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i want to find myself in your eyes (just look at me)

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Im Jaebum first sees Park Jinyoung early one Monday morning in his first writing class of his third semester: Introduction to Fictional Composition or Fiction Writing 101, basically. He doesn’t know his name is Jinyoung at first of course, but Jinyoung is the first person he sees as Jaebum enters the lecture hall, already sitting at a desk, jacket neatly folded away and laptop and notebook out, ready to take notes. The only seat available without having to walk past a crowd of students is right next to him and that is where Jaebum sits down. He’s just typing on his laptop when Jaebum settles beside him, but his gaze is focused in a way that Jaebum rarely sees on anyone and it makes Jinyoung look intimidatingly handsome. His fingers itch to take out his DSLR from his bag and capture that look, but the last dregs of students are walking in and so is the professor and Jaebum has to force his attention to going over the syllabus for the rest of the class period.

 

“Oh,” the professor calls out before anyone can leave, “Please exchange contact information with the person next to you so that you can keep up to date with class if you miss a lecture and also to hopefully form an informal peer editing group. While we may be reading a lot in this class, we will also be writing a lot, the more eyes that can look through your draft besides me, the better.”

 

Jaebum’s eyes immediately flicker to Jinyoung who meets his stares for a few long seconds before his lips twitch up into a reluctant smile.

 

“Park Jinyoung,” he introduces himself, bowing slightly.

 

“Im Jaebum,” Jaebum replies back, almost a beat too late, too busy staring, mind weaving mindless, unfinished lyrics and constructing the perfect picture of the man in front of him.  

 

He can’t really remember what the rest of their short conversation is like because once he exits the classroom he beelines for the fine arts building; there are lyrics swimming around in his head and he needs to write them all down.

 

-

 

Jinyoung didn’t know what to expect heading to his first creative writing class of his college career. He arrived to the lecture hall early, wanting to find a good seat and get organized before the professor arrives. He didn’t have too many hopes for this class, it was a 101 class after all. He just knows he’s going to have to suffer through reading a bunch of mediocre romance pieces from his peers and sighs in silent resignation. He would have avoided this class if he could, but it was a prerequisite for others he wants to take and so he’s here to get it over with sooner rather than later.

 

As time grows closer to the start of class, more and more students pour in until the seats are all but filled. Most students travel up the stairs up to the back of the class but seats are filling up pretty quickly. Jinyoung didn’t think that anyone would sit next to him, but another man walks in and scans the room and surveying his seat choices, before he takes a seat next to Jinyoung.

 

Jinyoung clears his throat and starts to reorganize the notes on his desk, side-eyeing the man discreetly. He is in casual street wear -three striped sneakers, ripped jeans, and a plain T-shirt. The automatic blinds lift to let more sun in the hall and the sunlight glints off a few metal pieces in the man’s ear. Jinyoung sees the man brush his messy fringe out of his eyes and almost scoffs to himself, forcing his gaze forward, back to his laptop screen. Probably just here to fill a requirement, Jinyoung thinks about the man next to him, denying his disappointment, like everyone else in the class. He shakes his head slightly and tries to ignore his presence when the professor walks in and starts to lecture.

 

When the professor advises the class to introduce themselves to the people sitting near them, Jinyoung’s eyes immediately flicker to the man sitting next to him. When the man’s eyes also turn to face him first, Jinyoung almost preens. His lips twitch into a small smile.

 

“Park Jinyoung,” Jinyoung introduces himself, bowing slightly.

 

“...Im Jaebum,” the man says back, almost a beat too late. He’s staring at Jinyoung with an appraising eye, appreciative yet critical; he’s staring at Jinyoung like he’s a painting, Jinyoung doesn’t know what to do with that.

 

“Nice to meet you,” is what he says, before he looks back down at this things and starts to pack up.

 

“...You too,” Jaebum murmurs before he’s standing up and exiting the classroom. He walks with an easy grace and laid back posture that Jinyoung denies to himself suits Jaebum.

 

-

 

The first few weeks of class is just them reading and reviewing certain choice authors and their writing styles; their professor believes that they should be exposed to multiple styles of writing and so has them reading Jim Harrison to Murakami, and from reading nothing less than whole novels to the shortest of short short stories. Jaebum would honestly complain if he wasn’t getting inspiration from what he reads for both his photography and his music.

 

It isn’t until about a month into the class that the professor announces they will finally get to begin drafting their own original works. Jaebum is almost a little sad, glad for the reading routine and ease of the assignments, but also excited that he can now let his own creativity and individuality come through through with his words. He’s only ever written songs so he’s excited for the challenge that is drafting a story.

 

He’s packing up his stuff when he hears a soft “...Jaebum-ssi?”

 

Jaebum looks to the side where Jinyoung is playing with his pen, one hand twirling it as the other closes the screen to his laptop.

 

“I was wondering if it would be alright to meet up outside of class so that we could proofread each other’s drafts, if that’s okay with you?” Jinyoung asks, biting his lip.

 

“Yeah!” Jaebum flinches internally at his overly loud and surprised tone. “Yes, of course. That-that would be great actually.”

 

He pulls out his phone and hands it to Jinyoung to put his number in. When Jinyoung hands his phone back over, Jaebum bows slightly to him and grabs his bag, needing to do some work in the arts building for another class. “Thanks! I’ll text you later!”

 

Jinyoung nods his head at him and goes to pack up the rest of his own things.

 

Later, when Jaebum has some time, he pulls out his phone to check his newest contact - Park Jinyoung (Fiction Writing 101).

 

Jaebum shakes his head and huffs out a disbelieving snort. Did Jinyoung really think that Jaebum didn’t know who he was? They sit right beside each other, even after a few seats opened up after some students dropped the class. How can Jinyoung not know that Jaebum will watch him instead of paying attention in class, whole seconds, whole minutes devoted to tracing his profile in the school’s industrial lighting. He resaves the contact under a new name.

 

Jinyoung-ah.

 

--

 

Unknown Number

>hey jinyoung-ah it’s jaebum

>from fiction writing 101

 

Jinyoung

>Oh! Hello Jaebum-ssi!

>Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!

 

Im Jaebum

>yeah np

>so when do you wanna meet?

>i need some time to draft something...so later this week?

 

Jinyoung

>How does Friday sound? Around 15:00? That should us both enough time to have something done by then?

 

Im Jaebum

>friday is perfect

>meet at the library?

 

Jinyoung

>Sounds good!

 

Im Jaebum

>awesome

>see you then :)

 

-

 

“-and then-”

 

Jaebum tunes Jackson out as he texts Jinyoung -finally. He wondered what to say for the past hour, stressing on how he should introduce himself over text message and what he should say and if Jinyoung would even remember him if he just said his name, maybe he should also include what class they’re in together just to be sure-

 

Hello ,” Jaebum startles back when Jackson waves a hand in front of his face. “Jaebum, you’re not listening to me.”

 

“That’s Jaebum-hyung to you, brat,” Jaebum replies, smacking the hand still waving in front of his face away.

 

Jackson pouts at him, obnoxiously dramatic. “Maybe I would call you that if you actually listened to me!”

 

Jaebum rolls his eyes. “I am listening to you-”

 

“No you’re not! You’re texting someone else! Who’s more important than me, huh? I’m one of your bestest friends-”

 

Jaebum pulls his phone away quickly -as far as possible. But Jackson, the stupid internationally ranked, Olympic bound fencer that he is, is unfortunately faster. He smiles his mischievous smile and wiggles his eyebrows at Jaebum, holding Jaebum’s phone all the while dodging Jaebum’s attempts at getting it back.

 

“Oh? Who’s this? ‘Jinyoung-ah,’” Jackson reads aloud, his fencer’s footing and Jaebum’s fondness for him the only thing keeping him alive. “Is this someone I should know about huh, Jaebum- hyung ?”

 

Jaebum glares at him when he swipes his phone back, checking to see nothing was accidentally sent. He sees Jinyoung had replied to him and so he sets the date to when they can meet later this week. It’s a little sooner than he’s actually ready for, but Jaebum is not complaining.

 

Jackson is staring amusedly at him the whole time, chin leaning on his hand. “Invite me to your wedding,” he says sing-song, smiling charmingly at Jaebum.

 

Jaebum rolls his eyes even as his ears turn red. “I can’t wait until you find someone so I can finally see you suffering for myself, Jackson.”

 

(“Oh! So you do admit this is someone-”

 

“No! Now go away! Don’t you have practice?” )

 

-

 

They meet at the time they agreed at and sit down at one of the corner tables, avoiding the slight crowd in the middle if the library. Jaebum had walked in, a little breathless from his brisk walk over, but he didn’t want to be late to his meeting with Jinyoung. He scans the tables in the area that Jinyoung had texted him where he was sitting and it feels like a movie where everything slows down to a halt when his eyes land on Jinyoung finally.

 

Jinyoung is sitting straight in one of the wooden library chairs that feels uncomfortable no matter how one sits, face and hair neat, dressed in jeans, slip ons and a comfortable cardigan. He brushes his hair from his face as he stares down at his laptop screen, the light reflecting off of it onto his face. His breathing is calm and his eyelashes fan out over his cheeks when he blinks and his lips are pink from where he’d bitten them and Jaebum snaps a quick picture of him with his phone camera; a study of angles and lighting.

 

He makes his way over and greets him and once they’re settled, Jinyoung quickly prints out the draft he was working on and they trade papers, settling in their seats and preparing to read.

 

Jaebum considers the draft in front of him, red pen in hand. He wants Jinyoung to like him, but he also doesn’t want to disrespect him by not properly critiquing his work. Jaebum bites his lip, he wouldn’t want anyone to bullshit their way through a peer edit of his work, why should he do so to Jinyoung? What’s more is that Jaebum respects Jinyoung, as a person and as a writer and not critiquing his piece would be a huge disservice.

 

Jaebum takes a breath, swirls the red pen in his hand and flips the cover page.

 

-

 

Jaebum winces when he sees Jinyoung going through his paper. As he’s flipping through the pages, all Jaebum can see are the sheets drenched in his handwriting, edits and comments and proofreaders marks sprawling over the entire thing. He didn’t hold anything back from his review and even left Jinyoung a summary of his thoughts on the last page. He hopes it’s not too much.

 

“Well, you’re certainly...thorough,” Jinyoung says as he scans his rough draft that is dripping with Jaebum’s handwriting. The typed words are cramped together with Jaebum’s comments, black and red pushed together, the white of the paper like the negative space in between tattoos.

 

Jaebum winces again. “I’m sorry-”

 

Jinyoung lifts his head up and smiles. “I like it. I’ve never had someone who wasn’t a professor actually critically critique my work before. This is really helpful, thank you Jaebum-hyung.”

 

For the record, Jaebum likes to think he does not squeak out a thank you, you’re welcome in reply.

 

(He does though.)

 

-

 

“-you make me a teenager-”

 

Jaebum knows he should be sleeping, knows he has a morning class tomorrow. But he can’t sleep with all these lyrics floating around in his head, flashes of words mixed in with small smiles, quick hands, and glittering eyes.  

 

Jaebum glances at his clock, 01:55 it reads. He rolls his shoulders back and cracks his neck, his marked up draft half buried under his laptop, Jinyoung’s neat handwriting making art out of a page. He glances at Jinyoung’s “ieung.” He shouldn’t find how he writes his characters cute, but Jaebum does. He turns back to his laptop and keeps writing the song that’s being put together in his head.

 

-

 

Jaebum is wandering aimlessly around the city, taking pictures of “aesthetic architecture.” His photography professor hadn’t allowed him to use cats as his subject and so Jaebum was left scrambling on what he should use for his final project. He zooms in on a rooftop with a peculiar tile pattern and takes a generic shot of an open market. After wandering around all early afternoon, Jaebum catches the sight of someone familiar through the glass of a cafe.

 

He peeks in a little closer and finds Jinyoung sitting a little aways at a small table, study materials spread out before him, a mug of coffee in his hands. Even though it looks as though Jinyoung has brought multiple school related readings with him, what he’s actually readings isn’t a textbook, but a well worn novel that Jaebum can’t see the name of as its spread open on the table.

 

Jinyoung takes a sip of his coffee and smiles down at the words his eyes are tracking on the page that’s painting a whole story in his head. Jinyoung’s eyes sparkle in a way that Jaebum wants to capture on film forever even though he knows he won’t ever be able to, knows that that type of perfection just can’t be captured.

 

And yet, here Jaebum is anyway, trying to capture some perfection for himself as he hastily lifts his camera up and takes several successives shots of Jinyoung through the window glass.

 

Jaebum forces himself to walk away so as to not draw attention to the fact he’s taking photos of a particular someone and regrets not being able to go into the coffee shop himself to get a closer, better picture of Jinyoung.

 

(When asked later, about how all of this started, Jaebum will say he doesn’t remember, that the semester was a whirlwind and everything just fell together in the end, a resolution to a quick conflict. Jaebum, however, does remember, doesn’t think he could ever forget.)

 

-

 

Jaebum blows his bangs up from where they droop over his eyes. It’s late and he should probably get some work done before the weekend ends so he doesn’t feel like a complete bum.

 

He rises from the bed where Youngjae and Jackson are passed out, all bundled up in the blankets, the TV’s screen illuminating them with Netflix’s movie selection. He makes sure they’re still sleeping and tucks them in more securely, gathering any trash he can, and he makes his way towards the kitchen, dumping the trash in his arms in the garbage can.

 

Once that’s done he goes to the bathroom to wash his face real quick with cold water to wake him up just that little bit more before grabbing his bag and settling on the couch, placing his laptop on the coffee table. He connects his external hard drive and gets ready to sort through photos for at least an hour for his photography term project: the showcase.

 

Jaebum yawns and scratches his arm as he scrolls through the mediocre shots of city architecture he’d taken a few weeks before. He’s scrolling absentmindedly, too tired to delete but looking for any standout shots when one catches his eye.

 

It’s slightly more colorful than the photos he’s been looking at and the camera angle is different. Jaebum has to blink a few times to make sense of what he’s looking at. He’d forgotten about this photo, tucked away like a secret, but now it smacks him in the face in the quiet dark of the early morning.

 

Park Jinyoung’s face doesn’t stare directly at him from the photo, but Jaebum can feel that stare as if Jinyoung was right next to him.

 

He really shouldn’t be changing his topic in the middle of the semester, but Jaebum performs well under pressure.

 

And now, he’s found the perfect subject.

 

-

 

It gets both easier and harder to be around Jinyoung after that night. Easier because Jinyoung’s opened up to him slightly ever since they started hanging out and helping proofread and edit each other’s drafts and harder because Jaebum wants to take his picture all the time.

 

He knows he’s collecting a candid collection and knows he should ask Jinyoung’s permission to use these photos, but a part of him is scared. Scared that Jinyoung will say no and get weirded out and avoid him for the rest of the semester, the rest of their college careers, the rest of their lives. Jinyoung’s not the only thing he’s been taking pictures of, keeping other photos for an emergency project portfolio, but he knows what he wants his showcase to show, and he’s sitting right in front of Jaebum.

 

-

 

Jinyoung slams his pen on the table, startling Jaebum and a few other patrons of the quiet cafe they’re in.

 

“Jinyoung-?” Jaebum starts, eyes wide and blinking from behind his laptop screen.

 

Jinyoung whips off his glasses and buries his face in his hands, taking deep breaths that only seem to get faster. “I can’t do this, hyung!”

 

Jaebum’s eyes soften, one of his his hands twitching, hesitating to reach out. “Hey, Jinyoung it’s okay.”

 

“No it’s not! I’m never going to have all this finished in time and I’m going to fail a class and my family’s going to be so disappointed in me-”

 

“Jinyoung no, listen-”

 

“-and they thought going to Seoul was such a terrible idea and now-”

 

“Jinyoung-”

 

“-’told you so’-”

 

“Jinyoung-”

 

“-’my father was right-”

 

“Jinyoung will you stop and listen to me!?” Jinyoung startles from his rant, blinking up at Jaebum as he lowers his hands from his face. Jaebum is breathing heavily, body facing him still and face serious. Jaebum looks him directly in the eyes and Jinyoung is too transfixed to look away.

 

“You are not going fail a class. You coming to Seoul was not a mistake. You won’t disappoint your family and you will finish everything you need to on time.”

 

Jaebum says all of this as he stares Jinyoung down, slowly enunciating every word, making sure that Jinyoung is listening. Jinyoung feels infinitely a lot better at Jaebum’s faith in him but his doubts still aren’t unfounded. “But-”

 

Jaebum holds up a hand to stop him from speaking. “No.”

 

He reaches over and flips Jinyoung’s essay he was reviewing to the front and straightens the papers that line their table, closing his laptop and placing it over Jinyoung’s papers. He caps all the pens Jinyoung has out and shoves them to the side neatly. He turns back to Jinyoung.

 

“You are going to take a break and eat something, and then after you can go back to work, okay?”

 

Jaebum takes off to the counter to order before Jinyoung can say anything in objection. He stares at Jaebum’s broad back still a little stunned. He bit his lip, eying his papers under Jaebum’s laptop. Technically nothing was stopping him from taking out his stuff and working again when Jaebum was away, but Jinyoung didn’t want to; it didn’t feel right to him, made him feel guilty because he knew if he did that Jaebum would come back and look at him disapproving and maybe disappointed and Jinyoung didn’t know if he could take that.

 

So, Jinyoung turns back to the table and pulled out his phone to answer some messages from Mark and from Yugyeom.

 

Jaebum came back with a few pastries and two cups of coffee. He set the plate down between them and a mug in front of Jinyoung, smiling so softly at him that the twin moles underneath his eye winked at Jinyoung. Jinyoung swallows and looks down at the plate. “Thank you,” he says, grateful.

 

“Of course, it’s the least I can do.” Jaebum grabs his laptop and opens in back up, leaving Jinyoung’s things free to grab. He’s not thinking about working just yet but Jaebum throws out a “don’t think about working until you’ve finished your coffee, please” and Jinyoung decides the matter is decided.

 

Jinyoung takes a sip of his coffee after blowing gently at the steam. His heart palpitates in his when he swallows -no doubt from the caffeine because what else could it be- eyes glancing at Jaebum across the table from him, frowning in concentration as he works on something. He got Jinyoung’s coffee order down perfectly.

 

Jinyoung’s never told him.

 

(When thinks back, perhaps they were obvious and oblivious and every other word writers all over the globe had ever used to describe the see-sawing in between they were at the time. Jinyoung may not be able to pinpoint when it started, but he does remember the moment of quiet realization.)

 

-

 

Things change after the cafe incident, even though no one wants to admit it, it’s palpable that things have changed. Jaebum and Jinyoung still meet up, but they don’t meet up just for class anymore. They go eat out, breakfast, lunch, dinner, sometimes on consecutives days, something all three meals in a day. They eventually stop going to the library some time in the semester and go to each other’s apartments, hang out at cafes, discuss literature in bookshops, both quaint and chain.

 

Once, Jinyoung had forgotten to pack a book when they were studying in one of the cafes along university road and Jaebum delivered to him before his class started. Him walking Jinyoung to and from his classes only became natural after that.

 

Jaebum knows they’re at an impasse. He doesn’t know how to move forward from here, doesn’t know if Jinyoung even wants to. On his way to pick Jinyoung up from one of his other composition classes, he sees another student conversing with Jinyoung as he packs up his things.

 

They’re talking and Jaebum’s too far away to hear them and the smile Jinyoung sends the other’s way makes his stomach churn in stormy waves that capsize even the largest of sea vessels, raging, violent. Jaebum swallows it down with effort as he goes into the classroom and up to Jinyoung’s seat.

 

Jinyoung notices him about the same time the person he’s talking to does. Except unlike the falling of the student’s face, Jinyoung’s eyes go wide with surprised delight even though Jaebum’s been waiting on him for weeks now, pink lips parting like a flower blooming in sunshine. “Jaebum!”

 

It’s that smile, that reaction that solidifies something in Jaebum’s chest. He has to do something. And soon, he thinks as he notes the falling faces of Jinyoung’s classmates around him as Jaebum takes his books as they walk out together.

 

-

 

It is after working in a cafe for a few hours that Jaebum invites Jinyoung back to his apartment.

 

“Do you want to see my demo photography showcase? It’s in the rough stages right now but the general theme should be able to be felt, I think.”

 

“What’s your theme?”

 

Jaebum smiles a secret smile at him, anticipation thrumming through his veins. “Take a look first, then guess.”

 

Jinyoung stares at him, unimpressed, as Jaebum gestures at him to enter his apartment.

 

“If it’s something ridiculous like your obsession with cats or an aesthetic collection of architecture I’m leaving-” Jinyoung says back to him as he opens the door and turns to takes off his shoes before he faces forward and steps fully inside and stops.

 

Freezes.

 

Stops breathing for a tick and then-

 

“You-you really are ridiculous Im Jaebum,” Jinyoung breathes, awed and breath taken as he stares at the probably hundreds of polaroids hung up around the room. Some are hung on strings, clipped, some were taped to the walls, haphazard, some were framed and some were left scattered over the coffee table. Jinyoung’s hands shake as he gently touches the edges of a polaroid laid on the table; it’s a picture of him in the cafe him and Jaebum now frequent, he’s sitting at a table and enjoying a warm cup of tea, sunlight shining down on his from the window. The light hits him just right, just as he’s smiling into his cups, which is just when Jaebum somehow snapped the photo without Jinyoung noticing. All of the polaroids are of him. Reading, laughing, glaring, sighing, smiling, scowling, there’s even one of him sleeping.

 

Jinyoung can’t breathe. He’s read thousands of romance novels, watched hundreds of films, listened to peers talk about the dizzying lightheadedness, the rapid heart palpitations, the giddy flying in the pit of his stomach as he looks around and observes Jaebum’s living room, knowing now that reading, that annotating, that analyzing, were not the same, were nowhere close to actual feeling.

 

All of the polaroids are of him -

 

His attention is drawn back to Jaebum when the shutter of a camera flicks and Jaebum is looking down at his DSLR screen, smiling down at it before he meets Jinyoung’s eyes again, still smiling. “What? I don’t have that expression of yours captured yet and I think it could fit in well with this collection-”

 

Jinyoung’s eyes overflow with tears and a sob catches in his throat as he takes Jaebum’s camera in hand -and Jaebum lets him, he lets him - and Jinyoung turns to put it down on the table and then turns around and does the one thing he never thought he’d ever do: he jumps.

 

Well, perhaps that’s a stretch. Jinyoung doesn’t so much as jump at Jaebum rather than throwing himself bodily forward into his arms to clutch at what he can grab before he’s sobbing into the chest he’s never admitted to wanting to bury his face in. Jaebum smells like clean linen and a little like the musty basement of the arts building where the photography darks rooms are, chemical vapors infused into the fabric of Jaebum’s shirt.

 

“I hate you,”Jinyoung says as he shakes in Jaebum’s arms. He feels too much, a raw live wire, stripped and charged to maximum voltage. Jaebum says nothing as he pulls Jinyoung that much closer and runs his hand up and down his back, comforting.

 

Jinyoung lifts his head to glare, defensive, nervous, wary. “Aren’t you going to say anything?”

 

Jaebum stares so intently at him that Jinyoung fidgets in place and he hates that, hates how Jaebum can make him do things like cry and feel and lose his goddamn mind over fucking polaroids -

 

“Jinyoung,” he gestures to the room as a whole, “A picture is worth a thousand words, and if you count the picture I just took too, than there are a thousand pictures of you here, all worth a thousand words, all saying what I can’t ever hope to put into words.”

 

Silent tears overflow and drip down Jinyoung’s faces before Jaebum is done speaking. They come faster and faster and Jaebum reaches up to cup his face and thumb away his tears and he brings Jinyoung’s face closer to his to knock their foreheads together. “I think you did pretty well anyway,” Jinyoung sniffs, smiling as Jaebum smiles.

 

-

 

Jinyoung hums to himself as he stirs his coffee. He’s at one of the nicer coffee shops along university road, books piled up around him. He smiles to himself when the breeze blows the few, scant clouds away and reveal a bright, blue sky. Spring is here and Jinyoung loves it. Loves the influx of flowers and sunlight and fresh rain. He closes his eyes when a ray of light envelops him from the window, basking in the sunlight, a small smile twitching onto hip lips when he hears a loud shutter.

 

Jinyoung’s eyes open, tranquility shattered. His eyes scan quickly before landing on the man poised right in front of him, still in the slightly crouched position all photographers seem to be able to do. Jinyoung’s smile widens.

 

Jaebum walks forward to quickly kiss Jinyoung on the lips in greeting before he pulls back to kiss Jinyoung on the forehead. Jinyoung feels as though he’s drunk a sip of his coffee, he’s so warm. The smile that spreads over Jaebum’s face when he moves to sit across from Jinyoung reminds Jinyoung of blooming flowers and he gestures to Jaebum’s camera, wanting to see the photo. Even if he’s gotten used to Jaebum taking pictures of him, Jinyoung will never get over how they always come out. All Jaebum’s photos of him make him look amazing, ethereal, more beautiful than Jinyoung’s ever felt in his entire life. Jinyoung had asked him once, if this is how Jaebum sees him after having his breath taken away by a candid portrait shot. Jaebum had said no, that film would never be able to truly capture all of him, but Jaebum tried anyway. Jinyoung had smacked him in embarrassment, face flushed and eyes flashing; he couldn’t look Jaebum in the eyes until the other had made him.

 

“Is this really how you see me hyung?” Jinyoung asked playfully, trying to make the same laughing-smiling face he was in the picture.

 

Jaebum smiled that smile at him, the one which softened both his eyes and his mouth with fond affection. “A picture can’t ever fully capture you Nyoung, but they are close.”

 

Jinyoung stared at him and blinked in shock, his cheeks slowly started to blush a soft pink which became a lot darker when Jaebum cheekily held up his phone to snap a picture of it.

 

“Yah! Give me that Im Jaebum!” Jinyoung screeched, hitting him in the arm.

 

Jaebum raised his phone above their heads and Jinyoung huffed and flushed even redder knowing that Jaebum only did that so that JInyoung would have to press up against him to get it.

 

-

 

Jinyoung never really posts too much on social media because he almost never knows what to post and always thinks his selfies are a little bland no matter what Yugyeom or Mark say, but standing here, in the lower level of the fine arts building, gazing around the sole room that contained Jaebum’s photography showcase, Jinyoung feels like he still doesn’t have too. Not with Jaebum taking photos of him like this; how can a selfie he takes ever measure up to what’s displayed here?

 

You’re not gonna cry are you?”

 

Jinyoung turns to find Mark walking towards him, smiling. Jinyoung scoffs. “That’s rich coming from you , crybaby.” Mark says nothing but his smile still widens. They both turn simultaneously to face the photo of Jinyoung in front of them them.

 

The Jinyoung in the photo is staring up at something in the distance -the sky, a bird, a tree perhaps. The cool spring air flutters around him, tousling his hair and the leaves of the tree branches behind him. It’s a shot from a lower angle, catching Jinyoung’s profile from below, showing off the sharp of his jaw, the point of his chin, the tip of his nose. Natural light is Jinyoung’s spotlight, contrasting with the dark of his clothes. He looks exquisite.

 

”You’re really beautiful, Jinyoungie,” Mark murmurs quietly, eyes lingering on the unframed photo in front of them. He turns to face Jinyoung. “I’m glad you found someone who can see that too.”

 

Jinyoung clicks his tongue and rolls his eyes. “That’s rich coming from you, pretty boy.” It doesn’t stop him from smiling genuinely at Mark though, punching him playfully in the arm and then leaning closer to hug him.

 

“Thank you for coming,” Jinyoung whispers against his ear, feeling Mark squeeze him a little tighter in response. The moment is over when Jinyoung pushes him away. “Now get out of here, I know you have a conference to attend, hyung.”

 

Mark rolls his eyes good naturedly, making his way towards the exit, blatantly ignoring Jinyoung’s exasperation. “I’m going, I’m going Mom, don’t worry.”

 

He throws over a “See you later!” over his shoulder and Jinyoung is left alone in peace again.

 

Well that is, until one of Jaebum’s friends -Jackson- comes up to bother him.

 

-

 

Jaebum smiles at a another professor in the arts department after speaking with them on the lighting of his pieces. He places a now empty glass of wine on a passing server’s tray and nods in thanks when they take it away. He takes a deep breath and exhales slowly through his nose. It’s been a long night.

 

He leans against the wall of the entrance of his own showcase, eyes and lips curling at the edges when he spots Jinyoung over by someone from the fine arts department’s painting, talking with Jackson and Youngjae. Jinyoung says something quirks a clever smile, his lips widening into a grin when he hears Jackson and Youngjae’s honking laughter.

 

He startles when someone places a hand on his arm for his attention. He whirls around and is met with the wizened smile of his photography professor. He lets out a small noise of surprise and bows his head. “Professor.”

 

His professor smiles at him, gesturing at his showcase behind them. “So Jaebum, I never got to ask you in all the excitement, but what’s the title of your showcase?”

 

Jaebum smiles, his eyes quickly glancing at Jinyoung before turning back towards his professor.

 

“Focus on me.”