Renjun scans his busy classroom in ease from where he is sitting on the chair for their temporary café. In all honesty, Renjun thinks it’s sort of ridiculous how seriously the school festival is being taken in his new school. Or perhaps this school is just full of school-spirited students. Or maybe it’s just his class that is being sort of over-enthusiastic about this whole thing. Or maybe Renjun made a bad choice of picking school-spirited friends when he enrolled in this school around mid-August this year. All in all, Renjun just can’t comprehend the sheer excitement exuded by all of these people bustling around their classroom just the day before the school festival, busy finalising the setup of the café, endless chatters filling the classroom merrily.
“Exciting, huh?” A voice that Renjun recognises easily as Jeno’s asks, and Renjun breaks off from his little train of thoughts, whipping his head to the owner of the voice who is settling himself in front of Renjun, where there is another chair. The table is for two, Renjun supposes.
“I guess,” Renjun chuckles nervously, unsure, and Jeno seems to sense his uncertainty because he barks out a laugh, throwing his head back in laughter even when Renjun’s reply isn’t all too funny for that kind of reaction.
“Right. I guess your old school wasn’t really this invested in school festivals?” Jeno asks, seeing through him, and Renjun nods at him so Jeno sighs satisfactorily. “It’s taken really seriously here. We really pride ourselves in preparing our classroom and all. Which is why the teachers are sometimes even willing to let us miss a little bit of lessons just to decorate all of these.”
“Ah. School festivals were mostly prepared by teachers and students who volunteered to help in my old school,” Renjun tells Jeno, and Jeno gives a little ‘ah’ as an acknowledgement.
“Football club seems to really outdone themselves this year, huh?” Jeno points out, his eyes settled on the window that shows their hallway where Jisung and Chenle just passed by with white fabrics in his hands. “Chenle said that it’s their scariest haunted house yet.”
“Yeah,” Renjun replies dumbly because Jeno seems to be forgetting the fact that Renjun wasn’t even here last year so he can’t really see the comparison of how the football club has outdone themselves. “And you forget that Chenle likes to exaggerate stuff.”
“That’s true, too,” Jeno muses, and he shoots Renjun an amused smile, his eyes turning into crescents, too bright that Renjun has to look away.
“I think they’re calling for you,” Renjun points out, when he spots Jaemin and Donghyuck who are both at the corner of their classroom, setting up a photobooth, waving their hands wildly at them.
“And you,” Jeno continues, and he slides off his seat, taking Renjun’s wrist, the physical propulsion causing Renjun to slide off his seat too, creating a loud screech that seems to be non-existent in the noisy classroom, full of rowdy teenagers.
“What?” Jeno asks the two as they both arrive at the little photobooth corner, his wrist still in Jeno’s hold and Renjun doesn’t know how to pull it away without the probability of offending Jeno.
“Should the background be green or blue?” Donghyuck asks hurriedly, his hand on his hip, while the other one is holding a blue cloth, and Renjun can see that Jaemin is holding a green cloth in his hand.
“Green?” Jeno replies, but it sounds more like a question that Donghyuck and Jaemin let out a collective sigh of exasperation, and they both turn to Renjun next.
“Injunie, green or blue?” Jaemin asks him, using the stupid nickname they literally gave him on his first day of school there, right when he was just getting to know them.
“Don’t we have an extra black cloth somewhere?” Renjun asks instead and Donghyuck clicks his tongue in realisation, thumping Renjun’s back excitedly, and Jaemin groans in annoyance; probably at not figuring this out earlier.
“Right!” Donghyuck exclaims, and he puts the green cloth he had earlier over Jaemin that has Jaemin growling at Donghyuck, ready to attack him, but Donghyuck runs off immediately after doing that, asking for the black cloth from their class president that Jaemin can only huffs in disbelief.
“Ugh, Injun, you’re a lifesaver,” Jaemin groans, and he plops down helplessly on the chair that is scattered near him and Renjun is just about to do the same thing when he realises that his wrist is still in Jeno’s hold. He freezes awkwardly, waiting for Jeno to release his grip but it seems like Jeno isn’t going to do that any 1time soon because he drags a chair noisily near him and sits down, scooting over so that there is space for Renjun to sit, and he quickly drags Renjun to sit next to him, leaving him no choice but to comply.
“Nothing was going right!” Jaemin continues to whine, and he taps his foot rhythmically on the floor, his eyes on Donghyuck who is still having a conversation with their class president. “This is what we call an answer, Jeno. Not stupid answers like your green.”
“Let me live, I picked your colour, didn’t I?” Jeno drawls out, and he kicks Jaemin’s feet that was still doing its’ rhythmic tapping, making it stop, awkwardly flailing.
“Anyway, why are you two even holding hands?” Jaemin asks as he turns his eyes away from Donghyuck who was still talking to the class president and it’s almost seven, and Renjun is sure that if Donghyuck takes another second Jaemin would probably just stomp over to Donghyuck and take that black cloth from his hand.
“We’re not holding hands,” Renjun blurts out, and he quickly snatches his wrist from Jeno’s hold that earns him a dejected look from him, and Renjun internally winces. He was trying so hard to not offend Jeno and there he goes three seconds later.
“Yes you were,” Jaemin points out, and the ugly and tired frown from his face disappears as his expression morphs into a smirk, leaning in closer to Renjun and Jeno, a knowing look on his face, and when Jeno leans in closer too, Renjun is confused.
“I was holding his wrist, dumbass. Know your anatomy,” Jeno says bluntly, and he flicks Jaemin’s forehead lightly that results in Jaemin groaning in pain, leaning back as he cradles his forehead and Renjun briefly thinks that his new friends truly like to exaggerate because most of Jaemin’s forehead is covered with his bangs, and it did protect the flick a little. Plus, the flick was so weak. Surely, it wouldn’t hurt so much, right?
“Oh, I know my anatomy,” Donghyuck who finally finished talking to the class president and arrived in time says suggestively, and Renjun shoots him a warning look that has him cowering. “Whose anatomy are we talking about this time?”
You don’t want to know about the other time.
“Renjun and Jeno’s, and how they were holding hands earlier,” Jaemin replies quickly before Jeno or Renjun can interject, his eyes darting back and forth to Donghyuck and the two.
‘“Oh,” Donghyuck says, sharing a smirk with Jaemin and that’s the most united Renjun has ever seen the two this evening.
“We weren’t holding hands,” Jeno says, his voice exuding finality and firmness, and his eyes looking at the two threateningly that Donghyuck and Jaemin back off immediately, and Renjun sort of feels like he’s missing out on some inside joke as the two go back to managing their photobooth, quickly hanging up the cloth and avoiding Jeno’s eyes.
“You know what, I think I’m gonna go home,” Renjun says awkwardly after some silence passes between him and Jeno, and he quickly stands up, waving at Jeno who is looking at him with an unreadable expression on his face. Renjun quickly goes over to his bag, hurriedly shoving his belongings and Renjun can see even when his eyes are downcast that Jeno followed him when he stands up and is now in front of Renjun.
“See you tomorrow, Injun,” Jeno says when Renjun finishes packing his stuff, and Renjun can only shoot him a grim smile, and a quick wave, shouting goodbye to Donghyuck and Jaemin who are still battling with their photobooth.
It’s Donghyuck’s fault.
But then, o f course it’s Donghyuck’s fault because any ideas that cause their circle of friends to either potentially end up; a) going to a teacher for discipline problems (like that one time Donghyuck dared Jaemin to do that stupid bottle flip during their break and it somehow ended up with the bottle flying to their teacher’s table, spilling water all over the table that mind you, had some important homework), b) going to the police station (either them giving the police a huge amount of money they found on the street or getting accused of assaulting someone, no in between), or c) awkwardly avoid each other (like that one time they played Spin The Bottle, and…yeah) always come from the very core of Donghyuck’s brain because he’s the adventurous one in their little group of seven and seems to be the one who has good ideas, and sometimes stupid; it all depends on Donghyuck’s season.
This time though, his season is called stupid.
Renjun supposes it is a pretty good idea to go to the haunted house because Jisung and Chenle had been working pretty hard on the whole setup along with the other football club members and they had been bragging the whole week they had been preparing for the haunted house. It’s always good to support your friends, Renjun supposes. So this is how Renjun finds himself running to the second floor where the haunted house is, and as he arrives on the second floor he is immediately greeted by Jisung and Chenle excitedly waving their hands at him at the entrance of the haunted house, ushering him to go faster. Next to them, Renjun can spot Mark, who is in the badminton club, along with Jeno, Jaemin, and Donghyuck whose café shift finished earlier than Renjun’s.
“Finally!” Chenle says as Renjun arrives in a halt. Chenle is bouncing on his feet excitedly to the point that Jisung next to him is looking at him warily.
“Let me live, my shift just ended,” Renjun pants out heavily, supporting his hands on his knees, and Jeno pats his back empathetically. Renjun just ran all the way up from the first floor to the second floor because the café turned out better than his class was expecting and he had been bustling about their classroom, entertaining people right when his shift started and ended.
“That’s what you get for abandoning the badminton club, Injunie,” Mark interjects, and Renjun gives him an annoyed look.
“I would rather smile all day at people than having a match with sweaty people, hyung,” Renjun replies and he finally stops panting, standing straight. Renjun is in the badminton club and he was asked to choose between managing his class’ café or having badminton matches with various people and it didn’t take much convincing from Jeno for him to pick his class’ café.
“Well, still. We would have finished earlier. The brats here want you to be here too when all of us go into the haunted house,” Jaemin quickly barges in, to avoid more useless argument.
“I’m not a brat,” Donghyuck interjects, and there’s a stubborn look on his face as he continues, “Renjun has to do this with us. He’ll scream the most.”
“Of course we do,” Jisung deadpans like it is obvious all along, “it wouldn’t be complete without Renjun-hyung.”
“Aw,” Donghyuck says mockingly, putting his hand on his heart and Renjun has to laugh, the words making his heart light as he watches Jisung trying to lunge at Donghyuck to no avail because Jaemin immediately takes him by the collar of his uniform, stopping him in tracks.
“Ah, whatever, whatever. Injun is here. Come on, let’s just get in,” Mark says hurriedly slapping Jisung and Donghyuck’s back that have them letting out a series of groans. Mark tries to go through the entrance of the temporary haunted house, but is immediately stopped by Chenle’s feet blocking the entrance. “What, Chenle?”
“Uh, duh? Entrance fee? You really think you’re all going to go in without paying? We would’ve been 5,000 won in debt, hyung,” Chenle argues, and when Mark looks like he is trying to argue back, Chenle continues, “it’s just 1,000 won each person. You’re holding off the whole thing even more. You’re scared of our haunted house, Mark-hyung?”
“The fact that it’s only 1,000 won each person is exactly the reason why they should let us in for free,” Jeno mutters, and Renjun, who seems to be the only one who heard him, snorts in agreement, but his hands are already in his pockets, fishing for a 1,000 won.
“You’re challenging me?” Mark asks heatedly, and Chenle only giggled at the look of rage in Mark’s features.
“Ah, hyung, stop,” Jaemin interjects again before the argument escalates, slapping Mark’s back and Mark can only pout back at him, helpless as he hands Chenle his own 1,000 won fee, and the others following after, giving their 1,000 won dejectedly.
The five of them enter the haunted house, ushered inside by giggling Jisung and Chenle who are pumping their hands at them in encouragement. Immediately, as Renjun enters the haunted house, he is quite impressed with the setup of the whole thing, there seems to be a gust of wind flowing somewhere in the room that Renjun guesses come from an air conditioner hidden somewhere in the classroom. The haunted house is dark as they go through a passageway and Renjun is impressed by how much light they have hidden because all classrooms’ windows are annoyingly huge and naked that sunlight stream through it every single time and with how it is 6pm, the sunlight still barely there, it’s quite impressive. Renjun will surely pat Jisung and Chenle on the back for the amount of effort they’ve put in preparing all of this.
The whole classroom is dark, and Renjun can’t see any of his friends’ face so Renjun is not really alarmed when someone grips his ankle, thinking that it was probably one of his friends, but there’s a loud shriek from Donghyuck that has Renjun realising that the hand that gripped him was probably a part of the whole set up. A football club member dressing up as a ghost probably. Another shriek follows after, and Renjun has to contain his laugh when he realises that it’s Mark’s voice. He probably got scared by some spiderwebs over their heads, too.
“When will this end?” Jaemin shrieks next, frightened and Renjun is pretty sure he’s holding on to either of their friends. The grip that is on his own arm is deathly, and Renjun makes a mental note to make fun of the one who is gripping his arm earlier because whoever it is is terrified to the core. Renjun can’t even differentiate whose body is whose anymore because they’re all huddled and hugging each other awkwardly as they go through the narrow passageway that leads to the other end of the classroom together.
“Fuck!” Jeno curses as a white-clothed figure emerges from a black covered wall, along with a flash of light, and Renjun’s heart beats a little faster because that was scary.
Renjun can see that they’re reaching the end of the haunted house now by the little exit sign that directs the way out and was made by one of the student on a piece of wood. The handwriting looks stupidly scary and Renjun just can’t wait to get out, but there’s another surprise waiting for all of them at the and as a bunch of hair falls down, and it tickles all of their face immediately in a very terrifying way that has all of them screaming in shock, even Renjun. They’re all over the place now as they try to avoid the hair and suddenly, there’s a brief touch of something that Renjun knows isn’t hair because it’s soft and Renjun belatedly realises that it’s lips, and oh my God, that was his first kiss, and it was stolen from him by one of his friends that are male, and fuck, perhaps it was even a ghost? A fucking football club member? He doesn’t have the time to even contemplate more because they’re all out of the haunted house, and a bright stream of 6pm sunlight immediately greets him.
“Wasn’t it fun?!” Jisung asks immediately as they exit, and he’s bouncing excitedly on his feet. He and Chenle probably heard the whole fiasco inside.
“Good job, guys,” Renjun manages to croak out at them and he pats both of their heads, awkwardly having to tiptoe a little to pat Jisung’s head, and the others do the same thing.
“Ah, fuck, I wasn’t scared, I was surprised, okay?” Donghyuck complains, and he rests his body on the window, and the look of tiredness on Donghyuck’s features make Jisung and Chenle cackle loudly, attracting the attention of other people in the crowded hallway.
“Shut up, Hyuck,” Jaemin reprimands, and he flicks Donghyuck’s forehead lightly that has him hissing.
“It was pretty fun. I gripped Injun’s arm the entire way,” Jeno admits sheepishly as he scratches his head.
“Of course you would like that,” Jaemin seems to mutter, but Renjun is not really sure because the way he says it was really silent and he was still thinking about the whole kiss thing. But it emits a laugh from Donghyuck and Jeno kicks Jaemin’s feet so Renjun supposes the reply was sort of funny.
“Okay, who kissed me?” Mark asks hurriedly, and Renjun freezes. The whole group looks at each other, and the words are lodged in his throat as he scans his little group of friends who look stunned at the question. Donghyuck is just about to say something before Renjun interjects nervously, touching his lips.
“The fuck? What do you mean who kissed you, you were the one who kissed me!” Renjun exclaims, and his voice cracks a little from the little lump in his throat, and Renjun can feel his cheeks heating up as all of them look at Renjun in surprise.
“It was an accident, Injun! And it felt like you kissed me! I don’t know!” Mark fumbles awkwardly, and Mark is avoiding Renjun’s eyes so much that Renjun feels like slapping him.
“Ah, guys, come on, it was an accident, chill,” Donghyuck tries to reason out, but it falls to deaf ears because Renjun just feels so awkward, and Mark is being awkward, too, and Jaemin is just biting on his bottom lip in awkwardness, and Jisung and Chenle just look so uncomfortable and awkward and Jeno just looks…….angry?
“That was my first kiss!” Renjun mumbles out, and all of them turn to look at him in surprise.
“Really?” Jisung croaks out, and he looks so fucking surprised Renjun regrets letting that little fact out.
“Why would I lie?!” Renjun whines, and he stomps his feet childishly, and at this point, Mark is just looking at Jeno apologetically instead of avoiding Renjun’s eyes. Shouldn’t he be looking at Renjun like that instead?
“We’re seventeen and that was your first kiss?” Donghyuck wheezes out, and Jaemin is trying hard to not laugh too, and Renjun glares at the two.
“Yeah? And?” Renjun shoots back, and Donghyuck and Jaemin avoid his eyes, settling their eyes worriedly on Jeno instead who look like he is truly angry at the whole thing.
“You know what? I think I’m going home,” Jeno finally says, and Renjun watches as Jeno immediately jogs down towards the stairs without even waiting for the others to say anything.
“Jeno,” Mark starts to say, but Jeno is already too far away for him to say anything. Mark sighs as he ruffles his hair, and he exchanges a look with all of the others who are present except Renjun and Renjun sort of feels like those times when they start to nostalgically talk about their memories together before Renjun moves school.
“I think the haunted house really scared him,” Chenle says awkwardly, like Renjun is stupid, and he feels even stupider when the others avoid his eyes and agree to Chenle’s statement.
Jeno is avoiding him.
And that’s pretty impressive because firstly, Jeno is in the same class as him and truly, it’s hard to avoid someone when you’re in the same class as them. When you literally spend the whole ten hours of school and sometimes even cram school together. Secondly, they have the same group of friends. It’s like their group of friends had somehow teamed up to not let the two be in the same room together except for class because that’s really inevitable. Thirdly, they sometimes go home together, riding the subway and keeping each other company, and now, a week after that little kiss incidence, Jeno has somehow managed to be out of Renjun’s sight right when Renjun is just about to ask him if he wants to go home together. It’s stupid. Fourthly, they always eat lunch together. Lunch and break are always spent with Jaemin, Donghyuck, and Jeno, and now, Jeno seems to always have some volleyball club activity during break. But then, the other volleyball club members in the class don’t even go when Jeno goes, so Renjun totally knows that the whole volleyball thing is utter bullshit. So now, he spends his lunch with Jaemin and Donghyuck who are always good company but they’re not Jeno who would pester him into giving him his lunch and asking him what he did the night before and whether he studied or not. So really, it’s not complete.
“Jeno is avoiding me,” Renjun says to Donghyuck and Jaemin when they were having a conversation about some anime they had the chance to watch last night after cram school.
“Oh,” Jaemin says stupidly, and Renjun fights the urge to roll his eyes.
“Really?” Donghyuck muses, and he looks stupid that Renjun has to roll his eyes.
“You two know why he’s ignoring me,” Renjun continues, and the two blink dumbly as they try to hide any facial expressions from their face.
“Oh,” Donghyuck says this time.
“Really?” Jaemin continues, and Renjun thinks they pretty much deserve that stomp on their feet.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck, okay,” Jaemin says, relenting, and he grips his feet, rubbing it with his fingers, Donghyuck next to him doing the same thing. “Say, when did you realise that Jeno started avoiding you?”
“Since that thing I had with Mark?” Renjun asks, unsure, but he thinks so too. The funny thing is, things returned to normal with Mark ever since their kiss judging by how he just plays badminton with Mark freely during club, but if the person he kissed is okay with the whole thing then why is Jeno even avoiding him? On behalf of Mark? That’s stupid.
“God, don’t say it like that, Injun. It sounded like you were dating Mark-hyung or some shit. What if Jeno heard?” Donghyuck asks, and he looks at the door of their classroom in alarm, probably afraid of Jeno entering the class but Renjun just knows that he’ll come in two minutes before the bell rings.
“Okay, fine, fine. When that fucking kiss with Mark happened. God, just tell me why he’s avoiding me!” Renjun whines frustratedly, and the lunch in front of him is long forgotten, more eager to know the answer instead of fulfilling his hunger.
“Well, Injun, have you ever thought that he is avoiding you because of the kiss?” Jaemin suggests, and Renjun scrunches his nose in confusion.
“But, why?” Renjun asks weakly. “If anything, i thought Mark-hyung would avoid me.”
“Ugh, you’re literally so dense, Renjun. No wonder Jeno is so frustrated,” Donghyuck complains, and he looks truly frustrated with the whole thing too that Jaemin nudges him in a silent warning.
“But why is he frustrated?!” Renjun asks again, and he stomps his feet down childishly, a small pout on his lips.
“Okay, let’s put it this way,” Jaemin, the ever peacekeeper in their group of friends begins, “say that you like this person, and the person you like just go ahead and kissed one of your friend. How would you feel?”
“Jealous?” Renjun suggests weakly, and Jaemin nods in satisfaction as he slams his fist on the table.
“Right, jealous!” Jaemin says, and he continues heatedly, his eyes twinkling, “that’s exactly why Jeno is avoiding you.”
“Jeno’s jealous?” Renjun asks, and he gasps when the only answer he has comes in his mind, he clicks his fingers excitedly, “he likes Mark!”
“Injun, no!” Donghyuck says frustratedly, and he exchanges a look of disbelief with Jaemin who is in the same state too.
“Then, what?” Renjun whines, and he rests his head on the table, a migraine beginning to form and he is starting to regret even bringing this topic up because he still has the afternoon classes and cram school to go through, he really doesn’t want a headache right now.
“Well, who’s the other person involved in the kiss?” Jaemin tries to help again, and Renjun rolls his eyes as he points towards himself.
“Yeah!” Jaemin says excitedly, and he continues, like teaching a toddler numbers and ABCs, “so the person Jeno likes is…..?”
Oh. That makes sense. That totally makes sense. Fuck.
“Me?” Renjun finally croaks out, and the two lets out a collective sigh as they lean back on their chair.
“You didn’t hear that from us,” Donghyuck warns, and Renjun nods weakly.
Renjun can’t even look at Jeno when he enters the classroom two minutes before the lessons begin.
Renjun has never considered liking boys before.
And maybe he’s considering it when he discovers that Jeno likes him.
It’s an odd feeling, knowing that someone likes you. Knowing that a boy likes him. Knowing that someone close to him likes him. Knowing that Jeno likes him. Renjun has had a few girls crushing on him and a crush on a few girls back in his old school but then it was mostly just stupid flings with people he’s not even close to and not involved in their life. Jeno is a close friend and they have the same circle of friends and if this whole thing between the two ever gets to somewhere they would have to work it out, and when it doesn’t work out they have to act like the whole dating and liking each other thing have never happened before because Renjun treasures his friendship with his friends more than anything to even destroy it just because he and Jeno are stupid teenagers who have feelings. But the whole thing about even getting somewhere with Jeno leaves him giddy in bed at night and Renjun doesn’t know if it is because he likes Jeno or he likes the thought of having someone caring and liking him.
When Renjun thinks back about the past and how Jeno has acted ever since he moved to his new school, he feels sort of stupid and ridiculous. Jeno is a quiet and reserved person except when you have gotten to know him and he will start cracking his stupid jokes that will have them all groaning. Jeno’s reservedness and his reluctance of opening up to people have been thrown at him quite a numerous time ever since he moved, and he belatedly realises that the fact that were thrown at him by his other friends are just them indirectly telling him that Jeno is acting so weirdly ever since Renjun’s gotten here but we’re not complaining because he’s smiling a lot these days. It’s a wonder how Renjun managed to get through Jeno’s walls and he’s feeling fucking giddy, it’s stupid. Feeling giddy that Jeno, the boy who really could have any girls he wants, like Renjun ; a lanky badminton player who is half-chinese and is just a person who came into Jeno’s life just about three months ago. But Renjun supposes adoration (love?) has no time limit.
Renjun remembers perfectly the day he moved, and what a nervous wreck he was. It’s nerve-wracking; moving from Ansan he has grown fond and attached to, to eventually Seoul, the capital. Ansan is not that far from Seoul but the thought of leaving his grandparents there just sit wrong in his tummy and that just made the whole move to Seoul even more dreadful. He does visit his grandparents, so maybe his post-summer-break self was being over-dramatic. The thought of making new friends just sit very wrong in Renjun’s heart, and it was just a mess. He remembers the arguments he had with his parents and his insistence of just staying in Ansan with his grandparents and his parents can just go to Seoul for all he cares.
When he entered the classroom, he was immediately met with a mass of rowdy teenage girls and boys, and the anxiety Renjun had ever since summer break increased by tenfold as the homeroom teacher introduced him nicely, and Renjun mutely bowed at all of them, glad that he doesn’t have to say anything because the teacher has already done all the talking. He was put somewhere in the Donghyuck-Jaemin-Jeno triangle and it somehow turned into a Donghyuck-Jaemin-Jeno-Renjun square when he was put there. Renjun remembers that his first impression on them was they were probably the group who ruled the class because they’re loud and annoying and good looking. But all those impressions immediately flew out of his head when Donghyuck turned to him excitedly to ask where he is from, and somehow Jaemin asked more questions about him, and Jeno who had been silent for fifteen minutes couldn’t resist and joined in the conversation. Then, during break on his first day, he met Jisung and Chenle when they came to visit them, and he met Mark during club that afternoon, and found out that Mark was close with all of them, and their circle of seven was somehow formed immediately in that one day.
Renjun also feels sort of stupid to not have caught the knowing looks from their other friends when Jeno does his thing where he would take Renjun’s hand in his under the pretence of dragging him somewhere, but then Jeno wouldn’t even let go until someone says something. Renjun feels stupid to not have noticed the stupid comments Donghyuck and Jaemin make when they see the two walking back home together and sometimes with their head bent over Jeno’s table, solving a particularly hard Maths question. Renjun feels stupid to not have noticed the way Jeno just likes to stay close to him more than anyone in their circle of friends and how comfortable Jeno is around him. Jeno would sometimes rest his head on Renjun’s shoulders when they were on break, and Renjun would let him, oblivious to the snorts from their other friends. Renjun just feels stupid.
Renjun feels stupid, but if there’s one thing he knows he’s right about is the fact that he wants to give him and Jeno a chance.
“Jeno likes me,” Renjun pants out after some time, right after he slammed the shuttlecock to the other side of the badminton court, and the shuttlecock hits the court in a satisfying way, and Renjun watches with heavy breaths as Mark picks up the shuttlecock.
“You finally figured it out?” Mark pants back at him and he serves the shuttlecock back to Renjun, and Renjun brings it back to Mark in ease.
“I guess. Hyuck and Jaemin helped,” Renjun replies, and Mark hums in acknowledgement, his face scrunched as he focuses on the movement of the shuttlecock.
It’s three days after he found out about the whole Jeno liking him thing, and he is at club, practicing with Mark, the only way for him to release stress these days because his other friends are either avoiding him (coughs, Lee Jeno), while the others are just pestering him to approach Jeno because it’s getting harder each day to not see the two together like always.
“I really didn’t mean to kiss you and make Jeno jealous that day,” Mark breathes out, and Renjun nods, understanding because really, how can Mark even kiss him in that total darkness? “I think you should talk to Jeno.”
“Really? I didn’t know,” Renjun replies sarcastically, rolling his eyes at Mark who is looking at him in disbelief at the sass.
“Don’t talk back, brat,” Mark reprimands, and Renjun huffs and he drops down on the court, his racket creating a small clink as it falls down on the floor and the shuttlecock that was passed to him dropped down on his feet, laying down on the court which is probably dirty but Renjun doesn’t care because these past few weeks have just been totally energy draining for him.
“I meant it,” Mark continues, and he bends down over the net to go to Renjun’s side of the court, laying down next to him and Renjun belatedly realises how tiring this must be for Mark too; being caught up in their stupid misunderstanding. “Jeno is a stubborn brat and won’t even talk to me, Injun. He’s a running water for you, I’m pretty sure he would listen if you say something.
“Ugh, don’t say it like that,” Renjun says, his cheeks heating up at the choice of words, but Renjun blames it on the fact that they have been practicing for over an hour, and he shoves Mark lightly that didn’t even have any effect on Mark.
“I meant it,” Mark repeats, and there’s authority in Mark’s voice and Renjun is reminded again why Mark is the unsaid leader in their group of seven, “you may not even realise it but you’re like, really super important to all of us. Jeno really didn’t open up much to new people. We were surprised when Jeno immediately warmed up to you. I think you don’t even realise how much you have affected our group, honestly. Just because you came a little bit later into our group it doesn’t mean that you’re not one of us, okay?”
“Ah, this is sappy,” Renjun mumbles, but there are tears threatening to fall from his eyes. Renjun supposes it’s true. It felt like he was barging into some years of friendship when he first entered their little group of friends, and it feels nice to hear a slight assurance that he is not intruding. All of the other six have been friends for so long. It’s not wrong of him to feel insecure about his place in their little group. “Thank you.”
“But true,” Mark chuckles, and he flicks Renjun’s forehead, “talk to Jeno for hyung, okay?”
“Mm, kay,” Renjun says and he closes his eyes.
“Don’t sleep. We have cram school in like an hour,” Mark says, and Renjun kicks him.
They do have cram school.
“I’m going to Mr. Kim,” Jeno bullshits the next day during lunch and Renjun eyes him warily as he tries to leave their classroom.
“I’m going with you,” Renjun says, and the way his voice hardens make Jeno’s eyes widen at him, and oh, that’s the first time Jeno has looked at him ever since that accidental kiss and fuck, Renjun misses him even though he sees him everyday. Renjun can see from the corner of his eyes that Jaemin and Donghyuck are looking at both of them in shock.
“Okay,” Jeno replies, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he gulps, and he quickly signals for Renjun to follow him.
They both exit the classroom after saying goodbye to both Jaemin and Donghyuck, and they both give Renjun whispers of encouragement when Renjun turns back to look at the two. The walk to the supposed office is silent and Renjun tries to think of something to say to get rid of the awkwardness, but it’s easier said than done to actually talk to Jeno when they hadn’t been talking for almost a week and a half, and he feels the hard resolves he had earlier crumble even more as Jeno messes with the end of his blazer’s sleeves, a nervous habit that Jeno has.
“So, how have you been?” Renjun asks conversationally, and Jeno looks at him in surprise, and Renjun surprises himself even more when he feels his pulse getting faster as he locks eyes with Jeno.
“Good,” Jeno replies awkwardly, and the conversation stops there, and Renjun is left with having to come up with more conversations starter inside his head.
“Oh,” Renjun replies dumbly, and Jeno sighs.
“We’re not actually meeting Mr. Kim,” Jeno finally says, and Renjun huffs in disbelief.
“I knew you weren’t really going anywhere during our lunch!” Renjun exclaims, and he shoves Jeno gently, and it made Jeno stumble a little, a smile on his face.
“Sorry,” Jeno sighs, and he takes Renjun’s wrist like he used to, and he drags Renjun to the other direction where the school’s volleyball court is.
“Where are we going?” Renjun asks despite knowing fully well that they’re going to the volleyball court because Renjun has been suspecting that Jeno hides out there when he bullshits his way through their lunch. He just wants Jeno to keep talking to him, in all honesty. It has been too long.
“Volleyball court,” Jeno replies curtly, and he shoots Renjun a small grin.
When they arrive at the volleyball court, Renjun is immediately greeted by the faint smell of salonpas and that scent has just become the natural scent of the court that Renjun is barely even fazed. Jeno quickly drags Renjun to the place where they store the volleyball balls, and Jeno takes one ball from the huge metal storage where they keep the balls, his other hand still holding Renjun’s wrist.
“You set the ball to me, and I’ll spike it,” Jeno commands gently, and he finally lets go of Renjun’s wrist, taking off his blazer and throwing it on the ground, and he starts to stretch.
“I don’t really know how to set, Jeno,” Renjun argues weakly, because he doesn’t. He has seen Jeno play in court before and how the setter works but he has never actually played volleyball before. Jeno shoots him a laugh, patting Renjun’s back, and he jogs away from Renjun, putting little space between them, and he throws the ball that he picked up earlier to Renjun, and Renjun catches it.
“Like that,” Jeno says as he jogs back and he ruffles Renjun’s hair lightly that causes Renjun to scrunch his nose uncomfortably at the feeling. “Except a little higher because i would actually be jumping when you throw the balls.”
“Okay,” Renjun says helplessly, watching silently as Jeno gets into position, and when Jeno signals for him to start throwing the ball, he does. A little higher, like Jeno said.
“Nice,” Jeno compliments, and Renjun looks away after giving him a grim smile. This isn’t the reason why he’s here but Renjun grudgingly admits that spending some time with Jeno after being so distant from each other after while is sort of nice.
“So why were you avoiding me?” Renjun asks him after the sixth ball, fiddling with the seventh ball in his hands and Jeno is starting to sweat a little. Jeno walks over to Renjun and he plops down on the ground next to the huge metallic cart, and he takes Renjun’s wrist, forcing him to sit down on the ground too and Renjun silently prays inside his head that the volleyball club actually cleans the floor because he so cannot afford getting scolded by his mum for the stain on his uniform.
“Because,” Jeno begins, and he looks away from Renjun, his forefinger fiddling with the bone jutting out from Renjun’s wrist.
“Because?” Renjun inquires, and Jeno sighs, finally looking at Renjun in the eyes and there’s a small pout on his lips as he resigns.
“Because I was jealous,” Jeno mumbles, and he looks stupidly dejected that Renjun wants to flick his forehead. His friends’ habits must be getting to him.
“Why are you jealous, though?” Renjun asks, and he feels like a manipulating person just because he knows the reason but it would be so much better to hear it from Jeno’s own mouth. Just to prove that the whole thing isn’t some fake thing his friends made up, or a figment of his imagination.
“I like you? I guess?” Jeno replies, his voice small, and he looks unsure, but his eyes are screaming otherwise.
“You guess?” Renjun muses, and Jeno sighs again, and he drags Renjun’s hand, and Renjun watches, amused as Jeno intertwines their fingers together.
“Injuuuuun,” he whines, and there’s a small tint of pink on his cheeks that Renjun likes, and Renjun has to bark out a laugh at the utter ridiculousness of all of this. “I know.”
“In a totally homo way?” Renjun asks, just to make sure, and Jeno nods uncertainly.
“Yeah,” Jeno replies, and he bites his lips in thought, “you like boys?”
“I guess I do since I seem to like you, don’t I?” Renjun asks, and he flicks Jeno’s head lightly, eliciting a small ‘ah’ from him and a scrunch of his nose.
“Really?” Jeno asks, and there’s a glint of doubt in his eyes that Renjun wants to erase.
“Why would I lie, Jeno?” Renjun asks back, and Jeno sighs again, so Renjun squeezes their intertwined hands.
“Because you feel sorry for me?” Jeno suggests, and Renjun glares at him.
“You’re being so stupid right now. Fine, maybe I didn’t realise until like a week ago that I like you but I truly do, okay? Stop doubting me like this,” Renjun says softly, and the whole mood is just down right now.
“Ugh, fine, okay. We like each other, and?” Jeno asks, and the small glint of doubt in his eyes is replaced by a glint of joy and Renjun feels like he has accomplished something.
“I don’t know, don’t people usually date when they admit that they like each other?” Renjun asks, and he looks down to their attached hands. “We’re holding hands, Jeno.”
“We should date, I guess,” Jeno replies, and he looks down to their hands, “we are.”
“Oh, so we’re dating,” Renjun points out awkwardly, and they both make eye contact and Renjun is sure that his own face is beet red like how Jeno’s face is too.
“Can I kiss you?” Jeno asks, and Renjun gapes at him, nodding stupidly.
“You’re bold,” Renjun whispers, and he continues hushedly, “this is my second kiss please don’t judge me if I’m bad at this.”
“Ugh, don’t remind me of your first kiss,” Jeno complains before he leans in, and Renjun awkwardly closes his eyes right after Jeno drops his lips on top of Renjun’s and if Renjun is experimenting the way his body can heat up before, then this is the extent of it because Renjun feels hot and shy, but so right.
“Does that feel better than Mark-hyung’s kiss?” Jeno childishly asks as they pull away, and Renjun cracks his eyes open, flicking Jeno’s forehead again.
“Mark-hyung and I literally just put our lips over each other for like 0.1 second, Jeno,” Renjun tells him, and he laughs, and Jeno looks down at his lips.
“Ugh, stop talking about your first kiss when your boyfriend is right here,” Jeno rcomplains, and he flicks Renjun’s forehead.
“You should really talk to Mark-hyung. He’s feeling really guilty about it, you know,” Renjun says instead, ignoring the little jab.
“I know, I feel guilty, too,” Jeno replies, and he sighs, and he shuffles closer to Renjun to the point that Jeno is practically in between his legs.
“You know, that kiss I had with Mark-hyung wasn’t really a kiss. It was more like a peck,” Renjun replies after, and Jeno rests his head on Renjun’s shoulder, and Renjun can only pat his back with his other hand that is not attached to Jeno’s.
“Well, if it wasn’t really a kiss, then can I say that I was your first kiss?” Jeno asks innocently, and Renjun looks at him helplessly.
“Do whatever makes you sleep at night, Jeno,” Renjun replies, and he giggles right after, but it is immediately shut down by Jeno planting a kiss on Renjun’s lips.
“What was that for?” Renjun asks when they pulled away, and Jeno looks at him sheepishly.
“It makes me sleep at night?” Jeno suggests, and really, he deserves that last flick on his forehead.