Seungmin has known Jisung for seven – or maybe eight, now – years of his life, so naturally, he’s also aware of a lot of his tendencies. He knows, for example, that Jisung has a heap of empty water bottles beside his bed because he’s simply too lazy to keep wandering into the kitchen to get one. He knows that Jisung needs something to hug before going to bed every night or else he has trouble falling asleep. He also knows that Jisung can be very loud and extremely hard to shut up once he opens that trap of his, and maybe that’s where everything starts.
Seungmin loves Jisung, really, rampant mouth and all. Adores him, even (although he would never admit it). Jisung is there for him when he’s laden with work, quietly sneaking in snacks for him in the library. He’s there when all Seungmin needs is a good laugh, gently shoving him out of his dorm room for a walk with a smile that could light up the world. (Maybe Seungmin will admit it - someday.)
But with Jisung comes his unbelievably large mouth, full of spectacular anecdotes that can raise more than just a few eyebrows. (Seriously though, what were the odds that the Kang Daniel would be only a few minutes away from their campus and Jisung just happened to bump into him?)
“It’s true!” Jisung insists when Seungmin only grunts at Jisung’s Totally Awesome slash Unbelievable Story of The Day. He leans forward so he’s all up in Seungmin’s face, hands planted firmly on the table as he gazes earnestly at him, so close that Seungmin can make out his own, somewhat startled reflection in his eyes. “He was right in front of me, in his green coat – you know which coat I’m talking about, right? Seungmin?”
Seungmin grimaces and presses his index finger to Jisung’s forehead to push him away. “Okay, Jisung,” he concedes, “You met Kang Daniel and he was wearing his green coat – and yes, I do know the one – and that’s awesome. Can you please let me study now?”
“You don’t care that I bumped into Kang Daniel? The Kang Daniel? Seungmin, do you realize how lucky I am? Do you realize how lucky you are to know me? ” His best friend all but cries out loud, disbelief coloring his face like Seungmin is missing out on something frightfully important. Seungmin’s eyes dart nervously in the librarian's direction in fear that she might’ve heard Jisung’s outburst, but she’s still unpacking the cardboard box full of books. He sighs in relief, before turning sideways in his chair to glare at Jisung.
“You seriously need to shut up or we’re going to get kicked out. Again. ”
Jisung rolls his eyes.“You’re such a worrywart, Minnie. Live a little,” he says, leaning back into his chair with an air of contentment. “I can’t believe I met Kang Daniel,” he smiles, and then launches into the specifics of his wondrous meeting with the idol for the nth time that day.
Seungmin sighs in exasperation. He knows that dreamy look on Jisung’s face; it means that he probably won’t shut up for the next five hours. Which would be unfortunate, to say the least, since Seungmin’s assignment is due at half-past eight that night and if the boy beside him doesn’t learn to zip it immediately , then Seungmin might as well kiss any hopes of getting a decent grade goodbye.
He lowers his gaze from Jisung’s face, mouth running a mile a minute as usual, to the half-eaten bar of chocolate that he had tossed carelessly on the table a few moments ago. He sighs again. It’s not the best solution by any means, but it’s the best one he’s got for now.
While Jisung rambles on about how unbelievably cool Kang Daniel is in person, Seungmin silently grabs the chocolate bar and shifts closer to him, feigning interest. Jisung perks up at the newfound attention, and begins sharing his narrative with even more vigor than before, waving his hands so enthusiastically that he almost slaps Seungmin in the face. Seungmin resists the urge to smack him right back and lets him continue, carefully biding his time.
After a minute that seems to stretch on forever, when Jisung finally pauses momentarily to regain his breath, Seungmin turns slightly to face him and then quickly slips the bar of quickly melting chocolate in his mouth. His sticky fingers graze Jisung’s bottom lip just enough to jolt him, prompting him to let out a muffled noise of surprise as he immediately presses his lips together to chew. Seungmin, however, merely watches on smugly as the other boy finally quietens, rendered helpless due to the piece of chocolate in his mouth. There’s a smudge of chocolate right at the corner of his mouth where Seungmin had accidentally smeared some earlier. He pulls out a napkin from his backpack and carefully wipes it from Jisung’s face, smiling in triumph when Jisung pulls away with a pout.
It’s then that he notices that Jisung’s cheeks, puffed out as he struggled to keep the entire bar inside his mouth, are tinged a very noticeable shade of pink. Seungmin would be lying if he said he didn’t find the whole image rather cute. He bites back a laugh and then flashes a quick, self-satisfied grin at Jisung, whose eyes are still wide with surprise at Seungmin’s evidently unexpected ruse to shut him up.
“I told you to be quiet,” Seungmin shrugs, when Jisung gives him a look of utter betrayal. “You should just listen to me sometimes, Hannie.”
Jisung merely huffs in response, pulling his own notebook towards him and quietly flipping it open. And although Seungmin can tell he’s pretending to be mad at him, he can still see the blush on his cheeks from earlier, and decides that maybe he’s managed to succeed in more ways than one.
“Need I remind you,” Seungmin hisses, glaring at the shrieking boy beside him, “that this was your idea?”
Jisung takes a break from screaming and turns to look at him, a frown on his face. “I know it seems impossible, Seungminnie, but sometimes even I can have bad ideas.” He shrugs and the frown on his face transforms into a wide grin, “Besides, I’m only screaming for the fun of it.”
Seungmin groans exasperatedly at his response, running a hand down his face in frustration. He glances at the dwindling line of people in front of them and wonders if it would be possible for them to just leave now, then at Jisung who flails his arms every time the roller coaster hurtles downwards, prompting its riders to let out yells of both glee and fright. He regrets telling Jisung he’d wanted to go to the amusement park as a treat for scoring the highest in their macroeconomics assignment; his friend was already half scared to death, yet seemed adamant on riding the rollercoaster with him.
“We aren’t even on it yet,” Seungmin mutters, when his friend lets out another ear-splitting scream, accidentally hitting the side of Seungmin’s head rather hard. “ OW– If you yell one more time –”
Jisung screams again, and Seungmin nearly explodes. “Listen to me. We don’t have to ride this, okay? There are plenty of other rides here that are a lot less scarier than this.” He explains, as placatingly as he can, despite the fact that he’s one shriek away from killing Jisung.
“I know,” Jisung replies easily, eyes still tracking the movement of the rollercoaster in wonder as it goes up a second time, “but you said you wanted to ride this one.”
Seungmin shakes his head, mostly annoyed but also a little enamoured at his friend’s reasoning. “Okay, so? That doesn’t matter. I can always come back a second time with Hyunjin or Chang–”
“No ,” Jisung cuts in immediately, surprising him. The frown on his face deepens as his eyes meet Seungmin’s. “This is supposed to be my treat. I can do this much for you.”
Something pleasant washes over Seungmin at the sight of his best friend’s mulish determination, (even if it was a bit ridiculous), so eager to accompany him on a ride that seemed to scare him senseless. His frustration melts away immediately , and he can’t help but soften when he looks at Jisung. “That’s okay, Sungie. I don’t mind, really,” he says, stepping closer to him with what he hopes is a convincing smile on his face. “Look, let’s go to the pirate ship instead. That seems fun.”
Jisung folds his arm stubbornly, lips puckered in a pout. “No way. I promised you we’d do whatever you wanted, so we’re going on this one for sure.” He seems hell-bent on riding the rollercoaster, if the way he’s firmly planted his feet on the ground is anything to go by.
Seungmin can’t help but roll his eyes fondly at him. “You look scared out of your wits, though,” he points out, in one last futile attempt to get him to leave. Jisung scoffs in response, as resolute as ever. “I just said , Seungminnie, that I’ll do it,” he replies, tearing his gaze away from him and fixing it on the steadily thinning line in front of them as more and more people get into the rollercoaster; it would be their turn soon. “For you,” he adds a beat later, so quietly that if Seungmin hadn’t been hanging on to his every word as usual, he would’ve missed it. He’s taken aback for a second, although he shouldn’t be, really; Jisung has always been one to go out of his way to do things for others. His heart swells with so much affection for his friend, that he can’t help but pull him into a tight hug.
“Oh,” Jisung says in surprise, voice muffled from where his face is pressed against Seungmin’s shoulder. “What’s this for?”
Seungmin pulls back, a little embarrassed at his own spontaneity, and shrugs. “Nothing. I’m just glad I did well on my test, I think.”
Beside him, Jisung grins with a strange look in his eyes but doesn’t say anything. Instead, he grabs his hand and tugs him forward onto the loading platform, and the two of them clamber into a seat somewhere in the middle. He flashes Jisung a quick, reassuring grin before pulling the shoulder harness over himself, and squirms a bit to adjust himself in his seat. When he’s done, he sneaks a glance at Jisung, and isn’t surprised to find that despite the lap-bars and shoulder harnesses securing them, he still looks a bit fidgety. He’s trying not to, though, this much even Seungmin can tell, but the forced smile on his face seems more like a grimace and Seungmin knows for a fact that his best friend is nothing short of terrified.
Right before the roller-coaster starts moving, Seungmin slides his right hand under the harness and grips Jisung’s left. It’s clammy, but Seungmin doesn’t let go. Instead, he holds on tighter, his thumb rubbing small circles on the back of Jisung’s hands. At this, Jisung jolts, and out of the corner of his eye Seungmin can his mouth fall slightly open in shock, but he doesn’t turn to meet his gaze. Rather, he looks straight ahead and thinks it’s the least he can do for Jisung, who was braving one of his fears simply to make Seungmin happy.
And later, when they hop off the seat, hearts racing and heads spinning, Seungmin decides he doesn’t really mind Jisung’s shrieks of pure terror.
Especially if it meant getting to hold his hand.
“So,” Jeongin yawns, stretching his limbs out delicately like a cat, “what are the sleeping arrangements for tonight?”
Behind him Felix lets out a loud snore, curled up into a tiny ball on the L-shaped sofa. Seungmin quickly pulls out his phone to take a photo of him and grins as he sends it to their group chat with their other friends.
The five of them were spending the night at Hyunjin’s older cousin’s apartment, who was out of town for the weekend. He’d agreed to let them stay over, on the condition that they’d help clean it up a little, and so they’d all decided to have their monthly movie night here instead of one of their older friends’ places.
“Well,” Hyunjin says, looking around for the remote. “We’ll have to split up two-three, seeing as there’s two rooms and five people.”
“I’m not sleeping with Jisung-hyung,” Jeongin says immediately, running away from the older boy to stand beside Hyunjin, whose lips quirk up in a fond smile as he ruffles Jeongin’s hair affectionately. “He kicks in his sleep.”
“I do not. ” Jisung huffs from where he’s bent over the bowl of popcorn, looking up to scowl at the youngest. “If anything, it’s you who kicks. I even have a video–”
“Lies!” Jeongin screams, but his ears are flushed pink.
Seungmin bites back a laugh at their exchange. “It’s okay,” he says with a nod in Jisung’s direction. “Hannie and I can share the other room.”
Jisung perks up at his words, quickly getting up from the carpeted floor. “This is why I love you, Seungminnie!” he cries dramatically, and all leaps towards him from across the room.
Seungmin’s first instinct is to yell “Jisung!” in mild panic, and then lean back against the wall so he can support his friend’s weight when he eventually falls on top of him. His arms open automatically to catch the human-sized ball of energy that’s rocketing towards him, and he reels backwards with a muffled “oomph” when Jisung finally crashes into him with the force of an army of toddlers.
He steadies the boy in his arms with a grunt, letting his eyes fall shut as he struggles to catch his breath, and almost at once, he’s hit with an overwhelming wave of all things Jisung; his scent, his warmth, the small hands gripping his arms firmly enough to bruise them. And despite Seungmin’s bravest efforts to prevent his heart from beating right out of his chest, when his eyes catch Hyunjin’s from across the room, he realizes with a sinking feeling that maybe he’s not as subtle as he thinks he is. He forces out a groan and pushes Jisung away from himself, causing the other boy to land in a crumpled heap on the floor.
“So mean, Seungminnie,” Jisung pouts, but he’s got the most brilliant pink flush on his cheeks, creeping all the way down to his neck, and his eyes are bright with an emotion Seungmin is still trying to figure out the meaning of.
“Don’t jump on me again,” he grumbles, and prays to God that Jisung hadn’t heard how incredibly fast his heart had been beating inside his chest only a few moments ago. He stands up quickly, brushing down his clothes just in case, and looks at Hyunjin. “You’d better wake Felix up if you’re rooming together.”
Hyunjin nods and walks over to the sleeping boy, giving his shoulder a slight shake. “Lix,” he whispers, “wake up.”
After several unsuccessful attempts and one high-pitched scream from Jisung after he spots a cockroach the size of his thumb, Felix finally rouses from his sleep and allows Hyunjin to lead him to the master bedroom where he, Jeongin and Hyunjin would be sleeping.
Seungmin waves them goodnight and then turns to his own roommate for the night, who’s staring at him shamelessly from the carpet. Seungmin rolls his eyes, ignoring how pleasantly buzzed he feels all of a sudden. “Come on, don’t you want to go to bed?” He asks, nudging him lightly with his foot.
Jisung smiles up at him, wide and happy, his eyes crinkling at the corners. In the mellow, dim lighting, his face seems brighter than usual, and Seungmin’s heart skips a beat; Jisung is so beautiful like this.
“Seungminnie,” he says, with that glowing smile of his, “will you carry me to bed?”
Seungmin scoffs at the mere cheek his friend has in him, and shakes his head. “No way. Get up yourself.”
“Please?” Jisung pouts, batting his eyelashes.
Seungmin gives him a look of pure unamusement and turns around, already walking in the direction of the smaller bedroom that him and Jisung were sharing for the night. “Bye, Hannie.”
He hears Jisung laugh behind him, calling out his name in between a fit of giggles. “Wait for me,” he whisper-yells, already sounding incredibly close to him. When he looks over his shoulder, Jisung is right behind him, his endearingly small hands over his mouth to quell his laughter.
Seungmin doesn’t understand what’s got him laughing so hard, so he merely shrugs and opens the door to the bedroom. He brushes his teeth quickly and then hops into bed, waiting for Jisung to come out of the bathroom so he can switch off the lamp.
When Jisung finally emerges, somehow looking softer in his plaid pyjamas and white tee, Seungmin mumbles a quick goodnight to him and pulls the duvet all the way up to his shoulders.
He’s about to slip into a good, blissful sleep when he hears Jisung mumble beside him. Assuming it’s him only sleep-talking, he shuts his eyes tighter and attempts to tune out the other boy’s voice, trying to let sleep overtake him again. But only a few moments later, Jisung groans again, and Seungmin gives up with a resigned sigh.
He turns to face the older boy and prods him with his finger. “Sungie?” he says quietly, just in case he’s having a nightmare.
“Yes?” Jisung replies a beat later. So he had been awake, after all.
“Are you okay? You’ve been mumbling to yourself for a while now.”
“No, I’m not,” comes the reply, and Seungmin immediately sits up in concern, the blanket sliding down his chest.
“Why? What’s wrong? Do you feel sick?” His hand flies to Jisung’s forehead, gently feeling to see if it’s hot but no, it’s only slightly warm, which means that Jisung isn’t running a fever after all. He sighs in relief, ready to pull his hand back, but Jisung wraps his fingers around his wrist and leans into his touch, letting out a sigh of contentment. Seungmin flushes, feeling the warmth of Jisung’s skin seeping in his own fingers.
“Seungminnie,” Jisung whines, rubbing his head against Seungmin’s hand like a cat. It’s endearing, to say the least, but it also makes his stomach erupt with butterflies. Still, Seungmin indulges him for a while, running his fingers through his hair and ruffling it slightly. Jisung lets out another sound of pure ecstasy, and Seungmin feels his head spin. For his own sanity and well-being, he reluctantly snatches his hand back.
Jisung whines at the loss of contact and shifts closer to Seungmin, fingers digging into the fabric of his shirt. “Seriously, Jisung. What’s wrong with you?” He asks, pushing Jisung away so he doesn’t hear the rapid beating of his heart.
“I can’t sleep,” Jisung says, and through the slivers of moonlight peeking out from between the tiny gap in the curtains, Seungmin can only just make out the pout on his face. He’s ridiculous, Seungmin can’t help but think, but endearingly so.
“That’s your problem?” Seungmin questions incredulously.
“Well, I can, so goodnight,” he says, shaking his head in disbelief at Jisung’s antics before lying down again and closing his eyes.
It’s quiet for a few blissful moments, and then; “Seungminnie, I’m so tired though,” Jisung whispers, poking his arm.
“Jisung,” he groans in annoyance, throwing an arm over his face. “Why can’t you sleep?”
“Because I don’t have anything to hug, and you know I can’t sleep unless I have something to hug. You know that, right, Seungminnie?”
Seungmin sighs because of course he knows. What does he not know about Jisung, really. “Where’s Ggul-Ggul?” he asks instead, referring to the enormous plushie Jisung would normally cuddle with at night.
“He’s too big for me to carry around to people’s houses, Seungmin,” Jisung explains, in a voice that makes it sound like he’s stupid for not having known this, and Seungmin just knows he’s rolling his eyes at him. Asshole.
“I don’t know, Jisung. Ask Hyunjin to give you a spare pillow or something.”
“But he’s probably asleep by now,” his friend reasons, clinging to his arm now. Like an oversized koala bear, Seungmin can’t help but think. His heart turns to mush, and he finds himself relenting just a little bit.
“Well, what do you want me to do?” He asks then, completely exasperated. He finally peels his eyes open and turns to face Jisung, who’s looking at him with wide, hopeful eyes, and realizes with a start exactly what Jisung wants him to do. His brain shuts down for a moment, an image of him and Jisung huddled together under the duvet flashing before his eyes for a moment, and he’s grateful the room is dark enough that Jisung can’t make out his quickly reddening cheeks. It’s not like they’ve never shared a bed before. When they were younger, Jisung would spend most of his time at Seungmin’s house anyway. Things feel different now, though. ‘Things’ meaning Seungmin’s big fat crush on his best friend, of all people.
He clears his throat, repressing a shudder at his own thoughts. “Will you keep talking the entire night if you can’t sleep?”
Jisung grins wickedly, like the little devil he really is. “Yes.”
Seungmin heaves a sigh of defeat. “Okay, then,” he mumbles, silently begging his heart to calm down inside his chest at what he’s about to say next. “You can hug me to sleep. Just this once, though,” he adds quickly, when Jisung lets out a not-so-quiet whoop of delight.
He fluffs his pillow once, and then settles back comfortably into bed. Beside him, Jisung is positively beaming with joy. “Thank you, Seungminnie. I love you,” he says, and then latches onto him with the gentleness of any small feline. Seungmin feels his arm carefully wrap itself around his waist, and then a moment later, Jisung’s entire body is pressed right against his, and Seungmin swears his heart quite literally stops beating for a second.
“G’night, Seungminnie,” Jisung mumbles into his shoulder, voice heavy with exhaustion. He really must be tired, then.
“Night, Sungie,” he replies, just as softly as him. His hand finds its way to Jisung’s hair, and this time he doesn’t bother stopping himself from playing with it, smiling a little when Jisung’s hold on him tightens slightly and the sound of his quiet snores gradually begin to fill the silence in the room.
Studying with Jisung is like truly living a paradox; the two just don’t go together. And maybe it’s Seungmin’s own fault for not having learnt this by now, but his little trick at the library a few days ago had managed to convince him that maybe he could give Jisung another chance.
Yet only a few moments in, Seungmin is starting to wonder why he even bothered showing up, because Jisung hasn’t made any attempt to open his books and is simply sprawled sideways on his bed, trying to figure out how to best deliver a flawless version of Zico’s rap in his latest single.
Seungming frowns, trying to tune out his unsurprisingly good (Jisung has always had a knack for these things) rap flow. He stares at the painfully small lines of text in front of him, reading them once, twice, and then once more to at the very least grasp the gist of whatever information the writer is trying to convey. His brain, however, simply does not wish to cooperate and eventually even Seungmin has to admit defeat. There’s only so many times he can read about inflation rates, after all.
He puts his pen away with a sigh, eyes flicking upwards to the other boy. The sunlight filtering through the baby blue curtains casts a soft, almost dizzying glow on his face. Seungmin blinks. “Are you really not going to study?” He asks from where he’s sitting on the floor of Hyunjin and Jisung’s dorm room, scowling when Jisung only smirks in response, still rapping. “I’m serious, Jisung. You called me over to revise.”
Jisung shrugs, unperturbed. He frowns slightly, fingers curling around the empty water bottle he’d been using as a mic, before shaking his head and breaking out into another version of the same rap. On any other occasion, Seungmin would have let himself enjoy his best friend’s performance. Today, however, he simply cannot; they’ve got a test tomorrow, after all, and Seungmin would be damned if he lets the two of them fail.
“Jisung!” He snaps his fingers loudly, and the sound echoes in the room, startling Jisung.
He groans, reluctantly turning sideways to look at Seungmin. “What, Seungminnie?”
“We have to study, remember? You promised me you would this time! And you even asked Hyunjin to leave.”
Jisung doesn’t say anything in response, but Seungmin notes with a start that his face had fallen slightly at the mention of the other boy.
“What is it now ?” Seungmin huffs in exasperation, when his friend makes no effort to reply.
Jisung finally sits upright, the bottle rolling out of his hands and landing on the floor with a soft thud. “I only made Hyunjin leave because every tine you come over you only speak to him,” he says petulantly, lips sticking out in a pout.
Seungmin feels his brows knit together in confusion.“ What ?” he exclaims, ignoring how hot he suddenly feels. “No, I don’t–”
“You do! You always do!” Jisung cuts in immediately, tone almost accusatory. He’s scowling now, arms crossed stubbornly over his chest. It’s so childish of him that Seungmin would definitely be laughing by now, were it not for the fact that he was completely and utterly baffled by Jisung’s earlier statement.
“You’re not being serious, are you?” He questions. His tone sounds incredulous even to himself.
“Of course I’m being serious! Do I look like I’m joking?” Jisung retorts, now glaring fixedly at a moldy patch on the wall behind Seungmin.
Completely disregarding the warmth that’s spreading throughout his entire body at an embarrassingly fast pace, Seungmin decides to take a different, lighter approach.
“Jisungie,” he says, with a teasing grin on his face, “are you jealous? ”
Jisung tears his gaze away from the wall he’d been staring at for the past few moments and looks right into Seungmin’s eyes, lips flattening into a straight, unsmiling line. Seungmin’s heart sinks when he sees that all the mirth has completely disappeared from his eyes, and that Jisung looks completely serious now – contemplative, even. His eyes skim over Jisung’s face – totally devoid of emotion – and he shifts uncomfortably on the floor. He’d only been joking , for God’s sake. Had he unintentionally overstepped some sort of boundary while doing so? Some hidden line that Jisung had drawn between them? But this was normal, right? Jisung teases him all the time, so how was this any different?
He’s just about to say something to Jisung when the other boy opens his mouth.
“Yes,” Jisung says finally, voice firm and clear. “I’m jealous.”
Seungmin’s heart stutters to a halt in his chest. He blinks. “What?”
“I’m jealous,” Jisung repeats, shrugging like it’s no big deal. Like Seungmin’s brain isn’t short-circuiting at that very moment as he struggles to process the meaning behind Jisung’s words. Because surely, there’s more to it than he’s letting on, right?
“What–” he begins, but the word comes out all choked up and weird. He clears his throat and continues. “What exactly are you jealous of? And why?”
The look of pure vexation Jisung gives him in response is enough to make him want to shrivel up and die, right there and then. “You’re hopeless,” Jisung says, shaking his head in disbelief and disappointment both.
“No, what? You’re not making any sense, Jisung.”
“You know, Minnie, for someone as smart as you, you sure are taking a really long time to figure this out.”
“Figure what out?” Seungmin asks helplessly. “What does that even mean ?”
Jisung sighs, rolling off the bed. “Forget it, Seungmin.”
“No, tell me what you mean,” Seungmin persists, eyes following Jisung as he walks over to his backpack.
Jisung shrugs again. “There’s nothing to tell. I’ve already said everything.” He pulls out his books and seats himself a few feet away from Seungmin, shoulders slumped. “Now, are we going to study or not?”
Seungmin stares at him in puzzlement. He doesn’t understand the sudden shift in Jisung’s demeanour. Only a few minutes ago he’d been deliberately ignoring Seungmin’s attempts to get him to study, yet here he was now, sitting a few feet away from him and not even meeting Seungmin’s gaze as he rifled through his notes. How had he gone from his usual, playful self to this stoic version of Jisung that Seungmin had never seen before so quickly?
Seungmin closes his book with a firm thump . “No way. We’re not studying till you tell me what’s up with you.”
Jisung stays silent for a moment, before heaving a sigh and looking up at him. For just a split second, Seungmin catches a flicker of something in his eyes, something that makes his cheeks warm and his heartbeat accelerate before he can even put a finger on it, but then Jisung blinks and the moment is gone. He schools his expression into something so painfully blank that it makes Seungmin want to yell in frustration. Was Jisung really being this difficult on purpose?
“I told you already, there’s nothing more to say.”
“Then why are you acting so strange , Jisung?” He asks, voice dripping with annoyance and confusion both.
Jisung purses his lips and lowers his gaze to his pink-socked feet on the ground, looking uncharacteristically shy for a moment. Seungmin is shocked at how small Jisung seems all of a sudden. Gone is the confident, cheeky boy who’d yank the tail of Seungmin’s shirt to annoy him. Instead, in front of him sits an almost meek, extremely sheepish version of his best friend.
“I’m sorry, okay? I was just messing around.” His eyes meet Seungmin’s, and he offers him a small smile that seems more fake than real. “Come on now, didn’t you say we have to study?”
“No buts, Seungmin-ssi!” Jisung says with a wag of his finger, in a surprisingly good impression of their macroeconomics professor. He clicks his pen twice and fixes him with an expectant stare, waiting for him to start speaking.
Seungmin knows for a fact that if Jisung doesn’t want to talk about whatever it is that had him behaving in such a peculiar way, then he won’t say a word no matter how much Seungmin pushes him to, so there’s really no point in demanding an explanation from him. He ignores the sudden disappointment that’s clogging his throat, the way his eyes have begun to burn and wonders why this is affecting him so much. What had he been expecting Jisung to say, and why did he want to hear it so badly? He shakes his head and opens his books.
It’s probably the most normal, and hence automatically the most boring study date he’s ever had with Jisung. His best friend stays silent throughout the forty minutes they spend together, poring over their notes. Under different (and better) circumstances, Jisung would be cracking jokes or reading aloud some of the sentences in funny voices, like a parent telling their child a story. This time, however, he hardly says a word, and simply jots down line after line of information. He barely even spares him a glance, which hurts Seungmin more than he’d like to admit.
He thinks it’s funny, almost, the irony of it all. Only a few moments ago he’d been trying his level best to get Jisung as he was right now; quiet and completely focused on the task at hand. And now that he’d ended up succeeding, he wishes more than anything that he could go back to how they were only moments ago. Jisung’s silence felt like being dunked into a bowl full of ice; cold and unwelcome, and Seungmin hates how out of place he suddenly feels with the one person he’s always felt at home with.
Their session drags on for what seems like forever, and when it’s finally time to leave, Seungmin wonders if he should try asking him one last time, but the way Jisung’s jaw is set so firmly makes him reconsider. Eventually, he decides against it, and it’s with a heavy heart and a bitter taste in his mouth that he packs his belongings and shoulders his bag, turning to the door.
He waits for a few moments in the doorway, expecting Jisung to hug him like he usually does, maybe sneak in a sloppy kiss or two on the cheek which would make Seungmin flush and push him away, or at least a finger-heart with that gummy smile of his. Jisung does none of those things. Instead, he thanks Seungmin once with a tone as flat as the ground they’re standing on, and then holds the door open for him.
Seungmin steps outside and wonders why, all of a sudden, everything feels so wrong.
“Lix, would you say I’m dense? Or… I dunno… incapable of reading the room?” He asks Felix a few days later, eyes fixed on the ceiling. His brain’s a mess right now, which is strange. Seungmin is usually known for being the only person in their friendgroup who can sort out his thoughts quickly.
His most recent study date with Jisung, however, has made him feel lost and confused in ways he had never really experienced before. It feels completely foreign to him – this complete and utter disarray of human emotions that he’s trying to process – so he asks Felix, because Felix probably knows him best after Jisung, and he might just hand him a solution with his trademark, sun-lit smile.
Felix looks up from his book, brows furrowing in contemplation. “No? You’re not dense, Seungminnie. Why? What’s wrong?”
Seungmin sighs heavily, falling back onto his pillow. “I don’t know, honestly. It feels so….” he trails off, unable to come up with the right words. He thinks of Jisung, how disappointed he had looked when he said, “ For someone as smart as you, you sure are taking a really long time to figure this out. ” Had he meant what Seungmin had thought, no, hoped he meant? If so, “Do you think– Am I good at like, maintaining relationships?”
“What kind of relationships are you talking about? I mean, you’re a great friend if that’s what you have in mind,” Felix responds easily, although his voice is tinged with curiosity. Seungmin doesn’t normally ask such introspective questions.
Still, Seungmin’s lips curve into a grin at his friend’s response. “Thanks, Lix. But I guess I mean like, romantic relationships? Do you think if someone indirectly told me they liked me I’d be able to figure it out?”
At his words, Felix sits up in alarm, the book flying out of his hands and landing on the opposite end of his pillow. “Who asked you out?” He asks at once, eyes almost comically wide.
“Oh my god. Nobody asked me out, Lix. Why’re you freaking out?”
“I’m not freaking out!” Felix said, but he’s already up and running towards Seungmin. “Who likes you, Seungminnie? Is it a friend? A classmate? Someone I know–”
“Felix,” Seungmin says, unable to understand why the prospect of someone liking him has his friend so worked up all of a sudden. “Calm down. Nobody confessed to me.”
Felix visibly deflates at his answer and turns to beam at him. “Good! That’s great!” he exclaims, and then pulls his phone out of his pocket and begins typing furiously.
“What are you doing?” Seungmin asks, extremely puzzled by his friend’s bizarre behaviour. He tries to peer over Felix’s shoulder to get a look at who he’s texting, but the boy moves away immediately. Seungmin scowls. “And also,” he continues, when Felix doesn’t respond, “why is it good that nobody asked me out? Do you want me to die alone, Lix?”
Felix snorts, completely ignoring his questions. “You won’t die alone. Not when you have him, anyway,” he adds with mischievous grin, wiggling his eyebrows at Seungmin.
“Have who?” Seungmin questions, although he already knows whose name Felix is going to take. He feels the back of his neck redden and pointedly starts examining the Day6 poster above his desk.
“You know who,” Felix winks.
Felix chucks a pillow at him, and then the two of them dissolve into a fit of giggles. “That wasn’t funny, by the way,” he says, the moment he’s finished laughing.
Seungmin agrees. It was terrible.
“But seriously,” Felix continues, no longer smiling, “you know you’ll always have him, right? He cares a lot about you.”
Seungmin feels his eyes grow moist, and he ducks his head so Felix doesn’t spot how quickly they’re filling up with tears. He’s suddenly overwhelmed with everything he’s been feeling lately. Jisung does care a lot about him, he knows that. In fact, sometimes he can’t help but think that Jisung cares too much. But what had happened a few days ago had definitely changed something between them. He hasn’t spoken to Jisung properly in over a week, and it’s killing him. The older boy had resorted to replying to Seungmin’s frequent messages with either extremely clipped responses or nothing at all, and hadn’t even bothered to come see Seungmin in person for a while now.
Felix had probably noticed, but had chosen not to say anything. Now, however, he places a gentle finger under Seungmin’s chin and makes him raise his head enough to level their gazes. “What’s wrong, Minnie? Did you and Sungie have a fight?”
Seungmin looks into his eyes, and can’t help but nod.
“Oh, Minnie,” Felix sighs, and pulls him in for a hug. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” he mumbles into Felix’s sweater, “He just. I don’t know, Lix.” He describes everything that happened last week, how strange Jisung had acted, the things he had said, how cold he’d turned towards the end. Thinking about it makes his stomach churn all over again, and he buries his head in Felix’s shoulder.
“Minnie,” Felix says finally, after he’s done giving him comforting pats on the back, “you are a bit dense.”
Seungmin pulls away from him. “What?”
“Do you really not know it yet?”
“Don’t play dumb!” His friend exclaims, giving him a light smack on the shoulder. “You like Jisung, don’t you?”
Seungmin’s cheeks flush.
“Come on, there’s no point in denying it! Everyone can tell that you do,” Felix persists, and Seungmin finally gives in with a slight nod. Of course he likes Jisung. How could he not, really?
“Well,” his friend presses, eyes skimming over Seungmin’s face. “What Jisung said, you understand what he meant by it, right?”
Seungmin looks away from Felix’s intense gaze. “I’m not sure,” by mutters, toying with the ends of his blanket.
“Kim Seungmin,” Felix explodes, patience wearing thin, “I will kill you. He likes you, you like him! What is stopping you?”
His eyes widen in disbelief at Felix’s words. “He likes me?”
“Oh my god,” Felix shrieks, and hits himself with the pillow. He flaps his arms for a moment like an angry chick, and then prods Seungmin’s chest with his tiny index finger. “Go tell Jisung that you like him. Now.”
Seungmin stares at him. Felix had pretty much confirmed that Jisung felt the same way about him, and although there was an all too familiar doubt nagging at the back of his mind telling him that things could between him and Jisung could go horribly wrong if he confessed, he was choosing to ignore it. If not for himself, then most definitely for JIsung.
He gives Felix a firm nod. "Okay. I will."
Felix's eyes turn the size of saucers. "You will?"
"Yeah," Seungmin grins, feeing a sudden surge of adrenaline. "In fact, I'll go tell him right now!" he says almost giddily, and all but leaps off the bed with the gracefulness of a joey.
"Wait, isn't it too late right now?" his friend mumbles, glacning at the clock. Seungmin shrugs. "It's only eleven. He'll be awake." Probably watching some nature documentary curled up on his bed in true Han Jisung fashion, he thinks, with a fond shake of his head. God, he really does have it bad.
"Oh well, good luck," Felix calls out weakly after him.
Seungmin grins, and steps outside.
Four curt knocks on the door should be enough to for Jisung to open the door to his dorm room, but no, Seungmin is convinced Jisung now has some personal vendetta against him and is determined to make the rest of his life miserable. Felix was wrong; he will die alone at this rate. He sighs in frustration. Even Hyunjin wasn't opening the door. Seungmin makes a mental note to kick him the next time he sees his stupid face.
He wonders briefly if Jisung is out, but remembers that Felix had called him beforehand to make sure he was still there and sighs. This was not going to be easy. He glares at the door, willing it to open. "Come on," he mutters, and then leans forward to rap sharply once more, then twice, then thrice on the door. On the fourth extremely loud, very irritating sound of his knuckles colliding with the wood, the door finally swings open and Seungmin freezes, arm still poised in front of it.
A sleepy, messy haired Jisung stumbles into view. He blinks in confusion for a moment, and then he takes in the view in front of him. His eyes widen a little when they land on Seungmin. From what it seems, he clearly hadn’t been expecting him to show up at this time – or at all, for that matter. Seungmin can see the surprise in them, mingled with just a bit of hopefulness that strengthens his resolve to confess to Jisung tonight. But a second later, the older of the two schools his expression into something almost painfully nonchalant and says in an unusually cool voice,
“Why are you here, Seungmin?”
Seungmin tries not to wince at how indifferent his best friend sounds towards him. If things weren’t the way they were right now, his eyes would’ve lit up the moment he saw Seungmin and his arms would be wrapped around his frame in an almost fatal hold by now. As it is, however, Jisung simply quirks an eyebrow and waits for his response. He looks incredibly annoyed for some reason, and Seungmin can't help but feel a little hurt. He wasn't even invited inside, not that he had ever needed an invitation in the first place. Maybe that's why it stung so much. He waits for another second, but Jisung still doesn't move aside to let him barge in like he usually does, feet fimly planted in the space between Seungmin and the entrance. Seungmin supposes it’s his own fault for being so slow to catch up on things, and he’s determined to resolve whatever this growing tension between them means.
He clears his throat. “Um, is Hyunjin here?” He asks first, because of course he wouldn’t want Hyunjin to witness something so personal.
He realizes a moment later why that shouldn’t have been the first thing he says to someone who had undoubtedly been hoping for him to say something a bit more empathetic, because Jisung almost hisses in response, “Are you kidding me right now, Seungmin?”
“Hyunjin isn’t home. Unfortunately for you, it’s just me here right now,” Jisung snaps, sounding so steely that Seungmin almost takes a step back. He doesn’t, though, and looks right into his friend’s eyes.
“Jisung, I was only asking because I want to talk to you. Alone, that is,” he clarifies, and is relieved to see some of the anger ebb away from Jisung, if the way his shoulders eased slightly was anything to go by.
Unfortunately, Jisung still doesn’t seem entirely convinced. His mouth is drawn into a thin line and he hasn’t moved an inch, so Seungmin is forced to stay outside. This was a bit of a let-down, to the say the least, since the scene he had envisioned in his head had included the warm lighting in Hyunjin and Jisung’s dorm room, Jisung’s bed and his unbelievably soft yellow blanket, and maybe Ggul-Ggul as well for moral support.
Due to the lack of these fundamental assets, however, Seungmin seems to have lost the ability to articulate his thoughts, and for some reason (the universe hating him seemed probable) the first thing that his brains equips him with is: “Do you know how annoying you are?”
Jisung presses his lips together so tightly at his words, they turn white. He’s even more displeased than before. “That’s not how you comfort someone who’s mad at you.”
Seungmin ignores him and contines. “And loud? God, you’re so loud.”
Jisung lets out a huff of pure incredulity, like he can't believe what he's hearing. “Are you sure you came here to apologise, Seungmin? Because-”
“And you talk a lot. Like, a lot. Why do you talk so much, Hannie?”
“Okay, I get it,” Jisung snaps, frown deepening. “I’m closing the door now.”
Seungmin jams his arm in the space between the door and the doorframe to keep it from closing. “Don’t you dare shut the door on me, Han Jisung. I’m not done yet.”
“Seungmin, I don’t know what you’re trying to do but I do know that I don’t want to hear more of whatever you’re going to say.”
“God just– Shut up for a moment, Jisung.”
“See? This is exactly what I’m talking about! You never let me–”
“ No- ”
“I’m running out of ways to shut you up, seriously.”
Jisung pauses. “What?”
“Why don’t you ever just listen ,” Seungmin says, more to himself than Jisung, and takes three steps forward so that he’s right in front of him. He grabs Jisung’s face, hands cupping his cheeks, and then looks straight into his eyes. “You’re so annoying,” he mumbles, and revels in the way Jisung’s cheeks burn in his hands.
“You’ve said that already,” Jisung points out, but there’s a very faint smile (slightly confused, but mostly pleased) tugging at the corner of his lips now.
“And you talk a lot, too.”
“You’ve said that as well.”
“I like you.”
Jisung’s cheeks flush the prettiest of pinks. “That’s new.”
“So is this,” Seungmin replies, and closes the small distance between them with his lips. He feels Jisung still for a few seconds, before he goes lax in his arms, hands coming up to interlock themselves right below Seungmin's neck. He's so warm, and so real that it makes Seungmin's head spin. He can't believe this is happening- that he's kissing Jisung. Right outside his dorm, too, where anyone could see them. He decides he doesn't really care, feeling Jisung's small fingers toying with the hair at the base of his neck. He wonders why it had taken him so long to tell Jisung how gone he was for him. The way they were kissing right now, it was evident that Jisung had clearly felt the same way for quite a while.
He sighs against Jisung’s lips and then pulls back, resting his forehead against Jisung’s and reveling in the way his eyes are shining as he looks back at him. “So?”
“So,” Seungmin says, smiling so wide his cheeks hurt, “I like you very much. And I’m sorry for being so stupid and not realizing sooner.”
Jisung scoffs, but he’s grinning like an idiot himself. “Yeah, a bit thick aren’t you, Seungminnie?”
“Mhm,” he replies easily, and presses another kiss to Jisung’s open mouth. “To be fair, though,” he pulls back a little, resting his hands on Jisung’s cheeks and meeting his eyes, “you could’ve just told me instead of being so cryptic.”
Jisung flushes. “Well, I’ve always had a flair for dramatics, haven’t I? Besides, it’s not like I was being subtle. Everyone could tell I had a thing for you,” he breaks off with a huff, “except for you. “
“Okay, okay, I get it!” Seungmin exclaims, laughing at the all too familiar pout on Jisung’s face. He steps closer to the other boy, gently titling his chin upwards with his finger. “How can I make it up to you?”
“Hmmm,” Jisung says in mock contemplation. “You can take me out for cheesecake tomorrow. That is to say, on a date in case you didn’t get the implication.”
“Hey! I’m not that stupid,” Seungmin protests, giving him a playful smack on the shoulder.
“I don’t know, Seungminnie. You kind of are,” Jisung grins, and then loops his arms around Seungmin’s neck to pull him closer. “But for now, you can give me a kiss, and maybe I’ll forgive you.”
“Just one?” Seungmin teases, but he’s already leaning in. His lips are just shy of touching Jisung’s when he hears the shuffling of feet right behind them . Hands still placed firmly on Jisung’s waist, he turns around slightly to locate the source of the sound and is met with an almost horrified looking Hyunjin, staring at them with eyes as large as dinner plates.
“Oh my god,” he whispers, clapping a hand to his mouth. “Is this real?”
Jisung rolls his eyes. “I don’t know Hyunjinnie. Do you often dream of us kissing?”
Hyunjin pointedly ignores his comment and pulls out his phone, fingers moving at the speed of lightening as presumably texts all their friends. “Don’t move,” he orders a minute later, pointing the camera towards them.
When Seungmin and Jisung stay frozen in their spots, he waves his phone with a sigh. “Can you at least smile? Give each other a little kiss for the audience?”
“What the hell? Creep,” Jisung says, and tugs Seungmin’s sleeve. “Come on Seungminnie, let’s go.”
Seungmin flashes Hyunjin a quick smile and then happily follows Jisung inside.
“By the way,” he says later, when they’re both huddled together under Jisung’s yellow blanket, arms wrapped loosely around each other, “I don’t really think you’re annoying. Or loud. Or that you talk too much. I could listen to you speak forever, you know that, right? I was just. It was a spur of the moment thing. I felt like I was in a movie, so I said all that. I really don’t think–”
Jisung cuts him off with a chaste kiss. “ You’re talking too much now, Minnie.” He detaches himself slightly from Seungmin’s arms, just enough to cup his cheeks and meet his eyes. “It’s fine, I promise.”
For some reason, Jisung’s words make him think of something and he starts laughing, burying his head in Jisung’s chest. The older of the two gives him a puzzled stare, running his hands gently through Seungmin’s hair. “What’s so funny?”
Seungmin shakes his head with a smile. “Nothing, it’s just– I might’ve figured out a foolproof way of keeping you quiet during our study dates.”
“Oh?” Jisung asks, leaning in so close that his warm breath fans over Seungmin’s face. The glint in his eye makes Seungmin think he already knows what’s about to come next. “And what might that be?”
Seungmin simply rolls his eyes and presses his lips against Jisung’s in answer.
When he pulls back, admiring the starry smile on Jisung’s face, the light dusting of pink on his cheeks, the way his smaller hands are completely dwarfed in his own, he thinks that although he wouldn’t mind listening to Jisung’s speak for a long time to come yet, keeping him quiet occasionally wouldn’t be all too bad.
Especially, he thinks as his mouth meets Jisung’s once more, if it meant getting to do this.