"Hello, is this thing on?"
It's 8:51 in the morning and Felix is wide awake (contrary to the usual), bundled up in blankets as he makes last minute touches to the first ever video he's about to post on YouTube.
In the video that's playing on his laptop, pixelated Felix smiles at an invisible audience– or, more specifically, an invisible Chris– then says, "Hey bubby," the corners of his lips pulling up into a grin the more comfortable he gets, eyes now shining with mirth as he continues, "bet you weren't expecting this, huh? I can just see your face right now..."
Felix, the one currently sitting on his bed with the blanket now thrown over his head, holding it up to his chest so he looks like a bundled infant, can't help but roll his eyes, a light pink dusting his cheeks. No matter how many times he's watched and edited this exact video, the end product still makes him cringe, not used to watching himself, much less while he's being incredibly sappy.
But then he remembers why he's doing this in the first place; why he's finally relinquishing his privacy to let the world know who he is and what he means to Chris, and, to a greater extent, what Chris means to him.
Right from the start, Chris has always been understanding, always respected Felix's request to remain faceless to the large following that's grown on his YouTube channel since its launch last year, a few months after they finally moved in together.
"Okay," Chris had easily complied back when Felix first brought it up, his chin propped on Chris' shoulder, arms wrapped around his waist as he watched Chris edit his newest video. "I'll leave out the parts where you were passing by behind me. But I still want them to know about you in some way, Lix."
Then he twisted around, maneuvering Felix to sit on his lap, bodies slotted together like two perfect puzzle pieces. Placing his hands on either side of Felix's hips, Chris continued, "Is that okay? That they know your name? And that they know you're mine?"
Felix's face had turned a deep pink, like a tulip blooming in the early stirrings of spring. "Well, if you put it that way, how could I possibly say no? You big Casanova."
Presently, the bedside clock chimes 9:00AM, which means that Chris is about to pack up from his quick side trip to the studio after his workout routine, since aside from being a YouTuber, he's also a producer along with Changbin and Jisung, two of his closest friends from college.
"Shit." Felix curses under his breath, fumbling with the mouse as he saves the final version before logging in to his YouTube channel, one that he'd set up a week prior without Chris knowing.
As the page begins to load, Felix starts drumming his fingers, chewing his bottom lip in tense anticipation. It's been a month since he finally decided he was ready– ready to present himself to Chris' virtual audience, even if they don't warrant him the same easy acceptance and overflowing support, because to Felix, this is the ultimate act of love: to allow yourself to be known and perceived, as long as you're alongside the person you love most.
And good God, does Felix love this man.
With this thought lingering in his mind, Felix clicks on Upload Video.
Once the video is finally up, Felix quickly copies the link and sends it to Chris before his nerves can get the better of him. He gives it around a minute or two, and sure enough, his phone starts vibrating.
Felix is already grinning from ear-to-ear when he picks up, his voice doing nothing to conceal his excitement as he squeaks, "Hi, bubby."
"Lix?" Even through the static, the confusion in Chris' voice is evident, something that Felix finds utterly adorable. "what's this video you just sent me?"
"Did you watch it already?"
"I– not yet," Chris still sounds lost, stammering, "b-but, why does the thumbnail have our picture on it? And what–" he cuts himself off, and Felix imagines him leaning closer to his laptop screen as he reads the title, "CB97 Boyfriend Reveal? Lixie, what–"
"Just watch it first. And don't hang up! Put me on speakerphone." Felix urges, skin prickling with something like excitement. Privately, he marvels at the effect Chris has on him– how all the negative thoughts he'd been harboring could simply melt away just by the sound of his voice.
Despite his obvious perplexity, Chris obediently places his phone down, the click of his mouse soon following before Felix's own voice cuts through the silence, reverberating in the four walls of Chris' studio.
"Hello, is this thing on?" There's a sharp intake of breath, no doubt from Chris, before Felix hears him setting the volume higher. "bet you weren't expecting this, huh? I can just see your face right now–"
That startles a laugh out of Chris, because onscreen Felix pulls a face, which, though exaggerated, is still an admittedly accurate caricature of Chris whenever he's genuinely surprised, eyes and mouth nearly the same O-shape.
"I've actually been planning this since last month, so if you were wondering why I sometimes shut my laptop when you walked in, this is why. I swear I wasn't cheating on you! Or watching porn!"
Chris chuckles, and Felix doesn't have to be there to know that he's shaking his head, perpetually amused by his boy's antics. The thought sends butterflies fluttering in Felix's chest, delicately brushing the underside of his rib cage, his heart stuttering at the contact.
"This is me apologizing in advance because I'm not really good at these kinds of things," Onscreen Felix turns solemn, and in the quiet that follows, Felix, the one presently on the other line, mouths the words carefully, having memorized them by heart after rewatching this video about a hundred times over. "but that's what makes it so special. This is the first time I'm doing this– filming myself, learning how to edit, heck, even how to get the proper lighting! I'm doing all of this for you, Chris. And I think it's really fitting too– celebrating our first year anniversary with my first official video."
This pulls another laugh out of Chris, and this time something like relief mingles with the sound.
"Yup! Of course I didn't forget, bubby! The Felix who's gonna post this on our anniversary is gonna pull a good one on you and pretend he forgot. It's mean, but I hope you find the heart to forgive him."
"Always." Chris interjects immediately, then, louder for Felix to hear, "But you really got me there, Lix. I wasn't getting any work done 'cause you had me thinking in circles."
Felix muffles a laugh at that, makes a mental note to smooch his big softie of a boyfriend extra hard once he comes home later.
"Okay, I'm rambling at this point," Onscreen Felix continues, "point is– I just wanted to do something special for this special day, for my most special person. I've given it a lot of thought, and this is how I want to introduce myself. I have no idea how CB97's fans are gonna take this, but yeah. Hello. It's me, Felix, Chris' boyfriend. Not his roommate, and definitely not his brother, as some of you have speculated. I'm his boyfriend– have been for a year now. And these are all the ways it built up to this moment."
The video then transitions into a montage of all their dates and adventures and off days in between– from their modest yet romantic date in Dongdaemun to baking cookies for their new neighbors after moving in together to aggressively playing Uno on a lazy Sunday, gleeful taunting and calculated gazes as dramatic battle music plays in the background.
The clips soon draw to an end, with the video showing Felix's face again, but this time it's from this morning, his hair patted down into something presentable, freckles saturated in the natural brightness of their bedroom, and he's wearing one of Chris' shirts, black and oversized on him, just the way he likes it.
"It was supposed to end there," Onscreen Felix expels a sigh, looking off in the distance before he's glancing back at the camera, a slow, sweet smile growing steadily on his face. "but I rewatched this just now– just to make sure everything's okay before I finally upload it– and god... I don't care if this is too mushy but I'm so happy. I'm so, so, so happy and this is me not being able to stop myself from smiling because I'm just realizing again that I'm so lucky to be this happy. I'm crazy about you, bubby. Come home soon."
The video ends there, and it's quiet for a while, the faint drone of the air conditioner the only sound filtering from Chris' end, before both their voices cut through the silence at the same time.
"Oh," Even from here, Felix can easily picture Chris' face, all boyish and shy as he ducks his head, dark eyes twinkling. "can I see you, love?"
"Of course." Felix breathes out, already tapping Accept the second Chris' video call request flashes on his phone.
"There he is." Chris sighs, gazing at Felix with such intensity like he hadn't just been watching the exact same face on his laptop. "My cute little YouTuber boyfriend."
Felix playfully rolls his eyes at that, yet his traitorous cheeks start burning, more because of how ridiculously good Chris looks even under the artificial lighting, so handsome and radiant it should be considered a fault.
"I should be saying that to you, the actual YouTuber with nearly 500,000 subs on his channel."
Chris grins, his dimples two deep indents at the corners of his mouth before he counters, "If I could be half as cute as you, I'd die a happy man, Lix."
"Oh my god," Felix buries his face in one hand. "we're already living together– there's no need for all that, Casanova."
"Doesn't matter; I'd tell you that, and so much more, everyday, Lix." Then he leans closer, so that all Felix can see on his phone screen is Chris' face, and he knows even without checking in the mirror that it's a direct reflection of himself; lovestruck and smitten and so helplessly, completely, devotedly in love.
"Thank you for this– for the lovely surprise, for all your effort, 'cause I know it's not easy making a video, and for this. For having the privilege to love you, and to be loved back just as much."
At this point, Felix is biting down on his bottom lip, little sniffles interspersed in between Chris' speech, because if there's anything that could drive him so quickly into tears, it's Chris and his words and the way he delivers them; pouring all of himself– his love and his joy and his sincerity– into each word so Felix has no choice but to blink back tears and interject, voice thick with emotion.
"If you're gonna make me cry, then at least do it to my face."
Chris seems to catch on immediately, because a second later he's already standing up, one hand holding his phone so Felix can still see him while the other is busy setting his laptop and equipment aside.
"See you, love." Chris smiles, all big and dopey, and judging by the way Felix's cheeks start hurting, he knows he's smiling just as hard.
"Okay, bubby." He leans towards the screen, echoing his last line from the video as he says warmly, "Come home soon."
(In the next week that follows, Felix's YouTube account gains an exponential amount of subscribers, most of them coming from Chris' own channel.
And despite his previous reservations about YouTube and posting online content in general, Felix seems to bask in the attention particularly well, getting up earlier than usual to check the notifications flooding in from the second video he posted last night– a shopping and baking vlog with a surprise CB97 cameo.
"Watch out, babe," Felix glances up from his phone once Chris starts stirring from his sleep, grinning even wider when Chris flips on his stomach, propping his chin on one hand. "I think your fans are starting to fall in love with me."
Chris stares at him then, bleary eyed yet clearly enthralled, drinking in the sight of Felix with his hair sticking up this way and that, his boyish, freckled face still creased with sleep marks, and says tenderly, with all of him, "I can't blame them."
That earns him a light smack on the head, something about it being illegal to "be this cheesy in the morning" but Chris thinks it's worth it, especially when he gets to pepper adoring kisses all over Felix's pink face, no freckle left untouched.)