The first time they get married he’s four.
Of course, he doesn’t really remember it, only knows what happened through the video that Jooheon’s mom filmed from their back porch. It’s mostly Minhyuk and Hyungwon giggling together, Changkyun trailing behind and holding onto Jooheon’s sleeve. The video leaves out some things that his hyungs tell him though, years later, after the topic has come up again.
They tell him that Changkyun had clung to Jooheon like a koala that day, never leaving his side. They tell him that Minhyuk had come up with it, because who else would it be, really, that they’d played house and Jooheon had thrown a fit that he didn’t want to play a kid, for once. Kihyun had stated the obvious, had said that Jooheon is one of the youngest so he’s the child but Minhyuk had suddenly jumped up and explained that if Jooheon found himself a wife, they could be the parents for the day. Jooheon, without any second thoughts and determined to have his way against his stubborn hyungs, had grabbed Changkyun’s hand who was sitting next to him, playing with the grass.
“But first,” a serious-looking, eight-year-old, Minhyuk had said. “You need to get married. You’re not real parents without being married.”
They’d consulted Jooheon’s mother who seemed amused by her kid and his friends’ antics and then Minhyuk had tasked Hyunwoo to write down the vows which Jooheon’s mom told them. After Hyunwoo, with Hoseok’s help, had finished the paper, Minhyuk had made Jooheon and Changkyun sign their names, “to make it official”. Kihyun had helped Changkyun with writing his name, since the four-year old struggled, and after that they’d proceeded with their day.
It’s nothing great, nothing happens that burns this memory into their minds since it was just another day of playing together, at one of their houses, at the park, their minds filled with all kinds of memories from their childhood.
When Changkyun is 13, his father gets a job in the States. Five years, his parents say. At the most. Five years, Changkyun has to live and get his education in a foreign country, barely speaking the language, until he graduates high school.
His friends react shocked at the news, upset. They were excited for Changkyun, the youngest of their group, to finally join them in high school, excited to graduate with him.
It hits Jooheon the hardest. That’s no surprise since they’ve been inseparable for as long as they can remember, since Changkyun’s parents moved in next door to the Lee’s, just after Changkyun had turned two.
He’s more quiet, subdued, the week leading up to Changkyun’s departure, had reacted mad at the news and stormed off before calming down on the same evening. The day Changkyun had to leave, Jooheon skipped school, seeing him off at the airport along with Hyunwoo and Hoseok, who refused to let Jooheon go alone.
“We’ll skype every day,” Changkyun says, voice low. He steps into Jooheon’s space, tugging on his sleeve. “I won’t forget you.”
His parents are standing a reasonable distance away, talking to Hyunwoo and Hoseok, to give them some privacy to say goodbye.
Jooheon looks up. His eyes are glassy with unshed tears and something squeezes in Changkyun’s chest. “You better not,” Jooheon mumbles. “Anyway, you gotta come back to fulfill your promise.”
Changkyun frowns. “What promise?”
Jooheon grins. “When you come back, you gotta marry me.”
“I never promised you that,” Changkyun laughs. “But if it helps, then let’s.”
“I’ll miss you,” Jooheon blurts out and Changkyun sobers up. He can only nod, when his eyes fall on the clock on the board listed with the departing flights. “I have to go,” he murmurs.
Jooheon nods and then he’s hugging him, burying his face in his shoulder, and Changkyun has to blink back tears. “You gotta come back,” Jooheon mumbles. “You have to.”
“I will,” Changkyun reassures him. “You won’t get rid of me that easily.”
When he’s through the gate, he looks back to wave goodbye to his friends. Hyunwoo has his arm around Jooheon’s shoulder and Hoseok is waving both his arms around, making a fool of himself, just to make Changkyun laugh. It works. He gives them one last smile and follows his parents.
The promise they made at the airport is long forgotten when Changkyun comes back five years later, right after graduating high school, already applied and accepted to the same college his friends are going to. He stays with Jooheon’s family until he can move into the dorms, since his parents stayed back in the States. It’s hard, not seeing his parents every day, but he’s reunited with his friends, with Jooheon , and that helps.
It’s night and they’re camping out in Hyungwon’s backyard, something they’ve always done as kids, the others back from college since it’s summer. Changkyun sits on the swings, Jooheon next to him. The swings have been there since he can think back, first used by them when they were little and then by Hyungwon’s little siblings. They’re small and Changkyun just barely fits on it, but he pays it no mind as he watches Hyungwon push a whole s’more into his mouth, chewing slowly. They all laugh when Minhyuk points out a bug crawling on Hoseok’s shirt and he lets out a high-pitched shriek, jumping up. They’re allowed to be a little loud tonight, Hyungwon’s parents along with his siblings visiting family for a few days, which they take full advantage of.
Still invested in the scene that’s Minhyuk running after Hoseok, Changkyun doesn’t register Jooheon trying to get his attention until he feels a tug on his sleeve and he looks up to Jooheon watching him. Jooheon nods in the direction of the house and Changkyun doesn’t protest when Jooheon takes his hand and wordlessly follows Jooheon across the yard, up the porch, through the living room, into the kitchen.
The only light in the room is the moonlight shining through the windows and Changkyun blinks at Jooheon. “What’s up?” he asks, almost whispering. He doesn’t know why he keeps his voice low, feels like it’s more suitable to the moment - to whatever they’re having right now.
Jooheon seems to struggle with his words. “I’m glad you’re back,” he settles on in the end.
Changkyun realizes they’re still holding hands and gives Jooheon’s a soft squeeze. “Me too,” he says.
“There’s something -” Jooheon takes a deep breath. “When you were gone, I realized something. And I told myself, when you got back, I’d - test it out. Before I would regret it. Can I?”
Changkyun, feeling oddly nervous all of sudden, only nods. “Close your eyes,” Jooheon says softly and Changkyun does as told, has always trusted Jooheon.
He waits for a few seconds until he feels something touching his lips, soft, almost feather-light, and Changkyun swears his heart stopped beating for a moment before picking up again, faster this time. Jooheon kisses uncertainly, as if he’s not sure what he’s allowed to do, and then he’s pulling back, and Changkyun finds he misses it.
His eyes flutter open and he stares at Jooheon who’s watching him, lips slightly parted, cheeks flushed. He pulls his bottom lip between his teeth, a sign that he’s nervous, and Changkyun follows the movement with his eyes. He takes a step closer. “Can you do that again?” he asks.
Jooheon’s answering smile is almost blinding.
That night, and their conversation at the airport, the promise, and the game they’d played when Changkyun was four - all of these become more memories, added to Changkyun’s mind, moments from all stages of his life even though he can’t clearly remember them all.
Until Minhyuk finds that piece of paper again, five months into Changkyun's first year of college, and posts it into their group chat.
overexcited beagle [09:23 PM]: HEY I GOT SMTH 2 SHARE!!!
overexcited beagle [09:23 PM]: wait who changed my name again
biceps but not hyunwoo’s biceps [09:24 PM]: hyungwon
overexcited beagle [09:25 PM]: thx
overexcited beagle [09:26 PM]: hoseok?
biceps but not hyunwoo’s biceps [09:26 PM]: yea
overexcited beagle [09:26 PM]: ok
hyungwon [09:27 PM]: youre welcome
biceps but not hoseok’s biceps [09:28 PM]: what did you want to tell us?
biceps but not hoseok’s biceps [09:28 PM]: and i didn’t change my name to this just to clarify
overexcited beagle [09:29 PM]: LMFAO
overexcited beagle [09:29 PM]: u and hoseok match
hyungwon [09:30 PM]: youre welcome hyunwoo
biceps but not hoseok’s biceps [09:30 PM]: thanks?
overexcited beagle [09:31 PM]: ok so anyways !
overexcited beagle [09:31 PM]: so i was visiting my parents over the wknd right
tiny kwihyonie [09:33 PM]: over the what i dont speak minhyuk
tiny kwihyonie [09:33 PM]: oh and hyungwon just you wait till i see you say goodbye to modelling jobs for a while :-)
hyungwon [09:34 PM]: youre so short can you even reach my face
tiny kwihyonie [09:34 PM]: say goodbye to your kneecaps asshole
honey [09:35 PM]: ur straying from the topic again
overexcited beagle [09:36 PM]: THX JOOHEON <3
overexcited beagle [09:36 PM]: actually it concerns u ;)
honey [09:36 PM]: nvm i dont wanna know then
overexcited beagle [09:37 PM]: wheres changkyun it concerns him 2
IM [09:38 PM]: not here
tiny kwihyonie [09:39 PM]: why did hyungwon not change his name
hyungwon [09:40 PM]: because i like changkyun
IM [09:41 PM]: thanks hyung its appreciated
overexcited beagle [09:42 PM]: anyways !
overexcited beagle [09:42 PM]: i was sorting out all my childhood stuff which is just layin around in the attic nd
overexcited beagle sent an image [09:43 PM]
tiny kwihyonie [09:44 PM]: whats this i learned not to click on anything minhyuk sends
overexcited beagle [09:44 PM]: ok wow rude……..
biceps but not hyunwoo’s biceps [09:45 PM]: LMAOSJDNCF
hyungwon [09:45 PM]: wow you still have that
hyungwon [09:46 PM]: i remember that day
overexcited beagle [09:47 PM]: it was just in some box
tiny kwihyonie [09:48 PM]: whose idea was it even to do that
biceps but not hoseok’s biceps [09:48 PM]: i think minhyuk’s
tiny kwihyonie [09:49 PM]: of course it’s always minhyuk
honey [09:50 PM]: omfg
IM [09:50 PM]: wow hyung we’re married <333
honey [09:51 PM]: apparently<333
IM [09:52 PM]: whens our anniversary i want presents<333
honey [09:52 PM]: im broke i cant buy you any presents<333
IM [09:53 PM]: i want a divorce
honey [09:53 PM]: WOW
overexcited beagle [09:54 PM]: jshajdkfsf
It doesn’t come up again until a few weeks later when they’re hanging out in Hoseok and Hyunwoo’s dorm. They’re all seated in front and on the couch, Kihyun, Jooheon and Hoseok focused on the TV playing Mario Kart, while the rest of them watch them with varying looks of amusement and disinterest.
Minhyuk is frowning down at his phone as if it had personally offended him, muttering under his breath. “What’s up?” Changkyun asks, nudging Minhyuk’s foot with his and Hyungwon looks up, too.
“I got no storage left for a selca,” Minhyuk replies, lips sticking up in a pout.
“Delete some apps,” Changkyun suggests.
“I need all my apps.”
“Delete some pictures, then,” Hyungwon says. “I’ve seen your camera roll. You don’t need that many pictures.”
They lift their heads when there’s a shout from the floor and see Hoseok holding his hands up in celebration while Kihyun looks seconds away from throwing his controller at his head. Deciding it’s not worth their time, they turn their eyes back to Minhyuk’s phone.
“It hates me,” Minhyuk says.
Hyungwon sighs, reaching over Changkyun to pluck Minhyuk’s phone out of his hands. He scrolls for a few seconds before turning his deadpan expression on Minhyuk. “You have more pictures in an album called ‘memes’, than you do in the album called ‘friends and family’.”
Changkyun snorts. “That’s Minhyuk-hyung for you,” he mumbles. Minhyuk throws him a grin before facing Hyungwon. “I need my pictures,” he says, voice urgent.
“No, you don’t,” Hyungwon says without looking up from the phone. “Why do you need - wait.” He clicks on a picture and starts smirking when he realizes what it is. He holds the phone up. “Remember this, Changkyunnie?”
It’s a picture of that paper from when Changkyun and Jooheon got ‘married’, the one Minhyuk posted in their chat. Changkyun rolls his eyes while Minhyuk bursts into laughter beside him, attracting the stares of the others.
“Funny,” is all he says. Minhyuk takes his phone back, zooming in on the picture. He’s still giggling. “I remember that Kihyun had to help you write your name,” he says and ruffles Changkyun’s hair. “You were so adorable as a kid. What happened?”
“I got even more adorable,” Changkyun deadpans and both Minhyuk and Hyungwon start laughing. Jooheon, who has more or less abandoned the game, looks up and smiles at the sight.
“What’s so funny?” he asks.
“Your boyfriend,” Minhyuk replies, sliding off the couch, the phone issue forgotten. “Can I play?”
“If you dare.” Jooheon stands up, handing the controller over to Minhyuk. “Kihyun-hyung is really competitive.”
“Hoseok is cheating!” Kihyun yells out, eyes fixated on the screen, leaning forward.
“How can I cheat at Mario Kart?” Hoseok complains, nudging Kihyun’s shoulder. “You’re blocking the TV.”
“Good,” Kihyun bites out.
Minhyuk wiggles his way in between them, shutting them up by starting a new game. “No need to bicker since you both suck at this. Watch me and learn.”
“Don’t say things like that,” Hyunwoo starts. “That only makes it worse.”
Minhyuk smirks. “I know.”
Jooheon laughs, sinking down onto the couch next to Changkyun. He grabs his hand, interlacing their fingers. “What were you laughing about?” he mumbles, head falling onto Changkyun’s shoulder.
Changkyun grins at the memory, shakes his head slightly. “Nothing.”
“I have an idea,” Jooheon says.
Changkyun hums in acknowledgement. They’re walking back to their apartment after having dinner with the others, in celebration of Kihyun and Minhyuk graduating. The streets are silent, the weather still pleasant enough to walk around with only a light jacket. Jooheon swings their interlocked fingers between them. “Let’s get married,” he says.
Changkyun laughs. “Where did that come from?”
When Jooheon shrugs, Changkyun feels the movement. “It’d be nice, wouldn’t it?” Jooheon continues. He stops in his tracks, in the middle of the sidewalk, tilting his head up to look at the sky. Changkyun admires him, something he always does when an opportunity like this presents itself because there was something about Jooheon - something enchanting, something magical in their mundane world. But whenever Changkyun looked at Jooheon, he felt a little bit magical too, like he was on top of the world.
“It’s easy,” Jooheon says.
Changkyun raises an eyebrow. “Easy,” he repeats.
Jooheon looks back to Changkyun, the hints of a smile playing around his lips. “Yeah,” he murmurs. “I love you, you love me. Easy.” He tugs on Changkyun’s hand and Changkyun lets himself be pulled forward until their noses are almost pressed together. “That is easy,” Changkyun concedes.
Jooheon grins, putting his hands on Changkyun’s waist. “So, let’s get married.”
Changkyun laughs, softly pushing at his chest before grasping the front of Jooheon’s shirt in his fist. He avoids his gaze, smiling. “Not so fast,” he mumbles, then glances up. “Soon.”
Jooheon leans forward, his lips ghosting over Changkyun’s. “That’s a promise,” he whispers and Changkyun nods, lets himself be kissed at almost one in the morning on the empty sidewalk under the night sky.
And Changkyun fulfills that promise, almost two years later, during their Sunday morning breakfast. He looks at Jooheon and says, “Let’s get married.”
And Jooheon was right - it’s always been easy with them.