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The Pretender

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Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


 

“Dammit Kyu! Why do you always mess up the display before I get to it?” Donghae frustratingly yelled at the younger employee in the store.

He slammed his hands on the top of the cabinet to further get his attention. Donghae found himself busy rearranging the display of belt buckles in the glass display below the cash register. He always had to after his coworker Kyuhyun’s shift at the register.

“It’s because I know you hate to clean it up, man.”

Donghae scowled at his coworker and shoved the glasses back up the bridge of his nose. They always slipped down.

“What have I ever done to you?” Donghae asked flabbergasted as the younger man smiled brightly at him from where he was folding shirts.

The boy always managed to sell so many of the gaudy buckles—many more than Donghae ever did—but he never put them back the way they were before. This made more tedious work for Donghae, who would rather be doing anything other than arranging the stupid things. Some had sharp edges that always managed to scratch him.

He despised the stupid things.

“As I'm younger than you, it’s my job to frustrate the crap out of you like a real little brother would.”

Donghae scoffed at the smart ass response though it was unsurprisingly coming from Kyuhyun. He often time seemed much older than Donghae, though he was two years younger.

“Isn’t your shift done yet?”

“In ten minutes. Why? Someone special coming to visit you?” Kyuhyun smartly replied.

“Do you ever say anything without that snide tone?”

“Rarely.” Kyuhyun smiled smugly toward him. Donghae shook his head and chuckled while he returned to fix the belt buckle display.

Both of them worked at a trendy clothing shop in town, The Academy, even though Donghae himself could care less about what he wore. When it came to clothing, all he’s cared about was that it fit and was also comfortable. 

He attends the local all-boys high school where they have to wear uniforms every day, which was why he could never understand why the guys in his school spent so much money at the store. They could only wear these things on the weekend anyway.

Donghae liked to spend his weekends in his pajamas. Even when he had to get dressed up to go out to the market with his mother, he just wore the same jeans and white t-shirt.

Unlike most guys his age who concerned themselves with the latest fitted cap that’s come out or the newest pair of sneakers that have just been released, Donghae couldn't make himself care. 

Like his classmates, he’s worried about what college he’d be attending, especially with only six months of school left. However, the other things they chose to spend their days focusing on seemed ridiculous to Donghae.

While his classmates were busy talking about the latest soccer match or the girls from the local all-girls high school, Donghae spent his time reading up on current affairs and staring at the boy he’d been crushing on since middle school, Eunhyuk.

Eunhyuk was one of the more popular students at school, though he couldn't necessarily be considered the most popular. However, he was often spotted hanging out with the likes of the more popular group.

He didn't possess the unkindness or lack of tact of the popular crowd; he was pleasant enough to most people, though he had never actually acknowledged Donghae. There was one defining moment in middle school and he had once held the bathroom door open for him during their first year in high school.

That was their only real interaction in high school though they’ve shared a classroom for three years. They both even sat in the back of the room with Donghae’s sitting next to an empty window seat. Eunhyuk’s was across the small aisle between the desks, technically next to his.

Donghae had a prime viewing spot of Eunhyuk and he loved it.

Ever since the moment in middle school that sparked his crush, Donghae made it a habit to watch Eunhyuk, not in a creepy stalker way, though Kyuhyun liked to call it that. He often teased Donghae telling him that he was trekking on the road to becoming a full-fledged stalker.

The middle school moment or "the moment” as Donghae was prone to call it was actually the fault of Eunhyuk’s closest friend, Siwon. He had left a bag of snacks in the aisle between the desks.

Donghae hadn’t seen it and tripped over it. He fell right into the back of Eunhyuk’s chair. The boy had just turned around with a smile on his face and asked if Donghae was okay.

When he had nodded his head, Eunhyuk had smiled even brighter revealing a cute, gummy smile that immediately made Donghae’s heart race.

That was the end of the encounter, nothing more, but that was all Donghae had needed to form a monstrous crush on the boy.

Since then, he’d watched the boy, and though they’ve never talked, Eunhyuk had always been cordial with him, unlike some of the people he was surrounded by.

Donghae often found himself daydreaming about Eunhyuk. However, he hadn’t let it affect his schoolwork, though it probably has affected his social life. However, if he were honest with himself, he’d never really had one to begin with.

“Hae! I’m leaving!” Kyuhyun shouted from the front of the store waking Donghae from the daydream he’d been having.

“Okay. See you tomorrow, Kyu.”

The other boy waved happily at Donghae who finally closed the display he had been fixing.

There were only three hours until closing, but they seemed to drag on for Donghae.

Kyu had left the rest of the men’s department organized so all Donghae had to do was deal with customers when they chose to enter and to play with his phone.

However, not even watching videos online made the time go faster.

At one point, he actually contemplated rearranging the belt buckles just to give himself something to do.

Donghae assumed since it was Friday night that most people were out hanging out with friends or on dates. Something his mother wished he would do.

He was tired of having that conversation with his mother. Every weekend, she whined about how he never went out.

Donghae only had to deal with three customers by the time it was time to start readying the shop for closing. He excitedly began to realize that he may be able to close up early since there were only thirty minutes until closing and it had been over an hour since anyone had come in.

However, just as he was about to walk to the back office to ask the store manager for permission, Eunhyuk walked in.

Donghae immediately stopped everything he was doing to the point where he almost dropped his phone on the floor. Luckily, for him and his nearly empty wallet, he caught it before it did. However, his glasses slipped right on to the counter.

“Hello. Are you looking for anything in particular?” Donghae asked after he fumbled putting his glasses back on. He was shocked at the fact that he’d managed to greet Eunhyuk without stuttering though he was more than positive that he looked stupid struggling to put his glasses back on.

Donghae could feel his heart pounding in his ears and he was almost sure that Eunhyuk could probably hear it from where he was standing.

Eunhyuk nodded his head in the form of a greeting.

“Not really,” he responded with a wry smile. “I’ll let you know if anything comes to mind.”

Eunhyuk turned to the t-shirt display and Donghae took a deep breath in. He couldn't believe that they'd actually spoken to each other, albeit two sentences, but they had talked—to each other. 

He stealthily watched as Eunhyuk walked around the store floor. He tried to memorize the way the other boy’s fingers delicately touched each of the t-shirts and the way he smiled when he found something he liked.

Donghae doesn't even get upset at the fact that he’ll have to organize all the shirts since Eunhyuk had made of mess of the displays.

At one moment, Eunhyuk sheepishly looked his way and Donghae pretended to be focusing on something on the cash register. However, his eyes were permanently fixed on the small security camera screen beside the register.

From the screen, he could see that Eunhyuk was staring in his direction.

Donghae refused to look up from the nonsense he was pretending to do with the cash register. He never even contemplated that he’d ever had to deal with this situation.

He had been working at The Academy for over two years and had never run into Eunhyuk.

He believed it would never happen though he had thought about it.

Donghae watched as his crush walked around the whole store. He was carrying a black shirt with something written on it. He was not entirely sure what because Kyuhyun was the one who put up that new display.

He had yet to look up from the cash register; he just watched Eunhyuk from the tiny security TV. On the screen, he caught him looking his way every so often.

Each time he noticed, Donghae’s heart raced.

Since Eunhyuk’s entrance into the store, Donghae’s breathing had become erratic and his heart had been making the notion that it may pop out of his chest. He was also positive that sweat was starting to slide down the nape of his neck into the back of his shirt.

However, he had to look up when he caught Eunhyuk slip the shirt in to his backpack.

Donghae’s heart dropped in disappointment.

He hadn't pegged Eunhyuk for someone who would steal.

“Excuse me,” Donghae whispered from his spot, but the other boy made no indication that he had heard the feeble reprimand. He’d already been making his way toward the exit.

Donghae sighed in anguish as he walked toward Eunhyuk. The other didn't notice the movements.

He didn't want to do this; Donghae didn't want to embarrass his crush, but he knew that his boss would see the missing money during inventory and take the amount out of his already pitiful paycheck.

When he reached Eunhyuk, he tapped him on the shoulder. Eunhyuk definitely felt it.

He yelped in surprise before trying to make a full on break for the front of the store. However, he found himself caught in the labyrinth of clothes racks and gave up as Donghae cornered him next to the changing rooms.

“I’m so—s—s—sorry,” Eunhyuk began to stutter as Donghae stared at him. “Pl—please don’t call the police. I promise I won’t do it again. I’m graduating soon. Please just let me go.”

“I know.” Donghae pushed his glasses up, but they slipped back to the middle of his nose making him tilt his head back to look at his crush.

Eunhyuk was taken aback from the comment.

“Do I know you?” he asked.

“Not really, but we do go to school together. We’re even in the same class,” Donghae remarked, surprising the petty thief who didn't seem to believe him.

Eunhyuk looked carefully at him, letting his eyes roam up and down Donghae’s body.

“Oh yeah. You’re the kid who sits by the window. How are you?” he replied.

Momentarily, Donghae couldn't breathe. Eunhyuk actually seemed to know who he was, but Donghae shook his head. He knew what Eunhyuk was doing; he’d seen him do it hundreds of times since middle school.

Eunhyuk isn’t’ mean, but the man was clever—too clever.

He always managed to talk his way out of sticky situations by beginning friendly enough and talking non-stop until the other person forgot.

“That’s not what’s really important here. Is it?” Donghae steered the conversation back to the original problem.

Eunhyuk pursed his lips and Donghae could tell by the action that his non-response to Eunhyuk’s conversation starter had frustrated him.

Donghae felt slightly victorious but still defeated because he couldn't stop staring at Eunhyuk’s lips. They had always been a favorite of his. He often stared at them when Eunhyuk fell asleep in class. The boy always slept facing toward his desk.

“I swear I can pay for it. Just not right now.”

“I can’t let you leave the store with the shirt. If I do, I’ll get in trouble for letting you go, plus they’ll take it out of my paycheck.”

Eunhyuk sighed in defeat and handed the shirt over to Donghae, who accepted it with a wan smile.

“Are you going to tell your boss?” Eunhyuk asked. He kept wringing his hands and looking down in shame.

Donghae looked toward the manager’s door. The man hadn’t stepped out yet which probably meant he was asleep. It also meant he hadn’t seen what happened.

The moment he realized his manager was clueless to what was going on, an idea popped into Donghae’s head. It was like a light switch had been flipped.

“I have to tell him,” Donghae lied. His manager clearly had no idea what happened so he could let Eunhyuk leave in peace without getting in trouble, but Donghae decided to lie.

He didn't know when he would get a chance to ever make such a proposition. He didn't even know if Eunhyuk would accept it, but he still worked up the nerve to ask because he had nothing to lose and a lot to gain from it.

“I understand,” Eunhyuk whispered.

Donghae felt guilty, but he still decided he needed to do this.

“But—”

“But?” Eunhyuk cut Donghae off. He was excited and the look of hope on his face was doing things to Donghae.

“But I won’t tell him if you do something for me.”

“What? I’ll do anything, I swear. I just can’t get in trouble; my parents will kill me.”

“I want you to pretend to be my boyfriend until one day after graduation,” Donghae proposed causing Eunhyuk to shout.

“What!”

Chapter Text

Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


Eunhyuk’s shout of disbelief made Donghae take a step back and look toward the store manager’s door. There was no way the man hadn't heard that. However, it would be another five minutes until he would come out though; he wasn’t the speediest of people in this kind of situation.

“I want you to pretend to be my boyfriend until one day after graduation,” Donghae repeated the proposition causing Eunhyuk to gasp in disbelief.

“I can’t believe you said it again. What the hell is wrong with you?”

“I think it’s a fair compromise,” Donghae claimed as he waved the black t-shirt in Eunhyuk’s face. “You’re the one who tried to steal this.”

Eunhyuk swatted Donghae’s arm away from his face; there was shame clearly evident on his face.

“I don’t even want the shirt. It’s ugly.”

Donghae looked at Eunhyuk and noticed the other boy was still in his uniform, as well. Much like himself, Eunhyuk’s tie was long gone, but the blue blazer and white button down shirt were still in place, though Eunhyuk had unbuttoned the first three buttons and his khaki slacks were wrinkled.

“So, why did you steal it?” Donghae asked. He watched as Eunhyuk licked his lips and tilted his head to the side. He was clearly frustrated and Donghae was not making it any better.

“It was a stupid bet. I immediately regret it.”

Donghae scoffed in disdain as he flung the shirt on to his shoulder.

“What a stupid reason to steal something!” he quickly criticized.

Eunhyuk closed his eyes and lowered his head.

“Yeah, I’m aware of that. I don’t need you telling me.”

“Clearly you do since none of your friends told you not to do it.”

“They said I was boring and would never do something like steal.”

Donghae shook his head. It was the most ridiculous thing Eunhyuk had said so far. Donghae could only imagine the nonsense he would be doing if he were friends with these people.

“Some friends you got there.”

Eunhyuk’s jaw dropped in exasperation.

“At least I have friends,” he defended himself. It only made Donghae laugh.

This surprised both of them.

Donghae had no idea where his confidence was coming from. It was not that he doesn’t talk like this with his coworkers or even his older brother, but he never thought this was how a conversation with Eunhyuk would be going.

Not at all.

He always imagined it going a lot smoother and nicer than this

“I have friends,” Donghae chuckled haughtily.

Albeit, his only friends were his coworkers and they barely hung out after work, but they were still cordial with each other. The only problem was that they all went to the coed high school instead.

“I’ve never seen you talk with anyone except to answer the teacher’s questions,” Eunhyuk disputed.

Donghae immediately caught on to what was going on.

Eunhyuk was trying to talk his way out of the real situation.

Again.

“They go to different schools,” Donghae contested. “But that’s not what we’re talking about right now. My friends are not the problem here.”

Eunhyuk breathed heavily out of his nostrils as he bit his bottom lip.

It was a nervous tick of his; Donghae knew this. He’d seen him react like this around teachers when he hadn’t done the required assignments.

“It’s just a stupid t-shirt,” Eunhyuk whined in defense, trying to reason with Donghae.

“Granted,” Donghae began, “it’s a stupid and ugly shirt, but it means a lot more to the store than that. It means the store loses money and then I lose money from my paycheck. So no, it’s not just a stupid t-shirt.”

“Look Donghae, I didn’t mean it. Okay? Can’t you just let it go?”

Donghae was taken aback for a moment. He had no idea that Eunhyuk had known his name. They’d gone to school together for years, but had only the one speaking encounter in middle school.

“You know my name?”

“We’ve gone to school together since we were kids. Plus, the teacher says it all the time,” Eunhyuk admitted. “I’d have to be stupid not to know it by now.”

At that moment, Junghoon, the store manager stepped out of his office with a bleary look on his face. He yawned as he spotted Donghae. He knew the manager had been sleeping in his office.

Eunhyuk swallowed loudly in fear. Donghae looked the man over and inwardly high-fived fate for giving him this moment.

“Donghae,” Junghoon called out to him. “What’s going on? Shouldn’t you be cleaning up for closing?”

“I was just de—”

“Helping me pick out a shirt,” Eunhyuk cut him off. Donghae turned to stare at his classmate and give him a ‘what the hell are you talking about’ look or what Kyuhyun referred to as Donghae’s "WTF" face.

“Well, Donghae ring up the t-shirt and then start closing up. Call me in the back when you’re done.”

“Actually—” Donghae started to say, but when Eunhyuk looked at him, he quit speaking. A look in Eunhyuk’s eyes caused Donghae to retreat from tattling on him.

“What?” Junghoon asked.

“Nothing. Never mind.”

Junghoon nodded his head and headed back to his office. In his sleepy state, he ended up knocking over the sunglasses rack.

“Clean that up, will you?” He called out behind him before he finally entered his office. Donghae immediately turned to Eunhyuk.

“You know you have to buy that shirt now. My boss will be looking for it in the receipts.”

Eunhyuk chuckled over-confidently. “He doesn’t look like the sharpest tool in the shed.”

“Don’t be fooled by what you just saw. He’s not as stupid as he appears.”

“Whatever,” Eunhyuk dismissed him. “I’m leaving.”

Donghae was the one to chuckle assuredly this time. It unnerved Eunhyuk and caused him to stop walking toward the entrance.

“You know,” Donghae threatened, “all it would take is me telling the manager to rewind the security tapes to see exactly went down. It’ll take all of two minutes.”

“I’m not going to date you!” Eunhyuk tried to declare it sternly, but there was a warble in his speech that belittled his attempt.

“Pretend to date,” Donghae corrected. “And you are.”

“Have you always been this conniving?” Eunhyuk asked and Donghae shook his head.

“I’m just taking advantage of the situation I never thought I’d be in.”

Eunhyuk slumped his shoulders as he let out a defeated sigh. Donghae felt sorry for his crush for a few moments, but that changed when Eunhyuk shouted.

“This is blackmail!”

“It’s more like community service.”

Eunhyuk stared back in shock after hearing Donghae’s reasoning.

“Have you always been this delusional?”

“You seem to be confusing delusional with opportunist.”

“Why me?” Eunhyuk asked in a whisper. It was clear that he was talking to himself, but Donghae still decided to reply.

“Because you shoplifted.”

Eunhyuk yelled in frustration as he stomped his foot on the floor.

“Thank you for that one, Sherlock. I’m aware of how I got into this situation.”

“No need to be mean,” Donghae argued and Eunhyuk reacted by shoving Donghae backwards.

“Who do the fuck do you think you are?”

“Donghae. We’ve established this.” His answer seemed to incense Eunhyuk further.

It even shocked Donghae momentarily. He had no idea where all the sass had come from, but honestly, Donghae had a handful of school years to build up this much aggression.

“How are you so nonchalant about this? Blackmail is also a crime you know,” Eunhyuk probed as he crossed his arms across his chest.

“True,” Donghae retorted, “but I’m pretty sure stealing warrants more time in jail, especially since blackmail amongst high school students isn’t really up to the level of, let’s say blackmailing a politician.”

“I’m not even gay!” Eunhyuk protested.

Donghae chortled as he started fixing up the knocked over sunglasses display. Eunhyuk followed him over to that side of the store.

“We both know that’s a crock of shit.”

“Excuse me!” Eunhyuk screeched. His eyes were as open as they could be as he looked down at Donghae on the floor.

Donghae looked up at Eunhyuk with a grin on his face. It let Eunhyuk know that he apparently knew something Eunhyuk had been hiding.

“I saw you out on a date in Itaewon last month.”

“I was just having dinner with a friend.”

“Well then, I want to be that kind of friend with you because that kiss I saw was pretty intense.”

Eunhyuk gasped as Donghae stood back up. The look of dread on Eunhyuk’s face made him appear paler than usual.

“None of my friends know. Do you know what you’re asking me to give up?”

Donghae scowled and shook his head. He tsked out loud while placing the sunglasses back in place.

“What kind of friends do you have that they make you shoplift and more importantly, don’t let you be who you are?” Donghae reprimanded. “Why are you so concerned with what they think of you?”

“What teenager doesn’t care about what others think about them?”

Eunhyuk began to help Donghae pick up the sunglasses. He passed up a few to him until they finished the display. The action surprised Donghae.

“I don’t care," he answered honestly.

“So, then why ask me to pretend to be your boyfriend?”

Donghae contemplated on how to answer. He wondered if he should lie and say something about just wanting to get something out of this situation, but he decided to tell the truth.

“Because I like you.”

“What?”

“I. Like. You.” He repeated slowly. “I have for a while. This is also a way to get my mom off my back.”

“Your mom knows that you’re—”

“Gay?” Donghae asked condescendingly. “You know you have to be able to say the word if you ever plan on living with yourself.”

“I can say the word,” Eunhyuk grumbled.

“Then say it.”

“Ga—ga—gay,” he stuttered. The look on Donghae’s face made him feel even more embarrassed.

“Yeah, my mom’s known I’ve liked boys for a long time.”

“What about your dad?” Eunhyuk asked as he followed Donghae around the store floor.

Donghae couldn't help but smile because of it. He wondered if Eunhyuk even realized that it had been over thirty minutes since Donghae propositioned him.

“He passed away a few months ago,” Donghae admitted solemnly. “But he knew.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Eunhyuk repentantly replied. “I didn’t know, but that does explain why you were absent for a week.”

“You noticed I was absent?” This time it was Donghae who was shocked. He didn’t think Eunhyuk actually acknowledged his existence.

“You sit across from me. I’ve seen you looking at me when I’ve woken up from a nap.”

“And you were surprised I said I liked you?”

Eunhyuk chuckled lightly as he leaned against the front counter.

“You’re either really confident or just don’t care.”

Donghae smiled playfully from behind the cash register as he rang up the t-shirt.

“It’s a little of both,” he answered teasingly. “Also, lucky for you, the shirt’s on sale for half-off.”

The change in conversation caught Eunhyuk by surprise. He looked down to where Donghae was gripping the black t-shirt.

“What?”

“You have to pay for the shirt.” Donghae was well aware of what was going on with their conversation; Eunhyuk really did always try to distract people.

“I do—don’t have the money.” Eunhyuk stammered through the confession.

Donghae watched as Eunhyuk wrung his hands in front of him.

“I’ll tell you what,” Donghae started his suggestion, “I’ll pay for the shirt. You can make it part of your every growing tab for not telling the manager.”

Eunhyuk miserably nodded.

“You can bring the damn thing over to your friends, but we still need to talk about what I asked.”

“Do you have a piece of paper?” Eunhyuk asked as he pulled a pen out from his back pocket. Donghae grabbed one of the store’s flyers and turned it over for Eunhyuk to write on.

“That’s my phone number and email address. Call me tomorrow or email me, and we can talk about it.”

Eunhyuk quickly grabbed the shirt and tried to walk to the exit, but Donghae grabbed his arm before he could get anywhere. It caused Eunhyuk to crash back against the display case with belt buckles.

“Do you think I was born yesterday?” Donghae asked while gripping Eunhyuk’s arm tightly. The other boy looked slightly terrified and in pain; Donghae eased the pressure and reached into his pocket with his free hand.

He pulled out his cell phone and dialed the number on the paper. Eunhyuk’s ringtone sounded loudly in the empty store. Donghae immediately let go of the boy when he heard the ringtone.

“Had to make sure it was a real number.”

“I may not be thrilled about this whole situation, but I’m not a liar.”

“Just a thief, then?”

“We’re back to that,” Eunhyuk irritably responded.

“We never left that,” Donghae retorted. “Just remember, that no matter how clever you think you are, I’ll always be two steps ahead of you.”

“You’re a scary dude!” Eunhyuk exclaimed. It made Donghae laugh.

“I’ll email you later.”

Eunhyuk nodded as he headed toward the exit. However, before he left, he turned back around to face Donghae.

“Thanks,” he shouted sincerely. Donghae looked up from the register with a smirk.

“Don’t thank me just yet.”

He waved to Eunhyuk and watched as the boy left with a flustered look on his face.

Chapter Text

Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


After Eunhyuk had left, Donghae stepped from behind the counter and got to work cleaning up the rest of the store for closing.

There was not much for him to do, but he still carefully checked every display and stand to make sure that Junghoon has nothing to complain about the next day.

He started at the front of the store and worked his way toward the back.

When he got to the back of the store, he looked at the display on the register screen and realized that he has yet to fully process the payment for the shirt he let Eunhyuk take.

He shoved his glasses back up the bridge of his nose. The entire time he talked with Eunhyuk, he had let the frames rest at the end of his nose. He found it easier to leave them there since they always fell to that same spot, anyway.

Donghae sucked his teeth in frustration when he saw the price again. The t-shirt was almost fifty thousand won, which in Donghae’s case, was no small amount of money.

He checked his wallet to find he had just enough for the shirt, leaving him with thirteen thousand won for himself until his next payday the following Wednesday.

I can’t believe I let him walk out with the stupid shirt. He’s lucky I like him, he thought to himself as he processed the payment and made sure to pocket the receipt.

The plan was to use it as leverage against Eunhyuk if he planned to back out of their arrangement.

Donghae cringed a little at the thought of the proposal.

He never actually thought Eunhyuk would agree nor did he think he could ever come up with such a ludicrous idea. He found it odd at how quickly the idea sprang up.

He blamed the idea on all the anime’s he’d been watching lately and the damn manwhas that his younger cousins gushed about all the time.

Donghae felt slightly guilty about what the whole thing meant for Eunhyuk, especially since it would most definitely affect how his friends and other people at school would interact with him, but then Donghae grinned.

It had been clear to him that Eunhyuk was not happy with his situation, and he hadn't been for quite some time.

Again, Donghae cringed.

This time it was because of how stalker-like the observation sounded.

That was what happened when you watched someone for so long.

He imagined the face Kyuhyun would make if he had heard half of the things Donghae thought about and he shook his head to get rid of the humiliating image.

However, it didn't take away from the fact that Eunhyuk was disenchanted.

Donghae had been watching him for years. He could pinpoint when he started to notice a change in the other boy.

Then last month, he had caught him on a date with a guy Donghae was sure graduated from their high school the year before.

That was when he began to piece together why Eunhyuk started acting differently around his friends.

Catching Eunhyuk kissing the other boy had been thrilling for Donghae because it had given him a sense of hope that his crush could actually lead to an actual relationship, even though he and his crush never spoke.

After that night, Donghae’s imagination had run rampant for almost an entire month.

He had just let his fantasies run wild in his head while he was at home.

Tonight, he reasoned, he took advantage of his situation to make his fantasies or at least some parts of his fantasies, a reality.

Anyone in my position would have done the same thing if it were their crush, Donghae debated with himself as he printed out a summary of the day’s sales to give his manager.

I don’t have to feel guilty. I’m not the one who stole the shirt. I’m actually keeping him out of trouble. He should be grateful.

“What are you thinking so hard about?” Junghoon interrupted Donghae’s thoughts.

It startled him for a few seconds. He even clutched his chest over his school blazer.

“Damn! You scared me.”

“You looked like you were trying to solve a Rubix cube with your mind."

Donghae laughed. He knew he had the habit of looking out into space when he was thinking hard. He often looked distressed when he was thinking.

“I was just thinking about something I need to clear up before Monday,” Donghae answered honestly enough.

Junghoon didn’t need to know that what Donghae needed to clear up were the terms to his fake relationship with Eunhyuk.

“Well, don’t think so hard. It makes you look constipated.”

Donghae’s jaw dropped in annoyance at the comment.

The store manager was always saying things like that; he had no filter, but he made up for it by being protective of his staff when headquarters came by.

“Will do, Hoon.”

“Have you finished up?” Junghoon asked as he looked around the store. He nodded in approval when he noticed that the mop and broom were out of place.

“You mopped?”

Donghae shrugged his shoulders.

“Yeah. The floor was dirty by the door.”

“Damn snow,” the store manager commented offhandedly. “It just keeps coming down, lately.”

Donghae nodded in a manner to say he agreed. He did it mostly out of obligation because he didn't want to talk nor did he have anything to add to the conversation.

“Alright then. You can go, Hae. I’ll actually lock up.”

“Cool. Thanks.”

Donghae didn't even wait for Junghoon’s response before he went flying toward the staff room to grab his coat and backpack.

He slipped both on quickly and ran toward the exit.

“See you tomorrow.”

Junghoon waved toward Donghae as he exited the store.

Donghae breathed in the cool January air and tightened the scarf around his neck tighter as he walked toward the bus stop.

He walked down the busy street of shops and cafes he passed almost every day. He waved at some of the employees in the cafes that he'd seen during his breaks.

When he walked by the PC bang, he peered in and found Eunhyuk sitting with his friends. One of the other guys was wearing the t-shirt.

Donghae scoffed out loud even though he was not surprised by the scene.

However, the scene also made him realize that he hadn't noticed Eunhyuk’s strange behavior in the store sooner.

He should have realized something was up when Eunhyuk only entered wearing his school uniform and backpack—no coat, scarf or even gloves.

That should have been a huge clue that something was up.

I got distracted by his face. His beautiful, chiseled face.

Donghae sighed as he continued walking to the bus stop. He had five minutes to kill before it was scheduled to arrive.

He decided to text Eunhyuk to see when he would be available to talk about their arrangement.

I need a better way to phrase that, he thought to himself.

When will you be free to talk?

Donghae took a seat at the bus stop and sat up quickly because the coldness of the metal seat seeped right through his slacks.

He reasoned he would just stand up instead.

Eunhyuk didn't answer until the bus arrived.

Don’t text me when I’m with my friends.

Donghae scowled as he looked down at the text. He decided to be petty. He pulled the receipt out of his back pocket and snapped a picture of it.

He sent the picture to Eunhyuk with a message.

Don’t forget. I know the real story.

I’m sure Sungmin wouldn’t think the shirt he’s wearing was so cool if he knew you didn’t actually steal it.

Eunhyuk responded immediately.

You’re a dick.

Donghae laughed loudly, catching the attention of the few passengers on the bus. He smiled apologetically for disturbing their peace.

You haven’t answered my question.

I’ll be home by midnight.

Donghae looked at the time on his phone and noted that there were less than two hours until then. It gave him more than enough time to write up some things to talk about with the other boy.

Okay. Make sure you’re online then. We have a lot to talk about.

Eunhyuk didn't answer for a few minutes. Donghae was positive it was because his friends were probably wondering who he was texting. He wondered what lie Eunhyuk was telling to distract his friends.

Don’t remind me. But I’ll be on.

Donghae didn't reply because there was no point to answer.

He slipped the phone back in his pocket and pulled out a book.

He still had twenty more minutes until his stop.


Donghae’s mother greeted him with a loving smile when he entered his house.

“Did you eat, my love?” she asked while peeking out of the kitchen.

“Only at school. I did eat some yogurt during my break at work.”

Donghae crashed into a seat in the kitchen and smiled toward his mother.

She meant the world to him even more so now that his father had passed away.

When he was supposed to be strong and help support her, she and his older brother were the ones who helped him get better after his father’s death.

“Do you want me to make some ramen for you?”

“Could you?” he asked meekly. It always worked on his mother.

“Of course,” she charismatically chimed. “Anything for my youngest boy.”

Donghae smiled brightly as he stood up to give his mother a hug and a kiss on her cheek. She quickly shoved him away.

“I love you, sweetie, but please go take a shower.”

Donghae feigned that he was hurt that she pushed him away. His mother sent him an air kiss as he walked toward the bathroom.

He dropped his bag and coat off in his bedroom and headed to shower.

He spent the entirety of the shower with his head under the warm water and thinking about what to write to Eunhyuk.

He contemplated just searching for a contract online and rewording it for whatever his own stipulations were.

Donghae even thought about calling the whole thing off, but his pride wouldn't let him nor would his own selfish desires.

He had Eunhyuk in the palm of his hand and he could actually have Eunhyuk in the palm of his hand starting Monday.

That thought alone kept him from telling Eunhyuk to forget about the whole thing.

When he stepped out of the shower, his mother came up the stairs carrying a small pot of ramen just for him.

“Thanks, Mom.”

“Of course, sweetie. When you’re done with it, make sure you wash it.”

“Yes, ma,” he obediently replied.

“I mean it, Lee Donghae,” she warned him.

“I better not find it in the sink when I wake up tomorrow morning.”

“I know, ma. I’ll wash it.”

“Good. I’m going to bed. Your brother is off on some trip with friends but should be back by tomorrow night.”

Donghae nodded.

“Alright. Goodnight ma.”

“Goodnight sweetie.”

She kissed him on the forehead and walked out of his bedroom, but not before she told him:

“Don’t spend all night on your computer and push your glasses up.”

“Yes ma!” Donghae had shouted out into the hallway before he shut his door.

He left his glasses as they were and immediately began to eat the scalding hot ramen, not caring that, after a few bites he couldn't really taste it on his tongue anymore.

He was unaware of how hungry he had been. He didn't even care when some of the broth spilled down on the old shirt and sweat pants he was wearing.

Once he finished eating, he went on some of the sites he usually checked every day. After he had done that, he decided to begin writing an email to Eunhyuk after searching the basic formatting of a contract.

Halfway through writing it, he broke out in laughter. It was mostly out of how ridiculous the whole thing sounded, but also because he knew Eunhyuk’s reaction would be priceless.

It takes him forty minutes to write and send the email.   

 

To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

SUBJECT: A Thief's Contract

  We can talk about this once you read it. Read the below carefully. – Donghae


THIS AGREEMENT, made as of the 17th of January 2014

Between:

FIRST PARTY: Lee Donghae, a teenage boy who follows the laws of society

(hereinafter referred to as "the Employer")

-- and --

SECOND PARTY: Lee Hyukjae a/k/a EUNHYUK, classmate to First Party and petty thief

(hereinafter referred to as "the Employee")

WHEREAS the Employee and the Employer wish to enter into an employment agreement governing the terms and conditions of employment;

THIS AGREEMENT WITNESSETH the fact that the SECOND PARTY attempted to steal a hideous t-shirt from the premises of the FIRST PARTY’S place of employment and was caught by said party, a verbal agreement was agreed upon and hereby acknowledged by both parties.

1. Term of Employment (HOW LONG WE AGREED UPON)

The employment of the Employee shall commence the date of the 20th day of January 2014 and continue until terminated in accordance with the provisions of verbal agreement.

2. Probation (IF YOU DON’T LISTEN TO ME,YOU WILL REGRET IT)

The parties hereto agree that the initial one (1) week period of this agreement is "probationary" in the following respects:

  1. The Employee obliges by all terms listed in Duties and Responsibilities to be later amended as The Employer sees fit.
  2. The Employee does as The Employer asks or risk further humiliation by reveal of the receipt of aforementioned hideous t-shirt.

3. Compensation and Benefits (WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU)

In consideration of the services to be provided by the Employee, during the term of his employment, the Employee shall be rewarded with:

  1. Getting to live his life in the way he wants and desires
  2. Getting rid of false and flakey friends
  3. Not getting in trouble for stealing aforementioned hideous t-shirt.

4. Duties and Responsibilities (what you’re supposed to do & WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME)

The Employee shall be employed in the capacity of:

  1. Making it believable that The Employee and The Employer are engaging in an actual relationship. This will include the following (SUBJECT TO CHANGES AND ADDITIONS):
    1. The Employee will acknowledge status of relationship when asked
    2. The Employee will sit with The Employer in class and lunch.
    3. The Employee will hold The Employer’s hand at school and public locations (These locations can be discussed)
    4. The Employee will hang out with The Employer at school and public locations (These locations can be discussed)
    5. The Employee to visit Employer when at his place of employment a/k/a the scene of the crime
    6. The Employee to visit Employer’s mother and older brother after first month (Mostly so she’ll stop nagging Employer about acting like an old man)
    7. The Employee to engage in occasional kisses (Cheek, Lips) with The Employer

5. Termination of Employment (YOUR FREEDOM)

Subsequent to completion of the probationary term of employment and graduation, The Employee’s role will be terminated on the 24th day of June 2014.

The Employee can terminate his employment at any time providing that the Employer will then reveal to everyone what was really going on.

6. Confidentiality

You don’t tell anyone.

I won’t tell anyone.

It’s really simple.

Fifteen minutes later, Eunhyuk instant messaged Donghae.    

hyuk0404: WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK!

Donghae laughed as he prepared his reply.

Chapter Text

Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


Donghae couldn’t stop himself from laughing as he wrote his reply to Eunhyuk. He spun around in his chair in delight once he pressed enter. Eunhyuk’s response arrived quickly.

l.donghae: Wow. You’ve got a filthy mouth.

hyuk0404: Are you nuts? What the fuck was that email?

Donghae was laughing so hard that his glasses fell to the floor. He managed to knock the back of his head on his desk while picking them off the floor. He put them back on as he rubbed at the sore spot. The glasses immediately slipped down to the familiar spot at the end of his nose.

l.donghae: A contract. Did you not understand it?

hyuk0404: Wow, that’s some skill you’ve got there.

The comment confused Donghae. He didn’t know what Eunhyuk meant.

l.donghae: What?

hyuk0404: I can sense the condescension from here. I know it’s a contract. I’m talking about what you actually wrote.

l.donghae: I thought you understood what I was asking from you in the store.

There was a break in the conversation before Eunhyuk replied. Donghae was positive that Eunhyuk was currently regretting everything.

hyuk0404: I understood perfectly fine. I’m not an idiot. I just don’t think all your conditions are exactly feasible.

Eunhyuk’s reply surprised him. It was an eloquent response—one he hadn’t expected from the boy since he was, more often than not, found sleeping or pretending to sleep in class.

l.donghae: I didn’t put anything that can’t be done. I think everything is reasonable. It’s all really simple things. Name one that’s not reasonable and I’ll prove to you it is.

Donghae had a suspicion as to what terms Eunhyuk was referencing. It made him smile.

hyuk0404: Sitting with you in class?

l.donghae: Why is that hard? Couples sit together all the time. I don’t see a problem there. That’s one of the easier terms.

Again, there was a lag in the conversation. Eunhyuk took his time responding.

hyuk0404: Not at our school.

Donghae frowned. He understood Eunhyuk wholly; they went to an all-boys school.

Friends sat together—not couples. However, the more Donghae thought about it, who really knew. Eunhyuk was probably not the only one hiding his sexuality, and it was not as if anyone at school knew about Donghae either, unless they had suspicions. 

l.donghae: Well, we can change that. Make it easier for other people.

hyuk0404: Why am I supposed to care about changing things for other people? I’m concerned about myself.

hyuk0404: Do you know what you’re asking me to do? I’m giving up my entire life, as I know it.

A wave of guilt washed over Donghae. He knew he was asking a lot out of Eunhyuk, especially since it was the last few months of school before everyone went off to college. He didn’t like the fact that he may be responsible for Eunhyuk losing his friends.

He frowned at the thought, but then he reasoned that Eunhyuk’s friends were complete morons who all needed to take a long walk off a short pier.  

Friends were supposed to be the group of people outside of your immediate family that you trusted the most. They were supposed to be the group of people who accept you in whatever capacity.

hyuk0404: Are you still there?

The ringing of the instant message sound broke Donghae out of his thoughts.

l.donghae: Miss me, already?

Eunhyuk responded immediately.

hyuk0404: No.

Donghae chuckled loudly. He had been expecting a much worse response, but this one still managed to make him laugh. This time, Donghae managed to catch his glasses before they slipped completely off.

l.donghae: Don’t worry. You will eventually.

hyuk0404: You’re seriously deluded.

l.donghae: You don’t know the half of it. :-P

Donghae nearly spun right out of his chair when he read Eunhyuk’s response.

hyuk0404: I guess everyone’s a little crazy. lol

He didn’t know how to respond. The tone of Eunhyuk’s reply was playful and unexpected. It made Donghae blush for no apparent reason.

It was not as if the other boy was purposely flirting, but for Donghae, humor and sarcasm were the ultimate aphrodisiacs. The minute a guy could make him laugh, he began to see them in a new light.

However, Donghae completely disregarded Eunhyuk’s comment and reverted to what the other asked earlier.      

l.donghae: I know am asking a lot out of you, but you’re clearly not happy, anyway.

Eunhyuk’s response was more along the lines of what Donghae anticipated when he suggested they talk later.

hyuk0404: Don’t pretend like you know anything about me.

Before Donghae typed his response, Eunhyuk added more.

hyuk0404: And what is this shit about not being happy? I’m happy. I’m fucking dandy.

Donghae took a moment to type out his response. He decided to throw caution to the wind and wrote a long, honest answer, one he was sure Eunhyuk hadn’t expected.

The response was so long that he had to write in several replies.

l.donghae: I know you’re not happy. I mean who would be happy having to hide a part of themselves that makes them who they are. You’re gay. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’ve clearly come to the conclusion that your friends won’t accept you if they know that. You clearly avoid any kind of situation that would make that fact known.

l.donghae: And before you ask, I know because I’ve watched you. Yes, it sounds creepy, but really, you sleep facing my desk so it’s not all that difficult to believe that I watch you. I mean, you’re really cute when you sleep with your lips pouted and what not. And I even find the way you mumble in your sleep endearing. And…

l.donghae: …I lost track of what I was talking about for a minute. >_<

l.donghae: I’ve watched you long enough to know that you haven’t been happy for a long time. I noticed it in the way you smile. You usually smile with your mouth open wide, revealing your gums—it’s so fucking cute. But lately it’s been a VERY fake closed mouth one that never reaches your eyes. It even makes me sad to look at it.

l.donghae: You’ve also been pretending to sleep more in class to avoid talking to your friends. Don’t think I didn’t realize you were faking; your lips don’t form that adorable little pout when you’re faking it. Plus, I’ve caught you’ve opening your eyes to see if anyone is looking—I was by the way. Just to let you know.

l.donghae: And then I caught you out on a date with that guy. Did he graduate from our school? He looks familiar.

l.donghae: So, I DO KNOW that you’re not happy. Maybe it’s you who doesn’t want to admit it?

Donghae sat with his head between his hands. His palms felt cool against his cheeks, which felt like they were on fire after finishing his long explanation.

He looked over what he had written slightly in disbelief. He couldn’t really believe that he wrote it all, but he was sure that this was the only way to make Eunhyuk understand where Donghae was coming from, even if it made Donghae look and sound like a stalker in the making.

It had been a whole five minutes before Eunhyuk replied.

hyuk0404: ………

It was another response Donghae hadn’t expected. It was not malicious, which was what he was waiting for, nor was it just a whole line of swear words. Nevertheless, it made him feel extraordinarily embarrassed.

l.donghae: …sorry…

hyuk0404: I didn’t realize it was so obvious.

Donghae sat up in his chair when he read his computer screen. The image of a despondent looking Eunhyuk came to mind and immediately, Donghae felt terrible.

It wasn’t because of the arrangement, but it seemed that Eunhyuk truly was unhappy and Donghae had made him realize it fully.

l.donghae: It’s only obvious to me because I’ve watched you closely

hyuk0404: Just because I’m unhappy doesn’t mean I want to change that situation.

Donghae couldn’t understand Eunhyuk’s logic. Why would he willingly choose to be unhappy? More importantly, why should he?

l.donghae: Why wouldn’t you? Why live unhappy and constantly hiding? No one deserves that.

hyuk0404: I don’t exactly see you going around announcing yourself to the world. So, who are you to talk?

l.donghae: Granted, but I don’t talk to people at school. There’s a difference. There’s no need to announce anything to people who don’t talk to me. My friends know. I don’t need to hide in front of them.

Eunhyuk didn’t answer for almost ten minutes. Donghae contemplated writing to ask if he was still there, but he knew the other boy was mulling everything over.

Donghae knew that he had just dumped a lot on Eunhyuk.

hyuk0404: Okay. We can sit next to each other in class and I guess, that includes acknowledging the relationship and the handholding thing.

l.donghae: Could you sound any less enthusiastic about it.

hyuk0404: I’m fucking THRILLED. Happy? Seriously, man. I’m fucking dreading going to school on Monday.

l.donghae: I promise you’re attitude will change over time. I’m lovable.

hyuk0404: Yes, blackmailers are lovable. ::rolls eyes::

l.donghae: Well, I find you lovable and you’re a petty thief.

hyuk0404: You’re never going to let that go are you?

It was the one thing Donghae could be grateful for because it was what brought him this situation. When would he have ever spoken to Eunhyuk before he attempted to steal the shirt?

l.donghae: No. Why would I? That’s the whole reason we’re in this situation now.

hyuk0404: No, we’re in this situation because you’re crazy and concocted this whole thing. You could have made it simple like asking me to pretend to be your friend, but you’ve taken it a step further.

l.donghae: There’s nothing in it for me if you’re just pretending to be my friend. Don’t you have enough pretend friends?

Again, the conversation stalled. This time, Donghae decided to write because he was sure what he had written had irritated Eunhyuk.

l.donghae: I see I hit a nerve. Are there any other terms that you find unreasonable?

hyuk0404: Yes, handholding is fine. But kissing? We’re not a real couple. There’s no need to be kissing.

Donghae chuckled. This was what he had been waiting for since he drafted the contract. He knew it would be the one thing that Eunhyuk would find the most issue with.

l.donghae: You clearly don’t know people.

hyuk0404: What do you mean?

l.donghae: Well…the minute you confirm that we’re dating, people are going to ask you prove it. Don’t you know that? Have you never watched the people around you?

hyuk0404: Fuck.

Donghae decided to lighten the mood, much to Eunhyuk’s absolute horror.

l.donghae: I can add that to the terms if you’d like.

hyuk0404: WHAT? No. On the cheeks. Only! No need for on the lips.

hyuk0404: And THAT’S never going to happen. So, get that fantasy out of your head…ASAP.

Donghae had to grab a pillow from his bed to laugh in to so he wouldn’t wake his mother with how loud he was laughing

l.donghae: Fine T_T  Anything else?

hyuk0404: Everything is fairly easy. It’s not like we have to hang out for that long. As long as people see us, it can just be like 5 minutes.

l.donghae: Yeah, I guess.

hyuk0404: You sound disappointed. ^_^

Donghae scoffed in surprise. There was an arrogance to what Eunhyuk had said. He hadn’t like it one bit. For this situation to work out, Donghae knew he had to have the upper hand in their relationship.

l.donghae: Asshole.

hyuk0404: Just because I’m agreeing to this doesn’t mean, I’m gonna follow everything the way you want it.

l.donghae: Anything else?

hyuk0404: Are you mad?

Donghae knew he had to be a bigger asshole if this was going to work. Even though the plan was to terminate the contract the day after graduation, Donghae’s intentions were to make Eunhyuk fall for him to the point where he wouldn’t want to stop their relationship.

l.donghae: Look who the condescending one is now. Don’t forget that all I have to do is get the security footage.

Eunhyuk was slow to respond, but when he did, Donghae could see he had managed to reveal that he was the one with the upper hand.

l.donghae: Forgot? Didn’t you?

hyuk0404: Fine.

hyuk0404: Also, can’t you just write our names in the contract? What is all this EMPLOYEE/EMPLOYER shit?

l.donghae: lol

hyuk0404: What are you laughing about?

l.donghae: The fact that since you’re angry, you’re now nitpicking. That’s what bothers you about the contract? I highly doubt that.

hyuk0404: Let’s get real. I hate the WHOLE damn thing. But if I’m going to avoid getting in trouble and having my parents cancel my trip to Paris, which I’ve been saving up for since I was 10, I will do whatever it takes.

l.donghae: Paris?

Donghae didn’t know what to do with this piece of information. Nevertheless, he reminded himself not to forget it. He was positive that would be bringing it up again later on.

hyuk0404: Yes, Paris. I want to go to Paris, by myself, before going off to college.

l.donghae: Why Paris?

hyuk0404: It’s none of your business.

l.donghae: Fine. The contract isn’t really a thing to take so seriously. I just wrote it to see what you would say. You can delete the email, but those are the terms of our agreement.

hyuk0404: Whatever.

l.donghae: Is there anything else you want to discuss?

Donghae could sense that the end of their conversation was nearing. He silently hoped that it didn’t end.

hyuk0404: Yes. It has to do with you.

l.donghae: Obviously.

hyuk0404: Oh for the love of everything. Can you not be an asshole for 1 second?

l.donghae: Go ahead.

hyuk0404: Are you available to meet up tomorrow?

l.donghae: You mean, later today?

Eunhyuk ignored the lame attempt at a joke.

hyuk0404: Yes, are you free later?

l.donghae: I work from 10 to 3.

hyuk0404: After?

l.donghae: Sure, but why exactly?

hyuk0404: We need to figure somet hing’s out in person. We’re not done talking about this.

l.donghae: Okay, I guess. We can meet in front of my store at 3.

hyuk0404: Whatever. I’ll see you tomorrow, then. I don’t want to talk to you anymore.

l.donghae: Sweet dreams.

hyuk0404: Fuck off.

Eunhyuk signed off immediately, much to Donghae’s dismay. He had been enjoying the rapport they had been having. Granted, it was mostly Donghae being a bit of a prick to Eunhyuk, but it was fun even so.

He was even going to get to the see Eunhyuk later that day. He wondered what the boy wanted to talk about in person, but Donghae didn’t really worry too much about it.

He was just happy to get to see him.

Donghae smiled as he logged off his computer and headed to bed. It was a little past two in the morning, but he was wide-awake because he was excited.

He immediately knew that he would regret staying up this late because he has to be at work early, but at that moment, he was too happy to care.

Chapter Text

Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


Donghae looked like the living dead as he walked toward the front of the store to help work on the window display with Kyuhyun.

“What’s wrong with you today?” Kyuhyun asked while he extended his hand out to help Donghae climb up the tall display. He picked up Donghae’s glasses from the floor where the older boy nearly stepped on them.

“I didn’t get much sleep. I was excited for something.”

Donghae slipped the glasses back on to find Kyuhyun giving him a look that clearly meant that whatever he had just said had made no sense.

Nevertheless, it was the truth. Even after he got into bed, Donghae wasn't able to fall asleep for hours. It was almost five in the morning when he finally did.

After the conversation with Eunhyuk, a million thoughts and scenarios had played in Donghae’s head for the next few hours. At one point, he got out of the bed to get a drink and forgot it in the hallway because he was thinking about what Eunhyuk would want to discuss.

He’d been lethargic and moody all morning. It had been annoying for Kyuhyun to deal with.

“What the hell are you excited about? I know it’s not about being at work.”

Donghae laughed with his eyes closed, revealing just how little sleep he had gotten the night before. The action nearly caused him to fall backwards into one of the mannequins if not for Kyuhyun catching him.

“Donghae! Are you okay? You seem off?”

“Oh, you care?” Donghae teased as he opened his eyes.

Kyuhyun flipped him off with a sneer.

“I’m fine. I’m just anxious. I’m meeting with someone later today.”

“Meeting with someone?” Kyuhyun asked skeptically. He turned from the mannequin he was dressing to question Donghae.

“Yah, don’t look at me like that,” Donghae admonished. “Is it so hard to believe?”

“Dude, I like you so I’m going to be straight with you—” Kyuhyun started, but was interrupted by Donghae, who rolled his eyes.

“What smart ass comment do you have to say to me now?”

Kyuhyun chuckled as he looked down at Donghae fitting shoes on the mannequin’s plastic feet.

“You’re kind of an asshole and sort of an antisocial recluse. So, yeah. It’s hard for me to believe that you’re meeting with someone after work.”

“Yah!” Donghae shouted as he stood up in frustration to scold the younger employee.

“What the hell are you talking about? Antisocial? Recluse?”

Kyuhyun backed up into the corner of the display to avoid Donghae poking him in his chest; his coworker was particularly strong for a guy who spent most of his time at home.

“That’s the only part that bothered you? Not the asshole part?”

Donghae dismissed Kyuhyun’s question with a wave of his hand and shoved his fallen glasses back up the bridge of his nose.

“I’m not antisocial. I hang out with you all the time. What kind of assessment is that? Recluse? I’m obviously not since I’m here and not burrowed in some bunker.”

Kyuhyun stared down wide-eyed at Donghae. At this moment, Donghae lamented their height difference because he couldn't stare right in the younger boy’s eyes to intimidate him. There was only so much he could do from his standpoint without resorting to shoving him out of the display window.

“Do we really hangout? I mean, yeah we get food together while we’re at work and that’s about it. I actually hang out outside of work with Ryeowook and even Junghoon sometimes joins.”

Donghae sucked his teeth at the news. He believed that he had a better relationship with Kyuhyun than he thought. Hell, he believed that he was a least closer to his junior than his manager was.

“Still. That’s doesn’t mean I’m antisocial. It’s just means, I prefer my own company. I’m awesome to hang out with.”

Kyuhyun laughed as he playfully shoved at Donghae’s shoulder.

“You’re an asshole.”

“Like you’re one to talk. I’m surprised your mouth doesn’t smell like shit,” Donghae countered much to the pleasure of Kyuhyun, who laughed until he couldn't stand anymore.

“I’m going to remember that one to use on other people,” Kyuhyun declared through breathless chuckles. He clutched his stomach in pain as he continued to laugh.

“Oh man, that was good. I need to write that down.”

Donghae just shook his head at the younger employee and began to get back to dressing the mannequins in the latest trendy things that Donghae couldn't stand to even hold.

“So, you’re actually meeting with someone then?” Kyuhyun asked after a few minutes of working silently.

Donghae handed Kyuhyun some caps to place on each of the mannequin’s heads before he stepped out of the display window.

“Yeah, I’m actually meeting someone in a few hours.”

“Who?” Kyuhyun asked as he followed Donghae out of the window and toward the register.

“A guy from school.”

Kyuhyun smirked as he leaned forward on the belt buckle display, much to Donghae’s annoyance because it meant that he'd have to wipe his fingerprints off the glass.

“Ah, I understand. It’s a guy that wants you to do his homework.”

Donghae lashed out at Kyuhyun with his right hand, smacking the boy right at his temple. The younger boy shouted in pain as he clutched the spot where he was hit.

“Dammit, Donghae. It was a joke.”

“Well, it wasn’t funny.”

Kyuhyun scoffed as Donghae grabbed the window cleaner and began to spray the solution on the display case. It caused Kyuhyun to have to stand up.

“But seriously. Why are you meeting with someone?”

Donghae contemplated on how to answer Kyuhyun as he wiped down at the greasy marks where Kyuhyun’s hands were, making sure to clean thoroughly. The last thing he needed before leaving was for his manager to yell at him while he was in this state. He might just fully lash out at the man and use it as an excuse to punch him in the face.

He wondered if he should disclose that he caught Eunhyuk attempting to steal a shirt and is basically blackmailing him. He decided to reveal some part of the story without revealing the truth behind the pairing.

“I don’t know why we’re meeting. He just asked me to meet up today.”

“Who though? Besides the people in this store, do you actually know other people? And please don’t say you’re mom or brother.”

“My boyfriend is coming,” Donghae bitterly replied, tired of hearing his junior insult him.

Kyuhyun looked like he was convulsing when he shouted out in surprise.

"What!"

Donghae made like he was going to punch Kyuhyun after he apologized to the customers in the store that the younger employee has managed to startle.

"Thanks.” Donghae sarcastically replied. Kyuhyun was too busy laughing to hear him.

“Boyfriend? Since when do you have a boyfriend?”

The skepticism and disbelief were palpable in Kyuhyun’s words and Donghae had to calm himself from jumping over the counter and kicking the boy. As a reflex, he shoved his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

“Why is that hard to believe?”

“Oh, come on! Really?” Kyuhyun asked with a ‘who are kidding’ look on his face.

“I’m serious,” Donghae defended. “He’s coming at 3. We were talking last night and he asked me to hang out after work.”

It wasn't a lie, Donghae reasoned, but it wasn't the exact truth either.

The less Kyuhyun knew about the situation, the better. Donghae would never live it down if Kyuhyun found out about the arrangement.

He didn't even want to imagine the possibility of that situation. He already hated the way Kyuhyun already undermined him.

“Don’t get me wrong, Donghae. You’re pretty good looking even though your hair is always a straggly mess, you wear those humongous glasses and your clothes look like they can fit a separate person in them, but you don’t come off as the type to have a boyfriend.”

Donghae sighed in defeat because he knew Kyuhyun would have some smart ass response for anything he wanted to say. He rather not have to deal with that before Eunhyuk arrived.

He immediately began to walk toward the jeans display a customer had left in shambles in hopes that Kyuhyun would drop the whole conversation and just let him be until he left.

However, Kyuhyun followed and even began to help him fold the strewn about denim.

“Seriously, though? There’s really a guy coming?” the junior asked and Donghae huffed in frustration.

“Yes there is and if you don’t drop this conversation, you’re going to regret it.”

“Oh really?” Kyuhyun teased.

“Yes really.”

“And what exactly do you think you can do to me?”

Donghae smirked toward his colleague and smugly crossed his arms across his chest. It was a confident stance for the shorter man.

“Don’t test me, Cho Kyuhyun or else that guy you’ve been making googly eyes at the café will know just how young you really are.”

“He knows I’m still in high school,” Kyuhyun wavered. It made Donghae smile more.

“Yeah, he knows that, but he doesn’t know that the age difference between you two crosses a legal line. You know the statutory one.”

“I’m about to turn 17—he’s only 21. It’s not that big of a deal. Besides, we’re only flirting for now,” Kyuhyun angrily argued much to Donghae’s amusement.

“Whatever you need to tell yourself, Kyu.”

Donghae whistled as he walked away from the jeans display leaving behind an infuriated Kyuhyun. He couldn't help but feel smug about it.

He was usually the one in Kyuhyun’s position.


Donghae spent the next several hours dealing with customers, avoiding Kyuhyun and routinely checking his phone to check the time and to see if Eunhyuk had texted.

It was a fruitless routine because nothing seemed to make the time go faster; no matter how many times Donghae tried to pretend he was not worried about it.

Time seemed to be going slower on this morning than he ever thought possible.

It was not until around 2:45 when Kyuhyun finally managed to catch Donghae in the back of the store.

“Hey, do you think I should call security?”

“Why?”

“There’s a guy who’s been walking back and forth in front of the door for the last couple of minutes,” Kyuhyun explained as he pointed to the hooded figure walking in front.

Donghae decided to walk toward the door to scare the person away, but when the person turned their head toward the store, he spotted the pouty lips that kept him awake at night.

“You don’t need to call security on him. That’s Eunhyuk.”

“You know him?” Kyuhyun asked as he walked up behind Donghae.

“He’s my bo—” Donghae began to answer, but cut himself off, but not before Kyuhyun managed to catch on to what he was going to say.

“That’s your boyfriend!” Kyuhyun shouted excitedly as he smacked Donghae’s shoulder.

Donghae griped in grievance.

“Why are you making him wait outside?”

“I didn’t know he was out there.”

“If that’s the case—”

Kyuhyun didn't finish what he was about to say before he jettted off toward the front door to let Eunhyuk in out of the cold. Donghae was right on his trail, shouting for him to stop, but Kyuhyun paid no mind to him as he stepped out into the chilly, January weather.

From his spot inside the store, Donghae hid behind the nearest display to watch the scene unfold.

He wasn't able to hear much except for a few words including “come in,” but by the scowl on Eunhyuk’s face, it was clear that Kyuhyun had used the word "boyfriend" while outside.

“Oh Donghae!” Kyuhyun enthusiastically and rather smugly sung once he followed Eunhyuk inside.

From his hiding spot, Donghae rolled his eyes and then got up. He appeared to be pretending to arrange a rack of sweatshirts.

“Didn’t I already do that rack, Hae?” Kyuhyun asked. The smirk on his face was one that Donghae wanted to wipe right off, preferably using a roundhouse kick to do so.

“No, you didn’t,” Donghae insisted meanwhile avoiding Eunhyuk’s unmistakable glare towards him.

“Oh, I guess not,” Kyuhyun lied. “Well, I found your boyfriend outside.”

The way the junior emphasized “boyfriend” made Donghae’s skin crawl. He grimaced in return.

“Thank you, Kyuhyun. I’m sure it was cold outside.”

Donghae turned toward Eunhyuk and the boy’s expression was enough to make Donghae want the world to open up and swallow him whole.

“I thought we weren’t going to say anything for a while,” Eunhyuk spoke through his teeth as he pulled his hood down.

Kyuhyun stood between the two schoolmates with his arms crossed and the smirk still permanently splayed across his face.

“Oh, you were keeping it a secret.”

“Kyu! Just get back to work,” Donghae reprimanded.

Kyuhyun smiled as he looked between the two older boys. He began to walk toward the cash register, much to Donghae’s joy, but turned around just before he reached the counter.

“You could do better, Donghae.”

“Excuse me?” Eunhyuk exasperatedly asked.

Donghae hung his head. He knew it had been too good to be true.

“Kyuhyun, just get back to work. Seriously.”

“I’m just saying.”

Kyuhyun motioned between Donghae and Eunhyuk, which the latter was furiously staring toward him.

“No offense, but Donghae is pretty good looking. Yeah, he needs to be cleaned up in areas, but under all of the mess, is a pretty handsome guy. You on the other hand—”

“Who is this pest?” Eunhyuk asked Donghae, cutting Kyuhyun off.

“He’s my friend. Feel free to ignore him.”

Kyuhyun interrupted their conversation with raucous laughter.

“Wow, you two are awkward.”

“Look moron. We’ve just started dating—we’ll get to that more comfortable point eventually,” Eunhyuk argued. It was clear that it was mostly because Kyuhyun insulted him earlier.

“Oh, maybe you two are more alike than I thought. Both assholes.”

“Kyuhyun! Enough already. Just go work on some other part of the store while I go clock out,” Donghae reprimanded in a huff as he shoved the other employee.

“Alright, I’m going.”

“I swear if I find out you were saying some shit while I’m in the back, I will make you regret it.”

“Don’t worry about it, man. I’m off to Narnia now.”

“Insolent child.”

“Antisocial asshole.”

Donghae and Eunhyuk both watched as Kyuhyun walked over to the shoe section on the far left of the store.

“I’m sorry about, Kyu. He’s a crotchety fifty-year-old trapped in a 16 years old body.”

Eunhyuk sucked on his bottom lip as he nodded his head in acceptance of Donghae’s apology.

“I’ll wait for you here, I guess.”

“Yeah,” Donghae whispered. He had shuffled his feet before he turned around toward the staff room.

When he neared the entrance to the room, he took a quick glance in Kyuhyun’s direction to see if he was watching. Donghae was assured that Kyuhyun wouldn't try anything since he was busy helping a customer.

He quickly slipped into the staff room and closed the door behind him. He propped himself against it and let out the most welcomed sigh of his life.

The whole situation with Kyuhyun and Eunhyuk had been short, but nerve wracking. It made him wonder if he would be able to deal with that kind of situation multiple times on Monday.

Donghae breathed heavily as he adjusted his glasses and stamped his time sheet.

He quickly jammed his arms into his coat and jogged out of the staff room because he hadn't wanted to give Kyuhyun any sort of chance.

He found Eunhyuk facing the front entrance.

“I’m ready,” he announced himself when he walked next to Eunhyuk.

The other boy glared at him and greeted him with a scowl, which Donghae was more than sure that Eunhyuk thought made him look intimidating. However, it just made his lips look even more enticing to Donghae.

“You’re coworker is a jackass.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Whatever,” Eunhyuk brushed him off. “Let’s just get out of here. We’ve got places to go and a lot to talk about.”

Donghae nodded his head as he followed Eunhyuk out of the store.

He immediately yelped because it was colder outside than he remembered.

“Did you wait outside for long?” he asked, remembering that Kyuhyun spotted Eunhyuk outside of the store.

“About 15 minutes. Why? Do you actually care?”

“Contrary to what you may think, I actually like you. I know this situation isn’t one you like, but I’m enjoying it so far.”

“You’re almost as bad as that coworker of yours.”

“Almost? So, I’m not as bad? That’s nice to hear.”

“Whatever,” Eunhyuk replied while tightening his coat and flipping his hood up. “Let’s just get going before my nuts freeze off.”

“Where exactly are we going?”

“The hair salon.”

“Hair salon?”

“Yes. We can talk more about it when we get there.”

Chapter Text

Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


The wind whipped violently against Donghae’s face as he and Eunhyuk hurriedly made their way toward the hair salon.

He didn't know what Eunhyuk planned to do there, but Donghae had a gut feeling he was not going to enjoy any of it. He’d never been one to enjoy getting his hair cut, mainly because hairdressers had a tendency to get scissor-happy with his hair since he kept it pretty long.

“How much further?” Donghae shouted to the boy beside him, wondering if he even remembered that he’d been walking alongside him for the past ten minutes.

He then stole a glance at Eunhyuk and smiled to himself. Eunhyuk’s cheeks were flushed red and his lips were slightly purple from the cold. He was holding tightly on to the sides of the hood from his jacket since he didn't have a scarf.

Donghae found the whole image utterly adorable.

“Just around the next corner,” Eunhyuk flatly replied as he forged ahead of Donghae to show him the way. Donghae watched as his classmate held the side of his hood closer to his face.

Eventually, Donghae found himself following Eunhyuk into a bustling hair salon with women sitting under raucous hair dryers, the sloshing of water in the sink as others got their hair washed and hairdressers snipping away at the ends of hair.

“Why exactly are we here?” Donghae asked as he followed Eunhyuk toward a row of seats toward the back of the salon.

Donghae was already pulling his scarf off due to the heat inside the salon.

“My older sister, Sora, works here; I’m getting a trim.”

Donghae nodded his head in understanding and began to remove his coat to get more comfortable. Eunhyuk did the same and joined him in one of the seats beside him as they waited for Sora.

Even though Eunhyuk had told him why they were there, he still felt uneasy about the whole thing.

Donghae sighed randomly as he and Eunhyuk sat in silence. The other boy didn't even acknowledge him; he was too busy playing some game on his cell phone. He couldn't make out what game he was playing, but it was clear that Eunhyuk was losing.

Donghae didn't mind that he was being ignored.

On the walk over, Donghae kept wondering why Eunhyuk would bring him to a hair salon. He could only assume that Eunhyuk had plans to cut Donghae’s hair and live out some cliché high school drama fantasy where he gets a makeover.

Actually, the scenario that played in Donghae’s head was much more a horror film. He thought Eunhyuk would make the hairdresser shave his head without him realizing.

The thought scared him—he was sure he wouldn’t look good with a buzz cut.

It wasn’t something he wanted to experience until he needed to do it when he went off to fulfill his mandatory military service.

“Is she even here?” Donghae asked, breaking the silence between the two boys.

“Not at the moment,” Eunhyuk stoically answered. “But she’s already on her way back from getting coffee. I forgot she usually has a small break around this time.”

“Okay.”

It’s all Donghae could say as Eunhyuk went back to fiddling with his phone, clearly indicating that he didn't want to speak to Donghae.

Again, Donghae was not bothered by it.

He knew he was putting Eunhyuk in an unwelcomed situation. Though, Donghae reasoned that Eunhyuk brought this all on himself by trying to steal the shirt in the first place.

“Do you always do that?” Eunhyuk asked, breaking Donghae’s concentration.

“Do what?”

“Dart your eyes and move your head like that when you’re thinking.”

“Why were you even staring at me?” Donghae cheekily replied with a smirk on his face.

“Because along with that you also mumble though it’s hard to understand.”

“I do that?” Donghae asked. He was genuinely intrigued by this new piece of information about himself. No one had ever mentioned that before.

“Yeah,” Eunhyuk grumbled. “You look stupid, like some mad scientist doing an experiment. Don’t do that when you’re with me.”

“I didn’t even know I did that. How exactly do you suppose I stop doing it?” Donghae complained in return. It seemed every conversation with Eunhyuk was always going to result in an argument between the two.

“Figure it out!”

The sneer on Eunhyuk’s face managed to irritate Donghae more than what the other boy had actually said.

“Don’t forget why you’re in this situation in the first place. I’m sure Sora would love to learn that her little brother is a petty thief.”

Eunhyuk huffed in frustration as he stood up to look down at Donghae.

Donghae was sure that Eunhyuk believed that he looked intimating, but he begged to differ. The look of resentment on his face just made him look more attractive to him.

Eunhyuk’s cheeks were flushed because he was angry and because his lips were naturally in a pout, even the scowl he was wearing made his lips look like they were waiting to be kissed.

And that’s all Donghae really wanted to do.

“Fine,” Donghae replied standing up to face Eunhyuk. There was only a minimal height difference between them, so they were pretty much eye-to-eye.

He could feel Eunhyuk’s breath on his face and he was positive the other boy could feel his. There was a tension between them that was palpable; Donghae found it hard to ignore.

Every bone in his body wanted him to push forward and attack the other boy with his lips, but his conscience denied him the ability.

“I’m sure your sister wouldn’t like to hear why we’re friends. Remember that no matter how much bravado you have, I have something on you. So why don’t you sit down and behave like a good little boy waiting for his older sister.”

Eunhyuk scoffed in shock as his eyes widen in surprise. His fists were clenched at his sides. Donghae looked down at them apprehensively.

He knew Eunhyuk could pack a wallop—he’d seen the boy in a fight before.

“Who the fuck are you?” Eunhyuk asked in exasperation. “Or should I ask, what are you? Are you the fucking devil in disguise?”

“Wow!” Donghae smugly smiled. “I’ve never been likened to the devil before. That’s a first.”

“You’ve got issues that I can’t even begin to list.”

Donghae smiled as he watched Eunhyuk take a seat and begin to ignore him again.

He shook his head and sat down again.

The silence between them was again not bothersome, but after their argument, Donghae was buzzing with adrenaline. All he wanted to do was continue arguing with the boy of his desires.

As ridiculous as he found it, every argument with Eunhyuk was refreshing. He enjoyed being able to have a back-and-forth with someone who could hold their own against him.

Even though he had had countless fights with his older brother over the years, it just wasn’t the same as it was with Eunhyuk. Not even the little playful spats he has with Kyuhyun on an almost daily basis measured up anywhere close to the ones he’s had with Eunhyuk, so far.

“Does your sister know about you?” Donghae broke the silence again.

“What are you talking about?”

Eunhyuk shoved the phone in to the pocket of his skinny jeans, which Donghae spent a few seconds admiring. They really did not hide anything. His own jeans were so baggy that Eunhyuk could probably fit in them with him—comfortably.

“I mean does she know that you’re gay?”

Donghae whispered the last part, just in case Sora happened to appear at that moment.

“Yeah, she knows. She’s the only one in my family that knows.”

“So, you’re close?”

“We weren’t beforehand, but she caught me making out with a guy she used to have a crush on a few years ago. After that, we talked for a couple of hours and we became closer. She’s been really understanding and helpful.”

Eunhyuk smiled as he talked about Sora and Donghae couldn't help but smile in return. Nor could he stop his stomach from fluttering at how lovely Eunhyuk was at this moment.

His eyes were brighter and the smile was genuine, his gums showed proudly. It was obvious that he had a deep love and respect for his sister.

“Are you afraid your parents won’t approve?”

Immediately, Eunhyuk’s expression hardened.

“Let’s not talk about this. Don’t get involved in my personal business,” Eunhyuk reprimanded Donghae.

“If you haven’t already realized, I’m going to be all up in your business for the next six months. So, I don’t see why we can’t discuss something like this, especially since I have experience about coming out to my parents. I can help you.”

“I told you to drop it. If you so much as utter a single word to my parents, I swear I will destroy you worse than whatever you think you could do to me. If you ruin my chance to go to Paris, I will personally throw you off the top of Namsan Tower.”

“I guess we won’t be attaching locks up there,” Donghae sarcastically replied.

He wanted to address how Eunhyuk planned on keeping his so-called friends from spilling the beans to his parents, but Sora walked toward their area before he could ask.

Eunhyuk stood up quickly to welcome his sister.

“Sora!” Eunhyuk embraced his sister warmly. She was much shorter than her brother, reaching only to his shoulders, but they shared the same deep eyes, pale skin and pouty lips.

“My Hyukjae, did you forget about my break?”

“Yeah. Sorry,” he apologized bashfully.

It was the first time Donghae had seen this side of Eunhyuk; he really liked it.

“No problem,” Sora chuckled. “Go visit the sinks to get your hair washed.”

Eunhyuk nodded and made to walk away, but Donghae stood up abruptly to stop him.

“Oh right,” Eunhyuk begrudgingly announced. “This is my friend, Donghae.”

“Just friend?” Sora asked with a knowing smile on her face. “He’s messy, but cute. Totally your type.”

“Sora!” Eunhyuk shouted as he turned his head in every which direction to make sure no one in the salon had heard.

Donghae chuckled into the back of his hand, reveling in the fact that he was apparently Eunhyuk’s type.

“Ah, so he is your boyfriend,” Sora teased as she turned to look at Donghae.

Donghae bowed in response and smiled brightly at her. She was nothing like her brother in terms of personality. She was bubbly and bright and Donghae got the feeling that they would get along really well in the next few months.

“It’s nice to meet you, Sora.”

“Likewise Donghae.”

“Well, now that the introductions are over,” Eunhyuk interrupted and stepped between them.

“It’s a long story as to who Donghae is to me.”

“Oh, he’s someone to you,” Sora smartly replied and winked toward Donghae.

It made Eunhyuk groan in frustration and Donghae laughed again.

“I’m only teasing, Hyukjae.”

“Whatever, I’m going to get my hair washed now.”

Sora snickered as she playfully shoved her brother away from them.

“He’s so overly sensitive.”

Donghae just nodded. He instantly liked Sora. Her quick wit was the only personality trait that she shared with her younger brother. Even though it was evident that they both loved each other deeply, Sora had a tougher exterior to her than Donghae initially believed.

“So you’re my brother's boyfriend?”

“Umm…sort of, the thing is...”

Donghae was lost for words for the first time in a long time.

“Yeah, he is,” Eunhyuk offhandedly answered, surprising Donghae.

“I thought you walked away already,” Sora replied.

“Please,” Eunhyuk scoffed. “You think I don’t know that you’re about to interrogate him as soon as I leave.”

Sora wiggled her eyebrows suggestively toward Donghae.

“He knows me well. Now, go get your hair washed, already,” Sora complained and tried to shove Eunhyuk away. “I have clients coming after you.”

“Not so fast,” Eunhyuk smirked as he looks toward a nervous Donghae.

Donghae didn't like the pure mischief dancing in Eunhyuk’s eyes. He shook his head, not really understanding why he did it.

Sora just stared confused at the two boys.

“Don’t you think Donghae needs a haircut?”

Donghae’s eyes went wide in consternation. He liked his hair long because he could hide behind it.

“I don’t think that’s necessary,” Donghae defended as he shoved his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

“He has really lovely eyes that would look better with shorter hair,” Sora reasoned expertly. “He also has a really nice face shape. Short hair would look great on him.”

“I like to keep my hair long.”

“Why?” Sora asked earnestly. “You don’t seem to have bad skin so you’re not using it to hide acne. Is it a religious thing?”

Eunhyuk sniggered at his sister’s question.

“Really? Religious? What kind of religion makes you keep your hair long?”

“I don’t know, Lee Hyukjae. I’m just trying to understand my client. No need to get snide.”

Donghae watched as Eunhyuk hung his head in embarrassment before he looked back up at him as if to ask what the reason was.

“I just like it long.”

Donghae didn't want to reveal that he’d been growing it out for the past five years, especially because the reason had to do with Eunhyuk.

With his hair long, it was easy to watch Eunhyuk without getting caught. It provided a small curtain to hide behind.

“Well, I think it will look better shorter. Don’t you agree, Hyukjae?”

With an almost sinister smile on his face, Eunhyuk nodded his head as he grabbed Donghae’s hand and pulled him toward the sinks.

“I really don’t want to cut my hair,” Donghae complained as he was dragged to get his hair washed.

“That’s too bad. I’m going to enjoy watching you suffer.”

Donghae tried to appeal to Eunhyuk’s more sensitive side and began to pout and give Eunhyuk a face he had used more than once on his family members to get his way about many things.

“That’s mean,” Donghae whispered while looking forlornly at Eunhyuk.

The other boy took a step back as he looked at Donghae’s face. He was stunned fleetingly by the sadness found in Donghae’s eyes, even behind the large glasses frames.

However, Eunhyuk shook his head, looked away, and continued to pull Donghae along.

“That’s a really, really good trick,” he mumbled.

Donghae sighed in defeat as Eunhyuk pushed him to a seat in front of one of the hair washing basins.

“I’m going to enjoy this,” he teased Donghae with a bright smile that revealed his gums in the way Donghae adored.

Donghae just closed his eyes as one of the stylists placed a cape around his frame so he wouldn't get wet. He bitterly let the stylist push his head to the cutout in the sink all while Eunhyuk laughed in the seat beside his.

He took his glasses off and the stylist got right to work.

The minute the water touched Donghae’s scalp, he cringed. It solidified the situation as very real. He didn't even enjoy the scalp massage the stylist gave him when she shampooed and conditioned his hair. All he could think about was Eunhyuk’s scissor happy sister waiting for him in the back of the salon.

When the stylist helped him up, he noticed that Eunhyuk was already done getting his hair washed. With his right hand holding the towel on his head, he slipped his glasses on with his free hand and walked over to the chair he had been sitting in before.

As he assumed, Eunhyuk was already in Sora’s chair.

“I just need five minutes to trim and blow dry, Hyukjae and then I’ll get to work on you.”

“No problem,” Donghae barely whispered as he sank further in his seat. His shoulders slumped forward in dismay.

Both Lee siblings caught the display through the mirror and laughed. It embarrassed Donghae and he lowered his head to hide the red flush on his cheeks.

True to her word, Sora finished quickly with her brother and sent him off to sit in the chair beside Donghae.

Eunhyuk looked just about the same with his hair now brushing just below his cheekbones instead of by his chin.

It looked good.

Sora called for Donghae and he stood up nervously making Eunhyuk smile confidently.

“I’m not going to bite you, Donghae,” Sora teased as she helped Donghae on to the salon chair. “I’m just going to cut you.”

She laughed good-humoredly as she cut the air with her scissors.

Donghae swallowed slowly as she pulled his glasses off and handed them over to Eunhyuk.

“Can you see without these?” Eunhyuk asked he looked through the lenses.

Immediately, he regretted it. The prescription made him dizzy.

“Not really,” Donghae answered. “I have really bad vision. Everything looks like blurs of colors when I don’t have them on.”

“Oh, I love that,” Sora proclaimed. “I mean, I like when people with glasses get their hair cut because they can’t see anything until the final product. It’s like a big reveal.”

Donghae nodded his head in the direction of the pink blur of color, which he knew was Sora.

“Whatever,” Eunhyuk said as he placed the glasses next to him and went back to playing with his cell phone.

Sora worked diligently and quietly as she cut Donghae’s hair. He couldn't really make out what was happening, except for the sound of the scissors when they got close to his ear and the occasional wet cluster of hair that fell into his lap.

By the time, Sora brought out the electric trimmer, Donghae could already feel his head was much lighter without all the hair.

He relished in the feeling of the brush Sora uses to brush away the stray hairs on his neck when she pulled the cape off him.

Donghae watched her grab some bottle off the counter and use the contents to style his hair. He couldn't really see what she’d done, but he could make out that she’s flipped a part of it up in the front.

“Hyukjae, pass me his glasses,” Sora requested as she turned the chair away from the mirror and helped Donghae out of the seat.

Eunhyuk looked up from his phone for the first time in half-an-hour and was dumbfounded by what he saw.

“The glasses,” Sora ordered again, this time with a knowing tone to her voice.

“Umm yeah.”

It was all Eunhyuk could say as he passed the glasses over to his sister.

He couldn't quite grasp how well the haircut fit Donghae and how much more of his face you could see, and just how attractive the boy actually was.

Sora chuckled at her brother and passed the glasses over to Donghae. He slipped them on immediately but didn't turn around to face the mirror just yet.

He was more interested in seeing Eunhyuk’s reaction; it didn't disappoint.

The hairdresser’s brother looked slightly mystified by Donghae. It made him feel good.

He turned around to look at himself in the mirror and even he was surprised at how well the haircut turned out.

The sides were very clean and neat. Sora had flipped the front up a bit to add a bit of style to the look.

“It looks nice,” Donghae complimented and Sora thanked him with a bright smile. Donghae noticed that that was another difference between her and her brother; she didn't have a gummy smile.

“You’re welcome, dear. What do you think, Hyukjae?”

“It looks…alright,” Eunhyuk replied with a cough in between.

Sora rolled her eyes at her brother as she began to clean up her station before her next client arrived.

“How much is it?”

Donghae pulled his wallet out, but Sora pushed his hand away.

“Don’t worry about that. Any friend of Hyukjae’s is welcome here for free.”

“Thank you, Sora.”

She winked playfully at Donghae as she hugged her brother. She whispered something in his ear that Donghae couldn't make out, but the look of repulsion on Eunhyuk’s face was enough to make him not want to know.

He observed their goodbye before heading back to the chair holding his jacket.

He caught Eunhyuk sneak a peek at him as he slipped his coat on.

“Like what you see?” Donghae decided to tease.

Eunhyuk scoffed but didn't answer as he put his own coat on.

“Let’s get some food.”

“We’re not done yet?” Donghae asked, surprised that Eunhyuk wanted to continue hanging out.

“No. This was just a small detour. We have to talk about that stupid contract you made up.”

“My contract is not stupid.”

“Well, I have some addenda and amendments I’d like to make,” Eunhyuk explained while he lead Donghae outside. They waved goodbye to Sora before exiting the store back to the cold of a January afternoon.

Donghae felt the difference in the weather more so now because of how uncovered his face was; the scarf really didn't help.

“I’m sure you do. So, where do you want to sit and talk about it.”

“Let’s go the café.”

“Which café? There’s so many of them in this area.”

“Always a smart ass response from you,” Eunhyuk retorted. “The one with the rabbit in the design.”

Chapter Text

Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


Donghae kept his head facing away from Eunhyuk as the two walked as quickly as they could to the café.

Donghae mumbled obscenities to himself the entire way to keep himself from running away because of the cold. The wind nipped violently at his skin now that he no longer had his long hair to block some of it. It literally felt like the wind was slicing his now wholly visible cheeks.

He had completely forgotten the feeling.

The only plus side of the shorter hair was that there was no hair on the sides of his face to weigh down the weightless frame of his glasses.

They now sat perched neatly on the bridge of his nose with minimal movement as he walked quickly along with Eunhyuk.

It was a good thing that they didn't move because Donghae didn't want to remove his hands from the warm cocoon of his coat pockets until he had to.

It was far too cold to be fiddling with anything outside.

Irritated by the weather, Donghae sighed loudly. He watched as his hot breath formed a cloud in front of his face.

The sound caught Eunhyuk’s attention. He turned to look at Donghae to see what was going on, but found himself just admiring his blackmailer’s profile.

Donghae caught him studying his features.

There was one other benefit of a shorter cut, Donghae thought happily to himself, and it was that Eunhyuk continuously kept turning his head to look at him and he could tell.

He had been sneakily looking at his own reflection in stores window and in the process, it had allowed him to discover Eunhyuk’s secret glances.

“What are you doing?” he asked, making Eunhyuk flinch and face forward again.

“I was just about to ask you that because you sighed out loud.”

Donghae snickered smugly. Eunhyuk’s reaction to his haircut in the salon had boosted his confidence; he decided to tease the other boy.

“Stop lying. You clearly just wanted to look at the perfect creature walking next to you. Be honest.”

Eunhyuk’s mouth dropped opened as he stopped walking to glare at Donghae. He huffed in annoyance before smirking.

“Perfect?” Eunhyuk began his insult. Donghae stopped in his steps.

For a moment, both boys forgot that this argument could be taking place in the warmth of the Mouse Rabbit Coffee Shop instead of in the middle of the sidewalk in the freezing January afternoon.

“Don’t take what my sister says all that seriously. She thinks any guy I talk to is my type. Besides, you’re short, scrawny and you look like a fish. Perfect is not the word I would use to describe you.”

Donghae’s eyes widened. He’d never been told that he looked like a fish before. Insecurely, he wanted to run to the nearest reflective surface to verify the claim. However, he didn't let Eunhyuk know that what he’d said had affected him.

“Look who’s talking about looking like a fish. You look like a fucking anchovy,” Donghae countered, not really understanding how anchovy was the first thing that came to mind.

Eunhyuk’s mouth dropped again. This time he cocked his head to the side and ran his tongue along the bottom of his top row of teeth.

Donghae was hypnotized by the side-to-side motions.

“You’re impossible to talk to.”

“Not impossible, but I’ll give you difficult.”

Eunhyuk shook his head and rolled his eyes as he walked away from Donghae. His shoulders were hunched forward and his fists were clenched at his sides again; it made Donghae laugh.

He hurriedly jogged to catch up to him. Eunhyuk noticed quickly but said nothing.

They walked the next block quickly and practically barreled into the warm café to get out of the cold.

Both boys sighed in relief as all their numbed body parts begin to tingle as they defrosted.

The kitchy café was relatively quiet with only a few people sitting beside the window.

“Let’s get something to drink and then discuss your stupid contract.”

Eunhyuk didn't give Donghae a chance to respond. He was already walking toward the counter, leaving Donghae dazed at the front entrance.

Dumbfounded by the action, Donghae eventually followed in Eunhyuk’s trail. At the counter, Eunhyuk was already paying for his order.

“So you’re not going to pay for me? You’re a bad date,” Donghae jested as he stepped up behind the other boy.

Eunhyuk immediately turned around to find himself face-to-face and thigh-to-thigh with his blackmailer.

Donghae could feel the heat rush to his face at the intimate contact. This was the closest he’d ever been to the boy that’s made residence in his dreams for years.

He kept a straight face even though he could feel just how red his face was—he hoped to all hell that Eunhyuk couldn't tell what depravities were running through his head at the moment.

Donghae was sure they would terrify him.

Eunhyuk’s eyes made a quick excursion between his blackmailer’s eyes and lips before he just huffed and moved aside for Donghae to place his order.

“Donghae!” he was greeted warmly by the barista behind the counter. It managed to shake both boys out of their temporary stupor from exciting bodily contact.

“Hey Yesung.”

“I didn’t see you come in. Did you come alone?” Yesung asked, slightly tiptoeing to look further out behind Donghae, who laughed at the action.

“No, I came with my friend, Eunhyuk.”

He pointed to the boy on the other side of him. Eunhyuk politely waved.

“Are you a new employee of The Academy?”

Eunhyuk shook his head as Donghae decided to reintroduce him to Yesung.

“Eunhyuk’s my boyfriend. We go to school together.”

Both Eunhyuk and Yesung looked toward Donghae with surprised wide-eyed expressions.

“Really?” Yesung probed. There was a disbelieving smile on his face, but it was wiped away when Eunhyuk begrudgingly nodded his head in agreement.

“Oh well, congrats then Donghae. So, I guess you didn’t work today? You’re on a date right?”

Eunhyuk watched and listened to the exchange with a sour expression on his face, mostly because he was irritated by what just transpired.

There was no need for Donghae to reveal they were a couple, albeit a fake one, but also because Yesung had still to take the boy’s order and he’d already placed his a while ago. All he wanted was to get this over with and go home to figure out how to handle the next six months of his life.

“I did work, until three. And before you ask, yes, Kyu is still there. His shift ends at seven.”

Donghae laughed as the barista ducked his head down to hide the flush of his cheeks.

Catching wind of this part of the conversation, Eunhyuk chose to comment.

“Wait, you’re interested in the pest that he works with?”

“Pest?” Yesung agitatedly asked.

“Yeah. The talkative one, right? Super annoying brat?,” Eunhyuk insisted.

Donghae observed as Yesung narrowed his eyes at Eunhyuk, who was oblivious to the murderous gaze.

“He’s still young. His personality is part of his charm.”

“Charm?” Eunhyuk scoffed. “I wouldn’t call that charm.”

“Well, frankly speaking—” Yesung began, but Donghae stopped him midway to save Eunhyuk from receiving any more insults from strangers today.

Even though Donghae and Yesung weren't necessarily the closest of people, they’d come to know each other seemingly well since Donghae started working in the area, and especially since Kyuhyun started working at The Academy.

The tension between Kyuhyun and Yesung was intense at times even when all Kyuhyun was doing was ordering a coffee; Donghae felt like he could drown in the attraction between the two.

Their only problem was that Kyuhyun was still a minor, though he agreed with Yesung’s assessment of the younger boy being a fifty-year-old man trapped in a young man’s body. The law didn’t see it that way and Yesung wasn't aware of just how young Kyuhyun was.

He was sure Kyuhyun had told him he was a high school senior when in fact he was only a sophomore.

“Let me just get the usual, hyung. We’ll be by the nook in the back.”

Yesung nodded slowly without taking his eyes off Eunhyuk.

“I’ll bring everything up in a few.”

“Thanks hyung.”

Donghae paid for his coffee and quickly dragged Eunhyuk away. He smiled as the other boy didn't pull away when Donghae grabbed the excess material of his coat to pull him along.

“What’s up with all your friends being weirdos?” Eunhyuk asked as he shrugged his coat off when they got to the nook. Donghae did the same; the heat of the shop had become too much with his coat on.

“My friends are not ‘weirdos’ besides maybe you’re the weird one since you’re the only one who seems to have a problem with them.”

“Please,” Eunhyuk elongated the word arrogantly. “Your friend over there was trying to burn a hole in my forehead when I called your coworker a pest.”

“Oh, so you noticed?” Donghae chuckled.

“Who wouldn’t?”

“He’s definitely got a skill, but he’s really nice. Kind of quiet. Until you piss him off.”

“Like one of those ninja-type people.”

Donghae laughed at the accuracy of the assessment. Yesung did give off that deadly assassin vibe.

Yesung interrupted them a few moments later as he brought their orders to the table.

He didn't say anything, but gave Donghae a look that clearly meant that he didn't quite like Eunhyuk. It made Donghae laugh. Eunhyuk looked at him suspiciously.

Eunhyuk commented on the silent exchange once Yesung was out of hearing range.

“What was that?” Donghae asked, not hearing what Eunhyuk had said.

“I said your friend is good with that non-verbal communication.”

Donghae chuckled and nodded his head.

“Yeah, I told you it was a skill. He doesn’t like you.”

Eunhyuk simply shrugged his shoulders as he ate a piece of a muffin he ordered.

“You know that what you’re drinking is pretty childish? Right?” Donghae commented as he took a sip of his iced Americano.

He sighed as the cold caffeine seeped into his tired body. He willed it to work quickly before he fell asleep at the table.

Eunhyuk just rolled his eyes at the comment and ignored the haughty look on Donghae’s face. He blissfully dipped a piece of his muffin in his large mug of hot chocolate.

“I don’t like coffee; it’s bitter.”

“You have the palate of a child,” Donghae remarked. He attempted to steal a piece of the muffin from Eunhyuk, but the other boy quickly hit his hand away.

“I just want to taste it.”

“Lesson number one, Donghae: don’t ever, ever try to take food from my plate. I will stab you with a fork.”

“You can’t be serious?” Donghae asked unbelievingly.

“Just try me.”

“You don’t look like someone who’d be so touchy about food. Having the audacity to call me scrawny,” Donghae chided as he eyed Eunhyuk’s muffin with desire.

“Stop staring at my muffin. You’re not going to taste it.”

Donghae chuckled at the comment. It managed to confuse the boy across the table.

“Why are you laughing?”

“Don’t worry about it.”

Eunhyuk didn't need to know how Donghae’s mind made a simple sentence something perverse.

“Whatever,” Eunhyuk replied. He took another big sip of his hot chocolate and smiled at the taste. He didn't notice as Donghae smiled along with him.

Donghae enjoyed watching Eunhyuk enjoying his drink and treat. Lately, it had been rare to see Eunhyuk smile. He had missed seeing the upturn of his pouty lips.

“Let’s talk about your stupid contract,” Eunhyuk interrupted Donghae’s thoughts.

“I don’t really remember everything I wrote,” Donghae lied. He could practically recite it from memory if he really wanted to.

Eunhyuk rolled his eyes and pulled out a folded piece of paper from his back pocket. When he opened it, Donghae could see that his classmate had printed out a copy of the contract and had made some notes on it.

“You printed it? You know anyone may be able to find that if you lose it.”

“I don’t plan on keeping it after we talk about it. I’ll flush it down the toilet or burn it to a crisp,” Eunhyuk informed.

“Besides, what are you worried about? The person’s whose reputation is about to be decimated is mine—not yours.”

“Nice word.”

“Yeah, well. Ruined didn’t seem like a severe enough word to describe how you’re about to uproot my life.”

Again, Donghae was briefly overwhelmed by guilt, but he ignored it. There were too many benefits to this situation for the guilt to make him forget them.

“What exactly did you want to change?”

Eunhyuk pointed to the “Term of Employment” and “Termination of Employment” section.

“We verbally agreed to that at the store last night. I’m not changing it.”

“Right. We did,” Eunhyuk replied. “But I didn’t realize the date graduation landed on. My flight to Paris leaves the night after graduation.”

“Fine,” Donghae acquiesced. “We can change it to right after graduation.”

Eunhyuk thanked Donghae and quickly crossed out the original date on the contract and changed it to June 23rd.

“Why are you crossing it out if you plan on throwing out the paper?” Donghae enquired.

He was disappointed at how happy Eunhyuk looked crossing out the original date for the new one. It made it more than evident just how unhappy Eunhyuk was about this whole scenario in comparison to Donghae.

“I remember things easily once I write them out.”

“Alright. What was the next thing you wanted to talk about.”

Donghae yawned as he asked about the contract again.

“You seem tired,” Eunhyuk genuinely remarked, taking Donghae by surprise.

He’d been trying to liven up all day. The noise in the salon had kept him up, but the coffee shop was far too quiet, and the coffee was doing nothing to quell his exhaustion. It was all Eunhyuk’s fault as to why Donghae was tired; thoughts about today had kept him up all night.

“I didn’t really sleep last night,” Donghae softly answered. He removed his glasses and tried to rub the sleep out of his eyes.

When Donghae looked up, he could almost make out Eunhyuk staring at him if he squinted hard enough.

“Don’t take anything from what I’m about to say right now,” Eunhyuk prefaced. “But have you ever thought about getting contacts?”

Donghae shook his head as he slipped his frames back on.

“The possibility and most likely, probability, of poking my eyes out keeps me away from them.”

“You should rethink that.”

Donghae smiled shyly understanding what Eunhyuk has said to be a compliment. Eunhyuk just looked away and took another sip of his drink.

“So, what other things did you want to change?” Donghae steered the conversation back to the contract to get Eunhyuk’s attention.

“The probationary period thing. Like really? Do you really need to go that far?”

Donghae looked down at the paper to read over what Eunhyuk was asking and saw nothing too severe about it.

“What’s so wrong about it? Most things have a trial period and have some sort of punishment for them.”

Eunhyuk rolled his eyes and placed a check mark next to the “Probation” section.

“I guess that makes sense even though all of this is actually stupid.”

“You did try to steal a shirt,” Donghae derisively retorted. The coffee was beginning to work its magic and his naturally sarcastic self was starting to rear its ugly head again.

Eunhyuk chose to ignore the remark and glanced back down at the contract.

“Let’s just talk about Items B, C, D, and G in the ‘Duties and Responsibilities’ section of this piece of shit.”

Donghae once again took the paper from Eunhyuk to read each item.

After he had read each one, he laughed because he knew these would be the ones Eunhyuk would want to change. He also laughed because beside each one in red pen were the words “HELL NO” in block letters.

It perfectly matched the scowl and glare Eunhyuk was giving Donghae now.

“I don’t see what’s so hard about Item B. Sitting next to me is the easiest thing out of all of these. At least I think so,” Donghae argued.

“All couples, especially at the beginning of a relationship, want to sit next to each other. They want to be with each other all the time. To make it believable, we have to appear all lovey-dovey.”

Eunhyuk sucked his teeth as he shook his head from side to side before quickly scrawling a check mark beside Items B, C and D.

“Why did you check off C and D?”

“They're along the same lines of B. Appearing in public and holding hands and what not. It’s all along the same line,” Eunhyuk reasoned.

“True,” Donghae agreed. “Now what’s your problem with Item G?”

The smug smile on Donghae’s face irritated Eunhyuk—he could tell by how tightly Eunhyuk scrunched his lips.

“I think that one is pretty much obvious.”

“Not really. All couples kiss. I don’t see what’s so difficult to understand about that one.”

“You can’t expect me to kiss you. I rather attach a cinder block to my ankle and jump into the Han River before I ever kiss you,” Eunhyuk vehemently stated, much to Donghae’s amusement.

“And what makes you think I want to kiss you?”

“Because you concocted this whole damn situation. You clearly like me and clearly want to kiss me. I’m sure you even fantasized about kissing me before. Hell, you’ve probably touched yourself thinking about me.”

Instead of backing down from what Eunhyuk had said, Donghae decided to reply honestly to gauge the other boy’s reaction and mostly because he was sure it would be unexpected.

“And if I have?” Donghae replied and licked his lips.

“If you have what?”

Eunhyuk’s response was slow and his eyes followed the trajectory of Donghae’s tongue as it made its way around Donghae’s mouth.

“Thought about it. Touched myself.”

“You’ve got some serious issues.”

Donghae smirked and crossed his arms across his chest.

“I refuse to change Item G.”

“Then I suggest just adding, ‘only when people ask’ to it.”

Donghae contemplated whether he should continue arguing in favor of Item G, but he decided to relent and give in to what Eunhyuk wanted. He hoped that it made him look a little more favorably to his classmate.

“Deal. We’ll kiss only when someone asks us. Make sure you own some sort of lip balm, Lee Hyukjae.”

Donghae laughed as Eunhyuk clenched his fists on the table and bit his bottom lip to keep from arguing.

“Was that all?” Donghae asked, sipping the last bits of his Americano.

The ice had changed the taste significantly by now, but he still finished it all.

“No, we have one more stop,” Eunhyuk announced. He stood up and finished the last bite of his muffin before putting his coat back on.

“Where are we going now?”

Donghae started to put his coat on while still seated. He waited for Eunhyuk to answer before he stood up.

“To the PC bang. I have something to give you.”

“Oh a gift?” Donghae joked as he wrapped his scarf around his neck and followed Eunhyuk to the exit.

“Not really,” Eunhyuk replied as he stepped outside of the shop.

He stopped in his step as the wind blew harder than before. Donghae stepped further into the shop.

“Why is it so fucking cold?” Eunhyuk complained as he gripped the side of his hood tighter against his face.

Donghae opted to wrap the scarf further up his neck to cover some part of his face.

“Yah, Donghae. Close the door. You’re making this place cold!” Yesung shouted from behind the register.

Donghae nodded and then waved goodbye to the barista. He shoved Eunhyuk and himself out on to the sidewalk.

“Let’s just run to the PC bang,” Donghae suggested as he started to shake from the cold.

Eunhyuk nodded his head and began to jog the five blocks to the internet café. Donghae followed persistently behind him.

They didn't speak as they move around other shoppers. They just tried to make themselves as compact as they could in their coats to generate more heat.

When they reached their destination, Eunhyuk quickly ran inside and toward the back. Donghae waited by the entrance, unsure if Eunhyuk wanted him to follow.

It didn't really matter because only moments later, Eunhyuk ran from the back with a bag in his hand to give to him.

“What’s this?” Donghae asked as he stared at the plastic bag Eunhyuk was holding.

“It’s a spare uniform I keep in one of the lockers here. I usually keep it here in case I decide to stay at a friend’s house during the week.”

“Why are you giving me this?”

Eunhyuk merely waved his hand up and down. Donghae had no idea what he was talking about.

“They’re for you to wear. Your clothes are a million sizes too big for you.”

Donghae looked down at the baggy jeans he was wearing. His sweater under his coat was also about two sizes too big for him.

“Ah, so this is where the cliché makeover that happens in all teen movies occurs in our saga.”

Eunhyuk looked around to make sure no one was listening.

“Keep your voice down. And no. I hadn’t planned on you getting a haircut. That just happened because of my sister and because watching you suffer was so much fun for me. But I did plan the uniform because you should at least dress better if we are going to be seen together.”

Donghae scowled as he accepted the bag.

“Do we have to go anywhere else?”

“No. We’re done,” Eunhyuk sternly answered. He was clearly over their little hangout.

“Alright then. I will see you Monday. I’ll text you tomorrow night to see where you want to meet up.”

“Meet up? Can’t we just see each other in the class room?” Eunhyuk asked warily.

“No, it has to be believable so we have to look like we walked together the whole way.”

“I usually walk with Sungmin in the mornings,” Eunhyuk said quietly.

“Well, just text me and we’ll meet up somewhere in between your place and Sungmin’s.”

“Must we?”

“Yes. I’ll see you then.”

“Whatever,” Eunhyuk finally dismissed him and walked toward the back of the PC bang, mostly likely to play some computer game or surf for porn.

He didn't say goodbye, but his abrupt exit didn't bother Donghae.

He just smiled to himself as he stepped back outside, immediately regretting leaving the warm PC bang.

He headed off quickly in the direction of his bus stop to head home.

Chapter Text

Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


Donghae stared out of the dirty and scratched bus window, watching as dusk painted over the sky in a blend of oranges, reds and purples. He loved to watch the sky at this time of day; it always managed to relax him.

 However, today it did nothing to appease his anxiety. He was trying to keep from thinking about Eunhyuk and the afternoon they'd spent together, but he couldn't. The changing sky only served to remind him that Saturday was almost over and that his and Eunhyuk’s “relationship” was soon to start.

 

 

There was only one more day before the whole charade was supposed to begin and the thought horrified Donghae. It made his stomach turn as he wondered what kind of disaster Monday would turn out to be.

He tried to distract himself, pulled his mp3 out, and began to play his music loudly. Even with guitars blaring loudly in his ears, it failed to take his mind off things. Frustratingly, he yanked the headphones out and opted just to listen to the sounds of the bus and the passengers.

Much to his chagrin, the commute was quiet. The three other people on the bus were silent, with one of them, actually asleep across a row of seats.

The silence just made things worse.

It was as if his thoughts were even louder, making him even more nauseous. The knot in his stomach was unbearably tight; nothing seemed to calm his nerves.

Though Donghae argued with himself that he was justified in all of this nonsense—he wasn’t the one who tried to steal a shirt. It still didn't stop him from feeling slightly guilty about everything he was doing to Eunhyuk.

“Blackmail,” he whispered to himself.

He was blackmailing Eunhyuk, no matter how hard he tried to sugar coat it by calling it an arrangement.

Even if no money was being exchanged between the two parties, it was still blackmail. In this case, the currency was Eunhyuk’s popularity and most likely his comfortable lifestyle for the rest of the school year or much more.

Thinking about how their classmates would react made Donghae’s stomach turn again. He leaned forward in his seat to keep from throwing up the coffee he drank earlier. He could feel it rising in the back of his throat; it stung.

This anxiety was a foreign feeling.

Donghae usually wasn't one to care about what people thought. His classmates barely acknowledged his existence, but after tomorrow, everything would change, and he was positive that it wouldn't be for the better.

But only time would tell.

That was the only way he could relatively calm himself down.

Donghae found himself so lost in his worries that he nearly missed the stop to transfer to his next bus.

“Stop the bus!” he shouted. It caused the bus driver to slam on the brakes.

Donghae lurched forward a few feet toward the front of the vehicle and strained to hold on to the poles so as not to fall on his face.

Met with the disgruntled murmurs of the other passengers, the driver even glared at the teen as he made his way off the bus. Typically, Donghae wouldn’t have cared, but today, he was compelled to apologize to everyone.

Donghae shook his head to clear his thoughts. His mind was cloudy; he was stressed out as he walked down the street to wait for the bus that would leave him close to home.

He grimaced and hunched forward to avoid getting whiplashed by the cold winter winds that had gotten worse at this time of day. He instantly missed his long hair that used to provide a bit more of a shield from the wind.

The sky was now dark.

Again, Donghae was reminded that the end of the day was approaching.

As he stood leaning against the glass canopy of the bus stop, trying to hold on to any warmth he could, his mind raced back to thinking about Eunhyuk. This time, the thoughts brought a smile to his face.

Even though Monday would probably feel like he was entering a full-fledged battle, he couldn't help but feel slightly excited along with overwhelming anxious.

He now had a free pass to hold Eunhyuk’s hand and to talk to him, as he had always wanted. It would, hopefully, be a pleasant change to the dullness of what his days were usually like until he got to work.

The thought brought Donghae such joy that his smile managed to catch the attention of a woman seated at the bus stop.

“You must be in love,” she commented.

“Excuse me?” he replied politely. It was not the first time he had talked to this particular woman. She was nice enough.

“Love, my dear,” she repeated herself. “You must be thinking about a pretty girl to have such a handsome smile on your face. Plus, you’ve chopped off those pretty locks of yours.”

Donghae chuckled. He didn't want to alarm the woman by telling her that he was, in fact, thinking about a cute boy with a charming, gummy smile instead. He wasn't too sure that she would be so nice if she knew the truth.

“Something like that.”

The woman sighed happily while smiling warmly at Donghae.

“Enjoy it, dear. Nothing feels as warm and precious as the first love in one’s life.”

Donghae smiled politely and nodded his head respectfully toward the woman.

“I will,” he promised and it wasn't a lie.

He planned to savor every moment he got with Eunhyuk for the next six months. No matter that fact that Eunhyuk was not the most willing partner in their “relationship,” Donghae planned to enjoy every conversation and every touch they were likely to share, however few they would be.

She winked and turned her face back to look down the street to see if the bus was coming.

Donghae laughed to himself. He didn't know the woman’s name even though they had spoken several times; he occasionally caught her waiting for the bus on some nights after work. They had had several encounters, but most of the time, it was her nagging him about needing to smile more because he was too young to be always be frowning.

For once, she looked genuinely pleased that she hadn’t had to tell him to smile.

The bus arrived ten minutes later much to the pleasure of Donghae’s frozen extremities.


Donghae sighed in relief as he stepped into his house. The warmth quickly enveloped him as he removed his shoes and coat.

“I’m home!” he shouted into the hallway. The smell of dinner was thick in the air. A few moments later, his mother popped her head out of the kitchen with a ladle in her hand.

“Sweetie!” she greeted him.

When he walked up to hug her, she immediately took notice of his haircut.

“You finally cut your hair!” she exclaimed happily, running her hands along his now visible face and quickly gave him a kiss on his left cheek.

“I can now see you beautiful face.”

“Alright ma,” he mumbled, embarrassed by the compliment. “I’m going to take a shower. When will dinner be done?”

"Is that all you care about?" she jested, making him feel guilty.

"No, ma. How was your day?"

Donghae sheepishly looked down at his feet. It wasn't the first time she called him out on thinking about only himself, even if all he did was ask about dinner. He hated to disappoint his mother though he knew she was only trying to make a point at the moment.

"It was good. I had lunch with your aunt and went grocery shopping."

She smiled cheekily at her youngest son as he looked sorry for only asking about food. She chuckled as she lightly patted his cheek.

"Dinner will be ready in about half-an-hour. That’s when your brother should be back.”

Donghae had smiled at his mother before he gave her another hug.

"Thanks, ma. It smells good," he commented as he began to walk toward his bedroom.

"Of course it does. Now, go off and take a shower. Don't take forever!" she yelled up the stairs at him.

Donghae chuckled as he grabbed a change of clothes and a towel from his bedroom.

Upon entering the bathroom, he stopped to look in the mirror. So much of his face was now visible because of the haircut. It made him look so much more like his older brother.

He licked his lips as he played with the small flick of hair at the front. He mussed it from left to right to see which way the style looked better. He grabbed some of his brother’s hair wax, flipped the hair down, and immediately flipped it back up.

Donghae looked exactly like his older brother when he did that. It was uncanny; they would be able to pull off calling themselves twins if he ever wore his hair down.

He chuckled at the thought and undressed. Donghae stopped to look in the mirror again as he scratched at his neck. There were some stray hairs from his haircut that had managed to slip under his collar. He hadn’t felt them before. He figured it had to do with his mind being preoccupied with Eunhyuk.

Again, he couldn't help but stare at his face. He couldn't get used to the haircut.

His long hair had been such a safety net for years. Now with a shorter style, he could no longer hide behind it, nor would he be able to hide any pimples he would often get along his cheeks when he was stressed.

He sighed at the fact and made a note to stock up on a good facial cleanser.

His shower passed slowly only because he decided just to sit in the tub with the hot shower water hitting his back. Donghae often did this when he had too much on his mind. He found it relaxing.

He loved the feeling of the water on his back. It was like, what he could only imagine, the feeling of someone running their fingers up and down his back.

When he stepped out of the steamed up bathroom, he was once again met by the smell of dinner and the sounds of his brother talking with his mother.

Donghae smiled as he threw his dirty clothes in the hamper in the hallway before heading down.

“Donghae!” his older brother, Donghwa, shouted as soon as he stepped into the kitchen.

“What? What do you want?” Donghae playfully replied before walking over to give his brother a hug. He didn't allow him to stand up, however.

His brother, though he loved him very much, gave hugs like he was trying to kill a person. Donghae was is no mood to deal with that at the moment.

“Did you work today?”

“Yeah,” Donghae mumbled as he took a seat. “I worked from 10 to 3.”

“So why did you only get home now?” Donghwa asked with a knowing gleam in his eye. He turned to the point at the clock that read that it was almost eight.

“I hung out with friends after work.” Donghae stared inquisitively at his brother, trying to figure out what he was trying to get at with his questions.

“Friends?” came the quick response. However, before Donghae could answer, his mother interjected.

“It’s good to hang out with friends, sweetie. Just call one of us next time.”

“Why are you bringing this up now?” Donghae asked incredulously. “You didn’t say anything before.”

“I was distracted by your haircut and dinner. Plus, Donghwa just reminded me of how late you were compared to other days.”

Donghae sneered at his older brother, who just stuck his tongue out at him.

“So friends, huh?”

“Yes. Why do you keep saying it like that?”

Donghae’s heart began to race as his brother stared at him. Their mother was oblivious to the exchange; she was too busy making sure the stew was ready.

There was something in Donghwa’s eyes; it made Donghae nervous. There was something mischievous about the look his older brother was giving him. It reminded Donghae of how his father used to look at both of them when he knew they were lying.

“Since when do you have friends, Hae-Hae?”

“Donghwa!” their mother quickly shouted, lightly hitting his older brother on his shoulder with a dish towel.

“What?”

He shrugged his shoulders.

“Since when does Donghae hang out with people?”

“Don’t listen to him, sweetie.”

Donghae smiled tightlipped at his mother as she carried the pot of stew to the dinner table.

“Really though? Who were you hanging out with?”

Donghae was taken aback by how persistent his brother was being about the whole thing. He didn’t understand where the skepticism and inquisition were coming from; it had never been this bad before.

“Why do you keep asking?”

Donghae glared at Donghwa across the table. He watched as his brother spooned dinner in everyone's bowls. Quickly, his brother looked back toward him.

“I ask because I drove by the store to pick you up, but that Kyuhyun kid told me you had left with some guy.”

Donghae swallowed the hot piece of meat in his mouth without taking his eyes off his brother.

He knew that Donghwa knew something more especially because the mischief hadn't left his gaze.

“Honey, leave your younger brother alone.”

Donghae was grateful to his mother for her attempts at placating his brother, but it was clear that Donghwa had more to say.

“You see, Mom. I can’t let leave him alone because that kid in his store told me something very interesting about Donghae’s ‘friend.’”

And there it was.

Donghae dropped his spoon in his bowl as he shifted his gaze between his brother and mother. The few bites of dinner he had had now felt heavy in his stomach.

“What does he mean by that?" His mother’s tone conveyed that she was concerned and Donghae knew that there were now a million, horrible scenarios running around in her head all because of how Donghwa brought up the subject.

Donghae rolled his eyes and tried to ignore the situation, but he knew he couldn’t when his mother spoke up again.

“Lee Donghae, you answer me right now. Who were you hanging out with?”

Donghae huffed and sneered at his brother before changing his expression to face his mother.

“I hung out with a classmate.”

It wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t the whole story. He knew the answer wasn’t going to satisfy her, though, especially with Donghwa instigating the situation from his side of the table.

“Classmate? You go to school together?”

“Yes, Donghwa,” Donghae pointedly and angrily enunciated every syllable of his bother’s name to drive the point home that he wanted this conversation to end.

“Oh, sweetie. It’s good that you’re hanging out with classmates, but is this boy not good?”

“He’s fi—” Donghae began to defend Eunhyuk, but his brother decided that the conversation was moving too far away from where he wanted it.

“Apparently," Donghwa interjected around a spoonful of stew, "the classmate is his boyfriend. Color me surprised when I found out from his coworker.”

The look of shock on his mother’s face was enough for Donghae to lose his appetite. The smug expression on Donghwa’s face made Donghae want to grab the pot of stew and pour it over his head.

“You have a boyfriend?” his mother asked earnestly. It was clear that she wasn’t angry about it, but she was more upset that he hadn’t told her first.

Donghae sighed in defeat. He hadn’t wanted to tell his family until later on, when he could figure out a way to gauge the conversation, but Donghwa had killed any chance of that.

“We only started dating Friday. So really, he’s not my boyfriend. We went out today, and that’s pretty much the extent of our relationship. Why would you believe anything that comes out of Kyuhyun’s mouth?”

“I should have known better,” Donghwa begrudgingly admitted as their mother chuckled.

Donghae felt smug as he took another bite of his food, his nerves having been calmed a bit by the disappointment on Donghwa's face.

“Whatever he is, sweetie, just be careful.”

The comment made Donghae choke on his bite of dinner.

“Oh wow. Your face, man.”

“Shut up!”

“I know you’ve just started dating, Donghae, but do be safe.”

“Mom! We’ve been out once. Once! Why are you getting ahead of yourself?”

Donghae was beyond embarrassed by the turn in the conversation. He could feel the redness in his face. He wanted nothing more than to excuse himself from the table.

His brother, on the other hand, couldn't stop laughing. It made Donghae feel even more humiliated.

“Sweetie, I know what boys your age are looking for—"

“Mom!” Donghwa, this time was the one to interrupt. Even though he enjoyed what was going on, he didn't want to talk about his younger brother's sex life or potential sex life.

“Let’s not have this discussion right now. No one wants it. Let’s just eat.”

Donghae nodded his head in agreement as he began to inhale his food. Desperately, he wanted to disappear from in front of his mother because he knew this topic was far from over.

“I’m just trying to protect my baby. Don’t you remember when we had this conversation?"

“Yes, but it wasn’t at the dinner table.”

Donghae closed his eyes and grimaced. He silently prayed that the phone would ring.

“I know it’s embarrassing, sweetie. Just be safe, okay. I’ll stop talking now,” his mother declared with a chuckle as she returned to her meal.

“Alright ma. Can I be excused now?”

“You barely ate!”

“I’ll eat later.”

“Fine. I’ll put some aside for you.”

Donghae thanked his mother for dinner before he made his way out of the kitchen. However, before he left, he notably gave Donghwa the finger before exiting. Luckily, his mother hadn’t noticed the exchange.

Up in his bedroom, Donghae threw himself on his bed, face down. He was completely mortified by what happened at the table.

He had figured that he would eventually have to introduce Eunhyuk to his family, hell, he’d even made it a condition, but he didn’t expect the topic to come up so soon.

Granted, his mother had said nothing about meeting Eunhyuk, but he knew how her mind worked. She would ask him to invite the other boy over, especially since the only person who had come to hang out at home with him in the last five years had been Kyuhyun.

And his mother was clamoring for him to come back. She clearly had no idea about how annoying Kyuhyun truly was. He had been a perfect guest, according to his mother.

Thinking about Kyuhyun in his room logically made him think about Eunhyuk in his room.

His mind began to paint a tale, and Donghae let himself drift away into a deep sleep as he watched it unfold behind his closed eyes.

In his dream, Eunhyuk apprehensively entered his bedroom before Donghae. From the door, Donghae watched the other boy look around before he followed inside.

Eunhyuk didn’t speak as he lay down on Donghae’s bed, but the look on his face was enough of an invitation for Donghae to join him there.

From here, Donghae knew where the dream was going. It wasn’t the first time he had this dream.

Quickly, he joined Eunhyuk on the bed, straddling the other boy’s hips. Leaning forward, Donghae ran a finger along Eunhyuk’s jaw—it was something he desperately wanted to do. He followed the same path as his finger with his lips, sucking gently along the chiseled line of the boy's face. All the while, their hips never stopped moving against each other.

He reveled in the noises of the boy underneath him. However, when he moved to kiss Eunhyuk, the dream faded away. It always stopped at that point. He could never get to kiss Eunhyuk before waking up.


Before Donghae even realized it, he was waking up on Sunday afternoon.

He groaned in frustration because of how his dream ended, in the same way, it did every single time it happened. Any time he got near Eunhyuk’s mouth, he would wake up from whatever dream about the boy he was having that night.

It was frustrating, mentally and sexually; he couldn't figure out a way to change the outcome, especially since it seemed quite tame compared to much more explicit things he had dreamt about him and Eunhyuk doing.

Donghae stretched on his bed before he eventually turned to grab his phone and see what time it was. He mumbled in disappointment about wasting the day. He had slept through the morning. He couldn’t believe he had done that with the next day being Monday.

Immediately, his stomach flipped. His anxiety was back in full force, and he couldn’t get his mind to stop thinking about Monday and about what would or wouldn’t happen.

He lazily pulled himself out of his bed, slipped his glasses on and slowly made his way right to his desk. He wanted to check his email and every site he always had to check before he officially started his day.

However, before he could begin looking through his emails, he was bombarded by the sound of his instant message client notifying him about missed messages.

hyuk0404: Are you free to talk?

hyuk0404: ?

hyuk0404: You there.

hyuk0404: You must still be sleeping.

hyuk0404: Message me as soon as you see this. I’ll be waiting.

The last message had been sent about twenty minutes before Donghae had gotten out of bed.

Donghae's stomach flipped again; it was becoming a disturbing and common disturbance.

He wasn't fond of the feeling.

His mind began racing as he wondered what Eunhyuk could want to talk about. It made Donghae nervous as he typed.

l.donghae: I'm free. What's up?

 

Chapter Text

Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


 

Donghae pulled his glasses off and rubbed at his tired eyes. Although he had slept longer than he had in a while, he still felt tired. It was what several hours of work on his feet caused especially two days in a row.

He planted his feet firmly on the ground and raised his arms high above his head. He waited for the familiar cracking sound of his left shoulder before bringing his arms down. When he was ten, he had fallen while roller skating at a cousin’s birthday and had dislocated his shoulder. To this day, it still made a popping sound when he stretched it too far.

Once he stretched out his legs, he leaned forward in his desk chair to look at his computer screen once more, but the bright light made him squint and want to turn away as his eyes were still getting adjusted to being awake. Nevertheless, he remained mostly focused and stared intently at the instant messenger client again, waiting for Eunhyuk’s reply to appear.

He reread Eunhyuk’s messages feeling a slight flush form on his face and wave of nausea come through as he reexamined the last line.

“I’ll be waiting.”

He smiled to himself. Donghae knew had no right to be doing that. He could picture the glare and scowl on Eunhyuk’s face as he waited by his computer waiting for Donghae’s reply.

He wasn’t an idiot; he knew precisely what Eunhyuk wanted to discuss. The boy had wanted out of this arrangement since Donghae had first concocted the whole scheme. Still, Donghae didn’t want to have this conversation because he knew that he might concede to Eunhyuk’s request as the guilt was starting to eat at Donghae’s conscience. However, before he could begin to let his mind run wild, his cell phone began to ring behind him.

He quickly stumbled out of his computer chair and over to his bed, tripping over a pair of gaming headphones that had fallen to the floor. He grabbed the ringing device to silence it. However, he was surprised to see Eunhyuk’s name flashing on the screen. He nearly dropped the phone before sliding his finger across the screen to answer.

“Hello?” Donghae groggily greeted as he took a seat in the middle of his bed. Sleep had not yet fully left his body.

“Did you just wake up?” Eunhyuk asked. It was clear that he had been awake for quite some time already.

“Yeah. About a minute or so before I replied back to your message.”

“It’s almost 1 in the afternoon.” There was a tone of incredulity in Eunhyuk’s comeback; Donghae chuckled silently to himself. The other boy was combative right from the get go—as he had expected.

“Yeah, what’s it to you? The weekend is for relaxing. I go to school and work part time. Remember? That place where I caught you stealing!” Donghae argued in return. He stood up and began to pace in the middle of his room. Despite not being fully awake, Donghae too was ready to fight. He shuffled his feet as he waited for Eunhyuk’s response, knowing full well he was most likely to be insulted.

“I remember, jackass.”

Donghae laughed as he could tell Eunhyuk had answered through clenched teeth; he liked getting under the other’s boy’s skin. As much as Donghae felt guilty about the current situation, he couldn’t help but be thrilled by the fact that he was talking with Eunhyuk. This was now the third day in a row that he had gotten the opportunity to speak with the pouty-lipped boy of his fantasies, and despite how they had arrived at this point, Donghae was happy.

“What was it that you wanted? You know besides wanting to hear my beautiful voice again,” Donghae teased as he took a seat back on his bed and laid back to stare up at his ceiling.

“Whatever!” Eunhyuk quickly replied. “Beautiful voice, my ass.”

Donghae softly laughed in response. “We can do a video call instead if you want to see my face.”

“Hard pass on that one, asshole.”

“What did you want?” Donghae asked again, scoffing at Eunhyuk’s dismissive remarks.

“I’m nervous,” came the soft reply on the other end. The quiet whisper surprised Donghae to the point where he moved the phone away from his ear and stared at the screen. He couldn’t believe what he had just heard and who had said it. He had to remind himself that it was actually Eunhyuk on the phone.

“What?” It was all Donghae could say as he brought the phone back to his ear. Anxiously, he waited for the other boy to repeat himself.

“I’m nervous,” Eunhyuk said, only slightly louder than he had originally had before. “I—I—I’m
really, really anxious about tomorrow and about this whole stupid thing.”

Donghae let out the breath he was holding as the pang of guilt hit him like a storm. With how fiercely Eunhyuk had replied back to Donghae’s snarky remarks beforehand, this was not what he was expecting. Not at all.

Eunhyuk’s words were honest, and the dread was evident in his tone. Only a few moments ago, Donghae had felt happy about everything going on and the fact that he was getting to talk with Eunhyuk again. Right now, the guilt was starting to eat away at his conscience again, and it was making him nauseous. His eyes shifted across his ceiling to his computer screen and then back to his ceiling as he tried to breathe through the wave of nausea. He had no idea how to respond, but he knew he had to otherwise he would have to hear that quiet, desperate tone again.

“I understand.”

And he did. Donghae fully understood why Eunhyuk was worried. While Donghae was getting a pretend boyfriend/friend out of this situation, Eunhyuk was essentially committing social suicide, to put it simply. He was potentially giving up the comfort of his social status, his friends and any sense of safety he had gained by not telling those around him that he was gay.

“If you understand, then why are you making me do this?”

“Because for once in my life, I’ve decided to be selfish,” Donghae answered honestly. The least he could do was be forthright with Eunhyuk. “I'm being selfish and greedy about what I want. However, I’m also thinking about you and your life.”

“Excuse me?” Eunhyuk snapped in disbelief at what Donghae was telling him. “Thinking about me? How? You’re about to ruin my life!”

Donghae could hear Eunhyuk moving on the other end of the line. He could distinctly make out the sounds of pillows hitting against a wall and something being kicked across the floor. The thud it made echoed in his ear.

“I am. You’re not happy. We’ve talked about this before. You’re miserable. Any person, anyone with even a speck of empathy could see that.”

“You don’t know a damn thing about me, Lee Donghae. You assume you know shit about me since you say you’ve been watching me for years like a fucking creep.”

Donghae was taken aback by the comment. It wasn’t untrue, but he felt slightly embarrassed by the fact that he had let Eunhyuk know that he had been observing him for a while now. However, it didn’t make what he had said untrue. Though he was choosing to be selfish—he was quite delighted to be in this situation—he was also doing this for Eunhyuk. It was clear as a day that the other boy was going through the motions every day. He was suffering because he was too afraid to be himself. Donghae had been watching him long enough to know when the boy’s smiles were real and when they were fake. The difference was staggering, and the fact that others hadn’t noticed was telling all in itself.

“I didn’t watch you like a ‘creep.' I merely observed you since you sit directly across from me,” Donghae tried to defuse the situation. “Regardless of that, can you honestly tell me that you’re happy? Genuinely happy?”

“Who cares?”

“I care!” Donghae argued. “Are you honestly okay with having to hide who you truly are? Why would you choose to live a lie? Isn’t that stressful? Lying to everyone around you. Never being honest with them or yourself. How are you so sure that no one would catch you eventually?”

“I told you that it isn’t any of your business. Why the fuck do you care so much?”

Donghae flippantly scoffed at Eunhyuk. “It’s my 'business' now. Get over it! I don’t have to explain myself to you.”

Eunhyuk muttered angrily. Donghae could hear him throwing things around his room. The sounds caused Donghae’s to hold his breath for a few moments as he tried to process what to say next to ease the some of the tension coming from Eunhyuk.

His classmate was livid, and Donghae found himself afraid to speak up as he heard the heavy breathing and commotion on the other end of the call. Usually, he would just say something sarcastic to annoy Eunhyuk and get him to talk, but he could tell that this was not the moment for a cheeky comment.

“Look,” Donghae quietly interrupted the flurry on the other end of the call.

“I get it, sort of. Actually, I don’t. Let’s be honest. I have no idea what you must be feeling because I’ve never found myself in this situation, but I’m trying to help. You won’t have to lie anymore. You don’t have to hide and pretend like everything is okay.”

“Again, with this shit,” Eunhyuk argued morosely. “Stop trying to be my savior. I didn't ask for this. Just let me live my life the way I want to. Who are you to judge me?"

"I'm not trying to be your 'savior.' I'm just trying to help you. I’m trying to be a good person."

“A good person? Help me?” Eunhyuk scoffed. “Seriously. Do you hear how ridiculous you sound? Or did you forget that you’re fucking blackmailing at the moment? A good person wouldn’t hold someone thing over someone the way you are right now.”

Donghae cleared his throat as he listened to Eunhyuk. Each of them was correct, although Donghae was sure most people would side with Eunhyuk’s point of view in this situation.

“While my method is unconventional, I am still trying to help you out. Sincerely, I am.”

Donghae heard Eunhyuk sigh heavily. He could tell that the fight was starting to leave Eunhyuk as he realized how truly stuck he was in this situation.

“Please.”

It was barely a whisper, but to Donghae, it sounded as loud as a trumpet blaring right in his ear. All the blood rushed to his ears as Eunhyuk spoke up again.

“Donghae, please.”

Donghae closed his eyes as he pressed the back of his head into his pillow. He knew he should stop this charade, that there was a lot at stake for Eunhyuk, but his selfish desires to get to be around Eunhyuk every day until graduation was much stronger than the guilt he was feeling.

As much as he didn’t want to admit it, Donghae was lonely. He was good at masking that feeling with sarcasm and snarky remarks, but deep down, he was lonely, and he was tired of being seen as a bit of a social pariah. He was exhausted by the cutting remarks from his brother and Kyuhyun about his social life.

“I can’t.”

“Donghae please,” Eunhyuk pleaded and again Donghae was hit with shame. He opened his eyes as he pulled the phone away from him. He muted his line as he took a deep breath; he didn’t want Eunhyuk to hear him. He didn’t want to instill false hope in the other boy because Donghae was determined to have this happen.

He wanted this. At this point in his young life, he needed it.

“Donghae?” Eunhyuk asked becoming aware that Donghae had remained silent. Immediately, Donghae unmuted his line.

“Eunhyuk, I’m sorry. I know you’ll hate me the entire time, but I can’t. It’s not fair to either of us.”

“Huh?” Eunhyuk was confused. “What do you mean this is not fair to you? What does this even have to do with you? It’s not going to negatively affect you.”

“I’m not going to explain myself, not now at least,” Donghae replied. He would eventually work up the courage to tell Eunhyuk that he was lonely and this opportunity was much more than just pretend for him. He wanted a friend, even a fake one for now.

“If I reveal to your friends that you attempted to steal the shirt but failed, they’ll laugh at you, and until you actually do it, they’ll never let you live it down. And then what happens? You shoplift in a different store, but this time you get caught by security? They’re not going to let you off the way I have.”

“You haven’t let me off, Donghae,” Eunhyuk pointed out. “Or did you forget what’s going on right now?”

Donghae shook his head and stood up. He needed to move, or he was going to bend to Eunhyuk’s pleas. He began to pace the length of his room while running his hand through his hair. He immediately missed his long hair which he’d be hiding behind right now if it were still that length.

“I have let you off. Trust me! I saved you,” Donghae defended himself as he got ready to fight dirty for the remainder of this call. “If any of my coworkers had caught you or my manager, you’d be in a way bigger mess than you are right now. They would have alerted the authorities and ultimately your parents. You would be saying goodbye to your trip to Paris.”

Eunhyuk gasped, and Donghae knew that his argument had been sound. He was cognizant that mentioning the Paris trip would be the defining point that would drive the case home for his classmate. It was manipulative, and Donghae knew it, but the other boy was known for playing things in such a manner with other people. He really was only playing the same game to get his way and hold Eunhyuk accountable.

“We can stop this whole thing right now, but I will tell your parents about what happened.”

Donghae’s eyes widened as he stopped pacing in the middle of his room. He couldn’t believe what he had just said, what he had just threatened. He knew it was downright cruel to intimidate Eunhyuk in such a way. It was evident this trip was something important to him, and Donghae in no way wanted to interfere with that.

“You wouldn’t!” Eunhyuk flippantly replied or at least he sounded that way. Donghae knew it was all false bravado.

“You should know by now that I would.”

His retort was stern, but Donghae knew that he would never do it. He would never do that to Eunhyuk, but the other boy didn’t know that. From their short encounters over the past 3 days, Donghae really hadn’t presented himself as the most aggregable person so he was positive that Eunhyuk would believe his bluff.

“I hate you.”

Defeated.

Eunhyuk was defeated, and while Donghae should consider it a victory, those three words hurt him to hear despite knowing that he deserved them—that he deserved much worse.

Neither of the two spoke for a short while after the comment. The statement hung heavy in the air.

“I will see you tomorrow,” Donghae broke the deafening silence. Eunhyuk simple sighed before quietly replying with an “okay.”

“Where should we meet?”

“I’ll text you the place I meet with Sungmin every morning.”

“Okay.”

“Okay,” Eunhyuk concluded and disconnected the call.

Donghae took a seat back in his computer chair and stared at the now black screen of his phone. He felt horrible, downright awful. He had already been feeling guilty about the whole thing before the call while there was still an underlying sense of glee about the situation.

But now, now he just felt like the worse person ever. He was condemning Eunhyuk to this arrangement for the remainder of their senior year and life was about to change drastically for him and most likely not in a good way.

Definitely not in a good way, he thought.

Donghae chucked his phone on to his bed in frustration and turned around to face his computer, moving the mouse to wake the screen up. He was going to try and ignore this uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. However, the first thing he saw when he logged back into his computer was that the instant messenger was still on the screen and that instead of texting him, Eunhyuk had merely messaged him the meet up location.

         hyuk0404: In front of the ice cream place next to the main park entrance.

         l.donghae: Thanks. See u then.

His message went unanswered, but Donghae really wasn’t expecting a reply. If the situation were reversed, he wouldn’t respond either. If he did choose to answer, it would probably be an expletive laced response telling the other person to take a long walk off a short pier. 

Donghae closed the chat window and quickly went on to check his favorite sites as he looked at the time.

In less than a day, everything was going to change.

 

Chapter Text

Originally / Simultaneously posted on AFF: http://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/718495

Story banner by: haesthetics


Donghae woke up twenty minutes before his alarm clock on Monday morning. Sleep hadn't been easy that evening, and he had tossed and turned for most of the night. It had been nearly impossible to get comfortable in bed. The sheets had felt prickly against his skin and the pillows too flat. He had even kicked off the comforter and then pulled it back up more times than he could remember.

Despite having slept only a few hours and poorly at that, Donghae didn’t actually feel tired. Instead, he felt anxious and like he was ready to throw up at any moment.

Today was the day everything he knew would change. His entire world as he knew was about to be flipped upside down.

There was a tiny prick of hope, some small bit of wishful thinking that nothing would change at all, but Donghae knew that wasn’t going to happen. Having gone to school with most of his classmates since they were children, Donghae was confident that the metaphorical shit was about to hit the proverbial fan this morning. It was the only way he could think to describe it.

He groaned as he stretched his arms above his head, grabbing onto the bed frame to work the stiffness of his poor sleep away. He savored the sensation that enveloped his body as he stretched his body before he fell limp against his mattress. Donghae took a moment to take a few deep breaths in an attempt to calm his nerves, but it was a fruitless effort.

He could hear and smell his mother cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and usually, this would have made Donghae smile and jump immediately out of bed, but at this moment, it only served to make his stomach turn and bile rise in his throat. His nerves were getting the best of him, and he couldn’t get himself out of bed. He didn’t want to face the day even though this day was all his making.

Since yesterday afternoon, his anxiety made the day feel eternal. After his call with Eunhyuk, Donghae had spent most of the day trying to forget all about what the other boy had said.

“I hate you.”

Those three little words had hurt Donghae more than he wanted to admit. He’d been feeling sorry about this situation since the words left his mouth on Friday night, but hearing Eunhyuk proclaim that he hated him, had served to make Donghae feel like the scum of the earth. He didn’t even know it was possible to feel that low, to feel like gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe.

And on top of all that, Donghae had even threatened to tell Eunhyuk’s parents about what happened.

“Fuck my life,” Donghae whispered into the silent bedroom. “Why did I think this was a good idea? This is so fucking stupid.”

Donghae knew the right thing to do was to call off this whole charade—just end it. He could call Eunhyuk and save him from what was sure to be a miserable rest of his senior year. There was no need to make either of them suffer.

Nonetheless, Donghae couldn’t do it. Deep down, he didn’t want to. It was unbelievably selfish and downright wrong. He was about to out Eunhyuk to his group of friends before the other was probably ready to do so. However, Donghae had a suspicion that Eunhyuk had no intention of ever telling his friends about his sexuality. It was in the way the other boy carried himself around his friends and the mention of the Paris trip that solidified that belief for Donghae. 

What right do I have? Donghae thought as he finally slipped his glasses on and climbed out of bed to head toward the bathroom.

He washed his face quickly and held off on brushing his teeth until after breakfast.

Staring at himself in the mirror, he still found it odd to see the short hair. He ran his fingers through the shorter locks wishing that he could still hide behind his long hair.

What the hell am I getting myself into? He thought to himself as he looked at his reflection.

Donghae quickly huffed in frustration and hurriedly walked to the kitchen, making sure to be quiet as he could hear his brother was still sleeping. The last thing he needed was to deal with his older brother, especially on this morning. Today, he just wanted to run out of the house without talking to him; his brother was not a morning person, not even in the slightest.

He found his mother getting ready to leave when he arrived in the kitchen. Typically, she would already be gone by the time Donghae was up, but breakfast was always on the table. With him waking up so early, he was able to catch her before she left.

“Good morning, my love. You’re up early today,” she greeted him while she finished cleaning up around him. She wasn't one to ever leave a mess.

“Morning," he grumbled.  "Couldn’t really sleep last night,” he quietly added and walked up to kiss his mother on the cheek. She smiled warmly at her son and directed him over to the table where she had breakfast ready for him and his brother.

Donghae took a seat at the table and just stared at the fried eggs and sausage on the table with uncertainty. It smelled fantastic, but he didn’t know if he would be able to eat anything without it coming back up.

His hesitancy caught his mother’s attention. She was putting on her coat and getting ready to leave for work and stopped before slipping on her scarf. She quickly took a seat across from her son.

“Sweetie, are you okay? You love breakfast; it’s your favorite meal of the day, and you’re just staring at it.”

Donghae softly chuckled as he looked up to find the concerned eyes of his mother looking at him.

“I’m okay. I promise.”

His declaration didn't appease his mother; she was always good at knowing when he was hiding something. She stood up quickly and walked up next to his seat and placed a hand on his forehead, shaking her head when she felt Donghae didn’t have a fever.

“Are you sure you’re alright? If you’re not feeling well, you know you can stay home. You know I don’t mind; you never miss school.”

Donghae swiveled in his seat to look up at his mother and smiled as brightly as he could up at her. She and his brother were all he had now since his father’s passing. He didn’t like that he was making her feel worried especially as the reason for his state was entirely his fault. She would be mortified if she knew what Donghae was doing.

“I’m good, mom. Just didn’t sleep well…could n’t get comfortable last night.”

“Alright, if you say so,” she began. “But if you’re still not feeling well, please stay home. No point in going to school if you can’t actually pay attention to the lessons.”

“No problem. But I’m fine. Just got no sleep.”

His mother nodded and leaned down to hug her son as best she could with him still seated. He quickly hugged her back.

“Okay, my dear. Call me if you do stay home. Your brother will be home today so he can take care of you if you’re not feeling well.”

Donghae threw his head back as he laughed imagining his brother taking care of him. He would be a pain about it the whole time, but he would still do it.

“I don’t know about that one, mom, but I’ll be fine.”

“You know I can make him do anything I say,” she jokingly replied and winked at her youngest child. “He has to listen to me.”

Donghae smiled, feeling slightly better as his mother finished getting ready to head out for work. She had a knack for improving his mood.

“I mean it, Hae. Stay home if you’re not feeling good,” she proclaimed again when she got to the front door.

“I know, mom. Have a great day.”

“Have an excellent day, my dear. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Donghae called from the kitchen as he heard the front door close.

With all the noise, Donghae had half-expected his brother to wake up but relaxed when there was no movement or sound from Donghwa’s bedroom.

Donghae shifted in his seat as he reached out and grabbed two eggs and a sausage and moved them onto his plate. He stared down at the food on his plate and hesitated before taking a bite. He barely tasted the sausage as he swallowed. It felt like a tennis ball going down his throat.

He tried to take a few more bites but ultimately gave up, moving the uneaten eggs back onto the tray and covering them to keep them warm for his brother.

Donghae just sat at the table silently and played with the droplets of condensation on his glass of orange juice, following their trails with his index finger as he continued to replay his conversation with Eunhyuk over again.

“Donghae, please.”

That desperate whisper had felt so loud in his ears. He could feel all of the grief and sorrow in Eunhyuk’s voice.

“You’re about to ruin my life!”

Donghae grimaced as he dropped his head to his hands and kept staring at his glass of juice. He could feel the few bites of breakfast ready to come up. He took a deep breath and lay his head on the table, delighting in the cool texture on his warm cheeks.

“Stop trying to be my savior. I didn't ask for this. Just let me live my life the way I want to. Who are you to judge me?"

Donghae felt bile at the back of his throat and took a deep breath trying to save himself from throwing up. It was the last thing he wanted to deal with this morning.

“I’m nervous. I—I— I’m  really , really anxious about tomorrow and about this whole stupid thing.”

The irony wasn’t lost on Donghae now as his stomach was now in knots and he couldn’t make himself go back to his room to get ready. He just kept watching the condensation form trails on his cup and down onto the table.

It was another ten minutes of pointlessly thinking and staring at the cup before Donghae finally stood up and went to take a shower and brush his teeth. Even the warm water couldn’t soothe his nerves today; they were cloying and ever-present.

Stepping into his room, Donghae grabbed the uniform that Eunhyuk had handed him on Saturday. The other boy had remarked that Donghae wore his clothes “a million sizes too big.”

It wasn’t a lie.

As he slipped on the gifted pants, he was immediately aware of how much tighter Eunhyuk’s pants were than his own. Although the slacks were still loose in the legs, they fit on his waist perfectly and actually looked like a pair of pants as opposed to a bundle of fabric wrapped around his legs.

The button down was also much tighter than what he was used to wearing. It felt much snugger across his arms. Looking in the mirror, Donghae was surprised to see just how much more fitted everything was on his frame. He and Eunhyuk were pretty much the same size, but no one would have guessed with how much bigger Donghae wore his clothes.

Eunhyuk hadn’t provided Donghae with a blazer, so he had to wear his own which immediately made Donghae happy. His blazer that was too big for him and felt comfortable and safe helped hide just how much tighter Eunhyuk’s uniform was on his frame.

Donghae quickly slipped on a pair of thick socks and his boots before grabbing his coat and backpack. He finished getting ready by the front door, feeling the cold winter wind through the crack under the door.

He slipped his coat on and tightly wrapped his scarf around his throat making sure that the scarf covered any bit of skin his coat was unable to cover. Slinging his backpack on his back, Donghae slipped his gloves and a hat on before heading outside. Immediately, the winter morning assaulted his senses; the wind whipped violently against his face. Without his long hair, he could feel the wind much more than before.

The walk over to the bus was not going to take Donghae long, but it sure as hell was going to feel that way in this weather.


After a twenty-minute bus ride into the center of the city, Donghae walked over to the park entrance where he expected to find Eunhyuk and Sungmin. Instead, he found that only Eunhyuk was waiting for him. The other boy was sitting on the top step of the staircase at the front of the ice-cream shop entrance. The only reason Donghae could even tell it was him was due to the bright blue book bag that rested next to his feet. Eunhyuk was huddled and well-hidden into the crux of his coat.

It made Donghae wonder just how long his classmate must have been waiting in the cold for him to arrive. There was a slight pang of guilt at the unknown fact.

“Hey,” Donghae greeted Eunhyuk quietly, watching his breath form in the cold air. “I thought we were going to walk together with Sungmin.”

Donghae nervously looked down at his classmate who upon further inspection had pretty much cocooned in himself within his coat and scarf.

“He's sick—mentioned something about possibly having the flu on the phone last night.”

Eunhyuk’s head popped out of his coat as he looked up at Donghae standing directly in front of him. His reply was flat, and it made it unmistakably clear to Donghae that he was quite nervous and fairly scared about going to school.

Donghae couldn't help but sympathize despite being responsible for those feelings. He knew those feelings, all too well. They had been driving him mad for days now.

“Are you alright?” he asked sincerely.

Eunhyuk stood up quickly, taking Donghae by surprise. He had to take a few steps back or else risk falling on the ground. Despite the sudden actions, Donghae still found himself face to face with his classmate. Eunhyuk looked annoyed and disbelievingly at Donghae. It was clear that his classmate was not doing well and Donghae wanted to smack himself for asking such a stupid question. If he himself was not doing well, why would he expect for Eunhyuk to be feeling any better?

Much like Donghae, it looked like Eunhyuk didn’t get much sleep the night before. The bags under his eyes were much more pronounced this morning
than they had been in a long time; Donghae could tell.

“Do you want—” Donghae began to ask another question, but Eunhyuk cut him off immediately, his hand went up directly in front of his face to stop him from continuing.

“Can you just keep your mouth shut until we get inside the classroom?” Eunhyuk harshly exclaimed. “I really, really don't want to talk right now. Especially to you.”

“I think we need to talk before we actually head over.”

Eunhyuk rolled his eyes as he grabbed Donghae’s arm and walked him over toward one of the side streets. After a few moments, the two stood in front of a heating vent at the back of the local supermarket. Donghae immediately sighed as warm air suddenly hit his face.

“Why didn’t we meet here instead?” he asked as allowed himself to enjoy the warm air from the vent thawing his frozen body.

Eunhyuk completely ignored Donghae’s question as he too delighted in the warmth.  He looked toward the end of the street and could see students walking up the hill toward the school. It was the reason Eunhyuk had pulled Donghae down this street; he wasn’t quite ready to deal with his schoolmates just yet.

“What do we need to talk about?” Again, Eunhyuk’s tone was lifeless and disinterested. It served to remind Donghae just how much of an ass he was in this whole situation.

“I want to apologize,” Donghae began and Eunhyuk audibly gasped as he stared back at him. His eyes were wide as he studied Donghae, trying to grasp what was going on. Quickly Eunhyuk’s gaze changed and he was scowling back at his tormenter once more.

“Apologize?” Eunhyuk scoffed, jerking his head forward and closer to Donghae. “You want to apologize?”

“Yes,” Donghae quickly interjected sensing Eunhyuk's resentment bubbling under the surface. “I want to apologize. I know this isn’t going to be easy—that this isn’t an ideal situation.”

He couldn’t look at Eunhyuk and diverted his gaze to stare at a stain on his gloves he hadn’t noticed until this very moment. He briefly wondered how it got there, but brushed the thought aside.

“I’m asking a lot out of you, and you have every right to hate me. I would hate me. I'm actually kind of surprised you haven’t punched me in the face already.”

“Don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind,” Eunhyuk interrupted with a cynical chuckle. “I’ve thought of much worse. Trust me on that one.”

“And you have every right to feel that way.” This time Donghae did look up into Eunhyuk eyes; he deserved to have Donghae’s full attention.

“What are you getting at exactly? Are you backing out now?” The hopeful expression on Eunhyuk’s face made Donghae feel like an ass because he knew that that was not going to happen.

“No, I’m not.”

“Then, why the hell are you apologizing? Are you trying to make yourself feel better?” Eunhyuk stepped closer to Donghae causing him to move out of the way of the warm air.

“Because I don’t accept it. You don’t get to say sorry. I won’t let you feel better about this. You’re a jackass. Deal with it!”

Eunhyuk’s words hurt Donghae, but he knew he deserved them. He sighed heavily and made to grab for Eunhyuk’s wrist, but the other boy took a step back, allowing Donghae to step back into the warmth.

“Don’t touch me!”

“You grabbed me first,” Donghae pointed out, and suddenly he could feel himself becoming callous once more.

“I grabbed you to get us away from the crowd starting to walk to school.”

Donghae turned to where the other boy was pointing and could see the droves of fellow students starting to walk toward the hill that led to the school’s entrance. The scene caused a flurry of nerves to form in the pit of Donghae’s stomach. He shook his arms to work the nerves away. He needed to get his wits about him once more. It was the only way he would be able to handle this.  

“Oh please. You just wanted to touch me,” Donghae smirked. “You could have just said let’s talk in the alley, but you chose to grab me instead.”

Donghae could visibly see on Eunhyuk’s face that the sudden change in Donghae’s tone had taken him by surprise. The other boy rolled his eyes and sighed in disappointment.

“I see you’re back to being a prick. I wondered where that guy disappeared off to."

“Oh, so you thought about me?” Donghae teased, hoping that this sudden burst of confidence was coming off authentically because he sure didn’t feel confident at all. 

Eunhyuk just stared at him in mild disbelief, shaking his head.

“Wow, you really are something else? You sure you’re not bipolar? It’s like you just turned on a switch and became an entirely different person.”

“That would be multiple personality disorder. If you’re going to insult me, at least get the mental illness correct.”

Eunhyuk rolled his eyes once more, and Donghae chuckled. This action was becoming a common occurrence between the two.

They stood silently for a minute, unsure of what to do next. The two remained standing enjoying the warmth from the vent before Eunhyuk was the one to break the silence.

“We should head over now I guess,” he quietly announced and Donghae nodded unsure anything he said would be warranted.

“So—” Eunhyuk began again as he was the first to step toward the end of the street. He was biting his bottom lip almost violently, and Donghae couldn’t help but stare at the other boy’s teeth gnawing away.

“What—how do we walk in?”

Donghae stepped next to the boy as they turned the corner and fell in step with the crowd of students heading to class. He stared at his and Eunhyuk’s feet as they looked to be marching in step as well.

“I think we just walk in, and then you sit down next to me. I think that’s the easiest way to get the ball rolling,” Donghae whispered so as not to catch anyone but Eunhyuk’s attention.

“Okay,” Eunhyuk gently replied causing Donghae to turn his head toward where he was looking. 

No one around them seemed to be paying attention to them, but Donghae was positive that that had more to do with everyone wanting to get out of the cold as quickly as possible. Regardless of that, no one would even suspect that Donghae was walking with Eunhyuk even though they were walking next to each other. They were just two beings in a sea of more than 100 students. They didn't speak to each other any further and didn't even so much as look in each other's direction until they got inside the building.

Donghae turned to find Eunhyuk staring at him as they were only a few doors away from their homeroom. The hesitation in each of Eunhyuk's steps was obvious. It felt like he was trying to encourage Donghae into changing his mind with each step he slowly took. Donghae merely nodded his head in acknowledgment of what he was doing and kept walking forward. He had beat Eunhyuk to the classroom door.

"Here we go," Donghae softly said to himself before he opened the classroom door. Immediately, he was met with the sounds of the 10 people already in there loudly talking about some television show that aired the night before. Donghae ignored them all and headed toward his aisle seat by the window in the back of the room.

He had lost the little swagger he had when talking with Eunhyuk earlier as soon as he stepped into the classroom. His nerves were starting to act up, and he could barely make out what it was his classmates were saying about the show. As he pulled off his scarf and hat and began working on his coat, he noted that Eunhyuk still hadn't walked into the room.

Looking to his right, Donghae could see that only one of Eunhyuk's friends was already there, but unfortunately, it happened to be his best friend, Siwon.

Further along, he spotted Eunhyuk standing just outside the door looking terrified. It had looked like he was trying to talk himself into walking in. Donghae simply looked on, imagining what could be running through Eunhyuk's head. He thought about getting up and physically pulling the boy into the room, but that idea was interrupted by Siwon himself calling out to Eunhyuk.

"Hyuk, what are you doing out there?" he called out to his friend.

That seemed to have pulled Eunhyuk out of his thoughts, and he finally walked into the room, greeting Siwon quickly.

Siwon was getting ready to ask Eunhyuk something but stopped mid-sentence as he watched his friend walk toward Donghae. Eunhyuk motioned for Donghae to move over to the seat by the window so he could take the aisle seat beside him.

Although he knew this was going to happen, Donghae was nevertheless still surprised. Eunhyuk merely looked down at him with a bored expression.

"Hyuk, what the fuck?" Siwon asked. He stood up and stared in bewilderment at his friend and caught the attention of everyone already in the room. They all turned around to face the back of the classroom. It made Donghae feel uncomfortable immediately; Eunhyuk seemed to ignore it all focusing only on Siwon.

Eunhyuk turned around to face his friend while pulling his backpack and coat off.

"What man?" he asked dismissively surprising Donghae once again with how Eunhyuk was handling all of this.

"What are you doing?" Siwon asked. He walked closer to Eunhyuk as everyone else in the room remained silent just watching the conversation take place.

"Sitting next to Donghae," Eunhyuk flippantly replied while he turned to look at Donghae who had now moved over to the desk beside him.

"But why?" Siwon asked as he looked over Eunhyuk to observe Donghae.

Donghae, in turn, stared back timidly at Siwon as the other boy judged him with his eyes.

"Cause we're—" Eunhyuk hesitated on the last word which Donghae knew was not going to be easy and he opted to interject.

"We're friends," Donghae answered Siwon, much to the other's skepticism.

"Since when?" Siwon scoffed.

"It's a long story," Eunhyuk clarified as he took a seat beside Donghae.

"Is he tutoring you?" Siwon asked, not believing a word of what was said.

"No, Siwon. He's my friend, seriously. I'll explain more after class."

Donghae swallowed the bile in his throat as he watched Siwon stare back at Eunhyuk and then him.

"When did this all happen?"

"We've found out we had some things in common on Saturday and started talking over the weekend. It's not that big of a deal, Siwon," Eunhyuk protested, attempting to get his friend to let the topic go.

Donghae remained quiet in his seat, too afraid to speak up just yet. Eunhyuk was surprisingly calm at the moment despite the fact that Siwon kept pestering him with questions. He could only imagine how things would go when more of his classmates arrived.

"No, but seriously, Hyuk? What are you doing?" Siwon asked. He had now pulled up a chair and was sitting directly in the aisle next to their desks.

"I'm serious, man. Our mom's work together, so we met on Saturday when we were both helping them with groceries. It's not that big of a deal."

Siwon continued to stare at Eunhyuk, but eventually, he shrugged his shoulders and moved his seat back over.

"We'll talk after, man, ‘cause this is weird."

Eunhyuk chuckled in return, smiling confidently over at Siwon before turning to face Donghae.

"Why did you say friend?" he whispered.

"Thought it would be easier to slowly get everyone used to this. Plus, we didn't think of a reason as to why we would be hanging out, so we need to come up with some fake story."

Eunhyuk nodded in agreement. He turned to the right and found Siwon still staring in direction. He jokingly stuck his tongue out at his friend off, causing the other to respond with a laugh. From what Donghae could gauge, things were okay between them for the time being, but the day had barely started.

"Why did you say that our mom's work together?"

"They do work together. My sister mentioned you during dinner on Sunday night, and my mom brought it up."

"We could use that to our advantage," Donghae remarked. Eunhyuk only rolled his eyes in return.

"No shit, Sherlock. That's why I brought it up."

Before Donghae could defend himself, more students walked into the classroom including more of Eunhyuk's friends. Each of them took turns and stared over at them much to Donghae's chagrin. The looks of bewilderment and confusion were abundant, and that only served to anger and unnerve Donghae even more. Eunhyuk appeared to be unfazed by it all on the surface, but all the doodles on his notebook told a different story.

The school day had not even started, but Donghae was already counting down until he could leave.