The alarm blaring from the nightstand alerts Kyungsoo that his 10 minute snooze period is up. Groaning, he rolls over and shuts off the sound, lying in bed for a few more precious seconds of denial. The rain gnashing at the windows certainly makes it harder for him to find the motivation to get out of bed.
When he figures he can’t lie there any longer, he sits up, rubbing the sleep out of his tired eyes to get ready for work. He had stayed up later than usual last night putting the finishing touches on an important proposal that he would be delivering today. It also didn’t help that his annoying neighbors were being, well, annoying.
Cursing the few extra minutes he took in the shower, Kyungsoo figures he’ll manage to arrive for work on time if he leaves right now, so he gathers his things and heads out the door. He freezes, however, when he spots one of said annoying neighbors waiting for the elevator. Kim Jongin. For some reason he’s clad in only his pajamas and slippers with a large wool cardigan haphazardly hanging off his lanky frame.
Kyungsoo seriously considers waiting for Jongin to disappear into the elevator and take the next one, but a quick glance at his watch tells him that he’ll be late to work if he does. Steeling himself, he walks towards the elevator and smashes the button, already aware that it’s been pressed, and making a point to ignore the infuriating grin that Jongin throws his way.
“You look nice today.” Jongin says in a voice heavy with sleep. Kyungsoo’s face gives away his bewilderment for only a moment before he regains control and forces his face to remain stoic because is Jongin really attempting to make small talk with him right now? He bites back his retort of ‘you don’t’ because even he can admit to himself that that’s a lie. Instead, he ends up mumbling something about work while mentally kicking himself for sounding like an idiot. Jongin always has that effect on him. [He hates him for it].
The door for the elevator eventually dings open, breaking the awkward silence, and the pair shuffle in. Kyungsoo presses the button for the first floor and heads to the back corner while Jongin places himself on the opposite side, as far away as he can get in the cramped space.
Kyungsoo has never been fond of small spaces, so when the elevator suddenly jerks to a halt and the lights flicker out, plunging them into darkness, Kyungsoo is mildly panicking. The sudden stop having sent him off balance. Trying to quell the quickening of his heart, he shoves his hands out, looking for his spot against the wall. His fingers brush against something warm, the soft fabric calms his growing panic momentarily so he caresses it for a moment.
When he realizes what he’s doing, and more importantly who he’s touching, he pulls back as if burned. Both he and Jongin give uncomfortable coughs at the contact.
“The storm must have knocked out the power” Kyungsoo notes, regaining his spot against the wall just as the emergency lights click on and bathe them in a pale glow. It’s not enough to get the elevator moving again, but at least they aren’t blind.
“Is there a call button somewhere so we can get some help?”
“I’m pressing it and it’s not working” Kyungsoo says as he demonstrates by furiously pressing the button five more times.
“Well do you have your phone? Call for some help.”
“Shit.” Kyungsoo is staring at Jongin eyes wide.
“Please don’t tell me you forgot your phone…”
“No, that’s not it, I just- I’m going to be late to work and I have a really important proposal today.” He starts pacing back and forth, “Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.” Something seems to snap him out of it and he turns to face Jongin.
“Why don’t you call for help and I’ll call my boss and tell him I’ll be late.”
“Oh, are you done pacing like a weirdo?” Jongin says earning a glare from Kyungsoo. “Just call for help and then worry about work.” He settles himself onto the floor and his nonchalance about the situation is beginning to piss Kyungsoo off.
Swallowing his distaste, Kyungsoo opens up his phone. Since he had forgotten to charge it last night it’s already at 33% battery and searching for a signal is draining it even faster. He tells all of this to Jongin who only manages to scoff a “great” so Kyungsoo goes back to his search. He eventually finds one meager bar in the corner. Stealing a quick glance at Jongin, who by the looks of it has gone to sleep, Kyungsoo dials his boss’s number.
Junmyeon picks up after the third ring.
“Kyungsoo! How’s it going?”
“Junmyeon, hi! Listen I-“
“I’m really looking forward to your presentation today. The guys from SM Incorporated should be here any minute.” His boss cuts him off, oblivious to Kyungsoo’s desperate situation.
“That’s the thing, I can’t. I’m stuck—” At Kyungsoo’s words, Jongin’s eyes snap open and he’s glaring daggers at him. Kyungsoo notices and gulps and there’s some shuffling from Junmyeon’s side indicating that his boss is distracted.
“Kyungsoo, the gentlemen from SM have arrived and I have to attend to them but I’ll see you soon!” Junmyeon hangs up before Kyungsoo can get in another word. He’s attempting to call back when Jongin pounces on him.
“Are you seriously using your limited signal and low battery to call your fucking job?!”
“I only just started and I don’t want to get fired!”
“Yeah well I don’t want to be stuck in an elevator all afternoon with you. Call for help.”
“Why don’t you?” Kyungsoo snaps.
“I don’t have my phone.” And it’s Kyungsoo’s turn to mutter ‘great’ under his breath. “Look, I was only going to get my mail and I figured I wouldn’t need it so just call someone so we can get out of here.”
“The sooner the better.” He adds as an afterthought.
Kyungsoo sighs, “Who should I call?”
Jongin stares at Kyungsoo for a few moments. “Unbelievable” he mutters, grabbing Kyungsoo’s phone from his hands.
“Hey! What are you doing?!” Kyungsoo yells.
“I’m calling for help what does it look like—Sehun!” There’s a grunt from the other line and Jongin can tell he just woke up his roommate.
“Jongin? What’s going on? Whose phone are you calling from?”
Jongin hesitates a moment before answering. “Kyungsoo’s.”
“Kyungsoo? Do Kyungsoo? Have I gone crazy? Are you two finally on speaking terms and I didn’t know about it?” Sehun begins cackling gleefully on the other line and Jongin turns away hoping that Kyungsoo can’t hear him through the phone. “I knew it would happen sooner or later.”
“We’re not—what are you talking about?”
“Well I know you say you hate him but—“
“That’s not important right now,” he says cutting his roommate off before he can expose a truth Jongin would rather not admit to, “what’s important is that the power has gone out in the building and I have the misfortune to be stuck in the elevator with Kyungsoo.”
“Hey!” Kyungsoo yelps from the corner where he’s inspecting the control panel and Jongin just scowls to shut him up.
“Anyway, we’d really appreciate if you could help.”
It’s silent on the line for a few moments before Sehun replies, chuckling. “This is going to be good.”
“Sehun, please.” Jongin whines, breaking his façade of nonchalance and Sehun huffs out a “yeah, yeah” before the line goes dead.
“So?” Kyungsoo looks at Jongin, his big eyes round and inquiring. “Is help coming?”
“Let’s hope.” says Jongin handing back the phone only to be smacked moments later by a furious Kyungsoo. “Hey! What was that for!?”
“You killed my battery! How am I supposed to let my boss know I’ll be late now?”
“Well you blew your chance on that one. At least I got us help.” Jongin huffs.
“So you say.”
“Whatever, let’s just wait for someone to get us out of here.” Jongin slumps back against the wall, wrapping his sweater tightly around him and closing his eyes once again. Kyungsoo can’t do anything but glare before joining Jongin on the floor—albeit on the opposite side of the elevator.
* * * * *
The silence in the elevator has lasted so long that Kyungsoo believes Jongin to have fallen asleep. It’s only when a loud grumbling from the latter’s stomach cuts through the air, followed by Jongin’s rustling to quiet the sound that Kyungsoo learns otherwise. Since he was planning on going out to lunch with some coworkers, Kyungsoo doesn’t have a lunch packed but he does have an apple that he was saving for a snack. Losing the argument with himself and praying that they get rescued before lunchtime, Kyungsoo digs the apple out of his bag. With Jongin eyeing him warily, he gives it one last longing look and tosses it onto Jongin’s lap. Jongin’s eyes widen in surprise and he momentarily looks as though he wants to refuse the gift on principle. His hunger wins out, however, when his stomach gives another loud grumble as if on cue.
“Never knew you to be so selfless.” Jongin gets out between bites. “The Do Kyungsoo I know would have eaten this right in front of me and laughed.”
He chuckles while finishing off the remainder of the apple. Jongin’s exaggerating but he loves getting a reaction out of Kyungsoo. He loves watching the normally wide eyes narrow into slits, and the huff of anger that Kyungsoo puffs out. It sends a secret thrill through Jongin.
“What is your fucking problem with me?” Kyungsoo is angry but Jongin’s face still holds traces of mirth.
“Who says I have a problem?”
“Just forget it.” Kyungsoo mumbles quietly and buries his head in his arms to avoid looking at the other man.
Jongin drops the teasing tone and regards Kyungsoo seriously. He reaches out his foot to nudge the other man and mumble his gratitude.
A pair of doe eyes peeks up from where they’re hiding behind Kyungsoo’s arms. “Huh?”
“I said ‘thanks for the apple.’” And because the even if the fluorescent light isn’t much, it’s still something, so Jongin turns away to rest his face behind his fist and hide the pink blush that’s threatening to overtake his cheeks.
* * * * *
“How long have we been stuck in here?” Jongin’s voice startles Kyungsoo and he loses his place on his hundredth count of the ceiling tiles. It doesn’t matter, there’s twenty-six.
He shrugs, “Maybe I’d know if you hadn’t killed my phone battery.” Jongin only stares before eventually sighing dejectedly.
“Whatever, forget I asked.”
Hating himself, Kyungsoo suddenly feels guilty—it’s not like Jongin’s ever been particularly nice to him. But he doesn’t want to ruin the comfortable silence that they’ve created so he apologizes.
“I don’t know, maybe two and a half—three hours? It’s hard to say.”
Jongin nods and then pauses to scrutinize Kyungsoo. “Are you cold?” Kyungsoo looks down and is surprised to note that he’s shivering.
“No, I’m fine.”
“You’re shivering, c’mere.” Jongin’s taking the cardigan off of his shoulders and draping it over his legs like a blanket. He leaves enough room for Kyungsoo and pats the space next to him.
“I said I wasn’t cold.”
“Well I’m cold and this is our only option. Plus you gave me your food. I’m just returning the favor so don’t think too much of it. Do you have to be so stubborn about everything?” Jongin says as he begins crawling over to where Kyungsoo’s sitting opposite. And Kyungsoo doesn’t have time to panic before a warm body plops next to him and Jongin wraps both of their legs in his oversized cardigan. Jongin looks up at him, face expectant.
“Uh, thanks” Kyungsoo manages, though his throat has become dry.
“Much better” Jongin grins, huddling closer and Kyungsoo prays that he can’t feel his heart thundering in his chest. It’s purely for warmth, he reminds himself, and whenever they get out of this mess he can go back to hating Jongin in peace. It was easier that way.
Hate, he’s beginning to think, is too strong of a word. Kyungsoo glances over at Jongin to notice that he’s fallen asleep. Feeling tired himself, Kyungsoo yawns—he definitely didn’t get enough sleep last night.
No, he doesn’t hate Jongin. But that doesn’t mean he likes him either. Nope. Uh-uh. No way.
Kyungsoo’s eyes flutter closed and he falls asleep still wrestling with himself.
* * * * *
Kyungsoo wakes up with his head on Jongin’s shoulder where a small puddle of drool is forming. He snaps up, wiping at his mouth furiously, earning a low chuckle from Jongin who’s already awake.
“Have a nice nap?” he asks. Kyungsoo stutters and, unable to think of something better to do, he makes a face. Jongin stares at him. After a moment he shrugs, face darkening, though Kyungsoo can’t quite read his expression.
Despite having just woken up in an embarrassing position, Kyungsoo’s feeling a little brave so he decides to ask the question that’s been bothering him for three years. The same question he still hasn’t gotten an answer from earlier.
“So what really is your problem with me?”
Jongin turns to face Kyungsoo, momentarily caught off guard by the question.
“Well for starters you drooled on my shoulder.”
Kyungsoo has the grace to look apologetic but he prods on, looking for an answer.
“No I’m serious. What did I do?” Jongin can see in his eyes that he means it.
“Well, it’s not like you’re peaches and cream all the time.”
Jongin has a point but Kyungsoo can’t think of anything to say so he just blurts, “You started it.”
Jongin raises an eyebrow and Kyungsoo decides that since he’s already acting childish he may as well go the full nine yards, so he sticks his tongue out and Jongin and he’s rewarded with Jongin’s rich laughter.
When he quiets down, Kyungsoo is still looking at him expectantly for an answer. Jongin mulls it over for a moment and then finally sighs and says, “You were a real dick in English Lit.”
Kyungsoo chokes on his reply, not expecting Jongin’s answer. He thinks back to their shared college class.
“I—What?” The class was when Kyungsoo had first noticed Jongin. But he’d barely said two words to him before Jongin was acting hostile towards him. The class often ended in heated debates between the pair.
“Well,” Jongin elaborates, “you were a bit pretentious and condescending and it annoyed me.” He shrugs offhandedly and Kyungsoo splutters.
“And that’s why you hate me?!”
“Well I didn’t hate you then. I actually kind of liked fighting with you.” He throws a sideways glance at Kyungsoo.
Kyungsoo rolls his eyes, “I could tell.” Perhaps what had annoyed Kyungsoo the most was the infuriating grin that Jongin sported during their classroom debates. Jongin always left the lectures looking giddy while Kyungsoo was forced to stew in his anger.
Jongin doesn’t continue so Kyungsoo nudges him, “So then what made you hate me?”
“Hate is a strong word.” Jongin says, echoing Kyungsoo’s earlier internal debate. “But it was that ‘blind date’ that Baekhyun and Sehun set us up on.”
Kyungsoo’s almost overwhelmed as all the memories he’d rather forget come rushing back. “But you were the one that stood me up! How is that anything that I did?”
He had finally gotten the courage to admit to his best friend Baekhyun that he kind of-sort of- maybe had a tiny crush on Jongin and his demon of a friend decided it would be a great idea to set the two up on a date. Although he had neglected to tell Kyungsoo until they were already at the restaurant. He’d pretended to be annoyed with Baekhyun while secretly anticipating Jongin’s arrival. He didn’t want the other to know how much he actually liked Jongin—just in case it went terribly wrong.
His fears were soon realized as minutes turned to hours and Kyungsoo was left sitting at the table alone and ashamed. Jongin never showed up and Kyungsoo hated the pitying looks the waitress kept giving him whenever she passed by. Eventually, he left and made Baekhyun promise to never speak about it again.
“Actually,” Jongin says, “I did show up. But I overheard you talking to Baekhyun and you sounded so angry that it kind of made me angry because I thought you were cute and fun to talk to in class. Though clearly didn’t think the same way. I was convinced you hated me so I left and then whenever I saw you it sort of set something off in me...” Jongin shrugs, his words trailing off.
“So, you did come?” Kyungsoo’s turning to Jongin now who, in turn, is trying to avert his eyes to avoid Kyungsoo’s gaze.
“Yeah.” He breathes almost too soft for Kyungsoo to hear, jumping into his version of the story.
* * * * *
Jongin was excited for his ‘blind date’ that he’d learned would be with Kyungsoo once he was able to weasel the information out of Sehun. He wasn’t particularly shy about his crush on Kyungsoo—though he would never admit it to the person in question—but his friends all knew and figured it was time he did something about it instead of allowing Jongin to continue antagonizing Kyungsoo in their English class.
So Jongin was thrilled to finally get somewhere. He had already checked his outfit three times with Sehun to make sure it was perfect before the latter finally pushed out the door. He’d arrived a few minutes early, not wanting to displease the always punctual Kyungsoo.
Jongin spotted him being dragged to the table by Baekhyun, both oblivious to Jongin’s presence. Quieting the butterflies in his stomach, Jongin ducked behind a fern so he could listen without interrupting.
“Are you kidding me Baekhyun? Jongin?” Kyungsoo was saying to his friend. There was something in his tone that sounded to Jongin like disgust.
“C’mon Soo, it’ll be fun!” Baekhyun says detangling Kyungsoo’s fingers from his jacket.
“Both you and I know that this is going to be a nightmare.” Kyungsoo groans and Baekhyun is patting his head sympathetically. Then suddenly he’s bounding off before Kyungsoo has the chance to stop him.
“Don’t forget to tell me all about it!” he throws over his shoulder as he skips past Jongin’s spot unawares. Jongin swallows and turns back to Kyungsoo who’s looking murderous. His heart sinks and suddenly he feels stupid for his excitement. For taking so much time getting ready and thinking that Kyungsoo could even like him in the first place.
Swallowing the lump in his throat, Jongin pushes away from his hiding spot and heads out of the restaurant without looking back.
“After that I sort of antagonized you every chance I could get.” Jongin shrugs, “Fighting with you was the only way you’d acknowledge me, and it sort of made me feel better about you not liking me.”
“You made me wait there for hours.” is all Kyungsoo manages to say. The pair is silent for a moment, Jongin avoiding the other’s gaze. “Wait,” Kyungsoo adds after some thought, “So you moved into this apartment building and happen to be my neighbor so you could antagonize me even when we both finished school?”
Jongin finally looks at Kyungsoo. “You’re acting like I knew you lived here. That was just an unfortunate coincidence” he replies, but there’s no malice in it. “So I’m sorry, I guess…for everything.”
Kyungsoo shrugs, it had been three years and he was mostly over it, though for the first few days after the incident he refused to speak to Baekhyun at all. Baekhyun had apologized about a hundred times, insisting that he knew Jongin liked Kyungsoo back and that there must have been some sort of miscommunication. But Kyungsoo had refused to hear it, his pride already too damaged.
“Wow…we’re both idiots.” Kyungsoo laughs and Jongin returns a small chuckle.
“Yeah.” The look he’s giving sends Kyungsoo’s heart beating a mile a minute. The air between them feels very hot and Jongin is leaning in ever so slightly. And just as Kyungsoo remembers that he needs to breathe, the lights in the elevator flicker on. Jongin stops his forward motion and blinks several times swallowing thickly.
“Power’s back” he says, and Kyungsoo nods dumbly as though Jongin hadn’t just pointed out the obvious.
Seconds later, the elevator jolts and continues the descent that it started four hours earlier. The pair inside stand up awkwardly and Kyungsoo hands Jongin takes his cardigan from around them and puts it back on.
They endure a couple of more seconds of awkward silence until the elevator dings and the doors are opening to the first floor lobby. On the other side they’re met by three people: their landlord and what appears to be a mechanic, who immediately push Kyungsoo and Jongin aside and begin to inspect the elevator, and Sehun who’s holding two sandwiches and grinning knowingly at Jongin.
“Shut up.” Says Jongin before his roommate can even get a word out. Sehun tuts.
“That’s no way to treat your savior…especially someone who brought you two food.” He shakes his head. “Shame I’ll have to eat them both now.”
Jongin gives Sehun a playful shove and takes the sandwiches. He hands one to Kyungsoo.
“By the looks of it he was our savior” says Jongin pointing to the mechanic.
“He may have done the technical work, but I was the one who alerted them to you two being stuck in there in the first place.” Sehun looks rather proud of himself. “The power actually came back on two hours ago.”
“Two hours ago?!” both Kyungsoo and Jongin echo.
“Well apparently there were some mechanical problems. But I got you guys food! I thought you’d be hungry” he adds when the pair still looks outraged.
“So…” Sehun begins conversationally when both Kyungsoo and Jongin have taken bites out of their sandwiches, “what’d you two talk about?”
Jongin stops mid-bite and turns to Kyungsoo, “Your proposal! You have to get to work!”
Kyungsoo starts, all thoughts of his job having been pushed aside by his time with Jongin.
“Shit! I have to go!” He takes two steps towards the door before turning around. “Thanks” he says to Sehun and then he turns to Jongin, “I—,” he hesitates, because what do you say to someone in this situation? “Bye.” he says quickly and runs out the door.
Sehun turns to Jongin, the knowing look back on his face. “So what did you two talk about in there?”
Jongin glances at Sehun, prepared to deny everything, but instead he just smiles and says, “You couldn’t wait just five more minutes could you?”
Without another word he strides towards the stairs leaving a confused Sehun to follow after him.
* * * * *
Kyungsoo returns home from work several hours later and flops down on the couch. He had gotten to work panting, apologies flying from his mouth before his boss even had time to register that Kyungsoo was in the room. Thankfully, Junmyeon had been understanding and, being the diplomat that he was, he had smoothed it all out with their clients who had agreed to meet with them again tomorrow.
Kyungsoo was grateful, but he was still fidgety, and deep down he knew it had nothing to do with work. Four hours in an elevator had opened the floodgates on three years of suppression and his crush on Jongin seems to have come back in full force. Although secretly, Kyungsoo thinks, it really wasn’t all that suppressed.
Sighing dramatically a few times, Kyungsoo gets up and makes his way to the door. Opening it and peeking out his head, he decides that the coast is clear and takes a few tentative steps towards the neighboring apartment.
Praying that Sehun doesn’t answer, he knocks sharply on the door. Before he can lose his nerve and run back into his own apartment to hide, Jongin is opening the door. He doesn’t say anything, opting instead for just smiling at Kyungsoo. It’s the kind of smile that would have infuriated Kyungsoo in the past, but now only succeeds in sending the butterflies in his stomach fluttering anew.
“Uh, hi…again” he begins lamely and Jongin still has the gall to look amused. He crosses his arms over his chest and leans against the door.
“So today was—I mean in the elevator…when you said—” he falters trying to find the right words. “I know we got off on the wrong foot and we were both kind of assholes to each other.”
Jongin laughs and nods in agreement, but Kyungsoo continues, unable to stop now that he’s started, “I was just thinking that maybe we could start over? I don’t know maybe we could even go on that date again?”
He’s rambling now, but he has to get out the words before he chickens out completely.
“I’m sorry that’s stupid, it’s been three years, you probably don’t want to. Maybe we’re better off just trying to be frien—”
Kyungsoo’s speech is abruptly cut off by Jongin yanking him inside the apartment. He pushes Kyungsoo against the wall and kisses him. Hard.
Kyungsoo’s is stunned into momentary stillness before he finds himself responding with equal fervor. He melts into the kiss, opening his mouth for easier access when Jongin’s tongue traces his lips.
Kyungsoo lets out a low moan that has Jongin deepening the kiss, digging his fingers into Kyungsoo’s sides. Sooner than he would like, Jongin is pulling away. The two men are panting and Kyungsoo whines in an undignified manner in an effort to reattach their lips. Jongin stops him long enough so he can whisper in a hoarse voice, “I’ve wanted to do that since we met.” It sends a shudder down Kyungsoo’s spine.
Jongin’s hot breath is ghosting over Kyungsoo’s ear and he dives back in for another desperate kiss. His hands roam Jongin’s lean torso and find their way under his shirt. Jongin has since moved his lips away from Kyungsoo’s as his own trace the former’s jawline and down his neck. Kyungsoo manages to get Jongin’s shirt over his head and onto the floor and Jongin is in the process of removing Kyungsoo’s when there’s a door slamming followed by footsteps in the hallway. Neither man hears it, too busy with exploring the other’s body.
“Jongin, I’m about to make dinner. Are you hungry?” The footsteps accompanying the voice abruptly stop and Jongin and Kyungsoo break apart—though neither of them really wants to let the other go.
There’s a pregnant pause in which the two men are waiting for the intruder to say something else. A beat later and the apartment is filled with Sehun’s shouts of glee.
“I fucking knew it!” Sehun yells and it’s followed by a triumphant whoop. “I have to tell Baekhyun. I knew it!” He yells again, this time punching the air. “I knew he’d come around to you!”
“B-Baekhyun?” Stutters Kyungsoo, mildly embarrassed to have been caught making out with Jongin by Sehun of all people. He's confused as to what his best friend has to do with this.
“You don’t think we would have given up that easily, did you?” He fumbles for his phone muttering more to himself than the others, “Oh, he is going to be so pissed that I got to witness this. It finally happened I can’t believe this.”
Jongin groans and rests his head against Kyungsoo’s, “Sehun. Shut. Up.” He shakes his head at his friend and then, just because he can he leans down to kiss Kyungsoo again. This time it’s only a chaste, tender peck, yet it still has Sehun squealing with delight behind him.
Jongin pulls away and Kyungsoo straightens up to re-button his shirt. He clears his throat still reeling from the kiss. Kyungsoo looks up to meet Jongin’s eyes and they share a breathy laugh.
“So,” says Jongin, voice low since Sehun is still listening in, “pick me up on Friday at 7:00?”
Kyungsoo nods and his heart does a somersault in his chest when Jongin beams at him.