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Fighting Dreamers

Chapter Text

Chanyeol was anxiously waiting in the academy hallway, shiny new headband clutched in the palm of his hand. Passing the genin test had been more than easy for him, but then again learning and using ninjutsu had come naturally for him. But for his friend Jongdae? He needed to practice a little harder, and Chanyeol was worried that he might barely fail.

Just then the door to the classroom opens, Jongdae walking out looking stricken. Chanyeol’s heart drops, and he’s about to offer words of encouragement when Jongdae lets out a whoop, holding up his own headband proudly in front of the taller boy’s face.

“You passed! Jongdae, alright, we both did it!” Chanyeol’s grin was wide and blinding, yanking the shorter boy into a tight hug.

“We’re both officially genin, and done with the academy. Can you believe it? Finally we can be true Konoha shinobi!” Jongdae crowed, breaking the hug so he could tie the headband proudly across his forehead.

At this Chanyeol did the same, tying it tightly behind his head. He could feel that his ears were sticking out but it didn’t matter, he was still happy and proud of himself for coming this far. Now he could really make his dreams come true, of being a great shinobi of Konoha and making his family proud.

“Come on, let’s go celebrate and tell our parents before we have to be back to find out which team we’ll be on. Hopefully we’ll be on the same one,” Jongdae’s voice was loud, and getting louder, from how clearly excited he was.

It was making Chanyeol’s own excitement spike, and he easily followed along with his friend down the hallway, listening absentmindedly to the loud chatter. His attention was caught by two other boys walking down the hallway, both short and he only knew one by name. There was Baekhyun, who clearly had passed and had his arm around a boy shorter than him, who Chanyeol could barely remember the name of. Kyungja? Maybe? He didn’t know, but he knew those wide eyes anywhere. There was a look of quiet elation on his face, and once Chanyeol saw the headband clutched in his hand he knew that the boy had passed as well.

But all thoughts of that pair were pulled quickly from Chanyeol’s mind once he made it outside, the sunlight and obnoxious cheers from his family blinding him to anything else but his own happiness.

 

 

 

“I can’t do it, Baek. Maybe I should have never tried to be a ninja.” Kyungsoo sighed out, sitting down dejectedly and leaning back against one of the wooden posts in the training field.

“Don’t give up now, Kyungja! So what if you can’t use ninjutsu? You’d lay anyone out flat with your taijutsu skills. You’ve always been the best at that!” At this Baekhyun spun around and then kicked his leg up, whooping obnoxiously.

Kyungsoo appreciated the sentiment, but he still wasn’t feeling quite up to par. It had always been difficult, nearly impossible, for him to do any kind of ninjutsu. He could feel his chakra pulsing through him, but he’d never been able to channel it into anything other than putting extra force behind his punches and kicks. That particular skill was why he was able to become a genin, but that was about it.

He didn’t have a chakra nature, not like his teammate Sehun, who excelled in wind based jutsu. Or like Baekhyun, who had a clan ability that dealt with light. Kyungsoo compensated by working tirelessly on his taijutsu, and his speed, but it never felt like enough to him.

“Kyungsoo, you’re valuable to our team. No one is faster than you, not even our sensei Ryeowook. Neither me or Baekhyun can do taijutsu as good as you. We need you.” Sehun supplied helpfully, holding out his canteen of water towards Kyungsoo.

With a sigh he took the canteen, gulping from it tiredly and then handing it back to the youngest member of their squad. “I guess you’re right. It’s just that--”

“Nuh uh. Do Kyungsoo, you’re awesome! The best taijutsu I’ve ever seen and we’re so lucky to have you! Now come on, it’s late. Even Ryeowook already went home. Let’s go.” Baekhyun held out a hand, hauling Kyungsoo back up onto his feet.

Kyungsoo dusted off his training shorts, tugging at the tight material a bit as his cheeks tinged pink, shy but pleased by his friends’ encouraging words. Whenever he felt down they were always there to pick him back up, especially Baekhyun.

“Thanks you guys, I appreciate it. You’re the best.” Kyungsoo slung his arms over Sehun and Baekhyun’s shoulders, pushing up a bit on his toes to do so. “Want to come over? I’m going to be helping my mom cook tonight.”

“As if we would ever say no to that!” Sehun chirped happily, steering the three of them off the training field and into the familiar direction of Kyungsoo’s home.

“Taijutsu master and a chef, Kyungja, you’re really something else.” Baekhyun pretended to wipe a tear, sniffling for dramatic effect.

Kyungsoo just laughed, elbowing Baekhyun in the ribs none too gently, bright smile on his lips.

 

 

 

It was getting impossible to catch the damn cat. Even with Jongin’s (shaky) teleportation jutsu, they just could not sneak up on it. Jongdae was always too noisy, crashing through the bushes and screeching whenever he saw the feline. Jongin stepped on it’s tail one too many times and was now relegated to just notifying them if he had seen the cat. Chanyeol? He was just trying his best.

“Chanyeol, I think you’re headed in the right path towards the cat. It darted down the alley up ahead but then I lost it,” Jongin’s voice sounded tinny and scratchy through the old headset Chanyeol wore, but he was grateful to have it.

“Got it, I’m almost there. Thanks Jongin! Keep looking by the markets, Jongdae. Just in case,” Chanyeol replied, quickening his pace until he was right at the mouth of the alley between two restaurants.

Once there he slowed down in order not to disturb or frighten the cat away, lightening his steps until you couldn’t hear them anymore. Chanyeol creeped around the corner, looking down the alley as stealthily as he could.

Just around the corner was a boy, short and slightly pudgy, eyes round in either shock or fright. Chanyeol briefly took a moment to recognize him as familiar, before he noticed the fluffy white cat nestled happily and purring in the boy’s arms.

“Hey! That’s the cat I’m trying to catch!” Chanyeol’s voice boomed out, cracking at the end.

The boy didn’t seem to notice that, blinking his rounded eyes before they shifted down to the cat, petite shoulders shrugging up. “He came up to me meowing and begging for attention. You can have him…?”

The stranger’s voice was soft, still higher pitched in youth as he offered the feline out to Chanyeol. At this point he was studying the other more carefully, knowing they had been to the academy together but forgetting his name. He was frequently hanging out with that loudmouth Baekhyun, they were probably on the same team.

“Yes, thanks! I’m Chanyeol, I know we went to the academy together.” Chanyeol flashed all of his teeth at the shorter boy, carefully cradling the cat in his arms, the feline seeming to have resigned itself to his fate. “I couldn’t have done this without you.”

The annoying voices of Jongdae and Jongin crackled through his ears, making Chanyeol scrunch his nose as he listened to what they said. It was best if they met back up to complete the mission officially, tell Donghae they were done, and go home for the day.

“Sorry, I have to meet up with my team. But thanks again for the help, Kyungja! I’ll see you!” Chanyeol really had no idea if that was the boy’s name (it probably wasn’t, if his paling expression was anything to go by) but it was what he always heard Baekhyun calling him.

“You’re welcome, see you around,” the boy answered meekly, the sight of him bowing his head the last thing Chanyeol saw before he sped off.

He had seemed nice enough, and Chanyeol was definitely grateful he had been able to help out by essentially catching the cat for him. But he didn’t want his team or Donghae to know he hadn’t done it on his own, so he decided to keep that bit of info to himself. Vaguely knowing the other from the academy, Chanyeol had a feeling he wouldn’t be telling anyone anything either.

 

 

 

The chatter of the crowd was loud in the air, the stadium packed as everyone was eagerly waiting to see the last match of the chunin exams. Despite having failed himself, Kyungsoo was excited too. There was still a lingering sense of disappointment, but Baekhyun and Sehun (whom had both passed) had bolstered up his self esteem and assured him he would do better next time.

“The final match is about to begin! Chanyeol, a Konoha shinobi, versus Yifan, a Suna shinobi,” the loud voice of the proctor boomed through the speakers around the stadium, a deafening cheer going up among the spectators.

Kyungsoo’s gaze dropped down to the ring, watching as Chanyeol’s tall and intimidating figure stepped into it, looking every bit as confident and skilled as he actually was. It was well earned, Chanyeol was a force to be reckoned with and had easily breezed his way through the exams, which was something that Kyungsoo had admired.

Another figure strode into the ring then, taller than Chanyeol and no less intimidating, the sun glinting off the Suna headband that stretched across his forehead. Yifan, who had gotten through the exams nearly as easily as Chanyeol had. His team had gotten into a scuffle with Kyungsoo’s in the Forest of Death, a moment he had been sure would have been the end of their journey. But the Suna shinobi had been surprisingly kind, letting them go after finding out Kyungsoo’s team had the same scroll that they did.

He’s pulled from his thoughts when a buzzer rings through the stadium, signaling the beginning of the match. Kyungsoo was nearly sat at the edge of his seat, watching with a wide eyed gaze as the two boys went at it. Kyungsoo’s fingers grasped at Baekhyun’s arm beside him, in awe over the speed with which the two males moved and used their ninjutsu against each other, some of the fastest work he had seen through all the tournament.

It was hard to keep up, with Chanyeol’s fire jutsus making the air swim with heat, smoke filtering through it as well. But there was just enough visibility for Kyungsoo to see that despite how closely they were matched, Chanyeol had the edge over Yifan.

And then it was over, just as quickly as it had started. Yifan was down on the ground, Chanyeol standing with his foot pressed between the fallen male’s shoulder blades, sharpened tip of a kunai pressing into the back of Yifan’s head. There was a triumphant and wide grin on Chanyeol’s lips, the stadium exploding into cheers. Kyungsoo himself had jumped out of his seat when he realized what happened, clapping and whooping with excitement alongside Baekhyun.

The moment was a game changer for Kyungsoo, who felt a determination swelling through his body as he stood there and cheered. Watching Chanyeol like this, seeing the taller boy succeed, had lit a fire in Kyungsoo. If one of his classmates could do this so flawlessly, so easily, then he could too. All Kyungsoo had to do was work harder, train more, and he could climb the ranks with the rest of his classmates and friends.

Chanyeol looked so tall, and glowing, standing there victorious in the ring, Kyungsoo couldn’t help but admire him. He was someone that Kyungsoo could look up to, aspire to work as hard as, and catch up to him some day. It didn’t hurt either that he was nice to look at.

Chapter Text

The village they were in was small, but lively. Kyungsoo was a bit anxious, it was going to be their first time doing an espionage mission like this, despite all three of his team members having become chunin four years ago. Baekhyun was in charge, because Kyungsoo was too anxious and Sehun just didn’t want to do it.

“There’s the target, Insung. Suspected illegal poison seller, but not for long,” Baekhyun muttered, casually leaning against the fence as he appeared disinterested, clad in a muted blue yukata to blend in with the festival crowd.

Kyungsoo looked up from where he had been eating some dango, peering down a few stalls until his gaze landed on a tall, broad man selling pots from his own stand. He cut an impressive figure, as if he wasn’t afraid to take up space and show how important he was.

“Do you think he’s hiding the poison in the pots?” Kyungsoo asked, flicking his gaze down to watch as Sehun played a game, seemingly focused on the fish he was trying to catch, but Kyungsoo knew he was listening attentively.

“Doubtful, it’s way too out in the open here. We’re going to have to find a way to get him alone, or to get him to sell it to us. But he’s not stupid enough for that, I don’t think he’s going to sell to some kids who I’m sure look like undercover ninja,” Baekhyun shook his head, straightening up from his spot against the fence, gesturing for his teammates to follow.

Sehun got up silently, following along at Kyungsoo’s side as they trailed after Baekhyun, waiting to see what else he could come up with. After a few silent minutes of walking Baekhyun stopped, turning to face them with a look of glee upon his face, which was rarely ever a good sign. Kyungsoo felt a sense of dread creeping up on him.

“Oh, Kyungja, my favorite teammate,” (Hey!) “I think I have just the plan. And you’re going to be the star of the show,” Baekhyun cooed, reaching out to pinch at Kyungsoo’s round and plush cheek, earning a smack to his fingers from the latter.

“Why do I get the feeling that I'm not going to like this plan?” Kyungsoo sighed, angling his body towards the sympathetic pat that Sehun gave him.

“Because you probably won’t. Now come on, let’s go to our room and regroup and hear Baekhyun’s surely insane plan,” Sehun replied, eyes rolling as he turned to head towards the inn they were staying at.

“It’s not insane! You guys just don’t know how to appreciate a genius like me.”

 

 

 

To say Kyungsoo was nervous was an understatement, he was practically quaking as he carried the tray of tea to the target’s room. Baekhyun had the idea that Kyungsoo would be the perfect one to get the info out of the man, posing as an employee of the inn and offering a complimentary tea ceremony, and in the process get him talking and to spill about what he was doing. Kyungsoo thought it was crazy, if anyone was good at talking it was Baekhyun, not him. But his friend has absolutely insisted upon it, and Sehun, after a quiet and passionate private chat with Baekhyun, had agreed.

So here Kyungsoo was, clad in a slightly oversized forest green yukata (which annoyingly kept falling off his shoulder), knocking the target’s door and waiting impatiently for his presence to be acknowledged.

Barely a minute later the door swung open, revealing their target, a tall male in his early 40s, well built, and, upon closer inspection, handsome. Kyungsoo’s mouth went dry at the sight, eyes widening as he tilted his head back to look up at the male.

“Yes? Why are you here?” The male asked, looking Kyungsoo up and down with interest.

Kyungsoo bowed his head a bit in response, holding his tray of tea a bit higher. “I’m here for a complimentary tea ceremony, the inn would like to thank you personally for staying here by offering this.”

The male seemed to contemplate this for the barest second, before he stepped aside with a silent nod. Kyungsoo smiled shyly, stepping into the room and removing the sandals he wore, padding further into the room on his bare feet and setting the tray down on the small table resting in the middle of the room.

Kyungsoo waited until the other male had sat down on the other side of the table before he kneeled, reaching out to start making the tea, studying the other carefully, though hiding it behind shy gazes and a fluttering of lashes. “I hear you’re here to sell pottery, Insung. Beautiful ones, I’ve heard. But I haven’t had time to go down to the markets and see,” he said, ducking his head just a bit, hands diligently working on their task.

Insung straightened then, as if his ego was pleasantly stroked by the comment. “Yes, I only purchase from the finest pottery makers in Sunagakure. They’re quite popular here in fire country, you haven’t seen any yet? What’s your name?”

“My name is Kangwoo,” he replied demurely, sticking with the fake name Baekhyun had picked for him. “I’ve seen them, but I’ve never gotten to own any Suna pottery myself. It’s always expensive, but so pretty. One day I hope to own some.”

Kyungsoo peeked up at the elder male, cheeks flushed pink. Why did their target have to be so handsome? If Baekhyun was here he would definitely be teasing Kyungsoo for getting flustered around an older and taller man. Quickly he shook the thought off, focusing instead on his task, filling the tea cups before he handed one over to Insung, who gratefully took a sip.

“I may just have to gift you with one then, Kangwoo. Come, sit beside me. We can talk more and I’ll decide if you’ll be leaving this room with some pottery for yourself or not,” Insung stated, a sly smirk on his lips, gaze hot as it settled on Kyungsoo’s flushed face.

The skin of his cheeks warmed further, and Kyungsoo got up obediently, rounding the table and kneeling down beside the larger male. He folded his hands in his lap, a shy giggle falling from his lips unwillingly, a natural reaction to the nerves he was feeling.

“Would you really let me take one home? I would be so, so grateful if you did,” Kyungsoo looked up, peering at Insung through his lashes, fluttering them as a small grin stretched across his full lips.

There was a flash of something dark in Insung’s eyes, and he couldn’t seem to tear his gaze away from Kyungsoo. His eyes trailed over Kyungsoo’s face and then lower still, where the fabric of Kyungsoo’s yukata chose that exact moment to slip down, exposing the pale skin of his shoulder.

“Just give me a moment, I’ll go get you one right now,” Insung stood abruptly, his gaze having been hot and dark when it landed on the sight of Kyungsoo’s shoulder, as if it had spurred him into action.

Kyungsoo just nodded in reply, a bit stunned that the male was being so willing in just giving away something like that. Wasn’t it his livelihood? Oh well, who was Kyungsoo to question it when this was mission was going well into his favor? Hopefully he’d be out of here before long, with vital information that they could use to further along his team’s objective.

The muted sound of a pot being set down onto the table is what pulled Kyungsoo out of his thoughts, cursing himself internally for not being aware of his surroundings. He pushed down his own disappointment in himself to focus on the pottery in front of him, a beautiful piece of decor that was clearly lovingly hand painted. It didn’t stand very tall, was short and quite round, with a lid that had a small handle to make it easy to pull off.

“It’s really beautiful, even more so than I imagined,” Kyungsoo said truthfully, fingers delicately touching over the surface before his gaze shifted up to meet Insung’s, cheeks flushed in pleasure.

Insung smiled, lowering himself down to sit beside Kyungsoo again, large palm reaching out to rest on the younger male’s thigh, giving it a squeeze. Kyungsoo flushed a darker red at that action, unable to stop himself from noticing how easily it was for the other male to completely cover his thigh.

“I had to gift my most beautiful piece to someone just as beautiful as you.”

Kyungsoo should have cringed in reaction to that line, but all he could do was giggle, enjoying the compliment despite knowing that he shouldn’t, that he was on a mission and that he had a job to do. “You’re really too kind, Insung. I don’t know how I can ever repay you for this kindness.”

A shy smile tugged at his lips, and Kyungsoo diverted his attention back to the pot in front of him. He reached out to grab the handle of the lid, catching the slight tension of Insung beside him before Kyungsoo lifted off the lid and peered inside. At the bottom was three vials of a bright blue liquid, clearly the poison that he and his team had been looking for.

Insung stood abruptly, and that’s when Kyungsoo’s training and instincts kicked in. He set the lid back onto the pot before he jumped up, darting after Insung who bolted for the door, clearly having realized his own mistake of revealing the contents of the pot. Kyungsoo kicked a leg out, sole of his foot making contact with the middle of Insung’s back and sending the older man sprawling, sputtering out curses as he hit the floor.

Kyungsoo reached into his yukata, pulling out a kunai as he jumped on top of Insung, sitting on his back and pinning him to the floor, holding the deadly sharp point of his kunai against the male’s throat. “Don’t you dare move, I won’t hesitate to use this if I have to,” Kyungsoo growled out, digging the point into Insung’s neck to prove his point.

The other male seemed to get it, having stopped his struggling and just laid there, clearly seething but staying silent. Kyungsoo didn’t let up on the pressure, just released a melodic whistle, which brought Baekhyun and Sehun jumping in through the window. They had been waiting on the ledge just below it, waiting for Kyungsoo’s signal that he had gotten the info they needed.

Baekhyun let out a cackle at the sight before him, very obviously pleased with himself for orchestrating this idea. “I knew you could do it, Kyungja. I hate to say it, but I told you so.”

“Shut up, Baekhyun. Help me sweep the room for whatever else we can find,” Sehun snapped, though it was without any anger. He had a smile playing about his lips from where he stood by the pot, pulling out the vials of poison and stashing them away.

“Shutting up now. But before I do, I just want to say that Kyungsoo, you really did a great job. I knew you had it in you!” Baekhyun praised, walking around the room and diligently searching through everything he could.

Kyungsoo flushed pink, smiling to himself at the compliment. “Thank you, Baekhyun. But seriously, can you please just hurry and look so we can start heading home? We need to get him back to Konoha as soon as possible for questioning.”

Sehun and Baekhyun just laughed in response, though they did search faster, all three of them eager to return home and report back on this mission.

 

 

 

The three of them stood in a straight line in front of the hokage’s desk, who was staring at them in slight disbelief. Kyungsoo felt nervous under the stare, especially after they had finished recounting their mission, which to his embarrassment, had included his large role in it.

“So, you’re back a week before anyone expected you, because of Kyungsoo?” Leeteuk asked, gaze flitting between Baekhyun and Kyungsoo, leaning forward on his desk and clasping his hands together.

“Yes sir, Kyungsoo here played the most important role. If it wasn’t for him seducing the target, we would have had a much tougher time in obtaining the vials and taking him into custody,” Baekhyun replied, either unaware or not caring of Kyungsoo’s embarrassment over the seduction part of the mission.

“Interesting…” Leeteuk trailed off, his gaze settling on Kyungsoo thoughtfully.

He resisted the strong urge to squirm over the appraising look he was getting, instead standing straight and keeping his gaze steady. Kyungsoo had no idea what the hokage was thinking, was terrified he’d be admonished for what he did, or told to take some time off from missions. Leeteuk’s expression was unreadable, which made Kyungsoo anxious.

“Well,” Leeteuk stared, blank face morphing into an expression of glee, lips splitting into a wide grin. “It looks like we’ve found our newest expert in honey pot missions.”

Chapter Text

The man in the owl mask was tiny, with narrow shoulders and wide hips for a man, and Chanyeol was curious as to what skills he possessed to reach ANBU level when he looked so diminutive. He would be finding out soon enough though, as the two of them had been assigned an assassination mission together.

Both Chanyeol and Owl were quiet as they sped out of the village in the early hours of the morning, taking to the trees and jumping from branch to branch in order to cover their tracks. They were headed towards Iwagakure, a risky place despite the tentative peace between the two hidden villages after the war. Which is why ANBU had been deployed for this mission, Chanyeol knew it was their job to do things like this as quickly and silently as possible.

It wasn’t until midday that they stopped, having gotten a good distance through Fire country with how quick they were moving. Owl jumped down first, and Chanyeol quickly followed, putting his pack down so he could pull out his canteen of water. Chanyeol removed his wolf mask, pleased with the fresh air that hit his face before gulping down some of his water.

He watched curiously as the other moved his owl mask, revealing a familiar face, Chanyeol’s eyes going wide at the sight. “Kyungja?” He asked, tone surprised as he looked over the soft features of the shorter male, taking note of the displeased pursing of his lips.

“It’s Kyungsoo, actually. My teammate Baekhyun just always liked to loudly call me Kyungja wherever we went,” the other, Kyungsoo, replied. He looked as if he had to explain that tidbit of information often, and was fondly annoyed over it.

“Wow, sorry Kyungsoo. I really thought your name was Kyungja all these years, even after going on a few missions with Sehun. He’s your teammate, right?” Chanyeol chuckled lowly, sitting down onto the ground in the shade of a tree, giving himself some rest.

Kyungsoo settled down opposite Chanyeol, sipping from his own canteen and looking at Chanyeol evenly, nodding. “It’s alright, it happens. Sehun is on my team, but he wouldn’t correct anyone who called me Kyungja instead of my name.” Kyungsoo’s tone was playfully angry, and it was clear that he held a close bond to his team.

It was something that Chanyeol could easily relate to, and he found himself pleased with this simple conversation with Kyungsoo. “He does seem like a bit of a brat,” Chanyeol mused, capping his water and putting it back into his pack. “Have you been in ANBU long?”

Chanyeol stretched his legs out in front of him, wanting to keep his muscles warmed up even during their rest, his training to be on the lookout and prepared for anything ingrained deep into him.

“This is only my fourth mission, actually. What about you?” Kyungsoo himself was doing some light stretching, leaning forward and grabbing at his ankles, easily bending himself in half.
Chanyeol’s mouth went oddly dry at the sight. “I’ve been in about a year, now. Maybe that’s why they sent us out together.”

“Or we have skills that complement each other,” Kyungsoo shot back quickly, though there’s a grin playing at the edges of his full lips. It makes Chanyeol laugh, shrugging at the comment. “We should go, I want to get to the border by nightfall,” Kyungsoo continued, getting to his feet and shouldering his pack, covering his face with his owl mask again.

“Okay, we’ll make camp over there before continuing on then,” Chanyeol agreed, rising and slinging his own pack on, replacing his wolf mask. The porcelain wasn’t that stifling, and Chanyeol could easily see out of it, but it still wasn’t that pleasant to wear. At least it hid his wandering gaze from Kyungsoo, who would surely be unsettled by Chanyeol’s odd staring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Let’s stop here,” Kyungsoo said, stopping and jumping down from the thinning trees, laning in a clear spot on the forest floor.

Chanyeol followed suit, nodding before he silently checked around the clearing, making sure there was no one nearby nor anyone following them. It was quiet and empty save for the insects and animals, which Chanyeol was grateful for. He wasn’t tired, exactly, but traveling all day did tend to wear someone down, even highly trained ninja.

The clearing was crackling with a tiny fire when Chanyeol got back, Kyungsoo having started one to warm both them and their meals up. It was welcome, though kind of risky, to have the fire, but Chanyeol was confident that the smoke wouldn’t really be visible to anyone due to how small it was.

“What are you cooking?” Chanyeol asked as he removed his mask, setting it aside carefully with one hand, the other mussing up the dark curls of his hair.

Kyungsoo didn’t look up from the fire, holding out a stick with a few pieces of chicken speared onto it. “Just chicken, I prepared it before we left. It won’t keep in my pack, so this is all I had. Don’t get used to it.”

Despite his deadpan delivery Chanyeol laughed, knowing a joke when he saw one. “You mean no more luxurious meals on this mission? You wound me, Kyungsoo,” he let out a dramatic sigh, hanging his head playfully, as if dejected. Though once he took the first bite Chanyeol’s eyes lit up, looking up at Kyungsoo in amazement as the taste settled on his tongue. “Wait, you really made this?”

There was a shy little smile playing about Kyungsoo’s lips, and he nodded, clearly pleased with himself. “Yeah, like I said I prepared it before we left. I figured we should have at least one night of good food before we get stuck with just dry rations or whatever we can hunt or buy on the way.”

“It’s amazing for something so simple. Thank you, chef owl,” Chanyeol grinned playfully, tearing into his chicken with an energized and happy gusto.

“Chef owl?” Kyungsoo let out a snort, finishing off his own chicken before he got to his feet, putting out their fire. “Don’t make fun of my mask, wolf boy.”

It wasn’t even a particularly funny comment, but it still had Chanyeol snickering as he set up his bed roll, amused by Kyungsoo’s dry sense of humor. “Fine, fine. No more comments about it,” he paused, stretching out on his bed roll and glancing over at Kyungsoo, who spread his out just next to Chanyeol’s. “For tonight. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?”

Kyungsoo just let out a snort, rising to his feet and walking to one of the trees, hopping up onto the lowest branch. “Just go to sleep, Chanyeol. I’ll take first watch and wake you in a few hours.”

Chanyeol knew a dismissal, so he just quietly lied down in his bedroll, closing his eyes with every intention to sleep and rest. He wouldn’t be getting much of it, so he had to take advantage of every chance he got to do that. Even if he did want to stay up longer and just chat with his new partner. Kyungsoo seemed deep and complex, and he was eager to know more. It would just have to wait for another time.

“Good night, Kyungsoo. Thank you for taking first watch,” Chanyeol said quietly into the night, shifting onto his side, back facing the tree where Kyungsoo sat.

Through his dozing he heard a quiet “You’re welcome.” from Kyungsoo, and Chanyeol’s lips quirked up into a small grin as he easily drifted off into sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chanyeol already knew that they were surrounded before the clattering of a few pebbles caught his attention. Immediately he was on the defense, unsheathing the standard issue katana of ANBU and parrying a strike from a kunai aimed at his throat. He jumped back, out of range of the rogue ninja in front of him, flying through the hand signs to perform a quick but powerful fireball jutsu.

It wasn’t surprising when the man easily dodged it, but Chanyeol was already ready, spitting out a phoenix release jutsu, the multitude of fireballs easily overwhelming the rogue and sending him down. But that was only one of them, and Chanyeol whirled around to see where Kyungsoo was, heart rising to his throat at the sight of the slight male surrounded by five other rogue ninja.

The owl mask covered Kyungsoo’s expression, but he seemed prepared, crouched down low, his head turning a few times as if to examine the ninja around him. Chanyeol knew, objectively, that Kyungsoo could handle himself. That he wouldn’t have reached ANBU or been chosen for this mission if he needed to be protected. But that didn’t stop Chanyeol’s natural urge to protect, and he was a hothead who didn’t plan ahead or think before acting, so he sprang forward, intending to help Kyungsoo with his opponents.

But Kyungsoo didn’t need any help. As soon as Chanyeol approached Kyungsoo sprang to action, moving so fast that Chanyeol could barely catch it. While Kyungsoo appeared slight and fragile, he was clearly anything but. His taijutsu was unbelievable, kicks strong and quick, fists flying out at the blink of an eye.

It wasn’t even a minute later and Kyungsoo stood calmly where he started, a ring of unconscious and groaning rogue ninja laid out on the ground around him, all having fallen where they stood. To say that Chanyeol was impressed would be a massive understatement, he couldn’t believe what he just got to witness. Kyungsoo hadn’t even used any kunai or shuriken, relying purely on his taijutsu to get himself out of a mess, and to easily take down five opponents as if it was nothing.

“Holy shit, that was incredible,” Chanyeol praised as soon as it was obvious that their opponents were unconscious, though still keeping his wolf mask on just in case.

“Thank you,” Kyungsoo replied, voice meek and shy, though still clearly proud of himself.

Kyungsoo pulled twine from his pack, going around to the fallen ninja and tying up their wrists and ankles. Chanyeol joined him with his own twine, helping Kyungsoo with restraining the ninja before moving them all closer together, where the two of them tied the group to each other so they wouldn’t be able to help each other escape.

It wasn’t ANBU’s duty to hand them over to anyone in power, so Chanyeol and Kyungsoo just left the rogues there for anyone who happened to come across them. Especially so since after checking his bingo book, Kyungsoo deemed them extremely unimportant and decided they needed to move on quickly.

Even as they sprinted off Chanyeol’s mind was still floored by Kyungsoo’s abilities, especially since he couldn’t remember anything impressive about the other since their academy days. In school Kyungsoo had been largely unimpressive, someone who couldn’t use jutsu and whom Chanyeol didn’t have much interest in. After that he didn’t stick out to Chanyeol at all, who had been focused on his own progression through the ninja ranks, from chunin to jonin and now ANBU. But now Chanyeol wished he had noticed Kyungsoo earlier, with how impressive the slight male turned out to be.

Once they were a good enough distance away Chanyeol stopped them, pulling Kyungsoo under a concealed outcropping of rocks, yanking off his mask once they were out of sight. “Hey, Kyungsoo, are you okay?” Chanyeol asked worriedly, looking the shorter male over.

Kyungsoo’s mask was off then, and his round eyes rolled in response. “Yes Chanyeol, I’m more than okay. Not a scratch on me.” It was obvious that Kyungsoo was used to this kind of treatment, and was over it, if his exasperated tone of voice was anything to go by.

“I’m just making sure. You were so impressive! I had no idea you could do that, you look so little,” Chanyeol gushed, knowing that his eyes were practically sparkling. But he couldn’t help it, he always got that way when he was genuinely excited.

“Little. Well, looks can be deceiving,” Kyungsoo replied, clearly trying to sound nonchalant about it but failing. His round cheeks had the lightest tint of pink to them, and he was fighting a losing battle against a shy smile tugging at the corners of his lips.

Chanyeol laughed brightly, dimples appearing on his cheeks as he smiled down at the shorter male. “I can see that. You really did great, good job Kyungsoo. I’m glad you’re here on this mission with me.”

The tint on Kyungsoo’s cheeks grew to a more obvious pink, and the smaller male ducked his head, obviously happy with the compliment that he was given. “Thank you, Chanyeol. I’m grateful to be here with you too. I think we’ll make a great team.”

For some reason Chanyeol felt his pulse quickening, and his the brightness of his smile went up quite a few more notches. Kyungsoo was just so cute. “We will, I’m sure of it!” Chanyeol flashed a thumbs up, laughing in delight even as he slipped his mask back over his face. “Shall we continue on?”

Kyungsoo slid his own mask into place, tone playful and teasing when he spoke. “Try and keep up with me, wolf boy.”

At that Kyungsoo sprang forward, darting off quickly, with Chanyeol releasing a peal of laughter before he sped off after his teammate, swirling with eager thoughts of working more with Kyungsoo.

Chapter Text

Chanyeol was laid out flat on his stomach on the ground, Kyungsoo sitting on his back while pinning one of his arms painfully behind him. He grunted, twisting away with some struggle, because while Kyungsoo was tiny he was pretty strong, and it was always a battle to break free once the small male had him pinned down. Though it wasn’t impossible, because Chanyeol was tall, and bulky, and he could muscle his way out of Kyungsoo’s grip whenever they were grappling, simply because he was just so much bigger than Kyungsoo.

Their positions were soon reversed, and Chanyeol had Kyungsoo pinned under him, resting the entire weight of his body down on Kyungsoo’s smaller one. “Come on Soo, it’s over. You ready to give up?” Chanyeol asked, tone playful even as he pressed down harder, keeping a struggling Kyungsoo in place.

Kyungsoo just huffed in response, kicking and scrabbling with one hand futilely against the ground, the other pinned behind his back. Chanyeol caged him in, some part in the back of his mind noting just how much smaller Kyungsoo was than him. Though he quickly shook that thought off, reaching up with one hand to grab at the back of Kyungoo’s black strands of hair, pressing his face into the ground with a triumphant grin.

“You’re sure you don’t want to just give in?” Chanyeol teased again, snickering at the way Kyungsoo sputtered around the dirt that had gotten into his mouth.

“Fine, you win! Get off me!” Kyungsoo replied, letting out a small whine as he finally stopped his struggling, going limp underneath Chanyeol’s body.

Chanyeol grinned triumphantly, climbing off Kyungsoo and rising to his feet, dusting the dirt off his practice clothes. It took a few moments for Kyungsoo to get up, and when he did there was an obvious pout on his lips. The pout looked adorable on him and Chanyeol practically cooed at the sight.

“Why are you so big? It’s unfair,” Kyungsoo said, tone verging on whiny with his brows furrowed. Chanyeol could only laugh, because he knew that Kyungsoo could take on ninja twice his size, but struggled when it came to his grappling with Chanyeol. It was what they spent most of their practices doing, to help Kyungsoo get to a level he wanted to be at.

“Hard work, and good genes. Not everyone can flex like me,” Chanyeol preened, playfully flexing his biceps, which were on full display through the shirt he wore, which had the sleeves cut off, along with long holes down the sides to show off his abs and obliques.

There was silence in response, and Chanyeol looked over curiously at Kyungsoo to see why he wasn’t speaking. It was strange, to see Kyungsoo’s cheeks tinted pink, gaze fixed on Chanyeol’s flexed biceps, with his teeth sunk into his plush bottom lip.

“Kyungsoo?” Chanyeol called out, relaxing his position and looking over the smaller male in concern.

Kyungsoo seemed to shake himself then, coming back to his senses and his round eyes stared up at Chanyeol, a hint of something in them that Chanyeol couldn’t make out. “Sorry, I was just thinking about what a show off that you are.”

The comment made Chanyeol laugh, and he could just shrug, because Kyungsoo wasn’t wrong. “Okay, you got me there.” He was still chuckling, though it slowly tapered off as the other male started gathering his things together. If there was one thing that Chanyeol didn’t understand about Kyungsoo, it was his tendency to wear tight little shorts to training practices.

The shorts were skin tight, and came down to just above mid-thigh, squeezing around the soft skin and putting them on display. Coupled with the looser and larger shirts that Kyungsoo tended to wear, it made for an outfit that Chanyeol couldn’t quite keep his eyes off of.

Chanyeol’s mouth went dry at the sight of Kyungsoo bending over to grab his water, the tight material of his shorts hugging his plump and round ass perfectly. There were absolutely no lines there either, did Kyungsoo even wear anything under the tight material? Chanyeol felt guilt creeping in at the way he was thinking about his friend, and he forced himself to turn, take his eyes away from ogling his best friend.

“Are you ready to head back to the village?” Chanyeol asked, clearing his throat and avoiding looking at Kyungsoo, not wanting his gaze to lower down to anywhere inappropriate.

“Yes, do you want to grab some lunch? Maybe ramen?” Kyungsoo approached his side, swigging from his water canteen before his gaze raised up to Chanyeol, eyes round and blinking eagerly.

It was one of Chanyeol’s favorite views of Kyungsoo, and he found himself pushing away and forgetting his earlier thoughts, just as eager to spend time with the shorter male. “Sure! Loser treats.”

A cackle was heard between them as they headed back off the training field together, Kyungsoo playfully elbowing at Chanyeol’s side and demanding to be treated because he had not so gracefully gotten his face shoved into the dirt. Unsurprising to no one, Chanyeol easily agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

Chanyeol was waiting impatiently as Kyungsoo stared at Ichiraku’s menu, as if the ramen there had ever changed their entire lives living in Konoha. “Aren’t you going to choose something? The menu here has never changed,” Chanyeol asked, leaning against the bar in front of him, slumping down on his stool.

“Well, I can’t decide what to have. I had miso two days ago, but I’m kind of craving tonkatsu. But then again just a regular chicken broth sounds good too…” Kyungsoo trailed off, full lips pushing out into a pout as he kept staring.

It was one of Kyungsoo’s quirks, his obsession with food. The shorter male could be so particular sometimes, inspecting a menu for fifteen minutes or more before he was ready to order anything. Normally Chanyeol didn’t mind, he could be patient and wait for Kyungsoo. It was cute, really, his passion for food. That passion led Chanyeol to trying all sorts of restaurants around the village with Kyungsoo, which he was grateful for. But today he was just hungry and wanted to eat.

“I think you should get the tonkatsu, it’s really filling and you know it’s the best one in the village,” Chanyeol suggested, doing his best to guide Kyungsoo to a decision. It was usually possible, sometimes the shorter male didn’t know what he wanted and it was up to Chanyeol to nudge him in the right direction.

After a short pause where Kyungsoo seemed to process what was said, he finally nodded, his lips stretching out into the heart shape that Chanyeol was familiar with. It pulled a grin to Chanyeol’s own lips, dimples sinking in before he turned to the counter, quickly ordering them both two large bowls of tonkatsu ramen.

They sat in companionable silence after that, Chanyeol just giving Kyungsoo some sideways glances. He noticed Kyungsoo’s hand on the counter, and was suddenly struck with the thought and realization just how tiny Kyungsoo’s hands were. In general, the other male was just really slight, compact and super cute, but Chanyeol had never really noticed his hands before like that. They were tiny, but strong, he knew from experience.

“Kyungsoo, let me see your hand,” Chanyeol reached out, grabbing Kyungsoo’s wrist so he could lift it up from the counter.

“What are you doing?” Kyungsoo was so obviously bewildered, though he didn’t make a move to pull his arm back, just let Chanyeol manipulate him however he wanted.

For a moment Chanyeol didn’t respond, too busy aligning their hands perfectly before pressing his palm against Kyungsoo’s, marveling at the difference in size. His hand perfectly dwarfed Kyungsoo’s, the latter’s looking even tinier compared to Chanyeol’s own large ones. “Your hands are so little, I never noticed before. Little baby hands,” Chanyeol teased lightheartedly, a grin stretching over his lips.

Kyungsoo rolled his eyes but he laughed, eyeing the difference as well, a pink tint flushing over his ears. “Well, wouldn’t it look weird if I had giant hands like you? It would look so disproportionate to my body.”

At that statement Chanyeol nodded, curling his fingers over the tips of Kyungsoo’s, before fitting his fingers between the spaces, amazed and maybe liking holding Kyungsoo’s hand a bit too much.

Before he could say anything though, there was a loud whoop behind him, and Chanyeol turned to see Baekhyun and Jongdae sauntering their way into the ramen stand. “Well what do we have here? Two lovebirds on a date?” Baekhyun cackled, looking over their linked hands with an annoying smirk sat on his lips.

Kyungsoo quickly pulled his hand away, the pink on his ears traveling to his face, resolutely looking away. “Baekhyun, shut up. We’re just having lunch after doing training together this morning.”

“Horizontal training?” Jongdae chimed in, his grin looking even more kittenish and teasing than normal.

“I swear Dae, I will not hesitate to fight you right in the street if you don’t stop being annoying,” Chanyeol huffed, ignoring the snickering that broke out between Jongdae and Baekhyun at the comment.

Baekhyun threw himself on the stool beside Kyungsoo, ordering his ramen before leering at the latter. “Why are you all red, Kyungja?”

Their ramen arrived then, and Kyungsoo resolutely turned to his bowl, slurping at his noodles while ignoring the teasing chatter from Baekhyun and Jongdae. The duo were always so annoying whenever Chanyeol and Kyungsoo hung out, insisting that they looked and acted like a couple constantly. They definitely weren’t that, and Chanyeol could handle the good natured teasing, but whenever Kyungsoo obviously got uncomfortable is when he would start getting annoyed.

“Knock it off, Baekhyun. Kyungsoo just wants to eat his ramen, we had a really good training session so we’re both starving. Tease us later once Soo’s got some food in him,” Chanyeol spoke out, tone a little sharp to show that he meant what he said. It wasn’t often he spoke that way to his friends, so they tended to realize that it was time to stop once Chanyeol got that way.

“Okay, fine, enjoy your ramen then. We’ll just sit here quietly and look pretty,” Baekhyun snorted, though leaned away from Kyungsoo, giving the other his personal space back.

Kyungsoo looked over at Chanyeol then, flashing him a tiny but grateful smile, which Chanyeol responded to with his own trademark wide grin. They didn’t need words to communicate, and Chanyeol loved how easily they understood each other. The teasing was quickly forgotten at that point, Chanyeol full of happiness with his and Kyungsoo’s easy friendship as he finally started on his own bowl of ramen.

 

 

 

 

 

There was someone waiting in front of Chanyeol’s apartment door as he and Kyungsoo approached, which quickly put both of them on alert. Having a fresh chunin at your door was always a sign you were either in trouble, or had a mission waiting for you. They were the hokage’s messengers, and so Chanyeol approached with a mix of trepidation and excitement.

“Park Chanyeol and Do Kyungsoo, I’m here with a scroll from the hokage,” the short girl in front of him held out her hand, and Chanyeol reached forward to grab the small scroll from her.

How well known were they to always be hanging out that the hokage knew to only send one scroll for both of them? Pushing that thought aside Chanyeol unfurled the scroll with a curious Kyungsoo looking over his shoulder. It was a summons to the hokage’s office tomorrow morning at 8 sharp, and Chanyeol flashed Kyungsoo a look, communicating quickly with their eyes.

“Please tell Leeteuk that we’ll be there tomorrow, thank you,” Chanyeol tucked the scroll into his pocket, bowing slightly at the girl as she nodded before hastening to take her leave.

“What do you think Leeteuk wants with both of us? And especially a personal meeting like that? It doesn’t seem like something related to ANBU, or else we’d just get the mission at headquarters,” Kyungsoo mused, using his key to unlock the door and step into Chanyeol’s apartment first, removing his sandals in the entryway.

Chanyeol just shrugged and followed, kicking off his own sandals more haphazardly before he padded his way in, ignoring Kyungsoo’s huff of annoyance as he arranged their sandals neatly. “No clue, I guess we’ll just find out tomorrow. Could be a sensitive mission, could be questions about the last one. Who knows?”

He flopped onto his couch, stretching out and mulling over the message. Chanyeol and Kyungsoo weren’t official partners in ANBU; in fact, Kyungsoo frequently went out on missions alone or with Baekhyun. So it was a bit strange to get a message for the both of them specifically.

“Let’s not worry about it,” Kyungsoo nodded firmly, heading to Chanyeol’s bookshelf and pulling down the shogi board, bringing it to the low table in front of the couch and setting up the pieces. “Are you ready to lose? You beat me this morning but you’re definitely not going to right now.”

Chanyeol laughed and sat up, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. “Are you sure about that? I won last time we played!”

“It won’t happen this time,” Kyungsoo’s brows furrowed in determination, and he looked up at Chanyeol with such a cute expression that the latter had to physically restrain himself from cooing.

“We’ll see about that, you make the first move.”

Chanyeol’s eyes twinkled playfully, and he settled into the easy and comfortable routine of spending time with Kyungsoo.

Chapter Text

“Wait, you want us to do what?” Chanyeol was clearly shocked, if the tone of his voice was anything to go by. Kyungsoo himself knew exactly what he was feeling, because he felt it too. A mission like that was not unheard of, but the specifics of it? Now that was definitely something he never expected.

“It’s simple, you just need to go undercover and pretend to be married. See what you can find out about that village, they’re too suspicious and there’s bad rumors about it, we need shinobi in there and I think you two are perfect for the job,” Leeteuk explained again, leaning forward against his desk and clasping his hands together, gaze expectant and proud.

Kyungsoo could only blink in response, slowly processing what was said. “But why married? Why can’t we be just two single men who decided to move there?” he asked, only feeling slightly ashamed for questioning their hokage’s decision.

“You two are very obviously shinobi, it would never fly. But a couple that’s looking to live peacefully away from the hidden villages? It makes the most sense,” Leeteuk’s tone was persuasive, but firm.

“Okay, I can understand that, but why us?” Chanyeol asked, fidgeting beside Kyungsoo, still obviously feeling anxious about their assignment.

Leeteuk studied them for a moment, before a grin flashed across his lips. “Well, aren’t you two already together?”

 

 

 

 

 

It was silent between Kyungsoo and Chanyeol as they left the hokage tower, both saddled down with the weight of their upcoming mission. They had two weeks to prepare to be gone for an indefinite amount of time, and to come up with a believable story about their relationship and know it inside out. The task was daunting, but they had to do it.

Kyungsoo was even more shy about it, because it was his best friend and he had always looked up to Chanyeol ever since they were in the academy together. He used to think it was a crush, but Kyungsoo realized it was just a deep admiration for the taller male. And then a friendly attraction, once he got to know Chanyeol and all his quirks and habits, facets of his personality. Chanyeol was a great person and Kyungsoo was afraid this fake relationship might put a strain on their friendship, and bring to light things he wasn’t ready to face or for Chanyeol to know.

“Do you want to come over Soo? We need to talk about this and I’d rather do it at home, where our friends can’t find us and tease us about one thing or another,” Chanyeol let out a snort, already heading towards his apartment as if he knew that Kyungsoo was going to agree.

“Yes, let’s go. It’s a lot to take in,” Kyungsoo agreed easily, though he was anxiously fidgeting with the hem of his loose shirt, trailing just half a pace behind Chanyeol, suddenly feeling shy of standing beside him.

Chanyeol just nodded, and silently walked the familiar path to his small apartment, lost in his own thoughts as much as Kyungsoo was. It was rare for them to be like this, especially Chanyeol, who’s mouth moved a mile a minute. The change was odd and Kyungsoo didn’t necessarily like it, but the silence was welcome in a way. It gave him a chance to absorb and organize his own thoughts into something cohesive instead of the jumble that they were.

It was quiet in the apartment once they arrived, Kyungsoo sitting anxiously in his usual spot on Chanyeol’s couch. The air was a bit awkward, and it was driving Kyungsoo crazy, because they hadn’t been that way together for a long time.

“We might as well start coming up with a cover story, don’t you think?” Chanyeol broke the silence, getting up to grab a notebook and pencil from the bookshelf.

“Okay, we have two weeks to know this inside and out. Let’s see what we can come up with,” Kyungsoo agreed easily, rubbing his slightly clammy hands on the bare skin of his thighs, sitting up straighter in his seat.

Chanyeol sat in front of the low table, opening up the notebook and tapping the eraser of his pencil idly against a blank page, nose scrunched (cutely, in Kyungsoo’s opinion) in thought. “How about this, you were the one who liked me first. A secret crush for years before my dumb self noticed it.”

Kyungsoo’s face went pale at the suggestion, and he let out a nervous laugh, palms rubbing over his thighs again. “Um, why am I the one with the secret crush? Are you saying you wouldn’t see me like that?”

“No! But that’s just way more on brand for you than me, you know I never notice anything. I can be a bumbling idiot outside of work, in case you haven’t noticed,” Chanyeol let out a deep laugh, leaning down so he could start scribbling away at the paper, making his notes.

This was hitting too close to home for Kyungsoo, who simply pouted but accepted his fate in this backstory. “Fine, I’ll be the one with the secret crush. But you have to be the one who confessed to me first then, and it has to be very romantic and dramatic. I’m talking about rain, a passionate declaration of love, and a kiss that knocks the breath out of me.”

In response all Kyungsoo got was a blank stare, and his face flushed red in embarrassment. So maybe he had read too many romance books and, just maybe, he had pictured himself and Chanyeol as the protagonists. It was embarrassing to have let those fantasies slip out in front of his friend.

Chanyeol let out a burst of laughter, startling Kyungsoo, who flushed an even darker red. “Alright, we can go with that. It makes me sound like a dashing romantic,” he wiggled his brows and winked, before adding that to his notes, too absorbed in writing to notice the sigh of relief that Kyungsoo let out.

“I had to come up with something that made you sound cool,” Kyungsoo teased, rubbing over his cheeks, willing away the flush that stubbornly sat on them.

“I’m going to ignore that,” Chanyeol muttered, seemingly lost in thought. “How would I notice your secret crush…” he hummed in thought, nibbling on the tip of the eraser. “Maybe you were always checking me out? Sideways glances admiring me, touches that linger too long.”

A panic bubbled up inside of Kyungsoo at Chanyeol’s suggestions, and he felt his stomach drop. Had Chanyeol noticed the way that he had been acting towards him? He was so, so sure he had been subtle, but maybe not. “You just want me to check you out,” Kyungsoo managed to get out, clearing his throat at the slight way it cracked. “But fine, I guess that makes sense.”

The scratching of the pencil on paper is all the noise in the room for a few moments, and Kyungsoo is trying to will away his sense of panic. Already the mission is proving difficult for him, since his feelings for Chanyeol are very much real. But he has to pretend they’re fake, and he can already tell it’s going to be a confusing time for him.

“We need something that’s based in reality too, so it’s easier for us to remember,” Chanyeol mused then, resting his elbow on the table, then placing his chin in his palm and regarding Kyungsoo quietly. “Obviously we’ll have been friends for a long time, that slowly transitioned to being lovers.”

Quietly, Kyungsoo gulped. “Okay. We can add in a detail about your family basically adopting me as their son and liking me more than you.”

“They don’t like you more than me!” Chanyeol protested, though was snickering at the look Kyungsoo shot him. “So what if my sister talks about how much she adores you all the time? Or how my mom hangs all over you whenever take her out to lunch?”

“Proof, as I keep saying, that they love me more,” Kyungsoo commented mildly, a pleased smile settling upon his lips.

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever, Soo,” Chanyeol grumbled, writing once again in his notebook.

Kyungsoo leaned back in his seat, chuckling to himself at their easy bantering. It lessened his panic just a bit, to fall into their normal routine and interactions together. This was just them being playful as usual, nothing more. Thinking that way made Kyungsoo feel marginally better, and helped soothe his mind enough to contribute more easily to their rough draft of their fake relationship. It wasn’t going to be as bad as he thought.

 

 

 

 

 

That night, as Kyungsoo lay in bed in his own apartment, he allowed himself a small moment to hope. This fake relationship could be a good thing, maybe Chanyeol would realize that Kyungsoo had real feelings for him, and had them for a long time.

If not, then, well, at least Kyungsoo would get to pretend that they were in love and that Chanyeol was his.

He just hoped his heart wouldn’t get broken in the process.

 

 

 

 

 

Kyungsoo wasn’t supposed to discuss their mission with anyone. It chafed at him to break protocol like this, but he just couldn’t keep it to himself any longer. The worry and stress was too much, and he needed to confide in someone, or else he worried he’d break down before the mission even began.

“Why are you doing this to yourself, Soo?” Sehun’s lips were turned down into a frown, having listened quietly to Kyungsoo’s emotional explanation of everything that was going on in his life.

A heavy sigh was released then, and Kyungsoo lowered his eyes down to Sehun’s ninken on his lap, a cute and fluffy white poodle named Vivi. “I can’t exactly go up to the hokage and tell him I can’t do the mission because it hurts my feelings,” he muttered, scratching behind the dog’s soft ears.

There’s silence then, and Kyungsoo kept his gaze fixed on Vivi, trying not to let his despair overwhelm him. “Okay, this is going to be tough. Probably the hardest mission you’ll ever have to go on,” Sehun starts, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees, looking over the smaller male with sympathy. “But you’re one of the strongest ninjas I know, both on and off duty,” a hand reached out, gripping at Kyungsoo’s knee and squeezing gently. “You can do this. Let yourself be sad, accept the negativity, cry it out if you have to. After that face it head on, like you would any other mission.”

Here is where Sehun pauses, as if gathering his thoughts. Kyungsoo looks up then, a bit shy and bewildered, but mostly touched with how serious Sehun was being. The youngest member of his team was not usually like this, at least not so easily in front of others. He’s touched that Sehun is being so understanding, instead of teasing him. It’s why Kyungsoo went to him instead of Baekhyun.

“It’s Chanyeol’s fault for not seeing how great you are, Soo. Maybe it’s cliche to say and not what you want to hear, but it really is his loss,” Sehun’s lips pressed together, turning down into his familiar boxy frown. “I can’t believe how dense he is, not to notice your obvious love for him. Men practically fall over themselves on the street for you and he doesn’t notice a thing.”

Kyungsoo takes in a deep, steadying breath, letting everything Sehun said sink into him and his mind. It really did help, the storm that was his thoughts and feelings feeling more calm, not as if he was going to drown under the weight of everything. “Men don’t fall over on the street for me,” he mumbles, a tiny grin on his lips. He knew that Sehun wouldn’t be offended by him not responding to what else he said, knowing that it was just Kyungsoo’s way of coping.

“Yes they do, you’re just too busy making starry eyes at Chanyeol to notice,” Sehun retorted, though it was full of teasing, and Kyungsoo just laughed in response.

There was a quiet lull, and Kyungsoo stroked over Vivi’s soft fur before letting the pup go, who immediately went over to Sehun. The advice that his teammate had given had been invaluable, he was so grateful for it. Kyungsoo wasn’t sure he would have been to handle this without the help.

“Thank you, Sehunnie. You’re a really amazing friend and teammate, just like a brother to me,” Kyungsoo scooted closer, opening his arms in a silent request for a hug.

Sehun easily complied, pulling the smaller framed Kyungsoo into his embrace and rubbed his hand along the latter’s back slowly. “You know I’d do anything for you, no matter what you’re my Kyungja too. I’ll always look out for you, even when we’re working apart or busy with our own lives and missions.”

That nearly brought tears and sniffles to the surface, but Kyungsoo squashed them down, rather doing that when he was alone. “And you too, Sehunnie. Thank you again, for not teasing or judging me for this.”

“I would never, you know that.”

Both of them let out a chuckle, and Kyungsoo melted into the embrace of one of his longest friends. It felt nice, to get that weight off his chest, to share his worries with someone who would help him bear them. Maybe this mission wouldn’t be so emotionally draining to him after all.