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Roses of Ash, I Give to You

Chapter Text

Andrie regretted his decision the moment he entered the establishment.

I shouldn’t have said yes to James’ invite , he told himself as a scantily clad waiter passed next to him and the small group consisting of every single one of James’ male LGBTQ+ friends. It was a good thing this was a Gays Only place, or else there would’ve been at least eighteen people instead of seven coming along.

It was still a large number. To Andrie at least, who had maybe four actual friends, maximum.

James - tall, handsome and single James - flung an arm around Andrie’s narrow shoulders, face split in a large grin Andrie forced himself to return. He could feel his face heating up.

“Trust me, Andrie,” James said, “this is going to be great. I know you try to avoid alcohol and shit, which is fine, very responsible of you, so I tried the food here last time and they make really fucking great food. You’ll get to enjoy yourself without any booze!”

“Thanks, James.”

“No problem, dude! You look nice today, you know?” This caught Andrie off guard and he stammered out a thanks. He didn’t think he looked nicer than usual. His hair was still a curly, needs-to-be-redyed-blue-again mess and the bags under his eyes were, as always, very obvious despite his dark skin. He wasn’t even wearing anything different from usual, except maybe the little necklace around his neck and an actually clean pair of jeans.

Despite these thoughts, he accepted the compliment. Well, tried to.

The club wasn’t particularly fancy, but it was definitely something Andrie definitely wouldn’t have been able to pay for. Hell, he never thought he’d end up visiting any type of gay bars or clubs anytime soon, even with the lack of school for the summer. There was nothing run down about the place, no peeling paint or dirty tables, but it was obvious that it hadn’t been built recently.

Andrie mentally thanked the universe for Jame’s father’s riches.

They sat down at a table, two of James’ friends already heading off to ‘talk’ with some people. Hopefully it wouldn’t last long.

A pretty blonde boy came to their tables, carrying a single drink on a platter.

“And what would you lovely gents like to order?” he asked. He had a weird accent.

Andrie, like the child that he was, ordered non-alcoholic apple juice and some nachos, while the irresponsible young adults around him ordered some of the most alcoholic drinks on the menu.

Why did he agree to this? He was supposed to be at his aunt’s, helping with dinner despite her protests that she could do it herself.

She couldn’t even reach the settings on the stove. She needed him to get the stuff that was too high, or else they’d be stuck with nothing to eat, since Andrie sucked at cooking.

“I’ll just order pizza or something,” she had said, “go with your friends. You need it, you really do. This bitch’ll do just fine on her own for just one night, no worries.”

“But-”

“No, shh, I may be in a wheelchair but I can do stuff by myself.”

They had argued for a long time, but finally Aunt Eliza had won the battle with calm determination and a lot of motherly affection.

So here Andrie was, half regretting everything and half really wanting to watch James and the others getting drunker and drunker. Andrie knew he’d be the one driving them home, which wasn’t really convenient, but whatever.

And Oliver was already throwing whatever money he had at the dancer.

This should be interesting.

Chapter Text

It had been. It had been so very interesting.

Andrie wasn’t really one to participate in activities. He was one of those people who preferred to analyse and observe, to figure things out without actually doing shit to confirm their theories and thoughts.

That was probably why he had enjoyed this outing much more than he should have. At least, it would’ve been the only reason, if it weren’t for the friend he had made.

Andrie had been sipping his third glass of water (they had added a little umbrella and a bendy straw, which he decided was absolutely genius) when someone had sat down beside him, far enough enough not to touch but close enough that it wasn’t offensive.

Andrie had originally thought that it was one of the guys he came with, until he realised that this guy was Asian, prettier and definitely not drunk and singing old marine songs at the top of his lungs, which was exactly what James, Oliver and Samuel were doing.

“Hello,” the very beautiful stranger said. He had a nice voice, which Andrie thought was very unfair of him.

“Hey,” Andrie said. His voice didn’t crack. “Can I help you?”

“Yes, actually.” The stranger pointed to the water in Andrie’s dark hand and raised one perfect eyebrow. “Is that the only thing you’ve gotten yourself since you got here?”

Andrie would’ve been lying if he said he hadn’t felt a tad offended at this dude’s judgemental comments.

But he hadn’t really sounded judgemental, just… amused? Pleasantly surprised?

“I got nachos, too,” he said, just in case he really was judging him.

“Huh. I’m guessing alcoholic stuff isn’t what you want tonight, is it?”

“No.”

“They’ve got really good smoothies, you know.”

Andrie’s back straightened and he lifted his chin up a little more.

Wow, this guy was tall, too.

“There’s smoothies ?”

“Yup, they’re super good and not that expensive. Wanna go get one with me?”

Wait-

“Are you asking me if you can buy me a drink?” Andrie asked, perplexed. Beautiful Stranger grinned- almost sheepishly, embarrassed , even- and nodded.

“Well, I mean, sort of? I want to get one for myself too, but buying one for you is also a good plan, so yeah, sure, can I buy you a smoothie?”

This felt strange and foreign. This was the first time a stranger had asked Andrie if they could buy him a drink, or came to talk to him in a crowded bar/strip club.

No stranger so nice, young, beautiful and polite, anyway.

“I- Uh, yeah, sure,” Andrie said, because this was a chance to actually get to know someone else besides James, Ethan and Oliver.

The stranger’s face lit up. “Great! Let’s go, stretch our legs a lil’, you’ve got to feel sore after sitting there for so long.”

Andrie didn’t fight down the big smile that crept over his face, as he was prone to do, and followed the man towards the bar.

“I’m sorry, I forgot to ask,” the man said as they made their way there, “but what’s your name?”

“Anderson- but uh, everyone just calls me Andrie.”

“Fits you better. I’m Seunghui.” Seunghui looked up at the menu, which was hanging from the ceiling. It was easier to see around this area, unlike the table Andrie and the others had taken residence. He could now really see Seunghui, which should be considered a blessing given by God.

The man was even more beautiful now that they weren’t shrouded in darkness. His eyes, first of all, were quite pretty, which was kind of a strange first thing to notice. They were black, like most East Asians’, as well as large but sharp, the ends going up slightly. It made him look even more elegant than he probably would have been otherwise.

Everything about his face seemed sharp. The jawline, cheekbones and nose, but his lips and perfect skin added some softnest to it all, making him look much less serious and threatening. His black hair was long enough to be styled in a sort of loop at the front, parted to the side, but short enough at the back and sides so that it didn’t look like a weird mullet and added some personality to it all.

Good haircuts were hard to come by on men these days.

Andrie tore his eyes away from Seunghui’s face and hair, instead deciding to look at the menu.

...That was a lot of smoothie options.

“I didn’t know smoothies could be alcoholic,” he muttered to himself. Half of them were, while the other half consisted of what must be overly sweet versions of a perfectly normal and healthy smoothie.

“I know right!” Seunghui said, startling Andrie. “I’ve tried them all- super good, and a nice change from the typical shots and cocktails. So, which one d’you want? Pick any of them. And if it turns out you don’t want anything to drink, you can get some food, I’m willing to pay for that too.”

“You rich or something?”

Seunghui laughed, loud and the complete opposite of annoying. “Define ‘rich’.”

Andrie did not know how to feel about that, so he decided not to comment on what was probably a joke. Seunghui hadn’t come off as a self entitled spoiled rich kid. Andrie wasn’t going to make him one.

“I think I’ll get the blueberry, raspberry and banana one,” he decided to say, “but without the banana.”

“Alrighty.” Seunghui sat down on one of the high benches lined up in front of the counter, his long legs easily aiding him in this task. “Hello, Mr. Bartender,” he greeted pleasantly, leaning forward and supporting his chin with the palm of his hand. The man behind the counter looked up from the drink he had been making, before spotting Seunghui. A big grin, warm but mischievous, was now covering his entire face.

“Seunghui!” he exclaimed. He passed the drink to the guy who ordered it and hurried towards the two of them. He spread his big arms and enveloped Seunghui in a hug.

“Good to see you too, Harry,” the Asian man said, straining to get the words out as his lungs were crushed with the love of what Andrie had to assume was a friend.

“How come ya didn’t come as soon as ya entered the place?” the big man, now known as Harry, asked Seunghui as he released him.

“I only just got here recently,” Seunghui said, straightening the leather jacket he was wearing. It was a very nice leather jacket.

Fuck, and he was dressed well, too, how had Andrie missed that-

“And then,” Seunghui gestured towards Andrie with the hand that bore two dark and simple rings, “I met this guy. His name’s Andrie. Andrie, meet my old friend Harry the Bartender. He’s the bartender.”

“I wouldn’t have guessed.” Andrie offered his right hand to Harry, and the bartender took it. The thick fingers were cold from the drinks he had to be making all day long and engulfed half of Andrie’s forearm without even trying. It hurt a little bit, but it obviously wasn’t on purpose.

“So, boys, what can I get ya?” Harry asked, thankfully releasing Andrie’s poor limb.

“I’d like the Red Explosion, and Andrie here will get Parrot Mix, but without the banana.”

“On it.”

“Thanks Harry!” Harry went off and started to make their order.

“So, Andrie,” Seunghui said, “first off, please sit, you look sad standing there all alone.”

“Oh, right.” With some effort, Andrie climbed onto the seat, trying not to look ridiculous as he did so. Curse these chairs for being so tall and for him being so short.

“Second, since we’ve formed a sort of friendship,” Seunghui said, paying no mind to his past struggle, “can I ask to get to know you a bit better? I’ll tell you a bit about me, and you’ll tell me something about you. To break the ice.”

“Okay. You first.”

Seunghui nodded and smiled. “Alright. Well, I like visiting bars, especially this one, but there’s this lovely strip club called ‘The Inccubus Lair’ I visit sometimes.”

Huh. Okay. Nice.

“Uh… I’ve dyed my hair six different colours so far.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Blue’s pretty new, I’ve only had it for two weeks.”

“Matches your eyes.”

“Oh. Thank you.”

That was one of the most polite way anyone had ever brought up Andrie’s peculiar eye colour. It wasn’t often you saw brown guys with bright blue eyes, after all.

This continued even after they got their smoothies, both taking the drinks individually, which Andrie would later realised was a good way to earn his trust. A smart wooer, Seunghui was.

Andrie learned things such as the fact that Seunghui worked at a strip club, thought he was cute, really liked the colour pink, red and black, regularly ate dumplings four times a week at a small Japanese restaurant owned by this lovely little family, was 25 years old and was a big Harry Potter fan.

He also learned that Seunghui wasn’t against giving people he’s only known for a couple of hours his number and the offer to hang out again some time.

When Lucas fetched Andrie to inform him that two of their group were passed out and the others were probably gonna have a massive hangover tomorrow so Andrie could you please drive them all home, they said their goodbyes.

Normally, driving a group of drunk college students to their homes, all of them being rowdy young men, would irritate Andrie. This time, however, he had a piece of paper in his pocket with a number and Seunghui’s name on it, as well as an offer to hang out anytime he’d like, sot that was a positive aspect.

That, and Oliver had tripped over his own feet and fell straight into James, creating a domino effect, not even two steps out of the building.

Andrie didn’t regret saying yes to this little adventure, after all.