Actions

Work Header

takeaway

Work Text:

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

he could kill renjun and yangyang for leaving him behind, honestly. jaemin supposes he'll have to strangle them when he finally reunites with them later on. the two of them have disappeared after promising jaemin a night of fun, one where he won't feel like a third wheel. but alas, here he is alone in the middle of the crowd, ready to blow a fuse at being abandoned. but then illenium starts playing and he's entranced. after all, who doesn't get entranced once illenium starts playing? people with no taste, that's who.

the thing with illenium is that it never fails to put jaemin in some type of mood. nostalgic, a little emotional, maybe even a little bit romantic. sure, his friends are annoying for disappearing into thin air—even more so right before illenium fucking plays. they're idiots, jaemin muses. but he's in too good of a mood to care. he's going to enjoy his time there.

but then takeaway starts playing and god they're idiots for missing this. where the fuck are his friends? he looks around, tries to find them. and then he locks gazes with a fucking demigod on earth, who suddenly smiles at him with eyes shaped like crescent moons, glimmering like they stole the stars from the sky. the rest of the crowd blurs as they draw close to each other, gravitate to each other like it's the most natural thing in the world.

"hi," the stranger says, leaning in close to jaemin's ear to make sure he can hear him. "this might be a little too forward but i made a promise to myself that i won't leave tonight until i kiss the most beautiful person i see. so would it be okay if i kissed you?"

now na jaemin is, by no means, shy when it comes to flirting. hell, it's his game and he's a star player. but when the reincarnation of adonis stands before him calling him beautiful (the most beautiful, his brain corrects), even na jaemin falls victim to blushing cheeks and a warm face.

"the night's still young though." jaemin manages once his brain begins to work again. now's not the time to falter, after all.

the stranger laughs and jaemin's brain almost short-circuits again, heat blooming in his chest at the way the stranger's eyes twinkle under the strobe lights. "i don't think someone more beautiful than you exists though."

jaemin smiles—smirks. and he dares to step closer towards the boy, who might actually be the most beautiful person jaemin has ever seen, until their bodies are so close they almost press together. "well, there's you."

they stand there just like that until jaemin feels strong arms wrap around him. he sees the stranger's gaze drop to his lips before meeting his once more. and when the song reaches its climax, they close the distance until it no longer exists and their bodies and lips melt together in one song as the whole world melts away around them.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

"jeno, by the way."

"jaemin."

they kiss again.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

they find themselves off somewhere more secluded, quieter. jeno buys them both water and they sit together as the music continues to blare in the distance. jaemin looks at jeno, skin glistening with sweat in a way that just makes him look absolutely irresistible. the sleeveless tee agrees with him, hugging his body just enough to tease what's underneath.

and sure, jaemin is a feast for eyes himself. he knows he's attractive. why else would he be brave enough to attend the festival wearing shorts and just a chest harness? na jaemin is hot—he can't deny that he is when he looks the way he does. but jeno? jeno is so much more and it leaves jaemin tongue-tied.

jaemin thinks jeno is the personification of beauty. this boy in front of him is so beautiful, so ethereal, and oh my god. na jaemin just made out with him. repeatedly. in the middle of the crowd, sweat and all. and it was so fucking hot and filthy.

"i just have to make sure—you're single, right?" jeno interrupts his thoughts.

jaemin blinks, a little amused, a little confused. "uh, yes? i wouldn't make out with you if i wasn't. and to illenium too!"

jeno laughs softly. god, even his laugh is so fucking attractive. jaemin muses that god clearly plays favorites. though he supposes he may also be a favorite because he's given a chance to spend time with this boy. "you can never be too sure nowadays, you know?"

ah yes. jaemin does know that for a fact. and it most likely registers on his face because the next thing jeno says is, "sorry. touchy subject?"

jaemin forces a laugh, shaking his head and waving a hand dismissively. "cheater ex-boyfriend, that's all."

jeno quirks an eyebrow at him, looking straight into his eyes as he shifts to face him. "he must be an idiot then. like who the fuck would cheat on you?"

a more genuine laugh leaves jaemin's lips, shoulders rolling into a shrug. "you don't even know me, jeno."

jeno leans in, almost teasingly so. "i could, though."

jaemin narrows his eyes at the other boy playfully. "if you're trying to get cuffed up, i'm afraid you've met the wrong person to try with."

jeno shrugs, unmoving from the close distance between them. "all i wanted tonight was to kiss the most beautiful person i see. did that. anything else that comes after is just extra. what about you, jaemin? what did you want tonight?"

what did he want? in truth, he wanted a fun night with his friends to forget that some idiot boy broke his heart, a perfect night with fun and music, a night without ever having to think about all the bad things waiting for him back home. "a fairytale," jaemin snorts after a moment of silent thought. "a perfect night. something i can tuck away in my memories and remember when shit's going down, something i can keep perfect forever."

the next set starts in the background as they stare at each other, neither one willing to break away first. until jeno smiles that beautiful smile of his and stands. he offers his hand out to jaemin, "let's go then."

when jaemin blinks up at him, bemused, jeno just continues to smile and says, "let's have ourselves a perfect little fairytale."

a grin spreads across jaemin's face and he takes jeno's hand.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

their fairytale continues back into the crowd, where the music rings in their ears as they dance together and just have fun. jeno proves himself to be a good dancer, which again has jaemin wondering why god is putting so much perfection into one person. but then jaemin remembers what he had told jeno he wanted—a perfect night. and there's no one better to have the perfect night with than the perfect boy.

they stick close, impossibly close. and when melodies go slower, they find themselves melting together once again. lips find each other as if they've been made for each other, kisses abundant as jaemin's favorite songs play in the background, like they're in their own little movie of just jaemin and jeno. so maybe jaemin's a little glad that his friends disappeared on him. he firmly believes that jeno's lips are much better company than his friends ever could have been.

they're such good company, in fact, that he doesn't hesitate to say yes when jeno asks if he wants to come back to his hotel room with him.

and that's how jaemin finds himself in jeno's bed, a tangled mess of limbs as they kiss and feel each other's bodies, hands roaming as if memorizing every outline and silhouette. they move as one, like they've known each other all their lives. his skin burns where it meets jeno's lips, searing each kiss and swipe of tongue into his memories. they pull apart for breath, jeno's hand cupped against jaemin's cheek. jeno smiles at him, breathing heavy, lips slightly parted, hair disheveled beside him. and jaemin thinks it's unfair because jeno looks so good and tastes so good and feels so good and jaemin's heart is beating so fast that it might leap out of his chest.

jaemin pulls him close and connects their lips again, hand resting on the back of jeno's neck. jeno's fingers trail down his back and jaemin moans into jeno's mouth at the shiver that runs up his spine. he kisses jeno hard, hungry for more of him as they press deeper into each other. jeno licks into his mouth, hot and wet and perfect. they can feel each other's heartbeats being so close like this, beating as though they're of one heart. their moans and heavy breaths sing in harmony as they learn more and more about each other's pleasures. night turns into morning, the sun peeks from behind the curtains. but they're absolutely exhausted, but they find it in themselves to shower.

when they lie back in bed, they fall asleep in each other's naked embrace.

and this is how their perfect little fairytale comes to an end.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

"na fucking jaemin, are those fucking hickeys on your neck?!" yangyang screams as the call connects and his face takes over his phone screen.

jaemin's eyes grow wide as he covers his neck. "i—uh—"

he can see jeno snickering in his peripheral, looking gorgeous as fuck so early in the morning. jaemin fights against the urge to throw his phone at jeno. instead, he sighs at his screen. "look, i'll explain later. is junnie okay?"

"yeah, he's just severely hungover," yangyang snickers. jaemin hears a faint i'm going to kill you in the background and he can't help but laugh. "get back to the hotel, we gotta pack for our flight."

when the call ends, jaemin throws a pillow at jeno, who laughs as he catches it. but then jeno spreads his arms, a silent invitation for jaemin to come back to them. and so he does. jeno wraps his arms around jaemin tightly, lips brushing against his forehead. jaemin snuggles close against his chest.

"i really do have to go though," jaemin whispers, looking up. "my best friend, renjun, will actually wring my neck if i don't get back."

jeno pouts at him. god, the fucking audacity. "five more minutes?"

but jaemin nods because it's practically impossible when jeno makes that face at him, tugging at heartstrings in a way that could get anyone to do anything for him if he wanted them to. jeno's eyes close and he sighs into jaemin's hair and drifts back into sleep.

but jaemin stays awake, wondering if he should toss the idea of his perfect night and fairytale away and risk it for jeno. maybe the real jeno— the non-rave-bae-slash-prince-charming— is just as perfect as the jeno of his perfect night. maybe it could work out. maybe he doesn't have to keep jeno to that one night.

but then the negative emotions that creep into his everyday life seeps into his thoughts and he thinks, no. jeno has to stay here, where nothing went wrong and their memories can remain the fairytale that he wanted. that was the deal, anyway. because people disappoint you, jaemin muses. they hurt you and tear you apart and when you expect, they just give you pain. he doesn't want that from jeno after a night like they had.

so when he calls for his uber to take him back to his own hotel, he allows the silence to take over. jeno walks him down and waits with him. and he almost buckles when jeno smiles at him again, when he pulls him in for another kiss and tells him he'll never forget the night they had. but jaemin finds his resolve to just smile back and say, "thanks for the fairytale, prince charming."

jeno laughs. jaemin almost goes weak again. "we'll see each other again in daydreams, jaemin."

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

when jaemin relays the story of his one-night fairytale to his ever so loving friends, they indulge in the emotions of such a perfect night until the very last detail. when jaemin confirms that they did in fact neglect to exchange any sort of contact information, he's met with deadpan stares and a cold moment of silence.

not quite the reaction he had hoped for, but it's the reaction he expected nonetheless.

renjun mutters something under his breath, rubbing at his temples before looking jaemin straight in the eye. "na jaemin, why."

yangyang mimics the expression that renjun gives him, which makes jaemin shift uncomfortably in his seat. the death glares are typical of renjun and having known him for most of his life, jaemin is largely immune to it now. but for yangyang, who is bubbly and sweet and jaemin's partner in mischief, to offer him such a look sends different kinds of feelings to his chest.

jaemin pouts. yangyang shakes his head. renjun sighs.

"look, it was an amazing night," jaemin tries to defend, though his friends are still looking on unamused. "but i wasn't trying to get cuffed up. i'm still not, by the way. people are disappointing and they just end up hurting you. except you guys, of course."

"nana," renjun's gaze softens, another sigh escaping from parted lips. "not everyone's going to be like mark."

jaemin chews on his bottom lip, fingers fiddling with the hem of his hoodie. "i know that," he murmurs. "deep down, i know that. but it's not exactly easy to just believe and not let it affect me moving forward. i feel like every person that comes next is just going to cheat on me."

yangyang scoots over to wrap an arm around jaemin. "and we understand that. we do. but we just don't want you to hold yourself back because of it, you know? mark's an ass who deserves a fist in the face, honestly. i just don't want him to take more from you than he already has."

"i know how hard it is to trust people, but please remember that not everyone is bad."

a silence follows renjun's words until yangyang clears his throat and nudges jaemin's side. "okay so tell us more about jeno. like was he a good kisser? how about in bed?"

finally jaemin smiles and the three of them talk all about it until they're all tired out and ready for bed.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

true to jeno's word, jaemin does see jeno again in daydreams. and it's during his daydreams that he wonders if his rave bae prince charming is as dashing and forward in his daily life as well. sometimes he wishes he could have gotten something—a snapchat maybe, or even just a picture of them together. but all he has from the night is the hoodie jeno gave him the morning after because jaemin's harness isn't quite appropriate commute attire in broad daylight. and his name. jeno. not even a last name.

"you're daydreaming again, aren't you?" renjun snaps in his face and jaemin startles, sheepishly nodding as he realizes that he had. "god, jaem, this is why you should have at least gotten his snap. or a last name!"

"asian last names don't exactly help narrow shit down, injun." jaemin frowns. jeno sounds korean but he could be a kim or a lee for all jaemin knows. or if he's chinese, what if he's a liu or a wu or some other really common last name?

"you never know, he could have been adopted. or he could be half white. or he could take like a stepdad's last name," renjun lists off all the possible reasons that jeno could have a unique last name. sometimes jaemin would like to spend a day in renjun's head to see what goes on in there. his best friend thinks of things that jaemin does not. it's one of those things that he both loves and hates about him.

jaemin sighs, scrolling idly through his instagram feed. "hey, maybe i can find a picture of him on the festival's official hashtag."

renjun deadpans at him, head cocking slightly to the side. "nana, so many fucking asians go to that festival. you're looking for a needle in a needlestack. not to mention how many pictures there's bound to be."

jaemin groans loudly. "i mean it's still worth a shot, right?"

and jaemin tries, scrolling through the feed until his fingers are cramping. but renjun was right—he doesn't find anything after all.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

sometimes jaemin thinks that whole night was just some fever dream, like he accidentally took something and hallucinated the entire thing. when he tells renjun and yangyang this, renjun pulls out the picture he took of the plethora of hickey's on jaemin's skin courtesy of jeno. so at least there's proof that the night actually did happen and that jeno is absolutely real.

but as much as he would like to obsess over his perfect little fairytale, he accepts that it will stay the way it is. when he finds himself thinking about it, he remembers why he wanted it in the first place. jaemin wanted a night so perfect that nothing would ever be able to ruin it. jeno had given him that and for that, he is forever thankful. it's a fond memory, something that he can hold onto as something good when the memories of his heartbreak plague him.

jeno was his perfect distraction, the perfect rave bae prince charming anyone could ever ask for. and he doesn't need to know more of jeno or see more of him. because this way, jeno remains perfect. this way, jeno won't ever get a chance to hurt jaemin the way mark did. this way, everything remains good—untouched, untarnished.

it remains their fairytale.

but fate has other plans for him, it seems. jaemin does see jeno again. and that's how he finds himself dragging his best friend (and practically throwing him) into a starbucks bathroom one sunny afternoon, having a mini breakdown because holy motherfucking hell of all hells his fairytale just walked through the door.

"injun, oh my god. oh my fucking god. it's jeno. jeno is here. he's fucking here. oh my god!"

"he's not," renjun hisses, rubbing at his arm where jaemin had grabbed him. "it's been months, bitch. we would have seen him already by now. you're probably just imagining things because of stress. the semester's starting tomorrow after all."

"no, junnie!" jaemin is frantic, grabbing onto renjun's shoulders and practically shaking him. "i swear it was him. like seriously, a god just walked in. it's him, injun. it's fucking jeno. jeno is fucking here!"

renjun stares at jaemin, debating whether to believe his best friend or not. "no fucking way."

"i swear, injun. it's really jeno. i swear it on my mother. no—i swear it on mark. like if i'm wrong about this, i will go to mark and punch him in the face."

now this gets renjun's attention. "oh my god," he finally says after a moment of silence. "okay. oh my god, does he go to our school? has he been here this entire fucking time?"

"i don't think so?" jaemin chews nervously on his dried lips. "i mean, we know every asian kid on campus. i feel like we would hear about it if the son of aphrodite went to our school. like the entire community would have thirsted over him and i most certainly would have known him."

"okay, true. maybe— wait—" renjun raises his hand, contemplative. "wait, nana. why are we hiding then? didn't you want to find him?"

"no!" jaemin is almost screaming. renjun is sure that anyone outside could hear them like this. "i mean not at first. but then i did. now i don't again. i don't fucking know! jeno— just if— the fairytale, jun— i just—"

"whoa, whoa!" renjun smooshes jaemin's cheeks between his palms. "calm down. breathe. come on, bitch, breathe. you know how to fucking breathe."

"i have asthma..." jaemin pouts childishly, which renjun rolls his eyes at. "c-can you please just check if he's there?"

"i don't know what he looks like, nana."

"trust me, junnie," jaemin breathes out. "if he's still there, you'll know. like jesus fucking christ, you would know if it's jeno."

renjun narrows his eyes at his best friend before releasing the heaviest of sighs to ever exist. "fine, i'll go check. i'll text you if it's clear."

jaemin finally grins and plants two wet kisses to both of renjun's cheeks.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

light of my life huang junnie
› ok you can come out
› coast is clear
› got us a table

when jaemin rushes outside, he's pouting because renjun took for-fucking-ever to text him. renjun sits with his legs crossed, sipping on iced coffee while staring up at jaemin. jaemin's pout disappears when he notices that renjun has already gotten him his coffee order.

"what the fuck took you so long?" jaemin huffs.

renjun sets his drink down on the table before responding. "i talked to him. kind of forgot you were hiding out in the bathroom for a bit, honestly. like jeno is so nice and so sweet. i can see why you're so smitten by him. and fuck you were not kidding about him being hot."

"right? shouldn't there be a rule about not being that ho—wait—" jaemin's eyes grow wide, mouth hanging open. "you fucking talked to him?"

a teasing grin slowly spreads across renjun's face, a glint of mischief in his eyes. "you really didn't expect me not to flirt with a hot guy, right? i mean, holy shit, nana. i thought you were exaggerating when you were describing him but as soon as i saw him, you were right, i knew it was him."

"you flirted with jeno? the fuck, renjun!"

renjun begins to laugh, shaking his head. "calm down, oh my god. i tried to. he looked pretty shy about it. so we ended up just talking for a bit. he's transferring to our uni this semester. third year, just like us. he went to community college an hour from here and—"

"no, no, stop!" jaemin whines, pouting again. "i don't want to know, junnie. seriously. i want to keep jeno locked away in my memories as the perfect stranger who gave me a perfect night. i don't want anything to change that."

"you are so stupidly stubborn sometimes, you know that?" renjun rolls his eyes at him, sighing. "look, jaem, fine, i won't say more about what we talked about. but if he's meant to be in your life, he will be. and if he is, i beg you not to push him away."

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

there are two things about what renjun told jaemin that weigh heavily in his mind. the first is that jeno was shy when renjun tried to flirt with him. jeno was a lot of things—hot, sexy, drop-dead gorgeous—but shy he was not. his rave bae prince charming jeno was seductive and confident; they smoothly went back and forth with flirting and blatant innuendos without any struggle. na jaemin is not the type to fluster easily but jeno had done just that. there's a small part of jaemin that would like to believe that jeno's change in character is because he was just that interested in jaemin.

the second thing that plagues his thoughts is the idea of jeno being "meant to be" in his life. he can't deny that the odds of jeno ending up living close by and transferring to jaemin's university are too slim to simply just be coincidence. the concepts of fate and destiny are usually renjun's thing, but even jaemin can't help but wonder what if.

okay, so maybe it's fate. whatever. this is when renjun and yangyang would tell him to just let fate take control of what happens next. so maybe jaemin should do just that.

"jaemin? is that you?"

uh oh. what the fuck, fate? i didn't mean right this fucking instant! jaemin feels his heart speed up as jeno comes into view, mirroring the shock that takes over his features.

jaemin likes to think he's a rational person. so of course he should say hi, tell jeno it's nice to see him again. that's what he thinks he should have done. but instead, jaemin runs. actually fucking runs in the opposite direction.

"hey, wait! jaemin!" he hears jeno call after him. but jaemin has already disappeared from sight.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

he tells renjun the next day at lunch.

"fucking hell, nana," renjun flicks him on the forehead, huffing. "i know i said not to push him away, but that doesn't mean you should run away from him. what the fuck, na jaemin?"

"i deserve that," jaemin pouts, rubbing at the sore spot on his forehead. "but i don't know, junnie! i saw him! he called my name! i panicked! i wasn't thinking!"

"clearly." renjun deadpans.

"god, he must fucking hate me now," jaemin groans, burying his head in his arms. "fairytale over for sure. fuck. and it's my fucking fault. why the fuck can i not act like a normal human being around jeno?"

"probably because you keep treating him like some sort of untouchable deity," renjun offers, patting him on the head. "by the way, he's here."

jaemin's head snaps up and his eyes grow wide. "please tell me you're lying."

"nope," renjun grins, wiggling his fingers towards someone behind jaemin. fuck. "now, i must go. talk to him, okay? he probably just wants a friend since he's new here and you're the closest thing he has to one." renjun gets up, jaemin pouts at him. "love you, update me and yang later, 'kay?" renjun grins and kisses the top of jaemin's head before he could protest.

"oh hey, nice seeing you again jeno." renjun greets.

jeno says a quick "you too, renjun." before taking the empty seat beside jaemin.

"h-hey, jeno," jaemin curses in his mind for how shaky his voice sounds. "fancy seeing you here. what are the odds, right?" really, jaemin? what the fuck.

jeno's lips part for a moment before they close again, eyebrows beginning to furrow. "you ran away from me." he says with a frown. and then jeno starts pouting and sulking. oh god, this isn't good for jaemin's heart.

jaemin takes in the sight before him. the jeno right in front of him is so different from his rave bae prince charming jeno (who has seen him naked, his brain likes to emphasize). this jeno in front of him is so fucking cute and so boy-next-door, the kind of boy you wouldn't hesitate to bring home to your parents—he is absolute not the boy you spend all night having nasty naughty naked bedroom adventures with in a new city. this jeno is so boyfriend and emits a warmth that's different from the burning heat of desire that rave bae jeno does. not that he wouldn't lust over this jeno too. this jeno is still as sexy and alluring, just in a totally different sweetheart kind of way.

"jaemin." the sound of his name brings him out of his trance.

"yeah, oh god, i'm sorry!" jaemin chokes out. jeno frowns more deeply at him. "i, uh, panicked."

"well, yeah, i got that. but why?"

"i didn't want to see you," he blurts out. the look in jeno's eyes shifts for a second, barely noticeable but noticeable enough for jaemin to begin his typical agitated rambling. "i mean i do but like, i don't? but i do. i don't know! oh god, i just— you know, i'll just— i'm gonna—"

"jaemin," gentle hands grab jaemin's face and he hopes to the higher beings in the sky that jeno can't feel how hot his face becomes. "breathe for me. please?"

jaemin nods, taking a deep breath. the way jeno looks at him is so tender, so caring. and his mind wanders off to how kind jeno was the morning after they slept together. he forces himself to keep his consciousness in the present, to look into jeno's sweet gaze and attempt not to melt under the weight of it.

"okay, good, thank you," jeno smiles at him and fuck, jaemin's heart wants to leap out of his throat. he has no fucking business looking that fucking adorable in jaemin's home turf. "can you please just maybe not run away from me again? i'm new here and you're the closest thing i have to a friend. i'd like to be your friend. is that okay, jaemin?"

fuck huang renjun for always being right.

jaemin nods. sure, he can be jeno's friend. he can definitely do that. it's okay to sometimes lust over your friends, right? that's pretty normal friend behavior, especially when said friend is hot as hell, right?

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

being jeno's friend, as it turns out, is actually really fucking great. jeno is smart and effortlessly funny; sometimes jaemin thinks jeno doesn't even realize it himself. it doesn't take much time for him to fit within their group, a piece of the puzzle they didn't even realize they were missing. he brings jeno over to the apartment he shares with yangyang and renjun, jeno insisting on bringing food over since he's a guest, and the rest is history.

"i honestly thought nana would keep running away from you." renjun snorts as they share pizza one lazy wednesday afternoon. midterms are coming soon and yangyang, after spending a full twenty-four hours holed up in the library, declares that they need an afternoon to just hang out and do nothing but eat.

the rest of them happily oblige.

jeno laughs and jaemin hates how it still makes his heart race every time he does. jaemin thinks his lusting over his new friend might actually be turning into a crush and he's internally screaming at the thought.

"i'm glad he didn't," jeno hums, shoulder brushing against jaemin's in a light nudge. "i really wanted to be his friend."

jeno's pouting again and jaemin thinks that jeno should never ever be allowed to pout again. and it's not because it's so fucking adorable that jaemin wants to kiss it away or anything. absolutely nothing like that. nope, not at all.

"oh my god, jaem, look what you did to our puppy!" yangyang exclaims, throwing his arms around jeno and petting his hair. there's an ache in jaemin's chest—a pang of jealousy he's not willing to admit. jeno has that jeno smile on his face again, nuzzling into yangyang.

"i panicked!" jaemin huffs. jeno laughs again and jaemin's chest is about to burst if he's not careful.

being jeno's friend is absolutely fucking great. except for the mini heart attacks jaemin gets when jeno beams at him with a smile that reaches his eyes. or the heat that crawls up jaemin's neck when jeno laughs, so full and free and pure. or the way jaemin forgets how to breathe when jeno leans in a little too close or when jeno's hand lingers on top of his for a little too long.

jaemin thinks it's stupid. it's really fucking stupid. especially when you consider the fact that they've literally had sex before—filthy, erotic, maybe even downright pornographic sex. and if he thinks about it deeply (which jaemin really really tries not to), it's also fact he knew what jeno liked in bed before he even knew his last name.

so when something as innocent as a smile makes jaemin feel so bashful, jaemin thinks he might actually be an idiot. (renjun and yangyang tell him that he always has been.)

but then sometimes jaemin feels as though rave bae jeno and his college friend jeno are two completely different people. especially when they're hanging out and jeno spills water all over himself because he's stubborn and doesn't want to take two trips to bring their cups. or when they're stuck in the library and jeno does this little nose wiggle every time he's confused about a math problem. or when he turns pink and laughs shyly whenever someone offers him anything close to a compliment. jaemin would never expect such things from his rave bae jeno; but this is exactly the kind of person his college friend jeno is.

and jaemin supposes that this works out for him, who's so desperate to hold onto that perfect night. he likes the fact that the jeno he met back then seems to be a completely different entity from the jeno he's getting to know now. they've never addressed what happened that night, only the fact that that's when they met. it's almost as if jeno wants to preserve that night as it was just as much as jaemin does.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

of course, the truth of it all is that they're one and the same. this jeno and that jeno are one person. and this reality stares him in the face when they attend their first party together.

it's friday night and jaemin's upperclassmen friends host a house party to celebrate the end of midterms. and if anyone knows how to throw a party, it would be them. renjun and yangyang need no convincing—already desperate for the sweet release of intoxication after laboring away at the library for practically the entire week. jeno, on the other hand, needed more coaxing. (it doesn't take too long until he agrees though.)

"okay, real talk," renjun says as they walk to the party, jaemin and yangyang on each side of him. the party is at a house just a block from their apartment and they've all been there so much that the walk is all muscle memory. "if you don't make out with jeno tonight, i fucking will. yang and i have talked about it—jeno is on both of our free pass lists."

jaemin, scandalized, slaps renjun and yangyang on the arm simultaneously. "that is our friend!"

yangyang snorts, rolling his eyes. "bitch, you practically drool every time jeno smiles at you. but sure, friend, go off."

"it's still fucking hilarious to me that you act like some stupid lovestruck schoolboy when you've already had nasty ass sex with him," renjun adds, shaking his head. "who the fuck gets shy after having someone's dick down your throat?"

jaemin makes some wet choking noise at this, face flushing hot and red. he's thankful he's had a couple of drinks in to mask it.

"is that what you sounded like?" yangyang teases, wiggling his eyebrows. renjun laughs so loudly that it echoes along the empty street.

god, jaemin hates his friends sometimes.

by the time they get to the party, it's already in full swing. jaemin makes a beeline for the kitchen where he knows the drinks will be, not wanting to hear any more of renjun and yangyang's playful derision about his obvious feelings for their new friend. he downs a drink. and then another. and then pours a full cup to take with him as he makes his way to the dance floor.

and then he sees jeno and jaemin feels his entire body go weak. because tonight, it isn't his college friend jeno who comes to dance and laugh and drink. it's the jeno he met in the summer.

jeno is easily the center of attention. he's new to the city, an unfamiliar face in a somewhat tightly-knit community that knows almost everyone in it. and of course, jeno is hot. like insanely hot. he's wearing smudged eyeliner, a slight shimmer on his lids that reflect when the light hits.

jeno in all black is a sight to behold and this is when jaemin's brain decides to malfunction, unable to reconcile that yes—this is the same jeno who just yesterday was telling him that he likes oversized hoodies because he likes feeling cute and petite in them. tonight's and last night's jeno are a single person and jaemin's head starts feeling a little dizzy.

"you know what, na jaemin? fuck this. have fun tonight. don't think about it." he whispers to himself, a newfound resolve aided by drinks that were now beginning to take effect.

and have fun he does.

until he sees mark fucking lee.

"fuck. fuck!" jaemin hisses, his heart jumping to his throat. he whips his head around, desperate for any of his friends, who had left to get more drinks.

okay, jaemin. it's okay. it's okay. you'll be okay. he repeats the words in his head like a mantra, like he's hypnotizing himself until he can believe it. he closes his eyes, leans against the wall for support, chews nervously on his bottom lip until it draws blood.

he doesn't realize he's shaking until a hand lands on his shoulder to steady him. "jaemin, what's wrong? do you need—"

jaemin's eyes open wide, relief then desperation coloring his eyes. "jen, please— i need— can we go? jen, i need to get out of here. i really—"

but he doesn't get to finish his sentence because there stands mark, stupidly attractive smile on his face. "jaemin, you're here."

jaemin doesn't understand how mark can just do this. just walk over to him and smile, talk to jaemin like he didn't just break his heart not too long ago. but mark has always been shameless, he supposes. always did whatever the fuck he wanted no matter the consequences; it never mattered who got hurt in the process.

jaemin forces himself to look at mark. and he wants to say something, anything really. flip him off, swear at him, scream at him for having the gall to speak to jaemin as if nothing happened. and jaemin is so focused on mark that he doesn't notice the recognition that colors jeno's eyes as he stares at mark too. he doesn't notice the slowly building tension in jeno's jaw, the hardness in his gaze.

it isn't until jeno grabs jaemin's hand that he turns and sees the fury on jeno's face. "we're about to leave, actually." jeno's voice is cold, seething.

"you're—" mark blinks, looking back at jeno, eyes squinting as though trying to remember something. maybe jaemin is just drunk but he feels like mark recognizes jeno from somewhere and he's trying to figure out where. but then mark shrugs it off and looks back at jaemin. "that's too bad, nana," jaemin frowns at the use of his nickname. what a fucking prick. "i really wanted to talk to you."

jaemin tenses at those words, squeezing jeno's hand on instinct. but when jeno squeezes back, almost reassuringly, he finds himself relaxing even if just a bit. "no thanks, mark. i'm drunk. and i also fucking hate you."

"right," mark laughs, amused. jaemin doesn't notice that jeno's free hand has balled up into a tight fist, knuckles turning white. "take care of jaem. knowing him, he'll just end up crying."

jeno's jaw clenches for the briefest of moments before he smiles that jeno smile of his, laces his fingers through jaemin's, and says, "already am."

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

"j-jeno, whose car is this?" jaemin sobs into his hands, tears streaming down his face as soon as he sits in the passenger seat. "did you break into a car for me? no, jeno! bad jeno!" so maybe jaemin is still drunk. just a bit.

"no, silly," jeno laughs, reaching over the center console to brush hair away from jaemin's face. "i drove here. i haven't drank all night because i figured you, renjun, and yangyang would need a ride."

"you're too fucking good for this world, lee jeno," jaemin cries out, almost comically so. jeno watches him caringly, shaking his head. "god, this is so stupid. i'm so sorry, jeno. i'm sorry."

"hey, it's okay," jeno tells him, a hand resting on jaemin's thigh with a reassuring pat. "i get it. that guy hurt you. you're allowed to feel upset around him. you're okay, jaemin. he's gone now. it's just me."

"just you? just you?" jaemin looks over at jeno, sniffling. "jeno, you're never just you. you're lee motherfucking jeno, the best person on the planet, the only person who deserves rights, honestly. fucking mark lee doesn't even deserve to have the same last name as you. he's so— i just— god, i'm so fucking pathetic."

jaemin begins to sob again and jeno keeps reminding him that it's all okay, the hand on jaemin's thigh patting him reassuringly. "it's okay, jaemin. let it out. i'm listening."

"i hate how he still gets under my skin. i just— it's always so hard remembering that someone who used to make me feel so special just… cheated on me. like it was no big deal. and with some art kid from a different school!" jaemin sniffs, wiping his tears away. "you know what mark said when i confronted him about it? he said that i was making it into a bigger deal than it had to be. he cheats on me and i'm in the wrong. fucking hell! i just want to know why i wasn't enough, jeno." jaemin looks at jeno and jeno frowns at the pained look in jaemin's eyes. "why wasn't i enough?"

there's a fire in jeno's eyes that jaemin's too drunk to perceive. it's an anger that's been brewing since he first saw mark. and jeno looks like he wants to say something but he doesn't. instead, he takes jaemin's hand in his and says, "you are enough, jaemin. you're more than enough."

when jaemin frowns at him, unconvinced, jeno continues, "he's an idiot who never deserved you, na jaemin. you are beautiful and kind and sweet and so full of love. and yeah, you're afraid to trust because of that asshole but even so, you're still so unapologetically loving of the people around you. jaemin, you don't even realize the joy you bring others. the warmth we feel when you're in the room. trust me on this, jaem, anyone would be lucky to love and be loved by you."

a silence hangs in the air as their eyes meet, jaemin's no longer brimming with tears. jeno always looks at him so warmly, so attentively. and when jeno looks at him like that, jaemin's heart sings stupid sappy love songs on full volume, beats against his ribcage to the sound of jeno's voice.

"jeno, get out of the car." jaemin whispers.

jeno blinks. "what?"

"get out of the damned car because i need to jump in your arms and you need to hug the living shit out of me until i can't breathe anymore."

and they both do exactly that.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

they drive around with the windows down, cool wind hitting their skin, jamming along to illenium the entire time. they drive and sing and drive and sing, off on their own little adventure to find a mcdonald's with a working ice cream machine. when they finally find one (an hour later, unfortunately), they order their mcflurries and fries and enjoy them in the parking lot.

"it's so weird listening to illenium with you," jaemin admits, feeding jeno a french fry. "i've always loved illenium but now it just reminds me of… well, you were there. you know what happened."

jeno chews on the fry, lips stretched into a grin. "honestly, i only started listening to illenium because of that night."

jaemin's jaw drops, a theatric gasp spilling from his mouth. "you didn't before that?" jaemin presses a hand to his chest. "scandalous, lee jeno. but at least you have taste now that you've met me."

the two of them fall into easy conversation, finally recounting their adventure during their fairytale of a night. it's so simple being like this with jeno—so safe and secure. it's a terrifying thought, being able to trust someone so quickly. but jeno just has that effect on him. jeno looks at jaemin like jaemin isn't as damaged as he really is, like he isn't as broken and that he'll be okay no matter what.

when conversation dies down and jeno has finished blushing over jaemin's explicit recollections of their rather risqué night together, jaemin finishes the last of his ice cream and tilts his head at jeno. "okay, spill," he hums. "how did you know i was craving mcflurries?"

jeno reaches over to wipe jaemin's lips clean. "you told me, idiot," he chuckles. "on our way back to my hotel, you said you always craved mcflurries when you're sad. i just figured you would be after seeing mark."

rose blooms in jaemin's cheeks, heat spreading across his chest. there's an adoring smile on jaemin's lips as he looks into jeno's eyes. "can't believe you remembered that," jaemin murmurs. "it's been months."

jeno holds jaemin's gaze, a comfortable silence falling between them. and then he smiles, eyes disappearing into crescents. "na jaemin, you're a little hard to forget."

heat spreads all over jaemin's body and he blushes hard. but he convinces himself it's all the alcohol's fault. it has to be. even though he's already long since sobered up.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

"alright, na jaemin. what the fuck did you do?" renjun slams his books down on the kitchen counter, startling jaemin. yangyang trails behind him, setting his things down in a gentler way. "did something happen at the party?"

jaemin blinks up at renjun, who's folding his arms against his chest, a serious expression on his face. "unless i blacked out without realizing, no?"

"then why has jeno been unreachable since then?" yangyang takes a seat next to jaemin, sighing.

jaemin doesn't really know the answer to this. when he thinks about all the events of the night, jaemin doesn't think that anything happened that would cause jeno to disappear on them. jeno is elusive; he evades questions and answers vaguely with ease. jaemin wonders if there are things he doesn't remember, but he is sure that his memory is intact. he does remember sobbing like a little bitch in jeno's car, after all. if jaemin were to black out, his emotional outbursts were usually what's forgotten.

"there's still something that bothers me about that night, though," renjun finally breaks the silence, taking the other empty seat beside jaemin. "you said that it looked like mark recognized jeno."

"oh yeah," yangyang adds with a slow nod. "that is kind of strange. but nana was also really drunk, though."

"still, nana's perceptive."

that little detail bothers jaemin too. he tries not to think about it, knowing that his mind would jump to every worst case scenario that it could think of if he did. so he pushes it to the back of his thoughts, ignores it when it comes creeping up.

jaemin sighs, shrugging. "i don't know, guys. i just— if jeno has something to tell us, he'll tell us eventually."

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

jeno does. kind of.

it's a vague message at best. but it's enough to set fire to jaemin's insides, his heart leaping to his throat. he reads the message over and over and over again, turning the words in his mind until his head begins to pound.

rave bae prince charming
› donghyuck wants to talk to you.
› it would really mean a lot if you hear him out.

"what the fuck." both renjun and yangyang deadpan. jaemin shoves his phone at them as soon as they get home. their backpacks have long since been forgotten by the door, dropping them as soon as jaemin cries out for them to hold him in his bed.

"this is just— i don't know what's going on. like how the fuck does jeno know donghyuck?" jaemin's voice is shaky as he curls up on renjun's side. yangyang is spooning him on the other side, arm thrown over his torso.

"i guess it makes sense that he started avoiding us," renjun sighs, carding his fingers through jaemin's hair. "if he's donghyuck's friend, it must have been hard for him realizing that his friend's boyfriend cheated on his new friend-slash-crush."

"shut up, jeno doesn't have a crush on me." jaemin mumbles.

"okay, and i'm not super gay for renjun," yangyang snorts. "but we're not going to get into that right now. jeno wants you and donghyuck to talk. are you going to do it?"

jaemin chews on his bottom lip, eyes fluttering closed at the feeling of his best friends scooting closer against him. "i don't know. should i?" jaemin inhales deeply, allowing the scents of different shampoos to fill his nostrils and calm him down. "mark cheated on me with this guy."

"maybe it could give you closure," yangyang offers. "you can confront him. yell at him. tell him he's a homewrecker or whatever."

"that's the thing, though," renjun begins to say. "if jeno wants jaemin to talk to donghyuck, i don't think donghyuck is a bad guy. what if he didn't know that mark cheated on jaemin with him? jeno is our friend and he wouldn't do anything to hurt jaemin. i think we should trust him."

jaemin thinks about this in silence, mulling his options in his head. jaemin has had time to build a character for donghyuck in his head, one that paints him as a rotten person who destroyed jaemin's heart. the thought of donghyuck not being any of the bad images in jaemin's head was something he never really entertained. he had always been so deep in his self-loathing that he always assumed that both mark and donghyuck knew what they were doing.

"i'll talk to him," jaemin whispers after the long silence. "i trust jeno."

"it has to be here, though." yangyang says.

"and we'll be here as backup, just in case." renjun adds.

he'll text jeno later, once he's had enough time to gather his thoughts and calm his emotions. jaemin smiles and closes his eyes, allowing himself to drift off into peaceful sleep in the arms of his best friends. the whole thing with mark has affected him negatively, but he's happy knowing that he has yangyang and renjun always by his side. they may be annoying sometimes, but jaemin wouldn't trade them for anything else in the world and beyond.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

jaemin doesn't really know what to expect. there are so many different scenarios playing in his head. he never really wanted to meet the guy that mark cheated on him with, but here jaemin is—pacing back and forth in his living room, bottom lip caught harshly between his teeth, waiting for him to arrive. is this supposed to be a conversation? a confrontation? a screaming match? a fist fight? jaemin isn't sure.

here are all he knows:

  1. jeno and donghyuck are cousins
  2. jeno recognized mark because of donghyuck
  3. jeno confronted donghyuck after the party
  4. jeno asked jaemin if he was willing to speak to donghyuck at donghyuck's request

"god, what if he's here to confront me?" jaemin cracks his knuckles nervously. "i don't like confrontation, guys. like, i'm totally fine with them being happy and whatever. but what if he's here to smack me down for telling jeno?"

"calm down, nana," yangyang hands him a glass of water. "i don't think jeno would send him here if he's looking for a fight."

"and if he is, we're right here." renjun likes to emphasize that both he and yangyang are more than ready to throw fists around if necessary.

jaemin takes a sip of the water then hands it back to yangyang. he's been nervous about this all day, constantly overthinking about every little thing that could possibly happen. his hands are clammy and he can't stop moving around; staying still just isn't an option.

when he hears a knock on the door, the three of them exchange looks. jaemin nods, taking a deep breath. it's time.

jaemin likes to think that he's prepared himself for anything that could happen as soon as he opens the door. he's an overthinker, after all. but as soon as he pulls the door open and takes in the sight before him, every single thought in jaemin's head just melts away.

in front of him is a boy, small and frail, looking up at him with swollen and red eyes. he's hugging himself, trembling as he parts his lips to say something. but then he closes them and drops his gaze to his feet instead.

"are you—"

"i'm sorry," donghyuck cuts him off, not daring to look at jaemin. his voice is as shaky as his body, tears streaming down his face as soon as he speaks. "i'm so sorry, jaemin. i didn't know. i really didn't. please, oh god— please believe me. i really didn't— fuck, if i had just known— mark never— i just don't— god, i'm so sorry, jaemin. i'm so sorry, i didn't know anything. i really didn't know anything. i didn't know. i really—"

donghyuck's breath hitches and he begins to sob, hands moving to cover his eyes. he sobs into his palms and before he could even think, jaemin pulls donghyuck into his arms and holds him tight. "hey, breathe," jaemin whispers, fingers combing through donghyuck's hair soothingly. "breathe, donghyuck. you're okay."

but instead of breathing, donghyuck completely unravels. he breaks down in jaemin's arms, all strength in his legs disappearing. jaemin has to hold him up because his knees have given way, his whole body going slack. donghyuck sobs loudly, wails as his arms wrap tightly around jaemin in return.

jaemin can't help but think back to the day he found out about mark's infidelity. this boy in his arms isn't a boy who knew what he was doing. this isn't a boy who willingly chose to be mark's "other guy." no. donghyuck is a boy who fell in love and was fooled, just like jaemin.

"i'm sorry, jaemin, i'm so sorry." donghyuck keeps repeating apologies in between his sobs. he looks so small like this, so broken, and it lights the protective instincts in jaemin on fire.

he looks over his shoulder at his best friends, who are watching this entire scene with tears brimming their eyes. jaemin knows that they're reminded of the same thing he is—of jaemin's own breakdown at the revelation.  the three of them share a look, one filled with anger and spite. they don't need words—they already know what they're all thinking.

mark is dead.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

when donghyuck has finally calmed down, they all sit in the living room. yangyang and renjun have attached themselves to donghyuck, showering him with affection and words of comfort that sends warmth to donghyuck's face. donghyuck tries to apologize again but jaemin cuts him off, telling him that it's not his fault.

"all you did was fall in love, donghyuck," jaemin says with a gentle smile. "you're not wrong for that."

this brings tears to his eyes again, but yangyang is quick to wipe it away. "nope. no. no more crying over a dumbass like mark lee."

the four of them laugh softly at this, a bashful smile settling on donghyuck's lips after. jaemin doesn't even want to know anything else anymore. any questions he may have had over their relationship no longer matter. any hatred or bitterness he may have felt slowly melt away the more donghyuck speaks.

BANG.

the door swings open so widely that it hits the wall. all four of them jump to their feet and rush towards the entrance, hearts beating loudly at the sudden intrusion. everything happens so fast but jaemin sees everything almost as if in slow motion.

jeno walks in with his fist curled into mark's collar and then practically throws mark inside. mark stumbles, coughing. he's ready to curse jeno out until he sees the four of them just staring at him. "wha—" and then his eyes land on donghyuck.

mark freezes.

jeno grabs him again, forcing mark to stand up straight. he holds onto mark's shoulders to keep him in place. "apologize." jeno's voice is low, expression dark and more serious than any of them have ever seen. all four are unmoving, unable to keep their eyes away from what's in front of them.

mark chokes out an apology but all of them are too stunned to react.

then jeno's large hand closes around mark's throat and he shoves mark against the wall, the rage in jeno's eyes clear as fear overtakes every fiber of mark's being. and then jeno smiles, that same smile that jaemin thinks makes him look like a puppy, his voice so bright that it sends shivers down mark's spine. "go anywhere near them again and i'll snap you in half, mark lee."

when he releases mark, mark runs out the door.

"jeno."

"oh my god."

"what was that?"

"lee jeno, what the fuck?"

and as if he wasn't just threatening to break someone just moments ago, jeno laughs shyly, scratching at the back of his neck. "sorry," he mutters sheepishly. "i just. i was on my way here and i saw him. i just snapped, you know? seeing him all happy and smiling when he hurt two people i care about. i was already by your door by the time i realized what i was doing."

the four of them just stare at jeno until yangyang blurts out, "jeno, that was hot as fuck."

"i fucking knew you were a bad boy deep down," renjun laughs. "god, that really was sexy though. do it again. beat the shit out of him."

jeno looks at jaemin, almost expectantly. jaemin swallows down the lump in his throat and flashes him a smile. he doesn't deny that seeing jeno so angry and protective was hot, but there's more that it ignites in jaemin's chest. jaemin's heart speeds up, his face goes red. "thank you, jeno."

"wait," jeno then blinks. "are you guys— did i intrude or anything?"

"actually, i was in the middle of apologizing." donghyuck responds, fiddling with his own fingers. "but they keep saying it's not my fault."

"because it isn't," jeno agrees. "it's mark's."

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

donghyuck is a theater major who goes to the performing arts academy ten minutes away. when they find out, the four friends tell him immediately that he has to come hang out at their apartment. he doesn't have to if he feels uncomfortable, but he has an open invitation to come and hang out whenever he would like. they tell him jeno doesn't even let them know if he's coming over anymore, he just does. ("you told me i could!" jeno whines.)

he comes over one afternoon, fidgeting as he stands in the living room. yangyang is in his room finishing up a paper while jeno, jaemin, and renjun have seated themselves on the couch. jaemin is about to ask if anything is wrong when donghyuck stutters out, "p-performance!"

"huh?" renjun and jaemin look at him, bemused.

donghyuck smiles shyly, fiddling with his own fingers. "i have a performance. i got the lead role and the show is tomorrow," he says. "i-i'm sorry it's a last minute invite. i j-just didn't know if you would be interested in coming."

"are you kidding? you should've told us sooner!" renjun huffs, quickly tapping away on his phone. "hold on, let me cancel something real quick."

"wait, no you don't have to—" donghyuck tries to call out, but renjun has already disappeared into his room to make a phone call.

donghyuck stares at his feet, hands twiddling with the hem of his shirt. "it's really okay if you guys are busy. i mean, i'm asking at the last minute. i was just scared, i guess. b-but i would really like it if you guys came to watch."

"hyuck," jaemin stands and places a hand on his shoulder, an encouraging smile on his lips. donghyuck looks up, eyes filled with nerves as he looks back at jaemin. "we're friends. of course we'll go. we won't miss it for anything."

the word friends seems to catch his attention. donghyuck's breath hitches and he looks at jeno, who's been sitting on the couch just watching with a gentle smile. donghyuck swallows a lump forming in his throat.

yangyang and renjun emerge from their shared bedroom, settling themselves beside jeno on the couch. "alright, plans canceled. just your show on the agenda," renjun grins, then blinks. "wait, what's with the seriousness?"

"na jaemin, what did you do?" yangyang scolds, jumping to his feet to pull donghyuck into his arms. "shh, it's okay, tell us what mean nana did."

"hey!" jaemin pouts. jeno laughs softly, still just observing.

"n-no, it's just," donghyuck inhales deeply, tears forming in his eyes. "i've never really had a good group of friends before, you know? i was always kind of the background friend—just present, not anyone's first choice, someone you won't even notice if not there. s-so when mark approached me and was really nice to me, i just— i—"

donghyuck's tears fall. and renjun's, yangyang's, and jaemin's fall too. the three of them circle around him in a group hug, giving him all the praises and endearments that he deserves. donghyuck smiles amidst the tears, thankful.

"god, i fucking hate mark," yangyang huffs. "but at least we met you, hyuck."

"for real," renjun adds with a nod. "you're one of us now, okay? you're our friend. and you're never going to be neglected. just ask jaemin—he's had to suffer being third wheel since high school."

donghyuck laughs, looking over at jaemin who is nodding. "yeah, i've been their third wheel since high school and i've never felt neglected. except for the rave. fuck you guys for that."

renjun and yangyang snort. renjun retorts, "but you got a jeno out of it."

jaemin falls silent, cheeks burning red. it's true— he did get a jeno out of that night. he looks over at jeno who's just staring at him, his own face slightly pink. jaemin's heart skips a beat as they continue to hold each other's gaze.

"you know," donghyuck begins to say, the smile on his face wide and genuine. jaemin tears his eyes from jeno to look at donghyuck. "getting hurt sucks. but i feel like that heartbreak was worth it because it led me to you guys."

"oh my god, stop," renjun groans. "i'm supposed to be a hard bitch but you're making me soft, donghyuck. please."

they laugh, squeezing donghyuck in the middle of their little circle. and then jaemin looks over his shoulder where jeno is sitting, grinning proudly. "lee jeno," jaemin calls out. "get over here and join this sappy ass group hug."

he does.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

it becomes a common sight—four college students gathered in reserved seats in the front row, loud and obnoxious whenever donghyuck takes the stage for final credits. they scream his name, call out compliments, shout about anything and everything.

"lee donghyuck, i love you!" yangyang screams.

"lee donghyuck, be mine!" renjun yells after.

"lee donghyuck, step on me!" jaemin adds.

"lee donghyuck, i'm bald for you!" jeno then finishes.

all four of them roar in chorused laughter, whistling and howling and clapping until their palms are raw. donghyuck beams at them from the stage, lips stretched into the most genuine of smiles. his costars are nudging him, nodding in his friends' direction. his friends are still screaming, his name always falling from their lips. it makes him red and a little shy but happy—absolutely happy.

donghyuck thinks his friends are embarrassing sometimes, but he wouldn't have them any other way.

they all run when it's time to exit. they've seen every single one of donghyuck's shows since the first invitation without fail. they've been such active supporters that they've even been invited to a couple of rehearsals and cast parties. so it's not much of a surprise when the four of them go backstage to greet donghyuck and the rest of the cast for a job well done.

"hyuckie, oh my god!" jaemin throws his arms around donghyuck first, lifting him up and spinning him around once. "i'm always so in awe of your voice. you were amazing as always!"

donghyuck's heart swells with pride at the thought of his hard work having paid off. it's renjun and yangyang who hold him next, sandwiched between the two as they pepper his face with kisses all over. donghyuck laughs but doesn't push them away.

jeno smiles fondly at donghyuck. he's the least rowdy of the bunch, just standing by like a proud stage dad whenever he sees his cousin succeed. jaemin stands beside him, elbowing him lightly on the side. "you're doing that thing again."

jeno looks over at him, eyes glimmering and starry under the lights. despite the roller coaster of emotions from the past couple of weeks, the way jaemin feels around jeno remains constant—if not stronger. "i don't want to interrupt the loverboys," he chuckles, gaze darting over to the other three who are deep in conversation, yangyang and renjun still showering donghyuck with praise. "besides, hyuck knows i'm proud of him."

the adoration jeno holds for donghyuck is blatant and obvious, something that spills from every word and action he does when it comes to his cousin. he doesn't know the story behind it, but he supposes it doesn't matter. all that does matter is that they're family; they're practically brothers.

"are you guys coming to the afterparty?" donghyuck calls out, hopeful.

jaemin looks at jeno, tilting his head questioningly. jeno shrugs.

guess that means they're going.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

being jeno's friend is amazing. he's sweet and kind and all kinds of wonderful. but being jeno's friend when he's drunk? it's a whole new kind of hell for someone like jaemin, who is still agonizing over the fact that he has a crush on his friend.

okay maybe not a crush. maybe he's head over heels in love with jeno, but he's never going to admit that out loud. especially not when renjun and yangyang actively flirt with jeno at any chance they get. and when jeno plays along, jaemin wants to dig himself a ditch and hide in there to avoid the flames of envy set ablaze in his heart.

jaemin isn't as drunk as he would like to be. so when clingy drunk jeno attaches himself onto yangyang's side, he excuses himself from the crowd and finds wherever room the drinks are held to pour himself another shot. or three.

he doesn't notice donghyuck following after him until he asks jaemin to pour him a shot too. they clink their glasses and down each shot. donghyuck marvels at how jaemin takes all three without a change in expression.

"damn, nana," he exclaims. "what's got you bothered?"

"i'm not bothered," he lies, already pouring another shot. if he's going to get drunk, he'd like to get wasted as soon as possible. "not at all."

"liar," donghyuck laughs, pouring himself another shot as well. they clink glasses and down the drinks together. "is it because jeno isn't clinging onto you instead?"

"what? no! no, why would that bother me? no! it doesn't bother me! no, jeno can— no. that doesn't bother me. no."

"you said no six times." donghyuck rolls his eyes, arms folded against his chest. "god, you're so obvious," he shakes his head. "just admit you're in love with him already."

"i—" jaemin swallows thickly. is he really that obvious? it's not like anything has changed much in the course of their friendship. at least, he doesn't think so. the way they act around each other is consistent, he thinks. was jaemin acting differently without even realizing it? "i'm not."

"okay, live in denial," donghyuck sighs, running a hand through his hair. "but just so you know, it's pretty obvious he's in love with you too."

donghyuck turns to leave before jaemin can say more, left in the kitchen with just himself and his thoughts. obvious, donghyuck had said. it's obvious that jaemin is in love. it's obvious that jeno is in love. is it really? jaemin can't tell. jeno is always kind and caring—he is to everyone. he easily becomes everyone's favorite wherever he goes because of it. is there something that jaemin is missing that's clear to everyone but him?

"shit, nana, there you are!"

jaemin whips his head around to see jeno marching towards him. god, he's fucking pouting again. his heart can't take any more of this. jeno says nothing when he pulls jaemin into his arms, nuzzling against his shoulder like a kitten. "i thought you left," jeno whines into his shoulder. "you can't leave without me, okay?"

"clingy," jaemin laughs. he hopes jeno is too drunk to notice how fast is heart is beating. "what happened to your snuggle with yangyang?"

jeno huffs almost childishly. "i thought it was you."

"oh my god, what?" jaemin chuckles. he tries to play it cool, tries to ignore the internal screaming in his head. "i'm offended you would think yangyang was me. how dare you, lee jeno!"

"sorry," jeno mumbles, his nose so close to jaemin's neck that his breathing tickles jaemin's skin. "that was dumb. he's definitely nothing like you. nope. you're nana. you're jaemin from the fairytale."

jaemin is red. like really red. and he hopes it's from the alcohol (which has finally started to take effect) and not because of jeno, whose lips are starting to rest on his neck. "am i?" jaemin squeaks, clearing his throat after. "who's to say that jaemin and this jaemin aren't the same person?"

jeno pulls away (thank god!) and stares into his eyes, a lazy smile on his lips. "well, if they are, i like them both."

jaemin doesn't have the chance to say more. because the next thing he knows, jeno's lips are on his and the world is spinning around them as they melt in each other's arms.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

they don't talk about the kiss. jaemin and jeno don't, at least. but the other three? they do. all the time. and jaemin doesn't know how to respond to them because even he doesn't know what the fuck all that was about. all he knew was that jeno was drunk and kissed him, then left jaemin in the kitchen dazed and confused.

"you should ask," renjun encourages as they gather in the living room one afternoon, unpacking takeout for a late lunch. donghyuck seats himself in between renjun and yangyang, nodding along. "if it really bothers you, just ask. maybe he's embarrassed."

"if he's embarrassed, that's all the more reason not to ask," jaemin retorts, aggressively stabbing his fried rice with his chopsticks. "i don't know, guys. i mean, we're still the same. we're still friends. why make it awkward by asking about a drunk kiss he clearly wants to forget about?"

"god, you're so dumb," yangyang sighs dramatically, shoving a piece of meat in his mouth. "of the three of us, i can't believe he likes your dumb ass instead of me or renjun. like jeno is the perfect guy and he's out here liking you of all people."

"i'm… i'm being insulted, aren't i?" jaemin deadpans, looking over at donghyuck (he nods).

renjun, yangyang, and donghyuck share a look of distaste before collectively sighing.

"i can't believe all three of you think so highly of my cousin though," donghyuck wrinkles his nose, shaking his head. "he's actually so fucking lame. i don't know what you guys are fawning over."

"oh god, do you not know the details about the fairytale?" yangyang gasps.

when donghyuck shakes his head, both yangyang and renjun stare at jaemin, silently asking for permission to share. when jaemin resigns with a nod and a sigh, the two begin to tell the story that began it all for jaemin. jaemin focuses on his food, tossing napkins at his friends when they exaggerate parts of the story. by the end of it, donghyuck's jaw is on the floor.

"oh my god." he breathes out. "my cousin jeno said and did all that? what the fuck? i knew you guys had a perfect night but he never said shit about what he did."

"yup, so we've kind of all been in love with him a little bit since then." renjun has a teasing grin on his face and jaemin just wants to fade away from existence.

"it's mostly joking on our part," yangyang adds. "like we would definitely make out with him if he was down but no feelings or anything. that's all on jaemin."

jaemin chokes, donghyuck hands him water.

"although," renjun hums, waving his chopsticks in the air, that shit-eating grin still on his face. "seeing jeno that day with mark. that protective fire in his eyes. the way his voice got so low when he addressed mark. i might be in love."

"oh god, true!" yangyang agrees too enthusiastically for jaemin's liking. "fuck, okay, yeah, we're all in love with jeno."

a grin slowly spreads on donghyuck's face as he turns to jaemin. "see, jaem? it's not hard to admit to being in love with jeno. your turn."

jaemin chokes again, coughing on his water. renjun and yangyang burst in loud laughter, high-fiving donghyuck and praising him for his quick jab.

"now i'm in love with you," renjun laughs, nudging him slightly. "you being added to this group is the best thing ever, honestly."

donghyuck shrugs. "i know. i'm fucking adorable."

"that you are." yangyang agrees. he looks at renjun, who looks back at him. there's something in their eyes that tell jaemin they're thinking of something, but he's too preoccupied with the water he spilled to think too deeply about it.

then the door opens and jeno walks in, plopping down on the couch with a sigh. renjun feeds him a dumpling as soon as he sits. "thanks," he mumbles while chewing. when he finishes, he adds, "so what are we talking about?"

"oh," donghyuck speaks up, suspiciously chirpy. "just how renjun and yangyang are now absolutely in love with you after seeing you toss mark around like a pingpong ball."

jeno snorts, shaking his head. "just renjun and yangyang, though? not jaemin?"

jaemin chokes for the third time in the span of thirty minutes while the rest of the group start screaming. jeno looks at jaemin with that smile of his and jaemin really wants to hide now. damn it, na jaemin. flirting is his game; it's something he excels at. but when it comes to lee jeno? all of that just jumps out the window.

jaemin would very much like to die now.

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

of course, na jaemin is never out of the game for too long. he's a guy who knows how to adapt to his situations. and maybe it's also just because jeno is now openly flirting with him like he did when they met at the festival. slowly but surely, jaemin's brain begins to reconcile the two jenos as one. and once it fully clicks, jaemin responds in earnest.

it's kind of disgusting, actually. at least, that's what the other three tell them.

jeno openly flirts with renjun and yangyang now too, but it's a whole different level whenever it's with jaemin. with jaemin, words quickly go dirty and jaemin never misses a beat when he replies. jaemin's heart still runs and speeds against his ribcage, but he can at least fire back at jeno's advances with his own.

they can only ignore the elephant in the room for so long, though. the conversation about jeno and jaemin has to happen at some point, especially when their exchanges have gone so explicit that it's hard not to assume that they're already together.

it all comes to a head one evening after dinner, yangyang and renjun making their usual jokes (but not really jokes) about making out with jeno.

"actually, how about you just hook up with me?" renjun teases, elbowing jeno's side. "quick and dirty. no strings attached."

"count me in," yangyang huffs. "it's unfair that only jaemin's seen you naked."

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH. jaemin's mind fills with incoherent yelling and spluttering.

jeno laughs it off, shaking his head. "nah, no more hookups for me," he sighs. and then his eyes trail over to jaemin, gazing into jaemin's eyes with a smile. "kind of screwed myself over for falling for my last one."

silence. absolute silence. jaemin reddens as jeno continues to stare at him.

"tell us about it!" donghyuck happily urges, a mischievous grin on his face. yangyang and renjun begin to echo his words. jaemin can tell they're trying not to scream.

jaemin's always known he's going to end up killing his friends someday. tonight might be that night.

but to jaemin's surprise, jeno begins to speak again and jaemin wants to combust. "well, we had a really nice night together," he leans back against his seat, looking straight into jaemin's gaze. jaemin can practically hear his heart pumping. "he wanted it to stay perfect. and he was scared we'd ruin it if we get to know each other better." jeno smiles and jaemin has to control himself so he doesn't leap into jeno's arms and kiss him silly until sunrise. "but we ended up really close friends. and sometimes i think he might feel the same way. but i don't know. i'm not sure."

jaemin thinks jeno would just end it at that. it's the perfect end, right? but no. jeno, that motherfucker, grins and says, "what do you think, nana?"

"oh my god." the other three are so scarily in sync with their comments but jaemin is a little too dazed to take notice.

"well," jaemin clears his throat once he finally finds his voice. "i think he'd tell you when you guys are alone. he has really nosy annoying best friends who react to everything and watch his life like it's a sitcom for their own amusement."

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

they're in the 24-hour supermarket down the street from jaemin's apartment. the other three shoved jeno and jaemin out the door and asked them to buy ice cream; jaemin knows it's their way of giving them much-needed alone time.

they stand in the ice cream aisle, not really paying attention to anything other than each other. it's quiet, like they're both afraid to speak after the boldness of their confessions just minutes ago.

"so you fell for your last hookup?" jaemin breaks the silence, looking over at jeno with a slight tilt to his head.

jeno licks his lips nervously, nodding slowly. whatever confidence jeno had earlier that evening has ebbed away, in its place is a pounding heart and a blushing face. "i did," he confesses softly. "i mean, i kind of liked the idea of our fairytale too, you know? just having something perfect in a world like this…"

"but..?"

"but," jeno takes a deep breath, reaching out for jaemin's hand, tugging him close until face to face. "the more i got to know him, the more i realized that what made our fairytale night perfect was really him. it was because he was perfect— is perfect."

did he just— jaemin stares at jeno, eyes wide. he can hear his own heart ringing in his ears, pumping blood aggressively all throughout his body. he feels like he's floating, the euphoria sending heat to his face. "i fell for my last hookup too, you know."

slowly, jeno smiles. jaemin has to bite back the urge to kiss him senseless right there. "yeah?" jeno asks, lacing their fingers together.

"yeah," jaemin nods. "but he kind of stole my whole speech about him being perfect. so i may be a little mad at him now."

jeno's laugh sounds like music to his ears. he grins, bringing a hand up to cup jaemin's cheek. his touch is soft, tender, exactly the way he would expect from lee jeno. "anything he can do to make it up to you?"

jaemin looks deeply into his eyes, bottom lip caught between his teeth. "i wouldn't mind being reminded of what his lips taste like."

they smile at each other, nothing but love in the way they hold each other's gazes. and then their lips press together, softly, tenderly, a chaste kiss in the middle of the ice cream aisle. it's a quick brush of lips, nothing like their lustful kisses from the night they met. but it leaves them both breathless regardless.

"that was so much better than you kissing me then ditching me at the party," jaemin teases, his arms wrapped around jeno's neck. "what was that, by the way?"

jeno laughs sheepishly, still holding jaemin close. "sorry about that," he mumbles, avoiding jaemin's eyes. "i wanted to do all this first—like confess and everything—but drunk me that night wanted so badly to kiss you that i just… did. and when i realized it, i panicked."

"you're a dumbass but it's okay. i've been wanting to kiss you again for so long, honestly." jaemin presses their foreheads together, emotions blooming in his chest. "i love you."

"i'm your dumbass now," jeno's lips curl upwards, arms tightening around jaemin's body as he presses another gentle kiss on his lips. "i love you too."

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

the festival seems better this time around. jaemin's fingers fit perfectly in the spaces between jeno's, the two of them walking hand in hand as music fills the venue. it's loud, but jaemin's heartbeat is louder. seeing jeno like this again, in the exact same place they met, sends heat all over his body. he looks over at his boyfriend, even more beautiful now than when he first saw him. he didn't think it was possible but jeno always proves that wrong.

their friends have disappeared, leaving the two of them off in their own little world in the crowd. jaemin starts to feel a little nostalgic and the feeling grows when illenium starts his set. he grins at jeno, who then pulls him in close.

"hi," jeno says, hands finding purchase on jaemin's waist. jaemin remembers the way jeno's skin glowed under strobe lights, the way his eyes reflected the stars. jaemin was entranced from the moment they met. "this might be a little too forward but i made a promise to myself that i won't leave tonight until i kiss the most beautiful person i see. so would it be okay if i kissed you?"

jaemin laughs and it's jeno's favorite song. jaemin wraps his arms around jeno's neck, chests pressed together as they sway to the music. it's one year later and his perfect stranger is now his perfect boyfriend. he's all shades of loving and kind and sexy and seductive. it sends jaemin reeling every time jeno shows his duality. one second, jeno would pepper his face with quick cute kisses. the next, he'd be licking up jaemin's neck and leaving marks to tell the world jaemin is his and his only.

"i'd be offended if you didn't."

they lean into each other, lips pressing together in a dance they know well. it's hot and heavy, leaving them both breathless when they pull away for air. they've kissed so many times since they finally got together, but being in the festival makes everything feel different. more intense. maybe it's the idea of everything coming full circle.

"baby," jeno breathes hotly into jaemin's ear. "how about we have ourselves another fairytale?"

jaemin chases after jeno's lips again, a wordless response. jeno answers in kind, a hand resting on the back of jaemin's neck as he deepens the kiss. their song plays in the background as the rest of the world begins to fade away. right now is only jaemin and jeno, writing another story together.

they pull apart and lace their fingers together, smiling as they walk away from the crowd. the night is still young, their friends have run off to god knows where, but jaemin doesn't care.

he and jeno have another fairytale to live out.

bodies and lips tangle together as they go back to their hotel room. it's desperate the way they hold each other, hungry the way they kiss each other. it's like it's the first time all over again the way their hands are roaming against bare skin, as if they haven't already memorized everything about each other's bodies.

jeno. jaemin. their names are sweet on each other's tongues as the night grows deeper, the lust between them filled with more love and affection that heightens every sensation. jaemin is so weak for jeno, so weak for the way he says jaemin's name in a breathy whisper against his ear. so weak for the way his tongue laps against the most sensitive spots on jaemin's neck.

jaemin is even weaker for jeno like this—when he pulls jaemin into his chest after they clean up, whispering sweet nothings in his ear. when he smiles at jaemin like he's the only person in the world, fingers brushing gingerly against jaemin's cheek in such an affectionate way that it has jaemin spiraling.

but jaemin is the absolute weakest for jeno when he looks deeply into jaemin's eyes, leans in for a tender kiss and says, "i love you, na jaemin."

jaemin's heart is beating so fast but he can feel that jeno's is too. there's a silence that falls between them as jaemin just gazes into jeno's eyes, lost in them. jeno is jaemin's. jeno loves him. jaemin doesn't fight the smile that tugs at his lips as he says, "i love you, lee jeno."

 

 

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  —  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

 

 

"more fucking hickeys?!" yangyang screams when the call connects and his face fills jaemin's phone screen. "i'm not even fucking surprised but goddamn, lee jeno and his oral fixation."

jaemin looks over at jeno, who's lounging on the bed laughing. jaemin rolls his eyes, turning his attention back to yangyang. "are donghyuck and renjun okay?"

"renjun's hungover as expected," yangyang grins and jaemin can hear a faint i'm going to kill you in the background. "hyuckie is great. he's taking a shower right now. what's our move?"

jaemin looks over at jeno again. but this time, jeno has spread his arms out for him. he's pouting and jaemin is so so weak for that. he looks at his phone and yangyang can already guess what's going on because he says, "god, okay, just call us when you're done."

the call ends abruptly and jaemin leaps into jeno's arms. "you're not allowed to pout. it's illegal," jaemin huffs, snuggling closer into jeno's chest. "it's bad for my heart, jeno."

jeno leaves kisses all over jaemin's face. "your whole existence is bad for my heart, jaemin."

"too bad you're stuck with me."

jeno smiles at him with that lee jeno smile of his. "i wouldn't want it any other way."