➵ Stray Kids: Minho x fem. reader / one shot, college AU, fake dating AU / fluff
➵ warnings: slight cursing, mentions of alcohol/drinking, a bit of sexual suggestiveness (nothing explicit)
➵ word count: 7.6k
“Stop using my phone to look at cute cats.”, your best friend says in a flat voice, and tries to pry his phone out of your hands. You whine and clutch it even tighter, glaring at Seungmin who’s lying beside you on his bed. “Oh let me be, my battery is dead and you won’t give me your charger because - and I quote - ‚it‘s somewhere in the house but I don’t know where.” Seungmin just shrugs, and continues to fight for his phone. “I’m heartbroken and will probably die a lonely woman, because apparently something’s very wrong with me and not even sitting in a ton of rice will ever fix me! No man will ever really love me.”, you whine pathetically, still struggling against his grip.
Seungmin just sighs and lets go of your hand, narrowing his eyes at you. “You won’t die alone, stop being such a drama queen. And there’s nothing wrong with you, I promise you’ll find someone new and better - Jeffrey didn’t deserve you anyway, his name alone should have been a warning to you.”, he says, and you lift one eyebrow, huffing. “It’s not like he chose the name himself, you should blame his parents.”, you mumble, and continue to scroll through cute cat pictures. You can pretty much feel Seungmin roll his eyes at you, and shove your elbow between his ribs. He groans, and slaps your hand away. “Stop with the senseless violence! You’re not mad at me but at Jeffrey.”, he grumbles, and closes his eyes, “He’s the one who broke up with you. I’m still here and I’m even nice enough to let you use my phone.” You bite down on your lip, hard, until you taste blood. You know Seungmin’s right of course, but hearing him say it out loud still hurts.
You and Jeffrey had been dating for about 6 months, and you‘d been quite happy and content with the relationship - movie marathons, trips to the local art museum, late night drives around the city, tipsy make-out sessions, dating him had been fun. Well, until Jeffrey had suddenly decided he didn’t want to be with you anymore. The breakup had come unexpectedly, but even after you had asked him to stay and try to work this out, Jeffrey had still just left. Seungmin, being the amazing best friend that he just is, had immediately come over to your place, even though it had been well past midnight already. He had brought your favorite Ramen and a bucket full of ice cream, and had even agreed to watch Gilmore Girls with you. He had held you while you cried, and cursed Jeffrey to the moon and back, using every foul word in existence just to make you laugh.
It’s already been a few weeks since your breakup now, but thinking about Jeffrey still hurts, and there are even some evenings where you still shed a tear or two over his absence from your life, even though you’ve never been big on crying. You don’t even know if you’re still missing him or if you‘re just unable to cope with the knowledge of being alone again. You hate feeling like you’re not enough, and Jeffrey definitely made you feel that way. It also doesn’t help that he’s still part of your social circle, being friends with some of your friends and therefore often attending the same outings and parties. You had straight up refused to go to Changbin’s birthday when you had gotten to know about Jeffrey attending as well - thankfully, Seungmin had come over to stay with you that night, out of solidarity. He truly is the only man you can trust. By now, you spend more time at his frat house than at your own apartment - mostly because your roommate’s boyfriend pretty much lives there by now, and you honestly can’t stomach seeing Marie and Hyunjin being so disgustingly in love every single day. You are happy for them, of course you are, but seeing happy couples just hurts at the moment. Thankfully, Seungmin is as single as a pringle, so he doesn’t mind having you over at his place almost 24/7. Only one of his six roommates - Minho - complains about you being there all the time, but you honestly couldn’t care less. As long as Seungmin’s cool with you being his parasite, you will continue to be so.
“You’re coming to the frat’s joint birthday party, aren’t you?”, Seungmin asks all of the sudden, startling you of your thoughts and making you drop his phone on your face. You groan, and grimace in pain. Seungmin just laughs, and before you can prevent him from doing so, quickly grabs his phone, stuffing it back in his pocket. “That was beautiful, thank you for letting me witness this.”, he says, and you roll your eyes at him. “About your question… I don’t know. Jeffrey will probably attend too, and I’m honestly still not really in the mood to see him.”, you answer, and press your face in his pillow, stifling your own sigh. “The party is still weeks away. Don’t you think you’ll be over him by then?“, Seungmin asks, and you shrug. “I honestly don’t know. I only know that I will get over him, at one point, but right now, I still have to be dramatic about it - no idea how long that phase is going to last. It’s called coping, baby.“ Your best friend snorts. “Very bad coping, but sure. You know it’s also my birthday party, right? And Felix’ and Jisung’s. And we can all celebrate Chan’s birthday at midnight. You have to come!” You just sigh, and shrug. Seungmin hums in thought, before suddenly poking your cheek and making you jump. „Ok, how about making Jeffrey jealous? You know, make him see what he’s lost, and how stupid and ignorant he’s been. You shouldn’t be the only one suffering. You can use the party to get some revenge.”
You lift your head, and give Seungmin a stern look. “For someone so nice and angelic looking, you sure have a dark and evil side to you, Mr. Kim.”, you say, and your best friend gives you his brightest smile. “Becoming a cold hearted evil genius wasn’t really what I had planned to do with my life, yet here I am - and you love me for it. So, what do you think? You shouldn’t have to sit out all your friends' birthday parties just because you don’t want Jeffrey to see you like this.” You raise both eyebrows, offended. “What do you mean?! I look fine!”, you grumble, and Seungmin snorts. “Y/N, no offense, but you haven’t showered in like, three or probably even more days, you are literally wearing some of my oldest clothes right now because you somehow managed to spill an entire bowl of Ramen over your own, and - I truly say this with all my love - I think it’s time for you to finally use a face mask. Or two.” You glare at him. “I’m way too sleep-deprived and heartbroken to deal with your negativity right now. I just want to wear big hoodies, watch tv shows and be ugly while staying in bed for the rest of my life, is that too much to ask for?”, you groan, even though you know he’s right - you’ve truly let yourself go. You’ve never been one to really care about looking good every single day, because honestly, who’s got the time? But you usually put some effort into your looks, or at least when you have to attend class or work a shift at the Yellow Wood café.
You finally sigh. “Fine. I promise I’ll go home tonight, take a long hot shower, finally do the laundry and use a face mask or two. Happy?” Seungmin grins, and gives you the thumbs up. “Very much so. Now back to our plan to make Jeffrey jealous-” “Whoa, whoa, hold up a minute!”, you interrupt him, “That’s not our, but your plan! And I haven’t agreed to it yet.” Your best friend just waves your words aside. “The keyword being yet. You know I’m right and that you should do it.” You sigh, and begin to gnaw on your lower lip, mulling his idea over in your mind. “He wouldn’t believe us to be together anyway, he knows I only see you in a platonic way. You’re like…”
“A brother.”. Seungmin helps out, and you grin. “More like ‘a beloved pet’ or ‘a sometimes helpful acquaintance’ but sure, if it makes you feel better, let’s go with brother.” For that, Seungmin whacks you with his pillow and honestly, fair. You were just kidding anyway, he’s definitely something close to a brother to you, you’ve known him since forever, basically, having grown up with him and thankfully ending up going to the same college. “Also I wasn’t thinking of myself as your fake boyfriend anyway”, Seungmin explains, “But of someone else.” He pauses dramatically, and you raise both eyebrows, a half questioning half suspicious expression on your face. “Minho.” You swear you hear thunder and lightning in the distance as soon as Seungmin speaks the name. You just blink at him, face incredulous. “Minho as in… Lee Minho. The guy that lives in the room across from yours in this dump you guys call your home. The-resting-bitch-face-lowkey-but-probably-even-highkey-a-demon Lee Minho. That one.” Seungmin nods. “You forgot proud cat dad, but yes, exactly that one.” His face breaks into an evil smile, and you groan, falling back into his pillows. “I don’t know, Min. I mean, yeah, he’s good looking and all that, but he doesn’t even really like me, he only puts up with me because we share so many friends - including you. Also, what would he gain from this? Nothing.”, you say, and ignore the way your heart speeds up at the mere mention of Minho’s name.
If you’re being honest, you’ve always had a teeny tiny crush on Seungmin’s roommate - and who could blame you, honestly? Minho is handsome, incredibly so, but more importantly, he’s very smart and witty. He’s also a big tease, but you always enjoy bantering with him, your dynamic with each other always playful. Seungmin lifts one eyebrow at your question. “I never said you wouldn’t have to give him anything in return. And he only acts all aloof and bitchy all the time, but he truly likes you, I know that for a fact. He actually talks about you from time to time, and he lets you play with his cats, that says a lot too. You know they are basically his children.” For a few seconds, you just stare at Seungmin, trying to digest the information that the Lee Minho is talking about you to your best friend. Then, you sigh very deeply. “I guess… asking him won’t do any harm. He’s probably not going to agree to this anyway.” Your best friend just grins.
“You want me to do what?” Minho sits on Seungmin’s desk chair, expression shifting between amusement and incredulity. “We want you to be Y/N’s fake boyfriend for the frat party.”, your best friend repeats, and you groan inwardly but decide to stay quiet for now. Minho turns to you. “You want revenge.” It’s more of a statement than a question, so you just purse your lips. Seungmin grins angelically. “You call it revenge, I call it spicy justice.” Minho’s lips twitch at that. ”Spicy justice… I quite like that. But why exactly, would I help you? It seems like a waste of time - and I already waste more than enough time on my own, so I don’t need you guys adding to it.”, he states, and crosses both arms over his broad chest. You look away, suddenly very interested in Seungmin’s DVD collection and definitely not in the way Minho’s arms are straining the fabric of his probably just too tight shirt. “I know you still need a volunteer to help with your screening project.”, Seungmin says, and Minho groans. “That damned screening project… Why am I a college student and not a cat living in an antique shop.”, he grumbles, and you whip your head around to glare at Seungmin. You know Minho is pre-med, and the horrifying prospects of being prodded with needles begin to fill your head. Your best friend just pats your leg affectionately, but it does nothing to soothe your worry. “Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad, nothing to do with needles.”, he explains in a low voice, immediately remembering your phobia, “He’ll just do a screening of your body, look at your heart rate, ask about your personal health record, and stuff like that.” You nod, relieved. “Aww, someone’s scared of needles?”, Minho asks with a wry twist of his mouth, and you immediately answer “No” just as Seungmin says “Yes”. You just glare at your best friend while deciding to ignore Minho’s low chuckle.
“Okay. I’ll play your boyfriend for one night to make Jefferson jealous if you offer to be my victim- I mean, my volunteer for the screening project.”, he finally agrees, ignoring your mumbled correction to “Jeffrey”. Minho just raises one eyebrow, and offers his hand for you to shake. “So we have a deal?” You hold your breath for a second, before taking his hand and shaking it, feeling like you’ve just sold your soul to the devil. And if Minho’s smug grin is any indication, you might not even be wrong. You ignore the way his long fingers wrap around yours, his hand warm and strong, and let go of it as quickly as possible. “Just promise you won’t actually fall in love with me.”, Minho then says, expression cocky, and you want nothing more than to wipe that smug smile off his face. “There’s absolutely no need to worry about that.”, you reply, and lift one eyebrow, a silent challenge. “Mission Spicy Justice is on, and Team Rocket is officially assembled, whoop!”, Seungmin interrupts your stare down excitedly, and you and Minho simultaneously answer with “You’re Meowth.“, making him pout. You ignore the way your heart flutters at Minho and you making the same stupid joke, but can’t help and answer his grin with one of your own. “I think you guys will have to learn a bit more about each other now.”, Seungmin suddenly suggests, and you grimace while Minho nods in agreement. “I’m a very dedicated actor, so yes, that’s a good idea. I definitely have to know about your favorite color, for example.” You can’t really tell if he’s joking or not, so you just answer with a short and simple “Black”. The man opposite you makes a disapproving “Tsk”, and shakes his head. “Black is technically not a color, it’s just the absence of any other color, so how about you pick an actual one next time I ask you.” You groan in exasperation, and throw a pillow at him. “Oh shut up, you petty pretentious prick!” Minho just catches the pillow, and begins to grin even wider. “Pretty is spelled with an ‚r‘, but that was a nice alliteration nevertheless.“ And with that, he flings the pillow back at you, hitting you straight in the face. You fall back on Seungmin’s bed, and huff. “Ugh, I can’t wait to break up with you again.”, you grumble, making the boys laugh.
Over the next few weeks, you begin to hang out with not only Seungmin when you’re over at the frat house, but with Minho as well. You’ve been friends - or well, more like acquaintances - for two years now, but have rarely if ever hung out alone. But now, Seungmin doesn’t feel like he has to act like the link between you two, often leaving you guys alone while going out on a date or to work a shift at his part-time job at a law firm.
One evening while he’s out, you and Minho try to cook together, something that goes horribly wrong, with smoke coming out of the oven and Minho fearing you might have inhaled too much of it because you can’t stop laughing. Hence, he offers to give you mouth-to-mouth which results in you smacking him over the head, and him grumbling something about people having to learn to appreciate his generous offers. You’re glad Chan isn’t home, because he definitely would have given you two an earful for almost blowing up the kitchen - but he’s staying at his girlfriend’s place most nights, rarely being at the frat house anymore.
You also spent a lot of time playing with Minho’s cats, falling in love with all three and often cuddling them while Minho works on his screening project. While you lie on his bed with at least one or two cats purring on your chest, answering all his questions about your personal health record, he types away on his shiny, overpriced MacBook. You have to admit, seeing him so dedicated to his studies is kind of… hot - not that you’d ever tell him.
After Minho loses a bet to you (he had challenged you to eat the spicy Ramen he always buys, not knowing that Seungmin and you had already agreed to conspire against him, quickly switching the spicy package against a normal one while making dinner that evening), you have a Twilight marathon, watching all five movies in one sitting as Minho has never seen any of them. You’re not even really a Twilight fan (anymore), but you still feel the need to educate him on this glorious and very important piece of pop culture, enjoying his exasperated groans and disgusted faces at some of the scenes maybe a bit too much. Halfway through the fourth movie, he finally begs you to let him finish the rest the next day, but you tease him about being a wussy until he’s finally had enough, tickling you until you’re breathless with laughter. You find you don’t mind Minho keeping his arm around your shoulders after you’ve admitted defeat, feeling comfortable and safe so close to him, basking in his warm honey scent, and fighting hard not to fall asleep.
When Seungmin wakes up early the next morning to go to the gym, and finds you two asleep on the pull-out couch in the living room, buried under an almost ridiculous amount of blankets, breaths mingling as you’re huddled so close together, he decides to say nothing about it. He does take a picture of you guys though, thinking to himself that maybe, just maybe, his plan had worked even better than he’d ever dared to dream of.
It’s the evening of the frat’s joint birthday party, and you suddenly feel your nerves resurfacing. If you’re being honest, you haven’t really thought about Jeffrey these past few weeks at all, he just seems to have slipped your mind. And even now, thinking about him doesn’t really hurt anymore - but still, you don’t really want to see him tonight. Who knows what his face will trigger in you. But it’s definitely too late to back out now, so you get ready while listening to your favorite playlist, simultaneously talking to your roommate Marie who’s also getting ready in her own room just across the hallway. She’s currently giving you a short recap of her last few days as you haven’t been home at all, spending every free minute over at the frat house. “And Hyunjin pretty much died after having tried Jisung’s self-made curry. That’s why Lina and I decided it was the safer option to order some food instead, and I still stand with that decision even if Jisung was deeply hurt by our actions. We were nice enough to let him win the first round of Cards against Humanity though - but only because we couldn’t stand the sight of his pouting lips anymore.”, Marie finishes her story, and pokes her head around your door, giving you a bright smile, “Anyway, what’s going on in your life? I feel like we haven’t seen nor talked to each other in forever. I missed you.”
You return her smile, feeling touched by her declaration of honest affection. “I missed you too.” And it’s true - hearing her talk about her boyfriend didn’t hurt at all this time. You definitely have to spend more time with her again. “Nothing exciting going on in my life, to be honest, I just spend lots of time with Minho these days. We tried to cook and, same as Jisung, failed miserably. Oh, and I finally made him watch all Twilight movies! Can you believe he has never watched any of them before?!” You shake your head, face incredulous. Marie chuckles, and leans against the doorframe, looking at you with her bright, lively eyes. “So the rumors are true, you really have been hanging out with Minho an awful lot lately. Hyunjin told me you’re at the frat house pretty much 24/7 these days.” You just bite your lip, and pretend to concentrate on applying your mascara. Out of the corner of your eye, you see Marie break into a shit-eating grin. “Okay, you don’t have to tell me anything, if you don’t want to. I’m just saying… Under all that salt, Minho’s a really good guy with a very soft side. I like him, and I think you’d be good together. I can already see you adopt many, many cats together.” And with that, she whirls around and leaves you alone with your racing thoughts.
As both Minho and Hyunjin live at the frat house, you and Marie head over on your own, having agreed to just meet them there. The night is cold, and you immediately begin to shiver in your thin leather jacket. Marie and you quickly agree to just order an Uber, not wanting to wait for the bus in the cold. It doesn’t take long until you arrive at the frat house, its windows illuminated by fairy lights and Chinese lanterns. Looking through one of the big living room windows, you even spot a disco ball hanging from the ceiling, and can’t help but smile. You’re actually excited to see most of your friends tonight, minus Jeffrey of course - not that you still count him as your friend. Marie grabs your hand when you get out of the Uber, and together, you stroll across the lawn and up the few steps leading to the wrap-around porch - the front door is open, so you enter without having to knock. Shedding your jackets, Marie bids you goodbye as soon as she spots her boyfriend currently preparing drinks behind the makeshift bar the boys set up in the living room.
You, on the other hand, decide to venture into the kitchen first, searching for either Seungmin or Minho. You take a wine cooler out of the fridge, just to have something to hold on to, and give out half-smiles to a few classmates and acquaintances you know from school. After realizing that neither of your boys are in the kitchen, you make your way towards the living room, continuing to look for them. The second you step into the room, the music suddenly changes from chill house vibes to Boney M’s Rasputin. You grimace at the choice of music, and shake your head before taking a sip of your drink. In that second, a familiar presence appears beside you. “If I read your expression correctly, you’re about as excited about this song as I am.”, Minho says, and wraps his arm around your shoulder, pulling you close. You ignore the way your heart speeds up, hoping he’s unable to see the blush blooming on your cheeks in the dimly lit room. “Let’s just say… I wasn’t expecting this kind of music. Chan is usually very good at picking the right songs.”, you explain, and let yourself be led further into the room. Minho just chuckles darkly. “Well, it’s not Chan who’s picking the music tonight - Jisung convinced him that, as Chan‘s turning a year older tonight, he shouldn’t be playing DJ for once, and just enjoy the evening with his girlfriend. That’s why we’ll have to deal with Han’s questionable taste in music tonight.” You groan, and stand on your tiptoes to get a good look at the DJ desk in the corner of the room.
Minho’s right, it’s not Chan who’s standing behind it tonight, but a cute looking young man with slightly chubby cheeks and a bright smile. His girlfriend is currently sitting behind him, looking lowkey embarrassed at her boyfriend’s choice of music and clearly pretending to be deaf. You can’t help but giggle, but then Call on Me begins to play, and both you and Minho groan. “Okay, I definitely need some tequila for this. Does Han even know he’s a Gen Z and not a Millennial?!”, Minho mumbles, and takes your hand in his to drag you with him towards the bar. He immediately grabs a bottle of tequila and two glasses, pouring a generous amount in both. He then hands you one and lifts both eyebrows, expression challenging. “Love shot?”, he asks, the ghost of a smile on his face, and you purse your lips before nodding. Your stomach flutters nervously when Minho locks eyes with you, his face awfully close to yours while he’s emptying his glass. You almost cough at the burning liquid sliding down your throat, and quickly take a sip of your cold wine cooler to soothe the uncomfortable sensation.
Hyunjin and Marie are both still busy making cocktails behind the bar, the latter one giving you and Minho a bright smile when she spots you. “Want a Hanacceptable Twist?”, she asks, wiggling her eyebrows and rattling the cocktail shaker in her left hand. You just tilt your head to one side. “A- what?!” She grins. “An Han-acceptable Twist. You know, to try to accept tonight’s fate of having to listen to Han’s questionable taste in music.” Minho leans closer. “Do I even want to know what’s in said cocktail?”, he asks suspiciously, and your roommate gives him an angelic smile. “Only the best kind of alcohol, which is a lot, and a bit of orange juice and lime. Come on, Lee, don’t be a coward.” In that second, Seungmin appears behind you, seemingly out of thin air. “Don’t do it, trust me.”, he says, a grave expression on his face, „I sadly speak from experience.“ “Min!”, you exclaim excitedly, and hug him. He chuckles, patting your back affectionately before prying your wine cooler out of your hand to take a sip. “Parasite.”, you grumble, only half joking, and your best friend raises both eyebrows. “Says the one basically living in my room.” You sigh in defeat. “Fair point.” Seungmin turns towards Minho, and gives him a pointed look. “And like I said, don’t try it. Marie has apparently made it tonight’s mission to make cocktails which are even worse than last time, I’m telling you.” “Hey, watch it! Whose cocktails are you calling bad?!”, your roommate protests, huffing in mock offense. Out of the corner of your eye, you see Minho‘s expression darken, obviously feeling challenged, and he finally nods at Marie. “Hit me with your worst shot.” She just grins slyly while you groan at his extremely bad pun, and begins to make the Hanacceptable Twist. Your eyes get round and big at the amount of alcohol she mixes together, and you look from Minho to the cocktail and back again. He doesn’t look so happy about his choice right now, but it’s already too late to back out. He gulps nervously, Adam's apple bobbing, but takes the finished cocktail from Marie nevertheless, eyeing it with a grim expression on his face. “Well, I tried to warn you. Good luck and I hope you won’t go blind.”, Seungmin says, shaking his head in mock defeat, “I’m off - just spotted the man of the evening, and I wanna talk to him before he turns old at midnight.” And with that, he makes his way through the dancing crowd, disappearing from view.
You, on the other hand, are caught between following your best friend to talk to Chan as well as you haven’t seen him in a while either, and watching Minho suffer from drinking Marie’s cocktail. You finally decide to stay, knowing you can always talk to Chan at a later point. Minho looks very determined now, and locks eyes with you for a second, before toasting you and taking the first sip. His expression morphs from shocked to disgusted to thoughtful back to disgusted. “It’s not… as bad as expected.”, he chokes out, and Marie gives him the thumbs up. “Let me know if you want another one.” And with that, she turns to her boyfriend, kissing his cheek and making him smile. “You wanna try?”, Minho asks, and before you can protest, he has switched your wine cooler with his cocktail, looking at you expectantly. You desperately want to wipe that cocky expression off his face, so you quickly take a sip. It’s truly not as bad as you had expected after hearing Seungmin’s warning, but still bad enough. The alcohol burns in your throat, and you only just manage to suppress a violent cough, quickly giving Minho the thumbs up. He grins smugly. “That’s my girl!”, he says proudly, face glowing with a certain emotion you’re unable to pin down, but you swear your heart is about to leap out of your chest and right into his hands just there and then, for all to see. “Let’s dance.”, Minho says before you can do something reckless and stupid, and before you can protest, he has already dragged you onto the dance floor, pulling you close. His hands on your waist make your head spin, and you desperately search for something to say. “Where are your cats tonight, by the way?”, you finally ask, and almost instantly, a small smile lights up Minho’s face. “They’re staying with a friend of mine. The loud music and many people would have stressed them out, so I asked Juyeon to take them for the night - he works an early shift tomorrow, that’s why he wasn’t able to come tonight.”, Minho explains, and you nod. “Wise decision.”
Time seems to fly by, and before you know it, it’s already past midnight and Chan’s birthday has begun. You and Minho decide to just congratulate him later, as he’s currently being swamped by too many people already. So you walk over towards the makeshift bar again, Minho offering to make non-alcoholic cocktails as you’re both quite thirsty after all the dancing. You’re about to agree, when his expression changes, and he glares at someone behind you. Before you can turn around, Minho has already wrapped both arms around your waist and pulled you close to his chest. You can smell the alcohol on his breath, mixed with mint from a gum he probably chewed earlier. The scent of his cologne surrounds you, and for a second, you forget to breathe. You don’t even hear the music anymore, the world seemingly standing still while you look into the dark pools of Minho’s chocolate eyes. “Don’t look behind you, but Jefferson’s here.”, he murmurs, lips awfully close to yours, “And he’s not alone.” And just like that, the spell is broken. You had honestly totally forgotten about Jeffrey - even though he’s the sole reason you’re currently here, in Minho’s warm and strong arms. Jeffrey’s arms have never felt so normal nor familiar around you, not even after almost six months of dating. “That bastard didn’t only have the audacity to break up with you, but to come here and bring a date?! Let’s show him what he’s missing.”, Minho hisses, and before you can protest, he drags you back into the crowd of dancing people.
Almost immediately, his arms are back around your waist again, and without really thinking about it, you wrap yours around his neck. Minho pulls your body close, and the way he moves his hips against yours has your thoughts drifting into very dangerous territory. Your cheeks are blazing with heat, and your heart stumbles for a few beats until finding a rhythm twice as fast as its normal one. Minho’s dark eyes bore into yours, and the fire inside them ignites your whole body until it feels like you’re being consumed by flames. You bite the inside of your cheek, hard, when his tongue darts out to wet his lips, and a sudden wave of lust rolls over your body. Minho’s eyes darken even more when he sees how your gaze falls to his mouth, pupils blowing wide, and he leans closer until your foreheads are almost touching, breaths mingling. One of his hands slides over your spine, leaving goosebumps in its wake, and then, his long fingers thread through the hair at the base of your neck to tilt back your head. You almost whine at the feeling, confused by the strange power he seems to hold over you. Everything feels too much and not enough at the same time, your whole body is tight with anticipation, adrenaline pumping through your veins, and Minho is just lowering his head towards yours when-
something cold drenches your entire backside. You squeal in shock, and the spell between Minho and you is broken. You whip around, expression incredulous, and stare at the person who has just emptied their entire drink over your back. “Oops.”, Jeffrey grins, but his face is grim, and he doesn’t seem apologetic at all, “Sorry. Did totally not mean to do that.” “You-”, you begin, almost breathless from anger, and you’re about to shout at him when you feel strong fingers close around your wrist. You turn your head, and stare at Minho, who’s tugging you close again. “Forget him, he’s just not worth it. He’s nothing but a petty pretentious prick.”, Minho says, sneering at your ex-boyfriend. Your lips twitch at his insult, knowing exactly why he chose those words. “Who are you calling a pretentious prick?! You’ve always thought you’re better than me, Lee, and I’ve honestly had enough of your acti-”, Jeffrey says, and you whirl around to glare at him. “Jeffrey, if you listen very closely, you can hear neither of us caring about what you have to say. So how about you just shut up.”, you spit out, making your ex huff in disbelief. Minho just laughs before brushing a soft kiss against your cheek, making warmth bloom inside your chest and heating your entire body. You give Minho a full smile which he immediately returns, lifting his hand to push some stray strands of hair out of your face and tucking them behind your ear. “Let’s go get you some dry clothes.”, he then says, “I have some shirts that should fit you just fine.” And with one last glare towards your ex, Minho drags you out of the living room and away from the crowd.
The loud music and many voices are muted upstairs, and it feels like you’ve just entered a different world. Minho doesn’t say anything while you walk up the stairs and towards his room, which he has locked to keep unwanted guests out. It’s dark inside, and he fumbles a few seconds for the light switch. You blink against the harsh fluorescent lights when he finally finds it, eyes watering. “You need new light bulbs, these are definitely a crime against humanity.”, you complain, shielding your face with one hand. Minho just rolls his eyes at you. “They’re the only thing lighting up my world these days, so don’t judge.”, he replies, humor coating his words. “What about me? Am I not the new flame and light in your world?”, you tease him, and he snorts. “You’re maybe like a teeny tiny firefly. At most.”, he replies, and you begin to pout, giving him your best puppy eyes. He just raises an eyebrow at you. “Want a new shirt or not?” You sigh and nod, beginning to peel the wet fabric from your body. Before you can pull your shirt over your head though, Minho yells and turns around, shaking his head. “What-… What are you doing?!”
Now it’s your time to snort. “Afraid my semi nude body will offend your virgin eyes?”, you ask in a mocking voice, and he huffs. “Virgin eyes?! Speak for yourself. But still, you- you can’t just strip in front of me! At least not without the right music.” “Want me to go get Han? I’m sure he has something fitting on his playlist.”, you suggest, leaning against Minho’s closed door and trying very hard not to laugh while looking at his - to be fair, very nice - backside. He lets out a strangled laugh. “Thank you, now I won’t ever get the image of you stripping to Rasputin out of my head.” “Mhm, I think Mambo No. 5 is more my kind of song. I like its rhythm.”, you muse, and step towards him, turning him around. He has both eyes closed, mouth tightened into a thin line. “I’m wearing an undershirt, you idiot.”, you say lovingly, ruffling his dark hair. It feels incredibly silky and soft, and you think that maybe, just maybe your fingers have finally found their raison d’être - touching Minho’s hair forever. “Ah.” With that, he opens his eyes again, gazing down at you. His eyes are soft, and tiny flecks of gold dance around his pupils. “Your eyes look almost a bit golden right now.”, you say before you can stop yourself, and Minho lifts one eyebrow. “That’s the fluorescents.”, he answers in a wry tone, and you blink at him, actually speechless for once. “Did- did you just quote Twilight?”, you ask in an incredulous voice, and his very kissable lips curve into a tiny smile. “Maybe.”
And that’s when you finally press your lips against his. He isn‘t even startled, so maybe he’s been expecting, maybe even wanting, something like this to happen all evening. He meets your passion with the same ferocity, burying both hands in your hair and pulling you close, so close there’s barely any space left between your bodies. He bites down on your lower lip, making you gasp, and he quickly uses the chance to slide his tongue into your mouth. He still tastes of the horrible Hanacceptable Twist Marie challenged him to drink earlier, but you find you don’t even mind. You just want him as close as possible, tugging on his shirt, your hands somehow finding their way under its fabric, brushing over his flat stomach and making his abdominals clench. He groans, hands sliding over your back to grab your ass to push you against him. You only break apart when your heads begin to spin from the lack of oxygen. Minho stares at you, eyes darting from your swollen lips, to your flushed cheeks and back to your eyes again.
“I-”, he begins, but you interrupt him immediately, “Please don‘t tell me you’re drunk from that one Hanacceptable Twist Marie made you, and that it’s only the alcohol making you do this, so I shouldn’t hold you responsible for your actions.” Minho’s face splits into a huge smile, melting away all the darkness and edges and hard lines you’ve learned to appreciate and love these past few weeks - or maybe years, even. “Marie might have tried her best, but it takes a lot more to knock me off my feet.”, he answers, voice incredibly soft all of the sudden. You tilt your head to one side, giving him a cheeky grin. “Like me, for example.” He raises both eyebrows, and shrugs. “I shall neither confirm nor deny.”, he murmurs, lips already awfully close to yours, “But now it’s my turn to ask - please tell me this is not just you still using me as a fake boyfriend to seek some spicy justice.” You brush a soft kiss against his lips, and nuzzle his nose. “It’s not. It‘s definitely not.” Minho smiles again, honest and bright, relief etched into his face, and exhales. “Good. Now, how about we get out of here?”, he asks, and takes a step back. You draw both eyebrows together, suppressing a whine at the sudden lack of contact. “And go back to the party?”, you ask, a bit disappointed that he doesn’t want to spend time with just you right now. But Minho shakes his head vigorously. “Oh no, absolutely not. But I want to show you something.”
You raise both eyebrows, and shrug. “Sure. I need something to wear though.”, you say, and almost immediately, a soft piece of fabric hits you square in the face. “Thanks.”, you grumble, and slip the hoodie Minho has just thrown at you over your head. He just grins, and pulls the hood over your head, carefully tucking in your hair. After he’s done, you give a little twirl, stopping only to look at him expectantly. “And?” He purses his lips. “Almost perfect.” And with that, he tugs on the strings of the hood, leaving only the tiniest of holes for your cheeks and lips. He bursts out laughing while you scramble to loosen the hood again, giving him a playful glare. “Prick.”, you mumble, and free your head from the hood before opening the door, “Let’s go.”
Minho orders an Uber to take you to the outer city districts, and even then you still have to hike up a hill, which means you’re pretty much out of breath by the time you’ve finally made it to the top. You huff and double over, ready to just pass out any minute now. You should really take Seungmin up on his offer to join him for gym sessions in the future. Minho smirks while looking at you, crossing both arms over his chest. You’re really glad he offered to carry the backpack with the blankets, drinks and snacks earlier, there‘s no way you would have made it up here with that thing on your back. “You’re good?”, Minho asks, voice smug, and you gather all your non-existent strength to punch him in the stomach (very lovingly, of course), a loud “Oof” being your reward. “I’m perfectly fine, thanks.”, you say in-between two deep breaths, “But where exactly are you taking me?” It’s still almost entirely dark outside, only a small stripe of light beginning to creep onto the horizon - morning’s not that far anymore. “Stop being so impatient and just follow me.”, Minho says, and intertwines his fingers with yours, dragging you through a small park atop the hill. “Oh wow, this is a really nice place for murder.”, you muse out loud while throwing suspicious glances at the darkness and barren trees surrounding you. Minho just snorts. “You should really stop listening to crime podcasts all the time, it’s beginning to make you paranoid.”, he says, and you huff, mumbling something about just wanting to stay informed on the life of criminals, knowledge is power after all.
Finally, you seem to have reached your desired destination - before you lies the brightly illuminated city, its lights twinkling lazily against the many hues painting the early morning sky in different shades of soft blue. “Oh.”, you just make, awe and wonder filling your eyes. Minho smiles and tugs you close, wrapping his arm around you. “Yeah, ‘oh’. Worth the climb, isn’t it?”, he asks, voice teasing yet soft, and you nod, still completely in awe. “Absolutely. How did you even find this place?”, you ask while helping him take out the blankets, drinks and snacks from his backpack, and happily snuggling close to his chest after he’s taken a seat and patted the spot between his legs, a silent invite. “By accident, actually. I was just wandering around aimlessly until I found this place - I come here quite often, actually. To think, or to just get away when life becomes a little too much sometimes. Looking at the city lights and the sunset or sunrise often helps me put things into perspective.” You smile at his words, and snuggle even closer to him. He really is a softie under all that salt and teasing, you think to yourself, and sigh in content, happy that he trusts you enough to let you see this usually hidden side of him. “This is way better than the frat party.”, you mumble, but then, realization hits you, “Oh no, we forgot to wish Chan a happy birthday!” Minho groans. “Fuck, I totally forgot about that!” You stay silent for a few seconds, before he shrugs. “Well, whatever. We can always wish him a belated happy birthday when we get home.” You nod in agreement. “That’s true.” Just then, the first shades of purple begin to thread through the blues of the morning sky, making you gasp. Minho pulls you even closer to his chest, and rests his chin on your shoulder.
You stay like this until the sun has fully risen, basking you in pale rays of sunshine and warming your stiff bodies. Afterwards, you and Minho decide to get some breakfast at a local café, warming your hands on mugs of hot coffee and tea, and indulging yourselves in maybe one too many pains au chocolat. Later, you decide to walk all the way back to the frat house, hands intertwined, bodies exhausted and minds sleepy - knowing that tonight has just been the beginning of something new and wonderfully exciting.
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I’ve had this little plot bunny for awhile! So this could be a not sports au or not college au? But basically Nursey is all about the asmr/satisfying vids and Dex has a pottery one but you never see his face just his hands and torso. But also sometimes he throws in just an apron and sweats??? And nursey is lowkey obsessed but also the pottery is incredible. But shitty and lardo make fun of him all the time because he’s actually highkey obsessed. And maybe lardo actually knows Dex via the arts.
It turns out, I need a read more. Thank you.
Ok. Listen. Dex doesn’t *do* art. Because art doesn’t pay the bills unless you are being funded by family or get really lucky and some rich person decides to spend $4M on your “infantile scribbling” (he’s looking at you Cy Twombly). So, he doesn’t, ok? He has a nice, normal, completely acceptable, rent paying job helping artists build their giant weird contemporary post modernism takes on the world or whatever. (He has had some art history, he rather likes Trompe l'oeil and can get behind some of the abstract stuff from the first half of the 20th century but then it all gets kind of overwrought, in his opinion.)
So, he works for a gallery and helps with art installation and repairs and stuff. And also he maintains their website and it pays the bills. (Do Lardo and Shitty own the gallery? Almost certainly)
But the thing is, pottery isn’t art for the sake of art. It’s not just expensive stuff to look pretty. Ok, some of it is, and some rich people pay way too much for it. But you can make usable things with pottery. Bowls and cups and vases and plates and stuff. And usable stuff means it’s not wasting money and time if he allows himself to do it, right? Plus, he did a little bit of pottery in art class in high school and liked it, so he wouldn’t mind making stuff again.
One of his uncles has a thrift shop, or junk shop or something similar, because he has an uncle for every occasion. So, this uncle happens to get an old pottery wheel that’s busted, but he lets Dex have it for free and Dex doesn’t have a motor to put on it and make a motorized pottery wheel, but well, a kick wheel has more control anyway, right? So he sets up his kick wheel and he asks Lardo if he can add in on her bulk order to get some clay at cheaper prices because that’s how you do when you know someone who does that and you don’t have a lot of spare cash. and she’s just like “Ch’yeah bro. Here, I have some remaining stuff that’s not enough for me to work with right now, but you can mess around with it.” and Dex is Dex, so he still gives her some money for it, but anyway.
Then Lardo’s like “if you’re gonna use a wheel, I bet you could do asmr videos and link them to the gallery page. I think you should do that.” And Dex is like well, is this part of his job now? But Lardo says it’s just a suggestion and he doesn’t have to link it to the page, but she does think that if he’s trying for a lil side hustle then he could probably get followers from putting them online.
So he researches asmr videos and figures that he can do it without showing his face, which is like the very top requirement that he has, so that’s good. and like, he thinks maybe he should add a sound component, so he kind of sings quietly with his super deep bass voice while he makes his stuff and it starts out just re-exploring the basics, making sure he has that down. but then he gets fancier with it and keeps honing his techniques.
Now, at the same time, Shitty’s still friends with Nursey from Andover, so they see him fairly regularly, but not like every day. And Nursey is a writer and he’s doing his writing thing, but sometimes words don’t word right because words are secretly evil. So when that happens, he really likes to watch some asmr videos to allow his brain to sort through things until the words get their shit together.
Paint mixing is cool. Glitter stuff is interesting. But what he really likes is watching something be made. Wood turning would probably be right up his alley, but, what he stumbles upon is a channel full of videos of this guy singing real soft and doing pottery. It’s immediately his favorite.
The first one he watches is not the first one that was made. The first one he watches, the guy is calm and sure of himself with deft fingers and smooth motions. But what gets him to “like and subscribe” and pretty much forget about all the other asmr channels, is when he goes back and watches the first video that was uploaded and the guy’s singing is kind of hesitant and his motions aren’t as sure of themselves. The result is still a really nice, if much simpler, piece, but he wants to see how this guy went from hesitant and self conscious to confident and sure.
So he binges all the available content and he starts watching the new ones as soon as they are uploaded (which is pretty frequently, so another point in guy’s favor). And it’s a couple of weeks after he’s started watching all this guy’s videos when the guy has another one where he’s just wearing an apron and some sweats or shorts or something. It’s not the first time that it’s been clear that dude’s topless under the apron. But this time, at one point, dude lifts the bottom of the apron up to like wipe his face or something, Nursey’s guessing here, but anyway, holy shit. Dude has deft fingers, that deep beautiful singing voice, and abs like that? It’s like he was built just to make Nursey’s brain turn to mush.
And then a few days later, he’s hanging out with Shitty and Lardo and he gets a notification on his phone that there’s a new video and he kind of wants to leave early to go watch it, but that’s not chill. and Lardo’s like “what notification did you get that’s got you so unChill?” and Nursey’s like “actually, it’s completely the opposite. it’s an asmr thing, so it’s precisely for chill.” And Shitty bugs him until he shows them which asmr thing and Lardo is just like connecting so many dots.
So, here’s the thing. Dex and Nursey know each other. Like, not super well. But they have mutual friends/coworkers in common, Nursey’s been to the gallery, they’ve met. And Dex might not have had the best first impression of Nursey because when Shitty introduces someone as “My old classmate from prep school who is a freelance novelist” well, it sounds a whole lot like old money in a hipster suit. Which... isn’t far off from what Nursey is. but it’s not ALL Nursey is and it takes a while to learn the nuances of a person.
It definitely didn’t help that the first time they met was at an exhibit opening and everyone was being fancy and Dex was uncomfortable anyway.
And they don’t hang out together a lot. Like, Dex and Lardo are friendly and pretty close, but she’s still technically his boss, so he’s pretty sure she’s just being polite when she asks him to join them for stuff, but sometimes he does if he’s sure he won’t be intruding. So, over the time that Dex has worked there and known them and been friendly, he’s gotten to know Nursey and see past the influence of his dad and past the faux Chill that Nursey uses to hide the fact that he’s Extra TM, and start to get a glimpse of what really makes Nursey tick, how smart he is, and how he wants to be able to change things, and just peeling through some of the oniony layers. And he’s interested. He’s intrigued. Nursey’s hot, but plenty of people are hot, so it’s not that, it’s more. Dex would like to get to know all the way down to the core. But like. how? They’re on the edges of each other’s circles.
So, he’s pretty much just figured he’s here for the unrequited pining and if as he learns about Nursey he also starts making fancier and more elegant pottery because it’s things he thinks Nursey would like? Well, that’s between him and the clay, isn’t it?
And here’s the other thing, Nursey’s obsessed with pottery wheel guy, sure, but like, some of that is to distract him from the minor, teeny tiny, it’s nothing really, just ask, he’ll tell you. Crush that he has on the guy who works at Lardo’s gallery. Like, dude’s quiet, and at first he thought he was uptight and a jerk, but they spent more time around each other after that because of mutual friends and guy started seeming less aloof.
Like, dude can crack jokes and chirp. Some killer chirps out of the side of his mouth where only the two of them can hear, always when it would be completely unseemly to burst out laughing, so Nursey’s trying not to break a rib holding it in.
And Nursey kind of likes unwrapping new layers of this dude and finding out more. It’s like one of those gag presents where someone puts 500 layers of wrapping paper on the same gift to make you really work for it, but a) so far all the layers have been pretty interesting and b) he’s pretty sure the gift in the middle is gonna be awesome, too.
Problem, he’s like 95% sure that dude is straight and if not, at least not interested in him. so, yeah, better to focus on the unachievable crush on a faceless ripped dude making pottery than his friend’s coworker.
Now, Shitty is pretty oblivious. I think that we can all agree on that. But Lardo makes up where everyone else in the cast lacks in observational skills. So she’s pieced this all together. But what Lardo is not, is a matchmaker. She’s perfectly content to just sip her coffee and watch this all play out.
But then they are both clearly *never* going to do anything about this situation. She tries to feel out Dex, but he’s just like “Seriously, Lards? I’m your employee. The *help*.” And Lardo’s like “Bro, harsh. You’re my *friend*.” But Dex is like “Yeah, I think of you as a friend too, but still. I’m your employee. That’s going to affect things. Like, you control my continued ability to pay my rent.”
and like, ok, Lardo understands that feel. She knows how power imbalance from money feels like, and like, Dex has taken steps to learn about Vietnamese culture and feminism and stuff to try to be more respectful to her and honestly, she can’t really imagine running the gallery without him. Like sure, other people could probably do the work, but they wouldn’t be her friend. They wouldn’t be Dex. (wow, this is kind of turning into a lot of Lardo & Dex friendship plot)
So, Lardo sits down with Shitty and business lawyers and contract lawyers and they figure out a way to offer something to Dex that he might actually accept. Basically, making him a partner in the gallery so that he’s not an employee, but an integral part, but not like giving him a bunch of money with that because he’d balk immediately if he didn’t think he’d earned it. Like, he’s got a little bit of equity (sweat equity) to make him official an owner. (I’m going to go with the gallery is set up as a LLC or S-Corp and therefore transfer of ownership is possible without dissolving the business and reforming as would be required with sole-proprietorship or partnership. sorry, accounting aside).
So, ANYWAY. Dex doesn’t have to worry about at-will employment anymore and can feel like his friends are his friends and not just his employers. and it’s going to take some getting used to but that’s ok. But then Lardo suspiciously invited Nursey over to the gallery the same day she told Dex about the situation, so she fills Nursey in and then kind of pushes him towards Dex and is like “Great, You two should go out and celebrate. Shitty and I will...not be there.” and she grabs Shitty and leaves before they can argue about it.
and Dex is blushing because of course and he’s like “You don’t have to, it’s chill.” and Nursey’s like “No, Actually, I’d like that. It would be chill to go celebrate with you.” and they go out and have dinner and some drinks and they’re talking and having a good time and both trying to convince themselves that it’s all just friendly on the part of the other.
Then Dex invites Nursey up to his place just to keep talking, nothing untoward intended at all, he’s not that kind of guy to try to take advantage. And they get up there and Nursey sees all the pottery around the den that Dex has made and he’s just like. flabbergasted because he recognizes that stuff. and he has to sit down and Dex is getting kind of worried, but then he starts laughing and he’s like. “You’re the asmr pottery guy. Of course. Of course I try to get over a crush by trying to develop a crush on the same guy.” and Dex is like “ok, definitely didn’t expect you to know about my videos, but also. could you please expand on this crush thing?” and they both admit that they like each other and they start dating and Lardo is just like “finally, peace and quiet”. Which is not true because now Nursey just visits the gallery more and koalas onto Dex and tries to get him to sing.
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