Actions

Work Header

under false pretenses

Work Text:

“I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend for a week,” Baekhyun says in a rush as he drops into the chair on the other side of the tiny table. He’s hoping the frantic sound of his voice will make Kyungsoo unable to pick out exactly what he’s requesting and therefore won’t ask any unnecessary questions.

Of course, nothing ever goes the way Baekhyun wants it to. That’s why he’s here, isn’t it? Awake at eight in the morning on a Saturday, catching Kyungsoo at his usual Starbucks, asking him to be his fake boyfriend?

Kyungsoo looks up at him with a blank expression Baekhyun’s all too familiar with. “What?” he says, in a tone that suggests he heard Baekhyun loud and clear but thinks, as he usually does, that Baekhyun’s lost his mind.

He’s not far off today, honestly. “I need you to be my fake boyfriend for a week,” Baekhyun says again. “Please,” he adds, putting on his pleading puppy face that never fails. Not even Kyungsoo can deny that he’s fallen for it.

Now though, Kyungsoo just laughs at him, like Baekhyun’s told a stupid joke. “Why would I want to be your fake boyfriend? I wouldn’t even want to be your real boyfriend.”

Ouch. Baekhyun rubs discreetly at his chest, over his heart. He pouts and tries not to dwell on Kyungsoo’s unintentional rejection. Kyungsoo’s really been unintentionally rejecting Baekhyun for years, now. Which is why Baekhyun should be asking Chanyeol or Jongdae or anyone else to do this for him, but somehow he’s here, begging Kyungsoo, ready to pay him back however he wants, if only he’ll pretend to be Baekhyun’s boyfriend so Baekhyun can fool his mother and not have to hold back his distaste of making out with Chanyeol. Not that they haven’t done that before, but like, Baekhyun was twelve and Chanyeol was the only one who knew about his sexuality and it’d seemed like a good idea at the time. Baekhyun thinks it makes perfectly good sense to ask someone he’d actually want to make out with to be his fake boyfriend.

“Please, Kyungsoo,” Baekhyun says, wildly reaching out and grabbing Kyungsoo’s hands, almost knocking over Kyungsoo’s coffee in the process. He pushes back the thought of how nice they feel in his, soft, smaller than his own, and takes a deep breath. Plows on. “I really really need your help.”

At least now Kyungsoo is staring at Baekhyun curiously, instead of like he thinks this is some elaborate prank. “Why?” he asks, brows furrowing suspiciously.

“Parents coming to visit...Mom thinks I’m dating--Might’ve lied to her awhile ago...And now!! Now I’m stuck, and whatever! Does it matter?” Baekhyun doesn’t want to get into it. Doesn’t want to relive that terrible, terrible phone call and the horrible, horrible sinking realization that his mother wanted to meet his boyfriend and if Baekhyun tried to pull a well, sorry, we just broke up! on her, she’d spend their entire visit trying to match him up with any of his friends that he introduced her to. She’d probably make him go out with the mailman, if she caught him in the apartment building and thought he was good enough.

Taking another deep breath to calm himself and ignoring the looks he’s getting from some of the other patrons in the shop, Baekhyun adds, “Look, I know this is crazy, and I’ll explain it more in detail later when I’m not freaking out. Can you please just say yes or--I don’t know--tell me to fuck off if you really want to, at least then I can go and find someone else to fake date and--”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo says suddenly. “I’ll do it.”

“--then probably pass out from the nerves, to be--Wait, what?” Baekhyun gapes at Kyungsoo like he’s never seen him before and Kyungsoo arches one of his thick eyebrows at him.

“I said I’ll do it,” he says. “Unless you’ve already changed your mind.”

“No!” Baekhyun exclaims. People are glaring at him. “No! Okay, really? You’ll do it?”

Kyungsoo’s lips are doing that twitchy thing in the corner as he tries not to smile too widely. Baekhyun’s heart is racing, from Kyungsoo’s cuteness, from Kyungsoo’s answer. “Yes, now will you shut up and go panic or pass out somewhere else?” he says, tugging his hands free from Baekhyun’s. “I’m working.” He points to a stack of papers he’s been grading for his summer course and Baekhyun nods, sliding back in his seat.

“You are the best, Kyungsoo,” he says as emphatically as he can. He’s trying not to throw himself on Kyungsoo in a hug, lest it makes Kyungsoo decide Baekhyun’s on his own. “I’ll give you all the details later, okay?”

“Fine, fine, now will you go?”

“How can you get rid of me so easily?” Baekhyun demands. “We’re dating now! I’m gonna get myself some coffee and keep you company.” He pauses, runs a hand through his hair, and says, “Or I’ll get myself some coffee and pass out on this table.”

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes, but he’s given into that smile, a little amused, a little fond. “Whatever, Baekhyun,” he says. “Just don’t bother me, okay?”

“You won’t even know I’m here,” Baekhyun says, and Kyungsoo looks like he doesn’t believe him one bit, but he doesn’t kick Baekhyun out of the store either, so it’s a success. Baekhyun beams back at him, relieved, excited, and well, kind of anxious. As he gets in line to purchase a coffee and maybe one of those scones he knows Kyungsoo likes, he can’t help but wonder if this was the right idea. Asking Kyungsoo. He glances over at him, catches Kyungsoo’s contemplative gaze, and instinctively smiles at him before turning away, his chest aching.

Kyungsoo is the only person he’d want to be his fake boyfriend. Or real boyfriend, for that matter. But Baekhyun’s suddenly not so sure that he’ll be able to keep his real feelings separate from the pretend ones, and that, he realizes with that same sinking feeling during his phone call with his mother, might be more trouble than anything.

-

“You’re here, thank fuck,” Baekhyun hisses, tugging Kyungsoo through the door and shutting it behind him. Kyungsoo is giving him a bemused look and he rushes to explain, “My mom has not stopped asking about when you’d show up and they’ve only been here for like five hours and I’m already going insane.” Baekhyun doesn’t know why he even agreed to let his parents come stay with him for a whole week. He’s not going to make it.

“Baekhyun,” Kyungsoo says calmly, pulling his hand from Baekhyun’s grip and instead dropping both of his on Baekhyun’s shoulders, staring at him straight. “Relax.”

Baekhyun thinks that’s a tall order. How can he relax when his mother is in the other room scrutinizing everything in his apartment and waiting to see Kyungsoo, who isn’t even his real boyfriend? How is Kyungsoo not freaking out?

“Jesus, you really are a mess, aren’t you?” Kyungsoo says when Baekhyun groans and attempts to bang his head on the door. “Everything’s gonna be fine. I’ve already met your parents before, remember? When we graduated? So just go in there and reintroduce me and I’ll do the talking and we can get this over with, okay?”

Before Baekhyun even gets a chance to respond, his mother is calling from the kitchen, asking about who’s just arrived and why Baekhyun hasn’t returned yet. “Be right there!” he shouts back and then sighs heavily at Kyungsoo, running a hand through his hair. “Okay,” he says, squaring his shoulders. He can do this. He’s just pretending to be in a relationship with Kyungsoo. No big deal. And lying to his parents. Yeah, definitely not a big deal.

“You good?” Kyungsoo says, eyes searching Baekhyun’s face carefully. He finally slips out of his shoes and starts heading into the apartment.

“Yeah,” Baekhyun says, smiling at him. “Yeah, let’s do this thing.”

Kyungsoo holds out a hand, and Baekhyun stares at it for a long moment before Kyungsoo shakes it, muttering, “We have to be convincing, right?”

“R-Right,” Baekhyun agrees, sliding his hand into Kyungsoo’s. It shouldn’t be any different than minutes earlier, when Baekhyun had grabbed him and yanked him inside, but it is. Maybe because Kyungsoo’s never wanted to hold Baekhyun’s hand before, pretending or not.

Kyungsoo gives his fingers a light, reassuring squeeze, which both calms and excites Baekhyun at the same time, and he pushes the latter aside to focus on how it actually does make him relax. With one last deep breath, he lets Kyungsoo lead him into the kitchen, where his dad is sitting at the table, reading something on his iPad, Mongryong lying at his feet under the table, and his mother is frowning intensely into Baekhyun’s fridge.

“Baekhyun, how do you possibly manage to live when you have more beer in here than--Oh!” she exclaims, noticing Kyungsoo beside Baekhyun. Her eyes laser-zoom onto their joined hands and her face instantly splits into a wide smile. “Kyungsoo!” she says delightedly, closing the fridge, all worries about Baekhyun’s terrible eating habits long forgotten. “It’s so good to see you again.”

“The pleasure’s mine,” Kyungsoo says easily, smiling back. “Baekhyun’s been talking about your visit non-stop. He’s been really excited.”

Baekhyun bites his tongue to keep from snorting. His mother looks over at him shrewdly and says, “I’m not so sure about that, but we can pretend.” Yes, good, even more pretending, Baekhyun thinks.

“I brought some dessert for everyone, I hope you like cheesecake?” Kyungsoo says, lifting a plastic bag in his other hand that Baekhyun hadn’t even noticed before due to his panic. He releases Baekhyun’s hand to put the cake away in the fridge, chatting with Baekhyun’s mother who looks seconds away from outright cooing back at him. Baekhyun slumps over to join his dad at the table, feeling strangely empty without the weight of Kyungsoo’s hand in his, but he shakes his head quickly. He can’t afford to get used to it.

Kyungsoo sits down beside Baekhyun a few moments later, scooting his chair closer for effect and smiling at Baekhyun so warmly that even Baekhyun’s dad gives them an approving look, finally setting aside his reading to draw Kyungsoo into discussion. Baekhyun swallows the thickness in his throat and leans back and listens and tries to fend off all of his mother’s deeply invasive questions about his and Kyungsoo’s “relationship.”

All in all, though, it’s not a bad evening. Baekhyun always enjoys Kyungsoo’s company, poking fun at him as usual and cackling when he threatens to beat him up. He always follows one of those threats up with a gentle brush of their hands, or picking something invisible out of Baekhyun’s hair. Kyungsoo is too good at this, Baekhyun thinks weakly as he tries to keep up, each little touch and lingering attention leaving him feeling hot and cold at once.

When Baekhyun’s mother asks how they met, even though Baekhyun’s sure he’d told her about it when it happened, he manages to explain, “Chanyeol introduced us, remember?” Chanyeol had introduced them, six years ago during their sophomore year at NYU. Kyungsoo had just transferred from some private liberal arts college Baekhyun no longer remembers the name of and Chanyeol had befriended him easily in his music theory class. “Kyungsoo hated me back then, though,” Baekhyun adds with a laugh and Baekhyun’s mother looks between them, intrigued.

Kyungsoo gives Baekhyun’s right ear a tiny tug in reprimand and Baekhyun wills away the swooping sensation in his gut. “You were just so loud,” Kyungsoo says, letting his hand rest on Baekhyun’s shoulder. “Like an endlessly yapping puppy.”

“Seeing as we’re together now, apparently you like loud,” Baekhyun returns, leering at him. He doesn’t expect Kyungsoo to stare evenly back at him, a slight smirk to his lips, and when he turns away, back to Baekhyun’s parents, Baekhyun feels a little like he can’t breathe, shifting in his seat enough that Kyungsoo’s hand falls away.

He lets Kyungsoo talk from then on, only jumping in when prodded or to defend himself from Kyungsoo’s terrible stories. Everything runs smoothly through dinner and past dessert, and Baekhyun can tell his parents love Kyungsoo already. Baekhyun, too, thinks he might have just fallen even more. Kyungsoo’s soft smiles, his warm touch, the low sound of his voice, sitting here beside Baekhyun and pretending to be his boyfriend just because Baekhyun asked--It’s almost too much.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Kyungsoo says later. They’re standing in the hallway, Baekhyun clutching onto the doorknob to his apartment like a lifeline. “You could probably work on your acting, though.”

Acting. Right. Baekhyun licks his lips and nods, doesn’t tell Kyungsoo that maybe he’s taking things too far. “You’re a natural,” he says instead, then, because it’s easier to make everything a joke, “You’re not harboring some secret crush on me or anything, are you? Because I know I’m irresistible, but you were touching me a lot.”

Kyungsoo steps on Baekhyun’s bare toes with the tip of his shoe, just enough to hear Baekhyun yelp. “Goodnight, Baekhyun,” he says pointedly before he disappears down the stairs. Baekhyun watches until he’s gone and then stumbles back inside, leaning back against his door and hanging his head.

Not even a second later, his mother sidles up to him, positively beaming, and asks, “So, have the two of you considered marriage?”

-

“I can’t believe I thought this was a good idea,” Baekhyun wails. “Why weren’t you there to stop me?!”

“Because I didn’t even know about it, maybe?” Chanyeol says, not sparing Baekhyun a glance as he struggles to catch up in their game of Mario Kart. “If I’d known, I’d have told you it was a stupid idea.”

“We’ve known each other since we were ten, haven’t you figured out some method of telepathy yet?” Baekhyun says. His Luigi crosses the finish line in first place, and even winning despite being completely distracted doesn’t make him feel any better. He tosses the controller to the floor and flops over onto the side of Chanyeol’s couch, smushing his face into the old leather.

“Sorry,” Chanyeol says, loading up another game to play on his own. “Haven’t quite figured that out yet between all my gigs.”

Baekhyun scoffs. Like Chanyeol’s stupid band playing at the Union for the fiftieth time is more important than Baekhyun’s crumbling life. “You’re fucking useless,” Baekhyun says, aiming a kick at his friend, only to hit the corner of the coffee table to the sole of his foot instead. Baekhyun cries out in pain, rolling straight off the couch, and lies there in the tiny space, clutching his foot.

It’s a testament to how good a guy Chanyeol is that he doesn’t even laugh once. He looks like he wants to, sure, but instead he just pauses his game and peers down at Baekhyun on the floor.

“Chanyeol,” Baekhyun whines. “What should I do?”

“Well, first, you should pick yourself off the floor,” Chanyeol says, holding out a hand. Baekhyun lets himself be pulled back onto the couch, curling into Chanyeol’s side in search of some comfort and familiarity. “Now, you should call up Kyungsoo and call the whole thing off, and then tell your parents the truth.”

“I can’t do that!” Baekhyun says. “My mom will actually murder me.”

“Then you just have to suck it up and make it through the week. It’s not like Kyungsoo is gonna be over there every night playing your pretend boyfriend,” Chanyeol says.

“You don’t understand. My mom is already thinking about marrying us off! You should’ve heard her last night.” Baekhyun shudders in remembrance, how he’d locked himself in the bathroom for an hour but it wasn’t enough to drown out his mother’s cries of it’s legal now! “And, god, don’t even get me started on how her eyes lit up like it was fucking Christmas when Kyungsoo mentioned he leads the kid’s church choir over the summer. It’s like she was struck with the holy ghost of Potential Future Grandkids.”

“Uh, your mom remembers that you’ve got a dick, right?”

Baekhyun shoves him, but Chanyeol just comes rearing back, slinging an arm around his shoulders. “Shut up, of course she does,” he says. “She probably has a list of child adoption centers just waiting to smack me in the face with when she thinks it’s appropriate.” Baekhyun drops his face into his hands. “I’m doomed.”

“Stop being so dramatic,” Chanyeol says, clapping Baekhyun’s shoulder. “Just make it through the week, wait a few days and tell her you and Kyungsoo broke up.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“Dude, you’re making it a big deal,” Chanyeol says, finally sounding a little exasperated. “You and your mom get along great, why can’t you just tell her the truth?”

“I just figured she’d back off the whole dating thing if I told her I had a boyfriend,” Baekhyun sighs. “I didn’t expect her to fall head over heels for Kyungsoo and start badgering me about marriage.” Baekhyun groans, writhing angrily on the couch in frustration, pulling at his hair. “It’s not like she doesn’t have grandkids already! Baekbeom has twins! Why doesn’t she go focus her attention on them instead?”

Chanyeol snorts, reaching out to pull Baekhyun’s hands from his hair before he yanks it all out. “Maybe because your brother hightailed it to London after he got married?”

Slumping in defeat, Baekhyun flops back against the couch, stares up at the ceiling. Chanyeol pats his knee, asks, “How’s Kyungsoo been about the whole thing?”

“Ah,” Baekhyun mumbles, remembering how Kyungsoo had held his hand last night, “therein lies the other problem.”

Baekhyun can feel Chanyeol squinting at him suspiciously and he squirms uncomfortably, trying to wriggle away, but Chanyeol grabs his arm and keeps him in place. “Baekhyun,” Chanyeol says slowly, “don’t tell me you asked Kyungsoo just because--”

“No!” Baekhyun says quickly, because, really, that hadn’t been in intention. At least not entirely. “It was supposed to be a joke! I thought for sure he’d say no and then I was gonna ask Jongdae.” Baekhyun groans again. Talking about this just makes everything worse somehow. “But he said yes and, well, like obviously, I’d rather pretend to date Kyungsoo than Jongdae, but I didn’t know…didn’t think…”

“That much is obvious,” Chanyeol laughs, shaking his head. “Why do you make things harder for yourself?”

“So I can come here and whine at you, of course,” Baekhyun returns, cracking a small smile. It’s how things have always been between them. Baekhyun getting in over his head and Chanyeol listening patiently as he complains, occasionally even providing helpful advice. He’s better at it than Baekhyun’s ever been, anyway.

“Well, you’ve definitely done plenty of that,” Chanyeol says. “Now what’re you going to do about it?”

Baekhyun shrugs, digging his fingers into the hole of Chanyeol’s jeans at his knee. “Suck it up, I guess,” he says, because, really, what other choice does he have? “I’ll tell my mom we broke up after she leaves.”

“Good plan,” Chanyeol says. “And about Kyungsoo?”

“Nothing,” Baekhyun says instantly, sitting up straight and trying not to think too much about it. “He knows nothing. He’ll continue to know nothing. We’re just pretending.”

“Baekhyun--”

“So,” Baekhyun says, loudly, reaching down to grab his forgotten game controller, “Ready to watch me beat your ass again?”

Chanyeol gives him a long, sad look, and normally Baekhyun would pull on one of his ears to get him to smile again, but now he just stares back resolutely until he caves. “Whatever,” he says, nudging Baekhyun in the ribs with an elbow, “I’ll win this time!”

Baekhyun elbows him back, laughing, and turns his attention to the screen. The rest, his mother...Kyungsoo...those things he can worry about later. Maybe, if he’s lucky, everything will just sort itself out and Baekhyun will get through this week unscathed.

-

“I’m surprised you haven’t come up with a list of ways I’m gonna have to pay you back for this,” Baekhyun admits. It’s Monday evening, Baekhyun had barely returned from work before he was accosted by his mother and dragged out to Central Park, ordered to call Kyungsoo so he could meet them there.

Kyungsoo’s holding his hand again and Baekhyun’s starting to grow familiar to the way it feels, less anxious about it and more comfortable. He can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing, but it keeps his mother from giving him Looks, so he accepts it for what it is. “Don’t worry,” Kyungsoo tells him, smirking slightly, “I’m just taking my time to think it through.”

Honestly, Baekhyun is prepared to pay Kyungsoo back however he wants. Not that he’ll tell Kyungsoo this. Instead he teases him, poking his cheek with a finger, “Aww, Kyungsoo, don’t be like that. You’re having fun, aren’t you?”

Kyungsoo attempts to bite his finger and Baekhyun snatches his hand away, eyes widening when Kyungsoo laughs. He looks really good today, dressed in dark jeans and a simple striped shirt. Baekhyun teased him for showing up in something in color for once and Kyungsoo had gripped the back of Baekhyun’s neck tightly between his fingers, easily greeting Baekhyun’s parents while Baekhyun flailed and his dad looked on in amusement.

They’ve been wandering around for a good hour now, enjoying the mid-July weather. It’s cooler than usual which Baekhyun appreciates and the park is always full of life during the summer, plenty of kids running around with their parents, a couple of sports teams scattered about at the baseball fields. Somehow Baekhyun doesn’t feel quite so anxious as he did the first night out here. He’s been to the park before with Kyungsoo, a few months ago, and many times before that, back when they were still in school. Weekends spent doing homework on benches while Chanyeol and Jongin played basketball and Chanyeol would let Jongin win nearly every time.

This, right now, holding Kyungsoo’s hand and basking in the sunshine, the gentle breeze, it’s nice. Baekhyun could get used to it, which is why he’s actually glad his mother calls out for the two of them then, cutting through his terrible thoughts.

“Come on boys, let’s find something to eat if you’re hungry,” she says, waving at them. Mongryong looks like he’s given up on walking for the day, lying flat on the ground, panting.

Baekhyun’s mother seems to have taken it upon herself to ruin Baekhyun’s life. Through most of the evening, she tells Kyungsoo all of his most embarrassing childhood stories, the kind of thing that's just ammunition for Kyungsoo to goad him with for years to come. Baekhyun tries to sink into the floor, whining at his mother and his traitorous father who just smirks through every tale and doesn't bother to save him.

"Don't be like that, babe," Kyungsoo says, patting Baekhyun's arm and Baekhyun is so shocked by the endearment he forgets all of his anger instantly. "It's cute," he says, "and I like knowing more about you."

The sincerity in his voice has Baekhyun's stomach fluttering, a slow smile spreading over his face. Kyungsoo squeezes his arm, leaves his hand there as he turns back to talk with his parents and Baekhyun doesn't make another complaint the rest of the night.

When they part ways later, Kyungsoo saying goodbye to his parents and giving Mongryong a thorough pat, Baekhyun feels like he should say or do something too, something more than just a simple parting sentiment. Anxiety bubbles in his belly as he looks at Kyungsoo, who seems to be considering the same thing. They didn't talk about this, lay out the rules, how far they could go, and Baekhyun wishes again he'd thought this through more.

But then, before he can work himself into a frenzy about it, Kyungsoo is arching his brow at him, putting on an impatient face. "Are you gonna kiss me goodbye or not, idiot?"

Remembering that his mother, at least, is discreetly watching them, Baekhyun forces himself not to show his surprise. Instead he just laughs, steps closer to Kyungsoo, ignoring his thundering heart, and says, "Why, can't you kiss me?"

"I came all the way out here to meet you and you still want me to do the work," Kyungsoo says, sounding terribly put-upon and this, this is familiar, this is easy. This is just Kyungsoo and Baekhyun as they've always been, a little rough, teasing, pushing and pulling the way Baekhyun loves. It’s one of the many reasons why Baekhyun fell for him in the first place, nearly two years ago now.

"Admit it, you were looking for any excuse to see me," Baekhyun says, giving Kyungsoo a smirk. Instinctively, he reaches out to brush the bangs from Kyungsoo’s face that the wind has swept in and Kyungsoo is staring at him, a little curious, challenging, and Baekhyun decides then that he should go for it. Kyungsoo is letting him, set them up for it, and this...this might be the only chance Baekhyun will ever have.

He dips his head and kisses him, his hand slipping from Kyungsoo’s hair to cup the back of his neck easily, naturally, like they've always meant to do this. It's nothing more than a simple press of lips, Kyungsoo’s soft and plush against his own, but it feels so big, like a balloon is blowing up in his chest, that's how happy he is.

It doesn't last, of course. Kyungsoo leaves then, with an expression on his handsome face that Baekhyun can't read, and when Baekhyun lies on the couch that night, trying to sleep, he remembers that Kyungsoo is not his boyfriend and that kiss, no matter how much he might want it to, means nothing. The balloon in his chest pops, leaving behind a bruised heart and hours of fitful slumber.

-

Once a week, Baekhyun tries to meet Jongdae for lunch or dinner in the northern part of the island, whenever Jongdae is most able to work Baekhyun into his packed schedule. Today, Baekhyun joins him at a restaurant near Columbia where Jongdae is making his way through his last year of medical school, slipping into the booth across from him, sliding his work bag with his laptop to the side.

“Sorry I’m late,” Baekhyun says, brushing his hair back from his face. “It’s been a long day.”

“Don’t you have a launch date soon? For that new game? Lots of work then, huh?” Jongdae says.

“Yeah, it’s been pretty intense,” Baekhyun says. “I mean, most of my part is done, but once the game goes live, I’ll be bombarded I’m sure with any technical issues that pop up and we’re bound to get some. It always happens.” He sighs, finally opening up the menu and glancing through the choices. “But that’s not until next week, thankfully. My parents will be out of my hair by then.”

“Oh yes,” Jongdae says, smirking. “I heard about that from Chanyeol. How’d you managed to give them the slip tonight?”

“My dad dragged my mom to go see Mamma Mia on Broadway,” Baekhyun says. He’d practically dropped to his knees in gratitude that morning when his dad had told him about it. “That’s why I said I could meet you tonight. Sorry it was kind of last notice.”

Jongdae just waves a hand in dismissal, then gives Baekhyun a very knowing look. “So, Kyungsoo, huh?”

Baekhyun grips the menu tighter in his hands and does not hide behind it. Even though the wants to. “Yeah, Kyungsoo,” he says, defiantly, like he’s just challenging Jongdae to say something against it, but Jongdae doesn’t have to and he knows it. He smiles at Baekhyun, eyes twinkling meaningfully and Baekhyun feels heat creeping up his neck despite himself. He hates that Jongdae can make him feel so embarrassed and he’s about to say as much when suddenly Kyungsoo is there, appearing out of nowhere and shoving Baekhyun over so he can settle down next to him.

“Hey, you guys haven’t ordered yet, have you?” he says, looking between them, and Baekhyun gapes at him. He wasn’t expecting Kyungsoo to be here, too.

“I invited him,” Jongdae says, kicking Baekhyun under the table, successfully garnering Baekhyun’s attention again. “So stop staring at him like he’s an alien.”

“I just wasn’t--” Baekhyun says, but then grimaces at himself and shakes his head. “Never mind. It just feels like I’ve seen Kyungsoo more this week than I have in the past two months.”

“You only have yourself to blame for that,” Kyungsoo says, but he looks amused. “If you’d just been honest with your mother--”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, I heard this from Chanyeol,” Baekhyun grumbles. “Whatever, let’s just order, okay?”

They do just that, Jongdae and Kyungsoo falling into discussion about something Baekhyun’s only half paying attention to. He’s still unsettled by Kyungsoo’s sudden appearance, Kyungsoo, whom Baekhyun hasn’t been able to stop thinking about since their kiss. It’s been two days since then, but it’s lingered at the forefront of his mind ever since, the gentle press of their lips, the warmth of Kyungsoo’s neck under his palm, the slight sting of pleasure-pain from when Kyungsoo dug his nails into Baekhyun’s arm. Baekhyun wishes desperately that he hadn’t done it now, because all he wants is to do it again. And again. Kiss Kyungsoo properly and feel him tremble from it, feel breathless because of it, and it’s the worst knowing that he’s had this little taste of him and will never be able to have more.

“Hey, you okay?” Kyungsoo suddenly asks, pulling Baekhyun from his thoughts. A hand settles on his knee, warm yet distracting, and Baekhyun swallows as he looks at Kyungsoo, whose brows are furrowed in concern.

“Yeah,” Baekhyun says quickly. He forces a smile onto his face, hopes it doesn’t look too fake. Kyungsoo’s always been able to tell. “Yeah, sorry. I’m fine.”

Kyungsoo’s still frowning a little, but he seems to decide not to push it, turning away to sip at his water their waiter had dropped by a few minutes ago. His other hand still rests on Baekhyun’s knee. Jongdae takes one look between the two of them and says, sounding mildly offended, “You totally should’ve asked me, Baekhyun. I’d make a great boyfriend.”

Baekhyun barks out a laugh. “We tried that once, remember, and it was all sex,” he says, remembering the second semester of junior year. It’d been pretty fun while it lasted, but neither of them were really boyfriend material back then and they realized they worked better as friends. Only in moments of extreme weakness does Baekhyun admit to himself he might miss it. Or, well, miss how good Jongdae was at giving head, anyway. Same thing.

“Well, yeah, and it was great,” Jongdae says with a slightly reminiscent look on his face, and Baekhyun would’ve laughed at him if it wasn’t for Kyungsoo’s fingers suddenly digging into his knee, hard. He glances down, then askance at Kyungsoo, who is staring fixedly at the little dessert advertisement in the middle of the table. “Remember when we almost got caught in the laundry room--”

Kyungsoo knocks over his glass of water, managing to catch it at the last minute so it doesn’t spill all of the table. Baekhyun tosses a couple of napkins over while Jongdae mostly laughs, scooting further into his side of the booth so the dripping water doesn’t end up on his lap. Baekhyun looks at Kyungsoo properly and his ears are red, his expression somewhere between embarrassed and angry, and when he catches Baekhyun’s gaze, his grows even more flustered, turning away quickly. He’s picked his hand off of Baekhyun’s knee to clean up the mess as Baekhyun misses the heat of it on his skin, he wonders for the first time if it's possible that Kyungsoo feels the same as him.

-

One of the main reasons Baekhyun’s parents came to visit is to attend some fancy conference in the city for his dad’s work. So Baekhyun doesn’t see much of them that Thursday or Friday, which is just perfectly fine with him. It gives him the chance to take a breather and not worry about his mother asking him awkward questions about kyungsoo every chance she gets. Instead, Baekhyun is free to go to work without worry, make fun of Sehun’s attempt at flirting with Krystal, and come home to an empty apartment and enjoy dinner in peace. At least that’s how Thursday goes, and Friday isn’t too bad, except an hour after Baekhyun gets home, there’s a knock at the door and Kyungsoo is there, holding a bag of takeout from Baekhyun’s favorite Vietnamese place and a smile.

“What’re you doing here?” Baekhyun says. “I didn’t say we had to play boyfriends tonight. My folks aren’t even here, remember?”

“I know that,” Kyungsoo says, and he pokes Baekhyun in the stomach so he retracts, making enough space to slip inside. “I just figured another night without your mom around meant you’ve probably gone back to eating cereal for dinner and I thought this would be better.” He holds up the bag.

Baekhyun swallows, feeling a little off balance at Kyungsoo’s appearance, his reasoning for being here. It’s not that Baekhyun minds, no. It’s just that, usually, if Kyungsoo wants to come over, he’d text Baekhyun to let him know. Showing up here, with Baekhyun’s favorite food, and milling about in the kitchen like he lives here, it feels way too much like something an actual boyfriend would do. If Kyungsoo had a key to Baekhyun’s apartment, he could have let himself in, smiled at Baekhyun when he stepped out of the shower, maybe kiss him in greeting before telling him he brought dinner.

And that, Baekhyun thinks, gut lurching, sounds really nice. Comfortable, homey. It’s what Baekhyun’s wanted for a few years and experiencing it like this makes him wish he could take the whole fake-boyfriend idea back. It hurt a lot less before.

“Baekhyun?” Kyungsoo calls, and Baekhyun turns to him quickly, doing his best to push his thoughts aside. What’s the use of dwelling over them, especially when he has Kyungsoo here to be with, even if it’s not the way he really wants? “Are you okay?” Kyungsoo says, walking up to Baekhyun to peer at him curiously. “You’ve been so out of it lately, you were like this the other night at dinner, too. What’s up?”

“Ahh,” Baekhyun says, shrugging his shoulders. He still has a towel around his neck from his shower, he realizes, and he’s glad, suddenly, he thought to put on actual clothes instead of wandering around in just his underwear as he usually would. “It’s just been a long week,” he finally says, and it’s not untrue. “I’m glad it’s the weekend and my parents will finally be out of here Sunday morning.”

“You keep saying that, but it really doesn’t seem like it’s been that bad.”

Baekhyun smiles at that, because, well, Kyungsoo has a point. “Okay, fine,” he says. “It’s been pretty nice to have my parents here. Even my mother.”

“I like your mom,” Kyungsoo says, taking one of the plates he’d pulled from the cabinets and starting to pile it with rice. “She’s fun. Maybe a little overbearing, but what mom isn’t?”

“True,” Baekhyun agrees. He leans his elbows on the counter and points at the different things he wants and Kyungsoo easily spoons them onto the plate for him before handing it over. Baekhyun smiles at him gratefully. “I guess I have been kind of dramatic about the whole thing.”

“Yeah, you have,” Kyungsoo says, chuckling, but he looks up at Baekhyun with a fond smile. “It’s kind of cute though, seeing you freak out.”

Baekhyun chokes a bit on his mouthful, surprised by the comment, and Kyungsoo’s smile turns into a smirk.

“Reminds me of our last year, when you had that meltdown because Chanyeol accidentally ripped your Girls Generation poster,” Kyungsoo says and Baekhyun feels himself blush despite himself.

“That was very traumatic, okay! And he totally did it on purpose!”

“You bought another one like two days later,” Kyungsoo laughs. “But watching you panic and try to fix the ruined one was pretty adorable.” He shakes his head, still looking amused. “Anything can be dramatic with you.”

Baekhyun rubs the back of his neck, unsure what to say. Kyungsoo calling him cute twice in the span of five minutes is unusual but not unwelcome. He revels in it, the warmth that spreads through his veins, and it has him giddy, eager for more. He reaches out to pluck a piece of chicken off of Kyungsoo’s plate, just because, popping it into his mouth with a grin when Kyungsoo glares at him, and says, “Maybe I should be more dramatic around you, if you find it so cute.”

“Don’t push your luck,” Kyungsoo says evenly, and he picks up his plate and walks out of the kitchen.

-

Baekhyun’s mother insists on having his friends over that Saturday night so she can cook them a nice meal and see everyone once before having to head back home. It’s short notice, but Baekhyun knows most of them won’t pass up a home-cooked meal, so he sends off quick texts in the morning to Chanyeol and Jongdae, along with Junmyeon and even Sehun, who replies instantly with a bunch of thumbs up emoticons. Kyungsoo is a given; his mother would probably castrate him if Kyungsoo wasn’t there on their last night visiting, and Kyungsoo sends back a text a few hours later saying he might be late, but he’ll be there.

Baekhyun is already looking forward to seeing him.

It’s probably a little ridiculous, honestly, because Baekhyun just spent last night relaxing with Kyungsoo as they watched Kingsman and then made it through half of House of Bodies on Netflix before Baekhyun started to adlib over all the character’s lines and Kyungsoo laughed into his shoulder at his terrible voices before joining in. Kyungsoo never moved from his side then, either, leaning comfortably against Baekhyun as they joked around, and the hours passed almost too quickly after that. He’d left with a smile, eyes bright, and Baekhyun wanted to kiss him in the doorway in goodbye, but simply gripped the edge of his door and waved, watched him disappear from sight.

And this will be their last time pretending to be boyfriends and Baekhyun should be happy about that, happy that the whole charade is over, that things can finally go back to normal. He is happy about that, even if he’s also quite sure that it won’t be so easy to return to how things were. In any case, it’s his last chance, too, to be like this with Kyungsoo, and Baekhyun would like to make the most of it, end it all on a good note.

Chanyeol is the first to arrive later that evening, his guitar slung over his back and dark-rimmed glasses on his face. He practically kicks Baekhyun out of the kitchen where he’d been helping his mother put together a hearty Korean dinner, claiming Baekhyun will just burn everything with his unskilled fingers.

“Hey,” Baekhyun protests, reaching up to yank on one of Chanyeol’s ears in retaliation, “I’m not that bad!”

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Chanyeol says, smashing his palm into Baekhyun’s face to push him away. “And I don’t want to take any chances. It’s been too long since I’ve had your mom’s cooking.”

Baekhyun relents in the end because it’s not as if he’s dying to cook anyway, and instead he sits himself at the counter and chats noisily while Chanyeol helps his mom with wide smiles and eagerness of an overgrown puppy.

“I hope that Kyungsoo of yours can cook at least,” Baekhyun’s mother says, and Baekhyun discreetly kicks Chanyeol’s ass when he choke-laughs in surprise.

“He makes the best kimchi spaghetti,” Baekhyun answers easily. “Maybe if you guys visit another time, I’ll get him to make it for you.”

“Oh, that’d be delightful,” his mother says, sounding excited just by the thought, and Chanyeol shoots Baekhyun a look as if to say don’t make stupid promises, you’re supposed to break up, remember? Like Baekhyun doesn’t already know.

When Baekhyun just ignores him, Chanyeol straightens up, says, “Don’t they make the cutest couple?” and proceeds to coo with Baekhyun’s mother about how happy she is about Baekhyun and Kyungsoo’s relationship.

Needless to say, Baekhyun’s glad when there’s a knock at the door so he can escape, finding Jongdae and Sehun, already in a heated discussion over what sounds like Candy Crush as they spill into the apartment. Baekhyun only manages to get them to quiet down long enough to introduce Sehun to his mother, and then they’re back at it, and Baekhyun is left to shake his head and start pulling out some glasses and drinks for everyone.

Baekhyun’s father wanders out from the bedroom sometime later and pulls Jongdae into a conversation about the conference he’d gone to the previous two days and Junmyeon shows up with a bottle of wine, dressed to the nines in a fitted suit. He must’ve been at the office again today, and Baekhyun takes the bag with the wine from him and says, “Lose the tie, you’re dressed like my dad,” and laughs when Junmyeon pinches the back of his neck.

“Kyungsoo’s not here yet?” Baekhyun’s mother asks, looking around the group, and all of Baekhyun’s friends turn to eye him bemusedly as Baekhyun shakes his head.

“He said he’d be late,” Baekhyun reminds her, “we can just start without him, I doubt he’d--”

“Nonsense,” his mother says, waving a hand at him. “There’s still time. We’ll save Junmyeon’s wine for later, why don’t you get him a beer for now, Baekhyun?”

It feels like hours before Kyungsoo shows up, even though it’s barely been thirty minutes after Junmyeon’s arrival, and Baekhyun wants to kiss him again for being there. Among other reasons, too, of course, but instead he just hovers around him as Kyungsoo slips out of his shoes and asks, “Does everyone know about the whole pretend-dating thing?”

“Yeah,” Baekhyun says. “I complained about it at work with Sehun yesterday and you already told Junmyeon, didn’t you?”

Kyungsoo nods, straightening up. He looks handsome today, his hair styled up from his face, and wearing a simple button-down in deep blue and jeans that accentuate his thighs. The urge to push him into the door and kiss him isn’t fading. “What about Yixing?” Kyungsoo asks.

“He’s in Changsha, remember?” Baekhyun says and Kyungsoo makes a soft noise of understanding. “And everyone else is busy, which is probably for the best, anyway.”

“Don’t tell me you’re ashamed of being seen with me, Baekhyun,” Kyungsoo teases, and he slides his hand gently down Baekhyun’s arm to link their fingers together. “And here I thought things were going so well between us.”

Baekhyun laughs, Kyungsoo’s playfulness settling warm in his chest and easing away the traces of anxiety he’s been trying to ignore all day. “Maybe I just want you all to myself,” he finds himself saying, and as the words register in his brain, he hopes that Kyungsoo can’t tell how much he means it.

A little part of him almost wants to take it back because Kyungsoo is looking at him curiously, but before either of them manage to say anything more, Jongdae is there, smirking at them gleefully as he says, “Hey lovebirds, come and eat already.”

Baekhyun splutters, ready to kick Jongdae in the ass too, but Kyungsoo just laughs it off and tugs on Baekhyun’s hand, leading him back into the kitchen and Baekhyun has no choice but to follow. He’ll get Jongdae back for it later since he’s pretty sure this is just the beginning of what Jongdae has in store for them that night.

He's definitely right about that. Combined, Chanyeol and Jongdae are Baekhyun's worst nightmare in a time like this, finding any opportunity to try to embarrass Baekhyun and Kyungsoo about their pretend relationship. Kyungsoo takes their ribbing in stride though, pulling whoever happens to be closest into a headlock or shooting back with an equally terrible story that has Chanyeol's ears going red and even Jongdae's smirk dropping from his face. It's been awhile since Baekhyun's had so many of his friends in one space so he's having a great time, despite all the teasing. Kyungsoo isn't making a big deal about it so Baekhyun tries not to, either, just settles himself beside him on the couch and, once he's feeling daring enough, wraps an arm around Kyungsoo's shoulders. The little grin Junmyeon gives him is nothing compared to the surprised, but pleased smile stretching across Kyungsoo's pretty lips and Baekhyun even squeezes his shoulder gently, letting himself relax completely.

As the night goes on, Baekhyun grows more comfortable and possibly a little drunk. Or a lot drunk. He's not entirely sure anymore, which should be a clue to stop drinking, but it's the best way to deal with everything that's happening. Once Sehun starts chatting up Junmyeon, a sharp look in his eyes like he's determined to get what he wants, Baekhyun finds himself some more alcohol. And then there’s Kyungsoo, who is practically attached at Baekhyun's hip throughout evening, or maybe it's been Baekhyun following him around everywhere, he's not really sure about that either, the closeness is as rough as it is wonderful. He looks so good that Baekhyun can't help but want to touch him, instinctively finding his hand when they're sitting together, letting his thumb rub over Kyungsoo's knuckles. Half the time he's not sure what Kyungsoo's even talking about because Baekhyun's too busy staring at the shape of his mouth, the way it moves as he speaks, drowning in the low sound of his voice.

It takes him well into the night to even realize he's been doing this, catching himself at it when Kyungsoo turns to him mid-mouth-staring and says his name, concerned, and Baekhyun, so stuck in his amazement of Kyungsoo's entire being, starts to lean in for a kiss.

"Baekhyun?" Kyungsoo says again, a little louder, and Baekhyun snaps back to reality, blinking quickly.

It takes a moment for him to focus, and then there's Kyungsoo looking at him with furrowed brows, and behind him, Chanyeol, with a rather stunned expression on his face that makes Baekhyun's stomach drop to his knees. "Shit," Baekhyun says, pulling himself away from Kyungsoo. "Sorry, I just--I'll be right back."

He escapes to the bathroom, the only safe place in the apartment, and locks himself in. He still has his drink in his hand and, on an impulse, pours the remainder into the sink. He's definitely had too much to drink if he'd almost kissed Kyungsoo with no prompting, no reason. His parents weren't even in the room. He hadn't needed to prove anything. "Shit, shit, shit," Baekhyun mutters to himself, turning on the faucet to splash some water onto his face. It cools down his flushed cheeks but doesn't help erase what he'd just done.

He jumps when there's a knock at the door and Kyungsoo says, "Let me in," in a voice that demands no resistance. The last person Baekhyun wants to see is Kyungsoo but he knows better than to ignore him, so he unlocks the door and holds it open. Kyungsoo slips inside, eyes searching Baekhyun like he's been injured or something and Kyungsoo's looking for the cuts and bruises. The only bruise is the one over his heart, that Baekhyun hasn't figured out to heal yet. He drops his gaze to the floor, staring at the tile, Kyungsoo's toes.

"Baekhyun," Kyungsoo says softly, and he's stepping closer to him and Baekhyun suddenly realizes he's trapped with his back to the sink and nowhere to go. Hands settle on his hips lightly like Kyungsoo's not sure if he can touch him like this and Baekhyun's starting to feel like he can't breathe again. "Look at me."

Baekhyun does, can't even find it in him to crack a joke or brush Kyungsoo off and pretend he's okay. He's not okay, and he's tired of pretending. He's also drunk and maybe that has a lot to do with why he reaches out to curl his fingers into Kyungsoo's shirt, pull him close. "I'm looking," is all he manages to get out before Kyungsoo is kissing him, lurching forward to press their mouths together.

Baekhyun was expecting it but still he's surprised, gasping into Kyungsoo's mouth as he tightens his hold on his shirt and slants his mouth to let him in, kissing back as hard as he's getting. He never expected Kyungsoo to kiss him like this, like he's trying to devour Baekhyun, like he's wanted to do this for as long as Baekhyun has, maybe even longer. Just the thought has hope burning in Baekhyun's chest and it's all he can do to not get carried away, instead just sinks into the feeling, the warmth of Kyungsoo's hands on his hips, the slickness of his tongue, the steady, domineering way he leads the kiss.

"Kyungsoo," he breathes, struggling for air, his mind a little hazy, and he laughs a little, because he can't believe this is happening, that they're supposed to be fake boyfriends but are hiding in the bathroom real making out and Baekhyun must be drunker than he thought. "Is this really happening?" he questions and this time Kyungsoo lets out a small little chuckle, one of his his hands traveling up Baekhyun's front to cup his cheek.

"Why wouldn't it be?" Kyungsoo says, kissing him once again.

"I don't--I don't know." Baekhyun isn't sure of anything right now except how perfectly Kyungsoo's mouth fits against his.

Kyungsoo leans back just a little so he can look into Baekhyun's face, and there's a seriousness there in his eyes that has Baekhyun retreating, too. He wants to chase his lips again, kiss him harder, deeper, but Kyungsoo says, "I've wanted this for real, you know," and everything seems to come to a stop.

All Baekhyun can hear is the sound of his heart beating frantically, somewhere between all the dizzying white noise in his ears because he never once expected--never thought that Kyungsoo would actually--

The silence drags on for too long. Baekhyun's befuddled brain taking too much time to catch up, the words stuck in the back of his throat. Suddenly Kyungsoo is pulling away from him entirely, and the expression on his face is somewhere between furious and deeply crushed, and by the time Baekhyun's realized what's just happened, Kyungsoo is gone.

"Did you guys have a fight?" Chanyeol asks, finding Baekhyun the second after he's stumbled out of the bathroom. "He just left in a hurry, made some terrible excuse--"

"Fuck, fuck," Baekhyun says, pulling at his hair, and Chanyeol casts a glance over his shoulder, where thankfully everyone else seems unaware of the situation, and tugs Baekhyun into his bedroom. "No, wait, Chanyeol, I need to go after him, I need--"

"You need to calm down," Chanyeol says, sitting Baekhyun at his bed. It's actually made for once, because Baekhyun's parents have been using it since they've been here, and Baekhyun yanks on the edge of the blanket for something to do with his hands. "You're too drunk to go anywhere, you'll fall face-first into the pavement. What happened?"

Baekhyun rests his elbows on his knees, drops his face in his hands. Eyes closed, he can feel Kyungsoo's kisses again, see the hurt in his eyes when he thought Baekhyun had rejected him. "Fuck," Baekhyun says again. "I think I might've just ruined everything."

-

Baekhyun takes his parents to La Guardia early the next morning, feeling like death. On Chanyeol's orders, he didn't attempt to leave Kyungsoo a hundred drunk voice messages of how he's actually been in love with him for over two years and would he come back so they could make out some more, even though he really wanted to. In the end, he'd had another night of fitful sleep and all he wants is to go back home and curl up in bed and wallow in his misery.

"It's too bad Kyungsoo had to head out so quickly last night," his mother says. "I would've liked to say goodbye."

"You can see him again next time, mom," Baekhyun says without any real conviction, and his mother gives him a long, warm hug that feels incredible in Baekhyun's sadness before she tells him to take care of himself and that he better start considering proposing. "Bye," he says pointedly, smiling despite himself when she laughs and gets into the security queue. He bids farewell to his dad, too, and watches until they make it safely through the check before heading back to the apartment.

His head is pounding from his hangover and the lack of sleep, and his heart aches because there are no messages from Kyungsoo, nothing to suggest he even remembers what happened last night. He hadn't had as much to drink as Baekhyun, but Baekhyun wouldn't be surprised if Kyungsoo decided to pretend nothing happened at all last night. After all, Kyungsoo has proven to be really good at pretending.

Or, well, was he really pretending? After last night, Baekhyun's not so sure anymore.

He burrows himself in his bed, staring at his open text messages with Kyungsoo, and wonders if there's an emoticon that appropriately expresses both I love you and I'm sorry.

In the end, he sends nothing at all.

-

Baekhyun makes it a whole three days before he runs out of smiles and stupid jokes and realizes that he's, in fact, completely miserable.

The past week felt like something out of his dream life, maybe, being pretend boyfriends with Kyungsoo. All the time they spent together, all the casual touching, the way Kyungsoo fit so well into his life, into his home...Baekhyun, despite how desperately he tried not to, got used to it. He misses Kyungsoo's presence, the sound of his voice, the way he called Baekhyun babe, and never hesitated to hold his hand. Baekhyun knew this would happen, that the charade would be over and he'd be left with all these moments of what if, except everything is worse than he expected because Baekhyun's pretty sure Kyungsoo is ignoring him.

He'd left a message on Monday, thanking him for all his help with his parents, how his mother really liked him and hoped to see him again soon, and how Baekhyun would pay him back however he wanted, whenever Kyungsoo said the word. He hadn't gotten a response and that hurt even though Baekhyun sort of expected it. Kyungsoo can so easily close people out but he'd never once shut out Baekhyun before and Baekhyun is upset at himself for his blunder Saturday night, but also a little angry at Kyungsoo for not sticking around until Baekhyun could reply. For not giving him the chance to explain now.

"You can't just keep moping around like this," Chanyeol tells him when Baekhyun calls Wednesday night, feeling empty and hopeless in his apartment. Not even his favorite takeout from the Vietnamese place has managed to cheer him up, because all he can think about is how Kyungsoo had bought it for him last week, how he'd shoved broccoli into Baekhyun's mouth when he wouldn't stop talking over one of his favorite scenes during the movie. "Go corner him, make him listen. You have to tell him the truth."

"What if he won't listen to me?" Baekhyun mumbles. "He probably hates me."

"He doesn't hate you," Chanyeol says with a laugh. "Why the fuck would he pretend to be your fake boyfriend if he hated you?"

Baekhyun has no answer to that. Thinking about it, he never asked Kyungsoo why he agreed to do it in the first place, and that, he realizes, is something he should know. He's suddenly full of energy, jumping to his feet and giving Chanyeol a quick goodbye before he's grabbing his keys from the counter in the kitchen and shoving on shoes. It's not too late in the evening yet, Kyungsoo should be home, and Baekhyun...if he doesn't do this right now, he's not sure that he ever will and that's a risk he's not willing to take.

He has to know, has to fix this, because Baekhyun could pretend like nothing is wrong, like they hadn't made out in his bathroom and Kyungsoo hadn't practically told him that he wanted to be his boyfriend for real, but Baekhyun would never be able to forget, and will never be able to forgive himself if he didn't tell Kyungsoo the truth. He'd just be as miserable as he's been all week, pining over a relationship he didn't really have, and now. Now is the time to make it right.

He's out of breath by the time he knocks on Kyungsoo's door, having run up four flights of stairs and he's probably knocking too loudly but he doesn't care. If Kyungsoo's not home--Baekhyun will just sit here in front of the door until he returns, if he has to. Thankfully he doesn't, because the door suddenly swings open and Kyungsoo is standing there in black sweatpants and one of Chanyeol's band's t-shirts, a little too big on his small frame, and he looks so cute Baekhyun wants to pull him into his arms and kiss him.

"What the fuck, Baekhyun?" Kyungsoo says coldly, but even that isn't going to deter Baekhyun from his mission.

"Why did you do it?" he blurts out and when Kyungsoo just stares at him blankly, he elaborates, "Why did you agree to be my pretend boyfriend?"

Kyungsoo's eyes widen. Clearly he wasn't expecting this, and he glances around the hallway like he's looking for hidden cameras or something, like this is some big prank. When he looks back at Baekhyun, though, he's resigned, eyes a little sad, even, and then he steps back and holds the door open for Baekhyun. "Come in," he says quietly, and Baekhyun steps inside.

He's been here before, but it's been awhile, and he looks around the small living room like it's the first time. There are some new photos up on the walls, and the shelf near the television looks more packed than the last time. "What do you want, Baekhyun?" Kyungsoo asks, sounding tired. He rakes a hand through his hair and it falls in a mess over his face. Baekhyun itches to touch, but resolutely shoves his hands into his pockets, teeters on the balls of his feet.

"I just asked you," he says. "I want to know why. I thought you were going to tell me to fuck off, honestly. I didn't think you'd say yes." He sucks in a breath, lets it out slowly. "I wanted you to say yes," he admits, "for more than just my own desperation. I wanted it to be you."

Kyungsoo doesn't seem to know what to do with his information, that Baekhyun wanted him to agree to the whole thing. There's surprise in his eyes, a brief flash of it, before he goes back to looking just as miserable as Baekhyun's been this week. "Don't you know why?" he finally says, after a long bout of silence. "You haven't forgotten Saturday night."

Chanyeol's probably told him that, Baekhyun figures. He doesn't mind. "I haven't," he agrees. "But that was--that wasn't our best moment, I don't think." He laughs a little, but Kyungsoo only stares back at him, uncertain, wary. "I want to hear it again," he says. "I want you to tell me again. And I don't want you to run away before you even hear my reply."

"So demanding," Kyungsoo says, shaking his head, but there's a hint of a smile on his face now. "I could just kick you out right now and not have to do anything."

"But you won't," Baekhyun says, and he walks up to where Kyungsoo's been standing on the other side of the living room, clutching the back of the couch. "Don't you want to know why I asked you?"

"Why did you?" Kyungsoo says quickly, and Baekhyun decides in that moment that maybe this time he should go first. Kyungsoo's already told him the truth and Baekhyun's been holding onto his for too long.

"Because I love you," Baekhyun says, plain and simple, and it feels like a breath of fresh air, finally admitting it. "Because I want you to be my real boyfriend. Because I want to kiss you and hold your hand and tell my mom that maybe she's right, that maybe I wouldn't mind marrying you someday--"

"Oh my god, Baekhyun," Kyungsoo laughs, a real, incredulous laugh that lights up his whole face and has his shoulders shaking in mirth. "One step at a time, please."

"I'm sorry about the other night," Baekhyun says in a rush. "I was just so surprised. I didn't think you'd really want this for real, would really want me."

Kyungsoo reaches up to cup the back of Baekhyun's neck, drawing him down just the few inches between them and holds his gaze steady. "Of course I want you," he says, and Baekhyun kisses him.

It's better than the last time because right now Baekhyun is not drunk and Baekhyun also knows that Kyungsoo wants this as much as he does. It's all the kisses Baekhyun's ever wanted to give him, all his feelings wrapped up and shared through the touch of their lips, the mingled heat of their tongues. Baekhyun wraps an arm around Kyungsoo's waist to draw him in close, shudders at the brush of Kyungsoo's fingers over the back of his neck where he's sensitive, and he lets out a tiny moan into his mouth that Kyungsoo eagerly swallows up, has him pressing back in for more like he wants to draw out every single sound from Baekhyun that he possibly can.

"No more pretending now, right?" Baekhyun asks sometime between their fourth kiss and the hundredth, still holding Kyungsoo tightly in his arms even though they'd somehow managed to move onto the couch. Kyungsoo is in his lap, thighs snug on either side of Baekhyun's legs, and he's smiling down at Baekhyun so affectionately, Baekhyun feels a little winded.

"Right," Kyungsoo agrees, threading his fingers through Baekhyun's hair and finding his lips again, "This is real."