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:) @swq91
is that love in the air? ;-)
[attached: image of Baekhyun and Minseok holding hands]

10,123 Retweets | 13,392 Likes
11:12 AM - 1 April 2017

 

royal fan @royalfan441
@swq91 omfg??? @JKim answers pls???

4 Retweets | 10 Likes
11:15 AM – 1 April 2017

 

peach stan @seastarz
@swq91 fuckkkk this better not be an april fools joke

20 Retweets | 50 Likes
11:20 AM – 1 April 2017

 


 

If there weren’t so many photos of Byun Baekhyun on campus—feeding squirrels bits of bread, napping under shady trees, directing lost children to the bus station—Minseok would swear he was a ghost.

He’d never even heard of Baekhyun until someone posted a photo of him next to the guy on Twitter. Standing side by side watching a public art installation on Quad, the angle made it look as if they were holding hands. It didn’t help that every cherry blossom tree decided to shed its petals at that very moment, upping the romance of the photo by at least 80%. 

(Minseok was no stranger to misleading photos. When he was seven years old, he’d tripped over his own child-sized, patent leather Oxfords at a charity event. The resulting photo plastered across the nation’s tabloids seemed to suggest that he had tripped to avoid the king’s watchful eye, diving behind a shrub in desperation. FAMILY TROUBLES? the headlines read, zoomed in on the very unflattering mid-fall expression on a young Minseok’s face. Even today, Sehun would still tease him with the meme that came out of it.)

“Pretty cute guy to be caught in a dating scandal with, though,” Sehun mused as Minseok busied himself Googling this guy.

“Is he a model?” Minseok muttered as he scrolled through picture after picture of Baekhyun across social media websites that looked like stock photos for The Perfect Boyfriend You’d Want Your Mother To Meet. “He’s literally sitting in a field surrounded by puppies. Who does that?”

“I think he’s a dog walker,” Sehun piped up, peering over Minseok’s shoulder at his phone screen. “I once saw him walking, like, five corgis at once down by the river valley.”

Minseok perked up. “You know this guy?”

Sehun shrugged, “Everyone knows him. He’s almost more popular than you.”

Minseok shook his head. He wasn’t exactly the most active guy on campus. His usual routine entailed walking to campus for class and walking straight home afterwards. It was all part of his plan to experience the Real College Experience sans paparazzi and overzealous fans. 

(“You’re literally royalty,” Sehun replied when Minseok refused one too many pizza outings. “There’s no way people are treating you like a normal student. There’s probably a person in the bushes right now taking photos to add to their Future Husband Minseok Kim shrine.”) 

The photo of him and Baekhyun already had upwards of thousands of retweets. The tabloids hadn’t picked it up yet, and there were no frantic texts clogging up his phone from a worried PR Manager. Minseok could only hope that this would all blow over in a few days. 

 


 

A few days meant an angry text from Junmyeon to “find that boy, NOW” and several thousands more retweets of the original photo. In every class he went to, Minseok was forced to ask his seat mate if they knew of Baekhyun, and every answer only convinced him that he was spiralling closer and closer to madness.

“Of course I know him. I’m pretty sure he studies down at the Green Bean,” said Chanyeol, sipping his latte.

“Baekhyun? Yeah, I see him around the Quad all the time,” said Jongdae, snapping a photo of a squirrel darting up a tree.

“Doesn’t he volunteer around campus? He’s always helping old ladies cross the street and stuff,” said Jongin, eyelids drooping sleepily in class.

Apparently, Baekhyun Byun was able to be everywhere at once. Including in his Twitter mentions, as thousands of people responded to the photo, wishing good luck to the happy couple.

A quick scan of Baekhyun’s Twitter account was like scanning the admissions page of a University website. It was all photos of Baekhyun that looked perfect enough to be staged. Baekhyun eating an ice cream cone. Baekhyun playing circle games with children. Baekhyun sleeping with a corgi on his chest. The only actual tweets were polite, unassuming things like “hope everyone is pulling through finals!” and “what a nice day to soak up some sun!”

It became very clear to Minseok very quickly that either this man did not exist, or he was some kind of Stepford Husband with a Twitter being managed by a stock photo company. 

The only way to stop these rumors would be to find this guy on campus and speak to him face to face.

 


 

Baekhyun did not study down at the Green Bean.

Nor did he hang out around the Quad or volunteer around campus.

Minseok was only slightly above posting WANTED posters around campus, if only because it would damage his reputation and Junmyeon would have a fit.

“This Twitter must stalk Baekhyun. Look at this,” Sehun flipped his phone in Minseok’s direction, an amateurish photo of Baekhyun feeding a stray cat plastered on the screen. “They get, like, at least a photo a day of him.”

“I would probably have better luck chasing down this Twitter user than finding the actual Byun Baekhyun,” Minseok grimaced into his coffee. This was his third consecutive day visiting the Green Bean just to catch sight of his alleged boyfriend. He usually avoided these kinds of all-vegan, kombucha-guzzling crowds just to sidestep the pretention. The only silver lining of his time spent here, paying too much for coffee and sitting on repurposed wooden milk crates that wobbled with every movement, was that Baekhyun clearly didn’t spend much time here and thus he was not stuck in a fake internet relationship with a total hipster.

Sehun shrugged, back to scrolling through Twitter on his phone as he sprawled across the ratty, “reclaimed vintage” sofa. “He’s probably just laying low for a while. Some people don't want to get tangled up in your weird fanbase.”

“You weren’t saying that when they were giving you food to pass on to me. You could feed a village with the free lunches you got this year.” Minseok still remembered returning to the apartment to find empty take out boxes decorated with hearts for weeks until he made a statement on Twitter claiming to have serious allergies. Sehun didn't stop pouting until Minseok bought him a Taco Bell gift card with enough money to last him the rest of term.

Sehun ignored him, as was his right as the whiney younger roommate. Instead, he tossed his phone to Minseok and cackled his way onto the floor when it bounced off of Minseok’s chest and onto the table with a dull thud.

“A little warning next time!” Minseok snapped, rubbing at his collarbone.

“It's Baekhyun’s Facebook page, idiot,” Sehun crowed, still wiping a tear from his eye. A few people nearby were about to glare at his noisiness, only to be dumbstruck by his looks. Sehun’s handsomeness had saved him from many a moment of social shaming. “I met him during orientation forever ago and friended him. He was the one orientation leader blasting Carly Rae Jepsen from his phone the whole time, even in the library.”

“How does this help me?” Minseok said, distracted by planning how best to make Sehun fear for his life. 

“This guy is a chronic over-sharer. He checks in on Facebook every time he goes somewhere.” Minseok peered down at Baekhyun’s wall. It was indeed full of check-ins, tiny maps pinpointing what appeared to be a day-long journey to find the city’s greatest fried chicken.

(“Popeye’s, you put up a great fight, but nothing beats Korean Fried Chicken,” his check-in read. 350 likes.)

“Why didn’t you show me this when I was running around campus like a headless chicken?” Minseok said.

Sehun rolled his eyes. “No one uses Facebook anymore,” he enunciated the social media site like it was a bad word.

“Good, because I’ll be using yours for as long as it takes me to find this guy,” Minseok said, smirking as Sehun’s smile dropped.

 


 

Sehun didn't have to wait long before he had his Facebook account back, because Baekhyun ended up finding Minseok instead only a day later.

Minseok had been too busy to chase after Baekhyun that day, instead trying to attend his classes and respond to Junmyeon's long list of possible event invites (yes to the children’s hospital’s benefit soccer match, no to the erectile dysfunction dinner).

He was texting Junmyeon about an animal welfare luncheon when he looked up and saw him.

Baekhyun was, somehow, standing only a few metres away beneath one of the very cherry blossom trees that had caught the two of them before. The rest of the tree’s campus brethren had long lost their blooms, and yet this one was still pristine, letting its petals land gently in Baekhyun’s soft-looking hair. 

He was posed with his head gently tilted towards the book in his hand, glasses perched on his nose like he was the next Allen Ginsberg.

Minseok opened his mouth to say something, and at that moment Baekhyun met his eyes.

And smiled.

“You must be Minseok,” Baekhyun said, lowering his book to his side. “There's been a lot of talk about us over the past few days.”

“Yes…all a misunderstanding, I guess,” Minseok replied, wondering why Baekhyun was standing alone beneath a tree.

“Absolutely,” Baekhyun said. Then his eye twitched in the sad attempt of a wink. “Though I certainly don't mind.”

Minseok grimaced. “Right. Well, you wouldn't happen to know who started these rumours at all?

Baekhyun shot him a pleasant smile. “No, but I've been trying to set the record straight with everyone who asks.”

Minseok sighed. “I guess that’s all I can hope for.”

Suddenly, Baekhyun reached up and touched the side of Minseok’s face.

“Um!” He flinched away. Now he was worried that Baekhyun was another crazy fan.

“Sorry, there was a petal on your face,” Baekhyun grinned, holding a petal between his fingers. “See?”

“Right…” Minseok replied, feigning a check of his watch when he really just wanted to break eye contact. “Well, I'll keep trying to get to the bottom of this, but I have to head out now.”

Baekhyun smiled and gave a little wave. “See you soon!”

 


 

 

:) @swq91
:0
[attached: image of Baekhyun touching Minseok’s face]

14,583 Retweets | 20,329 Likes
12:04 PM - 17 April 2017

 

love those pillows @jongnini
holyyyyy

12 Retweets | 15 Likes
12:06 PM - 17 April 2017

 


 

Soon was sooner than expected, because the next day Minseok awoke to the same Twitter account posting an image of Baekhyun touching his face. The cherry blossoms, Baekhyun’s soft smile, and Minseok’s dumbstruck expression made the photo look like something out of a wedding catalogue. 

Junmyeon was at his door an hour later.

“I promise, we didn't do anything. I talked to him about the whole thing.” Somehow, explaining himself to Junmyeon always felt like trying to avoid punishment from a stern parent.

“Well, now I want you to start doing things.” Junmyeon grinned deviously.

“What?”

“This guy is squeaky clean, and the internet loves him. A relationship with him could really spice up your image. Prince and the pauper. Star-crossed lovers. A modern-day Romeo and Juliet.” Junmyeon was narrating as he beamed into the distance, probably envisioning all of the photo ops and couple interviews.

“You know they died, right?” Minseok muttered. “And what makes you think he’s going to go along with this?”

“Oh, he already agreed!” Junmyeon gestured with his phone. “You’re the only person on campus who doesn’t need tuition money right now. Can’t make a living off petting puppies.”

“How did you even get his number?”

“If only there were an online search engine that could pull up just about any information about anyone in the world, all for free,” Junmyeon put a finger to his chin and contorted his face into mock confusion.

Junmyeon was lucky Minseok’s heaviest textbook was in his backpack on the other side of the room.

“I spoke with him to make sure he has no ill intentions.” Junmyeon reached out to pat Minseok’s cheek, only to receive a smack in response. “We can’t have our national treasure being taken advantage of.”

Minseok sighed. He had an 8000-word paper due the next day and he was only on word 4023. “This sounds like a lot of work for nothing.”

Junmyeon’s smile melted away into his Stern PR Manager Face. “The House is trying to pass same-sex marriage into law right now. Both sides are out in the streets protesting and we’re about a week away from a full-on riot. We need a spokesperson for state-recognized same-sex marriage, and you’re the only one for the job.”

Minseok was no stranger to the current events of his own country. Conservatives were spewing their typical slogans in the streets, while Liberals were arguing amongst themselves about whether the new bill was radical enough. Minseok had his own opinions, but as a public figure representing the powers that be, those opinions had better be in line with the state’s or kept hush.

Letting out a humorless laugh, he said, “Not sure how I feel about being a pawn in all of this.”

Junmyeon shrugged, but he set a comforting hand upon Minseok’s shoulder. “That’s your job.”

He turned towards the door. “I’m putting together a statement, but it could use your personal touch.”

Hand on the door knob, he turned back to smile wryly at Minseok.

“Looks like Prince Minseok is coming out.”

 


 

 

PRINCE MINSEOK COMES OUT AS GAY
Daily Journal
4:15 pm | 17 April 2017

Rumors have been flying after Prince Minseok Kim had been spotted on campus with a man whom many have speculated to be his boyfriend. Now, Kim has released a statement confirming that he is gay, as well as confirming his relationship with his boyfriend of a few months, Baekhyun Byun. This comes just a few weeks before The House votes on same-sex marriage rights, making this the first time the civil rights of LGBTQ communities has been debated in the government for over 20 years.

Click below to read the full statement.

 

1.  [+1224, -40] Brave. Glad to see he’s not afraid to be open about this.

2. [+330, -12] Feel bad for Baekhyun. He’s gonna have to deal with all of the Prince’s rabid fans

3. [+10, -50] Pretty convenient timing…

4. [+848, -20] Congrats to the happy couple! Hope this encourages more people to be comfortable with who they love!

 


 

Minseok didn’t see Baekhyun for a few days while both were swamped in final exams. The entire campus had the air of stress, instant food, and undereye shadows. By the time exams were over, Minseok only wanted to bury himself in a pile of blankets and sleep forever. 

Instead, he walked out of his last exam (for a historical literature course with a professor who was probably as old as the texts he lectured about) to a call from Junmyeon about his first date with Baekhyun.

“We’ve told the press that you two have been dating since the start of term. People would expect you to be going out for a celebratory dinner.”

“Celebrating what?” Minseok replied, walking at a brisk clip back to his apartment. He found himself endlessly thankful that many students were too wrapped up in studying to notice him moving past them, the person whose face had been on every news channel and website for the past 24 hours.

Junmyeon chuckled a little. “Take your pick. Coming out. Admitting to a relationship. Finishing exams.”

“Have you chosen a restaurant, or is that up to me too?” Minseok glared at his building, hoping that if he took his annoyance out on the front door he wouldn’t spontaneously combust.

“Up to you. Big and well-known would mean good photo ops. Small and quiet suggests intimacy. It’s a win-win.” Minseok stomped up the stairs, trying very hard to not be a complete infant about all of this. “Your face has been everywhere in the news cycle. Approval ratings for the new bill have already skyrocketed. Keep it up.”

“Right. And I assume you’ll be passing along Baekhyun’s number?” Minseok said as he entered his apartment, almost praying that the walls would crumble around him and definitely not being dramatic about it.

“He should text you right about now. I already let him know.”

Minseok’s phone pinged with an incoming text at that moment, and he ignored Junmyeon’s rambling to check it.

 

 

xxx-xxx-xxxx
hey, it’s baekhyun!

xxx-xxx-xxxx
add me to ur contacts >n<

 

“…And don’t forget, we’re flying back home on Tuesday and Baekhyun is coming with us.” Junmyeon’s voice jolted Minseok back into reality.

“Wait, when did we agree on this?” Last he’d checked, Baekhyun was a distant acquaintance and definitely not at meet-the-parents level.

We didn’t agree on it, your parents and I agreed on it. You’ve been fake dating for four months. It’s time to meet the family.”

“Great,” Minseok sighed. “I’ll see you then.”

“Bright and early!” Junmyeon chirped back, and Minseok hung up. He had just finished adding Baekhyun to his contacts when his phone chimed with a new text.

 

 

Baekhyun
so. that italian place on 5th and 27th?

Minseok
sure. 5pm?

Baekhyun
sounds good ^^ meet u there?

Minseok
sure thing. see you

 

He realized his mistake when he was waiting for Baekhyun just inside the restaurant doors. Baekhyun was nowhere to be found, but the paparazzi certainly were. They pressed their gigantic, empty camera lenses against the glass, like children desperate to catch a glimpse of a caged zoo animal. For a terrible moment, Minseok worried that the glass might shatter under their weight, ending Minseok’s stressful—but admittedly privileged—life.

He was saved from any further contemplation about whether pasta fumes could weaken glass when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

“Hey!” Baekhyun was smiling brightly when he turned around. “Let’s grab a table!”

“How did you get in here?” Minseok asked to distract himself from Baekhyun’s hand wrapped around his.

“I know a few of the staff here. One of the chefs let me in the back.” Baekhyun gave the hostess a little nod when she waved at him and pulled Minseok to a small table at the back of the restaurant. “I kind of figured you’d need help. There were at least ten of those guys camped outside my dorm room when I headed out.”

Minseok grimaced. “I’m sorry. They do that.”

Baekhyun shrugged with a smile. “Just call me your knight in shining armour.”

As a waiter brought a basket of garlic bread around, Baekhyun launched into a story involving his best friend and a clove of garlic. Minseok smiled and nodded along like a good guest, but he caught camera flashes out of the corner of his eye and—was that teenaged girl trying to take a photo of him on her phone?

“…And then, we destroyed an entire city with only the strength of our masterful fists. Jongdae became known as JongFist, and I was, of course, BaekHunt.”

Minseok’s eyes snapped back to Baekhyun, who was grinning into a slice of garlic bread. “Something tells me you’re a little distracted.”

(Minseok had to pause here to glare at the girl who had, in fact, been trying to snap a photo of him. She responded by snapping another photo with a smirk.)

(Modern teenagers were scary.)

“Do you want to get out of here?” Baekhyun smiled in a way that was a bit pitying, as if he was the one with the fame and the money and the power, not Minseok. “I know a pretty good fried chicken place down by the river. They make a mean batter.”

Minseok took one look at the paparazzi at the door and the many patrons trying to snap photos, and his decision was made.

 


 

The fried chicken place in question was less of a restaurant and more of a room that was barely scraping by health inspections. The walls were cracked, looking even more ominous under the greenish fluorescent lighting. A tiny television sat in the corner next to a slowly whirling fan that didn’t cool the space so much as it recirculated the smell of hot oil and chicken.

Baekhyun must have been a regular customer, because the owner looked up from his phone when Baekhyun walked in and nodded before pushing past a beaded curtain into the kitchen.

They both took a seat at a greasy table that wobbled when touched and sat in a silence that was only slightly awkward for a few minutes as Minseok scanned the room.

“Pretty nice statement,” Baekhyun said, waving a hand at the television screen in the corner. It was the size of a bean and about 80% static, but he could make out his own face and his own quote scrolling across the bottom: “Considering the timing, and my own personal development, I have decided to speak openly about who I am.”

Minseok frowned, turning away from the screen. “A little ironic, don’t you think? To talk about honesty and openness in one breath, and lie about my personal life in another.”

“I would say it’s more like the statement of a robot who just got emotions downloaded into his mainframe,” Baekhyun said. Minseok paused.

“Oh my god! I’m just kidding!” Baekhyun reached out to squish Minseok’s cheeks like a child. “You take everything so seriously.”

“Comes with the job description,” Minseok replied, brushing away Baekhyun’s hands, but he relaxed a little into his chair. “Sorry.”

“Again with the apologies,” Baekhyun teased, just as the owner returned with a hot basket of fried chicken. “Just have a bite of chicken. It’ll help you relax. This place ranked first in the city three years running. No better fried chicken anywhere.”

“Really?” Minseok took a bite, and he was already ready to give up princehood for another piece.

“No,” Baekhyun grinned. “But I got you to try it. And now you’re too busy licking your fingers to be worried.”

Minseok paused with his lips on this pinkie and grinned.

(Baekhyun was right.)

 


 

 

Prince Minseok and Boyfriend on a Date
GossipGuru
Subscribe | 29,332

Published on April 28, 2017
Watch a date between the royal prince and his boy toy! Like, rate, and subscribe!

 

cool kid 6 minutes ago
prince minseok looks uncomfortable. do they rlly expect us to believe they’re dating?

corgi boy 8 minutes ago
+coolkid you’d be uncomfortable on a date too if there were cameras all up in ur face. come on now.

 


 

Judging by Junmyeon’s satisfied texts, date one was a success. So was date two, three, and four, despite Minseok getting a pretty nasty sunburn on one of them and Baekhyun losing his favourite keychain at another.

It was date five that really pushed Minseok, because Baekhyun had texted him that morning with an address and no further explanation. When he showed up at the place and stepped inside, he realized it wasn’t a tucked-away restaurant nor an couple’s pottery workshop, but a daycare centre.

Minseok was greeted with the sound of a child yelling about their favourite Pokemon as if it were The Most Important News.

(The child was yelling about Mew, who Minseok had to agree was Quite Important.)

“Hey!” Baekhyun limped towards him with a giggling child clinging to his leg. “Guys, this is Minseok!”

“Is that your boyfriend?” One girl piped up, nose wrinkled.

“He always talks about you,” the koala child said, arms still wrapped around Baekhyun’s calf. “I saw you on TV.”

Minseok shot Baekhyun a grin with a raised brow as Baekhyun reached down to pick up the child. “Blasphemy, Jisoo! You can complain about me talking about my boyfriend when you stop talking about Batman!”

Jisoo, now on his feet with Baekhyun’s hands under his armpits, stuck his tongue out and darted away.

“The attitude in kids these days,” Baekhyun sighed with a smile. “How are you?”

“Fine,” Minseok motioned to the room. “Not exactly my idea of a regular date.”

Baekhyun shrugged. “I’m almost off work. I just wanted to show you what I’m doing while you’re press wrangling.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m the one doing the wrangling. If anything, I sit back and smile and look pretty.” Minseok shot him a photo-ready grin, complete with an endearingly-tilted head.

Baekhyun shook his head, “Terrible.”

“I’d probably use that word to describe someone who takes their date to a child care centre.”

“Well, I’m about to fly halfway around the world to meet your family. The least you could do is meet mine,” Baekhyun quipped.

Minseok leaned back against the wall, watching as another small child nearly avoided slipping head-first into a wall. The chaos was a stark contrast to Minseok’s quiet apartment. He stole a glance at Baekhyun, who was smiling softly like this was his favourite place in the world.

“It must be hard to leave them for so long.”

Baekhyun glanced at Minseok in surprise. He didn’t usually start the conversation between them. If anything, Baekhyun was the one pushing Minseok out of comfortable silences and warming him up to the electric ups and downs of conversations.

“I’ll miss them. But it won’t be forever. And a little birdie told me that they’re throwing me a farewell party today,” Baekhyun’s eyes sparkled. “Kids are terrible at keeping secrets.”

“Yeah, must be,” Minseok said as Baekhyun crouched down to pull a piece of tissue paper from a child’s hair. She giggled as he poked her cheeks and scrunched up his nose. Suddenly, Minseok felt like he was peering through the lens of a camera, capturing a perfect image of the man who could charm a nation, one too perfect to touch.

 


 

“I’ve never been on an airplane before!” Baekhyun chirped, dropping down into a chair. They had an entire private jet to themselves, rows upon rows of luxury reclining seats, and he had to take the one next to Minseok.

“It’ll be a few hours. And the airport is going to be a shit show, so you’d better use this time to rest,” Minseok hinted, eye mask in one hand and phone filled with sleep-inducing podcasts in the other.

“No way! When will I ever get an experience like this again? It’s not exactly a roadtrip through the backwoods, if you know what I mean.” Baekhyun started poking at buttons on the arm rest, making lights and fans switch to varying degrees of intensity by turns. Junmyeon sat a few seats away, the newspaper in his hands poorly disguising his hawk-like interest in the two of them.

Minseok rolled his eyes, slipping his earbuds into his ears as the captain announced takeoff. He let his eyes slip shut, and felt Baekhyun’s hand slip into his, squeezing tight. He let his eyelids slip open a sliver to look to his side, only to open them wider when he noticed Baekhyun’s own eyes were shut tight, mouth screwed into a thin line.

He didn’t say a thing, just squeezed Baekhyun’s hand back and closed his eyes.

 


 

 

Junmyeon Kim @JKim
I had to ask a flight attendant how to use the in-flight wifi just to post this photo. You’re all welcome.
[attached: image of Baekhyun and Minseok napping side-by-side, hands clasped]

60,234 Retweets | 98,293 Likes
11:04 AM - 7 May 2017

 


 

 

Lovely Day @lovelyday
170507 BAEKHYUN & MINSEOK
[attached: image of Baekhyun and Minseok walking through the airport]

2,403 Retweets | 9,932 Likes
4:50 PM - 7 May 2017

 

mrs kim @jessiex
@lovelyday ughhhhh they look so gooddddd

5 Retweets | 50 Likes
4:55 PM - 7 May 2017

 

stan attractor @berryday
so many pics of minseok and baekhyun today #blessed

9 Retweets | 10 Likes
4:56 PM - 7 May 2017

 


 

Minseok has never dated anyone before, so he was half glad to have at least a couple hours after the flight landed to rest and worry about introducing Baekhyun to his family. He puttered around his room, trying to avoid Junmyeon’s nagging and Baekhyun’s constant chatter, but realized it was a losing battle when Junmyeon conveniently gave Baekhyun the room next to Minseok’s.

(“You’ll be going to all the same places together anyways,” he said. “Maybe this will help you become closer too.”)

He could hear Baekhyun on the other side of the wall now, belting out some girl group song at the top of his lungs. Any other decent human would stop in embarrassment when their voice cracked, but he continued his personal concert with even more vigour than before. At some point, Minseok could hear Baekhyun bang on some furniture to mimic the dance break’s percussion. Minseok was convinced that the walls were about to crumble around him, taking centuries of royal history with them.

In the interest of historical preservation, Minseok let himself into Baekhyun’s suite. His fake boyfriend was in the middle of the final chorus, leaping up and down on the bed and making the intricately-carved posts shake.

Minseok decided to stand back and wait until Baekhyun saw him. He had never met someone who was so talented at keeping themselves entertained while alone.

Baekhyun crooned some lyric about true love and gave a twirl, only to get tangled in the sheets. Minseok had to reach forward to grab his arm before he fell straight off the bed.

“Oh!” Baekhyun said, breathing heavily. “Dinner already?”

Minseok checked his phone. “Oh, you’re right.”

Baekhyun grinned, shamelessly stripping his shirt off as he walked to his luggage. Minseok turned to give Baekhyun some privacy, though something told him he wouldn’t mind.

“So. Which is more royal? Pastel pink or sky blue?”

“It really doesn’t matter,” Minseok replied, glancing back. “But I’m wearing blue, if that helps.”

Baekhyun stuck his head up over the luggage flap, squinting at Minseok’s figure. He grimaced. “Pink it is.”

Minseok turned when Baekhyun tapped him on the shoulder. Baekhyun looked like a walking cupcake in his bubblegum pink sweater, but maybe his plan was to look as unthreatening as possible. “Blue would’ve been too much. Couples that match look like they’re trying too hard.”

“Well, we are trying pretty hard,” Minseok responded, thinking back to the cross-continental flight, the paparazzi-plagued dates, and the many more photo ops in their future.

Baekhyun shot him a knowing look. “Is this all just part of your plan to get us to wear couple clothing? Because I could go for a matching striped shirt once or twice, but any more and I’d have to file for a restraining order.”

Minseok rolled his eyes. “Come on, Legally Blonde. It’s dinner time.”

 


 

 

Junmyeon Kim @JKim
meeting the parents…
[attached: image of Baekhyun and Minseok at a dinner table with the King and Queen]

54,223 Retweets | 88,192 Likes
7:04 PM - 7 May 2017

 

nice B) @sweaterpaws
lmfao @ prince minseok’s face
[attached: close-up, pixelated image of Minseok’s uncomfortable facial expression]

21,203 Retweets | 53,201 Likes
7:15 PM - 7 May 2017

 

meme lover @memezzzz
@sweaterpaws tfw ur introducing bae to the parents and they like him better than u

13 Retweets | 23 Likes
7:20 PM - 7 May 2017

 

gay as helllll @valhallas
@JKim omgggggg baek looks right at home

3 Retweets | 43 Likes
7:22 PM - 7 May 2017

 


 

 

Northeastern Corgi Show @necorgishow
Thank you to Prince Minseok and boyfriend Baekhyun Byun for dropping by today’s events! Looks like they might be trying to take one home ;)
[attached: image of Minseok standing on the sidelines as Baekhyun lays in a pile of corgis]

89,787 Retweets | 102,483 Likes
2:00 PM - 14 May 2017

 

Celebrity Scoop @celebscoop1
@necorgishow follow for daily royal updates!!

0 Retweets | 3 Likes
2:03 PM - 14 May 2017

 

treat yoself @sunsetstrip
@necorgishow plssssssssssssssssss it’s too much

0 Retweets | 3 Likes
2:10 PM - 14 May 2017

 


 

“Hey, it’s been a lot the past couple of weeks,” Baekhyun said in the back seat next to Minseok. “We should just chill tonight. Watch a movie or something. You know, like normal people.”

The idea was tempting. Not having to pander to fans or cameras, being able to lay back without makeup on with Baekhyun at his side cracking terrible jokes. Baekhyun was looking at him with a hopeful grin, fingers crossed in a cute attempt at convincing him.

He sighed. “We can’t, though. New restaurant opening up that we have to show our faces at for at least a half hour.”

Baekhyun sat back with a slow nod. “Right.”

“There’s going to be free food, at least. And I hear the wine is supposed to be pretty good.”

Baekhyun shot him a placating smile, but it fell just short of his eyes. “Next time, then.”

 


 

 

Relief Charity Soccer Match
Our third match of the week is today, and rumor has it that The Prince and his new beau will be there! Watch the Facebook Live stream below!

Like             Comment               Share

 

Greg Poll Don’t usually get involved in royal family stuff, but that Baekhyun is real charmer

Hannah Kim omgggg the moment when baekhyun dances with the mascot!! adorable

Jisoo Kent wish baekhyun and prince minseok would’ve played! the prince is really good at soccer, but watching baekhyun probably would’ve been really funny lol

 


 

“Doesn’t this ever get tiring for you?” Baekhyun asks one day as he and Minseok lay about in the garden, soaking up the sun before they have to leave for some grand opening or another.

“This?” Minseok says. “Can’t say it does. It’s hard to sunbathe in one of the most beautiful gardens in the nation, but someone has to do it.”

Baekhyun smacks Minseok’s arm, grinning. “Shut up! You know what I mean. The paparazzi. The events. Everyone getting in your face all the time.”

Minseok shrugs as best he can laying down. “Sometimes. That’s the trade-off, though. I never have to worry about money or food. And in return, I get to be whatever the government or the royal family wants me to be. A symbol for the nation.”

Baekhyun propped himself up on one elbow, peering down at Minseok. “That sounds pretty terrible. You’ve never wanted to do anything else?”

Minseok grinned. “Well, most kids dream about being secret royalty. I already have that.”

Baekhyun rolled his eyes with a huff and dropped back down, shifting a bit closer to Minseok this time. “When I was a kid I wanted to be a singer.”

“And now?”

“Well, I’m finishing up a degree in vocal performance and I have a decently popular Soundcloud page. So I guess you could say I’m doing okay.” Baekhyun laughed. “It’s no royal crown, but I think it’s pretty great.”

Minseok peered at him, taking in Baekhyun’s relaxed face. He could’ve stayed there all day, warm with the sun and Baekhyun’s smile.

 


 

 

PRINCE MINSEOK AND BAEKHYUN BYUN SPEND A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN
Daily Journal
8:15 am | 21 May 2017

After a busy week of charity matches, dog shows, and hospital openings, Prince Minseok and his boyfriend, Baekhyun Byun, took some time to themselves to walk along the pier. They took to posting a few images of themselves on Instagram.

Prince Minseok, notorious for avoiding social media as our most private prince yet, broke his cyber silence to share images of him and his boyfriend walking barefoot across a local rocky beach. The couple shared a meal and dessert and, according to a local source, cuddled while watching the sunset.

 

1. [+624, -20] They’re like that one couple in your friend group that just can’t stop posting cute pictures of themselves. And you’re mad because you’re jealous but also it’s cute as hell.

2. [+203, -17] these pictures look like something out of a matchmaking service.

3. [+10, -50] we get it already! you’re happy and dating! jesus

4. [+293, -23] i will not rest until they are more obnoxiously happy together than all of ur gross straight couple friends combined

 


 

Chess was perhaps Minseok’s least favourite board game. He and Baekhyun were sitting in the parlour after Baekhyun suggested they try something more cerebral for the day, the two of them bent over a chess set that was entirely for decoration and clearly hadn’t been touched since the day it was set out. Baekhyun assured Minseok that he knew how to play when Minseok admitted his own uncertainty with the game, but he kept changing the rules as they went along.

First, he claimed that the Bishop could move in squares, a rule which Minseok had never heard of before but which Baekhyun assured him, by his word as Chess Champion of his Fourth Grade class, was real. Then, he started claiming that pawns could jump over their prey like a checkers piece, and at this point Minseok was seriously considering flipping the board and being done with it.

He was about to suggest a more diplomatic solution, like going out for coffee, when he heard someone yelling through the muffled double doors of the parlour. The yelling was followed by the sound of heavy footsteps running towards them, and Minseok grabbed Baekhyun by the arm to get behind the couch as the doors swung open.

Minseok was instantly blinded by the flash of a camera. Peripherally, he was aware that one of the many palace guards would be here soon to arrest this man, but he focussed on making sure Baekhyun was behind him and shielding his own eyes from the onslaught.

“What the fuck!” Baekhyun yelled, gripping Minseok’s sides. “Oh my god!”

Minseok had learned over the years that silence was the best response in times like this, so he turned and hugged Baekhyun to his body, trying to shield his face as the man pushed the lens closer towards their faces. He could feel Baekhyun shivering, breathing in short spurts and gasps.

Minseok was seriously considering letting out a right hook when a guard came storming into the room, tackling the man to the ground and speaking into his earpiece. Within seconds, a group of guards had arrived and immobilized the man and confiscated his camera.

“I apologize, Prince Minseok. That man disguised himself as a food delivery staff and slipped past us. We will, of course, launch a full investigation into how this happened.”

Minseok shot him his practiced smile, but his eyes were tight. “Yes, of course.” The guard rightly took this as his cue to leave, and Minseok loosened his grip on Baekhyun enough to look at his face.

He was staring at the ground, lips curled into a frown as his breathing slowed. “What the fuck…just happened.”

“I’m sorry, Baekhyun. This hasn’t happened in a long time. They must be getting reckless now that there’s a new story coming out of the royal family. It’ll die down in a few more weeks.” Minseok ran his hand back and forth along Baekhyun’s back.

“In a few weeks?! Is that guy going to jail or-or what?” Baekhyun tried to slow his breathing, but his face was red and his eyes wet.

“It’s up to Junmyeon. We can’t be seen being light on crime, but…sometimes showing compassion is what the royal family needs for our image,” Minseok grimaced apologetically.

Baekhyun nodded, but his lips were a thin slash across his face. “I really just need to…be away from everything right now. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“O-Okay,” Minseok murmured as Baekhyun stalked away, fists clenched.

He couldn’t help but feel like something had changed between them now. Something he wouldn’t like.

 


                                                                                             

 

Junmyeon
3 options for tonight:

Junmyeon
1) red carpet + movie premiere
2) musical theatre
3) trendy bar opening

 

Minseok looked up from his phone at Baekhyun, who was splayed across Minseok’s bed, rambling something about photographers and needing sunglasses 24/7.

 

 

Minseok
I don’t know…baek seems really tired

 

“Junmyeon’s texting me about events tonight.”

Baekhyun let out a low, long groan that wouldn’t have been out of place in the forest as a lumberjack hacked away at a redwood. “Noooooooo….”

 

 

Junmyeon
It’s your job.

 

Minseok switched his phone off and climbed onto the bed. Baekhyun, eyes shut, was wiggling like a puppy into a burrito of sheets. Thoughtlessly, Minseok reached out to run his fingers through Baekhyun’s bangs.

“That’s nice,” Baekhyun said, pressing into Minseok’s hand. “Let’s just stay like this.”

Minseok decided to humor him for at least a few minutes. He continued running his fingers through Baekhyun’s hair, which was fluffy and a little dry, like it had seen better days before bleachings and dyeings.

“You’re almost done your degree, right?” Baekhyun murmured, squinting up at him.

“Yeah. One more year.”

“And then…?”

He shrugged. “Probably a Master’s. Then public relations work. Carrying after my father.”

Baekhyun rolled his eyes. “Way to make being royalty sound like the most boring thing in the world.”

Minseok pinched Baekhyun’s cheek, grinning at his whine. Even if they weren’t in love, he was happy to think they were at least friends. “What are your plans, then?”

“Well, Mr. Kim, I would first like to let you know that I am very excited to embark on the opportunity to work for your company,” Baekhyun rolled his eyes. “Cut it out with the interviewing, old man. I’m going to finish my degree and sing in some jazz bar until I die.”

“Ambitious, I see.”

Baekhyun glared up at him, and Minseok felt a shiver in his stomach that told him he definitely just fucked up. “Sorry, not all of us can live in a castle. And as much fun as it is to spend taxpayer money taking a chauffeured car to charity events, I’d like to actually do something creative with my life.”

The air stilled. Baekhyun was still starting up at Minseok, lips pressed into a thin line now. Minseok didn’t know how to move his hand from Baekhyun’s hair without drawing attention to the fact that it was still there in the first place, so he didn’t. He didn’t know how to move at all, how to take even a breath, without setting Baekhyun off again.

(“When someone seems upset—a diplomat, a journalist, a fan—just try to defuse the situation and then step back,” Junmyeon used to tell him when Minseok was young and untrained. “Think of it like approaching a wild dog. You’re not going to attack it right back—you’ll never win. You’re going to back away slowly and try again later.”)

“…You’re tired. It’s been a long month. Especially with what happened the other day. Let’s just stay in tonight and rest,” Minseok said in his calmest voice, the one he used with sick children and small dogs.

Baekhyun closed his eyes and sat up, and for a moment Minseok thought this was his way of agreeing. But Baekhyun turned to look at him, and a deep frown was marring his face.

When he spoke, Minseok had to strain to hear him, his voice was so low and angry. “Can’t you just get angry? For once?”

The air was heavy, like the moment before an explosion, before the storm rolls in and renders a familiar landscape unrecognizable.

“I don’t understand—”

“You spend your whole life undergoing media training and end up eating those lies you feed everyone else. But I don’t need to hear them.” Baekhyun’s voice was venomous. “I can’t be the only one who’s sick and tired of acting for the paparazzi.”

Minseok felt a twinge of annoyance now. “Baekhyun, this is my job. And it’s yours, too, now that you came here with me.”

Baekhyun pressed his fingers to his eyes and let out a frustrated groan. Minseok could see it now, the culmination of weeks of stiff smiles and exhausted trudges back home.

“I came here because I wanted to get close to you. I did everything. I charmed Junmyeon. I charmed your parents. I charmed the whole fucking world. And it’s still not enough for you!” Baekhyun’s voice increased to a yell, and he was breathing heavily now, eyes wet. When he spoke again, it was a whisper. “When will it be enough for you?”

“I…I don’t know what you want from me.” Minseok searched Baekhyun’s face for an answer, a hint to tell him what he wanted to hear. “You know I care for you. You’re a good friend to me.”

Baekhyun’s mouth screwed up in a bitter smile, and he stood, wiping his eyes. “Of course. What did I expect." He looked down at Minseok, looking for all the world like a man who had given up.

“I was the one who posted those photos.”

It took Minseok a second to remember, to think back to months that felt like lifetimes ago. Baekhyun and him on the quad, the cherry blossoms, his hand on Baekhyun’s cheek.

“Why…why would you…”

“I didn’t know how else to get close to you. Is it really so bad? To let someone in for once?” Baekhyun’s lips tilt in a small, hopeful way, like all the times he asked Minseok to watch a movie or sit with him at a café. “I used to see you around campus. It was like seeing a mannequin. Like you weren’t even real. No one knew a thing about you because you never opened up.”

“That’s not even…” Minseok is thinking now, though, back to the way he ignored everything, just trying to move past to the next goal post in his perfect life. “You didn’t have to go this far. You just had to approach me and give me time.”

Baekhyun lets out a wet laugh. “You don’t even remember, do you?”

“Remember what?”

Baekhyun shook his head. His voice was quiet now, like he was talking to himself. “Of course you wouldn’t remember. Why would you.” He looked at Minseok, but avoided his eyes. “I was an idiot to come here.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Three years ago. During the first week of classes. At the library.” He grimaced at Minseok, searching his face now for any sign of recognition. Urging him to remember.

Minseok didn’t move.

Baekhyun shook his head bitterly. This was all a waste of time. He walked to the door, and Minseok didn’t want to admit that this felt like an ending. When Baekhyun spoke next, it was to the door, and the view of his back was the loneliest thing Minseok had ever seen. “That’s it, then. I can’t keep holding my breath waiting for you. I need it to sing.”

And as the door fell closed, Minseok remembered.

 


 

Three days into the new term and Baekhyun already regretted coming to university. No amount of free hot dogs and ugly lanyards could make up for the four assignments he already had due in the next few days. Even sitting in an empty study room, beanbag chair claimed, couldn’t delude him into thinking he was being productive.

He was about to try another melody when the door flung wide open with a sound not unlike a large bat flying into a glass window. A panting guy darted in, sliding himself like an acrobat behind a desk.

“What the—” Baekhyun started, only to be cut off by a frantic hiss.

“Just don’t say anything!”

Baekhyun sure hoped this was the meet-cute from the romantic comedy of his dreams, not the opening scene of a gangster movie that ended in the innocent bystander’s death.

He looked down at his phone, contemplating sending out an SOS to his family, when the door swung open again.

A man stood there, huge camera slung around his neck, as he shot Baekhyun a tight smile. “Did you see anyone come by here who looked like Prince Minseok?”

“Prince who?” Baekhyun said blankly. “Look, man, I’m just trying to get some work done. You know this is a silent floor, right?”

The man left without a response, heavy steps trudging down the hall. Baekhyun looked back at his surprise guest, who slowly pulled himself out from behind the desk.

“Thanks for that,” he breathed, slinging his backpack back over his shoulders. “I’m Minseok, by the way.”

“Yeah, gathered that much myself,” Baekhyun smiled. “And I thought my first week was crazy.”

Minseok laughed a little, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand. “A day in the life, I guess. Thanks, again.” He stuck out his hand for Baekhyun to shake. Baekhyun, who had shook someone’s hand maybe five times in his life, gave Minseok an awkward fist bump instead.

“No problem. I guess I’ll see you around?”

“Yeah, definitely,” Minseok grinned brightly at him one last time before slipping out the door. Baekhyun felt his chest tighten. And, oh God, he knew this feeling pretty well. He could already feel his ears heating up.

Of course he had to spend his first week of college falling for a prince.

 


 

Junmyeon was at Minseok’s door when he woke up the next morning, wearing his “I’m Disappointed In You” sunglasses with the reflective surface perfect for showing you your own foolish face as he lectures you.

“Imagine my surprise when neither you nor Baekhyun show up to any of the events I asked you two to attend last night,” Junmyeon said, taking a sip from his coffee with a pleasant smile. Minseok winced, leaving the door open as he found a seat. He was resigned to the upcoming lecture. Junmyeon continued, following Minseok into his room. “Imagine my further surprise when I see the paparazzi photos of Baekhyun at the airport this morning.”

Minseok felt a jolt ring up his spine. “Baekhyun left?”

Junmyeon ignored him, continuing. “Now imagine my further surprise when I get a Venmo payment of all things with all the money I paid Baekhyun for this summer, this note attached.” He passed Minseok his phone to read.

 

 

Baekhyun                   $xxxxx.xx
on second thought…thanks anyways.

 

“You are going to fix this.” Junmyeon shot him an ice cold smile. “And you are going to do it today." 

“I can’t force him to come back. He made his choice.” Minseok said weakly. It sounded like an empty excuse, even from him.

Junmyeon’s face softened. “Maybe not, but you’d better try, because that kid is in love with you.”

Minseok’s head snapped up. Junmyeon sighed and took a seat next to him, putting his hand on his shoulder. “He’s the one who originally contacted me about starting a fake relationship. I went along with it because it was a solid idea. At the end of the day, I could’ve hired anyone who would’ve been more professional about it. But I could tell from his face that he was infatuated. And the press can sniff out a fake relationship in a heartbeat these days.”

Junmyeon slipped off his sunglasses and gazed at Minseok’s face carefully. Minseok didn’t even know what he was looking for, but he must’ve found it because he slipped his sunglasses back on and got to his feet.

“Baekhyun would’ve landed by now. The jet is waiting for you at the airport. If you get there in the next hour, you should arrive by noon. I have it on good authority that Baekhyun is headed back to his apartment.”

Junmyeon strode to the door and glanced back for a moment. “Don’t screw this up.”

Minseok scoffed as he stood, already reaching for an overnight bag. “Stop trying to be cool. I know you’re face looks like that because they didn’t put enough sugar in your coffee today.”

Junmyeon grimaced. “Just get going, brat. The car is waiting downstairs.”

 


 

 

ROYAL SPAT? BAEKHYUN FLIES HOME | UPDATE: MINSEOK CHASES AFTER?
Daily Journal
6:15 am | 30 May 2017

This morning, reporters spotted Baekhyun Byun, Prince Minseok’s newly-minted boyfriend and the nation’s boy-next-door crush, boarding a flight back home. Considering the happy couple is slated to appear at several more events later this week, many are speculating that a lover’s spat prompted Baekhyun’s sudden flight.

Representatives of Prince Minseok were unavailable for comment.

Update: At 9:00 am, Prince Minseok was spotted at the airport as well. Might he be chasing after his lover? Subscribe and follow for updates as we follow this story!

 

1. [+354, -10] oh Fuck! this is some romcom shit!

2. [+102, -47] We shouldn’t be so quick to judge. What if there’s a family emergency?

3. [+57, -80] they’re eloping.

 


 

Junmyeon ended up texting Minseok his destination address as he climbed in the back of a taxi. The car wound through street after street, each less familiar than the last. Minseok vaguely realized that he had never been to Baekhyun’s place before. If the outside was to judge, it wasn’t exactly the most glamorous place.

The building didn’t even have proper security. The front door was propped open with a brick, and when he tried to the buzzer for the sake of decorum, all he got was a minor electric shock. The elevator didn’t work either, so he was left to climb five flights of stairs to Baekhyun’s apartment.

As he stood in front of the door, he realized that he didn’t even come up with a speech to grovel with. He loitered in the hallway, trying to figure out something romantic and clever to say, when the door swung open.

“You must be Minseok,” the short man in the doorway said, his owl eyes giving Minseok a once-over. “He’s in his room right now, moping with some soap opera. You’d better get in there.”

“R-right.” Minseok awkwardly shuffled in. The apartment was a slightly-organized mess. There was an overweight corgi lounging on the couch that leapt to its feet with a cheerful bark when it noticed the visitor.

“This had better be a good apology. I can’t stand his moping for another second. And when he mopes, Mongryeong mopes too. This dog has missed his favourite idiot for a month and now he’s not even getting the attention he deserves.” The man pointed out Baekhyun’s room. “He’s in there.”

“Sorry…I—sorry.” Minseok shuffled towards the closed door. He could hear a dramatic ballad muffled through the wood.

“Just fix your mess. I told Junmyeon you two would be back on a plane by tonight.” The man reached down to grab the corgi and promptly left the apartment.

Minseok took a deep breath. Somehow, he’d never really had to grovel before.

(He’d never had anything worth grovelling for.)

He knocked on the door.

“Kyungsoo, that better be Mongryeong knocking at my door! I already told you I don’t wanna talk about it!” Baekhyun’s voice sounded thick, typical of someone who had been crying.

Minseok awkwardly opened the door. Baekhyun was wrapped in his blankets, laptop and a bowl of chocolate in front of him. He cleared his throat, and Baekhyun’s head shot up. 

“I’m sorry. I was a little too late for the dramatic airport reunion scene.” Minseok rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “Better late than never, though, right?”

Baekhyun gazed at his face warily as he stood from the bed, revealing embarrassingly-pink pyjama pants. Minseok couldn’t even enjoy the sight because Baekhyun walked up to him, reaching for his hand. He searched Minseok’s face with his gaze, as if waiting for the ground to drop from beneath him.

But it didn’t. And Minseok squeezed his hand, as if to say: “It’s over. I get it now.”

Baekhyun cracked a watery smile. “Yeah,” he said, reaching up to touch Minseok’s cheek in a mirror of their second photo on the Quad. He smiled like he’d come home after years away, like he could finally rest.

“It was worth the wait.”