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Before meeting him in person, the impression Junyoung had of Kang Yuchan was that he had an incredible similarity to Gwangsuk.

From what his best friend used to tell him, the boy seemed to have the same beagle behavior as him, the same way of being as cheerful as noisy and the same interest for art as he did. When Gwangsuk talked about Chan to Jun, as a joke, the younger man once said that he was such a narcissist, because he had fallen in love with a guy who was identical to himself.

When Gwangsuk heard that, he just laughed and shrugged, happy as a lark. After long weeks of mutual flirting, the older had finally decided to ask that boy he met in an art gallery out.

Throughout all those weeks Jun had the unbearable entitlement of being the witness of everything. From the uneasiness of the older boy in regard to dating someone much younger than him to his positivism about the young man saying yes to date him no matter what, as long as he asked.

"He adores me, it's so evident," he used to tell Jun, to which he replied that although he didn't know the boy, what was clear to him was that he had very "low" standards.

He earned a small hit from Gwangsuk, but it had been worth it.

Not long after that, when the boy -obviously- accepted him, Gwangsuk was impatient to introduce him to Junyoung, his best friend, because he knew both of them would get along very well. At first sight, it really seemed like they would.

The big day didn't last too long to arrive. One afternoon, when Jun met Gwangsuk to go around the city and take photos, the latest told him that once the night came, they'd go to a fast food restaurant and he'd take the opportunity to introduce his boyfriend to him once and for all.

Upon entering the said restaurant, and while they were waiting for the young man to get there, Gwangsuk told him that Yuchan was studying in the same college as Jun, but in a different department so they probably had met once or twice even though they didn't know each other.

Sometime later, Gwangsuk caught a glimpse of his boyfriend across the restaurant's window. Apparently, the boy saw them him too, because they started to make weird faces at each other and dancing like dorks as a greeting through the glass.

As a first impression in person, Kang Yuchan looked like a dumbass. But a nice one.

Junyoung joined the stupid silly greeting as any other dork of the same species would do. After a couple of minutes, the young man entered the place with a giant smile on his face and sat in front of them.

Then it happened.

After listening to him talking, Jun noticed something very unusual.

 

Irritation.

 

There was something in the way Chan expressed himself that was quite unnerving.

Even so, he decided to ignore it. At first, he thought that it had nothing to do with the boy, that it probably was Jun suddenly getting into a bad mood just because. Chan seemed like a very friendly guy, there was no reason to feel this way about him. So Jun treated him as if nothing happened.

From then on, the irritation returned every single time he met with the couple or when he came across the boy in their college. It was clear that it wasn't a onetime situation. It had to do with Chan. In spite of that, Jun remained friendly with him. Putting some distance between them, but without acting like a dick. He thought that maybe they would become friends over time and that the irritation would disappear.

But it didn't.

Instead, their relationship kept getting more and more awkward and uncomfortable in Jun's eyes. Chan didn't seem like he realized what was happening, though, good for him.

Jun wondered why this happened. That kid was almost a clone of Gwangsuk. A noisy dude, funny and friendly. And not only that, but he was the same age as Jun too, unlike his best friend who was a few years older than both of them. Then, what was the reason behind the young man feeling so aggravating to Jun? It's not like he hated him, of course not. But unlike many other romantic relationships that Gwangsuk had, Jun didn't like when Chan tagged along whenever he met with his hyung. He never felt like the third wheel with Gwangsuk's other couples, but this time it felt strangely annoying...

And no, it wasn't because the couple was especially affectionate in front of him. Gwangsuk always acted careful enough so that when the lovers met with Jun, the later wouldn't feel out of place or uncomfortable. If a third party ever saw them, they would think that the three of them were nothing more than friends.

But the irritation didn't go away.

In fact, it kept growing more and more.

It was very annoying.

So annoying that it came to the point where Jun didn't even want to see Chan's face.

Maybe I'm afraid that he will take Gwangsuk hyung away from me? He asked himself once. Since when am I the jealous type of friend, though? It never happened before. But it was his fault, that part was clear to him.

After talking about it with one of his other hyungs, Hyunggeun, the man enlightened him with the greatest glimpse of wisdom in the world.

"Man, don't beat yourself up. You just aren't fond of him, sometimes there isn't a reason behind it."

I'm not fond of him?

Like, disliking him a little but not hating him?

...

After meditating it for a while and remembering the times they met each other, with or without Gwangsuk's company. Jun came to the conclusion that yeah, it made sense. He wasn't fond of Kang Yuchan. He didn't hate him, there was no reason to hate that boy after all, and it wasn't like they ever argued or had a bad encounter. It's just that Jun disliked something about Chan in an almost unconsciously way. That's why he didn't enjoy in the slightest when he had to interact with him.

When he reached that conclusion, Jun began to feel much better about himself and less guilty. He obviously felt bad for Gwangsuk, since his friend wanted two of his most important people to get along... But as bad as he felt, he decided to be a little more sincere from then on and refused to meet with him if he planned to bring his boyfriend along.

He did it in a subtle and simple way, though. Whenever he was meeting with Gwangsuk, he canceled the plans if he found out Chan was going to tag along. After a short period of time, Gwangsuk got the hint, and since then he stopped bringing his boyfriend if he had plans with Jun.

Time kept passing. He stopped seeing Chan so often. He used to run across him in their college, but the chances were getting smaller. He also came face to face with him when the whole group of friends went somewhere to dine or go to the arcade. But on those occasions, he decided to ignore him as much as he could. Again, he wasn't unfriendly to him, not much at least, but he spoke to him as little as possible.

However, and even with his ice act. Chan kept trying to start conversations with him, as if he still didn't notice Jun's rejection when it came to him... or as if he was trying to ignore it. Apparently, Chan didn't surrender easily. It was pretty obvious that he wanted his approval, his friendship, no matter how much ignored he was.

Jun wasn't fond of Chan but it wasn't very hard to see that the feeling wasn't mutual. Chan adored Jun and wanted to hang out with him anyway.

But his eagerness of wanting to spend time with Jun and be friends with him only helped to irritate the later even more. It was crazy.

Jun knew that if this kept going on like this, he would end up exploding. And if that happened there would be no going back, he would argue with Chan, fight with him and from then on there would be a very awkward air between them. Jun wanted to avoid that at all costs. The problem was his, not Chan's nor Gwangsuk's. It was only his.

 

 

*

 

 

 

"Jun, have you seen the messages in the group chat?"

Hansol, his roommate, was sitting on the sofa in the living room drinking cola and watching the screen of his phone in a distracted manner. Jun raised an eyebrow and shook his head.

"No, why?"

"The guys are saying they want to eat dinner in the hamburger place... how was it called..." he tried to remember but in the end, he couldn't. "Well, you know the place, they want to go there but I have plans with Hyunggeun hyung and Hojung tonight. Kijoong said he can't go either so the plan is falling apart. I feel guilty..."

"Well, we already knew every Friday is your cinema night so don't feel guilty over it. Don't worry, I'll go," Jun casually said. "I don't feel like staying here to see you guys fighting over Hyunggeun hyung. Too much violence for a young and innocent mind such as mine."

"What violence are you talking about..." Hansol muttered, confused. Jun was just kidding, but it was a joke with some truth behind it. The relationship between those three had been somewhat tense these past few weeks...it got to the point where Jun didn't know if Hansol liked Hyunggeun, Hojung, both of them or neither. Not to mention it was the same confusing state for the other two.

But Jun was just a mere spectator, so he didn't dare to say anything else.

The younger boy also sat on the sofa and began to read all the messages. That way he could see who was going to tag along that night. Euijin hyung... Daewon hyung, Gwangsuk hyung...

Chan...

Jun sighed. Well. There would be two people besides him and the couple, so it wasn't that terrible. The bad thing is that, apart from Chan and Jun, the others were the older guys in their whole group of friends. There was a possibility they would end up talking about work, leaving the college students feeling a little left out, which also meant that the younger one, bored, would stick to him like glue to talk about classes or nonsense he came up with.

When they were about to leave the plan for another day, Jun said in the group chat that he would tag along too. They started uploading all kind of weird gifs celebrating the god and savior of hangouts, Lee Junyoung.

They decided to meet up around eight o'clock in the afternoon. While they ate their delicious hamburgers, they also took photos of the food and sent it to the trio who preferred their cinema night full of unresolved sexual tension instead of hanging out with the cool kids (them).

Euijin began to talk about the new choreography he was teaching his students in his street dance class. Since it was a subject everyone liked, there was no need to split the group into "Workers vs College students". Thank, God.

Chan was sitting in the furthest seat from Jun, which was also a relief. Although it was impossible to ignore him because of how noisy he was and how much he liked to talk. Jun found himself looking at him more than once because of this.

In one of those stares, Chan also looked at him and gave him the hugest smile ever. Jun's reaction was to break eye contact with him immediately by turning his head to the right. He regretted it straight away. He didn't want his actions to be this obvious.

He didn't dare to look at Chan again in what remained of dinner. Almost as if the slightest eye contact could turn him into stone.

The reason why he didn't want to look at him was that Chan could take it as an invitation to talk to him.

From then on the mood of the youngest died down a little bit. It was quite noticeable since he stopped talking as much as he was doing before. Jun didn't know if his behavior was the reason behind it.

He preferred not to think about it too much.

At the end of dinner, Gwangsuk said he should leave to continue with his art exhibition's preparations. It wasn't his first exhibition, but this time the focus was on his art, they even named it after him. It was a very big deal so he was as nervous as excited, and his level of perfectionism went over the chart. The man approached his boyfriend and asked him if he wanted to leave with him, but Chan told him he'd rather stay a little longer.

"Well, Channie, how is it going with our Gwangsuk?" Euijin suddenly asked, wanting to gossip for a while when Gwangsuk left.

"Mmm? It's going well, I think. He's been pretty busy and stressed this past month because of his exhibition so I didn't want to bother him. His work this time is amazing... well it's always amazing but WOW this time is the greatest thing he's ever done, I'm serious, " the boy started laughing and Jun sighed. It was so boring to hear about the lovers...

Three years ago Euijin was the one who used to date Gwangsuk. Jun knew that a lot had happened in the meantime and that it was all in the past, but even so, he couldn't help but ask himself how Euijin was able to ask about their relationship in such a cheerful way. But well, there was also the fact that he adored the young boy too...

Jun missed the relationship they both had. Maybe that was the reason he couldn't get along with Chan?

No, but a year and a half ago, Gwangsuk also had that fling with Seyong and Jun couldn't have cared less.

Now that he thought about it, his best friend had dated so many people…

"I'm glad you guys are doing well, I remember that at first Gwang was very nervous about dating someone much younger than him since he's always been with older people. You've been together for almost a year, right? Time goes by so fast..."

You could tell he was saying it from the heart. Euijin hyung was such a sweetheart and so mature... but well, Jun guessed that after all, he was someone who had already finished his military service and was getting closer to his thirties so it was pretty evident with his years of experience that he'd be such a mature person.

He, however, was still far from being a respectable adult.

"Can we talk about anything else?" Jun said in a sharp tone. More so than what he'd liked it to be, so he hurried back to fix it with a joke. "All of this talk about how fast time passes is making me feel old..."

It seemed like it worked because Daewon laughed.

"If you feel old then I wonder what we are..."

"We are going to retire very soon..." Euijin continued, laughing too.

Their laughter left behind the previous conversation. But Jun realized that, while Chan smiled, he didn't laugh with them.

Jun dared to look at him and he met the eyes of the other staring directly at him. Soon after that, the contact was broken again. Although on this occasion, Chan was the one who avoided his gaze in a very obvious way.

It made him feel kind of sad even though he did the same just moments ago...

After a while Euijin suggested to have a coffee in the cafe that was next to the restaurant they were in and everyone agreed. When they entered the place, however, Daewon cursed under his breath and asked what time it was. Apparently, he had his car in the parking lot and it was quite expensive if it was past ten o'clock.

After looking at the time, Daewon made a dash for the door and, while laughing, Euijin said that he would join him I case he didn't have enough cash to pay and that they would be back soon after parking the car somewhere else.

Jun held his breath. He wanted to say that he'd join them too, but leaving Chan waiting alone in the cafe... that would have been a dick move, so he just nodded and they both sat at a table to wait.

Chan was acting a bit weird, since he didn't try to start any funny conversation with Jun. They just exchanged a couple of words in an uncomfortable manner as they looked around.

"Seems like it has started to rain..." Chan said absently while looking through the window.

Jun didn't answer anything. He was looking at the screen of his phone and asking his hyungs in the group chat if they had found any problem because they were taking their time to get back. Upon seeing him, Chan also took out his phone to read the chat too.

 

-Friday, 13th April-

Lee Euijin
We can't find a parking, boys
I think it will be better if we postpone the coffee for another day
We are going to pick you up, come out

Immediately after reading it, Jun silently nodded and got ready to get up. But a new message in the group chat stopped him.

Kang Yuchan
We'll stay, don't need to pick us up
See you later!

Chan wrote. Without asking Jun anything.

"You could have asked me before saying that."

"Oh, sorry, I thought you wanted to stay too..." by the way Chan apologized, he didn't seem like he felt sorry at all. "But don't worry, we'll drink our coffee and leave when it stops raining. It won't take too long."

Jun felt conflicted. If he rejected the plan perhaps it would be too evident that he was really trying to avoid Chan and the boy could get angry at him. But if he didn't... he would have to spend about an hour alone with him...

He saw that Euijin answered with a simple -ok-. Too late.

Jun's face was probably a picture of unspoken words because when Chan looked at him, he opened his eyes wide.

"You won't die after spending some more time with me, you know."

Jun couldn't find an eloquent answer to that. Which made him even more nervous.

"I think it's better if we leave after all."

"But it's raining."

"If you want to stay you can do it, I don't care about getting a little wet."

Maybe he sounded like an idiot, but he really didn't want to stay there with Chan. It was like a trap. Chan observed his face again, in silence. It looked like he wanted to say something but didn't know how to start.

Then, he started.

"Are you mad at me?"

Jun opened his eyes, surprised to watch the other asking such a direct question. Then he shook his head, denying it. He could feel the danger.

"I'm not, don't worry, it's just that I think it will be better if we leave and come back another day with the whole group..."

"Yeah, of course. But I bet that if instead of me you were with Daewon hyung or Euijin hyung you wouldn't have said anything about leaving..."

"That's not true."

"Sometimes it seems like you're disgusted by me."

"What."

His mind was about to explode. That was a red flag.

"If you're not, then stay until the rain stops and have a coffee with me," Chan said with determined eyes.

Maybe the best thing to do was to let Chan get away with this. Spending a hard time right now was better than fighting the boy and letting his feelings of...dislike come to light.

But Jun was a stubborn man.

"What's wrong with you today?"

"No, what's wrong with you, Jun!!"

Chan suddenly hit the table, startling the young man in front of him, as well as other people sitting at tables near them.

"Why are you like this? What have I done to you?!" The boy said, raising his voice. The older boy looked around, noticing the way they were attracting attention. Chan looked at him and frowned. Jun tried to calm him down.

"Lower your voice a little..."

"No! You listen to me. I'm tired of the way you keep treating me like this, do you think I'm blind or stupid? Everyone sees it too but no one says anything about it!

"Chan, everyone's staring at us, please lower your voice."

While he spoke in a calm and peaceful tone. The other's agitated attitude was very evident. Jun noticed the young man had his fist closed on the table and that it was slightly trembling.

He had never seen him this angry.

He knew that sooner or later something like this was bound to happen, that was the reason he had been avoiding spending time with Chan after all. Flying off the handle was just a matter of time. But what he did not expect was that the one who would blow up would be the other young man. It seemed like Chan had been holding everything on for a long time and now that he lost his temper, he decided to take everything out at once.

Jun sighed and got up from the table, they didn't order anything yet so he could just leave. And that was what he decided to do, as he had said before.

"Look, you haven't done anything to me, nor am I mad at you. Don't take things out of context, okay? It's just... we've had dinner already, I just realized I'm not in the mood for coffee and I'd rather just go home now."

Chan seemed dejected and refused to look at him directly. In a way, Jun felt grateful that the other wouldn't look at him in the eyes. It would hurt him a million times more if he saw his angry face directed at him.

He really didn't want this.

One more time, Jun said goodbye and left by the door of the cafe. It was still raining but he was willing to get a little wet in order to get out of there. When he closed the door behind him, he looked around. Moments later he heard the door opening again.

Chan had followed him.

"You're a liar."

And by the looks of it, he was still looking for a fight...

"I'm not."

"The only thing I wanted was to fix the problem we have between us. But you refuse to talk or listen to me. You're like a little kid."

Jun's patience was running low. But comparing him to a child... that really got on his nerves.

"You're so freaking annoying. Okay!" He raised his arms. "You wanna talk? Then let's talk. But we're not going to do it inside the cafe, I don't want them to kick us out for making a scene. And it's raining, so you tell me."

Chan's face showed itself impassive while he shook his head.

"It will be enough if we just sit in a secluded and sheltered place. Any residential block will do. You're just looking for excuses to escape."

"I'm not. Fine, then let's go."

If Jun found Chan irritating, that situation was the most annoying thing he had ever been into. He felt something inside of him wanting to explode. Maybe he also wanted to scream at Chan. Maybe they would end up getting into a physical fight.

He really hoped that wouldn't be the case...

Both of them found a secluded place where the rain wouldn't bother them soon after that. The street was practically empty. Jun sat on some stairs and rested his head on his hand, in a bored pose. Then he looked at the other young man.

"So you were saying..."

Chan crossed his arms and, after putting his thoughts in order, he began.

"Why are you avoiding me?

"I'm not avoiding you."

"We've known each other for almost a year, Jun, do you seriously think I don't pay attention to these things, to these details? The huge difference between the way you treat others and, then, me?

"If you dislike the way I treat you so much, then why do you keep insisting in spending time with me? The fact that Gwangsuk hyung is your boyfriend doesn't mean that you have to intimate with every friend that he has.

Ugh, Jun started to feel that stupid irritation again. There was a knot in his stomach that made him want to hit the wall.

"I don't want to be close to you because you're a friend of hyung, I want to be close to you because I like you. Because I wish we could get along. What does hyung have to do with that?"

"Mmm, maybe everything? We met each other because of him, nothing binds us together. If it wasn't for hyung, we would be strangers."

"And what does it matter how people get to know each other, Jun! Friendship can be born from any place or circumstances. Shit, you're mister popular, you make friends with everyone! How many friends do you even have on Instagram?

"They're followers."

"Okay, let's forget that part. The fact is that we have known each other for a very long time already, and I've seen the way you can befriend someone you've met in two days and be really close to them but if it's me we're talking about, you're still trying to distance yourself from me. It's like I'm the plague."

The boy approached him slowly. When he got close to where Jun was sitting, he bent down so they could talk face to face.

"And no matter how hard I try to befriend you, to get closer and to spend time with you. I just feel rejection. I don't even... want us to get along better anymore, I give up. I just want to know why. If I did something that upset you but didn't notice or... I don't know, anything."

Jun's heart started beating at an incredibly fast speed, probably due to the mix of emotions he was feeling at the moment. Guilt in regard to the other boy. Sadness and impotence because he hadn't been able to control the situation. And...

His old friend, the usual irritation.

Why? What was so wrong about Chan? Why wasn't he able to be his friend? Was it something ancestral? His ancestors had killed Jun's or something along the line? He just didn't know anymore.

"You haven't done anything wrong, Chan."

"Then I guess you just... hate me, right?"

Jun opened his eyes wide.

No.

"I don't hate you."

"I don't care if you do. I should have stopped being this annoying a really long time ago."

No. You don't get it. I don't hate you.

And yet, the irritation he had been keeping inside of him through all those days and months seemed to multiply by a hundred, a thousand.

At this point, it would manifest itself at any moment.

It was a countdown.

Chan looked at him for the last time and sighed, still bent over.

"I'll stop bothering you. You don't need to excuse yourself anymore, I'm not mad at you either. The best thing we can do is to act as if nothing has happened. I'm sorry."

When Chan started getting up, Jun took his arm to keep him from leaving, which made the other boy almost fall on his knees. Then he looked at Jun, confused and waiting for some kind of response, without knowing what to expect.

Jun had no idea of what he was doing either.

But when he wanted to realize what he was doing his body already moved by itself. The manifestation of all his irritation, all that rage accumulated for so long that almost made him go crazy, all of that ended up being externalized as...

 

A kiss.

 

With the other's arm still gripped by Jun, a small and rapid movement he made attracted the other to himself, causing Chan to almost fall into his arms. He held him before he fell, though, and when he found the boy so close to him, that was when it happened. He pulled him even closer, his lips seeking the other boy's hungrily and he pressed them together.

It was definitely not hate what he felt.

It wasn't even that he didn't like him, nor that he wasn't fond of him.

No.

 

He had fallen in love with Kang Yuchan. As simple as that.

 

Probably ever since he met him for the first time.

 

Kang Yuchan.

The boyfriend of his best friend.

 



Shit.

Chapter Text

The sound of the rain hitting the ground. The small drops of water still running down his skin. The touch of Chan's lips... Jun didn't know if it was because he had let himself get carried away and his body had reacted on his own by instinct. But he suddenly was incredibly aware of all the sensations happening around him.

When he moved slightly away from Chan. He observed how the boy, whose face was still only inches away from Jun's, was looking at him with his eyes wide open, still not believing what had just happened. This moment of confusion only lasted a couple of more seconds. Then the young man got up and stepped back, almost falling to the ground in the process due to his clumsiness.

"W-...what. What was that for," was all he managed to say.

Jun didn't know what to answer. At that moment he was just as lost as the other boy. Especially because he never acted without thinking about it first… at least not when it came to kissing someone.

But little by little, as his heart began to relax more and his thoughts were put in order, he started to see everything much more clearly. To understand why he had never been able to accept Gwangsuk's boyfriend as his friend and the reason for the way he wanted to avoid him so much.

"...I think..." Jun timidly said. He was in a very vulnerable situation at the moment, so he wanted to choose his words as wisely as possible. "That after this it's clear that I don't hate you, right?

Chan still seemed stunned. He shook his head and frowned a little.

"Are you implying that… no, but..." Apparently, he was feeling pretty nervous, but he still approached the other young man. He hesitated a bit, though, as if Jun was a wild beast or something. "It makes no sense. Two seconds ago I was completely sure you despised me…

Thanks to the street lights Jun could see Chan's face very well. He looked a little pale.

It wasn't like he understood everything that was happening so it wouldn't be easy to justify himself and explain what the hell was going through his head. Jun looked at the ground, still sitting in the stairs, and sighed.

"I guess I should clarify this all at once..." Jun took a deep breath and stood up. He didn't approach the other boy, though. He was positive that if he did, Chan would flee with all his might. "I… like you. I've probably liked you ever since I first met you."

"That's a lie."

"Oh, c'mon, why would I lie in something like this? Just listen to me, okay?"

Chan nodded, but it was obvious that he still didn't really believe him. Jun crossed his arms and continued.

"At first I didn't know why I was always so angry every time I saw you. Especially when you were with Gwangsuk hyung but... now I understand. All of that was because I liked you, as simple and stupid as that." He paused. "I'm so sorry."

"Are you saying... that you just realized it right now?"

"Well... yeah. Somehow."

"That's very... weird."

"You are telling me."

Both of them remained silent for a few minutes. Jun looked into his eyes, waiting for an answer, or a reaction, anything. When he got nothing, he stated the obvious.

"I'm not saying this because I hope you feel the same way. You're dating my best friend and I don't want to get in your way. At all. I just had to tell you because... I had to explain what just happened. It has been an impulse. Not even I expected it. God, I'm such an idiot."

"No, no, don't worry. I mean... it's okay. I have impulses too, sometimes, like... when I suddenly start dancing just because and... stuff."

Jun doubted that they were the same kind of impulses. But he didn't say anything to contradict him. After all the boy just wanted to make him feel better.

"...But thank you for... telling me the truth. To be honest, I was terribly afraid of you hating me, that's why I ended up arguing and fighting with you, I wanted to know why and… now that I do," the boy stared at him and nodded. "I'm relieved."

Once again a silence fell. Jun looked at the boy and scratched the back of his head nervously, wondering if he had the right to ask this after all that had happened. In the end, he went for it.

"Please, don't tell hyung anything about this."

"Okay," Chan's answer was immediate. As if he wanted to reassure him.

"I don't want us to become even more awkward with each other because of this… but I'm afraid it's too late now."

"You're going to… keep avoiding me, right?"

"I have no choice. At least for a while."

Chan looked disappointed and Jun understood the reason. The boy had spent almost a year following him and trying to be his friend while thinking that Jun despised him. Now, when he finally found out that he wasn't disliked by Jun at all, it was because the older was actually crazy for him. Friendship was just impossible for them.

For Jun the situation was a disaster too, of course. When he used to think that the only reason he wanted to avoid Chan was because he irritated him a little had been a good lifesaver until now to make him feel less guilty. But it couldn't work anymore. He knew that he was in love with him now... how could he look at Gwangsuk's face from this moment on? Would he even be able to do so?

The only positive part of all this mess was that before, Jun wanted to avoid the other boy at all costs. He used to force himself to not look at Chan or think about him. But now he could do it -from the distance, obviously-.

Although he felt sad about it, he also felt a very warm feeling when he looked at the other's face now. The irritation turned to sadness and fondness.

Chan was right. All of this was so strange and sudden.

Suddenly, the young man's words distracted Jun from his inner thoughts.

"If... you're saying this because of hyung then I understand. But if you're doing it because of me, then you don't have to."

Huh?

"What do you mean?"

"I... I want to keep spending time with you," The boy said, somewhat embarrassed. "I don't want us to stop talking to each other because of this, nor do I want you to keep avoiding me now that I know that you don't hate me."

Jun opened his eyes wide, surprised. He knew that Chan liked him a lot (if he didn't, he wouldn't have bothered himself to keep asking the reason behind Jun's cold act and they wouldn't have reached to that state), but still... that was very...

"And about the kiss..." the young man continued. "it can easily be forgotten so..."

"Maybe you can forget it easily, but it's not the same for me."

His interruption cased Chan to close his mouth, abruptly. Jun noticed that the younger even blushed a little after hearing his words. He didn't expect that reaction at all but… seeing him like this because of something Jun had said...

 

It was oddly satisfying.

 

Given the situation, he allowed himself to enjoy that little moment, no matter how small it was. It would never go farther than this, so why not.

"I know you want us to get along and I'll try to not make you feel bad over my way of... being distant. But you must bear in mind that right now I don't even know how to control myself when I'm near you."

Wow. That sounded way more embarrassing that he thought it would. Ashamed, he tried to hide his face for a minute. Fearing he would be blushing now too. When he glanced at Chan again, he found the boy with his mouth and eyes completely open. If it wasn't because of the circumstances they were in, Jun would have laughed because of how ridiculous they looked.

"I get it... I... get it," Chan said, looking down and avoiding Jun's eyes. "I was just thinking about myself, I'm sorry."

Then a minute passed. Chan forced himself to look at Jun for several seconds. It had been enough for Jun to glimpse the sadness in his eyes. It was then when the boy repeated his last words to him.

"I'm seriously... sorry."

He didn't say anything else.

That was an obvious rejection.

Jun looked around, suddenly wanting to escape from there. The rain didn't cease yet, but little by little, while they were talking, it had stopped falling as hard as before and now it was more like a light drizzle.

"You don't need to apologize... and..." He paused for a long time. Something inside of him wanted to tell Chan more. To be completely honest to him and confess that his like was just a way to minimize what he really felt...but...

For what?

"See you around."

The other young man didn't say goodbye to him. He just looked at the ground. Jun passed by him and slowly left the place. He dared to look back for a moment to find that Chan didn't move from his spot.

No matter the circumstances. There was nothing he could do.

 

 

*

 

 

Ever since that happened, and as he said he would, Jun tried again to avoid any contact or encounter with Chan. They still used to coincidentally meet at their college, and Jun still tried his best to greet him. But now he didn't have to find any excuse to leave in a blink of an eye after the greeting was done. It didn't happen very often anyway.

The other occasions in which they could meet were when the group of friends hanged out. But fortunately for Jun, that season was a pretty busy one, so everyone was too engaged in their work or studies and it was difficult for the whole group to be free at the same time. Which meant that no one found it odd when Junyoung couldn't go every single time Chan was going to be there since they all assumed he was just as busy as the others.

All of that was part of Jun's plan to make his feelings go away. They exploded before because Jun had been repressing them for months without even realizing it. Now that he knew very well that the reason behind everything that had happened was because he loved Chan and, after confessing his feelings, he was aware that the only thing that remained left was the third phase.

To get over it.

As soon as he got over it, everything would turn back to normal. He could see Gwangsuk without feeling terribly guilty again and, perhaps, he could even befriend Chan, without any problem getting in between.

The key to success concluded in that simple step. Forgetting him. Leaving Jun's feelings behind. It couldn't be that difficult. Especially when he had little to no contact with the boy.

He tried to see the circumstances in the most positive way possible. Funny, since that was a very Gwangsuk thing to do. Trying to be positive even in a shitty situation like this one was. And Jun really made his best efforts. He attempted to focus on his studies. He even met with other people, trying to find someone to have fun with. But nothing helped. Everything felt empty.

It felt like... trying to convince yourself that everything was fine when, in reality, everything sucked.

It was very hard...

Not being able to talk about it with anyone.

Not daring to open up with Gwangsuk.

Not allowing himself to talk nor see Chan...

Days passed. Then weeks. Little by little, Jun started feeling something burning inside him. He wanted to vent over this. He wanted to speak his thoughts to his best friend without fear. He wanted to... see Chan, hold him and...

It had been evident that after a month and a half trying his best. That great plan of his was pretty much useless. No matter how much positive he attempted to be... he felt like he was slowly sinking in his misery...

Why the hell wasn't he able to get him out of his head?

Kang Yuchan felt like a curse.

But even if he had those petty thoughts from time to time, he never experienced the same irritation as before. Thinking about the young man, in fact, had become a guilty pleasure of his. Sometimes he allowed himself to fantasize about a hypothetical timeline in which he had met the boy... who knows, maybe before he had met Gwangsuk. And in that timeline, Gwangsuk would still be happily dating Euijin. Jun could have asked Chan out in the most natural way and if the younger said yes, they would be dating while everyone in the group supported their relationship...

And after that, he used to stop daydreaming and faced reality.

It was okay to let his imagination run wild a little... but after all, he knew that he should stop as it did him more harm than good.

In any case, something was pretty obvious. He missed Gwangsuk as his sidekick.

And he missed Chan.

Life was terribly ironic.

 

 

*

 

 

"Hansol hyung... what would you do if you liked your best friend's lover?"

Jun was sitting on the couch, watching a tv drama about a love triangle where the main character felt attracted to both her boyfriend, who was a perfect and somewhat sinister guy and his former best friend, a nice guy who looked rude and was terrible with his own feelings.

Jun didn't really care about the main character's struggle that much but he wanted to use this opportunity to talk about the topic without Hansol suspecting that the real reason had to do with Jun's current love life.

The younger really wanted to talk about this with someone. He needed it...

The funny thing is that his hyung ignored the tv drama completely, but even so, he still couldn't guess the reason behind Jun's question and reached the wrong conclusion anyway.

"Are you saying that because... wait, has Hojung told you something?"

"Huh? Hojung hyung? No, why?"

Hansol's cheeks were slightly red, although he showed himself as impassive as ever. Jun tried to piece things together but in the end, there was no need since the older man told him directly.

"Two weeks ago... I started dating Hyunggeun hyung."

"WHAT."

"We haven't really told anyone yet. Well, now you know. But Hojung... he found out shortly after it happened and ever since then he barely speaks to us. He says it's because he's busy with his final project and doesn't really look like he's mad at us but it's clear that... something is wrong with him," Hansol's words sounded very hurt, while he also seemed shy about what he was telling to his dongsaeng.

Jun was left speechless. He knew from long ago that these three had something going on, but he never thought that in the end, someone would actually take the courage to do anything. His problem with Chan and Gwangsuk wasn't the only love mess that was going around in the group, apparently…

"Sometimes it looked like Hojung liked Hyunggeun hyung... so maybe he..."

Jun sighed. He didn't know if he should talk about that matter with such conviction, since it was impossible to be one hundred percent sure about others feelings, but still...

"Hojung likes you , hyung. At least that's what I think... Although I guess there is the possibility of him liking Hyunggeun hyung too..." The relationship between the three of them seemed complicated, to be honest. "But if you're really worried about this, the best thing you can do is to talk and ask him directly."

Hansol nodded. He didn't look very convinced, though. With this sudden topic, Jun lost his opportunity to talk about what he really wanted to, but he didn't care. If his hyung had the need to rant over his own problems then Jun was definitely there to listen to him.

Not only that, but if his suspicions were true, then...

He wanted to talk to Hojung about it.

 

 

*

-Sunday, 10th June-

Oh Gwangsuk

Who’s gonna come to the opening of my exhibition, guuuuys???

Lee Euijin
When was it?

Oh Gwangsuk
=_=
I told you. A million. Times.
I even gave you guys a flier with all the dates and information!!

Lee Euijin
Sorry, I'm getting old

Kim Kijoong
What are you saying, hyung ㅋㅋㅋ

Park Daewon
The opening will be next week, on Saturday!

Oh Gwangsuk
Finally, someone who pays attention ㅎ_ㅎ
If any of you can't come, it better be because of a good reason!

Lee Hyunggeun
I'm comiiing

Kim Kijoong
I should study, but I don't care anymore, I want to go!! I'm fed up with school ㅜㅜ

Oh Gwangsuk
No way Kijoong-ah, you should study, your csat is around the corner

Kim Kijoong
ㅜㅜ hyung...

Oh Gwangsuk
Go to study!!

Lee Euijin
C'mon, let him go. At least for an hour or so. I'll take him home later and make sure he studies

Kim Kijoong
I love you hyung ♡

Ji Hansol
I think I can go

Park Daewon
I'm going too, it's important to support the work you've been doing for these past months. I'm so proud of you!

Oh Gwangsuk
Stop, I'm getting emotional ㅜㅜ

 

 

Jun looked at all the messages carefully. It appeared to be like everyone was joining the exhibition... No wonder, though, it was very important to Gwangsuk.

"Are you going, hyung?"

He asked Hojung, who was by his side weight training. The older boy looked at him, confused and then stopped what he was doing to look at the group chat when Jun lent him his phone.

"Maybe..." he said, seriously considering it. Then he looked at Jun and gave his phone back. "How about you? Channie hasn't confirmed that he will go, but I'm sure he will."

He seemed worried about Jun. Obviously, since the younger man had told him the whole story about his feelings and everything that happened on that rainy day.

Everything.

When Jun learned that, perhaps, Hojung was in a similar situation to his, he decided to meet him in private and talk about the matter with Chan and Gwangsuk, his feelings and what he'd been through. Hojung was a very reserved person, so Jun really didn't have the certainty that even if he told him about his problems Hojung would do the same to Jun. But he didn't care. Aside from being reserved, the older man was also a very calm, collected and reliable person. He would never judge him even if Jun did something terrible, so in the end, he told him everything.

And even so, after explaining him what has happened and letting all his frustration he'd been holding back for almost two months ago, when Hojung saw that Jun was trying not to cry (he couldn't help it, he was a sensitive person), the older boy gave him a big hug and ended up talking about his own experience too.

Just as Jun suspected, Hojung liked Hansol. The man told him that he never decided to act on his feelings because he had been too afraid of their friendship falling apart if he ever got to confess his feelings, but in the end, his hesitating and doubts only managed to mess everything up. He'd been too late.

Opportunities that never came and opportunities that weren't taken on time. Both of them were in the same brokenhearted club that couldn't do anything to change their condition because the whole group could go to hell. It was a horrible experience, they agreed on that, but the fact that they could talk about it with someone made them feel way better. It felt like having a small support in all that crazy stuff of forbidden loves.

"I'll go. I think it's time to face him," Jun replied, looking at the screen of his phone. "Nothing has improved all these past months. I don't really know what to do. But avoiding him doesn't help. And after all, I want to see the exhibition too..."

"Okay. If you ever want to leave, I'll go with you," Hojung said, patting him on the shoulder.

"The same goes for you, hyung," The younger smiled. Having someone on your side was incredibly comforting after all.

 

 

*

 

 

Gwangsuk's exhibition was the most incredible thing Jun had seen in a long time. Well. Actually, the exhibition was not only his, since other artists were featured. It was such a shame for them, though, because their work was completely overshadowed by his best friend's work.

Jun showed himself at the opening with Hojung. Both tried to remain inseparable at the beginning while their other friends and acquaintances (mostly Gwangsuk's) walked through the corridors. The rooms were full or detailed works of art that had their own meaning (which, by the way, was explained in small pamphlets that were by the painting's side). However, after a while, Hyunggeun eventually stole Hojung from him, which made Gwangsuk took the opportunity to join Jun.

During those months, the older boy had been so busy that they didn't even meet on their own, just the two of them. Much less talked as they did before. It was very strange to not spend his afternoons with Gwangsuk and he missed his company a lot. But at the same time, Jun missing him didn't mean that his chest hurt any less when he saw his friend smiling at him from ear to ear.

"Well, well, look who we have here. My favorite Junnie!" Gwangsuk said as he patted him on the back.

"How many Junnies do you have, if I might ask..." Jun rolled his eyes and gave his friend a half-smile.

"Too many to count, that's why it's so special that you're my fave one," he shrugged and changed the subject. "But tell me, how do you like the exhibition? Was it worth it to spend months after months almost isolated from society to create all of this?

Jun wanted to tease him a little, but he couldn't do it. Not after seeing and admiring the fruit of his efforts. It was too amazing.

"Believe me, it was worth it."

Gwangsuk laughed happily and nodded, satisfied by the younger's answer.

"Great! My work is Jun approved. I can die happily now."

Jun continued to observe Gwangsuk's work, at the same time the latter explained the meaning behind every trace and color. "No need to read the pamphlets" He had said, while Jun laughed. It seemed like the older boy didn't really like getting his work explained by a piece of paper.

Everything went well until Jun found a painting whose strokes looked way more inexperienced and different from Gwangsuk's usual style. Surprised, he wanted to ask, but after turning back and seeing his friend's expression no words were needed, he silently understood.

"This is my oldest work in this exhibition. I guess it's evident, right?" Gwangsuk said, and then paused for a moment. "I remember I was frustrated because in my last work I received a lot of criticism and I was suffering from a terrible art block. But this work right here helped me to move forward... it's been almost a year already..."

"Chan helped you with this one, right?"

Gwangsuk opened his eyes wide. Surprised that Jun himself was the one who brought up his boyfriend after so long trying to talk as little as possible about him.

"Wow... well, yes. How did you notice?"

Jun looked at the painting again for a few moments. It was obvious that Gwangsuk's style was slightly different from this one, he knew his hyung's way of painting by heart. But what really told him was the expression of affection and fondness Gwangsuk's face had when he saw the painting.

It was titled Moonlight.

"Intuition."

The older man sighed and crossed his arms. His mood seemed to change and worsened completely in a matter of seconds. It was so sudden that Jun got even scared for a moment.

"He hasn't come today."

"Huh?"

"I'm talking about Channie. He didn't even bother himself to appear here at the opening. He's been acting extremely weird for a long time already," He said, after taking a last look at his old work. "But not coming today is the last straw."

The fact that Gwangsuk was telling him all of that meant he was really worried about it. The older boy knew (or rather, though), because of Jun's attitude towards Chan, that the latter was not liked by him at all. For that very reason, he didn't use to talk about him much to Jun.

Jun felt a chill run down his back. He didn't know if he should ask. Or wanted.

"Since... when?"

"When? Mmm..." Gwangsuk thought about it for a few long seconds. "I don't really know when it started, exactly... but I guess... it's been two months... maybe?"

 

Two months.

The same as when Junyoung confessed to him.

 

The young man swallowed nervously.

 

"I think he's angry because I've hardly paid attention to him because of the exhibition. I've been incredibly busy these past few months and I feel bad about it. But at the same time, he also knew how important this was for me. Not even coming here for a moment just to say hi is a little..."

Jun felt a lump in his throat. Months ago, when Euijin asked Chan how he was doing with his partner, he said it was going well. But that happened just before… that.

He had no idea how Chan and Gwangsuk's relationship was going now, but no matter how much they were fighting or in a critical moment in their romance. Jun doubted Chan would go as far as not going to something as important to Gwangsuk as the opening of his exhibition.

Jun was afraid that the reason Chan didn't want to come was because of his presence there. After all, Jun had been avoiding the young man all this time, maybe it was Chan's turn to avoid him now.

In any case, the timing was too coincidental. Was it his fault then? He had never thought he could be the reason behind Gwangsuk and Chan having problems in their relationship. But if he really gave it a thought...

No. Why would he be?

Maybe he was just thinking about it too much. Maybe... what Gwangsuk said about the younger being mad at his friend for not paying attention to him and being all that busy was true and it had nothing to do with Jun.

 

He needed a second opinion about this.

 

At one point he observed Hojung, who was now with both Hansol and Hyunggeun. It seemed to Jun like his hyung was starting to feel like a third wheel. Hojung's face was as relaxed as ever but Jun knew he wasn't as chill as he tried to look so he came to his rescue. He also really wanted to talk to him right now.

Hojung seemed relieved to see him and Jun took him out of there. Both of them said goodbye to the other before leaving. Apparently, the rest of the group still planned to stay for longer.

After they left, Hojung thanked Jun. Since if it were for him, he wouldn't have known how to leave without it looking like he got mad or uncomfortable with those two. Jun just said it wasn't a big deal and both of them decided to eat something since they were kind of hungry. Later, when they found a place, it didn't even take half a second for Jun to update his friend about what had happened with Gwangsuk.

"In my opinion... I think it has to do with you," Hojung said, after hearing the whole thing and while he ate his fried chicken in a somewhat delicate manner. "I don't think hyung knows anything about it, though. But maybe Channie..." he mumbled, with his eyes fixed on Jun.

"Maybe what."

"Is doubting his feelings...?"

Jun almost choked with the chips he was eating. Hojung waited for the boy to recompose himself, and when he did, he continued.

"I think you should talk to him."

"And tell him what now hyung. I already told him everything last time."

"You confessed, right?" Jun nodded. "But what about him? Did he reject you?"

"Yeah..." the young man recalled the scene in his mind. The cold night in mid-April. The rain slowly stopping, Chan's sad face..."Well, not exactly, but because of the context it was obvious he rejected me. He even apologized."

"So he didn't reject you."

"He did! By context !! But who cares hyung, he's dating Gwangsuk hyung, there's no way I would try to steal his boyfriend even if I could!"

"I don't know."

The younger raised an eyebrow.

"What is it that you don't know."

"I'm not trying to confuse you or anything, Jun. I just want to help you, okay? And speak my mind about the matter. It's just my sincere opinion." The man sighed and continued in a calming tone. "And what I think is... that feelings are born, and they are what they are. Sometimes they change. Sometimes... they were always there and because of something , they suddenly wake up and become incredibly strong."

"Are you saying that because of what happened to me?"

"I'm saying this because of what might be happening to Chan right now."

What?

"Are you suggesting that he...  about me?" Hojung nodded. "No. Nonono. I can already assure you that is NOT what's happening."

"And why don't you make sure of it by talking to him?"

Jun looked at his hyung as if he were some kind of little demon that wanted to take him down the wrong path. Even so, he knew that Hojung was actually giving him his honest opinion on the subject and that he really just wanted the best for him.

"God... I'll just make a fool out of myself thanks to you."

"No. Thanks to me you'll open your eyes. Ever since we met Chan he's been chasing you as if he were some kind of puppy while you always gave him the cold shoulder. You ignored him so much... and yet he never cared, he has always wanted your attention. That boy adores you."

"He adores Gwangsuk hyung, who, by the way, is his boyfriend in case you don't remember."

"He adores you two. Though... there's this thing I've always thought about..." He stopped himself. "Anyways, it's not my business to begin with. But if he has any doubts, you guys should talk about it so there aren't any misunderstandings. At this rate, if it's really because of you that they're having problems, even if you don't do anything they will end up breaking up sooner or later."

Jun wasn't convinced by that at all. To begin with, the problem between them may had nothing to do with him. Everything was too hypothetical. The boy frowned and Hojung continued.

"If on the contrary he really feels nothing for you, then talking about it might help him to clear his thoughts and reconcile with Gwangsuk hyung."

"That is the most likely outcome."

"You are on the defensive since you know yourself that something is going on and you don't want to accept it because you feel guilty."

"Hyung, I swear to god..." Jun pushed aside his chips so he could drop his head on the table. Defeated.

Jun was grateful for his friend's sincerity, but the way Hojung confronted him about this was so... hard that it was like he almost forced him to act and face something that scared him a lot...

(If at some point he saw something odd -more odd, at least- between him and Hansol, he would also forcefully encourage him to do something about it, no matter how much his hyung refused. That would be his revenge. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.)

 

But right now...

Jun guessed it was time for him to contact Chan after so long and meet up with him. Only the two of them.

 

Just by thinking about it, he got chills all over his body.

Chapter Text

Jun looked at the ceiling of his bedroom apathetically. His eyes went through every single detail of his room, from his desk, which had his laptop on top of it with some unfinished homework waiting for him, to the shelves full of books and disorder everywhere.

When that mind-blowing talk he held with Hojung concluded, the latter told him he’d drive Jun to his apartment. On the way home, his hyung stopped insisting on Chan’s topic and about how important it was for Jun to have a chat with the boy. He probably realized that the younger started feeling somewhat uncomfortable while speaking about this. Above all, and even if the older wasn’t keeping any opinion to himself, Hojung was still a very respectful and thoughtful person. His intention was obviously not to make his dongsaeng feel any worse.

After saying goodbye to each other and as soon as he reached home, Jun went to his room. The first thing he tried to do was to focus all his attention on his assignments. His main purpose was to stop thinking too hard about his or others love affairs, and at the same time, he also wanted to do something productive with his time. However, not even twenty minutes later Jun noticed that his brain didn’t feel up for it so, in the end, he left his laptop and lay on his bed.

He felt emotionally exhausted. To the point where he didn’t even have the strength to concentrate on his studies.

Nor in anything else, to be honest.

And that was when he started looking at the ceiling.

He deeply sighed and began tossing and turning in bed, not knowing what to do. Well... maybe he knew. The fact was that he didn’t dare.

Goddamn, Lee Junyoung, since when are you such a coward?

He had to contact Chan. He had to talk to him, clear everything up and find out if it was really his fault that... the younger and Gwangsuk were having problems in their relationship. There was a big chance, though, that he played no role in the matter whatsoever.

Yeah. He had to make sure... but at any rate, he needed time to prepare himself mentally too. Maybe a day or two would be enough. He had promised Hojung that he would try to talk with the boy in less than a week anyway…

He really didn’t feel ready for another indirect rejection yet.

 

 

*

 

 

As he had thought, it took him a couple of days to gather all the courage he needed, but in the end, on a Wednesday night, he made up his mind and decided to put an end to his cowardice.

He was in his dormitory, on top of his bed (again). A dim light placed in his bedside table was illuminating the whole room. He took his phone between his hands and searched for Chan's contact.

When he found it, the first thing he did was to carefully look at his profile picture. He remembered that last time he checked his contact picture, it was a photo of a pair of slippers that Gwangsuk had supposedly redecorated for him.

Now it was just a selfie of him all alone...

But oh well, who didn't like using selfies as their profile picture. There was no reason to be such a nitpicker.

After a long time looking at his contact without knowing how or when to start the conversation, he decided it was time to stop this nonsense and just messaged him with a simple greeting.

 

 -Wednesday, 20th June-

Lee Junyoung
Hello

 

When he sent it, he regretted not putting any emoticon or decorating the whole thing a little bit. Especially since there wasn't any response after he texted him. No matter how much he waited while looking at the message app.

He didn't want to obsess over it so Jun started looking at his own Instagram to help pass the time. About half an hour later, Chan finally gave some sign of life. Just when Jun was about to turn off the phone.

 

Kang Yuchan
Hey! What's up

Lee Junyoung
Hey, so
Can we talk?
Damn
Everything sounds too serious when you don't use emoticons smh
Tho I guess that the stuff I want to talk about is somewhat serious
More or less
Don't freak out
Or well I dunno
It depends
Maybe it's just some nonsense I came up with cuz I'm paranoid
Pls don't block me because of spam

 

Unwittingly, Jun started sending the other young man one text after another.

He had panicked.

Chan replied really fast this time. Either he wasn't using his phone before and that was the reason it took him so long to say hi... or thanks to his spam Jun somehow managed to make the other feel like he had to answer quickly or else he would get a million messages before he realized it.

 

Kang Yuchan
I think it's the first time you've texted me this much ㅋㅋㅋㅋ
Tell me

Lee Junyoung
No wait, I mean like, talking in person

 

 

Every text he sent, every time he felt like he messed up in one way or another. His mind kept telling him he could have said it better, or less awkwardly. Again, Chan took his goddamn time to answer. Long enough for Jun to send him another text before he replied.

 

Lee Junyoung
If you don't want to it's okay, no worries

 

A couple of minutes later, Chan finally replied.

( This was real torture ).

 

Kang Yuchan
What do you want to talk about?

Lee Junyoung
Why didn't you go to hyung's exhibition?

Kang Yuchan
Oh
I felt kinda sick... and I wasn’t in the mood tbh

Lee Junyoung
Was it my fault?
Did you think that you’d be uncomfortable because I was gonna be there too?
I feel bad for hyung... If it was because of me then you could have told me and I'd have gone another day

Kang Yuchan
It wasn't your fault

 

Jun opened his eyes, surprised, and looked at the message carefully. So... it really didn’t have anything to do with him? That was it? The answer to his doubts was just... that easy? How fast and…

Disappointing.

Although it shouldn't be this disappointing. What did he expect? It was better if he had nothing to do with any of that mess, right? After a couple of minutes, Jun decided to settle the matter. It wouldn't even be necessary to talk about it in person.

 

Lee Junyoung
Oh, then I'm relieved. That was it, I'm sorry if I bothered you

 

And just like that, he left his phone on his bedside table. He should be proud, he faced the situation. The fact that it had the most extreme anticlimactic outcome in the whole world was irrelevant. Hojung's instinct was broken, apparently.

An hour passed. Jun changed his clothes and went to the bathroom to brush his teeth, slowly getting ready to go to sleep. That was when his phone started receiving notifications non-stop. At first, he didn't pay much attention to it, but when his phone almost sounded like an alarm with all the sounds and vibrations, he checked what was going on.

Okay. It seemed like Chan had gone crazy. He just sent him fourteen messages at once.

 

Kang Yuchan
That was all you wanted to talk about?
And the reason you wanted to see me?
It wasn't because of you, I swear
I mean... At least not exactly
Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not mad at you
Not mad at all, okay!!
And I didn't want to avoid you either
Or maybe a little
But not you "you" but the situation, u'know??
It doesn't mean I feel uncomfortable with you or anything
... I don't even know what I'm saying
I guess hyung told you something
(I have no idea of what, tho)
I'm sorry

 

Jun found himself flabbergasted when he saw the texts, not knowing how to reply to them. That sea of explanations left him even more confused than before. In the end, he reached the conclusion that yeah, the best thing they could do was to talk in person and stop this nonsense.

 

Lee Junyoung
Wanna talk about it then?
I have an assignment I have to finish tomorrow, but the next day I'll be going around at college
If you want to, we can see each other for a moment and talk

Kang Yuchan
Ok

 

And just like that, everything got settled. They both agreed to meet on Friday afternoon in their college's cafe, once the younger finished his daily classes.

Jun stopped to think about it for an instant. It was the first time (and probably the last) that he actually talked to Chan to meet him and hang out on their own. Such a pity that it was due to those circumstances.

When they finished talking, he notified Hojung immediately, who, apparently, was already sleeping at the time so Jun's message awakened him. He quickly said sorry and Hojung accepted his apology, but still, sleep was sacred. Perhaps, that was the reason the older just encouraged him a little and didn't say anything much just so he could go back to sleep straight away.

He spent the whole next day to clean his room, put everything in order, relax, listening to music. And most importantly, finish his assignment for his project management class, which was due to the same day.

Jun took his studies quite seriously... but with the exhibition stuff and meeting up with Hojung to talk about their problems, his responsibilities were left behind. Besides, every time he had tried to get to it and finish his homework he couldn't finish it since he wasn't even able to concentrate, so he just left it and kept procrastinating.

For that very reason, he couldn't even go to his classes, finishing the assignment would take him all day, literally. Hence he decided to meet Chan on Friday. Even so, the pressure of having such a close deadline managed to get his brain to give its best and work to finish everything at once.

After it was done, he sent it to his teacher, stretched his arms and looked through the window. The sky was dark already, so he chose not to go anywhere for the rest of the day.

Now that he was free of obligation, thoughts of what awaited him the next day returned to his mind. He felt very nervous to see the other young man. He didn't really know what to expect, what would happen. Chan didn't specify anything either...

 

And I didn't want to avoid you either

Or maybe a little

But not you "you" but the situation, u'know??

 

He reread the texts again and again. As the other said, he didn't want to avoid Jun, but rather, the situation. What did he mean exactly?

Oh well, at least he already knew that if Chan didn't go to the exhibition it wasn't because he didn't want to see Jun. That was a good thing, probably.

Hansol, worried about his roommate since he didn't leave his room in the whole day, knocked on his door and asked him if he wanted to have dinner. As they dined, Jun noticed that he had received a couple of encouraging texts from Hojung, wishing him good luck for tomorrow. It almost looked like he was having a soccer match or something... but still, he was grateful.

And scared too, to be honest.

 

 

*

 

 

From what Chan told him, on Friday he used to have evening classes, so they both decided to meet when he finished them. Around nine o'clock, in the same faculty, Jun waited for the other young man at the cafe, with his nerves on edge. Since it was Friday at night the whole place was practically empty so they could talk without worrying much about others hearing them.

When he saw the young man in the distance, Jun felt all kind of butterflies in his stomach. He was extremely nervous. It had been a long time since he last saw him this close. The boy approached Jun and greeted him as he sat at the same table, in a very shyly manner that was very unlike him.

"Here you are," the older said, pointing out the obvious, after clearing his throat a little.

"Yeah..."

"It's been a while, huh?"

"I guess..."

Judging by the stares of both of them, the way Chan kept playing nervously with his own finders and Jun's lump in his throat, you could cut the tension with a knife. The older had hoped that the situation wouldn't be this awkward, but it seemed like it had been in vain.

It was terribly awkward.

At this point, Jun could try two things, break the ice or go straight to the whole issue. Considering that talking about it would also be awkward as hell too... why not doing it right now, the boy thought to himself. The awkwardness couldn't get any worse than this anyway.

"I wanted to talk to you because..." Chan raised his head, looking at him directly. He was staring at him so hard that Jun was left almost speechless, but he was able to continue without getting tongue-tied. "I needed to make sure that..."

"Lee Junyoung!"

Someone behind them interrupted Jun in the most unexpected way possible. What now! The boy thought as he turned around. The person who called him was nothing more and nothing less than his project management teacher.

"You're still around here," she said, visibly relieved. "I was going to send you an email but I was worried that you wouldn't be able to see it on time."

Jun looked at Chan for a moment, trying to make a silent apology and turned his whole attention to his teacher.

"What's wrong?"

"There is a problem with your assignment. The one who was due to yesterday," Jun opened his eyes wide, surprised to hear that, and then he frowned. He hadn't spent the whole day struggling and working like a beast for his assignment to have a problem. Jun was a very efficient student.

Before being able to ask for an explanation, his teacher continued.

"I tried to open your project file, but it doesn't work. It's impossible to open it."

WHAT?

"But it worked perfectly for me."

"I don't know... the only explanation I can come up with is that sometimes because of the Internet the file gets corrupted. Do you happen to have the file here?"

"I don't..."

"I'm very sorry for hurrying you up, but I need it as soon as possible. I don't want to have your work stated as "not presented" but the teacher department is very strict with the delivery dates..."

Talk about bad timing.

Jun wanted to curse under his breath, but he didn't do it in front of his teacher, of course. She said goodbye to him, leaving the time bomb running like it wasn't a big deal. Goddammit.

"Do you... mind if I make a call?" He asked the young man that was still looking at him. He shook his head and Jun took his phone and dialed Hansol's number. Hopefully, his hyung would be at home right now and could send his assignment file instead of Jun. It was just a matter of turning on his laptop and indicating the name of the file he had to send, his mail was already open.

"Yeah?"

"Hyung!! I'm Jun, thank goodness you've answered, are you home?"

"Mmm? I'm not..."

"When will you go? I have a very important favor to ask you."

"Ah..." Hansol's voice sounded hesitant. "Actually... I will be out for the whole weekend. I'm at Hyunggeun hyung's house right now... but if it's so important, I'll go, what's the matter?"

The world was so against him...

Jun put his palm on his face, defeated, and hurried to answer him.

"No hyung, it's okay. Don't worry, I'll take care of it."

"But..."

"No, I'm serious. It's an assignment, I can manage. Enjoy your weekend, okay?

Hansol was still insecure about it, but in the end, he agreed and wished him good luck with his work. Jun hung up and rubbed his temple. He wasn't going to let Hansol ruin his plans to spend a few days with his partner just because of that stupid reason.

As he hung up he looked back at Chan and sighed. The young man smiled at him, though, finding the situation funny. At least that helped to lessen the tension a little.

"I have to go home... this assignment is important for the evaluation of the semester and if I don't send it... I'm screwed..."

"I understand, no problem," the younger said, playing the matter down.

"If you want... we can talk at my house," he said, thinking out loud. After seeing Chan's surprised face, he regretted it. How was he going to take him home? Was he crazy? The whole situation was awkward enough as it was but taking him there, in such an intimate place... "But I guess it's better if we leave it for another... day and stuff.”

Chan remained silent for a few minutes. Meanwhile, Jun started getting up from the table, and then, the other young man did the same. Both were ready to leave the place and, once outside, Chan asked.

"Do you live far away from here?"

"Kinda..." Jun explained as he walked out of the faculty. Quite surprised that Chan didn't say goodbye to him yet, but instead, was walking by his side. "I use to come here by subway. If I lived nearby I would have gone there for a second to fix this issue but..."

"Mmm... do you want me to drive you home? I always come by car."

"By car, huh-... wait, wait," Jun gave him a perplexed look. "You already have your license??" Chan nodded. "And you even own a car?"

The boy laughed a little. Maybe Jun's reaction was exaggerated, but at least Chan found it funny.

"The car belongs to my brother. He lets me borrow it as long as I'm careful with it," he explained.

"I see... then... well, you don't really have to do it but I would appreciate it," Jun scratched his head, somewhat shy.

Once they got into the car Jun looked around and decided to get his license as soon as he could as well. It was about time, to be honest, and that way he wouldn't spend so much money on the subway every day. As the young man drove, Jun told him where he had to go to reach his neighborhood, without leaving aside a small talk about Chan's big brothers. To relieve the heavy atmosphere.

As they arrived at his apartment, Chan managed to find a parking lot practically in front of his entrance hall. In a place as busy as this one, that had been a good stroke of luck. Jun got out of the car and, surprised, watched as Chan did the same after turning off the engine and closing the door.

"Oh... Are you coming in?" Was the only thing he managed to say. Chan shrugged and then, nodded.

"Since I'm here..." he muttered. "Ah, but if you'll need time to fix the issue with your assignment I can leave."

"No, no! It will be a second. Please come in," he said, feeling the uneasiness go up all over his body again. Jun took out the keys and they fell at least three times to the floor before he managed to open the freaking door. The third time Chan burst out laughing.

Apparently, Jun, who had been trying to ease the awkwardness by trying to look and sound casual about the whole thing, experienced his nervousness increasing more and more as time passed. Chan, on the other hand, was getting calmer and looked like he was in a better mood, laughing all the time. Or so it seemed at least.

When they entered the apartment. Jun led Chan to the living room and told him to sit on the sofa. Once the boy was comfortable enough, Jun asked him if he wanted to drink anything while he sent the file again to his teacher. He let him choose between coffee, tea or even beer and in the end, Chan opted for tea.

While Chan was quietly drinking. Jun hurried to his room and checked his email. He realized that he didn't wait for the file to load entirely before sending it. No wonder his teacher couldn't open it. How stupid could he get sometimes?

Around five minutes later, he had managed to send everything correctly this time. There shouldn't be any problems, but just in case he checked it more than once. After that, Jun closed his laptop and returned to the living room.

"Mission accomplished," He jokingly said while he sat on the sofa too. Not without putting some distance between them, obviously. The only thing that remained in such an uncomfortable conversation they were going to have, was being really close to one another. He wanted to avoid as more awkwardness as possible.

Besides, last time they were close to each other, Jun's body moved by itself.

That couldn't happen again.

"Did you send it, then?" The younger asked.

Jun nodded and Chan gave him half a smile. With all of that behind, now they could have... the talk.

Here goes nothing.

When Jun wanted to start the topic, the other young man began talking too. The older almost laughed, since he kept getting interrupted, no matter where he was. Instead, Chan smiled, somewhat embarrassed.

“You go first.”

“Okay…” Jun continued. “Well, the reason I wanted to talk to you was mainly that... I needed to know if it was because of me that you didn't show up at hyung's exhibition..." he said, after taking a breath. "Hyung... didn't take it well and... I dunno. I felt guilty because I thought it was my fault since you probably didn't want to see me."

Chan had his eyes focused on his cup of tea, not daring to look at Jun now. Even so, it still seemed like he was listening to him carefully.

“You see… when I... “ he paused. “Confessed. I didn’t think about it twice. I assumed everything would get awkward… even more awkward than it was before, between us but I never thought that…”

"I already told you it wasn't your fault," Chan said in a calm tone.

"But..."

"In fact, if there's anyone to blame, that's me," He emitted a long, deep breath expressing sadness. "After all, I'm the one who didn't go to the exhibition."

“Yeah, but there’s a difference between not going because you don’t want to, and not going because you’d rather avoid something… or someone,” Jun crossed his arms. “I don’t think you should take the all the blame for it.”

“Jun. It was my decision. I knew hyung would get angry if I didn’t go, but I didn’t care. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do.”

"The right thing?"

"...Yeah..." Chan left the now empty cup on the table and started playing with his own fingers. Suddenly looking on edge.

“You say it’s not my fault… but at the same time, you implied that you didn’t come because you wanted to avoid the situation. And by situation , I guess you mean… me. Or is that wrong?”

Chan moved his head slightly and bit his lip. It seemed like he was saying "not exactly" without using any words. At this point, Jun just wanted to know and understand the truth. But Chan looked as if he was hesitating to let go of everything or not.

"...Chan. You can tell me. I won't be offended or anything. If I wanted to have this talk with you was precisely because I'd rather have you telling me everything you think about me, good or bad, than keep getting misunderstandings between us."

"I was afraid."

Huh?

"Afraid?"

"Yeah," Chan kept fidgeting and playing with his fingers nonstop. It was a bit distracting. "I was afraid of... seeing you."

The young man continued avoiding Jun's gaze.

"Are you scared of me...?" Jun asked, caught by surprise. Then it hit him. Could it be that... the reason Chan was afraid of him was because last time Jun... kissed him.

He did it without any consent. Without any warn. No one expected it, not even himself. No wonder Chan was scared of someone as unpredictable as Jun. Anyone would be if they got attacked just like that.

Jun felt terribly embarrassed. So much that he could even notice how his cheeks were burning. It happened months ago but... god, what a fool he had been.

Chan finally looked at him out of the corner of his eye and, maybe because of the older's expression, it seemed like he sensed what Jun was thinking and shook his head, hard.

"No! I didn't mean to say that I'm afraid of you! It's not like you're a wild beast or anything. No, no," The boy approached him and grasped his arm. "I was afraid of... something else."

Now it was Jun's turn to feel a little scared. Chan had gotten too close to him and wasn't letting his grip on the older's arm go. The tension had become stronger than ever. Jun waited for Chan to continue, but seconds passed and the silence didn't go away. His breathing became heavier and, in the end, he managed to say.

"Of what...?"

"...Of myself."

It didn't matter how much time passed, Chan didn't explain anything else. He didn't specify or clarify Jun's doubt at all. The older wasn't even able to digest the other's last words. He couldn't understand. Afraid of himself? What did he mean exactly? And what did Jun have to do with it? Why couldn't Chan just get to the point for once?

And why the hell wasn't him letting Jun go yet? The grip on his arm, though soft, was still there. He didn't move an inch. Jun looked away, trying to concentrate on anything else, his eyes moved to the empty cup the other young man had before, that was now resting on the table. He didn't know what to do. As much as he wanted to shut up the voice inside of him, it kept screaming at him, telling him that he had to something, anything.

How was it possible that his own judgment could get clouded in that way? How was it possible that even if he knew the incredible damage he could do, how much he could hurt someone as important as Gwangsuk was to him, he still felt the need to be with that boy?

How was it possible that, despite everything, he couldn't help himself but want to take him in his arms and never let him go. It was so unfair. So incredibly unfair. He didn't know love could be this treacherous.

In the end, he finally dared to turn his head. It was then when their gaze met instantly. Jun knew that everything he wasn't saying out loud could be read in his eyes. Because he couldn't let it out, because he shouldn't let it out, no matter how much he wanted.

The boy's grip eased little by little, releasing his arm. His movements so soft and slow that it wasn't even possible to hear the noise they made. Chan watched him carefully. He seemed hesitant as if he had a storm of contradictory thoughts running through his mind. Jun could recognize that feeling perfectly since it was the same that he always felt when it came to the other young man.

Could it be that the boy didn't know what he should do with Jun? Could it be that, after all, he also...

"I think we should..."

But he didn't have the time to say anything else. As soon as he wanted to realize, Chan rushed over him. With both hands placed on Jun's cheeks, the boy got closer, so close. Until their lips touched.

Chan was kissing him. That was the only thing his brain was able to register. Jun had all kind of thoughts running through his head at the same time. Surprise, incomprehension, restlessness... longing. Longing for the person right in front of him. In the end, his reaction was almost immediate. He didn't want to think.

He just wanted to be with him.

Jun had all the time in the world to regret it later, he thought to himself in an incredibly selfish way.

He put his arms around him and tightened his grip, responding to the kiss almost desperately. Something inside of him screamed that he really wanted this boy, that he needed him. He noticed how Chan, who still had his hands placed on Jun's face, started to caress his hair while he kept kissing him gently, only stopping when he needed for lack of air. In the whole room, the only thing Jun could hear was the sound of their lips clashing, their agitated breathing and their tongues meeting each other.

It was when he heard Chan breathed out his name that Jun came out of his trance for a moment. He backed away, but not too much, and looked carefully at the young man by his side. Chan opened his eyes and exchanged a glance with him.

Jun didn't want to ask about what this meant. At least not yet. He was afraid that talking about it meant stopping with a very high chance of starting to feel regret. If regretting this was going to happen sooner or later, then why not regretting everything at once.

He knew that Hansol would be with Hyunggeun that night, perhaps they…

(His mind wasn’t thinking clearly, but he didn't care).

"Do you want to go to my room?" He asked in a slightly hoarse voice. If Chan rejected his proposal, Jun supposed that this would be as far as they would get.

But if he accepted it…

He observed the young man's reaction very prudently. It seemed like he didn't think about it twice before he nodded. Apparently, neither of them was in their right mind at the moment.

Jun gave him one last kiss and, after that, lend him to his bedroom. He didn't know if the shaking he felt came from his own hand or from Chan's. Perhaps, it was from both of them. He tightened his grip almost unconsciously, as if he was scared of the possibility of the younger man running away if he didn't. Considering the situation, it was more than possible...

But Chan didn't let his hand go, didn't run away. He didn't want to escape nor stop. He followed him blindly. When they both arrived at Jun's room, the latter laid the other young man on his bed and placed himself on top of him.

That was completely and utterly crazy.

He could feel the warmth of Chan's fingers on the back of his neck, and he went down to spread kisses along the younger's face and collarbone. His mind could only focus on the other boy's deepened breath and they way his respiration rate increased when their bodies brushed against each other. Before taking any other step, he knew he had to clarify something very important.

"If you ever want to stop, just say so. I will understand."

By saying this, Jun risked the possibility that with these words Chan would reconsider what was happening and decided to stop right at that moment. But he still wanted to make it clear. It was true that they were letting themselves get carried away anyway, but if at some point the younger began to feel remorse and wanted to stop, Jun wanted to let him know he could do it without any problem.

However, upon hearing his words, Chan watched him with glazed eyes and shook his head. His hands, still placed on the back of Jun's neck, began to descend slowly, running down his back.

"The same goes for you. If you ever start feeling uncomfortable, we stop."

But none of them seemed willing to stop. No matter how many times a rational thought tried to warn them to NOT continue with what they were doing. No matter the opportunities that appeared in which they would have been able to stop it before reaching to the point of no return.

They both continued. They got rid of their clothes, they exchanged kisses, caresses, gently touches. Jun tried to be as sweet and soft as possible in his movements, even with the impatience that filled him inside. He wanted to go slow and be able to enjoy every single one of the sensations that the other made him feel.

He really wanted this boy. He wanted him so much that it was enough for him to leave his principles and morals. He couldn't think of anything else but him and how much he had wanted this, how good it felt to be with him. His mind kept telling him that this couldn't be so bad. It just felt right. So right.

Like it was meant to be.

Without being able to avoid it for any longer, Jun whispered in his ear those words that he never dared to confess to him. That open secret that he had forbidden himself to say until that moment.

That he loved him.

Once he confessed that out loud, he said it again and again. Spreading kisses around his body while he kept giving him all his being.

And maybe it was just his imagination. Just a product of his wishful thinking, mixed with the confusion and delirium of that instant...

But Jun could swear that, at some point, he heard Chan telling him that he loved him too.

Chapter Text

When the morning arrived, Jun's first reaction was to check if Chan was still by his side.

A part of himself expected to find himself alone. The typical cliché of "and everything had been nothing more than a dream". Or maybe that the boy had woken up before him and, after seeing and remembering what happened, he got scared and fled the scene to never mention anything about it again.

But there he was. That coconut hairstyle that was so characteristic of him and his naked body under the blankets, still sleeping peacefully. Jun slowly approached him and began to caress his neck, softly.

Apparently, he was tickling him because the boy groaned a little, so Jun stopped. He didn't want to wake him up. He'd rather keep watching him for a while longer. His soft features. The double eyelids that were so well hidden. The short eyelashes. Those lips that seemed like they were made to pout.

He wanted to hug him, lie on his chest and perhaps go back to sleep. But he didn't know if he had the right. Or rather, he didn't feel like he had.

If they had been a normal couple, he could have done that. He could wake him up while cuddling without fearing that once the boy opened his eyes, all the magic would disappear and they would need to face reality.

But they weren't a normal couple.

They weren't a couple , to begin with.

In the end, he decided to get up and put on his clothes. As he put on his shirt, and probably due to the noise he was making, Chan ended up waking up too. The young man looked around for a moment, as if he were somewhat disoriented and, then, they exchanged glances.

His heart skipped a beat. He didn't know what would happen from now on. But whatever it was, it scared him. Would Chan just think of it as a fling and would rather forget about it? Or maybe, on the contrary, would he decide to break up with Gwangsuk so he could be with Jun? No matter what happened, Jun would lose something really important to him either way...

Although after this, no matter what happened, losing Gwangsuk was more than guaranteed. Jun doubted he would be able to look at his face again without feeling like the worst person ever in the whole universe.

But even so, that part of him that used to make him feel contradictory feelings all the time, yes, that part...

Wanted Chan to choose him...

"Um..."

The younger boy muttered for a moment and then frowned. Later, he put his hands over his eyes, covering them. Maybe he was going to cry?

"Oh, fuck."

Jun didn't usually hear Chan curse. Maybe the other man never felt comfortable enough with him to let him hear his swearing. That thought made him feel kind of sad.

"My eyes..."

Eyes?

"I didn't remove my contact lenses, arrg."

Okay, he really didn't expect this.

"Are you alright?" He asked as he approached him and sat on the bed.

"Yeah, it's just that... my eyes are irritated, I better take them off now."

"Do you want a contact case? I think I might have an empty one somewhere."

"It’s okay, they were pretty dried out, I'm going to throw them away."

And that was what he did. He took his contacts off and crumpled them on the bedside table on his left. After this, the silence took over the room. Jun had a lot of questions running through his head, but he still didn't dare to ask them. Maybe it was the same for Chan. A couple of minutes passed, and then Jun broke the silence.

"Are you feeling better?"

"Yeah, don't worry," he said while moving a little. "The only thing that bothers me now... is my body.

"Oh."

Okay, that was his fault...

"About last night... do you regret it?"

It wasn't his plan to be so direct about the matter, but in the end, his mouth acted on his own. He looked around for a second, and then fixed his determined gaze on Chan. The latter, however, lowered his head.

"I do."

Obviously.

Jun sighed and nodded. He had seen it coming, that was why he felt so scared to ask about it, but the best was to make things clear from the beginning and try to fi...

"And at the same time, I don't."

Chan looked up again with his cheeks flushed. The boy tried to get closer to Jun, probably to see him better. After all, if he wore contact lenses it meant that he had bad eyesight.

"Last night... was a mistake. But a mistake that happened because I wanted it myself. I'm the only one responsible for this... I..." Jun wanted to say something against that but Chan didn't let him, as he continued. "When you mentioned if I wanted to talk in your apartment... I was aware that there existed a possibility, however small it was that... something could happen. But I didn't care."

"I'm as responsible as you are for what has happened," The older said, trying to make Chan understand that the fault was not only his.

"You're not in a relationship, Jun."

"He's my best friend, you know that, right?"

Chan remained silent as he pressed his lips together. Then, he sighed.

"What are you going to do now?"

That was the most important question going around Jun's head. What was Chan going to do, after reaching to this point? Would he tell Gwangsuk about it? Would he break up with him? Or would he just say this was a fling and that they should keep it a secret?

And Jun?

What about him?

"I'm going to tell him... I have to. But I won't say it was with you. Your friendship is at stake too and... telling him is something you should decide for yourself."

Jun began feeling incredibly nervous all of a sudden. Telling him... of course, he had to do it. No matter how much he would hurt the other... it would be way worse to betray him this way and keep behaving as if nothing had happened. For one thing, he doubted he would be able to do it, his conscience wouldn't allow him to even try anyway.

After that Jun only nodded. He still had thousands of questions he wanted to ask him, though... but he didn't know where to start, he didn't even know if he would be able to do so. His mind was a mess at the moment.

Are you still in love with hyung?

If he doesn't break up with you after knowing what happened, will you stay with him?

 

And me?

 

What am I to you?

Do you love me?

Or do you just like me?

Whatever you're going to do from now on, does it involve me?

Do I even have the right to ask for anything?

 

So many, many questions... and none of them managed to get out of his mouth. He was blocked again. Shyness wasn't the reason. Nor was it insecurity... he just didn't feel like he had the right. Not in those circumstances.

Whatever Chan felt about him... Jun was convinced he was going through the same situation.

"Chan... I..." He said after he gulped. "I'll tell him too... at some point. I wouldn't be able to be at peace with myself if I didn't."

"I understand."

"And..." he added. "I want you to know that it doesn't matter what you decide to do from now on. I will respect it."

The young man seemed surprised at those words, and after a couple of seconds, he nodded.

"Thank you..."

When he heard that, Jun got up and told him that he would leave him some privacy so he could dress up comfortably. Not much later, the young man left Jun's room, still rubbing his eyes. With a somewhat awkward air between them, the older asked him if he wanted to have coffee or something for breakfast, but Chan said he should just go home for now.

It was evident from his attitude that he wanted to leave as soon as possible. Jun didn't know if it was because he felt guilty, or uncomfortable... or maybe because being with Jun last night made him realize it was just a momentary temptation that he could easily forget about now.

And just like that, Jun let him go.

When Chan walked out the door. The older started feeling regret almost instantly. That had been the worst, the craziest idea ever. Why hadn't he been able to control himself? Well, Chan was the one who started this time, but still, Jun should have done something to stop it. He should have told him that if he felt confused, the first thing he should have done was... to make things clear with Gwangsuk.

That would have been the natural order for things to happen if Chan really felt something for Jun. Now any... possibility of doing things right was lost. It seemed that both of them were equally impulsive and stupid.

A continuous and sudden pounding on his door was what got him out of his self-loathing misery. Somewhat confused, Jun looked through the peephole to find Chan... he had returned...

"I-is something wrong?" Jun asked, concerned after opening the door.

"I'm extremely stupid."

"Huh?"

"...I've come by car, but I've thrown away my contact lenses. I can't drive back home..."

"OH. But... don't you have your glasses in your backpack?"

"I use to wear them when I go to class but yesterday I wanted to wear my contacts because..." He suddenly stopped. "...ARG I'm an idiot!" His voice sounded very frustrated, so much that it was kind of funny. "Could you... drive me home using my car?"

Jun bit his lip. Maybe Chan didn't understand by yesterday's conversation when Jun was surprised to hear that the younger already had his own car and license... but he  didn't have his license yet.

"Um... I guess I didn't mention it yesterday, but I don't have a driver license..." He said, scratching his head. "I know how to drive more or less because my father taught me the basics but... the last thing we need today is to get stopped by the police.

Chan opened his eyes wide and then looked at the floor. As if he were thinking about what to do next. Without lenses he couldn't drive, that was obvious, and going by subway would be slightly dangerous too... in that case, Jun could join him, but the boy's car would be still parked in front of Jun's portal.

Well, they could go by subway and, after arriving at his house and taking his contacts or glasses they would go back. A rather cumbersome thing to do, but it there was no other way...

"My brother will kill me if I go home and his car is nowhere to be seen."

Ok, then...

Jun considered his options. The simplest thing would be to call someone who could drive and ask them if they would be willing to help. Like... going to Chan's home to take his glasses and bring them to Jun's apartment... such a weird thing to ask, to be honest. Anyone who knew them both would be very surprised to see the situation and would ask questions for sure.

Calling Gwangsuk was obviously the worst thing they could do. He discarded that idea at once. Hansol and Hyunggeun were busy... Daewon, Euijin, Hojung... they were the best option. But if questions were going to be asked later... perhaps they should just try calling Hojung first.

"Chan... has Hojung hyung ever been to your house?" The boy looked at him, confused. It sounded like a random question indeed. Jun didn't actually think the answer would positive, but the younger man nodded. The friendship between Chan and Hojung was, at the very least, a weird one, they always had this awkward way of treating each other, but at the same time, they got along very well. "I'm asking this because he might be able to go pick your glasses and then bring them here... so you could drive home."

If he thought about it carefully... yeah, it was the best scene. After all, Hojung knew the story behind, and he wouldn't talk about it with anyone else. Him asking questions... was perhaps unavoidable, but at least it would be Hojung, Jun could tell him the truth. Although, he didn't know if he would dare to confess that he had slept with Chan.

After telling his simple plan to Chan, he called Hojung and - thank God - the young man was free at the moment. While waiting for him to arrive, Jun told Chan if he wanted to have breakfast, since he had no choice but to stay in his apartment for the time being. And so they did.

"Do you think that... Hojung hyung will suspect anything?" Chan asked, after taking a sip of his coffee. "Pretty much everyone in the group believes that you dislike me so... won't he find it kind of weird that I'm here?"

"...Maybe..." The other boy answered, hesitantly. Hojung was smart, not to mention that he knew very well that Jun met Chan on Friday. Today, Saturday morning, the younger was in his apartment, not being able to leave because he didn't have glasses nor contacts.

Holy shit. Seen that way it was incredibly obvious that something had happened.

"I don't know what he's going to think but... I already told him that I liked you." He timidly confessed. It seemed like that caught the boy by surprise because he opened his mouth for a moment.

"I see..."

"I only told him, though."

"Don't worry, I don't mind," he sounded sincere.

If it had not been for him, perhaps I wouldn't have dared to talk things over and this wouldn’t have happened . Jun thought, although he didn't say it out loud, of course.

One hour later, Hojung appeared on Jun's portal. Chan hugged and thanked him as if he had saved his life just by bringing him the damn glasses. Then, he put them on and, after exchanging a few words with their hyung, he left in a hurry.

"You should have seen the face of his brother when I asked him if I could take Channie's glasses with me," Hojung said, as they watched the young man start the car and leave.

"Yeah... this whole situation is a real nonsense.”

"I suppose the talk went well then?"

Jun wasn't sure if that question was actually insinuating something, but judging by Hojung's face, the question was an honest one.

If the talk went well... In hindsight it was easy to answer, but...

The truth was that...

"...I don't know... I seriously don't get anything anymore."

"Do you want to rant over it?"

"To be honest, hyung... I don't," so many unanswered questions were enough martyrdom already to even start talking about it and create thousands of hypotheses of what would end up happening or not too.

Most importantly, he didn't dare to ask what he should have asked when he had the opportunity.

He lost his chance.

But how, how was he gonna try to clarify Chan's feelings towards him... when he was still dating Gwangsuk. He just couldn't do it.

"But still..." He said, looking at his hyung. "If you can, please stay, I need to spend the day with a friend so I can forget about all of this for a while."

Hojung nodded and then patted his shoulder.

"Of course I can."

 

 

*

 

 

Jun tried not think too much about what had happened for the rest of the weekend. Sooner or later, that sea of feelings that had overflowed that night without anyone being able to stop it would bring many changes in every single one of their relationships.

It didn't matter if Chan really told Gwangsuk or not.  Jun had to face the situation anyway. He had to confess what he had done.

At least he should if he had at least the slightest respect for Gwangsuk left.

Jun was going to lose his best friend.

And he deserved it.

It was at the beginning of the week that he began thinking that he should meet Gwangsuk as soon as possible. The more he postponed, the worse it would be... both for him and for his hyung, once he found about the betrayal. He didn't want to hide it anymore and he couldn't even imagine himself looking at the older's face and pretending like everything was alright.

Jun wasn't made to be a secret lover, it was clear.

However, after finishing his daily classes and taking his phone so he could text Gwangsuk, he found an alarming message from Hojung instead.

 

-Monday, 25th June- 

Ko Hojung
Jun, have you seen what happened?

Lee Junyoung
???
What?

Ko Hojung
You should read the group chat

 

 

Jun hurried up to see what was going on, feeling a little scared. If Hojung had to come and tell him privately, then it meant that something really big had happened...

Judging by the notifications in the group chat, an hour passed since the last message was sent. Quickly, Jun started to read everything.

At first, he saw nothing weird... dull conversations, jokes, memes, Kijoong complaining about school...

 

But then he saw it.

 

And as soon as he did, he felt a lump in his throat.

 

*Kang Yuchan has left the group chat*

 

Kim Kijoong
O-O
What happened?

Lee Euijin
He probably pressed the button accidentally ㅋㅋ
I’ll ask him

Park Daewon
That happened to me once ㅋㅋㅋ I remember everyone in that group got pissed at me
Some people get mad for no reason

Kim Kijoong
But how do you even press “leave the chatroom” by accident, hyung ㅋㅋㅋ

Park Daewon
HEY, it’s easier than it looks okay

Lee Euijin
Mmm... guys
I just asked him
He really left

Kim Kijoong
O__O
But why??

Park Daewon
Maybe he fought with someone
Whoever is guilty, come out!!

Kim Kijoong
It wasn’t me, I swear
Who wants to bet that it was Jun hyung ㅋㅋ

Lee Hyunggeun
I do ㅎ-ㅎ
Very bad Junnie
You ignored him so much he snapped

Ko Hojung
Maybe it’s something serious, let’s stop with the jokes please

Ji Hansol
What happened?

Kim Kijoong
Chan hyung left the group chat

Oh Gwangsuk
...
You guys, I’m leaving for a while too
I’ll be back soon, okay?
See ya

 


*Oh Gwangsuk has left the chatroom*

 


Kim Kijoong
O-----------O
WHAT IS GOING ON

Park Daewon
Does anyone know what happened?

Ji Hansol
...I have no idea

Kim Kijoong
I'm asking Chan hyung but he's not answering TT

Park Daewon
Should I ask Gwangsuk?

Lee Euijin
Wait, guys, I'm talking to him

Lee Hyunggeun
Chan or hyung?

Lee Euijin
Gwangsuk
Don't badger him with questions
He just told me they broke up

Lee Hyunggeun
Oh shit...
I knew something fishy was going on when Channie didn't go to the exhibition

Lee Euijin
Let's try to not jump to conclusions, ok guys?
They'll explain once they're ready

Lee Hyunggeun
Okay, I'm sorry

Lee Euijin
No, don't worry, I started thinking about that stuff too
But yeah, it will be better if we just wait

 

When he stopped reading, Jun realized that his hands were slightly shaking while holding his phone.

Knowing that he himself was guilty for what was happening, even if he wasn't present at the time was a complete and absolutely terrifying feeling. He didn't comment anything about the matter. He didn't know what to do.

Gwangsuk broke up with Chan. Or maybe it was the other way around. Maybe a mutual agreement.

Maybe Gwangsuk was furious.

Maybe...

Did Chan tell him everything ?

If after something like this, Gwangsuk didn't say anything to Jun... didn't search for any support from his (supposed) best friend after breaking up with his boyfriend…

After a few long minutes, Hojung started calling him, to which Jun replied immediately. Both talked about what just happened. His hyung's voice sounded calm and concise and Jun felt grateful for that. He really wasn't in the position to receive a nervous call or else he'd have freaked out (even more).

"Hyung..." Jun muttered at some point. "All of this is my fault."

"It's not. If this had to happen, then it would have happened sooner or later, no matter what," Hojung said on the other line. "Feelings change, and there is nothing we can do to stop it, neither you, nor Chan, and of course not hyung.

Jun started to bite his lip, still listening to Hojung. He wished it were that simple...

"Right now, the tension seems high but..." The older continued. "You'll see how sooner than you think they will be on good terms again. Maybe not as a couple, but as good friends. This is just how it is. I'm sure that everything will be fixed eventually.

"No... hyung... we..." Jun's voice hesitated. His tongue felt like it was tied. He placed his free hand on his face, terribly ashamed of himself. "...We had sex."

Hojung remained silent after that. He probably reached to his own conclusions, but judging by his silence, he didn't expect what Jun had told him.

"We betrayed him. This isn't something that can be fixed over time," Jun exclaimed. Something in his chest jumping up to his throat.

"Jun..."

"I'm sorry hyung. I'm sure I've disappointed you," his voice sounded harsh and painful. "I never thought I'd be capable of doing such a terrible thing either."

"Calm down, okay? These things... can happen."

"No... these things could happen if he was a stranger. But Gwangsuk is my best friend. This isn't normal. It's not excusable. I don't..."

"Stop, Jun," Hojung raised his voice a little. "I can understand how you feel right now, but tell me, what about Chan? What are you going to do?"

"I have no idea. I don't even know what he thinks about this," he explained, terribly frustrated. "What I do know is that he feels guilty. He also told me that he would tell Gwangsuk hyung what happened, which I guess he already did. But nothing else. I don't have the faintest idea about what does he plan to do from now on..."

"Wait... are you telling me that you...did it just like that? Didn't you ask him anything? About what it meant or... I don't know."

"No... I didn't feel like I had the right to."

"What a mess."

"I screwed up, didn't I."

"It's true that you guys have complicated the situation but... I'll repeat myself. It's time what you need. I'll try to talk to Chan and you... should try to talk to Gwangsuk hyung.

"I was going to do it today... although, I don't know if he wants to see me now," After all Jun had no idea if Gwangsuk knew everything or if, as Chan had told him before, he didn't tell their hyung with whom he spent that night, since he thought Jun should tell himself that it was him.

He should find out on his own.

In the end, he said goodbye to Hojung. It was amazing how, even after knowing what he did, the older still didn't critize or judge him. He spoiled him too much... or maybe he had a strange sense of morality. In any case, Jun felt grateful. If he had received a strong scolding maybe he wouldn't have the strength to call Gwangsuk afterward.

Once the call was finished, Jun looked at the time. Maybe it was too soon to contact him. Should he wait a couple of hours?

 

No.

He had to face it now. The longer he waited, the bigger the betrayal would feel to him.

 

The first thing he did was to send him a text. Gwangsuk wasn't online at the moment so he had to wait. He used that time to go back home since he was still at his college. In the subway he checked his messages continuously, to see if the older had answered him, but he didn't receive anything yet.

When he reached home, he decided to call him directly. However, it didn't matter how many times he tried, Gwangsuk had his phone turned off.

Jun tried to not think negatively about it. He supposed the main reason the older didn't appear anywhere was that he probably felt overwhelmed by questions from everyone and decided to get rid of his phone for the moment.

When the afternoon came, the young man sat in the living room, in front of the TV. He kind of wanted to send a message to Chan... and ask him if the reason for the break up was, indeed, because of what happened between them.

He didn't have time to decide if asking him or not would be a good idea since he finally received a response from is hyung. The message Jun left him earlier had been a simple -Can we talk?-. He didn't say anything about what, nor why. It could very well have been a text from someone who was just worried about his friend after hearing that he broke up with his significant other.

That would have been the normal set of circumstances.

But no...

In any case, Gwangsuk's answer was equally concise. He just said -Ok-. Nothing more, nothing less. He probably wasn't in the mood to decorate his texts (which would be more than understandable given the situation). There was the other possibility, though...

Jun reached the conclusion that it would be best to stop rambling on things he couldn't be sure of.

The young man told him to meet each other in Hongdae's playground that night. It was a place they used a lot to meet up, especially before, when they used to hang out more often. Jun realized how much time passed since the last time they did... they used to hang out practically every day, and if not, then at least once a week.

It was a fact, though, that things had changed between them. The last time they met face to face was in the exhibition, and it already felt... weird.

Jun looked at his phone screen and saw that Gwangsuk was okay with the hour and the place.

After a couple of hours, the young man was already waiting in Hongdae, watching people go by while sitting on a bench. He had arrived a few minutes earlier than he should have. He didn't know how Gwangsuk would react to the... news . But there was a thing he was sure of, and it was that their friendship was done for. Those few minutes of waiting felt like... the last moments before closing a friendship that lasted for years.

All of that because he let himself get carried away without thinking about the consequences.

Lost in his own thoughts, he didn't realize Gwangsuk had arrived until the latter tapped on his shoulder. It was then when he looked up (since he was sitting) to meet the eyes of the older man.

"Hey..." Gwangsuk greeted him, in a lazy way.

"Hyung..." Jun said after seeing him, getting up in a rather harsh manner and surprising the other in the process. "You're... here.

"Why are you so agitated," Gwangsuk commented, visibly confused. "I guess Euijin hyung told you guys everything... but you don't have to act like that, I'll feel more awkward if you do."

 

Oh.

Oh...

He didn't know.

 

"Actually..." Jun started, somewhat embarrassed. "Euijin hyung only told us that you broke up with Chan."

But I know what happened. He should have said out loud, but he didn't dare. Yet.

"I see..."

"Do you.... want to sit?" He said, pointing to the same bench he had been sitting on.

Gwangsuk nodded and they both sat down. Jun looked around and then sighed deeply. It was time to talk about it.

But his hyung talked first.

"I knew it would happen..." he muttered. "Especially considering our relationship these past few months... I was already coming to terms with it."

The young man didn't say anything, he just listened to him. But his heart started beating like crazy.

"He started acting very weird. I wanted to think it was because I didn't pay attention to him... I told you, right?" Jun remembered it, but he didn't say anything nor reacted. "But that was just me being positive about it... actually...I knew he was getting further away from me. And as I said, a part of me just accepted it... I even thought the best would be to give us some time."

Gwangsuk shrugged and looked at the ground for a moment. The warm breeze started to feel suffocating. They were already in the last days of June and the summer had begun.

And yet, Jun felt completely cold inside.

"But when I talked to Chan about it yesterday he told me that he..." Gwangsuk stopped talking for a long while. He took a deep breath and then continued. "He has been with another person."

Judging by his tone, it was obvious he felt extremely angry over it. Jun swallowed and kept listening to his hyung. He knew that the time was approaching...

"He wasn't even capable of breaking up with me before doing so. If he had any doubts about our relationship, he should have told me earlier... but no. He just goes a finds himself another guy... or girl. I don't even know. He didn't dare to tell me who he or she was. Does he think I'm going to make a scene to that person or something? Or maybe he's ashamed. I have no idea."

"Hyung..."

"And the worst thing is that I don't even know since when. I don't know if it was just a fling or if he's been two-timing. It makes me sick just by imagining how long has it been since he's started deceiving me. I can understand if he wants to end our relationship, but he should have explained himself better... and he didn't want to. He just wanted to break up and forget about everything like a coward."

"He hasn’t been two-timing you."

"What?" Gwangsuk looked at him, confused. Jun just averted his gaze.

"It happened two days ago. He told you the next day."

"But... what are you saying? How do you even know? Did he te..."

"It was me."

Jun finally said it. It was just a second. Three words. So incredibly easy and difficult at the same time. Little by little, he looked at Gwangsuk again. The older man was completely startled. His face telling him that he didn't understand a word. Or didn't want to.

"I'm the person, hyung."

 



I’m so sorry.

Chapter Text

It was commonly said that when a person let out a truth that was eating them up inside, the first thing they would feel afterward would be relief. No matter how bad the truth was, getting closure to such an old sorrow would be a positive feeling.

Jun supposed that depending on the circumstances, it wasn't always the case.

Instead, what he felt was sorrow. The confusion his best friend showed in his face was incredibly painful... the fact that his earliest reaction was pure and complete bewilderment meant that he really didn't expect Jun to have anything to do with what happened.

While it was true that he also felt somehow at ease since he managed to be sincere to his friend... the longer it took him to react, the more Jun knew that things were going to get very very ugly.

At first, Gwangsuk looked at him as if Jun had suddenly started speaking in another language and he couldn't understand a single word. After that, the younger repeated his words. It was then when the other man got up from the bench where both of them were sitting on. Jun stared at him, closely, and judging by his expression... the poor man didn't know what to do, or say.

He probably didn't even know what to think about this.

Jun got up too. When he did so Gwangsuk took a few steps back away from him. He didn’t take his eyes off him, though.

"Are you serious?" The older boy asked, still glancing at him as if Jun had just told him he was an alien or something. "...I know you wouldn't joke about something like this but... you are way less capable of..." he didn't finish the statement. Most likely because he didn't want to put in into words. "Jun. What the heck. It is a joke then?"

Jun shook his head, unable to pronounce a word after that. Gwangsuk's gaze darkened. Still as lost as ever.

"No. I just... don't get anything. Why would you...?" He paused. "You don't like him. You never liked him."

His confusion was easy to understand... Jun had always tried to avoid Chan ever since he first met him. Everyone knew about it. As much as Jun made the attempt to disguise his -apparent- dislike as much as possible, the truth was that everyone in the group had been aware of it. And, of course, the one who noticed it the most, apart from Chan, had been Gwangsuk himself.

"That... might have been what it looked like but, to be honest... I..." Jun didn't know whether to explain his feelings or to continue listening to the other man. He had to make Gwangsuk understand what really occurred but at the same time... it was so hard...

"Did he... convince you?" Gwangsuk said, still trying to follow the conversation and reach out to the truth by himself. "Maybe you guys got drunk or something and... he tried to seduce you...?"

"Hyung... what."

That last question felt especially painful for Jun. Even after telling Gwangsuk that he had slept with his (now) ex-boyfriend, the older actually tried to justify him, to put the blame on Chan if necessary. He was trying to find, almost unconsciously, an excuse for Jun, so what the latter did wasn't as horrible.

But there was none.

Yes, he let himself get carried away. But at the time he had been fully aware of what he was doing.

"I just don't get it, Jun. I know you. You wouldn't be able to do something like that with a person you don't even like... there is something very weird going on. I'm sure."

Jun closed his eyes and sighed.

"You know me. That's true. But... that doesn't mean that there aren't things I've hidden from you."

Gwangsuk frowned. The last sentence Jun said finally caused him to leave the state of shock behind and to put himself on alert. The younger's hands trembled slightly, so he closed his fists. Then, he looked into Gwangsuk's eyes.

"I'm in love with Chan."

Instead of showing surprise, what Gwangsuk did after hearing that last sentence was to snort. As if he found the situation absolutely ridiculous. Jun didn't know if he should try to say anything else but, before he could even try, he got startled as the older man approached him and grabbed his jacket.

Gwangsuk’s expression had changed completely.

"And when the hell did that happen. Jun," he sounded cold and angry, but he still didn't raise his voice at him. "When." He repeated. "You spend a whole year treating my boyfriend like a fucking ghost and now you're saying that you slept with him and, all of a sudden, you're in love with him? Do you realize how stupid that sounds?"

"I know it sounds stupid but... it's not true that it happened all of a sudden..." He shook his head, noticing how Gwangsuk's grip was getting slightly stronger. "I've always liked him. But I knew that I shouldn't so... I wanted to convince myself that I just wasn't fond of Chan so I made the attempt to avoid him. I tried to put some distance between us because I knew that if I didn't..."

"You would end up fucking him just like you did? Oh, wow, Jun, you deserve a medal, you have endured so much," He said sarcastically as he released him with disdain.

"N-no! I never thought something like that could ever... That happened because..."

Because...

...

How could he explain what he had felt at that moment? What made him to stop listening to his own rational thoughts and to ignore his own moral?

Was there even a good answer to that?

The easiest thing would be to say that they got carried away. But to be honest... it was way more complicated than just that. At least on Jun's part.

It felt like a time bomb inside of him just... detonated after a very very long time of keeping his own feelings under control.

An explosion similar to the first kiss that took place on that rainy night when he confessed to Chan. Which was the consequence of repressing himself and his feelings for almost a year...

"I don't care..." Gwangsuk said, tired of waiting for an answer. The young man looked highly disappointed. "I don't care anymore."

"I'm really sorry."

"No matter how much you feel sorry now... there were... thousands of ways you could have faced this, you know? If only you had told me before...and Chan broke up with me earlier... I won't say I wouldn't have been hurt, but this? How am I supposed to react to this?"

Jun didn't know what to say to that. There were no excuses. At the time he thought that what he was doing, not saying anything about his feelings and distancing himself... was the right thing to do. But after seeing the outcome it was obvious that he should have done things in a very different way.

In any case...

It was too late.

"Tell me, what should I do?" The older man continued, in an outburst. "Forgive you and pretend as if nothing has happened? Put yourself in my shoes, that's just impossible..." He weakly said and took a deep breath. "I don't know... what you expected."

"I just wanted you... to know the truth."

"You did it for me? Or for yourself?" Jun was caught by surprise after hearing that. "Because it sounds to me like you wanted to stop feeling guilty. You let it out, you apologize, you forget about it and it's over, so easy, right?"

"What... of course I don..."

"No, that's enough." Gwangsuk began to turn around, slowly, while he avoided looking at Jun, but in the end their eyes met once last time. "That's it, I don't need to hear anything else."

"I didn't... do it for myself..."

"Who cares about that Jun.."

And after those words and a last sharp glare, Gwangsuk turned around completely and started leaving the place without looking back. The younger man lowered his head, staring at the ground. He wasn't able to keep looking at the way the other was getting farther and farther away.

Right there, accompanied by a silence that was immediately followed by the sound of the cicadas, on that warm summer night...

Jun was left alone, feeling completely empty.

He had known in advance that things would end up like this. But it didn't matter, it hurt all the same. His grief was tearing him apart.

It was no surprise but... he had hurt Gwangsuk.

A lot.

 

 

*

 

 

From that day onwards, everything only went from bad to worse.

The month of July arrived. And with it, the short and well-deserved summer vacations. And although it was the perfect opportunity to say goodbye to the overwhelming classes and the university projects, Jun didn't feel excited in the slightest. He actually watched his days off with a certain apathy.

He didn't receive any real news from Gwangsuk since the last time he saw him. Jun knew that he was angry with him, that was pretty obvious. He also knew that the older didn't want to do anything with Chan either. He had only been able to find out about that information because he asked Euijin and, with some hesitation, he ended up telling Jun a couple of things.

Nobody in the group wanted to intervene since they didn't want to complicate things any further. Jun understood the reason why. Apart from Euijin and Hojung, no one else knew what really occurred. Nor the infidelity part... nor the fact that Jun had been the one who got himself in the middle of their relationship. If Hojung knew about it, it was because Jun had told him before. And Euijin was closer to Gwangsuk so... of course he ended up finding out everything. The others only came to know that something had happened and that if anything about it was mentioned, then the whole situation would get really awkward all of a sudden.

Hojung, who tried to talk to Chan about his thoughts on the matter, told Jun that the boy really needed time to clear his mind and, above everything else, to stop feeling like trash. From that moment on, Chan's contact with the whole group was practically nonexistent. According to what he had told Hojung, and Hojung had told Jun after, Chan was afraid that because of him, the group would split in two. After all, it was Gwangsuk who introduced them to the younger boy when they started dating. So... he just backed away.

Jun felt really sad after hearing about that decision. While it was true that it was thanks to Gwangsuk that Chan met everyone in the group, the boy managed to be a vital part of it. He managed to not get addressed as -the boyfriend of- but as a friend. He befriended everyone on his own. Maybe not Jun, but that turned out because... well, because of the whole story behind them. But the rest of the group? They loved him just as much as any other.

Besides, even if Chan tried to disappear so he wouldn't -destroy what already existed before he appeared-, the group began to drift away little by little anyway. Everything was in vain. Gwangsuk didn't show himself in the group chat anymore. He never made any plans for them to hang out together. Not even if Jun and Chan weren't included... and therefore, the others didn't know what to do so they got themselves busy.

It was then when Jun really noticed how important Gwangsuk was in the group. He was the one who kept everyone together. The core. And without him... everyone going on their own was somehow unavoidable...

Everything came about gradually. As the days and weeks passed... Jun saw what was happening with his friends and only then, he realized the consequences of his own actions.

Of course that he didn't think that after what he did, after the pain he made Gwangsuk go through, he deserved that everything would remain the same as ever... but it wasn't until he observed the whole situation that he wasn't really aware of how much it would affect his surroundings. It wasn't something that concerned just him, nor Chan, nor Gwangsuk. It was affecting the entire group.

Jun felt terrible about it. He had been so selfish. So damn selfish. If only he had talked things better... if only he had been more sincere.

If only...

Hojung always told him that time healed everything... but it was also true that when you let so many days, weeks, and even months pass... your relationship with others could grow very distant as you lose contact.

And as for losing contact...

He himself didn't talk to Chan ever again. He didn't know if he could... or if by doing so he would be acting badly again. If it would be just... wrong. On Chan's part... well, he didn't dare to contact Jun either.

Or maybe he just didn't want to do it.

Jun kept thinking about whether it was really over between them or not... The pessimistic part of Jun told himself that it was just what he deserved. While the other part, as always... just wanted to see him. Since the summer vacations started and he didn't have to go to his college, he didn't meet him by chance either, but he really wanted to talk to him again.

Although he also felt somewhat fearful and insecure... what if Chan just wanted to forget about everything that had happened with both Gwangsuk and Jun? Nothing tied them anymore. Neither the group, not even friendship between them. There was nothing.

When he told Hojung about those uncertain thoughts about what to do, feel or even believe, the latter told him that he should take advantage of the outbursts about wanting to see the other young man to just do it and stop talking nonsense. That he should stop losing opportunities, especially after receiving the punishment of losing Gwangsuk's friendship. But every time Jun felt like he was willing to do it, to talk to Chan and leave his indecision behind...

His mind would remind him of Gwangsuk.
And that prevented him from doing anything.

Because… in the hypothetical case Jun started dating Chan and Gwangsuk found out by chance. How would he feel? The older man didn't want to know anything about them and he had decided to put an end to their friendship... but that didn't mean Jun didn't care about what he might feel now.

He didn't want to hurt him anymore.

Even if that meant he had to give up on Chan.

In the end, the days kept passing as he did nothing. Jun took the opportunity to get rid of his problems momentarily and tried to have fun with his family for the rest of his summer holidays. His younger sister tried to ask him about what was happening in his life since she was an intuitive person and Jun felt quite transparent to her eyes. But even so, the boy didn't want his sister to know anything about all of that drama so he only told her he was fighting with his friends.

It wasn't exactly a lie. But at the same time it was so far from the truth...

Jun kept contact with Hansol, Hyunggeun and Hojung, mainly as the days passed. Hansol and Hyunggeun didn't ask anything about the matter, as they stayed clueless. From time to time, though, they used to complain about how much they missed the others and how they were growing distant. Even so, they didn't seem to realize that this was more than just a temporary quarrel in the group.

On the other hand, one of the hyungs that Jun stopped seeing as much as before was Euijin. They used to text each other every so often and it was him who told Jun about how Gwangsuk was doing, although he never went in detail. But in person... that was a whole nother story. Both of them had always had a great relationship, they got along pretty well, but at the same time Euijin was way closer to Gwangsuk (they had been a couple once, after all). So, as he knew what exactly did happen, it was clear that he would be on Gwangsuk's side.

Well, if he thought about it... it didn't even matter if he was closer to one or another, any person who heard about what Jun and Chan did to Gwangsuk would obviously take the latter's side.

For that very reason, when the month of September came and classes started again, Jun was surprised to find Euijin, face to face, in the door of his apartment.

The older man told him that he had wanted to see him in person for a while already, because he'd like to know how he was doing. And since he was walking around Jun's neighborhood, he had decided to stop by just in case Jun was home.

And yeah, coincidentally, he really found the young man home on his own... and just after arriving from college. It sounded suspicious.

Hojung probably intervened.

Jun let him in and they both sat down to talk about their vacations in a casual way while they drank some coffee. The younger boy supposed that Euijin's visit wasn't as spontaneous as he wanted him to believe, and that if he was there it was because he wanted to have a serious talk about Gwangsuk... or what happened. Nevertheless, and after a long time talking about Euijin's job, it was Jun who mentioned the subject first.

"So... how is Gwangsuk hyung? I guess you guys have been in touch..."

Euijin smiled and nodded, putting himself more comfortable on the sofa as he spoke.

"He's fine. More than fine, actually," he said while he sighed. "I almost forced him to get into my street dance classes this summer, so he could evaluate my students."

"Evaluate?"

Jun was surprised to hear that. It had been a long time since Gwangsuk last danced. He focused all of his attention to his conventional art for the past year, but it was true that he also loved to dance and that he was very good at it.

"He stopped dancing for a while, but it did him very good to go back to it, even if it's just as a hobby now. My students love him and have learned a lot from him... and I think Gwang has breathed new life. He's been obsessing too much about the success of his art," Euijin sighed again. "Which isn't bad per se, after all he's making a name for himself... but focusing so much, to the point of frustration is not healthy."

The younger man felt rather relieved to know that Gwangsuk was doing well. Euijin was taking good care of him, apparently.

"I'm glad..." Jun muttered. "I was worried that he would still be feeling down for... everything."

"I won't lie to you, July and part of August... were bad months for him..." Euijin looked away for a moment, as if he was remembering. "But he's way better now. There is no comparison, to be honest," he reassured Jun.

"Thank you for telling me, hyung."

Euijin grinned at him, with his usual affable and sweet smile. He shook his head, playing the matter down and gave him a friendly nudge.

"And what about you? It's been ages since we've talked to each other and I have no idea how you're doing. Whenever I meet Daewon or Kijoong and ask them, they say they don't really know much either and you can't even imagine how difficult it is for Hojung to let on."

"Me?" He pointed to himself. "I'm... doing... okay I guess. These past few months haven't been the best, if I'm honest."

"The king of social relationships having a bad time in summer?" He exclaimed, jokingly. "How it's that even possible?"

"Let's say...I haven't been in the mood for much," the young man threw himself on the back of the sofa and shrugged. Euijin stopped smiling, showing a worried expression and, after looking at him carefully, he ended up asking.

"And Chan? Is he doing well?"

Jun stared at his hyung, bewildered by that question. Euijin knew everything. Yes. But until now he never asked Jun anything about the youngest boy. Maybe because he didn't feel it was the right thing for him to do... or because he didn't want to meddle in other people's business.

"I don't know... I haven't seen him ever since that happened." He said, sincerely.

"What?"

Euijin opened his mouth, stunned, as if he didn't expect such an answer. Then he frowned, thoughtfully. Jun got scared after seeing that reaction, so he sat up a little.

"What... what's wrong."

"I thought you two would be dating each other by now."

That was Jun's turn to be open-mouthed.

"How could we date after doing that to Gwangsuk hyung?"

"But Gwangsuk told m..."

Euijin fell silent, interrupting himself. Still, after what he had said, it was obvious how the sentence would end. Gwangsuk thought that the two of them started dating after what happened?

In the end he let out his thoughts out loud.

"Hyung thinks we're dating?"

After nodding, Euijin crossed his arms and moved one of his fingers in a fairly nervous way, as if he were studying the situation. Meanwhile Jun scratched his head, not understanding what was the big deal about this.

"Must have been a misunderstanding on his part. I'll make sure he knows about this... but I'm going to ask you something... if it weren't for Gwangsuk, would you have tried to start going out with him?"

That question, taking into account the circumstances they were in, felt somewhat painful for Jun. Nevertheless, it didn't take too long for him to answer with a simple "yes". At least on his part, he would have been very willing to be with the other boy if it wasn't because... of everything else. But he was already tired of so many "ifs". The past was the past and there was nothing he could do now, apart from accepting his fate.

After that affirmation, both of them remained silent for a while. Then Euijin changed the subject in a hurry, as if nothing had happened, leaving Jun even more disoriented. Even so, he didn't ask anything about the reason behind his question.

About an hour later, the older man said he was leaving. But not before telling Jun that he would contact him soon.

It had been kind of weird, but still. Jun was glad that he had the chance to see his hyung in person after all this time.

 

 

*

 

 

 -Saturday, 29th September--

Lee Euijin
Jun
Jun, Jun, Jun

Lee Junyoung
Hyung

Lee Euijin
Do you remember what we talked about the other day
Well, we talked about lots of things
But the stuff about telling Gwangsuk what you said
It's done

Lee Junyoung
I see
Thank you
It must have been hurting him all this time
It's better if he knows

Lee Euijin
I guess
But...

Lee Junyoung
Hm?

Lee Euijin
Now he wants to talk to you
And at the same time he doesn't want to
He can't make up his mind

Lee Junyoung
Talk to me?

Lee Euijin
Yeah

Lee Junyoung
I... dunno why would he even want to talk to me now
Unless it's to call me a bastard
In that case, if he needs to vent it out, he can do it

Lee Euijin
No, no
It's not because of that
If he talked to you... it would be composedly
No insults, probably ㅋㅋ

Lee Junyoung
In that case...

Lee Euijin
He still doesn't know if he really wants to or not
Maybe I'll convince him ㅋㅋ
I think I can do it

Lee Junyoung
But don’t force him, hyung

Lee Euijin
No, don't worry
He's just being stubborn
I'll keep you informed, okay??

Jun reread those messages again and again. It had been a couple of days since Euijin told him that, and he still didn't know what to expect. If Gwangsuk wanted to talk to him composedly... maybe it was to try to fix, in some way, the extremely awkward state they left the whole group in. Knowing how he was, and Jun knew him well enough, the older man probably wanted to keep the circle of friends together, no matter if his friendship with Jun was over. After all, Gwangsuk was the kind of person who placed the welfare of others above his own...

Whatever it was that he wanted, Jun would listen to him attentively...if he really contacted him, of course. There existed the possibility that in the end Gwangsuk had changed his mind and Euijin couldn't do anything to convince him otherwise. If that situation took place, Jun would also respect it.

It passed almost a month since he received those texts from Euijin until he finally got to hear any news about that -talk that Gwangsuk wanted to have with him-. Euijin called Jun on the phone and told him that he and Gwangsuk were going to be the in the academy where Euijin used to teach his street dancing the whole week. And that if Jun wanted, he could get there on Thursday or Friday as long as it started to get dark so they could talk to each other once his students went back home.

On Friday at noon, Jun texted Euijin letting him know that he would go to the academy that night. As he was more or less mentalized of what he could expect from that talk, his wasn't as nervous as usual…

At least at the beginning.

He had previously been to the academy before. A long time ago he went a couple of times to see one of the many classes his hyung did (it was an incredible performance, after all). When he arrived at the room where the elder used to teach his dancing, he heard some noisy voices inside, so he guessed that the students didn't leave yet. It was a really intensive class apparently, since it was already nine o'clock.

He waited by the door. The fact that Euijin was going to be there as well reassured him in some way... it was strange. Gwangsuk had always been the person he felt most comfortable with... and now just by thinking about being alone with him was quite scary.

Things surely had changed...

Suddenly, he heard the door opening by his side and he hurried to check out if it was because the students were leaving the room. But only one person left. A student, Jun guessed, when he saw how the small boy put on his cap in a distracted manner. He closed the door behind him and walked to the opposite side of the corridor Jun was.

"Oh, excuse me," Jun said, drawing his attention. Since the boy left the same room Euijin was, why not asking him how much was left until the class was done for today? "Do you know when the class will fini...?"

Then, the boy turned around and both of them exchanged glances.

It was Gwangsuk.

The surprise of confusing the older man with a minor, mixed up with the hysteria of seeing him face to face without any warning, made Jun's body to react in the worst way possible.

Laughing.

As soon as he snorted, Jun covered his face, trying to pretend he was coughing. God, what a stupid reflex mechanism.

Someone kill me please. He thought.

As much as he had tried to hide what he did, judging by Gwangsuk's confused face, he noticed the extremely stupid laugh.

"Ahem..." Jun cleared his throat. "I just... kind of confused you with a student."

Great, Lee Junyoung. What a perfect way to keep screwing things up.

Gwangsuk rolled his eyes and then sighed, approaching him in a slow way.

"Do you know what's the worst part? That it's not the first time that it happens..."

"I see... I guess that means you look young, which is... a good thing?"

"Both you and I know it's because of my height..."

It it wasn't because of the awkward as heck atmosphere that was going on at the moment, anyone would say they were having a rather... jokingly? Conversation. But no, it was way too uncomfortable to be the case. Jun looked again at the closed door of the room where Euijin was teaching his students, without knowing what to say or what to do. The noise inside of the room indicated that they didn't finish yet...

He almost didn't dare to look at Gwangsuk's face. 
But he could tell Gwangsuk was staring directly at him.

"I wanted to talk to you."

"I know. Euijin hyung told me... and well,” Jun answered. “Here I am.”

"Hyung will probably finish in an hour or so. I wanted us to talk on our own, though... so..." He paused for a moment and then looked around. "Follow me."

Gwangsuk started to walk along the long corridor and Jun followed him, swallowing saliva. Euijin wasn't going to be present in their talk... that was just wonderful. Yeah, Euijin had told him that Gwangsuk wanted to have a relaxed conversation, with no insults and yet…

He wasn't sure if he was going to survive this...

Chapter Text

If it were not for the continuous noise he could hear from the side rooms in the hallway they were walking in, Jun was convinced that his own heartbeat would be audible enough for anyone to hear as long as they were walking by his side.

Gwangsuk, who was a couple of steps ahead of him, kept walking in search for a quiet place where they could have their long-awaited talk , or at least that was what Jun supposed he was doing. After a while, the older stopped for a few seconds in a coffee machine and turned around to ask Jun if he wanted something.

The younger man, caught by surprise, decided to reject the drink. Gwangsuk, on the other hand, bought himself one. Jun thought for a moment that the other boy didn't seem to be agitated at all... but when he got his coffee and didn't wait a single second to take a sip, burning his tongue in the process... Jun guessed that Gwangsuk was more nervous than he looked like…

In the end, Gwangsuk led him to an empty room full of tables. The older boy opened the door and turned on the lights, looking around and telling him to take a sit wherever he wanted.

"It's the cafeteria of this academy. It's closed at this hour on Fridays," he explained before Jun could say anything.

"And we can be here just like that?" He asked, somewhat confused.

"Teachers can, Euijin hyung lent me the keys," Gwangsuk said while he left them on a table. "I'm V.I.P here, you know," he said, quite proud of himself.

"Yeah... he told me you're dancing again and that you're now helping him with his classes," Jun commented as he sat at one of the tables.

"That's right, I'm helping him. Our dancing styles are kind of different... and at first I was a little rusty, but I'm having fun," he said, sitting in front of Jun and placing the coffee in the middle of the table.

"I'm glad..."

A small silence took over the room. Jun looked through the window for a moment, aware that Gwangsuk didn't bring him there to have a casual chat about what had they done those last few months they didn't talk to each other. But even so, it felt so good to talk about it and just ignore... everything else.

"I guess you're wondering why I wanted to talk to you..." Gwangsuk said after taking a distracted sip of his coffee once again.

Jun nodded.

"I've been..." The young man started, hesitating at first. "Thinking about stuff for a long time and... well, you have probably realized what is happening right now with everyone too."

Jun looked at his hyung for a moment. He placed his hands on the table and began to play with his own fingers, rather doubtful.

"Are you referring to the fact that the group is becoming distant?"

"Yes, more or less. I guess everyone has noticed by now," the older started to adjust his cap a little and, in the end, he took it off. "I feel bad over it because... I think it's my fault."

"No."

Jun replied almost instantly. He wasn't going to let Gwangsuk blame himself for something that had been the natural course of events for what Jun had done wrong since the very beginning.

"If someone is at fault, that's me. I know that without you... everyone ends up going by their own... but the reason you weren't in the mood to keep everyone together was my own doing... well, ours."

Gwangsuk's eyes gleamed for an instant, understanding that reference to Chan, even though Jun didn't mention him directly.

"Yeah... I guess that, in a way, you're right," Gwangsuk took a breath and smiled in spite of himself. "Which brings me to the real reason I wanted to talk."

Jun swallowed saliva and waited patiently for his hyung to continue.

"After what you told me that day... about your feelings and the long time you've spent trying to ignore them. I was convinced that both you and Chan would start dating each other in the blink of an eye."

Jun weakly bowed his head. Euijin told him the same thing almost a month ago... which made him ask himself; why were they so sure about that? Okay, maybe on Jun's part... and if they left the whole mess with Gwangsuk behind... yeah, it's true that he would have started going out with him if he could. But what about Chan? After finishing a one-year relationship, how could he just start another one just like that? Jun wasn't even sure about the younger's feelings about him or Gwangsuk anymore. Even less now that several months had passed since that happened.

He really didn't know anything.

"But Euijin hyung told me that when he asked you, you had no idea of what he was doing... and I don't know... if it's because of me or not. That's why I wanted to talk to you."

"I... was afraid that if I tried anything with him, I could hurt you again..." Jun sincerely said. He didn't try to put the blame on Gwangsuk, he just wanted to tell him what he really thought at the time. "So I didn't dare. Destroying your relationship was bad enough already."

"I'm gonna be honest with you... I do think that you were the breaking point that made our relationship go kaput."

Something in Jun's chest jumped up to his throat after hearing that, but Gwangsuk didn't finish yet.

"But still..." he continued. "I think it was inevitable," the man finished his coffee and left in on one side of the table. "And that if everything was done terribly bad and ended in a disaster was precisely because everyone tried to avoid it until...it exploded."

"What... what are you trying to say?"

"A part of me knew that something was going on. Why do you think I stopped insisting on you hanging out with me and Chan, just the three of us?"

Huh?

The young man was surprised at those words. He remembered the time when the three of them used to hang out together... and the reason why they stopped. He frowned, not understanding what Gwangsuk really meant. If that came to an end was because of Jun. After all, he started canceling the plans whenever Gwangsuk told him Chan would join them since he didn't want to see them together (although, at the time he really didn't understand the reason why he didn't want to be left alone with the couple).

"I thought you... came to the conclusion that I didn't like Chan, so you didn't want to bother me," Jun exclaimed.

"That had something to do with it, of course. But the real truth is that... I was afraid Chan would fall in love with you," as soon as he heard that, Jun opened his eyes wide. "...Every single time you didn't show up, his disappointment was enormous. Too damn much, especially considering how you always kept ignoring him…”

Jun frowned, Gwangsuk sure liked to remember him how awful he used to act to Chan.

Well, he probably deserved it.

“Something inside of me suspected that he… liked you more than he probably should,” Gwangsuk continued. “But that was just on his part, I never imagined that you too…”

"Hyung I..." Jun said, interrupting him almost unintentionally, but he needed to say it. "I'm really sorry. It should have never happened."

"It's been months, it has fallen behind..." He said in a calm voice and with a serene expression. "There are certain things... that will take more time for me to forget. But honestly speaking, I saw it coming. Not what happened between you two, but that our relationship was falling apart, I already told you so. At the time I was hurt when we had to break up but... in hindsight, I think it was the best decision."

An uncomfortable silence took over again. Jun reconsidered the older man's words and remembered everything Hojung had always been trying to tell Jun ever since the latter confessed his feelings for Chan to him. He kept implying that Chan seemed to have been feeling the same way for him for quite a long time, even though the younger man didn't realize it himself...

Now, even Gwangsuk was telling him that he had been afraid Chan would have fallen in love with him if they continued spending time together... that the signs were always there...

Feelings are born, and they are what they are. Hojung had told him long ago. Sometimes they change. Sometimes... they were always there and because of something, they suddenly wake up.

"But I'm going to tell you something..." Gwangsuk suddenly said. "Since it happened anyway, it'd better be for a good damn reason."

"What do you mean?"

"Me telling you about my fears of Chan falling for you… I'm doing it so you can realize that at least on his part, it was unavoidable," he took a deep breath. "It had been there for quite some time now. And I was aware of it. The last time you and I talked... when we were at the park... I was upset and I felt betrayed... because even though I did think Chan liked you that way... I had no idea it was the same for you too. I didn't expect it at all, and it made me really angry so I didn't want to tell you any of this."

Jun tried to say something, but Gwangsuk didn't let him, as he continued.

"But even so, I didn't think that you two would just stop talking to each other... then what was the point?"

"...Hyung..."

"No, listen to me... what I want to say is that... I will even feel offended if, after all, it was just a one night stand that took place because you guys were horny bastards. That would be an extremely shitty reason for everything I've suffered... and you too," the man shook his head and stared at him. "If at least you tell me it was because of something passionate and corny... like — what we felt was so strong and unstoppable that it just happened ," he said, imitating someone's (presumably Jun) voice. "Then it would be... excusable in some degree. But if you guys just go on your own way after all… then..."

"No," Jun answered immediately. "On my part I felt... and I do feel that way. If it wasn't so I would have never. Ever," he emphasized. "Done that," maybe it sounded like an excuse, however, Jun was being completely honest. "But I had no idea how Chan felt... and I felt so guilty I didn't think I had the right to even try getting into a relationship with him after what we did."

"I'm sorry Jun but that sounds like cowardly bullshit to me. Do something already!"

Gwangsuk hit the table as a reinforcement to his last words. But it was not aggressive, in fact, the older man didn't seem to be angry at all... it almost looked like he was trying to be funny.

His heart skipped a beat. He doubted he deserved such a positive treatment from the older man and yet...

That attitude, that look. He could recognize the Gwangsuk in front of him perfectly.

"I can't... believe you're the one who's telling me this..."

Jun began to notice how his own hand was trembling. He wasn't completely sure, but something inside of him was telling him that perhaps life was giving him the opportunity to get back Gwangsuk's friendship. Maybe not immediately. Maybe not as it was before.

And yet...

"And I can't believe you've stayed still like this," Gwangsuk said, shaking his head disapprovingly. "Seriously Jun, you spend a few months without me and look at the big mess you're dragging."

"They were horrible months," Jun muttered.

"You're telling me."

"I'm sorry..."

"The sooner you stop apologizing, the sooner we can leave it behind," Gwangsuk said, giving him a half smile.

"Leave it behind? Are you serious?"

Gwangsuk nodded.

"What I really want right now... is to get back the most important thing I've lost," the younger man watched him, almost not believing what he was hearing. "And that is both you and Chan. I miss you both. I miss the whole group being close to each other," he paused and, with determination in his eyes, he reached to Jun's hand. "I got over it and... I'd like if you guys did it too."

The younger opened his eyes wide, suddenly feeling a terrible urge to cry. His hyung's strength was overwhelming. Jun knew that after all, Gwangsuk was older than him, that he had more years of experience and maturity, but still... he doubted he could ever be as understanding as he was being, no matter how many years passed. To be strong enough to fix what others have messed up in the first place.

He admired Gwangsuk so much. He already did it before, but the older man was still able to keep surprising him again and again. To remind him why he was such an inspiration for so many people.

"I miss you too," Jun said, with tearful eyes. When Gwangsuk saw that Jun was starting to cry, he laughed at him and started mimicking his broken voice.

That left him speechless.

It was then when Euijin appeared, opening the door and claiming that his students already left and that he only wanted to check how things were doing. However, after taking a glimpse of the scene that was taking place right before his eyes, Jun's crying face and Gwangsuk's amusement, he started to laugh at him too.

They had just reconciled and Jun already wanted to kill them. Both of them... but that murdering feeling, ironically, was something very positive.

The fact that Gwangsuk was behaving like an idiot in front of him... meant the world to Jun.

He really felt so incredibly thankful.

 

 

*

 

  

After what happened that day, Gwangsuk told Jun that he wanted to talk to Chan too. And on their own as well. He also told him that, perhaps, it would be a little harder for them to end up in good terms, but that he would at least try his best to have a calm conversation.

Even though Jun wasn't going to intervene in their talk at all, he couldn't help but feel extremely nervous as days passed by. He didn't know when it would happen, where or how. He knew absolutely nothing.

Fortunately, he didn't have to dig too deep and ask around to find out how it went, since Gwangsuk himself contacted him the same night after he had the talk with the younger boy.

 

-Sunday, 21th October-

Oh Gwangsuk
Guess what
I talked to Chan today
And hum
It went...

Lee Junyoung
How
Hyung??
How did it go??

Oh Gwangsuk 
Very…

Lee Junyoung
??

Oh Gwangsuk 
Very well ㅋㅋ
Surprisingly well tbh

Lee Junyoung
Hyung...
You're amazing

Oh Gwangsuk 
He started crying too when I told him I wanted to be on good terms again
You guys are crybabies

Lee Junyoung
…amazing and a jerk
Do you really expect us to NOT cry after something like that??
Jeez…
But oh well

Oh Gwangsuk 
How do you dare calling me a jerk kid
Don't test your luck ㅋㅋ

Lee Junyoung
Anyways…
Thank you
Seriously
I’m glad everything is okay now

Oh Gwangsuk 
Well…
Not everything
When I talked to him about you he didn’t even want to speak about it and he played dumb
I think you've got a big problem

Lee Junyoung
...

Oh Gwangsuk 
Cheer up, it’s just that he’s a big coward just like you
And well, I’m his exboyfriend so he probably feels weird talking to me about it too
What I mean is that I don’t think he’s gonna take the first step to fix anything with you

Lee Junyoung
What did you guys talk about exactly??

Oh Gwangsuk 
I’m not telling you
I’m here looking like a wingman and dude, that’s the last straw
I just want you to not feel regret in whatever you decide to do, acting or not
If your excuse is me, then you have no excuse
You guys are old enough for me to intervene c’mon

Lee Junyoung
I know
To think that you have to be the one who’s telling me this...

Oh Gwangsuk 
What would you guys do without me
Anyway, let's get serious... I've tried my best so that things can return, more or less, to what they were...
So, Jun
Now it's your time to fix your own mess
Have some consideration for your hyung
And whatever you guys do, try to throw the awkward feelings away
I want everyone to feel comfortable with each other, for a few months at least

Lee Junyoung
Okay hyung, I promise that no matter what happens, I'll try my best to stop the weird atmosphere between us
I'm sorry that I ruined everything before...

Oh Gwangsuk 
If everything patches up you won't have to keep apologizing all the time. Think about it ㅎ_ㅎ

 

Think about it, his hyung had said. And that's exactly what Jun did. To seriously think about his words. He had to talk to Chan once and for all... to really talk about what happened and to stop ignoring it, whatever the outcome may be. It was better to reach some kind of understanding between them than to keep the matter forever untouched.

Because as Gwangsuk had told him, they needed to throw the awkward feelings away. If they didn't the uncomfortable air between both Jun and Chan would never end. And if it didn't end... everything would be the same as before Jun kissed him for the first time. With everyone thinking they had a bad relationship (mostly on Jun's part) and nobody daring to comment anything about it if it wasn't in a jokingly manner.

Jun wanted to wait a week or so before doing anything, since he supposed that after talking to Gwangsuk Chan would need to recover himself. It didn't matter if they ended up in good terms, anyone would be emotionally exhausted after talking to their ex-boyfriend and being confronted about their cheating and feelings.

Nevertheless, and even if Jun tried to control himself, he couldn't wait for much longer than four days.

So... without any warning, without thinking about it twice and even without talking to anyone else to have a second opinion, Jun hurried up to look for for the young man in his department as soon as he finished his classes for the day. He didn't really know the other boy's schedule, but at least he knew that before summer, the day they used to see each other coincidentally the most was on Thursday.

Maybe he was acting impulsively... the semester had changed and so did the itinerary of their classes so he may not be able to spot him at all. But he still decided to take advantage of this rush of adrenaline to search for him anyway. If an hour passed and he still didn't findthe other young man anywhere... then he would send him a text and ask him to meet…

He entered the place and waited at the exit door for twenty minutes before he spotted someone who looked familiar to him. If Jun wasn't wrong... that boy who was walking rather distractedly was a friend -or maybe a classmate- of Chan. He knew it because in the many occasions he found the younger man in their college, that brown-eyed boy used to be with him.

He advanced towards the young man and the latter stared at him strangely. Probably wondering why Jun was approaching him since he never addressed him before.

"Excuse me... you know Chan, right?"

"Huh?" The boy scratched his cheek. "Um… yeah, he's my friend... and you were..."

"Ah, sorry. I'm Lee Junyoung," he said, shaking his hand and smiling at him. Those kind of sudden encounters were somewhat uncomfortable for many people, but not for him, he wasn't the king of social relationships for no reason.

"I'm Kim Byeongkwan," the boy introduced himself too. Then he raised an eyebrow, expectantly.

"You see... I'm looking for Chan, do you know if he's still here?"

Byeongkwan nodded. He explained to Jun that he left Chan behind because a teacher called him since he made a huge mess with a class project and, that if Jun hurried up, he could find him in the room A-3 on the second floor.

Jun thanked him and said goodbye. Running to the stairs in the blink of an eye.

However, when he reached them he couldn't go up... because when he was about to start climbing the stairs, he run into the young boy he was looking for.

Chan, who was coming down didn't take too long to see him too. He opened his mouth in the same instant he catched a glimpse of Jun. He seemed to be so surprised than he even stopped walking down the stairs for a few seconds, staying there, halfway.

Jun watched him carefully, it had been so long since he last saw him. He used to have dark hair, now it was dyed to light brown... or dark blonde. He also was wearing his famous glasses.

In the end, the other boy came down the stairs completely, appearing in front of him. When he reached the floor and was by his side, he touched the crown of his head and later his own glasses, as if he were ashamed to be seen like that. If so, Jun didn't understand the reason...

He looked extremely cute anyway.

"Hey..." He shyly greeted him. "I didn't expect to see you here..."

"Hello..." Jun said back to him, glad that he found Chan that easily. "I was actually looking for you."

Chan pointed at himself quite startled to hear that and Jun nodded. Without losing any second, the older young man asked him if he was free for the time being. Chan hesitated at first but he ended up saying that we was, so Jun told him if he wanted to have a short walk with him.

Although it was October, the weather was warm enough to have a nice time just by strolling around their college. At that time most students were having lunch, so... apart from the cafeteria the whole place was not very crowded.

Both of them began to walk, aimlessly, as they spoke to each other. The first thing Jun told him was that he had found him thanks to his friend Byeongkwan and that the latter told him that Chan had problems with a teacher. The younger boy played it down, saying that he just had to correct certain parts of a project and that it wasn't a big deal.

Leaving the casual conversation behind, Chan asked Jun if he had talked to Gwangsuk too, to which Jun answered sincerely.

"Hyung told me that he would have a talk with you too," Jun explained. "And once he did, he also said that it went... very well."

After saying that, Chan smiled to himself, visibly happy.

"I would have never imagined that Gwangsuk hyung, on his own, would try to befriend us again. To be honest, he never ceases to amaze me..." The young man said. "He scolded me for distancing myself from the group... and losing contact with everyone. He also said that he would make sure I get back, even by force if necessary."

"That sounds very typical of him," Jun laughed as he pointed to a place they both could sit. “But I guess I agree with him.”

Both of them sat down on a bench. While some students passed by that place every now and then, it was intimate enough. Jun thought to himself.

"It will be super awkward at first, I'm sure of it..." Chan continued.

"Nah, I don't think so. It will be the same for everyone," he said, as he made himself comfortable. "All of us have lost contact with each other ever since Summer started. It's not only you..."

The young man was very surprised to hear that. Jun just shrugged, it was the truth.

"Let's say it's a good opportunity to start anew for everyone..." He commented. Aware that the time to talk about the most important thing was approaching... "And that includes both you... and me."

Chan glanced askance at him, not knowing what to answer to that. But Jun had more to say. It was time to solve one of the very first problems both of them had, the big problem that practically started ever since they came to know each other.

"The truth is… That ever since we met for the first time, I have been quite... cold towards you," Jun confessed after taking a deep breath. "I knew you wanted us to get along and... even so, I ignored you as much as I could. I'm sure I've hurt you more than once because of that... and... well, even when you finally called me out, I treated you as if you were just imagining things," he shook his head, remembering that day and feeling like an idiot. "When I was well aware of what I was doing."

"But... you had no bad intentions. You did it because back then you..."

The younger boy fell silent and looked at the ground, moving his feet rather nervously. Jun was struck by Chan's last remark. He said back then as if he were implying Jun didn't have feelings for Chan anymore.

If that was what he thought, he was so, so damn wrong.

"Yes, I did it because I like you," Jun emphasized his words. He was talking in present , no matter what happened, he didn't want any more misunderstandings between anyone, much less between the both of them. "But even so, that's no excuse, I should have acted differently."

As much as he had said it rather casually, Chan heard him loud and clear, since he suddenly began to blush slightly. The movement of his feet increased even more. Finding the situation quite adorable, Jun kept taking.

"And it's because of that very reason that I think we should do our best to leave our past behind and..." He paused. "Try to be good friends this time."

Chan's way of playing with his feet stopped abruptly. After opening his mouth, Jun realized that what he had said sounded terribly wrong. What he really meant was that they could finally have that friendship they never had before because of Jun's attitude, and, perhaps, at some point they could... take one step further.

"Yeah... I guess that will be the best," Chan said, then he looked up and nodded a little bit.

After seeing him like that, Jun found him so cute he stroked his head in a gentle manner. It was almost unintentional, a reflex action and Chan was as surprised as him. Then, while turning his head a little to stare at Jun, the younger boy half-smiled.

"It will take awhile for me to get used to being treated like this by you."

"Like this?"

"I dunno, with affection I guess. But I like it... it was all I really wanted," he confessed, still staring at him. Jun withdrew his hand and, immediately, Chan got up from the bench to walk a little. He was probably feeling embarrassed after talking about such topics.

Jun decided to get up too and then...

Ah, what the hell.

He just went for it.

"Everything has to be said, though..." He exclaimed while Chan was still with his back to Jun. "If affection is what you want from me... we could always try dating directly, skipping the friendship part."

Chan turned around, obviously caught by surprise.

"What?"

"I guess... I didn't explain myself very well," he said as he approached the other boy, who had his cheeks completely red by then. "But my feelings haven't changed since last time," he took a deep breath before saying it. This was a serious matter, but Chan's expression was so funny it was difficult to concentrate. "Just in case I wasn't being clear enough... I still like you. Romantically, I mean."

"But..." Chan looked like he couldn't believe it yet. "Do you really want to go out with me?"

Jun stared at him, astonished. After everything he had said, why would he not want to date him?

"What I want to say is that..." his eyes darkened as he spoke. "I'm a person who has cheated on his ex-boyfriend, how could anyone trust me enough to begin a new relationship? I don't deserve it."

After hearing him Jun realized that no matter how much time passed since they spend that night together... and no matter if Gwangsuk forgave them both... Chan still felt guilty over it. It wasn't something that would disappear just like that. His feelings of regret would probably go away in a very long, long time...

If they started to date each other, this guilt would surely cause some problems in their relationship. But if he were to be honest Jun didn't care in the slightest anymore. He didn't consider himself to be the kind of person who would betray his best friend and even so…

Yeah, even so.

 

He did it.

 

He wasn't going to forget it... nor downplay it. Much less to forgive himself in a matter of days. When he tried to put himself in Gwangsuk's shoes... he felt like trash. No matter if the older man had said that he got over it.

Jun understood how Chan felt because he was going through the same. Both of them regretted the fact that they didn't think much before acting, they betrayed and hurt someone they deeply cherished without thinking about anyone but themselves.

But regardless of all that... Jun's longing for that boy and the way he wanted to be with him so much… would win against anything else.

He loved him. At this point that was more than obvious. If it weren't because of it, he wouldn't have gotten this far.

"You cheated on him with me, in case you don't remember, and you know why?" The younger boy raised his head to look at him. "Because I'm irresistible," he joked, trying to ease the situation, but after seeing Chan's reaction... he realized his joke didn't work at all.

"Look, I know that what we did was terrible, and yes, we did. I'm as guilty and responsible as you are for this," Jun added. "But the truth is that... if it wasn't because it was with you, I would have never been able to do something like that. I did it because it's you. Nobody else," he paused, somewhat insecure. "And... I'd like to think that it was the same for you too..."

Chan's lowered his head again. Jun could hear how the young man started to sniff and, alarmed, he lifted his chin to make Chan look at him. Just as he thought, he had started crying.

"I did it because it's you," he said while nodding. His slightly red eyes shone for a moment and Jun noticed how his heartbeat started to go incredibly fast in a matter of seconds. But Chan was not going to give him any truce, because it was then, in that exact moment and after swallowing first... when he pronounced those words Jun had wanted to hear for so long. To really hear, without any possible confusion.

"I love you," his words sounded resigned and somehow desperate at the same time. "I don't know when it started or why but I just do and I can't help it, it's so frustrating," the boy started talking so quickly that it was evident that he had been keeping those words inside of him for a long time. "I tried to ignore it, to let it go. To stop thinking about it and to focus on other things but... it doesn't matter how much time passes I still..."

When he listened to him, Jun felt an indescribable warm feeling inside of him. His own insecurity that had accompanied him for months finally began to disappear. Not only that... but knowing that he wasn't the only one who had been through that struggle. That Chan had also done his best to leave behind those feelings that should have never been born in the first place, all in vane... He felt understood. Everything made sense to him now.

While giving the other boy a half-smile, Jun carefully took his glasses off and dried his tears with the sleeve of his own sweater. Then he slightly bent down to give him a few kisses on the nose. After a couple of seconds, he noticed how Chan grabbed his arms and buried his face in his chest, whispering how much he liked Jun.

"So, are you going to date me, then?"

"Yes..."

Jun sighed in relief and put his arms around him, giving him the biggest hug. It wasn't too late.

Everything was going to be fine.

Everything was going to be fixed.

 

He was so glad he finally let this out.

 

So glad.

 

 

*

 

  

-Saturday, 1st November-

 

 

*Oh Gwangsuk has created the chatroom IDIOTS 0.2*

 

*Oh Gwangsuk has added Lee Euijin, Park Daewon, Lee Junyoung, Kang Yuchan, Lee Hyunngeun, Ko Hojung, Kim Kijoong and Ji Hansol to the chatroom*

 

Oh Gwangsuk
HELLO EVERYONE
Here we are, as good as new!!
I know we haven’t been in much contact these past few months
In fact there are TONS of news i’ve gotta tell you, and I’m sure you guys have lots of things to tell me too
We’ve missed summer and even Halloween, which is a shame BUT
Soon Kijoong will have his csat
and I thought that once he finishes it we should celebrate it!!

Kim Kijoong
Hyung, ㅜㅜ I’m so glad you made the new chatroom
I’ll do my best in the exam so we all can have fun

Park Daewon
Gwangsuk!!
There was no need to make a new chatroom, you could have entered the old one

Oh Gwangsuk
No way, I never look back
Besides, a little bird told me that chatroom was DEAD

Lee Euijin
(I’m the little bird)

Lee Junyoung
Hyung wtf
That was the most awkward way to start a chatroom I’ve ever seen in my life

Oh Gwangsuk
Behold, the social expert just talked

Lee Junyoung
That sounded like sarcasm and I don’t know why
It’s true that I’m an expert

Oh Gwangsuk
You WERE an expert, you’ve been super awkward recently, a little bird told me

Lee Euijin
(I’m the little bird)

Lee Junyoung
Excuse you guys
Excuse you

Ji Hansol
I’m glad to have the group back

Ko Hojung
Me too. Not having a million of notifications to turn off every hour has been kind of weird

Kim Kijoong
While I was sad about it, I also could concentrate a lot in my studies ㅜㅜ
My marks have improved a lot

Lee Hyunggeun
And now they will go down again just before the exam ahahaha

Kim Kijoong
HYUNG NO

Park Daewon
Don’t worry Kijoong, we won’t let that happen

Lee Hyunggeun
We’ll spam you with math problems

Ji Hansol
Mmm... I’d recommend you turn off the notifications this month, tbh…

Kim Kijoong
But everyone is back

Kang Yuchan
If you make yourself a good study plan schedule everything will be fine
I can help you

Kim Kijoong
CHANNIE HYUNG
You’re alive ㅜㅜ

Oh Gwangsuk
HE’S ALIVE

Park Daewon
AMAZING

Lee Euijin
I CAN’T BELIEVE IT

Lee Hyunggeun
HE SURVIVED

Kang Yuchan
I SURVIVED

Ji Hansol

Has he been in the hospital or something?
Why didn’t anyone tell me about this?
Channie what happened to you??

Ko Hojung
Hansol don’t worry
They’re just kidding

Ji Hansol
...ㅜㅜ

Oh Gwangsuk
It seems everyone is online
That’s perfect, because I want some gossip, are there any lovey-dovey news I don’t know about?
Time to stay updated
I’m dating a little bird now, btw

Lee Junyoung
Wait

Lee Euijin
And you say it just like that
I can’t believe it

Lee Junyoung
EUIJIN HYUNG??

Ji Hansol
Oh wow

Park Daewon
Again?
You guys are so boring

Oh Gwangsuk
Shut up

Kang Yuchan
Oh my god

Oh Gwangsuk
I already told you guys about mine, your turn now

Lee Junyoung
I’m just saying but you literally told us nothing

Oh Gwangsuk
The details in person

Lee Hyunggeun
Brace yourselves...
Hansol and I...
are.........
dating

Kim Kijoong
We know hyung, you told us months ago

Lee Junyoung
Mmm well I just started going out with someone too

Oh Gwangsuk
OH MY
i wONDER wHO iS iT

Lee Junyoung
C'mon hyung

Park Daewon
Is everyone dating now?

Lee Junyoung
And that someone is

from the group

Park Daewon
IS EVERYONE DATING EACH OTHER NOW?

Lee Hyunggeun
It's Hojung
Called it

Kang Yuchan
No way

Lee Hyunggeun
C'mon Chan don't be jealous
You know you never stood a chance hihihi

Park Daewon
You're gonna make things weird, Hyunggeun pls

 

 

Jun read the whole conversation and started to laugh. Chan, who was lying next to him and also looking at his phone screen, took his eyes off it and looked at him frowning a little.

They were in Jun's apartment, lying on the sofa of the living room with their legs entwined. It had been a week since they started dating. Since Hansol took the habit of spending the weekends in Hyunggeun’s place, Jun took the opportunity to invite Chan there. It was the second time the young man was in his house.

And the first as his boyfriend...

"It's always the same. Why does everyone think that I'm the one who has the biggest crush on you?"

"Because it's true, I guess."

Chan tried to look outraged to hear that, but his smile betrayed him. The boy put his own phone on the table next to him and placed himself on top of Jun.

"You kissed me first."

"Yeah but... before that happened Gwangsuk hyung already thought you liked me that way," Jun answered in a casual way. Amused by the situation.

"Well, but you said yourself that you probably started liking me from the very first day we met each other."

"Do you really remember that?" He asked, caught by surprise. Chan nodded, making the older blush a little. After watching his reaction, the other boy smiled at him.

"Of course I do. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget about what you told me..." Chan said, sighing. "If only you knew the times I've revived the memories of that day..."

Jun remained silent and looked at the other young man's eyes. The latter returned his gaze, moving a little closer to him.

"Me too," Jun said at the end.

Chan gently stroked his cheeks and then ran his thumb along Jun's lips, with so much softness and affection Jun felt he was going to melt. The boy lowered his head little by little and placed a small kiss on his lips.

After kissing, Chan just made himself comfortable on top of Jun. The atmosphere was so calm and pleasant they could be in that position for hours… But the vibration of his cellphone required attention.

 

Ko Hojung
It’s not me wth

Lee Hyunggeun
Then?

 

His brain came up with a sudden idea and he told Chan to go back to his previous position, lying beside Jun instead of on top of him. Once he did, Jun picked up his phone and took a picture of both of them, to send it to the group.

 

*Lee Junyoung has attached a picture*

 

Lee Junyoung
Me and my boyfriend

Ji Hansol
Wait that's my sofa
When did you take that photo

Lee Junyoung
Right now

Kim Kijoong
Whaaaaaaaat????

Lee Hyunggeun
Amazing
Sorry Chan I underestimated you

Park Daewon
Ok I didn't expect that either
We seriously need to hang out and explain the news because I'm kinda lost

Oh Gwangsuk
Long story short, I blessed them

Park Daewon
Fine that explains everything thanks

Oh Gwangsuk
No problem

 

 

Jun read the reactions carefully and smiled to himself. He was extremely grateful that Gwangsuk started to unite the whole group again... and not only that, but he also made up the perfect opportunity that allowed Jun to tell everyone he and Chan started dating each other without being awkward about it.

He was convinced Gwangsuk did it on purpose.

“I think that whatever they're curious about… we should talk about it in person as Daewon hyung said."

He noticed how Chan put his arms around his after he said that. Not even a second later, Jun set his phone aside, leaving those thoughts behind to correspond that call of affection. Because it was obvious that what Chan wanted at that moment was for Jun to pay attention to him and to cuddle for a while.

“I agree,” Jun said, receiving a funny grin in return.

Jun made himself comfortable on the sofa again while he caressed Chan's silky hair. Then he looked at him, that sweet smile and slightly red cheeks… his eyes just a couple of centimeters away from him.

To think that the young man by his side was his own boyfriend now.
Life sure was unpredictable.

But as long as Jun was sincere to himself, everything would be fine.

 

And he really really really was head over heels for Kang Yuchan.