Kyunghoon’s never going to drink with these assholes again. He definitely should have protested more when his upperclassmen insisted on going into a bar famous for being a hook-up spot but he’d figured that he’d have a few beers and just head home. And besides, he’d thought, he was a guy. What would happen?
What would happen indeed. In the thirty minutes since they’d entered, Kyunghoon has been ditched by all three upperclassmen in quick succession and somehow cornered by a group of drunk women. Staying at the empty table had been a mistake, he reflects. He’d tried to be polite at first, answering their questions and making excuses to leave (his mom was expecting him, he had to use the restroom, he had a phone call to take) but they’d caught him out each time.
God, he wants to go home.
The one closest to him starts pawing at his arm, and he immediately presses it harder against his side. The beer that one of the upperclassmen had bought him before disappearing was surprisingly good, but not worth being trapped in this situation. He indulges in a brief, fever-dream fantasy about shoving her away as she somehow manages to wriggle a hand between his side and bicep when an arm drapes around his neck from behind.
“I’m late! Are you mad?” The woman is forced back as whoever the newcomer is inserts his body between them. He winks when Kyunghoon looks up to see him, and Kyunghoon feels his mouth go a little dry. Maybe it’s the relief from the rescue, or maybe it’s the warm lighting of the bar, but his rescuer has to be one of the most attractive men he’s ever seen.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’ll buy the drinks tonight.” The man says in response to his dumbstruck staring, and turns to the rest of the table. “Thank you for keeping my friend company, but I’ll be taking him now.”
He pulls on Kyunghoon’s wrist, and Kyunghoon quickly rises before the women can recover from that particularly dazzling smile. They make it clear to the other side of the bar before the man slows to a halt.
Now that Kyunghoon is standing too, he can see the man’s face better. He’d thought that the man was pretty earlier, but up close his face looks more androgynous, a meeting of both masculine and feminine traits. His large eyes are off-set with a well-defined brow and nose, and his longish hair brushes against a sharp jaw. The man presses full lips together and slowly releases Kyunghoon’s arm, eyes flitting around restlessly in what seems like… uncertainty?
“I thought you looked uncomfortable. I’m- my name is Kim Heechul.” Heechul-ssi says a little haltingly, all the glitzy confidence from earlier gone. Kyunghoon tries to smile reassuringly.
“Thank you, I was.” He doesn’t quite know what else to say, and a beat of silence passes between them.
“I’ll let you go, then. Plea-” “Let me buy you a drink! In thanks.” Kyunghoon interrupts. He’d wanted nothing more than go home five minutes ago, but now he finds that he wants to talk to Heechul-ssi a little longer.
Heechul-ssi doesn’t protest much outside of a few token ‘I-can’t-let-you-do-that’s, and once they get their drinks and order food they sit down in a quieter corner of the bar. Belatedly he realizes that he hasn’t introduced himself.
“I’m Min Kyunghoon.” He says, straightening up to offer a handshake, left hand clasped under his elbow. Heechul-ssi laughs, nose scrunching up endearingly, and takes his hand. Heechul-ssi’s palm is surprisingly soft for a man’s, and for a moment it feels like they’re touching a little too long.
They go through the normal little dance of strangers meeting each other for the first time: it turns out that Heechul-ssi is a Heechul-hyung, he lives in a neighborhood ten minutes’ walk from Kyunghoon’s, and that he is also a college student. When Heechul-hyung rolls up his sleeves to demonstrate his drink-mixing prowess, Kyunghoon sees a callus on his inner wrist. That’s a PC gaming callus if he’s ever seen one- Kyunghoon has a matching one tucked under his own shirtsleeve.
“Hyung, what games do you play?” Heechul-hyung arches a brow at him in question, so Kyunghoon pulls his sweater and long-sleeved shirt up to his forearm and taps at the bump. Heechul-hyung grins and motions for him to give him his arm, so Kyunghoon leans forward so he can grab it.
Heechul-hyung supports his wrist with his left hand, showing Kyunghoon the same easy consideration that he has been since they’ve met. He runs his fingers over the callus with his right, murmuring “Yours is harder than mine. Here, feel.”
Heechul-hyung lets his fingers run over Kyunghoon’s palm as he lets go. Kyunghoon feels his hand twitch as he does, hypersensitive to the contact and to the heat slowly creeping its way up his neck. He doesn’t trust himself to hold onto Heechul-hyung’s arm, so he just rubs over the spot with two fingers.
“Oh, it is.” Kyunghoon mutters distractedly, grateful for the dimmer lighting in this part of the bar. His ears are on fire, and he knows just from the feeling that they have to be bright red right now. Heechul-hyung starts talking enthusiastically about the games he likes to play as he passes over one of the drinks, so Kyunghoon takes a hearty gulp of it before letting himself be drawn into a discussion about first-snow events.
They spend a few hours just talking, which is a pleasant departure from Kyunghoon’s usual experiences with drinking. He’s not forced into playing drinking games that he’s shitty at, or even pressured into guzzling mass amounts of alcohol. Heechul-hyung nudges the bottles on the table with a questioning raise of eyebrows every time Kyunghoon’s glass empties, but his face is open and undemanding as he does. The only thing that he actually insists on is that Kyunghoon keeps eating some of the food that they’d ordered. That actually makes him drink more, comfortable enough in this hyung’s warm presence to let himself get a little tipsy.
The third time in a row that Heechul-hyung has to repeat what he’s said to be heard over the noise, he grimaces and shakes his head. “Let’s go.”
When Kyunghoon returns from the bathroom and starts to head up to the counter, Heechul-hyung catches him by the arm and drags him to the door.
“Hyung, I said I’d buy you a drink!” He protests once they’re outside. Heechul-hyung scrunches his face up at that.
“How can I let a dongsaeng pay for me? Especially the first time we’re spending time together.” Something about being relegated to a dongsaeng doesn’t quite sit right with Kyunghoon, and he sulks a little bit.
“Look at that pout.” Heechul-hyung says laughingly, but the look in his eyes is intent as he presses fingers to Kyunghoon’s mouth. Kyunghoon’s breath hitches, and he lets his lips part against them.
The moment stretches on, suspended in the air between them. His body feels warm and loose, and he steps closer, buoyed by the atmosphere. Kyunghoon peers at Heechul-hyung through his lashes the way that ex-girlfriends and doting hyungs alike have gone gooey over, determined to press every advantage he has.
“We should go for a second round, hyung. Somewhere quieter?” Heechul-hyung’s eyes, a little dazed before, immediately sharpen. He draws himself up, a little smile on his face, and Kyunghoon lets his eyes drop to his lips.
“Let’s do that.”
Heechul-hyung’s hand finds its way to his arm as they walk and Kyunghoon slides his own hand into it, holding his breath. The fingers tighten in his own, and he lets the breath gust out. The breeze is pleasantly cool against his flushed face and he’s holding hands with the most beautiful man he’s ever seen. The night feels full of possibility.