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Fight and Flight

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It was less rowdy in their locker room.While the football players were most likely roughhousing each other as a form of bromanship, the male cheerleaders use this time to relax their stretched bodies by just sitting around and chilling. Some of them feel relieved that they don’t have to deal with their noisy schoolmates, sure the players don’t harass or insult them -the football players even openly expressed their awe on how strong the male cheerleaders were since they mostly do all the lifting- but the jocks are too noisy sometimes and some of the cheerers like the quiet cool down time they have.

However, noise can’t be avoided for long.

Baekhyun made a loud entrance by saying “The light of the party is here!” as he slid inside the locker room, a towel wrapped around his neck as he struck a pose in front of his team mates. They all groaned when the quiet was disturbed but smiles naturally grew on their faces in the presence of their mood maker. He was radiating with energy that no one would have thought that the blonde boy just went through a gruelling training other than his usually fluffy hair drenched in sweat, and the bruises on his legs and arms from all the new stunts they’re learning.

With their football team getting in the semi finals and the cheer dance competition nearing made the whole team busy with new ideas and routine to spice it up a bit. The head cheerleader, Kim Teayeon, hasn’t started on the routine but already thought about the new stunts first. Baekhyun still remembers that she was the reason why he’s in the team anyway.

Well, partly the reason.

Like his best friend Kyungsoo, Baekhyun also needed a sports extra curricular activity to enter the college he and Kyungsoo wanted. Unlike the wide eyed male though, he is a bit more active in many ways. Kyungsoo even insisted that they didn’t need to join a sports team for their college until their junior year. For Baekhyun, he started in his freshman year to look for the perfect sport for himself. The possibility was endless at that time. He could have joined the Hapkido team since he was trained since he was a kid, or the track and field team since he’s known to run very fast and agile.

But freshman Baekhyun was a bit in a phase where he gets crushes on his seniors. More specifically Taeyeon. At that time he had a huge crush on the then sophomore, he even confided with Kyungsoo with it, who at that time thought of himself as asexual so all the response he got was a shrug or -if he’s lucky his friend is in the mood- a few words (with some hesitance, now if he thinks about it) of encouragement to confess. Baekhyun was a bit extra though, so when he heard from a few juniors that Taeyeon was in the cheer squad, he auditioned and got in.

He thanked his Hapkido skills for having a bit of flexibility and agility in him.

Although he had drifted away a bit from Kyungsoo and some of his friends because of the practices, he tried his best to still make time to hang out with them. He was elated when he got closer with his crush and eventually dated her months after he entered junior year.

He felt kind of guilty if he thought about it now, because it was also the time that he has little to no time for his friends. It was either studying or practicing with the cheer squad and being a good boyfriend by taking Taeyeon on dates. By their fourth month, also the end of the school year, they had mutually broken up. It was when the older girl invited him somewhere more private to talk, since it was still practice time and she can’t keep it to herself any longer. It was by the vending machine that the soccer team uses -a reasonable distance away from their team mates- where Taeyeon confessed that she’s feeling guilty because even though the two of them were dating, she caught feelings for someone.

His heart broke on that day but that was not the reason.

Baekhyun wanted to laugh at that time, but didn’t because it would’ve been a bit too inappropriate, he also told her that she wasn’t the only one feeling that way. He genuinely still cares for her but his heart beats faster for someone else too. They both bought a can of energy drinks and clunked it with one another as a sign of the end of their relationship and start of their single status.

It was a bit awkward for a few days after that, since both of them are still on the same team, and they broke the news to their team mates when they teased them for being gone on the day. It was when Taeyeon accidentally hit Baekhyun’s crotch with a water bottle and Baekhyun letting out a girly wail that their awkwardness ended.

“How the heck do you have this much energy Baekhyun hyung?” Sungjong, one of the male members, groaned as he stood up from the bench he’s sitting on. A sophomore who’s taller and slimmer than Baekhyun but one of the stronger lifters they have in the team, he swears the guy made a lot of guys in their school gay, doesn’t help that he has smooth legs and a pretty face to boot.

“Oh, Sungjongie, you’ll get used to it after three years of cheer.” The senior flipped his wet fringe dramatically, some of his sweat flew and one of the cheerleaders avoided it.

Sungjong rolled his eyes as he went to his locker and took some of his stuff. “Well, after three years you still forget to shower because you rather play around. Ya nasty.” He scrunched his nose a bit towards Baekhyun’s direction. Baekhyun mock hurt as he put a hand over his chest.

“I shower! And I don’t smell that bad!” He leaned outside the locker room towards the door of the female cheerleaders. “Tae noona! I shower and I don’t smell right?” He shouted towards the door adjacent to theirs as he leaned on the door frame with a pout.

After a few seconds Taeyeon’s head popped out of the door, a towel wrapped around her hair with a bit of her shoulder peeking out, her bra strap was visible which means she’s just putting on her shirt and seemed pissed at Baekhyun calling her attention. “You haven’t even showered yet.” Taeyeon also scrunched up her nose in mock disgust. Her expression changed though, when her eyes focused somewhere behind the sweaty boy. From a grimace, her face turned smug.

“Hey, Chanyeol!” At the sound of the name, Baekhyun barely caught himself after losing balance and whipped his head towards the other end of the corridor to see a tall male nearing.

Park Chanyeol, one of the players on the football team, also one of Baekhyun’s closest friends, and neighbor since middle school. Also the very boy who can make his heart beat faster just by standing there. Baekhyun can feel himself turning red as Chanyeol waved his hand towards them, a toothy grin on his face.

The football team must have finished their practice on the field a bit earlier than the cheer team for Chanyeol to be here this early. A frown crept on the taller ones face as he settled in front of his cheerleader friend. His eyes went down and up the cheerleader’s body, subtly lingering on his exposed legs, noticing that Baekhyun was still in his practice clothes, drenched in sweat. Baekhyun quietly gasped when Chanyeol reached for his towel around his neck to dry his hair with. The shorter thanked all things good that his face got slightly covered by the towel so the other wouldn’t see his faintly pink face.

It always gets to him whenever his friend does this small, sweet things for him. It never fails to make his heart beat skip a beat, blood rush to his face, and invade his thoughts in the night. “You shouldn’t let your sweat dry on you, Baek. You know you could catch a cold.” His deep voice sounds so melodious to Baekhyun, that it had lulled him to sleep one time and relax him at most.

“Um… Your girlfriend left early. Something about ” Taeyeon emerged from the girls locker room fully dressed and backpack behind her. Baekhyun flinched at that word. The towel over his head gently plopped down to his neck unlike the sudden drop of his heart. Of course, whenever it seem like they have their own personal world, harsh reality kicks in one way or another.

Chanyeol already has a girlfriend, and it doesn’t help that she’s the second head cheerleader of the squad.

No one in the team even liked her. She is so horrible that she blantly think that everyone is inferior to her. She has some skills though, which made get in the team in the first place. Taeyeon, the head herself, confessed that she can't take the flyer off the team since she hasn't done anything bad, like physical assault, other than being mean.

What’s worse, on the day that Baekhyun and Taeyeon broke up, that bitch of a flyer came to them and announced that she and Chanyeol are dating. There was a lot of teen angst at that time, with Baekhyun thinking that he had lost his chance with the boy he likes, his close friend at top of that, just because he realized his feeling too late. Baekhyun actively avoided both of his group of friends at that time. With him and Taeyeon being awkward, also the prospect of seeing that flyer, he can’t sit with the cheer squad, and because of the pain whenever he sees Chanyeol, he can’t sit with his original friends.

Kyungsoo, bless that boy’s soul, had enough of the angst going on. He invited the cheerer to his house and had tricked Baekhyun in a sleep over with him and Chanyeol. Turns out it was a ploy that Kyungsoo conducted for Chanyeol to blurt out that he only dated the flyer because she confessed and he felt bad if he declined.

Sometimes Baekhyun assumes Chanyeol only keeps her around because he didn’t want to be the one to break up, while the bitch seems to be thirsting for Chanyeol’s D.

Too bad Chanyeol doesn’t want to give it to her, Baekhyun laughs internally.

He wants to believe that it’s more on labels rather than actual relationship between those two. And the nonchalant shrug that Chanyeol backs it up. “It’s cool sunbae nim” He flashes her with a warm smile and a thumbs up, making Taeyeon giggle in response. “You and Hyunnie can go home together though.” She threw a wink at a mortified Baekhyun.

“Huh?!”

“...Hyunnie?” Chanyeol, voice laced with a bit of jealousy, mumbled low enough for Baekhyun not to hear.

“Well! I’m going to go to my English tutor now, see you tomorrow Baekhyun! Remember to reaaaally-” She took ahold of Baekhyun’s left leg and raised it behind, much to the surprise of the boy. It resulted to Baekhyun losing balance, putting his weight onto Chanyeol. “-Stretch your legs as a practice for the scorpion!” Taeyeon grinned as if the boy wasn’t wailing for his senior to put his leg down.

Baekhyun blushed when his leg dropped, realizing he’s leaning onto his crush so he pushed himself off. “Don’t you have a date with Tiffany?” Baekhyun joked. He knows English was the only thing that held Taeyeon back from graduating. The teacher gave her a failing mark -reasoning that she’s too careless on her grades and just focuses on cheer, which they call bullshit on- that resulted her in repeating the whole year with her juniors, but it did give a reason to be closer to a then junior who speaks fluently in English, and stay with her team to try and win the cheer competition. It was like a second chance.

“W-we’re just studying!” With that Taeyeon ran off to the exit with a blush on her face.

Baekhyun chuckled at her direction, before noticing Chanyeol was staring at him. His eyes are hooded as if he was in a trance just by looking at him. Even though he consider them as close he could not understand what Chanyeol’s looks meant. He’s usually an open book but Taeyeon would point out there was subtext in them, something he would retaliate most of the time. She says he was blind to see it, to him he’s just being rational.

“As if we don’t see him practically undressing you whenever we go on field to practice” She would retort with a snort.

He could feel a blush creeping up, so he cleared his throat as one of his hands gripped on the towel around his neck, the other flying towards the hem of his short shorts to pull it down, suddenly feeling a bit self-conscious. “So, um- you can go home if you want, Channie. I haven’t showered yet and you must be exhausted.”

Chanyeol woke up from the trance and smiled at the use of the nickname, he was about to reach out to ruffle the shorter’s hair when one of the male cheerleader’s head popped out of the locker room to tell Baekhyun almost all of them are finished except for him. The football player’s hand fell down to his side, but his soft smile never faltered. “I’ll wait for you Baekkie. I’ll wait for you so we can go home together like old times.”

The cheerleader smiled as he rushed inside to shower. He finished in record time. His hair was still dripping wet when he emerged from the locker room.

He was slightly disappointed to see his best friend Kyungsoo, it means he and Chanyeol won’t be walking together alone, but still elated to see him.

The cheerleader noticed the Free Safety seems to be in a state of shock. His hair was also dripping wet and he looked like he ran a marathon with how much his breathing was rushed. Baekhyun was about to ask if something was wrong when the smaller football player took him by the shoulders and gravely said.

“I saw Kai naked, Baek.”

Baekhyun blinked twice before blurting out. “Congratulations!”

“Yeah Kyungsoo that’s big, no pun intended, but he’s always the first one to come in the shower room and first to come out.” Chanyeol snickered as they head towards to exit the building.

Kyungsoo glared at his idiot friends on his left. “I’m panicking and that’s what you two are saying?!”

“Woah, gay panic ‘tm’” Baekhyun giggled, avoiding the punch thrown his way. When they reached outside and towards the gate, the cheerer shivered from the cold air that suddenly hit him. It doesn’t help that his hair was still dripping since he didn’t get to dry them properly. Kyungsoo has his thick jacket on, and Chanyeol wore his usual hood plus varsity jacket today so neither of them got affected by the slight breeze that hit them. Baekhyun cursed himself for not packing a hood or jacket.

Chanyeol seemed to notice Baekhyun shivering a bit, so he gave his backpack to a confused Kyungsoo and shrugged off his jacket to put on Baekhyun’s shoulders. He’s practically engulfed by the jacket, he loves the warmth it gives and the smell that is so Chanyeol that he usually takes subtle long inhales just to savor it. “Chan! I can’t take your jacket again, I just gave it back to you last week. Also, you might get cold.” He tried to protest but his friend just laughed and help his arms into the sleeves.

“You need it more than I do, I already have my hood.” Chanyeol took back his bag from an unamused Kyungsoo. The glasses wearing boy really hates it whenever he becomes the third wheeler, but it’s better that dealing with Kai and that confusing stare of his. He’s a bit thankful that the two idiots are having problems in their own love life to meddle with his, or lack thereof.

“I swear you two are idiots.” He stated, but the two paid him no mind because Kyungsoo’s always saying that, unaware the meaning is slightly different.

They had parted ways with the small football player two blocks away their houses. And the remaining journey was filled with inside jokes and unnoticed flirting by them two.

When they reached Baekhyun’s house first, he was about to give the jacket back so he wouldn’t forget it again. But Chanyeol waved it off and told him to return it whenever he feels like it, to which Baekhyun internally cheered.

Chanyeol walked over to his house next and waved at the smaller before both of them enter their respective homes. Baekhyun’s mother was already fixing something for dinner when she noticed her son sporting the familiar large jacket again. She just gave him a teasing look to which Baekhyun pouted at and retreated to his bedroom where Chanyeol’s is just in front. Baekhyun smiled, slightly happy that his curtains are still at the wash that he has an excuse to look at Chanyeol’s bedroom without looking creepy.

By night fall, after he had eaten dinner, he started to do what Taeyeon was telling him to do. His back facing the wall as he lifted his left leg behind him and let his foot slowly go higher until he’s doing a split against the wall.

It’s a bit painful, with some of his muscles resisting, but after a few calming breaths he relaxed and it felt natural.

Baekhyun’s concentrating on the task that he didn’t feel or notice the hungry gaze his friend and neighbor is giving him.