loving you behind the scenes | ot8 skz member scenario/imagine
written for @ficscafe's fic exchange event!
hi! i'm ash and i'm your secret santa fanfic writer(?) i hope you enjoy this! <3 i've never written something like this before so it may not be as good but it was fun to try and i thoroughly enjoyed writing it!
genre: fluff fluff fluff, angst if you squint, idol au (reader is from unknown small company)
pairing: fem idol!reader x stray kids | reader's group position varies per member
warnings: very very mild suggestiveness
word count: 3.5k
synopsis: in which a stray kids member is your number one supporter, mentor, and lover.
𝐁𝐀𝐍𝐆 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐍— you as the oldest member but not the leader
"You're doing great." Chan strokes your hair lovingly as you rested your head on his lap, complaining for the nth time about how stressful it is being an idol who recently just debuted. You've just started the second month of idol life but you've already complained to your boyfriend about it for an unnervingly high amount whenever you'd visit him in his dorms, just as like right now.
"But they're overworking us! We don't even have a lot of fans yet but we already have to do so much stuff!" You whined with a pout and he just chuckles at you, thinking how adorable you are.
"I know, I know. But that's how it is. You have to start strong and keep rising stronger no matter how many people are watching you. Don't mind the number." He lectured. You huffed, he's always been like this, giving you advice on how to properly function in your chosen career especially since he has already found immense success in his.
"But it's tiring." You buried your head more into the comforts of his lap and he just kept carressing your soft locks.
"I see you around backstage and can tell that you're already an amazing leader. Don't worry too much." He complimented, making you lift your head to look at him.
"But I'm not the leader though!" You reminded him and he just shrugs.
"Yeah, but you're the oldest. You're technically the mom." You gasp at him and smack his arm playfully.
"Ok, whatever old man." You quipped back making him lock his arm on your neck and shower your face with pecks of kisses as he pulled you in his embrace.
"Proud of you though, I love you y/n."
"Yeah yeah. I love you too."
"Feels great dating my idol." He added.
"Hey, that's supposed to be my line!"
𝐋𝐄𝐄 𝐌𝐈𝐍𝐇𝐎— you as the main dancer
"Again." Minho ordered as he watched you revel in your exhaustion, laying down like a starfish on the cold wooden floors of a secret dance studio that you and your boyfriend would often rendezvous in. He'd been mentoring you in dance before and after you debuted and today was one of those days, although recently you've noticed that he'd become more strict. Lighthearted dance practices soon turned serious, the one hour of practice soon turning into two, then three.
"Minho I'm tired~!" You complained, barely even able to lift your limbs up anymore. He responded by standing over your limp body and trying to pull you up despite your heavy protests.
"We're practicing for your special dance collab stage, aren't we? Do you not want to stand out?" He asks, giving up on trying to lift you up and instead opted to sit cross-legged on the floor while you leaned into his embrace.
"The other dancers are probably gonna be better than me anyway. Especially the girls from After School and Purple Kiss." You pouted with a sad expression which made him turn off his strict dance teacher persona and look at you with a soft gaze.
He tilts your head by the chin before pressing a kiss on the top of your nose. Something he had always loved doing whenever he'd tell you to keep your head held high.
"Why do you think I'm doing this then?" He asks, pertaining about the countless dance lessons he gives you during his free time.
You shrug at the question, "I don't know. So I don't embarass myself at least."
He rolls his eyes at your negativity before pulling you back in a hug. "You're the main dancer for a reason, y/n. And I think you're the best one."
The compliment turned you to a blushing mess, rarely has Minho ever showered you with such direct compliments so you tightened your hug on his figure to hide your face of shyness. He laughed at the action, knowing full well how much he affects you.
"Are you getting shy on me now, y/n?"
"I can't help it! You've been my bias for so long!"
𝐒𝐄𝐎 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐍𝐆𝐁𝐈𝐍— you as a co-producer
"What do you think of this part—" you clicked play on the audio track as you watched Changbin with his serious face as he listened in on the headphones.
You've been overworking yourself ever since before you debuted and Changbin had been so worried you might stress yourself to a coma so he had come to force you to chill— only for you to force him into helping you out more with the stuff you're making for your next comeback.
Nonetheless, your boyfriend humored you for a while, wanting to make you happy because he knows he won't be able to remove you from your desk until you were completely satisfied with a specific sound. You reminded him of himself. A perfectionist by heart, doubting your own work of art even though it's already masterpiece-level. He loved that part about you. How hardworking you were and how much you cared about the craft and not just the fame— how you insisted on helping on the music creation process instead of just being an idol. You both shared an extreme passion for music which was what connected you in the first place.
"I think it's great, y/n."
"No you don't."
"You only say that whenever you want me to finish up! Come on binnie, be honest, please?" You pleaded as you looked at him with puppy eyes and he sighed, utterly weak for your demands.
"Fine. I think it'll sound better if you pitch this up then—" you watch him work his wonders on the software, eyeing the side of his concentrated face. You stare at him with loving eyes, appreciating everything he does for you. You couldn't help but give him a kiss on the cheek which surprises him.
He turns to look at you to see a wide smile on your face. "You weren't listening, were you?" He asked with a suspicious gaze and you just laughed, shaking your head.
"Ugh, I told you to rest up, y/n." He said, now that he has your attention out of work.
"Fine but I want to watch netflix and cuddle." You pulled him by the hand and he gladly obliged with a loving smile directed towards your unknowing self.
𝐇𝐖𝐀𝐍𝐆 𝐇𝐘𝐔𝐍𝐉𝐈𝐍— you as a vocal turned sub-rapper
"Click clack, badda bing bada— bLAH— how do I even do this when I can't even go past the first line?" You glared at the lyric sheet in your hand, a song you chose to practice your rapping "skills."
"Why are you even rapping again? Aren't you in the vocal line already?" Your boyfriend turned his attention to you, turning to face you on your side of the bed. During your free times, you and Hyunjin would often opt to go for sweet sleepovers after a long time of not being able to see each other because conflicting schedules. Although the two of you still often spend the quality couple time practicing for whatever future project you had, like what you're doing right now, you often do it in the hopes of helping each other and lifting each other's spirits.
"I don't even know! We already have a good rapper, I have no idea what they're thinking, maybe they wanted someone to balance it out." You shrugged, scrunching your face in distaste at how you were forced to learn a new talent you never even imagined of trying. You looked at Hyunjin in a desperate plea, hoping to get you out of your troubled stupor.
"Practice makes perfect, y/n. I'm sure you'll be able to do it perfectly because you're perfect in every way and you always succeed at everything you try to do." He says while cuddling you, his face situated by the crook of your neck as he kissed your collarbone gently. You shuddered at his touch but reciprocated with a kiss on the top of his head.
"Thanks Jinnie. I don't know what I'd do without you."
"I'm always here." He assures sleepily, starting to finally feel the exhaustion creeping up on him as he urged you to finally just rest. Taking away the lyric sheet in your hand and plopping it onto the bedside table.
You responded by wrapping your arms around him, positioning yourself comfortably as you nuzzled his hair.
"Can you teach me how to rap?"
"No, I'm too lazy."
"I'd rather kiss you during my free time." He teases, showering you with lots of smooches all over.
"Fine, but only because I do too."
𝐇𝐀𝐍 𝐉𝐈𝐒𝐔𝐍𝐆— you as the visual
"My girlfriend is sooo prettyyyy." Your boyfriend cooed from beside you as he spam liked all of your teaser photos from his secret account on instagram and twitter. This was one of his favorite hobbies, just looking at all of your photos and revel at how he's the luckiest man on earth to have you as his.
You loved it whenever he'd praise you with so much love and affection but today, you weren't feeling it. Whenever Jisung compliments you, he'd smile at how you'd instantly blush and swat his arms in embarrassment. This time, the pressures of being an idol was catching up to you and Jisung noticed it with the way you just shot him a small smile with his antics instead of your usual reaction.
"Heyy.. baby, what's wrong?" He immediately put his phone down, looking at you with worried eyes as he poured all his attention onto you. You've always loved how attentive he is and how he's always fast to cheer you up whenever he'd sense your mood is down.
"It's nothing. Just tired." You excused, but he wasn't buying it. He bit his cheek before raising his eyebrows at you, letting you know that he's waiting for you to spill the beans.
"I just hate being the visual.." you confess, and Jisung's eyebrows shot up even further.
"What? Why?! But you're the best visual! Everything about you is gorgeous— even your hands." He said, showering you further with compliments of even the most mundane parts of your body.
You sighed, "Yeah but that's just all they see. They don't even mention how I perform on stage or how I sing. People keep commenting that I'm just a visual and nothing more.." by the end, you felt teary-eyed and Jisung grumbled under his breath about haters not having anything to do with their lives. You couldn't reciprocate his energy, especially when the inferiority complex within you doubles up further whenever you'd observe your boyfriend: he's good-looking, a great vocalist, a great rapper, and also a producer. He was way too good, and compared to you, you felt like a fly on the wall.
He pulled you into a tight comforting hug, stroking your hair, "That's not true. You're insanely talented but that's not all. You have a kind heart and you have a way of cheering people up whenever you're down. Don't mind the haters, baby."
"I know, but so am I for you."
𝐋𝐄𝐄 𝐅𝐄𝐋𝐈𝐗— you as the foreign member
"Y/n... this is not what I came here for." His deep voice rumbled beside your shoulder as he turned to look at you. You, on the other hand, had your eyes pinned to the TV, looking at everywhere but your boyfriend's eyes who seemed to be in the mood for a lecture.
Felix knew how stubborn you could be so he put down his controller and pried your hands away from yours. Effectively stealing your attention from the ongoing game of Mario Kart you two were having.
"H-hey! No cheating!" You exclaimed, trying to sound nonchalant about ignoring his earlier quip. He sighed and shook his head at you in feigned disappointment.
"Y/n~" he called out softly, pointing to the piles of books and papers on the coffee table— the real reason he was here: to teach you Korean and not to beat each other in video games.
"But it's break time." You pouted at him but he kept his ground.
"We've been on break for an hour and a half already. It's about time we get back to work." He urges. Felix wouldn't call himself a genius with the Korean language. He couldn't even fully call himself 'fluent' in it (which breaks your heart because you know how hard he tries).
"But I'm bad at it." You complained softly and his gaze fell to your eyes, holding it with an encouraging warmth.
"You can do it, y/n. You've already come so far!" He cheered you on, and although it worked, you still couldn't bring yourself to leave the comforts of the couch.
"But I'm not like you. You were able to learn it in a year and was able to perfectly communicate— you're a genius, I'm not." With that comment, he just sighed.
He lied down on the couch and pulled you to rest on top of him. Your head sitting comfortably on his chest as he just cuddled with your figure. This was his way of letting you know that he was currently lost for words and didn't know what else to say but he still loves you and wants to comfort you.
You loved it when he does this. Just a silent agreement to bask in each other's grace and not argue about petty things.
"사랑해 (i love you)." You muttered as you cuddled up to a more comfortable spot, and you could feel his chest vibrate with a laugh at your small attempt in Korean, letting him know that you weren't entirely giving up, just currently tired.
"I love you more, y/n." He replied back lovingly, kissing the top of your head as you both just stayed together like that until you fell asleep.
𝐊𝐈𝐌 𝐒𝐄𝐔𝐍𝐆𝐌𝐈𝐍— you as the maknae
Whipped. He was utterly whipped. Whenever you were within his presence, his entire body felt like jelly, he just wanted to slink down to your embrace as you make him feel like he's on top of the world.
When he first met you, he was immediately caught off guard with your abrasive disposition. Truth be told, you two didn't really get along well during the first few meetings. Him thinking you were a bit too much, and you thinking that he was too aloof. He had zero reason to like you and you felt indifferent towards him.
Most of your interactions were simply just for business reasons only— collaborations or a gesture of being polite. But fate seemed to tie the two of you together, making it so that you'd run into each other as much as possible— even during day offs.
You'd once bumped into each other in a coffee shop, despite being in disguises, you both seemed to have recognized each other immediately. But you both just bowed, muttering a passing apology as you pretended not to have known each other at all.
Incidents like these continued to pile on top of one another until you found yourselves getting curious. Starting with Seungmin finally seeing himself get interested in watching your group's content.
There he saw, and learned, that you were the youngest in your group and he wouldn't have been able to guess otherwise. You were so forward and brave, even during stage you were the one first to react when things get awry, you were the one wiping your members' tears when you got a win even though you were holding back your own, you were the one who wasn't afraid to stand up for your members. You were such a big personality, completely different to him— and it intrigued him.
But seeing the homey vlogs that your group sometimes upload, he felt a soft warmth radiate in his heart as he saw a different side of you. A side that's more loose and laidback. More quiet and cute.
The same side that he's currently witnessing right now, standing beside him as you guys cooked dinner together. It was one of the rare moments that you both got the dorm to yourselves and Seungmin always made sure to cherish every second. His favorite pastime is just staring at you as you made your way to the kitchen, examining each and every one of your habits.
How you'd look back at him and see him staring at you so lovingly. You'd stick your tongue out at him but he'd see the blush on your cheeks as you went back to your chore. You'd scold him for not helping you out and he'd just laugh and lazily pull the sleeves of his sweater so he'd be able to assist you.
At the end of the night, you'd end up just telling him to sit down because he was messing up your rhythm even more. Seungmin didn't care what it is that you want him to do— he'd do anything you tell him to. He marvelled at how strong you are but also how you make him feel like such a capable man beside you.
"Did you know that I hated you at first." He suddenly piped.
"I could tell."
"Did you hate me too?" He asked curiously and you just shook your head.
"No, I just thought you were a bit weird. Weird, but cute."
"You just said you hated me—" he cut you off with quick kiss.
"Well, I love you the most now."
𝐘𝐀𝐍𝐆 𝐉𝐄𝐎𝐍𝐆𝐈𝐍— you as the leader
Jeongin can't help the fast race of his beating heart whenever his eyes would subtly land on you during music shows and subsequently in the hallways of the backstage dressing rooms. The way you exude a mature sort of classy elegance, how you genuinely adore and take care of your members, and how easily you can commandeer an audience to keep their eyes on you. You were the full package, and whenever he'd watch you on stage with your well-spoken self, thanking your fans for giving you a win, he was happily beaming that his cheeks hurt. He was so proud of you and how far you've come already in the short amount of time that you've been an idol.
You didn't need the boost of a famous agency's name nor did you rely on viral statistics. You just worked your ass off until people started noticing your innate talent. Jeongin saw how much you put your heart and soul to your passionate career so he tried his best to be the one by your side holding your hand through it all. Giving you his signature smile whenever the pressure was getting a little too much and kissing your worries away.
After the award ceremony, all the groups made their way backstage. Idols filled the halls along with some staff walking along, all were giving you a passing congratulatory acknowledgement with your first win. You were so ecstatic, you had texted your lovely boyfriend moments prior and was already excited to be in personal proximity with him but you felt your smile waver when you couldn't spot him anywhere. Not even when you land your eyes on Stray Kids who had just started filing into the dressing room.
You calmly made your way over to the group, hoping to ask Felix where their maknae would be but you felt your arm being grabbed from the side, pulling you into a dark supply closet where you're greeted by the familiar fragrance of floral mixed with a man's natural scent. You immediately recognized Jeongin's smell so you eagerly wrapped him in a hug by his neck as he encircled his arms around your waist, giving you a small spin.
"Congratulations! You did so great out there!" He excitedly said in a hushed tone and you giggled in joy, kissing him on the cheek.
"Thank you, I wouldn't have survived all of it without you." You shot back, and it was his turn to shower your face with adoring kisses as his hands mindlessly lingered along your frame.
They were innocent touches, really, but his hands felt warm—too warm—and it left a trail of blazing sensation that send shivers down your spine. You buried your head on the crook of his neck shyly and you felt his chest vibrate with a deep chuckle.
"You know your fans would be surprised if they see their ice princess leader become a blushing mess like this." He chided, thoroughly amused in the contrast between your fierce stage persona and your shy self whenever he's around. He found it extremely adorable and it melted his heart, he could feel himself get weak in the knees knowing how much effect he has on you— he'll never admit that though. He'd settle on just teasing you about it.
"Jeongin, stop teasing me!" You grumbled into his skin, making him laugh further. You felt his touch wander more, this time with an ulterior motive.
"I love how you're so submissive for me." His voice dropped to a low tone as he stared at you with immense fervor in his half-lidded eyes, his face inches away from yours as he whispered sweet nothings near your lips, hot breath fanning your face. "All for me."
You didn't respond, instead, you let him connect his lips on yours, sharing a passionate kiss in the dark closet unbeknownst to the people outside. Deep down you knew that this wouldn't be the last time you'd share such a moment in a music bank building supply closet.
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the study of relationships.
summary — college team's volleyball captain and your roommate-cum-best friend, hwang hyunjin argues with you over guys being better than girls in relationships to help you out of one. or in which hyunjin is in love with you for years now and he finally decides that maybe he doesn't want that best friend tag anymore.
pairing — hwang hyunjin x reader, ft. minho
genre — fluff, angst | volleyball!au, f2l!au, roommates!au
rating — nc-17
word count — 15k words
note — kinda excited to post this very long plotted fic on here because first long fic for skz !!! this fic is brought to you by hq, hyunjin's long blond hair and b me mv that we never got. please please do send me constructive criticism so that i can improve on my writing for this community. happy reading!
"Whoa, whoa, whoa."
Your best friend, Hwang Hyunjin yells at the top of his voice, pitch lower in precision as you open the door and slam it shut forcefully, the sound loud enough to bounce to him clearly. Your feet storm hard against the wooden flooring of your apartment, sound bouncing off from that again and Hyunjin pauses his video game to look at you.
It's a familiar sight. Hyunjin sighs.
"Hey," he tries catching your attention but he fails. You storm into your room, hair flailing behind you in your anger, eyes blurry with the angst you feel that wraps slowly around your heart. You walk into the room and slam the door shut, so loud that a chip of wood breaks from the top of the door and falls down.
"Jesus Christ! Y/N—" Hyunjin yells to no one in particular. However, he drops his controller to the side of the couch and jumps to his feet only after pausing his game. He takes big strides to your room and in high contrast to his rash movements, his knocking on your door is very gentle.
"Can I come in?" He asks, scratching the door absentmindedly. He presses his ear and head against the door to hear a response but all he hears are your soft cries and it makes him sad.
"Go away, Hyunjin!"
"Y/N, let me in," he stresses, his leg kicking the air slightly, dangling before that. "I—"
"You're going to make fun of me."
"Will not." Hyunjin knows where this stems from and he won't deny. However, at this minute, he just wants to be there for you. Teasing could wait for an hour or so after you've calmed down. "So please?"
You hum and Hyunjin waits for a sign of protest. When he hears none, he takes it as an approval to open the door and the sight before him hurts him ever so slightly.
You are wrapped in a cocoon of your white blanket and your head is buried in the sheets outside, not ready to look up at your best friend. He frowns as he walks towards you, letting himself to sit by your side. He stretches his arm out and stops when you declare,
"I'm a world class dumpee."
"You are," he shrugs, voice tainted with a slight tease and you look up at him, glaring with your red, puffy eyes. You try shoving him but the cocoon you are wrapped in slightly falls forward too in impact. Hyunjin laughs and stretches both his arms forward to prevent you from falling forwards.
You pout, mumbling with a voice that is strained and is your proof of the urge to cry, "You promised you wouldn't."
"I'm your best friend," he shrugs and pushes your body wrapped in the thick blankets backwards, your head hitting against the pillow. A soft whine leaves your lips, followed by an oomph. "You knew I was going to tease you at the very first opportunity."
And then Hyunjin pounces on you, tickling your sides over the covers and your tickle sensitive being rushes in sensation as you laugh your heart out, chest heavy and mind focussing only on your best friend that you forget about the boy who broke up with you an hour back.
"Stop," you laugh. "Hyunjin," you whine. "Stop, you idiot," you laugh again. "I'm going to kill you—"
Hyunjin's laughter fills the air along with yours. In your perspective through your watery eyes, you see a boy with no worries and all smiles and you want to be like that. You desperately want to be like that. You push your wrapped body upwards to shove Hyunjin to the side and it works. He laughs, slowly receding with yours and he lets out a loud relieved sigh as he looks at your face with less creases and tears that now fall due to laughter.
"Hey," Hyunjin says and you turn your head to face him. His face is rigid, the childish gleam that he had just a while back long gone.
He sits up, running a hand through his hair and folding his arms soon after. "The guy was a jerk," he tells, helping you up. His hand finds the end of the blanket and unwraps it slowly from your being. "He was a mighty jerk, okay?"
"He is your teammate, Lee Minho," you stare, dead into his eyes and he shrugs.
"I know," he sighs before shrugging, giving you a nonchalant look. "What was it this time? Let me guess, he broke up with you for no reason again."
You hit the blankets that cover your thigh hard and send imaginary daggers in Hyunjin's way, "Yeah! I just don't understand why he'd break up with me."
"Uh, possibly because—"
"Is it because I'm on like close friend terms with everyone in the college volleyball team? I mean, Lee Minho always said dating—"
"Dating you would be hard, Y/N," Hyunjin continues, mocking your ex-boyfriend's voice. "You hang out with so many guys and all your best friends are dudes that it makes me jealous," Hyunjin pauses, placing his hands flat on the bed from behind as he leans back. "Ah, Lee Minho, that bastard. He always did say that to you."
You look down, fidgeting with your fingers and you roar out in anger. Hyunjin looks at you amused until you say, "Why can't guys be more like girls?"
Hyunjin's eyebrow is raised and he laughs mockingly. He lifts his arms from behind, stretches his back before sitting up straight. He kicks his legs and raises it upwards to sit cross legged, looking straight at you and laughs again. "You are totally kidding me, right?"
"No, I'm not, Hyunjin," your eyebrows furrow. "The reason behind most, if not all, break-ups is the guy."
Hyunjin agrees with you deep down. Okay, maybe not completely but at least a ninety percent and that's a good one. However, he knows how competitive you are and if there's something that can get your head out of this post break up blues, it's this.
A competition. And so just to entice you a little, he sneers, "If anything, girls should be more like guys."
"Bitch, no," you laugh, head falling back at the sheer stupidity that rolls out from your best friend's mouth. "Men are so conceited that they had to make a whole word for treating women equal."
"Not all men simp. Plus, it's an AAVE and that people should not use it. In my defense, I've treated you like a guy my whole life," he shrugs. Lies. Lies. Lies he spews out endlessly because at one point, without him even knowing, things did change and he's seen you as a woman; as a woman he now has feelings for.
Hyunjin, to prove his point, hits you on his back like you've seen him do with all his teammates and your torso bends forward from your hips on impact. "See!" He stretches his arms, tattoos on display in the loose half sleeved black top he wears and you wince, stretching your hand back to rub only for Hyunjin to stop laughing quickly and rub your back, mumbling, "Sorry."
"Hyunjin," you shrug, mumbling, trying to guide your best friend. "Don't ever use the not all men tag, please."
He slaps a hand over his mouth, realising his error, again apologising and you stretch your hand forward quickly to protest, "No, no," you tell, "You don't have to apologise. I just hope you know how it sounds."
"I do," he falls back, lying down against your mattress. "I do and I hate that I accidentally said it."
You follow suit, and fall on the bed, hair splaying around, some falling on Hyunjin's face. He groans, moving the hair away and whining, "It got into my mouth, ew." You laugh.
Hyunjin speaks out, staring at the ceiling, "Whose fault is it that a relationship goes astray?"
"Still going to say the men," you look at the same spot he stares at. "They're—"
"It's a war."
"See!" You exclaim. "This is the issue with men. They cut us off all the time."
Hyunjin laughs, hand stretching out to hold your wrist to soothe you down and mumbling another apology, he continues, "This is a battle, Y/N; a battle that's aged long and has never come to a conclusion. The battle—"
"Get to the point."
"Look who cut me off now."
"Anyhow," he continues. "The battle between men and women."
"You definitely sounded like a prepubescent boy there," you look at Hyunjin. His skin is so clear, you notice, making a mental note to steal his skin care products later. He turns a second later to face you and he nods, "Don't care. Definitely going to win this."
"You wish," you let out a condescending laugh. "I'm going to beat your ass, Hyunjin."
"Kinky," he smiles that stupid, toothy grin of his, "I likey."
"You gross pubescent boy," you shove at his arms only for him to quickly hold your hand, interlocking his fingers with yours in the midst of the squabble. You let him, still laughing lightly, lungs light and mind free from all the sad thoughts.
"I see that I've got an upgrade."
You're about to thank Hyunjin for this small gesture that probably seems to be nothing when his phone rings from the other room. The scary unexpected track to Tokyo Ghoul's opening – Unravel – that you can't help but accept that you've grown to like, plays.
He lets go of your hand and jolts upwards, jumping off the bed. A small whine leaves your lips unexpectedly and Hyunjin smiles at that. He pulls up the blankets over your body that he shifted, mumbling, "You should sleep early. You had a tough day."
"No," you whine yet again, "Let's talk more—" His phone rings louder, the scream part of the ringtone jolting you up and your hand falls on your chest in shock. "Hate when your phone does."
"And yet you sing along to it," he sings, humming the tune.
"Pfft," you scoff, holding onto the blanket, scrunching it in your grip. "Go. It's probably about the practise match against Yonsei University."
He hums in agreement, folding the blanket again carefully, right below your neck, his cold hands brushing against your clavicle and the temperature difference runs a shiver down your spine.
Hyunjin switches off the light as he walks out, gently closing the door shut and you watch your best friend throwing a small smile at you before leaving. Did you really deserve all this care? Perhaps not.
Hyunjin, on the other hand, dashes out to get the phone before the caller cuts the call in frustration. He's definitely not spending the money to call back whoever it is. That shit is expensive. He jumps a couple of steps and grabs his phone, accepting the call before looking at the name of the caller.
"Hyunjin…" It's Lee Minho. "Can you come over?"
"I really want to throw a punch at you, you bastard."
And Hyunjin does. Virtually, of course. Over the game they are playing. He couldn't afford to injure a fellow teammate when the preliminaries are right around the corner.
"Bro," Minho sighs. "Can you go easy on me?"
His game character hits Minho's again, the energy bar of the other drastically going down on the screen. Hyunjin can't stop. The frustration that he has pent up over the last hour after seeing you cry and crumble over being dumped by his other friend drives him to the edge and he delivers another punch. Minho's character dramatically collapses as soon as the energy bar is empty and he drops the console by his side, pressing his back against the sofa, arms wrapped against his chest, pouting.
"Go on," Hyunjin glares at him. "You better have a good explanation."
Minho runs a hand through his hair and sitting up straight, turning his torso to face Hyunjin, he tells, "I don't."
"You're lucky that we have a match soon, else you'd be six feet underground," Hyunjin sighs, throwing his hands over his head and folding it behind. "I can't believe you did that to Y/N."
"I fell out of love with her," Minho says. He doesn't dare to look at Hyunjin because he fears if the glares would actually result in him six feet underground. "Can't that be the only reason?"
Hyunjin chuckles, moreso at himself than at his friend, mumbling under his breath so low that Minho thinks it's just him humming, "Is it possible to fall out of love with her?"
He wishes Lee Minho could tell him how.
Hyunjin stands up, patting his denim jeans and looking at Minho, he warns, eyebrows furrowing, "I'll help her out with this. Just don't be a jerk and start dating in like two days."
"I—" Hyunjin glares at him. "Fine."
"Practice at seven," he adds and grabs the key of his motorcycle from the table before him. "Don't be late and act normal around Y/N."
"Fine, sir," Minho rolls his eyes. He won't admit it ever but the man warning him could be the reason for his breakup. That and his insecurity and fear of you cheating on him. But it's mostly Hwang Hyunjin. He knows how he feels even if you didn't.
Hyunjin walks out of Minho's house, closing the door on his way out and getting on his motorcycle, he rides back home to you. Just as he had promised you.
He opens the door to your room as soon as he enters his house, removing his shoes and placing it to the side, only to find his ears listening to the soft snores that let free from your lips. Carefully he walks towards you, his thumb and forefinger holding your chin lightly and tilting your head upwards to help you breathe properly.
He pauses for a minute just to watch you. Your eyebrows that you dislike so much just because according to you, it's not thick enough. He loves it however, even though you would never listen to him. Your eyelashes cast a gentle shadow on your high cheekbones and he gasps because you're so beautiful. You're so near to him and yet so far.
He bends forward, pushes your fringes to the side and places a soft kiss against your forehead, mumbling the words he wishes he could tell you straight up. Even if he did, you'd probably laugh and scoff at him.
"Beautiful girl," his lips graze the skin by your forehead, "You are a fighter. You have always been a fighter. You are stronger than you think. You are braver than you believe. Every challenge that life has thrown at you, you've conquered every obstacle that has been placed in front of you. You've overcome every single one of them. You are unstoppable and unbreakable and right now, you are filled with more faith than you have ever been."
Hyunjin pulls away, softly caressing the hair by the side of your face, "So please believe in yourself. You're worth so much love. So much of it, Y/N."
"The jerseys came!"
Bang Chan screams, a huge grin on his face as he opens the door for you. He runs to Felix and holds onto his shoulders before jumping up and down in joy. He is so delighted. "It looks so good, dude."
Hyunjin smiles, running towards you and helping you with the cardboard box. "It's alright," you mumble. "I'm the manager. It's my job."
"Pfft," he scoffs. "And I'm your best friend. It's my job." He picks the huge box that covers your entire upper half, easily and places it down before the coach and the team.
Jisung rushes to your side, nudging you with his elbow, "We've got a pretty good manager." He bends down and rips open the box, taking his jersey in his hand, "Number 13, bitches. Nothing shows what an amazing libero I am like the number most feared." You laugh.
"Number 10 isn't that bad, I guess." You hear Minho's voice break through the cluster of voices and your movements still. You turn your head to look at the brown haired boy who towers over you, wearing a smile so pretty that your heart still skips a beat.
"Hey, Y/N," he smiles. "Thanks for bringing this over."
"Uh," you fidget with your fingers, averting your gaze everywhere else besides at Minho. "I guess. It's my job, yeah."
Hyunjin notices. He always does. The boy runs towards you with his jersey. Number 1 printed in big behind. The setter brings the jersey so close to your face that it's buried in the fresh opened shirt. "Number 1, of course," he laughs, scrunching the shirt in his hand as he raises both his arms above.
"Oh, shut up, Jinnie," you laugh.
"Yeah, shut up, Jinnie," Jisung echoes. The middle blocker, though not the tallest in stature, is excellent at his position and has the biggest love-hate relationship with your best friend. He folds his arms and mocks Hyunjin.
Hyunjin places his right hand down on Jisung's head, ruffling his hair after pressing down on it. He scolds the older boy, "Don't call me Jinnie. Y/N's the only one who gets to call me that."
"Stop gathering around people," The captain claps his hands together to gather all of your attention. You quickly rush to his side and he smiles at you warmly, before looking at his team and glaring at each of them as they gather around him. "Yonsei University was kind enough to arrange a practice match with us thanks to—"
"Y/N," Jisung shouts, pivoting his arms by their sockets before lifting them both high above his head, cheering for you.
"Don't cut me off, Han," the coach shoots daggers at him, frowning visibly at the disobedience. "One more time and you're running around the gymnasium twenty times."
Jisung groans, only after winking at you. You chuckle under your breath, covering your face with the notepad in your hand. Hyunjin rolls his eyes, nudging Jisung to 'keep it in his pants' in the scariest voice ever. You could feel the dark clouds around Hyunjin, the aura darkening for a split minute before he breaks out into a huge smile as he looks at you.
The coach instructs out commands; strategies to help the team win against Yonsei. Moves that he's studied after watching their matches. You know this because you watched Hyunjin do the same at home. He does it at odd timings though.
You would wake up at three in the morning to grab a glass of water and you'd find your best friend squatting in front of the television as he watches every single one of Yonsei's matches. He wouldn't listen to you telling him to go to sleep because, "Being the captain is hard, Y/N. The whole team's banking on me to set the ball perfectly at the right time. I can't..."
And you understand. You understand the worries that go around in his head, the anxiety of being the best because he's no genius. He got to the top, made a name for him all thanks to his hard work and if he needs to keep it — he won't have it any other way — he swears to god that he would practise and study till he drops dead. Hwang Hyunjin loves volleyball that much.
So, you do what any friend would do.
You would make two cups of coffee, one for him and one for yourself. You sit next to him and watch the match with him. Your head lays back against the soft material of the sofa, just watching Hyunjin's eyes fixed on the screen, studying each movement of every player, gasping occasionally at how the setter of Yonsei's team leans his head back to decoy the opposite team only to dump the ball.
You don't remember much from that night because you fall asleep way too quick in the silence and in the presence of a focussed Hyunjin, your cup of coffee half empty. You don't remember anything from that night besides the fact that you woke up in your bed the next morning, or more like, Hyunjin waking you up the next morning because you overslept. Either ways, you were back in your bed and for that, you were grateful.
And as soon as the coach is done with the instructions, the team members scramble before splitting themselves into two groups, first to do serves and then perfect shots and finally, have a practice match.
You sit next to the coach, watching each and every member. That's what the previous manager told you to do. To observe. That's what the manager must do. To observe so well that you know each member well enough to know how their mind works, how their personalities are and who they truly want to be.
This is exactly why you can't seem to ever hate Lee Minho. Because you've seen him on the court, at his very best.
He's the best darn middle blocker you've ever seen. He doesn't tower that much over people with his height but when he jumps, lifting off his feet, he is as good as a wall cemented and strong before the opponent. He has only got better with every practice match and you realise that he wants to be better. And that's how he truly is. The constant urge to do better than the person he was before and perhaps, to Minho, you are someone he wants to leave behind in the past.
There's no one to blame here and you realise that it's a lot better if you accept the truth before it hurts you more than it should.
But then, in a second, Hyunjin takes your attention away whole heartedly. The boy arches his body so beautifully as he sets the ball for Jisung who slams the ball over the net with such force that leaves you gaping, notebook slamming your thigh. The coach stands up, his heels slamming the ground first before his toes do and he is as stunned as you are, eyes wide.
Funnily, Jisung's surprised too.
"We did it!" He says slowly, his words gradually making sense to him and when it does, he rushes to him, holding his shoulders and jumping ecstatically, "Hwang Hyunjin, we fucking did it!"
"When did you guys practice that?" The coach cuts the commotion short with his question. Hyunjin turns to face him along with Jisung, scratching the back of his head. Jisung is so overjoyed that he rushes to the coach, "Today morning! It sounded delusional but we pulled it off, coach."
You look at Hyunjin, who turns his attention back to you as soon as the coach is scrambling off to tell more instructions to Jisung on how he should time it a little bit earlier to hit it with even more impact. You smile, giving him a thumbs up and Hyunjin laughs, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Are you guys finally dating now that Minho's out of the picture?" Chan nudges Hyunjin. The man stumbles a step forward on impact only to quickly look at the older with eyes so wide that he wonders if it were possible.
"What?" He splutters the words out, voice haphazard after the cough.
"Everyone in the team thinks you guys should," Chan shrugs and Hyunjin's face morphs into that of seriousness almost instantly and shoots the other male with, "Did Minho hear of this?"
"Perhaps," Chan catches the ball Felix throws at him. The coach claps his hands to bring the attention back to him, barking out orders to resume the game. Chan pats Hyunjin's shoulders, "You know what we always tell, Hyunjin, in this sport—"
"Take the shot when you see the opportunity."
"Or someone's going to block again," Chan sniggers and looks at Minho, who was trying his very best to avoid your gaze, "This time round, it could be someone better than our middle blocker."
You're picking up the volleyballs lying around when the guys go to shower and change, dribbling them slightly and smiling to yourself. A figure towers over you as they drop a ball into the huge bucket. You turn around to look up at Minho.
"Can we speak?"
"Do we have more to say?"
"I guess," he shrugs.
"We can still be friends, Minho," you sigh, eyes closed. "I also won't be those annoying types to tell Hyunjin to stay away from you because you broke up with me. You should know better."
"I didn't mean that," Minho looks offended. "I wanted to apologise. I should have tried harder perhaps."
"You should have."
"I know," Minho sucks in his lower lip. "I really should have but you know—"
"Lee Minho," your voice is firm. "I've told you a gazillion times that Hyunjin and I are just friends, Minho. Somehow you made up this sort of weird thing in your head so don't drag me into this mess. This is yours."
Minho scoffs, "You're going to eat your words soon," and picks up another ball. You remember the task you had forgotten in the heat of the moment, rushing to pick up a ball to put it back. The rest of the team is slowly making their way outside.
"I doubt," you sigh, throwing the last ball into the bucket and dusting your hands together. Jisung's darting towards you, hands in the air. Minho moves to the side, gliding against the floor, making way for the shorter man to reach you, bubbling with such enthusiasm you wonder what the cause of it is.
"Felix is treating us!"
Ah, so that's the reason. You smile at Jisung, nodding your approval. You push the bucket to the side of the gymnasium with Minho's help and switch the lights off as the team exits the gymnasium.
"Lee Minho!" You hear a feminine voice through the air, your eyebrows quirking upwards automatically. Hyunjin walks to your side, sighing as he shoves his hands into the pockets of his sports jacket, mumbling so softly that you barely catch it, "I warned that asshole, God damn him."
Minho's face lights up in a way you haven't seen in a while and your heart is heavy. The woman, Irene — you hear Chan shout her name and wave at her — locks her arm with Minho's and walks with him, the man doing nothing to push her away. It shouldn't affect you. Not anymore now that the two of you have broken up and yet it hurts.
Hyunjin quickly pulls you away, preventing your eyes from lingering further even a minute more. His hand holds yours and he drags you to his motorcycle. You look down, biting the insides of your cheeks, alternating between the right and left every time you taste the copper of the blood.
"Your hand is so small," Hyunjin says. "Like look at how it fits into mine," he laughs, lifting your hand upwards as he clasps it tightly. He mumbles, "So small."
You break into a smile, watching Hyunjin tease you, momentarily drifting from the thought that upsets you and it leaves you wondering how Hyunjin does it all the time. He lets go of your hand, ruffling your hair as he bends lightly, "You've got this."
He quickly turns on the heels of his feet, pulling out the keys to his bike and igniting it. You hear Jisung scream from behind, "I thought you were taking me with you!"
Hyunjin screams back, "Carpool with the rest. I'm taking Y/N."
He lifts his leg, straddling the bike as he holds onto the handles, kicking the support free. He turns towards you and tells you to hop on and you do as he says. Your fingers hold his jacket, making sure you're not hugging him from behind. Minho's words run in your head and Hyunjin notices this small gesture of yours but he pays no heed. After all, it's been a while since he realised that what he has with you is better when it's platonic. He is too afraid to lose you.
"Jinnie," you tell him as he starts the motorbike, accelerating behind Jin who leads the way. You hear your best friend scream, "Yeah," through the loud winds that hit you.
You lean forward and speak closer into his ears, your jaw hitting his helmet, "Remember how I said the guys are to be blamed in a relationship."
"Yeah," he hints at you to proceed.
"Here's my first point. Minho back there," you point out. "It was that easy for a guy to move on. That easy," you stress your word. "While I'm here repenting if there was any way to get things back to where it was. However, there's no use in me trying because there's Minho with Irene like our relationship was a thing in the past."
"That doesn't mean he didn't care about you during the relationship. That's how guys are. They give it their everything when they're in the relationship," Hyunjin reasons and you laugh sardonically.
"You're kidding me, right? The girl definitely cares more. It almost seems so easy for the guys to break up and move on. Remember the time when you broke up with Lisa," you speak, raising your tone a little more so that Hyunjin can hear you. The motorcycle moving against the wind causes your hair to touch your mouth and you're spitting hair out facing the side. Hyunjin laughs, his grip on the accelerator tightening as he speeds up just a little bit, causing you to hold onto his jacket pockets a little tighter.
"Bro," Hyunjin mutters when you bring up Lisa. "I cried enough when she broke up with me, okay?"
"You did, for a day or two," you state. "The girl cried her heart out for a whole week. You went partying that Friday with Jisung!"
"Are we now using quantitative measurements to determine how deep our care and love is?" Hyunjin gasps, sounding very offended. "This reminds me why most relationships don't work. Because girls are shallow as fuck."
Hyunjin accelerates, missing sight of the speed breaker in front of him. It hurls you onto his chest, your arms wrapping around his waist to keep you safe. A soft scream leaves your lips as the side of your face buries into his broad back.
"Sorry," Hyunjin apologises quickly. "Didn't see that!" Hyunjin prays that you don't move your arms away but you do and he sighs, face falling. He is glad that you can't see him. Your hand is back to gripping his jacket and head back in this battle of words you're currently having with your best friend.
"It's okay," you tell him. "What's not okay is how you think women are shallow."
"They are!" He takes a turn to the left. Your thigh muscles tighten as it straddles the seat, fingers digging into his side for support. "I mean, let's be real, sweetheart. You take an hour or more to get ready for college."
"Because I want to look presentable!" You hit his broad back and he chuckles.
"Lies! You're shallow!"
"Says the person who walks around shirtless at home and stares at the mirror, lightly touching your abs and saying perfect," you tease and Hyunjin turns to look at you for a minute with his eyes wide before he turns his attention back on the road.
"You saw that?"
"Of course. I see that every day."
"But you're watching the television, how?"
"Reflections," you state.
He's gasping. The motorcycle slows down as it reaches Pizza Alvolo. The pizzeria is adjacent to a pretty park and you can hear the birds chirp lowly right before the sun is ready to set. You jump off the motorcycle, dusting the denims covering your thighs and Hyunjin removes his helmet, hooking it to the handle securely.
The rest of the team are seated in the pizzeria already waiting for the two of you, waving at you as soon as you enter the place. You rush and sit next to Jisung who has been aggravatingly patting the seat next to him. Hyunjin sits opposite to you, next to Chan. He snatches the menu from him and the elder male whines at the behaviour.
You look around and notice that Minho hasn't reached the place yet. Not that it mattered to you. You will slowly learn to stop caring so much for a man and you will soon be able to look at him and think of only the fond memories and nothing more.
Or so you thought.
The minute you see Minho walk into the pizzeria, although not with Irene, you feel the ground slip underneath you. Jisung is nice enough — albeit not knowing of the whole pickle you are in — to hold your wrist and turn your attention towards the stack of pizza boxes that come your way as he gleams, "Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!"
You look away from Minho and toward the direction Jisung points before turning to look at Hyunjin who lets out a loud sigh. You know that he's clutching at his thick thighs, nails digging into it at the sight of your uncomfortability. Hyunjin knows it will take you days to get over this break up, maybe weeks and that as a good best friend, he should wait. He should understand.
But it frustrates him so much. The sight of you being in pain, in hurt because of another man — his other best friend at that — pisses him off way more than he thought it should at first.
Hyunjin quickly takes his phone out and you narrow your eyes at him, mouthing, "Rude. Put it back into your pocket." In a second, your phone dings and you take yours out. Minho sits by Jisung's side in that second, a seat away from you and your heartbeat accelerates. You unlock your phone to see a message from Hyunjin and you lift up your head, raising an eyebrow at him and he eyes at you to open the message.
Jinnie: do you want to leave?
Your eyes widen and your lips part slightly. You don't respond immediately, locking the phone and shoving it back into your pocket. You smile at Hyunjin, trying to signal that you were alright so far. Jisung opens the cardboard boxes of the pizza and squeals. Chan looks at the situation, analysing if it'd be bad for the team on a bigger approach. Hyunjin might be the captain but had it not been for Chan's guidance, the volleyball team would not have lasted a day more with the differences.
Felix announces, "Eat to your heart's merry! I might never treat again." He takes the first bite for courtesy's sake before telling everyone to join in.
The team laughs and Minho smiles, the skin by his eyes wrinkling and your heart stops to remember all the reasons you were so madly in love with this man. It is at this minute you realise it'll take you maybe a little longer than you thought, a little longer than a casual fling and a little lesser than a long term relationship. You should have known this is bound to happen the minute you allowed yourself to let your petty emotions take over.
And maybe, just maybe, it is the fact that you have to pretend to be alright with having Minho around you that makes this heartbreak pain ten times worse.
Surprisingly, Hyunjin already seems to know because he doesn't stop glancing at you after every bite of the slice he has in his hand.
You stretch your arm out to take a slice of the pepperoni pizza on the table at the same time Minho stretches his arms out to take one. Your fingers brush against his and you jolt your hand backwards, mumbling, "Sorry."
Jisung laughs without knowing and teases, "Why would you apologise for brushing your boyfriend's hand?" He takes a bite of his pizza and as soon as he finishes chewing, he continues, "I mean, you guys do nastier stuff and suddenly, you all are prim and proper, Y/N. Love the contrast you exhibit. It's beautiful. You guys could be at it every time I catch you in the gymnasium alone. Also, you're his longest relationship. You should pride yourself—"
Jisung is speaking and you won't look up. Hyunjin has dropped the knife slightly just to try and get him to stop, though in vain and Minho's looking at you. His eyes won't leave your frame and you just want to leave. It is too early for you to be alright with this. Way too early.
"Stop, Jisung," Chan tells him, reading the situation in the room.
"Why?" Jisung's laughing. Felix understands by now, seeing your face hung down and so does the rest of the team besides the man himself. You can't even come to be angry at Jisung because he seems so innocent, unaware of it all.
You spill the beans for your own heart's safety, "Minho broke up with me."
Minho doesn't shift his eyes at anyone else and Hyunjin holds the knife again, a little too tight this time. Jisung's smile turns instantly into a frown and he turns his head to glare at your now ex-boyfriend.
He doesn't bother to filter his words. "Why the fuck did you do that, you arsehole?" Minho turns to look at Jisung for a split second before his eyes are back at yours. You lift your head to lock gaze with him and you feel your chest tighten, eyes water and it hurts.
Everything seems so much more painful.
Chan says once again, his voice firm, ready to not listen to one more word of the conversation, "Stop it, Jisung. Read the room."
You stretch your arm out to have another bite of the pizza and everyone eats in silence. The room is pregnant with the most awkward silence you had been in your whole life. You take your phone out, unlocking it and finally replying to the message.
Jisung puts another slice of pizza onto your plate and you smile at him. Felix tries breaking the uneasy tension by talking about this dude he met in his neighborhood that was kind of cute. After sitting for another two minutes, you push your chair back to Jisung's surprise and stand up. Hyunjin stands up instinctively, his calves pushing his chair back and everyone at the table looks at the two of you.
Jinnie: do you want to leave?
"I just realised I have to do some grocery shopping," you laugh nervously. "There's absolutely nothing back at home. Not that Hyunjin would buy anything and keep, right?"
Hyunjin chuckles and everyone in the room knows quite obviously that you are trying to escape the scene. They are kind enough to let you. Felix asks, spilling the oregano seasonings on top of his pizza slice, "Is Hyunjin going with you?"
"No," you cut your best friend before he can give his approval. "I'll go alone." You stretch your arm out, palm facing upwards, "Keys, please?"
"Don't hurt my baby," Hyunjin's sincerity is voiced and you laugh genuinely. Little did you know he meant both you and his motorbike. He drops the key to his motorbike onto your hand and you do a little cheer. Jisung mumbles, "Cute," before stuffing his face with pizzas.
"Have a good time, guys," you wish them and grab your bag, hanging on the chair. Jisung waves enthusiastically. Felix, Chan and the rest of the team waves too. You smile fondly at your team and walk towards the door only to find Hyunjin following you.
"What do you think you are doing right now, mister?"
"Can't I walk you out at the very least, woman?" Hyunjin gapes in dismay. He pulls open the glass door and you laugh.
"Sure thing," you say and walk towards his motorbike. Hyunjin leaves the door after stepping out, the glass door swinging back to shut itself. You swing your legs over his bike, straddling the automobile and dropping your chest slightly to balance the heavy vehicle.
"You sure you'll be alright?"
"Don't you trust your teaching? You taught me how to ride this thing. Don't worry."
You look over Hyunjin's shoulder to see Minho still looking at you, worry smeared all over his face and you feel your throat constricting again as you do your best to tear your eyes away from him.
Hyunjin takes a step closer, making sure everything's alright with the vehicle so that it doesn't endanger you. He places his hand over your wrist and you look at him in confusion, "Promise me you'll take care of yourself."
"I will," you laugh. "What are you? My daddy?"
Hyunjin stiffens for a minute before he lets go of all the inappropriate thoughts that fill him for a minute there before teasing you, "Do you want me to be your daddy?"
"Nah," you throw your head back. "You aren't that rich enough." You place the helmet over your head and look at him. Hyunjin taps your helmet and hugs you slightly.
"I'll see you at home."
You start the bike on ignition and look over Hyunjin's shoulder one last time to look at Minho, locking gazes with him before you pull yours away from him towards Hyunjin.
You look ahead, the clear road in front of you and turn the accelerator only after telling Hyunjin, giggling slightly,
"Sure thing, Daddy."
Hyunjin, on the other hand, is too caught up in his worry, eyes lingering behind the trailing presence of yours that finally disappears from his sight into a speck that fades away. In any other circumstances, he would have found your petite figure driving the huge motorcycle and you even calling him daddy, although in a teasing tone, insanely hot.
Right now, however, he just hopes you are safe. He wishes he could be by your side at every second.
Gaho's Stay Here blasts on the bluetooth speaker. Hyunjin pulls open the door only to find you lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling with the most emotionless face he has ever seen you with. His eyes dart towards the empty bottles of soju on the small table in the hall.
You sit up, looking at your best friend and your lip pucker out quickly pouting at the sight of him and you stretch your arms out wide, squealing, "Hyunjinnie. You are home."
Hyunjin walks towards you, plopping on the couch and sitting next to you. He quickly lifts his arm up, hand darting back and forth at the air to steer the smell away as he frowns at you, "You reek of liquor, dude."
You quickly hug him, wrapping your arms around his frame from the side and snuggling your face into his shoulder. Hyunjin stiffens under your grip and he looks down at your being with eyes closed and he realises that you might after all just be a small being in need of some loving. He wishes to be the person to do that. Hwang Hyunjin utterly and truly wants to be your person.
Hyunjin takes your phone to stop playing the music — Stay Here that's been currently playing on repeat for the twentieth time straight — and you whine against his skin, tickles running down Hyunjin's spine.
"Don't stop the music," you mumble and Hyunjin looks at you and your figure that hugs him securely, head snuggled by his neck, chin digging into the skin by his collarbone and all Hyunjin can focus on is his heart that is beating furiously against his chest.
"Y/N," Hyunjin's voice seems like an anchor to your woozy mind and you hug him tighter, gripping stronger on to his white shirt. You hum in response and Hyunjin continues, "Gaho's music doesn't seem very fitting for the minute."
You pull apart, your face morphing and changing into that of offense as you glare at him, mumbling, "Gaho is the only one that understands me." You play the music again, the bluetooth speakers blasting with the sad slow tune in the air and you feel the want to cry all over again.
You stretch your arm out to take a soju bottle from the table to down it all out when Hyunjin stretches out to stop you, his fingers wrapping around your wrists. He locks his eyes with yours and in the softest, most caring voice you've ever heard from him, he says, "Don't, Y/N. It hurts me too."
"Can I hold you?"
In a split moment, the room is filled with just the soft beats of Gaho's Start Over playing, your raspy breaths and Hyunjin's lost stare. His grip on your wrist tightens and your mind is far too intoxicated to think if this friendship could be ruined. Your heart is heavy, chest tight and you want someone to free you. Anyone. You are clawing at the imaginary wall all by yourself and anyone could be a help. Anyone that is not Lee Minho.
"Yes," and you fall on Hyunjin at the exact same moment he pulls your hand closer towards him. The timing seems to have lapsed on to each other. Your chest on Hyunjin's, eyes looking up at him as your arms snake slowly over his torso. You snuggle forward, rubbing against his body slightly and Hyunjin sighs.
To Hyunjin, the scene is a lot dramatic just because of the soft music playing and because you are drunk off your head according to him, barely able to make decisions. He just doesn't want to do anything that will make either of your friendships but right now, in this minute with you almost on top of him, locking your eyes in his, your arms around his torso, close enough to feel every part of your being, he wants to be drunk too.
Hyunjin wants to be drunk so that he can make a mistake. Hyunjin wants to be so drunk that he can't think just because he is a coward.
"Do you feel better?" He asks and you snuggle into his chest, burying your face into it as you hold him. Your lonely heart being comforted by just his presence and in the back of your drunk head, you know you feel a little bit more that causes your heart to flutter when Hyunjin cares.
You and Hyunjin are both cowards — two small people in this big world with big emotions unwilling to risk one status for another, over the fear of losing each other.
But Hyunjin wants to risk it tonight. After years of pining, he wants to risk this golden friendship he has shared with you for years now. You are the trigger, however. You lift your face away from his chest and crawl slightly towards him, pushing yourself against him. You look at him, lips pressed together and you stretch your right arm upwards to hold his face in your hand.
"Jinnie," your voice lets out his name in such an airy tone that it seems to disappear away even before it reaches his ear. His eyes are glassy and his heart is in his throat, eager in nothing but anticipation that is risen from all his hoping.
It happens as he has imagined. You lean forward so slowly that he pictures every second vividly and in an instant, your lips are on his. Hyunjin knows it should have felt wrong but God, save him — nothing felt more right than this.
You kiss him and his whole world falls away. It lingers, like a memory that stays behind. Your lips are slow and soft against him, comforting yourself and him in ways that words would never be. Hyunjin's hand slowly lifts up to rest below your ear, his thumb caressing your cheek as your breath mingles only for a split second — one filled with hesitance and uncertainty — before you pull away, looking at your best friend.
It is just a second of a kiss. Something so small and insignificant to seemingly anyone else yet it means the whole world to Hyunjin. It is the whole world to Hyunjin because this is all that is needed to let him astray, hinge released of the stupid restrictions he has made up in his head over you.
Your small kiss is all Hyunjin needs to hold on to because in the next minute, he is pulling you towards him, hands cupping your face tightly and angling it to kiss you, encasing your lower lips in his as he moves against your coral ones. You let out a small gasp and run your fingers down his spine, holding him as close as possible until there is no space left between the two of you and you can feel the beating of his heart against your chest. Loud, clear and unknown to you that it beats for you in this minute.
Hyunjin's lips are slammed against yours, nearly knocking all wind from your lungs and you don't know if it is your feelings or Hyunjin himself. He presses his tongue to the seam of your lips and, the minute you let him in, he delves inside your mouth. Hyunjin kisses you like he thinks it is the last time he will ever be able to have his lips against yours.
Your arms move up his back and tangle around his thick, strong neck. In an instant, you pull away and arch up into his broad chest, moaning in the contact of body heat against your own, before you draw back into his lips. Hyunjin can feel the burn of hard soju in his mouth, thanks to you, and it rolls off your tongue into his, seeping down his throat and he can't hate it. There is a thrill in its own that Hyunjin knows stems from you.
If it was possible, Hyunjin would slow down time.
You pull back eventually only to hug him, humming against his neck, lips pressed against the soft expanse of his skin. Hyunjin's hand is pressed against your back as he pats you in a steady rhythm, instinctively humming to a tune that could calm you.
"Thank you," and he feels your weight fall on to his shoulder as you snuggle closer into his neck, your warm breath fanning against him, sending shivers down his spine. "For everything."
Hyunjin holds you for a while, silence and nothing but your breathing that is soft music to his ears, till he hears your soft snores buzzing against his eardrums and he knows you have fallen asleep in his arms, against his chest.
The next morning, you find yourself magically in your bed, comforter on top of you covering every inch of you, head aching thanks to your reckless drinking last night with no memory of whatsoever that happened. Lightheaded you should have known better.
Hyunjin chooses to be a coward, the morning after.
The greens that cover the campus is the only other thing that keeps you sane in this university. The first being, the volleyball team. However, you don't know anymore if it is still, in the present.
You sit on the same bench before a beautiful fountain with a tiger head right in the centre, watching the vast basketball court. A place that holds way more memories to you now than it did a year before.
You shake your legs, feet pointing forward as you listen to music with about half an hour in your hand to waste before you head down towards the gymnasium to meet with the volleyball team. Besides few people that walk down towards their classes, the campus looks pretty stranded as you watch every single person stay happy in their sphere.
"Y/N," you hear your name being called out through yet another one of Gaho's songs and you lift your head up, to look at the person by your side, standing and providing you the shade they probably didn't intend to.
It's the man himself, the one who broke your heart for an explanation that made no sense to you. Lee Minho.
He stands tall, towering over you and your neck aches from looking up at him that you decide to stand up, removing the earbuds and placing it on the wooden bench, next to your phone.
"You're here." You gulp. "Aren't you supposed to be headed to the gym for practice?"
The fountain is everything you associate Minho with — moreover, it is perhaps the relationship with him that you associated the beautiful water fountain with. To see the very same man before you right now is needless to say surprising.
"I could ask you the same thing," Minho chuckles. He takes out a small cone of butterscotch ice cream and extends his arm, offering it to you. You smile softly, thanking him, sitting down back on the bench. "Can I sit here?" He asks and you nod, unwrapping the wrapping paper around the ice cream.
"Yeah," you tap on the seat by your side. You take a bite of your ice cream and Minho visibly flinches, mumbling, "Still the same."
"You broke up with me like two days back. What did you expect? A nirvana attained me?" You scoff. You take another bite of the ice cream, the sensitivity hitting your teeth and you hiss.
"Brutal," Minho chuckles darkly. You scoff, turning your head away and taking another bite of your ice cream. Minho opens his ice cream and you raise an eyebrow at him, mumbling, "You don't eat ice cream though."
"Thought you might want another one," he smiles and the thought of a second ice cream lights you up. "There you go smiling like a dork as always at the thought of it." Minho laughs and you bend forward to take it, your left arm stretching forward. Minho tugs it backwards and your body moves a little more to grab at it until it's too far for you, bringing you to your present position.
Your hand is on Minho's chest, his eyes locked in yours and you are surprised. This is not in your to do list and yet with Minho's grip on your wrist, you drop your ice cream as soon as he edges closer. His face is so close that you can see the perfect plump lips pout slightly, his face glistening in the bright sun and you gasp softly. It has been a while since he has been this close and he still makes your heart go livid within you, beating crazy.
He drops his ice cream in a second, his hands pressing forward to cup your face and pull you into him to kiss the living hell out of you. Your eyes widen, arms falling limp on either side as you stiffen.
"Can I try something?" He hesitates, iron grip on you.
"Try?" You look worried and the next minute, Minho is kissing you, his plump lips on yours for a while before he moves them against yours, taking hold of your lower lip.
It is an instinct. You choose to blame it rather on instincts. Your hand moves to grab the linen draping his arm as you hold it and kiss Minho back. It is as bitter as coffee thanks to all the memories that go along with it and yet — you find yourself drowning. You find yourself wanting more. You find yourself hoping if Minho could stay, if Minho could just pretend to love you, if not.
And it breaks your heart.
All over again.
A lone tear leaves your eyes and then another, till you are crying as you kiss him. A wet messy affair at its finest. Minho pulls back in surprise feeling the wetness against his skin. He cups your face and holds you, looking at you to check for damage — little does he know of the emotional one. Or maybe he does and he chooses to ignore. Typical Lee Minho.
"Did I hurt you?"
Your emotions take over, sanity pushed to the back. You are pulling yourself from Minho as he tries to hold you to calm you down. Your fist plummets down onto his hard chest once and then, for the second time till you are hitting him over and over again till you completely break down in front of him. Minho quickly pulls you into a hug, holding you close till you completely soak his white shirt with your tears.
"I hate you, I hate you, I hate you—" It's a repeated chant. Over and over again till you don't remember how many times you told Minho the same thing. Your mind goes insane with the overdrive of emotions. Did you like Minho still? You don't know. You don't know whether it's the familiarity of his hugs or his kisses or his whole presence that you crave or if it's his love.
"I'm sorry," he whispers and you accept because it's the first time an apology from Lee Minho sounded this sincere. "I'm sorry for breaking your heart." He snuggles into the crook of your neck, swallowed by guilt. Perhaps this is why one should never date their friends; because you lose something much greater.
"I hate you more now for kissing me here," you manage to say, throat rasp from the crying. "How could you stain this memory too? How dare you stain the memory of the location of our first kiss? It was supposed to be a bittersweet memory when I sit here and think." Minho is still hugging you.
It is still bittersweet in a new way, you realise — the fact that Lee Minho kisses you for the last time, you swear to God, in the very same place he kissed you for the first time. The weather changed, the people around changed and the emotions changed. Even after all that, the fountain stays proud and mighty and bears witness to more new relationships and new heartbreaks. Nothing changes besides you. Nothing changes besides what we want.
You pull away from him. Sitting straight, facing the vast basketball court and the juniors playing the game, you make a decision, firm and determined. The soft pink petals fall down from the cherry blossom trees over the two of you and Minho looks at you, and then at the spilled ice cream. To see the boughs that were so bereft in the snow become so beautifully adorned should lift your spirits infinitely and it does slightly. Their scents diffuse in the warming breeze and you hold your head high to savour it.
"Let's stay away from each other for a while."
Minho's eyes shoot up, head lifting up to face you. He does not refute. After all, he knows he has to take a step behind after breaking your heart. What he does not understand is how the two of you could stay away from each other when your friend circles overlap to a large extent.
"How?" He finally asks. "How do I help you with that?"
"By doing just that. Give me space and time to get over you. I'll come back asking for your hand in friendship again," you smile. Your tear stained visage and the difficult smile you put forth is a funny combination but you manage to pull it off well, you'd say. "You don't have to take the first step this time. Let me do this on my own, Minho."
You stand up on your own, grabbing your earphones and your phone. Minho stands up, following suit and asks, "Are you leaving?"
"Yes," you turn only to look at him as you walk backwards. "And you have to head for practice. So get going. I won't have you mess up your performance by all means." You turn back and move ahead. From everything.
"You know I wouldn't," Minho screams back and the last syllable ends with a laugh. You lift your hand to wave and you leave, far, far away from him.
You now have an open wound to stitch back and you know you have to do it on your own.
Hyunjin's phone rings right when he decides to serve the ball. He drops the ball in surprise, the sphere rolling all the way to where his phone is placed. Chan groans, stopping his pace at the sound of the phone ringing, and yells, "Yah! Hyunjin, how many times should I tell you to switch off your phone?"
Felix walks in exactly at that minute, laughing, "Anyone from outside would totally think Chan's the captain!"
Hyunjin runs to his phone, his blond hair strands falling forward, ponytail swinging left and right. Felix laughs at the sight, walking towards the ball and picking it up before throwing it at Chan who catches it swiftly. Hyunjin sees your name on the phone, eyes lighting up instantly and a smile prominent only for Chan to announce, "It's Y/N."
"Of course, it is," Felix scoffs. "Where's the rest of the guys? I thought you said we were to come early—" Felix pauses, eyes widening and gasping, "Hold up! Y/N is late. Whoa!"
"They are probably running towards the gym right now," Hyunjin says before picking up the call. He mouths to the rest, "It'll be short, I promise," and pouts. Chan sighs, only to smile and wave his hand at him to take the call.
"Y/N," Hyunjin cheers up instantly. "Where are—" He hears a choked sob from the other hand and Hyunjin stiffens, face losing the smiling in a second. "Are you alright?"
"I am," you strain it out. You barely manage through with the chokes and that pain that ripples through in waves but you eventually find the words to tell him, "I won't make it to practice today. Yeah?"
"Where are you?"
Hyunjin is angry and he doesn't even know who it is aimed at. He is just beyond mad at the fact that you are crying and someone made you cry. The thought of the skin by your eyes aching and eyes red and burning over anyone made him so angry that he could punch a wall through.
"I'm not telling you," he hears you say and he clenches his fist.
"Stop being a brat, Y/N," he stresses and Chan gestures at him, asking if there was something wrong. Hyunjin nods. "Where are you?"
"Leave me alone, Jinnie," you tell him through the phone, "Please," and his eyes widen before he calms himself down, realising that you are trying to cope all alone, a pathetic self-destructive quirk of yours that he had learned to live with after all these years. He gulps and realises you truly needed time alone and he hums in approval.
"Please reach out to me when you need me," he begs. "Please, Y/N."
Felix and Chan are staring at Hyunjin in worry when the door to the gymnasium opens and Jisung rushes into the room. He is panting and he looks around, searching for someone. Hyunjin turns away, his attention back on the call in his hands and he ends the call quickly, making a note in his mind to check up on you after practise. Not that you would let him miss practise. (Not that Hyunjin would do it to himself in the first place. He'd kill for volleyball.)
He walks towards the rest when Minho walks in, black duffel bag on his shoulder. Jisung is quick on his feet as he runs towards the other man, hands on his shoulders and he shakes the living hell out of him.
"He's gone crazy, dude," Felix mumbles and Chan laughs.
Hyunjin stays at a comfortable distance still, looking at his phone in worry every now and then. The man lifts his head and brings his attention back to the present only when he hears your name leave Jisung's mouth.
"Whoa, dude. You got back together with Y/N?"
"What?" Chan is the first to respond. "You did what?"
"I didn't get back together with her," Minho says, his voice is monotone and lacks anything more than nonchalance and it pisses the hell out of Hyunjin who has his fists still clenched tightly.
"I saw you kissing her but. . ." Jisung drops the bomb all at once in such a lost way that he doesn't realise the impact it was to have in this large gymnasium.
Hyunjin is charging forwards all at once, yelling, "You bastard," as he throws a punch at Minho. The blond dyed man is quick to put two and two together and realise that you are after all, crying because of the black haired man before him.
He pushes him back, Minho hitting the floor and Hyunjin's on top of him, punching him with his clenched fist, mind void and painted in hot red anger. Minho has his arms, blocking his punches and chooses to play on the defensive side.
In fear, we are all monsters. Hyunjin believes that he would be afraid of himself had he astral projected and looked at himself in this minute, all unhinged because of one girl — one girl he would set the world on fire for.
All that rage comes out faster than magma for Hyunjin and is just as destructive. More so because he's the captain. It consumes all that he is, so delicate under that carefully ordered world and carefully put up feign that he is alright with Minho breaking the heart of the girl he loves. Minho shrivels before him but Hyunjin does not stop. He relentlessly keeps going, stopping short of physical violence but doing far more damage with the words that he throws.
Chan tries to pull Hyunjin away as Jisung drags Minho from underneath him. The black haired man is left with bruises and a busted lip. On the other hand, Hyunjin is still fuming, along with Chan, sporting a few cuts from Minho who decided to throw a few punches in the last moment.
"Can you all stop?" Felix sighs.
"Why would you bastard make her cry again?" Hyunjin raises his voice. He's yelling at this point, loud enough for everyone passing by the gymnasium to hear. "Why the fuck would you make Y/N cry again? I told you to leave her alone!"
"This wouldn't have happened if things went different—" Hyunjin tries to rush forward to hit him again upon hearing his words, but Chan and Changbin, another teammate, have a strong grip on him. His blond ponytail lashes in anger and he fights against the two, trying to let go of himself. Minho yells back, "I would have never broken up with her if you never liked her, Hyunjin."
"What?" He stops still in his tracks, limbs falling and Chan lets go.
"How am I supposed to think it's alright for you to randomly stare at my girlfriend with heart eyes? For fuck's sake, you guys hug way more than I hug her," Minho glares, chest rising up as he vents everything he has bottled up so far. "If you had always liked her, you should have told me! I shouldn't have overheard it from Chan telling you to ask her out." Chan's face pales visibly. "I would have tried making her stay. I would have made her stay. I would have," Minho's voice lowers. "I still did, but I was too late."
Hyunjin has no words to refute. His eyes widen and his heart is in his throat, barely being able to say, "You could have taken it out on me. Why would you drag her into this? She loved you. She still wavers because of you. Your faithless love was the only hoax she was forced to believe."
Jisung pouts in awe at the words Hyunjin spills and Minho mumbles, "I don't know. I couldn't think straight."
Felix drops the ball with force, suddenly. The ball squelches before raising high and hitting the wall with impact. He folds his arms and speaks up, "Stop acting like kids." He points at Minho. "You, stop putting the blame of your failed relationship on Hyunjin. Him liking Y/N did not ruin your relationship. You killed it yourself."
"I liked her even before you made a move on her. Nothing has changed, Minho," Hyunjin inhales sharply.
"It's because you're a coward, you arsehole."
Hyunjin closes his eyes, looking away, mumbling, "Not going to even bother denying that. I'd be dating her if I wasn't this scared of losing her."
Felix proceeds to point at Hyunjin, glaring sharply at him, "You call yourself a captain? We have a match in a few days and you decide to lose control and beat up your teammate? One of the best middle blockers out there! What in the world are you thinking, Hyunjin? Jesus Christ, when Y/N hears of this, she's going to beat you up so bad for doing this to him in the name of the team."
Hyunjin doesn't dare to look up at Felix, shuffling the balance of his body from one feet to another. He is embarrassed. He should have never let his emotions take control of his body and yet he did.
Chan walks towards Felix before announcing, "We'll start practice in five. I want the two of you to sort this out by the end of this day. If you haven't, I don't want either of you coming to practice tomorrow."
"I'm the setter!" Hyunjin protests.
"Jeongin can do a darn good job too, so shut up and listen to me well."
"Now," Felix claps his hand, smiling once again brightly before running to pick up the ball. "Let's practice like the perfect team we are!"
"And like I couldn't stop myself. It's like something dragged me to move forward and the next thing I knew, I was on top of Minho—"
"Fuck, that'd be hot."
"Y/N, focus. And like I was beating the crap out of him."
You dab an alcoholic swab over the small wounds on his face as he seethes in pain and you sneer, "Deserved it."
"Ouch," Hyunjin fakes offense. "Side with me at least now. You aren't dating him anymore." You stop, your hand midair and you dab constantly over his wounds till Hyunjins screaming, "Ow, ow, ow. I'm sorry," and holds your wrist and pulls it away.
"But you messed up your team dynamics just because of your anger," you frown. "You and Minho better sort it out quickly, Jinnie. Else, I swear to God." You glare at him.
"What will you do?" Hyunjin laughs, scrunching his nose and teasing you. You place the bandaids over the wounds and raise an eyebrow. Hyunjin prompts, "Bite me?"
"I will," you warn and Hyunjin scoffs, "As if."
You bite him. His shoulder, to be exact. Your teeth hold onto his socket for a good one minute tightly till he is yelping, hitting your back to let go of him as he hisses in pain. You let go of him and narrow your eyes at him. Hyunjin is shocked. So shocked that he blankly stares at you with his mouth wide open.
"Are you a dog?"
"I could be one if you taunt me too much."
"Wow," he blinks and you poke the insides of your cheek with your tongue. "Wow, you're truly one of a kind." And Hyunjin breaks down laughing, holding his shoulder with his hand and bending forward overcome by intense laughter.
"Buy me mint choco," he prompts. "Because now you injured me and I want compensation."
Hyunjin pushes himself forward, edging closer to you, looking you in your eyes before saying, "You know you have to," in a low guttural tone that your heart does a whole somersault, triple axle and then lands with an ovation. "You hurt me."
You push him away and you leap onto your feet, your eyes wide and your hand over your chest. Hyunjin looks at you with a raised eyebrow. To change the mood of the situation, you quickly announce, "Fine. You'll get mint chocolate only if you get ready and come out in five minutes. Else you pay for it on your own."
Hyunjin stands up and holding your wrist, he pulls you with him to the door. You look at him in utter confusion and ask, "What are you doing?"
Hyunjin stops in his tracks and turns to look at you, blond strands leaving his ponytail to cover his eyes slightly and pink lips so plump that you wonder how they feel. The realisation that you have started viewing your best friend as someone more than just that hits you and you look down instantly. When did this happen?
"I'll just wear a coat and so should you," Hyunjin laughs. "Ice cream can't wait."
People think of laughing as a noise that comes from the mouth more often than not, but when Hyunjin laughed it was nothing like that. The laugh is in his eyes, in the way his face changes into that vision of relaxed joy and unrestrained mirth. And yet, in all honesty, it is not in his face either. His laugh comes from within, it is just the way he is wired with the instant ability to comfort someone. Just the sound of his gales, his snickers, his giggles, was enough to transport you far away from all your worries and the tension your life has in the minute.
Enough to make you forget that you have to tell him today about the decision you have taken.
Hyunjin and you walk down the stairs and off onto the road in five minutes as planned. The cool air of the night hits you and you hold yourself closer, the long coat held tightly to your body surface. Hyunjin laughs before wrapping his arm around your shoulder and pulling you close by just a little bit and yet enough to share his body warmth.
"Mint choco, here we come!" And he runs with you.
The thing with your stupid heart is that you don't understand why it is beating so rapidly in this moment, your heart beat easily jumping to more than 95bpm and all because Hyunjin holds you. You look at the man by your side, his blond hair moving with the air, exposing his face and you wonder — had Hwang Hyunjin always been this beautiful?
You have known Hyunjin for a long time now. Too long for you to realise that your heart had a change in its plans for emotions recently. You have known Hyunjin way too long to know that you want him for a lifetime by your side, as a best friend at the very least and the thought that if you did act upon your new emotions that you have just discovered in this cold, breezy night, you are screwed.
Hyunjin turns to look back at you after hearing absolutely no sound from you. His face pales when he realises you are looking far ahead and he wonders if you do remember now. If you remember the drunk night.
So he asks to put himself at ease, "Y/N?"
"Huh?" You jolt up to consciousness, looking properly at Hyunjin. "Yeah?"
"Do you remember the night a few days back?"
"Night? Few days back?" You ponder. "When I was drunk?"
"Yeah," Hyunjin mumbles and you raise your body in anticipation, finally wanting to ask about the magical teleportation.
"Now that we are on this topic," you fold your arms and raise your eyebrows at your best friend. Hyunjin shuffles his balance from his left to his right. "Did you carry me to bed that night?"
Hyunjin chokes on air, sputtering out incoherent words before finally forming one proper sentence, "You knew?"
"You're the only other person I live with and I don't have any recollection of going to bed so like I presumed," you look down, heat rising to your cheek and you fidget with your fingers. "That you carried me to bed."
"That's all that you remember?"
You lift your head up, lips pursed and eyebrows furrowed, "Is there more?"
"Uh," Hyunjin turns back to face forward, his broad back in your vision again as he walks forward to the ice cream parlour by the junction.
"Hyunjin?" He walks quicker. "Yah! Hwang Hyunjin!" You follow him with quick, short strides, almost jogging up to him. "What did I do, Jinnie?" He opens the glass door to the ice cream parlour. "Yah, Hwang Hyunjin, tell me no matter how embarrassing it is." You follow him into the white aesthetically pretty place.
You finally catch hold of his coat and tug at it. Hyunjin turns, his cheeks flushed and you wonder what in the world happened that night. Yes, you have vague memories of hugging Hyunjin and passing out, but for him to act like this — wait, you didn't empty your stomach out on him, did you?
"Did I—" Hyunjin's eyes widens. He turns back, his attention on the man behind the counter and he points towards you.
"Okay," the man nods and turns to look at you, waiting for your order. You sigh, glaring at your best friend before ordering one quantity of mint chocolate ice cream. Your eyes waver to the green ice cream and you frown in displeasure, something Hyunjin catches sight of your expression.
"How dare you?" He folds his arms, dramatically. "The only people that matter in this world are the one that like mint chocolate." The man at the counter smiles at the two of you.
You open your mouth, clicking your tongue, "I'm not paying money to eat toothpaste."
The man behind the counter laughs out loud and Hyunjin glares at him, scoffing. He takes the ice cream from his hand and waits for you to pay. The tall man looks at the two of you, again, before finally telling, "Good luck on your relationship. It's always fun to see couples have an argument over mint chocolate and still be so in love with each other." He turns to look at Hyunjin only, "For your information, I like mint chocolate."
Both Hyunjin and you look at each other, either of you waiting for the other person to disagree with the man but there is just silence. You can feel Hyunjin looking at you through the corners, waiting for you to refute like you always do. You don't and you do not even know why. The heat builds up beneath the apples of your cheek and the thought of being in a relationship with your best friend strangely brings about a wave of calmness within you, doing its best to shove the uncertainty of so many things away.
"Thank you for the ice cream," you say and walk to an empty table. Hyunjin thanks the man too, and follows you, sitting on the seat opposite to you and places the mint chocolate in between.
He watches you, unsure of the situation and you bite your lower lip nervously before shoving the cup closer to him and mumbling, "Eat. We came all the way here for you."
"You should have gotten another ice cream," Hyunjin frowns.
"It's past nine," you laugh, your hair falling over the chair as you lean back. "I can't let fat into my body after nine. You know that."
"Why do I know you?" Hyunjin puts his hand on his forehead looking at you and then he pushes the cup of ice cream towards your side. "Disappointment." You look at your best friend, disgusted and he won't take the disrespect though.
"It's a refreshing taste," he digs in and takes a big bite. "Plus, it's the right balance." He lifts the spoon with a small amount of the mint ice cream and shoves it right in front of your face. "The perfect amount of mint, chocolate and milk to make the world's most perfect ice cream."
You push his hand away and glare, "Why would you ruin two beautiful sweets," you raise an eyebrow, "Chocolate and ice cream by including," you fake a gag, "Mint?"
"Because mint balances the sweetness of the chocolate," he scoffs. "All you mediocre people won't understand. Mint chocolate was created for the elite class."
"Did you just call me mediocre?" your jaw drops and Hyunjin laughs. It's soft, airy and so carefree that you don't mind the fact that he is laughing at you and not with you. You don't mind one bit when you break down and laugh with him, unable to keep your face straight as you lean forward on the table, your head resting on your hands and you watch Hyunjin.
You decide to tell him of your decision in this minute.
"I'm going to make Seungmin manage the team," you tell Hyunjin and he stares at you, the spoon dropping from his hand and clattering against the glass rim of the ice cream cup. You continue, "He's always wanted to manage the volleyball team and I thought I should let him—"
"Why?" He sounds hurt. Disappointed, in fact and your heart plummets down.
"I thought it's time to move on."
"From the team or Minho?"
"Minho," you say, nibbling on your lower teeth. "I want to go back to him—"
"What?" Hyunjin feels his heart sink.
"Don't cut me off, hoe," you click your tongue. "I want to go back to him and be his friend. I'm not ready to ruin a friendship over this. I just won't."
Hyunjin looks down at his cup of ice cream. His spoon digs into the cold dessert over and over again till he realises that he'll do what he has always done for you — be right by your side as your pillar.
"Feed me," Hyunjin prompts and you stare at him with a void expression, mouth still open, wondering if he suggested this only and only to change the topic. Hyunjin stretches his arm out to shut your mouth. "People are going to think I'm starving you here."
"Whoa." You lift your head up. "And if I do that, people are going to think we're possibly the cutest couple out there still in our glorious honeymoon phase of it."
"Okay," Hyunjin shrugs and leans back against the chair, folding his arms against each other.
"Yeah, I'm fine with that."
You sit up straight and look down before finally saying, "Don't say that."
"Those words that make my heart flutter. I don't know what to feel, Hyunjin." Hyunjin is too stunned to react and whine over the fact that you called him properly by his name in your conversation. The fact that he too can cause your heart to race a little bit just like you have with his all these years. "Don't say them to me if you won't ever be ready to take responsibility over them."
You place your thumb and forefinger on your forehead, squeezing the skin slightly to calm the slight ache you can feel, the vein throbbing slightly and you know it is your anxiety that kicks in because you almost spilled everything out. You quickly stand up and holding your coat tightly, you look at Hyunjin who is still seated and looking at you intently.
"I need to go to the pharmacy next door. I'll wait for you there. Finish your ice cream and come."
You don't turn to look at Hyunjin as you walk out, slightly embarrassed by your own behaviour. Between you and Hyunjin, you are the one who had to keep your cool, making sure you didn't slip up or make a mess so that you could at least have time to clean his spilt milk.
You push the door of the ice cream parlour and walk out, the doorbell ringing at your push and you hold yourself in the cold breeze. If Hyunjin did not respond to it, it is only safe to presume that he feels nothing more towards you. You could at least put two and two together. Or so you thought till Hyunjin is chasing after you, big strides and dark blond hair in the wind as his rubber band comes loose and slides off a bit.
"Y/N!" He shouts and quickly holds your wrist, pulling you so quickly that you stumble forward into him. Hyunjin grips your arms to steady you and he looks at you, his brown eyes trying to peep into your soul. He smiles, hand running through his hair only to bring more strands forward, covering his vision.
Falling in love with Hwang Hyunjin, you realise, is the easy part. He makes it so easy to fall for him — when he smiles at the sun, covering his eyes or when he is covered by the dogs in dog parks all eager to hug him because that's how he just is. You don't even realise when you fall for Hyunjin but when you do, you know you are already sinking and you are far too gone for saving.
It is, however, admitting to yourself that you fell for your best friend that is hard. The Hwang Hyunjin that you have seen since the five year old boy moved next door to you. The Hwang Hyunjin that would cross dress in your clothes. The Hwang Hyunjin that would steal your dumplings. It is the same Hwang Hyunjin that you fall for. You had all these doors with specifications that opened to only men like Lee Minho and yet like the rude asshole that you oh so adorably love he seemed to tear them down. Or perhaps those doors were meant for others and Hyunjin always had a door of his own for your heart.
You should have asked yourself why but would it have really mattered? You're here with Hyunjin by your side, whether he knows your feelings or not and you couldn't be any less glad, even if you are sometimes hiding, imagining a distance instead of seeing Hyunjin right there.
"I'll come back, Jinnie," you tell him, looking up at him and coughing slightly, trying to move back slightly to put some space between the two of you. "I'm not running away. I just need to buy some strips of paraceta—"
"I want to be responsible for them," His gaze doesn't leave yours. "I want to be responsible for you, your emotions and everything you are, if you let me."
You wouldn't dare to shift your eyes away, or focus on anything else. Just Hyunjin. Just your Hyunjin. Your heart beats so fast against your chest that you wonder if it ever had this much for any man or woman. And when Hyunjin pulls you into him, his arms wrapping around your frame, hand flat against your head that buries your face into his chest, you learn that Hwang Hyunjin's heartbeat is always your metronome — the beat your entire life seemed to have moved smoothly to.
You giggle against his chest, breaking into a smile, "Are you asking me out, Jinnie?"
"I guess," he chuckles into your hair, snuggling himself into you. He pulls you back to explain. "My original plan was to ask you out after the practice match that I'll make sure we win, but you could possibly not be there as our manager and what if I miss the chance?"
"You lovesick boy," you laugh, smiling stupidly at him. Hyunjin cups your face and presses his forehead against yours.
"I've liked you for so long, Y/N," and you blush, lips pursed and you smile back, heart fluttering.
"Thank you," you press a kiss against his cheek.
"For being you and for always loving me."
Hwang Hyunjin holds your face and kisses like he is capable of getting rid of all your worries, slowly bleeding into your marrows and cells and soaking you of the very essence he is. He holds you like you are a precious being — and to him, you are because he finally has you after all these years; he finally gets to call you his.
His lips are warm and tasted of mint; obviously from the mint chocolate ice cream earlier. His hands are wrapped around your waist and yours are locked around his neck pulling him down slightly. His strands of blond locks brush against your face, ticking you slightly and you giggle into the kiss. He laughs against your lips before kissing you slowly, drawing the kiss for as long as he could. When you break apart for air, you lean forward and rest your forehead against his, gathering some much needed oxygen. His smile tells you everything you need confirmation over and you smile back, sinking into his hold.
Hyunjin hugs with gentle arms that still gives the space to breathe; yet it is the hug of a strong pair of arms that tells everything that you are - every fibre of your being - that he is with you, and you wonder how he is capable of that. How he is capable of holding like you are his whole world — like he rather hold you than anything else.
Hyunjin does exactly that. He holds you tight and close to him in this cold night, ignorant of everything else around the two of you, like you and him only mattered in the place, like you and him are fireworks in this velvet dark, the blaze that dares to light up the night.
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