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#nct dream au
jaeminhours · 2 years ago
Lavender’s Blue
SUMMARY | You think you’ve moved on since your boyfriend disappeared three years ago, but when Jaemin comes back to you, you realize he’d never actually left. In which you never stop loving the boy who smells of lavender and verbena and the summer rain at five in the morning.
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 PAIRING | na jaemin x reader
CATEGORY | florist!reader, ex-lovers au, angst + fluff
WORD COUNT | 10.2k
SONG REC | Movement - Hozier
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He came back to you in a dream.
The sun was warm, golden light shining through the rain-covered windows and dappling across the hardwood floor of your living room. You sat on the blue, flower-patterned window seat, staring out the window as the raindrops from the recent storm dripped, dripped, dripped down the glass, marking a trail through the slight fog. 
You turned as you felt warm lips on your cheek, smiling as you came face to face with your best friend, the boy you loved, everything in between. He sat down across from you, crossing his long legs and grinning at you with unadulterated adoration. His eyes were soft
and brown, the warm light turning them into the color of coffee beans. His hair was wet at the ends, flopping over his forehead and dripping onto the cushions. He was wearing a soft grey sweatshirt, the one he knew you loved on him, and his father’s necklace hung from his neck, the silver cross dangling over his lap as he leaned forward.
“Hey, baby.” he said, his eyes soft at the edges. He brought his hand up to your face, brushing a strand of hair from your forehead, his fingertips brushing down your cheeks to cup your jaw.
He laughed lightly as he looked you, shaking his head, as if he couldn’t believe you were really there, in front of him, then leaned in to press a soft kiss against your mouth.
A melody played in the background, the echo of fingers pressing down on ivory keys bouncing off the muted walls. It sounded almost far away, as if you were hearing from another world, dimension, life.
It was the same thing you’d heard whenever you’d met Jaemin’s eyes. It was odd, hearing such soft, gentle music, when the popular image of Jaemin was anything but. It wasn’t what people saw when he was on the mat, his hair mussed, gloves encasing his hands as he evaded his opponent’s fist, black and blue bruises littering his shoulders and torso.
He was too real, too achingly real, and the smell of lavender wafted from his very being, turning everything a hazy shade of lilac.
“Why did you leave?” you whispered, staring into his eyes as he cupped your cheek.
The mist began to get heavier, hanging in the air of your living room. It was intoxicating, he was intoxicating. His eyes were so dark and so pretty, and you hated the way he smiled as he pulled his hand away.
“Oh, princess. Why would I stay?”
 You woke up as flash of lightning cracked across the sky outside your window. You sat up, hugging your aching chest as you tried to catch your breath. Your cheeks were damp, and you brushed your fingers against them, frowning at the wetness on your fingertips. You sat back in bed, sighing as you pulled the covers over yourself once again.
It had been almost three years now, and you didn’t know why you still dreamt about him every time it rained. You didn’t know why the ache in your chest still hadn’t disappeared, or how your pillow still smelled like him.
You didn’t know why he had to ruin your life.
Three years since your junior year of high school. Three years since Jaemin left a dark, vacant hole in the world that could never seem to be filled.
Three years since the accident.
Three years since Na Jaemin left and never came back.
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He left on a Saturday morning.
At least, that’s what they’d told you. He’d gone without a word, a call, a goodbye. He disappeared, like a ghost. No explanation, just a whisper of lavender left in his wake, a silver necklace on his empty nightstand. A silver noose around your neck.
You remembered calling his parents, only to find the land line dead, and your number blocked by the boy you’d thought you loved. You remembered not comprehending his absence, thinking his perfectly made bed was some prank, an illusion, a dream. You remembered standing in the middle of an empty room, with only a small table in the corner of the room, when a woman walked in, dressed in a sharp black suit, heels, and hard eyes. She held papers in her hands, and explained to you in a curt, stern voice that the people who’d lived there had finished moving out yesterday morning. Gone, within a single night.
Your tears did nothing to stop her from pushing you out the door, locking the door behind the both of you as she followed you outside.
The road was too empty. There were no boys playing basketball in the court across from the Na house. No boy crossing the gap between the windows of your second-story bedrooms. No wide smiles or giggles or warm hands and sweet kisses.
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You met Na Jaemin at the top of the world. Small hands, extending towards the sky. A boy with dark hair and a toothy smile. The boy without a father.
You were there first, sitting on the monkey bars at the top of the playset. And yet he was there too, giggling and happy and taking what was yours. You’d frowned at him, crossing your arms and jutting your lip out in an angry pout.
“I was here first!” you’d exclaimed, and the boy had laughed, the fringe of his dark, wavy hair falling into his bright eyes.
“We can share!” he’d said, and you’d stared at him, incredulous.
“There can only be one ruler of the kingdom!” you’d retorted, narrowing your eyes at him in a mock glare.
He’d only smiled more. “Haven’t you heard?” he’d whispered. “Every queen needs a king.”
You’d smacked his hand away, scowling. “That’s not what my mom says. She says that a queen doesn’t need anybody but her mother.”
He giggled, reaching up to pull a stray leaf from your hair. “Of course she’d say that!” he said, grinning. “Anyway, everyone needs a friend, even a queen. How ‘bout me?”
And then you’d pushed him off, and he’d landed hard on the bark-covered ground. The worried shouts of his mother and the angry shouts of yours didn’t reach your ears as you stood tall, your chest puffed out in pride. When you finally came down, your mother swatted you on the head, scolding you for causing Jaemin to sprain his wrist.
Two days later, she marched you to the house next door, rapping on the door until a dark-haired woman opened it, smiling down at you with too-kind eyes. Next to her, the boy from the park, the boy without a father, the boy named Jaemin, stood at her side, his eyes wide and bright as they locked onto the cookie platter your small fingers gripped.
Your parents talked inside as you and Jaemin sat across from each other at the dining table, his short legs swinging back and forth, back and forth beneath his chair, stuffing cookies into his face, the remnants of crumbs sprinkling his cheeks. He smiled at you, mouth full of chocolate and cookies. You smiled back.
That night, Na Jaemin knocked on your window.
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You fell in love with Na Jaemin in the woods.
It was freshman year of high school, four in the afternoon, in the forest behind your school. You and Jaemin had both joined the cross country team. Jaemin would quit next year to focus on taekwondo, but freshman year cross country would be something you’d always shared with him, something that had changed everything.
It was autumn, golden brown leaves falling from their decaying stems and covering the forest floor with sheens and shades or oranges and yellows. The various flora concealed any and all roots emerging from the soil, hidden snakes lurking underneath the protection of the decay. The pain of your twisted ankle didn’t last long, quick and sharp, but over, with only the remnants of some redness and swelling to show anything had ever happened.
But he’d insisted on carrying you, nagging you incessantly until you finally agreed to climb on his back, wrapping your bare legs around his hips as he hoisted you up, his hands gripping your thighs, and your breath brushing the tip of his ear.
Your fingers brushed his chest as you gripped the fabric of his t-shirt, and if you pressed the pad of your index finger in just the right place, you could feel the beating of his heart. The feel of his skin against yours, the scent of your sweat and hot breaths mingling in the air, made you blush, your ears and cheeks burning at the newness, the unfamiliarity circling your best friend.
You didn’t know it then, too young and naive, but yes. You fell in love.
And apparently, so did he.
He confessed to you on April third, that same year, underneath the tree behind your house, with flowers blooming between your toes and taking root in your heart, pulling it apart to make room for one more. He pulled a daisy from behind his back and pulled your hair back, tucking the flower behind your ear. He’d grinned, but it had been different, not the same as all the other times he’d smiled at you, not the same as the smiles he shot to you in the halls or during class. It was soft, vulnerable. He’d threaded his fingers through your hair, before locking his fingers behind your head to bring you forward, and mold your mouth to his.
Like most first kisses, it was messy and awkward, and not at all like you’d seen in the movies. His nose bumped against yours, and he ended up accidentally getting his ring stuck in your hair, leading to the both of you leaning forward, squealing in pain as Jaemin attempted to maneuver his ring from the tangles without hurting you, apologizing profusely as he ripped out a few strands of hair.
But it was also perfect. That evening you’d had the perfect kiss, the perfect boy, the perfect life, and the perfect friends.
Sophomore year came, and Jaemin quit cross country to focus on taekwondo, leaving you and Jeno and Mark to yourselves in the afternoons. Sometimes, you’d meet Jaemin at the studio to see him sparring with others, his gear forgotten on the ground, a wild, excited look in his dark eyes. You’d fuss over him, snapping that he needed to take care of himself, and he’d whine, but pull the gear back on and pout at you, while his friends at the studio teased him playfully.
Then came junior year, and that was when everything began to fall apart. You remembered when it happened, how his opponent’s foot struck his back in just the right place, how he crumpled to floor, how his mouth had opened in a silent cry of pain. You remembered rushing to the edge of the arena, leaning your whole weight on the ring as Jaemin writhed on the mat, his coach tearing off his gear at the speed of lightning.
It would be a slow recovery, the doctor told him, and they warned him against continuing participating in competitive taekwondo.
“Other rigorous sports are okay.” they’d said. “But the spine’s involvement in the style of taekwondo would put too much stress on the injury.”
It was as if a part of him, of his identity, had been ripped away from him. After months of recovery, of sulking and pacing, you started to find Jaemin not at the studio, but at the local gym, his fists flying at the punching bag in the back corner, hit after hit after hit until his knuckles were raw and his joints ached.
But worst of all, it hurt watching him tear himself apart. It hurt seeing him getting into fights after school, participating in brutal brawls in the sparring studio he started attending, no gear, his chest bare and fists covered by thin fabric, his face vulnerable to his opponent’s attacks.
It hurt to see him sitting on his bed, twirling his father’s necklace around his index finger, his temple drawn in a frown.
“I failed him.” he told you one evening, his eyes rimmed with red. “I haven’t even met him and I’ve already failed him.”
You didn’t know how to tell Jaemin that it wasn’t his fault, that he hadn’t failed a father he’d never known, that had left him before he’d even seen the first colors of the world, let the cool air touch his skin.
He’d grown more distant, stopped answering your calls. The last time you saw him was four days before you found yourself standing in an empty room.
You sat in the window seat in your living room, watching as droplets of rain trailed down the glass, pale light filtering through the dappled window.
He kissed you, and then he left, and then he was gone.
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You hadn’t left the town you’d grown up in. A part of you hoped that if you stayed, he might find you again, might come back to you. He didn’t. You didn’t want to remember. You didn’t want to remember the way his lips felt against yours, the way his skin burned against yours.
You wanted to forget, so you tried.
Donghyuck worked at the record shop on the corner of Sunset and Argyle. He was warm, and smelled like coffee. He didn’t feel the same, but for now, he was enough. He was enough to make you forget about Jaemin for a few minutes at a time, enough to make that vacant hole in your heart disappear. Not enough to fill it. Mark and Jeno had gone, opting to leave in favor of an education elsewhere, high on ambition, leaving you with Donghyuck’s friends, Renjun and Chenle. You worked at your grandmother’s flower shop, sorting the roses and hydrangeas and rhododendrons into bouquets for loving boyfriends and fiancés and wives and husbands.
You often thought that the world was too bright for something that didn’t have Jaemin in it. It was too beautiful to not have Jaemin by your side, witnessing the heavy dew hanging in the air on autumn mornings, to feel the damp air brush your skin, and Jaemin’s lips leaving soft kisses on your skin, your lips, your jaw, your forehead. You hated it. You hated that you couldn’t love it without him, that even though he was gone, he was still holding you back from moving on, from being happy with Donghyuck and your new friends.
Worst of all was that Donghyuck didn’t deserve this. He didn’t deserve to love a girl that—no matter how hard she tried—would never love him the same way. He knew it, too. You’d had too many fights not to acknowledge it, how there were certain nights you’d pull away from him, how you still wore that silver cross around your neck every day, how you still kept an old picture of the two of you between the withered pages of the journal you and Jaemin used to write notes in to each other during class.
“You were in high school.” he’d plead. “Can’t you just let him go?”
And every time your heart would break at his expression, and you would whisper a small “I’m trying”, and because Donghyuck loved you, he’d take you into his arms and tell you he knew, that it was okay and that he’d wait.
He often wondered how long it would take.
There wasn’t any doubt in your mind that you were trying your best to forget. You would build up your walls over and over again until Jaemin crashed through them once again, night after night, with nothing in his fist except the whisper of his name breaking you apart and pulling you back down. It takes time, you told yourself.
Donghyuck could wait a little longer.
On a Friday night, curled up on the couch, your head on his shoulder, you could almost trick yourself into thinking that you were in love. That Donghyuck was your first, and that you’d want him to be your last.
The light from the television flashed across your faces as a storm raged outside. Donghyuck’s arm was around your shoulder, tugging you closer, your legs tangled with his as Gladiator played. His thumb circled over the inside of your thigh, where a scar remained from an accident on one of your first few dates, a memory you both looked back on fondly.
“This is so sad.” he whispered to you, his eyes glued to the screen. “We should’ve picked something happier for movie night.”
You gaped at him, your eyes teasing. “You picked this, Hyuck. You gotta suffer through the whole thing now. That’s the deal.”
He groaned, his eyes flashing to yours, gazing at you affectionately as he studied your face, bringing a finger to trace down your cheek to your jaw, and bringing your face to his in a short kiss.
Donghyuck was so warm, smiling softly against the kiss. You tried to force yourself to mimic his actions, but the pull on your heart forced you back, leaving him with a small smile as you pulled away, settling back into the couch and Donghyuck’s arms so you could watch the movie comfortably.
For a few moments, Donghyuck wouldn’t move, stiff against your body until he finally relaxed, letting his hand move back to your knee.
That was the thing about Donghyuck. He was so willing to pretend. To pretend that you loved him.
And maybe you did love him. It wasn’t all fake. You couldn’t possibly deny that you felt something for him, that usually you loved to feel his hands on your hips, his mouth moving against yours. But something was holding you back. Jaemin was holding you back, because it just wasn’t the same, and you just couldn’t get over it.
Tomorrow, you would go to the arts and crafts shop with Renjun in the hours of the early morning, and then you’d go out for lunch with Donghyuck, and you’d stay until the sun started sinking in the paint-streaked sky and Donghyuck would kiss you in the spilled golden light. And same as always, your heart would flutter, but never enough.
A week later, your grandmother would die, leaving the shop and the flowers and the heartache all to you, and you would sit on her couch and grieve, and dread her funeral and the memorial you would have to speak at that made your stomach burn with bile. Your mother sobbed at your feet, and you stared ahead as you stroked her hair, your eyes landing on the urn holding your grandfather’s ashes on the mantle, a man who died when you were young, and you wondered if she got to see him again, now that she too was dead. After ten years, the aching in her heart must’ve stopped. The wrinkled longing must have been soothed, a smile gracing her lips as she was finally reunited with the love of her life, her soulmate.
Relatives and neighbors visited your home during the next few days, bringing cards and laying flowers at the doorstep of her now empty home. You watched as your parents and friends helped move her stuff out, every object, one by one, to be distributed among your grandmother’s family and friends, until there was nothing left except the threadbare carpet on a dusty hardwood floor, and you were sitting alone, empty, quiet.
You wondered then why you always seemed to be the last one left, the only person to stay, the one who had to wait until everything else was gone before you could finally move on. Why was it always you who ended up in an empty room?
For now, you were comforted by the rush to prepare for your grandmother’s funeral, by the relative arriving from across the country to mourn with you.
But her death brought more than just family, and more than just friends.
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The repetition ended on a Tuesday evening, the hazy May sun filtering through the thin lavender curtains of your shop. You were in the back storage room, shuffling through the pottery and stacks of soil lining your shelf, rearranging budding flowers, and throwing out those that had run out of time, brown, decaying petals crumbling under your fingertips, sinking to the ground into a fine, sweet dust.
The bell rang.
You sighed, brushing a strand of hair out of your face as you brushed your hands off on your apron.
“I’ll be out in a second!” you called, picking up a pot off the ground and placing it on the shelf.
You moved through the bead curtain leading to your shop behind the counter, untying your apron as you walked.
“I’m closing soon, sorry, I’m going out—”
You looked up, and it broke. You stumbled back, a hand flying to your mouth.
It was funny, how it took only a few seconds for everything you’d built to come crashing down, how he managed to break everything you’d worked towards, how old, broken hopes resurfaced at the sight of him standing in the middle of your shop, a letter clutched in his hand, a silver bracelet hanging on his wrist. He looked the same as he had the last day you’d seen him, but at the same time he looked so much older. His eyes were darker, and although his smile still held that same softness, there was a new vulnerability lingering in his gaze.
You opened your mouth, but you couldn’t speak, your eyes and unblinking as you took in the figure of a boy you hadn’t seen in three years.
“What are you doing here?” you choked out. The tips of your fingers were numb, and you could hardly think, haze frosting over the unstable crevices of your shocked mind.
Jaemin shifted his weight, giving you a small smile that you found you couldn’t return, and then holding out the letter gripped in his hands.
“Your mom told me I’d find you here.” he said. His voice was soft, gentle, as if speaking too loudly would cause you to break. “My mom wrote a letter. For your mom, about your grandmother. She couldn’t come, but I was hoping it’d be okay if I stayed for the funeral.”
You nodded numbly, your fingers reaching out the grasp the corner of the letter, careful to avoid his touch.
Jaemin gave you another timid smile, then began walking away, turning his back to you once again.
But this time, you wouldn’t let him go. You lunged around the corner of the counter, grabbing his wrist, causing him to stop, and turn back to you with wide brown eyes.
“Wait.” you said. “Wait. Don’t go just yet.”
Jaemin’s expression softened.
“You left.” you whispered. “You never even said goodbye.”
Jaemin looked stricken, staring at you with deep, vulnerable, guilty eyes. “I know.” he replied. “I’m sorry.”
Sorry wasn’t good enough.
“Why?” you demanded, your voice raising. “Was I not worth it? Was I not worth telling?”
“I didn’t want to hurt you.” “You did.” you hissed at him. “You left me wondering for three years, Jaemin. Do you know how many nights I’ve spent wishing that you would’ve just broken up with me? That you would’ve at least called me to tell me you’re okay?”
He didn’t answer, just stared at the ground, his mouth tight and eyes still.
“Jaemin, I was so worried.” you whispered. “Just… by disappearing like that, you never let me move on.”
His eyes travelled back up, catching on the thin silver chain hanging around your neck. He brought his hand up to your neck, his fingertips brushing the delicate skin as he fingered the chain, moving down to the silver cross at the end.
“You kept it.” he whispered, and you slapped his hand away.
“I only kept it because I know how much it means to you.” you snapped. “Here.”
Then you unclasped it from your neck, and dropped it unceremoniously into his unsuspecting hand. Jaemin frowned, glancing up at you with a hurt expression, but shoved the necklace into his sweatshirt pocket.
You turned from him, gathering your breath and steeling yourself, while fiddling with your apron strings to distract yourself. “How long are you staying?” you asked, inhaling deeply.
There were a few moments of suffocating silence until Jaemin answered you.
“My family and I—we’re moving back. I’m staying at Wildwood Inn until my mom and my step-dad get back from Italy in a couple weeks. I only came early, well, because of your grandmother.” he said, his voice quiet, and then added, “I transferred the university just outside of town. I’m commuting.”
You managed to let out an airy, shaky laugh, that same bile you’d been feeling for the past couple days rising to your throat once again. “Okay.” you said, and turned back around to face him.
Jaemin raised an eyebrow. “Okay?” he repeated, looking concerned.
“I don’t care.” you breathed. “Do what you want. I won’t care. But I want an explanation. I don’t care if it’s a lie or the truth, I just need something.”
Jaemin opened his mouth to speak, but you cut him off. “Not today. Today, just go. Please.”
So he left, quietly, leaving you alone in the flower shop, pollen and dust collecting at your feet, and the nostalgic scent of lavender lingering in the air.
You almost immediately regretted pushing him out so early, but you were dazed, the world spinning around and around and around, and you were left unable to collect your thoughts as they swirled and bounced off the inside of your skull again and again and again.
It felt like a dream—too real, but also as if a veil had been pulled over your eyes, making your memory fuzzy around the edges, and suddenly you couldn’t recall what had just happened through the tumultuous drumming of your head.
Did that really just happen?
You didn’t hear the bell ring as the door opened behind you, too occupied with making sure you were really awake, one hand supporting your weight against the marble countertop. You only registered that someone else was in the room at the feeling of warm hands on your waist, and a chin hooked over your shoulder, warm breath tickling your ear as Lee Donghyuck pulled you closer to him. He pressed a kiss to your jaw, his lips travelling up to bite, tug at your ear. When you didn’t respond, he drew away, turning you to face him, concerned.
“Y/N?” he said, his hands cupping your cheeks, searching your face for any sign of hurt. “Is something wrong?”
You couldn’t hold it back any longer. Three years of pent up emotions came pouring out in an unstoppable flood. Three years of anger manifested in the form of hot tears burning trails down your face. Three years of the memory of an empty room led you to sink to the floor in your boyfriend’s arm, burying your face in the crook of his neck as you cried for the pain staining your heart.
An hour later you sat in the passenger seat of Donghyuck’s car, leaning against the soft felt seat and staring out the window, silent, empty. Donghyuck sat next to you quietly, fiddling with his fingers as he waited for you to say something, to say anything. Eventually, he grew tired of waiting.
“What happened, Y/N?” he asked softly, dark brown eyes warm and concerned.
You rubbed your palms over your aching, burning eyes, sighing in defeat as you let your exhaustion wash over you.
“Nothing.” you said. “I’m just overwhelmed, that’s all. With Grandma and all that.”
Donghyuck’s expression turned sympathetic, reaching across the panel to grip your hand, his thumb moving in slow circles over your knuckles.
“I know.” he murmured. “I’m here for you, okay? For whatever, wherever, whenever.”
You smiled at him, ignoring the tugging in your heart, as he leaned over and pressed his mouth to yours.
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The day of the funeral was too bright. The sun didn’t have the same golden or reddened glow your grandmother had always loved. The evening sky was cloudy, gray, and the light from the soon setting sun was a harsh white, a contrast to the hazy sky. You, and everybody else, were dressed in dreary black clothes as they outside the church, except for the embroidered bluebell pinned to your chest, the brooch that your grandmother had knitted herself, and gifted to you and your mother the day you were born.
Your friends were there, too. Renjun, Chenle, and Donghyuck by your side, along with Yuqi, your friend and Renjun’s girlfriend. Yerim, the daughter of your mother’s best friend and the only one left from your original friend group, gripped your hand tightly as you waited for the procession to begin.
You could tell when he arrived because of the whispers. They started behind you, and ended the moment you saw him make his way through the group of people huddled across from you, standing at the front, and pinned to his lapel, a single embroidered rose.
He met your gaze without hesitation, so solid that it shook you to the bone, rocked your very foundation. Suddenly you remembered running on your grandmother’s lawn with Jaemin by your side, your feet and the knees of your pants soiled with mud, laughs shaking your childish bellies, and your grandmother beckoning you in once she deemed it too cold. You remembered her playfully tapping Jaemin’s reddened nose, and hanging up his woolly hat as the two of you sat at the dinner table, small hands extending greedily for the warm chocolate chip cookies just out of reach. You grandmother tutted, slapping your hands away with a small smile. “Wash your hands first.” she would say, gesturing to the sink, and ruffling Jaemin’s hair as he ran past her. You remembered staring at her then, youthful eyes gazing in admiration at the warm figure of your grandmother, brimming from your center and filling you with a kind of homeliness, a sense of sanctuary in your grandmother’s home, guarded by the porcelain angels she so adored.
Jaemin wouldn’t break your connection, staring at you with deep, determined eyes. You felt Donghyuck’s hand wrap around yours as he moved between you and Yerim, turning to you with worried eyes.
“Who’s that?” he whispered, cocking his head towards Jaemin’s figure.
You gulped. Jaemin’s eyes flashed to your connected hands, his brows furrowing, and when his gaze returned to yours a question lingered in his eyes.
“Just an old friend from high school.” you whispered back.
Yerim gave you a look, a warning tainting her dark eyes.
Donghyuck nodded, and moved back beside Renjun and Yuqi, who were whispering to each other quietly, hushed voices and rosy cheeks.
Yerim moved closer to you, her hand moving up to your elbow. “He’s back?” she mouthed, her eyes wide.
You nodded.
“And you’re not going to tell Donghyuck?”
You glanced back to your boyfriend, who had begun chatting with Chenle.
“I can’t” you whispered under your breath. “Not yet.”
Yerim shook her head at you.  “Don’t let this become something it doesn’t have to be, Y/N. Be careful.”
Then the music began, echoing from the halls of the church, and she grasped your hand once again, pulling you toward the church as people began to file through the grand doors, filtering into the mahogany rows. The church was wide, and spacious, blue stained-glass windows casting and eerie, soft light over shadow cast faces.
You took a seat in the front row, Yerim unclasping your hands to sit a couple rows back with Yuqi, Renjun, Donghyuck, and Chenle. Your mother sat next to you, sweaty palms gripping your kneecap as she steadied herself. She was pale, clammy, her eyes filled with unspilled tears. Your father leaned over hear, his hand cupping her cheek as his eyes searched his wife’s face.
“Darling.” he whispered. “Everything’s alright. Just breathe.”
She looked at him with wild, devastated eyes. You shifted closer to her, your hand finding hers.
“Mom.” you said softly, and she glanced at you, shaking. “Mom, it’s alright.” you continued, giving her a gentle smile.
The funeral carried on, regardless of the pain and the tears and how nobody was quite ready to let your grandmother go. What you hated most of all, however, was how many faces you didn’t recognize among the funeral’s audience. They were people you’d never met, who’d come for news of inheritance or to shed fake tears just for the sake of it, because they were at a funeral and not because your grandmother was dead. They weren’t feeling it the same way you were. At the most, they were mourning a loss they’d never felt, a presence they’d never miss. You would miss her. You were the one who wouldn’t see her tomorrow, wouldn’t walk into work in the morning to see your grandmother hunched over the marigolds, a content smile on her weathered face. You were the one who wouldn’t hear her voice through the phone when she called to say that you left your schoolwork or home, the one who would never again get to witness her shamelessly flirting with your professors after class. You were the one who wouldn’t feel her arms around you ever again, who wouldn’t ever be called the pet names only she called you, words that died, lost with her.
Why grieve for someone who was never there, you wanted to ask them.
The hour passed slowly, creeping along the lines of the hymns sung by the choir, the uncomfortable itchiness of the wooden seats and black shawls. And then, when they called your name, you remembered what you’d promised your mother and father.
To speak for your grandmother, to say goodbye for everyone, to give your words to the others in the audience so that you grandmother could move on peacefully. You’d forgotten, wracked by the numbness as the choir sung your ears to sleep, and you clenched your fists as you rose from your seat and made your way up to the podium. Your legs were shaking, weak, goosebumps travelling up your skin from fright and anxiety. The blue light was bright at the top, gleaming in your eyes as your eyes dashed over the humble crowd, your heart hammering in your chest. Your gaze danced over Donghyuck, who was flashing you a subtle thumbs up, and caught on Jaemin. He was watching you silently, his head cocked slightly as he waited for you to speak.
You tried wiping your hands off on your dress and opened your mouth to speak, to recite the speech you’d rehearsed so carefully, but your words caught in your throat. You swallowed and took a deep breath, swaying on your feet, determined to try again, but before you could a wave of lightheadedness washed over you. You felt tears burn behind your eyes as your knees failed you and you crumpled to the ground amidst shocked exclamations from your family and friends in the audience.
You were leaning against the wood podium, panting for breath. Your back was to the audience, the podium hiding your figure from prying eyes. You felt sick, bile rising from your churning stomach to your throat, and you choked on the sour taste in your mouth as you tried to calm your nausea.
Suddenly, hands enveloped your face, soft palms pressed against your cheeks as they raised your head to look them in the eye. Jaemin hovered over you, his face too close, soft breaths brushing against your lips as he leaned in, eyes roving over your face and tear-stained cheeks.
“Y/N.” he breathed. “It’s alright. I’m here. Breathe.”
You felt a sob rip itself from your throat as you met his eyes, his face blurred from the tears clouding your vision. “I’m ruining everything.” you whispered.
Jaemin shook his head. “No, you’re not. Just breathe. Come with me.”
Then he came closer, pulling you into his arms so that you were standing, supported by his frame, your face buried into his chest as he practically carried you off the stage, your feet dragging as you stumbled after him. Donghyuck watched you from afar, half risen from his seat, a worried scowl setting itself on his face.
Jaemin pulled you out the side door, and you inhaled deeply as a rush of cool air filled your lungs. He kept maneuvering you until you were sitting against the stone wall underneath the overhang, ivy dripping from the cracked stone tresses. His hand returned to your cheek, his thumb brushing your tears away.
Your chest cleared, the weights that had been pushing down on your diaphragm disappearing as the pad of Jaemin’s finger swept over your lips.
You didn’t know when your tears started falling for the loss of your grandmother rather than because of the daunting faces leering at you from the crowd beneath you, and you didn’t know how long you were out there, letting the spring air rush through your lungs, the dry, gentle breeze drying your tears until you slumped against the wall, your face blank, strands of damp hair stuck to your skin.
Eventually, the bustling sounds of the masses filing out the grand doors began, and Jaemin grabbed your hand, pulling you to the road and guiding you into his car. He took you to the edge of town, past the flower shop and Mrs. Son’s bakery, past your old high school and the forest just beyond. He took you to Wildwood Inn, the place he was staying, and pulled you up the stairs to his room.
It amazed you how everywhere Jaemin went, he always left behind a tinge of lavender and lemon verbena, a sweet, calming, tantalizing smell, just like the boy himself. That was what his room smelled like, with only a few days of use. He sat you down on the bed, then pulled up a chair from the corner of the room to sit in front of you.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked, his voice gentle and soft.
You swallowed and looked away, embarrassed. “She would’ve hated that.” you muttered.
Jaemin nodded, understanding. “The funeral?”
“She would’ve wanted something small. Outdoors, in the sun, with her family.”
“I know.”
You took a deep breath, letting your body relax as a wave of calm washed over you.
“You can’t just come back like this, you know.” you said. “Like nothing happened. Like you never left.”
Jaemin looked away. “I know.”
“Can you tell me now?” you asked. “Can you explain why you left?”
Jaemin gave you a small smile. “Yeah. Yeah, I can try.”
You gestured for him to go on, and he began.
“After the accident, I felt lost.” he said. “Taekwondo was… everything for me, at the time. Knowing I’d never be able to compete again sort of… broke me. I didn’t leave because I wanted to. Please understand that.”
He shifted in his seat. “My parents told me we were moving a month before. I was supposed to tell you. But I didn’t. I couldn’t, because for some reason I felt like I’d already failed you too much. With taekwondo, and then the fights, and I could feel us drifting apart, and it was all because of me. So I didn’t tell you.”
“Why?” you asked, your voice hoarse.
He leaned forward, his eyes boring into your own as he reached for your hand. You allowed him, letting the warmth of his hand spread over your skin.
“I don’t have any excuse, except that I was sixteen and I was young and stupid. I made a mistake, and I’ve been too much of a coward to try and fix it, until now.”
“That’s why I’m here.” he continued. “My parents aren’t moving back. It’s just me. I… I needed to know if there was any chance… any way for me to fix this. For things to go back to how they were before.”
You slipped your hand from Jaemin’s grasp, aghast. “Jaemin—”
He interrupted you, desperate. “I know you’re with someone else—”
“—with Donghyuck, but please, just think about it. You have a choice, Y/N. And if you think you want to make it, I’ll wait however long it takes. Just please, think about it. Think about us.”
You didn’t say anything, couldn’t say anything.
“We don’t even have to be anything more than friends, if you don’t want.” he murmured. “But can you just think about forgiving me? Being friends again?”
You wished he’d never asked, because that question, of being friends again, of forgiving him, was easy. You’d spent the last three years begging for him to be okay, to come back, and you couldn’t help the warm, relieved feeling flooding through your body. You’d never been one to hold grudges, and you were happy he was back, and you knew you never wanted to let him go again. He was already forgiven.
Therein lay the problem. Because you could never be just friends with Na Jaemin. You could already feel him creeping back into your heart, and really, you knew he’d never left.
Could you do that to Donghyuck? Could you allow Jaemin back into your life, knowing what would happen?
“Okay.” you said. “I’ll think about it.”
Jaemin’s smile was so wide, you couldn’t help but let the guilt be washed away.
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It was like Jaemin had never even left. You fell into the same, original routine you’d had when you were young, as friends. You caught up with him at dinner in the evening, and he helped you in the flower shop, sorting bouquets as he tucked stray flowers behind your ears, laughing when you’d shake them out. He would smile at you with that same wide smile that he always gave you when you were young, those same soft eyes, the same silver necklace hanging from his neck.
And you wanted to feel guilty, but you didn’t, because all you felt was relieved that the boy you’d loved had come back to you. So, you kept letting it happen, you kept letting yourself get closer, lost in the warm scent of lavender and verbena.
It was a Saturday when he took you out of town, to the city beyond. He drove you in his car with the music loud and the windows rolled down. He had one hand on the wheel, and his other dangled out the window. His hair was swept back from his forehead, a pair of sunglasses balanced at the bridge of his nose, his lips slick from the red lollipop between his fingers. When he turned to smile at you, you felt your heart flutter deep within your chest, and you were unable to stop yourself from returning his grin, your expression beaming as Jaemin began to sing along to the radio.
“Where are we going?” you asked.
Jaemin glanced at you, a small smile gracing his lips. “Just a place I used to visit while I was gathering the courage to come back here. What I turned to after I lost taekwondo.”
You raised an eyebrow. “A place you used to visit? After taekwondo?”
Jaemin’s smile faded slightly, and he ran his tongue over his lips nervously. “After taekwondo, I started… boxing and kickboxing, I guess? Stuff like that. And then it turned into mixed martial arts, and now… I do that kinda stuff once in a while. When nights are slow.”
You gaped at him. “You do MMA fighting? Jaemin?”
He flushed. “Please, don’t worry. It’s not something I’m really into. Just good-natured spars, some competitions for a couple bucks. I don’t do it all that often.”
“You could get hurt!” you said, scowling. “Are you taking me to watch you take a beating?”
Jaemin let out a small laugh, shaking his head. “I promise, I do it a lot less now than a year ago. I have other interests now. It’s just some fun. And I’m good at it, you know.” he said, smiling again. “The guys I go with are all good friends. We know each other’s limits. That’s who I’m taking you to see today.”
You pouted, punching his shoulder lightly. “You better not get hurt. I don’t need you disappearing on me again.”
“I won’t!” Jaemin groaned, his face flushing once again.
“Hey.” you said, only half teasing. “I’ve forgiven you, but I’m not going to forget. You know that, right?”
Jaemin relaxed in his seat, and he smiled at you softly. “Yeah, I know. Thank you, Y/N.”
When you arrived at the city, Jaemin pulled into an alley behind a large building, unbuckling and opening the door for you to climb out. Next to the building, stairs descended to a set of steel double doors leading to an underground level.
“You’re not going to murder me, are you?”
Jaemin laughed, grabbing for your hand as he pulled you down the stairs, pulling a key from his pocket and inserting it into the lock, pushing the doors open. “Think of it like… a better version of Fight Club. You like that movie, right? It’s totally legal, totally safe, I promise.”
The hallway was dark, but surprisingly clean. The lobby was empty except for a young man standing at the counter, absentmindedly picking at his fingernails. At the sound of your footsteps, he looked up, his face brightening as his eyes locked onto Jaemin, who mimicked his wide smile as he opened his arms.
“Jaemin!” he exclaimed, scrambling around the counter to embrace Jaemin in a tight hug, slapping him on the back.
“Yukhei, I was here a couple weeks ago.” Jaemin said, grinning.
“Still missed you man.” Yukhei responded, and then turned to you.
“Who’s this?” he asked, smirking.
“This is the girl I told you about.”
Yukhei grinned even wider, slapping Jaemin on the back once more and gripping your hand in a tight handshake.
“Nice.” he said, nodding appreciatively as he looked you up and down.
You let out a laugh at the scowl on Jaemin’s face as he flicked Yukhei’s arm.
“Are the rest of the guys in?” Jaemin asked.
Yukhei nodded, and gestured to the door. “Yeah. Have fun, man.”
It was loud, inside. A ringed arena was centered in the middle of the room, two men sparring on the mat, shirtless. They wore shorts that clung to their sweat-soaked bodies, and the defined muscles of their arms and abdomens made you blush, averting your eyes.
Jaemin laughed at you, smiling fondly. He opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by the sound of his name being called from across the room.
Another young man, admittedly handsome, ran up to him, pulling him in for a tight hug. His brown hair flopped over his forehead, and his eyes were bright and youthful. His face was almost enough to distract you from the fact that he wasn’t wearing a shirt.
His name was Jung Jaehyun, you learned, one of Jaemin’s distant relatives that he’d met shortly after he’d moved. He had a sweet, genuine smile, greeting you politely and thanking you for coming with Jaemin. Eventually, the peaceful chat came to an end, and Jaehyun slapped Jaemin on the back, grinning.
“Up for a spar, Jaem?” he asked, his brown eyes glimmering.
Jaemin laughed awkwardly, cutting a glance toward you, before addressing Jaehyun’s offer. “I don’t know… maybe another time?”
Jaehyun pouted, shaking Jaemin’s elbow pleadingly. “Come on, man. It’s been too long! Have some fun!” he whined.
Jaemin shook his head, subtly motioning towards you with a jerk of his wrist. You frowned, then laughed as you understood.
“Jaemin, if you want to, I don’t mind. I’d like to see what you’ve been up to.”
“As long as you’re careful.” you added quickly.
Jaemin grinned shyly at you. “Are you sure?” he asked meekly, ducking his head toward you.
You nodded, giving him an encouraging smile. You felt your heart constrict in your chest, but you wished it away, wanting to see what Jaemin had been up to in the absence of taekwondo.
Jaehyun stood up, holding his hand out and helping Jaemin up, who stripped off the white muscle tee you’d been teasing him for relentlessly, leaving him in his black athletic pants, the silver cross dangling across his chest, and he flashed you a sly smile, smirking. Once again, you flushed, but this time the burning of your ears was accompanied by butterflies in your stomach and the pattering of your heart.
Jaemin moved just as you remembered. He was fluid and quick, moving gracefully and efficiently. You flinched every time Jaehyun’s fist came in contact with his stomach, or as his foot connected with his knee, but you quickly realized Jaehyun wasn’t giving his all into the hits, only briefly knocking the air out of Jaemin, and vice versa, a wide smile on their faces. Eventually, they lost form, ending with Jaehyun holding Jaemin in a headlock while he ruffled his hair, laughing, his head thrown back and a huge smile plastered on his face as he watched Jaemin struggle.
You didn’t like watching him fight, but he’d told you he didn’t do it often, and it seemed to make him happy. Afterward, you sat on the roof of the building, a warm hot chocolate from the café the next building over, the summer sky dimming, painted with warm blues and dying reds.
“Don’t look down.” Jaemin had whispered, his breath tickling your ear, as you’d taken a seat on the stone railing, your feet dangling into the empty air, and you’d laughed, telling him that it wasn’t that far down anyway, and you weren’t scared of heights—he of all people should know that.
Every so often, his foot would bump against yours, and his fingers would brush past yours, and you would look at him and see the fading red light pass over his face, a content and relaxed smile lighting his expression. The sun held a faint warmth against your skin, and you felt a similar warmth in the depths of your heart. But something was still wrong. There was still a tightness, something holding you back.
You were holding yourself back, and most of all, you were holding Donghyuck back. It pained you to admit that Donghyuck had been a placeholder for Jaemin all this time, something to fill the hole Jaemin had left behind. But Jaemin was back, and you didn’t think you had any space left for Donghyuck’s heart. It was time to let him go, you knew. Time to apologize for what you’d done to him, what you’d been doing. To fix things, and give the both of you closure so that you could both move on.
Jaemin hummed next to you, his long, slender fingers tapping out a rhythm on the stone. “I want more than this.” he murmured.
You looked down at your swinging feet. “I do, too.” you admitted. “But not yet. I need time. Donghyuck… needs time.”
Jaemin glanced at you, his brows furrowing in surprise. “You’re…”
“I’m breaking up with him.” you affirmed, staring at your shoelaces. “I’ve been too selfish to realize that I’ve been hurting him. I haven’t loved him the way he deserves to be loved.”
“It’s not going to go back to normal, how we were in high school.” you continued. “I’m not ready to do that, just yet. But Donghyuck needs to know how I feel.”
Jaemin nodded, understanding, but he couldn’t help the small smile creeping on his face, turning his head away so you wouldn’t catch him.
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He dropped you off at your house after the sun had disappeared behind the horizon, shadows falling over the concrete sidewalk. You recognized Donghyuck’s van in your driveway, and your hand shook as you opened the door, slipping off your shoes as you entered. Donghyuck was sitting on the couch, leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees. You could tell he was angry the second he met your eyes, his usually warm gaze hard, and cold.
You looked at your feet, the time you’d spent prepping yourself in the car useless against Donghyuck’s hurt expression, shame washing over you.
“Did you have fun?” he asked, his voice tired, exhausted.
“Yes.” you murmured, stopping in front of the couch.
Donghyuck gulped, leaning back on the pillows, then sighed, rubbing his eyes. “He’s Jaemin, right? The boy you dated in high school—that’s him.”
Donghyuck let out a shaky breath. “This was always going to happen, wasn’t it?”
You sat down next to him, your hand reaching for him, but he flinched away. “Donghyuck—”
“Has anything happened between the two of you?” he asked, and suddenly his voice wasn’t so hard anymore. It was small, timid.
You shook your head, shifting closer to him. “I told him we need time.”
“I don’t want to be the one holding you back.” he sniffled, staring at his feet.
“You were never the one holding me back, Hyuck. I was holding myself back, and I hurt you in the process.” you muttered. You felt your eyes burn with hidden tears, willing them away.
“Was any of it ever real? Did you ever actually love me?” he whispered.
“I do love you, Hyuck. Just not the way you deserve.”
“Thank you for telling me.” he murmured, wiping at his eyes with the sleeves of his sweatshirt. “Thank you for not letting things go further before you told me.”
“I’ve been selfish, Donghyuck.”
“Yeah.” he said. “You probably have. You might be a sucky girlfriend, but you told me the truth, and so you’re a good friend, for that, at least.”
“I wish you’d yell at me.” you said. “You should be angry at me.”
He laughed humorlessly, shaking his head. “Maybe if you’d actually cheated on me. But you didn’t, not really. Yeah, I’m a little pissed, but I understand, and I saw it coming.”
“Can we still be friends?” you asked softly.
Donghyuck smiled grimly. “I need some time, I think. But yeah, eventually, I think we could be friends.”
Then he stood up, brushing of his pants, and letting out a deep breath. “I’m gonna get going.” he said. “So I can finish sobbing into a pillow in the privacy of my own home.” he joked.
You winced. “Donghyuck—”
“I’ll see you around, yeah?”
And then, he was gone. You didn’t call Jaemin that night. Instead, you thought about all the reasons it had taken you so long to let Donghyuck go. It hadn’t all been about Jaemin, about that empty void he’d left behind. It had been a huge part of it, but it was also just because of Donghyuck. It was the way his smile could light up a room, the way his mouth always tasted like warm chocolate chip cookies, and how he smelled like jasmine tea. It was the way he kissed your nose when you cuddled, and the way he’d cover your eyes for you during the gory parts of the horror movies you watched together. It was Donghyuck who had been in your heart, and a part of him would always stay, but Jaemin had never left. You were in love with Jaemin in a way that you didn’t feel with Donghyuck. It was so much more than just friends.
You’d fallen in love with Donghyuck the way you fall for someone’s smile, the way they touch you. You’d fallen in love with the idea of him, and most of all, you’d fallen in love with him as a friend. You fell in love with Jaemin for his words, the way they fell from poetry from his mouth, the way he looked at you with sweet brown eyes, the way he smelled like lavender. You fell in love with the way drops of water trailed down strands of his brown hair after a shower, how his skin was damp but hot in the winter, and how his breath fogged up the windows of your car as he laughed at one of your jokes. You fell in love with the way he kissed you, deep and long, as if he’d give up his last breath for the chance to kiss you. You fell in love with the way he traced the constellations of the night sky with the tip of his finger, the way his voice reverberated in your ear.
You fell for everything he was.
You fell for the stories he told with his fingers when he played piano, the way the words I love you fell from his lips, and the way he held your hand when nobody was looking, the way you could tell you weren’t just for show. You were his, and he was yours.
Yeah, it was something different. It was something old, and something you welcomed back with open arms, banishing the lingering bitterness from your heart in the search for something new. Another chance, another day to fall in love.
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You waited two months before it finally happened. Donghyuck had started talking to you again, smiling at you again, nearly three weeks ago. You suspected it had something to do with the fact that you’d seen Yerim sneaking out of his house at three in the morning from across the street, her heels gripped in her hands. She’d stopped once she’d caught sight of you, her eyes wide, before she scurried away. She couldn’t look Donghyuck in the eyes since, you’d noticed, and his cheeks turned red every time he glanced her way. What it meant, you didn’t exactly know. You were more concerned with Jaemin, anyway.
He’d moved into a house on your street a little less than a month after you broke up with Donghyuck. You remembered walking down the street when you were attacked by a white furry mass, only for a loud voice to shout, “Spot! No!”, and the creature retreated. You’d been greeted by the sight of Jaemin rushing to you, a big grin on his face, and a giant, pure white Samoyed at your feet.
“You named him Spot?” was the first thing you’d said to him.
It happened in the same place it had begun, on a Saturday morning, as the summer rain from the dawn hours subsided and the early sun filtered through the windows of the flower shop, small droplets of rain trailing thin paths down the glass. The bell rang, and you grinned, turning around to see Jaemin standing at the counter, his wallet in hand.
“What can I do for you, sir?” you teased, leaning one elbow on the table and gazing up at him, a playful smile plastered to your face.
He played along. “A bouquet of your finest artifacts, please.” he said, setting his shoulders back.
“I’ll be with you in just a second.” you said, grinning.
You disappeared behind the beaded curtain, and returned with a bouquet of lavender in your hand. Jaemin laughed when you handed it to him, his cheeks rosy and eyes bright.
“Is lavender even a kind of flower?” he asked. “I thought it was an herb.”
“It’s both.” you said. “It’s my favorite, because you always smell like lavender.”
He quirked an eyebrow. “Do I?”
You nodded.
Suddenly, he moved around the counter, until he was only a couple inches from you, his breath fanning softly over your face as he leaned closer.
“Want a taste?” he breathed.
And then he kissed you. It was your first kiss all over again, a million times again, a million times over. His lips were soft and sweet and his mouth tasted like caramel. His hands pulled you closer, and your hands were cupped around his cheeks, pulling his face toward yours as your mouths moved together. He smiled as he kissed you, his body warm and pressed tightly against yours. He hoisted you up on the countertop, his hands on your waist, and you giggled as his fingers brushed your sides.
When you pulled apart, you were both grinning, still attached to each other, as Jaemin pulled you into a hug, your chin hooked over his shoulder. The scent of lavender and lemon verbena surrounded you as you inhaled, burying your face into his neck, the soft pulse of his heart faint against your lips as they pressed to the delicate skin.
It felt like a dream—the way the morning fog hung in the air like a haze, and the way Jaemin felt against you, his chest pressed to yours, your hearts dancing to the same rhythm.
He came back in a dream, but he came back for you.
And he’d stay in the old town with ivy-choked buildings and overgrown gardens, in your grandmother’s flower shop with the scent of pollen hanging in the air, and the spring storms bringing the promise of a new beginning.
3K notes · View notes
forehead-enthusiast · 2 years ago
I Do
Pairing: Jaemin x Reader
Genre: Fluff, Royalty!AU, Arranged Marriage AU, perhaps a small dash of what could be interpreted as implied smut?? but I don’t interpret it that way so its up to you
Word Count: 5.3k
Summary: The prospect of marrying someone you’d never met devastated you. However, your new husband never ceases to surprise you. 
A/N: ahhh my first fic in a little while!! ik it’s quite long, but i hope you’ll give it a read! thank you!!
You waited in front of the church doors, a veil covering the devastation in your eyes. Your mother pressed a hand to your shoulder in some cheap imitation of comfort, as if she wasn’t the one who got you here. She gripped you too tightly, as if to imply escape was impossible. The white fabric of your dress creased under her fingers, and you subconsciously wondered if it would be wrinkled as you walked down the aisle. No more tears were left in your eyes; they’d fallen, one by one, all through the night, and had dried into a red stain that no cosmetic could cover.
The church doors opened. 
The organ blared, the choir sang. The guests stood up and turned, their feet shuffling against the tiled floor. It was a cacophony. Nightmarish. Your knees shook as you took step after step towards the future you would have never chosen. You felt like you were walking towards a guillotine, and almost wished you were.
You made it to the altar. If only lightning could smash through the stained glass and strike you before the vows, you’d be saved. You stared at the ground and prayed fruitlessly, not bothering to listen to the empty words the priest proclaimed.
They weren’t true anyway. There was no love to promise in the first place. You honestly weren’t even sure if you knew which prince you were marrying. Ever since you were born, names of rulers and their heirs had been thrust upon you, to befriend, to charm, to capture. They were all just blurred faces, overshadowed by the jewels on their clothing and the parents on their shoulders. Did it really matter who your parents had eventually chosen? It’s not as though they’d work to try and find someone you’d love, let alone like. You hoped it at least wasn’t some man old enough to be your grandfather, but reconsidered. Maybe they’d die quickly and leave you to be the happiest widow alive. That was the best you could hope for, you supposed.
“And do you, y/n, take Jaemin to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
“I do.”
The words came out of your mouth flatly. They’d been practiced, ordered from you. You felt nothing offering them to the man before you- no affection, no intrigue, no guilt. 
You’d never meant anything less in your life.
“And do you, Jaemin, take y/n to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“I do.”
You barely took note of how young the voice sounded. In the back of your mind, you were disappointed that you couldn’t hope for him to die early.
“By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Unknown hands reached out to lift the lace that covered your face, and you looked up to see your husband for the first time. He was young. He couldn’t be more than a year or two older than you, if that. He was pretty. He was smiling.
Then he wasn’t.
His face fell as he looked upon yours, and you wondered if you were truly so disappointing looking before you recognized the expression on his face. Sympathy. Guilt. He’d seen the redness of your eyes, the sadness etched into every feature of your face. He hesitated to kiss you, and for the first time today, you felt something. A sense of emotional closeness, you supposed. He was just the same as you. Not some old man looking for a younger toy, not some rich bastard looking for a new trophy. Just a person, too young to be treated like an adult, marrying someone they didn’t know. 
“...Just do it.”
He looked even more guilty at that. He leaned in, pausing several times, and you wondered if your audience of strangers were confused. Just before your lips, he hovered, and whispered something only you could hear.
“I’m sorry.”
And he closed that final inch between you. You were stiff, but his lips against yours were warm, and more tender than any other touch you’d felt before. You wondered what either of you had done to deserve this. 
You wrapped your arm around his and walked out of the church together, with your well rehearsed smiles plastered on your faces as you shook countless hands and thanked countless people you’d never met for coming to this oh-so-happy occasion. He opened the door of the coach for you. A perfect gentleman. He climbed in after you, and you rode off.
The happy newlyweds.
Neither of you spoke a word as the stagecoach traveled over every bump in the road, and you let your mind be occupied by the sound of hooves against cobblestone. Your mind drifted about, visiting every dream you’d had for your life when you were naive enough to believe it belonged to you. All the adventures you’d longed for, all the places you desperately desired to see, all the life there was to live outside the castle walls. You couldn’t even pretend they were a possibility for you now.
Jaemin stared at the floor of the carriage, his mind clouded with conflict. His eyes would flick up to catch a glimpse of your face as you stared resolutely out the window. 
He knew you more than you realized.
He’d been excited to hear who he was marrying. Unlike you, he’d recognized the name, and had lit up at the news. It wasn’t exactly what he’d envisioned, this coincidence planned by outside forces, but the prospect of getting to be with you had sounded wonderful to him. He hadn’t imagined you didn’t feel the same. He loathed himself for that. It’s not as though he could’ve done anything to change or halt the wedding, but he kicked himself for letting you see him so excited when you were so distraught. It was just so… insensitive of him. How could be hope to be a good husband when he hadn’t even stopped to imagine your feelings?
What bothered him the most, though, was that some part of him was still stubbornly happy to have you with him now. His forlorn bride. You looked beautiful despite how obviously sad you were. The lace of your dress draped against your skin like seafoam on waves. The lips (that he’d just kissed, he realized) were pink and reminiscent of budding roses. They matched the new flush on his cheeks. 
You arrived at the estate, and he helped you out of the coach naturally. You looked over the beautiful building, surrounded by gardens and white marble statues, and sighed. This was your home now until you inherited the kingdom. It wasn’t really so different from the castle you’d left behind, but you were so different from the girl that had left. 
Jaemin opened his mouth many times to speak as you were guided through the ornate hallways, but couldn’t find anything to say. He wanted to offer some sort of promise, some sort of comfort, but he looked at your back, ever so slightly hunched in defeat, and crumbled.
You ate dinner in silence.
Jaemin sat up in bed, waiting for his hair to fully dry. His eyes drifted around the large room, far too big for one person. Of course, it wasn’t. His heartbeat raced as he looked over at the other side of the bed, yet empty. It was an enormous bed; it probably could fit four of him, and was so velvety to the touch, it felt like a dream itself.
He flinched as the door creaked. You walked in, a nightgown on instead of your wedding dress, head still hanging.
“...Um! This is sort of weird, but, um, I’m Jaemin. It’s nice to meet you, or I dunno, marry you-”
“I’m y/n.”
He watched your figure, that looked so frail in the loose fabric of your pajamas, climb under the covers beside him. Well, beside him was a stretch. You curled up on the most distant edge, and he would’ve struggled to reach you if he tried. He sighed, and put out the light after gazing at your back facing him for a moment.
“Goodnight, y/n.”
He laid awake that night, listening to soft sobs that weren’t quite drowned out by a pillow, and cried a little himself. 
You were already gone by the time he woke up. Had you… had you run away? In the middle of the night? He cursed himself, and swung a robe around his shoulders as he hurried into the corridor. His breathing grew heavier as he threw himself into room after room, looking for some kind of clue as to where you’d gone, and then suddenly- there you were.
He finally paused, and took in the sight of you surrounded by flowers.
It was the first time since you’d been wed that he’d seen something besides distress on your face. You looked peaceful, wind gently flicking at your hair. He breathed in the scent of petals and morning dew, happy to share anything at all with you. His eyes widened when he realized you’d noticed him.
“You’re… still here.”
He walked over to the bench you were sitting on, and crouched down, his face in his knees before he looked up to face you. His brows scrunched together and a relieved smile bloomed on his face.
“I’m so glad.” And then, “I’m sorry for that.”
“Sorry? For what?”
His smile relaxed you. His entire self relaxed you, once you let it. The realization that he was in the same predicament as you hadn’t made the transition much easier, but nonetheless, the sincerity in his voice, his eyes, the very tips of fingers was unlike anything you’d ever experienced. You’d never felt that anyone was truly genuine to you before. 
“For being happy you didn’t leave. I know the idea must’ve crossed your mind, and I wouldn’t have blamed you if you’d done it. And maybe you’d be happier right now if you had. So I’m sorry.”
You didn’t know how to respond to his honesty. You thought you could deal with anything. Facade, pretense, selfishness, violence, you knew you could handle anything that was thrown at you. But this was just too different. He was different. A sliver of a smile cracked onto your face. It was a feeling you’d almost forgotten. You’d grown so used to the performance of joy you nearly failed to recognize the real thing.
“You don’t need to apologize.”  
Jaemin’s heart throbbed when he saw that shadow of happiness on your face, and wondered what he could possibly do to brighten it even more. He stood up slowly, and asked cautiously if he could sit beside you and take in the morning. You nodded, and he sat down. His fingers fidgeted in his lap as he struggled to think of other things to say, but he just let the scenery speak in his stead. 
You struggled to open up to Jaemin, despite how sincere you knew he was. Luckily, he didn’t give up easily. Every time you fell silent, every time you let a conversation die, he just smiled, and thought of something new to ask you. 
No one had ever shown interest in you as a person before. He never asked about your family, your land, your title, but instead asked you little things. The meaningless things that somehow seemed more valuable to him.
“What’s your favorite fruit?”
You’d mumbled, “Grapes,” in reply, and woke up each morning with a bowl of them on your nightstand.
“What’s your favorite color?”
“Yellow.” You’d found a bouquet of yellow carnations on your favorite bench. They didn’t look like they’d come from a florist. Rather, they looked clumsily but lovingly picked, and you put them in a vase with that small smile that Jaemin considered the highest reward.
“What’s your favorite dance?”
“That’s a secret.” Jaemin turned to you in surprise. It was the first time you’d shown a hint of humor in an answer, and he positively glowed. It was a bit bizarre to see him so happy at having an answer withheld from him. He grinned, and took one step closer to you than usual.
“You really won’t tell me?”
“Nope. And I’ll make sure you never guess.”
He was ecstatic.
You were… friends. The smile that once felt foreign on your face reappeared more and more frequently thanks to him, until it was as natural as when you were a child. The murky clouds in your heart didn’t dissolve, but unlike ever before, there was a glimpse of sunlight. You learned how to laugh again. Being around him was easy- he never made you feel like you had to be anyone but yourself. He’d race you through the gardens, and tease you when you threw your heels aside. He’d try and fail to make flower crowns out of the little white flowers nestled in the grass, and never got better at it. He’d pluck dandelions for you, and hand them to you with a grin.
He was the perfect distance from you. Closer than anyone, closer than your family or the servants you’d allowed yourself to grow attached to when you were still young and gullible, but far enough that you never felt any kind of pressure to behave a certain way. You took a dandelion from him, and watched the seeds float away in the breeze.
“Jaemin, I’m glad it was you I married.”
Jaemin’s heart paused for a second, then beat rapidly against his ribcage.
“Y-you are?” Maybe you felt the same way he did.
“Yeah. I was worried I’d been carted off to be some plaything for a nasty old tyrant of a man.”
That was not a very high bar to exceed. Jaemin felt his heartbeat slow down to its usual pace again. He swore to himself internally that he’d make you really, truly happy you married him if it killed him. He’d only fallen harder in the passing weeks. Your smile made butterflies migrate to his stomach no matter how often it occurred nowadays, and with every day that came and went, you were more beautiful to him than the girl he married. 
You liked his smile too. That was an understatement. His bright smile was infectious, and made his handsome features all the more boyish and sweet. Sometimes it seemed as though it made your heart beat faster, but you seriously doubted that thing inside you still had the capacity to do so. For years now you’d sworn it had died, and you were just a miraculous walking corpse.
Still, as the weeks continued to pass, it seemed like it was working better than it ever had. You noticed it pounding when Jaemin took your hand to lead you through the garden to a new secret spot he’d found, just by a small pond. You held your skirts above your knees and waded through it. You’d never done that before, and laughed out loud when Jaemin got scared by a frog. The pounding had to be from the excitement of finally daring to do the things you imagined, but had never been allowed to try back home.
Sometimes you really did feel happy here. It was hard not to, with Jaemin as your partner to explore and discover all the estate had to offer. But no matter how hard you tried to forget all that you’d wished for in the past, images of adventure always found their way back to you in your dreams. You tried to push them farther away. You’d gotten a best friend for a husband- that was more than you could hope for. 
Jaemin took you by the hand again today, promising a very big surprise. You hurried down the hallways, giggling like schoolchildren, until you reached an imposing wooden door. The estate, big as it was, always seemed to have new rooms to find.
“Close your eyes, y/n. Are you peeking?” He waved a hand in front of your face before pushing open the doors with a creak and guiding you inside.
It was… an empty room. A beautiful one, but empty nonetheless. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and the floor was mirror smooth, your skirt just reflected upon it.
“Jaemin, what is this?”
“It’s a ballroom. For dancing.”
You playfully groaned as you remembered the little secret you’d kept from him all that time ago.
“So that’s your plan.”
“Hey, it’s the best I got.” He held out his hands, and waited stubbornly until you took them. He pulled you gently towards him.
“So, y/n, what’s your favorite type of dance?”
“Not. Telling. Besides, we don’t even have any musicians, how are we supposed to dance at all?”
“Who needs ‘em?” He began to hum, a little out of tune, but the sound still rang out in the empty, echoey room, and you laughed at the orchestra of his voice. He spun you around, and you shrieked with laughter. Eventually, you both took off your shoes in favor of sliding around the glossy floor in your stockings. You had spent a lot of alone time with Jaemin, but even then, there was always some guard or servant walking by or watching from a ways away. Here, you were really alone. The only other people there were your images on the floor, looking just as euphoric as you both felt.
He twirled you into him, and you landed softly against his chest. You’d never really taken notice of it before, but he was strong. Broad. Your heartbeat sped up. You tried to convince yourself it was from the dancing. He smiled softly, and tucked some of your flyaway hairs behind your ear.
“Come on, just tell me. I even found a ballroom for us to do whatever it is you like.”
You sighed, and buried your head in his chest. He completely froze, redness managing to reach his ears in record time. He’d gotten so close with you, he sometimes forgot how madly in love he was with you. This was an intense way to be reminded. 
“Jaemiiiin.” It was the first time he’d heard you whine like that, and he pressed his hands to his face, trying to stop himself from screaming with affection.
“Jaemin.” You propped your face up, your chin on his torso now. “Jaemin, I can’t dance at all. I don’t have a favorite type. I don’t have any type I can even do.”
He burst out laughing, and you threatened to storm off.
“No! No, I’m sorry, please come back.” His apology was somewhat dampened by his roars of laughter, but you reluctantly stayed. He was sitting on the floor now, wiping tears from his eyes as he gasped.
“You really are so cute.”
You blushed. You didn’t even know you could. Jaemin blushed too when he saw you flush, which just made you flush more, and in response, he did, and so on and so forth. The whole room seemed to heat up just because of your competing fiery faces. Jaemin jumped up and pushed his hair back in an effort to compose himself.
He held out his hands again.
“Come on. Come on, don’t be shy.”
You took them begrudgingly.
“Alright, step backwards with your left foot.” Your eyes widened, but you obeyed. “Okay, now your right. Uh-huh, just like that.” He taught you carefully, leading you around the dancefloor with that kind of gentlemanly grace that came naturally to him. He yelped melodramatically when you stepped on his toes, and chuckled when you smacked his arm in indignation. He hummed again, just next to your ear, and you felt like you were floating, despite your continued clumsiness. 
His impromptu song and lesson came to an end. You looked up, still entranced, and saw Jaemin with a smile gentler than all his afternoon sunshine ones before it. It was soft like the evening sun, just before it melts completely into the horizon.
You found it hard to let go of his hands.
Jaemin glanced over at you as you climbed into bed, the nightgown you were wearing tonight barely different from the one you wore your wedding night. It still managed to make him nervous though, he’d never gotten used to it. You laid down on your faraway section of mattress, and as Jaemin thought about your head buried in his chest, he felt bolder than he ever had before.
“Y-you can come closer. If you want.”
You looked up in surprise, then at the space next to him, then at his face. You opened your mouth, then thought better and snapped it shut. Your hands gripped your bedsheets.
“Actually, um… I think I’ll stay over here.”
Jaemin was horrified at himself. He’d done it now, he'd ruined everything. He’d pushed too much, made his feelings too obvious, made you uncomfortable. God, how could he have been so stupid? He’d made it his goal to make you happy, not satisfy his own stupid wants. If you weren’t sharing a bed, he would’ve shoved a pillow onto his face and screamed.
He laid awake that night, tossing and turning, still furious at himself.
His eyes darted over to you in the darkness, but he held his tongue, afraid you would tell him you were leaving to sleep somewhere else. 
“Are you asleep?”
He thought about answering, “Yes!” and smiled to himself. As he was imagining that juvenile fantasy, the blankets behind his back shifted. He froze completely, unsure if he was imagining the rustling, the feeling of the mattress bending with another person’s weight. Was he imagining this warmth too? He had to be. You had turned him down just hours before. But for some inexplicable reason, you were now hovering just behind his back. He forced himself not to twitch as your fingertips grazed his back.
Why? Why were you doing this? Why didn’t you do it earlier? A thousand and one questions ran through Jaemin’s mind, but he suppressed them all, refusing to interrupt this moment. He could just feel you grab a tiny bit of his shirt’s fabric between your fingers, and he wondered if this was all a dream. If it wasn’t, there was a real chance his heart would burst right out of his chest onto the covers.
He didn’t get a single second of sleep that night, but got hours of a dream come true.
Just like always, you were gone in the morning, off to a garden or breakfast or something else. For the first time ever, he’d been awake as you clambered out of bed. He'd kept his eyes resolutely shut, not blowing his cover now, and panicked that you’d notice the flush on his face when he heard the sound of clothes being changed. That was an image he didn’t need floating around his mind all day, teasing him. He smacked his hand against his head over and over, trying to rid himself of it.
Every night since then, you’d been doing the same thing. Calling out to him softly, asking if he was awake, and then moving towards him to sleep peacefully. Your slow breathing warmed the fabric against his back, and he wondered if this was a reward or torture.
“Jaemin, you look awful. Did you sleep okay?”
“Hm? Oh. I’m fine. I just… had weird dreams.”
The dark circles that worsened by the day didn’t manage to make him less beautiful, but they were still concerning. Even he had to admit they were bad. As much as he painfully loved having you snuggling up to him every night, he was beginning to doze off during all your daytime endeavors.
So this time, when you cuddled up to him, he turned around to face you.
He wasn’t exactly ready to have your face that close to his, and reflexively wrenched his head back, as did you.
“J-Jaemin?! You’re awake?!”
You pulled at blankets to try and hide yourself, and he thought about how adorable you looked all bundled up. Agh, he couldn’t let himself get distracted. But wow, your cheeks were so red. You looked like a strawberry, ripened with summer heat. Focus, Jaemin, focus.
“Why are you doing this? I thought you didn’t want to.”
You pulled the blankets over your head, and he pulled them back down.
“I… I did want to. But. It’s. It’s embarrassing somehow! But I still want to. But I, I didn’t want you to know that I was embarrassed because then I’d be more embarrassed, and I don’t even know why but ever since we danced that first time everything you do embarrasses me and-”
Jaemin watched you ramble, and condemned himself for hoping. Hoping that this feeling of embarrassment you spoke of meant what he thought it might.
“Y/n, I am so unbelievably in love with you.”
Your tumbling words ceased immediately.
“I love you so much. I’ve loved you for years, long before we got married. I’ve loved you since I first saw you, when you saved that frog at the garden party.”
“I know you don’t remember it, I mean, we must’ve been about ten. But you saved a frog that was being bullied by some of the servants, and held it in your hands fearlessly as you put it back in the pond and I’ve been in love with you ever since that day. And I know it’s weird that that sparked my feelings for you, but it did. This isn’t the way I had wanted it to happen, but I always knew I wanted to marry you. I love you.”
“Jaemin! Stop… saying… that you l-lo… me.”
“I-I’m sorry.”
“...There’s no need to apologize.”
He looked up at you, practically glowing with your pink cheeks. He reached out, and paused when you flinched.
“I’m sorry, did I scare you?”
“No, it’s just…”
You scrunched your eyes shut and nodded. He didn’t understand how you could somehow get him to adore you more each and every moment, but you did.
“Y/n, do you want to marry me?”
Your eyes flicked open.
“We’re already married?”
“But I want to know if you want to.”
“I… do.”
“Do you,” he gulped, nervous despite it all, “Do you love me?”
You avoided looking at him for a few agonizing moments before meeting his eyes and answering.
“I do.”
You'd never meant anything more in your life.
“Can I kiss you, y/n? For real?”
He tried to hold himself back, but practically tackled you in his eagerness. You yelped as you fell backwards, and your teeth clacked together. You winced in unison. He looked down at you, laying between his arms, and couldn’t believe it was real. You giggled lowly at the flush on his cheeks until he pointed out you were even redder. 
He fell onto his elbows to be closer to your face. You both stared into each other’s eyes, unsure of when to close them. You squinted yours shut, and Jaemin’s heart leapt into his throat. He took a moment to admire this expression of yours, this “waiting for a kiss” face, and once it was burned into his memory, leaned down. He was almost too cautious, his kiss even more hesitant than the one that dubbed you man and wife, but once he saw you were still there waiting for another, surrendered.
He kissed you with all the passion he’d been suppressing, his lips locking with yours over and over, without a moment to breathe. He tasted like mint. Unaware of your own actions, you reached up to wrap your arms around his torso and hold him more closely to you. A thrill ran up his spine. If he was being honest, he really didn’t know what he was doing. This was only his second kiss, if you could even consider your wedding day one a proper first. He let instinct take over, biting your bottom lip gently. You flinched at the unfamiliar sensation, and he almost pulled away, but you just embraced him tighter. He took a moment to appreciate your breathlessness before leaning back down to press a kiss to the underside of your jaw. He smiled against your skin when he felt you tremble with surprise, and left a trail of light kisses all down your neck to your collarbone. You squirmed beneath him as he bit your neck lightly, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt, and he popped up to face you again, looking completely entranced.
“Jaemin, you-”
“Sorry, your lips.”
“What, no, I-”
He cut off your sentence with the return of his lips on yours, rougher than before. He couldn’t lie, he’d imagined kissing you before, but his fantasies couldn’t live up to this feeling in the least. You were softer than he’d imagined. Smaller in his arms. Sweeter. Your voice took the form of high hums and gasps against his lips, and he found that all the more enticing. He ran his fingers through your hair, and felt almost afraid of himself and how much he wanted you.
“I’m sorry, y/n, I don’t know if I can stop.”
“I- well- it’s fine just,” You turned away, then let your glossy eyes alone flick back to him, flustered. “Just be more gentle.” He shivered with excitement at those words.
“...No promises.”
He woke up before you this time. His arm felt heavy, and he looked over to see you snuggled into his shoulder, no attempt to be subtle this time. Your angelic appearance snapped him out of any and all drowsiness. Your hair was a mess. He apologized in his mind for that. Your lips were pinker than usual, and looked almost chapped from overuse. He apologized profusely in his mind for that. He placed his free palm on his face, still in disbelief.
He’d kissed you. He’d really kissed you. He’d kissed you a lot. And you’d kissed him back. He flushed just remembering. He could remember the way your lips felt vividly. Not vividly enough. The moment you woke up, he kissed you good morning. You jumped back instinctively, and he just laughed.
“I guess we both have to get more used to it.”
He leaned forward to place a peck on your nose.
“Doesn’t sound so bad.”
You nodded in affirmation, too bashful to verbally agree. What a night it had been for you. Just months ago, you would’ve never believed you could love someone. Could be in love with someone. Could even admit it. You made a feeble attempt to smooth out your hair, as though that would somehow make you composed enough to function like a real human today.
“I l-love you. Jaemin.”
He looked up in surprise, his jaw slack and eyes wide.
“I just… realized I didn’t say it while we were- you know.”
“You really want me to pounce on you again this early in the morning? Because I will.”
You smacked him with a pillow. “If you’re gonna be like this, I’m never saying it again!”
“Aww, no, I’m sorry.”
He pulled you back into a hug, sighing with contentedness. You relaxed into him.
“Y’know, I always wanted to go on adventures, but I think you might be scarier than anything else the world has to offer.”
“You want to go on adventures?”
“No, I meant like-”
“No, I know what you meant, but do you want to go on adventures?”
“I mean, yeah, but I want to stay with you even more.”
“Why do you have to choose?” He sat up, his eyes alight with invigoration. “Let’s just go! Together! We can call it a belated honeymoon. And a really extended one too. Where do you want to go? I don’t mind anywhere as long as it’s with you.”
It was your turn to tackle him, planting a too enthusiastic kiss on his mouth.
“You, Jaemin, are the best husband ever.”
He looked enormously pleased, if a little confused.
You spent the rest of the day rolling around on the bed, making plans, and smothering each other in kisses.
The happy newlyweds.
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yongtxt · a year ago
vintage [au masterlist] [completed]
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summary: on your roaring success to stardom, your entertainment company has found an opportunity for you to collaborate on a track with mark lee — a much more established rapper in the music industry and unfortunately, your ex-boyfriend
warnings: ex to lovers au / rapper!mark x singer!reader
genre: angst, romance, comedy, (slight) crack
author’s note: updated every other day ! this is my fav smau so far so i hope you like it <3 / message me if you want to be added on the taglist :D
profiles - one - two - three - four - five - six - seven - eight - nine - ten - eleven - twelve - thirteen - fourteen - fifteen - sixteen - seventeen - eighteen - nineteen - twenty - twenty-one - twenty-two - twenty-three - twenty-four - twenty-five - twenty-six - twenty-seven - twenty-eight - twenty-nine - thirty - epilogue - bonus
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warmau · 2 years ago
hello i'm in really bad mood today and i nEED to ask you if you wanna write an enemies-to-lovers with lee jeno, PLEASE
jeno is 100% angel so this was a little bit of a task to write!! but here you go!!others:  ten | johnny | haechan | mark | doyoung | yukhei | jungwoo | kun | jisung
“did you write this as a joke?”
you ask, slamming down the heart-shaped love letter you just found slipped into your locker onto poor renjun’s desk
he jumps a little and shakes his head
“n-no, and anyways isn’t a love letter something nice - why are you acting like it’s the worst thing in the world?”
you scrunch up your nose, standing back up straight and looking down at the letter
you’re confused to say the least - who would write you a love letter? did you have a secret admirer?
“what does it say?”
renjun asks, trying to peek over, but you press it close to your chest 
“that doesn’t matter, what matters is finding out who wrote it. im sure it’s a joke!”
you turn on your heel and renjun wants to say something, but it’s too late and you’re gone
to be honest, you do want to believe the love letter is from someone with real genuine feelings
the words written on it are touching and sweet - referencing you as the most serene, angelic person the writer has ever seen
it’s crammed with romantic phrases - ‘you make my heart dance just by sitting in class’ ‘there are roses and cherub wings all around you’
it’s so,,,,,,,,,perfect - but you can’t imagine it being true
after all you’re sort of,,,,simple - like everyone else - this is a love letter to someone amazing 
but it has your name on it 
and someone put it in your locker
a couple of days later - there’s another! 
this time just as sweet as the last
renjun sees you reading it in class and asks if you’ve figured out whose been sending them but you shake your head
“hey, maybe it’s lee jeno from class 3A!”
renjun suggests and you almost double over
“lee jeno? we hate each other renjun!”
“exactly, if you think it’s some cruel joke - shouldn’t you be asking him if he did it?”
you purse your lips, renjun does have a point but you don’t want to go over there and ask him
actually, most of the time you go out of your way to avoid jeno
just his face irks you, that dumb smile he always has in makes your skin crawl
ugh! you shiver just thinking about it but i guess i might as well ask - before he keeps sending these as some kinda prank!
you get up and renjun scurries behind you as you walk down the hall to classroom 3
you take in a deep breath and open the door, the bustling chatter seems to stop at your sudden appearance
and all eyes turn to you
including jeno’s
he’s leaning up against his desk, surrounded by his friends
i don’t get it, how can people like him? he’s stuck up, rude, and an all around jerk! 
you steady yourself before walking over to him
his little group disperses and jeno’s grin turns into a vague look of annoyance
“what do you want?”
you slam the letter onto his desk this time (renjun still jumps at the sound behind you)
“did you write this?”
jeno flicks his eyes over, but doesn’t move
“no. why would i ever write a love letter to you?”
you put your hands on your hips
“because you think it’s funny, you think it’d be hilarious to embarrass me - get me all worked up thinking someone likes me and then in the end just laughing in my face about it.”
jeno kinda of chuckles
“no offence, but you’re giving me more credit then i deserve. we don’t like each other - but im not going to jump through hoops to embarrass you.”
the matter of fact voice he’s talking to you in makes you even angrier
he might have not done the prank
but that doesn’t stop him from making you feel inferior
you pick up the letter and look at jeno again
“i don’t know if you’re lying or not - but if this is from you, seriously stop.”
he shrugs his shoulders and you turn to leave
renjun kind of hesitates, looking at jeno who seems to have averted his eyes with some kind of secrecy
after the second letter, you don’t get anymore and you consider the talking to you had with jeno put an end to it
so it was him - no wonder! only my sworn enemy could do something so ,,,,,,,,, cruel to me!
but you don’t expect to be walking home one day
and hearing the exact lines from one of your letters being recited out loud
“and you make my heart dance just by sitting in class, i watch you through the peeks in the doorway and hope one day you’ll notice me for who i really am”
you stop, the voice sounds familiar but it’s - it’s - 
you look over your shoulder and you’re right
it is jeno
he’s behind you, his backpack slung over his shoulders and a look of almost sadness on his face
you feel nothing but a sense of disgust, turning all the way around and asking seriously;
“how could you do that - write something so beautiful and make it all a lie?”
you watch jeno whose eyes are locked on yours as well
the browns change into a lighter shade under the afternoon sun 
had you been anything but enemies, you might have even admitted he was attractive
but after this - you just don’t think you can ever forgive him
“it wasn’t a lie.”
the world seems to stop, the small breeze that was blowing before has disappeared and you aren’t sure if you’ve just heard right
“the letters weren’t full of lies. i meant all of those things.”
you huff
“if this is your sick attempt at making this joke an ever bigger one then just stop-”
jeno closes the space between you, he touches your cheek and you don’t have much time to react
before he’s leaning in to kiss you gently
it’s nothing more than a peck, he seems too nervous to cross into anything more
and when he steps back you don’t know what to feel
the rage mixed in with the warmth of something new all tighten inside of your chest
and you touch your mouth in a sense of disbelief
“why did you-”
“i know you think we hate each other, but that’s not true. i’ve liked you since i met you - it’s just unlucky that we started off on such a bad note,,,”
jeno’s voice drops a little
“and i wanted to keep pretending i could hate you,,,but i couldn’t. so i wrote those letters. they’re my true feelings.”
the disbelief turns into confusion, which turns into a little bit of guilt
maybe he’s right, maybe if you’d met differently you wouldn’t have just decided to be so mean to one and other
but still
“h-how do i know you’re not playing around?”
jeno takes off his backpack, opening it up and pressing into your hand half a dozen more of the letters - all written in the same style, in the same kind of handwriting
“i was going to send more,,,,but after you told me not to because you thought they were a joke i -”
he shrugs and looks down
you clutch the letters and even though you’re still very much unsure of all this 
you step forward
and lean up to kiss the side of jeno’s cheek
your lips slightly tremble and you are holding back the sudden slight urge to cry
“i need some time, but the letters are really beautiful”
he nods, putting his hands over yours
“i could write a hundred more about you, and i promise. im being serious.” 
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jaeminhours · 2 years ago
Someone To Stay
 SUMMARY | Lee Jeno is the school heartthrob. He’s cute, he’s sweet, he’s handsome, and he’s single. But he’s not yours.
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PAIRING | Lee Jeno x Reader 
CATEGORY | inspired by to all the boys ive loved before, fluff, slight angst
SONG REC | Never Not - Lauv
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School had never been something you enjoyed, but it had its perks. You got to see your friends nearly everyday, and it was a way to get out of the house. The flood of school work and stress was nearly intolerable, but after a long and lonely summer, you welcomed the chilly autumn air and the return of school with open arms.
But most of all, school meant you got to see Lee Jeno, the boy with the sweet smile who now sat in the front row of seats in your physics class. Lee Jeno, the boy who handed out candies to everyone in class on Valentine’s day last year, the boy who’d given you a card and a mini box of chocolates the day after he’d overheard you telling your friends that your dog had died last night. Lee Jeno, the boy who, after being confessed to in the bus lane one spring morning, had politely declined the declaration, hugging the poor girl and tucking a strand of loose hair behind her red ears.
You weren’t friends with Jeno, not really, but nobody really was. He was everyone’s friend, in a way that everybody had a small piece of him, but not the whole thing. Not the real Jeno. He was popular because he was nice, and also because he was cute and charming and the school’s soccer team’s best player. He sat at the popular kids’ table, with all the jocks and their girlfriends, but he wasn’t like them. He was quiet and he was nice and he smiled at everyone in the whole, his eyes flicking from one person to the next, that sweet smile glued to his face. He was an enigma, because he couldn’t be real, but he wasn’t fake either. He was just untouchable.
You weren’t like him, either, although sometimes you wished you could be. Your smiles weren’t always genuine, and you’d be lying if you said you’d never snapped at someone after they got on your nerves. You didn’t sit with any of the popular kids or the jocks or all the other pretty people, just with Huang Renjun, your childhood best friend and often the source of most of your frustration.
You were fine with watching Lee Jeno from afar, fine with your short and meaningless interactions when he asked to borrow a pencil or an extra piece of notebook paper. You were completely and totally satisfied, you would tell yourself, which is why you were also completely and totally unprepared for what happened in class Monday morning.
It began with the announcement of the legendary physics project, which would, once finished in the coming weeks, determine twenty percent of your final grade in the class. It was a simple yet magnificent project, the only requirements being that you make a model of a working roller coaster that can successfully transport a marble from top to bottom, and that it’s spectacular. The winner of the best roller coaster would receive ten extra credit points, which you didn’t necessarily need, but greatly desired.
And it was a partner project.
You’d heard from friends in the year above that you’d get to choose your partners, so you were dismayed to learn that your teacher, Ms. Park, had already sorted your class into pairs. It was too bad, really, because you’d had your sights set on Renjun, whose artistic skills would no doubt get you a step closer to first place. Instead, Renjun had been paired off with a different girl in your class, one you’d seen hanging around him from time to time. He looked incredibly unhappy, staring after you wistfully as Ms. Park continued calling out names.
“Jeno, you’re with Y/N.”
You froze.
Jeno was smiling at you, lifting his hand to wave at you briefly before gathering his stuff and taking his place in Renjun’s empty seat beside you.
“Hey, Y/N,” he said cheerfully, smiling obliviously.
“Hi!” you squeaked, and you felt your cheeks burn.
Jeno laughed, his eyes turning into crescents as his mouth flew open.
You tried to compose yourself, smoothing out your shirt and brushing your hair back over your shoulder. “You dyed your hair,” you said, gesturing to the ebony locks.
He chuckled again, twisting a strand around his finger. “Yep. It was time for a change,” he replied, smiling.
“I’ll miss the brown,” you said, allowing yourself a small smile. “It looked good.”
You almost missed the rosy hue that briefly dusted Jeno’s cheeks, but you brushed it off. Jeno had always been sort of shy.
“Thanks. So,” Jeno said, clearing his throat, “do you wanna come over to my house and work on it this weekend?”
You nodded, maybe a little too hastily, and Jeno smiled.
“Great!” he said. “Give me your number.”
Your eyes widened. “My number?” you asked. “Why do you need my number?”
Jeno giggled. “So I can text you my address?”
You blushed, heat rushing to your face, and you nodded. “Yeah, of course, sorry.”
He handed you his phone and you opened a new contact, typing in your number with trembling fingers. You handed it back to him, mustering the courage to look him in the eyes.
“Great!” he said, grinning. “I’ll see you this weekend, then.”
You opened your mouth to reply, but the bell rang, and Jeno was out the door within moments.
You sighed, and let your head fall to the desk, groaning in despair. You looked up when you felt a hand on your back, reluctantly opening your eyes to see Renjun standing over you, a sympathetic look in his eyes. Something else glinted behind those brown eyes as well, but you couldn’t quite figure out what it was just yet.
“You good?” Renjun said, patting your back. 
You groaned, leaning back in your chair.
“Get up,” Renjun said, grabbing your sleeve. “We have to go. You’re going to be late for class. Stop moping.”
You glared at him. “I thought you were going to be nice to me.”
He snorted. “Shut up, you know better than that. I don’t feel sorry for you. Get up.”
You slapped his hand away, cursing him, but you got up anyway, gathering your stuff up and following Renjun out the door.
You and Renjun stopped by your lockers before heading to class, which were coincidentally right next to each other. Your mind was still whirling from the events in physics class when a folded up piece of paper fell to the floor from your open locker.
Renjun bent down to pick it up. “Wow, another one?” he said, whistling. “Whoever’s writing these just won’t give up, will they? Better let them know you’re saving yourself for Lee Jeno.”
You snatched the letter from him, scowling. “Shut up. I like them.”
Renjun scoffed. “They should just man up and tell you to your face. This is just childish.”
You glared at him, and ripped open the pink and red decorated tape on the note. “You are the absolute least romantic person I know, you loser.”
Renjun just rolled his eyes, frowning as you unfolded the note.
You cleared your throat, and read it out loud.
Even when I’m having a bad day you make it easy for me to smile! Thank you for making my life a little brighter one day at a time!
“I’m almost one hundred percent sure I’ve seen that exact message on at least six Hallmark cards.”
You swatted at Renjun with your free hand, glaring. “I said I like the notes! At least they’re trying!”
“I think they’re cheesy.”
“I think you’re a fool, Huang Renjun. I’ve heard you say much worse.”
Renjun cringed. “Yeah, whatever, let’s go. If I’m late for art again Mr. Moon’s going to kill me.”
“Mr. Moon loves you.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
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The day you were supposed to meet with Jeno at his house approached quickly, and before you knew it you were riding your old bicycle down to his neighborhood Saturday afternoon. Jeno’s neighborhood, like him, was classy. Like Lee Jeno, it was pretty and neat and clean-cut but not over-done. Looking on the outside, it was happy, and bright, and welcoming, and it was entirely too perfect. Just as you had expected it to be.
When Jeno welcomed you into his home, you shivered as you stepped into the threshold. It wasn’t cold, but the household gave off an empty feeling. The house, like the rest of the neighborhood, was completely clean, not a hair out of place nor a picture frame uneven. The only signs of anything alive besides you and Jeno were the cats that trotted down the hallway at the sound of you entering the house.
Jeno stood by the door, waiting as you slipped off your sneakers onto the shoe rack.
“Wow,” you said, your voice echoing slightly. “This is pretty nice.”
Jeno smiled. “Yeah, it’s not too bad.”
You frowned. “Is it just you? Do you have any siblings?”
Jeno shook his head. “I have a half-sister. She lives with my dad’s new family, though.”
“Oh. Is your mom home, then?”
“No. She’s really busy and Dad doesn’t stop by that often so I usually have the house to myself.”
You raised an eyebrow. “Don’t you get lonely?”
Jeno smiled ruefully. “Ah, sometimes. But it’s alright, I appreciate the alone time.”
Jeno led you up the winding staircase to his room, and held the door open for you as you slipped inside. Jeno’s room gave you a much warmer feeling. Soccer posters lined the walls, along with a few polaroids and drawings scattered across his room.
“So you really like soccer, huh?” you asked, but it was more of a statement than a question.
Jeno blushed, scratching the back of his neck sheepishly. “Yeah, I enjoy it a lot. Played since I was little.”
You nodded. “Do you want to play professionally?”
He shook his head, a small movement. “I really like soccer, but it’s not what my parents what me to do. It’s not exactly what I’d want to do either. I mean, I want to keep playing after I graduate, but I have other goals, you know, and my parents don’t want soccer distracting me. ”
You frowned, just a little. “I mean, if you really enjoy soccer you should at least try to make time for it, you know?”
Jeno’s eyes widened, and you continued.
“When I started middle school, I quit my violin lessons because I thought I was too busy with school, and I regret it everyday. I can’t play how I used to, not anymore.”
Jeno looked down at his feet. “It’s not that simple,” he muttered.
“Why not?”
Jeno frowned, but he didn’t look angry, just defeated. “I don’t want to disappoint my parents. I want to make them proud, and they’ve never approved of me playing soccer. Like I said, they think it distracts me from my studies..”
“I’m sorry, Jeno, that really sucks, truly. But ultimately it’s you who gets to decide what you want to do after graduation, so it’s your choice.”
Jeno shook his head, biting his lip. “I’m not sure.”
You pursed your lips, looking at the boy in front of you. “That’s okay. Just do what you know you want to. You won’t have to listen to your parents forever. Don’t miss out on something when you have a chance.”
Jeno peeked back up at you, a soft smile tugging at his lips. This smile was different from the ones he’d given you at school so many times. It was gentle and genuine. It was sweet but not Lee Jeno sweet. It was vulnerable.
“So, what do you want to do when you grow up?” you said, willing your face to stop burning.
Jeno’s expression brightened, just slightly, and his expression was still shy. “Don’t laugh, but I want to be a veterinarian.”
You did laugh, and Jeno pouted, just a hint of hurt in his dark eyes. “No, that’s cute!” you said, ignoring your burning ears. “It’s not funny, it’s just so, so Jeno.”
Jeno smiled, his eyes turning into crescents. “Most of my friends say the opposite, actually.”
“No offense, Jeno, but a lot of your friends are kinda really stupid.”
“You can’t say that!” Jeno replied, but he was laughing. Suddenly, his face grew serious again, a soft smile still gracing his lips.
“Thank you,” he said. “You’re really nice to talk to.”
You nodded firmly, and you felt your face burn with heat, something that seemed to happen whenever you made eye contact with Lee Jeno.
Jeno cleared his throat, and the sight of his red ears and cheeks made you blush even harder. You didn’t know if the blush was visible on your face, but you hoped to god that Jeno wouldn’t notice your embarrassment
“We should probably start on that project,” he said, and you nodded hastily, desperately trying to calm your racing heart.
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The project with Jeno went well, and continued to do so in the following meetings you had with Lee Jeno. Each time you opened the door to his house, his smile seemed wider and realer and his home felt warmer. Sometimes, though, you had to give yourself a slap in the face to remember that Jeno wasn’t yours. Others saw his smiles all the time, others brushed his hand with theirs, others had been to his house, in his room. Others had heard the same stupid jokes that you couldn’t help but laugh at every time. You weren’t special. You were just working on a physics project with the boy with a cute smile and cheesy pick-up lines. Although perhaps the reason that particular project was because when you and Jeno were together you didn’t get much done. Eventually, the meetings had turned into less of a school thing, and more of a friend thing.
The number of notes dispensed in your locker each week also grew, each one cheesier than the last, and each time Renjun was there hovering over your shoulder, pretending to gag.
“This is ridiculous,” he said after the most recent note. “To me, you look as if you hold the entire galaxy within your eyes. What the fuck? What the fuck.”
“Shut your whore mouth, Huang Renjun,” you said, pouting. “It’s not their fault you’ve been emotionally repressed since birth.”
Renjun rolled his eyes and swung an arm around your shoulder, drawing you closer. You shoved him away, laughing, but you stopped abruptly when you noticed Jeno watching. He wasn’t smiling. His eyes were cold and melancholy. Slowly, you shrugged Renjun’s arm off of your shoulder, missing the hurt look in his eyes as you approached Jeno.
“Are you okay?” you asked, concerned.
Jeno plastered a smile on his face, and you frowned. The smile didn’t reach his eyes. “Yep!” he said, far too cheerfully to be genuine, given his expression just a few moments ago. “Do you want to walk to physics together? Class starts in a couple minutes.”
You nodded, smiling at him. “Sure, let’s go. Renjun, are you coming?”
Renjun shook his head, looking bitter. “I have to go see my counselor. We have to talk about my schedule next year.”
“Okay, I’ll see you later then?”
“Yeah. Actually, I need to talk to you after school,” he said.
“Sure thing.”
You waved goodbye to Renjun, who, for some reason, was scowling furiously at Jeno. His eyes were dark and fierce, but you knew Renjun well enough to look past that tough exterior and see the vulnerability behind his facade. You frowned, and made a mental note to ask Renjun what was wrong when you saw him later after school.
“What’s up?” you asked Jeno as you walked to class. He’d been fidgeting with the edges of his sleeves since you’d come up to him.
“Ah,” he said, as if you’d reminded him of something, but his voice was nervous. “I was going to, I mean, are you dating Renjun?”
You gaped at him, your eyes wide. “Excuse me?”
“You know, I just thought, since you guys are so close…” Jeno stammered.
You giggled, putting a hand out to quiet him. “Renjun and I aren’t together, He’s my best friend, that’s all we are and all we ever will be. Promise. What were you really going to ask me?
Jeno flushed, wincing slightly, yet at the same time looking relieved. “I was just wondering if maybe you’d like to come ice skating with me Friday night? My uncle’s new rink just opened and he can get us in off hours and I thought it would be fun.”
Your heart fluttered, but you shoved your feelings out of the way. “Yeah, that sounds great. Who else is coming?”
Jeno gulped, and blushed, pink dusting his cheeks. “Actually, I was thinking it’d just be us.”
Now it was your face burning, and you could no longer control your traitorous and rapidly beating heart.
“Yeah, I’d love to. Cool, sounds fun. Great,” you said, stuttering gracelessly.
Jeno laughed, loud and clear, his eyes turning into crescents.
There it is.
At the sight of your favorite smile, you couldn’t help but laugh a little too.
Since Renjun wasn’t there that period, Jeno took his place in the seat next to yours, which was one of the worst decisions he could have made because it was terribly distracting for the both of you. Occasionally, he would lean over and whisper some lame joke or pun into your ear, and because you couldn’t help yourself when it came it Lee Jeno, you would snort and choke on your laughter, causing your classmates in the seats in front of you to turn around and stare at you, perplexed. At one point, Jeno started drawing on your arm with a black ballpoint pen, with you watching as he traced out a small heart with a small smiley face inside.
“That’s cute,” you whispered, and Jeno blushed.
“That’s how my sister draws smiley faces.” he whispered back, grinning.
You stared into each other’s eyes for a few moments, both of you smiling softly, before Jeno pivoted back to face the board, his mouth still turning up at the ends. You traced the outline of the heart-shaped smiley on your forearm, smiling fondly, and you knew the next time you washed your hands you’d be careful not to get any soap water on Jeno’s gift.
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There was something different about Renjun when you met up with him after school that day. He looked nervous, but at the same time he also seemed cold, and distant.
“What’s up with you and Lee Jeno?” he’d asked as soon as you met him in the school’s garden. The mural of tulips, your favorite flower, was painted on the brick wall behind you, shades of yellow and red and pink contrasting against Renjun’s dark hair.
You laughed, confused. “We’re just friends. Does it matter?”
“Yeah, it does matter when we both know you’ve been crushing on him since the ninth grade.” Renjun’s voice was hard, but you could still detect that trace of vulnerability you had noticed earlier.
You chuckled nervously. “It’s not like that, not really. Yeah, I like him but that doesn’t have anything to do with why we’re friends.”
“He’s the fakest person I’ve ever met. Literally nobody smiles that much without being disingenuous. There’s no way he’s that happy all the time.”
You narrowed your eyes at him. “Watch it, Renjun. Those are big words.”
Renjun scoffed.
“Why on earth would you dislike him for that? Being nice doesn’t mean he’s fake. Just because he’s not happy all the damn time doesn’t mean his smiles aren’t genuine, or that he doesn’t actually care about other people’s feelings.”
“He plays with people’s feelings! He hurts people!” Renjun exclaimed, his voice raising.
“How would you know that?” you replied, glaring at your best friend.
“Because I know he’s the one who’s been writing the notes in your locker!”
You froze, your eyes wide. Renjun’s chest was heaving, as though finally letting it out had taken a great weight off of his chest.
“I don’t believe you.”
“I like you, Y/N. I’ve liked you since we were you’ve never noticed,” Renjun said, his voice quiet.
Your eyes widened, and you stared at him, shocked.
“Please, Y/N,” Renjun pleaded. “Please don’t go out with Jeno. Seeing you with him makes me feel sick to my stomach.”
Your best friend liked you. Your best friend had a crush on you, and he’d hidden it for years. Your best friend said Jeno had been leaving the letters with the cheesy love quotes and pick-up lines from hallmark cards in your locker, and he hadn’t told you until now. Huang Renjun liked you, and you didn’t like him back, but most of all, Huang Renjun was selfish.
You glared at him. “You’re being selfish, Renjun.”
He looked shocked, his eyes widening, and for a brief moment you felt guilty, before you continued.
“Are you saying this stuff about Jeno because you’re jealous? Is that it?”
When Renjun didn’t reply, you went on.
“How could you call him fake when you’ve liked me for years but never told me? We’re supposed to be best friends, Renjun! We promised we’d tell each other everything. And now you’re saying I shouldn’t hang out with the boy you know I’ve liked since freshman year? Because you don’t like it?”
Renjun quivered underneath your gaze, but you were angry, and you were shocked, and you were confused.
“Don’t talk to me until you’ve decided to grow up.”
And you walked away.
You knew Huang Renjun. Huang Renjun was your childhood best friend who had once told you 6th grade science teacher to go fuck himself because he’d had the gall to yell at you for missing the directions. Huang Renjun was the boy who walked you home every Tuesday and Thursday and the boy who played Mario Kart with you on your bedroom floor. Huang Renjun was tough, he was sharp-tongued and quick-witted, and he was respected because of it. But Huang Renjun was your best friend, and Huang Renjun was sensitive. He didn’t like to show it, but he was vulnerable. You also knew that Renjun wasn;t selfish, he was just desperate. Huang Renjun cried when you told him your dog had died, and he cried even harder when he was put in detention by the very same science teacher he had cursed at. He’d even cried when you sprained your wrist after falling out of a tree because he’d thought it was his fault you’d gotten hurt. So you didn’t have to turn around or glance over your shoulder to know there were quiet tears rolling down his face, soft sniffles escaping him as he stared, heavy-hearted, at the tulips painted on the school’s red brick wall.
The next morning, you’d remember running to your room as soon as you got home. You’d remember pulling the small blue velvet box your mother had given you for your eleventh birthday and rummaging through it desperately, trying to find what you knew lay somewhere near the bottom. But most of all, you’d remember pulling the note out and unfolding it, then sitting back and silently reading the corny one-liner inscribed on the wrinkled paper.
You must be a thief, because you stole my heart!
And then, next to the neat cursive J, a scribbled red heart, with a smiley face drawn inside.
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Jeno remembered the day you’d walked into his ninth grade social studies class as clearly as yesterday. He hadn’t noticed you before, but he knew that after that day, he’d have a hard time not looking out for the plushie keychain hanging off of your backpack in the halls, or the flash of your unbelievably pristine white sneakers. Jeno had started slipping notes into your locker only a few weeks after he’d first mustered up the courage to say hello. Since then, he’d stuck to writing you cheesy pick-up lines that he’d found on the front of Hallmark cards when he went out with his sister, since he didn’t think he was creative enough to come up with anything himself. Sometimes, though, he’d lose himself and write you a small message, just to let you know how he really felt about you. Jeno didn’t write them everyday, only when he had time, or when you looked particularly cute or made him laugh or made him blush. Which, now that he was actually hanging out with you, happened way more often than he would care to admit.
The last few weeks had felt dream-like to Jeno. But the thing about dreams is that you always have to wake up.
On Friday morning, Jeno didn’t know what to think or how to feel when you didn’t even open the note he’d dropped into your locker fifteen minutes earlier, or how to react when you sent a glance in his direction before hurrying off. He didn’t know how to react when you couldn’t meet his eyes during physics, fixing your gaze upon your worksheet even though you’d already completed all of the assigned questions. Jeno really didn’t know how to react when you glanced up briefly from your paper to whisper I know it’s you writing the notes and Jeno didn’t know how to react when the bell rang and you got up out of your seat and hurried out the door, leaving Jeno alone, horrified, and with a racing mind.
And Jeno didn’t know how to feel or what to think standing in his uncle’s rink that night, alone. He’d left the doors unlocked and hoped to god some weirdo wouldn’t come wandering in, hoping that you would still, by small slim chance, decide to meet him there. Jeno wasn’t stupid, he knew you were avoiding him, and you were already forty-five minutes late. Eventually, he’d gotten up and slipped his skates on, skating circles around the rink. The whole time, his mind was running around in circles along with him.
The sound of the building’s heavy metal doors slamming shut shocked Jeno out of his stupor, and he stopped skating. No matter how much he had hoped, his heart was still totally unprepared to see you stepping out onto the ice.
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You’d struggled for hours over whether or not to meet Jeno at the ice rink. You weren’t mad at Jeno for writing the notes, but the reality of it had yet to set in. You had to consider the possibility that it had all been a joke, that Jeno knew you’d been crushing on him for years, and he’d decided to have some fun by stringing you along and sending you stupid notes. But that didn’t seem like Lee Jeno, because Lee Jeno would never do something like that. Jeno was quiet, and nice, and maybe even a little shy, and most of all he genuinely never wanted to make anybody ever feel bad because of him. So, you also had to consider the possibility that Lee Jeno liked you back.
But Jeno wasn’t your only problem. You still hadn’t talked to Renjun since his confession, and not talking to your best friend was breaking your heart. So with a racing heart, you picked up your phone and dialed Huang Renjun’s number. He picked up immediately.
“Y/N?” Renjun’s voice was scratchy, as if he’d just woken up.
“Renjun,” you said, your voice quiet, “I’m really sorry about yesterday, I shouldn’t have reacted like that.”
You heard rustling from Renjun’s line, as if he was shaking his head before realizing you couldn’t see him. “You don’t have to apologize. I– I shouldn’t have talked about you and Jeno like that, and I should’ve told you about the notes when I found out.”
“It’s fine,” you said, your voice soft. “When did you find out?”
“A couple weeks ago. I saw him writing on the same type of paper the notes are always on in history, and then I followed him and saw him slip it into your locker.”
“You’re thinking about whether or not to meet him at the rink, right?”
“It’s fine, Y/N. I’ll get over it. Just don’t miss out on this.”
You gulped, guilt still burning in the back of your head. “Are you sure?”
Renjun chuckled, albeit a little bitterly. “Yeah, I’m sure. We good?”
You smiled softly. “Yeah, we’re good.”
You and Renjun said your goodbyes, and hung up. You were already late for meeting Jeno at the rink, so you hastily got ready, rushing out the door.
Jeno’s uncle’s rink was small, but still nice, and as you walked through the doors, which had luckily been unlocked, they slammed shut behind you, making you wince at the noise.
And sure enough, there was Lee Jeno, standing stock still in the middle of the ice. You’d gotten your skates on before you came it, so you just pulled the guards off the blades, stepping out onto the ice.
“Hey,” you said, tentatively skating towards him.
“I wasn’t sure you’d come,” Jeno’s voice was soft, vulnerable.
“I wasn’t sure I would either.”
You stopped in front of Jeno, looking him in the eyes.
“I’m really sorry,” he murmured. “I thought you liked the notes, I shouldn’t have sent them.”
You shook your head, smiling. “It’s fine, Jeno. I do like them, I really, really like them. I was just surprised.”
“I thought you were mad.”
“No, it’s just–” you paused, sighing. “I was scared that it might have been some kind of prank. Because you knew I liked you.”
Jeno’s eyes widened. “You liked me?”
“Like, Jeno. I still like you,” you said, laughing.
Jeno’s face broke out into a grin, his eyes turning into crescents. “I like you too. A lot.” Then, he frowned. “But I wouldn’t do that.” he said, pouting.
“I know. That’s why I’m here.”
Jeno smiled even wider, and took a step closer. You smiled back, but as you brought your foot forward to approach him, the blade of your skates caught on the ice, causing you to stumble back, your arms flailing gracelessly. Jeno threw an arm out, catching your wrist and pulling you up before you hit the ice. Your face burned as he held you upright, Jeno laughing at your embarrassed expression.
“Stop laughing at me,” you muttered, burying your face into Jeno’s hoodie.
The soft touch of Jeno’s fingers against your jaw made you look back up. Jeno was watching you fondly, his gaze gentle.
“Can I kiss you?”
Startled, you nodded, an almost imperceptible movement that Jeno just barely caught. And then, with both yours and Jeno’s cheeks aflame, he leaned down and pressed a kiss to your mouth. It was brief, and soft, only lasting a moment before Jeno pulled back to grin at you. You pulled him back down to press your lips to his once again, one hand at the nape of his neck and the other gripping his sweatshirt in a closed fist. As soon as Jeno swiped his tongue against your closed lips, you jolted, your skates slipping out from under you before Jeno pulled you back to him.
“I’m sorry,” he said, laughing. “Maybe not yet.”
You blushed, raising a hand to slap his arm, but he caught it, instead opting to cradle your cheeks in his hands and pepper kisses all over your face. You shoved his face away from yours, pretending to be angry.
“We came here to skate, right? Why don’t we do that?” you said, raising your eyebrows.
Jeno laughed, and held out his hand. “Only if we have to.”
And then he smiled. It was that genuine smile you had gotten so used to seeing those past few weeks, the one that you now knew was just for you. His eyes were dark but so, so bright, twinkling like stars in the blackest of nights. Jeno’s smile was so, so pretty, and it was so entirely yours.
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You didn’t win the extra credit for the physics project. Unsurprisingly, Renjun and his partner did. Their rollercoaster wasn’t just functional; it was beautiful. Red carnations were painted over every available surface, the color vibrant and jarring. Renjun seemed happier, too, although he’d spent the last few nights before the due date complaining that his partner hadn’t helped at all. You hadn’t expected to win, anyway. You and Jeno had been neglecting your project far too much. But that was fine, because you didn’t need first place in anything when you had Lee Jeno by your side.
Dating Jeno didn’t mean the notes in your locker stopped. The little folded pieces of paper with the neat cursive J still made a regular appearance.
In fact, some days Jeno would come to school with a note slipped into his locker, or taped onto his desk in his first class of the day. Each one had a pink heart etched onto the front, and each one had a different message scrawled in dark ink on the inside of the folded parchment.
And for each letter Jeno found, he would unfold it, and he would smile.
If I had a star for every time you brightened my day, I would be holding a galaxy! Keep smiling, Lee Jeno!
4K notes · View notes
nctream · 2 years ago
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   | to all the boys i’ve loved before! nct dream ;; and then, him
my letters are my most secret possession, 
i write them when i have a crush so intense, i don’t know what else to do.
there are seven total: 
mark, from summer camp
renjun, from rose café
jeno, the school bad boy
donghyuck, from science class
jaemin, better known as the basketball team ace, 
chenle, the school photographer
and jisung, from my after school club.
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lovelylunarwriting · 3 years ago
NCT 2018 As Songs You Really Don't Want In Your Head But They're Always There Anyway
This is both the best and the worst thing I’ve ever thought up. Please enjoy.
Taeil - Pokemon Theme Song
Johnny - All Star by Smash Mouth
Taeyong - Careless Whisper (Saxophone)
Yuta - Deja Vu (From some anime?? Who knows)
Kun - Trombone Dad & Oven Kid
Doyoung - A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton
Ten - My Neck, My Back
Jaehyun - That pretty acoustic music in the background of Minecraft
Winwin - Ouran High School Host Club Theme Song 
Jungwoo - My Little Pony Theme Song
Lucas - click this one at your own risk...
Mark - Wii Menu Song
Renjun - Attack On Titan Theme Song
Jeno - Africa by Toto
Haechan - Anything by that guy that does song parodies with a rubber chicken
Jaemin - Christmas trap music
Chenle - Take On Me by a-Ha (specifically the high note)
Jisung - Baby Shark do do do do do do
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warmau · 3 years ago
Highschool!AU Jaemin
find college!nct (here) & hs!haechan (here) | hs!jeno (here) | hs!jisung (here) | hs!renjun (here)
favorite subject: biology 
least favorite subject: art 
voted most likely to: make the world a better place
jaemin is the highschool student everyone already knows is going to do super well in life
like it’s highschool - no one knows anything about their future
but everyone is in agreement that jaemin? he’s going to go FAR,,,,,,
maybe he’ll be a doctor like his parents are hoping for,,,,
maybe he’ll be an idol - he definitely has the looks for it,,,,, 
maybe he’ll just cure some horrible disease with one smile because WOW does he have the power to do it
jeno and jaemin are usually praised as the ‘silent, handsome’ princely types by their underclassmen fans
haechan always snorts and claims that jeno and jaemin are just hiding it - when they all hang out they’re just annoying and weird like the rest of us 
renjun just coughs like ‘jealous much?’
haechan: say it to my face
jaemin, ever the peace maker: let’s all just calm down. i heard mark is coming back to visit from college soon
he definitely likes school more than other people,,,,
he’s always having fun in bio lab and is actually pretty good at math
lots of people want to be tutored by him and jaemin does his best (haechan has been trying to get him to make a business out of it)
but also,,,,sometimes he’s just too nice to say no
and ends up having to rush his own work
he’s also super sporty, part of the volleyball and track team
no one knows how he makes the time for it
has super cute clumsy moments though,,,,,like when he wore his volleyball uniform inside out
or spilled jeno’s paints all over the floor
but everyone forgives him because how can you not,,,,,,,
he looks and acts like an angel
and you know jaemin by association, you had bio lab with him and renjun and it was,,,,
a lot to say the least
but other than those occasional times in class - you aren’t all that close
to be honest,,,you admire him like alot
because he seems so put together
and like everyone else, it’s a hint of jealousy because you wish you could be like him,,,,,,,,
which is what you’re thinking about,,,,,,ironically in gym one morning
and you guys are playing volleyball which you know people are either REALLY excited about or REALLY dreading it
and you don’t even remember which side of the spectrum you’re on because,,,
you see jaemin
and he’s in his uniform, laughing at something a grumpy looking haechan is saying 
you look down when you think he moves his head and try to do something with your feet
hoping he doesn’t think you’re weird for staring
or that he just didn’t see all together 
so as you shuffle to the other end ,,,, you don’t expect the ball that’s been spiked your way
and when it collides with your head you jerk and slip backwards
falling to the hard gym floor with a loud, embarrassing thud
you hear sneakers against the floor
a circle of students forms around you, but they’re blurry
you mumble, the pain stating to throb where the ball hit
and you hear someones voice go
“i am so sorry, im going to get you to the nurse! just close your eyes-”
their cool hand touches your forehead and you do as they say
you don’t even try to sneak a peek at who this mystery person is
the pain gets worse
and before you know it,,,,you’re out cold
the nurse is hovering above you when you finally wake up
she’s standing there with an annoyed look on her face and you hear a voice behind her
“they woke up!”
“i can see that, now sit down and wait.”
you try to move but the nurse shakes her pen at you
“does it hurt, can you see my hand - wait how many fingers do i have up?”
you look at the three fingers and murmur the answer there’s a small tinge of pain but it’s not too bad
the nurse scribbles something down and then leaves
revealing the person sitting behind her
jaemin? why is he here?
jaemin shoots up from his seat, coming over to you 
he’s still in his uniform and his big, dark eyes are overcast with worry
he touches the side of your hand, 
“are you ok? im the worst person in the world for doing this to you,,,”
you gape
“i- wha-”
“i spiked too hard because haechan distracted me and im sorry the ball hit you i wouldn’t do that on purpose - seriously i owe you, i didn’t mean to hurt you-”
he’s talking a mile a minute and you’re still not really getting it 
to be honest he’s making the pain worse
and when you flinch a bit,,,,jaemin instantly looks devastated all over again
“oh god i need to stop, im sorry - i just want you to know id never intentionally hurt you.”
you try to put forth your best smile 
“i know, it’s ok jaemin,,,,,”
the truth is you don’t know what is even going on ,,,,, 
but what you can tell in your haziness is that you want jaemin to be the smiling, angelic boy he always is
this side of him all messy stuttering and anguished eyes,,,,,it’s not him,,,,,,
jaemin seems to relax a bit and the nurse comes back before he can say much else
she shoos him back to class and tells you that you’d better just rest for the afternoon
the next day the pain in your head is pretty much gone,,,,,,
your friends are all worried but they’re also all kind of humored by the thought of you getting randomly hit by a volleyball
but it turns out it’s not random
not when haechan walks by and nudges jaemin like
“you hit them with your volleyball jaemin,,,,,you should be happy they’re not SUEING you”
you blink, confused and one of your friends gasped
“it was jaemin who threw it? but he’s so nice,,,”
you turn to them before jaemin can hear
“it was an accident! he didn’t mean it!”
you really dont want to pin this on jaemin,,,,
you know just from seeing him yesterday that he’s probably still beating himself up about it
and you’re right 
he is
jaemin finds you at your locker and purposes doing your homework for a week as an apology
you decline and at lunch he asks if you’d like for him to carry your books instead
you decline again but jaemin sees you during fifth period and asks if maybe you want him to buy you an expensive dinner
you don’t know any other polite ways to say ‘no thank you - hitting me in the head with your volleyball isn’t such a big deal’
so you just tell jaemin it’s fine it really is fine
but,,,,,he can’t let it go
you can see the way he’s clenching his gym bag and looking at you 
so you finally give in
“you can ,,,,,, win the next volleyball game for me and for the school.”
he straightens up a bit
“that’s,,,,,,i can do that but that’s really not how i should pay you ba-”
“jaemin, just win. win the game for me. that’s what will make me happy.”
you smile and you don’t know it but jaemin feels something bloom within the depths of his chest
you could have used this opportunity to make him do some outrageous favor and yet here you were being selfless,,,,
asking him to just win a game 
“i really didn’t mean to hit you with my volleyball,,,,”
you clutch your books to your chest and let out a small sigh
“jaemin i know, i know you didn’t. so stop wasting your time and go win that game and we’ll be even. ok?”
you mindlessly reach out to touch his arm encouragingly
leaving to get to a club meeting 
jaemin turns slowly, but you’re already down the hall and just a speck around the corner
he remembers seeing you in the nurses office, passed out
how he’d dreaded the fact that he’d hurt someone 
but what made it worse, the absolute worse was that it was you
haechan and chenle had waited for him when he got out of the office and haechan had shook his head
“you literally just hit your crush with a volleyball,,,,jaemin you have the worst luck in the world.”
chenle had shrugged, “for the first time haechan is totally right.”
jaemin did have the worst luck,,,,,,,but he was sure he had great taste in people
afterall he’d liked you since high school started and you’d only proven to be such a,,,,good person
jaemin shifts his bag on his shoulders
he’ll win this game,,,,for you,,,,,,and,,,,,,so he can finally do something he’s wanted to do for a while
the volleyball game is the most buzzed about topic at school the day of
everyone is going to go because your schools is facing another school for a chance for the province playoffs
usually,,,,you wouldn’t even think of going - but your friends are all interested and plus 
for some reason,,,you had a note stuck to the front of your locker that read
‘you can’t miss the game today!’ - jaemin’
so,,,,,,,when you got there after classes pilling into the bleachers with the rest of the student body you felt,,,,jsut a bit nervous
your schools team came out first 
jaemin looked absolutely perfect with his hair pulled back in the band, the uniform just slightly baggy on his lean frame
for a second you caught his eye,,,,,,,he smiled and you felt a thump in your chest that reached your ears
gosh,,,he really was so cute,,,,,
the game was intense, everyone was on the edge of their seats but luckily
your school pulled through and the whole team rallied around each other
jaemin was sweaty, tired, and still he threw himself into the team hug but then - just as the coach came out to make a speech about how playoffs were the next step 
jaemin pointed out into the crowd
everyone feel silent
“this win is for -” 
your name rung through the gym
and everyone turned to look at you 
jaemin didn’t seem to care about the awkward, shocked air 
as he ran up the stairs in the bleachers and tugged you out of your seat
you start, frantic and feeling your entire body heat up with everyones eyes on you
but jaemin just shakes his head
“everyone needs to know that-”
you expect he’s going to say ‘that i didnt mean to hurt you!’ or whatever 
but instead he goes “that i like you,,,,,,will you go out with me?”
the entire gym erupts into whispers and ‘ohs!’ and then applause
and you’re pretty sure this is just /too/ dramatic of a way to confess
and you didn’t think jaemin had it in him
and yet here you are
in his arms after a winning volleyball game and he just asked you out in front of the WHOLE school
before you can even mutter an answer the coach clears his throat
“na jaemin get down here immediately!”
he calls and jaemin lets go of you to rush down the steps
the coach scolds him till finishing his speech about playoffs,,,,but everyone (even the teachers) are way more invested in you and jaemin
by some miracle,,,,as everyone is leaving the gym you get pulled aside by chenle
who tells you that jaemin’s waiting on the opposite side of the school for your answer
you get there,,,,the sky's already dark and you can see jaemin’s silhouette against the side of the school
his gym bag over his shoulder, his hair slightly a mess from the game (and from the millions of times he’s run his hand through it with nervousness)
you wave as you approach,,,feeling awkward and nervous yourself
jaemin perks up, but you can hear his voice is shaking a little. his confidence high from winning the game must have come down
and you can tell because he chuckles and goes “sorry for making a scene,,,,”
“it’s ok,,,it’s just,,,,,are you really interested in dating me - this isnt another one of your ways of saying sorry?”
you see jaemin’s shoulders kind of fall
his frown hurts more than anything else in the world
“no,,,it’s not,,,,how could you think id do that? do i seem like such a bad person,,,”
“nO!!! no,,,i just want to be sure,,,,,”
it’s silent for a moment but then jaemin steps forward
he touches the side of your head, there’s a small bruise you’ve tried to cover up to no avail where the ball hit
and he leans in a bit to kiss the spot beside it
“i do really like you, and i do feel bad for ,,,,, you know,,,,, but i hope you can still give me a chance,,,”
you nod slowly and jaemin’s eyes twinkle with their usual happiness
but then you add, “jaemin,,,,,the whole gym confession was a little dramatic,,,,”
he goes red and grips his bag
“i know, i know winning just got me into this mood and i promise not to embarrass you like that again,,,,not as your boyfriend.”
the word boyfriend makes the inside of your heart flip 
and jaemin slips his free hand into yours
“let me take you home~” he proposes
and before you can even fully register it,,,,,you realize you’re dating the one and only jaemin
and of course the next day everyone gathers around you to know what happened
but you don’t even have to say much
because jaemin turns the hall and the moment he sees you
it’s like he’s seen the warm sun come out
because he drops his conversation with his friends and rushes over to you
“when’s your free period?”
he asks, excited and you tell him ,,, still surprised by how fast he got over to you 
and jaemin just grins like “me too! let’s go get snacks together!”
chenle: are we invited?”
renjun: no, it’s a date DUH
everyone gasping: A DATE? 
speaking of dates,,,the thing about dating jaemin is that it never stops feeling like pure puppy love
because jaemin’s personality is pure and honest
he likes you for the sweetest reasons, he thinks you’re the most beautiful person in school but not just based on your looks
like there’s something about jaemin that lets him attract the good in people
and he knows that you are,,,,one of those rare good people who he’s ready to give his whole heart too
even though he’s still young an might think that giving your whole heart is sharing ice cream at 7/11 during your free periods
and spending hours in the library ‘studying’ but in reality you’re just doodling funny things on the same piece of paper and getting hushed for laughing by the library TA
and falling asleep on your shoulder as you take the bus home
but don’t get me wrong,,,,jaemin knows hosw serious loving someone is too
he knows the importance of being there for each other
from simple things like when you come to cheer him on at his games and jaemin feels this burst of energt just from seeing your smile
to serious things like applying to colleges together or talking about family issues together
 when you call him and your voice shakes on the phone because the future scar you,,,growing up scares you
and jaemin’s voice,,,like calm music assures you that the future is bright and that he will be there with you for any steps you want to take
“people always say that ill make it,,,that i sure to be someone or something - but im scared too. im scared like you are, but ill hold your hand no matter what. let’s be scared and brave together!”
god,,,that’s corny but jaemin would totally say that and in the moment you’d probably cry because your bf is the best,,,
jaemin’s volleyball team wins playoffs and as a gift the coach gets them jackets with their names on it
and jaein’s first thought is “im going to give this to my s/o”
and he does,,,,
you wear it sometimes to school and everyone is like so cute!!!
haechan: this is it’s own level of pda
jaemin: heY ,,,,,we don’t even kiss in front of strangers we wouldn’t kiss in front of you guys either
and it’s true tbh you know that jaemin like is shy about those kind of thigns
but it’s fine,,,you get enough kisses from him when no one is looking
and you kiss him too,,,which always makes jaemin get blushy (his ears turn firey red)
there’s this cute thing jaemin does and that’s he opens his mouth just a bit when he’s in deep thought
so just for fun you’ll poke his cheek and make him snap out if it and ur like babe a fly will go in if u dont close your mouth
and he always goes no it wont!!! but then he’s like,,,,,what if it does will you give me cpr if i choke
and ur like hkgdfljs ill do my best
but also jaemin and you having a horror movie night and he’s doing the open mouth thing and you’re like,,,,,jaemin,,,,jaemin there’s a fly on your lip
and he gets so scared he like throws all the blankets off you
and ur like no no im joking and he’s like i almost had a heartATTACk
jaemin’s favorite phrase when you do anything teasing is “don’t be mean like haechan.”
jaemin likes chocolate but sometimes you know how he can get when he has too much energy (the gym confession ahem) so ur like u have to stop him
sometimes you have to steer him out of the candy aisle before school
he doesn’t get injured a lot but he does love sports and nature so he’ll sometimes get a little hurt and you’re like worried and he’s like it’s ok
and you’re like don’t telll me it’s ok,,,you’re the oen who wanted to flip the world on it’s side when you hit me by accident with the vollebyall
and jaemin’s just like plEASE stop,,bringing it up,,,
but it is the story of how you two like became a couple
which people think is oddly charming
jaemin wins a really big game another time and you forget his shyness and kiss him right on the lips after the game ends
and jaemin is like aHHH,,,ahHH,,, ,aHH,,, s,,,sorry everyone!!!
but the whole team is like GET IT
and you’re like sorry jaemin i couldnt help myself im just proud and love you so much
and jaemin is like ok,,,ill let you off because you’re so freaking cute - sorry i didnt mean to say freaking
long story short he’s adorable 
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jaeminhours · 2 years ago
Hostage | Part One
SUMMARY | You fall in love with a boy you shouldn’t, and everything has consequences. In which you discover a new world, and in the process, fall in love with the boy in the leather jacket.
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Read Part Two here!
PAIRING | na jaemin x reader, lee jeno x reader
CATEGORY | Gang (?) au, highschool!au, angst
WARNINGS | mentions of drugs, violence, character death
SONG REC | hostage - Billie Eilish
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You’d never fallen in love before. In any case, you thought that it was far too early for you to fall in love. You were only in your junior year of high school, having just turned seventeen. It’s the same thing your parents had always told you, and the same thing you had always heard from your friends: high school boys are reckless and crazy, and falling in love so young never means anything. It’s too bad you didn’t listen.
The high school you attended was larger than most, and within, the student population was heavily divided between those who were wealthy and those who were poor. You were better off than most, and for the most part enjoyed a privileged life, thanks to your parents’ money. South Side High School was notorious for having multiple gangs in the area, and you were almost certain that several of your classmates were members. However, you had decided long ago that you would stay out trouble and pay no attention to mere rumors, instead opting to focus on your studies. Your life was calm, content, and safe. You had a small group of friends, but your best friends were Chaewon and Mark, who was a senior. Just like you, both of them were wealthier, got good grades, and were overall responsible students. They were the good kids at South Side. You were one of the good kids at South Side.
That’s why you were surprised, Monday morning, when Na Jaemin took a seat at the desk next to yours at the beginning of your shared math class. You ignored him, pulling your pencils and pens out of your pencil pouch and opening your notebook to where you had left off from your lecture last class. He didn’t say anything either, but you could see him watching you from the corner of your eye.
“You know you can’t sit there, right?” you said, zipping up your pencil pouch and tidying your things. “Mina sits there.”
“I’m sure she won’t mind,” he replied.
You turned to meet his eyes. If there was one word to describe Na Jaemin in relation to yourself, it was opposite. You and Jaemin were different people, with different backgrounds and different lives. Jaemin wasn’t wealthy like you, you knew. He even dressed differently, with ripped black jeans and leather jackets, pierced ears that were clearly against school dress regulations, a clear contrast next to your plaid skirt and white blouse. The times when you and Jaemin played on your bedroom floor and swung on the swingset in your neighborhood park seemed like centuries ago. You and Jaemin had been childhood friends, but you had grown apart, and grown up after his mother died.
“What do you want, Jaemin?”
He smirked. “Do I need a reason to talk to a pretty girl?”
You frowned, and turned away from him, determined to keep your eyes on the board.
“Okay, fine,” he said. “I need a tutor. No, don’t look at me like that, you have to. Mr. Moon said you could tutor me since I’m failing and I need to pass this class.”
You were gaping at him. “Mr. Moon said what?”
“I’m not lying, you can ask him.”
Your heart pounding, you turned to look at Mr. Moon at the front of the class. He was already looking, smiling encouragingly.
“He said he’ll sign it off as community service hours for honor society if you do it,” Jaemin offered.
You were still hesitant. You didn’t hang out with people like Na Jaemin. Somehow, you could sense that if you did agree to tutor him, it wouldn’t end well for you.
“Y/N,” You were startled by Jaemin saying your name, meeting his eyes once again. “Y/N, please. I know we have our differences, but I really need to pass this class.”
You cursed yourself mentally. You were being selfish. Jaemin wanting to get a good grade could only be a good thing, right?
“Okay, fine.”
Jaemin looked surprised. “Oh, okay! When should we meet?”
“Tuesdays and Thursdays, after school, in the library. Does that work for you?”
He grinned. “Of course. Can’t wait, Y/N.”
“Don’t be late,” you warned. “I’ll leave.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
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You couldn’t stop thinking about Jaemin for the rest of the day. Your heart ached when you realized that the last time you had talked to him had been ten years ago. Then again, he wasn’t the sweet little boy you used to know. These days, he spent his time with a group of boys known for breaking hearts, rules, and windows. He hung out mostly with Lee Donghyuck, Park Jisung, and a couple older senior boys you didn’t know the names of. You were also pretty sure you’d seen him hang out with boys that had already graduated outside of school, making you suspicious about what he was doing with them. It wasn’t exactly a secret that they were part of the wrong crowd in your city. Even your father had told you to stay away from them.
“Hello? Earth to Y/N? Are you in there?” Chaewon’s voice broke you out of your daze, flinching away from the milk carton she was waving in front of your face.
“Oh, you’re awake,” she said dryly. “Are going to eat that?” She pointed to the untouched cookie on your lunch tray.
“No, you can have it,” you said, pushing it towards her.
“Thanks. What’s got you so deep in thought?” she said while taking a bite.
“Na Jaemin talked to me today.”
Chaewon’s eye widened, choking on the cookie. “Who? Did he really?”
“I’m tutoring him on Tuesdays and Thursdays now.”
Chaewon opened her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by Mark sitting down across from you.
“What’s up?” he said, setting his tray down on the table.
“Y/N’s tutoring Na Jaemin!” Chaewon blurted out.
Mark looked similarly shocked. “Whoa, really?”
“Can you guys chill? It’s not that big of a deal.”
You were surprised to see that Mark looked almost concerned. “Y/N… you shouldn’t associate with them. They’re not good people.”
You frowned at that. Sure you didn’t really want to tangled up with Jaemin and his friends and yes, they did do some questionable things, but you didn’t think they were bad people, necessarily. They were just teenagers. You chose to ignore Mark’s tone and rolled your eyes. “I’m just tutoring him, I promise, Mark. Plus, Mr. Moon is giving me hours for it.”
“Oh!” Chaewon exclaimed. “That’s nice, isn’t it, Mark?”
Mark didn’t reply, watching you with darkened eyes.
You felt uncomfortable, so you stood up. “I’m going to go to class early. I… have a quiz in history.”
With that, you left and headed to your classroom. When you got there, you were surprised to see your deskmate, Lee Jeno, already sitting there, sleeping with his head on the desk and his hood up. You made your way over, brushing past him to get to your seat by the window. He woke up, his hood sliding down as he sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He flashed you a bright smile, and your heart fluttered a little.
“Hey, Y/N. You’re here early today.”
Jeno was one of Mark’s other friends, part of the obscure group he often hung out with but never introduced you to. Other than Mark, Jeno mostly hung out with Huang Renjun and Zhong Chenle. They seemed like good students, rarely getting in trouble, but sometimes you still got a bad feeling from them. You liked Jeno, though. He was almost, but not quite, a friend.
“Hey, Jeno,” you said, smiling back. “Mark was being weird so I came to class early.”
“Oh,” Jeno frowned a little. “About Jaemin?”
Your eyes widened. “Yes, actually. How did you know?”
“I’m in your math class, Y/N. I saw you talking to him.”
“Oh,” You felt your ears burn. You’d forgotten Jeno was also in your math class.
Jeno didn’t seem to care about that, though. “You shouldn’t hang out with Jaemin, you know.”
You raised a brow. “That’s what Mark said. What do you mean, Jeno?”
Jeno glowered. “He’s just… not a good person to be friends with. You shouldn’t get mixed up with his crowd.”
“I think maybe you and Mark don’t actually know Jaemin enough to judge him so harshly,” you said, scowling back.
Jeno’s face softened. “Just be careful, okay?” he murmured. “I don’t want you to get hurt because of him.”
You opened your mouth to reply, confused, but you were interrupted by the sound of the bell. Jeno turned away, leaving you to wonder what he had meant.
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Tuesday came quickly, and with it your tutoring session with Jaemin. Jaemin showed up in class with a black eye and bruised cheekbone, once again taking a seat next to you. He had talked to you, and you indulged him, ending up actually enjoying the conversation, as you avoided Jeno’s gaze. At the end of class, Jaemin had bid you farewell and said to meet him in the library after school for his tutoring. And that’s where you were now, waiting for Jaemin to arrive.
He came a couple minutes after you, sliding into the seat adjacent to you and spreading his supplies on the table. He flashed you a wide smile, and your heart fluttered again.
Stop doing that.
“What happened to your face?” you asked.
“Ah, this?” he said, his fingers lighting upon the bruise that adorned his face. “I may have gotten into a little fight.”
“With who?”
“Ah,” he chuckled, shaking his head. “I don’t think I can tell you that. I think if I did, I might die.”
You frowned. He looked like he was joking, but his words and voice were serious. Your mind flashed back to what Jeno had said to you.
Just be careful, okay?
I don’t want you to get hurt because of him.
You shook the thoughts away, and handed Jaemin the problems you had written out for him to solve. “Try solving these so I know what you already understand.”
You and Jaemin worked silently, only talking when he needed help on a problem or a concept. When he finished, he leaned back in his chair, cracking his back. You winced at the sound, and glanced outside. It was nearing winter, and it was getting darker earlier. The only light in the library was provided by the dim lamps that hung above each table, and by there was only a couple students other than you and Jaemin that remained.
“Y/N, why aren’t we friends anymore?”
The question surprised you. “I guess we just grew apart, Jaemin. We were really young.”
“Do you think we could be friends again?”
You looked at him, and his sincere expression, bruises on his face, and your heart fluttered. In that moment, he looked young and innocent. Nothing like the bad boy your peers had designated him as. Why weren’t you friends anymore? Why couldn’t you be friends again? His eyes were wide and his lips slightly parted, waiting for your answer.
“Uh, yeah, I guess. I don’t see why not.”
Jaemin’s smile blinded you, and your breath hitched as he leaned closer.
“I really missed you, Y/N.”
You tried to remember to breathe, and then snapped yourself out of it, packing up your stuff. “It’s late,” you said. “We should get going.”
Jaemin nodded. “Do you have a ride?”
“I was just going to walk.”   
Jaemin zipped up his bag and slung it over his shoulder. “I’ll walk you home.”
You blushed. “You don’t have to, Jaemin.”
“I want to, though,” he said, pouting.
You hesitated. Mark lived across from you, and you were worried about what he would say if he saw the two of you together.
But in the end, your heart won over your brain, and you gave in.
“Okay,” you said, nodding. “Let’s go.”
The walk home was long and filled with tension. Well, your tension, because Jaemin seemed completely at ease. He walked close to you, your sides brushing as he talked about his friends out of school, Ten, Taeyong, and a couple others whose names escaped you. Suddenly, you were reminded of something.
“Jaemin, do you know why Mark told me not to hang out with you?” you asked.
He stopped walking, and you stopped to face him too. You were afraid that you had offended him until you realized that he was laughing.
“Did he really?” he choked out. “He’s one to talk.”
You were confused. “Jeno said the same thing.”
Jaemin suddenly stopped laughing. “Listen, Y/N. Don’t listen to everything they tell you. Mark isn’t who you think he is.”
“Jaemin, what? What do you mean?” You were getting increasingly confused. The past two days had been chaotic, and you felt like everyone else knew something you didn’t.
“I just want to make sure you don’t look at just one side of a story. Don’t take everything they say for granted, because I can assure you that I could tell you the same thing about them.”
“Jaemin,” you said slowly, “what don’t I know?”
He sighed. “I’m sorry, I don’t know if it’s my place to tell you just yet. Just… forget I said anything.”
He started walking again, and you trailed after him. You walked in silence, until suddenly Jaemin reached down and clasped your hand in his own. Startled, you looked up at him.
“Don’t worry, Y/N,” he whispered, staring straight ahead. “It’ll be alright.”
You didn’t know what was wrong, but the warmth of Jaemin’s hand reassured you. You smiled to yourself, and gripped his hand a little tighter.
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“Mark’s kinda pissed, by the way.”
It was Wednesday, the day after your first tutoring session with Jaemin. He had dropped you off at your doorstep, smiled at you, and then disappeared into the darkness. The memory of his fingers intertwined with yours was still vivid in your mind, and you  kept blushed just thinking about it. Jeno had spoken, and was staring at you expectantly.
“Why’s that?” you said, nonchalantly.
Jeno’s gaze was sharp. “He said he saw you with Jaemin last night.”
You gulped. “So? I told him I was tutoring Jaemin. He doesn’t have any reason--or right, mind you--to be pissed.”
“He said you were holding hands.”
You didn’t answer that.
“Look, Y/N, you might think it’s not any of my business, and it probably isn’t, but I’m just trying to warn you. You and Jaemin. It’s better for both of you if Mark stays calm.”
“Why do people keep talking about Mark like I don’t something about him? What don’t I know?”
Jeno took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. Please forget I said anything.”
You nodded, but didn’t say anything.
Jeno took that as an opportunity to move on. “There’s this party. It’s in a month, Yuta likes to plan things early, but I was wondering if maybe you’d want to come with me?”
You recognized the name. Yuta had graduated when you were a freshman but had stuck around, and was notorious for throwing parties that begged for a visit from the cops. But something at the back of your mind convinced you not to reject him.
“Okay,” you said. “Sure.”
Jeno’s eyes widened. “Really? I didn’t expect you to say yes.”
“Neither did I,” you admitted. “But I’ll go.”
“Great!” he said, smiling. “I’ll pick you up at seven then, if you don’t mind?”
He pulled out a sticky note and scribbled something on it, passing it over to you. “Here’s my number. Send me your address when you get home tonight.”
“Okay,” you said, smiling. “Can’t wait.”
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Throughout the rest of the month, you and Jaemin got closer. He was sweet, and cute, and funny, and gentle. He was everything you remembered him to be from when you were kids. And you had no idea why Mark seemed to hate him so much. All you knew was that whenever you were around him your heart fluttered and you felt like you could hardly breathe. Maybe it was too fast, but you thought you might like Na Jaemin.
However, when he showed up to school covered in bruises on Friday, the day of the party, you started think there really was something serious going on. He slid into his seat next to you in math, his hood up and his eyes bloodshot.
“Oh my god, Jaemin. What happened?” you hissed, grabbing his sleeve and pulling him to face you. “Oh my god, are you okay? Who did this?”
Jaemin’s eyes flashed to the corner of the room, and you noticed Jeno watching the both of you. “Listen,” he said under his breath. “I’m fine, but I don’t think you should tutor me anymore.”
“Wait, what?”
Jaemin wouldn’t meet your eyes. “Look, I’m passing now, thanks to you. I don’t need to be tutored anymore. In fact, I don’t think we should hang out anymore.”
You were shocked, and you felt your heart ache. “What?” you whispered softly.
Jaemin looked pained. “I’m so sorry. But I can’t.” He stood up, gathered his things, and walked out of class without sparing you a glance.
You met Jeno’s eyes, noticing that he was still watching. For a second, you almost thought he looked guilty.
As class ended, Jeno stopped at your desk his fingers resting on the doodle of a cat that Jaemin had etched into the wood.
“I’ll see you tonight,” he said, smiling softly, as if he were afraid you might break.
“Yeah,” you answered, your head whirling. “See you tonight.”
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You couldn’t deny that Jeno looked handsome when he picked you up that night. He wore ripped black jeans and a pristine white t-shirt, his black hair parted to show his forehead. He opened the car door for you, smiling brightly as you thanked him.
“Are you excited?” he asked once he started driving.
“Yeah, it’s actually my first party.”
He laughed. “No way!”
You could feel your face flush. “Yeah. Parties aren’t usually my thing.”
Jeno smiled, glancing at you. “Well, I’m glad I get the honor of accompanying you to your first party.”
For some reason, that statement put a damper on your mood. You couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if Jaemin was the one taking you to this party.
Yuta’s house wasn’t as big as yours, but it still looked  pretty roomy. You could see the flash of purple lights from the porch of his house and hear the dull thud of of music coming from inside. Jeno rang the doorbell, and the door opened to reveal who you assumed to be Nakamoto Yuta. He was blonde, with several piercings in his left ear but was otherwise very clean cut. He wore a black t-shirt and cuffed blue jeans with vans, and a bright smile adorned his face.
“You must be Y/N,” he said, reaching out to shake your hand. “Come in.”
The inside was chaotic. People held red plastic cups in their hands as they danced, liquid splashing onto the hardwood floor, but Yuta didn’t seem to mind. You could barely hear him over the music.
“Drinks are in the kitchen,” he yelled over the music. “Try not to get too shit-faced.” With that, he left, leaving you and Jeno to yourselves.
“Are you going to drink tonight?” you asked him, wide-eyed.
He laughed, and shook his head. “I have to drive you home, remember? Are you?”
“I don’t think it’d be a good idea to get drunk at my first party.”
Jeno nodded in understanding. It took you a moment, but as you studied his face your realized he was blushing.
“Are you okay?” you asked, laughing. “Your ears are red.”
He blushed even harder. “Yeah, I was just wondering if maybe you’d want to dance? With me?”
You smiled. “Sure, Jeno.”
He grabbed your hand and pulled you towards the dance floor, but before he could, he was stopped by the reappearance of Yuta. He looked concerned, grabbing Jeno’s shoulder and whispering in his ear. Jeno’s smile disappeared, and he turned to you, releasing your hand.
“Y/N, I have to go, but I’ll be right back as soon as I’m done, I promise.” he said, looking into your eyes.
Your brows furrowed in confusion. “What do you need to do?”
Yuta gripped Jeno’s shoulder tighter. “Uh, I’ll tell you later. Take care, don’t drink anything anyone gives you while I’m gone.” He disappeared into the crowd of people, trailing behind Yuta.
You were confused, and now you were alone, in a stranger’s house with strange people and no one to guide you through the mechanics of your first party. The music pounded at your ears, loud and unforgiving, making your head throb. You desperately needed to get somewhere quiet. Pushing through people, you ran into the first room you could find, closing the door behind you and shutting your eyes in relief.
Your eyes flew open, only to be met with the figure of none other than Na Jaemin, holding a red cup in his hand and looking at you with concern. He placed the cup on the floor.
“Are you okay?”
You nodded quickly. “Are you?” you said, thinking back to that morning’s events.
Jaemin gulped. “I’m sorry, about that. I didn’t want to be like that towards you. It’s just… Jeno was watching, and I really need to watch how I act with you around Mark’s people.”
You could feel something click into place. “Jaemin,” you said, lowly. “did Mark’s ‘people’ do that to you?” You gestured to his face.
You had walked over to him. He leaned against the bed frame, staring into your eyes. “Yes,” he whispered. You brought your hand up to his face, tracing your fingers down his cheek.
“Why?” you choked out, tears beginning to form in your eyes.
Why would Mark do something like this?
Why would he hurt Jaemin?
“Mark and his friends, they don’t get along with me and my friends. This happens more often than you think.”
“Why?” It seemed like that word was the only thing you were capable of saying. “Are you involved with something bad? Is Mark involved in something bad?”
Jaemin broke your eye contact, looking at the floor. “Yes,” he said, softly. “I guess I should tell you.” “Yeah, I think you should.”
He inhaled, his chest rising with a tremulous breath before he looked you in the eyes again. “We sell stuff,” he said. Your eyes widened. “None of the really hard stuff,” he said quickly. “Just like, weed, cocaine, other stuff. Mark does the same stuff, you know. He sees us as a threat, and makes our lives miserable because of it. He doesn’t even need the money.” His voice was hard, stone-cold.
“Cocaine isn’t exactly soft, Jaemin. What the fuck?”
“I don’t use any of it,” he said. “I just… need the money, the same as the rest of the boys.”
“The rest of the boys?” you asked.
“Yeah. Donghyuck and Jisung, Taeyong and Ten, that group.”
“Does Mark have… other people?” you said, fearing the answer.
Jaemin nodded. “Yeah. Renjun, Chenle, Yuta, and others. And Jeno.”
Your breath hitched. “Jeno?”
He nodded, shuffling his feet as he leaned against the bedpost.
“Why did they beat you up?” you said.
“Because of you. Because we were hanging out, and Mark didn’t like you getting close to me.”
A tear rolled down your cheek. “I’m so sorry, Jaemin.”
He shook his head, placing his hands on your arms. “It’s okay, it’s my fault.”
Another tear escaped. “No it’s not! They’re hurting you because of me!”
“And they can keep hurting me,” he said, wiping a tear off your cheek with his thumb. “A few bruises can’t stop me from liking you, Y/N.”
You stopped sniffling. “You like me?”
He laughed. “I thought it was obvious,” he said. You noticed he was crying now, too.
“I really, really like you. I always have,” he whispered, and then, with his hand still on your cheeks, he leaned down and kissed you. You gasped, tears still rolling down the both of yours and Jaemin’s cheeks. You leaned into the kiss, reaching a hand up to grip at his shirt while the other one rested at the back of his neck. He kissed you, and you could taste the salt of his tears on his lips, though you’d stopped crying.
He peppered soft kisses along your jaw, moving one hand down to your waist while the other one rested on your neck. You pulled him back into the kiss, your hands now on his cheeks. His lips were soft, and tasted like peach chapstick.
You were interrupted by a flood of light as the door opened. You separated, your hands dropping to Jaemin’s arms as you blinked against the harsh light.
It was Mark. He stood in the doorway, his fists clenched by his sides and anger evident on his face. Jeno and Yuta stood behind him. Jeno kept glancing between you and Jaemin and Mark, worry etched into his face. Yuta closed the door behind them.
Jaemin pulled you behind him as Mark surged forward. “I told you to stay away from her!” he said, throwing a punch. His fist landed square on Jaemin’s jaw, and you screamed.
“Mark, stop!”
He didn’t.
“Mark, please!”
Jaemin was on the floor as Mark crouched over him, flinging his fists at him as Jaemin tried to shield himself with his arms. You grabbed Mark’s arm, desperately trying to pull him away from Jaemin, but you were met with an elbow to your cheekbone. You fell to the floor, exclaiming in pain. Jeno ran to your side, and Mark stopped hitting Jaemin, standing up and looking only a little guilty.
“Mark…” Jeno said, brushing the blooming bruise on your cheek where Mark had hit you. You slapped his hand away, glaring, and stood up, rushing to Jaemin’s side. You were crying again.
“Get out!” you screamed, shoving Mark in the chest. “Go away!”
Jeno put his hand on Mark’s shoulder. “Mark, let’s just go.”
Mark flung his hand off. “He shouldn’t be here. He’s asking for a beating by just stepping a foot onto one of our properties!”
Yuta stepped up to Mark. “Mark,” he said quietly. “It’s okay, let’s just go.”
Mark glared at the both of you. “This isn’t over,” he warned Jaemin, then walked out, Jeno and Yuta trailing after him. As soon as you heard the door click shut, you crouched down by Jaemin. He sat  up, leaning against the bed frame as he groaned in pain.
He cracked an eye open at you, and smiled. “Worth it.”
You slapped his arm, tears still streaming down your face.
His smile fell, and he leaned up to cradle your face in his hands. “Hey,” he murmured, “it’s okay, I’ve had worse, I promise. Don’t cry.”
“That isn’t comforting,” you sniffled. His lip was cut, and blood trickled out of his mouth.
“Did you drive here?” you asked.
He nodded.
“Come on,” you said, pulling him to his feet. “I’ll drive you to your house and we can fix you up.”
He nodded again. “Thank you,” he said.
You grabbed his hand, pulling him out of the house and ignoring the stares of everyone else in the house. He pointed out his car and handed you his keys, quiet as you pushed him into the passenger’s seat and started the ignition.
“I didn’t know you could drive,” he murmured, resting his eyes. “I’ve never seen you drive to school or anything.”
“Well,” you said. “That’s probably because, technically, I can’t drive.”
His eyes flew open. “Wait, what?”
You were already driving. “I mean I can drive? I took the class and everything. I just might not have my license yet?”
He stared at you. “Stop. Pull over. I’m driving.”
You gripped the wheel tighter. “Absolutely not. You’re hurt, and drunk. Plus, I know where you live. It’s fine.” He smiled. “You remember where I live?”
You blushed. “Of course. How could I forget?”
The rest of the drive was quiet, only the sound of Jaemin’s breathing as he struggled to stay awake disturbing the silence.
You pulled up to his house, and he unlocked the door with his house key, beckoning you inside.
You led you to his room, and pulled a first aid kit out from underneath his bed. He sat down on his bed and you sat next to him, pulling out antiseptic wipe and bandages.
“It’s just a split lip,” Jaemin said, laughing.
“You also have a cut on your cheek,” you replied, pointing to the area. “I don’t want it to get infected.”
He rolled his eyes, but let you work on the cuts with the wipe. Blushing, you dabbed at the cut on his lip. Jaemin smirked, and leaned down to kiss you. This time, his lips tasted like blood and antiseptic, and you cringed.
You pulled away from him, licking your lips. “Jaemin, why do you do this? Why do you choose to sell drugs? Why do you continue to fight with Mark?”
“I need the money,” he said quietly. “We need the money. It’s not a choice.”
“Can’t you get out of this?” you begged. “I can give you money, you could get a job! Just… don’t do this anymore.”
Jaemin’s eyes hardened. “I’m not taking your money, Y/N. My friends need me, I’m not abandoning them.” His voice was sharp, and cold. “I can’t get out of this,” he whispered, and his face softened.
You pulled him into a hug, and you could feel him crumble, hear his sniffles as he held back tears.
“It’s okay, Jaemin,” you whispered. “No matter what you do, I’ll be there for you.”
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You stuck to your promise, and you stayed by him for the next few months. Mark didn’t hang out with you as much, leaving you with Chaewon, but you still tried to keep your relationship with Jaemin out of his sight. You became friends with some of the other boys Jaemin hung out with, Donghyuck and Jisung. You and Donghyuck weren’t that close, and he tended to make you a little uncomfortable, but you treasured Jisung. He was only a freshman, and had just recently turned fifteen. You hung out mostly at Jaemin’s house, since his dad was barely home. Right now, you sat on Jaemin’s bed, reading a comic book he had left on his bedside table, and waiting for him to get out of the shower.
When he finally walked out of the bathroom, like always, your heart skipped a beat. His hair was damp and messy from the shower, and a towel hung around his shoulders. He was wearing a plain white t-shirt and old sweatpants, an ensemble that you thought only Jaemin could make look like it was fit for the runway. A bruise on his cheekbone and a bandaid on his forehead decorated his otherwise perfect face, a reminder of a job gone wrong last week. He climbed over you, his towel falling on the floor as he pulled the covers over himself, snuggling up to you. You put the book back on his night stand and turned to face him. Jaemin threw an arm over your waist and pulled you closer, until your head rested under his chin. You wrapped your arms around him and listened to the dull thud of his heartbeat. He sighed in contentment, your legs tangled together underneath the sheets.
“This is perfect,” he said, nudging the top of your head with his chin. “I wish that we could stay like this forever.”
You hummed in agreement, hugging him tighter. The warmth of Jaemin’s body through his thin cotton t-shirt began lulling you to sleep.
“Y/N,” Jaemin said suddenly. “Do you believe in happy endings?”
You snuggled deeper into his chest. “Sure I do,” you answered. “I think everyone gets their happy ending, in one way or another.”
“Do you think I’ll get a happy ending?”
You ran your fingers lightly up and down his side. “Of course. I’ll make sure of it.”
“Y/N, I think you’re my happy ending.”
You giggled, and pressed your face into his neck, inhaling his scent, which smelled of strawberries.
Soon, your eyelids began to droop, sleep pulling at you once again as your breathing deepened.
“I think I’m in love with you,” Jaemin whispered.
But you were already asleep.
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After a few months of peace with Jaemin, things started to take a turn for the worse again. Or at least, you felt like things were about to take a turn for the worse. Mark was smiling at you in the halls again. At first you thought that maybe Mark had decided to be the better person, that he had decided to let go of his prejudice against Jaemin and his friends and accept that you were friends with him. But at the sight of Jeno’s sullen, almost guilt-ridden face when he, Mark, and Renjun stopped by your table one day at lunch, your heart seized with worry.
“Hey, Y/N,” Mark said, his teeth showing in a twisted grin. You didn’t say anything, just staring up at him with confusion etched into your face.
Mark took your silence as a sign to continue. “I just wanted to let you know that things will be better soon. This time next week, we’ll all be able to be friends again and our relationship with Na Jaemin won’t be a problem anymore.”
His tone was light but insincere, and his words were threatening. Fear crawled at your throat.
“What do you mean?” you asked frantically, but Mark was already walking away. “Mark? Mark, what are you going to do?”
Jeno casts a guilty look over his shoulder, before following Mark and Renjun out of the cafeteria.
Chaewon nudged your arm. “Y/N, what was that about?” she said, looking concerned.
Chaewon knew enough to understand that Mark hated Jaemin, and that it had led to you and Mark falling out. She also knew that you and Jaemin were together, which was something only a few people actually knew but also something the whole school suspected, although she was the only person who knew how deep your feelings for him ran. She didn’t know the details though, and you planned to keep it that way.
“I don’t know,” you said, shaking your head. You didn’t know why you were so concerned, but something about the way Mark had spoken made you feel sick to your stomach.
The feeling in your stomach remained there for the rest of the day, and you grew more restless after each passing hour, eager to find Jaemin after school. As soon as the bell rang, you rushed out of the classroom, ignoring the stares of your peers and searching anxiously for the sight of Jaemin’s golden brown hair amidst to flooded hallways. As soon as you caught sight of him, your worries melted away, a smile alighting on your face as he waved at you.
“Hey,” he said, grinning as you ran up to him.
“Hey,” you replied, and tugged on his ear with your fingers, something that you’d taken a liking to after he had stopped wearing his piercings. He grabbed your hand and led you out of the school, beginning the walk to your house. This was a common occurrence, since Jaemin liked to make sure you got home safely everyday. You didn’t know how to tell him that just holding his hand already made you feel like you were home.
“Anything interesting happen today?” you asked, swinging your joined hands.
“Actually, yeah,” Jaemin said, the hopeful beginnings of a smile on his lips. “Mark talked to me today. Without his fists.”
You froze, the day’s earlier events crashing through you as you registered his words. “What did he say to you?” you said, trying to keep your voice steady.
Jaemin turned, holding your hands in his as he leaned to meet your eyes. “He said he wants to figure things out, Y/N. Mend things, stop fighting. Find a way to split our deals without anymore fights.” Jaemin sounded excited, but you still felt the remnants of dread in the pit of your stomach.
“But why would he do that, Jaemin?” you said, searching his face. “Think about it. He talked to me earlier, too, and I really didn’t get a good feeling from it.”
Jaemin’s eyes bored into your own, his gaze pleading. “Y/N, think about what this means for me. For us. No more fights, no more bruises. No more patching me up after deals. No more patching Jisung up.”
You were still uncertain, but Jaemin continued.
“If we can find a way to split up the deals, I could make more money. I could even get out of this whole mess, eventually, if I saved up. I get all of us out of this, all of the boys.” Jaemin had a far away look in his eyes, almost dreamy, and it cracked at your shell. “Mark is probably tired of fighting too, you know. I’m not the only one getting hurt, and you’re one of his best friends. He even told me he wanted us to all get along.”
When you thought of it that way, Mark’s words made sense. Maybe he hadn’t meant them maliciously, after all.
“So,” you said, “what does he want to do?”
“We’re meeting up, everyone, at that old abandoned barn near my neighborhood to negotiate this Sunday.”
You raised an eyebrow. “Everyone?”
“Almost everyone, I guess,” Jaemin said. “I’m taking Jisung, Donghyuck, Taeyong, and Jaehyun with me. And Mark will probably take Jeno, Renjun, Chenle, Yuta, and Sicheng with him.”
You frowned. “I’m coming with you then.”
Jaemin shook his head, almost violently. “No, no way. I can’t do that to you.”
“If you’re so sure that nobody’s going to get hurt, then why shouldn’t I come?” you reasoned.
Jaemin looked uncomfortable, reluctant. “You’re right,” he said, sighing. “Just… be careful. Stay close to me, just in case.”
You nodded in agreement. “Okay. As long as you don’t do anything stupid.”
Jaemin laughed, slinging an arm around your waist and dragging you closer to him as you started walking again. When he dropped you off at your house, he stopped at your doorway. He grabbed your cheeks and kissed you, you hands twisting in the fabric of his t-shirt as he smiled against your kiss. He pressed a few more gentle kisses to your lips before he left, blowing you a kiss as he walked back down the street. You touched your lips with your fingers, smiling to yourself at the memory of Jaemin’s lips, his skin hot against yours. As you climbed up the stairs to your bedroom and flopped onto your bed, your mind wandered back to Jaemin’s words.
Y/N, I think you’re my happy ending.
You didn’t think your ending was anytime soon, but you did know that when it came, you hoped Na Jaemin was in it.
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Sunday came quickly, and your nerves only worsened as the day arrived. Jaemin texted you that morning, telling you he’d pick you up with the rest of the boys at nine and instructing you to wear darker colors. You wore all black, tight black jeans and black converse high tops, as well as your favorite black hoodie. When you looked in the mirror, you thought you almost looked like one of them.
Jaemin picked you up exactly at nine, Jisung, Donghyuck, Taeyong, and Jaehyun smushed together gracelessly in the back of Jaemin’s old car. You laughed as you climbed into the passenger seat, and Jisung stuck his tongue out at you, only to be elbowed in the forehead by Donghyuck, who sat in his lap. As Jaemin started driving, he clasped your hand with his free hand, gently rubbing your knuckles with his thumb, his lips turning up in a small smile as he watched the road.
The barn where you were supposed to meet was old, and looked as if it was on the verge of collapse. It sat separated from the rest of Jaemin’s neighborhood, but the line of houses was still in sight. The grass was brown, brittle, and dead, but the moon shone bright overhead, casting a silver light upon your faces. The wide doors of the barn were wide open, hanging loosely on its frame, the hinges on their last legs. Golden light spilled out of the inside, but there was no one inside just yet. The five of you filed in and waited for Mark to show up. You sat on the dusty floor of the barn with Jaemin and Jisung, while the rest of the boys remained standing.
“They’re late,” Jaemin grumbled.
You opened your mouth to reply, but you were interrupted by Mark’s arrival.
“Sorry, Jaemin,” Mark said, smirking. “Someone was making trouble.”
Jeno trailed behind him, avoiding your eyes. True to his word, Mark had brought Jeno, Chenle, Renjun, Yuta, and Sicheng with him. But something didn’t feel right. Mark’s gaze was predatory. He stopped in the middle of the barn, but the other boys didn’t. Jeno strode towards you, and you tried to dodge, your gut telling you something was wrong, but Jeno was faster and stronger than you. He twisted your arms behind you with one hand, while the other one lay across your collarbone, effectively stopping any movement. The same things had happened with the other boys, within seconds. Renjun and Chenle both held Taeyong, while Yuta held Jaehyun and Sicheng had trapped Taeyong. Panic flared through your body.
What was going on?
You had cried out from the pain of Jeno’s grip on your wrists, and Jaemin was staring at you in surprise and horror. 
“What’s going on?” he demanded, turning to Mark. “Let her go!”
“You know, Jaemin,” Mark started, pacing back and forth in front of Jaemin. “I didn’t expect you to bring her, but maybe it’s for the best. Maybe she needs to see this.”
And then Mark threw a punch.
His fist hit Jaemin square in the jaw, and he stumbled back, clutching his face in pain. Mark didn’t give him a chance to react, and threw himself at him, fists flying.
You screamed, and struggled against Jeno, and he let go of your wrists, only to wrap his arms around your middle, holding you back.
“No! Mark, stop! Please!”
Please stop.
Mark was relentless, standing up to kick Jaemin in the stomach. A scream ripped from your throat as Mark’s foot collided harshly with Jaemin’s head.
You were sobbing, begging for Jeno to let you go, to go to Jaemin, but he wouldn’t let go.
You could vaguely hear Jeno responding, telling you, “I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry, I can’t.” He might have even been crying.
Jaemin could barely move, writhing on the ground in pain and gasping for breath. The sight pained you and you cried even harder. Mark didn’t stop for what felt like hours, although you knew it could have only been minutes at the most. Jaemin was broken and bloody by the time Mark finally stopped. But it wasn’t over.
Mark walked away, laughing as he turned around and waited for Jaemin to move. He wiped his bloody hand on his shirt, leaving a trail of red against the material.
Jaemin struggled to stand up, coughing blood as he gasped for air. A cry strangled itself out of your throat, and he managed to spare a quick glance at your tear-stained face. You almost thought you saw him smile.
Mark raised an eyebrow, smirking. “Yes?” he said, shrugging his shoulders and holding his hands up as if to say, “What are you going to do now?”
“Fuck you.”
Mark’s eyes flashed. He picked up a steel bat that rested on the floor next to the wall of the barn, and then swung it directly at Jaemin’s head.
All the breath left your body as Jaemin’s skull collided with the bat, as a crack rang out into the night air, as Jaemin’s body fell to the ground.
Everything was still.
Now it was you gasping for breath, cries falling from you as you tried to comprehend what had just happened.
Jaemin didn’t move.
Mark made a movement with his hand, and his friends let go of you and the others. Jeno’s arms slid off of you almost reluctantly as you dropped to the ground, your legs unable to sustain your weight anymore. Jisung and Donghyuck and the others didn’t fight back, they didn’t get angry. They just fell to their knees, tears streaming down their faces, shocked.
“Hyung,” Jisung choked out.
You barely registered that Jeno still lingered by the barn door, watching as you struggled to your feet and stumbled to Jaemin’s side.
You clutched the sides of his face, shaking him gently.
“Jaemin, wake up,” you sobbed. “Please wake up.”
He didn’t move.
You moved your head to his chest, listening for a heartbeat as sobs wracked your body.
There wasn’t one.
“No, no, no, no!” you cried. “No, wake up, please! You can’t!”
You felt someone tug your arm, then leaning down to whisper in your ear. “Y/N, we have to go. Mark called the cops.” You heard him choke back a sob. “We have to leave him.”
Jeno had left, but you didn’t notice.
You cried out, and ignored Taeyong. You cradled Jaemin’s head in your hands as you rocked back in forth, his blood staining your palms.
“Jaemin, I love you. Jaemin, I love you so, so much. Please wake up.”
He didn’t hear you.
He never would, because the boy you loved was dead.
Part One | Part Two | Epilogue
3K notes · View notes
tryagainmv · 3 years ago
☼ - fluff
☁ - angst 
☾ - smut
✆ - sns au
☉ - bulleted fic
✎ - written fic
☑ - complete
✰ - ongoing
♲ - hiatus/paused
wong yukhei
cherry ↬ ☁ ☾ ✎ ♲ 
➷ “a touch from your real love / is like heaven takin’ the place of evil / and lettin’ it burn off from the rush, yeah yeah (fuck!)”
huang renjun
dès vu ↬ ☁ ✎ ☑
➷ the stronger the distance, the weaker the volume.
na jaemin
spark up! ↬ ☼ ☁ ✆ ✎ ☑
➷ y/n is jaemin’s childhood friend, but when she moves back to her hometown and finds him with a group of boys called the dreamies, all kinds of different types of sparks fly.
ad nauseam ↬ ☁ ✎ ☑
➷ you had never known the meaning of lovesickness until you had crossed paths with na jaemin. 
new york ↬ ☁ ✎ ☑
➷ falling in love means you have to be willing to fall. for him? you’d fall one million times over.
black and blue ↬ ☼ ☁ ✆ ✎ ☑
➷ everywhere a soulmate touches leaves flowers, and everywhere someone else you’ve fallen in love with touches leaves bruises. you’re happy to suffer.
drive ↬ ☼ ☁ ✆ ✎ ♲
➷ after the top streetracer in town breaks for a new scene, you’re left in his dust, trying to make a new fortune. that’s when you meet up and coming streetracer na jaemin.
lee jeno
10 step love ↬ ☼ ✆ ☑
➷ or, alternatively, lee jeno’s (and huang renjun’s) 10 step foolproof program to getting the girl
1-800-loveline ↬ ☼ ☁ ✆ ✎ ☑
➷ you never imagined that finding a phone number in a school library book could lead to anything. you were oh-so-wrong. 
black and blue ↬ ☼ ☁ ✆ ✎ ☑
➷ everywhere a soulmate touches leaves flowers, and everywhere someone else you’ve fallen in love with touches leaves bruises. you’re happy to suffer.
zhong chenle
laser tag ↬ ☼☉☑
➷ you and chenle are ultimate laser tag rivals, until it all boils down to one game to determine who’s the best. that’s when things change.
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jaeminhours · 2 years ago
Loved You First
SUMMARY | You were never supposed to fall in love with your best friend, Lee Jeno, but sometimes things don’t go according to plan.
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PAIRING | Lee Jeno x Reader
CATEGORY |  Friends To Lovers highschool!au, fluff/light angst
SONG REC | I Like You - Day6
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You would have never described your relationship with Lee Jeno as complicated. You were best friends, and you would’ve thought nothing in the world could ever change that. You were inseparable. You had all the same friends, the same interests, similar grades, and similar aspirations. Neither of you had any interest in dating and most importantly, neither of you had ever developed feelings for the other. You were best friends, and that was it, that was the whole story. At least, that’s what you had thought, until your senior year in high school.
You remembered the day you met Jeno very clearly, and it was a day you would often look back to in the future. You were eleven years old and about to go into your first year of middle school in just a little over a month. The feeling you had that summer could only be described as a feeling of dread, but also of excitement. On this particular summer day, you had been staring out the window of your room on the second story of your house, gazing at the slowly setting sun and watching your brand new neighbors move in across the street.
That was when you saw him.
While the adults were finishing moving their many boxes into their new home, a boy was riding his bike down the street. Before he could pass by, a woman, who you presumed was his mother, smacked him on the back of the head and scolded him for not helping. He had laughed, throwing his head back before unbuckling his helmet and pulling it off of his head, combing his fingers through his mussed up hair.
That was when he saw you.
You were embarrassed to be caught watching him, but you couldn’t bring yourself to look away. He didn’t look away either. Instead, he smiled at you, with that same smile where his eyes crinkled into bright half-moons and captivated you beyond your own belief.  He waved, and you hesitantly raised your hand to wave back, but then his mother grabbed his arm and pulled him away. You didn’t see him in the next few weeks, not until the last week of August, and the last week of your summer vacation. That second day you met him on the pavement in front of his house, where he was playing basketball, and demanded that he be your new friend. “Neither of us will have any friends, so we need to stick together,” you had argued. He had agreed, and that had been the beginning of your friendship.
It hadn’t ended up being just you and Jeno, though. Later that year you both became close friends with three other boys in your grade: Lee Donghyuck, Na Jaemin, and Huang Renjun. In the later years, your group would expand to include two boys in the grade below you, Zhong Chenle and Park Jisung. Separately, you also became good friends with a girl in your grade called Irene. For the most part, however, you were closest with Donghyuck, Jaemin, and Renjun, and they would end up being yours and Jeno’s closest friends in the years to come.
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The trouble all began in your senior year, a time of both apprehension and impatience. It was in the first few weeks of September, and your history teacher had already assigned a full length, five-page minimum essay on the history of art. You were sitting in the school library at one of the desks by the large windows at the ungodly hour of 7:15 AM, occasionally glancing outside to watch the falling leaves, a swirling hue of golds, oranges, and browns flowing past your tired eyes.
“Are you already working on that essay? God, y/n, that was only assigned, like, two days ago.”
Jeno sat down across from you, flashing you a playful smile.
“I’d rather get most of it done before our other teachers begin to get the same idea,” you said. Jeno leaned forward, and began talking animatedly about another project he had in art. However, as he talked, you couldn’t help but get lost in his eyes. Jeno’s eyes weren’t the same color as the golden browns outside. They didn’t have the same feeling as fall, your favorite season.  Instead, they were as dark and deep as the coffee your dad drank in the morning, his dark eyelashes framing them and making you feel as if you could fall in and drown in them, if you only took one wrong step. Looking back, you would think that maybe you had fallen into them at that moment, that it was already too late for you, and you just couldn’t tell yet.
“y/n?” Jeno was staring at you expectantly. “Are you listening to me?”
You shook yourself out of it, mentally slapping yourself and focusing your attention on the present once again. “Hm? Yeah, of course I’m listening.”
Jeno smirked. You were a terrible liar, and he knew it. “Ah come on, I know you better than that! What’s got you so distracted that you can’t listen to me complain about school?”
Jeno stopped smiling, startled. “What?” he said, chuckling awkwardly.
“Nothing, I’m kidding,” you said, laughing it off. “I’m sorry, keep talking and I’ll really listen this time, I swear.”
And so Jeno continued, moving on from complaining about just his art project to complaining about his partner, Dahyun. And although you swore you’d focus and tried your hardest to concentrate on his words, you couldn’t seem to help yourself from falling into his eyes.
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Since it was in the middle of September, it was also that time of year where the football team, along with a general sense of school spirit and harmony, was in its prime. Banners painted in your school’s colors were taped to halls of your school, urging your peers to “Cram the stands!”, and “show your school spirit!”. You didn’t have much of an interest in football, but you couldn’t deny that your school’s football games were incredible fun when spent with your friends. Each year, you, Jeno, Donghyuck, Jaemin, and all the others would cram into two separate cars and drive to the football games, wrapped in your warmest hoodies and wool hats, and watching your breath escape into the cold autumn air with each exhale. This year was no different. This year, you drove with Donghyuck and Renjun to the game, while Jeno drove with Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung, since they had all gone to the arcade earlier, with Irene opting to go with a different group of friends and leaving you with the boys.
Once you arrived at the school and made your way down to the bleachers, you met up with the rest of your group. Upon seeing you, Jeno ran up to you and engulfed you in a tight hug. He was warm, and smelled like peppermint.
“What are you doing, you big dork?” you mumbled into his sweatshirt, perplexed.
“I missed you,” he murmured.
“Oh, shut up! You saw me a few hours ago, don’t go all sappy!”
“Oh, so I can’t miss my best friend? What’s wrong with you? Why are you like that?”
Amidst your argument, Donghyuck slung his arm over your shoulder. “Should we go and grab seats or are you two going to keep bickering like an old married couple?”
“Shut up!”
You all quickly found an empty spot in the bleachers, settling down and wrapping your thick blankets around your shivering shoulders. You sat between Jaemin and Jeno, with Chenle and Jisung in front of you, Chenle resting his body against your knees and shins. The game was an enthusiastic event, but even though you were having fun, you couldn’t help the shivers wracking your body every few seconds or the clattering of your teeth as you froze in the frigid air. Jeno noticed, moving forward and offering to share both his blanket and his body heat. You accepted and moved closer, but as you did, you heard Jeno’s breath hitch.
“Are you okay?” you whispered, concerned that you might be taking away his only source of warmth and making him too cold.
“Uh, yeah,” he answered, avoiding your eyes. “Sorry, it’s just cold, maybe I’m coming down with something. Or maybe it was the hot dogs. We still haven’t figured out what this school uses to make those,” he joked, flashing you a small smile.
“Gross. Don’t remind me.”
You were suddenly hyper aware of the feeling of his thigh resting against yours, of his hand resting on your knee, and of your sides pressed together. Your heart started racing, an uncomfortable feeling settling in your stomach.
“I think I have whatever you have, too,” you said. “I think maybe we should stay away from those hot dogs for the rest of the night.”
But you weren’t stupid, and you weren’t delusional. You knew what that feeling was, and even if you didn’t want it, it was there, and you couldn’t deny it.
Not my friend. Not my best friend. Please, not Jeno, anyone but Jeno.
But your heart wouldn’t listen to you, it never did and never would.
After the game, Jeno grabbed your arm and pulled you into the shadows under the bleachers.
“What are you doing?!”  you exclaimed.
Jeno’s expression was concerned. “Seriously, are you okay? You’ve been really out of it lately.”
You sighed. “Yeah I’m fine. It’s just, you know, the essay. It’s just so long, and on such a… boring topic,” you said playfully.
Jeno frowned. “An essay wouldn’t get you like this, not even this one. Seriously, you can tell me what’s wrong, y/n. I’m your best friend.”  He was closer now, speaking softly as he inched closer to you.
“I’m fine,” you whispered softly. You moved forward slightly too, the smallest movement that brought you just inches from Jeno’s face.
“I care about you, you know.”
“I know.”
He was so close that you could feel his breath on your face.
Was he going to kiss you?
Apparently not, because at the last moment before your lips met he pulled away, turning from you and running his fingers through his hair. “Uh, sorry. We should catch up to the others. They’ll be waiting for us.”
Your heart was racing, your cheeks flushed and fingers numb from the cold.
“I-I think I like you. As more than a friend, I mean.”
There was silence. Jeno didn’t turn around.
“I’m sorry… I just don’t know.”
Your heart dropped.
The walk back up the car was silent and filled with tension. Renjun, Donghyuck, Chenle, and Jisung had already left, tired of waiting for you for even an extra five minutes. As a result, you were stuck in the passenger seat next to Donghyuck, with Jeno in the backseat. You could feel his eyes on you for the whole drive, and as you got out and met his eyes as you walked to your door, you realized it was the first time you couldn’t tell what your best friend was thinking.
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The following weeks slowly mended your friendship with Jeno, and as the autumn brown atmosphere outside transformed into a wintery white, you finally recognized that familiar warmth inside your friend’s dark brown eyes. One thing had not returned to normal, however. Your feelings for Jeno had become even stronger, and were undeniable. You liked your best friend. You liked him in a way you shouldn’t, in a way that you promised yourself you wouldn’t. Every moment you spent with him, knowing that he didn’t feel the same way about you, was torture. But you endured it, because he was your best friend.
It wasn’t until one day in early December, when you were sitting with Jeno at one of the desks in the library during your lunch period, working tirelessly on your calculus homework, that Jeno broke your heart for the first time.
“Jeno, are you coming over again after school?” Jeno coming to your place after school was a common tradition. You would work on homework together, and then spend the rest of the night watching movie and playing video games.
Jeno didn’t meet your eyes. “Not tonight, sorry. I’m kinda… busy?”
“I’m hanging out with Dahyun… we’re going to that new cafe downtown.”
What? Why was he hanging out with Dahyun? You had thought that he really hated her.
“Dahyun?” you questioned. “I thought that you said she was annoying?”
Jeno shifted in his seat, still not meeting your eyes. “Yeah. I guess I was wrong. She’s pretty, and cute, and funny. I figured I should give her a chance.”
You hesitated, and now it was you that couldn’t meet his eyes. “I… I just thought that we were going to check out that cafe together?”
Jeno looked guilty. “I’m sorry. I forgot.”
“That’s alright. Have fun.”
“Yeah. I will.”
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You couldn’t tell if Jeno and Dahyun were dating, but it felt as if your best friend had been stolen from you. Jeno had been avoiding you, instead opting to spend most of his free time with Dahyun and the other boys when you weren’t around. It seemed like just as things had returned to normal with you and Jeno, you’d been ripped apart once again. Every time he chose to sit with Dahyun instead of you and the others, you felt an odd pang in the pit of your stomach. Today was no different. You were half-heartedly picking at your lunch with a fork when Jaemin nudged your arm.
“Hey, are you okay?” he said, his eyes boring into your own.
“Of course. Why do you ask?” you said, shrugging him off.
“You know, Jeno likes you too.”
You spluttered, unable to form a coherent reply. “What?!”
“You guys are so dumb. He told me what happened at the football game.”
You snorted. “Okay, so? He rejected me, he doesn’t like me back.”
“He’s just had a hard time figuring it out,” Jaemin explained. “He feels like he shouldn’t like you, because you’ve been best friends for your entire life. He’s stupid and confused, and you guys need to talk to each other. The party Friday night, you should come. It’s by the beach, there’s going to be a bonfire. Very romantic.”
“Shut up,” you said, slapping his arm. “Even if I did go, what about him and Dahyun? Aren’t they a thing? He likes her now, doesn’t he?”
Jaemin scoffed. “Oh, come on. You can’t seriously believe that he likes her, right? Dahyun’s not bad, I’ll admit, but to Jeno… she couldn’t ever really replace you. Please, I’m tired of seeing my friends like this. Just talk to him.”
“Fine,” You admitted defeat, promising Jaemin that you would attend the party and mend your relationship with Jeno.
That night you saw Jeno through the window of your bedroom. His curtains were open and his light was on. He was in his pajamas and rubbing his wet hair with a towel when he saw you watching him. He froze, then offered a small smile. You returned it, then pulled your curtains closed and tried to push images of your best friend’s smile from your mind.
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The evening sky the night of the party was clear, with hardly a cloud in sight. As you parked your car and approached the site of the party and the smell of smoke abused your senses, you began to feel more and more nervous about what could  happen at this party. Jeno was confusing you. He’d been giving you mixed signals for months, and you didn’t know if you could trust what Jaemin had told you about Jeno’s feelings towards you.
But you had to try, didn’t you? You had to know.
“Hey! Y/n! Wait up!” You turned to see Jaemin chasing after you, a hand raised in the air in an attempt to capture your attention. After catching up with you, he slung an arm over your shoulders, a bright smile adorning his joyful face. "I'm glad you decided to come tonight. Jeno's been sulking all week . "
"Well that's his own fault, isn't it?"
"Yeah, but still," he said, flashing you another cheeky smile.
You both approached the bonfire, Jaemin's arm still hanging heavily around your shoulders. Jaemin's presence had managed to lighten your mood a little bit, but a feeling of dread and apprehension still sat in the pit of your stomach, a feeling of nausea crawling up your throat. On the other side of the bonfire, you caught sight of tend, standing idly next to Dahyun as she chatted with a couple of your classmates. As you watched the firelight dance over his profile, he turned, catching your eyes, his gaze freezing at the sight of Jaemin's arm around you.
"Are you okay?" he murmured, his mouth brushing against your ear. Jeno's expression hardened, and then he began walking around the fire, towards you and Jaemin.
"Yeah, I'm fine, I just-" You stammered, throwing Jaemin's arm off of you and turning to face Jeno as he approached. He grabbed your wrist, eyes boring into your own.
"Can we talk?"
You gulped. “Yeah, of course, Jeno.”
He turned, pulling on your wrist and leading you to the lot where everyone had parked. You threw an apologetic look over your shoulder at Jaemin, but all you were met with was one of Jaemin’s signature shit-eating grins. He waved you off, mouthing good luck to you as Jeno tugged on your wrist once more.
Upon reaching the parking lot, he stopped, pivoting on the loose gravel to face you.
“Are you and Jaemin, like, a thing now?” he said, his mouth set in a straight line and his brow furrowed.
You returned his frown. “No, of course not. Why would you think that?” you said, crossing your arms and staring back at him. You tried to make out what he was thinking, but without the light from the bonfire shadows shrouded his face, making his expression almost indecipherable. “Anyways, you’re one to talk. What’s going on with you and Dahyun? You never did give me a clear answer as to why you’ve basically replaced me with her.”
You thought that you might’ve seen the slightest flicker of guilt flash across his face, it was too dark to tell.
Jeno took a deep breath. “About that… I’m sorry, and I feel like I should explain why I’ve been acting sort of weird lately.”
“Damn right, asshole.”
He winced. “Don’t be like that, Y/n. You see, since you confessed that you liked me, I… I felt weird. I didn’t know how I felt really. All I knew was that I’m not supposed to have feelings for my best friend.”
You frowned. “Okay, so? Get to the point, Jeno.”
He took a step forward. “Did I ever tell you that I used to have a crush on you?”
Your breath hitched. “No,” you breathed out.
“I liked you the moment you marched up to my house and told me that we had to be friends. I liked you for years, until I realized that you would probably only ever see me as your best friend,” He took another deep breath. “And then I felt guilty. Guilty that I had these feelings about my best friend when she obviously didn’t feel the same way.”
You could hardly breathe now. “You idiot,” you whispered.
“But then, back in September, you told me that you liked me, that you liked me in the same way that I had liked you for years. And I just had to think. I know that doesn’t excuse the way I’ve been treating you the past couple months, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t feel the same way anymore, but I just had to tell you that I don’t think I ever stopped liking you, and I don’t think I ever will.” With that, Jeno let out a shaky breath, avoiding your eyes.
“Jeno, you dumbass,” you said, your voice stronger. “Of course I still like you.”
You stepped forward, putting your hands on the sides of his face and bringing his lips down to meet yours in a tender kiss. You felt him smile against the kiss as he rested his hands on your waist, pulling you closer. You smiled too, and then pushed him away, giggling.  You grabbed his hand, interlocking your fingers and giving it a tug.
“Let’s save that for later. Come on, I promised Jaemin I wouldn’t let him drink tonight. He has a physics test tomorrow, you know.”
Jeno laughed, and grasped your hand a little tighter. “Okay,” he whispered.
“Let’s go.”
a/n: this is my first fic on here! there’s a lot of things i can improve upon and i’d love constructive criticism! this fic definitely isn’t the best and the plot was a bit rushed but i worked hard on it so i hope people enjoy reading it.
2K notes · View notes
hwangdol · 2 years ago
Text where were you?
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summary: y/n does not know what the fuck is going on half of the time. 
pairing: highschool!fboi!jaemin x fem!reader
warning: a lot of cursing, drug usage reference, crackheadness, maybe a lot of grammer error. this is my first bullet-scenario au so yeah. also! this a collab with the lovely @huangsren in out nct dreamies alternate universe teehee. she has a lovely, fluffy renjun one up so go read it!
part two!
you okay let’s get this collab with @huangsren 
so at NCT High if you don't know Na Jaemin who the hell are you? like everyone knows this kid from lunch ladies to the freaking janitors 
its not a surprise since the dude is literally dead drop gorgeous and has a shit ton of social skills. like the boy deadass can swindle his way out of detention (which he did) with just a wink 
typical fboi but instead of it being a huge turn-off, girls still throw themselves on him even when he WARNS them beforehand that he isn't looking for a serious thing
still, they get attached and heartbroken when he tells them “this isn’t working out” 
his friends (aka art-hoe!renjun and student-athlete!jeno) always rolls their eyes when jaemin rolls up into the lunchroom with his arms wrapped around a new girl’s shoulder
“bet she’s not going to last two weeks”- renjun slapping down a 10$ 
“knowing him, this isn’t going to last more than a week”- jeno said but still sliding over a 10$ bill 
AND SUPRISE it doesn’t 
both renjun and jeno don’t approve of his philandering, but they stick w jaemin cause he’s still their best bud cause bros before hoes ya know what i mean?
this is especially true with jeno cause they’ve been bffl since they were like five but that doesn’t mean that jaemin is anything like jeno. 
nah man they both are the complete opposite of each other
like jeno is a quiet reserved student-athlete boi but jaemin out here acting like a little thotty 
nomin is like a package deal, no one can separate them
here where out little y/n comes in
surprisingly you’re childhood friends w nomin 
both u and jeno are neighbors and your families have been friends since before you were even conceived 
your moms’ have weekly tea times where they’d gossip about everything and anything while your dads would be watching the weekly soccer/football games drinking a cold one 
you and jeno would be playing with some legos or barbies 
jeno had a minor (major) barbie obsession which was probably induced by you
don’t tell anyone but jeno still binge-watches barbie movies;;;his favorite really be the princess charm school one 
like i said nomin is a package deal so expect jaemin to be taging along to yours and jeno’s weekly playdate
imagine you being the princess while jaemin pretended to be the prince and jeno was the dragon,,,yeah man it was so lit 
this isn’t a jeno fic btw keep in mind its still jaemin 
all of that stuff before was when the three of you were like kids
once highschool came around all three of you found ur niches: jeno was the student-athlete, jaemin was well that guy that was wanted by all the girls
and you were just a regular mundane student ya know,,,you weren’t extremely talented nor smart you just floated around 
u still hung around jeno tho but your friendship was really lowkey 
like both of y'all would wait until the other one was completely alone or do some ridiculous actions to deliver the simplest messages 
jeno would look both ways before slipping you a note in class that said “can your mom drive me home today?” and you would make sure no one was looking before nodding secretly 
or the two of you would hide behind bushes to say that y'all parents wanted to have dinner together tonight 
tbh yall could just text each other but where’s the fUN in that? 
jaemin, on the other hand, was someone you haven’t a solid conversation with since sophomore year bc of an incident 
basically, you had helped one of your friends into a relationship with jaemin that lasted for about two months,,, which was considerably a long time considering that it was jaemin.the two of them were a fat power couple 
ur friend, let’s call her ella, was probably one of the more popular girls at school. she was well-known for being the prettiest, kindest girl that everyone LOVES
anyways, things didn’t end so well bc he stood her up at hoco even though he was gonna be crowned homecoming king and her queen. 
no one knows why jaemin just ditched but he did. 
didn’t stick well with your friend tho cause she stopped talking to you as well not really giving you an explanation
and this led to everyone in your friend group to kinda put all the blame onto you 
this is also when jaemin picked up his heartbreaker reputation and began living up to that title
at first ur were hella mad and sad, but you got over it cause being outcasted and kicked out of that friend group led you to befriend the local stoner boi!haechan
honestly, you got over it but after ignoring and avoiding jaemin for a whole year it just stuck. 
yall never talked again 
u were so done w school at this point, you had suffered and labored through junior year,,, SAT and ACT were the biggest bitches you ever faced in your lifetime and this is coming from someone who was friends with the resident shithead lee haechan 
so it’s lunchtime and you’re listening to haechan’s wild story about some shenanigan that he and his weed dealer/ older college friend mark had gotten up to the past weekend 
“so like we were just hitting a blunt this weekend in mark’s car and this cop pulls up next to us.mark rolls down the window and all of the smoke just hits the cops in the face” 
“you're a fucking idiot, haechan” 
“listen bitch, i’m not done” 
“so the cop is doing the regular illegal drugs bullshit and asked mark a question. understand at this point that mark is high as fuck so i kid you not the crackhead says quack. nothing else just quack. honestly, i still don’t know how we got out of that but we did and lee haechan is still in school.” 
you want to slap your friend with a big smh at this point 
but it so ridiculous and so haechan that you can’t say anything else 
and you don’t have too! bc someone taps ur shoulder pulling you out of your convo and boom it’s ella 
“hey, y/n” she starts out sweetly and you could feel haechan’s bitch face directed towards the girl, who seemed to just ignore the boy 
“what’s up, ella?” you were hella fucking slightly irritated and highkey suspicious bc like this was the first time that she talked to you in like two years
“this out of the blue, but you know how prom is coming up soon? we need extra hands on the planning community,” ella explained with a bright smile  “we need another person to work on making the centerpieces for each table, but we only have one person on that” 
“okay, so what does this have to do with her?” haechan’s bitchy tone soaked in each word 
ella’s smile faltered slightly at his words, but it was so subtle that only people with keen eyes could notice
“i hope that i’m not imposing anything on to you.” ella trying to reassure  “but Mr. Moon told me that you still need some community service hours for our graduation requirement so I just assumed that this would be a good opportunity for you.” 
oh shit 
you completely forgot about that and you still needed like another 10 hours to complete
“i wouldn’t ask you this but my workload is completely swamped” ella added “it would be a big help if you can help. haechan, you can help too!” 
haechan let out a loud gag that seemed to baffle her 
“oh hell no, i already got my community service hours done like freshmen year.” 
you gave haechan the most incredulous face you could make cause like this druggie who gets high every other week and vapes in the bathroom really finished his community service hours before you????how?? 
“don’t look at me like that.” haechan kicked you underneath the table “it was before i learned how to roll a blunt” 
“drugs aren’t good for you, haechan,” ella chided 
haechan made a mocking face,,you know the one he does like that one,,”not all of us can be little miss goodie-two-shoes like you” 
oKAy time to do some damage control before your shithead friend gets himself into more shit 
“i’ll do it. just text me the details.” 
“thank you so much y/n!” ella said before bouncing off 
“i hate her” haechan stated
“you hate everyone” 
CUE aFTerschool when you follow ella’s text to go to the art building where everyone was gathered 
the minute you walked in you realized that you should have just said no and done some other community service activity cause jaemin was present standing in the corner and other people who you once called your close friends that turned out to be fat snakes
now you gotta deal with them again (aww shit here we go again) 
ella is motioning you to come into the classroom which you obliged cause you figured that you possibly could survive w ur rbf on as you made your way to the other unoccupied corner
there was some whispering in the background but you ignored it cUASE like hyuk always says: “you just gotta get high and block out all the haters” 
well, he was right about the second half, not so much the first. 
“alright everyone! thank you so much for volunteering to help set up for our senior prom! we only have about three weeks so we have to get all of the decorations done as soon as possible!” ella said in a chirpy tone
a lot of people looked motived by the girl’s bubby short speech on how everyone needs to put in 100% of their effort. you zoned that out as you caught the sleeping figure at the teacher's desk 
“goddamn you mr.moon forcing me to be here” you grumbled in your head almost missing your assigned duty, 
“y/n!” your head snapped in the direction that your name was called 
you saw ella standing with jaemin and the sirens go off in your head 
you let out a loud sigh before trotting over to the two 
ella gave you a piece of paper that had the centerpieces’ picture on them along with a long list of decorations “all you guys have to do is make about 300. all the directions are on the sheet and the supplies are in the other room. it’s really simple, just have it done by next friday.” 
you nearly popped a blood vessel 
300 by next friday? today was wednesday so that meant you only had ten days to finish all 300 of them
so you and jaemin are walking to the classroom next door to get the supplies y’all needed,,, in your head, you were just cursing everything in existence for putting you into this position especially mr. moon 
“so how did she rope you into this?” you heard jaemin say from beside you as you both carried boxes out to the parking lot. 
you two came to the good conclusion to split the load so that he would do half and you would do half 
150 it’s not that bad 
15 a day
hell yeah
it was so strange and foreign talking to him since it’s been about two whole years.  
he had a nice voice tho ngl maybe that’s why he got out of that detention that one time 
“she somehow found out that i still needed to complete my community service hours before graduation” you murmured, praying that haechan remembered you telling him to wait for you after school 
he probably ditched you to get high or hang out with one girl he liked
all jaemin said was “oh” and the rest of the walk to the school’s parking lot was quiet 
the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife and the knife would break
“hey can i ask you a question?” jaemin asked when the two of you were about to go your separate ways 
you could see mark’s old beat-down car meaning that haechan, in fact, did ditch you but had the decency to call up mark to pick you up 
“yeah, go ahead” 
“how come you still talk to jeno, but not me?” 
i shit you not this was the quietest and deepest voice that you ever heard jaemin project 
you didn’t know how to reply so you looked down at the large box in your hand, mumbling some incoherent excuse
“can you repeat that?” 
“ i said, we don’t really have any other reasons to be friend's unlike me and jeno” 
“is that all?” jaemin asked, probably catching onto your bullshit
you were probably delusional but you could’ve sworn you heard some sadness in the tone he used
you nodded quickly trying to get to mark’s car hoping to avoid further conversation 
but boy was jaemin stubborn 
“that wasn’t a good explanation,y/n! ” jaemin called out after you. 
this time he sounded more lighthearted than before
you turn around to face jaemin who had a fatass smile on his face 
damn was he good looking smiling like that 
“give me a better reason tomorrow or else i’m taking you on a date!” his dazzling smile nearly blinding you as he made his way to his own car
inside your head little y/n is going whattheactualfuck? 
“what’s with that shook face?” mark ask as you climbed into the passenger seat 
“what the fuck?” you say 
you look at mark “what the ACTUAL fuck?” 
poor mark is like wtf is wrong with her,,,did haechan get her on some type of crack? 
that night while you were making the little centerpieces you were still going over what jaemin said 
you looked at the last centerpiece you finish making 
was he flirting with me? or was he serious?
he sounded sad when i said that tho? 
at the same, this was jaemin, a boy who is well-known for having flings left and right. 
he’s probably just flirting
until next day! jaemin pops up next to you as while you get your shit from your locker for your first class 
“did you come up with a good explanation yet? 
his sudden appearance startled you causing you to subconsciously let out a yelp 
“cute” he said, and you forced down the blush that was about to show 
“i thought i told you already?” causing jaemin to shake his head like a cute little puppy 
“i don’t accept it.i want a better one,” he said sounding like a spoiled toddler 
you gave him the “wtf do you mean look” and he was about to reply until you saw haechan walking through the school doors with a pair of sunglasses on which can only mean one thing
that little shit head came to school high again
you pushed passed jaemin and stormed towards haechan pulling him to some vacant hallway to lecture him
leaving jaemin standing there staring at your backs as the two of you left 
jaemin’s smile dropping significantly as he nearly glared over at the two of you leaving, specifically at the back of haechan’s head 
“dude, why do you look like you’re going to murder someone?” jeno asked as jaemin sat next to him at their lab station 
you weren’t in this chemistry class but haechan was,,,and it was his naptime
“how is y/n friends with him?” jaemin stared directly at a sleeping haechan 
jeno follows his line of sight, letting out a sigh once he notices it was haehcan
“she never really told me, but i assume it was because she stopped being friends with ella and that group” jeno said honestly. he raised an eyebrow in question at his bffl “why do you need to know” 
jaemin didn’t answer him, continuing to glaring at the sleeping male 
jeno rolled his eyes at his friend's antics 
but in a serious tone, he warns to his friend, “don’t pull your games with y/n.” 
except jaemin’s head wasn’t registering this warning,,he was solely focused on how lee fucking haechan the biggest stoner of NCT High managed to take a girl’s attention from him, na was simply ridiculous 
maybe he really was an attention seeker bc he made a beeline for your table during lunch instead of his regular one once he saw just how loud you were laughing at haechan’s joke 
“what’s so funny?” jaemin asked sliding into the seat next to you 
now both of you and our boy hyuk is like wtf 
immediately you’re on defense, “what are you doing here?” 
“you never gave me a good explanation!” jaemin pouted, giving you fat puppy eyes 
those aLMost worked 
“uhhhhhh” you try to find a good excuse but jaemin quickly cuts you off 
“it’s okay if you don’t have a good explanation,” jaemin reaches over and steals a fry from haechan’s tray eliciting a hissing sound from the boy “you just have to go on a date with me” 
then he winks 
and he's gone
“what in the holy fuck just happened?” 
the amount of time that y/n has said wtf is unbelievable 
haechan’s sunglasses slip down the bridge of nose and you could see his red eyes giving you a look of disappointment, “and you say i have issues” 
“stfu before i slit your throat” 
the rest of the day wasn’t any easier on you tbh. you learned that jaemin was really really stubborn and very very clingy 
the boy deadass scanned the whole hallway to find your face so he could tag along with you to your next class even though you could have sworn that his class was one the other side of the school 
he kept on bombarding you with questions on what you wanted to get after school and if you like roller skating 
by some means, you were able to hide in the library for the rest of the study hall period which meant that you could probably avoid jaemin until school ended 
you spotted a familiar boy huddled in the corner reading a book that made you squint your eyes. 
marching over to jeno, your eyes just say “explain” 
jeno looked at you with like those wide eyes he does when he’s shookth bc the two of you never interacting in school so puBlicly
“what the hell is na jaemin trying to pull?” you whispered-yelled plopping down in the wooden seat next to the athlete 
jeno is all like????wydm 
and you explain your whole situation to him and he just lets out the biggest sigh 
“he doesn’t like being left on read” 
“what do you mean?” 
“i mean, that’s what you basically did to him sophomore year. he was kinda depresso about how you just stopped talking to him out of nowhere. by the way, why did you do that?” 
tbh you really didn’t know at first you were mad at him
was it bc his actions caused all your friends to blame you for his inability to commit to a relationship,,, but it’s been two years since that incident
you got over it, so why were you still avoiding jaemin? 
“i dunno after him and ella broke up, i didn’t have a reason to talk to him.” 
jeno looked at you like “really? is that your answer?” 
“think about that question again because i’m sure that that's, not the whole answer.” 
now you’re more confused but also very mad about how both of them weren’t accepting your reason as valid! 
so as you were furiously making the stupid centerpieces that ella forced you into volunteering to do
angry y/n really got through a solid 50 of them 
you pondered on jeno’s words and you thought back to sophomore year 
you remembered still joking around lightheartedly w jaemin until he started dating ella 
he actually spent a lot of time and effort even ditching jeno sometimes for her which was okay cause jeno would chill w renjun or even you (mostly bc he could watch barbie movies w no shame) 
everything was alright until homecoming came around and jaemin flaked on ella leading them to breakup the next day 
and ella to stop talking to you which made everyone mad you or think that you were the one that caused the breakup 
you were the one that hooked the two of them up too! so it was really unfair! 
it's like 2 am and you don’t know what came over to text jeno but you did 
y/n: why didn’t jaemin go to hoco sophomore year? 
you felt instant regret after sending that text bc like it probably made it seem like you were interested in jaemin,,,, which you were totally not!
seconds later jeno slaps you with the ”ask him yourself”  
fattest facepalm 
so that’s how you spent the entire night finishing all of your centerpieces that you were assigned to make cuz of your frustration
wow we love a productive y/n 
alrighty this is where shit goes down 
now that you were done with all of your centerpieces you took them to the art room the next day before school where ella was there doing her stoof 
she looked up with a giant smile when you came in with a giant box 
“you finished all of it?” 
“nah just 150. jaemins finishing the other half” you set the box down 
“oh okie,” ella nodded returning to whatever she was doing beforehand 
since it was just the two of you in the classroom and you’ve been dying to know the answer since sophomore year 
so fuck it 
“hey ella, can i ask you a question?” 
the said girl looked up with that same friendly smile that she gave everyone “of course!” 
“why didn’t jaemin show up to hoco sophomore year?” you blurted out 
in an instant, ella’s smile dropped and there was a sudden cold look in her eyes 
“you already know the answer to that, y/n, you don’t need me to answer you. now if you excuse me, i have things i have to do” ella said in a very unlike-ella-way 
her answer made you even more confused than ever bc how were you supposed to know the answer to THAT 
confused!y/n is even more confused 
however, all your questions were about to be answered, not really tho 
you’re on your way to the third period with the same burning question in your head: why the hell did jaemin not show up to sophomore year hoco??? someone help?  
tbh you didn’t even notice someone yanking you into the janitor’s closet until you were surrounded in darkness and someone's hands were clasp over your mouth 
“it’s me, jaemin” his soft whisper sent tings down your spine 
he let go of your mouth to switch on the light 
“are you fucking insane?” 
“yes, but it’s only cause i’m madly in love with you” 
you rolled your eyes “cut the bullshit, jaemin, what do you want?” 
“our date. you never gave me a solid explanation, so i want a date” 
you were about to reject him but then an idea formed in your head 
and with that one-word jaemin’s eyes glowed 10x brighter with his smile almost blinding you 
cheesy i know. 
“let’s go now!” 
the boy was really about to skip class just to go on this stupid date w you 
is he that bored? did he really run out of girls to date? 
but then again you really don’t want to go to math bc you’re pretty sure there's a test today that you haven’t studied for yet 
so that’s how you found yourself with jaemin at the local ice cream parlor 
jaemin INSISTED that y'all share a sundae, which he also fought you to pay for 
there a silence that falls upon you for a little bit 
jaemin breaks it though like he breaks heart (okay minnie that’s kinda mean) 
“ella told me that you finished your half of the centerpieces in two days. that’s pretty impressive,” he comments 
you nodded staring at the ice cream drowned in chocolate syrup 
“to be honest, i haven’t gotten much done yet,” he admitted, continuing to ramble on “it’ll get done. i might even pay renjun to do it, but i’m pretty sure he’s too preoccupied with this girl that he’s been pining over for a while” 
“speaking of which, are you seeing anyone right now?” jaemin asks out of nowhere. 
“lol i could be doing other things with my time.” 
jaemin observes your face closely taking in the faint blush on your cheeks from his direct gaze, “so what about that haechan dude?” 
“what about him?” 
“are the two of you a thing?” 
you nearly gagged 
“there no way in hell i’d ever get with haechan. besides, he’s having some of his own girl problems right now. he was being a little bitch about it too” 
“good” jaemin says really contently. 
“why didn’t you go to hoco sophomore year?” you finally asked
taken back slightly, jaemin softly smiles down at the half-eaten sundae
instead of answering you, he asked another question “why did you stop talking to me?” 
you gulp, but eventually, you had to tell him the truth even though it was kinda dumb and immature
“because ella was mad at me after the two of you broke up.” 
he shifted his gaze up to your own eyes 
“do you know why she was mad at you?” 
you shook your head
jaemin smiled again 
this time it kinda looked sad :( 
“because she knew that i was in love with you”  
2K notes · View notes
jaeminhours · 2 years ago
Midnight Moon
SUMMARY | You’ve grown up on your grandfather’s tales of the sea and dreamed of your own adventures, even in your old town in the middle of nowhere. In which stories and dreams become a reality, and suddenly everything has changed.
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PAIRING | lee jeno x reader
CATEGORY | siren!jeno, fluff, angst
WARNINGS | minor violence
SONG REC | Surrender - Natalie Taylor
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The waves crashed violently against the jagged rocks, filling the air with the taste of salt. It was foggy, the horizon indecipherable through the heavy mist. There was nothing special about that day, really. It was like any other morning on the coast of your hometown, hazy, cold, wet. It was never different, always the same gray sky, the same angry clouds, the same ocean smell of fish and sea salt. 
Maybe it was beautiful, but to you, it was just boring. Nothing ever changed, and the only source of entertainment in the remote town was your grandfather’s old stories. He was the village’s most renowned storyteller, famous for his tall tales and vivid imagination.
Your mother said you were too old for his stories, now, at the age of seventeen, but you never listened to her, because you adored him, and you adored his stories, because he always managed to make them seem so real, as if he wasn’t living in the most boring town I the entire world, as if he wasn’t just a retired fisherman that occasionally went out on a sail when his son wasn’t looking. His stories submerged you in a different world, of magic and love and beauty. Nothing about his stories were gray, and because of that, you felt like he was the only person in this town who was truly living.
So yes, it was foggy and gray and threatening clouds hung over the bland sky, but the sight of your grandfather sitting at the edge of the empty pier, his pants rolled up to his calves and his bare feet submerged in the freezing water, never failed to excite you.
You jogged down the dock, and your grandfather turned at the sound of your footsteps against the old, splintered wood, a bright, wide smile encapsulating his weathered face. You sat down next to him, dipping your own feet into the sea and shivering at the freezing cold. You draped the coat you had brought from your hose over his shoulders, chuckling.
“Grandpa, you forgot your coat again. You’re too old for this, you know. You’re going to ache in the morning,” you scolded, but your eyes were playful. If there was one thing you and your grandfather had in common, it was your disregard for the rules.
“Sunshine, you’re never too old for anything,” he joked, patting your hands, and passing you a hand warmer. “What do you want to hear today?”
“Anything, Grandpa.”
“Then listen.”
He stopped talking, facing forward, and used his hand to turn your jaw to the side, so you were looking out towards the sea.
“What do you hear?”
You frowned, glancing towards him. “I hear the waves.”
He shook his head. “No, really listen. What do you hear? What’s it saying?
“What’s what saying, Grandpa?”
“The sea, Y/N. The waves. Everything’s saying something, if you just listen.”
You strained your ears, doubtful. All could hear were the waves crashing against the shore, and the faint call of seagulls overhead. “I can’t hear anything special, Grandpa, honest.” you confessed, and he smiled, shaking his head.
“You will, just give it time. You’re my granddaughter, so you have my ears,” he joked.
“What do you hear?” you asked, curious.
He hummed, closing his eyes. “Music, A song. Lots of things, all molding together to make one, glorious melody.” Suddenly, he paused. “Have I ever told you about the sirens?”
“A few times, Grandpa. Not much, though.”
“I should fix that then,” he murmured, and you leaned closer, eager to hear his story.
“You see, mermaids aren’t real, Y/N. At least, not the kind people usually tell stories about. They aren’t docile, or serene, or merely pretty. They’re dangerous, and deadly, and more beautiful than any human could ever hope to be. They look harmless, at first glance, but a closer look will reveal the slightly sharpened edges of their teeth, the lies behind their dark eyes, and the deadly melody of their seemingly sweet voices.”
“Sirens aren’t mermaids, Y/N. They’re predators. They’re dangerous, and beautiful,” He sighed, a faraway look in his aged, eyes. “That’s what makes them fascinating, unfortunately. That’s what makes them so intriguing, because you’ll find yourself falling before you’ve even reached the edge of the cliff.”
He put a hand on your knee and pointed out to the sea. “I hope you get to see all the secrets the ocean holds, Y/N. This town isn’t as boring or ugly as you think, you know.”
He exhaled, and pushed himself to his feet, stretching his aching bones. “There’ll be a storm tonight, Y/N. I’d recommend keeping an eye on the shore from your bedroom meanwhile. You never know what might get caught between these rocks.”
You laughed, and pushing yourself to your feet as well, locking your arm with his as you walked him down the dock.
“Okay, Grandpa. I will.”
You both got an earful from your father when you got home, berating his father for going out to the edge of the sea, fearful that he’d fall in and drown, without his family ever knowing. You grandfather simply rolled his eyes. “Your father never understood,” he whispered. “That’s alright, though. Not everyone is inclined to listen.”
And then he left, retreating into his room, leaving you to deal with your mother’s scalding looks.  You sighed, and dropped into your r bed, opening your journal to a new page, and dragging your pencil against the blank paper. You began to sketch the ocean, as you usually did, adding various creatures from your grandfather’s stories into the waves, but just as you began the outline of the siren, you paused. It was different, because you knew it needed a face.
And yet, sirens didn’t exist.  You erased the figure, and instead sketched the outline of the creature’s shoulders, facing away from your perspective, towards the sea, his torso bare, and short, dark hair, brushing against the back of his neck, and glittering scales lining his back, directly against his spine.
Sleep tugged at your eyes, however, and you soon dropped the journal to the floor beside your bed, letting your head fall to the pillow. You could see the ocean in the distance, from your bedroom window, and you fell asleep to the faint sound of the rushing waves, and the sight of the spray of water into the hazy air with each crash against the shore.
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You awoke to rushed, worried voices, and the sound of your door being flung open, your mother shaking at your shoulders.
“Have you seen Grandpa?” she demanded, her voice worried, and her brow drawn into a concerned and frightened frown.
You sat up, rubbing the sleep from your eyes. “No, what’s wrong? Is he okay?”
She put her head in her hands and rubbed her temple worriedly, shaking her head. “We can’t find him. The whole town’s looking, but he’s just… disappeared.”
Your eyes widened, and you slid out of your bed, slipping your shoes on. “How can I help?”
She shook her head. “Just stay here. We don’t need you wandering around, too. Your father and I are going to take a party through the woods, so we need you to stay here in case he comes back.”
You glared, indignation rising to your chest. “I want to help!”
She glared back. “You will stay here, young lady. You’ll be in very big trouble if we come back and you’re not here. We’ll be back in a couple hours. Stay. Here.”
With that, she tugged on her raincoat and hurried out the door, slamming it behind her. You rushed to the window and waited until she was out of view before tugging on your shoes and your own jacket, grabbing a flashlight from the shelf. You ran outside, bracing against the wind whipping your hair into your face, and the rain stinging your face as it poured down. You pulled your hood over your head, and ran.
You knew where he was, and you were terrified.
You ran to the pier you’d visited with him earlier, and sure enough, the small boat he often sneaked out on was gone. You panicked, your heart racing in your chest and thrashing against your ribs. Your grandfather was too old to be sailing in this weather, and if he fell, he’d drown.
That’s why you didn’t hesitate to climb into the nearest boat, a small wooden thing with a rusted motor attached to the back, and pulled the cord. It took several tries for the engine to start, but eventually it roared to life, and the small boat began its journey into the sea.
The waves rocked your violently, and you gripped the splintering edge desperately. Amidst the fear, a tinge of regret formed in the pit of your stomach, but the worry for your grandfather washed it away. You flashed your flashlight across the ocean as you moved further from the shore, searching for a sign, anything that meant your grandfather was okay.
You’d lost sight of the shore nearly half an hour ago when the motor suddenly spluttered and the boat halted. You panicked, whipping around as you pulled desperately at the cord. It didn’t start, and you could feel the beginnings of tears welling behind your eyes. You drew in quick, gasping breaths and you fell back against the wooden planks, a violent wave spilling water over the edge. The waves crashed against the sides of the boat, and the last thing before you were thrown overboard was a glint of light in the depths of the angry ocean.
The coldness of the water was shocking, and you instinctively took a breath, inhaling water as you kicked desperately to the top, coughing as you tried to find your bearings. Another wave crashed over your head, and you were swept back, disoriented, until you felt a hard thwack against your head.
The pain was sharp, but it began to fade away as your consciousness slipped away from you, blackness floating at the edges of your vision.
You were so tired. You couldn’t find the energy to keep your limbs moving, to keep kicking, to breathe. Everything was so cold, and everything was dark.
The last thing you registered before everything turned to black was dark, hungry eyes, a flash of scales, and an outstretched arm, and then, it was gone.
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You came to on the rocky edge of a tidepool, the jagged edges of the stone digging into your cheek. Your body was half submerged in the water, The water lapping against the back of your head. Your temple was throbbing, and your throat was sore and scratchy. You sat up, too quickly, making your head spin, and a wave of nausea rushed through your body. You scrambled out of the water and threw up over the rocks, retching until your stomach was empty and you were dry-heaving over the dark, wet rocks. You fell back to the ground, landing in the water, lapping against your shins as you took a deep breath, squeezing your eyes tightly shut.
“Are you okay?”
Your eyes flew open, and you scrambled backwards, your spine hitting the rocks behind you painfully.
A boy was in the water. He was submerged up to his collarbones, and he was beautiful,
You were speechless as you took in the boy’s dark, midnight hair, as black as his deep eyes. His cheeks were shimmery, tints of silvers shimmering against his cheekbones, as well as faintly along the sides of his temples. When you looked even closer, you realized that the skin where the faint colors were present was a slightly different texture. You could almost, just almost, say that it looked like scales.
And beneath the water, waving gracefully back and forth, was a tail. You shook your head, willing the sight away, willing yourself to wake up, but when you opened your eyes, the sight was still there.
“What…” you croaked weakly, your voice scratchy as you stared at the appendage. “What’s happening?”
The boy, or whatever he was, cocked his head to the side, eyeing you curiously. “You fell from your boat,” he answered simply. “I saved you.”
He smiled then, and the sight of the slightly sharpened edges of his canines sent you reeling. You pressed the palm of your hand to your head, the events of last night flooding back to you. Your grandfather, the storm, falling, and the ghostly face hovering above yours amidst the darkness.
“What… what are you?” you choked out.
The boy swam closer, and you scrambled up to perch on the rock behind you. He ignored your frightened nature and lifted himself out of the water enough to fold his elbows onto the edge of the rock, looking up at you. You noticed the scale-like, shimmery texture was present along his collarbones as well, and his torso was completely bare. You swallowed as your gaze ran down to his hips, following the line of his tail. It was a glimmering, stormy silver, beautiful and shining and dangerous. Just as your grandfather had described it.
“I’m a siren,” he answered, and he bared his teeth. His voice was deep, and melodious, and you felt yourself swoon against your will.
“Is this a dream?” you asked, feeling dizzy.
He chuckled. “Sorry, no.”
Okay, so, unless you were dreaming, which you probably weren’t, evident from the red marks lining your forearm from when you’d pinched yourself, your grandfather’s stories were real. At least, this one was.
You leaned back, slumping against the rock. “Okay.”
He blinked. “Okay?”
“Okay. It’s fine, I guess. What’s your name?”
He smiled, and you noticed how his eyes formed crescents as his face brightened. “Jeno.”
“I’m Y/N,” you said, and stuck your hand out to him, at which he flinched away. He looked up at you, frowning, and evidently confused.
“You shake it,” you supplied. “Just put your hand in mind. It’s a way of saying, like, ‘nice to meet you’, and stuff.”
He tentatively placed his hand into your own, gentle, and warm despite the coldness of the water.
“Nice to meet you, Y/N.”
Suddenly, voices shook you from your daze, the desperate call of your name making you pull your hand from Jeno’s grip.
“You have to go,” you told him, leaning forward urgently.
He frowned. “Will you come back?”
“Will you?”
He smiled. “Meet me here, when the sun touches the sea.”
You nodded, brushing the dirt from your soaked clothes, and climbing over the rocks in the direction of the voices. When you turned, back, Jeno had already disappeared. You shook your head, not believing what you had just seen, what you had just experienced, and clambered over the rocks, calling out for your parents. As you reached the safety of the sandy floor, you were trapped in the embrace of your mother’s arms, as she sobbed into your shoulder. When she composed herself, she stepped back and slapped your arm.
“You’re in so much trouble!” she hissed. “You could’ve been hurt! You could’ve died! I thought I’d never see you again. Your grandpa’s fine, by the way, he came back an hour after we realized you were gone. He didn’t seem worried at all, that old bastard.”
You grabbed her hand, rubbing her hand soothingly. “I’m fine, I’m sorry I worried you. I just… got caught up with something But I’m okay, I promise.”
She sighed, rubbing her eyes tiredly. “You’re grounded. Forever.”
You grimaced, but allowed her to take you arm and lead you back home.
Your father was furious when you returned, running his hand angrily through his hair, but you could tell he was just worried for you.
Your mother was right about your grandfather---he barely seemed to care that you’d been missing all night. You sat next to him on your porch, breathing in the salted air as he smoked on his cigar.
“Everybody was pretty worried about you last night, Grandpa.”
He hummed, and you noticed a bright glint in his eyes, and his lips tugging upwards at the corners.
“Grandpa, your stories. How do you come up with them?”
He chuckled, blowing a puff of smoke out of his mouth. “I think you found that out for yourself, sunshine.”
You gulped. “So… it’s true. All of it? It’s all real?”
He shrugged, tapping a rhythm on his kneecap with his fingers. “That’s for you to decide, what’s real and not real. What do you believe in? What have you seen? That’s real.”
You sighed, frustrated. You’d never been able to get a straight answer out of your grandfather.
He grinned, his eyes flashing mischievously. “I bet you had an adventure there, didn’t you?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I sure did.”
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You still weren’t prepared to see Jeno when you returned to the shore you’d awoken on that evening, your eyes widening in disbelief and shock at the sight of the boy in the water. He was facing away from you, and as you got closer you could see the slight shimmer of silvery scales travelling up his sides to meet the junction of his arms.
He was breathtaking.
The sound of your footsteps alerted him to your presence, and he swiveled around, smiling at the sight of your figure.
“You came,” he said, and you nodded, climbing down the rocks and dangling your feet off the sides, your toes brushing the water.
It was silent, for a moment, neither of you knowing quite what to say.
“So,” you began. “Mermaids are real, then?”
Jeno looked offended, scowling. “I’ve already told you, I’m a siren. Mermaids aren’t real. At least, not the type your kind always tells stories of.”
“Do you eat people? Like in the stories? Drag sailors down to their watery graves?”
Jeno scoffed. “Some of us do, but most of us just eat fish and other animals we find near home.”
“So, like sushi.”
He frowned. “What?”
You shook your head. “Never mind. You said that you’re told stories when you’re young? You know about humans?”
Jeno snorted, and you flushed. It seemed like sort of a stupid question, now that it had come out. “It’d be impossible not to,” he said. “Especially with all the stories we’re told when we’re young.”
Your eyes widened. “There’s more of you?”
“Of course,” he said, proudly, but then suddenly he looked away, flushing. “I probably shouldn’t have told you that. We’re… not supposed to let ourselves be seen by humans.”
You nodded. “I won’t tell anyone. I promise.”
He looked back at you, smiling. “Thanks.”
You talked with Jeno, for the rest of the evening, the conversation eventually becoming more and more comfortable, until the both of you fell into a sort of familiar rhythm, as if you’d known each other your whole lives. Jeno was kind, and sweet, and suddenly the sharpened edges of his canines meant for killing and ripping flesh no longer bothered you just as much. Yes, he was dangerous, but he was also beautiful, with the streaks of silver across his cheeks and collarbones, and salt-soaked skin, as if he’d been brushed by starlight. You talked until the sun disappeared and the moon rose about the still water, reflecting off the dark, empty surface. The violence of the storm the night before had left an eerie calmness in the town, the only movement on the shore being the flash of silver as Jeno moved through the water, splashing water at your face as you laughed.
Eventually, as all things do, it had to end, and you bid your new friend farewell as you turned to climb back over the rocks. Before you left, however, you turned to look back at Jeno. He was still there, watching you leave with a curious look on his face, smiling softly.
“Hey,” you said softly, returning his gentle smile. “let’s meet again. Tomorrow.”
Jeno nodded.
“And Jeno,” you said. “Thanks. For helping me, I mean.”
He smiled. “Of course.”
You left, and that night you dreamt of storms, the moon hanging bright above you amidst the blackness of the night sky, and the boy with stars in his skin.
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You met with Jeno frequently after that, in the coming weeks, taking to riding your bicycle to the corner of the shore, shielded from view by the flurry of rocks and the pier. You didn’t have to worry about being seen there; the only way to get there was to scramble over the rocks at the very edge of the water, and more often than not, you found yourself tumbling dangerously into the cave. It wasn’t big, but it was concealed, and as your meetings with Jeno progressed, you quickly realized that you couldn’t risk Jeno being seen.
Your absences in the evenings and early mornings demanded the attention of your friends, and Jaemin, your childhood friend of over a decade had accused you of having a secret boyfriend. Blushing, you’d realized he wasn’t that far off from the truth. Jeno was a friend, and he was a secret.
But nothing mattered underneath the silver light of the moon, the light of the night sky glistening on Jeno’s cheekbones and reflecting off his midnight eyes. You couldn’t find the will to care that he was dangerous, that he could end your life with a simple flick of his tail, and flash of his teeth, and then you’d be at the bottom of the see. How could you care, when he looked like that? When he sounded like that?
It was four in the morning, and the sun was just beginning to rise over the line of the sea. You sat on the sand of your meeting place with Jeno, half submerged in the water, with his head in your lap. This position was the most comfortable for the both of you, without Jeno having to continuously hold himself up with his arms just to be able to speak with you.
“What’s it like, in the ocean? Living there?” you asked, absentmindedly running your fingers through the wet strands of his hair.
Jeno sighed contentedly, keening under the light touch of your hand. Something you’d learned about the boy was that he loved to touch and to be touched, seeking comfort from the warmth of your skin as your fingers traced the silver on his cheeks.
“It’s dark,” he confessed. “But it’s colorful at the same time. It’s not like your world, where you can see everything in the distance, from far away. Everything’s too close down there; you don’t see it coming until it’s too late. It’s cold, but it’s still beautiful, in a way.”
You nodded. “It’s cold here, too.”
Jeno sighed again, leaning back into your touch. “You’re not cold,” he breathed. “You were always warm, even in the storm.”
You flushed, swatting his forehead as he laughed at your reaction.
“You should meet my friends sometime,” he mused. “I bet you’d like Chenle. Maybe Renjun, too, even though he’s kind of hard to get along with.”
“That sounds nice.”
With that, Jeno tugged on your hand, pulling you roughly into the deeper part of the water. You spluttered, spitting the salt out of your mouth as you glared at him.
“What was that for!?” you hissed.
Jeno laughed. “You humans never want to get wet.”
“You could’ve warned me!” you retorted.
“Can’t you swim? You’re fine.”
You glared at him, splashing water at his face, and stuck your tongue out, grimacing. “It tastes bad.”
Jeno was staring at you, his eyes thoughtful. “I want to know what your world is like. Will you show me sometime?”
“You have a tail, Jeno.”
Jeno’s eyes shifted downwards, and small smile tugging at his lips. “I want to show you something.”
He swam to the edge of the shore, the flash of silver underneath the dark blue of the water never failing to catch your eye. You followed him, stepping out of the water as he hauled himself onto the sand, and within seconds his tail disappeared.
You stood in awe at the sight, Jeno’s silver tail being replaced by a pair of human legs, and you quickly averted your eyes when you realized he was naked.
“Oh my god, Jeno,” you said, shocked, and you turned away, your hand over your eyes as you felt your cheeks burn.
“Cool, right? I’ve never gotten to use that trick before, really.”
You waved him off, grabbing the blanket you’d brought with you and throwing it over him before turning to look at him once again.
“Holy shit, Jeno. You have legs!” you said, and he laughed.
“Yeah, I know. I can’t really stand though; can you help me up?”
You shook your head. “Jeno… you’re naked.”
He looked down, as if he’d forgotten. “Oh. Yeah.”
You backed away, nearly tripping over your own feet as made your way out of the cove, still facing Jeno. “Stay here, I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”
He nodded, confused, and you ran off, climbing onto your bike and taking off into town. You rode all the way to Jaemin’s house, which was fortunately only a couple minutes away from yours, meaning that it wasn’t too far from the shore. He opened the door almost as soon as you knocked, his smile disappearing as you pushed past him into his room.
You filtered through his drawers, grabbing a pair of boxers, sweatpants, and a plain t-shirt before rushing back to the door.
“I’ll explain later,” you promised, as you exited his home, Jaemin’s face the epitome of bewilderment.
When you got back, Jeno was fiddling with the threads of the blanket, and you tossed the clothes to him.
“Put these on,” you said. “If you need help, don’t ask me. Just figure it out, please.”
You really didn’t want to have to help Jeno put on his pants. You didn’t think you were capable of surviving that experience with your heart intact.
“Okay, I’m good.”
You turned around to see Jeno leaning against the rock wall, tugging the shirt down over his abdomen. He pushed himself off, wobbling slightly as he attempted to stand on his own two feet. You hurried to his side, grabbing his arm and helping support his weight.
“Thanks,” he chuckled, and then frowned. “This is so weird.”
You laughed. “Yeah, I know. You look good, though.”
He raised his eyebrows, smirking. “You think so?”
You flushed, feeling your ears burn. “As good as any other human, I mean.”
He grinned. “Alright.”
You took the opportunity to examine his face a little closer, noticing that the silver details that usually shimmered along his cheekbones had disappeared, and his canines were no longer slightly pointed at the ends. He looked as human as anybody else, you thought, but at the same time he was the most beautiful thing you’d ever seen. The same black hair still flopped over his forehead, lightly brushing his brow. The same dark, midnight eyes still pierced through your soul, and the same strong hands still gripped your elbow.
Suddenly, a gasp shook you from your stupor, and you whipped around to see none other than Na Jaemin standing at edge of the cove, pointing an accusatory finger at you.
“I was right!” he exclaimed. “Oh my god, oh my god. I was so right! You do have a secret boyfriend!” You glared at him. “He’s not my boyfriend. You followed me!”
“You lied to me!”
Jeno’s eyes were travelling frantically between the two of you, his eyes dark and concerned.
Jaemin jerked his head towards the boy, his face set in a scowl, but his eyes still held a glimmer of playfulness.  “Who’s this?”
You groaned, slamming the palm of your hand against your forehead, at which Jeno frowned, pulling your hand down, and smoothing his fingers over your temple worriedly.
“This is Jeno,” you said, your ears burning with heat. “He’s… a friend.”
“A friend, my ass. Those are my clothes! He’s wearing my underwear! Why is he wearing my underwear?”
Jeno’s eyes were flashing, his brows knitted together as he watched Jaemin’s expression morph from one of disbelief to anger.
“You’ve been lying to me for weeks, Y/N! Who is this guy? I’ve never seen him before in my life, and everybody knows everybody here, you know that.” Jaemin’s voice was low and angry, but you knew he didn’t mean any harm; you felt guilty for not being there for him in the past couple weeks, choosing to spend time at Jeno’s side amidst the cool, frigid water instead of by the fireplace in Jaemin’s living room.
Jeno didn’t know that, though, and he pushed himself in front of you protectively, glaring at Jaemin as he wobbled slightly on his new legs. “Back off,” he growled, and Jaemin’s eyes widened, flashing back to you in disbelief.
“Who the fuck is this guy, Y/N?” Jaemin asked, the directed is attention back to the black-haired boy standing in front of him. “What’s your problem?”
Jeno bared his teeth and shoved at Jaemin’s chest. Jaemin stumbled back into the water, falling back as Jeno marched into the sea. Panic flashed through you at the sight of faint silver streaks running up and down Jeno’s arms, just for a fraction of a second, and you sprang into action. You stumbled through the small waves until you reached Jeno, gripping his arm and pulling him down.
“Jeno, stop it,” you warned, your voice serious. “You can’t.”
Jeno closed his eyes as you ran a hand soothingly up and down his now soaked back, and he inhaled deeply as they fluttered open once again. He straightened up, looking down at Jaemin and extending a hand downwards, at which Jaemin stared incredulously.
“Sorry,” he breathed, and Jaemin nodded, his eyes still wary as he took Jeno’s hand. However, Jeno still wasn’t stable, and as he attempted to pull Jaemin back to his feet, he wobbled dangerously, and your eyes widened as Jeno came crashing down, knocking the breath out of Jaemin as he landed right on top of him.
“Oof,” Jaemin exhaled, his eyes a little too tight as he struggled underneath Jeno’s weight.
You tried desperately to control it, but you couldn’t stop the laugh from bubbling in your throat, clawing its way out as you doubled over, clutching at your stomach.
Jaemin glared at you, but the beginnings of a smile tugged at his lips, before both his and Jeno’s bodies were shaking with laughter.
You told Jaemin everything that night, and soon it was no longer just you sneaking out at night to see the starstruck boy in the ocean. You told him how he’d saved you that night you’d gone missing, how you were no longer hearing myths from your elderly grandfather, but realities, truth and fact. Jaemin, who had always been enraptured by your grandfather’s stories and his tales of the creatures who haunted the tides, quickly grew attached to Jeno, bombarding him with questions about sirens and other sea creatures.
It was still just you and Jeno, in the end. Most nights it was just the two of you underneath the midnight moon, the light illuminating the stars in Jeno’s eyes and the silver dusting his cheeks. Sometimes you didn’t even speak, just floated in the water side by side, soaking in the other’s presence.
Your grandfather was suspicious, you knew. He’d caught you sneaking out one night, a glimmer in his twinkling, wrinkled eyes that told you he knew you were going out for something more than just a midnight snack, and a soft-spoken warning, telling you to be careful of what may be waiting in the dark.
Sometimes, in the dead of night, the wind rushing through your hair, cool against your skin as you biked down the street, you felt a lingering presence on the back of your neck, a sharp tingling, as if someone was watching you. But when you would inevitably turn around, putting the brake down as you twisted in your seat, you’d see nothing but the darkness of the shadows between the old, weary buildings of your salt-soaked town.
For a while, everything was perfect. For a while, everything was fine.
It was evening, when everything came crashing down, when it both began and ended all at the same time. The sun was just about disappear behind the sea’s edge, the sky a dark array of purples and blues.
When you got to the cove, Jeno was already there. Except he wasn’t moving, facing away from you and spread out across the sand. You gasped at the sight of purples bruises blossoming across his abdomen and face, and when your gaze dropped to the long, deep, bloody gash on his side, you could feel your heart miss a beat. You cried out, dropping to his side as you hovered over him, wanting to be as close as possible to him but not daring to touch him.
“Jeno, what happened?!” you cried, but Jeno only groaned, gripping his side.
Then, his tail disappeared, replaced with human legs, and his eyes cracked open, still screwed with pain. “Help,” he choked out, and then his body went limp.
You shook his shoulder, but he wouldn’t wake up. Panicking, you dialed Jaemin’s number, begging him o come down to the shore, telling him that Jaemin was hurt, and you needed help carrying him. Once Jaemin was on his way, you wrapped a towel around Jeno’s waist. Jaemin arrived within the next few minutes, a concerned expression plastered upon his face.
“Where are we going to take him?” he asked, squatting down as you dragged Jeno onto his back, grabbing his thighs and hoisting him up, the siren’s arms hanging limply over his shoulders.
Jaemin’s eyes widened in shock, his mouth hanging open. “You’re going to tell him?” he hissed.
“I don’t have a choice,” you replied, brushing a strand of hair from Jeno’s forehead. “He’ll know what to do. He’s the only one who can help him.”
Jeno was bleeding more than you’d thought. You’d sent a short text to your grandfather, asking him to meet you at his old clinic, and you and Jaemin were desperately trying to get Jeno there without being scene. His blood was coating your hands, slicking your hold on his body, and left drops of dark red blood in your wake. You were panting from the strain of Jeno’s weight, but you couldn’t stop, shoving the clinic door open with your shoulder, and depositing him on the cold marble table.
Your grandfather was sitting in a chair in a corner, and at your arrival he stood up, shambling over to the table, his half-moon glasses perched at the end of his nose.
“Please help him,” you begged.
Your grandfather hummed, lifting Jeno’s lips to check his teeth, crooked fingers alighting on the corner of Jeno’s jaw as he turned his head to the side. He sighed, then turned back to you.
“Odd. Most don’t dare appear as human,” he said, and both yours and Jaemin’s jaws dropped.
“You… know?” Jaemin said tentatively.
“It’s obvious,” your grandfather replied simply. “I may be old, but I’m far from blind. I know a siren when I see one.”
Then he waved the two of you off, ushering you out the door so he could work. You waited in the seats outside the clinic room, waiting desperately for results. It seemed like hours before your grandfather finally emerged, wiping his bloodied hands from his apron.
“He has an infection, but I gave him some antibiotics,” he said, and you breathed a sigh of relief. “He’s sleeping right now. Y/N, you and I should stay here for the night, just in case someone decides tonight is a good night for wandering where they shouldn’t. But your mother should be expecting you, Jaemin.”
Jaemin flushed, and bid you both goodbye after you promised to relay any news to him in the morning. After he left, your grandfather sat down next to you with a heavy sigh, but with no words. It was silent for a few moments, before you finally mustered the courage to say something.
“Are you disappointed in me?” you asked meekly.
“Why would I be disappointed in you?”
“Because he’s a siren. He’s dangerous, like in all your stories.”
Your grandfather chuckled, his eyes holding that too familiar twinkle. “Yes, my stories. That’s what they are---stories. I’m a storyteller, sunshine, not a critic. It’s not my place to decide what’s too dangerous for you and what’s not. You’re almost an adult, and that’s for you to figure out, in your own time.”
He smiled. “Your father decided that life on the sea wasn’t for him. He wasn’t willing to give up the prospect of a family, the warmth of a fireplace welcoming him home every night. Not to say he hasn’t had adventures of his own. But it’s the kind that counts. This is your adventure, Y/N.  I’m here to offer you support if you decide you need it, not to interfere.”
Overcome with emotion, you flung your arms around your grandfather’s neck, burying your head in his shoulder. “Thank you, Grandpa.”
He chuckled, deep and rumbling in your ear, the whiskers on his chin tickling your cheek. “Of course, pumpkin. I’ll always be here for you, no matter what.”
You fell asleep in your grandfather’s embrace that night, lulled by his soft snores as the moonlight filtered through the shaded windows. It started raining halfway through the night, washing Jeno’s blood from the cobblestone paths, erasing all evidence that the siren had ever walked those streets.
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Jeno was awake by morning, groaning as you helped him sit up, bringing a cup of cool water to his chapped lips.
“I feel like shit,” he moaned, and you chuckled.
“You kinda look like shit, Jen.”
He pouted, and you ruffled his hair, frowning softly. “You scared me, Jeno. What happened?”
You leaned back, closing his eyes as he took a deep breath. He was wearing Jaemin’s clothes again, old black sweatpants and a plain white t-shirt, which Jaemin had brought over earlier that morning. It was the first time you’d seen him totally dry, his hair fluffy and sticking up in odd places.
“I got caught in a net. A fisherman’s net,” he murmured. When I was trying to get out, I cut myself on something sharp. I’m okay, though, I promise.”
You smiled. ”I’m glad,” you said, taking his hand gently.
Jeno sat up again, leaning closer to you. “Show me around today,” he said, and at your reluctant expression he hurriedly continued. “Just for today. I… want to see what it’s like where you live. Where you spend all your time when you’re not with me.”
“Okay, yeah. Yeah, let’s do that.”
Jeno took your hand, and you led him out of the clinic. The sun was bright, but it was the same bright as always, cold and white and blinding in all the wrong ways.  The breeze left goosebumps on your exposed skin, but Jeno’s hand was warm against yours.
You took him to your mother’s boutique first, letting him run his fingers over the silken fabrics and textured laces, hovering over the glinting jewels under the glass case. And then you took him to the small rescue shelter on the corner of the street, watching him fondly as he stroked a kitten’s fur, gazing in wonder at its soft pelt and gentle mewls. He smiled too much, you thought, for a place so cold, and so gray. He was too beautiful, too perfect, for a place like this, like home. Just the sight of his crescent-moon eyes sparked a fire in the depth of your chest, weaving through the bone and muscle and tissue to wrap around your heart, and then blossoming outwards, filling you with a strange warmth down to the tips of your toes. It was something you’d never felt before, something you’d never thought you would feel, not while you still breathed the same wet air, saw the same gray sky, tasted the same salt-soaked atmosphere.
Jeno made you feel like you weren’t home. Or rather, not this home. It felt right, and at night, under the light of the pale moon, you felt as if you were in another world, another universe, and tomorrow wasn’t just another day. It was a special feeling, and it was one you didn’t want to let go.
Jeno was too good, with his kind words and gentle touch and soft, soft smile. But at the same time, it couldn’t be real; it couldn’t last forever. And within just a few months, that had become your greatest fear, because you desperately wanted it to be real, wanted it to be something that stayed, something to stay for.
You and Jeno stayed out in town until the sun disappeared the same way it had every night in the past few months, except that you were no longer watching alone, from the ocean shore, the spray of salt wetting your skin. You stayed until the sky dimmed and you were the only people still out, only the faint, golden light of the streetlamps overhead. Jeno was kicking a pebble as you walked, dodging back and forth like it was a soccer ball, and you laughed at the sight of it, of him being so normal, so human.
He glanced at you, pouting at your reaction, but his eyes were still smiling, still glimmering with hope and happiness.
“Let me check your bandages,” you said, since it’d been awhile since they’d been redressed, and you wanted to make sure his wound was clean. You lifted the hem of his t-shirt, and pulled gently at the wrapping, pulling the edge up slightly, but what you saw made you pull it off completely, your mouth dropping open.
“Jeno,” you said, awestruck, “oh my god, it’s almost healed.”
All that remained of the injury was a red jagged line, running from middle of his abdomen to his hipbone. You ran your fingers over it gingerly, and Jeno tensed under your slight touch.
He laughed, but it sounded restrained, resistant. “Yeah, sirens heal pretty fast. Faster than humans, at least.”
You ran your hand down his stomach one last time before his hand came to grip your wrist, causing you to look back up at him.
“Please stop doing that,” he whispered, and suddenly he was so close, too close. “It’s driving me crazy. You’re driving me crazy.”
Closer, closer, closer.
And then, he closed the gap. His lips met yours underneath the warm light of the streetlamp, and you might have thought that it was the only time you’d ever been warm in the small, rainy town on the coast of nowhere.
Jeno’s mouth was hot, and slow, and the feeling of his skin against yours set your entire soul into an inferno, a wildfire of emotion beating desperately at the iron bars of your chest, a cacophony of indiscernible shouts and whispers all at the same time. Even the moon looked like it was on fire that night, an angry, passionate red clouding the silver sheen, casting a new kind of magic in the atmosphere, by the weathered, dampened docks and the gritty sand and the icy seawater.
The kiss was sweet, just like Jeno, and it was over all too soon. Jeno left you with one last lingering kiss at the docks that night, pulling your face down to his and wetting your lips with the sharp taste of the sea. The erratic beating in your chest, the drumming that echoed all the way down to the balls of your feet, reverberating back up into your dizzy, dizzy head, didn’t calm at all that night. It didn’t calm in the morning or the afternoon or the evening, not until you were bathed in salt and moonlight, with a siren’s kiss lingering on your stolen lips.
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“How long do you think this will last?” you asked one day, huddled with Jeno on the beach, your feet dangling off the rocky outcrop. Jeno had taken to using his human form with you around, so he could be closer to you. He’d even said he’d come to enjoy the feeling of the sand beneath his toes, the wind rushing through his hair and he chased you down the shore.
“What do you mean?” he answered, leaning his head against your shoulder.
“We’re different, Jeno. We live in different worlds, have different lives, different families. How long can we stay like this?” you said.
“Who says it can’t last forever?” Jeno murmured. “Not everything has to end. Why should this?”
You kissed him again that night, standing in the water as the moon shone bright over your heads, his hands gripping your waist and steadying you against the gentle lapping of the waves as his mouth moved over yours.
Everything was perfect. Everything was fine.
You introduced Jeno to your parents, telling them he lived a bit farther out from the town, and only came in to attend the small high school located at the edges of the town. Suddenly it was Jeno who became the storyteller, as your grandfather eagerly listened to his tales about life under the sea. But the best moments were when the two of you were alone, his hands cupping the side of your jaw as your mouths melded together, his strong arms wrapped around you as you huddled together against the strong winds.
Everything was perfect. Everything was fine.
It ended the same way it had begun: with a storm.
You and Jeno were huddled beneath the cove, sheltered from the harsh winds by the rocky outcrop. The rain hadn’t really come yet, and only the winds were present, warning of a future storm, but not quite there yet. A pile of blankets lay over you as Jeno hummed a melody into your ears, his voice soft and sweet, ethereal and captivating.
He kissed you.
Moving over you to back you against the wall, his hand against your waist as he smiled against the kiss, nipping at your bottom lip as you half-heartedly pushed him away, pretending to be annoyed. He grabbed your face, peppering kisses along your nose, your cheeks, your forehead, down to your neck, your shoulder, your collarbones. Each kiss was steaming hot, as if each one had branded you in a way you’d never quite be able to see, marking you as his, as Jeno’s. You giggled against his touch, pulling him down to meet your lips in one last kiss, Jeno’s hand wandering down to your hip.
That was when you heard it.
The snap of a twig caused you and Jeno to whip your heads up, and you were met with the sight of two men in dirtied fisherman’s clothing, wicked smiles plastered on their whiskered faces. Jeno scrambled off of you, pulling you to your feet as he stood protectively in front of you.
“Can we help you?” he asked the men.
One of the men stepped forward, and you gasped as you saw him pull out a net from behind his back.
“You sure can, fish.”
And then he lunged.
He grabbed Jeno forcefully, the other man behind him lunging towards you and restraining your hands behind your back. You cried out at the pain of his grip around your wrists, and Jeno thrashed at the sound as the man threw the net over him, trapping him. Then, he pulled a knife from his belt and dragged it across Jeno’s arm, bringing it to his lips and running his tongue down the edge of the blade, his expression souring as if he’d tasted something unnaturally foul.
“It’s him. He’s one of them,” the man confirmed.
“Leave him alone!” you cried. “What do you want?”
He waved the knife at you, Jeno’s blood dripping from the tip. “Your boyfriend here is worth a lot of money, little girl. Hate to let that go to waste.”
Jeno thrashed against the net, catching the man’s ankle roughly with one of his legs, causing the man to curse and grab Jeno by the neck in a loose chokehold. He held the knife up to his neck, seething.
“I don’t need you alive, fish,” he hissed. “You’re still worth a lot of money, dead or alive.”
Your eyes burned with angry tears at the sight of Jeno’s face through the netting, the knife held threateningly against the delicate skin of his neck, and you pulled against the man’s hold.
The man holding Jeno cursed as Jeno fought against him once again, desperately trying to release himself from the net as you ripped yourself from the other’s grip.
“Get her under control!” he shouted.
The man lunged for you, running you back towards the wall and slamming you against the wall. Stars burned in your vision, but you dropped to the ground and crawled out from underneath him. You were filled with rage, burning from your toes to your angry eyes and dampened face, and as a wave of fury washed over you, you pushed the man against the wall, grabbing him by his hair and crashing his head against the sharp rocks. He crumpled to the ground, his eyes closing as he lost consciousness.
You stumbled back, and turned to the other man who was still fighting against Jeno, not noticing that his partner was lying, unmoving, on the ground. You picked up a large rock from the ground, and before the man could turn around, you rushed behind him, colliding the rock against his skull, and like his partner, he crumbled to the ground, releasing Jeno, who was still tangled within the nets.
You fell to Jeno’s side, pulling the nets off of him as fast as you could, and when he was free you pulled his exhausted body into the water, as he stumbled after you, stripping the clothes from his body and transforming the second his sternum reached the water. Blood trickled from his neck and from a small cut above his brow, staining the silver details on his honeyed skin.
“You have to go, Jeno!” you said, and tears were streaming down your face.
Jeno had to leave before these men woke up, and you knew he couldn’t come back.
“You have to leave!”
Jeno’s eyes were wide as he backed away, shaking his head as he pulled on your hand, reluctant to let go.
“I can’t,” he whispered. “I don’t want to.”
“They’ll kill you, Jeno. They’ll come back for you.”
He knew you were right, and he knew he didn’t have time.
So he left.
You watched as he disappeared, as he dived into the depths of the oceans and didn’t return, your heart pulling you towards the ocean.
He didn’t say goodbye, he didn’t give you one last kiss, tasting of salt against your tongue. He just disappeared, and he didn’t come back.
You went home that night in quiet tears, and your grandfather didn’t say anything, just took you in his arms and held you as you gripped the fabric of his sweater in a clenched fist.
Jeno took everything that day; he took the sun, and the moon, and every single star littering the pitch black sky. He took all the colors and everything special about that small, rainy town on the coast of nowhere. It was over, he was gone, it was the end of your adventure, and your story was over.
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After Jeno had left, you’d quickly realized that there was no longer anything to stay for. Your grandfather’s stories had lost their luster, and instead of inciting excitement and wonder, they tugged painfully at your aching heart, reminding you of everything you couldn’t have. So you left, like Jeno had when you were seventeen years old. You went somewhere sunny and warm and attended a full university where it was impossible to ever feel lonely, because there was never a time where there’d be an empty space by your side. Life was fast suddenly, and the sun warmed your skin and filled your heart, but there was still something missing.
You hadn’t gone back home since the day you’d left, too afraid of what you’d find and what you’d feel if you returned. The last time you’d been there, your last year had been haunted with the soon familiar faces of the men who’d attacked you and Jeno, suspicious and wicked and terrifying because they knew, and because you knew that they were waiting for you to slip up, for you to go back to the ocean and for you to find Jeno, and then they’d have their chance.
So you left. And you didn’t have enough time or enough space to regret it, you’d think. And until you came back three years later, you wouldn’t have to think twice about it.
It was winter break, and it was freezing.
Despite the cold, the sea was calm, soft waves gently lapping at the shore. You sat on the dock, dipping your bare feet into the frigid water, turning your toes numb. The faint breeze brushed over your skin, and you could feel your muscles relax, because you were home.
The call of seagulls filled your ears, the rush of water and a soft song, one of soft breaths and melodies and whispered confessions, an ending and a new beginning, another story to be told.
You could hear it now, and when you saw the faint flash of silver underneath the midnight moon, you smiled.
He looked the same. The same dark eyes and the same dark hair and the same silvery details, the same beauty and the same kindness in those gentle eyes and that sweet, sweet smile. Shy and timid, expectant and scared but so, so happy.
“You came back.”
“I did.”
And underneath the stars that night, a story continued, a new chapter began. You’d always been one for adventures and risks and breaking the rules, and you weren’t about to give that up, and now you were ready. Ready for it to not end, ready for anything, for perfect and for scared, and for happiness and for despair—you were ready for all of it, everything.
You were ready for your happy ending.
 a/n: thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this and feel free to share your thoughts and comments!
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warmau · 2 years ago
I was wondering if you could do a soft Hogwarts!Jaemin AU? I've been obsessed with your Regular!NCT series lately, but I was hoping for a small break from all the well-written (too well-written ;w;) angst and switching it up for something light and sweet (your post for Jeno and the recent one for Haechan were all golden.) If you cant, though, that's perfectly fine! Keep being amazing, and I'll be patiently waiting for your future posts! Hugs and kisses, Mom ~~
thank u so much!! here’s more hp!dreamies ~
“don’t be so nervous, he’s not going to bite you or anything”
renjun encourages as you sit in study hall, sweating over the notes you barely managed to find this morning for your very much hated ancient ruins elective
“renjun,,,,,he’s like the top student of hogwarts. i can’t just TALK to him,,,,”
renjun huffs, picking up his wand and poking its end against your cheek
“just. go. ask. him”
you swat the wand away, sticking your tongue out at him 
“if you want to pass ancient ruins, jaemin is the person to ask for help. and plus - i know you like him.”
you bolt upright, glaring renjun down as you press your finger to his lips and look around
to make sure no one heard mr. loudmouth over here
“shuttup, no one is supposed to know that! how did you even find out?”
renjun shrugs
“i put a spell on your diary and it told me.”
“yes, haechan taught me the spell.”
you let your hand drop back down as you slouch over your notes with a defeated sigh
it’s true you do like jaemin,,,,,,,,,,a lot
he’s unlike anyone you’ve ever met before. and that’s saying something since you go to a magical school
where people can turn into animals or make their eyes turn red
jaemin ,,,,,,, jaemin just stands out to you
with his perfect O.W.L scores, his ravenclaw scarf tied neatly around his neck 
the neverending nebula of gorgeous brown in his eyes,,,,
you sit a couple of rows back from his in your worst elective class, ancient ruins
that you’ve skipped and fell asleep in all semester
and now the damn final is coming up and you can’t do anything,,,,because no matter how much you read the textbook or try to memorize all the dates
you can’t
it’s b o r i n g
but you know jaemin loves that class, he’s the teachers favorite person and you’ve seen him stay behind after just to talk about it even more
so - with all your might you get up
renjun giving you a thumbs up
and you make your way over to the desk where jaemin is
all his books stacked neatly beside him, his wand polished and perfect with absolutely no scratch marks or bandaged up tips (contrary to yours,,,)
“h-hey jaemin,,,,”
you start
and he looks up, putting his quill down carefully 
his face doesnt change into a smile so you immediately regret interrupting him
until,,,,,he sees the stack of notes in your hands
and then the smile comes
“ancient ruins?”
he asks and you sigh, your shoulders sagging
“i,,,,,,i suck at this class. is there anyway you could help me?”
jaemin shifts in his seat
“well, im sure you’ve learned something - it’s the end of the semester.”
you make a face
“if by something you mean that i don’t like it, then yes. that’s what i learned”
jaemin gives you a sad chuckle, but then suddenly motions for you to sit down
you shyly do, handing over your messy notes and watching as jaemin bites back his lip
“oh this is worse than i thought.,,,”
you groan, putting your head in your hands
“im going to failllllllll”
you mutter, but suddenly you feel something tap the side of your head
you look up, seeing the feathery end of jaemin’s quill tickling your hair to get your attention as he continues through your notes
“well - if you promise to really work hard with me, i think we can get you to pass”
he finally rips his eyes from your papers and back to you
but you’re more focused on the magic quill, now doing little loops around on the desk
“stop that”
jaemin orders and the quill falls to the table with a thud
you look back at him and snap out of it
“i-yes i promise!”
jaemin smiles, hands you back the papers to which the scrambled words and messy corners have magically been straightened out just from being in his hands
“ok then, see you tomorrow here during study period.”
and with that you get up, thanking jaemin a million times over, before joinging renjun on the otherside of the room
he pats your back
“see, you didn’t get rejected”
“i - i - i didn’t ask him out?!!??”
“oh i know, i meant you didnt get rejected to be his student”
you narrow your eyes, but renjun just laughs in response  - even when you threaten to turn him into a toad if he tells anyone about your,,,, “crush”
the next week or so, you and jaemin meet every day to go over his notes
they’re all perfectly organized and with a small spell he turns them into tinier - easier to read flash cards
which he uses to quiz you on some of the material
you’re kind of hopeless,,,,seeing as though you really dont have any interest in old castles or lost muggle artifacts 
so jaemin gets a new approach
he picks up his wand, tapping it against the textbook
the images of the castles, the greek ruins, the broken fragments of magic history
start to dance off the page
tiny little versions of whatever is on the page
you watch in wonder, but jaemin can tell the little magical touch has you interest
he points to a minuscule version of a famous castle in england
“what do you know about it?”
“um the great wizard,,,merlin once lived there - right?”
jaemin grins, “correct! what year did he leave?”
you rack your brain, but then remember and answer
slowly, with the added help from all the moving images and magic aspect of the studying, jaemin gets you interested
enough to at least get the basics down for the exam
“how do you do it? what’s the spell to make images come to life like that?”
you ask one afternoon
“it’s quite simple, i learned it from the newspaper club. here-”
jaemin motions for you to lift your hand, holding your wand out
he gently wraps his own hand around your wrist to guide it over a picture in your open book
and you redden at the feeling of his warm fingers
“just move your wrist like this and whisper-”
he tells you the spell, the softness of his voice almost sends you into shock
but you concentrate, stuttering out his words
and slowly, the image of an old palace peels off the page and scrambles onto the table
jaemin lets your hand go, smiling and congratulating you on learning the spell
you can sense his eyes on yours, but you’re too shy to meet them
the day of the exam finally comes 
you’re still nervous, but before it starts
jaemin turns to look at you from his desk in the front
and gives a tiny thumbs up
it makes your heart do a flip - but also energizes you for the test
and when it’s over
the teacher takes a moment, using a checking spell to distribute out the grades
you close your eyes as the paper flutters down in front of you
and after a deep breath check the score
it’s a 68, barely passing - but passing
and when everyone piles out of the room
you rush up to jaemin, grinning
“i didn’t fail!”
he hides his perfect 100 grade behind his back, wanting you to be happy about your hard work for that 68 instead
and as he watches you, glowing smile and all 
he knew you were cute - spending those afternoons studying with you
but now you just look
extra adorable
“you should thank me for being a good tutor”
he suddenly says, tilting his head
you blink
“o-oh sure! let me buy you some chocolate frogs or i could get you a bottle of that expensive wand polisher-”
“a kiss on the cheek is ok too.”
you freeze, “a-a-a wh-what-”
jaemin leans over, tapping his cheek
and you shake a little, shy and embarrassed to do this in the hall in front of everyone
but still - you lean in and do it
when jaemin pulls back you want to ask why he asked for a kiss of all things,,,from you too,,,,
but from behind jaemin you see renjun
who gives you a wink and makes a heart behind jaemin
“jaemin,,,,,did renjun tell you by any chance-”
“that you wrote how cute i was in your diary? yeah he did.”
you flame up, ready to charge at renjun
but jaemin stops you
“you can turn him into a toad,,,,after we get lunch together”
find more harry potter x nct aus | find more jaemin | buy skye a kofi
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kimjoongs-main · 2 years ago
💌11:45 pm💌
to all the boys i’ve loved before inspired au {OUT NOW}
check story order here
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mark lee (click for extended preview)
“my first love, my best friend since kindergarten...and my sister’s boyfriend”
“things haven’t really been the same anymore, i feel like i’m walking on eggshells around him”
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na jaemin (click for extended preview)
“i met jaemin the summer of my freshman year when he accidentally ran over me with his skateboard”
“it was one of those slow-mo moments you see in the movies, except for the fact that he didn’t actually catch me”
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zhong chenle (click for extended preview)
“he transferred to our school from china during sophomore year, and i was given the opportunity to show him around”
“he has a really cute laugh, and i always found myself trying so hard to hear it every chance i could get”
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park jisung (click for extended preview)
“i kissed him underneath the bleachers once, it was after the football game”
“it was really cute, his cheeks were really red and he kept rubbing the back of his neck...i might have kissed him again just to hear him awkwardly giggle”
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lee jeno (click for extended preview)
“the cute waiter at the town’s local diner, i always liked him in his little striped uniform”
“he’d always give me an extra cherry on my milkshake, paired with a flirty wink and his signature smile”
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huang renjun (click for extended preview)
“ahh yes, mr. student body president, the one who everybody seems to have a...fervent dislike for”
“he’s actually really nice though, i caught him skipping class on the roof once and he shared his orange slices with me, we’ve become close over the year”
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lee donghyuck (click for extended preview)
“even if i didn’t mention his name, people would know exactly who he was”
“i...don’t have much to say about him, not at the moment at least, things are confusing, he’s confusing...or maybe i’m confusing?”
click here for bonus preview
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hwangdol · 2 years ago
l.hc: stay with me
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summary: the confusing subject of lee haechan 
pairing: highschool!stoner-boi!haechan x reader 
warning: a shit ton of cursing, still got a lot of crackheadness, and DRUGS. no i’m not kidding, if you aren’t okay with that shit don’t read ahead. also! still part of my semi-collab with @huangsren! read her fic here: art-hoe!renjun  BEWARE OF GRAMMATICAL MISTAKES!!!!! 
it’s your favorite local stoner-boi!haechan’s turn
like norenmin, haechan’s name gets tossed around on the daily at NCT Highschool, except not with the same positive connotation
haehcan’s reputation isn’t the best but it could be worse
no it can’t
it’s actually really bad
everyone knows haechan to either be taking a gigantic nap in class or vaping in the bathroom. he gets into detention weekly bc the boy skips school like every other day 
the only reason why haechan hasn’t been expelled was bc he was the principal’s son 
don’t bring that up or he’ll actually cuss you out no cap
although he’s well-known, he’s only got like two friends + college-freshmen!mark lee (hA what a loser)
and one of them was currently in some type of situation with fboi!jaemin that haechan can’t be bothered to deal with –> y/n from fboi!jaemin’s au who will be further known as ara in this story
the other one was you, he liked to keep that one a little more private
it was never explicitly stated that you would maintain your sorta friendship a secret  
although could you really call it friendship if you’re doing all of the things people in relationships actually do? 
like haechan would always call you up in the middle of the night  to get boba or frozen yogurt for no reason
or sometimes yall would be cuddling in your bedroom watching some stupid movie on netflix,,,haechan would probably be throwing popcorn at the laptop screen bc of something stupid the main protagonist would do 
the other times, he would text a simple “pick me up” 
and you knew that that meant that haechan was too high or drunk to operate
there would be nights where you would be chilling in your car as haechan vaped 
you hated it 
but you could never hate lee donghyuck who now went by lee haechan 
yall met around the middle of sophomore year 
damn so much shit goes down sophomore year at NCT high
aNYways, you were stressed out from studying so you decided to take a stroll in the park at like ten at night. 
was that a stupid idea? yes, but at least that’s when you met haechan dressed in a navy green hoodie and a puff of smoke leaving his lips
sophomore!you was like highkey shookth seeing the lee donghyuck smoking in a park
bc at this time, lee donghyuck wasn’t lee haechan 
he was one of the school’s golden boys 
yeah that’s right norenmin used to be norenminhyuck or the 00′s 
he was the star of the school’s choir and the biggest class clown that still managed to get good grades
so imagine your shock when you see him with a cigarette in his hand
you figured that it was best to leave donghyuck alone since you weren’t the nosy type of person
except you weren’t that discreet in leaving when your eyes met donghyuck’s bright red ones 
you stood there for a second, both of you locked in what seemed to be staring contest, before turning to leave since it wasn’t any of your business what donghyuck was getting up to
the next day of school, donghyuck was back to his bubbly, fun self which seemed to be a drastic contrast from the one you saw at the park 
when your eyes interlocked in the hallways, donghyuck raised a finger to his lips when he was sure no one else was looking 
and you understood 
somehow you found yourself in this strange no-talking sit-downs in the park relationship with donghyuck while he smoked on the bench next to you 
this went down for a couple of weeks where the two of you would just sit in heavy silence. the only noises were the cicadas chirping in the background
until one night when donghyuck dressed in the same navy hoodie wasn’t smoking but his eyes were still red
“why haven’t you told anyone yet?” 
you shrugged “because it’s not my secret to tell” 
“you were shocked when you first saw me that night.” haechan commented 
“yeah, i just never expected it from someone like you,” you admitted
you could hear the boy next to let out a dry chuckle, “you’re not the first person i disappointed” 
“it ruins your lungs btw” 
“i know, i want it to” 
“why do you do it?” 
“because it actually makes me feel alive” 
something changed that night bc the next day donghyuck into a physical fight with the student-athlete!jeno who everyone knew was a pacifist. 
that night haechan showed up with a black eye and you didn’t ask why
donghyuck still gave you an explanation even though it was complete bs
“because he was getting on my nerves” 
but it seemed like the whole group of the golden boys was getting on his nerves bc donghyuck stopped hanging around them for the rest of the year
you saw him sometimes sitting outside on the bleachers during lunch, sleeping or smoking, not afraid to be caught 
you never had the courage to approach him in person at school, bc it seemed like your relationship was strictly limited to the park 
but you couldn’t help to be worried about him with the drastic change in character he was undergoing 
one day, he showed up to school with bright red hair and did nothing in all of his classes but take a nap 
sometimes he didn’t even show up to school 
you heard from someone that he quit choir which was shame bc you always wanted to hear him sing 
and sophomore year bled into junior year and donghyuck was no longer known as donghyuck but as haechan 
it was weird, every time you would get the urge to take a midnight stroll in the park, haechan would be sitting there on his usual bench sometimes smoking sometimes not
you always sat down next to him even if you knew that you were just going to sit there in silence
“give me your phone number,” he said bluntly holding out his hand for your phone 
“i’m tired of waiting for you to come to the park” 
and you really confuse because does that mean that haechan wanted to be your friend??? 
as if he can read your mind, he rolls his eyes “yes, let’s be friends. you’re a lot better than those fakes in our goddamn school.” 
so that’s how your friendship began with the lee donghyuck, rebranded as haechan 
he doesn’t let anyone call him donghyuck but you,,, you still try your best not to call him that bc he doesn't like it 
gotta respect your friends’ wishes y’know
it wasn’t until haechan was over at like 2am in your room, both of you talking in small whispers bc you don’t want your parents to wake up and find you laying in bed with a BOI, that y'all reached the final level of closeness and haechan let slip one of the reason behind his reckless actions
“you know what sucks? even when i’m acting out like this, my parents still refuse to acknowledge me. it’s like they don’t care” 
and your like :((( 
“i’m pretty sure they care about you a lot,” you didn’t like the listlessly way he was talking 
“you don’t get it. when my dad saw my hair, all he told me to do was to dye it back. my mom didn’t even freak out when she saw me smoking a blunt with my friend in my room. they could care less” 
and haechan begins to spill
“even when i was achieving so much, they rarely ever bat an eye at me. do you know how hard it is to come to school and put on the facade of that i have no worries in the world? that i’m that cheery happy-go-lucky kid? even renjun is allowed to have moody days, but i’m expected to always be the mood maker. i fucking hate it.” 
you stayed silent listening to his rant 
“when jeno was complaining about how his parents invited his whole family to his stupid basketball game, i just got so angry because my parents haven’t been to one recital ever since i joined the choir. nor did they go to the science fair where i actually won first place with that stupid potato rocket i did with renjun.” 
haechan let’s out a bittersweet laugh 
“after that fight with jeno, no one asked if i was okay or why i even did it. none of them did. my dad didn’t even look at me in the eye when i went to his office, all he cared about was if the school’s basketball mvp was okay.” 
“god, i’m so numb to all of this shit. i don’t even know how to be happy anymore” 
that night you didn’t say anything to haechan bc you didn’t know what to say. but that night was the first and last night you ever saw haechan cry or that emotionally vulnerable bc the next day, he acted like it never happened 
by junior year, everyone already knew that the old donghyuck was gone and haechan was here to stay 
BUT your relationship with haechan wasn’t one-sided at all 
nooooo there were nights where you were the one crying and haechan was the one comforting you even though his advice was bs
you best bet that when haechan got his license, he dragged your ass to midnight drives to the cliff, but you would be the one to drive him home bc he probably vaped a little too much on the cliff 
despite breaking down that one night, haechan was very emotionally closed off. he didn’t smile as often as he used to in public unless it was with you
sometimes he would catch himself smiling when you said something really dumb or when he found your antics adorable, but he would never admit it and the smile would be quickly gone from his face.
your hangouts were so lowkey
one night, junior year, you were just chilling in your car with hyuck and he just leans over and kisses you. 
you could still smell the strawberry vape juice on him but you didn’t stop the kiss,,,cuz it felt nice
his lips felt like soft little cloud pillows 
and when haechan pulls away he has this little smirk on his face while you're flustered as fuck 
let’s be honest, that wouldn’t be the last time y'all locked lips 
cause it happened a lot 
especially in the car and sometimes in your room 
you can’t lie and say you don’t have any sort of feelings for haechan 
especially when you do see his real smile that he doesn’t let anyone see or when he made the effort to stop smoking cigarettes 
although you still highly disapprove of his drug usage
drugs are bad kids! 
haechan has his own reasons for continuing to use it so as much as you try to discourage him, you don’t stop him 
you’d like to say that you’re the only girl in his life, but your not
bc you were only hyuck’s friend at night,,,he has a day friend who was also a girl who he didn’t seem to care to be seen w at school 
a really pretty (AKA y/n from jaemin’s au) one who you also saw on multiple occasion haechan flashes his breathtaking smile too 
one of your friends had gossip that that girl was ara, who was dropped by her friend group bc she was dating haechan who had beef w jaemin who was dating ara’s ex-bestfriend? confusing, yeah i thought so too. 
you knew better than to listen to stupid highschool rumors but you couldn’t help but come to your own assumptions about the closeness of their friendship 
bECause haechan never mentioned ara in any of your conversations
at lunch, you can’t but let your eyes drift to the two of them in their own world laughing away 
you only met her once when mark was dropping haechan off at your house bc he much rather be at yours then his 
you were a little bit hurt since she got to know mark before you did 
you knew that mark was one of haechan’s closest friend and someone he really respected even though he liked to bag on him 24/7
as much as you tried not to, you found yourself repeatedly comparing yourself to her 
the subject of ara was left alone, forever stored in your insecurities
you didn’t want to confront haechan about it bc you didn’t want to admit it but you caught the big bad feels for the boy
so your feelings were left untouched until senior year
when the two of you were making out in your room and haechan suddenly pulls away with wide eyes 
and he lets out an “oh fuck” 
now, you were worried 
did you somehow do something wrong? 
“ara is going to fucking kill me,” haechan muttered grabbing his phone, calling someone up 
“hey gramps, can you pick ara up? i kinda left her at school,” haechan said through the phone to someone you presume to be mark
“okay, fine i’ll bring you weed brownies and hurry up before she gives me shit tomorrow. you know how high-maintenance she gets” and he hangs up the phone, throwing it aside 
“sorry about that,” haechan says going to resume what the two of you started but you stop him
cause it hurts too much and you don’t know what the hell you are to haechan
“i can’t do this anymore, hyuck” you say in a small voice, not daring to look him in the eyes bc u know damn well that he’ll see the tears in your eyes
“what do you mean?” you could hear the worry in the voice
“this,” you gesture between the two of you “i can’t anymore” 
and haechan knows what you’re talking about 
he’s been dreading the moment,,,he could sense the end 
which is the last thing he wants
“what’s wrong?” 
you bite your lip not wanting to start breaking down in front of the boy you grew to love so much 
your heart was hurting so bad,,,but you couldn’t continue on pining over a boy that would never love you the same way 
“what am i to you, hyuck?” 
one of the things that haechan hated the most was seeing you sad 
he hated how you saying his nickname in that teary voice made his heart drop 
“you’re my friend, y/n. actually, you're my bestfriend” 
you look him in the eyes this time, but haechan wished you didn’t 
“i’d never be more than that, right?” you smiled sadly at the boy
for once in his life, haechan is rendered completely speechless 
“i think you should leave” 
he knew that he should have put up a fight 
yet he couldn’t bring himself to 
there was this pang of hurt in his chest that he couldn’t quite explain 
so he left 
he wished he didn’t 
the minute he walked out the door he felt all of the happiness leave his body,, he knew that when he walked out the door, he would never be walking back 
when he got home in his room that night, he didn’t have it in him to pick up his usual blunt or his vape pen 
instead, he flopped onto his bed staring up at his ceiling 
there was wetness on his cheeks,,,his vision was blurry,,,and his heart hurt 
he almost contemplated skipping school the next day, but he didn’t want to spend his day wallowing in his despair that he didn’t even know why he felt 
his eyes were red as fuck so he tried to play if off as if he were high because who would question it?
so that’s why he went to school with a pair of sunglasses to hide his puffy, red eyes 
he was expecting everyone to leave him alone cuz he looked like he was faded but his shithead friend ara marched over to him and pulled him away leaving behind a very confused looking jaemin
that’s probably a story i’ll hear later. he thought.
“you fucking moron,” ara exclaimed at him punching him in the arm “this is like the eighteenth time you have gone to school fucking high! get a grip man!” 
“don’t lecture me as if you weren’t talking to the parasite,” haechan huffed, rubbing his arm from the pain
damn she packed a punch 
ara squinted and haechan realized he fucked up with his fake high act 
so the girl reached out and grabbed his sunglasses much to his protest and saw his puffy eyes
“hOLY sHIt, dude were you crying?” 
haechan snatched back his sunglasses and quickly put them back on, “fuck you” 
“sorry man, what happened?” 
“i don’t even know” 
“you want a pity hug?” 
“why the fuck not” 
the thing was haechan wasn’t touchy with other girls except for you, so the hug w ara was like a bro hug 
all that awkward patting and shit
stupid haechan failed to notice that you were standing at the end of the hallway, witnessing the whole scene 
now it was clear to you that you didn’t mean shit to haechan 
you were just a girl that could make him feel less lonely in secret, nothing more 
he had no trouble displaying his relationship w ara in public 
why did he make it seem like he wanted to keep you a secret? 
you were tired of it
spinning on your heel, heart-shattering into pieces, you walked away from lee haechan for the very last time 
basically now, it was simp hours 24/7 for the both of you
even college-freshmen! mark knew something was off with his highschool weed buddy 
“dude, what’s goin on with you lately?” 
the two of them were on their regular get-high cliff except mark was the only one doing the deed, haechan was just spaced out 
“i dunno” haechan shrugged 
mark made a face that was like “if you don’t tell me i’m beating the shit out of you” 
“okay fine, y/n doesn’t want me in her life anymore,” haechan spilled the beans on the whole situation between the two of you and mark is like “and i thought i was the fucking idiot” 
haechan is like wdym bruh? 
“are you dumb, bro? like are you out of touch with your feelings or sum shit?” 
“goddamn i have to do everything in this household, listen to me you little bitch boy, grow a pair and admit that you have feelings for her!” 
haechan’s face is like O.o 
“are you high right now, mark?” 
instant smack on the back of his head 
“no you dumb shit; just say that you like her and that ara is just a friend!” 
“what does this have to do ara?” 
mark is like BOI IF YOU DON’t
“obviously, you failed to mention that you managed to befriend a person who just happens to be a really pretty girl-” 
“dude, ara is fucking ugly. i’d date you before i’d ever date her” 
“stfu and listen bitch boy. anyways, y/n is probably highkey confused bc she probably thinks you’re interested in ara since you’ve been spending a shit ton of time w ara in the day time but you only come to y/n at night.” 
“i do that because i don’t want people to associate her with the things i do just because i’m friends with her. she’s doesn’t deserve to be roped into the same category as me” 
aNOTHer smack in the head 
“go clean up the mess you made and admit your feelings you fucking shithead.” 
“i dunno, ask her to prom or some shit” 
“i don’t want to go to prom” 
so haechan gets dropped back at his house and he does some thinking about his so-called “feelings”
which is a fat surprise bc haechan is the living embodiment of impulsiveness,, he had only one brain cell to do his thinking
did he like you? idk man
he liked the way you smiled every time you told him something good about your day while the two of you cuddled. or when you would watch a funny clip on your phone and share it with him
he liked the way your hair smelled liked vanilla and was always so soft every time he ran his fingers through you hair
he liked the way you never turned him away even when he knew that you hated the way he was living his life. 
all of his other friends didn’t even make the effort to reach out to him when he was so obviously out of it. he felt unimportant with them
you were different
you made him feel happy, loved, and cared for
he no longer craved the attention of his parents or anyone in fact because he has you
or well he HAD you 
right now, all of the phone calls, text messages, and even snaps went straight to delivered, voicemail, or unopened
every time you’d see him in the halls, you would go the other direction
all of the times haechan tried to reach out to you, all of his attempts were deflected 
now how the fuck does one confessed when they’re being ignored???
“that sounds like a personal problem,” ara stated, stabbing her food angrily after haechan told her his predicament during lunch
na jaemin had just gone by their table and did someone bullshit that haechan could care less about, he stopped associating himself w him a long time ago
“no shit sherlock, help me bitch.” 
ara glared at him “you got yourself into this mess so fix it yourself” 
“i hope you fucking choke on an ice cube” 
“i’ll slit your throat in your sleep, lee haechan” 
wow everyone really out here expecting haechan to solve his own problems. how selfish of them.
which is probably why his plan of execution was shitty as fuccck
you, on the other side of the equation, was currently in the depths of your despair as all of your friends had managed to score dates to senior prom which was this weekend
you’re highly disappointed bc if it wasn’t for you being so preoccupied with the thought of haechan you’d probably have a date by now 
hell you even lied to haechan saying how you didn’t want to go to prom bc it was too extravagant for your taste when in actuality, you wanted to get dressed up, take pretty pictures, and dance awkwardly to a slow song 
the typical highschool prom experience
one thing that you didn’t want to admit was that the only boy you could picture as your date was donghyuck, the same boy that you wanted to get out of your thoughts and heart
the night of prom, you were stuck in your bed in a pair of sweats and some random oversized t-shirt scrolling through social media
to say you weren’t jealous of all the fun senior prom seemed to be was a giANT lie you could’ve just went alone!!!
honestly, even your parents were out having fun on a date night while you were being depresso espresso at home
you flopped in bed with a giant huff bc who was haechan to stop you from experiencing your highschool years! who was he to make you feel so bad that you couldn’t even go to prom! 
your phoned buzzed in your hand causing you to look down and nearly scowled at the message that was sent to you
hyuck: open up 
you ignored it, turning your attention back to that stupid rom-com you were watching on your laptop 
your phone continued to ding w messages you were sure were from haechan but you don’t want to open bc you knew that you would probably be launched into another wave of sadness and maybe even break-down cry in front of him so you turned your ringer off 
but out of nowhere, you hear this loud thud against your window 
wtf was that? alert mode on
then you hear a loud shout 
you already knew who it was, so you contemplated on whether or not you wanted to actually confront him or run away from all of your problems (*coughs* ara *coughs* haechan)
 you didn’t get much time to think bc another thing was launched at your window
haechan’s shoe
walking over you opened ur window to see below haechan on your lawn with a giant cheeky smile on his face you knew for a fact it was genuine
he only smiled like that when the two of you were bent over laughing at something stupid he or you did
aww shit here comes the sad bugs again 
“what do you want?” you say loud enough for him to hear “go to prom with me!” haechan shouts up making you and your heart flustered af 
“prom already started, you idiot” 
“then let’s dance in your room” 
as much as you knew you should have turned him away, you couldn’t
you were so in love with haechan 
the minute you open the door you were engulfed into his chest
you froze up not knowing how to react 
“don’t let me go please,” haechan says barely louder than a whisper
goDAmmit haechan’s making me tear the fuck up
“you’re the only one in my life that hasn’t left me. the only one that was willing to understand me. i know that i’m not the best guy out there, i know that i’m nothing great, but when you look at me with that stupid smile of yours i feel so god damn on top of the world.”  
he hugs you tighter “please, please, y/n don’t leave me. i need you in my life.” 
something wet drops on your shoulder but you don’t dare to look up at haechan’s teary eyes 
closing your eyes you fall into his chest, his familiar scent triggering tears of your own 
“i love you” he pulls away from you to look at your face for a response, your eyes meeting his shaking brown orbs 
you have to raise your head slightly up to look at him while he was looking down at you
his hair was a mess of a light pastel rainbow (we go up broski) 
that’s when you notice how red his eyes were but there was no stench of weed or alcohol on him 
lee haechan was completely sober 
“i’ve always been yours, lee donghyuck”  
lee haechan wasn’t like other guys. he was lee donghyuck. he was complex and it would take you years to completely unravel him. even when you knew him for so long, you still had no idea was going through his mind. there were times where you found yourself stumped on the subject of haechan, but it was okay 
because you were willing to take the time to understand. 
1K notes · View notes
jaeminhours · 2 years ago
SUMMARY | You know the exact hour, minute, and second every person you meet is going to die, including yourself, and that’s the way it’s always been. In which you meet a boy who changes everything, but your time is running out.
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PAIRING | Huang Renjun x Reader
CATEGORY | about time au, angst
WARNINGS | mentions of death
SONG REC | Death with Dignity - Sufjan Stevens
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It never really occurs to people how fleeting life really is. How someone could be alive, breathing, talking one minute and stone-cold, lifeless, dead the next. It felt surreal, to know that the person you were talking to or laughing with could be dead within the next day, year, decade. You never had to really had to wonder about that, though, because you already knew when they’d be dead.
Before you’d even learned your friends’ names, you knew the exact date, time, and second of when their life would end. You could see it, the small numbers flashing on the skin of their cheekbone, or their arm, or even their collarbone. The timers, and the countdown, were different for everyone. And then from then on the date was imprinted into your brain, the seconds counting down. It was bizarre, at first, seeing the time of their death flashing vividly in your mind, how you just knew that the person directly in front of you would die in thirteen years, twenty-two minutes, and seven seconds.
But it always hurt the most when those dates accompanied the name of some you were close to. You were painfully familiar with the sick squeeze in your chest, the feeling of sorrow at the sight of the numbers counting down the date of their death flashing, even if it wasn’t the first time. The shock never faded with time, and each time you met someone new you felt another hole burn itself into your heart.
Each day was another bullet into your soul, another pang of despair deep into your chest at every meeting. You couldn’t do anything to stop it, either, you’d found out.
April 27th, 9:25 PM, 2011. It was a Saturday. Your mother still had work, the night shift at the hospital, but you’d begged her to stay.
“Mom, please don’t go!”
She’d laughed, and ruffled your hair. “I have to go, sweetheart. Go to bed soon, okay?”
You’d gone to bed, but you didn’t fall asleep. You waited for her to come back, hoping desperately the date imprinted in your mind was wrong, that the zeros you’d seen flashing on the delicate skin of her neck had just been an illusion. It wasn’t, it never was. The call came at 10:17 PM, and you could hear your father’s sobs from the living room as the phone clattered to the floor.
October 4th, 6:20 PM, 2014. Your older brother had just bought a motorcycle, and he wanted to drive it to town. Again, you’d begged him not to, pulling on his sleeve, telling him to do it any other day, just not today. Your brother had been confused, but he had a soft spot for you, and he obliged. Instead, his friend came by to pick him up, and they went out to go bowling. Bowling was safe, you’d thought, and you were sure that the motorcycle was what would’ve caused your brother’s death, that he was safe now that it was out of the picture.
The phone rang at 8:02 PM, and this time it was you who picked up the phone, the news of a car crash involving your brother and his friend barely reaching your ears.
Those deaths had happened years ago, and in the years after the things you knew about the people close to you still haunted you. Now, however, the life you had to worry the most about was your own.
You had eighty-two days left to live, and time was running out. You didn’t like to think about it. Why worry about the little time you had left, you figured, when everyday you met someone who barely had any time left at all? Sometimes it was hard, though, because it was different for you. The numbers were always there for you, in small, holographic, bright letters flashing on the skin or your inner forearm, always counting, never seen by anyone besides yourself.
It was September 22nd, 5:18 PM, 2018, and it was a beautiful evening. You were walking to the diner just down the street from your university, the smell of autumn crisp in the air. The sky was gray, but the white light of the sun filtered through the clouds, reflecting off of the dew-covered grass. The smell of fresh rain filled the air, and the world was decorated with shades of golds and browns and oranges. The door of the diner already had Halloween decorations plastered onto the glass.
The first thing you noticed about the boy who spilled coffee on your shirt as soon as you walked inside is that he would die in fifty-seven years, twenty-two days, six hours, and twelve minutes. But before the information could even register in your mind, the boy was apologizing profusely, his gaze horrified as he fussed over your shirt.
The boy’s arms on your shoulders shook you back to reality, and as soon as he met your eyes he took them back off, and as soon as he was no longer touching you, you willed the numbers on the outside of his forearm, just under the elbow, to disappear. They did. It was something that had taken a lot of practice, but now you no longer had to have the threat of someone’s lifespan literally hanging over your head every time you had a conversation.
“I’m so sorry,” the boy was saying, grimacing. “I’m so sorry, whatever you want, it’s on the house, I’m so sorry please don’t tell Taeyong, he already hates me.” The boy was wearing an apron and jeans cuffed at the end, and a pin with the name Renjun inscribed on the metal was pinned to the front of his plain, uniform dark green shirt. His hair was dark, as were his eyes, and there were paint splatters on the fabric of his jeans.
“It’s fine,” you said, waving him off. “I needed to throw out this shirt anyway.”
Renjun still looked apologetic. “Still, let me make you something. If Taeyong finds out I ruined a customer’s shirt he’ll murder me, and I’m really trying to just make it through college alive.”
You winced. Unfortunately, for you, surviving long enough to graduate from university wasn’t something that would likely happen in your lifetime.
But, as you always did, you shook the feeling off, and smiled at him. “That’d be great, thanks.” He smiled back, shy with red ears, and hurried to the counter. You took a seat by the window, and took interest in the various people sitting around the cafe. The man with graying hair sitting by the plant in the corner would die in four years, sixty days, and six seconds. The little boy sitting at the booth would die in sixty-eight years, and his mother sitting next to him would die in thirty. The couple sitting on the stools by the adjacent window would die in forty-eight days, two hours, thirty minutes, and thirty-seven seconds. You shivered, and turned away. It had become a sort of morbid habit, looking around at the people around you, with no idea whether they’d die in days, years, or decades. Sometimes you needed the sorrow, even just to remind you that you were still alive, that you were still living and that you needed to act like it and you needed to appreciate it.
To your surprise, the boy, Renjun, slid into the seat across from you, pushing the coffee, along with a napkin with black ink staining the fabric, across the table towards you. You startled at the sight of the numbers on the napkin, panic flashing through your mind before you realized it was his phone number. You looked up at him, confused.
He smiled bashfully. “I’m sorry about your shirt. I thought that maybe, if you want to, we could meet up and I could make up for it? I’m Renjun, by the way. Huang Renjun.”
You smiled. “Sure, anytime,” you said, and Renjun blushed. “I’m Y/N.”
Renjun cleared his throat, sitting up straighter. “So, what are you doing here today?”
“I’m waiting for some friends. They were supposed to meet here, but they’re late, as usual.”
Renjun smiled again. “I’ll keep you company until they arrive, if you want.”
You raised your eyebrows. “Aren’t you supposed to be working?”
“Taeyong won’t mind,” he said, shrugging. “I’m like a son to him.”
You laughed, and Renjun chuckled at you, his eyes crinkling at the corners. You and Renjun talked for half an hour, and you found yourself growing interested in the boy. He attended the same university as you, although his major was different. Renjun liked to paint, too, which explained the splashes of reds and yellows and blues on the washed out fabric of his jeans. He had three little sisters, whom he spoke of fondly, a soft twinkle in his dark eyes. It was all going fine, great even, until you reached across to grab his wrist, preventing him from knocking over his coffee, the sleeve of your shirt riding up. You caught sight of the numbers on your wrist, and your heart nearly stopped.
Eighty-seven days, ten hours, two minutes, five seconds.
It had been thirty minutes since Renjun had spilled coffee on your shirt, yet only fifteen of your life had been spent. And as your fingers stayed on Renjun’s wrist, the numbers didn’t change.
Five seconds.
Five seconds.
Five seconds.
You let go, Renjun staring at you with wide eyes.
And then, slowly, back to five seconds, four seconds. Three, three, three. Two.
“Y/N, are you okay? Y/N?”
Your timer had never stopped before, and your heart was hammering in your chest. You glanced up at Renjun, leaning close to look at the numbers on his arm, and you felt your heart jump into your throat. They were still counting down, just the same as everyone else’s.    
The feeling of Renjun’s gaze on you snapped you out of your daze, and you whipped your head up to meet his eyes, your cheeks burning furiously.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened, gosh, I–” you stammered. Your heart wouldn’t stop racing, and your mind was jumbled with everything you had just seen.
Renjun chuckled, smiling kindly. “It’s fine, I get that weird feeling too, sometimes. This year feels weird, don’t you think? Like something’s ending.”
You nodded your head, gulping. You’d felt that way too. The sound of the door bells jingling snapped your attention the entrance.
“Ah,” you said, your voice hoarse. “My friends are here.”
Renjun swivelled in his seat to look at them, and then turned back to you, smiling as he got up out of his seat. “Cool. I’ll see you later then. Give me a call!” And then he left, throwing another soft smile over his shoulder before disappearing in the staff room. You were stunned, to say the least. Huang Renjun, the cute painter boy who liked Moomin and doodling little drawings on his skin still wanted to talk to you after you’d freaked out on him. You shook your head as your friends approached your booth. Mark slid in across from you, while Donghyuck slid in next to you, slinging an arm around your shoulder and planting a wet kiss on your cheek. You slapped him off, scrunching up your nose in disgust.
“Gross, Hyuck. Get off.”
Donghyuck groaned, and Mark chuckled, gazing at Donghyuck fondly before he turned his attention to you.
“How’s your day been going, Y/N?”
Mark Lee. Mark Lee was lucky. Mark Lee had sixty-eight years, two hundred days, and six minutes until his death.
“It was good, before Donghyuck got here.”
Donghyuck whined. “That’s mean, Y/N. You know you love me,” he pouted, and you noticed Mark grin affectionately at him.
   You smiled softly, turning to look Donghyuck in the eyes. Your gaze flitted down to the numbers on his collarbone, and you felt your stomach twinge.
Forty-two days, eighteen hours, fifty five minutes, and twenty-one seconds. Twenty, nineteen, eighteen. Donghyuck wasn’t lucky. Donghyuck was running out of time, even faster than you were.
“Of course I love you, Donghyuck. You know that.”
Donghyuck grimaced. “Okay, now it’s just weird. You’ve been so soft lately, you know. It’s freaking me out.”
You ruffled his hair, grinning. “I just want you guys to know I love you.”
Donghyuck shook his head, pretending to cringe, but he couldn’t hold it in, and he laughed. Donghyuck looked so bright, so, so bright, so unaware. He didn’t care that his life was going to end in the span of under two months, because he didn’t know. Mark didn’t care that his best friend, the boy he’d spent his childhood with, was going to die in only forty-two days. Because he didn’t know. You did, though, and everyday you wished you didn’t. But in the end, there wasn’t anything you could do, except watch the numbers of the count down.
“Who was that boy sitting with you?” Donghyuck asked, a cheeky smile plastered on his face.
You blushed. “Renjun. He spilled coffee on my shirt.”
Donghyuck rolled his eyes. “And that’s all he had to do to make our Y/N fall in love, right Mark? He’s cute. Got his number?”
You glared at him. “Shut up, Donghyuck. I just met him, I’m not in love with him.”
Mark laughed. “Says the same girl that followed Kang Daniel around for a week in elementary school after he asked you for a pencil.”
“I didn’t follow him around!”
Donghyuck joined Mark in his laughter, leaning forward and grabbing at his sides as they laughed at your expense. You pouted, but eventually their laughter pulled at your lips, and soon you were laughing along with them.
The sun peeked out from behind the clouds, and eventually the white light turned golden as the sun began its descent. The light from the sun shone on Mark and Donghyuck’s faces, making their skin glow like amber. Donghyuck’s face was somehow even brighter than the sun, his smile lighting up the whole room, the chuckles escaping from his open mouth as he gripped his stomach bouncing around the diner. You wanted to be happy, you really did. But the days kept getting shorter, weeks passed by faster. Donghyuck was getting farther and farther away, and one day you knew you wouldn’t be able to reach him.
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As of October 14th, 2018, you had seventy days left to live, which meant that you had taken up twelve days of your life, but it had been twenty-two since you met Huang Renjun. As soon as you’d left the diner, as soon as you were apart from Renjun, the numbers had sped up to their usual pace again. You’d texted Renjun as soon as you’d gotten home.
   [7:20 PM] I think we should meet up soon. This is Y/N, btw.
   [7:21 PM] Yeah! Let me know ^_^
And then it had begun. As the end drew nearer, you felt something else begin. You and Renjun had hung out a few times in the past couple weeks, and gotten to know each other better. You had texted Renjun that morning, asking him to meet you at the park that you often visited with Mark and Donghyuck. It was getting late, the autumn sky turning from grays and oranges to a dark mix of grays and purples instead, as it transitioned from the brightness of the daytime to the dark atmosphere of the evening.
Renjun arrived just after you did, nestled in a forest green hoodie and his usual paint-stained cuffed jeans and sneakers. He joined you on the swings, his feet brushing the bark beneath him.
“So,” he said, his voice soft, as always, “what’s up?”
You shook your head, smiling. “Nothing much,” you said, and then you pointed to the sky. “I thought you might want to see this.”
He looked up, and a soft smile graced his lips. “It’s pretty.” he said, nodding.
As he watched the sky, you watched him, your heart in your throat. Renjun really made the world seem like a painting, you thought.  
You cleared your throat. “Sorry. I don’t really know why I asked you here. I just wanted to… sit I guess.”
Renjun nodded. “That’s fine,” he said. His voice was soft, gentle. “It’s okay to not something to say all the time.”
But you did have something to say. For some reason, you wanted to tell Renjun everything. You wanted to tell him more than anything in the world, but you also knew you couldn’t. You remembered telling your father, Dad, I know when you’re going to die, and you remembered him laughing.
“Is that so, pumpkin?”
“I knew when Mom was going to die, too.”
And then he’d stopped laughing, and he’d turned to you with a blank look in his eyes, and he’d told you very clearly that your mother’s death wasn’t a joke, and you shouldn’t treat it as such, and you’d cried in your room for the rest of the day until your brother had come in and sat at the edge of your bed, running a hand over your hair and speaking in a soothing voice. Renjun wouldn’t believe you, because the whole idea of it was absurd.
So instead you watched the sky with Huang Renjun, watched the streaks of color disappear as the darkness swallowed them, and the words you uttered that night never consisted of the sentence I know when you’re going to die, and I know when your sisters are going to die, and I probably even know when your goddamn goldfish is going to die. And it was fine. The words pushed at your throat, but then again, in the end you didn’t actually know Renjun that well, not yet, and it needed time, and that was the thing you had least of in this world.
But the thing that interested you most about Renjun is that he didn’t seem to want you to have time. “Donghyuck told me your mom is dead. And your brother,” he said, and winced, as you stared at him incredulously. “I just mean, if you ever want to talk about it, or anything, I’m here. I always will be.”
You relaxed, smiling at him. “Okay. Thanks, Renjun.”
But Renjun wasn’t done. “I also wanted to say I really like you, Y/N. Ever since you walked into the diner a couple weeks ago and I spilled coffee all over your shirt. It’s too soon, I know. But I can wait.”
You smiled, but you didn’t look at him. “I like you, too, Renjun. It is too soon. But someday, maybe.”
And then at the same time everything began, it also ended.
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It was sunny on the first of November, a reprieve from the weather the fast approaching winter had brought with it. The air was still chilly, but it didn’t matter, because you were sitting on the floor of Donghyuck and Mark’s shared dorm, watching Looney Tunes reruns and poking each other in the sides. Donghyuck was so golden, he warmed up the entire room. Donghyuck laughed louder than ever that day, and Mark looked fonder than ever that day, and you felt sadder and happier than ever at the same time that day, because you knew you were saying goodbye.
Before you slipped out that night, you gave Mark a hug, and Donghyuck a tender kiss on his forehead, and then his cheek. And then you’d left, because you’d known that if you’d stayed another minute you might have never been able to leave.
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It rained on November 3rd. Forty-two days after September 22nd. 6:02 PM. The roads were slick with rain, and the wind pulled the dying, frost-covered leaves from the bare branches of the trees by the sidewalk. You and Mark were waiting at the bus stop, waiting for Donghyuck to arrive and cross the street to meet you. You knew better, though. If you had to guess, Donghyuck would never make it across that street, you would never get to feel his warm skin against your amidst the cold, and you couldn’t do anything to stop it. So you waited, Mark bouncing on his feet beside you, and you prayed.
When Donghyuck appeared at the other side of the road, you didn’t need to see the numbers on the boy’s collarbone to know that this was the end. But when the car came hurtling own the road, running the red light, you still felt shock course through your entire body, setting your nerves on fire.
It was raining. Donghyuck’s hair was wet when the ambulance came. It was still wet when you and Mark sat in the ambulance with him, Mark sobbing over his unmoving body. It was still wet when the numbers flashed zeroes, when the medics suddenly stopped working, and told you it was over. They didn’t know that you could already tell, that you had already known.
You didn’t cry. You didn’t deserve to, since you’d had plenty of time to accept it. Instead, you held Mark as he sobbed into your arms, and you just stared ahead. You answered all of the hospital’s questions about Donghyuck and his family, as Mark held onto his limp, cold hand.
It was raining, and the world was cold. The sun was gone, and everything was gray and everything was numb.
That night you sat in the comfort of your single dorm, sitting silently on the edge of your small bed. You couldn’t feel anything. It was so cold.
A knock on your door forced you to your feet, and when you opened the door you saw Renjun. His hair was wet, his eyes were sad and concerned, and red. He didn’t say anything; he just stepped forward, closing the door behind him and gathering you in his arms. Your knees gave out, and he let you collapse onto the bed. You were still sitting up, your chin hooked over his shoulder, your chest heaving, but no tears.
“You can cry, Y/N,” Renjun’s voice was soft, breaking just slightly at the end. “It’s okay, you can cry.”
And then you couldn’t help it. The sob clawed its way up your throat until it ripped from your lips, hoarse and ugly and raw. Renjun rubbed circles onto your back, the warmth of his fingers seeping through the thin material of your soaked shirt.
“I’m so sorry.”
“It wasn’t your fault, Y/N.”
If only he knew.
You burrowed your face deeper into Renjun’s soft sweatshirt, struggling for air as you let the tears stream down your face. The pain you’d felt in your chest every time you’d seen the numbers flashing on Donghyuck’s collarbone was still there. You’d thought it would go away once it was all over. The pain was hollow and deep, striking the center of your heart and reaching throughout your entire body, throbbing, throbbing, throbbing. It didn’t burn, like you thought it would, quick and painful and then gone. The pain was cold, and it was numb.
And then suddenly something else was crawling up your throat, begging for release, and suddenly you didn’t have the strength to keep it at bay any longer.
“I knew he was going to die,” you choked out, and you gripped Renjun’s shirt tighter.
Renjun kept circling your back with his fingers, and you felt like throwing up. “Shhh,” he whispered, his voice barely audible. “How could you have known? It’s not your fault.”
And then you were pushing him away from you, scooting back on the bed. “No,” you said, blinking and choking back more tears. “I knew when he was going to die. I have known. I know when Mark’s going to die, too. I know when I’m going to die and I knew when my mom and my brother were going to die. I know when you’re going to die.”
Renjun was staring at you. “Y/N, you’re tired–”
You cut him off. “November 3rd, 2018. 6:05 PM. That’s the exact time Donghyuck died, and I’ve known he was going to die on November 3rd, 2018, 6:05 PM since the third grade when I met him on the playground.”
Renjun didn’t say anything, just stared at you incredulously, so you continued.    “I know you won’t believe me. My dad didn’t either. I can’t explain it to you, but I know how much time every single person on this planet has left.”
Renjun was silent. And then, softly, “I believe you.”
You looked up at him your eyes wide. “What?”
Renjun met your eyes. “I don’t think you’re joking. You wouldn’t do that. I believe you.”
Your mouth opened. Your eyebrows were furrowed, just slightly, your eyes wide.
Renjun’s eyes were dark, and they were warm. “Let’s go to bed, and we can talk about it more in the morning.”
It was an unspoken agreement that Renjun would be sleeping over. You didn’t think you could survive the night alone, but you also didn’t think you could survive the night with the warmth of Renjun’s body pressed against your back, his feet tangled with yours. His breath brushed your ear, and you shuddered.
Just as you were about to let yourself succumb to your drooping eyelids, you heard Renjun whisper, softly, into your ear.
“Y/N, how much time do you have left?”
Your heart clenched. “Tomorrow, Renjun. I’ll tell you tomorrow.”
And you fell asleep to the sight of Renjun’s arm on your body, his timer going down, down, down, and yours going nowhere.
The night before, you’d had forty days left to live, and when you woke the next morning, the number was still forty. Being near Renjun made the seconds slow, you’d found out, and touching him stopped them altogether. But it didn’t mean anything, because you couldn’t be by Renjun’s side all the time, and you knew that eventually, whether it was weeks or months or years from now, the clock would stop counting altogether, and it would be over.
You didn’t tell Renjun that, though. You’d talked about everything that morning, and you’d told him that he had a long time left to live and that you had long enough and that everything was fine even though everything wasn’t. It would have to be fine, because sometimes you can’t do anything about things you’re afraid of, except just let them happen and know that it’ll finally be all over.
That’s okay, it’s okay, it’ll be okay.
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Donghyuck’s funeral was quiet and it was cold and the numb feeling still hadn’t gone away. It was black and it was sad and it was so, so wrong because it wasn’t Donghyuck, because Donghyuck wasn’t cold, he was warm, and Donghyuck wasn’t quiet or numb, he was loud and jubilant and he was emotion.
And you were supposed to be ready for this, and you were supposed to be strong, but you weren’t, because no matter how many years you’d been preparing for it, it had finally happened and it was real and your best friend was gone.
That’s okay, it’s okay, it’ll be okay. Except it’s not okay, it won’t be okay, it will never be okay.
Renjun wasn’t there, so as you stared at the wet grass, all you could see was the ticking of the timer on your arm.
Ten, nine, eight.
Mark gripped your hand, his tears falling silently to the ground, splashing against the blades of grass.
Seven, six, five.
The words of Donghyuck’s mother didn’t reach your ears. His little sister’s cries did.
Four, three, two.
You weren’t ready. This hurt.
One, zero, repeat.
The funeral ended as the sun reached its highest point in the sky, but it didn’t matter anyway, because it was shrouded by the stormy clouds hovering above. You and Mark went back to his and Donghyuck’s dorm. His dorm. Mark collapsed on his bed, opposite of Donghyuck’s, his head buried in his hands.
“I’m so sorry, Mark,” you said, your voice broken.
Mark shook his head, still in his hands as he rubbed his eyes. “Why are you apologizing? It wasn’t your fault.”
“I know you cared about him.”
“You did, too.”
And then suddenly it was you crying, again. Because Mark looked so broken, and it wasn’t the end, not for him. It was for you. Mark would be alone, after you were gone, and he’d have to live with it for the rest of his sixty-eight years of life.
“Don’t cry. Please,” Mark said, and he pulled you down next to you, gathering you into a tight hug.
“I love you, Mark. You know that, right? I need you to know that,” you sniffled.
“Of course I know that. I love you too,” Mark’s voice was soft, barely above a whisper, but broken and hoarse.
“It’s okay, Y/N, it’s okay. Just breathe.”
You hoped it would be. You wanted it to be okay.
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And it was okay, because Renjun made it okay, and eventually, the wet, cold, gray atmosphere Donghyuck had left you with turned white. It was winter.
More importantly, it was the thirteenth of December, and to any other person that might not need much, but to you, it meant everything. Today marked the day you were supposed to be dead, but you weren’t, and your clock was still counting. Twenty days, twenty days left and yet you knew that as long as Renjun was by your side you’d still be here when that twentieth day rolled around. Renjun made you feel, for once, like you didn’t have a time limit, like you weren’t one day closer to the end. It was like a breath of fresh air, and you could finally breathe, the fresh air stinging your lungs with every inhalation.
Renjun brought you to the skate park that evening, pulling you behind a tall wall, a bucket of paints and spray cans clutched in his fist.
“Where are you going with this?” you asked him, and he responded with a smile, before grabbing one of the spray cans and shaking it. And then he made art, painting the concrete wall with a cacophony of reds and yellows and blues and purples, swirls of colors contrasting against the cold gray of the wall and creating something warm and beautiful and alive. Your breath turned into fog as it mixed with the cold air, but all you felt was warmth when Renjun pushed you up against the wall and kissed you. Despite the frost nipping at your fingertips, all you could think about was the hotness of Renjun’s lips on yours, and his hands resting on your hips.
Renjun made you feel so alive and so warm, and it was a feeling you’d never had the joy of experiencing before, and it was beautiful.
And later that night, after you’d tucked yourself into bed next to Renjun, his fingers tangling with your own, you’d give him the same answer to the same question he’d been asking for so long now.
“Y/N, how much time do you have left?”
“Enough. I’ll tell you tomorrow, Renjun.”
There were so many tomorrows.
Renjun was the light you had always craved in your life, bright and welcoming and so alive. He painted the skies of your world with a hurricane of color, splashing the walls of your cage until you no longer saw titanium bars, but a purple-streaked horizon, and snow-capped mountains.
You thought about this as you lay in bed with Renjun, the spring rain roaring outside your window. You traced your hand up his bare arm, travelling past his white t-shirt to his lips, circling them with your thumb. Renjun smiled and caught your hand, pressing a light kiss to your fingers. You smiled, and brought your hand back down to cradle it to your chest.
Renjun hummed in contentment. “What’re you thinking about?”
You went back to tracing his frame with one finger, your hands flitting over his chest. “You,” you said, grinning.
You heard Renjun snort. “Please try to be more creative than that.”
“I can’t help it. You make my brain feel like jelly.”
“That’s too creative. Stop it.”
You pouted, and Renjun gave in, allowing a grin to overtake his expression, his dark, dark eyes so, so bright.
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But nothing stays golden forever, not even the sun, and you couldn’t stop the cold from creeping back into your heart one day in May. The spring air was fresh, smelling of the warmth of the oncoming summer and daisies and fruit. But suddenly it wasn’t okay anymore, because tomorrow was no longer that far away. The timer on your arm had been counting down since the day you were born, and unfortunately, no matter how hard you tried to slow it down, you couldn’t beat time.
Tick, tick, tick.
There were so many zeros, now. Just a couple more to go, and you had finally realized what you had done to Renjun. You’d made him fall in love with you, and you’d fallen in love with him, and now you were reaching your end, and now you had to go.
So, during the last few days of May, you started avoiding Renjun, watching the last few days tick down faster than they ever had in the months you’d been with Renjun.
Tick, tick, tick.
Renjun found you in Mark’s dorm on a Sunday evening in the first week of June, reading books on Donghyuck’s empty bed. As soon as Mark opened the door to Renjun’s stormy face, you sat straight up, guilt corroding your insides. Mark let him in, and then he left without a word, leaving the two of you alone in the room.
Except Renjun didn’t look angry. He looked scared.
“Renjun, I–” you started, but Renjun interrupted you.
“How much time do you have left, Y/N?”
Your voice was soft as you answered. “I’ll tell you tomorrow, Renjun.”
He shook his head, and then he was crying. “No, not tomorrow. No more running away. Please. How much time do you have left?”
You felt a tear slip from your eye as you answered, your voice low, but hoarse. “Not enough.”
And then Renjun was sobbing into your arms, cries wracking his frame. “Why? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“It’s okay, Renjun,” you whispered, and now it was you rubbing small circles into the base of Renjun’s spine, and now you were crying too.
“It’s not okay.”
“It will be. I promise.”
“It hurts.”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
Tick, Tick, Tick.
You got sick on the fourth day of June, your chest rattling in with every breath. Renjun slept in the armchair that had once been in the corner of your hospital room, but he had moved it to your beside so he could lay his head on your chest while the both of you slept.
His hands were intertwined with yours on the ninth day of June, his breathing soft, but rushed, and you could tell he was crying. Your eyes had been closed, but you opened them to meet his. He sniffled as his gaze met yours.
“I’m so sorry, Y/N. That this happened to you.”
You shook your head. “It’s okay, Renjun,” It wasn’t, it would be. “You made it feel as if it would last forever. Thank you.”
“I love you, Y/N.”
“I love you, too, Renjun.”
You called your dad that night, and you’d said goodbye hundreds of miles away from your childhood home. You told him you loved him, and that you were sorry, and you told him to be strong, and then you said goodbye.
The sun was warm and golden in the evening three days later, the light flooding the small hospital room the same way it had that day at the diner with Donghyuck. It was the same feeling. Renjun was asleep, in the armchair by your bedside, his head lolling to the side. A book lay in his lap. He’d been reading to you, but now he was asleep. You were glad.
Tick, Tick, Tick.
It was almost over now.
You allowed a tear to slip out, marking its way down your face as you took a last, deep breath. The sky was so golden, so colorful, like a painting, so alive.
It ended two hundred and sixty-three days from the twenty-second of September, but it had been nearly two decades since the day it had begun. No more running, Renjun had said. You could breathe now. It was June 12th, 2019, when you finally stopped counting down, and it was warm. 
a/n: this is inspired by the drama about time, so if anything is confusing you can use that for reference or send me an ask to clarify things. thanks for reading, and as always let me know what you think!
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babyflossy · 11 months ago
you have to wait |
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pairing; jaemin x fem!reader
summary; you weren’t sure how jaemin stayed so calm every time you decided to tease him, but you aren’t going to complain.
genre/warnings; softdom!jaemin, smut, fingering, dirty talk, pet names, daddy kink, teasing, overstimulation, unprotected sex (wrap it before you tap it), lowkey kinda filthy
word count; 3k lmao i’m going to hell
if you were asked why you found teasing jaemin the most fun thing in the world, you wouldn't be able to give a straight answer. there was just something about the harsh angle of his jaw when he clenches it, and the way his fingers leave hot trails up and down your thighs when you sit next to him that is simply addicting. in fact, jaemin himself is addicting to you, and you are weak to his power over you.
tonight is no different and you see the familiar twitch of his eyebrow when you let your hand trail a little too high on his thigh. under the dim lights of the restaurant, you doubt anyone would even notice what you're doing, but you can tell it's annoying him anyway. a larger hand covers your own and he looks down at you with sharp eyes, pulling your hand off him and back onto the tablecloth.
for the next few minutes, you decide to let him eat in peace, sipping your drink every now and then, making sure to lick the excess off your lips a little too slowly. he doesn't fail to notice and you watch in satisfaction as his eyes drop to watch the movement. as if realising he's falling into your trap his eyes snap back to his food, adam's apple bobbing as he swallows harshly.
"don't you think it's a little hot in here?" your voice sounds innocent enough but jaemin freezes when you pull on the straps of your dress, the neckline slipping far too low for his liking. it's obvious to him what you're trying to do and he refrains from rolling his eyes. you were always one to push his buttons at times like this.
a few quiet moments pass, the lull of the chatter in the restaurant making it so much easier for him to focus on the trail of sparkles your necklace leaves as it slips far further down your chest. he gulps again, mind flitting between filthy images of you in nothing but that necklace and the dainty heels adorning your feet. then your hand is back on his thigh and his jaw clenches again, regaining his composure.
the way he murmurs your name is stern but not intimidating, simply a warning that you need to stop before he loses his patience. you pretend to contemplate his thinly veiled threat, thinking about the two possible outcomes. did you want him rough or not? you think back to last time you made him angry, the hickeys and the bruises from his fingertips and decide you don’t want it that rough tonight. with a sly smile you remove your hand, instead choosing to toy with the cutlery.
the rest of your dinner passes in much the same way; playing with the cuffs of jaemin’s suit jacket, twirling the pearls of your earrings with your fingers delicately, all whilst shooting him the same smile you hope is pure enough for your intentions to be concealed to the people around. at one point you manage to sneak your hand up the whole expanse of his thigh to the quickly hardening bulge and he nearly chokes on his water, cheeks flushing and strong fingers prying you off him. “you have to wait until we get home, baby.”
the words provoke a whine from you and jaemin huffs out a laugh, secretly loving how you always seem so desperate for him. after a few more pointed glances and lingering touches he stand abruptly, waving over the waiter and throwing a stack of notes onto the table.
you try to suppress a smirk as he guides you out the restaurant, hands on your hips keeping you in front of him to cover the obvious erection in his pants. hsi breath is hot on your neck as he thanks the waiter holding the door open for you.
once outside he pulls you beside him, an arm wraps around your waist and he looks down at you with an almost unimpressed expression. “you need to learn a lesson in patience, angel.” whatever commanding tone he’s going for is muffled by the giggle he lets out when you start pressing feathery kisses to his cheek.
“it’s not my fault you look like a literal god in that suit, jaemin.” the compliment tints the tops of his cheeks pink and you kiss his nose for good measure.
“well, you look simply delectable in that dress, baby.” his voice doesn’t change but he stares you down with something darker in his eyes that has your thighs pressing together. jaemin notices and smirks, pulling you to the car quicker.
the elevator ride up to your shared apartment is tense and the final ding signaling you were on your floor sounded like music to your ears. jaemin slips his hand into your and pulls you down the hallway, fishing out his keys and unlocking the door in record speed. he kicks it shut behind you and you’re pushed against the wood before you can register what’s happening.
jaemin’s lips are hot with need, pushing against yours with such ferosity you grip his shoulders to anchor yourself. for a moment, he drops to your neck and sucks harshly on the delicate skin under your ear, blowing on the spot as he pulls away and it makes you shiver. he wastes no time in fisting the fabric of your dress around your waist, tapping your thigh to tell you to jump. once your legs wrap around his hips he expertly manouvoerus you into the bedroom without breaking away from your lips.
moonlight shines through the room to your face as jaemin throws you onto the bed, taking a second to admire the ethereal glow of the watery filter. once against impatient, you lock your hands behind his head and pull his lips to meet yours in a fiery kiss. there’s nothing aggressive about it tonight, only hot and needy but still careful.
one of jaemin’s warm palms tips your head up to enable him to deepen the kiss, nibbling on your bottom in a way that makes you gasp. he takes the oppurtunity to slip his tongue into your mouth, sucking your own to the rythmn of his hands moving up your body.
they stop on your breasts, kneading the soft flesh under your dress and making you let out a moan that sounds desperate even to your own ears. it goes straight to jaemin’s dick, however, and he reaches down between your bodies to rub at the tops of your thighs.
sick of waiting, you break away to tell him to hurry up but words die on your tongue and morph to a whimper as his fingers ghost over your clit, settling on either side of the sensitive bud and pulling. the movement elicits another feeble whimper and a buck of your hips to try and get more. he chuckles, finally pushing your soaked panties down your legs and throwing them into the room behind him.
without the wet fabric blocking him, jaemin can pull his fingers through your folds, cursing at how wet you are. “fuck, baby,” he groans into your neck, “you need me that badly, huh?” you’re not sure how his teasing manages to still affect you after so long together but the words still make your thighs close involuntarily.
he treats you to one quick circle of your clit before he pulls away, dropping himself to lie inbetween your legs, head resting on your chest and eyes staring up at you deceptively innocenlty. you know what he wants you to do and you don’t stop the roll of your eyes. “go on, sweetie.” his voice is sickly sweet and you can feel your cheeks heating up.
“really? haven’t we done this enough already?”
“none of this sounds much like begging, baby.” as if to rub in his power over you, he pushes himself up onto his arms and makes to move away. “i can handle myself if you don’t want to–”
“no, no, no,” whatever pride you have left is buried immediately and you wrap your arms around his shoulders to prevent him moving away. “please, jaems, i need you so badly.” to your disappointment, he still doesn’t look convinced and you swallow the last remnants of your dignity before leaning up to his ear to whipser, “i need your cock so so badly, daddy.”
delight fills you when you feel him freeze, mocking smile fading from his face as his dark eyes meet yours again. “such a needy baby.” this is a good sign, you know, and you feel excitement fill you instantly as you realise what he’s goingto say next. "tell me what you need."
you could cry with happiness, instead choosing to crash your lips against his again. this time it’s messier, teeth clashing and lips bruising but he still pulls away with a smile. “fingers, please, i need your fingers, jaem–”
just as he’s making his way down your body he pauses and shoots you a pointed look. “ah, ah, ah. what do we call me?”
“that’s a good girl.” you hate how the words make your heart flutter.
just as you wished, you feel cold fingers prodding at your entrance. slowly, he eases two in and you groan at the stretch, leaning into his shoulder and pressing kisses to the base of his neck. the pace he sets is unforgiving and you moan loudly when the tips of his fingers tap the soft spot in your that makes your vision swim. “right there?” he coaxes another moan from you when he focuses on that spot specifically, pulling his thumb up to rub at your clit.
“fuck,” your breathing is uneven, chest heaving as you bite into his shoulder. all you can do is chant curses as the knot in your stomach tightens quickly. “i’m gonna cum.”
“already?” the teasing’s back. fantastic, you think dryly. “but, baby, i’ve barely done anything.” despite his words, he doesn’t slow down his fingers, instead choosing to do the opposite and speed up until the lewd sounds of your wetness overpower your whimpers. “let go, angel, daddy’s got you.”
you cum over his fingers with a cry, legs shaking and eyes screwed shut as his fingers keep their unforgiving pace. when the aftershocks have calmed down but his fingers haven’t you look down at him to find him staring up at you with a cheeky grin. the thumb on your clit presses down harder and your hips buck involuntarily at the overstimualtion.
jaemin’s free hand pulls at your dress’s loose neckline until your lacy bra is exposed. the hand travels inside one of the cups, pulling your nipple in a way you can only moan at. at this point, everything else has faded to the background, the only thing you can focus on his hands that are barrelling you towards a second orgasm before your first one has even worn off.
“you gonna cum again, princess?” just as his voice breaks through your blissed out haze, his lips drop to your clit, sucking the bud into his mouth. your teetering on the edge of bliss once again and the soft grazing of his theeth on your clit and his fingers pressing into your g-spot finally push you over. colours burst behind your eyelids and you chant his name like a mantra, unable to stop your legs closing around his head.
when he at last pulls away from you, you’re trying to catch your breath, eyes still shut and legs still jolting. "look at you, such a mess." he mumbles before his lips encase your own. you can taste your own sweetness on his tongue as he licks around your mouth.
it’s only then that you remember jaemin’s still completely clothed, his suit looking painfully tight over his crotch. as if reading your mind he sits up, slipping his arms through his jacket as you finger at his tie until it loosens enough for you to pull it over his head. now free of the most restrictive items, you grasp at his belt buckle before he helps you, laughing at the frustrated sigh you let out.
jaemin wastes no longer and pulls his slacks and boxers down his legs, kicking them off the egde of the bed. once free of the clothing, he pulls your own dress up and over your head, leaving you in nothing but your heels that you still haven’t taken off and his favourite red lace bra. he slips his hand under you to unclip the lingerie and pulls it from you.
“my heels–” you protest as he flips you over, pulling your knees up to get you in position.
“leave them on, they make your legs look sexy.” if you were in any other circumstance you would have laughed and teased him but the tone of his voice is deadly serious and you back off. “can you take me now, or do you need a minute?”
sure, your thighs ache, and you still haven’t caught your breath, but the fear of disappointing him is too strong for you to argue. “now.”
“are you sure? you just came twice in a row–”
“please, daddy.”
you hear him curse, rubbing the arch of your back before he leans down to kiss between your shoulder blades. “fuck, baby, you have no idea what you do to me.” hands grope at your ass and jaemin pumps himself a few times before bumping his tip on your clit. you tense as he starts pushing in but one swipe of your clit and you’re putty in his hands. literally.
the strength abandones your arms and your head falls into the pillows as he bottoms out, groaing deeply at the feeling of your walls fluttering around him. slowly, he pulls out and slams back in, the harshness of the action making you bite the pillow to muffle your scream. jaemin notices and loops his hands around your shoulders, pulling you up so your back is flush to his chest, one hand staying around your waist to keep you upright. “i wanna hear you, babygirl.”
his dick stretches you so perfectly you have to find purchase on his thighs to keep yourself grounded. your head lolls back onto his shoulder when he hits your sweet spot again, nothing but a high pitched whine leaving your lips. it’s different to your normal moans, desperate and sharp and it makes jaemin’s hip stutter. he doesn’t wait to tell you how you much he loves it. "god, the noises you make are incredible."
as if to prove his point, another strong circle over your clit and it draws the same noise from you. he keeps his fingers there, resting two on either side of your bud and pulling, just like he did earlier, but this time it feels so much stronger after all the pleasure that’s been loaded on you. “daddy,” you choke out, head turning to suck at the stop under his ear that pulls a moan from him. “i’m so close.” as the coil in your abdomen tightens his pace increases until your moans are so loud you’re sure the neighbours can hear.
jaemin doesn’t seem to care, however, only encouraging you on. "c'mon, angel, i know you can be louder than that." and you are, as he delivers a particularly storng thrust that pushes you straight over the edge of ecstasy again, your third orgasm crashing down onto you unforgivingly.
when the thrusting of hips doesn’t let up you go slack in his arms. “i can’t– jaemin, it’s too much–”
he shushes you before you can finish, dropping his head to press a gentle kiss to your lips. it’s delicate and loving and to oppose to how he’s handling you and it leaves you dizzy. “can you be a good girl and take it? do it for daddy.” you’re shaking as he chases his own high. you want– no you need– to show him how good you can be for him and you grip your hands over his where they rest on your torso. “i’m so close baby, you’re doing so well for me.”
with a few final thrusts and you clenching around him, he’s spilling into you, hips stilling to press himself as deep as possible into your tight core. the moans he lets out into your ear are raspy and deep and nothing short of angelic. you shiver as he pulls out, his cum starting to drip down your thighs and he sets you down on the mattress as if you were made of glass.
“you did so well, baby,” he giggles when he lays down beside you. all he manages to get out of you is a sleepy smile. “i’m gonna clean you up, okay?”
you don’t have the energy to reply and feel your eyes drooping as he brings a warm cloth to clean the sweat and cum off you legs. when he’s finished, he drops it in the bathroom and moves back to you, stroking your legs comfortingly as he pulls your shoes off, setting them gently in front of the wardrobe before finally slipping into bed with you.
the covers are pulled over you and you feel his arms pull you into him. “i love you.” you mumble a reply and bury your face into his chest, thoroughly worn out but also feeling strangely warm.
the last thing you remember before you slip into sleep is jaemin’s soft words as he kisses up and down the sides of you face and you smile.
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jungnoir · 3 years ago
Hey i wanted to request Jeno + "friends can kiss each other from time to time" :) i dont really care if its a drabble or headcanons or what ever.
for real love;
lee jeno | “Friends can kiss each other a little from time to time right?” robot!au. | 3.1k words. | angst, romance (or is it?).
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a/n: I got this prompt quite a few times, so I’m attempting to keep each one as unique as possible 😅. mood music.
Your creation was going to save mankind. JN 0423 was flawless, a marvel to humans in the day and age where all the dreams of the past were finally coming true. Flying cars, technology breathing in the very ground you walked on, and robots who passed as humans. In a dog-eat-dog world where humans were dropping like flies, artificial intelligence could do the jobs humans could not. Artificial intelligence could become the newest necessity, and yours was the very first of its kind.
His name was JN 0423, but you called him Jeno.
You weren’t the only one who had a hand in creating Jeno, but you were definitely the one calling the shots. Straight out of high school, your impeccable mind had gotten you into the best school in the country and on the path to your life goal, one you had claimed ever since you were in elementary school: you were going to create one of the very first fully functioning artificial intelligence robots in the world. Your robot would be able to function completely on its own, from forming a personality to becoming incredibly self-aware. The biggest part you’d play in taking care of Jeno would be fixing up his parts every now and then, and even then, he could probably do it faster (and better, though you would never admit it for your pride) than you.
Sure enough, before you had even hit 20, you had done it. You had created him.
His design was incredibly ambiguous at first; You had no plans to gender him, simply hoping that he would figure out what he wanted to be on his own. At one point, he was literally just a face of metal, no artificial skin or hair or eyes or anything. He was as robotic as could be.
Over time however, he had formed preferences, ideas, and dreams. He had decided he would use masculine pronouns, had decided he would have jet black hair that he wanted cut relatively short, and had decided that he would stand at 179 cm. You made the physical adjustments and accommodations as they came to him, always prepared to do as he wished for his physical form just to see how far his preferences would go. It was a marvel that he had both negative and positive feelings toward things that you didn’t even have to input into his brain. He came up with opinions all on his own, all through his own knowledge of the world. By the time he was a month old, Jeno now had his own artificial skin, hair, eyes, and rounded out voice. He was as human as any human you would see on the street.
“Jeno,” you call from your desk, dragging a cup of coffee to your lips in the process, “how are preparations for the rest of D.R.E.A.M.?”
Jeno perks up from his spot near the window, turning to examine you before looking at the wall behind you. There are six other robots who looked just like him in the beginning stages of his creation. Each had been created, but none of them had downloaded their A.I. yet, which meant they were as good as mannequins at this point. Jeno accessed the files he had and repeated back the results to you, “A.I. JS 0205 is advancing faster than the others. I think it’s time we give it its body now.”
You hum, looking over the paperwork you’d been diligently working on for the past few hours. The rest of your team had headed home at the first sign of sleepiness, leaving you behind to take care of the lab in their stead. You hadn’t minded much because even if there was work to do, there was also Jeno, and he was the best company you could ask for.
Having been the first person Jeno had seen when he first achieved consciousness, he was terribly attached to you. He often took your word over any of the other members of NEO and it usually drove them quite mad, but you were always endeared by his preference of you. You had assumed that maybe he had known you were the one who worked on him the most during his creation, and therefore had taken a liking to you on the basis of that. After all, most of his parts were created by you. Every screw, wire, and bolt was placed there by your hands.
Often times, you would forget that Jeno was just a robot. He had feelings that resembled your own, and it wasn’t unusual for them to have his “moods” (or as Taeyong liked to call it: puberty) and get fussy or upset for seemingly no reason at times. If anything, it just made him all the more realistic. It was something you were still on the fence about; After all, his realism could make him vulnerable to being hurt in the end.
While the others would get fed up with his realism, you had always encouraged it. The others had told you it might be your downfall one day, whatever that meant.
“What do you think we should name JS, Jeno?” You ask, grabbing one of your snacks from the desk and shooting him a curious look. You grin when his eyes practically light up with ideas.
“I was thinking about naming it Jisung! What do you think?” “I like that name, Jeno. I wonder what it’ll be like.” “I have a feeling it’ll cause a bit of trouble,” Jeno chuckles, “if its A.I.’s antics are anything to go by.”
The reminder makes you groan; nearly the minute you’d finished setting up JS’s A.I., it had somehow hacked your entire system and made every other file you clicked on a rick roll. You had been so close to setting the entire lab on fire if it hadn’t been for Jeno’s ability to shut down the A.I.’s access before it could get any farther. “Why can’t they all just be as mannerly as you, Jeno?”
The robot hums, looking away thoughtfully, “Isn’t our freedom of choice what makes us so likeable? No matter how troublesome they might be… I think it’ll be cool that they will all be their own unique creation.”
He had a point, as infuriating as that was to think about in connection with the rick roll incident. You had to remember not to let Yukhei, Johnny, and Yuta work on any of the other A.I.’s by themselves again. Seriously.
You stare at Jeno for a while, simply out of appreciation and wonder. Over your years working at SM, you had never known you would grow quite as attached as you had to your robot. The task your team was given was to create something that the world could use and change the game. You knew what you and your team were creating was going to be extraordinary, but you had never fathomed it growing this successful. Jeno was the first of his kind, yes, and soon he would contribute to more just like him. One day, the robots walking the earth will all be there thanks to Jeno.
It felt strange to look at this boy- robot, who looked so much like someone you would catch reading on the subway or who would you sit next to in class and think that they could do all of that. That they would change the world.
Suddenly, you remember something.
“Jeno! You didn’t remind me to do your maintenance check!” You spring from your desk chair, forcing it to slide several feet back in response. You swear you see him shrink, the skin of his face tinting pink as his processors overheated under pressure.
“I-I was going to do it myself-!” He stands from his spot as you bound over with narrowed eyes. You had always been the one to make sure he was constantly functioning well, a task you took up every other week or so as he could usually give updates about his well being on his own. However, after you had started teaching him how to handle minor fixes of his body by himself, he had started to think he could do it all.
You felt like a scolding mother as you poked his chest, watching Jeno plop back down onto the window seat he had been sitting on before. Sighing in defeat, he begins to pull his hoodie off, revealing the skin of his chest to you. You place your hand in the center and watch as it begins to open, revealing the machinery underneath, “I show you how to climb a hill one day and you want to hike Mt. Everest the next.” Your tutting makes Jeno lower his head some in apology, but you feel you can tease him a little more before you should really lay off.
You prepare to make another joke, this one about bicycles and Ferraris, when Jeno suddenly speaks over you, “I’m sorry, you looked really tired.”
You blink, “…what?”
He raises his head as you tear your eyes away from the inner workings of his body and focus instead on his coffee-tinted eyes. They shoot around your face, never settling on one thing for too long, “I know how hard SM is pushing NEO to finish the D.R.E.A.M. project, but you haven’t slept a good night’s sleep in days. And… please don’t lie and say I’m miscalculating. I’ve analyzed your face enough to know when you’ve pulled another all-nighter. This is your second one.”
“J-Jeno,” you stutter, dropping your hands from his chest. It closes up when your touch and attention have left it, “don’t… you don’t need to worry about that. I’m fine, okay? I’m just trying to get you guys ready in time-” “So that the company won’t drop the project altogether? I’m not stupid, (Y/N),” Jeno frowns, “I’m your friend, remember? Friends don’t lie to each other.”
You open your mouth to protest but find it difficult to start a convincing argument. You had always told him that he was like your friend, that if he had concerns or fears or anxieties, he should bring it up to you. What you had forgotten to remember was that in friendships, it went both ways. How could you ask him to be honest with you if you weren’t willing to do the same?
The shame takes over your face just as your eyes well up with frustrated tears, “I’m… I’m sorry, Jeno. You’re right. I’m sorry. I should have been honest with you about that. I’m really sorry.”
His hand reaches for yours and it feels warm; one of his capabilities was to heat up and cool down as needed, and if that meant signifying the feeling of a comforting hand of a friend, then he could do that. He’d done it several times before, yet each time it always shocked you a bit.
You startle for a moment before reciprocating his touch, feeling the tears that wanted to leave your eyes drying up. You wouldn’t cry now, not in front of Jeno. You didn’t want him to input that in his memory.
“It’s okay,” Jeno smiles, “I’ll let you check me and then you have to promise to rest. Deal?”
“Let?” You laugh softly, tilting your head to the side, “Since when were you capable of allowing or not allowing me to do things, mister?”
He doesn’t reply, just continues smiling and opens his chest again to you. You take this as your cue to start working, hands poking inside to see what was working well and what might need to be looked after. You could recall a time when Jeno was shy letting you do this despite the fact that you had put him together and there was nothing to be shameful about. Now, he trusted you wholeheartedly, enough that he would tear out his wires if you asked him to (not that you ever would, but you got the gist).
The whole time you work on Jeno, tightening things here and rearranging things there, he watches you. You had grown used to his innocent, unwavering gaze on you over the time that you had started caring for him. Often, he would simply observe people. It was one of his hobbies to sit by the window and watch the people down below or watch you and the rest of NEO work on D.R.E.A.M. throughout the day. Taeil had informed a spooked Doyoung once that it was just his A.I. trying to collect as much information as possible. This meant he processed expressions, connected emotions and words, and observed movements. All of this information was constantly filtering into his storage until the moment that he would need to apply it.
That’s how he knew that you hadn’t gotten enough sleep. He observed you so much when you were around that the signs were there. Lots of coffee, slower cognition, droopy eyes, sluggish movements. He knew you best.
When you feel you’ve finished, you move away from his chest and look him over from the bottom up, ending with his face. He still has that tiny, content smile on his face and when he does that, his eyes turn into smiles of their own. Out of habit, you reach your hand forward and scratch at his scalp, the soft hair there feeling gentle against your fingertips. “There. All good.” You say softly, the promise you’d made Jeno only minutes ago causing you to feel a bit sleepy. You would have to drive home like this? Ugh.
You reach your hands up to your eyes and rub when suddenly, Jeno is pulling you forward and into his lap. You gasp in surprise and just barely grab at his shoulders to steady yourself before he’s speaking, “(Y/N), I have a question.”
You blink, surprised, and nod for him to continue.
“I was watching TV with Yuta the other day,” he starts, your mind instantly swimming with what filth Yuta might have implanted in his mind, “on the show we watched, there were two characters who were friends. I thought they were very friendly at first, but then… something happened between them and they… kissed. I asked Yuta about it, because I was confused. He said that sometimes that’s okay between friends, so long as they’re both okay with it. I thought it was interesting.”
You mentally note that you’ll have to seriously enforce some rules over what Jeno can and cannot watch from now on. “Oh, yeah… um, sometimes that can happen. Friends will… they’ll feel something toward each other, something that friends usually don’t feel. And that causes them to be intimate- ah, that’s not the right word…” “Friends can kiss each other a little from time to time right?”
You don’t know how else to explain it to him as the matter is already a bit of a mind-boggle to you. So, you nod.
“Can I kiss you? Since we’re friends?” Jeno sounds a little eager, arms tightening around your waist in anticipation.
“Jeno,” you start, thinking long and hard about what to ask him exactly, “do you feel… something toward me right now that you usually wouldn’t?” Your mouth dries when he nods as if you’re asking him if the sky is blue.
You feel incredibly conflicted. You made him, crafted him with your own hands and tools. You put hours and hours of information and intelligence into him and when it came down to it, he probably wouldn’t be here without you and NEO. And here he was, with all the independence of a truly artificially intelligent being… asking if he can kiss you.
You don’t know what to feel, but you lean forward just a little, his eyes growing in excitement, “Just one kiss, Jeno… then delete it from your memory, okay?”
After all, he couldn’t refuse a command like that.
From that day forward, you work as usual with the rest of the team as D.R.E.A.M. starts to come to fruition. Jeno doesn’t act any different around you than usual, acting as responsive and cheerful as ever. The kiss you two had shared that night almost felt like a hazy dream, something your sleep-deprived mind had come up with in the midst of working on Jeno’s hardware. Regardless, you were the only one that would remember in the first place. As far as Jeno was concerned, his memory had a blip between your acceptance of a kiss and you heading home for the night.
“Jeno! Maintenance time.” You call to the robot. It had been a while since you had checked his software, and you had to make sure there were no bugs you didn’t know about before carrying on with the rest of your tasks for the day.
The robot shuffles over, settling into a stray desk chair and rolling over to sit next to you. He holds out his hand and you screw off his pointer finger where a USB port waits to be plugged into. Attaching one end of your USB cord to him and the other to your laptop, you begin to skim over the highly organized files, “You’ve got quite the information storage here, Jeno. You’re learning more and more everyday.” you turn your head and smile at him, the robot smiling back just as bright.
You focus your attention back on the files, the sounds of the others tinkering in the background working as the background music. You find that everything seems to be in its place and begin to let Jeno go back to his people-watching when you notice a recorded memory that looked extremely unfamiliar. You check the date under the thumbnail. Your heart stops.
You can’t quite believe it when you double click on the video, being greeted with the footage of your own face inches away from the cameras in Jeno’s eyes. Your volume is thankfully low enough and the boys are loud enough to drown out the sound to their own ears, but the words you speak next are absolutely ones that Jeno wasn’t supposed to remember.
“Just one kiss, Jeno… then delete it from your memory, okay?”
You shut the laptop immediately, swinging in your chair to face Jeno. His face says nothing, remaining wholly expressionless. He wasn’t supposed to remember. He was supposed to delete that from his memory.
After all, he couldn’t refuse a command like that.
Could he…?
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