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a door is not a door when it's ajar

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#001
baekhyun + chen   /   g   /   310 words
mermaid!au: baekhyun has a secret  

 

"I have a...secret, Jongdae," Baekhyun begins, tugging on the bottom of his hoodie. They're standing in the changing rooms of the pool that he usually avoids like Junmyeon avoids his ex - taking extensive measures to never, ever be within 500 metres of it. It's a bit ridiculous given the size of their university, but he insists.

Jongdae takes in Baekhyun's appearance. He's looking shifty and uncomfortable, hair fluffy and all over the place. "O...kay?"

"I-I want to tell you," the older boy continues. With shaking hands, he lifts the bottom of his shirt, revealing a soft white tummy that seemed to have spots of...scales?

"I'm kind of, um, a mermaid," he stutters, covering up once again. "Please still like me."

Jongdae blinks. He looks at the other boy's face, then his tummy, then his face. "Oh, okay then," he says. "That wasn't what I expected. I thought you were going to tell me you were gay, and I was preparing to tell you - hun, that isn't a secret."


☆     ☆     ☆

"So you're okay with it? You believe me?"

"Yeah," replies Jongdae, holding open the door of the sports building. "I mean, it's unusual but it's not unheard of, and you're still the same person, so it's fine."

"Thank god," Baekhyun huffs, throwing him a smile. "I was really worried that you wouldn't accept me, or that I'd have to jump into the pool so that my tail would form so you'd believe me." He pulls a face. "Chlorine gives me breathing problems. Or, well, you know."

"Nah, we're good," Jongdae grins as they walk toward the Arts building. They walk in silence for a while, before Baekhyun sneaks a peak at the other.

"Jongdae, can I ask you a question?"

"Yeah?"

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S NOT A SECRET THAT I'M GAY?"  

 

("Baekhyun, we've been openly dating for weeks."

"Oh.")

 

 

 

 

#002
lay + kai   /   pg   /   445 words
mermaid!au: yixing wants to come out

 

Jongin meets Yixing after his dance practice session, leaning against the closed door and watching while his boyfriend goes through the short choreography one more time, the smooth movements of his body reflected in the mirrors of the room. At some point he must have shucked his sweater and the patches of silver scales on his shoulders and neck glimmer above the long, loose neckline of his tank.

Jongin clears his throat but even blushing, he can't make himself look away.

"Jonginnie!" Yixing calls breathlessly, finishing up his routine with an absurd flourish. "I didn't hear you come in."

"Hello," Jongin responds, oddly shy. "I wanted to surprise you. You look great!"

The smile on Yixing's face makes Jongin feel dazed, like he's opened his eyes to the sun. "Thank you."

Jongin looks away. His heart is NOT fluttering.

Yixing packs up, and they set off toward the cafeteria together, hand in hand. It's a beautiful day, not too hot and not too cold, and Jongin would be lying if he said he wasn't slowing their pace just a little bit.

"You know," he begins, "I heard that Baekhyun came out to Jongdae the other day."

"Really?"

"Yeah, in the pool change rooms of all things."

"Ew." Yixing sticks out his tongue, and then frowns. "Do you think I should come out to our friends? I've been thinking about it a lot recently, but I don't know..."

Untangling their fingers, Jongin wraps his arm around the other boy's waist. His hand makes contact with the sliver of scales at his waist where his sweater has bunched up, cool and smooth with the firm give of muscle. "It's up to you. I'll support whichever decision you make."

"Thank you, Jonginnie." Yixing gives Jongin a peck on the cheek, and they chatter about classes the rest of the way.

When they sit down at the table, Yixing becomes tense. Jongin takes a sandwich out of his bag, glancing at him carefully.

"Guys," Yixing starts, hands in his lap, "I have something to tell you." He looks over at Jongin who, realising what is going on, gives him an encouraging smile. His boyfriend is so beautiful, and so kind, and talented and smart and perfect. He knows that everything is going to be okay, even if Yixing is a little bit different than other boys.

"I..." Yixing says, "I'm gay."

Jongin can't help it when he rests his head on his arms. Perhaps not always smart, he thinks.

 

(Kyungsoo raises his eyebrows over a mouthful or chicken rice. "Congrats Jongin, your boyfriend is gay. I'm glad that's out in the open."

Jongin really wishes he would shut up.)

 

 

 

 

#003
chanyeol + d.o.   /   pg   /   389 words
mermaid!au: chanyeol is graceful, chanyeol is elegant

 

"I'm known as one of the most graceful in my pod," Chanyeol states with a smug grin.

Jongdae snorts and chokes on his own spit. Kyungsoo, sitting beside him where they're camped in the beanbag corner of the library, thumps his friend on the back and eyes the tall boy where his long limbs lie sprawled in four directions. It doesn't look comfortable. He doesn't deign to respond.

"I don't know if you've noticed, Chanyeol," Jongdae splutters out, "but you can barely walk in a straight line, let alone make large movements that could be described as smooth."

Loud indignant noises come from the tall mermaid. He makes a sort of scornful flailing gesture with his body, hitting Kyungsoo in the leg with his arm. Kyungsoo picks up Chanyeol's hand with two fingers and moves it away from him. "That's hardly a fair comparison! Human bodies are so awkward, you have to keep your body upright on these two skinny things and move around that way. I left the water only after highschool! I haven't had the practice that other mermaids have."

"Is this true, Baek? Is Chanyeol really an elegant bastard on his home ground?"

Baekhyun had rolled away from Jongdae while he was #dying, and now resumes his position with his head on the younger's lap. Jongdae puts his fingers into Baekhyun's hair, carding gently through the warm brown strands. "I wouldn't know," he replies, leaning into the touch. "We're from different areas. It's...entirely possible, I suppose." He doesn't sound too sure.

"Soo-ah, defend me! Why do we even hang out with these two, honestly? All they do is snark at me and be mean." If Chanyeol were an emoticon, he would be a sadface with his wide eyes and exaggerated pout. Kyungsoo sighs, mentally resigned to his whining. "Perhaps," he hedges, turning the page in his texbook, "perhaps you can swim in a straight line?"

"WHY DO YOU BETRAY ME, KYUNGSOO?"

 

(Kyungsoo shakes his head as Chanyeol struggles to right himself in the beanbag, squirming fruitlessly in the lumpy seat. With an irritated huff, he helps the boy up - almost sending them both back down to the ground.

"You're a clumsy fool, Chanyeol."

"I'm your clumsy fool, though," Chanyeol replies with a wide grin.

Kyungsoo hides his smile, but he knows he isn't fooling anybody.)

Chapter Text

#004
baekhyun + chen, chanyeol + d.o.   /   pg   /   1500 words
mermaid!au: chanyeol has been sulking about nobody believing his prowess in the water, so baekhyun decides it’s time for a road trip

 

Chanyeol has been sulking about nobody believing his prowess in the water, so Baekhyun decides it’s time for a road trip. This means kidnapping Junmyeon for the weekend, because having a road trip requires someone who can actually drive.

“But...but what about the stack of homework on my desk that I’m too stressed to really do…” the older boy whimpers, pulling away from his dormmate.

“Shhhh, Myeonnie, I’m sure the fresh air will be good for you,” Baekhyun soothes, placing his hand on Junmyeon’s tightly clasped ones. “You need a break.”

Junmyeon looks unsure, but he nods anyway. “If you say so…”

And so the unsanctified hours of Saturday morning see five boys packing themselves into a car which probably doesn’t deserve the playlist of trashy pop that Chanyeol has brought on an unmarked white disk.

“I don’t want the handwriting traced back to me,” he explains from the middle back seat. “What happens on the trip stays on the trip.”

“If you wake me up before we get there, you’ll have injuries that won’t just stay on the trip, Chanyeol.” Kyungsoo mashes his face into the other’s shoulder. Honestly, Chanyeol hadn’t heard more than ‘wake me up’.

On the other side, Jongdae pouts at them. “At least you get to sit next to your man. Baek and I are split by the great chasm of the front and back.”

“No offence, Jongdae,” Junmyeon cuts in, voice slightly higher than usual, “but you two are a little bit much to handle. I don’t think I’d survive the next three hours in a confined space with you two sitting together.”

Jongdae opens his mouth to argue, then snaps it shut as the car swerves. An anxious laugh from the front seat follows. “Sorry, I thought I saw my ex.”

 

☆     ☆     ☆

 

Despite the many threats and insults thrown, they make it to the beach mostly unscathed. It’s somewhat cloudy when they arrive, but that doesn’t stop Chanyeol from racing out to the water, shedding clothes on the sand as he goes. Jongdae’s about to scream something about public indecency when POP - Chanyeol’s very bare backside and whatever was dangling on the other side of it are replaced by a long rust-coloured tail.

“What the fuck, Park? A pop? Really? Is this a cartoon?”

Sitting on the edge of the water, Chanyeol swishes around a bit experimentally. The waves crash around him and he squeals a little at the sudden cold. “I can’t help what my tail forming looks like! Don’t insult my biology!”

“Your biology is insulting YOU!”

 

☆     ☆     ☆

 

Baekhyun’s tail formation isn’t quite as abrupt, but he’s also more careful about approaching the waterline. Unlike Chanyeol, Baekhyun is a freshwater mermaid - hailing from a huge lake further inland, rather than the open sea. (Chanyeol always insists that he comes from close to the coast, but nobody believes that for a second.)

A pair of hands smooth down his shoulders from behind. Featherlight touches trail along the area where his scales blend into his skin, now paler and firmer than it is when he walks around on land. He takes the hand, lacing his webbed fingers with it from the back, and gently places it on the grey-blue of his fins. Beside his ear, Jongdae inhales sharply.

“You’re so beautiful,” he breathes, moving his hand along with reverence. He gazes at Baekhyun’s face with an expression that Baekhyun has never seen on him before - a kind of awed wonder. It makes him want to blush, but mermaids can’t physically do that so he doesn’t.

“Yah,” he teases, but his voice is too soft to have any real bite. “What’s gotten into you? I’m still the same person, Jongdae-ah.”

It takes a few seconds, but Jongdae seems to emerge from a daze and a coy curl returns to his lips. “That just means you’re always breathtakingly stunning.”

“Get away from me, you greasy old man,” Baekhyun laughs, and he definitely doesn’t discretely brush away an emotional tear. Or a few. Definitely not.

 

☆     ☆     ☆

 

Kyungsoo stands a few safe metres from the tide’s edge, gazing at his boyfriend’s antics about a hundred metres out. He’s not wearing a shirt and his skin is completely even, unlike the typically patchy torsos of his mermaid friends in their legged forms.

Then again, Kyungsoo is not a normal mermaid.

He’s not so sure he wants to show off how different he really is to Chanyeol right now.

Junmyeon is lying down on the towels they had laid out, limbs sprawled in four directions and a terrible floppy hat covering his face. There’s a spot of shimmering scales the shape of a roughly lopsided heart above his bellybutton. Kyungsoo snorts. It’s cute. Trust Junmyeon.

“Soo, come and join me!”

In the time that he’d looked away, Chanyeol had swum back to shore, legs carrying him out of the shallows. He all but stumbles into Kyungsoo in all his very naked glory, and the small boy huffs under his weight. “Soo, come into the water.”

“Chanyeol.” He swallows, mouth dry. “Do you remember what I said about my...water form?” It isn’t exactly right to say his true form, or main state, since he had been raised on land. He wraps his hand around Chanyeol’s forearm nervously.

“Yeah, I do. It’s okay, Kyungsoo. You’ll be fine.”

Taking a quick glance down the beach to find that Baekhyun and Jongdae have disappeared off somewhere and are probably doing something that is illegal in public, Kyungsoo begins to remove the rest of his clothes. Junmyeon is still unaware behind him, and he lets himself be tugged toward the waves.

At the last moment, he pulls back a bit.

“Chanyeol, after this, just…” he trails off, suddenly unsure about everything. “Just...try not to say anything that will hurt my feelings too much.” If Chanyeol is surprised by his uncharacteristic unconfidence, he doesn’t let on, so Kyungsoo pushes forward, screwing his eyes shut.

The moment the water reaches his knees, he can feel the transition take place. His legs come together and lengthen, scales pooling on his skin like rain on sidewalks. They cover the end of his tail and move up, slowing toward his waist.

Then, past that, they continue up his body. Like dominoes falling, his blank chest becomes swathed in an iridescent grey, then his neck, face, scalp. His hair disappears. When he opens his eyes, they are round and black to the edges.

By the end, it is hard to imagine that any part of him is human at all.

The teeth in his mouth are thin and sharp, but when he speaks the voice that comes out is the same as ever.

“So…”

“So!” Chanyeol’s grin is as bright as the sun, and Kyungsoo is momentarily blinded. As they go out farther, the taller wraps a casual arm around his waist. “Hey you, come closer. That wasn’t so bad, was it? From the way you had been acting, you could have been about to tell me you were gay like the rest of our friends have been doing. It would have really been more shocking to me, let’s be - ah!”

Chanyeol’s nonsense dissolves into squawks as Kyungsoo comes upon him with a series of indignant slaps. When he pulls him into a tender embrace later on, however, Kyungsoo holds him close with all the thanks he can’t verbalise, beneath the waves.

 

☆     ☆     ☆

 

Chanyeol does, eventually, get to prove that he was not just bluffing when he claimed to be a co-ordinated being in the sea. He moves through rips with an ease that even Junmyeon, a river mermaid, acknowledges.

“HAH! I TOLD YOU SO,” he hollers, words muffled by the water spilling out of his mouth.

Jongdae crosses his arms and sticks out his tongue. “...I suppose that yes, you can actually swim in a straight line.”

The tall boy cocks his head to the side, tracing the surface of the water with his palms. “That’s kind of an essential skill where I come from. There are few landmarks in open water, so you have to be very precise about where you go.”

“Are you sure you want to insist you live near the coast, Chanyeol?”

He waves a hand in dismissal. “It’s a relative term. I don’t hail from the middle of the Pacific, if that’s what you’re wheedling for.”

They pack up in the afternoon, exhausted but content, and head back to the car. Even Junmyeon seems a little brighter and less tightly wound than usual.

By the time they’re almost back, most of them are asleep. Asleep, that is, until Junmyeon makes a sharp turn around a corner onto a street that’s off course. The GPS starts to go off at him, and if it were an actual person, it probably would have been making choice comments on his intellect and qualification for a driver’s license.

“Sorry guys,” Junmyeon mutters, checking his mirrors and letting out a tight laugh. “That really was my ex, this time.”

Chapter Text

#005
lay + kai   /   pg   /   376 words
mermaid!au: yixing and jongin's first meeting

 

Yixing met Jongin for the first time when Jongin’s best friend Zitao pushed him into his home, almost knocking him over.

“Oh, hello there,” he had greeted him, surprised but genial.

“GLUBGLUBGLUB,” Jongin had replied.

It had taken a bit of fumbling, but he’d managed to get the strange boy back to the edge of the lake. He was quite far out and a bit of a handful, but before long the two of them were flopped on the narrow pebbled beach of sorts, gasping for breath.

“GAH. I’m going to kill Tao, that crazy bastard!”

“Indeed. Who’s Tao?”

Yixing watched the boy lying next to him turn over, eye him up and down and turn a very pretty shade of pink. “Um…” he mumbled, screwing his eyes shut, “Tao is my friend. He pushed me overboard because a bug landed on my shoulder, or something. I can only guess but that’s the only thing that makes him scream that high.”

Humming, Yixing had studied him with curious eyes. The boy had overgrown brown hair plastered onto his forehead and down the bridge of his nose, his skin a golden hue. It had been so warm against his - Yixing hadn’t been out of the lake for long in many months, and he’d almost forgotten the feeling of bodies that weren’t as cold as his in his tailed form.

“Were you headed to the docks? You were really off course from pretty much...everything,” he informed him, sitting up. “They’re about a ten minute walk from here. I’ll take you, if you want.”

“Oh, yeah. Thank you…?”

“Yixing.”

The boy blinked. His cheeks were still rosy, and he stared with frightening intensity at his toes. “I’m Jongin. Listen, Yixing, can you do me favour?”

Yixing stood up and looked toward the trees in the general direction of the road. “Yeah?”

“You’re kind of...do you have any clothes to put on?”

For a second, Yixing was confused. Then he looked down at his very, very naked body. This time, it was him blushing.

“Right.”

 

(“So...I really want to thank you for helping me back to shore. I really can’t swim. Can I...take you for lunch, or…”

“Sure!”

Yixing really did think that Jongin’s red face was very cute.)

 

 

 

 

#006
baekhyun + chen   /   g   /   697 words
mermaid!au: baekhyun and jongdae's first impression of university life

 

Jongdae’s first impression of university was best represented by the first conversation he had when he arrived on campus.

He’d just gotten off the bus, and was on the lookout for the neighbourhood brat from his suburb - that being his childhood friend, Oh Sehun. It had been easy enough to locate the boy, swamped in his long thin limbs on his low perch by the bus stop.

“Hey, Sehu-”

“Do you think Naruto or Bleach is better, Jongdae? Marvel or DC?” Sehun looked up from his phone, face scrunched up like he was ready to blow a fuse. Alarmed, Jongdae took a few steps back. For a brief moment, wasn’t sure if he was supposed to know what that meant - perhaps he shouldn’t have started in second semester, if he was that out of the loop. Then he remembered that he was basing that off talking to Sehun, of all people

“Uh…”

“Nevermind.” The younger boy stuffed his phone in his pocket and gave Jongdae a bright smile like nothing had happened. “It’s good to see you. Let’s get your stuff to the car.”

“It’s good to see you too, Sehunnie.”

They’d taken off, Jongdae feeling happy but utterly confused.

It was a first impression he’d always maintained was more or less correct.

 

☆     ☆     ☆

 

Baekhyun’s first impression of university was of finding himself lying flat on his back, staring up at a pair of beautiful brown eyes, with absolutely no recollection of how he got there.

“Oh my god, I’m such a walking hazard. I’m so sorry. Hey, are you okay?”

The eyes looked over him, checking for injuries, and he opened his mouth but no words came out. Not that he really noticed. He was too distracted by the eyelashes fanning out before him. Normal people’s eyelashes weren’t that long, were they? A new voice came through the daze he was caught in, barely breaking through.

“Hey, Sehun, have you seen Baekhyun? He was just - wait, nevermind, there he is.”

Two strong hands wound themselves under his arms and hauled him upright. He didn’t pay them much attention - mermaids had to help each other out when they were learning to move around on land, and even if it had been a long time since then, the feeling was familiar. The eyes became part of a face, eye level to him - a strong jaw and delicately curled thin lips, straight eyebrows pulled together into a frown of concern. A very HANDSOME face.

It took Baekhyun a while to register that Yixing was pulling away from him now that he seemed somewhat capable of standing up. “Heading up to the dorms?”

“Yeah,” a tall boy who had been standing off to the side replied. “I was just going to get Jongdae settled in and then take him to meet everybody. Jongdae, this is Yixing. We do dance together. Yixing, will you be there?”

“Yeah. I’ll see you then!”

With a hand on his back, Yixing steered Baekhyun away. Belatedly, he turned his head to follow the movement of the two they left behind, feeling almost overwhelmed by the view he received of a very pert bottom. He groaned.

“You’ve been here, what? Ten minutes? And you’re already having major troubles keeping on your feet. Really, Baek, I can’t take you anywh-”

“Who is that guy? He’s perfect, Xing, I feel like God has personally blessed my eyes with the sight of him. Did you see those cheekbones? They could cut me in half and I’d die happy from the honour. Nobody should be allowed to be that good looking, I swear, I can’t feel my legs. JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL.”

Yixing, laughing, had listened to him rant all the way up to his room.

Months later, Baekhyun would whine that getting swept off his feet by handsome men was a misleading first impression of university and he wanted a refund.

 

(He still thinks that it was an accurate first impression of Jongdae, though, and Jongdae doesn’t tell him how much he harassed Sehun to properly introduce him to ‘the cute guy I flattened’.

Sehun does instead, and gets hit many times.) 

Chapter Text

#007
baekhyun + chen, chanyeol + d.o., lay + kai, suho + sehun   /   pg   /   1657 words
mermaid!au: jongdae stages an intervention

 

 

“So,” Jongdae begins, nibbling the end of a chip at their table in the library, “you know the dorm party on Friday? I was wondering if we should invite S-”

 “The Ex, you mean.”

 He frowns at Kyungsoo, who hasn’t even so much as looked up from his textbook. “Junmyeon STILL isn’t over that? I mean, I was okay with appeasing him for a while, but isn’t this getting ridiculous now? It’s been…” Jongdae flips out a planner diary and counts through a few pages. “Two weeks and two days. That’s how long they’ve been fighting. That’s how long Junmyeon has been missing fifteen minutes of every lecture to avoid S-”

 “-the Ex-”

 “-and nobody even knows what the whole thing was about. AND nobody is dense enough to think they actually broke up-broke up.”

 Kyungsoo sighs, then leans back in his chair and huffs at the ceiling. He actually leans back too far and has to catch himself on the edge of the table before he falls and knocks himself out on the ugly green carpet, but manages to retain some sketchy dignity. “I don’t know what you expect me to say, Jongdae. Just because everybody knows it’s ridiculous doesn’t mean we can do anything about it.”

 At this, Jongdae grins and stuffs a few more chips into his mouth. “So help me stage an intervention,” he conspires through a mound of mushed fried potato. “It’s about time.”

 Kyungsoo hisses, then makes a pinched face like he’s just had a slice of lemon shoved up his nose. “I’m going to regret agreeing to this.”

 “Trust me, Kyungsoo. This is serious stuff. If Friday’s party is going to be any sort of fun, we NEED Sehun to be there.”

 

☆     ☆     ☆

 

Jongdae manages to get everybody on board with the plan, which involves a lot of elaborate stories and, at one point, an army of balloon animals and pulpy orange juice. That is, until Kyungsoo pisses all over their parade and says, “Right, now back to the actual plan. When do you think we should drag them across campus to meet and what room is the best one to lock them both in until they sort out their problems?”

A pathetic whine arises from Baekhyun, who sits on the floor of the dorm room they’ve crammed into. “Why do you have to hate fun so much? How do you even like Chanyeol? He’s, like, two hundred percent sunshine and you’re a vertically-challenged stormcloud.”

“Baekhyun,” Chanyeol sniffles, lying upside-down on a bed made with an Iron Man quilt cover and holding a hand over his chest.“I never knew you felt this way about m-”

“Because I don’t have time for your antics. Now, the best location?”

“...The cleaning closet on level three of the music building is pretty good,” Baekhyun sulks, sending wobbly glares in his direction. “Pretty private, cosy space, great place to get a blowjob.”

For a moment, there is a pause in the conversation. Then, “I don’t want to know how you know tha-”

“It’s actually a pretty bad place to get it on after they make up,” Jongin interjects from the wheely chair at the desk. He toes at the socked sole of Jongdae’s foot, causing him to squeal and almost fall off Baekhyun’s lap. “Your back digs into the shelves and things fall and I mean, it’s doable and a lot of fun, but only in a spontaneous context.”

“OKAY THEN.” Yixing springs up from where he had been leaning against the other bed in the room and opens the door, a dark pink dusting his cheeks. “Now that we’ve finished our little TMI session, can we all agree to let them meet in the common at the end of the hall? It’s usually fairly empty around mid afternoon. Now, everybody get out of my room.”

“Okay, but now I kind of want to know-”

“Now.”

“No need to be shy, Xing-”

“OUT.”

 

☆     ☆     ☆

 

Theoretically speaking, it would have been best to give the troubled couple a semblance of privacy when they confronted each other. Theoretically speaking, the interfering friends of said couple have a shred of respect for personal space.

Things rarely work according to theory.

As it is, the very nosy friends are all conspicuously lurking in the room when Sehun walks in with Jongin. He does stop, confused and suspicious, when he notices Chanyeol lying down behind the couch and Kyungsoo standing behind the lampshade, but shrugs it off when Jongin pushes him to sit down.

A few minutes of watching the old tv later, sounds come up the stairwell. Sehun visibly freezes and Jongin grabs onto his arm, keeping him in place as a familiar voice titters nervously, “Baekhyun, are you sure he’s not here? I have a distinctively bad feeling and I’ve never been wrong about this kind of thing before, it’s a river adaptation…”

Sehun wrenches out of Jongin’s grip and stands just as the door opens up to a very sour Junmyeon, squeezing his arms to his sides with hands visibly balled in his pockets. There’s a tense staring contest for a few moments, in which the boys scattered around the room begin to think that maybe this isn’t such a Good Idea. Junmyeon, surprisingly enough, is the one to break it.

“I’m not going to give back the Lord of the Rings discs.”

His voice is a bit high and tightly strung, but puts forth a shaky determination. Sehun blinks. Baekhyun, still standing beside Junmyeon, blinks. In fact, everybody blinks. It’s a big confused blinking fest.

“What,” whispers Jongdae.

“I don’t care about the Lord of the Rings discs,” Sehun replies. He sounds miserable. It’s more than most of the people in the room have ever heard him emote. “I want to know why you keep avoiding me, hyung.” He ignores Junmyeon’s flinch at the title. “Is it because I said Bulbasaur was a better starter than Squirtle? Because I hope you know that’s ridiculous. Pokémon is great and if you want debate then sure, though I won’t change my mind, but why? Why would you ignore me over that? It’s not important-”

“It IS important though!” Junmyeon cries, hands tugging at the bottom of his shirt. His lower lip is wobbling and his eyes are shining and he looks like he’s going to start wailing. “It’s important because if you don’t even like Squirtle, how are you going to like me when you find out I’m a mermaid? I like y-you so much a-and I don’t-t want you to ha…” he takes a deep breath, sniffing, “hate me.”

The breath leaves Sehun’s lungs, and slowly, tentatively, he walks up to Junmyeon, who lets him wrap his arms around the older and gently run his arm up and down his back.

“Hyung,” he begins, humming a soothing note, “hyung. Look at me.” He tilts Junmyeon’s chin up. “Pokémon is just a game. I don’t care if you are a mermaid or not, and I don’t hate you, so please stop avoiding me and please still let me be your boyfriend.”

“O-okay, Sehunnie. I’m sorry.”

And then they kiss and make up. There is discrete applause (read: loud, obnoxious, inappropriate cheering and cat-calling) around the room. Sehun flips off a particularly enthusiastic Chanyeol, then uses his sleeve to dab off the rest of Junmyeon’s tears.

The sweetness of it all is simultaneously adorable and gross.

“Aw,” Baekhyun coos, leaning on Jongdae, “that’s cute. How come you weren’t romantic and shit when I told you?”

Jongdae wraps an arm around his boyfriend’s waist, gazing at the disarray of their friends around the room. He’s exhausted and content from resolved second-hand stress.

“Because Baekhyun,” he replies, “if you ignored me for two weeks and two days you would have to do a lot more than reluctantly show up in my presence to make it up to me.”

 

☆     ☆     ☆

 

Sehun does, after that, attend the dorm party. And just as Jongdae promised, he is the life of it - until he gets dragged into a drunk argument with Junmyeon over which Star Wars movie is the best, which is entertaining in itself. Kyungsoo finds them passed out on top of each other on the couch later into the night, and snorts. He’s happy the two idiots sorted out their shit.

He does not find Baekhyun and Jongdae, which is not surprising. He does not find Jongin or Yixing either, which is more surprising, but he supposes that last he saw them they were doing shots of smuggled tequila, so perhaps not.

He finds Chanyeol mostly sober, bouncing to the music in the common. With a smile, he coaxes him back to the room they share on the fourth floor, nudging a head under his arm as they head up the stairs. Chanyeol presses a soft kiss into Kyungsoo’s hair once they make it inside, and gives him a sleepy smile as he drops onto the edge of the bed.

“Soo. Soo, hey, Soo,” he whispers, tugging on Kyungsoo’s hands to draw him between his legs. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Kyungsoo replies, and they flop onto the same covers, just as they usually do.

 

 

(“So,” Chanyeol begins as he falls down next to Yixing on Monday morning. The hair at the back of his head is sticking up and his grin is too bright for this hour of the day. The other boy squints at him. “The music building’s third floor cleaning closet, huh?”

Yixing shoves a piece of toast in his face, and he laughs too loud. Yixing thinks he needs to never speak again.

“If you lean against the back wall, you know next to where they lean the brooms? You might have more success. The shelves are even high enough for Jongin to fit.”

With food flying after him, Chanyeol cackles though a narrow escape from Yixing’s mortified screeching.)