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competition for your love

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Renjun hates Mark Lee.

Okay, maybe hate is a strong word. Mark’s a great guy, friendly to every person he meets, always has a smile on his face, really he’s the perfect guy. That’s the first problem. What’s worse is he’s noticeable, the minute the older boy steps into the room, all eyes are on him. Including Donghyuck’s. That’s the second problem. Donghyuck notices Mark no matter where they are, almost as if he has an internal compass trained to find their friend. Renjun sighs as he watches as Hyuck smiles at Mark, laughing at something the older boy had said. It’s happened so many times now, the next few minutes happen like clockwork. Hyuck touches Mark as he continues to talk, Renjun feels his stomach start to turn. Hyuck hugs him, Renjun is standing up and walking out of the room, unable to watch another minute. He hates the growing ache in his stomach that appears each time without fail. What’s worse is he has no idea what causes it. He’s tried everything, medicine, tea, even mediation fails to ease him. That’s when he figures it out. It’s Mark. Or, more specifically, Mark taking away Donghyuck. He just needs to distract Mark so Donghyuck has no other choice but to pay attention to him. That’s when he comes up with the plan.

 

“So what you’re telling me is you dragged us here today because Hyuck pays too much attention to Mark hyung?”, Jeno says as he places down his menu, exchanging an exasperated look with Jaemin who’s sitting right beside him. It’s the second time this week Renjun has dragged the two out to talk about Donghyuck, the fifth time this month. It’s the same location every time, a small diner slightly off campus, far enough away from Hyuck’s current class that there’s no chance the boy can ever walk in and witness all three of his friends having a discussion about him. Not that it always is a discussion, sometimes it’s an argument, sometimes it's just Renjun waxing poetics about Donghyuck. But this is new to their diner meetups, this ‘plan’ that Renjun has, and the determination the boy has to carry out his plan to completion.

“And you want to fix it by setting hyung up with someone?” Jaemin asks

“Well yeah, i mean you’ve seen Hyuck when they hang out, he doesn’t even look at anyone else”

“And that’s a problem because…..?” Jaemin asks, looking at him as he stirs the straw of his drink, patiently waiting for Renjun to come up with the next excuse.  

“I’m there! He just gets up and ditches me to talk to him”.

“Renjun all you ever do when you see Hyuck is insult him, why would he spend more time to talk to you if you just antagonize him?”

“I don’t just insult him, I say other stuff too”

“Renjun the last time you saw Hyuck you called him pea brain and told him his brain cells were disappearing faster than Prince William’s hair“, Jeno deadpans.

“That’s not that big of an insult…” Renjun mutters.

“Renjun, Prince William is like three hairs from being bald”.

Renjun silences at that, looking at his two friends sheepishly as he remembers the look Donghyuck had given him along with the matching looks of disappointment his friends are giving him now. Maybe he really had messed that one up.

“Oops”, he says, nervously scratching the back of his neck, “So I guess Hyuck didn’t take that well then?”.  The silence he receives says enough. Renjun winces, looking at the two boys frowning at him. So maybe he’s a bit harsh sometimes.

“Okay so I’ll work on fixing that. But first, I need to fix the Mark problem”.

“You mean get rid of your competition?”, Jaemin remarks, Jeno snickering next to him.

“Competition for what?”

“His love”. Renjun chokes, looking at them in disbelief.

“When did I say anything about love?”

“You didn’t have to”.

“Just shut up and stop messing around. Let’s just focus, I think I have a good idea of who to set Mark hyung up with”.

 

Renjun spent weeks looking before he realized the solution was right in front of him. Why he hadn’t thought of his roommate before, he had no idea. Before he had begun the search, Renjun knew the best way to occupy Mark’s time was to find someone just like Donghyuck, someone that was bright and could capture the attention of the room with just a few words, in other words someone just like Yukhei.

“C’mon please, I promise you’ll like him, he’s a great guy I swear”, Renjun begs, looking at his roommate who’s eyeing him with a look of disbelief.

“Renjun, you’ve literally never done anything for me unless it benefits you in some way. So tell me little one, what are you getting out of me going on a date?”.

“First off, if you ever call me little one again I’ll make sure you can never date again. Second, I definitely have done something for you out of the goodness of my heart. Third, ok maybe it’s so Mark can stop taking all of Hyuck’s attention, so what? It gets you a boyfriend if everything works out, I don’t see why you should complain”.

“Oh, so this is all because of Donghyuck?”, Yukhei says, smirking as Renjun turns bright red at the name, “you should’ve said so earlier, I would have agreed”.

“Wait why would that make you agree?”

“Because you never shut up about your crush”.

“He is not my crush! I told you before, he’s just entertaining”.

“Entertaining enough to convince his friend to go on a blind date with me so he spends less time with Donghyuck?”. Renjun doesn’t respond, causing Yukhei to sigh.

“You need to realize sooner or later why you want all his attention Renjun”.

“I do know. Now enough of this, go on hyung, you’re gonna be late for your date if you don’t hurry up and leave”.

“Well, I guess I’m off to go on this date then, I’ll tell you how it goes later”, Yukhei says, giving Renjun a quick wave before he heads out.

Renjun sighs in relief as the door finally closes. He doesn’t know how many more times he can get away with it, before all of his excuses run out and he’s forced to finally think why he wants Donghyuck’s attention so badly. Since the beginning he’s feared the answer, the reason why he keeps on finding Donghyuck, why he continuously seeks him out over everyone else. He wants his attention, he knows that much. But do I want more, he thinks as he mindlessly watches a drama on his laptop, do I want what everyone else thinks I want?

 

Their date goes well. Spectacularly well in fact. Yukhei can’t seem to stop talking about Mark the minute he returns, going on and on about “Why did you never say how cute and adorable your friend was? I can’t believe you withheld a masterpiece like that from me Huang Renjun, how dare you”. It’s a little much at first, but when Renjun sees the exasperated look on Hyuck’s face that morning, he instantly realizes it could’ve been much worse.

“End me now”, Hyuck moans, throwing himself dramatically against a wall, “Just take a knife and do it Renjun, I can’t stand another minute listening to Mark hyung go on and on about how hot his date was last night”. Renjun smiles at the boy in front of him, vaguely listening as Donghyuck continues to talk about how loud his roommate was. He’s so cute when he rants like this, Renjun thinks as he watches Hyuck’s mouth continue to move, not even noticing when Hyuck finally stops talking.

“Renjun, have you been listening to anything I’ve been saying?”

“Renjun”

“Renjunnnn”. It’s only when Donghyuck steps right next to him, face mere inches away from his own, that Renjun finally snaps out of it, shrieking and pushing Hyuck when he sees how close he has gotten. Hyuck just laughs, making Renjun melt all over again. God his laugh is so pretty, he thinks.

“So as I was saying, how is your roommate? He’s the one hyung went on a date with right?”, Hyuck asks, tilting his head as he looks at Renjun. Fuck he’s too cute to handle, how does he keep getting cuter every time he sees him, Renjun wonders. God, I just want to squish his cheeks and wrap him in a blanket and never let go of him, he thinks as he stares blankly at the boy in front of him. He shakes out of it thought, managing to come up with a response.

“He kept whining about how I was a bad roommate for not introducing him to my ‘ungodly adorable’ friend”.

“So you got pretty much the same talk I did?”

“Down to the screaming and crying”.

“Damn”. They both go quiet at that, Renjun continuing to look at the boy in front of him. Donghyuck looks good in the morning. Eyes still a little puffy but still bright, a soft smile on his face, the softer tone in his voice making Renjun want to drag the boy to his bed and nap with him. He gets lost in his thoughts again, just imagining waking up cuddled next to Donghyuck, feeling the warmth of the boy as he slowly wakes up. He fails to notice Donghyuck’s soft smile that’s directed to him as he continues to space out.

“You know, you’re pretty cute when you aren’t insulting me every five seconds”.

“Shut it pea brain, it’s just early in the morning okay, my brain isn’t awake enough to pull out the real insults”, Renjun says, feeling his face starting to pinken.

“Damn, guess I should just always talk to you in the morning then if I get to see soft Renjun in action”.

“What do you mean soft? I could literally drop kick your ass all the way to New Mexico”.

“Alright since your brain seems to be waking up, that’s my cue to leave. Talk to you tomorrow morning, Renjun!’, Donghyuck yells, jogging away before Renjun can even reach out a hand.

“Wait Dong—, and he’s gone, great. Cool. Just what I needed. Alright you’re just talking to yourself at this point Renjun, stop before it gets weird”.

 

It takes two weeks after Yukhei and Mark start going out for Renjun to call in an emergency meeting. Jeno and Jaemin knew it was coming the second they saw Donghyuck completely skip over Renjun in favor of talking to Jeno, that Renjun would snap once again and come up with another ridiculous plan. This time, however, they were already prepared with their own defense, a way to finally make Renjun think about his own feelings instead of just continuing to deflect. Renjun starts off by just going straight into it this time, offering up a new way to eliminate another person ‘taking away Hyuck’s attention’.

“So I was thinking, what if Jeno just—”.

“WE’RE DATING”, Jaemin yells, making everyone nearby nearly jump out of their seats at the sudden noise. Renjun chokes, spitting out nearly half his drink in shock while Jeno chuckles at Jaemin, who sinks lower into his seat as the nearby customers glare at him. As Jaemin continues to apologize to the people sitting around them, Renjun leans in closer to whisper.

“Wait you’re telling me that you guys are dating? Since when? As far as I knew, Jaemin was just hopelessly pining like he has been for like the past year”.

“Thanks for reminding me about that Renjun”, Jaemin mutters darkly, glaring at him.

“Aw babe, that’s so cute”.

“Shut it Jen, we need to help fix Renjun’s hopeless love life right now”.

“Uh excuse me, I’m literally right here guys”, Renjun interjects, trying to get a word in as the couple in front of him continue to bicker.

“Shut up Renjun, we’ll deal with your repressed love in just a minute if Jeno will ever focus. C’mon Jen, if we do this, we don’t have to listen to either of them whine anymore”.

“Wait what do you mean by either? Who is Hyuck whining about? Not that I care or anything, whoever he’s pining over is his own business”.

“Cut the act Renjun, every time you hear his name you turn into a giant pile of ‘wow i love lee donghyuck the only sun to ever exist’ mush. Just do us and yourself a favor and make this easier on all of us already”, Jaemin snaps, staring at Renjun who’s sputtering.

“W-what are you talking about? Me? L-liking Dong-Donghyuck? Don’t be ridiculous”. There’s no way he can like Donghyuck. Pretty Donghyuck who always greets him with a smile. Sweet Donghyuck whose bright, stunning smile outrivaled the sun. The same Donghyuck would could easily charm the most cold-hearted man in an instant. The boy he had once (when significantly drunk) mistaken for an angel, because what human looks that angelic? There was no way he liked Donghyuck, literally the prettiest boy he had ever seen in his life. Nope, definitely not.

“Fuck. I like Donghyuck”.

“FINALLY”.

“Excuse me, but we’re going to have to ask you three to leave, we’ve gotten several noise complaints”.

“Jaemin, we’re never going to be able to come back here again now”.

“Good. YOUR FRIES WERE SHITTY ANYWAYS, MAYBE TRY ACTUALLY FRYING THEM FOR ONCE”.

 

If Renjun was bad when he was oblivious to his own feelings, it was even worse now. The minute he realized why his heart seized up every time he saw the boy smile and wave at him, he knew that this wasn’t going to end well for him. He had even less of an idea now about how to act in front of Donghyuck, so he just decided he’d be better off just not seeing the boy at all. As soon as he even caught a glimpse of Donghyuck’s head, he started to run in the opposite direction. In that week alone, he managed to get more exercise than he had in 18 years, all thanks to Lee Donghyuck and his stupid, adorable face. Renjun would do it at any moment, it didn’t even matter to him whether he had a class starting in five minutes or even if he was talking to someone next to him, he would still run. He just couldn’t do it, couldn’t face Donghyuck when all he could think of is the inevitability of rejection.

Both Jeno and Jaemin had tried to intervene shortly after Renjun’s realization, attempting to force Renjun into talking to Donghyuck, to confess his feelings. They failed spectacularly. They told him how sad Donghyuck was now that Renjun was avoiding him, how Renjun could solve all of their problems by just talking to Donghyuck. He ignored their ideas, choosing instead to do the exact opposition even as everyone, including his own roommate, called him an idiot for doing so. But it was okay with him. I’m doing it for a reason, he would tell himself, no way would he actually feel the same way, they have no idea what they’re talking about. He did consider it for a moment, talking to Donghyuck. He didn’t though, too lost in his own doubts and insecurities. He was so wrapped up in his own thoughts and negativity in fact, that he didn’t even notice how Donghyuck kept looking for him.

 

Donghyuck was pissed. For months now he had been waiting for Huang Renjun to get his head of out his ass and finally ask him out, only to have the boy avoid him when he finally figured it out. He had been patient for far too long, and he was finally going to do something about it since Renjun didn’t seem like he was going to talk to him anytime soon. It honestly wasn’t too hard to get Renjun by himself, just a few words and Donghyuck had all of his friends almost instantly agreeing to help out, desperate for the two to finally get together. In fact, Donghyuck was pretty sure he saw Jaemin even tear up a little bit when he asked if he would be willing to get Renjun to the spot where Donghyuck planned to confess.

Donghyuck stood at the spot, a small sectioned off area of the Art Department’s courtyard, waiting for Jaemin to text him that him and Renjun were on the way. I can do this, he thinks, remember this is Renjun who sprints over and cuddles you as soon as you start to sniffle on the phone. Donghyuck knows he’s special to Renjun, knows the older boy would scoff and laugh at anyone else that called him at 2am crying about puppies. Instead, he had Renjun consoling him for thirty minutes before bringing him ice cream and letting him cry into his chest. Renjun liked him, he’s almost positive about it. The confirmations from all their friends just furthered his belief, made him feel confident enough to finally confess. Well that and the fact that he was so annoyed with Renjun at this point, he knew that this was the best way to get Renjun to finally talk to him again. It’s at that moment that his phone chimes. It’s time.

He moves to a shaded spot, hidden enough that it’s hard to spot him when first walking into the courtyard, waiting for Jaemin to say the signal. He hears a little bit of their conversation.

“...Jaemin why on earth are we at the courtyard, I thought you said we were going to the new diner that just opened”.

“Well I was going to, but then Jeno texted and asked if we could go get ice cream”.

“Isn’t Jeno lactose intolerant?”

“Are you kidding me? That boy loves him some good cow nectar”.

As soon as he hears the words leave Jaemin’s mouth, Donghyuck cringes. Yeah, they definitely should’ve come up with a better signal than ‘cow nectar’. That was a bit weird, even for him. Nonetheless, Donghyuck moved away from the shadows and began to approach the two, making eye contact with Jaemin.

“And that’s my cue! Please don’t take away movie night from me, I live for your roommate’s commentary, he’s so funny”.

“Wait what on earth are you talking about Na Jaemin?”

“Hi Renjun”.

“God, FUCK YOU JAEMIN”, Renjun yells before slowly turning around, finally looking at Donghyuck. It’s been almost a week since they’ve talked face-to-face like this, close enough that he can see Renjun’s lashes as the boy slowly blinks. He’s missed this, looking into Renjun’s eyes, watching as Renjun’s face subtly begins to pinken the longer he stares.

“What do you want Hyuck?”, Renjun asks.

“I want you to stop fucking avoiding me Renjun, it’s been a week since I’ve actually been able to look you in the face”.

“Wow how tragic, you must really be suffering”.

“Well how would you feel if the boy you like decided suddenly to completely avoid you to the point where he fucking sprints away from his class that was literally about to start? I think anyone would be a bit hurt by that”, Hyuck says, watching as Renjun’s mouth gapes open, looking at him with thinly concealed shock.

“Wait, you like me?”

“Renjun I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t keep talking to you after you told me I essentially didn’t have a brain unless I was practically in love with you”.

“L-love”, Renjun chokes out, Hyuck watching as his face transitions into a deep red as he gives Renjun an exasperated look before slowly nodding.

“Yeah, somehow by some tragic fate, I just happened to fall in love with literally the densest smartass I’ve ever met. Go figure, only I would have this luck”, Hyuck mutters to himself, ignoring how Renjun looks like he’s about to combust as his brain tries to process what’s happening.

“So. What you’re telling me is that you’re in love with me?”

“Yes”.

“And I’m in love with you”.

“Already knew that, keep on going sweetie, you’re doing great”.

“So, date?”

“I’ll take what I can get, I guess. Now, come closer”.

“Why?”

“So I can kiss you, you idiot. I’ve been waiting months for you to realize you like me, I deserve a kiss for being so patient”, Hyuck says, slowly stepping closer to Renjun who has completely froze. Donghyuck huffs in frustration.
“I swear if you weren’t so cute Renjun, I would’ve been gone by now” is the last thing he says before grabbing Renjun’s face in his hands and planting one right on him.

 

His lips are even softer than Renjun had dreamt them. As soon as Donghyuck kisses him, every thought leaves him, his body almost instantly going limp. None of the daydreams he’s had have ever come close to how Donghyuck actually kisses. He’s so gentle, only softly pressing his lips against Renjun’s, almost as if he’s waiting for something. But, before Renjun can truly start to appreciate the art that is Lee Donghyuck’s kissing technique, Hyuck pulls away, causing Renjun to let out a whine at the loss of contact.

“Jun, if you don’t start kissing back, I’m going to seriously start reconsidering our relationship”, Hyuck says, hands resting on his hips as he glares at Renjun, ‘I mean really how hard is it to kiss someone? All you have to do is—”. That’s as far as Donghyuck gets before, Renjun cuts him off, taking a step forward and placing his hands on Donghyuck’s lips before leaning in and connecting their lips. For a brief moment, Hyuck does nothing, freezing just as Renjun had only minutes ago, before he lets out a soft sigh and melts into the kiss. It’s a gentle kiss, both boys too nervous to pursue anything more intimate. It’s innocent, but perfect. This is the kiss that they both remember, the one that never fails to make the both of them smile.

As they pull apart, both boys are sporting blushes on their cheeks, exchanging shy smiles as they look at each other. Renjun grabs Donghyuck’s hand, offering the boy a sweet smile before pulling Hyuck away from the courtyard. He smiles as Hyuck gives him a confused look, pressing a quick kiss to Hyuck’s cheek as he continues to direct them towards the cafe Renjun had found a few weeks ago, had promised himself he would show Hyuck the spot as soon as he had first stepped foot into the place.  

“Where are we going?”

“Well you did say you wanted to go on a date”.

“So this is how you woo a boy Huang Renjun? Mess with his brain by kissing him and then dragging him on a date only minutes after? Interesting”, Hyuck says cheekily, only offering Renjun a smile when Renjun glares at him.

“We can always wait until later to have this date”.

“Shut up Renjun,  just take me out already before I decided to go and date Jeno”.

“He’s dating Jaemin though”, Renjun says, looking puzzled as he glances at Hyuck. Hyuck smirks in response, swinging their hands and they continue to walk.

“Bold of you to assume they both wouldn’t welcome me with open arms”.

“...”

“Did you just start walking faster? That’s so cute baby, you know I love you”, Hyuck cooes, picking up his own pace to match his jealous (adorable!) boyfriend as Renjun mutters to himself, complaining.

“I’ve literally been dating him for less than ten minutes and he’s already threatening me”.

“What’d you say baby? I couldn’t hear”, Hyuck says, looking at his boyfriend with a confused expression on his face. Renjun smiles fondly at the boy who’s now his, quickly thanking the universe for somehow making someone like Lee Donghyuck like him back.  

“...I said I love you too. Now shut up and let me hold your hand in peace”.

“A cafe? Wow, you’re a lot more basic than I thought you would be”.

“The offer to reschedule this date still stands Hyuck”.

“Did I ever tell you how much I adore basic? C’mon let’s hurry inside, I can’t wait to recreate literally every first meeting in every drama”.

“I’m leaving”.

“Renjun I was kidding please! You know I’m just joking, come back so we can get two different drinks and exchange them halfway! Oh, don’t forget to get a cake with one spoon so we can indirectly kiss and scream internally about it. Renjun? Huang Renjun we are on a date you can’t just ditch me in the middle of our first date, did no one ever teach you good manners?”

 

(Renjun walks back in seconds after he turns and sees his boyfriend pouting at him, reluctantly letting Donghyuck do what he wants, following his instructions and smiling fondly as his boyfriend excitedly tells him which scene they’re going to recreate next).