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Show Me Love (Play These Little Games)

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[02:11] woosatan: hey ;)

It isn't Hangyul's fault that whenever he receives such a text from Wooseok, the devil himself, his first instinct is to react with a heightened sense of caution. Especially when it's at 2AM on a Friday night and Hangyul knows for a fact that Wooseok is on his shift at X-One, the club where they both work at. Suspicious as he is, he sends back a casual reply because Wooseok always accuses him of being too skeptical towards his (unfortunately) closest friend.

[02:12] You: sup?

[02:12] You: u on break?

[02:13] woosatan: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

The message is followed by a series of confetti and balloon stickers, and inexplicably, a cat doing a sexy congratulatory dance.

[02:15] You: this wooseok?

[02:16] woosatan: i’d send a selfie but the lighting is horrid here as you'd know

[02:16] woosatan: it's a pity though cuz tonight's theme includes cat ears and this guy is lookin sexy af

More winky faces follow.

[02:18] You: thanks for the birthday message i guess... isn't it too early though?

No message comes for another 20 minutes, and Hangyul should be sleeping by now, considering he has to get his bank account verification done in the morning, go for his volunteering session in the afternoon, and then deal with his poor decision of signing up for a 10-hour shift starting at 6PM right before his birthday. Wooseok has mentioned last week, in an offhand manner, that he would personally prepare something special for Hangyul's birthday, but only responded with his signature smirk when Hangyul tried prying for details.

Knowing Wooseok, Hangyul should not even be looking forward to it. They have been housemates and friends for over 2 years, if one can call mutual embarrassment and non-stop bickering friendship, and his only memories of his past two birthdays have just been Wooseok gifting him the most bizarre things in front of their coworkers. There was that poster of an anthropomorphic tiger flexing its biceps, and last year it was a giant throw pillow that looks unmistakably like a butt, with a pair of googly eyes sewn on by Wooseok himself.

The butt pillow is sitting right there on his bed, taunting him. Hangyul scowls at it as a replacement for its original owner.

He has even more reasons to be anxious this year, because damn it, Wooseok can be a devil but he is also Hangyul's best friend and Hangyul cannot help but tell him everything, including his gigantic crush on the newest addition to their dancer team, Seungyoun. Not that Wooseok would not find out otherwise, the guy always knows everything and maybe it explains why that stupid smug smile is permanently etched on his face. It would be out of character for Wooseok not to take advantage of Hangyul’s one-sided affection, but Hangyul still prays and prays that Wooseok loves him enough as a friend to not wholly humiliate him in front of his crush on his birthday.

Or Hangyul will just have to suffocate him in his sleep with that damn butt pillow and then figure out a way to do that to himself.

[02:42] woosatan: oh i just don't think i will have time to say happy birthday tomorrow

[02:42] woosatan: since y'know, i'll be so busy throwing the biggest, wildest 21st birthday party for my favorite dongsaeng

Okay, that is suspicious, Wooseok never refers to him as dongsaeng, not to mention a favorite one.

[02:45] You: should i be worried?

[02:50] woosatan: the only thing you should be worried about is wearing your contact lenses because your eyes will need to take EVERYTHING in or else i will be very disappointed

[02:51] woosatan: and maybe wear your best looking undies idk

[02:51] woosatan: :3

[02:52] woosatan: battery's out. lock the door. i'm staying at Yohan's tonight.

Hangyul is willing his eyes not to bulge out of their sockets at the increasing levels of incredulity of the consecutive messages. Undies? The unironic use of the cat emoji? Staying at Yohan's?? Since when have they been so close Wooseok can sleep over at his place now? Has Wooseok finally succeeded after his month-long continuous display of thirst for the fellow dancer? Hangyul remembers every personal, detailed comment about Yohan "unleashing his wild, animalistic side the moment he gets on stage" ("He is just putting more power in his moves than you because you are so busy biting your lips at the patrons, Wooseok") and "fuck can you imagine him looking at me like that in the bedroom" ("NO I DEFINITELY DO NOT WANT TO IMAGINE THAT AT ALL, WOOSEOK!")

His phone chimes for the last time with the arrival of a photo that Hangyul should have expected but his heart still skips a beat anyway. It is a selfie of Wooseok, Yohan and Seungyoun in heavy eye makeup, the aforementioned cat ears, and... are those glitter whiskers? Their expressions, however, are not matching their dark, sultry appearance. Yohan is holding the phone and smiling that kind, good-natured smile he automatically goes to whenever he takes a selfie. Wooseok is leaning his chin on Yohan’s shoulder and is pointedly only looking in his direction, genuine adoration clear as day on his face. Seungyoun is further in the back, raising his eyebrows at Wooseok with the scandalized expression of someone who is belatedly realizing they are the third-wheel in this scenario.

Hangyul laughs for a good minute and clicks “Save”. Thanks to Wooseok’s affinity to group selfies, he has a folder full of Seungyoun’s many faces without it looking too weird if someone is to look through his phone gallery. Despite their constant squabbles and Wooseok’s questionable methods of displaying affection, he more than often goes out of his way to make Hangyul laugh and Hangyul thinks fondly of him as an annoying older sibling.

Damn, he truly hopes the thing with Yohan goes well, he is making Wooseok tell him everything tomorrow.

He cannot help but feel slightly envious though, considering his own… situation with Seungyoun. Seungyoun only started working at X-One three months ago, joining his friend Yugyeom as the two true professional performers and inarguably the main attractions of the club at the moment. Hangyul was first captivated by their charisma and incredible stage dynamics, but he remembers the exact moment his affection for Seungyoun turned from a meaningless crush to something else. In absolute contrast to his seductive, commanding presence on stage, Seungyoun acts like a complete fool when out of his costumes, his boisterous personality trademarked by random puns and silly voices. Hangyul is aware he is always laughing a little too hard at Seungyoun’s gag bits compared to others, but the bright grin the joker immediately directs at him afterwards makes the embarrassment worth it.

Seungyoun also comes up with the craziest ideas for themed nights and Yugyeom somehow always manages to bring those ideas to life in stunning choreographed pieces, albeit with an absurd amount of stage effect and confetti. Hangyul wishes he hated the extra hours spent ridding their wine display of orange glitter after the Halloween event, but Seungyoun stayed back with him until almost 7AM to help sweep the bar. Nothing will be as endearing to Hangyul as the childlike excitement on Seungyoun’s face when he told him that Halloween is his most anticipated event of the year and that orange is his favorite color, then immediately looked apologetic for orchestrating the orange glitter bombs whose aftermath Hangyul was cleaning up. It was the moment Hangyul realized he was stupidly, irrevocably, in love.

And since then he has done absolutely nothing about it.

The sound of his palm smacking against his forehead is loud in the empty room. He glowers at the butt pillow again, just for something to direct his frustration at. Hangyul has always been terrible at feelings, always a little too dense, too oblivious, too awkward. He has dated a grand total of two girls in the past three years, both initiating the relationship and both dropping it after a few months of him being (apparently) utterly boring and having odd work hours. He did not even know he could be attracted to boys too until he met Seungwoo, who handles the lighting controls at X-One and who, for the first two months, used to leave Hangyul speechless whenever he ran his hand through his hair, effortlessly sexy and confident.

Seungyoun, though. Hangyul groans out loud to his zero audience. Seungyoun is something else. That Hangyul is sure of, how Seungyoun is always a little more vocal, a little softer around the edges around him. He has that fond gaze Hangyul knows mirrors his own, and he always makes sure to say goodbye to Hangyul every time he goes home for the night. If Hangyul’s own instinct and Wooseok’s observations are to be trusted (they are usually right), Hangyul’s affection seems to be not one-sided at all.

And yet he is terrified of doing something that could potentially lead to Seungyoun never talking to him again, be it his lousy dating track record or the complete absence of excitement in his social life. The list of people Hangyul regularly hangs out with includes his two juniors from high school, Gijoong and Dohyon, Wooseok, Seungwoo, and the recent but very welcomed addition of Yohan, who is quickly becoming his favorite guy. Nevertheless, they are his friends mostly because of circumstances first. With all his hours spent on family time, work, college, volunteering, going to the gym sometimes, he rarely has the chance to meet up with new people or add lots of interesting elements in his life.

Not that it bothered him personally, well, before this. Hangyul has always been good at entertaining himself ever since he was a little kid at the orphanage, and it is natural for him to fixate on something all on his own for a long time without the need for company. On the other hand, Seungyoun seems to be fast friends with everyone. His bubbly personality helps him charm his way into people’s lives with ease and after only two weeks at X-One, he already became the favorite jokester that got invited to everything. Hangyul would be a little jealous if he himself wasn’t also hopelessly charmed. And hopeless he really is. It would be amazing, possibly life-changing, to be able to become something more with Seungyoun, but his casual smiles and friendly touches… Hangyul can never be sure if he is willing to give them up, if he fucks up.

Hangyul closes his eyes and wills himself to sleep. He has a long day tomorrow, two long days to be exact, days he should be able to enjoy to the fullest. He just desperately wishes the Seungyoun in his dream tonight will be kind to his heart, even though he is a coward that cannot confess his feelings to the real one.