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park yeollie B) @yeoloooooo
@dks_0112 hey uhhhhh u don’t know me but i love ur art. like so much. thank u for doing god’s work in this fandom. ily. bye.

kyungsoo @dks_0112
@yeoloooooo thx

Chanyeol clicks out of his Twitter notifications. The reply shows up on his dash; that’s what he gets for following Twitter user dks_0112 before making his embarrassing love confession. He clicks out of that, too. Logs out of his account entirely. Clutches his chest.

The door to his dorm room opens, and Kris, his Canadian roommate, steps in. “Whoa,” he says.

“What,” Chanyeol says, staring at his laptop screen, now proudly displaying the lowest Solitaire score he’s ever gotten. He knew he shouldn’t have left a game running while he scrolled through Twitter.

“When you said a couple posters, this is not what I had envisioned,” Kris says.

Chanyeol looks up, glances back at his side of their shared room. His entire wall above his bed is plastered in posters and photobook pages and magazine foldouts. He got a little overzealous during the decoration process. “I had more on hand than anticipated.”

Kris stares. “That is...a lot of attractive Korean men.”

“Two of them are Chinese, actually,” Chanyeol informs him. “There’s only four total.”

Kris shakes his head slowly. “Chanyeol...is there something you want to tell me?”

“I really like this band,” Chanyeol says. He turns back to his laptop, starts a new game of Solitaire.

“I...can tell,” Kris says. He takes a step closer to Chanyeol’s wall, squints at his posters with an air of assessment. “Who are they?”

Element,” Chanyeol says offhandedly. “They’re really popular. Half Korean, half Chinese.”

“Why do you have so many posters of them?”

“They’re good boys, Kris,” Chanyeol says.

Kris is silent; Chanyeol sees him nodding vaguely out of the corner of his eye. Then he says, “Why are they all so beautiful?

Chanyeol grins, moves a 5 of hearts onto a 6 of spades. “That’s how they pull you in.”

Kris hums thoughtfully. “I like this one.”

Chanyeol glances up, follows Kris’ point. “That’s Lu Han,” he says, turning back to his game. “He’s taken.”

“By who?” Kris asks. “You?”

“No, no. Minseok’s my bias. That foxy bastard standing next to him.” Chanyeol jerks his head slightly. “Lu Han is taken by Minseok.” He lifts his hand, points vaguely in the direction of a page from a magazine pictorial, where Lu Han is making very, painfully obvious heart eyes at Minseok across their dressing room.

“...Uh huh,” Kris says. “Chanyeol. Can I ask you something?”

“Very,” Chanyeol says.

“What?”

“Very gay. Yes. To answer your question. Very gay.” He points to himself, nods, then moves a queen of diamonds onto a king of spades. He flicks his eyes up to meet his roommates. “Is that gonna be a problem?”

Kris stares at him. Blinks. “Are you gonna be bringing boys around here a lot?”

Chanyeol shrugs. (The answer is no.) “What if I did?”

“Well, just let me know beforehand, so I can clean my side of the room,” Kris says.

Chanyeol grins. Canadians. Good people.

He clicks away from his Solitaire game—it was going badly anyway—and opens up his Twitter account again, so that he can tell everyone about this wonderful interaction he’s just had with his new roommate. And then he sees it again.

kyungsoo @dks_0112
@yeoloooooo thx

Chanyeol grimaces.

It’s not that Kyungsoo—the best fanartist the Element fandom, nay, the world, has ever seen—owes him anything more than a thx. Obviously. Kyungsoo is the one who deserves to receive one million love confessions and compliments every day. Maybe he does, and Chanyeol’s received reply is the exact same one he gives all of his thousands of adoring fans. Damn them.

Kyungsoo doesn’t owe him anything. Of course. It’s just that Chanyeol has been following him for a whole month now, saving every piece of art Kyungsoo posts, setting them as his phone background, as his laptop wallpaper, as anything he can think of. He’s been silently admiring Kyungsoo(‘s art) for thirty whole days.

He wanted Kyungsoo to say hey, thanks! I love you too, random citizen! Let’s be friends!

This feeling may or may not have only started in earnest when Chanyeol discovered Kyungsoo is a boy. Sue him. It’s hard to come by fanboys in his chosen fandom, alright?

Forgetting Kris and his exciting coming-out story, Chanyeol clicks to his DMs, opens the conversation between him and Twitter user byun_xing.

park yeollie B)
bro i just got shot down by The kyungsoo. help.
how to become friends with fandom famous ppl

barkhyun
bro. i’m tryna sleep.
also how would i know

park yeollie B)
ur not trying to sleep don’t lie to me
bc ur a little bit fandom famous. and u have famous friends. teach me.

barkhyun
i /could/ be trying to sleep tho. it’s 1 the fuck am in ye olde western hemisphere
i don’t become friends w ppl. they are drawn to me. by my animal magnetism.

park yeollie B)
animal magnetize kyungsoo towards me. i want him to be my friend.

barkhyun
that doesn’t even make sense
just talk to him??

park yeollie B)
tried it. didn’t work. he gave me a “thx.”
not even the full “thanks.” i was crushed. i’M CRUSHED.

barkhyun
lololol
he rlly doesn’t want to talk to u

park yeollie B)
T^T T^T T^T
how am i supposed to collect element fanboys like this

barkhyun
lulz
hold on i’ll check if me and him have any mutuals
i mostly have writer friends tho, not artists
nvm he only follows like 8 ppl that aren’t fansites
soz

park yeollie B)
sniff. guess i’ll just throw my love at him and wish for him to notice me
pls senpai
[prayer hands emoji]

barkhyun
guess so
so ur all moved in eh?

park yeollie B)
ye
u should see my walls. they’re a Shrine.
also my str8 boi roommate says he likes luhan ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

barkhyun
NICE
did u tell him he’s taken

park yeollie B)
BRUH
i did

barkhyun
:’)
ensnare him
turn him into one of us

park yeollie B)
yes master

Feeling somehow assuaged about the whole thing, Chanyeol smiles, opens up a YouTube tab. “Come,” he says to Kris, who has moved to flop down on his bed. “Let me show you their music videos.”

####

K-pop boy group Element debuted in 2012, when Chanyeol was in grade 10. He was mostly into anime back then; had a Tumblr for memes and various weeaboo things. And that’s how he saw them. One of the blogs he followed posted their debut teaser pics, and then their music video. And they were so goddamn beautiful. And Chanyeol spoke a little Korean. He was curious. (And gay.)

He’d never seen anything like it. Four beautiful men, singing and dancing and...each representing one of the four classical elements. Kim Minseok—earth. Lu Han—air. Kim Joonmyun—water. And Zhang Yixing—fire. Debuting with their not-immediately-popular first song, Harmony. It was cheesy. Chanyeol loved it.

And that’s how it started. He followed more Element blogs. He reblogged more pictures. So many that his followers snippily told him that he should consider making a sideblog for them. So he did. And some of the people he followed on his new sideblog followed him back. And he made friends. And they told him he should get Twitter. So he did.

And now, five years later...he’s here. Still gay. Still a fan. Still trying to make new friends in a fandom that is no longer dauntingly inaccessible. Searching far and wide for more fanboys to add to his collection.

There’s not a lot of them. Or maybe he just hasn’t been able to find them. But he’s got his crew.

Himself. Park Chanyeol. Username: @yeoloooooo. (For the moment.) Bias: Kim Minseok. Talents: being able to look at an Element picture and tell you which day it’s from. Crying. Waking up late on comeback days.

Byun Baekhyun. Username: @byun_xing. Bias: Zhang Yixing. Talents: getting a lot of RTs on his selfies. Making bad sex jokes. Writing half-decent slash fanfiction.

Kim Jongdae. Username: @thundaboi. Bias: Kim Joonmyun. Talents: producing tweets that unexpectedly go viral. Being an actual good and helpful friend. Telling Chanyeol to go to bed.

And, uh...that’s pretty much it. Kim Jongin (@nini_draws), tiny artist fanboy, is rarely online—he’s always busy studying and only shows up to post adorable doodles and like Chanyeol’s lamest tweets. Oh Sehun (@ohohorat), Jongin’s irl friend, is always online, retweeting attractive pictures of Lu Han, but he rarely interacts with anyone. (Chanyeol thinks he’s shy.) Huang Zitao (@wo_hui_lai_le), Chinese fanboy with bizarrely good English, is mostly Sehun’s friend, and really only posts pics of himself in designer clothes and shows up to retweet people’s selfies.

They’re good boys. But they’re also the only boys Chanyeol could find.

And now he’s found another. Kyungsoo. An artist. And Chanyeol wants so badly to recruit him into the crew. But that means talking to him, and Chanyeol...does not know how to do that.

After three hours, give or take, Chanyeol gets over the cold rejection of Kyungsoo’s ‘thx,’ and he’s ready to try again. He is nothing if not persistent, after all.

Conversation, he thinks, scrolling up and down his tline. Words. Words to say that will make him want to be your friend. Chanyeol doesn’t know how to make conversation. He only knows how to yell about attractive boys and give incoherent compliments.

He reaches Kyungsoo’s most recent tweet.

kyungsoo @dks_0112
Working on something fun. Please anticipate.

Chanyeol’s already liked it. Of course. He likes basically everything Kyungsoo tweets.

He clicks on Kyungsoo’s display pic, lets it take him to his profile. He’s got a pretty nice layout—one of his recent fanarts of Minseok as his dp, a simplistic header in matching foggy greys and soft greens. Classy, artistic. Chanyeol likes it.

His bio isn’t all that helpful, though.

kyungsoo
@dks_0112
kyungsoo * fanartist * he/him * eng/kr * i like to draw

Chanyeol sighs. Couldn’t he at least put something a little personal on there? Something Chanyeol could use to start up a conversation?

He thinks, briefly, of his own bio—which just says “chanyeol ~ boy ~ boys ~ BOIIIIIIIII”—and winces. Okay. Maybe he shouldn’t be one to talk.

He clicks on Kyungsoo’s most recent tweet again.

kyungsoo @dks_0112
Working on something fun. Please anticipate.

Chanyeol stares at it for a long time, and then finally types out a reply. He hopes Kyungsoo doesn’t notice that he liked it hours ago and is just sending a reply now. That would be...embarrassing.

park yeollie B) @yeoloooooo
@dks_0112 what kind of something? ^^

Yes, he thinks. Clever. Lure him in with something he obviously likes.

A minute later, a little blue (1) pops up over his notification bell. He clicks on it eagerly.

kyungsoo @dks_0112
@yeoloooooo secret

Chanyeol deflates. This is not going as well as he’d hoped.

park yeollie B) @yeoloooooo
@dks_0112 i’m excited!! *\o/*

The blue (1) pops up again. Chanyeol crosses his fingers.

kyungsoo liked your reply · 4s

Chanyeol closes his laptop and gives up.

####

Chanyeol figured out he was gay when he was nine.

There was this boy in his class. Also nine. Obviously. He was short and cute and had big glasses and Chanyeol just fucking loved him. Like he loved that little boy in his class. He thought about him pretty much every second of every day. He wanted to be looking at him at all times. He told Yura about every single thing he said, to Chanyeol or otherwise.

Yura said, “Yeollie, why do you like that boy so much? You’re not even best friends or anything.”

And Chanyeol said, “I don’t know, I just do. I just like it when he smiles at me.”

And Yura said, “It sounds like you have a crush on him.”

And that’s when Chanyeol realized it. He did. He did have a crush on him. He’d never really understood everything his friends were saying about having crushes on girls, because he never really felt those feelings, but he’d always thought maybe they were making it up to sound more grown up. But now he understood. He did have a crush. On a boy. He liked boys.

He started to cry. Yura panicked a little and hugged him really tight. And she said, “Why are you crying? There’s nothing bad about liking boys. Liking boys is great. I like boys. Boys are great, Yeollie. Don’t cry. Liking boys is the best. I hope you like boys forever. I’ve never been so happy in my life.

She was exaggerating, obviously. She was only twelve. She didn’t know how to reassure a small, gay Chanyeol in any way other than telling him that he was a better person for being gay as hell. But it worked. Chanyeol felt a lot better. And every day after that, Yura reminded him that he was great. He was gay and that was wonderful. He was the best brother ever.

Chanyeol learned, at a very young age, that being told you’re awesome on a regular basis is probably the best way to live your life. And therefore, the second-best way to live your life is to compliment people on the things they may be insecure about, every single day.

The day after Kyungsoo passively rejects Chanyeol twice in under four hours, he logs into his Twitter account, sees that Kyungsoo’s posted a WIP of the thing he was talking about the day before. He stretches his fingers.

park yeollie B) @yeoloooooo
@dks_0112 THIS IS LOOKING AMAZING SO FAR!!! ♡_♡ ♡_♡ ♡_♡ is that lumin?? ur lumin art is always my fave. ur my fave. i love u.

kyungsoo @dks_0112
@yeoloooooo ᄏᄏ. secret.

Chanyeol grins. He got a laugh. That is VISIBLE and UNDENIABLE PROGRESS.

park yeollie B)
shared a tweet
i got a laugh

jongdamn
go to sleep chanyeol

barkhyun
woooo u go yeol
get ur man

park yeollie B)
it’s 11am in seoul u knob
u go to sleep
THANKS BAEK I’M GONNA RECRUIT HIM

jongdamn
boiii is that lumin tho
Here For That Gay Shit

barkhyun
recruit him
into ur heart
i love a gay son in law

park yeollie B)
what
that doesn’t even make sense
also idek if hes gay

barkhyun
lmao yeol he’s drawing pics of gay boys
do u really think he only likes girls

jongdamn
lmao baek
pls
u only realized u were bi /after/ u wrote like
100k of boys making out

park yeollie B)
lmao

barkhyun
but i did realize!!!
that’s the important thing
That Boy Is Gay

park yeollie B)
it’s not nice to assume sexuality bark

jongdamn
he does kinda have a point tho
RECRUIT HIM

park yeollie B)
i’m working on it!!
he doesn’t like me :[

barkhyun
maybe if u didn’t have a sunglasses emoji in ur dn...

park yeollie B)
gasp

jongdamn
gasp

park yeollie B)
hdu say that abt my sunglasses man
he’s a part of me

barkhyun
just sayin
anyway i gotta go to bed,,, it’s 4am
gluck

jongdamn
i love ur sunglasses man
go to bed bark
tsk
i gotta go to class tho

park yeollie B)
this is why i love dae best
bye losers

He clicks out of his DMs, opens Kyungsoo’s reply again.

park yeollie B) @yeoloooooo
@dks_0112 it’s beautiful and i love it and also u

Can’t go wrong by just confessing your love a thousand times.

####