helpless, and he felt like he deserved it for some time.
“Let me get this straight.” Y/N snapped as he ground to a halt, stopping Jisung in his tracks with a flinch. He shoved a finger in Jisung’s face, biting back the longing and disquiet in his voice as he felt another tear roll down his cheek and drip from his chin. Jisung fought every urge to just wipe it away. “You whiff a fastball, and all of the sudden, feel like you can ‘please’ your way back into my life?” Y/N stepped forward, face a hair’s breadth from Jisung’s as his anguish instantly flooded back into his voice and wound in his chest.
Jisung put his hands up to Y/N’s shoulders tentatively, but didn’t push him back, didn’t make more distance. He sighed into Y/N’s silence, “I know that I can’t explain everything I’ve done right here, but you’re soaking and it’s all my fault… I’m so, so, so sorry. For everything, absolutely everything, Y/N.” Jisung cleared his throat, a hoarse groan gathering at the bottom of his chest looking at the way Y/N stilled in his grip. “But I swear I can and I will explain, please. Let’s just get you changed, and then I could drive you home…” Y/N stepped back, eyes on the pavement. But Jisung continued anyway, gesturing towards the parking lot that stretched out from the edge of the sidewalk. “I don’t want you to get sick.”
Y/N couldn’t find his words no matter how far in his chest he pressed in to find them. And he couldn’t help but shiver as soon as Jisung’s touch melted off his shoulders. This is what he’s always wanted, for Jisung so come back to him and finally say sorry for deserting him, but the memory of Jisung is so worn into his mind that his image has been weathered. Now that he’s here, he doesn’t know if he wants Jisung back anymore. What if he leaves him again and breaks his heart right after stitching it together?
But what if he didn’t? What if Jisung meant what he said this time. He could feel Jisung contorting himself to put their promises back together, their mending fragments in his hands as he clasped them together in a knot of desperation.
“You still remember-”
“You're only just down the street. I never forgot where you live…” Jisung stepped forward, reaching out to gently hold Y/N’s hand, but he flinched away. He wasn’t ready for that yet. A smile still shone on Jisung’s face under the darkening sky, the streetlights almost cutting out as the radiance of Jisung’s happiness made the frigid tremors in Y/N’s chest fade slowly.
He remembered those white nights they spent in Jisung’s room, his bean bag chairs as their thrones as they remained kings of the twilight, playing video games and telling stories until Y/N’s head would fall on Jisung’s shoulder. Jisung would always love how the silence in Y/N’s breath strummed at the twines of the moonlight that fell upon their wandering hands in ivory slivers.
Y/N could still see Jisung passing by in his car every morning. They used to walk to school together, eyes bright as the jovial glow of the newly risen sun. Sometimes he still forgets that they live in the same world, they were so far apart now it felt like Jisung’s voice was dancing on a different horizon.
“I’m not giving you any gas money.” Y/N cautiously took the gym bag Jisung still held, outstretched in his hands. He was hesitant, very hesitant to take it, as it was basically an invitation to revisit a past Y/N finally accepted as behind him. With a sigh, he started towards the entrance, rolling his eyes as soon as he caught the glimmers of Jisung's hopeful and expectant gaze. Jisung chuckled, looking at Y/N and how he tried to bite back the smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
“The last thing you owe me is gas money...”
“That’s the correct answer…”
The drive home from school teemed with this silence that burrowed under their skin like an itch. All there was to dissipate the tension still pulled taut between them was the faint hum of Jisung’s radio. Y/N was a little less soaked now, a few stray droplets of water scattered in his hair and tracing his lashes. Jisung couldn’t help but stare at their sparkle when he hit a stop sign and the setting sunlight poured through his windows. Still, Jisung’s clothes felt so big, yet tight on him - not warm or comforting anymore like they used to be. Jisung’s spare white T-shirt scratched at his neck and he had to keep pulling on the collar.
Jisung could feel Y/N’s stillness from across the car, and it pained him knowing the promises he made of the sunset stained memories they could’ve made together like they talked about. He always told Y/N that as soon as he got his driver’s license they would stowaway in whatever run-down, rented station wagon they could find and explore past the emerald hills of their town they've already run dry. They would explore the beaches and dance together in clementine tides, Jisung would play his guitar for Y/N as they sat together, huddled in the open trunk as they watched the sun sink into the water, it’s golden glow swallowed by the pearls of the ignited sea. He still has some stray papers crumpled in his dresser drawer, the songs he wrote for Y/N.
Now, though, he pulls up to school everyday without Y/N in the passenger seat, probably trying to talk over the echo of the bass ringing in their ears. He ditched his old station wagon and let the shine of his bright red sports car capture everyone’s attention and wish they were him. At some point he had to like that… Right? All he knew now, though, as he pulled up near the edge of Y/N’s driveway is that there was no way they had enough space in the trunk to huddle together under a mound of unreasonably thick blankets as they watched the clusters of stars they only dreamed of seeing past the tree line.
“Uh-” Jisung snapped back to reality as he caught Y/N shifting uncomfortably in his seat. “Here we are…” He trailed off, words hanging lifelessly from his tongue.
“Thanks… For the ride. And the shirt. And the towel...” Y/N said, nodding his head as he listed things off and looking over to Jisung with a smile. His response was silence, so Y/N turned back around to open the door until he felt a hand hover on top of his for a little while until it finally decided to settle, fingers resting between his on the center armrest.
“Wait.” Jisung was going to regret it every second if he just pulled out of the driveway now. This was his opportunity, his shooting star. This was his chance to finally prove to Y/N that he meant everything he said, and he wanted Y/N back in his life; he would wait for ages - as long as it takes. He just knew that those few hundred years would need to start either now or never. “You haven’t had dinner yet, right…?”
“Nope. I’ve spent the better part of my afternoon and evening getting tormented by your baseball captain.”
“Right…” Jisung winced at the way Y/N rolled his eyes, but Y/N already knew what he was getting at, what was rising to the surface of his thoughts. With a sigh, Y/N gestured towards the door with a little head nod and slinked out of Jisung’s car with a groan into sunset-tinted winds. Jisung happily followed, the hopeful shine that laced his features making Y/N force another smile down. “Your parents wouldn’t mind…? I know it’s been a while.” Jisung also thought about what he’d need to say just in case Y/N kitchen happened to shrivel into embers with their cooking endeavors.
Jisung fell behind Y/N on their walk up to the front door, all of these old memories rushing back into his head making him stop to catch a breath. The way it all fell on him like the heavy November sunlight shook him more than he thought. This very doorway lines their precious memories, a gateway into sanctuary, he had no idea how he lived a year and a half without seeing it everyday, he didn’t even spare it a glance a couple times.
“They’re out on business, I’ve had the house to myself for the past couple days.” Y/N fumbled with his keys and unlocked the door, and Jisung could still see something draped over Y/N’s hand from a fine, silver chain. It held a familiar shimmer, one that brought him back all the way to their middle school graduation.
They bought matching keychains for each other at a small kiosk down the street of their old school, a symbol of their memories that would keep them frozen in time as a daily reminder of the symphony the beats of their hearts echoed into their once hopeful future.
“You kept it.” Jisung tried to clasp a hand over his mouth, but he was already by the doorstep, eyes attached to it. A fond smile spread across his lips, but he couldn’t help but catch a faint somber flush bloom on Y/N’s cheeks, withered roses tugging at his frown. “The keychain, the one I got you.” Jisung pulled out his keys too, and there it was between his fingers, his half of their Lego heart keychain. His compulsion dragged him closer to Y/N to put them together, and Y/N did nothing but let Jisung take his wrist in his delicate grasp and snap them together. There it was, the silhouette of a little red heart etched out by the amber glow of Y/N’s porchlight. Y/N just stared at it in awe, he almost forgot that it had another half. “I still remember that smile the old lady gave us as we were sorting through the ‘couples’ keychains sections…”
“You kept it too?” Y/N just kept eyeing it, and the way it dangled between them, the words in his throat nothing but a tangle of silence and lost breath. “I thought… I thought you forgot about me…” Y/N choked out a breath, resting his arm on the door frame just as he pushed his front door open.
“Never… I never did, Y/N…” Jisung shuffled closer, he wanted to hug Y/N so bad. “It was a constant reminder that I needed to make it up to you and bring back the old us.” Jisung hung his head, dejected as he bit back a sob that stung the back of his throat like a shot of gin.
“But you DIDN’T!” Y/N’s cry trembled under the raising of his own voice, “I’ve been waiting forever on the end of the line for you to call me and explain everything… But you got new friends faster than I ever thought you would and left me to fend for myself in a world that would’ve eaten me alive if it wasn’t for you… I spent two summers crying for you and thinking that this was all my fault because of who I was and that I was never good enough for someone like you...” Y/N pivoted around to meet Jisung’s gaze, tears freely ripping down his cheeks. “I’ve wanted this day to come since forever… Now I don’t think I can do this.”
“Please, Y/N… I know I screwed up, and I know it’s late…” Jisung stepped forward, looking deep into Y/N’s eyes, his dishevelled whine of a voice sinking further into the welcome mat below them as he watched Y/N scramble to wipe away his tears. “But I’ve finally come to my senses, now that I have the opportunity and now that I’ve finally taken the time to see how much I lost the day I let this stupid high school come between us; I’m never letting you go. Never, ever again…” Jisung brought his hands up to Y/N’s smoothing his fingers across Y/N’s knuckles as he brought their entwined hands to rest between them.
Y/N tried his best to study his breath, but it only became harder as he saw tears trickle by the edge of Jisung’s lashes. The way Jisung clung to his hands, this desperate frailty in the knotted fingers between them, this wasn’t the old Park Jisung, but it wasn’t the new one either. Y/N finally steeled himself and brought Jisung’s hands to his chest slowly, carefully. Jisung let a sob break free with the inhibitions in his heart and threw his arms around Y/N, burying his head deep into Y/N’s shoulder. The way Jisung’s words buried themselves in Y/N’s heart and ignited his chest, it was unlike anything he’s ever said, not even those like random motivational speeches he would make partway down the hall on their way to history. He could feel it, a silent echo coursing through him like a warm embrace.
“I want to be back in your life so badly, Y/N… Please just give me this chance.” Jisung croaked and Y/N couldn’t help but caress Jisung’s back, working to thread his fingers through Jisung’s hair in this soothing rhythm that always resonated through his touches back when they were younger. Whenever they used to have a hug like this, whenever they were scared, mad or sad, their hearts would always race like the sound of summer rain drumming against their windows, but their touches would remain as soft and smooth as the sunlight that graced them the morning after.
“I’m not that hungry…” YN started and stepped further into his main foyer, taking Jisung’s hands again and leading him inside. Jisung’s grin lit up the dark entryway all on it’s own, even before Y/N tapped on the switch. “But there is something I want to show you, if that’s okay.” Y/N trailed off as he worked on wiping Jisung’s tears away. No matter what happened, no matter what rumbled through their skies, Y/N was always there to pick Jisung back up and let him spread his wings. Jisung wanted to be that safe haven for Y/N too, and that started now.
“Of course…” Jisung laughed as Y/N squished his cheeks together, the radiance in his smile pulsing through the hallway. Jisung took his sleeve and began to rub away the scars of Y/N’s tears too as he loosely kicked off his shoes. “It hasn’t changed, huh…?” Jisung looked around the main hallway before following Y/N, catching the glare of a few picture frames in the corner of his eye. Images of him and Y/N still hung on the wall, their families together like he didn’t drive the knife through their colourful tapestry already. It felt like home whenever he was here, and he was only reminded of that looking through the doorway and at the picture of him and Y/N standing on the edge of a lush green field-scape. Memories of that day flooded through him as if he lived it yesterday, the lavender flowers they tucked in each other's hair and the stories they told under the canopy of the large willow tree that crouched behind them in the photo.
Y/N remained silent for a little while before they got to the landing of the staircase. “Not really… My parents wouldn’t take these pictures down for sentimental reasons, they thought it added ‘character’ and ‘warmth’ to our home…” Y/N sigh was hollow and colourless, but Jisung hopped up the stairs to meet Y/N and hugged his arm, a comforting and reassuring brightness in Jisung’s eyes as he stared up from the step below Y/N. “Don’t worry… I didn’t wanna take it down either. It reminded me of how happy we were together, that precious feeling was something I could’ve never found again.” Y/N smiled as Jisung continued his stare, his gaze washing over Y/N like the comforting summer breezes that wound around his fingers. “Sorry, I know it’s dumb.”
“No. It’s not.” Jisung cut Y/N off midway through his eerily somber laughter, his grasp around Y/N’s arm tightening. “I wish I did the same…”
“Fine, you win.” Y/N couldn’t help but falter under the scattered starlight in Jisung’s eyes and chuckled. He patted Jisung’s head and he reluctantly let go.
He gestured towards his bedroom and Jisung followed eagerly, watching with awe as Y/N pushed his bedroom door open. It was just like he remembered, at least the feeling of them stowing away up here to keep to themselves. They were more than fine with being lonely together. They said and told to each other so many things in this room, he could still feel the sweetness stain his skin as he passed through the doorway and slowly ambled into the center of the room.
“I know we’re on a little bit of a nostalgia trip right now, so I thought this would be as good a time as any to show you a few things.” Y/N trotted over to his closet and searched around at its base, eventually dragging out an old, tattered shoebox caked with a film of ash-like dust. “How does dust even get in a closet?” Jisung followed Y/N’s call to sit next to him on the carpet by the foot of his bed and they both blew the dust off the top. “Also, since you’re here, if you wanna take any of this stuff back home, you’re free to.” As they popped off the lid, Jisung let his shock leave his mouth agape as he looked over the things in the box, a trove of memories calling out to him in the way they glistened in the moonlight from Y/N’s window.
“I’ll never do that. They’re yours…” Jisung watched as Y/N put a couple small pictures between them. One was them on their first day of high school, Y/N joined the yearbook club and his favourite thing was catching candid photos of Jisung being a mess. Jisung remembered when they were squabbling about how to take a selfie with a cinderblock of a camera until a sophomore who could’ve probably felt their pain from the classroom by their lockers offered to take their picture for them. They made a pair of those pictures and kept them pinned to their locker door for ages. It’s been so long since he’s smiled like that too, one so filled with this radiance and joviality he never seemed to have the energy for anymore. Only Y/N was ever able to make that happen, to fill his life with colour and make him so happy his cheeks hurt with every night they spent together. “I still have mine on my dresser…”
“Really…? I didn’t think you were the sentimental type anymore.” Y/N said sifting through a few more things, catching Jisung’s giggle and forcing down the blush soaking his cheeks. He paused as he reached a brown leather notebook, one Jisung got for him to jot down his thoughts. The ideas Y/N had, they were like poetry to him, the fantasies they would carve into the evening haze as they rounded the corner to the pizza place down the street are something he’d never forget. With that notebook, they could both look over them together. Y/N smoothed his fingers over it, feeling its weathered leather under his hand and all the times he conquered the midnight sky writing into it. “Here.” Y/N passed it over to Jisung, but he pushed it back into Y/N’s palm.
“What’re you doing…? That notebook’s yours, it’s special to you.” Jisung shook his head.
“Yeah, but so are you… You could make some songs out of the stuff in here, and maybe you could play them for me sometime.” Y/N extended his arm to give it to him again, and this time Jisung reluctantly took it, his grasp on the book faint and tender as if it were glass.
“That sounds like an amazing idea…” A grin pulled at the corners of Jisung’s lips and he brushed a hand through Y/N’s hair. Maybe when the time is right, he could come over with his ukulele and strum a few chords on Y/N’s bed. Y/N was always his muse, that spark of creativity that would always keep his heart in it and the one who was always tied in his heartstrings. “That’s where my sweater was!”
“Oh yeah!” They broke their stare as Jisung dove into the box to take out a dark red hoodie, raising it in the air with a flourish. Y/N looked back fondly on the night Jisung gave it to him, a scarlet embrace for when Jisung wasn’t there to do it himself. It was always more than cotton and polyester to him.
“Does it still fit you?”
“What? I- Um…” Y/N staggered over his words and straightened himself against the footboard of his bed. “I dunno, we grew a lot.”
Y/N would be lying if he said he didn’t slip it on once or twice on his loneliest of nights, their memory was enough to clear his skies at the time.
“Put it on! You always looked better in it than I did.” Jisung couldn’t help but keep the smile on his face as he watched Y/N put it on, still faint hints of the summertime breeze on the collar. No matter how much growing they did, Y/N still swam in all of his clothes, swathes of maroon fabric draped around him like the first time he slipped it on in Jisung’s room, a few days before he had to go on a week’s vacation with his parents. Y/N reminisced on his trudge through that week, day by day, sunrise by sunrise. Every second felt slower without Jisung during that time. “You look so cute!”
Jisung brought Y/N into his side, arm coiled tightly around his shoulders. The way Jisung’s touch skipped sparks across his skin is something he’s never forgotten, and he could feel the flames of their happiness rekindling between the racing beats of their hearts as Y/N cuddled in closer. Jisung could feel something welling up in his eyes as he drew another breath and rested his chin on Y/N’s head, starlit memories feeding into the fires under his fingertips and Y/N’s soft laughter soaking into his chest. He clutched a handful of Y/N’s hoodie between his fingers and wanted this moment to last forever; this single second where he smiled into Y/N’s hair with tears in his eyes, this intangible feeling of joyful melancholy that made his heart ache in the best way.
“Wait… What’s this? I’ve never seen it before.” Jisung raised his head to see something in a dark frame at the bottom of the box. He and Y/N lifted themselves up and moved over to sit on the edge of his mattress as he took a closer look. It was a collage of some sort, he tried to make it out, but after a while, the tears catching his vision in a blur rendered him speechless. He hugged Y/N tighter as he wiped his tears and looked over the framed collage of them together. There were pictures of where they’ve been and images of where they always dreamed of going. Like snapshots of their memories pulled straight from their heads, blissful dreams that used to be so much more brought to life in a beautiful composition of past and future.
To them, anything was possible, everything was possible.
“Y/N…” Jisung saw a little polaroid tucked in the corner of the frame. It was a photo of Jisung kissing Y/N on the cheek during Christmas, their happiness immortalized in the ivory wash of the camera’s flash. Y/N had no regrets wearing that mistletoe headband to their Christmas party.
Jisung brushed over it with his fingers and he could still remember the flush in Y/N’s cheeks, as dark as the shiraz on the dining table and as deep as that winter night. “This is beautiful, what’s this for…?” Jisung could barely speak, words but a shard of a whisper.
“It was something I was gonna give you before you left for university - I was just saving it until then… I was hoping to give it to you on your birthday because I know those abroad programs gave you opportunities that this small town could never have. It was maybe something to remember me and us by - a reminder to never forget that I’m always here for you and to keep looking forward and working hard on the dreams you never stopped talking about.” Jisung giggled as Y/N pulled back from their embrace, Y/N’s hands scratching at the duvet as he wedged his lip between his teeth, “I got antsy and wanted to give it to you on your birthday sophomore year instead… But you never texted back…”
“Y/N… I’m so sorry…”
“No. It’s not okay… I’m gonna make it up to you, even if it takes forever.”
Jisung couldn’t help but stare a little longer and feel a grin itching at the back of his throat. The way Y/N hunched over and kept his eyes on the stripes in his duvet, hands nervously wringing the fabric between his fingers as the starlight filtered in and set his gaze aglow with the magic of all their late mornings collapsed on the floor. He wants every second back, every single one he wasted hoping for something to arise in him to catch them.
“Can I kiss you…?” Jisung couldn’t hold it in, and now it was his turn to look at the ground, not knowing if he needed to regret what he just said. Y/N snapped up, eyes widened and words ripped from his chest. The way Y/N always made him feel; maybe he couldn’t find the words to articulate it, but he’s finally old enough to realize what it was. How the sparks in his chest danced with every one of their conversations and the way his breath caught in his throat very Y/N linked their pinkies together on their way to class. People like Y/N are one of a kind, and he almost cast it all aside as if Y/N didn’t always paint him gold with his voice.
“What- I...” There was a pause in the air, so short yet so long, everything hung still, even the shadows. “A little forward, don’t you think?” Y/N’s words beckoned Jisung to look up and meet his faint smile. Jisung released a breath he didn’t know he was holding. He scrambled for air, but the way Y/N’s fingers grazed against his leeched it from him again. Y/N shuffled forward a little bit, and all Jisung could do was be pulled into his gravity, careening in his orbit.
Jisung’s hands rose cautiously to Y/N’s waist and took him in, and all he could think about was bringing Y/N’s body closer. Even closer. The moonlight through the window enveloped their bodies as they entwined their lips, slowly, softly - an alignment of stars burning straight through them. Jisung could sense the fear that clung to his skin melt from his body as he felt himself collapse in Y/N’s arms as they reached up and around his neck.
There was never a moment where Jisung felt more at home - stuck safe between four walls and a pair of hands at his cheeks - yet so liberated at the same time, His lips on Y/N’s feeling like a key’s been turned to reveal a cloudless heaven where he’s allowed to fly free despite his flaws. The way their kiss ran between their mouths like crushed velvet was a feeling they’ve both dreamed about several times, where the midnight air cloaked them just like this, letting the starlight settle between, hovering over them with an ivory glow.
Y/N was always so used to his skies being grey, clouds looming over his head like Jisung’s touch was on his waist. But with the tentative circles being sketched into his skin, he almost forgot how safe and clear they could be with Jisung guiding him through them.
A sickly sweetness stuck to their fingertips as their touches wandered across their skin, the scarlet in their cheeks burning their hands as Y/N’s moved up to thread them between locks of Jisung’s hair. A shine between their lips followed as they smiled into their kisses, a slow burn of unbridled happiness taking their breath from their chests, bit by bit as Jisung pressed Y/N down into the bed.
An ocean of all shades of blue rippled around them, the moonlight caught between their gazes fluttering like the spray of the sea in their earliest summer memories and soaring like the sparks lit between their stray hands that are always able to find each other.
“You're so beautiful, Y/N.” Jisung opened his eyes and pulled back, basking in the glow of Y/N’s small smile as he pushed himself up. Jisung scrambled to hold his hands. Stray touches sailed across Y/N’s knuckles and they just looked at each other, staring deep into the galaxies forged within their stares, “And I miss you so much…” Jisung’s always wanted to do that, to take Y/N in his arms and kiss him like he was never going to see him again, their last sunrise to cross together. What scared him more is that he actually almost never saw him again. Jisung leaned in and pecked Y/N on the cheek, a heat stirring in his stomach when he heard a small giggle, and hands work their way up to his cheeks again.
“I missed you too…” Y/N never thought he’d get to hear those words from him, once upon a time it was just a fantasy, a veil to throw over his head so he didn’t have to see his circumstances. Now, with all the wishes taken between their lips and fading into the moonlight, he feels like he can be okay.
Y/N looked out his window to see the darkened sky, an indigo tint staining the streets and the glimmer of starlight peeking behind the clouds.
“I think it’s dark enough to see the stars.” Y/N sat up from the bed, his fingers still entwined with Jisungs bringing them both closer to his windowsill. He still remembers the days where he and Jisung would find enough space to squeeze on there together and watch the stars pierce the violets of the night like memories of the morning. They’re way too big to fit now. “I have a shortcut to the roof through the attic if you wanna come watch them with me…?”
“I’d love to…”
Y/N gestured for Jisung to follow him as he made his way out into the hallway outside his bedroom, the handle of a trap-door-like hatch protruding from the ceiling. Y/N rocked on his tiptoes to bring it down, biting back a scoff as Jisung shuffled behind Y/N and helped him keep his balance by holding his waist. The wooden ladder folded outwards like a steep staircase and Y/N immediately began to climb, looking over his shoulder with a smile as he saw Jisung nervously put his hands against the rungs. Y/N made sure to ease Jisung through it with a few words of affirmation and a huge tug on his arm as he neared the top. He didn’t want their first day reliving better times to lead to a broken bone.
They made their way onto the roof through a window Y/N cranked open, helping Jisung gain his footing and waddle towards the ridge of the roof before he climbed out and did the same. It’s been so long since Jisung did this last, climbing as high as they could to dip their heads into the rich, sapphire stained skies of yesterday. He never realized how much he needed this quiet, nothing but them and their heartbeats to play along the line of the horizon as they watched the silvers in the moon and the stars thread between the clouds like a massive tapestry.
“This is amazing, Y/N…” Jisung propped himself back on his hands. Y/N brought his knees to his chest, sighing as Jisung let a hand wander through his hair, brushing up the back of his head. Without Jisung, these moments never really felt the same, the stars felt isolating, taunting because at least they had each other. Y/N and Jisung felt like the sun and the moon at one point, no matter how hard they pushed, they were always on two earths, living different truths, different stories. It felt good to see Jisung’s hands eclipse his again - they were always so huge anyways. “I feel like a king up here.”
“We used to call ourselves the kings of this street, remember?” Y/N laughed softly, thinking about a world that once revolved around their linked pinkies.
“Oh my God! Of course I remember!” Jisung shot up, a smile wide.
“We just used to do whatever we wanted, but the one thing was that we always stayed together…” Their grins faded, the one re-plastered onto Y/N’s face held this ironic glimmer in it. Jisung couldn’t help but feel a sharp simmer fester in his stomach, a kiss deep into the night and he still hasn’t explained himself. Why? “Why did I hold on to these things…? You already moved on, and I was still trying to cling to the past and imagine you were still with me… I was so stupid…” Y/N fiddled with the drawstrings of Jisung’s sweater, the weathered ends bringing back fond memories of their recklessness, how open they were with each other. He bit into his lip and could feel his own type of guilt, one he couldn’t quite place, but knew all too well. “I feel horrible. Maybe I should’ve let you move on, every time you looked at me you saw the past…”
“No Y/N.” Jisung said, a ring of stern clarity cutting through the low hum of his words. He took Y/N’s hand in his, Jisung not taking his eyes off Y/N, even when he kept his head down. “You’re not stupid, and none of this was ever your fault. I’m the stupid one for forgetting all that we’ve been through.” Jisung could feel Y/N’s breath ease a little bit.
“Why did you? Was it really that easy to let go of everything we did together?” If anything Y/N just wanted to put it to rest. Shut the door on his thoughts of what may have been and put a full-stop in his endless hypothesizing. The kiss was decent closure, but he needed something else to turn the key and throw it into the emerald coastline. He just needed an explanation, a reason for why everything in his world was turned on his head.
Jisung realized that despite all the time they spent together - the minutes passing like seconds as they relieved flashes of their old memories together - that he never did what he set out to do tonight, what he promised Y/N he would do. Y/N did deserve an explanation, that and so much more.
Jisung shuffled in his spot and looked up at the stars, the brilliance of the ivory clusters in the sky, caught in his gaze, easing the breath he held between his teeth. He didn’t think he had anymore left in him since the burn of Y/N’s lips on his still left this blissful sting on his tongue.
“It hurts, actually…” Jisung started off, and he could feel Y/N’s head turn to look over him, eyes low, tracing the notches in the shingles below them but he could tell he was listening, Y/N was always the best listener. “I regret every day I walk by you in the halls and see you without me by your side. I've been trying this last year to make it up to you, at least thinking about how I would do it. But I thought I missed my chance, I was too late to come to my senses and realize what was going on around me - what I was doing to you…” Jisung turned around, fully facing Y/N, his hands searching in front of him to hold onto Y/N’s - the soft glow of the moon against their skin helping him find them. He linked their fingers, and Y/N gave him a reassuring squeeze. No matter how dark it was, no matter how deep the sea or how high the mountain, he could always see the radiance of Y/N’s grin from wherever he was, it’s always what sent him careening for the cosmos, drowning in their dreams. It’s the first thing he saw when they met on that first day of school, dressed in the embrace of the copper sunlight and dungarees. “I took us for granted just to gain a footstool on a social ladder that really isn’t there… I was so desperate to be with the in-crowd that I forgot about what made you and me so special, that we were our own crowd, that the two of us was all we needed, and that you were all I ever needed to feel loved, fulfilled and proud to be me…”
Y/N heaved a sigh and collapsed into Jisung’s arms, leaning his forehead on his shoulder and murmuring unintelligible things into his bunched up sweatshirt. He needed that so badly, he didn't know how to explain it. Jisung rubbed Y/N’s back soothingly, wrapping his arms tighter around Y/N’s waist and bringing him closer. The way Y/N just fell into him, it unleashed this trickle of sparks in his heart, ones that danced with a flurry of mixed emotions. He felt relieved to feel Y/N’s breath seep into his skin, but he also felt awful for hiding this truth for so long, for not saying that he adored Y/N when he actually needed that love the most.
“Thank you Jisung…” Y/N lifted his head and leaned in, meeting a pair of lips on the other side, starlight melting upon their bodies in a fray of glimmers and everything rushing back into their heads like a winter flush. If it felt like this every single time they kissed, echoes into their past, present and future, a song of their reclaimed time, Jisung never wants to let go, he’s never going to let Y/N slip between his fingers ever again. “That means the world, coming from you, I really appreciate it.”
“Of course… I really mean all of those things, I do.” Jisung caressed Y/N’s arms and they turned back to the illuminated sky. Y/N was pulled into Jisung’s side, his gravity always too strong for him to resist cuddling into. They found themselves lost in the stars revolving in a faded ivory vortex, woven between indigo clouds. Y/N could feel themselves swaying slowly to the rhythm of the pitch black tides of the night. “Thank you, Y/N, for letting us start over… I love you.” Jisung whispered into Y/N’s hair, words hanging by a thread as Y/N’s hand reached up to his and pulled Jisung’s arm tighter around his shoulders.
“I love you more, Park Jisung…”
“That’s not possible...”
They stared out into the night, stars fading one by one as the twilight haze swept over the sky. If it could be a blank slate for them every night, then there was no reason for Y/N and Jisung to not do the same thing. They were their own cluster of stars, stuck in their own orbit, in their own world. And as they felt their horizons meld together in a slow, seamless dance, everything felt easier. Y/N can’t wait to start anew, a fresh page on the desk for them to start sketching in memories, they’d be able to fill it up in no time.
The sunsets were theirs to reclaim now, and they’re both gonna make sure that they’ll be together long enough to make sure they can carve their names into those blush-tinged clouds from this day onwards.
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prologue, dear dream; nct dream
(2952 words) - medium
summary - As the prologue, this story begins the deep dive into the perpetually lonely life of high-schooler Y/N and all the boys that make that possible. This is only the beginning, but the ending is in the hands of those willing to write in their own pages.
A/N - Since I thought of this as a story that would lead to multiple endings, one for every member. It would be cool to hear what any of you thought, because I’ve been pondering on these for a long time and I think a lot of you would appreciate it!
Y/N scraped up a loose breath, whatever dignity he had now scattered on the cobbles leading up to the entrance of his high school building. Every day was like this, the stare of the sun hovering over him like a helicopter parent, the springtime breezes that once carried a sweet sense of nostalgia as it caressed his cheeks and played with his hair now gone. How quickly his freshman fire withered, a bouquet of flames he held in earnest kicked to the pavement and ground out like a worn cigarette. Who knew a year and half could hit this hard?
He pushed through the doors and the chatter instantly flooded his mind, as if it passed through and vibrated inside him. All he needed to do was just roll with the punches at this point, because clinging to when times used to be better never worked for him. Visions of sunflower fields and the melodies of seamless laughter feel so far away, yet they look so close. Those memories teased him so, beckoning him just a little bit further knowing he was trapped on a ledge, a precipice of regrets that left him with his head in the thunderclouds.
“Hey!” All Y/N could feel was something stumbling against his shoulder and the next thing he knew he was on the ground, books played around him, he snapped his head up to see across from him was Chenle. He wanted to pretend he didn’t know him, but hell would freeze over if somebody didn’t know who their star basketball player was. Y/N just stayed frozen on the ground, stuck and rooted, cogs in his mind unlocking one by one as he realized he was the only one left on the ground and people started to stare. “Are you okay?” Chenle stalked forward and bent down to help Y/N with his books, not without rolling his eyes and having an exasperated sigh. Y/N just rose sharply to attention, trying to pick up as much as possible, but Chenle’s question fell over deaf ears. “Hello~” The best point guard in the district waved a hand in front of Y/N’s face, singing into the air that grew more still as Y/N caught the glimmer of Chenle’s black and red letterman jacket.
“Uh- Yeah…” Y/N finally managed to choke out, words trembling on the edge of his lips as the embarrassment creeped onto his neck and sunk into his skin in a deep red blush. “Thanks…” Y/N felt like he was trying to cram a circle into a square hole, was there nothing more he can say than that? A tangle of words was caught in his throat, he couldn’t get it out.
“Don’t worry about it…” Chenle gestured with a curt head nod, short and sweet. “Better me be more careful, though. I got places to be, and I’m pretty sure dropping her just made Jane Austen turn in her grave.” Without a second thought or even one more of his animated waves, he brushed past Y/N’s shoulder and left towards the gymnasium. Y/N just shook his head, jostling himself out of his trance of silence and moved on.
He ducked around the corner, clutching his textbooks tighter to his chest - because dropping your books two times? Come on - until he reached his locker. At least the cool metal against his fingertips was something that would always stay constant, something he could always rely on to greet him on weekday mornings. He did his combination with a few flicks of his wrist and put his books inside with a sigh, but his sigh was cut short when he felt an arm ease around his shoulder. Y/N turned his head and cracked a smile as he saw Renjun leaning into his side, his curly fray of silver like a star in the night sky. Renjun’s been his best friend since midway through sophomore year, he’s the faint light at the end of the tunnel for Y/N sometimes, somebody who is always strong enough to pick him up when he’s down despite him never being strong enough to win a fight over who pays for their milkshakes or morning coffee.
“Hey…” Y/N trailed off as he sifted through his locker for one of the many things he dropped on the floor just a few minutes ago, his anthropology textbook. No tumbling on the ground no matter how much or how hard could ever erase the layer of dust that a lot of the teachers say is ‘a little bit of character’.
“Sorry I wasn’t free yesterday, just had a lot to do…” Renjun nervously scratched at the spine of his own textbook, biting his lips as he rocked on his toes, back and forth like a pendulum. He looked up at Y/N, the tension bound in his chest easing a little bit as he heard Y/N chuckle, or was it a scoff? On occasion he could tell, even psychoanalyze him, but even now, partway into their junior year together and he just couldn’t tell how he was feeling sometimes.
“Why’re you apologizing, it’s fine…” Y/N's voice fell to a whisper as he caught the silhouette of a passerby that looked way too familiar. One that carved out many of his childhood dreams where everything used to be so simple. He tried to look away, break the tether that always keeps him attached to this ideal, but he knows it’ll resurface every morning until calculus makes him too stressed to think about it. It was like a shift in the tide, how those sauntering shoulders made him feel, memories of promises made under gilded skies always washed ashore when he wanted them the least.
The figure turned around only to lock eyes with him, they probably felt Y/N’s stare scratch at his neck and preen at his thoughts like the voice of a bad conscience.
Y/N forgot how different Jisung looked without his glasses.
Renjun tried to regain Y/N’s attention, but he didn’t know if he could. Suddenly he felt too small, as if his hold onto Y/N’s hand was a little too loose. It’s not fitting like they always said it did. He wondered if Y/N saw it too. Their conversations were like guilty pleasures, but now he just felt guilty every time he held Y/N past midnight on the phone, and always wondered if his laughter was with him or for him. All he wants is Y/N to be happy, and he knows Y/N wants him to be happy too…
Y/N looked back at Renjun, catching that faint glimmer of his downcast expression. He nudged his chin up, garnering a giggle. “That’s better… Is everything okay?” Usually Y/N wasn’t the one to ask this question, it always hung on the tip of Renjun’s tongue, standing idle, because he knew high school hasn’t been easy on Y/N, on either of them. He’s been a ball of perpetual sadness since midway through freshman year. One year before they graduate and he’s still holding onto whispers in the past. He has his moments with Renjun where he feels at peace, like nothing can touch him, but whenever they pass something in this stupid town, something always still has a mark his former self left, a constant reminder of who he used to be. Memories of everything, everywhere stain his mind, mar him like scars.
Whether it be walks on strawberry sunshine or carving his hands into the cool winter air, a shadow was always cast down on the light he’s always so desperate to keep close.
Y/N closed his locker, realizing he’s been holding his Anthropology textbook the entire time and groaned again. By the look on Renjun’s face, he knew he wasn’t going to live this one down anytime soon.
“Are we ready to go, good Sir?” Renjun stuck his arm out, brushing past Y/N’s question. He bit back his whine of relief as Y/N slipped an arm around his own.
“Yes, indeed I am.” They let their laughter flutter and dance with the ivory sunlight pouring through the hallway windows and peeled into the hallway traffic, waves of chatter finally realizing themselves as they detached from their little world, a realm where all is just a silent, cloudless sky except for them and Y/N’s belly laughs, one Renjun wishes would be forever. They were just about to head into their homeroom until someone stood in the doorway and didn’t move, the dull shine of a red and white nylon sleeve was in the way and made Renjun’s eye roll clock a seven on the Richter scale.
All Y/N could do was heave another sigh. Dudes in jackets just seem to be in his way as of late. This dude, though, he wasn’t random. In fact, he knew him all too well.
Lee Jeno was the one thing standing between them and making it on time for class. He was the rock and the hard place, and Y/N feels like Jeno’s made it his priority to make sure that his high school experience is as far from peaceful and normal as possible. It’s like he has a checklist, a quota of insults he needs to meet.
His presence could be felt around the corner like a heatwave, and that look in his eyes, a dark brown void that held nothing but the slightest glare of sports-captain narcissism. Every time he opened his mouth, it felt like his voice dug under Y/N’s skin, and his words were like embers lapping at his thoughts. He wasn’t shy of abusing his power in the school, as becoming a prevalent varsity baseball player has its perks and privileges in the status quo. Y/N stepped back as he saw Jeno’s friends crowd behind him - even people like Haechan, people he’s never met - a swathe of people who just stared at him blankly. He knows he’s not the only one, that’s what makes it hurt a little bit more. That when he’s done with Y/N, peeling back his insecurities until he’s nothing but nerves and bones, he moves on and does it to somebody else like it's nothing to him.
Y/N picked up his gaze to see Jisung hanging back, lips pursed. He remembered when he used to smile as they locked eyes, but now as they did, all it did was let the sparks in Y/N’s heart ignite not like the lights that traced the wayward paths in the forests near their childhood homes, but a poison. Thoughts crossed his mind of Jisung wanting to say something, but Y/N wouldn’t humor himself with hopes like that. Jisung just sat there, just a whisper of wind in Jeno’s storm.
He saw Mark, too. They've been lab partners a couple times. Their relationship has always been transactional, a study session here, an accompaniment to the back corner lunch table on another day. Sometimes they would even define themselves as acquaintances.
Jeno clicked his tongue. Ever since he transferred to Y/N’s class to redo his English credits and stay on the varsity baseball team, he hasn’t seen Y/N shuffling to his seat in the center of the room anymore. No more faint embraces of Renjun’s organic tea clinging to his sweatshirts. Y/N couldn’t handle Jeno heckling him from the back row, though; or staring him down and burning holes into his skull as he did so much as think. It felt like Jeno’s stare was hovering over every word he wrote, and it felt as if he was breathing down his neck, waiting, anticipating for a slip up in hopes of bringing it to light under their teacher’s desk lamp. It’s not like Jeno knew any more about rhetorical devices than he did.
“Didn’t see you in class yesterday, too scared to show up?” Jeno chided, folding his arms as he looked over Y/N, who subconsciously took Renjun’s arm and guided him behind his back, the weight of their stares heavy on his shoulders. Renjun maintained his spot, though, the comfort and warmth of Renjun’s reassuring touch made the quiver’s in Y/N’s voice settle just a little bit.
“Did you really miss me that much? Didn’t think you paid attention…” Y/N cocked his head and lifted an eyebrow, soaking in Renjun’s laughter and even a subtle giggle from Mark. He let his chest swell slightly with pride, because he knew that sooner or later, either today or tomorrow, Jeno would make it his mission to stifle his confidence.
“You better watch it, Y/N.” Jeno strode forward, threatening to get in Y/N’s face, but Mark held him back by a fistful of his jacket. “You can’t skip class forever, and you only get so many chances to be a flake. Maybe someone’s gonna have to tell our teacher what you’re actually doing.” Jeno had a low rumble in every word he said, a scorching hiss in the raising of his voice.
“What ideas do you have in your head, Jeno? I bet they’re so riveting and inspired.” Y/N rolled his eyes, him and Renjun making their way towards the classroom. They didn’t even care if the bell already rang in its ear-piercing shriek, and if it did, their vexation surely deafened them.
“You know what-” Jeno forced himself in front of them, Mark wasn’t there to hold him back and make him look less stupid, so Jeremiah pushed himself into Y/N’s space. He let a soft, yet sinister chuckle ease from his lips. “You really don’t want to know, Y/N? Because our connections to the admins at this school will make sure that they stay as a stain on your record…” Jeno’s smile grew wider as he could see the confidence behind Y/N’s eyes fade like a withered flame.
“I think it’s time for you to back off and stop being a dick, Jeno.” Renjun interjected, feeling Y/N’s speechlessness from behind him, a bitter shiver coursing through his spine.
“I’m so scared~ you got your fake best friend to stand up for you?” Jeno’s remark made Renjun falter and stammer, his words cutting deep. This made Y/N trip over his words, too. Jeno knew exactly what he was talking about. It’s like he dug under the patches of marigolds that lined his front porch and unearthed his deepest qualms - the trepidation that burned into his skin as a daily reminder. Was Y/N’s longing for nothing but a vivid memory really stripping Renjun’s colour?
Jeno eyed Y/N up and down, the shards of sunlight against Y/N’s neck twisting into his flesh like fractals of glass as Jeno’s gaze raked over him. "Later 'mom jeans'~" Jeno shoved past them, ignoring his friends' hesitance to wrap around the corner as they all looked back to Y/N, who just stood by the classroom entrance with the air beaten out of him, words on his tongue running dry. Y/N instantly whipped around with a flourish and yelled back.
"Oh yeah? Well these ARE your mom's!"
Silence was the only thing that kept them company in the empty hallway, beckoning an echo that made him think twice about what he just said.
"That was terrible..."
"We need to rethink our life decisions..."
"Like.. You literally just screamed that into an empty hallway..."
"Yes... Yes I did."
The whine of the school bell couldn’t have been more welcome as English class finally ended. Y/N couldn’t speak, he barely looked up at the board in fear of Jeno’s snide remarks crawling under his skin and searing him inside out. All he could do was caress the sunlight streaming down on his desk from through the windows, golden threads weaving between his fingers giving him a single moment of silence, where not even his beating heart could intervene on this breath between seconds. He needed something like this for a long time, but he never thought that dozing off in English class after being threatened by his bully that morning would be that.
Seeing all of his worlds collide made him think more than usual, he didn’t want to welcome those thoughts with open arms. Not yet, and not for a long time.
Before he knew it, everybody was scampering out of the classroom doorway, leaving only a few stray bodies in the classroom staying for their English teacher’s extra help sessions. He felt a vibration under his thigh, his phone screen lighting up with a text from Renjun that he was ‘still free tonight to make up for yesterday’. He could still remember when Renjun put his name in Y/N’s phone on the second day they met, and to be honest, he thought the avocado and the grandma emojis that used to confuse him were now very fitting.
He could feel the stack of homework in his book bag dragging down on his shoulders and he hasn’t even slung his backpack’s straps over them yet. However, he’s been rolling with harder punches than unrelenting biology homework, so he’d find a way out of it.
He looked out the door and into the hallway, nothing but a sun-stained corridor, the last of the dust kicked up by students rushing home settled back on the floor. He pondered for a moment and felt uneasy in his chair, but he felt this urge to move, to either whip out his textbooks and inch through the questions one by one, or forget about it all. He really didn’t know…
Or does he...
Head downstairs by the art corridor (Mark)
Meet Renjun downstairs (Renjun)
Stay and finish homework in the classroom (Jeno)
Pass by the photography classroom on the way downstairs (Haechan)
Stowaway into the library to finish homework (Jaemin)
Head downstairs by the gym (Chenle)
Finish Homework Outside (Jisung)
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