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Under the Pool Lights

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Chanyeol lights the match and tosses it into the trashcan. The principal is off chasing down one of Chanyeol’s minions, so to speak. The trashcan is catching fire and Chanyeol wonders how much more trouble he would be in if he moved the fire to sit right underneath the principal’s curtains. It honestly can’t be much more than the trouble he’ll already be in for starting a trashcan fire in the principal’s office though, so that’s good enough reasoning for Chanyeol.

But before Chanyeol can even get his hands on the trashcan, the door is opening. Chanyeol knew he was gonna get caught, but he really thought that he had more time than this. Unless his minion wasn’t as useful as he had originally thought. 

“Chanyeol?” Only that’s not the principal. Or any school official. It’s his mom and dad. “What are you doing? Put out that fire right now!” Chanyeol sighs. Looks like his fun is over before it even began. Grabbing the fire extinguisher is no problem for Chanyeol and he pouts at his parents as he puts out the fire. 

“This is so sad,” Chanyeol mutters. 

“Your principal called and said we needed to have a meeting about your behavior, but this settles it. We are taking you out of school for a while. You clearly need to get away and do some heavy reevaluating of your morals and where you want your life to go,” Chanyeol’s mother says.

“You leaving school has already been approved unsurprisingly if this is how you act on the regular,” Chanyeol’s dad adds on. “So we are staying at this nice villa to help you relax and really become better.” Chanyeol’s gut twists. An extended stay at a villa with his parents. This would arguably be nicer than staying in school, but this seems more like a trap than an actual vacation.

And Chanyeol is right.

Two days later, he’s packed his bags, gotten on the plane and flown to Jeju. The villa there is nice and has a bit of a resort aspect to it as well which Chanyeol can appreciate. As he walks with his parents through the lobby all he can think of are ways to cause problems, but he does his best to keep it together at least until his parents are out of sight.

His parents are getting room keys and Chanyeol eyes a janitor who has the largest key ring Chanyeol has ever seen and thinks of a way he can swipe it without him noticing. He’d have to get the timing just right or else— 

“Chanyeol, come on,” his parents call. Well fuck, looks like there won’t be any extra keys for Chanyeol after all.

“Coming.” Chanyeol catches up to his parents and follows them down the hallway and out of the building towards the villas.

“I hope you know that we’re taking you here so you can self-reflect, not to cause problems somewhere else,” Chanyeol’s father reminds him and Chanyeol nods, biting his tongue.

“Yeah, I know,” Chanyeol replies, pulling his suitcase along with him. Sure, there’s a reason he shouldn’t light his principal’s trashcan on fire, but is it a good reason? No. The logic people give Chanyeol is like, ‘what did the principal do to you?’ and ‘you wouldn’t like it if someone set your trashcan on fire.’ But Chanyeol doesn’t agree with how the principal manages the school and treats kids. If there’s no fair course of action, of course he’ll turn to lighting things on fire.

But no one really cares about that part of Chanyeol’s argument. Though he will admit, lighting things on fire is also just plain fun. 

Chanyeol trails behind his parents, looking out at the beach as they walk to their villa. Chanyeol’s mom unlocks the front door and ushers Chanyeol inside first, as if him walking in last will somehow cause something to explode. Chanyeol takes a good look around the villa, looking for his bedroom first. He spots the master with sliding glass doors onto the beach and then sees his own which is tucked into the back corner behind the kitchen.

Doesn’t really matter much to Chanyeol though. His bedroom is just where he sleeps, not where he’s going to spend all of his time. At least, he hopes not. Though his parents might want to make him spend all of his time in there. 

“Chanyeol,” his father calls. “We’re going to eat in for dinner.”

“Okay,” Chanyeol calls back. Well, one night inside can’t be that bad. He pulls his clothes out of his suitcase and hangs them up in the closet, then realizes he has nothing to do.

Part of coming out here meant that Chanyeol would only get his phone during very specific hours and currently these hours aren’t those hours, so Chanyeol has no form of entertainment.

Dinner goes smoothly but then Chanyeol has to go back to his room because he doesn’t want to watch the boring movie that his parents picked out. Chanyeol closes the door behind him and tries to find something to entertain him. He tries for twenty minutes and gives up, turning to sleep instead, but he can’t fall asleep and isn’t even tired.

This whole thing kinda blows. Chanyeol feels trapped in this stupid room so he sneaks out, which is a super logical thing to do. If his parents notice that he’s gone, that’s a problem for later. He just needs some fresh air, he reasons with himself. 

Checking his pockets, Chanyeol feels that he has some matches, his key card and a mini bottle of cologne. Chanyeol pulls it out and looks it over. This is the one he uses to light fires because it’s so fucking potent. Smells like ass if Chanyeol is honest, but it’s useful.

So that means Chanyeol should entertain himself by lighting some fires or something. No one will get hurt and it’s fun anyway, so why not? This time there isn’t a moral reason to light them, so he won’t be trying to destroy property.

Chanyeol slips out the window of his bedroom and drops down onto the sand easily. He spotted a pool when he came in which probably would be a good place to look for things to set on fire. The idea of flaming pool noodles does stir something in Chanyeol. Trashcans are always a classic choice as well, and there should be some by the pool.

It’s already dark outside, so Chanyeol walks in through the main doors of the central building of the villas. If that’s even the right way to describe it. It’s essentially a hotel lobby even if villas aren’t hotel rooms.

The lady at the front desk gives Chanyeol a weird look, but Chanyeol pays her no mind. He just pretends that he knows exactly where he’s going and coincidentally, he walks in the correct direction towards the pool. That’s something that has kept Chanyeol out of trouble several times, simply pretending he knows what he’s doing. Even if someone finds him suspicious, as long as he has a confident answer, they won't question him anymore.

The pool is technically closed at this hour, but Chanyeol had a feeling that might be the case, which is why he has the trashcan as a backup plan if he couldn’t get some easy access to the pool noodles. Another day though.

Chanyeol opens the door to the outside and sticks a nearby rock in the door in case it’s gonna lock him out or something. Chanyeol can probably walk back to his villa without going through the lobby again, but he’s not gonna risk anything.

Luckily for Chanyeol, there’s already plenty of stuff in the trashcan. For good measure, he opens up his cologne and pours a bit of it on top of the trash. Part of the reason this cologne smells so bad is the high alcohol content, which makes it extra flammable. 

He lights a match and drops it into the piles of papers and whatnot. It catches, but it’s still a pretty small flame so Chanyeol lights a second match, but before he can drop it in, he’s interrupted.

“What are you doing?” asks a voice from behind Chanyeol and he’s ready to run for his life, but it’s only another kid. Chanyeol looks the kid up and down, he doesn’t seem to be a threat. Or they, Chanyeol doesn’t know this person’s pronouns.

“I’m obviously starting a fire,” Chanyeol replies. “Also what are your pronouns? Mine are he him, but I also don’t really care.”

“He him as well…” the stranger trails off. “I’m Sehun, and you are?” Chanyeol feels the heat of fire pick up and takes a step away from it just in case any sparks try to jump on him or something.

“Chanyeol. Good to meet you, would you like to learn how to throw matches? It’s fun and I’m bored now that my fire is at perfect size already,” Chanyeol says and Sehun looks at him in disbelief.

“You’re quite something,” Sehun mumbles.

“Yes, but that isn’t an answer to my question,” Chanyeol points out.

“Alright, fine. Teach me how to throw matches.” Chanyeol nearly squeals, it’s been so long since he’s taught someone and it’s always fun.

“Okay, I think we should throw them in the pool so they go out,” Chanyeol suggests.

“But there’s a fence right there,” Sehun says.

“Have you really lived if you haven’t climbed a fence before?” Chanyeol asks, already going and lifting himself up, so he’s sitting on the top of the fence.

“I’m only seventeen,” Sehun whines. “I have plenty of time before I need to climb fences.”

“If you consider less than a minute plenty of time, then yeah, you’re right,” Chanyeol replies right before dropping himself down to the ground on the other side. Sehun stares, open mouthed at Chanyeol who just smiles, like he hadn’t just swooped over a fence with way too much ease. “Come on, you can do it.” Chanyeol is encouraging Sehun as much as he can because he knows what it’s like to be afraid of something that honestly isn’t that scary after some practice. Sehun takes a deep breath, glances around, eyes staring at the trashcan fire for a moment too long, before trying to mimic Chanyeol’s movements. He takes a step onto the bar across the fence and pulls himself up to be level with it.

“Okay, now what?” Sehun squeaks. His arms are trembling, but he won’t fall if Chanyeol has anything to say about it. 

“Now use your core to push your body up and get one leg over the fence,” Chanyeol directs. “Once you have one leg over the side, it’ll be really easy to get yourself the rest of the way over.”

“I have no idea what that means, but I’ll try my best,” Sehun says. He raises his right leg up as high as he can to hook it on the next bar across the top, and uses that to leverage himself up. Now all he has to do is get down which can be the much scarier part.

“Can you get down?” Chanyeol asks, biting the inside of his cheek and feeling a little bit nervous. “Because I think I could help you down, if you get both legs over the fence.” Chanyeol knows that he doesn’t sound very sure of himself, but he normally doesn’t have to catch boys. That can’t make it easy for Sehun to stock his faith in Chanyeol, but even still, Sehun gets his other leg over the side of the fence. Chanyeol steps close to Sehun, reaching out tentatively, but not quite touching Sehun.

“I don’t like this,” Sehun mutters. “Please help me down.”

“Can do, I’m going to grab onto your waist, just so you know. Cool?” Sehun nods and Chanyeol’s hands come up to hold his waist. “Let go off the fence.” Sehun squeezes his eyes shut and lets go, Chanyeol supporting all of his weight and lowering him to the ground.

“I hope you enjoy match throwing since you’ve worked very hard to get over this obstacle to doing that,” Chanyeol says, smiling his lopsided smile, trying to calm Sehun a bit.

“I hope you’re as good of a teacher as you claim,” Sehun replies, following Chanyeol over to the edge of the pool. Chanyeol pulls the pack of matches from his pocket and removes a single one, holding it up for effect. He strikes it and throws it into the pool with one smooth motion. 

“Ooh,” Sehun says. “Okay, teach me.” Perfect. People always want to learn once Chanyeol shows off a bit which makes sense as Chanyeol has been honing his match throwing skills for nearly eight years.

“Gladly. First, you need to have your match and your match box. The box should be angled away from your body and the match should be held firmly between your thumb and forefinger.” Chanyeol does just that and Sehun watches intently. “Then you strike the match like you would normally, but let go at the end so it flies into the pool.” Chanyeol sends another match into the pool then holds the box out to Sehun who takes it hesitantly.

“I don’t think I’ll be good at this,” Sehun admits.

“No one is good at first. I learned from my friend without any proper teaching. He would just throw matches in class and occasionally at me, so I taught myself to strike back by watching him do it,” Chanyeol explains. It’s a pretty strange story, but it’s certainly not the most strange that Chanyeol could tell Sehun.

“How on Earth did he not get in trouble?” Sehun asks, slightly dumbfounded.

“That is a great question that I do not have the answer to,” Chanyeol admits. He really has no clue how his teacher could not notice matches being flung around the back of her classroom. “But it doesn’t really matter, try it.” Chanyeol hands over the matchbox and their fingers brush ever so slightly.

“Okay, I’ll try, but if I burn my fingers I’m blaming you.” Yeah, that’s fair. Sehun tries to follow Chanyeol’s instructions and holds his match and looks to Chanyeol to check his form.

“Can I adjust your hand?” Chanyeol asks and Sehun nods. “Okay, so you want to have your fingers more like this.” Chanyeol grabs Sehun’s hand and moves his fingers around a bit until his form is perfect. “Now it should work.”

“I sure hope so,” Sehun says with a laugh before throwing the match. It doesn’t light but it flies with a perfect arc into the pool. “Okay, so I’m halfway there.”

“Just try again,” Chanyeol encourages. And Sehun pouts at Chanyeol, but he does it again and this time it lights, but falls at the edge of the pool. “That’s okay.” 

“How many times did it take you to get good at this?” Sehun asks and Chanyeol shrugs.

“Probably a million times,” Chanyeol replies. “But who knows, maybe you’ll be even better than me.”

“Watch me!” Sehun strikes the match and throws it, just barely falling into the pool. “Oh, look at that.” Sehun smirks up at Chanyeol who smiles, realizing just how close in proximity they are to each other. Chanyeol doesn’t make any move to pull away, but he feels his face heat up just a bit.

“Good job,” Chanyeol says, quiet. Sehun turns his head and looks at Chanyeol, seemingly also realizing how close they were.

“I’m not a rebellious sort of person, but there’s one thing that I think is very fun,” Sehun replies slowly.

“What?”

“Pushing pretty boys into pools,” Sehun mumbles and Chanyeol furrows his eyebrows for a moment before Sehun shoves him into the pool. Water fills Chanyeol’s senses before he surfaces and looks up at Sehun. “Don’t worry, I’m jumping in after you.” Sehun jumps into the water next to Chanyeol with a splash. He surfaces quickly and rubs the water out of his eyes.

“Any particular reason why you just pushed me into the pool?” Chanyeol asks, but there’s no malice in his voice. 

“Because you’re pretty and we were standing really close to me and I get flustered around pretty boys,” Sehun explains, looking pink.

“That makes sense,” Chanyeol replies, not really questioning it. “So how does pushing me into the pool solve that problem?”

“It doesn’t, but I’m not that good at solving problems or I wouldn’t even be here right now.” Sehun chuckles darkly, staring down at the water. They’re both treading water and Chanyeol moves a little closer to Sehun.

“What do you mean?” Chanyeol asks.

“I’m sure there’s a reason you’re on vacation in the middle of September and during any normal breaks right?” Chanyeol nods. “I’m in that same sort of boat except my parents are like, trying to prepare me to take over the family business and telling me how even though I have a year of high school and four years of college plus I need to be prepared to get the company as soon as I graduate college.”

“So you aren’t ready to grow up yet?” Sehun nods, looking sad. 

“I want to be a kid and fuck around for a while longer— I know my time is coming up, but fuck.” Sehun reaches up and wipes at his eyes. “I don’t want to be the kind of adult who has a midlife crisis because I’m miserable and never got to experience my twenties.” 

“I understand you more than you could know,” Chanyeol begins. “I don’t want to grow up either and it’s my refusal to sort things out like how the adults do that got me here. Because y’know apparently lighting a trashcan on fire in your principal’s office isn’t how you resolve issues with the school police.” Sehun bursts out laughing and even though it’s watery and full of tears, Chanyeol still smiles.

“Opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of responses I see,” Sehun replies. “Honestly, that makes me feel better that there’s someone out there who’s like me.” Sehun wipes his eyes again, but they don’t well up with tears anymore.

“Anything else I can do to make you feel better?” Chanyeol asks. “I can’t take over the company for you, but I can offer emotional support in some way. And if you don’t live far away, you can take over and hire me as your personal baker or something. Y’know so your mind stays clear while you make business deals or whatever. I don’t have to grow up and you’ll have someone in your orbit who gets you.” Chanyeol’s breath catches in his throat. It’s pure fantasy and won’t ever happen— Chanyeol can barely make cake even with cake mix.

“Chanyeol?” Sehun mumbles, pool lights illuminating his face. “Is it normal to want to kiss a boy you only just met and probably won’t ever get the chance to truly fall in love with?” Chanyeol swallows, almost wishing for more space between the two of them, but fights the urge and stays close.

“I don’t think it’s weird at all,” Chanyeol replies. He’s no expert at romance, but it seems like Sehun is about to do something romantic. “In fact, some boys really like to kiss other boys even if their lives only criss cross for a few weeks or even a few hours.”

“And you’re gay right?” 

“Well, technically pan, but yeah, I like boys,” Chanyeol says. It almost feels strange to say aloud now. He always would hookup with guys in closets(and girls too)yet to admit his sexuality in front of someone is a weird, but good feeling. Oh, fuck, did Chanyeol just come out? This really isn’t the intended space for that, but oh well. He won’t kill the romance with his over thinking. Sehun bites his lip again and looks directly at Chanyeol.

“Well then,” Sehun begins, moving just a bit closer to Chanyeol, close enough to where Chanyeol can see the small imperfections that litter Sehun’s skin, but none of them take away from his beauty. “I have to ask if you’d like to kiss me?” Sehun’s breath ghosts over Chanyeol’s lips. Chanyeol sucks in a breath, staring right into Sehun’s eyes.

“Yeah, but I want you to just…” Chanyeol doesn’t know quite the right words. “To let yourself act your age even if you’re forced into somewhere where you’re punching above your weight.” Sehun cups Chanyeol’s cheek. Growing up is so scary, and so is everything that goes along with getting older— from job stability, to relationships to friends to motherfucking taxes. All things that Sehun and Chanyeol are putting off until tomorrow, letting themselves live in their moment, the moment where they are simply both high schoolers in a pool with a boy they happen to find otherworldly.

“Thank you,” Sehun whispers before leaning in to kiss Chanyeol. Chanyeol kisses back, latching onto Sehun. They struggle to kiss and stay above water, so they drop to the pool floor for a moment before swimming back up. They surface and Sehun wraps his legs around Chanyeol’s waist and throws his arms around Chanyeol’s shoulders.

“Have you ever kissed someone underwater before?” Chanyeol asks and Sehun shakes his head. “Hold your breath.” And Chanyeol takes them both back underwater, opening his eyes to find Sehun looking right at him. Chanyeol connects their lips, kissing until they run out of air and come back up.

“Certainly something different,” Sehun comments and Chanyeol smiles.

“Isn’t life all about new experiences?” Chanyeol counters.

“I would say so, but right now, I’m soaking wet in a pool with a cute boy I shouldn’t have ever ran into and I’m tempted to tell life to go fuck itself,” Sehun says.

“Well, what if we kissed again?” Chanyeol asks. “As a way to tell life to go fuck itself.”

“Of course.” Sehun looks up at Chanyeol shyly and presses his lips to Chanyeol. And for the next hour, Chanyeol and Sehun do tell life to fuck itself. They let themselves feel and hold the other, an hour of comfort and partially of closure. Chanyeol realizes that he really can’t keep acting the way he has and Sehun accepts the fact that he’s going to have unusual twenties, but at the very least they have each other. In this fleeting moment of life, but a memory that will stay with them until the end of time.